“If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail, fail again,” has become an apt description for Warner Bros.’ repeated attempts to duplicate Marvel’s multi-billion dollar exercise in multi-media branding, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Stubbornly clinging to a “grimmer and bleaker is better” credo courtesy of Frank Miller acolyte Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Sucker Punch, Watchmen, 300), Warner Bros. managed to turned the Big Blue Boy Scout, a.k.a. Superman/Clark Kent, into a monosyllabic, fragile, conflicted brooder and the Caped Crusader, a.k.a. Batman/Bruce Wayne, into an ultra-violent, paranoid, amoral sociopath. Not surprisingly, moviegoers rejected – or to temporarily sidestep hyperbole, yawned indifferently – when Snyder’s bloated, nonsensical Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice arrived in multiplexes just four months ago. By then, however, it was too late for the DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU). With Wonder Woman almost completed and Justice League nearing the mid-point production wise (both are set to be released next year), the DCCU and the Snyderverse have become – for better or for worse – synonymous (the latter more than the former).
NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS CHARACTER BASED SPOILERS (more…)
What was The Bourne Legacy about? I can’t remember. I know that this was in the midst of the Jeremy Renner Revolution where if you had an aging franchise, you get Jeremy Renner to add some new blood. Between Avengers adventures he was supposed to take over for Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible, and he was supposed to fill the shoes of Matt Damon in the Bourne movies. So much for both those ideas. With Jason Bourne, not only does Damon return to the franchise that made him an action star, but along for the ride is director Paul Greengrass, and together they were supposed to get this franchise back on the right track. Oh well. (more…)
In a world of ever-increasing superhero movies, there are times where the film will not jive 100% with the source material, especially with live action adaptations. As great as our film-making technology has gotten, this is still the world of the fantastical. At times, the films are slated to be more in “the real world” or at least toned down a little. Sometimes the story-line doesn’t mesh 100% completely with what was within the comic. Take, for example, Captain America: Civil War, due to corporate reasons and film rights issues, not every character could be in the film adaptation of that comic book crossover event. However, the film adaptation uses the “less is more” approach and made one hell of a film that ended up, arguably, better than the source material. Batman v Superman also took liberties with the story-lines it borrowed from to try and make a complete film. That’s just how it goes with adapting and transferring a story from one medium to another.
In animation, there are even more liberties that can be taken in regards to adapting a comic book. For one, the animation visually looks similar to the comic book, as even casual fans find it easier. Instead of comics that are read from page to page, they are viewed in animation form and it’s easier on the eyes. Also with animation, the studios have been doing it for a longer time and thus have more experience in this form of storytelling. We’ve only had “really good” superhero films for the better part of the last decade, while we’ve had really good animation for much longer. Simply put, the studios are better at doing it in animation form. No one has had more practice (and success) than the DC Universe Animated Original Movies. They simply know their source material and have done a stellar job in their direct-to-video films surrounding DC Comics properties. With more than 28 films under their belt, they have gotten very good at what they do.
Which is why their latest adaptation, Batman: The Killing Joke is such a letdown. (more…)
Let’s pretend Star Trek Into Darkness didn’t happen. That seemed to the opinion of fans going into Star Trek Beyond, but more than that, it seems to be the inherent approach of Justin Lin and his team in making Beyond. In time for Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, Beyond, this movie takes the template developed by J.J. Abrams in his two movies, keeps the cast and high tech production values, and creates a story that builds on those films and infuses them with the heart and heritage of Gene Roddenberry‘s “Wagon Train to the Stars.” In essence, this may be the most Star Trek Star Trek film we’ve seen in some time. (more…)
In a year full of highly anticipated movies that fall short of fulfilling expectations, it’s kind of refreshing to see a movie clear the bar even if that bar was set rather low. Yes, it’s hard to think of a movie more besieged than Paul Feig‘s Ghostbusters, a cynically-made but rather harmless reboot of the classic 1984 comedy. It’s a movie that went from “that’s a bad idea” to “we must smother it till it dies gasping” in the minds of a lot of terribly vicious internet trolls, and like all internet overreactions, the truth is, when you see the finished movie, you realize that a whole lot of time and energy’s been wasted because this Ghostbusters isn’t all that bad. Actually, I rather enjoyed it. (more…)
At last, our long national nightmare is over, we now get to see if Ghostbusters is terrible or good. Next weekend we will finally get to see the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot directed by Paul Feig starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Boy, has this film had its (un)fair share of criticism. For the most part, people just did not like the idea of a reboot of such a classic original film, but they also did not like that it was a completely all female-led film as well. Everything from the trailers to the theme song, have been universally disliked. The film has already been screened by critics and with the embargo being dropped today, the reviews are starting to come in. Is this the giant turd some are secretly wishing it to be? Will it shut up the haters and show that girls can be Ghostbusters too?
Sure to supplant Finding Dory atop the box office, The Secret Life of Pets is a worthy and enjoyable successor to share the rotating crown of family favourites that have overtaken the multiplex as of late. Talking animals seem to be all the rage this year whether its the anthropomorphized metropolis in Zootopia, the various characters from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, or the fish and fellow sea creatures of Dory, the domesticated animals of Pets manage to fit easily into the trend with great humour and energy. Plus, it’s got tremendous voice talent who create a cast of characters that will surely become beloved by young fans everywhere. (more…)
Cirque Du Soleil is a long standing world-wide brand known for artistic entertainment with a variety of circus-esque shows featuring feats of human acrobatics, captivating performances, and curious imagery. No Cirque show is the same, nor have they never not been amazing. It can be said, however, that the sheer volume of shows over the years (a record 35 shows since 1984) has over exposed the brand to the point that reception has, to some, diminished. Acts/performances that were once new and astonishing have become relatively common place (rehashes of feats that have been seen before), garnering assertive head nods that read “not bad” and mild roars from the crowd. This is something more easy said to those that have seen or been to several shows before. Whatever public perception may be, Cirque is standing more triumphant than its ever been thanks to their latest show. KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities on tour now, is decidedly unique and captivating, and in every way what one would hope a Cirque show could be. Invoking the very sense of wonderment that makes Cirque Du Soleil so appealing in the first place. (more…)
On paper, the trifecta of Steven Spielberg, the Walt Disney Company, and Roald Dahl was a powerful combination, but practically speaking at least one of those parts is not in the fine shape it used to be. Spielberg is a master, no question, but he’d have to reach back to Jurassic Park, maybe even Hook, to find the tools he was going to need to bring The BFG to the big screen. Could he do it? Could the man that made E.T. come back around 30 years after the fact and tell the story of another child that finds an unusual friend from another world? (more…)
A recent TV ad promoted The Purge: Election Year as being the one that “trumps” the two previous Purge movies. Message received. In this election year that has shattered any and all expectations in terms of what’s allowed, what’s politically correct, and the commodification of the anger of the electorate, The Purge: Election Year is the perfect anecdote. Writer/director James DeMonaco takes the series he started to its logical, and almost satirical conclusion by phrasing the latest film in a way that a lot of politicos can identify with: can the problems of America be resolved by revelling in its anger and bitterness? Not to mention it’s desire to dress up in costumes and kill people. (more…)