Movies

Movies

Tue
24
Apr

Avengers: Infinity War Is The Ultimate Superhero Movie

Avengers: Infinity War opens everywhere 4/27/2018.

Thanos. The name alone strikes a chord with Marvel comic aficionados. It’s like sitting at a WWE event when the lights all go out, a lone, deep bell peals, and the arena is bathed in eerie blue light and theatrical fog, signaling the arrival of The  Undertaker. When Thanos shows up in a comic book, someone is going to die. If Thanos had his way, everyone would die.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a bit different than the Marvel Comic Universe, but Thanos is still the ultimate cosmic antagonist. Up until know he’s been relegated to talking head spots, chiding Loki in Marvel’s The Avengers, putting Ronan the Accuser in his place in Guardians of the Galaxy, and so forth. With The Avengers: Infinity War Thanos finally takes center stage against the entire host of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s expansive cast. And if Thanos had his way, nearly everyone would die.

Mon
23
Apr

Pop-Up Books, Polite Prisoners, and Paddington, Too!

Paddington 2

BEN WHISHAW returns to lend his voice to the delightfully courteous and thoughtful-to-a-fault Paddington Brown, a talking bear who lives in London with the Brown family -- Henry (HUGE BONNEVILLE), Mary (SALLY HAWKINS), Judy (MADELAINE HARRIS) and Jonathan (SAMUEL JOSLIN).

Paddington's Aunty Lucy (IMELDA STAUNTON) is having an important birthday coming up, and Paddington wants to get her the perfect present. He finds it in an antique shop -- a pop-up book of all the London landmarks, created by a very famous carnival owner. Alas, the book is very expensive, and Paddington sets out to earn the money to buy the book.

Fri
30
Mar

Leave Reality at Home: Spielberg's Ready Player One Mesmerizes Audiences

Ready Player One

Is there a proper escape from reality? Wouldn't it be wonderful to live a life of dreams rather than face the consequences of life's choices? If only the technology existed to find a way to gratify the desires of the flesh, or to discover enjoyment in safely pursuing a hobby, alter-ego, or living a lifestyle exceeding our own personal potential.

The creation of a true virtual reality, where anyone could do or be anything limited only by the imagination, seems like a syfy movie or television series. But wouldn't the existence of this technology be a great advancement, for all mankind? Science focusing on the betterment of our human existence controlled by corporate greed. Can you only imagine!

Escape from Reality: Enter the Oasis. 

Tue
27
Mar

Delays announced for New Mutants and X-Men Dark Phoenix movies

From CNet:

20th Century Fox is changing around its movie release dates for the X-Men sequel "Dark Phoenix" and the X-Men character film "The New Mutants." 

...

Both comic book films are delayed until 2019, so "Bohemian Rhapsody," a biopic on the band Queen, can hit theaters on Nov. 2 instead of its original Dec. 25 opening date. 

Mon
26
Mar

Lots of returning faces for Marvel's Captain Marvel (including Agent Coulson!)

From Hollywood Reporter:

Captain Marvel is going to be a blast from the past in more ways than one. The '90s-set film will not only see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) back, but also a number of familiar faces, Marvel Studios revealed Monday.

Fri
23
Mar

Pacific Rim: Uprising a Thrilling Sequel

Pacific Rim Uprising

Ugh. It's just another boring sequel.

Those were my initial thoughts. I mean, when is the last time a sequel to a good action movie actually succeeded in living up to the expectations or originality of the first movie? I was glad I was proven wrong with PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING! I actually enjoyed this feature. It revived great memories of my childhood favorite cartoons, like Voltron, Transformers, and even GI-Joe. This kid was brought back to imagining being the  hero with--not superpowers--but the extraordinary opportunity to pilot a giant robotic weapon created as a last defense to save the world! Who doesn't want to learn to pilot a giant fighting robot against evil alien creatures? Kabaam! Pow! Rockets! Super Punch! Another victory for the hero!

Exciting! 

Thu
15
Mar

TOMB RAIDER Misses Golden Opportunity To Change The Game

TOMB RAIDER opens everywhere 3/16/18.

The name of the movie is Tomb Raider, but name of the game is franchises. That’s the word that makes Hollywood drool like Pavlov’s pooches. Some are obvious, like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe that everyone in Tinseltown is scrambling to emulate.  Tomb Raider would seem to be an obvious candidate, considering it’s essentially Indiana Jones as a British woman. Born from the multi-billion dollar videogame industry, Tomb Raider’s lead character Lara Croft has driven a long parade of console videogames, a successful comic book series, and two reasonably successful films starring Angelina Jolie. After more than a decade, Hollywood decided the time was right to reboot the cinematic arm of the Tomb Raider franchise.

Thu
15
Mar

Downsizing Comes Up Short

Downsizing Home Video Release

MATT DAMON (JASON BOURNE) stars in this ALEXANDER PAYNE vehicle about a world where the capability of shrinking living beings is made a reality.

Being able to become five inches high, while irreversible, comes with many advantages, which fall into the categories of ecology and economy. Requiring less to sustain yourself scales what might be a meager savings for a full-size individual into a fortune for a miniaturized one, allowing for a retirement to leisure much earlier. Likewise, the less one uses, the less waste produced, so it's a win-win.

Payne does a wonderful job exploring the downsides of the technology as well -- particularly with political dissidents being shrunk against their will, and the challenges to illegal immigration if refugees can simply be shipped overseas by Federal Express.

Fri
09
Mar

WB's Justice League Succeeds Where Batman v Superman Failed

Justice League on Blu-ray

So I've just watched JUSTICE LEAGUE for the first time, thanks to the Blu-ray / DVD / Digital release of the film, and I have to admit that I'm happily impressed. For the most part, anyway. After having been sorely disappointed with many of the aspects of its predecessor, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, JUSTICE LEAGUE was a film that took the DCEU leaps and bounds into better territory.

Tue
06
Mar

Why Frances McDormand is Wrong on Inclusion Riders

Frances McDormand Accepting 2018 Oscar

Of the many things that are still visible in the rear view mirror of last weekend's Oscars, one of the items still being discussed is Frances McDormand's acceptance speech, where she closed with the following:

"I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: Inclusion Rider."

Is it the name of her next film? Is it the name of the next Kardashian baby?

Actually, an inclusion rider is a term applied to an actor's contract, as applied by the actor. When signing on to a movie and finalizing their contract for same, an inclusion contract is something added by the actor that forces the production company to hire cast and crew that reflects the demographics of the world. It stipulates there will be x percentage of men, y percentage of women, z percentage of this race and that race, and lgtbq percentage of LGBTQ.

We used to call this practice a "quota system."

Mon
26
Feb

Wonder Woman 2 in the Works: How the Franchise Tapped into the Need for Strong Female Characters

Wonder Woman

WONDER WOMAN was the superhero film no one expected, but we all agreed well deserved, reportedly earning more than $400,000,000, and was the 3rd highest grossing film of the year. It was tremendously well-received by audiences and critics alike, and it finally broke the DC curse of taking some of the most iconic and beloved comic book characters and producing severely underwhelming movies (the infamous Martha scene in the penultimate BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE movie arguably reached new levels of disappointing even diehard fans). It was immediately clear that WONDER WOMAN 2 had to happen. And it will.

Wonder Woman’s Unexpected Success

Fri
23
Feb

GAME NIGHT Is Farce Done Right

GAME NIGHT opens 2/23/18.

As an avid board game player and a fan of Jason Bateman, I was eager to see Game Night, the new comedy by directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, the fellows that brought you Horrible Bosses. As usual, I avoided previews so I wasn't really sure what I was going to see. The premise is actually pretty similar to the brilliant Michael Douglas thriller The Game, but this time done as a farce. As with most farcical films, they tend to be better if everyone goes all in on the conceit. Game Night does exactly that.

Fri
23
Feb

Alex Garland's ANNIHILATION Is Visually Stunning And Unfathomably Dull

ANNIHILATION starts 2/23/18.

Alex Garland, who received a lot of praise for his first directorial effort, Ex Machina (2015) and wrote and produced one of my favorite comic book adaptations with Dredd (2012), is a way ahead of me. I like to think I’m a pretty sharp guy. I can usually spot the twist nobody saw coming just before everyone else. I generally am aware of the nuanced use of the color palette and lighting to achieve mood and heighten tension.  I can appreciate a slow, thoughtful pace. I most certainly can applaud the predominant casting of strong, capable women in this film. Yet I cannot even begin to tell you what Garland’s latest picture, Annihilation, is really about. I just can’t. I didn’t get it. I mean, virtually none of it. So this is going to be one strange flick to discuss.

Wed
21
Feb

Same Kind of Different as Me Starts Slow, Becomes Captivating

Same Kind of Different as Me

When an art dealer (GREG KINNEAR) is discovered to be cheating on his wife (RENEE ZELLWEGER), she forgives him on the condition they try to fix their relationship. For Ron Hall, this means he will be joining Debbie in assisting at a homeless shelter, not by writing a check but by using his hands and putting in the effort to get to know the people there and help them one-on-one. It is here that they meet Denver Moore (DJIMON HOUNSOU), a violent man with a criminal past. He also looks exactly like the man Debbie has been having dreams about, and she focuses on finding out more about him.

Mon
19
Feb

Wonder Woman Takes Best Film, Gal Gadot Best Film Actor in Best of 2017 Readers' Poll

Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot take Best of 2017 for Wonder Woman

February is that month where we tell those we love how much we love them. Sure, some do that on Valentine's Day, and that's important. But here at Critical Blast, we use the whole month to pass the word along to those who create the movies, shows, comics and books we all hold so dear.

After taking votes all through January from you, our readers, the votes have been tabulated and we begin our series of announcements with the BEST FILM OF 2017. And since this year, the category shares so much with the BEST ACTOR OF 2017, we're offering them to you here as a two-fer!

 

 

 

Fri
26
Jan

Bale, Pike, Studi Make Uncomfortable HOSTILES An Instant Classic

HOSTILES opens everywhere Jan 26, 2017.

Hostiles, the new film by Scott Cooper, is not what the trailers I saw would lead you to believe. The clips make it look like it's an action-packed Tombstone-style romp. It is not. It's a thinking person's western, a parable about hate, xenophobia, and ultimately acceptance. It's about broken people just trying to survive. Hostiles (incidentally a terrible name for this film, as while there are indeed many hostiles in it, it’s not about them) is not an easy film to watch, but it's an emotional and gripping film that will have you dwelling on it for days afterward.

Thu
25
Jan

Wonder Woman's OSCAR Snub Means There is Still Work to Do

How is a movie that features a female director, and lead role, get snubbed by the very vocal Hollywood which recently crusaded for women's voices to be heard?

Just a few short days ago, women took to the streets all across America shouting claims of being treated unfairly. Just a few short weeks ago, the men and women who make up the Hollywood elite spoke to a national audience, during the Golden Globes, to praise women who have suffered abuse, just to make it in the industry.

It appears that the noise didn't equal results. How could it be that with all of the rabble rousing and table banging, the voices still weren't heard? Especially with an empowering movie such as WONDER WOMAN staring the committee down.

Mon
22
Jan

Geostorm a Solid Nail-Biting Action Thriller

GEOSTORM is one of those films that released in theaters and then found its way onto Blu-ray quickly thereafter. Which is a shame, because despite that the trailers had it looking like another DAY AFTER TOMORROW or (shudder) ICETASTROPHE), GEOSTORM, helmed by veteran director and producer DEAN DEVLIN, has some really good special effects that deserved a big-screen viewing as well as some real nail-biting suspense that retains its tension throughout the film.

Jake Lawson (GERARD BUTLER) is a scientist who developed a satellite network that sends corrective pulses into the atmosphere where needed to stave off extreme events of climate change. Shortly after setting up the system, nicknamed DUTCH BOY, he was fired by his brother, Max (JIM STURGESS).

Sat
20
Jan

Hollywood Looks for Wins with Game-Based Films

Game Based Movies

Adapt or die. It’s a maxim that means something different in Hollywood, where movies are adapted from television shows, books, comics, and even older movies.

But adapting a game to a film is an entirely different beast. A book or a television show has an accepted path. It can be shifted or seen from a different angle, but the audience knows what it’s getting going in. A game, by its very nature, is fluid, changing, never the same thing twice. So, when Hollywood goes to adapting a game into a film, they have both a blessing and a curse – a blessing, because they have such a wide array of choices, and a curse, because those choices can so easily lead writers away from producing something that carries the feel of the game.

Thu
18
Jan

Dense and Convoluted Sequel Makes Villeneuve "Blade Ruiner"

Blade Runner 2049

Has anybody nicknamed Director DENIS VILLENEUVE "Blade Ruiner" yet? Can I be the first?

After having sat through BLADE RUNNER 2049, I'm at a loss to tell you what it was really about, other than that it was about three hours where I sat wondering what was going on. Was it supposed to confuse me? (In cells interlinked. Respond.) Was I supposed to feel depressed? (In cells interlinked.) Was anyone in the show actually a human being with actual emotions?

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