Posts Tagged ‘wonder woman’

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Justice League (2017)

November 20, 2017

Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Mamoa, Henry Cavill
Director: Zack Snyder (Man Of Steel, Watchmen, Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice)

Bottom Line: I can’t believe it. I didn’t hate it. It’s a miracle! Seriously, I really thought I would never like Justice League. Zack Snyder already disappointed me beyond belief with his abysmal Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and I really thought the trailers for this movie looked like a total mess too. I had every expectation that it was going to suck and only a very small piece of me held out hope that it could be good.

I was so pleasantly surprised to enjoy this movie. I mean… it wasn’t amazing. It’s not going to crack my top 10 of 2017 and it’s not even in my top 3 superhero films of the year. But it didn’t suck! IT DIDN’T SUCK!!! YES!

All the members of the team get their moments to shine and the many concerns I had about Cyborg and Aquaman were quickly relieved. That’s not to say I’m looking forward to a Cyborg solo film – I really think that would do poorly – but he wasn’t cringe-worthy like I was expecting and I think he added to the film quite a bit. Jason Mamoa and Ezra Miller are great additions as Aquaman and The Flash, respectively.

Wonder Woman is still the star of this team. Gal Gadot is just perfect in that role and for whatever reason the filmmakers know how to make that character awesome.

I wish I could say the same for Batman. I like Affleck in the role, but in a lot of ways, I think Batman might be the weakest link in this crew – and it’s not because he’s a human being with no powers. Or maybe it is. A superhero like Batman worked amazingly well in the realistic world that Christopher Nolan crafted for his Dark Knight trilogy, but a movie like Justice League, which features heroes that can fly and aliens from other planets, well, Batman seems a little out of place. That seems to work just fine in an animated form, but something about seeing him involved in these crazy scenarios in live action form makes you think “maybe you should sit this one out, bud.” I dunno… maybe he will grow on me over time.

Justice League still has a really gloomy and grim setting, but there is a noticeable change in tone that adds quite a bit of humor and I think most of the jokes landed the laughs they were looking for. There are some great scenes involving Superman and Flash (weird… Superman returns – what a spoiler!) and another one with Wonder Woman’s lasso that you can’t help but think Joss Whedon added in post-production after Zack Snyder left the film due to a family tragedy. A little humor and charm certainly makes the movie far more enjoyable than its predecessor, which took itself so seriously it was almost comical.

Steppenwolf is the big baddie here and I’m honestly not familiar with him at all, despite watching the entire run of Justice League Unlimited and basically every animated film DC has released. Maybe I just missed him or forgot him, but I was pretty shocked when I heard a villain I’m completely unfamiliar with was who the JL would be battling in this movie. I thought he was okay. I guess he was believable as a formidable opponent for these superheroes, but there wasn’t anything particularly special or interesting about him.

All in all, I thought Justice League was a fun, but not great film. It certainly won’t convert anyone that’s anti-superhero movie, but it gives this fan of the genre hope for the DCEU going forward and it was honestly looking pretty grim last year. I am now looking forward to the next adventure. Bring on Darkseid!

Replay Value: I think I can enjoy this movie multiple times.
Sequel Potential: There are 19 movies in the pipeline for the DCEU at the moment, but only five of them have actual release dates and who knows how many of them will ever see the light of day. Aquaman comes out next year and Shazam! and Wonder Woman 2 are due out in 2019. A Justice League sequel will surely get made, but everything else DC has hinted at has to be taken with a grain of salt at this point.
Oscar Potential: None.

Grade: 6 (Recommended)

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November 2017 – Most Anticipated Movies

November 1, 2017

Before I get into my November list of movies I’m looking forward to, I feel it’s necessary to mention that I basically watched no new movies in the month of October – with the exception of non-theatrical releases Cult of Chucky and Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father – so I have some catching up to do.

Top 5 October Movies I Still Need To See

Blade Runner 2049 – Only reason I haven’t seen this yet is because there’s a long wait on Netflix for the original and I really feel I need to watch the original again before seeing this sequel.

Jigsaw – I’ve always loved the original Saw and I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, but I’ve been pretty ho-hum about this franchise and I don’t even think I’ve seen the two films leading up to Jigsaw. But I was looking forward to the Saw maze more than any other maze at Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights (it didn’t disappoint) and I started watching the movies from the beginning. I’m currently on Saw V, so there’s some chance I might make it to the theater before this one leaves.

Happy Death Day – Another maze at Halloween Horror Nights and another one of my favorites. I like the concept of slasher flick meets Groundhog Day meets murder mystery. I’ve seen enough PG-13 horror movies that have been enjoyable and somewhat scary lately that the rating doesn’t overly worry me… but scary movies should be rated-R.

Brawl In Cell Block 99 – This prison drama starring Vince Vaughn as an inmate has already been highly recommended to me. It’s available on Video On Demand (iTunes) and is definitely something I want to check out this month. As is the writer/director’s last film Bone Tomahawk.

The Foreigner – This looks like Jackie Chan’s Taken and actually that’s enough to pique my interest. The trailer has looked better than the reviews so far though.

Top 5 November Movies

1. Justice League (November 17th) – There is no November release that I’m just dying to see so a film that includes Batman naturally has to be my most anticipated movie of the month, right? I don’t know. I feel more nervous about Justice League than I feel excited about it. The trailers kind of worry me. It looks like it could be every bit the mess that Batman Vs. Superman was. Joss Whedon‘s late involvement and reshoots probably won’t change the tone of the film or Zack Snyder‘s vision too much. My expectations are pretty low, but my anticipation will always be pretty high for these things.

2. Murder On The Orient Express (November 10th) – A murder mystery. A Train. A great cast. An Agatha Christie adaptation. I’m sold. I’ve been looking forward to this since the first minimalist trailer.

3. Thor: Ragnarok (November 3rd) – I think the Thor movies have been my least favorite solo adventures among the core Avengers, but I have reason to believe Ragnarok could be the best one yet. First off, director Taika Waititi is responsible for the wonderful What We Do in the Shadows and should bring a solid comedic touch to the film. Secondly, Hulk is in this. Battling it out with Thor. On another world. Yes please!

4. Coco (November 22nd) – Has anyone else noticed that Pixar has kind of fallen off? I was personally underwhelmed by 2015’s Inside Out despite the rave reviews and last year’s Finding Dory is really the only Pixar movie I’ve loved since Toy Story 3 all the way back in 2010. That’s a one hot movie every seven year average! Pixar used to release an amazing movie basically every year. Well, until they decided that Cars was their most important property. With all that said, I’m ambivalent about Coco. I’ve read that it’s a return to form and that’s promising, as is the culturally diverse story. Here’s to hoping the early reviews are accurate!

5. Wonder (November 17th) – This is kind of a default pick since nothing else is really jumping out at me. The director wrote last year’s Beauty and the Beast and 2012’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s a story about a young boy with a facial disfigurement that begins attending public school for the first time. It looks like it could be a tearjerker and it stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay, the same kid that was so amazing in Room. Not exactly a must see for me, but I will probably go see it.

Other Notable November Movies

A Bad Moms Christmas (November 1st)

Daddy’s Home 2 (November 10th)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (November 10th)

Mudbound (November 17th)

I Love You, Daddy (November 17th)

The Man Who Invented Christmas (November 22nd)

The Current War (November 24th)

Call me by Your Name (November 25th)

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Wonder Woman (2017), Baywatch (2017), 47 Meters Down (2017)

June 23, 2017

In the interest of catching up, I’m going to keep these short and sweet.

Wonder Woman (2017) – I loved it. This movie made me incredibly happy. The DC film universe looked in grim shape after Dawn Of Justice but Wonder Woman was a huge win for them – both critically and in its record-breaking box office performance. Gal Gadot does a GREAT job. Not only is she absolutely stunning in the titular role, but she is convincingly HEROIC. I’ve seen the movie twice and the scene in No Man’s Land gave me goosebumps and a huge smile both times. Wonder Woman might have a slow build to this epic moment, but there’s no hesitation in Diana’s resolve: she says she wants to go where the war is and she doesn’t think for a second before jumping right into the line of fire. Chris Pine is a great addition to the cast, as he has plenty of chemistry with Gadot and adds a nice dose of humor. The script does a great job of infusing small bits of comedy into a serious war time setting, without taking anything away from the gravity of the situation. I do think the climax got a little bit… extravagant and silly… but the rest of the movie was fantastic. Wonder Woman is a great comic book film and the best superhero origin movie since Iron Man in 2008.

Replay Value: I saw it twice during opening week and I’d be happy to watch it again right now. It will be a must own in my movie collection.
Sequel Potential: You don’t make heaps and not get sequels. I’m sure DC will fast track another Wonder Woman movie, but first up we will get the two Justice League films and I’m still concerned about those movies, even with Wonder Woman‘s success and the involvement of Joss Whedon.
Oscar Potential: It’s a very good superhero movie, but not really Oscar bait. There is always a chance for technical nominations but most likely it will just whiff entirely.

Grade: 7.5/10 (highly enjoyable/must see comic book movie)

Baywatch (2017) – I was really hoping Baywatch would be a solid 21 Jump Street imitation, but it’s not nearly as clever or as smart. In fact, Baywatch is nothing more than your average stupid, raunchy comedy. The script is absolutely terrible, but at least Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron give their roles some life, as less charismatic leads would render this movie completely unwatchable. The supporting cast range from totally forgettable to borderline bad and while Jon Bass has some funny moments, his character really shows no indication he would actually make the cut in the stiff competition there is to become a Baywatch lifeguard. So the reason he makes it is so we can laugh at his ineptitude and misfortune. Baywatch is a stupid, silly movie that you can safely skip in the theaters and wait until Red Box if you must see it. For what it’s worth though, the three people I saw it with seemed to be pretty satisfied.

Replay Value: Once was enough for me.
Sequel Potential: Baywatch hasn’t exactly smashed at the box office and it got destroyed by the critics, so it’s sequel chances are pretty low.
Oscar Potential: I could see some Razzie potential for the script.

Grade: 4.5/10 (forgettable/watchable)

47 Meters Down (2017) – This is a movie that I probably would have never seen in my life under any other circumstances, but after All Eyez On Me got demolished by the critics, the friends I was staying with in Vegas decided they wanted to see this instead. I basically had no expectations for what looked like a B-level Jaws ripoff starring Mandy Moore, so anything north of horrible was going to be a surprise to me and, well, I was surprised. The plot is trite and silly: two sisters vacation in Mexico after one of them has a big breakup and they wind up on a sketchy-looking boat with a sketchy-looking crew and then go underwater in a sketchy-looking cage so they can go shark-gazing and prove how not boring they are. I have to admit, 47 Meters Down made me incredibly uncomfortable. I’m claustrophobic and watching these girls not only be trapped in a cage, but also submerged underwater with a depleting air supply really hit my weak spots. I seriously had thoughts of walking out of the theater – that’s how much the situation was making me squirm. Just thinking of myself in that situation was unbearable – I’d be dead in minutes because of a panic attack – but I detached and got through it. Oh yeah, there are sharks in this movie! And they are actually well used, with the dark and murky water creating some tense and scary scenes. 47 Meters Down isn’t groundbreaking or particularly good – and the ending was kind of questionable – but it made me uncomfortable enough to get a thumbs up from me.

Replay Value: Not much, but I suppose I could watch it again.
Sequel Potential: The Sharknado sequels won’t stop coming, so maybe?
Oscar Potential: None

Grade: 5.5/10 (watchable/recommended)

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June 2017 Movie Preview

May 24, 2017

Anticipation Meter
6 – Epic
5 – Very High
4 – Strong
3 – Moderate
2 – Low
1 – Nonexistent

Wonder Woman (2nd) – Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was one of the few bright spots in the beleaguered Dawn Of Justice, so I had some anticipation that this could actually be good and break the current losing streak that DC films have been on. This will be an origin story and a period piece that finds Princess Diana of the Amazons embracing her destiny when a fighter pilot played by Chris Pine crashes on her shores and brings news of major conflict in the outside world. I’ve watched a trailer or two and, while my expectations have been tempered a bit, I still think this has a chance to be good and some early word indicates that it is. It’s worth noting that director Patty Jenkins hasn’t directed a feature film since 2003’s Monster and the main screenplay writer has a resume that consists largely of multiple episodes for “Party Of Five,” “Sex and the City,” “The O.C.,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” In other words, let’s hope Wonder Woman is the best thing he’s ever written. When considering box office success, it’s hard to find films to compare Wonder Woman to as there hasn’t been a superhero movie with a female lead since Catwoman and Elektra both bombed in the mid-2000s. Wonder Woman won’t do The Hunger Games numbers, but it should do significantly better than female-led action franchises like Resident Evil and Underworld – the most successful film in either of those franchises grossed a modest $62 million. Wonder Woman could approach that kind of number in it’s first weekend. I’ll say $43 million opening weekend with a total gross of $157 million. Anticipation Meter – 3.5

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2nd) – I don’t know much about this except that it’s an animated film from DreamWorks that features the vocal talents of Kevin Hart, Jordan Peele, and Ed Helms and the plot synopsis says two kids hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a superhero. Sounds fun to me. Box office is hard to gauge here. I would never guess that The Secret Life Of Pets would do a whopping $373 million. Meanwhile, a movie like The Croods, which I enjoyed substantially more, only grossed $178 million. Kids have terrible taste, so whether a movie is actually good or not doesn’t necessarily reflect it’s box office success. I’ll take a shot in the dark and say this movie puts up numbers similar to Big Hero 6 $56 million opening, $222 million total. Anticipation Meter – 2

The Mummy (9th) – After Dracula Untold failed to jump start Universal’s revamped shared universe (now officially called Dark Universe) for their classic monsters, The Mummy has become the new opening act. From the looks of the trailers, this reboot seems similar in appearance to the Brendan Fraser run that started in the late 90s – although I’ll guess it has less cheesy humor and hopefully more legit scares – with Tom Cruise taking over as the male lead and Sofia Boutella as the film’s mummy. Russell Crowe is also part of the cast, taking on the role of Dr. Henry Jekkyl, as in Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde. The trailer for this looks okay, but I’m hoping it winds up being good – I want to see this shared universe succeed. The best Fraser-led Mummy movie opened to $68 million and grossed just over $200M and the 2008 entry – which I don’t even remember – opened to $40 mil and did over $100 domestic. It’s weird… with inflation and the star power of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe it would seem impossible for this movie not to do better than all previous Mummy flicks, but I just don’t sense a ton of excitement for it. It faces little competition, but I think it opens to around $50M and tops out around $175M. Anticipation Meter – 3

It Comes At Night (9th) – An interesting looking horror/mystery film that stars Joel Edgerton, who proved he can do creepy scary in The Gift. I expect a small opening and probably $30-$35M total. Anticipation Meter – 2

Cars 3 (16th) – I’m bewildered by this Pixar franchise. The movies have obviously performed well at the box office, but Cars and Cars 2 are probably my two least favorite movies the studio has produced… and here we are on film #3 while the far superior The Incredibles has taken 14 years to get a sequel. Pixar is actually on a little bit of a cold streak. While I did really enjoy last year’s Finding Dory, the studio hadn’t released a truly great film since Toy Story 3 in 2010 before that. This is going to be a skip for me but I suspect families will be heading out in droves to see it. I should perform similarly to the previous films, opening around $60M and finishing around $200M. Anticipation Meter – 1

All Eyez On Me (16th) – A Tupac Shakur biopic starring an unknown actor, written and directed by people that have done nothing noteworthy in their careers. I want this to be good and I’m interested in seeing Tupac’s story on the big screen, but I suspect the execution is going to be disappointing. Straight Outta Compton ($161 million) was a big hit and Tupac’s legacy is greater than anyone in N.W.A., but I think the lack of quality is already detectable here, so I think it will open to a disappointing $30M and fizzle around $75M total. As a hip hip devotee, lover of films, and fan of Tupac, I will see this even though it looks like it might suck. Anticipation Meter – 3

Rough Night (16th) – An R-Rated comedy starring Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon as members of a bachelorette party that has to deal with the death of the stripper they hired. Seems like an enjoyable combination to me, if not box office fodder. Bridesmaids ($170M) is the obvious comparison, but this film won’t sniff that kind of success: $18M opening, $55M total. Anticipation Meter – 2

Transformers: The Last Knight (21st) – This is the 5th Transformers movie and I’m honestly not sure how many I’ve even seen – probably just the first three. The visual effects of the robots transforming have always been the best thing about this franchise, but I’ve seen it done enough times now that it’s not enough of a draw for me to see the movies anymore. The stories have been lacking for a while and Michael Bay is a deservedly panned director. I’m a Mark Wahlberg fan, but my interest in this franchise is pretty much over. The public still likes to pack theaters for Autobots and Decepticons and even though interest has somewhat waned over the last two films, the least successful entry still did $245 million. I’ll wager that trend continues and say The Last Knight has the worst opening weekend since the original ($70M)and finishes around $215M total. Anticipation Meter – 1

Baby Driver (28th) – A crime thriller about a young getaway driver hired by a crime boss with an interesting cast that features the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Bernthal. More importantly, it’s an Edgar Wright film, the writer/director that has given us gems like Shaun Of The Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. No Wright film has grossed more than $31.5 million, so it’s likely this will have a very small opening and finish right around that number. Anticipation Meter – 2.5

Despicable Me 3 (30th) – Reformed evil genius Gru and his adopted kids are still plenty of fun and even though last year’s Minions was total crap it was still a box office smash. In this entry, Gru meets a twin brother named Dru he never knew about. Steve Carell does some great voice work in this franchise and adding a twin brother could let his talent shine even brighter. My wife and I will go see this and it will be another megahit for DreamWorks: $105M opening, $325M total. Anticipation Meter – 3

Note: After spending several hours writing this (and planning separate entries for Netflix and music), I have to ask myself: is it really worth the time and effort to do stuff like this and the answer is a pretty easy no. My blog only gets a modest number of hits and I’ve struggled to expand my audience beyond my friends and family so I will be cutting the depth of my posts down considerably in an effort to spend my free time more effectively. My ultimate goal is to streamline my thoughts and opinions in a way that is still interesting but not as time consuming for me (or you).