Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Joachim Rønning
If I was reviewing movies when the first Maleficient came out, it probably would have been in my top ten of that year; THAT’S how much I genuinely loved that movie, and I don’t think I’m in TOO big of a minority on this one! It didn’t get the BEST reviews, but I think it still managed to connect with a lot of people and certainly made quite a bit of money even with its enormous budget. Doing a sequel though, eh… that doesn’t sound like THE GREATEST IDEA EVER, but I’m willing to throw myself into it and hope for the best considering how good the first one was and Jolie’s continued involvement with the series since she was the best thing about that movie. Do they find an interesting way to continue the story after its revisionist Happily Ever After, or should they have left well enough alone after managing to catch lightening in a bottle already? Let’s find out!!
Queen Aurora (Elle Fanning) has been running the magic forest known as The Moors since her adoptive mother killed her biological father in the first movie. It’s cool though; the dude was a HUGE jerk and was played by Sharlto Copley, so he pretty much HAD to die! Someone who DIDN’T die though was Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) who’s been dating Aurora for some time now (ACTUALLY dating; not rescuing her from a castle and getting a bride as a reward), but now is the time for him to pop the question and join their kingdoms under one big happy family. This is cause for celebration for just about everyone in The Moors… except for one woman who finds this arrangement utterly dreadful. Actually two women, but we’ll get to that soon enough; we’re of course talking about Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) at the moment who has obvious reservations because of the whole Sharlto Copley thing, but agrees meet Phillips parents for dinner which will SURELY go off without a hitch, right!? Well… that OTHER woman who’s not too please about all this is Phillip’s mother Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) who has a clear bias against all things magical and is not about to let those ghastly creatures crash on her kingdom’s metaphorical couch, and so she sets into motion her diabolical scheme to ruin the forest and turn Maleficent into a fearsome monster once again. At first it seems to succeed as Maleficent is more or less banished from the kingdom after being a particularly unpleasant dinner guest, but things take an unexpected turn when she learns that there are OTHER creatures just like her that call themselves Dark Feys and have lived in hiding all this time, but Queen Ingrith’s plans may just put an end to all that. Will Maleficent unmask Queen Ingrith’s evil plans and restore her place as a good guy once more, or will she embrace her outsider status and become the worst nightmare that Ingrith and the rest of the humans could ever face? What will the Dark Fey do to protect themselves, and will it be in the best interest of everyone else in this conflict; even Maleficent herself? Can we maybe get a movie where Queen Ingrith meets Queen Ravenna from Snow White and the Huntsman? I’m pretty sure that the combined efforts of Jolie and Thor wouldn’t be able to overcome THAT level of concentrated ham-tastic villainy.
Alita: Battle Angel and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Man, I don’t know the first thing about this series! Every time you find out about ONE legendary anime that defined the genre, there pops up another dozen or so that you need to catch up on as well, and I’m a busy guy! I don’t have time to catch up with the stuff I already need to; let alone this one that I’m only now aware of because the movie is coming out! Speaking of which, wasn’t this supposed to come out like a year ago? Granted, the amount of CG on display here is staggering and I can see even the SLIGHTEST hitch in post-production causing massive delays, but being a February burn off instead of summer blockbuster or even winding up in the post-summer slowdown period seems like a bad sign. I don’t know, this is clearly one of those movies that have SO much passion and resources behind them that it can either be a total masterpiece or a hilarious disaster with almost no chance for landing in-between. Are we talking Mad Max: Fury Road, or Battlefield Earth? In either case, we should strap in just to be on the safe side! Let’s find out!!
IN THE YEAR THREE THOUSAND (or some other far off date), the world has basically been reduced to two major cities, Iron City below and the sky city of Zalem above, after the devastation of THE FALL which was a big war hundreds of years ago. Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) is a robo-doctor (as in he fixes robots; not that he is himself a robotic doctor) who scavenges through the trash tossed down by Zalem for useable parts to keep his clinic open for those in need, but one day he finds far more than eh could have ever imagined! He finds the remnants of some kind of robot which he takes home and learns has a human brain as well as some other unique parts which he attaches to a spare robo-body he had lying around and brings her back to life; giving her the name Alita which no doubt has some significance we’ll learn about later on in the movie. Alita 9Rosa Salazar) has no memory of who she was before being tossed in the garbage which is sad to be sure, but the local badboy Hugo (Keean Johnson) as well as the totally rad sport of Motorball at least help to pass the time as she tries to find answers to her past. Well needless to say as the movie goes along, we find answers to more and more of these questions which lead to Alita being put in more and more danger as others discover who she is as well. Primarily, she starts getting pursued by the local kingpin Vector (Mahershala Ali) who has connections to everyone in town; including Dr. Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly) who is helping him in exchange for a chance to reach the shiny city in the sky. Along the way she’ll make friends, encounter enemies, and even have to deal with insufferable douchebags like the robo-bounty hunter Zapan (Ed Skrein) who coincidentally seems to hold yet another piece to Alita’s past. Can Alita survive long enough in this harsh world to learn who she really is? Just how powerful is she, and how far will she go to protect those she cares about? Wait, so if she was built to be an ULTIMATE WARRIOR, why did they give her the brain of a teenager!?
Deadpool and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Tim Miller
Despite being 2010’s Sexiest Man Alive, Ryan Reynolds isn’t really your traditional leading man. The guy had a long string of successful comedies through most of the 2000s, but it wasn’t until they tried pushing him into a leading man position that everything started to go to hell. He’s been keeping himself busy with films like The Woman in Gold and Self/Less just to keep his name out there, but he has bet everything on this movie to finally put him back on top and as the comedic actor he wants to be. Was it a wise move to bank on this character making a splash with main stream audiences, or is this going to be the last straw before Hollywood finally gives up on the one time super star? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Wade Wilson (Ryan Rynolds) having finally tracked down the man who turned him into the un-fuckable immortal wearing the red onesie known as Deadpool. The man in question AJAX (Ed Skrein) seems to be heading somewhere with a caravan of tough guys that are dispatched with ease as we saw in the trailers. During said assault, we get flashbacks to Wade’s life before the super powers and learn more about his relationship with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) prior to getting multiple terminal cancers. After being diagnosed, he’s visited by a mysterious man (Jed Rees) who offers him a chance at a cure which Wade eventually take him up on which leads to him being under the care of AJAX. Things go south however as it turns out the mysterious organization running horrifying experiments is not quite what you would call “ethical” and so Wade finds a way to escape but can’t bear to face Vanessa again until AJAX either fixes his face or is buried six feet under. Donning a snazzy outfit and a the moniker of Deadpool, he proceeds to cut his way through AJAX’s known associates which leads back to the boss and neatly lands us back at the beginning of the movie. Speaking of which, the commotion on the freeway doesn’t go unnoticed as a member of the X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and his student Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) catch wind of it from news reports and they go to see what the hell Wade’s doing. Will Deadpool get his revenge on AJAX before these two buzz kills get in the way? What will AJAX do now that Wade has resurfaced and is broadcasting his intent to kill him? What the hell is Ryan Reynolds gonna do if this ISN’T a hit!?
The Transporter Refueled and all the images you see in this review are owned by EuropaCorp
Directed by Camille Delamarre
So which one was it? Did Jason Statham become too expensive, or was Luc Besson too cheap to get him back? Well either way, we’ve got a brand new Transporter film in theaters with a much more affordable actor in the title role. Now this isn’t the first time the character has been portrayed by someone other than Jason Statham, what with a TV series that as far as I can tell is still being made, but instead of making a continuation of that series they decided to reboot the whole thing and have this be its own independent venture. Will they succeed in making The Transporter a household name for action films, or with this turn out to be yet another failure to revive a (presumably) beloved character on the big screen? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about The Transporter (Ed Skrein) who is a dude that handles his jobs like a pragmatic hooker. No names, no backstory, and every move is agreed upon ahead of time. While we don’t see him on a job before the plot of the movie kicks in, it’s clear that he’s a driver for whoever the hell needs his services. Politicians, celebrities, bank robbers, you name it. I wonder if he ever helped someone who committed a premeditated murder. Anyway, on top of being the best British driver in all of Europe (the movie takes place in France despite all the cars having their driver’s seat on the left side) he can also kick massive amounts of ass as he proves to us in the opening scene where a bunch of thugs try to strip his car. One question: After this dude in a suit manages to beat seven of your buddies to the curb, why do you think YOU will be the one to take him down? Sorry. I keep getting distracted here. The movie ACTUALLY begins in 1995 with a bunch of gangsters shooting up a bunch of prostitutes and pimps on a corner so that they can put their OWN working girls on that corner. That seems like A LOT of trouble to go through just for street hookers, but maybe they didn’t have escort services back then. After THAT scene, we jump ahead to the aforementioned beat down of the street thugs who piss off The Transporter which causes him to be late in picking up his dad (Ray Stevenson) who’s retiring from MI6 or whatever.