Stephen King’s It (2017) Teaser Trailer Relased

This movie looks terrifying. Despite pictures being released of Pennywise, the trailer never really features a lingering shot of the monster clown. This helps build up suspense for when we get an actual reveal. Plus, that slideshow sequence was absolutely terrifying. I am not the biggest horror fan but this movie has me hyped.

Advertisements

Fifty Shades Darker Review

Ugh boy. What can I say? If you enjoy this series, then go see the movie and enjoy it. That’s wonderful and I am glad that you can find joy. That being said…this was one of the worst things I’ve seen in a while. I was equally bored and amused at the absurdity of what was going on in the screen. 

What’s the plot of this? There is no plot. Anastasia and Christian get back together after having broken up and resume their boring relationship. Sure things happen every now and then but the movie is full of meandering. There’s the reappearance of an old submissive, Anastasia’s boss is a creep, Christian’s BDSM “guru” appears, there is a random helicopter crash. These little things pop up but never really dominate the film. 

My biggest issue with these films is how sterile they are. Everything is cold and mechanical. The sex scenes are not titillating in the least. They always cut away and have some poppy song behind them to not be too graphic or realistic. It does not help when the two leads don’t seem the least bit interested in one another. Both actors are good actors and you get the feeling they regret signing up for these films. 

The only good thing I can say is that there is money put into this film. So it is shot well as it would have to be since every room is brightly lit. Also there is a cliffhanger that is so reminiscent of the ending to The Matrix Reloaded that just made me cringe. This is not a good film and you can’t help but feel that everyone involved deserves better. 

Score: 4/10

Not Worried About The DC Extended Universe

Batman-v-Superman-DC-Trinity-Wonder-Woman

“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” has been released to bad press. The film was demolished by critics. While the film will be a financial success, it will not cross the $1 billion mark and be considered a disappointment. I personally did not love the film but I also did not hate it. I came into the film knowing that Warner Bros. was trying to play catch up. They tried to get their cinematic universe off with the 2011 “Green Lantern” movie but that was pretty much DOA. They finally managed to start it with 2013 and the Superman movie “Man of Steel” but even that movie had some controversy to it. Even with all the problems that plagued the film, I left the theater wanting to see more of what this universe would bring. The film contained numerous hints of other heroes, other villains and things that may or may not come to pass.

First it is a known secret that The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman appear in the movie. Other than The Flash, they were only glimpses. There is a strong hint about the power that is behind Aquaman’s abilities that teases things to come. The Earth is covered in ocean and much of it has been unexplored. So the people behind the Aquaman movie are free to come up with whatever they want, which is refreshing as it will be unique among the superhero movie genre. Next up is Cyborg and all the audience gets is a glimpse of his origin. There is something important in his sequence and that is what plays a part in his origin. A certain object that hints at something bigger is on the way. Finally there is The Flash. The Flash is unique as his character currently has a very popular television series and the two are unconnected. One thing the television show does not have is a deep budget and the brief glimpse we get of The Flash, his powers are portrayed as very powerful and probably chaotic. Though their presence in the movie is shoehorned in, they are good characters that hint at the larger world.

There are the also the heroes who are present in the movie itself. Superman already had the first movie in the DC Extended Universe and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him getting another solo movie. The movie introduces the universe’s Batman as well as the first movie version of Wonder Woman. This Batman is unique as he has a 20 year history as a vigilante. There are hints of The Joker and also of Robin and Wayne Manor is currently a husk of its former self. The movie does not go any further than these hints but the movie certainly leaves the audience wanting more of this Batman. He is confirmed to appear in the next movie in the DC Extended Universe movie, Suicide Squad, where The Joker is a presence. It is almost a guarantee that Batman will get a solo movie. Whether it is a sequel or prequel or some sort of mix, who’s to say but the craving for more Batman is there. Wonder Woman herself stole the show and she’s even a bigger enigma than Batman. Her screen time in the movie is no more than seven minutes but she talks of killing creatures from other worlds and flat out admits that she’s over 100 years old. There is a key plot point in the movie that link to her solo movie, which might not be noticeable at first but sure to play a part in that movie as well. Ultimately the “Trinity” of the DC Universe is looking strong on the big screen.

Finally there are the villains. The whole debate of “Marvel or DC” is a never ending debate. One could not argue that the DC Comics universe has the better villains. The audience has already seen General Zod and Lex Luthor and know The Joker is coming next. The antagonist of “Suicide Squad” is currently unknown but the team is made up of villains forced into government servitude. It is also unknown about the who the antagonists of the Wonder Woman or Justice League movies are but surely they will be threats big enough for the protagonist(s) of those movies. Within “Batman v. Superman” there are also hints of the big bad of the DC Universe itself, Darkseid. Darkseid is more or less the devil of a group of space gods known as the New Gods. His presence is felt and it is effectively a guarantee that he will plague the DC Extended Universe.

So while there may have been a hiccup with “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, all is not lost. Nothing is ever perfect and it is only the second movie within the universe. “Suicide Squad” and “Wonder Woman” are both helmed by different directors and look to bring their own uniqueness to the burgeoning universe. “Justice League” is set to start filming on April 11, 2016 and certainly the creative forces who are behind that movie, who were also behind “Batman v. Superman” have taken note of the criticism. Hopefully that makes a great movie for the premiere team of the DC Universe. There is a whole universe that is left to be explored and some issues with one movie does not cause panic.

Ryan Coogler Is Directing “Black Panther” and It’s A Great Thing

ryan-coogler-black-panther

In 2018, Marvel Studios will release “Black Panther” the studio’s first feature film to feature a non white actor. There have been many rumors as to who might be directing the film. There were talks about Ava DuVernay, director of the critically acclaimed “Selma” directing the film. She eventually pulled out due to what she felt were creative differences. Then there were talks about F. Gary Gray directing the film. Gray was in the running to direct, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” but pulled out so that he could focus on “Straight Outta Compton”. Once that film was released and was a critical and commercial success, his name shot straight to the top of people’s list to direct “Black Panther”. He also made a lot more sense as he was proven to be able to handle big studio projects before and was not new to an action movie. Eventually he was taken off of the list once he decided to direct the next entry in the “Fast & Furious” franchise.

It was clear that Marvel Studios was looking for a black director to helm this film. The studio was coming under much criticism for its lack of diversity, both in front of the camera and behind it as well. Many people would call foul for the studio hiring a white director for the film. Finally in late 2015, the movie “Creed” was released. The film was critically and commercially acclaimed. The director of the film, Ryan Coogler, quickly shot up on the list of choices to direct the “Black Panther” feature film.

Coogler has only two major feature films under his belt. The small film, “Fruitvale Station” based on the real life story of Oscar Grant and chronicles his final day before his untimely death. The film was critically acclaimed and earned a great deal of money considering it’s very small budget. His next film was, “Creed”, which is the latest installment in the “Rocky” movie franchise. “Creed” is a unique film as it is a something of a spin-off and sequel to the movies in the franchise and something of a remake to the very first “Rocky” movie.  The film was a rousing success and in January of 2016, Marvel Studios officially announced Coogler as the director of their “Black Panther” feature film.

This is a triumph on many different sorts. This is not simply a diversity hire just to have a diversity hire. Coogler has proven that he is a talent. Both of his films have been introspective and character oriented, which helps leads to its acclaim as they are not shallow films. Part of the success of “Creed” was not only did it introduce a new character in the “Rocky” franchise but also showed a new side to the character of Rocky himself, which has led Sylver Stallone being nominated for numerous awards for his performance in the film. Coogler jumping into the franchise also showed that he can work within a studio and have numerous eyes on him, yet still be able to do his own thing. He has also shown that he can go from a tiny budget to a mid sized budget and his next film will be a large budget film and is a natural growth. Both films also feature predominantly non white casts, which is something that is essential considering “Black Panther” is the prince/king of an African nation.

Marvel Studios certainly scored with snagging Ryan Coogler to direct “Black Panther”. He is a director that could have chosen any project to do next, including a sequel to “Creed”, but instead chose to direct this film. No one knows how the film will turn out. However, with talent such as Coogler at the helm, one can expect an interesting take on Marvel’s first film featuring a person of color. February 16, 2018 is when “Black Panther” will be released into theaters and one expects great things from the Ryan Coogler directed film.

Why I’m Excited For Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

In 2016, Warner Bros. will release the very first feature in their DC Extended Universe that does not rely on Superman or Batman (who does make an appearance) and that will be a film about the Suicide Squad. The movie is based on the DC Comics comic of the same name which after a retooling in the 80′s became about a team of super villains, forced into government servitude, sent on missions that have little to no chance of survival. This will be the immediate follow up to “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” which will be released earlier in the year. It will also arguably be a true test to DC Comics and Warner Bros. to see if their characters, who are not Batman or Superman, can have a presence on the big screen.

Since the superhero renaissance in film in 2008, there have been many types of films in the genre. However, “Suicide Squad” will be the first film to have the villains as the main characters. All members of the Squad are murderers and who knows what else is on their individual rap sheets. The squad’s leader, Amanda Waller, is a woman with a goal in mind and she’s willing to cross any boundaries to achieve that. Even though she is ostensibly a “good guy”, her role will very much be gray, maybe even a lighter shade of black.

The writer/director of the film is David Ayer. His screenwriting credits include, “Training Day” “End of Watch” “Sabotage” and “Fury”. The latter three are also films that he directed as well. The first three are gritty crime dramas while the last one is a gritty war drama. The last two are very much ensemble pieces. Frankly, I believe Warner Bros. found the perfect person to helm this movie. He is familiar with handling big action scenes mixed with crime drama and interpersonal moments. When he was first announced as being the helmer of the movie, “Sabotage’ is the film that came to mind immediately. That movie featured morally dubious members of a team doing morally dubious things which lends itself well to a movie about the Suicide Squad.

Little is known about the actual film itself. The Joker figures into the plot in some fashion. The air of mystery surrounding the film keeps it fresh and exciting. While the film does come out after, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, there are rumors that the film is set before the film with in the DC Extended Universe continuity. So this leaves many cards in the air as where this film will take the burgeoning franchise. Hopefully, it will be to exciting and fun places.

Why I’m Excited For Captain America: Civil War

1470109_10153868901149974_7191241149441763436_n

If you had told me in 2011, that Captain America would be my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I would say you’re crazy. Come 2016, Captain America is my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Univse. This all stems from a combination of many different factors but ultimately it comes down to great storytelling and a great actor in the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America.

In 2011, Captain America was featured in his first solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It detailed his origin of a sickly youth who wants to do the right thing so much that he is willing to go to a potential lethal length to be able to achieve it. It is easy to peg Captain America as something of a stereotype but this movie showed that there is much more to the character. The ending firmly brings him into the present day which leads into his next appearance.

In 2012, Captain America returned to the silver screen in The Avengers. This was meant to show how Captain America fits into the modern age. Since in-story, his character has only been around in the modern day for about a few weeks, it shows that while there is still some clashing that he may not be able to fully acclimate to, he doesn’t completely stick out like a sore thumb. It also went to show that his “do good” nature is exactly what the team needs with the team consisting of various forms of cynics and outsiders and while some people, mainly Tony Stark/Iron Man, don’t exactly like him, they will like listen to him.

In 2014, Captain America’s second solo movie, “The Winter Soldier”, was released. In-story it has been two years since his appearance in The Avengers and it shows that he has acclimated to modern day as best as he can and has been keeping busy as SHIELD’s best soldier. However, his honest nature is beginning to clash with the shady politics of the era are starting to chafe and the appearance of the mysterious Winter Soldier, who is a link to Cap’s past take its toll.

This was the movie that completely changed my opinion on Captain America as a character and made him my favorite character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was growing weary of the films within the Universe but this one upped the ante and is my favorite within the franchise. This was due to show why a character why Captain America is needed within dark times with his steady nature. That he wasn’t just a blind soldier who followed orders but someone who believed in what America stood for but not its politics. The film also detailed his relationships with The Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Nick Fury, The Falcon and others.

In 2015, Captain America appeared in the sequel to The Avengers, dubbed “Age of Ultron”. This movie continued the trend set by, “The Winter Soldier” as Cap continued his nature as he was once again someone who continued to do what he felt was right despite what others, Tony Stark specifically, otherwise thought. The movie also hinted that since Steve Rogers’ whole existence as Captain America, was to serve and fight, he might actually feel uncomfortable during peace time and that he might have developed something of a thirst for fighting. The movie ends on an ambiguous nature regarding where he stands as he claims he has found his home with The Avengers but earlier scenes suggest that it’s a distraction.

So in 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” will be released and it is the third Captain America solo movie but is one that features the rest of the Avengers and at the heart of the movie is the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. The trailers flat out say that Captain America is not down with working for the government as has been shown in, “The Winter Soldier” and “Age of Ultron” after another international incident, the first one being in Age of Ultron, puts them in the sights of registration. The incident also involves his friend turned brainwashed turned somewhat recovered best friend, Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. Iron Man being the opposing the side.

While it is easy to anticipate this movie because it features The Avengers, Captain America is at the center of the movie and as he should be. The trailer really makes it known that while there are many other heroes, he is the center of it all with his relationships to the others driving the plot of the movie. I can say that Steve Rogers/Captain America has gone through an interesting character arc throughout all of the films that will carry into his third solo film.

The Gift Review

“The Gift” is a 2015 thriller from first time director Joel Edgerton. The movie stars Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Edgerton himself. The plot deals with a married couple, Simon and Robyn, who encounter an old high school acquaintance of Simon’s, Gordon also known as Gordo. Soon after meeting him, the couple start receiving gifts from the man and he starts showing up the house unannounced.

First and foremost, the previews for the movie are all misleading. They would make the movie seem like something of a horror movie but it is something totally different from that. It is instead a methodical movie where not everything is totally laid out for you and forces the audience to pay attention. There are a few jump scares within which work to great effect as they are not expected.

There is a relatively small cast within the film. It mainly focuses on Bateman, Hall and Edgerton and the three carry the movie. Edgerton is playing against type here as someone who has played a lot of bad guys is playing something of a human manifestation of an abused puppy as he is always fidgety and awkward in situations. Hall, at first seems like she is going to play the typical housewife, but as the movie unfolds we learn much more about her character and all of the depths that goes within. Bateman is the true standout as he is certainly playing against type. With a few exceptions, he has been playing something of the dogged nice guy but here he is the total opposite. Without giving away too much, many will describe his character as a “jerk” and that’s putting it nicely.

Edgerton really impresses with his directorial debut here. It is a small budgeted film so there is nothing too fancy going on in this film. However, Edgerton manages to do the most with what he has and that is create an effective film. He plays with mood and atmosphere and keeps the audience intrigued through the entire ordeal. This is an impressive film and is also highly recommended as well.

Score: 8.5/10

Black Superheroes in the MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an example of an amazing feat. When it was first announced that Marvel was going to be creating their own independent studio in the mid 2000’s and featuring characters that they still had the film rights to but characters that were not as well known, many were skeptical. Fast forward a few years and now Marvel is a household name and all of the studios films have been successes. However there has been a common criticism since the beginning and that has been the lack of diversity.

There has been a notice of how many movies feature a lead who’s played by a “white guy named Chris”. The lack of people of color has been one of the main criticisms. While the character of James “Rhodey” Rhodes, first played by Terrence Howard and then Don Cheadle in subsequent films, has been there since the first Marvel Studios film, “Iron Man”, many have noted that since the recasting he is simply just there most of the time despite becoming a full fledged hero in “Iron Man 2”. It is noticeable that in “Iron Man 3” that he is rarely in his suit at all in the movie instead other people use it more than him. Also his character was absent during “The Avengers” and not even given a mention as to what his character was up to.

In the “Thor” film series, there are two noticeable people of color and that is Heimdall played by Idris Elba who is a black man and Hogun played by Tadanobu Asano who is Japanese. While the character of Hogun has always been depicted as non-white and clearly influenced by Mongolian culture, many took ire with the casting of Elba as Heimdall. These characters noticeably get not much to do. The character of Heimdall is a guardian who watches over Asgard so he somewhat understandably does not interact much but even when there are situations for him to participate in, he does not appear. Hogun appeared as much as the other members of The Warriors Three in the first film but when it came to the sequel, he was written off at the beginning of the movie and only makes a quick cameo in the end.

Things began to change within “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” with Anthony Mackie playing Sam Wilson/The Falcon. The character has been a noticeable supporting protagonist of Captain America since the 1960’s and he is notable for being the first mainstream African-American superhero. In this film, Wilson is the first character that the audience sees and also gets the last line of the movie. While he is still a supporting protagonist to Captain America, he still has his own thing going on. Captain America depends on him just as much as he does on Captain America. It was noticeable as to how little the character was featured on advertisements before the movie’s release. However once the film was released, Mackie proved to be the ensemble darkhorse as his portrayal was beloved and notable.

By the time “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was released; Cheadle, Mackie and Elba reprised their roles albeit in smaller roles. Elba is nothing more than a cameo. Mackie is given two scenes, one at the beginning and one at the end. One gets the sense that he wasn’t even supposed to be in the film at all but due to his popularity and the criticism of how Cheadle wasn’t in the first film, he was added to the film. Cheadle gets the largest screen time but is still only in a bout three scenes but at least his character gets to partake in the final battle, somewhat. The real life issue of the lack of diversity within The Avengers team is addressed in the film’s final scene.

Now “Captain America: Civil War” was announced, it was always assumed that Mackie would reprise his role in the film considering his status but there was also a notable addition and that was Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/The Black Panther. The Black Panther is notable for being the premiere black superhero as his character is a genius/super athlete/king from a fiction country in Africa that has never been colonized. These two were in the movie and then when the cast was fully announced it was stated how Cheadle would be in the film as well.

During the same press conference where “Civil War” was announced it was also announced that Black Panther would be getting his own movie as well in 2017 and then pushed to 2018. This is important as he is the first black character from Marvel Studios to get his own film since the company’s first film in 2008. That would make it ten years and many have been clamoring for the character to get his own film and Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, always dodged and gave a myriad of reasons as to why the character wasn’t getting his own film.

Now with the Black Panther character being introduced in “Civil War” and even earlier references to his fictional country of Wakanda and arch enemy Klaw being in “Age of Ultron”, it seems that Marvel is taking many steps to make sure the character works by the time his solo movie arrives. But “Civil War” is important as it features probably the three biggest black Marvel superheros, barring characters who are part of the X-Men and cannot be used, in one film. The plot of the film will feature heroes taking sides of Captain America and Iron and it’s not hard to guess as to who’s side The Falcon and War Machine will take in the film and Black Panther playing a certain x-factor in the mix. Also worth mentioning is the character of Luke Cage, notable for being the Hero for Hire, getting his own self  titled Netflix series following a series such as “Daredevil”.

While it has taken some time and there is still much work to be done, Marvel Studios has been making an effort to diversify its lineup. It has not been perfect and there could be much more work to be done but there is an effort being made. We will see how diverse the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be in another ten years.

Mad Max: Fury Road Review

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is the return of the eponymous character as well as the world he inhabits. It has been thirty years since “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” and creator George Miller returns with a vengeance. The resources that go into movies have drastically increased and one gets the sense that this is the kind of movie that Miller wanted to create but was limited in doing so.
Is this movie a reboot? The movie never really says. There are certain indications that this takes place after “The Road Warrior” but before “Beyond Thunderdome” but it is of no real importance to the plot. The movie just starts with this is the world Max inhabits and go with it. A bold statement considering it has been thirty years between movies.
“Fury Road” finds Max teaming up with Furiosa, a woman who is transporting precious cargo. This precious cargo just happens to be a group of young women who are the “property” of Immortan Joe, a warlord who uses these women to produce a “perfect” baby. What ensues is essentially two long chases that spans the movie. Along the way both encounter Nux; a member of the War Boys who are a group of sickly young men who are devoted to Joe.
Tom Hardy plays the title character but he is essentially an avatar. He fits more in line with how the character was in The Road Warrior. A man of few words who is along for the ride. He does a fine job but he doesn’t quite have the Mel Gibson charisma. Charlize Theron plays Furiosa and is the character who drives the plot. Her character is someone you can tell has had to do terrible things without ever mentioning what and now looking for redemption. Hugh Keays-Byrne, who previously played Toecutter from the first Mad Max movie, plays Immortan Joe. Joe is the warlord of The Citadel which is the main hub of the movie and rules over everything like a cult leader complete with fanatical followers. Nicholas Hoult plays Nux, a member of the War Boys who gets the most character development in the entire film.

The true star of the movie is the action. The movie never fails in this department which is certainly impressive as it is mostly contained of action scenes with few non peppered throughout. There is a strong mix of practical and CG effects that make up the wonder of the action. This also applies to the wonder of the world as well as there is something oddly beautiful of the world dubbed “The Wasteland”.

Overall, George Miller has proved that despite being away from the series for thirty years, he has not lost sense of what made the series popular to begin with. It is a thrill ride through and through. It is a highly enjoyable and rewatchable film. Certainly one of the best movies of 2015.

Why Announcing Ant-Man Will Be Part of “Captain America: Civil War” Was A Smart Move

“Ant-Man” has been the most decisive Marvel Studios since the studios conception. The film was supposed to be one of the first to be produced but various behind the scenes issues forced the movie to keep being pushed back. When the film was finally given a release date and with director Edgar Wright at the helm, anticipation grew. Then a few weeks before the film was supposed to start filming, Wright announced he was leaving due to creative differences with the studio.
It all sorted itself out eventually and the film had been made but fans were still skeptical especially without Wright directing. It is widely believed and more or less confirmed that Wright left because he could not make the film he wanted. Marvel Studios has a formula and that is how all of the projects that come from it must make sense within the established universe and all be connected with one another.
While doing press for “Age of Ultron” Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige was asked about the “Ant-Man” film and how important it would ultimately be. He very cryptically said that this would be the film to set up “Captain America: Civil War” which has been informally dubbed Avengers 2.5.
So when the casting announcement that Paul Rudd who plays the titular Ant-Man would be appearing in “Civil War”, some were shocked but others remembered what Feige said. This was a great move to draw up hype for “Ant-Man”. Showing that there is a greater importance to the film than previously believed. With this news going to become talked about more as the film draws closer to release and audiences knowing how all of these films are connected. In one master stroke Marvel Studios has proven what a marketing genius it is by taking one movie audiences were skeptical on and making it essential for a future release.