Two divorced parents, David and Georgia Cotton, travel to Bali after learning that their daughter, Lily, is planning to marry a man named Gede, whom she has just met. They decide to work together to sabotage the wedding to prevent Lily from making the same mistake they made twenty-five years ago.
Ticket to Paradise is a welcome reunion for two legendary stars, George Clooney and Julia Roberts, years after they worked on the Ocean’s films, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Money Monster together. They elevate a film that occasionally threatens to fall into generic territory by breathing fun and charm into the film, even when they’re ripping each other to bits with insults. Clooney’s performance is certainly the glue here, as he embraces his comedic chops and his character often pokes fun at himself while being grumpy and over-the-top. Speaking of reunions, fans of Booksmart will love to see Kaitlyn Dever and Billie Lourd sharing the screen again — Dever is great as their daughter Lily, and Billie Lourd is a scene-stealer as her best friend Wren, a character that the plot maybe could’ve done without but when Lourd is so entertaining, the movie suddenly feels infinitely more upbeat with her in it.
The movie can sometimes fall into cheesy territory especially with some obviously scripted lines and an exaggerated ending, as well as some unclear themes about who is more right about what, but it never sinks the film’s heart and sweetness. It’s a film that means to charm and show the nature of flawed parents getting over their own immaturities while loving their daughter, and when the parents are played by two of the most charismatic people in the world, you’ve got yourself a winning film. Though it’s nothing you’ll be urged to watch more than once, or even the best comedy out right now, given how much more memorable and hysterical Bros is, Ticket to Paradise is certainly a harmless and heartfelt good time, especially for today’s rom-com standards, with laughs, vacation-y settings, and charming performances.
The Woman King historical epic inspired by the true events that happened in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. Viola Davis makes every performance of hers seem effortless, and her role as General Nanisca of the Agoije, the Dahomey’s all-female group of warriors who defend the Kingdom, is no exception. Davis portrays the titular character as a fighter with a tough exterior who eventually peels back layers to reveal pain she must defend herself from through physical and emotional strength. Thuso Mbedu and Lashana Lynch are both outstanding, Mbedu as a new recruit who must grow into a courageous fighter, and Lynch as a commander who gives it her all into the role physically and makes you care so much about her character.
The action is staged very well and is surprisingly strong for a PG-13 rating, but it’s never distractingly holding back from showing violence either, though nothing is disturbing here. The grandeur of the costumes and sets makes the atmosphere work so well, and the film benefits from a spectacular score from Terence Blanchard, who should at least get nominated for an Oscar. Though the film does occasionally slow down between the powerful moments, the last act especially is the most exciting, investing and empowering and elevates the entire movie. It’s a great popcorn action film but also a showcase of amazing production and performances that’s built for the big screen.
Following the events of the predecessor, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. With both A Quiet Place and its sequel that’s now playing in theaters everywhere, John Krasinski has proven himself to be not only an awesome actor but a master filmmaker. It worries me whenever a studio greenlights a sequel to a great film that stands alone perfectly, but A Quiet Place Part II is one of the rare occasions where the sequel lives up the original, and not only that, but along with that 2018 film, is one of the best horror/thrillers of recent years. A lot of it is thanks to Krasinski’s direction and the style which made the concept and storytelling of the first film so memorable. The opening sequence is nail-biting and even though the violence is kept at a PG-13 level, the film knows where and how to scare most effectively with showing and not showing certain things. For example, we see scenes from characters’ perspectives so the aliens and action aren’t always in the frame but sometimes in the background. The cinematography and editing are great as well, but it’s the sound editing that makes the movie. It’s the small noises that make you terrified for the characters as they try to survive among creatures who can track them based on any small noise from a distance, and the sound creates its own tension without a single jump scare. The loud sound effects of the monsters contrast this excellently and make this a terrific theater experience.
Emily Blunt may be at her best in this series as a mother trying to protect her kids, including a newborn, from otherworldly threats that are a family’s worst nightmare. Cillian Murphy is also excellent as a new addition to the cast, a cynical, hopeless survivor who is changed by his time with the Abbott family. Millicent Simmonds, the deaf actress who plays the deaf daughter in the film, may be the film’s heroine as she takes on challenges courageously and delivers a stellar performance, with not only some of the most positive deaf representation I’ve ever seen in film but all around a brilliant actor and lead role. Noah Jupe, who plays the son/brother, is again excellent, and he’s proven himself with these films as well as his magnificent roles in 2019’s Ford v Ferrari and Honey Boy. And even with just a cameo, Krasinski himself makes his presence felt throughout the film, passing the courage and good-ness of his character from the last film into his children and the world of the movie. Beyond the brilliant scares, which are only strengthened by techniques such as cross-cutting that Krasinski marvelously uses to make scenes more powerful and symbolic, the film retains the heart that made its predecessor so emotional — in every frame and line, this is a movie about a monster apocalypse, but also about parenthood, family, human survival, and hope. And one can’t help but think that with a family taking back their world by venturing back into the unknown and fighting back against the apocalypse, it’s a perfect film to represent our return to theaters. I, for one, had not been to the theaters since Tenet last August, when some screens briefly reopened, and this is an impeccable choice to return to the big screen with for the thrills, sound, and amazing effects and story that will more than satisfy those who know what they’re in for, and for the shared experience we’ve been longing to have back and can finally experience for a new blockbuster once again.