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Archive for the ‘Fantasy literature’ Category

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:

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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:

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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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Season 11 Episode 9: Major Spoiler Alert!

The Walking Dead Season 11-part B picked up where we last left Daryl as he was officially recruited to join the Reapers. Still reeling from Pope’s death and Daryl’s so-called “betrayal,” we find Leah completely changed as her true colors surface while taking on the leadership role of the Reapers. Maggie, Elijah, and Negan find themselves in an all-out war against Carver. Determined to capture her to settle the score with Maggie, Carver’s army of one is eventually subdued. Negan leaves after the fight with Carver. Daryl manages to make his way back to Maggie while using the Reaper Carver as bait to negotiate a peaceful truce between the two groups. Gabriel lurks in the shadows while he waits for the perfect moment to strike. He briefly battles an inner struggle of faith, reason, and survival while engaging in a defining character moment with the Reaper Preacher. This moment shows strength and a formidable force that Gabriel tries to remain contained within but unleashes when necessary. Elijah is injured from the fight with Carver and makes Maggie promise that the Reapers get what they deserve after they kill his sister Josephine. Maggie’s take no prisoners attitude quickly contributes to things ending with the deaths of the Reapers by her own hand. Daryl and Maggie find themselves on opposite sides as Maggie attempts to end things with Leah. She takes a shot at Leah but only grazes her shoulder. Leah manages to get away, and Daryl goes after her but allows her to leave, realizing that they might have had a life together if they had made different choices. Maggie and the group find the food they are looking for, and she keeps her promise to go back for Alden. Unfortunately, she learns that Alden is now a Walker.

Suffering from another loss, Maggie and the group push forward as they reunite with Gabriel and the members of their Alexandrian Community. Daryl discovers that Connie is alive and well. Aaron and Rosita save Judith and Gracie from the basement Walkers. The community experiences a moment of peace, and when they think, they may need to fight again, Eugene returns with the Commonwealth Community. 

No Other Way was a great episode that closed one story chapter and opened another. We soon experience another time jump in the Walking Dead’s storytelling process. In the upcoming scenes, some Alexandria members are trying to fit into the Commonwealth lifestyle. As we see Daryl dressed in Commonwealth soldier attire, we are unsure what this means exactly. He approaches The Hilltop and comes to talk to Maggie or offer her something. Maggie seems uninterested, and the Hilltop looks like it is undergoing reconstruction. Those who have read the comics know that the presence of the Commonwealth may not mean that it is a good thing.

Overall, the production of The Walking Dead has gotten better with time. The Basement Walker scene with Aaron was amazing. At this point, Aaron has taken on the persona of a superhero as he keeps pushing his human limits; he has evolved on so many levels. Judith’s abilities have also improved, and she proves time and time again that she is Rick and Michonne’s daughter. Maggie’s ability to lead and her strength has transformed into a powerful force to reckon with. We see a complete pillar of determination with her and the other characters as well. The Walking Dead’s look has also transformed into a blockbuster theater experience. The sets are more extensive and have more depth, personality, and energy. The story expands with each episode, and the bricks are being laid to reveal Rick’s return. As the story develops, Daryl is more than the lone wolf. We see his ability to love, fight and survive among the harshest and trying of circumstances. Daryl’s love for holding on to his true family has ignited a light in him that cannot be easily extinguished. This episode is worth watching more than once.

I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season will bring with the hope of Rick and Michonne returning before the end of the season.  

Check out the trailer below:

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by LaTaeya Lane

Spider-Man No Way Home Poster

Spiderman: No Way Home, directed by Jon Watts and starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Benedict Cumberbatch, picks up right after the events of Far from Home. Spiderman’s identity has been revealed, and he now must suffer the backlash of the world knowing who Peter Parker is. Out of desperation, Peter seeks help from Dr. Strange. Dr. Strange agrees to help, but in that process, the Multiverse is unraveled by a chain reaction of entities that poses a major threat to the current reality. Peter learns the hard way that his actions come with serious consequences despite the good intentions behind them.

Spiderman: No Way Home is packed with action that includes thrilling fight sequences that showcase a physically maturing Spiderman. The special effects are intensely done, and the cinematic elements transport the Marvel fan into Spiderman’s world. The Multiverse concept is blended into this story brilliantly and uniquely displays the creative components of writing. This film was exciting and worth all the time, energy, and funding used to create it. Tom Holland did a great job in his role as Spiderman. Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent as Dr. Strange, and the supporting cast had a beautiful way of projecting their chemistry on camera for all to see.

Spiderman: No Way Home is a must-see movie. I gave this movie five stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning: Spoilers Below!

Halloween Kills “Movie Review”

Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Anthony Michael Hall, and Andi Matichak, is the sequel to the 2018 film Halloween. The film takes place right after the first film’s events where Laurie Strode and her daughter and granddaughter attempt to trap Michael Myers in a burning home to rid the world and Haddonfield of decades-old trauma and torment.

While Laurie recovers in the hospital, she and her family quickly realize that Michael is still alive as they band together with the local townspeople to help defend and protect each other. This movie was a lot different from the others in the franchise because it mainly focused on a variety of other characters’ perspectives that writers never before explored in the original films, such as Tommy Doyle, Officer Hawkins, and Lonnie Elam. We even see Nurse Marion as she joins the cause to help. However, once again, Michael proves to Haddonfield that he is a force to be reckoned with. Despite the efforts of Laurie and the strong women in her family, the darkness that is Michael Myers is practically impossible to overcome in this case.

Overall, I thought the film was exciting and well done. As a Horror fan and a fan of the Halloween Franchise, it’s just tradition to love a movie that defines the spirit of Halloween. It was good to see a more realistic hospital concept filled with patients and their families considering the deserted concept in the original Halloween sequel all those years ago. However, we’ve seen it all at this point, as police and the people in the town take shots and swings at Michael that have no lasting effect on him. We’ve seen him take out a whole police department and now practically an entire fire department. We’ve seen him throw people out of a window, strangle people in a car, impale people with strange objects, and so on. I’m not sure what the franchise has in store for fans in the future, but it may be time for Michael to retire his mask and for Laurie to enjoy the rest of her days with peace. The special effects and other production elements were done with a clear vision, but aside from the opening credits, the score missed the mark on so many levels. The classic John Carpenter Halloween theme wasn’t touched in a way that allowed fans to connect to the films as done in the past traditionally. I still don’t know how much I like the new story to reflect that Laurie is not Michael’s bother. I’m still processing that idea, and honestly, I may never get over that. This film’s body count is high, and Michael’s comedic and dramatic personality was still the same. Jamie’s performance was thrilling as usual, and the supporting cast brought a unique wave of interest that helped produce a decent flow of the film.

I gave this film 3 ½ stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning Spoilers Below

Candyman 2021, directed by Nia DaCosta, written by Jordan Peele, and starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, appeared to be a retelling/sequel of the classic 1992 Horror film. The story follows artist Anthony McCoy, also known as the baby that was taken and almost sacrificed to Candyman in the original movie. Anthony’s goal is to become a prominent name in the art world. However, to reach his goal, he opens the door to resurrect Candyman through his artwork and loses himself and the life he has built with his girlfriend in the process.

Without trying to give too much away, I struggled to like this film. I tried because I loved the original, and I like Jordan Peele’s work. The storytelling process was a bit much, and I didn’t particularly appreciate how the writers tried to water down the legend that Tony Todd worked so hard to create. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, hoping to see Tony.  Honestly, the main reason why I wanted to see this film was that I was hoping to see Tony throughout the film, not just in the last five minutes.  The story about the baby being all grown up was a good concept, but it became lost when the writers attempted to recreate the story by adding “new Candymans” in the mix. The whole idea of trying to turn Anthony into Candyman wasn’t a good idea at all. The haunting elements that made this franchise so thrilling weren’t present. The story was overworked, and the kill scenes were just “blah.”  I will say that I was very excited when I saw Coleman Domingo (FEAR THE WALKING DEAD); however, when his character arc came full circle, it was just another letdown for me. The storyline was a little disjoined despite some elements from the original blended within. Although the cast was ok, I didn’t get that initial chemistry I usually see and discuss in my reviews. I was not too fond of the idea of multiple Candymans and one of them leaving candy on the floor before a victim succumbs to the hook. Another thing I didn’t like was how they tried to alter Daniel Robitaille’s (Candyman’s) origin story.

I still want fans of the original to see this film because it does make a great conversation piece. You will find yourself constantly comparing this new version to the original and analyzing the conceptual process of this film. Unfortunately, the film missed the mark for me, but maybe some new fans will come to like this version. I might attempt to watch it again once it is released on a streaming service.

I gave this film 2 ½ stars.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Warning Major Spoilers Below:

The Walking Dead Season 11 Premiere starring Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, opened with fans sitting on the edge of their seat.  We find Alexandria’s group trying to pick up the pieces of a broken community after the Whispers War. The group tries to move forward as they attempt to search for much-needed food and supplies with the hope of rebuilding everything that they lost. Unfortunately, their new mission takes them into unfamiliar territory within an abandoned military base.  In classic TWD style, the group must face a variety of threats, seen and unseen. Daryl leads the group as they work together to tactically maneuver throughout the space in order to gather the materials they need. Things go awry quickly as Daryl suffers from a cut that leads to a chain of events that once again threatens the group’s survival.

Meanwhile, we finally see how things unfold with Eugene, Ezekiel, Princess, and Yumiko as they undergo processing at the Commonwealth Community. With much anticipation, we are introduced to the Comicbook Character Mercer. He has a strong military background and is the head of security of this community. Mercer is very hard to read, but I am looking forward to knowing his on-screen persona. Trust is big here between both Eugene’s group and the leaders of the Commonwealth.  Ezekiel and the others attempt to convince Eugene that coming to this community was not a good idea, but by the time he realizes it, it’s too late. Princess reveals that she has some interesting and valuable skills to help the group escape; however, those skills bring Yumiko closer to a family member she thought she once lost.

After Daryl’s group retrieves some food and supplies from the military base, they realize that their food won’t last long. So Maggie proposes that they go on another mission; to return to the community, she went to when she was with Georgie. Maggie states that Meridian has food, water, and supplies to help Alexandria rebuild; however, the Reapers killed everyone and took over the place.  Daryl and the majority of the group agree to go on the mission, clearly understanding that it is a considerable risk in many different ways. The group begins their mission, where a host of dangers lurk around. A major storm blocks their path, but Maggie suggests using the subway tunnels to avoid the bad weather. They all agree, but as more dangers strike, Negan feels it is a bad idea to continue. He seems to have a working knowledge of the area; but, since Daryl and other members of the group struggle with trusting Negan, he and Daryl struggle to find common ground.  As they continue, Daryl gets separated from the group, and Maggie is put in a situation where she has to lean on Negan for help. Unfortunately,  it looks like he ends up betraying Maggie, but looks can be deceiving.

This is the final season of The Walking Dead, and I felt that this was a great start to building a conclusion that will open doors for more storytelling. It was so exciting to see Daryl and Maggie together. Norman’s on-screen presence brings happiness and delight to fans. His demeanor and attitude are the definition of cool.  He looks amazing in the opening scene as he overlooks to scan the area below to ensure the group’s safety. Carol’s strength and leadership skills are impressive and have evolved with time. The military set with the lurkers was a great scene. Their positions on the ground and the darkness of the scene was a different type of darkness shown on TWD. The atmosphere was a muddled, cloudy, dusty, desolate environment that doesn’t understand the concept of light. The lurkers appeared to be sleeping, which is something very different we see in this world. When Daryl’s arm is cut, and the blood drops into the eye of the lurker, it starts a chain reaction that awakens the rest of them. This moment reminds me of when Selene awoke Markus in the Underworld films. Remember, they were vampires. This whole place brings up a lot of questions that I hope fans would get answers.

Another major scene in this episode was the subway tunnel that was filled with Walker body bags. This was another dark area that looked cool and scary at the same time. It seems as if those bodies were there from the start, but I hope we are told a good story that explains what happened there and at the military base. Both sets were done with a lot of creativity and consideration of the changing world. The artistry behind the Walking Dead brings fans into the world. This is not just any television show, but it is the greatest show of all time. I suggest watching the episode again in search of Easter eggs. The premiere episode was great in all aspects.

Five stars!!

L.L.

Check out the official trailer below:

As a bonus, check out the official TWD promo song “Who Will You Become.”

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Marvel’s Black Widow, directed by Cate Shortland, stars Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, and Rachel Weisz. The film goes deep into Natasha Romanoff’s past as it explores her origin story within the MCU. The events pick up between the events from Captain America Civil War and the start of Infinity War.

In this film, there are many questions about Romanoff that are answered. First, we are introduced to members of her family. We also were able to look at how her involvement as a spy/assassin has impacted the relationship she has with her family.  It is very evident to see the deep-rooted emotional scars that Romanoff carries throughout the franchise films, but now we understand why.  

What is nice about this film is that the director, writers, and Scarlett do an excellent job at creating and showing multiple layers of Romanoff that we have seen before while still allowing the audience to explore this character in a brand-new way without losing any depth to her.

Overall, the film was great but also very fresh. The chemistry between Romanoff and her family was tight. I loved the little comedy added into the script and enjoyed the detailed and elaborate action and fight sequences. The movie flowed well, and I had no issue with the length of it.  Florence, David, and Rachel did a great job bringing their characters to life. Their performances added more thrill to the film.  Scarlett did a fantastic job with her overall performance, and the storytelling process made us fully understand her character in a newfound way.

This movie is worth seeing multiple times. I gave this film five stars!

Please check out the trailer below.

L.L

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It “Review”

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson and directed by Michael Chaves is the third film in the Conjuring Franchise. The film follows Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate a murder that is potentially linked to a demonic possession. Documented as true events, we see two characters and a story that explores how strong Ed and Lorraine’s love for each other is. Ed and Lorraine are in a different stage in their lives and careers as they continue to battle the dark forces to save and protect the families they connect with.

Overall, this film was strong in its storytelling components. Wilson and Farmiga make a great pair, as their on-screen presence continues to charm movie goers. The supporting cast did not do much for me. I was hoping to see some storytelling blending between the court case and the haunting/exorcism, somewhat like the Exorcism of Emily Rose. There were some noticeable horror references throughout the film that were fun to point out, but I did feel like the first two films were much better than this latest installment. I was also looking for a deeper connection to the Nun in this film, but that also fell a bit flat. Since the Nun has appeared throughout the franchise, including a prequel, I was still hungry to see if there was more to that story despite the ending in The Conjuring 2. The special effects were average according to my expectations. This film did not give me that “jump out of my seat” feeling, but it was still worth watching and it was a lot of fun.

This was my very first in-theater post pandemic movie. I gave this movie 3 ½ stars. I highly recommend watching all the Conjuring Universe Films.

L.L

Check out the trailer below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9Q4zZS2v1k

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