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Monday, November 21, 2016

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them Review

          Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the next adventure in the Harry Potter universe. This particular adventure takes place 70years before the first Harry Potter story and follows a wizard named Newt Scamander, a very introverted wizard who has a love for magical creatures. His mission is to document all those magical creatures and expand the knowledge of these "beasts" to the rest of the wizarding world. However on this quest of his, some of his beasts escape from his magical suitcase and cause havoc in 1920s New York.
          Right off the bat, there are several things that could've been fixed.
          The first thing that could've been improved are the actual beasts themselves. There were too many beasts in this film. There were too many to keep track of. The thing I appreciate the most about the creatures that have existed in this universe is they each have their own unique trait. Those traits that you want magical creatures to have, weren't so apparent in this film. The majority of the creatures didn't seem to have a real purpose and could've been easily written out for the benefit of the film. I don't want to say scenes became "crowded" when beasts were in them but they became rather messy. There was also an overuse of CGI in the movie. There needed to be less CGI, or better CGI.
          Eddie Redmayne did a really good job at bringing this somewhat unfamiliar character to life. His performance was really unique and convincing. The problem I had was Newt stayed his introverted self the whole movie. The reason I had a problem with that is, Redmayne has charisma and that charisma was dialed down, a lot. I wish there was just one scene where Newt went full-out wizard. Just once scene where he does something dramatically different compared to what he does in the rest of the film. He was a very one note character but still enjoyable nonetheless. The character I liked more was Colin Farrell's character, Graves. He wasn't in it for that long but when he was in it, he stole the show.
          The main female protagonist was played by Katherine Waterson, and her character was such a weak character. There was absolutely no substance to her character. There was nothing. It was like watching a blank piece of paper act. It was absolutely tortuous, and was a real struggle to watch. And when someone is that bad to watch and is on screen for the majority of the movie, it heavily dampens your enjoyment of the film. There was no set up to her character, and there was no pay off in the end.
          I was really excited to see the character of Kowalski. I really liked him in the trailers. I was interested in how they were going to treat this "no-maj" or "muggle." At the first of the movie I was enjoying his character. But then they introduced a love interest for Kowalski and that didn't fit in at all. It ruined the entire flow of the movie. The movie didn't seem to have any pacing issues until she came along.
          The great thing about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is it's a return to the Harry Potter universe. Much like how the Force Awakens brought us back to the Star Wars world we loved, Fantastic Beasts brought us back the Harry Potter world we loved. I love this world so much. There were very subtle moments when a few notes of the John William's score were integrated into the overall score.  It was really nice to be in this world again. Even though I had quite a few problems, I loved how how we were introduced into this familiar world but with a new spin on it. I give Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them a 3/5.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sully Review

         In 2009 a commercial airliner piloted by Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger hit a flock of birds that caused both engines to go down. The only thing Sully could do in this situation was to land the plane in the Hudson River. These 208-seconds will forever be known as "The Miracle on the Hudson."
          When I first heard about this movie I was wondering how they could turn 208-seconds into a full length-feature film. Then the trailers came out. I had no idea that there was controversy surrounding this event. After the landing, there were various investigations that said Sully could've flown the plane back to the airport rather than landing it in the river and causing danger to the 155 passengers on board. This movie is more about the investigations, rather than than the actual plane landing.
          That being said, the parts that do show the plane crash are really well done. Eastwood does a great job at directing these sequences to magnify your experience. The main issue with the sequences is, they are not shown in chronological order. The movie shows you parts of the plane crash, then goes to part of the investigation, then back to the plane crash. This movie would've benefited a lot more if it was done chronologically.
          Aaron Eckhart's performance as Harvey Dent/Two Face often gets overlooked in The Dark Knight. People always talk about Heath Ledger and seldom talk about Eckhart's wonderful performance. I was very happy to see another solid performance from Eckhart. He did a very good job at acting along with Hanks and holding his own ground. Not to mention that they had great chemistry.
          At this point it seems cliche to say "Hanks gave a fantastic performance." But the thing is, he always gives solid performances. He is constantly giving us Oscar worthy performances. I don't think he'll get nominated but, I wouldn't be mad if he does.
          These days it seems like the media tries to emphasize all the bad things that are going on in the world. So I got choked up when I was watching this movie because it was so nice to see something that emphasized the good that is in people. When disaster strikes, it brings out the best in people. Sully reminded me that within us, is the power and will to do something great. Sully is a movie about true, American heroes. We can rise up to the challenge. We can do extraordinary things.
          Sully is a movie you should rush out and see. You should see it because Hanks and Eckhart give great performances and for the overall message. I give Sully a 4/5.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Suicide Squad Review

          Without a doubt, Will Smith and Margot Robbie are the best parts about this movie.They played the best characters in this movie, Deadshot and Harley Quinn. I would be more than thrilled to see these two characters in another movie. In fact, I want to see a Harley Quinn movie now. I want to see a Deadshot movie now. They are too likable to not want to see them again. Viola Davis was really good as Amanda Waller. I wish that she will come back. Diablo played by Jay Hernandez is the only other character that you will appreciate.
          I don't think this movie is a disaster all the time. I just think it's a disaster eighty-five to ninety percent of the time. When this movie misses the spot, it misses the spot hard.
          I don't know why comic book movies have a tough time (for the most part) at making a good villain. More often than not they are really lack luster and really forgettable. This movie is no exception. You never have time to get to know this character. Unfortunately they decide to dedicate quite a bit of time to this character during the third act. And it just doesn't work. I couldn't care less about the final action scene because I didn't care for the character. I didn't even know what they were trying to do. Were they trying to destroy the world? They never made that clear. I don't know why they made the conflict on this big of a spectacle. It just didn't feel like it fit in with this movie. In fact it reminded me a lot of last years Fantastic 4 at some points. The finale just came off as some generic action piece. It was really cartoony and frankly, it didn't make very much sense. Then the villain had a random brother that possessed a random citizen guy. What I just said made no sense because it made no sense in the movie. The CGI they used on the brother was pre-2005 CGI. It was awful. There are so many other problems with this movie.
          Let's talk about the Joker. During the marketing campaign, he was used as a focus point for this movie. This movie basically has nothing to do with the Joker at all. He is hardly in this movie. You could cut out every scene with the Joker and the movie would still make sense. I bet you anything, that the only reason they included Joker was because the studio knows the Joker is very popular. The Joker has no purpose in this movie besides being a marketing tool. They wanted to fit him into the movie. They wanted to give him purpose and by doing so, they decided to cram in one of the best comic story lines, MAD LOVE (The origin story of Harley Quinn) into just 3-4 minutes of screen time by using really disjointed flashbacks that don't belong in this movie anyway. It also doesn't help that I hated this portrayal of the Joker. Jared Leto seemed like he was doing a terrible impression of Heath Ledger's Joker. I hope we never get to see this Joker again. He was a terrible addition to this movie.
          Tone was a big problem in this movie.  It felt like there were two movies jammed into one. One movie had a darker tone, the other movie had a lighter tone. The thing that pained me the most is, you can tell that there is a much darker version of this movie out there. I wish the stuck with that tone.
          This movie was a movie with no real structure to it. There are a whole bunch of flashbacks. Flashbacks that happen all throughout the movie. All of these flashbacks just don't make sense. It seemed like they filmed each scene in this movie, than inserted those scenes at random. They just didn't make a cohesive story.
           Suicide Squad is a movie that doesn't have good grasp of what it is. Even though it has standouts like Deadshot and Harley Quinn, it doesn't have enough to call it an enjoyable movie. With missteps that have to do with tone and pacing, Suicide Squad turns out to be a movie that will be forgetful and boring. I give Suicide Squad a 2/5.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Star Trek Beyond Review

          The USS Enterprise is exploring the deepest parts of uncharted space. During their expedition, they get attacked and crash land on this mysterious planet. The crew of the Enterprise get separated as they try to survive the evil wrath of Krall.
         This movie is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. And it does so in the best way possible. Beyond has what you wan't from a blockbuster but, it is also paying respect to the original cast and crew. Beyond is essentially a small independent film inside a big blockbusters body. While it has action and explosions, it doesn't loose sense of what Star Trek is. You have the humor, the great characters, and a great story. You will be entertained by Beyond from beginning to end.
          The best part about this movie is the writing. Simon Pegg and his writing partner make it so this movie has a great sense of character because, the most important thing to the Star Trek movies are its characters. Everything the characters say to one another feel very organic and not forced. This movie has great character moments intertwined with the whole movie. Especially the moments between Bones and Spock. This movie knows what to do to be a summer blockbuster but, it also makes sure the characters are in the forefront of it all.
          Idris Elba does a great job playing the villain Krall but, his character doesn't have as much depth as you might want from a villain. This happens throughout the whole entire movie. You never really understand the villains motives until the end. But even when you figure out why Krall is doing the stuff he is, it doesn't pay off. Don't go into this movie looking for a great villain because you won't get one.
          There was a great new addition to this movie and that was the character of Jaylah. She was awesome. She was a great action star, she looked great, and she had some funny lines. The best thing is she never got annoying. You will come out of this movie loving this character.
          Star Trek Beyond is my favorite movie in this rebooted franchise and it is definitely towards the top on my list of the best Star Trek movies. It's a movie where each act builds on top of the previous one. The first act is good, the second act is great, and the third act is awesome. The movie gets better as it goes on. It hooks you from the begging and then it takes you on a journey that became one of my favorite films of the year.
          With the smaller character moments and the throwbacks to the original Star Trek Beyond is a phenomenal Star Trek movie. I'm going to give Star Trek Beyond a 4.5/5.

RIP Leonard Nimoy & Anton Yelchin. He went too soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) Review

          Star Trek: Into Darkness is the follow up film to the 2009 reboot of this franchise. This film once again tells the adventures of the crew upon the USS Enterprise. When Starfleet suffers a terrorist attack from a mysterious personage, the crew must find this man, and bring him to justice. 
         When this movie first came out three years ago, I was a big fan of it. I believed it to be one of the best Star Trek movies. At that time in 2013 I wasn't a big Star Trek fan. Today, I have grown into a mild Star Trek fan. I love the TV shows, and most of the classic movies. So when I re-watched this movie, I very much disliked it. It didn't feel like a Star Trek film. I wasn't attached to the property in 2013 so I didn't care that it didn't feel like Star Trek. But right now, I'm more familiar with this property so it bugged me, badly, that this didn't seem like a Star Trek film. 
          If you are not a mild-big Star Trek fan like I was in 2013, you will get a kick out of this movie. It has great action, and the cast once again brings it with their portrayals of the classic Star Trek characters. If you are not attached to this property there is a very good chance you will like this movie. There is enough in this movie to make it enjoyable.
          I found it really hard to enjoy this movie. I tried to appreciate everything in it for what it was, but I just couldn't. It didn't feel like Star Trek. What I like and appreciate about Star Trek is it's simplicity. If you go back and read my review of the 2009 film, I praised it for not overcomplicating its self. Into Darkness did the opposite of what the 2009 film did. It lost the true sense of what Star Trek is. It didn't focus on the characters. Into Darkness focused on action, focused on making it a big, blockbuster epic, that it lost the true sense of what Star Trek is. 
          In conclusion Star Trek: Into Darkness had potential to be a great Star Trek film. It just didn't have the charm the 2009 film did to make it feel like Star Trek should feel. I will give Star Trek: Into Darkness a 2/5.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Star Trek (2009) Review

          This contemporary telling of the classic franchise as told by J.J. Abrams is a prequel story to the classic Star Trek tales. James T. Kirk, a member of Starfleet tries to live up to his father's legacy, but he finds it hard to do with Commander Spock forcing him to play by the rules. When time-traveling Romulan tries to destroy the federation one planet at a time, Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise must work together to stop Romulan, and save their captain.
          This movie does a great job at establishing and developing these characters. There is no exposition when it comes to getting to know these characters. When you first see them you know who they are and what they are like. That makes it so you will feel for these characters all throughout the movie. The movie made me feel like I have known these characters for a long time. They get you so invested, so quickly, and that leads to having a great journey. Now, a big help to this are the performances. Especially Chris Pine who played Kirk. He embodies this character, he understands who this character is. He didn't play it as a carbon copy of Shatner's original portrayal, he made it his own while keeping the core of Kirk the same.
          Not every character was well polished. The villain Romulan played by Eric Banna was very one note. When I first saw him I was enjoying his presence on screen. But as the movie went on, I was getting tired of him. He was doing the same thing over, and over again. He never changed and that lead to a bigger problem. If you don't see the villain as a serious threat, you really have no reason to cheer for the heroes. When our heroes first encounter Romulan, he immediately came across as a low level threat. So during the movie when they were trying to do something to overcome Romulan, you automatically knew that they were going to win. If a movie doesn't have dramatic tension, it is very easy to loose interest in it. I was very close to loosing interest in this movie.
          I appreciate the simplicity of this movie. It's a movie that depends on it's characters. It doesn't loose its self in trying to make it a big, spectacular, epic. A lot of movies now depend on their action set pieces rather than their story and characters. This movie did a great job at finding the perfect balance between the story, the characters, and the action. Apart from the story that has to do with Romulan, this is a great watch. It is a great movie. I'm going to give Star Trek a 3.5/5

Monday, May 23, 2016

Get Your First Look at Emma Watson as Belle in the New "Beauty and the Beast" Teaser Trailer

          Disney has been on a role lately with their live action adaptations of their classic animated films. You had last years Cinderella which absolutely blew me away with how beautiful it was and then you had this years The Jungle Book which totally changed the game for the visual effects industry. They should be expecting the same success coming next spring with their next adaptation, Beauty and the Beast.
          This trailer is beautiful. It is only a teaser trailer so it doesn't show you any "actual footage" but, it does show you some incredible shots from inside the Beast's castle. It starts off by showing you the Grand Ballroom which we can probably assume will be the location for the classic "Tale as Old as Time" scene. This room, along with the other rooms of the castle that this trailer shows you,  look visually stunning and I know they will look even better when the movie comes out. After this trailer takes you on a "tour" of the other rooms in the castle it shows you the portrait of the prince with the Beast's claws shredding it, which is obviously alluding to the moment that was in the classic 1991 film. The icing on the cake for the first half of the trailer was the song they played in the background. The song was "If I Can't Love Her" from Disney's Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast. This is my favorite song from that show and it isn't in the 1991 film, so I screamed a little when I heard the piano play it in the background.
          The so called "second half" of the trailer starts off with Ewan McGregor voicing Lumiere and Ian McKellen voicing Cogsworth. They talk about how there is a girl entering the Beast's castle and how she could be the one who lifts the curse. From the three lines of dialogue these characters say to each other, you can already tell that they will have great chemistry.  I can't wait to hear them sing in the actual movie.
          Then we get to the final shot of the movie. You see an up close shot of the iconic rose that counts down the days till the curse will forever stay upon the castle. When you see this rose, you simultaneously hear the very subtle but, very prominent piano play one of the most iconic songs, "Tale as Old as Time" also known as "Beauty and the Beast" play in the background. Being the huge Disney fan that I am, I couldn't help but smile and tear up a little when I heard it. Then you get the shot of the beautiful Emma Watson as Belle looking at this rose.
          This was a perfect teaser trailer for this movie. It gave you a sense of how they modernized it but it also gave you the same feeling from the classic animated movie.
          I can't wait for this movie to come out. Besides Star Wars: EP VIII, this is by far my most anticipated movie of 2017. I just can't wait to see what they do with it. I can't wait to see the character designs of all these characters. What will Mrs.Potts look like? What will the Beast him self look like? And I just can't wait to see Emma Watson as Belle in her beautiful, iconic yellow dress. When we first see that image, I will be filled with tears of joy. That moment in the animated movie is in my top 5 all time film scenes. I also sure hope they keep this a musical (which they have to, right?) I'm getting really anxious right now because I want to see the singing and dancing dishes during the Be Our Guest number.
          I also can't wait to see this amazing cast. This is one of the most impressive/most talented casts I have ever scene. Like I said you get the beautifully talented Emma Watson as Bell, Ewan McGregor (who is one of the most underrated actors) as Lumiere, and one of the most talented men who have ever walked this planet, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth. Along with those actors you have Dan Stevens who will play The Beast, you have six time TONY award winning actress Audra McDonald as the very operatic Wardrobe, you have Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Stanly Tucci as a the grand piano/maestro, and last but certainly not least Emma Thompson as Mrs.Potts. Read that list of actors and tell me you aren't excited for this movie. See, you can't do it.
          I didn't think I could be looking forward to this movie anymore then I already was. But this trailer made it so I'm excited beyond belief. March 17th, 2017 could not come any quicker. I want this movie now! This trailer made my inner Disney geek shine a little brighter.
          To watch this magical trailer, click here.
          To get your very own Teen Movie Guy merchandise, click here.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Captain America: Civil War Review (Spoiler Free)

          While the Avengers were on a covert mission in Lagos, Scarlet Witch accidentally did something to cause an unexpected amount of damage. That caused the UN to write up something called "The Sokovia Accords." These accords say that the United Nations choose when it's necessary to call in The Avengers. Iron Man  believes that the Avengers need to be put in check and is pro-Sokovia Accords. Captain America believes that if he sees a problem going south the team has to go fix it even if someone doesn't tell them to and is anti-Sokovia accords. These two different political ideologies causes a rift that tears the team apart. 
         This movie is ultimately about friendship and vengeance and how when those two things come together, you can experience some of the biggest problems you will ever face. It dove in deep into those themes while at the same time continuing the MARVEL humor that we are all used to at this point. When I first heard about Captain America: Civil War I was worried that the movie was going to be more Captain America: Civil Dispute than an actual war between these characters. It was definitely a "War" between the two sides. I was impressed with the way that it introduced the problems in the movie. I was surprised with how serious they took these problems. They grounded this movie to make it a movie where you felt that every decision that was made will have a dramatic effect on someone or something. The movie depicts the political and social issues/conflicts with such maturity that you will understand everything that is going on. You will never get confused on why characters are doing certain things. You understand why every single character is fighting for the things they are. There isn't one moment where you question a character's motives. 
          This movie is also a ton of fun. The action in this movie is literally some of the best that Hollywood has ever produced. The only thing wrong with the action in this movie happened in the very first action scene. It used the shaky camera effect to try and exemplify the action but that never works. Fortunately that only lasted for the first part of the first fight. But other than that you will hear no one complaing about the action in this movie. The stunt team for this movie did a phenomenal job at choreographing the fight scenes. Most of the fighting you see in this movie is hand-to-hand combat. It's very impressive and difficult to show that on camera with so much more going on. The stunt men deserve some major praise for the jaw dropping stunts they incorporated into this movie. They did such a great job at incorporating CGI explosions, chase scenes, and other awesome moments into the action scenes. The airport scene is some of the best action I have ever seen in any movie ever. Not just in comic book movies, but movies in general. During this scene you will be on the edge of your seat, geeking out the whole time. 
          A difficult task for this movie was to introduce two new characters. One of those characters was Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman. Right when you see this character, they give you a reason to get behind him. I didn't know anything about Black Panther. After I saw this film, I felt like I knew everything. They mentioned his origin story in a matter of seconds. They made you understand the character in such a short amount of time. When you first see Black Panther fight, you get right on board with him. You will not be able to wait for his standalone movie coming 2018. However, with how great Black Panther was, he was not the best new character. The best new character is Spider-Man. He only has about fifteen minutes of screen time and this is the best Spider-Man movie ever. His chemistry with Tony Stark is impeccable. This is the best Spider-Man we have ever had. Tom Holland portrays this character so closely to what Spider-Man should be. I can't say anymore without spoiling it but, trust me when I saw you will be very pleased with Holland's portrayal as Spidey. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero and Holland definitely did the character justice. He's my favorite Spider-Man ever. I can't wait to see his standalone movie coming next year. 
          MARVEL has always had problems with their villains (aside from Loki.) You never really understand why they are doing the things they are doing. But like I said before, you understand why every character is doing the things they are doing, and that included the villain Zemo played by Daniel Bruhl. You understand his mentality and why he feels the way he does. He is not your stereotypical "mustache twirling" villain. He has depth and character. They made sure they didn't make him a throw-away villain. He doesn't really have that much screen time but, he didn't really need to. The main source of conflict comes from Cap and Iron Man so the conflict that Zemo adds is just a bonus.  
          The writing in this movie did such a brilliant job at not making it obvious which side you should join. During the whole movie you switch between cheering for Iron Man and Cap. The whole thing that was "Team Iron Man" or "Team Cap" was just a promotional gimmick. You don't know which side you should cheer for. It makes it very interesting. And that is what good writing is. 
          Of course without spoiling anything I'm just going to say, Ant-Man. Ant-Man, Ant-Man, Ant-Man. You will know what I mean once you see this movie. 
          Another thing that should be appreciated is how good Robert Downey Jr. was. Every single movie Tony Stark is in he has developed. The Tony Stark you see in Civil War is a completely different Tony Stark than the one in the first Iron Man. It's nice to see the continuing development of Tony Stark. Also the emotional scenes were tremendously acted by Robert Downey Jr. He was the best performer in this movie. 
          Civil War does have some problems with it. One of the "big reveals" that was revealed by Bucky was a little underwhelming. There were a few scenes that could've been done better. There was one scene that Steve Rogers listened to someone give a speech and that speech motivated Steve Rogers to finalize his position. The goal that the scene was trying to achieve could've been done in a better way. 
          The big question is where does this rank amongst the other MARVEL movies. I would rank it at number five. I would put it behind The Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. I am going to give Captain America: Civil War a 4/5

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Captain America:The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

          Let's continue the Captain America Marathon with The Winter Soldier!  
       One part spy thriller, one part character journey, one part action movie and,  one part superhero film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the best comic book film to come to the big screen.
      Captain America 2 has much more depth than what we have seen previously in other comic book movies. They were able to accomplish that because the directors didn't treat this like a comic book movie. They treated it like a political/espionage thriller first, then they treated it like a comic book movie. Most comic book movies have that feel that they are there to showcase the hero and how awesome he/she is. In this they wanted to showcase the political drama. They knew they had something special with the story so they made the smart move and decided to put emphasis on that instead of putting all their attention on making great action set pieces. They needed to do that because this movie will/already has changed the future of this franchise. 
         I know I'm talking a lot about the story but that is by far the best thing about this movie and I really can't say enough about it.  The story is superior to anything else we have seen before. It's grounded in reality. There are no aliens in this movie and even better, there are no giant alien worm things coming out of holes in the sky (yes, that is a reference to the first Avengers.) The events and conflicts that happened are the kind of things you could expect to see happen today. That made it so it was easier to relate to everything that was going on. 
         The best action scenes in film history, (not just comic book movies), happen in this movie. You have the Nick Fury car chase, the Captain America vs. Winter Soldier highway battle, the beginning scene on the boat and, the elevator scene. When I was watching this I cheered out loud because these are some of the most adrenaline rushing scenes I have ever seen. They were all choreographed really well and, it was nicely edited. The scenes were very smooth shot action scenes which is particularly hard to find these days. 
          As expected Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie (The Falcon), and Samuel Jackson all do great things in the movie. The biggest surprise however was Robert Redford. Never in a million years would I have thought that Redford would sign onto a comic book movie. I didn't think Redford was the type of actor who would do well in big studio films. He was just so good. His chemistry with everyone was spot on. It seemed like he belonged in there.  I'm still kicking my self in the head because I doubted Robert Redford, You never doubt Robert Redford. 
          One thing this movie didn't have which I really wish it did was the Captain America theme used in the first movie. Even though I loved the feel of this movie, I missed a little of that Captain America charm that was there in the first movie. I believe that was due to the fact that they didn't keep the same composer which was a mistake. In all reality, that is my only nitpick with this movie. 
          Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite comic book movie of all time. It balances everything out perfectly. I'm going to give Captain America: The Winter Soldier a perfect 5/5. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Review

          With Captain America: Civil War coming out this week, let's revisit the movie that kicked off the character!
          Steve Rogers is just a young man from Brooklyn with hopes of joining the military. Rejection after rejection, Rogers finally finds his way into joining the US Army.  Rogers finds his way into becoming the "super soldier" Captain America and along with it, has to defeat the terrorist group known as Hydra.
          The negatives in this movie are very few. However, they are prominent enough that they end up making a big difference on how you enjoy the movie. Right from the start they show the character of Steve Rogers before he took the "super soldier" serum. In order to create this effect that Steve Rogers was a small, skinny guy, they had to CGI Chris Evans's face onto another person. There isn't much they could do about this but, it just looked bad. You could obviously tell that they had to computer generate his face onto another guy. But like I said, I don't know what they could have done to fix it.
          One thing that has always been Marvel's weakness (apart from Loki) is their villains. I wish this movie was an exception but, unfortunately it wasn't. You never get a clear understanding on what Red Skull's motivations are. You get a sense that he is evil, you just don't get a good sense of why he is evil. You have a basic understanding at the beginning but as the movie goes on, you can't gather information (because there is none) as to why he wants to accomplish his goals. Also at the end of the movie he gathers a pretty big army. You don't know how he got it, and you don't know why he got it. And frankly you don't really know why he needs it because he goes a long and tries to do everything by him self anyways.
          This movie does have quite a few things going for it. The one-liners in this movie are hilarious. The only way one-liners can work is when the cast has great chemistry with each other. And the cast has exceptional chemistry with each other. Going along with that, the movie was really well casted. From Tommy Lee Jones playing a colonel in the US Army, to Sebastian Stan playing Rogers's best friend Bucky Barnes, you enjoy watching what these actors bring to the screen.
          The thing the bugs me the most about comic book movies is the love interest. The majority of the time I am always so annoyed with the romantic interest. They always take focus away from the movie and turn a comic book movie into a wannabe romance movie. However, the love interest in this movie is my favorite in a comic book movie.  It is my favorite because the character of Peggy Carter just dominates in every single way. She is heavily involved in the action in the movie, she is heavily involved in the plot of the movie, and she is heavily involved in the development of Steve Rogers's character. When you have those 3 things in the love interest, it turns the love interest into a great character that you don't even think of as a love interest.
          The thing that I love most about this movie is that it takes place during World War II. World War II is one of my favorite time periods in history and I love when ever I see a movie that takes place during it. Apart from this being a comic book movie, it's a great period piece. It captures the struggle of the allies during the war, along with the sense of victory for the allies when the war ended. This is one of the best WWII movies out there.
          I can't finish this review without mentioning the spot on performance of Chris Evans as Captain America. He just embodies the character so well. Evans as Captain America is my favorite portrayal of a comic book character.
          When you first hear the Captain America March composed by Alan Silvestri, you get right on board with this movie. It will be hard trying to restrain your self from cheering when you see Captain America fighting along with the US Army. I'm going to rate Captain America: The First Avenger 4/5.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Jungle Book (2016) Review

          The Jungle Book (as many of you might know) follows a little boy named Mowgli who was raised by wolfs and is hunted by the vicious tiger Shere Kahn. Mowgli is constantly trying to make sure Shere Kahn doesn't get to him while at the same time trying to get back to his people. 
          When Jon Favreau (the director) introduced this movie at D23 (the all Disney convention), he said this was going to be one of the most technologically advanced movies of all time. And it sure was. This whole movie was shot in LA on sound stages/sets. Nothing was shot in an actual jungle. Not one animal in this movie is a real animal. They were are all done with computers. That is crazy to think about. This whole movie was shot indoors. The movie was breathtaking and beautiful. I often found myself having to bring me back into reality because I believed what I was watching was real. 
          The only practical thing in this movie was the boy Mowgli played by first time actor Neel Sethi. He had to act with nothing. He acted by himself this whole movie. For being a young kid, he did an exceptional job. I've seen adult actors completely fail at acting with nothing. Sethi did awesome. 
          Besides the visual effects the main reason I wanted to see this movie was the cast they got to do the voice acting. Everyone, and I mean everyone did a perfect job voicing their characters, so I'm only going to talk about my favorites. Idris Elba as Shere Kahn was very menacing. He gave layers, and depths to his character that wasn't there in the original. The character as a whole had better motives than the one in the cartoon. Elba's voice is so smooth, and dark that makes it a perfect choice for a villain. Christopher Walken voiced King Louie. And this, this was inspired casting. Walken has one of the most iconic voices in Hollywood, and casting him as one of the most iconic Disney characters was the best thing they could've done. But the best voice in this movie was Bill Murray as Baloo. Murray has been on a cold streak lately, not putting his full effort into his performances. But you could tell that he put effort into this character. Murray is one of the greatest comedic actors of all time and it definitely showed in this movie.  
          The Jungle Book is a movie that you will not get bored watching. If you are not liking the story/writing, the visual effects will keep you invested. It's hard to say that a remake of a movie is better than it's predecessor, but the 2016 Disney Jungle Book is better than the 1963 Disney Jungle Book. This modern retelling added story points that enhanced the story. It actually improved on the original. This will now be known as the definitive Jungle Book movie. At least for this generation. 
          But do beware, if you have little kids that are under the age of 6, you probably shouldn't take them to see this. It has some dark and scary moments. But I guess it just depends on your kid. If they were fine watching the Lion King, they would be fine watching this. I'm going to give The Jungle Book a 4.5/5. There were some slow story points, so I can't quite get it to perfect. 

          If you were worried that there wouldn't be any classic Disney songs in hear, don't worry. There are 2 and they are absolutely my favorite parts in the movie. If you want to here more classic Disney songs, stick around for the credits.  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice Review (Spoiler Free)

          There is a lot of controversy surrounding Superman. He is an alien that has caused A LOT of destruction in Metropolis at the end of Man of Steel. Bruce Wayne/Batman isn't very happy about this because people who he loved and cared about, along with innocents died in this battle of Metropolis. Batman is ready to take down Superman. These two heavy weights are going head to head while Lex Luthor is planning an evil scheme.
          Ben Affleck absolutely killed it as Bruce Wayne/Batman. One of the checkboxes this movie had to check off was, it had to make Bruce Wayne a compelling character and it had to show why he disliked the idea of a Superman. They did that and more. Wayne was interesting, he was compelling, and I completely understood why he went against Superman. It's very important to have a good Bruce Wayne because if you don't have a good Bruce Wayne, you wouldn't care about Batman. Let me tell you this; This is by far my favorite Batman we've had. All respect to Keaton and Bale's representation of the character, but they didn't really do much when it comes to the fighting/martial arts part of Batman. The biggest thing that has bugged me about their representation is that they treated Batman like he didn't really know how to fight. He just throws punches and that's it. This Batman was brutal. He was dark. He definitely knew how to fight. The action scenes with Batman are by far the best parts about this movie. Along with Affleck, Jeremy Irons was a pretty awesome Alfred.
          I wasn't a big fan of Henry Cavill's portrayal of Superman this time around. I loved him in Man of Steel but, something was just off in this movie. The biggest thing that made me feel that way was his line delivery. It could've been the fault of Cavill. It could've been the fault of the script. I just don't know who to blame for this issue. Another thing that felt out of place was they never really gave any motivation to why Superman dislikes Batman. In the end they try to give him a reason for hating Batman, but even before that the two characters had an encounter and it made no sense why Superman was so pissed of at Batman.
          Lex Luthor played by Jesse  Eisenberg will annoy you. Even if you liked him in the trailers (which I did), he will annoy you. If you have ever seen Batman: Forever with Jim Carrey as the Riddler, that is basically what Luthor is in this movie. A character that is very socially awkward and has lots of ticks that get annoying after 2minutes of watching him on screen. Eisenberg's portrayal of the character was good, it's just the character that will drive you insane. The one thing I liked about Luthor was they made his motivation of why he is doing the things he is doing make sense. They didn't however make sense of how he did the things he did. (This is not a spoiler because it appears in the trailer) when Luthor creates Doomsday, it made no sense of how he did it which caused a lot of confusion.
          Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was pretty awesome. For the brief time she was on screen I felt really pleased with her performance.
          The action in this movie is fantastic. The fight at the very end where the 3 big superheroes team up and fight Doomsday (again, it was in the trailer so therefore not a spoiler) was awesome. Snyder really knows how to direct action and it showed in this movie. The actual fight between Superman and Batman was awesome. It was like it leaped right of the page of Frank Miller's graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns" (if you haven't checked that out, GO DO IT.) The action won't be one of the things you complain about when you leave the movie. It's a really pretty movie, it's a good looking movie but unfortunately, it was also a big mess.
          Batman V. Superman has a lot of problems dealing with the narrative/story.  Zack Snyder can direct beautiful movies, just sometimes he has a tough time balancing substance with story. The biggest problem with this movie is that it has multiple movies in one movie but, it didn't find a way to connect these multiple movies/stories. It had the political thriller of what should the government do with Superman, it had a story with Bruce Wayne trying to figure out things about people that may appear in future DC movies, it had a story with Superman having conflict with Batman. All stories are great on their own,  there was just no way to connect them. It felt very messy and very scattered. The worst part is, when this movie already had too much things going on, it opened another can of worms. You can tell that they wanted to include so many little details that it ended up causing the movie to have way more things that it could handle.  Lois Lane has a tough time being a relevant character. She goes back and forth from being a character that needs to be there, to just being Lois Lane.
          At one point Wonder Woman gets an email from Bruce Wayne and the subject line of the email should have just said "Let's get ready for the Justice League!" It was the laziest way to shoe in these characters. The movie was so focused on getting every puzzle piece in place to set up future Justice League movies, that it forgot to be a good stand alone movie.
          Batman V. Superman isn't a good movie, but it isn't a bad movie. You will be entertained by it. There is no doubt about it. It made me excited for future Justice League movies. I saw this once on Friday, and wanted to go see it again on Saturday, and I'm going next week. It's not bad enough to make you never want to see it again. It's worth going to if you want to be entertained. But it's not worth going to if you want a well done, cohesive comic book movie. It's not that bad.
Batman V. Superman gets a 2.7/5

Go give this movie a shot.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Zootopia Review

          Zootopia tells the story of a rabbit named Judy Hopps who really wants to become a police officer. This is not something that is normal. In fact if she does become a police officer (which she does) she will be the first ever rabbit that is part of the police force. When she manages to get a case that has to do with missing mammals, she teams up with a sly fox named Nick Wilde that tries to help her solve the case.
          This movie is fantastic. It has so much more meaning than I ever expected it to have. It's definitely a more mature/adult oriented movie than I thought it would be. This is a great well rounded film. Not only is it a great film for kids to enjoy, it's a film that adults will enjoy as well. In fact it has a lot of themes that kids will not understand like sexism, racism, drugs, etc... I'm being dead serious about that. I was absolutely surprised about what kind of issues this movie handled. At some points I was surprised about what they put in the movie because kids just won't understand it. Now, don't get me wrong this is still a film kids will have a great time watching. However it is a film that I believe adults will actually enjoy a little more.
          Zootopia puts more effort into telling you the story it wants to tell, rather than putting it's effort into making you laugh. It really felt like this movie was made for adults but instead of humans being in the movie,  there were animals that walked and acted like humans.  Even with this movie tackling the certain themes, it was extremely entertaining and fun.
          The two main characters were so great! Ginnifer Goodwin as Hopps and Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde did fantastic voice work. Same with all the other celebrities that had a part in it. JK Simmons, Idris Elba, even Shakira did a great job. Michael Giaccino (it seems like he composes every Disney movie now a days) once again strongly delivers, giving this movie a fantastic score that I already downloaded. I don't want to sell short the amazement I had watching the action scenes. The animation was beautiful, it felt much more real then other animated movies.
          Zootopia is definitely in my top 3 Disney animated movies, it's also in my top 5 animated movies of all time. The characters were great, the script is one of the best, the message is well above anything I've ever seen in a kids film before. And I can't forget to mention how funny this movie was. It was hysterical. There were points where I was laughing, and I just couldn't stop. I can't wait to see this movie again because I know there were jokes I missed when I was laughing.
          I'm going to give this movie a perfect, 5/5

And there is a great Godfather reference that I really appreciated.