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Mary Queen of Scots: ...and Elizabeth 1

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It's 1869, England and Scotland are going at it like a couple of rivalrous siblings. Mary is the Queen of Scotland. Elizabeth is on the English thrown. Talk about formidable foes.

Their struggles for power are all the more daunting because they are women in a men's world.

Margot Robbie is an excellent Elizabeth. Saoirse Ronan is her upstart nemesis. We all know the off-with-her-head ending. It's getting there that his beautiful costume drama is supposed to unravel. Alas, it doesn't. Maybe if she cracked open a history book, the Movie Slut would have understood all the twists and turns.

But should she really have to do homework before visiting the multiplex?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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So you think Peter Parker is the one and only Spider-Man.

How quaint.

So you think there's only one universe.

How last millennium.

In the latest Spider-Man flick we learn about the multi-verse and the other Spider-folks. A break in the time/space continuum brings them together to fight the evil Kingpin.

Miles Morales, a Brooklyn teen, and the Spider-Man in the universe The Movie Slut calls home, is our hero.

It's all flying fun (especially when Peter Porker, aka a Spider-creature Miss Piggy would love, is on screen) and the animation is out of this world, er, universe.

The Favourite:

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Poor Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman). She's unsound in body and mind. Luckily she has Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) to make governing decisions. Of course, Lady Sarah always has her own best interest and that of her husband in mind.

It's early in the 18th century. Britain is at war with France. No matter, courtiers are having a grand old time while the peasants pay and die.

Enter Abigail (Emma Stone). She ingratiates herself, first to Lady Sarah and then to the Queen, not to improve conditions for those who are suffering, but to elevate herself and replace Sarah. The formidable Sarah doesn't give up easily.

Let the feathers fly.

The Mule: Stubbornly substandard

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Here we go again with a based-on-a-true-life story that doesn't quite make it movie-wise, despite Clint Eastwood in the starring role.

It's a cool caper about a down-and-out 90-year-old guy who winds up as a courier for a Mexican drug cartel. But somehow it falls flat. The Movie Slut isn't sure who to blame. Is it the script? The actors that include Bradley Cooper (who seems to be phoning it is), and Alison Eastwood, Clint's daughter.

Let's just say it doesn't gel. Kinda like pudding left out in the sun.

Bumblebee: A touch of honey

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On her 18th birthday, Charlie buys herself a junkyard yellow VW Beetle and learns that sometimes you receive more than you ever dreamed of.

It turns out her little fixer-upper is a transformer, a huge yellow robot from another universe that's fleeing evil enemies.

Charlie names her car-bot Bumblebee, the two bond, and save the Earth. What more do you need to know?

Sure there are other transformer flicks, some better than others. But in the Movie Slut's estimation, this flick is a standout thanks to endearing performances by Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie and the lovable Bumblebee voiced by Dylan O'Brien.

The Movie Slut doesn't want to get all feministy here, but she totally appreciated seeing a female action hero

Mary Poppins Return: A spoon full of pablum

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The Movie Slut and 8-year-old Sid left the multiplex singing "A Spoon Full of Medicine."
"Great," you say.
Not so much.
That song from the original Mary Poppins movie was not in this remake. Neither were any of the other tunes that have become beloved classics. As for the new music—feh.
Sid and Slut were underwhelmed by the entire production. So maybe you're thinking they were misremembering the first movie, letting nostalgia color their assessment.
Nope.
As it happens, the original was on the plane MS took home from her visit with Sid. And even on the small airplane screen and with substandard ear plugs, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and the wonderful soundtrack and story soared leaps and bounds over the sorry sequel with Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Mirander. In fact, when Van Dyke appeared in a cameo near the end of this disappointment, the screen was finally electrified.
The moral of this review: There's no improving upon perfection.

Instant Family: Instant Fun

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In an instant, this flick could have devolved into an infomercial for foster care parenthood. But like a mighty retaining wall, Mark Wahlberg is on hand to make sure that doesn't happen.

He's Pete,  one half of a couple who are moved to bring unwanted children into their family. Not because they can't have kids of their own, but because they're motivated by the plight of the youngsters. Next thing you know, he and his wife Ellie (Rose Bryne) are contending with a teenage girl and her younger siblings, each with problems that would test the mettle of the most experienced parents.

Does this flick sugarcoat foster care parenting. At times, yes. At other times, it appears to be a honest account—funny and sad— of the foster care process, from beginning to never-ending relationship.