1. Captain America: Civil War (5/6) - While I'm not as excited about this movie as everyone else, I'm not not excited. I'm looking forward to the introduction of Black Panther and I've already heard great things about the new Spidey. Also, the last Captain America was far better than the last Avengers movie. However, I still don't really like the idea of superheroes fighting each other. I feel like they already covered that idea in Age of Ultron and it was one of the reasons as to why that movie was so dull. I think it's interesting that most people claimed "team cap" way before the movie was released, because as much as of an asshole that Tony Stark/Iron Man is, I'm pretty sure he is on the right side (morally), while Steve just wants to save his friend. I still don't really get the whole Bucky thing, but man, people really take that shit seriously.
2. Money Monster (5/13) - The title of this movie is so off-putting, but the trailer looks pretty intense (and gave away the whole story...grrrrr). It looks like one of those Denzel Washington movies from the 90s (John Q comes to mind. Was that 90s? I'm too lazy to look it up.). The talent involved is pretty great - Roberts, Clooney, directed by Jodie Foster - but, I'm really excited for Jack O'Connell. He's picking some really challenging roles, and he is KILLING it. He will always be Cook from Skins, to me, but he is super talented, so it's nice to see him succeed.
3. The Nice Guys (5/20) - I don't actually think this looks very funny. I've seen the trailer twice, the first time I was mildly entertained, but didn't really understand what everyone was laughing at; the second time, it was almost painful to watch. The jokes just don't land at all. But it's Ryan Gosling. So, I'm there.
4. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (5/20) - I LOVED the first one. I thought it was hilarious. It even made my first installment of top 10 movies of 2014 (but it eventually got cut). I'm surprised that I only saw it one time so far, because there are so many moments that are burned in my memory. That movie made me a Zac Efron fan. He did such a great job, along with Dave Franco. Rose Byrne was obviously my favorite part, so I hope her amazingness continues here. I didn't even know they were making a sequel until I saw the trailer, and it had me in a fit of laughter (particularly, when the girls are jumping on the car and Rogen is quietly protesting.).
5. X-Men: Apocalypse (5/27) - I'm so lost with the X-Men universe, but I've seen every movie. There are too many timelines and too many generations and too many characters. Yet, I tend to enjoy each movie to some degree. Probably because of the cast (*cough* James McAvoy). There are even more characters being introduced in this one, with Olivia Munn as Psylocke (yes, please) and Oscar Isaac as the villain (meh...). But my favorite newcomer to the series is Tye Sheridan as Cyclops! He's awesome!
6. Swiss Army Man (6/17) - Oddly referred to as the "farting corpse movie", I am only really interested in this movie because I used to work with the producers. They've made some interesting choices lately, so I have faith that this will be interesting as well. I don't really know anything else about it, and hopefully I can keep it that way (it's definitely easier with smaller films to stay in the dark).
7. The Neon Demon (6/?) - I'm going to try my best to not watch the trailer, but I will probably break soon. I'm a big fan of Nicolas Winding Refn - his films are always interesting and beautiful, with Drive being a rare "perfect" film. I'm also a big fan of Elle Fanning - she was wonderful in Super 8, I'm excited to see her in a young adult role.
8. Independence Day: Resurgence (6/24) - I don't know if I can fully get on board an Independence Day movie without Will Smith. And then, they went and re-cast Mae Whitman's role as the president's daughter?! What the fuck. I almost want to boycott it for that reason, alone. But I won't. I'm a sucker. Of course, I have to see this movie.
9. Ghostbusters (7/15) - Okay, okay...I sort of get the outrage. I don't really think a remake for this movie is necessary, and an "all female" cast is just as sexist and exclusive as an "all male" cast. The thing is, Paul Feig has done incredible things for women in comedy, with both Bridesmaids and The Heat, I don't know why he (or they) felt the need to "announce" that this movie was going to be "all female". Making it into a big thing, has made it a big thing. He could have just been like "I'm making a Ghostbusters movie and this is the cast". I hate the whole "separate but equal" thing that is happening with the feminist movement. I just want to be equal. I don't need Huffington Post to send me a link of the funniest things that women said on the internet. I don't need for people to declare that they are watching 52 movies made by women this year. It's really grating. Anyway, back to the movie. I saw the trailer, and I really didn't think it looked very good, but I'm still curious. I love Kristen Wiig so much (she is one of my favorite actresses right now. Yes, seriously.) and Melissa McCarthy is great in ensemble comedies. I don't know much about Kate McKinnon or Leslie Jones (I haven't watched SNL in forever), but I admit that every time I see a still shot of McKinnon, I think it's Elizabeth Banks, and then I get really disappointed that it's not.
10. Jason Bourne (7/29) - FUCK YES!!! I'm so glad that Damon is back! I didn't mind the Renner one, but it's just not the same. The Bourne series, as a whole, is incredible; each movie really has its own strengths, but there is a cohesion among them (even the Renner one) that brings them all together. I'm excited for the story to continue.
11. Bad Moms (7/29) - I don't really know much about this movie, but it has Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn, so I'm instantly interested.
12. Suicide Squad (8/5) - I was super weary of this movie, but then the trailer arrived and I instantly jumped on board. It's now probably my most anticipated movie of the summer (it's a strong tie between this and Jason Bourne). Like most people, I adore Margot Robbie - to think, just four years ago she was a supporting role in Pan Am, now she is EVERYWHERE. I don't really understand the obsession with Harley Quinn, but I don't really know that much about the character so I'm willing to give her a shot. This definitely has an interesting cast - I would never expect Will Smith to do a role like this, it's such an ensemble role. I love Jay Hernandez and Joel Kinnaman. I'm extremely nervous about Jai Courtney and Cara Delevingne (both are not good actors). And Jared Leto could go either way, really. I really hope the tone of the movie is the same that is featured in the trailer.
13. War Dogs (8/19) - Jonah Hill has really stepped up as an actor, and this movie looks like another strong step. Partnered with Miles Teller (YES!), this story is a crazy one, and it definitely looks like it will make for a fascinating movie (and hopefully darkly hilarious, as well).
Friday, April 29, 2016
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
1. Batman v Superman - To be honest, I'm not very keen on the idea of two superheroes fighting each other. To have two people who are trying to do good in this world, work against each other, forcing us to root for one of them to fail, just doesn't sit right with me. The film does a decent job of setting up a realistic reason for these two to be at odds with each other ("realistic" is a relative term in this case). And, just like any sane person expected, it is because of the destruction that occurred in Man of Steel. I was one of the few who couldn't care less about this destruction - it happens in every superhero movie, Man of Steel just emphasized it more. But it was nice to have some closure - and give people a reason to root for Batman (as if he needs it). I, for one, root for Batman, in this case, just because Ben Affleck did an AWESOME job of filling the cape. His Batman was different - darker, wiser, and a bit psychotic. Meanwhile, Henry Cavill still bores me as Superman. I hate using the word "boring" when describing Superman, because as a character, he is far from that, but I just don't think there has been a modern take on the character that has nailed the role. Cavill is so stiff and emotionless, and my interpretation of Superman is far from that (which is why I am LOVING the Supergirl tv show - it perfects the love that Supergirl has for humans and this planet).
2. DC v Marvel - Again, I don't understand the competition between the two. One can enjoy both, right? One can also have genuine criticism of either of them without it being part of an agenda, right? I would consider myself "new" to the comic book universe that lives on film - because I've never read any comics, all of my knowledge comes directly from these films. Although, I would say that my favorite superhero is Wonder Woman (I watched the tv show when I was a kid, and I love Greek mythology. I don't know her history in the comics, but I know her history as a feminist icon). If I were to base it solely on superheroes on film, I would say that my favorite superhero is Spider-Man. I love the first Iron Man movie, as well as the first Avengers movie, but I found it hard to sit-through several of the Marvel movies that followed (the Thor movies, the first Captain America movie, the second and third Iron Man movies). I absolutely love Batman Begins, but I have genuine criticism of both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight rises. NONE of my criticism comes from whether I prefer DC or Marvel, it has to do with my love of films. So here is my criticism of Dawn of Justice:
3. Logic v Stupidity - It's not nearly as bad as some critics made it out to be. It's waaaaaay too long, it suffers from some poor editing choices, and the plot is a little all over the place, but overall I enjoyed it for what it was. I don't know where the hate for Zack Snyder came from, because he has such an interesting aesthetic; the one thing I can always say about his films is that they are so stunning to look at. The beginning of this movie was just so gorgeous - the images evoke emotions that are hard to imagine considering we've all seen Bruce's parents murdered several times. How did he still make that interesting? It's such a successful moment, that I have a hard time criticizing something so powerful. What I can criticize this movie for is the absolutely ridiculously dumb plot. First, if Batman was in Metropolis, then why didn't he help Superman defeat Zod? That would surely negate the whole purpose of this film, if, you know, they just worked together to begin with. Second, what the hell was the whole Africa thing about? Superman was framed for murdering people in Africa? Um...why? He's Superman, so he doesn't need a gun to kill people (which is how these people were murdered). Why would anyone believe that he did this? Third, don't even get me started on the "Martha" thing. Fourth, it seems like Superman always knows where Lois is, which is why he's always there to save her (blergh), ok fine, maybe he has some sort of sixth sense, right? But then why can't he figure out where Lex took his own mother? Fifth, the introduction of Wonder Woman was indeed awesome, but definitely felt unnecessary. Her entire part could have been cut and it wouldn't be a disservice to the film (it might actually help it). And why does Batman act like he doesn't know who she is at the end? He says "I thought she was with you", as if he hasn't already looked into her past. Sixth, as much as I kind of liked Eisenberg's Lex Luther (it was super weird and uncomfortable to watch, but at least it was interesting), I have no idea what it was that he was actually trying to do. Was his whole evil plot to create Doomsday? Because that felt like it was an accident. Anyway, I can probably list another 20 or so things wrong with the film, but I could probably do that with EVERY superhero movie. Instead, I choose to have fun with it.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Thursday, April 7, 2016
1. Small stories vs big stories - Not only is Jeff Nichols now "3 for 3" with this movie (his two other films, Mud and Take Shelter, in which he wrote and directed, are both sublime), he's creating something special in terms of the types of films he's making. While all three movies are completely different in subject, they are similar in tone and scale. They are individualized stories, focused on developing character and building emotion, within a bigger worldview. It's taking the narcissism out of storytelling. Mud comes from the perspective of a child's view, but as audience members, we know that there is so much more information that is directly effecting the plot. Take Shelter focuses on this man, who from an outside perspective is failing at providing for his family, yet his focuses is on the bigger picture - its symbolism is a little more obvious, but it's still the same in terms of focusing on the individual within this gigantic universe. Midnight Special is even more extreme in its universal scale, but again the focus is on one family, and more specifically one man's relationship with his son. It's beautiful, even when it turns ugly, and it's complicated, even when it seems easy.
2. Michael Shannon and Adam Driver - Michael Shannon is something special. This collaboration with Nichols is even more special (he's been in all three films, although his appearance in Mud is comparatively tiny). It's rare to find an actor who has a large screen presence, but also shines in his ability to be subtle and introspective. Going into this movie, I knew very little about it, and was only aware of Shannon as the star. I was pleasantly surprised by Kirsten Dunst (who has my newfound respect after Melancholia, and more recently her stunning performance in season two of Fargo). Also for Joel Edgerton who had probably my favorite role as the loyal friend, he has no idea what is happening, only that he is part of something bigger than he can ever imagine. Then, fucking Adam Driver shows up and my eyes almost bugged out of my head (I internally screamed "NOOOOOO" the moment I saw his face). He is one of the worst current working actors today. I know he has a big fan base, and I haven't seen the new Star Wars movie yet, but I've seen him in plenty (the first season of Girls, This is Where I Leave You, While We're Young) and I've tried so hard to see what others see, but I just don't. Luckily, this is the first time, I didn't hate him. When the movie was over, I thought, "ok, I still don't like him, but at least he didn't ruin the movie for me". However, I got home and started reading some reviews of the film, and a few people described Driver as the new Jeff Goldblum, and it blew my mind, as the most perfect description. And I LOVE me some Jeff Goldblum, and I love him because he's odd, nuanced, and deliciously awkward. I'm not entirely convinced that Driver is as talented (he needs to work on timing, which is something Goldblum has perfected), but this comparison opens up my mind to the endless possibilities of Driver's career.
3. The ending *spoilers, obviously* - If you've seen Take Shelter, you can guess how this movie will end. Nichols does not shy away from following through with "unrealistic" possibilities. So, the entire movie builds up the fact that this child could possibly be an alien (no other scientific realities are even offered), or, as the cult believes, a God. For a story that is based in our reality, neither is "believable" and yet, the ending, is perfect. It's a jarring spectacle, but that's what makes it so special. The best part is that this is the fourth 2016 movie that I've seen in a row, in which I would be surprised if it didn't make my Top 10 of the year! This year is starting off spectacularly.