Geek For E!

Movie Review: Black Panther, Wakanda Forever (2022)

Wakanda Forever!

Welcome back to Wakanda was all I thought walking into the screening. Once the lights went down, however, I knew we were not in for a happy ride.

This movie was not an easy one to make due to the circumstances behind the scenes. The original movie had to be scrapped due to Chadwick Boseman’s untimely death. Even with all the obstacles in front of him, Ryan Coogler made a movie that not only dealt with grief but paid their former star a great deal of homage.

The movie takes place a year after T’Challa’s death. Wakanda is grieving and lost. They try to get back to normalcy, such as tracking down Vibranium that has been taken from Wakanda. Instead, they are met with another obstacle, Namor, who is also trying to hinder the outside world from realizing who they are. Namor though, is seen as a deity. His name to his people is Kukulkan, loosely meaning “Amazing Serpent”.

The movie is long, clocking in at 2 hours and 41 minutes. I did not look at my watch once, however there were times where it dragged.  The film’s a little messy, and does not flow the way the first one did. There is a lot to like about the movie, starting with the performances. Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett bring their “A” game, taking on the hardest scenes to film. You can see how much they miss and loved Chadwick Boseman. Their raw emotion comes through in their performances. Winston Duke does his usual great things with M’Baku. Newcomer Tenoch Huerta is a solid addition to the ever-growing actors in the MCU and a great choice to play Namor.

BPWF takes your emotions on a roller coaster ride. It is heavy at times but needs to be heavy because of Chad’s death. You know that going into it.  Although a solid entry into the MCU, it does not feel as complete and as fluid as the original but considering the circumstances I think Mr. Coogler and the crew did the best they could, and it shows.

3 out of 4 stars (Marc Moses)

Movie Review: The Woman King, B+

The Woman King is a special movie. I went into the screening only having seen the poster. But based upon who was in the cast, specifically Viola Davis’ intensity, I knew I was in for a ride. And what a ride it was. The movie pulls you in immediately, showing off the toughness, skill and community respect of The Agojie, the all-female warrior King’s Guard who protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey in the 19th century.  From the set design to the action sequences, The Woman King feels authentic. You feel like you are there fighting beside them as they take on whoever is in front of them. The costume design was tremendous. The robes of King Ghezo, played by the wonderful John Boyega, were colorful and beautiful.  For a 120-minute movie, it never feels bogged down, even as it fleshes out the different characters who we come to love and deeply care about throughout the movie.

The performances were stellar all around. Lashana Lynch, the aforementioned John Boyega, and Sheila Atim do some of their best work in this film. As expected, Viola Davis gives her all. In my opinion, she is one of the finest actors working today. As the lead Agojie, General Nanisca, Davis leads with a ferocity yet also exudes the emotion of the burden she carries, and a much more vulnerable, softer side. Her name should pop up during awards season along with all the actors mentioned above.

I do want to give a special shout out to Thuso Mbedu as Nawi. This was my first time seeing her on screen. She is going to be a powerhouse. This performance was so genuine and passionate. Her emotions, whether saving a friend or standing up for herself, are not overdone. There are times when she is all I can see, even when Viola Davis is on screen. Directed and co-written magnificently by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the Woman King felt personal like it was written from deep within her soul. I really enjoyed this film.

Reviewer: Marc Moses, Geek For E!

Movie Review: Jurassic World: Dominion

About halfway through Jurassic World Domination, I concluded that if you put dinosaurs in a movie, people will go see it. That does not mean the movie is good. Such is the case for this 3rd installment. The actors seemed like they were having a good time together and although the script was weak, the actors, due to their talents made the ride a fun one. There felt like there was no depth to the script. The premise followed in the same line as other Jurassic movies.

What I really enjoyed seeing was both sets of stars interact with each other. I am more of a fan of the original cast, but seeing Chris Pratt and Sam Neil say “Do Not Move” in unison, was cool. Their charisma is on full display.  DeWanda Wise, a newcomer to this cast was arguably the best part of the movie. She is funny, tough and oozes confidence on the screen.  One good thing is that you really do not have to see any of the other movies to watch this one.  There are some callbacks for sure, but nothing that will affect this viewing.

The movie takes us on an adventure to such places as Malta and Italy.  The parts filmed on location in Malta, which was fun, had a great motorcycle chase. There was whole facility in which the third act takes place. Beautiful scenery and cinematography.

The villain in the movie, Lewis Dobson, played by Campbell Scott, came across as a whiny, entitled, brat. He did nothing for me. On his staff was another newcomer to the cast, Mamoudou Athie, who plays Ramsey, was terrific. He is an actor on the rise.

In summation, the movie had moments to scare you, make you laugh, get you excited and feel some emotion, but the movie also seems disconnected. It is not as bad as Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, but not as good as either the first Jurassic World or the original, Jurassic Park. I think we could all use a break I for one, am “Dinosaured out”.

 Let’s hope this is the last one for a while. (Marc Moses – GeekForE)

Movie Review: Top Gun: Maverick

Maverick is back, and this time – he’s training the best

Top Gun: Maverick (in theaters now! THU 05.26.22).  This high-octane and nostalgic ride should have been called ‘Top Gun: Mission Impossible’ rather than its true title.   Co-writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) bring home a winning combination of the original Top Gun film, mated with a gut wrenching and visually stunningly impossible mission for the intrepid pilots in this sequel.  TGM picks up some 25 years or so after the first film, and before you ask – No.  You don’t need to have seen the original to enjoy the hell out of this one.  Tom Cruise (Taps) returns as Pete Mitchell, and sadly, he’s still a Navy Captain (even though he’s old enough and experienced enough to be an Admiral).  Resigned to special interest Navy flying projects, he’s reluctantly recruited back to Top Gun school to train the newest and toughest graduates for a specific mission.  A tough mission…an insane and miraculous one that will have you on the edge of that IMAX seat (or whatever format you prefer).   The key to this one being so good is really the writing out of onscreen characters.  Taking the place of Navy pilot Iceman from the original film, is a square-jawed, ridiculously handsome asshole you love to hate in pilot callsign ‘Hangman’ portrayed cleanly, sharply and with much disdain by actor Glen Powell (Hidden Figures).  You all but forget Cruise’s original love interest from the first film, and seamlessly fall in love with his love interest Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly-The Rocketeer).  She’s gorgeous, tough, a loving mom, a townie, and one hell of a sailor – you just feel the connections between the two.  But the genius in the writing here is how the original character Iceman from the first film was handled.  We all know, from real life, that actor Val Kilmer (The Saint) returned for the role – we also know that in real-life he’s suffering from a form of throat cancer that affects his ability to speak.  And his size and looks have changed dramatically since the original film.  The filming crew of TGM makes it work and exacts it on-screen into a beautiful culmination that serves the story. Films like this have a built-in audience, heck it’s been 35 years since the original, so this is going to be a hit – but I’ll go out on a limb with a fearless Memorial box office prediction of $230M.  I give it an A+ and even now I’m itching to watch the dog-fighting scenes again.

Review: Dr. Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022)

If you asked me to describe Sam Raimi, the director of Dr. Strange in one word, that word would be “Bonkers”. From his early days as the director and creator of the Evil Dead Franchise, his movies have always had a feeling of being off the wall. This movie was no exception.

The movie picks up after the events of WandaVision, which is now currently playing on Disney Plus. If you have not seen the show, I would highly recommend watching it before you see the movie. Things will make much more sense if you do. Without giving too much away about the story, Dr. Strange recruits Wanda in helping him understand the Multiverse. This is where things go sideways.

Besides Wanda, we have our usual cast of characters, Wong, Mordo and Dr. Christine Palmer. A new character we meet is America Chavez, a girl who has the power to travel through multiverses. I do wish they spent a bit more time on her backstory, but maybe that will come in future projects. Wanda’s importance in the movie, I will not reveal, but safe to say she plays an essential role in the movie.

The movie which I enjoyed, felt messy and a bit all over the place with a script that felt as if it was being held together by a band-aid. There was not enough backstory to many elements of the movie, elements that I believe were more important to the overall movie. The stunning visuals of the different set pieces, however, which makes the viewing experience a blast as we watch Dr. Strange and his companions travel throughout the multiverse. (There are some exciting surprises in this movie as well).

The performances were fine, nothing special except for Elizabeth Olsen, who as Wanda, shows her full range of acting ability. Picking up where she left off in WandaVision, Olsen shows off her acting range as she seamlessly moves through a vast array of emotions throughout the movie and in my opinion, is this movie’s true star.

Is this movie the best of the MCU? No. I don’t feel as if I know any more about Phase Four now than I did before watching the movie. There are still so many questions I have.

Where this movie ranks is somewhere in the middle tier and make sure you stick around to the end as there are 2 credit scenes.

Rating – 3 out of 4 stars (writer: Marc Moses)

TwiView: The Lost City, C+

TwiView: The Lost City, C+ (in theaters everywhere FRI 03.25.22) Sandra Bullock (Demolition Man) co-stars with Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street) in this sweet, implausible adventure and dare I say ‘love story?’  Loretta (Bullock) is a famed romance-adventure novelist who travels with Alan (Tatum) her cover-boy model that makes a living and life out of living as the pretty-boy Fabio cover model.  When Loretta taps into a clue to a famed Lost City in one of her books, she gets kidnapped by an eccentric zillionaire (Harry Potter aka Daniel Radcliffe) intent on finding a treasure buried within.  The adventure is fun enough, and Bullock looks uh-mazing, but there’s just no chemistry between she and Tatum (not as love interests anyway).   What starts as a comical action farce to rescue Loretta, somehow morphs into a love confession.  And just when you thought you could let that go and absorb the payoff of the big treasure find and untold riches….you just get a dose of lovey-dovey reality.  Brad Pitt’s cameo is fun and a great comical stretch for him, but even he can’t save this one.  See it for the fun ‘Indy Jones’ style adventure, see it for a knock-out Bullock in a hot pantsuit!  Heck, even see if for Tatum’s bare-chested hot bod; but don’t see if for a believable romance between the two of them, you’ll be lost.

Review: Moonfall, IMAX (in theaters FRI 02.04.22)

Moonfall, Don’t look up…oh wait, that’s another movie

First things first.  I don’t see Roland Emmerich movies because it’s Shakespeare (he’s done ID4, 2012, Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla).  I see them because he’s got a great visual eye for giving us world destruction playing out on the big screen (and in IMAX no less).  How he was snubbed in 2009 for even an Oscar nomination for Special Effects for ‘2012’ is beyond me…especially considering the Academy can nominate up to 5 films in each category, and that year (2009), they only slid the nom to 3 total films, and ‘2012’ – which had some of the most amazing detail in death and destruction I’ve seen on the screen, was snubbed for even a nod.  That aside, he’s charging back with Moonfall, a far-reaching story about an intrepid team of astronauts and star gazers who are convinced that the moon is in fact, not the shiny glowing white ball we’ve thought it was all these years.  Not just that, but’s its orbit around the earth is way off, and in just mere weeks, it’ll crash into the planet.  Yikes!  Awesome setup for sure, and as you can expect worldwide mayhem ensues with an eye-pleasing display of destruction peppered throughout, but sadly, the film misses.  Not because it rehashes some very similar elements from the film ‘2012.’ Including the family dynamic and sacrifice – but really because its just too unbelievable.  Even if we could hatch the on-screen plan to save us, this is America – we would botch the execution and then the laughable response to the crisis by the military in the film wouldn’t be so bad.  Did I mention that our 3 heroes have hatched their plan to ‘grab a space shuttle’ and go up to the moon…all by themselves? Yikes, again.  See this for the effects on the big screen.  See it because Halle looks super-cute in her wig and easily slides through this subject matter.  Heck, even see it because the comic relief character (aka Samwell from Game of Thrones, John Bradley), is a delight as a fervent, if not neurotic astronomy lover.   The film does touch on overall creationism with an intriguing theory that had me thinking (no spoilers), for that, I give the film a plus.  But even that can’t save this one.  Fearless forecast: 18M weekend box office (IMAX prices!) C+

TwiView: Matrix, Resurrections (2021)

Matrix, Resurrections (2021) A-.  They should have called it Matrix Redemptions; it erased the stench of the 2nd and 3rd installments.  It was fresh, it what was logically next for the Matrix on film and for the lore of how the Matrix system worked.  It was a bit long at 2hrs+ and for me, a little short on ‘money shot’ effects.  Thankfully, it’s still a love story at its core, centered around the two we know (even if this time they don’t know each other).  You don’t need to have seen Reloaded or Revolutions to feel right at home in this one.  It’s the original Matrix film…essentially resurrected (no spoilers!)  The opening scene sets the tone for a sweet ride down memory lane via the first film (keep your eyes open and if you can, watch the original before catching this one!).  #MatrixStillHasIt #MatrixMovie #MatrixBaltimore

Movie Review: Sing 2 (in theaters and On-Demand, WED 12.22.21)

Buster Moon is at it again!  Only this time, you’ll feel a bit different about it.  Sing 2 thumps into theaters and On Demand this holiday weekend and hopes to entice you and your little ones back for some high flying adventure and super cool pop tunes like the original.  All the cast is back including some newcomers (Singers Halsey & Bono as well as Letitia Wright to name a few), and they’re trying to put on an epic show anchored by a retired rock-and-roll star who is reluctantly pulled back into showbiz.   For me, this one is a miss – not because it’s almost 2 hours long (is that necessary?), and not because it’s the same awesome pop-music & hijinks formula as the original.  For me, it misses because it’s not inspiring, nor original.  You know the show will happen; you know it’ll be epic – but where’s the character growth?  Even Rosita (the worrywart pig voiced by Reese Witherspoon), and Meena (the shy elephant voiced by Tori Kelly) are the same tepid characters who big shock, overcome it again in the 3rd act.  I loved the song selections (covering the 70’s thru today), the coloring was masterful (the Ms. Crawly chase scene was amazing!), but it doesn’t make the film, and your little ones will fade away a bit, it’s just too long.  I’m giving this one a C+; see it if you have kids who need some new ‘food’ and loved the original.  Heck, watch it if you dig pop music through the years, but I defy you to not think you’re watching Zootopia 2 in between the song numbers. 

Movie Screening: Black As Night (THU 09.30.21 @ 9PM)

HOME MOVIE SCREENING: Black As Night (THU 09.30.21 @ 9PM @ Your House!)  The horror macabre lovers at Blumhouse TV & Amazon Studios are back at it.  This time with an eerie new tale of a resourceful black teenage girl who takes on a group of deadly vampires down in the creole of New Orleans.  This is no standard vampire tale as our 15yo heroine frantically fights the masses while trying to turn her friends back into human beings.  What’s a young girl to do?  Why not find out with us!  This is a special contest that not only gets you streaming access for 2 to the film, but you also get an exclusive invite to the online after-party with the stars of the film, filmmakers, producers, acting talent and a LIVE DJ!  This is the Halloween jam you and your friends have been looking for, so why not post a pic on our Facebook page, win some tix and catch the horror!  Look for us on Facebook @geekfore and start posting! #staygeeky #Blumhouse #Black As Night

Contest Details:

You know we like you to show your love of the studio and this one is no different.  Post up any image, any meme for any past Blumhouse movie (don’t know any?  IMDB is your friend!).  Add the hashtag #blumhouse and you’re all set.  If we LIKE your post, please send us both names and email addresses for you and your online guest.  We’ll send that to the studio who will send you the unique access codes for the online movie screening and party!    In a rare twist, we’re also allowing you to win more than once (we may LIKE many of your posts!).  If you are LIKE’d more than once, you must provide unique names/email addresses for the studio to send the access codes to!