REVIEW: Jungle Cruise (2021)

Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Frank, and Jack Whitehalll as MacGregor Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE Cruise — Available now in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access — Photo: Disney / Disney+.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra — Screenplay by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa.

There are many films that have been turned into theme park attractions as a direct result of their popularity. However, the reverse doesn’t happen successfully as frequently. We rarely see great films that are instead based on popular attractions. Disney did find that kind of success, when Gore Verbinski turned the Pirates of the Caribbean-attraction into a beloved film franchise. It wasn’t Disney first or last attempt at making a successful film out of one of their many theme park attractions, but they have all mostly failed to garner the same success that Verbinski’s beloved films did.

Some of the not-so-successful attempts include the Eddie Murphy-led The Haunted Mansion and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland. Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise is based on the Disney attraction of the same name, and, even though it is not a true home run for Disney, I think it’s definitely the best of its kind since Verbinski’s swashbuckling action-adventure trilogy set sail.

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REVIEW: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Daniel Kaluuya (center) as ‘Fred Hampton’ in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH — Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Directed by Shaka King — Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King.

Next week, Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah may have become the winner of one or multiple Oscars at the 93rd Academy Awards, which, in theory, was supposed to honor the best films of 2020, in spite of the fact that this film was released in 2021. This is the result of a change to this Oscar season’s eligibility period due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and this now means that select films released in early 2021 may also qualify to compete against 2020 films at the Oscars.

In general, this was a rule change that I am very much against as I absolutely do think that there are enough good films from 2020 that the Academy should honor, instead of adopting some odd eligibility window for the sake of giving more time to studios to release films that absolutely could’ve competed at the 94th Academy Awards instead. Regardless, I actually highly recommend Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, and, if it had been released in 2020, it probably would be one of my favorite films of that year.

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REVIEW: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of I’m Thinking of Ending Things — Directed by Charlie Kaufman.

Charlie Kaufman is perhaps an acquired taste. I know for sure that there are people who struggle to get on the same wavelength as the writer-director, and I also know that this film, in particular, is difficult for some people to vibe with, understand, or even sit through. The Oscar-winning screenwriter turned to directing in 2008 and, though he is somewhat of a critical darling, his films have since struggled to find financial success. Kaufman’s latest film, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, is an ambiguous and patience-testing unconventional psychological thriller, and it will likely lead to both mixed reactions and — since it is a Netflix film — incomplete viewings. But if you know what to expect with Kaufman, and if you stick with the film, you will be treated to a fascinating and uneasy Rohrshach test in the form of a 134-minute-long straight-to-Netflix feature film.

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REVIEW: The Irishman (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Irishman — Directed by Martin Scorsese.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Martin Scorsese would arguably be on the Mt. Rushmore of American filmmakers if such a thing existed. When Scorsese laments the supposed death of cinema or questions the artistic merit of modern blockbusters, you listen to him for the simple reason that few people know the medium, the power of cinema, or the industry as well as he does. His understanding of the power of what is within or out of the frame of cinema is indescribable. Though his detractors may suggest that he is a glorified gangster film director, nothing could be further from the truth. With The Irishman, Martin Scorsese has given us a haunting and elegiac historical epic disguised as a greatest hits gangster film that stresses that, even in the autumn of his life, the master hasn’t missed a beat. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Irishman (2019)”

REVIEW: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie — Directed by Vince Gilligan.

In the eleventh episode of the fifth season of Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) found himself at a crossroads. He had been given an opportunity for a clean break, a new identity, and a fresh start. His dangerous business partner and former high school teacher (with whom he had built a drug empire), Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), had told him that maybe that is exactly what Jesse needed: “You know, I really think that would be good for you. A clean slate. Just think about it. Get a job, something legitimate, something you like. Meet a girl. Start a family even, hell, you’re still so damn young. What’s here for you anyway? I’ll tell you if I could, I’d trade places.” Continue reading “REVIEW: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)”

REVIEW: Game Night (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of Game Night — Directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein.

The creative duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein’s second directorial feature film Game Night is a black comedy about a highly competitive married couple — Max (played by Jason Bateman) and Annie (played by Rachel McAdams) — who first met when they were up against each other in a trivia contest. They are avid fans of party games, and they regularly host these game nights with their closest friends where they play games such as Jenga, pictionary, and Taboo. Continue reading “REVIEW: Game Night (2018)”

REVIEW: The Discovery (2017)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Discovery – Directed by Charlie McDowell

The Discovery – a Netflix original film from director Charlie McDowell – is a ‘romantic’ science fiction film set some time after Dr. Thomas Harbor (played by Robert Redford) is believed to have found proof of an afterlife. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Discovery (2017)”

REVIEW: Other People (2016)

Release Poster - Vertical Entertainment
Release Poster – Vertical Entertainment

The following is a quick review of Other People – written and directed by Chris Kelly.

Other People takes place in Sacramento, California, where David (played by Jesse Plemons), an openly gay writer, has returned to take care of his mother (played by Molly Shannon) who is in the advanced stages of leiomyosarcoma. By going home, David has to deal with his father (played Bradley Whitford), who refuses to accept him because of his sexuality.
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REVIEW: The Program (2015)

The Program poster

The following is a review of The Program, a Stephen Frears film.

I am a fan of the sport. I love watching the Tour de France every year. There are teams and riders that I support, and those that I strongly dislike. Lance Armstrong used to be in the first category for me, but has since become a symbol of what someone can do to hurt a sport. He made us question sports, sport federations, teams, and athletes. The story of Lance Armstrong deserves a great film.

Therefore I was happy to hear that the great Ben Foster would play him, and that Stephen Frears, the director of Philomena and High Fidelity, would direct the film. Somehow, however, I missed the film in theaters, and I had to wait for it to become available on video-on-demand in Denmark. The wait is over. I’ve seen The Program, and I while I didn’t really dislike the film, I have to admit that I am really disappointed with it. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Program (2015)”