Last Update 12/31/21


Jungle Cruise (2021) 

A feisty female scientists charters a boat operated by a disreputable captain to find a tree in the Amazon that has incredible healing powers. They are opposed Ė this is 1916 Ė by a German spy who is probably the worst villain Iíve seen in a movie in many years. They have various encounters, mostly violent, and discover that a supposed curse is real and that supernatural magic protects the tree. The people responsible for this seem to have thought that frantic and exciting were the same thing. They are not. The action sequences are so chaotic that they are unconvincing and usually rather silly. Some of the dialogue and plotting is decidedly amateur. This struck me as an attempt to mimnic the first of the Mummy movies. Assertive female with a repressed brother enlists the aid of a rough heroic figure who is lucky as much as competent to defeat a villain seeking supernatural power. 12/31/21

Venom Let There Be Carnage (2021)

The super-parasite inadvertently creates a "child" by infecting a crazed serial killer. For some reason, the child is more powerful than the parent. After some rather dull back and forth, some of which is logically dubious, they meet for the big battle scene while the police wander around aimlessly. When it was all over with, I felt as though I had just watched a remake of the first Venom movie, where he also spent much of the movie fighting against a more powerful parasite. I didn't think the franchise held much promise then and it looks like I was right. 12/30/21

No Time to Die (2021)

Daniel Craig's last outing as James Bond is action packed and has several surprises. The plot moves so fast that it glosses over a couple of minor plotholes but it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I don't want to post spoilers so I cannot be too specific, but the problems include: How Did They Know That? How Did They NOT Know That? Why Did They Take the Inferior Piece of Equipment Rather Than the Much More Impressive One? On one occasion, a member of the cast has a serious emotional  reaction which does not seem to make any sense in context and it is never referred to again. One plotline has two contradictory answers, never resolved, and since the next Bond film will likely re-invent the concept yet again, we will probably never the answer. I thought the performances were mostly good, but the chief villain did not impress me. All that said, it was good fun, but Black Widow is still the best James Bond movie of 2021.  11/11/21

Cameronís Closet (1987) 

The novel is almost unrecognizable in this adaptation. Cameronís mother is very different and his brother doesnít exist. His father was a good guy rather than an obsessed villain, and he is killed trying to destroy the creature his son mentally created.  The police detective hero has an entire subplot about mental stress. This introduces him to the psychologist whose advent in the book was implausible, so itís a bit of an improvement. The acting, however, is not very good, by anyone. And the hero is an obnoxious creep. The creature menaces Cameron, which does not make sense, and Cameron has various psychic powers. The writer confused telepathy and telekinesis. The movie diverges even further as the creature orders a man to murder Cameron. 10/31/21

Shang-Chi (2021)

The latest Marvel movie is fun although I am not particularly fond of full bore magical battles. Some of the martial arts sequences are pretty good though. Shang-Chi is the estranged son of an immortal man who wants to dominate the world and can do so thanks to some magical rings. He is essentially the Mandarin from the comics, although with differences, and introducing the fake Mandarin from the earlier films as a minor character was a nice touch. I won't spoil the story by revealing much but it has epic battles, evil monsters, nasty henchmen, and an amusing girlfriend who sometimes steals the stage. 9/9/21

The Suicide Squad (2021)

With very few exceptions, I think DC has translated to a steady stream of lousy movies. This is one of the exceptions, though it still would rank as pretty minor in the Marvel universe. A squad of variously powered or gifted criminals are given a chance to reduce their prison sentences by carrying out a clandestine raid on an island nation that appears to be developing alien technology. Most of them are cannon fodder and half are dead within minutes. The big bad is kind of silly, but the movie itself is often deliberately so. Harley Quinn's escape sequence is excellent. Can't say much more without spoilers but it was fun overall. 8/11/21

A Quiet Place 2 (2021)

I was actually offended by this expensive piece of crap. The premise itself is stupid. How could an intelligent species develop that could not tolerate sounds? How could they build spacecraft? How could human resistance collapse so quickly? I love a good monster movie but this was dumb, boring, and frequently irritating. This is not just stupid and illogical, it is boring. Long periods of nothing happening. Characters who are never developed. Gaps of logic that are appalling. There are so many good idea that have never been used, why this ridiculous crap? There was not a single scene in this movie that I enjoyed. 8/6/21

Black Widow (2021)

Natasha finally gets pretty much her own movie - although she has been killed off in the Marvel universe. The movie was worth waiting for. She and her quasi-sister are pitted against an evil mastermind and his large force of mind controlled killers. The action scenes are spectacular - this was as good as the very best James Bond adventures - and the non-action sequences are entertaining as well. I never felt my attention wavering. I won't provide any spoilers here, but I only saw one glaring plot error - and it is minor and very late in the film. The casting was excellent throughout and the special effects were, as always in the MCU, spectacular. More story line than in most, and a couple of twists I didn't see coming. I will watch it again. 7/27/21

The Deep Ones (2020)

Based sort of on the work of H.P. Lovecraft but it's really a remake of Rosemary's Baby. A couple rent a seaside house and fall under the spell of an older married couple who are part of a mysterious cult worshipping a god from the sea. The husband is reprogrammed after sucking on a green tentacle. The wife is to be the victim. The acting is not awful but the special effects are inept and uninteresting. The story is obviously far from original. I never liked any of the characters well enough to care about their fate and my attention was wandering freely even during the climax. 7/2/21