Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Movie Review

9309ee7890499a5b4d7d825f02dbe80eSet to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand. Courtesy IMDb

 

 

Great characters, funny jokes, bright colors, awesome soundtrack and…Daddy issues?? 


Quite frankly, it’s unfair for me to review this film in an unbiased fashion, for two very distinct reasons.

First, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is aesthetically and stylistically catered to my tastes. This blog is called VIA VHS for crying out loud! Brights colors emblazoned across a space canvas in a blatant homage to the 80’s is the logo to this very blog! And this film is chock full of 80’s references throughout, it even stars Kurt Russell in a major role and is set against an amazing late 70s early 80s Soundtrack in Awesome Mix vol. 2, which may be even better than the first. If that’s not enough, the bright colors and constant silliness is tailor made for an ADD inflicted brain like my own (more on that later). As much as this film hits all the right check marks in regards to my own taste it was the themes and story behind this film that led to an unforgettable movie going experience. Which brings me to the second reason I can’t give this film an honest review….

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My Step-Dad is Yondu.

I go to Christopher Nolan movies if I want a transcendent, emotional experience that shakes me to my core.  Which is why I thought Dunkirk would be the movie that gut punched me into tears this summer, and it still may do that. I didn’t expect however, for an oddball film featuring a dancing baby tree as a featured character to also have that effect.

Like the Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2’s featured protagonist Peter Quill, sorry ahem, Starlord, I know very little, or nothing about my real father. Just some cool guy who…um…knew my Mom in the 80’s. This is personal info I know but it’s gonna get funny if you feel uncomfortable. For three and a half years my Mom raised me by herself. I was just as odd and imaginative then as I am now and since I had no siblings or cousins my age, I relied on my imagination for companionship and my Mom for love (greatest Mom ever). This was all great and fine but things were about to change dramatically. This is when the Yondu of the story comes in, except in this story his name is Cliff.

Cliff is a member of the United States Marine Corps, Cliff the Marine you can call him. He’s best friends with my aunts fiancé Chris (now my uncle) who’s also a Marine and my Mom Meets him at a gathering that both of these fellas were invited to. Eventually they get married and now Cliff the Marine is my Step-Father. Cliff, is a piece of work! As am I, but a very different piece of work. I’m scatterbrained, emotional, eccentric, contemplative. Cliff is a Marine. A Marine with a rough background we won’t get into. He’s organized, regimental, stubborn and proud. We share a few characteristics though, we rely on wit and sarcasm, we love sports way too much and we have very very combustible tempers. We resolve conflict in completely different ways. Because of this,  for many years Cliff the Marine and I are Oil and Water.

Cliff is so proud he’s immune to hypocrisy. Once at a family BBQ, all the great craft beer was missing, so my best beer option was a Corona. Naturally I put a lime in the Corona bottle as custom demands, which is when Cliff notices this from afar and says to me in front of everyone “Fruit in your beer? You Gay?”. At the time Cliff was drinking a Mikes Hard Cranberry! I’m like Dad your fucking beer is Purple. Oblivious to the hypocrisy he nursed Mikes Hard Cranberries the entire night without remorse.

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Cliff was tough on me though. He screamed at me allot and quite honestly I was scared of him. Naturally he was my football coach and believe it or not I actually loved it. He couldn’t embarrass me from the stands because it was socially acceptable for him to yell at me on the sidelines. Plus I was really damn good at football so that bond was pretty secure. Despite Football, Cliff and I still have very little in common. Discussing anything with him was emotionally exhausting and his regimental nature was just as frustrated with my haphazard, clumsy, forgetful way of life. In high school my passion for acting conflicted with football, so despite my undying love for the sport, I chose to be a Thespian. A word that led to admittedly clever jokes about my sexuality (which he never meant seriously). But this also removed one of the few bonds we had.

It was frustrating being so different. My siblings who I’m very close to are very much like my Mom and myself. But their characteristic differences to me and similarities with Cliff still made me feel like an outcast at times. I constantly wondered what my biological father was like, do we have the same talents, same problems, same undying love of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?  To this day at 32 years old, I still don’t know. I haven’t seen him since I was too little to remember and that side of the family is virtually non-existant on Social Media. Except for one young lady,  who is my biological Grandfather’s daughter from a later marriage. This girl reached out to me on Social Media recently and finally, for the first time in my life, I was not only speaking to the other side of my family, but meeting my biological father became a real possibility. It’s all I could think about. I have so many questions for him, I’m so curious to see what this man is like.

All of this happens two nights before I go to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2

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The Aforementioned Gut Punch

SPOILERS AHEAD

If you’ve already seen Guardians Vol. 2 you know where I’m going with this. Starlord discovers his differences in the previous film Vol.1, which only strengthens his curiosity regarding his father. Like many boys who don’t know their real father, Peter imagines his Dad to be a fucking awesome guy. For Peter, that embodiment is none other than The Knight Rider David Hasselhoff. For me, Dale Jarret, Dan Marino, Bob Seger and Bill Goldberg were all hopeful biological donors. This theme,  makes the casting of Kurt Russell, the quintessential 80s cool guy to be a great choice for Starlords Dad.

As the film goes on you realize that Ego, Starlords Dad isn’t exactly who he’s cracked up to be, in fact he’s kind of a dick. Not to mention he never has a very good reason for why he wasn’t around and isn’t exactly transparent about why he’s interested in his long lost son all of a sudden. As this plays out, you’re led to see the juxtaposition between Ego, and the man who abducted and raised Peter, Yondu.

Despite Yondu’s tough exterior and his penchant for threatening extreme violence to Peter, Yondu’s actions clearly convey he has a soft spot for him. A characteristic that causes him a great deal of trouble throughout the film. When Peter and the rest of the Guardians get into a dangerous predicament, it’s Yondu that risks everything to go and save Peter. As the film goes on you see that Yondu not only cared deeply for Peter, but abducted him to protect him from his dangerous and deceptive Father. If this blatant, in your face attack to my current daddy issue wasn’t enough, the emotional finality to this storyline was heart wrenching.

I realized years ago that I was grateful for my Step-Father. Despite our differences and all the knock down, drag out fights, he was good for me. We have had good times too, great times actually. Not only did he protect me, but he toughened me up. He taught me resolve and resilience, two characteristics that have served me well as of late. My Mother’s family gave me so much love, he gave me tough love. Thing is he never had to, I wasn’t his responsibility, but he treated me like I was. Still to this day he gets up at 0′ dark 30 to do a job he probably hates. He did it before because he was taking care of me and my bro and sis. He doesn’t have to do that job anymore but it his responsibility. He was there when I got hurt, when I did dumb shit, when I did cool shit, my wedding….everything. He will be my kids Grandpa. Not some random dude who knew my Mom in the 80s. I may have learned a while ago that my Dad (not Step-Dad) is awesome, but I did learn at GOTGvol2 that I need to be better about appreciating what I’ve been blessed with instead of wondering what if..

The Yondu theme of Guardians vol. 2 hit so close to home that it would be absolutely impossible for me to give this movie an honest score. I will say that this Vol. 2 is as much fun as the original, so if you enjoyed that film, you’ll be in for a treat.

If you’re Step-Dad was awesome, let him know sometime, he will really appreciate it. Even if he did teach you to catch by using one of the best high school QB arms in the state of West Virginia to hurl footballs at your face.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer and Celebration Panel

Finally!! After months of wild rumors and endless speculations we now have our first look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

img_3423Courtesy IMDb: Having taken her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.

 

 

An amazing new poster as well. Just the cherry on top for what was an exciting and revealing panel for The Last Jedi at Star Wars Celebration 2017. Not only did Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Mark Hamill arrive to give us insight into their roles in the sequel to The Force Awakens but we were also introduced to a new character, Rose a maintenance technician from the Resistance played by Kelly Marie Tran. Let’s get down to business with the trailer.

 

 

Panel Revelations

Most of the major revelations from today, regarding The Last Jedi, came from outside of the Celebration panel. For instance the plurality of the title The Last Jedi and weather or not Rey’s parentage will be revealed in the film. In fact, after the panel and the eventual  teaser I have even more questions than I did before (which personally I’m fine with.) The biggest new questions comes from the last line of the Mark Hamill narrated trailer when Luke says..

“I only know one truth, it’s time for the Jedi to end.”

As expected, with second installment of the franchise it’s traditionally dark in tone. There are no lines of dialogue with the exception of Luke’s narration and inexplicably missing is the reveal of new charcters played by Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro. Several other intersrting tidbits to be noted are the reveal of a new  salt planet called Crait and several new ships or redesigned models.

Set Photos

If you want to get all of the sights and sounds from The Last Jedi panel at Star Wars Celebration check it out here:

Power Rangers Movie Review

exclusive-final-power-rangers-poster-zordsCourtesy IMDb: High school outcasts stumble upon an old alien ship, where they acquire superpowers and are dubbed the Power Rangers. Learning that an old enemy of the previous generation has returned to exact vengeance, the group must harness their powers and use them to work together and save the world.

 

 

 

 

Viewed with your Nostalgia Goggles on and paired with an open mind, Power Rangers is cheesy, goofy, surprising, fun.

I was in the twilight of my childhood when the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers phenomenon took off but I was fortunately still immature enough to enjoy the show for a little while. Looking back, the show was so weird and campy that I’m surprised it even worked in the first place. Japanese stock footage was infused with horribly written plots and terrible American actors. Every show was the same, Rita Repulsa sends a monster to destroy the worlds most unfortunate town Angel Grove, the monster then grows to giant proportions and the Rangers are forced to fight as one with the Megazord against said monster. Between that is sandwiched some arbitrary side story, a fight scene with Rita Repulsa’s endless army of Puttys and the cheesiest of dialogue. Not to mention backflips, copious amounts of unesscarry back flips.

So for this new 2017 cinematic reboot I didn’t know what to expect. If they forced a complex and impactful narrative into Power Rangers it could come across as contrived and completely ruin the spirit of the source material. If they went all out with cheesy, mindless action than… well it would kinda suck. Despite the additions of Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks to the cast of unknowns playing the Rangers, I was still very skeptical. Actually I expected it to be horrible.

Boy was I wrong…

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The Characters:

The Power Rangers:  

This movie reminded me a little of a lesser quality version of The Force Awakens. There’s the sense that the creative minds behind this film are trying to both reboot something and create something brand new simultaneously. Much like in TFA, that is done by leaving the plot on the back burner and focusing more of the creative energy on the characters. Not to say these characters are in any way cinematic masterpieces but certainly more than adequate for this film and far superior than the characters from the show. The comparisons of the new Power Rangers to The Breakfast Club was noted after the first trailers. Troublesome teens from different walks of life belonging to separate cliques are thrown together in Saturday School .

Jason/Red Ranger

Dacre Montgomery plays Jason, who eventually becomes the Red Ranger. This is the jock of the group, with a capacity for greatness and a overbearing father with perhaps unrealistic expectations of his son. Despite his desire to ruin his promising Quarterback future and become the next Johnny Manziel, Jason shows flashes of great leadership qualities. While the most beloved character from this film may be a separate Ranger, Dacre to me gives the best performance of this film. While the other young actors in this film show promise, Dacre possesses the most immediate qualities of a star.

Billy/Blue Ranger

For most this was the standout character of the film and it’s understandable why, Billy is not only the comedic relief of this film but has the most memorable moments. The obligatory tech guy, Billy is, well, odd. Very eccentric. Sometimes his quirkiness and rambling gets a little tiresome, even annoying. But most of his jokes land and he’s overall very likable. One could argue he’s the heart of the film. His fathers death still weighs on him and even motivates him. Much of this serves as the catalyst that drives the plot forward.

Kimberly/Pink Ranger

One part Molly Ringwald, other part Mean Girl. This Pink Ranger is a much stronger character than Amy Jo Johnson’s  from the TV show. Still, this version of the Pink Ranger is given the most injustice by the plot. Her struggles aren’t clarified until late in the film. Also the manner in which she rebels against the troubles that lands her in Saturday school with the other teenagers with attitude is confusing. It seems the writers wanted to convey this character has an edge, but it comes across as forced at times. Nonetheless, this is a minor nitpick overall. Naomi Scott delivers a great performance which adds another layer of badassery to the ‘sweetheart’ Pink Ranger.

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Zack/Black Ranger

Much like Jason, Zack has a chip on his shoulder. He’s stubborn, pigheaded and brash. Obviously these characteristics clash with Jason, who is pinned as the leader early on. My main issue with Zack is that he’s the most forgettable character for much of the movie. However as the film progresses he plays a more integral role in the story. Like the other Rangers, his character is likable and by the end of the film you are excited to see what’s in store for him next. Hopefully in the eventual sequel his the Black Ranger gets more love. Ludi Lin who plays the character does a fantastic job and helps propel the Black Ranger from obscurity.

Trini/Yellow Ranger 

I saved the Black and Yellow Rangers for last, because that’s exactly what the film does. Halfway through, it kind of felt like the Red, Blue and Pink Rangers were main characters and the Black and Yellow Ranger were just there for continuity sake. However, the narratives of the Yellow and Black Rangers play out midway through the film and Trini turns out to be one of the strongest characters. I’ll leave Trini’s story out of this review but Becky G. does a great job portraying this character. For reasons you’ll see in the film, Trini is very standoffish and even rude to the other Rangers, especially Kimberly. This gets frustrating at times but all is forgiven when Trini opens up to the group. There is a campfire scene towards the end of the film that ties these separate narratives together, and Trini is the best part of that scene.

 

Zordon and Alpha 5

You can count me amongst the group of Millenials obsessed with Brian Cranston. I of course fell in love with Cranston via his role as Walter White in Breaking Bad and the studio making Power Rangers was certainly aware that many of those millenials in the Cranston fan club probably grew up with the Power Rangers as well. Furthermore, hardcore Power Rangers fans probably know that Cranston actually voiced a few villains in the original show. All things considered, it was an obvious choice to cast Cranston as Zordon. Granted, Cranstons talents are a little wasted as a floating, digitized, talking head. However the depth of the character Zordon and his dynamic with the Power Rangers was significantly better than what I remember from the original TV show. In fact their are some big reveals regarding the origin of Zordons character.

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Zordons robotic sidekick Alpha 5 was perhaps the most annoying element of the original show and that’s saying something. This Alpha 5 was voiced by Bill Heder in this version and has a dramatically retooled look. In this film Alpha 5 was a standout, he’s no BB-8 but he certainly stands head and shoulders above his 90’s counterpart.

 

Rita Repulsa

Elizabeth Banks’s role of Rita Repulsa, the central antagonist of this film, has been perhaps the most polarizing. Some say the overwhelming cheesiness of her character which is conjured from the original Rita in the 90’s show, is out of place in this film. I personally disagree, in fact I thought it was one of the films strong suits. Her appearance and dialogue are over the top, sometimes laced with innuendo that will fly over the younger  audiences head. She is a much more face to face antagonist in this movie which is quite different than her role from the TV show as a distant threat on the moon and this makes her quite honestly the best villain the Rangers have faced in any form of media yet. Like Zordon, elements are added to her backstory that not only gives the character more depth but more motive for her hate of the Rangers.

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The Story:

For every two adequate elements of story making in Power Rangers their is another element which makes you shake your head.
As I mentioned before the bulk of the creativity surrounding this film centers on the characters. The filmmakers spend a lot of time introducing us to the teenagers who will be donning the new Power Ranger suits. Mainly because its evident this film is meant to set up a franchise and viewers will be more likely to go back again and again to theaters if they care more about the characters. The most controversial way of doing this is by not letting us see the teens actually become Power Rangers until the end of the movie. The Story mostly centers around their journey of not only overcoming their personal challenges but becoming worthy enough to be the Rangers. You get just enough glimpse of Ranger action throughout to keep your butts in the seat, not to mention world building oohs and ahhhs keep the entertainment value high.

I’m fine with a delayed reveal of the Rangers and the Zords/ Megazord but what bothered me was the action. The fight scene against Rita’s Putty army was way to short and honestly quite lackluster. As expected, a giant monster, this time old show favorite Goldar attacks the Rangers home town of Angel Grove. That’s not a problem, but the action in the climactic scene is also very bland. The Rangers form their Megazord and engage with Goldar in a predictable, boring battle. However a few of the  moments in these scenes work well enough for the whole thing not to be a waste and make for a solid ending.

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My biggest issue with the movie was teased above, and that was how they handled the intros to the Black and Yellow Rangers. The other three Rangers are given well developed intros early in the film while we don’t get properly introduced to the other two Rangers until the second half. They do make up for this by giving both Black and Yellow Rangers quality narratives. However I still feel like they are the backup Rangers in a way. In fairness, that’s not too different than how the original TV show was as well. Overall I loved the characters and this is just a minor gripe.

The overall mythos and world building to the Power Rangers franchise is dramatically improved by this film and it gives filmmakers much more to work with as this franchise hopefully continues on.

Final Thoughts

I not only thought I would hate Power Rangers, I kinda wanted to. Instead I left the theater on a high note. I was very impressed with how they gave us a quality film based on campy, cheesy source material and still didn’t compromise the spirit of the original. Nostalgia and fun are both found in bulk throughout.

My final score is 7 out of 10

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Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

img_3276Courtesy IMDb: A diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers unite to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.


 

Cheap thrills, compounded by bad decisions, surrounded by people you’d rather forget, Kong: Skull Island is basically Spring Break at Myrtle Beach.


I certainly wasn’t expecting a masterpiece with Kong: Skull Island. The first entry in Warner Bros. new giant monster universe was Gareth Edwards Godzilla (2014) which was an uneven popcorn flick that found a way to be entertaining, despite an underwhelming story and forgettable characters. Although it did end on a very strong note I have to say. My expectations were slightly higher with Kong, hoping they’d improve on the mistakes that kept Godzilla from being a classic.

Instead director Jordan Vogt-Roberts  chose to accentuate the flaws from Godzilla and ensure that despite a great cast and much promise we would leave Skull Island feeling like we wasted our time. Big Monsters, big explosions, big disappointment 

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The Characters

Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly….

That’s a snippet of a pretty stellar and recognizable cast for Kong: Skull Island.  Unfortunately it doesn’t matter, because as you would expect from a movie centered around a giant ape the characters aren’t the focal point of the production. In fact, the only reason A-List actors are attached to this film is to sell tickets and certainly not to add anything to overall quality of this movie. The talents of this cast are wasted on pointless, uninteresting, underdeveloped characters that aren’t very likable in the first place. In fact, without looking at IMDb I can’t even remember the names of any of the characters. To be fair, this problem might not have been so glaring if they had hired mostly unknowns for these roles and while I didn’t find any of the back stories interesting they at least tried to throw something together. Not only are most of them Monkey fodder but I really wanted most of them to die. The banter between Cole and Mills, the supposed comic relief of this band of nitwits, have an ongoing dialogue throughout this film designed to add levity, but the inconsistency in which most of their unfunny jokes land had me hoping one of them would be the first victim of Skull Island. I won’t spoil their fate but I can tell you it wasn’t decided early enough in the film.

John C. Reilly’s character Hank Marlow is a WW2 fighter pilot who’s been stranded on Skull Island for decades. Although annoying at times, Hank manages to be the most interesting character of this film despite the fact his entire purpose is to serve as an English speaking Maguffin to  further the flimsy plot and help the viewers understand the hierarchy of Skull Island

King Kong is the star of this show however, and while the heart and emotion presented in Peter Jacksons King Kong is missing in Skull Island, this big ass monkey is more than adequate for this film. Much bigger and visually intimidating than the Kongs from previous installments he certainly makes for a big screen spectacle and a worthy eventual adversary for Godzilla. The fight scenes in this film are on par with what you would expect and fairly entertaining overall.

The Story

The story isn’t horrible. In fact the first ten minutes of the movie had me mildly interested. Not only do the writers concoct a valid reason and motivation for visiting Skull Island but the lore they create around the island itself as an unreachable frontier surrounded by a perpetual storm is pretty cool.

As you see in the trailers there is an epic throw down between Kong and some helicopters. You see him hurling trees like missiles at the annoying war machines. This part of the film is one of the strongest and is classic B Movie monster action with modern effects. However, from that point on the movie turns into a survival flick which usually I’m game for. This time it doesn’t work. Imagine a less interesting version of the Predator except all the characters are so pointless you pull for monster.

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Final Thoughts

Look, I know this movie was created as a fun, dumb big screen spectacle and not a character driven masterpiece. However by hiring an amazing cast I was under the impression that some story and emotion would be infused into the movie. When I realized early on that wasn’t the case I let go of that idea and willingly went along with watching a fun action flick. Unfortunately it wasn’t fun for me either. Maybe I’m salty for some reason but Kong: Skull Island fell flat for me. There are a few moments cool enough for me to recommend watching it at least once but don’t commit much to this film. Watch it without spending as much of your money as possible.

I give Kong: Skull Island a 5 out of 10

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LOGAN: Movie Review 

Logan PosterCourtesy IMDb: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

A whirling dervish of violence set as a grounded neo-western, with a splash of Mad Max dystopia. No two ways about it, I absolutely loved Logan. 

This is the third standalone Wolverine film from the X-Men franchise and most certainly the best. The first film,  X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so poorly received that it has not only contributed to the word “origins” being somewhat of a dirty word in the comic book film industry but presumably ended a potential slew of X-Men origin films. Not to mention with its horrible portrayal almost did something nobody else could do, kill Deadpool. Thankfully that didn’t come to pass. The second film simply titled The Wolverine, was significantly better than Origins but this Samurai spin on Wolverine was an adequate but somewhat forgettable movie with a pretty cool fight scene on a bullet train being one of the few standouts.

Logan not only offers a potential finality to the Wolverine story but also Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine, that spans the course of 17 years and seven films, not including cameos. Regardless of the quality of each film Wolverine has been in, its fair to say Jackman’s work as Wolverine has been a bright spot in each and is now an iconic cinematic staple.

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The Characters:

Logan/Wolverine: It’s the year 2029 and Logan is more griseled and tormented than ever. An alcoholic, limo driver who is living off the grid,  taking care of his last friends and longing for sweet death. Jackman’s portrayal as Old Man Logan allows him to use his full range of talents as an actor and allows us to find some humanity in a character who’s invincibility usually prevents us for feeling sympathy, despite the fact that his extended mortality causes him so much pain. This is my favorite version of Wolverine yet with a close second being the 70’s machismo version in Days of Future Past.

X-23: Pint sized violence. This kid Dafne Keen is pure carnage at times and others vulnerable and nurturing. The action scenes she’s in are absolutely incredible and she poses a formidable threat to almost any villain. I’ll let the film explain the extent of her relationship with Logan.

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Professor X: Both frail and powerful, the decomposition of Charles Xavier’s mind is as dangerous as the meltdown of a nuclear reactor. As expected Patrick Stewart delivers an incredible performance in what is his final portrayal of Professor X.

Pierce: The Fox wing of Marvel Studios has been less plagued with the boring villain bug, but only slightly. Boyd Holbrook as you may recognize from the hit Netflix series Narcos plays a character from the comics named Pierce. While the impact of this character is usurped by villains who are later introduced, this Cyborg offers a worthy adversary to Logan. Perhaps not in the way of combat but his resourceful villainy and tenaciousness allows him to stay on the heels of Wolverine throughout the film.

Caliban- Portrayed by Stephen Merchant, this popular X-Men character’s gift is his ability to track other mutants. Sometimes mistakenly believed to be clairvoyant. His character has not only an interesting story but allows for a humorous back and forth with Logan.

Other characters are introduced throughout the film and most of them are very interesting. Without going into spoilers I’ll let you be introduced to them by the film itself.

The Story:

While there are downtimes in this film I was mostly entertained throughout. One thing I can say for certain is that Logan is traggic from beginning to end and absolutely no life is sacred. A theme that plagues Logan throughout his life is that death comes swiftly to those he loves and that theme looms large over this story. There are certain plot points that are alluded to throughout the film that I was waiting for clarification, such as the specifics of Logans inability to do the things he once did so easily and his mysterious sickness. Also, the tragedy that has secluded Charles Xavier to exile is mentioned but never fully explained. Although this tragedy’s ramifications are implicit. The surprise introduction to one particular character was a little off putting but will be less confusing in future viewings although I’m still not sure how I feel about this villain.

Final Thoughts:

Logan is perhaps the greatest film in the X-Men franchise and any rabbid or casual fan of the Wolverine will certainly appreciate this movie. It’s bittersweet in its ending being that it serves a perfect sendoff to Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of this character but more than ever you don’t want it to end. For me personally this film replaces Captain America: Civil War on my Mount Rushmore of comic book movies alongside The Dark Knight, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  

I give Logan an 8.4 out of 10

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New Trailer For LOGAN

LOGAN is said to be Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as iconic X-Men character Wolverine, and based on this final trailer it seems Jackman is poised to shine in this R-rated standalone. Patrick Stewart also stars in his final appearance as Professor X and Daphne Keen debuts as the long anticipated X23.

 

 

The first trailer for Logan sets up a dramatic, emotional  neo-Western character piece with smatterings of hard violence, accompanied perfectly by Johnny Cash’s goodbye opus Hurt.

The second and final trailer keeps several of the same elements but increases the action. We get a violent first look at X23, a character who’s “very much like” Logan according to Professor X and seemingly Logan’s daughter (or clone daughter if you follow the comic line.) The X23 arc is very popular among comic fans and it’s a story many have eagerly anticipated seeing on the big screen. We also get a better look at the villains, Boyd Holbrook portrays Donald Pierce. A Cyborg who along with his posse called The Reavers form a Cyborg opposisition to the X-Men.

Logan seems content and comfortable being a Hard R rated film, and after the success of it’s R-rated comic book predecessor Deadpool made almost $800 Millions at the box office you can expect many more overly graphic violence and gratuitous comedy fro comic films in the future in an attempt to offer us some variety in a world dominated by PG-13 superhero films (not that we don’t love those too! )

Logan is due out in theaters on March 3rd, 2017

VIA VHS Podcast Episode 15: Monster Trucks and Farm Animals 

Episode 15: Wesley, Derek, Alex and Beebz discuss the Golden Globes, new movie releases for the second week of January 2017 and news stories from the world of cinema. Also, hear about how Wesley was arrested, Alex’s strange farm animal story, Derek’s thoughts on Peter Dinklage as Pip the Troll and Beebz’s Dave Chappelle impression gets us rollin’. 


Our voices crack with excitement, our hearts palpatate with anticipation, our loins cry out with longing for the most anticipated film of 2017….

MONSTER TRUCKS!!!

Ok that’s not true. Actually it’s January (a.k.a Dump Month) the  perennial dumping ground where studios discard their bottom of the barrel mishaps on the general public and hope they don’t lose too much money and/or respect. Monster Trucks is one of the more high profile movie blunders in recent memory with Paramount Pictures announcing their expectations of huge losses at the box office months before the film’s release.

That being said, this coming week at the Box Office isn’t that horrible for the second week in January. Even including Monster Trucks and another cringe-worthy entry The Bye Bye Man, we still managed to squeeze out a few interesting films.

SILENCE- (wide release)- Martin Scorsese’s passion project finally finds its way to a nationwide release.

 

SLEEPLESS-  Jamie Foxx’s new action film based off a French thriller called Sleepless Nights


LIVE BY NIGHT- Ben Affleck wrote, produced and stars in this new period piece. Can it live up to previous outings like The Town and Argo?

 

MONSTER TRUCKS- Written by a four year old and produced by your drunk uncle. Monster Trucks is, well just watch.

 

PATRIOTS DAY- Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg impressed and entertained with both Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon. Now the two team up again to shed light on another recent tragedy. Will they be able to show us humanity in the midst of horrible events in Patriots Day? A movie about events surrounding the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

 

Bye Bye Man- Directed by an Emo who dropped out of online film school, Bye Bye Man will make you want to hate everything.

The Golden Globes


If you listen to our podcast on a regular basis then you know that we aren’t the type of fellas to sit back with a Moscato in our period sweatpants and watch awards shows. However, we do love Movies and TV, so there definitely was some things for us to take interest in. Wesley’s Anglophile addiction The Crown won for Best TV Series and Best Actress in a TV Series (Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth). We were all pleased to see the future Lando Calrissian himself, Donald Glover win Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for his show Atlanta which also won in the category of Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Other notables for us were nominations by Deadpool and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. Lastly, it’s impossible to ignore the dominance of La La Land which won seven awards! A new record by the way and I’m not ashamed to tell you I’m excited to see it. 

Movie News:

Woody Harrelson officially agreed to a role in the upcoming Han Solo Moviehttps://www.google.com/amp/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/38594248?client=safari

Peter Dinklage in talks for Avengers: Infinity War. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.yahoo.com/amphtml/movies/avengers-infinity-war-the-marvel-favorite-peter-dinklage-could-play-200928003.html?client=safari

Both Will Smith and Tom Hanks eyed for roles in Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo? https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timeinc.net/nme/news/film/will-smith-tom-hanks-wanted-dumbo-reboot-1943788%3Fsource%3Ddam?client=safari

Disney addresses rumors of CGI renderings of General Leia in future Star Wars films in wake of her death. https://www.google.com/amp/collider.com/carrie-fisher-cgi-leia-episode-9/amp/?client=safari

David Goyer and Justin Rhodes penning Green Lantern Corps. https://www.google.com/amp/www.polygon.com/platform/amp/2017/1/12/14255050/green-lantern-corps-movie-goyer?client=safari

The Skwad 


As you can see our boy Plank makes his long awaited return to the podcast but it’s stories of Wesley’s arrest and Alex’s college farm animal fiasco that gets people talking. Beebz surprised us all with a spot on Dave Chappelle impression and his idea of an all-black Avengers leads Wesley into creating the character Captain Algeria. As always, Derek keeps us on track and corrects course with a smooth transition into his idea of Peter Dinklage’s role in Infinity War. All in all one of our best episodes of the VIA VHS podcast to date so we hope you enjoy.
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Han Solo film moving to December 2018?

The first six Star Wars films were all released in the month of May, an unofficial tradition that eventually led to May 4th being named Star Wars day, an unofficial holiday. Of course saying May the Fourth be with you is also very ‘punny’ which may have something to do with it. 

Either way, as of late it’s December that’s been the month of choice for the Star Wars franchise. Disney moved the release of The Force Awakens back over six months from May to the week before Christmas of 2015, to give director JJ Abrams more time to complete the film. Being released the week before Christmas was a strategy James Cameron used to propel both Titanic and Avatar to the two highest grossing films of all time! The Force Awakens was just as fortunate, usurping both James Cameron juggernauts domestically and falling short of just Avatar in Box Office gross globally. 


In 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which is still in theaters, has become a huge holiday hit as well grossing almost $780 million worldwide on its way to becoming a sure fire member of the Billion Dollar Box Office Club! A huge success for Disney considering the gamble they took in making the first Star Wars ‘spin-off’ and not relying on the story of the episodic saga. The yet to be official titled Episode VIII was also moved to the holiday season of 2017 based on the success of The Force Awakens as a new holiday Star Wars tradition is now born. Let’s face it, Star Wars makes sense in December the merchandising gluttony goes hand in hand with the Holidays and there is no better franchise to serve as a end of year grand finale than Star Wars. 


Now it seems that the Han Solo standalone film starring Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover and Emilia Clark, originally slated for May 2018, has also been pushed back to the holidays as well. Initially to be released after Episode VIII in the quickest turnaround of theatrical releases in the history of the Star Wars franchise (just five months). Making Star Wars, a very reputable Star Wars news website has reported that sources within Lucasfilm have told them the Han Solo film is being pushed back to December 13, 2018. Is this solely a business decision or is this a strategy to give directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the LEGO movie) more time to make a quality film? Also, based on the much publicized reshooting for Rogue One, delaying the film by a several months could give the directors more time to fix any issues to the Han Solo movie if needed. 


It should be noted that rumors of Episode VIII being pushed back up to May of 2017 have been mentioned but it’s doubtful that Disney would make such a drastic change to their schedule only months in advance. As it now seems however, Disney is content with making Star Wars an annual holiday family tradition. 

So are we getting ‘The Batman’ movie or no?

All the way back in April of 2016 Warner Bros. seemingly confirmed a solo Batman movie (later titled ‘The Batman‘) would be released as part of the future DC Extended Universe slate and additionally, it would be written and directed by none other than the current Batman himself, Ben Affleck. 

In August, a cryptic tweet released by Affleck unveiled footage of an armor clad villain waking menacingly towards the camera.  DC fanboys recognized this character immediately as the famous comic book villain ‘Deathstroke’ and as it was later confirmed, not only would Deathstroke be portrayed by Joe Manganiello but he would also be the main antagonist in the upcoming solo Batman film.


Seemingly all systems were go with this solo Batman project and presumably it would be filmed after the release of DC’s 2017 tent pole projects Wonder Woman (June 2nd) and Justice League (November 17th). However in a recent interview with The Guardian promoting his next film Live By Night, Ben Affleck gave us quite a different impression. When asked about the his upcoming solo Batman film in regards to writing, directing and starring Ben said:

“That’s the idea”

“But it’s not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it.”

Let’s not over speculate here, it’s possible we all jumped the gun in assuming this project was a forgone conclusion. That said, it does seem like Batfleck is distancing himself from a project that Warner Bros. all but confirmed and fans were already very excited about. 


It’s possible that negative critical reactions to the previous DCEU releases of Man of Steel,  Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have caused Ben Affleck to rethink his involvement with the shared universe and that early screenings of Wonder Woman and Justice League could not raise the bar like many people are hoping. Many speculate that Warner Bros. executives have too much involvement in the creative process and have negatively impacted the films, so it may be possible that creative differences have arisen between Ben Affleck’s and the studios vision.  Not to mention his partnership with DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns could also be tumultuous.

It’s hard to imagine that DC wouldn’t do all that they could to keep Ben Affleck as Batman. Especially considering his casting and portrayal as Batman was arguably the strongest aspect of Batman v Superman, which was otherwise a very substandard film. Ben has been a strong DC brand ambassador throughout so here’s to hoping they can correct course on any potential missteps going forward. 

The Mummy: Trailer Review

Mummy Impossible! TRAILER FOR THE MUMMY

It wasn’t just the presence of Tom Cruise or a mildly recognizable bombshell by his side that put me in the mind of the Mission Impossible franchise. It was also seeing Tom Cruise accompanied by said bombshell while tumbling through a burning plane careening towards disaster, bouncing off the seats of a overturned double-decker bus, running through a building collapsing behind them all while sandwiched between shots of the obligatory explosions, military helicopters and automatic weapons. 

Not that any of this is a bad thing. In fact I’m a huge fan of 3 out of 5 of the Mission Impossible films (1 and 2 are just meh).

Of course this isn’t Mission Impossible 6, it’s The Mummy. The first entry in Universal’s new shared universe centered around Gods and Monsters. Technically The Mummy is a reboot to the movie of the same name from 1999 starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, which spawned a franchise of its own. This new Mummy film seems to be a reboot in name only, starring new actors with a new story and even a new setting, being set in present day as opposed to the mid 1920’s.   Of course the 1999 Mummy movies were a loose remake of Boris Karloff’s Mummy films of the 30’s so it’s a vicious cycle.

The main antagonist is to be played by Sofia Boutella, who was a standout from  earlier this in Star Trek: Beyond as a new character named Jaylah. She dawns a similar look in parts of The Mummy trailer as she did in Beyond, covered in white paint basically. There’s a whitewashing joke here somewhere but I can’t find it. In addition Academy Award winner Russell Crowe has joined the cast portraying none other than Dr.Jekyll himself. It will be interesting to see if Dr.Jekyll will get his own film down the road or if he’s just the Nick Fury of this universe?

Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet

Russell Crowe as Doctor Jekyll

 

Overall I’m cautiously optimistic for this film primarily because I want to see it succeed. I enjoy the shared universe cinematic experience and I hope that other studios other than Disney can pull it off. It will b interesting to see if this universe is relegated only to the big screen or if it will expand to other mediums 


We will cover this trailer along with new trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: The Last Knight and potentially a few others in Episode X 0f the VIA VHS Podcast.  You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @viavhs.