- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: After the death of Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther), the questions on how the IP would continue without its leading man seemed endless. Black Panther‘s sequel is both the perfect memorial to Boseman and a continuation of the narrative.
- Avatar: The Way of Water: The 13-year wait for the follow-up to Avatar was worth it. The themes of climate change are just as relevant now as they were in 2009.
- She Said: Based on the book of the same name, it tells the heart-pounding story to uncover the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. NY Times reporters Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) take on Weinstein and the Hollywood machine in a way that is jaw-dropping.
- Elvis: Austin Butler transforms himself into Elvis Presley, adding new layers to the music icon.
- Call Jane: Elizabeth Banks plays a housewife whose pregnancy is not going well in the days before Roe v. Wade. Denied an abortion by the local hospital, she finds an underground group and soon joins them in their mission to help women.
- Hocus Pocus 2: After 29 years, the Sanderson sisters are back. It has enough of its predecessor while holding its own in the best way possible.
- Mr. Malcolm’s List: Based on the book of the same name by Suzanne Allain, Mr. Malcolm is the most coveted bachelor in this Jane Austen-inspired narrative. In order to fend off marriageable young ladies and their match-making mamas, he creates a list of qualities that his wife should have. Little does he know that it will soon be moot.
- Downton Abbey: A New Era: This second film in the franchise opens the door to new stories while closing old ones in perfect fashion.
- Cyrano: This musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac starring Peter Dinklage adds new flavors to the well-known tale.
- The Tragedy of Macbeth: Shot in stark black and white, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star as the power-hungry and bloodthirsty Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
Avatar: The Way of Water Movie Review
To say that Avatar (2009) made an impact is an understatement. The highest-grossing movie of all time, it became an instant classic and a fan favorite.
The sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, was released in theaters last weekend. Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) are happily settled down and are raising their children. When Quaritch (Stephen Lang) comes back in Na’vi form, he has one thing in mind: revenge.
Jake and Neytiri leave their home and find refuge with another Na’vi tribe. Led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet), they rely on the sea for everything. While their children try to fit in and learn the ways of their hosts, Quaritch gets closer. Eventually, it becomes obvious that the only way to stop him is for Jake and the Na’vi to take him head-on.
This movie is incredible. The 13-year wait and the 3+ hours run time are completely worth it. Balancing narrative, special effects, and climate change, James Cameron tells a story that is both effective and powerful.
As he did in the first film, he used the allegory of the Na’vi and the destruction of their world as a warning about ours. I have had to hand it to Cameron. A film of this type, with all of the disparate elements, could have easily failed. The special effects might have overtaken the story, the filmmakers could have gotten on their soapboxes, etc. But they all blend seamlessly together.
What I loved was that at its heart, it is the tale of a family. Parents doing their best to raise their kids, young people trying to find themselves, learning from our mistakes, etc. Cameron also continues with the tradition of strong female characters. Ronal and Neytiri do not wait for their mates to rescue them. They are just as badass and in charge as their partners.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Avatar: The Way of Water is presently in theaters.
Flashback Friday-Avatar (2009)
The clash between doing what is right and doing what we are told to do is an old one. It also makes for a great story.
The 2009 movie, Avatar, is at heart, the story of that internal struggle.
Former Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a paraplegic. When his brother is killed, Jake takes his brothers spot. His brother was preparing to travel to the distant world of Pandora. The Na’vi, the native humanoid like species has called Pandora home for generations. In return for spinal surgery, Jake goes along with the plan of industrialist Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi), whose intentions are less than noble.
Gathering intelligence on the Na’vi, Jake goes undercover. But things become complicated as Jake begins to integrate into Na’vi society and forms a relationship with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the daughter of the Na’vi chief.
As I have stated in previous posts, I’m not a fan of movie makers using special effects to move a story along because the screenplay is weak. What director James Cameron knows how to do very well as a film maker is to special effects wisely. While most of the movie is heavily reliant on special effects, it is not used a stop gap where plot holes exist. Essentially, the story can be boiled down to Dances With Wolves set in an alternate universe. The overarching theme that Cameron is making is that we need to respect the environment and we need to respect our traditions. It is easy to throw them aside when the opportunities for personal and financial gain come our way. It is much harder to restore that environment and those traditions that we have previously destroyed.
I highly recommend this movie.