Friday, August 20, 2021

Movie Review: ‘Jungle Cruise’ film a wild ride

By Matt Pascarella

Running time: 2 hours, 38 minutes

Rated PG-13

This movie has everything: action, adventure, a bit of romance, more action, legends, curses, and it’s a lot of fun. Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), her brother, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) and skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) go on an expedition in search of the Tears of the Moon, a tree with healing powers more important than originally presented. I really enjoyed this fun and funny movie the whole family can get on board for.

While you can rent this movie, seeing it in the theater gives it an effect your television just can’t provide. This action-packed comedy is best seen on the big, big screen.

Based on the ride at Walt Disney World, “Jungle Cruise” is currently in theaters and available on Disney+ and stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Edgar Ramirez, Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti.

The Spanish conquistador, Aguirre (Ramierez) has been searching for the Tears of the Moon in order to cure his daughter, who was very sick in the 1500s. History says he failed; legend tells more. He was found by guardians and nursed back to life. Aguirre demanded the guardians give him the lifesaving arrowhead that would lead to the Tears of the Moon. However, legend says he was cursed and trapped.

It’s now 1916. Adventure-seeking Dr. Lily Houghton is in search of the Tears of the Moon which has petals that will benefit the scientific community. Her brother who’s less enthusiastic about adventure, MacGregor, is along for the ride. They prepare to go on an expedition in the Amazon where they will meet a dad-joke telling, somewhat shifty character and skipper, Frank, who will help them to look for the legendary Tears of the Moon.

MacGregor and Dr. Lily travel to Brazil where Dr. Lily shows Frank a map leading to the Tears of the Moon.

After a bit of arguing and a few close calls, one of which was dodging a torpedo, the three begin the journey.

Meanwhile, wealthy German aristocrat Prince Joachim (Plemons) is also looking for the arrowhead which would lead him to the Tears of the Moon. He wants it in order to help the Germans win World War I.  In his search he summons conquistador Aguirre.

After Lily finds a bunch of maps in Frank’s chambers and realizes Frank might also be searching for the Tears of the Moon, despite his insistence he has given up trying, the three are attacked by headhunters. Their search might be over.

During a fight with Aguirre, Frank gets stabbed – and this is just beginning of the story.

This is definitely a movie the whole family can watch. It has amazing special effects.

The chemistry between Johnson and Blunt is immediate. She tells him at one point “you are a lot of things that I don’t really care for” but goes on the expedition anyway.

The many hijinks and comedy this movie provided had me smiling ear to ear. The bad ‘dad jokes’ were one of my favorite parts. If you’re looking for more fun after you watch the movie, check out some of the post-movie interviews Johnson and Blunt did on YouTube; they’re very funny.

I enjoyed this adventure. This is a movie to be watched over and over again.

A fun ride altogether.

Two arrowheads way up! <

Friday, August 6, 2021

Movie Review: ‘The Woman in the Window’ keeps you guessing until very end

By Matt Pascarella

Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes

Rated: R

“The Woman in the Window” is based on a novel by A.J. Finn and had me going back and forth and back and forth asking myself “what’s really happening here?” I had put off seeing this for a while and wish I hadn’t because it was very good; I consider it a decent thriller. What’s real and what is fake? Is it all in Anna’s mind or is it something more?

This movie is very reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” but doesn’t go exactly the same way. This Netflix original movie stars Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Fred Hechinger, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wyatt Russell, and Brian Tyree Henry.

Anna Fox (Adams) is separated from her husband for reasons unknown and has one child when we first meet her. She is agoraphobic – unable to go outside – and spends all her time in her home. She has very little human interaction, with the exception of her tenant, David (Russell).

To pass the time, she spies on the neighbors in the various buildings around her home; she even discusses them in a session with an in-home psychiatrist. When a new family moves in across the street, they seem friendly enough at first, when 15-year-old Ethan (Hechinger) brings a gift from his mom to Anna. Later on, Anna meets Ethan’s mom, Jane (Moore).

Here’s where the story begins to unravel. When Anna suspects that Jane is in trouble, she makes a few 911 calls in an attempt to save her. Alistair Russell (Oldman) even comes over to shout at Anna and tell her to stay away, but not before a scared Ethan tells Anna his father isn’t a bad man, he’s just stressed.

The further and further I got into this movie, the more I thought everyone might be a suspect for the incident in question. After a photo of her sleeping at 2 a.m. is emailed to Anna from an anonymous account, Anna is convinced someone has been in her home. However, she is trying out some new medication, so is her medicine messing with her reality? Or is it something else?

I wasn’t on the edge-of-my-seat for most of this movie, but I was very interested. What is up with Anna? What am I not being told? I was suspicious of Jane Russell and Alistair from the start. I felt I was led to believe Jane was more in danger than she might be. There seemed to be a lot of focus on her. As it turned out I was both right and wrong.

I found this to be a relatively fast-paced movie with the third act dragging only a little. I tried the entire movie to figure out what was happening and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

I thought this was a dark and gripping tale of possible mistaken identity, anxiety and confusion. If you are a fan of thrillers or suspense movies, this “Rear Window” -like story is definitely a solid movie I enjoyed.

Two cats up. <