For more than a decade, “Bad Boys For Life” was more like “Bad Boys in Development Hell.” While the third movie in the series has finally arrived, though, it isn’t exactly worth the wait.
“Bad Boys 3,” as it should’ve been called, picks up with Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) still working in the Miami Police Department. However, Marcus is preparing for a well-deserved retirement. Mike isn’t all too happy with the news, but before either of them can hash the subject out further, a new threat enters the picture.
A Mexican family is looking to take revenge on a group of individuals in Miami responsible for taking down a crime empire. One of those individuals just happens to be Mike. As a result, Mike and Marcus once again have to team up against dangerous criminals.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Bad Boys For Life’ is a forgettable sequel”
“1917:” (Or, the unexpected virtue of one continuous take).
This World War I film, directed by Sam Mendes, tells the story of Corporals Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay), who’re sent on a mission to call off a major attack on retreating German soldiers. The two protagonists are ordered to do so because the German forces are actually baiting the Allies into a trap.
To deliver the message, Blake and Schofield must cross a still active war-zone and the areas of France turned into a wasteland by the heavy trench warfare. The film is shot with one continuous take, following the characters all the way on their journey.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘1917’ takes viewers on a harrowing tour of World War I”
Adrenaline. Anxiety. Intense. All of these words are accurate when describing “Uncut Gems.
Adam Sandler stars as Howard Ratner in this high octane film about gambling, crime, addiction and, to an extent, survival. Howard operates a jewelry store in New York City and lives life a mile a minute. On top of his business, where he often meets with big spenders like athletes, Howard is also addicted to gambling, and is constantly making bets, and side bets for that matter.
His actions haven’t made people too happy, though. His dealings have put tremendous strain on his family and it has also made several people angry, because he owes a lot of money. At the start of the movie he learns that he might just have a big break, though, as he gets a big new gem shipment, as well as a new rich customer in Kevin Garnett.
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There’s already been six adaptations of “Little Women,” so why not add another one to the list?
Actually making a new one was a good choice, because it turns out to be one of the greater book adaptations and one of 2019’s finest films.
Like other adaptations, “Little Women” follows the stories of Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen). They live in Massachusetts during the Civil War with their mother Margaret (Laura Dern) while their father is off fighting for the Union Army.
The picture explores their lives as teenagers living together as well as their time as young adults, where they’re off on their own adventures. For example, Jo, is working to become a steady author, while Amy is an aspiring painter in Europe.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Little Women’ is positively wonderful”
Cats are not dogs. This is information the movie really wants an audience to know, so much so that Judi Dench turns directly to the camera to say it. That’s just one of the lessons one will learn over the course of the cinematic experience that is “Cats.” It truly is something to behold.
Based on the stage play of the same name, “Cats” is set in London and follows a group of felines who love to sing and dance. The main character we’re introduced at the start is Victoria (Francesca Hayward), who’s introduced to the Jellicle cats. The Jellicle cats all have their own traits, quirks, and even personalized songs that they sing.
Victoria meeting with the Jellicle cats happens to be a meeting of destiny, as it turns out it’s the night of the Jellicle ball, where a single cat is chosen to have their life thoroughly improved. Over the course of the film, different cats sing and perform with the hope of being the one.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Cats’ is crazy, but its music is catchy”
“The Two Popes” combines two things that are supposed to be left off the table at family get-togethers: religion and politics. The two subjects are ripe for good acting performances, though, which is what this movie provides.
The movie mostly takes place in early 2013, just before Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) resigned and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) was elected to the position. The film explores how Benedict came to his decision to resign, the first pope to do so since 1415, and his conversations with Jorge, now Pope Francis.
The drama mostly comes from Francis and Benedict being on opposite sides of what direction the church should go. Francis leans more toward a liberal viewpoint, and therefore wants to reform the Catholic Church. Benedict, meanwhile, was pushing a more conservative view, with an agenda to keep church traditions. The two, though, eventually find common ground.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Two Popes’ has a pair of great performances, and not much else”
Roger Ailes’ ouster from the media company he built is explored in this drama, but it only scratches the surface.
“Bombshell” tells the story of Ailes’ (John Lithgow) final months at Fox News by taking the perspective of anchors Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman). Additionally, brought into the middle of the situation is a reporter for Fox, Kayla (Margot Robbie) who’s representative of anonymous victims who worked at the company.
Aside from a few flashbacks, the film takes place over the course of the 2016 presidential election, with an emphasis on the Republican Primary. The focus on the primary comes as some at Fox News, such as Kelly, have issues with then candidate Donald Trump. The friction of the primary coincides with the building of a case against Ailes, who was accused by several women of sexual harassment and assault.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Bombshell’ has strong acting, but lacks extensive insight”
A person can say a lot about the “Star Wars” prequels. They certainly had their fair share of flaws. However, at the very least, it was a trilogy that had a clear blueprint for where it was supposed to go.
That, unfortunately, didn’t seem to be the case with this sequel trilogy.
“Rise of Skywalker” is the ninth film in the main “Star Wars” story, and 11th overall when including the spin-off features. Right from the opening crawl, viewers learn that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) survived the second Death Star’s destruction, has actually been pulling all the strings with the First Order and has (somehow) built like 90 new Star Destroyers that have planet killing cannons.
In response, a rather depleted resistance force explore their options to fight back. They determine the best course of action is to find out where Palpatine’s fleet is and launch an attack with help from across the galaxy. To find out the location, the new Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley), former storm trooper-turned resistance warrior Finn (John Boyega) and ace pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) begin a search for a dark side Sith artifact.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Final ‘Star Wars’ falls, rather than rises”
News travels fast, and unfortunately it can lead to mishaps, mistakes and early announcements that are later debunked. That’s exactly what happened in “Richard Jewell,” and an innocent person was forced to deal with the negative results.
The movie follows the story of the title character, played here by Paul Walter Hauser. After some introduction scenes, the movie picks up with Jewell working security for AT&T events at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Jewell aspires to one day have a steady job in law enforcement, so he takes his work very seriously, much more so even than his colleagues in the security business. While he receives some jokes about his commitment to a seemingly safe concert area, his concerns, unfortunately, turn out to be valid.
One night during his shift, he comes across a suspicious backpack that happens to contain an explosive device that had been left there by a terrorist. The film captures the moment the bomb goes off after its discovery and how Jewell was initially seen as a hero for calling it in and reporting it to officers.
Sadly, as history tells us, Jewell was then made a suspect by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a media firestorm erupts. In an effort to defend himself, Jewell hires a friend and lawyer from a former job, Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) and tries to survive as his life is investigated.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Richard Jewell’ is a strong entry in Eastwood’s filmography”
Danny DeVito is a national treasure, so his presence alone gives this “Jumanji” sequel a boost.
“Jumanji: The Next Level,” also known as “Jumanji III” to those of us who like numbered sequels, carries on the stories of Bethany (Madison Iseman), Martha (Morgan Turner), Anthony, who goes by nickname Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Spencer (Alex Wolff). The four remained friends after the events of the last “Jumanji” and are planning to meet up during their winter college break over the Christmas season.
Spencer, though, has had trouble adjusting to life at college and away from his friends. His long distance relationship with Martha has also been strained. As a result, Spencer decides to take a risk and enter the dangerous Jumanji video game again. When his trio of friends come looking for him, since he didn’t attend their meetup, they also reluctantly try to join him in the game.
This time, though, they end up bringing Spencer’s grandfather Eddie (DeVito) and Eddie’s former business partner Milo (Danny Glover). Once again the protagonists take the form of in game characters Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black), Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart) and Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), along with a few new allies, and this time they must go on a rescue mission through the dangerous game.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Older characters make ‘Jumanji’ sequel a whole bunch of fun”