Podcast Episode 4: Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I’m back with a all new episode of the my podcast, The Movie Pit. This podcast is all about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in all spoiler glory. So if you watched the film and want to hear my spoiler-filled thoughts on it, check it out.

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‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Review

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Director: Zack Snyder

Writers: Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jessie Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, and Holly Hunter

Synopsis: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on Superman, while the world wrestles with what kind of hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

 

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

*Reviewer Note 2: There is no end-credits scene.*

*Reviewer Note 3: There will be a spoiler discussion released later this week*

 

 

The DC Comics Cinematic Shared Universe is alive! While arguably Man of Steel started this new gritty version of an interconnected universe, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the true start to their shared universe that will lead to Justice League movies. Whether you liked the movie or not, Dawn of Justice does something that many thought they would never see: Batman and Superman on the big screen together. However, is it any good? Are the negative reviews justified? Well, sadly yes, for the most part.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice begins by giving us a look at the new Bruce Wayne (Affleck). We get a brand new, and beautifully done, retelling of Bruce’s parents getting gunned down. But, we skip ahead in time and see him trying to get to a Wayne Enterprises building in Metropolis during the battle between Superman (Cavill) and Zod (Michael Shannon) from Man of Steel. As Bruce stands in the wreckage of what was Wayne Enterprises, he sees Superman and Zod fighting off in the distance and his facial expression says it all. He’s powerless at that moment, and wants to get back in the fight.

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We skip ahead in time a little more, as some LexCorp employers find something in the wreckage of one of the fallen Kryptonian ships that could help them fight Superman – if it ever comes to it – a rock of Kryptonite. The Kryptonite of course goes directly to Lex Luthor (Eisenberg), who might also have his own plans for it.

While all this is going on, Senator Finch (Hunter) leads a hearing against Superman and his actions. The brunt of it being that Superman should be accountable for his actions and whether or not he should be put in check. It’s not completely out there, as seen in Man of Steel, but also given the fact that Superman can if he wanted to – as Bruce says at one point – bring everything to the ground. This is what starts also sparks Bruce to don back the suit and become Batman again. If no one else is going to put Superman in check, Batman will. What follows is an eventual fight between our two heroes and the eventual team up with Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman (Gadot) to fight off a creation of Luthor’s doing; Doomsday.

Alright, let’s start off by saying this, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not the perfect movie. However, it’s not a terrible movie either. There are some parts that standout, some that are underdeveloped, some that don’t even make sense or are too ambiguous, and others that just don’t really work – like all movies. But, when it comes to BvS, it’s a little more true. The main thing about the film is that it’s too busy, and with it being too busy, it’s a bit of a mess. I hate to say it, but it suffers a tiny bit from The Amazing Spider-Man 2-syndrome. There’s a point in the movie where it introduces the bigger world, which I’m sure everyone knows – and given the title – where this is leading. But while the introducing the grander world, it comes off underwhelming. Sure I was excited to see the universe expand, but the way it was handled left something to be desired – at least for me.

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Thankfully, the film only spends a handful of minutes on expanding itself and keeps the focus on Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent/Superman. The film takes its time for us to get to know them as much as possible. Although they could have been more developed and given just a tad bit more depth, you know where each of them stand. All Superman does is try to help everyone, but because of what he and Zod did when they battle, he’s still considered dangerous – as he should be in reality – and Bruce aka Batman sees him the same way, and has his own way of bringing justice to Gotham as The Batman. This leads to Clark thinking Batman is a ruthless vigilante that has to be stopped, and Superman might be the only way to do it.

With that ideology for both men, it was bound the two would eventually butt heads. Of course, the two do fight in this, but it takes a long while to get there. When it finally does happen, it’s pretty rough-and-tumble. It’s a bit more brutal than I thought it would be, but I kind of wish it was longer. The movie is long itself, something I try not to be nit-picky about, but BvS could have used some more time on the cutting room floor. Anyway, back to the fight, I think there is enough there for fans, and casual fans, to get a kick out of it. However, the way the fight ends is bound to leave some people, in the most hardcore comic book fan, a bit disappointed and unsatisfied.

However, when it comes to seeing Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman team up at the end against Doomsday, no matter if you’re a fan or not, seeing them together is so great. I won’t mention anything from the fight with Doomsday in the review, but to say it gives us a nice preview at what could come with future films.

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So let’s talk a little more on the cast, more specifically the new cast members. Ben Affleck’s Batman is fantastic. He’s a much more brutal Batman than we’ve had on the big screen – his solo fight scene is incredible – but it makes sense for the world the film is set in. He’s a Bruce Wayne that has been doing the hero thing for a while, and he has potentially finally met his match. Everyone complained when Affleck was casted and now many are saying he nailed it. I was always behind Affleck and, yes, he does nail Batman down here. Helping him along the way is his trusted butler Alfred, played by the great Jeremy Irons. Irons’ Alfred is more of a partner-in-crime here as he helps him when the situation calls for it, and knocks on Master Wayne when he can.

Gal Gadot as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman is a great addition to the film. Like Affleck, Gadot’s casting was criticized, even to the point of people saying she wasn’t right because she didn’t have bigger breasts, which is one of the stupidest things I read online when it broke out. And, like Affleck, Gadot is being praised, by many, for her work in the film. Seeing her fully embrace Wonder Woman character is a sight to really see. I know because I’ve seen the movie twice and when she appears in her Wonder Woman costume at the end to help fight Doomsday, both theaters loudly applauded.

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Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch character only appears in the first half of the movie and while her character plays a bit of an antagonist to Superman, you know what she’s doing is for the “greater good.” Scoot McNairy also pops in as someone who was affected by the events in Man of Steel, although Hunter and McNairy, who are great actors, are kind of wasted here in their small roles. Callan Mulvey also appears as a secondary villain, who comic book fans will know more of, but doesn’t really do too much to standout.

Finally, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. You want to talk about being audiences being split on something; Eisenberg’s Luthor is going to be one of them for sure. I, unfortunately, had a kneejerk reaction when Eisenberg was casted, but I knew that Eisenberg probably had what it took to play Luthor. Well, he played of version of Luthor alright. I appreciated that Zack Snyder was going for a new iteration of Luthor, but this new version came off as annoying and a bit unhinged. This is fine for a character if you’re taking him a certain direction, but that wasn’t the case with this Lex Luthor. Something about this Lex just didn’t click with me and his motivations are a bit murky at best. Eisenberg is a find actor, so maybe it was just the script or how Snyder told him to play it, but I wasn’t sold on Luthor.

All in all, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a lot of things going against it. Some things are even bought up that are never fully developed or are left with unsatisfying conclusions. Is that hard to say as a fan that’s been waiting to see two of the biggest superheroes on the big screen together? Hell yes it is. However, despite all of that, there are some great things about the film. Look, might be weird considering this is a review – not that I’m getting paid to do these reviews – but don’t listen to the reviewer out there. If you want to listen to the guy or gal that already saw the movie and you trust their opinions on movies, then okay, but if you had intentions to go watch the movie, than watch it. Some movies are review-proof whether their good or not (I’M LOOKING AT YOU TRANSFORMERS).

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice won’t be for everyone. Yes, it’s a bit tad long, even for a guy that doesn’t like thinking about films runtime, and it has some pacing and timing issues. However, the new players to it all in Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Jeremy Irons are great. There is also some interesting and nice twists to see that they put in, but I don’t know how that will come across to everyday movie fans. Is this a good sign for the Justice League movies? Who knows, and some are already saying probably not, but you know what? We’re going to watch it anyway. And a lot fans are liking the film. So, what’s more important, critics or fans?

 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

3.5 out of 5

’10 Cloverfield Lane’ Review

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Director: Dan Trachtenberg

Writers: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle

Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr. and John Goodman

Synopsis: After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter by two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Produced by J.J. Abrams under his Bad Robot production banner, 10 Cloverfield Lane snuck up on pretty much everyone. It wasn’t until January that Abrams put out that the film to the formerly titled film Valencia – also formerly titled The Cellar – has turned into a “blood relative” to Cloverfield, a film that he also produced, that some people wanted a sequel to for a while. Now the film is here and all the secrecy has paid off, because damn, is 10 Cloverfield Lane is pretty good.

The film follows Michelle (Winstead), who is on her way out of town when he gets suddenly struck off the road. When she wakes up, she sees that she’s chained up to the wall of a cellar that is owned by Howard (Goodman). Howard promises Michelle that he saved her and everyone outside the bunker is dead or effected by the air that’s been contaminated. Also inside the bunker is Emmett, who has a connection with Howard and the bunker of his own. The question becomes is any of it true? And can Howard be trusted?

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Again, 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn’t always a “blood relative” to Cloverfield. It wasn’t until the late stages of filming that producer J.J. Abrams and the writers decide to bring it within the world that was established in Cloverfield. While not being a completely sequel, the end of the film is really where the Cloverfield elements start to kick in. I’m sure the last act will divide fans no matter what. However, despite what you feel about the last act, there is no doubting that everything before works to the fullest effect.

The reason it works so well is the cast which is limited to only three people, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. All three of them have their fair share of big moments in the film, but arguably it’s Goodman’s Howard that makes the film work. If – for some reason – you forgot how great John Goodman is, this will remind you how great he is. Goodman’s Howard never lets up and is the only constant that keeps you on your toes. Not only is he physically imposing, but has moments that make him absolutely terrifying in his own way.

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Gallagher Jr. and Winstead may be overlooked because of Goodman performance, but they are equally great in their roles. Winstead’s arc really does take the whole film to come full circle, but it’s done in a beautiful and reasonable way. Gallagher Jr. has a standout scene as he describes what his life was before the “attack.” Another “character” is the bunker itself. It has a roomy and warm feeling, but it is so confined and claustrophobic other times that it makes you feel uneasy just watching the characters walk around.

10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t a horror film, despite the level of secrecy and threat of a huge monster like the one in Cloverfield. The film is really more of a suspense drama thriller for the most part, and even when the Cloverfield connection comes into play, the suspense aspect stays in play with a touch of horror, but not flow blown enough that ruins what was done before. More importantly, 10 Cloverfield Lane is also a character-driven film. All the actions done in the film are by the characters and the situation they are in, which of course is heighten even more by the uncertainty of the outside world. Is Howard really telling the truth about the air outside? Or is something more going on? Those questions are answered until the very end, and what the writers and director Dan Trachtenberg – kudos to him too for keeping everything together – were able to do keep everything intact and give us the clues spatially enough to keep the tension high and our interest set.

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While the idea of how this and Cloverfield are connected will drive more causal viewers a bit crazy to find the connection, the more savvy internet folks, who have also been driving themselves crazy trying to figure it out, will find the scarps to try and put it together. However, it seems like one option is becoming a clear answer, but I obviously won’t ruin it here.

All in all, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a tension-filled, character-driven suspense thriller that with great performances by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. The ending will divide fans, especially with everything that happened before it, but it doesn’t take away from what we were given. With all the secrecy going around, do yourself a favor and enjoy the film for what it is.

 

10 Cloverfield Lane

4 out of 5

Podcast Episode 3: Ghostbusters Trailer, Snyder’s 300-Style George Washington Movie, This Week’s Releases & More

In Episode 3 of The Movie Pit Podcast we talk about the Ghostbusters and Finding Dory trailers, Zack Snyder’s idea for a George Washington 300-Style film, a few remakes on the way and in the works. Finally, this week’s movie releases, and finally, what the podcast will finally be like.

 

The Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MoviePit

 

Podcast Episode 2: Eddie the Eagle & The Witch Reviews, Oscar Winners, & The Dark Tower Movie

 

The second episode of my podcast is up and live! In it, I review Eddie the Eagle and The Witch, as well as talk about The Dark Tower movie casting confirmation. I had some issues yesterday editing, which is why I say Tuesday on Podcast, so there that.

 

Once again, if want to stay up-to-date on movie news you can like my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/MoviePit

 

Thanks for listening, if you listen, to the podcast.

March Movie Releases

Hello there!

Can you believe it’s March already? Anyway, besides it being my birth month(!) there are some great films coming out in March that we can look forward to. Also, a large amount of limited releases to some big films, so let’s start shall we?

 

 

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Limited Release: Knight of Cups (Romance Drama)

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Terrence Malick’s latest film follows a screenwriter living in L.A who tries to make sense of the strange events occurring around him. Like every other Terrence Malick film, it has a stacked cast that may or may not appear in the film as people who follow Malick’s work know he likes to cut whole scenes and actors out of his films. The film (may) star Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Teresa Palmer, Wes Bentley, Imogen Poots, Antonio Banderas, Michael Wincott, Ben Kingsley, Joel Kinnaman, Jason Clarke, Nick Offerman, Freida Pinto, Isabel Lucas, Thomas Lennon, Katia Winter, Joe Manganiello and more.

 

Limited Release: The Wave (Drama Thriller)

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This Norwegian film has had a lot of people talking and it will finally, even in a limited release, come stateside for a release. The film follows the fear of the mountain pass Akneset will collapse and create an 80 meter high violent tsunami. I’ve heard some great things about the film and I hear it isn’t like other disaster films which should be nice to see.

 

Limited Release: The Other Side of the Door (Horror)

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A family lives an idyllic existence abroad until a tragic accident takes the life of their young son. The inconsolable mother (Sarah Wayne Callies) learns of an ancient ritual that will bring him back to say a final goodbye. She travels to an ancient temple, where a door serves as a mysterious portal between two worlds. But when she disobeys a sacred warning to never open that door, she upsets the balance between life and death. The film looks pretty spooky, but the lack of promotion could hurt the film in the end. Personally, I’ve only seen the trailer about three – maybe two – times in theaters and that’s it, so let’s hope it finds an audience. The film also stars Jeremy Sisto, Logan Creran, Sofia Rosinsky, Jax Malcolm and Javier Botet.

 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Comedy – Paramount Pictures/Little Stranger/Broadway Video)

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Based on Kim Barker’s book, the film stars Tina Fey as a Barker, a war journalist recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the people she meets. The film has a great cast and looks pretty fun despite coming pretty much out of nowhere. Margot Robbie, Billy Bob Thorton, Martin Freeman, and Alfred Molina also star.

 

Zootopia (Animation – Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios)

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Disney is back with pretty fun concept. Zootopia is a city that is populated by walking and talking animals and follows a fast-talking fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) who is tries to make it big but is on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. However, Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), is following him but both become targets of a conspiracy. This leads them to have to team up. The film looks pretty great so far and with the directors of Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, I think the film is in good hands. The voice cast also includes Idris Elba, Alan Tudyk, J.K. Simmons, Bonnie Hunt, Jenny Slate, Katie Lowes, Octavia Spencer, Shakira and Tommy Chong.

 

London Has Fallen (Acton Thriller – Millennium Films/Gramercy Pictures/LHF Film/G-BASE)

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The sequel to Olympus Has Fallen now takes its sights to London, where the world leaders including President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his Secret Service head Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) go to the funeral of London’s Prime Minister. When there, they discover a plot to assassinate all the world leaders and Banning takes it upon himself to stop the plot. The film actually looks a little better than I thought it would so I’m partially looking forward to it. London Has Fallen also stars Morgan Freeman, Jackie Earle Haley, Angela Bassett, Charlotte Riley, Robert Forster and Melissa Leo.

 

 

11th

Limited Release: Eye in the Sky (War Thriller Drama)

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A war drama that follows Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) and Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) as they operate a drone operation and ends up escalated quickly as they find a high value target and a potential serious attack. They begin to set up a drone attack with their pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul), they find out that the attack is in trouble when a child is in the blast radius. The film looks like it is really going to push some buttons and asks if the ends justify the means. The film also stars Barkhad Adbi, Jeremy Northam, Phoebe Fox, and Iain Glen.

 

The Young Messiah (Drama – Focus Features/1492 Pictures/CJ Entertainment/Hyde Park International)

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The Young Messiah tells the story of Jesus Christ at age seven as he and his family departs Egypt to return home to Nazareth. Told from his childhood perspective, it follows young Jesus as he grows into his religious identity. The film stars Adam Greaves-Neal as Jesus, Sara Lazzaro (Mary), Finn Ireland (James), Vincent Walsh (Joseph), Jane Lapotaire, Agni Scott, Christian McKay, Rory Keenan, Jonathan ailey, Sean Bean and David Bradley.

 

The Perfect Match (Romance Comedy – Lionsgate)

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Charlie (Terrence Jenkins), a playboy who’s convinced that relationships are dead. His two best friends Rick (Donald Faison) and Victor (Robert C. Riley), bet him that if he sticks to one woman for one month, he’s bound to get attached. Charlie denies this until he crosses paths with the Eva (singer/actress Cassie Ventura). They may agree to a causal affair, but eventually Charlie is questioning whether he may actually want more. The film also stars Paula Patton, Kali Hawk, Lauren London, Brandy Norwood, and Joe Pantoliano.

 

10 Cloverfield Lane (Thriller – Paramount Pictures/Bad Robot)

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Waking up from a car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), finds herself in the basement of a man (John Goodman) who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable. The film also stars John Gallagher Jr. and is directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who directed the great short film Portal: No Escape, based on the popular games Portal. But, the big thing about this film is that producer J.J. Abrams says it is a “blood-relative” to Cloverfield, so it’s the closest thing to a sequel that many fans have wanted.

 

The Brothers Grimsby (Action Comedy – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/LStar Capital/Working Title Films/Four by Two Films)

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Directed by Louis Leterrier, a new assignment forces a top agent Sebastian Grimsby (Mark Strong) to team up with his football hooligan brother Norman ‘Nobby’ Grimsby (Sacha Baron Cohen). The film looks pretty funny and I’m not the biggest Sacha Baron Cohen fan, but I am a huge Mark Strong fan so this is one I’m going to watch. The film also stars Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Annabelle Wallis, Gabourey Sidibe, David Harewood, Scott Adkins, Tamsin Egerton and Ian McShane.

 

 

16th

Miracles from Heaven (Drama – Sony Pictures/TriStar Pictures)

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Based on Christy Beam’s book ‘Three Miracles from Heaven’ the film follows a young girl (Kylie Rogers) suffering from a rare digestive disorder and finds herself miraculously cured after surviving a terrible accident. The film stars Jennifer Garner as the mother and Christy Beam herself. The film also stars Martin Henderson, John Carroll Lynch, Brighton Sharbino and Queen Latifah.

 

 

18th

Limited Release: Midnight Special (Sci-Fi Drama)

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The film follows a father (Michael Shannon) as he takes his son (Jaeden Lieberher) on the run after he learns his child possesses special powers. The film looks like a nice throwback and isn’t putting all its attention on the superpowers, but more on the family aspect which could lead to a great film all together. The film also stars Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Dana Gourrier, and Sam Shepard.

 

Limited Release: The Program (Drama)

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An Irish sports journalist becomes convinced that Lance Armstrong, played by Ben Foster, performances during the Tour de France victories are fueled by banned substances. With this conviction he starts hunting for evidence that will expose Armstrong. The film is based on David Walsh’s book and the film itself looks pretty interesting and already has early buzz going for itself.

 

The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Sci-Fi Adventure – Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment/Red Wagon Entertainment)

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Part one of the two-part finale for the Divergent series. The film finds Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) venturing into the world outside the fence and are taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. I only watched the first film and I wasn’t really that impressed. I didn’t even the watch the sequel so suffice to say, the film’s just aren’t for me.

 

 

25th

Limited Release: I Saw the Light (Musical Drama Biography)

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The biography drama tells the story of Hank Williams, played by Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston looks and sounds great as the legendary and great Hank Williams so I can’t wait to see him pull this off. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, David Krumholtz, and Bradley Whitford.

 

The Disappointments Room (Horror Drama – Relativity Media/Demarest Films/Media Talent Group)

Written by Wentworth Miller – yes, that Wentworth Miller – The Disappointments Room follows a mother and her young son as they released unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home. The film stars Kate Beckinsale, Michaela Conlin, Duncan Joiner, Michael Landes, and Lucas Till.

 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Comedy – Universal Pictures/Gold Circle Films/HBO Films/Playtone)

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After spending most their time focusing on their troubling teenage daughter, Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are facing marital problems while also having to deal with yet another Greek wedding – this time, even bigger and fatter. The talk all these years have finally proven to be true as the sequel will finally come out. The first film is beloved by many – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the first one so I want to watch the first one again – so I’m sure those fans will turn out for this one.

 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Action Adventure – Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/Syncopy/Dune Entertainment)

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After all the years of wanting it, comic book fans are finally getting our wish: Batman and Superman on the big screen, together! The film sees Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) taking back the mantle of Gotham City’s well known vigilante, Batman, taking on Metropolis’ hero Superman (Henry Cavill) fearing that his god-like powers are going unchecked. However, as the two battle each other, a new threat takes advantage and rises to power. The film will begin DC Cinematic Universe and led to other superhero films and introduce Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa). The film has been taking a while to finally bring hardcore fans in, but just about everything looks great to good. Of course, some things still look a bit off and will have to win us over, but hey, surprises come in many forms. The film also stars Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Holly Hunter (Senator Finch), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), Jeremy Irons (Alfred), Tao Okamoto (Mercy Graves), Ray Fisher (Victor Stone/Cyborg), Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Thomas Wayne, and Lauren Cohan as Martha Wayne.

 

What are you looking forward to?