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Keith VansickleKeith the Critic

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BlackkKlansman

This movie directed by Spike Lee comes out at a time when our country in again facing racial inequities. John David Washingion plays the part of Ron Stallworth who is hired to be the first black detective in Colorado Springs. One day he notices an ad in the local paper inviting people to join the Ku Klux Klan. He calls the number pretending to be white and sets up a meeting. He enlists the help of Detective Flip Zimmerman who is played by Adam Driver. Flip is Jewish, so both risk harm if discovered.

Ron meets Patrice at a rally. Patrice, who is played by Laura Harrier, is the president of the black student union and very distrustful of the police. The two begin dating and Ron has to keep his job a secret.

As the investigation continues, Ron becomes more and more confident and starts a "friendship" between his "white" self and David Duke (Topher Grace) who is the Grand Wizard. Things get even more complicated when the police chief appoints Ron to provide security to Duke when he visits Colorado Springs, just when flips about to be initiated into KKK.

Spike Lee has made so many 4 star movies and I feel this is one of his best. One of the writers is Kevin Willmot, who is from Junction City, KS, is currently a professor of film at the University of Kansas. Professor Willmot and the the other writers wrote a fantastic script that gets to the heart of the issue with a little tongue in cheek comedy. Hopefully these great writers will get Oscar nominations when they come out as should Spike Lee, John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace. This movie brings out several emotions and is relevant today! I gave this great movie 4 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend it.

Eight Grade
Do you remember life in the eighth grade? It will come to you quickly as you watch this movie. Kayla Day, who is played by Elsie Fisher, is an 8th grader who posts motivational videos on You Tube about how to be confident and make friends. In real life she is far from being the person she blogs about. During her last week of school she is voted "most quiet".

Kennedy, one of the popular girls in Kayla's class, is having a pool party. Kennedy's mother forces her to invite Kayla. She accepts but becomes a wallflower in the pool. She awkwardly speaks to Aiden who she has a crush on and meets Gabe, who is the "weird" cousin of Kennedy.

Kayla's high school offers a shadow program to prepare students for high school. She is invited to hang out with her partner, Olivia, but when she spies her dad watching, she's humiliated all over again. Oh the joys of being an 8th grader.

I loved this movie. The writing and directing by Bo Burnham was brilliant. The mixing of the middle school cliques was right on. Elsie Fisher was terrific and should see more parts come her way. Even decades later, middle school may involve far more technology but the people are still basically facing the same issues. I think that most people can relate and it's well worth seeing. The whole movie and it's premise are fantastic. Any teenager or adult will enjoy it. I gave this movie 4 out of 4 stars. You can this see great film in Lawrence or Kansas City.

 

Mission Impossible: Fallout

This latest release in the Mission Impossible series again stars Tom Cruise in the lead role as Ethan Hunt, IMF agent. The movie begins with Ethan choosing to save the life of his friend Luther (Ving Rhames) allowing three plutonium cores to fall into the hands of John Lark. This infuriates the CIA directer who assigns August Walker, who is played by Henry Cavill, as an operative to follow Ethan in his efforts to reclaim the plutonium before they can be used in a weapon of mass destruction.

The two make plans with the white widow who is an arms dealer. A fight ensues and Ethan's former love interest, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who was once MI6 steps in to save Ethan. The white widow agrees to help secure the plutonium but Ethan must help her to free Solomon Lane (an enemy of Ethan) from a convoy of vehicles in Paris. This is the beginning of the complications Ethan is to face which includes IMF secretary Alan Hunley, played by Alec Baldwin, accusing Ethan of actually being John Lark.

Once again Tom Cruise proves what a great actor he is. The entire cast was great but were overshadowed by Cruise. The movie was well written and directed and as usual the stunts performed by Cruise were unbelievable. The action begins right off and never falters! There is never a dull moment in this movie. The addition of Henry Cavill only added to the long line of great cast members which again included Michelle Monaghan as Ethan's former wife. I'm a huge fan of Tom Cruise and all six Mission Impossible movies. This may be the best. I'm giving it 4 out 4 stars! Don't miss it!

 

Crazy Rich Asian

This movie is based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan. It stars Henry Golding as Nick Young, the son of one of Singapore's richest families. Constance Wu plays Nick's girlfriend, Rachel Chu. Rachel is an economics professor at NYU in New York City and has no idea that Nick as the heir apparent to a fortune. When Nick is asked to be the best man at his friend's wedding in Singapore, he asks Rachel to go with him. When Rachel questions the first class plane ride, Nick must explain.

Upon arrival, Rachel realizes that she is not accepted by Nick's mother, Eleanor, who is played by Michelle Yeoh. One of Rachel's best friends from college also lives in Singapore, Goh Peik Lin, who is played by Awkwafina, becomes her sounding board and advisor. But Eleanor is convinced that Rachel is not fit for her son.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Crazy Rich Asians". The all Asian cast was fantastic. Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding and Awkwafina were outstanding. The story is similar to others but I loved the glimpse into the Asian culture. The scenes from the skyline were beautiful.

The movie is fun and enjoyable if you just let yourself be entertained as you will be. I gave this movie 3 of 4 stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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