Movie Mania Part 1

Sorry for the 2 month hiatus, been sorting things out offline and online. As such, I’m back with some movie reviews and a little news. I’ll be posting more videos, primarily of gameplay and streaming more on my twitch channel and maybe hitbox. I also had worked for a bit, so I picked up a PS4, so expect a game review or two. Also, I’m splitting these reviews in two, just because there’s 18 movies on this list I want to cover.

As expected with that many movies, they all are very different, so here we go.

Birdman

I loved this movie, granted I am a Michael Keaton fan, but as mentioned in the Robocop 2014 review, I don’t always enjoy the movies he’s in. This is one of the good ones, go see this movie, either rent it or Netflix it. It is worth the watch, Keaton probably should have won the oscar this year, but I can see the others were deserving as well. From start to finish, this movie is complex, dealing with the inner workings of a man torn between what the actors and critics tell him what to do, and what he wants to do. The war between the artistic and intellectual vs the fun and exciting. With an excellent cast, awesome score and fantastic camera work, making the movie with as minimal of cuts as possible. Go see this movie.

The Lego Movie

This movie is great, from the music, the animation, the voice acting and double performances from Will Ferrell, this movie is awesome for both kids and adults. It brings out that creativity and imagination from our childhoods, of picking up those plastic blocks and putting them together in ways the kits didn’t show. I usually would build robots and cars and various things out of Lego. This movie celebrates what its like to be a kid and use their imagination to bring worlds to life. This is a movie worth watching for everyone.

Kill The Messenger

Based on the true story of reporter Gary Webb, as he uncovers reports from various sources into the secret mission of the CIA with rebels in Nicaragua, where the CIA knowingly took drugs and money from the rebels in exchange for weapons to fight their own government. Then turning around and using a middle man to work with drug dealers in various locations in the US to sell to the people. This movie may have been criticized as loosening on the facts in favor of adding Dramatic Tension. So far they haven’t given meaning to their statements. The movie is worth the watch to those that enjoy drama on the screen. With a star-studded cast, delivering great performances across the board. Jeremy Renner gives an awesome performance on-screen. Sure, He maybe Hawkeye in Marvel’s movies, but this is the kind of movie that shows off Renner’s talents as an actor.

The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies

The movie I saw over the holidays, man was it rough. It’s good, but not as good as the previous two. From the start, this book should have been one, three-hour movie, or two of them, but not three. A lot of the scenes feel like filler, even more so than the first movie. They tried to go big with the action in this movie, like they did with Return Of The King. However, it feels like they were banking on the scene to be more epic. It feels like they tried building it too much. A lot of the choices made feel like rehashing of elements from the Lord Of the Rings trilogy. I may actually check out some of the fan edits that cut the fat of the movies, and maybe I’ll enjoy them better. This one just doesn’t deliver, and I can see why. It just didn’t need to be tree movies. There just wasn’t enough meat on the bone to warrant it. Considering its a short novel to begin with.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

A great action movie, even though its source material is of Jack Ryan Jr. As all the previous Tom Clancy movies, featuring Jack Ryan, are all Jack Sr. This one, being based on Jr’s source material, but being given to Sr, is meh in concept, but in practice, turned out pretty well. Chris Pine and Keira Knightley work out great in the movie, along with Kenneth Branagh as the villain. Good popcorn action flick for those that are fans of the Tom Clancy novels and movies. Although the origin story should have been Jr’s instead of Sr’s. I thought Sr’s origin being told in The Sum Of All Fears worked out better in that regard. Although this one works as a standalone. Definitely worth a watch on Netflix or rental.

John Wick

Keanu Reeves is back in the action movie scene with a lot of his crew member friends from the Matrix movies. As the special effects and choreography teams come back to make a hell of a movie. The cast is awesome in the movie too, . including Daniel Bernhardt and Randall Duk Kim, whom had supporting roles in the Matrix Sequels (Bernhardt was the Upgraded Agent that Morpheus fought on the semi truck and Randall Duk Kim was the Keymaker). We also have quite a few guest stars of various TV shows, including Lance Reddick of Fringe, Adrianne Palicki of Agents Of Shield, Bridget Regan of Agent Carter, and Alfie Allen of Game Of Thrones. The movie is a great action movie, with complex and great fight choreography and gun play. Keanu Reeves is a bad ass in this movie, granted the catalyst for his character’s revenge is a bit odd. Although I understand the meaning behind it, some may not. Still a good movie to watch.

Into The Woods

Yes, I watched a musical, even though I’m not always a fan of them. I was curious, as it was a rental my mom wanted to see, so we watched it with my dad over dinner. Although I think he may have passed out watching it. The movie feels a bit too long, and the intertwining storylines work up until a point. The whole giant revenge plot could have been cut from the movie and it would have worked out just as well. Granted it is based on a stage musical, I don’t know if it worked out as an adaptation. Meryl Streep, while a fantastic actress, really felt to me as if she was intentionally hamming up her singing voice for the sake of “Why am I in this Disney movie?” If you like musicals, you can probably watch it and enjoy it. Its something to turn your brain off to as not much thought is needed to watch, much less enjoy this movie. I just didn’t care for it in the end.

Foxcatcher

Definitely worth a watch, if you’re into true stories. Involving wrestler Mark Schultz, (not the stylized wrestling one sees on tv, the sport that is performed at the olympics). It details Mark and his brother, David’s story of meeting with Team Foxcatcher coach, Jon du Pont and working with du Pont, while trying to get into the next olympics and just after. Steve Carrell as John du Pont is chilling, between the effects make up and his performance, makes it scary. As you see a man who wants to be a coach for wrestling, while not knowing very much about it, go from attaining his dream, to fear of losing it. With great performances by Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum, this movie is worth the watch.

A Walk Among The Tombstones

Adapting from the book of the same name by Lawrence Block, tells the tale of private investigator Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson), as he uncovers the truth behind the kidnapping and death of a drug dealer’s wife. It’s a good movie, a nice crime drama to watch. Neeson does good work being the investigator, with a good blend of action and drama. Worth a rent or Netflix watch. Interesting choice for music in the credits, a cover of Sound Garden’s Black Hole Sun. Although not the best cover, but I get what they were going for with a soft piano tune.

with that I’ll wrap this up for now, stay tuned for tomorrow. I’ll post the second half tomorrow

Marvel’s The Avengers

Hello all, it seems I must be on some sort of monthly beat, sorry about that. Today, yes as the title says, I am reviewing Marvel’s The Avengers.

Marvel's The Avengers

The Avengers Movie Poster

So, to start off, I’ll say that I will try to not spoil the movie if you have not seen it, and if you haven’t, and you’re a Marvel fan, GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Now I didn’t see it in 3D, as I don’t believe it was even filmed in 3D, and the saying goes, don’t bother unless it was filmed in it, everything else is just a post effect layer on top. I’m going to delay things for a little bit, but only just. I say that because I want to convey the 4 trailers I at least remember from the viewing. As I saw the movie on May 5th, and had been playing League Of Legends for 2 days and completely forgot to write this. I’ve got some time now, so I’ll share these with you.

Trailers:

First trailer, The Amazing Spider-man, basically Spider-man 4 (As Sony owns all 6,  yes 6 movies and is intending to do the last 3). Now for those of you who remember, we had Raimi and his good cast for the previous 3 films, with 4 (The Amazing Spider-man), we’re with a brand new cast and crew, as this is a reboot. The reason is Marvel felt that the previous cast and crew had reached the end of their story arc and couldn’t do anything else. So we have this new reboot, which to me is fine, as they are going back to the very beginning and telling Peter’s story in highschool, with his first love, Gwen Stacey. Anyway, the trailer looks good so far, and I’m hoping it will do well, as we could use a fresh perspective on the source material.

Battleship, a movie I’m not looking forward too, at first when I heard they were making this, I figure, ok, if they do it right, it may go well, like the Pirates movies, but unfortunately it’s basically a film promoting the US’s usual flair of someone is attacking us, with sophisticated and advanced weaponry and we’ll just shoot them with our own and supposedly win. The whole idea behind the flick isn’t even true to the spirit of the board game it’s based upon. If you’re going to do a movie based on the board game, follow the mechanics of the said game, it involves 2 commanders, a fleet of ships, and blowing each other up. We don’t need sci-fi shoved into this one. Another Michael Bay inspired movie…

Brave, not a huge loss, another Disney Pixar film, so far looks decent for what it’s going for. Although we’ve seen the basic story before, over and over, and over, and over again. I figure this one will at least entertain children, which usually what Disney is pushing for.

My favourite of these trailers, The Dark Knight Rises. Final trailer for the film, although I found interesting to be shown before a Marvel movie. I dunno, I guess Disney has a lot of ties to Warner Bros. As Disney owns Marvel, and Warner owns DC… Fantastic trailer, I might add, although I had previously seen it online, as I’m a Batman fan. If you haven’t seen the trailer, do so, you can find it on YouTube.

On to the flick, Marvel is so confident on this movie, because it’s an “In House” film, I say that because this movie is solely done by Marvel’s new Studio arm in the film industry. Since their merger with Disney, Marvel’s movie studio has grown, and while it has been tied to other of their films, the primary studios behind them have been third-party. This time around it’s all within Marvel, and that’s a good thing, less chances of disaster, and it god damn well works! This film will blow you away at how good it is, and I was, I was so taken aback that I was shocked that I was watching a Joss Whedon film (Yes, the Buffy/Angel and Firefly Whedon). He does this spot on with his co-writer, Zak Penn (X2: X-men United, X-men 3, Incredible Hulk, Last Action Hero), who he himself has had some hits and misses in his career.

The two of them do a very good balance of action, story, and comedy. The balancing continues with the characters, no central hero, just a group of heroes working together to save the world. What can more comic book fans ask for. This is spot on, the comedy at times can feel a little forced, but its bloody well hilarious! A lot of the humor, is unexpected, and random, very fitting of a time where random and unexpected hijinks happen. There are times where some of the characters have a few quips that you would expect. The action is spot on, can’t be topped with previous team based films. I came into the flick on the fence, as it were, not sure if I would like it, due to Joss Whedon mostly, but the man has proven he can still write and direct with the best of them.

A lot of the action and humor mixes remind me of Serenity, and the camaraderie with crew from Firefly, which I liked in the film and the parts of the series I had watched. This movie blends those elements into what Marvel needed for The Avengers team of today to succeed. Although some of the plot developments I could tell would happen, but at least it wasn’t cliché. Which is good, because too many clichés in a movie will only appeal to children and people looking for something simple, and drive the fans of the comics off. This has enough material in it to keep going, with the setups (which are expected in any science fiction/comic book film), to keep the franchise going.

Some of the scenes you see in the trailer, are only the tip of the iceberg. Those of you who have downloaded the Iron Man Mark VII suit will know, there are 2 suits for Stark to wear, the suit from the previous Iron Man 2 film, with a few upgrades, and the new Mark VII suit, which is insanely fast and armed to take on pretty much anything. We get more character development on the existing Stark character, as well as more development on the rest of the team (Which to be honest was needed on some, like Captain America and Black Widow.)

Now to address the elephant in the room, how did Mark Ruffalo do as Bruce Banner and Hulk? In a word, FANTASTIC. I knew he was a capable actor in previous films, like that of Zodiac, but as Bruce Banner, he excelled. I loved this portrayal of Banner and the Hulk, just like I did with Edward Norton’s version. He made the characters come to life, and fit the dynamic of the film. At times he was able to handle being in a room with others without Hulking out, but during a crisis, his concentration wavers and yes, he does hulk out, at least once unintentionally. Yes Hulk is CGI, but it’s very hard to make Hulk in a realistic light but still be approx. 10 feet tall, so go with it.

Music seemed fitting for the film, at times I hardly noticed it, and was so overwhelmed by the film itself, that I wasn’t concerned with the music. That’s a good mark of a film, not relying on music to help establish mood, setting, theme, etc. If the movie can do that on its own, the music is only an added bonus, although I did want something in the film, and this kind of reminded me of Captain America’s music, by being fairly patriotic in tone.

The movie’s pacing works, it’s a very mid-high range pace, that is fairly consistent in the film. The plot development is also very consistent, very little confusion if at all, you understand who the villain clearly is, and how and why things happen the way they do. Nothing is left out, and nothing is left to question, except a comment towards the end of the film,  but is later answered in the credits.

Setups for sequels, yes there is one key scene in the film, just after the first title sequence in the ending credits where we’re presented with the setup for a possible sequel. After the main credits appear, we have the answer to the comment I mentioned earlier, which is hilarious. So if you want clarity on that comment, be my guest and stay until the end of the credits, if you’re just after the sequel set up, just watch until the end of the first section of credits.

Now that I’ve gotten off of the Avengers high, I can have a moment to talk about Ghost Rider 2, unfortunately I’ll have to wait until DVD release, as I am unable to watch it, at least legitimately at this time. So I will probably have a few more blogs until the other big summer block busters show up. I will probably review Prototype 2, as I’m finished the campaign in it. So yes, games will be appearing soon on my blog, and I will try to have some more comic reviews on here too. Also look for some Television and anime reviews too. For TV, I’ll be reviewing Awake’s season 1, after it finishes. So stay tuned.