SEE HOW THEY RUN (2022) – My rating: 6/10

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See How They Run is a mystery comedy directed by Tom George, written by Mark Chappell, and produced by Damian Jones and Gina Carter. The trailers for this film really made this who-done-it very appealing however it was the worse who-done-it I’ve seen.

There are a few laughs but basically, See How They Run is a dry and slow production in comparison to other types of this style of film.

In 1953 London, Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap celebrates its 100th performance, and the sleazy American director Leo Köpernick (Adrien Broady) attempts to convince the producer, John Woolf  (Reece Shearsmith) to allow him to direct the film adaptation. After Köpernick’s drunken behavior towards the female lead Sheila Sim (Pearl Chanda) leads to a fistfight with her husband and co-star Richard Attenborough (Harris Dickinson), Köpernick is killed backstage by an unseen assailant. Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) investigates the murder, shadowed by the inexperienced Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan). Everyone at the theatre is declared a suspect and a potential victim, including the play’s producer Petula Spencer (Ruth Wilson), and Woolf’s wife Edana Romney (Sian Clifford).

Most who-done-it movies are contained to the place where the murder took place, showing almost nothing of the rest of the county.  This film focused on every place else.  Scenes like the police station, the court, other participants’ homes, and verious street venues made up the locations. Situations that were supposed to be funny barely got a chuckle from me or the audience.  If that wasn’t enough, much of the film was predictable.  The ending was a disaster and the implication that Agatha Christie was a bit cuckoo was a little insulting to a great legend. I felt Brody, Oyelowo, and the undertrained constable carried the film. As of 21 September 2022, See How They Run has grossed $3.9 million in the US and Canada, and $4.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $8.5 million.  On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 71% of 140 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The website’s consensus reads, “See How They Run may not do itself many favors by asking for Christie comparisons, but this is still one fun whodunit.” Obviously, I don’t agree with Rotten Tomatoes, after all, this review is just my opinion.  I think you must judge for yourself. See How They Run is currently in theaters — Check It Out!

 

THE WOMAN KING (2022) – My rating: 10/10

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The Woman King is a historical epic film inspired by true events, featuring the all-female Agojie warriors who protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries.  The film is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Dana Stevens, based on a story she wrote with Maria Bello.  When I saw the trailer, my opinion was tainted by the surrounding criticisms about the accents of the none African actors but after seeing The Woman King, all criticisms have evaporated.  This is the most significant film I’ve ever seen about the plight of African Americans from the onset. The Woman King is a brilliant work of art!

The Woman King is set in the 1820s. The Agojie’s General Nanisca (Viola Davis) trains a new generation of warriors to fight against an enemy who wants to destroy their way of life. Issues that involve slave trading, women’s rights, survival, and freedom are threatened when Spanish, British, and American White slave traders arrive in an already oppressed Africa to purchase natives for the purpose of enslavement.  This story is about the history of Dahomey, one of the richest and most lucrative empires in the West African kingdom. While Nanisca was away fighting their enemies, Oba Ade (Jimmy Odukoya) and his warriors from the Oyo Empire, a defiant young girl called Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), is given to King Ghezo (John Boyega). Her father exclaims that the 19-year-old is disobedient beyond his patience and ability to raise her any further. As Nawi enters the king’s compound, she proclaims “I will never marry a man who beats me”.

From this point on, you’re in for an emotional, historical story that will make you laugh at times, cheer at times, and cry at times.  Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu give outstanding performances you’ll not soon forget.  The action choreography will make believers out of you as the fighting was worthy of any scene you’ve ever seen before, male or female.  Throughout the movie, Nanisca warned, “an evil is coming, but we have a weapon, fight or die — we are Dahomey“. Stunts had to be 90 to 100% real. The training was brutal and not all recruits were able to withstand the intense fighting.  Veteran members like Izogle (Lashana Lynch) and Amenza (Sheila Atim), who are both British gave impressive performances that aided in making this movie all so real. The Woman King made $6.8 million on it’s first day and grossed $19M worldwide, as of September 20, 2022.  Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare average grade of “A+” on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave the film a 95% overall positive score. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 94% of 123 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The website’s consensus reads, “All hail Viola Davis! The Woman King rules.” Lovia Gyarkye of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “A crowd-pleasing epic — think Braveheart with Black women.”  I was told to see this movie twice and bring the whole family — The Woman King is currently in theaters — Check It Out!

FYI:

The Woman King is set in the kingdom of Dahomey in the year 1823. The kingdom existed from around 1600 through 1904, and the Agojie existed for most of that time. Viola Davis plays the Agojie general Nanisca, who is fictional. History vs. Hollywood speculated her name was inspired by an Agojie teenage recruit of the same name who was written about by a French naval officer in 1889. King Ghezo is a real-life figure who ruled Dahomey from 1818 to 1858.

 

HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL (2022) My rating: 6/10

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul film poster.png“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” is a  comedy written, directed, and produced by Adamma Ebo, in her feature directorial debut. It is a feature-length adaptation of Ebo’s 2018 short film of the same name. Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown, are producers on the film alongside Daniel Kaluuya, who produced “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” under his 59% Productions banner, with Jordan Peele serving as executive producer under his Monkeypaw Productions banner. I wasn’t sure what to expect — the film didn’t offer much and I didn’t get much from watching it.  Other than a couple of funny lines, this movie was a wash.

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” is a satirical comedy starring Regina Hall (Trinitie Childs), who was the proud first lady of a Southern Baptist megachurch, along with her husband Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown), who once served a congregation in the tens of thousands. But after a scandal forces their church to temporarily close, Trinitie and Lee-Curtis must reopen and rebuild their congregation to make the biggest comeback that commodified religion has ever seen.

There’s not much to tell because the film lacked substance and a substantial storyline.  In a nutshell, the mega-church afforded the Childs riches which included a house, several cars, a wardrobe of Prada, among other expensive designer clothes, a service staff, and a privileged attitude, fit for the very rich and famous.  Of course, the scandal was about sex and the consequences have yet to be realized. The film dealt with the couple trying to erase the past with words, not having a clue about what they had done.  I was told Honk for Jesus was a satire but it didn’t look or feel like one.  In my opinion, it may be a waste of your time seeing this really uninformative film.  I’m not sure what the message was I only know the message wasn’t the only thing Honk for Jesus was missing.  On the brighter side, I must say, Sterling K. Brown has an 8-pack that can stand among the best of them. His fashion sense in this film was impeccable. He really was shown off as a real heartthrob. Being the film just started on 9/1/22, this long Labor Day weekend has not ended making the stats lower than they will be on Monday evening. So far Honk for Jesus has grossed worldwide $1.75M.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 83 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. has some broad targets but refuses to take cheap shots at them, instead offering a pointed, well-acted satire of organized religion. “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

 

THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING (2022) – My rating: 8.7/10

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Three Thousand Years of Longing is a dark fantasy directed by George Miller. He wrote the screenplay with Augusta Gore, adapting the 1994 short story “The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye” by A. S. Byatt. The film was released in the United States on August 26, 2022, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (via United Artists Releasing).  When I saw the trailer, I was immediately intrigued because the plot looked different and interesting. Also, I am a big fan of the two leading actors.  I loved the movie and thought it held many truths. Well done Mr. Miller!

Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is a lonely British scholar who is occasionally suffering from bizarre hallucinations of demonic beings. During a trip to Istanbul, Alithea purchases an antique bottle where she accidentally unleashes a Djinn (Edris Elba) who was trapped inside it. After struggling to open the bottle, the Djinn appears as an extremely large man. He offers to grant Alithea three wishes in exchange for his freedom, but only if each wish is from her heart’s desire. Alithea argues that historically, wishing has always resulted in tragedy thus accusing him of being a trickster. In response to her accusation, the Djinn tells her three tales of how he ended up trapped in the bottle, with the final one moving Alithea to the point where she makes an unusual and totally unprecedented wish.

The stories that the Djinn tells are so moving and so captivating, that it became hard to look away.  One story tells of the Queen of Sheba (Aamito Lagum) who is devastatingly beautiful.  The audience was mesmerized as the camera shot a close-up of her face.  The special effects were some of the best I’ve seen. There are many stories that make up this film and all of them are well told. During the Djinn’s storytelling, it becomes clear that you are not going to be able to predict the outcomes. Three Thousand Years of Longing turns out to be a romantic love story to the nth degree, I had never seen or heard anything like it.  True fantasy is at its best in this dark love story.  I really enjoyed it.  The movie is projected to gross around $5 million from 2,436 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $1.4 million on its first day. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 70% of 140 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The website’s critic’s consensus reads, “Although its story isn’t as impressive as its visual marvels, it’s hard not to admire Three Thousand Years of Longing’s sheer ambition.” Three Thousand Years of Longing is currently in theaters — Check It Out!

 

BEAST (2022) – My rating: 8/10

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Beast is a thriller directed by Baltasar Kormákur from a screenplay by Ryan Engle and is based on a story by Jaime Primak Sullivan.  The plot revolves around a recently widowed doctor and his two teenage daughters who travel to a South African game reserve managed by an old family friend and wildlife biologist. What begins as a journey of healing and a chance to reconnect with his daughters, turns into a fight for survival.  I’m a huge fan of Edris so I was anxious to see Beast. The film was well done considering this is not a new concept.

Recently widowed Dr. Nate Samuels (Edris Elba) and his two teenage daughters, Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries) arrive at the Mopani Game Reserve in South Africa for a vacation. Nate reunites with his old friend, Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley) a biologist and Mopani manager, who introduced Nate and his wife. Martin takes Nate and the girls to the village where Nate’s wife grew up.

While Dr. Nate and his family were touring the reserve’s restricted areas, Martin discovers that one of the cubs is injured. Also at a nearby Tsonga community, he discovers most of the population is dead. The surroundings seemed suspicious and while investigating, things became very clear when a lion approached and tried to attack them with blood-thirsty notions. Trapped because they had no phone signal and no way to exit their surroundings, the beast had the upper hand.

The adventure was just getting started as the situation got worse.  No food, no water, no weapons, and no communication devise that worked.  What started out to be fun has now become a life-threatening game of survival.  Not only did they have to survive the beast but poachers appeared on the scene and were not friendly, displaying ill feelings because Martin is an anti-poacher and they knew it. I was enlightened by learning much about the kinds of animals poachers illegally hunt for gain.  The acting was very good, as there was a lot to overcome using these kinds of special effects. I recommend Beast to all.  It’s a sad situation but a very real one.  Beast has grossed $12.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $10.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $23.1 million. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 65% of 127 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads, “Want to watch Idris Elba fight a lion? The admirably lean yet ultimately disposable Beast is just the movie you’re looking for.” Beast is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

 

BULLET TRAIN (2022) – My rating: 8.5/10

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Bullet Train is an action comedy about an assassin who has to deal with many enemies while riding a Japanese bullet train. The film is directed by David Leitch and based on a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz that adapts the Japanese novel Maria Beetle (published in English as Bullet Train) by Kōtarō Isaka. The trailers for Bullet Train definitely encouraged you to dig in and dig in I did. I really liked the movie but thought it was one of the wildest I’ve seen in a long time. Well done David Leitch — see below, some of the controversies that plague this movie.

A former professional assassin, codenamed Ladybug (Brad Pitt), returns to work with a newly positive attitude. Because the usual contact, Carver (Ryan Reynolds), is forced to call out due to illness, Ladybug is tasked by his handler, Maria Beetle (Sandra Bullock), to collect a briefcase aboard a bullet train traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto.  Unbeknownst to Ladybug, three other killers are onboard: hitmen brothers Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry) and a deceptively innocent schoolgirl The Prince (Joey King). Tangerine and Lemon have been hired by White Death (Michael Shannon), head of the world’s largest crime syndicate, who seized control of the Japanese underworld years before.

Having completed their task to recover the White Death’s kidnapped son (Logan Lerman) and the briefcase containing his $10 million ransom, the brothers prepare to deliver both in Kyoto. The Prince summons another assassin, Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Koji), to the train, having pushed his young son off a building to motivate him. With an associate at the hospital ready to finish the boy off, the Prince forces Kimura to cooperate with her plan. Yet, another assassin The Wolf (Benito A. Martínez Ocasio), arrives seeking revenge for the deaths of his wife and cartel organization, who were all poisoned at his wedding. Ladybug runs into the Wolf’s intended target, The Hornet (Zazie Beetz) — the poisoner who massacred his wedding. Kimura’s father, The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada), boards the train and reveals himself as a former Yakuza lieutenant whose wife and clan were killed in White Death’s rise to power.

Are there enough assassins for you?  I am Stopping here, and believe me there are lots more craziness and action.  I don’t know how they were able to keep this story together but I must confess, it was professionally and well done.  The action was wild and the story was, of course, unbelievable.  Brad Pitt and the rest of the cast were brilliant and made this comedy of errors funny with a bit of slapstick.  I enjoyed the movie, which was a refreshing escape from all the goings on that’s going on in the US. Of course, bullet Train is not for kids but adults will probably enjoy the fun.  As of August 7, 2022, Bullet Train has grossed $30.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $32.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $62.5 million. On Rotten Tomatoes, 54% of 232 critics gave the film a positive review with an average rating of 5.6/10. The website’s critic’s consensus reads: “Bullet Trains colorful cast and high-speed action are almost enough to keep things going after the story runs out of track.” Bullet Train is currently in theaters — Check It Out!

NOTE:
The castings of several non-Asian actors, including Brad Pitt and Joey King, prompted accusations of whitewashing as their characters were Japanese in Kōtarō Isaka’s novel. David Inoue, Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League, criticized the castings, explaining that while the American adaptation would have been appropriate if the setting took place in the United States, the filmmakers chose to keep the novel’s Japanese setting while keeping the Japanese characters in the film’s background, strengthening charges of whitewashing. Inoue also questioned the actors’ allyship to the Asian community for knowingly accepting whitewashed roles and further criticized the film for pushing the “belief that Asian actors in the leading roles cannot carry a blockbuster” despite the recent successes of Asian-led films such as Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). Despite being cast in the film, King previously said, “I do not believe a white woman should play a character of color. Not me or any other white woman for that matter.”

 

 

 

 

NOPE (2022) – My rating: 8/10

A poster featuring a horse being pulled into the air.

Nope is a science fiction horror film written, directed, and produced by Jordan Peele under his Monkeypaw Productions banner. Nope follows two ranch-owning siblings who attempt to capture evidence of an unnatural occurrence. The trailers are as mysterious as the film and don’t reveal much.  Peele hoped the title would elicit a reaction from audiences.  I was hoping for a good sci-fi movie and I got it. The film was a little slow and left much to the imagination but overall, it was pretty decent.

The film opens with the Bible verse, “I will cast abominable filth upon you, make you vile and make you a spectacle.” – Nahum 3:6In 1998, on the soundstage for the sitcom “Gordy’s Home”, the titular chimpanzee animal actor (Terry Notary) attacks and maims three of its co-stars after being startled by the pop of a helium balloon. The show’s youngest actor, Ricky “Jupe” Park (Jacob Kim), hides under a table unharmed but is traumatized by the experience. The chimp finds Jupe and extends his hand for a fist bump just before being shot dead by authorities.

In the present day, ranch owner Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David). trains and handles horses for film and television productions. When he is killed by a nickel through the eye that falls inexplicably from the sky, his children, Otis “OJ” Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer) inherit the ranch. OJ tries to keep the business afloat and maintain his father’s legacy, while Em plans to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood.

Six months later, while filming a commercial with prominent cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), one of the horses reacts violently when the crew startles it. The Haywoods are fired from the project and the ranch’s financial woes force OJ to sell horses to the now grown-up Jupe (Steven Yeun), who has moved nearby and set up Jupiter’s Claim, a small Western theme park where he exploits his story of the Gordy’s Home massacre for profit.

From this point on, Nope takes us through a series of mysterious events.  We are unsure of what’s happening but we want answers.  First dad gets mysteriously killed, a horse is frightened and disappears, the electricity fluctuates causing the lights to dim, go out, then come back on, plus thunder, lightning, and rain happen each time a horse and even people vanish.  Despite the Haywoods buying a security system with surveillance cameras that are strategically placed to film their surroundings, nothing is revealed. Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) a tech salesman at Fry’s Electronics installs the equipment and gets deeply involved with the Haywoods endeavor to expose what they believe is really happening.  I’ve tried to be vague in explaining Nope because I don’t want to give away anything.  I was definitely in the dark and thought anyone reading this review should also not know what is really going on.  As I said, the film is slow as it took ages to get to discoveries and explanations but it was a decent movie.  There’s much to this story which was well acted by all. As of July 24, 2022, Nope has grossed World Wide, $126,220,717. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 82% of 292 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The website’s consensus reads, “Admirable for its originality and ambition even when its reach exceeds its grasp, Nope adds Spielbergian spectacle to Jordan Peele’s growing arsenal.”  NOTE: There is talk of a sequel. Nope is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

 

ELVIS (2022) – My rating: 9/10

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Elvis is a biographical musical film directed by Baz Luhrmann, who co-wrote the screenplay with Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, and Jeremy Doner. The film follows the life of rock and roll icon, singer/ actor Elvis Presley told from the perspective of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Out of all the Elvis movies I’ve seen advertised, this version sparked my eye because the person playing Elvis is a dead ringer and of course, a believable, well know actor is co-starring. I thought the movie was entertaining and extremely well done.

The film opens in 1997 with Elvis Presley’s (Austin Butler) former manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), on his deathbed. Nursing a gambling addiction that has left him destitute, he looks back on how he first met the future King of Rock and Roll.

Elvis was very close to his parents, Vernon (Richard Roxburgh) and Gladys (Helen Thomson) Presley.  The family was dirt poor and when Vernon experienced an 8-month jail term for doctoring a check, they moved to one of the poorest parts of Mississippi. There Elvis finds an escape in comic books and especially in ethnic songs since he attended the local African-American church. Once he moves with his parents to Memphis, he is urged by his friends to pursue his fascination with the African-American music of Memphis’ Beale Street. At this time, Parker is a carnival “huckster” who fancies himself a modern-day P.T. Barnum. Although Parker is already managing country singer Hank Snow (David Wenham), Parker immediately realizes Elvis’ crossover potential when he hears the white artist “singing black” on a low-quality single. He tracks Elvis to a Louisiana Hayride performance, finding that he is a talented musician with a strong sexual appeal.

Parker persuades Elvis to let him take exclusive control of his career, beginning a meteoric ascent that sees the Presley family lifted out of poverty. Here begins a riveting history of Elvis Presley, his music, family, and his manager. In my opinion, I think a good job was done by all.  I grew up with Elvis Presley, buying his records, listening to his music, and watching his movies.  I even marched down the aisle to “Blue Hawaii” at my wedding.  You might say I’m a little biased but I wouldn’t approve of an Elvis biopic if it were not fact-checked.  This Elvis film dismissed the many rumors I grew up with about what Elvis Presley had to say about Black people.  I really never believed the rumors but always wondered.  After seeing Elvis, all rumors are finally debunked.

As of July 17, 2022, Elvis has grossed $106.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $79.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $186.2 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 78% of 334 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website’s consensus reads, “The standard rock biopic formula gets all shook up in Elvis, with Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling energy and style perfectly complemented by Austin Butler’s outstanding lead performance.” Elvis is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

FYI:  Elvis’s daughter Lisa Marie Presley, ex-wife Priscilla Presley, and granddaughter Riley Keough all praised the film, particularly Butler’s performance and Luhrmann’s direction. Prior to its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Lisa Marie also praised the film in an Instagram post after seeing it twice, calling it “nothing short of spectacular and in my humble opinion, Butler’s performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully”.

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER (2022) – My rating: 7/10

Thor Love and Thunder poster.jpegThor: Love and Thunder is a superhero film based on Marvel Comics featuring the character Thor. The film was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). “Love and Thunder” is directed by Taika Waititi, who co-wrote the script with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. In this sequel, Thor attempts to find inner peace but must return to action and recruit a team to stop Gorr the God Butcher from eliminating all gods. I was a big fan of the Thor series but after seeing Love and Thunder, I’m not sure I’ll be seeing any future Thor sequels. Big disappointment jumping off!

Gorr / The God Butcher (Christian Bale) and his daughter, Love (India Rose Hemsworth), struggle in a barren desert. Despite their prayers to their god Rapu (Jonny Brugh), Love dies. The god-killing Necrosword weapon calls to Gorr, leading him to Rapu’s lush realm. After Rapu cruelly dismisses Gorr’s plight and proceeds to strangle him, the Necrosword offers itself to Gorr, who kills Rapu with it and vows to kill all gods. Gorr is granted the ability to manipulate shadows and produce monsters but is cursed with impending death and corrupted by the sword’s influence.

With the above introduction, you might sympathize with Garr. He was absolutely wronged and losing a child is enough to set off the best of us.  Of course, the adventure becomes bigger and bigger after Garr kills several gods.  Thor is summoned with a distress signal sent by SIF (Jamie Alexander) who is Thor’s childhood friend.  Dr. Jane Foster / Mighty Thor (Natalie Portman) miraculously becomes Mighty Thor and joins the adventure along with Thor and Valkyrie (Tesa Thompson) to approach Zeus (Russell Crowe) for help on their quest.  Special effects were good, not great as Zeus’ thunderbolt looked cheap and unstable. Garr looked scary and portrayed his character as quite monstrous.  On the other hand, I just couldn’t fathom Natalie Portman as a Mjolnir (Hammer) toting, fighting superhero while undergoing serious treatment for a substantial illness. The whole movie appeared childish with Thor taking on a silly acting Thor who lost more battles than he won.

As of July 17, 2022, Thor: Love and Thunder have grossed $233.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $479.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $713 million. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 68%, with an average rating of 6.6/10, based on 369 reviews; this rating marks the film as the fourth lowest-rated of all 29 MCU films. The site’s critics’ consensus reads: “In some ways, Thor: Love and Thunder feels like Ragnarok redux – but overall, it offers enough fast-paced fun to make this a worthy addition to the MCU.”  Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Christian Bale are among some of the actors whose children appeared in the movie.  Maybe that attributed to the silliness.  Thor: Love and Thunder is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

 

JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION (2022) – My rating: 8/10

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Jurassic World Dominion is a science fiction action film directed by Colin Trevorrow. The film was written by Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael, and based on a story by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. It is a sequel to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), which is the sixth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise. It serves as the third and final film of the Jurassic World trilogy. As with its predecessors, Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley produced the film with Trevorrow and Jurassic Park (1993) director Steven Spielberg, acting as executive producers. In this sequel, dinosaurs are now living alongside humans around the world. I was quite entertained.

Four years after the cataclysmic volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar and the Lockwood Estate incident, de-extinct dinosaurs freely roam the earth. Their existence is causing ecological disasters and animal attacks by these invasive species. With government approval, Biosyn Genetics has established a dinosaur sanctuary in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains where they conduct genomics research, ostensibly seeking groundbreaking pharmacological and agronomic applications.

Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who is an ethologist, Navy vet, and former Jurassic World employee who was responsible for training Velociraptors, and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who formerly worked as the Jurassic World park manager and is the founder of the Dinosaur Protection Group, live in a remote cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, while secretly raising 14-year-old Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), who is Benjamin Lockwood’s cloned granddaughter, while protecting her from genetic research corporations like Biosyn, who would study her DNA for various nefarious schemes.

 Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) a paleo-veterinarian as well as a dinosaur rights activist, and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), along with Claire are investigating illegal dinosaur breeding sites. Owen also works as a wrangler, helping to relocate stray dinosaurs.  Having grown increasingly frustrated living in seclusion, Maisie sneaks away from Claire and Owen, unaware that Biosyn operatives have located her.

Elsewhere, formerly extinct giant locusts have inexplicably reappeared, with massive swarms wiping out crops. Paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), a paleobotanist and one of the consultants who traveled to John Hammond’s original Jurassic Park observes that corporate-grown crops using Biosyn seeds are left uneaten, raising suspicions they created the locusts. Believing the locust may date to the Cretaceous period, Ellie approaches former partner and paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill),  a paleontologist who was consulted for Jurassic Park and is a survivor of the Isla Sorna expedition depicted in Jurassic Park III (2001), for help. Chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), a mathematician in chaos theory and former consultant for Jurassic Park as well as a key figure involved in the San Diego incident depicted in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), is now working for Biosyn.

The special effects are outstanding and feel, “all so real”.  The story was not so believable but the adventure is nonetheless, exciting and well-acted.  FYIChris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, BD Wong, and Omar Sy are appearing together for the first time since the 1993 film. As of June 26, 2022, Jurassic World Dominion has grossed $302.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $443.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $746.7 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 30% of 365 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The website’s consensus reads, “Jurassic World Dominion might be a bit of an improvement over its immediate predecessors in some respects, but this franchise has lumbered a long way down from its classic start.”  I enjoyed Jurrasic World Dominion and recommend it to all, Check It Out!