Morgan Freeman will be a Civil Rights Lawyer for a…Talking Teddy Bear?: A-Lister Joins Ted 2

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Wow, this is some interesting news.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Morgan Freeman is joining Ted 2, the upcoming sequel to the comedy mega-hit about a magical talking bear and his owner, played by Mark Wahlberg. Freeman will be portraying a civil rights lawyer who assists Ted in a legal case concerning his rights as a stuffed and self-aware teddy bear.

This actually sounds absolutely hilarious and I’m excited that someone like Morgan Freeman is going to be sending himself up. I hope that there will a narrator battle between him and Patrick Stewart at some point. What makes me nervous is that I’ve seen the directions that comedy franchises have taken in recent memory. What that means is, I’ve seen The Hangover 2. Now, I don’t trust anything.

Good luck, Morgan Freeman and the cast of Ted 2. Make this a winner.

Ted told the story of John Bennett,  a normal kid who wishes that his new teddy bear would become real, and he gets his wish. 30 years later…

Ted 2 comes to life June 26th, 2015.

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The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

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Director: Marc Webb

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Chris Zylka

Screenplay: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves

136 mins. Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence.

 

I feel like I should describe the film I’m about to review, but to streamline and simplify the process by just having you watch Spider-Man. This film is little more than a carbon copy, subbing one villain in for another and one love interest in for another. I should point out that this is mostly a well-made movie, but the pacing issues really drag it down given the fact that we had seen all of this before.

The Amazing Spider-Man tells the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network, Never Let Me Go), a loser but a smart one at that. The only thing he seems to want in life is Gwen Stacy (perfectly casted with Emma Stone, The Help, Birdman). That, and to discover the truth behind his parents’ death. Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans, Notting Hill, The Five-Year Engagement) is the man who may hold some truth, but he is a bit too preoccupied with becoming a monstrous half-man/half-lizard hybrid.

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There is a lot of sameness to this film. Peter becomes Spider-Man. He fights the monster and tries to save those around him from certain doom. This plot is kind of boring for a regular superhero film at this point, but the fact that this is the second time it has been shown on film makes it all the more painful. If this first 90 minutes had been more brushed over, we could be enjoying ourselves a lot more, but this movie just drags. The subplot mystery surrounding Peter’s parents does help, but not enough.

I personally thought Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Spidey was less likable than I would’ve hoped for. Now Emma Stone was pretty likable. She was some damn perfect casting, as with her father, played by Denis Leary (Two if by Sea, Draft Day).

Then you have Curt Connors, a character who was merely cameos in previous Spider-Man films, and here he is in all the glory. And he is friggin’ creepy as The Lizard. Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) and Sally Field (Forrest Gump, Lincoln) are Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and give us solid performances given the unsolid scripting.

Now, from a cinematography standpoint, Marc Webb’s film has some very nice touches. The new costume for the masked hero is actually pretty nice looking. The ending was pretty awesome. I like that they are taking a page from Marvel to end on a note that not all is finished here. So the film does have some great moments, given that it is the same movie.

Now, I’m going to just state something. I hate comparing reboots and remakes to their predecessors. I don’t think it is fair as we have already had too much time to fall in love with the originals. It doesn’t offer up a fair fight, but then again, maybe that is the reason that we shouldn’t have remakes. It makes a good argument, but at the same time, I feel like some remakes are pretty damn perfect (John Carpenter’s The Thing and Peter Jackson’s King Kong to name a few). The problem with not comparing The Amazing Spider-Man to Spider-Man is that both films are so close in both exact plotting and timing that it is difficult not to. If you make a film right, it doesn’t have to be up for comparison. I never find myself comparing Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins to Tim Burton’s original Batman because both films have difficult tones and aim for different ideas.

So, when I come to a topic of comparison from a music perspective, I don’t want to compare the fun and upbeat feeling of Sam Raimi’s trilogy to the ominous toning of Marc Webb’s film. But I do, and the difference and preference keep me to the original.

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Now, this film was originally scripted as Spider-Man 4, and I don’t understand the reason to reboot. All the best parts of this film would’ve been made better by continuing the previous film. We already introduced Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3, so even planting Emma Stone in would’ve done fine enough. Curt Conners was already a character, so his introduction would’ve reduced the strained runtime. The mysetery around Peter’s parents would’ve injected some serious intrigue into the series. Even the open-ended finale would’ve translated perfectly. It just felt like a monetary decision (and it was) to push the reboot button, and we can tell.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

What did you think of The Amazing Spider-Man? Did this tale need retelling or where you experiencing deja vu?

The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is Haunting This Year…at some point!

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So I don’t really think that The Woman in Black‘s sequel, Angel of Death, has a true release date yet, but it is finally in post-production.

When I saw the original film, I thought it was pretty…okay. I liked it a lot originally, but after some time passed, I saw it as a lower-grade version of practically every other ghost story on film. Better than some, but not good enough for a sequel. Well, somehow I was wrong. The Angel of Death is on the way.

Below, you will find a trailer, let me know what you think. This one seems pretty damn…meh.

The original Woman in Black tells the story of a lawyer assessing property before discovering that one house in particular houses more than just dust.

Joan Rivers Passes Away at 81

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Sad news for star-gazers today…we lost Joan Rivers.

According to reports, Rivers passed away during an operation after going into cardiac arrest. She was admitted to Mt. Sinai Hospital earlier this week leading up to her death today at 1:17 PM.

While I didn’t always agree with Rivers and oftentimes I didn’t pay much attention to her doings, Joan Rivers was absolutely important in influencing in the world of women’s comedy. She brought us to a completely different area from a comedy standpoint, a fashion standpoint, just all around important to our culture.

I’ll say it right now, the most important thing I will remember her for is the portrayal of Dot Matrix in Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs. What a great film.

Joan Rivers, you will be missed.

The Rock is Black Adam in New DC News!

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So, I really know very very little of the DC world outside of the biggies: Superman & Batman. So when it was announced that Dwayne “The Rock as in ‘Can You Smell What the Rock is Cooking’ Yeah That Rock” Johnson would be portraying Black Adam in an upcoming Shazam! film, I was thinking, “oh, okay then.”

But, apparently, this is somewhat big news. Sure. Black Adam (and I should point out that the title of this 1940’s character is in reference to his black costume, like Green Lantern, RedBlue Superman, or Boobs Wonder Woman, and not anything else; others on the internet were fairly uncertain) is a big name enemy or anti-hero in the Shazam! world. He originally appeared in the 40s but then was dispatched fairly quickly only to be resurrected some 30 years later and become a major force against Captain Marvel and eventually the entire DC Universe. I didn’t know this before today. So yeah, folks, The Rock is now a part of the DC Universe, which hinges pretty heavily on how awesome or God-awful the new Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie is.

What do you think? Is DC making the right moves here or are they exiling themselves before they even get moving?

I Just Discovered the Trailer for The Pyramid and Have Feels

Wow. I’m a little shocked that this movie slipped under my nose. I am a big fan of Alex Aja, the producer of this film. I dig monster movies over most other horror films, usually because they are more difficult to pull off. I just need other people to see this trailer and have an argument with me about whether or not this will be any good. Check out the trailer below:

And here is the poster:

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I can already give this film mad props (yeah, I said it) for going somewhere that we as horror fans haven’t been in some time. And don’t say The Ruins did it, because that film is total bullshit.

Anywho, what did you think? This has potential. And what of its December 5th Release Date? Are we seeing a new dumping ground for horror movies now that January is full? Talk amongst yourselves.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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Director: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

Screenplay: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman

121 mins. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.

 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe just keeps on getting bigger. Each film just seems to open up the world a bit more, and with Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn just blew the lid off the whole thing. This movie is huge, epic in scale, absolutely opening doors to further adventures both for these heroes and a whole lot more.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the story of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, Her, Jurassic World) aka Star Lord, an Earthling kidnapped from his home many years previously by aliens. Peter steals a mysterious orb from Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2). Ronan wants it back, badly. Peter joins up with several other degenerate thugs to protect it. Among them is daughter of Thanos, Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Avatar, Out of the Furnace), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista, Riddick, The Man With the Iron Fists), a walking and talking tree named Groot (Vin Diesel, Fast & Furious 6, Babylon A.D.), and a talking genetic raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper). Together, they form the loosely fitting title of the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

First of all, I just want to point out that Chris Pratt takes a commanding lead of this colorful cast of characters. He controls the film and doesn’t falter under any pressure carrying us along. I’ve been saying for a while that Pratt is going somewhere. This film proves it.

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Zoe Saldana is such a beauty; I will never understand why every damn movie has her suiting up in CG of makeup, but the performance here doesn’t suffer, mostly because Saldana requested to wear light makeup so as not to mess with her ability to act. Gamora is a tough character to knock down. Through her relationship with father Thanos (last seen in 2012’s The Avengers in a cameo appearance) and sister Nebula (Karen Gillan, Oculus), she probably has the most connections to tie us into the MCU.

I was actually fairly shocked by Dave Bautista as Drax. I see a former wrestler-turned-actor in a lineup and assume the worst, but that is because more often than not, I am right, but Bautista doesn’t hold us down. He serves the tough guy purpose nicely, and he has a heart in there; the glimpses are just enough to connect to the audience.

Vin Diesel’s Groot is the breakout performance of this film. With three words and seemingly endless permutations, Groot is the source for a lot of the heart and soul of the picture, and his relationship with Rocket is a beautiful thing.

The Collector (Benicio del Toro, Snatch, Inherent Vice) was introduced to us in the post-credits sequence for last year’s Thor: The Dark World, and he serves the purpose of really expanding the Marvel universe. Apart from having the subtle nuances to complete with the other major players, The Collector delivers a lot of big game info in his small role, like the Infinity Stones, certainly something to learn about for future features all over the verse (wait, was that the cube?), as well as giving us some nice cameos of perhaps some future Marvel players (not all, but dammit, enjoy the post-credits scene for what it is).

Now, I did have criticisms for the film. For example, Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser is a somewhat generic villain, very much alike to previous Marvel fare. We as the audience wanted more of Thanos that we didn’t really get. At least the film served a purpose of reminding us that he isn’t really an endgame. Not to mention the fact that the ending builds to a less-than-stellar face-off that could have been used earlier for better effect.

The nicest thing we could be given for this film is that we didn’t have a lot of it ruined by the trailer. More films should take a page from Guardians of the Galaxy and understand that a trailer can be made up of non-feature material.

Before I end this off, I want to point out how impressed I was by Gunn’s choice of soundtrack and how much it actually, surprisingly works. Give it a listen and let it pump you up.

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Guardians of the Galaxy was a Marvel Studios test, and it works. Producer Kevin Feige wanted to see it fans would turn out for some of the more cosmic, out-there characters that Marvel has to offer. And we did. And we loved it. I think you will too.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy? Did this ship take you places or crash land on a strange and disappointing planet? Tell me!

 

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