Film Review: TERMINATOR DARK FATE (USA 2019) ****

Terminator: Dark Fate Poster

Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.


Tim Miller


James Cameron (story by), Charles H. Eglee (story by) | 8 more credits »

A few things are best known before watching the new TERMINATOR film or reading its review.   So, here are a few facts (source: Wikipedia) to get the logistics out of the way.  TERMINATOR DARK FATE is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by the director of DEADPOOL Tim Miller making his second feature, with a screenplay by David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray from a story by James Cameron, Charles Eglee, Josh Friedman, Goyer and Rhodes.  Cameron and David Ellison are the film’s producers.  It is the sixth installment in the Terminator franchise and the direct sequel to THE TERMINATOR (1984) and TERMINATOR  2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991), while the other films occur in alternate timelines.

DARK FATE has the benefit of franchise creator Cameron involved.  The film stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger returning in their roles of Sarah Connor and the T-800 “Terminator”, respectively, reuniting after 28 years.   The film also stars newcomers Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta portraying new characters. 

The plot involves a Terminator, the Rev-9 (Luna), travelling back in time to kill a young woman, Dani Ramos (Reyes), whose fate is connected to Sarah Connor and her son John’s legacies, which made Dani a target. The Human Resistance sends an enhanced soldier, Grace (Davis), whose existence is also depending on Dani’s survivals, back to protect her.  Grace and Dani’s only hope for survival against the Rev-9 depends on them joining forces with Sarah and a T-800 Terminator.

It is best to remember that DARK FATE is a terminator action flick and should be treated as one and not as a serious drama with an all important life altering message.  The message “we make our own fate” thrown into in this movie is as corny as any silly one-liners can be and should be taken at face value.    The story’s time travelling paradox is also played to its fullest. The setting of a border with scenes of illegal Mexicans being held at an overcrowded detention centre with together with trains carrying hordes of illegal immigrants should also be taken with a grain of salt.  Whether making a statement or not, all this is cheesiness at its best.

It is good to have Schwarzenegger and Hamilton back, both garnishing cheers at their first appearances (in the film) from the audience at the prom screening I attended.  The other players including Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna as the new terminator provide excellent support.

All the action set-pieces are solidly executed, especially the fight and chase segments that will have many at the edge of their seats.  The  humour is also dead funny, the funniest delivered  by straight faced Schwarzenegger,   The most hilarious segment is the meeting of Schwarzenegger as Carl who serves his visitors Coronas in a bottle complete with a slice of lime.

Work in  other departments are also top notch.  The cinematography is also crisp and clear, evident from the very first scene where the waves of the sea reveal pebbles followed by the skulls of human skeletons.  The special effects are also magnificent from the transformation of human to terminator and vice versa to the little leaves blowing in the wind when the jeep drives away in the film’s closing sequence.

Director Miller is  disciplined enough not to make DARK FATE look like a DEADPOOL movie.  DARK FATE acknowledges the success and keeps to the feel and atmosphere of the first two original TERMINATOR films.  Fans will not be disappointed, as evident by the loud applause given at the end of the promo screening I attended in IMAX.  And see the film in IMAX!



Film Review: TULLY (USA 2018) ***

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Tully Poster

The film is about Marlo, a mother of three including a newborn, who is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the… See full summary »


Jason Reitman


Diablo Cody


TULLY (is the name of the night nanny) a couple hires to help them through the difficult time of nursing a new born baby.  The story follows a loving couple, Marlo (Charlize Theron) and her livable but often clueless husband (Ron Livingston).  They are a middle-aged couple with a son who is attention challenged and has to be given special attention in a special school.  When the film opens, Marlo is having a candid talk with the school councillor when she is ‘politely ’told her son should switch schools.  In the meantime, Marlo is pregnant with third child.  During a party, Marlo’s extremely wealthy brother (Mark Duplass, who appears to be just relishing his role) gives her a paid night nanny as a gift so the couple would not have to deal with the additional stress of having a third child.  This is the story – how everyone, including the nanny herself, learns and gains insight from the introduction of a stranger to the family.

This is a female film, fascinating from a man’s point of view for there is so much to be learnt and noticed in the story of a woman going through motherhood again and through a mid-life daily crisis.  Her husband likely needs to take major lessons as well.  The mommy-milk making machine took me by surprise.

Diablo’s script is noticeably manipulative.  The “I love us” dialogue is too coy.  Tully does not appear in the film till the 30-minute mark.  Reitman is setting the audience up for Tully to show up and do miraculous wonders.  Before this time, Marlo is undergoing all the stresses of motherhood including sore nipples, spilled milk, dirty diapers and baby crying at the worse times. Tully always has the right thing to say and knows the right thing to do at the best moment.  Marlo, on the otter hand, is flustered constantly but always saved by her.  Marlo is given an unbelievably nice husband who the audience is led to believe, will let his wife watch him have sex with another woman.

Charlize Theron proves she has the guts to bear all in this emotionally devastating role.  She is unafraid to show her frumpy side, when her teats have gone to bits and looking especially unattractive as in the shot where she is shown jogging next to a fit, slimmer and fitter jogger.  (Her recent appearances vela her back to her gorgeous self.)

TULLY should be more of a crowd-pleaser with perhaps some insightful message the audience can take home to make the world a better place, but this does not happen.  The film lacks the magic.  One reason could be that all the trouble faced by Marlo and her husband are personal and self induced.  It also shows that the nanny is just as faulty a human being as her employer, if fact worse, in terms of the romancing element.

As a film (the third collaboration between Reitman,scriptwriter Dianlo Cody and Theron, TULLY falls below standard of Reitman’s best films JUNO and UP IN THE AIR.  TULLY just proves that Reitman knows how to make a female movie.


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