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Genre:

Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Release Date:

May 29, 2020

Director:

Kenneth Branagh

Cast:

Colin Farrell, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Miranda Raison, Nonso Anozie, Ferdia Shaw

Plot Summary:

Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw), a young Irish criminal mastermind, kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer Captain Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) for ransom to fund the search for his missing father in order to restore the family fortune.

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom | Official Trailer

Arthur must enlist the help of his half-brother Orm in order to protect Atlantis against Black Manta, who has unleashed a devastating weapon in his obsessive quest to avenge his father’s death.

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom [credit: Warner Bros. / DC]

Genre:

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Release Date:

December 20,  2023

Director:

James Wan

Cast:

Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Plot Summary:

Arthur must enlist the help of his half-brother Orm in order to protect Atlantis against Black Manta, who has unleashed a devastating weapon in his obsessive quest to avenge his father’s death.

FILM RATING
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Meg 2: The Trench | A “Megnificent” Must-Sea Movie!

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Meg 2: The Trench (Warner Brothers)

Plot

Jonas Taylor leads a research team on an exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean. Their voyage spirals into chaos when a malevolent mining operation threatens their mission and forces them into a high-stakes battle for survival. Pitted against colossal, prehistoric sharks and relentless environmental plunderers, they must outrun, outsmart and outswim their merciless predators.

Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor (Warner Brothers)

Movie Review (No Spoilers)

The movie eases the audience into the deep blue sea and when watching in 3D you experience the underwater paradise in even greater detail. When the action kicks off, it is continuous non-stop action with the returning cast of Jason Statham, Clifford Curtis, and Page Kennedy. Sadly Li Bingbing, who had a big part in the prequel, isn’t back for seconds. Wu Jing joins this cast and it is nice seeing a famous martial arts star dive into this movie. There are some comedic elements in the movie as well and a few throwbacks to the prequel. Most of the action is focused at the end and I feel the sharks could have received a lot more screen time since the other villains played a bigger role in the movie. There is still so much unexplored territory in the blue depths within the movie and a lot of potential for a sequel. So I’m hopeful we get to see Statham and the sharks return for another showdown.

The movie trailer (see below) doesn’t reveal too much about the movie which is a big plus for me. A plot twist await and a few surprises from below. I recommend watching this movie in 3D or 4D if your local cinema has the necessary facilities, because the effects, especially the sharks, deliver quite a scare.

My rating for this movie is a 3 out of 5. I recommend watching its prequel, The Meg (2018), before watching this movie. There is no post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end.

FILM RATING
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Indiana Jones and the Dial Of Destiny – Review

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James Mangold takes directing duties for the fifth and final adventure for Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones. Steven Spielberg stays on as executive producer, helping bring to life a new adventure in a very new era. It’s taken a while to get here, but now it’s ready for the world to see.

We join Indy in 1969 as he retires from teaching, but is immediately thrust into a race against time to retrieve the fabled Antikythera, a dial that can predict fissures time and invented by Greek mathematician Archimedes. Former Nazi astrophysicist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) is also hunting down the dial, as is Indy’s god-daughter Helena (Waller-Bridge). Indy works with Helena in a shaky alliance to seek out the dial before Voller does, who intends to change the course of history and ensure a German victory in World War 2.

In a nutshell, a solid and enjoyable entry into the franchise that gives Indy a fitting and fond farewell. It sits comfortably beneath the golden trilogy and high above ‘Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’ in terms of how it delivers. There is far less goofy humour, silly CGI action and cluttered cast.

The main man Harrison Ford delivers, as ever. 80 years old he may be, and yes, he is slower, more fragile and not able to do as much as he did in the past, but why should he? This is the final stage of his journey as Indy, and we’ve seen him grow through the decades. Mangold and the team don’t make light of Indy’s age but play it seriously and don’t have him do too much impossible action, letting Ford remind us how Indy is faring after a rather turbulent few years certainly feeling his age. But this does not mean Ford plays it gruff and grumbly; with his trademark twinkle and scowl, he injects warmth, humour and heart and quite possibly gives the most emotional performance for Indy across all five films.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge will ruffle feathers as she has a mouth, has hard fists and lots of spunk and isn’t afraid to bite back. She dominates her scenes and really pushes back against what Indy stands for, as she has her own personal motives and desires. But she takes a journey with Indy too, a simple arc that has her go from likeable, to not likable, and then a bit more likeable than before. Waller-Bridge attracts all the wrong kind of attention in the industry from many fans (often male) who can’t sit comfortably with her “strong, independent woman” schtick through her work than often has he pull apart established characters and films. She has that here a little bit, but certainly doesn’t de-rail the film and works well with Ford – two strong minded characters together make for a good bout of chemistry.

Sadly, we don’t have enough Mads Mikkelsen. It’s a crime when villains are underused in films and are just there to remind us that there are “bad guys” on the loose to push along the good. Mikkelsen is a fantastic actor, and plays the cunning, ruthless villain very well with menace oozing out of every pour, and has done through many blockbuster films. Here, however, his Nazi, Voller, needed more screentime to truly let us get under his skin, to allow him to become the threat that he eventually reveals himself to be. It’s just too little, too late when he really gets stuck into the meat of his motivation. That, if anything, is the biggest disappointment. He is a good mix of ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ Belloq and ‘The Last Crusade’ Donovan, but we just don’t get enough of him.

The wider support cast is not too bloated all do well – Ethann Isidore as Teddy, Helena’s Moroccan “Short Round”, is harmless and adds a little to proceedings without being irritating. Boyd Holbrook plays the rather violent trigger-happy henchman Klaber, and we have a warm return for John Rhys-Davies as Sallah who will generate the biggest smile from fans in his limited screentime. Antonio Banderas and Karen Allen are present, but in more blink and you’ll miss them sort of roles.

For Indiana Jones, the action has always been a benchmark for the genre. Innovative ideas, practical stunts and a big main sequence. In ‘Dial Of Destiny’, the action is good, but not great. It’s safe. The opening 20mins set in 1944 and in / around an exploding castle and loot train harkens that classic Indy thrill. The main story has lots of chases from the New York ticker-tape parade, the Morocco tuk-tuks to the minimalist Mediterranean boat and airplane sequences. There is nothing very memorable about them; they deliver, but not to the extent of feeling real danger, seeing real stunt performers, or matching the scale of the ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ truck chase or the ‘Temple Of Doom’ rope bridge.

This goes hand-in-hand with the CGI. In 2008, ‘The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’ abused what CGI can offer and sent the world of Indiana Jones into cosmic realms and near physics defying absurdity. It’s good to see ‘Dial Of Destiny’ tone that down and use CGI to enhance certain locations and add a safety net around Ford and the others in the action. Granted, he’s 80 and can’t do as much as he did 42 years ago, so this blanket of CGI to protect him makes sense. It’s noticeable in parts, mostly during the shaky de-aging sequence, but never feels done to excess.

We have a decent score by the maestro John Williams who brings back riffs from past films, but never brings anything too memorable to this entry. Again, all very safe.

As you can see, the theme of this review is “safe”.

DOD doesn’t take big risks or make bold choices in where the story goes. It perhaps should have done in the third act. You think it will go one way, a sweep of emotion and “will they, won’t they”… and then it swerves somewhere else. And regarding the third act, it’s a shame that it feels rushed. As a send-off, it’s more fitting than those crystal skulls, but it came about rather abruptly, and it did not have that same swell of goodbye that TLC did so perfectly. Shaving time from the heavy second act would have been better, reducing the time of generic investigative exploring to focus on the sequences that deserved more time to hit hard.

Yet, it’s hard not to find enjoyment in this adventure romp. Big, bad Nazis are out to scupper the free world and our beloved grizzled leather jacket clad hero needs to punch lots of them in the face (and have lots of people shot?) to stop them, to a score of orchestral pomp and heroic risks. It’s good fun – safe, comfortable Indy fun and it doesn’t disappoint on the whole to deliver one last adventure.

Indiana Jones and the Dial Of Destiny is on general release from today

FILM RATING
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