No-Spoilers Movie Reviews: WONDER WOMAN

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Wonder Woman
I expected the usual flash, humor, and action of your typical 21st century superhero movie, but Woman Woman provided much more. This coming-of-age tale charms audiences with its intelligence and philosophical message about love conquering all. A rebellious and gifted kid – Diana, daughter of the Amazon queen on the island of Themyscira – grows up to become an idealistic warrior who learns difficult lessons while trying to save everyone (literally) during World War I.

Some people may find the film’s middle section a bit slow, but rest assured: plenty of Pow! Bang! Zap! awaits. (Ladies, prepare to girl crush hard on Israeli actress Gal Gadot. She may have usurped The Avengers’ Black Widow as my fave female big screen kick-ass.)

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Beauty and The Beast
“Tale as old as time…” Sing it, Emma Thompson! Your Mrs. Potts rocks! This live-action remake of the Disney (and Jean Cocteau) classic stars another Emma – Watson, that is. The Harry Potter alumna spunks her way through the familiar story of a devoted daughter who finds true love after sacrificing her own freedom in exchange for her father’s. A few new songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman may perturb purists, but the music is karaoke-worthy, Dan Stevens’ Beast is swoon-worthy, and performances by the mega-star ensemble are – you guessed it – totes fabulous.

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The Girl On The Train
I wasn’t a fan of this novel by Paula Hawkins that skyrocketed to the top of every bestseller list on earth (and possibly beyond) two years ago: dreary, without one relatable character. But when my mom said, “I like Emily Blunt” as we stood in front of a Redbox kiosk near my parents’ California home last week, I agreed to give the movie a shot. She regretted our decision about 15 minutes into the story (see previous note about “dreary”) but valiantly refused to abandon ship.

As far as mystery-thrillers go, it’s good. I must give credit to screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson and director Tate Taylor for a compelling, suspenseful, and stylish production. Emily is awesome, and Haley Bennett follows up The Magnificent Seven with another powerful performance, firmly establishing her as a future Oscar contender. (You’ve come a long way, baby, from Music and Lyrics).

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The Last Word
Shirley MacLaine as a persnickety senior citizen who wants her obituary written before she dies + Amanda Seyfried as a stuck-in-a-rut reporter + AnnJewel Lee Dixon as MacLaine’s precocious sidekick = Heartwarming. It’s no masterpiece, but if you’re looking for a feel-good flick with a life-affirming message, it’s worth a Redbox rental.

Katherine Valdez loves it when superhero movies inspire her to up the ante on her exercise regimen. (Results: mixed. She’s not ready to donate her Spanx just yet.) Check out Katherine’s no-spoilers movie reviews and posts on best-selling authors’ secrets to success at www.KatValdezWriter.wordpress.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, and Medium.

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