REVIEW: Prey (2022)

Amber Midthunder plays a young Comanche warrior who goes up against a fearsome, trophy-hunting Predator in Dan Trachtenberg’s PREY — PHOTO: Disney+ / 20th Century Studios.

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) — Screenplay by Patrick Aison — Story by Patrick Aison & Dan Trachtenberg.

When I was a kid, my father would often want to watch the Alien and Predator films with me. Truth be told, I was probably a little bit too young to watch them when I did, but I didn’t mind and they never gave me nightmares. Instead, for me those films helped to create a love for sci-fi action and sci-fi horror, and I really love watching them over and over again, even though not all of the films are great. As a kid, I vividly remember that, to me, mindblowing moment when an easter egg in Predator 2 revealed a connection between those two franchises.

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REVIEW: Thirteen Lives (2022)

(L to R) Thira ‘Aum’ Chutikul as Commander Kiet, Popetorn ‘Two’ Soonthornyanaku as Dr Karn, Joel Edgerton as Harry Harris, Colin Farrell as John Volanthen and Viggo Mortenson as Rick Stanton in THIRTEEN LIVES, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Vince Valitutti / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Directed by Ron Howard — Screenplay by William Nicholson — Story by Don Macpherson and William Nicholson.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard’s latest film, Thirteen Lives, is a survival drama that tells the true story of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand. It is an incredible and well-known true story. Back then a junior football team — and their coach — were trapped inside the Tham Luang caves for 18 days after heavy rainfall flooded the cave system and made it impossible for them to get out on their own. Led by a trio of Hollywood stars (Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton) whose cave-diving characters the film primarily follows, this film documents the complicated rescue.

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REVIEW: Ms. Marvel – Season One (2022)

(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan and Mohan Kapur as Yusuf Khan in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Show Creator: Bisha K. Ali — Show Directors: Adil & Bilall, Meera Menon, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

It’s interesting to me that most of the Disney+ shows thus far have really been aimed at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s mainstream die-hard audience. I sort of expected Disney+ to get into more shows that focused on family fun. I think Hawkeye felt like a family show, but no show has been as close to feeling like a Disney Channel show as Ms. Marvel did. Don’t misunderstand me. That isn’t a diss or a criticism. I think it’s refreshing to see a true young adult family-oriented MCU show. I also think that is the right way to introduce this fan-favorite character to the mainstream audience. I’m glad they gave her a Spider-Man: Homecoming-esque Disney+ show.

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REVIEW: The Gray Man (2022)

Ryan Gosling is Sierra Six in the Russo brothers’ THE GRAY MAN — PHOTO: Stanislav Honzik / Netflix.

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame) — Screenplay by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely (Avengers: Infinity War).

Over the years, Netflix has struggled to create a true film franchise. Films like Bright, Extraction, The Old Guard, and Red Notice have been their first attempts to really kickstart a film franchise. Their latest attempt, The Gray Man, is an adaptation of the Mark Greaney novel of the same name. The $200 million-budgeted film is directed by the Russo brothers (of Avengers and Community fame), has a $200 million budget, and features a star-studded cast. Netflix is trying, again and again, to get a real franchise off the ground, and this very well could be it, even though it, admittedly, struggles to set itself apart from other films like it.

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REVIEW: Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Directed by Cooper Raiff — Screenplay by Cooper Raiff.

Life is complicated. You go to school, then perhaps you go to university, and then you graduate. Life is then supposed to truly begin, but you can easily find yourself in some sort of arrested development because things don’t happen overnight. You just want to get started, and the longer it takes for things to get started, the more people in your life move ahead of you in ‘the game of life’ and they start to create things without you. Fear of missing out on that early can lead to you craving stability, to desire a life that you aren’t anywhere close to having. Maybe you don’t have the right job, maybe you don’t have the right relationship, maybe the world just isn’t letting you get started. That desperation can make you envious, it can make you oblivious to your own self-worth and your own needs. Life and the people you meet along the way can also send you mixed signals. Growing up sometimes means having to navigate those without crashing on your way. Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth is about many things including those complications when life just isn’t letting you get started for whatever reason.

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REVIEW: Don’t Make Me Go (2022)

JOHN CHO and MIA ISAAC are father and daughter, respectively, in DON’T MAKE ME GO — PHOTOS: Amazon Studios.

Directed by Hannah Marks – Screenplay by Vera Herbert.

A dramedy road trip film, Don’t Make Me Go tells the story of the Park family, which consists of only the single father, Max (played by John Cho), and his teenage daughter, Wally (played by Mia Isaac). Together they embark on a cross-country road trip for the purpose of finding Wally’s estranged mother. Max has just learned that he has a terminal disease, so this is a priceless trip, on which he needs to spend his time wisely to prepare her for what is to come, bond with her, and give her lasting memories. He also has to find a way to tell his daughter what is going on with him, and, as far as she knows, she’s just going on the trip to learn how to drive and to accompany her father to his high school reunion.

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REVIEW: Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Chris Hemsworth is back as Thor Odinson in Taika Waititi’s THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, but he isn’t only one possessing the power of Thor. — PHOTO: Walt Dsney Studios Motion Pictures.

Directed by Taika Waititi — Screenplay by Taika Waititi & Jennifer Kaytin Robinson.

When it was first announced that Chris Hemsworth was going to play ‘Thor’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), I don’t think anyone expected him to be the first Avengers character to have four solo movie. Although, to be honest, back then I’m not sure anyone expected Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe to go this far. Since the 2011 Kenneth Branagh film Thor, the titular character has been going through some changes. I still quite like the original film. The sequel, Thor: The Dark World has become a bit of a punching bag in the franchise, with it receiving a lot of criticism time and time again for the tone, the visuals, and the forgettable antagonists. Thor went from being a Shakespearean inspired (by way of Branagh’s influence) Norse God to being a space viking and true comedic lead thanks to Taika Waititi who, with his immensely popular Thor: Ragnarok, reminded everyone of Hemsworth’s fantastic comedic talent, while reinventing the character at the same time.

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REVIEW: Moon Knight – Season One (2022)

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Show Creator: Jeremy Slater — Show Directors: Mohamed Diab and Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson.

My most anticipated Marvel Studios Disney+ series thus far was, without a doubt, Moon Knight. Ever since I first started reading comic books about him on Marvel Unlimited several years ago, I have been waiting for the chance to finally see this character in live-action. When it was announced that two of my favorite actors — Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke — were going to be in it, my excitement for the show reached a fever pitch. I’ve now seen the show, so how is it? Well, overall, it’s quite good, but it still suffers from some of the early Marvel-Disney+ problems that we saw in many of last year’s Marvel Cinematic Universe shows.

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RETRO REVIEW: Oslo, 31. August (2011)

‘Anders’ (played by Anders Danielsen Lie) eavesdrops on conversations in a cafe in Oslo, Norway — PHOTO: Nordisk Film.

Directed by Joachim Trier — Screenplay by Joachim Trier & Eskil Vogt.

Five years after having released his first film as a director, Reprise, the Danish-born Norwegian Director, Joachim Trier, his second film came out. It, Oslo, 31. August, is the second film in his critically acclaimed Oslo film trilogy. If you read my retro review of his feature-length debut, then you know how impressed I was by Trier’s Reprise. I’m here to tell you that somehow he outdid himself here. Oslo, 31. August hit me like a ton of bricks.

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REVIEWS: MCU Series on Disney+ – Year One (2021): ‘WandaVision,’ ‘Loki,’ ‘Hawkeye,’ and More

Paul Bettany as Vision in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. — Photo: Disney+ / Marvel Studios.

Disney’s Marvel Studios — the masterminds and architects of the global cinematic sensation, the Marvel Cinematic Universe — now also spends a lot of time on TV/Streaming shows due to the arrival of the streaming service Disney+, which Disney knows can thrive on several shows aimed at the Marvel and Star Wars fandoms. In the first year with MCU content straight-to-Disney+, Disney and Marvel Studios gave us four live-action series and one premier animated show. In this article, I’ll take a look at each of the ‘first-year’ shows in bite-sized reviews.

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