Directed by Olivia Wilde, and boasting a script by four screenwriters who evidently contributed about 50 superb jokes apiece, the high-school comedy Booksmart is like Scorsese's After Hours without the menace; Superbad without the sexual obsession; Dazed & Confused without the hangover. It is, in other words, utterly delightful – a riotous, warmhearted, unexpectedly wise meditation on growing up that's also cheeky and confident enough to score laughs via condom water balloons and a stuffed panda employed as a sex toy.

Coincidence is one thing. Yet what are we to make of the fact that, this past weekend, Hollywood released two sequels to movies released within 15 days of each other in 2017, both of which were about men almost slavishly devoted to their dogs? Last Sunday was Mother's Day, but was this most recent Sunday some kind of canine-centric holiday I was unaware of?

On one night, over the course of roughly seven hours, Rozz-Tox patrons can witness back-to-back(-to-back-to-back) screenings of four of the greatest and most influential horror films of all time, with the Rock Island venue and 365 Horror Films hosting May 25's “The Classics” quadruple-feature of 1931's Dracula, 1931's Frankenstein, 1941's The Wolf Man, and 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon.

It's nearly impossible to be excited by a movie that merely fulfills your expectations. It's also nearly impossible to be disappointed by one when your expectations are merely that it be lighthearted, fast-paced, and funny, and your expectations are met.

In many ways, Long Shot is a traditional rom-com to its teeth: there are slapstick antics and getting-to-know-you montages and familiar pop tunes aplenty; the supporting figures include sensible besties and backstabbing rivals and foolish authority figures; our heroine, when depressed, consumes a pint of Häagen-Daaz in her bathrobe. But it's been a long, long time since a Hollywood feature made me as thunderously happy as I was during director Jonathan Levine's showcase for Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, and the nearly forgotten pleasure of old-school, grown-up screen romance. And yes: I just referenced “Seth Rogen” and “grown-up” in the same sentence. I also referenced “Seth Rogen” and “Charlize Theron” in the same sentence. We can argue later about which seemed less likely.

What follows are opinions, feelings, and rhetorical questions inspired by directors Joe and Anthony Russo's clever, funny, baffling, touching, blissfully fan-centric Avengers: Endgame – the concluding chapter in the 22-movie Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – more or less in order of occurrence:

The curse of La Llorona, as explained in the fittingly titled The Curse of La Llorona, is a piece of Latin American folklore too juicy to be employed merely as a bridge to yet another feature starring that nasty porcelain doll Annabelle. Alas, director Michael Chaves' supernatural horror film is being marketed as the latest in the “Conjuring Universe” that entails two Conjurings (with a third heading our way next year), two Annabelles (with a third heading our way this June), and last fall's dreary The Nun (with a second, and inevitable third, TBA). Every cinematic series, it seems, has to be capitalized Universe now, but am I alone in wishing that this latest entry had functioned merely as a self-contained planet?

For its final presentation in the venue's 2018-19 World Adventure Series, Davenport's Putnam Museum & Science Center will take patrons to the other side of the planet with two April 23 screenings of The Silk Road: The Journey from China to Turkey, a beautiful, thoughtful, and eye-opening work by award-winning documentarian Marlin Darrah.

Instead of a sweet, 13-year-old white boy waking to find himself in his 30-something body, writer/director Tina Gordon's lighthearted take on Big gives us a rude, 30-something black woman waking to find herself reverted to her gawky 13-year-old frame. In other words, Little is about as familiar-yet-slightly-different as high-concept Hollywood offerings get. With its leads portrayed by Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and the remarkable Marsai Martin, it's also about as enjoyable as they get – though you can't help wishing there were even more here to enjoy.

Screening locally through a special partnership between Fathom Events and distribution company GKIDS, the new anime entertainment Okko's Inn will enjoy April 22 and 23 presentations at Rave Cinemas Davenport 53rd 18 + IMAX, the latest work by lauded director Kitarô Kôsaka praised by Pittsburgh magazine for its “easy and very watchable charm,” and by the Pittsburgh City Paper for its “fantastical elemets” and “heartfelt lessons on family and acceptance.”

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