An introduction to the martial-arts master and eventual world-saver who debuted, in comic-book form, in the 1970s, Destin Daniel Cretton's MCU outing is prototypical origin-story world-building to its teeth, but not entirely unenjoyable.

The professional talents of Ballet Quad Cities are off to see the Wizard – the wonderful Wizard of Oz – in the company's latest presentations at Davenport's Outing Club: Ballet on the Lawn Take Two: Dorothy Goes to Oz!, a pair of September 12 performances boasting an completely new take on beloved characters made unforgettable through L. Frank Baum's children's-book series and the 1939 film classic starring Judy Garland.

Candyman is only director Nia DaCosta's second full-length feature, and it may not be entirely coincidental that the last sophomore effort I enjoyed in so similar a way was Jordan Peele's Us.

I wish I could say that writer/director Lisa Joy's futuristic noir gave Hugh Jackman opportunities to access the performer's lighthearted, effortlessly winning side that we rarely get to see outside of him playing The Greatest Showman on-screen or at awards shows. Alas, it doesn't. But at least this intricately plotted, visually arresting crime thriller gives its audiences a few legitimate reasons to grin.

Throughout most of director Shawn Levy's action comedy Free Guy, Ryan Reynolds walks and runs and drives around with an expression of awed, smiling wonder. That was pretty much my expression throughout the film, too.

While no one wants a repeat of 2020, the year actually did yield some good things – such as Ballet Quad Cities' partnership with Davenport's Outing Club, which will again host outdoor performances of the dance company's Ballet on the Lawn.

Writer/director James Gunn's re-imagining of David Ayer's Suicide Squad now outfitted with a “The” and an identifiable sense of humor – is almost inarguably a stronger piece of work than DC Films' five-year-old predecessor: more tightly structured, more visually audacious, almost entirely exposition-free. Yet it's still a rather depressing experience, because instead of finding ways to make the “old” movie better, Gunn appears merely to have found ways to make a Guardians of the Galaxy flick gorier.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra's family adventure may be as self-referential and avaricious as any of the Mouse House's live-action blockbusters, but the film's cheerful spirit and charm prove utterly infectious, and I wound up having more and more fun as the film progressed.

M. Night Shymalan's new cinematic freakout, inauspiciously yet evocatively titled Old, could easily be mistaken for a masterpiece if you don't understand a word of English.

Director Malcolm D. Lee's LeBron-James-meets-the-Looney-Tunes adventure, beyond feeling cynical and desperate, may be the most flabbergasting, relentlessly self-promoting entertainment I've ever endured. Lee's movie is constantly selling, yet the only thing it actually gave me was a headache.

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