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Animation Features Movies

Tad The Lost Explorer And The Curse Of The Mummy (Tad The Lost Explorer And The Emerald Tablet; Tadeo Jones 3. La Tabla Esmeralda; Tadeo Jones 3. La Taula Maragda)

Director – Enrique Gato – 2022 – Spain – Cert. U – 90m

****

In Mexico, desperate for recognition as a bona fide archaeologist, our hero unearths an Egyptian sarcophagus and unleashes a mysterious power from an Inca temple – out in UK cinemas on Friday, September 9th

Gato’s third instalment of the Tad The Lost Explorer franchise is a lot better than it sounds, chiefly because it delivers narrative coherence and picks up and runs with numerous opportunities afforded by character and script where the similarly inventive Minions: The Rise Of Gru (Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, Jonathan del Val, 2022) failed.

Having agreed with girlfriend Sara not to go public about his previous archaeological discoveries, Tad has with her help got on to the Chicago Museum’s dig in Mexico – as a lowly assistant, even though he seems more clued-up than the three qualified archaeologists in charge. Rashly opening a secret door by pushing a part of a wall frieze, he finds himself in a vast chamber containing an Egyptian sarcophagus, his report of which is pooh-poohed by his three superiors until, after firing him, they discover it for themselves and take the credit.

This rivalry between the ‘amateur’ Tad and qualified but comparatively clueless ‘professionals’ is kept up throughout the narrative, although the professionals remain secondary characters.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Judas And The Black Messiah

Director – Shaka King – 2021 – US – Cert. 12 – 126m

****1/2

The FBI recruit a small-time thief to infiltrate the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers and report on rising political leader and activist Fred Hampton – two-time Oscar winner is on digital from Monday, April 26th

This cleverly and skilfully plays out both as a terrific thriller about a smart, small time crook recruited by the FBI as an undercover agent and as a chance to take a fresh look at a piece of US social history that has been presented in an unfavourable light by its largely state-sympathetic chroniclers. That piece of history is the Black Panther Party (BPP), long presented as violent insurgents intention upsetting the US status quo. However in the #BlackLivesMatter era when the police in the US have all too often shown themselves in sync with ideas of white entitlement, maybe it’s time to look at the BPP again.

I’m not sure you can totally exonerate the BPP – they did, after all, take up arms against the police although you might argue much of that’s in self-defence – but at the same time there seems to have been a lot in the organisation that’s good: social programmes and trying to help blacks and the social underclass stand on their own two feet in a system rigged against them.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Gladiator (1992)

Director – Rowdy Herrington – 1992 – US – Cert. 15 – 101m

**

UK theatrical release: June 26th, 1992.

PLOT

Hitting on hard times, loner Tommy Riley (James Marshall) is living in a low life neighbourhood on Chicago’s South Side. High school days are punctuated by fights during the breaks; at night, Pappy Jack (Robert Loggia) rides around eyeing street brawls in search of new boxing talent. The moment he sets eyes on Riley defending himself in an alley, Pappy Jack signs him for a Friday night fight – to which Riley agrees in the face of loan sharks cornering him regarding payment his out-of-town father’s (John Heard) debts. Riley senior is attempting to put an alcoholic past (due to his wife’s untimely death) behind him, and believes that his current travelling salesman job will bring him back up from the social depths. The son’s match pays off the father’s immediate debts, but Tommy finds himself unwillingly trapped in the boxing game by Pappy Jack’s promoter boss Jimmy Horn (Brian Dennehy) when the latter buys Riley senior’s loan sharks’ debt so that he “owns” the lad. But our hero isn’t about to take all this lying down; he’s a fighter!… Read the rest