Hammerle on… “Ticket to Paradise” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

“Ticket to Paradise”

George Clooney and Julia Roberts basically had a good time playing. In many ways they remind me of the classic Hollywood movies with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Think “Father of the Bride” (1950), “Adam’s Rib” (1949) and “State of the Union” (1948) and you’ll know what I mean.

Here they play a divorced couple who hate each other. Forced to travel to Bali, Indonesia, to raise her daughter’s proposed marriage to a sea farmer, neither has the emotional strength to suppress their mutual contempt.

In the process, you’ll listen to some wicked dialogue in which both Clooney and Roberts are at the top of their game. They tolerate their ugly reunification to try to get their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever), a recent law school graduate, to dump her caring fiancé (Maxime Bouttier) and return to the States.

The film has many twists and turns that define entertainment. Romey Poulier gives a memorable performance as Dever’s caring, college friend. Additionally, watch for the turmoil that unfolds when Roberts’ lover, played by Lucas Bravo, arrives and proposes.

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As noted, Clooney and Roberts’ interaction will keep you laughing throughout the film. Even the cinema is spectacular. Filmed in Queensland, Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef, you quickly want our stars to just leave and let their daughter marry a great guy and live in a spectacular part of the world, reflected by the title of the film.

But will Clooney and Roberts find a way to embrace an old passion, you might ask? Another reason to see the movie.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

I embraced this movie from start to finish. Sure, there were some complicated subplots combined with multiple characters that were hard to follow, but the film never loses its focus.

To begin with, it begins by honoring the late Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the original film. Like many of us who respected Boseman for his great work in a series of films, the residents of Wakanda embraced our collective agony.

In any case, Angela Bassett, who played T’Challa’s mother Ramonda, emerges as the leader of Wakanda. Seeking to protect her country’s unique source of vibranium, she is forced to confront world leaders to eliminate future attacks beyond her country’s borders.

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Good people die in this movie, so I’m not giving anything away. However, considering that it had a first weekend gross of $180 million, a November box office record, most of you want to see this movie.

Forced to emerge as Wakanda’s leader, T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), leads a group to fight against an invasion of an undersea nation led by Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta Mejía in a memorable role. Rarely will you be so fascinated by such a hated character.

To director Ryan Coogler’s credit, this film is filled with some fantastic battle scenes, both on land and at sea. Additionally, an all-star Black cast fights to save their homeland. Danai Gurira stands out in her role as the bald-headed Okoye, Shuri’s assistant, and Lupita Nyong’o shows her talent as the war dog Nakia.

Ironically, there are some small roles by white actors, including Martin Freeman as CIA ally Everett Ross and his evil boss (and ex-wife) played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. You have a feeling that both will probably appear in any future films.

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Let me conclude by noting two things. The first is that “Wakanda” with “The Woman King” and “Till” as two great films with a cast dominated by African American actors. This is a significant social step forward for Hollywood.

Second, like “The Woman King,” Wakanda focuses on the role that racism played when Europe began to conquer North and South America, beginning in the 1500s. The undersea nation led by Namor originally sailed from the Yucatan to the seas of the Spanish to escape the spread of smallpox.

This is an entertaining movie that makes sense.•


Robert Hamel practiced criminal law in Indianapolis. When he’s not in the courtroom or office, Bob can probably be found in one of his favorite movie theaters getting ready to review the latest movies. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.


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