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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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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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:

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Joker starring  Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro and directed by Todd Phillips, tells the story of a Gotham City man Arthur Fleck as he attempts to achieve his dreams of becoming a standup comic while battling mental illness and struggling to find his place within a society that does not treat or accept him fairly.

I saw this movie opening weekend in October 2019, and then 5 more times after that. With so many things going on with work and grad school, I just did not have the time to review this film. This by far, I think is the best Joaquin Phoenix movie I have seen, in addition to one of the best movies of all time. There is something extremely deep about this film and the story behind it. There is such an odd connection that moviegoers have with the lead character Arthur. We see that he does his best to live a life that mainstream society may call, “normal”. Arthur works as an entertainer, trying to make ends meet, he takes care of his sick mother, and he is even receiving treatment and attempting to live with his inner struggles, by dealing with his mental illness, to the best of his ability. The character tries to deal with his issues as he displays independence and even attempts to have a relationship with a neighbor that appears to understand him, but overall the movie is not quite what it seems to be, at least through the main character’s eyes.

Arthur, as portrayed by Joaquin, is completely transformed into this the dark and complex character that we all thought we knew just through our background knowledge of the Batman comic book and film franchise but as we all know now, this film is a standalone movie but still artistically connects the historical relationship between the Wayne family and Arthur aka the Joker in a way that makes the two storylines blend together very well.

All the elements of this film are massive ingredients for a film success on so many levels. The visual representations were creative and authentic.  We were brought into the character’s world and underwent a journey of emotional experiences that enveloped a multitude of highs and lows, as well as revels shocking moments and moments of happiness and potential hope. This film has won several awards including a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actor as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The Score took me to that place where emotions dwell deep within, where questions about the structure of how our society appropriately and inappropriately deals with mental illness, bullying, and the differences among people. Joaquin Phoenix in conjunction with  Robert De Niro and the supporting cast all created a world where the moviegoer sees the world of mental illness, poverty and the other complexities of life including the horrors of child abuse and enabling as ongoing issues that need to be exposed and changed for the better to improve the quality of human life.

Overall, I gave this movie 5 stars

Joker is a great film.

L.L

Check out the trailer below…

Check out the Amazing Bathroom Dance song that received an award for Best Score.

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IT Chapter Two directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Bill Skarsgard, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader follows a group of friends 27 years later as they returned to their childhood home to battle an ancient entity known as Pennywise The Clown. Based on Stephen King’s original novel and adapted film, IT chapter 2 was the horror movie that I’ve been waiting for the past two years. This particular film answered a lot of questions for those who are familiar with the franchise, closed many gaps and connected the historical elements that the original film brought horror fans. It delves into the history of Pennywise as well as provided a deeper back story within the Losers Club characters.

Overall this was a very good movie; and all of the elements connected extremely well. The writing provided a sense of closure and final reality which crossed over into the elements of horror, romance, and comedy. The casting choices were amazing and each adult cast member brought their own uniqueness to the story while still being true to the story and the nature of the characters themselves. The blending of the past and the present was done very tastefully and with concise elegance and commitment. The special effects were interesting at times and well done with the goal of getting audience members scared. There were times when some of the special effects drew on the amazing historical connections of classic horror movie magic. I saw elements of a Nightmare on Elm St., The Shinning, and Evil Dead; all of which contributed to my love for the genre. My only critique would be that I just wished that this movie was released during the official Halloween season which would have added to the eeriness and scare tactics of what horror brings during the fall.

I think that Bill Skarsgard should be extremely proud of himself and the work that he did to create a character that was intensely scary. He can now join the elite club of iconic horror movie monsters with great honor.
This is a great movie to see again and I’m looking forward to adding it to my modern classic collection.

I gave this film five stars,

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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Marvel’s Spiderman Far From Home, starring Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal tells the story of how a young Peter Parker and the world learns how to pick up the pieces of life without Ironman aka Tony Stark. Eager to go on a class trip to Europe, Peter plans to start living a normal life and finally decides to tell Mary Jane how he feels in hopes of inviting her to a romantic evening at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. His plans are quickly interrupted when he learns an evil villain has manifested halfway across the world to get Spiderman’s attention. Despite Peter’s efforts to ignore his calling from the legendary Nick Fury, Peter believes there is no chance to resurrect the once and thriving Avengers. A message sent by Tony put’s Peter’s life back in perspective, only for him to once again realize that it is still in his destiny to carry on Tony’s Heroic Legacy.

Spiderman Far From Home is an adventure thrill ride that brings forth the dawn of a new age of the Marvel comic films, while respectively giving fans closure for the loss of Ironman. It honors his heroism while still giving Spiderman the recognition he deserves to step in to be one of the sincerest heroes ever brought to life. The cast was great, and this movie returned the cinematic form of Spiderman into the beloved character we have loved in the comics for decades. Tom is a great Spiderman; this role was meant for him. Spiderman Far From Home is a great Midsummer Blockbuster film that fans will love. The humor, action, and the introduction of Mysterio was a breath of fresh air to the franchise.

I give this movie 5 stars, a rating that is deserving of a 21st century Marvel film.

L.L.

Check out the Trailer Below:

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