Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tomb Raider Review: An Adventurous Adaptation

Tomb Raider Movie Poster

Video Games and movies tend to have a mix relationship. The transition from console to the silver screen can get  messy as more often than not it leads to adaptations that are either mediocre or just tedious. However that is not to say that every video game movie turns out to be unsuccessful. A cased point would be none other than Tomb Raider. The hit video game series made its cinematic debut in 2001 where it found some semblance of success. However, one sequel later, Tomb Raider quietly bowed out of the movie world as the series discontinued its celluloid adventure, that is until now. Lara Croft returns to the silver screen in a brand new adventure directed by Roar Uthaug. Rather than continuing from where it left off Tomb Raider is a reboot and based on the 2013 video game-which also was a reboot. Being a fan of the game, and never saying no to an adventure, I checked out the new Tomb Raider and found myself quite satisfied with the experience.

The story of Tomb Raider centers on Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) who journeys to an uncharted island to find out what happened to her father (Dominic West). What she discovers is a group of mercenaries searching for the tomb of Himiko and the secrets within. When comparing it to the game’s story the plot managed to true to the ideas of its source; although it did take many liberties but that was to be expected. Looking at it for what it was the story of Tomb Raider was an effective adventure. The origin concept  worked for the movie as it gave a clear understanding of who Lara Croft is and what kind of adventures she deals with. A surprising element to the plot was that it took its time to build up Lara’s journey. Granted the pacing could be quick, particularly in the film’s climax, but this still worked  to the movie’s advantage by keeping things exciting. Along with a few surprises the plot of Tomb Raider was adventurous to say the least; and though it could be too straightforward it did not take away from the exciting execution of this adaptation.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Game Night Review: Unravels into a Stellar Comedy

The comedy genre and I do not tend to see eye to eye. Perhaps I am just strict when it comes to my sense of humor but I usually find myself unimpressed with modern comedies as they often have the same type of jokes and like to beat you over the head with their punchlines. However when it comes to this profession you cannot pick your battles and sometimes you have to endure certain movies. That was the case for the newest comedy in theaters: Game Night. Directed by the team of John Frances Daley and Jonathan Goldstein Game Night takes the concept of a murder mystery and seemingly mixes it with a comedy of errors. Despite my grievances with modern comedies Game Night,surprisingly, looked entertaining as its ideas could have easily make it an enjoyable comedy. After watching the film I can say that perhaps the biggest twist of the evening was how much I enjoyed Game Night.

The movie tells the story of Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) who enjoy having a game night with their friends. However when Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) decides to make an epic game night, the evening is turned upside when Brooks is kidnapped by real crooks and the group is caught in a mystery to crazy to believe. The plot to Game Night did not go the way that I expected it to, but that was by no means a bad thing. The plot did feature a comedy of errors concept but handled it in a different way. Along with this was the story’s mystery which was effective as, while may not have been complex, it managed to work thanks to the story’s narrative. Yet this was not to say that the story did not have some puzzling directions. This was the case in how the plot handled its subplots. The subplots were effective by keeping things interesting but they had underwhelming conclusions as, rather than coming to a head, they were all but dropped by the film’s climax. Another issue was that the movie overplayed its mystery a little too much. The twists in the story were effective but with the way that things play out it does get confusing on how certain plot points fit together.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cinematic News Reel (02/16/18)-Thor's New Hammer, Five Nights at Freddy's finds a Director and Sneak Peek at Incredibles 2

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of Cinematic News Reel. There few story that stood out so this edition than the previous week. Nevertheless there are still stories to talk about so let us get into this week's Cinematic News Reel.

Nightwing Production Postpone-Why It Makes Sense
For some time it has been established that Chris McCay, director of The Lego Batman Movie, has been working on a Nightwing film. The movie will take place in the DC Film Universe and center on Batman's former sidekick Dick Greyson. However it seems that this Spin-Off will not lunging onto the silver screen any time soon as reports state that the studio is holding off on Nightwing's production. While this may seem disheartening, this update is not unexpected. Although the details are not clear it seems likely that Nightwing's production is being halted due to The Batman. The Batman is in the works, but there is no word on when the superhero film will begin production. So it would make sense that the studio would want Nightwing to tie into the Dark Knight's solo film as soon as it begins production. So WB holding on Nightwing is not without reason, and who knows may be the wait will be beneficial for the Batman Spin-off.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Panther Review: A Noble Superhero Film

The superhero genre continues to grow. For years this subgenre of movies have been defined by heroes such as Batman, Spider-Man and The Avengers. However these days the concept has branched out and brought a number of new faces to the silver screen. A cased point is latest hero to leap onto the silver screen: Black Panther. The Marvel hero made his cinematic debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War but now the character has his own adventure to have with director Ryan Coogler helming the superhero film. Quality wise Marvel Studios have been staggering on top of the mountain with their Phase 3 lineup, but Black Panther looked to be a strong entry for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After watching the new superhero movie I can safely say that Black Panther did not disappoint.

The movie tells the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who fights for his country Wakanda as its guardian the Black Panther. After becoming king, T’Challa’s title and character are put to the test when Erik Killmonger (Michael B.Jordan) seeks to take the throne from T’Challa and bring a dark age to Wakanda. At first it was hard to get into the plot of Black Panther, but as it progressed  the story behind this superhero movie turned out to be quite engaging. The story’s structure, though effective, was a little too formulaic for its good. The narrative did work for the character of Black Panther, but it also created few surprises and several plot points were too predictable. However it was in the plot’s themes that made all the difference for the movie. At first the themes felt contrived , but as the film progressed the thematic elements flourished making this superhero tale a complex one that handled its ideas with care. Along with its strong themes was the story’s ability to create an interesting world within the boundaries of Wakanda. From its hierarchy to its spiritual side Wakanda was a realm filled with investing concepts that only enriched the plot in all the right ways. The plot lived up to the adventurous aspects that most superhero movies have, but it was through its keen presentation that aided this kingly story to stand out from the rest.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Cinematic News Reel (02/09/18): Avengers, Solo and Trailers Galore! Game of Thrones Creators Join Star Wars!

Welcome to this week's edition of the Cinematic News Reel. There were lot of stories this week (particular when it came to trailers) so I tried my best to cover as many as I possibly could. So with that said let us get into this week's Cinematic News Reel. 

Teaser to "Solo: A Star Wars Story" Features The Young Smuggler on A Swashbuckling Adventure
At long last the first trailer to Solo: A Star Wars Story has arrived. The next installment in the Star Wars Anthology Film series is set to hit theaters this May, and up to now there has been next to nothing on the upcoming blockbuster. However signs of the trailer's release came last week when it was announced that the preview would be debuting on Monday February 5th, and after getting a sneak peek during the Super Bowl the trailer was unveiled the following day. The trailer itself went as expected as it gives some insight on the young Han Solo's (Alden Ehrenreich) who wants nothing more than to become a pilot. Solo's ambition looks to take him across the galaxy as the trailer features a variety of worlds. Along with the seeing the younger Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and of course Chewbecca, the preview also features the movie's new characters such as Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). The preview also shows off the new (or in this case old) design of the Millennium Falcon as well as show off the movie's look which feels reminiscent that of J.J Abrams' Star Trek. Rounding everything was the trailer swash-buckling moments that certainly looks exciting. It may not look like much but this trailer does its job as Solo: A Star Wars Story appears to be a adventurous blockbuster worth checking out this summer.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Cloverfield Paradox Review: Trapped Between Ambition and Confusion

The name Cloverfield is an interesting one in the movie world. The found footage monster film was a secret project developed by JJ Abrams, and directed by Matt Reeves, that debuted on January 2008; and it became a success both financially and critically. This was no surprise as the movie, while it has not aged well in certain areas, was certainly originally in its concept. While it looked to be a one hit wonder,this would not be last time moviegoers would see Cloverfield as in 2016 the once solo film became a franchise with the release of 10 Cloverfield Lane. 10 Cloverfield Lane signified that the franchise would taking a unique route as it work as an anthology featuring a variety of different (not to mention bizarre) stories.The anthology trend continues with the third installment in the franchise: The Cloverfield Paradox. Directed by Julius Onach the newest film in the Cloverfield franchise came from the spec script by Oren Uziel and was originally titled “God Particle”. Keeping true to the series’ secretive marketing, the movie  debuted on Netflix immediately after its preview premiered during the Super Bowl. I had the opportunity to watch this unique release and when it was all said and done The Cloverfield Paradox was no doubt the an ambitious entry in the series, but far from the strongest.

The film centers on the crew of the Cloverfield Station who are tasked to find an alternative energy source in order to save Earth. The crew’s work leads them to build a particle accelerator but the results are catastrophic as the machine leads the station to disappear and puts the crew in a interdimensional dilemma. There is no doubt in my mind the plot to The Cloverfield Paradox had a lot of good ideas to it. The concepts that the movie played with were interesting and it could have made it into a stellar sci-fi tale. However the problem is how the movie goes about presenting its story. Although it has good ideas the story lacks a firm center that connects everything together. Furthermore the plot had a nasty habit of telling but not showing its conflict which was evident in the movie’s subplot-which did next to nothing to emphasize on the crisis. Along with this issue was the story’s use of conveniences which lead to a number of plot holes within the fabrics of this tale. The plot does have a good sense of tension and things do become more intriguing as it progresses, but it is not enough to save the story as this sci-fi tale is looped between the realms of mystery and utter confusion.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Cinematic News Reel (02/02/18): Ant-Man and the Wasp Trailer Hits, MI: Fallout Teaser Poster Revealed, Solo Trailer Coming Soon!

Welcome to the first (official)edition of the Cinematic News Reel. This has been an idea that I have played around with in the past but was never able to get going-that is until now. How this will work is that this series will cover weekly movie news stories, rumors (if there is any merit to them) or topics that I can briefly discuss. So without further ado let begins this week's Cinematic News Reel.

First Trailer to "Ant-Man and the Wasp" Features Big Time Spectacle and an Expected Plot
To no surprise Marvel Studios have unveiled their first preview to Ant-Man and the Wasp. The sequel to 2015's Ant-Man will be making its way to the big screen this July, and with Black Panther just weeks away, it only makes sense that content for the Marvel blockbuster would appear sooner rather than later. Sure enough the trailer has made its way online and it plays out all too expectedly. The preview features details about Scott Lang's (Paul Rudd) involvement in Captain America: Civil War and how it affected the likes of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lilly). The trailer also centers on the heroes being on the run; though how much this concept will play into the movie's story is unclear at this time. Unsurprisingly the trailer had plenty of spectacle to it with variety of things changing size and a chase sequence that could very well be a highlight for the film. Topping things off for the trailer was the showcasing of Wasp in action as it showed off the heroine and the movie's sense of effects. The trailer to Ant-Man and the Wasp played very much like a trailer for a Marvel movie, and whether that is a good or bad tings remains to be seen. As for now it would seem that Ant-Man and the Wasp will be a blockbuster right for the summer season.