Favorite Fight/Action Sequences, Cinematography, Score/Soundtrack and Trailers

This is a continuation of my Favorite/Standouts of the Year, this time focusing more on the genre side of things with my favorite fights/action sequences, cinematography, score/soundtrack, and trailers.

 

 

Fight/Action Sequence

Atomic Blonde – Lorraine Protects Spyglass (“One Take”)

Baby Driver – Shootout, Baby Runs & Baby vs. Buddy

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Yondu, Rocket and Baby Groot Escape

Kong: Skull Island – Kong Takes Down the Choppers & Graveyard Attack

Logan – Laura vs. Reavers (Mexico) & Logan and Laura vs. Reavers (Woods)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rey and Kylo vs. Praetorian Guards

The Fate of the Furious – Prison Riot

The LEGO Batman Movie – Opening Sequence

Thor: Ragnarok – Thor vs. Hulk

Wonder Woman – No Man’s Land Sequence & Village Attack

 

Honorable Mention

It – The Losers vs. Pennywise

John Wick: Chapter 2 – John Wick vs. Cassian (Rome) & John Wick vs. Bounty Collectors

Justice League – League vs. Superman

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Arthur and Others Run Through the City

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Eggsy and Harry vs. Poppy’s Men & Eggsy and Harry vs. Whiskey

Thor: Ragnarok – Bifrost Battle

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Opening Space Battle

War for the Planet of the Apes – Opening Trench Attack

Wolf Warrior 2 – Feng vs. Big Daddy

Wonder Woman – Amazons vs. Germans

 

Just Missed the List

Baby Driver – Opening & Second Job

Fist Fight – Campbell vs. Strickland

Justice League – Steppenwolf vs. Amazons

Power Rangers – Rangers Train & Megazoid vs. Goldar

Thor: Ragnarok – Hela vs. Asgardian Army

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Escape from the Market & Valerian’s Run Through the Base

Wolf Warrior 2 – Escaping the Village

 

 

Cinematography

Dan Lustsen – The Shape of Water

Hoyte Van Hoytema – Dunkirk

Javier Aguirresarobe – Thor: Ragnarok

Oscar Faura – A Monster Calls

Matthew Libatique – Mother!

Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049

 

Honorable Mentions

Chung-hoon Chung – It

Darius Khondji – The Lost City of Z

Dariusz Wolski – Alien: Covenant

Drew Daniels – It Comes At Night

Matthew Jensen – Wonder Woman

Maxime Alexandre – Annabelle: Creation

Steve Yedlin – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Just Missed the List

Ben Richardson – Wind River

Bojan Bazelli – A Cure for Wellness

Jess Hall – Ghost in the Shell

Larry Fong – Kong: Skull Island

Stuart Dryburgh/Xiaoding Zhao – The Great Wall

 

 

Score/Soundtrack

Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water

Baby Driver

Daniel Pemberton – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Hans Zimmer – Dunkirk

Lorne Balfe – The LEGO Batman Movie

Mark Mothersbaugh – Thor: Ragnarok

Michael Giacchino – Coco & War for the Planet of the Apes

 

Honorable Mentions

Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer – Blade Runner 2049

John Williams – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Lucius – Band Aid

Rupert Gregson-Williams – Wonder Woman

Tyler Bates – Atomic Blonde

 

Just Missed the List

Carter Burwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Henry Jackman – Kong: Skull Island

West Dylan Thordson – Split

 

 

Trailers

Atomic Blonde

Trailer #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIUube1pSC0&t=73s

 

Avengers: Infinity War

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZfuNTqbHE8

 

Black Panther

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxWvtMOGAhw

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Teaser – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW1BIid8Osg

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duGqrYw4usE&t=38s

 

Logan

First Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Div0iP65aZo

Second Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DekuSxJgpbY

 

Pacific Rim: Uprising

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EhiLLOhVis&t=3s

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB4I68XVPzQ

 

Thor: Ragnarok

Teaser – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7MGUNV8MxU&t=4s

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue80QwXMRHg&t=1s

 

War for the Planet of the Apes

Trailer #1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDcAlo8i2y8

Final Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxjPjPzQ1iU

 

Wonder Woman

Origin Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INLzqh7rZ-U

Rise of the Warrior Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSB4wGIdDwo

 

Honorable Mentions

Baby Driver Trailer #1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9YZw_X5UzQ

Black Panther #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjDjIWPwcPU

Blade Runner 2049 #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZOaI_Fn5o4&t=39s

It – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKJmEC5ieOk

Kingsman: The Golden Circle #2 (Red Band) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SwZ4_Dw0yk

Mother! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpICoc65uh0&t=9s

Power Rangers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kIe6UZHSXw&t=1s

Star Wars: The Last Jedi #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0CbN8sfihY&t=2s

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Red Band) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Afusxc2SM

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Red Band) #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxxA4YZnzbQ

The New Mutants – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwT879-4Wjs

 

Just Missed the List

Alien: Covenant – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svnAD0TApb8&t=44s

It Comes At Night – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YOYHCBQn9g&t=81s

Ocean’s 8 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFWF9dU5Zc0

Sicario 2: Soldado – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pymm6cmE9uQ

The Dark Tower – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjwfqXTebIY&t=88s

My Worst, Disappointments and Least-Liked Movies of 2017

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!

I’ll put up my list of “Best/Favorite” movies of the year later, but with all those good/great/awesome movies I have seen, I had to sit through some stinkers unfortunately. Some of these I knew weren’t going to be any good walking in, but I ended up taking the hit anyway. The list ranges all over the place, so don’t think I’m attacking certain movies because it’s easy. I walk into every movie with a clear mind and soaking up the movie for what it’s worth.

The list will have the movies in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because they weren’t good enough to make it on my other list.

Like all lists, this is my opinion! So if you don’t agree that’s perfectly fine and probably justified. Film is subjective, and that’s why I love it. Finally, there are other movies that could have gone on the list, but these are the ones that truly stuck out.

Alright, let’s get this over with.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Flatliners

Live By Night

Rings

The Bye Bye Man

Underworld: Blood Wars

 

 

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of the Year

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant got a lot of hate that wasn’t all justified. It’s not a great movie, and definitely didn’t live up to the hype the trailers put forward. For me, the movie was good, until it wasn’t. I don’t even mind that the Xenomorphs didn’t really appear until the last act of the movie, what bothered me the most was this movie is jam packed with talent, and many of them have absolutely nothing to do, or aren’t written too well. The only real good part of this new franchise is Michael Fassbender’s David, although Covenant probably has one of the most cringe-worthy lines of the year.

 

A Cure for Wellness

A Cure for Wellness looked like it was going to be this really twisted psychological gothic film directed by Gore Verbinski, but instead it is a film that had some of those elements, but failed to really deliver on them. It was also too long for its own good losing a lot of stream by the middle of the movie.

 

Geostorm

World ending movies are almost always perfect escapism, but eventually they all become one in the same. Geostorm tried something different, concept-wise, but it still failed on a lot levels to make it stick out as its own thing. Also, at one point the movie got a little too ridiculous even for me.

 

Ghost in the Shell

If ever there was a movie that got an enormous amount of hate before it came out that I can remember, it was Ghost in the Shell. The film, arguably, re-started the white-washing controversy in Hollywood, and the film didn’t help matters when they revealed their final twist. Similar to Alien: Covenant for me, this movie was doing okay for itself until that twist, which at that point, it dissolved before your eyes.

 

The Circle

Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in the same movie? With an interesting concept? So, how in the holy hell did this movie end up so bad? The concept fell really flat, and the acting from Watson was cringe-worthy sometimes. Not only that, the movie wasted John Boyega, Karen Gillan – who was probably the best thing in the movie, but she’s not in it enough – and Hanks, who is in the movie for like five minutes because he probably had to pay his mortgage. Even though The Circle was probably asking us some interesting and noteworthy topics for discussion, the movie was so bad I didn’t care.

 

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower is one of those movies I had read about since I started really following the movie news – all the way back in 2004-2005 – so finally seeing it on the big screen after all the false starts, people being eyed and changing studios was great. Unfortunately, the movie itself wasn’t all that great. The Dark Tower could have used a lot more time to really explain and expand the long history from the books, and let the actions really speak when they happened. Also, for the famous character of The Man in Black, played by Matthew McConaughey, he isn’t really all that menacing enough at least for me.

 

The Mummy

Probably one of the biggest disappointments of the year for me, if I had to pick one. I was really looking forward toward Universal putting their classic monsters back on the big screen in a shared universe. Especially considering Universal was really the first studio to have a shared universe – and me being a fan of that series. The Mummy was mixed bag of many things, Tom Cruise wasn’t likeable at all, they tried a tad too hard to create the universe in one movie, and Sofia Boutella’s Mummy character – being the best thing in the movie – wasn’t in it enough and was dealt with way too easily. We shouldn’t let one bad movie decide the complete fate of a new, and potentially great, shared universe. That said, The Mummy doesn’t help that argument, and from the sounds of it, it looks like the shared universe might be dead.

 

Suburbicon

This one hurt a little. You got a great cast with Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac with a script by the Coen Brothers and George Clooney, who directed it. In the end though, Suburbicon is a huge mess of the film that no one could save. The story is a bit too whacky for its own good, and it kind of comes from nowhere.

 

Transformers: The Last Knight

………….I can’t even come up with something clever. This was SO BAD. Or as I put it when I reviewed it, Transformers: The Last Knight is a steaming pile of combined shits that you only fueled by buying a ticket. Nothing in this movie makes sense, and sometimes it felt like Bay forgot what he directed in the past films.

 

All right, so there are my worst, disappointments, least-liked films of the year. What were some of yours?

‘A Cure for Wellness’ Review

cure_for_wellness

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: Justin Haythe

Cast: Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Ivo Nandi, Adrian Schiller, Celia Imrie, Harry Groener and Jason Isaacs

Synopsis: An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.

 

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

 

Gore Verbinski is one of those director’s who makes films that you like or don’t. Sure the same can be said for all directors, but Verbinski also has a weird filmography. From The Mexican, The Ring to the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Rango and finally The Lone Ranger. So while A Cure for Wellness had some potential from the trailers, so it’s a bit of a disappointment to see the film that had a lot of potential and sparks of great scenes, to fall apart.

The film follows Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), a young executive at a financial service firm in New York City who is ordered by his board to go get the firm’s CEO, Pembrooke (Harry Groener), at a spa resort in the Swiss Alps after he sends them a weird letter. However, there is extra incentive for Lockhart in getting back the CEO sooner rather than later, but when Lockhart arrives and Pembrooke doesn’t want to leave, Lockhart leaves to regroup only to get into an accident, get a broken leg and has to stay at the resort. However, the more Lockhart stays, the more mysterious and disturbing the resort is.

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Despite what I said at the beginning, A Cure for Wellness does have some great things going for it. The cinematography by Bojan Bazelli, who has worked with Verbinski on The Ring and The Lone Ranger, is equal parts beautiful and horrifying. Add on the production design and the film looks like it could be set in any time period, with the exception of Lockhart using a cell phone at the beginning of the film. Also, the nice little touches of horror that Verbinski scatters throughout the film adds to the sense of mystery and dread the film needs.

However, when it comes to everything else, it’s a huge hit-or-miss. A Cure for Wellness has too much going on for its good, and that’s saying something considering the film is two-and-a-half hours long. The film essentially has three different stories going on, but only two of them actually make the film worthwhile. Those two storylines involve the history of the resort and how it connects to the head doctor in Volmer (Jason Isaacs) and Hannah (Mia Goth), the only other young person around. There is a third plot point that involves Dane DeHaan’s Lockhart and a personal tragedy, but it doesn’t really feel like it serves the overall narrative, and could have easily been cut out.

When it comes to the cast, the strongest member is Mia Goth, but the negative aspect is that she’s not in the film enough. Hannah serves a great purpose, but the true nature isn’t revealed until the final act, and by then you’d probably figure it out so the impact is lessened. However, it doesn’t make her journey great to watch. When it comes to DeHaan, he’s feel a bit miscasted at the beginning of the film. He’s plays off as “tough” Wall Street guy, but it comes off a bit weird. I don’t know if it’s just me, and it’s nothing against DeHaan either, because I think he’s a great actor when given the right material, and once he’s stripped of the Wall Street guy, he’s good. When it comes to Jason Isaacs, well, at this point he can play a bad guy or mysterious/maybe evil character in his sleep.

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However, the biggest issue I have with the film is the length. I’m not one to usually complain about a film’s length, but A Cure for Wellness’ biggest weakness is how long it is. Like I said before, some of the secrets you could probably figure out or, at least, guess so it takes away some of the impact the reveals have. Another added factor to the length is there are scenes that could have easily been cut, and not affect the final product, and potentially make the film better.

All in all, A Cure for Wellness was a –personal– disappointment. While the film does introduce some interesting concepts it fails to really execute on them or makes them fall flat instead of excite. The only real saving grace in the film is the fantastic visuals, production design and score.

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A Cure for Wellness

3 out of 5

February Movie Releases

So how are those New Years Resolutions coming along? Kidding!

Anyway, we’re here for movies! Compared to last year, February is looking like a legit month with some huge films coming out. So let’s get to it!

 

3rd

Limited Release: The Comedian 

A look at the life of an aging insult comic, played by Robert De Niro. The film also stars Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Hannibal Buress, Edie Falco, Patti LuPone, Gilbert Gottfried, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Keitel and Billy Crystal.

 

Rings (Horror – Paramount Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment)

The third film in The Ring series, this film finds a young woman who finds out she is the newest target of the terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in 7 days. The film was suppose to come out last year for a while, before it got pulled a month before its release. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about this movie. The Rings 2 was nowhere near as good as the first film, but if the trailers continue to show stuff that looks interesting, then maybe I’ll give it a chance. Maybe.

 

The Space Between Us (Adventure Drama Romance – STX Entertainment, Southpaw Entertainment, Los Angeles Media Fund)

The first human born on Mars, Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl named Tulsa (Britt Robertson) to find his father. The film got pushed back to this date after being scheduled to be released late last year, but for whatever reason it’s coming out now. The film looks okay, although it looks a bit too teenager romance to me, but the cast is pretty great. The rest of the cast includes Carla Gugino, Janet Montgomery, David House, BD Wong and Gary Oldman.

 

10th

Limited Release: A United Kingdom (Drama)

Based on the true story, Prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman (Rosamund Pike) from London in the late 1940s. The film also stars Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Jessica Oyelowo and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

 

Fifty Shades Darker (Romance Drama – Universal Pictures)

James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Cards) comes in to direct the second film for the popular – among some people – books. This time it finds Christian (Jamie Dornan) wrestling with his inner demons, as Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) confronts the anger and envy of the women who came before her. I never watched the first film, and have no intention to, but I know there are fans out there, so here you go. The film also stars Kim Basinger, Tyler Hoechlin, Bella Heathcote, Max Martini, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Fay Materson, Victor Rasuk, Eloise Mumford, Eric Johnson and Marica Gay Harden.

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Action Thriller – Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment, Thunder Road Pictures)

Legendary and mythical hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) comes out of retirement again when a former associate plots to seize control of an international assassins’ guild. The result is John going to Rome to stop it and with a bounty on his head. John Wick was a massive surprise to everyone, and the sequel is on most people’s radar – including mine – so I can’t wait to see how the up the ante and what they have in store action wise. The film also stars Common, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Peter Stormare, Bridget Moynahan, Peter Serafinowicz, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fisburne, and Ian McShane

 

The LEGO Batman Movie (Animated Action Comedy – Warner Bros., Vertigo Entertainment, DC Entertainment, Animal Logic)

A spinoff film from The LEGO Movie, it features, of course, LEGO Batman (voiced by Will Arnett). The film follows Batman/Bruce Wayne as he has to deal with working with others, and raising the orphan boy he adapted in Dick Grayson (voiced by Michael Cera). LEGO Batman was a major highlight in The LEGO Movie, so seeing him get his own movie is, I can only imagine, a great move. The voice cast also includes Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face, Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn and Mariah Carey as The Mayor of Gotham.

 

17th

Fist Fight (Comedy – New Line Cinema/Village Roadshow Pictures/21 Laps Entertainment/Wrigley Pictures)

When one school teacher (Charlie Day) gets the other (Ice Cube) fired, he is challenged to an after-school fight. We probably aren’t expecting too much from Fist Fight, but the film looks decently funny, so let’s give it a show. The film also stars Christina Hendricks, Dean Norris, Jillian Bell, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Dennis Haysbert and Tracy Morgan

 

The Great Wall (Action – Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/Atlas Entertainment/Kava Productions/Le Vision Pictures)

Directed by Yimou Zhang, the film centers on the mystery centering around the construction of the Great Wall of China. The film already has a lot of eyes on it with the “white washing” controversy, even though director Yimou Zhang said he wrote the role of Matt Damon specifically for Damon, and the film isn’t just about Damon’s “white” character saving everyone. Regardless of all that, The Great Wall has a great international cast of Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Numan Acar, Eddie Peng, and Tian Jing.

 

A Cure for Wellness (Horror – New Regency Productions/Studio Babelsberg/Blind Wink Productions)

Directed Gore Verbinski, the film follows a young executive (Dane DeHaan), who is sent to bring back the company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. However, he soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. The film looks really eerie and creepy, and I can’t wait to see what Verbinski does with this. The film also stars Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs.

 

24th

Limited Release: Bitter Harvest

Based on historical events, the film tells the story of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine created by the Joseph Stalin. The film follows a group of people that rebel and try to fight the powerful forces looming over them.

 

Limited Release: Tulip Fever

Based on the novel by Deborah Moggach, an artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam. The film has a pretty impressive cast of Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Cara Delevingne, Kevin McKidd, Tom Hollander, Holliday Grainger, Zach Galifianakis and Judi Dench

 

Rock Dog (Animation – Lionsgate/Dream Factory Group/Huayi Tencent Entertainment Company/Mandoo Pictures/Eracme Entertainment)

When a radio falls from the sky into the hands of a wide-eyed Tibetan Mastiff, he leaves home to fulfill his dream of becoming a musician, setting into motion a series of completely unexpected events. The voice cast includes Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon and Sam Elliott.

 

Collide (Action Thriller – Open Road Films, Silver Pictures, IM Global Film Fund, DMG Entertainment, 42)

An American backpacker (Nicholas Hoult) gets involved with a ring of drug smugglers as their driver, though he winds up on the run from his employers across Cologne high-speed Autobahn. The film was supposed to come out last year, and it didn’t look that bad from the trailers. It looked like a fun little action film that would be passable, but got pushed back for some reason. The film also stars Felicity Jones, Marwan Kenzari, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley.

 

Get Out (Horror – Universal Pictures/Blumhouse Productions/QC Entertainment)

Directed by Jordan Peele, a young African American (Daniel Kaluuya) man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) cursed family estate. The film looks like a real psychological horror film, and the fact that’s directed by Jordan Peele is pretty interesting. Also that first trailer was just ridiculously crazy. The rest of the cast includes Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, Caleb Landry Jones, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford.

 

What are you looking forward to?

New Podcast: Deadpool 2 News, Uncharted Film Gets Director, Cloverfield Universe Gets Bigger & More

The podcast is back!

I took a week off due to being sick, but here’s this week. Enjoy.