Category Archives: CURRENT MOVIE REVIEWS

Hope you enjoy my movie reviews which reflect my opinion of the many movies I’ve enjoyed or not!

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!

 

 

IRRESISTIBLE (2020) – My Rating: 7.5/10

Irresistible is a political comedy written and directed by Jon Stewart. The film follows a Democratic strategist who tries to help a local candidate win an election in a small right-wing town.  Irresistible was released during the COVID-19 pandemic and cost a whopping $20 bucks to stream right into my family room.  Despite the inflated cost, I thought the movie was decent.

Irresistible opens with a successful Democratic campaigner, Gary Zimmer (Steve Corell) in despair due to the results of the 2016 election. One of Gary’s colleagues shows him a viral video of Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) reprimanding the mayor in a speech regarding the undocumented immigrant population who lives in his conservative hometown of Deerlaken, Wisconsin. Gary decides if he can run Hastings as the Democratic mayoral candidate in the next election, he can convince the American people in the heartland to vote democrat in the next presidential election. After arriving in Deerlaken, Gary soon meets Hastings and his daughter Diana Hastings (Mackenzie Davis) and pitches his idea. Hastings initially declines considering himself more of a conservative and having no real interest in politics, but later relents and agrees to run under the condition that Gary runs his campaign.

Despite the fact incumbent, Mayor Braun (Brent Sexton) is being funded by the Republican National Committee, Gary and Hastings must come up with new and innovative ideas to counter the endless money the RNC has to spend on the campaign. Gary has to depend on Democratic donations from elsewhere enabling him to upgrade their campaigning methods.

Irresistible turns out to be quite exciting and funny.  Of course in order not to spoil the movie, I will stop here except to say that there is so much more to Irresistible than you can figure out.  It’s not predictable and you will probably never see the end coming.  The film has many familiar comedians like Debra Messing and C.J. Wilson to liven up the plot.  I think this movie is a much needed comic relief in this time of tragedy and upheaval.  Irresistible was initially due to be released theatrically in May of 2020, however, the  COVID-19 pandemic happened, which caused Focus Features to release the film on video, on-demand, and in limited theaters, June 26, instead. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who called it “a soft political satire”. Irresitible is available via most cable carriers, Prime Video and Itunes.  DVD release is scheduled for September 1, 2020.  Check it out!

 

THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020) – My rating 9/10

The Invisible Man is a science fiction horror film written and directed by Leigh Whannell. A contemporary adaptation and reimagining of the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells and a reboot of The Invisible Man film series of the 1930s-1950s, it follows a woman who deduces that her abusive and wealthy boyfriend has acquired the ability to become invisible and is stalking her. Critics praised the film and the star’s performance, its inventive modernization of the novel’s plot, and the combination of scares with “a smart narrative about how women can be manipulated and abused in harmful relationships.”

Cecilia “Cee” Kass (Elisabeth Moss) is trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with wealthy optics scientist, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). It’s 3:41am, Cecilia quietly raises from her bed, leaving Adrian who is drugged with Diazepam. She sneaks through the house, grabs her already packed bags before finally making a clean escape.  Cecilia meets her sister, Emily Kass (Harriet Dyer) who has come to rescue her.  Adrian suddenly appears just as Emily tries to drive away and unsuccessfully makes an effort to stop her. Cecilia hides out with her childhood friend, James Lanier (Aldis Hodge), a police detective, and his teenage daughter Sydney Lanier (Storm Reid). Two weeks later, Cecilia and Emily are told by Adrian’s brother, Tom Griffin (Michael Dorman) that Adrian committed suicide and left Cecilia $5 million in his will.

Cecilia is suspicious of the entire suicide but tries to move forward. Mysterious events start to take place, mostly in James’ house, causing Cecilia to become stressed and produce irrational behavior.  There’s an unexplained fire, missing papers for her job interview, and high levels of Diazepam in her system.  Convinced she is right about Adrian not being dead, Cecilia proceeds to prove she is not hallucinating nor crazy.  She arranges a meeting with Tom and insists that Adrian, as a leader in optic science, has found a way to become invisible and fake his death in order to torment her.

The Invisible Man is one of the most brilliant remakes I’ve seen.  There is drama, suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy and it can definitely be considered a thriller.  Elisabeth Moss is a phenomenal actress and plays every scene to a Tee. If you look closely and are old enough to remember, you’ll see many references to the original Invisible Man, especially the way it ends.  I highly recommend The Invisible Man to all.  As of March 4, 2020, The Invisible Man grossed $55.9 million, worldwide. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 91% of 293 reviews of the film were positive, with an average rating of 7.66/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “Smart, well-acted, and above all scary, The Invisible Man proves that sometimes, the classic source material for a fresh reboot can be hiding in plain sight.”  Check It Out!

 

THE CALL OF THE WILD (2020) – My rating: 8/10

The Call of the Wild is an adventure film based on the Jack London 1903 novel of the same name and Twentieth Century Pictures’ previous 1935 film adaptation. The film is directed by Chris Sanders, in his live-action directorial debut, written by Michael Green. Set in the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, a dog named Buck is stolen from his home in California and sent to the Yukon, where he befriends an old man and begins a life-altering adventure. The Call of the Wild is a classic, so if you know the story, there’s not much here for you but if you don’t, the story is the bonus.

Once upon a time, during the 19th century Gold Rush, there lived a very Large but gentle St. Bernard/Scotch Collie named Buck, who lived comfortably with his master, Judge Miller (Bradley Whitford), in Santa Clara, California. Being so big, Buck was awkward, clumsy and somewhat of a menace to the township and in his home. One night, Buck is abducted and shipped to the Yukon aboard a freighter. During the voyage, a crew member treated Buck badly, kicking him and preforming other violent acts. After arriving in the Yukon, which is the opposite of California in terms of weather and distance, Buck gives chase to his kidnapper. Despite losing the chase, Buck manages to return a harmonica that was dropped by John Thornton (Harrison Ford), moments before being sold to Perrault (Omar Sy) and his assistant, Françoise (Cara Gee). The new owners use a dog sled to deliver mail across the Yukon. Perrault hopes to make the long trek to the mail depot before the deadline. For the first time, Buck is introduced to snow and the other dogs in the pack, including the vicious pack leader, a Husky named Spitz. Throughout their travels, Buck gains the loyalty and trust of Françoise and the other sled dogs, which antagonizes Spitz. This is not the last ower Buck will have, sadly the next owner will be the worse. Buck’s adventures are exciting and sometimes quite emotional. You’ll have to see the movie to get the rest of the story, as it is a good one.

I thought The Call of the Wild was a wonderful story except for the CGI dog, I loved the movie. When I think of how much effort the Lion King team put into creating the movement of each animal so that they appeared as realistic as they possibly could, The Call of the Wild showed that the same effort was not used to make the character of Buck. His movements were weird and unnatural at best! I couldn’t stop thinking that this dog is not real, which spoiled the movie for me. I think it may have been better for Buck to speak for himself instead of being narrated by Harrison Ford. CGI technology ruined this movie for me. Actually, they could have used a well-trained dog for most of the movie, as the only reason I could think of using CGI would be the fighting scenes.

As of February 27, 2020, The Call of the Wild has grossed $32.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $16 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $48.6 million. Due to its high production and marketing costs, the film is projected to lose the studio around $100 million. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 61% based on 161 reviews, with an average rating of 6.03/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “It’s undermined by distracting and unnecessary CGI, but this heartwarming Call of the Wild remains a classic story, affectionately retold.” Check It Out!

 

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (2019) – My rating: 7/10

Jumanji: The Next Level is a fantasy adventure comedy directed by Jake Kasdan, and co-written by Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg. It is the sequel to 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and the second follow-up to 1995’s Jumanji, and is the fourth installment in the Jumanji franchise. The film’s plot takes place three years after Welcome to the Jungle, in which the same group of teenagers, along with an old friend and two unwitting additions, become trapped in Jumanji, where they all find themselves facing new problems and challenges with both old and new avatars, while also having to save the land from a new villain in order to escape. I waited to see this sequel because I didn’t think it would be very good. The film leaned more toward being good than bad.

It’s now 2019, two years after their adventure in Jumanji. Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain), Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner), and Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman) are leading different lives but plan a reunion brunch in Brantford, New Hampshire.  Due to depression, Spencer is apprehensive about the meeting and contemplates returning to Jumanji where he felt he had a reason for being. He ends up blowing off the brunch and spends his first night trying to fix the broken video-game system he held on to. The following day Spencer’s friends visited his home and met his grandfather Eddie (Danny De Vito), who is recovering from hip surgery. They also met Eddie’s former friend and business partner, Milo Walker (Danny Glover), who was visiting Eddie for some unknown reason. Learning they had no idea where Spencer was, the group searched the house and found the Jumanji game partially repaired in the basement. Realizing Spencer returned to the game, his friends decide to follow.  So the fun began, starting with a faulty device, which complicated things right from the start.

Jumanji: The Next Level is as entertaining as it’s predecessor with a slightly more complex plot.  Personally, I favor Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle a little more but I was still entertained and enjoyed the movie.  Overall, I thought everyone did a fantastic job of portraying their characters, which got a little tricky. However,  in the end, “all’s well that ends well”.  As of February 23, 2020, Jumanji: The Next Level has grossed $784 million worldwide against a $125 million budget, becoming the tenth highest-grossing film of 2019. The film received generally positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 71% based on 221 reviews with an average rating of 6/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “Like many classic games, Jumanji: The Next Level retains core components of what came before while adding enough fresh bits to keep things playable.” Dwayne Johnson revealed in a December 2019 interview that another character in the world of Jumanji is an actual avatar, the villainous Jurgen the Brutal and that it would be explored in a potential sequel, which is currently in development. I recommend Jumanji: The Next Level to all — Check It Out!

 

BIRDS OF PREY: (2020) – My rating: 8.5/10

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is a superhero film based on the DC Comics team, Birds of Prey. It is the eighth film in the DC Extended Universe, and a follow-up to Suicide Squad (2016). It is directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina Hodson. The film follows Harley Quinn as she joins forces with three powerful females to save Cassandra Cain from Gotham City crime lord, Black Mask.  Good action hero movie!

Former psychiatrist, Suicide Squad member, and girlfriend of the Joker,  Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), is determined to redefine her life.  With no place to live, she is rescued by Doc (Dana Lee), the elderly owner of a Chinese restaurant. Still recovering from her abusive relationship, Harley cuts her hair and adopts a spotted hyena, who she names after Bruce Wayne, takes up roller derby, and blows up the Ace Chemicals plant where she once pledged herself to the Joker.

After visiting a nightclub owned by gangster Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), Harley cripples Roman’s driver and meets burlesque singer Dinah Lance/The Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a vigilante with the metahuman ability of hypersonic screams. Later, Dinah rescues an intoxicated Harley from an attempted abduction by Roman’s goons. Impressed when he sees Dinah’s fighting skills, he appoints her as his new driver. In the meanwhile, GCPD Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) investigates a series of mob killings carried out by a crossbow-wielding vigilante named Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a vigilante who is the orphaned daughter of gangster Franco Bertinelli. Detective Montoya discovers Harley isn’t safe without the Joker’s protection.  Sweetening the pot, Roman is pursuing a diamond necklace that is worth a fortune — he sends his sadistic right-hand-man Victor Zsaszand (Chris Messina), who retrieves the diamond but falls victim to pick-pocket and professional street thief, Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), who doesn’t know the value of what she has stolen.  This is why these four powerful women (Black Canary, The Huntress, Detective Montoya, and Harley Quinn) joined forces to protect this young thief (Cassandra) from Roman and his thugs.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn has turned out to be a good solid action hero movie.  I’m sure this version of Quinn’s recovery will be followed up with some other movie where she seeks revenge on the Joker for all the wrong he inflicted on her.  This movie reveals Quinn’s deliverance from dependence to freedom in her own right.  I loved that she recited over and over that she is smart, has a Ph.D., and is crazy enough to protect herself without help from anyone.  My only criticism is the winks she wore throughout the entire movie.  She just doesn’t have the shape for the outfit.  I hope they do better choosing her wardrobe next time around.  I’m just saying.  I found Birds of Prey… to be fun, entertaining and a refreshing idea of powerfull women taking charge.  I recommend Birds of Prey to superhero lovers and then some. The film has grossed $48.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $112.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $160.7 million.  Birds of Prey has also received praise from critics for its visual style, Yan’s direction, and the performances of Robbie and McGregor, but criticism for the screenplay. I also urge viewers to beware of the “R” rating the film received, I can’t figure why but I’m sure there’s probably a good reason! Check It Out!