Top Gun: Maverick is a whirlwind from start to finish. Hands down, this will be the best blockbuster of the summer. Nothing will top it! Thrilling, adrenaline-rushing, and full of heart: Tom Cruise’s legacy sequel is epic in every way.
I was blown away with Top Gun: Maverick. There were multiple times throughout the movie where I would look over at Glynis and say, "did you see that" or "how did they pull that off?!" The practical effects and achievements in this film alone are worth applauding. During filming, actors sat in the co-pilot seats to give off the illusion that they were flying the jets. The producers paid the Navy $11,374 per flight hour for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and pilots to fly the actors around and film their scenes in the air. There was at least one F/A-18F rigged with special cameras for actors in the back seat. On top of the boot camp training and aerobatics riding that the actors had to go through was also learning lighting, cinematography, and editing for when they were being filmed in the jets. "When they're up in the jet they have to direct themselves essentially," said producer Jerry Bruckheimer. I again marvel at the technical accomplishments this film has to offer.
Top Gun: Maverick will go down in the books as one of the greatest summer blockbusters and legacy sequels ever made. Maverick takes place 36 years after its predecessor, Top Gun (1986). the original is not a bad film, nor was it a great one. However, I would say that late director Tony Scott's (Crimson Tide and Man on Fire) original Top Gun was a fun ride full of '80s vibes and memorable performances (notably Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards). Since the original came out, it has been passed down as a staple of '80s cinema. Now, 36 years later, Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (a stellar Tom Cruise) is currently serving as a U.S. Navy test pilot. Like the original, Maverick (Cruise) is still up to his reckless and daring tendencies. As an order from friend and former rival, Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (the great Val Kilmer), Maverick is sent to NAS North Island as a TOPGUN instructor. Here, Maverick has to train an elite group of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aviators (Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Monica Barbaro, Jay Ellis, and Danny Ramirez) for an upcoming dangerous mission. This is as far as I will go with the plot.
I will say that actor Miles Teller plays Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Edwards), whose character died in the original film. This gives the movie an internal conflict between Maverick and Rooster's characters, adding some strong emotional resonance to the blockbuster. Plus, Teller rocks that dad stash throughout the picture. Has "hot dad summer" finally arrived? Maverick is a legacy sequel done right by building off of the previous film and excelling. There is some great homage to the past, but it is not overdone nostalgia. Hint: "Great Balls of Fire" and the football beach scene. In addition, there is a story here with a beating heart, emotional storylines, superb acting, and electrifying action sequences to die for. I advise you to see this film on the biggest screen possible. See it on the IMAX or something similar. We were able to see this picture at our locate Drive-In (Skyview) and had a grand ole time. There is no shaking it, Top Gun: Maverick is pure cinematic pleasure, full of nonstop thrills, adrenaline-rushing action, and emotional bonds. Dads everywhere will cheer. It's been an honor, Captain.
Top Gun: Maverick is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) Some Strong Language | Sequences of Intense Action
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Starring Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer.
Alex Garland’s (2015's Ex Machina and 2018's Annihilation) Men feels like a fever dream that’s fueled with horror and allegories. Men covers trauma and grief while sinking its teeth into your skin through that haunting score.
I loved the first and second act of Men but bristled with the third. Actors Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear were both superb. While it may not be Garland’s best work (narratively speaking), it is definitely his most beautifully shot film. Garland is known for making puzzling features, ones that challenge its audience. Oftentimes, Garland's films make you question the very existence of humanity, finding one's purpose in life. Ex Machina was Garland's directorial debut — a science fiction thriller that studied deep questions about technology, sexuality, and the future. Three years later, Garland returned to the director's chair and released Annihilation. His second feature was another science fiction film, but took a deep dive into the psychological horror territory.
Annihilation explored challenging themes about biology, humanity, and grief. The ending to Annihilation is still one that I ponder over from time to time. This leads us to Men (2022) — a folk horror tale that relies heavily on allegories and visual splendor. Sometimes these allegories were a little too on the nose, which is where the final act became a little topsy-turvy. Our film follows a young woman named Harper (an excellent Buckley), who goes on a solo vacation to the English countryside following the death of her ex-husband (Paapa Essiedu). While Harper is staying in the village, she starts to be confronted by disturbed and tormented "men," all portrayed by Rory Kinnear. This is about as far as I can go for the plot.
The rest is for you to uncover this bonkers movie. I will say that both Buckley and Kinnear's stellar performances throughout this picture kept me engaged, as did the gorgeous cinematography and cunning sound design. The scenes where Harper walks through the forest and countryside were simply stunning. I was also intrigued by the mystery around the plot because the first two acts kept most of their cards in hand. It wasn't until the third act when the cards began spilling out. Men is a flawed yet haunting portrayal of one's grief. Garland's feature is a type of film that won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that is a-okay. So sit back, relax, and let Rory Kinnear scare the bejesus out of you.
Men is rated R (Restricted) Grisly Images | Graphic Nudity | Disturbing and Violent Content | Language.
Directed by Alex Garland
Starring Jessie Buckley, Paapa Essiedu, and Gayle Rankin. Along with Rory Kinnear, Rory Kinnear, Rory Kinnear, Rory Kinnear, Rory Kinnear, Rory Kinnear, Rory Kinnear, and Rory Kinnear.
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