Percival of Bolivia
With so much of today’s cinematic efforts being put towards fictional superheroes, there seem to be fewer and fewer movies made about real human heroes from history. Now, there would be those who might balk at calling soldier-turned-explorer Percy Fawcett a hero—after all, his belief that he had found the remains of the lost city of El Dorado was met mostly with ridicule until recently—but his story is an important one in history and has served as an inspiration for many. With Fawcett being something of a real-life Indiana Jones, it is also a story that seemed destined to be a movie and that movie has now arrived in the form of The Lost City of Z.
Welcome to the Ricochet Party
Action movies set in singular locations have been popular since Die Hard established the framework for it back in 1988. Since then, there have been dozens movies that could be described as “Die Hard on a (fill in the blank).” Popular examples include “Die Hard on a boat” (Under Siege) and “Die Hard on a bus” (Speed). The new action comedy Free Fire also takes place in one location, but this time it would be difficult to compare it to Die Hard, because there is no one worth rooting for this time around. Just a lot of criminals with a lot of guns in a confined space.
Are You Not Entertained?
To attempt to write a critical review of a Fast and the Furious movie is something of a fool’s errand. Perhaps there is no more critic-proof franchise in the history of movies. Like Russell Crowe yelling out in Gladiator, the only real way to judge these movies is to ask, “Are you not entertained?” And they are often very successful at being that. A franchise that seemed to have run its course after the first three movies suddenly found new life with the fourth entry and has since continued to get bigger and louder with each entry trying to outdo the last when it comes to large, elaborate, and unbelievable action-set pieces, while at the same time focusing on the bond of its central “family.” The latest entry, The Fate of the Furious, does all of that, but by this point the formula is really beginning to feel as if it has run its course.
A Belated Sequel Worth the Wait
Decades-in-the-making sequels have been all the rage lately. Recently, we have received belated sequels to hits like Independence Day, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and The Blair Witch Project. Even the last two Star Wars movies fall into this category. Joining their ranks now is this sequel to the 1996 cult favorite Trainspotting. While most of these sequels feel more like cash grabs than anything else, T2 Trainspotting actually feels like a story that is worth telling. The characters are ones whom we are interested in catching up with and director Danny Boyle—then an up-and-comer, now an Oscar-winner—peppers the movie with the same creative flourishes that made the original so much fun to watch.
Long Live the King
Marvel may get credit for kicking off the current cinematic universe trend, but giant monster movies did it first when the two biggest stars of the genre, King Kong and Godzilla, faced off in 1962. So it makes sense with the current trend that the giant monster movie genre would join the party. It is largely thanks to the success of 2014’s Godzilla, America’s second and much-improved attempt at a take on the Japanese icon, that we now have Kong: Skull Island, the adventure film that will officially kick off what is currently being called the “Monsterverse.”