If you are already predisposed to hate Disney and all that the mega-conglomerate stands for, the new "Jungle Cruise" is bound to rub you the wrong way. It's an over-stuffed, over-produced chaotic romp, that just seems to be full of excess (and CG) around every corner. However, with Emily Blunt and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at the center of the mess, their friendly chemistry is just barely able to keep "Jungle Cruise" from straying completely off-course.
If you don't know your Flints from your Dukes, your Scarletts from your Lady Jayes, or your Snow Jobs from your Beach Heads, then you might overlook "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" as just another throw-away action-franchise wanna-be. But for fans of the original "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" cartoon series, this new film is packed full of content that will have you brimming with nostalgia-fueled joy.
Yes, despite the cold critical response it's received thus far, "Snake Eyes" could very well be the start of something special: A cinematic universe that at least has the depth of characters and storylines to eventually go toe-to-toe with Marvel, with albeit a smaller but much more fervent fan-base.
The first "Escape Room" film dropped with little fanfare back in January of 2019. But the low-budget teen-friendly horror film - capitalizing on the growing popularity of "escape rooms" across the country - was a modest hit, grossing over 150 million worldwide, having been made for under 10 million.
It's star, Taylor Russell, was relatively unknown - and she still is - but Russell is an absolute A-list star in-the-making (mark my words). Her likability and talents raised that first film above other throw-away teen horror films, and her continued presence in this sequel has elevated "Escape Room" to one of the most unlikely, yet entertaining, original IP franchises-in-the-making in recent years.
Finally, a movie that actually IS cool, instead of one that keeps desperately insisting so.
"Gunpowder Milkshake" is not without misfires, but it creates one hell of an explosion of fun.
It's not all "Black Widow"'s fault. This long-awaited Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) feature film was supposed to have reached theaters back in May of 2020, but well...you know. Had there not been a pandemic, this movie would have seen release just under one year after the Phase Three final chapter, "Avengers: Endgame." And while the additional year of waiting has perhaps allowed us to enjoy the Marvel Disney+ TV shows a bit more ("WandaVision," "The Falcon and Winter Soldier" and nearly all of "Loki"), most Marvel fans are getting increasingly impatient as they await some forward traction with the over-arching story.
And while "Black Widow" is supposedly the first feature-film of Marvel's Phase Four, it doesn't feel like it. It does finally give Scarlett Johansson's beloved Black Widow character time to shine, a scene-stealer who has to this point just been a team player, appearing throughout other hero's films as one of two (along with Hawkeye) human Avenger members. But her new stand-alone film feels like it could have been released five, or seven years ago...a good but not great Marvel film that feels disappointing only because fans - I'm assuming - are chomping at the bit for things to move on from "Endgame."
"The Forever Purge" is the fifth and supposedly final chapter in the Purge franchise, and it has a lot of big ideas it looks to tackle. The saga has expanded its world since the first 2013 film, which took place all at one house. In subsequent chapters, we got to see a wider perspective of the annual 12-hour killing holiday known as "The Purge," where all crime - including murder - is made legal, an outlet which has apparently made America a better place.
The scariest part about "The Forever Purge" is how it tackles some real-world issues, albeit clumsily, presenting a dystopian version of our country that - in the wake of the 1/6 insurrection - doesn't seem all that far-fetched. For the first time in the saga, the events depicted feel like something that could actually happen...it's too bad that the film didn't take a smarter overall approach.
Our country has never been more polarized, and facts have never been as important as they are now. But despite our differences, we should all be able to come together with pride to denounce that the new, R-rated, raunchy, gory, silly "America: The Motion Picture" tries way too hard at pretty much everything it attempts to do.
This might be the revisionist history we deserve, but it's more of a missed opportunity.
We've come to expect implausible, over-the-top ridiculousness in the "Fast & Furious" movies...heck, we almost rely on it.
But with "F9," the franchise is dealt a critical blow in that it forgets to be fun. Yes, in a film series where it is completely acceptable for cars to jump from skyscraper to skyscraper, where the laws of physics and all beliefs are permanently suspended, where men and women have perfected the ability to leap unscathed from exploding vehicles, "F9" is the first chapter that feels tired, uninspired, lazy and most egregiously of all for a "Fast & Furious" film, stuck in second gear.
If you were a fan of the original 2017 action-comedy, "The Hitman's Bodyguard," there is almost no way that you won't also like its sequel, "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard." That's because it's essentially the same movie, with the same primary cast, writer and director, but it's a lot leaner (shorter), tighter and funnier than its predecessor.
Did we need a sequel to "The Hitman's Bodyguard"? Nah. But in a world where Intellectual Properties reign supreme, there are worse universes to find yourself thrown back into.
Zack Snyder has worked his way into the hearts of millions and is one of the most talked-about directors of the past year. The "Zack Snyder Cut" of "Justice League" that was recently released was well-received and dreamed into fruition by his fervent fan-base. But long before he ever took on The Caped Crusader and his Super-Friends, Snyder cut his teeth on a zombie movie...a George Romero zombie movie no less...the 2004 remake of "Dawn of the Dead." It was Snyder's first feature-film and he returns to world of the undead with his own original zombie tale, "Army of the Dead."
Yes, it's way too long (it is a Zack Snyder film after all), and it never quite lives up to its outstanding opening sequence. But sometimes it's nice to just rest one's brain, and that particular muscle is not at all needed to enjoy this one. "Army of the Dead" definitely pays tribute to the zombie genre, in that mindlessness is not only welcome, it's the main dish.
If only it didn't take itself so seriously.
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