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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron

May 7, 2015 1 comment
Avengers: Age of UltronDirected by: Joss Whedon
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Written by: Joss Whedon
Edited by: Jeffrey Ford, Lisa Lassek
Cinematography by: Ben Davis
Music by: Brian Tyler, Danny Elfman
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johasson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Linda Cardellini, Claudia Kim, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Kerry Condon
Based on the Marvel Comics
Year: 2015

 

I don’t think anything will compare to the anticipation that led up to the release of Marvel’s first Avengers movie. When Samuel L. Jackson showed up at the end of the first Iron Man back in 2008 and basically announced Marvel’s intentions to create a cinematic universe in which pretty much all of their characters would coexist in one massive multimedia project, each subsequent addition to this universe has basically been made with the goal of getting people excited for the next while being fairly to immensely entertaining in its own right. This is something that could have easily imploded on itself, particularly if Marvel screwed it up by either playing it too safe and mucking their characters up in order to cater to audiences who might not be willing to accept them or by getting caught up in their own hype and letting the films coast on brand recognition and not paying attention to quality control. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Chappie

March 14, 2015 1 comment
ChappieDirected by: Neill Blomkamp
Produced by: Simon Kinberg
Screenplay by: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Edited by: Julian Clarke
Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Watkin Tudor Jones (“Ninja”), Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman, Brandon Auret
Based on the 2003 short film Tetra Vaal by Neill Blomkamp
Year: 2015

 

Oh man. Chappie… I was so hoping this would be good. I absolutely love District 9 and think it’s still one of the best, most original sci-fi films in recent history, and I was thrilled that it was nominated for Best Picture, regardless of whether it was only because they had expanded the selection size. Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up, Elysium, wasn’t anywhere near as good, and its moralizing was clumsy as hell, but it was definitely an interesting and mostly entertaining film that also looked very nice. Chappie was an opportunity for Blomkamp to look at what worked and didn’t work from both films and deliver something truly special. Blomkamp himself even recognized the fact that Elysium was a step in the wrong direction in a refreshingly candid interview with Uproxx, wherein he points out “it was all resting on a somewhat not totally formed skeletal system, so the script just wasn’t there; the story wasn’t fully there.” That’s awesome, and all, but man… What happened, then, with Chappie?! Read more…

REVIEW: Tron: Legacy

September 28, 2014 Leave a comment
Tron LegacyDirected by: Joseph Kosinski
Produced by: Sean Bailey, Jeffrey Silver, Steven Lisberger
Written by: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz (screenplay), Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal (story)
Edited by: James Haygood
Cinematography by: Claudio Miranda
Music by: Daft Punk
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Sheen, James Frain, Beau Garrett, Anis Cheurfa
Based on characters by Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird
Year: 2010

 

Never one to let a good franchise die with a single entry, it was inevitable that Disney would finally come around and get to revisiting the brand name at some point to turn that single movie into a whole franchise (you know, apart that one time when they totally did make a sequel in the form of the video game Tron 2.0). Even so, while the 28 years it took them to release a cinematic follow-up may not have been the longest gap between the original and its sequel for the studio (that honor goes to Bambi II, which has the honor of having the longest gap between any movie and its sequel at over 63 years and was also one of those oddball sequels like The Jungle Book 2 and Return to Never Land that got a theatrical release in some markets), it was certainly becoming more and more unexpected as time went on, given the particularly cult status the original film had. Sure, a video game follow-up seemed pretty logical given the nature of the story and the fact that it was less of a gamble in that medium, but to release a big budget sequel to a film the studio would later have to clarify to people the nature of its existence in subsequent home video releases (“The Original Classic” they called it) definitely caught a lot of people off guard when the studio revealed test footage of Jeff Bridges once again playing the role of Kevin Flynn at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con. And everybody flipped from excitement, including my roommate at the time. Heck, even I was interested! And I didn’t even really like the original all that much! It would be another couple years until the film’s actual release, however, but was the wait worth it? Read more…

REVIEW: Tron

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment
TronDirected by: Steven Lisberger
Produced by: Donald Kushner
Written by: Steven Lisberger (screenplay), Steven Lisberger, Bonnie MacBird (story)
Edited by: Jeff Gourson
Cinematography by: Bruce Logan
Music by: Wendy Carlos
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Dan Shor, Barnard Hughes, Peter Jurasik, Tony Stephano
Year: 1982

 

For the longest time, Tron was somewhat of a white whale for me. Apart from fleeting footage on TV here and there, I’d only heard and read about it several times in my childhood, having only gotten a very rudimentary understanding that it was some kind of old Disney film set in a computer. References to the movie seemed to pop up everywhere, though, from video games to that one Halloween episode of The Simpsons where Homer crosses over into a computer generated 3D world, and I’d always be reminded of that one Disney film set inside a computer that everyone seemed to have seen, including my own mom, who had seen it back when she was in high school and who mentioned it more often than probably anyone else in my life. I never was able to get a hold of a copy, however. It never seemed to turn up in rental stores on VHS or DVD (and LaserDisc was something my family never adopted), and not even cable TV seemed to turn up any airings. It wasn’t until the release of the 20th anniversary DVD in 2002 that I was provided with an opportunity to finally watch it, thanks to my fellow nerd and friend loving the film enough to actually get the 2-disc set. While I don’t recall exactly when we actually got around to watching it, I do remember the emotion that ran through me upon getting to the middle part of the movie: Complete and utter boredom. Read more…

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