The making of the original Star Wars trilogy is stock full of adventure and pitfall nearly as famous as the on screen antics of Luke, Han and Leia. The telling of these behind the scenes stories is a crowded space (see for instance J.W Rinzler’s outstanding Making Of series) with newer additions sadly often treading familiar ground. It’s encouraging then to see a handful of documentary filmmakers looking for more obscure tales from those who may have been on the Star Wars set only for a day, or for a couple of weeks, but who nonetheless have carved their own little slice of history and have the scars to prove it. Continue reading “Documentary Reviews: Elstree 1976 & I Am Your Father”
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards, is Star Wars like you’ve never really seen it before, but it still feels, looks, and sounds like it. This is the film’s greatest strength, as it takes what you already know about a galaxy far, far away and tells a new story through a different lens, providing plenty for long-time fans and relative newcomers to feast on and enjoy. It isn’t all perfect of course, like its slow but jumpy start and its great cast might not get all the time they deserve, but it’s a great benchmark for the A Star Wars Story line of films and a rousing kickoff to the venture. Continue reading “Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
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Whether you’ve been waiting nearly 40 years or 10, we’ve all had to the wait the last 3 years the same, but now Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally here! Without a doubt it simply doesn’t matter how long you’ve waited for the film, as its excellently played new characters, rollicking adventurism, sense of humor, emotional heartbreak, nostalgia fueled story, and mythos expanding moments will bring out the kid in all of us. It’s a magnificent film, jolting the franchise with a breath of fresh Force, and it’ll long be debated on whether its the best Star Wars film or not. I don’t have my personal answer to that yet (I’m sure I will eventually), but it’s certainly in my top three and my review covers all the reasons why. (PLEASE NOTE: The spoilers are hidden at the very bottom of the review, even past all the links to my other reviews, so you’ll have to go out of your way to run into them!) Continue reading “Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
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Marvel’s smallest hero comes to the biggest screens in Ant-Man, the origin story of Scott Lang’s character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also the final Phase 2 film. Taking advantage of its difference in tone and scale from previous MCU films, Ant-Man is an enjoyable stand-alone film supported by great performances with humor peppered throughout, but it has issues with a rather stereotypical villain and by-the-numbers origin story (while sneaking in some concepts which may play much bigger roles in the MCU to come); Overall, it’s definitely another solid notch in Marvel’s belt. Continue reading “Movie Review: Ant-Man”
The Mad Max films have always had a special place in action film history, regarded as classics and the influence for many things since their release (like the Borderlands video games or all the Thunderdome “two must enter, one must leave” cultural references) and it’s hard to imagine a sequel/reboot some 30 years later ever being able to hold a candle to the originals. But Mad Max: Fury Road does just that and then some, not only setting itself apart and above the previous films, but finding a way to rise above most of the action films in the last few decades to roar into the top spot. It’s all largely thanks to the smooth pacing, Charlize Theron’s riveting performance, and spectacular (and non-CG) action sequences.
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Avengers: Age of Ultron is not the first Avengers film, which is a good thing because it should be something different. Age of Ultron is not the Avengers film you want it to be, which is a good thing because it can never be that. Instead, Age of Ultron is thoroughly entertaining but definitely imperfect, much like the heroes who inhabit the team, and its focus more on those people as it’s also forced to set up the grander tapestry of the web being spun by the Marvel Cinematic Universe is what makes it worthy the Avengers name. Continue reading “Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron”
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It won’t be long before you’re asking who is testing who in Ex Machina, an engaging and thought provoking science-fiction movie with a tightly written script, outstanding performances, and an increasingly chaotic series of events that is not to be missed. Continue reading “Movie Review: Ex Machina”
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Kingsman: The Secret Service is the latest film from Matthew Vaughn, known most recently for directing X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass and for producing classics like Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, which if you’ve enjoyed any of the above then Kingsman is probably already on your must-see list. But whether it is or isn’t on your list, if you’re looking for a mostly mindless romp that enjoys being a fun and unpretentious (but brutal) action film, Kingsman is well worth your time. Continue reading “Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service”
Unlike the previous entries and heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t have a giant built-in fanbase and ease of recognition, so it was seen as a gambit to be making such a film. As an all-star cast and crew grew around the film, and trailers showed the type of irreverent fun, mischief-laden, and space-opera action tone Guardians was going for, fears began to ease. And rightfully so, as I can say GotG is the best of the Marvel films to date, going toe-to-toe with The Avengers.
Taking one of the biggest ensemble casts, both in terms of star power and numbers, and using them to adapt one of the most revered storylines in X-Men history has to fail, right? A lot of hopes, from not just fans but the production companies, were riding on X-Men: Days of Future Past. The last two franchise entries, The Wolverine and First Class, were well received, but they weren’t the slamdunks at the box office that 20th Century Fox wanted them to be. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Nolan Batman Trilogy raking in the big bucks, Fox had to get something together in the hopes of their keeping the rights to the X-Men franchise viable. Is Days of Future Past the movie they needed? Continue reading “Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past”