Aug 11 2023

The Last Voyage of the Demeter

Traveling from Carpathia to England in 1897, the Russian freighter Demeter, sets out to sea tasked with the delivery of crates upon crates of mysterious cargo. In short order strange happenings begin on board, the slaughter of all livestock, disappearance of any rats on board, and then the discovery of a delirious stowaway, Anna (Aisling Franciosi), who warns of the presence of evil on the ship. Now, Captain Eliot (Liam Cunningham) along with his crew and recent edition, a doctor, Clemens (Corey Hawkins), find themselves in dwindling numbers. All preyed upon at night, will any live to see the end of the Demeter’s last voyage? Written by Bragi Schut and Zak Olkewicz based on a chapter from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Directed by André Øvredal this creature feature, semi origin story of Dracula makes a moderate effort to expand on the source material in a way that might feel natural, but unfortunately falls significantly flat in character and emotional development. Ultimately, we’re not given strong motivation or reason to care about any of the crewmen, and, as the film unwinds and Dracula spins up, the ending result is rather, meh. Telegraphed jump scares and pulled punches in terms of gore offer little to actually make audiences squirm, seasoned horror veterans will have to dig elsewhere for their fix. On the positive, creature and production design get solid marks, but sadly, not even a score from Bear McCreary can pull on the heart strings of the living as the undead take the screen. Boatloads of missed potential and the lost lesson of not revealing your creature too soon, end result, a considerably more tame ride than the R rating would project. The Last Voyage of the Demeter runs an hour and fifty eight minutes in length.

Jul 21 2023


In the midst of World War II, The U.S. and Germany would both find themselves in the atomic race, questing for nuclear proliferation and the power of the A-Bomb. Ringleader of quantum physics and scientific thought for the U.S. was Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), a troubled genius in his own right, but a master organizer just the same. Through Oppenheimer’s management the U.S. would ultimately win the race, meanwhile the philosophical and moral debates amongst the scientific community would be reaching a fevered pitch as well– a weight Oppenheimer would feel largely responsible, could this in fact be a chain reaction that would send earth towards a certain doom? Written By Christopher Nolan based on the book by Kai Bird, and Martin Sherwin and Directed by Nolan this three hour monster of a film comes as a crash course in history highlighting a number of key signposts along the arms race and proves to be narratively dense material but worth the ride. Working mainly as a character study on J. Robert Oppenheimer the film efforts to show a fair amount of the man’s genius, but also misses a fair amount of his peculiarities as well, focusing mainly on his own reservations and concerns as a modern day Prometheus; meanwhile, the true sense of the “race” and social context is all but a footnote in this science light but drama heavy period piece chugging its way to the Trinity launch and eventual political aftermath in post war times. With an ensemble made up as a Hollywood who’s who of amazing talent, there isn’t a single character out of sync and Murphy’s Oppenheimer is haunting. Brilliantly shot with the eye of Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, Nolan clearly has assembled an all A team for this production, although Score by Ludwig Göransson clearly seems inspired by another Nolan favorite Hans Zimmer, this falls short of the rest of the team in creativity. A far cry from an action, thrills, chills and spills popcorn chomper this intellectual talker may not require the full IMAX experience, but is still worthy of your attention and the theater experience. No doubt this film will be discussed further at Oscar time, consider multiple tickets punched in that regard. Incidentally, for further reading on the subject and deeper understanding, The Making of The Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes would be an excellent shelf mate. Oppenheimer is rated R.

Jul 14 2023

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Still hidden in the shadows, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his impossible mission team find themselves called to action as a new Artificial Intelligence super weapon begins to take form and sentience. Traveling from one corner of the globe to the other the proverbial goose chase is afoot, but, fighting this nearly omnipotent super power will come with greater risks and unknown rewards, if any. Written by Bruce Geller, Erik Jendresen, and Christopher McQuarrie and Directed by McQuarrie this seventh installment in the franchise brings back familiar faces Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson, and, effectively delivers monster set piece after monster set piece of action, spy trickery, and creative wit, to make for the dominant action/adventure flick in theatres currently, and that’s saying something in the face of a certain whip wielding archeologist who returned to the silver screen two weeks ago. In fact, in a quick comparison between the two films both manage to showcase at least two very similar sequences, and, in both instances Cruise and company take the crown for overall execution and effectiveness in cinematics. One thing is clear, say what you will about his offscreen personality; but, Tom Cruise’s “action personality” still knows how to raise the bar and make good action flicks, performing his own stunts, jumping off of cliffs, crashing cars, and flying planes. At 61 years old, one does begin to question when will enough be enough, oh by the way, there’s at least one more in the chamber for this series with Dead Reckoning Part Two slated for a 2024 release. At some point the physical aches of transgressions past will catch up, but for now this two hour and forty three minute adrenaline pumper hits hard. Worthy and demanding of the big screen experience, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is rated PG-13.