One of my favorite programs of each and every year is once again in theaters: I urge everyone reading this to seek out the 2023 Oscar Nominated Short Films Program, where you can watch all of this year's nominated Short Films across three categories: Animated, Live-Action and Documentary.
The series begins in theaters on Friday, February 17th and runs until Oscar Sunday, on March 12th. Check your local listings for where it is showing in your area (in Detroit, you can find them at the Detroit Film Theater at the DIA...but get your tickets fast as this program always sells out and is among the most popular programs at the theater each year).
I've now seen them all, and here are my reactions to this year's batch of nominated Short Films.
Review: 'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania' an ambitious forward plunge for the MCU
Despite my first-ever job being in a comic book store, I am by no means a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) slappy. Don't believe me? I gave less-than stellar reviews of each of the last three installments - "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," "Thor: Love and Thunder" and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
And with "Ant-Man" in particular, I haven't necessarily been a fan (read my reviews of the first "Ant-Man" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp" here).
That's why I'm happy - more like pleasantly surprised - to report that I really liked "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," the 31st MCU film overall and the first of the so-called "Phase Five" of Marvel movies.
There has been a huge void in the "quality" department ever since "Avengers: End Game" wrapped up the Thanos saga in 2019. Sure, the pandemic had something to do with the MCU feeling completely stalled out in recent years, but it isn't an excuse that makes up for the mediocrity we've been served up - with a few exceptions - over the past few years.
And this newest movie is imperfect to be sure, but FINALLY - after years of subpar films and countless Marvel series on Disney+ since 2019 - the MCU finally gets some forward traction, with one of it's most compelling villains yet, Kang the Conqueror.
And suddenly, I'm interested again in where the MCU is headed.
***Mild Spoilers Ahead - Read With Caution!***
The lives, careers and decades-long friendship between legendary author Robert Caro and legendary editor Robert Gottlieb is examined in the deeply-engaging, warm-spirited documentary, "Turn Every Page."
"If you're going to steal, steal a lot."
That's the under-riding premise of "Sharper," a slow-burning thriller about con artists conning other con artists, where nothing - and no one - is ever quite is it seems.
Despite the movie leaving me with a feeling that it should have been more effective given the talented cast, "Sharper" still was an enjoyable if not infallible mystery.
Knock knock. Who's there? It's "Knock at the Cabin," a shallow, shoddy and condescending thriller that I can already tell you will stand as one of the worst offerings of 2023.
Don't answer the door...you've been warned!
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