Movies

Movies

Mon
30
Mar

Into The Woods Captivating, Creepy Trip Into The Weeds

The concept of getting various fairy tale characters to interact with each other in a shared universe is always an intriguing concept (if, not necessarily, a new one, as easily attested to by ONCE UPON A TIME and, even before that, with Bill Willingham's series, FABLES). In this Disney musical, the audience enjoys an interweaving of Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel, orbiting around an entirely new tale of the Baker and his wife who are out to lift a curse put on their family by a witch.

Fri
27
Mar

Beyond the Mask Genre-Crossing Cinematic Brilliance

Beyond the Mask Colonial America Historical Romance Action

BEYOND THE MASK is the brainchild of writer Paul McCusker, brought to cinematic life by director Chad Burns. This is McCusker's first official screenplay, and Burns has one other film to his credit, PENDRAGON: SWORD OF HIS FATHER. One wouldn't guess their recorded lack of experience by watching this film. I found it to be exceedingly well done, with nicely choreographed action, well-crafted believable conflicts, exquisite settings and a rousing score by Jurgen Beck.

As the film opens, we are introduced to William Reynolds (Andrew Cheney), an assassin in the employ of the East India Trading Company in the mid-1700s. He's had his fill of the business, however, and turns in his notice to his employer, Charles Kemp (John Rhys-Davies, ONCE UPON A TIME). Unfortunately for Reynolds, he knows too much about Kemp's plans for the fledgling colonies to be allowed to live.

Fri
27
Mar

Ferrell And Hart Are The New Wilder And Pryor In “Get Hard.”

Ferrell Hart Get Hard

Will Farrell is one of the funniest and talented actors to ever grace the Saturday Night Live stage, but I’ve found his big screen output to be a bit of a mixed bag. I laughed a lot at “Talladega Nights: The Story of Ricky Bobby” and his somewhat absurd yet semi-dramatic “Stranger Than Fiction” is one of my favorite movies to recommend. On the other hand, I saw more of the inside of my eyelids when I attempted to sit through “Step-Brothers” and “Semi Pro.” Kevin Hart is a very funny comedian, but the film version of his stand-up routine from last year was marred by poor editing. Could these two hilarious entertainers succeed together? For me, the answer was a resounding yes.
 

Thu
26
Mar

Vote for the Best of 2014

Best of 2014 Voting Begins

Hello readers! I know we're still just getting started for Critical Blast, but it's never too early to open up with a bang.

To that end, I'd like to introduce you to our first annual Critical Blast Awards -- and you get a vote! In the future, we'll have more categories, but for this year we're limiting ourselves to Best Movie, Best Television Series, and Best Actor (from each).

In an effort to prevent ballot box stuffing (as much as we can), the form below requires a Google+ account to participate. We look forward to your input. The polls will remain open through April 6th, 2015.

Sun
22
Mar

Peter Jackson's Last Tolkien-Dream Arrives on Blu-ray

Hobbit Five Armies Blu-ray Peter Jackson Tolkien Critical Blast

In comic books, we have this thing called "the fight scene." Some comics end up being nothing but an extended fight scene, skipping over story for wall-to-wall slugging it out.

With the end of THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, the great dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) was awakened. As THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES opens, Smaug has begun his attack on Lake-town, destroying all in his path. The humans who live there are left refugees, as Bard (Luke Evans) escapes the cell that imprisons him and tries to defend his crumbling and burning town with arrows, eventually succeeding with the enigmatic (and huge) Black Arrow and a makeshift bow.

Fri
20
Mar

Sean Penn Delivers A More Vulnerable Shoot 'Em Up Hero In "The Gunman"

"The Gunman" starring Sean Penn opens March 20, 2015.

“The Gunman” is a rare foray into an action-heavy role for Sean Penn, who wrote and produced the film as well. Directed by Pierre Morel, the man who surprised us all with the taunt and darkly comic “Taken” film (which spawned a perhaps ill-advised franchise starring Liam Neeson, who in turn cannot seem to escape that role now) this action thriller is well-crafted but feels very familiar.

Tue
17
Mar

Marvel to publish series set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens

From Newsarama:

Earlier this week Disney has announced via StarWars.com a new publishing intitiative that aims to bridge the gap between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Entitled Journey to The Force Awakens, the initiative will feature books and comics that tie directly into Marvel's ongoing Star Wars comic, and will be considered in continuity and canon.

The first title, entitled Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens - Shattered Empire #1 was also previewed on the site Friday, with the cover by Phil Noto.

Michael Siglain, director, Creative Franchise, Lucasfilm had this to say about the upcoming titles, “The filmmakers have a lot of surprises in store, and the hints and puzzle pieces in the publishing program will keep fans guessing until the film opens. Until then, let the anticipation — and the speculation — begin,”

The others titles in the program are as follows:

Thu
12
Mar

Major news about upcoming Star Wars movies!! Release Dates and More!

Variety posted some big news about upcoming Star Wars movies, including the title of next year's spin-off film and the release date for Episode VIII!

Disney and Lucasfilm have announced details of the upcoming “Stars Wars” films at its annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.

Rian Johnson has also been confirmed to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will hit theaters May 26, 2017.

Gareth Edwards’ upcoming standalone film, starring Felicity Jones, will be called “Rogue One.” The movie starts filming in London this summer and opens Dec. 16, 2016.

“Rogue One,” based on an idea by Oscar-winning vfx supervisor John Knoll, was written by “Cinderella” scribe Chris Weitz.

Kathleen Kennedy will produce the standalone film alongside Knoll, Tony To and John Schwartz.

Plot details of “Rogue One” are unknown.

Fri
06
Mar

Ginnifer Goodwin Gets Her Pixie Dust On in Disney's NeverBeast

Tinker Bell Pixie Hollow NeverBeast Ginnifer Goodwin Mae Whitman Disney

In Pixie Hollow, every fairy has a role. Fawn (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a fairy whose specialty lies with helping animals. But her big heart sometimes has her making dangerous decisions, underscored in the beginning of this film when we find she's been tending an injured baby hawk. Apparently hawks are the natural predators of fairies, and Fawn's attempt to return the baby to the wild results in near-catastrophe. As a result, she makes a promise to Queen Clarion (Anjelica Huston) that she will be more responsible.

Shortly thereafter, a green comet flashes by, one that returns every 900 and some odd years. Its glow awakens a large hibernating animal, who does strange things. When Fawn encounters the beast, there's an "Androcles and the Lion" moment that bonds them, and then she tries to learn everything about the creature's strange activities, which include building rock towers.

Thu
05
Mar

Burton and Depp's Chocolate Factory Less Dream, More Nightmare in 10th Anniversary Blu-Ray

Tim Burton Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Tenth Anniversary Blu-ray

I'm a Tim Burton fan. Flat out, I've loved everything of his I've seen, from the Michael Keaton BATMAN film through the black and white FRANKENWEENIE short. Even SWEENEY TODD is on my list of Burton masterpieces.

But until recently, I had not seen CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, which puts a slight dent in what I considered a perfect record.

If you've read the Roald Dahl book, or seen the slightly renamed Gene Wilder film WILLIE WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, then you may be somewhat taken aback by the deviations made in this version of the film. Oh, for the most part, it's the same story: Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) is a good kid from a poor family; Willie Wonka (Johnny Depp) agrees to open his mysterious factory to those who find hidden Golden Tickets; rotten kids from around the world make the cut; cue the Oompa-Loompas for every lesson learned as the rotten kids become victims of their own flaws.

Fri
27
Feb

He Lived Long and Prospered: Leonard Nimoy, 83

Leonard Nimoy 2015 Age 83 Spock Star Trek Critical Blast

Leonard Nimoy, star of stage and screen, and idol to millions of science fiction fans everywhere for his portrayal of the logical Vulcan, Spock, on STAR TREK, has passed away at age 83 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

There will be numerous articles appearing almost immediately detailing Nimoy's illustrious career. This isn't one of those. This is rather my personal remembrances of this actor, author, photographer and -- yes -- singer and musician.

Fri
27
Feb

Will Smith Regains His "Focus" In This Smart, Sexy Con Artist Caper

Focus opens in theaters 2/27/15.

Will Smith is an easy actor to like. He doesn't interrupt award shows pining for Beyoncé like some people we could mention. He hasn't had a major meltdown on the set or in public. He's gone about his film career about as well as any top drawing actor truly could and yet he hasn't really had a huge hit at the box office for some time, at least in my opinion—2008’s “Hancock” was the last Smith movie I really enjoyed. That's about to change.

Tue
24
Feb

Not-So-Horrible Bosses 2 Arrives on Blu-Ray

Horrible Bosses 2 Blu Ray Warner Brothers Jason Bateman Critical Blast

As I sit to watch Horrible Bosses 2, I remember the first one being pretty amusing. Jason Sudeikis was one of my favorite recent SNL members, Charlie Day is genius in It's Always Sunny in Philly, and who doesn't love Jason Bateman, the only (fairly) sane Bluth. It's this casting adoration that drew me to the first movie and made me return for the second. However, it IS a sequel. With trepidation, I hit play, knowing sequels are generally regurgitated humor posing as original wit.

The movie opens with the Clash singing Police on My Back, so at least we know someone involved has good musical taste. We jump right in with the lead trio having witty banter, an Austin Powers-seque visual penis gag and vaguely racist humor, that is a strong start so far and sets the tone. There will be no high-minded comedy hiding around here. If only they could shoehorn in a fart joke, we would be set.

Mon
23
Feb

Why Hollywood is Slowly Dying

Richard Reichel Why Hollywood is slowly dying Critical Blast

editorial by Dr. Richard R. Reichel

Hollywood and the entire United States are missing out on huge opportunities that not only could improve the entertainment industry, but greatly benefit our nation financially and add thousands of jobs.

Remember what happened to our automotive industry because of foreign imports? Something similar is occurring with America’s film industry. Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries are slowly but surely taking our movie and TV business away. China is rapidly building up a significant film enterprise.

In the U.S., California is no longer No. 1 for filmmaking. Louisiana does more production. California says it will triple its tax-credit dollars to $330 million, but this is too little too late.

Fri
20
Feb

First look at Jason Momoa as Aquaman (Where's Vinnie Chase?)

From Variety:

Aquaman has officially landed.

Director Zack Snyder tweeted the first photo of Jason Momoa as DC Comics superhero Aquaman on Thursday night.

Momoa, ex-star of “Game of Thrones,” will appear in Snyder’s upcoming film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as well as the future Justice League films.

In the DC comic books, Aquaman is the king of the seven seas, hence the poster slogan.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” hits theaters March 25, 2016.

Here’s the full photo:

Source: Variety

Fri
13
Feb

Kingsman: The Secret Service May Be The Best Dressed Action Comedy You'll Ever See

Kingsman starts 2/13/15.

My favorite moments as a film critic are the times when I take my seat at a theater and think, “Good grief, why on earth did I accept this review opportunity? This is gonna be awful!” And then I’m completely wrong and I couldn’t be happier. The first time I can really remember this happening was when I saw “Scott Pilgrim vs The World,” a film adaption of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Ameri-manga comic. I sat that mumbling to myself about how bad that movie was going to be, and by the time it was over I declared it the best thing I’d seen in years.

Thu
12
Feb

Ferran's Bird People Doesn't Quite Take Flight

Bird People on DVD Critical Blast

BIRD PEOPLE, directed by Pascale Ferran, is what I call a “boutique” movie: one that will appeal to a select audience, an audience that loves independent, off the beaten path foreign movies filmed outside the realm of traditional Hollywood style; movies that are thick on imagery and symbolism, have periods of no dialog to make you think, subtitles, and in which almost everyone smokes cigarettes.

BIRD PEOPLE centers on Gary Newman (Josh Charles), an American from Silicon Valley U.S.A. in France for business, and Audrey Camuzet (Anais Demoustier), a maid at the Hilton airport hotel Gary is staying at. Gary is burnt out and fed up with everything and, while staying in the hotel, comes to the realization that he’s done with it all and leaves his wife and his job. Audrey it seems is just as tired of the same old life she has too.

Thu
12
Feb

LEGO Wins Again With Justice League vs Bizarro League

LEGO DC SUPER HEROES JUSTICE LEAGUE VS BIZARRO LEAGUE CRITICAL BLAST

LEGO does it again with this humorous treatment of our favorite super heroes.

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS BIZARRO LEAGUE opens with an introduction to who Bizarro is and what his motivations are, as well as how Superman thought he had dealt with the simple-minded creature for good. But a year later, the Justice League -- Superman (Nolan North), Batman (Troy Baker), Wonder Woman (Kari Wahlgren), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Guy Gardner (Diedrich Bader), Plastic Man (Tom Kenny), Flash (James Arnold Taylor), Hawkman and Green Arrow (both voiced by Phil Morris) -- are up against Gorilla Grodd (Kevin Michael Richardson) and his mind-controlled crew of Giganta (April Winchell), Penguin, Deathstroke, and Captain Cold. This was a fun melee battle scene that brings in characters we've never seen in LEGO minifig version before, creating an immediate want in the market for some figures that don't exist yet. Genius! (Because I want my Plastic Man minifig!)

Tue
10
Feb

Internet Officially Blows-up! Spider-Man to debut in Marvel Cinematic Universe

You know, being a comic journalist is always a pretty fun gig...but then there are days you get to announce things like this, and it becomes the best job in the world:

 

Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced today that Sony is bringing Marvel into the amazing world of Spider-Man.

Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.

Tue
10
Feb

To Kink or Not to Kink

Kink Documentary Bondage BDSM

When I got the movie, my first thought was, “Well, I'm definitely not watching this in front of my parents!” Just look at the box adorned with a cat-o'tails and fuzzy handcuffs! I'm sure the average viewer runs screaming and innocent women swoon. Or do they? With the recent popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey and normalization of alternative sex ideas, it seems like kink interests are on the rise. The average housewife now knows all about the other uses of a necktie. With all that in mind and ensuring the youth of the household was safely tucked away in bed, I popped in the documentary, Kink, and buckled myself in.

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