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.
There's no keeping this one quiet: "A Quiet Place Part II" is everything you would hope it would be.
Director Alexandra Aja has made a career out of horror. Films like "Crawl," "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Piranha 3D" clearly show his skill as a growing master of the genre. With his latest film, "Oxygen" ("Oxygéne" as it's known by it's original French title), he leans more heavily into science-fiction while still flexing his usual muscles.
The result is the most effective movie to date that deals with the isolation, desperation and claustrophobia associated with the recent pandemic, even though "Oxygen" has nothing to do directly with it.
There are no aliens, no secret attacks, no mutinies in "Stowaway." The entirety of the film is presented as a moral dilemma, the kind of situation a group of college psychiatric students might try to work through over the course of a semester.
It's small in scale despite taking place mostly in the outer reaches of space, but "Stowaway" carries with it both some dead weight and some unexpected surprises.
Many are describing "Voyagers" as "Lord of the Flies" in space, because that's the quickest and most effective way to describe what it's all about. But despite the talented young cast and a sleek, futuristic look, "Voyagers" drifts a little too far away from relevancy.
Those that choose to watch monster movies such as "Godzilla vs. Kong" do not have very high expectations. They're not looking for an intricate plot, Oscar-worthy performances or clever twists. They just want to watch these monsters wreak havoc, and beat the hell out of one another.
With that in mind, "Godzilla vs. Kong" checks all the boxes you'd expect it to: Intricate plot? Nah. Oscar-worthy performances or clever twists? Nope and nope. Havoc being wreaked, and lots of beatings? You betcha.
But sadly, while the ingredients are all there, the two heavyweights on the title card don't share the screen quite enough...a real letdown for a film called "Godzilla vs. Kong." And the "fun" spirit of "Kong: Skull Island" is discarded for the more serious overtone of the past two "Godzilla" movies, which makes this one clunker of a clash.
It's "Groundhog's Day" meets "John Wick," in one of the most entertaining, surprisingly funny action films you'll ever see.
"Boss Level" is not based on any particular video game, but it just may be the very best video game movie ever made.
There might not be two bigger, brighter stars than Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley. Both are now household names, Holland after becoming the latest cinematic-version of Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Ridley becoming Rey, the newest force who carried the weight of a galaxy on her shoulders in the recent Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII and IX). Matched with respected action director Doug Liman ("Edge of Tomorrow," "The Bourne Identity") and placed in an award-winning Young-Adult Science Fiction universe, the main question going into "Chaos Walking" had to be: What could go wrong?
More than you could imagine, would be the answer. However despite being stuck in production hell for nearly five years (more on that in a bit), the two bring just enough clarity to what is otherwise a messy, noisy misfire...that could have been a lot worse.
As stiff and robotic as the cyborg he portrays, Anthony Mackie is not able to save "Outside the Wire" from itself.
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