The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Posts tagged “Movie

Review: Creed II

MV5BMTcxMjUwNjQ5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjk4MzI4NjM@__V1_As a lifelong fan of the Rocky franchise, it was inevitable that I’d see Creed 2.  Throw in the bonus that my wife was in the movie, made it that much more enjoyable for me to watch.

While the first Creed movie did a good job of showing the origin of Michael B Jordan’s character, the second film goes beyond that and firmly sets him into the lead role.  No longer is he overshadowed by Sly Stallone’s Rocky Balboa.  Adonis Creed now stands on his own.  He’s set firmly in place, and in a way that I hope will continue to carry this franchise for years to come.

Creed 2 is almost a direct sequel to Rocky 4 in many ways, and while Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago didn’t have much substance in that prior movie, he’s given much more to work with here.  In fact they humanize him and his son in a way where I could see fans wanting to see more of the pair in a spinoff or return further down the line.

The drama in this film plays nicely with the brutal action, humor, and touching moments.  My only complaint is that I wish there would have been a physical confrontation of some sorts between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa, but in a way I’m glad they didn’t.  It would have just taken away from establishing Adonis Creed’s legacy.

I give Creed 2 a score of 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Here’s to hoping for Creed III soon, and maybe even a prequel about Mickey in the early 1900s.

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Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb_Raider_(2018_film)The Tomb Raider movies prior to this year’s film of the same name with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, weren’t much to remember.  They were just fun popcorn flicks.  It’s because of those that I went into this movie with low expectations, but as a huge fan of the video games I had to give it a shot.  I’m glad that I did.

With a surprisingly long run time for this film (just under 2 hours), it felt refreshing and human.  Vikander’s Croft is much more relatable, giving the audience a character they care about.  You can see her humanity.  She’s not a super hero, and while she does perform some impossible things, she doesn’t come out of it unscathed.

This really shows the origin of a great character, and how she became wrapped up in the archaeological world.  Tomb Raider 2018 may not be as good as the Indiana Jones movies, but it separates itself as a solid stand alone piece that is highly enjoyable.

I personally look forward to a sequel, and who knows… with all these crossovers, and an inevitable Indiana Jones reboot some day, maybe we will see Indy and Lara team up.  In the mean time this will keep audiences pleased.  I rate it with 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It’s not the best movie out there, but it certainly ranks high on the fun film scale.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Black Panther

new-black-panther-movie-poster-2018--1064120When it comes to Marvel movies, it’s no secret I’ve been entertained every time.  Going into this one I had high hopes as usual, and I wasn’t let down.  Minor Spoilers ahead.

The Good:

This is a totally fresh movie that is far different than the other comic book superhero films out there.  It’s political without pushing any agendas.  It’s got a great mix of action, humor, and sincerity that make it an all around great standalone movie.  You don’t need to see any of the other films in the MCU to see this one (although you might get confused by the final end credit scene if you are not watching all of the films).  The main characters of T’Challa and Killmonger are perfect with the latter even donning his comic accurate costume in the beginning, only to get a much better upgrade.  Finally, the usage of characters like Klaw, Man-Ape, Shuri, Nakia, Everett Ross, and Okoye are done well as a supporting cast.  Oh, and how could I forget another outstanding cameo by Stan Lee.

The Bad:

I am a little upset with Klaw’s fate, but realize why they did what they did.  Some of the things like Black Panther jumping from a plane without a parachute don’t sit well with me, but the explanation of how Vibranium absorbs kinetic energy makes me suspend disbelief just enough to let the ridiculousness pass.

Overall:

Black Panther was just fun from opening until end.  It had weight in the series, and was relatable to the real world on some levels.  I put it up there with the Captain America Trilogy as my favorite so far giving it a 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  So what did you think?

On a side note here’s some speculation and clarity btw:

Antman and The Wasp will be here soon, and it looks like that will be another stand alone movie to give us more back story and introduction of characters.  Bucky is looking like he will get a cybernetic vibranium arm and is a hero again.  Maybe we will see him as Captain America.  And though people are saying “Where is the 6th Infinity Stone?” let me explain to you where they all are.  The Tesseract is the SPACE Stone, and is floating in space with the SOUL stone, which was the Eternal flame from Thor Ragnarok.  Thanos shows up at the end of that, so I’m assuming he has both now.  The REALITY stone Aether is in the Collector’s possession after Malekith was defeated.  The MIND stone is in Vision’s head.  Doctor Strange has the TIME stone in his Eye of Agamotto amulet.  This leaves the POWER stone with the Nova Corps after they got it back from Ronan.  All the stones are there.  I don’t get why people are saying the Soul stone hasn’t been represented yet.  They did the same thing with the mind stone when it was still in Loki’s staff.  Think about what the Souls stone might do…  It restores or takes life presumably.  That is exactly what the flame did in Ragnarok.

Thoughts?


Review: Thor Ragnarok

Thor_Ragnarok_posterHere we are with another movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and like all its predecessors we hear the line, “Best Marvel movie yet!”  Does it hold up to the hype?  I guess that’s how you look at it.  Here’s my take on the latest adventure for the god of thunder.  Warning.  Some spoilers ahead:

This third installment didn’t feel as if it fit in the trilogy.  While the previous two Thor movies were for the most part serious with small amounts of humor, this went beyond what Guardians of the Galaxy had done.  The humor worked, but I’m not sure it was a good thing.  Was Ragnarok a good movie?  My answer isn’t simple.  Yes… it’s a good movie if you are looking for a comedy flick filled with colorful action.  Yes… it’s a good movie for comic book fans.  Yes… overall it is a good movie, but the comedy and seriousness of it didn’t mix well.

The Hulk worked great!  He was a great deal of comic relief, and he worked well because of the fact he is like an over sized five year old.  Thor’s humor however felt a bit cheesy.  Don’t get me wrong.  Hemsworth is phenomenal in the role and he delivered it well, but for someone who is an heir to the throne of an entire world, he’s less a King or prince, and more of the town stooge at times.  That being said, he does pull through and become a great leader to replace Odin.

Beyond the strange comedic mix there is quite a great amount of screen play to remember.  1) they combined 3 separate storylines very well (Ragnarok, Contest of Champions, and World War Hulk.)

2) Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, and Cate Blanchett are perfection in every role they play.  At least I’m convinced of this, because all three stood out to me.  The rest of the cast also delivered well with what they were given with the exception of the Executioner and Surtur.  I don’t feel the former was used well at all, because he really didn’t live up to his title, and Surtur was weak compared to what I’d envisioned a creature like him to be.

3) The cameos of the actors in the beginning (Luke Hemsworth, Matt Damon, and Sam Neil) were a funny addition to Loki’s telling of what happened.  Doctor Strange’s inclusion was known, and I’m glad it was on the level it was.  He served a purpose quickly and in a glorified way.  And Stan Lee’s cameo might have been my favorite one yet.

4) Hulk.  We got a speaking hulk. ’nuff said.

Then there’s the questions we are left with at the end.  I’m assuming that the Eternal Flame is probably the Soul Stone, since Hela used it to resurrect her army, and Loki to do the same to Surtur.  If that’s the case, then there are two Infinity gems that Thanos must have in his possession at the start of Infinity war; not to mention that he has the entire Asgardian refugee ship (including Hulk, Heimdall, Valyrie and Thor) as captives.  – Speaking of Hela, since she is the goddess of death (and we know Thanos loves death), is she truly dead?  I don’t think so.  She probably just will be a bit weaker without Asgard’s existence, but present in some state.  – Was the blonde Valkyrie who saved our new scrapper Valkyrie in the flashback, the original comic book version or just a way to pay tribute to her?  Either way it was a fun fan moment.  – Is Banner gone for good?  It sure looks that way, especially since Banner seemed to think that would happen, and his impact with the rainbow bridge would surely indicate he is dead.  – Also, without his mighty hammer, will Thor end up getting his Jarnbjorn battle axe?  I surely hope so. – And finally, is the Grandmaster dead?  I’m assuming that the people would kill and “eat” him, as they tried to do with Thor in the beginning.

There’s lots to discover in the next Avengers movie, but until then, this one will hold us over for a few months.  Final assessment?  Was it the best Marvel movie?  No.  The humor and tone didn’t mix well, but separately would have worked.  I worry that if Marvel continues to push these bounds, then we may end up getting sloppier work.  That being said, this is not a sloppy movie by any means.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, placing it somewhere between good and great, but not quite excellent.  How about you?  What did you think about Thor Ragnarok?  Speculations?  Comment with your thoughts below.

 

 

 


Review: Spider-man Homecoming

spider-man-homecoming-trailer-3Spider-Man is back at Marvel, but how did he fare swinging into action on home turf?  I’ll say this.  It was not the movie I wanted it to be.  I expected it to be the best of the existing Spidey films so far, but it fell just shy of Spider-man 2, which I feel remains at the top of the list.  So what was good and bad about it?

The Bad:

The Shocker felt like a rip off.  Which one?  It doesn’t matter.  Were either of these guys Herman Schultz?  Again, it doesn’t matter.  It was explained that the technology could shatter their arms, so that’s why the quilted yellow jacket was used.  Is it so hard then to put a mask on the men?  I’m just tired of half assed villain appearances.  Hopefully they bring him back soon.

Zendaya’s character was a waste.  Why was she even there?  She’s clearly not the MJ that we know as in Mary Jane Watson (At least she better not be).  And the whole team going to Washington DC?  How did anyone else not figure out that Parker and Spider-Man happen to be in both places?  Flash Thompson didn’t seem like Flash Thompson at all.

The Spider-Man A.I. suit is just stupid.  Get rid of the computer and give him spider-sense already.  This isn’t the hero comic book fans want. And Aunt May is hot of course, but her presence was lacking.  No mention of Uncle Ben either, but Peter did say his Aunt had been through a lot, so that can slide.

The Good:

I know I said the AI suit is a bad thing, but I do like the different web settings.  This actually can explain a lot.  The spider-tracers were also awesome to see, as well as the search light.  I liked the mentor being Tony Stark too.  It worked really well.

Adrian Toomes/Vulture, and The Tinkerer were perfect.  The way they were handled was done quite well, though I feel the final battle was a bit anti-climactic.  Ned was also a good friend for Peter to have and share his secret with.

The scene with Adrian Toomes in the car with Peter was very cool.  The little speech Keaton gave was chilling.  I’m not sure Liz as his daughter felt right, but it didn’t matter because she too was a welcome addition.

From Damage Control, to Spider-man/Peter Parker himself were great.  And shall I say that I think Tom Holland is our best Spidey/Parker yet!  I look forward to seeing him many more times in the role.

Overall assessment:

Homecoming is not the best Spidey movie because so much more could have been done to correct the minor plot holes.  That being said, it is certainly not the worst, and comes in right up there with Spider-man 2 as a close favorite.  I give it 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Where can it go from here?  I can easily see Spidey battling the Sinister Six with an ally or two.  I realize he’s got a role in Infinity War and more, but why not see what he can do against the likes of: Vulture, Scorpion, Tinkerer, Shocker, and two others.  I suggest a proper Rhino and Prowler.  It’s clear that Miles Morales exists in this universe, so make him Spidey’s ally and give the fans something to remember.  What did you think of Spider-man Homecoming?


Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder_Woman_(2017_film)It’s no secret that the DCEU of movies has met with harsh criticism, and in some cases rightfully so.  Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman were split down the middle by fans and Suicide Squad was an absolute disaster.  Even before those the films were less than perfect.  Bad interpretations of villains in the previous Batman movies, a heavily CGI Green Lantern film, and the 5 prior Superman films were only good for the first two.  So the track record of DC films hasn’t been anything spectacular over the years.  Sure there were high points, but it really had me worry for Wonder Woman.

Then I saw it, and while the story felt similar to Captain America the First Avenger, it was Gal Gadot who really made this a great watch.  The actress is not only stunning, but connects with audiences on an emotional end, and then turns into a complete badass.  Chris Pine as Steve Trevor added a great amount of chemistry and humor needed.

The supporting cast did well, and the visual effects with the lasso were straight from the pages of the comic books.  The director’s decision to add more color to Wonder Woman’s costume was a smart one as well.  It made her stand out more in a very cold looking era film.

My complaints would be minor overall but still bothersome.  Ares was a great villain, but I saw the twist coming from the moment the actor stepped on screen.  It was way too predictable.  The over usage of Wonder Woman’s theme song grew tiresome, and some of the Amazonian fights looked off in the CGI department.

What I did like is that for the most part this was a true interpretation of the character.  I’d watch Gal Gadot in anything, but the comic fan in me couldn’t be happier.  I’m not sure I enjoyed the sort of force blast she showed with her gauntlets, but I think this was to show how she can ricochet most attacks that way.

Finally, DC films has something to list as their best movie to date (Yes that includes all other movies mentioned above).  We now have a female hero who is both a princess and warrior hero.  I give Wonder Woman 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?


Think, Sip, Write: ep 40 – Land of Oz

Lana sits in as cohost for this episode all about L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz.  From the 40 original novels, we discuss some noteworthy adaptations in film, games, and more.  What are your favorite Oz works?

Chime in with your thoughts, and be sure to subscribe to my channel for episodes of #thinksipwrite and more.


Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2

GotG_Vol2_posterThis is one of those movies where the trailer doesn’t do it justice.  I went into this thinking there was going to be a corny forced humor that wouldn’t sit well with an overall semi-serious Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I was proven wrong.  Is that to say there weren’t some moments like that?  No, of course there were, but those moments were done tactfully and worked for the moment.

There will be spoilers from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

A flashback to 1980 has us seeing a young Kurt Russell and how his character of Ego met StarLord’s mom.  I can’t help but notice something here, and let me know if you think the same.  In the 80s there was a movie called “Starman.”  It was about an alien man who fell in love with a woman and drove cross country with her.  At the end of that movie the Starman left and she was assumingly pregnant because of the sexual scenes in it.  The movie to me was a good movie, but left too many open ends never to be addressed.  The character in Starman was played by Jeff Bridges.  Kurt Russell’s younger CGI self looked almost identical to Bridges in that film.  I know they are two different universes, but could James Gunn have used this as inspiration to give answers to a film that never gave them?  Who knows, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax were pretty much spot on with how they were at the end of the last movie.  Star-Lord realizing he is part Celestial was worrisome, but what was a risky maneuver of changing his comic book history, really played out well.  Toddler Groot was a waste to me.  I know it was done for the cute factor, and it made sense as he’s more grown than the end of the last movie.  I don’t think any other way would have been good for him to be presented, but at the same time he just felt like he was there.  There really wasn’t much for him to do.  My main example is the battle in the beginning with the alien squid like creature.  All Groot did was dance, like Star Lord did in the opening sequence of the first one, which to me was the worst part of the first movie.

Skipping back to Ego, who was my second biggest concern going into this, we get an actual comic book representation of the character plus more.  Ego always fascinated me, and to see that they actually showed his full on form and gave him a good origin, made the film.  He was easily my favorite part of the whole movie.  Everything about Ego made sense and didn’t feel stale.

The true father figure in Yondu was heartwarming, and I think it was wise to have Yondu sent off that way.  Michael Rooker is always enjoyable to watch, but his character’s death brings together what was a falling apart team, and then some.  Oh, and he had his longer head fin, which was my gripe about his appearance not having it before.

The Gamora vs Nebula story felt strange in a way.  I’m still not sure I believe that Nebula would have spared her sister, but the explanation worked.  I just think that she’d have been better beside Thanos during Infinity War than against him.

Taserface was exactly what Rocket pointed him out to be.  He was nothing more than that, but served his purpose for humor and the slight bump in the road that he provided.

Finally we get the other characters.  A Cameo from Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster was only in the scrolling credits, which makes me wonder if he originally had a role in this and in Thor Ragnarok.  It was strange placement.  Cosmo the Space Dog also only shows up in the scrolling credits.  Howard the Duck is present again in another great few seconds of appearance.  I love that they do things like this for the fans.  The quick spots by David Hasselhoff and Pac-man were silly, but for my generation were great additions.

The post credits scenes were quite a mix.  1) Yondu’s dart impaling Drax by accident was funny, but not really necessary.  2) The reveal of Adam Warlock’s cocoon is huge.  Although it was in the last movie as a post credit thing, this time we actually get a good look and confirmation of who is inside.  I’m assuming he will start off as a villain for Volume 3.  3) Teenage Groot, while unnecessary, showed purpose.  While only a funny throw away, it pretty much confirms that from here on out we will see adult Groot.  Teenage Groot was great, but I really think this was done to transition the character. 4) The Ravagers original team headed by Sylvester Stallone was awesome.  This sets up a potential union between them and the Guardians for either Infinity War or Guardians 3.  If you didn’t know who they were, then the characters (played by well known actors) were: Starhawk, Martinex, Charlie 27, Aleta, Kruggar, and Mainframe.

5) Stan Lee being revealed as one of the Watchers makes a lot of sense, but I feel ripped off.  He should have been in Watcher form here like the others.  So it begs to question… was he just an informant to the Watchers, or is he an actual Watcher.  It’s something that will probably never be addressed again, but time will tell.  At least they are tying this in.  This also makes for an interesting thought.  Watchers can see many realities.  This basically says that anything Stan Lee has cameoed in could in some way be tied into the Marvel universe.  This includes other studios, versions of characters, etc.

So what did you think?  The soundtrack to me wasn’t as good as the first, but is bound to be open to many more things from here on out.  Overall it was a very funny, action packed, and visually stunning film that is worthy of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

 


Review: Logan

loganDafne Keen.  Remember that name, because she’s a talented young actress in a movie filled with every aspect of the emotional spectrum.  I’m going to review Logan in my typical breakdown, so if you don’t want spoilers, then skip down to the final paragraph for my rating.  Otherwise, stick around for my character break down and feel free to share your thoughts on the film.

James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine – Hugh Jackman gave us what we wanted.  He may not have always had the best material with which to work, but the man cared about what he did.  His portrayal of the character in this movie is the best out of them all.  The dynamic of his healing factor being practically gone made him very vulnerable.  Combine that with his care free attitude, and you’ve got a grumpy old man who is being poisoned by his own adamantium.  I must say that I’m happy he perished in the end.  I don’t want to see anyone take up the mantle of wolverine for a very long time after this (UNLESS it’s X-23).  We will get to that in a moment.

Professor Charles Xavier – As with Hugh, Patrick Stewart always shined in his role as the psychic mutant, but in this movie we are given another shift in the standard.  He’s got borderline alzheimers, and needs caring for.  I love that they addressed this disease in a mutant.  Imagine if in real life, one had his abilities and had no idea what they were doing with them.  There was a brief mention that he was the one responsible for the X-Men dying.  I’d have loved to have gotten a little more explanation on that, but I think it would have been unnecessary in the long run.  I was surprised he died the way that he did, which is a good thing.  It happened at a moment that was him confessing his own guilt.  What a perfect way to go (not in the manner that he died, but the fact that he’d gotten it all off his chest.

Zander Rice – Although a small role, it suited its purpose.  This was more about the characters, than the actual story, so he didn’t need to be doing more than he was.  We got his back story, and a nice tie in to the original weapon X program that his father ran.  In a way they respected all of the previous movies to an extent, despite the timeline being reset.  It shows that some of those original events may have happened the same or slightly different.

Donald Pierce and the Reavers – I was really hoping for Omega Red, a return of Lady Deathstrike, or Sabertooth as the villain.  When I heard the reavers were the antagonists, I shook my head and thought it was going to be a failure.  I am SO glad I was wrong.  They managed to make decent villains that matched the tone of this film in a way that was akin to Mad Max.  It worked really well.

Caliban – I loved Stephen Merchant in this role.  I don’t know why they recast him since Apocalypse, but he looked very similar, and for anyone not paying attention I’m sure they didn’t notice.  He played the part better than his predecessor, but I wish we’d have gotten a mention of his younger years in that way.  We were also presented with Zander Rice saying to gather the body, when Caliban sacrificed himself.  It set up 2 possible scenarios.  1) Caliban could be cloned and come back as a more deformed version (like in the comics) or 2) in the original Days of Future past storyline (in the comics) they used mutant hound trackers to locate the mutants.  This would make sense, as the anti-mutant sentiment was strong in this film.

Laura/X-23 – Remember that name I mentioned, Dafne Keen?  Well she played this part so well, that I think we can have a very VERY good version of wolverine from here on out.  In the comics, she’s the current Wolverine after the death of her father.  They’ve set it up, so I think she’d be perfect in all future incarnations.  I’d love to see her as part of the X-Force movie.  She did an outstanding job with her rage, caring, and rebellious nature, but when she was crying, “Daddy,” at the end I lost it.  I never cry in movies, and I could feel the tears trickling.  Excellent job, little lady.

Rictor and the New Mutants – Who were the new mutants?  Who knows, but the presence of Rictor could mean an X-Factor reference or set up.  While I’ve no real care for these characters in the comics, it’s nice to have this sort of nod in the movies, and despite James Mangold constantly saying this is a stand alone movie, the references to the greater universe seem to be abundant.  The use of the children here wasn’t overwhelming, but a decent nod to what’s possibly to come.  Could they be X-Factor like I said, or maybe recruits for Cable, or even a set up to what eventually could be an X-Men 2099?  Like I said, these don’t need to be all made into movies, but it’s fun for continuity and discussion sake.

X-24 – Here’s what I feel was a low point at first, but then my mind changed.  Hugh Jackman is basically younger here and more primal.  He’s even got a haircut and style to match what Sabretooth had in the first Wolverine movie.  Why then wasn’t Sabretooth used?  We never got a final showdown between the two.  It would have worked just as well as X-24.  Hell he could even have gotten his wish and become X-24 with Adamantium skeleton.  (Remember that is what he wanted originally).  So I complain about this, but then think to my childhood and how there was once a character named “Albert.”  Albert was a robot created by the Reavers that looked like Wolverine.  His storyline also involved a little girl that Logan had to take care of.  Okay, it got way more complicated than that, but I feel like this is not a coincidence.  I believe they used this angle to replace the elements they couldn’t use from the original Old Man Logan storyline.

Enough rambling from me.  Here are my final thoughts for potential on what this movie COULD mean for the X universe.  Here’s my speculation:  GAMBIT is in the works.  Where he falls into this all remains to be seen, but he could be a good element to X-Force since Archangel was killed off in Apocalypse.  Now that Wolverine is dead, perhaps the film could see this lineup: Cable, Deadpool, Domino, X-23, and Gambit… NEW MUTANTS is in the works as well.  Maybe this will center around the new team of kids, but who would lead them?  Again, there’s no telling, but if James McAvoy’s run ends then we could see Cyclops, Jean, and Storm leading the new team.  I realize there is a time problem here, but when hasn’t there been in these movies, and with Cable involved this is all possible.

In conclusion: Logan was a film made for comic book fans, and movie goers.  It reminded me of an old western with comic elements.  It was a roller coaster of emotion that didn’t disappoint.  There will be bigger nerds than me complaining about certain little things, but who cares?  This was the best interpretation of Wolverine yet.  Stewart and Jackman played the roles better than they ever have, and Keen showed talent rare for even veteran actors.  She’s a natural.  I’ll give the movie 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  How would you rate it?  Comment below.


Day 19 #authorlifemonth – Bookish Bucket List

Day 19 #authorlifemonth is what is on my bookish bucket list. It’s my goal to have one or more of my books made into a screenplay for tv, movie or video game adaptation. #itwillhappen #intheworks

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