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!
Posted in CURRENT MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged Alex Vreeke, Alex Wolff, Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, awkwafina, Bebe Neuwirth, Bethany Walker, Colin Hanks, Dania Ramirez, Danny DeVito, danny glover, Dr. Xander "Smolder" Bravestone, Dwayne Johnson, Edward "Eddie" Gilpin, Franklin "Mouse" Finbar, jack black, Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough, Jennifer Patino, John Ross Bowie, Jumanji NPC Flame, Jumanji NPC Switchblade, JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, Jurgen the Brutal, karen gillan, Kevin hart, lamorne morris, Lucy DeVito, Madison Iseman, Maiden, Marin Hinkle, Martha Kaply, Massi Furlan, Milo Walker, Ming Fleetfoot, Morgan Turner, Mrs. Gilpin, Nick Jonas, Nigel Billingsley, Nora Shepherd, Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon, Rhys Darby, Rory McCann, Ruby Roundhouse, Ser'Darius Blain, Spencer Gilpin, Zachary Tzegaegbe
Yesterday is a British romantic comedy directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, based on an original screenplay by Jack Barth and Mackenzie Crook. A struggling musician who, after an accident, finds himself as the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles. That leaves him with the unprecedented opportunity to become famous by taking credit for writing and performing Beetle songs. The film falls a little short on imagination but since it’s the Beetle’s songs, it “rocks”.
Yesterday opens with Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling singer-songwriter from Lowestoft. His manager and childhood friend Ellie Appleton (Lily James), begs a bewildered Jack, not to give up on his dreams. During a global blackout, Jack gets hit by a bus, when he awakens, aside from two missing front teeth, he discovers that no one else on Earth had ever heard of the Beatles. Once he confirms his suspicion, he begins performing Beetle songs, claiming he wrote them. Soon he is heard by a local music producer, Gavin (Alexander Arnold) and records a demo for him, which leads to a performance on local television, which leads to Jack being invited by pop star Ed Sheeran (Ed Sheeran) to play as his opening act in Moscow. Ellie declines to join him, saying she has to work her day job as a schoolteacher, so Jack’s roadie friend, Rocky (Joel Fry) travels with him instead. After the gig, Jack is signed by Sheeran’s agent, Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon), and rises to global fame. Hoping to trigger more memories of Beatles songs, Jack goes to their hometown of Liverpool, visiting landmarks such as Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, and the grave of Eleanor Rigby.
This being a good place to stop, I can only say that I enjoyed Yesterday, especially the music. I felt too much of the story went unanswered, leaving me to fill in the blanks myself. I also didn’t love Himesh’s singing voice and style. He seemed a bit “pitchy”, to coin a phrase. Yesterday gave us lots of school for thought but didn’t really satisfy our need for explanations. This is a totally British production and therefore, culturally different but still entertaining. Perhaps I’m suffering from culture shock but Yesterday could have been better. The acting was brilliant — too bad the story wasn’t. I recommend you wait for the DVD/Blu-ray. FYI: Getting the rights to include the Beatles’ music cost the filmmakers $10 million. Although none of the Beatles were involved in the production, Boyle received blessings of the project from them and their families. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the premise, performances, light tone, and musical sequences, but criticism at the familiarity and simplicity. Check It Out, after all, this is only my opinion!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged Alexander Arnold, camile Chen, carol, Debra hammer, Ed Sheeran, Elise Chappell, ellie Appleton, Gavin, Harry Mitchell, himesh patel, jack Malik, Jaimie killer, james corden, Jed Malik, Joel fry, John lennon, Justin edwards, Karl Theobald, karma sood, kate mckinnon, lamorne morris, Leo, lily james, liz, lucy, Meera syal, Michael kiwanuka, nick, robert carlyle, Rocky, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Sarah Lancashire, Shelia Malik, Sophia di Martino, terry, wendy, yesterday, young ellie Appleton
Barbershop: The Next Cut is a comedy with a profound message. A third sequel to the barbershop series tries to send a message about the senseless killings of our youth in our communities who are too often hit by stray bullets intended for those involved in gang activity. Children are being killed so often, this Chicago neighborhood is trying to come up with a solution that can be implemented quick and easy. Calvin Palmer (Ice Cube) and his wife Jennifer Palmer (Jazsmin Lewis) are watching their son Jalen (Michael Rainey, Jr.) change from a sweet loving kid to a hard headed rebellious type that is staring to head down the wrong path. Calvin and Jennifer, being in denial, is blaming their son’s new attitude on his current buddy, Kenny (Diallo Thompson) who is the son of Rashad Jones (Common), Calvin’s best friend. In the meanwhile, gangs are running rampart in the Chicago neighborhood and more youths are getting killed in the crossfire and recruited by these gangs. One-Stop, (J.B. Smoove) a hustler who sells real estate among his many other talents, works in Calvin’s barbershop, which is now co-ed as the barbershop is also a beauty salon with Angie (Regina Hall as Calvin’s partner. Calvin is entertaining the idea of moving to the north side of town where it is safer to raise his son and operate his shop. The usual gang is back in session with Terri Jones (Eve) as Common’s wife, Draya (Nicki Minaj) as a hair stylist and over sexed trouble maker, Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) as the oldest barber, J.D. (Anthony Anderson) as the caterer, Raja (Utkarsh Ambudkar) as the Black Indian barber, Jimmy James (Sean Patrick Thomas) as the Congressman and Isaac (Troy Garity) as the over-the-top White boy player. New comer Jerrod, (Lamorne Morris) who comes off as a gay guy and Bree, (Margot Bingham) a hair stylist become love interest for each other, despite the gay rumors. The overall goal of the Barbershop is to force a cease fire among the gangs, causing peace and trust and most of all, no killings of youth for days at a time, in exchange for free services offered by the barbershop/hair salon during the cease fire. Of course there’s much more to this so you will have to see the film to find out how it all works out.
Barbershop is a little corny but sends an excellent message and is well acted as well as entertaining. It’s been in the queue for several weeks, which tells me that it’s worth seeing. Also, a couple of fun surprises were incorporated into the ending so check it out! I enjoyed it.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, Uncategorized
Tagged angie, anthony anderson, barbershop: next cut, bree, calvin palmer, cedric the entertainer, common, diallo thompson, draya, eddie, eve, hair stylist, ice cube, isaac, jalen palmer, jazsmin lewis, jb smoove, jd, jennifer palmer, jerrod, jimmy james, kenny, lamorne morris, margot bingham, michael rainey jr, nicki minaj, one-stop, raja, rashad jones, regina hall, sean patrick thomas, terri jones, troy garity, utkarsh ambudkar