Charlie’s Angels and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
I’ve never seen the Charlie’s Angels movies from the early 2000s, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original TV series either. Heck, I’m pretty sure the closest thing I’ve seen to it was Totally Spies, and while that has its fans, it’s pretty much been dropped into the memory hole with dozens of other 2000s shows that you don’t remember. So if nothing else, I can at least come into this series with a relatively fresh perspective, and I’ve got to say that I’ve been pretty interested in what we’ve been shown so far; particularly the cast which looks to be amazing and the fact that it’s being directed by Elizabeth Banks who has been gaining some momentum as a voice behind the camera as well as in front of it. Does this reboot of the seventies classic bring the franchise into the twenty first century; at least for the second time? Let’s find out!!
Elena (Naomi Scott) is a scientist working at some business company on some new technology that will revolutionize the power industry through… I guess computer coding? The invention in this case is called Calisto which is a little box the size of an Echo Dot or a Google Home that can somehow power entire rooms and even buildings. However, there is ONE itty-bitty flaw with it in that it can cause people to have brain aneurisms through some sort of bug that Elena is SURE she can fix, but her misogynistic boss (Nat Faxon) won’t let her because they have to get it to market and he wants to take all the credit for it. If only there was an agency that understood her plight as a woman in tech and could help her stop a supervillain plot at the same time. Oh wait! There is! The Townsend Agency consists primarily of Bosleys and Angels; the latter being the agents who go on missions and the former being the ones to coordinate the Angels. The two angles who got assigned to Elena’s case are Sabina and Jane (Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska) and it should be a straightforward Exposé of company documents, but when an assassin (Jonathan Tucker) shows up and takes out one of the Bosleys (Djimon Hounsou), things have clearly escalated to a point far more seirous than Elena had ever imagined. With the help of a new Bosley (Elizabeth Banks), the three women team up to try and take () back from the evil company and find out just what it is they plan on doing with it in its current deadly state. Will Elena prove herself to be a true Angel in the making despite a lifetime of being under the thumb of patriarchal and woman unfriendly industry? What are Sabina and Jane’s story, and will they find excuses to clash with one another when they really should be working together to save the world? Most importantly of all, does this succeed in empowering women to be in silly spy movies just like men can!?
Bumblebee and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Travis Knight
The thing about Transformers, at least for me, is that it’s only ever existed as the Michael Bay movies. I never watched the original series, any of its spin-offs, and I’ve only played one of the games, so if nothing else this movie has a rather low bar to clear if it wants to be considered “good”. Now that said, it’s got some heavy competition right now what with the new Spider-Man movie not just being GOOD but PHENOMENAL, and there are plenty of others out right now that this isn’t gonna stack favorably against if it’s ONLY trying to be better than what Bay was putting out. Still, it’s got a lot going for it what with Hailee Steinfeld AND the recently launched into the mainstream John Cena filling out the cast along with the Laika animation guy stepping in for Bay this time around. Does this prequel manage to take this tired and overblown franchise in a fresh new direction, or is the engine underneath it still the same despite the shiny new coat of paint? Let’s find out!!
Back in the long ago days of the late eighties (when Sony Walkmans walked the Earth), the war for Cybertron was reaching its peak as the Decepticons had pushed the Autobot rebels off the planet with little hope of taking it back. The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), has tasked B-127 (Dylan O’Brien) with scouting a far off planet that may serve as their new base of operations so they can regroup and finally stop the Decepticons once and for all; a desperate plan to be sure, but its not like anyone else is coming up wit ha better one. So B-127 speeds off to Earth but was followed by a Decepticon warrior! Oh no! The ensuing battle leaves the Decepticon dead, but it leaves a few humans worse for wear including Super Solider from Sector 7 Jack Burns (John Cena) as well as B-127 ending up heavily damaged (even losing his voice in the process) and… I guess robo-hibernates for some time to recharge his batteries. Some time passes (not sure if it’s months or years) and B-127 is found in a junkyard by Charlie Watson (Haille Steinfeld) who takes him home and manages to get him running again. He wakes up, shows himself to be a robot to Charlie albeit it with no memories which were all damaged in the fight, and… I think he accidentally sets off some sort of tracking beacon that two Decepticons (Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux) a few planets away seem to have heard which conveniently gives us antagonists to fight against in the third act. Until then, Charlie names B-127 Bumblebee and tries to teach him how to blend in the human world while also taking him for joy rides, prank wars, and emotional character arcs for both her and her new robot buddy who’s not sure who he is or what his place in this strange world is. Will Charlie and Bumblebee learn to deal with their traumas and find a new lease on life by beating up robots and taking bullies down a peg? What will John Cena do when he finds out the robot that nearly killed him is still functional, and will it involve the Five Knuckle Shuffle? Wait a minute… finding a robot in a junkyard that was meant to fight off a hostile alien force but got lost along the way… isn’t this the plot to Megas XLR?
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman
Honestly this whole “Oscar Season” thing has felt rather muted this year as I really haven’t seen that many movies that would fit the archetype we often associate with them. Other than Welcome to Marwen, the holiday season has been just an extension of summer with huge blockbusters coming out back to back with three presumed major money makers (Bumblebee, Mary Poppins Returns, and Aquaman) fighting over a single weekend right before Christmas. However out of all those movies that we’re getting right now, the one that really caught my attention was this film; not because I had any particular reason to think it would be great (though I do certainly hope that’s the case!) but because it looked so much different than everything else. An animated film with a unique art style about Spider-Man characters other than Spider-Man? Heck, that’s PRACTICALLY Venom considering how much CG they used, and that wasn’t TOO bad! Can the cinematic debut of Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, and… others I guess, manage to be up there with the best that Disney can put out, or is this only gonna look good in comparison to Sony’s other recent Spider-Man efforts? Let’s find out!!
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is your typical Marvel nobody; slightly smarter than everyone else, painfully insecure, and doesn’t realize how good his life is until some tragedy will inevitably strike it after they get super powers! For now though, he’s just bummed about having to go to a fancy new school that his parents (Brian Tyree Henry and Luna Lauren Velez) want him to attend while all he wants to do is be with his friends and hang out with his uncle (Mahershala Ali) who understands him a heck of a lot more than his parents do. During one such hang out session where he and his uncle tag a wall in an abandoned subway tunnel, Miles gets bit by a radioactive spider and goes through the typical Spider-Man first day of school; make a fool of yourself, stick to things, and eventually realize how awesome these powers are! Then again, there’s already a Spider-Man roaming the streets (Chris Pine) so it’s not like he needs to get himself involved in Super Hero shenanigans, right? Oh wait, Spider-Man’s dead. Huh. Didn’t see that coming (especially if you don’t know anything about Miles Morales already) and not only that, the big Super Villain plot he failed to stop is some sort of interdimensional portal gun thingy that The Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) is making and is merging alternate realties into this one. It makes a lot more sense when you see in the movie. Trust me on that. ANYWAY! One of the alternate dimensions has spout out Peter B Parker (Jake Johnson) who is like this universe’s Peter only a lot less dead and a lot less competent, and he and Miles end up crossing paths through even more convoluted shenanigans. So now that we’re up to TWO only somewhat competent Spider-People, they can do what the actually GOOD Spider-Man couldn’t, right? Eh… maybe, but let’s see if we can find a few more Else Worlds Spiders like Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Bot (Kimiko Gleen), and Spider-Pig (John Mulaney) before storming The Kingpin’s castle. I’m sure they’re around here somewhere! Will Miles learn how to use his powers for good and accept the responsibility that comes with them? Can the other Spider-People not only show him what it means to be a hero, but stop The Kingpin before their universe’s become endangered as well? Can we somehow find a way to go to an alternate dimension where this film is ALSO part of the MCU!?
The Edge of Seventeen and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment
Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig
Oh hey! It’s our good ol’ friends at STX entertainment once again! They’ve only been around for just over a year now, yet they’ve responsible for five of the films I’ve had to review this year; all of which have been to surprisingly polarizing results with The Boy being one of the biggest surprises of the year and Free State of Jones turning out to be a major snooze fest. Still, they are sitting pretty after Bad Moms managed to rake in almost two hundred million dollars (and I get the feeling The Space Between Us is gonna make quite a few bucks as well), so they’re gonna stick around for some time; especially if their latest film manages to find a similar audience the way Bad Moms did. Does The Edge of Seventeen fill a niche for teenage moviegoers while also being a great film in its own right, or is this yet another lazy attempt to get the John Hughes formula to work one more time? Let’s find out!!
The movie is all about Nadine Byrd (Hailee Steinfeld) who’s life as a middle class white girl REALLY sucks as she’s at the point in her life where nothing makes sense and everyone seems to be against her; especially when that’s compounded by the tragic loss of her father a few years back which drove a wedge between her and her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) to this very day. Not only that, but she’s ALSO got to deal with her brother Darian (Blake Jenner) being so perfect at everything so she gets to compare her own lousy existence to a better one every single day. What could POSSIBLY make things worse!? Her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) sleeping with her brother? Okay, that will do it. Clearly Nadine is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and needs to find a way to become more comfortable with her own life and the ways in which it is changing; whether it’s by hanging out with a guy who TOTALLY loves her but she’s not all that into (Hayden Szeto) or working up the nerve to talk to the dude she’s been crushing on for quite some time now (Alexander Calvert). Will Nadine finally get her life on track after getting through this rough patch in her life? Will the hot bad boy who works in a pet shop FINALLY notice her? Maybe her teacher (Woody Harelson) can help sort this all out for her.