I’ve Moved!

I’ve Moved!

Howdy my Beardlings!

The time has come for me to migrate from this WordPress format and move to a hosted WordPress site and as such, I will no longer be posting here but I absolutely don’t want to lose any of you as followers and readers! I love each and everyone of you!

My new site is over at WildeBeardReviews.com and I’d love to see you over there!

And to keep up to date with everything else going on with WildeBeard Reviews, please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Thank you all and until next time…

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!

Weekend Box Office Breakdown! – (6/30 – 7/2)

Weekend Box Office Breakdown! – (6/30 – 7/2)

Welcome back Beardlings to the Weekend Box Office Breakdown, where we take look at the box office grosses of the 5 most popular movies of the weekend!

As always, here are the numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

  1. Despicable Me 3 – $75,410,275 – New Release
  2. Baby Driver – $21,000,000 – New Release (Wednesday Release)
  3. Transformers: The Last Knight – $17,000,00 – 62.0% Drop
  4. Wonder Woman – $16,100,000 – 35.4% Drop
  5. Cars 3 – $9,524,000 – 60.4%

Lots of good stuff to talk about this week, as per usual.  Starting off with Despicable Me 3, it was a good weekend for Gru and his little yellow pals.  This is the third best opening weekend of the four movie franchise, which may sound bad but it’s going up against the insane $115 million opening of Minions and it is only $8 million away from Despicable Me 2, considering it’s competing against Cars 3, that’s a pretty solid opening weekend.

Next up is Baby Driver, and I am so so happy that this film made some serious money.  I was lucky enough to get out on Wednesday night and go see it and I loved every minute of it.  (Read my review here.) Baby Driver is a fantastic movie and if you haven’t seen it, take the holiday and go check it out.  This is also great for Edgar Wright as this is his biggest domestic opening weekend by a large margin, the next closest one being Scott Pilgrim vs. the World which had an opening weekend of $10.6 million.  Not only that, this is already close to being his highest grossing film (domestically) as it’s 5 day total of $30 million is damn close to the domestic lifetime total of the aforementioned Scott Pilgrim vs the World which grossed $31.5 million.  Good on you Mr. Wright, I think you’ve got a winner here.

Now, about the last three entries in the Top 5 this week: I think the numbers clearly illustrate the contrast between good movies that people are clamoring for and mediocre (or worse) movies that no one really asked for. Yet again, Wonder Woman dropped less than 40%, dropping only 35.4% this week and that is even with Wonder Woman being dropped from 529 theaters. Compare those numbers to Transformers: The Last Knight which dropped 62.0% in it’s second week even despite being added on at 63 theaters. Audiences are speaking out with their wallets and it’s clear that people want Wonder Woman and are luke-warm on Transformers. As for Cars 3, I would say that part of it’s 60.4% drop is due to people being straight up uninterested but Despicable Me 3 also stole some of it’s audience this weekend.

Also of note this week is that The House, the new Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler comedy, didn’t even crack the Top 5, making only $9 million.  Ouch…..

Next week Spider-Man: Homecoming drops and I have no doubt that it will dominate the box office probably raking in upwards of $100 million.  My predictions for next week are as follows:

  1. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  2. Despicable Me 3
  3. Baby Driver
  4. Wonder Woman
  5. Transformers: The Last Knight

What do you think of this weeks box office numbers? How do you think next week will shake out?  Sound off in the comments!

Be sure to Like, Follow, and Subscribe to WildeBeard Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress!

Until next time, Thank You for reading and…

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!!!

Beatriz at Dinner – Movie Review

Beatriz at Dinner – Movie Review

As I continue to write this movie blog and get deeper into the world of movies, I find myself wanting to push past the level of mainstream, big Hollywood releases and get into the lesser known, art house, independent, smaller films that are out there.  Looking around at what was in theaters and what was getting good word of mouth, I settled on checking out Beatriz at Dinner, as it seemed like a very timely movie that presented a very topical conversation in a grounded and relatable way that, I hoped, would cut through all the posturing and elitism that drowns conversations about politics and socio-economic disparity today. What I got was a well made movie with some striking visuals that ultimately is a bit overwrought and falters a bit with its messaging.

Beatriz-at-Dinner-movie-poster

Beatriz at Dinner is the story of what happens when Beatriz, a massage therapist and practitioner of alternative medicine, played by Salma Hayek, stays for dinner at her wealthy client’s house after her car won’t start. The dinner is in honor of her client’s husband, Grant, who owns and operates a large scale construction company and has secured a deal to start work on a new development to be run by Doug Strutt, a thinly veiled stand in for Donald Trump played by John Lithgow, and with the help of an up and coming lawyer, Alex, played by Jay Duplass.

Over the course of the dinner, through various conversations, it is revealed the Beatriz is an immigrant to the United States and the city from whence she came was the victim of a hotel developer who came in and built a new hotel promising jobs and tourism but only delivered pain and suffering in the name of profits to the people of the city. You can clearly see that this dinner will not turn out to be the happy fun times in 3 courses that Beatriz’s client Cathy (Connie Britton) dreamed it would be.

Now, how do I feel about Beatriz at Dinner? I really, really, wanted to like it but I just don’t think I do.  There is a lot of good going on here but it never really gels into an over all enjoyable movie.

Let’s start off with things that I did like, most notably the director’s use of color and framing, the acting, and the gloriously awkward tension that permeates that film.  The use of color in the costuming and set dressing in Beatriz at Dinner is rather striking and serves to inform the audience on certain characters and how they will be treated by other characters.  For instance, the lawyer, Alex, and his wife Shannon (Chloe Sevigny) are wearing a beige blazer and a beige dress (respectively) and most of the walls in Grant and Kathy’s house are painted, you guessed it, beige.  To me this signifies that these two characters are largely unimportant and just might as well be a part of the walls, and I believe that is echoed in their interactions with the other at the dinner party. Their costuming is also similar to that of the staff at the house as well. The waiter, maid, and cook are all wearing neutral beige tones as if to just blend into their surroundings.

To contrast this, other main characters are wearing either dark blues for the male characters and bright sundresses for the female characters aside from Beatriz who is wearing a pair of light gray pants and a blue/gray shirt. Not only does this set her apart from the other women but there is a rather striking scene where Beatriz walks into a living room, looks around for a minute and then continues on.  In that room, all of the decorations, like a painting hanging up, the lamps, throw pillows, etc., all match the color scheme of what Beatriz is wearing.  So, while a few characters are wearing colors that show that they are on the same level as the walls in a room, Beatriz’s clothes, to me, indicate that while she is important to her client, ultimately she is just decoration, a person to bring color into your life but not much more.

All the actors deliver very solid performances.  Salma Hayek is great at delivering long speeches about her spirituality, connection with animals, and her own back story.  She always imbues her lines with a genuine earnestness and you truly feel for her when you see her hurting.  As for the rest of the cast, they do their part in being slightly taken aback by what Beatriz is saying as it is so far out of the norm for them that they usually, can’t come up with an appropriate response so they just redirect the conversation and, the few times that they do try to respond, they do so with dismissive humor showing just how little they care for this person that has intruded on their world.  The cast is great at creating an incredibly awkward tension between themselves on par with what we see in Get Out.

Now on to the things that I didn’t like, namely this thread of symbolism and metaphor that run through the entire film and culminates in a rather extreme action by a main character at the end of the film.  Throughout Beatriz at Dinner, Beatriz tells several stories involving animals, how they have impacted her life, and the connection she has with them.  In stark contrast, Doug Strutt is a big game hunter who is proud of his kills while on safari in Africa.  All this just further shows the ideological divide between Beatriz and the rest of the characters.  Aside from illustrating that divide, I never felt like I fully understood what the point of all of Beatriz’s stories were or how they related to each other and to the plot.  I really feel like there was something deeper at play in this movie that either went right over my head or was just executed poorly by the writer (Mike White) and/or director (Miguel Arteta).

As I said in my intro, I went into Beatriz at Dinner expecting a real, grounded, human conversation that would cover many of the socio-economic divides that affect our country today but present them free of the toxic rhetoric and tired talking points that we’ve all heard.  Walking out of Beatriz at Dinner, I don’t feel I got that.  While Beatriz felt like a real character, all of the other characters felt more like caricatures or slightly fleshed out stereotypes. I wanted Lithgow’s character to be more human, more relatable, and have more too him than he did.  Now that might be me getting let down by my own ill-founded expectations but I felt it’s still worth noting.

All in all, I think Beatriz at Dinner is a decent movie but a movie whose reach exceeds it’s grasp.  I mostly enjoyed my time watching this film but not nearly as much as I hoped I would but, quite honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again.

What about you, have you seen Beatriz at Dinner? Do you want to?  Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, Thank You for reading and…

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!!!

Weekend Box Office Breakdown – June 23rd-25th

Weekend Box Office Breakdown – June 23rd-25th

Here we are again at the end of the weekend which means its time to talk about how things went at the Box Office and just like every week, there’s definitely some interesting things to break down! Lets get into it, starting off with the Weekend Box Office Estimates courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com.

  1. Transformers: The Last Knight – $45,300,000 – New Release (Released Wed 6/21)
  2. Cars 3 – $25,175,000 – 53.1% Drop
  3. Wonder Woman – $25,175,000 – 39.0% Drop
  4. 47 Meters Down – $7,435,000 – 33.6% Drop
  5. All Eyez On Me – $5,850,000 – 77.9% Drop

The big release from this past weekend, and quite honestly the biggest story maker from this past weekend, is Transformers: The Last Knight which pulled in the lowest opening weekend box office numbers of the entire Transformers franchise.  Now one could argue that releasing the movie on Wednesday instead of Friday had an impact on its weekend earnings, and it most certainly did, however if you look at the box office grosses from Wed-Sun it comes to $69,095,489 which is still just a hair under what the original Transformers pulled during it’s opening weekend back in 2007.  This may signal that American audiences are tired of the popcorn movie, “pretty to look at but not much there”, summer fluff that is Michael Bay’s Transformers.  It should also be noted though, that while America didn’t go see Transformers: The Last Knight, everywhere else did, as it made a whopping $196.2 million overseas.

Next big story from this week, again has to be Wonder Woman taking a really small drop as compared to what summer blockbusters normally do.  And not only that, but seeing it make the same money in its fourth week of release that Cars 3 did in it’s second week of release is nothing short of astounding.  People weren’t really clamoring for a third Cars movie but they are damn sure going to see Wonder Woman.  As is stands now, Wonder Woman has already beaten the domestic gross of Man of Steel ($291 million) and is closing on on both Suicide Squad ($325.1 million) and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330.4 million) as it has hauled in $318.4 million. I would be willing to bet money that Wonder Woman will surpass the domestic totals of all the other DCEU films by the end of next weekend.

Also of note this past weekend is that 47 Meters Down not only had a very small drop in it’s box office from first to second week in release, but that it moved up a slot in the top 5, from the 5th slot to the 4th slot, as the Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me took a huge 77.8% drop from it’s first to second week.  It seems word of mouth is keeping 47 Meters Down afloat but everyone that wanted to see All Eyez on Me did so in its first week of release.

Looking ahead to next week, the box office results seem to be anyone’s guess. Baby Driver is getting incredible reviews and releases on Wednesday (I’m planning on seeing it that night, YAY!) but it’s going up against some strong competition in the Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler comedy The House and the other third installment in a family-friendly, animated franchise to come out this summer, Despicable Me 3 (maybe people will actually go see this one, unlike Cars 3).

That’s it for this week folks, be sure to check back next weekend for another all new Weekend Box Office Breakdown!

Be sure to Like, Follow, and Subscribe to WildeBeard Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Until next time, Thank You for reading and…

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!!!

Re-Visit Review #2 – The Losers

Re-Visit Review #2 – The Losers

Wow, what a difference 7 years makes in Hollywood.

Back in 2010 when The Losers hit theaters:

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan was coming off a 23 episode run on Grey’s Anatomy and had  starred in Watchmen, another ill-fated comic book adaptation
  • Zoe Saldana was just starting to make it big after her superb portrayal of Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) and her mo-cap performance as a big blue alien in James Cameron’s Avatar
  • Chris Evans had yet to be a smash after his turn as the Human Torch in the failed Fantastic Four franchise and his role in Push (the best “X-Men but not” film we’ve ever gotten)
  • Idris Elba had made a name for himself on the small screen with HBO’s The Wire but was still a few years out from making a splash on the big screen

Now fast forward those aforementioned 7 years:

  • Morgan is the scariest villain on TV as the head bashing, baseball bat wielding Negan
  • Saldana is a major part of, not one but two, major science fiction franchises in Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Evans is has gone from rom-com goofball to the leader of the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, staring as Steve Rogers/Captain America in arguably some of the best comic book movies ever committed to film
  • Elba has also joined the Marvel Cinematic universe as Heimdall, guardian of the Bifrost in the Thor movies, cancelled the apocalypse in the sci-fi cult classic Pacific Rim, lent his distinctive voice to a number of Disney films, and is about to portray one of the greatest Stephen King characters ever, Roland Deschain in the upcoming The Dark Tower

Yes, what a difference a few years makes in Hollywood.

The_Losers_movie_poster

The Losers follows an elite CIA team after they’re betrayed by a mysterious man named Max and a helicopter full of 25 children are killed in the process.  While the team is hiding out in Bolivia, a woman approaches them with a plan to get their revenge on Max and get their lives back.  What follows is a pretty fun action adventure with more than enough humor to keep me in smiles the whole time.

Like I listed out in the intro, this film has an amazing cast of actors that were all on the cusp of greatness when The Losers was released and all of whom have now hit that big time.  Morgan, Saldana, Evans, and Elba are all fantastic here and that’s not to mention the other cast members Columbus Short and Oscar Jaenada who round out the cast.  This film really shines in the interactions of the characters and the humor, tension, and emotion that the cast brings to the table.  The well timed sarcasm and dry humor really makes this movie for me, especially when it’s Chris Evans delivering the lines.  I think it’s easy to forget just how funny he can be now that we’ve seen him as the straight laced Captain America for so many years and now that he’s doing smaller, more dramatic films like Snowpiercer. 

The action presented in The Losers is also pretty solid.  I wouldn’t say that there is anything stylistically unique about it but it never feels overly unrealistic or unbelievable. The action sequences are well paced and well placed throughout the movie, giving us a nice consistent feel throughout.

The most unfortunate thing about this film though is that we never got a follow up.  The ending is left wide open for a sequel, which I’m sure was planned but got scraped. Money makes sequels and sadly, The Losers barely broke even at the box office and probably lost money when factoring in theaters taking their cuts and the marketing budget.  Also, looking at the Rotten Tomatoes scores is a little disheartening, as it seems, at the time, The Losers was a swing and a miss with both critics and fans.

If there’s one big weakness in The Losers, it has to be the villain, Max.  While the mystery that surrounds him is intriguing at times, it’s never full explored or developed which may have be a deliberate choice if they were holding off for a sequel.  Also, the way Max is played by Jason Patric comes off a bit too “mustache twirly” and his motives are never completely explained.  Thinking about it, I can get that he wants to sell some nasty weapons of mass destruction to whoever will buy them and use them so the US government, and the CIA specifically, can continue to operate on bloated budgets and basically do whatever they want.  When that plan is challenged, he pivots to wanting to execute a false flag attack on US soil blaming terrorists so he can still accomplish the same goal. Like I said, this is never fully explored or explained but it makes sense and it is actually kind of a frightening prospect given the geo-political climate we live in today.

I remember seeing The Losers back when it first released in April of 2010 and I remember loving it. After watching it again, I still really, really enjoy it.  It’s far from a perfect movie, or the best comic book movie but it is also far from being the worst comic book adaptation ever made (cough cough Howard the Duck cough cough). The Losers is a solid action comedy that gets its laughs from true character moments rather than some of the tired version of slapstick that Hollywood churns out or from over wrought, predictable scripting and easy jokes.  In my humble opinion, The Losers is an unfairly forgotten film and often over looked when discussing comic book movies.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend tracking it down and giving it a chance and if you have seen it and liked it, give it another watch and tell some friends about it.  I’d love to see this film get the credit I feel it deserves.

Be sure to Like, Follow, and Subscribe to WildeBeard Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress!

Until next time, Thank You for reading and…

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!

Tuesday Trailer Roundup! (6/27/17)

Tuesday Trailer Roundup! (6/27/17)

Welcome to a brand new weekly article here on WildeBeard Reviews – Tuesday Trailer Roundup – where I collect all the trailers that dropped in the previous week in one place and give you some quick reactions on them! I know that it can be incredibly hard to keep up with the ever churning machine that is Hollywood so my hope with this series is to make you, dear reader, more aware of smaller films, keep you up to date on new trailers for bigger movies, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a movie that piques your interest that would have otherwise passed you by.

1. The Only Living Boy in New York

If I’m being completely honest, this movie feels incredibly pretentious right out of the gate.  When the first line is “New York has lost it’s soul” spoken by a white guy at what looks like a fancy meal surrounded by other white people, it makes me roll my eyes a little bit.  Ok, a lotta bit.  However, as the trailer presses on, I have to admit that I am somewhat intrigued by this film.  The cast looks great and Jeff Bridges looks especially on point.  The story looks a little familiar and the trailer seems to show a bit too much of what looks like the key moments in the film, but like with all trailers, it’s only a few minutes of a full movie and everything is out of context.  I’m not terribly excited by this film but it could surprise me.

2. American Assassin

I love a good action movie and this one looks like it just might deliver the goods.  It looks like a mismash of story elements from The Punisher and the Jason Bourne movies with some of the action stylings of John Wick for the hand to hand combat scenes and maybe a little bit from Mission: Impossible for the bigger scale stuff near the end of the trailer.  I will say though, that the scene in the hotel room looks really derivative of Atomic Blonde but that’s probably unfair since both movies were likely in production at the same time. The story looks a bit familiar but hopefully the action and acting can make up for that (more Michael Keaton? Yes please!),  I’ll definitely check this one out in theaters.

3. Thank You For Your Service

This is a really powerful, well put together trailer that (hopefully) conveys the feeling and tone that the movie will have.  The combat scenes quickly inter-cut with scenes from civilian life paint a very clear picture of what it must be like to live with PTSD.  One of my best friends is a combat veteran who I have seen deal with PTSD on a number of occasions, so for his sake and the sake of every veteran, I really hope that this movie honors what they went through, that 99% of us will never understand.  This has the potential to be a very timely and very important movie.

4. To The Bone

I honestly can’t remember how many videos/movies/specials we were forced to watch back in elementary/middle/high school attempting to convey to us the awfulness of eating disorders (the only one I even vaguely remember was one with Amy Jo Johnson and that’s only because she was the Pink Ranger).  While those low budget “after school specials” may have gotten the message across, To The Bone actually looks like an enjoyable film that has a message in it versus a film that is really just a hammer used to drive home a point.  This film looks incredibly human and grounded and real, showing what a real family must go through as someone they love struggles with an eating disorder.  Hopefully Netflix sticks the landing with this one.  Also, Keanu Reeves in a movie where he’s NOT shooting people?  Huh…. ok then.

5. Marshall

Along with Thank You For Your Service, Marshall looks like another great, potential Oscar bait film with a very timely premise.  Marshall appears to be something of a biopic about Thurgood Marshall, or at least a movie that portrays a pivotal time in his life and in American history.  This cast looks astounding – Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Dan Stevens, Kate Hudson, Sophia Bush, and James Cromwell? Damn man.  Last year’s Hidden Figures brought the story of three amazing African-American women whom history had forgotten about, front and center and Marshall looks to do the same for Marshall’s early life, although where Hidden Figures was ultimately an “easy” watch, Marshall looks very much the opposite (despite a few moments of levity in the trailer).

6. Battle of the Sexes (Trailer #2)

Similar to a couple other entries on the Roundup this week, Battle of the Sexes looks like an important and timely movie, this time portraying a historic fight between two tennis players that serves as a microcosm of women’s struggle for equality.  Also similar to other entries on this list, the cast looks amazing and this film has a hint of Oscar bait. I’ve never been a tennis fan and the real life events that are being dramatized here are unknown to me, so I don’t really know how it all turns out and I think I will hold off on reading up on it until after seeing the movie.  This one definitely has the potential to do well by audiences and the awards season.

7. Stronger

I had no idea what this movie was about and it’s safe to say that the trailer caught me completely off guard. The Boston Marathon Bombing is still a very recent event and a very raw memory in American history and it looks like Jake Gyllenhaal expertly captures that rawness in his performance.  I am also incredibly pleased to see Tatiana Maslaney front and center here. After her astounding work leading the cast of Orphan Black for 5 seasons, it’s good to see her pulling meaty roles in big Hollywood movies.

8. Person to Person

This looks like a rather heart warming, down to earth comedy with good to great acting that focuses on character rather than story.  I love dry humor and this film looks like it has it in spades. There are a few lines that really resonated with me such as “I wanna quit my job, run away, and go home.” I identify with that. Hard. As for the cast, Michael Cera seems like a great person to lead a film like this but I am unfamiliar with everyone else. Hopefully this film will be a hit and result in being someone’s big break.

9. The Incredible Jessica James

My initial reaction to this trailer is meh. I think my main problem with it is, that we don’t really get any plot details, so all I get from the trailer is that its a film about a spunky woman in New York maybe looking for love?  It looks like it has potential but just based on this trailer, which is admittedly a teaser, I probably won’t be in a rush to add it to my Netflix queue.  Netflix has been doing great things with TV shows but their movies haven’t really popped and they haven’t really had a smash hit yet.  I watched about half of War Machine with Brad Pitt a week ago and I haven’t felt a desire to go back and finish it. I hope for Netflix’s sake that this film is that one that pops and becomes the hit that they’ve been looking for.

10. Pitch Perfect 3

This movie looks damn funny.  I’ve enjoyed both Pitch Perfect movies thus far and this one looks to be on par with it’s predecessors. It looks like the majority, if not all, of the main cast has come back to complete the trilogy which is a great sign for the movie. It always worries me a bit when cast members drop off as franchises move along. I do worry about comedy sequels just being a rehash and it looks like Pitch Perfect flirts with that a little bit, centering the plot around yet another singing competition but with the added twist of them having to compete against instrument based bands rather than other acappella groups. Hopefully this franchise goes out with a bang versus a whimper – Let’s Aca-finish this!

11. The Foreigner

I am 100% on board with this movie.  It looks like it could easily end up being a cheesy, lackluster, bargain bin fodder movie but for some reason the trailer just grabbed me. Jackie Chan versus Pierce Brosnan? Sign me right up! The words that flash across during the trailer saying something along the lines of “you can’t push a good man too far” reminds me of the Doctor Who quote “Demons run when a good man goes to war.” The action in this trailer looks to be right in line with the current trend in action movies of having slick, brutal, hand to hand combat filmed in camera by people who are completely capable of pulling it off. Bring it on!

12. What Happened to Monday?

This is the most exciting trailer on this week’s list for me. Science fiction is my first love when it comes to movies and this film looks like it has a great concept to build its plot around. In a dystopian, near-future where the population has gotten out of control and families are limited to one child, septuplets are born. So their father names them each after a day of the week and each one gets to go outside on their name-day?  HELL. YES. I will buy that concept all day long!  Noomi Rapace seems to be doing her best Tatiana Maslaney impersonation, playing multiple roles as the seven sisters, Willem Dafoe playing the patriarch of the family, with Glen Close on the chase?  Even better!

13. American Violence

To start out, this is a pretty cool idea for a trailer – have zero dialogue, only music over the top, forcing your audience to pay attention to what is going on and asking them to try and piece together what they see.  To me, this looks like an “innocent man on death row” kind of movie where we might get flashbacks to the crime and the lead up to it? I’m really not sure and I guess in that regard, the trailer did it’s job – it got me interested without telling me what happens.  Kudos to you because that is a rare feat these days.

14. The Emoji Movie (International Trailer #3)

I can’t decide if this is going to be good or not. It looks like it has the ingredients of a good “finding yourself” story for both the Meh Emoji and the main human character. I do like the way the designed the look of what’s going on inside the phone but it honestly feels a little bit derivative of Wreck It Ralph and Inside Out so we’ll see how it turns out. At least TJ Miller is doing voice work here so that’s something, plus Patrick Stewart as the Poop Emoji is a fun choice.

15. Good Time

Good Time looks like a fantastic thrill ride of a movie.  Robert Pattinson looks fantastic (never thought I’d type that but that’s life I guess). The story is intriguing and I get the impression that something super shady is going on with the brother, the jail he’s in, and the older man that is talking with him.  I really dig the heavily stylized feel this film looks like it has, gritty, real, and frenetic.  I love it. I’ll be on the lookout for this one.

16. Strange Weather

Holly Hunter? Awesome! Carrie Coon? Even better! Hunter + Coon? Oh Hell Yes! Strange Weather looks like a great character piece that will showcase the full acting chops these two leading ladies can bring to the table and give them meaty roles that they can dig into and bring to life on screen.  Carrie Coon was my favorite part of Fargo Season 3 and I’m very happy to see her in a role like this.  Can’t wait for this one.

17. Leap (Trailer #3)

I’m feeling meh about this trailer.  It seems like a fairly standard underdog story but with ballet instead of whatever else. The animation seems odd, like it’s not quite as fluid as it should be and that maybe because they aren’t done with it yet. Ultimately, I have the feeling that I will be taking my daughter to see this one but it’s not a movie I would be interested in seeing on my own.

Man that was a lot of trailers this week!  Hopefully you found a movie that looks interesting to you or one that might have passed you by!  Be sure to come next week for another Tuesday Trailer Roundup!

Also be sure to Like, Follow, and Subscribe to WildeBeard Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress!

Until next time, Thank You for reading and..

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!!!

Wonder Woman – Spoiler Review

Wonder Woman – Spoiler Review

This past weekend I again had the privilege of going to see and, this time, the honor of taking my wife. I was pretty excited to see Wonder Woman again, not just because I had a hot date, but because I always like to look for early hints and clues to the later reveals that I missed the first go around and gain added appreciation for the characters and a deeper understanding of their motivations.

If you haven’t had a chance to go see Wonder Woman you can check out my non-spoiler review here!

Without any further ado, lets get into some spoiler talk!

One of the biggest criticisms I have repeatedly heard about Wonder Woman is about the villains and how, like many other comic book movies of late, they are very weak characters. While that maybe true for one of the three villains, I believe that the other two are stronger than they are getting credit for.  Starting off with General Ludendorff, played by Danny Huston, it’s very clear that his main role in this movie is to be the bait in the bait and switch as to the true identity of Ares and while that plot thread in the movie may not always be convincing, Ludendorff is still a decent villain.  Ludendorff is a man who has been completely enveloped and engrossed by war and no longer gives any regard to human life as evidenced by the callous execution of his own soldier early on in the movie.  He is driven to continue the war no matter the cost, he even goes as far as killing a dozen or so German generals so he can carry out his plans to gas the front lines. All this goes to show, that he has completely given himself over to Ares’ control. Ludendorff does come off as a “mustache twirling” villain at times but I think the character serves his purpose for illustrating just how much Ares has managed to influence the world. I will admit that the vials of super strength gas that he uses a few times, comes off as silly but I think that was mostly written in as a device to allow him, a human, to go toe to toe with Diana near the end of the movie.  (And that gas may also be an Easter egg to Bane, the gas being a precursor to the venom he later uses.)

Next up is Dr. Isabel Maru aka Dr. Poison, played Elena Anaya.  Similar to Ludendorff, Maru is completely consumed by war and her work designing the most terrible, awful, horrific weapons ever used in warfare short of nuclear weapons and also similar to Ludendorff, Maru is a puppet of Ares’, listening to his whispers of ideas. Where Maru and Ludendorff differ though, is how they are used in the movie.  While Ludendorff is the decoy Ares for much of the movie, Maru is built up to be the extreme example of the evil that is inherent in humanity and Ares presents her to Diana as that example hoping to goad Diana into hating humanity as he does. In the end, I don’t really see Maru and Ludendorff as villains per se but as puppets being masterfully manipulated by the true villain of the film, Ares.

Ares, the main villain of Wonder Woman, when taken on the surface, isn’t that big of a threat to our hero who defeats him somewhat handily after she realizes what she truly is and the power within her.  However, when you start to dig into what he was trying to accomplish and the way he went about it, he becomes a much deeper, darker villain. As the movie trucks along, the audience is led to believe that Ludendorff is Ares, as discussed earlier, and Diana continually assumes that Ares would be where the fighting is the heaviest as he is the one inciting the violence but, as we discover, Diana has it all wrong. Ares is not a commanding general screaming orders on the battlefield, he is a behind the scenes puppet master, whispering in the ears of of his minions. We see a couple first hand examples of this as we get small flashbacks to Ares with both Maru and Ludendorff and he even tries to goad Diana into killing Maru by crushing her with a tank.   Those three examples all show just how adept Ares is at pulling peoples strings but I think the greatest example is the Armistice.

Once Sir Patrick, a member of the Imperial War Cabinet who aides Diana and Steve and is fighting to achieve peace through the Armistice, is revealed to be Ares, its a bit confusing as to why he was calling for peace in the first place, being the god of war and all.  Well, it takes some historical context to realize that all the Armistice did was stop the war for about twenty years until World War II started.  The Armistice heavily penalized Germany, causing resentment which lead to Hitler gaining power and eventually the invasion of Poland kicking off, or resuming, world war.  So in essence, Ares knows that by sowing peace now, he will reap even more war later. I didn’t know about, or at least remember, this very important piece of history that adds incredible context to Ares’ plans and as soon and my friend, and World War I history buff, Erin told me about it, it really blew my mind. Seriously. It elevated Ares from being another run of the mill comic book, super hero, sorta blah movie villain to the level of Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (at least Loki at the end of the first Thor).  It goes to show just how much of a long game Ares was playing and how masterful he is at playing the puppeteer.

David Thewlis is the perfect person to play this version of Ares.  While one might typically expect the god of war to have a body style more akin to The Mountain from Game of Thrones, casting someone with Thewlis’ look is perfect for the style of character they wrote Ares to be.  Someone weaselly, someone who you might be inherently wary of just based on how they carry themselves, someone you would expect to whisper evil into peoples ears. Now this opinion maybe heavily influenced by his current role on season 3 of Fargo (which is amazing if you’re not watching it) where he, again, plays some one pulling the strings from behind the scenes, in the shadows.

One thing that I was really afraid of going into this movie was it being overly preachy and heavy handed with its messaging. I love all four DC TV shows that are currently running on the CW – Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow.  Each has their own pros and cons that are individual to each show and for Supergirl it is its heavy handed, almost ham-fisted way of getting it’s point across.  For instance in the season 2 finale (SPOILERS FOR THAT THROUGH THE END OF THIS PARAGRAPH), Supergirl has to fight a mind controlled Superman and defeats him in hand to hand combat which is fantastic and it was a really dramatic scene.  What undercuts that scene later on, is the way the writers feel it necessary to spoon feed the audience by constantly reminding us that Supergirl is stronger because she defeated Superman.  “Who is gonna fight the big bad?”  “Well Supergirl should do it because she beat Superman so clearly she is the better, stronger fighter.”  Ummm yes that was clear when we saw her beat Superman, no need to remind us of that three times, we got the point when it happened.  Now relate a scene of that nature to what happens in Wonder Woman in the “No Man’s Land” scene. Everyone is telling Diana that she, nor anyone, can go out over the trenches because they will get killed instantly.  In this moment, it would have been insanely easy, and quite lazy, for the writers to make some sort of winky line like “No Man’s Land? Ha, I am a woman!”.  But no, they are better than that.  Diana says that this is “what she came here to do” and she does it.  Perfect, beautiful, powerful.  Don’t tell me Diana is powerful, SHOW ME and let me get to that conclusion on my own.  All too often these days, I’ll watch a TV show or a movie and it will metaphorically hand me “2”, then hand me “2” more, and then TELL ME “See now you have 4”.  It drives me up the wall.  If you hand me “2” and then “2” more, I know I have “4” and there is no need to explicitly state that I now have “4”.  The audience is smarter than that and writers should respect the audience versus spoon feeding us every little thing they wish to convey.

In my non-spoiler review, I said that all of my negatives were nit picks and that still stands after a second viewing.  The pacing in a few spots is a bit off and there are a couple scenes where it is very noticeable that the foreground is a real set and the background is a green screen especially the scene with Diana and Steve in the small boat right after they leave Themyscira.  It wasn’t enough to take me out of the movie but definitely noticeable.

One other small nit pick, is that this film comes dangerously close to being the spiritual sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger.  A red, white, and blue costumed hero with special weapons and a naive outlook is exposed to the horrors of World War as they fight evil scientists bent on world domination and then there is a heart breaking scene involving a guy name Steve in a plane.  Now, obviously that is a gross oversimplification of both plots but you can see what I’m getting at.  Fortunately the writers and Jenkins do more than enough to keep the two movies from being carbon copies of each other even if there are a number of similarities.

As I said in my non-spoiler review, I really enjoyed Wonder Woman. It’s a smart movie, with smart characters, that respects its audience – movies like that are in short supply and I cannot wait to pick this up on Blu-ray when it comes out so I can watch it again and dive into any and all special features it has.

Until next time, Thank You for reading and…

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!