Saturday, February 17, 2018

Black Panther

Writer/Director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is an interesting action picture on several levels. 

There’s plenty of action, but, in some regards it seems somewhat muted compared to the other Marvel superhero films.  That's because of both the character and the actor who plays T’Challa, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). 

In fact, I, initially, thought the subdued Boseman was the wrong choice for this part, but, then, realized his ethic was the most interesting aspect of this film. 

 In the days of chivalry across many cultures, one honored one’s enemies.  

 During the period of the Olympics, fighting ceased and there was a truce while everyone participated to see who was the most skilled in the games.  During World War I, the fighting stopped at Christmas and the opposing forces sang songs across the No Man's Land.

Coogler and Co-Writer Joe Robert Cole remind us of honor among rivals and that is so refreshing at this time, when, in our current Olympics, an aging Ken Doll won’t turn around and acknowledge the sister of his enemy, sitting directly behind him.

The Black Panther is the king of a hidden African country called Wakanda, where civilization is more highly advanced than the rest of the world because of a rare mineral known as vibranium.

The question is whether Wakanda should come into the light and help a world not ready for its sense of principles or stay hidden.

To balance Black Panther’s restrained persona, Letitia Wright, as his sister Shuri, provides the upbeat spark that makes the film sing.  And, her performance is backed up by two other women, Danai Gurira, who plays the best fighter in the Dora Milaje security force of shaven-headed women, and Lupita Nyong’o, who plays a rebel and the Panther’s love interest.

Of the males, Andy Serkis, Winston Duke and Michael B. Jordan are each perfect in their roles as the heavies.

I highly recommend Black Panther for its unique take on an action film.  You might even learn something about honor and have further discussions about the Wakanda dilemma as to whether or not to come into the light.  I give it a 4.4 out of 5.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fifty Shades Freed

In Director James Foley’s Fifty Shades Freed you can see the couple Grey just play and play and play and play and play. 

At some point you either start to become envious for your 30s or tune out because you’re bored.  Beyond the known relationship of Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan), Writer Niall Leonard’s story is just not that interesting.

The overlay plot of rabid jealousy, sparking Anastasia’s ex-boss (Eric Johnson) to attempt to kill her, is only mildly threatening and leads to a rather tepid conclusion for the trilogy that will satisfy only the most loyal fans.

For the fan base, I give Fifty Shades Freed a 3.5 out of 5.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Peter Rabbit

Writer/Producer/Director Will Gluck’s Peter Rabbit is an entirely delightful film for children of all ages.  It has the slapstick fun for the kids and the dialogue and deeper meaning that will appeal to thinking adults, as well.  Plus, the animation is outstanding!
The English countryside is the home of would-be painter Bea (Rose Byrnes) and her beloved animal friends, principally Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden).  His amusement is raiding the garden of Old Man McGregor (Sam Neill) and, when McGregor has a heart attack, Peter and all the animals take over the McGregor estate; that is until McGregor’s nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) comes to claim his inheritance.

When Peter is forced to wrestle for Bea’s attention as she begins to fall for Thomas, he and Thomas declare all-out war against each other, which accounts for loads of audience fun.

The voices of Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Sia and Colin Moody add to the film’s charm.

Peter Rabbit gets a 4.5 out of 5.  See it with an audience of children, if you can.  It will add to your enjoyment.