Jurassic World Dominion (Extended Edition) – Movie Review

TL;DR – While a clear improvement, those improvements are but like sticking band-aids to a broken bone.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this edition of the film

A Dead T-Rex.

Jurassic World Dominion Review

Earlier this year, the newest edition to the Jurassic World franchise was released in cinemas. While it went on to make just over a billion dollars at the box office, Jurassic World Dominion fell thematically flat with me. However, the original Jurassic Park still ranks as part of my favourite films of all time, so when I heard the was an extended edition that fixes many of the issues with the film, well, I had to give it a watch.

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, which is shown in stark relief as a T-Rex smashes through a drive-in theatre. 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.

Now, we will not be giving a full review of this film as you can read the original coverage for it HERE. However, we will look at the areas where the extended edition improved the film and where it didn’t.

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Beast – Movie Review

TL;DR – It starts strong and has genuinely terrifying moments, but it does not have the legs to make it to the end.   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

A truck drives through the South African bush.

Beast Review

A long tradition of films can be summed up as ‘an unknowable antagonist hunts down our plucky protagonists’. If we slip into horror, this can be a slasher hunted down kids at a summer camp, dinosaurs running amok in Jurassic Park, or you could flip it, and the unstoppable force is the protagonist as in John Wick. However, one of the more popular scenarios in this realm is animals, and while sharks may have been king for a while, today’s film looks to unseat them with the big cats that roam the savannah.

So to set the scene, it is late a night as a group of poachers stalk through the bush to a trap they have set up. Letting loose a barrage of gunfire, they kill all the lions there, bar one that gets away. The next day, Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) and his daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries) arrive at Mopani Game Reserve in South Africa to spend time with Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), an old friend of Nate and his late wife. Nate is a ranger at Mopani, and in the morning, he gives the group a tour around the preserve, even in the areas the public doesn’t usually see. But when they see a man running out onto the road covered in blood and go to help, they soon realise that there is something out there in the grass coming for them.

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Prey – Movie Review

TL;DR – a perfect blend of action and tension that makes you sit on the edge of your seat and makes your skin crawl every time you hear the predator’s sound.     

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is something at the end of the mid-credits.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

Naru looks into the sunset.

Prey Review

There are some directors that when you watch their debut film, you know they will soar because this first film is already a master to watch. One of those directors was Dan Trachtenberg, who, with 10 Cloverfield Lane, terrified me when using one location and just three actors. But it has been a long transit between drinks, and I am happy to be able to watch his follow-up, which is a new take on the Predator franchise.  

So to set the scene, in 1719, on The Northern Great Plains in the land which is now called America, lived Naru (Amber Midthunder), a member of the Comanche Nation and a skilled axe thrower. One day when she was hunting a white-tailed deer, the animal became spooked by a loud noise from above. Seeing an alien spaceship in the clouds and interpreting it as a thunderbird, Naru knows it is time for her kühtaamia, where she hunts something hunting her. When a mountain lion takes one of the tribe, Naru, her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), and a group of young men search through the forest to find him, unaware that behind a cloaking shield, a Predator (Dane DiLiegro) lies in wait.   

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Bullet Train – Movie Review

TL;DR – Several interesting ideas are going on here, but they never coalesce into something worthy.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Brad Pitt punching a life sized mascot.

Bullet Train Review

When you are making an action film, there are many different styles that you could employ. There is the grizzled machismo of movies like Rambo, the high-octane yet safe for families action of the Fast and the Furious films, or the grimy rawness of films like The Northman. But one of the more recent action styles has been this smooth, free-flowing, and fast-talking style of cinema that was thrown into the spotlight with Deadpool. While that style has been divisive, I have generally enjoyed it, and today we see another example of it in the form of Bullet Train.       

So to set the scene, it has been a long road of recovery for ‘Lady Bug’ (Brad Pitt) since he got shot doing a job in Johannesburg. But he is finally ready to take on a new mission, and his handler (Sandra Bullock) has picked an easy one for him. He must go on to a bullet train stationed in Tokyo, Japan, retrieve a briefcase with a train sticker on the handle, and remove it before the train reaches Kyoto. The only issue is that ‘Lady Bug’ is not the only operative working a job on that train as “Lemon” (Brian Tyree Henry), “Tangerine” (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), “The Wolf” (Benito A. Martínez Ocasio), “The Prince” (Joey King), “The Father” (Andrew Koji), and “The Hornet” (Zazie Beetz) all have their own plans in how this will go.     

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The Gray Man – Movie Review

TL;DR – A perfectly serviceable if messy action film but one that struggles to find an identity.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

A plane about to crash.

The Gray Man Review

You can feel that Netflix is a company going through an identity issue. No longer is it just ‘the place where you go for binging streaming content’ because others are doing it just as well, and now even the concept of binging has lost its value. So what we are getting are things being cancelled left, right and centre, but then $200 million being dropped on big-name films. I am not sure how this will go for the company, but we are getting to see the results of this tonight with The Gray Man.   

So to set the scene, we opened in 2003 in a state prison in Florida, where Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) of the CIA is here to recruit Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling). He is looking for people to add to his black-ops team, whose central role is assassinations in the ‘grey’. Eighteen years later, in Bangkok, Court is now Sierra Six and is one of the CIA’s best assists in the field, where he takes an op from Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas). It is a time-sensitive mission to take out Dining Car (Callan Mulvey), which is why they are using Six. But when he won’t risk the collateral of children, things start spiralling out of control, and then Six discovers that the mark Dining Car is Sierra Four and that his boss Denny Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page), might not be on the up and up.

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Thor: Love and Thunder – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it was missing some of the substance of the last film, I found Thor: Love and Thunder to be a fun romp through the galaxy.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Thor sits under a tree as four suns set.

Thor: Love and Thunder Review

I don’t think I have made it any secret that I found Thor: Ragnarok one of the best films in the MCU, and indeed a film that I will always sit down and watch when it is on. But I thought this would be a one-off because of some unwritten rule that stops solo films after three outings. Well, call me surprised when it was announced that we were getting Thor 4 because that was probably the best news out of this somewhat fractured start of Phase 4.

So to set the scene, we open in on a parched land as Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter Love (India Hemsworth) walk one step at a time, praying for deliverance from their god Rapu (Jonny Brugh). But there is none to be found as Love dies from exposure. Gorr is beside himself when he hears voices in the wind and stumbles into an oasis, where Rapu is having a glorious feast and does not give a hoot about Gorr or his daughter. In that moment of horrific destruction of faith, the Necrosword appears in his hand, and he slays the god and begins a campaign to exterminate all the gods. Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, trying to find his place in the world. When Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) calls out, Thor comes to her aid and discovers that a mad man has their next target, New Asgard.

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The Princess – Movie Review

TL;DR – An interesting concept, strong action and cast, but one that didn’t have the thematic strength to make it to the end.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

The Princess sleeps in her bed.

The Princess Review

One of the types of films that I like is when a filmmaker takes a familiar concept and then flips it on its head. Think like John Wick, who presented a slasher film in a way that we were rooting for the killer. This week, we look at a movie that is doing a similar thing, in taking the idea of a princess trapped in a castle by an evil lord and changing the narrative of a rescuer coming to save her to her slashing her way out of the place.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a picturesque castle by the coast, and as we come closer, we see a woman on an elegant bed. The only thing to cause concern is that the woman, a princess, is in chains and is trapped in her room. As two henchmen come to check on her, she dislocates her thumb and uses her chains as a weapon as she takes the guards down one at a time. The Princess (Joey King) has been forced to marry Julius (Dominic Cooper) against her will. He did not take the rejection well, capturing the castle and imprisoning the royal family. Now The Princess is at the top of the tallest tower, the escape is at the bottom, and there are a lot of enemy soldiers between her and the exit.

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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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