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.
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. Continue reading Power Rangers: Just Enough Nostalgia to Go Go See this Movie [Review]
The original Beauty and the Beast, the 1991 animated version, is one of the five best animated movies of all-time; it was so good that it became the first ever animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards. With movie studios going through their vault of hit movies and remaking them, it was inevitable that Beauty and the Beast would get a live-action remake sooner or later. And thanks to the advances in creating special effects that make the unimaginable look more realistic than ever, along with Disney coming off a string of successful live-action remakes (Maleficent, Cinderella, Jungle Book), the studio fast-tracked remaking the “tale as old as time.” Even though the narrative of this Beauty and the Beast is uneven at times, the movie, as a whole, hits most of the right notes. I would say it’s difficult not to compare this live-action remake to the near-perfect animated movie; but, in reality, there’s just no way around it.
The last time we saw the Caped Crusader on the big screen, he was in the hotly-debated Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Hey, I liked it, so sue me). In a dour mood and off on a killing spree, some cried that it wasn’t the Batman they grew up with while others said it fit more closely with his comic book iteration. Either way, Batman v. Superman found the Dark Knight in a tight spot and in the middle of countless debates/arguments between critics and fans of comic book characters that almost sent film Twitter into flames. Luckily, Batman is back to provide some fun in the form of Legos. The Lego Batman Movie is a spin-off from the hugely successful The Lego Movie, which featured an “all-too-serious-but-trying-to-look-cool” Batman voiced by the wonderful Will Arnett (Arrested Development). Embracing the masked vigilante’s nostalgia from his past iterations along with the Lego universe’s nonsensical humor, The Lego Batman Movie is a hysterical, absolute blast from start to finish.
I have not liked an M. Night Shyamalan movie since The Village and that came out 13 years ago. Since then, Shyamalan has made a string of awful, degrading movies. His most recent movie, The Visit, had an interesting concept (like all of his movies), but nothing stuck in the overall scheme of things. And I never made it past 15 minutes into some of his other recent movies (Devil, After Earth), because I knew I was in for another headache. Shyamalan has been in my dog house for a while now, but when the previews for Split first appeared, I was initially curious. Was Shyamalan onto something? Was he finally back? As it turns out, absolutely yes, is the answer to both of these questions. Split is an expertly-crafted psychological horror movie and a return to form for Shyamalan, whose twistingly-good storytelling was sorely missed.
Given director Martin Scorsese’s film background, which mostly consists of stories centered around crime and gang violence, it comes as a surprise that Silence has been his passion project for 30 years. After numerous legal battles over the years, Scorsese was finally able to make Silence happen. At two hours and 40 minutes, however, Silence is a lot to digest. And while the journey itself is long and tiresome at times, it’s message, told with a great script spoken by an exceptional ensemble cast, makes it feel significant. Though sometimes brutal, Silence paints a beautiful picture of a clash between culture and religion, where characters question the sacrifices they are willing make to keep their faith and driven to the point of expulsion.
If you’re going to drop a sci-fi movie in late December and it’s directed by the guy who made The Imitation Game and stars Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), you would expect a lot, right? I mean, I certainly would. On paper, Passengers has all the makings of a star-powered vehicle that would cash in around the holidays and even generate some awards buzz. Unfortunately, for Passengers, they didn’t show this movie on paper, because none of the playbook meshes together on screen, and the result is tedious and melodramatic. Continue reading Passengers: Jennifer Lawrence & Chris Pratt Can’t Save this Boring Space Odyssey [Review]
As evidenced by last year’s release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the galaxy, “far, far away,” reigns supreme over pop culture once again. But the next release in the Star Wars universe proves to be a rather different, and somewhat challenging, sell for audiences: a spin-off set between episodes three and four of the intergalactic saga. Without the Skywalker family or lightsabers (mostly) as the main focus, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a view of the inner workings of both sides of the all-out war between the Rebellion and the Empire. Rogue One could have easily been just a “cash grab” simply by inserting the words “Star Wars” to its title, but luckily, for the most part, it isn’t. Despite some issues, Rogue One is a fine expedition filled with new characters on both sides of the conflict that feel somewhat meaningful to the Star Wars universe.