Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Hangover III review; another example of a horrible part 3

When The Hangover was released in 2009, it starred a bunch of unknowns at the time.  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha and Zach Galifianakis made up the Wolfpack; a group of friends that knew how to party!  Who knew the film would go on to become the highest grossing R-rated film of all time?  Then it's identical twin, I mean the sequel, The Hangover II was released in 2011... and THAT film became the highest grossing R-rated film of all time.  It's already been well documented that the sequel used the same formula as the first; three friends wake up from a night of partying, they don't remember anything and must search for clues to find their lost friend.  All three films in the trilogy are directed by Todd Phillips.  The third entry in the trilogy is out... The Hangover III of course, and it's awful.  I'll explain why.  Let's go.

What I liked about the film:
Full Circle
I get a kick out of sequels, trilogies, franchises, etc.  I love when movies like The Dark Knight Rises call back to the first film in a trilogy.  Or how Fast and Furious 6 ties in the events from previous movies.  And I got a kick out of that in this film as well.  I won't spoil anything that wasn't in the trailer or movie posters.  We get to see what's become of the stripper Jade (Heather Graham), from the first film; and her son Tyler, or as the Galifianakis character calls him, Carlos.  There's another funny character from the first film, but I won't spoil it.  This was about the only clever thing in this film.

John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy
John Goodman plays a criminal that is only mentioned in passing in the first film.  Again, I really enjoyed how the writers came full circle to this character.  Goodman is wonderful.  He's scary, intimidating, unapologetic and a total villain.  Don't call it a comeback, he's been amazing for most of his career.  And with just about 3 minutes of screen time, Melissa McCarthy reminds us why we love her.  It's a role that could have been totally wasted (like Nick Cassavetes in part 2).  But she brought it to life and leaves us wondering what happens to her; more than the main characters.  Good stuff.

What I didn't like about the film:
It's not a Comedy
This is seriously not a comedy.  I think I laughed maybe twice during the entire film.  It's just NOTHING like the previous two films.  Even though people hated the sequel, which was a clone of the first, at least it was funny!  This movie leaves the comedy at home and takes us on an action-adventure that is so absurd, it loses us.  About half way through the film, I was done.  It's just too stupid to care.  And it's too bad too. The first film was so clever and the actors so witty in their delivery, it really was unlike anything I'd seen before.

Everything Else
Ken Jeong plays an international criminal, Leslie Chow, in all three films.  It started as a bit part in the first film.  The actor's star power began to rise and he became an even bigger part of the story in the sequel.  But when did the entire trilogy become about Leslie Chow?  The third movie revolves around everything he's done in the past.  The writing is terrible.  The motivation to get the Wolfpack to go along with the plan is just plain stupid.

I'm really disappointed in the cast too.  They didn't seem to care.  It felt like the Oceans 12 syndrome.  As if the cast and crew were at the party, and the rest of us weren't invited.  Just flat, redundant performances all around.  There's no growth to any of the characters.  And that was something that I loved about the first film.  Seeing Stu (Helms) step up to his girlfriend at the time, was a great example of a character's growth.  Nothing that even closely resembles that character development occurs in part 3.  Too bad.

The Verdict:
Off the Rails
The franchise jumps the shark, is off the rails, off it's meds and ready to be put to bed.  I was obsessed with the first film.  And I was one of the very few that liked the sequel.  But this third entry is inexcusable.  It's just so bad I can't defend it.  I know the studios are in the business of making money; but can you imagine if they took their time and created a script worthy of the wait?  I would have loved to have seen these characters grow over time.  Not just getting married, but see how they are as fathers, etc.  It's too late now.  The movie is underperforming at the box office and I doubt Warner Brothers will resurrect it.  Oh well.  It's Summer time and there's a ton of options in the next few months.  For now, goodbye to the Wolfpack.  Thank you for the laughs!  Even if they were missing in this movie.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fast and Furious 6 review; family forever

You know what's hard to believe?  The Fast and the Furious was released 12 years ago, in 2001!  Skip two forgettable sequels, to 2009, for Fast and Furious.  It felt like the true sequel to the original film.  The story felt real; it was a thriller as much as it was an action film.  There was weight to the story, and the character development was much better.  I was totally game for the franchise after that.  Fast and Furious 5 was released 2011, and we saw the on-screen family grow.  It brought back great characters from each of the previous films.  It had incredibly memorable action set pieces, and left was wanting more.  Now?  Fast and Furious 6; where the movie slogan appropriately reads "All roads lead to this".  Let's go.

What I liked about the film:
The Family (Characters)
This film shows just how close a family these characters are.  Vin Diesel is definitely the leader of the group, and gets ample screen time.  He always has everyone's best interest in mind.  Paul Walker plays his trusted partner in crime.  You get a sense of trust and loyalty with the two characters, that has developed over the course of their 4 films together.  And just like any family, there's a leader (Diesel).  There's a funny man (Tyrese).  And there's also an angry uncle, that's Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in this case; who needs the group's help in busting an international criminal.  I love Johnson in this movie.  He's such a presence onscreen, he demands attention.  And look out for some really funny scenes with Johnson and rapper, Ludacris.

I felt like some of the other movies made these characters out to be invincible.  And if it stayed that way, we wouldn't care what happens to them.  There has to be consequences to these antics.  And Fast 6 does a nice job of making us care what happens to this family.  The trailers give away the return of Michelle Rodriguez, who supposedly died in part 4.  She does well in these films.  She's a balance of tough and sexy in one.  New to the series, is MMA fighter Gina Carano who is meh, at best; but has some awesome fight scenes with Rodriguez.  Luke Evans, a worthy villain, is also new to the series.  But no spoilers here friends.

This franchise has made a name for itself with terrific action set pieces.  I still talk to my movie loving friends about Fast 5's train action set piece.  This film has several scenes that will be remembered for a long time.  The climax most notably.  I'll get to how absurd it is later in the review, but it is freakin' awesome.  Kudos to the writers, and director Justin Lin, for making these films bigger and better every time.

Justin Lin
Speaking of director Justin Lin... he does it again with this film.  It's story is entertaining, the characters are interesting, and the action keeps our hearts pumping.  He knows the world and he's tied the past films and their characters together very nicely.  Everything from casting to editing is well done here.

What I didn't like about the film:
Fast 6 is outrageous.  It's so outrageous, it knows it's outrageous.  I mean there are a few scenes where the cast, and director Lin are even winking at us... metaphorically of course.  The climax I was referring to earlier, IS. AB-SURD.  It takes place on an airport runway that seemingly never ends.  It includes cars hooking themselves onto a plane to slow it down.  Lets not forget about the tank crushing cars (and killing people) a mile a minute atop a London freeway earlier in the film.  I expect this stuff at Summer action films.  And to be honest, the way Lin handled it, poking fun at it at times, was great.

Total Disregard for Protocol
The story is solid in the film.  I was ok with the reason the gang was brought back together.  I loved how they tied this story into the events of the previous two films.  But there are scenes written to progress the story that will have you rolling your eyes over and over.  All of a sudden, military tactics are discussed in front of a prisoner?  A regular LA cop gets a wanted fugitive into the U.S. to visit an inmate in prison for 24 hours?  That's when you can't help but roll thy eyes and remind yourself, it's just a movie!

The Verdict:
The Harry Potter Effect
As an audience, we're growing with these characters.  Much as we did with the Harry Potter kids.  The 'Potter' films were really a series, not just a franchise.  The stories were interconnected, as were the characters.  And I love that the 'Fast' films are becoming a series, with real continuity.

Brian (Paul Walker), was just a young cop who loved cars in 2001.  Now he's a grown man who has a family with Jordana Brewster, and a son to protect.  Dom (Vin Diesel) is not the man others think he is.  He is the patriarch to this unconventional family.  Justin Lin has directed as many 'Fast' films as David Yates did 'Potter' films.  Crazy right?  But it almost makes sense.  These directors help to create this world the characters inhabit.  They know it best.  I'm a little bummed to hear that Lin will not be back for Fast 7, but you better believe, I'll be along for the ride!  I loved this Summer action blockbuster and can't wait for more.  Be sure to stick around after the credits roll.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness review; a worthy sequel with a worthy villain

I am one of those people who was never into Star Trek.  Not the shows, not the movies, nothing.  Then in 2009, director J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise in a big way!  Star Trek was a huge success at the box office.  And, it got people like me, who knew nothing about the mythology, to jump on board the USS Enterprise and explore the universe.  It's 4 years later, and the entire crew is back.  This time, there's a mysterious villain in the dark, trying to take out Star Fleet.  The sequel is Star Trek Into Darkness, let's go!

What I liked about the film:
The Entire Gang is Back
The chemistry between the actors, and the relationships between the characters is what really pulled me into the first film.  Chris Pine is back to captain Jim Kirk.  Zachary Quinto plays Spock,  Captain Kirk's trusted commander.  Let's not forget about the rest, who I'll only list: Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Anton Yelchin.

Despite having a huge cast, everyone has something to do.  I will get into the story aspect of the film in a moment, but I loved watching these characters.  I'm not going to say there was a ton of character development for everyone in the film; but I will say the relationships between them have matured.  The dynamic between Kirk and Spock has changed.  I loved seeing them go from adversaries to close friends.  They are almost brothers by the end of the film.  The relationship between Spock and Uhura (Saldana) has changed as well.  You see Uhura demand emotion from Spock, who has difficulty showing any.  There's a lot more examples as well.  Kirk and Bones (Urban), Kirk and Scotty (Pegg), etc.  All of these make us appreciate the already appealing characters in the film.

And my favorite, even though barely shown in the film, is the relationship between Kirk and Pike (Greenwood).  Fans of the first film will remember that Pike recruited Kirk into the Star Fleet academy in the first film.  Now we get to see what the two mean to each other.  Awesome stuff!

The Writing
Whether it be the story, the character development or the dialogue, I loved the writing in this film... for the most part (more on that in a minute).  Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman wrote the first film.  This time around, their back, and Damon Lindelof also co-wrote.  The story is somewhat explained in the trailers.  A rogue Star Fleet member is out to kill his old colleagues.  He has blown up a Star Fleet building and the USS Enterprise has been tasked with killing him.  This story, coupled with quick and witty dialogue delivery by the film's stars, satisfies on multiple levels.  There is definitely a twist in the film, but not the one you'd expect.  I really enjoyed this film.

The Villain
Holy badass.  Benedict Cumberbatch has just landed on my top actors to watch list; and he did so with this movie alone.  His character is physically superior and he is incredibly intelligent.  He's evil, unforgiving, menacing, manipulative and that's just in the first half of the film!  There have been countless stories written online about who Cumberbatch REALLY plays in the film.  And let me tell you, without spoiling anything, the name of the character is irrelevant.  We must forget the original series and the original movies to truly accept this franchise.  I have an advantage in that I've never seen any of the original films, so this character was new to me in every sense of the word.  I loved this villain!

The Action
The movie starts off with an amazing chase scene.  That's just the first 15 minutes.  The action is much bigger in this film that in the first.  And I love how it simply lends itself to the story.  No one is shooting at someone else just for the fun of it.  The writers created true consequences for the character's actions.  There is something at stake for every action scene in the film.  And J.J. Abrams is just getting better and better at shooting these large scale films.  Hand to hand combat, flying vehicles, gun battles, last second rescues, the whole nine.  There is a scene in the trailer that will have you in awe; involving a spacecraft crash landing in San Francisco.  It's a sight to be seen.

What I didn't like about the film:
Again Hollywood: Pointless Characters & Suspension of Disbelief
John Cho's character, Sulu, is barely in the film.  BUT, his character plays an integral part of the team.  However, there are characters like that of Alice Eve which I swear were written into the movie as an afterthought.  The writers needed a character to merge two situations and sort of just made her the daughter of a major character.  It's like, come on!  Don't worry I didn't spoil anything.

Also, I left the movie asking myself a few questions.  Why this?  Why did he do that?  I mean, I know there is an expected level of suspension of disbelief, but some if it stretched really thin.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the script very much!  But there are some aspects of the film which you just scratch your head and go, 'did anyone stop and think about this before the film was made?'

The Verdict:
J.J. Abrams is just Plain Awesome!
This is what Summer action films should strive to be like!  Great characters, a great story with a great villain, and amazing eye candy.  That's all we want Hollywood.  This movie, as well as the first, were all because of J.J. Abrams.  He has built an ensemble cast around him that just nails it.  The special effects of 2013 make us believe that the USS Enterprise could be a possibility in the future.  The villain in this film FAR surpasses that of Eric Bana's in the first film.  And, the franchise is treated as its own, without convoluting it with details from the shows and films before it.  I loved this film and look forward to the third entry in the franchise, in the not too distant future.

Monday, May 13, 2013

RED 2 poster and trailer; we're in for a retired roller coaster!

I'm actually a little late with this one.  But I really wanted to share.  The poster above is brand new, from moviefone.  It's for RED 2 directed by Dean Parisot.  It's actually the sequel to the 2010 hit, RED.  And RED is an acronym for Retired and Extremely Dangerous.  Of course!  The characters are right out of a comic book by the same name.  Again, Bruce Willis leads the pack, with Mary-Louise ParkerJohn Malkovich and Helen Mirren in tow.  But there are some new players as well.  The legendary Anthony Hopkins, the absolutely gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones, and G.I. Joe alum, Byung-hun Lee are in for the fun.  Check out the trailer below and my thoughts after.  

I'm going to be positive on this one.  Even though, it's very cliche for an assassin to be 'retired', and then 'un-retire' and then 'retire' and then 'un-retire' for the sake of a sequel.  Follow all that?  Don't worry about it.  The point is, we have to have a suspension of disbelief, and if we do, we're in for a great time.  All the heavy hitters are back from the first film.  And we know the movie is going to play on a lot of the same jokes as the first film.  But this trailer lacks the element of surprise that the first film had to offer.  So I'm going to wait for an additional trailer before I write off the film.  Then again, I wrote off the first film and ended up absolutely loving it.  So what do I know?

Quickie: First motion poster for I, Frankenstein starring Aaron Eckhart

Check out the first poster (a motion poster at that), for I, Frankenstein.  The monster remake stars Aaron Eckhart as the titular character.  The film is directed by Stuart Beattie.  I have to be honest, I don't have much else to say, because until this poster premiered, I didn't really care what was happening with this film.  But this image alone has me intrigued.  At this point, I am listing Eckhart, now sell me with a trailer!  Stay tuned for more updates, as they come up.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

First look at Paul Giamatti as Rhino, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

You gotta love Twitter!  Marc Webb, director of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is very active on the social media site.  And he has posted a picture of Paul Giamatti, playing Aleksei Sytsevich; who eventually becomes Rhino!  This guy looks mean!  Coupled with another villain, Electro played by Jaime Foxx, Spider-Man's got his work cut out for him.

Also in the film is Dane Dehaan who plays Harry Osborn.  The Marc Webb franchise is definitely bringing in new characters from the Spider-Man universe, and I love that.  I hate when rebooted franchises use the same characters as its predecessor.  I'm pretty happy with the sneak peaks I've seen.  Hope the film builds on that.

Oblivion review; a visually stunning film, with very little substance

A few years ago, an up and coming director named Joseph Kosinski was awarded a coveted job.  Directing a sequel to a cherished film, that was released nearly 30 years earlier.  The sequel he directed?  TRON Legacy.  Don't get too excited.  I saw the trailers and was jazzed, couldn't wait to see it.  But after walking out, I realised I actually hated the film!  Fast forward a few years and now Kosinski follows up his directorial debut with Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko.  What if there was a war on Earth, a war mankind won.  But the outcome of that war would force us to move to another planet?  Well, this film asks that question.  Let's go!

What I liked about the film:
Production Design/Special Effects
The movie takes place in the distant future.  The world as we know it is gone, reduced to nothing but rubble.  A war on Earth has forced humans to move to another planet.  Production Designer, Darren Gilford, did an incredible job!  This is actually a reteaming of sorts, as he worked with Kosinski on TRON Legacy.  Another fun fact: this isn't Gilford's first dive into the future of mankind.  He was also the production designer on Idocracy, a Mike Judge film that explains how dumb humans will be in the future.  Anywho, back to this film.  The buildings, the transportation vehicles, the various landscapes, and the CGI are among the best I've seen in a long time.  Lightwave International provided the special effects, and they are something to behold.  These aspects of the film may be worth the cost of admission alone.

Tom Cruise
I.  Love.  Tom Cruise.  There I said it.  I am a huge fan of the actor.  I rarely see a film of his where he doesn't give it his all.  Whether he's a spy (Mission Impossible), or a Civil War hero (The Last Samurai), I believe he can do it all.  I will be careful not to give anything away.  But I will say this... his character, Jack Harper, is a curious, and gentle man, who was taught how to be lethal.  Cruise has some great scenes where he has no dialogue.  His eyes and facial expressions do all the talking.  That is powerful stuff and I really enjoyed those scenes in the film.

The music in the film is inspiring.  Anthony Gonzales and Joseph Trapanese co-composed the film.  Trapanese also worked with Kosinski on TRON Legacy's score.  The music told a story on its own.  A story about the future, man's will to survive, and so on and so on.  It just had one great track after another.  The music in Oblivion sounded awfully familiar though.  As if Hans Zimmer's nonexistent twin, merged the scores for Inception and The Dark Knight Rises to create this.  This is not a knock on the co-composers, but the similarities can not be ignored.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

What I didn't like about the film:
A Very Thin Script
I'm going to be blunt.  It was ALMOST a clever, original story.  Karl Gaidusek and Michael Arndt wrote a very thin script.  By the end of the film, it turns out it is nothing more than a stupid story that steals from many sci fi films before it.  The movie has aspects of Source Code (more on that in a moment), The Matrix and I Am Legend; all rolled into one hot mess.

SPOILER ALERT: Towards the third act, we discover that there are multiple clones of the Cruise character.  Well, that aspect of the film makes sense on paper, but Kosinski didn't translate it well into his story telling.  There was too much left for the audience to wonder, that there was no real PUNCH to that plot twist.  It just casually came and went.  I didn't like this at all.  END SPOILER.  I was very disappointed in the script.

I really enjoy Olga Kurylenko's acting.  I think she is a talented, beautiful woman.  And she does well in this film.  But her character has nothing to her.  This is a tiny tiny spoiler; but she is the love of Cruise's life.  They have a long and storied history.  We BARELY get to skim the surface of that love.  This is by no means Kurylenko's fault, more so the writers.  Same goes for Morgan Freeman.  The man is an Oscar winning actor.  He can do anything!  Yet we learn nothing about his character.  Why not dive deeper?  Who was he before 'the war'?  How did he get to where he is now?

Then there is Oscar winning actress Melissa Leo.  Poor Melissa Leo.  This woman hit a homerun in The Fighter.  And she hase barely recieved any roles since.  Was it the F-bomb in her acceptance speech people?    No spoiling here, but she is restricted to a desk the entire film.  What the hell?  Remember how I mentioned Source Code earlier?  Again, no spoiler here... but she is essentially the same character as Vera Farmiga was in that.  Giving orders from behind a screen, sitting a desk the entire film.  Ugh, why even take this role?  Let's get Melissa Leo more work people!  And with all that being said... Who cares what happens to any of these characters, if after 2 hours, we still don't know anything about them.  Just a terribly scripted film.

Dear God are there some excruciatingly slow scenes in this film.  The first act travels at a snail's pace.  NORMALLY, a film slows down for character development; well trust me, this film does not do that.  It's slow for no apparent reason.  I didn't feel like it was slowing down to build suspense or tension.  It was just slow to be slow.  Then acts 2 and 3 rip by very quickly.  Inconsistent at best.

The Verdict:
What Could Have Been...
The title to my TRON Legacy review was: "TRON Legacy review, Too Bad, Too Too Bad".  I feel the same way here.  The movie was good in my opinion.  The production design and special effects are A+ quality.  Tom Cruise is his usual great self.  Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Melissa Leo brought some real star power.  But what is the purpose of a film?  To tell a story!  And while Joseph Kosinski's intentions were good, he again missed the mark.  I think it is a MUCH better film that TRON Legacy, and Kosinski is definitely maturing as a storyteller.  But he has a ways to go before I can call him a good director.    If you haven't already seen the film, wait for the Blu-Ray.  You wont regret the wait!

G.I. Joe: Retaliation review; exactly what I expected (that's not a bad thing)

G.I. Joes were of course made famous by those little action figures, comic books and animated series.  Then in 2009, they were brought to the big screen... in a big way.  The movie made a boat load of money, elevated Channing Tatum's star power to another level, and created a franchise.  A sequel was announced and Tatum's role, as well as the original cast, was diminished.  It was announced Dwayne Johnson would take over as the lead in the newly titled, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  Set to be released last year, the studio made a shocking announcement.  The movie would be delayed 9 months for reshoots and post-production 3D conversion.  Now the movie has been out for quite some time, but I just got around to watching it, so let's go Joe!

What I liked about the film:
The Action
I'm a very realistic movie fan.  I don't walk into Summer action films expecting Oscar darlings (unless of course Christopher Nolan is involved).  So I knew walking into 'Retaliation' that it was going to be pure eye candy and nothing more.  And I was right.  The action was much more grounded, with the occasional absurdities.  Nicely choreographed hand to hand combat was solid.  Then there were the impressive hillside battle between ninjas that got me excited to see the film, since the trailer was released.  The scene is absurd, but so entertaining, I didn't care.  Director Jon Chu really elevated the action from the previous film.

The Actors
Dwayne Johnson was seriously born to be an action star.  He is so believable as the leader of this mini-army, I'd probably line up in formation if he ever yelled at me.  He does a solid job with the VERY little character development in the film.  D.J. Cotrona, Elodie Yung and Adrianne Palicki and nice additions to the main cast of characters.  Familiar favorites return as well.  Jonathan Pryce returns as the President of the United States.  He actually plays dual roles, and I was impresed.  Byung-hun LeeRay Stevenson, Ray Park and Arnold Vosloo all return to reprise their roles.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt's role has been recast for Luke Bracey.  I thought it was a nice mix of actors all working cohesively.  For the most part.

The Pace/Cinemotography/Music
Not that these categories should be clumped together, but they all come down to one man... Jon Chu.  His directing really did it for me.  The pacing of the film is terrific.  Nice and swift, easy to follow.  The cinematography was nicely done, by Stephen Windon.  It was a nice looking film that kept me wanting more.  And finally, Henry Jackman put together a hell of a score.  It was big, bold, exciting, sympathetic and more.  I really enjoyed it.  

What I didn't like about the film:
The Writing/Story
This is a tough one to describe.  Only because one has to wonder what the movie would have been like without the delay and reshoots.  I read over and over that reshoots were to include more of Channing Tatum's character.  And after seeing the film, I know exactly where the reshots took place.  It's that obvious.  A scene depicted in the trailer, was that of all the G.I. Joes being terminated.  I am willing to bet money that, that was originally the opening of the film.  They added a few additional scenes between Tatum and Dwayne Johnson to dive deeper into their relationship.  Ultimately, it did nothing for me.

The movie felt a bit choppy, unorganized and didn't feel cohesive.  While the pace was nice and quick, the story stumbled.  It tried to be too much and ended up hurting the film.  For the entire second act, we're trying to follow two smaller groups of Joes, on different sides of the planet.  And my final eye roll came at the hands of one character who makes a complete 180 degree turn from one side of the fight to the other.  Whatever.  Again, it's a Summer action film!

Bruce Willis
I'm still trying to figure out why Bruce Willis was in this movie.  You all know by now that I don't spoil anything in my reviews, and I'm not going to start now.  But after leaving the theater, I came up with a consclusion.  The writers (Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick) just needed a way to explain where the name G.I. Joes came from, so they created Willis' character.  Again, I'm not spoiling anything that wasn't in the trailer; but watch the movie and tell me he serves a purpose.

The Verdict:
Summer Fun For Everyone!
I enjoyed the first film, a lot.  So I went to see this film.  I probably could have waited until it was released on Blu-Ray.  But that being said, I wanted to see Dwayne Johnson, guns blazing on the big screen.  So I forked over some money and was thoroughly entertained for 90 minutes or so.  With plans for a third enstallment to the franchise, I'm sure I'll be blogging about that film after I watch it as well.  So go see it, don't expect much depth and you'll be entertained.

Quickie: Latest Man of Steel and R.I.P.D. movie posters

What do you think of the latest Man of Steel movie posters above?  Pretty sick huh?  Well, this is just a quickie post to share the latest movie posters that have caught my eye.  Check out the two Man of Steel banners below, as well as new poster for R.I.P.D.  Enjoy!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles production stills and logos revealed

The guys over at posted the logos for two highly anticipated films; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I realize I haven't posted much about either of these movies, but I have a good reason.  Because both have had so much drama behind the scenes, it felt like they were never going to happen!  So here are a few, brief, updates.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is on track.  Even though the director and cast of the first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will not be along for the ride.  The picture to the left is actually the first production still of the film.  The film is being directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield).  It stars Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) and of course, Andy Serkis (King Kong) as Caesar the ape.  I loved the first film and look forward to this addition.

Now onto a film that holds a special place in my heart... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  The movie is being directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans).  The 'human' characters will be played by Megan Fox, Will Arnett and William Fichtner.  Fox plays the Ninja Turtles' news reporter friend, April O'Neil.  That might come as a shocker to some people, considering she had a VERY public spat with producer Michael Bay a few years ago.  Nonetheless, she's in.  And check out the first production photo of her.  Looks a lot like her cartoon character huh?  Not really, but it will work.

The Turtles will be played by real actors wearing motion capture suits; much like the filming of Green Lantern.  The honor goes to Pete Ploszek playing Leonardo.  Jeremy Howard as Donatello.  Noel Fisher as Michelangelo.  And Alan Ritchson as Raphael.  Superherohype even caught a glimpse of the actors in their suits.  Crazy huh?  And how about the first look at Shredder's Foot Clan?  Only my fellow nerds will understand the references there.

I loved the 1990's live-action films.  In fact, I just re-purchased them all on Blu-Ray no more than a month ago.  The first film was a great action-comedy film that struck a chord with fans of the characters.  I can only hope that this film will have the same wit and charm as that movie did.  But only time will tell.  Both films will be released in 2014.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Iron Man 3 review; a nice addition to a wildly popular franchise

I've been waiting a long time for Iron Man 3.  And I don't mean since The Avengers last year.  I mean, since that hot mess of a sequel, Iron Man 2.  The first film in the franchise, starring Robert Downey Jr. as our ironclad hero (Tony Stark), was great.  It featured a relatively unknown character, a rehabilitated actor and a tone all its own.  The sequel was a stinker, for the most part.  And now, Iron Man makes his triumphant return.  Let's go!

What I liked about the film:
The Cast
Robert Downey Jr. is such an incredible actor.  In this film, he gets to play his usual, funny parts; but with much more of a dramatic spin.  Tony Stark just hasn't been the same since the events that took place in The Avengers.  He knows there is more at stake now a days, and must do everything in his power to protect the ones he loves.  So it's an interesting thing to see such an arrogant man worry about such fundamental things.  And RDJ does a fine job of not 'overacting' it.  Gwyneth Paltrow is wonderful as Tony's girlfriend, Pepper Potts.  She is a much bigger part of the action this go around, and really sells it.  Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau do well in their limited time onscreen.  Guy Pearce plays a mystery character, and we don't know which side he's on.  Pearce played this delicately  and definitely had me guessing which side he was on.

The Writing
The writing is probably the most effective of the franchise.  Director/co-writer Shane Black and Drew Pearce wrote a good script that has so much of what we love about the Iron Man character.  I'll tell you what you've probably already heard... the movie is hilarious.  It is so well written, and so witty, you can't help but love these characters.  Now the story is something else entirely, and I'll get to that in a moment.

The Villains
Ben Kingsley is a legend.  And he plays one hell of a villain in this film.  The Mandarin is a Middle Eastern terrorist.  He is out to show the world that Tony Stark and Iron Man, are not enough to protect them.  Kingsley's costume, hair, make-up, voice, accent and general demeanor are terrific.  He is a terrifying presence onscreen.

The Action
There are some great new action sequences in this film.  It's no wonder the Super Bowl trailer simply featured a clip of the action in the film.  The scene I'm referring to is a daring mid-air rescue of people falling out of Air Force One.  Awesome!  The climax will remind of Iron Man 2 with all the drones, as well as the harbor climax in The A-Team.  But don't worry, it's much much better than both of those films!  And I must say that the music which coincides with this climax, is great.  Shane Black just hit it out of the ballpark with so much in this film.

What I didn't like about the film:
Certain Character
I enjoy Rebecca Hall's acting, I really do.  But she served no purpose to this film.  Without spoiling anything; I understand WHY she was in the film, but still think they could have done without her character.  I don't know much about the Iron Man comics, but I really didn't see the need for her character.  I will tiptoe around this one because of huge twist in the film.  But I didn't like the way a certain character was portrayed in the film.  The character just isn't supposed to be like that.  If you know what I'm talking to, let's keep it spoiler free here; but I must say I was really disappointed with the way it was handled.

The Story
It. Is. So. Dumb.  I don't nitpick films, that's not what I like to do when I leave the theater.  But when I left; I couldn't help but ask myself question after question.  Why did that character do that?  Why didn't Tony Stark just do that, instead of that?  I'll give you a minor spoiler that is actually in the trailer.  In the climax of the film, described above, Tony Stark calls on 30+ suits to help him in saving the day.  Well, that's awesome.  It's incredible eye candy!  Except for the fact that he spent an hour of the film trying to get a broken suit back up and running!   Why not just call 1 of your 30+ suits to begin with!!!  Silly things like that make me just check out and watch the movie as nothing more than eye candy.  Oh and one last thing; the 'suspenseful moment' involving a main character, is not so suspenseful when they gave it away in the trailer.  Just saying.

The Verdict:
Better Than Part 2, But Still Not The Best
Iron Man 3 is good, real good.  It is a hilarious film that is packed with some serious action.  That being said, it's not better than the first film of the franchise.  And saying its better than part 2 is like saying Superman Returns was better than Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.  I mean come on.  Still, it was a very entertaining film, with so many talented people involved.  As you probably would expect out of a Marvel film; stick around until after the credits for a great little clip with a surprise guest.  That's all for now folks, I'm off.