We Review: Death Wish “About as good as the original. 3.5 stars” -MR

Death Wish (2018 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Death Wish
Death wish 2017 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Eli Roth
Produced by Roger Birnbaum
Screenplay by Joe Carnahan
Based on
Starring
Music by Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography Rogier Stoffers
Edited by Mark Goldblatt
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • March 2, 2018
Running time
107 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[2]
Box office $19 million[2]

Death Wish is a 2018 American vigilanteaction film directed by Eli Roth and written by Joe Carnahan. It is the sixth installment of the Death Wish series and a remake of the 1974 film of the same name starring Charles Bronson, based on Brian Garfield‘s 1972 novel. The film stars Bruce Willis as Paul Kersey, a Chicagodoctor who sets out to get revenge on the men who attacked his family. Vincent D’OnofrioElisabeth ShueDean Norris, and Kimberly Elise also star.

The film was released in the United States by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and in international markets by Annapurna Pictures on March 2, 2018. It received generally negative reviews, with criticism aimed at it for not adding anything new to previous installments, as well the unfortunate timing of its release just 16 days after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Plot

Paul Kersey, who lives with his wife Lucy and college-bound daughter Jordan, works as a trauma surgeon at a Chicago hospital. During the Kerseys’ lunch, Paul’s brother, Frank, asks him to lend some money to pay off a debt, to which Paul reluctantly agrees. As the Kerseys leave, Frank gives the valet, Miguel, the keys to their car and joyfully tells him that Paul has “got the money”. Miguel goes to pick the car up, but also take pictures of Paul’s address from their car. On the night the Kerseys are to have a birthday dinner, three masked men invade the Kerseys’ home while Paul is at work. Both Jordan and Lucy are shot; Paul is informed at the hospital that Lucy died and Jordan fell into a coma. Police Detective Kevin Raines is one of the officers tasked with the investigation.

Outraged that the police are unable to solve the crime, Paul becomes a vigilante stalking the city streets to deliver his own brand of justice and to find the men who ambushed his family. When a gang member is brought in to the hospital after getting shot, Paul steals his weapon after it falls off the table. He proceeds to prevent a carjacking, a video of which goes viral; Paul is dubbed Chicago’s “Grim Reaper“. Later, Paul finds his watch on Miguel’s wrist when the latter is hospitalized. Paul orders one of the doctors to defibrillate Miguel’s heart three times, killing him. Paul discovers a photograph on Miguel’s phone with his address. The phone receives a text, telling him to meet at a bar in the suburbs. At the bar, Paul talks to the owner, Ponytail, and says that he was sent by Miguel. A suspicious Ponytail secretly messages Fish, his partner in crime.

Ponytail reaches for his gun, but Paul stabs his hand with a dart and forces him to return the goods he stole from Paul’s house. Fish arrives and accidentally shoots Ponytail. After shooting Fish in the leg during a shootout, Paul steps on his wound for information. Fish then divulges that Lucy’s shooter is Joe, a car mechanic who works in an auto body shop. He kicks Paul in the groin and gains the upper hand, but is accidentally killed by a falling bowling ball. At the auto body shop, Paul ambushes Joe while he is working under a car. He tortures Joe for information by cutting his sciatic nerve with a scalpel and pouring brake fluid into the wound. Joe divulges that their leader, Knox, shot Lucy. Paul then removes the jack lifting the car up, causing it to crush Joe’s head.

The hospital informs Paul that Jordan has regained consciousness. At the hospital, Paul tells Jordan what happened to Lucy. After he rejects a phone call from an unknown contact, a message warns Paul that the police will be informed about his actions unless he answers the next call. The contact, Knox, orders Paul to meet him in a bathroom at a nightclub. Paul calls Knox’s phone number to see it ringing in a stall. He shoots the stall, only to find that it was a ruse. Knox confirms the gunshot to be Paul’s, and the two engage in a shootout, which ends when Knox escapes. When Paul returns home, Frank discovers Paul’s gun collection and confronts him, but Paul insists on continuing to protect the city.

Knox and two other thugs prepare to invade Paul’s home; Paul hides Jordan in a closet under the stairs.

Our Thoughts

Death Wish was entertaining, and okay, but if you’ve seen the original then there is nothing new here. No cool Bruce Willis one liners, no extreme special effects. This is simple modernized remake, and sadly only worth 3.5 stars. – MR

Find Death Wish and see the new trailer here.

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We Review: Red Sparrow “A generic spy film. Well acted and written, but lacking…” – MR

Red Sparrow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Red Sparrow
Red Sparrow.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Produced by
Screenplay by Justin Haythe
Based on Red Sparrow
by Jason Matthews
Starring
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Jo Willems
Edited by Alan Edward Bell
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 15, 2018(Newseum)
  • March 2, 2018 (United States)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $69 million[2]
Box office $57.1 million[2]

Red Sparrow is a 2018 American spythriller film directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Justin Haythe, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. The film stars an ensemble cast made up of Jennifer LawrenceJoel EdgertonMatthias SchoenaertsCharlotte RamplingMary-Louise Parker, and Jeremy Irons. It tells the story of a Russian intelligence officer who is sent to make contact with a CIA agent in the hope of discovering the identity of a mole.

Red Sparrow premiered at Newseum in Washington, D.C. on February 15, 2018, and was released in the United States on March 2, 2018.[3] The film has grossed $57 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, who called it “more style than substance”, criticizing the film’s length and over-reliance on graphic violence and sex, but praised Jennifer Lawrence’s performance.[4][5]

Plot

In modern-day Russia, Dominika Egorova is a famed Russian ballerina who supports her sick mother. Following a career-ending injury, she is approached by her uncle, Ivan, who works in Russian intelligence. She is tasked with seducing Dimitry Ustinov, a Russian politician, and covertly replacing his phone with a state-provided phone, in exchange for her mother’s medical care. As Dimitry rapes her, he is killed by Simyonov, a Russian operative authorized by Ivan. After they escape, Ivan reveals that he intended to kill Ustinov all along, and Dominka was now under threat as Russian intelligence demands there be no witnesses. Ivan offers Dominika a choice to begin working for Russian intelligence, or be executed.

Nate Nash is a CIA operative working in Moscow. While meeting with an asset in Gorky Park, they are confronted by the police. Nash creates a diversion to ensure his asset, a mole in Russian ranks code-named Marble, escapes detection. Nash is reassigned back to the US but because Marble does not trust anybody else, Marble does not contact any other operatives at the CIA. Nash insists that he is the only individual whom Marble will work with, and is assigned to Budapest (as he can’t go back to Russia) to regain contact with Marble.

Dominika is sent to train to become a Russian operative, known as a ‘Sparrow,’ capable of seducing her targets. Dominika excels in her training, despite resistance to some elements, such as refusing to strip in front of her class, and fighting off a classmate who attempts to rape her. Despite her issues in training, Dominika is assigned to Budapest. Russian SVR has been tracking Nash, and hopes to find out the identity of Marble. Dominika’s assignment is to gain the trust of Nash, and reveal his contact.

Upon her arrival in Budapest, Dominika lives with Marta, another Sparrow. Dominika quickly makes contact with Nash, who correctly determines that she is a Russian intelligence operative. Dominika reveals her true identity to him, as well as her motive to find out Marble’s identity. While Marta is out, Dominika inspects her room, and realizes that she is working to gather information from Stephanie Boucher, a chief of staff for a US Senator. After a surprise visit from Ivan demanding results, Dominika realises she needs more time, and claims she is helping in Marta’s effort to gather information from Boucher; this angers Marta, who believes Dominika is trying to steal her assignment. To gain her confidence Dominika reveals to Marta that she had witnessed Ustinov’s murder and hence is vulnerable to be executed if she’s thought be not useful to the Russian intelligence. Upon returning home one day, Dominika finds Marta brutally tortured and murdered. Simyonov reveals that he carried out the murder as a warning not to betray Russian secrets.

Dominika offers her services to the CIA to work as a double agent. She carries out Marta’s assignment to meet Boucher, and covertly exchanges the supplied information for CIA-supplied floppy disks. However, the CIA operatives are sloppy while monitoring and approaching Boucher, who gets spooked and runs into traffic, getting killed. Realizing that the mission with Boucher had been compromised by Dominika, Russian intelligence returns her to Moscow to be tortured and interrogated. She repeatedly denies compromising Boucher, and convinces Ivan that she is now credible with the Americans, as she has been tortured by her own people and not revealing information. Dominika returns to Budapest, and informs Nash that she wishes to defect with her mother to America.

After spending the night with Nash, Dominika awakes to find him being tortured by Simyonov, who is attempting to find the identity of Marble. Despite initially appearing to work with Simyonov, Dominika attacks and kills the Russian operative. At the hospital, General Vladimir Korchnoi reveals that he is Marble. He explains that he was initially patriotic, but grew to feel that Russia was corrupt. He fears he would be caught soon, and instead of dying in vain, wants Dominika to reveal his identity to Ivan; in return, the promotion she would receive for outing a high-ranking mole would allow her to replace Marble as a mole and further their work by passing information to the CIA.

 

Our Thoughts

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is amazing, but that is about it. There is no impending doom, or sense of urgency at all, and the movie just lacks anything compelling, unless you just like hearing JLaw’s Russian accent and seeing her naked. I can’t give this more than 3.5 stars. Even though I wanted Red Sparrow to be great, it was just good. -MR

 

Find Red Sparrow and see the new trailer here. 


We Review: Game Night “A funny date movie. Not much more. 3.5 stars.” -MR

Game Night

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Game Night
Game Night (film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by Mark Perez
Starring
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Barry Peterson
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • February 23, 2018 (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $37 million[2]
Box office $55.6 million[2]

Game Night is a 2018 American black comedy film, directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein and written by Mark Perez. The film stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, and follows a group of friends whose game night turns into a real-life mystery. The film’s supporting cast includes Billy MagnussenSharon HorganLamorne MorrisKylie BunburyJesse PlemonsMichael C. Hall and Kyle Chandler.

Warner Bros. Pictures released the film on February 23, 2018. It has grossed $55 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, praising the dark humor and the cast’s performances.

Plot

Competitive gamers Max and Annie meet during trivia night at a bar, quickly fall in love, and get married. They are trying to have a child, but their attempts are unsuccessful due to Max’s stress surrounding his feelings of inadequacy when compared to his vastly more successful, attractive brother Brooks. During Max and Annie’s routine weekend game night with their friends Ryan, Kevin, and his wife Michelle, Brooks shows up and immediately shows Max up by arriving in a Corvette Stingray and sharing an embarrassing childhood story during charades. Annie also finds Brooks extremely obnoxious, and decides to work together with Max to defeat him at the upcoming game night, which Brooks offers to host at a house he’s renting while visiting.

When the guests arrive, including Ryan’s new date, Sarah, Brooks says he’s initiated an interactive role-playing mystery game, promising the winner his Stingray. After a while, an actor playing an FBI agent informs them of the narrative of the mystery, only for two masked men to break in and assault him and Brooks. The guests, believing it to be part of the game, idly watch. After Brooks is dragged out of the house, the couples begin to solve the mystery using the clues left behind by the actor. While Kevin and Michelle play the game fairly, Max and Annie track Brooks down using his phone’s GPS location, while Ryan and Sarah track down the company in charge of managing the game, hoping to find the answer there.

Max and Annie track Brooks down to a seedy bar and, using a pistol left behind by Brooks during the struggle (which they believe to be fake), they manage to take the keys to the storage closet, where Brooks is being held. After Annie mistakenly fires the gun and shoots Max in the arm, confirming the legitimacy of their danger, the three escape, where Brooks admits that he actually makes his living buying and selling things on the black market, in particular a Fabergé egg sought by a man known only as the Bulgarian and is owned by a man using the alias Marlon Freeman. With his captors in pursuit, Brooks exits the moving car to guarantee Max and Annie’s escape.

Eventually, the others learn of what they’ve become involved in, avoiding police on one of Brook’s warnings. Trying to determine the identities of the Bulgarian and Marlon Freeman, they go to police officer and former friend Gary’s house, under the false pretense of a game night, in order to use his computer. Max finds out that Marlon Freeman is named Donald Anderton and learns of his address, though cannot find information on the Bulgarian. The group leaves Gary’s house and arrives at Anderton’s address, where he is hosting an underground fight club. As the others search the house, Ryan spots the egg in a safe on the wall and is caught trying to steal it. The group escapes with the egg, but accidentally break it. They discover the egg is a worthless fake, but end up finding a list of names that was stored inside of it, realizing this was what the Bulgarian wanted.

The group finds Brooks and his captors on an under-construction bridge and move in to rescue him. Facing execution, Brooks reveals to Max his own insecurities throughout the years as a reason for his life of crime and only wanted to be as successful as Max. Before the group is killed, they are rescued by Gary, who is shot in the chest. Max and Annie, who have repeatedly rebuffed his requests to join them in game night following the separation of his wife Debbie, try to encourage him to pull through by promising to invite him to every future game night. Gary then reveals that he faked the entire scenario with the two captors, felons who agreed to help in exchange for a shortened parole, trying to trick them into letting him join game night again. He is, however, unaware about the egg or Brook’s involvement in it, and they are immediately attacked by the real Bulgarian, who captures Brooks after he swallows the list, revealed to be people in the witness protection program, to keep it out of his hands.

Our Thoughts

This is a funny date movie, or for a group of friends looking for a night out. In fact it would probably be as much fun to stay home and play games. Still, it made me laugh out loud a few times, and was slightly original. 3.5 stars – MR

 

Find Game Night and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Den of Thieves “A 4 star shoot ’em up, bank robbery thriller with grit.” -MR

Den of Thieves

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Den of Thieves
Den of Thieves poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Christian Gudegast
Produced by
Screenplay by Christian Gudegast
Story by
Starring
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Terry Stacey
Edited by Joel Cox
Production
company
  • Diamond Film Productions
  • Tooley Productions
  • G-BASE
Distributed by STXfilms
Release date
  • January 19, 2018
Running time
140 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[2]
Box office $70.5 million[1]

Den of Thieves is a 2018 American heist film written, directed and produced by Christian Gudegast and starring Gerard Butler50 CentPablo SchreiberO’Shea Jackson Jr.Evan JonesDawn OlivieriMo McRae and Max Holloway. In the film, an elite group of County Sheriff Deputies look to stop a gang of thieves planning to rob the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles.

The film was released in the United States on January 19, 2018, received mixed reviews and grossed $70 million worldwide. A sequel is currently in development.

Plot

Los Angeles, 2018: A team of robbers led by Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) make a violent armed attack and hijack an armored truck. A security guard who drops his coffee instigates the shootout accidentally. Police officers arrive on the scene and engage in a shootout with the robbers. Eventually, Merrimen and his crew escape with the empty armored truck, but he reprimands Bosco (Evan Jones) for killing the first guard. In the morning, Detective Nick “Big Nick” O’Brien (Gerard Butler) investigates the crime scene. He has been monitoring Merrimen and his crew for a while. Suspecting a local bartender named Donnie for involvement, Nick finds him at the bar and kidnaps him for interrogation. In a flashback, Merrimen is planning to rob the Federal Reserve on Friday of that week by covertly removing about $30 million in old bills with deleted serial numbers before they are shredded.

Merrimen has Donnie gain access into the Federal Reserve by posing as a Chinese food deliveryman. In the ceiling of the Bank’s bathroom, he stashes an extra bag of food for the day of the big heist. At home, Nick’s wife Debbie (Dawn Olivieri) discovers that Nick has been going behind her back seeing other women. Incensed, she leaves with their daughters and files for divorce. Nick spots Donnie and says hello at a restaurant with Merrimen and his crew. At their hideout, Merrimen has one of his crew, Levi (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), roughly interrogate Donnie. Donnie convinces him that he hasn’t told him anything about the robbery. Later on, Levi’s daughter has a date arrive to pick her up for a school dance. Levi pulls the boy aside to introduce him to Merrimen and the rest of their crew to intimidate him into being on his best behaviour with Levi’s daughter.

Meanwhile, Nick drunkenly crashes a small get-together at the home of Debbie’s sister. He obnoxiously signs the divorce papers, and gets belligerent with Debbie’s new boyfriend, before he is told to leave. Nick then goes to a strip club and goes home with a stripper, unaware the stripper was hired by Merrimen to examine his phone handset. The next morning, at his daughter’s school, Nick makes a desperate unscheduled effort to see his daughter.

The day of the heist comes. Merrimen and his crew invade a commercial bank branch and take hostages. Nick’s team is outside as the chaos unfolds. The L.A.P.D. Police Chief calls and speaks to Joseph, the bank’s branch manager, on behalf of Merrimen. To discourage further time-wasting communications, Merrimen has one of the crew take a hostage to a back room and shoot her. The police negotiator then agrees not to communicate again until the money and chopper are about to arrive in over an hour’s time. The thieves then blow the vault open and escape through a hole in the floor before Nick’s team come in. They also find that the shooting of the hostage was staged. The thieves needed commercial bank cash, so they can make a cash drop-off at the federal reserve: the only way to get inside the federal reserve building.

Donnie is hidden inside a cash dolly delivered to the Federal Reserve building by Merrimen, and he slips out during a falsely tripped alarm to collect the targeted old bills that have been earmarked for shredding and he stashes them in bags in the refuse. After escaping the cash count-rooms through the air ducts, Donnie retrieves the bag of food from the bathroom ceiling. Appalled by the cold, old food, the unsuspecting Federal Reserve employee who orders Chinese food daily, tries to get security to stop him, but Donnie is gone. The cash is dispatched from the Federal Reserve building in a waste management truck that removes shredded bills. Nick’s team catch up to Donnie and seize him, beating him until he tells them where Merrimen is going.

Our Thoughts

Not your typical bank heist caper. The cops are on the verge of being bad guys, and it is hard to tell which is who in this one. A lot like the 1995 movie “Heat.” But, it held my attention the whole way through, and had just enough of a twist to get that 4th star. All in all, a 4 star shoot ’em up, bank robbery thriller with grit. – MR

 

Find Den of Thieves and see the new trailer here.


We Review: #BlackPanther “Exciting, and I recommend it. 4 stars.” -MR

Black Panther

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Black Panther
Black Panther film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Produced by Kevin Feige
Written by
Based on
Starring
Music by Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography Rachel Morrison
Edited by
  • Michael P. Shawver[1]
  • Claudia Castello[1]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • January 29, 2018 (Dolby Theatre)
  • February 16, 2018 (United States)
Running time
134 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[3]
Box office $520.1 million[4]

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. JordanLupita Nyong’oDanai GuriraMartin FreemanDaniel KaluuyaLetitia WrightWinston DukeAngela BassettForest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T’Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict with global consequences.

Wesley Snipes expressed interest in working on a Black Panther film in 1992, but the project did not come to fruition. In September 2005, Marvel Studios announced a Black Panther film as one of ten based on Marvel characters and distributed by Paramount PicturesMark Bailey was hired to write a script in January 2011. Black Panther was announced in October 2014, and Boseman made his first appearance as the character in Captain America: Civil War (2016). By 2016, Cole and Coogler had joined; additional cast joined in May, making Black Panther the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast. Principal photography took place from January to April 2017, at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and Busan, South Korea.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2018, in 2D, 3DIMAX and other premium large formats. It received critical acclaim, with praise directed toward its visuals, screenplay, characters, direction, costume design, action sequences, soundtrack, and performances. Critics considered it as one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance. It has grossed over $520 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2018. Its four-day opening weekend gross of $242.1 million in the United States was the second-highest of all-time and its three-day gross of $202 million was the fifth highest of all time which also set the record for biggest debut by an African American director.

Plot

Centuries ago, five African tribes war over a meteorite containing vibranium. One warrior ingests a “heart-shaped herb” affected by the metal and gains superhuman abilities, becoming the first “Black Panther”. He unites all but the Jabari Tribe to form the nation of Wakanda. The Wakandans use the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992, King T’Chaka visits his undercover brother N’Jobu in Oakland, California. T’Chaka accuses N’Jobu of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner reveals he is Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T’Chaka’s suspicions.

In the present day, following T’Chaka’s death,[N 1] his son T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milajeregiment, extract Nakia, T’Challa’s ex-lover, from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa defeats M’Baku and convinces him to yield rather than die.

After Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a museum, W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s lover, urges him to bring Klaue back dead or alive. T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to Busan, South Korea where Klaue plans to sell the artifact to CIA agent Everett K. Ross. A firefight erupts and Klaue attempts to flee but is caught by T’Challa, who reluctantly releases him to Ross’ custody. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda’s international image is a front for a technologically advanced civilization. Erik attacks and extracts Klaue as Ross is severely injured protecting Nakia. Rather than pursue Klaue, T’Challa takes Ross to Wakanda where their technology can save him.

While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu. Zuri explains that N’Jobu planned to share Wakanda’s technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors.

Our Thoughts

Black Panther is another Marvel, pardon the pun. And to me it reflected several eras of African American culture. The colorful native culture, the 80’s gang war culture, and the modern culture where uber rich superstars of color live lavishly while children in other parts of the world eat rice and live in poverty. I really like the film, and its pacing, though there was a lot more violence than I expected. The special effects were amazing and up to Marvel standards. It was exciting, and I recommend it, especially if you like the other Marvel superhero films. 4 stars – MR

 

Find  Black Panther and see the new trailer here.


We Review: #Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle “A riot of unexpected fun for the whole family to enjoy.” – MR

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jake Kasdan
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Chris McKenna
Based on Jumanji
by Chris Van Allsburg
Starring
Music by Henry Jackman[1]
Cinematography Gyula Pados
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment[2]
Release date
  • December 5, 2017 (Grand Rex)
  • December 20, 2017(United States)
Running time
119 minutes[3]
Country United States
Budget $90–110 million[4][5]
Box office $886.7 million[4]

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 American adventurecomedy film[3][6] directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner, from a story by McKenna. It is the second installment in the Jumanji franchise, based on the 1981 children’s book of the same nameby Chris Van Allsburg and serves as a sequel to Jumanji (1995). The film also pays tribute to Robin Williams, star of the first film, through a mention of his character’s name.[7] The film stars Dwayne JohnsonJack BlackKevin HartKaren GillanNick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale. The film was released in Real D 3Dand IMAX.

Set twenty-one years after the first film, the plot follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, playing as the characters they chose. Uniting with another player, they must overcome the game’s magical power in order to win and return home.

Principal photography began in Hawaii in September 2016. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle premiered at the Grand Rex in Paris on December 5, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States in 3D on December 20, 2017. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who called it a “pleasant surprise” and praised the cast.[8] The film has grossed over $886 million worldwide, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of 2017 and the 49th highest-grossing film of all time.

Plot

In 1996, in Brantford, New Hampshire, about a year after the events of the previous film, teenager Alex Vreeke receives the Jumanjiboard game, found by his father on a beach. When Alex claims to himself that board games are boring, the game, seeing Alex’s interest in video games, magically transforms into a video gamecartridge which catches Alex’s attention the next morning. As he plays it he is teleported into the game.

Twenty years later in 2016, four students in Brantford High School are placed in detention together: Spencer Gilpin, who was caught writing essays for his former friend, Anthony “Fridge” Johnson, who is also in detention for the plagiarism, Bethany Walker, and Martha Kaply, who have both disrespected their respective teachers during their respective classes. Bethany made a phone call in the middle of class and refused to end it after being ordered to by her English teacher, and Martha refused to join in on P.E. class because she considered it useless and made it worse by insulting the teacher. They were ridiculed for their actions and are assigned by the school’s principal to clear out its basement. While cleaning the four find Jumanji, a multiplayer action-adventure video game. One of the playable characters is inaccessible. When Spencer hits Start, the four are sucked into the game.

They find themselves in a jungle each now in the forms of their game avatars. Spencer is a tough, muscular explorer named Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Fridge is a short zoologist named Franklin “Mouse” Finbar whom he had selected upon misreading the name as “Moose,” Martha is a gorgeous commando and martial arts expert named Ruby Roundhouse, and Bethany is an overweight, male cartographer named Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon. They soon realize that they are in a video game and each have three lives. If they lose all three, Spencer concludes they die for real. Each of their avatars also comes with special skills and weaknesses.

They learn from Nigel, an NPC guide, that the big-game hunter, Russel Van Pelt, wants to obtain a jewel, the “Jaguar’s Eye,” allowing him to manipulate Jumanjis animals. To escape the game, the players must return it to an enormous jaguar statue and call out “Jumanji”. Along the way the group begins to lose lives through various means when completing game levels. The group starts working together to obtain a clue from a snake at a bazaar but are cornered by Van Pelt’s men. They are rescued by Alex, the fifth player, whose avatar is a pilot named Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough. Recuperating in a tree house built by previous player Alan Parrish, the main character from Jumanji, the newcomers vow to help him return home. Alex, thinking he’d only been in the game for a few months, learns that he has been in the game for twenty years. The group works together to break into a transportation shed, commandeer a helicopter, and fly for the jaguar statue to return the jewel. Upon landing Alex loses his last life after a mosquito bites him, but Bethany performs CPR in time and transfers one of her lives to Alex in the process of saving him from dying.

Arriving at the statue the players find themselves facing Van Pelt’s forces and predatory guards.

Cast

  • Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Smolder Bravestone, an archaeologist and explorer who is Spencer’s avatar. Bravestone’s strengths are stamina, courage, reflexes, climbing, smoldering intensity, and boomerang throwing. He apparently has no weaknesses. He is the archetypically masculine, intelligent, and courageous video game hero of the story. He is credited as “Spencer”.
  • Jack Black as Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon, a cartographercryptographerarchaeologist and paleontologist who is Bethany’s avatar. Bethany chooses him, mistaking the character’s name for that of a woman. Though Oberon’s strengths are his fields of expertise, because of his obesity, his endurance is his weakness. He/she is credited as “Bethany”.
  • Kevin Hart as Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, a short zoologist and weapons specialist who is Fridge’s avatar. Fridge chose him due to misreading the character’s nickname as “Moose”. Finbar is Bravestone’s weapon valet and is skilled in zoology. His weaknesses are cake, strength, and speed. He is credited as “Fridge”.
  • Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse, a commando, martial artist, and dance fighter who is Martha’s avatar. Roundhouse is proficient in karatetai chijujutsu and capoeira, and her only weakness is venom, such as that found in various animals in the game. Similar to Bravestone, Roundhouse is the archetypically intelligent, athletic, beautiful, and scantily clad video game heroine of the story. She is credited as “Martha”.
  • Nick Jonas as Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough, Alex Vreeke’s avatar. McDonough is a mysterious guide, adventurer, and pilot in the game, who waits for and joins the other avatars as they attempt to escape Jumanji. McDonough’s strengths are piloting and making margaritas. His only weakness is mosquito bites, which is bad for him since the jungle is teeming with mosquitoes. He is credited as “Alex”.[9] He lives in a treehouse built and once occupied by Alan Parrish (previously portrayed by Robin Williams and Adam Hann-Byrd in the 1995 film Jumanji).
  • Bobby Cannavale as Russel Van Pelt, a corrupt explorer seeking to control the “Jaguar’s Eye”, whose power he is demonically possessed by. He is the boss of the film’s video game scenario; Jonathan Hyde played a different version of Van Pelt in the 1995 film.
  • Rhys Darby as Nigel Billingsley, an NPC guide in the game.
  • William Tokarsky as Bread/Cake Vendor, an NPC food trader.
  • Rohan Chand as Boy at Bazaar, a young NPC guide.

Our Thoughts

Going in to see “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” I didn’t expect much. A few friends had told me Jack Black’s character steals the show, and he sort of did. The rest of the cast though, was spot on in this sometimes hilarious, all-ages, action, and adventure film.  It was nothing like the old Jumanji, which was refreshing. Too often Hollywood just remakes the older version of films, but that is not the case here. There are similarities, but the main difference is this version is video game based, and the action takes place in the world of Jumanji, not in the players living room. I give this one 5 stars because at no point was I bored or left scratching my head. And it was definitely worth the price of a premium ticket. All in all, this movie is a riot of unexpected fun for the whole family to enjoy.” – MR

Find “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and see the new trailer here.

 


Welcome to the world of Fantastica

LocusWEBtop

A Brand New Four Book Series by

M. R. Mathias

The series is finished! Rave reviews are coming in. Just click one of the covers to see what people are saying.  All four books are available in hardcover, standard paperback, and large print paperback at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. Ebook readers can find all four books on Kindle, but book one is also currently available for Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords. Books two through four will follow to those stores by mid-February.

“If you love Lord Of The Rings, you will thoroughly enjoy this adventurous tale from the Master of Epic Fantasy… M. R.  Mathias”
— Kindle Nation Daily

“Mathias knows exactly how to weave a spell that entraps us from book to book. And now he magically steps into a new series FANTASTICA… The writing is ever more polished and sophisticated.”
— Vine Voice Hall of Fame Book Reviewer, Grady Harp

Taerak’s Void – Book One

After finding a strange medallion and some maps with markings that no one in his village can understand, Braxton Bray decides to take it all to the Hall of Scholars in the kingdom’s capital. But greed is everywhere. Braxton and a tough young female caravan guard named Nixy are forced to run for their lives, for someone else wants what Braxton found and is willing to go to great lengths to take it from him.

With a hefty, kingdom wide, bounty on their heads, not even the great wizards of the Sorcerious can help them. Left with nothing but each other, Braxton and Nixy have no choice but to get on a ship and go on an adventure that will take them places they would have otherwise never imagined. Elves, dwarves, giant gothicans, and trolls, treacherous forests on distant shores, love, death, terror, and magic all await anyone brave enough to go along.

Ragged and weary from their previous ordeals, Braxton and his motley crew of elves, dwarves, and humans, set off into the Wilderkind Forest in search of the Sapphire of Souls. The problem is, the last time anyone saw the powerful gem was over a hundred years ago when a wood dragon ate the elf who was carrying it.

With the necromancer Reaton-Stav forcing his animated corpses to wreak havoc at every turn, and the demon Pharark using the giant gothicans and trolls to invade Narvoza, the future of the realm hangs in the balance.

Can our heroes find and destroy the sapphire before Pharark can use its power to bring the kingdom to its knees? Will the necromancer who covets Braxton’s medallion find a way to stop them? Does the love Nixy and Braxton share for each other even stand a chance in the brutal world they’ve found themselves in? There is only one way to find out.

Pharark, the Demon of Destruction, isn’t very pleased with the way Braxton Bray, and his companions thwarted his plan to use the Sapphire of Souls. With the might of his troll horde tearing through the Kingdom of Narvoza on their way to take the capital city of Camberly, our heroes find themselves scattered and without any sort of plan to stop his reign of terror.

Braxton, Chureal, and a few others are left searching for a way out of the Wilderkind Forest, while Nixy sneaks off to rescue the orphans she holds dear with only timid Suclair help her. The two women get caught in a race against time, for Lord Ulrich and his giant gothican warriors are bearing down on Antole and ravaging the city around the terrified children, and the Necromancer Reaton-Stav still wants Nixy’s head, and Suclair’s father’s spell book bad enough to do anything neccesary to get them.

A bloody war has over taken the kingdom, and now the dwarves and elves have no choice but to get involved. Will Braxton be able to find a way to use the power of the Void to stop the demon’s brutal rampage? Will Nixy and Suclair get trapped in a city overtaken by Pharark’s huge ruthless destroyers? Or willl the twisted necromancer get them before they even get that far? Will innocent, young Chureal, and the hatchling dragon she’s befriended be able to survive amid such violence?

With plot twists so intense they might give you whiplash, and clever heroes, bold enough to face impossible odds, just to have a chance at winning the day, this is one series you don’t want to miss.

Braxton, Cryelos, Chureal, and her young dragon Cobalt have suddenly appeared in an unfamiliar land. Only it isn’t so strange to Chureal. Not far from where Braxton found the young girl wandering alone in a battlefield, the group ends up in the middle of a war between kingdoms with wizards more powerful than they could imagine. To make matters worse, a group of Darkons, flesh eaters that used to be men, are on the verge of setting loose a terrible creature called the Drar that will destroy them all. Evil Darkanna witches, who can can knock a dragon from the sky with a simple clap of their hands are using their mannish creations, as well as ogres, true mountain giants, and creatures beyond the imagination to break this evil free.

Braxton can no longer seek Taerak’s wisdom because the ancient Void Warrior’s journal is on the other side of the world in Narvoza, with the dwarves. Left with nothing but a vague legend found woven in a tapestry, and bits of elven lore Cryelos can barely remember, our heroes must find the Staff of Aevelon, and then reach the altar at the summit of Mount Preal before the Blood Moon reaches its apex. Even if they manage it, they will still have to figure out how to use the staff to stop the Darkanna and their ferocious minions from setting loose their evil monstrosity.

Warrior of the Void, the finale of the four book Fantastica series, is nothing less than a blood-tingling, heart-pounding race against time with terrible forces trying to stop our heroes at every turn.

Also Available, in Ebook format, Fantastica: The Complete Four Book Collection, this too is currently only available for Kindle, but will make its way to Nook, iBooks, and Kobo next month with the rest of the series books.

“Fantastica” on Goodreads


We Review, Star Wars: The Last Jedi “Highly Recommended, and great, but only 4 stars” -MR

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars The Last Jedi.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rian Johnson
Produced by
Written by Rian Johnson
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by John Williams[1]
Cinematography Steve Yedlin[2]
Edited by Bob Ducsay[2]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 2017(Los Angeles)
  • December 15, 2017(United States)
Running time
152 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $105.8 million[4][5]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi[6]) is a 2017 American epicspace opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second film in the Star Warssequel trilogy, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It stars Mark HamillCarrie FisherAdam DriverDaisy RidleyJohn BoyegaOscar IsaacAndy SerkisLupita Nyong’oDomhnall GleesonAnthony Daniels, and Gwendoline Christie in returning roles, with Kelly Marie TranLaura Dern, and Benicio del Toro joining the cast. It also marks the final performance of Fisher, who died in December 2016, with the film being dedicated in her memory.

The film was announced after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. It is produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, with Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams as an executive producer. John Williams, composer for the previous seven films, returns to compose the score. Scenes that required shooting at Skellig Michael in Ireland were filmed during pre-production in September 2015, with principal photography beginning at Pinewood Studios in England in February 2016 and ending in July 2016. Post-production wrapped up in September 2017.[7]

The Last Jedi had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 15, 2017. The film received highly positive reviews, with praise for its plot, ensemble cast, action scenes, visual effects, musical score and emotional weight. Some critics considered it the best film of the franchise since The Empire Strikes Back.[8][9][10][11][12] A sequel, provisionally titled Star Wars: Episode IX, is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.

Plot

Resistance fighters led by General Leia Organa evacuate their main base when a First Order fleet reaches the Resistance base on D’Qar. Poe Dameron‘s X-wings and bombers lead a preemptive attack, neutralizing their enemies’ offensive power. The Resistance vessels regroup and jump into hyperspace to escape, but the First Order gives pursuit using a tracking device. During an attack, Leia’s son, Kylo Ren, hesitates to fire at the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother’s presence on board, but TIE fighters destroy the bridge of the ship, killing many Resistance leaders. Leia saves herself using the Force but is incapacitated, leaving Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in command. Disapproving of her passive strategy, Poe, FinnBB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico embark on a secret plan to disable the tracking device.

Meanwhile, having arrived on Ahch-To with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium FalconRey meets Luke Skywalker. Luke refuses to initiate her in the ways of the Force because of his past failure with teaching Kylo, even after learning of Han Solo‘s death. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo begin communicating with each other through visions. Prompted by R2-D2, Luke eventually agrees to teach Rey. Luke and Kylo give Rey differing accounts of the incident that swayed Kylo toward the dark side of the Force, with Luke confessing that he contemplated killing Kylo upon discovering his corruption at the hands of Supreme Leader Snoke. Unable to convince Luke to join the Resistance, Rey leaves Ahch-To without him to confront Kylo. Luke sees the ghost of Yoda, who destroys the Ahch-To Jedi temple for him and tells him that failure is the greatest teacher.

Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions to be cowardly and risky, Poe instigates a mutiny.

Our Thoughts

This was a great action and adventure sci-fi film, as all of the Star Wars movies are. There is a lot going on in this one, and I was excited for most of the film. Then toward the end, something happened that made me say, “Ughhh really?” One of the most glaring plot holes in all of movie history. This did not ruin the movie for me, because, well, just because, but it sort of ruined the premise and plot of several past movies, because: SPOILER ALERT: To destroy a fleet of massive and powerful pursuing enemy ships all they ever had to do was put a droid in a personnel carrier and jump it into light speed into the lead ship. The way it happened in this movie, it was no droid, but a dying rebel leader trying to help her friends escape. They could have made this same move long before most of the rebel ships ran out of fuel and their passengers died, but they didn’t. They waited until the very last moment, when most of the ships and people they were trying to save were dead, and then a human made the move instead of a droid. The amount of destruction she caused by jumping into light speed into the enemy ship was enough that they could have probably ordered C3PO to do the same thing right into the Death Star at the beginning of episode IV and killed Darth Vader while he was sleeping. No need for flying down the canyon to put two in the vent shaft was ever needed. To destroy any of the intimidating vessels that have plagued them in the past, all that was ever needed was just a small personnel carrier and a light speed jump. END OF SPOILER

Glaring plot hole aside, I did like Luke Skywalker’s return and the new characters are great. The rest of the story was fun and exciting for all ages. I highly recommend The Last Jedi, but I can only give it 4 stars. My reason is stated above. -MR

 

Find The Last Jedi and see the new trailer here.


We Review, Thor: Ragnarok “A rip-roaring blast of a movie. 5 stars” -MR

Thor: Ragnarok

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Thor: Ragnarok
Thor Ragnarok poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Taika Waititi
Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by
Based on
Starring
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography Javier Aguirresarobe
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
Running time
130 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $180 million[2][3]
Box office $818.5 million[2]
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Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and is the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tom HiddlestonCate BlanchettIdris ElbaJeff GoldblumTessa ThompsonKarl UrbanMark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnarök.

A third Thor film was confirmed in January 2014, with Kyle and Yost beginning work on the screenplay. The involvement of Hemsworth and Hiddleston was announced that October. Waititi joined the film as director a year later, after The Dark World director Alan Taylor chose not to return. Ruffalo joined the cast reprising the role of Hulk from previous MCU films, which allowed elements of the 2006 comic storyline “Planet Hulk” to be adapted for Ragnarok. The rest of the cast, including Blanchett as Hela, was confirmed in May 2016, with Pearson’s involvement revealed at the start of filming in July 2016. Principal photography took place in Brisbane and SydneyAustralia, with the film also having exclusive use of Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, concluding in October 2016.

Thor: Ragnarok premiered in Los Angeles on October 10, 2017, and was released in the United States on November 3, 2017, in 3D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D. The film received largely positive reviews, with many critics declaring it the best film of the Thor trilogy and praising Waititi’s direction, the cast, action sequences, soundtrack, and humor. It has grossed more than $818 million, making it the highest-grossing film of the Thor series and eighth highest-grossing film of 2017.

Plot

Two years after the battle at Sokovia,[N 1] Thor has been unsuccessfully searching for information regarding the Infinity Stones, and is now imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur in Muspelheim. Surtur reveals that Thor’s father Odin is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarök, once Surtur unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns in Odin’s vault. Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, believing he has prevented Ragnarök.

Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother Loki posing as Odin. Thor forces Loki to help him find their father, and with directions from Stephen Strange on Earth, they locate Odin in Norway. Odin explains that he is dying, and that his passing will allow his firstborn child, Hela, to escape from a prison she was sealed in long ago. Hela had been the leader of Asgard’s armies, and had conquered the Nine Realms with Odin, but had been imprisoned and written out of history after Odin feared that she had become too ambitious. Odin subsequently dies, and Hela, released from her imprisonment, appears. She destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and when Thor and Loki attempt to flee through the Bifröst Bridge, she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. Hela arrives in Asgard, destroying its army and killing the Warriors Three; resurrects the ancient dead who once fought with her, including her giant wolf Fenris; and appoints the Asgardian Skurge as her executioner. She plans to use the Bifröst to expand Asgard’s empire, but Heimdall covertly steals the sword that controls the Bridge, and hides away with the rest of Asgard’s citizens.

Thor crash-lands on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes. He is captured by a bounty hunter named Scrapper 142, and taken to serve as a gladiator for the planet’s ruler, the Grandmaster, with whom Loki has already become ingratiated. Thor recognizes 142 as one of the Valkyrior, a legendary force of female warriors who were killed defending Asgard from Hela long ago. Thor is forced to compete in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions, facing his old friend Hulk. Summoning lightning, Thor almost defeats Hulk but the Grandmaster sabotages the fight to ensure Hulk’s victory. Still enslaved, Thor attempts to convince Hulk and 142 to help him save Asgard, but neither is willing. He soon manages to escape the palace and finds the Quinjet that brought Hulk to Sakaar. Hulk follows Thor to the Quinjet, where a recording of Natasha Romanoff makes him transform back into Bruce Banner for the first time since Sokovia.

The Grandmaster orders 142 and Loki to find Thor and Hulk, but the pair come to blows and Loki forces her to relive the deaths of her fellow Valkyrie at the hands of Hela. Deciding to help Thor, she takes Loki captive to prove her goodwill. Unwilling to be left behind, Loki provides the group with the means to steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships. They then liberate the other gladiators who, led by Korg and Miek, stage a rebellion. Loki attempts to betray his brother to gain a reward from the Grandmaster, but Thor anticipates this and leaves him behind, where Korg and the gladiators soon find him. Thor, Banner, and 142 escape through a wormhole to Asgard, where Hela’s forces are attacking Heimdall and Asgard’s citizens. Banner becomes Hulk again, fighting Fenris, while Thor and 142 battle Skurge and the resurrected warriors.

Our Thoughts

I went into this movie not thinking I would like it. Boy was I wrong. First the use of color in the city scenes, and sets is simply amazing. The story was pretty cool too. Who knew Thor and Loki had a big sister? Well, I did, but I didn’t think her story would be all that entertaining. The side characters, Korg and Meik are fantastic comedic relief, and the whole thing from start to finish, is pretty much non-stop. I highly recommend this rip-roaring blast of a movie. 5 stars. -MR

Find Thor: Ragnarok and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Justice League “I wanted to like it more, but couldn’t 3.5 stars” – MR

Justice League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Justice League
Justice League film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Zack Snyder
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Chris Terrio
  • Zack Snyder
Based on Justice League
by Gardner Fox
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Fabian Wagner
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 26, 2017 (Beijing)
  • November 17, 2017(United States)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $300 million[2]
Box office $570.3 million[3]


Justice League
 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the DC Comicssuperhero team of the same name, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), the film is directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. It features an ensemble cast that includes Ben AffleckHenry CavillAmy AdamsGal GadotEzra MillerJason MomoaRay FisherJeremy IronsDiane LaneConnie Nielsen, and J. K. Simmons. In Justice League, the titular superhero team, consisting of BatmanWonder WomanFlashAquaman, and Cyborg, forms to honor Supermanfollowing his death and to save the planet from the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.

The film was announced in October 2014 with Snyder on board to direct and Terrio attached to write the script. Initially announced as Justice League Part One, with a second part to follow in 2019, the second film was indefinitely delayed to accommodate a standalone Batman film with Affleck. Principal photography commenced in April 2016 and ended in October 2016. Snyder then hired Joss Whedon to write scenes that would be filmed during reshoots; however, Snyder left the project in May 2017 following the death of his daughter. Whedon was hired to oversee the remainder of post-production, including directing additional scenes written by himself. Snyder received sole director credit for the film, with Whedon receiving a screenplay credit.

With an estimated production budget of $300 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever madeJustice League premiered in Beijing on October 26, 2017, and was released in the United States in 2D, 3D, and IMAX on November 17, 2017. It has currently grossed over $570 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics; the action sequences and performances (particularly Gadot and Miller) were praised while what was perceived as a thin plot, weak villain, and overuse of CGI were criticized. The film’s tone was met with a polarized reception, with some praising it for being lighter than previous DCEU installments, while others noted it as inconsistent.

Plot

Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons attempt to conquer Earth through the combined energies of three Mother Boxes. They are foiled by a unified army that included the Olympian GodsAmazonsAtlanteans, Mankind, and Green Lanterns. After repelling Steppenwolf’s army, the Mother Boxes are separated and hidden in locations around the planet.

In the present, the world is in mourning after the death of Superman. This triggers the Mother Boxes to reactivate and Steppenwolf’s return to Earth in an effort to regain favor with his master, Darkseid. Steppenwolf manages to retrieve the Mother Box from Themyscira, prompting Queen Hippolyta to warn her daughter Diana Prince of Steppenwolf’s return by lighting the invasion fire. Prince joins Bruce Wayne in his attempt to unite other metahumans to their cause, with Wayne going after Arthur Curry and Barry Allen, while Prince tries to locate Victor Stone. The two of them fail to persuade Curry and Stone, but manage to recruit an enthusiastic Allen onto the team. Stone later joins the team after his father Silas is kidnapped, along with several other S.T.A.R. Labs employees, by Steppenwolf seeking to acquire the Mother Box from them.

Meanwhile, Steppenwolf attacks Atlantis to retrieve the next Mother Box, forcing Curry to take action. The team receives intel from Commissioner James Gordon leading them to Steppenwolf’s army, based in an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor. Although the group manages to rescue the kidnapped employees, the facility is flooded during combat, which traps the team until Curry helps delay the flood so they can escape. Stone retrieves the last Mother Box, which he had hidden, for the group to analyze. Stone reveals that his father used the Mother Box to rebuild Stone’s body after an accident almost cost him his life. Wayne decides to use the Mother Box to resurrect Superman, not only to help them fight off Steppenwolf’s army, but also to restore hope to mankind. Prince and Curry are hesitant about the idea, but Wayne forms a secret contingency plan in case Superman returns as a nemesis.

Our Thoughts

The movie was almost exactly as expected, and entertaining. BUT: The voice of the antagonist Steppenwolf sounded just like Optimus Prime, which was pretty annoying. Flash and Aqua man were cool additions to the group and the only surprise is a major spoiler so I’ll let you find out for yourself. I wanted this to be better. I wanted to like it as much as I did Wonder Woman, but the bad guys weren’t even scary, and the Russian civilian side story was simply lame. I have to give it 3.5 stars, but I do recommend it. It entertained me, but when I leave a movie disappointed, I cant give it 4 or 5 stars. I just can’t. I wanted to like it more, but couldn’t 3.5 stars – MR

Find Justice League and see the new trailer here.