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Monthly Archives: May 2015

‘SAN ANDREAS’ (2015) – MOVIE REVIEW

The plot: The Rock saves people during a massive earthquake, done. Before I say anything else in this review, I will openly admit to you all that I have never enjoyed disaster movies outside of Titanic and that hasn’t changed with this film. The San Andreas fault in California starts acting abnormal which, thanks to detailed explanation in the film, does what is does. The Rock’s character is a loving father and husband who tries to save his family while the San Andreas fault begins to crack and then the cheese ensues.

Not even two minutes into the film did this film’s believability vanish like a fart in the wind and make me realize what the next two hours was going to be. We all knew after a few looks at the trailer that this was suppose to be mindless entertainment with wicked CGI, not Oscar bait, but even I wasn’t expecting it to be this goofy. The sad truth about San Andreas was that it felt like one of those ScyFi original movies that you and your pals watch on a boring Friday night for sh**s and giggles, but it wasn’t all bad.

Normally, adding The Rock to a film or franchise can act as a movie Viagra, enabling the film to rise to become something better than it originally was and when it comes down to it, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson somewhat succeeded. With a supporting cast including Alexandra Daddario and Carla Gugina, it was a film that made the mistake of having its characters speak too much, and In a disaster film, why not let the special effects and tension (which there was none) do the speaking for you. Instead it was over the top cliches like; people running away to just make it in time, hot daughters who don’t look 20 years old, random love interests, and overly dramatic plot points that needed no existence in this movie, and finally, wickedly cheesy lines that even Chester the Cheetah would shake his head at.

Don’t worry folks, it wasn’t all bad…but it was close.

It’s films like San Andreas that confuse me. Sure, it’s a summer movie with over the top special effects and the biggest action star of our generation so it’s not suppose to feel like I’m watching The Imitation Game, but even so, this film could have been so much better! It was all small stuff that would have elevated this film to a much better grade for me. There were lone bright spots that shimmered for a course of a scene, to only be blanketed by the ridiculousness afterwards. made you feel like you could start feeling an emotional connection.

Even though she seemed like she was overacting in some instances, Alexandra Daddario and her little section of the film was actually the more entertaining thanks to some comic relief by a little English boy and his big brother which brings me to my next point. It was a better film when it focused on the natural disasters and I don’t mean the dialogue. It’s the same issue with the Transformers franchise or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) which is when they focus too much on the people and not the subjects that garner the films title. The one exception was that of Paul Giamatti who plays the seismologist in the film. He was the consistently good actor in the film that made you want to keep hearing him speak.

Bottom line is this, San Andreas suffered from too much talking from its actors and ridiculous pauses in the suspense by including sappy and often hilarious dialogue, but if it wasn’t for that and the blockbuster movie cliches across the board, this would have been a more viewable movie, but I found myself slumping in my chair at the horrid speeches and silly scenarios that took place. Nonetheless, it is worth watching if you’ve seen everything else and you needed some mindless entertainment and a laugh and for that I am giving San Andreas C- and I think that’s being even a little generous.

What do you guys think of the film? Have you seen it or do you plan on seeing it? Please let me know down in the comments!

COULD WE FINALLY BE GETTING A ‘LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN’ REBOOT??

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is one of the hundreds of comic book/graphic novel properties that tanked as a live-action film adaptation even with a cast that was led by Sean Connery, but there’s a reason Connery has been M.I.A. since this films release in 2003. The original film had everything going for it when it comes to cast and source material and then it all went to ruin after that. This was suppose to be a story about pseudo-heroes of legend and myth that became their own little version of the Avengers or JLA as they fought infamous bad guys with the likes of Fu Manchu and even aliens from War of the World.

Coming to no one’s real surprise, in this era of nothing but sequels and reboots, Deadline is reporting that 20th Century Fox may have plans for a new rebooted League of Extraordinary Gentleman. If we are going with idea of “what have you done for me lately” 20th Century Fox and Fox Studios should bring a little shimmer to you eyes. With their track record on comic book like stories as of late, they seem to understand what works and how they want to go about making these films.

With the infamous tension on set of the first League film between its star and director, which promptly led to their retirements, we can only hope there isn’t a curse on this franchise entirely or if anything, we get an outcome that takes the Jaws approach and overcomes issues to become spectacular.

Maybe this time, the studio and everyone calling shots on this newer project learned from the mistakes of the previous attempt and will take their source material more seriously. Alan Moore’s graphic novel is one of the richest of them all, blooming with originality and artistic spins on characters we are familiar with in pop culture. It only makes sense to hopefully take advantage of what you have and get puzzle piece needed to helm a quality project.

The real concern here in 2015 is this: “Who wants to see this film?” because not only was the first film a staggering drunk of a movie, making a mess of itself with every other scene, but it didn’t make a staggering amount of money if you think about it. Sure it made more than double it’s budget and made $178 million worldwide, but that doesn’t show that there is enough people to truly just go out and see it, but we will have to see if this all ends up happening at all.

‘THE DARK CRYSTAL’ (1982) – VINTAGE FILM REVIEW

The world of puppeteer(ing) through Jim Henson productions has been long gone in the world of film has all but vanished and as much as I loved Team America it’s clearly not the same thing. The Dark Crystal is one of those films that falls into obscurity as the years roll by us having the average movie goer embrace their faces of confusion when I ask them if they’ve seen this classic fantasy film. For those who don’t know, The Dark Crystal is set in a grim world of magic, sorcery, and creatures only the most fantastical minds could conjure. It centers around a Gelfing named Jen (Stephen Garlick) who is adopted by ancient, but peaceful beings known as Mystics as Jen journeys to find the missing peace of the Dark Crystal to restore balance and peace to the land.

With my description of the film, I can understand the trepidation when you decide to get this on Netflix or DVD, but what you will get is a film that will make you believe in magic like when you were a kid. Puppets can be weird and tough to watch, but this isn’t Sesame Street, instead of constantly goofy and colorful characters, we are given muted visuals of a stark but lush scenery to constantly marvel at.

The creation of original characters and concepts is not as dead an art as we like to think it is, but like most gems (pun intended), they are hard to find. It’s when we find them we can only smile at the feelings of tribulation and success brought forth to us. It’s heartfelt and gripping and can be appreciated as a frightened child to a humbled adult and it will still release the endorphins that you had through childhood playing pretend.

It becomes heartbreaking and heart replenishing through its run-time and leaves you captivated like you were staring up at the stars. Often funny in it’s dark and mangled ways, you can’t help but wait to see what the villainous Skeksis will do next. Vulture like creatures with the avarice and coveting nature fit for the most tyrannical of kings and queens, they seduce us with their cruelty and sing to our twisted levels of human nature. They are cunning and vile like most villains but all are unique in the sense of personality.

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea in the fantasy/adventure department of films, you are going to get a film that I consider to be a classic in film making. From the backdrop of the dark and gloomy world of Gelfings, Mystics, and Skeksis, you are immersed in this world like you were viewing quicksand up close and it will take your breath away just the same. But if you are lucky enough to come out of this metaphoric pit of sand, be thankful you are still breathing after what you just witnessed because The Dark Crystal is unlike anything you will ever see. It is clearly another A+ here at Gunn’s Range and will remain that way until I’m six feet under dirt.

I encourage you all to view this Jim Henson and Frank Oz masterpiece on a nice night with popcorn and a cozy blanket because only then…only then will the full effect of this film hit you.

‘BOYZ N THE HOOD’ (1991) – VINTAGE FILM REVIEW

I’ve decided to change it up by adding a new type of review for you all to behold. Talkies have been around since the late 1800’s and have since evolved into a dynamic and plentiful entertainment medium with films most people have yet to see. What I want to do is bring you guys what I am calling Vintage Film Reviews where I review movies that have been released over the years that are either not as commonly talked about or films I just consider to be worth your time to watch. Kicking off this new category of reviews in director John Singleton’s best film, Boyz N The Hood.

From the title alone, I can image those who haven’t seen the film would be deterred of it’s story premise and that’s fair when you can’t really relate, but this is what makes this film so remarkable in its own right. This was a film that starred a young Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, and Lawrence Fishburne as residents in South Central Los Angelas during a time when L.A. was one of the most notorious cities in America to be a resident.

Gooding Jr. plays Trey Styles and Fishburne is his father Furious Styles. Trey gets sent to live with Furious after too many issues in his school while living with his mother and the consequence of the matter is residing in Crenshaw (the hood) with his old man. Like Fishburne is great at, he plays the wise, classy, long in the tooth mentor and father for Trey as he grows and experiences the different facets of life as a boy growing up in the hood. Trey’s friends, Doughboy (Ice Cube) and his athlete brother Ricky (Chestnut) could not be more opposite, but its these clashing personalities and the friendship between the three that produce such a human tale of everyday life being a black teen in Los Angelas, whether you are gang-banging, being a football star, or focusing on your studies (and girls), we are given it all.

Ever since I first viewed this film years and years ago, I couldn’t help but get this beautiful swarming feeling of genuine comfort and sedative like qualities. It is because of its human nature throughout and the expertly written script that does not support the gang life and instead following the basis of reality beyond the ghetto that really speaks to me. Not being a “brotha from hood” I could still relate to the everyday struggles and joys these boys faced through the film and if you can relate to a film at all you have a winner.

The performances in this film are vintage 90’s but it doesn’t deter from the film at all. Fishburne’s character is a scene stealer to the degree that you really sound like you were hearing from a Malcolm X type figure and he is speaking to the viewers and the characters in the film. Cuba Gooding Jr. as Furious’ son brings us that vulnerable, adolescent spirit most 18 year-old boys possess and it fits into the puzzle beautifully with him being the main protagonist.

As far as antagonists, well, that’s another beautiful element of this movie. We don’t have the pencil stashed villain or mask revealing Darth Vader like characters in this movie and the issues the characters face are far scarier. The world of gang violence, teenage pregnancy, and going to college are things these boys face and it is equally as gripping as having a set in stone type villain.

This film is far more iconic than people are aware with a scene in particular that takes the wind out of your sails, waiting, and anticipating what happens next. Boyz N The Hood is truly a remarkable film and to me is considered a masterpiece in storytelling through world of film and should not be condensed into a box as a “black film” or “Hood film” because its more than that. Sure, the main cast is very much black and they’re clearly in the hood, but it’s a story of perspective and realities of the times this was made that makes this film so great and that is why this film gets an A+.

I encourage those who haven’t seen it to go out and view it and tell me what you think!

BRAD BIRD SAYS ‘THE INCREDIBLES 2’ IS HIS NEXT FILM

Brad Bird, director of pretty much only good movies, including The Incredibles, has stated that his next film will indeed be the sequel to said film. Brad Bird’s latest film will be the upcoming Tomorrowland starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson and before that did such films like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and of course, The Iron Giant.

There are enough franchises in film to get sick of real fast, but it’s the great films that make you itch for more. What Bird was able to bring to Pixar with The Incredibles left such an imprint on its fans that you can probably hear them still mumbling “Incredibles…sequel…I want it…snores” and they are right!

With the genre of superhero films growing like dandelions, it is the perfect time to capitalize on a sequel to one of Pixar’s most beloved films. What makes this the exception in the world of sequels and why it would work is because it is one of the few films that doesn’t need a forced sequel and the story is rich in ideas and possibilities, I mean, who doesn’t want to see Jack-Jack again with his new-found weirdo powers?

Brad Bird was also a name circling Star Wars and yet he still trusts his ideas for the next Incredibles film and that is promising enough.

Do you guys want the long awaited sequel to Pixar’s The Incredibles? I know I do.

‘SELMA’ DIRECTOR AVA DUVERNAY TARGETED FOR EITHER ‘BLACK PANTHER’ OR ‘CAPTAIN MARVEL’??

Selma was without a doubt one of the biggest surprises of last year captivating and moving audiences from the tragic historical events through the civil rights era in the times of Martin Luther King Jr. Proving to be a director who has a vision for the films she makes and getting the best out of her actors, it makes sense Marvel wants to recruit her talents for one of their two director(less) properties.

Captain Marvel was confirmed to be the character of Carol Danvers rather than her male counterpart Mar-Vell. With a female centered superhero film, like DC as well, the studio mentioned how getting a female director to helm the film would be ideal. With Black Panther, the same things were said, but instead they changed female director to black director, but doesn’t it work out perfectly for Marvel if Duvernay lands either role?

She’s black and also a woman!

It’s truly the best of both worlds depending on which property she would pick assuming she signs with Marvel to direct a film at all, but how intriguing is it if she picked one or the other?

The only real questions and concerns are not on how well she can tell a story, but rather if she direct action. Thankfully for studios and directors working on action films, they are able to direct action choreographers to do all that and there are plenty of them out there. At the end of the day, the action will come, but storytelling is a whole different art and Ava Duvernay has proven to be an apt storyteller to say the least.

Which character for Marvel should she direct?? Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) or Black Panther?

EZRA MILLER TO PLAY BARRY ALLEN (THE FLASH) IN SOLO ‘THE FLASH’ FILM?!

DC has been silent with a majority of news for their later slated projects including that of the solo film for the Scarlet Speedster, but die hard Flash fans know there are multiple incarnations of The Flash and Miller’s look doesn’t assist in determining which Flash he could eventually be.

Fans of the animated series Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited are aware of Wally West as The Flash and respectfully so. West was considered to be the more “fun” of them all with his wise cracking attitude and youthful spirit in which he exudes in the show and comics, but with Barry Allen, arguable the most important and popular of The Flash’s it is only right to introduce the “one and only” Barry Allen.

Writers Lord & Miller (The LEGO Movie) have been signed to create the story for the speed shattering hero, from what we are aware of, and have stated they want this Flash film to be a standalone film and one including Barry Allen. For those that are fans of the TV series The Flash let it be known that the TV universe and the film universe are separate. Nothing in the television series will be crossed over with movie universe whatsoever and understandably so.

With Lord & Miller being some of the most sough out writers out there, it makes sense to give them the time to create what they feel is the best story for this DC Movie Universe and with this being a standalone film, one can only assume that they are going to introduce Barry Allen until later in the slated films, my guess for when he shows up would be in Part I of the Justice League film.

Are you happy it’s Barry Allen? Who would you have preferred taking the crimson suit for the live-action Flash movie?

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