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‘DETECTIVE PIKACHU’ Solves Mystery: Video Game Adaptations Still Not Great

Did you know that Pokémon is already the highest grossing media franchise of all time? At 90 billion dollars in total franchise revenue, its total haul triples that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, eclipsing the net worth of Winnie the Pooh, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse & Friends, Mario, and the entire Disney Princess collection. To say it’s an international sensation is to put it mildly. After the recent resurgence of the pocket monsters in the form of the popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go, Pokémon fever has been at a new all-time high and for the first time in nearly 20 years, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu marks the long-awaited return of Pokémon, Pokémon trainers, and their pokéballs of steel to the big screen.   Read More

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‘BEN IS BACK’ A Troubling Two-Hander You Should Never Trust 

Ben is Back, the father-son collaboration between writer-director Peter Hedges and actor son Lucas Hedges, plays out like a paperback page-turner with an inevitable conclusion. That the elder Hedges mostly succeeds in obscuring the histories of these characters and therefore where their paths will ultimately lead is a proverbial feather in his cap, the strongly-acted drama slinking suspiciously in narrative shadows in its earlier parts, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that we intrinsically know lead nowhere good. As Hedge’s script unspools the mystery behind Ben and his being back, the thriller-tinged drama loses a touch of its suspect pull, relying strictly on emboldened performances to see the journey through. The experience is far from pleasant.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BLOCKERS

Cockblocking. That thing one does, inadvertent or not, to impede the sexual congress of another. Just about anyone can be a cockblocker. The douchebag who stole your date. The overweight wingman paying way too much attention to her obviously interested friend. Your overbearing, sensitive dad. Anyone who desires, for a myriad of reasons, two people’s nether regions not to mate. Cockblocking can be fueled by jealousy. A sense of machismo competitiveness. Or your mom being driven into a state of controlling mania by the thought of you losing your flower on Prom night.  Read More