Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Review

DESTINY HAS ARRIVED


 

There was an idea…to bring together a group of remarkable people….to see if we could become something more…so when they need us, we could fight the battles…. that they never could. Thus, such an idea was born in the year 2008 with the release of Iron Man, a superhero movie that set-in motion one of the most famous (and profitable) shared cinematic universe in the history of filmmaking titled the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (or simply dubbed the “MCU”). While Iron Man was well-received from critics and moviegoers alike (bringing the iconic superhero character of Tony Stark to life via actor Robert Downey Jr.), it was the start of something that really did usher in the “golden age” of superheroes film, bring together a collective group of actors and actresses in portraying these popular comic book characters on the silver screen. The pool of comic book character to grace the big screen range from some of the more popular ones like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Spider-Man to some of the more lesser known ones like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Each one of the 18 films (so far) in the MCU series brings a sense of palpable superhero merits to stand on its own foundation on their own solo adventures as well as the team-up superhero features that bring together a group of them to stop an overpowered enemy. The film themselves have taken its viewers on big adventure experience to the next one, from the streets of New York City in Spider-Man: Homecoming, to the fictional / technological African nation of Wakanda in Black Panther, to the battlefields of WWII in Captain America: The First Avenger, and to the mythical land of Asgard in the Thor movies, and to the farthest reaches of the cosmos with the Guardians of the Galaxy films. With the success of these movies (both in its fandom with Marvel fans and in causal moviegoers), the MCU (as a whole) has continued to grow and expanded, especially when Disney acquisitioned Marvel to bring the superhero world into the “House of Mouse”, finding each new installment in their sequential Phases sagas to try to had another layer to the overall complexity to this cinematic world as well as being superhero entertainment to viewers everywhere. While some critics might be a bit miffed by “comic book movies” and in their criticism, the MCU movies have found their “golden ticket” formula of success with public (i.e a mixture of heart, humor, and blockbuster superhero nuances), raking in millions upon millions at the worldwide box office with each new release. Now, after the universal acclaim and huge financial success of Black Panther, Marvel Studios, in conjunction with their 10-year anniversary celebrations, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo prepare for the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the highly anticipated film Avengers: Infinity War. Does super large superhero team-up film deliver on its inherit hype promise or does it flounder and ultimately crumble underneath the incredible high expectations from fans everywhere? Read more

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) Review

EVERY MAZE HAS AN END


 

A bleak futuristic setting, a tyrannical government that holds dominance over the people, and courageous young people fighting to change the tide. Yes, I’m talking about the YA / Teen dystopian novels that were the prominent a few years back. While there were many out there (in publication) that spun a tale like this, none were more famous than Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy, Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, and James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy. Naturally, seeing the popularity and lucrative money-making opportunity to the masses, Hollywood quickly snatched up the movie rights to these three-novel series, punching out cinematic franchises for each one. While The Hunger Games (a four-film series) was celebrated and completed Collin’s tale of Katniss Everdeen on the big-screen, The Divergent Series, telling Roth’s story of character Tris Prior, failed to impress its viewers and felt the tale being told uncomplete after its third installment. As for the movie representation of Maze Runner series, following the plight of Thomas and his fellow Gladers, this cinematic series falls somewhere in the middle of those two, finding a better groove in its dystopian action than teen drama romance (i.e. The Hunger Games Series and The Divergent Series). 2014’s Maze Runner, the first film in the franchise, was faced with mixed reviews, but more on the positive side as the movie itself was able to stand out more than its competition with its more intense sci-fi dystopian action. The movie went on to accumulate $384 million at the box office (worldwide), which gave a more favorable chance at the film’s sequel to profit. This second installment did materialize the following year with 2015’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, further continuing the adventures of the Gladers in the journey to uncover the evil organization WCKD’s nefarious plot. Again, the film had some mixed reviews from critics, but was generally more accepted by moviegoers, with the movie grossing over $312 million at the worldwide box office. Now, after three years and a delay to the project, the dystopian world of Dashner’s cinematic tale of Thomas, Newt, Minho, and the rest of the Gladers comes to end as 20th Century Fox and director Wes Ball present the film Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Does this final chapter in the Maze Runner series bring a resounding conclusion to this YA / Teen dystopian or is it “too little, too late” for audiences to care about the fate of the Dashner’s Glader characters? Read more

You Were Never Really Here (MovieMan Dan’s Guest Review)

A MUST-SEE FOR FILM FANS,

BUT IT LEFT ME COLD


As many of you have probably noticed, I have been absent on Jason’s site for quite a few months now. My reason behind this isn’t the best excuse but basically I’ve been very busy at work and haven’t been unable to keep up with my writing as of late.  I’ve still been watching lots of movies *mostly on my days off which I usually spend at the local multiplex* but I haven’t had the time to do any reviews/coverage as of late as I have had to make sacrifices in order to make a living.

Rest assured, I’m back now and I hope to have some new reviews for you guys in the coming weeks/ months. Most recently, I was given the opportunity to check out some of the films from the 15th edition of the Calgary Underground Film Festival *one of the top rated Genre Festivals in Canada* which I’m really excited to talk about.  The festival just wrapped up and while I was unable to attend in person this year *due to work and other obligations* – I was able to see some of the most buzzed about films in the lineup with the help of screeners and the PR agents who were willing to help me out in exchange for the coverage.  I will be posting these reviews as I can over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned. I’m still working. I’m just going to force myself to find the time to write because I’ve missed it. Read more

I Feel Pretty (2018) Review

DOESN’T EVEN GO SKIN DEEP


 

What does it mean it pretty? What does it mean to me beautiful in another’s eyes? What will it take (personally) to achieve that goal? How are you willing to go reach that status? These types of questions made be dubbed “superfluous” by some to even pose such a question, but it’s almost a universal / fundamental question that all everyone asks themselves (be it publicly or in private). The sayings that “Beauty is only skin deep” and “It’s what on the inside that counts” are always positive reinforcements to oneself, but it’s hard to measure what many deem as “beautiful”, especially with society’s almost jaded views on prettiness. This can cause a person to have low self-esteem / self-worth, lacking the confidence to go out and face the world without being judged by the public. This is even further judged harder given the rise of the various social media outlets in today’s world, body shamming individuals and objectifying people. Again, it’s really a universal question that literally almost everyone asks themselves regardless of gender, sex, religion, monetary status, or political stance. In the world of Hollywood movies, films have usually tackled such ideas in a wide variety feature films from hard-hitting dramas to more lighthearted romantic comedies. Now STX films and Huayi Brothers Pictures and duo directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein present the newest motion picture to present such self-identity issues with the film I Feel Pretty. Does this movie tackle its message head on with cinematic warmth and heart or is it just a shallow endeavor from Hollywood? Read more

Super Troopers 2 (2018) Review

THE MUSTACHES RIDE AGAIN


 

Back in 2001, the comedian group of guys who went by the stage name of “Broken Lizard” released their sophomore feature length film Super Troopers. The movie, which was directed by Broken Lizard member Jay Chandrasekhar and written by group, followed the misadventures of five highway patrol troopers who, through crazy angst and comedic gags, undercover a drug smuggling operation in their Vermont town. The movie itself is choke full of humorous bit, finding Broken Lizard’s comedic spread throughout the entire movie, producing a film endeavor that’s a vehicle playground for the group of longtime comedian friends as highway police officers. While Super Troopers only made a very mild splash during its box office run, which is not bad considering the movie made roughly $23 million against its $ 3 million production budget) as well as facing mixed reviews from critics, the movie itself found its popularity on home release. From there, the movie gained a cult-following with many adolescent teens and college adults finding their comedic style of Broken Lizard’s Super Troopers to their liking. While Broken Lizard did go on to create another feature films, including Club Dread in 2004 and Beerfest in 2006, the films themselves didn’t have the same cult-following fanbase as did Super Troopers has achieved. Now, almost seventeen years since Super Troopers was released, Fox Searchlight Pictures and director Jay Chandrasekhar present the long-awaited sequel to the 2001 film with the movie Super Troopers 2. Do guys of Broken Lizard find their comedic groove within this belated sequel or has the current age of moviegoers / viewers grown up and moved away from the comedy styles of this group? Read more

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