Monday, July 23, 2018

Incredibles ll Is The Sequel The Summer Needs But Was It Worth The 14-Year Wait

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Entertains But Shows The Series Is Running Out Of ideas

The summer 2018 box office season has hit it's peak with blockbusters such as Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool ll, Incredibles ll, while also surprising with box office flops such as Solo: A Star Wars Story. With June, the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the anticipation was high that it would continue the upward box office trend of the season while delivering a strong sequel to Jurassic World which not only became a huge box office success, but surprised audiences by being a strong sequel and reboot to the iconic dinosaur movie franchise. While no sequel can reach the cinematic heights of the first Jurassic Park film, Jurassic World came the closest to retaining some of the magic of that film while playing off it's nostalgia and introducing a unique scenario to audiences, that questioned what if a park full of dinosaurs was opened to the public and proved to be successful. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hopes to build upon the concept of Jurassic World, but instead feels like a step downward while also feeling like a remake of Steven Spielberg's lackluster sequel to the first film The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

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      The plot for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the events of Jurassic World with the island's active volcano beginning to erupt, forcing the survivors from the first film Owen and Claire played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard to mount a campaign to save the remaining dinosaurs from extinction. On paper, the plot for Fallen Kingdom sounds interesting but the overall execution of the film despite being overall entertaining feels like a live action version of Disney's 2000 forgotten animated classic Dinosaur which also dealt with the plot of dinosaurs fighting to avoid extinction, mixed with what looks and feels like a remake of The Lost World: Jurassic Park with a touch of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes brought into the mix. It's not that Fallen Kingdom is a weak follow-up to the first Jurassic World that surprised audiences largely with it's quality, it's that it doesn't feel like the sequel to that film you would expect. Perhaps it's because Jurassic World much like JJ Abrams The Force Awakens did a very good job of creating a reboot for their franchises that relied heavily on people's nostalgia of the previous films to not only make them remember why they loved Star Wars or Jurassic Park in the first place but also to bring them into the future. Jurassic World wasn't as expertly directed or written as the Spielberg film nor matches it in terms of being innovative and impactful with it's audience, but it honored the legacy that came before it while proving to be an entertaining, thrilling, and visually stimulating popcorn blockbuster. It also helped that it's director Colin Trevorrow is a fan of the series, giving the audience exactly what they wanted to see with the film while finding a way to continue the franchise through a different lense. Despite some of that films flaws, the movie largely succeeded as being the true sequel to Jurassic Park while opening doors for future sequels to explore the aftermath of what's essentially an amusement park gone bad.

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      Directed by J.A Bayona who helmed The Impossible and The Orphanage taking over the directorial reigns from Trevorrow, Fallen Kingdom proves to be a darker and more intense sequel to it's predecessor that poses ethical questions regarding whether dinosaurs should be saved from extinction or left to be doomed as human and dinosaurs are not mean't to co-exist. The first half of Fallen Kingdom proves to be stronger than the second half despite the retreat back to the island gives a strong been there and done that feel to it. The plot for the film feels like The Lost World with the main lead character going back to the island to not save his girlfriend this time but the dinosaurs that inhabit the island from being exterminated with his ex gf being the person that helps him. Much like that film, the subplot involving taking the dinosaurs off the island and bringing them back to the mainland to be poached is nearly identical except Fallen kingdoms plot packs a more powerful punch to it. The movie contains intense and visually breathtaking moments such as the volcano erupting, and the dinosaurs running to escape extinction with our main characters attempting to guide them along the way. One of the films most powerful yet disturbing moments is a sequence involving the Brachiosaurus being left on the island to die from the volcano's eruption that comes full circle with the first Jurassic Park as they were the first dinosaurs the main characters saw on the island with them now being the last ones as the island is destroyed. That sequence is not only symbolic and serves as a sign for the audience saying that the franchise is cutting loose the binds of being connected to the timeline of the previous Jurassic Park films and creating a newer one that embraces the concept of the Jurassic World series in which the dinosaurs will now roam free on the mainland.

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      The second half of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom feels like a horror type monster movie mixed in a Jurassic World film with the dinosaurs being held captive by corrupt scientists with the intentions of being sold on the market. Fallen Kingdom's problem is that it feels like a cut and paste type sequel in which it's story feels scattered with a relatively uneven narrative. Besides the desire to save the dinosaurs from being killed on the island from the volcanic explosion, there is no real reason for the humans to return to the island as the dinosaurs are roaming free and taking control of the park. As Jeff Goldblum's character Ian Malcom brilliantly puts it in his surprise cameo in the film, wouldn't it make more sense to let the dinosaurs remain on the island and let nature run it's course so that the threat of dinosaurs running rampant across mankind doesn't become a reality. As far as performances go, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard deliver strong performances as their characters remain likeable and developed enough for the audience to care about in the sequel while virtually everyone else feeling like cardboard cutouts of previous side characters and villains seen in previous films. The subplot however featuring the clone later revealed in the story proves to be useless and out of place in this films story as it holds virtually no relevance to the situation in the story involving the dinosaurs. Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith deliver likeable performances in supporting roles despite their characters having little to no depth at all with James Cromwell and Rafe Spall churning out serviceable performances with the latter playing a sleazy businessman role that's been done to death in the series. The real shame however is seeing talented actors such as Toby Jones, Ted Levine, and B.D Wong have their talents wasted in what are essentially pointless roles (B.D Wong's character despite getting an unusual upgrade in Jurassic World compared to the first film in terms of screentime is completely wasted here as his character could've made for a terrific villain in the Jurassic Park universe. Instead he rather comes off as being a misguided scientist that's more concerned with breakhroughs rather than seeing the error of his ways. Even that aspect of his character is underdeveloped).

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      As far as technical aspects go, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a visually breathtaking film with impressive sound and special effects that's become custom with any Jurassic Park film (It is especially nice to see that animatronic dinosaurs have made their return here). The cinematography is stunning with the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World's island being destroyed by the volcano delivering some truly beautiful imagery with moments such as the original Jurassic Park jeep flipped over from the first movie when Dr. Grant saved Tim from the tree being shown here destroyed by the volcano hitting hard with the audience in an emotional level. The score by Michael Giacchino feels like a letdown this time around compared to his surprisingly emotional score from the previous film that carried with it a mixture of a homage to John Williams work in the first Jurassic Park while creating Jurassic World's new theme. While today's visual effects are more advanced than they were when the first Jurassic Park movie premiered, nothing can ever touch the inventiveness and shock the first carried when audiences first laid eyes on the Brachiosaurus, the Triceratops, The T-Rex, and the Velociraptors.

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      Overall Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not a terrible film nor the worst Jurassic Park movie ever made (That honor goes to The Lost World: Jurassic Park as Spielberg has reportedly stated that he became bored with the film through production), it also doesn't live up to the cinematic heights of Jurassic Park nor the sheer popcorn entertainment quality that Jurassic World provided audiences. There will never be a Jurassic Park sequel that reaches the heights of the original but one certainly feels that the filmmakers behind Fallen Kingdom certainly could've worked harder to provide a more satisfactory sequel to the previous film, which surprised in being a solid reboot for the franchise. One of the questions that Jurassic World left open was where could the story go now that the dinosaurs have taken over Jurassic World and drove the humans off the island. If Fallen Kingdom's storyline was any indication, perhaps it's best that the resurrection of the franchise ends with the next chapter, hopefully with a much stronger script. The films climax while impressive that the writers took the franchise to newer heights with that twist feels like an attempt to channel the successful modern Planet Of The Apes trilogy with Blue feeling like a dinosaur type Ceasar. While the films ending certainly leaves the audience feeling a tad optimistic about the next film, the real shame is that this sequel could've been more epic but instead feels like one last attempt to cash in on the whole lets go back to the island subplot for no other reason than to generate a few genuine thrills before moving the franchise into a different direction. While that direction is certainly one that will leave people curious as to where the story goes from here now that the dinosaurs are off the island, one hopes that the third and what will most likely be the final chapter in the Jurassic World trilogy is more creative and thought-out than this film. Fallen Kingdom serves as being a resonably entertaining popcorn thriller but as a sequel to Jurassic World, it falls short of it's full potential. If you're a fan of the Jurassic Park franchise, see it once in theaters then retreat back to the original film. You're honestly not missing much if you choose to wait for redbox. It doesn't hold the same kind of impact that Jurassic World had when you watch it.

P.S, The new hybrid dinosaur is cool but he is shown so little in the films second half that he doesn't have enough time to really leave an impact on the audience. It's great to see the original T-Rex again even if he feels underused in this one as well.

                                                                                                     VERDICT : See It

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Image result for jurassic world fallen kingdom movie pics
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Red Sparrow Disappoints As A Spy Thriller But Jennifer Lawrence Saves It

      When the foundations of a film nor storyline crumble, sometimes all it takes is for a strong actor or actress to elevate the film to the point of it being watchable despite the films glaring flaws. With Red Sparrow, the overall film itself isn't a great one by any means but Jennifer Lawrence delivers a strong performance that allows her to carry the rest of the film on her shoulders. Red Sparrow as a film is not terrible by any means but it's also nothing special (Or at least not as good as it could've been). Red Sparrow desires to be a smart and sexy Spy thriller but instead feels like a convulted storyline with rather thin characters with the exception of Lawrence, who flat out saves the movie from being a total letdown. It is because of her and her alone that Red Sparrow is worth watching but nothing more.

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      Red Sparrow for the most part is entertaining despite feeling slow-paced with it's story but the strong performances of Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton make it something rather likeable. Red Sparrow's tone, story, and sexuality makes it feel like a thriller that Paul Verhoeven would've made back in his prime as a director. Red Sparrow feels similar to Verhoeven's Dutch Spy Thriller titled Black Book with that film also having a strong female character in the story, utilizing their sexuality as a tool to gain intel. Red Sparrow centers its plot around Ballerine Dominika Egorova being recruited to a Russian intelligence service titled Sparrow School, where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission however which is the targeting of a C.I.A agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations. Based on a bestselling book, Red Sparrow has all the makings of a great Spy Thriller from strong source material to a talented Oscar nominated actress playing the lead role. What the film lacks is steam to make what's already an intriguing story more compelling and exciting, but Lawrence's performance makes it an entertaining ride. She portrays a strong, smart, and likeable character whose more than up to the challenge the story presents her character with. Lawrence proves to be the perfect choice for the part with Edgerton delivering a strong performance as the American C.I.A agent being targeted but isn't easily swayed.

      On a technical note, Red Sparrow delivers strong Cinematography, Art-Set Decoration, and Music making the film appealing visually (No i'm not referring to Jennifer Lawrence). The films pacing is slow particularly in the films middle section, making the rest of the story feel rather uneven. The films main message says that the Cold War continues into the 21st century, and that no one can be trusted especially in the profession Lawrences character is forced against her will to commit to. Sparrow gives the idea that no one can be trusted which is further driven through the eyes of Lawrence's character.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

1517 To Paris Is Well-Intentioned But Ultimately Proves To Be A Massive Misfire

      Every great filmmaker makes a film that despite their noblest efforts to make it succeed just doesn't end up doing well for various reasons or ends up succeeding just enough to shake off the flop label but still manages to pale in comparison to the rest of their work. For director Clint Eastwood, 1517 To Paris unfortunately proves to be not just a major cinematic disappointment from the filmmaker, whose been on a roll in regards to making stellar movies since 2003's Mystic River with few missteps, but also raises the question of whether the legendary actor and director has hit his peak with delivering stellar projects and should consider retiring from directing. What should've easily been one of the years first real award season contender turns out to be the first major disappointment as the name behind the directors chair and the story should've been a sure bet to be a success with audiences. What killed the movie audiences may find themselves asking: Clumsy storytelling and replacing actors with the real people in the roles that somehow removes the realism and make it feel staged.

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      For those coming to this realization upon watching the new Eastwood directed biopic, the results are surprising but not so much as Clint has churned out a number of gems over the past decade such as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags Of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima, Changeling, Gran Tarino, Invictus, American Sniper, and Sully while also having his share of misfires such as Hereafter, J Edgar, and Jersey Boys. With 1517 To Paris, Eastwood tries to be ambitious with his efforts to honor the real heroes of his story but those efforts are undermined by an unfocused narrative and a poor decision to cast the real life heroes in the roles of playing themselves in the film without any prior acting experience with the obvious showing in the final product. The story for 1517 To Paris focuses on a pair of three American Marines discovering a terrorist plot on a Paris-bound train. It is not a question of whether the actual true story is captivating enough to be put on film (It is), however Eastwood's decision to stray away from the actual events on the train and give the audience endless flashbacks of how the three young boys met in school or their struggles growing up takes away from the central focus on the film, making it less exciting and ultimately boring which with a story like this one should never end up being the case.

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      The biggest problem with the film is the fact that it doesn't feel spontaneous or real but comes across as being staged. This can be attributed to the fact that Eastwood decided to make a bold decision by casting the actual persons in the story to play themselves. Watching the movie, one can clearly see what Eastwood is trying to do in regards to placing the real people in the story as he wanted it to feel genuine for the audience and recapture the same kind of emotions during the train sequences, but instead of doing just that the opposite effect happens here where it feels like everything is staged rather than drawing the audience into the moment. This method of bringing realism to the story has proven in the past to be a dicey move as the results have either been very successful such as Paul Greengrass 2006 drama United 93 utilized real Air Traffic Control employees to act in the film to reenact the tension and confusion of what happened that day with the end result being the film ended up becoming one of the most critically adored films of that year. The second movie that attempted to utilize this strategy and ended up failing was 2012's Act Of Valor placing real Navy SEALS in the roles with the end result being the film received largely negative reviews despite being well-intentions. 

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      It is not a question that Eastwood wishes to honor the heroes behind the films story, but he also fails to understand the difference between his previous directorial film Sully proving to be a hit with audiences while 1517 To Paris failing to leave the same impact. Sully was a success because of Eastwood's craftsmanship as a director joining forces with Tom Hanks phenomenal acting as well as Aaron Eckhart. Eastwood and Hanks drew the audience back to the day in question and made them believe they were on the plane when it landed in the Hudson. With 1517 To Paris, the audience never gets the feeling that they are on the train with the three young men. The film also suffers from an uneven narrative as the film detours from it's main storyline to show the developing friendship of the three young heroes Alex Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone. While there's nothing wrong with wanting the audience to become acquainted with our main characters and get a feel for who they are, the moments on the train are compelling but end up becoming too few in between the rest of the movie that has a lot of unnecessary exposition and build up. One wonders if the film would've been more powerful if Eastwood focused the story moreso on the train and let the event unfold with the audience getting to know the characters on the train.

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      1517 To Paris despite being a huge cinematic letdown and disappointment was made with intentions no less than honoring whats unquestionably a true act of heroism. By casting the real life heroes in the film. Eastwood's clear intentions were to reach for the stars but also by doing so he fell far below the full potential the story carries. The film lacks true momentum in terms of building suspense and is poorly written rather than being set-up for the main characters to relive their trauma on the train as well as a moment of selfless heroism. The tragedy is not that the film itself is bad, it's that it was placed in the hands of a more than capable filmmaker, and somehow the movie feels like a wasted opportunity rather than leaving an impact upon audiences the way Eastwood's most recent films American Sniper and Sully did. The sequences on the train are truly compelling to watch and give audiences a small glimpse of the film they could've had if the script placed more emphasis on the moment rather than giving us tons of unnecessary background information on the three heroes (Did anyone really need to see their trip in Paris up to them getting on the train, it wasn't needed). Eastwood doesn't show us the motive behind the attempted terrorist attack on the train nor do we see the terrorists perspective unlike Paul Greengrass United 93 which gave an extremely well-balanced viewpoint of both sides behind the story. As a huge Clint Eastwood fan both as an actor and director, 1517 To Paris proves to be a creative failure for the filmmaker. and makes one question if he's losing the momentum that he's been riding since 2003. Audiences will have to wait and see how Eastwood's next film turns out to determine whether he's declining in quality, but as for now, 1517 To Paris will go down as being one of the most forgettable misfires of 2018 which is a shame because this story could've been so much more.

                                                                                                                 Final Verdict: SKIP IT

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story Is A Fun Yet Flawed Space Aventure

      With the releases of Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2, the 2018 box office summer movie season has gotten off to a promising start with the first two big releases meeting expectations and exceeding them. With the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, a big question mark loomed over it's box office and critical prospects as the film experienced a deeply troubled production with the films original directors being fired by Disney due to creative differences and ultimately being replaced by Oscar Winning filmmaker Ron Howard, best known for his wide variety of works ranging from Splash to Cocoon, Willow, Far And Away, Backdraft Apollo 13, Ransom, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Beautiful Mind, The Davinci Code, Angels And Demons, Frost And Nixon, In The Heart Of The Sea, and Cinderella Man. With a resume like Howards, the producers of Solo were banking on the fact that he can reshoot the film while bringing the final product up to the standard the studio was hoping for. There's no denying that the films misfortune during it's production led to the film receiving a great deal of bad publicity before it's release. While the film has received a generally positive reception, that's in some cases more favorable than the reception Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi received 5 months prior, Solo has suffered largely at the box office due to the polarizing reception that film unleashed with the Star Wars fanbase becoming more divided than ever. The question that hovers over the Star Wars franchise, is whether franchise fatigue has kicked in or whether the film suffered due to the fact that someone else is playing the part of Harrison Ford or perhaps it's just that so many people dislike the previous Star Wars film before it. While all reasons listed above play their significant parts in the film underperforming at the box office, the actual movie itself is much better than the reputation that it's unfortunately stamped with.

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      Solo: A Star Wars Story is not a perfect film by any means, but Ron Howard managed to salvage it as best as he could to deliver a space adventure, that's pure fun and thrills while not going too deep into it's story. The film was made with one specific purpose which is to entertain and satisfy fans of the franchise, while doing justice to it's iconic antihero turned hero, who largely thanks to the performance of Harrison Ford, sits as being one of the greatest characters turned heroes in movie history. Recasting the part of Han Solo with a younger actor to play the role famously played by Harrison Ford previously always proved to be a dicey move, as many fans were simply not willing to accept anyone else in the part regardless of how strong of an actor they are or how uncanny the physical appearance came across. The casting of Alden Ehrenreich proved to be a controversial one among hardcore Star Wars fans, as it was reported during production that his performance was so lackluster that an acting coach was required to help him deliver his lines (Why someone didn't make the same suggestion for Hayden Christensen for the Star Wars prequels is beyond me?). Surprisingly enough, Alden turns in a reasonably satisfying performance as a younger and less confident Han, whose still learning the ways of becoming a professional smuggler while showing traits of the Han fans later come to love in the original Star Wars trilogy. Alden doesn't come close to Harrison Ford's impeccable performance as the latter was born to play the part, but he does a good job of making the role his own while honoring the legacy of the character. The audience still cares about this character and will be happy to learn that his legacy is not tarnished nor destroyed here.

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      The plot for Solo takes the universe ten years before the events of A New Hope with a young Han Solo meeting a younger Chewbacca and Lando, and first coming across the Millenium Falcon. Solo shows younger Han joining a gang of galactic smugglers years before he joins the rebellion. While Ron Howard and the writing team behind Solo deserve points for trying to add more backstory to the legecy of Han Solo to show audiences where he came from and how he ended up with the rebellion, the overall story proves to be a tad dry at times and unexciting. The film is lacking in a true villain which makes Solo's storyline seem less engaging outside of it going through the motions of feeling like a generic space adventure at times, blending Guardians Of The Galaxy with A New Hope. Despite the story feeling rather weak this time around, the film is elevated by the performances of the cast and the intriguing characters both new and familiar. The films key moments come when Han has his fateful meetings with Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, encountering the Millenium Falcon, and ultimately winning the Falcon from Lando in an intense card match. These moments were hinted before in the original trilogy, but seeing them on the big screen for the first time makes the experience of watching Solo a rewarding one. For example, Hans scene where he meets Chewbacca for the first time is both clever and well-staged thanks to Howards directing as well as the performances of the two actors.

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      As far as acting performances go, Alden proves to be the ideal pick for Han Solo despite the fact that it's near impossible to look at that character and not picture Harrison Ford in the part. One suspects that's a big reason for the film underperforming as that would be like Hollywood remaking Casablanca and choosing to recast Humprey Bogart's character with someone else along with Ingrid Bergmans with the irony being no one can replace nor surpass them. Ehrenreich deserves major props for stepping into such a huge role and doing his best to honor that legacy while leaving his own stamp on the character. Contrary to what the rumors said about his performance during production, Alden does a solid job despite the fact that he doesn't come close to matching Harrison Ford's charisma in playing the part. The actor who does a great job of imitating the original actor playing his character is Donald Glover in a scene stealing performance that does the utmost justice to both Lando Calrissian and Billy Dee Williams work. Glover shines through the material and steals every scene he's in while working off Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelsen and Emilia Clarke deliver strong supporting roles with Harrelsen playing the mentor type role for young Han Solo, and Emilia Clarke doing a fine job playing Han's first true love, a smuggler herself, before meeting Princess Leia.

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      As far as the films technical aspects go, the score by John Powell does a serviceable job of trying to bring the familiar tone of John Williams score to the new story with familiar ques settling in some of the films most thrilling moments such as the Millenium Falcon making the Kessell Run in less than 12 parsecs intercutting with music from both the Tie Fighter chase in A New Hope as well as the Asteroid run in The Empire Strikes Back. The films costume cesign and art-set decoration does a fine job of keeping consistency of the 70's look A New Hope gave off with it's sets and costumes. The films cinematography on the other hand feels inconsistent and is the weakest of the camera work presented in the Disney era of Star Wars films. Perhaps that could be attributed to the fact that the film had multiple directors juggling it and reshoots were conducted, but the end result shows the cinematography doesn't feel as impressive as other installments despite keeping the audience believing their witnessing a wild space adventure. The films visuals and sound effects once again shine with the use of actual practical effects and backgrounds being more effective and realistic than making everything CGI like the Star Wars prequels. The technical aspects of a Star Wars film never disappoints and Solo: A Star Wars Story proves to be no exception.

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      Solo: A Star Wars Story is a light, enjoyable, and exciting space adventure, that will generally please the majority of fans willing to give it a chance. If one can look past the fact that someone else is playing a younger Han Solo other than Harrison Ford and that the movie does the best job it can at being a solid yet somewhat dry origin story of an iconic hero in film, then they'll have a reasonably good time watching it. It's not the best Star Wars movie forsure but for those who found great disappointment in The Last Jedi, Solo might be the medicine they need to move past the disappointment of that film while feeling good again about the Galaxy far far away. Solo: A Star Wars Story is not a perfect film by any means as it's script lacks depth, but the characters and the performances are enough for the audience to become invested in the story while having a fun experience in the cinema for two hours. Solo defies the odds of what Star Wars fans initially expected it to be going in, and is deserving of being a much bigger box office hit rather than going down as the first official box office bomb in the Star Wars franchise. One strongly suspects that the lack of Harrison Ford, the unwarranted origin story of Han Solo, and the polarizing reception to The Last Jedi had much to play with the film failing financially, but the fans that remain open-minded will discover that the movie is actually a decent entry in the universe. As the second non episode in the series, it's a step above Rogue One as it feels more energetic and less stiff. One of the Summers most underappreciated films.

                                                                                                              Final Verdict: SEE IT

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Image result for solo a star wars story pics
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Image result for solo a star wars story pics

Deadpool 2 is One Of The Rare Superhero Sequels That Outshines The Original

      The 2018 summer box office movie season has begun with Avengers: Infinity War making it's splash at the box office and conquering the first weekends of May. With Deadpool 2, the hope is that Infinity War will not only hand off the box office crown to Deadpool 2, but also that the sequel to the 2016 smash hit is not only as good as the first film but surpasses it while making a bigger splash with audiences. Now that Deadpool 2 has been released, the verdict is that the much anticipated sequel to the original is not only more action-packed and funnier than the first film, but surpasses it overall in terms of quality.


       Deadpool 2 is one of the rare comic book movie sequels, that outshines the original in nearly every aspect from action to storytelling. This time the budget is much bigger allowing for more creative freedom and a bigger scope for the filmmakers to play with. The storyline for Deadpool 2 takes place after the events of the first film with the main character bringing together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy, possessing supernatural abilities, from the brutal time-traveling cyborg named Cable. Deadpool 2 feels like a combination of the first Deadpool mixed with the plot for Terminator 2: Judgment Day with a touch of X-Men: Days Of Future Past at the end, making for a helluva blockbuster ride. With Deadpool 2, Ryan Reynolds reprises the role he was born for and proves to be as equally engaging in this film as he was in the original. While the first Deadpool movie contained a much smaller budget, the story was more grounded allowing for the main character to be established as well as his romance with his one true love played by Morena Baccarin. Audiences fell in love with the character because unlike most comic book movies which are usually rated PG-13, Deadpool was obnoxious, uncensored, clever, and played like a satire of the comic book genre with Reynolds boasting undeniable charm in the role. His performance was so well received that the Golden Globe Awards nominated him for Best Actor in Musical or Comedy with the film ultimately receiving a Best Motion Picture nomination. Whereas many films flopped or disappointed at the box office in 2016, Deadpool proved to be one of the great yet unusual success stories of that year. Fast-Forward two years later to Deadpool 2.


      Deadpool 2 follows much of the formula that made the first film such a smash hit with the sequel getting an upgrade in the spectacle category. Taking over the directorial duties from newcomer Tim Miller, who helmed the first film, Deadpool 2 director David Leitch directs the sequel with the film having a similar look and feel that makes it feel like a true part 2 to the first film while delivering more explosions and special effects to go with the films mayhem. Despite the first movie being rightfully character-driven and story-based, the second film feels more personal than the previous despite the budget and scope being bigger this time. Reynolds carries the film on his shoulder once again with his charismatic performance with Josh Brolin defying fan expectations by turning in an effective performance as Cable. Much like the first film, Deadpool 2 is bold and unapologetic in his humor and lack of censorship, but it serves to stay true to the nature of the character.


      Whereas Robert Downey Jr. has proven to be the perfect choice to play the part of Iron Man in the Marvel Universe, Reynolds delivers the same impact with both movies demonstrating that he was the perfect choice for the role from the start, going as far as course correcting the awful Deadpool shown in the 2009 Wolverine: Origins film. As far as experiences go, Deadpool 2 proves to be a highly entertaining yet bombastic experience that builds upon what was established previously in the first film. Deadpool and Deadpool 2 are the equivalent of Bryan Singer's X-Men and X2: X-Men United with the first film being small in scope but does a strong job of establishing the story and characters with the sequel being bigger in almost every aspect. For audiences, the thrill is watching this character starting as being an antihero that answers to no one, but finds himself performing noble deeds that show deep down within all the potty-mouth antics, there's moments where Deadpools actions can be deemed to be that of a superhero.


      With endless amounts of laughs, pop culture references, and an upgrade in the characters and explosions, Deadpool 2 is the popcorn summer blockbuster entertainment, that adult comic book fans have been waiting for and desire to watch. In an era where comic book movies have dominated the box office while being more family-themed with their PG-13 ratings, it's refreshing to see an R rated comic book franchise meet the audience thirst for relentless commentary that's both clever, witty, and plays off the audiences knowledge of other movies and iconic characters. The Deadpool franchise was never intended to be aimed for kids and their successes show that there's an audience out there, that wants to see more adult-themed comic book characters on the big screen (Deadpool's success has helped speed up the development of rebooting Spawn). The film is fast-paced with the editing feeling as if the audience rarely has time to catch their breath with the mayhem unfolding on the big screen.


       Deadpool 2 is one of the rare sequels that successfully manages to meet the standards and expectations set forth by it's predecessor, while building upon that film's universe. Despite the film being bigger in scope, the story manages to feel just as personal or more than the original with Reynolds having much more creative freedom this time. His participation in this films production is evidenced by his name now appearing in the writing credits. Much like the first Deadpool, Deadpool 2 is not for everyone and should be seen strictly by those who love this character and thoroughly enjoyed the first film. If you're one of those who didn't find the first movie to be that great or overhyped, then this one could possibly win you over. One of the stronger films of 2018 thus far.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                     FINAL VERDICT: SEE IT

    
     
    
     
     
    



Friday, June 8, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Is Marvel's The Empire Strikes Back

       The summer movie season begins with the much anticipated third installment in the popular Marvel universe titled Avengers: Infinity War. Making the 10th anniversary of Marvel's beginning as a cinematic universe with the release of Jon Favreau's Iron Man, the universe has grown over the course of a decade spawning endless comic book origin story film's and television shows.The first Avengers film not only stands as being one of the best superhero movies of all time largely due to it's ensemble cast of iconic characters, but also for it's dynamic chemistry as well as it's rich development of characters. For many fans, the first Avengers was a dream come true for comic book nerds and was the start of a grand trilogy of films in which the heroes joined together at the end of each phase. Avengers: Age Of Ultron wasn't as good of a sequel to the first Avengers movie nor did it make as big of a splash with audiences, but it still provided the thrills and promise that the iconic Marvel characters would all join together again to combat a new threat. Fast forward three years later with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, expectations as well as anticipation for the new installment is high with the stakes being raised with the presence of a newer and more powerful enemy Thanos, brilliantly played by Deadpool ll's Josh Brolin. With many fans finding disappointment with the last entry in the Avengers franchise, Infinity War successfully manages to make up for that films shortcomings with a much darker story that can best be summed up as Marvels The Empire Strikes Back with a helluva climax, that will be talked about and discussed until the next installment releases next May.



      
   Marvel's Infinity War is not just an improvement over Age Of Ultron, the film completely blows it out of the water and stands with the first Avengers as being one of the finest superhero films ever made. The storyline for the third Avengers film centers around the Avengers and their allies being forced to take on their greatest threat yet with the powerful space enemy Thanos with the team realizing that they must be willing to go as far as sacrificing themselves in order to defeat him before his sudden reign of devastation and ruins wipes out the universe. Infinity War is a popcorn blockbuster, that lives up to it's name in delivering relentless action and excitement while managing to completely surprise and shock it's audience. While it's true that the film doesn't have enough time to flesh out every single character in the film thoroughly, but given the scope of the story and the movies ambitious running time, it does a damn fine job of juggling them all together. The stakes are much higher in this film and the threat is more lethal to both mankind and the Avengers team with the films opening sequence despite being brutal, sets a different kind of tone for the film in comparison to the other Avengers movies where there was always hope hinted throughout the story. With this installment, hope is thrown out the window with the knowledge introduced that anything can happen in this film. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Infinity War retains the freshness of the first Avengers film while being more witty with it's characters. Despite Josh Whedon's noble efforts with Age Of Ultron, one could feel the filmmaker was tired and the film not being as fresh nor as innovative as the first movie. The Russo brothers prove to be fine replacements in the directors chair as they manage to engage the audience and keep them invested in the characters and story. What helps the film significantly is the presence of it's main antagonist who appears to be larger than life as well as being the gravest threat the Avengers team has faced yet.

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      As far as the acting performances go, Infinity War shines not just because of it's technological aspects, but also because of it's remarkable cast of actors that bring believability to their roles as well as surprising yet effective moments of emotion (Cough Tom Holland as Spiderman Cough). Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans both shine in their roles as Iron Man and Captain America, both proving beyond a reasonable doubt that each man is born for the role and simply irreplacable. It will surely be a sad day for Marvel fans when the time comes for both actors to retire from their roles. Chris Hemsworth is fantastic as Thor with Mark Ruffalo poving to be the true Hulk. Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Paul Bettany, and Anthony Mackie all delivering terrific supporting performances with the limited time they all share. The films main scene stealing performance however goes to Josh Brolin as Thanos, commanding the screen whenever he appears as well as being one of the most powerful and indestructible villains to grace the big screen since the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. With Thanos, there is a feeling that all hope is lost in trying to defeat him as he feels too powerful for the Avengers to take head on, With the weight of the cast on the films shoulders, the script and story had to be up to par to deliver the spectacle the audience is anticipating. Thankfully the script manages to tie all the character subplots and general plotline together without losing focus of the main narrative that this story isn't so much about winning but is more so about defeat, failure, and even death.

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      On the films technical aspects, this is the most visually stunning Avengers film thus far. The visual effects are impressive as usual as Marvel movies are heavily dependent upon special effects. The cinematography and sound effects are top notch with the films editing proving to be fast-paced for a two and a half hour film. As far as summer blockbusters go, this is probably the fastest two and a half hour comic book movie since The Dark Knight where the action and sequence of events are so consistent that there isn't enough time in between for the audience to relax too long before the Avengers find themselves in another intense scenario. The films Art-Set Decoration and Costume Design are stunning with the epic climactic battle being nothing short of pure spectacle that shouldn't be missed on the big screen. Avengers: Infinity War is not just the most impressive Avengers film on a technical note, its also one of the most visually striking superhero movies ever made as well as blockbuster. The film is worthy of both visual and sound effects at next years Academy Awards, though if Black Panther beats it in both those categories, that's perfectly fine.

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      Infinity War is a dark superhero film and summer blockbuster, that's not to be taken lightly as the film centers around themes such as genocide, overpopulation, failure, revenge, vengeance, sacrifice, and reality.  The message behind the film says that great power, and the pursuit of even greater power, doesn't come with great responsibility or a medium of both sanity and empathy. Infinity War is a film that's epic in story, spectacle, and themes. The film is not only a tremendous improvement over the previous Avengers film, but shows a darker side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe than what fans are accustomed to. The movie is sure to divide some fans over it's controversial moments such as the films shocking climax, but one cannot denounce without giving credit to the Russo brothers as well as Marvel for having the guts to go as far as they did with the story as well as providing the ending they did. Much like Empire Strikes Back, Infinity War is a bridge to the next film which will be the finale to the first four phases of the Marvel universe. Like that movie, the movie ends on a downer note that's both powerful and badass with hope being ,lost but the excitement to see what comes next slowly builds up after audiences exit the theater. While not every Marvel fan will agree with the decisions made in Infinity War, the movie stands proudly as being one of the finest comic book movies ever made as well as being one of the best summer blockbuster for it's ambitious nature and fearless approach to telling it's story. Not every comic book movie needs to have a happy ending and here, the ending is perfect as it blows the audience away while leaves them wanting more. Despite Black Panther being a stronger film in regards to story, Infinity War is bigger and more exciting. It's a must see film as the anticipation for Avengers 4 slowly begins to build up for next year.

                                                                                                                Final Verdict: SEE IT

Image result for infinity war movie pics
Image result for infinity war movie pics
Image result for infinity war movie pics
Image result for infinity war movie pics
Image result for infinity war movie pics
Image result for infinity war movie pics