Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Late-to-the-Party Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix

It's no secret that the X-Men franchise has been in an uneven talespin since the release of X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Personally, I haven't been a big fan of the series from the beginning, with the exception of First Class. Each entry in the franchise really has been a product of its director and creative team. The proof is in the end result of what we received in the theater. Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Kingsman films) helmed First Class and James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Ford v. Ferrari) held the reins to both The Wolverine and Logan. I think enough has been said. X-Men: Dark Phoenix isn't the best movie in the series, but it's at least entertaining, short, and to the point.

The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out of control. During a rescue mission in outer space, Jean is nearly killed when she's hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. The X-Men must now band together to save her soul and battle aliens that want to use Grey's new abilities to rule the galaxy.

I've always found the Bryan Singer X-Men films in the series to be way too long and convoluted. I know many disagree with me, but my opinion is my opinion. Dark Phoenix wastes no time getting straight to the heart of the action and story. A dangerous alien takes over Jean Grey. Other aliens come to Earth that want the power to take over the planet. The X-Men have to stop it while dealing with the personal and emotional repercussions the crisis has had on the mutants, both good and bad. That's it. It's that simple.

The acting in X-Men: Dark Phoenix was up to par with the other films. James Mcavoy, Michael Fassbender, Sophie Turner, and the rest of the cast all fulfill their duties in this last installment of the Fox universe of these Marvel superheroes. Turner does a commendable job of showing different ranges of emotion as she struggles between her humanity and alien possession.


There are some great action sequences in Dark Phoenix as well. Helicopters crash and large pieces of metal are flung at different characters. An awesome battle on a speeding train serves as the climax of the film. Let's not forget about some awesome scenes with Quicksilver and Nightcrawler buzzing around at breakneck speeds.

The only weak spot I really noticed was the CGI in some spots. There are a couple scenes where it literally looks like the effects team was just told to stop in the middle of the process. Were they working on that exact part when they were told Disney bought Fox? One digital depiction of a certain character looked as bad as the Scorpion King did in 2001's The Mummy Returns.

I was also glad that X-Men: Dark Phoenix actually concludes. There's no tease for another movie we're never going to get now. The Fox buyout happened before this movie came out, but they still could've made a bad decision and left us with an open ending. Things aren't perfect at the close of the film, but we're assured that everyone will go on and continue fighting evil.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix was directed by Simon Kinberg. It stars James Mcavoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sophie Turner. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language.

Late-to-the-Party Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix

It's no secret that the X-Men franchise has been in an uneven talespin since the release of X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Personally, I haven't been a big fan of the series from the beginning, with the exception of First Class. Each entry in the franchise really has been a product of its director and creative team. The proof is in the end result of what we received in the theater. Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Kingsman films) helmed First Class and James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Ford v. Ferrari) held the reins to both The Wolverine and Logan. I think enough has been said. X-Men: Dark Phoenix isn't the best movie in the series, but it's at least entertaining, short, and to the point.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Home Entertainment Review: Gemini Man

How can you not think that watching an older Will Smith battling a younger version of himself wouldn't be entertaining? That's the premise of Ang Lee's Gemini Man, which hit homes last week on Blu-ray and DVD. The charisma of Will Smith is enough just when there's one of him. Now just imagine how much allure we're bombarded with here. We get grizzled and angry Will at age 51 and young and spry with just the right amount of angst Smith at around 21 smacking each other around.

Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who's ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans get turned upside down when he becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his horror, Brogan soon learns that the man who's trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself in Gemini Man.

The most impressive thing about Gemini Man is how realistic the CGI looks for young Will Smith. He looks better than anything we've seen Disney do with the Avengers. You really forget you're not looking at an outraged Fresh Prince most of the time. I hate steering attention away from Industrial, Light, and Magic (ILM), but WETA REALLY delivered the goods here.I'm not going to say there's not little imperfections here and there, but overall it's impeccable.


Although the story isn't original by any means, Gemini Man makes up for that with a solid cast and energy that makes up for it. Every actor brings a sincerity to their role and performance. It also doesn't rely on just big action sequences, but carries a story as well.

Speaking of the action sequences in Gemini Man, there are a few that are downright spectacular. The sequence where young Will Smith is attacking old Will Smith with a motorcycle is ridiculously cool. You'll want to re-watch it a few times just to soak it in. There's some hand-to-hand combat between the two that is rather dynamic as they trade off punches back and forth.

Ang Lee directed Gemini Man. Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong star in the film. It is rated PG-13 for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language.

Home Entertainment Review: Gemini Man

How can you not think that watching an older Will Smith battling a younger version of himself wouldn't be entertaining? That's the premise of Ang Lee's Gemini Man, which hit homes last week on Blu-ray and DVD. The charisma of Will Smith is enough just when there's one of him. Now just imagine how much allure we're bombarded with here. We get grizzled and angry Will at age 51 and young and spry with just the right amount of angst Smith at around 21 smacking each other around.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Snowpiercer is Plowing Its Way Onto TNT on May 31st [VIDEO]

The trailer for the upcoming Snowpiercer series hitting TNT in May has made its way onto the internet. I'll be honest right out of gate and tell you I've never seen the movie, so I can't really judge this in relation to that. It looks good from an outside perspective. There's definitely a potential for some great stories. The concept sort of reminds me of what they did with the Battlestar Galactica series from both 1978 and 2003. A few plotlines from those shows involved the remnants of different planets living in cargo holds and on different types of ships, some suffering hardships and forming their own little civilizations. Check out the trailer after the jump.

Set more than seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland Snowpiercer centers on the remnants of humanity, who inhabit a 1001 car, perpetually-moving train that circles the globe. Class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival play out in this riveting television adaptation based on the acclaimed movie and graphic novel series of the same name.

Snowpiercer stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs and premieres May 31st on TNT.

Snowpiercer is Plowing Its Way Onto TNT on May 31st [VIDEO]

The trailer for the upcoming Snowpiercer series hitting TNT in May has made its way onto the internet. I'll be honest right out of gate and tell you I've never seen the movie, so I can't really judge this in relation to that. It looks good from an outside perspective. There's definitely a potential for some great stories. The concept sort of reminds me of what they did with the Battlestar Galactica series from both 1978 and 2003. A few plotlines from those shows involved the remnants of different planets living in cargo holds and on different types of ships, some suffering hardships and forming their own little civilizations. Check out the trailer after the jump.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

First Stargirl Trailer Gives Us a Glimpse at Justice Society

The latest trailer for Season One of The CW's newest DC adaptation, Stargirl, has hit the internet. Is it wrong that the lead character wasn't even the most exciting part of the teaser for me? I was much more excited to see the very brief glimpses at the Justice Society and Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan. Check out the trailer after the jump.

Comic book nerds know Pat Dugan as Stripesy, the sidekick to teen superhero The Star-Spangled Kid and stepfather of Stargirl. We even get a look at S.T.R.I.P.E., a powered armor suit Dugan invented and wore while fighting crime.

The show looks like it will appeal to average teens because of the high school setting and characters. Adults and come book fans will get hooked because of its connections and appearances to superheroes like Starman and the Justice Society. Honestly, if they get enough adolescent drama and angst involved, the show could find an audience in viewers of One Tree Hill fodder and the Arrowverse crowd.

Courtney Whitmore (aka Stargirl) is smart, athletic and above all else kind. This high school teenager’s seemingly perfect life hits a major speed bump when her mother gets married and her new family moves from Los Angeles, California, to Blue Valley, Nebraska. Struggling to adapt to a new school, make new friends and deal with a new step-family, Courtney discovers her step-father has a secret; he used to be the sidekick to a superhero. ‘Borrowing’ the long-lost hero’s cosmic staff, Courtney becomes the unlikely inspiration for an entirely new generation of superheroes.

Stargirl is coming to The CW in Spring 2020! It stars Brec Bassinger, Luke Wilson, Amy Smart, Joel McHale, Henry Thomas, and Lou Ferrigno.

First Stargirl Trailer Gives Us a Glimpse at Justice Society

The latest trailer for Season One of The CW's newest DC adaptation, Stargirl, has hit the internet. Is it wrong that the lead character wasn't even the most exciting part of the teaser for me? I was much more excited to see the very brief glimpses at the Justice Society and Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan. Check out the trailer after the jump.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

First Morbius Trailer Has Our Attention [VIDEO]

I love vampires and I love superhero comic books. It would seem that Marvel and Sony's upcoming Morbius movie was tailor-made just for me. The first trailer from the film, which stars Jared Leto as the lead character definitely piqued my interest. I'm not going to say that it got me hyped up to a fever pitch or anything. However, they have my attention and I will see the movie. Leto looks like he is really pouring himself into the role and is committed to it fully. If Venom taught me anything, it is to not underestimate this extended universe Sony is dedicated to bringing to fruition. It also proved that you don't need Spider-Man to build an alternate Spider-Verse if you have an appealing anti-hero. Check out the trailer after the jump.

One of Marvel’s most compelling and conflicted characters comes to the big screen as Oscar winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero, Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder, and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. What at first appears to be a radical success soon reveals itself to be a remedy potentially worse than the disease.

Morbius was directed by Daniel Espinosa. It stars Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. The movie is not yet rated.

Morbius infects theaters July 31, 2020.

First Morbius Trailer Has Our Attention [VIDEO]

I love vampires and I love superhero comic books. It would seem that Marvel and Sony's upcoming Morbius movie was tailor-made just for me. The first trailer from the film, which stars Jared Leto as the lead character definitely piqued my interest. I'm not going to say that it got me hyped up to a fever pitch or anything. However, they have my attention and I will see the movie. Leto looks like he is really pouring himself into the role and is committed to it fully. If Venom taught me anything, it is to not underestimate this extended universe Sony is dedicated to bringing to fruition. It also proved that you don't need Spider-Man to build an alternate Spider-Verse if you have an appealing anti-hero. Check out the trailer after the jump.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Darth Vader #1 Preview Puts You Inside the Head of Star Wars Dark Lord

Marvel Comics takes us back to an interesting time and place as issue #1 of their Star Wars: Darth Vader puts the Dark Lord of the Sith on Tatooine after the events of The Empire Strikes Back and before we see him in Return of the Jedi. He wants more information on a son he never knew he had and will go to any lengths to get it. As he walks through the burned remains of the Lars homestead, his memories of the past come back to haunt him. It truly is an emotionally charged read and leaves you wanting to see more of the issue. Climbing inside the head of Vader really humanizes a character many of us forget isn't just a mechanical monstrosity. Check out one of the variant covers for the issue after the jump and a link to the full preview.

“JOIN ME, AND TOGETHER, WE CAN RULE THE GALAXY AS FATHER AND SON!”

THE TRAGEDY OF DARTH VADER CONTINUES!

In the shattering climax of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader infamously reveals his true relationship to Luke Skywalker and invites his son to rule the galaxy at his side. But Luke refuses -- plunging into the abyss beneath Cloud City rather than turn to the Dark Side. We all remember Luke’s utter horror in this life-altering moment. But what about Vader? In this new epic chapter in the Darth Vader saga, the dark lord grapples with Luke’s unthinkable refusal and embarks on a bloody mission of rage-filled revenge against everything and everyone who had a hand in hiding and corrupting his only son. But even as he uncovers the secrets of Luke’s origins, Vader must face shocking new challenges from his own dark past. Writer Greg Pak and artist Raffaele Ienco unleash Darth Vader on his dark quest of vengeance and discovery this February! With covers by InHyuk Lee!

Star Wars: Darth Vader #1 is rated T for Teen. I would imagine you can expect the same kind of sci-fi violence we get in the movies.

Check out the full preview of Star Wars: Darth Vader #1 right here.

Darth Vader #1 Preview Puts You Inside the Head of Star Wars Dark Lord

Marvel Comics takes us back to an interesting time and place as issue #1 of their Star Wars: Darth Vader puts the Dark Lord of the Sith on Tatooine after the events of The Empire Strikes Back and before we see him in Return of the Jedi. He wants more information on a son he never knew he had and will go to any lengths to get it. As he walks through the burned remains of the Lars homestead, his memories of the past come back to haunt him. It truly is an emotionally charged read and leaves you wanting to see more of the issue. Climbing inside the head of Vader really humanizes a character many of us forget isn't just a mechanical monstrosity. Check out one of the variant covers for the issue after the jump and a link to the full preview.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Latest The New Mutants Trailer Promises Powerful Scares [VIDEO]

The latest trailer for The New Mutants definitely gives viewers a much better grasp on what we can expect from the upcoming movie that has been trapped in the development hell caused by the Fox and Disney merger. We now know that there seems to be something sinister happening behind the scenes of the psych hospital these X-Men have been locked up in. Surprisingly, it doesn't appear that the horror aspects of the film have been shunned any as I suspected might happen when Disney took over. I haven't been this excited for an X-Men movie ever and from the looks of what we get here, I won't be disappointed. Check out the new trailer after the jump.

20th Century Fox in association with Marvel Entertainment presents The New Mutants, an original horror thriller set in an isolated hospital where a group of young mutants is being held for psychiatric monitoring. When strange occurrences begin to take place, both their new mutant abilities and their friendships will be tested as they battle to try and make it out alive.

The New Mutants is directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars, The Stand). It stars Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Anya Taylor-Joy (Split), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), Alice Braga (Predators), Blu Hunt (The Originals), and Henry Zaga (Teen Wolf). The movie is rated PG-13 for violence and frightening and intense scenes.

Latest The New Mutants Trailer Promises Powerful Scares [VIDEO]

The latest trailer for The New Mutants definitely gives viewers a much better grasp on what we can expect from the upcoming movie that has been trapped in the development hell caused by the Fox and Disney merger. We now know that there seems to be something sinister happening behind the scenes of the psych hospital these X-Men have been locked up in. Surprisingly, it doesn't appear that the horror aspects of the film have been shunned any as I suspected might happen when Disney took over. I haven't been this excited for an X-Men movie ever and from the looks of what we get here, I won't be disappointed. Check out the new trailer after the jump.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Perspective Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I've seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker a couple of times now and feel a little more at ease adding to my initial review of the film. J.J. Abrams did a wonderful job bring a 9-film saga to its conclusion. I still can't think of any other way it could have ended.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker really did answer most of the questions fans had about the last two movies in this trilogy. That's not to say everyone liked what Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio gave them. Many of us had our own ideas of how things should wrap up and they didn't match up with what we saw onscreen. I, for one, try to steer clear of having any hard expectations going into the theater and was pleased when walking out both times I saw it.

I did have a couple of issues with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but nothing that ruined the experience for me on a whole. I really do feel as if Rose was sidelined and there could have been a way to have her tag along for the big mission or maybe just give her Dominic Monaghan's scenes and dialogue.


My last big complaint is more about the sequel trilogy as a whole. I think as time goes on, J.J. and the rest of the Lucasfilm crew are going to regret not putting Luke, Han, and Leia all together at one time for an onscreen reunion. It was great that they were all included with Lando added in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but having them all together at once really is a missed opportunity that I wish we could have witnessed.

The death of Ben Solo / Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker really was a necessary component to the story, even though many Reylo fans are up in arms about it. The character had to be punished for his sins somehow. I think J.J. an Terrio found the perfect way to give everyone, including the character, what they needed. What was going to happen? The Resistance wasn't going to just slap him in the wrist and let Rey and him get married, have kids, and live happily ever after on Tatooine. At least he found love and redemption before he became one with the Force.

Honestly, there's so much more I could say about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. I could sit here and write about the movie for days. Hopefully, everyone can find something positive to take away from the film. Regardless of whether it was your favorite or least favorite entry in the saga. After all, isn't Star Wars supposed to be about having a good time and escaping reality for a couple of hours?

Perspective Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I've seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker a couple of times now and feel a little more at ease adding to my initial review of the film. J.J. Abrams did a wonderful job bring a 9-film saga to its conclusion. I still can't think of any other way it could have ended.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Late-to-the-Party Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I wanted to share my thoughts on Spider-Man: Far From Home. While the movie ends up being fun visually and successfully humorous, I still have a hard time connecting to the main character. Spider-Man is so incapable of doing anything on his own and screws up everything. I find it hard to believe that ANY responsible person would leave him in charge of saving a gas station, let alone a city or world. I understand that he's a kid, but why would Tony Stark or Nick Fury trust him to get anything done correctly?

Peter Parker's relaxing European vacation takes an unexpected turn when Nick Fury shows up in his hotel room to recruit him for a mission. The world is in danger as four massive elemental creatures -- each representing Earth, air, water and fire -- emerge from a hole torn in the universe. Parker soon finds himself donning the Spider-Man suit to help Fury and fellow superhero Mysterio stop the evil entities from wreaking havoc across the continent.

The CGI is what we've come to expect from the Marvel films. The soundtrack carries the scenes, but doesn't really leave any impact on the viewer. I can't remember a single motif from the score; only the rock songs used, like The Go-Go's "Vacation."


Jake Gyllenhaal was great at Mysterio. He was perfectly over-the-top when need be and sincere at the right times. His diabolical plan and his what it took to achieve it was a little hard to believe. You really had to just give into it and move on.

All the high school antics and scenes with Happy Hogan were delightful. The actors who played the high schoolers captured the spirit of their characters wonderfully. I've finally had to come to terms that it's not Tom Holland I don't like, it's the Peter Parker he's playing. At some point, I'd like to see him as a matured more sensible Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments. The high schoolers talk the way you would expect them to in movies and Peter gets caught in a compromising position at one point. Most of the violence is just like any of the other Marvel movies - monsters and villains attacking people and our superheroes fighting against them.

Late-to-the-Party Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I wanted to share my thoughts on Spider-Man: Far From Home. While the movie ends up being fun visually and successfully humorous, I still have a hard time connecting to the main character. Spider-Man is so incapable of doing anything on his own and screws up everything. I find it hard to believe that ANY responsible person would leave him in charge of saving a gas station, let alone a city or world. I understand that he's a kid, but why would Tony Stark or Nick Fury trust him to get anything done correctly?