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Joshua Starnes

Joshua Starnes has been writing about film and the entertainment industry since 2004 and served as the President of the Houston Film Critics Society from 2012 to 2019. In 2015 he became a co-owner/publisher of Red 5 Comics and in 2018 wrote the series "Kulipari: Dreamwalker" for Netflix. In between he continues his lifelong quest to find THE perfect tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich combination.

Blonde Review: Ana de Armas Is Marilyn Monroe

Simultaneously explorative and deeply reductive, Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of Blonde delves as deeply into Marilyn Monroe’s (Ana de Armas) battle between her public and private personae as anyone ever has, but the film only manages to find tired Freudian pop answers beneath the sediment. Joyce Carol Oates’ semi-biographical novel (Order Now) provides a moderate starting point, turning …

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Barbarian Review: Zach Cregger’s New Thriller

The first thing to be said about Zach Cregger’s Barbarian is that you can’t really talk about it; to say too much about is not just to spoil its inherent surprises but to reduce its actual power. It’s a cinematic version of Fight Club, less of an actual narrative and more akin to a Godfrey …

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Three Thousand Years of Longing Review

Like the morale of a fable, filmmakers have been trying to capture the ephemeral fantasy of the fairy tale on screen for as long as motion pictures have been an art, and for just as long they’ve turned good stories bad in the attempt. The stylized and heightened reality fairy tales call naturally attracts the …

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Bullet Train Review

Pretty, lighthearted, charming and as fleeting as its namesake, Bullet Train is also a pointless exercise in action filmmaking from 25 years ago but with little to offer today. Filled with nameless, unformed characters thrown back in and forth in time in a constant struggle to provide both context and surprise, Bullet Train‘s inability to …

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The Gray Man Movie Review

Overloaded, overwrought and overwhelming, The Gray Man movie is the kind of set piece oriented, cliché ridden action spectacle that used to be Hollywood’s bread and butter but has become so rare it’s almost alien when placed before us. Wallowing in light characters and an unbelievable plot as much its stars charisma and some wildly …

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Jurassic World Dominion Review #2

Jurassic World Dominion is the perfect Jurassic Park sequel in that it does what all of the films in the series have: tease interesting science fiction concepts with world-changing implications it has no interest in beyond set up for its next inventive set piece. Bombastic, long but frequently thrilling, Jurassic World Dominion succeeds at what …

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Top Gun: Maverick Review

Bombastic, over the top and unapologetically fun, Top Gun: Maverick is the Platonic ideal of an entertaining studio film, a standard bearer for what those words mean and how they can be achieved. Of course what they do mean is different for different people. Slick, lacking rough edges or idiosyncrasy with dialogue forever in search …

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Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Review

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a film for no one, interested in neither its source material nor anyone who would have liked said material, embarking on a vain quest for reinvention. The last ten years of tentpole filmmaking have taught us thoroughly the profits and pitfalls of nostalgia. It’s an inducement to the theater …

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The Bad Guys Review: DreamWorks’ Animated Action Comedy

Once upon a time, there was a brilliant new animation company striving to bring new life and feeling — not to mention dollars — to feature animation. And there was DreamWorks Animation, which was supposed to become that company and didn’t. What it did become was the strange other brand to Disney / Pixar, creating …

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The Northman Review: A Viking Fable of Blood and Fire

Equal parts beautiful and desolate like a part of Iceland’s own volcanic countryside, The Northman is auteur Robert Eggers’ most straightforward film, making up in style what it gives up in the complexity of his previous films. Grabbing relentlessly from the tales of Hamlet and Beowulf, Eggers delves back into his continued curiosity about the …

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Spider-Man: No Way Home Movie Review

The third film tends to be tough for Spider-Man. The third Sam Raimi film suffered from competing priorities between filmmaker and producers resulting in multiple entries worth of story being crammed into one movie. The third Marc Webb Spider-Man topped that by never even happening after making the same mistake as the Raimi series, just …

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Encanto Review: Disney’s Magical Family Tale

Once upon a time the format for Disney Animation was simple and unchanging – take a well-known fable or children’s story, add high level ballads and funny animal or magic characters, mix thoroughly and produce fun kids’ perennial. In reality it missed almost as often as it hit, but years of VCR babysitting and endless …

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Eternals Review: The Chloé Zhao-Directed Marvel Studios Film

With one or two really, really well-known exceptions, it’s become the kiss of death for a fantasy sci-fi epic to open with a scroll of exposition. Not because it presages filmmaker’s concerns that audiences won’t understand enough of the nuances of the backstory to properly engage with the prime narrative. But because the opening in …

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