Posts in Category: Movie Reviews

“Kong: Skull Island” Hits its Marketing Peak

A matter of months before the film’s March 2017 release, the upcoming “Kong: Skull Island” has been the source of plenty of news as of late. A welcome rush after the silence following the film’s first trailer earlier this year, long-time “King Kong” fans have taken a special interest in the monstrous ape’s new look.

 

In an exclusive peek from Entertainment Weekly, the newly re-imagined Kong is on full display, showing us much more than the teases to date. Fan response to the new design has been slightly mixed, especially the famous ape’s now slightly leaner build. With an upright, human-like stance closely resembling the original 1933 film though, old-school enthusiasts have a lot to like.

 

Size has been a big question on people’s minds as well, in regards to this fresh iteration of the iconic movie monster. With a planned “Godzilla vs. Kong” crossover on the horizon, many are hoping Kong will be able to stack up to Legendary’s other giant monster mainstay. Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla was touted as the largest of the King of the Monsters’ dozens of re-imaginings up to that point, and according to some sources, “Skull Island”‘s Kong can say the same. From a look at the film’s initial trailer, it’s certainly hard to argue with.

 

For an extra bit of crossover magic, Legendary has been having fun with viral marketing under the guise of “Monarch”, the mysterious organization linking both the “Kong” and “Godzilla” franchises. By interacting with the related Twitter account (@MonarchSciences) and official website, fans are rewarded with cryptic video clips and imagery from the film, giving people a deeper view of this exciting new universe, and reassuring us all that “Godzilla vs. Kong” will be more than just a dream.

 

It’s probably safe to say that hype for “Kong: Skull Island” has well and truly hit its stride. The film’s second trailer is slated for November 16th, no doubt prepared to give us an even better look at the mighty Kong himself. If Legendary keeps up the promotional pace they’ve been maintaining lately, March 2017 will be here before you know it.

 

Marvel’s Doctor Strange: A Film for Hero & Villain Fans

When you go to the theater to see a Marvel superhero film, you can feel the excitement in the air that the audience has for the hero, their champion. They come in beaming with pride, knowing he’s going to go through at least one tough bout, but ultimately, he’ll save the day. When I go to see any super hero flick, I’m not interested in the hero that much. I’m here for the bad guy, and in Marvel’s newly adapted Doctor Strange, this bad guy was very well worth going to see.

 

This isn’t to say that Benedict Cumberland wasn’t impressive as surgeon turned superhero Doctor Strange. Honestly, for a man that I personally couldn’t picture playing a superhero until I saw him in this film, he did an outstanding job in this role. Actually, to say he did outstanding sounds like a cliché understatement. He brings the complexities out of Doctor Strange’s character in a way that makes you want to root for him, which instinctively, I did.

 

Still, Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius is the ultimate villain. You really can’t go wrong casting Mads Mikkelsen as a bad guy. We’ve seen him do the role so well that the question has even been posed to him as to which bad guy character that he’s played would beat the other.

 

As Kaecilius, Mikkelsen uses his supernatural abilities as a sorcerer to wreak havoc on Doctor Strange. If you follow the superhero’s story you know that Doctor Strange has powerful abilities of his own that can bring villains to a crushing defeat. Kaecilius still puts on an impressive show and ultimately brings out the best in the hero while showing off his own prowess as one of the most threatening Marvel villains thus far. Kaecilius is physically and mentally menacing to the point that his presence feels inescapable.

 

Even though the protagonist and antagonist of the film hold your attention, the ensemble cast is filled with some show stealers. Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One also brings in that added supernatural element that is steeped in her own unique ability. Marvel’s Doctor Strange overall has performed very well at the box office. Bringing in $85 million domestically and $240 million globally, it’s definitely a must-see film.

 

New Spartacus Film to be Set in the Future

The Stanley Kubrick/Kirk Douglas classic Spartacus is one of the greatest films of the 1950s. More than just a historical action film, Spartacus captured the incredible emotional power of a man’s desire to be free. Spartacus was willing to fight for his freedom and fight he did. The themes of Spartacus are being revisited, but in a very unique was. Called The Champion, the new Spartacus reboot will be a science-fiction outing.

Perhaps the studios learned their lesson with the disastrous Ben Hur remake. Ben Hur, another film classic set in the biblical age, was a massive bomb. The opening weekend drew in $10 million. The budget of the feature stood at $100 million. In the current movie landscape, historical films do not seem to be attracting audiences like that did a half-century ago.

By changing the setting of Spartacus to the future, the film takes on a fantasy that may be able to draw in a wider audiences. Younger persons could be more engaged to see the film as well.

No guarantees exist that a science-fiction film is going to be a hit. Star Trek Beyond did very mediocre box office. The new Star Wars film, however, did tremendously well. Terminator: Genysis flopped while Guardians of the Galaxy was a hit.

A host of different things come into play in order for a film to be a success. Even the best plans laid out during the development process do not automatically mean a movie is going to be a hit when released. Audiences may not want to actually see the film. Studios end up losing big on giant projects that garner no interest.

One way studios are able to hedge their bets is through a reboot. A movie that worked the first time in theaters should do well the second time. “Should” does not mean “will”. Ben Hur is an obvious example of a dud. The first Planet of the Apes reboot was a disappointment. The second reboot was a massive hit. Again, a lot of factors have to come into play for a reboot to connect. The quality of the script, the timing of the release, and the current audience landscape all mean a lot.

Oliver Megaton will be directing the film. No star has been signed to attach. Considering the budget, the film is going to require a major star in the lead role.

‘Suicide Squad’ Movie Review

For many, Suicide Squad was a huge letdown, almost as much as Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The movie earned a sub-par score of 6.9 on IMDb and a horrible 27% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The most common complaint about the movie is that it felt like it should have been rated-R. It would seem that a movie with a plot that causes viewers to empathize with villains would be rated-R already but, as long as they don’t curse too much or show to much skin, right? The R-rating would have also allowed for more violence and insanity. Being a movie that featured the Joker, you would think director David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch, & Training Day) would have pushed for the R-rating.

Another common complaint is that the Joker was not in the movie as much as the commercials advertised. One reddit user named “BlackPanther2016” has even filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. for false advertisement. Many viewers complained that Jared Leto’s Joker was nothing like the Joker they know, and not in “cool different” way either. He did not once tell a joke, effectively making him a run-of-the-mill green-haired villain with a gun.

Will Smith did a great job playing Will Smith in Suicide Squad. His character, Deadshot, was given the largest portion of the movie and many people were upset about that. It didn’t feel like he was a villain, but just another Will Smith type character we have become accustomed to in movies such as: Pursuit of Happiness, I am Legend, and Men In Black.

Margot Robbie was by far the highlight of the movie as the best and only Harley Quinn. While she nailed the personality and look of Harley Quinn, she too unfortunately, was handicapped by the PG13 rating. Robbie’s popularity as the Joker’s lover has sparked rumors of her getting her own spinoff movie.

Overall, it is agreed that Suicide Squad is worth watching but not at the theater price. Wait to check it out once it hits Redbox.

Shane Black Eyeing A Return to “Monster Squad”

Between series like “The Get Down” and “Stranger Things,” it seems like Hollywood studios are focused on the aesthetic, nostalgia and tropes, of the 1980s. With a focus on the ’80s comes an opportunity to retread an era of one-liner quips, incredible action flicks, and the potential of reworking classic horror monsters.

It is the monster part of these elements that has director Shane Black looking to revive “Monster Squad” as another film. Not to be confused with the late-’70s NBC television series of the same name, Black was on hand to co-write the ’87 film that saw a group of children contend with Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, a mummy and the werewolf, to name a few. Shane looks forward to incorporating Universal’s newer monsters into the film; the original film’s entire roster of ghoulish antagonists was taken from Universal Studios.

Black commented on the original film, stating that it was one of his first scripts and, despite crashing at the box office with less than $4 million in total profit, was a labor of love that some regard as a cult favorite to this day. Black was surprised to see that so many people loved his film. As to how Black would go about writing a follow-up, Black drew parallels to Stephen King’s “It;” the book and miniseries opens with children fighting creatures from beyond the rational world and then it jumps ahead to these same characters as adults.

Fortunately for Black and fans of the original Monster Squad, Black already has several film projects in queue, including another installment of the “Predator” franchise and “Doc Savage” featuring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. While Black is more than enthused about making another Monster Squad, he’ll have plenty of time to refine his concept and attract a studio to fund such a venture.

The cast of Monster Squad had a 20 year cast reunion in 2006 that involved two screenings at an Alamo Drafthouse theater. Lionsgate Studios re-released the film on DVD in the following year as a two-disc special collection. While it would be nice for a new Monster Squad film to come out exactly 30 years after the original, Black’s other projects have ensured that there really isn’t enough time to execute such an endeavor.

DC’s “Suicide Squad” Fails to Impress Critics

The highly anticipated “Suicide Squad” by Warner Bros. is going to be released on August 5th. Unfortunately, the first reviews for this movie are not so hot.

The Tomatometer, which gauges how many critics like a film on rottentomatoes.com, is currently at 34 percent positive. In their summary, Rotten Tomatoes notes that the poor script, preposterous finale, and sloppy directing make this film a disappointment overall.

“Suicide Squad” is a film that brings various DC Comics villains together on a mission for the U.S. government. This film was directed by David Ayer, and it features Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as The Joker, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.

The review in Variety by Peter Debruge said that “Suicide Squad” proves that DC Comics didn’t learn from their mistakes in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Debruge said that “Suicide Squad,” just like “Batman v. Superman,” suffers from taking itself too seriously.

Just for reference, “Batman v. Superman” only got a 27 percent rating on the Tomatometer.

Most of the other reviews from The Guardian, The Daily Beast, and Vanity Fair are also panning “Suicide Squad.” The only redeeming point for the film, most critics say, is the acting.

So, if DC fans do not enjoy “Suicide Squad,” they just might have to wait for the “Justice League.” “Justice League’s” ad went viral on YouTube at the end of July, and it currently has over 20 million views.

Should We Really Be Surprised By Suicide Squad’s Lousy Reviews?

DC just can’t seem to capture that same movie making magic that Marvel and Disney have a monopoly over. After less than stellar efforts with 2011’s Green Lantern and 2013’s Man of Steel, not to mention the horrendous Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it seems like DC’s properties just don’t have the same cache they once had. So it’s really no surprise that their newest film, Suicide Squad, would suffer the same fate as their last attempts to steal some of that movie money away from their rivals at Marvel.

First, lets address the issue with The Joker. He’s dead now. Done. Finished. There is absolutely no use in bringing that character back onto the silver screen, at least not for the next decade, after what Heath Ledger did to it. You can’t top his performance, so don’t even try. You especially can’t top it when you’re casting Jared Leto to play him, and making him look like a bleached out reject from Die Antwoord. Not even Will Smith and Margot Robbie could save this movie from being doomed to mediocrity, or counteract the terrible direction they went with the Joker character.

Suicide Squad proves that you can throw as many obscure super heroes and crime fighters as you want at the wall, but that doesn’t mean they will stick. DC thought they were going to have their answer to Guardians of the Galaxy. Turns out they just made their answer to Fantastic Four.

Suicide Squad Movie is Worse than Fantastic Four?

Suicide Squad is finally set to be released and the advanced reviews have not been kind. Rolling Stone actually said it was worse than Fantastic Four, which is perhaps as big an insult as a superhero movie can bear.

The director of the film has taken a dramatic stand against these reviews, almost like he is ready to meet the firing squad.

What is the problem with these DC movies? Why can’t they get it right? There are so many creative people in the world who love these characters. Nobody wants to see them fail.

Judging from what we know, there seems to be problems near the top in the decision-making hierarchy. Nobody was happy with Ben Affleck as Batman when he was cast, although he seems to have sort of won some people over. The choice was odd. Affleck had become acclaimed as a director, but he was not exactly in demand as an actor.

In Suicide Squad, they cast Will Smith. Of all the name actors for a superhero movie, Will Smith isn’t exactly at the top of the list. Marvel movies have been extremely smart in casting actors who have talent and charisma even if they are not a huge name. If you remember, Robert Downey, jr. was not at all in demand prior to the first Iron Man movie. Someone in charge had an eye for talent and a feel for what can work.

That seems to be what is missing in the DC movie universe. Someone at the top simply doesn’t have the right sensibility. Suicide Squad has dark colors that make it look like it came out prior to Sucker Punch. The trailers are all full of rap and rock music, which comes off to many as cringe-worthy.

There was an entire trailer devoted to the government operative in charge of the squad, Amanda Waller. While she is an integral part of the story, why on earth wouldn’t you focus every trailer on the most buzzworthy character – Harley Quinn? Clearly she is positioned as the potential breakout star of this film.

The issues with tone don’t seem to be going away. Somebody needs to sit down and evaluate why the Marvel movies are working and the DC ones are under-achieving. There is no need for any of this to be going wrong.

Spielberg’s Latest Film Fails to Deliver

There is no question that Steven Spielberg is the most successful director in the history of Hollywood. His movies have grossed billions of dollars and they have been enjoyed by people around the world. His skill has allowed him to win two Oscars for directing in his brilliant career. However, his latest film got off to a very rough start at the North American box office. “The BFG” is a film that features dazzling special effects and is aimed at children. Normally, this would be the recipe for a box office hit. Unfortunately, “Finding Dory” was still captivating audiences when Spielberg’s latest flick made its debut. “The BFG” earned just under $19 million during its opening weekend in the United States. The fact that the film cost $140 million will probably make this the biggest financial disaster ever for Spielberg.

However, there is still hope for the film. Hollywood films make two-thirds of their money overseas. The film has a staggered release. Therefore, it has not opened in many foreign markets yet. This is the first film that Spielberg has ever directed for Walt Disney Studios. Needless to say, Disney is hoping that people in foreign countries see the film in droves. This is the only chance “The BFG” has of making a profit. The studio would undoubtedly settle for breaking even at this point. Much has been written about this expensive flop and why it has failed to attract an audience. However, nobody has been able to figure it out.

“Ghostbusters” Remake Getting Good Reviews

The new remake of the highly popular 1980s film “Ghostbusters” is getting good reviews so far. This is encouraging since there has been a good deal of objection to the new film from “Ghostbusters” purists.

Critics of the new film have focused on a several issues. First of all, they feel that a sequel to the original rather than a total remake would have been more appropriate. Many of the actors from the original film are still active, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t have been worked into a fun and updated sequel is how they see it. Another school of thought is that, because the original probably can’t be topped, it should just be left as is and exist as the one and only “Ghostbusters” film.

Some people are upset that in the reboot, the Ghostbusters team themselves are all female rather all male as they were in the original. Personally, I think this line of criticism is a bit silly. There’s no reason why a team of talented women can’t make audiences laugh as much as men.

Another complaint about the new film is that it relies too much on slapstick rather than clever dialogue. If the film is in fact heavy on slapstick, then I think that’s a bad thing. Anyone can do slapstick humor, but a truly funny movie requires a screenplay full of terrific lines and talented actors to deliver them.