Gifted (2017) Review

BY-THE-NUMBERS,

BUT STILL A HEARTWARMING


 

Actor Chris Evans started out down the standard path of a acting career by performing in school production and community theater as well as attending a college institute to enhance his acting talents. Eventually, while he started in several smaller projects, including Not Another Teen Movie and The Perfect Score, Evans began to make a mark for himself with the 2004 film Cellular, which was then followed his role as Johnny Storms (aka “Human Torch) in 2005’s Fantastic Four; a time when superhero movies were just starting to brought into mainstream pop culture, From there, Evans did more projects, becoming a more widely known in Hollywood as his next really big milestone came when he took up the mantle of portraying Marvel’s Steve Rogers (Captain America) in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, a big break, which scored him a multi-film contract deal with Marvel’s growing cinematic universe. As a fun fact of sort, Evans is the only actor who has played four comic book / graphic novel characters (i.e. Steve Rogers in the MCU movies, Johnny Storm in 2005’s Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel, Jensen from 2010’s The Losers, and Lucas Lee from 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Despite his involvement in the comic book film adaptions, Evans still has time for non-superhero movies, including the fan-favorite 2013 film Snowpiecer. Evans as even wanted to gone behind the camera with the 2014 film Before We Go, which he made his directorial debut and starred in the feature as well. Now, Evans moves to look beyond the role of his recent superhero performance as Captain America, as Fox Searchlight Pictures and director Marc Webb present the film Gifted. Does Evans have the acting chops to make the jump to this more smaller scale indie film or will he forever be typecast as a superhero star and nothing more? Read more

The Fate of the Furious (2017) Review

ANOTHER WILD AND ENTERTAINING RIDE


 

Back in 2015, Furious 7 raced into theaters and brought with it new level of box office success to the long running Fast and the Furious franchise. While the franchise has grown, evolving into an interesting dynamic aspect beyond the earlier entries of merely street racing, one of the main interest in viewers seeing Furious 7 was due to the untimely death of the franchise’s co-star Paul Walker, with many curious to see how the film (as well as the series) would handle such a hard and devastating blow. Many even began to ask the question if that the Fast and the Furious franchise would end after this movie due to Walker’s death. Believe it or not, despite Walker’s death during the middle of production, Furious 7 was a rousing success, both in global box office success (raking in over $1.5 billion) as well as sending off Paul Walker’s character Brian O’Conner (driving off into the sunset) in a touching tribute. With the success of Furious 7, it was clear that the series still had its mojo “racing” energy, which prompted the studio execs at Paramount Pictures to greenlight the eighth installment. Now, in a way to try to reinvent the franchise without Walker’s O’Connor, Paramount Pictures and director F. Gary Gray present the newest entry in the Fast and the Furious series with The Fate of the Furious. Does this latest installment stand tall and proud to its recent successors or has this long-running film saga burned out of energy and fresh ideas? Read more

Going in Style (2017) Review

A BLAND HEIST CAPPER


 

As many now know, the current trend of the major Hollywood studios is to looking towards the past for film ideas rather than striving forward. Yes, I’m talking about the somewhat direction that Hollywood is going through in its plethora of remakes and reboots. Ranging from big to small named ones and pulling from both movies and TV show, the whole current motion of these remakes (according to Hollywood) is to “revamp” old features and present them to a new audience. Some have been hits (i.e. 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven, 1983’s Scarface) or even in its reboots of mainstream films (i.e. 2005-2012’s The Dark Knight trilogy to 2011-2017’s Planet of the Apes trilogy), while others have flopped, with 2017’s CHiPs being the most recent addition to being a bad movie. Now, continuing the recent trend of Hollywood remakes, Warner Bros. Pictures and director Zach Braff present the comedy remake Going in Style. Does this newest film stand out in its sea of remakes and reboots or does it just fade into the background in amongst the other reboots out there in the 2017 movie lineup? Read more

The Boss Baby (2017) Review

THE BOSS BABY IS ON “POOP” DUTY


 

2016 saw a lot of animated films being released. From Disney’s mega hits Zootopia and Moana, to Pixar’s touching sequel Finding Dory, to Illumination Entertainment’s colorful flicks in The Secret Life of Pets and Sing, to Laika Entertainment critically acclaimed film Kubo and the Two strings, 2016 was a big year for cartoon feature films. In amongst those films (and some other bad ones…. The Wild Life) was DreamWorks Animation two releases that sort of bookended the year, with Kung Fu Panda 3 released in January and Trolls in November. As many know, DreamWorks is sort of a cautionary tale of a once powerhouse animation studio that has become “the old dinosaur” in animation. Sure, Disney has been around way longer, but Disney’s has also seemed to found its groove back of late, finding its signature “mojo”, while DreamWorks seems to be more a “hit or miss” or rather more misses than hits. However, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Trolls were met with praise from critics (and fans) as well as box office success, so studio seems to be on the right course. But for how long? A question like that is about to answer as director Tom McGrath presents the DreamWorks newest film of the 2017 year with the movie The Boss Baby. Does DreamWorks 34th animated tale shine bright or is it a flat and generic dud cartoon endeavor? Read more

Ghost in the Shell (2017) Review

GHOST IN THE MACHINE


 

Back in 1995, the anime film known as Ghost in the Shell was released; a movie that went on to be considered one of the greatest anime films ever created). Based on manga (i.e. Japanese comic book format style) by Masamune Shirow and directed by Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell followed the story of Major Motoko Kusanagi and her cybernetic team members of Section 9 who hunt a mysterious hacker known as “The Puppetmaster”. The film has been praised with its themes of self-identity and philosophical questions and reasons of advancement in technology; themes that would grow and become main staples in many science fiction projects and mediums. The success of Ghost in the Shell was indeed palpable, becoming a fan-favorite feature fans of anime and being a source of inspiration from several prominent storyteller and filmmakers, including the Wachowskis siblings (the duo behind the uber popular sci-fi Matrix trilogy). Furthermore, the story of Ghost in the Shell branched out and continued to expand through several more anime films, with the most recent addition Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie being released in 2015. Now, after 22 years since 1995 version was released, Paramount Pictures and director Rupert Sanders present the live-action adaptation of the anime classic with the film Ghost in the Shell. Does this movie succeed in translating (or enhancing) its jump from anime to Hollywood film or is it a failed project that gets lost in its own sci-fi world? Read more

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