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Friday, April 9, 2021



Set in the near future, the film chronicles the odyssey of 30 young men and women who are sent deep into space on a multi-generational mission in search of a new home. The mission descends into madness, as the crew reverts to its most primal state, not knowing if the real threat they face is what's outside the ship or who they're becoming inside it.

Director: Neil Burger

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Colin Farrell, Chanté Adams, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Viveik Kalra, Archie Renaux, Archie Madekwe, Quintessa Swindel

Release Date: April 9, 2021

Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Rated PG-13 for violence, some strong sexuality, bloody images, a sexual assault and brief strong language

Runtime: 1 h 50 min


Voyagers is a glossy looking film that uses a variety of cinematic inspirations to deliver a paint by the numbers plot with no surprises or innovations.  Neil Burger film, doused in electric blue, has plenty of promise with an interesting set up.  Burger moves his film at a steady pace from the start as we are introduced to Colin Farrell's protector figure and a quick expositional opening which lays out the groundwork for the premise.  Farrell is there simply to set off the plot which leads to him having rather limited screen time.  Once the film gets rolling, plenty of intriguing themes and mysteries are set up but none of them really payoff in a meaningful or thought-provoking way.   Burger, who also wrote the script, doesn't seem interested or capable of delving deeper into any of the fertile thematic elements presented from male aggression, gaslighting, social structures amongst others.  As a result, you are left feeling there is a better story and film in there somewhere had it been handled by somebody else.  What we are left with is a fairly straight forward Lord of the Flies riff that hits nearly all the same beats as the classic book.  The cast is populated by a fairly diverse group of upcoming actors and actresses but Burger manages to use his POC in the worse possible way. Tye Sheridan, whose face is set to forever pout, leads the film along with Lily-Rose Depp with Fionn Whitehead playing the primary villain.  Sheridan & Depp are both rather bland and emotionally distant since neither has the type of screen presence to carry a film.  Whitehead has manic flashes here and there but it's never sustained so the conflict never hits the way it should.  Instead, it all feels perfunctory with a climax that feels like it's ripped from Alien. 


Monday, April 5, 2021

Cindy Prascik's Review of Godzilla vs. Kong

My dear reader(s), the week just passed brought us Godzilla vs. Kong, a film that — by its very name — made a return to the big screens of the cinema seem imperative.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers or if you've ever watched a monster movie before.

As the title indicates, Godzilla vs. Kong pits one giant creature against another, with puny humans serving as catalysts and comic relief.

A disclaimer: I wanted to see this movie on the big screen. I had every intention of seeing this movie on the big screen. I think this movie is 100% worth seeing on the big screen. BUT...for reasons including (but not limited to) Easter weekend always being crazy busy and my cinema still having weird Covid hours, I was forced to watch it on my reasonably-large television. *sadface*

For a movie like this to meet my needs, all it really has to do is have huge creatures, solid effects, and well choreographed battles. Plot doesn't mean much, and people are merely a distraction. Godzilla vs. Kong executes its mission to a "T." Both titular titans look very big and very, very good in this film. Showdowns between the two are magnificent. There are a fair number of consequential humans ("consequential," for my purposes, meaning named characters with at least a little dialogue), but the people are mostly unobtrusive, despite being portrayed by such notable names as Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Demian Bichir, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, and Alexander Skarsgard. Sound effects are nearly as impressive as visuals; however, in order to get the dialogue even barely audible, I had my volume so high that action sequences and music rattled the walls. I find that's the norm these days, both with movies and with television, and I have to think it can't be so hard to do better. Godzilla vs. Kong is fun and well paced, a series of epic action jewels strung together with thin human string. Oh, and the *real* titan here is Elvis Presley, whose "Loving Arms" makes a...peculiar...appearance.

Godzilla vs. Kong clocks in at 113 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of creature violence/destruction and brief language."

If massive creatures, colossal clashes, and unimaginable destruction are your cup of tea, Godzilla vs. Kong is just the ticket. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Godzilla vs. Kong gets eight.

Godzilla vs. Kong is now playing in cinemas and streaming on HBO Max.

This review is dedicated to my wonderful friend David, a Godzilla scholar who has probably forgotten more about this character than I could ever know, and to my dad, who would have loved this movie more than anything.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 4, 2021



Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home. Along for the ride is Jia, an orphaned girl who has a unique and powerful bond with the mighty beast. However, they soon find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla as he cuts a swath of destruction across the globe. The initial confrontation between the two titans -- instigated by unseen forces -- is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the planet.

Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler,  Demián Bichir

Release Date: March 26, 2021

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of creature violence/destruction and brief language

Runtime: 1 h 53 min


Godzilla vs. Kong is the type of film that is very open about what kind of film it is and it never pretends to be anything else.  Adam Wingard’s film uses the thinnest of a story to get the action moving.  Wingard moves the film at a steady pace so that you don’t think about the exposition heavy human sequences too much since it’s all fairly nonsensical.  Wingard is smart enough to see that people who sit down to see Godzilla vs. Kong want to see the two titans fight in epic fashion.  He delivers some truly impressive action set pieces between the two behemoths in well staged mayhem.  These action sequences are the primary lifeblood of the entire film so if they didn’t work the film would be a failure.  The human side of these films are typically afterthoughts at best and the same holding true here.  The cast is populated with familiar faces who are barely straining one ounce of talent into their roles.  Demián Bichir does manage to leave a lasting impression in the villain role that’s only missing a dash of mustache twirling.  Deft actress Kaylee Hottle leaves the biggest impression in a small but pivotal role. Her portion of the story with Kong is the beefiest of story threads but it’s not explored in any great depth.  Godzilla vs. Kong isn’t the type of film that’s interested in any sort of in depth storytelling just massive mayhem and it delivers the big dumb action you’d expect from these types of films. 


Sunday, March 28, 2021



Hutch Mansell fails to defend himself or his family when two thieves break into his suburban home one night. The aftermath of the incident soon strikes a match to his long-simmering rage. In a barrage of fists, gunfire and squealing tires, Hutch must now save his wife and son from a dangerous adversary -- and ensure that he will never be underestimated again.

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, RZA, Aleksei Serebryakov, Christopher Lloyd

Release Date: March 26, 2021

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Rated R for strong violence and bloody images, language throughout and brief drug use

Runtime: 1 h 32 min


Nobody isn’t a John Wick spin off but it sure feels like one since it’s written by John Wick scribe Derek Kolstad. Ilya Naishuller’s film hits a lot of the same beats as the Wick franchise but there are some distinctive flourishes that allow it to stand on its two feet.  A sequence early on which displays Hutch’s everyday drudgery that shows some directorial talent and these types of sequences are used to great effect.  The entire film wouldn’t work if we couldn’t buy Bob Odenkirk as a believable action star and on paperwork it shouldn’t work but somehow it does.  Odenkirk does a strong job of playing his character as a pent up powder keg of furiosity in an unassuming vessel reminiscent of Ed Norton in Fight Club.  Connie Nielsen does solid work but her character is terribly underwritten which is a shame since she’s such a capable actress.  Aleksei Serebryakov villain is just as underwritten but he leaves a bigger impression through seer screen presence.  Serebryakov captures the unhinged madman frighteningly well which is aided by a particularly effective introductory scene.  Christopher Lloyd and RZA have fun supporting parts which come together in a bloody but incredibly fun finale which plays like Home Alone with a lot more kill shots.  Kolstad peppers the scripts to a larger world at play much like he did in the Wick series which points to franchise building.  As a standalone film, Nobody is a bloody mindless fun that begs you not to think about anything for too long and just enjoy the fireworks. 


Sunday, March 21, 2021



The true story of a British businessman unwittingly recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. Forming an unlikely partnership with a Soviet officer hoping to prevent a nuclear confrontation, the two men work together to provide the crucial intelligence used to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Director: Dominic Cooke

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley, Angus Wright

Release Date: March 19, 2021

Genre: Thriller

Rated PG-13 for violence, partial nudity, brief strong language, and smoking throughout

Runtime: 1 h 52 min


The Courier is a throwback cold war spy thriller that hits nearly all the right marks.  Dominic Cooke directs his film with an efficient fun energy especially in opening sequences before slowing into more direct drama.  Cooke’s film never feels overbearing or stuffy which many of these types of films tend to feel like.  Benedict Cumberbatch carries the film with an impressive everyman turn that’s grounded and believable.  Cumberbatch makes his character incredibly likable from the first time he appears onscreen, as such you are emotionally invested in his journey.  Merad Ninidze is equally effective at engaging the audience with a steely turn as the brave Soviet officer who’s providing the intelligence.  Ninidze makes his character more than just a one note character making him more nuanced with real depth.  When Ninidze and Cumberbatch share the screen you get a real sense of their characters respect and admiration which serves as the lifeblood of the film.  Rachel Brosnahan, playing a composite CIA character, makes the best of her limited screen time with her tangible strength the film would have been served well to have given her a bit more to do.  Likewise Jessie Buckley is solid when she’s give time but her character isn’t given much to do.  Still, The Courier works primarily due to strong direction and excellent turns from the two leads as a old school spy film.  


Cindy Prascik's Review of Zack Snyder's Justice League


My dear reader(s), this weekend has brought us a great gift. No, it's not the first day of spring or even the (hopefully) impending end of Covid, but rather the long-awaited "Snyder Cut" of Justice League.

Spoiler level here will be...mild(ish), I guess.

Probably everybody - or at least everybody who'd bother to read this - knows the story of 2017's Justice League. Midway through building his DC Universe, a personal tragedy caused Snyder to exit the film. Joss Whedon stepped in and made a very Marvel-colored DC movie, maligned by critics and fans alike. In anticipation of the release of the Snyder Cut, I rewatched the original last week, and was reminded that I did enjoy it in a very Marvel-ish way, that is, I laughed at its goofiness and forgot it the minute it was over. The four-hour Snyder Cut...*that* I enjoyed in a very DC way, that is, I loved every minute and will hold it in my heart forever.

Let's start with Master Wayne. Batman is my favorite A-List hero (the Tick is my overall favorite, if anyone wondered), and Ben Affleck is my favorite Batman by far. Cocky but world weary, strong but fading, his take on the character wouldn't be out of place in any dramatic awards darling. In the theatrical release of Justice League, Batman was basically reduced to comic relief, an insult to the Caped Crusader's legacy. The Snyder Cut reinstates him as the quarterback of this team of heroes.

While the movie retains the darker tone for which DC is noted, there is a good bit of humor, mostly from Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Flash (Ezra Miller). Gone are the Iron Man-esque wise cracks in every scene that were forced into the theatrical release. The movie does not miss them.

Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman, Diana doing her part to lead the team and perhaps temper Bruce Wayne's hardness and cynicism. It's also worth noting that Wonder Woman has the coolest musical cue of all the heroes.

Henry Cavill remains a perfect Superman, and maybe the very best news about the Snyder cut is that it's missing the awful CGI moustache erasure that made such a laughingstock of the theatrical cut from its very first moments.

Finally, we come to Victor Stone. Snyder has called him the heart of the film, and he definitely benefits from added screen time and a more fleshed-out backstory. A leader though he's just a kid, Ray Fisher's Cyborg is the glue that holds Justice League together. I know I speak for many when I say, if DC made a feature with Fisher's Cyborg and Miller's Flash, I'd be there with bells on.

The Snyder Cut boasts some super effects, especially on the villian Steppenwolf; in fact, its visuals are quite stunning nearly every step of the way. The film features an epic score by Junkie XL. There are plenty of surprises/Easter eggs for DC fans, and I don't mind admitting that I got a bit choked up by certain frames of the movie. If the picture has a fault, it's that all that super slo-mo does get a bit exhausting, but mostly it is, in every way, the epic big screen endeavor that the world's greatest heroes deserve.

Zack Snyder's Justice League runs a whopping 242 minutes and is rated R for "violence and some language."

As a DC fangirl, I am happy to report Zack Snyder's Justice League is everything I'd hoped for. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Zack Snyder's Justice League gets all nine...and I'm watching it again as I type this!

Fangirl points: Song to the Siren makes a brief appearance here, and even though it's a cover instead of Tim Buckley's original....I'll take it!

Zack Snyder's Justice League, along with his director's cut of Batman v Superman, is now streaming on HBO Max.

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