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by LaTaeya Lane

The third installment of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise was an incredible adventure that dug into the past while providing a hopeful future for the characters we know and love.

Directed by James Gunn, this film takes place sometime after the tragic events of End Game. We see the devastating impact that Gomora’s (Zoe Saldana) death has had on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the Guardians.  

In their attempt to move forward, the Guardians must find a way to heal from their loss as a new threat surfaces to destroy the universe.

With an unshakable cast, a strong and tight storyline, and consistent and larger-than-life special effects, Guardians of the Galaxy volume 3 is a must-film that will move you. Character connections evolve throughout the story and impact how the audience receives the realistic components within the theme. Additionally, the delivery of humor was intertwined gracefully, while the majestic nature of these superheroes is genuinely touching in multiple ways.

The cast brought this film to life; the director’s perspective created a movie that fans would love and appreciate.

I gave Guardians of the Galaxy 5 stars. It’s a must-see and hopefully will set the tone for (a fantastic summer blockbuster season.

L.L.

Check out the trailer below:

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by LaTaeya Lane

John Wick Chapter 4, directed by Chad Stahelski and starring Keanu Reeves, continues the saga of the legendary hitman as he battles his way to free himself from The High Table and all the expectations that come with it.

This movie is the definition of high-octane action. We are once again drawn into a world of international luxury where the darkness of high society rules the world and where no one is safe from escape. The complicated story of The High Table becomes more intense as John attempts to face his inner and outer demons.

John Wick Chapter 4 is a fast-paced film, yet it flows nicely to where you can follow the direction as to where John Wick is going. He meets old friends and new enemies throughout his journey as he maintains his classic style and calculated nature.

This movie, by far, is one of the best Keanu Reeves action films I have ever seen. The fight sequences, fantastic choreography, stunning backdrops, fabulous fashion, and diverse casting created a visual experience like no other. Almost every scene is unforgettable, and the film establishes a tone of familiarity while still able to evolve into a new elemental force within the genre.

I hate to admit that John Wick Chapter 4 was the first movie in the franchise I’ve seen in the theater, and I must say that it was such an exciting adventure that I couldn’t stop thinking about it ever after it was over.

The cast was chosen to create an interlocking ensemble that united the storytelling process. In addition, each character delivered a performance that kept fans on the edge of their seats.

John Wick Chapter 4 is a film that must be experienced in the theater. It was amazing and did not disappoint. This movie will take you all over the world. The draw-dropping scenery is a character in its own right. John Wick Chapter 4 pushes the limits of high-energy concepts and displays a variety of fighting styles. We see John Wick explore different weapons as well as diversify his world while giving movie-goers a thrill ride filled with new reveals, the exposure of deeper secrets, and shocking moments that will surely rock your world.

I gave John Wick Chapter 4, 5 stars.

L.L.

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by LaTaeya Lane

Avatar: The Way of Water, directed by James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver, Cliff Curtis, and Stephen Lange, takes place years after we see Jake Sully permanently assimilated into the world of Pandora. Now mated for life with partner Neytiri, portrayed by Zoe Saldana, we find that Jake is also the father of four children. However, the Sully family’s happiness quickly fades as Jake’s old enemy Quaritch, portrayed by Stephen Lange, takes the form of an Avatar to finish the war he started against Jake.

Jake and his family are no longer safe within the trees of their forest home, so he makes the tough decision to move his family out of the forest and into the water world to seek refuge among a new community of warriors. The Sully family begins a new life as they learn the ways of the Metkayina Tribe.

Avatar: The Way of Water is a cinematic masterpiece with a little bit of everything packed into the three hours plus film. This film made magic real for me as I took this magical thrill ride of adventure into another realm of imagination and wonder. The addition of new characters quickly became favorites while we were enthralled to explore how Jake and Neytiri’s world has evolved since we last saw them.

This movie was a visual spectacle on levels that are difficult to express. Experiencing it in 3D created a layer of dimension that only a movie theater could bring. The characters and the actors that brought them to life created an element of cohesiveness and chemistry that worked to maintain a balance that made the movie flow effortlessly. The storyline-maintained interest, while the score made me want something more to add to the theatrical experience. James Cameron has done it again with his directorial skills and deserves an Oscar nomination and win for best film and director.

Overall, I gave this film five stars. It is worth watching again. It is absolutely amazing!!

Check out the trailer below:

L.L

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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

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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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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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Warning  Light Spoilers below…

Season 10 of The Walking Dead directed by Greg Nicotero picks up several months after the people of Alexandria suffered major losses at the hand of the Whisperers. The story continues as Rick’s legacy lives on within Alexandria. The communities band together to prepare for another battle.

Daryl and Carol once again make a deep-rooted connection while attempting to make plans to see what’s beyond the realm of Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom and Oceanside. MICHONNE learns that Judith is a lot stronger than she seems and realizes that her maturity level is more than she anticipated. The group faces a major challenge as they attempt to stay within the boundaries of the agreement between the communities and the Whisperers.

Overall this was a very enlightening episode that showcased the strength of many of the newcomers. Some of our favorite characters like Daryl are opening up more and making more connections with the community. Alpha’s daughter is trying to create a home for herself in the community while Negan continues to step out embracing humanity.

The flow of the episode was good and provided fans with the expectations and excitement of what our vision of a season 10 premiere should be. The opening scene was epic and the show displayed a great deal of elevation and evolution among characters, plot, setting, and mood. The Walking Dead has now stepped into the future of survival and has demonstrated what true unity means within the spectrum of humanity.

I can’t wait to see how this season unfolds.

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.

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Pet Sematary, directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer and starring Jason Clarke tells the story about a family that moves into a house and discovers an Ancient burial ground on their property. After ER doctor Louis has a paranormal experience working in the Emergency Room, Louis and his wife Rachel are haunted by two different ghostly creatures. Believing in the afterlife is the main theme of this film. Compared to the original film there were elements of it throughout the remake. The overall cinematic structure of the film was a dark homage to 80’s classic horror. The mood of the film mirrored that old-school feeling that scary movies gave off years ago. The actors onscreen chemistry were fitting and the writing was true to its originality. The effects did not overshadow the tone of the film. Overall the film was very entertaining and storyline convincing. However, I did feel that the movie was a bit short; like there is more story to tell, but something is missing. I would go for a prequel to this film and tell the story of how and who created that burial ground in the first place.  There is definitely more that can be created as a franchise feature. I highly recommend this film.

I gave this movie 4 stars.

L.L

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