Those in search of some real answers following the recent string of Marvel's Disney+ series, will find "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" ("DSITMOM") to be a maddening experience indeed.
But as a sheer piece of blockbuster entertainment, this film delivers, with a wild, rapid pace and some of the best visuals ever created thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There are clearly some geniuses that work for Marvel Studios...but their collective effort seems unable to keep the MCU continuity from tangling itself up in giant knots, resulting in a truly dizzying - and increasingly tiring - exercise for the loyal viewers to take part in.
(Plot Spoilers to follow...you've been warned!)
Review: 'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore' a continuation of the worst film franchise spin-off maybe ever
If you live, eat and breathe Harry Potter, I still can't fathom a world where you would accept the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise as worthy of sharing the same film universe. Where the original Potter films were full of magic - both literally and figuratively speaking - the "Fantastic Beasts" film have been a flimsy rip-off since the get-go.
The cash-grab continues with the third film in the series, "The Secrets of Dumbledore," a film that not only doesn't live up to its title (what secrets???), but once again fails to hold a floating candle to any of the original Potter films.
Instantly in the running for one of the worst movies of 2022, "Big Gold Brick" does its best to squander it's several well-known actors, and succeeds.
More of a remix than a reboot, "Ghostbuster: Afterlife" definitely taps into the correct vein that made the original 1984 "Ghostbusters" such a roaring success, and such a beloved movie. It opens up the franchise for a new generation of kids, while simultaneously offering plenty for parents and old-school fans to chew on.
But while nostalgia alone might be enough for many who call themselves fans of "Ghostbusters," this latest effort is just another unfortunate reminder that, seemingly, there are no new ideas left in Hollywood. They've resorted to attempting to resurrect intellectual properties that are clearly dead and gone, literally relying on ghosts of the past to fuel their financial futures. In that spirit (pun intended), "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is running on fumes and is to the original "Ghostbusters" what "The Force Awakens" is to the original "Star Wars" film: A new cake baked from the same old ingredients.
(Minor spoilers to follow...minor! Promise!)
Since "Avengers: End Game" in 2019 and the pandemic that would follow, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been mostly a slow-burn...much of the excitement has shifted away from cinemas to at-home Disney+ series like "WandaVision," "Falcon & The Winter Soldier" and "Loki," with the MCU having started to set the stage for its "Phase Four." The only theatrical MCU film since "End Game" has been "Black Widow," a movie that chronologically took place back following the events of "Captain America: Civil War," so it feels like forever since the movies have actually propelled us forward in any major way towards whatever the MCU might have in store upcoming.
With "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," the Marvel origin-story formula is palpable, but while it fails to launch us forward into the teased "multi-verse" that we know is around the corner, it introduces one of the coolest, original characters the MCU has seen in quite a while: Shang-Chi. Unlike the TV shows that have introduced possible "new" versions of The Falcon, Captain America and Loki, Shang-Chi and the artifacts known as the "Ten Rings" feel fresh, and they open up new possibilities for the MCU at large.
"Nine Days" should be required viewing heading into the 2021 awards season. It has a slow, deliberate and contemplative pace, and deals with some complex themes, but unlike some other recent pretentious art films (cough cough "The Green Knight" cough cough), "Nine Days" is fully accessible to anyone with a soul.
Never in all my years as a film critic have I been so confident that the general public will despise a film as much as I predict they will despise "The Green Knight."
It's an incoherent mood piece, a jumble of themes and ideas that never coagulates into anything of substance...its repetitive score and desaturated motif is dripping with style but nothing else. In other words, it's the perfect vessel for film critics to laud as "high art," despite a guarantee that 99% of them who fancy themselves able to derive meaning from such sludge will also have no idea in hell as to what they just watched. It is...different...that's for sure, so it's applauded for its non-conformity.
Well I somewhat courageously declare that "The Green Knight" is cinema without soul. The best that it has to offer, I guess, is that it does at least answer that age old question: What does the fox say?
If you don't know your Flints from your Dukes, your Scarletts from your Lady Jayes, or your Snow Jobs from your Beach Heads, then you might overlook "Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins" as just another throw-away action-franchise wanna-be. But for fans of the original "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" cartoon series, this new film is packed full of content that will have you brimming with nostalgia-fueled joy.
Yes, despite the cold critical response it's received thus far, "Snake Eyes" could very well be the start of something special: A cinematic universe that at least has the depth of characters and storylines to eventually go toe-to-toe with Marvel, with albeit a smaller but much more fervent fan-base.
Director Alexandra Aja has made a career out of horror. Films like "Crawl," "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Piranha 3D" clearly show his skill as a growing master of the genre. With his latest film, "Oxygen" ("Oxygéne" as it's known by it's original French title), he leans more heavily into science-fiction while still flexing his usual muscles.
The result is the most effective movie to date that deals with the isolation, desperation and claustrophobia associated with the recent pandemic, even though "Oxygen" has nothing to do directly with it.
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.
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