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Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016)



Release date:April 15, 2016
Studio:New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.), MGM
Director:Malcolm D. Lee
MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for sexual material and language)
Screenwriters:Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver
Starring:Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Eve , JB Smoove, Lamorne Morris, Sean Patrick Thomas, Deon Cole, Common , Nicki Minaj


It’s time for another cut from the Chicago barbers, and this one has some sharp comedy.  In the third installment of the Barbershop franchise, things have not gotten better in Chicago.  The film does a nice job of reminding us of the gang violence and police shooting that has plagued the Windy City.  Something has to be done to bring peace and justice to their beloved city.  But, the makers of Barbershop don’t forget that this is a comedy, and it is a very funny comedy indeed.  While they strive to create peace through a successful ceasefire, there is plenty of comedy cutting between the many players of the shop.

Barbershop continues to be an ensemble piece, starring Ice Cube as Calvin who co-owns the shop with his partner, Angie (Regina Hall).  Together they run a full service shop in the South Side that caters to quite a crew of funny employees and customers.  The heavy lifting of humor doesn’t come from the leads but from the many seasoned pros of standup and movies.  Cedric the Entertainer is back with his old man wit, better prepared to cut down one of us friends than cut hair.  Anthony Anderson (J.D.) is back as the enterprising mobile caterer.  His character is very funny, but I wanted to see more of him. He might have been too busy shooting Black-ish There just isn’t much room in this movie for a comedian to get some time in.

Deon Cole is one of my favorite comedians today, and he is not wasted in this movie.  He is known for his odd sense of humor, and it comes out big time in Barbershop.  He just doesn’t seem to know when to go home.  Barbershop has always been played as the community hangout, putting as many as ten or more jokers in the scene at one time.  My only criticism is that the lines fly so fast that you want to rewind to hear them again.  Of course, they also use some inside jokes that I’m not meant to understand.  I will say the audience had no trouble laughing at the humor, I just wanted subtitles.

Other players worth mentioning include Common as Rashad, Calvin’s friend who challenges Calvin’s feelings about the neighborhood and his family.  The Barbershop is a dangerous place to be flirting, so watch out for the seductive Draya (Nicki Minaj).

But, the movie really shines when it takes a hard look at gangs and violence. They don’t pull punches when they talk about their community and how they can bring it together.  The problem is bigger than any one barbershop, but it sends a message home to the audience about the meaninglessness violence and hatred that kills too many young people.

Finally, stay around for the end credits.  That’s one of the best parts of the film.  There’s a fun cameo that you’ll want to see, worth the price of admission.  That’s all I have to say about that.

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3



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