Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw
Bald is Beautiful

A Review by Robyn Boyer for
Gold Country Publications

 

There is a lot of buzz going around about how the two stars of “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw” both have contracts that spell out punch for punch parity. Whatever head butting, karate chopping, throwing people through glass windows, and hurling furniture one actor does, the other gets equal time to do a version of the same thing. There are even a number of split screen action scenes to assure the viewer that both our protagonists—Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson”), and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are really big, bad, bald boys fighting really big, bad guys. Apparently the fight scenes had to be carefully choreographed to achieve this requirement.  But lest this aspect spoil the fun, the rock ‘em, sock ‘em competition is the delightful crux of this latest version of the highly successful Fast and Furious franchise.

Hobbs is a federal agent who continues to be at odds with Shaw after the betrayals of “Furious 7” and “The Fate of the Furious.” Shaw, a former British Special Forces assassin-turned mercenary, was imprisoned by Hobbs following his defeat in Los Angeles. Neither can forgive the other, and thus the testosterone-fueled rivalry. The contrast between Hobbs and Shaw is stark. Hobbs is big and hulking, as manly as they come, relying on brute strength to overcome adversaries.  He even refers to himself as a “big can of whip-ass.” Shaw on the other hand is debonair, stealthy, and equally deadly, who wears designer suits and drives a 12-cylinder McLaren sports car.

The plot of “Hobbs and Shaw” centers on MI6 agents’ attempt to retrieve Snowflake, a virus developed by Eteon, a terrorist organization.  Snowflake can be programmed to decimate millions of people. Eteon’s goal is to rid the world of weak and deficient humans, to be transformed into a biomechanically, superior human race. In the opening fights scenes, we meet the mysterious Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), Deckard Shaw’s sister and an MI6 field agent intent on finding and destroying the virus. Enter Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), an Eteon operative with advanced cybernetic implants that allows him to perform superhuman feats. Like the Terminator, Brixton pursues Hattie throughout the movie. She has injected Snowflake into herself to keep it out of Brixton’s superhuman hands. However the protective capsule housing Snowflake has a limited life span before it spreads throughout Hattie kills her and spreads the lethal virus. Tick, tock.

 

The terrifying Brixton and Eteon operatives’ pursuit of Hattie’s, Hobbs’ and Shaw’s fight to retrieve and neutralize Snowflake gives rise to a global chase, with lots of head-knocking, flying fists and furniture, broken windows, and automatic weapons in its wake. From London, Los Angeles, Moscow, the Ukraine and Samoa, the battles are on. These many fights are ear splitting, beautifully choreographed, and mayhem-heavy. The audience loves it.

Beneath this story is another, one about family, alienation and estrangement. Hobbs has deliberately lost touch with his family in Samoa, with only his daughter in Los Angeles to prove that underneath all that brawn ticks a protective, loving heart for his daughter, Sam (Eliana Sua). Shaw and Hattie, once inseparable as children, have been at odds for years, although it is unclear why. Hattie is as badass as her brother, giving as good as she gets, taking on hulking and well-trained Eteon soldiers, all in 4-inch Jimmy Choo stilettos. In both cases, Hobbs, Shaw, and Hattie have old wounds, preventing them from finding their way back home.

There are a number of surprise cameos, and laugh out loud humor to counter balance the violence. The axiom home is where the heart is, helps to define and shape this sans-Vin Diesel, eighth installment of the franchise. Given the chemistry between Johnson and Statham, it is likely there will be more to come.

Produced by Johnson and Statham, written by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce (who wrote most of the Fast and Furious movies), and directed by David Leitch, (“Deadpool, “John Wick,” “Atomic Blond”)  “Hobbs and Shaw” is a furiously fast, loud, at times funny, joy ride. There is no sex but plenty of hormones fueling the plot. The visual style and action-packed scenes are squeezed into a two-hour, 15-minute run time. The ride is giddy, something for every fan of the genre, and satisfying to the end.

Several fine restaurants are within walking distance from the IMAX Theatre for prior or after-movie enjoyment, although the Esquire has hot food, beer, wine and soft drinks available besides the usual popcorn to enjoy and take back to your seat with you. Movie-goers may bring the parking stub from the Capitol Garage, L & 10th Streets, to a theatre host or the Box Office Monday through Thursday after 5 pm and on Sundays, for free validated parking (not valid on $5 pre-pay parking events, or during special events like a major show at the Golden 1 Arena.) You can also 'like' Esquire IMAX Theatre on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

About IMAX Corporation

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

 

The Lion King: A Shakespearian Musical
A Review by Robyn Boyer for
Gold Country Publications

 

Jon Favreau has come a long way.  From the lovesick actor in the acclaimed Indie film “Swingers” to directing “Iron Man” and the “Avengers,” he’s given film goers their money’s worth.  Now as the producer and director of the life-like remake of “The Lion King,” he’s earned his place as an A-list director and taken the original 1994 Disney animated feature to new and breathtaking heights; he’s gone from pow to wow. His command of the genre is unmistakable. Working with a script by Jeff Nathanson and music by Hans Zimmer, this musical is filled with hope and heart, with dark fear and righteous violence, a film that gives us a time-tested Shakespearian drama. Fighting over the rightful heir, palace intrigue, evil doings, and greedy and selfish alliances.

Favreau’s 2019 version of the live-action (CGI) rendering of “The Lion King” sweeps us into a beautiful and idyllic African setting. Mufasa (James Earl Jones), the regal and wise ruler of the lands that are “as far as the light can be seen,” understands the nature of Nature, the circle of life from birth to death. The song “Circle of Life” orchestrated with power and beauty lifts us up and defines the moral of the story. From the height of Pride Rock, Mufasa is committed to teaching his young son, the crown prince and heir, Simba (J.D. McCrary) the facts of life. Kindness and understanding rather than gluttony and transaction are Mufasa’s lessons. The wise shaman Rafiki (John Kani), guardian of the Pride Land’s progeniture, watches over Simba along with Zazu (John Oliver), the majordomo to the King.

Most Millennials and their parents are familiar with the plot from the film’s 1994 version, so no spoilers here. Basically, Mufasas’s jealous brother, Scar, (Chiwetel Ejofor) plots to kill Mufasa and Simba, in order to claim the realm as his own. Warned by Simba’s best friend, young Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph), Simba insists on doing his own thing. But the palace intrigue sets us up for a gripping and frightening scene in which a herd of antelopes are whipped into a stampede by hyenas, soldiers in Scar’s transactional alliance. This CGI scene thrusts the viewer into the stampede and Mufasa’s efforts to save Simba who has been tricked into getting in the way of the antelopes. Scar kills his brother and attempts to kill Simba in “Hamlet” fashion. Thinking him dead, Scar assumes command of the Pride Lands and seeks the favor of Mufasa’s mate and Simba’s mother, Sararabi (Alfre Woodard). She’s having none of it.

But unbeknownst to Scar, Nala, and Mufasa’s’ lion pride, Simba survives and spends the next year or so in a paradise far from home. He is joined by sidekicks, a warthog Pumbaa (Seth Rogan) and a wise-cracking meerkat, Timon (Billy Eichner). Simba has succumbed to his buddies’ motto, “Hakuna Matata,” a song that reflects the threesome’s enjoyment of a lazy and contented life, a carpe diem straight line of day to day, forget the circle of life.

But grown up Nala (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter), discovers that grown up Simba (Donald Glover) is alive and goes to him with the plea to return to Pride Rock and dispatch Scar and the hyenas.

 

The pride lands have been decimated and the circle of life ignored. Things are dark and dire in the kingdom. There is a fierce showdown between Simba and Scar, with the hyenas fighting the lionesses that have joined forces with Nala and Simba. Instead of swords and doublets, trunks and hose, the lions plunge into battle with teeth bared and claws extended. These scenes are frightening and a challenge for a child under five or six to witness. This coupled with the lengthy run time (118 minutes) suggest older children’s attendance is best suited for the film.  In fairness, adults will find this film sweet, stunning and inspiring, one to watch with their kids. It has something for everyone.

The amazing life-like magic of the CGI artistry, scene after scene, is filled with eye-popping and beautiful imagery. We are submerged into the Pride Lands, into the heart-warming scenes of Nala and Simba, of Musafa and Simba, of the cast of characters so important to the Simba’s journey to adulthood, and to the moral of this timeless tales of good triumphing over evil, father and son bonding, king ceding his realm to prince.

This film is about precious animals with wisdom and heart; of the most worthy and entitled to assume the role of command. The parts with baby cubs, fields of African animals and their babies, the splendor of the savannah and the jungle are reason enough to go see this warm and exciting story. Zimmer’s music throughout is both familiar and awe-inspiring, especially the duets with Beyoncé and Donald Glover. It’s Favreau’s best, most exciting film to date; can’t wait to see what’s next.

Several fine restaurants are within walking distance from the IMAX Theatre for prior or after-movie enjoyment, although the Esquire has hot food, beer, wine and soft drinks available besides the usual popcorn to enjoy and take back to your seat with you. Movie-goers may bring the parking stub from the Capitol Garage, L & 10th Streets, to a theatre host or the Box Office Monday through Thursday after 5 pm and on Sundays, for free validated parking (not valid on $5 pre-pay parking events, or during special events like a major show at the Golden 1 Arena.) You can also 'like' Esquire IMAX Theatre on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

About IMAX Corporation

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

 

Spider-Man: Far From Home - It’s Elemental
A Review by Robyn Boyer for
Gold Country Publications

 
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a dazzling cocktail of humor, high-tech, and humility.  We get drunk on all the action, the silly banter among the teenagers, and Spider-Man’s struggle to do the right thing no matter the cost to his personal life. It is the twenty-third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the eighth in the Spider-Man anthology, and the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers and directed by Jon Watts, this version of the superhero’s adventures outdoes all the others. The plot carries us on a wild ride, the pyrotechnics are bigger and louder, and the jokes keep the audience engaged and wanting more. The plot revolves around a series of unexplained, destructive “natural phenomena”, a tornado in Ixtenco, Mexico, a Tsunami in Venice, earthquakes in London, fiery destruction in Prague. The “Elementals” huge, angry monsters derived from the four elements (Earth, Wind, Water and Fire) are wreaking havoc on the Senior Class trip to Europe.

The cast is reprised from several of past Spider-Man films.  Tom Holland’s Peter Parker plays the intrepid but still insecure Spider-Man. He’s torn between being a teen ager who just wants to do what teenagers do—go on the class trip to Europe; get next to MJ (Zendaya) his classmate and love interest; and hang out with his best friend, J.B. Smooth (Julius Dell)—and stepping up to meet Iron Man’s (Robert Downey Jr.) expectations that Peter is the chosen one to carry the super hero mantel. The Avengers are dead (Avengers: End Game) and Spider-Man must defend against assaults on the innocent and the mayhem that ensues.


Samuel L. Jackson who plays Nick Fury, former director of SHIELD, isn’t sure that Peter can handle the job of vanquishing the Elementals. In mentor fashion, Nick challenges Peter to step up, be a man and do what Iron Man would do. Equipped with a special gift from Iron Man, Spider-Man’s mentor, Nick Fury gives Peter Tony Stark’s billion dollar, high tech glasses. Peter is now equipped for anything. Enter Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a mysterious former employee of Stark Industries who endowed with super hero powers, joins forces with Spider-Man and is able to shoot green light laser beams at the Elementals. Despite trust issues, the two team up to fight the Elementals who have killed Mysterio’s family.

Marisa Tomei reprises her roll as Peter’s Aunt May and she and Harold “Happy” Hogan (Jon Favreau) get…close. Happy, who has stepped into Iron Man’s shoes—and controls Starks extensive empire and technology—continues to mentor and help Peter where Tony Stark left off. In this version of Spider-Man’s exploits, appearances are deceiving. What you see isn’t always what you get.  This makes for many shocking surprises and adds to the fun. Interestingly, even though Iron Man has perished, homages to him are everywhere throughout the film, a reminder to Spider-Man that there is more to being able to fly from building to building parkour style, fighting crime and righting wrongs. You have to have commitment, a willingness to sacrifice, and use your powers strategically, not for fun. In other words, be a man not a boy.

Spider-Man: Far From Home has louder, fancier and more mind-bending explosions and monster-challenges than any of the previous Spider-Man films. This is tempered with great humor, especially the back-and-forth between Peter and J.B. Smooth. The surprise twists and turns of the plot keep the audience on the edges of their seats and throughout the film the audience laughs on cue, oohs and aahhs at the explosions and general mayhem, and generally has a good time. All this is amplified by the fact that the film is in 3-D, at the IMAX, a deep dive into the adventure.

The film is based on illusions so you never know what is real and what is not.  This makes for a challenging and delightful trip from the familiar to the unknown.  It is an exuberant, sometimes scary, sometimes funny look at what makes both good and bad super heroes tick. At the end of the film, we were treated to a Spider-Man costumed crowd, the League for Hope, a volunteer organization that works with children at the UC Davis Medical Center. They show up in full Spider-Man gear and regale the kids at the hospital and sometimes take the kids to see the movies. In keeping with the heart of the Spider-Man anthology, this five-star film brings joy and laughter, and yes…hope.

Several fine restaurants are within walking distance from the IMAX Theatre for prior or after-movie enjoyment, although the Esquire has hot food, beer, wine and soft drinks available besides the usual popcorn to enjoy and take back to your seat with you. Movie-goers may bring the parking stub from the Capitol Garage, L & 10th Streets, to a theatre host or the Box Office Monday through Thursday after 5 pm and on Sundays, for free validated parking (not valid on $5 pre-pay parking events, or during special events like a major show at the Golden 1 Arena.) You can also 'like' Esquire IMAX Theatre on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

About IMAX Corporation

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

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Toy Story 4: Saving the Utensil
A Review By Robyn Boyer for
Gold Country Publications

It’s been 24 years since Disney’s Pixar Studios’ Oscar nominated “Toy Story” let us in on the secret life of toys. The computer-generated format was one of the first of its kind and awed children and adults alike. We learned that the raison d’etre of toys is to belong to their child, bring them comfort and joy, and avoid getting lost, obsolesced, or thrown away, no matter the challenge. 

Led by a dated cloth and plastic Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) the cast of character toys managed to withstand the tortures of neighborhood bad boy Sid (Erik von Detten) and remain the close-knit family who comfort and amuse Andy (child actor John Morris), the human owner of the toys. Even with the introduction of Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), the newest and coolest plaything, the toys all managed to work together to ensure Andy had his favorites remained close at hand for Andy’s imaginative play.

“Toy Story 2” introduced another challenge: the greedy and obnoxious Al from Al’s Toy Barn.  He wants to sell Woody to a Japanese collector and Woody discovers that he is a commercial phenom. Again, the toys join forces and rescue Woody from this fate.  This sequel also introduced Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl (Joan Cusack), Woody’s alter ego. She’s strong willed and fearless and gives us a hint of the changing gender roles that Disney begins to introduce to keep up with the political times. There’s no more competition between Woody and Buzz for top toy, and the notion that there is strength in numbers is an important theme in “Toy Story 2”, a theme that continues through “Toy Story 4.” In the end the toys learn that without someone to love you, “you are nothing.” Heavy pressure indeed.

In “Toy Story 3” time has passed.  Andy has grown into a 19-year old, on his way to college, and the toys, at first confident they with remain with Andy, soon become apprehensive about their future. Andy no long plays with them and his mother insists he either put them in the attic or throw them away.  Andy opts for the attic, keeping Woody to take to his dorm. Through a series of mishaps, the rest of the toys end up at the Sunnyside Day Care where they are bashed, thrown about and made into messes by the pre-K group. In an effort to escape the clutches of a Care Bear monster who rules the toy roost at the day care, Andy’s brood run away, only to be scooped up by the trash men on their routine run. 

 

The scenes in which the toys, led by Andy and Jessie, try to avoid the fiery, melted death are heart stopping. Of all the cliff-hanging challenges of “Toy Story 1 and 2” this one is the scariest. In the end, Andy decides that his toys belong to a good home, not the attic, and he brings them to Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) who literally jumps for joy at her new treasures. Woody and the toys soon learn that the long lost art of play is timeless, no matter whom your human owner is.

This brings us to “Toy Story 4.” After eight years since “Toy Story 3”, and advances in the technology of computer animation, we settle into a beautiful, wondrous, joyful ride for the ages, made more magical by watching it in an immersive IMAX theater. Bonnie, who is about to embark on her first days of kindergarten, is frightened and alone without Woody and her toys (her father announces that toys don’t go to kindergarten). As she sits alone at her table, the teacher asks the kids to make a pencil holder from a collection of materials. Missing her toy friends, Bonnie makes a new friend, Forky the utensil (Tony Hale), from a spork, pipe cleaners, goofy eyes and play dough.

Just like that, Forky and Woody replace the other toys as her favorites. The toys soon learn that belonging can be a fickle proposition. To have family time before kindergarten starts in earnest, the family decides to rent an RV and take a trip. Bonnie loads up the RV with her toys, keeping Forky close at hand. In an RV park with a color-saturated carnival nearby, Forky has bopped his way to a nearby antique store. Again, through a series of mishaps, the gang of toys must rescue and return Forky to Bonnie.

This time the trials and tribulations involve a truly scary foursome of Chucky-like puppets, intent on guarding Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) who covets Woody’s voice mechanism since hers is defective. Enter Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and her three sheep. Long ago discarded, she has carved out an independent life, content to follow the carnivals from place to place, afraid of nothing. She has discarded the notion that without somebody (a child) you’re nobody. She’s the master of her own fate.

Bo Peep has it all figured out and this time she’s the leader. They must rescue Forky from Gabby Gabby and the puppets, no easy task. With the help of Duke Caboom, a Canadian daredevil (Keanu Reeves), Bo, Woody, Buzz, Duke and the other toys find themselves on a rollercoaster ride to unite Forky with Bonnie. Here is where the film becomes awe-inspiring.  The colors of the Ferris Wheel, the tilt-a-whirl, and the crowd below are nothing short of breath taking. Pixar has outdone itself with “Toy Story 4,” and it shows in the ending conclusion of the film. As Forky is returned, Woody is challenged by Bo to consider a nomadic life without a child to call his own.  There is a push-pull, as Woody weighs being with Bo (who he is sweet on) with his loyalty to Bonnie.

One major take away from “Toy Story 4” is how Disney has also evolved with the times over the 24 years since “Toy Story 1”. The women characters are strong and capable, not reliant on men to solve problems. There are gay and bi-racial couples. Even the children show independence without being naughty. In other words the cast is “woke” which brings an extra dollop of relevance. Even Woody’s decision is based on doing the right thing—for himself. Run; don’t walk to see this film. With children in tow, enjoy the beauty, fun and especially the laughter of this timeless tale.  Five stars…and counting.

Several fine restaurants are within walking distance from the IMAX Theatre for prior or after-movie enjoyment, although the Esquire has hot food, beer, wine and soft drinks available besides the usual popcorn to enjoy and take back to your seat with you. Movie-goers may bring the parking stub from the Capitol Garage, L & 10th Streets, to a theatre host or the Box Office Monday through Thursday after 5 pm and on Sundays, for free validated parking (not valid on $5 pre-pay parking events, or during special events like a major show at the Golden 1 Arena.) You can also 'like' Esquire IMAX Theatre on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

About IMAX Corporation

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

 

Men in Black: International

A Review by Eva Dunn for
Gold Country Publishing

 

The 'Men in Black' franchise has expanded to cover the globe, but so have the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. MIB: International takes place in an interspecies universe where a variety of alien lifeforms and humans co-habitate. The reboot of the sci-fi franchise 'Men in Black' based on Lowell Cunningham’s 1990 comic book series about secret government agents battling aliens reunites Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, alongside Liam Neeson, Rafe Spall, Rebecca Ferguson and Emma Thompson, and comes seven years after Men In Black 3, although nothing since has compared to the great 1997 original. Despite some noted chemistry between Thompson and Hemsworth, already established as a kind of playfully combative dynamic in “Thor: Ragnarok”, it's taken a beating with harsh criticism, although I did enjoy it for the most part. Their chemistry continues and their banter brings a bit of spark to the film.

Men in Black begins anew as we see a young Molly living in Brooklyn, who 20 years ago witnesses her parents having their memory wiped by two black-suited, sunglasses-at-night G-men who showed up when she’s a tween (she was hiding, so they didn’t wipe Molly’s brain) as she has just encountered her first alien creature. The agents were looking for a cute, brightly colored fluff ball of an alien, whom Molly helps escape out of her Brooklyn fire escape. Ever since, she's been working hard to find them again. The exciting part at the get-go is an actress headlining in a major sci-fi franchise, breaking the gender stereotype of Men in Black, as Molly, a nerdy black girl from the city, and a supreme cyber hacker, her entire life believing in aliens as she has seen one. 

As an adult, this extremely bright young woman’s drive pays off, as she finally gets a break, discovering their headquarters. She walks right in the front doors of MIB headquarters, impressing everyone. From there, Emma Thompson’s Agent O gives her probationary agent status and the two re-create the famous Will Smith sequence from the original 1997 film, from having Tessa try on a suit for the first time, get her first look at Men in Black’s instantly recognizable cartoony guns, and finally – to wearing those famous dark glasses. And she looks good, really good with the black suit, white shirt, and skinny black tie, along with her perfect curls.

Renamed Agent M, she's sent to their London branch, run by High T (Liam Neeson). There, she gets herself paired with their James Bondish and handsome top agent, H (Chris Hemsworth). He is supposedly one of the MIB’s best agents. Hemsworth was the old pro who saved the world once alongside London division boss High T (Liam Neeson) “with nothing but their wits and series-70 atomizers.” A version of that scene opens the film but something has happened to his zeal and love of the job; he has become a cocky, smug hotshot who spends a lot of time depending on his looks instead of doing actual work. I think without this character setback, the movie would have been more exciting if they had let Chris Hemsworth just be as great as his Thor character, but then, there is a reason behind his change in character. Tessa’s Agent M spends a regrettable amount of time having to clean up his messes, which dilutes the buddy humor that Men in Black is based on.

The plot involves an alien VIP, Jababian Vungus the Ugly (Kayvan Novak), who holds the key to the most destructive weapon ever made: a blaster cannon powered by a super-compressed star stored in a tiny purple crystal. H and M are entrusted with protecting him but are no match for a shape-shifting, break-dancing entity played by “the Twins,” Laurent and Larry Bourgeois — reminiscent of the albino duo in the “Matrix” sequels. They not only are formidable but seemingly cannot be destroyed. After a perilous nightclub showdown where they fail to protect Vungus, , the pair wind up in Marrakech, where their encounters include an underground mechanic who wears an alien for a beard. However, together they discover a plot to open up Earth for an invasion by the Hive, an alien entity that engulfs whole systems, twisting individuals into parts of its whole. Rival Agent C (Rafe Spall) starts to meddle with their investigation, while they adopt the last survivor of a tiny society of cute anthropomorphic chess pieces, named Pawny (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani). The real comedy comes from Pawny, the tiny alien who pledges his loyalty to M. He was absolutely hilarious and adorable, emerging as the duo’s new non-human companion, an amusing character who has most of the film’s funniest lines.

As the movie progresses, Agents High T (Neeson) and H (Hemsworth) face down the attack at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, and their own heroism and its mysterious aftermath is presented in parallel with the backstory of Agent M (Thompson) when she was a tween, given to reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time in her bedroom. The fun is slow to kick in here although there were some really funny parts, but mostly it was not what I expected; perhaps I was anticipating the magic that I found in the original 'Men in Black' which because of its novelty at the time, can't be replicated. Perhaps we have also been oversaturated with aliens already that they all are beginning to appear 'normal'. 

 
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are both extremely and marketable charming actors. I think because of their past film history together (Thor and Avengers) they were able to coast by in Men in Black: International on those strengths. The script wasn't that exciting and at one point my date fell asleep! The plot quite simply wasn’t snappy enough until half way through the film. It was also a bit confusing at one point as the story jumps from New York to London to Marrakesh at a frantic pace. As the film continues, scenes with animated aliens and shiny futuristic weaponry alleviate the plot a bit. Men in Black: International did become fun and exciting and even humorous because of some key inanimate characters.

As he proved in 2016’s “Ghostbusters” reboot which was hilarious, Hemsworth has a natural comic talent — his recent Marvel projects have picked up on that gift. The most satisfying thing about this extension of the MIB series comes from Thompson deftly handling the challenge of co-headlining a blockbuster. How amazing is that!? H and M have kicked open the door to future fun from the Men — and Women — in Black. The Easter egg that appeared after the rolling credits promised a sequel... I'm hoping it is much snappier and gratifying so that the MB franchise lives on. A funny part also was just before the credits, with a shot in which the woman in the Columbia Pictures logo puts on a pair of MiB shades while keeping her torch held high. Are we all meant to forget what we just saw??! All in all, Men in Black: International provides a mostly enjoyable experience although it fails to engage as I had anticipated.

MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 115 MIN. Director: F. Gary Gray. With: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Les Twins (Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois), Kayvan Novak. Producers: Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald. Executive producers: Steven Spielberg, E. Bennett Walsh, Riyoko Tanaka, David Beaubaire, Barry Sonnenfeld, Edward Cheng, Howard Chen.

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

About IMAX Corporation

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

 

Aladdin opens at the Esquire IMAX 

A Review by James E. Roberts for 

Gold Country Publications


Disney’s Aladdin opened this weekend to what seemed lukewarm reviews, despite the fact that it is well cast and directed and contains some plot changes from the 1992 animated version that work better than the original.  The general consensus is that this newer version doesn’t have the same energy and heart, but I think that misses the point. While there is plenty of flash and dazzle reminiscent of the old version, this new version adds more substance to the characters as well.


This live-action version is only live action insofar as not every single set and character was a CGI creation, although a lot of it is CGI.  Given that it’s a fantasy, that’s not really a bad thing, but sometimes a little CGI goes a long way, and in this case, a lot of the CGI went too long a way, to the point of where I wanted to say, “Alright, yeah, it’s pretty and impressive, but can we get on with the story already?”


Echoes of Robin Williams’ genius performance as the Genie in the animated feature make it difficult to fill the Genie’s curl-toed shoes. Will Smith’s Genie has most of the same lines as in the original, and Smith brings much of his own style of comedic realism to the role while handling the well-known dialogue. No, there isn’t the manic, rapid-fire, over-the-top, multiple personality changing performance that so suited Robin Williams’ Genie, but the updated script affords Smith the opportunity to provide this Genie with a bit more depth. It makes him, you will pardon the expression, more human and more relatable.  Smith still gets to play the flamboyant, magical show-off, and he does a great job at that, but he also gives us a Genie that is more than just manic playfulness.


The ingratiating Mena Massoud takes on the role of Aladdin, the street rat commoner who falls for a princess.  He has a winning dimpled smile, and his Aladdin has just enough bravado mixed with insecurity to win us over. A luminous Naomi Scott is Princess Jasmine. Here she’s not only the princess who has been sequestered in the palace for far too long, she is a potential ruler who loves her country and her people. She bridles at the restrictions that insist she cannot be the next Sultan, but must find a prince to marry who will take over her father’s job. The new song “Speechless” is designed to reflect her frustration at her situation, and while it may work as an anthem of sorts, its execution in the movie is a bit confusing, and the song itself feels as if it’s trying to be another “Let it Go” from Frozen, but doesn’t quite make the grade.


Marwan Kenzari is the evil Vizier Jafar, and here the live action villain seems much more realistic than the oily, overly stylized version in the 1992 animated feature. Oh, the animated version was certainly evil, but, dare I say it, cartoonishly so. Navid Negahban is Jasmine’s father, the Sultan, and is, again, a far less cartoonish buffoon than his predecessor was.  The new script gives both the Vizier and the Sultan opportunities to expand their characters beyond the confines of the earlier script.


SNL alumnus Nasim Pedrad is Jasmine’s handmaiden Dalia, a character created for this film. Dalia provides us with opportunities to see Jasmine interacting with a girlfriend as well as providing some comic touches to other parts of the movie. Pedrad is delightful to watch, and the role is reminiscent of second banana parts in such classic films as 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, where Una O’Conner played Maid Marion’s handmaiden Bess. Billy Magnussen has a small but enjoyably comic role as Jasmine’s suitor Prince Anders. The screenplay by John August and director Guy Ritchie is a bit overlong but has some story changes that work better than the 1992 script. Credit also to choreographer Leah Hill who lent a Bollywood flavor to the gorgeous dance sequences.

Many reviewers see this new live action Aladdin as a pale, lifeless comparison to the 1992 animated feature. Despite its flaws, I think that it compares quite favorably to the earlier version, and improved upon in more than a few areas. In 2D and 3D at the Esquire IMAX in Sacramento, I saw the 3D version, which was more subtle than the in-your-face effect you sometimes get with 3D. The 3D is an interesting effect and used well here, but I don’t think that that version would provide a more thrilling experience than the 2D would. Aladdin is an enjoyable, entertaining movie in its own right.  Go and enjoy it. Dark Phoenix: The IMAX 2D Experience opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on June 6 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online.

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

 

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

 

Avengers: Endgame, a Spectacular Hit!
A Review by Evelina Dunn for
Gold Country Publications


Marvel Studios’ latest film Avengers: Endgame had a stellar opening at the worldwide box office over the weekend. In just a couple of days, it brought in $1.2 billion and became the biggest opener in the history of movies, all over the world. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely; Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a cast of More!  With the spectacular opening and the great reviews, this 3 hour mighty finale is a follow-up to the intense showdown that was 'Infinity War' where the demigod Thanos wiped out half the universe and did serious damage to the Avengers' ranks. It was on a stupendous scale and with a devastating ending when Thanos gained victory by attaining all six of the Infinity Stones which caused key players to crumble to dust--a terrible cosmic loss, and seemingly irreversible.

We have had ample time to mourn the crushing loss of Spider-Man, Star-Lord, and Black Panther. Now there's new hope as the Avengers take a final stand against the alien warlord Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Marvel Studios' conclusion to 22 amazing films in 'Avengers: Endgame', showcasing a decade of superheroes. Trying to get tickets to this movie, whether 2D or 3D, was in itself a feat as theaters across the country began selling out early; anticipation was high and I looked forward to this film as I had to the very first Iron Man in 2008! I remember long lines for movies like Star Wars back in the 70's! A nice thing about the IMAX Esquire is that all seats are assigned so we don't have to wait in hours-long lines to get into the theater.  

The opening scene revisits that unbearable moment as Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who sat out the previous battle to spend time with his wife and kids, relives the agony he felt in watching them vaporized by the Snap the same as many experienced as they watched their friends and family disappear. Adrift in space with no food or water, we then see a frail Tony Stark  (Robert Downey Jr) with Thanos’ daughter Nebula (Karen Gillan) in his ship from a distance amid the starkness of space as he sends a last message to his love, Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). His oxygen supply starts to dwindle; rescue seems highly improbable and he realizes he is doomed. Then... the light fades from his life-giving Arc Reactor and goes out.

Cut away to the next scene. It's 5 years after the incredible Infinity War and the remaining Avengers -- Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner -- are assembled, coping with their loss while trying to vainly figure out a plan to bring back their vanquished allies and desperately wanting a rematch with Thanos -- the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe. It all just seems so bleak and hopeless; they were crushed by depression so how could they even hope to defeat him after all that has taken place. Their reality has changed... some have regular jobs or freelance gigs, celebrity spots, some even have a new family now. Yet their spirits run high as a shimmer of hope arises; perhaps they can undo the Snap and restore those who were lost. Banter between them is familiar and so funny... oh, how we've missed their scathing wit and humor! There are some surprising and amusing physical changes to some of the heroes during those last 5 years that were really astounding. Enter Captain Marvel in the midst of their conversations... Thor gives her the once-over and with an approving, "I like this one", the show begins! You must see this movie in 3D... just the best way to see an action film of this caliber. It's like you're standing on the edge of cliffs yourself and ducking whenever rocks and whole structures get tossed! 

We're back with Tony and Nebula now, drifting in outer space, when a glowing light in the distance becomes increasingly bright... so bright Tony has to shield his eyes... it gets brighter and brighter as it comes closer until we see Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) hovering just outside the cockpit, and glowing! The audience cheers! She seems to have even more powers than I remember! When she carries the war-torn ship back to earth, Tony's comrades are shocked and very elated to see them both. Pepper's face is full of unbridled hope yet can hardly  believe it when she sees Tony and embraces him.

 

In the first hour, we find Thanos has banished himself to a remote garden planet with his giant, metallic gauntlet, having destroyed the stones. In their discussions, the Avengers came to realize they must make one final stand and that, in theory, whoever holds those six, all-powerful Infinity Stones, with a snap of the fingers by any one of them, could return all as it was, even bringing back everyone who was lost. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has demonstrated the potential for time travel at the Quantum Realm — something touched on at the end credits last time. So all they need to do is use the Quantum Realm to travel back to the time before Thanos had the stones, and grab them so he doesn't get them. Oh, and invent time travel also. Easy. Of course, that showdown doesn’t go at all as we might expect or hope and a complex series of events follows. There does seem to be some concern as the Ancient One explains to Banner that each of the Infinity Stones help keep the core timeline in place. But if the Avengers remove them, they'll create splinter timelines that would hypothetically each continue alongside the original one, called a multiverse.

 

Banner theorizes that returning all the Stones back to their rightful places in time (which happens after the Snap) will mean that the timeline has been rectified, meaning that nothing in the timeline should be out of place. Not everyone is so sure about this, though. Meddling with the past fundamentally changes the entire universe in ways that can't possibly be predicted. However, Time travel in Marvel films is a tangible thing that scientists can access, and heroes can utilize. In the comics it is accepted that it exists and almost always has. That influence is felt here in Endgame with the sudden inevitability of time travel to retrieve the stones.  The chances that these heroes have to go back and say things to those they’ve lost were some of the most emotional scenes. We have all lost loved ones we had wished we had said more to about what they meant to us. 

Now, understanding what has to be done, the Avengers are free to buddy up and jump through time to collect the Infinity Stones before Thanos can get to them, make their own gauntlet and snap things in and out of existence. The surviving Avengers revisit scenes from the earlier films, watching their younger versions — as well as fallen comrades — and in a couple of instances, face off against his or her past self.  Of course, time travel creates paradoxes and who knows what will come of all this time jumping. Of course, Thanos has a plan also once he learns of their intentions in a very sly way. In fact, realizing he made an error in destroying only half the universe, he now plots to regain the stones so he can destroy the entire universe and rebuild it how he imagines without these pesky Avengers. This is a dynamic and tremendously entertaining film... there are surprising twists, amusing confrontations, and bromance bonding moments between mismatched partners (like Thor and the Bradley Cooper-voiced space raccoon, Rocket). A few cameos from major and minor characters in past films was a fun touch. I loved the music score throughout, also.

 

We have come to expect stunning visual effects, iconic costumes and sets, superior cinematography and rousing music besides convincing, computer-generated characters in the Avenger films and we were not disappointed. This was seriously hard-core comic book entertainment and exactly what we came to see; even at 3 hours, time passed quickly, we were so engrossed; few people left their seats. There are so many glorious moments, even subdued emotional scenes that were powerful, and I loved that diverse representation was a key feature of this film, especially women heroes who stand alone. There are highly moving, emotional scenes where our heroes illustrate the spirit of personal sacrifice made on behalf of the team and the universe. Avengers: Endgame” is the most expansive film yet, and although the extravagant, effects-driven, awesome displays of universe-saving feats are incredible, they pale in comparison to the even more awesome human costs of heroism. That's what a real hero does!

 

I often thought, well, maybe they will come back to life somehow later in the film, but they didn't. There are so many moving parts to this movie, some Avengers dealing with grave loss they had ignored in past shows, details we didn't clearly understand, and the effects on their lives going forward in the Avengers' world. Even so, it is sheer enjoyment and combining the serious and the comic makes the drama easier to bear, and less challenging for the viewer.  And still this was a victorious movie--a spectacular, epic movie. Family matters, not only blood ties, but to those forged by kinship, war and self sacrifice. A beautiful thing and a satisfying conclusion although barely anyone cheered at the movie's end. There was such an enormous amount of action and information; the ending seemed to come in while we were all still processing what we had just seen!

 

Beginning with Iron Man in 2008 and finishing with Avengers: Endgame in 2019, this is a franchise that was made for fans. Avengers: Endgame is a near-perfect conclusion in every way. I loved this movie... story threads are explored and tied up nicely, the entertainment aspect hits a zillion, the performances are the absolute best, and humor is immensely fun and well done which balances the heavy drama and gives us some relief. A Spectacular movie, don't miss this one! It's everything you want it to be and more. I do believe the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never end because in this universe does anyone ever truly die? Case in Point: I am really looking forward to the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming! Spider-Man lives! This was a  satisfying finale to Marvel's epic Infinity Saga. Coming Soon to IMAX Esquire: Aladdin

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

 

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

 

Shazam! Even a Kid Can Be the World's Mightiest Mortal

A Review by Robyn Boyer for

Gold Country Publications

Imagine Josh Baskin (Tom Hanks, “Big”), Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland, “The Wizard of Oz”, and Billy Batson (Zachary Levi, “Shazam!”) all flying at warp speed to vanquish evil and celebrate virtue.  Finding out that superpowers give choices and limits. Travelling down paths filled with childish fun until you miss your family. Becoming kids who magically become grownups and learn grownup lessons. The thing that all three films have in common is that kids can find their way and even become superheroes if they have enough magic, whether it’s in your heart, at a theme park, or at the end of a supercharged scepter.

“Shazam” is DC’s latest entry into the pantheon of the World Mightiest Mortals. It is the first live-action film version of the character since the 1941 serial “Adventures of Captain Marvel.”  It’s a breathless and sprawling departure from their usual dark and fearful contrasts of good and evil.  Upbeat and at times hilarious, the characters crack jokes and crack heads. The kids and the grownups they become, have challenged childhoods, are sweet, and aren’t yet jaded.

This is the story of Shazam—Billy Batson—who, as a very small boy (David Kohlsmith) is separated from his mother and spends much of his youth looking for her.  As a teen (Asher Angel), Billy is melancholy, keeps his distance from the other kids at school, and has developed a protective me-first shell. In his quest for a parent he is swept through an ethereal curtain into a magical lair where he encounters the Wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) and stone gargoyles representing the Seven Deadly Sins.  The Wizard is looking for a new Champion, someone who is pure of heart, who can carry on the work of keeping the gargoyles at bay. In hopes of preventing the Sins from destroying all that is good and right, the Wizard, gives Billy superpowers which can be invoked by saying, “Shazam!” He is transformed into an adult who doesn’t yet have a clue as to his abilities.  As in “Big,” he’s a boy in a man suit.

Then there is Thaddeus Silvana (Mark Strong), archenemy of Captain Marvel, who as a boy is brow beaten and shamed by his father and older brother.  He too is somehow transmuted to the Wizard’s Lair, where a competition with Billy Batson is set in motion to determine who will become The Champion.

Parentless Billy is finally placed in a group home where he barely tolerates the other foster kids and parents.  Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), is a disabled, motor-mouthed jokester, who soon becomes Billy’s sidekick and best friend. When Billy morphs into Shazam, the two of them begin to learn and push the limits of Billy’s new powers. That’s when the fun begins as the two discover through trial and error how to act like a superhero.

Predictably, the DC template of good vs. evil unfolds; Shazam and now-adult Dr. Silvana challenge each other for the Wizard’s scepter and his ultimate power. The showdown is filled with a fierce, very loud, and scary battle. By now Billy has learned that there is more strength in using his powers for aiding others and endows his foster friends by turning them all into adult superheroes, ready and willing to join the fray against Dr. Silvana and the Gargoyles.  The film requires intense concentration because much of the story is difficult to follow and unexplained. Characters and plotlines jump from scene to scene and the Seven Deadly Sins are never really a threat other than being ugly, mean and dangerous.  However, after 132 minutes of adrenalin, the film gives us our money’s worth.

Directed by David F. Sanberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden, “Shazam!” isn’t for everyone.  Despite its kid-cast, it isn’t a child’s film.  The violence and noise and humor work for fans of the genre, but my 8th grade companion was jolted through much of the movie.  When I asked her how she would grade it, she said she’d give it four out of five stars.  Why?  “It was confusing.” The film is currently playing at the IMAX theater in downtown Sacramento. Playing Next is Disneynature Penguins Opening April 17 and Avengers: Endgame Opening April 26, 2019. 

IMAX creates powerful experiences — by enhancing every image, sound and dimension. IMAX gives a story its ultimate expression. Whether its a hot new Hollywood blockbuster, or a special made for IMAX film, the larger-than-life screen makes film come alive in ways that your average movie theater just can’t compare. Free Parking at the Capitol Lot on L and 10th Street, weekdays after 5pm and all weekend with validation sticker. Please present parking ticket at the Esquire IMAX Box Office. Not valid for $5 pre-pay special events. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

 

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

 

DUMBO Soars!

A Review by Dawn Santos for

Gold Country Publications

We went to see the premiere of Dumbo, a Disney movie directed by visionary Tim Burton; the all-new grand adventure that expands on the beloved classic story where differences are not only tolerated but celebrated, family is prized and dreams are possible. The movie Dumbo reminds one that empathy and kindness are their own rewards. It's about intrigue, fantasy, danger, the power of hope, the strength of family, and the magic of a child's belief. It's a movie full of heart! It also teaches lessons like the beauty in being 'different', using a disadvantage as an advantage, and to persevere in difficult times. It's also a glimpse into the hard life of circus elephants that used to be, and that are, happily, no longer. 

Having never gone to the IMAX Esquire Theater in Sacramento, I was expecting it to be just like the rest of the New Age theaters with 16 screens, etc. What a pleasant surprise when I arrived to pick up my tickets. I found that I didn’t have to make any decisions as Dumbo was playing in the entire theater. We got inside and it smelled of popcorn and candy, and a person was standing at the podium to take our ticket, just like the old days. Inside, there was a screen bigger than life, an amazing theater that was huge and not a bad seat in the house.

We nestled into our oversized seats that were extremely comfortable and waited for Dumbo to start. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) runs a struggling circus, the Medici Bros. Circus, traveling across the US in 1919, and is dismayed his star pregnant elephant seems suddenly lethargic. However, she is only in the last throes of giving birth, and excited about the coming baby which should increase ticket sales, he is miserably dismayed when the newborn has such oversized ears. When the little one is mocked and frightened, momma elephant goes on a rampage, is separated from her baby, shackled and sold. Max assigns his former Big Tent, star trick rider Holt Farrier who just returned from the war minus an arm (Colin Farrell), and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for the newborn elephant whose limpid blue eyes show a wonderful array of emotions.


The discovery by the children that Dumbo can fly allows the circus to make an incredible comeback, as he delights the crowds with his unique ability, also attracting sleek entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton). He recruits Dumbo for his newest amazing and spectacular entertainment venture, Dreamland, filled with menace and attractions like Nightmare Island, Wonders of Science, Rocket to the Future and the Colosseum — a bizarre place, indeed! Dumbo soars alongside a beautiful and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), albeit with several rocky starts until he learns to fly on cue. Once Holt learns that Dreamland, beneath its shiny veneer, is full of dark secrets, the race is on to save Dumbo and his mother who was sold to Dreamland.

The film is a reunion of Keaton, DeVito and Burton, who worked together on the 1992 hit "Batman Returns." The actors were at their all-time best, and 15-year-old Nico Parker (daughter of Westworld actress Thandie Newton), who portrayed the main character of Milly Farrier, hit a home run. She plays the daughter of a circus performer who dies from an incurable illness. She had a depth of mystery and maturity which played well in her role as the calm and intelligent Milly. The script is by Ehren Kruger, whose credits include “The Brothers Grimm” and several “Transformers” movies. It's a fantastic production design! It's dazzling and gorgeous, and Dumbo is absolutely adorable.

What a great movie--the acting, the animation of Dumbo, all the exciting visuals; you would never guess he wasn’t really a big-eared elephant who could fly; it was so realistic. Watching it on a large screen made it all the better; I felt as if I was right there with them. We laughed, we cried, and I was able to relive a story of Dumbo that I remembered and loved as a youth, from the original, animated film Dumbo that premiered in 1941. Walt Disney would be proud of the production that Tim Burton has created, as the simple essence and elegance of the 1941 Disney cartoon is intact. I definitely give this movie a thumbs up, and I also give the IMAX Esquire theater a big thumbs up. I can’t wait to go back and see another show! Playing Next is Shazam! premiering on April 4, 7pm. The The League for Hope will be there to greet everyone! You don't want to miss it! https://www.facebook.com/leagueforhope/

IMAX creates powerful experiences — by enhancing every image, sound and dimension. IMAX gives a story its ultimate expression. Whether its a hot new Hollywood blockbuster, or a special made for IMAX film, the larger-than-life screen makes film come alive in ways that your average movie theater just can’t compare. Free Parking at the Capitol Lot on L and 10th Street, weekdays after 5pm and all weekend with validation sticker. Please present parking ticket at the Esquire IMAX Box Office. Not valid for $5 pre-pay special events. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

 

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

DUMBO

 
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CAPTAIN MARVEL Exceeds Expectations

A Review by Evelina Dunn
for Gold Country Publications

 

The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in theaters this last weekend, helping to bridge the gap between last year’s Avengers: Infinity War and next month’s Avengers: Endgame. Captain Marvel, by directors Anna Boden, and Ryan Fleck, is the 21st film released by the Marvel Cinematic Universal (MCU) franchise in just under 11 years. Enjoyable and fun, this superhero blockbuster is very clever. It also is the third-biggest opening for the month of March, behind "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" ($166 million), "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" ($146.5 million), and "Iron Man 3" ($174.1 million). Brie Larson plays the title character with grit and a quick wit.

The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins with a poignant tribute to Stan Lee. The former president and chairman of Marvel Comics died in November at the age of 95. The Marvel Studios opening logo footage of the usual superheroes was replaced with a black screen displaying a simple text message: “Thank you, Stan.” But that’s not the only acknowledgement of Stan Lee in Captain Marvel. The entire opening is just shots of Stan Lee from his many cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while we all applauded amid cheers and whistles. Lee has had over 50 cameos in Marvel TV shows, movies, and animated projects. Lee also cameos later in the film as an old man on the L.A. Metro; watch for it, he shares a quick yet kind smile with Captain Marvel as she pummels a Skrull.

Captain Marvel is currently a female named Carol Danvers who gained powers when her DNA was fused with Mar-Vell's (a Kree male who was Captain Marvel at the time) during an explosion. The first Captain Marvel was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (December 1967). This character is an alien military officer, Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree Imperial Militia, who is sent to observe the planet Earth as it is developing technology to travel into space. The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

 

Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Ben Mendelsohn as Talos; Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson (the audience really cheered when he first appeared); Jude Law as Yon-Rogg; Annette Bening as Supreme Intelligence; Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeauand; and Lee Pace as Ronan. Jackson and Clark Gregg play younger versions of their present day characters, Fury and Coulson. 12-year old 'Reggie' is the furry actor who plays scene-stealing 'Goose', the Cat.

 

This vivid action-adventure is the first film in the Marvel Universe led by a female superhero. Not only are powerful forces in the galaxy bent on killing her, but the men in her life are quick to belittle her when she dares to do what they can do, and does it even better. Carol, played with grit and verve by Oscar winner Brie Larson, can't remember who she is. Little bits of backstory, for both Vers and Danvers, are stirred around in the first fifteen minutes, which for many, seemed very boring and didn't really flow well. As the story unfolds, however, there is a lot of enjoyable banter between the two, actually, throughout the movie between many of the actors. Danvers has amnesia, but on Earth she begins to piece together her past, with help from a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson.

For six years she has lived on the planet Hala as a noble Kree warrior named Vers, a member of an elite squad called Starforce, fighting to protect the Kree home world from the Skrulls, a dangerous and shapeshifting rival race of green aliens. She has only flashes of memories of who she might have been before: a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and a devoted friend of other valorous women. If you remember, the Kree previously made an appearance in the ABC show 'Agents of SHIELD'. The Kree leader of her Starforce team, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), discourages her often as she struggles with these memories that flash in and out, telling her she's too emotional—something most women are used to hearing. Female attendees at this showing groaned loudly in unison as the men chuckled. Think with your head, not your heart, he says; sensitivity is weakness; your feelings will betray you. She continues her sparring session with him, vainly attempting to keep in check her growing powers, besides her emotions. The Captain’s visible manifestation of power, though, is really wondrous to behold--the power that surges through her fists is formidable as she shoots cool force bolts from her hands, unleashed and unchained!

A botched mission lands her on Earth but not in the present day. She's in Los Angeles 1995 and because of the jump back in time, good-time oldies from Garbage, No Doubt, Nirvana, Hole, and more '90s grunge bands that still hold up today are on the soundtrack. More nostalgic quirks appear as images of Blockbuster Video (Vers crash-lands through a Blockbuster's roof), Radio Shack, pay phones with long-distance carriers (Captain Marvel has to use a payphone), dial-up internet, pagers, and the ever-beloved, agonizingly slow desktop computers. That elicited 'happy-memory' applause from the audience... boy, do I ever remember internet dial-up!

While on earth, Vers begins to uncover the mystery behind those supposedly upsetting dreams she’s always having. Carol and Fury unite in unlikely friendship as they track down the remnants of her previous life on earth. From his first appearance as Fury in Iron Man (2008), Jackson has been a central and well-beloved figure; his presence here is awesome, and well... perfect. Annette Bening fills the role as her staunch mentor from test-pilot days; she appears in visions as an impressive person in Vers' life, but she can't recall why. The Kree's later take advantage of this memory.

The show was spiked with several 'Top Gun' references which was also cool. This movie is such an action-packed, fun flick... these playful touches, along with plenty of in-jokes and Easter eggs really enhanced an already dynamite experience. The real star of the movie may be Goose the cat, though. Goose steals every scene he’s in (playing a 'she') and is worth the price of admission alone! It’s exciting, fun, silly, and action-packed, centered around a powerful woman, yet the movie doesn’t really make a feminist statement. Wonder Woman already did that in her last movie. Captain Marvel? Well, there was this badass woman who fell to Earth, and then saved it!

 

Brie Larson gives her character likeability; the story is well paced, with a few dramatic twists and surprising turns that make this an extremely enjoyable film. The heroine is going to fit in perfectly among the Avengers when she inevitably shows up in Endgame. The audience seemed very pleased with the movie, its giant action scenes and fight sequences eliciting thunderous applause. I think every single person applauded as the credits began to roll at movie's end. Besides that, not one single person left the theater until the Easter Eggs appeared. However, a few did miss the final one! This American super hero film is a movie that's a must see! Rated PG-13 (for sequences of sci-fi violence and action). 

Marvel Music and Hollywood Records are releasing the Marvel Studios’ "Captain Marvel" digital soundtrack, featuring an epic orchestral score by award-winning composer Pinar Toprak. Her score is a blend of electronics and orchestra, and was recorded with 90 musicians at London’s Abbey Road Studios. On her theme for “Captain Marvel,” Toprak said to Variety, “She’s one of the most powerful beings in the universe, but she’s also very human. Emotions don’t take away from her strength. She’s strong yet sensitive. I wanted to hear the humanity instilled in the hero.” The soundtrack can be downloaded here: http://hollywoodrecs.co/CaptainMarvelDL

I was so excited to see a number of costumed super heroes outside the Esquire IMAX theater in Sacramento on Opening Day... Not only Marvel movie characters but others in the Marvel Cinematic family. Later, after the second showing which was sold out, they also were in the lobby entertaining and thrilling the younger kids. The League for Hope is a charity costuming group that specializes in going to children's hospitals and kids charity events. Outstanding! Perfect addition for an Opening Day film. 

Gina von Damm, Event Coordinator says, "The League for Hope regularly visits children who are going through health issues at local Sacramento children’s hospitals, like the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center’s pediatric infusion center, UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Sutter Children’s Hospital, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. We also work with the Esquire IMAX in Sacramento to take a patient from one of the hospitals we work with to the movies with their favorite superheroes. We believe that hope heals and that any happiness we can bring to those who so desperately need some laughter to distract them is important. Checkout our Facebook page for more of our adventures: https://www.facebook.com/leagueforhope/ ". More on our News & Events page.

IMAX creates powerful experiences — by enhancing every image, sound and dimension. IMAX gives a story its ultimate expression. Whether its a hot new Hollywood blockbuster, or a special made for IMAX film, the larger-than-life screen makes film come alive in ways that your average movie theater just can’t compare. Free Parking at the Capitol Lot on L and 10th Street, weekdays after 5pm and all weekend with validation sticker. Please present parking ticket at the Esquire IMAX Box Office. Not valid for $5 pre-pay special events. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

IMAX turns 20 this year! To celebrate, we are offering special anniversary pricing! All tickets are only $12 Mon-Thursday for all of 2019! https://www.facebook.com/esquireimax/

CAPTAIN MARVEL

 

'Aquaman' Impresses at the IMAX

A Review By James E. Roberts 

for Gold Country Publications

The latest presentation from the DC comic’s universe is Aquaman, a loud, flashy, long, and often humorous celebration of unlikely violence, unlikely characters, and fairly predictable outcomes.  Oh, and it’s fun.  Silly, but fun.  Jason Momoa stars as Aquaman, or Arthur, as he’s known to his family and friends, a large, bearded, heavily muscled and even more heavily tattooed son of a lighthouse keeper and Atlanna, the queen of Atlantis.  Momoa is a lot of fun in this movie, with his charming smile and easy, understated comic touch he carries off the lighter moments with ease.  And when he gets into one of the many, many fights in Aquaman, he seems right at home pounding people through walls, hurling them around like rag dolls, and generally behaving as if he’s invincible, which is interesting, but keeps the audience from worrying about the outcome of those fights.  While he’s dandy as Aquaman, it would be nice to see Momoa in a romantic comedy or something that relied more on his acting skills than his muscles.


The plot of Aquaman is pretty basic.  Lighthouse keeper Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) finds a wounded Atlanna (an ageless Nicole Kidman) washed up on the rocks below the lighthouse.  He carries the unconscious Atlantean home, patches her up, and they fall in love and have a son, Arthur, the future Aquaman.  Atlanna is forced to return to Atlantis, and leaves her son behind to be raised by his human father. From there we encounter Arthur’s half-brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) who wants to wage war on the surface dwellers because they are crude and pollute the oceans and aren’t nearly as technologically advanced as the Atlanteans and probably don’t wear clean underwear and so on and so on, Orm’s betrothed, Mera (Amber Heard), her daddy, King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), Orm’s Vizier, Vulko (Willem Dafoe), some high-tech pirates, and a whole lot of undersea life that seems at best unlikely, and often preposterous.


The story is predictable, with the good guys globe hopping hither and yon in search of a particularly powerful artifact, the bad buys turning up wherever the good guys go, and battles that destroy a lot of the landscape without seeming to harm any civilians.  I’m not going to bother pointing out all the contradictory elements of Aquaman, since the movie depends not only on the suspension of disbelief but suspension of logic as well.  Just sit back and enjoy the ride.


Directed by James Wan, excellent cinematography by Don Burgess, written by a bevy of story and screen writers, with a universe of technical expertise backing up the production, Aquaman is a visual treat.  The undersea world is beautifully realized, and the special effects are extremely well done.  I saw Aquaman at the Esquire IMAX in 3D, and the 3D was impressive without being too distracting.  While the pacing of Aquaman was brisk, the 143 minute run time could have been trimmed by making some of the fight scenes a bit shorter.


Aquaman is playing at the Esquire IMAX on K Street in Sacramento.  A brief word about the Esquire IMAX:  the staff is polite and friendly, and they have the best condiment bar I have ever seen at a movie theater.  They even have sauerkraut for their hot dogs.  I’m not a fan of sauerkraut, but I admire the thoughtfulness of whoever was responsible for its inclusion.

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

 

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

A Review by Evelina Dunn

for Gold Country Publications

The “Harry Potter” prequel “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”, the tenth overall in J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World franchise, which began with the Harry Potter film series, was highly anticipated... we wanted to see more adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander who studies, rescues and nurses magical critters. David Yates, who directed the last four movies in the “Harry Potter” series, is the director of these films, as well. Showing on the immense IMAX screen at the Esquire theater, it was spectacular even if it wasn't shown in 3D. 

Newt Scamander carries a wand, practices magic, and works for the Ministry of Magic even though he was expelled from Hogwarts. In the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Leta Lestrange had an experiment she was conducting at Hogwarts that went wrong, and it endangered the life of a student. Newt Scamander took the blame, and it's rumored that's why he was expelled from the school. However, others say that Scamander took the blame for the experiment and the other professors threatened to expel him from Hogwarts but Dumbledore stood up for him, so he was never expelled, and he is listed as a graduate. I really enjoyed the flashbacks to Hogwarts. 

At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Redmayne). Making good on his threat, the sequel begins in New York in the mid 1920's with Grindelwald staging a daring, chaotic prison escape while being transferred from the United States to England on a dark and stormy night. The special effects and lightning-fast action makes this a terrific opening scene and sets the mood! I love the 1920's era, with its cloche hats, Model T’s, Art Deco flourishes and a Jazz Age vibe. It was a delight and the sets very handsomely designed.

As the story continues, Grindelwald is consolidating his power and has big plans. Fascism has seeped into the story, a darkness, violence and even racism... there are ugly phrases like “pure blood.” He intends to lead all the pureblooded wizards from around the world to take over and rule the non-magical people – No-Majs, as they’re known in America, or Muggles, (British Potterverse). He’s on the lookout for Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the unsettled magical orphan of the last Fantastic Beasts, whose powers have grown. Credence, meanwhile, is embroiled in solving the mystery of his parentage. His companion, Nagini (Claudia Kim), a circus performer who occasionally turns into a snake is so interesting.

The chilling nature of Grindelwald's intentions is shown later as the sight of terrifying massive blazes and piles of ashes are a glimpse of what’s to come. Depp is interesting in this role; he personifies a scary, calmness in the midst of chaos; his voice is cool and resonant, yet I felt he didn't seem to be as villainous as his character should be. His white hair is becoming as he portrays his crazy self; he is superb as only Johnny Depp can be. Yet the energy and excitement he usually brings to the stage was not there.

Newt  has a romance going on with the sweet but law-and-order type, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). I swear she never smiles. Tina suspects he’s still in love with his childhood classmateand old flame, Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), who’s engaged to marry Newt’s brother, Theseus (Callum Turner), an official with the Ministry of Magic. Throughout the film, she keeps running away from him which becomes quite tedious. Tina’s pretty, ditzy sister, Queenie (delightful Alison Sudol), a mind-reader, is back with her lovable Muggle boyfriend, Jacob (the appealing and funny Dan Fogler), to help however they can. The two of them are such fun to watch and their interaction brings charming levity to the film. I really wish they had more scenes in this movie.

Scamander has been tasked with hunting Grindelwald by his old teacher Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), who is at the famous school of Hogwarts. As I said, flashbacks of the school and its characters are well done and interesting. “The Crimes of Grindelwald” bounces back and forth not only between these various scenarios but also between 1920s London and Paris, which look so similar and gloomy that it becomes confusing as to where everyone is at any given time. I also really wished there was more color to these scenes instead of gray and more gray.
 
Rowling creates worlds so richly intriguing that, however, that there are really wonderful moments: like a crowded circus tent that amazingly packs itself away into a cart with the flick of a wand, or a gold, sparkly mist that after being sprinkled at the scene, revealed the exact conversations and actions that took place before, down to the footprints on the concrete. The fantastic beasts are indeed fantastic, one of my favorites being the majestic seahorse made entirely of kelp cutting through the waves in the ocean. They just aren't the center focus of this sequel like the first film was; it was full of fun beastly introductions. This, for me, detracts from the film greatly. Only the little green Pickett and the wily, magical platypus Niffler appear again with starring roles.

There are  heart-pounding, big action scenes in this movie, and yes, spectacular violence, with much destruction but generally, I was very confused with the plot structure as so much bombarded me at one time. It was difficult to follow the story line. It lacked the development of the first film, the finesse and awesome mystery of it, the spark, the excitement. It was fantastical in the really incredible beast scenes, however,  like 'Zouwu', a charming monster with a cat's face and a long, incredible body that whips around like a Chinese New Year dragon.

I was torn as I  had so looked forward to this film, but I felt more disappointed as it ended than thrilled... somehow it didn't manage to come together for a great movie experience, as the first 'Fantastic Beasts'; there was no momentum. It did deliver action, with enough battles, incredible chases and imaginative design and new creatures to satisfy but lacked the fantasy epic I had anticipated. I preferred the first "Fantastic Beasts".

Next up: The Polar Express Coming November 24th. Continuing showtimes for the following show: Turtle Odyssey 3D through Dec 2nd. Call the theater for showtimes or online at www.imax.com/sacramento  The crystal-clear images coupled with the Esquire IMAX Theatre’s six story high and 80 feet wide screen, customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

For information on tickets and showtimes, please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or www.imax.com/sacramento Movie-goers can now enjoy the IMAX Experience with good food and a cold beer or glass of wine. Options include: Corona, Blue Moon, Racer 5, Ubahdank West Coast IPA, Woodbridge cabernet and chardonnay. The Esquire IMAX Theatre also has a new expanded menu which includes: pizza, giant pretzels, chicken tenders and sausages with all the fixins.’


Several fine restaurants are within walking distance from the IMAX Theatre for prior or after-movie enjoyment. Movie-goers may bring the parking stub from the Capitol Garage, L & 10th Streets, to a theatre host or the Box Office Monday through Thursday after 5 pm and on Sundays, for free validated parking (not valid on $5 pre-pay parking events, or during special events like a major show at the Golden 1 Arena.) You can also 'like' Esquire IMAX Theatre on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

 

For more information about the Esquire IMAX, upcoming movies, services offered or to purchase tickets, visit www.imax.com/oo/esquire-imax or call (916) 443-4629. Enjoy the IMAX experience soon at the Esquire IMAX Theatre, located at 1211 K Street, Sacramento. To book the theater for birthday parties and field trips, e-mail aatilano@imax.com or call 916-446-2333x200. For events, fundraisers, or private show screenings, please e-mail wrussell@imax.com or phone 916-446-2333 x201.

 

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

 

"Bohemian Rhapsody" Will Rock You!
A Review By James E. Roberts
for Gold Country Publications

“Bohemian Rhapsody” has received a lot of push back among reviewers, mostly because they felt it didn’t delve deeply enough into the more salacious aspects of Freddy Mercury’s sexuality, or they labeled it as too formulaic, following all the tropes found in biopics of other music legends.  If you take “Bohemian Rhapsody” on its own terms, however, it is a compelling portrait of Farrokh Bulsara, native of Zanzibar, British citizen by virtue of his birth into the British Empire, and eventual lead singer of the rock group Queen. Farrokh had already been calling himself Freddie when he joined Brian May (Gwilyn Lee) and Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) from the group Smile, and along with bassist John Deacon (Joe Mazzello) they formed Queen, the now iconic rock group that has found their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and pretty much any other hall of fame that they seemed qualified for. “Bohemian Rhapsody” stars Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.  With Mercury as the focal point of the film, Malek portrays Mercury ably, from being the shy son of a traditional Parsi family to the outgoing and outrageous Queen front man performing before tens of thousands of adoring fans.  Along the way we learn of his various relationships, particularly with Mary Austin (an endearing Lucy Boynton) his one-time fiancée and life-long friend, to Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker) his partner for the last six years of his life.


We also get an insider’s view of Queen itself, the personalities, creativity, and clashes, and a glimpse into the workings of record production, deal making, management, and show business in general.  Brian May and Roger Taylor are listed as Executive Music Producers for “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Jim Beach, part of Queen’s management team (and also a character in the film, played by Tom Hollander) is listed as one of the many producers of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and their close involvement in the film has led to speculation that the less than PG-13 aspects of the story have been glossed over. The film touches on Mercury’s promiscuity and drug use without becoming too graphic, choosing rather to concentrate on Mercury’s love for Mary Austin and how that romance was eventually affected by his bisexuality.


The scenes with Freddie, Roger, Brian, and John creating various hits are often intercut with footage of those hits being performed before adoring fans in huge stadiums. The overdubbing, endless takes, and general mayhem of recording the title track is one of the more humorous scenes in the film, blending exhaustion and exhilaration. 
The songs are as much a star of this movie as are Malek, Lee, Hardy, and Mazzello, and the four actors play well off of each other, imbuing their interactions with a naturalness that makes you feel that their family dynamics are grounded in a long history of too much closeness.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is not really a happy movie, since Freddie Mercury, for all his talent and bombastic on-stage performances, was often a man who seemed more uncomfortable and lost at sea in his personal life than anyone would guess watching him on stage. Nevertheless, it is an honest, if somewhat gentle depiction of his life, encompassing the period from the inception of Queen to their performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium. Rami Malek, Gwilyn Lee, Ben Hardy and Joe Mazzello bring Freddie, Brian, Roger and John to very believable life, and the music is a foot stomping joy throughout. As an added bonus, Adam Lambert, the American Idol star and lead singer for Queen for the past six years, has a very brief and mostly unrecognizable uncredited cameo as a truck driver who exchanges glances with Freddie at a truck stop.


“Bohemian Rhapsody” is alive throughout with the music of Queen, and the large audience at the Esquire IMAX was quite vocal in their appreciation.  Seldom have I heard spontaneous applause at the end of a movie, but this audience clapped not only as the movie segued into the end credits, but many of those in the theater even clapped at the end of the credits.  Since hardly anyone sits all the way to the end of the credits anymore, that in itself was remarkable.  Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer gives “Bohemian Rhapsody” a mere 59% from reviewers, but their audience score is a whopping 94%.  In this case, the audience knows best. Bohemian Rhapsody, Rated PG-13, is now playing at the Esquire IMAX theatre, 1211 K Street in Sacramento (916) 443-4629 until November 8, 2018.

 

Next up: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Coming November 16. Continuing showtimes for the following shows: Adventures in Wild California, Born to Be Wild: An IMAX 3D Experience-Nov 6 only, Great White Shark 3D-Nov 9 only, Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West-Nov 8 only, Pandas: An IMAX 3D Experience-Nov 9 only, To The Arctic: An IMAX 3D Experience-Nov 6 only, and Turtle Odyssey 3D through Nov 23rd. Call the theater for showtimes or online at www.imax.com/sacramento The crystal-clear images coupled with the Esquire IMAX Theatre’s six story high and 80 feet wide screen, customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

For information on tickets and showtimes, please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or www.imax.com/sacramento Movie-goers can now enjoy the IMAX Experience with good food and a cold beer or glass of wine. Options include: Corona, Blue Moon, Racer 5, Ubahdank West Coast IPA, Woodbridge cabernet and chardonnay. The Esquire IMAX Theatre also has a new expanded menu which includes: pizza, giant pretzels, chicken tenders and sausages with all the fixins.’

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