Posts Tagged ‘John Boyega’

Media Update 8/30/18

August 30, 2018


Attack the Block

I had vaguely heard of this movie but I had not really heard much of what it was. When I found out that it was the first movie starring John Boyega, I was definitely intrigued. It is kind of sad that there was not much information because I had this movie pegged completely wrong. I thought it was a comedy/science-fiction movie but that was not what this one was. The best way to explain this movie is that the writer/director saw Signs and wondered what would happen if the same thing happened in South London. Joe Cornish was inspired by the low budget debuts of Spielberg and Cameron and wanted to create something equally raw. He succeeded. Basically, this is what would happen if alien monsters invaded the projects and ended up in a survival of the fittest conflict with a bunch of young street punks. John Boyega is so powerful in this movie that it is easy to see why everybody in Hollywood wants to cast him in things currently. At the same time he has the toughness of a criminal and the vulnerability of a teenager. He is joined by a cast of relative unknowns who are absolutely perfect for their roles. The only other person I recognized was Nick Frost who had a smaller, understated comic relief role that did not take away from the seriousness and the horror of the rest of the film. The design of the aliens was wonderfully simple and impactful and horrifying in a sort of Jaws kind of way. As the movie went on, I was absolutely terrified for the characters in the movie in all the best ways. When the credits started, I found myself letting out a breath I did not know I had been holding. I definitely recommend this one.


Oceans 8

When they announced Oceans 8 as a “female Oceans 11” I was skeptical. I was not sure why the movie had to be either a reboot or continuation of the previous franchise instead of just being a thing by itself. When I saw the first poster, I was intrigued by the cast. The movie stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, Danny’s sister. As usual, she is super charming and fun and she is probably at the top of her game in this movie. She is joined by a stellar cast who each add something interesting to the ensemble. We have Cate Blanchett who is a combination of regal and biker attitude which I really enjoyed. Rihanna plays a really sassy hacker who steals a lot of scenes. Mindy Kaling was not somebody I expected in a heist movie but she brings a good bit of comedy into her role. I was also surprised by the addition of Sarah Paulson who ended up carrying a lot of scenes as the kind of straight woman of the group. For once Helena Bonham Carter did not overact and that made her even more funny. Anne Hathaway killed it as a spoiled Hollywood actress and was actually probably the highlight of the movie. With this movie they seemed to make a continuation of the previous franchise while also doing their own thing. It did not rely on all of the tropes of the previous trilogy and almost none of that cast appeared. I was surprised at how good this was and I definitely recommend it.


Voltron: Legendary Defender

I watched quite a bit of the original Voltron cartoon series. It was during a time when television animation was cheaply done and was mainly done to sell toys. Like many cartoons of its time, it was formulaic and always delivered an ending where the good guys win. Flash forward a few decades when I hear that there is a new series and it is pretty good. Fast forward a little more to present day and a friend who I trust says the show is good and I figure it is time to check it out. I am glad I did. They basically took everything that was good from the show (robot lions becoming a big robot, action, color-coordination) and just added a whole lot more to like. The animation is, of course, a lot better with characters allowed to be more expressive. The action is way more exciting now that animation has improved and anime has been an inspiration for decades. Each of the five “paladins” have been given more character and they are each given different abilities to make them more interesting. On top of that, the alien characters are allowed to be more alien. Also, the princess is allowed to have a real personality instead of being “girl also there”. Also also, the robot lions are now given more personality of their own through their movement. There are also actual character arcs and plot arcs from episode to episode other than “we have to defeat the big bad”. It makes each episode more special and it feels less like treading water each episode. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Panic! At The Disco: High Hopes

Future – 31 DAYS

From Ashes To New – Broken

OneRepublic – Connection

Ariana Grande – God is a woman

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “All Together Now”
– I watched more Disenchantment Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 2
– I watched more Game Grumps and Barry Kramer on YouTube
– I have picked up Critical Role again

Media Update 7/12/18

July 12, 2018


Antman and the Wasp

I was a big fan of the first Antman movie as it was a great example of an adaptation taking parts of the source material and making something that felt new. They made Hank Pym and Scott Lang feel fresh again. Besides that, performances by Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Pena gave the movie a lot of heart. The formula for later Marvel movies is to take a superhero movie and mix a different genre into it to create a new subgenre. The first movie mixed in a heist movie to create a fun superhero romp. This movie mixes in a sort of “criminals on the run” thing and also a rescue mission. In addition to the first movie’s stars, we get a bigger performance from Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang. We also see a great relationship between Laurence Fishburne and Hannah John-Kamen. Randall Park gets to be part of the comedy relief squad and is really great it. Finally, there is a small part for Michelle Pfeiffer but a promise of more to come. The movie felt like a natural extension of the first movie and brought back a lot of what was really good about it. At the same time, the movie allowed its characters to evolve and grow toward new places. In particular, Evangeline Lilly got a bigger part and finally got to be the hero she deserved to be in the first film. She was one of my favorite parts of both movies so it is great to see her flourish and hopefully that continues in the MCU. The other part I really liked was the three sort of Father-Daughter relationships that each have different dynamics but also how they reflect each other. I definitely recommend this one.


Kiki’s Delivery Service

I simply have not seen enough Hayao Miyazaki films. I first saw Princess Mononoke when it was released in theaters in the US and I fell in love with Miyazaki’s style instantly. I have since watched a few of his movies but I still need to watch more. This one came especially highly recommended and I was happy to finally get my hands on the newer dub. This came out the same year as The Little Mermaid so it was part of an animation revolution in both art and storytelling. The movie is about a thirteen-year-old witch who strikes out on her own and clashes with the modern culture of a city. It deals heavily with growing up, finding your place, depression, and how we deal with people among other things. Though it has supernatural elements, the movie focuses mostly on relationships between people and dialogue. It is a fairly simple movie but it involves very complex teenage emotions. It is one of the best representations that I have seen on what it feels like to move away from home and also what it feels like to be a teenager. The artwork is beautiful and especially the faces are so expressive and cute. The American voice work was really fun and special shout-outs to Tress MacNeille, Phil Hartman, Debbie Reynolds, Janeane Garofolo, and Kirsten Dunst. It really is a feel-good movie and it left me feeling a little lighter. I definitely recommend it.


Pacific Rim: Uprising

I was a big fan of the first Pacific Rim, as it was exactly what I expected it to be and exactly what I wanted it to be. It was basically the best live action anime that has ever been created and one of the jewels in Guillermo Del Toro’s crown as a king of digital effects. The movie was very Del Toro and was both thrilling and funny. Del Toro passed on directing the sequel so he could win an Academy Award with The Shape of Water. I expected more of the same but I was pleasantly surprised that they advanced time and did more world-building. The movie takes place at Jaeger pilot school filled with a ragtag band of international students. The stars of this one are John Boyega and Cailee Spaeny. Boyega once again proved that he is a great actor with tons of charisma and gravitas. Cailee Spaeny is really fun and it was really fun to see a fresh new face as a prodigy pilot, sort of a combo of Charlie Hunnam and Charlie Day in the original. Speaking of Charlie Day, he and Burn Gorman return as the goofy scientists, except less goofy and more fleshed-out characters. We also get the return of the stoic yet playful Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori. The visuals are just as fun and, if anything, there is even more action than the first film. There were also more unexpected twists and interesting moments than the first one as they built off the world that had already been created. I recommend this one as well.

Music of the Week:
Adam And The Ants – Ants Invasion

Dreamcatcher – Lucky Strike

The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

Belly – Man Listen

Code Orange – Forever

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “The Next Generation”
– I watched more Glow Season 2
– I watched more Arrow Season 6
– I watched more Flash Season 4
– I watched more Agents of Shield Season 5
– I watched more Luke Cage Season 2
– I watched more Barry Kramer on YouTube

Media Update 12/28/17

December 28, 2017


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Another controversial blockbuster genre movie but this time I fall on the positive side of things. I remember watching what is now called Episode IV as a little kid (on VHS, of course) and I was instantly enamored. I had a truckload of toys which I could have sold to buy a car if my family had kept them. For a while, Empire Strikes Back was my favorite of the franchise until it was replaced by The Force Awakens last year. Episode VII was a mix of nostalgia and really fun new stuff. This movie felt like it expanded on the new stuff while giving us a fun yet darker movie. This new movie leaned more on the Disney-created characters rather than the old guard which is good. We have spent so much time with those characters that it is time for them to pass the torch. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac continue to provide interesting characters. We got new characters from Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran. Both of them are awesome and I am looking forward to more from Tran. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher provide the nostalgia but also show us how their characters have grown over the years. Adam Driver and Andy Serkis are the main villains but we also got brief appearances from Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie again. I feel like this was a great step forward for the franchise to help differentiate it from the original trilogy while still being a great movie. I definitely recommend it.


Bright

It was late on December 22 and I decided to watch this movie because the trailer intrigued me. Also, calls of it being “The Worst Movie of the Year” intrigued me because this year also produced Boss Baby and The Emoji Movie. The movie is directed by David Ayers and it was written by Max Landis, both have a weird track record. For the record, I did not know that Landis was accused of sexual assault before I watched the movie. This is a movie that is basically set in a world where Dungeons and Dragons was real and then time progressed to 2017. So, it is the story of a human cop saddled with an affirmative hire Orc cop. I’m sure there’s some message about race here but it is kind of lost in the story and probably should not be delivered by Max Landis. I actually liked the movie. It felt like one part D&D, one part Training Day, and one part Warriors. Will Smith was great as he was less his usual cocky self and more curmudgeonly and more of a reluctant hero. Joel Edgerton was great as the dumb but loyal orc cop. The movie was a little long and dragged here and there but there was some excellent world-building and I am a sucker for fantasy settings. I recommend it but it may not be up everyone’s alley.


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I am a huge fan of Luc Besson. He is a great director and goes into great detail creating his worlds whether they are more mundane or fantastic. My two favorites of his are Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional. He has a way of bringing interesting characters to life in fun and/or interesting situations. When I saw trailers for this movie, I figured it looked more like The Fifth Element and, in some ways, I was right. Dane DeHaan plays the titular Major Valerian, a secret military agent. His partner, Laureline, is played by Cara Delevigne. The two of them use high tech gadgetry and combat expertise to save the day. At first, they seemed a little bland to me but when I got into the rhythm of their straight-faced performance I saw their personalities come out. The story, apparently based on a comic book, is a little frantic and hard to follow at first. Once it settles in, the movie is way better and is driven by the characters trying to find their way through craziness. The world-building is off the charts with hundreds of aliens created and dozens of cultures shown. The other characters we meet are interesting and whole. The only real problem I had with the movie was that it was a bit too long and Besson could have probably cut out around 10 – 20 minutes. Still, I recommend this one if for no other reason than the awesome special effects and action sequences.

Music of the Week:
Getter – Rip N Dip

Selena Gomez, Marshmello – Wolves

Sia – Cheap Thrills

AWOLNATION – Sail

Cold Crush Brothers – The Weekend

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Teamwork in Genre Films”
– I started watching Little Witch Academia Season 2
– I continued watching Longmire Season 3
– I watched more of Fate/Apocrypha
– I watched more of Blue Exorcist Season 1
– I finished The Crown Season 2

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 22, 2015

Star Wars has been around my entire life. A New Hope came out 5 and a half years before I was born. The Empire Strikes Back came out two and a half years before I was born. I was five months old when Return of the Jedi came out. I don’t remember exactly when I eventually watched the original trilogy but I think it probably wasn’t at 5 months. I do know that when I watched the movies, I liked them a lot. Even as a kid I was a fantasy fan more than I was a sci-fiction fan but I did love space (I wanted to be an astronaut). Star Wars was able to give me both Fantasy and Space in sufficient portions. I liked the cocky smirk on Han Solo’s face. Luke’s lightsaber, Leia’s fire, Ben’s wisdom and Vader’s spookiness. I never really cared for the droids but hey neither did most of the characters in the movie. I had a huge pile of Star Wars action figures and I read some of the expanded universe stuff as I got older.

I eventually saw the original trilogy in theaters when they released the special editions and the magic that had faded was renewed. On the heels of that gift, they started to release the Prequel trilogy and now I was old enough to eagerly greet the movies in theaters. They were disappointing but they got better as they went along. I defended those prequels the best I could but eventually my enthusiasm cooled and I packed Star Wars away except for watching The Clone Wars tv show now and then.

So it was with a great mixed emotion when Disney announced that they were planning their own Star Wars trilogy now that they owned the property. Several franchises had flourished under Disney including Pixar, Marvel and The Muppets just to name a few. Still, I was concerned because the original trilogy was not perfect but the prequels had definitely tarnished a lot of what was good in the franchise. Were the original actors too old to come back? Would JJ Abrams lose his way and create something less than good? Was there even anything left to mine in the Star Wars universe? There were just too many questions. I had been hurt before, so why try again? Because the trailer was interesting and new and nostalgic all at once. Moreover, I felt obligated to see it out of geek pride. Also, my friends said it was good on Saturday. So all of this was in my mind as I stepped into a movie theater at 3 in the afternoon in Martinsburg, WV.

I will stop here to give a fair warning that, although I’m earnestly trying not to spoil anything, I understand if you stop reading now. Go watch the movie and come back here later. I try not to include spoilers but I know even the slightest thing can be a spoiler for some people.

From the very beginning I was hit with nostalgia and then I was very intrigued. The movie did a great job of mixing the new with the familiar. One of the greatest faults of the The Phantom Menace was that it started with a boring scene about trade negotiations. Every Star Wars film before or since has started with some sort of interesting and/or action-packed sequence. They definitely fully regained that ability to grab you right away and pull you into the story. I definitely felt pulled in and the movie didn’t let me go until the credits rolled. I walked away humming the music, just barely able to keep the humming under my breath. I was smiling pretty hard during and after film. Honestly, the film felt a little like coming home. Sure things were different but most of those things were better and all the things you liked were still there.

It was so good to see Han Solo again. I know Harrison Ford doesn’t really understand the impact of the character and doesn’t enjoy it but he really pulled it off. Carrie Fisher was even more likeable as Ex-Princess Leia and she was a sight for sore eyes. Thankfully BB-8 wasn’t annoying at all after months of having him shoved down my throat. John Boyega was a total surprise hit as I was intrigued about his character in the trailer but was unsure how it would work out. Daisy Ridley is absolutely the actress and character we all deserved for being fans all of these years. Both of them work so well together and separately and I’m excited to see where their story goes. Everybody was absolutely great in their roles even all the bit characters and the CGI characters were so well done that it didn’t feel artificial like the prequels. The whole thing was written by two people. JJ Abrams has come a long way from the mess that was Lost and has even come a long way from the Star Trek reboot. Lawrence Kasdan wrote The Empire Strikes Back which was, until today, my favorite Star Wars movie and his work showed in this one.

Go see this movie whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not. There’s so much I loved in this movie that I just can’t talk about openly. I don’t want to ruin it for somebody who hasn’t seen it yet. I want to tell everybody I know to see it and everybody I don’t know as well.


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