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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Directed by James Gunn
Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro

    This was, without a doubt, the biggest gamble that Marvel has taken thus far. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the bigger unknowns that they have at their disposal and runs the risk of coming off as halfway original, which is something that audiences, no matter how much they claim otherwise, don’t like to pay to see (see the box office income of Edge of Tomorrow versus that of Transformers: Age of Extinction for more on this phenomenon). There was a very real chance that this could be the first box office failure for Marvel Studios. Fortunately, thanks to a collection of excellent performances from an extremely likable cast, great writing, and a spot-on sense of humor, Guardians of the Galaxy is liable to be one of the most fun films to come out of this year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review

Directed by Matt Reeves
Written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver
Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, and Kodi Smit-McPhee

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes was without a doubt one of the more surprising movies of the last few years. What could have been a pointless reboot of a property with one failed reboot already under its belt became a legitimately terrific sci-fi movie with strong writing, effects, and an astounding central performance from Andy Serkis. Naturally, a sequel was put in the works, and here we are three years later with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: one of the rare sequels that improves on its predecessor in every way.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Directed by Michael Bay
Produced by Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Ian Pryce
Written by Ehren Kruger
Based on Transformers by Hasbro
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, T.J. Miller, Melanie Specht, Victoria Summer, Peter Cullen, and Frank Welker
Released: June 27, 2014
Runtime: 2 hr, 45 min
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, and brief innuendo

    This movie is two hours and forty-five minutes long. That is almost three hours. Three hours of everything that is wrong with a modern Hollywood blockbuster. Three hours of character stereotypes, awful dialogue, wooden acting, idiotic product placement, and boring action. Three hours of audience-insulting, mind-numbing stupidity. Three hours of using strong effects to mask the fact that there’s no story. Three hours of what Michael Bay calls “filmmaking.” And while some of Bay’s other movies can at least be called “dumb fun,” Age of Extinction doesn’t even have that going for it. It looks nice, but that’s all that can be said, as even by Michael Bay standards, Age of Extinction is an awful, awful movie.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review

Directed by Dean DeBlois
Produced by Bonnie Arnold
Written by Dean DeBlois
Based on How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Starring Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounsou, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Kit Harington, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, and Kristen Wiig
Released: June 13, 2014
Runtime: 1 hr, 42 min
Rated PG-13 for adventure action and some mild rude humor

    Without a doubt, How to Train Your Dragon is one of the best animated movies of the past several years. With its wonderful writing, beautiful animation, and battle sequences that verge on epic, it’s a dang near perfect movie. Now, about four years later, all of those characters are returning, and while How to Train Your Dragon 2 may not be quite on the same level of excellence as its predecessor, it’s still a great movie bolstered by the same writing, humor, and animation that made the first what it was.

Friday, May 23, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

Directed by Bryan Singer
Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker
Written by Simon Kinberg (screenplay; story), Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman (story)
Based on Days of Future Past  by Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart
Released: May 23, 2014
Runtime: 2 hr, 11 min
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language

    I went into this movie thinking that it was going to be another comic book movie. I wasn’t really anticipating it much, because the X-Men movies have never really resonated with me. Don’t get me wrong, X-Men is responsible for the resurrection of the superhero movie genre after Joel frickin’ Schumacher killed it dead, X2 is a classic of the genre (dat opening scene), and First Class was a good time (dat Wolverine cameo), but I was never really as into them as so many people seemed to be. They were fun enough and had some great characters; I just never loved them. So, I went to the theater, got my ticket, sat down, finished my Mountain Dew and half my popcorn before the opening credits rolled...and I didn’t breathe for the next two hours. Hoe. Lee. Crap.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla Review

Directed by Gareth Edwards
Produced by Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, and Brian Rodgers
Written by Max Borenstein (screenplay) and David Callaham (story)
Based on Godzilla by Toho
Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston
Released: May 16, 2014
Runtime: 2 hr, 3 min
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem, and creature violence

    Well, it’s now been a solid sixteen years since Roland Emmerich crapped out his interpretation of Godzilla, almost singlehandedly destroying the kaiju genre in America in an impressive two hours and nineteen minutes. And in America, as we all know, sixteen years means the property is long overdue for a remake. That said, expectations kind of did a 180 on this movie a while back. For a while, people figured that it was going to be a shameless cash grab that only milked a franchise that hasn’t been at it’s height in America in years. Then that first teaser trailer dropped. And good sweet (expletive removed involving fornication)ing (expletive removed involving feces), was everybody and their grandmothers blown away. And since that moment, every single trailer and tidbit released about this movie has done nothing but increase expectations. This is Godzilla like he hasn’t been seen in a dang long time. Dark, intense, frickin’ scary. In the span of a couple months, expectations for this movie went to astronomical levels. Now that the movie is finally out, does it hold up? (deep breath) Abso-frickin’-lutely not.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

Directed by Marc Webb
Produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach
Written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner
Based on Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane Dehaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Paul Giamatti, and Sally Field
Released: May 2, 2014
Runtime: 2 hr, 22 min
Rating PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence

    Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the 2014 summer blockbuster season! Kicking this years summer off is the sequel to Marc Webb’s...halfway decent-ish The Amazing Spider-Man. If you remember right, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original, even though I gave it a decent grade because it’s a hard movie to say you straight up don’t like, though I acknowledged that the sequel was giving off a “the sequel’s going to be better” vibe. Was I right? Well, it pains me greatly to say “No. No, I was not." Despite the return of the original’s outstanding cast as well as great direction and effects, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is bogged down by it’s incredibly uneven tone and far too many elements that are incredibly rushed, including a thrown together third act.