Monday, February 13, 2017

The Lego Batman Movie: The Dark Knight Has Fun

Yesterday evening I sat down with my girlfriend and two of our friends to take in the 'The Lego Batman Movie', and it was absolutely hilarious! This movie does everything so right, taking the entirety of the Batman franchise, putting it together with the outlandish humor that was a part of 'The Lego Movie', mix in a stellar voice cast and the end result is non-stop laughs!

'The Lego Batman Movie' is chock full of references to everything Batman, from the vast history of the character in the comics, to his many years of being both a presence in TV and movies, and there are plenty of other nerdy Easter Eggs thrown in as well (no spoilers, everyone who has not seen this movie will need to see it to pick out the Easter Eggs themselves).

Will Arnett returns once more as the whining, outrageous voice of this iteration of the Dark Knight, bringing a lot more depth to the character within the confines of the Lego Universe. Michael Cera joins as the other half of the Dynamic Duo, a plucky and overly eager to please/be loved Dick Grayson/Robin who is very fond of gasping in excitement at things and has insane energy (even for a Lego figure).

Added into the mix is Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, still the stoic and wisdom dispensing butler that he is in the comic books and every other media that he's appeared in thus far. With one major difference, this version of Batman's loyal butler isn't above being more involved in keeping "Master Bruce" from going down a lonely road of sadness and despair. With Rosario Dawson as the voice of Barbara Gordon (newly minted Commissioner of Gotham City Police), fans are given a character who is very passionate about making a difference in Gotham, and in pursuing that goal, discovers along the way what happens when you team with Batman to save the day (pure awesome that is what happens).

Stepping into the purple suit and madness of The Joker is none other then Zach Galifianakis, and while I admit I was skeptical (I am spoiled growing up with Mark Hamill as the voice of the Joker and I am not sorry for that), he brought his own brand of mayhem to the Clown Prince of Crime, and he did a bang up job of it too.

Whether you see it with your loved one, your kids, family or friends, 'The Lego Batman Movie' provides endless laughs for audiences, both fans and non-fans of Batman and his entire everything. It's a must see, feel good, fun-loving movie that will make you wanting to watch it again and again and again. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dirty Dancing: Finding Love Through Dance

Two days ago, I had the great pleasure of seeing the 1987 classic 'Dirty Dancing' on the big screen with my girlfriend for what is currently the movie's 30th anniversary. Up until Sunday night, I'd never seen this movie before, oh I certainly knew about it, its place in the romantic movie genre, the classic line "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" etc. but seeing the movie on the big screen with my sweetheart, was a whole different experience entirely.

Three things stand out most with this movie, the story/casting, and of course the music and dancing.

'Dirty Dancing' has an iconic story, one of love and defying the standards of the setting, all in the name of being true to one's self and not being held back from making choices that are right for yourself, all while coming together through the power of dance. And in bringing that story to life, audiences have the amazing and wonderful casting of Jennifer Grey as Frances "Baby" Houseman and Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle. The pair of them have amazing on-screen chemistry, they just fit so well together, and as their characters progress throughout the movie, fall in love and affirm that love (all while dancing their hearts out) and then the movie ends, you can't help but wonder "where do they go from there?".

Music, ah what music this movie has! With the films setting of 1963, there's much music from that time that makes up the film soundtrack, including songs from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Ronettes, Bruce Channel and so many others. Its a soundtrack that once you hear it, you can't get it out of your head, because you won't want to get it out of your head!

As for the dancing, holy wow what dancing! It's vibrant and daring and alive and close and there is such raw energy watching all of the cast dance, and even ten times that when one watches Grey and Swayze dance together, that one just can't help but be entranced by it all, by the power of their dancing.

'Dirty Dancing', what more can be said about this movie that hasn't already been said over the years? It's a beautiful story, with a cast that packs a wallop right in the heart, coupled together with music and dances that are well known to this day and will continue to be well known as the years go by. This is a movie that I will always love and cherish now, because I got to see it on the big screen for the first time with my girlfriend, the love of my life. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Singin' In The Rain: A Timeless Classic

In the annals of history, people will always try to argue what was the best film of a particular year, at a particular point in time. But with a film like Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's Singin' In The Rain, there is no contest, quite simply none. Yesterday I had the joy of seeing it on the big screen with my girlfriend, as the first of Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events Big Screen Classics for 2017.

Gene Kelly, a name that will never be forgotten, even 100 years from now. He was the quintessential song and dance man, attacking each role he'd taken on over the years and making it his own. His voice and the songs he sung are legend, and in Singin' in the Rain, songs like Moses Supposes, Broadway Melody, Good Mornin', and of course the titular song of the film, are in my opinion, staples of his overall career in movies. There will quite literally never be another actor like Gene Kelly, his shoes are just too big to fill, and I doubt that anyone will ever attempt to fill them.

Debbie Reynolds, for whom the screening is dedicated, once again does a fabulous job as Kathy Selden, singing and dancing her way into hearts again, and showing Gene Kelly's character of Don Lockwood, that being an actor is so much more then just ham-acting, and that being a person is so much more too. When she and Gene sing together, their voices match so beautifully and their dancing

Donald O'Connor, well there's not much to be said about dear Donald. He makes us laugh, he helps push Gene and Debbie's characters together, he keeps Gene's spirits up and does what he does best, show us all what a little laughter, a little joy and a little merriment can do to brighten a person's day.

Gene Kelly movies are always must see's, if its a picture he is in tis' worth one's time to watch it. Singin' In The Rain is worth it because this lavish classic Hollywood musical extravaganza is a film that is timeless, 100% timeless, and it should be seen and enjoyed by all. Like the poster says, "What a glorious feeling". 

Rogue One: Filling A Gap in Star Wars History

Star Wars is a major cornerstone of pop culture and pop culture fandom. The movie market may be dominated by superhero films, but one of the most enduring and beloved film franchises (and its other various offshoots), is George Lucas's epic space opera brainchild.

Since first hitting movie theaters in 1977, Star Wars has become a international phenomena, spawning offshoots in books, comic books, animation, video games, and merchandising galore. With J.J. Abrams telling the next chapters of the Star Wars story with Episodes VII, VIII and IX, Gareth Edwards (director of the 2014 Godzilla reboot) steps up to the plate by helming this, the first movie of the Star Wars Anthology Films (movies that according to Rogue One producer Kathleen Kennedy "exist within that vast universe that he (George Lucas) created").

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, tells a story that had never been actually told before, the story of how the Rebel Alliance obtained the plans to the Death Star, setting in motion the events of A New Hope.

The cast of Rogue One is chock full of characters for Star Wars fans and movie goers to love and cheer on. Whether its Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, fighting alongside the Rebellion to start ending the Empire's hold of terror over the galaxy, or Diego Luna as Rebellion Intelligence Officer Cassian Andor, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, a blind Force-sensitive warrior, Alan Tudyk as the sarcastic reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO, or any of the other numerous new characters that are introduced throughout the movie, there are characters for everyone to love and latch on to.

And for people who have been Star Wars fans their entire lives, there are many cameos by well known characters, including the return of James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader!

As far as stand-alone movies that are a part of a bigger whole go, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a bold and brilliant first step in further expanding the overall Star Wars universe. It tells a story that fans young and old have not seen before, and fills in gaps that were never fully explained or extrapolated on in previous spin-off media. Tis' a grand addition to the Star Wars legacy, and a movie that should be seen by all.

La La Land Review: A Love Letter Film to Classic Hollywood

Hey there ho there readers, a new year is upon us! That means new movies, new TV shows, new books, new music, new everything! So I thought I'd kick 2017 off with a review of a film I saw with my girlfriend, and will most definitely be watching with her again and again and again.

Los Angeles is a city of life, a city of constant activity, a city where people are constantly trying to pursue their dreams and make them a reality, while bumping into other dreamers along the way.

That is the setting and basic plot for this marvelous musical film, the city of dreams, and the central characters are two dreamers who meet and fall in love while working to become what they most want in the world.

For this review, I want to focus on two key things that make this movie what it is, a throwback love letter to the musical genre films of classic Hollywood (think Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Betty Hutton, Shirley Temple etc.).

Key Thing #1: The music/songs, oh what music and songs this movie has! Songs that are fast paced and full of life, songs of romance and love, songs of dreams and dreamers, music (mainly jazz and orchestral), that lifts your spirits up and just makes you soar way up high. This soundtrack is one that must be listened to over and over again, until you can hear even just one note from a song from it and know exactly what song it is and what scene its from.

Key Thing #2: Cast. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are wonderful together on screen! Their characters have such a beautiful chemistry, that where their love and lives go direction wise will have you rooting for them every step of the way. Both of their characters have these amazing dreams of what they want to do with their life and their gifts, and watching them pursue those dreams while is beautiful.

Its no wonder La La Land won 7 Golden Globes including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Motion Picture for Musical/Comedy. best Original Score etc. It won all those categories, because it nailed each one perfectly!

La La Land is as I said before, a throwback love letter to the musical film genre of classic Hollywood, making it a real treasure to see again and again and for people who have never seen musical films before, its a wonderful introduction to the genre and will have them craving to see other films like it. It will make you laugh, cry, smile, and tug on your heart strings. In short, it is absolutely a must-see film!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Disney's Moana Review: A Film About Discovering Your True Self

Films released Walt Disney Pictures always have a message that inspires movie goers both young and old. And after seeing Moana yesterday with my girlfriend, I can proudly state that this latest animated epic stands head and shoulders above current Disney animated movies.

It's the story of Moana, a princess of a tribe on an island in the Polynesian who takes to sea so that she can save her island home, and while doing so, discovers more about herself then she thought she knew (or rather, what she was told according to her father and her people). With the help of an arrogant demi-god and her connection to the sea, Moana not only saves her island, but saves the whole world.

Like all Disney films, Moana has a soundtrack that people will never stop listening too. But what this soundtrack has, is songs that also can speak to anyone on any level. Songs of longing, songs of love/family, songs of pursuing one's dreams despite all odds and obstacles.

There is so much I want to write about this film, but I don't feel like my words can do it credit. All I will in summation is this: Moana is a story everyone, especially young girls who are Disney fans will love, because not only does it have a protagonist who can inspire everyone to push on and defy the odds of life no matter what they are, it has a message that we can all take to heart. That message is: Be true to yourself, and never let anyone tell you that what you do, who you are, and what you want to make your life is wrong. Be the best you that you can possibly be, and never be afraid of standing up for what you know in your heart is right and true.

Walt Disney Pictures will never stop making movies that inspire, entertain and delight both young and old. But with a film like Moana, its going to be difficult to produce anything that can top it (although this being Disney, I may eat those words in the years to come). Regardless, Moana is for sure a film for families, kids, Disney lovers and movie goers will want to see.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them Review

The world of Harry Potter is a (pardon the pun) magical place. From the amazing book series to the film adaptations of said books, to the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that premiered during the summer, each new item released only further's to widen the scope of what fans already have. And this new film certainly widen's the scope in a major way.

So far, all media related to Harry Potter has taken place in England, but this film takes place in 1920's New York City, and brings a member of the British magical community across the sea to the swinging Big Apple.

Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, British wizard and magizoologist who is on a mission in New York, to find magical creatures and chronicle them for his book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He gets more then what he has bargained for when he is drawn into an adventure of epic proportions.

Throughout the film, audiences are introduced to new aspects of the magical world, specifically, how things are done over here in the USA with regards to how things are done in terms of magical governance and law, the American version of the Statute of Secrecy, and even a brief mention of the top school of witchcraft and wizardry for American witches and wizards.

But the best part (for me at least) was the different magical creatures that are brought to life on the big screen. Nifflers, Bowtruckles, an Erumpent etc. Creatures fans of J. K. Rowling had only ever read about and now, they get to see them come to life.

This film, is a wonderful story adding more layers to the world the Harry Potter films built, and whatever films come after it, will only serve to add more depth, give us more wonderful characters for us to love and be excited about, and above all, it gives us more story to cherish.