Monday, July 09, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The Gist: After things went horribly wrong in the last attempt to create an entertainment park based on live dinosaurs, the animals freely roam the remote island. Unfortunately for them, however, the local volcano has awakened and its imminent eruption threatens the ancient beasts’ very existence once again. A billionaire puts together a plan to save and transfer as many dinosaurs to a different island, and he calls upon some familiar faces to help out.

What a treat it is to see these beloved Jurassic creatures on the big screen once again. Does it matter that they are not real and their behavior is largely based on assumptions and guesswork (albeit rooted in science)? Not to me! I don’t care they’re all CGI, they look and sound real to me!

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are both back reprising their roles as the on-again/off-again bickering couple who tries to do what’s right for the animals. They have charisma and talent and surely deliver the goods. Rafe Spall puts on the mantle of the bad guy and is pretty easy to hate on.

Obviously, the movie’s production values are absolutely flawless. The visual effects are as life-like as it gets, the sound effects are terrific, and Michael Giacchino’s score is thrilling.

As far as the script goes, I’d say the core idea is interesting, but it does feel a bit derivative at times.

(Spoilers paragraph!) I do want to mention that when the volcano finally erupts, engulfing the remaining dinosaurs in its deadly embrace, it feels really sad. Even though one knows they aren’t real, just the thought of these magnificent creatures going extinct again is incredibly touchy. The last screams of help by that lone brontosaurus on the edge of the shore, with nowhere else to go, felt agonizing.

The Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of the franchise then Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom won’t disappoint: it’s loud, engaging, and a lot of fun. If you’ve never seen any of these movies, you’ll certainly be entertained by this movie.

Grade: 7

Friday, April 20, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mystery Man


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Many Patterns


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Friday, April 06, 2018

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Love, Simon

The Gist: Simon is a regular teenage guy. He has a nice family, a tight group of friends, and is in high school. He’s also in the closet. Then, one day, a mysterious message on a bulletin board stirs passions in his heart that he finds hard to manage.

Love, Simon is a really, really good movie, and not just if you’re gay or lesbian. It’s a wonderfully written story that talks about love, friendship, family relationships, and bullying.

Nick Robinson is excellent in what will surely be his breakout role, and I also really liked Katherine Langford as his best friend Leah.

The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a good comedy that also skillfully delivers some important messages, look no further. Love, Simon is a must-see.

Grade: 9

A Wrinkle in Time

The Gist: A young scientist working on a new theory of space travel disappears mysteriously. Years later, his daughter Meg, her brother, and a friend from school receive a visit from three fantastical beings. Meg’s challenge will be finding her long lost father somewhere in the universe.

I am a fan of director Ava DuVernay’s work, so I was looking forward to her latest film. Unfortunately, A Wrinkle in Time is not a good movie. The best thing about it are arguably the eye-popping visual effects, and that’s hardly enough to salvage it.

Relative newcomer Storm Reid does an admirable job in the lead, as does Levi Miller as Calvin. Two promising young actors. Alas, Deric McCabe, who plays the younger brother, came across as stiff and not believable. Maybe in time he’ll get better.

Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey clearly had quite a bit of fun playing their roles, but the characters felt a bit empty. Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are perfectly cast as the loving couple.

The Bottom Line: While pleasant enough to watch and likely sufficiently entertaining for a younger crowd, I’d recommend to wait for the DVD to come out. I haven’t read the book this work is based on, but I can’t imagine it not being far better.

Grade: 4

How Dark Patterns Trick You Online

A very interesting and informative video: