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I've had the chance over the last week or two to catch up with two of the summer's "blockbusters," Jurassic World:  Dominion and Thor:  Love & Thunder, two movies that I think were generally viewed as being the best case for getting people back into theaters.

To be fair, they did get some folks back into theaters, though not me - I waited to see them at home.  Which is a major shift for me, since I used to see dozens of movies int theaters every year.  

In the end, I wasn't really sorry I waited.  Both movies were, to me, kind of boring.  Lots of spectacle, some amusing plot turns, a few good performances, but nothing particularly unique.  (Which actually makes sense, since they're both sequels.)

The best thing about Jurassic World:  Dominion is that it brings back Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, the three stars of the original Jurassic Park - and while they're not given a ton of stuff to do, seeing them is like seeing old friends.  The only problem is that they are a stark reminder that the stars of the Jurassic World franchise, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, are sort of the B-team.

Thor: Love & Thunder has a different problem.  Original stars Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman have tons of charisma, but they're sort of saddled with a "who cares?" plot that can't support the repartee;  Christian Bale, as the bad guy, does what seems like an extended cameo that doesn't deserve someone of his talents.

Both movies, as I watched them, seemed more like money grabs than anything else - cashing in on known IP without bring anything new or original to the table.  That's a shame, and if moviemakers find themselves bemoaning the fact that not enough people go to movie theaters and wondering why, they'll have to look no farther than their mirrors.

Sometimes a sequel can be like comfort food, which is just how I would describe Mike Lupica's newest entry in Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series.  Filling, reasonably nutritious, with flavors that make us fondly remember other experiences, "Fallout" is the 22nd book in the series and Lupica's third effort.  I think he's getting better with time - the plotting is a little more involved, and he's clearing out some of the clutter that was created in the past (the adult son Jesse didn't know existed?) and focusing on murders in the town of Paradise, Massachusetts - which is always where the Jesse Stone books have been at their best.

This time, there are two murders - one of a high school shortstop Jess was mentoring (Jesse is a former minor league ballplayer) and one of a former Paradise police chief who was investigating an apparent scam being run by a telemarketer.  The dialogue is crisp, and "Robert B. Parker's Fallout" is an entertaining read - which is exactly what it should be, at home, in a comfortable chair, with a nice glass of wine to wash it down.

My wine of the week is the 2021 Luigi Giordano Rosato, which I had this week at Portland's Piazza Italia only because they didn't have my favorite Chiaretto in stock.  No matter - I ordered my favorite dish, Spaghetti al Tonno (which I try to replicate at home to varying degrees of success, though it never is quite as good), and enjoyed a couple of glasses of Rosato - light enough for a summer night, but juicy enough to hold up to the pasta.


That's it for this week.  have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.