Review: ‘Shang Chi and the Ten Rings’

Simu Liu, Awkwafina and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung star in an action-adventure, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.  The best Marvel movie yet, Shang Chi and the Ten Rings is a grand Chinese adventure, coming from an unexpected source: director Destin Daniel Cretton.  Initially known for his directorial debut, Short Term 12, which showcased a breakout role by Brie Larson, Cretton’s subsequent films were fine but unremarkable … Continue reading Review: ‘Shang Chi and the Ten Rings’

Review: ‘Jungle Cruise,’ Road to Nowhere

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt star in an action adventure, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.  Cheerily haphazard in nature, Jungle Cruise quickly reveals its instinct for precisely-timed, jam-packed action sequences that are entirely plucked from the minds and imaginations of people who are dreaming on a lazy afternoon.  Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra has consistently demonstrated his craft at constructing visually appealing scenarios in a series of … Continue reading Review: ‘Jungle Cruise,’ Road to Nowhere

Review: ‘Black Widow,’ Dysfunctional Family Member Extraordinaire

More than ten years ago, Scarlett Johansson appeared as Natalie Rushman in Iron Man 2. Hired as a personal assistant to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), she is eventually revealed as Natasha Romanoff, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Johansson returned to embody the character in seven more Marvel films, always fully capable of fighting her way out  of any perilous situation, but always in a supporting … Continue reading Review: ‘Black Widow,’ Dysfunctional Family Member Extraordinaire

Review: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon,’ Warm Hearts, Cool Adventures

Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina lead the voice cast in Disney’s magnificent, heart-warming animated adventure.  Refreshing in its approach to story, drawn from Southeast Asian folklore, and, perhaps even more importantly, in its depiction of the traditional “Disney princess” (compare with the company’s own descriptions and marketing of such), Raya and the Last Dragon is an encouraging step into a world first broached in Moana … Continue reading Review: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon,’ Warm Hearts, Cool Adventures

Review: ‘Frozen II’

In the long and storied history of animated feature films, Disney has rarely made sequels intended for the big screen. The sole exception to that rule, The Rescuers Down Under, barely made a ripple when it was released in 1990. As the home video age took hold, however, the company began producing sequels and spinoffs of established titles. More recently, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland … Continue reading Review: ‘Frozen II’