Archive for the Fantasy Category

DEADPOOL 2 :: ACTION :: 060

Posted in Action, Comedy, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/01/2018 by joycereview

Deadpool 2 (2018)

“Deadpool. That sounds like a franchise.”

Nearly every film falls short on the sequel and Deadpool 2 is no exception – but not by much!

In Deadpool we meet Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) a foul-mouthed mercenary that undergoes an experiment that leaves him with amazing, self-healing abilities and enhanced physical prowess. We learn quickly that this “Merc with a mouth” isn’t your typical superhero – often roasting his colleagues and screen stars with sarcasm, pop-culture references and insults. Like his actual comic persona, he occasionally is guilty of “breaking the fourth wall.”

“I may be super but I’m no hero.”

Deadpool 2 has all the same elements of the first, but this time they double-downed on the action and gore. They also added some new characters, including one, time-traveling terminator named Cable (Josh Brolin). Sister Margaret’s Tavern, a pub frequented by shady characters and mercenaries becomes HQ to a special team or “force” whose first directive is to rescue a misguided youth (Firefist) before he is killed and/or does something monstrous. Friend and bartender, Weasel (T.J. Miller) is hilarious…again, and new-comer, Domino (Zazie Beetz), many times, stills the show!


Deadpool movies are perfect for those of that relish with glee witty and racy remarks (especially those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s). Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) and director David Leitch (Deadpool 2) have similar styles, it seems to me, which adds to the continuity. They also keep with the same primary writers (Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick) but this time, instead going with a group effort like they did in Deadpool, they added Ryan Reynolds to the writer’s table.

The action, dialogue and story moves along quicker than the first and can be rather daunting to take it all in. Keep in mind that some people, not a lot, believe the opposite. While I won’t scoff…. I feel strongly that the action had more of the Hollywood effects element. And though Deadpool continues to flirt erotically and sometimes homo-erotically (like in the first) the sexuality seems a bit toned down, possibly with the studios expecting a younger crowd.


Be on the lookout for some surprise cameos and prepare yourself for a good time!

Let us know what you thought in the comments!!!!

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Trailers:

Deadpool (2016)

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Deadpool 2 (2018)

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THE HALLOW :: HORROR :: 056

Posted in Fantasy, Foreign, Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/11/2018 by joycereview

The Hallow (2015)
I enjoy hearing the Irish accent, and am a fan of Michael McElhatton (playing Mr. Donnelly), not to mention that many of us Joyces came from the area of filming, Galway, Ireland. So when I saw the trailer that featured these major checkmarks… I was intrigued to say the least.

Acknowledging that fairy tales ARE basic “OG” horror, you have to wonder why it hasn’t been played up more than it has. You can comb the many books of folklore and mythology and you’ll find many illustrations of fairies, ghosts and banshees… that any creature creator might be able to turn into screen gold. However, what we get is simple grotesque gollums – that are clearly actors in suits. Though I am NOT against actors in suits, I believe that any suit should be made to distort the image of human proportions. The Hallow did not succeed in this arena.

I also don’t mind the many horror clichés if they are well-done and able to scare, shock, or create uneasiness. The Hallow, again, fell short of this mark.

Starting with the main characters, Adam (Joseph Mawle) and Clare (Bojana Novakovic)…[and baby], you get an image of a young couple who move into a rural cottage whereby the neighbor warns them (again) about the fact that they shouldn’t be there. Obviously they don’t heed the warning – even after several strange findings by Adam. When will these guys ever learn?

But again, it’s not the cliché, but the lack of background, the lack of character intelligence and chemistry. Without giving too much away,… if you are hiking with your newborn, would you lean close to a rotting animal carcass? If your significant other gets hurt… let’s say, he or she falls or gets something in their eye, would you show not only concern but major concern (seeing as though your survival might just rely on each other)?

There are a lot of people that say that director Corin Hardy is the up-and-coming horror guy. With this being his first feature film, I’m going to give him a pass. I have no idea what type of budget he had on this film and it certainly wasn’t the worst movie I’ve seen. It just wasn’t for me, nor my wife (who also gave it a 3). IMDB users give it an average currently of 5.7.

If you’ve seen it, what did you think of it?

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Trailer:

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JUSTICE LEAGUE :: ACTION :: 051

Posted in Action, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/10/2018 by joycereview

Justice League (2017)

Usually when people see a review for a film that gets 3 out of a possible 10, and is one with a Hollywood budget of $300 million, they immediately ask, “How can this be”?

For one, it starts with the tagline, “You can’t save the world alone.” Obviously they are trying to build a team that rivals the numbers of the Avengers, however, the tagline should be…

“You can’t save the world without Superman.”

I don’t want to hate on Zack Snyder because he DID give us Dawn of the Dead, 300 and The Watchmen but ever-since that point his movies were made with an overuse of CGI, and a desire to appeal to studio executives and kids obsessed with constant action. Please let it be known that I don’t fault Zack Snyder entirely as I do notice the occasional spark of genius.

What I’d really like to know is whose fault it was to CGI Superman’s face at the beginning and ending clips of the film? Fake and unforgivable. I heard from somewhere that Henry Cavill had to keep a mustache for another project, and for those two scenes, they simply CG-ed it out, quite unsuccessfully.

The scourge of this story rests largely on the fact that the villain is a CGI-generated alien invader named Steppenwolf. Though Aquaman is interesting, there is no time to get the audience to understand and form attachments with the characters the same way that Marvel did with the Avengers. It all felt rushed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of Barry Allen (aka The Flash) as he added the much needed levity to the film. Even though this was almost a “copy and paste” team introduction (see Spiderman’s intro into the Avengers) his presence made viewing the Justice League bearable. Way to go Ezra Miller!

There were many things that went wrong with this movie and it rightfully won an award for the Golden Schmoes’ Best Disappointment of the Year (IMDB). It would be hard for me to believe that anyone above the age of 20 (just picking a number) would vote this any higher than a 5… because it just isn’t made for an adult audience in my opinion.

But enough of me… what did you think? Did you have a favorite part? Who’s your favorite character and why?

* Slight Spoiler *
When Superman returns from the dead, there’s a momentary, psychotic episode whereby he takes on the Justice League single-handed and wipes the floor with them! My favorite part of this is as The Flash is trying to encircle Superman, and Superman is grappling and restraining the others, his eyes are tracking him, slowly. This made for an eerie yet humorous moment and a great display of just how incredible Superman’s powers are.

I sit here and wonder… will villains always be computer-generated and must directors continually try to top the other films with more fighting, greater explosions, and extra carnage? I pine for the Donner/Lester Superman I and II – the villains Lex Luther and General Zod.

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Trailer:

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DUNE :: SCI-FI :: 050

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/05/2018 by joycereview

DUNE (1984)

THE PLOT
The main character of Dune is 15-year old Paul Atreides (played by then, 25-year old Kyle MacLachlan) a boy born in line with a prophesy, in royal House Atreides on Planet Caladan. When the Emperor asks the Duke to rule over the most important planet, Arrakis, the Duke’s enemies move in. Arrakis, also known as Dune, is the only place in the universe capable to produce the mind-altering drug known as the Melange. This drug, commonly referred to as “Spice” is a vital element to the economy, those who use it medicinally and for space travel.

THE REVIEW

I must begin this review by saying it is slightly biased in that Dune IS my favorite book of all-time! The magnificence of this film by director David Lynch is that it used the book quite well (minus the ending). The “failure” of this film though (I feel) was because it was too intellectual for mass audiences. They wanted it to be “a Star Wars for grownups” but after its poor box office numbers and critics like Roger Ebert trashing it….it never took off.

I have never known any sci-fi fans that disliked the book, but just like any great book, people carry with them great expectations. The author, Frank Herbert really enjoyed the film and being a part of the process. He called it “a visual feast” and even admitted that his attempt at the screenplay was “horrible.”

Though I can see how people can mark this film lower, I feel that it’s a solid 8. As one reviewer mentioned, “It has no humor”… no lighter moments, unless you find it funny that Gurney Halleck (played by Patrick Stewart) leads a battle charge hugging the House Atredies pet pug? Others may snicker at the character Alia when she asks the Reverend Mother, “Why don’t you tell them both who I really am.” Those that have seen this will know exactly what I’m talking about. Either way, I don’t even roll my eyes at those two scenes – call it “love blindness.”
When championing this film I talk about everything from it’s amazing star power (José Ferrer, Francesca Annis, Jürgen Prochnow, Linda Hunt, Everett McGill, Max Von Sydow, Sean Young, Sting and more) to the tremendous production (Anthony Masters) and costume design (Bob Ringwood). To top it all off, Brian Eno and the 70s rock group Toto made a perfect theme and film soundtrack which ranks in my Top Ten.

Where I mark the film down is on the choice of ending, which I hear is more of the studio’s fault than anyone else’s. Just another in a long list of films showing that “those with the money have the final say.” This ending was basically the only, but obviously the biggest, deviation from the book. Secondly, while I think the visual and special effects did a superb job (for 1984) the climbing and riding of the giant sandworm could have been a lot better – Especially when Stilgar (played by Everett McGill) was climbing the rope up to the top of the worm. It reminded me of the old Adam West Batman (pictured below). If you’re going to use the old way, make it look believable Stilgar!


The rest of the film was the epitome of EPIC in my opinion, with the only real sadness being that they couldn’t continue with the other books. Obviously they made the tv mini-series of Dune, but one look at the set production and you’ll think that it was put together by a high school drama class. Maybe that’s being too harsh. I must say however, I did like James McAvoy as Leto Atreides II in Children of Dune. Dune (the movie, not mini-series) IS a deep and intellectual film, and though it won’t be for everyone, it is a film that (at least) all sci-fi fans need to see once. But for God’s sake, read the book!

And when you do… we’d love to hear your thoughts.

What was your impression of the film? Did you have a favorite scene?… A favorite quote? Let us know what it is!!!

LONG LIVE THE FIGHTERS!!!

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Trailer:

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The Shape of Water :: Drama :: 048

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 03/29/2018 by joycereview

The Shape of Water (2017) My favorite drama of 2017 (because Jordan Peele’s Get Out! is Horror) is, hands down, Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece, The Shape of Water. Reviews have been heavily on the positive side, but negative ones, in my opinion, have been based on trivialities. Dramas that hit on the fantasy level require that the audience suspend at least some disbelief. Just know that this film is beautiful in countless ways, ways that few can dismiss – not to mention it recently won 4, well-deserved Oscars.

Though director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has some gripes about the film, I don’t feel that del Toro plagiarized Jeunet. Someone who knows film can easily say, “Isn’t this just a cross between Splash (1984) and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)?” It did remind me of Jennet’s Amélie (2001) in that it had French music and a specific color tone. Amélie liked simple thing like putting her hands in something soft and cracking crème brûlée. Elise liked hard-boiled eggs and masturbating in the tub.  Though there may be similarities, I believe these were simply chosen to create an atmosphere, styling, and sense of connection to the audience that suited to enhanced the story. Do knowing these similarities detract from the movie? For some people it definitely does or will. In my opinion, not at all.

One thing that really stood out was the remarkable acting of Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer – though Michael Shannon’s character of Strickland is the Molotov Cocktail behind the film. It hasn’t been since Joffrey and Ramsey of Game of Thrones has someone been so hateful.

Yes there are a couple of things that stick in my craw, like would a janitor be able to have her lunch break inside a top-secret laboratory and could you really fill up a bathroom full of water? Definitely a no, but does it really detract from the beauty and entertainment of this movie…. again, no.

Overall, this was a magnificent movie that you are bound to watch more than once. If I were you, I’d go out and get a copy for your movie library.

“Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere.”

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MAN OF STEEL, STEALS MY CHILDHOOD :: ACTION :: 44

Posted in Action, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/18/2013 by joycereview

3--clawsmanofsteelMAN OF STEEL.  REVIEW 043

It’s been over 3 years since I’ve reviewed a film.  After seeing Zack Snyder‘s remodeling of the Man of Steel, and the dismantling of a personal childhood hero, I felt compelled to get back into the game; at least one more time.

I think most of us thought the trailer was phenomenal. Am I right?  And sensationally reviewed or not, I was going to sit in that theater and watch Superman fly into space, back into our lives and consciousness again.

Now, I don’t consider myself very resistant to change – but as I sat in that theater, I could feel my body cringe and the lightness in my heart sadden (similar to the feeling I had with George Lucas’ changes in Star Wars).

I needed to face some facts.  The viewing audiences are not the same as they were, nor are the studio executives and movie critics of Hollywood.  Critics don’t want to stand against a film, obviously because there is more exposure and more money in promotion.  Directors are becoming fixated on smoke & mirrors (CGI), diluting the story and disrupting the pace in order to keep viewers stimulated.  What they miss (when they follow this formula) is that people go to the theater to be “moved” (as James Lipton once put it).  Man of Steel, although superbly cast, is over-stimulating, devoid of humor, and re-invents Kal-El as a confused and somewhat immature orphan.

MY QUICK OVERVIEW

“I think it’s safe to say that Christopher Reeve still holds the mantle, that simplicity is best, and that 2-hours of special effects and blowing stuff up doesn’t amount to one General Zod being flung into a big Coca-Cola sign.”

THE BEGINNING (No ‘real’ Spoilers)

The malaise began immediately – no John Williams music*, no traditional Superman opening – instead, we go straight to Kal-El’s birth (and labor is just as just as painful on Krypton as it is on Earth).  Was that a spoiler?  I apologize if it was.

After Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his son to planet Earth, we meet a seemingly steriod-laden ‘Clark Kent’ (Henry Cavill) [who actually didn’t go by that name in order to hide his identity] as he helps man a fishing vessel.  I was confused to see that there were no ‘crystals’ to speak of on Krypton or in Superman’s possession, and a mode of Kryptonian transportation is a flying komodo dragon (very ‘Avatar’ of Synder/Goyer/Nolan).

THE CHARACTERS

general zod man of steel-1One of the saving graces of this film is due to the fact that it is star-studded, with each actor delivering a great performance.  It is a bit concerning, however, that the 13 year old Clark exhibits more emotion and depth than the main star.  But with that aside, Laurence Fishburne makes an excellent Perry White, Amy Adams Lois Lane, Diane Lane Martha Kent, Kevin Costner Jonathan Kent, and the list goes on.

Being a fan of the strong women in films, I greatly enjoyed Faora-Ul (Antje Traue) who plays the Kryptonian ‘right hand’ of General Zod (Michael Shannon).  But if you’re going to have General Zod and play on the banishment into the Phantom Zone, then why not have Ursa and Non (from Superman & Superman II)?  If you’re going to have Perry White and Lois Lane, why no Jimmy Olsen?  Did Snyder/Goyer/Nolan want the movie devoid of any comic relief (apart from the unneeded ‘measuring dicks’ remark from Lois Lane)?

THE SENSE OF URGENCY

superman helicopter sceneA strong element that I feel should be attached to any action film is a sense of urgency, suspense, or of possible death.  In Superman you had the intense helicopter scene where Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) is tangling from a seat belt.  In Superman II, you had 3 super villains hell-bent on provoking Superman through the destruction and killing of Metropolis citizens.  Superman had to change the battlefield, he had to use brain over brawn in order to save lives.  In Superman Returns, the ‘Man of Steel’ saves Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) yet again, this time in a Boeing-Space Shuttle Launch catastrophe – not to mention, 2 near drownings, a Kryptonite shiv stuck in his side by Lex Luthor (Keven Spacey), and Superman’s death/’resurrection’.

CHEMISTRY

Iron Man has Pepper Potts, Spiderman has Mary Jane Watson, and Superman has Lois Lane.  Love, whether guys like it in their films or not, is a potent ingredient when it comes to film.  On-Screen chemistry is a hard thing to pull off in a lot of cases.  Some have it and some don’t.  However, in Man of Steel, there wasn’t enough time and attention to the Superman-Lois Lane story to feel that love was even possible.  But maybe ‘Love’ wasn’t what the director and writers were going for?

As someone who dabbles in script-writing himself, I don’t think we should simply ‘forgive’ Goyer/Nolan for this problem and I don’t think the audience should overlook the importance of this connection.  You must remember, Nolan played the same trick on us with the last Batman movie.  How did Catwoman go from unobtainable, pesky thief to finally locking lips with Batman in the end?  Shouldn’t Bruce Wayne find that odd or suspect?  Again, I suppose a kiss at the end of the movie is all studios think we want out of two attractive actors.

DIRECTION

Both Richard Donner and Bryan Singer are directors who care deeply for story.  They go to great lengths to make sure that their actors understand the characters of the film and the tone, mood and intensity at which they want their actors to play their respective parts.  To be fair, there is so much that goes on behind-the-scenes between directors, producers and studios that criticisms are merely opinions on the final product; nothing more.  Why was there nearly 45 minutes of non-stop action in the third act of Man of Steel?  Was it because they wanted to show us something new (which they did not) as far as visual effects, or did they do it to cover weaknesses to the story?

STORY-TELLING

The integral component to any movie is story.  Ideas, themes, scenes can be amazingly brilliant – but if there is little-to-no originality, if it’s un-relatable, and/or has no consistency, the film may be doomed to fail.  The way for audiences to relate to Superman is through Clark Kent.  Yes, Snyder/Goyer/Nolan gave us flashbacks of young Kent being bullied, and learning that he was an alien – and maybe the placement was decent (given the pace of the film) – but it wasn’t enough for the audience (in my opinion) to understand how these feelings changed his constitution, challenged and helped to form his sense of right and wrong.

When it comes to original, forward-thinking ideas, I thought the movie was shallow.  Krypton had a Matrix-like incubation chamber, villians that climbed after Superman using The Hulk method, and I already mentioned the flying dragons of Avatar.  In Superman II, Mario Puzo‘s story had Superman outsmarting the General Zod and his entourage by reversing the direction of his radiation chamber, deceiving both the villians and the audience at the same time.  I won’t spoil it for those that see Man of Steel, but let me just say that General Zod meets his end not-so-spectacularly. It left both my wife and I looking at each other going, “huh!? well,… alrighty then.”  On thing it certainly reminded me of was Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises and the seemingly obvious way at which he ‘permanently dispatched’ Bane.  Any warrior knows to go to his enemies’ weakness, and Bane clearly had a breathing problem (sorry if that was a spoiler, but the Dark Knight’s been out for a year!).

MUSIC*

I can’t believe I forgot about the music [I’m a fitting this in several days later].  While John Williams’ epic tracks continue to be what people hum when they think of Superman, Hans Zimmer didn’t do a bad job at all.  Hans has a great understanding of rhythm, pace, and mood and thereby, creates a superb soundtrack to a less-than-mediocre movie.  The sound is bold and original and would definitely be something I’d listen to at home.  My only criticism is that I wish it had a small resonation, an echo, of Williams’ theme(s).  I don’t believe, especially when it comes to Superman, that to incorporate the old with the new (in this situation) would be “taking the easy road” or plagiarism, but of a musical collaboration.

A QUICK ASIDE

Singer ComicbookMovieComI have even more respect for Bryan Singer’s vision, Superman Returns (2006).  Some of the reasons why people didn’t like Singer’s version is are: too close to Donner/Lester’s version, Brandon Routh’s portray was too like Christopher Reeve, it was too heavy with the the love triangle and with the Christ mythology/symbology.  As Singer explained to Ed Gross (2011. ComicBookmovie.Com),

…I am very much in love with the Donner picture, and for me the journey was exciting because I got the chance to reprise those images and explore it. When you’re fascinated by something and you love it, part of making the movie is trying to please everyone and make a successful movie, but part of it is an experimental kind of thing.”

In Singer’s version, there is a sense of peril, urgency, and you truly felt for the characters involved – partly because they are extensions of the characters we know and love.  The Boeing/Space shuttle scene that reintroduces Superman to the world was genius, nail-biting, unique and nostalgic.  A good example (Superman) of this

“I hope this hasn’t put any of you off flying.  Statistically speaking…”

Great nod to the original.  It was almost as if Mr. Reeve was mouthing the words.  It sure felt good to hear those words again.

FINAL WORD

It will do me some good to get some time and distance from this film.  It might seem silly to some, but writing has always been a cathartic and certainly stress-relieving experience for me.  It’s a difficult thing for any director to tackle – especially trying to live up the the expectations of the 8 year-old inside me.  But on the other hand, I don’t feel like I was asking too much.  What I got from Man of Steel was mind-numbing action with only glimpses of greatness thrown in here and there (i.e. the touching scene w/ Mr. Kent and young clark, the school bus scene); all of which were in the opening trailer.  I will have to come to terms with this I know… because I share Bryan Singer’s thought (as he said to the Voices of Krypton), that my idea of a great Superman film “would simply be a reboot” of Donner’s (/Puzo’s) visions with “balls-to-the-wall” action sequences*

Of course, done the right way!

by: MICHAEL JOYCE

Also of: CombativeCorner.Com, OutFoxxed.Com & YourTherapy.Info

MOVIE DETAILS

WARNER BROS.  2006

PG-13.  TIME: 2 HOURS 28 MIN.

ACTION/ADVENTURE/FANTASY

PLEASE OFFER YOUR THOUGHTS OF THE FILM BELOW

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WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE :: FANTASY :: 042

Posted in Drama, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 03/12/2010 by joycereview

Spike Jonzes’ cinematic version of the popular book, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, walks a fine line but holds a tightrope walker’s focus throughout.

Where The Wild Things Are (besides Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax) was my favorite book growing up.

Max, like myself as a youngster (and millions of kids the world over) uses his imagination to lift himself far away from his struggles.

Young Max is played by Max Records (The Brothers Bloom) and assumes the role with great depth and vulnerability.  Each expression on his face perfectly depicts the confusion, disappointment, jubilation, or whathaveyou, of a kid trying to find his place in the world, beit reality or amongst the creatures of his imagination.

The Wild Things are: Carrol (James Gandolfini), Alexander (Paul Dano), Judith (Catherine O’Hara), Douglas (Chris Cooper) and Ira (Forest Whitaker).

For those that know and love the book (as I, a child of the late 70s did), Where The Wild Things Are (the cinematic version) produces its own, leisurely paced addaptation of the 300-some-word children’s classic.  Jonze and Eggers give, in cinematic terms, exactly what Sendak was able to do in words and illustrations… and although the film may feel too “drawn out” for a full-length feature film (and you may be right), the situations, all from the point-of-view of 9-year old Max allows you to relive, (for me, drawing from my own childhood) and relate to the child within.

What did you think about the picture?

Give your thoughts below and…

Let the wild rumpus begin!