Dora and the Lost City of Gold and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by James Bobin
You know that they already did an aged up Dora series? Sure she was only ten years old in that one instead of going to high school, but she moved to the city and made some human friends instead of talking to a monkey all day. That’s… about all I know about Dora the Explorer outside of it being… a thing for a while there. Well that’s a bit dismissive; it was actually a HUGE success for Nickelodeon and was broadcast worldwide in various languages, so I guess there HAS to be a market out there for more Dora stuff which is why we’re getting this film in the first place; though not as a straight up adaptation of the material but instead as a reimagining of the concept. Less Spanish lessons and more Bowie knives if the trailer is anything to go by, which at least caught my and many others’ attention a few months ago. Can this spin on the beloved children’s character become a cross generational hit that will keep Dora in the public consciousness for decades to come, or will this be as bad a miscalculation as that M Night version of The Last Airbender? Let’s find out!!
Dora (Isabela Moner), whose last name has been lost to time, is your typical teenaged jungle explorer. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything that could kill her in there, she’s made friends with the native animals including a monkey named Boots, and she can apparently fall from great heights without breaking any of her bones! Truly a Lara Croft in the making as long as she gets her gun permit, but her parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) have other plans for her. See, they’re about to go on a trip to find THE LOST CITY OF PARAPATA (which is apparently full of gold), but instead of taking their highly competent and well trained daughter with them, they’re gonna send her to “the city” to stay with her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) and attend the most fearsome jungle of them all; HIGH SCHOOL!! Like most cartoon characters brought to life, her biggest problem is that she’s just too earnest for this cynical world which wants to sap all the idealism right out of her, but darn it she won’t be deterred! She does end up being a bit of a laughing stock though for… being nice I think, and she’s ends up hanging out with the other nobodies at the school; her cousin Diego for some reason, the class president (Madeleine Madden) for some reason, and the local nerd (Nicholas Coombe) for pretty obvious reasons. If only there was a way for her to show everyone that she’s ACTUALLY an awesome Indiana Jones knock off instead of some geek who likes to carry water purifies wherever she goes. Well she gets her monkey’s paw wish when during a field trip she and her “not friends” all get captured by mercenaries who take her back to “The Jungle” and demand she help them find her parents who have gone missing in search of that city full of gold. Fortunately a friend of her parents Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez) springs them free and wants to help them find her parents, so now it’s a race against time as Dora and her not so enthusiastic explorers have to track down her parents before the team of mercenaries (including Swiper the Fox for some reason) can hunt them down, take the gold, and gut them all like fish. Can Dora teach her friends to survive in such a harsh environment and gain their respect in the process? Why did her parents go missing in the first place, and is the lost city gold so hard to find for a very good reason? I wonder if this adventure will look good on their college applications…
“If we can make it through this cave, we’ll finally be in Paraparta!” “Good. At least I’ll finally be able to afford Harvard after this.” “We really shouldn’t take the gold.” “And I really shouldn’t be paying fifty grand a semester, yet here we are!”
Hostiles and all the images you see in this review are owned by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Scott Cooper
Okay, so MAYBE I jumped the gun a bit when I declared Phantom Thread to be the last of the 2017 hold overs as apparently THIS film (as well as Molly’s Game apparently) is was similarly hoping for some award buzz before reaching the general public. The difference HERE though (and probably why I hadn’t heard about it until 2018) is that it DIDN’T get the recognition it was looking for as it hasn’t been nominated for any Oscar, nor is it really showing up on critic associations’ BEST OF lists. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s BAD, right? I mean did Wonder Woman or Ingrid Goes West get any Oscar nods? Did Happy Death Day even get a Teen Choice Award!? There are never enough awards to go around for all the great films that come out in a year, so MAYBE this one will turn out to be the sleeper hit of the season! We can only hope, right? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Captain Joseph J Blocker (Christina Bale) who is not just any US solider at the turn of the nineteenth century, but one who seems to SPECIALIZE in hunting down Indigenous people. His job description is starting to go out of style however as the US government is starting to make token efforts to give back to the people they’ve committed genocide against, and their latest effort is to take one of Blocker’s prisoners, Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), along with his family (Adam Beach, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tanaya Beatty, and Xavier Horsechief) back to their tribal lands in Montana. Now you’d think that a long trek from his holding cell in New Mexico ALL the way to Montana would benefit from an escort that ISN’T led up by not only the guy who has killed SO many Indigenous people but ALSO the guy who put Yellow Hawk there in the first place, but I guess it only adds to the symbolic nature of this token gesture. So with only a handful of soldiers (Jonathan Majors, Jesse Plemons, and Timothée Chalamet) and his best buddy Thomas (Rory Cochrane), the party sets off to deliver these people back to their homeland and will hopefully everyone won’t kill each other in the process! Things get messy right away though as they come across a home decimated by a band of Indigenous Bandits where the only survivor is Rosalie (Rosamund Pike) whose entire family was slaughtered in the massacre by the bandits who are still out there somewhere. Will the soldiers have to put aside their prejudices just to survive against this new threat? Will Captain Blocker learn the error of his ways and come to respect his former enemies? What hardships will they be forced to endure before they reach their destination!?
“Captain! We have to pee again!” “WE JUST STOPPED AN HOUR AGO! HOLD IT IN!!”