Dominion's familiarity breeds indifference
Jurassic World: Dominion goes out of its way to replicate the past, calling back to so many seminal moments from the franchise, the sense of déjà vu will likely be a recurring sensation among viewers. However, there are benefits. The presence of fan favorites Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum reprising their roles from the 1993 original is certainly the highlight here.
The plot, such as it is, plays like a selection of the franchise's greatest hits. Much of the action takes place in a remote dinosaur sanctuary where they are being bred for fun and profit. Drs. Malcolm, Grant and Sattler (Goldblum, Neill and Dern) are on hand to gather evidence of malfeasance while Grady and Dearing are there to rescue their kidnapped surrogate daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon).
There's an awful lot going on in Dominion, and it all looks the same. The far too numerous action sequences blur together, many of them failing to advance the plot in any meaningful way. Director Colin Trevorrow, who co-wrote the script with Emily Carmichael, adheres to the notion that too much is never enough in terms of dinosaur attacks. However, repetition ultimately leaves them toothless and drives any sense of excitement towards extinction. In theaters.
Sandler scores in Hustle
You'd be hard-pressed to find anything original in Jeremiah Zagar's Hustle. As penned by Will Fetters and Taylor Materne, the script is yet another story revolving around the relationship between a crusty veteran and a rookie he takes under his wing. All involved realize they're covering well-traveled narrative ground, yet there's a sense of energy and commitment to the material that, while it may not make the story seem fresh, at the very least you probably won't mind sitting through it again.
Adam Sandler, far too young to be a grizzled old coach, take on the role anyway in the form of Stanley Sugarman, a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers who finds a young player in Spain he knows is the next big thing. On his own dime, he brings Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez) to the States for a try out. It doesn't go well, and for the cager to get another shot, Sugarman sets out to give him the edge to make it. Again, nothing new here, but the ease with which Sandler slips into this role and the chemistry between him and Hernangomez – a real NBA pro- makes this one go down as easy as a three-pointer from the outside. Streaming on Netflix.
Cronenberg's Future seems familiar
John Ford made westerns, Martin Scorsese makes gangster films and David Cronenberg specializes in features devoted to body horror. That's the shorthand for each of these great directors and, as with most generalizations, it's not exactly fair. Each made successful films outside the genres they're associated with, yet it could be argued they made their greatest impact in these respective genres. And while it may seem like old hat, Cronenberg does have something new to say in Crimes of the Future, his latest not-for-the-faint-hearted opus that deals with a pair of performance artists – Saul (Viggo Morteson), who grows new organs at will, and Caprice (Lea Seydoux), who surgically removes them in front of live audiences.
That Saul, nor anyone else for that matter, can no longer feel pain, certainly helps him get through these procedures. However, this numbness to pain leads to a myriad of other aberrant behaviors, as people are desperate to feel anything, physically or emotionally. This callousness towards our surroundings and others, coupled with the pursuit of personal pleasure is one of just many issues Cronenberg tackles here. Equally daunting is the notion that his vision of the future is actually the world we're living in today. In theaters.