Creed III and all the images you see in this review are owned by MGM Pictures
Directed by Michael B Jordan
Who would have expected that we’d get two movies back to back starring Jonathan Majors, and even more unlikely that there are a lot of similarities between the two? Perhaps it’ll be worth probing into those odd connections later, but for now, we’re here to talk about the latest entry in the Creed franchise and the directorial debut of its star, Michael B Jordan! He’s got some big shoes to fill; not only with this being the latest entry in the venerable Rocky series but also coming in after Ryan Coogler and Steven Caple Jr left their own marks on the franchise. Is it a worthy successor to everything that came before it, or is the Creed franchise destined to repeat the mistakes that the Rocky movies made once they got a few sequels in? Let’s find out!!
Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan) is on top of the world as the boxing champ and has decided to retire while he still can, so instead of preparing for yet another fight he’s training an up-and-coming talent (José Benavidez Jr) with the help of Little Duke (Wood Harris) and the only thing that could get in their way is… I don’t know, perhaps a part of Creed’s past coming back to haunt him. Then again, what are the chances of that, am I right? Oh, wait, it looks like an old friend of his just got out of jail and is throwing more than a few subtle hints that he wants a shot at the title. Yes, the blast from the past turns out to be a guy named Damien (Jonathan Majors) who seems cool at first as Creed’s longtime friend who’s ready to turn his life around, but he ultimately lives up to the name and before long he ends up on top of the boxing world under very dubious circumstances. Creed having to confront his past brings up some very mixed feelings that start to affect his relationship with his wife and daughter (Tessa Thompson and Mila Davis-Kent) and when it comes down to it, does he have what it takes to set Damien straight and stop a monster that he has inadvertently created? Will his family be able to follow him on his path to redemption, or are the wounds of the past too deep for them to heal? Sure, this guy beat Drago Jr, but I don’t know; maybe Kang the Conqueror is just a hair outside of his league?
Space Jam: A New Legacy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
Nostalgia is a heck of a drug, isn’t it? The original Space Jam is certainly a fondly remembered time capsule and it has some highlights to it like its strong animation and some bizarre asides that gave it a bit of flavor despite being such an obvious marketing tool. It’s been over twenty years though and what worked for us back then may not capture the imagination of the “Youth” today, and frankly I couldn’t tell you if any of them have seen or even HEARD of that first movie unless it was shoved on them by their Millennial parents. It seems the question that this movie seeks to answer (along with how to make your budget back with a simultaneous streaming and theater release) is whether you can both reheat old nostalgia while giving something new for next generation to attach themselves to. Does this succeed in giving us the best of both worlds, or will spreading itself too thin leave nobody happy? Let’s find out!!
LeBron James may be a worldwide superstar and really good basketball player, but his parenting skills leave something to be desired as his son Dom (Cedric Joe) isn’t really into basketball despite his dad insisting that he go to Basketball Camp this summer. He’d much rather go to Video Game Camp which I think is what people started calling Computer Camp to trick youngsters into going, but he’s worried about telling his dad that he’d rather make games than play ball. While all this tension is in the air, Warner Bros has called LeBron James over so that their algorithm named Al-G-Rhythm (Don Cheadle) can pitch… some sort of multimedia deal? LeBron seems as confused as I am so he turns it down which OF COURSE makes good ol’ Al go full on Skynet and kidnap him and his son, and drag them both into cyberspace. Since Al-G-Rhythm is a WB program, I guess he’s aware of what a success the original Space Jam movie was and so challenges him to a basketball game while he mentors Dom and nourishes his desire to make video games. It’s up to LeBron to find the most suitable characters owned by WB to join his basketball team, or failing that the Looney Tunes characters led by Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman), and get his son back by winning a game of basketball! Can LeBron bring the Toons back together who’ve long been separated while also bridging the gap between him and his son? What is Al-G-Rhythm’s plans for Dom once he’s done making his game, and will it spell doom for his family? Wait, why do they call it Space Jam when no one in this is from Space? Shouldn’t it be Cyber Jam?
The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Episode directed by Risa Bramon Garcia
I’ll admit that when I first saw this episode ALL those years ago, I didn’t get it. It wasn’t like Tagged (an episode we’ll get to soon enough) which covered similar ground but ACTUALLY HAD a supernatural twist to it; from what I remember it was just a dude having flashbacks which feels a bit low key for a TWILIGHT ZONE episode. Thinking back on it as I sit here ready to rewatch this story after so long, I may have been too naïve or ignorant to really understand what we was really going on under the hood, so let’s take a look with fresh eyes and see if there’s something to learn from all of this! Is this a classic episode that just failed to connect with me, or will I learn that I was right to be nonplussed by it all along? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Marvin Gardens (Wood Harris who’s been in a lot of stuff recently including Dredd, Ant-Man, and the show Empire) who is out on his morning jog when police sirens start to blare behind him. Nervously, he starts to turn around and even begins to put his hands up… but the patrol car just speeds by him. We find out that Marvin is a successful rapper living out his dreams after escaping a life of poverty. He’s got a great and supportive wife (Kimberly Elise), a loving son who he’s a great father too, and he’s even working on an album that will make him even richer than he already is now! Everything is looking great for Marvin… except that he keeps having these hallucinations of a police interrogation where he was beaten mercilessly and told to confess to a crime he didn’t commit and being called Dwayne; a name he doesn’t recognize. Now already, this has got some great ideas that are being conveyed with nuance even if the performances and the LAVISH RAPPER LIFESTYLE comes off a bit cheesy. It appears that Marvin has some past trauma with the police that’s left him with some serious scars which are now manifesting as full on delusions despite the fact that he escaped from all that and he has everything he could ever want. Well maybe another controller for his son’s Nintendo GameCube, but other than that…
Creed II and all the images you see in this review are owned by MGM Pictures
Directed by Steven Caple Jr
Back when I reviewed the first movie, I made a note that my conception of Rocky for the longest time was just the first three films, so the whole Ivan Drago thing always felt like an afterthought despite it being so iconic for many fans of the franchise. That said, when the first one came out and was about the son of Apollo, yeah there was NO WAY that a sequel could exist without bringing Dolph Lundgren back into the mix which thankfully they managed to do here with what is probably the last necessary sequel to Rocky we’ll ever need (unless we want to bring back Clubber Lang) and they can either continue the franchise without the baggage of the original films or let this series finally lay to rest. Do they manage to do justice to the story of Ivan Drago and Apollo Creed in this tale about their sons settling a decade’s long rivalry, or should the franchise have stopped while it was ahead? Admittedly if they HAD stopped while they were ahead we probably wouldn’t have gotten the first Creed, but in any case LET’S FIND OUT!!
The movie picks up a few years after the first film where Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan) has risen in the ranks of the boxing world with the help of his wise mentor Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and the loving support of his girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson). After winning the WBC World Heavyweight Championship, he has FINALLY reached his dream of reclaiming the belt that his father lost those many years ago! Well that’s great! So now what? He decides to marry Bianca for one, but even with a loving wife and a sterling career, something feels… missing. Despite being the best of the best, he can’t seem to find the joy in it and pretty much immediately starts looking for a new challenge. Fortunately a very helpful fight promoter (Russell Hornsby) saw this coming a mile away and knew that once Adonis became champ that there was only one challenge left for him to face, and by challenge I mean one BIG spectacle of a fight to rake in millions of dollars! We are of course referring to, a rematch with Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren); the man who killed his father. Or at the very least, Ivan Drago’s SON (Florian Munteanu) who as far as I know hasn’t killed anyone, but that might change if Adonis takes the bait and faces him again in the ring. If you’ve seen a Rocky movie, you know the basics of what happens next (i.e. Adonis loses the fight at the halfway point), but what does it mean for him to have his first taste of true defeat, and will he be able to face him once again, as well as all his fears and insecurities that have held him back from reaching his true potential? What will the strain of this lose put on his marriage to Bianca, and will she be able to live the life of a boxer’s wife; something that she’s never had to face since Adonis has never truly lost a fight on his own terms? Perhaps most importantly, DOES ADONIS COME OUT TO LIVING IN AMERICA!?
Blade Runner 2049 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures and Sony Pictures
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Yup! Blade Runner sure was a movie, wasn’t it? I mean I was always more into eighties Carpenter than eighties Scott, but it’s clearly a movie that’s impact can still be felt to this day from science fiction films like The Matrix and Dark City to anime like Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Heck, even the live action Ghost in the Shell looks as much like the original Blade Runner as it does the source material! Many of us have been living in this film’s shadow for as long as we’ve been alive, and so the prospect of a sequel seems rather quixotic considering how hard it would be to not only live up to that movie’s actual merits but to also live up to the sense of scope and impact that it ended up leaving in its wake. Does the director of that one movie where Jake Gyllenhaal meets a giant spider have what it takes to stand with one of the titans of the genre, or will this project collapse faster than Rutger Hauer’s plan to not die at the age of four? Let’s find out!!
One more thing! Some people may consider a pertinent detail that we learn five minutes into the movie to be a spoiler. I don’t REALLY see it as a spoiler considering how early it is in the movie, but I figure I’ll just put up a SPOILER WARNING here just in case you want to go in completely blind. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU MUST!!
We good? Okay, so the year is 2049 and the movie begins with Agent K (Ryan Gosling) who we learn within the first five minutes of the movie is a replicant which is an artificially created human but ALSO a cop for the LAPD. A Blade Runner in fact which is a cop that specifically hunts replicants! Hence the title… though I’m still not sure WHY they’re called that considering he uses a gun and tends to leisurely stroll from place to place. Anyway, replicants haven’t been a problem for a while now as the CURRENT big bad organization Wallace Corp has fixed all the kinks that were in the Nexus 6 models from the first film (they had a tendency to rebel and kill humans) but K still has to hunt down these old timers whenever one crosses their path and we see him at the start of one of these missions as the movie begins. Once the deed is done (in GRUESOME detail), he ALSO discovers something else that’s on the replicant’s property that shouldn’t be there but holds secrets that could turn this world on its head. Oh, and in case you were wondering OF COURSE Deckard (Harrison Ford) is somehow involved, so K has to not only find answers as to what exactly they found but where it came from and who else knows about it. While on this super-secret assignment that I’m not gonna spoil, he also has to contend with Wallace Corp head honcho Niander (Jared Leto) as well as his replicant assistant Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) who seem to know exactly what’s going on and are keeping tabs on him just in case he either discovers too much or finds something that they’re looking for as well. Will K unlock the mysteries that are so mysterious that they can’t be discussed here? Will they in some way deal with his mysterious past which is a mystery even to him? JUST HOW MANY SECRETS CAN ONE MOVIE HAVE!?