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T.A. Moreland

T.A. Moreland

Movie Review: Warcraft Loses the Fight to Be Entertaining

Warcraft the movie is based on the video game series and novels set in the world of Azeroth. The film portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs (talking monsters) and takes place in a variety of locations established in the video games.

Warcraft is a rambling, incoherent mess. First, you have to know this story. There is very little effort to introduce the concept and characters to those unfamiliar with this video based plot. In October of last year, Warcraft had 5.5 million subscribers, which is obviously the target market. The film's director Duncan Jones, who is also a co-writer of this script along with Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen, seems to believe talking monsters battling humans and other talking monsters is enough to entertain viewers. And that might be enough for fans but for those unfamiliar with Warcraft, there is nothing in this movie which will make them want to learn more.

Some aspects of the movie seem to "borrow" from the megahit Avatar. In Warcraft, Paula Patton's, Garona seems very similar to Zoe Saldana's, Neytiri in Avatar.

As to the cast diversity rating, Warcraft is difficult to rates since so many of the characters are monsters. But it'll get a "C" since the press kit shows that of the 35 main performers, only four are people of color. However, Paula Patton and Ruth Negga (Lady Taria) have major roles.

Warcraft is rated PG-13 and is 123 minutes in length; it gets our lowest rating: Dead on Arrival.

Movie Review: The Conjuring 2 is Entertaining and Scary, Too!

They're back! Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return as paranormal investigators, Lorraine, and Ed Warren. The pair previously probed the Amityville horrors. In The Conjuring 2, they learn of a single mother of four in a working class London neighborhood whose house is haunted by evils spirits. One child, in particular, is targeted. Lorraine has grown weary of the emotional and physical strain of their investigations. But hubby Ed convinces her to join him in taking on the London challenge.

The Conjuring 2 is too good to miss and gets a See It! rating. It grabs viewers right away with a fascinating and frightening revisit to the Amityville case. This effectively introduces or reintroduces the story and two main characters of the Conjuring film franchise.

However, after a fast start, this movie drags a little bit which could have been avoided by more effective editing. Much of the success of the story rests with Farmiga and Wilson as the Warrens. They are a likable pair, but maybe a little too syrupy and too perfect. They are an attractive couple, obviously very much in love, and very respectful of each other's opinion. Ed is never wrong, can sing like Elvis, can fix anything and is afraid of nothing.

The Conjuring 2 is also successful due to the outstanding performance of Madison Wolfe who plays Janet Hodgson, the child in London that the malevolent forces embody.

Without giving away too much of the story, I like the fact that unlike other horror films where the wicked spirits show themselves only to a few characters, thus creating a much larger group of disbelievers, here these evil souls show out for anyone coming to the house.

And a basic requirement of a horror film is to be scary. The Conjuring 2 will make you jump more than Kris Kross.

It's difficult to give this film a diversity rating since it's based on a true story and the characters are probably represented racially as they were in real life. There are not a lot of people of color in this movie other than in background scenes.

The Conjuring 2 is over two hours long which is too much of good thing. But it's a solid and entertaining horror flick and it's enhanced by the fact that it is based on a true story.

The Conjuring 2 is rated R and it's a See It!

Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse Gets a Split Review

In X-Men: Apocalypse, an ancient cyber-mutant Apocalypse awakens, doesn't like what he sees and decides to take over the world and destroy the human race, so, the more peaceful X-Men decide to stop him and defeat his team. The cyber-mutant goes to the far reaches of the world to identify, recruit and train what will become his team – and then the battle is on.

Frankly, I have never been a fan of the X-Men series. It stretches credibility that these mutants each of which has his, or her own, unique super power are somehow rivals to humans who lack such powers. And also, as I point out in every review, cast diversity is important and the X-Men: Apocalypse conspicuously lacks diversity. There's Storm (Alexandra Shipp) who is black but even she turns blond at the point in which she comes into her own and fully embraces her mutantism. Also, the other mutants discovered around the world are engaging in noble pursuits, while Storm has to be rescued from a street vendor she has just stolen from.

But for those of you who are X-Men fans, you won't be disappointed. The same plot that makes the series popular are in full bloom here. There is the battle between the mutants who advocate peace with the humans, and those who embrace a more confrontational attitude. There's plenty of action with characters being beaten to a pulp, then amazingly brushing it off and then are up and around in few minutes.

X-Men: Apocalypse gets a split review. If you are an X-Men fan by all means See It! If not, don't bother.

X-Men: Apocalypse is 144 minutes in length. It's rated PG-13 (for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images)

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War is a conflict worth seeing!

While nations around the world appreciate the brave heroics of The Avengers, the leaders from the international community become weary of the collateral loss of innocent lives and the massive property damage resulting from the superheroes' otherwise effective crime fighting efforts. The United Nations proposes a new law to curb what some governments see as the group's heavy-handed tactics. The proposal divides The Avengers into two camps: those supporting the regulations as reasonable and those who see them as an unnecessary interference. This disagreement leads to an all-out Civil War, with Iron Man leading one group as a supporter of the UN's efforts and on the other side is a group led by Captain America.

Captain America: Civil War works on multiple levels and it gets a "See It" rating. It raises the very basic question, at what point does crime prevention become criminal activity? That debate coupled with a virtual smorgasbord of action, special effects and a star-studded cast makes this an exceptional production.

They're all here: Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and also swooping in is Spiderman (Tom Holland).

One great development in the evolution of this film genre is the kick-ass female superheroes. They do battle just like men. There is even humor in this film when two of these globally known champions of law and order ride in a car and argue over whether the one riding in the front should move his seat forward to give more room to the rear riding passenger!

As to cast diversity, Captain America: Civil War, gets a "B". As I have noted with other films, this is a very diverse movie in terms of black and white cast members but not so with Hispanic and Asian characters.

Captain America: Civil War is two and half hours in length and is rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action, and mayhem. It gets our highest rating: "See It!"

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