Movies

Movies

Fri
18
Dec

Sisters - A Hilarious New Film from Comedy Masterminds Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

There are several emerging trends in current films that I’ve noticed – and many are trends I’m not fond of, such as rebooting old concepts (Another Batman movie but still no Wonder Woman or Black Widow?) and making single books into multiple movies (don’t even get me started on my rant). However, one thing I’ve noticed in recent cinema that I absolutely love is the rise of lady-driven comedies crushing it at the box office. Between Bridesmaids, Trainwreck, and a whole slew of Melissa McCarthy movies (Spy, Tammy, The Heat, and Bridesmaids again), those “but women aren’t funny!” trolls are running out of steam.

Mon
14
Dec

Star Trek Beyond Trailer Debuts (No Star-Lord Appearances)

Star Trek Beyond

Twenty years after the Captain of the USS Enterprise retires, young Terry McGinnis is recruited to...

What?

Oh. Let me start over.

Set to a rousing soundtrack of "Sabotage" by The Beastie Boys, the trailer for STAR TREK BEYOND comes across more like a music-video mashup than a movie trailer. It has a ton of intense action scenes and incredible jumps (both on foot and on wheels), highlighted by humorous one-liners. I half-expected Star-Lord to appear at any moment to help out.

So here it is -- the trailer for STAR TREK BEYOND. Let's hear your opinions on it.

Mon
14
Dec

Light the Fuse for Adventure with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Tom Cruise Critical Blast

The hunt is on for Ethan Hunt in the latest installment of the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise. With recent events in the IMF history, the CIA, headed up by Director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), is keen to have the force defunded and folded into CIA operations. But Hunt (Tom Cruise) is now personally involved in unmasking the existence of an anti-IMF team calling itself The Syndicate. No one believes that this Syndicate exists, and when Hunt is callled in, he goes to ground, becoming the CIA's most wanted.

When Hunt is finally ready to make a move against the Syndicate leader (Sean Harris), he needs to call in favors from his friends, Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) -- all of whom live under constant and intense scrutiny by the CIA for any chance that they might betray Hunt's location.

Fri
11
Dec

X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer

20th Century Fox has released the first trailer for next year's X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. I have enjoyed pretty much enjoyed all of the X-Men movies (even X-MEN: THE LAST STAND), and Apocalypse is one of my favorite comic villains. It's real early to judge, but I am not sure this trailer captures the character all that well. He totally looks like a villain from a Power Rangers episode.  X-Men: Apocalypse is set for release on May 27, 2016.


Fri
11
Dec

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA Is A Whale In Search Of Its Ahab

In The Heart of the Sea starts 12/11/15.

Call me Ishmael. No, wait, don’t do that. Ron Howard didn’t. With IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, Howard managed to make Moby Dick in full glory, creating a killer (no pun intended) whale that is almost as likeable as Godzilla. It’s a shame, though, because there’s just no reason not to make MOBY DICK. Howard decided to play it safe and make the story behind the story, the truth of which I would think would be pretty hard to verify. The film is based on a nonfiction book of the same name, detailing the misadventure of the Essex, a Nantucket whaler in the 19th century. I have no doubt that the Essex’s misadventure happened, the book was non-fiction, verified by various firsthand accounts in historical records, but the odds that it informed Herman Mehlville’s writing of MOBY DICK seem pretty long.

Wed
25
Nov

Trailer for Captain America: Civil War

Captain America Civil War Trailer

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is coming May 6, 2016, and we've got the first real trailer.  

Appropriately, I saw this on Stan Lee's website!   Thanks to the post-credits sequence for ANT-MAN, we already knew Winter Soldier was going to be at the heart of the Civil War conflict, and this trailer seems to lay out exactly how that will work.  We do get a glimpse of Black Panther in the trailer, but no sign of Spider-Man.   I loved both of the Captain America movies, so I am really looking forward to this.  Though I will say that THIS should have been the plot for Avengers 2.  I like Ultron, and James Spader was awesome, but it just seems strange that they are calling this movie "Captain America" when it features Iron Man, Black Widow, War Machine, Falcon, and Black Panther too.  Hopefully the marketing will clue the general movie goer in that "this is really an Avengers movie."

Fri
20
Nov

To Jesse Eisenberg: Why I write

Critics are in an uproar over Jesse Eisenberg’s scathing commentary on critics in the New Yorker.  In the column, he pretends to be an Internet reviewer who sums up his thoughts on a film he reviewed with:

In sum, these are the main problems with “Paintings of Cole”: it was inconveniently shown on the Upper West Side, written by a guy I envy, screened by a cute intern whose name was too confusing to remember, based on an idea that I poorly executed in grad school, and praised by the Times, which rejected me.

Fri
20
Nov

Thomas McCarthy's SPOTLIGHT Shines Bright As Oscar Season Arrives

SPOTLIGHT shines everywhere 11/20/15.

Thomas McCarthy is an actor, writer, and director with a couple of nice independent films under his directorial credits. With his latest film, SPOTLIGHT, he’s poised to be a household name, and almost certainly a name you’ll hear read aloud at the Oscars. The outstanding job he’s done crafting a story that by both default and historical accuracy require the film to be nothing more than a collection of talking head frames is so compellingly done, so engrossing, that it really makes my job difficult. I don’t want to tell you anything about it. I want you to see it for yourself. You need to see this film. Even the group that should be the most opposed to this film is very positive about it, and that’s the Catholic Church I’m talking about. Thomas McCarthy may just have directed a miracle.

Fri
20
Nov

The Odds Are Ever in the Favor of MockingJay Part II

Mockingjay 2 Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence Critical Blast Review

Before I discuss Mockingjay, I want to discuss something else. Bear with me. I have a point, I promise.

(Some spoilers for Twilight and Mockingjay Part 1. No spoilers for Mockingjay Part II)

There is an emerging trend in the YA books-turned-movies industry, and that is the final book in a series being made into two individual movies. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows started this trend, followed quickly by Twilight’s Breaking Dawn. And let’s not forget that awful strategic decision to take J.R.R. Tolkien’s 320-page classic, The Hobbit, and turn it into not one, not two, but three separate movies.  

Thu
12
Nov

Antonio Banderas Excellent In The Heroic Tale Of THE 33

THE 33 opens in theaters on 11/13/15.

I think the first movie that I remember being aware of Antonio Banderas was 1995’s ASSASSINS, with Sylvester Stallone. It certainly wasn’t the pinnacle of moviemaking, but it was fun for what it was. That became the Year of Antonio, as he starred in five other movies released that year: MIAMI RHAPSODY, DESPERADO, FOUR ROOMS, NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS, and TWO MUCH. Banderas hasn’t slowed down a whole lot, averaging at least a couple of films a year. From underappreciated gems such as THE 13th WARRIOR, the underrated FEMME FATALE, and the goofy but fun retro romp of THE EXPENDABLES 3, Banderas has always been fun to watch. THE 33, directed by relative newcomer Patricia Riggen, is another strong showing by the versatile Spanish star.

Thu
12
Nov

Disney Pixar Delivers Understanding of Personality from the INSIDE OUT

Inside Out Disney Pixar Amy Poehler Critical Blast RJ Carter

I was going to say that INSIDE OUT is not your average cartoon. But then, what Disney*Pixar film ever is? Rather, then, INSIDE OUT is not your average movie, period. It's subject matter is funny, easy to relate to, and completely captivating from beginning to end. However, on an even deeper level, INSIDE OUT is a film worthy of study for a college psychology course.

The majority of the film takes place in the mind of a prepubescent girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), where we meet our main characters: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). These are the core emotions Riley has, and their interactions form her young personality. However, there's an imbalance; Riley believes that she must be happy all the time for the sake of her parents, therefore Joy takes charge, and pushes Sadness to the fringe. After all, what good does Sadness bring? Who wants to feel that emotion?

Wed
11
Nov

The Spectre of Bond: Jeff and Chris Debate the Merits of the Latest Film in the Venerable Series!

James Bond Spectre debate Jeff Ritter Chris Delloiacono

The SPECTRE of Bond
by: Chris Delloiacono & Jeff Ritter

It’s time for the main event!

James Bond vs. Goldfinger?  Not today!

007 vs. 006?  See Goldeneye!

Blond Bond vs. Gary U.S. Bonds?  Uh, never!!!!

First, in the Bond corner, it’s Chris “Enjoys ‘em Shaken” Delloiacono!

Sat
07
Nov

The Peanuts Movie is an Instant Classic

GOOD GRIEF! The Peanuts are at it again! Once again Charles Shulz's beloved characters have been brought to life, this time in a feature-length film produced by Blue Sky Studios. Did it stay true to the core values of ole Chuck and the gang? Or was it made by a bunch of blockheads that don't understand the characters?

Let's find out!

 ^^^ THE PEANUTS MOVIE REVIEW ^^^

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you've seen the previews and are wondering if you should take the kids to see THE PEANUTS movie. Or perhaps you're wondering if it's worth dropping money on an animated film to capture an hour and twenty-six minutes worth of nostalgia for yourself.

I'm here to tell you that regardless of your reason for going, you won't be disappointed!

Sat
07
Nov

James Bond Mythos Marred By Soulless SPECTRE

SPECTRE cures insomnia in theatres Nov. 6, 2015.

If you’re a regular reader of my film reviews you know I have a weakness for spy movies. The flagship franchise, of course, is Ian Fleming’s Secret Agent 007, James Bond. Starting with Sean Connery in DR. NO, through George Lazenby (if he counts), Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and now Daniel Craig, the venerable series has had its ups and downs through the years. Sometimes campy, sometimes serious, sometimes just plain weird, the exploits of the most beloved spy in the world has always given me some level of satisfaction. That is, until now. With SPECTRE, the sequel to director Sam Mendes’ ultra-popular 2012 installment SKYFALL, the sky is indeed falling on 007. This is easily the worst James Bond film in the series and one of the worst films I’ve seen regardless of genre in years.

Fri
06
Nov

First Look at Disney, Burton's Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through Looking Glass Disney Tim Burton

In Disney’s ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Directed by James Bobin, who brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with ALICE IN WONDERLAND, the film is written by Linda Woolverton based on characters created by Lewis Carroll and produced by Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd and Tim Burton with John G. Scotti serving as executive producer. ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS reunites the all-star cast from the worldwide blockbuster phenomenon, including: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter along with the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall.

Mon
02
Nov

Look Out Gotham: Here Comes Batkid!

Batkid Begins Batman Make-A-Wish Foundation San Francisco

BATKID BEGINS isn't an overly lengthy documentary. However, it did take me several atempts to watch it. I blame a manufacturer's defect in the disc, that caused the image to go blurry after five minutes or so of watching it (and which somehow made everything else I looked at blurry as well until I wiped my eyes).

Okay, I admit it -- I'm turning into a lachrymose old softie in my old age. Part of it has to do that I have a young boy of my own now, and when I see stories like this it's easier to put myself into their roles.

The story centers on young Miles, a little boy diagnosed with leukemia. During his treatment, he ends up qualifying for the Make-A-Wish program, and his wish is to be the real Batman. Superhero wishes are things that Make-A-Wish has worked out in the past, but this time they decided to think big -- and transform San Francisco into Gotham City for a day.

Mon
26
Oct

STAR WARS ON TRIAL--The Blog Tour Charges Star Wars with Dumbing Down Science Fiction

CriticalBlast.com prosecutes the charge of STAR WARS dumbing down science fiction with the STAR WARS ON TRIAL BLOG TOUR

The charge is "STAR WARS has dumbed down the perception of science fiction in the popular imagination." Jeff Ritter of CriticalBlast.com represents the Prosecution. 

The very notion of STAR WARS being somehow responsible for “dumbing down” modern science fiction seems preposterous. Of course, the notion is not entirely objective—how does one quantify merit or mediocrity in art, which by its very nature is subjective? How does one quantify the tangible effect of a film from 1977, that wasn’t expected to do much business itself, has had on movies, television, video games, novels, graphic  arts, American and even global pop culture more than 30 years later? I’m sure somebody with a better mind for statistical analysis could find numbers to crunch in this regard, but I find it to be less of a matter of arithmetic and more of a matter of personal taste. Since I can only speak for myself, allow me to take you on a little flashback to the halcyon days of my youth.

Sat
24
Oct

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE Comes to Blu-ray and You Need to Own It!

In the past few weeks Paramount announced they were developing a remake of the THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.  Say what you want about all of the remakes cinema churns out these days, most of them are pale copies of the originals.  Occasionally, though, you get a film that’s of comparable quality or even superior to the original.  I don’t know what the future holds for the VALANCE remake, but I’ll tell you, if the producers make a film that even approaches the original, well, look out, there’s a spectacular film in the offing.

Tue
20
Oct

Heaven Adores You: A Documentary about the Life and Music of Elliott Smith

Heaven Adores You Elliot Smith

It’s impossible to write a review of a documentary about Elliott Smith without it becoming deeply personal.  That’s apt, because his solo career was one of deeply personal lyrics and the intimacy of a man alone with only his guitar.

            I was really interested in viewing this documentary because my knowledge of Elliott Smith was rather limited.  I knew he had a rough adolescence, played in a band prior to his solo act, and had committed suicide.  Also, I was aware that he was struggling with his fame from his career.  On the album EITHER/OR, he sings, “I’m so sick and tired of all these pictures of me/Completely wrong/Totally wrong.”

Tue
20
Oct

Few Faults with San Andreas

San Andreas Blu-Ray Dennis Russo Critical Blast Dwayne Johnson

SAN ANDREAS on Blu-ray and DVD is a non-stop action movie that takes place basically in San Francisco and areas along the…you guessed it, San Andreas Fault line.

There is not a lot of back story here, as the movie starts with tremors happening within the first couple of minutes. Then the basics of the story are revealed through a college classroom dissertation on seismic activity by Caltech Seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti), talking about the biggest earthquakes in history, and that it is more important than ever to be able to predict where they will happen to save lives. A young associate of the professor figures out how the tremor felt at the beginning of the movie could possibly predict a larger one by using the model they developed, and while testing it at Hoover Dam…well, I don't want to spoil things, but I bet you can guess what happens next.

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