Pierce Pioneer

“Ma” is entertaining yet lacks substance

Anna Kooris / Universal Pictures
From Left: Maggie (Diana Silvers), Erica (Juliette Lewis, back to camera) and Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) in ‘Ma.’

Marge Simpson, Peggy Hill, Kitty Forman… are some of the most known on-screen mothers of our time. But, as amazing as being a mother is, filmmakers are always looking for ways to put a new spin on it. The new thriller “Ma” which recently arrived at theaters mixes the loving mother figure with a disturbing tale. Octavia Spencer (The Help, Hidden Figures,…) is an actress who is usually cast for roles with brighter and more innocent personalities. With “Ma,” Spencer sheds the usual wholesome personalities that she always plays and explores a darker side.

The film centers around a group of high school rebels. In an attempt to get alcohol, they meet Sue Ann (Spencer) a seemingly sweet woman, who after some hesitation, buys them liquor. She then invites them to a party at her house, and they gladly accept. In a short time, her basement becomes the best party place in town. However, as the group gets to know her, they start to uncover a more sinister side. Now, she thirsts for revenge to right the wrongs from her past.

Actress Octavia Spencer puts on a disturbing performance in “Ma.” People who are usually acquainted with her more “innocent” roles may be shock as she progressively becomes creepier in every scene. Every time she is on screen, audiences can sense that something is “off” with her. Her subtle facial expressions and ominous delivery adds to the foreboding ambiance of the film. The actress carries the entire movie with her disarming presence.

Anna Kooris / Universal Pictures
McKaley Miller as Haley (Left) and Octavia Spencer as Sue Ann (Right).

Though “Ma” is more of a thriller than a full fledged horror movie, it features gore that might make some moviegoers cringe. The whole film is creepy in nature, and the blood is the “cherry on top.” The filmmakers put in a handful of tension building moments, and the movie does not shy away from getting “suggestive.” One scene in particular has the potential to make people uncomfortable with what it shows. Though one could argue that it was done for “shock value,” it is still quite effective.

The dynamics between the teenagers are also well-established. Despite not being on par with the main star, the young actors put on a good show. They are believable as a group of high school students as they try to find fun in the more “naughty” activities such as drinking. What they do and what they say are realistic for the most part. This gives audience members a break from the more tense scenes.

With that being said, the group is quite generic in terms of character tropes. There is the “sexy blonde chick,” the “wide-eyed innocent” and everything else in the book. As good as these people are, it still feels wooden in the use of slang and sometimes sounds forced.

The movie explores the character of Sue Ann’s past with the use of flashbacks. This provides audiences with information about her early days. Even though her childhood is made clear by the end of the film, it is still vague on how she could have started her ominous revenge plan. Besides that, the ending is also bland and somewhat predictable.

Overall, “Ma” is certainly no bad movie, but it is not a “must-see.” The intrigue of Octavio Spencer as a psychopath may make viewers enjoy the film. However, they might look back and think that “Ma” is rather basic. With such a skillful actress, the movie should have been better and more satisfying.

 

“Brightburn” gruesomely twists comic book genre

BORIS MARTIN / SCREEN GEMS
Jackson A. Dunn as Brandon Breyer

People can argue that the movie industry is in the era of superheroes. Plenty of “origin” stories, reboots, spin-offs and sequels have brought what was once a niche market to a more mainstream audience. While these movies are fun, they can be formulaic. As a result, filmmakers have tried numerous approaches to make superheroes more interesting. They went from making it dark and gritty, like “The Dark Knight” to turning it into a comedy joyride, like “Deadpool” or “Thor: Ragnarok.” Now, it seems as if they have discovered a new way to play with this genre, and that is with horror, which comes in the form of “Brightburn.”

The movie is straightforward with its storyline. A couple (played by Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) encountered a boy (Jackson A. Dunn,) after his spacecraft crashed on their farm. Desperate for a child, they decide to name him Brandon Breyer and lovingly raise him as their own. However, it is a colossal mistake when the Brandon discovers his powers and decides to terrify the town.

The concept of the movie lies in a simple question: What if a Superman-like being has no moral compass? With that idea, it delivers a bloody and gruesome answer. On paper, it sounds like a superhero or supervillain origin story, but in the execution, it is a full fleshed horror-drama flick.

A lot of the film is devoted to the story of the family, who are being torn apart as Brandon grows hungry for blood. In order for this work, it requires amazing chemistry from the cast. Elizabeth Banks and David Denman are believable in the movie. The love that is on screen is heartwarming which results in quite an impact when the relationship crumbles as they figure out how to deal with their son. Jackson A. Dunn did a stunning job portraying the evil Brandon Breyer, to the point where people might even feel a hatred towards his character. Overall, the performances in the movie across the board are great.

Screen Gems
Elizabeth Banks as the loving and increasingly alarmed mother in “Brightburn.”

This is not the first time that filmmakers have tried to put a “thriller” spin on the superhero genre. Director M. Night Shyamalan blew audiences away with “Split” as his directorial comeback in 2016, which was a chilling story of a supervillain. A delayed project named “The New Mutants” also resembles the same tone as this movie, judging by the trailers.

“Brightburn” is different. The concept alone may interest many, while the movie has a lot of fun with the idea. It shows audiences what most superhero movies do not dare to show. It has blood, violence and is definitely not for the squeamish. Additionally, “Brightburn” is also surprisingly suspenseful, such as when the moments Brandon toys with his victims before the kills. They can make audiences hold their breath as they wait for him to strike.

Fans of comic book movies can recognize several nods to Superman in the movie. Brandon Breyer has quite a few of the same powers as the beloved American superhuman. The way he designed his symbol, flies, and even the location of Kansas are all tributes to the Man of Steel himself.

With all the positives, “Brightburn” comes with a few negatives. The story feels incredibly rushed, especially when Brandon finds out that he is special and goes from a sweetheart to a nightmare. However, the reason for his evilness is ambiguous, and the transition is extremely abrupt. The movie feels like it should be way longer than it actually is.

But with a fair amount of heroic superhuman stories, it does not hurt to have a few sinister ones. With “Brightburn,” audience can experience a combination of genres that has the potential to sprout a series of other copycat films in the future.

“The Last Jedi” won’t disappoint fans on good vs. evil

Latest “Star Wars” installment wraps up previous installments

“The Last Jedi,” the latest entry in the “Star Wars” franchise, does not disappoint the fans who grew up watching the original trilogy with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. For the new fans, it delivers on the action and story line.

“The Last Jedi” picks up the story from where “The Force Awakens” left off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) meeting Luke. We learn why Luke (Mark Hamill) lost faith in himself and Rey finds herself trying to change his mind in her quest to find answers and gain the skills she wants. She also carries the knowledge that the Resistance desperately needs the help of Luke and the knowledge of the Force to aid them in their battle against the First Order.

For many older fans, watching the return of Luke is surreal. The young man that we remember from “Return of the Jedi” has transformed into an old man. Hamill, at age 66, reluctantly takes on the role as Jedi master. The most spectacular visual effects in the film take place when Luke decides to use the Force to aid the Resistance who are on the verge of defeat at the hands of the First Order.

“The Last Jedi” also brings back some characters introduced in “The Force Awakens.” John Boyega returns as Finn, the former stormtrooper who switched sides to help the Resistance after finding his conscience. Oscar Isaac returns as Poe Dameron, a starfighter pilot in Leia Organa’s squadron. Even Chewbacca the Wookie has a return cameo in the film.

We also find out that the First Order has a new Supreme Leader, Snoke (played by Andy Serkis), who taunts Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) because he is a poor substitute for Darth Vader even when Kylo is wearing a Vader-like mask. Kylo spends the entire film trying to prove that he is just as evil as Darth Vader, but he can’t seem to succeed which fuels his determination to defeat the Resistance.

Director Rian Johnson manages to bridge the original “Star Wars’ movies along with the prequels into the story line introduced in “The Force Awakens.” He gives homage to the prior movies as glimpses of “The Empire Strikes Back” are seen, and dangling story threads are tied up. “The Last Jedi” balances the old cast with the new, giving each veteran character a spotlight that allows the baton to be passed flawlessly.

Johnson also balances humor that has become expected in the franchise. Early in the movie, a call is placed to a star destroyer and the “please hold” was inevitable. Finn carries on the verbal sparring that has become part of the story formula. Johnson’s ability to tell a story in unpredictable twists will keep fans guessing throughout the whole movie.

The most poignant scene in the film is the final appearance of the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Fisher completed the film shortly before her death. Her cameo scene makes the viewer wishing that Fisher’s role had been larger in the film.

It is a bit longer than a typical movie — at 2.5 hours — with some areas of the story lagging and scenes thrown in at random without any apparent connection.  Overall, “Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” in the “Star Wars” series, will entertain fans of the saga of good vs. evil set in a galaxy far, far away.

*****

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
4 out of 4 stars
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o
Director: Rian Johnson
Running time: 2:35

‘Ferdinand’ sells light-hearted peace at the right time of year

Animated film shows how to stop fighting, smell the flowers

If you find yourself wanting to see “Star Wars,” but the theater is sold out, consider seeing “Ferdinand.” It is an animated comedy about a lovable, peaceful bull that will have the audience laughing and falling in love with gentle Ferdinand.

Blue Sky Studios (the creators of “Ice Age”) produced “Ferdinand” with a cast that includes John Cena (as the voice of Ferdinand), Kate McKinnon (Lupe), Gina Rodriguez (Una), Anthony Anderson (Bones) and Peyton Manning as Guapa (one of the bulls).

The animated film takes place in Spain and begins with a young Ferdinand carrying a bucket to water a single red flower. The other bulls his age make fun of him and want him to fight, but Ferdinand has no desire to fight.

Like the Disney short film “Ferdinand the Bull," this movie was inspired by the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson.

The creators of the film also introduced other heart-warming characters, including a goat, and a little girl, Nina. Nina and Ferdinand develop a friendship much like Fern had with Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web.”

One of the comedy highlights of the film is a dance-off between some snooty German horses and a group of bulls. Other funny moments including a bull in a china shop scene and Ferdinand playing peek-a-boo with a baby in the town. Other characters that bring comedy to the story are a Scottish bull, Angus, who can’t see because his eyes are covered by his hair, three hedgehogs – Una, Dos and Cuatro – and a goat named Lupe.

Besides just bringing laughter, “Ferdinand” sends a lesson of not judging someone by their appearance.  His reaction to being stung by a bee while in a crowded village has the town convinced that he is a scary beast. After he is taken away from his home, all Ferdinand wants is to go back home to where he can be himself, instead of being what is expected of him just because he is a bull.

The movie also delivers a message of peace. Ferdinand refuses to fight — and while he is the largest and strongest bull on the ranch — he only uses his strength to protect others and to make sure no one is left behind.

Ferdinand’s gentle heart and message of nonviolence, even when the other bulls think that fighting is the only way, is a lesson to us all.

*****

“Ferdinand”
4 out of 4 stars
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Cast:  John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and Peyton Manning
Director: Carlos Saldanha

34 years later, ‘Blade Runner’ still develops a cult following

Executive producer Scott, director Villeneuve deliver for the fans

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From producer Ridley Scott and director Denis Villeneuve – BladeRunner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford.

34 years later, ‘Blade Runner’ still develops a cult following

"Blade Runner 2049" takes place 30 years after the events of the first cult classic. For “Blade Runner” fans, it delivered masterfully.

Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the LAPD, stumbles on a secret during his investigation at the start of the film. What could've been an average "find-and-apprehend-the-suspect" investigation turns into something more when his suspect's final words lead him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who's been missing for 30 years.

In the course of his investigation, Officer K finds a secret about the replicants. Lieutenant Joshi, played by Robin Wright (“House of Cards” and “Forrest Gump”), wants to erase it. If the news ever got out, it can break the world as they knew it. As K struggles to comply with his orders, his conflicting emotions with each new piece of information grows.

Executive producer Ridley Scott, who directed the 1982 original, shows in great detail how the world has changed since fans last saw Deckard. Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Arrival,” “Sicario”) directs this installment.  Breathtaking cinematography from Roger Deakins shows a world that is dead — but filled with artificial life. The movie’s soundtrack adds to the surreal landscape, yet ties the original to the sequel with seamless precision.

Hampton Fancher returns as script writer, with Michael Green as partner. Gosling once again proves to be a phenomenal actor despite his recent loss at the Oscars to Casey Affleck. Ford returns to a role that helped put him on the map. This time around, Ford brings it since we all want to know what Deckard has been up to.

Fans of the first “Blade Runner” — no matter which cut they watched — will be more than satisfied with this film. It touches on a new world — with new characters and familiar, returning faces — and fans will love the engaging story behind it. Those divided over the first film might not like this film. They are probably hoping for more action and less time spent on dialogue and character development.

“Blade Runner 2049” is a feast for the eyes. At its core, it resonates with not only the soundtrack and visuals, but emotionally at the heart as well.

Latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” not worth the money

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” effects can’t help writing

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Granted ”Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is not based on any of the true events of the mid-1600s.

Yet, it does shed some light on the period most people do not have much knowledge on.

The fifth movie of the franchise further develops on loose plot points from the previous four films.

This time Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is faced with a conflict from years ago — Spanish Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem) is this feature’s nemesis as Sparrow tricked him a long time ago to escape.  

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” does not bring the hype as it has before. It is not a terrible movie, just not one to watch for more than the cost of a DVD.

Save your money, folks. 

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” does have some entertaining plot points and dry humor, just not enough to put the newest addition in the standings with the previous films.

Although it does have cameos from the original cast members (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley) from the first couple of films, it seems to be a forced narrative to bring a full swing back to the beginning.

Who allowed this story to be produced, let alone written? In terms of quality, the CGI effects are very detailed and exquisite, but special effects are not enough to change the tone.

 

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"

☆ ☆ ½ out of 5

Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites

Directors: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Running time: 2:09

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content

‘Logan’ faces pain, grief in Jackman’s final movie

Latest installment treats grizzled hero with appropriate seriousness, sincerity

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In this sendoff to Hugh Jackman’s performance as Logan, this film stands tall as not only an exceptional superhero movie, but as an emotional story about people holding close to whatever they has left.

Set in 2029, the story follows a scarred and beaten Logan, also known as Wolverine, as he reluctantly escorts a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), and Logan’s old mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), across the country, searching for a mutant haven, Eden. This Logan is far more grizzled than ever before, overwhelmed by loss and despair. He suppresses his pain through drinking or evasion from facing his sorrow.

Meanwhile, Logan, Laura, and Charles are being hunted by a corporation who believe they own Laura. Laura is a mutant with Logan’s abilities, who was raised to be a killing machine before she escaped the facility with the help of some nurses. The corporation quickly dispatches its hit squad, led by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).

The film takes a far more serious and poignant approach with its story and the emotional ramifications the characters endure. Where one superhero film may be light-hearted and inconsequential with its stakes and threats, “Logan” treats death and characters constantly being hunted with far more dramatic impact.

Moviegoers need not to see the past X-Men movies to fully understand the backstory of “Logan.” The film offers plenty of information and dialogue that informs the audience of the events that transpired in the new past.

Charles is a powerful psychic mutant, but is now suffering from Alzheimer's and repeated seizures. Logan looks after Charles, and whenever Charles tries to help Logan confront his pain, Logan tries to brush it off or tell him to stop talking, before the grief overwhelms him. Grief is a key component to “Logan” and one of its many strengths. Characters who try to avoid their problems or face them the wrong way, all learn to let the pain pass through them, and let them keep pushing forward.

One of the few weaker aspects of the movie would be that it is the last film with Wolverine. This becomes a flaw for the future of the franchise given the ambiguity of what exactly happened between the 1980s and now in the new timeline. The previous timeline, which featured the first three X-Men films, had many of the X-Men die because of their war with Magneto.

Now those films have been undone, it is unclear if a mutant war ever happened. The new timeline implies a large scale massacre of mutants through 2029, the movie’s present.

“Logan” is a gripping story and a violent action drama. Film studios should take note that violence and profanity isn’t the sole solution to making superhero films feel refreshing and engaging.

“Logan” is a film that deserves to be R-rated. It benefits the movie by showing the ramifications and stakes the characters must undergo. But if future superhero films follow with R ratings by being violent or profane just for the sake of it, these films will suffer.

The balance is needed between family-friendly and lighthearted and an adult approach to certain stories if the writing calls for it.

“Avengers” films can be more of a joy ride, “Guardians of the Galaxy” films should be witty and sarcastic. But when films such as “Batman v. Superman” actively try to be serious and dreary, they lose the effect of the dramatic moments.

When a film is dark and moody 100 percent of the time, the scenes or moments that should be treated seriously lose their weight, as they are buried in the sea of gray filters and melancholy voices.

“Logan” is one serious film that is appropriately adult. It is dealing with characters who are suffering and hate themselves for who they have become. The film paces itself with heartwarming moments, humorous scenes and layered characters.

“Logan” has set itself high on the scale of superhero films —  that future films should learn from. Its meaning, impact and the appropriate tone, this story about the X-Men’s most iconic hero, gets the treatment it deserves.

‘Hidden Figures’ explores fascinating lives of black women scientists

A recent movie that is bringing light to the real stars of the space race

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Hidden Figures is a romanticized look into the true story of the brilliant minds who sent the United States into space, as well as some of Civil Rights movement’s greatest steps forward.

The movie showcases the careers of three immensely talented African American women working for NASA during the space race of the 1960s. Katherine Johnson was a brilliant mathematician who calculated the safe landing trajectory of the Friendship 7, the first space craft to safely house an American astronaut into and back down from Earth’s orbit. Dorothy Vaughan was the head of the female, “colored calculators,” and lead the programming team with the induction of the computer into NASA. Mary Jackson assisted in the design of multiple shuttles, as well as being one of the first African American’s to study in a segregated, all-white Virginian High School for expanding her engineering degrees.

They each had extensive skill that made them crucial parts of their teams. Through engineering, computer science, and mathematical genius these women proved their worthiness past the shrouds of institutionalized racism inherent in high-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields of the time, blazing a trail for non-white women into powerful, professional positions.

During its 127-minute run time, the movie tackles the discrimination experienced by women and people of color brilliantly, examining various levels of prejudice without dehumanizing the people implementing the racist acts. From the dispersed “colored” and “whites” signs that fit eerily in the scenes.

Throughout the film the film-makers tip their Hollywood hats to the effects of Martin Luther King Jr., the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in, and the Freedom Rides. The filmmakers did not use blatant racist attacks like beatings or thrown around slurs that we often see recreated from history, however they highlighted the more roundabout, and subtle ways in which discrimination takes place. This allowed the film a deeper expression of the skewed cultural norms for prejudice of the time.

The biggest downfall of the movie was the short run-time. Though the plot was not distractingly rushed, it barely touches base before moving from one development to the next. For a home-run film like this, the creators could have taken a more leisurely stroll in the lives of these amazing women, and the other important people involved in the first American flights into space.

Vibrantly witty, exceptionally well-acted, and gorgeously filmed, this movie will educate on prior Civil Rights battles while allowing one to recognize the intricacies of the fight for equality.

“Passengers” Introduces Audiences to Unique Sci-Fi Suspense Love Story

Despite controversies surrounding its premise, the film excels in empathy and humanity delivered by the two star-studded leads

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Though "Passengers" has received some backlash for what some see as disturbing themes, the film does handle the subject, the characters controversial actions, and overall narrative and development in an appropriate manner. "Passengers" follows the story of two civilians on board a spaceship transporting them to a distant planetary colony, after a malfunction in the ship, one of them, James “Jim” Preston (Chris Pratt) wakes up from his “hibernation stasis” nearly a century too early.

It isn’t spoiling anything that hasn’t already been shown in the trailers, and widely talked about in the media, to say that Preston makes a difficult decision to wake up another passenger, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). A majority of moviegoers and critics alike latched onto this character’s mistake, and the consequences that followed it, and labeled it as bordering on Stockholm Syndrome, where an abducted or captured victim develops a relationship with their captor, mostly along the lines of the romantic. But this is not the case for these two condemned "Passengers".

Preston had been alone on the ship for over a year, almost losing his mind in the isolation and repetition of his life aboard the limited vessel. He first tried to get back into “hibernation” but his pod wouldn’t function, along with other multiple attempts to put himself back asleep, he accepted his fate early on, to die alone on the ship. After hanging out at the bar with the android bartender, Arthur (Michael Sheen), going to every expensive restaurant of every nationality, playing games, and exploring the outside of the ship while tethered in a spacesuit, Preston became miserable and almost suicidal at his doomed life.

When Preston makes his choice, he doesn’t make it on a whim, he contemplates, he refuses to do it, he weighs every option, and still continues to try to refuse the idea. But, knowing he is making a huge mistake and destroying this person’s future, he awakens Miss Lane.

The performances are particularly impressive by the limited cast, showing audiences a range and variety of emotions that had never truly been portrayed by the leads Pratt and Lawrence. Pratt usually plays a sarcastic, wise cracking, smart mouth as seen from his performance in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Jurassic World (2015), and the Magnificent Seven (2016). But here Pratt portrays a conflicted and desperate man with a heart of gold: when he’s happy he looks genuinely joyful, when he’s going through a range of conflicting emotions, you see it on every inch of his face, every delivery of his lines.

Though "Passengers" has received some backlash for what some see as disturbing themes, the film does handle the subject, the characters controversial actions, and overall narrative and development in an appropriate manner. "Passengers" follows the story of two civilians on board a spaceship transporting them to a distant planetary colony, after a malfunction in the ship, one of them, James “Jim” Preston (Chris Pratt) wakes up from his “hibernation stasis” nearly a century too early.

It isn’t spoiling anything that hasn’t already been shown in the trailers, and widely talked about in the media, to say that Preston makes a difficult decision to wake up another passenger, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). A majority of moviegoers and critics alike latched onto this character’s mistake, and the consequences that followed it, and labeled it as bordering on Stockholm Syndrome, where an abducted or captured victim develops a relationship with their captor, mostly along the lines of the romantic. But this is not the case for these two condemned "Passengers".

Preston had been alone on the ship for over a year, almost losing his mind in the isolation and repetition of his life aboard the limited vessel. He first tried to get back into “hibernation” but his pod wouldn’t function, along with other multiple attempts to put himself back asleep, he accepted his fate early on, to die alone on the ship. After hanging out at the bar with the android bartender, Arthur (Michael Sheen), going to every expensive restaurant of every nationality, playing games, and exploring the outside of the ship while tethered in a spacesuit, Preston became miserable and almost suicidal at his doomed life.

When Preston makes his choice, he doesn’t make it on a whim, he contemplates, he refuses to do it, he weighs every option, and still continues to try to refuse the idea. But, knowing he is making a huge mistake and destroying this person’s future, he awakens Miss Lane.

The performances are particularly impressive by the limited cast, showing audiences a range and variety of emotions that had never truly been portrayed by the leads Pratt and Lawrence. Pratt usually plays a sarcastic, wise cracking, smart mouth as seen from his performance in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Jurassic World (2015), and the Magnificent Seven (2016). But here Pratt portrays a conflicted and desperate man with a heart of gold: when he’s happy he looks genuinely joyful, when he’s going through a range of conflicting emotions, you see it on every inch of his face, every delivery of his lines.

Preston’s a human being who makes mistakes and knows he is, and he has to live with the pressing regret, and audience’s both hate and feel sorry for the character. Would anyone else make this kind of decision? In that kind of scenario, knowing they’d either go insane, die alone, or commit suicide, Preston’s choice is pretty understandable, and there’s a unique sympathy and empathy that is rarely, in film, this tough to feel towards the movie’s benefit. So Preston chooses to do what he selfishly wanted because he’s a human and makes mistakes.

Lawrence has shown some acting chops in the past, ranging from the disturbed mind of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012), the sporadic and bipolar Tiffany from Silver Lining’s Playbook (2012), to her somber and stern portrayal of Mystique in X-Men First Class (2011). This time around Lawrence’s character, Lane, is a humorous, knowledgeable, and well-spoken individual. As her character develops and her feelings towards Preston swerve back and forth, Lawrence delivers a convincing range of expression and attitude that sets the tone for every scene that faithfully follows Lane’s current, and empathetic, mood.

The controversies of "Passengers" would have been understandable if it weren’t for the movie’s self-awareness of its premise, humanizing Preston’s poor decisions and Lane’s varying changes of heart; and the rich dynamic between these two characters and the film’s two leads.

The ending to "Passengers" felt a little too pleasant. To describe the feelings of the very end of the film without spoiling it: Preston’s decision of a selfish and condemning choice at the beginning of the story, should have concluded with him making a selfless and redeeming choice. The ending wasn’t bad in any way, it was actually quite heartwarming and unexpected, but an ironic hero sacrifice would have felt more appropriate. Besides that, the rest of the film is intriguing, the performances are spectacular, and the story is believable.

Preston’s a human being who makes mistakes and knows he is, and he has to live with the pressing regret, and audience’s both hate and feel sorry for the character. Would anyone else make this kind of decision? In that kind of scenario, knowing they’d either go insane, die alone, or commit suicide, Preston’s choice is pretty understandable, and there’s a unique sympathy and empathy that is rarely, in film, this tough to feel towards the movie’s benefit. So Preston chooses to do what he selfishly wanted because he’s a human and makes mistakes.

Lawrence has shown some acting chops in the past, ranging from the disturbed mind of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012), the sporadic and bipolar Tiffany from Silver Lining’s Playbook (2012), to her somber and stern portrayal of Mystique in X-Men First Class (2011). This time around Lawrence’s character, Lane, is a humorous, knowledgeable, and well-spoken individual. As her character develops and her feelings towards Preston swerve back and forth, Lawrence delivers a convincing range of expression and attitude that sets the tone for every scene that faithfully follows Lane’s current, and empathetic, mood.

The controversies of "Passengers" would have been understandable if it weren’t for the movie’s self-awareness of its premise, humanizing Preston’s poor decisions and Lane’s varying changes of heart; and the rich dynamic between these two characters and the film’s two leads.

The ending to "Passengers" felt a little too pleasant. To describe the feelings of the very end of the film without spoiling it: Preston’s decision of a selfish and condemning choice at the beginning of the story, should have concluded with him making a selfless and redeeming choice. The ending wasn’t bad in any way, it was actually quite heartwarming and unexpected, but an ironic hero sacrifice would have felt more appropriate. Besides that, the rest of the film is intriguing, the performances are spectacular, and the story is believable.

‘Deadpool’ close to busting his way onto the big screen

Here are some reasons why people are excited for this infamous “Mercenary with a Mouth”

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Marvel’s Deadpool breaks every superhero rule there is. He kills because he loves it, he does whatever he wants whenever he wants, and most of all, he breaks every boundary between the comic book and the real world.

Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson, has regenerative powers. He got them from the X-Man superhero, Wolverine. Though he is seemingly ageless, and can regenerate any wounds he receives, he also has skin cancer.

An anti-hero is a superhero who is lacking in conventional heroic attributes. These attributes usually consist of being selfless, kind, and always on the side of justice. Deadpool is a selfish, destructive, fun loving madman.

The cancer was the original reason why he underwent the experiment that gave him his powers, so now his skin is literally falling off from within his suit.

Deadpool’s strength and “wits” are of his own mentality, however. He’s skilled in every way of “killing bad guys,” which he very much loves to do. Deadpool is somewhat insane--no, very insane.

Whether this was from the experiment or he was already a little off, and being on the verge of death then getting immortality becoming the last straw to set this vulgar merc off on his gleeful insanity.

“Breaking the 4th wall” is when a character in a fictional story acknowledges the real world. A character looking at the camera, speaking to the audience, or mentioning anything about their fan base and trends that formed about that character outside of the story.

Deadpool manages to break through the 4th wall so hard he built a 5th wall just because he wasn’t satisfied enough with the destruction.

He consistently comments about his situation, and will either narrate to himself in varied voices, complain about a troupe--meaning the predictable events that happen in a specific genre of story-- in comic books and how much he wants to break the troupe.

Or he’ll blame the writers for putting him somewhere he doesn’t want to be in.

One example of Deadpool’s wall breaking skills would be when he is working with another comic book anti-hero, the Punisher: when they are standing in front of a bad guy and Deadpool kills him in front of the Punisher. “Why’d you do that?” The Punisher asks.

“Because you were gonna do it, and this is my book!” Deadpool responds. The Punisher is confused, “Your what--?” and Deadpool drops it by saying, “Nothing.”

Another instance of Deadpool’s antics is when someone asks him if he remembers where someone went, he responds, “I remember, the Alamo, the Bee Gees, a whole bunch of quotes from the Golden Girls, and that 4CHAN thread where the devil makes potty.”

Deadpool is not within the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” he is part of the X-Men universe. The difference is that Marvel/Disney own the rights to the Avengers such as Iron Man, Daredevil, Spiderman, and Captain America.

Whereas 20th Century Fox owns the rights to the X-men, such as Wolverine, Magneto, and even the word “mutant.”

Deadpool was depicted on the big screen before, in X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009), portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.

The movie had mixed feelings, mainly leaning towards the negative, especially their treatment of Deadpool’s wacky character.

20th Century Fox/Marvel then decided to redeemed the highly appreciated character, they casted Reynolds again as Deadpool, but scrapped his origins from the 2009 Wolverine movie, and are giving him a chance to breath life into the character again.

The upcoming Deadpool movie is telling the full origin of Deadpool, as well as what he does after he gets his powers- a typical superhero movie, but if the movie follows the way Deadpool stories usually go, it’ll be chaotic, hilarious, and an all around ride of a lifetime.

The Giver

The best dystopian teen movie of the year

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The dystopian society teen movie trend continues in the deeply moving drama The Giver. The film, originally a children’s novel penned by Lois Lowry, stars a very handsome Brenton Thwaites alongside the likes of Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, and Katie Holmes.

The movie, shot partially in stunning black and white, focus’ around Jonas, a teenage boy facing a graduation into his assigned role in society. The culture has eliminated hate, war, differences, and choice. Everyone lives in “sameness”; speaking, acting, and dressing the same. Each member lives in strict compliance to the rules. They are painfully polite and well controlled, living without any inconvenience, discomfort, or emotion.

At the graduation ceremony, Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver of Memory, an honored role in which he will acquire knowledge of the past world. With great enthusiasm, Jonas begins receiving memories from the Giver, Bridges. But this new knowledge of emotion, music and beauty leaves Jonas wondering why his culture has to be the way it is.

This film adaptation certainly does justice to it’s classic novel. The film begins in black and white, which gave director Phillip Noyce an opportunity to play a bit with lighting. The result was a stunning composition of classic lines and innovative shots.

Acting wise, this film hits it out of the park. While some roles, such as Meryl Streep’s position as the chief elder, were more understated in the book, they moved the film along nicely. Brenton Thwaites plays Jonas as deliciously naive and confused, a welcome twist from the way he was written by Lowry. The characters are very well cast; from Katie Holmes off handed coldness to Alexander Skarsgards much needed warmth, the casting team was on point.  Holmes and Skarsgard play Jonas’ parents in film.

Relationally, the characters got the typical Hollywood makeover. Childhood friendship turned teen romance oozes out the necessary cheese and expected “Aw” moments.

The film’s pace, however, seems to shove the plot down the readers throat. The entire situation is explained in the first five minutes, leaving little to be discovered by the audience.

The movie wrestled with the ambiguity of life, ping ponging between the pain and beauty of existence, an argument Jonas struggles with for most the film.

Overall, The Giver is an excellent film adaptation of a classic novel. From the fantastic casting to the relatable overarching themes, this film is more than worth the 1 and a half hours it takes to watch. 4 out of 5 stars.

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