2017 certainly has been a down year for animated movies. While there have been a number of animated movies released throughout the year, quantity has far outweighed quality. As such, it’s certainly shown in diminishing box office numbers for almost all the animated movies released this year (minus Despicable Me 3). Luckily however, as far as animated movies are concerned, 2017 is going out on a high note with Coco, the latest offering from Pixar Studios. After three straight lower caliber movies (The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Cars 3) from the well-respected animation studio, Coco is more of what we’ve come to expect from Pixar over the years. Thanks to the movie’s uniquely told story, respect to culture, beautiful animation, and catchy, original music, Coco is another noteworthy winner from Pixar.
The road to Justice League, which brings together some of DC Comics’ most iconic superheroes, has not been without its share of debate or controversy. Up until this summer’s crowd-pleasing Wonder Woman, the three previous entries in the DC Extended Universe (which include Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad) were hotly debated amongst both fans and critics for their movie’s storytelling decisions and character developments that showed DC Comics’ characters in different lights. While each of them was a box office success, it was apparent that it wasn’t enough to win over audiences. Fast forward to today and Justice League is viewed as a course correction for Warner Brothers’ DCEU going forward. While Justice League certainly has its issues and isn’t exactly coherent at times, each of the movie’s superhero characters are more than satisfying and help make the superhero team up an enjoyable action romp.
With comedy sequels, the cast is usually bigger, and the gag jokes try to go even further; and, of course, Daddy’s Home 2 accomplishes both of those things, but with bad results. Personally, I enjoyed Daddy’s Home. It wasn’t the best comedy, but it was certainly one of Will Ferrell’s funniest movies in recent years. And when I heard that Mel Gibson and John Lithgow joined the cast for Daddy’s Home 2, my anticipation went from nonexistent to moderately excited. However, Daddy’s Home 2 is another swing and miss from Ferrell (and Mark Wahlberg to a slight extent), whose spiraling downward trend of bad comedies is on the same trajectory as Adam Sandler’s (yeah, I went there).
If you ask anyone (like me) who has seen the previous 16 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a good number of them will tell you that both Thor movies are among their least favorite. It’s not to say they’re bad, but they’re easily forgettable compared to the other superhero outings we’ve seen from the MCU. But finally, the god of thunder gets his justice with Thor: Ragnarok, a memorable, rickrolling good time that emphasizes the word “comic” for comic book movies. Easily surpassing the previous two Thor outings, Ragnarok’s intrepid attitude and overzealous moments make it not only the best Marvel Studios release of the year, but also arguably the funniest Marvel Studios movie to date. With the latest Thor sure to Ragnarok you like a hurricane, strap yourselves in for a fun time at the theaters this weekend.
When I walked into the theater to see Blade Runner 2049 on Monday, I had no idea what to expect. What was the movie actually about? Why is there a sequel to a movie that bombed at the box office and was later deemed a misinterpreted cult classic? As somebody who finds the original 1982 Blade Runner to be highly overrated, I write this review surprised by two things: first, that a sequel to a movie, viewed by many as a misinterpreted, neo-noir sci-fi classic, would be made 35 years later; secondly, (and more surprisingly) that this sequel, Blade Runner 2049, is not only leaps and bounds better than the original, but is also one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent years. Thanks to the movie’s mysterious story, memorable characters, gorgeous visuals, and unparalleled direction from Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 is an instant sci-fi classic and one which will be talked about for years to come. Read more
In recent years, the latest horror franchise to conjure up globs of money from audiences has been the Conjuring Universe (the name Warner Brothers gave this horror franchise). While the first Conjuring movie, The Conjuring, reshaped the modern-day horror genre, its spin-off, Annabelle, was very underwhelming; in fact, I was so bored that I never finished watching it. But last year, the Conjuring Universe returned to its roots with The Conjuring 2, which was a formidable sequel to the original Conjuring. Up until this week, I wasn’t so sure audiences needed another horror franchise to follow due to what we have seen in years past with horror franchises and their lackluster sequels. But before seeing Annabelle: Creation, which is set before anything that happens in the three previous Conjuring movies, I can’t believe I would ever say this: if Warner Brothers and can keep making horror follow-ups as horrifyingly pleasing as Annabelle: Creation, count me in for this Conjuring Universe. Read more
As evidenced by The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow is no stranger to tense movies. While Detroit is another rigid movie from the Oscar-winning director, this depiction of the racially-charged events that transpired in Motown 50 years ago is her most unsettling movie yet. First and foremost, you should know this movie is not an easy watch; while this movie is meant to start discussions, there is no happy ending here. If you see Detroit, you’re likely to leave the movie angry. Even though Bigelow does not hold back when it comes to telling this story, it is also jagged and in need of editing. If you were to cut 40 minutes from Detroit, you would have yourself a harrowing American classic; I would even say it would be a front-runner for Best Picture at next year’s Oscars. But that’s not the case here. Despite Detroit’s issues, it’s still a captivating movie with a gut-wrenching story worth your attention. Read more
Castlevania premiered on Netflix over the weekend. Categorised as an animated show, the first season consists of four episodes with each one lasting no longer than 25 minutes. Due to the short length of the first season along with my shared interest with Fox Force Five News’ Editor in Chief, Keven Skinner, we have each reviewed Castlevania from our own perspectives, and consolidated our reviews into one overall rating of the show.
In 2014, Universal Pictures attempted to launch their Dark Universe (the name of their Universal Monsters cinematic universe) with Dracula Untold. Unfortunately, the movie received mixed reviews and was underwhelming at the box office. Fast forward three years and Universal is once again trying to launch the Dark Universe with The Mummy. But unlike Dracula Untold, which had its moments, The Mummy, on the other hand, takes poorly setting up a cinematic universe to a whole new level. Bad in almost every facet, it makes you wonder if Universal should just scrap this Dark Universe altogether and save other A-list actors (Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp) from wasting their time with it. By the time the credits roll for The Mummy, you’ll be yearning for another Brendan Fraser-starring Mummy movie instead of where this Dark Universe goes next. Tonally all over the place mixed together with a humdrum story and exhaustive CGI, The Mummy is a conglomerate mess from start to finish.
In one scene plastered all over the marketing for Wonder Woman, we see the female heroine step onto the battlefield, alone, to try and take out the German forces. This action-packed scene and what follows immediately after it combine to deliver not only one of the best action sequences in a superhero movie of all-time, but it is also a testament to just how crowd-pleasing the movie is as a whole. Wonder Woman is a bold, confident movie with as much heart as it has soul. Wonder Woman is not only a groundbreaking achievement, but also a movie that inspires much-needed hope in dark times like this. And given how crazy things are around the world, Wonder Woman is exactly the type of hero we need right now.
“Fifty years have passed”
These are the first lines spoken in the intro for Samurai Jack and they come from the warrior himself in this new season. This marks a notable change given how the lines in the intro for the first four seasons of the show were spoken by Jack’s arch nemesis, Aku. Fifty years have passed for Jack while 13 years have passed since viewers last saw the samurai onscreen before the show abruptly ended without a proper ending. Thankfully, the show was revived and given a limited series order on Adult Swim to conclude Jack’s story. Before the revival, Samurai Jack already was considered a masterpiece of the animated genre. But after watching Jack’s journey finally come to a close on Saturday, this animated masterpiece should now be in the discussion for best animated show of all-time. From the season premiere back in March to finale on Saturday, Jack’s farewell journey, told over the final 10 episodes, was nothing short of phenomenal.
Three years after coming out of left field and becoming everyone’s favorite group of superheroes overnight, the A-holes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The first entries in these superhero outings from Marvel Studios are usually “fairly good.” But that was not the case with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which is arguably one of the very best movies to date in the MCU. So, going into Vol. 2, the expectations are fairly high. Vol. 2 hits all the right notes as a sequel; it’s bigger in every aspect – from scope to characters and action. Bigger can be better in many cases, but Vol. 2’s plot keeps those bigger things rather slender and rangy at times. But still, director James Gunn’s usage of these characters we’ve all come to know and love help propel this robust, entertaining sequel.
It’s hard not to watch The Fate of the Furious and think about the void left by Paul Walker, who played one of the two main characters in the Fast & Furious franchise until his tragic death in 2013. Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, was given a proper sendoff in Furious 7, which paid great tribute to the beloved actor and his place in the NOS-infused series. After seeing Furious 7, I figured this was not only a near-perfect way to end the story of Walker’s character, but also to end the franchise with the remaining characters in play. But being that the franchise continues to make money, another sequel was inevitable. Fast forward three years from Furious 7 and we now have The Fate of the Furious. While the latest entry offers a number of impressive, physics-defying action sequences and some good laughs, as a whole, none of it pushes the franchise either forward or in reverse, making The Fate of the Furious just “okay.”
If you grew up in the 90s like I did, then you were either a fan of the Power Rangers or were aware of their towering existence in both television and merchandise. Even though the Power Rangers have been on television since 1993, the Power Rangers are back on the big screen for the first time since 1997. In this big budget reboot, Power Rangers focuses on the story of the original Power Rangers television series characters from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (who also graced us with the classic 1995 movie). When Power Rangers hones in on its moments that bring out nostalgia, it’s a blast. And if you grew up watching this superhero team fight and make “whoosh” noises, you’ll appreciate the subtle nods that bring out undeniable glee. Read more