FANTASY ISLAND (2020)

Directed By: Jeff Wadlow
Written By Jeff Wadlow, Chris Roach & Jillian Jacobs 
Based on the television series “FANTASY ISLAND” Created By: Gene Levitt  Cinematography: Toby Oliver 
Editor: Sean Albertson

Cast: Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, Mike Vogel, Austin Stowell, Kim Coates, Michael Rooker, Robbie Jones, Parisa Fitz-Hanley, Ian Roberts

The enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives.


don’t know exactly who the audience for this film is supposed to be. Though whoever it is I am sure wasn’t envisioning a horror film.

The film sticks to the horns of fantasy island whereas the guests get to live out their fantasies only with some kind of twists involved that they didn’t foresee. 

The film is rather simplistic but thinks It’s clever by having a big reveal. Only to take away any credit it might have built up which was little, to begin with. As it feels generic. 

This might have been noteworthy if made in an earlier era. Which it feels like it comes from more than the 1990s. Though now instead of high concept it feels like a horror script thrown into a familiar tv show, for recognition and comes off as disposable and barely noteworthy.

It’s a shame because the film has a good cast. At least it gives actors who are usually relegated to supporting roles some room to shine even if the film is an ensemble. 

Should have been suspicious when seeing Michael Pena in the lead as he is a good actor, but always seems tied to these disappointing cinematic reboots of more niche television shows, that you would never imagine becoming films. 

Though the premises of fantasies seem kind of simple and then once the twists come. They seem to come from shows and movies we have seen before. Especially the revenge fantasy involving the bully from childhood. Where all of a sudden a monstrous huge surgeon becomes a slasher. 

I can understand if it was just trying to be the greatest common denominator entertainment but here other than the lush visuals of the landscapes. The film just feels like it is going through the motions where once everything. Seems tied together still feels like a waste of time. 

As even the fantasies come across as cheap. For a film based on the supposed imaginations of its characters. The film seems to have no imagination of its own

In the end, it feels like a cash In Done quickly and doesn’t even Impress with its gold visuals or fantasies 

Grade: F

THE ARGUMENT (2020)

Directed by: Robert Schwartzman
Written By: Zac Stanford
Cinematography: Michael Rizzi
Editor: Max Goldblatt

Cast: Dan Folger, Emma Bell, Tyler James Williams, Maggie Q, Cleopatra Coleman, Danny Pudi, Karan Bear, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Mark Ryder, Marielle Scott, Charlotte McKinney 

A couple gets into an argument at their cocktail party that escalates until it brings an abrupt end to the festivities. They and their guests decide to re-create the entire night, again and again, to determine who was right.



This is a film that just keeps building as it goes along. The energy starts to lick up and so do the laughs. 

The film starts off funny then becomes a screwball comedic free for all by the end. As it continuously keeps raising the stakes. As the film stays unpredictable so It really comes up to speed in the second act. As the first is needed to set up the story and relationships.

As in each iteration, we get more information even though they are trying to recreate everything all over again there are different interpretations, inflections, and deliveries.

One can identify with overly examining events, words said, and themes. Pulling back another curtain offering another reveal which dissects the situation to offer more insight.

Though the cast is all great,  Actress Cleopatra Coleman is a comedic highlight throughout. As she goes from being sexy, funny, insecure, drunk, over the top, emotional 

The film is clearly an absurd farce at times that deals with egos and also examines the nature of memory relationships, body language, and things left unsaid. 

It turns a bit obscure and even making a play in itself. Allowing real participants to be able to examine themselves. Not to mention what others might think and drag even more people into it. This time actors who are so and that it becomes comedic in itself and even them picking up on some subtle relationships and offering theories themselves.

It is also a film that offers up a commentary on entitlement. As each of the characters tries to be humble and some think themselves lowly when actually they have plenty of what others would envy. Which really comes into play during the third act. 

Grade: B

RUSH HOUR 2 (2001)

Directed By: Brett Ratner
Written By: Ross LaManna & Jeff Nathanson
Cinematography: Matthew F. Leonetti
Editor: Mark Helfrich & Robert L. Lambert

Cast: Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, John Lone, Zhang Ziyi, Roselyn Sanchez, Alan King, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Tsang, Maggie Q, Ernie Reyes Jr, Jeremy Piven, Saul Rubinek

It’s vacation time for Det. James Carter and he finds himself alongside Det. Lee in Hong Kong wishing for more excitement. While Carter wants to party and meet the ladies, Lee is out to track down a Triad gang lord who may be responsible for killing two men at the American Embassy. Things get complicated as the pair stumble onto a counterfeiting plot by L.A. crime boss Steven Reign and Triad Ricky Tan, an ex-cop who played a mysterious part in the death of Det. Lee’s father. Throw in a power struggle between Tan and the gorgeous but dangerous Hu Li and the boys are soon up to their necks in fist fights and life-threatening situations. A trip back to the U.S. may provide the answers about the bombing, the counterfeiting, and the true allegiance of sexy customs agent Isabella. Then again, it may turn up more excitement than Carter was looking for during his vacation.

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