Spider-Man: Far From Home is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics’ character Spider-Man, co-produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It is the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and the twenty-third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Jon Watts, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Parker is recruited to face elemental threats from another dimension while he is on a school trip to Europe. I really had no interest in seeing this version of Spider-Man but wanted to write about the film hoping it would be of some interest. I didn’t love it; see my thoughts explained in the last paragraph below.
Spider-Man: Far From Home opens in Ixtenco, Texas, with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) investigating an unnatural storm. While there, they encountered a horrifying creature, Earth Elemental. Quentin Beck / Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a master of trickery and illusion who also claims to be a superhero from Earth-833 in the Multiversearrives, arrives and successfully fights off the creature.
Meanwhile, in New York City, the Midtown School of Science and Technology restarts its academic year to accommodate the students who were among those resurrected in “the Blip” eight months earlier. The school organizes a two-week summer field trip to Europe, where Peter Parker (Tom Holland), still distraught over Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) death, plans to confess his growing feelings for classmate Michelle “MJ” (Zendaya). Despite being forewarned by Harold “Happy” Hogan (Jon Favreau) that Nick Fury is trying to contact him, Peter, looking forward to his school vacation, chooses to ignore the call. Avoiding any communication with anyone from Stark Enterprises, Peter and his friends travel to Venice and are among those attacked by the Water Elemental, which proceeds to wreak havoc on the city. Mysterio arrives and destroys the creature while Peter secretly attempts to help.
When Tobey Maguire was featured as Spider-Man, the aura was more adult-oriented. With each change of the Spider-Man actor, the aura changed to reflect a more youthful audience. While the film was full of adventure, excitement and well-acted, it’s gotten a little too youthful for me. The silliness and cockiness, often a big part of being a teenager, no longer appeals to the likes of my generation. The plot has more twist and turns than one could imagine. I didn’t particularly like Fury’s attitude as he tried to convince Parker to be a man by stepping-up and participating, now that the world has changed as a result of “the Blip”. I felt going after Peter Parker to help fight the Elementals was ridiculous, as he could have asked a different agent. I’m sure the kids will love Spider-Man: Far From Home — it has grossed over $603 million worldwide, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of 2019 and was positively reviewed, with critics calling it a “fun and satisfying sequel” and praising the performances of the cast, particularly Holland and Gyllenhaal. If you haven’t seen Infinity: Endgame, you should see it before Spider-Man: Far From Home, as many spoilers are through-out the film. Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged cobie smulders, earth elemental, Harold "happy" Hogan, jacob batalon, jake gyllenhaal, jb smoove, jeff bridges, jon Favreau, Julius dell, maria hill, Marisa tomei, Martin Starr, may Parker, Michelle "mj", mysterio, ned leeds, nick fury, peter parker, Quentin beck, robert downey jr, Roger Harrington, samuel l jackson, spider-man: far from home, the blip, tom holland, tony stark, water elemental, Zendaya
Shaft is an action-comedy directed by Tim Story and written by Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow. Unlike its predecessor, which was distributed by Paramount Pictures, this film is produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the fifth film in the Shaft film series and a sequel to the 2000 film with the same title. Given the last version of Shaft, I didn’t expect too much from this version — however, it ended up being pretty decent and pretty funny.
The film starts in 1989, John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson), his wife Maya Babanikos (Regina Hall) and their infant son, John “JJ” Shaft Jr., survives an assassination attempt by druglord, Pierro “Gordito” Carrera (Isaach de Bankolé). Concerned Shaft’s lifestyle would expose them to even more danger, Maya thought it best to leave her husband and raise their son on her own. 25 years later, JJ (Jessie Usher) is a grown man with a degree from MIT. He has just landed a position as a cybersecurity expert with the FBI.
After JJ’s childhood friend, Karim (Avan Jogia), dies a suspicious death, JJ concludes he must have been murdered, so he travels to Harlem to investigate further. The drug dealer who runs the neighborhood and sold the heroin that allegedly killed Karim, has JJ violently ejected from his property. While recovering in the hospital, another childhood friend, who is a nurse, Sasha (Alexandra Shipp) reads Karim’s toxicology report and realizes that the amount of heroin in Karim’s system would have killed him long before he could take that much by himself, providing proof he was murdered. With no other recourse, JJ turns to his father, John Shaft II, who is a private investigator, for assistance. Shaft agrees to help after realizing that JJ’s case may lead him to Gordito, who he has been holding a vendetta against for years. The two begin investigating together, but JJ’s progressive white-collar outlook on life clashes with Shaft’s old-school street ways. After confronting Manuel Orozco (Ian Casselberry) again, Shafts investigates “Brothers Watching Brothers”, the drug rehab clinic Karim was a part of. There they learn that Karim stopped going to rehab in favor of attending services at a mosque, currently under suspicion by the FBI for terrorism.
Apparently, this version of Shaft was the better of the two versions featuring Samuel L. Jackson. Some of the jokes were really funny. The plot was somewhat predictable but made sense. The story goes into Shaft’s raunchy lifestyle of women, booze, drugs and violence. For the most part, the acting was good however, Jessie Usher could use a bit more polishing. As usual, any movie with Samuel Jackson has way too much profanity. Shaft was no exception to the amount of bad language throughout the film. Also, the use of the “N” word was excessive. I understand in that space and time, the “N” word was considered only semi quasi bad, however, I could have done without it. Shaft will probably be offensive to some and some will be okay with the verbiage. The original Shaft Sr. (Richard Roundtree) was a nice touch to end the movie, however, I would wait for the DVD or skip it altogether. Shaft received mixed reviews from critics, but positive responses from audiences and has grossed $17 million. Check It Out if you dare!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alexandra shipp, avan jogia, Bennie rodriguez, Freddie p, isaach de bankole, jessie usher, jj shaft Jr, John shaft ii, Karim hassan, Lauren velez, major Gary cutworth, Matt Laurie, Maya babanikos, method man, Pierre "gordito" Carrera, private investigator, regina hall, richard roundtree, robbie Jones, samuel l jackson, Sasha arias, sergeant Keith Williams, shaft, shaft sr, special agent vietti, titus welliver
Captain Marvel is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the twenty-first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet also contributing to the screenplay. I was dying to see Captain Marvel but wasn’t sure I’d like Brie Larson in the lead role. Good thing I saw the movie, she’s fantastic.
In 1995, on the Kree Empire’s capital planet of Hala, Starforce member Vers/Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) suffers from recurring nightmares involving an older woman, The Supreme Intelligence /Mar-Vell / Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening). Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), her mentor and commander, trains her to control her abilities while The Supreme Intelligence, an artificial intelligence and the ruler of the Kree, urges her to keep her emotions in check.
**** SPOILERS BELOW ****
During a mission to rescue an undercover operative who is infiltrating a group of Skrulls, (alien shapeshifters with whom the Kree are at war) Vers is captured by Skrull commander Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) then taken aboard their Earth-bound vessel and subjected to a memory probe. Vers manages to escape in one of the Skrull mini vessels but crash lands in Los Angeles. Her odd attire attracts S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), whose interrogation is interrupted by a Skrull attack. In the ensuing chase, Vers recovers a crystal containing her extracted memories, while Fury kills a Skrull who is impersonating Agent Coulson, who is fairly new to S.H.I.E.L.D. Talos, disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Keller, orders Fury to work with Vers on the condition he does it alone in the event of other Skrull imposters. Fury takes Vers to a US Air Force base and discovers she was a pilot presumed to have died in 1989 while testing an experimental engine designed by a Dr. Wendy Lawson, whom Vers recognizes as the woman from her nightmares. A S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Talos tries to capture Vers and Agent Fury but they manage to escape in a cargo jet, with Lawson’s cat Goose. Based on Vers’ recovered memories, they fly to Louisiana to meet Vers’ best friend and former pilot, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), the last person to see Vers and Lawson alive. Talos arrives at Maria Rambeau’s house just as Vers discovers her real name is Carol Danvers. He reveals the Skrulls are refugees searching for a new home and Dr. Lawson was a renegade Kree scientist helping them. He then plays the recovered black box from Dr. Lawson’s crashed plane, prompting Carol Danvers to remember the 1989 plane crash. Carol also remembers that Dr. Lawson died at the hands of Yon-Rogg before she could destroy the engine’s energy-core, forcing Danvers to do so at the cost of absorbing the energy from the ensuing explosion and losing her memories.
This is a good point to stop because I wouldn’t want to give away everything. Captain Marvel goes into deeper accounts of how Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel. I found the movie exciting, fun and quite interesting. Considering the above information, one will have to determine if Talos is telling the truth or setting up the entire team. I learned that Brie Larson worked out for nine months preparing for this movie. She took Judo, boxing, wrestling and sharpened her knowledge by visiting Nellis AFB and meeting with active airmen before taking on the role of Captain Marvel. This is a remake of the character as Captain Marvel was introduced in 1940 by Fawcett Comics. His (Captain Marvel was originally a male) reign lasted through 1953 until a 1951 copyright infringement suit appeared from DC Comics and Fawcett’s trademark ostensibly lapsed. Marvel debuted its new Captain Marvel character in 1967 but it didn’t take off as expected. After many tries and undergoing many changes, it looks like a female Captain Marvel is here to stay. The movie has already taken in $215.9M. Captain Marvel is being cleverly reintroduced before the next sequel of “Avengers: Endgame” which is scheduled to be released on April 26, 2019. We now know the call that went out for help on Fury’s beacon in “Avengers: Infinity War” was to Captain Marvel. If you go to see Captain Marvel, stay beyond the credits. As I always say, Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Annette Bening, ben mendelsohn, brie larson, captain marvel, carol danvers, clark gregg, djimon hounson, dr wendy lawson, gemma chan, goose, hala, jude law, keller, korath, kree, lashana lynch, lee pace, mar-vell, maria rambeau, minn-erva, nick fury, phil coulson, ronan the accuser, s.h.i.e.l.d., samuel l jackson, skrull, starforce, talos, tesseract, the supreme intelligence, vers, yon-rogg
Incredibles 2 is categorized as a computer-animated superhero film, produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is Written and directed by Brad Bird and is a sequel to The Incredibles (2004) and the second full-length installment of the franchise. The story follows the Parr family as they try to restore public’s trust in superheroes while balancing their family life, only to combat a new foe who seeks to turn the populace against all superheroes. I don’t think this sequel measures up to it’s original but still a fun family movie.
The Incredibles, which consist of Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), who is the father of the family and possesses super strength and limited invulnerability; Helen Parr / Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), who is the mother of the family and has the ability to stretch her body into many shapes and forms; Violet Parr, (Sarah Vowell) the family’s daughter and first child, who can become invisible and project force fields for limited lengths of time; Dashiell “Dash” Parr, (Huckleberry Milner) the family’s troublemaker first son, who has superhuman speed and Jack-Jack Parr, (Eli Fucile) their infant son who has a huge variety of powers; as well as Frozone / Lucius Best, (Samuel L Jackson) the best friend and close ally of the Parr family who has the ability to create ice and freeze surfaces by manipulating moisture.
In this sequel, The Incredibles and Frozone battle The Underminer, (John Ratzenberger) a powerful supervillain, criminal, bank robber, and terrorist whose ambition is to destroy peace and joy and has just appeared to terrorize Metroville. Despite preventing the destruction of City Hall, The Incredibles are unable to stop The Underminer from robbing a bank and escaping. The collateral damage caused by the incident outrages the government and prompts them to shut down the Superhero Relocation Program, leaving the Parrs without financial assistance. Tony Rydinger (Michael Bird) a classmate and love interest, discovers Violet’s superhero identity, forcing government agent Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks) to erase his memory.
In the meanwhile, Lucius informs Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl of an offer from Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a wealthy businessman who wants to bring back the public’s faith in superheros. He and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) a technical genus who has never encountered a problem she couldn’t solve, propose sending the superheroes on secret missions that will be recorded and publicized as evidence of their importance. Due to Mr. Incredible’s tendency to accidentally cause collateral damage, Winston chooses Elastigirl for the initial missions. Accepting the challenge takes Elastigirl away from home, leaving Bob, who struggles with his new role as a stay-at-home parent.
Incredibles 2 continues with a story that is action packed and quite entertaining. The film moves quickly, paralleling between Mr. Incredible’s new role as a stay at home dad vs his wife, Elastigirl’s action packed adventures as a solo action hero. Mr. Incredible is dealing with domestic issues that are out of his comfort zone, with no help. Elastigirl is thoroughly enjoying her solo performance fighting and solving crime. Incredibles 2 is well done and children everywhere will surly enjoy the movie. You can see Incredibles 2 on Netflix. Check It Out!
[Incredibles 2 is Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature Film]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged adam rodriguez, ambassador, barry bostwick, bill wise, Bob Odenkirk, bob parr, brad bird, Catherine Keener, craig t. nelson, dashiell "dash" parr, edna "e" mode, elastigirl, Evelyn, frozone, gus burns, he-lectrix, helen parr, holly hunter, honey best, huckleberrg milner, incredibles 2, isabella rossellini, jack-jack parr, jere burns, john ratzenberger, jonathan banks, karen, kimberly adair clark, krushauer, lucius best, michael bird, mr. incredible, nick bird, paul eiding, phil lamarr, reflux, rick dicker, samuel l jackson, sarah vowell, screenslaver, sophia bush, the underminer, tony rydinger, usher, violet parr, voyd, winston deavor
Surprisingly, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a comedy written by Tom O’Connor and directed by Patrick Hughes, is very funny and very entertaining. The movie left me wanting more. The action was spot-on as it showed two know-it-all bodyguard/hitmen who protect as well as kill for a living, respectively battle it out between themselves. Each with their own set of personal issues, presented a hilariously dark look into their twisted lifestyles. Somehow, being brought together was the best thing that could have happened to them.
Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is hired to protect Takashi Kurosawa (Tsuwayuki Saotome), a Japanese arms dealer. All seems well but as Kurosawa is about to board a plane, he is shot in the head. Having lost a client, Bryce has fallen into disgrace and after two years is now making a living protecting drug-addicted corporate executives. Meanwhile, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator of Belarus, is put on trial for crimes against humanity at the International Court of Justice. The prosecution is unable to make headway against him, as they are unable to substantiate their allegations with physical evidence and Dukhovich assassinates any witnesses who could do so. The prosecution’s last hope is notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who agrees to testify against Dukhovich in exchange for the exoneration of his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek), who is currently incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.
Interpol Assistant Director Jean Foucher (Joaquim de Almeida), assigns Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung), a greenhorn agent who is Bryce’s estranged ex-girlfriend, to lead a squad of Interpol agents tasked with escorting Kincaid to The Hague to testify. However, the convoy is ambushed in Coventry and everyone except Kincaid and Roussel is killed. The two retreat to a safehouse, where they deduce someone in Interpol must have betrayed them to Dukhovich. Realizing that they need someone who is completely unaffiliated with Interpol and can remain trustworthy, Roussel contacts Bryce. Bryce is reluctant to help, as he has had multiple conflicts with Kincaid in the past and believes that Roussel was responsible for the death of Kurosawa two years ago, but ultimately agrees to aid them in exchange for the restoration of his good name. Roussel returns to Interpol to update them on the situation while Bryce and Kincaid escape an attack by Dukhovich’s men.
At this point, interaction between Bryce and Kincaid (the story of The Hitman’s Bodyguard) begins. Lots of action, lots of funny one liners and brilliant performances by Ryan, Jackson and Hayek. The cinematography was magnificent, as well as the special effects. I really enjoyed the movie and the message was a profound lessen for all. I highly recommend The Hitman’s Bodyguard to all.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged amelia roussel, bryce, darius kincaid, elodie yung, gary oldman, jean foucher, joaquim de almeida, ryan reynolds, salma hayek, samuel l jackson, sonia, takashi kurosawa, the hitman's bodyguard, tsuwayuki saotome, vladislav dukhovich
Kong: Skull Island trailers didn’t do the film justice. I actually wasn’t that motivated about seeing the movie. I couldn’t imagine the what they could possibly throw together to make another Kong movie worth making or paying good money to see. I was surprised by the plot and the relevancy of Kong, not to mention the passion I felt. I dare say, there are some brilliant writers around who really know how to tug at ones heart, get a message to the audience all while entertaining the crap out of you.
Skull Island takes place in 1944 with two WWII fighter pilots engaged in serious combat (one American and one Japanese). The fight was really intense and just when one of the pilots seemed like he was about to win the fight, an enormous hand raises up out of the earth, causing both soldiers to pause in shock. Fast forward to 1973, where a former British Special Air Service Captain named James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is being hired as a hunter-tracker by a US government agent, Bill Randa (John Goodman) to guide an expedition to map out an uncharted island known as “Skull Island”. A Vietnam veteran helicopter squadron called The Sky Devils, led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), is also recruited to accompany the Skull Island crew on their expedition along with Major Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell) and Captain Earl Cole (Shea Whigham), who are both high ranking “right hand” members of the Sky Devils, and are responsible for escorting the entire team to Scull Island. Photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), joins the team as a photographer but is planning to expose whatever is found, believing it’s a secret military operation with dark purposes. So the team consist of a military escort, an expedition team that believes there’s something good to be found on Scull Island and a team of locals to track, record and help set up.
Skull Island proved difficult because of a storm they had to fly through to get there. Once they arrived, to determine if the ground is hollow, Packard’s men begin dropping explosives developed by Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), a young geologist and graduate of Yale University, recruited for the expedition by Monarch (a secret government organization) for his groundbreaking theories on seismology. Conrad strongly objects. The helicopters are suddenly attacked by a 100 foot-tall bipedal ape known as “Kong”, and many are destroyed. The survivors are split into two groups, their only hope for rescue is a resupply team that will meet them at the island’s northern end in three days time. In the meanwhile, Randa reveals his affiliation to the secret government organization Monarch to Packard and the expedition’s real purpose: to acquire proof of the existence of forgotten monsters, fearing that they may soon return to take back the world from humanity.
On the way they encounter a giant spider that kills one man before Packard kills it. One team learns there are local Iwi natives on the island and meets Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), an eccentric but wise and virtuous Chicagoan lieutenant of the 45th Pursuit Squadron who spent 28 years stranded on Skull Island since World War II. He knows the creatures of the island, and is a friend of the Iwi natives. Marlow reveals crucial information about Kong. The teams encounter many more creatures such as a large octopus, a giant stick insect, a giant buffalo, pterosaur like creatures, Skullcrawlers and a place called the Forbidden Zone.
If you think this is another King Kong movie, you’re sadly mistaken, it’s not — the plot, the acting, the special effects, the twist and turns, the suspense, the emotions, the anger and the overall message is worth every second you spend watching this movie. Don’t judge Kong: Scull Island by the trailer, it is truly a work of art and every reason we go to the movies!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged bill randa, bipedal ape, brie larson, captain earl cole, corey hawkins, hank marlow, houston brooks, iwi natives, jack chapman, james conrad, john c reilly, john goodman, kong, kong: scull island, mason weaver, preston packard, pterosaur, samuel l jackson, shea whigham, skullcrawlers, toby kebbell, tom hiddleston
Just how many times is Hollywood going to remake Tarzan? I can’t come up with what motivates one to take on a project that’s been done so many times. The first Tarzan movie was a silent film called “Tarzan of the Apes” and was released in 1918. The ninth was called “Tarzan the Ape Man” and was a motion picture released in 1932. All in all, there were 57 Tarzan movies made between 1918 and 2013. Several books were written, starting in 1912, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created the character. There were also many Tarzan television series through the years. Having said that, it seems Tarzan continues to be a fascinating subject that never grows old and never stops making money at the box office. With a huge budget of $180M, The Legend of Tarzan finished #2 on the weekend box office behind “Finding Dory” grossing $46.5ååM after being released less than a week. Go figure! The story basically stays the same. A young boy is brought up in the jungle by apes after his parents are killed. Upon his return back to civilization, (England) Tarzan, who has fallen in love and married to Jane Porter, has acclimated to life in England having discovered his true identity as Lord Greystoke. Under King Leopole’s rule, Tarzan is asked to scout out his old digs in the Congo for signs of the Kings improvements to the land. Instead, something else is uncovered that includes a plan that Captain Rom intends to use the diamonds to pay for a massive army to subdue the Congo and allow Belgium to mine its wealth for Leopold’s benefit. Of course Tarzan being ruthless and powerful, will stop at nothing to rescue his family, the Congo and the slaves, along with the right to live free. The claim to fame in this version of Tarzan is eye-candy, Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan / John Clayton III / Lord Greystoke, the beautiful Margot Robbie as Tarzan’s wife / Jane Porter Clayton / Lady Greystoke, the charismatic and clever, Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams, an American envoy who suspects the king of several atrocities, Academy award winner, Christoph Waltz as Captain Léon Rom, a corrupt merciless Belgian captain, sent by King Leopold of Belgium to find diamonds and control the region and the handsome hunk, Djimon Hounsou as Chief Mbonga, the leader of an African tribe who controls the diamond region, and wants revenge against Tarzan for the death of his son.
While The Legend of Tarzan was basically the same old story, I found it fun and interesting to watch. Being a huge fan of Alexander Skarsgård from the days of True Blood and Christoph Waltz from Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds and Djimon Hounsou from Countless movies like Gladiator and In America, I enjoyed their flawless performances, the absolutely beautiful scenery, the special effects, the countless animals and I loved seeing the bad guys get what was coming to them. I think Tarzan is worth going to see on the big screen in 3D or standard. It was an entertaining movie!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alexander skarsgård, american envoy, captain Léon rom, chief mbonga, christoph waltz, Djimon Hounsou, england, george washington williams, jane porter clayton, john clayton iii, king leopold, lady greystoke, lord greystoke, margot robbie, samuel l jackson, tarzan, the legend of tarzan