Fast & Furious 9 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Justin Lin
It looks like movies are back (at least for those who can safely vaccinate, which if you haven’t and are able to then do it please!) and what a better way to kick off the summer season than with another Fast & Furious movie!? Gotta admit, I was not on the F&F train for over a decade and it wasn’t until Fate of the Furious that I finally gave the franchise a chance. It’s a mixed bag to be sure, but the latter half of the franchise has been quite impressive as big budget spectacles though and the more professional wrestlers they throw into the mix the more I look forward to seeing them! So after a year of global misery and despair, is this action blockbuster we need to celebrate our slow but sure recovery, or has the Fast Franchise gassed out right when we needed it the most? Let’s find out!!
Dominic Toretto and Letty Ortiz (Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez) have been living the quiet life with Dom’s son Bryan out in the country, but this peace is not meant to last as Roman, Tej, and Ramsey (Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Nathalie Emmanuel) show up with a distress message from the mysterious Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and they are forced to come out of retirement to find him and find what he was trying to protect. Sadly they don’t find the former, but the latter is a piece of some sort of doomsday device that is pretty much the SAME doomsday device these last few movies have had, and it gets taken right from under their noses by a mysterious jacked dude (John Cena) who also drives cars, has a cross necklace, and keeps staring menacingly at Dom. Turns out that this is none other than Jakob; Dom’s long lost brother! Not only must Dom and the crew stop Jakob and who he’s working for from getting the other pieces of the Doomsday Device, Dom must confront his past and perhaps even realize his own mistakes before they threaten to throw the world into utter chaos! Will Dom be able to face his brother and bring an end to his maniacal schemes? Who else has a stake in this Doomsday Device, and will they prove to be an ally or a hindrance to the Fast & Furious family? Speaking of family, are we sure Dom and Jakob aren’t actually cousins, or were their parents’ genes an ethnic roulette wheel?
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
I really didn’t want to see this movie. In fact, if ANYTHING else had bothered to come out this weekend I would have seen that instead, but nope! Everyone had to make way for this film so I guess I have to try and be professional! I don’t know, with everything we’ve heard about Tarantino recently it’s just hard for me to get excited to see his movie’s again; let alone support a new one. Cancelled or not, I just personally feel very much deflated thinking about him and going to see his latest movie just felt like even more of a somber experience. Still, while acknowledging the very real and very important context of the artist behind the art, is there a good movie to be found here? I guess we might as well find out…
Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an actor struggling to find steady work in the hectic world of late sixties Hollywood after a rather unsuccessful string of movies following a decent television career playing the lead role on a western. His stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) has stuck with Rick all this time since he’s had trouble finding work elsewhere and seems to have accepted his lot in life even if he’s basically Rick’s assistant at this point. Fortunately for Rick, he’s got a decent gig lined up playing the bad guy in some TV pilot which will hopefully get him some attention (otherwise he’ll end up doing Spaghetti Westerns which I guess weren’t good things to be in at the time) and this also means that Cliff has the day to himself which he uses to pick up a hitchhiker (Margaret Qualley) who wants to introduce him to her buddy Charlie who’s got a bunch of followers out in the desert. Oh, and on top of that Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Rick’s next door neighbor, and she’s doing stuff as well like… seeing movies and dancing around the house. Can Rick nail this latest role that may be his last chance to stay relevant? What will Cliff find at the compound the hitchhiker is taking him too, and will he be able to leave if things get out of hand? Is it just me, or is Tarantino trying a bit too hard here? Or perhaps not hard enough?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by James Gunn
Sequels are not an easy thing to pull off in the world of Hollywood tent poles, at least critically. Financially they’re almost certain to get as much if not more money than the film that came before it just off of buzz and familiarity alone, but rarely do we get sequels that areas critically beloved as the original film, provided of course the original was great to begin with. For every Dark Knight we get, there’s a Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Terminator Genisys, Batman v Superman, and The Dark Knight Rises. As great as Marvel is at churning out success after success from their cinematic universe, they aren’t immune to this either with Iron Man 2 and Thor 2, while both very watchable films, being low points for the company… at least until Iron Fist, but I’m ready to forget that ever happened if everyone else is too. Can they manage to avoid those pitfalls with the sequel to the riskiest movie the studio has made date, or was the goofy and offbeat success of the first one truly a case of catching lightening in a bottle? Let’s find out!!
After the events of the first movie where these five misfits managed to save the Galaxy through the power of Friendship (I hear it’s magic!), the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy began taking odd jobs around said galaxy in order to cash in on their reputation. The job that movie starts out on is a bit different though as the payment they are after is not money but Gamora’s sister Nebula (Zoe Saldana as the former and Karen Gillian as the latter) who was left for dead after the Xander incident, and Gamora plans on taking her to the Nova Corp to face justice. Of course with five screw ups in the team, one of them is bound to do SOMETHING wrong and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) inexplicably robs their employers who are quick to find out and start hunting the Guardians down. Fortunately, The Most Interesting Man in the Universe, though you can call him Ego (Kurt Russell), manages to save them all and reveals that he is in fact the long lost father of Star-Lord (Chirs Pratt)! Well isn’t THAT convenient!? He offers to take them to his home planet while the ship is being repaired, so Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) go with dear old dad while Rocket and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) stay behind to fix the ship and watch over Nebula. Of course, things are never as simple as they seem, what with Ego’s assistant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) who appears to be hiding something or the fact that the planet the Guardians burned go ahead and hire Yondu (Michael Rooker) to hunt them down. Can the Guardians escape their own demise once again and somehow find a way to smooth all this over? Will Star-Lord accept the father who was never there for him his entire life, and how will that affect the life he’s built without him? How awesome is it that this is the SECOND movie this year that Kurt Russell is in, alongside a wrestler, which will CLEARLY make a billion dollars!?
Fate of the Furious and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by F Gary Gray
I hope all of you out there appreciate what I do for you! A week ago, I had never even SEEN a Fast and the Furious movie, and yet I managed to binge watch ALL SEVEN OF THEM so that I can properly review this new one as the series now has a continuity more dense than the freaking Terminator, and that’s SUPPOSED to be convoluted! I HAD TO WATCH TOKYO DRIFT FOR YOU PEOPLE!! Sigh… alright, well it’s not like I even HATED any of the movies (other than Tokyo Drift) as most of them are at least DECENT if not all that engaging. For me though, they didn’t pick up until part six when the BUDGET finally started to match the VISION that was always there, because let’s face it; Fast and the Furious was NEVER a serious series. It was ALWAYS balls to the wall insanity, just at different degrees depending on what they could afford (except for Tokyo Drift which was just garbage). So with the last two films finally managing to reach the potential this series was always capable of, does that trend continue with this film? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins in Cuba where Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) have settled down since the last movie where their house got blown up, and they’re doing their typical first act shtick of racing cars, talking about family, and forging new friendships! That is until a super hacker hilariously named CIPHER (Charlize Theron) corners Dom at one point and shows him something that will CHANGE EVERYTHING FOREVER!! Cut to a few days later where good ol’ Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) calls him and the rest of the crew up (Tyrese Gibson, Chirs Bridges, and Nathalie Emmanuel) to do another mission. Everything goes according to plan except… DOM BETRAYS THEM!! Their mission was to take an EMP from someplace in German (for reasons that I’m sure make sense) but he crashes Hobbs’s car right at the end and takes it for himself; leaving Hobbs to get thrown in jail back in America which JUST SO HAPPENS to be the same jail that Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is locked in as well… and they get cells right across from each other because reasons. So now it’s up to our favorite crew of street racers along with Frank Petty (Kurt Russel) from the last movie who’s the leader of some sort of spy organization as well as his new protégé of sorts Eric Reisner (Scott Eastwood) to find out what Dom is doing, what CIPHER wants from him, and hopefully how to solve all this without taking him out as well. Just what is the reason that Dom betrayed the one thing he cares about more than anything which is FAMILY? Just what is CIPHER planning, and is it bad enough that the crew may have no other choice than to take Dom out? Will Vin Diesel FINALLY give that Oscar performance he’s been hoping for!?
The Hateful Eight and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Weinstein Company
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Like the rising of the tides, the phases of the moon, and the DiCaprio Oscar denial, Tarantino comes back once again to give us a well written update of one his favorite films as a kid. Now Django Unchained was a REALLY good movie, but it was weighed down by some less than stellar decisions throughout like the excessive use of… that one word, and how little Django got to do in his own movie before the third act. Oh, and let’s not forget the baffling inclusion of horse tricks at the end and the terrible acting chops of Quintin himself. Still, this movie seems to be much smaller in scope and looks to be much more focused on being an ensemble piece than any one person’s movie which gives Tarantino plenty of opportunities to fill his scenes with his trademark dialogue (and fill these bodies with his trademark amounts of excess blood and gore). Is this going to be a step up for the iconic director, or is this the sign of a trend towards being an ALMOST amazing director instead of an amazing one? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) being begrudgingly picked up of the side of the road by John Ruth (Kurt Russel) who’s also a bounty hunter and is taking Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to hang in a nearby town of Red Rock for her crimes. Unfortunately, there’s a blizzard coming and the driver O.B. Jackson (James Parks) isn’t inclined to risk it, so they head to a nearby waystation that’s delightfully called Minnie’s Haberdashery, though they find another straggler in the snowy wasteland along the way in the form of Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock. Once they arrive, they find Oswald Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gag (Michael Madsen), former Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) as well as Bob (Demián Bichir) who’s running the place in Minnie’s absence. Now John Ruth doesn’t trust any of these mother fuckers and none of them seem to be good wholesome people in the first place, but there’s nothing John can do with the blizzard blocking all means of travel, so they have to share this tiny space until it clears up. Will this be a peaceful affair as these nine strangers (yes, there’s nine instead of eight of them) get to know each other, or will things erupt into a cacophony of violence, blood, and racial epithets? Well I’m sure you can guess which route this movie takes, but is it at least super captivating to watch, right!?
Oh goody! We’re getting another Quinten Tarantino film! Who wants to bet that it’ll be a very well made throwback to films from his youth that will get half the critics to praise him unendingly and the other half to dismiss him as a stunted artist that’s gotten quite long in the tooth? Personally, I tend to fall into the former category, but I can understand the latter’s frustration with the guy’s output recently. I wouldn’t mind if he goes ahead and does something RADICALLY different from what he’s been doing so far but even if he sticks to the same old tricks, he’s still the undisputed champ of these kinds of films. So with that said, what can we gleam from the first trailer of his latest magnum opus? Let’s find out!!
The trailer begins with Samuel L Jackson sitting on a pile of bodies in the middle of a snowy road as Kurt Russel’s stagecoach approaches, and I guess he joins Kurt Russel for… some reason. They’re both bounty hunters and Kurt Russell has his latest perp handcuffed to him in the form of Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who’s charged with murder and will hang once she’s delivered. From there, the plot isn’t TOO hard to guess, but the trailer makes it kind of hard to understand what is going on. I’m assuming the hateful eight will consist of Kurt Russell (playing John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth), Samuel L Jackson (playing Major Marquis Warren), and the remaining character actors who show up in the trailer, and they’ll all be waiting out a terrible blizzard in this one building. However, Kurt Russell knows for sure that one of them is actually a traitor and is after something (most likely Daisy), so the film will be about praying on one’s paranoia with the characters constantly checking over their shoulders and looking for the rat in the midst.