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REVIEW – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

May 8, 2017 1 comment
Directed by: James Gunn
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Written by: James Gunn
Edited by: Fred Raskin, Craig Wood
Cinematography by: Henry Braham
Music by: Tyler Bates
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Sean Gunn, Elizabeth Debicki, Chriss Sullivan, Sylvester Stallone
Based on characters from Marvel Comics
Year: 2017

 

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was the little known film that could, becoming an unexpected smash hit with audiences and critics back in 2014 despite possibly being the most obscure and quite literally out-there property to be given a major film by Marvel Studios – or, really, any previous comic book adaptation, save for maybe Howard the Duck, a fact acknowledged by Guardians’ post-credits scene. Say what you will about Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but while Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor were almost certainly not on the same level as Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man, they weren’t nearly as bizarre in concept as a team that features a talking, gun-toting cybernetic raccoon and his sentient tree companion whose specifically limited vocabulary makes Chewbacca’s system of howls seem plausibly understandable by comparison. Smart marketing and director/writer James Gunn’s keen sense on how to make all this palatable to even mainstream audiences, however, won out, and the film – and even its soundtrack – was, again, a massive success. Naturally, a sequel has been made. Read more…

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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…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse

May 28, 2016 6 comments
X-Men ApocalypseDirected by: Bryan Singer
Produced by: Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker
Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg
Edited by: John Ottman, Michael Louis Hill
Cinematography by: Newton Thomas Sigel
Music by: John Ottman
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Lucas Till, Josh Helman, Lana Condor, Tomas Lemarquis, Hugh Jackman
Based on the Marvel comics created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Year: 2016

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I actually didn’t initially intend on reviewing this, considering the number of superhero movies I’ve reviewed lately as well as the fact that, apart from The Wolverine, I haven’t reviewed any previous X-Men movies, and this was the third in the rebooted timeline series. However, in the wake of seeing it and thinking on it for about a day, I just couldn’t help myself, because I seriously needed to get this out of me in some way beyond nagging the one friend of mine who saw it with me. Read more…

REVIEW: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

April 27, 2016 Leave a comment
Captain America: The Winter SoldierDirected by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Screenplay by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Edited by: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt
Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch
Music by: Henry Jackman
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, George St-Pierre, Maximiliano Hernández
Based on the Marvel comics by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Year: 2014

 

While The First Avenger set off all sorts of alarms in my head while it was in production, nothing could’ve been further from the truth when it came to its direct sequel, The Winter Soldier. Sure, the film was being helmed by the untested duo of brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who had previously been better known for their work in comedy TV in shows like Arrested Development and Community, but Marvel Studios had earned my trust by this point. Having just come off of the incredible first Avengers, the fantastic Iron Man 3, and the lesser but still completely enjoyable Thor: The Dark World, I was ready for their return to a standalone film starring the hero who managed to surprise me most in the first wave and trust them to do what was right for the franchise.

And, man, did they ever deliver… Read more…

REVIEW: Captain America: The First Avenger

April 23, 2016 1 comment
Captain America The First AvengerDirected by: Joe Johnston
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Screenplay by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Edited by: Jeffrey Ford, Robert Dalva
Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, JJ Field, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci, Leander Deeny
Based on the Marvel comics by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Year: 2011

 

Believe it or not, at one time, this was the movie I was most worried about during the first phase of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The director, Joe Johnston, didn’t have the best track record as a director, and the main star of the movie, Chris Evans, was someone who had already played a superhero in a movie series that was pretty garbage, Fox’s pre-reboot Fantastic Four movies. Rumors of the film also having a random musical number was also cause for concern, and Hugo Weaving was also revealed to be playing yet another intense villain role. Also, this was a film set before all the other films, being set during World War II. Period films were fine, but a period superhero film? C’mon, Marvel! Surely you must be crazy! No way could this live up to Iron Man and Thor, which at least had respected actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh at the helm, right!?

Oh, please. You know I was wrong on this on all accounts. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Fantastic Four (2015)

August 8, 2015 2 comments
Fantastic Four (2015)Directed by: Josh Trank
Produced by: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Robert Kulzar, Hutch Parker, Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank
Edited by: Elliot Greenberg, Stephen E. Rivkin
Cinematography by: Matthew Jensen
Music by: Marco Beltrami, Philip Glass
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Castellaneta
Based Marvel Comics characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Year: 2015

 

This review contains spoilers.

 

So this must be how it feels to be one of the Man of Steel haters… Read more…

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…

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