The Hunger Games franchise has lit up the cinematic conversation towards films directed for young people and women as an untapped market for large blockbuster films. Thanks to the surprisingly well done performances from Jennifer Lawrence across the board and some worthy direction by Constantine director and every Hunger Games film except for the first, Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer), this franchise has tapped into the aforementioned market and made the series increasingly watchable for fans of these types of films. And after saying all of that, I should tell you that I have not enjoyed any of the prior Hunger Games films, nor gotten more than half an hour into the prior Mockingjay film. But I will also say that I was in for a surprise as to how much I found interesting in the final instalment. Continue reading
James Bond is in a constant need to prove he’s still hip, current, and not obsolete. It’s not like anyone ever really thought that he was. But nonetheless, he has to prove to everyone that he isn’t. He’s already proved it to people who love poker, people who like deserts and shitty action sequences, and then people who love Javier Bardem chewing scenery and gay overtones in the relationship between Bardem’s Silva and Daniel Craig’s Bond. Now Bond is back to prove that once and for all, he’s with it, but now he has to tell it to Christoph Waltz and an unsubtle version of the NSA. Continue reading
For roughly twenty minutes after seeing The Walk in IMAX 3D, my breathing was irregular. My fear of falling (not heights) had been toyed with too many times over the course of the final act of the film. I could feel the doubts in Philippe Petit’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) head, but was able to recognize when I should be scared and when I should be smiling. Even in a vanilla 2D screening, I can still safely say that The Walk is an enjoyable experience – though without IMAX 3D, it’s less of a spectacle.
“With great power comes great responsibility” is probably the best line to describe everything about Fantastic Four. I could write lengthy articles about the turmoil behind-the-scenes of this directorial follow-up to Josh Trank’s Chronicle, but the film largely speaks for itself. Despite a cast of talented, younger actors, and a franchise with more than enough interesting elements to pull from its 50-plus year history, Fantastic Four is a movie that seems to have amnesia about what it wants to be midway through. Blame it on whatever you want, the film forgets what it is and sacrifices its characters for dumb action moments that disappoint more often than they amaze.
This is the moment when I have to vow never to see another comedy from the team of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. The writers of such films as Horrible Bosses and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone have proven on a constant basis that they do not grasp comedy. They hearken back to classic Farrelly brothers humor, but wind-up being a lot like rip-offs of later Farrelly brothers films. Vacation is the biggest example of this, and once again demonstrates why Horrible Bosses wound up being relatively okay as a laugh machine – the actors salvage what few jokes are capable of salvaging.
Mission Impossible has had one of the more interesting timelines in franchise film history. Originally released in 1996, Mission Impossible, a feature length adaptation of the original 60’s TV series, starring A-list megastar Tom Cruise, Jon Voight & Ving Rhames and directed by Brian De Palma, was a huge success that only made Tom Cruise’s stardom blow up even further. John Woo took a crack at it 5 years later with the hilariously abbreviated M-I:2. With minor critical love, but massive box office, JJ Abrams took his shot with the wonderfully entertaining (thanks to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s amazing turn as the villian), Mission Impossible 3 was the jumpstart the series needed again and with Brad Bird’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, critical reception and audiences were sky-high with the film becoming a massive success (although I can’t say I’m a big fan of the film). Following Tom Cruise’s disappointing box office returns for his more recent blockbusters, Oblivion and the critically acclaimed Edge of Tomorrow (which I loved), the last Mission Impossible seems like Cruise’s last chance to show that he still has the box office draw studios hope he has. But how does the movie itself hold up?
Matthew Vaughn seems to be a fan of comic books. And violence. And crass humour. And subverting old cinema tropes. But I after seeing Kingsman: The Secret Service, I don’t think I mind all that much. Vaughn isn’t a stranger to the comic book film. After Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Stardust, he’s shown how well his kinetic style can work in the comic universe. He knows how ridiculous it all is. Nothing is taken too seriously and he thankfully recognizes how absurd his films are. Valentines Day weekend might seem like a weird weekend to release it, but with how female centric the holiday seems to be, Kingsman is the perfect counter-programming to the equally ridiculous sounding, 50 Shades of Grey. Continue reading