Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Coming in 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Zack Snyder’s Batman/Superman film, set for release on May 16, 2016, now has an official title: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

For some time, he title has been rumored to be Batman vs. Superman. The “v.” as opposed to “vs.” or “versus” formalizes the title a bit, making it akin to a boxing match.

The title obviously serves as a prequel to a future Justice League movie.

Source: The Verge

Image from newsarama.com.

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A Godzilla Review – “Whaddaya Mean I’m Too Fat?!?”

TITLE: Godzilla
STARRING: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn
DIRECTOR: Gareth Edwards
STUDIOS: Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Toho
RATED: PG-13
RUN TIME:
123 min
RELEASED: May 16, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Japanese Godzilla fans are apparently calling foul on this new movie for making the title character too fat. To that I say, pshaw. This is an American Godzilla, folks. He eats McDonalds hamburgers, drinks Starbucks coffee, and loves him some Real Housewives of New York. DEAL.

But while the big guy may be looking, well, bigger than some fans are used to, this latest film manages to be a breath of fresh air, especially for American fans who last saw him in the 1998 Roland Emmerich adaptation. While it certainly has its share of flaws to atone for, by and large it should give audiences what they want to see.

Long story short, the world has come under attack by a pair of giant parasitic monsters who feed off of radiation. Thus Godzilla, who in this film is cast as Earth’s defender rather than its destructor, rises from dormancy to fight them. Amidst the chaos, the recently discharged Lieutenant Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is separated from his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and young son. Thus, Brody must reunite with his family, but also help the armed forces defend America from annihilation.

Godzilla is an easy movie to criticize, for a variety of reasons. So let’s start out on a positive note: Both Godzilla and his monstrous opponents look great, and the movie makes you believe in them. One of the elements that’s helpful in this respect is that the movie is somewhat conservative with their camera time. You still see them quite a bit, obviously. But the movie attempts to rely more on storytelling, as opposed to the spectacle of seeing giant monsters fighting. This is helpful not just in terms of making the film appeal to a wider audience, but keeping the movie magic alive. We don’t actually see a big, epic battle between Godzilla and the bad guys until the film’s climax. That the build up leaves the audience craving the big collision, and that allows us to keep our disbelief suspended. The wait was a risky move, but it’s one that pays off in the end.

Bryan Cranston is in roughly the first 40 minutes of this movie. You’d think nothing bad could come of that, but Cranston and his character, Brody’s father, actually set the bar too high for everyone else. Fifteen years earlier, the Joe Brody character worked in a nuclear reactor in Japan with his wife. An incident involving one of the parasite monsters causes the destruction of the reactor, and his wife’s death. He then devotes his life finding out exactly what caused the tragedy, thus alienating his son Ford. Joe Brody has more depth, and is also performed better, than any of the characters he interacts with. Thus, when he leaves the movie, there’s a huge drop in quality, and it almost becomes just another monster flick.

From a performance standpoint, Elizabeth Olsen might have stood on level with Cranston, but she essentially plays a stock damsel in distress character. The same can be said for Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who plays a very generic hero soldier type. (Oddly enough, these two will play siblings in Avengers: Age of Ultron.) You’ll root for him, though to his credit, that’s more Taylor-Johnson than anything present in the writing. Ford’s motivation in this film isn’t an uncommon one for disaster flicks. He’s separated from his loved ones and is desperately trying to find them. But oddly enough, he doesn’t get to have a big moment at the end of the movie where he saves/finds his wife. That’s not a statement on whether she survives or not. It’s a critique on the notion of our hero not getting to accomplish his main goal in the end. Instead, the matter is taken out of his control. Granted, he does a hell of other heroic stuff along the way. But not allowing Ford to accomplish his main goal definitely takes some of the edge off the end of the movie.

Aaaaaand then we have the various plotholes and conflicts of logic/reason that you’re bound to find in a lot of disaster/monster movies. Godzilla has no shortage of them, but I’ll stick to the major ones…

Questions from Godzilla:

- Why is this guy from the Navy (David Strathairn) giving all the orders? I understand we need some kind of military authority figure for the monster expert (Ken Watanabe) to talk with and spout exposition to. But why the U.S. Navy? The whole thing started in Japan, right? And at one point a Russian nuclear sub is destroyed, isn’t it? And these monsters are easily capable of stomping their way across the globe, aren’t they? So where’s the U.N. in all of this? Why is this whole thing being coordinated by the Navy? Is it because Godzilla rose up from the ocean? It just doesn’t make sense…

- At one point, the military plans to kill all three monsters with an extremely powerful nuclear weapon, which they bring into San Francisco. The idea is that the radiation would lure the monsters to into the trap, and the impact of the blast itself would kill them. This plan itself is incredibly flimsy, as no one seems to even be sure the blast will actually kill these things. What’s more, if the blast didn’t kill them, it’d likely make them stronger than ever. Talk about an all or nothing scenario. This was the best plan they could come up with?

- Near the end of the movie, the big bomb goes off in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. Not that far off the coast, actually. And at the time, the two parasite monsters aren’t around to absorb the radiation. And yet, in the aftermath we see downtown San Francisco is not a nuclear wasteland. That’s curiously convenient, isn’t it?

- How is it that giant radioactive monsters can sneak around? The Nostalgia Critic had a similar complaint during his review of the 1998 Godzilla film. Near the middle of the film, the military “loses sight” of one of the parasite monsters. A short time later, the other monster is able to break out of a nuclear waste facility in Nevada (and I mean literally break out of the structure), apparently without anyone noticing until they actually check the appropriate locked cell. How? Can these things somehow go into stealth mode?

In the end, Godzilla should satisfy those looking for a giant monster smackdown in the middle of a major city. The end pay off is largely worth it, despite the attempts at character-driven storytelling falling mostly flat, and the wait for the big fight being frustrating at times. It don’t see it being one of the highlights of this summer movie season. But if you’ve got some spare cash to burn, you could definitely do worse.

RATING: 6/10

Front page image from latimes.com. Image 3 from denofgeek.com. All other image from rottentomatoes.com. 

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Zack Snyder Tweets First Look at Batman and the Batmobile

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

After teasing a Batmobile reveal on Twitter yesterday, Zack Snyder has kept his word and not only revealed Batman’s ride, but Batman himself.

The accompanying caption reads: “I shot this with my @Leica_Camera M Monochrom. #Batman #Batmobile #Gotham”

The as yet untitled Superman/Batman movie, directed by Snyder and starring Ben Affleck as Batman, comes out May 6, 2016.

Source: @ZackSnyder

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Zack Snyder Teases New Batmobile

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

At left is an image tweeted today by Zack Snyder, director of 2016′s Superman/Batman movie. It was posted with the caption: “Could be time to pull the tarp…tomorrow?”

Obviously, Snyder is teasing a reveal of the Batmobile that will be used by Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader in the sequel to Man of Steel.

The as yet untitled Superman/Batman film comes out May 6, 2016.

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Lionsgate Developing New Power Rangers Feature Film

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Lionsgate is reportedly setting its sights on a feature film starring none other than the Power Rangers.

The studio is partnering with Saban Brands, the company that originally developed Power Rangers and continues to do so to this day.

Haim Saban, chairman and CEO of Saban Brands, said Lionsgate is the perfect studio to bring the Power Rangers back to the big screen, having been behind such young adult franchises as The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games.

This would be the third time the Rangers have starred in a feature film. In 1995 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie made over $66 million worldwide. Its successor, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, was considerably less successful, pulling in just over $9 million.

Source: Yahoo! Movies

Image from powerrangers.wikia.com.

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An Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review – Bad Building Blocks

TITLEThe Amazing Spider-Man 2
STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Chris Cooper
DIRECTOR: Marc Webb
STUDIOS: Columbia Pictures, Marvel 
RATED: PG-13
RUN TIME: 142 min
RELEASED: May 2, 2014

By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja

I wasn’t a big fan of The Amazing Spider-Man. The cast was good, the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone was great, and there were some decent action scenes. But the story wasn’t strong and Peter Parker came off like an a-hole. Similarly, there is some good stuff in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but it’s underwhelming. The movie is burdened with too much material that would have been better served in future films in the series, as opposed to just one movie.

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is having a hard time juggling his responsibilities as Spider-Man, his love of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and his desire to find out what happened to his parents. In the middle of all this, his best friend, Harry Osborn, (Dane DeHaan) returns to New York City and a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), terrorizes the city.

While I’m not in love with these new Spider-Man movies, I do love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. He is able to nail all the jokes, but can also reach the emotional lows. These two things are inherent parts of the character and Garfield embodies them beautifully. His chemistry with Emma Stone is fantastic and the relationship between the two characters is one of the most entertaining parts of the film.

The action scenes and the effects in this film are a huge improvement over the first go-around. Electro is beautifully rendered, the scenes of Spider-Man swinging through the city are exhilarating, and the fight scenes are incredible. There are some small moments that help fill out the film. Scenes like Aunt May (Sally Field) getting angry at Peter, Spider-Man stopping a robbery while he is sick, and our hero helping a kid who was being bullied help to fill out a story filled with things that are nowhere near as entertaining.

The movie’s main flaw is that it’s filled with unnecessary elements that seem to serve as set-ups for future films/franchises, and ultimately end up drowning out everything that works. There’s a conspiracy storyline, which is unnecessary from the beginning, and it fizzles out instead of reaching a satisfying conclusion. The story between Harry and Peter had its moments, but I was never truly invested in their relationship, and as such the ending suffers. Electro is a good villain, and Foxx does a good job portraying the disturbed fanboy and the psychotic bad guy. But his story is shortchanged for the stuff about Peter’s parents and Harry Osborn. They could have focused on other parts of the story and abandoned what didn’t work. But the film is instead used as jumping off point for the planned Sinister Six film, or any other films they are trying to create from the Spider-Man universe.

There is a good movie here somewhere. And it’s one that would have been a huge improvement over the first film. But it is burdened with enough storylines and villains to fill one or two other films. If they focused on Peter and Gwen’s relationship, Electro, and just a little bit on Harry Osborn, this would have been a far better film. As it is, there is too much to juggle, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 loses focus on what works.

RATING: 7/10

Images from rottentomatoes.com.

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Amazing Spider-Man 2 Producers: No Alternate Spider-Men on the Big Screen

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Miles Morales, the character behind the Spider-Man mask in the pages of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, and the upcoming Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man, most certainly has his share of fans. The same can be said for Spider-Man 2099, the Scarlet Spider, and various other alternate Spider-Men.

However, movie audiences shouldn’t expect to see any of them in a feature film any time soon.

When asked by The Playlist about the possibility of a character other than Peter Parker portraying Spider-Man in a feature film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 producer Matt Tolmach simply replied: “No.”

Avid Arid, the film’s other producer, elaborated: ”The one thing you cannot do, when you have a phenomena that has stood the test of time, you have to be true to the real character inside – who is Peter Parker? What are the biggest effects on his life? Then you can draw in time, and you can consider today’s world in many ways. But to have multiple ones… I don’t know if you remember, but Marvel tried it. And it was almost the end of Spider-Man.”

Source: ComingSoon.net

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Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announced, Ford, Hamill, and Fisher to Return

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

After months of speculation, this week StarWars.com officially announced the cast for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII.

The film, which takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, will see Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher reprise their iconic roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker will also return as Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2.

Joining the original stars will be…

- John Boyega (Attack the Block24: Live Another Day)
- Daisy Ridley (CasualtyMr. Selfridge)
- Adam Driver (Inside Llwen Davis, Lincoln)
- Oscar Isaac (Inside Llwen Davis, Drive, Robin Hood)
-  Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit films, Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
- Domhnall Gleeson (About TimeTrue Grit)
-  Max von Sydow (Minority ReportRobin HoodThe Exorcist)

“We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII,” director J.J. Abrams said. “It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Star Wars: Episode VII comes out December 18, 2015.

Source/Image: StarWars.com

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Star Wars Expanded Universe to “Turn A New Page”

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The Star Wars Expanded Universe, which fans know as the continuity that exists throughout the various comic books, novels, video games, etc., is about to “turn a new page.”

In other words, future Star Wars films and stories will not take place in the same continuity as the Expanded Universe. According to a release made via StarWars.com this week, the six Star Wars feature films, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, are “the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align.”

The release continues: “In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe.”

To oversee a new continuity brought forth by Star Wars: Rebels and other stories, LucasFilm has formed a story group to ensure all content aligns.

“We have an unprecedented slate of new Star Wars entertainment on the horizon,” said LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “We’re set to bring Star Wars back to the big screen, and continue the adventure through games, books, comics, and new formats that are just emerging. This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before.”

This announcement coincides with news from Disney Publishing Worldwide and Random House. The companies will relaunch the Star Wars adult fiction line with Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, which will be released on September 4.

StarWars.com indicates that while the Star Wars universe is changing, elements from the Expanded Universe may be incorporated into future projects. The release indicates that “…elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.”

Expanded Universe stories will reportedly stay in print under a new “Legends” banner.

Star Wars: Rebels premieres this fall on the Disney Channel, and Disney XD. Star Wars: Episode VII comes out December 18, 2015.

Image from howzyerteeth.beacondeacon.com. 

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Cyborg Cast in Superman/Batman Film

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ray Fisher, a young actor known primarily for his theater work, has reportedly been cast as Victor Stone/Cyborg in the Superman/Batman film set for release in 2016.

In the DC Universe, Victor Stone is a teenager who becomes half machine after a tragic accident. In the recent company-wide reboot, Cyborg was made a member of the Justice League alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the company’s other major characters.

Directed by Zack Snyder, he as yet untitled Superman/Batman film will star Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The movie comes out May 6, 2016.

Image from geeklyrant.com. 

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