Currently browsing the "Sequel" category.

Review: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

I may be one of the few people who was not blown away by the original Knives Out. Which is not to say I didn’t like it. I just wasn’t all gaga about it. So imagine my delight when I watched this follow-up and enjoyed the hell out of it! Daniel Craig is back as the one-step-ahead-of-everyone, Deep South detective Benoit Blanc. He’s been invited to an exclusive murder mystery weekend on a Greek island that belongs to uber-wealthy biotech CEO Miles Bron (Edward Norton). All the rest of the guests have a history with Miles: his former business partner Andi (Janelle Monáe), his head scientist Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.), Governor Claire (Kathryn Hahn), men’s-rights influencer Duke (Dave Bautista) with his girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), and former model Birdie (Kate Hudson) with her assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick). What seems like a fun COVID-free escape will be anything but!

(Spoiler-free) Review – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The spirit of the late Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa, Black Panther) looms large throughout Marvel Studios’ Wakanda Forever, even as the film—and the franchise—seeks to clear a path to a future without him. The film is both painful and cathartic.

Looking back at my 2018 review of Black Panther, I can’t help but note my anticipation for more T’Challa in the years ahead, which is why Boseman’s 2020 death from cancer (at age 43) still seems hard to fathom. Wakanda Forever isn’t the sequel initially intended, but it’s the sequel we’ve got—and it’s a good one. It does Chadwick (and T’Challa) proud.

Review: TOP GUN: MAVERICK

As sequels 30+ years in the making go… TOP GUN: MAVERICK delivers at mach speed. The high-adrenaline action drama is like a remake, homage and sequel all rolled into one. If you’re like me and can recite most every line of the 1986 classic, then you’ll feel very much at home with the pacing, characters, and latest shenanigans of fearless Naval aviator Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise).

“Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.” “I feel the need; the need for speed.” “Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.” “You can be my wingman anytime.” I could go on… but I digress! The dialogue in TG: MAVERICK may not be quite as quotable as those particular gems, but it’s close enough to elicit a chuckle, lump in the throat, or a flash of memory–seemingly right on cue. “Talk to me Goose.”

Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I was having one of those days… the kind that sorta deserves to be capped off with a screening of a film called Venom: Let There Be Carnage. So off I went– to a masked, limited-capacity screening of a sequel to a movie that I found pleasantly surprising in 2018. Does Venom 2 live up to its predecessor? No. Is it worth venturing into a theater to see? Probably not. Is it worth seeing if you simply must catch every movie featuring a Marvel comic book character as soon as it hits the big screen? Sure. You know who you are.

Review: Candyman

Candyman… Candyman… Candyman… Candyman…

Say the name, or see the movie, and you’re in for a whole lot of bloodshed – and a hefty splattering of social commentary.

Review: The Boss Baby: Family Business

“What happens on the playground stays on the playground.” Lines like this are what made the first Boss Baby a cute little hit in 2017, and what makes its sequel, The Boss Baby: Family Business easily watchable now for kids and adults. There is a caveat however. While Boss Baby 2 is entertaining enough for a family film night, it’s no Boss Baby 1. The magic is gone – largely because we already know the drill. And, there’s simply not enough (for my taste) of the bitterly sarcastic talking wizard alarm clock “Wizzy”!

Review: Coming 2 America

Hard to believe it’s been more than 30 years since Crown Prince Akeem Jaffer (Eddie Murphy) and his sidekick Semmi (Arsenio Hall) fled the palace – and an arranged marriage – in the wealthy African nation of Zamunda, and landed in Queens, New York, on a comical quest for true love. The 1988 comedy classic Coming to America was a real gem. Its sequel, Coming 2 America, is more like cubic zirconia. It has a bit of sparkle but pales against the original.

The trip is still worth taking, for nostalgia’s sake and a few good laughs. Just keep the expectations in check.

Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is the first movie released mid-pandemic for which I was sorely tempted to mask up and venture into a theater. Really glad I didn’t. Lasso of truth: WW84 is okay, but falls far short of its predecessor and is, most definitely, not worth risking your life for. It’s simply too long and meandering in plot to fully satisfy all but those desperately hungry for a superhero movie. I thought I was. Now I’m not so sure! I didn’t dislike WW84; but I was disappointed.

Girl Power – in front of and behind the camera – can only take you so far. Pieces of the story are good. They just don’t hang together all that well. The movie is too heavy on the messaging (Don’t lie. Greed is bad. Most people want to be good. Be careful what you wish for. Truth is all there is.) and too light on the superheroics. I’m all for Diana Prince living a double life, but aren’t we here mostly to see Wonder Woman doing her thing? Wonder Woman 1984 needed more Wonder Woman!

Netflix Picks: The Life Ahead for a good cry; Other stuff for escapist fluff

I helped myself to a triple serving of Netflix this week and I got it all – a healthy protein, (The Life Ahead), a tasty side dish filled with empty calories (The Princess Switch: Switched Again) and a  dessert (Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey) that was good, if not particularly memorable. The Italian drama The Life Ahead is the strongest of the three – by far. But each has its place, depending on your mood. In a nutshell, The Princess Switch sequel is for everyone who saw the 2018 Christmas romcom starring Vanessa Hudgens in a dual role. This time around, she plays three lookalike characters. It’s easy breezy fluff. Jingle Jangle has a bit more heft as a family-friendly Christmas musical fantasy film with a congenial cast and fantastical set and wardrobe. And The Life Ahead has legendary actress Sophia Loren in her first feature film role in a decade. At 86, she’s still got it.

Review: Borat Subsequent MovieFilm

I’m just not that into Borat. I wasn’t in 2006 when Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan put Sacha Baron Cohen’s unique brand of political satire on the cinematic map, nor now, 14 years later, with his admittedly timely “sequel”, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Fortunately for the British actor and comedian (who I thoroughly enjoyed as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and “Master of the House” in Les Miserables), he does not need me to like his Borat character. Enough others do. And they will surely lap this up – in all its crude glory. Ironically, I was about to dump out of the movie – until Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani began firing off obnoxious preemptive tweets about Giuliani’s rather embarrassing “cameo” and how the film surely manipulated his actions. So of course I had to keep watching! Sure it’s a set-up, but hey, you reap what you sow. Ick.