Review: Wonder Woman

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Still buzzing from viewing Wonder Woman last night, I find myself in the rare position of being seduced by a film even after sleeping on it. The magic that I had hoped for in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and (slightly) Suicide Squad was finally realized in the passion project that is Wonder Woman.

Yes, of course, as a female as I went into this experience with a far different perspective than what studios may consider to be the “audience” for these films. Yes, of course I entered with my girl power flag flying. However, I went in as a woman scorned by a couple of disappointing entries in this ever growing universe of DC films. My feelings were very conflicted.

The great news here is that Wonder Woman was everything that I wanted, and more. It is a story of a woman sculpted from (genetic lottery winning) clay and brought to life by Zeus who leaves her utopian homeland of amazon warrior women with a strange man to help end Earths great war by killing Ares-the god of war. This mix of Greek mythology, historical drama and fantasy proves to be a winning combination in the hands of Patty Jenkins-known widely for her Oscar winning film ‘Monster’.

The film spends a generous amount of time in the hidden paradise of Themyscira showcasing the rigorous training, impressive agility and compassionate society that the amazon women embrace. Their culture is one of love, support, dedication, loyalty and respect-but it is also one that teaches every member of its community to be strong enough to fight for themselves. Literally. In this environment Diana is drawn to be a warrior like her mother and auntie Antiope (say that 10 times fast). Though she faces conflicting support from her family, her strong will and fighting spirit proves to be her most defining trait.

When Steve Trevor-a British spy escaping from a pack of German soldiers with incredibly important intel in tow-crash lands in Themyscira, Diana learns for the first time that there is a world outside of her own, and one that needs her help. Her motivation to rid the world of Ares evil influence is her driving force throughout this film-while love gives her the strength to carry it through to the end.

Though her relationship with Steve Trevor is certainly central to the story, it is not the type of love story which causes the lovers to sidestep their initial motivations. It gets tiresome to hear every man who she comes into contact with telling her how beautiful she is- but it reflects on the time period. Nobody wants to hear her, only to look at her. Despite all of the obvious jabs at her beauty, Dianas most beautiful and emotional scenes come when she faces evil directly in its face. Every combat scene is expertly shot, expertly choreographed and rivals anything else that I’ve seen on screen in a fantasy setting. Her physical capabilities are displayed with absolutely nothing held back-and it makes for some of the most intense and heart pumping fights in any superhero film to date.

Wonder Woman certainly has its flaws, but I was very impressed by the attention given to every aspect of it. From the accurately devastating portrayals of ground and biological warfare, to the care that went into its characters. Everyone in this diverse cast has an identity and everyone has their contribution to the big picture. Only the villains of this tale are one sided in their beleifs. The story is well paced and never dull, and it gives little screen time to the “fish out of water” tropes that it could so easily have fallen back on. Diana doesn’t learn how phones work, or learn how to walk in heels. When it comes to quality acting- Chris Pine was the star for me here. His portrayal of both a fearless and passionate soldier, as well as a man lovestruck by a woman with unflinching independence-is convincing on all accounts.

Of course, my most beloved takeaway from Wonder Woman was the woman herself. Her compassion is not weakness, and her heart is not her Achilles heel. She persists in the face of opposition and she will be silent for no one. She stands in the way of any danger-gunfire, gas or genocide. She is driven by the idea of peace and inspired by the women who made her, but she is never blinded by the past. She looks to the future.

She is a woman, and a hero, that every woman would love to be. I walk away from this film wanting to be a better woman for this world.
Sidenote: Wonder Womans theme music is LIQUID GOLD

A Rogue One Review – Spoilers ahead!

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To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with Rogue One. It definitely didn’t have that same buildup, that same magic, that same air of mystery that The Force Awakens did. That is no fault to the marketing of the film-it is simply inevitable. We already know how this movie ends. Period. Like any “based on a true story” film, Rogue One bears the burden of transparency. We know that the Rebels succeed in stealing the plans to the death star-so this film is all about the journey that the rebels and the Empire take leading into ‘A New Hope’.

Herein lies both the strongest and weakest points of ‘Rogue One’-the treatment of its characters. This film is also burdened with the unique task of incorporating well established characters with a batch of fresh ones who we never knew by name until now. I strongly feel that the films use of its classic character roster was very well done-from the epic Darth Vader scenes, to the appearance of Jimmy Smits, to the pitch perfect recasting of Mon Mothma and yes…even Tarkin.

I understand the general beef with the treatment of deceased actor Peter Cushing as an entirely motion captured CGI character. I totally get it. However, we cannot discredit the bold decision to incorporate such a prominent character whose absence would be sorely missed. We also shouldn’t discount how good it really looks. I definitely noticed it-because I knew that it was happening- but there were times where I simply forgot that it wasn’t the man himself. With the level of quality animation in modern video games, why wouldn’t we take the opportunity to utilize that in modern cinema?

When it comes to the new cast of characters-the Rebels-I felt a little detached. Even with its 2.5 hour run time this film had no chance in Hoth of establishing a connection to this large group of characters while setting up its plot. Jyn Erso’s background was covered with moderate detail, but once we learn how Forest Whitakers eccentric character Saw Gerrera saved her, thats where it stops. They throw us back to him as an old, fragile man and try to pull at our heartstrings by prodding at the lost connection between Jyn and the man who saved her life. Unfortunately, since we didn’t see any of that time on screen, it was very hard to feel its impact.

Mads Mikkelsen expertly pulls off his character in no surprise to anyone-but his screen time is short lived. Jyn and company spend most of the movie talking about him, about his notoriety and his importance, but once again we see little of it. Of the group of rebels I felt the most connection to the dynamic duo of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus-the blind Jedi and his juggernaut soldier buddy. Their dynamic brought some focus back to the themes that surrounded the original films-about the spiritual influence that engulfs everything and those who question its very existence. K2-SO is likely the standout character for the majority of viewers, seeing as they ran with what worked for C-3P0 and dialed up his sass factor by about 100%. Every instance of comedy (Stormtroopers having casual conversation, droids being droids, etc) was well used and lightened up what would otherwise be a very dark film, making it more appealing to a broader audience.

I’m sad to say that I found Jyn to be a disappointment-not because of the strength and fortitude of her character but simply because I was not impressed with her delivery. It felt wooden and lacked the genuine appeal that a lead character needs. Captain Cassian (Prince Caspian, as I call him) felt much the same. Since we spent the entire movie questioning his loyalties in a “seriously what is up with this guy” way, I did not feel a thing for him. They took little to no time to build back our trust in him, yet Jyn seemed to gravitate towards him in a pinch. I just didn’t feel her passion.

All said and done ‘Rogue One’ is a visually stunning homage to everyones favorite Star Wars films and it takes great care in respecting them. They plant little moments to make passionate fans squeal in their seats while offering a whole new atmosphere to the franchise. Rogue One is not about the Jedi vs the Sith, but it is about the ugly face of war. People sacrifice themselves, people lose their friends, people lose themselves-all to mark the way for the next big step towards ‘balance’. It can be truly painful to watch how politics and people make their mark on war-and this is where ‘Rogue One’ really excels.

P.S. Why did Jyn tell Krennic that her father installed a vulnerability? Why would you do that? Let that be a surprise, damn!

 

The 5 Best Things from the New Civil War Trailer(that weren’t Spiderman)

I must admit that my salivary glands were in full force when I started watching the new Civil War trailer. I have such high expectations-from the epic story from which it is based, to the enormously talented Russo brothers, to the new characters that are being integrated into the MCU. I really didn’t want to see another trailer. I just want to see the damn movie. Nonetheless, I watched it, and this is what got me all teary eyed.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

  1. Scarlet Witch

First of all, DID YOU SEE HER TAKE OFF!?dwenuudyomi3ilqycdyk

In Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch does not show any indication that she has the capability to fly. In fact, I fondly remember the touching scene where Vision comes to her rescue when Sokovia begins to crumble. 

It makes complete sense that she did not know that she had the capability to fly, seeing as she and her brother were locked in cages like laboratory rats since they became “enhanced” by Baron Von Stucker. Since then, she has spent time being molded as an Avenger. They have clearly brought her up to speed on what she is truly capable of. Whether she is truly flying-or simply leaping to great heights-is yet to be seen.

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Another memorable snippet involved Scarlet Witch and Vision in a moment where she appears to be overtaking him using magic. At first I had to ponder if the Vision would be susceptible to magic-seeing as he has one of the galaxies most powerful objects implanted in his head-but it is very possible that he is allowing himself to be overtaken because he does not want to harm her. Again, we won’t know until we see it. I hope to see their relationship being built over time, hopefully to eventually bloom into the amorous partnership that they are famous for in the comic universe.

2. A Shot of Ant Man

One scene that many fans were hoping to see in the new film was realized in this trailer. I almost wish that they hadn’t shown it, but it certainly does create a massive anticipation for what Ant Man is going to be able to contribute to the group dynamic.

Namely, perching himself on top of one of Hawkeyes arrows and being shot into the impending battle. Seriously, did you see it!? IT WAS SO BADASS!

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3. The (Iron)Man with the Iron(Man) Fist

One of the most anticipated aspects of any new Iron Man appearance is what new technological advancements he will be employing. The new Civil War trailer does not disappoint. We see a suit that can be expanded entirely of what appears to be some very miniaturized robotics. It got me thinking about how cool it would be to eventually have a showdown between Hank Pym and the prodigal son of Stark industries-a battle for the Pym particle and Hank’s revolutionary tech.

That was a little off topic, but the main point is that Tony has clearly not taken a day off from innovating and progressing his own tech, and we are going to see some pretty amazing Iron Man suit features.giphy

4. Black Panther Takes Off!

In the first trailer for Civil War we saw our first quick glance at Black Panther, and it was pretty amazing.nmdxcdxzfyvvbk5v4hnwWe have seen a few small glimpses of him since then-but not a ton of action shots. This time around, we not only see T’Challa amongst the rubble of-what I assume to be Sokovia, or some kind of conference-crumbling around him, but we see him leap in true cat-like fashion towards Bucky. upeevdpddk8lkxni3tijI am very excited to see how they not only introduce Black Panther, but how much time they spend telling us about him.

5. BATTLE

One of my favorite moments in the first Civil War trailer was the final scene showing a hand-to-hand combat fight between Iron Man, Winter Soldier and Captain America. That scene alone gave me definitive hope that the Russo brothers were going to give us another amazing action film-much like they did with Captain America:The Winter Soldier. The newest trailer did a lot more in the way of explaining the plot of the film, but it was certainly not short on action. I look forward to seeing alot of well choreographed fight scenes between any and all of the heroes and villains alike. iogv5ufupru2d6jxsp5l

IS IT MAY YET!?

The Geekend Roundup: This Week in Movies and TV

Movies

AGE OF ULTRON TRAILER GUYS!

Seriously, how much longer do we need to wait? This third official trailer was released on March 4th and it shows us brand new footage of everything that we’ve wanted to see. Hulk busting, Hulkbuster, Hulk busting the Hulkbuster, Ultron AND a special little peek at the mysterious Vision! I don’t want them to show him in his entirety until the movie comes out, but unless I avoid the internet entirely over the next 2 months that seems nearly impossible. Heres hoping!

The man himself-Joss Whedon-saw down with SFX recently to talk about his two newest character attractions-Vision and Ultron. It sounds like he is resting a lot of hope on the powerhouse talents of James Spader and the angry awesomeness of Ultron. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us! Check out the interview here.


Earlier in the week, Marvel started to release individual character posters alongside an official cast poster that is a sheer clusterf*k drowning in Photoshop and terrible proportions.

Gimme simplicity!

Chris Hemsworth may have given away the entire ending of the movie during his appearance on Saturday Night Live this week. SPOILER ALERT!


It has been a relatively slow season for movies, and I haven’t seen a whole lot lately that has caught my attention, aside from ‘Kingsmen: The Secret Service’ (which was fantastic, for the record). However, the brilliant Neil Blomkamp released his newest sci fi effort ‘CHAPPiE’ this weekend. I saw it, I reviewed it, and I loved it. I was extremely disappointed to find out that it has been panned by critics, but relieved to see that it has been getting generally positive feedback from viewers. I am sincerely hoping that the bad critic backlash does not deter people from seeing the film. They got it wrong this time!

Check out my review here!


Television

HBO has officially launched its streaming service at a cost of $15 a month. Although the consumer industry in general is going “unplugged” and seeking out options like this, the question remains: would you pay $15 a month just to watch HBO programming? Some die hard Game of Thrones fans might say yes, but for the general public-they may still be persuaded to simply stream or download GOT, Boardwalk Empire, Veep etc. If the trend catches on, as it clearly has with Netflix, Crackle etc, better rates could follow. NBC has its sights set on something similar where they offer a package that includes Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in one package.Their proposed price point is only about $2.5-$3.5 per month.

Will you pay $15 a month to watch HBO?


The news of passing celebrities seems to be coming in far too consistently lately. On March 4th we lost Daniel Von Bargen-better known as George Costanzas flighty boss Mr Kruger from ‘Seinfeld’. RIP Mr Bargen


Agents of Shield has returned! So, what have they become? I won’t divulge too much for those who are still not caught up, but the mid season premiere finally gave us a few answers, all the while raising more tantalizing questions. This has become the addicting formula of ‘Agents of Shield’ since the series began. The most important thing to know right now is that they are setting us up for the ‘Inhumans’ storyline that Marvel has promised us a 2018 feature film in its Phase 3 lineup.

The fate of S.H.I.E.L.D and rival Hydra is constantly hanging by a thread, as they are caught in a power struggle that often brings ramifications of a global scale. On the next episode, we are reportedly getting another visit from the beautiful warrior Lady Sif of Asgard. Why? Your guess is as good as mine!


Binge show extraordinaire ‘Orange is the New Black’ has an official return date of June 12th. In case you were going to check-its a Friday. So book off your weekend.


An official photo has been released of Melissa Benoist in her new Supergirl costume for the upcoming CBS/DC series. Costume designer Colleen Atwood -who also designed costumes for ‘Arrow’ and ‘Flash’ describes the costume as a melding of the classic look, but brought into modern day. Reception for the new costume has been overly positive, and Benoist looks great in it. I am a fan.

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Benoist is making a solid name for herself, originating as (basically) Lea Micheles replacement on ‘Glee’, but most recently giving an outstanding performance in ‘Whiplash’ as Miles Teller’s love interest.


Casting News and Rumours:

  • Zachary Quinto will be making an appearance on the third season of ‘Hannibal’ as a patient of Gillian Andersons character Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. The series will return on June 4th 2015
  • Jada Pinkett Smith has told fans not to count on her return to the ‘Gotham’ series next season, as her one year contractual obligations are already fulfilled for the first season
  • Alec Baldwin will serve as both star and executive producer of an upcoming HBO drama where he will play the Mayor of New York City. It has been compared to “the lightest episode” of the Sopranos as well as a less “pitch black” version of ‘House of Cards’. Sign me up!

The Geekend Roundup is brought to you in cooperation with my friend and yours-Buddy Critic. Come check us out on Facebook and join our geeky little community!

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Geekend Movie Release: Hot Tub Time Machine 2

In the land of sequels and remakes (present day Earth) there are far too many unnecessary examples of such. Even the most hilarious and quality films run the ever-present risk of running their premise and jokes straight into the ground. The lucky few that have pulled it off-’22 Jump Street’ and-arguably-‘Anchorman 2’, to name a few-succeed only in completely steering away from their original concept entirely or making a ‘fourth wall’ breaking mockery of its existence.

If you asked me just months ago if 2010s time travel comedy ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ was in need of a sequel, I probably would have said no, but once the trailer hit, I was swayed in the opposite direction.

The original cast returns for the most part, with the exception of leading man John Cusack-but to compensate for his absence we get ‘Stepbrothers’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’ funnyman Adam Scott. I’m not complaining. The hilarious team of Rob Corddry, (The Daily Show, Childrens Hospital, Warm Bodies) Craig Robinson (The Office, This is the End, Pineapple Express) and Clark Duke (Kick Ass, Sex Drive) now reside in the future that they manipulated for themselves by travelling back in time in the first film, which is actually the present. Got it?

Their new lives have been made possible by stealing as much useful information as they could during their stint in the 1980s. Nick (Craig Robinson) has made himself into a musical prodigy by stealing famous pop music and recording it before the original artists have a chance to. Lou (Rob Corddry) has taken advantage of what little knowledge he has about modern technology and used it to build a tech empire. An assassination attempt on Lou’s life spirals out of control when Nick and Jacob (Clark Duke) try to go back in time to undo the damage and end up in the future instead.

No matter how bleak the outlook is for this movie, you can at least bank on the fact that it will be raunchy and completely lacking in time travel logistics. That may work, and it might not.

Once you see Hot Tub Time Machine 2, head over to the Buddy Critic Facebook page and let us know what you thought!

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Geekend Release: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Whats It About?

A spy agency takes on a cocky-but-promising young kid and tries to mold him from street hoodlum to spy while coming up against a global threat from a deranged tech genius.

Whos In It?

Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill

I wasn’t sure how to feel about this movie upon seeing its first trailer, but the stellar cast alone has been enough to peak my interest. Adapted from a Mark Millar penned graphic novel, it is certainly no coincidence that this movie has a very Kick Ass-meets Lucky Number Slevin-meets-Bond vibe to its presentation, thanks to director/writer Matthew Vaughn and his partner in writing crime Jane Goldman-who have collaborated on such successful projects as ‘Kick Ass’, ‘XMen First Class’ and ‘Stardust’.

Millar’s comics have a great success rate being adapted to film, so I hope to see this one follow suite. It has all of the right elements-Colin Firth in gorgeous suits, cool weapons, explosions, Sam Jackson yelling with a weird lisp- what more do you need?

Now we just have to hope that it delivers on its promise to meld action, fun and good old British charm-and that it makes more money than that other movie coming out this weekend about expensive suits and violent toys. Heh hem.

When you see ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’, head on over to the Buddy Critic Facebook Page and tell us what you thought!10471133_322578694593019_2359488180345722550_n