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!?
My Little Pony: The Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate and Hasbro
Directed by Jayson Thiessen
It took them seven years to do this? We’ve had at least four equestrian girl movies, not to mention a slew of Hasbro properties making it to the big screen, but one of the most successful reboots of all time was put on the back burner until now!? Well better late than never I guess, though the trailers leading up to its release have certainly strained my credulity on that expression. Still, trailers aren’t always accurate and I’m certainly a big enough fan of this series that it wouldn’t be THAT hard to keep me at least mildly entertained. Can the team behind such a successful television series make a successful leap to the big screen, or was this as ill-fated a project as… well pretty much all the OTHER Hasbro films that we’ve gotten so far? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with yet another friendship festival that’s hosted by the Princess of Friendship (how much of Canterlot’s tax revenue is straight up pork for Twilight’s pet projects?) and they’ve even managed to get the one and only Sapphire Shores… I mean Countess Coloratura… I mean Songbird Serenade (Sia), to make an appearance! Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) along with her assistant Spike (Cathy Weseluck) and her friends Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack (Tabitha St Germain, Andrea Libman, and Ashleigh Ball), seem to have everything under control and are ready to set everything in motion, but then a fleet of very intimidating airships descend upon the capital of Equestria and start demanding their complete and utter surrender! It turns out that this is the opening salvo for a maniacal dictator known as The Storm King (Live Schreiber) and is being led by a mysterious pegasus with a broken horn named Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt) who somehow manages to take out the three other princesses, Celestia, Luna, and Cadence (Nicole Oliver, Tabitha St Germain (again), and Britt McKillip) without the slightest bit of resistance! Either this is one bad mother of a pony or the Princesses need better security! In any case, the Twilight and her friends manage to escape but don’t have much to go on other than a mysterious message that Celestia shouted out before she was defeated and captured by Tempest Shadow; seek the queen of the hippos who lives beyond the badlands. Not sure how hippos will help in this situation unless you dropped them on Tempest, but with nothing else to go on they begin their journey outside of The Shire… I mean Equestria, hoping to find a way to stop The Storm King and Tempest before it’s too late. What will our little ponies find outside of the comforting boarders of Equestria, and will they know how to deal with such strange and frightening environments? What is Tempest REALLY after in all this, and what does the Storm King have in store for all of them once he arrives in Canterlot? Is the answer to all these questions Friendship? I bet it’s gonna be Friendship.
My Little Pony: The Movie and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Lionsgate and Hasbro
Directed by Jayson Thiessen
Despite being such a popular series with a fan base that is heavily invested in the creative side of the process as much as it is in the show itself, there really hasn’t been much said about the My Little Pony movie that’s been in production. Heck, it honestly feels like Equestria Girls, which was a spin off that only got a limited theatrical release, had MUCH more fanfare and anticipation surrounding it than something Hasbro is actually risking quite a bit of money on. Okay, there’s no way we’re talking Transformers money here, but there’s no way a feature length animated feature with celebrity voices THIS famous was less than what they invested in freaking Jem and the Holograms which had its first trailer out five months before its release compared to four months for this film. Still, an uneven marketing campaign doesn’t always spell doom for a film (*cough* Wonder Woman *cough*), and even if it’s a sign that the studio doesn’t have faith in the final product… well go ask Newmarket Films how that worked out with Donnie Darko. Either way, let’s find out!!
Okay, so there’s no getting around it. The movie looks PRETTY terrible based on this trailer. The first thing you’ll notice is that the art style is quite different from the series which isn’t ALWAYS a bad thing (watching it for the first time, I was somewhat reminded of the changes made for the Spongebob Squarepants movie), but it doesn’t come off as an IMPROVEMENT and there are clearly areas where they were cutting corners; most notably with the copious use of CG for the buildings and backgrounds.
The 5th Wave and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by J Blakeson
I’ve been able to avoid a lot of the Young Adult adaptations until now. Never saw a Hunger Games movie, any of the Divergent films, not even The Giver. I can’t avoid these films forever though, so here I am reviewing the latest entry into the genre. Could it possibly be one of the better examples though? Well they released in January, so I’m gonna say no but I have had at least one surprise this month with The Boy. Hope for the best but expect the worst I guess.
The movie begins in an idyllic all American town where Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) is living the Teenage American Dream, i.e. partying, meeting boys, and being the perfect daughter for their parents. Okay, technically the movie begins AFTER all this, but we flashback within five minutes of the movie starting. Anyway, things are going great for Cassie until the Earth is visited by a bunch of space ships that just hover overhead. No communication from the aliens; no attacks; no nothing. The aliens are dubbed The Others (I guess we ran out of ACTUAL proper nouns to use) and their silence doesn’t last forever as four strange events (which are called Waves) happen around the globe. Electricity goes out, natural disasters occur, and it all ends with most of the population decimated and fighting for survival against the aliens who are finally revealing themselves but look just like humans. Now in all this chaos, Cassie loses both her parents and her younger brother (Zackary Arthur) is drafted by the military to fight the alien menace. I mean, there are PLENTY of adults around or even older teenagers, but the military is taking in the kids too. I guess shit gets real once the aliens start attacking. Cassie however is none too thrilled about all this and resolves to walk her way to the military base in order to get her brother out of it… somehow. On top of all this, the boy she liked in high school Ben (Nick Robinson) has also been conscripted and is now her younger brother’s commanding officer (I guess he has seniority being sixteen and all) and on her way to the base, some mysterious guy named Evan (Alex Roe) saves her ass and decides to help her on her journey. Will Cassie save her brother from the military industrial complex? What secrets is Evan hiding from Cassie? What is the fifth and final Wave that the aliens are planning for humanity? Has anyone actually read this book!?
Like any decent film critic, I’ve had a couple of movies that I promised myself I would eventually get to, but then they ended up slipping through the cracks for so long that I had given up hope on ever getting back to them. Well no more I say! Not only am I catching up on two movies I saw in 2015 that I never got to talk about, I have just recently had the chance to watch two other films from 2015 that are definitely worth discussing! So without procrastinating another second, here are four movies from the past year that I now have the chance to review!!
Rock the Kasbah and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films
Directed by Barry Levinson
Ah yes. The one where Bill Murray saves Afghanistan. See, THIS movie got a bit crowded out because it came to theaters the same week as Jem and the Holograms and The Last Witch Hunter. CLEARLY I was very busy at the time writing reviews for two of the worst movies of the year and things just snowballed after that to the point that I never got my thoughts down on this movie. It may have been the best movie of that week by a long shot, but that’s not saying a hell of a whole lot considering the not so stiff competition it was up against. Is it any good without the direct comparison to the garbage it was surrounded by when it was at the box office? Let’s find out!!
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a guy who will try to get you to fall for anything, and probably believes half the bullshit that he’s spewing. At one time he was a somewhat successful manager to some big acts, but nowadays he just hangs out in his hotel room/office scamming wannabe singers out of some cash while trying to promote one of his clients Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel) who might actually have a bit of talent if he can just get her a break. Opportunity comes a knocking one night where a military man sees her perform and suggest that Richie take her on a USO tour in Afghanistan which is supposed to pay very well with only a slight chance of death in the process. Richie’s all on board but Ronnie eventually reveals that she’s not into being somewhere that rough and not long after arriving in Kabul, she robs him of all his money as well as his passport; leaving him without any identification and in debt to the mercenary (Bruce Willis) who got Ronnie out of the country and was only given half his fee in the process with promises that Richie had the rest. Will he be able to scramble up enough money to pay back the mercenary and get his ass out of the country? Well that actually becomes pretty moot as the REAL plot involves a young woman in a nearby village named Salima Khan (Leem Lubany) who can sing like an angel but will be killed if anyone in her fundamentalist village (and almost anyone her in her fundamentalist country apparently) hears her do it. Richie though sees fame and fortune in the story and eventually convinces her to join an American Idol like competition (Afghan Star) which has never had a female singer on before, and the rest of the movie is basically the fallout of that with Richie learning some lessons about himself along the way!