John’s top 10 movies of 2018


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.

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


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.

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


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.

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


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.”)

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


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:

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‘Jurassic Park III’ reviews

John’s “Jurassic Park III” flashback review,, 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


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John’s top 10 movies of 2015

These were my 10 favorite movies of 2015:

1. “Spotlight” — This chronicle of the Boston Globe’s 2001-02 probe of rape allegations in the Catholic Church is a thank-you letter to the dying art of investigative journalism. An all-star cast of actors including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber does a marvelous job of capturing the small details of how reporters live and behave – particularly Ruffalo, whether he’s boiling hot dogs for dinner of scrounging through his bag for a pen. Meanwhile, the case itself works as a meat-and-potatoes procedural potboiler. (Full review.)

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