Fate of the Furious-Fast & Furious Meets Human disconnect

 

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Image Courtesy of Celebzee.com From Left Charlize Theron as “Cipher and Right Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Torretto In “The Fate of the Furious”.

If XXX The Return of Xander Cage is a mind-blowingly stupid film then, Fate of the Furious is a far more enduring film. The problem here may be, the lack of a real human connection. As the film hangs on one and without it entirely comes apart. For those having paid careful attention to the events in the franchises last three films will not surprised by the twist that the audience is given in the film’s first act, but it’s the sole reason Dom (Vin Diesel) has gone “Rogue” as the trailer suggests. It’s also the Reason Cipher, Charlize Theron appearing blonde and braided down to the bum, has complete control over him in the octennial entry to the “Furious franchise”.

Assembling the team seems to take no effort today as it shouldn’t, which traditionally in the past was an excuse visit an exotic locale or to set up an impromptu race. Fate seems to spend no time on this clocking in at 2hrs and 16 minutes with bumper-to-bumper action and explosions, which must get tiring for the director. As the franchise has made this position quite a revolving door having been ignited by Rob Cohen and Fate employing Italian Job director F. Gary Gray. However, Director of photography Stephen F. Windon having recently lensed Star Trek Beyond has been with the franchise since Tokyo Drift, nonetheless having mastered the Furious look.

Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) loves his time off from work and as direct result of it has become his daughter’s enthusiastic soccer coach. That is until works knocks on the door in the form of DS Allan (Patrick St Espirit), because an EMP device has been stolen. Which brings the team together in Berlin to retrieve it from an un-mentioned evil-doer. Knowing little about Dom and Cipher’s plans for it.

This finds Hobbs locked up and without options until Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and his replacement in training Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) show up offering a hand. What Hobbs doesn’t expect however, is that he’ll be accompanied by Dekard Shaw (Jason Statham). Creating an unexpected duo that is polar opposite to events seen in Furious 7.

The loss of Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor is felt here and it can’t seem to be helped either as mention is made of the happy life he created for himself in the last installment. Reactions are heartfelt, but a promise was made at some point to leave him out of it. Possibly for the better, as Vin Diesel and universal have plans for two additional installments within the franchise.

Fate of the Furious is an altogether entertaining film with an over the top opening sequence, that has if noting else become a staple, in a starting-to-fade franchise. If Vin Diesel could stir this franchise to a more philosophical standpoint, something memorable may be created from it. However, the film has one scary sequence in which Cipher takes over auto-piloted vehicles to go after a desirable target of hers. Notwithstanding, things continue onward without a moment’s hesitation, but then again so has the franchise.

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Collide- An American Fantasy on the German Autobahn

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Nicholas Hoult as Casey stein and Felicity Jones as Juliette Marne in “Collide” Image courtesy of Comingsoon.net

“Is that a Line?” Juliette Marne proclaims with a hint of laughter as she shrugs off Casey Stein’s pass at her about the possibility of two americans attending the same Rave in Cologne, Germany. A conversation starter nonetheless, but it’s only bears enough fruit to push the mechanics of the plot along for any unsuspecting attendees. Thus, the irony is that both Leads Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones respecitvley, hail from England as do their co-stars Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins. A true American as the film is produced and sold for couldn’t be further away from the film’s plot or exotic locations. However, such an ideal couldn’t have been dreampt up in any other capacity than by up and coming American Writer F. Scott Frazier. Whose Recent credits include the lackluster XXX: Return of Xander Cage and the semi-thought provoking john Cusack Starrer The Numbers Station. Collide is a far more enduring outing than Frazier’s aformentioned work, but it is also due in part to Welcome To the Punch Director Eran Creevy.

Once Niecties are exhechanged Casey (Nicholas Hoult) and Juliette (Felicity Jones) are shown happily in love through an invasive lip-locking montage ending in naked drunkness and ultimatgely a hospital trip, as juliette collaspes. Prompting, a kidney transplant that neither can afford nor will local healthcare providers assist with. Which finds Casey returning to his former employer aberrant mobster boss Geran (Ben Kingsley), whom also seems to be having a hard time with his own superior Hagen (Anthony Hopkins). As to be expected things don’t bode well for Casey which leads him on a chase across the German countryside from Hagen’s thugs and time is of essence as he’ll either return to the love of his life or get killed in the proccess.

Felicity Jones whom appears with shoulder length blonde locks, has appeared in massive tentpole one right-after-the-other. Most Notably as Rebel Leader Jyn Erso in LucasFilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but also in  A Monster Calls and the film adapation of Dan Brown’s Inferno. All of which saw Jones provide strong supporting characters that you wish you knew more about. Collide sees Jones take a backseat for the bumpy ride and its a fair one as the Birmingham Britt has had a busy year.

Nicholas Hoult is far from leading man material, but his determination as the down and out Stein is an all out scene stealer as he wrecks vehicle-after-vehicle on the German Autobahn, the film’s original title, as he races through Germany’s highway system. This also happens to be where Eran Creevy and Cinematographer Ed Wild let their cameras loose as Oners and extensive sequences unfold edit-after-edit.

Collide is whithout doubt a holdover film, but once over its minor speedbumps is worth the watch as the film is equal parts thriller and roadrace extravagansa. Veteran actor Ben Kingsley appears to have had fun as exuberant mobster Geran and that hasn’t been truly appeciated in the right light as his Trevor Slattery in Marvel’s Iron Man 3 could be seen as a distant relative. A better title, despite many collisions within the film’s action Sequences, would’ve done the film better as it’s closer to Romeo and Juliet (1966) with a touch of Smokey and The Bandit (1977). 

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story-A companion Piece that surpasses yesteryears episodic fanfare

 

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Image Credit: Comicbookmovie.com From left Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and right Alan Tudyk as K2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Despite no verbal acknowledgement of events preceding George Lucas’s saga starter Star wars (1977), aptly subtitled Episode 4 A New Hope after the creation of the prequel trilogy, does one begin to ponder Rogue One’s inspiration. For those unfamiliar with the franchise’s famous crawl summating events prior to those taking place in the viewer’s choice of an episode. A New Hope’s crawl describes the Rebellion’s first major victory against the newly formed empire. That withstanding insurmountable odds a group of rebels pulled through and secured the plans to the Death Star, the Empires most fearsome weapon. Rogue One defiantly excels expectations and tells a more than satisfying story to a forgone conclusion.

Former Imperial scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelson) is summoned by newly minted Commander Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) to complete work on the Death Star. Leaving his young daughter Jyn on a farming planet she knows nothing about, an orphan. Rebellious Radical Saw Guerra (Forest Whitaker) friend of Galen finds the young girl and raises her as his own. Jumping ahead twenty-five years jyn (Felicity Jones) is thrust into a galactic civil war that she could care less about. Fighting alongside her is slippery Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Reprogrammed Imperial Droid K2SO (Alan Tudyk), the trusty Baze malbus (Wen Jiang), recently turned rebel pilot Bodhi Book (Riz Ahmed), and the force mumbling blind monk Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen). Jyn is the ragtag group of rebel’s not so obvious leader, as her father’s choices ultimately became her burden to bear as events have been forced upon her. Unlike Daisy Ridley’s Rey where the situation was more less rolled into her lap via stubborn Astro Droid BB-8. Jyn’s stance is her birthright, providing her the upper hand when it’s needed the most. Allowing Oscar nominee Felicity Jones to be the leader as her other roles were strong in support. This opportunity also paved the way for her to be the second consecutive empowered female in the ever-expanding Star Wars Cinematic universe.

Rogue One is the darkest Star Wars film to come around since The Empire Strikes Back (1980) closely followed by Revenge of The Sith (2005). Although children in droves will be seeing the film, its Jedi free atmosphere may leave them wishing they just stayed at home and watched A New Hope instead as this will play better for adults having viewed Star Wars when it revolutionized cinema back in the late 70’s.

Rogue One achieves many things, but for certain it’s a pure anthology film harkening back to decades old cannon in need of burying old plot holes. Gone are the days of fans constantly relying on the publication of a new book or video game that would further expand upon such a vast universe, when the Disney engine is now pumping out a new film for fans to chew on every December. Granted, this won’t stop the need for it, but will add a certain authenticity Star Wars has never had the benefit of. With that said, that anything written before The Force Awakens is not considered part of the expended universe.

Monsters (2010) Director Gareth Edwards delivers a film worthy of multiple viewings albeit his lackluster attempt at revamping Godzilla (2014) two years prior. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy saw to it that Edwards watch Twelve o” Clock High (1949), as the classic Academy Award winning film deals with the perils of war and the effects of steadfast leadership under pressure. The Gregory Peck starrer also incorporated real footage footage of soldiers in action combined with authentic flying shot to match it.

Rogue One is a winner in every way imaginable and its re-shoots proved to be nothing if nominal as every film undergoes re-shoots in the middle of post production no matter the size or scale. What Disney and Director Gareth Edwards have shown here is that if enough care is taken franchises can expand infinitely if enough latitude is present from past installments. Much like Cinderella (2015) Rogue One is stunning companion piece that far surpasses episodic fanfare of yesteryear while making a sturdy existence rooted right at the heart of it.

 

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Yoga Hosers- A Relaxing Sequel true to it’s podcast Origins

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From Left Harley Quinn-Smith and Lily Rose-Depp in Kevin Smith’s ” Yoga Hosers”

Kevin Smith’s “True North Trilogy” continues with Yoga Hosers, a subsequent monster adventure ridding the coattails of Tusk. That Finds “The Colleens” Harley Quinn-Smith and Lily Rose-Depp, stumbling upon dormant Canadian Nazis at work. Instead of going to that awesome senior party, an event both girls cherish second only to their cellular devices. A stigma that allows Director Smith to provide a hilarious social commentary on the overuse of social media, while creating homage to Clerks and creating an environment based on shenanigans from his massive podcast empire.

Working Manitoba’s Eh-2-Zed is tough beat for Both Colleen Collette (Lily Rose-Depp) and Colleen Mackenzie (Harley Quinn-Smith). So to relieve stress the girls temporarily close the store and perform tracks “I’m the man” and “O’ Canada” with heavily tattooed Ichabod (Adam Brody) in their off the books band. Only to re-open the Zed’s doors to unsatisfied customers followed by an offering of a satirical bushel of “Sorry aboot that” for the anxiously waiting customers. The following day at school where the girls get a lashing from gym teacher Mrs. Wicklund (Genesis Rodriguez) for going on selfy craze and potentially disrespecting their fellow classmates. The girls are then visited by Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp), questioning the disappearance of a man whose only crime was purchasing toilet paper (Harley Morenstein). Lapointe ultimately leads the girls on an adventure that neither wanted nor expected, to the bowels of Manitoba. That is of course after Colleen C’s dad (Tony Hale) and insufferable store Manager girlfriend Tabitha (Natasha Lyonne) head to Niagara Falls leaving the store for the girls to deal with.

However, as this is a monster film entwined around lighthearted comedy taking place in a convenient store nonetheless, its not all that shocking that the food comes to life via Bratzi (Kevin Smith). As convenient store food is sometimes the stuff that procures nightmares and in this case the direct inspiration for comedic material. As the girls fight against sauerkraut filled sausages that like to kill their victims first anally penetrating and then protruding though the victim’s mouth squealing “wundabar!” Granted, its not until the girls have honors history with Mrs. Maurice (Vanessa Paradis) that the first sign of any of this is going to take place as we’re given a brief overview of the connection between Adrien Arcand (Haley Joel Osment) and Andronicus Arcane (Ralph Garman).

Drawing inspiration from Tusk and subsequent smodcast episodes, Smith seems to have found himself as a filmmaker yet again. As Yoga Hosers finds clever ways to nod and in some cases outright make fun of recent comic book films while paying humorous homage throughout to his internet radio empire.

As the summer was chock full of sequels and prequels once more, Kevin Smith provides a fun filled adventure littered with millennial spontaneity that other filmmakers struggle to pull off in a convincing manner. Despite, Smith selling the film as child fanfare, Yoga Hosers would’ve thrived marketed to ages thirteen-to-thirty.

Those who attended the film’s roadshow premiere were treated to anecdotes from the cast and crew, but of note is when Smith mentioned that he even let Johnny Depp direct his own daughter in scenes, to the film’s benefit.

 

 

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Suicide Squad- A renter even if A Director’s Cut finds it’s way onto the Market.

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Image Credit: ScreenRant.com From Left Will Smith as ” DeadShot and Right Margot Robbie as “Harley Quinn” In DC’s “Suicide Squad”.

“The Problem with Meta-humans is the human” Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) curtly pitches to a board of generals in response to the events of Batman V Superman. Thus, Waller is given the means to procure a crack team of baddies, should a need arise to deal with the next meta-human threat if and when it occurs. The Enigma of it all, its Waller’s dilemma to begin with as the “Enchantress” (Cara Delevingne) escapes custody and threatens all of mankind via the mystical portal above the city as seen in every sci-fi-ish tentpole to canvass the silver and small screen since Star Trek The Original Series. A common theme of late as it can be seen in Fantastic four (2015) and Both variations of Ghostbusters. As encroaching evil intimidates mankind, making Suicide Squad a dead-on-arrival attempt at creating a mismatched group of anti-heroes dissimilar to The Avengers forced into “saving the day”.

If anything is to be matriculated from the last DCEU outing its that Batman (Ben Affleck) who cameos here, can put up one hell of a fight and it’s not so far from the realm of possibilities that he alone could’ve dealt with this crisis. Alternately, those congregating to theatres will be given a choppy introduction of the nine different characters appearing in the film as Waller briefly glosses over dossiers while eating a steak dinner with her superior Dexter Tolliver (David Harbour).

As if this isn’t beguiling enough events appear to be happening simultaneously, while formalities are being exchanged among players such as Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Deadshot (Will Smith) meanwhile, Enchantress has half leveled the fictional city of Midway. Which in some cases is a necessary evil, here it feels like its holding back the film’s painfully obvious conclusion. Which suggests heavy studio involvement in the editing process as re-shoots on key scenes took place in response to Marvel’s Deadpool. Despite, the fact the film had a more than competent editor in John Gilroy whose credits include Miracle, NightCrawler and Michael Clayton.

Taking inspiration and creating a similar environment seen in Adam Glass’s New 52 Run, which was eventually taken over by Matt Kindt, some relationships are in fact given credence. Elements from the Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Joker (Jared Leto) affair is shot-for-shot from the comics, but once they’re given a mob like apprenticeship is when events take on a lethargic life of its own. Other task force-x members like Deadshot (Will Smith) and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) are given faithful flaws as well, they’re just not front and center in that verdant limelight.

Suicide Squad features a great soundtrack however, as the film is not even five minutes in you’ve already burned through classics like Rick James “Super freak”, The Rolling Stones “Sympathy For the Devil”, and ACDC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt cheap”.

An idea that has been used before to great effect simply because, excellent imagery will sustain onscreen and if excellent music is added it will support the image permitting an extended use of it, before a cut is necessary. However, this is not the case as the film cuts around trying to fill in expository information building to its eventual assembly of misfits.

Suicide Squad is far from the hit Warner Bros and Writer/Director David Ayer were hoping it would be. As the film fails to even ask the question of what consequences could be the end result of putting a rag-tag team of super criminals together be, like its predecessor Batman V Superman spent so much time contemplating. David Ayer whose strengths lie in telling gritty-yet moving crime dramas such as Street Kings and Training Day might be better off returning to those landscapes and leaving the Joker locked away at Arkham.

The highlight of the film here is Clearly Margot Robbie’s Killer performance as Harley Quinn. Which only seems to be weighed down by Joker’s (Jared Leto) appearance. Which of all things is odd as her origin is completely defunct without it. Otherwise, Robbie delivers her Bronx swagger superbly and even stops men from working while dressing for her venture into the world.

Will Smith’s Deadshot is okay, but believable enough to be the leader as he often is in similar roles, a favorite of Amanda Waller’s nonetheless as she continually comes to him in the film with specific requests. Viola Davis strands strong in the film as well, but it’s hard to like a character when her mistake pushes the formation of such a group in the first place.

Cara Delevingne’s June Moon whom becomes the embodiment of “Enchantress” is no doubt the weakest villain to gloss the DC screen in quite some time, but this isn’t due to a sour performance either; but overall poor development in general. As character isn’t given enough screen time to accurately gauge a performance, let alone justify the series of events leading up the eagerness to destroy Midway city, playing out in a miniscule flashback.la-times-suicide-squad

Suicide Squad may have attempted to fix problems brought on by previous DCEU films, but despite good trailers for the film, it made the problem far worse. Frankly speaking Superman isn’t dead and the idea of doing a live version of the death and lives story arc is about thirty years to late. Those familiar with Jon Scnepp’s The Death Of Superman Lives will know that this universe could’ve come to head much sooner, despite the effort of trying to create a moderately connected universe outside of TV Land; when the competition is clearly doing a far better job at it. Suicide Squad is a renter, even if a director’s cut finds its way onto the market.

 

 

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Jason Bourne- A Tired Forgone Conclusion.

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Image Credit SlashFilm.com From Left Matt Damon as the tile Character and Right Julia Stiles in “Jason Bourne”.

As if the forgone conclusion in Bourne Ultimatum (2007) wasn’t enough for Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, he’ll once again reemerge into the crazy world he seemed pretty content leaving behind. Discovering more personal history about events leading up to that fateful day he signed up for Treadstone- the super secret blacks ops experiment run by the CIA he wish would cease to exist

If the CIA were handy at creating its “weapons” the need for creating experimental “Programs” with exorbitant codenames would cease to be a problem for this franchise. However, “iron hand” is the controversial government funded initiative that has Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) hacking the servers at Langley once again to “expose” the atrocity to the very unforgiving world. Bringing, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) out of hiding and back onto most wanted lists. The conundrum for Parsons however, Bourne not only could care less, but would rather be bare-knuckle-brawling on the border between Albania and Tsamantas laying out the competition with one well landed punch after the other.

Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander gives another excellent performance here as Heather Lee a Protégé of CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones). Dewey is war-torn and hands off, but vikander’s Lee sticks to her gut, as she is quick with a mouse and keyboard. Making a name for herself as she tracks Damon’s Bourne across the globe. Opening in Tsamantas and featuring locations like Italy, Germany,

Spain, and Reykjavik ultimately ending in Las Vegas. The problem here isn’t the screen time the character is given, rather the lack of character and a real task to accomplish. The same can be said for Vincent Cassel’s asset as he is thrust into the action after Bourne despite, the fact that two share a past that was never given credence before the events of this film. Cassel’s Asset is quick and certainly gives Bourne a run for his money, but much like Edgar Ramirez “Paz” in “ultimatum” the character feels more like a placeholder than formidable threat.

Veteran Actor Tommy Lee Jones’s Robert Dewey is a believable pencil pusher with a strong perceptive “seen it all before” attitude that makes decisions on whim or rather what his staff lets him believe, as someone must be willing to make decisions. It’s easy to understand why this role is essential to the film, but it appears rather glossed over as the character ultimately winds up serving the personal agenda of Heather Lee.

Riz Ahmed is wasted here as Aaron Kalloor the programmer of “Deep Dream”, a social networking site for hackers. As he shows up at a conference to meet with Robert Dewey about Parson’s hack, only to relay a diatribe on “privacy” and subsequently following it up with how he wants to help “authorities” bring down those involved with the incident to the media when he’s just as responsible. Lets not forget that Christian Dassault (Vinzens Kiefer) suggested going public with the records to Nicky in the first place. Perceiving the CIA as unjust for its “experimental Programs” and given Parson’s troubled past with Bourne. The only pay off this scene has is its social commentary on that of wiki-leaks creator Julian Assange going public years ago with similar information.

Jason Bourne is a highly entertaining film, but the suspense that carried the last three films in the franchise appears to be absent as writer/Director Paul Greengrass and Co-writer/editor Christopher Rouse give the film just enough screenplay for events to play out in a two hour time frame. Let alone build to a climax where past misgivings are actually retained instead of leading Bourne to believe that he’s on the path to full to retention.

However, this is easily the best-looking Bourne film since “Identity” as scenes are given graceful geography before the action explodes allowing editor Christopher Rouse to cut in and around a scene with fine precision. While not interrupting the flow of exposition and what little character development there is, time and space.

Granted, the conclusion in this film is already a forgone conclusion, Bourne gets brought back into the action, gets the bad guy, and like the film before last puts the CIA in its place once more and continues living life in the shadows.  A character like Jason Bourne will never be able to stop running from the world he once knew.

Had Tony Gilroy been given a second chance his Aaron Cross would’ve been a better choice that allowed for further character exploitation and would’ve been much more interesting because frankly, we know Jason Bourne. It also would allow Jeremy Renner to pick up right where he left off with cross and could continue that excellent chemistry with Rachel Wiesz’s Dr. Marta Shearing and could come to a head with his own Experimental program “outcome”. Instead of playing with tried old characters we already know.

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Jessica Jones- A Series worth Further Investigation.

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Image Credit: HiddrenRemote.com From Left David Tennant as “KillGrave” and Right Krysten Ritter as the title character in “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”.

Continuing the street level superhero saga Marvel’s Jessica Jones Finds its niche somewhere between Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Robert Towne’s blissful Chinatown as Marvel gives us not one but, two heroes that will eventually join Daredevil and Iron Fist to form an Avengers like group known as the Defenders. A Separate entity, once the band has been put together. However, this will be one hell of a dysfunctional group protecting those ungifted in New York’s hell’s Kitchen and abroad. As Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) proves to be a volatile, yet not so amiable Private investigator standing up for those that can’t do it themselves, granted as long as it keeps the lights on in her dwelling dubbed Alias investigations.

Jessica Jones like her fellow cohort Veronica Mars lets us in on her thoughts via voiceover as she sleuths though New York “The city that never sleeps, but sleeps around” as she hunts down unfaithful spouses. And when the client is outraged with the result of her investigation she doesn’t argue, she throws him through the glass door of her apartment “then there’s the matter of your payment” she utters and closes the case quickly moving onto another; Deadbeats don’t pay the bills, infidelity does. Jerri Hogarth (Carrie Ann Moss) a partner with, Chao, and Benowitz. Supplies her with a slew of cases on a week-to-week basis despite, her having turned down a regular assignment offered to her because it had “Strings attached”.

Luke Cage (Mike Colter) whose endemic will launch in early September parlays as Jessica’s sidekick for a good majority of this thirteen-episode run. An indestructible beau whom not only becomes a martyr of Jessica’s sleuthing about, but also is directly linked to a tragedy in which Jessica was able to escape the perceptive anesthesia of her arch villain KilGrave (David Tennant). Conceiving this notion early on Jessica struggles to tell Cage the truth once she’s made discovery of KilgGrave “Cheating Death.

Finding Barbara (Deborah Hedwell) and Bob Shlottman (Ian Blackman) at Jessica’s threshold, as their daughter Hope (Erin Moriarty) disappears leaving promiscuous charges on her credit card as killGrave makes his triumphant resurgence; haunting Jessica along the way. Having fallen to a similar maltreatment herself some time before his abduction of hope.

Events escalate when Patricia “Trish” Walker (Rachael Taylor), Jessica’s adoptive sister, interviews Hogarth and Hope after her conviction via her own radio show “Trish Talk”. In which Walker questions the reality of “gifted” people and could such a man as KilGrave actually walk the earth and control minds? Ultimately leading to someone taking pictures of Jessica and giving details about her to KilGrave in “AKA 99 Friends”. Events like these litter the first season of Jessica Jones as she attempts to rid the world of kilgrave and her frightening past with him. However, there are flashbacks to events of the past with her eccentric “Jewel” costume in episodes like “AKA the sandwich saved me” or the arrival of her “powers” in AKA WWJD? Whilst making the argument that abnormal abilities can be the result of world changing affairs.

Melissa Rosenberg, whose credits include The Magnificent Seven, Birds Of Prey, and The O.C, has created one hell of a show here. Blending Voiceover with character interaction that doesn’t get to pretentious while still allowing for the slow build of character and plot. All-the-while building a good character that not only does the comics the civil service they deserve, but Rosenberg has created a character that that goes beyond that while still keeping to Jessica’s idealism that she’s willing to fight for a cause if its for the right reasons. However, Rosenberg’s dictation would be without merit on the page had she not cast Krysten Ritter, whom nails the character. Bringing a believable “Human” presence to the role that makes you believe her Jessica Jones is truly harboring a deadly past while living in an inebriated present.

Brian Michael Bendis writer of “Alias” the latest run of comics on Jessica Jones serves as a creative consultant to the show as well as an executive producer. Whom. No doubt is pulling his weight here as Marvel Executive Joe Quesada on a recent Fatman on Batman Podcast addressed how the character was essentially “retrofitted” into modern comic book lore.

Of the various characters living within Jessica’s tenement of note here is Eka Darville’s chameleon like Malcolm Ducasse. Never has a sub-character that goes through numerous changes throughout a season of 13-episodes, let alone a 22-episode run has been given the care that is exhibited here. From struggling junkie to helpful aide Darville proves to be a grand presence around Ritter’s Jessica Jones.

To Top it all off Composer Sean Callery, whom created the memorable 24 theme, adds yet another great opening title sequence to his resume’. With a slow moving, quiet melody that that resonates as the graphics to come a final close. His score throughout the show remains rather ambiguous and slow building as the tension between characters rises; ultimately climaxing as an episode draws to a close.

If you’re looking for a good mystery series this is it, or if you’re looking for another marvel fix this has you covered as well. With David Tenant knocking his rather unexpected turn as Kilgrave out of the park. Marvel has crafted easily one of their most human and maniacal villains yet. Not to mention that this show features some very adult sex scenes while cleverly avoiding nudity as if it were a comic itself. Jessica Jones is a mystery that requires further investigation.

 

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Batman: The Killing Joke- A Wonderful Celebration of a Classic Graphic Novel

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Image Credit: Nerdist.com

BatGirl in Warner Bros. Animation “Batman: The Killing Joke”

One of the better Batman animated films to go into production in some time, Batman The Killing Joke, A long awaited and highly anticipated animatic based on Alan Moore’s Critically acclaimed one-shot of Batman; Is nothing less than a stellar and faithful adaption of a graphic novel that fans have universally accepted and cherished since publication in late March of 1988.

Although, up to this point Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill’s return as the Joker and Batman respectively, has been highly publicized. Those attending screenings for the Animatic’s almost non-existent showing will be treated to featurettes with Hamill about how voicing the character has affected his life after Star Wars (1977) as well how he came into such a job in the first place. After the Animation’s brief 1hr and 16 min. run-time those willing to stay will be given a second featurette about the direction composer Kristopher Carter took while scoring the animatic and how James Tucker the lyrical writer on Batman: Brave and The Bold-Mayhem of the Music Meister, created The Joker’s musical torture of Jim Gordon. (Voiced By Ray Wise).

Joining Batman (Kevin Conroy) and The Joker (Mark Hamill) is Batgirl (Tara Strong) whose alter ego in this incarnation is Barbara Gordon; a fierce coming-of-Age woman that can go toe-to-toe with Batman, while still claiming parentage to that of Jim Gordon (Ray Wise). A central character that will nonetheless be hard pressed to see a day on a live action film, let alone be remembered past the release of this animatic. Nonetheless, Barbara Gordon is fleshed out and is given an extra twenty minutes to build character up to that terrifying moment.

Director Sam Liu brings the pages of Alan Moore’s gruesome tale to life and writer Brian Azzarello, writer of numerous popular comics, creates a beautiful and harshly rich environment for these characters to play in. All of which is far from the norm of your average live-action adaption currently dominating the Hollywood box office on an almost bi-monthly basis.

For those willing to wait it out and spend the same amount of green on this Batman animation the Blu-ray will drop on August 2nd while if you’re reading this chances are its already available on VOD and Itunes.

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Captain America Civil War-Buddies duking it out for the Hell of it

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Image Credit: ComicBookmovie.com From Left Robert Downey JR as Tony Stark “iron Man” and Right Chris Evans as Steve Rogers “Captain America” In Marvel’s Captain America Civil War.

If Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a historical event that transcended the way we enjoy TV with the unveiling of Hydra and in marvel’s weekly crowd pleaser Agents of Shield. Than, Civil War the third captain America film in this massive franchise is far from a homerun as characters that we’ve grown to love will fight-it-out despite how much they actually like each other.

On what would seem like a routine mission in Lagos, Nigeria Steve Rogers “Captain America” (Chris Evans) and Natasha Romanov “Black Widow” (Scarlett Johansson); lead newly minted Avengers Wanda Maximoff “Scarlett Witch” (Elizabeth Olson) and Sam Wilson “The Flacon” (Anthony Mackie) to prevent Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) from obtaining a bio weapon. Thus, Ending in disarray for the team as the situation quickly goes from manageable to sudden loss of life in the masses.

Back at Avengers Compound Secretary of State Thaddeus “ThunderBolt” Ross (William Hurt) last seen in The Incredible Hulk, tells the ill fated group that the United Nations is passing the “Sokovia Accords” which is the film equivalent to the “Superhero registration act” seen in the Civil War comics from which the film is loosely based. These accords will hold the heroes accountable to a board that will tell them when, where, and how to act upon such a hypothetical crisis. Which of course spurs the battle as Cap thinks they’re giving away “Choice”, but Tony Stark “iron man”(Robert Downey Jr) whom after a press conference has a run in with a grieving woman (Alfred Woodard) whom lost her kid in the Sokovia battle. Acrimoniously, making him believe that maybe this isn’t the worst thing in the world that could’ve resulted from the Lagos incident. All of which is presumptive that the avengers would sign off on the documents in the first place, let alone agree unanimously as if the documents were meeting minutes from a previous session.

To further complicate matters Bucky Barnes ‘The Winter Soldier” (Sebastian Stan) is believed to be the man responsible for a bombing that occurred at the UN killing King T’Chaka (John Kani) the man spearheading the accords in the first place. Unbeknownst to the heroes in question another rises in the kings’ son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who’s led the life of the “Black Panther” protector of Wakanda. Who, believes it’s his duty to lay Barnes to rest as revenge.

Continuing the tonal feel of The Winter Soldier Joe and Anthony Russo deliver a brisk and fast moving picture that will surely make most comic book lovers drool. However, their strengths tend to be in delivering the action and building the tension between two of the MCU’s most beloved characters. All of which is good drama mixed with hard-hitting action packed escapades that prove that if anything, action sequences are the furthest thing from obsolete in Hollywood. However, the comics from which the film draws its inspiration aren’t as violent and focus on the politics of such an act, instead of duking it out in hilarity on the tarmac of an airport.

As tensions continue rise amongst the “gifted” heroes Steve Rogers finds himself at a crossroads between eras as the book finally closes on his “capsicle days” as Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) moves on, but finding himself the spectacle of her niece Sharon (Emily Vancamp). All of which allows the film to ease back on the heavy plot devices midstride.

The film’s penultimate villain Zemo, A well used Daniel Bruhl, a nemesis frequently seen in Captain America comics makes a good debut here. However, the plot device that embeds the character is created and crafted around important backstory instead of forcing conflict upon one hero after the other as depicted in Batman V Superman which debuted just months before.

The only thing missing here seems to be the connection to its silver screen partner Agents of Shield, or some acknowledgement of the its vast universe elsewhere In the marvel universe. The TV shows make take time to notice films, but the opposite seems to be rather troublesome for a universe that sold itself on connectivity in the first place.

The conclusion In Civil War however, is ambiguously left open and frankly barren, yet suggestive of a “Secret Avengers” plotline potentially forthcoming. Which will nonetheless the be interesting to see as the Russo Brothers continue to pump out meticulously well done comic book films. Those remembering the civil war comics by Mark Millar may remember a better outcome than the lethargic an inadequate end provided here, but like any good comic it begs for more.

 

 

 

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Batman V Superman : Dawn Of Justice-One Big Self Advertisement

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From Left Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Ben Affleck as Batman in “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”  Image Credit Collider.com

 

The spring battle every comic book lover has yearned for has finally arrived, as Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) duke it out head-to-Head on the big screen in a manner for more fashionable than its preceding debut in Man of Steel. A Film that would’ve seen the benefit had it not taken the post 9/11 route only to recreate similar events with the arrival of General Zod (Michael Shannon). Zod’s body thus having been left at the woes of science finds itself yet again the center point of destruction as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), A conceded megalomaniac, pits the two titans against one another. Outlandish as it may be, Luthor seeks martyrdom with superman as Pontius Pilate did with Christ. With tensions rising in Metropolis Superman is painted a false messiah at the hands of Senator June Finch (Holly Hunter) and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) finds herself once more in a unique position due to her Journalistic Nature.

As the Death of Thomas and Martha Wayne (An Uncredited Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan Respectively) is relived this go-round in a dream-like state. We find an aged Bruce Wayne living in a post-Joker-post-Nolan Gotham, as crime is on the wave once more. Batman now brands his victims, which in prison is considered a death sentence as those with it cease to exist once behind the walls of Blackgate or Arkham Asylum. Events seen at the conclusion of Man of Steel are given new life through the eyes of Bruce Wayne and although the significance of Jack O’ Dwyer’s (Hugh Maguire) Death has yet to be seen, this angers the cynical billionaire. Who with an equally cynical Alfred (Jeremy Irons) wishes Bruce would just “find a woman to make him an honest man”. However, realizing the truth both men come to terms with the fact this battle is first of many to come.

Alas, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman appears only to set up the justice League and help fight the big bad. As she and Bruce Wayne E-mail each over a picture that was taken in the late 1800’s. A connection held on the merits of Gadot’s ability to look good in an extravagant Gown alone as both attend events held by Lex Luthor that seem to hold no more place in the film, as does the need for his role in it. However, complex Luthor’s appearance seems to be its rather simplistic and completely unnecessary once events have unfolded.

Batman V Superman is a major improvement over Man of Steel, yet its equally pragmatic at its core as DC Comics and Warner Bros set out to compete with Marvel on the same battlefield in which they’ve lost significant ground. Ben Affleck’s Batman is the least of the films woes as this was seen previously as a social media outcry against the actor’s take on the infamous vigilante. However, Feminists should be pleased with Wonder Woman’s appearance as the character proves to be capable of standing on her own two feet against the film’s real villain once called upon. Jesse Eisenberg shows some true gravitas with his incarnation of Lex Luthor as you can truly believe in his psychosis begotten of course by the ever tiresome “daddy” issues from which his fear of god complex ultimately stems. Needless to say Henry Cavill’s Superman is Slightly more tolerable this outing as this is the worst version of the character created yet, but what gives him any credence was the need for a rather revealing love scene with Amy Adam’s Lois Lane in the films opening frames.

 

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