Remember in the first Jurassic World when business-minded Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) spent the whole movie hauling ass through the jungle and outrunning dinosaurs in high heels?
Not that realism is top of mind in a movie about a genetically curated dinosaur theme island, but Howard, who actually did many of her stunts wearing the heels, claims her character would have been slower in bare feet. (Note: in 2017 a woman in Tennessee ran a marathon in high heels, so it's possible. But do they have velociraptors in Tennessee?)
In any case, filmmaker J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage) fixes the problem for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which opens this week at the Whistler Village 8, sans heels. Picking up three years after the Indominus Rex-fuelled bloodbath of the last film, this one sees Claire and Owen (Chris Pratt) return to the island on a rescue mission. Apparently, an active volcano/extinction event looms and some tagged-on-character billionaire needs his dinosaurs back. (He keeps them in the basement of his mansion, but of course they escape.)
This one is lean on story (and characterization) and while Pratt and Howard do their best, the "we used genetics to build a superdino" plotline is getting old. The good news is that Bayona understands that although action is the flavour of the week in Hollywood these days, dinosaurs are actually scary-ass monsters and so Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom plays more like a horror film than any of the previous flicks—lots of creeping doom and foggy atmosphere.
This one is not groundbreaking, or especially good, but it has its thrills and the end sets up a sequel. Maybe for that one, the filmmakers will finally paint outside the lines and give us a Dr. Evil-inspired film featuring dinos with frickin' lasers on their heads.
Speaking of evil, fans of true crime procedurals need to check out season one of Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist on Netflix. Just four episodes, this one starts with a literal bang—in 2003 in Pennsylvania, someone put a collar bomb on a pizza delivery guy and forced him to rob the town bank. And it gets crazy from there.
Proof that the truth is stranger than fiction, Evil Genius mostly avoids the common true crime issue of sensationalist profiteering on other people's pain, because the story is wound so tight with questions and insanity. Not for the weak-kneed, but definitely a compelling story.
Sticking with the small screen, the Download of the Week is Thoroughbreds, an instant classic dark comedy/thriller about two upper class teenage white girls who plot to kill the one girl's stepdad. Told with a dry, creepy, almost Hitchcockian filmmaking style, this one is a timely examination of privilege gone awry, as two recently reunited teenage friends ride apathy and boredom into its not-so-logical conclusion—to pay a local drug dealer to kill the "evil" stepdad.
Similar to the incredible '80s teen suicide flick Heathers (Christian Slater and Winona Ryder!), or Peter Jackson's 1994 showpiece Heavenly Creatures (starring a young Kate Winslet), Thoroughbreds highlights the idea that our scariest monsters might be the ones society creates itself—if we give our kids everything, they appreciate nothing.
Featuring stellar acting from Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) and Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), this one also benefits from a surprise appearance from the late Anton Yelchin (Green Room, Star Trek). Give it a try.
Back in the Village 8, Overboard also opens this week and if it weren't for Anna Farris (The House Bunny) this one might be the worst movie of the year. Farris plays a broke, carpet cleaning, single mom treated poorly by one of her rich, yacht-owning clients.
When said client falls from his boat and wakes up with amnesia, Farris gets revenge by claiming to be his wife and thrusting him into working class life. It's a fish out of water crapfest that never comes close to matching the original Overboard (which starred Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn).
Avoid at all costs. A high-heel marathon would be more fun.