A New Age of Justice Is About To Begin!

The death of the last son of Krypton, shown in the final few moments of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, sent shockwaves throughout the world and beyond. The actions of Lex Luthor invited someone from beyond the stars to Earth and this being is not of peace, apparently. Bruce Wayne with the assistance of Diana Prince must scour the world to recruit warriors powerful enough to repel this invasive menace and assure the world that the sacrifice of Superman was not in vain. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg are the Justice League.

Justice League stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds , Jesse Eisenberg, Willem Dafoe, Amber Heard, Kiersey Clemmons, Connie Nielsen and Henry Cavill. Written by Chris Terrio and directed by Zack Snyder, Justice League bows into theaters on November 17, 2017.

Venom Is Coming To Theaters In 2018

venom-venom-13062061-600-750

Image by Marvel Comics

First, the Marvel Cinematic Universe acquired the rights to reboot one of Marvel’s most celebrated superheroes and thrust him into the action in Captain America: Civil War. Then, New York’s favorite friendly neighborhood wall-crawler was given a new lease on life with a new actor and an upcoming cinematic adventure titled Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now, one of Spider-Man’s most deadliest adversaries has been granted an opportunity to spin his own web and tell his own story. In 2018, Venom will star in his own feature-length motion picture as a possible spin-off to Spider-Man: Homecoming.

In the wake of Warner Bros. shifting Aquaman to Dec. 21, 2018, Sony has taken the opportunity to quickly slide Venom into the vacated date of Oct. 5, 2018, EW has learned.

This is certainly a fascinating development since Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives in theaters in a few months and now, Marvel Studios must work quickly to get this film into production if it wants to stick to its release date. In fact, a Venom spin-off has been in turnaround since 2013, so maybe a script can be worked out due time.

For those unfamiliar with Venom’s character, the first time he appeared on film was in the woefully disappointing Spider-Man 3, portrayed by Topher Grace. Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is a quick character bio of the Marvel villain:

Venom, or the Venom Symbiote, is an alias used by several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with Spider-Man. Venom made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988).[1] Venom was originally conceived as a supervillain, but has since become more of an antihero. Venom is a Symbiote, a sentient alien, with a gooey, almost liquid-like form. As with real-world symbiotes, it requires a host, usually human, to bond with for its survival. After bonding, the Symbiote endows its enhanced powers upon the host. When the Venom Symbiote bonds with a human, that new dual-life form refers to itself as “Venom”.

The Venom Symbiote’s first known host was Spider-Man, who eventually separated himself from the creature when he discovered its true nature. The Symbiote went on to merge with other hosts, most notably Eddie Brock, its second and most infamous host, with whom it first became Venom and one of Spider-Man’s archenemies.

What Marvel will do with this character remains to be seen but he certainly has the clout to carry his own feature film. October 5, 2018 is not too far away for Venom to swing into theaters.

Review: Kong: Skull Island

For the fourth time in the history of American filmmaking, one of the all time great movie monsters bows into theaters to pound his chest, roar and reign supreme over an island not meant for man to tread. It’s director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ turn to give life to a beast some have dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World in Kong: Skull Island.

new-kong-skull-island-poster-16291

Image by Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros.

Fair warning: the plot for the film will be familiar if one is familiar with the mythos of Kong from the past. In in the early 1970s, a scientific expedition to an uncharted island in the South Pacific goes horribly awry, when a team led by Colonel Preston Packard, decommissioned SAS Captain James Conrad and researcher Bill Randa run afoul of Kong, the mammoth ape protector of Skull Island. Their first encounter with the beast results in seven soldiers dead and the research team separated and every single soul on the island is in grave peril, but not from Kong; the truth is that Kong is the island’s deterrent to creatures far more frightening.

I won’t go out of my way to tell you that Kong: Skull Island is a blockbuster worthy of a king or it should be rightfully crowned. I found the picture rather tame with a few original twists but I suppose I was just unsatisfied with the final result.

If Kong: Skull Island had any selling points, it would be that I thought Vogt-Roberts and the writing team of Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connelly did a nice job in adhering to Kong’s origins and island life/persona: a fearsome protector to those in need, always ready to aid a damsel, worshipped as a god on Skull Island. I felt that they recognized the scope and grandeur of the title character and did what they could to make him as big as possible but the film itself just couldn’t measure up to the enormity of Kong’s reputation. Seriously, take the giant ape out of the picture and what are you left with?

For starters you have a movie that is weighed down to the anchored to the homages paid to Apocalypse Now, which is excessive to the point of over-the-top. This movie could have occurred in any time period so, why at the end of the Vietnam War?

You also have a movie that simply wastes a lot of star power. Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Tian Jing, Thomas Mann, Will Britain, Richard Jenkins; there are many good actors in this movie and this cast tries to deliver good performances where they can but like Godzilla, they’re not why audiences show up! Whatever contributions they do make, go to waste because the material they are working with is shallow and the visual effects steals the show.

Larry Fong’s cinematography aims to be strong but reeks of inconsistency and the editing Richard Pearson follows suit, which is unfortunate. Stefan DeChant’s production design is striking, the art direction is commendable, the set decoration by Cynthia La Jeunesse is fine, Mary E. Vogt’s costumes aimed for authenticity; technically there was a lot to respect with this film and what did you didn’t like, you forgot.

Maybe I subconsciously compared Kong: Skull Island to its 2005 predecessor by Peter Jackson, even though I didn’t want to, but ultimately I couldn’t help but notice that Jackson’s Kong had the girth and dimensions to bring Kong to its Kingly status while this film felt cartoonish. Kong: Skull Island is fun, in it’s own way, but lacking.

Movie of the Week: Kong: Skull Island

2017 will mark the fourth year in which one of the most famous movie monsters of all time has ever graced the silver screen. In 1933, 1975 and 2005, audiences the world over has seen different takes of the enormously proportioned primate who reigned supreme over his domain only to be captured and felled in the domain of man. This weekend marks Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ turn to bring the giant ape to the big screen as a team of explorers ventures out into uncharted territory teeming with danger and atop the pyramid of Skull Island is a king whose reign about to be challenged by an unforeseen enemy: modern day man. Kong: Skull Island bows into theaters this week.

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Screenwriters: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connelly

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Tian Jing, John Ortiz and Toby Kebbell

What am I expecting to see?: The producers behind this movie have big plans for this film and I hope that this movie does enough to see these plans come to fruition. I want this movie to honor the Kong movies that came before it while doing everything it can to make a proper mark for itself. I don’t expect it to reach the epic levels that Peter Jackson’s King Kong reached in 2005 but I for one hope that Kong: Skull Island has its fun.

Review: Logan

logan

Image by 20th Century Fox & Marvel Entertainment

Mutant, brother, healer, soldier, weapon, teacher, leader, father, legend. James Howlett has lived a long, painful and tragic 400 and something year old life and his legend comes to a close in the motion picture titled Logan.

Life for the man who was once called Weapon X and Wolverine, is not what it once was and neither is he. He spends his days working as a chauffeur, when he’s not working, he’s tending to a 90-year old Charles Xavier who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and seizures-ailments & illnesses that wreak havoc on his very powerful brain-with the assistance of the albino mutant tracker Caliban and on top of that, the healing factor which has allowed him to live for centuries is starting to diminish.

Logan’s mundane life in a world where mutants are practically brought to the brink of extinction is rocked when a woman named Gabriella begs him to escort a mysterious girl named Laura to a location called “Eden” in North Dakota and hot on Gabriella’s heels is a man named Donald Pierce, who leads a band of “enhanced” bounty hunters called Reavers who will stop at nothing to capture Laura.

Logan will mark the final time audiences will see Hugh Jackman portray the iconic character since his debut in X-Men 17 years ago and by my reckoning, Logan brings Jackman’s time as this character to a heavy and thrilling finish! Director James Mangold and writers Scott Frank and Michael Green took the Old Man Logan storyline and finally delivered a movie where the Wolverine character could really shine!

You will become emotionally invested in these characters because they are crafted in a way that illustrates that they are not what they used to be and it hits you that their time is coming to an end, particularly with Logan and Charles. You see Logan in his old age, his powers are fading, he’s worn out from fighting, he wants his rest-a soldier’s rest which he has earned- and you see Charles whose mind is becoming more distant and dangerous as he creeps slowly into his twilight and then they are suddenly thrust into this conflict they didn’t ask for and they must muster whatever strength they have to protect this very special child and that is something to invest in, especially if you’ve seen every X-Men movie to date!

This is an action movie through and through but what’s surprising is that it has more to offer beyond that.

In this movie, you can truly see Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart flex their acting muscles alongside newcomer Dafne Keen, this also pays homage to classic western movies like Shane for instance, the X-Men comics and films. Logan has many layers and every one is something to be admired and respected.

Logan had good acting beyond just the three lead performances from Jackman, Stewart and Keen. Boyd Holbrook as Pierce, Stephen Merchant as Caliban, Richard E. Grant as Dr. Xandar Rice, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse among others were very good.

John Mathieson’s cinematography, Michael McCusker and Dirk Westervelt’s editing, Marco Beltrami’s score, François Audouy’s production design, the art direction, the visual effects, the sound effects, all done to heighten the rugged and grounded appeal of this picture.

Logan is a movie that lives up to the hype and send Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s eras as Wolverine and Professor X out in superb style. I’ve watched every single X-Men movie, going back to the first one when I was around nine years old and I knew that I was letting a chapter of my life as a film fan close when I was watching Logan but I could not be more satisfied with how they closed it. Hat’s off to Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Logan. Job well done!

Awards Season 2017. An Assessment.

Sunday night was a roller coaster of emotions! We saw tourists get the surprise of a lifetime, we saw candy, cookies and doughnuts parachute from the sky, we saw young and talented up-and-comers like Sunny Pawar and Auli’i Cravalho make great impressions, we saw the “rivalry” between Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmell reach an all-time high, we saw an underrated American hero and pioneer, Katherine Johnson get her moment in the spotlight, and we saw history with the greatest mix-up of all time coincide with the greatest upset of all time. The Oscars put a bow on Awards Season 2017, and all of the accomplishments of the great films of 2016. With all the pomp and ceremony in the books, I’d like to share my thoughts on the entire season as a whole.

  • la_la_land_ver3

    Image by Lionsgate

    Let’s hear it for La La Land!: Throughout the last few months, I can’t help but think that no movie from 2016 has ever been so decorated and adorned in accolades than Damien Chazelle’s wonderful modern day musical. La La Land swept the Golden Globes, tied Titanic for the record for most Academy Award nominations with 14 nominations, performed well at the Critics Choice Awards and the BAFTAs and even though it fell short of nabbing Hollywood’s highest honor, the film is something to be proud of and admired because the entertainment community couldn’t stop singing its praises as much as their signature original songs. Bravo La La Land. Bravo.

  • There were a lot of firsts in the last few months.: Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Casey Affleck, Damien Chazelle, Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, all won big on Oscar Sunday but they all claimed their first wins of major award shows for the last few months. In fact some of the recipients who have won their first major awards accomplished significant cultural milestones. For instance, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award. That’s something to be admired! Also, Damien Chazelle became the youngest director to win the Oscar for Best Director.
  • Hollywood couldn’t resist taking shots at a certain “politician”: Many people are not happy with the state of American politics at the moment. Throughout the entire Awards Season, Hollywood couldn’t resist commentating on the fact that a certain someone-I won’t name names-occupies the highest office in this country and this person poses a threat to civil liberties and ideals. It is their right to comment on who is in the Oval Office and what they think about them if they want to give a speech or host. It’s their right. It’s not my job to condone or condemn their opinions, but I respect theirs.
  • 220px-moonlight_282016_film29

    Image by A24

    I’m very proud of Moonlight.: I was baffled by the mix up but stunned when I saw that Moonlight won Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday night. Absolutely stunned! For months, I believed that La La Land would be a shoe-in for Best Picture, but Moonlight was the best film I saw last year. Ever since I started my blog, the Best Picture winner ranked somewhere in my top five or six, but Moonlight became the first movie to win Best Picture that was actually ranked #1 on my lists for films of the year and guess what? IT DESERVED IT! Moonlight was gorgeous across the board and I’m happy it pulled off the greatest upset of all time.

For what it’s worth, when it comes to my Oscars predictions, I predicted 18 categories this year and last year. Last year, 14 out of my 18 predictions were correct. This year, I got nine out of 18. I figured that I would be more open to misses since I went rogue on a few categories but whatever. I’m happy with the end result. Well, that closes the book on Awards Season 2017.

Movie of the Week: Logan

I was just a young boy, young tween to be accurate, when I first saw Hugh Jackman in a major motion picture. He starred in a live-action adaptation of the highly acclaimed Marvel Comics series X-Men, portraying the series’ most iconic and recognized character, Wolverine. Fast forward 15 years later, and the end of an era has been marked. I practically saw every X-Men movie to date and Hugh Jackman has made an appearance in all of them as the metal-clawed, age-resistant, cigar smoking, berserker, amnesiac mutant hero we’ve all come to know him by and this weekend, he will take his final turn sporting those indestructible claws and slashing his way through cinemas. This week, I will see Hugh Jackman, in his final appearance, as Wolverine or by his more preferred name Logan.

Director: James Mangold

Writers: James Mangold, Scott Frank, Michael Green

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Dafne Keen.

What am I expecting to see?: The first time Wolverine was given his own standalone film, it tanked. Badly. The second time, slightly better but still lacking. This time, there is a lot riding on making this right since this will be the last time we will see Hugh Jackman in the skin of his iconic character. In addition, Logan marks the final time Patrick Stewart will hold the role of Professor X, so this movie needs to hit all its marks if the studios want to say that they sent Hugh Jackman’s era as Wolverine out on a high note.