BlacKkKlansman (Film/Movie Review) – A Must-See Story

BlacKkKlansman is a biographical drama directed by Spike Lee which is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman that was written by Ron Stallworth. John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth alongside a cast of Alec Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Corey Hawkins, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier and Adam Driver.

The story of the film takes place in Colorado Springs in the late 1970s and follows Ron Stallworth. Stallworth is the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department. He decides to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

My Expectations For BlacKkKlansman

Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and Inside Man are Spike Lee joints that a lot of film fans, myself included, hold in high regard. However, one could make a strong argument that, since Inside Man, Spike Lee has released a number of films that have not hit the same level of quality as those aforementioned movies.

This is why I was delighted when many film critics, who have a much stronger grasp on Spike Lee’s filmography than I do, stated that BlacKkKlansman was one of Spike Lee’s best directorial efforts in years. The reviews for BlacKkKlansman have been so good that it made me believe that I could potentially watch a contender for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars. I was really looking forward to see this movie so I could find out whether this would be the case.

If BlacKkKlansman was good enough to be an awards contender in my eyes, then it had a chance of eclipsing Malcolm X as being the best Spike Lee joint I have seen so far. Moreover, seeing if John David Washington could continue what his father, Denzel Washington, brilliantly established with Spike Lee decades ago when it came to a collaborative relationship would be fascinating to see.

Additionally, Adam Driver is, of course, going to draw me into any movie he is in given his quality as an actor. I had high hopes for BlacKkKlansman and I was confident that a powerful and timely story would be told with this movie.

My Thoughts On BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman is a film that everyone needs to see. This is great work by Spike Lee. While it slightly suffers from slow pacing and, in turn, does not have the huge rewatchability of Malcolm X or Inside Man, it absolutely has the similar power and impact of Do The Right Thing at various times throughout its running time.

One of the big strengths of the movie is how it is able to seamlessly blend comedy and drama. Still, while there is humour in BlacKkKlansman, I was not laughing out loud because I treated this film very seriously due to its significant social and political messages/themes which were deeply embedded in its story.

I can definitely see BlacKkKlansman being a contender at the 2019 Oscars in categories such as Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. It may also get some attention for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor. Certainly, Adam Driver delivers, as he always does, a great performance and John David Washington, based on this film alone, is a natural when it comes to acting, like his father.

I also believe that thanks to the incredibly powerful ending, BlacKkKlansman will stay with the people who see it for a long time and it should do because this film is important. The larger the amount of people who see this movie, the better. With that in mind, I urge you to see BlacKkKlansman as soon as you can. I do not believe that any film which has come out so far in 2018 has been more relevant and timelier to see as this great Spike Lee joint.

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Ant-Man and the Wasp (Film Review) – An Enjoyable MCU Movie

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a superhero film directed by Peyton Reed and it is a sequel to Ant-Man. It is also the twentieth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Paul Rudd reprises his role as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Evangeline Lily reprises her role as Hope van Dyne/Wasp. Michelle Pfeiffer, Randall Park, Laurence Fishburne, Abby Ryder Fortson, Hannah John-Kamen, Michael Douglas, David Dastmalchian, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Bobby Cannavale, Walton Goggins, Judy Greer and Michael Peña round out the rest of the cast for this movie.

The story of Ant-Man and the Wasp is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and focuses on the duo of Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne/Wasp. They are working with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, to retrieve Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp, from the Quantum Realm.

My Expectation For Ant-Man and the Wasp

For many years, I was just a casual fan of the MCU. I liked the franchise, but I did not have a deep love for it like a lot of other people did because I never read any Marvel comic books. As such, I never had a lot of attachment for the characters in the MCU which prevented me from liking the films in this franchise to a greater extent than I did. However, recent films such as Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War have really made me a bigger fan of the MCU than I ever have been before.

Certainly, I would have usually ignored a film like Ant-Man and the Wasp but I do not have this mentality anymore. In fact, I went back to watch Ant-Man for the first time as preparation for this sequel. I really liked Ant-Man. It is not the best movie in the MCU but there is a lot to like in it. Corey Stoll as the villain is not one of those things, but there is a lot to like in Ant-Man. The humour, action, visuals and performances by Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Peña and particularly Michael Douglas are great aspects of that movie.

Quantum Realm Ant-Man and the Wasp

As a film that is coming off the brilliance of Avengers: Infinity War, my hopes for Ant-Man and the Wasp were raised but I was not expecting this to be a top tier MCU movie. Instead, all I was hoping was for Ant-Man and the Wasp to maintain the quality of what made Ant-Man so entertaining while improving on its weaker aspect; the villain. I was also interested to see how the events of Avengers: Infinity War would play into this film.

My Thoughts On Ant-Man and the Wasp

Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp is an enjoyable film. However, if I had to choose between the two, I do slightly prefer Ant-Man. One thing that this film considerably improves over the original is the villain. This was not an especially hard thing to do but I liked how Ava/Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) had a more relatable and personable motivation for her actions than Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross/Yellowjacket. Ghost is not one of the best MCU villains by any means though.

Hannah John-Kamen as Ava/Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp

Moreover, I would contest that some of the strongest aspects of Ant-Man are a little bit weaker in this movie. While the performances from the returning cast, as well as the humour in Ant-Man and the Wasp, are still at the same level of quality as they were in Ant-Man, the action and visuals in this film are slightly worse. Ant-Man and the Wasp also has worse pacing than Ant-Man. This movie did not flow as well as the first and some parts felt quite sluggish.

The core story in Ant-Man and the Wasp is what you expect from where the first film left off and it is good. But, it is not as compelling as the story in Ant-Man and it is a bit disposable when you think of the larger narrative being told in the MCU right now. However, Ant-Man and the Wasp absolutely works as a palette cleanser for the serious and heavy Avengers: Infinity War and, once again, the de-aging technology is outstanding. I love this technology as it opens new doors when it comes to storytelling not just in the MCU but for any film.

Evangeline Lily as Wasp and Paul Rudd as Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp

My Final Thoughts On Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp also has a great mid-credits scene which, as you can imagine, links into the events of Avengers: Infinity War very well and it sets up some interesting things going forward in the MCU. While I prefer Ant-Man, everything in this film combines to make a good and enjoyable instalment in the MCU. If you are a casual or hardcore fan of this franchise then you should absolutely see Ant-Man and the Wasp because you will, at the very least, be entertained.

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Film Review) – It’s Great, But It Had The Potential To Be Exceptional

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is an action film produced, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. This is the second Mission: Impossible film that has had Christopher McQuarrie in the director’s chair and it is a movie that serves as being the sixth instalment in the Mission: Impossible franchise as well as a sequel to Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Tom Cruise reprises his iconic role as Ethan Hunt in Fallout and he is part of a cast where Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin and Rebecca Ferguson all reprise their roles from previous movies in this franchise. Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett and Henry Cavill are the newcomers to the cast. The story of Fallout centres on Ethan Hunt and his team who must deal with the interference of August Walker (Henry Cavill), a CIA assassin who has been tasked to monitor Hunt and his team after a failed mission.

My Expectations For Mission: Impossible – Fallout

For me, the Mission: Impossible franchise starts with Mission: Impossible 3. The first Mission: Impossible and Mission: Impossible 2 are pretty bad films in my opinion and I completely disregard them. However, I think every movie after those two in this franchise gets progressively better in quality. Indeed, I believe that the pinnacle of this series is Rogue Nation which was such a fun, entertaining action film. In terms of pure entertainment, I like Mission: Impossible 3, really like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and love Rogue Nation.

As you can imagine, my hopes and expectations for Fallout were incredibly high. Indeed, some of the reviews stated that this was not only the best instalment in the franchise but one of the best action movies ever made. This praise really made me excited to see the film. If Fallout was able to top Rogue Nation, I would be ecstatic as I would have seen one of the best films of 2018 so far.

My Thoughts On Mission: Impossible – Fallout

For me, while this is one of a number of great films I have seen so far in 2018, Fallout is not better than Rogue Nation. But, I do prefer it over Ghost Protocol and it gets really close to being the best film in this franchise. From an entertainment standpoint, I had an absolute great time watching Fallout from beginning to end. Clearly, a Mission: Impossible movie is going to heavily rely on action to keep its audience entertained and I would contest that the action and cinematography in Fallout are the best that we have ever seen in this franchise.

Simon Pegg as Benji, Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt and Ving Rhames as Luther in Mission Impossible Fallout

Visually, the film is gripping and the fight choreography and action set-pieces are beautifully shot and executed to their fullest potential. Story-wise, Fallout also gives us what I would probably consider to be the most layered plot so far in this franchise which I really appreciated as it made the movie compelling. Performance-wise, everyone in the cast delivers. While there are a couple of clunky-lines of dialogue scattered throughout Fallout, this is more of a minor script nit-pick rather than a cast problem.

Tom Cruise is, as always, great as Ethan Hunt and Hunt is humanised in this film when it comes to his relationships which was good to see from a dramatic perspective. I loved the expanded role that Ving Rhames had in Fallout and a scene he had with Rebecca Ferguson was a particular highlight in this regard. Ferguson herself, just like in Rogue Nation, is exceptional and Simon Pegg is a great focal point for the majority of the humour in Fallout.

A Great Movie That Could Have Been Exceptional

All of the things listed above make Fallout a great film and just behind Rogue Nation as my second favourite movie in the Mission: Impossible franchise. However, it could have been so much better than it was. Sadly, Fallout has the same problem as every movie in this franchise; I was never made to feel as though the characters were in any real danger or that there were any real consequences.

Henry Cavill as August Walker in Mission Impossible Fallout

What made this even more painful was the fact that there are times when Fallout has glorious chances to subvert, glorious chances to go dark and bold in its narrative. But, it goes the other way every single time and the entire opening of the film is a prime example of this which really bummed me out. It made me longing for Fallout to have more consequences but it fails in this regard. The movie is what you expect when it comes to the overall final outcome which is a shame.

Still, that major gripe is the only one I have. Fallout is, overall, a great film that could have been amazing but Fallout is absolutely worth your time at the cinema. All I hope for the future of this franchise is that the storyline in the next film subverts what you would expect from a Mission: Impossible film when it comes to the outcome of its story.

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