Tired of the same old summer fare?  Romantic comedies, superheroes, animated animals getting into trouble, and stuff blowing up – they can all be found en masse at your local Cineplex every year during the warmer months.  American Ultra, swooping in towards the end of the “popcorn” season, is a movie that may feel both very familiar but oddly foreign at the same time; the film features everything on the list in the previous sentence, but is presented in a highly unorthodox manner.  The result is an experience that feels very unique, but definitely won’t ring everyone’s bell.



It seems like the perfect combination: take the guy who directed Snatch, Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey Jr. versions), and RocknRolla, and let him make a spy movie that stars Superman and The Lone Ranger.  Oh, and set it in the 1960s, where men were men and you had to rely on your wits and your talent instead of letting technology do your dirty work.  Sounds pretty badass, right?  Well, movie-goer, you’re in luck – because The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an amazingly-cool movie that’s fun to watch and easy to enjoy.



Fantastic FourI wanted to like it.  I really did.

I actually found all the pre-release roller-coaster drama of the production’s ups and downs really intriguing.  The idea for the creation of this movie was heavily maligned from the start; according to 20th Century Fox’s deal with Marvel, if they wanted to keep the rights to the FF franchise, then the company has to make a new film featuring the characters every decade or so, or else the rights will revert back to Marvel.  Since it’s been eight painful years since the Galactus-bastardizing head-scratcher Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Fox felt obligated to pump another one out.  Trust me, however, when I tell you: don’t feel obligated to go see this film.



Fantasy fare at the cinema has been a mixed bag lately.  For every new film that was an entry into the Lord of the Rings universe, we had a Seventh Son that would come along and force the movie-going public to slog through a convoluted story and mediocre CGI.  Warner Brothers is attempting to, pardon the pun, rekindle the magic with a big-screen version of Dungeons & Dragons, coming our way at some point in the indeterminate future.



He’s an advance-planner, that Bryan Singer is.  In addition to currently cultivating the “greater” X-Men universe by directing the last few X-Films, he’s also leading the charge on the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.  It’s been recently rumored that he would also direct Fantastic Four 2, and now comes word that there is a long-term strategy starting to take shape that would allow him to direct an X-Men/FF crossover film.



Like the “average” summer movie fare, Pixels has good stuff and bad stuff.  Like most films that want to be profitable and seen as a “hit” in the eyes of the public, the question must that must be asked is “does the good stuff outweigh the bad stuff?”  If you’re an eager pre-teen movie-goer, a parent of an eager pre-teen movie-goer, or a thirtysomething who really digs some deep-reaching retro references, then Pixels is probably right up your alley.  And if you don’t fall into one of those categories?  Well, let’s just say that your princess might be in another castle.



Hollywood’s retro-love is still in full swing, even if it takes some projects a little longer than others to complete the process from concept to completion.  Long-time writer and director Chris Columbus is out on the press tour for his new movie, Pixels, that opens this week (look for my review at Noon EDT Wednesday here on the site), and he gave us media types a little more info on where the reboots of two major 1980s products – Goonies and Gremlins – stand.



I know what you’re thinking – that’s a mighty bold statement you’re making there in the title, sailor.  Now hold up, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers, I’mma let you finish… but Ant-Man just may truly be one of the greatest Marvel films of all time.  Of all time!

WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead – I did my best to keep quiet about the big stuff, but some parts of the film required a little explanation in the review.



What’s the only thing more challenging than being a “Part 2” follow-up film to a wildly successful first film? Being a “Part 3,” of course. Minions, the new animated feature about everybody’s favorite capsule-shaped, overall-wearing, begoggled, bad-guy-serving, yellow-hued, strange-speaking, banana-loving… things, isn’t a “Part 3” in the strictest sense of the word. It’s actually a prequel, taking place “B.G.” – Before Gru, the original Despicable in the first two films, Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 – but it is the third major motion picture in the Minions universe, and expectations have soared sky-high since the first film became an unexpected hit 5 years ago. (more…)