So I haven’t been great about updating lately, but I still watch tons of movies. Here’s some mini reviews of films I’ve seen recently.
The “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel is finally here. Six years after the original story, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) are still best friends in their arcade game world. Through an accident, the Sugar Rush arcade steering wheel used to control Vanellope’s game is broken in the arcade, and the arcade’s owner finds a replacement part on eBay…but determines it costs more than the game itself is making him in a given year. So he decides to unplug the game and sell it off for scrap. Vanellope and Ralph decide they could go to the Internet, find this eBay place, and get the part sent to the arcade.
Technically, it’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” but the connection to the previous movie only seems to lie in shared characters.
This being the second installment in the expanded Wizarding World cinematic universe based upon the writings of J.K. Rowling. Once again we follow Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as his path crosses wizard-criminal Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). A handful of other characters return from the first installment (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), but whereas that film was often fun and somewhat light-hearted, this film takes a decidedly darker turn.
Written and directed by Drew Goddard, and starring Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Lewis Pullman, and several others, “Bad Times at the El Royale” is the type of movie Hollywood doesn’t make very often anymore. A noir-ish, ensemble, character driven piece of storytelling. Nothing — and no one — is as it seems in this interesting take of strangers happening to meet at the wrong place at the wrong time as their lives and stories collide.
Based on a novel by Sarah Waters, “The Little Stranger” takes place in England a short time after World War II. Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) is summoned to Hundreds Hall, a large estate in the country owned by the remains of the Ayres family — adults Caroline (Ruth Wilson) and Roderick (Will Poulter), children of Mrs. Ayres (Charlotte Rampling). The family’s sole maid, the young Betty (Liv Hill), has seemingly taken ill and is in need of a house call. When the good doctor arrives and examines the young servant, she tells him there is something amiss in the house.
In a world where puppets live their own lives alongside humankind, someone is murdering the cast of the defunct television program “The Happytime Gang” just as the show is entering into syndication. Who’s behind this? Why are they doing it? Former cop turned private investigator — and puppet — Phil Phillips (voiced by Bill Baretta) is determined to solve the case.
This weekend I finally watched the Spielberg production of “Ready Player One,” based on the book by Ernest Clive. In the near future, the world is mostly addicted to an online, virtual reality game known as the Oasis. In the Oasis you can be anything, do anything. It’s creator has died and in a posthumous release announces that since he had no heirs, the keys to all of Oasis will be granted to the first player to complete three challenges hidden throughout the world of Oasis. Everyone’s trying, including our protagonist Wade and his avatar Parzival, and an evil corporation that wants to use the Oasis to increase their bank accounts.
(movie art from IMDB.com)
So I’ve been reading this book, Meg by Steve Alten. It’s a fun read about a former Navy deep sea submersible pilot, Jonas Taylor, turned paleobiologist. He was running missions in the Mariana Trench for the Navy with some scientists when their sub was attacked by a large creature Jonas assumed was a shark. The scientists died in the incident, Jonas survived and was given a dishonorable discharge since the Navy didn’t believe that anything had attacked their sub, and Jonas was suffering from delusions due Continue reading →