See Tim’s review on “Black Panther” on KARE 11 (NBC) with Adrienne Broaddus in the video above.
“Black Panther” (PG-13)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to amaze with “Black Panther,” the first solo movie featuring the legendary Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. First appearing on the big screen in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016 with Chadwick Boseman in the title role, the “Black Panther” solo film finally gives the character of T’Challa/Black Panther the big screen real estate the character deserves, and Boseman, director Ryan Coogler and the film’s impressive supporting cast make the most of it.
“Black Panther” is set almost entirely fictional African country of Wakanda, a hidden fortress that is the most technologically advanced country in the world. At their disposal is an endless supply of an alien metal known as Vibranium, which the newly-anointed King T’Challa use for good, but if it falls into the wrong hands, could have global implications. The threat becomes real when T’Challa’s long-lost cousin Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) finds his way into the Wakanda and challenges the king to his birthright to ascend to the throne.
Following his impressive turn in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016, Boseman proves from the beginning of “Black Panther” that he can easily carry a film on his own, something fans of the actor already knew after his memorable turns as Jackie Robinson in “42” and James Brown in “Get on Up.” Boseman is no longer one of about a dozen principal characters he’s dividing time with, and he’s able to give T’Challa/Black Panther some depth because of it.
By Black Panther having a solo film, it also allows for other characters to be introduced into the story, which are wonderfully realized by the likes of Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Forrest Whitaker, Dana Gurira, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Letita Wright and Daniel Kaluuya. The key to the film’s success is, while the action is intense, the sets are jaw-dropping and the special effects are spectacular, they never outweigh the story Coogler is telling. “Black Panther” gives more than enough room for its characters to breathe, and they create a memorable superhero film in the process.
Lammometer: 8 (out of 10)
AUDIO: Listen to Tim’s review of “Black Panther” on “The KQ 92 Morning Show” with Tom Barnard in the audio above.
Tim Lammers reviews movies weekly for The KQ92 Morning Show,” “KARE 11 News at 11” (NBC), “The Tom Barnard Podcast” and “The BS Show” with Bob Sansevere.
Sylvester Stallone is back and better than ever in “Creed,” a smartly plotted Rocky Balboa film that forgoes the formula of the previous “Rocky” installments and instead frames Stallone as a crucial supporting character. The film naturally feels like a Rocky film since it involves the family of his late formal rival-turned-friend Apollo Creed, yet moves the story of the boxer saga ahead with a fresh and plausible storyline.
“Creed” re-teams Michael B. Jordan and his “Fruitvale Station” director Ryan Coogler, and the actor and filmmaker deliver another solid one-two punch with “Creed.” Jordan plays Adonis Johnson, a troubled youth who, as it turns out, is the product of an extramarital affair Apollo Creed had near the end of his career. However, Apollo died before Adonis was born, and after his mother dies, the angry young son of Creed becomes a ward of the state. However, when Creed’s widow, Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad) discovers the boy, she adopts him as her own and raises him into an upstanding young man.
Even though Adonis’ future appears bright, he can’t resist the urge to fight and pursue a career as a professional boxer. But if Adonis is ever to forge the same sort of path
as his famous father he needs to find the proper trainer to guide him, and his only choice is Rocky. However, the former champ is worn down emotionally by a life that includes the loss of his wife, Adrian, and physically by years of beatings in the ring. But since Adonis is like family to Rocky, he reluctantly takes on the upstart Adonis, who clearly has the same fire in his belly as the father he never knew.
Naturally, “Creed” has a similar feel to the “Rocky” films, because you simply can’t have a story of a fighter without the requisite training and fight sequences if you’re going to properly tell the story. But that’s where the similarities begin and end. The key to the success of this film is the realistic storyline of a fighter who’s unwilling to fight under the name of his famous father, and the heartfelt connection between him and Rocky. Like the first two films in the “Rocky” saga, “Creed” contains both the raw intensity of the fight game, which is met in equal measure by an emotionally engaging narrative.
While Jordan displays a great range as the hungry Adonis, Stallone – who is clearly in his element as Rocky – is tasked with most of the emotional heavy-lifting. With “Creed,” we see a side of the character we’ve never seen before: a former champ nearing the final stretch of his life who is physically a mere shadow of his famous former self. Stallone is simply brilliant in the way he brings the character full circle.
The great thing about “Creed” is its one of those movies that seems to be going down a predictable path, until a vicious left hook knocks you for a loop and changes the way you’ll look at the outcome as the film plays out. Maybe “Creed” won’t end up being this year’s box office champ, but the film – and Stallone in particular – certainly have earned the right to be a serious contender this awards season. It’s a real winner.
“The Good Dinosaur” (PG) 3 1/2 stars (out of four)
Pixar Animation hits paydirt once again following the phenomenal success of “Inside Out” with “The Good Dinosaur,” a prehistoric tale that doesn’t have quite the complexity of this summer’s smash brain tale, but contains just as much emotion and heart. Clearly tailored for the youngest of audience members, “The Good Dinosaur” still manages to entertain the kid in all of us with a parade of colorful characters, wondrous animation and lots of action to fill its vast landscape.
“The Good Dinosaur” begins 65 million years ago with a simple yet fascinating premise: What if the asteroid that once obliterated the dinosaurs completely missed Earth and the creatures lived? Because of that, the dinosaurs survived, evolved and thrived, and millions and millions of years later, they confront a completely different sort of animal.
Jeffrey Wright and Frances McDormand voice Poppa and Momma, an Apatosaurus couple who hatch three dinosaur babies: Libby, Buck and Arlo. As Libby and Buck grow they quickly adapt to their surroundings and find their place in their lives, but the under-sized Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), clumsy and fearful, never seems to fit in. Tasked to protect the family’s food supply, Arlo discovers the creature that keeps breaking into their storage is actually a wild cave boy – and while the young dino is on the hunt for him, he is swept up in a river current and finds himself lost, alone and far away from home. Saved by the boy, who he dubs Spot, Arlo befriends the curious creature, and the two team together as they begin a trek that will hopefully lead back to Arlo’s family.
“The Good Dinosaur” begins more as cute film that seems to only appeal to young kids at the outset, but once Pixar takes a page out of the Disney playbook and a tragedy rocks the narrative, it suddenly becomes emotionally engaging for the entire audience. While the film is at its core a heartfelt coming-of-age tale for both Arlo and Spot, it’s enhanced by every colorful character they encounter on the long and winding trek home. The voice cast is excellent (particularly Sam Elliott as a T-Rex named Butch), making for a completely lovable supporting cast (apart from a trio of bad creatures). A film ultimately about the importance of core families and adoptive families, “The Good Dinosaur” is a perfect family film for Thanksgiving weekend.
Original Interviews, Reviews & More By Tim Lammers