Directed by Joseph Kosinski — Screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick.
No, my fellow cineastes, your eyes are not deceiving you. This adaptation of the George Saunders short story Escape from Spiderhead was indeed directed by Joseph Kosinski whose film Top Gun: Maverick — a charming, thrilling, and crowd-pleasing legacy sequel — invigorated the film and movie theater industries by being a huge hit just this very month, and its screenplay was indeed written by the writers of Zombieland, Deadpool, and Life — Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. When you add the fact that Spiderhead is spearheaded by acting talents like Marvel Studios’ God of Thunder, Chris Hemsworth, and Whiplash lead, Miles Teller (who also starred in Top Gun: Maverick), then it starts to sound like the kind of film that ought to have been released in theaters or, at the very least, been given a larger marketing push than it has gotten thus far. You’d be right in thinking that. Even though it has some issues, it deserves far better than falling into obscurity as one of the many overlooked entries in Netflix’s vast content library.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski — Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie.
If there is one thing that the release of Top Gun: Maverick has already proven, it is that Tom Cruise is still a real movie star capable of drawing a crowd even in the Post-COVID lockdown world. Although the 1986 original Tony Scott film, Top Gun, did leave a cultural imprint and is an iconic 1980s film, it isn’t like most people have been crying out for a sequel to the original film that, way back when, received mixed reviews. And yet, when I saw its sequel, people of all ages — including several people over the age of fifty — had such a need for speed that they had flocked to the theater to watch Tom Cruise as “Maverick” take another ride into the danger zone. I’m happy to tell you that — yes, it’s true — Top Gun: Maverick is every bit as awesome as you may have hoped. In fact, I think it’s a much better film than the 1980s classic.
Oh, Affleck. It seems like just yesterday that I was flip-flopping on the night of the announcement whether or not I liked that he was cast as DC’s Caped Crusader. He ended up doing a pretty good job in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he was one of the clearly noticeable problems with Justice League. Recently, it was announced that Affleck will not be playing Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’ film about the Dark Knight. So, today, I want to show my readers who I want to see play Batman in Reeves’ film. Continue reading “Who Should Play Batman in Matt Reeves’ Batman-Film? – Special Features #47”→
The following is a review of Whiplash – Directed by Damien Chazelle
Whiplash was one of my favorite films of 2014, and it is also one of the two 2014 films I rewatch the most (the other film being Guardians of the Galaxy). But I realized – when I rewatched it the other night – that I had actually never officially reviewed it. This may, in fact, be as good a time as any to review the film. Tomorrow, I’ll be seeing Damien Chazelle’s next film La La Land for the first time. So, as a bit of a warm-up to that forthcoming review, I thought I’d finally review one of the true masterpieces of the 2010s – Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash – one of my favorite films. Continue reading “REVIEW: Whiplash (2014)”→
The following is a review of 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four (2015)
Fantastic Four is the updated Marvel Comics origin story about its First Family – the Storm-siblings, the incredibly intelligent Reed Richards, and the strong-willed Ben Grimm. Together they team up to defend Earth and its citizens. But before becoming a team, they changed in more ways than one. Does the newest 20th Century Fox superhero film live up to its title? Sadly, no.
However, it did start quite well. This film is loosely based on the 2004 Marvel Comics reboot, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and you definitely see its roots if you’re familiar with the ‘source material.’ Reed Richards is a child prodigy, who is ultimately invited to study and work in the Baxter Building, and he is aided by his good friend, Ben Grimm, who, in spite of his involvement in Reed’s school project, has no real attachment to the Baxter Building.
In fact, I loved this part. There was a certain Batman Begins-feel to the film, and everything worked for quite a while. There can be no doubt, the best character in this film is Reed Richards – as he should be. Also, while I was afraid of what tone Fox was going with, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film was less grim than the trailer made it out to be.
It is not that the film was perfect for the first hour, or so, but it ran rather smoothly. Sure, the dialogue was a bit wonky and cheesy at times – but it didn’t really hurt the film in its first half. But then things started to fall apart. I can tell you that there is a handful of comic book movie sins in this film – but no sin is bigger than the one they commit at its halfway point. Reed Richards’ reasoning for using the Quantum Gate is extremely dodgy and out of character.
After having reached the point of no return, you start to notice the film’s clear errors. The look of the ‘other dimension’ is not done well, Kate Mara is wearing what looks to be a wig for half of her scenes, and the pacing is awful. When I started to think about the villain, then the film started to be upsetting.
Victor Von Doom (Not ‘Domashev’; apparently, they chose to keep the original name after fan backlash) is obviously the villain. And I’m not just saying that because I know of the comic books. The film hits you over the head with the obvious fact that Toby Kebbell’s character is the villain. He is referred to as ‘Dr. Doom’ sarcastically – as well as ‘Adolf’ (no, I’m not kidding). Sadly, Doom is a forgettable character and his look is awful. Doom should not look like a silver-and-green mannequin.
Josh Trank, Simon Kinberg, and Jeremy Slater had a great plan for this film, but while they handled Mr. Fantastic and the first half of the film amazingly, they ultimately fall short. In the end, the pacing of the final act is what kills this film. The big battle is rushed, the villain is wasted, and Marvel’s First Family doesn’t really live up to its name. An awful reboot for the Fantastic Four.
Final Score: 4.9 out of 10 – Though promising at first, Fantastic Four completely falls apart in the poorly paced final act.
This week’s Marvelous Monday focuses on the potential of the newest Marvel Comics-based superhero flick coming this summer. Fantastic Four is the last superhero film of 2015. But this isn’t a Marvel Studios film. No, this is one of Fox’s attempts at a stronger superhero universe. The film has had a lot of problems in the press: rumors and comments about the script, Dr. Doom, and the director have stopped the hype-train somewhat. So, today we need to make up our minds: What are the dos and don’ts for the returning Mister Fantastic-led franchise? Continue reading “Marvelous Monday #29 – Dos and Don’ts for Fox’s Fantastic Four”→
Here we go, the trailer for Josh Trank and Fox’ Fantastic Four is finally out. Today I’m trying something new, trying to give my thoughts about the trailer – saying what it shows, but also giving my opinion. Remember how I liked the Ant-Man trailer? I’m going to give similar pros/cons for this one. So without further ado….
Now this is a teaser trailer, so keep that in mind. But the first thing that comes to mind when watching it, is how similar the feel of the trailer – the sound – the look – is to Interstellar. Now, trailers tend to copy off of something – and they’ve definitely gone for a Nolan-feel. But a property like the Fantastic Four should be able to stand on its own with a trailer – without going full-Nolan.
Soon we’ll see the first trailer for The Fantastic Four by Josh Trank. The movie premieres this August, yet we’ve seen nothing from it – except for a few supposed leaked photographs. Now, I’m all for people trying to hide plotpoints from the trailer – I’m all for people keeping their film secret, like J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan have done in the past. But something’s up with The Fantastic Four.
Throughout this post I’ll voice my concerns, but before doing that – let’s get something clear. The Fantastic Four team has not had a fun ride in Comic Book Movies. They had a film made that was never officially released, two films that were negatively reviewed by most, and they cannot participate in the critically acclaimed Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While I really disliked the second Tim Story Fantastic Four-film, I actually thought the first one was okay. In my opinion, Chris Evans was the best part about those two films. Now, I would never ask for a third one with the same director and cast – but I am really worried about what they are doing to the characters that kept Stan Lee in the comic book business.
I remember when I first watched the trailer for this movie. I felt that it had potential, and I was really excited to see the writers of the original The Hangover-movie tackle something focused more on the younger audience. My focus group, I guess. Unfortunately, this movie did absolutely nothing for me. 21 & Over stars Miles Teller, Skylar Astin & Justin Chon as three best friends, on Jeff Chang’s 21st birthday, played by Justin Chon. Initially, I thought this movie might work well – I did somewhat like Teller and Astin as old friends, but their association with Chon’s Chang did not seem real enough.
It didn’t help that the friendship roles perfectly dealt in The Hangover, had been mixed together into these three guys. Skylar Astin’s character was a mixture of Justin Bartha’s Doug and Ed Helms’ Stu. Teller felt like an odd mixture of Bradley Cooper’s Phil and the Stifler-character from the original American Pie-movies. The drunk actions of Jeff Chang made him seem like a mixture of Ken Jeong’s Mr Chow and Zach Galifianakis’ Alan. With that being said, Jeff Chang did seem like a fine character when Justin Chon didn’t try to act drunk. I really like Sarah Wright, who played Nicole, and Francois Chau, who played Dr Chang, and I would’ve liked to see them in more scenes.
Overall, I felt that this movie tried to be like The Hangover too much, and 4 good acting performances were not enough to make me care for the overall plot. I really wanted to like this movie, sadly I did not.
Final Grade:5.5 out of 10.0. Mediocre movie, too convenient ending.