Time travel films invite scrutiny, perhaps more than any other genre of film. One staple that nearly EVERY time-travel story always adheres to is that you are not to run into your past self. We all know this is a HUGE time-travelling no-no. To do so throws things way out of whack and could in fact fold the time-space continuum into itself, creating a paradoxical implosion that would end the universe as we know it. Or something like that, typically.
"The Adam Project" has a clever take: What if we just don't think so hard about all that time-travel logic? What if we just went on an adventure? It seems simple (and perhaps blasphemous to the diehard sci-fi geek), but throwing logic out the window would allow a person to not only run into their former self, but actually talk, chat, hang-out and even save the world together along with their mini-me.
That's the underlying premise of "The Adam Project," a film that by no means is a "good film," yet it has enough clever dialogue and meaningful moments buried within it to qualify as a passable, family-friendly time-travelling adventure...one that I'd bet will land successfully with kids and adults alike.
It occurred to me while watching "The Batman" that it doesn't really matter where the movie starts, where it ends, or what timeline it is adhering to. In some ways, I'd be totally OK with the character of Batman being treated somewhat like James Bond...each Bond movie is its own adventure, perhaps loosely connected to others or perhaps every once in a while acting as direct sequels to previous films. Different actors can portray the iconic character, with a parade of directors putting their unique spin on the franchise each go-around. As long as the familiar "musts" are included - the uttering of "Bond. James Bond," for example - each movie can push the envelope or tell its own story.
In many ways, Batman is even more suited for this sort of approach than James Bond or maybe any other character in film history. There are so many takes on the character in the comic book, from the "Zap! Boom! Pow" bright and corny 70s version to the dark and brooding "Dark Knight" popularized by Frank Miller in the early 1980s. The Rogues Gallery of iconic villains can act as a never-ending spring of antagonists for our hero, and there are enough side characters in the DC Universe to keep things going for another couple generations.
In that spirit, "The Batman" is as good as a Batman movie has ever been, or possibly ever can be. It might be jarring at first to accept yet another version of this character, in a previously unvisited timeline with yet another actor under the bat cowl, but if you accept this like a Bond film, where this movie isn't meant to connect to anything else and is simply a Batman story, then you will be floored by how effective this rendition can be.
It's no secret that video games have been done dirty on the big-screen over the years. Of them all (and I mean ALL), only "Sonic the Hedgehog" was able to make the jump in a way that not only honored the source material and became a fun cinematic experience. In a recent RottenTomatoes article, of 48 video game movies on the site, only FOUR of them had a "Fresh" rating (and three of those are quite questionable if you ask me).
"Uncharted" is the latest video game to take the plunge, and on the surface it seems to have a lot going for it. First, it's one of the highest-selling video games of all-time, having shipped more than 41 million units. It has a wealth of characters and stories to draw from, with four "main" games and a whole slate of spin-offs, books and comics. Since the game itself was an innovation in the way of cinematic story-telling, many have long thought that it was one of the most adaptable video games ever. Many games popularized the cinematic "cut scene" in-between side-scrolling video game action, but "Uncharted" WAS basically a playable extended cut-scene, where the action and the gameplay seamlessly melted into each other making for a unique and thrilling gaming experience.
I am tempted to just create a "Liam Neeson Movie" review template, where I could save my self time and trouble by simply inserting Liam's character name, occupation and co-stars into the review.
This Academy Award nominated actor seems completely content to fill his current schedule with one throw-away action flick after another. "Cold Pursuit." "The Commuter." "Honest Thief." "The Marksman." "The Ice Road." And now "Blacklight." All of them trying to recreate the success of Neeson's 2008 film "Taken," but none of them sticking the landing.
Apparently there is still a market for action thrillers starring a nearly 70-year-old man, and if any of these other aforementioned movies were up your alley, then most likely you'll also approve of "Blacklight."
In spirit, we need more female-led action films, but "The 355" is not worthy of the all-star cast of women it has assembled.
Fans are being asked to plug back into The Matrix franchise, nearly 20 years since the last two installments, "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" hit theaters just a few months apart back in 2003. The love story of Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) was at the heart of this ground-breaking film saga that mixed action with high-concept sci-fi and stunning visuals, returning over 1 billion (with a "b") at the box office for the trilogy.
Lana Wachowski returns to the franchise (sans her usual partner, sister Lilly) to give us a fourth chapter, "The Matrix Resurrections," a decidedly uneven but wildly ambitious return to the world of rogue programs, slow-motion bullets, steam-punk aesthetics, unabashed ass-kicking and endless sci-fi mumbo-jumbo. Its high-aiming philosophy works better than its action set pieces, but ultimately this is a mixed-bag reboot whose main themes get buried under a mountain of code.
Somewhere along the line, the "Kingsman" films stopped being fun.
When "Kingsman: The Secret Service" debuted in 2015, it was one of my favorite films of that year. It was a vibrant comic-book movie (of which it is based), but one meant for adults. It was surprising, violent, funny and cool...a spy-action-thriller that wandered close to satire, walking a line between James Bond danger and Austin Powers buffoonery. It kicked-ass. And its director, Matthew Vaughn (who ironically directed "Kick-Ass") was on a roll, having also hit a home run with "X-Men: First Class."
The sequel was inevitable, and when "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" came in 2017, I called it a "soul-crushingly disappointing sequel." It was not good...not good at all. It starred Elton John , which should pretty much cue you in.
Even still, I was cautiously optimistic for "The King's Man," a film promised as a prequel to the original movie. It was long-delayed, first scheduled to hit theaters in November of 2019 before being pushed back due to the pandemic and a bevy of other reasons. Over two years later, it's finally here, but this is one that should have been kept permanently on the shelf.
With great power (i.e. advanced knowledge of what happens) comes great responsibility (like not to reveal even the slightest spoiler).
Here's what I CAN say: "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is finally hitting theaters...it is the third full-length Spider-Man film featuring Tom Holland as Peter Parker...and it picks up where things left off at the very end of "Spider-Man: Far From Home," with the world discovering the real identity of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
***NO SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED IN THIS REVIEW, OTHER THAN WHAT IS SHOWN IN THE ALREADY RELEASED TRAILERS FOR THE FILM***
Who doesn't love Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot or Ryan Reynolds? Throw them all together however, and the individual flavors just don't mix.
"Red Notice" is a serviceable but forgettable action-comedy - directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who teams with "The Rock" for their third film together. Their previous two films are spiritual cousins to "Red Notice" - "Central Intelligence" and "Skyscraper" - movies that are light and implausible, that seem to want to drift by based on the sheer star-power of the actors involved, instead of offering up anything innovative to the genre.
Yes, the "Red Notice" cocktail of Johnson, Gadot and Reynolds may look delicious from a distance, but an ounce of "originality" is the missing ingredient that might have made it go down a bit smoother.
It was considered an odd choice by many, when director Chloé Zhao named "Eternals" her follow-up to her 2020 Best Picture Oscar winner, "Nomadland." Zhao - up until now - had only dealt in small, character-driven movies, so helming a massive Marvel movie didn't seem like the right fit. After watching "Eternals," you can definitely understand what drew Zhao to the film, but her lofty ambitions to bring truth and humanity to the sheer enormity of a comic book movie such as this ends up being a fool's errand.
"Eternals" is the largest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film to date in scope and aspiration, and that's why its failure on several fronts feels like such a colossal belly-flop.
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