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The Rewind: The Return of Swamp Thing

Showcase, The Rewind

June 9, 2014

s6r9azkKBHo8O6LEsCwS94moerTTHE RETURN OF SWAMP THING
“He’s got a grudge ‘cos they turned him to sludge!”

THE YEAR: 1989
THE DIRECTOR: Jim Wynorski
THE WRITER: Neil Cuthbert, Grant Morris
THE CAST: Louis Jourdan, Heather Locklear, Sarah Douglas, Dick Durock

THE INTRO:
So, following a successful outing directed by a master of horror, where do you take your dark comic book franchise next? You hire a storied exploitation and porn director to make an over-the-top comedic movie! Obviously. But how does something with such a contrary tone end up being closer to the source material than its more serious predecessor?

Well, let’s branch out and hit the rewind button to take a look… (more…)

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The Rewind: Swamp Thing

Showcase, The Rewind

June 5, 2014

SwampThingSWAMP THING
“Science transformed him into a monster. Love changed him even more!”

THE YEAR: 1982
THE DIRECTOR: Wes Craven
THE WRITER: Wes Craven
THE CAST: Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Dick Durock, Ray Wise

THE INTRO:
Comic book movies were still far off from being a big thing, mostly due to limits in the special effects needed to give many superheroes their fantastic powers. Horror, however, was a booming business and DC Comics had been publishing a dark man-versus-nature tale that had piqued the interest of one of the genre’s top directors. Despite issues along the way, the movie has stayed a cult favorite.

So let’s wrap a vine around the rewind button and see what happened… (more…)

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X-Men: Days of Future Past [Review]

film, Reviews, Showcase

May 28, 2014

 

 

 

 

Interesting Stories. Hollow Characters.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Poster-High-ResA quick disclaimer at the outset: I haven’t read the original Days of Future Past storyline going into this movie, and as such I can’t comment on how accurate it is or is not to the original comic books.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is an odd juxtaposition to the recent Amazing Spider-Man 2. With Spider-Man, the film leaned on the emotional connection and journey of its characters at the expense of a more streamlined pace and story structure. X-Men, however, gives us a very tightly told story, but with little to no engagement of the actual characters. I left the theatre feeling that I had enjoyed both movies – and enjoyed them a great deal – but while the emotions of Spider-Man have stuck with me, X-Men left me feeling a empty the next day.

But here’s the difficult part: Days of Future Past is still very much a solid effort. There is a lot about it that is quite interesting.

To get it out of the way at the outset, the action scenes in Days of Future Past are very well done, especially in the future sections where we see some exhilarating examples of mutant teamwork, our heroes using their powers in combination and unison, clearly practiced and well-trained. And when Quicksilver joins the mix, he gets some of the movie’s most memorable moments to showcase what he can do before being sent home for being in another company’s movie franchise. Or something like that. But believe you me, he is missed for the rest of the film.

The story is based around a great premise about correcting mistakes and what it would take to truly change the course of history, and it is told with a lot of precision. Unfortunately, that precision doesn’t invest in many, or any, of its characters. Days of Future Past is driven by its story, not those who are a part of it. Worse yet, its ancillary characters border on dismissible and interchangeable for the amount that they actually factor into the story. At least half of the future mutants aren’t more than fodder, and that includes all three lines that Halle Berry has as Storm – previously a major role in these films. Academy Award winner Halle Berry. Three lines. Points go to Ellen Page and Shawn Ashmore, who despite being all but irrelevant to the story managed to give the audience something in the future end of the story to care about.

The lion’s share of the film is in the past, or the First Class timeline, and fans of that film will be happy to find that despite the more serious storyline, its quirky retro feel is nicely intact. Hugh Jackman is right at home as Wolverine (although dialed back down to PG mode from last year’s The Wolverine), and James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and the underrated Nicholas Hoult slip right back into their old top notch form. All four do have some great chemistry and that does go a long way. Surprisingly, Jennifer Lawrence was a little underwhelming, which is odd because I really enjoyed her as Mystique in First Class, but here something seems missing.

Oh, and Peter Dinklage, to no one’s surprise, was outstanding.

So how does all of this time travel affect the X-Men universe? Of course, I don’t want to give away any of the fun of the movie’s last five minutes, but I’ll see what I can do:

[toggle title_open=”…” title_closed=”Possible Spoilers…” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]So Bryan Singer walks up to an audience full of X-Men fans, waves his hand slowly in front of their eyes and in his best Alec Guiness voice says: “Only my X-Men movies matter. The Last Stand was not the movie you were looking for.”

Okay maybe that’s stretching things a bit, but I can’t help feeling like that in the back of my mind just a little bit. That said, we do get a big cosmic reset button at the end of the day.[/toggle]

The conclusion of Days of Future Past leaves the X-Men franchise, both modern day and First Class timelines, with a great foundation to leap forward from, and that is something exciting for the future. The film itself, while a little disconnected from its characters, is still creative and interesting and worth a trip to the theatres.

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The Good: The storyline is interesting, the action is dazzling.

The Bad: Characters are either wasted or without development.

The Verdict: Is a totally enjoyable movie, but more interesting in what it sets up going forward.

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What did you think about X-Men: Days of Future Past? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Rewind: The Running Man (1987)

Showcase, The Rewind

May 19, 2014

the-running-man-movie-poster-1987-1020204533THE RUNNING MAN
“The Running Man is a deadly game no one has ever survived.
But… Schwarzenegger has yet to play.”

THE YEAR: 1987
THE DIRECTOR: Paul Michael Glaser
THE WRITER: Steven E. de Souza (screenplay), Stephen King (novel)
THE CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jesse Ventura, Richard Dawson

THE INTRO:
How many directors does it take to transform a Stephen King novel into a science fiction action vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger? Five, apparently. Through the years, despite the changes in leadership, The Running Man has remained a classic in Arnold’s catalog. But what happened behind the scenes? And how does the film hold up now?

Well let’s race to the rewind button and see what we find… (more…)

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The Rewind: Elektra

Showcase, The Rewind

May 12, 2014

ElektraELEKTRA
“Looks can kill.” / “She’s all that stands between good and evil.”

THE YEAR: 2005
THE DIRECTOR: Rob Bowman
THE WRITER: Zak Penn, Stu Zicherman, Raven Metzner
THE CAST: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kirsten Prout, Terence Stamp, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

THE INTRO:
Spin-offs have always been an odd thing. They are often obscure in relation to the original work, trying to place a smaller, supporting character into a lead role. The results over the years have been all over the map, sometimes eclipsing the popularity of their initial source, sometimes disappearing without notice. In the case of Daredevil, however, the character of Elektra already had a built-in fanbase that rivaled Daredevil himself. Surely giving Elektra her own movie was a guaranteed win after Daredevil‘s success?

Well, let’s ninja attack the rewind button and see what happened… (more…)

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The Rewind: Daredevil

The Rewind

May 5, 2014

daredevil_ver2_xlgDAREDEVIL

THE YEAR: 2003
THE DIRECTOR: Mark Steven Johnson
THE WRITER: Mark Steven Johnson
THE CAST: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau

THE INTRO:
After a string of huge hits like Blade, X-Men and Spider-Man, Marvel properties were on a roll and the comic book movie blockbuster trend was still in full swing. Looking for something with the grit of Blade but with the colorful acrobatic action of Spider-Man, the studios landed on The Man Without Fear himself, Daredevil. Both fans and audiences have let a seething hatred for this movie grow and fester over the years. Was this the first misstep for the golden goose of Marvel movies?

Well let’s blindly hit the rewind button and find out… (more…)

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