I couldn't imagine caring about SPOILERS for a Transformers movie, but if you don't already know what's coming - scene after scene of mindless action, lame jokes, awful characters and zero stakes - then be warned: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Specifically, the "stinger scene" during the end credits will be spoiled. You've been warned. *** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
If there was ever a stereotype for what a superhero comic book would be, there's a good chance that the word-bubbles with the sounds "Whiz!", "Bam!", and "Pow!" would be included in that cliché. And if there was ever a stereotype for what a superhero comic book MOVIE would be, just refer to "Black Adam," the latest swing-and-a-miss from the flailing DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU).
"Black Adam" does it all, in that it is definitely a superhero movie. It looks great, and contains plenty of slick CG, action and fighting. But sadly, it is as hollow as they come, a film where neither the protagonist or the antagonist is all that interesting. It's everything you think a superhero movie is, but in the day-and-age of Marvel movies (or even the stellar DCCU film from earlier this year, "The Batman"), audiences require - heck, deserve - more than what The Rock was cookin' with "Black Adam."
When did superhero movies stop being fun?
The "Jurassic Park" saga that began back in 1993 finally (and thankfully) limps to its final resting place with its sixth and final chapter, "Jurassic World Dominion."
Gone is the wonderment, the magic of Spielberg's original blockbuster, which in my eyes remains a ground-shattering, masterpiece of popcorn cinema. "Jurassic World Dominion" reduces this franchise to a bland whirlwind of CG, barely containing any remnant of DNA (pun intended) from that first "Jurassic Park" film.
It's fast-paced but bland, familiar but unrecognizable. The intelligence behind the eyes of the franchise is gone, and it's been dumbed-down to swim in the same gene pool as a "Transformers" movie (not a compliment).
If you liked the last, nearly unwatchable mess of a film, "Fallen Kingdom," then you may not mind "Jurassic World Dominion." However, a "Jurassic" film is not supposed to be your average action movie. The bar was set high from the very start, and the audience frankly deserves more, having now been served - in my estimation - four terrible follow-ups with one diamond buried in the middle (I had lots of love for "Jurassic World," but not much for any of the other Jurassic movies since the original).
Writer/Director Riley Stearns really made a real splash with the criminally underrated and underseen 2019 black-comedy, "The Art of Self-Defense" (read my review of that film here). He follows it up with "Dual," another film that exists in the same darkly comedic vein that his previous work did, but this one doesn't quite resonate nearly as much.
"Dual" is a film that introduces a very compelling concept, but veers well off course. By the time it tries to right the ship, it's too far gone for us to care.
Where to begin? Is there even a "beginning" or an "end," or are we all just in a meaningless construct of space and time? How would my life change if the next word I typed was fas;fljasdlfkjaetpieejpwaoifqwpeof. Did I just smash away at my keyboard for no reason or did that somehow, someway divert the course of my life? Is there an alternate reality where I started this review a different way, didn't review the film at all, or wasn't able to type it because I was a rock or perhaps my hands were made out of hot dogs?
Believe it or not, these are all relevant questions in the audaciously bonkers new sci-fi/action/adventure multi-verse film, "Everything Everywhere All At Once," the most wildly ambitious film since 2012's "Cloud Atlas." And for those that know me, this is the highest form of praise, being that "Cloud Atlas" ranked as my #2 best film of the past decade.
And although I highly recommend "Everything Everywhere All At Once" for its unbridled imagination, its deftness in conveying complicated exposition, its bold vision and its odd yet stellar cast, the film's title could also be used to describe it's narrative focus. It's high-art packaged as a surprisingly accessible popcorn blockbuster, and yet it's excessively mind-numbing.
In other words, it's messiness is it's strength AND its weakness, which I guess is only fitting.
Fans are being asked to plug back into The Matrix franchise, nearly 20 years since the last two installments, "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" hit theaters just a few months apart back in 2003. The love story of Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) was at the heart of this ground-breaking film saga that mixed action with high-concept sci-fi and stunning visuals, returning over 1 billion (with a "b") at the box office for the trilogy.
Lana Wachowski returns to the franchise (sans her usual partner, sister Lilly) to give us a fourth chapter, "The Matrix Resurrections," a decidedly uneven but wildly ambitious return to the world of rogue programs, slow-motion bullets, steam-punk aesthetics, unabashed ass-kicking and endless sci-fi mumbo-jumbo. Its high-aiming philosophy works better than its action set pieces, but ultimately this is a mixed-bag reboot whose main themes get buried under a mountain of code.
There is low-brow science-fiction ("Starship Troopers" and similar) and then there is more intellectually-challenging high-brow science-fiction (the recent "Ex Machina" or "Possessor" comes to mind).
"Swan Song" is a fantastic, thoughtful, emotionally-charged drama dealing with cloning, where it asks a simple question: If you could spare your loved ones from the hurt of ever losing you or experiencing any grief, what would you be willing to sacrifice?
With great power (i.e. advanced knowledge of what happens) comes great responsibility (like not to reveal even the slightest spoiler).
Here's what I CAN say: "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is finally hitting theaters...it is the third full-length Spider-Man film featuring Tom Holland as Peter Parker...and it picks up where things left off at the very end of "Spider-Man: Far From Home," with the world discovering the real identity of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
***NO SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED IN THIS REVIEW, OTHER THAN WHAT IS SHOWN IN THE ALREADY RELEASED TRAILERS FOR THE FILM***
It may include the greatest ensemble cast of A-Listers and talent that you'll ever see: Meryl Streep. Jennifer Lawrence. Leonardo DiCaprio. Jonah Hill. Timothée Chalamet. Mark Rylance. Ariana Grande. Ron Perlman. Rob Morgan. Cate Blanchett. Tyler Perry. Melanie Lynskey. Himesh Patel. And even Kid Cudi.
It's very easy to get hypnotized by their brilliance, and swept in on the sheer star-power of those sharing the screen together. "Don't Look Up" is a brash and super-funny political satire from the mind of Adam McKay, director of "Vice" and "The Big Short" in recent years, not to mention his iconic films with his old business partner Will Ferrell, like the two "Anchorman" movies, "Step Brothers," "Talladega Nights" and "The Other Guys."
But for all it gets right, it's also a bit of a mess, with way too much jammed into its over-long run time (2 hours and 18 minutes). Still, it's maybe the best comedy of the year, and could yield a few acting nominations as well this awards season, especially for Leonardo DiCaprio, who is given a big "Network"-level monologue at one point that could land him an Oscar on the strength of that one scene alone.
Casting the iconic Tom Hanks as the only human in a film feels like it's been done before...and that's because it has, back in 2000 with the film "Cast Away." That film found Hanks stranded and all alone on a deserted island, with inanimate friend Wilson the Volleyball his only companion.
In "Finch," Hanks finds himself alone again, this time on a deserted planet following some deadly solar flares that he happened to survive, and instead of talking to a volleyball this time around, he has a trusty dog - and an intelligent robot - at his side.
The comparisons to "Cast Away" are inevitable, but "Finch" is far less a complete film. It doesn't really land any of the lofty ideals it raises, and it's so slight that even though we're at world's end, the stakes never seem too high.
Looking for a specific movie or review?