Rick's Flicks

Three Summer Films Well Worth the Hefty Price of Admission

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By Rick M. Pezzullo

Although people have been less inclined to attend movie theaters in the past year due to the rise of streaming services and inflating prices, this summer’s crop of movies has re-energized the industry with a few films that are worth all the hype.


Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie is a comedy film about the iconic doll brought to life and her existential crisis that disrupts her seemingly perfect utopia. The film is witty, creative, and shockingly emotional as it comments on the meaning of life, individuality, and how women continue to have impossible standards to live up to in modern society. The film features perfect casting with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling delivering outstanding performances as Barbie and Ken. America Ferrera also delivers an inspired performance as Barbie’s “real world” owner and gives a monologue that has gone viral for its impact and unfortunate truth. Many critics of the film feel that the movie is “not nice to men.” To those people, I say get over yourself. As a man, I was not offended at all by this film. It is very important to be able to laugh at yourself in life. If you are offended, it is most likely due to insecurities and the realization that Barbie’s commentary on patriarchal society is unfortunately true. Despite some polarizing views, there is a reason this movie is breaking records at the worldwide box office. Expect Oscar buzz around awards season, especially for Robbie and Gosling. Overall, Barbie had me laughing from beginning to end and was certainly a fun summer movie with relevant social commentary that everyone should check out.

Rating: 9.5/10

Where to watch: In theaters


Based on the 2005 biography, American Prometheus, Oppenheimer tells the story of one of the world’s most influential physicists, J. Robert Oppenheimer. Directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is a riveting film about the complex life of the man who led the invention of the nuclear bomb. Not only did he have the pressure of the world on his shoulders, but he had to deal with the aftermath of having the blood of so many innocent people on his hands. In addition, he had to navigate a complicated political landscape both during the invention process and afterwards. The first aspect of the film that stood out to me was the score. Every sound and every note made you feel the tension and gravity of every moment. The film also alternates between color and black/white when focusing on different storylines, which I thought was an interesting touch. The cast is stacked with big name actors, including Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, and Florence Pugh. Murphy and Downey Jr. deliver exceptional performances as Oppenheimer and Lewis Strauss respectively and should expect Academy Award nominations. Many critics of the film felt the movie dragged with its three-hour run time, but I felt that the long run time was warranted to fully understand the intricate relationships and details that were vital in shaping his life. I was fascinated that almost everything in the movie is based on actual events and quotes and not just exaggerated for effect. In summation, Oppenheimer is certainly one of the best films of the year and is definitely worth a watch for history buffs and average moviegoers alike.

Rating: 9.5/10

Where to watch: In theaters

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the seventh movie in the action franchise starring Tom Cruise and Hayley Atwell. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) accepts another mission which involves combating an AI enemy known as the Entity with his past foe Gabriel (Esai Morales) working as its liaison. Hunt runs into Grace (Hayley Atwell), who is a high-level thief, and she quickly becomes entangled in a conflict way above her head. Mission: Impossible is an excellent action film that succeeds in its intricate fight scenes and over-the-top stunts. Tom Cruise doing his own stunts for this film is certainly a commendable achievement. The plot is interesting and I never felt bored, but it definitely has its fair share of predictable and dramatic dialogue. It isn’t a necessity to watch the other Mission: Impossible films besides being familiar with some of the main characters. Overall, I’d highly recommend this film for fans of the franchise and action film lovers looking for an easy watch.

Rating: 8.75/10

Where to watch: In theaters


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