Friday, June 22, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie review.

Celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year, Jurassic Park has had its up and downs in bringing John Hammond's vision of a world where dinosaurs co-exist with humans to life. After the disaster of his initial first vision, his dream finally came to glorious life through the Masrani Corp. with Jurassic World, that corrected those mistakes while simultaneously making new ones. And yet, we can't seem to imagine a world where these dinosaurs aren't in our lives, destined to fade into extinction as the once proud Isla Nublar meets its end.

And like its screen counterparts, the Jurassic Park series has had its own ups and downs. Many know of my adoration of Steven Spielberg's original masterpiece, and Colin Trevorrow's highly enjoyable update three years ago, even if it couldn't live up its standards. But all good things must come to an end, as we now must wave goodbye to those memories on Isla Nublar, as the dinosaurs take a greater step into a more expansive future. Embrace it, dread it, it can't be stopped. And I know this for sure, as there's plenty within Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that I dread AND embrace.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Incredibles 2 movie review.

The Incredibles was a very unique entry in Pixar's lineup, a semi-satirical take on the superhero genre, and the studio's first film to feature an all humans cast. While I thought it was not a perfect film, it certainly lived up to its title with its tightly focused storyline and stylized kinetic action. But what really made that film so strong is the superhero family at the core of the film, that despite their powers were very imperfect people, and great characters at their center, that even without the heroics it would still have been a great movie. It was very much a passion project for director Brad Bird, who'd just come off the Iron Giant, and proved himself a highly capable animation director.

So well-received was the film, that for years fans had repeatedly asked for a follow-up. And with Pixar going full steam recently with sequels, I don't think any made more sense than this one to receive it. However, there was always the pervading fear in my mind that the film wouldn't live up to everyone's hype - especially with Bird coming off a bomb with Tomorrowland, and that maybe this had more to do with business than passion. I'm happy to report that it is the latter. In fact, I think a more extreme case can be argued... that Incredibles 2 may actually exceed its predecessor.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hereditary movie review.

It seems every generation, we're always yearning for that next "classic in horror" to come and wow us. The horror film has no shortage of classic films preying upon our deepest, most psychological fears, taking us uncomfortably into the realm of the supernatural. We yearn for those films in the vein of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist to return atop the pedestal, after horror took a more slasher approach in the vein of John Carpenter and Halloween. But anymore, amid the constant jump scare factories and shoestring budget fodder, the search for that next horror classic is harder and harder, so desperate are we to convince ourselves Unfriended was the next big thing.

But those gems are not gone, merely hidden in the rough. Horror has stepped its game up in recent memory, with this year alone giving us the fantastic A Quiet Place. Distributor A24 has waged its own chips in the horror realm, driving us closer to the days of literal and figurative horror, and the release of their latest film, newcomer Ari Aster's Hereditary, may be the closest thing yet to becoming that horror classic of a generation.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Brief thoughts on Hotel Artemis.

Figured I'd go ahead and churn something out real quick for this movie. Imagine John Wick, but the film took place entirely within The Continental, and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect of Hotel Artemis from Drew Pearce. Set within a futuristic riot-torn Los Angeles, the film centers on the caretakers and the revolving patients of the Hotel Artemis, an underground hospital for criminals with paid memberships, with strict rules of non-violence within the premises. As the busy night of rounds unfolds, those rules will be broken as the night reaches a brutal finale.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Brief thoughts on Ocean's 8.

I can't say I find Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy to be classic movies in any way, but they've always remained reliable pieces of popcorn entertainment to me, enjoyable for their slick production value and interlocking games of deception, and for the cast chemistry that elevates the thinly written characters. And if any movie felt as appropriate to receive a gender-swapped retool, Ocean's 8 was certainly it, here following Danny Ocean's sister Debbie, as she plans her own heist rounded out by her own eclectic team. The result certainly didn't disappoint me, proving as entertaining - if slight - as its early predecessors.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Brief thoughts on Adrift.

In 1983, Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp sailed directly into the path of Hurricane Raymond, rendering their sailboat damaged and leaking, at which point Tami took charge in fixing up and steering the boat to landfall. Her story would become an inspiring tale of perseverance, leading up to a film adaptation of her book detailing those harrowing events, and the love she shared with Richard, in director Baltasar Kormakur's Adrift.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story movie review.

Han Solo is one of my favorite characters in Star Wars history. In fact, he may well be the quintessential example of a perfect film character. A charming, but reckless smuggler caught up in the middle of a galaxy-spanning conflict he wants nothing to do with, a man unafraid and perfectly willing to get his hands dirty if it means survival, but at the core of that rugged exterior of his, lies the heart of a good man simply afraid of others hurting or betraying him. This is to say nothing of Harrison Ford's performance, whose own rugged charm has become synonymous with the character's legacy.

But if The Force Awakens understood anything, it's that Han had very little left to go at that point, sending him off on a fitting, but bittersweet note. So what do you do after one of your star characters has been killed off? In the case of Solo, the second in Disney's Star Wars Story anthology series, take us back to the past and show the origins of the infamous cad. And in all honesty, this is one step too far, because in an attempt to give a character more depth, they've actually made him less intriguing as a result.