Review: The Cloverfield Paradox
With a brilliant cast and the surprise Super Bowl release drop, virtually everything else for The Cloverfield Paradox doesn’t work. What a mess of a film.
This movie is a real headache. The Cloverfield Paradox overshadows its top-notch cast with a mixer of muddled genres and undeveloped narratives. Paradox is, by far, the weakest of the Cloverfield series. It's a sci-fi flick that’s more bent on extending the Cloververse, than fully constructing a proper narrative. The marketing for this film was incredibly smart, by dropping the surprise trailer during Super Bowl LII and releasing the film immediately on Netflix after the game, this provided a sense of excitement for sci-fi fanatics everywhere. Yet, after the credits rolled on the screen, I was left utterly disappointed with the final outcome.
It’s never a good sign when your film begins production as a typical sci-fi thriller and then suddenly changes the script to make a connection with the Cloverfield franchise. The film simply did not know what it wanted to be and, in the end, it fell flat. Actors Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl and Chris O'Dowd do their best to uphold the picture, but the film leaves them astray. At times, Paradox was mildly entertaining to say the least. But a messy storyline, writing and editing will leave the viewer with a sour taste in their mouth. In 2008, the original Cloverfield introduced the use of shaky-cam and mixed tension with horror.
Then in 2016, 10 Cloverfield Lane was the acclaimed sequel that came out of nowhere. 10 Cloverfield Lane was a slow burning film that enriched the storyline with drama and fleshed out characters. You were on the edge of you seat from the very first frame. The pulsating score along with excellent performances is also what helped make 10 Cloverfield Lane so riveting. Now, we introduce Paradox the film that failed to deliver on quality and, in the end, left more people scratching their heads, pity. Right now, probably the best thing going for this film is that it wasn’t released in theaters.
The Cloverfield Paradox is not rated (NR).
Review: Black Panther
Believe the hype. Black Panther is more than just another Marvel romp, director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station and Creed) was able to maintain his creative spark throughout the film sending a grandeur of Afrofuturistic escapism.
This history-making near-masterpiece can now be helmed as one of the greatest superhero films to ever hit the theaters. I have not been that thrilled after seeing a superhero movie since 2008’s The Dark Knight. Coogler’s film has now grossed over a $1 billion worldwide since its initial February 16th release, making it the highest-grossing film of 2018, as well as the seventh highest-grossing film ever in the United States and 20th highest-grossing film of all time. Currently, may I add. Its theater run is far from over and I wouldn’t be surprised if, by the end, it cracks $2 billion worldwide. We will see! Coogler also made history with his $242 million four-day opening weekend. This was the biggest debut ever for an African-American director.
What made Black Panther so great was its ability to elevate the superhero genre to exciting new heights. The film’s screenplay, direction, performances, costume design and soundtrack were all perfectly executed to the highest form of art. Full of pure pulp entertainment, Black Panther praises African culture and also raises awareness for Black lives in America. A social commentary full of rich rewards and thought-provoking themes. Elevated by its predominantly Black cast, Coogler’s film is a revolution for future films to look more like this. The story follows T'Challa AKA Black Panther (a brilliant Chadwick Boseman) who, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T'Challa's mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts his sovereignty to the challenge and raises the level of urgency with global consequences.
Boseman continues to shine in the title role of a lifetime, as he grows and shapes his character. Boseman’s versatility in his films (42, Get on Up and Marshall) is quite astonishing. Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger is one of the greatest antagonist to be put on the screen, regarding the superhero genre. Killmonger has been, by far, the best villain I’ve seen for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). But I also hate calling him a villain because his character was so much more than that label. Jordan’s character was conflicted, at times I was rooting for him and in others I wasn’t. He made you believe in his message and he made some extremely valid points on what he was trying to accomplish. With every kill that Killmonger makes, he scars his body with notches to represent those deaths. This shows Erik’s tormented morality and humanity on an emotional scale.
Alongside T’Challa and Killmonger are key supporting actors that helped guide the rest of the film. Those actors consist of Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Sterling K. Brown, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis. Nyong'o and Gurira both represent strong female supporting leads with their fierce acting chops and bravura character development. Coming off fresh the boat from his breakout role in last year’s critically acclaimed film, Get Out, Kaluuya’s hot streak continues to reign. With strong writing, acting and directing, Black Panther succeeds in virtually everything on screen. Coogler’s film paints a picture of what it means to be Black in both America and Africa. It’s significance and cultural footprint will last for generations to come. Black Panther is a movie that matters because, right now, he is the best chance for people of every color to see a Black hero represented on screen.
Black Panther is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture.
Best Films of 2017
2017 blew away my expectations for the movie industry. Art, diversity, strong females leads and thought-provoking themes all prevailed. 2017 broke new ground in how we elevate the narrative and give powerful stories for people too rarely seen in the spotlight. It's a revolution for filmmaking and I cannot wait to see more films like these become a regular in the theaters. Here's my Top 20!
Best Films of 2013
With the 90th Academy Awards right around the corner, let's take a look back at my favorite movies from the year 2013. This was the year I launched my film review site,
For Your Consideration:
Cup Of Soul Show
In Their Own League
Mashley at the Movies
Mike, Mike, and Oscar
The Movie Oracle
Next Best Picture
Reos Positive POV
The SoBros Network
Untitled Cinema Gals Project