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Movie reviews: Jurassic World: Dominion, Benediction

Bigger isn't always better.
Credit: Universal Pictures

TEXAS, USA —

Jurassic World: Dominion

It's the dinosaurs' world, we just live in it! That's the premise of "Jurassic World: Dominion." 

Remember from the last one, Isla Nublar is gone, so dinosaurs roam the earth. That includes the Northern California woods where dino handler Owen (Chris Pratt) and former park manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) now live together ... and everyone's favorite scaly creature, "Blue," hangs out at a distance. With them, "Maisie," the human clone from "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." She's older, so that means a little more sass. Oh, and bad people are trying to get to her!

Dipping into nostalgia, the movie reunites the trio of Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum from the 1993 original "Jurassic Park." Dern's "Dr. Sattler" seeks out Neill's "Dr. Grant" to investigate bio-engineered locusts swarming, where else, but in West Texas. They visit the biotech firm where chaos theory expert "Dr. Ian Malcom" (Goldblum), is lecturing. 

Will Sattler and Grant share that kiss 30 years in the making? Will Malcolm own his weirdness? They're the best thing in the movie. 

But the problem is, there's so much else! That includes an entire middle section that tries to be "Mission Impossible." "Jurassic" does not need international intrigue! 

DeWanda Wise is a fresh addition as a pilot for hire, but really? Another character? And there are so many types of dinosaurs, they become mundane, making the movie not nearly as terrifying as it could or should be.

Colin Trevorrow directed and co-wrote this movie. He was also behind the other two. "Dominion" is the last in the latest "Jurassic" trilogy. Will they launch a third? Maybe the franchise should take a cue from its prehistoric stars and slip into extinction.

(Universal Pictures. Rated PG-13. Running Time 2 hrs. 26 mins. In Theaters Only.)

Benediction

I sought out "Benediction" because I spoke to the charming Jack Lowden for his streaming series "Slow Horses" and wanted to see what he'd bring to this starring role as real-life British poet Siegfried Sassoon. 

After experiencing the horrors of World War I (that took the life of his brother), Sassoon wrote incredible prose describing it. Horror and beauty juxtaposed, his opposition to the war could have had him court martialed. Instead, he was sent to a hospital for psych treatment. He bonds with a fellow patient as we learn that Sassoon is gay. 

From there, the movie explores his gay relationships for a major portion.

Terence Davies directs "Benediction." He effectively uses period newsreels and war photographs, but a couple of choices had me scratching my head. This was a time that homosexuality was a criminal offense in England, but it's presented more like a dirty little parlor secret. By devoting so much time to it, the film loses its focus. Lowden, though, retains his charm. And as Sassoon isolates himself as an old man (played by another actor) you see how the haunting of the war has never left him.

(Focus Features. Rated PG-13. Running Time 2 hrs. 17 mins. In Theaters Only.)

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