By: Justin Hopkins
Star Wars The Last Jedi came out with not only more hype, but more fan theories then I have ever seen surrounding one movie before. Everyone sharing their ideas as to who Snoke was, who was Rey’s Parents, and was there going to be a turning from good to bad or bad to good. Not beeing a Stars Wars fans myself seemed to work out for me, cause I had no expectations going in. Leaving the theater, believing that the Last Jedi is the best so far.
It starts with the trailer. Expertly weaving a misdirecting tale. Making us believe that we may be seein Rey take a turn toward the Dark Side of the Force. Showing just enough to pique our curiosities, without showing their hand. Exactly what a trailer needs to be more of.
The main story with Rey was tremendous. Her determination and drive being the focal point. Wanting to learn the force from Luke, and not accepting no for an answer. Then believing in the good still being alive in Kylo to the point she went to find him. Daisy Ridley deserves the glory for this movie being as good as it was. Has chenistry with everyone she performs with, and has showing real character growth as Rey. Being a breath of fresh air that they would be dead without.
As good as the A story was, the B side had some major issue. Showing the rebels trying to flee from the First Order, but running out of fuel and just staying clear of decimation. Finn and newcommer Rose making a desperate race against time to collect a Code Breaker to come back to the chase and sneak into the enemy’s ship and disable their tracking devise. It started out as a pretty decent side story to Rey and Luke’s, but all came undone, by one one minue scene. The Code Breaker turned out to be a member of the first order, but that mattered little because the Commander in charge for an injured Liela plan, was a far surperior one then their’s. Turned them into brave, play by their own rules rebels, into foolish, immature degenerates. That may have wasted Captain Plasma all together. One redeeming scene was when they set it up to look like Finn was going to sacrafice himself, only for Rose to knock him out of the way. A scene that was interresting, but could have done without to do away with the B-Story all together.
Mark Hamill’s Return to the character he is most known for was brilliant. Showing a Jedi who was beyond defeated. Believing his greatest failure, was the reason Kylo Ren was born. Hiding out on the Island to simply fade away. He got to show his comedic side, and at the end, show off how powerful of a Jedi Luke Skywalker is. May not have been the big lightsaber battle people were expecting, but at his age, may have looked bad. Instead his acting ability led the way here. Like Obi-Wan, this would be his demise, but not at the hands of his pupil. In fact he showed up his student. That he was still nothing but a Pupil and great reveal, after everything Kylo thrown at him, to be nothing more then a Force Driven Vision. If this was Mark’s final go as Luke, great way to go and pass off the torch to Rey in the process.
This movie left a ton of questions for Episode 9. Snoke, is dead. The First Order and Rebellion are both in shambles, and is the perfect way to go. Leave everyone shell shocked and wandering what does the future hold in store for everyone, and just because they said her parents were nobodies, do I believe it won’t be exposed as a lie.
By Paul Anthony
How bad can it be? I am sure D.C. and Warner Brothers kept asking themselves when they saw the numbers for Justice League. There were rumors that they wanted to have a better opening than Thor which they failed to even come close to the numbers Thor has put up and at this point they were even hoping to be on Par with Batman V Superman, which they aren’t even close and what the saddest part is, Batman V Superman is probably the worse movie in the DCEU, yet it is the highest grossing film of the franchise. Justice league had a 300-million-dollar budget which doesn’t include the money they spent on marketing and the film has only grossed 570 million worldwide, sure it has only been out for a few weeks but each week the numbers keep dropping and Star Wars is just right around the corner, this might as well end up a big flop for warner brothers.
So, what happen? Well the problem has been mostly behind the camera, with Zach Snyder being in charges things were doomed to begin with, he wasn’t the right choice to lead this franchise and catch up to Marvel, finally Zach left the project because of family reasons which may have been a cover up because shortly after that Warner Bros basically fired him shortly after that, then they brought in Joss Whedon, which they saw the success he had with Marvel why not, so bring in the reshoots and script changes, the situation seems like the one Fox had with Fantastic Four. Joss did his best but the damage has been done. Then you add in the fact that Ben Affleck keeps jumping ship and showing signs, he might want to bail because this franchise is just a mess and it is clear as day this isn’t working. Are fans getting sick of him after like three movies? I sure would be sick of it.
The final version that we saw at the theaters wasn’t bad and was much better than Batman V Superman, The story was okay at best but there was too much CGI, the acting was alright but there was no real character development. But the action better. So with that being sad we are here wondering, what happen!
Warner bros have a plan B case Affleck wants to bail, the rumor is if Justice league flops, then they are doing the Flash point storyline in the Flash which changes everything even characters. I believe before they focus on another film, they might want to get everything situated behind the scenes and write a good script and get everyone on board for the long term build everything up the right way. There is hope with the Wonder Woman series which seems to be the only film they have going for them.
By: Justin Hopkins
For all the troubles the DCEU have had. The Arrowverse has been red hot. They took there time to build and let the audience love and enjoy their build. The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and of course, Arrow. They hit on all spectrums; dark and gritty, to light hearted and comedic, but always have powerful and moments of awe, leading up to the epic, 2 day Crisis of Earth-X, and it truly was that. An epic crossover event.
The writing staff deserves a big congratulations for this. For how many different storylines they had running. Everyone coming together for the wedding between Barry Allen and Iris West. Alex and Supergirl trying to get back on track after losing their loves. More focus on Alex, who feels tremendous guilt over her one night stand with Sara Lance. Stein and Jefferson getting the cure for Firestorm and Jefferson needing to come to terms that the man he looks to as a Father, will be leaving the Waverider. Felicity telling Oliver that she may love him, but rejected his proposal. All before the major villains arrived from Earth-X. Earth 53, a world were the Nazis won the War, and the new Fueher was Oliver Queen, wife Kara Zor-El, working with Tommy Merlin, and Earth 1, Reverse Flash. Invade not just to take over, but to kidnap Supergirl and put her heart into a dying evil Supergirl.
Never once did any of it seem overbloated or to much. Over 21 heroes, from each of the shows, plus returning characters that were Earth-X versions. Such as Winn as the Rebel General. Weaponized Red Tornado, Citizen Cold and Paul Blackthorne’s Quentin Lance being a diabolical Nazi General. Loved Diggle’s contribution, and a shocking death of a “Legend” and the funneral that was even more emotional. Almost impossible to highlight just one particular performance, because they were all stellar. Each character had time to showcase their abilities and what brings them to the table, and ran with all they got. Leaving each show with running starts to grow from.
This is how to do a crossover. Everyone from actors, directors, and writers who care and wanting the absolute best for everyone. The DCEU and even Marvel to a point can look to this and learn, as Crisis on Earth-X set the bar for what could be years to come.
By: Justin Hopkins
When The Punisher was first announced for his own solo show. Had little hope of it being any good. Sure Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job as Frank Castle in Daredevil, but was support to Matt Murdoch. With how he is, didn’t think The Punisher could be a main character, and be done with justice. Should really not doubt the Marvel machine right, as once again delivered. Going right into the dark, grungy world that is Frank Castle and stayed true to character. Displaying his ultra violent, tougher then nails, unlikable side, and his broken guilt ridden, anti hero form. While the support went through the emotional rides.
The story was raw and unforgiving. Not pulling any punches from start to finish. From Frank trying to move on after he thought he was successful and getting pulled back in when it turns out the death of his family was a far bigger conspiracy then he could ever imagine. Detective Madani desperate investigation into finding her answers. Heartbreaking journey Micro goes through to reunite with his family and them trying to adjust to his fake death and the solders in group and the painful reality of PTSD. They never pull back on the emotions no matter how bad the situation had gotten for the character in question, and always solicited a strong emotional response in watching it happen. Slowly building to an explosive conclusion.
Jon Bernthal did a tremendous job with an extremely tough character to bring to life. Had to show so much pain and guilt. Was a good man still who was still there to do right by those who needed help and never hurt an innocent person, but also closed off and cold. Would stop at nothing to exact kill those who took his family’s lives, no matter what happens to himself in the process, or at what cost. Walking the precarious line between likeable Anti-Hero and full blown villain.
Bringing Karen, played by the excellent Deborah Ann Woll, was a great way to keep him connected to the rest of the shows, but give him an emotional tie. Someone who torn up by grief over what may happen and wanting to see better for him, while he won’t show it. She represents someone he cares for in return. Which may become relevant in his return to Daredevil if Bullseye is set to premier.
The emotional turmoil showed by Micro and his family was spectacular by everyone involved. Ripley Sobo, Kobi Frumer, and Jamie Ray Newman felt like a really family breaking apart from the loss of their Father and Husband, while his sorrow leapt off the screen. Keeping you in suspense and hoping for the happy reunion this poor family deserved. Hats off to all four of them for their performance.
Lastly, have to give a round of applause to the stunt and fight choreographers. The Punisher is brutal and smash mouth, and they lived up to snuff. Especially, the fight in the first episode where he fight off the three would be murderers with the sledgehammer. Memorable fight that set the tone for things to come.
The Punisher is right up there with Jessica Jones and Daredevil in quality and execution. Staying true to his nature and great addition to the Netflix library. Hoping to see Jon Bernthal return to the character sooner rather then later and fingers crossed to see Ben Barnes rise to Jigsaw in what I’m sure will be an even more action packed Season 2.
By: Justin Hopkins
Justice League rolled into theaters with a slew of bad press behind it. From questions over the re-shoots and what was cut. The jokes about them having to CGI out Henry Cavill’s mustache. The never-ending drama over whether Ben Affleck was going to continue playing Batman or not. So much so that they might have hurt themselves a bit, which was a shame because Justice League turned out to be an entertaining movie and huge step forward.
The team forming by Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman recruiting them to defend the Earth from Steppenwolf and the Parademons as they searched for the Mother boxes that would be used to conquer the world. Pretty standard movie that worked nicely for them. They had to introduce three of the members and resurrect Superman on top of it. Any more and the story becomes to convoluted. A simple story was needed to give them momentum and this worked perfectly.
Ben Affleck and Galbot did a terrific job once again with Bruce and Diana. Especially when it came to building chemistry between them and learning from each other. Henry Cavill may not have had much screen time but from what I took away was that they are finally getting the Man of Steel right and Ray Fischer knocked it out of the park as Cyborg.
The one I was looking forward to seeing, and believed he had the toughest role was Ezra Miller. Grant Gustin has been nothing short of phenomenal as Barry Allen in the Arrowverse. Ezra came out running on all cylinders though. Playing him as a rookie superhero with a heart of gold. Came across as whiney at times, but am looking forward to see him continue with the role for years to come.
The CGI was a bit lackluster at times, but the fight sequences were well choreographed. Allowing everyone to show off what they can do. Loved the scenes with The Flash running and the fight scene he had with Superman. One camera shot in particular was tremendous and that was at the start where Batman had trapped the parademon, and camera went crooked. Capturing the two in dark, gritty fashion that screamed comic book. Big shout out to everyone working behind the camera.
There are plenty of things that could have been better. Aquaman could have had more, but with his movie coming up next year. Less we know the more we have to look forward to. Justice League was a good, enjoyable movie all around that the DCEU needed. Better then both Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad, and for once. Showed hope for the future.
By Paul Anthony
Over the years the prices of tickets to see a movie have gone up and they did it quietly. I am sure you have notice the price but said screw it anyway and bought a ticket to go see your favorite movie. Theaters try to justify the pricing by giving you better seats or a bigger screen with a sharper image, we call that Imax. But like many things times have change and the people aren’t flocking to see movies as they once did. Now there are reasons for that, the movies haven’t been that good and people have other ways of seeing it, either through streaming it or bootleg it, so a theatre chain has found a solution or so they hope.
Regal theater has announced in 2018 that will raise the price of their tickets base on the demand and time. Now this is a tactic that sports use. So, this is how it will go, so let’s use justice league for example, so the film is popular now during the peak hours which is usually 5 pm to close will now cost you more, and even more on the weekends, now let’s say the movie like Jigsaw, which right now isn’t that popular will be much cheaper regardless of the time.
Now obviously this supply and demand idea is very new and we may have a few questions. In movies we have sleeper hits which are films that critics believe have no hope but comes out of nowhere and becomes a big hit. Will a movie status change from week to week? Which would be the same for a film that is protected to be a hit but turns into a flop.
Will this idea actually work? I am predicting no and here is why. The cost for one, ticket prices have gone up and people right now are getting tired of it, sure there are people out there that love the flops and will enjoy the films being much cheaper than their usually prices but will people spend more to see the big hits? Sure, in the short term they will spend their hard-working money but won’t be able to keep pace with the popular films.
Regal is taking a risk there no doubt about it, to me it’s a risk that won’t pay off, yes, they will make money in the short term but once the crowd gets sick the prices, they will soon stop going to a regal theater and go somewhere else. Well the prices will take place in 2018 and see how long it will last.
By Paul Anthony
When the Harvey Weinstein case happen a few weeks ago, we all knew this would only be the beginning and sure enough we were right. People started to come forward accusing actors left and right. Now nothing really came about with those actors but now another actor came is being accused of sexual Harassing people. That actor is none other than Kevin Spacey, who now being accused by 14 people to date.
The flood gates opened on Spacey when last month Anthony Rapp accused him some three decades ago and here’s the thing, this happened when Rapp was only a 14. Spacey sexual orientation has been a mystery for years while some figured he was gay and others thought he was straight. When Rapp came out told the story how Spacey was drunk came to his room and started to fondle him and Spacey said in return that he didn’t remember this ever happening and if it did he is truly sorry and that’s when he confirmed that he was indeed gay. Him coming out didn’t sit well with other gay Actors and Actresses, many believed he was using his sexual orientation to get sympathy or to excuse what he did. Since the 13 other men have come out and stated Spacy has sexual harass them.
Before Rapp came out, Netflix announced the sixth season of House of cards would be its last but this drama happened and they quickly stopped production then just days later canceled the show all together so Netflix wanted to cut ties with him altogether and even opted to not release his film Gore, they decided to cut all the ties with him. Netflix wasn’t the only one that cut ties, Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World had Spacey starring in it but Scott decided to have Christopher Plummer do Spacey scenes and reshoot the ones he has already done.
I must wonder what made Spacey do what he did so many years ago, he fondled a kid and we are left wondering if there were more kids that felt his wrath. It’s hard to believe he did this just one kid usually there is more than one.
How will Spacey move forward? Well at this point his career is over, no studio going to hire him and bring all the drama with him. It’s sad that such a promising career ended the way it did. But he did it to himself so he can only blame himself. This is an ongoing story, so there will more updates as the weeks go on but we will see.
By Paul Anthony
We are now 9 years deep in the MCU and to this day Marvel studios has yet to have a dud, the closes we gotten to a failure would Thor: The Dark World which still made money but the bright spot was a Villain, who is a fan favorite that pretty stole each scene that he was in. That person is of course being Loki played by Tom Hiddleston. The series hasn’t been the strongest which is understandable because it has to do with mythology, which is difficult to mix in with science but Marvel did it. Now let’s move on from The Dark World and three years later we get Thor: Ragnarok, which is a complete 360 from The Dark World.
In this film, it’s truly a fun space Adventure, they are only on earth for maybe 5 minutes of the entire film, now let’s touch on something that is different from the previous Thor films and I am talking about the comedy. In the previous films we did have a bunch of punch lines but nothing like we have in this film. For the first time in the entire series there is comedy from the beginning to the end. In the first film when he arrived on earth the comedy made sense since he was so new to earth, we seen the comedy in the Avengers films. So why did Thor bring the laughs? Well Chris Hemsworth showed he can make people laugh, just watch Ghostbusters and Vacation, so why not cut him loose and show us what he got and sure enough he brought the laughs but he wasn’t the only one, we got laughs from the Hulk and the grandmaster as well as Korg.
The comedy wasn’t the lone bright spots, Jeff Goldblum played a brilliant Grandmaster with his wits and his comedy and Cate Blanchett and Anthony Hopkins, all were brilliant in their roles. The music was good as well which was important because if music off so is the flow of the film. Now I am going to combine the action and graphics because in this case it goes hand and hand. With Disney’s money, you know the graphics are the best and the fight scenes aren’t bad we are starting to see Thor’s true power yet we didn’t see that much but I am sure we will see his full strength in the infinity war that is coming up next year. With I am giving it 4.5 stars. Why not 5? Well to be honest as much as I think this movie was great, it didn’t feel like a Thor movie instead I felt like I was watching another Guardians of the galaxy film which isn’t a bad thing but it just didn’t feel original.
Now the film will be facing real competition in the weeks to follow with Justice League and the of course Star Wars but for now I highly recommend seeing this film!
By: Justin Hopkins
Thor has always been the sore thumb of the MCU. The actors and actresses have always turned out good performances, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleson leading the pact. Story wise though, have always come up short. Ragnarok turned that all around. Giving us a fun, suspenseful, action filled movie, with a surprise ending.
When utilized correctly, foreshadowing is a wonderful writing tool. Done so subtle that you hardly notice that Surtur and Odin have given hints on the ending till its over and those scenes are that much powerful for it. Big thumbs up for it.
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor comes full circle in this film. Better then anyone in the Marvel cinematic universe at this point. Introduced in the first film as a bratty, arrogant child and we’ve watched him continuously grow from there into the character we see here. One who enjoys life, humble and still maintains the heart of a warrior. If this is his final solo Thor movie. Glad it ended with him earning the title King of Asgard.
Cate Blanchett gave us a villain like we haven’t seen much of at this point. Diabolical, heinous, powerhouse Hela. Thor’s sister and Goddess of death. She held herself throughout as a woman with no fear and took down anything that got in her way. Had you hanging on to every word she said and anticipating her next move. The speech between her and Thor in the Throne room was adrenaline pounding and chilling at the same moment.
Newcomers and support cast all brought in new elements that made this movie what it was. Tessa Roberts Valkyrie was tremendous as the fallen solider working up the courage to face the cause of her downward spiral. Finally got to see Idris Elba’s show Heimdall as the tougher then nails warrior protecting the innocents. Can’t say enough about how good Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth working together. The short Hulk arc was just enough to answer some questions and leave us wanting more. Throw in the fun and charismatic Jeff Goldblum and Taika Waititiall. Making this top of the MCU Library.
The last thing I need to bring up was how well the Doctor Strange cameo was. Alot of cameos can come across as forced, but his was seemless. Showing that in the time since he took the mantle, he had become a guardian of the Earth and more powerful sorcerer.
Thor Ragnarok is an MCU must see in theaters. Great performances and story. CGI was top notch. Fun and witty. Fight scenes were exciting and heart to spare.
By: Justin Hopkins
Jeepers Creepers was terrifying when I was a kid. Presenting us with a new monster that was bone chilling and mysterious. Fed off people’s fear and ate what he liked off the ones he chose. Completely relentless, taking everything they could throw and it was the first time I watched a monster movie where the monster won, and in not some last second resurrection for the jump scare, but got exactly what he wanted. Then the second one came out giving us an even more exciting chapter, and have been patiently waiting on pins and needles ever since. The monster had so much more story to tell, and couldn’t just end there. Took 14 years but we finally got the part 3, and the wait was well worth it. Bringing the Creeper back in hellacious fashion and gave a great story to run forward as well as end the period of time that eclipsed between the three movies.
The story was pretty solid at times. Showing us a farming community who’d heard stories of The Creeper, but chalked it up to folklore and legends. Shifting between the talented Gabrielle Haugh’s character Addison Brandon who was living with her tormented Grandmother who was being haunted by the ghost and victim of the Creeper. Warning her to run. That he was coming to retrieve the hand he lost and the son had buried. Meanwhile you have Sheriff Dan Tashtego (Stan Shaw) and returning Sgt. Davis Tubbs (Brandon Smith) leading a group of men to finally put an end to the Creepers rampage before the 23 days run up.
These movie seemlessly bucked a massive horror tend, by filming primarily in the day light, in wide open areas at times. Allowing us to see the creature throughout the movie. Those on make up and prosthetics deserve all the credit in the world because it was their hard work that made that happen. Sculpting a chilling mask and got every little detail but was thin enough to allow Jonathon Breck to create facial movements at the same time.
Jonathon Breck has really etched himself in horror movie elite with his performance as the Creeper. Taking him to a whole other level in the film since he was on display so much. Carrying himself like the dominate force of nature he is suppose to be. While showing a surprising ammount of charisma that complement the Creeper. Breck enjoyment of playing this character again was apparent and the Creeper was that much better for it.
Minus a few poor CGI shots and a needles slow motion sequence. Thought very highly of this long awaited sequel. The twist at the end putting the events of this movie between part 1 and 2 may be a little off putting to some but I liked it. Knowledge of knowing what was going to happen next. Tying up these three and with Gina Philips cameo and closing monologue. Am ecstatic over the prospects of a part 4. Giving this movie a 3.75 out of 5.