Fall TV 2020: Relatively thin schedule nonetheless offers some shows worth going bananas for (Commentary)

T

he pandemic has wreaked havoc with fall TV scheduling (it’s hard to tell one socially distanced, masked story, let alone fill a slate with them), and also revealed that (no surprise) cable and streaming were better prepared with content in their pipelines than the networks. But while 2020 serves up the thinnest lineup in modern TV history, it’s not a total wash. Here are my thoughts on 13 notable fall premieres, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the series. All times Eastern:

Continue reading “Fall TV 2020: Relatively thin schedule nonetheless offers some shows worth going bananas for (Commentary)”

John’s top 10 movies of 2018

T

he dominant genre of 2018 continued to be superheroes; even with the “X-Men” Universe and DC Extended Universe releasing only one film each, the three Marvel Cinematic Universe movies were impossible to overlook. Still, this was a less blockbustery year than 2017, and by year’s end I had seen at least one really good film in every genre. From a throwback thriller to an arthouse gem, here are my 10 favorite films of 2018.

Continue reading “John’s top 10 movies of 2018”

6 things we’ll likely see in ‘Jurassic World 3,’ the 6th ‘Jurassic Park’ film (Movie commentary)

S

o far, the “Jurassic World” trilogy has mirrored the original “Jurassic Park” trilogy’s plots and themes on a grander scale. The first entries – “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World” – chronicle theme parks where dinosaurs overcome the safeguards and run amok, destroying the state-of-the-art parks. The second installments – “The Lost World” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” – feature islands going back to nature and groups of bad guys looking to steal the dinosaurs for profit; good guys challenge them on behalf of the dinosaurs.

Continue reading “6 things we’ll likely see in ‘Jurassic World 3,’ the 6th ‘Jurassic Park’ film (Movie commentary)”

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ finds a way to be the franchise’s best sequel (Movie review)

I

n the 1990s, as we marveled at the revelation that dinosaurs could look real in movies, there was still a sense that filmmakers couldn’t do everything they wanted to do. As I’ve said in previous posts, I think 2017 marked the year when we reached a point where anything a filmmaker dreams up is possible to portray on screen (except removing Superman’s mustache). It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is the first utterly unshackled “Jurassic Park” film. It opens with the franchise’s first underwater sequence, and ultimately fills the screen with a wider variety of dinosaurs than we’ve seen before.

Continue reading “‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ finds a way to be the franchise’s best sequel (Movie review)”

All 16 ‘Jurassic Park’ stories, ranked (Movie, book and comic book commentary)

J

urassic Park” might not seem like a candidate for lots of spinoff material – and indeed, the franchise has contented itself with blockbuster films as of late. (The latest, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” lands Friday, June 22.) But there have been enough comics released through the years to pad out a list of  distinct “JP” yarns. Here’s a ranking of every “Jurassic Park” story, from the worst comic books to the best of Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton.

(Updated in December 2018 with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”)

Continue reading “All 16 ‘Jurassic Park’ stories, ranked (Movie, book and comic book commentary)”

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and 9 other movies John wouldn’t mind seeing in Summer 2018

T

he idea of “summer movies” is already past its time, as “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” prove that “summer” is now year-round in the movie business. Still, old habits die hard – such as my annual Summer Movie Preview post. Here are one blatantly obvious and nine not-so-obvious films on the summer schedule that I wouldn’t mind seeing:

Continue reading “‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and 9 other movies John wouldn’t mind seeing in Summer 2018”

‘Jurassic Park III’ reviews

John’s “Jurassic Park III” flashback review, johnvhansen.com, Jan. 29, 2015

***

“Jurassic Park III” — Director Joe Johnston cuts out the fat and gets right to the meat, giving ample screen time to up-and-coming stars Spinosaurus and Pteranodon, along with returning favorite Velociraptor. Sadly, old favorite T-rex might be on his way out, only getting one scene, a showdown with the bigger and meaner Spinosaurus. Oh, there are some humans here too, including Sam Neill, William H. Macy and Tea Leoni. The down side: the sense of danger isn’t nearly as high as it should be, there’s a bit too much light humor, and way too many unanswered questions. The up side: Spinosaurus and LOTS of Pteranodons. “JP III” is a step backwards in theme and story, but it’s a leap forward in creature effects. B+

­— John Hansen, NDSU Spectrum, Aug. 28, 2001

***

Continue reading “‘Jurassic Park III’ reviews”