Jurassic World Dominion – Movie Review

TL;DR – A disappointing dilemma for this dinosaur dynasty, a dismal and dreary debacle.    

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Claire hides from a Therizinosaurus in a lake.

Jurassic World Dominion Review

I go into this film with a conflicting stand with the Jurassic Park/World franchise. When it is good, it is so good, and without a doubt, the first Jurassic Park still sits in my top 10 Films of All Time. However, at this point, there may have more misses than hits in the franchise, and there comes a point that even the draw of dinosaurs can not fix that. Well, I am always an optimist, and well, I might be the only one who like Jurassic Park III, so can I say that I went into this film hopeful but still warry. I should have been a touch more warry.

So to set the scene, at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the team had a choice to kill all the dinosaurs off or release them into the North American continent, and they chose the latter. We saved them from a second extension, but maybe at the cost of our own lives. As the Battle at Big Rock showed, there may be awe but also sharp teeth. As the world starts to work out how this new existence will play out, Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and Maisie (Isabella Sermon) live a quiet life out of the way, right up until Blue’s child is kidnapped and Owen swears to her that he will get that baby back.

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Interceptor – Movie Review

TL;DR – A one-dimensional film that gives the narrative nowhere to hide, thus revealing its flaws at every stage.   

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this video.

A terrorist stares through a window in a door.

Interceptor Review

There are some films that you know were filmed in Australia without checking. It can be the supporting cast being filled with characters actors you have grown up with, or it could just be the specific energy the film gives off. Today, we look at just such a film, also one that might just have a significantly higher opinion on the ability to shoot down nuclear weapons than what is born out in reality.  

So to set the scene, we open with a military base under attack, a substantial military base because Fort Greely in Alaska is one of only two places where America can launch interceptors to shoot down nuclear weapon attacks from Russia. On the only other INTERCEPTOR base, the floating SBX-1, Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky) is returning after a battle with the US Brass around sexual assault, which is when they discover that first that Greely has gone dark and then that Tavlinka, a nuclear facility in Russia, has been attacked and terrorists have stolen 16 nuclear weapons. Those weapons are now aimed at America, looking to take out 16 major cities like Los Angeles and Boston. JJ and the base commander Colonel Marshal  (Rhys Muldoon), began preparations to lock down the base when they discovered the hard way they had been infiltrated by the terrorist as well. Now JJ has to fight for her life to stop America from being attacked.                           

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Top Gun: Maverick – Movie Review

TL;DR – A glorious sequel from start to finish, filled with heart-pounding adrenalin and a boost to the more dramatic parts of the script.    

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

A Jet over the desert.

Top Gun: Maverick Review

Two different reactions can happen when you try a sequel decades after the first film. The first is that you are trying to capture something whose time has passed, and you can’t walk back into that world. The second is that they tap into a nostalgia that is there and use it to propel them forward. Today we look at a film that lands with the latter as it soars across the screen. Because Top Gun: Maverick fixes those elements that did not work in the first film and then takes what did work and amps it up to 11.                           

So to set the scene, it has been decades since the first Top Gun, and after flying planes in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and both Iraq’s Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) now works as a test pilot for experimental jets in the Mojave Desert. When told that his unit is about to be shut down because Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris) thinks that drones are the future. Well, one illicit test later and intervention of Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), Maverick is not grounded, but instead, he is sent back to Top Gun to be a teacher. Because they need to undertake a perilous mission, and only Maverick can teach them. The only issue is that one of the possible recruits for this potential suicide mission is Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late radar co-pilot.   

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Top Gun (1986) – Movie Review [Exploring the Past]

TL;DR – Still a triumph, even if parts of it have not aged well in the years since.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ streaming service that viewed this film

F-14A Tomcat

Top Gun Review

Top Gun is one of those films that, even though it came out when I was young, I did see it thanks to it being on a constant rotation on local TV. However, as the new film was about to come out, I had to think about what did I remember from the film, and the answer was not that much. Sure there was the “I Feel The Need… The Need For Speed!”, the charged volleyball scene, the copious amount of Danger Zone, and the somewhat infamous way the US Military shaped the narrative and used it for promotion. Well, there is no better time like the present to dive back in and relive a classic.

 So to set the scene, on March 3, 1969, the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Today it is called the Fighter Weapons School or TOPGUN. Over the seas, based off the USS Enterprise, pilot LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and Radar LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) flying an F-14A Tomcat ping an unknown target and got to intercept. They think it was just one target, but it is a pair of MiG-28s. After some ‘fun’, they get the planes to disengage. But their wingman LT Bill “Cougar” Cortell (John Stockwell) freezes and is only saved by Maverick talking him down to a landing. It was a stupid stunt given how much fuel they had left, but it saved the day and booked them a ticket to TOPGUN at Naval Air Station Miramar.    

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The 355 – Movie Review

TL;DR – While this is a good concept, unfortunately, production and narrative issues feel like an anchor dragging the film back at every moment.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

The cast walk into an auction in fancy dress.

The 355 Review

One of the more frustrating things to see is when you have a narrative with an exciting hook that just plods along with a generic presentation. Today we are unfortunately looking at a film that does just that, and given what they were trying, it feels like a real missed opportunity.

So to set the scene, 150 Miles south of Bogota, Colombia, there appears to be a drug deal going on, but it is much worse. They are there to make a trade for a back door key into any of the world’s secure communications. At this point, a gunfight explodes out between the two cartels and the Colombian military and the key is lost in the melee until it is picked up by the last man standing (Édgar Ramírez). The last man standing is an operative for the CIA and immediately goes into hiding in Paris. It is up to CIA agents Mason “Mace” Browne (Jessica Chastain) and Nick Fowler (Sebastian Stan) to secure it, which is where things start going wrong.

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The Northman – Movie Review

TL;DR – The Northman is unrelenting, uncomfortable, unyielding, and uncompromising

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Bjork as a witch in a wheat headdress

The Northman Review

When I heard that Robert Eggers was making a new film, I was interested because his last work, The Lighthouse, well, it was ‘a lot’, but it was also fascinating from start to finish. Then I heard it would be a Norse epic tale of revenge and carnage. Well, I was intrigued. But when I heard that early reviews were calling it ‘impenetrably Norse’, I had to check it out because that is my jam.

So to set the scene, in 985AD, on the Atlantic coast, young Prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) looks out into the sea and sees that his father, King Aurvandill War-Raven (Ethan Hawke), has returned from his raids. With his Mother, Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman), he greets his father and discovers that he was wounded in the last battle. After Aurvandill’s brother Fjölnir (Claes Bang) arrives, Gudrún counsels her husband that Amleth needs to start the process of becoming a man. Aurvandill takes Amleth to the Heimir (Willem Dafoe), the fool and seer, to have a vision. But as they leave the temple, Aurvandill is ambushed and murdered, and as Amleth runs, he sees that the murderer is his uncle Fjölnir. Many years later, in the Lands of the Rus, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) is a berserker taking out villages when he is reminded of his duty to avenge his father’s murder.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once – Movie Review

TL;DR – You may have been told how wild this film is, but trust me, whoever was talking to you was completely underselling it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Everything Everywhere All at Once. Image Credit: A24.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Review

The word surreal gets thrown around quite a bit and usually means something that might be a bit cerebral or weird or maybe both. But for something to be genuinely surreal, it needs to challenge the nature of reality, to contest the very bedrock we live our lives on. Films will often dip their toes into the surreal, but every now and again, a film will dive in headfirst. Today, we are looking at just such a film that just might nail everything it sets out to do.

So to set the scene, in a city in America, Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) lives above the laundromat that she runs with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). Things are pretty stressful for Evelyn at the moment. The IRS is auditing the business. She is trying to put together a party for he estranged father, Gong Gong (James Hong), she is feuding with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), and Waymond is about to drop divorce papers on her. As they arrive at the IRS to be audited by Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis), Waymond suddenly changes into a completely different person. He declares that Evelyn is in trouble because a force from another universe is hunting her down, and it just might have found its prey, and that is when the alarms go off.

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Ambulance – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is non-stop action from the word go, which can get existing at times, but it is a riot to watch when Michael Bay is on his game.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Ambulance. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Ambulance Review –

For a long time, Michael Bay has been derided for his films, and I think that is both fair and a little bit unfair. Because Michael Bay has a particular style of filmmaking that does not work with every script, however, when a story and cast line up with his filmmaking strengths, well, you can get something special. Today we are looking at a film that does just that as we romp across LA County, one explosion after another.

So to set the scene, Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a war veteran. Still, he is getting shafted by the Department of Veteran Affairs because they won’t pay for his wife Amy’s (Moses Ingram) experimental surgery, and there is no way Will can come up with the $231,000 himself. Well, there is one way, but it means getting in contact with his estranged brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), who followed their father’s footsteps into the world of illicit money. This is good news for Danny because he needs an extra man in his crew to take down one of the biggest bank hauls, and Will has five minutes to pick if he is in or not. The robbery was going well, right up until Officer Zach (Jackson White) comes up to the bank to ask out one of the tellers on a date, and things fall apart from there, including Zach getting shot. Well, the police are surrounding the bank, and there is no way out, or maybe because EMT Cam Thompson (Eiza González) has arrived on the scene to save Zach’s life and that big ambulance looks like the perfect opportunity to slip past a police cordon.  

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RRR – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that is a slow burn right up to the point that it goes from 0 to 1000km in a second and does not stop for its entire runtime.    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

RRR. Image Credit: DVV Entertainment.

RRR Review

In 2020, I started dipping my toes into the mammoth that is Indian Cinema. However, as the pandemic erupted, that was one area that slipped away. Now that things are sort of coming back to normal, it is time to begin this chapter again, and what a film to start on.

So to set the scene, in Adilabad forest, the Governor of India Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson) has been out hunting. In contrast, his wife Catherine Buxton (Alison Doody) has the whole village on a show for her entertainment. As the village looks on, the young Malli (Twinkle Sharma) sings while painting on her hand. The governor throws Malli’s mother (Ahmareen Anjum) some coins that she things were for the song, but they were to buy her daughter. The tribe is distraught at the crime and calls on their protector Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.), to travel to Delhi and rip it apart to get the girl back. Hearing that Bheem is on the way and not knowing who they are, the colonial police force gets Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) to hunt him down before he can succeed.    

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Morbius – Movie Review

TL;DR – A soulless husk of a film that is barely made watchable by the fact that at least Matt Smith is having fun  

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are two mid-credit scenes

Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film

Morbius. Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

Morbius Review

There are moments when the credits roll, and you sit back in your chair and wonder, what did I just waste my time with? Then, of course, you immediately go, well, maybe I am having a bad day, perhaps the film is targeting a different audience, or did I just miss something. But then you look around and feel the audience’s tone and discover that you are not alone with your disbelief. Well, today, we have a film that, when the credits rolled, a whole room of people collectively shrugged at the very meh-ness that they just watched.

So to set the scene, 25-years ago in Greece, two boys who needed three blood transfusions a day to live met in a clinic. The head of the clinic, Emil Nikols (Jared Harris), discovers that young Michael (Charlie Shotwell) is a prodigy and gets him into a private school, and he promises his friend Milo (Joseph Esson) that he will find a cure. In the now, Michael (Jared Leto) takes a helicopter ride to a cave in Costa Rica to capture some bats that only feed on blood. He is hopeful that inserting bat DNA into a human might cure him and Milo (Matt Smith). It works … but at what cost? Well, a boat full of mercs, at least.

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