Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Non-Spoiler Review!

Thor: Ragnarok Non-Spoiler Review!

Written by Jason Brigger

Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett

Standalone Thor films have never really received the love that most other Avengers’ solo films receive and with good reason as the films, up to now, have been either been boring (original Thor) or pretty to watch but ultimately forgettable (Thor: The Dark World). Thor: Ragnarok opens in North America November 3, 2017 and hopes to change that by taking a new approach by using comedy to liven up the forgettable film series.

This time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must not only tangle with his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), but also Hela, the God of Death (Cate Blanchett) as she tries to continue what Odin (Anthony Hopkins) stopped her from doing centuries ago, rule the universe. Along the way, Thor must also escape a planet run by the creepy but fun dictator Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and recruit a team of heroes looking for purpose and revenge. If this sounds a little like Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s because it is. More

Spider-Man: Homecoming Non-Spoiler Review!

Spider-Man: Homecoming Non-Spoiler Review!

Written by Jason Brigger

Director: Jon Watts

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., and Marisa Tomei

After a Spider-Man trilogy that hasn’t aged well in light of the newer superhero films, and after a failed reboot by Sony that included two lackluster films (to put it gently), Sony has teamed up with Marvel to make the Spider-Man film that fans have been wanting for decades.

This time, Tom Holland takes up the web as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, a teenager trying to juggle his life as a teenager and as the newest New York superhero.  Parker wants nothing more than to be the next member of the Avengers and under the watchful eye of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), he’s well on his way to the being the best friendly neighborhood Spider-Man until Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) sets New York in his sight.

After losing his salvage company’s contract cleaning up disaster areas to Stark’s new company, Damage Control, Toomes decides to use alien technology as weapons to sell to the criminal element of New York City.  Spider-Man, after waiting patiently to be Stark’s new protégé, decides to take matters into his own hands and stop Toomes/Vulture on his own, much to Stark’s protest.

The Good:

No Uncle Ben backstory.  After five previous films, the general audience understands why Parker does what he does and finally the writers realize not to waste time rehashing a story that has been told too many times. Thank you, Mr. Goldstein and Mr. Daley.

-Super-villain cameos.  I won’t spoil the surprises but Spider-Man actually fights numerous villains from the comic books and not just nameless thugs.  Fans of the comics will enjoy seeing some lesser known villains get the film treatment and while they may not be more than just filler for Spider-Man to wrestle with, the audience gets to see some fresh faces.

-New York City.  Jon Watts directs a film that, much like the comic books, makes New York City a living, breathing character as much as Spider-Man.  Watts makes New York City feel alive with real people and not just stock caricatures that the previous films accomplished.  When Spider-Man swings past buildings, it feels like he knows every nook in the city and actually loves and wants to protect New York.

-Tom Holland. Tobey Maguire helped make the cinematic Spider-Man famous but lacked in authenticity when it came to Parker.  Andrew Garfield nailed the persona of Parker but couldn’t figure out the authenticity of Spider-Man. Holland brings the complete package to the role and future actors in this role will be compared to Holland.

Holland pins down the insecure teenage angst of Parker but brings the still-learning but humorous Spider-Man persona to the superhero.  Holland has great repertoire as the nephew of Aunt May (Marissa Tomei) and he is confident in his scenes with the veteran Downey. Holland may not have been a household name before this film but after Homecoming, everyone will realize he is Spider-Man.

The Bad:

Nothing.

The Middling:

-Aunt May.  It’s not that Tomei does not fit the typical Aunt May-type.  It’s that the film doesn’t give anything for Aunt May to do and despite Tomei doing an admirable job, there just isn’t a chance to spread her wings with this character.  The one redeeming part for Tomei is that she gets the funniest line in the whole film.

-The Vulture.  Keaton does a fun and at times, great job as Toomes/Vulture but this is more about the writers “telling and not showing” why he does what he does.  Toomes states a few times that he sells weapons to criminals to support his and his co-workers’ family, and while admirable in a deranged way, that is about as far as his motivation gets in the film.  This motivation is not helped by a small, surprising twist later in the film that feels more forced and included just for shock value rather than for an actual poignant plot twist. We don’t meet Toomes’ family till the final act and by that point, too much time has passed for the audience to care about his motivations.

Final Grade: B (Good but the future of this franchise looks great)

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the Spider-Man film that Sony should have made years ago.  Despite taking too long to reach an agreement with Marvel, Sony eventually did the right thing and Spider-Man is where he belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  This film is fun from the start and despite a few small hiccups, everyone from kids to adults will enjoy the reboot that actually gets it right.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every Wednesday at www.webegeekspc.com or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps.  You can listen to their latest episode right here:

http://webegeekspc.com/history-bad-ideas-podcast-ep-183-breath-silence/

The Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Film Review (Non-Spoiler!)

The Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Film Review (Non-Spoiler!)

Written by Jason Brigger

Director: James Gunn

Writers: James Gunn and Dan Abnett

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper (voice), and Vin Diesel (voice)

The rag-tag crew of the Milano is back as Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 blasts its way into theaters this weekend and fans of the original will not be disappointed in this fun sequel.

Guardians continues the team’s adventures throughout the galaxy but this time Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his merry crew are caught off-guard when Quill’s dad, Ego (Kurt Russell), finds Quill after decades of searching for his son that he abandoned on Earth.  Despite Quill’s excitement and new relationship with his father, not everything is on the “up and up” with Ego as plans for universal domination is in the mix and the Guardians are the only ones that can stop his madness and save the galaxy…again.

Quill and his crew not only have to battle Ego but along the way, the Guardians are More

Kong: Skull Island Non-Spoiler Review!

Kong: Skull Island Non-Spoiler Review!

Written by Jason Brigger

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Writers: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, and John Gatins

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, and Brie Larson

Kong: Skull Island marks the triumphant return of King Kong to the theater for the first time since 2005 when Peter Jackson thought it was a good idea for a giant ape to ice skate with a damsel in distress, much to the chagrin of critics and audiences everywhere.  This Kong doesn’t have time for ice skating or long walks around New York City because he’s got to protect his home from underground lizard hybrids, birds that can saw a man in half and even humans who feel Kong would look good over their mantle.

Kong: Skull Island is set in the year 1973, or more accurately the very day that America was pulling out from the Vietnam War, and the last chance for secretive agency of Monarch (from Godzilla) and scientist Bill Randa (John Goodman) to talk the U.S. government into a “mapping and navigation” mission on an uncharted and until just recently, unknown island in the South Pacific.  Randa recruits a tracker named James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), and military leader Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his fellow soldiers to complete his mission but unknown to everyone but Randa, a giant ape has other plans.  After Kong strikes down every helicopter in the squad, the survivors must navigate the dangers of the island to reach their rendezvous point in three days to get off a literal Hell on Earth.

The Good: More

Logan Film Review (Non-Spoiler)!

Logan Film Review (Non-Spoiler)!

Written by Jason Brigger

Directors: James Mangold

Writers: James Mangold, Scott Frank and Michael Green

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant and Dafne Keen

Logan slashes its way into theaters this weekend and Fox and Marvel finally gives the fans of the X-Men the tale they have wanted to see for years.  Logan, as it should be evident by the R rating, is not for children and is a beautifully violent, head-rolling (literally!) and well-written story that gives Hugh Jackman a film worthy of letting Wolverine ride off into the sunset.  

Logan is set in the year 2029 when mutants are either dead or in hiding and no longer a part of everyday society.  Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) watches after Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in an abandoned silo in Mexico with the assistance of Caliban, played by a returning Stephen Merchant after a brief role in the previous X-Men film, Apocalypse.  Logan resorts to being a limo driver that  knows his time is coming to an end as his body is not healing as quick as it used due to the adamantium that replaced his bones is now poisoning him.  Logan and Professor X leave their reclusive life to help a mysterious new mutant Laura/X-23 (Dafne Keen) to a possible safe haven for mutants called Eden.  Along the way, the trio is hunted by a bounty hunter named Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and the psychotic Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant) who enjoys experimenting on children in an attempt to make them the soldiers of the future.

The Good:

Laura/X-23Keen does an amazing acting job bringing the new mutant to the screen.  Child characters/actors usually range from “bad” to “tolerable” but Keen knocks it out of the ballpark.  She brings a quiet disposition that she unleashes into a berserker rage when she is cornered or threatened, from bounty hunters to the local convenient store clerk accusing Laura of stealing from the store.  The character hinges on Keen’s performance and she not only delivers in her performance, she makes the audience wanting to see more of Laura/X-23 in her own solo film.

-The story.  James Mangold, writer of the older Sylvester Stallone film Copland, is finally able to bring a gritty and realistic (as much as it can be) Wolverine film to the masses.  Logan is filled with well acted and choreographed action scenes that allow the brutality of the Wolverine character from the comics to show through on screen.  Mangold shows he “gets” the character of Wolverine and allows the animalistic nature of Logan to shine in the film.

-The “R” rating.  I am not someone that feels an “R” rating is needed to make a film better because if the story is good, that should be all it needs to succeed but in Logan, the “R” rating was needed.  Fans of Wolverine have been clamoring for a gritty and bloody film to actually depict the character and the “R” rating secures that for this film.  The battles are brutal but well done and while the fights are bloody, I never felt any gore or violence was gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous.  The brutality serves to show the inner struggles X-23 and Wolverine have when taking a life and Mangold balances it perfectly.

The Bad:

Nothing.

The Middling:

-The length of the film.  While the film delivers on the story, there are times when not only the action slows down but the flow story stalls in the film.  This doesn’t mean the film is worse for these slow periods but by taking off about 15 minutes of the film, Mangold may have been able to deliver a tighter movie overall.

-Caliban. Caliban is an albino mutant and a poor man’s Alfred for Logan and Professor X but once he is kidnapped and threatened with sunlight, which he must avoid at all costs, he has no choice to but to help the villains in using his powers to track our heroes.  Caliban provides the few moments of levity and humor and fans will appreciate Mangold bringing the mutant back after his brief role in the last X-Men film.

-Pierce. Pierce is the main villain who is hired to capture Laura and while the actor Holbrook does a fine job in bringing personality to him, a lack of backstory hurts Pierce’s character in the film.  There are moments where Pierce delivers and while the character is an improvement above many one dimensional villains in the prior X-Men films, I kept wanting a little more regarding Pierce’s reasoning for doing what he does to mutants in this universe.

Final Grade: B (Good with moments of greatness)

Logan is one of the better X-Men films in a franchise that sorely needs a hit.  Logan is everything that fans of the comic want and Mangold should be given keys to the X-Men film universe for making a film that will resonate with non-fans of the comic.  The film has moments, even periods, of greatness and while the film is very well made, there are moments that stop it from being a true classic.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released at http://webegeekspc.com/category/podcast/networkpodcasts/the-history-of-bad-ideas/ every Wednesday or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps.

You can listen to their latest episode right here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/historyofbadideas/Episode_165.mp3

Marvelette Missives – A Perfect War

Marvelette Missives – A Perfect War

It should come as no surprise that I saw Captain America: Civil War last weekend (well, Thursday night to be exact). I am a Marvel chick, after all. So I want to explain why I think this is an almost perfect superhero movie. (Very minor spoilers ahead – I don’t give away the good stuff.)

There are five important aspects to every superhero movie: plot, characters, pacing, humor and action. (These can be said to apply to all movies in varying degrees.) So let’s take each in turn and show what Civil War does right. More

JAN 069: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

JAN 069: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

JAN069Anthony, Imran and Rugboy ring in the New Year with their thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The hosts discuss what they liked, didn’t like, theories, questions and more in this full spoiler review podcast. Plus, Star Wars comic book recommendations, The Nerd built a droid, learn the Machete Order of viewing the Star Wars franchise, and Rugboy reviews Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in the post show.

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WDW Tiki Room: December 18, 2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens Red Carpet Special

WDW Tiki Room: December 18, 2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens Red Carpet Special

WDWTR iTunes logoWDW Tiki Room hosts Aljon Go and Kristen Hoetzel are joined by special guest Ryan Hurley (turtlepowerpodcast.com) and share a spoiler free review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as red carpet interviews from the cast and crew from the Hollywood premiere including: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Bob Iger, Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams and more!

VISIT: WDWTikiRoom.com | Twitter.com/WDWTikiRoom | facebook.com/WDWTikiRoom | Aljon Twitter.com/JediMouseketeer | Kristen Twitter.com/DiningatDisney | Hotline (850) 888-TIKI // (850) 888-8454 | E-mail WDWTikiRoom@SRSounds.com

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens NON-SPOILER Review!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens NON-SPOILER Review!

Written by Jason Brigger

Star Wars: The Force Awakens blasts into theaters this Friday, December 18 with more fanfare and anticipation than any other film in the last 20 years. The Force Awakens arrives ten years after the prequels left even the die-hard fans with disappointment and in short, The Force Awakens will redeem your faith in the Star Wars universe.

The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire have now become the Resistance and the First Order, respectively. Director and co-writer J. J. Abrams transports the audience to a universe we have grown up with but also has created something truly new and amazing to awe. Abrams does an amazing job of weaving the classic characters and the new characters into a film that doesn’t feel forced (no pun intended) and the film does not suffer from the amount of characters involved in the story. I credit a lot of this to Abrams but original trilogy writer Lawrence Kasdan, who was brought on board to keep the original trilogy tone, keeps the film flowing and gives the characters depth and overall likability.

In short, and spoiler free, the film stars relative unknown actress Daisy Ridley as Rey, a mysterious scavenger on the desert planet Jakku, as she teams up with Finn, played by John Boyega (Attack the Block), and along with the original cast including Carrie Fisher playing the no longer a princess but now General Leia and Harrison Ford as the older but still roguish Han Solo to take down the new cast of the First Order led by Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver (Girls). That’s all you are going to get as far as the plot because this film does not need to be spoiled more than what was shown in the trailers. This is a rare film where the less said about it is a good thing. The film will feel very familiar to Star Wars fans but there is enough mystery, twists and new ideas to make the film feel like a fresh take and a new launch pad for the franchise.

The Good:

-The cast. Ridley and Boyega step into a difficult situation, new characters in a beloved franchise, and do a fine job. Immediately they fit right in without missing a beat with the older characters and the audience will feel right away Ridley and Boyega belong in this franchise. Harrison Ford and the rest of the original cast look like they are happy to be back and for the opportunity to revisit these great characters and we are lucky to have them back in this franchise.

-The tempo and “feel” of the movie. J.J. Abrams and the production crew hit everything right in making the feel of this film more like the original trilogy and not the “we shall never speak of again” prequel films. It might be the old school way of creating costumes and sets instead of the CGI explosion of effects found in the prequels but for some reason, this film just seems to fit in with the original trilogy that the prequels never could. Disney could not pick a more perfect director or writer to reboot the franchise than they did in J.J. Abrams.

-It’s fun. Remember the fun you had when you watched the original trilogy? The Force Awakens does that again for its audience. After lumbering through the prequels, the fans are rewarded with a film that not only is fun but feels fresh too. The cast looks like they are having a great time and seem to realize they are in a special film franchise that is loved by millions. The Force Awakens is just an entertaining and well written film that the majority of the audience will see it again and again.

The Bad:

Nothing. This is the Star Wars film fanboys and the general viewing public has wanted for decades.

The Middling:

-The hype. Yes, the one issue I have with this film is not the film itself but the hype and promotion leading up to the film. People, not just fans, could not go ANYWHERE without some sort of Star Wars marketing product, from R2-D2 coffee creamer to car commercials to toys, oh goodness the toys, in their faces. After three months of marketing, the hype around the film will surely cause fans to be disappointed in the film and not due to the film itself but the amount of attention leading up to the release date.

-Nostalgia. As great as it was to see Han, Leia, Chewie and others on the big screen, the filmmakers may have spent just a little too much time with our old friends. I understand they filmmakers needed to “pass the torch” to the new generation and this might be nitpicking but a little more time with the new generation and just a little less time with the old generation would have helped the audiences move past the original trilogy a little more easier.

Final Grade: A-

The cast and crew should be applauded for creating a whole new Star Wars universe but still able to keep the aura and nostalgia from the original trilogy. The film makes the audience feel like a kid again watching the original Star Wars film and overall that is what films should be about for the audience. This weekend, grab your family, try to find a theater that isn’t sold out, and sit back and enjoy a truly amazing experience that is The Force Awakens.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, releasing every Wednesday at WeBeGeeksPC.com or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps.

You can also listen to our latest podcast right here!

http://webegeekspc.com/new-hobi-ep-episode-102-a-copious-amount-of-wolf-spiders/

WDW After Dark: May 6, 2015 – Disney Springs Update and Star Wars Disney Infinity

WDW After Dark Logo for iTunesWDW After Dark is the LIVE and UNCENSORED weekly webcast for adult Disney fans. Kristen and Jeff discuss the latest happenings at Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) at Walt Disney World including a review of the new Boathouse restaurant and bar. Also in the mix is Star Wars Weekends ultra foodie experiences, pre-ordering food in the parks, huge Disney Infinity 3.0 video game news including the introduction of Star Wars characters and playsets to the game, Tune In Lounge’s new menu at Hollywood Studios and Trader Sam’s East review. Last but not least the duo review Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Have a question for the crew? Leave a voicemail at (410) 98-WDWAD – (410) 989-3923.

FOLLOW US:
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Now Geek This: I, Frankenstein Review

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This weekend was the opening of the movie I, Frankenstein, directed by Stuart Beattie.  The plot of the movie has Frankenstein’s famous monster, played by Aaron Eckhart, stumble into a war between demons, who are hunting the monster to learn the secrets of his creation,  and the holy order of gargoyles who are the sworn enemies of the demons.  Of course, Frankenstein’s monster, named Adam by the queen of the gargoyles played by Miranda Otto, wants nothing to do with the war.  All Adam wants is to be left alone to roam the earth in peace.  Centuries of fighting demon hunters pass before Adam realizes that he will never be left alone as long as the demon prince Naberiu, played by Bill Nighy, wants the secrets Adam’s body can reveal about animating the dead.  Adam returns to the order of the gargoyles during modern day and decides to help them fight Naberius.

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Now Geek This: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug review

cooltext1205573672Hello, and welcome to another exciting edition of Now Geek This.  Today, I will be reviewing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, directed by fan favorite Peter Jackson. 

Before I begin my review, I must reveal two important factors regarding my viewing of this movie.  The first thing I must disclose is that I have not read the Hobbit or even watched the Rankin/Bass cartoon since I was a very young child, so the exact details of the story are a distant memory to me.  I know what you are thinking, “blasphemy!”  Just hold on a minute, I think that gave me a fresh perspective on these movies.  I know the basic story of the Hobbit of course; it is just the exact details of the story that elude me.

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