Keith the Critic
Mama Mia: Here We Go Again
This movie has been widely anticipated since the announcement of a Momma Mia sequel. It's been five years since Meryl Streep played spunky Donna Sheridan whose youthful exuberance found her pregnant by one of three possible men. Now Donna has passed on and her daughter, Sophie, again played by Amanda Seyfried, is 25 and determined to make her mother's hotel a success with a grand reopening. To Sophie's dismay, her now husband, Sky, played by Dominic Cooper, chooses to stay in New York where his career is beginning to bloom. In addition, her dads, Harry and Bill (Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard) cannot make it either. She will, however, have the support of dad, Sam (Pierce Brosnan), and her mom's friends, Tanya and Julie (Christine Baranski and Rosie Mulligan).
The movie is interspersed with the tale of a young Donna, played by Lily James, and how she met the three men who could now be Sophie's dad. At times you are seeing current times, and at others the past.
I enjoyed this Momma Mia sequel. I thought it was just as good as the original and possibly better. The songs and dancing were fabulous. I've heard that some people didn't think the songs were that good, but as a child of the 70's and 80's, I loved Abba and loved the song selection in the movie. Cher played the part of Donna's mother and sang the Abba classic, "Fernando", to my delight. Lily James, Amanda Seyfirend, and Meryl Streep all were fantastic and have great voices as well. As expected, the acting by all three was superb as was that of the rest of the cast, including Cher and Andy Garcia.
I loved this movie so much that I've found myself whistling the tunes. It's a fun family movie and well worth the price of admission. I gave it 4 out of 4 stars. Go see this movie.
The First Purge
This is a prequel to the three previous Purge movies. The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) believe that the United States problems are broadly caused by the poor and that the country can no longer afford them. An experiment is to be conducted on Staten Island where for one night crime is legal, including murder. The NFFA plans to pay each willing participant $5000. In exchange, they must wear contact lenses equipped with cameras and allow a tracking device to be implanted.
Nya is a young black woman played by Lex Scott Davis who lives in a rundown apartment building on Staten Island. She vehemently works to stop the Purge from occurring while trying to protect her younger brother, Isaiah, from the streets of New York. Isaiah wants a better life and starts selling drugs. He is attacked by Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) who is a drug addict infatuated with Nya. He slashes Isaiah on the neck. When Nya finds out, she confronts local drug king, Dmitri (Y'lan Noel) who is her ex-boyfriend. Neither Dmitri or Nya plan to participate in the Purge, but Skeletor does. Nya and Dmitri must find a way to stay safe.
I don't care for any of the Purge movies but of all of them, this was the best. Y'lan Noel and Lex Scott Davis were great in their roles. The storyline is better and the makeup on Skeletor was outstanding giving him the crazed look that was needed for the part.
There are many Purge fans, so I will always try to keep an open mind. The 1st movie was OK, but the following movies, not so much. This one is a slight improvement but I can't agree with the fact that they are making this a TV series. However, I will give it a shot. The previous movies only received a 2 out of 4 rating from me, but I'll raise this one a bit to 2 1/2 out of 4 stars due to slightly better writing.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
This third installment of the Hotel Transylvania animated movies again has Adam Sandler voicing the lead role of Count Dracula. His daughter, Mavis, who is voiced by Selena Gomez, plans a vacation for the family on a cruise. Drac falls in love with Ericka, who is the captain of the ship (voiced by Kathryn Hahn). But Ericka is the great-granddaughter of Professor Abraham Van Helsing, voiced by Jim Gaffigan. Van Helsing has plans to rid the world of monsters with his great-granddaughter's assistance.
I loved the previous two Hotel Transylvania films. I'm an Adam Sandler fan as well so I couldn't wait to see this movie. However, I was disappointed. The other characters' voice parts included that of Kevin James, David Spade, Fran Drescher, Mel Brooks, and Steve Buscemi. They were all great but overall this movie was lacking. Parts of the movie were very funny, but there were periods of time when not much happened. The script needed to be less predictable and more entertaining, but the kids will love it.
As I said, lower your expectations, and you'll be OK, especially if you take a little one. I gave it only 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.
After a three month hiatus from the silver screen, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returns in “Skyscraper.” Written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, “Skyscraper” is centered on Will Sawyer, played by Johnson, as a U.S. war veteran and former leader of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. After losing one of his legs during his last mission with the FBI, Sawyer now finds himself assessing security for skyscrapers. His newest assignment takes him and his family to Hong Kong, where he is to inspect the security of “The Pearl,” the worlds tallest building. At 3,500 feet tall, “The Pearl” offers residents the experience of dining, working and living in a state-of-the-art skyscraper. But when an international terrorist group takes his family hostage and frames him for the fire they caused in the building, Sawyer is left with no choice but to fight through “The Pearl” to save his family and name.
Unfortunately, Thurber’s script and direction fails to provide the film’s talented cast with serviceable material. You would think it’d be easy—all the elements of a summer blockbuster are there. You have a bankable star in Johnson, a true talent in Neve Campbell, and the world’s tallest building on fire. But still, Thurber finds a way to disappoint. That is, until the film’s final act, which featured little dialogue and a whole lot of action. The journey to that point, however, is hardly worth the time or money in the theater. Overall, “Skyscraper” is yet another film with a solid cast and a hole-ridden script. 1 1/2 out of 4 stars.