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Posts Tagged ‘New Movie reviews’

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 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.

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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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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.

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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.

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by LaTaeya Lane

New Wonder Woman 1984 poster is totally '80s

Wonder Woman 1984, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Kristen Wiig is the second installment in the Wonder Woman Film Franchise. This film focuses on how Diana tries to deal with the devesting loss of her one true love, Steve Trevor, while she attempts to find balance in other aspects of her life. As Diana faces her grief, she encounters a darkness that is unleashed upon the world that threatens humanity’s survival. Diana’s choices and the choices that others make around her have a domino effect upon Diana.

Warning: Spoilers Below:

 I must say that Gal Gadot is an amazing actress and I love her in her role as Wonder Woman. Kristen Wiig, as Barbara Minerva, did a fantastic job playing the female antagonist.  Both women were great in this film. They had a lot of great scenes together and had great chemistry.

The main problem with this film was the overall storyline and score: The writing was so disconnected from the time, and the story did not cohesively connect to Diana. The opening scene takes place in a Mall, and I felt like Wonder Woman taking on a mall robbery was more appropriate for Spiderman (excuse the Universe crossover) but Wonder Woman in a mall saving people is beneath her and her abilities.)

The whole concept centered around Max Lord could have been done in a more creative and balanced manner. I liked Pedro Pascal as the villain, but the idea of him consuming the powers of an ancient stone could have turned into one of the greatest superhero good versus evil concepts ever written. The movie fell so flat on so many levels with the writing aspect. I also felt that the directing was a bit disconnected. When people watch this film, or at least when I anticipated watching this film, I came in with the same high expectations that the first Wonder Women film and the Justice League films created and delivered.

I must admit that I was disappointed.

If you are going to put a year in the title of a film, then you better be prepared to present aspects of score and cinematography in a way that transports your audience to that time. The mall scene looked like a mall from the ’80s but I can’t recall any other important components that would bring me to that time. As an 80’s kid, I wanted to feel those happy feelings and see those sights that would bring me back there. This film missed the mark big time, especially with the music. The music in a movie is responsible for the entire mood of a movie. It brings emotions, magic, connections; it is the last puzzle that connects all the other pieces together and unfortunately WW84 did not deliver that.

I have mixed feelings about the fashion. Gal and Kristen’s costumes were amazing! I loved everything that was presented in the film with those two. Even Steven Trevor’s costumes looked good, (they did try too hard with his wardrobe changes. I even loved Diana’s armor. I just had a problem with the fact that Diana should have had that armor when she and her Justice League colleagues battled Steppenwolf. The use of the armor did not seem to fit the situation she was in.

Overall, I gave this movie three stars for my loyalty to Gal and the Wonder Woman Franchise. It’s worth watching since WW3 is in the works, as well as additional Justice League Franchise films. I just hope that they upgrade their writing team for the future.

L.L.

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