THE HARDER THEY FALL (2021) – My rating: 9/10

The Harder They Fall is a Revisionist Western film directed by Jeymes Samuel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Boaz Yakin. It is one of few Westerns whose principal cast members are all Black. Although The Harder They Fall is a fictional film, its characters are based on real cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws of the 19th-century American West. Judging from the trailers, The Harder They Fall appeared to be an exciting, fast-paced all-black western that you wouldn’t want to miss.  It stars some brilliant, well-established, and very popular actors.  I must confess, I absolutely loved it.

11-year-old Nat Love (Chase W. Dillon) is eating dinner with his parents, Elinor Love (DeWanda Wise) and Nathanial Buck Love (Michael Beach) when a knock on their door proves to be a fatal visit from dad’s past.  A cowboy and his associate grace their dinner table shooting and killing first the mother, then the father. Before leaving the cowboy carves a cross into Nat’s forehead, at this point, we are not shown the killer cowboy.

Twenty years later, Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) finds and kills the associate whose name is Jesus Cortez (Julio César Cedillo). Meanwhile, his partners, sharpshooter Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi) and quick draw Jim Beckwourth (RJ Cyler) ambush the Crimson Hood gang and steal their haul from a recent bank robbery. The lone survivor tells them the $25,000 they have stolen belongs to Rufus Buck (Idris Elba). Nat travels to meet his former lover Stagecoach Mary Fields (Zazie Beetz), who runs a chain of saloons. Pickett brings news of the heist to Love.

Buck’s gang, led by Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (Lakeith Stanfield), forcefully free Buck from a train transporting him from Yuma Territorial Prison. It is revealed that Buck has been pardoned, and their mission, for which they have been paid, is to kill the corrupt U.S. Army soldiers guarding the prison car. After slaughtering the soldiers, Buck and his gang arrive in their former stronghold of Redwood City, now run by Buck’s associate, Sheriff Wiley Escoe (Deon Cole). Learning that Escoe has used his position as the sheriff to profit at the expense of the town, Buck brutally pistol whips him and orders him to leave town. Buck gathers the townspeople and after killing a naysayer, demands that they raise $15,000 to save the town of Redwood, threatening to kill and burn the property of any of those who resist.

Meanwhile, U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves (Delroy Lindo) arrests Nat after a standoff in a saloon only to reveal to Nat that Buck has been released, then offers him a chance for revenge.

I have introduced a lot of characters trying hard not to reveal too much of this story.  There are many more characters to come.  The story becomes suspenseful and exciting.  Who, why, and what is up in the air.  The harder they Fall has one of the biggest twists in movie history.  There’s humor, a whole lot of violence, romance that will keep you guessing and laughing.  I loved that Jeymes Samuel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Boaz Yakinm invested in this rare, Black cowboy flick, and the fact that although it’s not a true story, it’s based on real cowboys of the past.  Each one with their own story, just not this one. I enjoyed The Harder They Fall and I have no doubt you will too. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 87% of 175 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “It isn’t as bold and fearless as its characters, but The Harder They Fall fills its well-worn template with style, energy, and a fantastic cast.” The film started streaming on Netflix, November 3rd, 2021 — Check It Out!


ETERNALS (2021) – My rating: 8.5/10

Eternals is a superhero film based on Marvel Comics and is directed by Chloé Zhao, who wrote the screenplay with Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo. Eternals is produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the 26th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The Eternals are an immortal alien race that emerged from hiding after thousands of years to protect Earth from their ancient counterparts called “The Deviants”.  I’m always happy to see a new superhero movie emerge, so when Eternals hit the screen, I excitedly made my first appearance to the theater since the Covid shut down to see it.  I thoroughly enjoyed Eternals and was glad to be back.

In 5000 BC, the following ten superpowered aliens called Eternals were sent to Earth on their starship, the Domo: Ajak (Selma Hayek)Sersi (Gemma Chan)Ikaris (Richard Madden)Kingo (Mumail Nanjiani)Sprite (Lia McHugh)Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry)Makkari (Lauren Ridloff)Druig (Barry Keoghan)Gilgamesh (Don Lee), and Thena (Angelina Jolie).  They were sent by the Celestial, Arishem to exterminate the invasive Deviants. It was thought the last of the Deviants were killed in 1521, so the group’s opinions differed over their continued responsibilities and their relationship with mankind. Over the next five hundred years, they mostly lived apart from each other, awaiting Arishem’s return.


In the present day, Sersi and Sprite live together in London. After Sersi was left by her partner Ikaris centuries earlier, she has now developed a new, serious relationship with an ordinary human, Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), who works at the Natural History Museum in London. The trio is attacked by Deviant Kro (voice: Bill Skarsgård) but is chased away by the arrival of Ikaris. Realizing the Deviants have returned, they travel to South Dakota to reunite with their leader, Ajak, only to find that she had been killed. Sersi is posthumously chosen by Ajak as her successor, granting her the ability to communicate with Arishem, who reveals that the mission of the Eternals was not to fight the Deviants but to prepare Earth for the “Emergence”, the Celestials created the Eternals to cull them.

For the remainder of the film, the Eternals must follow a new leader, renew their mission to rid Earth of all Deviants, and reaffirm Arishem’s goals for mankind.  As with any group, all may not be on the same page.  This adventure takes you to faraway places and shows you the best of the Eternals and mankind.  The cinematography is beautiful and the story is really good.  I think this may be one of the best Marvel episodes I’ve had the pleasure of following. There are some surprises you won’t see coming and some really great fight scenes.  Don’t leave the theater as the credits roll, more teasers are shown that include Thena, Druig, and Eternal Eros.

As of November 28, 2021, Eternals has grossed $150.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $217.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $368.5 million.  The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 48%, with an average rating of 5.6/10, based on 359 reviews. The website’s critical consensus reads, “An ambitious superhero epic that soars as often as it strains, Eternals takes the MCU in intriguing—and occasionally confounding—new directions. In November 2021, Kaz and Ryan Firpo expressed interest in making an Eternals prequel series for Disney+. Eternals is shown in theaters only, I’m sure you will enjoy this film – Check It Out!

A little bit about the cast (mild spoilers): 

Gemma Chan as Sersi:  An empathetic Eternal with a strong connection to humans and the Earth, who can manipulate and transform matter through physical contact. Sersi has been in love with Ikaris for centuries and has a strong connection with Sprite. In the present day, she is a museum curator on Earth and dating Dane Whitman. Chan previously portrayed Minn-Erva in the MCU film Captain Marvel (2019).

Richard Madden as Ikaris:  An Eternal who can fly and project cosmic energy beams from his eyes, and is determined to fulfill his purpose.

Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo:  An Eternal who can project cosmic energy projectiles from his hands. Enamored with fame, Kingo becomes a popular Bollywood film star to blend in on Earth.

Lia McHugh as Sprite:  An Eternal who can project life-like illusions. Sprite has the physical appearance of a 12-year-old child, with an “old soul” dissatisfied with humanity.

Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos: An Eternal and intelligent weapons and technology inventor. He is the first superhero to be depicted as gay in an MCU film. 

Lauren Ridloff as Makkari:  An Eternal who can move at superhuman speed. The character is the first deaf superhero in the MCU.

Barry Keoghan as Druig:   An aloof Eternal who can manipulate the minds of others.

Don Lee as Gilgamesh:  The strongest Eternal, with a deep connection to Thena.  Lee pursued the role in order to be an inspiration to the younger generation as the first Korean superhero and was able to utilize his boxing training for the role.

Harish Patel as Karun: Kingo’s human valet.

Kit Harington as Dane Whitman: A human who works at the Natural History Museum in London as a history professor and is dating Sersi.

Salma Hayek as Ajak:  The wise and spiritual leader of the Eternals, who has the ability to heal and is the “bridge” between the Eternals and the Celestials.

Angelina Jolie as Thena:  An elite warrior Eternal who can form any weapon out of cosmic energy and develops a close bond with Gilgamesh over the centuries. She also suffers from a psychological condition called Mahd Wy’ry.


THE UPSHAWS (2021) – My rating: 8/10

The Upshaws is a sitcom created by Regina Y. Hicks and Wanda Sykes. The two are expected to executive-produce alongside Mike Epps, Niles Kirchner, and Page Hurwitz. Push It Productions is the company involved with producing the series. I discovered this sitcom about a Black working-class family in Indiana, striving for a better life and a happy home while juggling everyday struggles. Since there are not many Black sitcoms on TV, I decided to give this one a shot at making me laugh — and laugh I did, abundantly.  I absolutely loved it!

The Upshaws follows Bennie Upshaw (Mike Epps), a charismatic car mechanic and owner of Bennie’s Garage. Bennie’s family consist of his wife, Regina Upshaw (Kim Fields), his daughter and youngest child, Maya Upshaw (Journey Christine),  his oldest daughter Aaliyah Upshaw (Kihali Spraggins), and his 0ldest son [who has a strained relationship with his father] Bernard Upshaw, Jr. (Jermelle Simon). Bernard Jr. says his father abandoned him then barely showed up when he was 16 years old. Lastly, Bennie’s adult son who he fathered outside of his marriage with Tasha Lewis (Gabrielle Dennis), Kevin Upshaw (Diamond Lyons). The cast also features his sarcastic sister-in-law, Lucretia Turner (Wanda Sykes), and his oldest friend who just got out of prison and is a practicing Christian, “Duck” (Page Kennedy).

There are 10 episodes in season 1:

  1. “Birthday B.S.”
  2. “The Hook-Up”
    3.  “Joy Ride”
    4.  “Big Plans”
    5.  “Ridin’  Dirty”
    6.  “Last Straw”
    7.  “Yard Sale”
    8.  “Night Out”
    9.  “Gloves Off”
  3. “The Backslide”

Having grown up watching sitcoms from the 1970s and ’80s, Epps, who is perhaps best known for his work in the “Friday” and “Hangover” films, noticed a dearth of relatable sitcoms based on Black families and friend groups. When he approached Wanda Sykes with the basic premise of “The Upshaws” in mid-2018, he found that she had noticed the same thing. I think The Upshaws is a little different than the normal sitcoms I see about Black families and how they cope with the world and each other.  People seem to think that being Black means crime, poverty, and lack of education but that’s not the case.  The Upshaws show normal everyday problems within the family that don’t include crime.  The show is hilarious and gives us a good look at a family we can relate to. Epps said that at its core, “The Upshaws” is designed “to show the world that Black people enjoy life, too, and Black people are resilient.”

While “The Upshaws” is reminiscent of traditional family comedies, the creators also wanted the show to reflect life in the 21st century, navigating difficult conversations about love, marriage, and sexuality. Over the course of the debut season, one of the Upshaw’s comes out as gay to the rest of the family, a storyline that is of particular importance to the showrunners, who “know what it feels like to not be seen and represented,” Sykes said.

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 63% based on 8 critic reviews, with an average rating of 7/10.  Netflix announced that “The Upshaws” has been renewed for a second season with 16 episodes and will be featured in two parts. Check It Out!


ATYPICAL (2017 – 2021) – My rating: 8.7/10

Atypical is a comedy-drama created by Robia Rashid for Netflix. The series focuses on the life of an 18-year-old boy who lands somewhere on the spectrum as high functioning. He has all the issues that deemed him autistic, which I think Atypical covers quite nicely. I have a personal interest in watching this series, which I think is somewhat funny while keeping it real.

Atypical opens with Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist) in session with his therapist, Julia Sasaki (Amy Okuda). He has just learned even though he is autistic, he can date.  Sam currently lives at home with Elsa Gardner (Jennifer Jason Leigh), his overprotective mother,  Doug Gardner (Michael Rapaport) his father who works as an EMT, and Casey Gardner (Brigette Lundy-Paine), Sam’s younger sister who is also very protective of him. Thanks to her athletic abilities, she was able to earn a scholarship into a private school that placed them at separate educational facilities.

Because Sam is high functioning, he is able to work and has a best friend named Zahid Raja (Nik Dodani), who works at the same electronics store called Techtropolis.  Zahid is loud and like Sam, doesn’t have much of a filter.  He blurts out almost anything he’s thinking.  Sam has developed a crush on Julia but is sad to learn she has a boyfriend.  In the meanwhile, Paige Hardaway (Jenna Boyd), who is an intellectual high achiever has taken a romantic liking to Sam, which he doesn’t return.  His most profound love is for Antarctica and the penguins.  Since Sam is in high school, he has had contact with several students and is in a special support group for autistic children.

Having a high-functioning autistic grandson, I can say first hand, their community was well represented in this series. Sams adventures and coping mechanisms will help anyone needing to see other points of view or just want additional information on autism.  Atypical is quite informative.  The series manages to capture sams experiences through high school, dating, and working.  The only part of the story I couldn’t relate to was Sam having a best friend as well as a girlfriend he’s dating, as my grandson, who is now 23, has neither. I suspect because Sam and Zahid’s boss, Bob (Jeff Rosenthal) was extremely nice and very understanding of Sam’s situation is why Sam was able to keep a job.  Atypical will take you on a four-season, 38 episode adventure that is exciting and eye-opening.  There is a major break-up, a senior prom-like none-other, sex, and someone comes out.  

The first season received mostly positive reviews. However, it was highly criticized by some sources for its lack of autistic actors and inaccuracies in its depiction of autism. The second season featured autistic actors and writers, allowing them to have an opportunity to work and represent their community, and received mostly positive reviews. The third season continued this positive development and received overwhelmingly positive reviews. I highly recommend Atypical because it’s a well-written series for all.  Atypical streams on Netflix, Check It Out!


FREE GUY (2021) – My rating: 7.5/10

Free Guy is a science fiction action thriller directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn. The story was also written by Matt Lieberman. This film follows a bank teller who thinks he lives in paradise.  Eventually, he discovers he’s actually a non-player character in an open-world video game. Actually, the trailers drew me to the story when I heard him say he was living in the perfect world.  The film was definitely a feel-good movie.

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is a non-player character (NPC) in Free City, an open-world video game developed by the  Soonami Games family. Unaware that the world he lives in is a video game, he works as a bank teller alongside his best friend who is the bank’s security guard Buddy (Lil “Rel” Howery). In the real world, Millie Rusk (Jodie Comer), who plays Molotov Girl in the game, tries to find evidence of being the rightful owner of the source code, which was stolen by head developer Antwan Hovachelik (Taika Waititi), while co-developer Walter “Keys” McKeys (Joe Keery) was also in Soonami’s employment. In the game, Molotov Girl catches Guy’s attention by singing his favorite song, and he begins to deviate from his programming. Taking a pair of sunglasses from a player robbing the bank, Guy sees Free City through the player’s heads-up display (HUD) and tries to catch up with Molotov Girl. Guy becomes the hero of the story while trying to save his friends from deletion by the game’s creator.

Free Guy is about a very happy guy who thinks he’s living the good life.  He describes his world as a paradise.  He has a best friend, a cushy bank job, and loves his coffee.  The only thing missing is the perfect girl to share his life with.  He doesn’t want anyone less. Of course, he finds that girl but has to be told he’s not real but instead a character they have now labeled “Blue Shirt”.  On top of that, he has to save his world from deletion.  As you can see, the story is pretty good and with Ryan Reynold’s at the helm, you know the acting is going to be excellent.  At first, I thought Free Guy was a little silly but as I got into the film my opinion changed.  I actually thought Free Guy was brilliantly written and acted. I haven’t begun to reveal the whole story which gets pretty intense and may not appeal to an elderly crowd.  As of October 17, 2021, Free Guy has grossed $120.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $207.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $328.6 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2021. It has received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the clever concept and compared it favorably to a combination of science fiction films and action video games such as Ready Player One, The Truman Show, The Matrix, Grand Theft Auto, and Fortnite. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 80% based on 277 reviews, with an average rating of 7.00/10. The website’s critics consensus reads, “Combining a clever concept, sweet, self-aware humor, and a charming cast, Free Guy is frivolous fun.”  Free Guy is in theaters and is streaming on Prime Video for $5.99 if you’re a Prime member.  Check It Out!


RESPECT (2021) – My rating: 8.5/10

Respect is a biographical musical directed by Liesl Tommy (in her feature directorial debut). Respect is written by Tracey Scott Wilson, Callie Khouri, and is based on the life of “Queen of Soul” singer, Aretha Franklin. The film follows the first two decades of Aretha’s life, from being born as a musical prodigy in an affluent but controlling African-American family to her arduous rise to international musical stardom, while simultaneously enduring an abusive marriage. In April of 2018, National Geographic renewed their series called Genius for a third season, focusing on Aretha Franklin. It aired in March 2021. My goal is to see both of these stories. So far, this version (Respect) turns out to be very good.

Respect includes the effect of Aretha losing her mother at the age of ten, her controlling father who managed her career, constraints of patriarchy, and ultimately concluding with the recording of her influential live album Amazing Grace in 1971.  In 1952, ten-year-old Aretha Franklin (Jennifer Hudson) lives with her Baptist pastor father, C. L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker), as well her sisters Erma (Saycon Sengbloh), the oldest, and Carolyn (Hailey Kilgore) the youngest, in Detroit, Michigan. The sudden death of her mother Barbara Siggers Franklin (Audra McDonald) traumatizes Aretha and as a result, she is unwilling to speak until her father forces her to sing at church after weeks of silence.

By 1959, a teenage Aretha is the mother of two children. She then meets Ted White (Marlon Wayans), a local producer, at a party at her father’s house. The two strike up a conversation before being interrupted by C. L., who warns Ted to stay away from his family. Later, C. L. surprises Aretha with tickets to New York for a meeting with Columbia Records executive John Hammond (Tate Donovan). After being offered a contract, Aretha begins to sing jazz records with Columbia, including “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.

Four albums later, Aretha still lacks a signature hit as a jazz singer. After singing a tribute to longtime family friend Dinah Washington (Mary J. Blige), Aretha is told to find songs that move her and stop trying to fit the polished image her father wants her to display. Aretha reunites with Ted White, with whom she begins a relationship and later marries. Frustrated by her lack of success after nine albums, Aretha begins skipping recording sessions to see Ted, embarrassing her father. Much to the chagrin of her sisters and the dismay of their father, Aretha returns home and introduces Ted to her family announcing him as her new manager.

Respect didn’t really focus on Aretha’s sexual endeavors but did manage to let us know she had a child at the age of twelve (1955) with a childhood friend and schoolmate named Donald Burke. The child was named after her father, Clarence.  She then had a second child with another childhood friend named Edward Jordan at the age of fourteen (1957).  Later it was established both boys were Edward’s.  She was married twice and had two more sons.  Initially, a film on Franklin’s life was in development for a long time and she herself was involved with the pre-production. Because of a lack of suitable candidates to play Aretha, and eventually the Covid pandemic, the film was buried. After seeing the musical film Dreamgirls in 2006, Aretha asked Jennifer Hudson to play her. The film began production in 2019.

I thoroughly enjoyed Respect.  I learned some new information about the singer and marveled at Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Aretha Franklin, which received critical acclaim.  Aretha herself said that Hudson would win an Oscar for portraying her. Forest Whitaker was brilliant as Aretha’s overbearing, abusive, womanizing, and cheating father.  The film suggested in a very short rape scene, that her father may have sexually abused her but didn’t elaborate on it.  The music seemed better than it was back in the day.  That’s probably due to today’s technology.  Jennifer Hudson usually comes off as a real diva but at the rate, she’s acting and singing I can’t say I blame her.  She herself is a prodigy.  I can see why Aretha picked Jennifer to play her. The film never revealed why Aretha’s mother, Barbara left her father but I found that he had a child with a twelve-year-old in 1940 which was before Aretha was born but had two more children while still married to Barbara.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 66% based on 170 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “This standard-issue biopic falls shy of its subject’s transcendent brilliance, but Jennifer Hudson’s starring performance absolutely commands Respect.” As of September 27, 2021, Respect has grossed $24.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $7.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $31.2 million. Pete Hammond of Deadline also praised Hudson’s performance, saying; “This is Jennifer Hudson’s triumph merged with the spirit and guidance from an even greater voice above. Hudson’s performance is an electrifying sight to behold.”  Respect is available to rent and is streaming on Amazon Prime and can probably still be found in some theaters. Check It Out!


REMINISCENCE (2021) – My rating: 8/10

Reminiscence is a neo-noir science fiction thriller and love story, written and directed by Lisa Joy, in her feature directorial debut. Joy also produces alongside her husband and creative partner Jonathan Nolan.  The film was released by Warner Bros. Pictures and follows a businessman and his partner who makes a living by using a unique device that helps their clients to retrieve and relive their memories for various practical reasons. I’m not sure what attracted me to this movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it appears to be different from the usual plots.

In the near future, climate change has caused the sea level to rise and flood Miami. Extreme daytime temperatures have forced most of the population to function at night. A man named Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) along with his female business partner Emily “Watts” Sanders (Thandiwe Newton), operates a business where people can come and relax by lying in a device and connecting to electrodes that enable them to relive or discover forgotten memories.  They are placed into a comatose state of mind, which is revealed on-screen so that Nick can review and pinpoint the client’s issue.  In this futuristic film, Miami has sunk significantly and extreme daytime heat has caused people to stay in their homes unless they absolutely need to come out.

Reminiscence focus is on a walk-in client Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) who can’t remember where she put her keys.  She’s beautiful and sexy and Nick becomes obsessed with Mae and her memories, which reveal that she is a nightclub singer with a complicated and unsavory lifestyle and past.  While viewing Mae’s memories, she happens to sing Nick’s favorite song, which only aided in drawing Nick closer to her. Eventually, Nick and Mae begin a relationship, although Watts distrusts her. Months later, Mae has disappeared without a word. Hoping to find a clue to her whereabouts, Nick spends hours repeatedly reliving his memories of their relationship, a dangerous practice that could forever trap him in the memory.

Reminiscence is a revetting tale of danger, love, deceit, determination, mystery, and heartbreak, and I’m just getting started. There are so many twists in this story, it’s hard to keep up.  I found Reminiscence exciting and very different from what’s being offered lately. Hugh Jackman and Thandiwe Newton’s performances were brilliantly executed.  Rebecca Ferguson was absolutely tantalizing.  Her display of innocence and desperation was the right combination of a damsel in distress to cause any man to take notice.  The ending was so unpredictable, I didn’t mind not being able to reconcile my feelings towards what I thought was unjust.

As of September 17, 2021, Reminiscence has grossed $3.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $14.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $18.7 million. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 180 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “Although Reminiscence isn’t lacking narrative ambition, its uncertain blend of sci-fi action and noir thriller mostly provokes memories of better films.”  Reminiscence is currently streaming on HBO Max the same day it opens in theaters. I recommend Reminiscence to those who like a good sci-fi mystery — Check It Out!


A QUIET PLACE PART II (2021) – My rating: 8.5/10

A Quiet Place Part II is a horror film and the sequel to 2018’s A Quiet Place. It follows the Abbot family from the first film as they continue to navigate and survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind aliens with an acute sense of hearing. The film was written, produced, and directed by John Krasinski for Paramount Pictures. After seeing the first Quiet Place, I had to see the sequel just so I could find out what happens to the Abbott family.  Quiet Place Part II  was surprisingly a good sequel.

A Quite Place Part II opens before the aliens arrived and took over the Earth. While attending a softball game, the Abbott family – wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), husband Lee (John Krasinski), deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and sons Marcus ( and Beau (Dean Woodward) along with other families observe a strange cloud-like object hurtling toward the Earth. Within minutes, hostile creatures attack and begin slaughtering people. These blind creatures are huge, possess armored skin, have extraordinary speed and strength. They track their victims using hypersensitive hearing, which enables them to attack anything that makes a noise. Over a year later, the creatures have killed much of the Earth’s population, including Evelyn’s husband Beau and youngest son Lee. In the original version, Regan discovered that high-frequency audio feedback makes the creatures vulnerable, and she devises a makeshift method of transmitting the noise from her cochlear implant through a portable microphone.

In part II, the survivors seek ways to keep quiet and out of harm’s way but are frequently unsuccessful.  The story moves forward with Evelyn encountering an old friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy) as well as some new survivors.  This adventure gets hairy and quite suspenseful.  Djimon Hounsou is cast as a father and leader of a colony that displays a ray of hope to their dispare.  There are numerous situations that will have you tensed and even scared. I really liked A Quiet Place Part II and wouldn’t be surprised to see a possible sequel in the future. As of August 25, 2021, A Quiet Place Part II has grossed $160.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $136.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $296.4 million. The film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes assessed 335 reviews and determined 91% of them to be positive, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website’s critics consensus reads, “A nerve-wracking continuation of its predecessor, A Quiet Place Part II expands the terrifying world of the franchise without losing track of its heart.” The film was not too scary with a good story line.  A Quiet Place Part II is streaming (for a fee) on Amazon Prime Video and is in many theaters.  Check It Out!


BLACK WIDOW (2021) – My rating: 8.5/10

Black Widow is a superhero film based on Marvel Comics that features its comic character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Cate Shortland from a screenplay by Eric Pearson.

Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), the film sees the Black Widow on the run and forced to confront her past. After what happened in Avengers: Endgame (2019), I enjoyed seeing more of this character but sadly, Johansson said she was “going out on a high note” and was proud of the film, feeling that her work portraying Romanoff was now complete.

Black Widow opens in 1995 with what appears to be a normal American family living in Ohio  In reality, dad (head of the household) is a Russian super-soldier Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian (David Harbour) and mom is a Russian Black Widow / Melina Vostokoff (Florence Pugh).   They work as Russian undercover agents, along with their two young Russian daughters, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlette Jonhassan) and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), and are responsible for stealing S.H.I.E.L.D. intel as instructed by their boss, General Dreykov (Ray Winstone). After raiding the Ohio community, the General has Natasha and Velena taken to the Red Room for training. Years pass, during which Alexei is betrayed and imprisoned in a Russian prison while Natasha escapes and defects to S.H.I.E.L.D.

I truly enjoyed Black Widow.  The plot was pretty simple, Russian operatives against America, headed up by a mad general and his team of Black Widows. The adventure was exciting, fun, and all ends had closure.  The cinematography was fabulous as Black Widow took you to many different countries including Norway, England, Budapest, Rome, and Maroco. There are many chase scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat.  I loved the relationship Jonhassan enjoyed with the character Mason (O-T Fagbenle) who I recognized from the Handmaid’s Tale. Mason’s character services Natasha as Alfred services Batman.  Additionally, Ever Anderson played Natasha as a youngster and speaks Russian. Anderson felt her background in taekwondo along with her gymnastics training was helpful to the role. Black Widow broke several pandemic box office records and has grossed over $371 million worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2021; it also made $67 million through Disney+ in its opening weekend. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for the performances, particularly those of Johansson and Pugh, and the action sequences. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 80% based on 420 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Black Widows deeper themes are drowned out in all the action, but it remains a solidly entertaining standalone adventure that’s rounded out by a stellar supporting cast. Aside from appearing in theaters, Black Widow is also streaming on Disney+with premier access.  Check It Out!



SWEET TOOTH (2021) – My rating: 8/10

Sweet Tooth is a fantasy drama developed by Jim Mickle. It’s based on the comic book of the same name by Jeff Lemire. The appearance of this series looks childish but make no mistake, it holds its own as a serious drama with lots of curious adventures. Sweet Tooth has its own pandemic that has proven to be quite the worldwide global event of the decade. Many characters are introduced that give substance to this nicely done series, as in a sweet series for all the family.

Sweet Tooth opens ten years in the past as Dr. Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar) goes to work and discovers a deadly virus, which is taking over the world, wiping out most of the human population.  As if the virus wasn’t enough, babies started being born half-human, half-animal (hybrids).  It’s unknown which came first, the virus or the hybrids.  This pandemic was deemed “The Great Crumble”, and the H5G9 virus was deemed “The Sick”. Unsure if hybrids were the cause or a result of the virus, many humans feared and hunted them.

Sweet Tooth is a story about Gus / Sweet Tooth (Christian Convery), a half-human, half-deer hybrid. In order to protect Gus from the outside world of hatred towards hybrids, his father (Richard Fox), who Gus calls Pubba (Will Forte) lives in a secluded cabin in Yellowstone National Park and dies when Gus is nine years old. Gus discovers a box buried by his father beneath a tree that contained what Gus believed was a photograph of his mother, with the word “Colorado” written on it. Gus tries to manage on his own, remembering the rules his father set forth for him to live by.  A year passes when Gus decides to leave the wilderness in search of his mother.  Before leaving the make-shift home he and his father lived in, Gus starts a fire, which alerts nearby hunters to his location, putting him in danger as the hunters try to murder him for sport. Because Gus is able to speak, the hunters become visibly surprised. They are soon killed by Tommy Jepperd / Big Man (Nonso Anozie), a lone traveler who after saving Gus, tries to leave him behind but Gus follows him, insisting Jepperd (“Big Man”) escort him to find his mother in Colorado. Jepperd tries to resist but ends up protecting Gus on his journey.  BTW:  Jeppard was a famous professional football player before the apocalypse.

Sweet Tooth is not what you’d think a story like this would be about.  It’s adventurous with a ton of messages to be learned about bullies and how people act when they fear the unknown.  I found Sweet Tooth to be fun and mysterious while captivating its audience with lots of difficult situations and many twists and turns.  Gus and Jepperd meet all kinds of people on their journey before learning the truth about Gus’ mom.  I think everyone will enjoy this series. The series has been watched by 60 million households since its June 4 release on Netflix. Sweet Tooth is renewed for a second season.   Check It Out!