Rocketman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Dexter Fletcher
As much as I enjoy the music of Elton John, this movie has some serious hurdles to overcome, that has left me less than confident about it up to this point. Primarily, the film feels from top to bottom like a cash-in following the success of the truly awful Bohemian Rhapsody; not just because it’s another biopic about a musician from roughly the same time period, but because they even got the pickup director of that film to make this one in its entirety. Maybe that’s overstating things a bit as Dexter Fletcher does have a few other films under his belt, and it’s not like it’ll be THAT hard to be better than one of the worst movies of 2018, but let’s just say my expectations are firmly set to MEH right up until the very last minute. Does this manage to stand out as the better of the two rock biopics from the Oldies station, or will the faults of Bohemian Rhapsody look downright quaint after seeing this movie? Let’s find out!!
Elton John (Taron Egerton), also known as Reginald Dwight, is a rock and roll superstar with hit song after hit song over the last five decades, yet how many of us REALLY know about the man behind the music? Well after storming his way into a substance abuse support group (decked out in full on Maleficent regalia in case you thought this was going to be subtle), he’s more than willing to tell us all about it! Our story begins in the suburbs of Britain with him as a little boy starved for affection from his mother and father (Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh), when one day it turns out he’s a born piano player who can play songs from ear and hones his skills for many, many, years! After a few stints playing back-up for a bunch of soul bands, he finally finds his break in the form of Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) who is a song writer in need of a musician which is just in luck because Mr. John over here needs a song writer to give meaning to his great music! From there it’s a never ending thrill ride of overnight success, burgeoning sexuality, and the inevitable crash and burn when living the high life becomes indistinguishable from being an addict! Will Elton John get his life back on track after losing so much to booze, pills, and drugs? Can a musician of his immense popularity live his life openly as a gay man without shattering everything he’s worked so hard to build up? Will we get answers to burning questions like who IS the Tiny Dancer, and why were those Crocodiles rocking?
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by J A Bayona
The first Jurassic World was one of my earliest reviews once I starting writing about films in theaters instead of just ones that were within arm’s reach, and I remember really liking a lot of it even if it did have some really bad moments throughout and a rather oblivious tone with the way it treats a lot of its cast. After seeing Trevorrow’s follow up, The Book of Henry, it seems clear that he may not be the best at balancing disparate elements together; especially when compared to how seamlessly Spielberg combined the wonder of dinosaurs with their capacity for pure terror in the original Jurassic Park. For this one though he’s taken a step back for a new director to try and get this goofy idea work once again even if the trailers make it look a LOT like The Lost World. Can this franchise hold onto relevance for one more outing, or is finally time for this franchise to go extinct? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the last film, we find ourselves a few years out from the Jurassic World incident where everyone who’s still alive has moved on to something new and the dinosaurs on the island are simply left to their own devices. However, it turns out that the island where a GIGANTIC THEME PART WAS OPERATING ONLY A HANDFUL OF YEARS AGO is sitting on top of an active volcano, so I guess that means the park was doomed either way. This is a problem however because the island is the only place on Earth that is home to these magnificent killing machines, and several people around the world including a dinosaur protection organization led up by Calire Dearing from part one (Bryce Dallas Howard) are intent on finding them a new home before the volcano explodes. She ends up getting the attention of Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) who I don’t THINK was in the original Jurassic Park but was apparently John Hammond’s business partner the whole time, and he has the resources to get those dinosaurs to safety. Well that’s great, but why does he as well as his right hand man Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) need her? So apparently, since she was an employee back then, she STILL has access to the security system (apparently that’s STILL up and running) and once she logs in, she can track the remaining dinosaurs on the island through GPS chips in their skin. Even with that though, there’s still one creature that will surely elude them which JUST SO HAPPENS to be Blue the Veloceraptor from part one. If only they knew some hunky bro who trained Blue and could potentially cox them to get in a cage and off the island. Oh wait! They DO know such a hunky bro! Claire drafts Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to join them on this wild expedition along with two volunteers at the organization she works for; Franklin Webb to HACK INTO THE MAINFRAME or whatever and Dr Zia Rodriguez who’s a dinosaur vet (Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda). With such a crack team as well as a paramilitary group to back them up led by a hard ass solider (Ted Levine), they’re ready to face anything on the island, but they better do it fast because that volcano can blow at ANY minute! Why they couldn’t assemble this team together a month ago I have no idea, but I guess even SUPER rich guys like Mr. Lockwood can only do so much in a limited amount of time. Can this unlikely rag tag of activists and bros manage to save these dinosaurs as well as locate Blue? Why exactly are Lockwood and Eli ready to entrust all of this in their hands, and do they have plans that they’re keeping close to the chest? Just what the hell do they mean by Fallen Kingdom anyway? Could it be… the Kingdom of MAN!?
Gold and all the images you see in this review are owned by TWC-Dimension
Directed by Stephen Gaghan
It’s getting a bit late in the year, but I guess we’ve still got a few more Oscar holdovers that need to recoup a few bucks from the general public; especially for ones like this that clearly didn’t get the recognition it was hoping for. Still, the big award shows don’t always know what the hell they’re doing (*cough* The King’s Speech *cough*), and it’s not like any of MY favorite films of 2016 got nominated for an Oscar, so maybe this one will turn out be to be a gem that no one else was able to recognize! Can Matthew McConaughey pull off yet another great performance in a movie about yet another eccentric oddball, or will this be forgotten like most of his pre-McConaissance work once he realized he was ACTUALLY good at acting? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the misadventures of Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) who’s a down on his luck prospector; barely managing to make ends meet after inheriting a successful mining company from his father. With his girlfriend by his side (Bryce Dallas Howard), he manages to keep from succumbing to total self-destruction, but his drinking isn’t helping the situation all that much and he needs ONE big score in order to get his company out of the red and his life out of the dumps. His big harebrained scheme is to get a SIMILARLY down on his luck geologist named Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez) to help him find a gold mine in the heart of Indonesia. It’s rough going at first, so much so that Kenny becomes deathly ill during the expedition, but he manages to pull through and they ACTUALLY find a gold mine! From there, Kenny has to deal with the avalanche of wealth that has landed right at his doorstop, the people who will try to take advantage of him, and of course those who want to put him out of business altogether. Can this schlubby guy with a TERRIBLE haircut manage to hack it in a world of millionaires and true professionals? How can this one dude fend off the biggest mining companies in the world and even the Indonesian government who are looking for ANY opportunity to snatch his gold mine out from under him? Seriously, what’s with that hair!? Either get the hair plugs or shave the damn thing off!
Pete’s Dragon and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios
Directed by David Lowery
Disney is at it again with another fresh milking of the nostalgic cash cow! I really don’t know anything about the original Pete’s Dragon other than Don Bluth did the animation on it, so they won’t be hooking me in with that alone, but then I never had an affinity for Sleeping Beauty and still though Maleficent was one of the best movies of that year. Can this new movie manage to capture the charm and spirit of the original film while also roping in new fans, or is this going to be as uninspired as The Jungle Book? Wait; am I still the only one who didn’t like that? Anyway, let’s find out!!
The movie begins with little Pete (Oakes Fegley) having to watch his parents die horribly as their car ends up flipping over on the interstate, though you’d think the airbags or seatbelts could have saved one of them considering it wasn’t a head on collision. Well in any case, little Pete is all alone in the woods (who SHOULD be covered in his parents blood but I guess you can’t go there in a PG movie) and is about to be killed by wolves when something starts to approach from beyond the trees. It turns out that there be dragons in these hills, and he takes little Pete to raise as one of his own. Many years later, Pete is now at the ripe old age of ten and gets discovered in the woods by a… Forest Ranger I think called Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) who takes him in and tries to get him acclimated to the real world before sending him off to the state. While that’s going on, Gavin (Karl Urban) who works as a lumberjack (he’s either a manager or just an employee that everyone likes) and is certain that he saw something out in those woods and is gonna hunt it because… reasons. Will Pete be reunited with his best friend? Can they keep on going with their living arrangement now that Pete has had a taste of the good life as well as peanut butter? Am I SERIOUSLY going to be the only one who didn’t care for this one, just like with The Jungle Book!?
Jurassic World and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Two hundred MILLION dollars in the opening weekend!? Oh I’m, sorry that FIVE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS when you include the international box office. What exactly about this movie (other than it being a new entry in a franchise that has nostalgic appeal to multiple generations of people) could bring in that kind of cash!? Jurassic Park was never really that important of a franchise for me (only got through the first one and half of the second one) which means this movie was barely on my radar. The only thing that caught my attention was Star Lord driving a motorcycle with his personal posse of velociraptors (and of course this amazing gif). Needless to say, the movie caught my attention after everyone starting to go nuts over it, so I went ahead and saw the damn thing to find out what the fuss is about. Now big box office numbers are never a reliable indicator of quality (just look at the Transformers films) but there was still a bit of optimism what with the decent trailers and the undeniable coolness of dinosaurs WITHOUT feathers. Also, Chris Pratt.