Review of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness (2022)

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Last night I watched Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).

I got the Blu-Ray from my local public library so it didn’t cost me a cent. I was concerned because the film has mixed reviews and I didn’t necessarily want to waste my time on a turkey (like just about every Marvel TV show on Disney+ to which I thankfully do not subscribe).

It was…okay. Actually not bad at all, although somewhat flawed.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the movie and you hate spoilers, stop reading now.

Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has a strange (no pun intended) multi-dimensional dream (part and parcel for Dr. Strange in the 1960s and 70 comic books) where he is trying to reach some sort of goal with a young girl (America Chavez played by Xochitl Gomez). Some dark force is trying to take her powers and he becomes too injured to help her. Chavez comes nearer to the goal but is then stopped by the creature. Strange believes the only way to stop the creature from stealing her powers is to steal them himself. Then he wakes up. It was a dream.

Or was it?

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Film Review of “DC League of Super-Pets” (2022)

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Movie poster for “DC League of Super-Pets.” (CNS photo/Alon Amir, Warner Bros.)

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Who knew the first movie I’d see in the theater since Rise of Skywalker (2019) would be DC League of Super-Pets (2022). Let me explain.

My son and his wife went on a camping trip, so they dropped my seven-year-old granddaughter off at my wife’s and my house at 9:30 Saturday morning. My wife suggested we go see a movie together. After searching for what was available for kids, I wanted to see Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022). She’d already seen it but hadn’t seen the Super-Pets movie yet. Of the two, I knew “Minions” had better reviews, but what the heck?

As far as my overall impression of “Super-Pets,” let’s just say it was fun for seven-year-olds.

Actually, in many ways, it was pretty standard fare for a “buddy” movie. You have two buddies, in this case Superman (voiced by John Krasinski) and Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and then a woman, Lois Lane (voiced by Olivia Wilde) gets in the way. Krypto gets jealous and that’s what causes all of the problems.

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Review of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (2021)

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© James Pyles

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I finally managed to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) when I found the Blu-ray at my local public library. Actually, like the blurb says on the Blu-ray cover, it is “perfect.”

Not absolutely, but it was an amazing experience, especially for a film that is so different from the original (I still haven’t seen the 2016 gender-flipped reboot and we will speak no more about it here).

First of all, McKenna Grace totally nailed it as Igon’s nerdy granddaughter Phoebe. I was a little dubious about a bunch of kids trying to be Ghostbusters, but I really loved how the film pulled it off.

It’s such an unlikely setting, a rural town and former mining community in the-middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma, but it worked.

Callie (Carrie Coon), Igon Spengler’s (the late Harold Ramis) daughter and her two kids Phoebe and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) are evicted from the apartment somewhere (the location is never disclosed), and go to the only place left to them. A year ago, Igon died and Callie hopes to sell his farm to recoup her losses. No such luck.

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Film Review of “The Batman” (2022)

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I watched The Batman (2022) starring Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, and Jeffrey Wright last night on Blu-ray (thank you public library system). It was basically a PG-13 horror film more than a superhero movie.

Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne and Batman were both portrayed as terribly dysfunctional. Wayne himself was a noted recluse who ignores the running of his company even at the urging of Alfred (Andy Serkis). The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne was twenty years ago and The Batman has been operating in Gotham for two.

The real mystery of the movie is how Batman and Police Lt. Jim Gordon (Wright) managed to get so close, and how Gordon pulls so much clout that he can get Batman to an active crime scene investigation past thirty cops.

Actually, the story begins with the Riddler (Paul Dano) stalking and gruesomely murdering Gotham’s Mayor Mitchell (Rupert Penry-Jones). The more canonical Riddler tended to range from playful to clever, but while this one is good at puzzles, he’s also sitting on a terrific amount of rage. He wears glasses on the outside of his mask and the moment when the audience realizes he’s in the same room as the Mayor is when we see a dim light reflecting off of the lenses. The effect is chilling.

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Film Review of “Eternals”(2021)

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It was six minutes into watching Eternals (2021) when I first realized I was bored and at 47 minutes I did what I didn’t expect myself to do. I turned the movie off and returned the disc to its case.

I checked the movie out from my local public library, so it didn’t cost me a dime, but at a run time of two hours and thirty-six minutes, it would drain away that much of my life to watch. It didn’t “do it” for me.

Unlike the other Marvel movies I’ve watched, I had no connection to the original comic books. I’ve never read any of them. So there was no nostalgia to drive me forward. The movie lived or died on its own for me. Well, it died.

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Film Review of “No Time to Die” (2021)

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Just finished watching (as I write this) the most recent James Bond/007 film No Time to Die. It pulled quite a bit of time, 2 hours and 45 minutes, out of my life, but in this case it was well worth it.

Just to get this out of the way, during the theatrical release, I recall Lashana Lynch who played Nomi/007 said some rather unpleasant things. I can’t really remember what they were and it doesn’t make any difference at this point. Just for future note, it’s generally important when you’re promoting a film as did Brie Larson and Captain Marvel (2019) as well as Simu Liu and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, to put on your best attitude in front of the public and press.

The film begins with a young Madeleine Swann (Coline Defaud) and her (drunken) mother Mathilde Bourbin in a lone cabin in a snow covered countryside. They are suddenly beset upon by a masked assassin Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) who is intent on killing Madeleine’s Father. Apparently the Dad was an assassin for Spectre and on their leader Blofeld’s (Christoph Waltz) orders, murdered Safin’s entire family. Finding the Dad not home, he kills the mother but saves Madeleine from dying.

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Film Review of “The Matrix Resurrections” (2021)

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I just finished watching The Matrix Resurrections (2021). I found it in the “new movies” DVD section at my local public library, so renting it costs me nothing. Watching it cost me time (2 hours and 28 minutes) which I’ll never get back.

First of all, I went in with not great expectations. Actually, I didn’t know what to expect.

What I found was that for the first half to two-thirds of the film, I toggled back and forth between interest and boredom.

I probably missed a lot of references to the previous trilogy. While I’ve watched the original The Matrix (1999) dozens of times, I’ve only watched the two sequels one time each. I wasn’t particularly impressed and didn’t see the need to re-watch them, let alone buy the movies.

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Review of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

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I was actually surprised to find that I liked Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). In its own way, it is reminiscent of Black Panther (2018) starring the incomparable Chadwick Boseman. There was a similar worldbuilding based on various Marvel comic book concepts and many wonderfully endearing characters. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the original 1970s Master of Kung Fu comic books started by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, Shang-Chi was the estranged son of Dr. Fu Manchu, a pulp fiction character created by Sax Rohmer in 1913.

The series began by introducing Shang-Chi as a man raised by his father Dr. Fu Manchu to be the ultimate assassin for the would-be world conqueror. In Shang-Chi’s first mission, he kills one of his father’s old enemies, Dr. Petrie and then learns of Dr. Fu Manchu’s true, evil nature. Disillusioned, Shang-Chi swears eternal opposition to his father’s ambitions and fights him as an agent of British intelligence, under the orders of Sir Denis Nayland Smith.

In the early 1970s, Chinese Kung Fu movies were huge in the west as was Bruce Lee. There was even a disco song called Kung Fu Fighting. In addition, there was a television series called Kung Fu starring David Carradine.

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Review of Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” (2021)

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It took two days for me to work my way through the two-disc set of Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). I saw the 2017 version and wasn’t incredibly impressed. I was hoping for more in the “Snyder Cut.”

Given the breadth of this film, I’m commenting on things in no particular order and this review will not be comprehensive.

At slightly over four hours of run time, there’s plenty of room for character development, origin stories, and “mood,” but I think it could have been a shorter, tighter movie.

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Film Review of “Black Widow” (2021)

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I found the 2021 film Black Widow as a DVD at my local public library yesterday. Naturally I checked it out so I could watch and review it. I’ve heard various unflattering things about the movie, and I wanted to see for myself.

Oh, tons of spoilers follow, so if you haven’t seen the movie and want to, don’t read any further.

In no particular order:

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