Monday, September 10, 2018

Mission Impossible Fallout Is One Of The Years Best Action Flicks

      As the summer box office season of 2018 draws to a close, the last of the big blockbusters make their reigns as Marvels Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Incredibles ll have come and gone. In a year where comic book movies have heavily dominated the big screen while a Star Wars film unexpectedly flops, the expectations are placed on a 22-year old franchise based on a popular 1960's Spy television show to bring the summer movie season to a strong finish. With Mission Impossible: Fallout, the film proves that the franchise that began in the 1990's is still a huge hit with moviegoers as well as reaffirming Tom Cruise's status as being one of the greatest action stars of all time.


      The Mission Impossible franchise is one of the rare movie series that gets stronger with each installment while managing to top the previous film in terms of spectacle. The first Mission Impossible film directed by Brian De Palma worked as being a mystery Spy thriller/action movie that was boosted by Tom Cruise's mega starpower during the 1990's era. Mission Impossible ll despite being bigger financially was a stepdown in quality. Mission Impossible lll was not only a massive improvement over the second but managed to be more thrilling than the first film largely due to JJ Abrams impressive directorial debut and previous experience with the TV show Alias. Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation continued the upward trend in quality for the Mission Impossible series boasting clever storylines mixed with crazy stunts that managed to outdo the ones in the previous films. With Fallout, the franchise has quite possibly hit it's peak with it's finest installment yet both in terms of storytelling as well as action with Cruise delivering a commanding performance as Ethan Hunt, the Spy that manages to complete the most impossible missions while saving the day.


       The plot for Mission Impossible: Fallout centers around Ethan Hunt and his IMF team combined with familiar allies in the CIA to track and squelch attempts to use nuclear weapons that made it into the black market. Like the other previous installments in the Mission Impossible franchise, Fallout carries many of those films themes over such as death of loved ones, protecting everybody, threat of nuclear weapons, terrorism, betrayal, guilt, anarchy, revenge, and relationships. The message of Fallout that resonates with the entire Mission Impossible franchise as a whole says that one should think of the greater good, a reasoning that defines the character of Ethan Hunt. Written and Directed by Usual Suspects screenwriter and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation helmer, Christopher McQuarrie manages to create a sixth installment in the popular franchise that's fast, sleek, fun, and lives up to expectations of surpassing the previous installment with even crazier set pieces and a storyline that's both exciting and keeps the audience guessing on the plots twists and turns.


      As far as acting goes, Tom Cruise delivers another strong performance as Ethan Hunt further demonstrating that he was born to play the role as well as showing that even in his fifties, he still has what it takes to be an action star that performs the most daring of stunts himself. Henry Cavill does a fine job playing the CIA operative whose assigned to work with Hunt on his mission while providing a contrast to Hunts approach of getting things done. Cavill feels right at home with the rest of Hunt's team which includes Simon Pegg delivering a strong supporting role as well as returning faces such as Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson, and Sean Harris playing both friends and foes of Ethan Hunt. New additions to the cast such as Angela Basset and Henry Cavill leave strong impressions with the audience as their characters are effective with the actors making them believable. With the ensemble cast, Fallout has everyone giving their all while showing them to be having fun with the storyline presented while remaining professional. The stunts in Mission Impossible are only as amazing as the actors and characters that sell them, and thankfully with Fallout, Christopher McQuarrie understands that with his strong writing and directing. Having previously worked with Tom Cruise on the Jack Reacher films, McQuarrie understands Cruise's style as an actor as well as his dedication to his craft, and writes the character of Ethan Hunt so effectively in Fallout. With Ethan, there is a sense of detachment to his character that makes him a tragic figure in a sense that he went through a great deal of loss and sacrifice during his previous missions to ensure that the world is safer while completing his job. Though he happens to succeed everytime, it doesn't come without a price and Cruise conveys that beeautifully through his performance adding emotion to the story,


      On a technological note, Mission Impossible: Fallout boasts impressive fight sequences as well as impressive action set-pieces such as a Sky diving sequence in the film along with a solid motorcycle chase, and a climactic helicopter chase sequence that's both exciting and thrilling. The editing of the film gives the movie a brisk pace making it move fairly quick without rushing the storyline nor shortchanging the character development. As an action film, Fallout remains consistent while pushing the boundaries of its thrilling set-pieces almost to the point of absurdity, making the film properly warrant the name "impossible". What makes the Mission Impossible series thrive and improve over the years is how the series blends the feel of a James Bond movie with an added touch of Fast And Furious with the team working together to complete a mission that comes with crazy stunts that become the films main centerpiece. Like those series, the Mission Impossible franchise has learned to adapt and maintain the audiences interest over the last few decades while managing to feel fresh and retaining its energy.


      As far as this years summer blockbusters go, Mission Impossible: Fallout is not only one of the best popcorn flicks of the summer but is also one of the best movies of the year. The film is brilliant, well-written, wonderfully acted by it's main cast, remains consistent with it's action until the end, and
manages to raise the bar up another notch for the series as a whole. Tom Cruise once again shows audiences that regardless of how they feel about his personal antics off screen, he's still one of the worlds greatest movie stars as well as one of the most dedicated actors to ever grace the big screen. Fallout shows that just when you thought the series had reached it's peak and couldn't get anymore incredible nor amazing, Fallout comes and shows how it should be done. As for the future of the Mission Impossible series, there is still life left in this franchise to tell more Spy stories involving Ethan Hunt performing another crazy stunt but one also feels that perhaps they should consider quitting while their ahead as they don't want to wear out their welcome with the audience. While that is a different type of discussion, Mission Impossible: Fallout remains one of the summers biggest highlights while being one of the films that brings it to a satisfying close. For Spy fans and fans of the Mission Impossible series, this film is a real treat and until it's topped by the next film, this is the franchises highest point thus far. Mission Impossible: Fallout is a must see.

                                                                                                                       Final Verdict: SEE IT

   

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Quiet Place Is The Years Most Breakthrough Horror Flick

      In a year where the most dominating movies at the box office happen to all be comic book films, it's nice to see a smaller budget film that's ambitious and totally confident in it's storytelling abilities breakout and become a success of its own both commercially and exceeding expectations in terms of how good it can be. A Quiet Place happens to be one of the years breakthrough hits and is sure to end up being one of 2018's greatest success when the year draws to a close. Easily the most successful horror film since last years IT, A Quiet Place is a horror flick that not only is entertaining to watch but surprises on many levels with how well done and crafted it is. It's nice to see a horror film come around that exercises both brilliance and creativity while showing an actors true talent both as the star of the film as well as being the director  and co-scriptwriter with John Krasinski hitting a home run with A Quiet Place.


      A Quiet Place is a horror film that's exciting from start go finish while moving at a brisk pace while allowing you to be drawn into the films nightmarish world while becoming emotionally invested in it's characters. A Quiet Place is a combination of films such as 10 Cloverfield Lane mixed with a touch of Signs mixed with The Road with all three influences morphing into it's own story that deserves major points for creativity, imagination, brilliance, cleverness, and ultimately managing to be surprising to the audience with it's twist and turns. The story for A Quiet Place takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. The concept of a creature with extra special hearing searching for people while forcing them to use sigh language to communicate is both an original and genius concept that actually manages to bring something new to the horror genre. While it can be argued that the post-apocalyptic aspect of the story is a tad familiar to audiences as it's been done before with numerous other movies, A Quiet Place takes an already familiar setting yet delivers an engaging twist to the genre while allowing it's cast and filmmakers to rise to the occasion with their creative skills. John Krasinski shows audiences that there is much more to him than just a comedic actor and can actually craft a striking horror film that makes the audience think while placing them in the scenario presented in the story.


      As far as performances go, Krasinski is terrific here as he shows a great deal of emotional depth to his role as a father both dealing with grief while trying to protect his family from the outside forces pursuing them. Emily Blunt is terrific in the role of the wife and mother also dealing with grief and struggling to keep her family together while dealing with her pregnancy. The young child actors deliver strong performances bringing both believability to their roles while making you care about their safety during scenes where they come into contact with the creature. The films opening sequence beautifully sets up the tone for the rest of the film establishing the post-apocalyptic nature of the story as well as the silent family sticking together while being forced to communicate through sigh language, and the opening sequence ending with a shocking revelation that commands the audiences attention by the time the main title appears.


       In terms of writing and directing, John Kransinski writes the film beautifully in a way where not too much information is given about the backstory of the family nor what's happening, he gives the audience just enough information through news clippings and selected dialogue to make everything clear while forcing the audience to never take their eyes off the screen when the actors communicate through silent language. Such a move would normally prove to be a risky one by Hollywood's standards but here it's presented in a way that it's essential to the storyline and is done exceptionally well showcasing brilliance on the filmmakers end as well as their firm grip on the story. The films Cinematography and Art-Set Decoration is effective enough to convince the audience that the world their seeing has been overrun by monsters with enhanced hearing making the scenario both frightening and never tiresome to watch. The best thing that can be said about this film outside of it's stellar performances and solid production values, is the level of brains and intelligence that was poured into telling this story. What could've easily ended up being another generic horror film or been there and done that post-apocalyptic tale turns out to be that of a pleasant surprise that shows the horror genre still has some tricks up it's sleeve while being inspirational to other filmmakers in showing that creativity is not fully absent just yet.


       In an era where most breakthrough films or blockbusters are normally sequels, comic book movies, and franchises, it's nice to see a film with a reasonably creative concept with a healthy dose of originality take the center stage in showing that there is still room for smaller stories that can have a significant impact on it's audience long after the credits roll. Despite the movie being only 90 mins, the film does a very good job of pulling the audience into this world and bringing them along the journey this helpless family endures while making them become invested with them while generating some solid squares and suspense. The creatures intelligent feature is a clever twist with the family forced into being silent proving to be an ingenius twist that is done exceptionally well. A Quiet Place is a horror take that's beautifully written, directed, and acted in a way that makes it feel artfully done. Whereas most horror movies in today's generation rely on jump scares and gore, A Quiet Place shows that you don't need those elements to make a movie scary and sometimes the silence of the moment can genuinely be just as creepy or more. The film is a triumph in the sense that it successfully manages to make the audience care about the characters while making the story both tense and exciting to audiences despite the lack of dialogue. Easily one of the years best films thus far and could actually be good enough to warrant some attention come awards time. For horror fans and audiences, it's the films originality and level of thoughtfulness that went into making it that makes it a unique yet special experience for them. Hopefully the talent that John Kransinski brings to the table with this film both infront and behind the camera will encourage other actors and filmmakers you would least expect to test and discover their own potential.

                                                                                                                     Final Verdict: See It

     

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ant Man And The Wasp Is The Much Needed Dessert After Infinity War

For Marvel fans as well as the studio itself, 2018 has proven to be both a groundbreaking and defining year for the MCU as the universe has reached it's full ten years of functioning. With it's tenth year currently two thirds finished, the results have been nothing short of phenomenal with Marvel's Black Panther scoring both critical and box office success and Infinity War becoming the most successful Avengers film to date while also marking a massive improvement over Age Of Ultron. With Last years Spiderman Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarock proving to be giant hits along with Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, the expectation is there for Ant- Man And The Wasp to deliver a similar splash with audiences both in terms of box office success while living up to the standards set by Marvel's recent phase of movies quality wise. Having seen Ant-Man And The Wasp, one can safely say that the sequel to the 2015 smash hit doesn't disappoint but it also doesn't reach the cinematic heights of the previous Marvel films released earlier this year.


      Ant-Man And The Wasp is a solid sequel to the first film that feels like it carries much more freedom with it in regards to creativity and also serves to be a lighter and more colorful Marvel film that what was dished out to audiences earlier this year with Black Panther despite being awesome, dives into important social themes and Infinity War carrying an Empire Strikes Back feel to it with an insane climax. For those who were still recovering from the latter films closing sequence, Ant- Man And The Wasp was the appropriate antidote needed to help recover from the shock of that film's revelation. The plot for Ant-Man And The Wasp centers around the character of Scott Lang played by Paul Rudd, find himself balancing two different lives with the first being a Super Hero with the other being a father figure. He soon finds himself being presented with an urgent new mission by Hope Van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym, that places the Ant-Man teaming up with the Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. Much like the first Ant-Man which was enjoyable though not thought-provoking nor deep in regards to carrying social themes, the sequel retains the same kind of lightheartedness the previous film had while carrying with it a Honey I Shrunk The Kids feel to it. Both films are hands down a joy to watch on the big screen with them both being solid yet light entries in the expanding Marvel universe with the films mainly working thanks to the strong writing which also includes Paul Rudd's input as a screenwriter much like Ryan Reynolds with Deadpool, and the easygoing chemistry that the films main cast shares.


      As far as the casting goes, Ant-Man thrives off the performances of it's main leads with Paul Rudd once again proving to be the perfect choice for the title role with him blending both comedy and heart with his performance with perfect comedic timing. Evangeline Levy does a solid job playing Hope Van Dyne with Michael Douglas turning in a strong performance as her father Hank. Michael Pena once again shines in his supporting role as well as Michelle Pfeiffer as Hopes long lost mother and Hanks wife. What makes the cast work so well in this film is the fact that they all share charisma together. Rudd and Lily make a perfect superhero duo and love interests with Hannah John-Kamen shining in her supporting role along with Walton Goggins as the films antagonists. It also helps that the films source material allows for the actors and actresses to have fun playing their parts as the audience can clearly see and feel the energy that is poured onto the screen from the performances.


       The scriptwriting by Gabriel Ferrari, Andrew Barrer, and Erik Sommer works effectively in regards to the films main plot being fun-spirited and never taking itself too seriously. Given the emotional investment that audiences had with Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, perhaps its refreshing that the MCU has a film that is all heart and is made with the intention of just being playful for the fans with no emotional ties required. The film mainly consists of laughs and impressive action sequences requiring impressive CGI surrounded by the effects of Paul Rudd's characters suit that allows him to both shrink and double in size. As far as the films technical aspects go, the visuals once again dazzle which is the expected norm when dealing with an MCU film with the Cinematography giving it the look of a comic book movie brought to life. The makeup effects are often quite impressive particularly when Michael Douglas character is shown to look much younger for key flashback sequences.


       Perhaps the fact that both this film and Ant-Man are too lighthearted for the MCU given their recent movies have delved into deeper themes, is ultimately a factor that works against them as these films while being a great deal of fun as well as harmless, don't have the same kind of impact the recent Marvel films have on audiences. Despite that shortcoming, the first Ant-Man as well as Ant-Man And The Wasp work great together as their own story within the MCU. Perhaps alittle fun for the fans was needed after being taken on an emotional journey with the previous films that stayed with the audience long after the credits finish rolling. If one was to look at Ant-Man And The Wasp through those lens, it could very well be described as being the sweetest dessert for the audience after enduring Infinity War. It was the palate cleanser the MCU needed to make it's fans laugh and be hopeful again after what they experienced with the previous two films. Perhaps with the scope of the MCU universe, Ant-Man And The Wasp being just a simple superhero movie with funny laughs and solid action sequences may seem like a step back given how much more mature and serious the universe has come with incorporating serious themes into it's stories, but given the wild ride that Marvel has put it's fanbase through as well as the general moviegoing audience, one cannot help but feel Ant-Man And The Wasp was necessary in order to change up the current flavor. As a sequel to the original, it's solid and holds it's own as being just as good as the original, however much like that film, it doesn't go beyond both movies amounting to just being fun experiences with the occasional nod to the rest of the MCU.

                                                                                                      Final Verdict: See IT


Monday, July 23, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Entertains But Shows The Series Is Running Out Of ideas

The summer 2018 box office season has hit it's peak with blockbusters such as Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool ll, Incredibles ll, while also surprising with box office flops such as Solo: A Star Wars Story. With June, the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the anticipation was high that it would continue the upward box office trend of the season while delivering a strong sequel to Jurassic World which not only became a huge box office success, but surprised audiences by being a strong sequel and reboot to the iconic dinosaur movie franchise. While no sequel can reach the cinematic heights of the first Jurassic Park film, Jurassic World came the closest to retaining some of the magic of that film while playing off it's nostalgia and introducing a unique scenario to audiences, that questioned what if a park full of dinosaurs was opened to the public and proved to be successful. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hopes to build upon the concept of Jurassic World, but instead feels like a step downward while also feeling like a remake of Steven Spielberg's lackluster sequel to the first film The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

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      The plot for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the events of Jurassic World with the island's active volcano beginning to erupt, forcing the survivors from the first film Owen and Claire played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard to mount a campaign to save the remaining dinosaurs from extinction. On paper, the plot for Fallen Kingdom sounds interesting but the overall execution of the film despite being overall entertaining feels like a live action version of Disney's 2000 forgotten animated classic Dinosaur which also dealt with the plot of dinosaurs fighting to avoid extinction, mixed with what looks and feels like a remake of The Lost World: Jurassic Park with a touch of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes brought into the mix. It's not that Fallen Kingdom is a weak follow-up to the first Jurassic World that surprised audiences largely with it's quality, it's that it doesn't feel like the sequel to that film you would expect. Perhaps it's because Jurassic World much like JJ Abrams The Force Awakens did a very good job of creating a reboot for their franchises that relied heavily on people's nostalgia of the previous films to not only make them remember why they loved Star Wars or Jurassic Park in the first place but also to bring them into the future. Jurassic World wasn't as expertly directed or written as the Spielberg film nor matches it in terms of being innovative and impactful with it's audience, but it honored the legacy that came before it while proving to be an entertaining, thrilling, and visually stimulating popcorn blockbuster. It also helped that it's director Colin Trevorrow is a fan of the series, giving the audience exactly what they wanted to see with the film while finding a way to continue the franchise through a different lense. Despite some of that films flaws, the movie largely succeeded as being the true sequel to Jurassic Park while opening doors for future sequels to explore the aftermath of what's essentially an amusement park gone bad.

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      Directed by J.A Bayona who helmed The Impossible and The Orphanage taking over the directorial reigns from Trevorrow, Fallen Kingdom proves to be a darker and more intense sequel to it's predecessor that poses ethical questions regarding whether dinosaurs should be saved from extinction or left to be doomed as human and dinosaurs are not mean't to co-exist. The first half of Fallen Kingdom proves to be stronger than the second half despite the retreat back to the island gives a strong been there and done that feel to it. The plot for the film feels like The Lost World with the main lead character going back to the island to not save his girlfriend this time but the dinosaurs that inhabit the island from being exterminated with his ex gf being the person that helps him. Much like that film, the subplot involving taking the dinosaurs off the island and bringing them back to the mainland to be poached is nearly identical except Fallen kingdoms plot packs a more powerful punch to it. The movie contains intense and visually breathtaking moments such as the volcano erupting, and the dinosaurs running to escape extinction with our main characters attempting to guide them along the way. One of the films most powerful yet disturbing moments is a sequence involving the Brachiosaurus being left on the island to die from the volcano's eruption that comes full circle with the first Jurassic Park as they were the first dinosaurs the main characters saw on the island with them now being the last ones as the island is destroyed. That sequence is not only symbolic and serves as a sign for the audience saying that the franchise is cutting loose the binds of being connected to the timeline of the previous Jurassic Park films and creating a newer one that embraces the concept of the Jurassic World series in which the dinosaurs will now roam free on the mainland.

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      The second half of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom feels like a horror type monster movie mixed in a Jurassic World film with the dinosaurs being held captive by corrupt scientists with the intentions of being sold on the market. Fallen Kingdom's problem is that it feels like a cut and paste type sequel in which it's story feels scattered with a relatively uneven narrative. Besides the desire to save the dinosaurs from being killed on the island from the volcanic explosion, there is no real reason for the humans to return to the island as the dinosaurs are roaming free and taking control of the park. As Jeff Goldblum's character Ian Malcom brilliantly puts it in his surprise cameo in the film, wouldn't it make more sense to let the dinosaurs remain on the island and let nature run it's course so that the threat of dinosaurs running rampant across mankind doesn't become a reality. As far as performances go, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard deliver strong performances as their characters remain likeable and developed enough for the audience to care about in the sequel while virtually everyone else feeling like cardboard cutouts of previous side characters and villains seen in previous films. The subplot however featuring the clone later revealed in the story proves to be useless and out of place in this films story as it holds virtually no relevance to the situation in the story involving the dinosaurs. Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith deliver likeable performances in supporting roles despite their characters having little to no depth at all with James Cromwell and Rafe Spall churning out serviceable performances with the latter playing a sleazy businessman role that's been done to death in the series. The real shame however is seeing talented actors such as Toby Jones, Ted Levine, and B.D Wong have their talents wasted in what are essentially pointless roles (B.D Wong's character despite getting an unusual upgrade in Jurassic World compared to the first film in terms of screentime is completely wasted here as his character could've made for a terrific villain in the Jurassic Park universe. Instead he rather comes off as being a misguided scientist that's more concerned with breakhroughs rather than seeing the error of his ways. Even that aspect of his character is underdeveloped).

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      As far as technical aspects go, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a visually breathtaking film with impressive sound and special effects that's become custom with any Jurassic Park film (It is especially nice to see that animatronic dinosaurs have made their return here). The cinematography is stunning with the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World's island being destroyed by the volcano delivering some truly beautiful imagery with moments such as the original Jurassic Park jeep flipped over from the first movie when Dr. Grant saved Tim from the tree being shown here destroyed by the volcano hitting hard with the audience in an emotional level. The score by Michael Giacchino feels like a letdown this time around compared to his surprisingly emotional score from the previous film that carried with it a mixture of a homage to John Williams work in the first Jurassic Park while creating Jurassic World's new theme. While today's visual effects are more advanced than they were when the first Jurassic Park movie premiered, nothing can ever touch the inventiveness and shock the first carried when audiences first laid eyes on the Brachiosaurus, the Triceratops, The T-Rex, and the Velociraptors.

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      Overall Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not a terrible film nor the worst Jurassic Park movie ever made (That honor goes to The Lost World: Jurassic Park as Spielberg has reportedly stated that he became bored with the film through production), it also doesn't live up to the cinematic heights of Jurassic Park nor the sheer popcorn entertainment quality that Jurassic World provided audiences. There will never be a Jurassic Park sequel that reaches the heights of the original but one certainly feels that the filmmakers behind Fallen Kingdom certainly could've worked harder to provide a more satisfactory sequel to the previous film, which surprised in being a solid reboot for the franchise. One of the questions that Jurassic World left open was where could the story go now that the dinosaurs have taken over Jurassic World and drove the humans off the island. If Fallen Kingdom's storyline was any indication, perhaps it's best that the resurrection of the franchise ends with the next chapter, hopefully with a much stronger script. The films climax while impressive that the writers took the franchise to newer heights with that twist feels like an attempt to channel the successful modern Planet Of The Apes trilogy with Blue feeling like a dinosaur type Ceasar. While the films ending certainly leaves the audience feeling a tad optimistic about the next film, the real shame is that this sequel could've been more epic but instead feels like one last attempt to cash in on the whole lets go back to the island subplot for no other reason than to generate a few genuine thrills before moving the franchise into a different direction. While that direction is certainly one that will leave people curious as to where the story goes from here now that the dinosaurs are off the island, one hopes that the third and what will most likely be the final chapter in the Jurassic World trilogy is more creative and thought-out than this film. Fallen Kingdom serves as being a resonably entertaining popcorn thriller but as a sequel to Jurassic World, it falls short of it's full potential. If you're a fan of the Jurassic Park franchise, see it once in theaters then retreat back to the original film. You're honestly not missing much if you choose to wait for redbox. It doesn't hold the same kind of impact that Jurassic World had when you watch it.

P.S, The new hybrid dinosaur is cool but he is shown so little in the films second half that he doesn't have enough time to really leave an impact on the audience. It's great to see the original T-Rex again even if he feels underused in this one as well.

                                                                                                     VERDICT : See It

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Image result for jurassic world fallen kingdom movie pics
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Image result for jurassic world fallen kingdom movie pics
Image result for jurassic world fallen kingdom movie pics
Image result for jurassic world fallen kingdom movie pics
      

Saturday, July 7, 2018

1517 To Paris Is Well-Intentioned But Ultimately Proves To Be A Massive Misfire

      Every great filmmaker makes a film that despite their noblest efforts to make it succeed just doesn't end up doing well for various reasons or ends up succeeding just enough to shake off the flop label but still manages to pale in comparison to the rest of their work. For director Clint Eastwood, 1517 To Paris unfortunately proves to be not just a major cinematic disappointment from the filmmaker, whose been on a roll in regards to making stellar movies since 2003's Mystic River with few missteps, but also raises the question of whether the legendary actor and director has hit his peak with delivering stellar projects and should consider retiring from directing. What should've easily been one of the years first real award season contender turns out to be the first major disappointment as the name behind the directors chair and the story should've been a sure bet to be a success with audiences. What killed the movie audiences may find themselves asking: Clumsy storytelling and replacing actors with the real people in the roles that somehow removes the realism and make it feel staged.

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      For those coming to this realization upon watching the new Eastwood directed biopic, the results are surprising but not so much as Clint has churned out a number of gems over the past decade such as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags Of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima, Changeling, Gran Tarino, Invictus, American Sniper, and Sully while also having his share of misfires such as Hereafter, J Edgar, and Jersey Boys. With 1517 To Paris, Eastwood tries to be ambitious with his efforts to honor the real heroes of his story but those efforts are undermined by an unfocused narrative and a poor decision to cast the real life heroes in the roles of playing themselves in the film without any prior acting experience with the obvious showing in the final product. The story for 1517 To Paris focuses on a pair of three American Marines discovering a terrorist plot on a Paris-bound train. It is not a question of whether the actual true story is captivating enough to be put on film (It is), however Eastwood's decision to stray away from the actual events on the train and give the audience endless flashbacks of how the three young boys met in school or their struggles growing up takes away from the central focus on the film, making it less exciting and ultimately boring which with a story like this one should never end up being the case.

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      The biggest problem with the film is the fact that it doesn't feel spontaneous or real but comes across as being staged. This can be attributed to the fact that Eastwood decided to make a bold decision by casting the actual persons in the story to play themselves. Watching the movie, one can clearly see what Eastwood is trying to do in regards to placing the real people in the story as he wanted it to feel genuine for the audience and recapture the same kind of emotions during the train sequences, but instead of doing just that the opposite effect happens here where it feels like everything is staged rather than drawing the audience into the moment. This method of bringing realism to the story has proven in the past to be a dicey move as the results have either been very successful such as Paul Greengrass 2006 drama United 93 utilized real Air Traffic Control employees to act in the film to reenact the tension and confusion of what happened that day with the end result being the film ended up becoming one of the most critically adored films of that year. The second movie that attempted to utilize this strategy and ended up failing was 2012's Act Of Valor placing real Navy SEALS in the roles with the end result being the film received largely negative reviews despite being well-intentions. 

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      It is not a question that Eastwood wishes to honor the heroes behind the films story, but he also fails to understand the difference between his previous directorial film Sully proving to be a hit with audiences while 1517 To Paris failing to leave the same impact. Sully was a success because of Eastwood's craftsmanship as a director joining forces with Tom Hanks phenomenal acting as well as Aaron Eckhart. Eastwood and Hanks drew the audience back to the day in question and made them believe they were on the plane when it landed in the Hudson. With 1517 To Paris, the audience never gets the feeling that they are on the train with the three young men. The film also suffers from an uneven narrative as the film detours from it's main storyline to show the developing friendship of the three young heroes Alex Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone. While there's nothing wrong with wanting the audience to become acquainted with our main characters and get a feel for who they are, the moments on the train are compelling but end up becoming too few in between the rest of the movie that has a lot of unnecessary exposition and build up. One wonders if the film would've been more powerful if Eastwood focused the story moreso on the train and let the event unfold with the audience getting to know the characters on the train.

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      1517 To Paris despite being a huge cinematic letdown and disappointment was made with intentions no less than honoring whats unquestionably a true act of heroism. By casting the real life heroes in the film. Eastwood's clear intentions were to reach for the stars but also by doing so he fell far below the full potential the story carries. The film lacks true momentum in terms of building suspense and is poorly written rather than being set-up for the main characters to relive their trauma on the train as well as a moment of selfless heroism. The tragedy is not that the film itself is bad, it's that it was placed in the hands of a more than capable filmmaker, and somehow the movie feels like a wasted opportunity rather than leaving an impact upon audiences the way Eastwood's most recent films American Sniper and Sully did. The sequences on the train are truly compelling to watch and give audiences a small glimpse of the film they could've had if the script placed more emphasis on the moment rather than giving us tons of unnecessary background information on the three heroes (Did anyone really need to see their trip in Paris up to them getting on the train, it wasn't needed). Eastwood doesn't show us the motive behind the attempted terrorist attack on the train nor do we see the terrorists perspective unlike Paul Greengrass United 93 which gave an extremely well-balanced viewpoint of both sides behind the story. As a huge Clint Eastwood fan both as an actor and director, 1517 To Paris proves to be a creative failure for the filmmaker. and makes one question if he's losing the momentum that he's been riding since 2003. Audiences will have to wait and see how Eastwood's next film turns out to determine whether he's declining in quality, but as for now, 1517 To Paris will go down as being one of the most forgettable misfires of 2018 which is a shame because this story could've been so much more.

                                                                                                                 Final Verdict: SKIP IT

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Image result for 1517 to paris movie pics
Image result for 1517 to paris movie pics
Image result for 1517 to paris movie pics
Image result for 1517 to paris movie pics
Image result for 1517 to paris movie pics