Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Good Dinosaur Review

One of the reoccurring storytelling templates that have cropped up in the filmography of PIXAR Animation Studios (and it's such a basic template for storytelling that its reappearance amongst the studios output feels less like repetition and more like an inevitability) is to apply human characteristics to distinctly non-human entities. This trait can even be seen in the pre-PIXAR feature The Brave Little Toaster (incidentally, that's the movie that inspired my life-long fear of clowns), which employed future PIXAR alumni John Lasseter and Joe Ranft (the latter was a screenwriter on the project) as crucial members of its crew.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Today, in the United States Of America, is Thanksgiving, or as its known to marketers "That weird holiday in-between Halloween and Christmas that we can't make toys for". This is a day where we give thanks to the things in our life that truly make our existence worthwhile, and for me, I'd easily say getting the chance to write for this website is one such item I'm most grateful for. Other things I'm grateful for? Well, in the realm of pop culture, I'm super grateful PIXAR delivered another masterpiece in Inside Out this year, Jessica Jones sure is thought-provoking and awesome, and oh boy how about that Civil War trailer, right? Plus, having some awesome family members, friends and my fellow Solute writers and readers are pretty spectacular too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Night Before Review

Gazing onto the page on Box Office Mojo dedicated to Christmas movies, one might be shocked to see how few massively financially successful films have been released that center directly on this holiday. Films that use the holiday as merely a backdrop (like Home Alone, Die Hard and Iron Man 3) typically find much greater success in the department of dollars and cents compared to its kin that tackle Christmas head on their plots. The Night Before, the newest Seth Rogen comedy, just so happens to fall into that latter type of Christmas filmmaking.

The First Captain America: Civil War Trailer Brings On The Action And The Emotions

This is another one of those trailers where we should just skip the fancy-schmancy introductions and get right to the meat and potatoes of this whole thing; you want that sweet sweet Captain America: Civil War trailer? Here ya go!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Secret In Their Eyes Review

Movies like The Secret In Their Eyes tend to drive me right up the wall, simply because such features squander a plot that one could easily see being good, even excellent, in the right hands. A different screenwriter, someone else behind the camera, just something else to deviate it from the final product playing in over 2300 theaters across the country right now. Granted, what we're left with isn't something that'll join Manos: The Hand Of Fate on the list of "Worst Movies Ever", but it's fairly obvious more could have been done with the cast and storyline.

Spotlight Review

Man oh man, do I love it when a movie like Spotlight lives up to the hype, especially when it carries a cast of this caliber and a director like Tom McCarthy. This guys 2011 feature Win Win was a real treat, an emotionally gripping and surprisingly layered tale that, to me, indicated that a truly special direct had entered the land of American cinema. I may be on the minority on this, but his follow-up project, The Cobbler, did not resonate with me at all, but luckily, Spotlight seems to be as clear of a sign as any that that Adam Sandler feature was an enormous fluke.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Hunger Games Come To A Solid, Though Slightly Under Expectations, Financial Conclusion At The Box Office This Weekend

There's no denying a $101 million three day haul is a very impressive haul, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two can hold its head high by knowing it will go down as one of the most impressive sagas of all-time in terms of box office. However, there's no denying that such a lower opening is kind of surprising, especially since, typically, when books are split into these kind of two part movies, the second entry is the higher grossing one (see: the Breaking Dawn and Deathly Hallows films) of the duo. Instead, Mockingjay: Part Two made about 16% less on opening weekend than its predecessor and about 30% below the $158 million debut of Catching Fire just two years ago on this very same weekend.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Don't Be The Hero With Me": Jessica Jones Season 1 Episode 1 "AKA Ladies Night" Review

It's fairly obvious that, in translating Hal Jordan to the big screen in the 2011 motion picture/abomination Green Lantern, someone involved in the project saw how successful Tony Stark had become and decided that some of Tonys most distinctive character traits (namely that of his snark and cockiness) should be implanted into Jordan. This, of course, didn't work, for one simple reason; Stark uses his wisecracks as a defense mechanism of sorts, a way to combat the forces around him that he's all too aware he can't control. Plus, underneath all his flippant remarks is a good person, one who, in the first Iron Man movie, plainly says that protecting people with his Iron Man technology needs to be his only purpose in life.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Edward Scissorhands Review (Classic Write-Up)

In the year 2015, Edward Scissorhands serves as some kind of bizzaro gaze into another life, another world, another time and place where the pairing of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton would produce anticipation, not dread. And while it's true that Burton and Depp would collaborate for further successful projects after this 1990 feature (as recently as 2007, their Sweeney Todd effort was an excellent movie), it seems the duo have decided to cease working together for the time being after back-to-back critical duds Alice In Wonderland and Dark Shadows (the latter film being a huge box office bomb likely resulting in the split more than anything else).

What A Twist! The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two Spoiler Discussion

Spoilers for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two follow, of course.

I was quite positive about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two in my formal review of it, and for good reason. This is one well-crafted, exceptionally well-acted motion picture that tackles darker themes with surprising nuance. However, it must be said that it's taken back from achieving true greatness because of its last half hour or so, in which (in a shocking twist) the story, and, by definition of this being the last movie in this particular story, this saga, comes to its conclusion, an ending which the film feels like its in all too much of a hurry to get to.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two Review

And so, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) takes her bow, concluding her four-part Hunger Games saga that gave a massive push to both the career of Lawrence and female led action movies. The final adventure in her grand story is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two, which, as evidenced by the title, is the second part of a two film adaptation of the singular novel entitled Mockingjay. Like I said, this is where it all ends folks...until Lionsgate pushes out those inevitable Hunger Games prequels/spin-offs which will arrive no later than 2018.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Magicians, Male Models And Naked Zac Efron Pop Up In Five New Trailers

Note: The trailer for Dirty Grandpa is NSFW, so proceed with caution.

The release of a huge new blockbuster like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part Two (which, by the by I'll have a review and a spoiler discussion written up for that particular movie by tomorrow morning) will of course spur a deluge of new trailers. But the amount of new promotional trailers released over the past few days has reached critical levels considering the first high-profile comedy (The Night Before) since Vacation nearly four months ago is also opening this weekend and a whole bunch of 2016 comedies wanna get promoted on that new Seth Rogen vehicle.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chill Out (I'm So Sorry For That Pun) With The First Trailer For The Huntsman: Winter's War

I didn't really care all that much for Snow White And The Huntsman, a forgettable feature that I freely admit wasn't a torturous experience, but was certainly a cookie-cutter experience that wasted the talents of its two lead actors (Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth), with only Charlize Theron getting to go hog-wild as a scenery chewing bad guy. Normally, a sequel wouldn't be anywhere near my radar, but this follow-up, entitled The Huntsman: Winter's War, has made a number of smart decisions to get my interest.

"But Don't You Go Anywhere": The All Too Real Fantasy World Of Calvin And Hobbes

Good stories endure. There's a reason the plays of William Shakespeare still get performed to rapturous reception, and it's the same reason why Mark Twain still has countless copies of his books sold across the country every year. Characters that one can relate to, humor that strikes ones funny bone just right, pathos that hit home for all of us, those are the ingredients that can make a piece of pop culture stick around through the ages. In this case, those are the exact elements that have helped an eight year old boy and his tiger be discovered by new readers even after its stopped creating new
content twenty years earlier.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Trailer For The Uber White Movie Gods Of Egypt Is The Best Unintentional Parody Trailer Ever

If RedLetterMedia, FunnyorDie or someone along those lines were responsible for this trailer for Gods of Egypt, I might declare it awesome, as those entities would obviously had created this trailer as a parody of the kind of whitewashed blockbusters chock full of too much CGI that clog up movie theater screens each year. But no folks, this is real. Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate will release this on February 26, and I'll be shocked if its Rotten Tomatoes score exceeds 20% and its domestic box office cume is over $30 million. Check out this gloriously bad trailer below.