Jurassic World Dominion | Trailer

  • Writer: Colin Trevorrow (story & screenplay), Emily Carmichael (screenplay), Derek Connolly (story), Michael Crichton (based on characters created by)
  • Director: Colin Trevorrow
  • Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Laura Dern, Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum

I didn’t know that I needed to see some Velociraptors chasing people through a city but I’m glad I found that out today. The movie looks amazing and seeing the original cast returning is great.

Jurassic World Dominion will hit theaters on June 10th

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Nightmare Alley (2022) | A Chilling Subtlety Worth Studying

Going in I didn’t know what this movie was about, I was aware of its director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy), and the star studded cast which includes Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Cate Blanchett (Cinder, Button, Hobbits), Toni Collette (A Long Way Down), Willem Dafoe (No Way Home, John Carter), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Carol) and many more. I also knew that the book that it’s based on is on my TBR, it’s one of the books I have but I am yet to read. I wanted to read William Lindsay Gresham‘s of the same name before seeing this newest adaptation – the first one being in 1947 by director Edmund Goulding and screenwriter Jules Furthman – but life got in the way and I ended up watching this movie first and it’s quite chilling.

It’s about Stanton Carlisle, an ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words – I want to stop here because to me this is enough – hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.

Unless I missed it, it was a while before we even heard Cooper’s Stanton Carlisle speak – the first 10 minutes or so of the film. We spent an entire day with him, following him on the start of his journey, his beginning is the end is the beginning. When he finally spoke, it was to his future – it’s a minor spoiler, but it’s the journey that counts – I guess that was the first step toward the end is the beginning is the end – ok I’ll stop with that phrase. I have to admit that I didn’t realize it while watching the film, even though I had a sense that there was a cautionary tale at play but the ending was not the one I thought it would be.

Throughout the movie, every warnings, omen, and words of wisdom were there, laid bare for Stanton to learn from – thus giving the viewers a major hint of what’s coming – but it’s still interesting to see how Stan still went down the path that he was warned not to take, the one that resulted in his mentor’s demons.

“You never do a spook show, no good comes out from a spook show.”

This movie has plenty of meaningful moments, visuals, and lines that may seem unimportant but they inform on the characters and/or move the story forward. For example at some point there’s this “gun” that’s introduced – it’s not an actual gun – but it’s clear that it’s “the instrument.” It’s made important before you even see it; it’s done in a beautiful and subtle way. The movie is very well structured, there’s little to no waste, and it’s very informative – I learned a lot about carnival life.

So this film reminded me of Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, I read it a long time ago so I might not remember it well but the “full circle” moment of the film reminded me of that book. Anyway the cast of Nightmare Alley is top notch, the character arcs are great, and the movie is captivating and chilling.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home | A Soft Reboot, The End of an Era

No Way Home, the third MCU Spider-Man film directed by Jon Watts, sees its returning cast joined by familiar faces like Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, Rhys Ifans and Thomas Haden Church, who are not only known characters actor but they’ve all been in a previous Spider-Man movie pre-MCU. It has led many of us to believe that previous Spider-Men, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire will feature in this movie. Even if they weren’t leaks and rumors pointing that way it would have made sense for them to appear; and yet they’re not the ones I’m most excited to see – *cough* Charlie Cox *cough*. Anyway besides these spidey vilains and spider-men, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Benedict Wong also join Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, and Marisa Tomei.

Premise: After Peter Parker’s identity as Spider-Man was exposed by Mysterio at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), his life and reputation are turned upside down. Parker asks Dr. Stephen Strange to help restore his secret identity with magic, but this breaks open the multiverse, allowing supervillains from alternate realities who previously fought alternate versions of Spider-Man to arrive.

Review: Despite all the leaks and rumors – that I’ve seen anyway – there’s still a fair share of surprises in this movie. Even kind of knowing what to expect it was still fun to see it realized, to see the actors in action, but this movie is a bit uneven.

Story-wise you can tell what was locked and loaded, and what was in flux in the script because some of the beats are so sleek and go so well together. For instance most of Holland’s arc, and the villain’s was great. Then you have these awkward moments that kind of work but are still weird and even cringey at times, but there’s so many exciting people in it and exciting moments happening that you can forgive it – I did. It seems I only needed a brick thrown at a window for me to be happy, the rest was extra.

The villains were something else, as a whole they were great and the actors did a fantastic job but Holland, Dafoe, Zendaya, and Tomei did an excellent job -Them and the guy who caught the brick 😉 -, their arcs were the best parts of this movie. Funny how what they worked the hardest to hide didn’t come close to what makes this movie good. Anyway, Holland nailed it here, I went from thinking his Peter Parker was the dumbest and most trusting person ever to appreciate his emotional journey after a particular fight that ended in a building lobby. I also enjoyed the way he looks lovingly at Zendaya’s M.J., who might be the best superhero girlfriend around. As for aunt May, I love how involved she is, and the way they established who she is as a person, what she believes in with just a few scenes.

Awkward moments aside, another thing that I’ve had a hard time with in this movie is how some character’s behaviors are completely different. The difference could be explained away but the contrast compared to what was and some of the others was a bit too jarring. So that and the awkward moments that felt added on are my main problems with the film. In fact, I know when I started to really like this movie, it was when his sixth sense went off in the appartement, from then on I enjoyed the movie more and more even if the problems are peppered throughout. It still had a few weird moments but I can see myself skipping to that part if I’m streaming it.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is high on emotions and fan service – there’s even a Graham Norton Show reference – but mostly marks Peter’s growth as a person – from boy to young man -, redefines and showcases his abilities – notably his strength and Spidey sense. I’m excited to see how it’ll go next.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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Morbius | Clip

  • Writer: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Roy Thomas, Gil Kane
  • Director: Daniel Espinosa
  • Stars:Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Adria Arjona, Tyrese Gibson, Corey Johnson, Archie Renaux, Michael Keaton

The VFX is good, I love how he moves, and the fact that there’s not doubt that he’s killing them but it’s weird that he doesn’t seem interested in their blood.

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West Side Story | Well Crafted & Acted But What a Sh!tty Story

Steven Spielberg making – well remaking – a musical? Why not. This is the second feature-length adaptation of the 1957 West Side Story stage musical by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by the dearly departed Stephen Sondheim – I’m no musical theatre fan but even I know who he is. This newest adaptation stars Ansel Elgort (Divergent Saga, Men Women & Children) and newcomer Rachel Zegler, with Arianna DeBose (Prom, Hamilton), David Alvarez (American Rust), Mike Faist (Panic), and Rita Moreno – who starred in the previous movie based on this musical.

Premise: Teenagers Tony and María, despite having affiliations with rival street gangs, the Jets and Sharks, fall in love in 1950s New York City.

Review: Going in I vaguely knew about this muscial, and thought it was Romeo and Juliet with song and dance, so I was not ready for the racist undertones laced throughout. I mean not at all, and the whole time I was thinking people sing these songs – in particular the jets’ songs – knowing the jets hate the sharks because they’re “foreign” and not white? Knowing they did the same with the Egyptian Kings? – who I’m guessing were people of color.
To make matters worse, I checked the 1960s version, because I suspected the racism to be more blatant in that version – since some of the Jets in Spielberg’s movie seemed a bit swirly, like their were mixed or something; – and oh boy was I wrong. I first stopped at a picture of the 1961 Jets and it screamed aryan brotherhood to me. But the worse thing about it is that Spielberg’s movie seems to be the one not shying away from the racism with a few shashays and harmonies, the old version is.

I figured this movie would have some kind of message, which is I’m guessing along the lines of “an eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind?”, but even with that kind of message I don’t think that this movie is worth it. To me it only serves as a reminder that some people are trash, time passed and things remained somewhat the same or got worse. The movie itself didn’t make me sad, my eyes were dry throughout, but it was sad to see that not much has changed in particular when it comes to how people treat each other.

All of that said, I realized that I’ve heard some of those songs unaware that they were from this musical. There is also a lot more to like in this movie when it comes to how it was put together. The cast is amazing, delivering jaw dropping performances. A lot of them, are actors to watch. I never suspected that Elgort could sing like that and his fellow cast members showed him up a bit despite some of them being relative unknowns. The directing is on point, the sets, the dance numbers and the costumes are great, but I just couldn’t get into the story. It starts well enough I guess but it goes off the rails and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There’s no amount of pretty singing and dancing that would have blinded me to the problems I have with the story. Some of the characters’ actions doesn’t make a lot of sense to me maybe the actors didn’t sell it too well but to be honest I don’t think anyone could have. I have yet to watch the 1961 version in full but the two scenes I saw – The introduction scene and the I feel pretty song – and they were cringey for a whole sets of reasons.

West Side Story looks cool, the dances and music are catchy enough, but I just couldn’t get into the story. However I suspect Spielberg to have made meaningful but subtle changes to highten the social commentary

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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ADOW S3 | Trailer

  • Writer: Deborah Harkness (Novels), Lachlan Mackinnon
  • Director: Jamie Donoughue
  • Stars: Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, Alex Kingston, Edward Bluemel, Lindsay Duncan; Owen Teale, and Aiysha Hart

If you look at this frame by frame, you’ll see quite a few eaters eggs and great moments from the books so I’m very eager to see these episodes and to finally share The Book of Life review that I’ve been sitting on for years at this point. I might even dip back into the book.

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