Movie Review: Jurassic World: Kingdom (2018)

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Plot: When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

Jurassic World is a damn fine movie, even though it is technically a sequel and almost the 8th (under correction) of the entire franchise. It doesn’t suffer from repetitive writing and its success comes from the fact that the writers and directors knew that they shouldn’t spend too much time on Isla Nublar, and that they should move their cast as fast off the island as possible and continue elsewhere. There is also the considerable charm of Chris Pratt, as well as the beautiful and talented Bryce Dallas Howard, who returns as Claire, the previous operations manager at Jurassic World, and approver of the Indominus Rex.

It is three years after the destruction of Jurassic World, and the dinosaurs are facing extinction again. A volcano is set to erupt on Isla Nublar and take all the now de-extinct dinosaurs with it. Lobbyists are protesting the rights of the dinosaurs, and it is clear that the government does not feel that the dinosaurs deserve the same protection as other endangered animals. Some might say that you can’t really blame governments for adopting this stance. Dr. Iam Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is prepared to say that maybe the universe is sorting out this problem and correcting the mistake Jon Hammond made by making dinosaurs breathe again. Claire is leading a lobby group, and just when she thinks that the dinosaurs can be saved, the government says they are just not doing it.

She is given a lifeline when she’s contacted by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), Jon Hammond’s previous cloning and business partner. They had a falling out, and the reason is later revealed as a handy plot device which I won’t be telling you. Lockwood, aided by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) organizes a convoy to Isla Nublar to save some dinosaurs, and they enlist Claire’s help and that of Owen Grady (Pratt) to especially track the very intelligent Blue, the only remaining velociraptor on Isla Nublar. (They say Blue is the second most intelligent thing on the earth, and I disagree, he’s probably first and humans the fifth)

The convoy heads off to the beautiful and now smoking island, and ulterior motives from some are soon revealed. Double crossing and dangerous behavior is the game of the day and it is soon evident that the worst creature on Isla Nublar is in fact not any of the dinosaurs.

The support cast is fantastic. Justice Smith (as Franklin Webb) provided a number of hilarious moments with his complete freak out in any and every situation. It was a great decision to include this character and actor, and balances things nicely with the hyper-masculine Owen Grady on the other side.

Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez is a great addition and helpful to bring some female power to the group. She’s straight to the point and a genius and I really liked that she was so integral to the story while not getting some stupid love story to dumb her down.

Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood, granddaughter of Benjamin Lockwood, was adorable and managed to remain a big part of the story.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts a little choppy, and the hearings at government feels insincere, but it finds it feet fast as soon as the original duo take over the acting of the film. It is a much darker version of its predecessor, and much different than I expected. There are some moments where I really jumped and squealed and wanted to pack some dinosaurs in my backpack and run away. I don’t want to give too much away, but some of the villains are so creepy that they could have a spinoff and just be villains (well they could have had). There’s lovely footage in the film of Owen Grady bonding with Blue, showing the remarkable intelligence of the Velociraptor, and that was done beautifully. It is a strict reminder that animals aren’t cruel because they are malicious, their actions are nothing but instinct, whereas their human counterparts will eternally find ways to destroy and hurt anything “lesser” than them.

I still think Pratt and Dallas-Howard have zero chemistry, they seem terribly suited even in the film.  They just seem so incompatible and not really comfortable with each other. Big up to the producers who put Dallas-Howard in sensible shoes this time, and didn’t have her running around after dinosaurs in heels like in the first film, because the smack down they received for that took away from a really entertaining film.

The handy plot device is a clear move to keep our main characters morally clean in what happens towards the end of the film. Some might say it was poor writing and an easy out, and some may be right. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Fallen Kingdom is wildly entertaining, thrilling and a good way to keep the franchise alive.

Rating: 8.10

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Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

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Plot: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.

Wheeew! Am I still alive? Yes. I just SO little drive right now to write blog posts. However, I am still here, still watching and reading things, and hopefully I will have some flexibility to write more often soon.

I liked Deadpool (2016). It was original, foul mouthed and different, and Ryan Reynolds obviously had such a blast with himself that it made for a super successful movie. The return of Deadpool was imminent, and while everyone flocked to the cinemas I didn’t see myself going – mostly because Johannesburg has become sub-arctic and I am either busy working or exercising these days (more on that in other posts).

Deadpool 2 was great. It kept the same politically-incorrectness, swearing, rude, offensive style as the first one, and improved in some ways.  The dialogue is sharp and witty and contains many gold moments from Thanos-lashing to Jared Kushner, and so sharp I think some jokes were missed by the crowd.

The new support cast is fantastic. Zazie Beetz as Domino is charming, strong willed and original enough. She’s a great female addition to the team and seems to have the strongest survival skills and street smarts. Her belief in herself and that she’s lucky is the perfect attitude and she proves herself very quickly.

Villain/Anti-hero/grumpy person Cable is played by Josh Brolin, who seems on a roll this year to traumatize superhero franchise everywhere. Cable is an excellent choice in this film, and he has a lot of depth as a man from the future who is arriving to sort out a problem. He is brutal, angry and has little time for Deadpool’s wisecracks. Also, let’s just face it – Josh Brolin looks incredible and is welcome to continue traumatizing franchises for as long as he sees fit. I’m not telling him otherwise.

Then naturally there is the addition of Ricky Baker Julian Dennison. Russel Collins/Firefist is a mutant who has suffered under institution and is ready for retribution to be meted out against those who have abused him for so long. Julian Dennison plays his role really well, and it even up until the very end you aren’t sure what will happen to this character.

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Returning cast members such as Morena Baccarin (Vanessa), T.J. Miller (Weasel), Karan Soni (hilarious cabdriver and would be assassin Dopinder) and Lesly Uggams (the blind and super sassy Blind Al) keep the movie intact as a Deadpool family affair. They are not as frequent in this film, with focus on some X-Men showing face (I have very little experience with that franchise), and the focus on Cable, Deadpool and Firefist.

Deadpool 2 is great. It sets up a network for a new bunch of films to make more money and is just different enough for the people who want a bit more bite to their superheroes. Ryan Reynolds remains a treat in this role, and he has enough of Wade Wilson in him to mock himself quite literally in some parts.

There seems to be some lazy writing juuuust at the end (if you are patient enough), but the film still works. I had a blast and my cinema seemingly too, and I can assure you, if there’s an X-Force film I will be there for it.

I’d never pass for 16, but kudos for the cinema for checking if we had anyone younger than 16 in our party (hilarious though), because it definitely isn’t something for children to watch.

Have you seen the film yet? Let me know!

Rating: 8.5/10

 

Book Review: How To Hang A Witch (Adriana Mather)

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I’m not sure how exactly Zoe manages to find these interesting and obscure reads, but sooner rather than later I saw symptoms of what would invariably lead to a book hangover for her. I was intrigued enough to be interested, and following her recommendation (we only refer books we know the other will like), and getting a hard copy (quite hard to do, I assure you, I was looked at as if I was perhaps a witch myself after inquiring this interesting title at the local book store), I started reading. It was delicious, not knowing one thing about the book, and the originality and suspense of the novel kept me engrossed and finished it within three days. Reading a new book is risky – so much time spent on something that might not work out! – But I was well rewarded. I won’t say too much about the story – but it is YA with some interesting twists, and the high school setting and typical teenage bitchiness is perfectly mixed with the spookiness of Salem and its tainted history. I’ve always found the Witch Trials really interesting, and they are well explored in this book.

How To Hang A Witch reads really easily and fluently, and the book does not drag or have events that shouldn’t have been included. The characters are likable – especially Sam, who really suffers from the children in her school, unknown forces and how to deal with her father’s illness, but she’s luckily never marketed as self-pitying or a wimp.

I started getting suspicions on who the main villain was when I reached about 75% completeness of the book, and was proven correct. It’s a great turn of events and suitably nasty, and those last few pages were intense and anxiously read.

I am just a bit sulky about how it ended – but since I saw that there is another book out, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Although pretty sure I can’t actually like you if you don’t like this book, I would recommend it to people who generally enjoy YA. It’s not a genre for everyone, but I do hope that those who pick it up really enjoy themselves!

Rating: 8.5/10

Blindspot 2018: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

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Plot: A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

There can’t be more to say about this film than what has already been said, and only my lack of seeing it would prompt me to even post about it  – a film 57 years old has had many reviews, certainly more loquacious than the one I’m about to wring out. However, I found the motivation to watch another Blindspot film, and this was readily available.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my very first Audrey Hepburn movie, a woman as well remembered for her humanitarian work for UNICEF and her iconic status as one of the greatest actresses to ever grace our screen. Personally I like the UNICEF remembrance more, as it shows that she used her great fame for a cause and was really a lot more than just a pretty face (and what a pretty face it was!) Marilyn Monroe and Shirley McLain were both also considered for this role, and although Truman Capote felt her woefully miscast, Audrey Hepburn managed to make the role her own and to turn it into a defining moment in her career. She is delightful as Holly Golightly, as a (correct me if I’m wrong), high scale call girl. The film plays this out very carefully, I would assume due the time of release, and there is more focus on Paul Varjak’s nefarious activities than on Holly’s. She’s fascinated by Paul when he moves into her building, and it turns out he is similarly employed and wants to be a writer. He’s as charming as she, and through ups and downs Holly discovers what it means to be herself and to be in-love. Holly has a lot of plans and very few of them are wise, and a few things are revealed during the film – Holly’s previous marriage, her ability to jump between rich men and her inability to give a cat a name. The film could have been choppy, and I thought it could have had a stronger story, but between Peppard and Hepburn they manage to keep it together through charm and banter.

Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of the Japanese character Mr. Yunioshi’s is the only thing that I can’t admire. The character is portrayed as nothing short of retarded, and I can’t think such a portrayal could have been appreciated during that time any more than it would have been today. It seems highly insulting that the only other race in the film was portrayed in such a fashion.

The film is really stylish, has gorgeous costumes and its theme song is truly beautiful and no doubt as iconic in its own right as the film itself. I absolutely love Audrey Hepburn’s hairstyle, though few women could pull it off, and her dress, which inspired the Little Black Dress (although these days the cloth is significantly less), is classy and she looks wonderful in it.

I had a good time with this film, and at the end of the day that is what it is about, but I won’t be rushing to repeat this classic anytime soon.

Rating: 7.5/10

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – Spoiler free –

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Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Well. I knew I had to get to cinema to watch Infinity War immediately after its release or else risk this film being spoiled by the internet for me. We’ve been waiting ages since the slightly lacklustre Age of Ultron for another instalment of the all powerful Marvel ensemble cast to once again fight some massive celestial being. Finally reunited, the Avengers and all their new superhero friends are forced to take on Thanos, the biggest and baddest of them all, who is also in running for the worst dad of all time to Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin), is collecting the Infinity Stones, very powerful stones (obviously), and you don’t need a comic book background to know that it will be really bad when this genocidal maniac gets hold of all six stones. It’s no spoiler that some of the stones are in the possession of a few Avengers, and they do an ultimately dismal job in protecting them. You will have to watch it if you want to know what happens at the end, but it was neither comfortable nor a quietly satisfying end.

Infinity War takes an age to get their superheroes together, which is not surprising, since they decided to include a massive amount of their star power in the film. Since Age of Ultron the original Avengers have scattered and hidden, and they aren’t all super happy with each other. Tony (Robert Downey Jnr.) is still happy by being managed by Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is still dealing with the devastating destruction that happened in Thor: Ragnarok. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson, this time blonde), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, with deliciously longer hair) and Sam Wilson (Anthonie Mackie) are still (I think) in hiding. They all fall in at different stages of the film, and my sold out cinema was cheering as each original Avengers cast member was reintroduced.

It’s impossible to write a short and concise review of the movie and to discuss the stars, because (nearly) the entire Marvel universe is in the film. However, here are a few thoughts on some of the characters:

Vision (Paul Bettany) comes across as awfully wimpy and I don’t know how he was intended as a superhero in this film. He seems to just be there, and his moments of action aren’t all that action packed.

If I could have had more of Danai Gurira as Okoye I would have, because she just has the best attitude and lines. Also good seeing T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), but after the enormous success of Black Panther I would have loved to see more of the man.

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It is the first film where the Three Chris-es are combined – Pratt, Evans and Hemsworth have so much charm between them it is a wonder that they aren’t combined an Infinity stone themselves. There is delightful moments full of humour when Starlord meets Thor and needs to deal with all that muscle. I’ll just say that there is a moment when Thor arrives that made me very, very thankful.

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Thanos has character depth, and that is something that hasn’t always been present with Marvel villains. He has layers and there are times when he actually almost makes sense, his reasoning behind his warlord status. There were a few moments where I legitimately felt sorry for him, and then had to remember what he had done.

I have some issues with the ending (really, who doesn’t at this stage?). I don’t want to say too much, but I really hope that they are planning to address some… events… in the next Infinity War instalment (there better be one), because they can not just do what they did. I am REALLY excited for the post credits scene, and I am optimistic that that will mean something overall for the drama levels in the last ten minutes of the film.

I liked Infinity War, except that ending. Thee CGI is insane and everywhere again, and that as well comes as no surprise – I mean, Josh Brolin doesn’t really look like that, does he now? It is really long, again though, expected, and full of emotional upheaval. If you haven’t watched it yet and you really dislike spoilers, I suggest getting to a cinema soon. It’s a bit off the normal route for Marvel, and they’ve taken big risks, but if you look at the crowd response rate you can rest assured that Marvel has another hit on their hands.

Rating: 7/10

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Movie Review: Jane Eyre (2011)

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Plot: A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he’s hiding a terrible secret

I haven’t seen a worse plot description in my life on IMDb. “A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he’s hiding a terrible secret” – really? That is all they have to say about one of classical literature’s finest novels? Okay then. My review of the novel Jane Eyre should have alerted you already that I’d been lit up with fervor for this story, and I obsessively searched for a copy of the movie to see if it would hold up with my hopes. In fairness, the movie is now seven years old, so procuring a copy was no easy task. I eventually ordered one online and had to wait two whole weeks for delivery.

The 2011 version of Jane Eyre is fantastic, and very much what I wanted the movie to be. Mia Wasikowska is a fantastic Jane Eyre – she nails the passion of Jane so well. At first glance, Jane appears to be a mousy, plain girl who was lucky to receive an education. The viewer is naturally privy to more information – she was mishandled by her only relatives and her school was a strict and harsh environment. Yet Jane has an amazing capacity to care, noted when she takes care of her charge in Mr. Rochester’s home. Adele (Romy Settbon) is a French oddity in the prudish British countryside, and while the movie briefly references that she might be Mr. Rochester’s illegitimate child, the book illustrates better the responsibility Mr. Rochester unwillingly feels for her.

Michael Fassbender might be a bit too handsome for Mr. Rochester – in the book he is described as distinctly un-handsome (i.e. ugly) – but for intensity he is a fantastic choice for Mr. Rochester. The levels of the man – his harshness and anger towards the world and the façade he can give his more elite guests make him a really intriguing man. I would have liked it had they included his scene as the beggar woman, because it adds another level to his character – a shrewdness to not be deceived.

Judi Dench gives an – unsurprisingly – good performance as Mrs. Fairfax – her nervousness in keeping her master happy and the protectiveness she feels towards the inhabitants of the manor.

Jamie Bell is very convincing as St. John Rivers, and he makes the character more likeable than I found him in the book. St. John Rivers remains a really interesting character to consider, because he is on first glance the male replica of Jane – stern, middle class, quite plain, but further inspection reveals he has nothing of Jane’s passion and determination.

Jane Eyre is as dreary as its literary counterpart – incessant fog and rain makes the watcher feel as closed in as Jane must feel. I’ll definitely re-watch – it’s really good and made me miss the novel again. Again, I felt the movie could have included at least Mr. Rochester reclaiming sight in his one eye – the movie reunites the characters but with very little hope due to his poor condition.

Jane Eyre remains one of my favorite classical literatures. It is feminism at its finest origin – Jane’s determination to be an equal to Mr. Rochester. I have to delve deeper into this world – there is so much more to discover!

Rating: 8.5/10

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Movie Review: Tomb Raider (2018)

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Plot: Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

I’m trying to start this review with some really sharp comment, something more verbose than “This is a poor, poor film”. As I can’t come up with something quite yet, you can take that as a start to this review and take it to heart. The remake crazy continues because apparently originality has been slaughtered. What sacred franchise hasn’t been touched? So unnecessary, yet movie houses are desperate to cash in on that nostalgic feeling, yet somehow still too lazy to develop proper scripts.

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Tomb Raider is no different. Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons and Evan Daugherty thinks their movie watchers are remarkably stupid (judging by my fellow audience members, they weren’t all that wrong). Visual and verbal clues are everywhere. Lara is forced to verbalize all her thoughts, because the audience couldn’t pick it up for themselves apparently. Clues are left everywhere – such as “Watch me” on the obviously placed video camera her dad left in his den. I also happen to think Lara isn’t nearly as bright as we must believe. She refuses to access her father’s fortune before she sets off to the island she is supposed to stay away from, yet sells her most valued possession to access to embark upon her mission. She travels with a drunken Chinese sailor (Daniel Wu) in a broken down boat because logic. They are both immediately captured when they wash out on the coast by madman fanatic Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins). He at least provides a legitimate face to the devious company setting out to disrupt the world. Things naturally escalate and with many improbable events that would certainly have caused death to any normal person, there is a final explosion and escalation and a setup for an additional film.

I, quite obviously, didn’t like it. It was agony and I was itching to just walk out of cinema. It even seemed like that new Pacific Rim film, which looks like a Michael Bay extravaganza (though not directed by him at all), would have been a better choice. I do admire Alicia Vikander – she’s ripped for this role and performs admirably in the various obstacles set out for her, but she’s actually just way too talented to have to suffer through such substandard writing.

Although the film had some merits, I will most certainly not think back fondly or attempt to watch a second installment, which is bound to happen as the film is doing surprisingly okay in the markets.

Rating: 5/10

Book Review: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

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Plot: Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

-Contains minor spoilers-

I have finally read and finished Jane Eyre. I had to mature, this I can now tell you with utmost certainty. I attempted a couple of years ago, and halfway through the book became overwhelming – the English is elaborate and for lack of a better word – floral – and the twists and turns of the novel was too much at that stage.

I enjoyed it very much this time around. The book has a dark tone, with intimacy I would not expect published back in the 1800’s (it wasn’t all Fifty Shades of Grey back then). The romantic suspense between Jane and her master builds and builds, until you want to smash them together.

There are some shocking moments in this book too – Jane’s treatment as a child is nothing sort of horrific. Her school years is a vast improvement over her aunt’s behavior towards her, but I felt the same helpless sympathy I felt when Harry was locked under a staircase in Privet Drive. Jane takes school and turns it into a life for her, and it is soon evident that she has overtaken all her relatives in integrity and ambition. Leaving the school, she starts working for the mysterious Mr. Rochester, and her love for him is pure, idolizing and intense, and nearly fatal when she flees him after hearing his dark secret.

The writing is incredibly elaborate and winding, and the dialogue is sharp and drawn out. There were a few times where I generally wondered the need for ten pages dedicated to one scene, the fact that it could have either been eliminated or just shortened was evident.

I was ready to burn this book to the ground nearing the end. I feared and feared Jane would end up marrying the extremely boring St. John, who, despite what Jane believes, struck me as a priggish, self righteous fanatic that would have murdered her spirit. Had this happened, I promise you now, I would have hunted every single copy of Jane Eyre and burned them all into crisps. Luckily, the novel avoided it’s untimely end by giving me exactly what I wanted. The book ends with sadness – Mr. Rochester injured and suffered a great loss, but their love is enough to carry them through.

This book made me sigh with happiness more than once. It appealed to me because Jane is firstly, a feminist. They did not coin that term so easily back then, but she is a smart, educated woman who takes her affairs into her own hands. She has no need to marry until she falls deeply in love with a complex man. Mr. Rochester’s love for Jane does not spring from her beauty or her charm, rather her smartness and capability and that they are so excellently suited for one another. In the end Jane meets him as his equal, and not some inferior caste who is dependent on him. For over two hundred years this is a love story that is more realistic than the garbage produced today.

My next step is to watch the latest adaption – I need to watch it NOW.

Rating: 8/10

Movie Review: Black Panther (2018)

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Plot: T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

I remember sitting down to watch Wonder Woman last year – the nerves and anticipation and hope that a film about my kind finally being a superhero would be great. How fantastic was the notion that someone like me could change the world? How empowering it was! As I watched Diana Prince ignore male orders and march onto a battlefield because her heart dictated her to,  and I finally felt vindicated for having my own share of protectiveness towards those I hold dear.

And finally, in 2018, we have come to a place where black people can finally celebrate the same feat. Black Panther is fantastic. I am not black, but I am South-African, and sitting in the cinema with black people and feeling their joy with this film was uplifting and very emotional. T’Challa isn’t a sidekick, he isn’t the bad guy, he is a man of royal blood. He doesn’t have to find his riches, he is rich. Wakanda is, as some have rightly said, both a view of how Africa might have been without colonialism and a celebration of retaining your culture will thriving in a modern technological world. Black Panther does not skirt around issues, it faces it head on. Slavery and the destruction of a continent is frequently referenced, as well as the deeply moral question of why Wakanda did not intervene to help their neighbors when they had unlimited power to do so. Well, to me Wakanda had the correct intuition, and I can only wish the entire continent could have seen the danger and protected itself against pillaging.

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Chadwick Boseman is an exceptional Black Panther. T’Challa is a good mix of culture, regal blood, love, humor, wisdom, kindness and some fantastic fighting skills. He was born to be King, and his nature dictates him to be a kind and just one for his people. Other tribe leaders, especially W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya’s, in wonderful South-African traditional clothes), Mbaku (Winston Duke) have issues with some of his choices, and this especially creates discord between W’Kabi and T’Challa when T’Challa fails to bring Klaue (truly excellent Andy Serkis) to Wakanda to account for his crimes against the Wakandan people.

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Michael B. Jordan impressed me immensely. I haven’t seen too much from him, and I really did not know how excellent an actor he is. As Erik Stevens the warmonger and the thorn in T’Challa’s side, he is both heart breaking and terrifying. He would have been like T’Challa if a great crime hadn’t been committed against him, and his crimes are heinous enough to have you wince but his memories are painful enough to make you weep for him. He was a strong villain, perhaps one of the stronger ones in Marvel, and I really enjoyed him.

There is a lot of humor too, especially delivered by Shuri (Letitia Wight). The movie has genuinely funny moments and the audience was in stitches as it found its crowd. Even Mbaku has some funny moments, and his humor mixes surprisingly well with his warrior attitude.

It would be very unfair to not mention the outstanding female cast as well. Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira are fierce female warriors, sworn to protect Wakanda. They have great moments together, and their chase through South Korea is especially fine to watch. Shuri is a smart and sassy young woman, and she is a technological spearhead for Wakanda, highlighting the importance of girls in technology in style. Angela Basset as the Queen Mother is regal and beautiful, and her care for her children and nation are evident to see.

South Africa had a phenomenal week last week. The fall of the Gupta empire and Jacob Zuma, the rise of Cyril Ramaphosa and the first SONA in years that didn’t result in a screaming match made South-Africans happier than I’ve seen them in a decade. The optimism in the streets could only be even more enhanced by seeing South-African faces in this film, South-African traditional wear and Xhosa being used as the Wakandan language.

I was worried that Black Panther wouldn’t be good – I really wanted it to be, if only to prove to the butthead racists on the internet that inclusion is necessary and can yield as good results as the standard white washed, male domineered films we generally get. Black Panther is GREAT, and is an excellent start to the superhero year. The cast and director and Marvel should all be congratulated for their excellent work in this film – it is something to be proud of!

Rating: 8.5/10

Blindspot 2018: Ghostbusters (1984)

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Plot: Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Whether you’ve seen it or not, you really know who to call. Ghostbusters (1987) is one of the most instantly recognizable films and soundtrack – like the Matrix, another Blindspot choice, you know of it whether you have seen the film or not.

Bill Murray is a surprisingly hunky (sorry) scientist, Venkmen. He is fired from his plush job at the university, and has an idea to start a business capturing supernatural creatures, and takes his equally fired colleagues Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) with. They officially become Ghostbusters, hunting down the alarmingly high number of supernatural creatures on the loose in New York City.

In fulfilling these activities, they attract the attention of Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), who has the really annoying supernatural phenomena of cooking eggs on her countertop and a demon named Zuul, who naturally won’t settle for anything less than destroying the world. The Ghostbusters set themselves on the task of saving said world, while procuring the affections of Dana for Peter.

A remake of this classic film was released in 2016, and man, there were a lot of angry men. I’ve been told that not all men were pigheaded in this regard, and with that I agree – some aren’t sexist prigs. However, I can see why they were so angry – the original Ghostbusters have some rather sexist attitudes – Peter Venkmen is rather persistent in Dana Barrett, even after her explicitly stating that she’s not all that interested. That type of humor was okay back in the 80’s, and I am sure a lot of men still subscribe to the nothing that even if a woman is clearly not interested, you should still harass her. But I digress. There is also the fact that all the heroes are men – and I do like a good hero – but I can see that some could feel threatened by it.

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Anyway, back to the actual film. It was fun, short and packed with adventure. The graphics aren’t half bad for the time, and it is truly fun to see Bill Murray in action. It’s not my favorite role of Sigourney Weaver (Alien forever), but she’s really good to watch as always. There were some great supernatural moments, and what I genuinely liked is that this movie manages to pass as a comedy rather than some thriller, because that would never have worked.

Ghostbusters is definitely not a bad way to start my Blindspot series, and I really hope the rest of the year’s films will be equally as fun.

Rating: 7.5/10