DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
* * * ½
(Funny Take on Popular Game)
I was apprehensive about seeing a movie based on a popular game that I had never played and had no interest in.
“Dungeons and Dragons” was about, well, dungeons and dragons, not my two favorite subjects.
The movie opens in a dungeon and ends with dragons.
However, I’m glad that I was wrong.
“Dungeons and Dragons” is a hilarious spoof on the game and the movie genre.
Chris Pine is perfect as the petty thief who escapes from the dungeon at just the moment he is about to be set free. He returns home to begin his quest to recover a sacred helmet.
We get a short back story about what brought him to this moment in history, and the adventure begins.
Much like “Guardians of the Galaxy” the genre is spoofed with funny one-liners. Pine is quick on his feet and with his tongue.
The scenery is spectacular as are the creatures that come out of nowhere to stop the quest.
Hugh Grant makes one of the best villains ever, with his venomous sneer and delight at telling lies.
There is a hilarious scene where our hero and his crew must dig up the dead and ask them five questions. It plays like a Monty Python skit and had me laughing out loud. If you stay through the credits, you’ll get an encore.
A THOUSAND AND ONE
* * * * (Joyce) * * * ½ (Don)
Teyana Taylor plays Ines, a Black mother of a six-year-old boy in Harlem in the ‘70’s.
She kidnaps Terry from foster care, hiding him from the authorities and raising him through his high school years.
Ines is not even close to being the perfect mother, but she loves the boy and fights to make a home for him.
Life is not easy for an unstable, ex-con Black woman with no husband or means of support, living in a decaying apartment building at a time when landlords are evicting tenants so they can tear down structures and bring gentrification to Harlem.
Ines has a relationship with a caring Black man who comes and goes as he pleases, at times attempting to be a positive role model, but not really knowing how.
The movie is tough, pulling no punches, and at times is depressing. Joyce felt more for Ines than I did, but we both agreed that she cared deeply for Terry, even if she didn’t always do the right thing.
The odds against her were too strong, but she always persevered.