The Defenders, Thor: Ragnorok, and Justice League- Trailers Galore!

With Comic-Con coming to a close, we have been blessed with three more trailers.

First off, The Defenders.  The four Marvel/Netflix shows have been building toward something greater: a mini Avengers, if you will.  It is almost here.   Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist will be facing off against a greater foe, played by the beautiful, incredible, and talented Sigourney Weaver.  Judging by the trailer, it looks as if they are back on track after a slight misstep with Iron Fist.  But I’ll let you decide when you watch below.

When the first Thor:Ragnorok trailer premiered, it raised a lot of eyebrows.  It definitely marked a tonal shift from the previous Thor entries.  It has been billed as a buddy comedy of sorts, with Thor having been kicked out of Asgard, and his hammer (Mjolnir) having been destroyed by the Norse goddess of the underworld, Hela.  He is captured, forced to face off with the Hulk and shenanigans ensue as they try to take back Thor’s home.  The film looks to be fun ride that may  breathe some much needed life into the franchise.

Of course the trailer that I have been looking forward to the most is that of Justice League.  Yes, I know I am somewhat biased because I am first and foremost a DC fan (and yes I enjoyed Man of Steel and B vs S).  That being said, this movie looks like it has captured the best parts of the DC films that have come out (especially Wonder Woman), as well as establishing the humor of the Flash and the Bad assness of Cyborg.  All in all, this looks to be a strong step forward for DC.

You can view all of the trailers below:

 

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Stranger Things Season 2 (the official trailer)

After months of teasing us with teasers, the Duffer brothers and Netflix have finally unveiled a proper trailer for the second season of their unexpected but runaway hit Stranger Things.  In the trailer, we are once again transported back to the fictional town of Harkins, where all should have been fixed, but clearly is not.  Will Byers seems to be still trapped between worlds and sees a monster that, dare I say it, seems Lovecraftian in its size and danger.

The second half of the trailer (which is set incredibly to both Vincent Price’s voice over from “Thriller” and Michael Jackson’s timeless vocals) shows us different glimpses of what to expect from the upcoming season, including the return of Eleven.  If this season can match the intensity and intrigue of the first, the Duffer brothers will have another hit on their hands.  The snag here is that now that people are expecting greatness, can it live up to the hype?  We will see on October 27th.  View the trailer for yourself below:

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A Wrinkle in Time (the trailer)

Every once and awhile a trailer comes out that immediately makes you feel like a kid again.  A Wrinkle in Time ‘s trailer did just that for me.  Based upon the incredibly popular (and one of my favorites) tween book of the same name, the novel tells the story of Meg, her friend Calvin, and her younger brother Charles Wallace (who is a genius) and their adventures through time and space to rescue Meg’s father.  Along the way she is helped by Ms. Whatsit, Ms. Which, and Ms. Who, three celestial beings.

The book expertly finds a way to combine the incredibly complicated science of space and time and lessons such as the value of family and oneself all in a way which is accessible to young people.

The movie which boasts an all-star cast of Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galafanakis, Mindy Kaling, and the incredible Oprah Winfrey looks to have captured the weird and the wonderful of the novel.  Not to mention the trailer makes use of some incredible music as well.  Looks like Disney may have made a faithful adaptation.  We will see on March 9th.  View the trailer for yourself below:

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (the review)

(NO SPOILERS)

To say Marvel has had an impressive run thus far with their MCU would be a great understatement; their careful plotting and planning of their universe will stand as a blueprint to others attempting the same feat (take note DC!).  So, when it was announced that they would be adding their most famous face to the MCU lineup, of course I was excited, but cautious.  After all, this would be the third incarnation of a character who all but ushered in the current era of superhero films.  Yet all of my worries were quickly brushed aside, the moment Spider-Man entered the fight in Captain America: Civil War.  It seemed that Marvel had been able to fully capture what Sony had not been able to do on their own.  So when Spider-Man: Homecoming was announced, I was pretty sure that they had a hit on their hands.  I was not disappointed.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a rare find, a movie that works well on two fronts: both as a teen coming of age comedy and a superhero story.  The film (which is the first Marvel introduction to a character which does not contain an origin story) actually starts off right after the first Avengers movie (for reasons which will become quite obvious) and then shoots eight years forward to the events of Civil War before settling down and giving us the main story.

We are introduced formally to Peter Parker, who is having withdrawal from his experience with The Avengers.  He is waiting for his chance to join the group as a full-fledged member.  While he is  waiting, he is doing his best to help out his neighborhood and be the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man that we all are accustomed to, all the while adjusting to normal high school life and problems.   Eventually, he stumbles upon a bigger conspiracy at play, and attempts to stop it, whether advisable or not.  In the interest of no spoilers, I will say that the rest of the film deals with Spider-Man coming to grips with the responsibility of trying to protect his city and those he loves, while not losing who is at his core.

Hands down, this is one of Marvel’s best films to date.  It is easily as funny if not funnier than Guardians, while at the same time deftly balancing great action sequences.  Tom Holland captures Peter Parker’s curiosity and ambition perfectly.  Marissa Tomei is quite strong as a much younger incarnation of Aunt May that everyone seems to be attracted to.  While Michael Keaton is incredibly effective as the Vulture (not that they ever call him that in the film) and shines, especially in his scenes towards the end. The supporting cast is quite good as well, Laura Harrier does well as the love interest Liz, while Zendaya plays the sarcastic “Michelle” in convincing fashion.  One of the real standouts of the supporting cast is Jacob Batalon as Peter Parker’s best friend Ned, who provides much of the comic relief throughout the film, as well as serving as Peter’s right hand man.

Spider-Man: Homecoming does something that the earlier incarnations do not.  It finally captures the difficulty of fitting in.  Peter Parker is attempting to find his place in the world.  Whether that is with the girl of his dreams or with the Avengers remains to be seen, but having him as a high school sophomore as opposed to an adult seems far more accessible.  The movie is aptly named, because it seems like Spider-Man has finally found its home in the MCU.

And yes, there are two credit stingers.  The first is setting something up, and the second, well, I’ll let the second speak for itself; just be patient.

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Death Note (the trailer)

Netflix has released the much anticipated trailer for adaptation of the quite popular Japanese manga, Death Note.  The story follows a high school student who is mysteriously gifted a notebook in which whomever’s name is written dies.  This newfound power begins to corrupt the student as time goes on.  Eventually authorities attempt to zero in on how these killings are occurring and a bit of a cat and mouse game ensues.

Based off the trailer, we can see that the production has been Americanized, but still seems to stay true to the theme and mood of its source material.  All in all, it looks like Netflix may have done a good job adapting this. At the least hopefully it will be a better adaptation than the Ghost in the Shell film.  View the trailer for yourself below:

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The New Ducktales Intro Premieres

Nostalgia fans, hold on to your hats because ahead of its premiere on August 12th, Disney has released the poster and the new intro for their new version of Ducktales (woo-hoo).  The show boasts a new animation style, plus some rather impressive voice talent featuring David Tennant, Bobby Moynihan, and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera.  The question remains can this new show match our fond nostalgia for the the original?  You decide after you view the trailer below.

 

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The ten most underrated movies of the last 20 years.

We’ve all heard of the movies that receive all the acclaim (Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, The Dark Knight etc.), but what about those great movies that have gone mostly unnoticed (outside of certain circles)?  What about the movies that came out at the wrong time, or did not get enough backing from the studios; but are just as well-made as their acclaimed counterparts?  Through much research and help from friends, I have compiled a list of the ten most underrated movies of all time.

 

 10  Josie and the Pussycats

Now I know that many of you are thinking, that this was simply just a chick flick when Rachel Leigh Cook was in her heyday (Remember that?  In the years following She’s All That).  This movie was so much more than that.  It was an incredibly written satire about how the music industry had become so commercialized that they were basically brainwashing people into liking music by simply overplaying it on the radio. (Think Alvin and the Chipmunks, but better.)  Furthermore, the tongue-in-cheek product placement was almost as brilliant of that in Wayne’s World.

Varsity Blues

Now, I realize that many of you will disagree with this entry, but ask yourself: if this had not been an MTV movie release would you judge this movie differently?  Think of all the coming of age high school movies that you have seen.  Now I know this isn’t The Breakfast Club, but what it is, is the story of a Texas town where the only thing that matters is football.  Parents hold their kids back in school, coaches risk injuries, and football is seen as the only way out of this town.  Enter poor Jonathan Moxson (James VanDerBeek), who is a smart kid, who doesn’t need football to escape.  But low and behold, he ends up as the starting quarterback, and becomes a star.  Then we see that even he is corruptible by this sport.  This movie is one of the better high school stories that has come out in the last fifteen years.  And let’s be honest, who can ever forget the whip cream bikini scene?

Throw Momma from the Train

Now here was a movie that I’m not sure that not too many of you will remember.  It was about Owen (Danny Devito) who was a student in Larry’s (Billy Crystal) class.  It seems that Owen got Larry’s message a bit mixed up.  After watching a Hitchcock film, Owen got the idea that he was supposed to kill Larry’s wife, and Larry would kill his mother.  Well, Owen carries out his part of the bargain, and then hilarity ensues.  Of course this movie is going to to good.  You already have Billy Crystal and Danny Devito,  but what makes this movie a classic, is the immortal performance by Anne Ramsey as Owen’s mean, but ultimately lovable mother.

7  The Frighteners

So, Robert Zemekics is a genius.  Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? cemented that fact in my mind.  Yet not many people raved about another one of his movies The Frighteners.  Here was a film that paired up Zemekics and Michael J Fox again.  It is the story of a young man who uses his abilities to see and talk with ghosts to make a little bit of money.  All of this goes well until he comes across some serious ghosts called frighteners.  It’s a movie that was mostly overlooked when it came out, but is surprisingly fun and exciting.  

6 Kung-Fu Hustle

Now here was a movie that was not seen by many Americans outside of those who were already Stephen Chow fans.  (For those of you who don’t know who Stephen Chow is, think Shoulin Soccer).  It’s a movie that is surprisingly heartfelt and sweet at the same time as being a live-action looney tunes cartoon, and an epic martial arts film. Chow pays homage to some of the greatest directors of all time with many of the shots in this film.   It is a film that is incredibly funny, aesthetically pleasing as well and at its heart, the message that all of us may have greatness inside.

 

 

5 Mars Attacks

 

martians

 

 

Ah, Tim Burton… I think that the reason that this movie didn’t catch on for the absolute genius that it is, is because many people went in thinking that this was going to be a blockbuster, not a campy homage to the B movies of the fifties.  Burton took a B movie script, and put in A-list movie actors like Glenn Close, Jack Nicholson, and a very young Natalie Portman, and most importantly, he didn’t take himself or the movie too seriously.  And that is what makes it wonderful, a movie in which the Martians’ language is as funny a joke as any other in the movie.

 

4 Tremors  

“What the hell is going on? I mean what the hell is going on?!”  is arguably the greatest line in one of the most underrated movies of all time.  This was a movie which was billed originally as a monster movie, but was indeed so much moreFor those of you who don’t know the premise., It involves a small town with a major monster problem. Except these monsters move underground, and apparently have survived since the Jurassic period or something like that.  The movie is an incredible throwback to the B monster movies of the 50’s and 60’s, while featuring fantastic performances by Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Reba McIntyre, and Michael Gross. 

 

3 Quigley Down Under

Now here was a movie that I can guarantee that most viewers missed.  It was a Tom Selleck movie that had him playing an American gunslinger placed in Australia.  His character doesn’t like pistols, so he uses a rifle which can kill from 500 yards away.  Originally he thinks has been hired to shoot animals, but then finds out he has been hired to kill Aborigines.  So of course he won’t do it, and finds himself at odds with his employer who is wonderfully played by Alan Rickman.

While the story alone doesn’t make this movie stand out, the performances by one,  Alan Rickman, and two Laura San Giacomo who plays a crazy woman shunned by the local society takes this film up to a whole other level.

2 Grosse Point Blank

Against my better judgement, I placed this movie in the number two position, as opposed to the number one.   It’s a dark comedy featuring a hit man heading home to something that most of us simultaneously look forward to and dread: his high school reunion.  Along the way, he tries to reconcile with the girl he left behind, and truly understand who he is.  It helps that the film has two of my favorite actors:  John and Joan Cusack.  It also contains darkly comedic performances by Minnie Driver and Dan Aykroyd as a rival hitman.

 

1 Galaxy Quest

 

My favorite type of movie is probably the satire.  Satire done well in my opinion is the highest form of comedy.  Movies like Scream  or Tropic Thunder do a remarkable job of skewering their intended targets while standing on their own as entertaining films.  But Galaxy Quest stands on its own.  A movie which is completely enjoyable on its own, but is absolutely amazing, it takes the best part of a fish-out-of-water scenario and mixed it with a brilliant parody of Star Trek; not to mention fantastic comedic performances by Tony Shaloub, Sam Rockwell, and the incredible Alan Rickman.  When combined together, it makes for one of the most entertaining experiences you will have watching a film.

 

Honorable mentions include: Dark City, Dogma, The Rundown, 

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