Friday, March 15, 2019

Captain Marvel

I've been looking forward to seeing Avengers: End Game since Thanos snapped his fingers and created so much havoc for comic book movie fans. As part of my preparation for the next installment, I felt it would be a good idea to get up to speed by watching Captain Marvel. As a kid I always thought Billy Batson or Shazam was Captain Marvel so I was a little confused when I found out there was a woman super hero named Captain Marvel but I still went into this movie open minded and interested to see how she relates to the rest of the Marvel Universe.


Let me get straight to my takeaway.  I rank Captain Marvel down there with Thor: The Dark World around the bottom 5 or 6 of the 21 Marvel movies that have been made. I was shocked to learn that Brie Larson previously won an academy award because she seemed very dull and emotionless. It may not have been her fault as an actor if she was directed to portray herself that way but I felt even Kristen Stewart could have brought more emotion and range to the role. I just never connected to the character because she seemed so distant and un-fun to watch.

Some of the special effects like the de-aging of Nick Fury and Agent Colson was pretty impressive but some of the other special effects were just mediocre. None of the action scenes took my breath away. Maybe Infinity War set the bar too high and I'm expecting too much now but I just wasn't impressed. I also did not care for any of the scenes with the cat, especially the final reveal as it relates to Nick Fury.

Some people have criticized this movie claiming it promotes a feminist agenda.That is not why I didn't care for Captain Marvel. I did notice several scenes and dialogue that some might take offense with. There were also some subtle SJW messages that jumped out at me but that was not the reason I disliked this movie. It just was not that good. I heard some criticize Mad Max Fury Road for having too many females characters but I loved that movie because it was so entertaining and captivating unlike this film. 

I left the theater feeling let down and now I'm even a little concerned about how Infinity War is going to be. I have no problem with a strong female lead in a super hero movie but this is one instance where Wonder Woman and DC did a better job than Marvel did with this movie. Most people will probably like this movie more than I did but I can only give it a generous 5.9 star rating and part of that is for the nice Stan Lee nod in the opening credits.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Searching

I'm a little sheepish to be admit this but last year I saw a movie that I really liked and forgot to post about it in my comprehensive and super professional movie review blog until now. Searching is a movie about a young girl who suddenly goes missing and her father's frantic efforts to find her using her social media and contacts on her laptop. I liked this movie for the following reasons:



1) It was very suspenseful and felt like a modern day Hitchcock (but drowned in social media.) I was captivated and entertained the entire movie.

2) There are not a ton of characters but the performances were good. There were even several touching and emotional scenes. The introductory videos that told the story of the family reminded me of the beginning of Up.

3) Any millennial should be able to relate to this movie since it is about a young person and the whole story and every camera angle is shown through the filter of social media websites, laptop, security cameras, texts, etc. The movie stays true to this format to the end and that added a sense of realism to the film.

4) The format for this movie was unique and original. It could have backfired or gotten old, but it worked on me and even threw in some interesting social commentary at the same time.

I really liked Searching and would suggest it to anyone who enjoys the mystery/suspense genre. I give it 7.8 stars.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Glass

Glass is the follow up movie to Unbreakable and Split.

One thing I liked about this movie (as well as prequels) was how subtle it was for a superhero movie. The director does a good job of not pushing a bunch of super powers on you. Shyamalan does not go crazy with CG and special effects. Nobody flies, runs through buildings, shoots lasers from their eyes, etc. so you find yourself questioning if these guys really do have super powers.


Some might look at Glass and see it as a poor man's Marvel movie but I actually appreciate occasionally scaling back on the special effects. I really like Shyamalan's attention to detail especially his work with color schemes like we've seen in many of his other films. I thought the performances from the big 3 stars were good, especially the range McAvoy showed with all of his split personalities. I had a hard time taking Sarah Paulson's character seriously and saw through her pretty quick. Aside from that I liked this movie, especially the plot twists at the end.

I thought Glass was a nice end to the trilogy. I give it 7.3 stars.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Aquaman

When I was a little kid I enjoyed watching Superfriends on Saturday morning. For some reason out of all the cool heroes that made up the Hall of Justice, I seemed to like Aquaman the most. I'm not sure
why since I dislike oceans and fish and have never liked being in water. Anyway my idea of Aquaman has always been a yellow haired dude with green and orange water suit. As you can imagine I was a little surprised when Aquaman made his debut in Justice League and he looked like a member of a biker gang. I tried to roll with it but I think Arthur Curry doth protest too much with the overblown tough guy attitude and heavy drinking. We get it, you are a cool rebel who doesn't want to be a super hero.


This week I went with my son to see Aquaman. I saw it had received pretty good reviews and I was wanting it to be good and was hoping DC was on an upswing with one of their movies. I felt the movie started pretty weak. The scene where Black Mantis and his dad show up had some of the worst cliches and bad writing I've ever seen in a movie. When Aquaman makes his first appearance it was almost laughable. He'd say some smart ass comment and flip his hair back in dramatic fashion and then an electric guitar would play a riff as he looked into the camera. Seriously?

The movie got a little better as the story developed but I had a hard time getting into it. Some of the special effects were off the chart amazing while others were pretty lackluster. I think Jason Momoa is a cool guy but his character just tries to hard. Amber Heard was a pretty face with her dramatic red hair but I didn't think either lead was very convincing and they didn't have any chemistry. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, and Temuera Morrison had the best performances but their screen time was limited. I found myself looking at my watch half way through the movie and that's not a good sign for an action movie. I think I actually liked the recent Superman movies more than Aquaman.

The music was also very odd. Some times it was a dramatic score but then there were scenes that switched to a synthesizer and it sounded like it was trying to be Daft Punk in Tron. I did like some of the underwater effects and really liked the scene when he got the green and gold Aquaman suit towards the end of the movie but overall I just felt like it was lacking in substance, script, development, and acting. I wanted to like Aquaman more but I can only give it 6.3 stars.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

A couple years ago I saw The Jungle Book and really enjoyed it. I thought Jon Favreau did a great job directing it and felt it was an enjoyable family film. I was surprised to see another rival version of the story come out entitled Mowgli so soon afterwards. I was even more surprised when I realized it was being released directly on Netflix.

Mowgli was directed by Andy Serkis. He is also the voice of Baloo. Like the prior movie from 2016, this is also a live action version as opposed to animation but it has a darker and more intense feel to it. There is no breaking into song in this version and very few cute or funny moments so it's less of a kid's film since it holds closer to Rudyard Kipling's book.

Just like the prior movie, this one also has a stellar cast including Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchet, Andy Serkis, Naomie Harris, and others.


One thing that I really liked about this version was the attention to some small details that brought more realism. Things like Mowgli being filthy, the scars from injuries, etc. I had a hard time deciding which version I thought had better CGI. I liked some aspects of each film more but overall I'd have to give Mowgli a slightly higher score. I was shocked to see that it had lower scores on IMDB than The Jungle Book. 

I give Mowgli 7.6 stars. 



 
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