Film Reviews with Sister Rose

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

In 2015, the amusement park Jurassic World on Isla Nublar was mostly destroyed. Three years later, the aging Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who is partly responsible for using DNA technology that recreated dinosaurs, wants to relaunch the park as a private sanctuary. He engages Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the former park manager, who is now a humane society advocate in the fight to let these dinosaurs live. She convinces Owen (Chris Pratt), a dinosaur trainer, to join a team to recover Blue, the last surviving velociraptor, for the new park.

Eli Mills (RafeSpall), Lockwood’s top aide, has a private militia waiting for the team. Claire, Owen, Zia (Daniella Pineda), a paleo-veterinarian, and Franklin (Justice Smith), the computer technician who reactivates the island’s tracking system, pursue Blue while the militia loads up the other dinosaurs.

Back at Lockwood’s, an auction is under way in the huge underground bunker beneath the mansion. Investors are attracted to the military applications for the ongoing program to genetically modify dinosaurs.

Director J.A. Bayona directs Jurassic World‘s humans and CGI creatures very well, though the awards should go to the editors. Writers Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly have delivered an uncomplicated narrative that’s easy to follow. Jeff Goldblum reprises his role asDr.Ian Malcolm, who specializes in chaos theory. He testifies before Congress and cautions legislators about the danger of continuing to play God with creation.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is another cautionary tale about our manipulation of nature for power and profit. It is a wild ride from start to finish—filled with chases and explosions. Many ethical questions are raised about cloned life and whether a living creature, however it came into being, should be put to death. The film tilts more toward action than ethics, but it’s still a good film.

A-3, PG-13, Peril, violence, mature themes.

Eating Animals

Did you ever wonder where the meat you consume actually comes from? Based on the memoir by Jonathan Safran Foer, this documentary looks at how America’s food production industry changed from small farmers to factory farming in the 1970s. It explores the ethical, economic, environmental, and public health impact of “confinement buildings,” where animals are crammed into cages. The film also looks at how America went from raising healthy animals for market to the need for fast and cheap meat.

With the exception of organic farming, most meat is filled with antibiotics to ensure that these mistreated animals remain healthy enough to be slaughtered and processed. Several farmers who have resisted industrial agriculture are profiled in the film. Their stories are grim but hopeful. Treating animals in a humane way is a theme that runs throughout the film.

One of the most disturbing elements of factory farming is the slime pools where animal waste is stored and allowed to seep into groundwater and eventually into rivers, streams, and lakes. The effect on fresh water for drinking and fishing is devastating. There is nothing good about factory farming.

Not yet rated, Explicit scenes of animals suffering and dying.

Hearts Beat Loud

Frank (Nick Offerman), a widower and single father to Sam (Kiersey Clemons), decides to close his vintage LP record shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn, as his daughter prepares to leave for college. Both father and daughter love music, and Frank overhears Sam playing a song she wrote. They jam for a while and create a beautiful song, “Hearts Beat Loud.” Frank wants to become a band. When Sam says, “We’re not a band,” he uses that as the band’s name, uploads the song to Spotify, and it becomes a hit. In the last days before Sam leaves for school, they have a decision to make.

A record executive offers them a contract. Sam is attracted to Rose (Sasha Lane), an artist, though it is unrequited. Frank’s landlady, Leslie (Toni Collette), wants to help him save the shop, but Frank is sure he needs a job to help him care for his shoplifting mother, Marianne (Blythe Danner). Dave (Ted Danson) gives Frank a job at his bar.

This is a beautiful, gentle film, a look at the bonds of family that transcend generations and challenges. Clemons does her own singing—and she is very good. Offerman underplays his role in a loving, vulnerable way.

Not yet rated, PG-13, Mature themes.

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