Monthly Archives: February 2018

We Review: #BlackPanther “Exciting, and I recommend it. 4 stars.” -MR

Black Panther

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Black Panther
Black Panther film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Produced by Kevin Feige
Written by
Based on
Starring
Music by Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography Rachel Morrison
Edited by
  • Michael P. Shawver[1]
  • Claudia Castello[1]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • January 29, 2018 (Dolby Theatre)
  • February 16, 2018 (United States)
Running time
134 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[3]
Box office $520.1 million[4]

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. JordanLupita Nyong’oDanai GuriraMartin FreemanDaniel KaluuyaLetitia WrightWinston DukeAngela BassettForest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T’Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict with global consequences.

Wesley Snipes expressed interest in working on a Black Panther film in 1992, but the project did not come to fruition. In September 2005, Marvel Studios announced a Black Panther film as one of ten based on Marvel characters and distributed by Paramount PicturesMark Bailey was hired to write a script in January 2011. Black Panther was announced in October 2014, and Boseman made his first appearance as the character in Captain America: Civil War (2016). By 2016, Cole and Coogler had joined; additional cast joined in May, making Black Panther the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast. Principal photography took place from January to April 2017, at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and Busan, South Korea.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2018, in 2D, 3DIMAX and other premium large formats. It received critical acclaim, with praise directed toward its visuals, screenplay, characters, direction, costume design, action sequences, soundtrack, and performances. Critics considered it as one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance. It has grossed over $520 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2018. Its four-day opening weekend gross of $242.1 million in the United States was the second-highest of all-time and its three-day gross of $202 million was the fifth highest of all time which also set the record for biggest debut by an African American director.

Plot

Centuries ago, five African tribes war over a meteorite containing vibranium. One warrior ingests a “heart-shaped herb” affected by the metal and gains superhuman abilities, becoming the first “Black Panther”. He unites all but the Jabari Tribe to form the nation of Wakanda. The Wakandans use the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992, King T’Chaka visits his undercover brother N’Jobu in Oakland, California. T’Chaka accuses N’Jobu of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner reveals he is Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T’Chaka’s suspicions.

In the present day, following T’Chaka’s death,[N 1] his son T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milajeregiment, extract Nakia, T’Challa’s ex-lover, from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa defeats M’Baku and convinces him to yield rather than die.

After Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a museum, W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s lover, urges him to bring Klaue back dead or alive. T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to Busan, South Korea where Klaue plans to sell the artifact to CIA agent Everett K. Ross. A firefight erupts and Klaue attempts to flee but is caught by T’Challa, who reluctantly releases him to Ross’ custody. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda’s international image is a front for a technologically advanced civilization. Erik attacks and extracts Klaue as Ross is severely injured protecting Nakia. Rather than pursue Klaue, T’Challa takes Ross to Wakanda where their technology can save him.

While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu. Zuri explains that N’Jobu planned to share Wakanda’s technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors.

Our Thoughts

Black Panther is another Marvel, pardon the pun. And to me it reflected several eras of African American culture. The colorful native culture, the 80’s gang war culture, and the modern culture where uber rich superstars of color live lavishly while children in other parts of the world eat rice and live in poverty. I really like the film, and its pacing, though there was a lot more violence than I expected. The special effects were amazing and up to Marvel standards. It was exciting, and I recommend it, especially if you like the other Marvel superhero films. 4 stars – MR

 

Find  Black Panther and see the new trailer here.

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We Review: #Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle “A riot of unexpected fun for the whole family to enjoy.” – MR

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jake Kasdan
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Chris McKenna
Based on Jumanji
by Chris Van Allsburg
Starring
Music by Henry Jackman[1]
Cinematography Gyula Pados
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment[2]
Release date
  • December 5, 2017 (Grand Rex)
  • December 20, 2017(United States)
Running time
119 minutes[3]
Country United States
Budget $90–110 million[4][5]
Box office $886.7 million[4]

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 American adventurecomedy film[3][6] directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner, from a story by McKenna. It is the second installment in the Jumanji franchise, based on the 1981 children’s book of the same nameby Chris Van Allsburg and serves as a sequel to Jumanji (1995). The film also pays tribute to Robin Williams, star of the first film, through a mention of his character’s name.[7] The film stars Dwayne JohnsonJack BlackKevin HartKaren GillanNick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale. The film was released in Real D 3Dand IMAX.

Set twenty-one years after the first film, the plot follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, playing as the characters they chose. Uniting with another player, they must overcome the game’s magical power in order to win and return home.

Principal photography began in Hawaii in September 2016. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle premiered at the Grand Rex in Paris on December 5, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States in 3D on December 20, 2017. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who called it a “pleasant surprise” and praised the cast.[8] The film has grossed over $886 million worldwide, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of 2017 and the 49th highest-grossing film of all time.

Plot

In 1996, in Brantford, New Hampshire, about a year after the events of the previous film, teenager Alex Vreeke receives the Jumanjiboard game, found by his father on a beach. When Alex claims to himself that board games are boring, the game, seeing Alex’s interest in video games, magically transforms into a video gamecartridge which catches Alex’s attention the next morning. As he plays it he is teleported into the game.

Twenty years later in 2016, four students in Brantford High School are placed in detention together: Spencer Gilpin, who was caught writing essays for his former friend, Anthony “Fridge” Johnson, who is also in detention for the plagiarism, Bethany Walker, and Martha Kaply, who have both disrespected their respective teachers during their respective classes. Bethany made a phone call in the middle of class and refused to end it after being ordered to by her English teacher, and Martha refused to join in on P.E. class because she considered it useless and made it worse by insulting the teacher. They were ridiculed for their actions and are assigned by the school’s principal to clear out its basement. While cleaning the four find Jumanji, a multiplayer action-adventure video game. One of the playable characters is inaccessible. When Spencer hits Start, the four are sucked into the game.

They find themselves in a jungle each now in the forms of their game avatars. Spencer is a tough, muscular explorer named Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Fridge is a short zoologist named Franklin “Mouse” Finbar whom he had selected upon misreading the name as “Moose,” Martha is a gorgeous commando and martial arts expert named Ruby Roundhouse, and Bethany is an overweight, male cartographer named Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon. They soon realize that they are in a video game and each have three lives. If they lose all three, Spencer concludes they die for real. Each of their avatars also comes with special skills and weaknesses.

They learn from Nigel, an NPC guide, that the big-game hunter, Russel Van Pelt, wants to obtain a jewel, the “Jaguar’s Eye,” allowing him to manipulate Jumanjis animals. To escape the game, the players must return it to an enormous jaguar statue and call out “Jumanji”. Along the way the group begins to lose lives through various means when completing game levels. The group starts working together to obtain a clue from a snake at a bazaar but are cornered by Van Pelt’s men. They are rescued by Alex, the fifth player, whose avatar is a pilot named Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough. Recuperating in a tree house built by previous player Alan Parrish, the main character from Jumanji, the newcomers vow to help him return home. Alex, thinking he’d only been in the game for a few months, learns that he has been in the game for twenty years. The group works together to break into a transportation shed, commandeer a helicopter, and fly for the jaguar statue to return the jewel. Upon landing Alex loses his last life after a mosquito bites him, but Bethany performs CPR in time and transfers one of her lives to Alex in the process of saving him from dying.

Arriving at the statue the players find themselves facing Van Pelt’s forces and predatory guards.

Cast

  • Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Smolder Bravestone, an archaeologist and explorer who is Spencer’s avatar. Bravestone’s strengths are stamina, courage, reflexes, climbing, smoldering intensity, and boomerang throwing. He apparently has no weaknesses. He is the archetypically masculine, intelligent, and courageous video game hero of the story. He is credited as “Spencer”.
  • Jack Black as Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon, a cartographercryptographerarchaeologist and paleontologist who is Bethany’s avatar. Bethany chooses him, mistaking the character’s name for that of a woman. Though Oberon’s strengths are his fields of expertise, because of his obesity, his endurance is his weakness. He/she is credited as “Bethany”.
  • Kevin Hart as Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, a short zoologist and weapons specialist who is Fridge’s avatar. Fridge chose him due to misreading the character’s nickname as “Moose”. Finbar is Bravestone’s weapon valet and is skilled in zoology. His weaknesses are cake, strength, and speed. He is credited as “Fridge”.
  • Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse, a commando, martial artist, and dance fighter who is Martha’s avatar. Roundhouse is proficient in karatetai chijujutsu and capoeira, and her only weakness is venom, such as that found in various animals in the game. Similar to Bravestone, Roundhouse is the archetypically intelligent, athletic, beautiful, and scantily clad video game heroine of the story. She is credited as “Martha”.
  • Nick Jonas as Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough, Alex Vreeke’s avatar. McDonough is a mysterious guide, adventurer, and pilot in the game, who waits for and joins the other avatars as they attempt to escape Jumanji. McDonough’s strengths are piloting and making margaritas. His only weakness is mosquito bites, which is bad for him since the jungle is teeming with mosquitoes. He is credited as “Alex”.[9] He lives in a treehouse built and once occupied by Alan Parrish (previously portrayed by Robin Williams and Adam Hann-Byrd in the 1995 film Jumanji).
  • Bobby Cannavale as Russel Van Pelt, a corrupt explorer seeking to control the “Jaguar’s Eye”, whose power he is demonically possessed by. He is the boss of the film’s video game scenario; Jonathan Hyde played a different version of Van Pelt in the 1995 film.
  • Rhys Darby as Nigel Billingsley, an NPC guide in the game.
  • William Tokarsky as Bread/Cake Vendor, an NPC food trader.
  • Rohan Chand as Boy at Bazaar, a young NPC guide.

Our Thoughts

Going in to see “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” I didn’t expect much. A few friends had told me Jack Black’s character steals the show, and he sort of did. The rest of the cast though, was spot on in this sometimes hilarious, all-ages, action, and adventure film.  It was nothing like the old Jumanji, which was refreshing. Too often Hollywood just remakes the older version of films, but that is not the case here. There are similarities, but the main difference is this version is video game based, and the action takes place in the world of Jumanji, not in the players living room. I give this one 5 stars because at no point was I bored or left scratching my head. And it was definitely worth the price of a premium ticket. All in all, this movie is a riot of unexpected fun for the whole family to enjoy.” – MR

Find “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and see the new trailer here.