Category Archive – Movie Madness

Week of Geek Holiday Edition: Non-Traditional Holiday Movies

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Hi again Geeklings!  Happy December!

Even though we’ve been getting the holiday vibes since before Halloween, it is officially the holiday season.  Snow (not yet, but give it time).  Lights.  Good food.  Good company.  Good times.

And, as per usual with this time of year, there have been a lot of suggestions online and in person of what to watch over the season.  It is the perfect time to curl up on a couch with a blanket and a mug of cocoa and watch something festive.  And heaven knows there are plenty of holiday-related titles out there.

But holiday movies can be tricky.  They can be a little… what?  In your face?  Overblown?  Overly jolly?  WAY too festive and over the top?  For some people that is awesome and they love it, but for others it can be a little much.  There’s a difference between sweet and saccharine.  Between that cozy feeling and getting a headache from all the noise and lights and feeling nauseous from all the cheer.

So what to do?  Fortunately, there’s a new breed of holiday movie out there, the non-traditional holiday film.  Basically a movie that has holiday elements but it’s not the main point of the story, or they’re films you may not traditionally think of when you think of holiday movies.  These films run the gamut from action to horror to romance to so many others.

Some examples include franchise films like Iron Man 3 or Batman Returns.  Both are set over Christmas.  Iron Man 3 kicks off with a New Year’s Eve party flashback and then the rest of the film takes place over the holidays…

Batman Returns features a tree lighting ceremony and holiday parties.  And then you have movies like A Nightmare Before Christmas, which is still debated endlessly over whether it’s a Halloween or Christmas movie.  Or films like Krampus, which throw full horror elements into the holiday season.  So all of these are enough to give you a taste but not enough to be overwhelming.

I made a list, ’cause lists are helpful.  (Heads up though, some of these are restricted, so check the rating.)

So whatever size dose of holiday cheer you like, have a happy one.  Stay tuned for more festive fun coming up, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek Breaking News: Infinity War Trailer… This! Just… all the this!

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Yesterday, in the grand tradition we now seem to have started of trailers for trailers, we got this…

Not only did this floor me that we were getting a first look at Avengers: Infinity War, and it was great seeing what has led up to this, but I also love how this tease was framed, with all the reaction shots of fans watching previous Marvel trailers.  I don’t know about you guys, but I have been these people.  I’ve never filmed my reaction but I have had those same looks on my face as I got a taste of what was to come.  18 times!  (For 18 films, including February’s Black Panther).

And now 19 times.

*deep breath from the diaphragm*

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I… I have no words… How can one put this into words?!  HOW?!  THIS IS EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED AND MORE!

*another deep breath*

Just an observation, this trailer was released this morning, and I saw it was up to almost 500 000 views in it’s first hour alone.  As of this writing (about 12:30pm) it was up to 1.2 million views.  Some of the commentators noticed the view count was stuck for a while.  This trailer broke YouTube for a little bit.

Anyway, back to fangirling.  This is it people!  This is for all the marbles!  This is what nearly 10 years and almost 20 films have built towards.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!  In one movie fighting one common foe!  Thanos will finally make a play for the universe.  He’ll finally go after all of the Infinity Stones.  So much is about to go down and we still have to wait a little more than five months to see it happen!  I am excited and nervous at the same time!  (Nervous because it’s clear my guys are in for a rough go)

So what does this all mean for the rest of Phase 3?  How will this set things up for Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel and the Infinity War sequel that will officially close Phase 3 in 2019?  What will be next for Marvel Studios after that?  Who will make it to the end?  (I really hope everyone, but let’s face it, that isn’t likely).  Time will tell, but what do you think Geeklings?  Post your thoughts in the comments or write your own reviews on WriteIt.

In the meantime, watch…

And watch…

And read…

And click here for my definitive ranking of Marvel films.  Watch ’em, read ’em, love ’em, and let’s hope that somehow everything will work out in Infinity War.

Until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: The DCEU fumbles again, What heck?

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Well Geeklings, it has arrived.  The Justice League movie.

Full disclosure; I haven’t seen it yet.  But I and the rest of the world do know two things about it.  Critics aren’t crazy about it.  And it underperformed at the Box Office it’s opening weekend.

WHAT… HECK?!

This was supposed to be it!  The culmination of… FOUR movies!

The film that brings everyone together, including some we hadn’t really met yet!  What the heck?!  (There might be a bit of sarcasm in there, my bad.)

So what’s going on?  This is the fifth movie in this series thus far, and out of the five of them only one has actually performed well with critics, fans and with ticket sales.

Well, I was reading this article the other day, and I think it really hits the nail on the head.  Give it a read for the full picture but here’s a few things I’d like to highlight…

  • This was really rushed: Four movies may seem like a lot, but only three of them really had anything to do with Justice League (Suicide Squad was more of a standalone).  DC’s decision to go the opposite route that Marvel did (with five movies all tying in to the lead up of The Avengers) while developing a Cinematic Universe means that we now have a Justice League film where we only really know half the members.  Where’s the investment?
  • Over saturation: Justice League only followed Thor: Ragnarok by two weeks.  Someone like me is happy to have several super hero films at once but the average movie goer may not be thrilled.
  • Backstage shenanigans: Though some fans may disagree with me, I’ve never been thrilled that Warner Bros decided to put Zack Snyder in charge of this operation.  I’m not crazy about the decisions he’s made thus far, or about how dark and dreary he seems to be insisting on making this universe.  And the only time the franchise has had any real success was when they put someone else in charge.  Snyder had to back out of finishing Justice League for very legitimate reasons, and WB brought in Joss Whedon to finish the movie.  I love Whedon, but it’s never easy to take someone else’s work and try to finish it, and there were A LOT of reshoots.  Often what this all leads to is two very different visions competing against each other and a very unbalanced final product.
  • Fans are just getting sick of all of this:  From the backstage drama to the bad reviews to the constant disappointment and divisive decisions DC and Warner Bros are making, some fans have likely had enough of the whole thing.  I think I’m starting to get to that point myself.  This isn’t working!  And it makes it all the more painful to know that it can work.  Wonder Woman proved it!

Having said all that, I will probably go and see Justice League.  One thing a lot of critics have been saying is that even though it’s not a perfect film it is fun.  Sometimes that’s all I want from a superhero film, and that sense of fun was sorely lacking in Man of Steel and especially Batman v SupermanSuicide Squad tried to be fun, but only as a last minute add on.  And though Wonder Woman had the emotional depth the story needed it definitely had it’s fun moments.  That’s part of what made it such a great film; it could do both.

What do you think Geeklings?  Will you go see Justice League?  Give it a pass?  Either way, how come?  Post in the comments or for more extensive thoughts head to the WriteIt site and pour your hearts out.

And, just to reassure ourselves that DC can win in other mediums, here’s a list of their TV shows…

And some awesome graphic novels…

Have a great week Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek Breaking News: The title of the next Fantastic Beasts movie revealed!

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Rejoice Wizarding World fans!  The next film in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series has a title and release date!  AND a cast photo!

Click here to learn more details about each character, and here for more about the movie.  And while The Crimes of Grindelwald won’t be out until next November, go ahead and sign out Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to catch up (find the textbook here and the screenplay here).  Stay tuned for more, until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Ranking Marvel’s Films… Can it be done?

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Hiya Geeklings.

So, this weekend I got to see Thor: Ragnarok for my birthday.  Squeal!

LOVED IT!  Funny, action packed, had Doctor Strange in it for a little bit.  So much Loki!  And just awesome.  So much to love!  Ali happy!

And it got me thinking about the MCU, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe if you want to skip the shorthand, Marvel Studios’ wackadoodle dream of creating connected films over a broad scale and bringing all the characters and storylines together for a single goal.  It’s had a succession of great directors and top-notch talent in acting, special effects, costuming, writing (one thing I like to say is that, eventually, Everyone Joins the MCU).  They’ve changed and adapted their original plan when certain properties became really popular or they got the rights back to certain characters (welcome back Spidey!)

17 films so far.  Let’s break it down.

Phase 1 – 6 Films

Iron ManThe Incredible HulkIron Man 2ThorCaptain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers

Phase 2 – 6 Films

Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man

Phase 3 – 10 Films

Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok

That takes us to right now.  I’ve got the links above for everything you can sign out but here’s a handy list of what we have in our libraries.  I like lists (clearly).

And then the next ones coming up are…

Black Panther (click that link, it looks amazing), Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Another Avengers Film as yet untitled.

That’ll end Phase 3, and then there’s also a Spider-Man sequel and a 3rd Guardians of the Galaxy movie announced, so I guess that’ll be Phase 4?  Or maybe they’ll just start a new set of phases?  That’s still a few years off, so we’ll see.

So I liked Ragnarok so much that I knew I’d put it up in one of the top spots of favorite Marvel films.  Which got me thinking; how would I rank the other ones?  No small feat, seeing as how there’s almost 20 of them.  So how to go about it?  How I did it was split them up into four different categories and then rank them from there, which made more sense in my own head; a head which is not overly inclined to numbers.

So here they are, my order of released Marvel films from best to worst.  This list is comprised of my own personal preferences.  Some you may agree with.  Some of you may disagree vehemently.  But here they are…

Top Marks

The Avengers – This one may not technically be the absolute best of Marvel’s films, but I’m giving it the top spot because in my little fangirl heart, this moment in cinematic history was a game changer for me and for so many other fans.  This was the first time we got to see Marvel’s plan really come to fruition.  This was something new, something delightful, something that FIVE other films had built to.  And it didn’t let us down.  It was a great film and it proved that what Marvel was on to, this crazy plan of an extended universe, was just crazy enough to work.  It’s left so many other studios scrambling to follow suit.  This was the gold standard for shared universes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier –  Not only was Cap’s 2nd solo outing probably the best one to date, it was one of the most well made of Marvel’s films, from writing to pacing to acting to effects to… everything.  It gave more screen time to Black Widow and introduced the Falcon.  And it packs one of the biggest emotional punches in the series and two of the biggest twists, completely changing the direction for the rest of the films to follow.

Iron Man – The one that started it all, the face that launched a thousand ships (use whatever double meanings you want there).  It made Robert Downey Jr a household name again (come on, he IS Tony Stark), took a superhero that hardly anyone knew anything about and made him an essential component of the Marvel Universe, and with that one end-credits scene not only started a tradition of waiting in a darkened theater until credits have rolled but hinted at a larger universe.  Plus, it was just a great movie.

Thor: Ragnarok – The third film in the Thor trilogy is, I think, the best one.  Though it gave us some real stakes and some far-reaching consequences for the MCU, it was also a ton of fun, with a lot of humor, some great action sequences and candy for your eyeballs.  It’s really a cultivation of what Marvel’s done so far and how good it can be.

Doctor Strange – This would rank high on my list just for granting me one of my deepest wishes; for Benedict Cumberbatch to join the MCU.  But it was just a great movie anyway, so it’s up here.  One of the trippiest films Marvel’s ever done, it completely worked and gave us a real heroes journey with a whole ton of magic.

Guardians of the Galaxy – One thing I’ve read about as to why Marvel is so successful is that it doesn’t just make great superhero movies.  It makes great films from different genres that happen to feature superheroes.  And Guardians proved that they could tackle a real Sci Fi tale and make it work.  With some great characters, funny lines and eye-popping cosmic romps, Guardians was solid from first take off to last.

Thor – This movie gave us our first introduction to Loki.  Even if the rest of the film wasn’t fantastical fun (and it is) that introduction would be enough for me.

Captain America: The First Avenger – A great intro to Cap, the film had an awesome retro feel and led into the first Avengers film nicely.

Not as good but still great

Spider-Man: Homecoming –  This one was a bit of a last-minute addition to the MCU after they unexpectedly got the rights to Spider-Man back from Sony.  But after a great intro in Civil War, Marvel Studios took the character back to his roots by making him a full-fledged high school student with all the nerdy awkwardness that entails.  Add Tony Stark as a mentor and the Vulture as a somewhat sympathetic villain, and you’ve got a great Spidey solo flick.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – It didn’t quite have the same magic as the first one, but it had me in tears by the end of it and it was still visually awesome, smart and had a lot of interesting observations about the nature of families.

The Incredible Hulk – I’ve found that a lot of people genuinely forget this movie exists, or often mistake it for The Hulk, which is a totally different film and has nothing to do with the MCU (and I hear it’s pretty bad).  But the Hulk does have his own MCU film with Incredible Hulk and it’s actually pretty good.  Mark Ruffalo has been a great Bruce Banner from The Avengers onward, but Edward Norton did well the first time out.  Plus I liked Liv Tyler‘s Betty Ross, and villain Thunderbolt Ross would appear again in Civil War.

Ant-Man – Ant-Man’s always been a weird superhero, and this film did not shy away from the weirdness.  By giving the reigns to conflicted petty criminal Scott Lang, they gave us an interesting main character, and seeing the world from a perspective of being tiny was really neat.  And it was funny.  All good.

Meh

Thor: The Dark World – This one gets a lot of hate, but I can’t hate anything that has Loki in it.  Sorry.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A good movie that I still enjoyed but it just didn’t have the spark or the cohesion that the first full Avengers film did.  It did give us Vision though, so that’s awesome.  And I like James Spader a lot, so I was happy to hear him as Ultron.

Iron Man 3 – Still fun but not overly noteworthy.  But it did have some interesting looks at mental illness, which doesn’t come up often enough in film, so there’s that.

Least favorites

Iron Man 2 – Still fun but not overly memorable, less so than Iron Man 3 for me, so it goes here.  Points for introducing the Black Widow, one of the most awesome heroines to ever awesome.

Captain America: Civil War – Yeah, I know.  I KNOW this is a good film.  A great film even, possibly one of the best in the series.  It brought a lot of our favorite characters together, it brought Spidey back, brought Bucky back, introduced the Black Panther, introduced Martin Freeman‘s character Everett K Ross, and was just really well done over all.  But I don’t like it.  It’s devastating, watching these characters I love go through such awful things, having to grapple with moral quandaries that really don’t have right or wrong answers, and see everyone’s loyalties divided over them.  And then to have to watch them fight each other?!  I know movies like this need to have stakes, but COME ON!  This was way too much!  I didn’t like it, darn it, so I’m putting it last.  Sue me.

*Deep Breath*

So, there we go.  What do we think Geeklings?  Was I on the mark?  Way off?  Did I do any films major injustices?  Post in the comments section or head over to WriteIt to create your own list.

Quick mention: It’s NaNoWriMo time, and if you’re looking for places to write be sure to check out the Teen Writer’s Club!

Have a great week guys, keep watching the skies (rhyming!) and until next time, End of Line.