FLICKS: Even with no nudity, Juliet, Naked is a fun romantic comedy

Posted on 29 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


First premiering at the Sundance Film Festival last winter, Juliet, Naked is a new romantic comedy that opens this Labor Day weekend at select theaters. For the 50 Shades of Grey fans, Juliet,Naked will be a disappointment. There is no nudity nor acrobatic sex scenes, but for fans of Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn or Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies, then Juliet,Naked is the film for you.

Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) is an American one-hit-wonder who penned and performed the song “Juliet.” Much like the cult worship of Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, Tucker Crowe is the subject of worship for some British music fans, especially Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd). Duncan has had a long time relationship with live-in girlfriend Annie Platt (Rose Byrne), who tolerates her boyfriend’s obsession with the faded musician.

One day, Annie receives a bootleg CD titled “Juliet, Naked” and listens to it, unimpressed by the song. After a comedic domestic dispute, Duncan listens to the song and worships it. While discussing the CD on his podcast, Duncan is met with some heavy criticism from an anonymous source. The anonymous source turns out to be Tucker Crowe.

Bit by bit, the plot moves forward to a logical climax and conclusion. The mystery and magnitude of Tucker Crowe is deconstructed, while Rose and Duncan take the time to discuss the seriousness of their relationship. Will there be a happy ending? Let’s just say that this romantic comedy supplies a satisfactory ending.

Juliet, Naked is based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. This British novelist also penned High Fidelity, About a Boy and his own memoir Fever Pitch, all titles that have been converted into movies. While not major box office sensations, the movie versions of Nick Hornby’s books have grown in status with repeated television viewings. The characters and situations are real with much audience empathy. The emphasis is about everyday pains, but with subtle humor.

As either second banana or the heroine’s antagonist in romantic comedies like Bridesmaids and The Internship, top billed Rose Byrne shines as the heroine. Chris O’Dowd also shines as the super fan, who becomes the romantic rival to his own idol. Ethan Hawke was born to play enigmatic Tucker Crowe. As written, Crowe could have been a total jerk, but Hawke brings a working class charisma to the musician, who prefers to just live in his garage apartment and talk to his many kids, from his two or three wives, or girlfriends.

Being a romantic comedy, go see this movie with some friends and get some dinner afterwards. Juliet, Naked is a communal affair that is best seen on the Big Screen. Happy Labor Day!

Comments Off on FLICKS: Even with no nudity, Juliet, Naked is a fun romantic comedy

FLICKS: Papillon flies in the face of repression

Posted on 23 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


This summer marks the 45th anniversary of when my parents and I moved to South Florida. Every weekend, we did something new and went exploring from Clewiston to Dinner Key. One Saturday night, we went to the movies at the Boca Twin, which was located in the 5th Avenue Shopping Plaza in Boca Raton (A McDonalds now stands where a box office used to be). Our choices were either the Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie The Sting or the Steve McQueen/Dustin Hoffman movie Papillon. We chose The Sting, which won the Best Picture Oscar that year.

I finally got to see Papillon five years later on broadcast television. As the title character, Papillon was Steve McQueen’s film from start to finish, but Dustin Hoffman stole most of the scenes as the ratty Louis Dega. The same could be written about the new Papillon, which opens this weekend at a local cinema, which stars Charlie Hunan as the title character and Rami Malek as the scene-stealing Louis Dega.

Henri Charrière is a suave safe cracker in Paris near the Moulin Rouge underground. After being framed for a murder he did not commit, Charrière is sentenced to a penal colony in French Guyana. Unlike the four season climate in Europe, the South American heat is brutal and Charrière is frequently shirtless. Due to a butterfly (French translation = papillon) tattoo on his chest, Charrière is nicknamed “Papillon.”

Given his street smarts and natural ability, Papillon is hired by Louis Dega (Malek) as a bodyguard. A master forger, Dega absconded to prison with money hidden in an unmentionable orifice, a seemingly common practice in the French Guyana penal system. When other convicts get wind of inmates carrying cash in this manner, the inmate is frequently gutted by fellow inmates and corrupt prison guards.

Infractions of the rules are met with harsh brutality. When a prisoner is captured trying to escape, he is sentenced to a guillotine. Before chopping off his head, the executioner states the philosophy of this hellish prison: “Keeping you is no benefit. Destroying you is no loss.”

The theme of escape is a constant in prison movies. Various attempts are made by Papillon to escape, only to be met with solitary confinement. One tantalizing escape features Papillon, Dega and two inmates attempting an escape during a social event while King Kong is being played on the prison wall.

Director Michael Noer creates a thrilling ride from crudity to sophistication, from carnal lust to spiritual freedom.

Based on Charriere’s autobiographies Papillon and Banco, this is a harsh story but a redemptive one. Both versions of Papillon stand on their own and do reflect the culture in which the film is made.

Comments Off on FLICKS: Papillon flies in the face of repression

FLICKS: MCU Anniversary at MODS

Posted on 15 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


At the end of 2017, I wrote about “Flicks” going through an evolution. As I completed my 19th year of writing “Flicks,” it was my revelation that the world has changed more than I have. In 1999, one would drive down Federal Highway and see Walden’s, Borders and Blockbuster Video stores, only to be replaced by T-Mobile, Wells Fargos and Aldis .

Bowfinger was the first movie that I had reviewed, which was a positive critique. This Steve Martin/Eddie Murphy movie still holds up. However, it is fascinating to see Robert Downey Jr. in a cameo as a studio executive. In 1999, Downey was attempting to make a comeback from his struggle in rehab. A well-respected (and Oscar-nominated) character actor, Downey cleaned up his act and nine years later became a leading man, which kicked off the Marvel Comic Universe (MCU).

Released in 2008, Iron Man received less hype than the return of the fourth Indiana Jones movie. Yet, core Marvel comic ticket buyers propelled Iron Man over Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Wall-E and the sparkly vampires of Twilight. While not as well known as Batman or Spider-Man, Iron Man provided a fine introduction to the character through a fast paced, entertaining and stand-alone movie, or so it seemed.

Being “Cinema Dave,” I’ve always stuck around past the closing credits of every movie that I have seen. In the previous year, I was rewarded for this behavior when Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End provided a post credit scene which wrapped up the entire trilogy. The MCU was launched during the post credits sequence when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) showed up in Iron Man’s house and mentioned “the Avenger’s Initiative.”

Nineteen films later and a change of studios (from Paramount to Disney), the MCU has become a box office juggernaut with no signs of stopping. The first phase of Marvel movies provided original stories of Captain America and Thor, which led to the ultimate superhero team up movie, Marvel’s The Avengers.

Again the post credits sequence introduced audiences to Thanos, a creepy character who can (or cannot) destroy the MCU with the snap of his fingers.

While each of these 20 films is interconnected, the genius of the MCU is that each film tells a stand-alone story. Characters from other movies may appear, but if the movie is an Ant-Man or Spider-Man movie, then the title character remains the central protagonist. (If one studies Indian, Greek, Roman, Norse or the Arthurian Legends, the most remembered mythologies follow this pattern of stand-alone stories within the universe of their own culture).

To celebrate the first decade of the MCU, the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) will be screening all 20 movies starting Thursday, Aug. 30 until Thursday, Sept. 6, which includes Labor Day weekend screenings. One can see these movies individually or through special VIP Packages. For more information, visit this website; www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/1119868.

Comments Off on FLICKS: MCU Anniversary at MODS

FLICKS: Fifty Shades Freed on DVD & The Meg, Popcorn Frights Film Festival open

Posted on 09 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


The fluidity and rapidity of mass media production is increasing at a geometric rate. In less than three months, the No. 2 box office champion of the year (Avengers: Infinity War), is now available to download digitally. While there was much buzz on Facebook about tears being shed during Disney’s Christopher Robin, the box office champion remained Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Despite being obliterated by Black Panther a week after its release, Fifty Shades Freed enjoyed a solid box office opening and steady home video use. The concluding chapter of the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy, this romantic S & M flick is a popular franchise that no one in public admits to liking. Of the three Fifty Shades films, Fifty Shades Freed is the second best of the trilogy.

For the first half of the movie, we witness the same naked aerobics between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan that we have seen in the previous two movies. During these scenes of passion, the musical soundtrack loudly explains Anastasia (Johnson) and Christian’s (Dornan) interior thoughts and motives. There is less S & M in this film, but there is a homage to Kim Basinger/Mickey Rourke music videos that were used to promote Andrian Lyne’s movie from 1986, 9 1/2 Weeks.

The second half of Fifty Shades Freed ties in all of the loose plot threads (A true cynic would ask, ‘There was a plot?’) of the previous movies. Anastasia and Christian have stalker issues, while there is corporate intrigue involving computer hacking. As if it were not cliched enough, Anastasia and Christian have a spat about making babies.

With a sense of guilty pleasure, Fifty Shades Freed does hold one’s attention. Unlike the lumbering second movie, the film does present growth, personal responsibility and maturity.

From the first movie to the last, we witness the virginal and over-dressed Anastasia transform into a married woman who eagerly subscribes to topless sunbathing in the French Rivera.

Of course, the high profile media magnate Christian Grey is not happy with his newlywed’s exhibitionism and he schedules a session in his little red room. Fifty Shades Freed provided closure to the Fifty Shades trilogy.

The Meg opens this weekend at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. Since the dawn of the Internet, The Meg has been in Hollywood development Hell …for 20 years. Based on a series of novels by Steve Alten about prehistoric giant megalodon shark, Jason Statham stars as the title character’s main foil. To appreciate the size of The Meg, check out the permanent Meg exhibit found in the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science.

Of course, a few blocks down the road, Savor Cinema hosts the Popcorn Frights Film Festival, concluding a summer series, but opening the door for Halloween season!

Comments Off on FLICKS: Fifty Shades Freed on DVD & The Meg, Popcorn Frights Film Festival open

FLICKS: The King inspires nostalgia, sadness and profound thinking

Posted on 01 August 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


As a teen, the summer of 1977 was a transitional time for this reporter. Memorial Day weekend opened the first ever Star Wars movie, and Smokey and the Bandit featured a driving duel between Jackie Gleason and Burt Reynolds with Country music blaring through auditorium Dolby speakers. As the Miami Dolphins began preseason, Quarterback Bob Griese revealed that he was near-sighted and that he would be wearing big framed eye glasses during game time. Those eye glasses are in the NFL Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

We visited family in July that summer. As we departed New York, the big Blackout occurred on July 13. A few weeks later, Mark Lindell and I tried to observe a meteor shower in the middle of the night and we talked about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, learning that earlier in the day that serial killer David Berkowitz (alias the Son of Sam) had been caught. The death watch for comedian Groucho Marx was the entertainment focus for most of the summer, but this potential news story was overshadowed by the sudden death of a 43-year-old king, Elvis Presley.

Being released this weekend, The King is a unique documentary that examines the cultural heritage of Elvis Presley. Taking the King’s 1963 Rolls-Royce, director Eugene Jarecki visits the places that Elvis lived: Tupelo, MS; Memphis, TN; New York; Hollywood, CA and Las Vegas, NV. While many celebrities and Elvis acquaintances are interviewed, Jarekci makes a point of interviewing people on the environment.

We learn that the street where Elvis is born is still impoverished; he was born in a shack in Tulepo, MS. The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas is revealed to be a film noir nightmare. With television central being headquartered in New York, we see Elvis’s television triumphs that introduced The King to millions of homes witnessing the birth of Rock ‘n Roll. It is in Hollywood that Elvis accepts the soft life and which clouded his future judgments.

There is a strain of pessimism that permeates The King. The poverty of Tupelo compliments the decadence of Las Vegas.

If the American dream is about rising above one’s station in life, could The King represent the American nightmare where one is overwhelmed by choosing success?

When in New York riding in the back seat of the Rolls Royce, social commentator Alec Baldwin (known now, in part, for his Trump impersonations on Saturday Night Live) finds fault with the Reagan Administration for today’s social ills. In Blues music, meeting the devil at the crossroads is part of the mythology of success. Ethan Hawke (who also produced) makes the case that Elvis traded his musical passion for a bigger paycheck.

The King is a good, thought-provoking documentary that raises questions. My question is “Why does the media celebrate Elvis on the anniversary of his death?” For the past four decades, Oldies Radio plays “Jailhouse Rock” and a few cable channels will screen Elvis movies. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more impressed with his versatile vocal talents, a variety of Rock, Gospel and opera. When you view these movies, you see a brown-eyed handsome man in his late 20s and early 30s, unlike the bloated grease-painted caricature in his final years.

Another documentary, Generation Wealth is scheduled to open this weekend. From the makers of The Queen of Versailles, the trailer examines America’s obsession with money. With clips of President Trump in both The King and Generation Wealth, one can expect similar arguments about the demise of the American dream. Yet, the American dream is more than just raising capital. It is taking the capital and doing something that raises the quality of life. Both documentaries reminded me of the words of my mentor, Mary Helen Fontaine-Rassi, given on April 15, 1980: “It is important to be successful, but it is more important to know your own success.”

Comments Off on FLICKS: The King inspires nostalgia, sadness and profound thinking

FLICKS: Plan for the Popcorn Frights Film Festival

Posted on 26 July 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


After Mission: Impossible — Fallout opens this weekend, the big Hollywood studios will cut back on their big budgeted releases until the fall season. Throughout the month of August, lower budgeted movies will be released. Released 40 years ago, the relatively low budget National Lampoon’s Animal House provided a strong return of investment, when the big budgeted/all star multi-marketed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band nearly bankrupted the same studio, Universal Pictures. Thus due to budgetary considerations, August movie releases tend towards either comedy or horror.

Last weekend, the San Diego Comic Con laid out the blue print for the next year of movie releases. With Marvel Comics not attending, DC Comics absorbed the spotlight with Wonder Woman 1984, Shazam and Aquaman trailers. Due to be released Memorial Day weekend 2019, the Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters trailer inspired shock and awe, while Jamie Lee Curtis’ return to the Halloween franchise inspired nostalgia for Monster Kids.

It is the Monster Kids who will take over the Savor Cinema in Ft. Lauderdale for seven days beginning Friday, Aug. 10. The Popcorn Frights Film Festival concludes a four month season that paid tribute to the fun of going to the movies again. Founded and directed by partners Igor Shteyrenberg and Marc Ferman, Popcorn Frights kicked things off with a successful screening of The Return of the Living Dead featuring Scream Queen Linnea Quigley, who happens to live locally. (Pictured with Popcorn Frights founders, pg. 1).

Quigley had so much fun, that she attended the next screening Popcorn Frights presentation with a screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Being a vegan, Quigley did partake in a meatless BBQ sandwich, though regular BBQ sandwiches were available for carnivores. Ticket buyers drove from South Miami and Orlando to attend this grindhouse classic and eat authentic BBQ and ticket purchases have remained consistently big. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 The Dream Master solidified the success of Popcorn Frights in July.

The Popcorn Frights Film Festival is committed to screening 28 films in seven days. The film titles seem to cross-reference 1970s Roger Corman exploitation flicks with direct-to-VHS titles found on the bargain rack at a Blockbuster video store.

From the United States comes movies like Boogeyman Pop, Wolfman’s Got Nards and Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.Asia, Europe, Latin America and the former Soviet Union will also be represented. Those titles read much more serious: Cold Skin, Cursed Seat, One Cut of the Dead and Satan’s Slaves.

Popcorn Frights will also pay tribute to Chuck Russell, who directed A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and The Blob, before moving on to bigger budgeted fare like Eraser (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) , The Mask (Jim Carrey) and The Scorpion King (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). A good festival finds a balance the success of tradition with an eye to a creative future. [For more info, visit www.popcornfrights.com].

The Dog Days of August are fast upon us and the school year will begin shortly. However, there is plenty of air conditioning fun that can still be had at a theater near you.

Comments Off on FLICKS: Plan for the Popcorn Frights Film Festival

FLICKS: Leave No Trace opens

Posted on 19 July 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Despite Wimbledon and World Cup grand finales, the box office enjoyed a solid weekend on the big screen, with Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation being the recent champion. Entertaining flicks like Ant-Man and the Wasp and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are providing pure escapism, but the serious documentary Eating Animals is expanding theaters this weekend.

Leave No Trace opens this weekend and this is a special motion picture. Adapted by Peter Rock’s novel My Abandonment, Leave No Trace will stir memories of Cheryl Strayed’s novel Wild (Starring Reese Witherspoon) and Jennifer Lawrence’s breakthrough movie Winter’s Bone, which was co-written and directed by Debra Granik, who also directed and co-wrote Leave No Trace.

Will (Ben Foster) is a war veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome who is more comfortable living in the wild. Will lives with his 13-year-old daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie ) and he home schools her out in the wild. After being spotted by the government, their hovel is bulldozed and the two are forced to live in civilization.

This is not downtown Ft. Lauderdale, but the Pacific Northwest. The father and daughter are given a home and socialization into society. While Will cuts down Christmas trees, the social worker is impressed with Tom’s intelligence. The situation is idyllic, but character is fate as Will suffers from the claustrophobia of having a roof over his head.

In less capable hands, Leave No Trace could have become a full tilt melodrama. Instead, Granik creates a low key experience that reflects the passage of time. We see Tom’s growth while Will is unable to get beyond his own PTSD. As Will, Foster gives his best performance in the movies thus far.

If Winter Bone is remembered for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance, the same will be said about McKenzie’s performance in Leave No Trace. There is no crying or hysterics, but there is pain and growth in her performance. It is a revelation when the daughter says to her father, “The same thing that’s wrong with you isn’t the same thing wrong with me.”

Like Eating Animals, there will be talk about award buzz for Leave No Trace. Take the time to see this one on the big screen some afternoon.

Comments Off on FLICKS: Leave No Trace opens

FLICKS: Eating Animals & Ant-Man and the Wasp

Posted on 12 July 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema Dave”


As part of the 4th of July festivities, I indulged in a Duffy’s Hot Dog and enjoyed a half pound cheeseburger (medium well) from Jacks Old Fashioned Hamburger House. My meals were delicious, but I am glad I had those meals before viewing Eating Animals. Since witnessing that documentary, I have been eating vegetarian (Not that this diet is going to last).

Narrated by Natalie Portman, Eating Animals presents how the food industry has become addicted to factory farming. Through this type of farming, we see genetically raised chicken and fish products being bred for consumption. We witness healthy and unhealthy animals being slaughtered by machines and dead on a conveyor belt before being processed and gift wrapped for purchase on grocery shelves or through online purchases.

To director Christopher Quinn’s credit, this film is a politically objective documentary. Democrats and Republicans are treated fairly, though there are some “Deep State” issues involving censorship. Most of the graphic images seen in the film are now considered illegal since this film was released. It has been nine years since the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove was released; expect similar kudos for Eating Animals during the awards season.

With the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, movie fans will have to wait a full seven months before the next installment of the Marvel Comic Universe 21st movie, Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson. Thus far, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and the Ant-Man sequel have dominated box office gross for the first half of 2018. While each of one of these Marvel Comic Universe movies are interconnected, the strength of these screenplays is that they present standalone stories.

Since the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang (a.k.a. Ant Man), played by Paul Rudd, has been under house arrest, but is spending quality time with his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Lang is also estranged from Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly). Both father and daughter have created the technology that can shrink an individual into the size of an ant … or a wasp.

Of course, there are multiple bad guys with greedy motives who seem intent to destroy happiness. To reveal more of the plot could ruin the popcorn-eating Saturday Matinee fun that Ant-Man and the Wasp delivers. With the exception of some sentimental scenes involving Dr. Pym’s attempts to rescue his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm, this film is mostly full of fun and merriment.

Suffice it to say with any Marvel Comic Universe movie, stay past the closing credits and see how this film links up with the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War. People who had not seen Infinity War exited the Museum of Discovery IMAX theater with gasps of astonishment. The cool thing about Ant-Man and the Wasp is that ticket buyers witnessed a few clues to the Marvel Comic Universe films that will be released in 2019!


Comments Off on FLICKS: Eating Animals & Ant-Man and the Wasp

FLICKS: Backyard Wilderness 3D, the First Purge, & Eating Animals to open

Posted on 05 July 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


With very little surprise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom dominated the box office. It is soon to be replaced by Ant-Man and the Wasp this week.

As I said last week, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible (IMAX), for this is the only opportunity one will get to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex or an Apatosaurus life-sized.

Also at IMAX (at the Museum of Discovery & Science in Ft. Lauderdale) is Backyard Wilderness 3D , a simple and entertaining documentary. Set in a suburban New York, we seem to ride on the back of a bird, who spies Katie, a teenage girl working on her computer. Katie is writing a report about nature and can’t seem to find all the information on the Internet.

As the snow melts, Katie goes exploring and witnesses the miracles of nature in her own backyard. As the bird’s eggs hatch, we see the hatchlings eat their first meal and instinctively attempt their first flight. As coyotes await the opportunity to seize a baby deer, ticket buyers are reminded about the savagery outside the safety of the front door. As the narrative reminds us, there are not villains nor victims in nature — simply predators and prey.

With a running time of less than an hour, Backyard Wilderness 3D does not feel rushed as we follow the cycle of the four seasons. Taking a cue from Henry David Thoreau’s nature study, Walden, Backyard Wilderness 3D will inspire you to step outside your door and observe our own tropical ecosystem.

While the emphasis on the 4th of July is baseball, hot dogs, American music and fireworks, the motion picture industry usually tries to release a special movie on this special holiday. Ironically, this 4th of July only one motion picture opened and it seems to be a subversive choice, The First Purge, which is the fourth movie of the dystopian horror franchise.

The core assertion of The Purge series is that crime (including murder) is legal for 12 hours a year. This controlled anarchy is examined from a sociopolitical perspective, while the fundamentals of horror movie jump scares remain intact. While The Purge series was thought to have concluded two years ago with The Purge: Election Year, this new entry opening this week is being used to set up a new cable television program in September.

Narrated by Natalie Portman, Eating Animals is due to locally release in July. This documentary looks at how the meat-packing industry has changed in the past century. With the science of cloning and harmful food additives, one wonders if we will give up our hot dogs and hamburgers and go vegan after viewing this film.

Comments Off on FLICKS: Backyard Wilderness 3D, the First Purge, & Eating Animals to open

FLICKS: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Posted on 28 June 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Twenty-one summers ago, I quit my social studies teaching job to pursue full-time my Information Science degree from Florida State University. It was my personal renaissance. I really appreciated the “science” movies that summer like Men in Black, Contact and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. I used many of the vocabulary words that I heard from those movies and incorporated them into many of my research papers.

Much scientific and philosophical debate takes place in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which opened to better than expected box office gross.

This film is fun and combines jungle adventure with haunted mansion drama featuring a scary monster. There are heroes and villains. There are moments of jolting scares and deep belly laughs. There is science fiction query that raises the question about the meaning of life. Fortunately, none of these scientific distractions get in the way of telling a good story.

It has been three years since the disastrous events from Jurassic World. The abandoned island is suffering from volcanic activity and Professor Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum — reprising his character from the first two Jurassic Park movies) is brought in to testify about rescuing the dinosaurs stranded on the island. When Congress votes to terminate the dinosaurs, a wealthy capitalist, Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) finances a rescue expedition and recruits the two heroes from the last movie, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard).

While Owen and Claire debate who dumped who in the last three years, the two are in synch when it comes to rescuing the dinosaurs and in particular, a velociraptor named “Blue” who Owen raised from an egg. It turns out that Lockwood’s underlings have nefarious intentions for Blue and his unique DNA code.

Director J.A. Boyana tells a difficult story, the middle part of a proposed trilogy. Nonetheless, the director fills the two-hour plus screen time with Indiana Jones like thrills.

Like his previous movies The Orphanage and A Monster Calls, Boyana excels with claustrophobic scares. One stand-out scene features Grady and Clare in a cage with a waking Tyrannosaurus Rex. This dark scene balances danger and humor with sophistication.

Certain films need to be seen on the biggest screen imaginable. While it does cost a bit more, this film will be playing at the largest screen in South Florida until the 4th of July, the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science IMAX. More so than any movie this summer, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the movie to see for Saturday matinee popcorn-eating fun.

If you attend an early show, take advantage of the package which allows entrance to exhibits too. Besides catching there is an exhibition that focuses on the effects of a hurricane. You can walk into a wind machine and endure 100 mph winds in a secure environment. Fun is where you find it and, if you are not careful, you might learn something…

Comments Off on FLICKS: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page