By: Justin Hopkins
The time has finally come. How great the shows were and all the hype. The Defenders have officially debuted on Netflix. Uniting the team of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist to save New York. Facing a bit of pressure after some mixed reviews from season 1 of Iron Fist, but with almost no surprise, The Defenders was absolutely worth the wait. Blowing away all of my expectations, and creating an epic team up show.
The story came together in the absolute best way. Show each character where their shows left off. Matt Murdoch trying to create a new normal life after he revealed his secret to Karen, but having trouble putting it out of mind. Torn apart by the loss of Electra. Jessica Jones struggling to get past her encounter with Kilgrave. Luke returning home from prison, and wondering what he’ll do next. Danny and Colleen serching the world for The Hand, and his guilt for failing Ku Long. What they really did right, was have all four stories naturally collide together. Not rush or have it feel forced. All of them staying true to who they are the entire time. Each of them having their own goals, on top of a coming together story. Their chemistry was apparent. Seeing the friendship forming between Danny and Cage. The hints of romance that Cage and Jessica have in the comics and anytime Jessica and Murdoch were together was guaranteed entertainment.
Krysten Ritter showed why she is the gold standard in the Netflix universe. Jessica Jones steals almost every scene she is in, her smart mouthed, powerhouse ways, may seem out matched at times, but always brings it, displays a reluctant, larger then persona, but Charlie Cox and Mike Colter keep pace right with her. While Fin Jones got an unfair shake in his first go around as the Immortal Iron Fist. He did a splendid job, showing his growth throughout, and after the seismic finale, has a big future ahead as the Cities newest Hero.
The villain side of the card was stacked, as it should be for a show of this caliber. Sigourney Weaver was every bit the bona fide star she is, played Alexandria, the leader of The Hand. Elodie Yung played a riveting and emotional reborn Electra, now The Hand’s weapon, know as the Black Sky, especially since she has to pull off emotional turmoil, with no dialogue. The real winner was Wing Ching Ho playing Madame Gao. Her third around as the powerful member of The Hand. Improving each time she’s played the roll. Her presence alone puts all the spotlight on her. Great communicator and having you wonder what she has planned at all times. Can’t say enough good things about her performance.
By the end, they not only tell a great Defenders story, but 4 separate stories on top of it. Ending with plenty of growth for all their heroes, and future is looking bright.
By: Justin Hopkins
In 2011, a subscription service known as Movie Pass debuted, with the CEO Mitch Lowe. For packages ranging up to fifty dollars, they send a subscriber a MasterCard, and using their smartphone can go to any 2D movie, one time a day. Six years later, they made a massive move to increase numbers by offering their service’s for $9.95 a month. A move that has drawn the wrath of the largest movie theater chain, AMC. Their reasons go from bad for movie business, hurting traffic, and has even talked down on movie passes business plan. Going as far as seeking legal way to ban Movie passes from working in their chains. None of which are close to an actuality.
For starters, movie pass works with MasterCard. They’d end up having to ban MasterCard users, which would cost them way more then just allowing the service.
Movie pass isn’t going to be for everyone. Since they only work on 2D movies. People who want to see the major hits and blockbusters in 3d or IMAX, will still pay to see them that way. Even card users will still play for IMAX movies like, Marvel and DC, and kids will want to see their movies in 3D.
Die hard movie buffs will look at this like a god send. Instead of being picky about which movies to see or skip we’ll go more. Instead of 2 movies, can become 4 or more. Each time, we’ll spend more money at the concession stand, where theaters make most of their money, because we saved for the price of the ticket,and the casual fans who but into it. Will go more as well, like in January where for traffic is dead at the movies.
With more and more complaints over foot traffic at theaters dropping. Movie pass is giving die hard and the casual fans a real break here. Since the price of a movie ticket can range up to fifteen dollars or more in some areas. It could be a huge boost to it, even if some don’t want to see it that way.
By: Justin Hopkins
Making a movie is tough business. Finding a director who can work on scripts, perfect cast selection, places to film, make up stunts, CGI, music, editing and so much more to make sure they are on time and on budget. Then you got on a set and making sure that things runs smooth. Would think that they would get more help from the studio, but as it seems. Alot of movies that seem to be sure fire successes. End up being due to constant arguments between studio and director. With the studos going as far as cutting away allot of the movie that would have made it better or gave it a better shot in the least. With the internet connecting us more and more. These disputes are often enough to scare an audience away before the movie even debuts.
The 2015 Fantastic Four comes to mind pretty quickly. Went big on the return of Marvels First Family, and having found financial success behind two subpar ones. Hard not seeing this one doing so as well, but weeks before it was due out. The finger pointing had begun. Josh Tran accusing them of gutting his work and making life dismal behind the scenes. Never know how things could have turned out if they’d left him alone to make his movie, but safe to assume it would have been better then what we got.
Even when they do manage to get lucky, can’t be considered a good thing. Suicide Squad managed to pull in a lot of money, but is easily one of the most divisive. It was rushed from the start, heavily edited, script was heavily alerted. At one point, there was multiple versions competed. Suicide Squad should have been so much better, and was gutted by studio involvement.
On the flip side, there are times that studio involvement does work. People panicked over them getting involved with Rogue One, but ended up being loved by fans. Sometimes there is a grander plan behind it all. Such as the problems between Edgar Wright and Marvel. Yet if the studio wants it done a certain way; why not make it known up front. To avoid these issues and find someone who shares the same vision.
The Director is going to be the one who catches heat when a movie goes wrong. When a studio hires them, they are saying they trust them to treat the movie the way it needs to be done. Instead of forcing them change their vision or editing their work to nothing. Let them make the movie they hired them to do.
By: Justin Hopkins
Steven King is viewed as one of the best authors of all time. His books have been adapted to celebrated movies for over thirty years. Which is a surprise that it took till now to see one of his best creations come to the movies; that being The Dark Tower. Eight stories that tells of a Gunslinger, Roland, chasing down the man in black AKA Walter. The Dark Tower being the center of the entire universe. Webbing together old school western, fantasy, and adventure that has screamed out to be made into a film. That finally debuted on Friday, staring Idris Elba as The Gunslinger, Matthew McConaughey taking on The man in black, and youngster Thomas Taylor playing Jake Chambers. These three being the only good part of a movie that was a shell of what could have been.
Instead of going for a straight adaption of the stories. They chose to go with a sequel. That made somewhat sense. Last book ending right where it began, but this time Ronald has the Horn of Eld. Meaning this time around would be different. A fact that would be lost on those who didn’t read the book, but for those who did read it. May be disappointed by too much being changed. Instead of going for a unique story. They went with clich tropes we’ve seen numerous times over dressed in The Dark Tower. Making everything feeling shallow.
They made a great casting decisions. Idris Elba was fantastic as Roland. Tired and rundown after years of defending the Tower. All he longed for was vengeance, and cared about little less. Matthew McConaughey was terrifyingly compelling as The Man in Black. He was smooth and pure evil. Sole purpose to tear down the Tower made you long for the confrontation between him and the Gunslinger. The chemistry between him and Idris made their scenes pop. Even Thomas Taylor put in a great performance, as Jake Chambers. Being the glue that brought the story together. They made this movie fun to watch and better then what it was.
This movie didn’t feel like the start of a franchise or the start of anything good. Felt like a movie the studio threw together to bank off name value alone. Cared little about the story they were trying to tell. Whether because of fear of something new, or not wanting to interfere with the TV Series in the works, or just another Steven King book being twisted and contorted for the movie, which is far from the first time. The movie is just a shell of what could have been.
Personally, would suggest watching it on DVD or on demand cause the cast was excellent. Put their A Games in, but in my opinion, walked out feeling like this movie missed the mark, of what Dark Tower should have been.
By: Justin Hopkins
I’m tired of the Joker. There I said it. He’s over used and played out. Seen him shine in the dark knight, rebooted for Suicide Squad, and will more then likely carry on into the Harley spin-off. Meaning he should not be apart of The Batman Trilogy. Take nothing away from the Joker. He’s Batman’s arch villain, but Batman has the best list of villains, in the entire D.C. Universe. To continue to use him is redundant, and growing stale. In my opinion, these five would be perfect to appear in the trilogy.
Note: since Deathstroke has already been cast. I’m excluding him from the list, since at this moment. Appears he is going to be a part of them.
Intellectual Mastermind, Edward Nigma, is long due for his return to the silver screen. Especially, since many hoped he would have returned in Dark Knight Rises. His genius level at times capable of surpassing even Batmans. His involvement would allow them to build off the Detective moments shown in Batman vs Superman. Creating a thrilling mystery that would engage the audience into trying to solve the Riddles. If they dont want him to be a full blown villain. Can include him as the Private Investigator Batman can turn to for help.
When a movie can draw on real life, it tends to make for that much more better of a story. With people wanting to see more female involvement, and Global Warming being as prevalent as ever; almost surprising that Pamela Isley hasn’t been brought up sooner. Around fifty one years, alot of her stories, protraies her as a villain, because of her actions, but her motivations makes her come across as almost an anti hero in away. Fighting to protect the earth, or fiercely defending orphans in another. It allows the viewers to almost get behind her in ways other villains can’t. The emotional roller coaster they can tell could make for a great Batman film. With her already set to appear in Gotham City Sirens. Would be easy to segway her from one to another.
With Matt Reeves claiming to want to use a method similar to what Nolan used. What better way then to go back to his fight against the mob, and enter Roman Sionis. An under utilized villain, whose uber violence and methodical torture can force Batman to another level, to deal with a dangerous fighter, marksman, and masterful tactician. A movie featuring Black Mask would keep the audience on the edge of their seats till the end.
THE RED HOOD
They almost have to use him. After the teaser in Batman vs Superman. Seeing Jason Todd’s Robin Costume would be the worst what if moment ever if they didn’t. Honestly, they should anyways. The fan base is rabid to see him, the story is fantastic, and made for the big screen. The return of Jason Todd as a villain arguably struck more of a cord with Bruce then his death. Emotional story and thrilling climax is some of the best story telling, only really behind the next option.
This could be the trilogy alone. Often held as one of the all time greatest Batman Comic Runs of all time. Would open the door for every Batman villain, the whole Bat Family, and Superman. The psychological torment that Thomas Elliot inflicts on Bruce Wayne almost screams to be seen in theaters, and blow away everything before it.
There are so many others that can be substituted into the list, and please feel free to comment who you would like to see. Batman has such a vast world. Why see what we have already seen. When another can step up have their turn for a change.
By: Justin Hopkins
The trade deadline came to an end today. While it was a little less dramatic, then I was expecting, had one asked a month ago. Still packed plenty of surprising moves. Five teams sought ought, not only to win their Division Races, but drastically improve their odds of taking home a ring. Let’s jump right in with the National League East, Washington Nationals.
Coming into this year, the National’s were a top favorite to contend, and carrying the second best record in the National League. There biggest weakness being in the bullpen. They weren’t content with picking up the two relievers they had gotten. They added the third best closer in MLB, Brandon Klintzer. Sporting a 2.38 ERA, and 28 saves. This is going to go a long way to build confidence with a lead late in the game now.
The lack of movement in the National League Central, was actually really surprising. (particularly my hometown Pirates) Outside of the Cincinnati Reds, four teams are all within 4.5 Games of first. That is except the leader, Chicago Cubs. Having already added Ace Jose Quintana. In controversial move, traded two top ten prospects to Detroit, for reliever Justin Wilson and Alex Alivia. It might seem strange, but it was a move they had to make. Having won their first World Series in over a Century. This team was being herald as a potential Dynasty has had a rocky first half. They need to be successful this year, to prove to their fans and the media, that last year was not a flash in the pan.
Onto the National League West, where the Los Angeles Dodgers have been a juggernaut. Unstoppable force putting up 74-31 and they just got better. Picking up Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, from the Pirates and Reds. At the final minutes to the Deadline, picked up Ace Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers. Who may be a little off this year, 4.01 ERA. Fully expect this move to rejuvenate him, and with the team they now possess. Even their toughest critics will be hard pressed to not say they are World Series favorites.
The Houston Astros, have stolen the show on the American League side. Not only taking control over their Division, but the league itself. They are young and versatile. Proven their dominance and resilience time in and time out. Adding veteran Francisco Liriano is just a smart move. May have lost a step, but has simply stifled lefties at the bag, making him extremely useful in the pen, but his veteran status and playoff experience. Can be a club house leader for the younger guys to work with.
The New York Yankees have been throwing out feelers since the All-star break. Seeking help to fend off the Boston Red Sox. Landing just that, with Oakland Athletics, Right Hander, Sonny Gray. Adding instant star power pitching to an already talented rotation and powerful hitters. They may have dealt three players for him, but two of them are injured. They got him for a steal. Which may not only have won them the division, but punched their ticket to the big game.
Trade Deadline has past. May have been less exciting then what I was thinking it would be. These teams have made drastic moves that may have been the difference between watching from home, to playing in the World Series.
By: Justin Hopkins
2017 San Diego Comic-Con is up and running. Kicking off yesterday, to some exciting news, trailers, and appearances. Plenty of excitement and things to look forward to, but Thursday saw a big announcement, in Fox confirming a Dr. Doom movie.
This was more of a surprise then it perhaps should have been. Tide turning a bit to Villain-lead movies. Success of D.C. Suicide Squad, along with both Gotham City Sirens and Venom is varying degrees of development. Only a matter of time before another was brought up, and in Marvels Illustrious Library, Victor Von Doom ranks easily in the top three, if not number one. Holding his own against every hero faction and at times overwhelming them entirely. Easily, deserves to be front and center, but don’t think it should be down solo or with Fox.
My first issue being that by the sounds of it, Fantastic Four may not be apart of this. Which severely limits where they can go… except an origin story, and do we really want that? We know who he is. One of the most powerful villains of all. That’s the one we should be seeing, and by doing an Origin story, the longer we’ll have to wait for it.
After failing on Doom and the FF on three occasions. This could serious impact any sort of anticipation for a fourth. A solo Doom may face even larger odds. Risk of having a slow start, hope it’s loved, and strong word of mouth, to sway those who aren’t willing to take another chance, and then this keeping Dr. Doom away from Disney and the MCU.
Even if they’d gotten it all right. Good Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom. Wouldn’t it be so much better with him being with the rest. Being the biggest bad guy the MCU has ever seen. Showing his dominance against the likes of the Avengers, what their version of the FF can be, and he could reign over Latveria and be a constant ever intimidating threat and highly entertaining in any form, even in a cameo or larger role, for years to come against every superhero they have to offer.
Would love to say I was excited and do hope for the best here. Just cant help but think Fox is trying to make a quick payday on the villain popularity, and keep the property out of Disney’s hands.
By: Justin Hopkins
Following in the path of the highly enjoyable CG Movies Resident Evil: Degeneration and Damnation. Resident Evil: Vendetta came out to DVD this past Monday. Staring Kevin Dorman as Chris Redfield, Erin Cahill as Rebecca Chambers, and Mathew Mercer coming back as Leon S. Kennedy, and wow was it ever worth the wait. Fun and exciting and improved on the first two.
Seeing Chris as the lead. Chasing after the big bad of the movie as the stead fast hero we know and love from him was refreshing to see after two adventures with Leon. Adding Rebecca was almost a necessity due to their history together. Loved seeing how she evolved from the Stars Medic to being world leader in medical research and development. How vital she proved to the story. Damn near solving everything herself. Inclusion of Leon was done well. Despite him and Chris being two of their biggest protagonists. They very rarely appear together in the games. Adventures taking place around one another’s, with the smallest amounts of cross paths. It Creative and different to see the two Alphas butt heads, due to Leon being drunk and defeated from the years of horror he’d witnessed. It was a powerful moment to see the man always cool under pressure beginning to show cracks. Of course was exciting to see the two fighting alongside each other.
Glenn Arias was the master criminal. Guy who made the wrong enemies, that lead to his friends and family being slaughtered on his wedding day. Creating a mutated version of the A virus to make those infected recognize him as friendly and not attack. Using it to bring back his loved ones, and unleashing it on New York City. Insanity reaching the point where he kidnapped Rebecca and tried to infect and marry her to replace his dead wife. Clich, but made a spectacular foil for Chris and Leon and thrilling finally when he mutated into a Tyrant.
Scenes and imagery were top notch. At times appearing to be live action blend. Giving us plenty of nostalgia. From the start, when Chris and his team enter the mansion, being the exact same from the first game. Not only were the images ripped straight from the game, but even the camera angles were the same. Seeing them the way you would your character when you were in the same location. Marked out seeing the return of the zombie Dobermans.
This is how Resident Evil should be done. New story revolving around the characters behaving and acting like they would in the games we love. Horror, action, and plenty of emotions. Voice acting that brought you in and carried the audience along for the ride. Strongly suggest picking up this movie, and am excited to see what comes next.
By: Justin Hopkins
On July 16th, the world lost a true Hollywood Legend. George Andrew Romero, past away at the age of 77, after a battle with lung cancer. Looking back through movie history, can mark several important moments, but perhaps none bigger then the one started by the Godfather of Zombies himself, but before we get to that. Lets go a little further back.
Born in February 4, 1940, in New York City, New York. Found his love behind the camera at an early age. Attending Carnage-Mellon Institute, filming commercials and short films for Mister Rogers Neighborhood. From there he’d launch his career to a much larger stage.
Going into 1968, zombies had been around for quite awhile. Coming back to life through Voodoo or other mystical forms. George took this idea, turned it on its head, and gave us something terrifying.
The original Trilogy of the Dead (Night, Day, and Dawn) are still considered amongst the best horror movies of all-time. Style and pacing were perfect. Creating a sense of fear and paranoia, that are still almost unrivaled. Using a diverse cast, weaved social commentary and phobias into each.
His Zombies didn’t stop here though. Think about all zombies we’ve come to see and love. All the various movies, TV Shows, Comics, and Video Games. All of which are routed right back to his vision of how they should be portrayed.
Outside the trilogy, and his return to the genre with Land of the Dead, gave us classics, with The Crazies, Monkey Shines, and Creepshow. Along with perhaps the best shakey cam flick, Diary of the Dead.
Hollywood lost one of its greatest pioneers to the Horror Genre. Leaving an impact that had reverberated for decades since, and will continue far into the future. Our deepest condolences to the entire Romero Family, during their time of grieving.
By: Justin Hopkins
Attempts to turn Video Games into live action movies, have so far been a bust. With one Mortal Kombat being their only real highlights. Doom, Assassin’s Creed, and the dumpster fire that was Super Mario being total failures, and although Resident Evil series brought in over a billion dollars, only three of the six were enjoyable. Treating most of the beloved character’s from the game like subpar nuisances. Could keep going, but I’m not trying to bash their attempts, but bring up another possible avenue.
Castlevania is riding high. Loved by fans and critics. They’ve been applauded for keeping close to the games history. Couldn’t recommend Resident Evil Degeneration and Damnnation more. Tremendous titles, and a third, Vendetta, on its way next week. Starts to beg the question, should these Video Game companies start thinking CG Animation over live action?
They’d have an easier time keeping characters truer to themselves. Eliminating who has the right look and feel, and just cast a right voice. Can load it with the gore and action it needs, without risking an injury, or whether or not the monsters or effects look bad with a real person in the mix.
Games like Doom would be perfect following Resident Evil’s lead to CG Movies. Allowing better more terrifying demons and hell spawns, weaponry, and space marine. The future tech of Master Cheif, as well as not worrying about casting that part, and inevitable angering fans over the choice. Call of duty or even the world of Grand Theft Auto.
On the other hand, they can follow Castlevania. Imagine a full season of Silent Hill. Each episode taking you deeper into their Psychological horror. Every new season can showcase another. Jackie Estacado and the Darklings, journey through mob wars and other supernatural battles in the darkness, or venture through nuclear wastelands that is Fallout. All of which done that much better with animation, on Netflix or other streaming services.
Resistance: Fall of Man, F.E.A.R, Dead rising, and so many others can do so well in this form. Beloved characters, rich story lines, and terrific way to rebuild interest into making more games. Computers have come along way, and successes starting to collect more and more. Assassin’s Creed is already coming back, with an animated series. Plenty of room for others, and fan bases who would love to see them.