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REVIEW – Logan

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment
LoganDirected by: James Mangold
Produced by: Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner
Screenplay by: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Story by: James Mangold
Edited by: Michael McCusker, Dirk Westervelt
Cinematography by: John Mathieson
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Jayson Genao
Year: 2017

 

Released in 2000, about 3 years after the abomination known as Batman & Robin seemingly killed off the superhero film genre, the first X-Men, even more so than its 1998 predecessor Blade, proved that comic book superhero movies really could find new life in cinemas, provided that the filmmakers took their subjects seriously. While Fox’s X-Men films have had more than their fair share of stumbles, particularly last year’s massively disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse as well as more egregious works like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Last Stand, they have also proven that the studio is willing to take some bold chances, too, rebooting and reorienting timelines with period films, or greenlighting a breakout R-rated comedy action film that proved that risks sometimes pay off with Deadpool. By far, however, the breakout element out of any of these films has been Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, who has been a constant presence throughout all these films from the very beginning, appearing in films even when his presence wasn’t necessarily needed because the studio knew he was just that good in the role. Hugh Jackman’s a talented guy, no doubt, but we’re all curious about whether or not it would have been as good as it has been had it not been for his casting in the first X-Men film – something that both nearly didn’t happen and was once a controversial decision at the time due to Jackman’s height betraying the comic character’s usually small stature. That was over 17 years ago, however, and now we’re facing the end of an era, with Jackman declaring Logan will be his final film as the iconic berserker. And thank God for that, as I think we’d all be disappointed if his cameo in Apocalypse was the end and not the phenomenal Logan – a film that may very well be the best superhero adaptation since The Dark Knight. Read more…

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REVIEW: Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back

February 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Pokemon: The First MovieDirected by: Kunihiko Yuyama
Produced by: Choji Yoshikawa, Tomoyuki Igarashi, Takemoto Mori; Norman J. Grossfeld (U.S.)
Written by: Takeshi Shud­o; Norman J. Grossfeld, Michael Haigney, John Touhey (U.S.)
Edited by: Toshio Henmi, Yutaka Ito
Cinematography by: Hisao Shirai
Music by: Shinji Miyazaki; John Loeffler, Ralph Schuckett (U.S.)
Starring: Veronica Taylor, Ikue Otani, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart, Ken gates, Philip Bartlett, Megan Hollingshead, Stomi Korogi, Maddie Blaustein, Tara Jayne, Jimmy Zoppi, Ed Paul, Lisa Ortiz, Kayzie Rogers, Ed Paul
Based on the Pokémon series of video games created by Satoshi Tajiri and the Pokémon TV series
Year: 1999

 

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon video games, and so I thought I’d commemorate the event.

I used to be very into the Pokémon games and anime. My sister and I used to recite the Team Rocket motto for fun (I can still do it all from memory, inflections and all, in fact), and I used to own all three versions of the original games released in the U.S., not to mention a whole slew of the trading cards (including the three original legendary birds – Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, which my mom so lovingly sought out by name for my big Christmas present one year – and the Ancient Mew card that came out with early tickets of the second film) and some of the spinoff games. There was also my prized Game Boy Printer, which is yellow and Pikachu-themed and was released only in Japan, where I was living as a very nerdy 10 – 12-year-old when the games initially released. I even had a pair of Pikachu and Togepi boxer shorts, and my first ever email account was pokemonmaster1@hotmail.com – because while plain ol’ “pokemonmaster” was already taken, I didn’t care because I was #1! Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

June 25, 2014 Leave a comment
Star Wars: The Clone WarsDirected by: Dave Filoni
Produced by: George Lucas, Catherine Winder
Written by: Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching, Scott Murphy
Edited by: Jason Tucker
Animation directed by: Kevin Jong, Jesse Yeh
Music by: Kevin Kiner, John Williams (theme)
Starring: Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein, Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Nika Futterman, Anthony Daniels, Ian Abercrombie, Catherine Taber, Corey Burton, David Acord, Kevin Michael Richardson, Matthew Wood
Year: 2008

 

When Star Wars Episode VII comes out, it’s funny to think about how it won’t be the seventh film in the series to debut in theatres. No doubt nitpicky players of trivia games will forever be using Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the answer to the trick question, “What was the name of the seventh feature film in the Star Wars series to be released in theatres?” and arguments will then ensue over whether or not the movie actually counts as being part of the saga. Friendships will be destroyed. Families torn apart. Star Wars: The Old Republic servers will crash with the onslaught of flame wars erupting. Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

June 19, 2014 1 comment
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the SithDirected by: George Lucas
Produced by: Rick McCallum
Written by: George Lucas
Edited by: Roger Barton, Ben Burtt
Cinematography by: David Tattersall
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Mathew Wood, Jimmy Smits, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Silas Carson, Temuera Morrison, Christopher Lee, Peter Mayhew
Year: 2005

 

My wait in line for this movie, released during the final days of my senior year of high school, will probably remain the longest amount of time and the largest amount of people I will ever experience. The theatre had to move the line outside and let it flow into the parking lot – there were just way too many people to let them stay within the mall without causing some sort of hazard! I’ve seen footage for the releases of the original films, and this was pretty much what I had imagined that would have been like. People were dressed up as characters, waving around their lightsabers ranging in price from plastic extendable sword to one of those incredible swords with the authentic hilts and the blade that lit up from the bottom up and made authentic sounds when moved around and clashed with another which I still really freaking want. And there was a ton of discussion about the lore of the series, both fictional and real. And, most of all, there was excitement for the movie, because, despite the inadequacies of the previous two, everyone was hoping that Episode III was going to be the ironic redemption of the prequel series. Finally, we were going to get to see Anakin’s descent into the Dark Side and the extermination of the Jedi. And we all knew it was going to be awesome because – dun dun duuuuun – this was also the first Star Wars movie to get a PG-13 rating! George Lucas was finally getting serious, everyone! Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

June 6, 2014 17 comments
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the ClonesDirected by: George Lucas
Produced by: Rick McCallum
Written by: George Lucas, Jonathan Hales
Edited by: Ben Burtt
Cinematography by: David Tattersall
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Temuera Morrison, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Daniel Logan, Silas Carson, Jack Thompson, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Ahmed Best, Rose Byrne, Jay Laga’aia, Pernilla August, Leeanna Walsman
Year: 2002

 

At some point in my life, I didn’t really know which one was worse: The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones. On the one hand, you have one of the dullest, most inconsequential films in the series that also has some of the most childish humor, to top it off, but at least it had some killer music and Darth Maul. On the other, you have George Lucas’ depiction of teenage angst within the Jedi Order and some of the most ridiculous romantic interactions between two characters ever scripted, the likes of which will have your eyes rolling out of your head and having your mind blown from thinking about just how that line about sand ever made it through someone’s mind and into the first draft of the script, let alone the final film. It took a lot of thinking, honestly, but after a while, I did eventually settle on The Phantom Menace being the worst of the two, because it not only had a bad script, but also, overall, it had just very little impact of all the films in the saga in the process. Attack of the Clones at least finally set some things in motion that would have bigger consequences later on in the story. Also, you finally get to see both Yoda and Mace Windu in combat, so… that’s gotta count for something? Read more…

May the Force be with you – at least for about the month of May or so…

May 1, 2014 1 comment

Star Wars Saga

Hello, fellow nerds! Did you hear the news? We finally know the lead cast of Star Wars Episode VII! And it is freaking SOLID! Cannot wait! … But we’ll just have to, I guess, because it’s not coming out until December 2015… which is more than a year and a half away. GAH!

So, understandably, as a fan, I’m pretty freaking pumped about this new trilogy, and I need to get this energy out somehow. What better way than to do it publicly? So, even though I just got done doing a month of 90s nostalgia movies, I’m starting another theme month. Only… it might last a bit more than a month since I’m planning on reviewing all seven theatrically released films, and given that I might do a few theatrical films during that time frame, and with my time and energy being what they are these days, it might take longer than the standard month to get the reviews out. Oh, yeah, and that’s right — seven (7) films!

No, I did not time travel into the future to bring you the first exclusive review of Episode VII: Rise of the Gungans, and, no, I’m not reviewing The Star Wars Holiday Special, either (yet…). And, no, I’m not talking about Caravan of Courage, either. I’m including the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars in the lineup, even if it was just a theatrically released movie edit of the TV series’ first few episodes, as I feel like the series really has become a beacon of hope for what’s to come, even if it was from the pre-Disney era that we’re only just beginning to experience.

Star Wars - The Clone Wars (horizontal)

I also want you to know that these reviews will not go into esoteric things like “The Hero’s Journey,” Lucas’ personal influences that went into making the film, nor will I go (too much) into the series’ importance in shaping the landscape of Hollywood and blockbusters in general. These reviews will take the films on their own merits and pretty much strictly from my own personal perspective and enthusiasm (or even lack thereof) for each of the films. I feel like this would be the appropriate approach because, frankly, the whole Hero’s Journey thing has been played out — I even wrote my own personal essay about how the posters themselves reflect Lucas’ personal influences when I was in college.

I will also refrain as much as possible about griping about the many changes that have been enacted upon the original trilogy over the years. While I think that many of the changes were either inconsequential for for the better (better Death Star destruction, Hoth cockpit transparencies fixed, the Emperor in Empire being played by Ian McDiarmid, and, yes, even the replacing of “Yub Nub” with a more fitting galaxy-spanning montage at the end of Jedi), I will eliminate these complaints  mainly by reviewing strictly the original theatrical versions, which I do, indeed, have on DVD. (If you would like to hear my reactions on the Blu-Ray edition of the first film, please feel free to read them here.) So, yes, each review of the original trilogy films will be based on the versions where Han shoots first, the Emperor is initially portrayed by a woman with chimp eyes, Jabba doesn’t appear until Return of the Jedi, and Anakin Skywalker is strictly portrayed by Sebastian Shaw (which sadly cannot be said for any of the prequels). All that being said, while I will review all the films in the proper theatrically released order, I will still be using the newer naming structure of Star Wars Episode [#: Subtitle] for these reviews, mostly for the sake of order and unity and because of what’s to come…

Star Wars Episode VII cast roundtable

So, yeah, I think I’ve properly appeased all the fans and clarified my positions on the matter. It’s going to be a long process, but I’m looking forward to it! Wish me luck, and may the Force be with us all!

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