Thanks for visiting, my fellow movie buffs! We're wrapping up 2019 and I don't have many films left on my checklist. Today, I'm covering Terminator: Dark Fate, Doctor Sleep, and Midway. All three of these movies are very different and they don't share the same target audiences. Are these films worth the price of admission or should you just wait for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? I'll give you my thoughts below. Have fun!
Dark Fate retcons the Terminator series after the end of the second installment. In short, everything after T2 is null and void. Essentially, a new type of Terminator called a Rev-9 time travels to modern day Mexico on an assassination mission, potentially spawning another wave of robots against civilization. An enhanced human named Grace also travels through time to protect the Rev-9's target. Furthermore, Sarah Connor from the original films is still alive and hunting down Terminators, hoping mankind will never suffer the impending apocalypse. Hopefully, these women will work together and prevent another doomsday event.
I have some good news for you guys. This movie isn't bad at all! It's definitely better than Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys. T2 is still the gold standard for Terminator films, but this one is a vast improvement. It has some of the most exciting and interesting action scenes in the franchise. Dark Fate is a thrilling ride from start to finish and it's really cool to see this series thrive in today's cinematic world. The action is seriously insane. You'll just have to watch and judge the situation individually.
More importantly, the characters are well developed and likeable. I'm not usually a big fan of Linda Hamilton, but she always performs well as Sarah Connor. She lived through a brutal series of events and it deeply wounded her on an emotional and mental level. Sarah has an interesting backstory and it's quite impressive to watch her unload a gallon of bullets into her enemies. She also has strong chemistry with the other main characters. Mackenzie Davis is surprisingly good as Grace, the enhanced human soldier. Even though she has cybernetic parts, Grace is human in every way shape and form. I think audiences will connect with her. Natalia Reyes is feisty and emotional as Dani Ramos. She plays a very important role in mankind's future and she's the Rev-9's target. I don't remember Reyes in other movies, but she seems like a pretty good actress. Naturally, we can't have a Terminator movie without Arnold Schwarzenegger. He doesn't have a particularly big role, but it's completely appropriate. He's really funny and one of the last remnants of nineties action heroes. I even like Gabriel Luna as the Rev-9 because he's menacing and a lot different than the other Terminators. He also participates in the action scenes effectively. Overall, the cast is a very strong element.
Even though I like this film, it definitely has some issues. I mainly felt underwhelmed with the story. It was a muddled rehash from the previous Terminator movies. Dark Fate's concept of time travel doesn't make a lot of sense and uninspired storytelling causes some slowness in the middle of the film. It's kind of like the filmmakers threw together the first two installments and changed the characters. A killer robot is sent back in time to assassinate someone who will prevent the upcoming apocalypse. We've seen this plot before.
I love the action sequences, but the visual effects are very disappointing for a release in 2019. In fact, Genisys might be the only Terminator film with worse CGI. This wasn't a cheap movie either. I believe Dark Fate's budget was a little under two hundred million dollars. Shouldn't they have more impressive VFX? Hollywood is such a weird business. Basically, the visual effects look messy and outdated. It shouldn't ruin the film for most cinephiles, but you'll notice quite clearly.
James Cameron also made a highly controversial decision early in the plot. If you watch the movie, the situation will be obvious. I'm pretty sure a ton of hardcore Terminator fans will be upset. It might cause some fans to remove themselves from future Terminator films entirely. I'm not kidding. It didn't bother me very much, but I don't think the decision was necessary. It almost seems like the story has a sociopolitical agenda.
Ultimately, I believe Dark Fate is an entertaining popcorn flick that's worth seeing in theaters. You don't even need to see the other Terminator movies ahead of time. This one will catch you up to the timeline. It might be better if you don't see it in IMAX because the VFX aren't great. Granted, it won't be playing in IMAX theaters anymore. I believe this film will be controversial for the original fanbase, but that was the director's choice.
Let's move on to Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining by Stephen King. It's been several years since Danny Torrance escaped from the Overlook Hotel and its spectral residents. Now he's a troubled adult who's recovering from alcoholism, taking after his father's dark qualities. Dan tries to redeem his past mistakes by helping Abra Stone, a child who also has the supernatural shine or psychic abilities. She's a very powerful young lady who's being hunted by the True Knot, a wandering group of psychics who cannibalize on steam or the dying breath of other psychics to become immortal. Dan plans to stop the True Knot at all costs, even if everything must circle back to the Overlook Hotel.
This should be an easy film to review because I didn't like it very much. I can always talk about the negative parts. However, the True Knot is an effective group of villains. They're the best part of the movie without question. Rebecca Ferguson is creepy and evil as Rose the Hat, the True Knot's leader. She's cold, calculating, and downright sociopathic. People will underestimate Rose the Hat and the entire group because they just seem like a band of hippies. Her followers, such as Crow Daddy and Snakebite Andy, are excellent villains too. Their names are silly, but you won't be laughing because this group is ruthless and violent. Most films have a problem with their villains, but Doctor Sleep has the opposite issue.
Speaking of characters, the rest of the cast is pretty weak. I usually like Ewan McGregor, but he wasn't interesting as Dan Torrance. Poor writing is probably the main problem instead of McGregor's performance, but I was still disappointed. I didn't become attached to the other characters either. Kyliegh Curran is okay as Abra, but I connected better with other young characters in recent movies. Again, I don't blame her as an actress. There were other supporting characters, but I'm not even bothering to name them individually. Outside of the True Knot, the characters are bland and unmemorable. It's a far cry from Jack Nicholson's performance in The Shining.
The plot isn't remotely interesting in my opinion. I thought Doctor Sleep was a long, boring slog without scares. That's the truth. I can't remember a frightening moment in the entire movie. It doesn't even have a few good jump scares, let alone dread and tension. The story is straight forward, but it doesn't go anywhere that seems particularly fascinating. It doesn't have a strong connection with The Shining until the third act. I can't say it feels like a genuine sequel to either the novel by Stephen King or the film by Stanley Kubrick. This movie is two and half hours long for some reason. Truthfully, it needed to be an hour shorter.
I'm going to mention one more thing. This paragraph might have minor spoilers because it's hard to discuss this part without examples. Doctor Sleep has a lot of inconsistencies. For example, the True Knot drains psychics of their energy to live longer. Some of them are probably centuries old. Apparently, the ghosts in the Overlook Hotel also devour psychic energy. Granted, evil spirits were attracted to Danny in The Shinning as well. It's not unusual to hear about malevolent entities targeting people with psychic power, including poltergeists and demons. However, psychic energy makes people live longer in this canon. Why would ghosts need to live longer? They're already dead! Just don't think about anything. The movie will be more enjoyable if your mind is a blank slate the entire time.
Unfortunately, I can't recommend Doctor Sleep. It's a pretty weak film without any interesting elements. I doubt fans of The Shinning will enjoy it. This movie doesn't fit with The Shinning's tone, style, and overarching story very well. Wait for Knives Out or the next Star Wars film instead.
Midway is a war movie that begins with the destruction of Pearl Harbor at the hands of Japanese aviators in 1941. The film unfolds through a series of events and battles that show how the war in the Pacific affected both the United States and Japan during World War II. American fighter pilots risk lives in every battle and the audience gets an eye opening experience.
This movie isn't receiving a lot of appreciation from critics, I but actually enjoy it quite a bit. Midway has some technical issues, but it doesn't glorify war and the plot shows a good balance between the two sides. Nobody believes they're evil in warfare. Everyone sees themselves as heroes and their opponents are villains. It's a pretty interesting perspective. I've never served in the military before, but the events in this film seem very realistic. Weapons and technology were different back then. Aviators had to get really close to their enemies and it was a perilous experience. This film also showcases many historical figures who fought in the war, so it's kind of like an action movie and a biographical drama at the same time. I thought Midway was a nice mixture of history, storytelling, and cinematic action.
I believe some people will relate to this movie. It was based on true events and a ton of people were affected by the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States has a lot of veterans, including people who served recently. WWII was imprinted on many families and bloodlines. By the way, you don't have to live in a Red State or be a military veteran to enjoy this film. It's very accessible to general audiences.
Let's address the film's weaker elements. The characters are good, but the actors aren't very impressive. I wish this movie had a better director. Roland Emmerich directed Midway and some of you might remember him fondly as the person who created Independence Day. But he also directed a bad sequel to Independence Day, 2012, White House Down, 10,000 BC, and the terrible Godzilla film that was released in 1998. That's a subpar resume. Midway has talented actors, but I don't think the director worked with them enough to bring out their best attributes. This movie also has choppy film editing. The individual scenes are fine, but they don't flow through the story very well. Some characters disappear and you don't know if they lived or died. These technical issues don't help the pacing either. Periodically, the film seems kind of slow and then it picks up again.
I can't say the visual effects are great either. Evidently, none of the movies on this post invested in good CGI. The battle sequences are very exciting and realistic, but the scenery is really fake. It's kind of like a video game sometimes. Again, I don't think audiences will judge the film on the VFX. It has enough positive elements.
Should you bother to see this movie in theaters? I would say yes for many people. Obviously, you need to have an appreciation for war films. It's only PG-13, but I found it more realistic than some of the R rated ones. You need to have some patience as well. Some people don't enjoy long movies and Midway's runtime is more than two hours. However, I would label this film an excellent viewing in theaters. It's a really cool and interesting experience on the big screen. Check it out if you have time.
That's the end of my triple feature review. I'm planning to see Knives Out and The Rise of Skywalker in the near future. The next Jumanji film might be included, but I'm not sure. The trailers aren't convincing me yet. After that, I'll unroll my complete list of movies in 2019. Every year, I rank each film based on how well it spoke to me. Who will fall to the bottom of the list and who will reign supreme? You'll just have to find out. What were your favorite movies of the year so far? Did you have any huge disappointments? Tell me in the comment section. Thanks again and I'll see you guys next week. Have a good night!
Greetings! It's been a while since I had the opportunity to attend cosplay events. One of my nieces and I went to the Disneyland Hotel for a little outing. We had a really nice breakfast buffet at Goofy's Kitchen, strolled through Downtown Disney, attended the Fall Dapper Expo, and ended the afternoon with high tea at Steakhouse 55. I'll break down our trip with some photos. Check it out and have fun!
We actually enjoyed the buffet a lot. They have a huge selection and it was pretty tasty. Some of their items were too experimental for my taste, but at least the kitchen staff were creative. We also had pictures with Goofy and other Disney characters. It was a cool experience. I definitely recommend this buffet for families. The characters walk around and interact with the customers. Kids would also enjoy a lot of the food. When in doubt, you can always fall back on mac & cheese, pizza, and chicken strips. There's plenty of food for adults as well. Basically, the buffet is a fancy brunch with breakfast and lunch selections. The service was really good and that's always a plus. If you want to try Goofy's Kitchen, make reservations and be prepared to spend a pretty penny. It's not cheap, although Disney is notorious for being expensive.
We walked through Downtown Disney to kill some time before the Expo opened. Downtown Disney has changed a lot since I visited a few years ago. They removed a few restaurants, including ESPN Zone and Rainforest Cafe. I also noticed the Build A Bear and model car places were gone along with the AMC theater. But it's fine because they still have many options. We checked out an art shop and the World of Disney store. Some of their restaurants look pretty good too, but we simply weren't hungry.
The Dapper Day Expo opened at 11:00 a.m. for early ticket holders. Honestly, it wasn't a particularly impressive showing. Vendors didn't have as much merchandise, I didn't see any classic cars on display, and the event seemed a little bit scaled down for some reason. However, the Expo still had some positive elements. I bought a couple hats and my niece found some jewelry. They had a live band, photo ops, and a bar. We still got our money's worth.
I'll tell you about a few vendors. Loungefly is one of my favorite exhibitors. They sell really cute mini backpacks. I have the Captain Marvel bag and my niece has one with a Beauty and the Beast theme. You can find their merchandise on www.loungefly.com or Amazon, Box Lunch, the Disney Shop, and other major retailers. Feel free to look up Loungefly on Twitter or Instagram as well.
Luckily, I found a really nice hat exhibitor. Sidewalk Fashion Hats sells all kinds of dapper hats at various prices. I bought magenta and white straw hats. They're a lot better than my cheap costume fedora. You can buy fedoras and thematic hats like steampunk, cowboy, panama, tea party, and more. Apparently, this retailer is from Lakewood, California and that's good because I live near the area. I should visit their store one of these days. You can find out more info about Sidewalk Fashion Hats on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Yelp.
I took photos of vintage typewriters for the sake of novelty. Most writers use computers and tablets nowadays, but the typewriter was the precursor to these tools. The Typewriter Guys sell vintage typewriters and they actually work. I don't have the patience for old fashioned typewriters, but some authors might appreciate a vintage writing experience. You can find out more information on Instagram and www.typewriterguys.com.
Audrey K is one of the better clothing vendors at the Dapper Day Expo. A lot of the exhibitors have high quality material, but Audrey K has more variety. If you want to make a retro costume, they might be a good option. Check them out on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and www.audreyk.com.
Finally, we had afternoon tea at the Disneyland Hotel's steakhouse. It was a really cool experience. We lucked out because Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. So, our high tea had a Haunted Mansion theme. It was super cute. We had the option of unlimited tea, both hot and iced.
I started with the Princess Breakfast tea, which seems to be an English breakfast tea that's infused with vanilla and strawberries. Later, I tried the super fruity tea. Our server gave me a cup of ice, so I could try it both hot and cold. It was really good; almost like a passion tea. My niece started with the Had Matters Tea Party, which has flowers, passion fruit, and pomegranate. She also tried the Lemon Sorbetti tea, which was pretty mild, but okay for lemon fans.
We had a couple of delicious scones with homemade strawberry jam, Devonshire cream, and a lime spread. Then we had the tea sandwiches, which were quite inventive. We were sold on two out of four sandwiches. The salami sandwich was savory and we also enjoyed the ham with cucumber. However, there was a tombstone shaped sandwich with beef and blue cheese. We're definitely not fans of blue cheese. There was also a sandwich with beets, resembling a human heart. It was cute, but we don't like beets either. However, I'm sure many people would enjoy both of those sandwiches.
The Haunted Mansion desserts were last. We had red velvet cake pops, chocolate macaroons with the three hitchhiking ghosts, chocolate covered strawberries that looked like ghosts, and a layered mousse treat topped with a confection of Madame Leota. Some of you might remember her as the floating head inside the crystal ball. We were pretty stuffed when all was said and done. By the way, reservations are competitive and it's not cheap. But the afternoon is worth the money for a special occasion.
All right! That's the end of today's post. We had a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to another Dapper Expo next year. 2019 is almost done, but I still have plenty of topics to cover. Leave a comment if you have anything to say and I'll see you guys next week. Bye!
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