×
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 4.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 2.0
    • Visuals 2.0

    Concrete Cowboy

    PG - Drama | April 2, 2021 Storyline:

    A headstrong teen is forced to live with his estranged father in the African-American horseriding part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While there, he begins to develop an affinity for the animals but his association with a petty criminal threatens the good things coming his way.

    • 2.8
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    Though Ricky Staub's movie is full of cliches, it manages to go beyond its shortcomings, thanks to some character development and the natural advancement of the plot.

    Concrete Cowboy stars Caleb McLaughlin as a headstrong teenager forced to live with his estranged father following his mother's frustration with his constant fights at school.

    Cole (McLaughlin) hates his father, Harp (Idris Elba), and wants nothing to do with him. His father, on the other hand, barely knows the son who has become his responsibility.

    Cole reconnects with a childhood pal, Smush (Jharrel Jerome) and the latter introduces him into a life of petty crime. Harp detests this friendship and warns his son to stay clear of Smush but Cole doesn't listen.

    As Cole spends more time in the little town where his father and a few others rear horses, he begins to develop an affinity for the creatures, and after he manages to perform the herculean task of 'breaking' the most stubborn one, he must decide the path to take to shape his life. For him, the choice is obvious but it will most likely not end well.

    Concrete Cowboy marks McLaughlin's feature film debut and he gives it his all (and succeeds in the role). The range of emotions we see from him here shows some promise for his acting career and I for one was glad to see him play another character besides the one he portrayed in Netflix's Stranger Things.

    Elba's charisma is unmistakable and his performance too is commendable. But I feel he should have been given more to do. Also, there were times when I didn't really buy into the accent of his character.

    As the story of Concrete Cowboy unfolds, it dawns on the viewer that he/she knows where it's going. The ending is quite cheesy but the journey to that makes it worth it.

    I love the relationship between the horse riders and the horses. It wasn't just a master and slave thing, but more of a bond. Unlike most riders, the Black folks believe that a horse doesn't need to be subdued. It only needs to be 'set free'.

    A subtle message in this film is the importance of knowing one's heritage and fighting to preserve it, no matter what. That is something everyone can relate to.

    In all, Concrete Cowboy works as it accomplishes what it sets out to do. I look forward to seeing McLaughlin in more feature film roles as we all await what his character will be up to in the upcoming fourth season of Stranger Things.

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 2.0
    • Visuals 2.0

    Chaos Walking

    PG - Action, Drama | March 5, 2021 Storyline:

    In a dystopian futuristic world, a young boy is forced to protect the first girl he sees when she crash lands in their small village. His decision pits him against their leader and a pack of dangerous men.

    • 2.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    Doug Liman's Chaos Walking is restricted by its mediocre plot and even with commendable performances from its two leads, it fails to rise above its level of mediocrity.

    Based on the book trilogy by Patrick Ness, it stars Tom Holland as Todd Hewitt, a boy living in a dystopian world similar to earth, where only men make up a small settlement.

    When a girl named Viola (Daisy Ridley) crash lands in the area, Ness takes an instant liking to her and takes it upon himself to protect her from their leader David Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen), a man who seeks to use her his own selfish reasons.

    The thing about the world Todd and the rest of the men live in is this; their thoughts are audible and visible to all. Only a handful can actually control and hide theirs.

    Todd is surprised that he can't hear Viola's thoughts and while on the run from Prentiss and his henchmen, finds out that there being no women in their village is actually linked to his tragic past, and involves Prentiss himself.

    As he spends more time in the company of Viola, each moment becomes more and more embarrassing as his attraction to her manifests every time via his thoughts.

    On her own, Viola needs Todd's help in reaching an important location so that she can call for help from another ship. This is something that Prentiss knows and will do anything to stop.

    The whole concept of the men not being able to hide their thoughts was a little bit much for me. But there were times when it was actually what made some scenes worth watching (especially the scenes involving Todd and Viola). 

    Todd's romantic thoughts about Viola often made the time they spent together very awkward, and it is a comic element that worked well to ease the tension at times.

    I haven't read the books but I feel that they answered some questions that the movie failed to. For one thing, how did Todd and the rest of the people arrive in their present world? What happened to earth? What exactly is it that makes the thoughts of the men audible and visible? These are some of the questions that weren't answered.

    Holland, Ridley, and Mikkelson give commendable performances. Then another actor who shines despite being a secondary antagonist is David Oyelowo.

    Oyelowo plays a preacher who is obsessed with Hell Fire. His thoughts of eternal damnation push him to the very edge of insanity, and he singles out Viola for retribution in his personal crusade against her.

    Chaos Walking doesn't stand out as unique in any way. It has the potential to be something more but unfortunately, that never happens. At times, the visual effects looked fake and the CGI wasn't all that convincing.

    If there are plans for sequels, then such plans should be forgotten as I don't see much material here that would make fans want to watch more movies. It's not that the film is that bad; it's just that it's not that good to warrant a sequel(s).

    Final words: Chaos Walking is easily forgotten by the time the end credits begin rolling in. It makes for a decent film but not one to be recommended.

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 5.0
    • Dialogue 4.0
    • Screen Play 4.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    The Mauritanian

    PG - Thriller, Drama | February 12, 2021 Storyline:

    Veteran actress Jodie Foster stars as a controversial attorney who decides to defend a man held in captivity as he is believed to be behind the 9/11 attacks on US soil.

    In her quest for the truth, Nancy Hollander (Foster) uncovers a major conspiracy and is determined more than ever to follow through to make sure her client gets what he deserves.

    • 4.0
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim shine in Kevin Macdonald's The Mauritanian, a gripping tale of a man whose guilt is determined even before he is convicted of the crime.

    Based on the 2015 memoir Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould SalahiThe Mauritanian tells the true-life story of Salahi (Tahar Rahim) who is detained for fourteen years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for allegedly being a part of the 9/11 attacks.

    Hollywood veteran Jodie Foster plays Nancy Hollander, the defense attorney who takes on Salahi's case, with the assistance of Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley).

    Hollander's decision to defend a 'terrorist' pits her against Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), a formidable military prosecutor who has been charged with building a case against Salahi so that he gets the death sentence.

    As Hollander and Duncan communicate with Salahi to get to the bottom of the case, they are met with obstacle after obstacle. But something begins to dawn on them; the government is hiding something that could actually prove that Salahi is not the man they say he is.

    On his part, Couch's determination to ensure that Salahi gets what he deserves is shaken when he finally gains access to some confidential papers documenting the unspeakable horrors the Mauritanian was subjected to in detention.

    Couch has a very good reason to want Salahi dead but he has to ask himself if he is being pushed to take part in the execution of an innocent man because the government is fixated on him being the 'someone' who must pay for the 9/11 attacks.

    The Mauritanian has an engaging plot that develops naturally, bolstered by intelligent dialogue and fully fleshed-out characters.

    For me, two actors stand out here; Jodie Foster for her deft acting skills (she is so convincing as the aging attorney that the viewer may forget she is acting), and Tahar Rahim, whose amazing portrayal of the man whose hellish encounters on American soil inspired this film.

    As Salahi, Rahim's portrayal is astonishingly spot on. Few men can endure what his character went through and retain their sanity and the way it is depicted will make the viewer wonder how such wickedness came to be in the hearts of men.

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Shailene Woodley also impress as part of the supporting cast. Both of them own their roles in the best way possible and leave no doubts as to why they were cast. 

    Conclusively, The Mauritanian is a movie with a very important lesson; every man deserves the right to a fair trial. This is a point that Foster's character hammers on almost throughout the film.

    I commend the director, Kevin Macdonald, for a job well done. He successfully made a gripping drama that is up there with some of the finest films to come out of Hollywood. 

    Once again, another commendation to Foster and Rahim, the talented duo who elevate The Mauritanian to heights of greatness. Two thumbs way up!

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 5.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Cherry

    PG - Romance, Drama | February 26, 2021 Storyline:

    A young man struggles with PTSD after serving in the army. He and his partner take solace in heroin and their lives begin to crumble before them. In an effort to pay off a debt he owes a gangster, Cherry begins robbing banks; something that bodes tragedy for him.

    • 3.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    With CHERRY, Tom Holland proves that he has the versatility to conquer Hollywood as he sheds the superhero persona he is famous for playing to give a rousing performance of a PTSD victim.

    Based on the novel of the same name by Nico Walker and directed by the Russo Brothers, Cherry is the story of the eponymous character, a young man who watches his life crumble before him after his travail serving in the army.

    Starring Tom Holland (the fast-rising star who plays the MCU's Spider-Man), Cherry is a singular look at the effects of PTSD, and an individual's descent into the world of heroin addiction.

    Cherry's life changes when he falls for his college classmate Emily (Ciara Bravo) and their relationship quickly blossoms into teen romance.

    The protagonist's life takes an unexpected turn when his girlfriend informs him that she is leaving for Canada to further her studies in Montreal. Devastated, Cherry makes a rash decision; he joins the army.

    He is shocked when Emily does a 180 turn to let him know that she won't be leaving the country anymore. But by then, it's too late and soon, he joins his band of brothers for combat duties.

    Cherry is changed by his horrific experiences as a soldier, and when he returns, even Emily's presence isn't enough to drive his never-ending nightmares.

    On the brink of insanity, Cherry takes solace in heroin, initiating Emily along the way. Before long, he's robbing banks to pay off a debt he owed a notorious gangster.

    The path that Cherry is on can only lead to self-destruction, but he is powerless to alter his faith and has to watch as Emily slowly dissolves into a caricature of who she was. Tragedy looms, but Cherry could care less. All he is after is self-gratification and he is ever faithful to his new god - heroin.

    Cherry isn't the first movie on PTSD, neither is it the best (not by a long shot). But what makes it compelling is Holland's portrayal of the young man whose physical and psychological torture is largely one of his own makings.

    Apart from their MCU movies, I'd never seen any film(s) directed by the Russos, so I was keen to see something different helmed by them. I say they did a good job.

    I loved the way the protagonist's suffering is shown; the visual representations, weight loss, etc. Everything was as realistic as one would expect from this kind of drama.

    I expected Holland to deliver and the dude went far beyond that for me. I just couldn't take my eyes off him. I will be shocked and disappointed if his performance here doesn't get him at least a major award nomination.

    As the main supporting character, Ciara Bravo is equally impressive as the girl who becomes fed up with her partner and decides to also become an addict. Her acting talent is never in question here.

    Cherry doesn't break new dramatic grounds but it is worth seeing, thanks to its resonating themes, Holland's character arc, and mesmerizing performances from the two leads.

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 0.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 4.0

    Zack Snyder's Justice League

    PG - Action | March 18, 2021 Storyline:

    Batman and Wonder Woman must unite a team of super-powered individuals when they find out that an otherworldly villain named Steppenwolf is after the Mother Boxes; three ancient tools with which he intends to alter the course of the world.

    • 2.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    Though Zack Snyder's Justice League is better than Joss Whedon's theatrical version, it still manages to fall short of greatness.

    Yes, it's finally here and many have been raving about the Snyder cut which is currently streaming on HBO Max. As a Marvel and DC fan (one who has faithfully followed all the movies in both universes), I will be as honest as I can in my review.

    I tried to reduce my expectations but given the hype and the anticipation, that became almost impossible. For me, Zack Snyder would finally put Warner Bros. and the previous version to shame with this. In the end, all I got were mixed feelings.

    Let's just get something clear; those saying that Zack Snyder's Justice League is a different movie from the theatrical version are wrong. It is one and the same movie, but with significant changes and additions.

    The plot is basically the same; Batman and Wonder Woman reach out to the others to get them to unite as Steppenwolf begins his hunt for the Mother Boxes.

    Snyder's vision starts in a totally different way than Joss Whedon's, and the score just got me hooked.  From then on, it was one amazing scene after the next. But midway through, I started to see some loopholes which I couldn't ignore.

    Here, all the heroes are given more time to shine (and they do for the most part). We see how Ben Affleck's Batman is affected by Superman's demise. All he can think about is how to unite the team against the coming threat, and honor the Kryptonian's legacy.

    Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is shown to be a far superior fighter here than in her films (Snyder knows how to utilize comic book characters). Her charismatic presence and leadership qualities inspire the team, bringing out the best in them.

    Jason Momoa's Aquaman has more scenes but for me, he doesn't make any major impact. It's like most of the time, he is either complaining or being pessimistic.

    Cyborg's origin story is undoubtedly the most compelling among the heroes. The actor who plays the character (Ray Fisher) flexes his acting muscles and steals almost every scene in which he appears. The viewer gets to understand him better after a peek into the tragedies that shaped his life.

    Henry Cavill's Superman is the same as we saw him in the theatrical version (only a little less funny). His resurrection is the final key to saving the world, and when he does show up, everything changes.

    While the added scenes (which contribute to the film's astonishing runtime of 4 hours) make the movie better than the earlier version, it doesn't really elevate it beyond what it is; entertaining at the very least.

    I will begin with the action. The first action scene in Zack Snyder's Justice League features Wonder Woman facing off against some bad guys. In my opinion, that is the best action sequence in the entire film (even though it is very short). The way her powers were shown made me rewind the scene at least twice. I said to myself, 'Wow! If this is how the action sequences are in this film, then I'm so in for a wonderful encounter!'

    Unfortunately, the other fight sequences never measure up to the first. The flashback scene where Darkseid and his minions come to earth and fight the alliance of heroes (made up of Atlanteans, men, gods, and many others) lacked the spark that has become Snyder's trademark in shooting action sequences.

    It was in the above scene that I got to take a look at Darkseid's strength and I wasn't impressed. He was defeated quite easily as there was nothing special about him. 

    Another thing that didn't escape me is how Wonder Woman's speed and agility are clearly seen when she is fighting anyone but Steppenwolf himself. She is fast (like Superman fast) but when she squares off against the villain, her speed is shown to be normal.

    I particularly enjoyed the scene where Ezra Miller's Flash saves Iris West. It was awesome. This brings me to his role in the film. I daresay that of all the team members, Flash is the one who seems to be there to just make jokes.

    Yes, we see more of him here and his backstory but he is nothing like the comic book character who is a brilliant scientist also. I understand the director choosing to take liberty with the interpretation of the character, but come on! I expected better.

    At times, Flash's speed powers are well-portrayed while at other times, it's like he is not actually running fast but leaping in bounds. 

    As for the antagonist, Steppenwolf, he isn't anything special either. We get to see his motivation for doing what he does and yes, he looks more intimidating here but that's it. He is shown to be a formidable warrior but when Superman comes, he is reduced to nothing.

    I think it was a mistake to make the so-called parademons Steppenwolf's army because they were anything but lethal. Apart from their scary appearance, they didn't seem to be too much of a threat to the heroes. 

    The biggest disappointment for me was the final battle scene. It was very underwhelming and the only good thing about it is the badass score. When Superman arrived, the battle became boring as he stole the show (too easily, I might add).

    Another issue I had with Zack Snyder's Justice League was the dialogue. While I understand that Snyder doesn't want to copy the MCU (he said so himself), he could have at least made the dialogue a little better. I mean, there was a scene where Flash was doing his thing and he said some words that were meant to be motivating but made me cringe. It sounded like what a ten-year-old would write and say.

    The visual effects were cool at some points and not at other times. The CGI used for Steppenwolf seemed to fluctuate between impressive and cheap, but overall it wasn't bad to look at.

    The best thing about Snyder's vision is the emotion and heart in it. This is majorly due to Cyborg's character arc which makes him the standout of the entire film. Ray Fisher deserves commendation for this as he gave it his all.

    The music also was very good, effectively drawing the viewer into the events being portrayed. The man behind it, composer Junkie XL, did an amazing job.

    In all, Zack Snyder's Justice League proves that the director obviously had something better to offer than the theatrical version. But that is as far as it goes. The word 'epic' can't be used to describe it.

    Having seen the film, I now understand why its runtime was that length. There was no other way for the director to advance the plot and really bring all the many pieces together.

    The cameo by a major DC character that was teased didn't leave any lasting impression on me. Why? I honestly don't know. Maybe it's because I expected so much more.

    Final verdict: A good movie that could have been one of the all-time greats. However, I believe it still does the director justice because fans got to see what he always wanted them to. 

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 4.0
    • Screen Play 4.0
    • Visuals 5.0

    Raya and the Last Dragon

    PG - Action, Animation, Adventure | March 5, 2021 Storyline:

    Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) is a young girl who embarks on a quest to find the last dragon and save her village.

    • 4.0
    • Users Rating 5 ( 1 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    Raya and the Last Dragon is the best animated movie from Disney so far, blending spectacular action, eye-popping visuals, and a powerful story to give fans a surreal experience.

    Written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, Raya and the Last Dragon is the story of Raya who seeks out the last surviving dragon to save the kingdom of Kumandra from the evil menace of the Druun (evil spirits responsible for turning people to stone).

    As a child, Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) was betrayed by one she thought was a friend and that led to the catastrophe that pushed decimated her people (including her father).

    Because of that tragic incident, the heroine has major trust issues and this is something that influences every move and decision she makes. Raya meets Sisu (Awkafina, the last dragon, early on and finds out that she is not what she expected. Sisu is the opposite of Raya; easily trusting and goofy.

    Despite the fact that it was the actions of humans that led to her race being destroyed, Sisu's trust in humanity remains unwavering and she is ready to go to any length to show that they can change.

    Finding Sisu is only the first part of the quest as the two (along with a few sidekicks they pick up in the course of their journey) must find the other parts of the missing orb which holds the key to bringing back all that they lost and vanquishing the Druun.

    Raya and her friends are pursued by Namaari, a fierce female warrior from the Fang tribe who will stop at nothing to claim the only power that remains in the land.

    As Namaari closes in, Raya realizes that the only way to succeed in her quest may be to open up her heart again to trust a bitter enemy. It is no easy feat as even Sisu is powerless to stop the threat that eventually catches up to them.

    First off, the animation is superb; from the character designs to the costumes and the realism of the CGI environment. Even the movements of the characters show a marked improvement compared to previous animated films.

    Then the action is awesome. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when I saw a PG rating cos I knew it had to with the action. Having seen the movie, I must say that it has the best fight sequences I have seen in a Disney film.

    The thing that is most remarkable about Raya and the Last Dragon is its themes; learning to trust even when you have no reason to, the power of unity, and change beginning from each and every one of us as individuals.

    There is no better time for all the races of humanity to embrace one another and live in harmony. This is the message at the core of this film. I grew up watching animated movies and cartoons.

    In all my years reviewing such films, none of them has had the impact that Raya and the Last Dragon had on me. I was moved to tears at a point (that's how powerful the movie is). The only other film that comes close to this, for me, is Moana.

    It's not easy to keep movie fans spellbound with fantastic tales over the years, but in that regard, Disney has continued to succeed. It's easy to forget that Raya and the Last Dragon was made during the height of the pandemic (forcing animators and others involved to work remotely) because the final result astounds the senses.

    Two thumbs way up to directors behind this superb film, Don Hall and Carlos Lopez Estrada, and the two wonderful leads, Kelly Marie Tran and Awkafina, for an unforgettable voice acting impression.

    And last but not least, much thanks to the Mouse House for delivering something phenomenal (as you guys do most of the time). Raya and the Last Dragon is undoubtedly one of the finest films ever made, one which I will see many more times again!

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 2.0
    • Acting 2.0
    • Dialogue 1.0
    • Screen Play 1.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Tom and Jerry

    PG - Animation, Comedy | February 26, 2021 Storyline:

    The rivalry between the popular cat and mouse comes to the big screen. When their antics threaten the successful wedding ceremony that is set to take place in a plush hotel, a new employee decides to take matters into her hands and eliminate them.

    • 1.8
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    The Tom and Jerry movie tries to capture the comic wonder of the cartoon series but ends up being a noisy affair with distracting music.

    From the moment the decision was made to helm a live-action/2D animated hybrid of the beloved classic, there was little possibility of making something worthwhile. In the end, Tom and Jerry pales in comparison with the source material.

    Directed by Tim Story, the movie stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Kayla, a girl who gains employment in a prestigious hotel in New York by posing to be who she is not.

    Her job is marred by the presence of the titular cat and mouse whose feud threatens to ruin a wedding between two famous individuals in the hotel.

    Michael Pena co-stars as Terence, the event manager of the hotel (and Kayla's boss), who is suspicious of her the moment she appears. He wants to get rid of her but can't quite find a way to do that. As Tom and Jerry's antics continue to mess things up, Kayla decides to use Tom's feline instincts to capture and get rid of Jerry.

    Colin Jost and Pallavi Sharda are the couple whose arrival at the hotel is greeted with warm hospitality. Their wedding is set to be one of the most momentous occasions in the history of the hotel.

    But things begin to go sideways when Kayla's efforts to stop the mayhem continuously caused by Tom and Jerry leads to more and more disaster.

    One doesn't expect much from the plot of this kind of movie, but putting in a few surprises wouldn't have hurt. Instead, what we get is a string of predictable sequences and a lead actress who is seriously lacking in the comedy department.

    Moretz became a screen darling after her impressive performance as Hit-Girl in the Kick-Ass films. After then, she has continued to show promise as a talented actress.

    Unfortunately, her acting here isn't all that convincing. Her character is not really someone you root for and Moretz has a lot of work to do if she plans to convince audiences that she can portray hilarious characters.

    Her acting comes across as forced, and she tries too hard at times. Pena who usually steals the screen in whatever role he is given is one of the film's worthy distractions but even he can't save it from being a forgettable affair.

    His character doesn't have much to do other than be suspicious of Kayla and make a fool of himself. As for the visual effects, they weren't bad at all.

    I was impressed with how the 2D characters interacted with real-life objects and made contact with them. But when sharing scenes with humans, the viewer could easily tell that the animated characters weren't really there.

    The eponymous characters are supposed to be the best part of the movie but this is not the case. Admittedly, there were a few scenes when their clashes brought back memories of the classic cartoon series. But for the most part, their actions were repetitive; Tom trying to catch Jerry (and failing) and Jerry constantly outwitting Tom.

    If you want to make a Tom and Jerry movie, give us something that is lacking in the animated series. To be fair to the writer Kevin Costello, there is the romance subplot between Ben and Preeta but even that doesn't help this film wallow in mediocrity.

    The music is another element that was too distracting. It was good but at times, not needed. It felt more like noise than melody at times.

    I wouldn't say I was disappointed after watching Tom and Jerry because I knew it was bound to be a letdown. I just expected more from Moretz and Pena whose inclusion didn't even ease the feeling of disappointment.

    This was a wasted effort in my opinion and that isn't easy to say as I'm well aware of how much work goes into these types of movies. I wish something better and more creative was greenlit instead. Conclusively, Tom and Jerry is a loud, fanciful, and hollow mess that doesn't leave any lasting impression.

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 5.0

    Godzilla vs. Kong

    PG - Sci-fi, Action | March 26, 2021 Storyline:

    Two mythical monsters battle for supremacy in the sequel to Godzilla: King of Monsters. Only one of them will be left alive and the key to human survival may be in the hands of a little girl who is close to Godzilla.

    • 3.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    Adam Wingard's monster film proves to be the biggest and best yet in the genre, combining over-the-top action with dazzling visual effects to give viewers a treat worthy of its title.

    Does it live up to the hype? Hell, yes! Of the two dueling behemoths, does a winner emerge? Hell, yeah! In the end, does it prove to be a genuine blockbuster? Again, hell yes!

    Now, I'm not exactly a fan of Godzilla or Kong or monster movies for that matter. While I enjoyed Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005) and Kong: Skull Island, the last Godzilla film (Godzilla: King of the Monstersreleased in 2019, didn't leave any lasting impression on me.

    Honestly, I don't really see any reason to pit two fantastical beasts against each other just for the fun of it. So, I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about Godzilla vs. Kong's arrival.

    The movie did arrive, I saw it, and damn! Adam Wingard has managed to turn something completely nonsensical into one of the best action movies in recent memory!

    The plot: Alexander Skarsgard plays Dr. Nathan Lind, a geologist who teams up with Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), an anthropological linguist, to take the monstrous Kong to find the location of Hollow Earth (a hidden world within ours where the beast could finally feel at home).

    Meanwhile, Madison Russell (Milly Bobby Brown) and her friend trail Bernie Hayes and enlist his help in uncovering a sinister plot being hatched by Apex Cybernetics, a tech organization trying to solve Earth's "Titan problem".

    When Godzilla suddenly launches an unexpected and brutal attack on Apex, the stage is set for the inevitable confrontation between two colossal creatures. It's a fight that will only have apocalyptic consequences for earth's citizens.

    As Godzilla and Kong face off, Madison and her team realize that what Apex has been up to is even more dangerous than they initially thought. It's something that endangers the life of every single person on the planet, and those of even Godzilla and Kong.

    The story is straightforward and the dialogue is mediocre. Anyone expecting something more than just action and spectacle is in for a major disappointment as Godzilla vs. Kong doesn't have any lofty aims. It was made to entertain and in that capacity, it exceeds beyond what the viewer may have envisioned.

    In the acting department, only two individuals stand out for me; Skarsgard and Kaylee Hottle, the young actress who plays the deaf Iwi native who befriends Kong and whose special bond with him is one of the film's significant arcs.

    The cinematography (especially in the Hollow Earth scenes) is breathtaking, the special effects awesome and the action is, of course, the best part of the movie. 

    The fight scenes between the titular characters leave the viewer wanting more. They are well-staged and the camera angles are just right in showing the epic brawl.

    To be blunt, Godzilla vs. Kong is a mindless piece of unfiltered entertainment that will delight geeks and action aficionadoes. I had a total blast watching it and will definitely do so again soon!

    Kudos and two thumbs up to Adam Wingard for making a really dumb movie so cool that you forget how dumb it really is and just relax and enjoy the ride! 

    It won't come as a surprise to me if a decision is made to helm a sequel. I have a feeling that many movie fans (myself included) are hoping that that happens.

    In conclusion, Godzilla vs. Kong is a non-stop joyride, slowed down only by the few scenes where the two titans aren't beating the hell out of each other!

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 2.0
    • Acting 1.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 1.0
    • Visuals 1.0

    Coming 2 America

    PG - Romance, Comedy, Family Drama | March 5, 2021 Storyline:

    Prince Akeem is about to become the King of Zamunda but first, he must find his son who is a street-savvy young man in Queens, New York.

    • 1.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    Despite its ensemble cast and numerous references to the original film, Coming 2 America ends up being a wasted effort that should never have been made.

    Right from the moment a sequel was announced, I knew there was no way it could live up to the first movie. That line of thought prepared me for what was to come, and even with my low expectations, I was still disappointed.

    With much of the cast of Coming to America returning, the second part sees Eddie Murphy's Prince Akeem Joffer of Zamunda made by his dying father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) to go to America to bring his son (Jermaine Fowler) back home.

    Akeem finds the young man whose name is Lavelle Junson and seduced by the affluence of his father, he goes back to the African kingdom of Zamunda where he must face the princely tests to decide if he will be a worthy successor to the throne.

    While getting used to his sudden change of status, Lavelle is faced with marrying the daughter of a military man; a woman he doesn't know or love or decide to follow his heart and choose a Zamundan who befriended him from the moment he entered the kingdom.

    There are so many plotholes in Coming 2 America, and I will try to mention the most pertinent ones. The first one that comes to mind is how the film didn't prove in any way that Lavelle is actually Akeem's son.

    One of the burning questions I hoped would be answered when I saw the trailer was this; how on God's green earth did Akeem father a son in America when we saw that he had only ever been with Lisa (Shari Headley) while he was there?

    The answer to the above question was given and as it turns out, it was a pretty lame one (told through a flashback scene that had me cringing in irritation as the de-aging effect on Murphy there was absolutely ridiculous).

    Now, I found it strange that Prince Akeem finds out about his son, and when he sees the young man, it doesn't even occur to him to want proof that he is his son (not even a DNA test). He just takes the dude back to Zamunda.

    Wesley Snipes plays General Izzi, an antagonistic fellow who longs for an opportunity to wage war on Zamunda as a result of the wrong Akeem did to his family years ago. As the villain, the character was portrayed as a clownish and brainless man who easily changes his mind, deciding to let bygones be bygones after being outmatched and outwitted.

     Here, Lisa isn't given much to do and her character is quite different from how she was depicted in the prequel. While she was portrayed as a strong, independent, and intelligent woman in the first part, here she is pretty much a dumb person who is easily swayed and seems to have little connection to her family.

    As the prince, Fowler's acting is limited to how his character is written (which is nothing remarkable, by the way), so he isn't someone you hate or love. He just amused me a few times.

    The CGI employed here was a load of crap; cheap and unconvincing. The set pieces were laughable (so unlike the first film), the humor didn't hit the right notes most of the time, and pretty much everyone was making a fool of themselves onscreen.

    Coming to America is a classic because despite being made over 30 years ago, it still retains its magic. Among other things, it entertained and educated. It is the total package and spoke to audiences of all ages on different levels.

    Part of what made the original movie succeed was the heart in the fairytale story. Despite being a comedy, there were moments where human emotions were convincingly depicted, with the humour coming in at appropriate times.

    Those who decided to make this sequel can be forgiven for failing in their efforts to live up to the impact of its predecessor. But what is unforgivable is assuming that a stellar cast and horrible jokes make a good comedy.

    There are cameo appearances by notable stars but even those are undermined by the silly exposition which unfolds. 

    And yes, Nigerian music sensation Davido makes an appearance, giving a brief rendition of one of his most popular songs. But even that is trumped by the general buffoonery spread among the characters.

    I won't even go into Eddie Murphy's Akeem performance here. The only thing I will say about the character is that he left much to be desired.

    For me, the only person I enjoyed watching was actress KiKi Layne. As Princess Meeka, her character is what her mother was in the first film; strong, intelligent, and loyal. Too bad these are not enough to save the film from its descent into mediocrity.

    I don't enjoy writing negative reviews because the art of filmmaking is not an easy one. But when you decide to piss on a classic like Coming to America by making a lackluster sequel, you and I will definitely have issues.

    Before I saw Coming 2 America, I saw a reviewer caption his/her review something like this; Don't Try To Fix It If It Isn't Broken. That is an apt description for this unworthy sequel. It is unfortunate that an actor like Eddie Murphy's name is attached to this kind of mess.

    Continue Reading
  • Image

    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 5.0
    • Dialogue 4.0
    • Screen Play 4.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    PG - Sci-fi | February 12, 2021 Storyline:

    Based on true-life events, Judas and the Black Messiah is the story of how William O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) on the behest of the CIA infiltrates the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party to get information on Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya).

    • 4.0
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 years ago

    SPOILER-FREE REVIEW: JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is an immense triumph, thanks to exceptional performances from Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Standfield.

    Helmed by a relatively unknown director, the movie was produced by Ryan Coogler (BLACK PANTHER), who saw something in the story worth telling. In the end, King's interpretation is a phenomenal masterpiece that is thought-provoking and insightful.

    Set in the late 1960s, the movie sees petty car thief Bill O'Neal (LaKeith) make a deal with the FBI in exchange for his criminal records being expunged.

    The feds want him to get close to Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), the chairman of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. O'Neal infiltrates the party and eventually becomes Hampton's driver, gaining his trust while relaying vital information back to the FBI.

    O'Neal struggles with his conscience over his dirty deeds while Hampton's influence continues to grow. As the cases of brutality against the blacks continue to rise, the feds put more pressure on O'Neal, knowing that taking Hampton (and the Black Panthers) down depends on him being able to deliver the final crushing blow from within.

    Frankly, I didn't know what to expect after seeing the trailer. Coogler's involvement gave me little assurance that seeing this film wouldn't be a total waste of time. In the end, I was blown away.

    First off, I tip my heart to the acting talent that is Daniel Kaluuya. The man is a sheer force of nature! He impressed me in GET OUT and QUEEN & SLIM. Here, he shows that he isn't just acting the part of Fred Hampton. He IS Fred Hampton. The passion his character exudes, dedication, and selflessness are well depicted with his astonishing acting. In my opinion, he deserves an award for it.

    LaKeith Standfield also delivers (I expected nothing less) with a realistic portrayal of his two-faced character and the inner battles he fights. His shifty eyes give you a peek into an individual who is hiding something. He is the darkness to Kaluuya's light, the Judas to one seen by many as the black messiah.

    The music is another element that helps in setting the mood; poignant and apt, it is well utilized, making for a perfect ensemble. The supporting actors also play their roles well as no one seems out of place or underused.

    In the end, I must commend Skaka King for making a masterpiece. In an era where there is still racial segregation and inequality, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is a look into the troubled past of a people who have suffered so much due to no fault of theirs.

    Despite the injustice continually meted out to them, the never-ending fight continues. Why? Because in the words of the great man himself, 'You can kill the revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution!'

    Continue Reading

Notice

We have selected third parties to use cookies for technical purposes as specified in the Cookie Policy. Use the “Accept All” button to consent or “Customize” button to set your cookie tracking settings