Tag Archives: Wayne Knight

Jurassic Park (1993) Review

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Jurassic Park

Time: 128 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] 
Cast:
Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant
Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler
Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm
Richard Attenborough as Dr. John Hammond
Bob Peck as Robert Muldoon
Joseph Mazzello as Tim Murphy
Ariana Richards as Lex Murphy
Samuel L. Jackson as Ray Arnold
Wayne Knight as Dennis Nedry
Martin Ferrero as Donald Gennaro
B.D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Director: Steven Spielberg

John Hammond, an entrepreneur, opens a wildlife park containing cloned dinosaurs. However, a breakdown of the island’s security system causes the creatures to escape and bring about chaos.

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With the third Jurassic World movie coming soon, I thought I’d rewatch the movies in the Jurassic Park/World series. To be blunt, I have no nostalgia for Jurassic Park. I didn’t watch the original until I was later in my teens, and I’m pretty sure I saw the second or third movies before it. While I liked the original, I just wasn’t as attached to it as much as others. Having revisited it, that remains the same case, but I still quite liked it and can appreciate the fantastic work here.

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While I do have problems with it, the script of Jurassic Park is solidly written and well crafted; I was on board from beginning to end. The film is 2 hours long, but doesn’t waste time in setting everything up. The first half sets the mood by introducing the park, explaining why it was set up and how the dinosaurs are back. It allows many of the characters to be in awe seeing these dinosaurs brought back to life. Then in the second half, it turns into a thriller when the dinosaurs get loose. As that, Jurassic Park works. I do have issues with the film, nothing movie breaking but enough to prevent me from liking it more. It potentially might be an unpopular opinion, but the characters here weren’t all that interesting, and were a bit thin. That being said, it still has the best set of characters from the Jurassic series thus far. Whenever the dinosaurs are on screen, I think the film really works and succeeds, but a lot of the human drama is rather forced. I think it succeeds more with spectacle and chase scenes over the character moments, which is unfortunate because stronger character moments really would’ve made it so much better. Otherwise, it is a solid script.

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As I said earlier, the characters aren’t all that great, but the performances make up for them. The main trio of Sam Neil, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum are great and make their characters memorable. Richard Attenborough is also great as John Hammond, the creator of Jurassic Park. Out of all the characters in the film, Hammond is given probably the most amount of depth. The rest of the cast including Samuel L. Jackson and Wayne Knight also bring it to their parts. The only acting that doesn’t work that well for me were the grandchildren of Hammond who were a little annoying, but I think most of my annoyance came from how they were written.

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Steven Spielberg directed Jurassic Park and his expert craft is on display here. The cinematography is stunning, and everything is perfectly filmed. The visual effects are fantastic, especially with the blend of practical effects, animatronics, and CGI together, which today appears more fluid than you’d initially think for a movie released in 1993. Speaking of which, the presentation and presence of all the dinosaurs were incredibly effective. Something that Spielberg does incredibly well is build up suspense, things which he brought over from his earlier movies like Duel and Jaws. There are some very memorable and iconic sequences, including but not limited to the introduction of the T-Rex. Finally, you can’t talk about Jurassic Park without talking about the memorable score from John Williams, ranging from triumphant and epic to tense and thrilling. I can’t imagine Jurassic Park without this music.

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I will admit that Jurassic Park is not one of my favourite Steven Spielberg movies and I have some issues with the film, mainly with some of the writing and the rather lacklustre human characters. As I said, I don’t hold the same love for it like most people do. Still, it is undeniably an iconic and monumentally impactful and influential film, and was truly a technical achievement.

Toy Story 2 (1999) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Kelsey Grammer as Prospector
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Wayne Knight as Al McWhiggin
John Morris as Andy
Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom
Director: John Lasseter

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends set out on a rescue mission to save Woody before becomes a museum toy property with his roundup gang Jessie, Prospector, and Bullseye.

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Toy Story was such a surprise hit when it released, no one knew that it was going to be as successful as it was. With Toy Story 2 being a follow up to an animated classic, it seemed like it would never even reach the level of the original. Yet against all odds, it managed to top it successfully on pretty much every front, it’s bigger and better.

It would be hard to match what the original movie did, but Toy Story 2 manages to still be a Toy Story movie, while doing some different things and keeping things fresh. Once again, they’ve managed to make an animated movie that adult audiences can like and appreciate (both in terms of story and humour), while still making it very much accessible and entertaining for children. This time it’s about Woody coming to terms with his mortality. Pretty much everything from the story, to the characters, humour and more are back here, and even improved on. And yes, it is more funny and entertaining than the first movie, I haven’t seen the 4th movie but I feel comfortable in saying it’s the most memorable entry of the series. It feels larger scale, with a few exceptions, almost every scene in Toy Story took place between Andy’s house and Sid’s house. This time there are more locations that the characters visit, and they get very creative with the scenarios and set pieces. The rest of Andy’s toys didn’t get a lot of screentime in the first movie outside of the first and third acts, but they are present here throughout. The story on the whole is still straightforward and easy to follow, but it feels like the scope has been expanded just a little bit, it feels like much more is going on. Toy Story 2 is a little longer than the first movie at about an hour and 30 minutes long but the pacing is just as good.

The familiar voice cast return and as usual really deliver. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen once again do solid jobs as the characters of Woody and Buzz. The familiar characters of Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky (Jim Varney), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger) and more return. As I said previously, with the exception of Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), most of Andy’s main toys get a good amount of screentime throughout. We also have the additions of Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bullseye and Prospector (Kelsey Grammar), who add quite a lot to this movie (and the first 2 would of course return to the other Toy Story sequels).

The animation has very clearly improved within 4 years, and you can tell that the moment you first see a dog in the movie. It doesn’t look great but it’s much better looking than the dog in the first Toy Story. All the toys look good, with none of them looking off at any point. Same goes for the human characters, when they are close up to the screen they actually don’t look freakishly lifeless unlike the first movie.

Toy Story 2 is an improvement over the first movie, and it’s especially impressive considering that it actually encountered production problems (and was originally envisioned to be a direct to video sequel). Needless to say, if you liked the first movie even a little bit, you’ll definitely like the sequel. It’s truly a Toy Story movie while improving and expanding on everything in just about every way.

Blindspotting (2018) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Cast:
Daveed Diggs as Collin Hoskins
Rafael Casal as Miles
Janina Gavankar as Val
Jasmine Cephas Jones as Ashley
Ethan Embry as Officer Molina
Tisha Campbell-Martin as Mama Liz
Utkarsh Ambudkar as Rin
Wayne Knight as Patrick
Director: Carlos López Estrada

Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning in his Oakland, Calif., neighborhood. His bond with his volatile best friend (Rafael Casal) soon gets tested when Collin sees a police officer shoot a suspect in the back during a chase through the streets.

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Blindspotting was a film that was slowly getting attention recently. Not many people have seen it and it hasn’t really been getting any awards attention, but those who have seen it gave it a lot of acclaim and considered it to be one of the best films of 2018. Naturally I had to check it out and I’m definitely with the group of people who love it, Blindspotting is one of the best films of 2018 and must be seen as soon as possible.

The script was written by lead actors Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal in the mid 2000s, and knowing that fact while watching just elevated both the story and the lead performances significantly as the story feels really personal, and it definitely comes across on screen as well. This screenplay is fantastically written. Now this movie has some prevalent themes and topics like race and policy brutality and despite the heavy subject matter, I think it handles everything really well, as it feels like a movie on its own as well as sending some strong messages and says what it wants to say. There is some great comedy in the movie sprinkled throughout, especially during some of the conversations between the two leads, and its very fitting and makes it a genuinely entertaining movie to watch. On top of that, the characters all feel real and genuine and not just one dimensional vessels for ideas and symbolism or anything like that. At the same time the movie really hits hard with the heavy scenes when it needs to and it gets its messages across really effectively. The ending of this movie is particularly great. On paper it sounds really silly but the way it was directed, written, acted and overall executed was so incredibly powerful and worked extremely well. Definitely one of the stand out movie endings from 2018.

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are fantastic in the lead roles. Both actors are childhood friends in real life and that definitely translated to the on screen chemistry. All their interactions from them hanging out and talking about random things to having full on intense arguments feel completely genuine and real. A stand out scene is a particular argument later in the movie between the two of them.

This is director Carlos López Estrada’s first feature film and this is a really great directorial debut. Oakland really feels like a big presence here, with the cinematography, environment and music all adding a lot to it all. In terms of some stand out directed scenes, there are also some nightmarish scenes where lead character Collin is haunted by from him seeing a killing by a cop early in the movie, and the film did a great job at portraying the paranoia, fear and anxiety that he feels. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his directing work.

Blindspotting is one of the best films of 2018. It’s a great directorial debut, written excellently and is all around a very personal and intimate story. The performances by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are some of the best of the year and deserve more acclaim than they have been receiving. Blindspotting is not a movie to be missed.