Six new reviews and four new videos on Influx Magazine from Steve Pulaski



Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a bit of a trainwreck. She loses her job, her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), and her current living situation at their New York loft all within the first ten minutes of Colossal due to her constant drinking. This prompts her to move back to her quiet hometown where she quickly reconnects with a childhood friend named Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who now runs a local bar he inherited from his father.


After two outings of trying to keep up with Marvel’s ubiquitous webslinger, director Marc Webb acclimates back to the forte with which he began his directorial journey – small, low-key dramas with memorable characters at their core (see (500) Days of Summer if you need a refresher). He assimilates back into his ostensible comfort zone by giving Gifted a lot more life and nuance than perhaps it would’ve had if it had gone to a director that would’ve handled it more conventionally with a lot of music cues letting audiences know when and where to cry.


There’s a scene in Sandy Wexler that defines this new Netflix chapter in Adam Sandler’s career quite effectively. It involves Sandler’s character Sandy Wexler, an incompetent but dedicated talent manager in the 1990s, who is talking to one of his clients, Gary Rodgers (Nick Swardson), a third-rate Evel Knievel, who is about to jump from one top-end of the HOLLYWOOD sign to the other, where a large pool lies, while set on fire. Unsurprisingly, upon flight, Rodgers gets hit with a flying bat mid-flight, and falls to the dry ground below while on fire, suffering third degree burns. The last shot shows the middle letters of the HOLLYWOOD sign engulfed in flames. There’s a perfect metaphor for Sandler in the 2010s.


The worst thing that could happen to The Fast and the Furious franchise has already happened and that’s the fact that it’s continuing after the wonderful sendoff that was Furious 7. It was everything that begged the series to close, including a heartfelt triumph and lovely sentiment regarding family and brotherhood.

If The Fate of the Furious is anything, it’s a vote of confidence. It’s a vote of confidence for the inevitable ninth and tenth installment of a franchise that started back in 2001 that the series has a direction and a sense of loyalty to its characters, and respects audiences enough to give them installments that have real stakes and real entertainment. If The Fate of the Furious was made and treated like another franchise cash-in after the death of the film’s lead actor, then it hides it very well in a disguise of a favorable sequel.


Going in Style is a remake of a 1979 Martin Brest film of the same name, but that detail has little importance to modern audiences today. Brest would go on to direct some of the finest action-comedies, some of which probably among your list of favorites, likeBeverly Hills Cop and Midnight Run, but hasn’t made a film since 2003. If something else besides inspiring some modest laughs on a bright spring day, I’d like to think this remake of Going in Style will motivate people not only to seek out the original, but also dive into the grossly underrated filmography of Martin Brest.


For Illinois fans and residents, such as myself, The Case for Christ offers a lot in the way of Chicago hallmarks, such as glimpses of the Michigan Avenue Chicago Tribune building, the Cook County Courthouse (at one time, even the county is referred to as “Crook County,” a Chicago in-joke), and the Willow Creek Community Church, located in the South Barrington neighborhood. For journalism fans, the film offers quite a bit of a scoop on the hectic atmosphere and duties of a common journalist. And for Christians and enthusiastic embracers of Christian cinema, The Case for Christ does a great job at affirming beliefs and forgiving the foolishness of nonbelievers, at least those who eventually find their ways.



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