Movies of the Week: Pacific Rim Uprising & Isle of Dogs

It’s double feature Friday this week! This first film on this weekend’s double bill, is a return to a world at war between the monsters that rose from the sea and the monsters mankind created to stop them. Five years ago, Guillermo Del Toro delivered a dazzling smack down spectacle between terrifying demons from another world dubbed Kaiju and mankind’s monolithic response to the Kaiju threat called Jaegers. The war between them was thought to be over when the heroic feats of the Gypsy Danger crew sealed the breach to the Kaiju’s universe but the war is reignited, the Kaiju are stronger than ever and the son of the fallen Jaeger Marshall Stacker Pentecost is ready to pick up where his dad and the first generation of Jaeger pilots left off in Pacific Rim Uprising.

Director: Steven S. DeKnight

Written by: Emily Carmichael, Steven S. DeKnight, Kira Snyder and T.S. Nowlin

Starring: John Boyega, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Adria Ajorna, Tian Jing, Dustin Clare, Karan Brar, Nick E. Tarabay and Daniel Feuerriegel

What am I expecting to see?: Honestly, I’m trying to go into this picture as objectively as possible but I can’t help but wonder why? Why are we getting a sequel to Pacific Rim? The way the first film ended, ended the story just fine but I can’t find a rational reason why the studios would make this movie aside from the fact that because they can! I’m trying to be open minded when it comes to this film but I don’t believe this sequel will be as entertaining as its predecessor. Best case scenario? This movie exceeds my expectations but I’m doubtful.

The second film on this weekend’s double feature? The second animated venture from the man behind The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Two decades into the future, an outbreak of a rampant disease sends shockwaves throughout Japan and in effect, an island made of garbage becomes an internment camp for canines afflicted by this illness but a young boy travels to the island to be reunited with his canine companion and allies himself with five dogs to track his dog’s location. Wes Anderson’s newest feature is Isle of Dogs.

Director: Wes Anderson

Written by: Wes Anderson

Featuring the voices of: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Liev Schrieber, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Kietel, Frances McDormand, Koyu Rankin, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance, Bob Balaban and Yoko Ono.

What am I expecting to see?: I think this is going to be a real treat! One of the first films I’ve seen from Wes Anderson was Fantastic Mr. Fox and I was awestruck by how the stop-motion animation worked wondrously well with Anderson’s prowess as a storyteller and I think Isle of Dogs is poised to follow suit as a film brimming with impeccable imagination, attention to detail and a story that is both heartwarming and unafraid to go to very dark places. I think this is a film that will set the mark very high for the animated features to come this year.


Movie of the Week: Tomb Raider

The iconic video game character takes another stab at making her mark on the big screen. Seven years after her father’s disappearance, the young, ambitious and independent Lara Croft embarks on a perilous journey to finally find the answers she seeks. Her father was last seen on an island a few miles off the coast of Japan, so Lara follows in his footsteps to find him, but getting to the island is only half as dangerous as what lies in store when she washes ashore. Oscar winner Alicia Vikander steps into the skin of Lara Croft in this updated reboot of Tomb Raider.

Director: Roar Uthaug

Written by: Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Kristen Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Hannah John-Kamen, Billy Postlethwaite, Michael Obiora, Josef Altin and Alexandre Willaume

What am I expecting to see?: Honestly, I’m not getting my hopes up for this reboot of Tomb Raider. Angelina Jolie made this role famous almost 20 years ago and while I’m fascinated to see the Oscar-winning Alicia Vikander broaden her horizons and dabble in an action role, I just can’t certainly say that this will be a success considering the track record of video games attempting to make it on the big screen. If this has a compelling story and solid action, I may call this a win but no promises.

Movie of the Week: A Wrinkle in Time

A scientist on the verge of an epic discovery that could dramatically alter the rules of space and time, vanishes. This scientist left behind a daughter named Meg, who is approached by three individuals who believe that she is the key to finding him before a calamity occurs. Ava DuVernay’s new film is adapted from Madeline L’Engle’s beloved novel and is my featured film for this week. March at the movies begins with A Wrinkle in Time.

Director: Ava DuVernay

Written by: Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell

Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Peña, André Holland and David Oyelowo

What am I expecting to see?: My expectation for A Wrinkle in Time is to be a visually dazzling experience with a rousing and adventurous plot that truly honors the source material. A Wrinkle in Time promises to be a grand, sweeping adventure with fascinating characters and I have confidence in Ava DuVernay to truly do right by L’Engle’s book and characters and bring them to vivid and vibrant life.

Movie of the Week: Annihilation

The mind behind the groundbreaking sci-fi indie success Ex Machina is back to change the game again. A biologist’s husband returns from a secret expedition but he doesn’t come back the way he left. He and a team ventured into a phenomena called The Shimmer, an area where the laws of nature are no longer absolute and everything within the shimmer is either evolving or going extinct at a radical pace. Now it’s her turn to venture into the unknown to find answers, where questions are as omnipresent as air and danger is the only law and constant that matters. This is the new film from Alex Garland, Annihilation.

Director: Alex Garland

Written by: Alex Garland

Starring: Natalie Portman, Benedict Wong, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, David Gyasi, John Schwab, Tuva Novotny and Josh Danford

What am I expecting to see?: I saw Ex Machina sometime around the Oscars last year, but never had the opportunity to review it; it was beautiful and terrifying and I’m getting the same vibe from Garland’s new feature. This movie happens to be in the midst of a controversy, but I’m going into the film anyway with an open-mind and I believe Annihilation is a film that is primed to blow everything and everyone away!

Movie of the Week: Black Panther

My first feature film of 2017 is a movie about a man, who happens to be a genius, who happens to be a warrior, who happens to be an animal, who happens to be a protector, who happens to be a king, who happens to be a hero, who happens to be an Avenger! In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa returns home to Wakanda to carry on his father’s legacy as leader of his people but forces inside and out of Wakanda threaten the peace and the future that T’Challa and his late father believed in. Black Panther is ready to rock the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I am giddy with anticipation!

Director: Ryan Coogler

Written by: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Florence Kasumba and John Kani

What am I expecting to see?: As someone who has been following the production and anticipation of this movie, I can just feel that I am going to love everything this movie has to offer! I expect to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to fire on all cylinders with another rousing, action-packed superhero adventure but with an origin story about a character who will play a major role in what’s to come for Marvel films going forward. Black Panther will be the first film I will review in 2018 and I for one hope that 2018 starts with a booming bang!

Movie of the Week: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

My most anticipated film of the year arrives in theaters this week and all I can do to contain my excitement is breathe. Just breathe. The First Order and the Resistance have sustained heavy losses in the aftermath of The Force Awakens but Rey has gained a major victory. The scavenger from Jakku has taken her first steps into a larger world and she is on her way to continue down her path, which leads her to the mythic Luke Skywalker himself. The battle between the light and darkness wages on and Rey must pull Luke out of the shadows and into the light, both figuratively and literally. This is the movie the entire galaxy has waited for. This is Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

Director: Rian Johnson

Written by: Rian Johnson

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Benecio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Jimmy Vee and Lupita Nyong’o.

What am I expecting to see?: Where to start? The Star Wars franchise holds a significant and special place in my heart but writer/director Rian Johnson promises that this film will forever change everything we think we know about Star Wars and take the franchise in a direction that has never been ventured before. I don’t even know if I’m ready for what’s coming but I am certain that whatever will come, The Last Jedi will shake me to the core.

Movie of the Week: Coco

I’m sure everyone has their plans set for the traditional American holiday that occurs this Thursday and I for one hope that all of my followers and fans of my blog have a Happy Thanksgiving. There will be a feature film to watch this week and it comes from the studios behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out and Monster’s Inc. A young boy with an intense passion for music is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime into the afterlife. Coco is the new product from Disney and Pixar and based on the prestigious track record between these two, I believe we are going to be in for a treat!

Directors: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina

Written by: Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich

Featuring the voices of: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alana Ubach, Renee Victor, Jamie Camil, Gabriel Iglesias, Edward James Olmos, Sofía Espinosa, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Lombardo Boyar and Herbert Siguenza.

What am I expecting to see?: In summary, 99% of my mind has already decided that this is probably the best animated film I will see this year. In fact, I think it may be the only animated film I’ve seen this year and I believe that this will be the only animated film I will remember this year. Coco has the makings of another animated classic from Disney and Pixar and I hope that it measures up to what has come before it. I’m really excited for this.