Tag Archives: Dwayne Johnson

Jumanji – Movie Details

Here are a few details about the upcoming Jumanji movie coming out December 22, 2017.

In the brand new adventure Jumanji, the tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into the world of Jumanji.

When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of – Jumanji – they are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) “the top two feet of his body” and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji – you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves – or they’ll be stuck in the game forever…

Directed by: Jake Kasdan

‘Saturday Night Live’ Goes Live Nationwide for Final Four Episodes

For the first time in its storied history, NBC’s iconic late-night franchise “Saturday Night Live,” which is delivering its most-watched season in 24 years, will be broadcast live simultaneously across the country for its final four shows of the season — April 15, May 6, 13 and 20.

“‘SNL’ — enjoying its most popular season in two decades — is part of the national conversation, and we thought it would be a great idea to broadcast to the west and mountain time zones live at the same time it’s being seen in the east and central time zones,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time. Kudos to Lorne Michaels, the producers and cast for making ‘SNL’ one of the most relevant and anticipated shows in the zeitgeist.”

Each episode will air live at:

11:30 p.m. Eastern
10:30 p.m. Central
9:30 p.m. Mountain
8:30 p.m. Pacific

For the Mountain and Pacific time zones, “SNL” will be repeated at 11:30 p.m.

The hosts for these shows are as follows:

April 15 – Jimmy Fallon
May 6 – Chris Pine
May 13 – Melissa McCarthy
May 20 – Dwayne Johnson

The musical guests for these shows will be announced at a later date.

So far this season, “Saturday Night Live” originals are averaging a 3.57 rating in adults 18-49 and 11.022 million viewers overall in “live plus seven day” averages from Nielsen Media Research. This makes it the show’s top-rated season at this point in eight years in 18-49 (since 2008-09) and most-watched season in 24 years (since 1992-93).

Versus year-ago averages, “SNL” is up +21% in adult 18-49 rating (3.57 vs. 2.94) and up 2.2 million persons or +26% in total viewers with 11.022 million.

The show has garnered high praise from critics this season, including acclaim for the work of Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway, Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer.

Said Variety: “Political turmoil has been very, very good to ‘Saturday Night Live,’” while New York Magazine added, “Every single sketch ‘SNL’ wrote for Alec Baldwin as Trump was comedically masterful.”

Moana – Movie Review

The young girl, Moana (Auli’l Cravalho) is destined to be the leader of her people, but is she destined to be something bigger? Disney’s Moana is the story of a princess looking to find who she is…just like Rapunzel, Frozen, and every princess before her.

Release Date: November 23, 2016
Writer: Jared Bush
Director: Ron Clemets, Don Hall
Music: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’I, Mark Mancina
Cast: Auli’l Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk

As an infant, Moana was drawn to the ocean. As the future leader of her people, her father and chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) needs her to be safe on dry land and never venture away from the island. Meanwhile, many years before, the Demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) has stolen the Heart of Te Fiti, the Goddess of the Islands. Her heart takes shape in the form of a small pounamu stone. When Maui stole the heart, a cursed was placed over the island and over time, each island would slowly die.

All through her life, Moana’s father trained her to be a leader, but it was her Gramma Tala (Rachel House), who encouraged her to follow her heart and seek the ocean. Unbeknownst to the others Gramma Tala possessed the Heart of Te Fiti. When the trees of the island begin to produced rancid fruit and the fishing traps no longer catch fish, Moana decides to take the Heart of Te Fiti, find the demigod Maui and restore the gem to the Goddess Te Fiti.

Moana is a solid story about a princess discovering who she really is. It is an inspirational tale for young girls and it also shows a girl who has leadership thrust upon her and embraces it.

As a reviewer, I have to judge Moana as a standalone, but it’s hard not to compare Moana not only to the last few Disney princess film, but also the string of female empowerment tales. Almost from the very beginning, I could not help but notice, I’ve heard this story over and over again in Disney Princess movies. In Frozen, Elsa has to embrace who she is. Rapunzel is on a quest to discover her true identity. The problem with Moana is that it tells the same story, but differently.

Moana has your basic cast of adorable characters. Moana’s parents, Chief Tui and Sina (Nicole Scherzinger) are good but overprotective parents. Pua the pig is cute, but like Mulan’s Little Brother shows up only in the beginning and the end. Heihei the chicken is an incredibly stupid chicken that serves as comic relief and important in a spot or two.

Moana has wise counsel, no not her father, but her Grandmother Tala and the Ocean. Yes, the Ocean plays a role in guiding and protecting our heroine.

Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson shines as Maui, the Demigod. Arrogant, but likeable, Maui is powerful but wants nothing to do with the mission of returning the Heart of Te Fiti. He is a has-been Hercules and only wants to return to the fame and glory he once had. In order to defeat the foes, Maui needs to retrieve his staff, which is lodged in the back of the giant coconut crab, Tamotoa (Jemaine Clement).

Disney continues to perfect the 3-D animation project. Moana boasts some of the most gorgeous and colorful backgrounds. The water effects are perfect. I used to lament the end of hand-drawn animation, but ever since Tangled, Disney make me a believer in their ability to tell compelling stories with computers.

Moana is also a Disney musical. Broadway composer Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote all of the main songs, while Opetaia Foa’l provides the Polynesian songs. Background music is composed beautifully by Mark Mancina.

The world knows Lin-Manuel Miranda from his hit Broadway play, Hamilton and he brings a great deal of Broadway sensibility to Moana. That’s the main problem with the music of Moana. We have an opener, an inspirational ballad, comic relief song, villain song and pretentious callbacks to the inspirational ballad. It’s as if he took a broadway checklist and after each type of song is written, he would check it off and move to the next. It felt staged versus organic.

Some songs are such as Maui’s “You’re Welcome.” The inspirational ballad “How Far I’ll Go” barely reaches the line of pretentious before backing off to a beautiful song, but the rest is Broadway sing-talk and the villain song, “Shiny” is the wordiest song in the world and incredibly hard to follow. You miss the days of the clever wordsmithing of Howard Ashman.

Moana may not be the greatest of the Disney Animated film, but it still shines brighter than its 2016 competition.

Furious 7 – Movie Review

Full Disclosure: I have not seen any of the Fast and Furious series prior to seeing Furious 7. Based on the events of the previous Fast and Furious movie, the Furious crew is up against a former special operative, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Shaw is the brother of the previous villain in Fast and Furious 6 seeking revenge on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family.

Release Date: April 3, 2015
Rated PG-13
Writer: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster

The movie starts with the plot of revenge as Shaw looks to end the lives of Toretto and his family. Shaw is basically

Furious 7 04But to complicate the plot further is a global threat, when a terrorist organization is about to get its hands on a device called the God’s Eye. This device enables the user to access every surveillance device in the world, including security cameras and cell phones. The terrorist organization led by its leader, Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) has possession of the device and the sexy hacker, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), who created it.

Secret government agents, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) enlists the help of Toretto recover the device and Ramsey. In return, Toretto can use the device to find Shaw. What is interesting is that there was never a discussion of whether or not God’s Eye violates privacy rights and laws.

When it’s all said and done, Furious 7 is an action movie with several amazing set pieces strung together by a thin plot. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as audiences get good action. The first set piece is in the Russian Mountains. With the help of Mr. Nobody, the secret operation drops the team on a lone mountain highway. First, the team drops in with parachutes attached to their cars. Second, they neutralize the cars guarding the transport vehicle. Third, Ramsey is rescued.

Furious 7 03Furious 7 is a visually stunning action movie. The problem with the action is that it employs a combination of practical, real stunts and computer generated imagery. The effects are so well done that it is hard to tell what is real and what is created. For example, when Toretto jumps a car from one skyscraper to another, you know full well that none of that is real. The problem is that rather than feeling real, it feels fake. Furious 7 is essentially a realistic cartoon.

When you have a great deal of Universal’s money behind you, the cartoon leans toward the real side, but its still feels fake. The final set piece takes place on the streets of Los Angeles. It involves cars passing Ramsey from one to the other at high speeds. It involves a military helicopter with smart missiles, and it involves the destruction of various building and parking structures in downtown Los Angeles.

Furious 7 may be an action film, but it is also a tribute to Paul Walker. Walker managed to film the movie prior to this death. Cast and filmmakers felt it was necessary, rightfully so, to say goodbye to his character, Brian O’Conner. Small scenes, added dialog and a touching ending were added to the movie as a tribute. This tribute is effectively poignant, assuming you know what happened. If you’re unaware of Walkers death, the scene may feel a little heavy handed.

Furious 7 is a movie that succeeds thanks to a cast that you can tell is close like family and to a studio that made all if its movie-making resources behind it. But there is something to be said about returning to good old fashioned action movie making.