Category Archives: Writing

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Directed by: J. A. Bayona
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Rafe Spalls, Ted Levine
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril

It’s been three years since Hollywood tossed “Jurassic World” at us, and they’re at it again with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” As with the previous film, if all you want to do is look at cool dinosaur-monsters, the new film will do a pretty good job of meeting that expectation. Otherwise, this is more of the same badly written, badly edited nonsense. On the bright side, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a bit less incompetent this time around.

Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8

Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Richard Armitage,
Rated: PG-13 for language, drug use, and some suggestive content

The heist movie is such a classic genre of film that it’s hard to break new ground. “Ocean’s 8” comes close, bringing us an all-woman crew of con artists and thieves working together to pull off the impossible. It’s set in the same universe as “Ocean’s 11” and its sequels, but there are only a couple of cameos featuring actors from the earlier films.

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2

Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Zazie Beetz, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, Shioli Kutsuna
Rated: R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material.

Back in 2016, “Deadpool” brought the Merc with the Mouth to movie screens everywhere, finally in a recognizable form (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” I’m looking at you). After the credits, he promised us that the sequel would include his buddy Cable, and this year he delivers. “Deadpool 2” is everything you might want from a sequel. The ultra-violence, grade-school humor, and fourth-wall breaks are back.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War

Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo
Starring: Every major protagonist from all previous Marvel films
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references.

If you’re a fan of the Marvel Studios movies, you have probably already seen “Avengers: Infinity War.” For casual fans, curious non-fans, and general folks who are still deciding: this is not a good introduction to this universe, and it’s not a typical Marvel Studios movie, either. It’s amazing on multiple levels, but it’s also full of more torture and death than the other Marvel movies combined.

Rampage

Rampage

Directed by: Brad Peyton Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomi Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language, and crude gestures. It might seem foolish to make a movie out of a simplistic, old-school arcade game, but “Rampage” is aimed squarely at the nostalgic 12-year-old inside those of us who are old enough to remember the 1986 game. It is utterly ridiculous and utterly shameless about that ridiculousness. Grab some popcorn and prepare to turn off your brain. There’s a story to justify the massive monsters that destroy a swath of downtown Chicago near the end of the film, but it’s more than a little hackneyed and barely merits recounting. Our good guys are Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), former-special-forces-poacher-hunter-turned-primate-expert; George, the albino gorilla he rescued from poachers as a youngster; and Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomi Harris), a geneticist whose groundbreaking work was twisted into a pathogen

Read More

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place

Directed by: John Krasinski Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe Rated: PG-13 for terror and some bloody images How often do you make noise? So many actions are audible. A shoe sole slapping or squeaking on the floor, dropping a hard object, biting into an apple. Even without speaking, we humans are generally noisy creatures. “A Quiet Place” puts us into a position where noise – even a creaking floorboard – means death. At some point in the near future, deadly creatures appear and start eating people. The creatures are blind, but have incredibly sharp hearing. They’re almost impossible to kill, thanks to what looks like armor covering their eyeless heads and the rest of their bodies. By the time the film starts, the world is silent. Animals that make noise? Gone. People? Almost all gone. The film focuses on a single family trying to survive in this unforgiving and lethal world.

Read More

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Directed by: Roar Uthaug Starring: Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins, Dominic West Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and for some language The video game world has an updated “Tomb Raider” featuring a more realistic-looking version of Lara Croft, and now the movie world has one as well. There are a couple of unusual awesome things about this movie, but the rest is straight formula: missing father, hidden tomb full of traps and puzzles, and so on. It pays tribute to its forerunners while confidently ditching a lot of the sexist tropes that weigh down previous versions and other films in the genre. “Tomb Raider” gives us the origin story for the titular character, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), and is clearly set up to have sequels. We get taken through the paces of Lara’s life before she becomes an international adventurer: she’s a very competitive bike courier and spends a lot of

Read More

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time

Directed by: Ava DuVernay Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine Rated: PG for thematic elements and some peril. Since its first publication in 1962, Madeleine L’Engle’s novel “A Wrinkle in Time” has been continuously in print. It’s an enduring classic of science fantasy, a young-adult-ish novel that’s accessible to just about everyone. Adapting it for the big screen is a tall order, and director Ava DuVernay has thrown herself into her work with undeniable passion. DuVernay has said it’s meant to be viewed by children and those with a child’s wonder, and she’s right. Some folks will love it and some will be dismissive. It depends on the attitude you bring to the film. This is a coming-of-age story. Our heroine Meg (Storm Reid) sets out to save her father (Chris Pine), who’s been missing for four years. Along the way, she breaks through

Read More

Annihilation

Annihilation

Written and Directed by: Alex Garland Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. Rated: R for violence, bloody images, language, and some sexuality. You know that feeling when you really enjoyed a movie or TV show and a little later, you find yourself saying, “but what about…?” The nickname for that is “fridge logic,” and “Annihilation,” based loosely on the bestselling novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, has some major fridge logic issues. Everything else about it is pretty great, so if you’re looking more for an experience than for an intellectual challenge it’s a good bet. Our hero, Lena (Natalie Portman), is a former-soldier, current-professor who teaches oncology to medical students. Her still-a-soldier husband Kane (Oscar Isaacs) has been missing for a year. When he shows up in their house, disoriented and largely unresponsive, she’s thrilled – until he collapses, and the two of

Read More

Black Panther

Black Panther

Directed by: Ryan Coogler Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker Rated: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture Marvel Studios debuted their Cinematic Universe (referred to as the MCU) ten years ago with “Iron Man.” Their first film out this year, “Black Panther” gives newcomers to the MCU a way into that setting without requiring them to go watch the previous 17 films (and 10 TV series!) first. This is an iconic film, one well worth watching whether you like superheroes or not. It breaks new ground in cinema, and that alone makes it worth checking out – but it’s also a really good movie. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the king of Wakanda, a hidden nation in the heart of Africa that was never colonized. They have developed amazing technology thanks to living above a massive

Read More