Friday, June 2, 2023

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

 
 

Streaming Service: STARZ
Movie Name/Year: Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Length:  2h 4min
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Columbia Pictures, BRON Studios, Ghostcorps, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Montecito Picture Company, Sony Pictures España, Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing Canada, Sony Pictures Releasing International, Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: Jason Reitman
Writers: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis
Actors: Annie Potts, Bill Murray, Bokeem Woodbine, Caillou Pettis, Carrie Coon, Celeste O'Connor, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Marlon Kazadi, Mckenna Grace, Oliver Cooper, Paul Rudd, Sigourney Weaver
 
IMDb Blurb: When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.
 

Selina’s Point of View:
I grew up on Ghostbusters (1984). I was only 1-year-old when it came out, so I don’t know when I first saw it, but I know it was early in life. Nothing was ever going to live up to the original Ghostbusters. I didn’t go into this thinking anything would. Still, Ghostbusters: Afterlife was the absolute best they could have done.
 
Ghostbusters: Afterlife had all the nostalgia that fans of the original series could hope for, including cameos from the majority of the original cast. They even had Harold Ramis (Stripes, Groundhog Day, Orange County) represented. You can’t really blame them for not getting Rick Moranis (Little Shop of Horrors, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Brother Bear), though. He left acting to be a full-time dad after the death of his wife. (As a side note: He’s talking about getting back into it now that they’re grown.)
 
Those ‘member berries alone would have floated Ghostbusters: Afterlife. They could have left it at that, and people would have watched. Especially Millennials and Gen Xers. But the creative team didn’t rest there.
 
 
There was a lot to the story. On top of that, the group of actors chosen to take over the reins was well-cast.
 
Finn Wolfhard (The Addams Family, The Turning, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio) is a no-brainer. As one of the kids from Stranger Things, he’s not going to have any trouble getting work. For good reason. On the same note, Paul Rudd (The Fundamentals of Caring, Mute, The Bob's Burgers Movie) was as good as expected. There was no way he was going to flub this performance. He was practically born to play any kind of weird fan-boy part. And I mean that in the best way.
 
Carrie Coon (Fargo, The Nest, Boston Strangler) acted with the ability of someone with a household name. I never questioned any of her scenes. While Logan Kim’s (Home Movie: The Princess Bride) performance reminded me of Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stranger Things) as Mikey in The Goonies (1985). I don’t say that lightly. His mannerisms felt inspired by that 80s classic. Mckenna Grace (The Handmaid's Tale, Spirit & Friends, Crater) was the shining star, though. She absolutely transformed into her character. I know her from other works, and I didn’t place her at all. I love it when an actor can cause that effect.
 
Ghostbusters: Afterlife was all the fun it was meant to be. If you stick around for the mid, and post, credit scenes – it’s even more so. If they make more in the series, I hope they continue from here. We can forget the remake.
 
 
Cat’s Point of View:
I absolutely adore the Ghostbusters (1984) franchise. All of it. Watching the original in theaters when I was little was one of my earliest handful of magical theater experiences. I even loved the short-lived cartoon series. (I’m pretty giddy that there’s allegedly another animated series in development, too.) I even have a few of the Ghostbusters comics that were in the same artistic style as the existing cartoon series. I digress…

My point is that this particular IP holds a special nostalgic place in my heart. I will always give something with the Ghostbusters label a chance and hope for the best. Though, after the slight disappointment with the non-primary-canon gender twist installment in the franchise, and the passing of beloved key people, I wondered if it would be possible for Ghostbusters to make a real theatrical comeback. Then I saw the teasers for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and I swear I got chills.  

There was the OG Ecto-1 sitting in a field. I had to know more. 
 

Then, as time went on and I learned that this new movie was helmed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Tully), son of late and great Ivan Reitman (1946-2022) who brought us the original. Further, Dan Aykroyd (Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, Get On Up, Hotel Paranormal) was on the writing team. I had faith that this new installment was going to be more grounded in the legacy of the movies we all love from yesteryear. 

I wasn’t disappointed. 

My only worry, really, was how they were going to handle the passing of Harold Ramis (1944-2014), who played the iconic Dr. Egon Spengler. His character was so central to making the team work - he was their tech guy and the straight-laced no-nonsense heart of the ensemble. The sequel that we had all hoped for over the years seemed out of reach after both Ramis and Reitman were lost. 
 

Well, I can tell you that you can put those worries aside. Ghostbusters: Afterlife handled this tastefully with great respect to both, and with the surviving family’s blessing. Their spirits were alive and well within this continuation of the original story. This was a heartfelt tribute to them as well as a torch-passing.

I cried. So much crying. 

Without dwelling further on the past, let’s get on to discussing more of this actual movie. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife was the perfect vehicle to bring these stories forward into a new era. It built from the existing story and seamlessly incorporated a new generation into the fold with Spengler’s estranged family. Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, and especially Mckenna Grace were well cast in those roles. Grace and her character’s buddy Podcast, played by Logan Kim, were my favorites. 
 

In fact, the cast was fairly stacked with talented up-and-comers such as Celeste O'Connor (Freaky, The In Between, A Good Person) as well as well-known veterans like Paul Rudd. Let me tell you - if I had ever had to do summer school, I would have hoped a teacher as cool as Rudd’s character would have been running it. I digress…

It’s hard for me to really sing the praises of the story or get into much detail because I don’t want to spoil anything. There were so many moments where I gasped with recognition and glee as a new piece to the puzzle was put into place. 

There were callbacks to the original movies while at the same time, there were new and updated experiences for modern audiences to appreciate. 
 
 

The effects were as good as expected, if not better; and the location was utilized well. It was strange not seeing the backdrop of the big city - but there was a point. 

To sum up - if you love the Ghostbusters franchise, definitely give Ghostbusters: Afterlife a chance. Just keep some tissues handy. For those who haven’t partaken of this particular storyline before - don’t worry, there’s some recap built-in with this narrative so you won’t be lost. Further, my message is: don’t let alternate reality lampoons turn you off of this IP as a whole. I’ve already watched Ghostbusters: Afterlife several times - and I can see myself watching it again easily while I am impatiently awaiting the next installment. 
 
 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 63%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 94%
Metascore – 45%
Metacritic User Score –7.7 /10
IMDB Score – 7.1/10
 
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5

P.S. - There are mid and post-credits scenes. 
 
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In June (2023)

According to: Selina
 
 
20 – Taz: Quest For Burger (6/6)
 

Production/Distribution: Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Director: Ryan Kramer
Writer: Bryan Condon
Actors: Steve Blum, Hadley Gannaway, Eric Bauza, Ian James Corlett, Ely Henry
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: After an outlaw abducts her father and steals her town's food supply, a feisty adolescent bandicoot named Quinn recruits the Tasmanian Devil to help her find the thief. Taz may be an ill-tempered rogue with a fearsome reputation, but he and Quinn will have to work together to track the criminal through the wilds of Tasmania and save her community.
 
The new animation style first Taz, along with his talking makes me twitch a little bit. Never-the-less, I love me some Tasmanian Devil. I loved him when I was a kid and now that my Uncle lives in Tasmania I love it a little more. Feels like a connection to him.
 
We all have that personal TV show or movie that we will go to see regardless of what the trailers look like. Taz: Quest for Burger is mine.
 
19 – The Perfect Find (6/23)
 

Production/Distribution: Confluential Films, AGC Studios, I’ll Have Another, Netflix
Director: Numa Perrier
Writer: Leigh Davenport, Tia Williams
Actors: Gina Torres, D.B. Woodside, Gabrielle Union, Aisha Hinds, La La Anthony, Tyler Antonius, Janet Hubert, Keith Powers, Devale Ellis
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 39min
 
IMDb Blurb: After a high-profile firing, Jenna's fashion career comeback hits a snag when she falls for a charming, much younger coworker - who happens to be her boss's son. As sparks fly, Jenna must decide if she'll risk it all on a secret romance.
 
The Perfect Find hits me with a splash of nostalgia, even though it’s not a remake or based on anything (that I know of). It’s the feel of it that gives me the ‘member berries.
 
I’m a child of the early 80s. By the time the 90s rolled around I was watching romantic comedies, and The Perfect Find feels like it harkens back to that age of rom-com. I think back to stuff like As Good as it Gets (1997), not in story of course just in the feel of it.
 
My one issue is that I think it’s going to go the way of having the woman give up her job for the guy, which is not a trope I think should still be making the rounds.  
 
18 – Shooting Stars (6/2)
 

Production/Distribution: Cold Front Productions, SpringHill Entertainment, Tangerine Pictures, Universal Pictures, Peacock
Director: Chris Robinson
Writer: Frank E. Flowers, Tony Rettenmaier, Juel Taylor, LeBron James, Buzz Bissinger
Actors: Dermot Mulroney, Wood Harris, Caleb McLaughlin, LeBron James, Algee Smith, Natalie Paul
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: A look at the young life of basketball star LeBron James. Feature film adaptation of LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger's book 'Shooting Stars'.
 
I’m not a fan of basketball. Still, I support the idea of taking an auto-biography and turning it into a full-on Drama, instead of presenting it as a documentary.
 
If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, then you know that neither of us are fans of documentaries. We both have ADHD and we find that most documentary formats bore us so much that we can’t finish the films. Even if we’re interested in the topic. Our brain chemistry just doesn’t work for it.
 
As a drama, though, it’s a lot more likely that we’re going to learn the history of the players being featured. Even if it does stretch the truth in a couple of places to make it more interesting to watch.
 
I think this should be done more often.
 
17 – Esme, My Love (6/2)
 

Production/Distribution: Silver Sound, Terror Films
Director: Cory Choy
Writer: Laura Allen, Cory Choy
Actors: Audrey Grace Marshall, Stacey Weckstein
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 45min
 
IMDb Blurb: When Hannah notices the symptoms of a terminal and painful illness in her aloof daughter, Esme, she decides to take her on a trip to their abandoned family farm in a desperate attempt to connect before they have to say goodbye.
 
I’m not completely sure where Esme, My Love is going to go, but I am sure there with be a lot of psychological thrills. Maybe it will touch of Munchausen syndrome – that’s my best guess anyway. What draws me to the flick is just how creepy the trailer is.
 
It left just enough in the dark for me to really want to know more.
 
16 – Koko: A Red Dog Story (6/2)
 

Production/Distribution: Good Dog Enterprises, Screen Australia, ScreenWest, Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Aaron McCann, Dominic Pearce
Writer: Aaron McCann, Dominic Pearce, Nelson Woss
Actors: Jason Isaacs, Sarah Woods, Toby Truslove, Felix Williamson, Verity James, Hero, Tucka, Dodge, Kya, Rufus, Sally
Genre: Biography, Comedy
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 18min
 
IMDb Blurb: An ordinary dog, whose good fortune and ability to connect with people, catapults him to fame.
 
This dog flick seems to lean more comedy than emotional. That in itself is weird. Most animal movies that come out from month to month are heartfelt – even sad at the end. I don’t think that’s what we’re getting from Koko: A Red Dog Story.
 
Koko: A Red Dog Story looks hilarious and fun, with just a touch of emotion. I can’t put it any higher than this, though, because I suspect one of the dogs in the flick dies a horrific death for laughs and I just don’t see that working for me.
 
15 – Past Lives (6/2)
 

Production/Distribution: 2AM, A24, CJ ENM Co., CJ Entertainment, Killer Films
Director: Celine Song
Writer: Celine Song
Actors: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro, Moon Seung-ah, Leem Seung-min
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 46min
 
IMDb Blurb: Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrest apart after Nora's family emigrates from South Korea. 20 years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny.
 
Past Lives seems to be a sweet, philosophical story of two childhood friends and who they become. Woven into that is a tale of ‘what if’. I think everyone has that question about something, whether it be a lover, a job, a move… some choice that had more than one option. Past Lives delves into that.
 
What would have happened?
 
I’m not entirely sure where it will go, and I like that.
 
14 – Quicksand (6/23)
 
 
Production/Distribution: Dawn’s Light, Elemental Stories, Sangre Films, Two Twenty Two Pictures, AMC+, Shudder
Director: Andres Beltran
Writer: Matt Pitts
Actors: Allan Hawco, Carolina Gaitan, Sebastian Eslava, Andrés Castañeda
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown Length
 
IMDb Blurb: Follows a married couple almost divorcing who become trapped in quicksand while hiking through a rainforest in Colombia. They will battle the elements of the jungle and must work together in order to survive.
 
Did anyone else who grew up in the 80s expect quicksand to be more of a threat than it actually is? All our movies and shows utilized it. The Neverending Story (1984) down-right traumatized us with it. Finally, we have a horror movie that is based completely on it.
 
Quicksand looks interesting and claustrophobic – despite the fact that it takes place outside. I find that to be an intriguing effect. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with it.
 
13 – Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (6/30)
 

Production/Distribution: DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures
Director: Kirk DeMicco, Faryn Pearl
Writer: Pam Brady, Kirk DeMicco, Elliott DiGuiseppi, Brian C. Brown
Actors: Toni Collette, Jane Fonda, Ramona Young, Sam Richardson, Lana Condor, Annie Murphy, Colman Domingo, Will Forte, Liza Koshy
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 30min
 
IMDb Blurb: A shy adolescent learns that she comes from a fabled royal family of legendary sea krakens and that her destiny lies in the depths of the waters, which is bigger than she could have ever imagined.
 
The feeling of Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken makes me think back to Turning Red (2022). I suspect it will be pretty similar, in both story and humor. The changing of the teenager into her proper Kraken form is a lot like Mae turning into her red panda. The humor still borders on teenage cringe, also, though most coming-of-age comedies do.
 
It’s a little light on originality, but I do love it when Dreamworks and Disney pit themselves against each other. We get a lot of decent movies that way. Either Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken or Turning Red will come out on top, and history will likely forget the other one.
 
I’m interested in watching the contest play out.
 
12 – The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster (6/9)
 

Production/Distribution: Crypt TV, CAA Media Finance
Director: Bomani J. Story
Writer: Bomani J. Story
Actors: Chad L. Coleman, Laya DeLeon Hayes, Denzel, Whitaker, Reilly Brooke Stith, Beth Felice, Edem Atsu-Swanzy, Amani Summer
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 31min
 
IMDb Blurb: It tells the story of teenage anti-hero, Vicaria, who is on a desperate quest to cure death.
 
There have been plenty of retellings of Frankenstein. It’s been done in TV shows, books, movies, and any other media possible. But there’s a good reason for that.
 
The idea of convincing someone that they’re a monster is still relevant today. As unfortunate as it is. And I think The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster’s interpretation of that story is rooted in some of that. It looks terrifying and on topic for today’s social climate.
 
I’m going to be watching it as soon as I can.
 
11 – Peppergrass (6/16)
 

Production/Distribution: BLS Productions, Barbet Films
Director: Steven Garbas, Chantelle Han
Writer: Steven Garbas, Philip Irwin
Actors: Chantelle Han, Charles Boyland, Michael Copeman, Philip Williams, Craig Porritt
Genre: Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 34min
 
IMDb Blurb: During a pandemic, a pregnant restaurateur tries to rob a priceless truffle from a reclusive veteran.
 
I know this movie has a lot to live up to. The last film to come out that was anything like it was Pig (2021), and that has gotten some insane reviews. It’s going to be difficult for fans of the Nic Cage (Renfield, The Old Way, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent) flick to not compare and contrast.
 
The biggest difference is not the POV, but that Peppergrass seems to have the slightest edge of comedic relief to it – which Pig did not have. I’m hoping that’s enough of a difference to keep Peppergrass from existing in its shadow.
 
The truth of the matter is that the trailer looks great. I expect to be scared by the film. I have high hopes.
 
 
10 – The Boogeyman (6/2)
 

Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, 21 Laps Entertainment, NeoReel, Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Hulu
Director: Rob Savage
Writer: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, Mark Heyman, Stephen King
Actors: Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, David Dastmalchian, Marin Ireland, Vivien Lyra Blair, LisaGay Hamilton, Maddie Nichols, Madison Hu, Daniel Hagen, Mabel Tyler
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 38min
 
IMDb Blurb: Adaptation of Stephen King's 'The Boogeyman'.
 
It’s important to note that this version of The Boogeyman is a new adaptation of Stephen King’s (Firestarter, Carrie, Children of the Corn) story. It is NOT a remake of any of the previous movie versions. That matters because it’s likely not going to have some of the more questionable tweaks to the story that the other flicks had.
 
At least, that’s the hope.
 
The trailer looks good. There was even a part that caught me enough to make me flinch in my seat. I expect some jump scares, like the one that got me, but I also expect there’s be a lot of psychological thrills as well.
 
It should be worth the watch for horror fans.
 
9 – The Blackening (6/16)
 
 
Production/Distribution: Catchlight Studios, Lionsgate, MRC Film, Media Rights Capital, The Story Company
Director: Tim Story
Writer: Tracy Oliver, Dewayne Perkins
Actors: Antoinette Robertson, Dewayne Perkins, Sinqua Walls, Grace Byers, X Mayo, Melvin Gregg, Jermaine Fowler, Yvonne Orji, Jay Pharoah, James Preston Rogers
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 1h 36min
 
IMDb Blurb: Seven black friends who go away for the weekend only to find themselves trapped in a cabin with a killer who has a vendetta. Will their street smarts and knowledge of horror movies help them stay alive? Probably not.
 
I’ve been seeing trailers for this film for a while, and I love it.
 
Meta movies really do it for me. Any flick that makes fun of the tropes without going full parody is one that I want to see. One of my favorite horror movies, after all, is The Cabin in the Woods (2011).
 
The Blackening looks hilarious, without going full stupid. More caricature than parody.  I can’t wait to see how it goes.
 
8 – Extraction 2 (6/9)
 

Production/Distribution: AGBO, Filmhaus Films, Netflix, Stillking Films, T.G.I.M Films, Wild State
Director: Sam Hargrave
Writer: Joe Russo
Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Olga Kurylenko, Golshifteh Farahani, Daniel Bernhardt, Tako Tabatadze, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Adam Bessa, Justin Howell
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 2h 2min
 
IMDb Blurb: After barely surviving his grievous wounds from his mission in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tyler Rake is back, and his team is ready to take on their next mission.
 
The first Extraction (2020) was a whole lot of fun. As good as Chris Hemsworth (Avengers: Endgame, Bad Times at the El Royale, 12 Strong) was as the main character, I attribute the success of the film to Sam Hargrave (Avengers: Infinity War, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Atomic Blonde).
 
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: When someone in stunts is given the reigns to direct action films they have the capacity to do better than just about anyone. No one on set knows how to push the limits of human capabilities better than a stunt person. And Sam Hargrave has a long and successful stunt history.
 
It’s because of him that we got shots in Extraction like the one where the camera jumped off a roof with the characters. We got that because he strapped that equipment onto his own body and did the stunt himself.
 
Hargrave delivered intense action sequences better than the majority of action films coming out at the same time. He didn’t ask his stunt people to do anything he wasn’t willing to do himself, and he was on top of the safety game. It is because of him that Hemsworth looked as cool as he did in his part as Tyler Rake.
 
Now we have a sequel, and I am still going to put my money on Sam Hargrave. I don’t like Netflix right now any more than anyone else, so I can’t put this film any higher on my list. Rest assured, if it was coming out anywhere else, though, it would be.
 
7 – The Secret Kingdom (6/9)
 

Production/Distribution: Hive Studios Australia, Little Monster Productions, Signature Entertainment
Director: Matt Drummond
Writer: Matt Drummond
Actors: Alyla Browne, Alice Parkinson, Christopher Gabardi, Sam Everingham, Darius Williams, Beth Champion, Gabrielle Chan, Rowland Holmes
Genre: Adventure, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 38min
 
IMDb Blurb: Story of anxious Peter (12) and his sister Verity (9), taken underground by a garrison of armoured pangolin.
 
The Secret Kingdom seems like a wonderfully epic kid’s tale. It features dragons, fantastic locations and an army of armored pangolins. There’s a little something for every kid type. It’s even got a decent run-time without being too long for tiny attention spans.
 
It definitely has some lower budget qualities to it. You see it most clearly in the trailer scenes featuring the dragon. Of course, that could have been added to the coming attractions before they finished it up in editing. That’s not unheard of. Either way, I don’t think the young ones the film is geared toward will care all that much.
 
Quite frankly, if the story is good enough, neither will I.
 
6 – Heroes of the Golden Mask (6/9)
 

Production/Distribution: Arcana Studio, CG Bros Entertainment, Trigger Music, Fox VFX Labs, Heroes of the Golden Mask Films
Director: Sean Patrick O’Reilly
Writer: Xiaoming Yao, John Wilson, Dennis Edwards, Jim Kammerud, Jacob Semans, Brian Smith, Richard Lasser, Chris Wyatt, Merrill Hagan, Benjamin Townsend, Sean Patrick O'Reilly, Brandon Violette, Jacob Fox, Patrick Rieger
Actors: Ron Perlman, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Patton Oswalt, Christopher Plummer, Byron Mann, Osric Chau, Kiefer O’Reilly, Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Zeus Mendoza, Kingston Chan, King Lau
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: Unrated
Length: Unknown Length
 
IMDb Blurb: Charlie, a wise-cracking, homeless, American orphan is magically transported to the ancient Chinese kingdom of Sanxingdui, where a colorful team of superheroes need his help to defend the city from a brutal conqueror. Charlie joins the heroes, and secretly schemes to steal the priceless golden masks that grant them their powers.
 
Heroes of the Golden Mask is beautiful and seems intense. Not unlike a Kung Fu Panda (2008) film. Almost surprising in that way. Story-wise it reminds me of The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) – which is a movie I really liked. It starred both Jackie Chan (The Karate Kid, The Medallion, Namiya) and Jet Li (Mulan, The Expendables, The Warlords) – which says a lot.
 
It’s not the worst comparison that could be made.
 
I think Heroes of the Golden Mask has a lot of potential. It could wind up being one of those flicks that kids like, but that adults will as well.
 
5 – Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (6/9)
 

Production/Distribution: Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, New Republic Pictures, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Bay Films, Entertainment One, Allspark Pictures, Hasbro
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Writer: Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber
Actors: Michelle Yeoh, Pete Davidson, Colman Domingo, Peter Dinklage, Cristo Fernández, Ron Perlman, Anthony Ramos, Peter Cullen
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 57min
 
IMDb Blurb: Plot unknown. Reportedly based on the 'Transformers' spinoff 'Beast Wars' which feature robots that transform into robotic animals.
 
I have a love-hate relationship with the Transformer films. I really liked the first one, then I somewhat enjoyed the next two. After 4 and 5 I gave up all hope. Especially since one of them – for the life of me I can’t remember which – literally copied and pasted a whole section of script from the first flick. There was one part of the dialogue that was word-for-word the same. As a result, I’ll admit, I haven’t even seen Bumblebee (2018).
 
A lot of people I trust have told me that Bumblebee was different. That the profit-over-substance hand of Michael Bay (6 Underground, Pain & Gain, Pearl Harbor) was no longer evident, even though he was still credited as a producer. I want to believe them, and the numbers do back them up.
 
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts does look more like Bumblebee than Age of Extinction (2014). As a result, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.
 
Besides, I really do love Anthony Ramos (In the Heights, Hamilton, A Star is Born) as an actor.
 
I’m cautiously optimistic.
 
4 – Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (6/30)
 

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures, Lucasfilm, Paramount Pictures, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Paramount+, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp, James Mangold
Actors: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Boyd Holbrook, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, Toby Jones
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 22min
 
IMDb Blurb: Archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary artifact that can change the course of history.
 
I love the Indian Jones flicks of the past, but the newer ones don’t really scratch the Indie itch for me. That said, I can’t say the trailer for this one doesn’t instill enough nostalgia for me to try again.
 
Cat is more of an Indiana Jones fanatic than I am. And that’s why I’m giving Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny the benefit of the doubt. I can only hope it will be everything the fans – past and present – are hoping to get from it.
 
3 – Asteroid City (6/13)
 

Production/Distribution: Focus Features, Indian Paintbrush, American Empirical Pictures
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Actors: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Lieve Schreiber, Hope Davis, Steve park, Rupert Friends, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Jake Ryan, Tony Revolori, Jeff Goldblum
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 44min
 
IMDb Blurb: The itinerary of a Junior Stargazer convention is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.
 
Wes Anderson (The French Dispatch, Isle of Dogs, The Grand Budapest Hotel) is a good enough reason to be looking forward to any film. There’s something so satisfying about the symmetry in his cinematography. The bright colors. The other-worldly nature of his story telling. And you know I’m a sucker for dialogue that includes fun banter.
 
Asteroid City seems to have all of that. On top of which there’s a cast unlike any other we will see this month. It’s not even like there’s just one or two people involved that draw eyes, they ALL do. If you don’t like one of them, you probably like another 20.
 
I understand that not all casual movie-goers enjoy Anderson. He can be a bit too artsy and clean for them. But if you are a fan, this is going to be a must-see.
 
2 – Elemental (6/16)
 

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+
Director: Peter Sohn
Writer: John Hoberg, Kat Likkel, Brenda Hsueh, Peter Sohn
Actors: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie Del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 43min
 
IMDb Blurb: Follows Ember and Wade, in a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together.
 
Pixar is one of those studios that only ever puts out movies that are worth paying attention to. You can’t even make a top 10 worst Pixar movie list without going into films that have 60 and 70 percentiles on Rotten Tomatoes. That makes Elemental a safe choice if you want a guaranteed good flick to spend your $20 movie ticket on.
 
I, personally, do not love the style of animation they opted to go for with Elementals, but everything else in the trailer looks amazing. I’m pretty sure I’ll get over my one ick while I’m actually watching the film.
 
Which I will be doing.
 
1 – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (6/2)
 

Production/Distribution: Sony Pictures Animation, Marvel Entertainment, Arad Productions, Lord Miller, Pascal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Columbia Pictures, Disney+
Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Writer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dave Callaham, Stan Lee
Actors: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Rachel Dratch, Jason Schwartzman, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Samberg, Shea Whigham, Amandla Stenberg, Karan Soni, Jorma Taccone
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG
Length: 2h 20min
 
IMDb Blurb: Miles Morales catapults across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles must redefine what it means to be a hero.
 
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018) was – objectively – one of the best non-anime animated films ever made. Anyone who saw it loved it, or – at the very least – respected it. Everything from the animation style to the story was absolutely perfect.
 
Across the Spider-Verse had to contend with Covid during its creation. That said, it has the same animation style, with returning writer Phil Lord (Clone High, The Mitchells vs the Machines, The Lego Movie), and a returning cast that includes people like Shameik Moore (Dope, Samaritan, The Get Down), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, The Edge of Seventeen, Pitch Perfect 3), Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk, Bullet Train, Widows), Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina, Moon Knight, Dune) and Jake Johnson (New Girl, Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World).
 
On top of that we’re getting some all-star additions to that cast. Those include Issa Rae (Insecure, The Lovebirds, The Photograph), Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther, Judas and the Black Messiah), and Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games, The Hate You Give, Bodies Bodies Bodies) – but there is a whole host of others.
 
It is true that there are a few different writers, and completely different directors. Never-the-less, I can’t help but look forward to this sequel. It has big shoes to fill, but I’m thinking it’ll meet the challenge.
 
I can’t wait.
 
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
 
Taz: Quest for Burger .20
Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story .19
Shooting Stars .18
Peppergrass .17
The Blackening .16
Esme My Love .15
Koko: A Red Dog Story .14
Heroes of the Golden Mask .13
Quicksand .12
Brooklyn 45 .11
The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster .10
 Extraction 2 .9
The Secret Kingdom .8
Ruby Gilman, Teenage Kraken .7
Asteroid City .6
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts .5
The Boogeyman .4
Elemental .3
Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse .2
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny .1
 
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