Author Archives: Jason

Isn’t It Romantic (2019) Review

A HUMOROUS SATRICAL ROM-COM


 

With Hollywood studios investing money in big-budgeted tentpole features or in smaller scale artistic films (ones that are worthy of Oscar / award nominations), the subgenre of romantic comedies is left somewhere in the middle of those two extreme juggernaut film genres. Naturally, romantic comedies movies, which are both a subgenre to both the romance and comedy movie genres, have been around for quite some time; featuring a motion pictures with light-hearted, humorous, and dramatic stories that are usually centered around romantic nuances (i.e. such as “true love” and are able to tackle problematic obstacles (be it family, friends, or some unseen challenge). Additionally, like many films from other genres, romantic comedies can range from a wild array of styles; pulling from other movie genres in order to try to appeal to a “wider” audience. Some classic romantic comedy film endeavors include 1940’s The Philadelphia Story, 1953’s Roman Holiday, 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1987’s The Princess Bride, 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, 2007’s Waitress, 2017’s Big Sick, and 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians. Now, New Line Cinema (under the umbrella banner of Warner Bros. Pictures) prepares to take a satirical look at this particular genre with the film Isn’t It Romantic. Is this parody romantic comedy worth a glance or is it a flat and uninteresting comically jab at rom-coms? Read more

Captain Marvel (2019) Review

HIGHER. FURTHER. FASTER.


 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (i.e. the MCU) has indeed become a dominant force in both the superhero genre of filmmaking as well as cinematic blockbusters genre. Since the franchise began back in 2008, the MCU has quite literally ascended to popular movie franchise stardom, producing a continuing narrative of interconnected superhero feature films (all from which are comic book source material properties from Marvel comics) within a shared movie universe. With each new entry, the MCU has grown in size (expanding its own universe of heroes, gods, and monsters) as well as providing a blockbuster-ish superhero fantasy escapism for moviegoers around the world. Naturally, the franchise itself has proven to be a powerhouse juggernaut, cultivating large successful numbers at the box office with every entry, which demonstrate the mass appeal of costumed comic book heroes and the need for continuing the various MCU phase sagas in continuing already established ones as well as new ones to fill in the roster. Now, Marvel Studios and directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden gear up for the 21st theatrical motion picture installment of the MCU with the movie Captain Marvel. Is the movie “simple marvelous” or is it just a flat and uninspiring entry in the long-running cinematic universe? Read more

Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Review

ANOTHER SIDE, ANOTHER STORY


 

Within many of the movie genres of cinematic tales, the subgenre of the commonly named “period pieces” have always been produced throughout the years of filmmaking; spinning different stories that place in “another time” and “another place” for the modern world. These particular feature films, which span multiple genres (i.e adventure, comedy, horror, thriller, fantasy, etc.), can also speak to historical reference in both a general sense of timeline era (i.e England’s Victorian era or the American Revolution) as well as vague period era (i.e the Middle Ages or the “roaring 20s”). Regardless, a heavy emphasis on the film’s time period is a crucial element of the movie’s narrative setting from its historical references and influences in various categories, including religious belief, political structures, society order / stasis, and costume attires. Thus, these period piece cinematic productions cast a very wide net across the theatrical features that Hollywood has produced over the years, including 1959’s ancient world epic Ben-Hur (as well as 1956’s The Ten Commandments), 1972’s and 1974’s mafia gangster masterpieces of the Godfather and the Godfather Part II, 1997’s sweeping tale romance and loss in Titanic, to 2012’s lavishing story of love and betrayal in Anna Karenina just to name a few. Now, Focus Features and directorial Josie Rourke present the latest Hollywood endeavor of a historical costume period piece with the movie Mary Queen of Scots. Does this shed new light on the famous “Queen of Scots” character or is it just another humdrum / adequate of motion picture from current Hollywood? Read more

Green Book (2018) Review

DRIVING DR. SHIRLEY


 

Tales of diversity and of the formation (and overall bonding) of a friendship from the most unlikeliest people has always been touching centerpiece to tell. Whether from racial segregations, society classes, or something else entirely, stories such as these has always been impactful ones to tell, resonating its thematic message that ring true and triumph over adversity, which is the palpable crux of the human condition of emotion an empathy. Given the general positive consensus of narrative of friendship endurance in the face of social / racial challenges, Hollywood has taken an interest in developing feature films around this concept (whether fictional and fantastical or grounded and based on a true story), depicting them under a cinematic light for the masses to learn and appreciate. Prime examples of this compelling narrative can be drawn from 1981’s animated feature The Fox and the Hound, 1982’s sci-fi E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, to 1989’s comedy-drama motion picture Driving Mrs. Daisy, to 2000’s biographical sports drama Remember the Titans, to 2008’s historical drama The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, to 2009’s sports family drama Blind Side, and many others, inspiring hope, heart, and of human faith that friendships can form in the most unlikeliest of places and from the most unlikeliest of individuals. Now, Universal Pictures (and Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures) and director Peter Farrelly present the latest film of an unlikely friendship with the movie Green Book. Does the feature ring true with the bonding friendship of two different people or does it fail to produce a measure of both heart and drama throughout its proceedings? Read more

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Review

EVERYTHING IS (STILL) AWESOME


 

Back in 2014, Warner. Bros. Pictures (under the name of Warner Bros. Animation Group) produced a surprising smash with The LEGO Movie. Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo behind 21 Jump Street (and its 22 Jump Street sequel), The LEGO Movie dropped viewers into an imaginary cinematic constructed world of LEGOs, telling a creative tale that was full of humor, talented voice-actors, dazzling animation, and some heartwarming drama. Surprisingly, The LEGO Movie was met with overwhelming positive reviews from fans and critics, garnishing nearly $470 million at the box office against its $60 million production budget. The success of The LEGO Movie fueled Warner Bros. with the idea that a cinematic universe could be formed around the property idea of the popular toy brand. However, in a somewhat unorthodox way, the studio, instead of developing a sequel to The LEGO Movie, decided to create two spin-off feature LEGO films in 2017, with The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie. While The LEGO Batman Movie, which was directed by Chris McKay and continued the cinematic LEGO representation as well as introducing new elements such as rifting / playing on the lore of Gotham’s “cape crusader”, was met with critical / positive success from its viewers (and critics), The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which was directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan, was met with mixed reviews; citing that the movie (though fun playing with their Ninjago property as well as the voice talents) was just sub-par and, mediocre, and that the franchise movie formula had lost its edge. Now, two years after the two spin-off LEGO Movies of 2017, Warner Bros. Studios (under Warner Bros. Animation Group) and director Mike Mitchell finally return for the much-anticipated sequel to the original 2014 film with the movie The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Does this long-awaited sequel succeed or does it fail to “reconnect” with its moviegoing audience? Read more

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