“Jurassic World: Dominion”: The Locust Job

Jurassic World Dominion cast!

In which the old crews get together for one last heist and take down one last reckless billionaire.

[EDITORS’ NOTE: The following entry knowingly contains minor, non-shocking spoilers.]

Much like the TV show Leverage, the Jurassic series has always been about disrupting high-level corruption in wealthy companies whose prideful execs think they’re too rich and clever to fail. Past Jurassic installments have tackled such hot-button issues as animal rights, eugenics, science ethics, theme park safety protocols, nepotism, big-game hunting for sport, neglectful mishandling of dormant IPs, natural disasters, black-market endangered-species trafficking, and more. Cautionary tales have taught us many important lessons all along, starting with that time Steven Spielberg and co-screenwriter David Koepp brought Michael Crichton’s bestselling screed about corporate accountability to a worldwide audience, some of whom took the Moral of the Story to heart and resolved not to live their lives with the hubris of Dr. John Hammond. Some of the filmmakers who followed in their footsteps paid more attention than others.

This time, much like the Leverage season-4 episode “The Hot Potato Job”, Jurassic World: Dominion turns its journalistic eye toward American agriculture and the manipulative opportunists who dominate the landscape and push out hard-working independent farmers who don’t have the resources to compete with the cutting-edge agritech wielded by richer, amoral hands. It’s to Universal Pictures’ credit that they dared to spend $165 million on a 60 Minutes exposé wrapped in a heist flick, which returning director/co-writer Colin Trevorrow and two co-writers kept intentionally mediocre so that the razzle-dazzle of basic cinematic quality wouldn’t distract from the message.

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“Onward”: The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants

Onward!

Are they elves? Goblins? Bugbears? Kobolds? Smurfs? I have no idea.

From the studio that brought you Up and Inside Out, it’s Onward, another in-depth exploration of a directional adverb. Expect more in this series in future adventures such as Diagonal, Hard to Starboard, Thereabouts, and Counterclockwise!

(The word actually appears in-story and makes perfect sense after you’ve seen the movie. As an enticement for luring reticent viewers into the theater, it falls…shortward.)

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Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” End Credits

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!

Can scaly and sweaty live together in perfect harmony?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in 2015 we saw Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, groused a little, but ultimately thought:

While the human interactions grow increasingly awkward and superfluous in the final hour, I’d have to be a humorless, eightysomething stick-in-the-mud to rebuke the film’s grandest spectacle, the great big Godzillatastic dino-bashing showdown that so blatantly aims for the kid’s heart in all of us. I have to wonder if it was the first scene they wrote, and then the rest of the screenplay was reverse-engineered purely to make it happen by any plot device necessary. I wish life had found a way for the rest of Jurassic World to match that same giddy zeal, or the heartwarming cleverness of too-brief scenes like the baby triceratops petting zoo or the one touching moment where The Land Before Time meets Where the Red Fern Grows. And it’s a shame the wink-wink self-parody gags are short-lived. On average, though, this stockholder-pleasing sequel is thankfully a bit more fun than flipping through a museum gift shop catalog.

Once again it’s time for a trip to the deadliest theme park known to man, but at least this time they’re not selling tickets to future civilian casualties. With the next chapter Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Spanish director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, Penny Dreadful) revisits the blockbuster-thriller foundation that Steven Spielberg laid down in the original with gusto, succumbs to bouts of sequelitis, but finds ways to make at least a few dinosaurs exciting all over again.

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Yes, There Were LOTS of Scenes After the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” End Credits

I Am Groot!

I am Groot, I am Groot. I am Groot; I am Groot I am Groot I am Groot I am Groot…I am Groot. I am Groot!

If it’s Marvel, that means it’s time for summer blockbuster extravaganza movie-going season again! And what more appropriate way to kick off than a sequel. Thankfully Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not one of those Marvel sequels that makes fans regret their obsession with seeing every Marvel movie ever. Better still, the series proves there’s no such thing as a useless character. If an angry space raccoon, an Ent with no vocabulary, and three remnants from Marvel’s 1970s sci-fi era can strike a chord in today’s world, any character can if a talented filmmaker is allowed to try hard enough.

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“Jurassic World”: Johnny Karate’s Super Awesome Wild Kingdom

Jurassic World!

Drunk Gyrosphere accidents are probably why all the Jurassic World Boardwalk restaurants stopped serving alcohol years ago.

After a fourteen-year suspension due to unremarkable behavior, the world’s greatest CG-animated dinosaurs are back! All your favorite monsters and toys have returned in Jurassic World with a few new friends and plenty of merchandise for everyone. For viewers who also like actors, they’ve invited a very special guest: this year’s It Guy, Chris Pratt from Parks & Rec, Guardians of the Galaxy, and nifty supporting parts in lots of other, smaller movies that all led up to his second, even bigger opportunity to headline a CG-heavy big-budget summer action blockbuster. Those of us who first knew him as Ann Perkins’ freeloading boyfriend Andy Dwyer can all agree we never, ever dreamed of the places he would go.

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Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Guardians of the Galaxy” End Credits

Rocket!

Spoiler photo of Bradley Cooper from The Expendables 7.

The raccoon! The tree! The wrestler! The funnyman! The female! Together they’re the hottest new super-team in the Marvel universe, and you probably saw their first movie before I did! If so, congratulations on doing your part to turn Guardians of the Galaxy into one of the summer’s biggest success stories with a boffo opening weekend despite an unproven leading man and not one single popular hero on their roster.

If you didn’t see GoTG before I did…well, that’s what entries like this are for.

Right this way for more about that new movie that is NOT called “Rise of the Guardians”…

“The LEGO Movie”: If You Build It…You’re Awesome!

Batman, The Lego Movie

Arguably the best Batman film since The Dark Knight.

Because sometimes you need a break from Oscar season.

I had sky-high expectations for The Lego Movie as a veteran player of their first several video games — both Lego Star Wars, both Lego Indiana Jones, both of Lego Harry Potter, the first Lego Batman, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, and the most epic of them all, Lego Lord of the Rings. They’re inventive, unpredictable, witty beyond all expectations with a keen self-awareness that frequently lampoons the very intellectual properties they paid good money to license. And those were just the cutscenes.

Walk this way for a few more blocks…

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