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Marvel Provides Info on ‘Captain America 3: Civil War’ and ‘The Avengers: Infinity War’ Parts 1 and 2

Marvel Provides Info on ‘Captain America 3: Civil War’ and ‘The Avengers: Infinity War’ Parts 1 and 2

Marvel Provides Info on ‘Captain America 3: Civil War’ and ‘The Avengers: Infinity War’ Parts 1 and 2

Marvel’s upcoming movie slate continues to be worked out. The latest news brings the new Captain America 3 film title and also the unveiling that the third Avengers movie will not actually be the last in the planned trilogy but rather a Harry Potter/Hunger Games style film that is to be divided into two movies. Shocking! That is an original idea Marvel. I’m glad you came up with it. I am sure that it is only with the intent of providing the best possible experience creatively for those behind the project and nothing to do with money. That’s refreshing. Here is the full slate now, as provided by Deadline:

Here’s Marvel’s updated release slate:

May 5, 2015 – Avengers: Age Of Ultron
July 17, 2015 – Ant-Man

May 6, 2016 – Captain America: Civil War
November 4, 2016 – Doctor Strange

May 5, 2017 – Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (previously July 28, 2017)
July 28, 2017 – Thor: Ragnarok
November 3, 2017 – Black Panther

May 4, 2018 – Avengers: Infinity War – Part I
July 6, 2018 – Captain Marvel
November 2, 2018 – The Inhumans

May 3, 2019 – Avengers: Infinity War – Part II

 

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‘Whiplash’ Movie Review: JK Simmons Pushes Miles Teller Past His Limits

‘Whiplash’ Movie Review: JK Simmons Pushes Miles Teller Past His Limits

‘Whiplash’ Movie Review: JK Simmons Pushes Miles Teller Past His Limits

What does it take to be great at something? In his book, “Outliers,” author Malcolm Gladwell posits it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. He references the Beatles played gigs all over London and a young Bill Gates spending his youthful downtime tinkering with supercomputers he just happened to have access to by way of circumstance. Hell, by Gladwell’s measure, you’d think Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” would be the Wilt Chamberlain story.

Though the old adage is “practice makes perfect,” coaching and mentorship also play an incredible part in individual achievement, as any sports fan can attest. A great coach takes the talent of his/her players and is able to maximize their ability through scheme and training.  With the right leader, a band of misfits can be turned into world-beaters as depicted in so many sports films. Of course, the mentor/mentee relationship requires equal amounts of talent as any anti-fan of the Oakland Raiders would be happy to tell you. Their carousel of wrong coaches paired with wrong players will never make a right, yet they keep trying anyway, god bless ‘em.

“Whiplash” is really just a sports film where the athletic feats are performed by young musicians attempting to lure their instruments into creating a harmonic noise. Yes, I feel about jazz the way your grandfather feels about rap music. But music is not the point of “Whiplash.” It’s about the abuse one is willing to endure in order to achieve promised greatness.

Contrary to what the title may have you believe, the film is not a misguided confederate sequel to “Django Unchained” following the Brittle brothers’ request for revenge. Instead, Andrew (Miles Teller) is a first-year drummer at a music conservatory who aims to achieve his dreams of being the next Charlie Parker (if you’ve never heard of Charlie Parker before, this movie will provide you with an education through repetition of the name, that he was a great jazz drummer). In order to reach such heights, Andrew hopes to be taken under the wing of Terrance Fletcher (J. K. Simmons), the school’s studio band instructor. Imagine Gny. Sergeant Hartman training soldiers to tune instead of torture and you have a good idea of Fletcher’s demeanor.

Whiplash pic

“I should bang chicks, not drums.” Miles Teller’s Andrew sits before his drum set in ‘Whiplash.’

Fletcher abuses his members more than a teenager post-masturbation discovery, but saves a special brand of slapping, screaming, belittling and bullying for the kid with the drumsticks. If Fletcher was teaching at a military musical conservatory, Andrew would be Private Pyle of Shit (which I didn’t know they stacked that high). Andrew’s father (Paul Reiser in a thankless role that’ll receive accolades purely because it’s Paul Reiser) recognizes the abuse, but is powerless to keep it from happening. He doesn’t seem to understand Andrew’s drive to be a jazz drummer, which is perhaps why Andrew is so keen on winning Fletcher’s approval, even if it’s inherently impossible. As Fletcher tells him at one point, “the two most harmful words in the English language are ‘good job.’” I’d have suggested “q*eer n*gger,” but in the character’s mind, praise is far worse than hate-speech.

Writer-director Damien Chazelle throws in a little subplot about Andrew and a budding relationship with Nicole (Melissa Benoist), which he eschews in order to concentrate fully on his drumming, afraid she’ll be a hindrance to him reaching his goal (this is the part where if the movie was about rap music I’d quote Jeru Da Damaja’s “Me or the Papes,” “Ain’t no fiends/ coming in between/ me and my dreams,” but I fear Andrew knows as much about this line as I do Charlie Parker’s hits). This is a theme ripe for a film of its own. Though this story exists solely in the shadow of Fletcher and his tyrannical timpani, Chazelle dares to display what so many filmmakers shy away from in the form of an actualized “ask her out” scene. No punches were pulled, as he (and his characters) would continue to show throughout the rest of the film.

Teller is an actor who’s gained steady esteem since I first saw him in a small role as the supposed cool guy in the eternally amoral “Project X.” His rise is certainly not uncalled for as he apparently trained for two months to become a competent enough drummer to pull off the close-ups Chazelle required. His dogged determination mirrors his character’s drive. Chazelle lets his actor show off the acrobatics he’s acquired, allowing us to marvel at both he and the character. Even then, with Fletcher in the mix, it’s the musical equivalent of Paul Dano having a tete-a-tete with Daniel Day Lewis. Simmons embodies the larger-than-life monster that is Fletcher with a rage unseen since perhaps Daniel Plainview mined the west of black gold.  His clothes and shirt and bald head give the sense that his body was tuned tightly, probably by his asshole (which of course is his personality). His is the more demonstrable role, though Chazelle ensures Teller gets to be better than a board and hit back. It’s a marvelous mano a mano, with the performances serving to ratchet up tension throughout.

The story of an abusive mentor/mentee relationship is certainly well-worn in cinema. Chazelle just happens to dress it up in a unique world. However, the execution is anything but well-worn. The film is crafted with a precision of which Fletcher himself would approve. Though the film seems to take a cue from “Return of the King” and end a few different times, the final ending proves to be the most satisfying.

An affinity for jazz music probably won’t be the takeaway, but neither was it the intent. Instead, there’s a respect for the skill involved in order to play those instruments. The talent it takes to make art. This is only Chazelle’s second credit, so he undoubtedly has a long way to get to the 10,000-hour mark. However, from the looks of it, he may hit mastery level before he gets there. Must’ve had a really good teacher.

 

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‘Gone Girl’ Review; Fincher’s Latest Confounds In More Ways Than One

‘Gone Girl’ Review; Fincher’s Latest Confounds In More Ways Than One

‘Gone Girl’ Movie Review; David Fincher’s Latest Confounds In More Ways Than One

One of the drawbacks of writing movie reviews is that as time passes the way a movie is perceived often changes and often times, with multiple viewings the nuances and quality of a movie come to light or not. Unfortunately, for review writing and for watching most movies in general, we do not have the benefit of time usually, as we see a movie once and write about it shortly or immediately thereafter. Details gain or become lost; the way a movie feels changes. I suspect, having now waited well over a week since I have seen David Fincher’s Gone Girl, all of the above will apply.

Admittedly I didn’t know what to expect going into Gone Girl, having never read the book (of the same name upon which it is based), and the trailers didn’t provide much to get excited about as far as I was concerned. My faith was placed in the director and to a lesser extent, it’s stars, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Gone Girl is about a the disappearance of Pike’s Amy Dunne, the wife of Affleck’s Nick, and primarily about whether or not Nick was guilty of the crime. However, the movie reveals more about how information is perceived, relayed and messages are distorted. It’s as much about the media and human emotion as it is about the whodunit aspects of the story.

 

Gone Girl pic

Who’s real and who’s fake? Anyone? Bueller?

The story is told in real-time with flashbacks or cut-to’s. If I gave away more information I might be spoiling an important part of the story. There are varying perspectives on the events and the families involved. Betrayal, revenge, guilt, tyranny, power, failure, jealousy, etc…all of these emotions come into play in the film. Nick must hire a high-powered attorney Tanner Bolt, shockingly well played by Tyler Perry, to deal with the fallout. His is one of the most pitch perfect performances in the film.

Gone Girl is a drama, a murder mystery and a thriller on the surface. There is a lot more going on underneath it all. At the same time, I couldn’t help but have the feeling of being a little let down based upon the quality of talent involved. It was a story well told, one that was cold and sinister, something Fincher is exceptional at, but I couldn’t help but feeling that there should have been more. Whether it was missing entertainment, thrills, chills or something, I felt like a good movie could have been great or exceptional. Perhaps upon my slam dunk repeated viewing(s) at some point down the road, I will come to the conclusion that it was all that and some.

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‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Movie Review: Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt Battle Alien Forces

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Movie Review: Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt Battle Alien Forces

Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt Battle Alien Forces In Summer’s ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

Edge of Tomorrow promises science fiction smarts, audacious and exciting visuals and a challenge to the minds of general audiences over the age of 13. With the citizens of Earth at war and in a fight for its very existence with alien forces, Edge ramps up the usual war angle and throws in a time-warping twist to the proceedings. What results is summer entertainment of a quality order, one that it’s star, Tom Cruise, has not seen for some time. If you think of Oblivion when coming to see Edge, think again then start your thought process over.

Edge sees Cruise’s Cage, a military man who’s never fought, trapped in a warp where he joins fresh recruits for a battle with aliens for Earth’s survival. This war with the aliens, however, is doomed to fail as Cage soon discovers. But Cage has a special blend in his blood that sees him reliving the same day over and over again. Think Groundhog Day, which is the natural comparison. His bad dream becomes the key to possibly winning the war, but will require the ultimate sacrifice on his behalf.

edge of tomorrow pic

Cruise wouldn’t mind rolling, lighting and smoking Blunt in ‘Edge.’

Cage meets Rita (a fetching, but tough Emily Blunt), the ultimate war-fighting heroine who happens to have had a similar blood affliction in the past. They form an underground alliance in order to try to win the war without anyone (the military authority in particular) being the wiser. Alas, things do not go as planned, naturally. Writer Christopher McQuarrie, best known for penning The Usual Suspects, manages another mind-bender and shows off his versatility with this futuristic, war-related piece.

Swingers and The Bourne Identity director Doug Limans’s Edge of Tomorrow displays flair, humor and originality throughout its two hour runtime. Cruise and Blunt share surprisingly palpable chemistry despite the fact that they barely know each other in the film’s context. Edge is at times heart-breaking, humorous and humiliating (to it’s lead any way). The sci-fi fantasy does a good job at keeping the viewer’s interest and playing out to a satisfactory end. This deserves your attention at some point.

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One Sheets This Week: MPAA Banned ‘Sin City 2′ Eva Green Poster, ‘Filth’, More!

One Sheets This Week: MPAA Banned ‘Sin City 2′ Eva Green Poster, ‘Filth’, More!

One Sheets This Week: MPAA Banned ‘Sin City 2′ Eva Green Poster, ‘Filth’, More!

This week we deliver a bit of controversy to you in what is usually such a clean and fun (semi)weekly post. The MPAA has banned the use of an Eva Green movie poster for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in which she wears a suggestively thin garment. You can see for yourselves what all the hub-bub is about. Additionally, we bring you more Sin City gal looks, poster film art for Filth, from author Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting), As Above, So Below and Jeremy Renner’s starrer Kill The Messenger. Hope this will set your movie weekend off just right and thanks to IMPAwards for the drops. Enjoy.

Sin City 2

Alba Sin City 2

Eva Green Sin City poster

Kill Messenger one sheet

As Above So Below poster

Filth one sheet

Filth poster

McAvoy Filth

 

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Movie Review: Hip-Hop Documentary ‘Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap’ (2012)

Movie Review: Hip-Hop Documentary ‘Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap’ (2012)

Movie Review: Hip-Hop Documentary ‘Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap’ (2012)

In the documentary, The Art of Rap, long time, legendary gangster(a) rapper Ice-T attempts to do what might be impossible, dive into the understanding of rappers and their art form. Most notably, T tries to get MCs to explain how they approach the craft of writing their raps. This, in many ways, seems like an effort in futility and that is borne out in the documentary itself.

T, a legend in his own right, who has been around since the very early 80’s, is not known for his rapping to many in the modern day. He is known as an actor. Interestingly, he was never really known much for wordplay and artistry in his raps, but more so for causing controversy and pushing boundaries. This makes him a questionable man to take on this task on the surface. But alas, the man, in his mid-50s these days, has a track record in the industry and obvious clout and contacts that few others could parallel. So as T begins his journey to discovery on the East Coast, most notably skipping throughout various NY boroughs, his ability to reach influential people comes into play.

Ice-T spits fire off the top of the dome (perhaps).

T talks to originators in the game, from Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel, to more well-known artists to many, like Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. The various interviews take place in people’s homes, studios, on the street, wherever T can grab a minute of their time. In the end though, that’s all this usually amounts to, a minute or so of somebody answering a question and then diving into a (often well written) freestyle rap. True information and insight is at a premium, but braggadocio and the N word is not. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a lot of this, just because it is always good to take a trip down memory lane for someone who has knowledge of the game stretching back to T’s (that’s not bragging, but fact BTW). Still, there wasn’t much “insight” into creation of the art form and rap writing itself. Yes, we “witness” Caz penning a rap and it’s about as thrilling as it sounds. I do that shit on my own time, with my own mind, drop dimes while hitting dimes with sick lines. (Copyright 2014, this author.) See, its really not all that fun.

When T takes it to Detroit for his sole stop outside of LA or NY and meets up with Eminem and cohort Royce, there was actual slight insight into answering the question of how writing takes place and the creative process, but really still nothing that will blow you away and feel like info was revealed and now you too can become an MC or at least have a greater understanding of what it takes to do it. It’s mostly gladhanding, vague answers and the ever-present freestyle from almost every MC interviewed. These are fun, but not much into delivering on the promise of the premise. For real hip-hop fans there is value here with some amusing lines dropped and surprise appearances in some unexpected places. For instance, a few NY MCs are interviewed in LA and its funny that almost all NY MCs rock a Yankee fitted and LA heads rep similarly for their coast. But for the casual filmgoer or doc seeker, you probably won’t get much out of it. I prop T up for going into the project full bore and getting numerous names to speak up on the topic (relatively speaking) but in the end it doesn’t add up to much. That’s real game, bitches.

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Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis & More Stars in ‘Third Person’ Movie Trailer

Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis & More Stars in ‘Third Person’ Movie Trailer

Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis & More Stars in ‘Third Person’ Movie Trailer

Director Paul Haggis, who brought us the Oscar-winning multi-story yarn Crash, returns with another intertwining tale starring Liam Neeson. Third Person as its called, follows three love stories spread out over Rome, Paris and New York. The actors who had to stay in America were presumably pissed off at not being able to film in the luxurious cities abroad. Alas, though I haven’t been able to confirm, it appears Neeson is a writer who pens these tales and that the multitude of other actors are said characters brought to life. That is a guess. Anyway, this idea makes sense given the title. The film looks interesting, kind of a cross between Mereilles botched 360 and Haggis’ Crash, mixed with any number of films that have worked the idea of author with characters coming to life. It debuted at Toronto last year but will release this year into cinemas. Enjoy.

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Exclusive: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Script Live-Read Breakdown

Exclusive: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Script Live-Read Breakdown

Director Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” Script Sees Light Via Live-Read: A Breakdown

Like a kid marking the calendar on December 26th awaiting next Christmas, the moment you anticipate the release of Quentin Tarantino’s next film is the moment you leave the theater after his most recent one. Since 2004’s “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” the man’s been on a streak of debuting a new film every two to three years. So, when he revealed some tidbits on “The Tonight Show” back in November about his new script being “a Western,” it served as a nice base-layer of appetite-whetting you knew was coming down the pike relatively soon.

Unfortunately, the dreams of desire were dashed in January when the Western he’d written, called “The Hateful Eight” leaked online. He had given it to some close actor friends and was justifiably furious at the betrayal before he bestowed his latest project upon the world in fully-fledged form. He vowed to never make it into a movie and mused that he would perhaps just publish it and let that be that and move on to the next thing.

To say the least, I found the news distressing. As if the Grinch had not only stolen Christmas before it happened, but potentially put the kibosh on the holiday for another several years. Even though the ability to peek at your present existed in the form of the available online document, I resisted. It would only make God (Tarantino) cry. I was resigned to be happy to read the script when he published it and I could lend my support through purchasing what he had legally put out there on his own volition.

Then, a few weeks ago, it was announced Q.T. was going to do a one-time-only live reading of “The Hateful Eight” in downtown Los Angeles. Christmas, albeit in a different form, was back on the calendar.

Let me break this down like a 1997-era Kurt Russell and Jonathan Mostow.

The live-read was held on Saturday, April 19th, at 8:00 p.m. in the theater of the Ace Hotel. Thousands of people attended. I sat in Row L of the Orchestra section, smack dab in the middle of line of seats, making any luckily-unnecessary quick evacuation impossible. I noticed Harvey Weinstein a few rows ahead of me. Some fiendish woman waved her arms wildly at Elvis “The Graying Predator” Mitchell as he took the stage to introduce the event. He waves back.

The god Q.T. replaced Mitchell at the podium to rapturous standing applause, which maintained throughout the announcement of the entire cast. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins, Amber Tamblyn, James Parks, James Remar, Zoe Bell and a couple of other actors I didn’t know/can’t recall (but briefly considered copying from another website only to want to maintain the integrity of my experience) leapt up on stage, received their pre-accolades and took their seats (some on stage, some down in the first row of the orchestra when they weren’t used for the scene at-hand).

hateful eight bruce dern

Tarantino briefly set the stage, so to speak, by stating in his typical authorial style, the script was divided into (five) chapters. He read the stage directions throughout.

The story begins in a post-Civil War winter, as a stagecoach manned by O.B. (Parks) makes its way across a landscape headed for the nearby Red Rock for shelter to escape a certain blizzard. O.B. spots a black man standing over three bodies, holding a lantern. This is Major Warren (Jackson), a bounty hunter with three corpses post-hunting. He’s looking to hitch a ride to Red Rock, as well, but O.B. explains it’s up to the passenger who paid for the ride. The passenger is John Ruth (Russell), who’s also a bounty hunter with some cargo of his own. However, his future payday is alive and handcuffed to his arm in the form of Daisy Domergue (Tamblyn). After racial unpleasantries are exchanged and Warren hands over a letter from Abraham Lincoln certifying his position, Ruth allows him and his literal dead weight aboard.

The stagecoach also encounters Chris Minnix (Goggins), a man asserting himself as the new sheriff of Red Rock but without any papers of proof. Eventually he coaxes his way aboard and the group of five (plus the three dead bodies (these eight individuals do not make up the titular octet)) takes refuge inside Minnie’s Haberdashery.

I’ve only read one Tarantino script (“Django Unchained”), but knew he had a penchant for prose-like flourishes in his descriptions. Minnie’s Haberdashery brought them all out. His description of the shop serving as a shelter was that it functioned as almost anything other than a haberdashery. Mainly a place for coffee, which serves as a key element throughout the script. Tarantino even brought out a large blue coffee pot from behind the podium at every mention. Thinking back to his playing Jimmy in “Pulp Fiction,” taking pride in the coffee he buys, you can tell Tarantino is a man who revels in his caffeine.

The rest of the story takes place in and around the Haberdashery and serves as a boiling pot (pun might as well be intended) of trust, deceit, mistrust and race relations. Once our traveling group makes its way inside, they encounter other nomads seeking a roof over their heads in the form of cowboy Joe Gage (Madsen), a fobbish Englishman (Roth), General Smithers (Dern) and a Frenchman with an American name, Bob (one of the names I couldn’t grasp). Tension is always on the verge of spilling over into kinetic violence. General Smithers, a former Confederate officer has a brutal verbal exchange with Major Warren that had the crowd of a couple thousand leaning forward on the edge of their seats. It’s a position that was only relinquished when an intermission was called.

It was awesome (as in, the stuff of awe) to see Tarantino direct. He would occasionally have the actors repeat a line or whisper into their ear and even admonished them all once for straying too far from the words on the page. He was the master of his domain the way you would imagine him to be. Roth played his English gentleman with a glee I imagined emanating from Christoph Waltz. Tarantino has said that Waltz interprets his dialogue with a poetry that only one actor has done before, and that other actor is Jackson. Jackson was the only performer I assumed would be in the theater when the program was announced, even though the only thing I knew about it was that it was a Western. It’s sometimes difficult to appreciate how truly great the man is, as he does so many things (including a brief back-and-forth spat with this very site), but when revisiting his work, it’s impossible to deny. He’s the character and portrayal I’ll carry with me long after the event has passed.

Luckily for anyone not in attendance, I have a feeling you’ll be able to witness what I was able to in due time. Tarantino announced at the beginning of the reading that he’s continuing to rewrite the script and is now on this third draft. The Chapter Five we’d see would be completely rewritten. Those are the words of a man I think has probably been reinvigorated by this process and encouraged to go forth and craft a film of the script as he had initially planned. Christmastime will come again. God (Q.T.) bless everyone.

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