The Matrix Resurrections


Love what they’ve done to the place.

(2021) Science Fiction (Warner Brothers) Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci, Lambert Wilson, Andrew Lewis Caldwell, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Joshua Grothe, Brian J. Smith, Eréndira Ibarra, Michael X. Sommers, L. Trey Wilson, Mumbi Maina. Directed by Lana Wachowski

Back in 1999, The Matrix redefined action movies and took science fiction cinema in a decidedly cyberpunk direction. Two sequels were spawned in short order but although the trilogy was complete, still fans clamored for more. The Wachowski sisters, originators of the films, seemed little-disposed to returning to the Matrix, but Lana after more than twenty years of radio silence has returned to the franchise (her sister Lily chose not to “return to something I’ve already done,” as she put it).

Thomas Anderson (Reeves), whom we all know as the Messianic figure of Neo from the first trilogy, is working as a game designer whose masterwork is a game about an alternate reality called The Matrix which is a computer-generated panacea built by sentient machines to keep their human slaves docile while they harvested the bioelectricity to keep the machines running. Sound familiar? But Thomas continues to have odd dreams – or is it flashes of memory? – that have him talking to a shrink (Harris) who seems a bit unsympathetic as psychiatrists go. But something is not right. This all was supposed to have happened already, but it’s different. And why doesn’t Trinity (Moss) recognize Neo? Why is she married with two kids and going by the name of Tiffany? And why does Morpheus (Abdul-Mateen) look so much younger than he used to? And the same for Agent Smith (Groff), but Niobe (Pinkett Smith) looks so much older? Makes you want to take the blue pill this time.

The plot is convoluted and overbearing, and sitting through more than two hours of it is certainly a test of endurance. The visuals remain spectacular – Wachowski has always shown a flair for imagery – but the plot bounces all over the place and even the most focused viewers will have a hard time following it. And making the movie without Hugo Weaving (who apparently declined to participate) and Lawrence Fishburne (who wasn’t asked) was a serious misstep; the two of them constituted some of the most important elements of the earlier films. Abdul-Mateen is a fine actor, but he lacks the gravitas that Fishburne possesses, and Groff doesn’t have the slick and unctuous villainy that Weaving projected in the earlier films.

At the end of my review for The Matrix Revolutions I wrote “I’m more ambivalent about the idea of a fourth Matrix installment than I was about the second two,” and the thought of a fifth Matrix chapter is not something I’m particularly excited about – given the reception to the film, both commercially and critically, no decision has yet been announced about the series continuing and it seems at this point unlikely that it will – it feels like a movie that Wachowski didn’t quite have the passion for that she did for the first two films. It’s confusing, indecipherable and possesses an overabundance of nwhite noise from a plot point of view. Some critics are recommending that you simply turn off your brain and watch this for the plain ol’ fun of it, but that wasn’t anything like the first two movies of the sequel were like; they meant to get you thinking. The visuals continue to impress but at the end of the day, maybe it’s time for the rabbit hole to get filled in.

REASONS TO SEE: Wonderful visuals throughout.
REASONS TO AVOID: Far too much style and not enough substance.
FAMILY VALUES: There is a fair amount of violence and some profanity.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: In the film, Trinity’s alter-ego Tiffany is married to Chad, who is played by Chad Stahelski, who was Reeves’ stunt double in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, as well as his director in the John Wick trilogy.
BEYOND THE THEATERS: HBO Max (until January 21)
CRITICAL MASS: As of 1/5/22: Rotten Tomatoes: 64% positive reviews; Metacritic: 63/100.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Pixels
FINAL RATING: 5/10
NEXT:
Last Words

New Releases for the Week of December 24, 2021


THE KING’S MAN

(20th Century) Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson, Rhys Ifans, Djimon Hounsou, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Charles Dance. Directed by Matthew Vaughn

With the world on the brink of a ruinous war, one man must take on a tyrant bent on world domination – and in doing so founds an agency of superspies that will protect the world against the threats of darkness for the next century.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Action
Now Playing: Wide
(Opened Wednesday)
Rating: R (for sequences of strong/bloody violence, language, and some sexual material)

83

(Annapurna) Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathy, Tahir Raj Bhasin. One man with unshakable belief led the Indian cricket team to a monumental upset victory and put the national team of India on the map, helping issue an era of dominance in the sport that continues to this day.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Sports Biography
Now Playing: AMC West Oaks
Rating: NR

A Journal for Jordan

(Columbia) Michael B. Jordan, Chanté Adams, Robert Wisdom, Jalon Christian. A young soldier deployed to Iraq keeps a journal full of love and wisdom for his infant son. Based on a true story, the movie is directed by Denzel Washington.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: War Drama
Now Playing: Wide
(Opens Saturday)
Rating: PG-13 (for some sexual content, partial nudity, drug use and language)

American Underdog

(Lionsgate) Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid, Bruce McGill. Kurt Warner went from stocking shelves in a grocery store to a two-time MVP, Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback, taking an unlikely route to greatness.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Sports Biography
Now Playing: Wide
(Opens Saturday)
Rating: PG (for some language and thematic elements)

Being the Ricardos

(Amazon) Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda. Acclaimed writer/director Aaron Sorkin takes us behind the scenes during a fraught production week of the legendary sitcom I Love Lucy while examining the complicated professional and personal relationship between stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Biographical Drama
Now Playing: AMC Disney Springs
(opened Wednesday) (also on Amazon Prime)
Rating: R (for language)

Licorice Pizza

(United Artists) Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper. Oscar-nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson looks at two young people growing up and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Dramedy
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, AMC Disney Springs, Cinemark Orlando, Regal Oviedo Marketplace, Regal Waterford Lakes, Regal Winter Park Village
Rating: R (for language, sexual material and some drug use)

The Matrix Resurrections

(Warner Brothers) Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Neil Patrick Harris. Plagued by strange memories – and unable to remember people important to him, Neo finds himself back in the Matrix, which has changed a great deal since we saw it last.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Science Fiction
Now Playing: Wide
(Also on HBO Max) (Opened Wednesday)
Rating: R (for violence and some language)

Sing 2

(Universal) Starring the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Bono. Buster Moon and his gang of big dreamers with big singing voices take their act to the glittering stages of…well, not Las Vegas, but something very much like it.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Animated Feature
Now Playing: Wide
(Opened Wednesday)
Rating: PG (for some rude material and mild peril/violence)

COMING TO VIRTUAL CINEMA/VOD:

Beanie Mania (Thursday)
Don’t Look Up
Lulli
(Sunday)
The Scary of Sixty-First
The Super Bob Einstein Movie
(Tuesday)

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

A Journal for Jordan
American Underdog
Beanie Mania
Being the Ricardos
Don’t Look Up
The King’s Man
Licorice Pizza
The Matrix Resurrections
The Super Bob Einstein Movie

New Releases for the Week of December 17, 2021


SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME

(Columbia) Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Benedict Wong, Marisa Tomei. Directed by Jon Watts

After Peter Parker’s secret identity has been outed, his life becomes a shambles. In desperation, he turns to Dr. Strange to cast a spell to make everyone forget that information, but Peter’s own insecurities cause the spell to go awry, opening the door for foes familiar (but not to Peter) and the meat of the Multiverse that is the MCU’s Phase IV.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Superhero
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of action/violence, some language and brief suggestive content)

The Hand of God

(Netflix) Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Marion Joubert. Oscar-winning writer-director Paolo Sorrentino tells his most personal story yet, of growing up in Naples in the 1980s in the days of the coming of Maradona.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Fashion Square Premiere
Rating: R (for sexual content, some graphic nudity and brief drug use)

The Matrix Resurrections

(Warner Brothers) Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Neil Patrick Harris. Plagued by strange memories – and unable to remember people important to him, Neo finds himself back in the Matrix, which has changed a great deal since we saw it last.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Science Fiction
Now Playing: Wide
(Also on HBO Max) (Starting Wednesday)
Rating: R (for violence and some language)

Nightmare Alley

(Searchlight) Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Ron Perlman. A down-on-his-luck grifter befriends a carnival clairvoyant and her husband, turning his newfound knowledge into a path to wealth. But when he chooses to take on a vindictive tycoon, he comes up against an opponent capable of ending his life as he knows it. This is the latest from acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Thriller
Now Playing: Enzian, Wide
Rating: R (for strong/bloody violence, some sexual content, nudity and language)

Pushpa: The Rise – Part I

(Classics Entertainment) Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffman, Woody Norman, Scoot McNairy. A truck driver in the forest region of South India must cope with smugglers of red sandalwood.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Action
Now Playing: Cinemark Orlando, Regal Waterford Lakes
Rating: NR

Swan Song

(AppleTV) Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Glenn Close, Awkwafina. In the near future, a dying man is given an opportunity to shield his family from the grief of his passing and in the process, learns more about life and love than he ever could have thought possible.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Science Fiction
Now Playing: Fashion Square Premiere
(also on AppleTV Plus)
Rating: NR

COMING TO VIRTUAL CINEMA/VOD:

A Forbidden Orange
A Walk in Her Shoes
Being the Ricardos
(Tuesday)
Dead Asleep (Thursday)
Deadly Girls Night Out
(Saturday)
Diego: The Last Goodbye
(Thursday)
Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss
(Thursday)
Miracles Across 125th Street
(Monday)
The Novice
Prince Phillip: The Royal Family Remembers
(Thursday)
Puff: Wonders of the Reef
(Thursday)
Reopening Night
(Monday)
Repossession
(Tuesday)
Rolling Like Thunder
Twisted Little Lies

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Being the Ricardos
Dead Asleep
The Hand of God
The Matrix: Resurrections
Nightmare Alley
The Novice
Prince Phillip: The Royal Family Remembers
Puff: Wonders of the Reef
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Swan Song