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Posts Tagged ‘New Movie reviews’

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: 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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Warning Spoilers Below:

Bill and Ted Face the Music, directed by Dean Parisot and starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, picks up over twenty years after the events that took place during the Battle of Bands. Bill and Ted, married with adult children, still find themselves struggling to make their musical dreams come true while still hanging on to their unfilled destiny to save the world with a song that is intended to realign the Universe. As they try to fulfill their destiny and attempt to save their marriages, Bill and Ted are recruited by Rufus’ Daughter, played by Kristen Schaal, to come up with the Universe saving song in just a few hours.  Bill and Ted accept the mission and quickly head off in their iconic Phone Booth time machine to travel into the future to get the song they wrote. Meanwhile, Bill and Ted’s daughters set off on their own adventure to help gather important historical figures to create a brand-new band for their fathers.

Overall, Bill and Ted Face the Music is a great movie. The flow and tone of the film had a sweet familiarity that fans will appreciate and love. The reprisal of the original cast was refreshing to see; characters such as Missy, Deacon, Death, and Sargent Logan. The addition of Bill and Ted’s daughters added a refreshing take to the franchise while giving them their own special moments to share. (I got the feeling that Bill and Ted were passing the torch.)  Most of all, it was amazing to see the Holographic Image of Rufus played by the late and talented George Carlin. The emotions flowed when he came across the screen, and Bill and Ted acknowledged him tenderly.

The story was presented fluidly, while it answered some questions and tied some storyline loose ends. Some new characters were introduced, and the addition of Robot, played by Anthony Carrigan, brought the concept of “feel-good comedy” into the film. The scenes and visual effects brought the movie franchise into the 21st century, and Alex and Keanu’s performances were classic and magical. My only disappointment was the music within the film. I felt like there weren’t any staple musical performances within the soundtrack that added to the elegance that the first two Bill and Ted movies brought. I know that music plays a significant role in films, especially with Bill and Ted, but it is not a total loss. Just seeing Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter on screen together is worth it. Their on-screen chemistry displayed a connection as if the adventures of Bill and Ted never stopped. This movie will add to their legendary status.

I really liked this film and gave it four stars for good theatrical fun.

Check out the trailer below.

L.L

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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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