Justice League 2017 & Justice League 2021 as well as all the images you see are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Both films directed by Zack Snyder
I can’t say I was ever looking forward to this day as I was one of the people who actually LIKED the original cut of Justice League and then spent the last four years seeing people opine (and worse) for a movie that they already got; not to mention the awful news that broke about how the reshoots went for Ray Fisher. Still, Warner Bros is looking for ANY sort of cash cow to make their HBO Max service a success, so they threw a bunch of money at Zack Snyder and company to make an extended version of the movie they already made and feed into the LOST SNYDER CUT narrative that has been stuck with us for so long. Now that the movie is finally out, was it worth all the hype and can it possibly justify the ridiculous over the top actions its most ardent supporters took? Well obviously not, but instead of just doing a straight up review as the films are very similar in a lot of ways, I think it’d be much more interesting to take a look at what this new version gets right as well as where it falls short of the original cut. Let’s get started, and beware of Spoilers ahead!!
Something Good: The colors make more sense
The drastic change in pallets between the early trailers and the later ones was a definite sign that things were changing significantly and a lot of scenes in the movie ended up suffering for it. Batman in particular always looked like an overstuffed sausage in bat-pants stuffed with pudding (which isn’t COMPLETELY gone but is much less prominent now), and there was a garishness to certain scenes where they pushed the colors up just a little bit too high. The corrections here definitely fit more with what was being filmed and the pallet fits well with the new tone of the movie.
Something Bad: The colors are more boring
And yet I just couldn’t get behind it. Sure the colors didn’t always WORK, but for the most part they were bright and colorful which added a much needed cheeriness to a franchise that until then was stuck in its own morose grander. Thankfully later movies like Shazam, Aquaman, and arguably even Wonder Woman 1984 built a brighter look from the ground up and the aesthetic fits better with those movies, but going back to this kind of look after those films is just deflating; even if it’s more competently done. And I’m also going to throw this in here, I just don’t get why they insisted on using an IMAX aspect ratio for a moving going to a streaming service. It’s distracting the whole way through and I never felt like it added anything.
Spider-Man: Far From Home and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Jon Watts
Well now that we’re FINALLY done with Thanos (and James Gunn is back on Guardians 3), we can finally get things back on track, right? I mean sure, we needed a nice big climatic sendoff for the big stars that helped bring this franchise to life, but now that the party’s over things have got to keep going without them and the MCU, if they’ve done NOTHING else, have managed to create something that can go on even after closing the book on some of its biggest characters. Still, there’s a big ol’ elephant in the room (or perhaps SPIDER-PIG in the room!) called Into the Spider-Verse that came out between the last Tom Holland film and this one which frankly blew Homecoming out of the water. Homecoming is still great, but Into the Spider-Verse? Woo boy is that a hard act to follow! Can this Post Thanos and Post Spider-Verse entry into the MCU cement itself as the first step to the future of this franchise, or have we already seen the best this version of the hero has to offer and will be left wanting for something more? Let’s find out!!
So hey! That whole… dead for five years thing was pretty rough, wasn’t it? Well the world keeps on turning I suppose and that’s definitely true for Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as well as the entire cast from the first Spider-Man movie who JUST SO HAPPENED to be blinked out of existence as well which makes sense to me because this is a movie and everyone liked the cast from the first film. This includes Ned (Jacob Batalon), Mary Jane (Zendaya), and even Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori); all of whom as well as a couple of other students from Peter’s school are going on a European field trip. Frankly, Peter could use the time off considering how much he’s had to go through in the past… I guess it’s only been a few months for him, and after… well ENDGAME SPOILERS WILL BE IN THE REST OF THIS REVIEW SO LOOK AWAY NOW, Tony died saving the universe, he’s been having trouble coping with this whole “superhero” thing which has gotten a lot more real than just being a dude doing back flips on roofs and stopping two bit muggers. Of course nothing can be that easy for good ol’ Peter Parker because Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) along with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are trying to pull him into this “save the world” situation where elemental monsters from another dimension are tearing up cities all over the world, and with the Avengers kinda doing their own thing (the ones who aren’t dead at least) all they’ve got to work with is this kid and some dude named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) who claims to have come from the same alternate dimension as the elementals and wants to help us stop them. Oh, and at some point people start calling him “Mysterio” for some reason, but I’m sure that’s fine. This is all WAY more than Peter was ready to handle so soon, but then again if he’s not ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and save the world, was he ever truly worth of being Tony’s protégé and a possible future Avenger? Can the world possibly get along fine with the new guys out there like the square jawed and overly capable Mysterio fellow to let Peter just be a kid for once? Seriously, considering where he ends up in Into the Spider-Verse, he might as well quit now. Yes, EITHER version of Peter in that movie!
Justice League and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Zack Snyder
So… it’s not like anyone is looking forward to this movie and is willing to yell at critics over it, right!? Sigh… now my opinions on Batman v Superman have been made quite clear on multiple occasions, but you know… with Wonder Woman and to a very VERY lesser extent Suicide Squad, I don’t think these films aren’t worth seeing. Heck, even Batman v Superman is worth seeing in the sense that there’s so much to learn about NOT making a good movie from it! I am absolutely not looking forward to this movie and I don’t expect it to be all that good, but I’m going to sit in my seat, watch all the crappy local car commercials, and then hope that I’m not just completely wasting my time and money being there. I The fact that I’m expecting this to be bad is not the same as WANTING it to be bad or HOPING for it to be bad just to get some “outrage clickbait” out of it, because I don’t need any MORE things in my life to piss me off even if I get a hilarious and insightful review out of it. I’d rather write hilarious and insightful review of GOOD movies! So then… does Warner Bros and DC have what it takes to keep this franchise afloat after Wonder Woman became an critical and box office smash, or are we stuck with more of the same crap until these DCCU films stop making money for them? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins sometime after the events of Batman v Superman where (SPOILER ALERT!) the world is still reeling over the DEATH OF SUPERMAN! Everyone’s moody, crime is on the rise, and to top things off, aliens have started invading Earth! Yeah, that whole dream sequence with the Parademons in the last movie? Well it’s not a full scale invasion just yet, but Batman’s swinging around Gotham City finding these space bugs all over the place and needs to figure out what the heck is going on! Well it doesn’t take long for the TRUE threat to reveal himself as Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) who, now that Superman is deader than disco, feels confident enough to stage an all-out attack on Earth… for some reason. I mean I GUESS he tried to take over the planet back when it was Middle Earth and Amazons, Green Lanterns, and I THINK Shazzam were able to stop him, so maybe he’s after this planet for revenge or something. IT DOESN’T MATTER THOUGH! What matters is that he’s gonna tear shit up and the world needs its most powerful champions to fight against him which includes the aforementioned Batman, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jasson Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Will the Justice League be able to put aside their differences and come together (right now!) in order to stop the greatest threat humanity has ever faced? Just what is Steppenwolf’s master plan, and what other forces are in play that these mere mortals are only seeing the briefest glimpse of? How much more leeway will we have to give WB just to make sure we keep getting Wonder Woman movies!?
The Snowman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Is anyone else super excited to see this movie? There’s something innately appealing about a serial killer movie, as morbid as that sounds, mostly because I feel they’re one of the purest forms of a Good Guy vs Bad Guy story that pits two characters against each other in a battle of wits to see who comes out on top! Face/Off, Death Note, Silence of the Lambs, Sherlock; the list goes on and on and I always find them to be at least somewhat enjoyable… though I have never seen that Alex Cross movie which I hear is so bad it’d probably ruin the whole genre for me. At least this movie looks better than THAT film did and from the trailers it looks like a rather interesting murder mystery with a neat little gimmick for the killer that certainly sets them apart from your typical slasher. Will this be another great film to add to the list, or will all the hopes I had for this melt into a sad little puddle like a snowman left in the sun for far too long? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventure of the hilariously named Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) and if you think that’s just a poor translation; the writer of the book this is based on ALSO wrote a book called Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder. Anyway, Detective Hole is a complete and utter wreck when we catch up with him as he’s constantly drinking and sleeping on park benches despite the fact that he’s supposedly a legendary detective who’s solved all sorts of difficult cases… I think. The latest mystery he’s tasked to solve is a series of disappearances which may end up being homicides and he’s got a fresh new detective out of the academy named Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) to help and/or annoy him as he tries to find a connection between them. I’m not sure if he figures out that the connection is a snowman being built in front of the home of each victim (the movie is rather bad at conveying information) but that seems to be the killer’s signature; hence the title. Detective Hole has to get to the bottom of this case soon; not only to save whoever the killer’s next victim is, but because the killer seems to have taken a liking to the drunk detective and may be targeting him or his loved ones soon if he can’t catch him first. Can Detective Hole figure out who’s been kidnapping these people and cutting them to pieces; despite his hilarious name? Doe these recent kidnappings have anything to do with a case from six years ago that was led by Detective Gert Rafto (Val Kilmer) who died under mysterious circumstances? Seriously, did anyone read the script to this before filming? Were there pages missing or did someone ACTUALLY think that this all made sense?
Rock Dog and all the images you see in this review are owned by Huayi Brothers and Summit Premiere
Directed by Ash Brannon
Okay, so maybe saying The Great Wall is some bold new step in Hollywood/China co-productions was overselling it a bit as stuff like this movie, which was animated in the US but made for the Chinese film market, have been happening for quite some time now. Still, The Great Wall is unique in how hard it was pushed to try and make an impact on the US film market instead of just making all its money in China which usually isn’t the case; including with this movie that barely got any promotion leading up to its release. That said there’s still some really solid talent behind this, including an all-star cast of voice actors, the studio that animated The Book of Life, and even the co-director of Toy Story 2! Okay, he’s not the co-director everyone remembers (that would be John Lasseter), but still! Is there enough talent in this internationally minded animated film to be of some appeal on this side of the globe, or was this all just a cynical cash grab from everyone involved. You know, like when celebrities do those insane Japanese commercials and hope no one in the US will see them? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins in the town of Snowville… I mean the Village of Snow Mountain, where the local sheep population is protected from wolves by Tibetan Mastiffs which is a breed of dog. Well okay, it’s just ONE dude named Khampa (JK Simmons) who has mastered the Kamehameha and used it to fend off a wolf raid several years ago. Yes, you read that right. Motherfucking dog shoots energy beams from his hands because reasons. This would be AMAZING if it wasn’t for the fact that he did all that in the past and hasn’t had to for some time now because the wolves know better than to attack while he’s on watch, so he doesn’t have much cause to use it nowadays. Still, he’s kept the sheep safe and even managed to raise a son named Bodi (Luke Wilson) who will one day take his place as the town protector, even if he needs a bit more practice before he can ACTUALY do a Kamehameha of his own. It’s too bad that the writers of this have seen The Gods Must Be Crazy as one day a plane drops civilization right in front of Bodi in the form of a wireless radio that’s fully charged and able to catch a signal. How about that!? On the radio he hears a sick track from the one and only Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard) which inspires him to pursue his dreams, and with just the right amount of buttering up of his old man, he manages to get a bus ticket to the big city which is… actually pretty close by. How has Bodi never been to the city before? WHY IS THERE A BUS STOP NEXT TO SNOW MOUNTAIN IF NO ONE IS USING IT!? Anyway, his leaving manages to catch the attention of the wolves who are gangsters in that big city, and so the big bad one named Linnux (Lewis Black) sends his slapstick prone henchmen to kidnap him and… I guess get information about Snow Mountain so they can finally kill all those sheep. Will Bodi be able to live his dreams of a rock star, or will he ultimately get lost in the cruel and uncaring world of professional music? Will the wolves finally get what they want, or will Body manage to outsmart them… somehow? For a movie called Rock Dog, he’s not much of a rock star… so why aren’t we following Angus Scattergood instead?
La La Land and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Well this certainly jumped to everyone’s best of the year list, didn’t it? Too bad I didn’t get to see it in 2016 as the wide release wasn’t until January, but hey, at least I get to see it AT ALL. I mean who DOESN’T love song and dance numbers interwoven into a classic Hollywood love story, especially when it’s done as well as this one is supposed to be? Does this manage to be a film for the ages like those it takes its greatest inspiration from, or is this a mere copycat that doesn’t have a true identity of its own? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place in present day Hollywood where we follow the struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and the struggling Jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they struggle their hearts out for their dreams and manage to find each other in the process. While Emma wants to simply get her big break, Sebastian has much more specific aspirations as he wants to open his own Jazz club right in the heart of the city, which is gonna be difficult because he’s flat broke and can’t even keep a steady gig going because he doesn’t want to play the set list provided… because he’s an artist I guess. Still, they manage to scrape by as they keep working towards their dreams while also putting on elaborate and non-diegetic song and dance numbers for our entertainment! Will the realities of the business crush their spirits and drive them apart as more and more chances start to slip away? Can a movie this unabashedly old fashion manage to work in a modern day context? Did they manage to outdo Tarantino as far as movie references!?
The Accountant and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Gavin O’Connor
Who is the Accountant? More importantly, why should I care? On the list of movies that I was looking forward to this year, this certainly isn’t one of them; not because the trailers looked BAD but because we’ve already got enough spy movies out there and we’re getting a Jack Reacher sequel next week that’s probably gonna be the best we can hope for this year. Still, there could be something here if Ben Affleck signed on for it, and I guess it’s POSSIBLE the premise of someone with high functioning Autism being a super solider could be done gracefully, though I kind of doubt it. Is this a fun and engaging action film to add to Ben Affleck’s increasing impressive résumé, or is he just desperate for something to get people to forget Batman v Superman, and he took the first crappy project that landed on his desk? Let’s find out!!
The movie is all about Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) who is the enigmatic ACCOUNTANT! Who is THE ACCOUNTANT!? Well according to Treasury Agent Raymond King (JK Simmons) who will serve as our exposition-bot for this movie, he cooks the books for the most dangerous men on the planet and he needs to be stopped! What Agent King doesn’t know though is that he’s ALSO Batman with a much more lax murder policy and can certainly hold his own if he ever gets betrayed by one of his shady business partners. That doesn’t happen in the movie though. Instead, he’s hired as an accountant instead of THE ACCOUNTANT by Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) who has NO IDEA who he just hired, and has him look over his company’s book since a low level employee Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) found some irregularities. These irregularities by the way are enough for the person who CAUSED the irregularities (i.e. stole a few bucks) to start sending out murder squads against everyone because of reasons. Okay… well I guess THE ACCOUNTANT now has to fend off the bad guy’s henchmen (which include Jon Bernthal) and save Dana from being murdered… for looking at finical statements. Whatever. So just who is stealing money from the company and feels the need to send The Punisher to kill everyone who has ever looked at the company’s finances? Will THE ACCOUNTANT go out on too far a limb to save this woman he just met a few days ago and give Agent King the lead he needs to find him? Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on here?
Zootopia and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore
With Pixar not really living up to its namesake in the last couple of years (not the biggest fan of Inside Out), it’s interesting to see their decline coincide with Disney Animation Studio’s recent output steadily increase in quality. I didn’t see Big Hero Six, but Tangled, Frozen, and Wreck-It Ralph are all very strong features from a studio that had been relying on Pixar for some time to keep Disney’s theatrical output relevant and groundbreaking. Not only that, but they’ve done a good job of keeping their ideas interesting and relevant, from Frozen’s LGBT undertones, to Wreck-It Ralph’s use of new(ish) media to tell a classic Disney fable about a lost princess. Now they’re giving something that ALL internet users are at least passingly familiar with; FURRIES! Does this anthropomorphic animal tale manage to continue Disney Animation Studio’s valiant escape from the shadow of Pixar, or are we in for another bland kid’s movie that’ll only succeed due to the brand name recognition? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the trials and tribulations of one Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin); the first rabbit police in… the country? I don’t know the exact geography here, but her becoming a police officer (valedictorian at the academy) is such a big deal that she gets assigned to Zootopia; the most vibrant, diverse, and technologically advanced cities on Earth… or Animal Planet. Whatever. Unfortunately for our friend here, she’s relegated to menial tasks as the chief of police Bongo (Idris Elba) has no confidence in her abilities to perform in a job that is typically handled by much larger animals. When a case involving a series of missing animals (predators specifically) gets out of hand though, she has an opportunity to prove herself by tracking down an otter who was among those missing. However, because of the necessities of screenwriting conventions, Bongo somehow manages to turn this into an ego contest and has officer Hopps agree to quit the force if she doesn’t solve this case in forty-eight hours (I sense a reference there!) which you would think wouldn’t be something he can force her to do, but I guess she’s got something to prove and agrees to the wager. The only lead she has is a local fox who’s already been giving her grief named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) who may have seen the otter and knows where he might have gone. After some underhanded tricks of her own (hey, the fox started it!) she finally convinces him to assist her in finding this otter and find out what it is that has caused these animals to go missing. Will they be able to solve the case within the arbitrary time limit? What secrets are there to uncover in the dark underbelly of this supposed utopian city? Wait, is this gonna be the most socially conscious movie about race relations this year!?