Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Desperately trying to recapture the magic of the original, and failing, Mary Poppins Returns is a whimsical family film with no heart. The fates once again call on Mary Poppins when Michael Banks, now a widower, is about to lose his house and his children are despite to help him save it. Emily Blunt takes on the iconic role of Mary Poppins, but as good as she is she's no Julie Andrews and comes off as a little more stern and less kind. And the musical numbers aren't nearly as catchy and fun as those from the original film. A couple are alright, but most of them go on too long, are over produced, and try too hard to be charming and lighthearted. The writing isn't that good either, as much of the film seems forced and contrived. While it's entertaining and has a bit of the original's spirit, Mary Poppins Returns doesn't have its passion or its sincerity.
The X-Men franchise comes to an end with Dark Phoenix, a thrilling sci-fi adventure. During a mission to rescue the crew of a space shuttle Jean Grey absorbs a strange energy cloud that causes her to lose control of her powers and become a danger to those around her; meanwhile an alien race called the D'Bari tracks the energy to Earth and attempts extract it from Jean. Writer/director Simon Kinberg does some interesting things with the characters, but breaks from the established series continuity (which is rather irritating). Also, the plot is rushed and doesn't spend any time explaining who the aliens are. And Jessica Chastain is criminally underused. Still, the special effects are especially well-done, and the fight scenes are exciting and action-packed. While it has some problems, Dark Phoenix is an entertaining film that unfortunately brings an end to the Fox chapter of this franchise.
"Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi!" The Men Who Stare At Goats is a quirky, offbeat comedy based on an exposé of the US Army's research into the paranormal. When war journalist Bob Wilton has a chance meeting with a contractor in Afghanistan he learns about a secret US military program to train "Psychic Jedi" to develop their mental abilities in order to conduct psychic warfare. The film features an all-star cast that includes George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey. And, the comedy is really well-done; with a number of funny bits and clever satire. However, the plot doesn't really go anywhere and kind of falls apart at the end. While it has its moments, The Men Who Stare At Goats is all over the place and lacks a cohesive message.
John Wick's bloody rampage continues in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. After being declared excommunicado and having a bounty placed on his head John Wick books passage out of the county and uses a marker to call in a favor to help him get a meeting with the man above the table; meanwhile an adjudicator is sent to New York to administer penalties on Winston and the Bowery King for aiding John Wick. The fight scenes are incredibly exciting and action-packed, and are staged in really creative ways. The plot however, is rather lackluster and kind of pointless. There are some interesting additions to the mythos of this assassin world, but nothing that significant; in fact the world feels completely different than the one set up in the first film. Yet despite all its problems, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is an entertaining and fun action film.
A mediocre supernatural thriller, Gothika is rather disappointing. When criminal psychiatrist Dr. Miranda Grey has a blackout and wakes up in prison accused of murdering her husband she has to try to remember what happened and convince people that she's not crazy in order to exonerate herself. Starring Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., and Penelope Cruz, the film has a pretty strong cast; however their performances are rather lackluster. Also, the script has some issues; i.e. the investigation only serves to find more damning evidence against her and the resolution is inexplicable. Still, the film does a good job at creating suspense and intrigue. And the set designs, music, and cinematography set a creepy, foreboding tone. Gothika has some problems, but it also delivers some chilling moments as well.