Revisiting Jurassic Park

 

There are a multitude of reasons why I enjoy this movie so much. To keep it short, Jurassic Park encompasses so much of what I love so dearly about the art of film. From the story, to the practical and digital effects, to the sound designs and that unforgettable score. This movie carries everything I love about cinema. And now, here we are in 2018 with the fifth installment of Jurassic Park approaching theaters quickly. While most JP fans will admit that there will never be a film or sequel that can match the thrill and beauty that the original Jurassic Park brought, I am one of the very few fans that actually enjoyed the films that followed. While I do have my issues with each of them, I still genuinely enjoy them.

I rewatched a 1 hour documentary special on YouTube covering the making of Jurassic Park. If you haven’t watched it, you should definitely give it a watch. It gives you behind the scenes details on how the idea for the film came about to how the film was made. I will say that one of the coolest things about the Jurassic Park franchise is the filmmakers ability to deliver “real” dinosaurs. And by “real” I mean very realistic looking animatronics. They could have skated by with something that was so much more simpler or cheaper looking, but they gave their audience something filled with so much quality and imagination.

 

This behind the scenes doc is a great watch if you are interested in learning how they made this film come to life.

 

Jurassic World, I’m ready.

 

W.R.R.

Incredibles II

The Incredibles II has a unique ability to make 14 years seem like 14 minutes.
If you were old enough to truly enjoy the first Incredibles film when it hit theaters in 2004, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about.
With beautiful animation, familiar characters and an excellent script, it was easy to become entangled in Brad Bird’s continued exploration of what a fantastic 5 family would look like in the 1960s. While I’ve long since dropped the idea that animations are for kids, with kid themes and kid ideas, Incredibles II is probably the most live action-esque film involving Pixar characters that one could expect to see involving superheroes.
From the revelation of Jack Jack and his powers (**SPOILER ALERT: That raccoon scene was EVERYTHING**), to Helen Parr further embracing the use of her own power while sharing a cocktail with a new and intriguing character. Incredibles II serves new and old audiences in every way. With its ability to continue the story on Violets love life and the presence (or lack thereof) of Frozone’s wife, the only question Brad Bird has left unanswered in Incredibles II is will there be an Incredibles III and how long will it take to get here?
Rating: 9/10
Happy viewing,
W.R.R.

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place was quite…quiet.

Having been a fan of The Office, I went in to the theater wanting to love this movie (Jim & Pam forever!), But as the film reached its end I couldn’t help but feel as if the quiet was a tad bit too loud…

For starters I will say that I appreciated the representation of a movie that dealt with deafness without having that be it’s center. I also enjoyed seeing John Krasinski and Emily Blunt act along side each other.

But my reservations are found in thinking that the monsters of the film may have been revealed a little too soon, but I guess one could argue that revealing them early was crucial to the story plot, seeing what happens within the first 15 minutes of the film. However the movie seemed to fall “quietly” flat as it progressed.

All in all, there was one moment where I definitely found myself with the biggest lump in my throat while at the same time questioning if I would ever have the boldness required to become a parent. On a final note, the moment that I enjoyed the most came at the last 60 seconds on the film that prompted a serious chuckle.

So it was good, but I wouldn’t say it was great…

My Score: 7.5/10

Happy viewing,

Whit

Black Panther

Whenever there is a newly added addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, my interest could be further from the frantic fascination that it often attracts. Likewise, at the announcement of another superhero movie I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was extremely underwhelmed. However, since I am now a MoviePass subscriber, I figured it would be a waste not to use my pass on a film that I knew would consume the nation. So, I saw “Black Panther”… And then I saw it again.

To say that I at least liked watching the film would be an understatement. I was invested in every aspect of it. From the language to the accents. From the clothing to the cultural unity. From the soundtrack to the cinematography. I was there for it. As a black young woman in America, it was amazing to see such representation in a major Cinematic film, not only of blacks, but of blacks who held the same complexion and hair texture of my own. While some may find this juvenile, it can be considered the ultimate win for a culture that glorifies certain looks over others.

The story kept me interested. Interested in the cultural traditions, lifestyle and victory of the Wakandan people, as well as the victory of the Black Panther. The action came at just the right moments and stayed for just the right amount of time. The comedy was sprinkled in subtly. And I loved hearing how the audience would react to it the second time around.

All in all, I would say that I was proud of it. Proud of the visuals, proud of the story, Proud of the actors, proud of the director (31-year-old Ryan Coogler) and proud of its placement within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

Wakanda Forever,

W.R.R.

Anhillation

Colorful and mysterious, yet lacking in true storytelling captivity.

From the moment I walked through the doors of my local Cinema and used my nifty MoviePass to purchase a ticket for this film, I was interested in the possibility of stepping into a theater hoping to see something as crafty as Ex Machina or as mindful as Arrival. Instead, I was met with something strange, a tad bit confusing and at its best … peculiar.

Anhillation sets the scene of a world (which really means a government) that is questioning the existence of a shimmer…yes, a shimmer. A colorful and slightly invisible wall that instantly takes you into what should be known as a forbidden forest upon stepping into it. Military officials go in, but the question remains on if they come out. Although the picture was driven by its mysteriousness, it missed the mark on delivering what the true mystery was and why we were actually waiting for it.

While I think the movie desired to bring viewers into the science they were trying to present, I found myself caring more about where they chose to film. The location seemed beautiful and serene, that is until things get a little…beastly. While the film was lead by Oscar Winner Natalie Portman, I would say the stand out star was Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez. Her persona as a tough, yet distressed participant on this journey was fitting and I would hope to see her in more roles similar to this, preferably with a different storyline.

My rating 6.5/10

Happy viewing,

W.R.R.

A Wrinkle In Time

Surprisingly pleasant, and invitingly adventurous.

A Wrinkle In Time opened nationwide this weekend, and after my first view, I would have to say that I was delightfully charmed. The Rotten Tomatoes score that it unfortunately has does not do this film justice.

I walked in expecting to see something cheesy made from the milk of a potential cash cow. They did, after all, go after some of the biggest names in Hollywood for the most trivial (this could be debated) parts. But as the movie found its way to its core, I found myself invested and along for the ride of director, Ava DuVernay’s adventure.

I’ll begin by saying that the performance put on by up and coming actress Storm Reid as Meg Murry was refreshingly appealing. I went in with every intention of critiquing her acting, but I quickly found that her talent graciously rose to the occasion.

Apart from Reid’s performance, I was also pleasantly intrigued by the soundtrack that followed the film. Seemingly Pop, but perfectly fitting. Next, the visuals, as well as the angles in which the film was shot were also great in drawing audiences into the story.

My complaints with the film rest in the fact that The “Mrs” of the film (Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, & Mrs. Witch) may have been…over-cast. I wonder how much better the story would have been had they focused on brining in strong and lesser known actresses in to play these roles instead of name brands (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, & Mindy Kailing). They added nothing for me. If anything, I feel as if Disney missed the mark in not casting Mindy Kailing as Mrs. Whatsit, the seemingly outspoken and corky one of the Mrs trio.

I’ll probably be seeing this again. I thought Ava DuVernay’s directing was done well, but I would definitely want to get another look.

My score: 8/10

Happy viewing,

W.R.R.

I Can Only Imagine

A familiar story with a unique finish.

I Can Only Imagine opened in theaters this weekend and of course I found the opportunity to view it. I’m a fan of the song that the movie is based off of and I figured it would be interesting to see its roots. While I did have some reservations with the film, I reached the end inspired and moved.

The story of a young child who has been abused by one parent and abandoned by the other could unfortunately replicate the experiences of many. However, this film shows how this childhood experience would go on to shape the artist that would write the song to move thousands, if not millions. That is what’s special about I Can Only Imagine. It is, in many ways, the documented journey of how one incredibly powerful and game changing  song came to be. While I thought there were some parts of the film that felt slightly rushed an under explained, and while I struggled with accepting actor J. Michael Finley as a 18 year old high school student, I still could help the lump from forming in my throat and the tears from streaming down my face when the song was finally performed towards the end of the film.

I liked the film, but I did not love it. I did, however, appreciate it as an informative look into what events would come together to inspire the musical hit, I Can Only Imagine.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

Happy viewing,

Whit

I Feel Pretty

It’s amazing what we can accomplish and who we can impress when we have the confidence to do so.

What if, one day, the us that we so freely cut down because of unappealing features that we hate and the flaws that we find ever so present becomes an us that we admired, an us that we complimented and an us that fueled confidence and beauty in other women.

What if our rise into beauty and confidence had nothing to do with changing our appearance and everything to do with changing our thoughts.

This is what “I Feel Pretty” teaches us.

What if the key to making it in this world meant understanding how to bulldoze past all the hate, mean comments, rude remarks and just outright lies that have been made against our appearance and our character. One of the best lines of the film came at the end when Amy Schumer’s character, Renee, proclaimed that all it takes is wisdom to know that we are more than what someone else’s negative perception of us is. That when it is all said and done, its in the “knowing” who we are and what we are that will push us to new dimensions in confidence and beauty.

I was listening to a song once that had the lyrical line that really stood out to me:

“What we believe becomes what they see”

  -Rhyon Brown “Pretty Girl”

I think this became true for Renee in the film, and I think it holds true to us in real life.

When an army of pop culture, magazines, strangers and peers are rising up against you, fight back with the knowledge that you are more than blushed cheeks, tinted lips and good or bad genes. You are child of God. A masterpiece made perfect with no flaw in you.

“Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.”

Psalm 27:3

Do not solely strive to “look” pretty. Strive to feel it.

 

Much love,

W.R.R.

Rampage

Rampage came out this weekend and it stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson…who is pretty much the films only saving grace.

Not because his acting is oh so great, but because…well, Dwayne Johnson is a nice category of eye candy for movie goers who are in to the tan, bald, hero types.

The movie can be seen as a mix of King Kong, Godzilla, and Honey, I Blew Up The Kid…weird combinations, I know, but if you’ve seen these films and watch this movie you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The film sets up the scenario of a multimillion dollar corporation that has somehow found a way to create a chemical that works to…enlarge things. While also providing the most deadliest characteristics. Due to some unfortunate events, that chemical finds its way into the animal enclosure of Johnson’s BFF, George. An albino gorilla.

While the film goes through the motions of your typical action thriller where an abnormally enlarged beast is threatening to destroy an entire city, I found myself less and less intrigued with the ever so familiar trope. Even “The Rock” couldn’t help with that.

However, if you are looking for a typical popcorn flick that will give you a couple of chuckles, and a few good scares, this is the film for you.

My rating: 6/10

Happy viewing,

W.R.R.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters last weekend and I am invested.

I often find myself in the out when it comes to the superhero films that hit theaters. That was until Black Panther came out. The fact that even my mother made it her mission to see Infinity War with me is proof that I was not the only one in the audience influenced by T’challa’s involvement.

To say I was excited about this movie would be a lie. I was only merely interested. I knew this was going to be a big film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I had decided that it truly wasn’t something that I wanted to fight crowds for. I figured I’d wait a couple of weeks, maybe even four, but seeing that my mother was intrigued, we decided to see it the Tuesday after it hit theaters.

So I saw it. In a packed theater. And I loved it. And now, I’m invested. In this universe, in this story and in its ultimate ending. Russo Brothers did a wonderful job in not only building a villain who could reach the highest level of indestructibility, but also building a villain with a mission and a motive that audiences could actually understand. At heart, this character fell away from the cliche of a bitter villain who wanted to kill heroes and take over the world for his own selfish gain. Instead, the film created a villain who believed that his actions were saving the world…regardless of the price.

The filmmakers also did an awesome job of telling several different stories (in several different planets) throughout the story. It wasn’t choppy or confusing. It was well balanced and articulate in helping the development of the story and its characters as the majority of the avengers reached their cosmic reunification in one single space.

It’s been said for months, probably even years now, that some superheroes that we’ve grown to know throughout the MCU were probably not going to make it out of this film. And while I’m not going to spoil anything on this review, I will say that the ending left me…in denial. I, along with the rest of the audience, could not believe that a film showing all that these characters had at stake would leave us with so much uncertainty. But it is what it is and I will have to hold tight until 2019.

The torcher

My rating: 9/10

Much love,

W.R.R.