Greetings Indian Country Today film review readers.
I have been watching quite a few films lately, and as they have been stacking up, I’ve been keeping a running tab of what I can add to my #NativeNerd reviews.
So far, I’ve viewed a number of superhero flicks, a few independent, a few sci-fi and more. So before my list continues to grow, here are some of the films and series I’ve recently watched.
So here we go.
And of course, if you haven’t seen “Rutherford Falls” yet, be sure to check it out. I gave the show my first ever 11 out of 10 as a Rotten Tomatoes critic.
Here are my latest reviews
Falcon and the Winter Soldier
7.8 out of 10
My quick quote: I needed a Marvel thesaurus to watch this show. I loved the Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan team-up but wanted a bit more in terms of the super-soldier status of Captain America
Synopsis: Falcon and the Winter Soldier are a mismatched duo who team up for a global adventure that will test their survival skills -- as well as their patience.
Ok, I enjoyed it. I really did, but I found this to be just a smidge less enticing of the series’ released thus far on Disney+. I thoroughly enjoyed the team-up of Anthony Mackie (Falcon/Cap) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky/Winter Soldier) but starting off, I was thoroughly confused. The series threw so many less-known backstory names and situations at me, I had little to no idea what was going on. As of the third episode, I literally had to stop and pull up the Marvel Fandom site to research every unfamiliar name the show mentioned.
Ok admittedly, maybe this makes me a super nerd, but I will likely be doing this for every Disney+ series moving forward, as hidden subtext and Easter Eggs in the Marvel Universe are the norms. You might think pausing to look up a name might stop the intrigue, but it was actually exciting to look up the depth of backstory to everyone involved, and it really helped me dive deeper into the Universe. What at first, frustrated me, gave me a renewed perspective on how I can continue to more immerse myself into the Marvel world.
A few spoilers if you haven’t seen it
Ok, I called it on Sharon Carter, I actually wasn’t surprised to see her as the Power Broker in Madripoor. But what a lot of people missed was the fact the Madripoor was one of the large cities involved with the Muties insurrection. So I am dizzyingly curious to know if mutants such as the X-Men, New Mutants or others will be coming to interact with the Avengers soon.
But here is where I am frustrated, Why didn’t the Falcon get super-soldier serum? Dang it! John Walker did (the first Captain America) but Sam Wilson once again got left in the dust. Yes, ok, he has wings, but I am not happy about it. I understand that this is my opinion, but I feel Marvel squandered an opportunity.
The cool takeaways from the series are the mystery roles to include Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Countess Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, (definitely worth researching her character name history) and John Walker, the super-soldier becoming the U.S. Agent.
Now on Disney+
8.9 out of 10
My quick quote: “Maybe a bit over the top, but that’s what it’s all about right? Mortal Kombat is unapologetic in what it brings, mindless violent fun, so throw away skepticism and enjoy the carnage”
Synopsis: Hunted by the fearsome warrior Sub-Zero, MMA fighter Cole Young finds sanctuary at the temple of Lord Raiden. Training with experienced fighters Liu Kang, Kung Lao and the rogue mercenary Kano, Cole prepares to stand with Earth's greatest champions to take on the enemies from Outworld in a high-stakes battle for the universe.
Ok, full disclosure, I never really played Mortal Kombat other than a handful of times, and I never really knew many of the names of the characters that fought each other. If you have played the game in its many incarnations over the years, I would suspect the film is much more enjoyable due to the nostalgia and associated recognition of the characters.
I didn’t have that reference, but I still was able to enjoy the film. Admittedly there were quite a few eye-roll moments and questionable interactions that weighed on me in a funny and critical way. “Hey honey, you appeared out of nowhere and a monster just appeared too. But I am not going to ask you anything about how you are and if we are safe.”
But I’ll admit, miniature plot holes are hardly the reason I watched this film in the first place.
If you have a weak stomach for graphic (almost cartoonish) bloody violence, I’d stay away. But for me, I admittedly love to see just how far a director will go with the use of CGI, special effects and fake red paint. Yes, there are a lot of saw blades, shattered frozen body parts and deadly electric shocks in this movie. And bring it on I say, bring it on. If you have ever watched the Mortal Kombat video game, it is probably one of the most over-the-top video games in the ways one opponent might defeat another.
From green electric million-volt deadly electricity bolts to ripping out a spine with a steel gloved hand or robotic arm, to acid clouds and saw blades slicing a person exactly in half while all the internal body parts flop onto the ground — sheesh. Thinking of a way to brutally defeat your opponent in the most graphic way possible? Mortal Kombat has been there done that. The movie holds no punches — literally and doesn’t fail to exhibit each one of these types of deadly defeats one right after the other.
Yep, it was unbelievable, nearly hilarious in how far they went, and yep, I loved it. Give the special effects team a round of applause.
In for gory and grisly special effects and Mortal Kombat nostalgia? Head on over to HBO Max. But likely you already have as Mortal Kombat was the streaming platform’s biggest success to date.
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse
8.9 out of 10
My quick quote: “Michael B. Jordan excels in this latest Tom Clancy thriller. Without Remorse is a welcome addition to the super spy, soldier-gone-rogue universe”
Synopsis: Seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife, an elite Navy SEAL uncovers a covert plot that threatens to engulf the United States and Russia in an all-out war.
Michael B. Jordan plays Navy Seal John Clark in this military-espionage thriller by Tom Clancy. As a former Army Lieutenant, I was admittedly impressed by the portrayal of military soldiers and sailors in this film. I can be overly critical (and rightly so) in how the military is portrayed in TV and films, but at first view, didn’t see much in the way of military mannerisms I could criticize.
I am extremely appreciative when the filmmakers involved are this careful because I literally can sit back and enjoy the film without having to get distracted by poorly executed details.
Inasmuch as I enjoyed the film, I was disappointed a bit with the resolution of the antagonist as I felt the buildup of who this person was — fell a bit flat. But overall, I did enjoy the film and look forward to Jordan bringing more to the world of Tom Clancy.
I have long enjoyed Jordan’s work, and he certainly stands out as a strong force in this film. I totally believed him, as there is a certain way soldiers and Seal’s hold their rifles, it is extremely subtle, but I can recognize it almost immediately, and Jordan does it flawlessly. I remember feeling specifically impressed about it. It came off as completely accurate.
I always enjoy falling head to toe into a story because a director and the production team took such care in regards to the fine details. Like military action movies? This is a definite watch for you, because Jordan delivers.
Now playing on Amazon Prime.
The Bad Batch
8.5 out of 10
My quick quote: “I’m not a superfan of Star Wars animated series, but I am impressed with this one, a team of certifiable rejects, each with their own skillset, is a winning formula for me”
Synopsis: Members of a unique squad of clones find their way in a changing galaxy in the aftermath of the Clone War.
I enjoyed “The Bad Batch,” I really did. A follow-up and continuation of sorts following “The Clone Wars,” in which a group of clones aka Clone Force 99, aka The Bad Batch — that are genetically different from the massive group of Republic drones that fought in the Clone Wars.
So enter each clone with a different genetic superior mutation, the leader Hunter, with superior leadership abilities, knife skills and sensitivity to electromagnetic fields, Crosshair, a clone with exceptional sharpshooting skills, Tech, a brain-heavy tech genius, Wrecker, the strongman of the bunch and Echo, a half-man half-cyborg with a skill set that seems to employ both bits of humanity and robot tech.
There’s more to come as we are only at episode one at the time of my review, but I am looking forward to seeing what comes next.
The only small criticism I have is that I hope that the characterizations of each of the members don’t come across as too stereotypical, the fearless leader, the dumb strong fighter, the evil brooding defector etc. etc. Put some imagination in there Disney+ - but hey, so far its a fun and enjoyable ride.
Now on Disney+ with new episodes each week.
8.9 out of 10
My quick quote: “Whoa, this was a lot more and intense than I had expected it to be. This is definitely one of Russell Crowe’s most nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing performances”
Synopsis: Rachel is a single mother whose bad day gets even worse when she beeps her horn at a fellow driver during rush-hour traffic. After an exchange of words, she soon realizes that the mysterious man is following her and her young son in his truck. The initial case of road rage quickly escalates into full-blown terror as Rachel discovers the psychopath's sinister plan for revenge.
Holy cow, I did not in any way see this coming. It came up in my Amazon Prime feed and though I usually am fortunate enough to get review copies of films to review before they come out, I sprung for the 2.99 rental fee on Amazon Prime.
This movie didn’t pull any punches on showcasing the erratic behaviors of “The Man” as his character is aptly named in this film. It tells the story of Rachel and her son who unwittingly hold that horn down just a bit too long … starting her journey careening off into horrific oblivion. Some freaky and bloody moments come thrusting their way into the storyline whether you like it or not as well.
This is a frightening movie, and yes sir, I’ll be sure to only tap my horn politely moving forward.
Looking to bite your nails down to the nub and share a blanket? This is the film for you.
Now on streaming platforms.
9.2 out of 10
My quick quote: “Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer are the best haphazard superheroine duo I’ve seen. A hilarious comedy worthy of a series and/or sequel.”
Synopsis: Two childhood best friends reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.
If you haven’t seen this yet, walk, don’t run to your PC or phone and pull it up. “Thunder Force” is yet another hilarious fun film starring Melissa McCarthy, my all-time favorite comedic actress and the straight-faced Octavia Spencer.
The film is epic, and pits the talents of Spencer and McCarthy, who combine their superpowers in a world where bountiful evil supervillains are the norm.
There are so many magically funny moments in this movie that I am literally laughing at them as I type this review. There is a hilarious romance scene with McCarthy and Jason Bateman who portrays the supervillain “The Crab” with human-size crab claws that needs to take its place in history in hilarious and weird romantic scenes. Absolutely stomach-wrenching in its comic genius.
Everything about this movie is funny, and I never tire of McCarthy’s ability to stumble into a situation and emerge from it completely scathed.
Don’t miss this one, now on Netflix.
Outside the Wire
7.9 out of 10
My quick quote: “Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris pull off a decent team-up of soldier and cyborg military action intensity”
Synopsis: In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired up with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.
I didn’t realize this movie had come out in January, but you know how it is, sometimes you bump into movies based on what you generally watch, and this was one of them, and I dove in.
It had a bit of a “Robocop” feel to it, though the complexities of military action seemed a bit less clunky and more futuristic, yet not quite as futuristic as the “Terminator” movies. Tell me if you agree. Even though I feel it is a bit of a spoiler, it’s not looking at the poster, but Mackie (Captain Leo) eventually reveals himself as an android and pairs efforts with an insubordinate drone pilot, Lt. Thomas Harp, played by Idris.
One very nice thing about this film is that the two lead roles are played by two Black men, an unheard-of concept a generation ago. I was thrilled for both Mackie and Idris, who both do a great job.
There were a few over-the-top and questionable moments as I find it a bit suspicious that a brand new clueless drone pilot and Lieutenant would be allowed to haphazardly go out on a top-secret mission with no training, no real briefing and only Mackie to work with. But hey, it’s the future, so who really knows. The weapon-heavy fight scenes were impressive and no doubt loaded with CGI, which I never could see as an effect, but rather a real aspect of the movie’s reality. Mackie as an android was also flawless, and I was seriously impressed.
I found additional fault with allowing Lt. Thomas venture out on his own, drone-bombing a nuclear facility and more, but overall, a great action film pulled off by Mackie and Idris. A great team-up.
Now on Netflix