Saturday, October 21, 2017

Darren Aronofsky's Mother Is The Mother Of All Controversial Films For 2017. But Its Good

The fall of 2017 has brought forth a string of awkward new releases, that have either gone onto achieving both critical acclaim and box office stature such as Stephen King's IT, or critically acclaimed yet disappointing box office run such as Blade Runner 2049. In between the two lies the films, that are released with the hope and promise that they will not only receive the acclaim from critics as well as audiences, but would also find an audience to push the film towards profitability. In the case of Darren Aronofsky's Mother, the film has not only underperformed with audiences on a critical level judging by it's F Cinemascore despite critics giving it mixed to generally positive reviews, but has completely been shafted by audiences despite the film not deserving to be. Darren Aronofsky's Mother may be many things as there's many different ways that audiences can read his latest film, Mother may be ambitious, and misunderstood, but one thing it's far from being is a terrible movie


      The best kind of viewers that Mother can ask for, are those who are familiar with Darren Aronofsky's work prior to his new film. Aronofsky is a different type of mainstream filmmaker, who molds his film into being literal pieces of art, making them appear to be gorgeously photographed with stunning Cinematography along with getting the finest performances out of his actors/actresses, while challenging his audience to think about the films he has them viewing. It helps that Aronofsky chooses stories that are not only engaging to the audience, but draws them in whether they agree with the outcome of the story or not. Requiem For A Dream was amazing in showing how people can have downward spirals as direct consequences of doing drugs. The Fountain was an underappreciated masterpiece, that needs a second reevaluation from audiences with perhaps a longer directors cut The Wrestler was a solid film about a faded Wrestler being forced to retire, but ends up finding his life outside of the ring to be an emotional struggle. Black Swan was an intense psychological thriller, that has Natalie Portman delivering the best performance of her career. Noah was visually stunning and well-acted, but the artistic approach that Aronofsky took with the film is questionable given that the film felt like it went off the rails at times. The final product wasn't disastrous, but didn't stand up to par with the rest of Aronofsky's previous work.


      Mother is a return to form for the unique director, who specializes in telling dark stories about people's downward spirals. Mother is approximately two hours long with 90 mins of it being relying on it's main stars to drive the story as the pacing is slow and steady, but the tension builds slowly up until it's bizarre and disturbing climax. The plot for Mother centers around a couple's relationship being tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, placing a disruption with their tranquil experience. The four main actors that drive the story with Mother are Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ed Harris. The story is told through the perspective of Lawrence's character as she tries to make sense of what's happening around her while slowly losing her patience with the uninvited guests. Lawrence is the perfect choice for the part as she is believable, captivating, and utterly convincing in the part. Despite Mother's polarizing reception with audiences, one hopes that she receives a worthy Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her performance in this film. Javier Bardem is terrific as usual and brings his A game to the part with Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer turning in strong supporting roles as well, the latter is nice to see on the big screen again given she doesn't work as frequently nowadays. The film moves at a rather slow pace, but the stellar performances and the mood of the film make the story engaging as the tension slowly builds up until the films bizarre third act.


Stating the direct obvious, Mother isn't for everybody as only true fans of Aronofsky will have the patience and open-mind to embrace the story for it's unusual tone and numerous question the film poses. The movie covers topics ranging from narcissism to hero worship, exotic religions, and plagues of the old testament, death, and immortality. Many of these themes Aronofsky has previously covered with his earlier films such as the Biblical aspect of his films along with death and immortality. Mother's final message says that being married to a narcissist searching for everyone's love can ultimately become unbearable as the film shows. Mother is a film, that's unafraid to take risks and challenge it's audience with what they think they know about the story, but being daring can also be it's downfall. There is no question that Mother is thought-provoking and an ambitious product of the director's artistic vision, the film is entertaining and involving despite the storyline feeling a bit uneven at times due to it's pacing. It can be speculated that one of the reasons the film underperformed with audiences on a critical level is how misleading the marketing was aimed towards it, leading audiences to believe that the film was a thriller/horror flick. The film doesn't reveal it's true form of madness into it's second half, but even then it still doesn't come close to qualifying as being a horror flick.


      Its rather unfortunate that Mother's marketing was misleading as those who gave the film a chance and enjoyed it can't help but wonder how audiences would've embraced it if the marketing push for the film was more straight-forward. Mother is not a bad movie and certainly worth watching if you're a fan of the actors in the film or it's brilliant director, it just comes across as being a bit too artsy for the general audience ultimately. The acting by the main cast is stellar particularly Lawrence and Bardem with Aronofsky at the peak of his artistic craft, delivering eye catching visuals as well as beautiful Cinematography, that accompanies all of his films. There are many different ways people can read the film as there are more symbolism to it outside of the obvious observation of the story revolving around a narcissistic man who drains his partners of their love and moves onto the next, younger model. Mother will go down as one of the most controversial movies of 2017 as questions will arise over the films disappointing box office performance as well as the critical slamming it took from audiences with it's F Cinemascore with the critics being much more welcoming towards it. The film is far from being a bad movie but also isn't a great film, it manages to fall somewhere in between but it's the performances of the cast as well as the directors vision that make it worth watching. Mother is a good film, dare one says a pretty solid one, but one wonders what this movie's legacy could've turned out like had it's marketing been more straight-forward.

Final Verdict: SEE IT

Friday, October 20, 2017

IT Is A Stephen Kings Adaptation That Actually Manages To Float

       As the summer of 2017 has drawn to a close, the fall season of 2017 has opened up and off to a great start with the much anticipated and highly satisfying adaptation of Stephen Kings classic book titled IT as well as the 1990 TV miniseries.


      Doing a modern upgrade of the popular miniseries was no easy task as high expectations were placed upon the production from the moment it was announced up until the first trailer released to record breaking views on You Tube. Living up to the miniseries was not as difficult of a task as living up to Tim Curry's iconic performance as Pennywise The Clown. The original miniseries for all intents and purposes, was successful despite not being that great when you look at the film outside of Curry's killer performance. The problem was not that it was an unfaithful adaptation of the classic book, but rather that it was bound to the limitations of it being a television movie. While the original film contained what was a generally creepy atmosphere, it didn't live up to its full potential in terms of scaring its audience. With the newest version of the classic story, the 2017 adaptation is not only creepy to the core, but is scarier in regards to leaving its audience both thrilled and genuinely disturbed by the nature of the story. The synopsis for the newer IT is virtually the same as the original with the main difference being this version of the story focuses on the young group of misfit friends being terrified by a killer demonic clown named Pennywise in the year 1989. Whereas the original miniseries had a running time of three hours and focused on the young group of friends both in their youth and later reuniting as adults to combat Pennywise again, the new IT focuses on the childhood aspect of the story with the adult perspective of the young kids being saved for chapter two that's due in theaters in September 2019. 


      As far as authenticity goes, IT has the look of the original miniseries while feeling like a similar film to Stand By Me, with a horror ring to it. Each scene feels like a page of Stephen Kings book brought to life with great love and care taken with the characters, the story, and setting with the Art-Set Decoration feeling nothing short of absolute perfection. The jump scares are effective and well-staged and the use of Pennywise is very much done in the same form of the shark appearing in Jaws, where he appears to scare the audience momentarily, then reverts back into the shadows to wait for his next moment to terrify the young actors. As far as acting performances go, the young kids playing the main characters are simply amazing, as they bring total believability to their roles as young friends coming together to fight an evil force, while having their relationships being shaped and molded because of it. The best acting out of the group comes from Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben, and Sophia Lillis as Beverly providing a strong trio making both their friendship as well as romantic triangle totally believable and compelling to audiences with Finn Wolfhard and Chosen Jacobs giving strong supporting performances. IT never becomes a question of which child actor delivered the worst acting job as everyone of them played their part to the T and appeared to be having a blast owning their roles.


       With the child actors proving their skills and demonstrating promising acting careers, it all comes down to how Bill Skarsgard did as Pennywise the clown. Living up to the bar that Tim Curry set is no easy task as his performance is considered to be iconic, particularly his opening scene in which he traumatizes young Georgie. Such a terrifying yet brilliantly staged sequence is flawlessly executed in the remake with Skarsgard delivering a chilling performance in that scene with the outcome being more brutal in the theatrical version. With both Skarsgard and Curry's performances, audiences shouldn't compare the two nor say that one performance is better than the other as both actors turn in terrific performances with Skarsgard beating the odds and living up to the characters legacy Curry started. Skarsgard's role isn't as big as Curry's in the miniseries since this version strictly focuses on the perspective of the kids, but the newer version keeps his part limited and only utilizes Pennywise when the moment calls for his presence, making his character creepier when he isn't overexposed. Going into the making of the 2017 version, the movies success relied much on the casting of not just the young childhood actors but also the performance of Pennywise. With Skarsgard, he gives audiences a villain that they both fear and take delight in knowing he will be back with chapter 2.


      What's more impressive than IT actually turning out to be a very good horror movie, lis how big of a box office and cultural phenomenon it's become since it's release. As of the writing of this review, IT 2017 has made 316 million domestically, placing it as one of the biggest R rated movies of all time as well as the biggest horror movie ever made. The films outstanding success has exceeded every expectation placed upon it not just as a box office juggernaut that's become a pop culture phenomenon but also as a horror movie. IT may not be scary to every single person who watches it, but those who don't find it scary can certainly praise it for the amazing acting from the main cast as well as it's high quality production values. IT is a crowd pleasing and well-structured horror movie, that does the utmost justice to the miniseries that came before it while updating it for modern audiences. The new adaptation of IT feels different from typical horror movies as it not only has the creep factor to maximum effect, but its also full of heart thanks to the young actors. IT not only works as a very good horror film mixed with Stand By Me, The Goonies, and Super 8, but it also stands as being one of the best films of the year. The movie is worthy of having Oscar nominaions for Best Screenplay, Best Make up, and Best Art-Set Decoration as the film is not only has an authentic feel to it but literally brings Stephen King's classic book to life. Director Andy Muschietti not only lived up to the challenge of topping the popular TV miniseries, but also managed to stake a claim in the history books with the films record breaking performance. Every so often a film comes along that manages to surprise audiences not just with it's quality, but how it manages to get the audience invested with it's story, IT is one of the rare occurrences where the film lives up to the hype and is every bit as satisfying as audiences expect it to be.

Final Verdict: SEE IT

Blade Runner 2049 Replicates The Awesomeness Of The Original While Surpassing It

The fall of 2017 has officially arrived with October's movie season hoping to get off to a strong start with the release of Denis Villeneuve's ScFi vehicle titled Blade Runner 2049. It's always risky to make a sequel to a film that has 35 years of built up legacy surrounding it, which is no easy task by any means. However despite that challenge and unrealistic expectations surrounding the film, the extremely talented filmmakers behind the much anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott's cult classic Blade Runner managed to pull it off with Blade Runner 2049.

NO SPOILERS
Image result for BLADE RUNNER 2049 MOVIE POSTER
      
      Blade Runner 2049 manages to succeed where many sequels fail, allowing it to join a group of a handful of sequels, that have managed to not only live up to the name of their predecessors, but also stand on their own feet in cinematic history. With 2049, director Denis Villeneuve manages to beat the odds placed upon him by audiences and fans of the first movie, as he took the extremely risky and daunting task of making a sequel to one of the most well respected and innovative science fiction films ever made. While the original Blade Runner was not a box office success nor critically acclaimed upon it's release, it became a cult classic throughout it's run on television along with the releases of the 1992 directors cut and the 2007 Final Cut, that was supervised by Ridley Scott himself. The original Blade Runners story was adapted from a novel written by Philip K. Dick, which centered around a Blade Runner pursuing and trying to terminate four replicants, who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. What makes the storyline for the first Blade Runner strike an emotional chord with audiences, is not the science fiction aspect of it, but the humanity that's presented with the replicants being hunted down and killed with their only crime being their desire of wanting to be human. Not to mention the first Blade Runner film was not just a chase film, but was also a love story between Harrison Ford's character Deckard and Sean Young's character Rachel, making it a more personal tale for audiences with it's human falling for a replicant dynamic. The plot for Blade Runner 2049 picks up thirty years after the events of the first movie with a young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret that leads him to track down former Blade Runner Rick Deckard, whose been in hiding for thirty years.

Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics

      What makes the storyline for the second Blade Runner work so well is how it connects with the first movie in regards to continuing the storyline of Deckard with a new Blade Runner searching for him with questions regarding the past, and how it manages to tell it's own story while bringing audiences back to this incredible world that's visually mesmerizing. The film's visual effects and cinematography are to put it mildly are absolutely stunning, making it feel authentic as if the audience never left that specific universe in the first film. It is no question that the films Art-Set Decoration, Sound, Visual Effects, and Cinematography will all secure much deserved Oscar nominations come awards time, with Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch delivering an electrifying score, that channels much of the energy of the first film as well as similar beats and sounds. Director Denis Villeneuve, who directed last falls sleeper hit The Arrival with Amy Adams which went onto achieving box office success while securing an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, does an even more impressive job here as he pours his heart into delivering what's unquestionably a love letter to the first film, while expanding that universe with this movies tale. Villeneuve demonstrates the same kind of passion for storytelling and high level of energy, that Ridley Scott had when he directed the first film 35 years ago, and shows that there is potential for future stories revolving around the Blade Runner universe that can be told.

Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics

       As far as acting goes, this film is Ryan Gosling's characters show whereas the first one was centered around Harrison Ford's character Deckard. Gosling is very strong here and allows the audience to become invested in his character with Harrison Ford providing a strong presence in the story when he makes his appearance Ana de Armas delivers a strong performance as Gosling's characters love interest with Robin Wright Penn, Jared Leto, and Dave Bautista delivering strong supporting roles. It never becomes a question upon watching the film if there was a performance that wasn't up to par with the others, because everyone on the screen looked and felt like they were very passionate about the story being told, and was giving their all with the amount of screen time they had. If there can be one criticism that can be called out, its the film's questionable running time that far exceeds the length of the first movie which was only 117 minutes compared to the sequels 164 minute running time. On one hand, the story feels like it could've been told with the same amount of time as the first film and not lose it's impact with audiences. On the other its hard to find a scene to take out because every moment in the film is there to further assist the story and drive the development of the characters. Unlike a film such as Peter Jackson's ambitious 2005 King Kong remake that ran 188 minutes and despite being a terrific remake could've had numerous scenes taken out to trim down it's excessive running time, its hard to take scenes out of 2049 because each scene and moment advances the films story rather than feeling unnecessary. Like the first Blade Runner, the sequel is not concerned with rushing things and puts it's story first and foremost over anything else with the technological aspects of both films being used as tools to enhance the richness of the story.

Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics

      In a fall season that's been surprising and shocking audiences in numerous ways from the abnormal box office success of Stephen King's IT to the high quality of that film and others being released, Blade Runner 2049 bodes well as being a wonderful surprise for moviegoers, as well as proving that no sequel with a good story can come too late. Unquestionably one of the best movies of the year, and if the sequel ends up under performing much like its predecessor, it will have a strong legacy with developing a cult following much like the first Blade Runner. The sequel is a grand, epic, and visually stunning experience, that shouldn't be missed on the big screen by any true fan of the first film or those who are looking for a film a strong story and breakthrough technology. The question will most likely always persist of whether Blade Runner actually needed a sequel or not with the answer being that it most certainly didn't as it was great as a standalone Science Fiction classic, but the sequel is here, and it does a very exceptional job of honoring that movies story while bringing the concept to a new generation of audiences, who will discover that film through their love for the sequel. Just because the first movie didn't need a sequel doesn't mean the current one isn't a work of art, both The Terminator and Alien didn't need the second installments that came after those, but they not only managed to exceed expectations but also build upon the mythologies already established much like what 2049 does. Blade Runner 2049 is one of the year's most breakthrough films, deserving much praise as well as starting off what looks to be a strong award season of movies. Few sequels are better than their original counterparts, this one is.
                                                             
 Final Verdict: SEE IT
Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics
Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics
Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics
Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics
Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics
Image result for blade runner 2049 movie pics

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dunkirk Review

Every historical drama or true story being turned into a motion picture requires a filmmaker with maturity and a true command of his craft to bring the real life story to life in the best possible way that'll not only do the story justice, but give the audience the emotional experience that they will end up feeling after the story ends. With Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan gives audiences that experience while further proving that he is a rate filmmaker that has a firm grip on his craft and is only getting warmed up.
Image result for dunkirk movie poster
SPOILER FREE

      Before Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan was making his rounds through Hollywood emerging from being an independent filmmaker with his breakthrough hit Memento to becoming one of the most prominent blockbuster filmmakers in the business with the critically acclaimed The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar. Whereas Memento was the true starting point for Nolan's filmmaking career along with Insomnia, it was The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception that cemented his status as being one of the top filmmakers in the industry. With his films, Nolan is a filmmaker that presents himself as being one that demonstrates a clear passion for storytelling while advancing the technological aspects of filmmaking such as properly utilizing the IMAX format, never shooting in 3D, and going 70MM for Dunkirk to fully capture the size, scope, and spectacle of the story and the action that surrounds it. Being Nolan's first historical War drama, the anticipation for Dunkirk is high as well as the hope that Nolan can deliver a film that not only hits the audience hard emotionally, but can earn recognition from the Oscars come award time. Dunkirk centers around allied soldiers in Belgium being evacuated during a fierce battle in World War ll with the British Empire and France being surrounded by the German Army. With a story that's one of the most pivotal moments of World War ll, the film has an emotional core to it that's established and only needs Nolan to flesh it out for audiences. Here he does just that by establishing several key characters throughout the battle and evacuation that the audience stays focused on and ultimately connected with. While these characters aren't exactly rich in their development, Nolan gives just enough information on who's who so the audience can experience the urgency and intensity of the situation without any unnecessary exposition. With Nolan's expertise in directing along with the films breathtaking cinematography, the audience is put right there at the center of the beaches when the battle and evacuation becomes reality. The films technical aspects such as it's sound effects and brilliant score from Hans Zimmer brings the films intensity home, especially if one watches it in the much preferred IMAX format. The cast all give believable performances with the younger soldiers feeling realistic as the actual ones were young and inexperienced during the actual battle. Fionn Whitehead does an impressive job of playing the main character, conveying the fear his character feels during the battle as well as the desperation and hope for survival in the film. Harry Styles surprises with his strong supporting role as he goes against type exceeding the expectations placed upon him, with Jack Lowden doing a fine job as well. The inclusion of Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy with the supporting cast works effectively as each men deliver strong and likeable performances, while demonstrating their obvious enthusiasm to work with Christopher Nolan again. With the films running time being only 106 minutes, this is Nolan's shortest movie since The Following but every minute is used to advance the story with the movie having a brisk pace. At first my concern going into this film was it's running time feeling a bit shortchanged given that Nolan typically makes films within the 2 to 2.5 hour range, but Dunkirk's running time feels just right for it's story, even though more material would've been greatly welcomed. In terms of the action, it hits audiences like a wave as it rises then calms before doing so again. On a visual scale, this movie leaves a huge impact on the audience as it works more as a visual language rather than being dialogue driven. The moments of emotion that arise are done so in a way that it gives the sense of victory that the Battle of Dunkirk ultimately proved to be, even inspiring Winston Churchill's famous beaches speech. One could not imagine a better filmmaker that could've given this story a more heartfelt and passionate tribute other than Christopher Nolan. Nolan has become one of the rare filmmakers in the world, that has such a critical and financial backing behind him, that he can tell essentially any story he wants and get the full backing of the studio. The film fits under the category of being a War drama, but it fits more under the category of being a survival story about young soldiers who simply want to go home.

      If audiences are looking for a thrill ride that has an inspirational and powerful story about survival behind it then Dunkirk is the film worth checking it. If audiences are looking for extreme violence and gore given that it's a War film, then they should rent Saving Private Ryan or look elsewhere as this film is all about the story with the visuals being used as a tool to heighten the experience. This is the movie Nolan wanted to tell and he does so with passion even if it doesn't top his previous best work in his career. Dunkirk is a prime example that movies can be used for much more than just entertainment, but to remind and inform the audience about the past as well as tell true and inspirational stories about hope. The movie also shows how images can have a deep impact on the audience and help with conveying the emotions of the story to the audience. Nolan essentially takes the War genre and puts his on spin on it, ditching the gore factor that's become standard with War films and gives it brains and strong storytelling. Dunkirk is one of the summers strongest and more thought-provoking films as it's an emotionally charged experience that's both thrilling and shows when the chips are down, there is hope to winning Wars and going home. A story like Dunkirk needed a Captain to properly sail the vessel and give it it's full potential, with Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk found its storyteller who delivers a powerful film and what hopes to be the first of many Oscar nominations for the acclaimed filmmaker.
                                                                                                                                       9 out of 10

Image result for dunkirk movie pics
Image result for dunkirk movie pics
Image result for dunkirk movie pics
Image result for dunkirk movie pics
Image result for dunkirk movie pics
Image result for dunkirk movie pics
Image result for dunkirk movie pics
Image result for dunkirk movie poster

War For The Planet Of The Apes Review

All great trilogies must come to an end, and the rebooted Planet Of The Apes series is no different with the release of this summers War For The Planet Of The Apes.

Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie poster

SPOILER FREE

       Before going into my review of War For The Planet Of The Apes, let me first give a brief recap on my thoughts on the earlier installments in the series. Like many fans, I enjoyed the Charlton Heston original classic and watched all of it's numerous sequels on VHS while growing up. I enjoyed Tim Burton's remake although I found it to be weird and awkward. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was a breath of fresh air for the Planet Of The Apes universe and was a step in the right direction that would lead to bigger and better things. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was bigger, darker, and more intense than Rise as it felt like the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy. With War For The Planet Of The Apes, the trilogy comes full circle while ending it's story arc with a strong emotional chord that makes it the Return Of The King/Return Of The Jedi of the newly rebooted franchise. Three years after the events of the second movie, the story picks up where it left off with Ceasar killing Koba after he initiated a War between the humans and the apes. The humans and apes attempts to coexist proved to be useless thanks to Kobas actions and now the lead ape Ceasar played brilliantly by Andy Serkis, further pushing the envelope with stop motion while opening the debate of whether his style of action can qualify for an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, fights to protect his species from a ruthless and corrupt criminal played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson. War For The Planet Of The Apes essentially feels like like a mixture of the Planet Of The Apes universe combined with Schindler's List and 12 Years A Slave as the film contains a much deeper emotional core than the previous two films along with a powerful message regarding the will to survive and how humanity committing genocide against a sentinet species will not allow the opposite species to survive. The film tackles the conflict of whether it's morally right to imprison and kill off a species that has the ability to communicate with each other and feels emotion. Out of the three Planet Of The Apes films, War is the most powerful as it's main themes regarding prejudice, genocide, survival, and anarchy are beautifully explored and conveyed with such drive and passion behind the story. Woody Harrelsons character feels like Ralph Fiennes from Schindler's List as he expresses no other emotion than intense dislike for the apes. War For The Planet Of The Apes presents a story that's both poignant and powerful with a narrative that has direct parallels to earlier parts of human history where humans mistreated, enslaved, and killed off other humans for their own survival and superiority complex. War takes the series to newer heights while ending it's story on a grand and blockbuster note that compliments all the themes that were well established in the previous film's. Whereas most blockbusters that come out entertain but don't allow the audience to think about its concepts or scenario after the credits roll, War is the rare summer blockbuster that's both genuine and commanding with it's style, presentation, and ultimate message about the wrongs of genocide.

        In the end War For The Planet Of The Apes succeeds where most third movies in trilogies fail in which it not only manages to top the first two installments, but provides a stunning and epic conclusion to a worthy trilogy. The film deserves Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and a Best Actor nomination for Andy Serkis, however because of it's genre and Serkis performance being stop motion effects, the likelihood of any nominations in those major categories is very slim with the odds being it'll secure techmical nominations for sound, visual effects, and the Cinematography which is breathtaking. The snowy atmosphere of the film truly gives the story a Schindler's List type feel as well as emphasizing the mood of the film being a depressing yet emotionally powerful experience. The visual and stop motion effects are at its finest here, and it's amazing to see how much of a progression the character of Ceasar has started since the first movie until now. The moments in the film where Ceasar has visions of Koba and begins to follow a similar behavioral pattern to his old nemesis is deeply compelling as Ceasar is torn between doing the right thing for his people yet feels the rage Koba felt towards humans for how they treated the apes. As far as movie trilogies go, War For The Planet Of The Apes will go down as being one of the best of all time as it set out to successfully reestablish the popular franchise while bringing it's story into modern times while building on it with provocative themes that add weight to it as a summer blockbuster. With the Apes trilogy, director Matt Reeves can be proud of the fact that he not only created a consistent and memorable set of blockbuster movies that makes a great trilogy, but also that it beautifully mirrors human nature with it's themes and character arcs. Rarely has both Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelsen been better than how both are presented here. War For The Planet Of The Apes is a magnificent conclusion to the newer Ape trilogy that will not only please those who are fans of the first two movies, but will make them reflect on the ending of this movie after it's over while feeling the emotion of the climax. For that reason, Reeves and the cast and crew behind War For The Planet Of The Apes deserve a bow.
                                                                                                                                          9 out of 10

Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics
Image result for war for the planet of the apes movie pics

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spiderman Homecoming Review

The hot streak of 2017 in regards to delivering stellar comic book movies with Logan and Wonder Woman continues with Marvel's classy and highly effective reintroduction of the popular web slinger titled Spiderman Homecoming

Image result for spiderman homecoming movie poster

SPOILER FREE

Before going into my thoughts on Homecoming, let me first reflect on the past big screen Spiderman efforts that came and went. Before seeing this movie, I considered the 2002 Sam Raimi film with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst to be the definitive take on the classic web slinger I grew up loving the Fox cartoon of. Raimi's trilogy not only felt like the superior Spiderman films made in comparison to the Amazing Spiderman ones, but they also had something the Amazing Spiderman films were severely lacking in and that's heart. Spiderman 2 remains one of the definitive Superhero movies ever made as it tackles Peter's struggle to balance out his two lives both as Peter Parker and the other as Spiderman. While Spiderman 3 is unquestionably the worst film out of the Raimi series, ending the trilogy with a whimper in many fans eyes, it still works as a somewhat satisfying closure to that trilogy as it completes the Peter Parker and Mary Jane arc. While I did not dislike Marc Webb's darker and more cynical interpretation of the character with his Amazing Spiderman movies, I found them to be reasonably entertaining, but lacking essential things that made Sam Raimis Spiderman films so special with audiences such as them having heart and feeling like they're having fun with the material. Whereas I felt Tobey Maguire was the superior Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield was the better Spiderman. If one takes the two sides and mesh them together, they would have the ideal Peter Parker/Spiderman. When I heard the news that Tom Holland was going to play Spiderman, I wasn't sure what to make of him as I felt there was too many rebooted attempts with the character along with him feeling a bit young for the part despite Peter being of High School age in the comics. That all changed once I saw his brief role in Civil War, which was not only hilarious but spot on with the teenage aspect of Parker's character as well as being refreshing. Having seen what he could do with the character in Civil War, I had more faith in Spiderman Homecoming going into it. Now that I've seen the movie and a few weeks have gone by where I can look back and reflect on it's ups and downs, I can say with both proudness and satisfaction that the ups more than greatly outweigh the downs.

       Spiderman Homecoming is easily the best Spiderman movie since Sam Raimi's 2002 original classic and is the true reboot the series needed since 2007. Everything feels fresh and new with this film as opportunities to further explain Parker's teenage years is opened along with the potential of covering new ground with villains not yet explored in the Spiderman cinematic universe. What makes Homecoming such an exciting and worthy addition to the Spiderman franchise is how it brings back the fun spirit of the character and the energy that Raimi's films possessed, particularly his first two installments. Tom Holland proves to be a terrific successor to Tobey Maguire both as Peter Parker and Spiderman, looking more like a natural High School student compared to Andrew Garfield, who always felt too old for the part. Michael Keaton proves once again that if you cast him in the role of being a villain, he shines in a way that's more surprising to audiences than if he plays a regular good guy. Keaton is great here and gives Vulture an interesting character complex that come switch a shocking yet clever twist involving his character in the middle portion of the story. One of his best acting moments in the movie involve a scene in a car between him and Peter Parker, a fantastic moment that brings out the intensity as well as the brilliance of Keaton's performance. Marisa Tomei does a fine job playing a younger Aunt May than what audiences are originally accustomed to in previous interpretation but her performance remains effective. As far as the supporting cast goes, Jon Favreau shines as Stark's right hand man Happy Hogan as he carries some of the films more humerous moments. Zendaya steals the show as Peter's awkward friend Michelle, and Jacob Batalon as Parker's friend Ned, and Laura Harrier as Peter's love interest Liz. What makes this supporting cast effective is how much they make you care about their characters as well as engaging you in Peter's journey to learn how to be Spiderman without relying on the suit. The supporting cast brings humor and tons of energy to the film with Liz's romance reminding audiences of the romance between Peter Parker and Mary Jane in Sam Raimi's film. On a technical aspect, the special effects are visually impressive along with an effective musical score that's good but not as strong as Danny Elfmans iconic 2002 Spiderman theme. While the overall story structure of the film may feel all too familiar as audiences have already been exposed to two prior origin stories, Homecoming contains a High School saga that audiences become attached to and want to see play out with later films. It also jumps straight into the action by ditching the traditional origin story of Peter Parker becoming Spiderman and covers an arc of s young High School kid trying to juggle two lives with one being a regular High School student with teenage priorities such as falling in love, and the other being a superhero whose trying to realize his worth without needing the suit. One of the most effective scenes in the film that essentially sums up the entire film is when Tony Stark tells Peter Parker that if he really needs the suit in order to be Spiderman then he shouldn't have it. Coming after one of the films biggest set pieces, that line carries the weight of the film on it's shoulders as it presents the heroes struggle to become his own man while desiring to please Tony Stark in hopes of becoming apart of the Avengers team.

         Spiderman Homecoming is a fun and highly entertaining film that's worthy of bearing the Spiderman name, even if the film feels a bit grounded at times within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite the movie making the most of it's limitations within the grand scheme of things, it sometimes relies too much on the Marvel Universe to appease to the fans. Examples are moments where Captain America makes appearances throughout the film in hilarious training videos for Parker's High School. While those moments were hands down hilarious, they felt a bit excessive at times and only really served to remind people of the universe Homecoming is tied down with. Tony Stark's presence in the film is effective and adds to the mentor aspect of the film, despite some of his scenes feeling unnecessary at times and detracting from the overall focus of Parker's arc. It's not the key scenes such as Stark lecturing Parker about the suit that's the problem, it's the smaller moments in between with Stark that are unnecessary (As well as special cameos from those close to Stark). Another issue with the film that I had despite it being very strong is the advanced Spiderman suit that Peter wears throughout the film, even allowing it to talk to him. In hindsight that looks cool on film but as far as it goes with the overall story, it makes the audience question if Peter has any powers at all or is it the suit that allows him to be Spiderman. As far as Homecoming goes, it's perhaps the best Spiderman film since the 2002 movie but if one had to choose between the two films to decide which is the better Spiderman movie, I'd have to go with Sam Raimi's film. My reasons being that Spiderman has a stronger musical score than Homecomings although I did appreciate the Spiderman theme they introduced at the opening of Homecoming, a superior villain although Keaton is awesome he still pales in comparison to William Dafoe as the Green Goblin, the love story between Peter Parker and Mary Jane is more memorable and iconic compared to the relationship between Peter and Liz. However the twist involving Liz's family dynamic later on in the story makes their romance intriguing and the nods to Raimi's earlier film such as the upside down kiss homage during the elevator scene is a nice touch. Despite some of Homecomings issues, the film does an exceptional job of rebooting the character and story for the Marvel universe while managing to be surprising and providing it's own surprise twists for audiences. Whereas one didn't really feel much excitement at the end of Amazing Spiderman, one can't help but be excited and looking forward towards Spidermans future in the Marvel universe with the end of Homecoming and it's big end credits sequence which indicates the plan to assemble the sinister six for the future sequels. The main reason the Spiderman from 2002 is a better film than Homecoming is because it doesn't feel tied down to a universe nor confined to the other movies plots, and is free to be its own origin story with heart, the latter Homecoming more than retains as well as it's energy making it feel a bit refreshing for audiences. Even though the film doesn't surpass the original comic book classic, Spiderman Homecoming is a welcome addition to the Marvel universe, and proves to be the reboot the Spiderman franchise needed.
                                                                                                                    9 out of 10

Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics
Image result for spiderman homecoming movie pics