Cinemaholics Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

fallen kingdom

This week on Cinemaholics, I’m joined by special guest Jake Holland and my co-host Will Ashton to review Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Is the “fallen kingdom” in question the state of the Jurassic Park franchise at this point? Well, according to the box office, definitely not. We had a great conversation about the series as a whole and leading up to this new film from J.A. Bayona, and we’ve even included a brief section for spoilers (with fair warning of course).

We opened this week’s show with some Off-Topics, including a rundown of Incredibles 2 breaking all kinds of box office records, plus how Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s utter failure at the box office has reportedly led to Disney and Lucasfilm putting future standalone Star Wars movies on hold. We also get into a fascinating segment about Gotti, which includes everything from a marketing campaign targeted at film critics to some seriously shady number crunching going on at Rotten Tomatoes. You’ll have to hear this one to believe it.

Last, we get into Mini Reviews as usual, but only a few this week. I give my thoughts on Luke Cage Season 2, which just dropped on Netflix, as well as the new romantic comedy Set It Up. And Will finally saw Thoroughbreds, one of my favorites of 2018.

Question for you: Aside from the original, which is your favorite Jurassic Park movie?

Go on…Cinemaholics Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom


Retro Reviews: Supernatural Movies / Part-Time Characters

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This week Part-Time Characters goes back in time to review some classic horror/supernatural movies. We did our best to keep a brave face. It’s another special episode of Retro Reviews, where we each pick a movie we haven’t seen but we have been meaning to watch for quite some time. Then we all discuss them and decide if they live up to the hype.

One of us watched the original Ghosbusters, a perfect blend of comedy and horror, but they were less than impressed by it. Can you guess who it was? Then we discuss a major horror film that came out in the early 2000s, The Others. If this movie didn’t make you keep the lights on at night, you are immune to ghosts and anything supernatural. Last but not least, we review a 70s cult classic, Suspiria. With the remake just announced last week with a teaser trailer, we decided to check out the original film and boy, it’s a lot of fake blood, red velvet and dubbed dialogue.

Go on…Retro Reviews: Supernatural Movies / Part-Time Characters

Cinemaholics Review: Deadpool 2

deadpool 2

The Chronicles of Wade Wilson continue in Deadpool 2, the follow-up to what I once considered a true breath of fresh air for superhero franchises everywhere. Like the original, Deadpool 2 is R-rated, edgy, and almost painfully self-aware, nothing like most comic book flicks today. I certainly got a kick out of the movie, but I don’t think I’m as in love with the concept of this franchise as I was at first sight. To help me unpack my mixed feelings, special guest Brandon Katz from Observer joins the show with regular cohosts Will Ashton and Maveryke Hines.

Question for you: How many times have you seen the first Deadpool, and did you like it more or less the second time?

Go on…Cinemaholics Review: Deadpool 2

Retro Reviews 3: Yojimbo, Sound of Music & More


This week on Part-Time Characters we delve into the old movie shelf and pick up some classic movies to talk about. Yup! It is time for our third Retro Reviews episode! Bridget talks about a sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Jenny watched the strangest movie ever made, Fantastic Planet, Sam watched one of the most praised musicals, Sound of Music, and I (Maria) watched the great Mifune in Yojimbo.

Go on…Retro Reviews 3: Yojimbo, Sound of Music & More

Horror Movie Remakes & IT / Part-Time Characters

stephen kings it

This week on Part-Time Characters we face our biggest fears, whether it’s watching a horror movie from our childhood or talking face to face with Jerry-Garry-Larry. The gang gets together to discuss the remake of IT, adapted from Stephen King’s novel. We bring in a special guest to review the film and compare it to the classic TV movie from 1990 starring the one and only Tim Curry.

Go on…Horror Movie Remakes & IT / Part-Time Characters

Review: ‘Interstellar’

interstellar worth watching

Is Interstellar worth watching?

Yes, but manage your expectations.

I watched the film in its best format — 70mm IMAX on one of the biggest screens in the country. I couldn’t have been any closer to the content.

It’s a spectacle of a movie. It uses a lot of flair and constrained visual effects to justify its ridiculously long runtime. And it’s best feature is the emotional story that evolves between Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murphy (played by Jessica Chastain as an adult).

But the fantastic performances and literally epic world-building is undercut by the science of it all. The ultimate story. It doesn’t wrap up as nicely as it ought to, as the final act tries to be a deserved payoff, but for me it felt confusing and underwhelming.

But it’s still a blast of a movie, and among Nolan’s most ambitious. It’s just not his best.

The trick with Nolan is that he’s often misunderstood as more of a thinking filmmaker than he really is. The director excels most at spectacle that is raised by high concepts, so it’s easy to expect a little too much out of his offerings. 2001, this isn’t.

In other words, he’s very serious, but you shouldn’t take him too seriously. Here, he scatters his near-future world with interesting locations, a race against time, and deep familial relationships, but the only matter truly at the center here is the latter. Otherwise, it’s a lot of exposition carried on by mostly relaxed scientists placed in a hopeless situation. Interstellar gets much of this drama right, but it comes sparsely within the meat of the movie’s middle.

By the end, the power and mystery of love get a little too much attention, as the film trades its interesting themes of man versus nature for a strange admission that both are one in the same. For most moviegoers, this message won’t resonate. But perhaps they’ll be too enthralled by the gorgeous vistas and raw human emotions that are also in play.

Interstellar speaks a lot of sacrifice, both unseen and through our main character, Cooper. Strangely, a lot of the sacrifice he undergoes is written out of the story in favor of a convenient resolution. That said, Nolan shouldn’t be faulted for putting so much effort into injecting spirituality into a film void of hardly anything else.

If the tide continues to turn in favor of Christopher Nolan being one of our most overrated filmmakers, then Interstellar will likely be one of the jewels of that argument. Strangely, it’s probably Nolan’s boldest work.

Grade: B-

Review: ‘Nightcrawler’ is Jake Gyllenhaal’s Most Memorable Performance Yet

Nightcrawler, not to be confused with a certain X-Men who is yet to get his own movie (not that he should), is the answer to a question you’ve probably never asked:

What happens when a criminal becomes a journalist?

After all, plenty of people already consider the media to be run by criminals. Nightcrawler expands that concept to believable, and unforgettable lengths.

The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a driven sociopath who has one basic goal. He wants to make money (illegally if he has to) by doing something he loves. The problem is that when he wants something, he’ll do anything to get it. At his core, he’s ultimately a thief of both possessions and even ideas.

His cold, calculating mind is offset by a nearly convincing extraversion. He smiles as he delivers the lines of dialogue that haunt the audience as his story unfolds. The first act expertly introduces us to Bloom by not just showing that he’s a criminal. He proves to us that he’s a sociopath, for reasons that get into spoiler territory.

Ultimately, his actions lead to business success as a nightcrawler (an offhand term for freelancers who record video from crime scenes late at night). The movie is shot almost entirely from his perspective as we watch him negotiate and force himself into the world of journalism with his suspiciously caught video of violent crimes that cater to a specific audience. You can probably see where this is going, and it doesn’t take much to acknowledge the rampant nods that this is also a satire of modern media.

Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, brother of Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Nightcrawler is an intense, thrilling movie with a dark sense of humor, to the point where you may laugh at just how twisted it frames Bloom up to the “critical moment.”  It warranted more laughs from the audience than some comedies I’ve seen.

I wouldn’t say it’s Gyllenhaal’s best performance ever, but it’s certainly his most memorable in my opinion. Like Matthew McConaughey, he’s had a pretty epic string of great movies these past few years. And Nightcrawler is certainly a highlight.

Definitely worth watching.

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