Justice League – Review

The DC movie franchise returns to the cinemas after Wonder Woman dominated the Box Office with their second film for 2017, Justice League and it was pretty good.

Justice League is set some time after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Superman is dead and that starts to wake up three mysterious boxes. The boxes are ‘Mother Boxes’ powerful cubes from the planet Apokalips (but that isn’t really mentioned in the film). These boxes either called to or freed Steppenwolf, a New God (again not really mentioned in the film) who had tried to bring the boxes together before but failed. This time, he doesn’t plan on failing. This is where Batman realises he must bring together a team of superheroes to stop this alien threat.

While the ‘getting the team together’ scenes weren’t bad, they felt poorly paced. In usual DC Movie style they jump from scene to scene like a comic book rather than a film where usually some form of transition is required. And maybe that’s it, I’ve said in the past that these films have captured the comic book style more than other series has. So maybe these are the ‘real’ comic book adaptations? That aside, there were a few similarities to Marvel’s The Avengers but the Justice League coming together had a little more nostalgia for me (the Justice League animated series being one of my favourite cartoons as a kid) and it was good to see these characters come together on screen.

The team consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg (plus – spoilers… eventually, Superman). The characters have a good dynamic with each other and it feels more like a team that actually likes each other more than a team that is forced together for a common goal. Batman (Ben Affleck) continues his gruff and grizzled persona but has lightened up a bit for this film (almost like Superman’s death actually made him happier) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is still the elegant bad-ass who appeared in the solo film earlier this year. Both of these characters are good but we know who they are, its time to meet the new guys.

Barry Allen aka ‘The Flash’ (Ezra Miller) is a socially awkward kid who after being struck by lighting can now move at incredible speeds. He is the comic relief of this film, very different to his television counterpart played by Grant Gustin, I didn’t hate him as much as I thought I would, he’s not a bad charater and Ezra Miller has done a decent job bringing him to the silver screen. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is a man of two worlds that belongs in neither. He’s gruff and grizzled like Batman but doesn’t have the responsibility and tends to help only when he wants to. Jason Momoa does a great job cutting down the campy versions of Aquaman people are used to and I am very much looking forward to his first solo outing next year. Rounding out the team is Cyborg, after an accident that leaves Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) on death’s door, his father harnesses one of the Mother Boxes to bring him back to life. This results in the Mother Box grafting cybernetic limbs that end up taking over almost his whole body. He stays in control most of the time but on occasion the cybernetics take charge, this can put him in a little trouble. Cyborg has a good but rarely touched on character arc that I would have loved to see more on.

I wont touch on Superman but as many expected, he does return.

The villain Steppenwolf lacked a lot. I feel that he probably did have motive but it wasn’t confirmed by him, some of the characters assumed his motivations and that’s really all you have to go on. He didn’t pose much of a threat and his end goal was the same as Zod’s in Man of Steel – ‘turn Earth in to a planet like my planet’. I didn’t like him and he felt like a overcorrection to BvS where they went big with Doomsday and the Death of Superman story and the producers probably thought that using Darksied straight after might be overkill.

Like in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there was no coherent progression in the story. It was a collection of parts of the story. There’s definitely parts missing and again that comes down to Zack Snyder’s film making style. With that its time to talk production… and oh boy what a production this was. Many script revisions, two composers, two directors and one digitally removed moustache. With $25 Million worth of reshoots the story was likely changed significantly but you really can see what scenes are directed by Joss Whedon and what scenes are Snyder’s (Zack Snyder having to step down in Post Production after the death of his daughter). The reshoots coincided with Henry Cavill’s shooting schedule for Mission: Impossible 6, for which he had grown a moustache which he was contracted to keep while filming, so Justice League’s VFX team had to resort to using special effects to digitally remove the moustache in post.

Junkie XL was originally composing the score for Justice League after working on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but was replaced by former Batman and Batman Returns composer, Danny Elfman. What an addition to the film it was, Elfman included his original Batman theme from 1989, worked in John William’s Superman theme from 1978 and kept Wonder Woman’s new bad ass theme. I love Danny Elman scores and I think they really belong in a comic book film. I hope Warner Bros. keeps Elfman around because he can add one thing to the DC films that Marvel is missing, good and memorable music.

With all the criticisms and all the praise I have with this film I find that there are parts that I loved and parts that I absolutely did not. It’s rare to have a movie this polarising. However I feel that the pros just narrowly outweigh the cons. It’s great to see this team together on screen finally and I would love to see more. Justice League is a step in the right direction and tonally the future of the franchise should exist somewhere between this film and Wonder Woman. I want to see Warner Bros. ramp up production in this area so we never have to wait more than a year (Justice League in November 2017 to Aquaman in December 2018) ever again.

Justice League: Average

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Movie News – May 23rd, 2017

The whole point of NFB in its first incarnation was to bring the world of movies to my friends and family, keeping them up-to-date with what I would be talking to them about. Naturally, I wish to bring that back too.

I’ll be adding a little sprinkling of movie news every now and then to this blog for you to enjoy.

Universal Monsters franchise now has a new name, get ready, eventually, to experience the Dark Universe

Announced in a YouTube video featuring a mash up of their old Universal Monster movies, the Dark Universe is set to kick off with The Mummy next month. The franchise will not continue til Valentines Day, 2019 when their next film, Bride of Frankenstein will be released.

Tom Hardy to play Venom in a stand-alone movie

Directed by Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer, notoriously picky actor Tom Hardy will play Venom (and presumably Eddie Brock) in a MA rated Venom film that, as far as we know, will not be related to Spider-Man.

Amber Heard playing Mera in new Aquaman promotional image

A new promotional Image has been released showing a very colourful depiction of Aquaman’s (Jason Momoa) girlfriend/wife (depending on how far along their story line is), Mera. Aquaman is now in production in Australia and will be directed by James Wan.

Tom Holland cast as a young Nathan Drake in Uncharted prequel film

In what looks to be a film that will tie in to the game franchise, current Spider-Man, Tom Holland has been cast as a young Nathan Drake in an Uncharted film.

Joss Whedon will temporarily take the reins on Justice League

Zack Snyder will spend time with his family following his daughter’s suicide in March. While he was going to dive in to finish the film he has now decided to focus on his family. Warner Bros. offered to push back the Justice League release date but Snyder declined.

Whedon was going to be involved anyway writing the additional scenes for the re-shoots, but now he will be more involved behind the camera.

Last Weekend’s Box Office Report

# | Movie | Gross (in US$) | Days in Release | Total Gross (in US$)
1 | King Arthur: Legend of the Sword | $1,720,938 | 3 | $1,720,938
2 | Alien: Covenant | $1,465,347 | 10 | $5,288,766
3 | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 | $1,411,156 | 24 | $21,886,102
4 | John Wick: Chapter Two | $1,353,002 | 3 | $1,390,643
5 | Snatched | $1,201,763 | 10 | $3,987,043

Information gathered from The Numbers:
http://www.the-numbers.com/weekend-box-office-chart/Australia

The Avengers – Review

What can I really say about The Avengers? Joss Whedon has directed a possible contender for movie of the year? I could say that. The Avenger’s truly is the ultimate Super-Hero film? I could say that too. Hell I’ve even heared people say it was better than Batman… The truth is Marvel’s The Avengers is absoultely, 100%, with out a single itty-bitty shadow of a doubt one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. You might say; “Thats a bold claim Nick, how can you really say that?” Well I can confidently say that because I have only been seen a handful of movies that I have walked out of and thought, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’. The Avengers is one of them. It had everything I was expecting and more and I would not change one single thing about it. Joss Whedon has really raised the bar in Super-Hero films. I might even say; “Watch out Nolan”.

S.H.I.E.L.D. (the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) has the Tesseract, the glowing blue cube as seen in Captain America. During a routine inspection by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), a visitor from a strange world arives through a gate way created by the Tesseract, that visitor… is Loki Laufeyson (Tom Hiddleston). After an attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Loki makes off with the Tessract and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents he has mind-controlled. He intends to hand over the Tesseract to the Chitauri and claim the Earth as his payment. Nick Fury will have none of that… AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

Captain America – Steve Rogers (Chris Evans): The World War two veteran who was frozen in the arctict circle for about 70 years is back with a new suit and a new vision of the world. He’s dissapointed at what the world has become but still believes in the same ideals that America stood for during the War. Evans contiues to play the valliant Captain America very well, he has accepted that he is in the future and can’t go back and he is trying ever so hard to enbrace it… but it is difficult.

Iron Man – Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.): Tony Stark has a few new surprises in his suit this time around but it’s his quick wit agian that steels the spotlight. Downey Jr. and Whedon are a match made in heaven!

Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth): The god of thunder is sent by his father to put a stop to Loki and his plans. Once again, on of my favourite characters of the franchise does not dissapoint. Although out of the team he gets probably the least screen time (not by much though), Thor has a fantastic presence in the team and seems to be the target of many jokes.

The Hulk – Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo): Last played by Edward Norton in the film The Incredible Hulk, Ruffalo’s Banner is a very interesting character played very well. Ruffalo captures the bumbling scientist and tortured soul that is Bruce Banner in a way that the other actors of the role in the last few films (Eric Bana and Norton) havn’t been able to pull off. I wa very worried about having the Hulk on the team but I am convinced that it was a good choice… and I will say… the Hulk definately does, SMASH!

Black Widow – Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson): Joss Whedon loves his strong female characters and Black Widow is definatley one of them! We see a little more of her bad ass skill that we got a glimpse of in Iron Man 2 as well as her sexy demenor and a little of her back story involving her run ins with S.H.I.E.L.D. and their most  loyal (?) agent, Hawkeye.

Hawkeye – Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner): No need for that purple cowl, Hawkeye in this film proves that rangas can be bad ass! I have read articles that his shooting (with a bow and arrow) style is competely wrong but who cares? It’s a movie guys… serioulsy. I have to say I loved this character and I’d really like to see a spin off film in the next Avengers phase (see Cinema Forecast Week 16 & 17) to focus on the back story between Black Widow and Hawkeye. Even just a short would be good.

Secondary Cast members include Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Colbie Smulders as Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson and Gwenyth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.

It is so good to see such a huge cast all get enough screen time, this was my main concern going in to the film am I going to see Iron Man and Captain America hog the spotlight. But I didn’t and that is part of what made the film so damn good. You really felt like there was a team forming here and although the heroes had their differences, believe me the whole first act highlights this, when the Avengers assemble… my god is it worth it.

Technical Points: The film was converted in post in to 3D but to be honest… it’s not half bad. It’s your choice weather to see it in 3D or not seeing it in standard (2D) wont take anything away from the amazing film that it is. It brings a new maening to the Hero’s Journey (i’m calling it the Heroes’ Journey now) it keeps it simple with a fantastically developed 3 act-structure, which alot of films try to muck around with. Joss Whedon is brilliant at what he writes and directs and I would definately say that it’s the simplicity of the film that gave it the freedom that it needed. Everything is explained but I would recommend seeing the films in the franchise at least once first. Just so you get a scope of whats going on and where they’re up to in the story.

The Avengers is the perfect balance of action and comedy that the Super-Hero films of today have needed. It’s not meant to be completely serious… the films are based on comic books, I mean it works for Batman, but who says saving the world from aliens can’t be fun as well as deadly serious. Joss Whedon really does leave his mark on the franchise (in more ways than one) and the producers of the film have an option open for Joss to return to do The Avengers sequel in probably 2015 or 2016 (my estimate: based on the way the films are looking – Thor 2 and Iron Man 3 in 2013 & Captain America sequel in 2014). This is a film I would see again in a heart beat. It’s action-packed, funny, exciting, and a little bit sad. A true cinema expierence!

5 Stars

The Avengers is in Cinemas in Australia now. In the US, it opens on May 4th.

NFB Update

Howdy all, been a while…

Been off for a while, with assignments and all but back for the Summer from now on! And why not? Summer is the time of movies! To catch up on everything here is a update of things that have been missed on NFB over the past few weeks…

  • The ultimate Marvel team-up is building up speed as the trailer for 2012’s The Avengers hits Cinemas and the Internet.
  • Also on the topic of the mighty mighty director, Joss Whedon. It has been announced that he had just completed a mystery film project entitled Much Ado About Nothing… yes thats right, the incredible writer of our time, joined forces with the incredible writer of yester-year! Bellweather Pictures released a Press Release regarding the film…
    • Bellwether Pictures proudly announces the completion of principal photography on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, a modern version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy adapted and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel’s upcoming THE AVENGERS, “Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”). Filmed in just 12 days entirely on location in exotic Santa Monica, the film features a stellar cast of beloved (or soon to be beloved) actors ñ some of them veterans of Shakespearean theater, some completely new to the form. But all dedicated to the idea that this story bears retelling, that this dialogue is as fresh and intoxicating as any being written, and that the joy of working on a passion project surrounded by dear friends, admired colleagues and an atmosphere of unabashed rapture far outweighs their hilariously miniature paychecks.MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is the first feature from Bellwether, a micro-studio created by Joss Whedon and Kai Cole for the production of small, independent narratives for all media, embracing a DIY ethos and newer technologies for, in this particular case, a somewhat older story.

      Shot in glorious black and white by Jay Hunter (PAPER HEART, “Dollhouse”), the film stars Amy Acker (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Alias”) and Alexis Denisof (“How I Met Your Mother,” “Angel”) as Beatrice and Benedick, the worldís least likely lovers headed for their inevitable tumble into love. As Joss Whedon puts it: “The text is to me a deconstruction of the idea of love, which is ironic, since the entire production is a love letter ñ to the text, to the cast, even to the house itís shot in.” The supporting cast includes Nathan Fillion (“Castle,” WAITRESS) as Dogberry, Clark Gregg (AVENGERS, IRON MAN) as Leonato, Fran Kranz (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Dollhouse”) as Claudio and Reed Diamond (“Franklin & Bash,” MONEYBALL) as Don Pedro.

      The film was produced by Whedon, line-produced by Nathan Kelly and M. Elizabeth Hughes, and co-produced by Kai Cole and Danny Kaminsky. The super-impressive cast is listed below. Full tech credits (for the extraordinary crew) will be up shortly. The film should be completed by early spring and headed for the festival circuit, because it is fancy.

      http://www.muchadothemovie.com
      muchadothemovie@gmail.com

      The Players:
      Amy Acker – Beatrice
      Alexis Denisof – Benedick
      Nathan Fillion – Dogberry
      Clark Gregg – Leonato
      Reed Diamond – Don Pedro
      Fran Kranz – Claudio
      Sean Maher – Don John
      Spencer Treat Clark – Borachio
      Riki Lindhome – Conrade
      Ashley Johnson – Margaret
      Emma Bates – Ursula
      Tom Lenk – Verges
      Nick Kocher – First Watchman
      Brian McElhaney – Second Watchman
      Joshua Zar – Leonatoís aide
      Paul M. Meston – Friar Francis
      Romy Rosemont – The Sexton
      And introducing Jillian Morgese as Hero

  • Harry Potter DVD’s will cease to exist on shelves by the end of the year… Warner Bros. are taking a page out of Disney’s book and stopping prints of Harry Potter DVD’s on December 29th. This will no doubt mean a re-release in the future sometime, similar to the re-birth of the Lion King in the last few weeks. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 goes on sale November 11… So get in quick!
  • Bryan Singer could be on par with my greatest movie-making villain, Joel Schumacher, when he directs his version of Battlestar Galactica. The director previously killed a series (that, given was not amazing beforehand) in Superman. In turn he gave up the direction of X-Men: The Last Stand (Another Franchise Killer) to work on Superman Returns.
  • The Adventures of Tintin premiered in Belgium on the 22nd of October, it’s set to screen in the UK on the 26th of October, India in November, the US, December 21st, and Australia… The 26th of December… Once again everyone… Australia is last to see a movie… (Vengeance maybe for Harry Potter DHP2?).
  • Sony Pictures have secured the rights for an Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation… Assassin’s Creed joins, the development at Sony, who are also working on adaptations for InFAMOUS and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
  • Brad Bird plans Incredibles sequel… But wants it to be in the same vein as Toy Story 2, not a complete sell out… I’m proud of you Brad.
Coming Out Today in Australian Cinemas
In Time
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
Warrior
Drive
DVD Releases this Week
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Fringe: Season 3
V: Season 2
The Mentalist: Season 3
NFB returns completely Next Week…

Superheroes To Save Us From The Apocalypse

With the supposed Apocalypse coming at the end of 2012 the superhero films are coming out hard and fast with this year and next year looking to be bigger and better than previous years.

2011-

Green Hornet – Hopefully not a sign of things to come as far as the next two years in Superhero films go.

May, June and July (around the American Summer Break) seem to be this year’s Super Months. Thor, featuring Australian, Chris Hemsworth is set to be released around Late April – Early May. It’s the story of Marvel’s least original superhero, the Norse god of Thunder Thor and his exile to earth. Next on the bill, in June is X-Men: First Class. This film is about the first generation of mutants – Professor X, before he was a professor, Magneto, before he was a total evil badass… and many more. Modelled after the new Star Trek film, the producers want to take the series in a new direction with a fresh young cast. This film is seen as the first film in a new trilogy in the franchise.

To DC’s only release this year, The Green Lantern. Ryan Renolds plays Hal Jordan, one of the first characters in the comic books to don the ring and fight for the Green Lantern Corps. The movie is seems to have a Iron Man sort of feel to it and from the trailer it’s difficult to say how this movie will go. Hopefully it will do well and one day DC might follow Marvel’s suit and create a Justice League movie.

Wrapping up the summer of super is Captain America: The First Avenger, the film is a chronicling of the first Avenger, from his rise out of the super soldier program to his status as “America’s Greatest Superhero”. Chris Evans plays the scrawny come super, Steve Rogers. While Hugo Weaving plays the evil Nazi, Red Skull.

2012-

Casting has been announced for the new Nolan produced Superman film with Diane Lane joining the cast as Martha Kent. Earlier this year Henry Cavill was cast as Superman for the film. The casting of Cavill made me think that maybe Christopher Nolan wants the world’s super heroes to be british? Batman played by Christian Bale and now Superman standing up for Truth, Justice and The Way of the Queen. That aside the director of the reboot tentatively titled “Superman: Man Of Steel” is Zack Snyder. This mix of Nolan and Snyder could be a strong one! – Superman: Man Of Steel is set to be released the end of next year. Another Nolan addition to the ranks is The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final instalment in the rebooted Batman series. Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Anne Hathaway is slated to play Selena Kyle (Catwoman) and Tom Hardy to play Bane. Could Batman’s back be broken in this film by the deadly Bane? All I know is it’s Batman and it’s back… Nolan Style. Prepare for epicness! – The Dark Knight Rises is expected to be released July 20, 2012.

Marvel returns in 2012 with 3 movies so far… a Ghost Rider sequel, the Spider-Man Reboot: “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the ultimate superhero team up movie… The Avengers.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will star Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider again. It’s been several years since making a deal with the Devil and Johnny Blaze (Cage), living in self-imposed isolation, finds himself as the only person who can help save 10-year-old Danny – and ultimately the world – thanks to his unwanted and uncontrollable power – he has the ability to transform into the hell-on-wheels monster known as the Ghost Rider. Andrew Garfield, famous for playing the co-founder of Facebook in The Social Network returns to the screen in 2012 as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, the reboot of the series that ended only a few years ago. Marc Webb, the director of (500) Days Of Summer, has signed on as the aptly named director of this film. The Lizard and Van Atter, the Proto-Goblin are billed as the villains of the film.

The ultimate cross over sequal, The Avengers is Marvel’s flagship movie for 2010-2012 with almost all their films tying in to this movie. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow & Nick Fury are all planned as cast in this movie directed by the one, the only… JOSS WHEDON! The ultimate comic-y fanboy has signed on to direct what will hopefully be an epic film of epic proportions!

The next two years are going to be incredibly super if all the movies work out… the are a few at the moment I’m not too sure about at the moment but we’ll see how they go. Who knows maybe 2013/2014 will be just as good… although the only Super-Film planned at the moment is Iron Man 3 :/

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