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by LaTaeya Lane

AMC’s The Walking Dead started with a Georgia Deputy Sheriff named Rick Grimes, portrayed by (Andrew Lincoln). Suffering from an on-the-job gunshot wound, Rick ended up in a coma only to wake up and learn that the world he once knew was gone and riddled with the dead as they plagued the Earth roaming, lurking, and walking, ready to devour any living being that crossed their path.

Rick set out on a journey to find his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs), and along the way, he met a man named Morgan Jones (Lenni James) that would save his life and set him on a path to great leadership. Rick found his family and a group that would be the genesis of a story that eventually changed how humanity would survive the apocalypse.

Rick’s sole purpose was to survive, and through that purpose, he strived to find a permanent place where his family and the community that he has grown to love could thrive and have a future; however, for Rick’s purpose to have true meaning he had to endure the psychotic nature of many different enemies. Unfortunately, those enemies included people from other groups.

Rick’s leadership started with a small camp just outside of Atlanta. From there, his survival adventure led him to a farm where he met The Green family, then he and his group lived on the road for a while. Next, he found a Prison where he thought he could build a life and fortify. After he crossed paths and fought and survived Woodbury’s Governor (David Morrissey), he and the group again tried to start over. On the road again in search of a new place, he and the group met a man named Aaron (Ross Marquand), bringing them to a gated community called Alexandra. It is there where Rick and the group find their place until they meet a group called The Saviors, led by the now famous Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan). After many lives lost and another war, the Alexandra safe zone is where Rick brings other local communities together, such as Hilltop, The Kingdom, and Oceanside.

As the years went by, Rick developed many friendships, allies, and enemies. He lost his wife Lori and his son Carl, but he was able to start over and build a new life with his daughter Judith (Cailey Fleming) and his partner, the katana-wielding Michonne(Danai Gurira).

After years of fighting and shortlived moments of peaceful times, Rick’s survival is tested again as he attempts to save his community from Walkers breaching the borders of the Alexandra safe zone. We last see Rick being taken away in a helicopter as he seeks medical attention for his injuries as directed by his possible ally Jadis (Pollyanna Mcintosh), who he met while trying to form an alliance to fight against Negan and the Saviors.

The surviving members of Rick’s group have done their best to pick up the pieces of a life first orchestrated by Rick. Many years have gone by, and we now see the group has left Alexandra to seek a new home and more opportunities for growth and expansion in a place called the Commonwealth. However, things are not as they seem. The organization of this group quickly reveals a vast amount of unfair treatment, injustices, and corruption among its leaders. We see the legacy of Rick Grimes live through each and every character as they prepare to fight the injustices of the Commonwealth.

Rick’s brother Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) has been there from the beginning and has now taken on the leadership role in Rick’s absence. However, he has also taken on another important role: father figure to Rick’s daughter Judith and his youngest son RJ (Antony Azor), whom he shares with partner Michone. As the final season wraps up, we find Daryl and the group back at Alexandra as they try to fight their way through a herd of evolving Walkers, tapped by the Commonwealth’s troupers,  searching for a safe place to regroup. At the same time, Judith suffers from a wound after she attempts to save Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) life. Meanwhile, as Aaron and Jerry (Cooper Andrews) try to help Lydia (Cassady McClincy) cope with a newly amputated arm, they do their best to get back on track to be reunited with the rest of their group.

All the puzzle pieces move together simultaneously as the group fights through the darkness of what they thought would be a good life in the Commonwealth community. They fight for the true meaning of freedom and eventually are victorious, but not without the consequences and casualties of war.

The Walking Dead’s Series Finale tied some loose ends while keeping the door open to various storylines and spinoffs. Despite knowing that some stories will continue, such as Daryl’s, Maggie’s, Negan’s, and Rick and Michonne’s, it’s sad to see the end of an Era. The showrunners did an excellent job with the flow and finalization of the story as they showcased the continued strength and determination of the group to fight for what is right. The feature film length of the final episode brought tears to my eyes as I experienced the final zombie visualization push through the screen.

We have seen Rick’s story evolve through his eyes and through the eyes of some of the most beloved heroes and anti-heroes that the TWD universe has to offer. The reason why The Walking Dead is the greatest show of all time is because it is through its heroes that it displays the true nature of what it means to be human; the light, the dark, the strength, perseverance and determination, the hope of family faith and love, the spirit of friendship and loyalty all wrapped up into a shared experience that has transcended time and American Television. Rick’s story will live on because it is the story that has pushed the envelope and defined what it means to truly live as hope and light guide the way forward.

Check out the final episode trailer below:

L.L.

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by LaTaeya Lane

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

Wakanda Forever directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, and Lupita Nyong’o follows the story of how the world of Wakanda tries to find its place as they deal with the tragic events of losing King T’Challa.

This film was an epic adventure that introduced fans to a new villain, Namor portrayed by Tenoch Huerta as well as introduced us to a new generation of Black Female superheroes. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s overall theme explored the impact of how devastating grief can have on loved ones as well as a community, but it also displayed the gentle tenderness of pain while exposing the grandeur and immense power of love, hope, family, and traditions.

The all-star cast conveyed raw emotion as their on and off- screen chemistry and love for Chadwick Boseman poured through each heartfelt performance. Angela Bassett delivered an award-winning performance as the mother of the late King while ruling as the Queen of Wakanda. Letitia Wright also deserves recognition for a job well done as she walked on the line of displaying such realism and strength in her role.

The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira did an amazing job portraying the Wakandan General Okoye. Her performance projected the true spirit of love and loyalty in only a way that she could deliver.

The special effects blended well throughout the film and the score added to the raw emotion that the performers gave. The costumes and set designs were stunning as each look created a unique balance within the characters’ personalities as well as set the tone and mood to make the setting more magical. The action sequences were intense and drew you in as if you were fighting along with the characters. The origin story of Namor and his people was written very well and opened the door to an infinite form of possibilities regarding story development and the possible expansion of the Marvel Universe including the further exploration of Wakanda’s place in the world of the Avengers.

Marvel created an amazing tribute to Chadwick that is sure to leave moviegoers in tears. Overall, I gave this film five stars for the beautiful story and theater experience that it showcased.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

Halloween Ends (Review)

by LaTaeya Lane

Warning: Mild Spoilers Below

Halloween Ends, starring (Jamie Lee Curtis) and directed by David Gordon Green, takes place four years after the last battle, which left Laurie Strode and the residents of Haddonfield still reeling from the traumatic events after Halloween Kills.

We find Laurie once again attempting to pick up the pieces of her life. This time we see her and her granddaughter managing to fuse their lives as they try to move on. Things quickly spiral once Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson played by (Andi Matichak) finds a love interest, Cory, portrayed by (Rohan Campbell) who completely changes the narrative of Michael Myers.

Laurie Strode, portrayed by the legendary Jamie Lee Curtis, is a formidable force to be reckoned with. After all these years, she still has a lot of fight in her. However, Laurie is much older and is in a different place in her life as she continues her battle with Evil. On the other hand, the Shape has also weakened with time, and moviegoers will see the effects of that weakness and how it plays such a pivotal role within this storyline.

Without giving too much away, I think that the film presented a fresh take on the lasting impact that Michael has had on Laurie and Haddonfield. It also gave fans an interesting spin on how the magic of horror can be revealed without remorse or explanation. Finally, this film introduces dedicated fans to a new concept of energy transference to The Shape’s, aka Michael Myers’ persona.

To some degree, the film did miss the mark on providing a better conclusion to Michael’s and Laurie’s story but overall, I was very satisfied with how the way things ended with Michael. At one point, I got excited about Cory’s introduction, thinking he might take the reins as a new reincarnated version of Michael Myers.

After 44 years of screaming, running, chasing, hunting, hiding, fighting, haunting, struggling, hoping, believing, and persevering, the Halloween saga has pushed the limits of horror. It has transcended time as the ultimate Good versus Evil theme and will forever reign as a staple in cinematic horror history.

Halloween Ends is must-see for those fans dedicated to the franchise.

I gave this movie 4 stars

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

Nope (Review)

Warning: Mild Spoilers Below

Nope, written and directed by Jordan Peele and starring Daniel Kaluuya (OJ Haywood), Keke Palmer (Emerald Haywood), and Steven Yeun (Ricky Park) follows a family and small California Ranch community as they experience and attempt to document a series of strange phenomena linked to an extraterrestrial probe that is connected to the sudden death of siblings OJ and Emerald’s father.

This Sci-Fi Horror is the summer blockbuster of the year. It was so exciting to experience this film in IMAX. For fans that believe in the Ancient Alien Astronaut Theory, this is the film we have been waiting years to see. The story was very well written and uniquely presented.  Filled with subject matter that Sci-Fi moviegoers are familiar with, however, the level at which this was brought to life was moving, and eye-catching. Daniel’s character performance showed a humbled strength that transformed and elevated every scene. Keke’s performance created a balance among the onscreen family dynamic and Steven Yeun’s character portrayal (Ricky Park) gave filmgoers the invitation to think and ask deep questions about the character’s traumatic past while connecting the elements of his story with the story of OJ and Emerald. The elements of horror were prevalent in certain parts of the film. There are some scary moments that will make you almost jump out of your seat.

The setting was structured well, and the plot had a special backstory intertwined within that gave fans an acknowledgment of great respect. The film’s visual effects and score were magical. All the components were blended to create a cinematic masterpiece. Nope is a movie that will open the door to a world of possibilities.  It is a great film that will give you the means to live in the moment while escaping into a world where the existence of aliens is no longer a secret conversation, and their presence is no longer part of the dark shadows of conspiracy theories. Nope…

I gave this movie 5 stars! It is worth seeing again..

L.L.

Please check out the trailer below:

Thor Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi and starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, takes place some years after the events of Endgame. The story follows Thor as he tries to rebuild his life and the world of the Asgardian people. In the process, we find Thor battling against a dark entity known as Goor, the god Butcher (portrayed by Christian Bale), whose sole purpose is to kill all the other gods in the universe.

This film had a lot of subplots going on. It was enjoyable; however, too many comical elements within the film took away from the storytelling process. Some adult references were not appropriate for children. This movie felt a bit out of sorts with the cohesive story we are familiar with in a Thor movie. Parts of the story did fit, but I think it was how the story was presented that made me question the film. Christian Bale’s character was fascinating. This role added to his repertoire of diverse acting, but I think too much time was spent on how Thor would handle Goor. His idea to build a large team to help fight the villain failed fast, so it ended up being Jane, Valkyrie, and Korg as Thor’s backup. The costumes throughout the movie were very cool, and the score added an old-school youthful tone to the film. The visual effects were nothing out of the ordinary; however, I did have an issue with the look of some of the intergalactic creatures. The fight scenes were exciting to see. Jane’s storyline was a disappointing shocker, but I did enjoy (Portman’s) transformation into the “Mighty Thor.”  She did do an excellent job of portraying a superhero. It was also great seeing (Tessa Thompson) reprise her role as Valkyrie. As the “King” of Asgard, I thought I would see her take on a more leadership role in the film, which never really happened. She has the potential to be an extraordinary force in the Marvel universe with more character development and solo screen performances that truly showcase that potential.

Overall, I think that this film was fun. So please don’t expect it to be as complex as most Marvel movies in the past. I gave this film three stars. However, I think this film is better suited for streaming on Disney+.  

Please check out the trailer below:

L.L.

Warning Spoilers Below!

Jurassic World: Dominion starring Chris Pratt, and Bryce Dallas Howard and directed by Colin Trevorrow picks up a few years after the events of Fallen Kingdom. We now see Clair and Owen immersed in a relationship while human society and the world of dinosaurs have been completely merged. Meanwhile, we see Allan (Sam Neill), Ian (Jeff Goldblum), and Ellie, (Laura Dern) reprise their roles as prominent paleontologists as they set out to expose a major revelation in the area of genetics. Clair and Owen quickly find themselves caught in a rescue mission while the doctors find themselves at the center of a dark conspiracy theory that continues to raise eyebrows in the scientific world.

Jurassic World: Dominion was a thrill ride that I hoped it would be. This film was packed with a lot of great action sequences. The casting was spot on and blending the classic franchise characters with the new generation characters worked extremely well. Adding new characters, DaWanda Wise (Kayla), and Mamoudou Athie (Ramsay), gave the storytelling process and overall character chemistry a light that brightened the story. The elements of humor and action added to the film while the mood created an atmosphere of adventure that left moviegoers on the edge of their seats. The special effects didn’t feel like effects. The components of cinematography brought you into the world as if it were real. This movie is worth seeing again for the overall thrill of adventure.

I gave this movie 5 stars. It is the blockbuster we have been waiting for!

Check out the trailer below:

L.L.

Warning: Light Spoilers Below

by LaTaeya Lane

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is the second installment of Marvel films centered around the beloved Sorcerer.  Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, this film follows Doctor Stephen Strange as he protects a powerful Multiverse Traveler, America Chavez, from the wrath of Scarlett Witch, aka Wanda Maximoff.

The movie opens with an action sequence only fit for a Marvel production.  The opening scene sets the tone for an unforgettable theatrical experience.  It was great to see how Sam Raimi’s directorial vision came to life, opening the door and allowing moviegoers to be inside the Multiverse.  Fans of Doctor Strange know that he has been seen across many films within the MCU.  The Multiverse of Madness was a film that showed how much Doctor Strange has evolved in his role as a leader and magical being.  He seems to be quite settled in his life and very confident in his abilities.

This fast-moving thrill ride brings Scarlett Witch to the forefront of being a major villain.  Her past trauma from facing Thanos and suffering from losing the alternate reality she created is the foundation of her pain.  Scarlett destroys everything and everyone in her path to get what she wants in an attempt to change the past and rewrite her future.  

The Multiverse of Madness was a film that brought many theatrical and literary elements together.  The visual piece that this movie presented was magical.  The plot sequences opened our minds up to the endless possibilities that the human imagination can create and execute.  The creatures, monsters, and other mystical entities were a blast to see on the Silver Screen.  More questions and theories surfaced while the adventure ran its course.  There were elements of horror and classic Sam Raimi representations throughout the film that worked together perfectly like intricate pieces of a puzzle.

The main cast worked very well together.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen made a great team, while cast members who played America, Wong, Mordo, and Christine created tight chemistry that added to the film’s overall tone.  There are a few surprises near the end, and fans should expect to hang back in the theater for two post-credit scenes.

I am looking forward to what the future holds for Doctor Strange.  This movie is worth going to see a second time.

I gave this movie five stars!

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

Warning: Some Spoilers Below!

by LaTaeya Lane

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, directed by David Yates and starring Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law, continues the story of beloved magizoologist Newt Scamander as he protects one of the Wizarding World’s most delicate magical creatures from the hands of Grindelwald.

The third film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise touched on several storylines. We learned more about Dumbledore’s private life and his struggles while he embraced his role as a future leader of Hogwarts. In the process, we were able to see his power in full force and see how he manages to put the needs of others before his own. This film had a very mature tone while still managing to infuse moments of lightheartedness and triumph.

The introduction of a few new characters only tightened the plot and added to the story’s overall flow. The cast’s chemistry was on point, which created a unique feel that only the Wizarding World could portray. The costume design and classic score added to the mood, while the special effects created that magical atmosphere that all Harry Potter fans adore.

Overall, this was a great film that added to the thrill of an undying franchise. I gave this movie four and a half stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

The Walking Dead season 11B Mid-season Recap and Review

Warning Spoilers Below!

In The Walking Dead’s season 11B mid-season Finale, we see Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel on a mission with the Commonwealth’s troopers to clear out some buildings nearby. Unfortunately, things go left when Daryl realizes Hornsby is leading him and his crew into a trap. As they move with the troopers, Daryl works out a plan to take them down. A major shootout erupts in a salvage yard, and Daryl and company come out on top as they take down Hornsby’s men. However, Daryl is on his trail after learning that Leah is after Maggie.

 Maggie is on a path to put an end to Hornsby’s shenanigans. Accompanied by Elijah, Marco, and Lydia, she converses with Negan and Annie as she plans for Negan to watch Hershel, so he is protected from the crossfire of war. In the process of Negan accepting Maggie’s offer, she tells Negan that she is starting to trust him, which is a defining moment between these two characters. Maggie leaves Hershel with Negan and Annie and sets off the end things with Hornsby.

Back inside the Commonwealth Community, Connie, Kelly, Eugene, Magna, and Ezekiel are working to expose the community to the truth behind all the missing people in the Commonwealth. Max is working Behind the scenes to provide the group with evidence so she can fully expose Pamela Milton and the underhanded agenda that the Commonwealth community poses.

Leah and Maggie eventually face off in a fight to the death. This very intense fight sequence ends with Leah’s demise as Daryl saves Maggie with one fatal shot. However, as he defends her, Daryl shoots Hornsby in the face, which only angers him to such a degree that Lance eventually takes over Hilltop, Alexandra, and Oceanside.

Maggie and Daryl reunite with Aaron and Gabriel, not realizing they don’t have a safe and stable place to call home anymore.

Overall, this was a good episode that closed the chapter on Leah and her one-woman Reaper army while starting a new chapter revealing Lance Hornsby’s true intentions with the Hilltop and its sister communities. The shootout scene with Daryl, Aaron, and Gabriel was well structured and had a great flow. In addition, the scene’s mood had a freshness that added to the TWD universe.

The Maggie and Leah fight scene was epic, creating solid layers of character dimension among the two women. This scene gave us a chance to see Maggie in a different light. The fierceness within Maggie displays a complex character that has evolved since we were introduced to her in season two. Another character that has undergone a tremendous transformation is Daryl. First and foremost, Daryl has learned to trust himself and understands that he has a lot to offer. He has grown to become a force that people love, respect, and follow throughout this journey.

The scene with Connie and Kelly created a new mood that graduates the TWD universe into a New Era of progression. It makes a statement that whispers notes of the past while simultaneously implying that a future of collaboration and peace will not be possible in this post-apocalyptic world.

The final eight episodes of The Walking Dead will air this Fall and will surely keep us on the edge of our seats.

This is the perfect time to binge the entire show before the Fall.

L.L

Check out the episode trailer below:

Morbius Movie Review

Warning: Beware of Spoilers!

Morbius starring Jared Leto and Matt Smith and directed by Daniel Espinosa, tells the origin story of the vampire hybrid that is known to be part of Spiderman’s Universe.

Morbius is a brilliant doctor that suffers from a degenerative blood disease. Determined to find a cure for himself and his best friend, he attempts to conduct an experiment that he hopes will change his quality of life. But instead, Morbius finds himself in a realm between good vs. evil.

I understand that the buzz going around has suggested that this was not up to Marvel’s standards, and fans have not been pleased; however, I thought that the film had a lot going for it. The most important concept was that this was not a traditional vampire story. This character was created in a laboratory: an extreme side effect due to the medication that Dr. Morbius injected himself with. The whole concept around this type of vampire was fascinating. The fluidity of the character was almost magical, and the transitions between vampire and human were blended creatively. When engaged in combat, the intensity behind the characters brought the anti-superhero concept into full force. I thought that the storyline had a good foundation, and the overall flow and mood of the film connected well. The movie gave us enough to gain interest and left us open enough for many questions to be asked.

I think that Morbius being added into the Spiderman Universe at this time could be interpreted as random since we haven’t even seen or heard of him since now. However, at least with Venom, he was slowly introduced, and then we got to see his character fully evolve with his stand-alone movies. Please note that the classic end credit scenes pose more questions, but we should anticipate a future Spiderman encounter with Morbius.

I am looking forward to a tighter storyline and more character development with Morbius, but I will continue to be optimistic about his involvement and evolution in the Marvel films.

Give this movie a chance; It’s not as bad as some reviews state.

I gave this film 3 stars.

L.L

Check out the trailer below:

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