Posts Tagged Entertainment

Movie Mayhem – Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4 — 2019; Directed by Josh Cooley; Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Keanu Reeves

Whoa.

Not only is this expression oft-referenced by Keanu Reeves, who continues his “Keanussance” by joining the cast of Toy Story 4 as Duke Caboom, an Evil Knievel-style motorcycle stuntman who was tossed away because his real abilities didn’t match the magic of a commercial, perfectly utilized within the film, but it also beautifully sums up the prolific way Pixar has managed to once again match the fun, cleverness and emotional depth of its own groundbreaking, original computer-animated feature.

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Movie Mayhem – Men In Black: International

Men in Black: International — 2019; Directed by F. Gary Gray; Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, and Emma Thompson

It’s been seven years since Will Smith last put on the signature shades that made him look good; 19 years since Tommy Lee Jones dawned the last suit he’d ever wear; and 22 years since Barry Sonnenfeld first brought us into the world of intergalactic protection. Now, director F. Gary Gray takes us across the pond for Men In Black: International, a fun but ultimately wasted showcase for its new crop of agents as they try to protect the most dangerous weapon in the universe from getting into the hands of an evil alien race known as The Hive.

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Movie Mayhem – Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla: King of the Monsters — 2019; Directed by Michael Dougherty; Starring Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins Bradley Whitford, Ziyi Zhang and Millie Bobby Brown

Shared universes aren’t a new thing (Universal had one back in the 30s and 40s when they teamed up their monsters in several films), but they have recently become a much more accepted and desired route for every major studio. After Kevin Feige put his Midas touch on the Marvel superhero franchise, other studios hastily attempted to build their own shared universes. Jason Blum has found relative success in what’s now known as The Conjuring universe, and DC failed early in their attempt at creating a similar superhero universe, but the tide may be turning with recent critical and box-office hits like Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam!

Even Universal tried its hand at resurrecting their monster universe, but after two failed attempts (Dracula Untold and The Mummy), cracking the Marvel formula has been much harder than expected. And it’s not because of the monsters. If it wasn’t already apparent after watching the post-credit sequence on Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla: King of the Monsters makes it absolutely clear that Warner Bros. has slowly and quietly set in motion its own monster franchise.

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Stepping Back Into Minor Hiatus

Friends, family and followers: With the release date of my new novel, Threads, looming on the horizon, I will be taking a semi/short hiatus from my blog, social media and networking for the month of May.

What does that mean? It simply means I will not be posting any movie reviews throughout May (reviews will return in June), and I will be spending less time (if any) on social media and networking events so that I can put my full energy behind finishing the edit for the book and make sure it is in perfect shape for it’s publication on May 21.

Thanks for all of your continued support, and I will see you again in a month with a new novel!

Threads — Coming May 21, 2019

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Movie Mayhem – Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame — 2019; Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo; Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Jeremy Renner, and Don Cheadle.

22 movies over 10 years all come down to this — Avengers: Endgame. Prior to 2008, attempting to tell a continuous story over ten years probably seemed impossible, a pipe-dream that would never come to fruition. Yet producer Kevin Feige somehow managed to masterfully weave dozens of characters, stories and directors into a grand symphony that have only had a few missteps among a bevy of incredible highs. (Even more astounding is how they only had two major and one minor cast change throughout). It’s a feat that is, and will be, incredibly hard to replicate as evidenced by the mostly critical, if not financial failure of those producers who have tried ever since Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) announced that he was Iron Man and was first approached by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) about the Avengers Initiative. And now here we are, at the end of an era; and oh, what a ride it has been.

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Movie Mayhem – Little

Little — 2019; Directed by Tina Gordon; Starring Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin, Tone Bell and Mikey Day

Body switch films have been a staple for a very long time. Whether it’s two people switching bodies (Freaky Friday, Vice-Versa) or a kid becoming an adult overnight (Big, 13 Going on 30), they’re popular because we can relate to what struggles may weigh upon us as we discover the world through a different lens. The idea of traveling in someone else’s shoes to allow this new perspective to change us in a meaningful way, not only physically, but emotionally, is something we’ve all pondered at some point in our lives. But, like any genre, these types of films don’t always work, either because the writing is flawed or, in the case of Little, the newest entry into the body-switch genre, the person afflicted with the magic to become someone new fails to grow in any meaningful way.

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Movie Mayhem – Pet Sematary (2019)

Pet Sematary — 2019; Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer; Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence and John Lithgow.

Adaptations of Stephen King novels and short stories have been happening since 1976, when Sissy Spacek first went psycho prom queen in King’s first official novel, Carrie. Since then, there have been some super highs (The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, The Shining, It and Misery), some incredibly low lows (Needful Things anyone? No thanks!), and a few remakes and sequels that aren’t necessarily good, but aren’t necessarily bad.

Pet Sematary, the story of a man who discovers a way to bring things back to life, sat closer to the Needful Things end of the King adaptation spectrum. Even though it stayed mostly true to the book and had one frightening little four-year-old, Sematary was one of those films that was in need of a heavy makeover. After thirty years (and one wholly unnecessary sequel), we finally got it. And although the last third of the newest adaptation is mostly altered from both the original film and the book, these changes (including a role reversal) work to improve the story within the context of how directors Kevin Kölsh and Dennis Widmyer have set up.

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Movie Mayhem – Dumbo (2019)

Dumbo — 2019; Directed by Tim Burton; Starring Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Nico Parker, Alan Arkin and Eva Green

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a handful of live-action remakes of some of Disney’s classic animated films. Some have been almost shot-for-shot recreations (Beauty and the Beast) and some have diverted a little from the source material (Cinderella, The Jungle Book) to offer a fresh look on the story. Each one has found success at the box office, which means only one thing — more. And we are about to get it. The first of three new live-action remakes that will hit theaters in the next four months is Dumbo, which turns the simple story of an elephant learning to fly into a loving portrait of the importance of family and how anyone has the ability to spread their wings and fly.

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Movie Mayhem – Us & Captive State

Captive State — 2019; Directed by Rupert Wyatt; Starring John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors, Kevin Dunn, Alan Ruck and Vera Farmiga; Us — 2019; Directed by Jordan Peele; Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex

What makes a good twist in a film? When every piece is placed perfectly throughout the film so that it comes out of nowhere, but upon repeat viewings, makes perfect sense, leading you to wonder why you didn’t see it coming in the first place.

What makes a bad twist in a film? When everything is so blatantly obvious, the film is so bland you have nothing better to do than to piece everything together, or upon repeat viewings, it makes no logical sense.

A pair of new films with different goals do their best to create the most compelling story that ends with a killer twist, but end up flawed because of how the rest of the movie was set up. Captive State, a new alien invasion film, falls short of captivating your senses but ends with a bang, and Us, Jordan Peele’s new psychological thriller, treads somewhere in the gray, where although the film itself is rather intriguing, when the twist occurs, you have to scratch your head and wonder if what’s being revealed makes any sense.

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Movie Mayhem – Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart — 2019; Directed by Justin Baldoni; Starring Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moises Arias, Kimberly Hebert Gregory and Parminder Nagra

You know what you’ll be getting before even purchasing a ticket to a film about cancer or terminal illness. There will be plenty of discussions concerning the illness itself and how it affects everyone around it; there will be plenty of jokes about having the illness; there will be a death of a pivotal character that will help someone in the film find some sort of truth; the third act will be, in a lot of ways, bittersweet; and there will be lots of tears from the viewing audience. Five Feet Apart doesn’t back away from any of these tropes, but it still manages to build upon them in a creative way that the film doesn’t feel so much like just another teen cancer movie, but a song for life and the need we all have for companionship, love and family.

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