Private Life (2018)

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An author is undergoing multiple fertility therapies to get pregnant, putting her relationship with her husband on edge. (IMDb)
Almost perfectly crafted (the titles were unnecessary), with thoughtful music and camerawork (the handheld sequences were a nice touch), great turns (the main trio is magnetic), and a beautiful script (see the many beginning/end parallels) that naturally capture all the awkwardness, beauty, and pain not just of fertility treatments but of family, marriage, and growing up/old. Some threads are left hanging (see Sadie’s “our baby” comment), but that’s the way life goes (see the cliffhanger end).
8.5/10 (Amazing)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

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Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality. (IMDb)
Despite its meta, self-aware take on the hero origin story it still feels a little too familiar by the classic big-explosion end (a different use of the shoulder-tap with the tragic villain would’ve helped). That said, it nails its humour and pace (though the Uncle Aaron twist is under-explained), and Miles is a refreshing lead for the old coming-of-age arc. More significant than anything though, is the fantastic animation (the action sequences are amazing) and unique comic book-esque flair.
8/10 (Great)

 

Step Brothers (2008)

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Two aimless middle-aged losers still living at home are forced against their will to become roommates when their parents marry. (IMDb)
Way over-the-top? Yes. But the adult-child antics of Ferrell and Reilly are never anything less than laugh-out-loud hilarious (and the final act in which they suppress then re-capture their spunk for life brings it down to earth in moving fashion), whether they’re having meltdowns at the dinner table or naively starting international corporations. A great supporting cast of characters (sympathetic mom, short-fused dad, douche-y and successful brother) rounds out the story and the humour nicely.
8/10 (Great)

The Visit (2015)

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Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents’ disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation. (IMDb)

A charming adolescent amateur-doc delivery gives this flick a relatable spooky-fun sort of feel in its kid-investigation first two acts featuring an enjoyable smattering of random creepy events (see especially Grandma’s nighttime escapades). Its believability comes into question post-(great)twist as the action picks up, but it makes it no less chilling. The family drama vacillates between feeling like an enriching and an irrelevant sub-plot but is consistently well-acted (Hahn especially).

7/10 (Good)