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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.

The original Planet of the Apes was classic ’60s science fiction in the sense that it was focused on its central theme of man’s misuse of the planet and how easily nature could turn against us, but not necessarily on interesting plot or dialogue to carry its ideas to far beyond its natural borders. It …

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One of the side-effects of the recent supremacy of superhero films has been the ways they have been stretched and mutated to encompass other styles and genres, sometimes successfully (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and sometimes not (Thor: Love and Thunder). In the process they’ve tended to ignore the built in themes and subtext of …

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“I love money,” Ernest Burkhart says several times in Martin Scorsese‘s adaptation of David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon. “The only thing I love more is my wife.” Whether Ernest’s duplicity is for himself or for his audience, he is certainly lying to someone. In the world of Scorsese it is impossible to grasp …

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Kenneth Branagh‘s (Death on the Nile) adaptations of Agatha Christie’s famed Belgian detective get closer and closer to the real intent of the man (and his creator) the further they stray from the original lock step cause and effect of the original creations. Moody and paranoid, A Haunting in Venice pays superficial homage to a …

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Heartwarming and exciting but also overstuffed and tripping over its own feet, Blue Beetle is a frequently charming, frequently frustrating attempt to re-write (or at least re-aim) the classic superhero narrative and intermittently succeeding. When it does succeed it flies high, pulling in pieces from successful forebears like Spider-Man and Iron Man and spinning them …

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Confident and competent, Neill Blomkamp‘s adaptation of the popular racing game is a 100-minute commercial for Sony which still manages to have more under the hood than you would expect. Treading the well-covered ground of the sports film, the Gran Turismo movie isn’t interested in re-inventing either that genre or the video game adaptation; merely …

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Mission: Impossible idealizes Tom Cruise and his willingness to commit increasingly-dangerous stunts the way Mission: Impossible idealizes Ethan Hunt and his willingness to save the world. The series is a frequently-amazing vehicle for both, filled with spectacular set pieces and the perception that if those are delivered on the rest of the film can be …

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Joy Ride, Adele Lim‘s extended road trip through China, is an enticing meditation on the complexity of identity within the immigrant experience that is unfortunately saddled with banal modern comedic tropes that undercut rather than enhance the journey. The phrase ‘immigrant experience’ itself seems overused at this point, a short-hand attempt to quantify a reality …

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It’s easy to put charismatic actors in a romantic setting and let them quip at each other. It’s difficult to make anyone care for them or their plight or generate genuine charm. It’s easy to create gags that tug and pull at the edges of societal norms, aiming to shock through sheer outrageousness. It’s difficult to resist …

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