Movie of the Week: White Boy Rick

I’m not back, it’s just I’ve never left considering that there haven’t been any films that have piqued my interest over the past few weeks. This week, we have an “only in America” feature, where we’re introduced to a “remarkable” American youth that rose to prominence and etched his way into history; in this young man’s case, infamy. In the 1980s, Richard Wershe Jr., did something no other 15 year old kid could ever do: became an undercover informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a drug-trafficking hustler and director Yann Demange is moving the details of his story from the pages of history to the big screen in this week’s feature, White Boy Rick.

Director: Yann Demange

Written by: Andy Weiss, Noah Miller and Logan Miller

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bel Powley, Rory Cochrane, R.J. Cyler, Brian Tyree Henry, Bruce Dern, Eddie Marsan, Jonathan Majors, Piper Laurie and Hunter Flannigan

What am I expecting to see?: This movie caught my attention some time ago and I’m game for a movie that promises a solid acting performance from Matthew McConaughey, but going in, I have a feeling that I’m not going to be impressed with the final product. This will be my first time sampling Yann Demange’s work but from what I can tell, he has a solid cast with an intriguing story to tell and I for one am looking forward to going back to the movies with a reasonable set of expectations for White Boy Rick.

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Movie of the Week: BlacKkKlansman

From legendary filmmaker Spike Lee and Jordan Peele, who is fresh off a career year from the highly successful Get Out, comes a truly outrageous tale that I can’t wait to see unfold on the big screen. In the 1970s, Colorado opened the door for African-Americans to enroll in the police academy and Ron Stallworth took on an assignment that no black person would ever voluntarily do: infiltrate the sick and morally bankrupt organization known as the Ku Klux Klan to thwart an imminent terrorist attack. That is the subject of Lee’s new joint, titled BlacKkKlansman.

Directed by: Spike Lee

Written by: Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott and David Rabinowitz

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier, Robert John Burke, Corey Hawkins, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alec Baldwin, Frederick Weller, Ato Blankson-Wood, Harry Belafonte, Damaris Lewis and Michael Buscemi.

What am I expecting to see?: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a good joint from Spike Lee and BlacKkKlansman appears positioned to take a place as one of the best films of 2018. I’m looking forward to seeing if John David Washington has it in him to be as great an actor as his father and more to the point, I want to know more about how this investigation played out because the subject matter is very intriguing. I’ve been looking forward to BlacKkKlansman for a very long time and I think I’m in for a treat!

Movie of the Week: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Has anyone else recovered from Infinity War? No? Me neither. If anything, this week’s feature film will take me and millions back to the blissful time before the….trauma. This Independence Day weekend we roll on with Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we check in on what happened to Scott Lang after most of the Avengers went to a supermax after Civil War. An entity from the Quantum Realm has escaped to Earth and this Ghost plans to unleash chaos unless she is stopped. Ant-Man and the Wasp appear to be the world’s only hope.

Director: Payton Reed

Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari and Paul Rudd

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Hannah John-Kamen, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Walton Goggins, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Laurence Fishburne and Michelle Pfeiffer.

What am I expecting to see?: Right now, Phase Three of the MCU has been damn near perfect and I fully expect Ant-Man and the Wasp to carry on the streak of excellence. I remember being satisfied with the first Ant-Man and I think that with Payton Reed coming back, more settled in his role as director compared to the first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp seems destined to be more entertaining than the first one. Fireworks and superheroes this week? What more could a man want in his Fourth of July weekend!

Movie of the Week: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Three years ago, Denis Villenueve and Taylor Sheridan took audiences to the border in a film that took audiences to the edge in one of the best pictures of the year. The drug war along the Mexico-U.S. border is brutal and without rules and to fight that war, soldiers are needed; soldiers who don’t exactly adhere to the same rules and controls that our men and women in combat answer to. This week, we’re going back to the land of wolves in the follow-up to the relentless and brilliant Sicario, in Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

Director: Stefano Sollima

Written by: Taylor Sheridan

Starring: Benecio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jeffery Donovan, Isabella Moner, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine, Elijah Rodriguez, Jacqueline Torres and Shea Wigham

What am I expecting to see?: I thought Sicario was the third best film to come out in 2015! That being said, I did NOT expect or want a sequel, let alone one without Denis Villenueve or Emily Blunt, two figures who played a big part in the first film’s success because I felt that the film was strong enough to stand on its own without any future installments. I am going into Sicario: Day of the Soldado with a great degree of skepticism because I have doubts that I will enjoy this sequel as much as I enjoyed the first one. Still, Sheridan is a strong storyteller and I believe he’ll craft a formidable story for director Stefano Sollima to work with.

Movie of the Week: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Can you believe that the original Jurassic Park roared into theaters a quarter of a century ago? If I can take away anything from Steven Spielberg’s classic is the moral that man cannot play God and suffer no consequences; bringing mankind and dinosaurs together? Bad idea with very bad results but still great material to watch as you consume popcorn. Anyway, we’re on the cusp of another feature that explores why mankind should not be allowed to play God. The dinosaurs are back and they are hungry but this time, the park is as extinct as the dinosaurs should be. This week, we’re going to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Directed by: J.A. Bayona

Written by: Derek Connelly and Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Toby Jones, B.D. Wong, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon and Jeff Goldblum

What am I expecting to see?: I recall the last Jurassic World feature and I was a bit indifferent towards it. The big bad dinosaur was menacing but it had the all-too-familiar feel of a sequel of a franchise that was better off extinct. This feature, we have a change in director and from what I see, this appears to have a more amplified level of suspense and fright that may work well in its favor. I’m giving Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a watch because I’m curious about where Bayona wants to take this franchise.

Movie of the Week: Incredibles 2

Before Disney took ownership of Marvel, before Iron Man, before the Dark Knight trilogy, there was a formidable family of superheroes everyone couldn’t help but love! Times were simpler then; there were no comic book universes, no warring fandoms, just a movie for everyone to love no matter how old you were. After 14 years, Disney and Pixar are dusting off one of their many animated achievements and giving the Parr family a brand new adventure and audiences may be in store for something more incredible than ever! Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Dash, Violet, Jack-Jack and Frozone are making a comeback! Incredibles 2 finally arrives in theaters!

Director: Brad Bird

Written by: Brad Bird

Featuring the voices of: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Huck Millner, Sarah Vowell, Eli Fucile, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Brad Bird, Isabella Rossellini, Michael Bird and Phil LaMarr.

What am I expecting to see?: I remember The Incredibles being damn good 14 years ago. New refreshing characters, an intriguing plot to wrap my head around “what if superheroes were outlawed?”, beautiful animation, great pacing, great score; a truly remarkable piece of work from Disney-Pixar and now we finally get to know what happens when and after the Underminer surfaces. This is actually a sequel I’ve been waiting for and I believe that it has the clout to hold up with the original.

Movie of the Week: Solo: A Star Wars Story

The second film in the Star Wars anthology series centers around one of the most pivotal characters in the franchise. Not much is known about this character before he met Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi and agreed to charter them to Alderaan. We’ve seen and heard snippets of his past before he was reluctantly entangled with the Rebellion, but this film will attempt to fill in the blanks. Before he was the renowned Rebellion general, before he won the heart of a princess, before the events of A New Hope, Han Solo aimed to write his name down in history as the best pilot in the galaxy and Solo: A Star Wars Story will tell his story from the beginning.

Director: Ron Howard

Written by: Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Joonas Suotamo, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Linda Hunt, Warwick Davis, John Tui and Ian Kenny.

What am I expecting to see?: What really fascinates me about these anthology films is that they fill in so many blank spaces in the almost 20 year void between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and Han Solo plays such a prominent part in the original trilogy that he does constitute his own origin feature because he is a character with a backstory some fans would like to see. I’m looking forward to seeing how Ron Howard salvaged this production due to early reports about how this film was trending towards disaster under then-directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and to see if Alden Ehrenreich can do justice by the role Harrison Ford made legendary. A lot is riding on Solo: A Star Wars Story.