Category Archives: Films

My Thoughts on: Incredibles 2 (2018)

*warning, minor spoilers ahead for Incredibles 2


Wow, Incredibles 2 is simply incredible! (pun intended!!) The long-long-LONG awaited sequel to The Incredibles was fourteen years in the making and I am happy to report that this story is completely worth the wait. Incredibles 2 beats the odds and is a sequel that is not only the equal of its predecessor, it might actually be just a little bit better.

As promised, the story picks up immediately after the first film with the coming of the Underminer. The Parr family (helped by Frozone) work to stop the devious criminal, but it proves to be very difficult and there is a lot of collateral damage. Unfortunately, despite everything, being a superhero is still illegal and the Parr’s aren’t sure what they’re going to do. But then a media tycoon, Winston Deavor and his sister Evelyn come forward with a proposition. Using the technology and resources of DevTech they want to use a series of publicity stunts to create good press for superheroes to create pressure to re-legalize superheroes. And the poster child for this endeavor will be…Elastigirl!!


A major plot point in this story is Bob Parr adjusting to life as a stay-at-home dad taking care of three kids while his wife does hero work for DevTech. Bob’s heart is in the right place, though he’s initially frustrated by staying at home, he never tries to shirk his duty towards his children, but at the same time he is painfully unprepared for the amount of work it takes to take care of three kids. Complicating this task is the revelation to the family that Jack-Jack has superpowers (apparently they did not notice what happened when Syndrome had Jack-Jack at the end of the last film), as well as…complications with Violet’s social life.

And speaking of Jack-Jack, that adorable baby steals just about every scene he’s in. One that I can’t resist highlighting is a hysterical scene that takes place between Jack-Jack and a raccoon. The baby sees the raccoon (with his “mask”) and confuses the critter with a bank robber and decides to go attack it. The poor raccoon is subsequently thrown around and terrified as Jack-Jack displays a wide variety of powers.


And on top of all this, there’s the mysterious villain Screenslaver, a mysterious figure that has taken to hijacking the airwaves to cause mayhem (and has a thing against superheroes). Anytime Screenslaver shows up things get weird in a creepy way. Syndrome from the first film was scary in a cartoony sort of way. By contrast, Screenslaver is scary in a genuinely dark and twisted sort of way. And as for the identity of this villain…I had my theories going in but the truth surprised me.

The scene with Bob, Jack-Jack and Edna Mode is everything we’ve ever dreamed of and more. The fashion designer is back in all of her glory and you will not be disappointed.

I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Honey, Frozone’s wife. Hopefully if/when there’s an Incredibles 3 we’ll get to see this character in person.

In conclusion, Incredibles 2 is a great film, possibly the best of the summer and I highly recommend it.

What did you think of Incredibles 2? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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My thoughts on: Hotel Artemis (2018)


There’s a saying among film bloggers: never trust the trailer.for a movie. Hollywood designs trailers to run like mini-movies and show off the best parts of a film, which also serves to hide any flaws (though sometimes a film is so bad even a trailer can’t disguise its issues, just look at Pixels (2015)).

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make: I trusted the trailers for Hotel Artemis and it came back to bite me. The concept of a secret hospital for criminals is a sound one and it features a quality cast: Jodie Foster (in her first film in five years), Jeff Goldblum, Sofia Boutella, Zachary Quinto, Dava Bautista, Sterling K. Brown, and so on. With this level of talent and an intriguing premise, Hotel Artemis had the potential to be amazing. But at the end of the day…it isn’t.


The biggest flaw in this story that I can see is that it tries to tell too many stories at once. It starts off simply enough: It’s the year 2028 and Los Angeles is embroiled in the largest riot in its history because a private company has shut off the water supply to most of the city. During the chaos, a bank robbery goes south and Sherman (Sterling K. Brown) takes his wounded brother to the Hotel Artemis to get treated by the Nurse (Jodie Foster). Once inside, patients are referred to by the room they’re staying in.

Current residents:

-Nice (Sofia Boutella): an assassin being treated for a gunshot wound

-Acapulco (Charlie Day): a smart-mouth arms dealer recovering from an assault

-Waikiki and Honolulu: Sherman and his brother


So far so simple right? The story quickly expands to include sub-plots involving Nice and an assassination job she must pull off; a wounded police officer seeking entry to the Hotel who happens to know the Nurse from way back; the sudden arrival of “the Wolf King” (a crime lord who “owns most of LA”) and his son (Zachary Quinto) who also owns the Hotel, the mystery behind how the Nurse’s son Bo died AND the revelation that Sherman’s brother unwittingly stole some diamonds from the Wolf King’s organization. It’s far too many elements to keep track of or care about and the film is a disjointed mess as a result.

It pains me to say this but Jeff Goldbum was completely this story. He has barely any screen time and he’s out of the picture before you know it. Zachary Quinto is also criminally wasted. In fact, it feels like a large chunk of his character’s backstory is missing. Presented as the son of Goldblum’s Wolf King, he comes across as a whiny younger son with issues, however there’s not enough backstory given to explain why he’s acting this way.

There’s really not much more to say. Jodie Foster turns in a good performance, but it isn’t enough to save Hotel Artemis from being a mess.

What did you think of Hotel Artemis? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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My thoughts on: Jurassic World (2015)


When Jurassic World was first announced, I had no intention of seeing it. However, as time went on and more previews were released, curiosity won out and I went with a friend to view the film. My conclusion? Jurassic World is good…sort of. The story hits many good notes but also falls flat in key places.

The film, which serves as a direct sequel to Jurassic Park (and ignores the events of The Lost World and Jurassic Park III), opens with a fully realized dinosaur park operating on Isla Nublar. The park brings in a fortune every year, but profits have been slowly declining and, in order to ‘spice things up’ a new dinosaur is genetically engineered (because that always ends well).


This new dinosaur is dubbed Indominus Rex and it is a real piece of work. A complex hybrid, it has the ability to camouflage (though for some reason this is only demonstrated once), mask its heat signature and (among other things) communicate with raptors because of its raptor DNA. The Indominus is certainly terrifying (there’s a scene where you see the reflection of its teeth in a gyrosphere before you see it properly) but certain elements aren’t used consistently. As I said before, its ability to camouflage (which is downright terrifying if you think about it) is only seen once. If you really wanted to make this movie scary, shouldn’t it have been used as often as possible?

Of course the Indominus gets loose and the park eventually descends into chaos, which was okay to watch…for the most part. I found the scene where Claire’s assistant gets killed to be very disturbing. First she’s dragged off by a Pteranadon, then dropped several times into the Mosasaurus tank before finally being eaten by the aforementioned Mosasaurus. I really felt this moment went on way too long and should have ended with the Pteranadon just carrying her away.

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The plot point I enjoyed the most was Owen’s interaction with the raptor pack and the idea that he is their ‘alpha.’ I found the arrangement dubious at first, but as the story went on I truly believed that Owen was communicating with the raptors and they obeyed him. Which is why when it came out that the Indominus had raptor DNA and was communicating with them I had the biggest “Oh SH**” moments in the theater. Truly, that scene with the Indominus and the raptors is well done.

Another moment I liked is when the kids stumbled across the remains of the original Jurassic Park center from the first film. It had a huge nostalgia factor and I’m glad they included it. One thing I did not like about Jurassic World is it was painfully obvious that they were setting up for a sequel when we last see Dr. Wu getting hustled off the island by InGen. I don’t think anybody really doubted that a sequel was coming, but they didn’t have to be so blatant about it.


Having the climax come down to the Indominus vs the T-Rex from the first film was really awesome, though I have major issues with how it ended. Not only did it seem anti-climactic that the Mosasaurus finished the Indominus off just like that, I still can’t see how the beast could have jumped up and grabbed it from where they were standing.

In conclusion, while I did enjoy Jurassic World for the most part (the homage to John Williams original theme was a very nice touch), I’ve never felt any desire to rewatch it in the three years since, though I am planning to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, if only so I can see what is up with this OTHER genetically engineered dinosaur that is somehow a hundred times more scary than the Indominus Rex.

What did you think of Jurassic World? Did it live up to the hype? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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My thoughts on: Forbidden Planet (1956)

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If you’re looking for a list of influential science fiction films, one title that consistently turns up is Forbidden Planet. Considered one of the great science fiction films of the 1950s, the film set the bar for many films to follow. The film follows the crew of the C-57D as it travels to the distant planet Altair IV to follow up on a mission that went there and disappeared 20 years previously.

The story can be considered a loose retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a play where sailors from a distant land encounter the sorcerer Prospero (who controls the spirit Ariel) and his beautiful daughter Miranda, who has never seen any man except for her father. In the film then, Prospero is Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon), one of two survivors of a previous mission to Altair IV, Miranda is Morbius’ daughter Altaira (Anne Francis), Ariel is the ever helpful robot Robby and the sailors are Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and his crew, though it could be argued that the commander is also an analogue to Ferdinand, the nobleman who ultimately marries Miranda.


The film contains a number of firsts: its the first to depict humans traveling in a faster-than-light vessel; it was the first to take place entirely on another planet besides Earth (the story opens with the C-57D in deep space); most notably the film is the first to contain an entirely electronic film score (credited as ‘electronic tonalities’). The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.


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From the start, you can tell there’s something fishy going on with Dr. Morbius. He’s way too eager for Commander Adams to be on his way back to Earth, and small wonder. It comes out that the first expedition discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization belonging to the Krell, an ancient super-race that accomplished everything you can imagine before mysteriously vanishing overnight. And that’s not all: there’s a giant machine 20 square miles in size located underground, introduced with a scene that almost boggles the imagination.


Weird things begin happening back at the space ship: vital equipment is sabotaged, a crew member is violently killed (literally ripped limb from limb offscreen) and strange footprints from an invisible being (in one of my favorite scenes) are spotted. I remember the first time I watched this film it drove me crazy as to what was stalking the planet. For a while I was convinced that it must be a Krell, a lone survivor as it were, attacking outsiders. But the truth is so much more terrifying. It turns out that the mysterious beast is none other than Dr. Morbius himself, or at least it’s a part of him.

See, when Commander Adams and two of his men discover the Krell ruins, Morbius gave them a tour and showed them a strange machine that had the ability to dramatically increase intelligence. Morbius used it on himself and is now arguably the smartest human alive. But what the scientist fails to realize is that boosting his intelligence gave his subconscious mind access to the large underground machine. That huge machine was the Krell’s greatest accomplishment and their undoing. Having accomplished everything else, the Krell sought to make the final accomplishment: creation by mere thought, simply imagine it and it will appear. It’s not a bad idea, if the conscious mind were all there is. But the Krell had long since forgotten about the subconscious mind, known in psychology as the Id, the reservoir of all our deepest, most primal desires. When the machine was turned on, the Id of every Krell on the planet gained access to a machine with unlimited power. Though they consciously didn’t wish to destroy or kill, their subconscious acted out their secret desires and thus the whole race was wiped out.


Morbius is unwittingly in the same predicament as the Krell, though he cannot consciously use the machine, his subconscious can and has before! Deep down, Morbius only wants to be left alone with his research and daughter, so his Id is acting on these desires and attempting to ‘eliminate’ the problem. It’s a horrifying moment, when the scientist realizes he is the monster. And speaking of the monster, the one glimpse you do get of the Id monster is the stuff of nightmares.

Robby the Robot provides several moments of humor throughout the story (he has a very dry wit), including a memorable exchange with Altaira:

Altaira: “Robby, I must have a new dress made right away!”

Robby: “Again?”

Forbidden Planet is definitely a must-see film for any fan of science fiction cinema and if you haven’t seen it before I hope you’re inspired to go check it out. If you have seen the film, what did you think about it and the revelation of the Id monster? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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Film 101: Development Hell

Ah, development hell, the two words you never want to hear associated with a film you really want to see.

Development hell is the term used for a project, big or small, that is stuck in development for years without moving on to completion. During this time a project can change directors, cast, scripts and producers multiple times and yet no real progress is made. If it goes on long enough, development hell can lead to production being shut down multiple times.

Examples of films that suffered a long time in development hell include (but are not limited to):

Warcraft: This 2016 bomb was announced all the way back in 2006 but it took ten years to bring the movie to completion

Akira: There have been numerous attempts to create a live-action adaptation of this 1988 animated film, but as of 2012 production has been shut down for the 4th time.

Deadpool: The first deal to create a Deadpool film was announced all the way back in 2000. Then another attempt was made in 2004, followed by a new attempt in 2010. Finally, as we all know, the film was released in 2016 and became one of the most popular films of the year.

Jonny Quest: A live-action adaptation of the cult classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series has been in the works since 1995. At one point in 2009, Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were reported as being attached to the project. Since 2015, it’s been reported that Robert Rodriguez would be directing the film, though as of late there have been little to no details on the project.

Atlas Shrugged: A film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus was stuck in development hell for nearly 40 years before the first part of a trilogy was finally released in 2011 (part 2 in 2012 and Part III in 2014).

Star Trek 4 (Abramsverse): It could be argued that the sequel to Star Trek Beyond is in a mild state of development hell as it’s been two years and there have been little to no details about the next film in the series.

These are just a few examples of films that were stuck in development hell (some remaining there to this day). This can also occur to video games (Aliens: Colonial Marines, Duke Nukem Forever and Team Fortress 2 for example) as well, though that’s a story for another day.

What films in development hell do you wish would hurry up and get released already? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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Should Film Music Central expand to TV shows?

From the beginning Film Music Central has primarily looked at films and their soundtracks. But now almost three years in I’m wondering if it’s time to expand to reviewing TV shows and their soundtracks on a regular basis instead of occasionally. Let me know what you think in the poll below and have a great day!

My Thoughts on: Solo: A Star Wars Story (with spoilers!) (2018)

*warning, spoilers abound, turn back if you don’t want to know!


Considering I went in with absolutely zero expectations, Solo: A Star Wars Story was much better than I thought it would be. As expected from the previews, the film explains how Han Solo first met Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian and how he came into possession of the Millennium Falcon.

The bulk of the story revolves around Han making the famous “Kessel Run” in order to help smuggler and thief Tobias Beckett pay a debt to the fearsome crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. The situation becomes slightly complicated when he finds out his some-time girlfriend Qi’ra is now a top lieutenant in the organization.

Let’s start this review off by getting the parts I didn’t like out of the way:

-Lady Proxima: As cool as it was to see Corellia onscreen for the first time, the more I thought about the opening sequence, the more I realized it was completely unnecessary. Han’s entire escape from the planet could have been easily narrated in an opening crawl and we could’ve jumped straight into that mud planet scene where Han meets Beckett and his crew. Not only that, but why bother introducing a character like Lady Proxima (who DID look pretty cool in a gruesome way) if she’s only going to be onscreen for less than five minutes and then never be seen or heard from for the rest of the film?


-Han running his mouth: the film pulls this stunt one time too many. If you’ve seen any of the original trilogy then you already know Han is in the habit of making boasts or promises he can’t possibly keep. The film practically beats the audience over the head with this concept and it really wasn’t necessary.

-Rio and Val: Does anyone else think we didn’t get to know these characters nearly well enough before they met their respective ends? I mean Rio’s death was hard to watch but at the same time we’d just barely gotten to know him.

Now for what I liked:

Lando Calrissian: Oh my goodness, they weren’t kidding when they said Donald Glover stole the show with his performance. From his first scene to his last, any time Lando is onscreen you can’t help but notice him. If Disney wants to do a stand-alone film about Lando then I am now perfectly okay with it (so long as Glover keeps the role). It also thrilled me to see Han and Lando playing sabaac, as that is a scene that’s played out several times in the old EU books.


THAT scene with Lando and L3: This is one of the best scenes in the entire film and you will not be able to change my mind. L3 may have just been a droid that drove Lando crazy most of the time, but he really did care about her. Also, what happened afterward was a perfect explanation for why the Falcon’s computer is so….colorful with its language choices.

Han speaks “Wookie”: I actually liked the scene where Han speaks Wookie to Chewbacca in order to convince him that he’s a friend. I’d honestly never thought about whether he could speak it or not, but it makes sense that Han would have at least a small grasp of the language. That being said…he looked so funny speaking the language!

Dryden Vos: Vos is one of my favorite types of villain: he’s kind, courteous, the perfect gentleman right up until he stabs you in the back. At the same time he also reeks of charisma that can easily trick you into forgetting how dangerous he is. I really enjoyed Paul Bettany’s performance, I wish we’d gotten more of it (though who knows, he could always reappear in another anthology film set before this one).


THAT cameo at the end (warning, if you don’t want to know who it is stop reading NOW!!):

Going in to the film, I was positive I’d narrowed the cameo down to two people: Boba Fett and/or Jabba the Hutt. It made sense to me that young Han would run into one of these two characters. And while the Hutt crime lord is heavily alluded to at the end of the film (there’s no other reason for going to Tatooine), he doesn’t actually appear. After Qi’ra kills Vos and assumes command of Crimson Dawn, she uses a ring to speak with Dryden’s boss who appears in a hologram. The moment this character started speaking, I perked up in my seat because I KNEW that voice and it only belonged to one character. And sure enough, the hood was eventually lifted back to reveal Maul, formerly Darth Maul (embodied by Ray Park, voiced by Sam Witwer), he who got bisected at the end of The Phantom Menace all the way back in 1999.

Now, if you’ve only seen the films, I know this cameo was very confusing for you. Here’s how Darth Maul is alive and well: George Lucas almost immediately regretted killing Maul and kept looking for a way to bring him back. During the Clone Wars animated series (2008-2013) he finally got his chance. Maul reappears in the 4th season where it is revealed that he didn’t die on Naboo but instead clung to life through the Dark Side of the Force and was eventually rescued by his brother (yes Maul had a brother) where he was given mechanical legs. There’s a lot more but that’s the gist of it. Bringing Maul back to the films is HUGE: now the door is wide open for a stand alone film about the former Sith apprentice and I couldn’t be more excited.

While there are several hooks left for a direct sequel, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Thus far Solo isn’t turning a huge profit so Disney may not see it as worth their while to follow up on this story. I do hope though that Maul’s cameo means that a standalone Maul film is in the works. Only time will tell.

What did you think about Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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