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BLOG/REVIEWS/FILM REVIEWS

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X-Men Days of Future Past – Film Review: X-Men Franchise Has a Great New Future

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Mon 26 May 2014 1:10 AM EST
Category: Film Reviews | 3146 Views
Four Dangers

(DL) – This is a detailed spoiler-free review of X-Men Days of Future Past.

X-Men Days of Future Past is far from canon depicted in the original Marvel comic two part series The Uncanny X-Men #141 & #142. Unlike Spider-Man's convolution of canon, the changes in the celluloid X-Men universe work on many levels. Perhaps most intriguing is that it changes the outcome of past X-Men movies without making them obsolete. In comic books this is called re-birth, in this film franchise it's brilliant.
X-Men Covers #141 and #142
This is the seventh film in the X-Men franchise since 2000. (X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last StandX-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine). After 14 years the franchise has made the most of all the preceding good and bad X-Men films. With Bryan Singer back at the helm, great care and regard for the X-Men characters has resulted in movie magic on par with 2012's Avenger's.

It can be hard for any true believer to watch any X-Men movie as they will have to accept the source material is being obliterated on film. A glaring example is protagonist time traveler Kitty Pryde is replaced by Wolverine. Forget that some hard core skeptics reject nuances such as Wolverine is much taller in film than his print counterpart. ...Read more...


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Film Review: The Amazing Truth, See It But It's Not Canon

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Tue 29 Apr 2014 11:10 AM EST
Category: Film Reviews | 3145 Views
Three Dangers

(DL) – This is a detailed spoiler-free review of Spider-Man 2.

Spider-Man is now The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield as the hero Peter Parker. In the first reboot we were encouraged by what appeared to be a more accurate retelling of Spider-Man in the Marvel universe. In this second episode we find many elements such as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jamison are missing and while it has not entirely diverged from canon, The Amazing Spider-Man reboot is falling apart as a faithful representation. There are homage's to the comic book series such as the iconic time of (1:21 am) for those in the know. There is also Gwen Stacy dressed in film and standing in settings exactly as drawn in the 1973 issue (#121) comic book panels giving the impression director Marc Webb wants to deliver a Spider-Man that true believers will accept. Purist will debate that homages are not canon. A great deal of concerns exist in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Largely due in part from the 2002-2007 Tobey Maquire Spider-Man trilogy. In it key plot points belonging to Gwen Stacy were applied to Mary Jane Watson making it awkward and not good business for film makers to more accurately retell in this relaunch of the franchise.  
Homage to Gwen Stacy's dress style set in 1973Spider-Man 2 released in 2004 where Spider-Man took on Doctor Octopus is considered the best Spider-Man story on film yet. The bar was set high.  Now in 2014 Spider-Man faces off with... Electro? Or is it Green Goblin - and which one? This sophomore installment of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does fall short of the 2004 Doc Ock masterpiece, yet it is still a fun ride. Just don't expect too much, more changes hold it back than advance it.

What works? Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey. Their off screen relationship may be the cause of such an acceptable screen pairing. Andrew Garfield is better as the witty wise-cracking web slinger, complete with body motions that convey a humor going beyond static text bubbles explaining what actions can't. Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn even before he takes the helm as a future Green Goblin is both truly menacing and endearing all in the same breath. Just to look at him you hope he doesn't have an evil thought or you're doomed. Another reason this Spider-Man is well worth seeing is that it was filmed entirely on location in New York City. New York is as much a live character as any animate object. It's energy is authentic with little CGI (computer generated graphics) necessary.

What doesn't work? Electro. Not Jamie Foxx, but the design of the character and the manner in which his interpretation isn't in line with the original creation of Electro's persona. A smart change was avoiding the dated green and yellow suit with lightning bolts crossing his face. That would have camped up the film. Jamie Foxx executes Max Dillon effortlessly, if Max was ever written as a self-pitying soul. Max makes an understandable character change in the story, but limits in strength are not easily conveyed.
Spider-Man meets Max DillonThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 continues Sony and director Marc Webb's reboot of Spider-Man with more respect to the authenticity the original stories found in 1 through 700 run of Amazing Spider-Man than the early 2000's branding by director Sam Raimi. After all, one key give-away is the addition of the word, 'Amazing'. That one word tells us this Spider-Man on film will be modeled after the comic book, The Amazing Spider-Man. Does this make the reboot 'Superior'?...Read more...




Winter's Tale - Film Review: Using 1/4 of a Novel Ruined the Journey

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Tue 11 Feb 2014 4:43 AM EST
Category: Film Reviews | 3861 Views
Two Dangers

(DL) – This review is spoiler free yet detailed oriented. It is influenced by having previously read the 1983 novel Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin.

If you have not read the book, use this review as a reason to either bypass the film initially and read the book first, or to understand that the screenplay is a huge departure from the intended story. 

The novel Winter's Tale is a romance with a supernatural overtone bathed in a tribute to New York City if the city could always remain in a mystical state. The book is sometimes verbose, often funny, and heartfelt in it's depiction of love. The movie insults your intellect by ignoring the vast symbolism used in the book. Example: Time Travel - In the novel certain characters have not aged through time, while the movie implies time travel as they are supernatural beings. It's NOT so. Here is exactly where the director really fowled the film. Deviating from the author's intent, turning the story into a devil's agents interplay is awkward and out of place. The devil is NEVER once mentioned or implied in the original story. Yes, some devices are necessary in film to help the audience, but the character Pearly Soames purpose as a protagonist in the film is reduced to silly. Furthermore Pearly's reason for chasing Peter (in the novel) had nothing to do with Peter's love for Beverly. Pearly never met Beverly in the novel.  In fact, in the novel, Beverly had the mystical ability to subdue Pearly and all his men when she was in the company of Peter Lake. She literally could protect Peter. In the film, this trait and theme is abandoned. Here is one more non-spoiler as it too won't be found in the film. Pearly's purpose for chasing Peter Lake began the moment he forced Peter Lake into his employ and Peter later turned a huge heist against Pearly. Pearly's gang was decimated for a time. From that day forward, Pearly's will to kill Peter grew in every chase that left him empty handed.

Jessica Brown Findlay & Collin Farrell

Being sold as a straight up romance or love story is almost a mistake because the story of Peter Lake's universe is more than Beverly Penn. The film makes a flimsy effort in trying to encompass the much larger story surrounding their love affair. Where time travel was painted too clearly to the movie goer, the backstory of Peter Lake's horse Athansor is lost. The interplay of other characters in the story could have done a lot for this movie. The wildly funny malapropian newspaper editor named Craig Binky is nowhere to be found, along with a host of others. Characters such as Virginia Gamely were altered ridiculously. Virginia was from the Lake of the Coherees in the novel. In the film, she is just another New Yorker. The lack of the larger story is where the film falls apart. The director's vain effort to include the other threaded stories inside the book are convoluted....Read more...

Thor: The Dark World - Film Review: Could Even Be A Date Movie

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Fri 8 Nov 2013 12:59 AM EST
Category: Film Reviews | 3018 Views
Three Dangers

(DL) – Thor scores a SOLID three out of five Dangers breaking the sophomore sequel pitfall not overworking its debut characters. The family dynamic of Loki and Thor continues without wearing itself out. Understanding these characters motivation and maturity between Thor, The Avengers and now Thor: The Dark World becomes a sub-plot if not the real story. After all, we know in super hero movies, there will always be outrageous threats to humanity, but how often do we get to follow the lives of characters we want to invest ourselves in? Before you become sold that Thor: The Dark World is more a drama in this description than it is an action blockbuster, also be advised it could be sold as a romantic comedy. Okay, this is a play on words. There is of course the continuing romance of Thor and Jane Foster. That thread alone is not funny. What is funny is the entire movie. Aside from the opening prologue, there are sight gags, call backs, and a litany of visuals, banter and satirical innuendos throughout the film. Yes even the fight scenes have occasional laughs. There's even one last visual gag after the film (no spoiler!) The title of Thor: The Dark World is truly misleading. If there is any flaw to the story it's that you enjoy it so much you don't concern yourself with the threat. What you are getting is a comic book come to life. A genuine escape from reality that doesn't take itself too seriously.

When it comes to the core Avenger characters, Marvel's celluloid universe has become as cohesive and as deftly independent as the original sister print universe. Now if only Thor can avoid the final hurdle of director burnout in part three of super hero trilogies. Examples? What do I mean? Look at Spider-Man 3 and Ironman 3. There was even X-Men 3. Where each started with energy, originality and passion, the last installment in each case felt lifeless. Let's just be happy that part two Thor is a great ride free of false tension that perhaps is only oversold in the title. Thor: The Dark World. Neither the story nor the atmosphere is dark. In fact in today's all inclusive geek society, it could be sold as a date movie. Despite a few telegraphed comedic bits, the overall bounty satisfies. Action? Just right. The action scenes are played out with purpose, ebbing and flowing between the build ups. There is no major crescendo, so you don't feel over-hyped. Thor: The Dark World isn't over sold, and works just a perfectly as its monthly print comic book counterparts. This Thor fits in perfectly enabling him to dance as a solo act and a member of the Avengers. 

...Read more...



Enders Game - Film Review: Good, Now End It.

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Tue 5 Nov 2013 2:06 AM EST
Category: Film Reviews | 3691 Views
Three Dangers

(DL) – Well paced, interesting lead up, and twisted end, Enders Game works as a legitimate sci-fi space epic, but doesn't leave you wanting more.

As an uninitiated and not having read the 1985 Nebular award winning novel Enders Game, all that I knew going into the film Enders Game was that a young man Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) was groomed through apparent video game dexterity to battle an entire enemy species (the Formics) and save humanity. This alone told me Enders Game was best viewed with family....Read more...

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