Let the record show that I had zero interest in ever seeing Tomorrowland. The various trailers and TV spots did little to interest in me in the film and worst, it reminded me of that God awful Jupiter Ascending piece of garbage )and that is being polite). There’s no way I ever want to revisit that life experience again! However, it was a chat amongst the Why So blu staff that sightly changed my point of view. Such sentiments as “Brad Bird could do no wrong” were tossed about heavily. Then while attending an IMAX screening of Avengers; The Age of Ultron, we were surprised with a 15-minute action clip of Tomorrowland. Suddenly, the film didn’t look that bad. I was now on the fence about Tomorrowland instead of being dead set against it. So oh why the hell not? Life’s too short for regrets. Let’s see what promise Tomorrowland may show. I do love me some original sci-fi. Continue reading ‘Request To Close Down The ‘Tomorrowland’ Attraction (Movie Review)’
Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category
It can’t be easy to face a certain kind of pressure when it comes to remaking classic films. This updated take on ‘Poltergeist’ does not feel too much like a collaboration of great minds in an effort to make something new and different. Instead, it feels like the results of talented people making the best of a bad situation.
Before we even get into chatting about all the reasons why Mad Max Fury Road is “50 Shades of F#%king Awesome” I want to spend a moment reflecting upon the film’s theatrical trailers over the past year. All I can say is F YEAH! You want to know how to do a trailer right and pack seats? Study these trailers! They made me feel like I was reliving my childhood all over again. I had not seen post apocalyptic, insane Rated-R action like that since the 80’s. God bless these trailers! Like KFC does to chicken, George Miller does to trailers. He does them RIGHT! It’s like someone took that final action sequence in Neil Marshall’s 2008 Doomsday and made a feature length film about the lunacy of it all. In other words, it’s about fricking time! Come on! Check your brain at the door, buckle up and enjoy this wild ride with me. This is the off-the-wall completely insane world of George Miller’s MAD MAX FURY ROAD! Continue reading ‘‘Mad Max Fury Road’ Is 50 Shades of F#%king Awesome!’
Do my words here really even matter? In all honesty, it makes no difference if I write this Avengers: Age of Ultron review lazily or as proper and refined as I possibly can. You want to know why? It’s because regardless of what I conjure up here, you’re still all going to put your money down at the ticket window this weekend and see it. Like comparing the size of the Hulk to a mere mortal man, Avengers: Age of Ultron will be a colossal cash cow and not you, me or anyone else can argue that point. That check has already been taken to the bank, cashed and deposited as it’s on track for the biggest opening ever and it very well just might claim that honor. That’s why I’m keeping this review very simple. However, all that said and done is great, like Cyndi Lauper or Sheryl Crow in life, all I wanna do is have some fun with the Avengers again. Did I have some? Read on and find out… Continue reading ’15 Reasons Why ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Will Bewitch You’
Furious 7 is the little engine that could in my opinion. Not even the untimely and tragic death of one of the franchise’s main stars, Paul Walker, was able to completely derail this speeding train from moving forward. Make no doubt about it. The Fast and the Furious franchise has been quite the global exploit in the past two entries, but the nagging question still remained for me going into this press screening Tuesday night. Does the unstoppable train ride lose any speed or momentum with James Wan helming the project and from the loss of Walker, or does it continue on in the quick speedy fashion we’re all accustomed to? These questions and many more were what I hoped to answer this past Tuesday night. So if you don’t mind, I tend to always practice safety first. Therefore, I need to ask you to buckle your seat belts please, put all your appendages inside the car and enjoy the ride as it’s about to get very fast and furious around here. Vroom! Continue reading ‘FURIOUS 7 Is Michael Bay On Steroids! (Movie Review)’
The “cute factor” always plays a big role in animated features made for a family audience. As it stands, I am happy to watch these animated features that manage to balance a level of cuteness with some witty writing, good-natured humor, or other fairly positive elements that make for a good film. Home definitely makes attempts at cuteness, given the way we see certain characters, but I found a lot of that to be undone by the nature of the story that I could not get over. Some unintentionally uncomfortable implications of the “friendly” alien invasion that set up this story ultimately kept me from embracing the film more and the nature of the aliens known as “Boov” did not help much either.
I was not sure what to expect from Disney’s new Cinderella. The track record has not been great for the recent crop of live-action remakes of classic Disney animated features. Alice in Wonderland was elaborate, but bland; Snow White and The Huntsman (not Disney) went the forgettable “dark and gritty” route; and last year’s Maleficent turned a good idea into a CGI mess, with far too much tonal imbalance. My anticipation was not high for yet another one of these films, but low and behold, it turned out to actually be pretty good.
I like Vince Vaughn and have tried to support his efforts over the years, but what are we doing here? At some point in the scripting of this film about three men going on a business trip to Germany, the creative decision was to have a character named Mike Pancake, because silly last names equal laughs. Later on, that same character (who we come to learn is mentally challenged) slips and falls face first into an exposed penis. Maybe you weren’t expecting me to explain a penis gag in the opening paragraph of a review for Unfinished Business, but hey, I was not really expecting to see so many in the film as a whole either. This is just one of many haphazardly assembled ‘jokes’ thrown at the wall in this aggressively unfunny comedy.
Make no mistake about it, I’m here discussing Unfinished Business today because of Vince Vaughn. I love just about every comedic role the guy’s ever been in and no way was I staying home and missing this press screening despite the complete opposite of balmy, icy and blistery temperatures we’re suffering through in Austin, TX (I am the Cleveland, OH curse to this town as far as weather is concerned). Given the amount of chuckles the film trailer bestowed upon me within my very first viewing of it I think it was safe to say, without a shadow of a doubt and despite this being of a completely different genre, I did not think I would walk away as mad from this as I did from last month’s Jupiter Ascending. So going into Unfinished Business, at least it had that much going for it, a trailer that hooked me in from the get go and made me laugh out loud. After all, laughter is the best medicine they say. I need all of that I can get in my life currently. And so that’s my prologue, monologue or whatever the heck you want to call it. I digress. We have a movie to discuss here! Continue reading ‘‘Unfinished Business’ Rides Coach (Movie Review)’
Writer/director Neill Blomkamp’s latest big screen project is a film that tackles the ideas of artificial intelligence and the big questions that come from creating a machine that thinks. It is set in Johannesburg, a few years in the future, and finds the lead characters dealing with robots and their effectiveness in a world where criminal activity and the lines between beings that are different from each other very much matter. It is basically another Blomkamp movie, which should inspire more good faith if one were to only judge him off of his ambitious first film, District 9, the 2009 Best Picture nominee that twisted an apartheid allegory into a sci-fi/thriller. Unfortunately, after the step down that was Elysium, a film that dealt with economic turmoil and healthcare, wrapped up in the guise of a sci-fi/thriller, Chappie feels like another step down. The film has some ideas and certainly looks good (as one would expect), but is all over the place and lacks much coherence, beyond honest intentions.
Leave it to director David Cronenberg (The Fly, A History of Violence) to spend decades making studio films outside of Hollywood, only to finally shoot a film in Hollywood that looks to take it down. Of course, it would help if this acerbic, satirical take on Hollywood culture was a little more attuned to the world of today, but that does not mean it isn’t fun. Maps to the Stars is an entertaining drama that follows a few privileged individuals, as they deal with the culture they have thrived in, with lots of setup for disastrous results. There is not a whole lot to take from the punches supposedly taken from the skewering of said culture, but there is enough in the way of the performances and odd touches that made it worthwhile in a weird, Cronenbergian kind of way.
Focus is solid entertainment that puts its audience back into the world of con artists, as there have been many of its kind before. It is an easy way to have people both root for the leads, while also feeling intrigued by the sort of shadowy world they live in, but generally remains exciting due to these sorts of characters masquerading in lavish settings. First and foremost though, Will Smith is back! Regardless of one thoughts on Smith, he is one of the most charismatic actors in the world and while his leading roles have been fewer and further in between as of late, Focus is a film that does a fine job of both showing how effective of a performer he can be and how he has evolved for the better as an actor over time. While there are plenty of other aspects of this film one can focus on, it really is nice to say that Focus is sharp and good-looking film, with a very good leading performance from the always watchable Will Smith.
Disney is Disney because nobody does what they do like them, and ‘McFarland USA’ is the perfect example. Set in the agricultural center of California in 1987, ‘McFarland USA’ is formulaic and predictable, but in all the right ways. A white teacher hilariously and literally called Jim White (Kevin Costner) with a rough past moves to McFarland because it’s the only school that will take him. Threatened by the “gangster” culture and alien community, he wants to leave immediately, but after he begins teaching at the predominately Mexican school, he finds a home in the community. He sees the potential in his students when he watches them run through the dirt on their way to pick fruit and vegetables in the fields, and starts a cross country team that helps propel the boys (and the community) to a better life.
In 2010, I was excited to see a film that sold me on Craig Robinson looking into the camera and spouting the words “Hot Tub Time Machine.” Given that the film had such a ludicrous title to begin with, the cast going the extra mile to make something so silly it came back to being pretty funny again just in the way of the premise was enough to have me excited. The fact that the film delivered on being more than just a silly title is what left me impressed. The film was a gross-out comedy with a sci-fi twist fitting of the 80s body switching craze. It also had a solid cast and a mix of clever and absurdist humor to make it more worthwhile. Now we have the sequel, with its existence seeming as perplexing as the concept of time travel. The lack of the charm and some of the same stars did not help, as this film left me wanting to get out, dry off, and mingle with a different crowd.
Fifty Shades of Grey is one of those movies that will end up being credited more for the hype around it than what is actually seen in the film. This is a film based on the first book in a trilogy of bestselling erotic romance novels that seemingly aspires to be placed in the same territory as something like Sex, Lies, and Videotape or Body Heat, but is far too bland in execution, which seems like the presumed result of Twilight fan-fiction come-to-life. I imagine there could be plenty to say about a potential blockbuster film based on a novel by a woman (E.L. James), adapted by a woman (Kelly Marcel), directed by a woman (Sam Taylor-Johnson), and featuring a female lead (Dakota Johnson) who takes charge on a man who masks his inadequacies with a certain kind of appearance and use of dominance behind closed doors, but it comes more from what the viewer ultimately needs to extrapolate from the film, rather having a film that more effectively conveys proper purpose in a story like this. The only caveat I can provide at this early stage is that I have not read the book, but I doubt the many giggling women at my screening have read it either.
After last week’s dismal screening of Jupiter Ascending I was just about ready to write the remainder of this month off from both attending and reviewing movies. My experience with that film was that bad. I was embarrassed by that $175 million dollar effort, even though I really had nothing to do with it. However, there were two things that sold me on this past Tuesday night’s screening of Kingsman The Secret Service, that infectious Rob Zombie song (one of my favorites from his newest album) employed in the trailer and the positive words of praise from WSB reviewer Aaron Neuwirth, whose full theatrical review of this film can be found here. Continue reading ‘Kingsman The Secret Service Thrills and Titillates (Movie Review)’
The Spy Who Loved Me is one of my favorite James Bond movies. It is easily the best of the Roger Moore entries, but also a fine example of how strong the more cinematically over-the-top versions of the world famous British spy can be. Kingsman: The Secret Service essentially functions as one of the more outlandish James Bond entries, albeit made up of different characters and stemming from a graphic novel world, with a style and tone fitting of the millennial age. Director Matthew Vaughn, along with his screenwriting partner Jane Goldman, clearly had fun developing and filming the sort of R-rated madness taking place in this self-aware action-comedy, but it also has some of the dry British humor and sensibilities that make it more than just a new take on the ‘spy spoof’ for regular movie goers and a series of in-jokes for the filmmakers and movie geeks invested in the entertaining work of filmmakers like Vaughn. It is more than that, which comes in the form of a smart script that services most of its principle characters properly and is also a lot of fun.
After months of speculation and curiosity, countered by delays and implied bad buzz, things have unfortunately not tipped in favor of Jupiter Ascending, the new, original sci-fi/fantasy film from the Wachowskis. I really wanted to like this movie and all of the right elements are certainly there, given the fairly game cast, the production design, the visual effects, the score, and more. Ultimately though, the general wonder and wackiness that comes with the ambitious world-building effort is not enough to help the chaotic story being told, which is both too repetitive and too impersonal to have garnered more connection to a film that tries really hard. Even worse: I can no longer say I have loved everything the Wachowskis have done.