Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Director:

J.A. Bayona

Starring:

Bryce Dallas Howard

Chris Pratt

Danielle Pineda

Rafe Spall

Plot:

When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

Review:

Fallen Kingdom started off strong. Immediate dinosaur action, then some story explaining that Bryce Dallas Howard had changed from a corporate exec to a bleeding heart, dinosaur loving, activist. Meanwhile, Chris Pratt is building a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Then back to the dinosaur action. Throw in some exploding volcano and the first half of this movie is just perfect. It hits all the notes you want from a Jurassic Park movie, though, my husband was a bit peeved that the T-Rex was once again a hero.

Things started to slow down for the last third. Well, not really slow down, but I just didn’t care much about it. I didn’t like the introduction of the clone child. It could have been fine, but she was just sort of there in the background and then BOOM saving them. It was eh.

That last third just felt weaker and I can’t really put my finger on why. I didn’t like the kid, but I thought the cloning side of things was interesting, but it kind of expands past what I want from a Jurassic Park movie. Money as a motive was normal, but I didn’t like how easily Bryce was drawn in by the bad guy. She was so smart and capable in the previous movie and she was conned so easily. She didn’t question at all. She was still a badass, though, so I liked that. Chris Pratt helped the IT dude because he knew she could take care of herself.

I love Blue, but the whole Chris Pratt blue backstory was kind of eh. I like seeing a softer side, but it just seemed kind of odd. I feel like they tried to change the characters or make them deeper and not everything worked for me because it went against what I’d already built in my head. Bryce Dallas Howard is a badass corporate chick, while Chris Pratt is an animal trainer that can run.

Great movie. Beautifully shot, felt very much like a Stephen Spielberg movie, so kudos to J.A. Bayona. Music was spot on too. Looking forward to the next.

4/5

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Oceans 8 (2018)


Oceans 8 (2018)

Director:

Gary Ross

Starring:

Sandra Bullock

Cate Blanchett

Anne Hathaway

Helena Bonham Carter

Mindy Kaling

Rihanna

Awkwafina

Sarah Paulson

Plot:

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Review:

I’m a fan of the Ocean’s movies, and all the women in this movie, so I was really excited when it came out. After finally getting to see it I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Sandra Bullock is finally out of prison and she has learned all the wrong lessons. Or maybe the right ones, depending on who you are. She knows exactly what she needs to do to pull off the perfect jewel heist and maybe get some revenge in the process.

In true Ocean’s movie style, everyone is beautiful, the setting it ostentatious, and there’s a twist at the end. I loved it, more please.

I would have loved a bit more background on the characters. They were all so interesting. Sadly, I’m not sure if we’re going to get a sequel, which is a huge bummer. Seriously, Hollywood why would you not want to put all these women in another movie together?

4/5

Tag (2018)

Tag (2018)

Director:

Jeff Tomsic

Starring:

Jeremy Renner

Ed Helms

Jake Johnson

Jon Hamm

Hannibal Buress

Isla Fisher

Plot:

A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.

Review:

This movie would have been better if it hadn’t been based on a true story. It was wild and crazy until the end where I assume it took a real world turn and then it became depressing and negated all of the fun from the first two thirds.

So five friends have held on to their childhood by setting aside the entire month of May to keep playing a game of tag. They live in separate parts of the country and are adults so they never know when someone is going to show up and tag them. This is definitely something that only works unless you all live in the same town or are wealthy enough to do a lot of traveling. If you were poor you would basically always be excluded or always be it. Which is why it would have been more fun if this wasn’t real world.

Anyway, one of their friends has never been it. I kept waiting for it to be revealed that he was a secret agent, but apparently he’s just that good. You actually never learn what he is so maybe he is a spy.

Hijinks ensue as the friends fight to finally catch him until we discover that one of the friends has cancer and is probably going to die. The movie ends without letting you know if he lives which probably means that he’s dead, which is the worst note to end what was otherwise an entertaining comedy. A comedy that involved lots of outlandish disguises, a fake pregnancy, and a ruined wedding. Seriously, why did they have to include the cancer? Why couldn’t they have kept it all up with the outlandishness?

2/5

Leia: The Princess of Alderaan


Leia: The Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) By: Claudia Gray

Plot:

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY….THERE WAS A PRINCESS WHO BECAME A LEGEND.

Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the thrown of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice; dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan–including the make she loves–or the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.

Review:

Leia is a tragic character. Her entire world and family are destroyed by the Empire. She’s also an amazing character because despite all that she keeps fighting. Her son turns evil, she keeps fighting. Her husband is murdered by her son, she keeps fighting. One of her oldest and best friends sacrifices herself so that the resistance can live on, and I’m going to assume she keeps fighting. At this point it’s like Leia is the favorite whipping boy of every Star Wars writer. It’s depressing.

So let’s dive back into the backstory of this tragic character. Surely, we’ll find something happy and not horrible. Right?

Well, the book starts with Leia depressed because her parents have started blocking her out of things. They are no longer the tight family unit she’s grown up as. Being part Lois Lane she discovers through snooping that her parents are part of a rebellion that is just starting out. They resist letting her join, even though they all know it’s actually worse for her if she doesn’t. The Empire will still kill her if they find out.

While trying to convince them she can help she takes part in the Junior Legislature and comes to the realization that the Senate has even less power than she thought. That the Emperor and his lackeys have set up pretty much everything to go the way they want and even when she thinks she’s succeeding, she isn’t.

During this time she meets her fellow Alderannean (?) Kier who she ends up falling in love with. She thinks she can trust him and that they are on the same page. Kier is good, but he values Alderaan’s safety over the safety of the rest of the universe. I imagine his ghost was screaming ‘Fuck You Leia’ when Alderaan blew up. Because that’s right, Leia’s first love, the boy she gave her virginity to, was freaking killed.

I am not a fan of prequels, knowing what’s ultimately going to happen takes all the joy out of it for me, but I read this because one of the hosts of the Strong Female Characters Podcast repeatably mentioned that it was an amazing book and that it was revealed that Holdo was poly. I was excited about that, so I persevered. I kept waiting for Holdo to be in a relationship or something to clue us in, until finally I came to one little line. Leia says she’s going to stick to humanoid males and Holdo says how limiting. That was it. Seriously. I was disappointed and had hoped for so much more.

I didn’t need a sex scene, I just wanted a relationship or something more than a throwaway line that could have been easily missed. Sure we learned more about Holdo, and that was nice, but she came off as a Sci-Fi Luna Lovegood. There wasn’t much there. Occasionally, we got some insights into her character, but Leia for the most part thought she was flighty and weird. By the end of the book she was a bit more fleshed out, but I would have liked more. Like maybe a book about her life instead of a princess we already know a lot about.

The last line basically took a baseball bat and beat you upside the head with dramatic irony. Leia thinks, she’s got her family, friends, and planet. At least the Empire can’t take that away from her. It was massively eye roll inducing.

Claudia Gray is a great author, and this was very well written, but much like Solo I don’t think this book needed to be made. It took a character with a tragic story and doubled down hard. We got some glimpses into what it was like to live on Alderaan, which made the loss even worse, but honestly that was about it for me.

3/5

Jack Ryan (2018-?)


Jack Ryan (2018-?)

Network:

Amazon

Creator:

Carlton Cuse

Graham Roland

Starring:

John Krasinski

Wendell Pierce

Abbie Cornish

Ali Suliman

Dina Shihabi

Plot:

An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

Review:

When I was younger I really enjoyed the Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy. It’s been a few years so I’m not sure how those feelings have aged, but I was curious to see this and binged it one weekend.

Jack Ryan, John Krasiniski, is a former marine that after a tragic accident was honorably discharged. He went from a stock broker to working for the CIA as an analyst. He has spotted suspicious financial activity and believes he’s discovered someone about to commit the next 9/11.

The number of times 9/11 was mentioned in the first episode was annoying and had the opposite of the intended effect. I almost stopped there because of it, thankfully, it wasn’t really mentioned again.

I wasn’t impressed with Krasinski’s portrayal of the role. The only time I could tell what he was feeling was when he was smiling, but a show about terrorism meant he was rarely smiling. Every other time I was just guessing, occasionally there would be verbal queues but they didn’t match up with what his face was saying. Mostly he just looked like he was there.

There was one whole plot line with a drone pilot that has caused some controversy because of the transphobic joke that was made. I actually missed the “joke” because I’d been fast forwarding through his sections. They honestly made no sense and could have been completely removed. Maybe his character comes into play later on if there’s another season, but for now it was just wtf.

Female representation was mostly disappointing. Cathy, Abbie Cornish, was the best female main character we had and she was mostly just Jack’s love interest. She did end up getting some of her doctor skills thrown in, but she kind of ruined that by getting mad at Jack for lying about his job. We had a French police captain that was killed. Hanin, Dina Shihabi, was good, but her story line revolved around her escaping her husband and being saved once by the drone operator and then ultimately by Jack. It was a bit disappointing.

James Greer, Wendell Pierce, was probably my favorite character. I loved that they made him a Muslim. He was so incredibly competent at his job and he didn’t automatically share shit with Jack because he was the boss, he didn’t have too. He reminded me of Holdo in The Last Jedi in that regard. He was interesting and a badass and if there’s a second season and they hold with what’s been established in the show and books he’ll be there.

Honestly, based on what I remember of the books, they took a fair amount of creative liberties. That was to be expected, though. Jack Ryan is more about connecting the dots and not action. Occasionally action, but normally it’s a lot of discovering information and sending someone else out into the field. To make a TV show watchable and not boring they had to add more, but it would have been cool if they’d added John Clark and Domingo Chavez.

I’ll probably watch a second season, but I hope they make some tweaks.

3/5