It’s the end of the world…
Fracking caused the Earth’s poles to reverse, sending the rotation out of whack. Daylight lasts longer and the animals run wild. And the dead rise from their graves as zombies. Small town Centerville’s police force (Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny) must deal with the feeding frenzy of their former friends and loved ones.
Indie film, The Dead Don’t Die brings together director, Jim Jarmusch (who also wrote the screenplay) with some of his favorite actors who have appeared over and over in his many iconic films. Featuring big names such as Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Selena Gomez, Rosie Perez, Carol Kane, and Tilda Swinton, the movie lacks the polish of a big release movie. Meticulously slow pacing and awkward dialogue, the movie pushes a harsh commentary on the choices humans have made, and show that they deserve the end of the world.
With so many Easter Eggs and nods to horror movies, Star Wars, and the director’s early life, viewers will want to watch closely and most will miss them. Only through seeing the movie more than once or even Googling the Easter Eggs, will you understand what you missed. The Dead Don’t Die is not a comedy, no matter how silly the trailer appeared. It is a tough movie to watch as Murray and Driver seem to improvise their lines, certain key phrases are repeated over and over or how they break the 4th wall to discuss why Driver knows the movie will end badly. I could have written a more exciting movie. Maybe it was in Daniel Craig’s best interest for him to not be able to fit his cameo in.
Looking for a unique movie, one not a sequel… The Dead Don’t Die shows what a low budget and a little help of your friends can accomplish.
It’s the summer of sequels…
As a child Molly (Tessa Thompson) witnesses an alien encounter. Her parents’ memories were wiped but not hers and she spent over two decades trying to find the truth about aliens and the universe. When she finds the secret headquarters of Men in Black, she’s offered a job, becoming Agent M. Her first assignment is in London where there’s a mole in the international organization.
Men in Black: International reunites Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth from Thor: Ragnarok, as they try to recreate their winning chemistry. With return appearances by Frank, the pug, the worm guys and Emma Thompson as Agent O, the movie doesn’t have any of the original actors from the first movie. There is a nod to the earlier Men in Black movies with a painting on the wall in the International Headquarters. But even with the star power and featuring Steven Spielberg as one of the producers, the movie falls flat.
The movie has all the aspects from the first movie, fast cars, strange aliens and big guns but it feels like a copy rather than a unique movie. The movie becomes more of a vehicle for Hemsworth and Thompson but lacks the buddy aspect of the first one. However, the new character, Pawnie, steals the show. He is a living pawn who gets all the snarky comments and tells things like it is.
With the numerous reboots and sequels, Hollywood needs to step up its game and add some new aspects to them in order to have them stand out. There are a lot of movies this summer to choose from, so avoid this one unless you are a Hemsworth fan. He does take his shirt off.
The last X-Men movie for a while…
When the X-Men are sent into space to rescue the space shuttle astronauts, something goes wrong and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) becomes infected with an unknown power, which amplifies her abilities and makes her the most powerful thing on the planet. Now it’s up to her friends to help her before she destroys the world. Toss in a few evil aliens and some wild special effects…You’ve got a reason for “family” to come together! Too bad there’s no Wolverine cameo.
Bringing back the group from X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix wraps up the story arc for Jean and brings about some big changes to the X-Men franchise. We see where Erik/Magneto ( Michael Fassbender) has been and get another look at the rest of the gang- Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Nightcrawler, Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm, The Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Professor Xavier (James McAvoy).
While the movie also fits pretty well with the X-Men: Days of Future Past movies, however, it shatters the timeline for the three original movies-X-Men, X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. But that’s often been a complaint about the X-Men movies… they don’t always make logical sense. So come for the action and another chance to see the characters but don’t put too much thought into it.
At times, Dark Phoenix feels like a lesser Captain Marvel movie, especially since Jean’s powers mimic Carol Danver’s. Unlike most of Marvel’s Avenger’s movies, there isn’t an extra credit scene. So no need to wait to see who was the hairdresser for Sophie Turner. But for fans of the series, they will enjoy seeing Jean’s whole storyline and since we know that nothing is truly ever gone… I’m sure there will be another X-Men movie in the future.
Coming off the success of last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman weaves musical numbers into the life of piano man, Elton John.
Told through the music and dance numbers we see Elton (Taron Egerton) in therapy for his many addictions sharing his story from his early years where he could hear a song and play it by ear to the height of his career, playing at Madison Square Garden.
This no holds barred look at Elton’s love life, suicide attempt, alcoholism and drug use paints a picture of a man looking for love. His childhood loneliness as he strives for his father’s attention to his search for a soul mate and the many bad choices he made. It pulls at your heartstrings as we see Elton come to grips with the mess he made in his life. Rocketman doesn’t skirt the issues, telling it as it is. With a sensual sex scene between Elton and John Reid and numerous instances of cocaine use, this movie isn’t for a young audience.
Not a true biography, Rocketman tells Elton’s story from his point of view, so there’s bound to be discrepancies between his version and other’s. Elton’s stepmother and half-brothers have contradicted the movie’s portrayal of Elton’s father. It also plays a little loose with how Elton determined his now famous name.
Taron Egerton becomes Elton, even doing his own singing in the movie. During the credits, the movie shows photos of Elton alongside Taron and it’s hard to tell the difference. Directed by the man (Dexter Fletcher) who jumped in to Bohemian Rhapsody when Bryan Singer went missing, Rocketman features all the feels and Elton’s popular songs but in a unique way.
A must for fans of the entertainer or his music.
Gotta Catch them All!
When Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is informed of his detective father’s death, he travels to Ryme City, a place where Pokémon and humans live in harmony and meets his father’s Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). Sadly, Pikachu has lost his memory but is able to speak to Tim and is determined to help him find his father because he’s convinced Harry is still alive.
Their search takes them all over town, while befriending a young intern with aspirations of being a hard-hitting reporter someday. One lead sends them to philanthropist, Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) who made the city great. He shares that Tim’s father, Harry Goodman was undercover trying to get answers about what was really going on with a sinister purple gas.
Antics abound as Tim must face his feelings for his father who withdrew into his job after the death of Tim’s mother. The team encounters strange mutated Pokémon and learn that the legendary Pokémon, Mew Two may be behind Harry’s disappearance.
A blend of live action and CGI, the characters come to life on the big screen. Based off the video game by the same name, Detective Pikachu is the first non-cartoon movie from the Pokémon franchise. Ryan Reynolds voices the character of Pikachu with much of the exuberation of his Deadpool character. It is as if he has no filter. He says whatever comes to mind. A fun twist brings the movie full circle and will have the adults hugging their children.
Filled with action and so many Pokémon, the movie will appeal to fans of the series and children. Even my favorite Jigglypuff has a small cameo. But if you aren’t familiar with the characters, much of the movie will be over your head. And there’s plenty of fun family movies coming out later this summer!
Spoiler Free Review
After Thanos’ snap decimates half Earth’s population, the remaining Avengers must come to grips with their loss as they seek to find a way to reverse the outcome. Each of the Avengers deal with the loss of the team, family and world in a different way as they come to grips with not being able to save the world this time.
After Infinity War, people left the theater in shock. They couldn’t believe their favorite characters were gone. But hope sprang up. The Avengers would find a way to bring everyone back. They would defeat Thanos.
Endgame has a different feeling. Not one of shock but one of finality. As the last movie in this story arc which began with Ironman, Endgame feels like graduation or retirement day. You know you will see people again but it will never be the same. Everyone must go forward with their lives. With Stan Lee’s passing this past year, the movie becomes even more poignant as the characters of Ironman, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk and Hawkeye finish the sweeping storyline.
The movie hits all the right notes… nostalgia, sadness, hope and happiness. There are still pieces of humor thrown in, (usually by Ant Man or Thor) along with the history.
With great cameos from Joe Russo, Ken Jeong, and Taika Waititi, Endgame weaves together the past movies with this final one. The fact that there is no end credit scene (only a special sound clip at the very end) gives the movie even more of a final feeling, however, there is a feeling of where the next installment will go- into space and a hint at the future.
Sometimes it takes a monster to win the war…
Half-human, half-demon Hellboy (David Harbour) battles the Blood Queen (Mila Jovovich) who is set to bring about the end of humanity as she makes the world safe for the monsters. Directed by his father, the head of a secret paranormal task force which keeps the monsters under wraps and protects the world.
As Hellboy learns about his origins, he questions his place in the world and fears that he will be the key piece to end it. While he agrees with the concept of equality for monsters, he’s not willing to kill all the humans in order to achieve his dreams. Along with his longtime friend, Alice (Sasha Lane) and a shifter, Major Ben Diamio (Daniel Dae Kim), Hellboy battles the Blood Queen and her army of darkness.
Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola (who also serves as producer) Hellboy follows the comics more closely than the previous movies by Del Toro. This is a complete reboot rather than in any way a sequel to the previous movies. Based in the horror genre rather than the superhero genre, graphic blood and violence fills the screen. People are literally torn apart as blood shoots everywhere. The monsters are ugly and might give some nightmares.
The movie weaves in King Arthur and Merlin along with Baba Yaga (she’s a scary woman with an ax to grind against Hellboy) and features two after credit scenes which set up the movie for a sequel, although based on the fans’ reactions and the box office, I doubt it will ever be made.
I don’t understand why filmmakers decide to rewrite a movie which was a popular one. It’s like in five years, doing another Iron Man movie but with a totally different actor and feel. This movie disappoints to all but the true comic fans. Although there is a touch of humor to it, the movie falls flat. I really hoped this would be a good movie because I enjoyed the first two movies but save your money for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a troubled fourteen year old. Lost as a child, he longs to find his mother but when he runs afoul of child protective services, he is placed in a foster care home with a group of misfits who have created a family out of their differences.
The last of ancient protectors must find a champion to wield his powers. He’s sought out so many people but they failed his tests until Billy comes along. Now when Billy says Shazam, he turns into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi).
As Billy begins to understand his powers, he lets his newfound celebrity go to his head. When bad guy, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) comes after him and his family, Billy must find what is important to him in order to save everyone.
Unlike superhero movies like Superman or Batman, Shazam is a family friendly movie, even for elementary kids. The message about family and heart resonates with the viewers, although some of the bad guys are a little frightening so be sure to know your child. No one wants nightmares.
As a fan of the 1970’s TV series, I was nervous about how DC would showcase Shazam. I worried it would be too silly and while there is a lot of humor, it reminds me of a child-friendly Ant Man movie. The message isn’t overly pushed but it will remind you to hug your family a little tighter.
There are two after-credit sneak peeks you will want to stay for, as well as many nods to other movies from Annabelle, Big, and Batman to Aquaman. Shazam hits the right note of funny and heartwarming. A must see!
One spark can ignite a war.
Ten years after aliens have taken over the world, an underground group of insurgents set out to bring them down and liberate Chicago, showing the world that they can also take back their cities.
As a special policeman in charge of Chicago, William Mulligan (John Goodman) must stop the undercover group, Phoenix from attacking the extra-terrestrials who have taken over Chicago. Using the son of his former partner, William uncovers a larger plan to send a message to the rest of the world.
The Earth is rich in resources which the aliens are using up. They put the humans to work to dig out the new alien homes underground. Using clicks and squeaks only translators are able to understand these new creatures. The aliens are interesting in that they appear as long-legged insects at times. When they attack, their outer shell becomes sharp points like a porcupine. They can be killed when you remove their facemask because they can’t breathe. (Can you tell that the aliens were the best part?) With their advanced technology, the humans are implanted with bugs which allow them to be tracked and everyone is monitored. So much for a brave new world!
This thriller keeps you guessing until the end but doesn’t have a great deal of action sequences like other movies like Transformers. The slow pacing leads to a long buildup but may have viewers asleep before the big reveal at the end. Trying to feel like a Cloverfield movie, Captive State just never hits the right notes.
Stay home rather than go to the movies for this one. The weirdness of the movie will have you scratching your head as you leave the theater, wondering what you just watched.
Higher. Further. Faster.
Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) wakes up after a horrible event as a different person. Pieces of her past are missing but she’s determined to be the best Noble Hero Warrior she can be. But when she is captured by the enemy, Skrulls, those pieces begin to come together, leading her to make a life change.
Captain Marvel is set in the mid-1990’s and tells the tale of the origin of one of the most powerful superhero in the universe. Carol was a pilot at a time when women weren’t allowed to fly in combat so she tests planes with a secret project. Viewers see glimpses throughout her life where she is forced to stand up and overcome people who put her down for her determination. With female writers and a female co-director, it wasn’t hard to see how empowering Captain Marvel would be.
Yet, the movie resonates for more than the strong female character. Captain Marvel comes out against war and nudges viewers that people aren’t always who you think they are. Sometimes evil can look perfectly innocent.
But Captain Marvel is also an origin movie for Marvel and The Avengers. We see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) before the loss of his eye and Coulson (Clark Gregg) as a rookie, two people who play a big part in SHIELD and keeping the Earth safe. However, it’s a cat named Goose which steals the movie. And anyone with a cat at home can relate!
Featuring music from the 90’s, viewers will be tapping their feet along with the songs which draw them back to their own younger years. But like most Marvel movies, there are two after credit scenes and a Stan Lee cameo filmed prior to his death. Seeing him on the big screen as Marvel gives him his due was touching. Stan’s influence can’t be replicated. This is a movie which you will want to watch again and again to catch all the things you missed the first time.
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