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    Friday, August 19, 2022

    Tipping Point: Our picks and pans ('Top Gun: Maverick,' 'Old Man,' 'Jurassic World: Dominion')

    Tom Cruise as Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in "Top Gun: Maverick." (Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures/TNS)


    Top Gun: Maverick

    This is everything you’d want a “Top Gun” sequel to be: it's pure popcorn flick. Lots of dazzling flying sequences (which apparently were real). Lots of callbacks to the original movie (Goose has a son named — wait for it — Rooster). And lots of Tom Cruise breaking out his megawatt smile as he plays the still-cocky Maverick. His character has been tasked with teaching a young crop of pilots to fly dangerously fast and low in order to evade detection, so they can bomb a bunker where an unnamed enemy is readying uranium for nefarious purposes. And then the pilots have to zoom up and over vertiginous mountains. Props to the multiple screenwriters and director Joseph Kosinski for creating a turbo-charged action movie with enough character development and comic interplay to keep viewers happy. There’s a reason “Top Gun: Maverick” has become such a huge hit. And it really should be seen on the big screen.

    — Kristina Dorsey


    Old Man

    It's always a gamble in film or television when you put two eminent and aging stars together because part of the fun — at least for me — is to focus on every acting nuance. This means the overall story might suffer because I'm always aware that I'm watching Acting with a capital A. This happened in 2019 with "Two Popes," wherein Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce were studied greatness as the titular pontiffs. Now, the new drama "Old Man" is unspooling episode by episode on FX (then directly to Hulu for streaming). In it, Jeff Bridges stars as septuagenarian ex-CIA operative Dan Chase, who went off the grid decades ago. His former handler Harold Harper, played by John Lithgow, is suddenly tasked with finding and dispensing with Chase under outta-nowhere political pressure from Washington. Blackmail applied by an Afghan war lord is implied — but what politican is being squeezed and why is Chase invovled? I'm only two episodes in, but I'm hooked. There's plenty of violence because Chase ain't gonna go gently and the Old Man is still a badass. So are his two Rottweilers. But there's a lot of detailed and subtle story here, too. This is "The Lion in Winter" for the spy generation, and Bridges and Lithgow are wonderful.

    — Rick Koster


    Jurassic World: Dominion

    Them’s a lot o’ dinosaurs! And isn’t that all that matters in a “Jurassic” flick? The dinos here are CGI sorcery, as they run and chase and stomp and nosh on other beings. They are all out living in the world with humans: what could possibly go wrong? While the creatures are a sight to behold, what really fires up this latest installment is the return of the OGs: Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. Bringing in actors from the original “Jurassic Parks” was a stroke of genius, and the three stars not only bring life and heart to every scene they’re in, but they also still have crackling chemistry. As for the plot, it’s something about a tech guy (a subtly entertaining Campbell Scott) who runs a huge company that is up to no good. Whatever. Watch those dinosaurs go!

    — Kristina Dorsey 

    Jeff Bridges as Dan Chase in "The Old Man." (Kurt Iswarienko/FX/TNS)
    Cast of "Jurassic World Dominion" (John Wilson/Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment/TNS)

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