Posts tagged Marvel Cinematic Universe
MOVIE REVIEW: Justice League

Justice League comes across like attempted course correction done on that Etch-a-Sketch.  The artist, or artists in this case, are trying to retrace old paths and smooth over past missteps with redrawn swirls, lighter hues, and a fluffy cover-up we call comedy.  That effort on the cinematic Etch-a-Sketch indeed changes the initial picture, but only after unnecessarily tedious effort and some remaining messy results.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok

Paired perfectly as a double-feature follow-up to this summer’s spacefaring Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok is a raucously rad roller coaster that shoots rainbows out of every digitally-rendered pore.  Blasting with energetic pace in the complete opposite direction from the dreary and grayish Game of Thrones Lite tone of Thor: The Dark World, this new chapter is a cinematic box of Crayola crayons laced with dynamite.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on Eman's Movie Reviews audio podcast for "Spider-Man: Homecoming"

Friend-of-the-page Emmanuel Noisette of Eman's Movie Reviews invited me to record the beginnings of a new podcast for his brand.  Because his YouTube reviews tend to be spoiler-free, these new chats will be spoiler-filled reactions and discussions.  As always, we have a fun back-and-forth as two guys free of "fanlexia" to praise Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Enjoy!

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MOVIE CLASSROOM: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring Tom Holland as a true and proper teenage Spider-Man/Peter Parker, is a welcome and refreshing clean slate for the character.  It's too bad it took three franchise attempts to get here.  Filled to the brim with both easter eggs, supporting characters, swell touches of character, and zesty heart, this is the Spider-Man film you've always hoped for.  Enjoy my full spoken review layered with an interactive whiteboard lesson for the latest "Movie Classroom" video review on this website's YouTube channel:

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MOVIE REVIEW: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming counts as a clean slate for Peter Parker’s web-slinger.  Now nestled into the established Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Holland is a true teenage Spider-Man, one that was never successfully conveyed by two previous franchises and their over-aged actors.  Aiming to please and bursting with effervescent zest at every flip, swing, and turn, John Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming succeeds as a brand new jumping off point for a character that badly needed course correction.

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DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Score: A Film Music Documentary

This writer is an unabashed film music lover.  I owned more film score CDs than ones of popular music back in the day and that ratio hasn’t changed with digital media.  Hell, I wrote a long-form editorial three years ago proclaiming film music as an improvement of the Mozart Effect for babies and children which led to a playlist afterwards that I still use to this day.  I am a mark for what Score: A Film Music Documentary was selling and many of the names and talents featured in the film are found on that personal playlist.

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MOVIE CLASSROOM: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

THEY'RE BACK! I've been meaning to fire up my "Movie Classroom" series again after a few years off.  Enjoy my YouTube review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!  I've improved the tech/apps used to build them.  Give me a few films and tries to get my voice and cadence together!

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MOVIE REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2” is an brazen explosion of Crayola-sheened special effects wonder mixed with invisible grays of magnetic character growth and depth.  Just as with the first film, Marvel and company have taken a D-list roster of obscure also-rans and created new superstars and household names that you actually care about.  True to the unwritten rules of sequels, the core is bolstered and improvements have been made.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Panel participant on the "Kicking the Seat" podcast talking "Doctor Strange"

After an advance screening of "Doctor Strange," I was invited to participate in a post-film round table podcast hosted by Ian Simmons of Kicking the Seat.  After a brief eulogy for deceased comic book artist Steve Dillon, I was one of four Chicago film critics chatting about our feelings, opinions, and reactions to "Doctor Strange" with tangents on other Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, tropes, and tendencies.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Doctor Strange

Now in its third phase, Marvel continues to take C-level and D-list comic book characters and titles, breath cinematic life into them with top-notch talent in front of and behind the camera, and turn the obscure in newly minted household names and merchandising windfalls.  "Doctor Strange" continues the studio's blueprint of Midas Touch success while jubilantly kicking down the door for magic and mysticism in the MCU.  You may not know him yet, but Stephen Strange is a major player and huge addition to an already-loaded heroic panorama.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War

The absolute proof of the intact Marvel formula is the elevated scope and confidence given to "Captain America: Civil War."  Spinning as a dual sequel to 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and last year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and following the darkly-operatic-yet-similarly-premised competitor "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," this film survives a few glaring imperfections and overweight ambition to maintain the Marvel flagship.  It plays it safe because it knows safe works for their brand and satisfies the masses.  They know they're getting their cash registers out and hiring extra accountants.  To others looking for more risk, you've come to the wrong place.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

"Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" is constantly intense, powerfully suspenseful, and operatically enthralling on an emotional and sensory level.  It is a remarkable experience on the big screen.  We are in a new era with a new tone.  There is room in the cinematic superhero landscape for important and formidable urgency like this.  Let Marvel stick to the shiny sparkles and corner their piece of the market.  This new franchise has chosen its mature path and they are showing the resolute fortitude to stick with it, haters be damned.  What follows is spoiler-free!

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COLUMN: New Year's Resolutions for the Movie Industry in 2016

As I say every year, plenty of regular everyday people make New Year's Resolutions, but I think bigger entities, namely movie makers and movie moguls, need to make them too.  Over the life of this website, this is my absolute favorite editorial to write every year.  I have fun taking the movie industry to task for things they need to change.  I'm sarcastic, but I'm not the guy to take it to the false internet courage level of some Twitter troll.  This will be as forward as I get all year.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Ant-Man

Creative differences, bad PR, and terrible marketing have sunk greater and lesser films.  "Ant-Man" survives each those kisses of death to be a fun, entertaining, and clever blockbuster.  The creativity is more than present to veer away from Marvel's usually enormous scale of worldwide crisis-aversion and give us a true small-scale (literally and figuratively) "regular guy" hero that was missing among the billionaires, scientists, soldiers, assassins, and demi-gods Marvel has elevated so far to its cinematic pedestals.   "Ant-Man" is packed with a plentiful amount of humor, spirit, and surprises that trump both the bad PR and overindulgent marketing.  It was saving some aces up its sleeve.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Raising the stakes and swinging for the fences like a good film sequel should, Joss Whedon’s latest Marvel film pays off the studio’s Phase 2 initiative with both a new level of groundbreaking effort beyond the first peak three years ago and a continued dedication to the master blueprint of a grander big picture.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy

"Guardians of the Galaxy," on paper, was supposed to be that movie that tested the studio's resilience and ability, yet it's aiming to be the big August hitter for the summer of 2014.  Ladies and gentlemen, it will win that title and then some.  As out-there as it is, this is the most flat-out fun a Marvel movie has ever been.  "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" might be the better overall film and "The Avengers" will always be the first cornerstone off this combined universe's monumental success, but "Guardians of the Galaxy" might be the movie you keep watching year after year as a new favorite.  The catchy and entertaining trailers nearly don't do it justice.

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