Archive for the ‘Jaume Collet-Serra’ Category

Unleashing the Brutality of the Gods

Black Adam

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Pierce Brosnan, Qunitessa Swindell, Aldris Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari. Bodhi Sabongui, Henry Winkler, Djimon Hounsou, Viola Davis

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Running Time: 2 hours and 4 minutes

The Spanish director of Jungle Cruise and The Commuter, Jaume Collet-Serra assembles an interesting cast for his first foray into the Superhero universe with his new film Black Adam featuring Dwayne Johnson (Hobbs and Shaw, Jungle Cruise) in the title role.

In a fictitious Middle East looking country named Kahndaq, which is meant to resemble Egypt, an ancient god named Teth Adam was re-awakened after 5000 years. However Teth Adam as a God is out for revenge and brutally unleashes the power of the Gods with no mercy.

When Adrianna Tomaz played by Sarah Shahi and her son Amon unleash the power of Teth Adam soon the Justice Society is re-assembled by Amanda Waller played again by Oscar winner Viola Davis (Fences) to go and investigate what this new god is and whether he can become a superhero.

The Justice Society consists of a fascinating mix of superheroes from the debonair Dr Fate wonderfully played with panache by former Bond star Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia, The Foreigner) to Hawkman played by Aldris Hodge (Hidden Figures); from the beautiful Cyclone played by Quintessa Swindell (Granada Nights) to Atom Smasher played by Noah Centiano who all arrive on Kahndaq to fight it out against an angry Teth Adam also known as Black Adam.

While the Justice Society and Black Adam battle each other in a visually spectacular scene, they really need to focus on who the real enemy is: Ishmael, a descendant of the first king of Kahndaq and leader of intergang, played by Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin). As the Justice Society and Black Adam start aligning their objectives, Adrianna’s son Amon superbly played by Egyptian Polish actor Bodhi Sabongui is kidnapped by the Intergang.

While the storyline of Black Adam is convoluted, director Jaume Collet-Serra makes the film visually spectacular grounding the film firmly in the fantasy superhero genre with excellent special effects and spell bounding action scenes.

Dwayne Johnson is likeable as Black Adam, although the superhero mantle does sit quite wearily on his head, making his casting choice questionable. However, Johnson is such a megastar that audiences will come to see him in anything.

Certainly entertaining, Black Adam is a bizarre and lavish fantasy action adventure filled with multiple superhero’s, zombies and crazy gods and gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and audiences must stay for the very end to see a cameo appearance.

Lily of the Amazon

Jungle Cruise

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti, Veronica Falcon, Dani Rovira, Quim Gutierrez

Film Rating: 6.5 out of 10

If viewers are looking for a fun-filled action adventure film then look no further than Jungle Cruise, a film by Disney based upon a ride at Disney World.

Jungle Cruise has the unique mixture of Pirates of the Caribbean tinged with a dash of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with undertones of Maurice and The Lost City of Z.

Essentially, Jungle Cruise is about headstrong British explorer Lily Houghton brilliantly played by a blonde haired and gorgeous looking Emily Blunt who teams up with alpha male Frank Wolff played again by Dwayne Johnson, who is lovable in this part but entirely miscast, as they journey down the Amazon river in search of a rare petal, called tears of the moon which promises immortality and a range of exotic cures for Western ailments.

Jack Whitehall plays the prissy younger brother MacGregor Houghton, channelling a younger Hugh Grant, but eventually just emerging as a gay caricature. Nevertheless, Whitehall makes the most of his role as MacGregor who is largely superfluous to the action, but who acts as a foil for his older sister Lily, who is all strong and adventurous.

Unfortunately for Jungle Cruise, there is no clear villain, so the plot gets as entangled as the thickest vines of the Amazon, as two actors Edgar Ramirez (Resistance, Zero Dark Thirty, Domino) and Jesse Plemons (The Irishman, Battleship) both vie for the roles of the main villain.

Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez should have been the quintessential villain, but his role is upstaged by character actor Jesse Plemons playing the young son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Prince Joachim who is after the mysterious petal in a German submarine so that he can obtain the rare flower to help Germany win the First World War.

The plot is outlandish, the action is at times messy but fortunately Emily Blunt is a skilled enough actress to make her role as the dynamic Lily Houghton believable and recognizable.

Suspend your disbelief at the door as Jungle Cruise is that crazy adventure film set in Brazil in 1916 during the First World War about British explorers, conquistadores, jaguars and disgruntled German princes.

Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man) and Mexican actress Veronica Falcon are wasted in extremely small roles. Jungle Cruise is all about a satisfying adventure film and in this respect it achieves its goal and delivers.

Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra steers a solid action packed adventure film which should please the entire family. Jungle Cruise might be as bumpy as a Disney ride, but it is enjoyable and light entertainment disregarding many of its classic film inspirations.

Jungle Cruise gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 but it could have been so much better.

It is surprising that Collet-Serra did not fight for more representation from the vastly talented pool of Latino actors that he had at his disposal namely Edgar Ramirez and Veronica Falcon. Fortunately for all its faults, Emily Blunt shines as Lily of the Amazon.

You’ll Never Fly Again…



Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast : Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o, Shea Whigham, Scoot McNairy, Linus Roache

Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Orphan) has teamed up again with Liam Neeson for a new action aerial thriller Non-Stop. Neeson has found a new cinematic lease after the success of the Taken franchise and seems to be brilliant at playing the aged action hero.

In Non-Stop, he plays a hard drinking US Air Marshal on board a transatlantic flight from JFK in New York to London and as the plane takes off and settles into cruising altitude, all is not what it seems. Non-Stop is an action murder mystery set entirely on this non-stop Transatlantic flight and is similar to films like Flightplan and Flight. All three films should not be recommended for viewers with a fear of flying.

Non-Stop cleverly integrates the cellular digital world in its quirky and suspenseful narrative as Bill Marks, played by Neeson receives text messages on a secure flight mobile device from a suspected hijacker saying that he will kill a passenger every twenty minutes if $150 million dollars is not deposited in a Swiss bank account.

Acclaimed actress Julianne Moore (The Hours, Far from Heaven) plays Jen Summers a fellow passenger who assists Marks in tracking down the culprit, while the rest of the cast is made up of character actors like Michelle Dockery and Corey Stoll from such hit TV shows as Downton Abbey and House of Cards. Look out for an underwritten appearance by Hollywood It girl  Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) as air stewardess Gwen, which proves that Non-Stop was made before Nyong’o won a best supporting actress Oscar elevating her to instant fame.

Nevertheless the cast are secondary to the action and suspense on Non-Stop as this mid-flight murder mystery turns into a fully fledged action film, as Marks battles the clock to find out which passenger is responsible for killing off fellow passengers. Non-Stop is hugely entertaining and nowhere near as diabolically stupid as such airline films as Snakes on a Plane or the comedy series Airplane. Non-Stop is economical in narrative, huge on suspense and great on twists and unexpected realistically done action sequences all set aboard a 737 bound for Heathrow.

Neeson is adept at playing the ripened leading action man with enough emotional and physical baggage to weigh down international departures, and in Non-Stop, he does not disappoint as the main hero, despite all his characters known flaws. If audiences enjoyed Taken and Unknown , then they will love Non-Stop. See it now before making any airline reservations!

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May 2024
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