If you were a kid in the 90s, there's a great chance that your parents did not let you anywhere near the "Mortal Kombat" video-game. The game alone, with its ultra-realistic graphics, excessive violence and its patented "fatalities" end-moves sparked a national debate on video-game violence and led to the creation of a video-game ratings system that is still in use today.
In other words, it was super bad-ass. "Mortal Kombat" was the bloody cousin of the neutered "Street Fighter" franchise, and it has since grown into one of the most massive, successful video-game properties of all-time, spawning more than 20 game versions, a 1995 film (and it's horrible 1997 sequel) and now this 2021 movie incarnation.
Like it's big-screen predecessor, the new "Mortal Kombat" knows its audience and in that vein, it delivers what's expected. If you were offended then, you'll most likely be offended now, and if you're new to the whole thing, you probably won't think that this is anything all that special at all, given that blood, gore and violence have become pretty mainstream across all mediums, since the "Mortal Kombat" video-game debuted back in 1992.
Many are describing "Voyagers" as "Lord of the Flies" in space, because that's the quickest and most effective way to describe what it's all about. But despite the talented young cast and a sleek, futuristic look, "Voyagers" drifts a little too far away from relevancy.
"Director's cuts" are not a new concept...as far back as Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush," filmmakers and auteurs have tinkered and fiddled with previously released versions of films, trying to perfect their original visions, right wrongs of the past, or undo the meddling of those pesky movie studios who apparently are only in business to feverishly attempt to suppress creator's masterpieces.
In case you're not on Twitter, "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (coming Thursday, March 18th exclusively to HBO Max) is not your average "director's cut" of a film, and actually has quite the story behind it. It's not a vanity project. It is in fact, a labor of love and an example of unfinished business being made whole.
But let's not bury the lead, for those reading this in wild anticipation: This is a vastly improved film compared to the 2017 version. The new film - at over 4 hours!!! - is somehow a more focused and centered film than it's 2-hour-long predecessor. In other words, "Zack Snyder's Justice League" will be a direct smash hit with its target audience...but to the rest of the world, it will present itself as a mountain perhaps too steep to climb or worse, an effort in futility.
There might not be two bigger, brighter stars than Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley. Both are now household names, Holland after becoming the latest cinematic-version of Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Ridley becoming Rey, the newest force who carried the weight of a galaxy on her shoulders in the recent Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII and IX). Matched with respected action director Doug Liman ("Edge of Tomorrow," "The Bourne Identity") and placed in an award-winning Young-Adult Science Fiction universe, the main question going into "Chaos Walking" had to be: What could go wrong?
More than you could imagine, would be the answer. However despite being stuck in production hell for nearly five years (more on that in a bit), the two bring just enough clarity to what is otherwise a messy, noisy misfire...that could have been a lot worse.
Female protagonists in Disney animated films have come a long way. It's been 84 years since Snow White awaited a Prince's kiss to awaken her from a cursed slumber. The tales themselves are a far cry from their "snow white" roots, with modern adventures focused on diversity, people of color and those that have far too long been under-(or mis-)-represented throughout the history of cinema.
The impressive "Raya and the Last Dragon" is Disney Animated Studios' 59th feature film to be released theatrically, and one thing has remained the same since the beginning: Disney has pushed the envelope with its animation techniques and style, and "Raya and the Last Dragon" is the most beautifully, brilliantly rendered animated film dare I say in the studios' history.
And while the story-lines - many borrowed or adapted from existing fairy tales or legends - have admittedly played it safe with the Disney formula over the past century, this latest animated entry feels fresh and inspired, possessing that Disney charm that makes it feel like its destined to be a classic, with ever-relevant themes that speak to the issues of today just as potently.
The classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters are given the live-action film treatment in the new "Tom and Jerry" (in theaters and streaming on HBO Max).
But fans of the overly-violent frenemies will be left shaking their heads at just how uninspired their new "big-screen" adventure is, and how some things are better off left alone.
As stiff and robotic as the cyborg he portrays, Anthony Mackie is not able to save "Outside the Wire" from itself.
to Gal Gadot is back in what is clearly the most highly-anticipated film of 2020. Much of that anticipation built during the pandemic, when "Wonder Woman 1984" found itself delayed from its original June 5th release date, to August 14th, then to October 2nd, and finally landing on Christmas Day. It was the last and only superhero movie still standing, as other films such as "Black Widow" were pushed off of the 2020 calendar completely.
Even its Christmas Day release was in jeopardy, with many expecting that it would move yet again with COVID cases continuing to climb across the country. But that's when Warner Bros. made the bold move to not only keep "Wonder Woman 1984" in theaters, but to simultaneously release it on HBO Max, a move that has since shaken up the entire movie industry.
Well, it pains me to report that we should be careful what we wish for. While many might be thrilled just for the chance to watch a superhero movie on the big-screen once again, I sure wish there was a better one for us to experience. "Wonder Woman 1984" is a mess of a film - several steps worse than the 2017 effort - and dare I say one of the worst movies of 2020.
"Monster Hunter" has a plot and characters only a video game from the early 2000s could respect. This is a movie so stupid, that by the time the talking cat pirate shows up, you won't even think twice.
Paul Greengrass does not make dull movies. Call any film in his filmography what you want - from his three "Bourne" films to "22 July" to "Green Zone" to "United 93" to you name it - but they are full of action and drive. "News of the World" definitely fits into the Greengrass film canon, with a stellar performance by Tom Hanks leading the way. But while Greengrass's latest effort is far from dull, it's also a bit too hollow to rank among his best work.
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