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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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Review

Zack Snyder’s attempt at the movie we’ve wanted to see for decades fell short of expectations.

In anticipation to Wonder Woman, I watched Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice again, so here’s the review. PLEASE BE WARNED! While I will try not to go into specifics, there could be some spoiled plot points. While this is a review, it will include some analysis and ‘ways I would do it better’.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice never had the excitement around it that the idea of a Superman/Batman film had. That came from the divisiveness of 2013’s Man of Steel, which I enjoyed for the most part.

The main problem Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is the Dawn of Justice part. This is two movies. The first involves Batman and Superman both being manipulated in to hating each other, they both had their reasons but they were played upon and had their perspective skewed. The story would involve the main characters investigating what seem to be separate leads that all end up being part of the one plan. That plan, was to have Superman kill Batman and that this scenario would have one of two outcomes:

1. To show the world either that Superman would kill someone – God can’t be all good. Or,

2. To show the world that Batman killed Superman – God can’t be all powerful.

Now to me, that sounds like a good story. A little bit of action sprinkled in at certain points, some mystery and intrigue, all culminating in a finale that pits the two DC Comics greats in a battle of Brains (and money) vs. Brawn. Naturally, of course before killing one another they realise they are actually on the same side and they go after the real threat that has been influencing them from the start. We put that threat in jail, while he is in there he plots something bigger, upon his eventual escape, which will be the story of the next film. 2 hours and 10 minutes, simple story, easy to follow, everybody forgets their so-so reaction to Man of Steel, bring on the next film, ‘Dawn of Justice’.

Except that didn’t happen. Instead, that story more or less ends around the 2 hour mark and the remaining 30 minutes of its run time resulted in a ridiculous mess that features an overpowered enemy that came out of nowhere, with very little set up or reason for being there, a character that while awesome (spoilers: it’s Wonder Woman), probably shouldn’t have been in a movie called ‘Batman v Superman’ and particular plot point that probably shouldn’t have seen the light of a projector til ‘Man of Steel 3’. Some shots from the last 30 minutes looked good, but a lot of them were just so cluttered by lighting bolts and laser beams that it lost all meaning. Some of the shots were harder to determine what was going on than being able to determine who’s fighting who in a Transformers movie.

There are more issues with the film, including pacing, writing and editing etc. But I don’t want to be so negative on this film, because there is something there. There’s a movie in here, I have ever since I saw this film believed that. All I need to do it sit down in front of my computer one day and maybe make a cut of my own to prove it. (I don’t want to alarm you but the writers and editor from BvS:DoJ are doing the same jobs on Justice League.)

I very much enjoyed Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman. He gave the older, gruffer character that the story asked for and we were looking for. That said, I like most of the acting in this film. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams have a shallow dynamic, dialogue-wise but their body language and the look in their eyes said more than the script could. Gal Gadot did a pretty decent job as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and delivered in my favourite shot of the entire film – a small smile during the big fight at the end, a little thing that said so much about the character, it said: “This is fun.”, “I’ve missed this” and “So you want a fight, huh?” all at the same time.

Jeremy Irons brought a new side to Alfred Pennyworth that we hadn’t seen before and I didn’t mind Holly Hunter’s role as a senator leading an enquiry in to Superman. Lawrence Fishburne brought nothing to the role as Perry White and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor left a lot to be desired… there were moments of proper evil to his character but sadly it was overshadowed by his ‘no one comprehends my genius’ shtick mixed with a fair amount of overacting.

The first 2 hours of the movie weren’t bad, it probably could have been done with being an hour and 40, but the story was enjoyable and could be followed somewhat. That being said, this is a comic book movie, and yes, the characters are from comic books, I know. I mean this movie paces like a comic book, it could even do with the odd “Meanwhile” tags in the top left corner in a few scenes, if this film was adapted in to a comic book – it would work. I think that is what sets the current DC films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe apart, Marvel makes movies based on its characters, they have adapted story lines, DC, or at least Zack Snyder seems to adapt the panels. Which is why 300 and Watchmen worked for the fans of those movies, its what they were expecting. It’s not what fans were expecting after Marvel had completed its ‘Phase One’. I think the culture had changed.

After all this though, I like parts of this movie, so it doesn’t fail completely in my opinion. I see this movie for it’s merits and what it tried to do. Don’t get me wrong, I have ideas about how you can fix this and effectively write this movie off – which in the DC Universe at least can be done very easily.

2 Stars

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

Ben Affleck to star as Batman in second Man of Steel

Actor/Director/Academy Award Winner, Ben Affleck has been cast as the next screen version of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the sequel to Man of Steel.

“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.” – Greg Silverman (WB President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production)

“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.” Zack Snyder (Director of both Man of Steel and its sequel)

“We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.’ remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes.” Sue Kroll (WB President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution)

This will not be Ben Affleck’s first time as a costume clad superhero, he starred as Daredevil in the 2003 film. So we can already get the feel for what he will look like under the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight. Very little is known about the direction that the film will take other than the appearance of Batman. What we do know is that the untitled sequel will be written by David S. Goyer who was one of the key writers in the Nolan Batman trilogy… so if anyone can write a good adventure for the caped crusader it’ll be him!

daredevil

Sucker Punch on DVD

With the release of Sucker Punch on DVD this week how about we re-live the review of quite possibly the most hyped-up movie of the year…

It’s incredibly hard to describe this film. I saw it on Thursday and I’ve had to give it this long too sink in. This movie improves with age. It starts out with a five minute dialogue-less scene where where the story is set, A woman dies and has left everything she owns to her two young daughters, the girl’s jealous step father decides to take what he wants and he attacks the girls. In the process the younger sister is killed and in an act of self defence the older sister, “Baby Doll” (Emily Browning) points a gun at her evil step father. Baby Doll is framed for the murder of her sister and is sent to an asylum for the insane.

There, Baby Doll meets Rocket, Sweet Pea, Blondie and Amber and thats where things start getting interesting. Baby Doll’s imagination turns the asylum into a club where the inmates are the dancers. Baby Doll’s dancing mesmerises people and allows her and the other girls to experience awesome new worlds and crazy scenarios.

This film provides a look inside the mind of a crazy person. But is the crazy person Baby Doll or Zack Snyder? Let your imagination run wild and you might get this movie straight away. The soundtrack and visual effects are amazing and Zack’s use of his favourite special effect, slow motion shots make this movie a dream come true… Literally, this movie is more dream like than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Despite what others say Zack Snyder is a talented director and he has made a good movie here. Although it’s a bit of a mess, Sucker Punch gets my vote!

2 Stars

Ultimately, the film only raked in $89 Million world-wide, in Australia, it pulled about $4.5 Million. The film never quite broke as good as the production company was hoping for. The budget of $82 Million was only just met in it’s theatrical life and unfortunately, Sucker Punch, missed the mark. Zack Snyder will return to the screen as director in 2013 with Man of Steel.

Sucker Punch is available on DVD and BluRay in all good video stores.

                   

Sucker Punch – Review

It’s incredibly hard to describe this film. I saw it on Thursday and I’ve had to give it this long too sink in. This movie improves with age. It starts out with a five minute dialogue-less scene where where the story is set, A woman dies and has left everything she owns to her two young daughters, the girl’s jealous step father decides to take what he wants and he attacks the girls. In the process the younger sister is killed and in an act of self defence the older sister, “Baby Doll” (Emily Browning) points a gun at her evil step father. Baby Doll is framed for the murder of her sister and is sent to an asylum for the insane.

There, Baby Doll meets Rocket, Sweet Pea, Blondie and Amber and thats where things start getting interesting. Baby Doll’s imagination turns the asylum into a club where the inmates are the dancers. Baby Doll’s dancing mesmerises people and allows her and the other girls to experience awesome new worlds and crazy scenarios.

This film provides a look inside the mind of a crazy person. But is the crazy person Baby Doll or Zack Snyder? Let your imagination run wild and you might get this movie straight away. The soundtrack and visual effects are amazing and Zack’s use of his favourite special effect, slow motion shots make this movie a dream come true… Literally, this movie is more dream like than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Zack Snyder is a talented director and here, he has made a good music video.

2 Stars

Sucker Punch is in cinema’s now.

FNF – Week 12 2011

Film News Friday, March 25th

  • The writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, James Vanderbilt has been reported to have signed on for the sequel. Sony Pictures seems to want to get the next movie underway soon after the July, 2012 release.
  • Feature Length Film to feature Micky, Donald & Goofy being developed at Disney.
  • A “PG-13” version of The King’s Speech is being released in America. This is in response to the R rating on the regular release. – This version set for Australia?… Maybe on a DVD release but certainly not in cinemas.
  • New ‘Bourne’ film (that will not have Matt Damon) in talks to cast Joel Edgerton (forthcoming remake of The Thing), Dominic Cooper (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), and Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans) in the lead role, a character that isn’t Jason Bourne, but is somehow affected by the events of the trilogy. It’s being billed as a ‘side-quel’.

The Week That Was

The news the made the headlines this week since the last FNF.

Saturday, March 19th

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt now confirmed for The Dark Knight Rises, along with Juno Temple.
  • S.H.E.I.L.D website launched > http://www.joinshield.com/.
  • Jodie Foster to direct a Sci-Fi Thriller.
  • Adrianne Palicki: the new Wonder Woman… >First Pictures.
  • Billy Bob Thornton to return in Bad Santa 2.
  • Kevin Costner to play Jonathan Kent in The Man of Steel.

Sunday, March 20th

  • Joseph Gordon-Levit’s Dark Knight Rises role revealed, Alberto Falcone, the son of Mafia chieftain Carmine Falcone, the character Tom Wilkinson played in Batman Begins.
  • New Hugh Jackman movie, Real Steel – New viral videos released of a few of the fighting robots central to the storyline. Check out wrb.com or Coming Soon.net.
  • US Ticket sales are down 20% on the first quarter of 2010. Why? A series of 3-D flops are to blame. Disney’s Mars Need Moms the most recent to bomb out and is one of Disney’s worst opening weekends in years.
  • Brian Naylor, director of the new Ghost Rider movie “The Spirit of Vengence” talks about the story the characters and more. Check out Collider.com for the full article.
  • Tim Burton to direct a stop motion version of The Addams Family for 2014.

Monday, March 21st

  • Production on The Hobbit begins. Facebook page launched for the film.
  • New Pirates 4 trailer is released.
  • Zack Snyder, talks more on Superman… “real(-est) film he’s ever done”.

Tuesday, March 22nd

  • Batman Begins, Speculation… Again: Joseph Gordon-Levitt may not be playing Falcone. Entertainment Weekly has announced that the statement of the character he will be playing was wrong.
  • New footage of Captain America to be released tomorrow on Entertainment Tonight.
  • The script for an american live-action Akira have been sent out to prospective leads. Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy all possible for Tetsuo.
  • Poster for the new Antonio Banderas movie comes out… The Big Bang! (Read the plot line of this movie you will think “what the?!?!”

Wednesday, March 23rd

  • Next Narnia movie to be produced… The Magicians Nephew
  • Clash of the Titans 2 goes into production… I’m sure none of you can wait for this.
  • Captain America trailer released.
  • Harry Houdini movie in the works by Sony Pictures.
  • The Wolverine on hold, no director and Japan crisis.

Thursday, March 24th

  • Dame Elizabeth Taylor Dies age 79.
  • Paramount Reveal the first 20 mins of Super 8.
  • Zack Snyder reveals Superman begins shooting in August.
  • Battle: Los Angeles Tops Australian Box Office

TV News

  • Torchwood to premiere July 8.
  • Fringe to give the green light for a new season.
  • Futurama renewed for two years.
  • CBS seem as though the may want their cash-cow, Charlie Sheen back… he is still winning.
  • TV Series not returning to American screens next season so far…
    • Friday Night Lights
    • Life Unexpected
    • Live to Dance
    • Lone Star
    • Medium
    • My Generation
    • Outlaw
    • Running Wilde
    • Skating with the Stars
    • Smallville
    • Supernanny
    • The Cape
    • The Good Guys
    • The Whole Truth
    • Undercovers

Youtube

Captain America Trailer

The Big Bang Trailer

The Big Bang Poster

And thats the News, this week.

First Film News Friday

Every Friday you will get to see up to date film news on movies in the works and movies out now.

FILM NEWS

Pretty self explanatory, news about movie.

  • Darren Aronofsky, director of Black Swan, has pulled out of the next instalment of the Wolverine franchise, “The Wolverine”. He stated that it would require him to spend too much time away from his family (aww, what a softy). 20th Century Fox and Hugh Jackman are still very committed to the film being made.
  • Michael Gough dies age 94, he was best known for playing Alfred Pennyworth in the Burton & Schumacher Batman films.
  • Awesome News for Superman fans! Zack Snyder has stated that Superman: Man of Steel (Working Title) is to have no trace of the older movies. He is going to keep true to the comic books. Could we have a Superman movie worth seeing?
  • Third Harold & Kumar movie to arrive around November/December, “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”.
  • In a last ditch attempt to keep rights to Daredevil, Fox have slated David Slade (30 Days of Night, Twilight: Eclipse) to direct the new Daredevil movie. If they do not have a film in production soon the rights go to Marvel studios (now owned by Disney).
  • The troubled remake of Red Dawn (an American “Tomorrow, When the War Began” (Strangely starring a few Aussie actors)) has had to change the villains from Chinese to North Korean to appeal to the very lucrative Chinese film market. This film was pushed back from a September 2010 release… who knows when it will be released.

TV NEWS

Again. This will make sense, news about TV.

  • ABC reboot of Charlie’s Angels starring Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly and Annie Ilonzeh.
  • NBC shoots pilot for a Wonder Woman reboot. Elizabeth Hurley stars as the villain while Adrianne Palicki plays the Princess of the Amazon.

youNEWS

In this section you will find the latest trailers and videos of upcoming movies.

  • Conan the Barbarian Teaser Trailer: Jason Momoa of Stargate Atlantis fame plays the old Arnie Character… Conan.
  • Sucker Punch: The Trenches:  An animated short that ties in to the soon to be released movie.
  • Simon Pegg & Nick Frost: On the set of Paul recreated a scene from Star Wars.