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3 Stars

Elvis (2022)

Weirdly, I can’t remember the first time I heard of Elvis, but I do remember the first time I recognized him. It was when a young Forrest Gump recognized him on TV after meeting “the King” earlier on in life. Needless to say, of course I have always been a fan of him.

This just goes to show that Elvis, one of the top five or so most popular entertainers in American history, is almost as embedded into that history as Washington or Lincoln. A truly larger than life stage presence indeed would deserve a biographical film of that caliber. Enter director Baz Luhrmann, and you get Elvis.

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1 1/2 Stars

Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

Had I been born approximately two or so years earlier, I would have fond memories of the original Jurassic Park in the theaters during its original release. Alas, I was six, so I had to wait until home video. After the promise of a series revival of sorts with 2015’s highly entertaining Jurassic World, the series was on its last little Dino legs when the highly disappointing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was released in 2018. I hoped life may find a way to bring the series home to a somewhat satisfying conclusion. 

In the third and final installment of the Jurassic World trilogy (and possibly last in the Jurassic saga), Jurassic World: Dominion indeed brings the series home…to extinction.

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4 Stars

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

The original Top Gun from 1986 is one of those films that can represent multiple forms of nostalgia.

For years, it was a Christmas tradition for my cousins and I when we reunited every Christmas Eve. On another occasion, it was the film of choice at a YMCA camp I attended as a teenager, while and my fellow campers spent a good amount of time yelling “PDA!” (Public Display of Affection) during “Take my Breath Away”. I venture to guess there are more than enough scenarios for others out there (first dates, special birthday parties, etc) with their connection to the original (I read that the actual Top Gun school fines its students for quoting the film). In short, a sequel has indeed been anticipated by many more than one might think.

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3 1/2 Stars

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Like many a millennial, I grew associating filmmaker Sam Raimi with the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man Trilogy. While known to be a potent force in the arena of cinematic horror, I sadly have only seen one Sam Raimi horror film as of this writing, The Evil Dead (although one could make the argument Spider-Man 3 was actually a horror in other ways).

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3 Stars

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

Admittedly, I most likely was too kind to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald when I gave it just two and a half out of five.

I realized this when, about ten minutes into Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, I struggled immensely to remember what actually happened in the previous film (apparently Zoè Kravitz was in the film). Thankfully, I remembered just enough to understand what was happening on screen.

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2 Stars

Morbius (2022)

Approximately six hours prior to seeing Morbius, I (perhaps prophetically) had a dentist appointment to have a filling replaced.

If you know me, you know the dentist (despite how nice they are to me) are among my least favorite places to go. On the Brightside, there was a slight miscommunication, as I only had a cleaning done. The experience was rather paralleled in that to my going into seeing Morbius, knowing that word of mouth said it was not going to be good. Seeing Morbius is indeed like going to the dentist to get a cavity filled (or a root canal), only to find out it is something as minor as a cleaning: While it is not all that bad, it is not an experience you want to go back on.

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4 Stars

The Batman (2022)

We are coming up on nearly a full eight decades since the caped crusader first appeared on big screens (thanks in part to serials of the 1940s).

Since then, we have had a ton of contributions to the character over the years. From grappling hooks to gravely voices to batarangs to shark repellant to bat nipples, Batman is a character that is as full of depth as any fictional being out there. Adding the grammatical article making the newest installment The Batman just scratches the surface of what the new installment adds to the lore.

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2 1/2 Stars

Uncharted (2022)

The undisputed magic of the Uncharted video game series was that it was the closest thing one could do to feel like they were Indiana Jones (outside of the original Tomb Raider games or being Harrison Ford).

The individual plots of the games were not entirely as memorable to me as the gameplay. Like the Indy films, the physics behind the action was ludicrous, yet still seemed plausible at the same time. I can’t speak for many video games in the present day (I watch too many movies to have time to play them), but some games like Uncharted seem so well suited to the video game world that they are cinematic on their own terms, and don’t require a film adaptation.

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"Top Tens", and others Movies

The Top 20 of 2021

From The Little Things to The Tragedy of Macbeth (Denzel bookends), I rounded out my amount of movies seen at seventy.

Even with that amount of movies, there was a fair amount of films I did not get to in time (especially, sadly, Foreign Language films). These include The Last Duel, The Green Knight, The Card Counter, Drive my Car, The Worst Person in the World, Stillwater, and The Tender Bar.

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4 1/2 Stars Movies

Mass (2021)

We are getting to the point in our country where everyone will have either been a witness to a mass shooting or will know someone who has (or worse, known a victim).

If you don’t believe me, well you will, because I was at NIU on Valentine’s Day in 2008 when a shooter killed five students before taking his own life.