Favorites of 2019 – Fight/Action Sequences, Score/Soundtrack, Trailers & More

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

Avengers: Endgame – Captain America, Iron Man and Thor vs. Thanos & Finale

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – John Wick vs. Huang and his Men (Knife Fight)

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – John Wick Escapes on Motorcycle

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy – Cheung Tin-chi vs. Tso Ngan Kwan, Cheung Tin-chi vs. Sadi the Warrior & Cheung Tin-chi vs. Owen Davidson

Terminator: Dark Fate – Dani, Diego and Grace Escape the Rev-9

Triple Threat – Payu and Jaka vs. Collins & Payu vs. Collins (Final)

 

 

Honorable Mention

Alita: Battle Angel – Motorball Game

Dark Phoenix – X-Men, Magneto, Ariki and Selene vs. Aliens

Hellboy – Hellboy vs. The Three Giants

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie Escape Brixton (London)

Triple Threat – Jaka vs. Long Fei (Fight Club)

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – John Wick vs. Shinobi 1 and Shinobi 2 & John Wick vs. Zero

 

 

Other Notable Action/Fight Sequences

Anna – Restaurant Brawl

Gemini Man – Henry and Junior Motorcycle Chase

Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Monarch vs. Rodan

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – Shaw vs. Brixton’s Men (Hattie’s Apartment)

Polar – Vincent vs. Hall Guards

Jumanji: The Next Level – The Bridge Escape

Stuber – Vic vs. Tedjo (Hotel Room)

Zombieland: Double Tap – Tallahassee and Columbus vs. Albuquerque and Flagstaff

 

 

Score/Soundtrack

Alan Silvestri – Avengers: Endgame

Matt Morton – Apollo 11

Michael Abels – Us

The Haxan Cloak – Midsommar

 

Honorable Mentions

Hildur Guonadottir – Joker

Marius De Vries – Teen Spirit

Rob Simonsen – Captive State

 

 

MISC

CGI Pokemon – Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Hoyte Van Hoytema – Ad Astra (Cinematography)

Pawel Pogorzelski – Midsommar (Cinematography)

Mysterio Illusion – Spider-Man: Far from Home

 

Honorable Mentions

Autumn Durald – Teen Spirit (Cinematography)

Henrik Svensson – Midsommar (Production Company)

Laurie Rose – Pet Sematary (Cinematography)

Lucian Johnston – Midsommar (Film Editing)

Lukasz Zal – Cold War (Cinematography/Photography)

Mike Gloulakis – Us (Cinematography)

Visual Effects Department – Alita: Battle Angel

 

Other Notable MISC.

Alex Disenhof – Captive State (Cinematography)

Dan Laustsen – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parrabellum (Cinematography)

Lawrence Sher – Joker (Cinematography)

Nicolas Wong – La Llorona (Cinematography)

 

 

 

Trailers

Avengers: Endgame #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcMBFSGVi1c

Black Widow – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxAtuMu_ph4&t=4s

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU8-7BX9uxs

Spider-Man: Far From Home (Teaser) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUFmhKpZKlE

Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt9L1jCKGnE

No Time to Die – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1arJ05kcQ8

Wonder Woman 1984 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfM7_JLk-84

 

 

Honorable Mentions

1917 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcmZN0Mbl04

Anna – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOYeBlgQdFg

Bad Boys for Life – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKCj3XuPG8M

Hobbs & Shaw – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SA7FaKxZVI

Hobbs & Shaw Trailer 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ7PAyCDwEg

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7XM597XO94

Jojo Rabbit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL4McUzXfFI

Zombieland 2: Double Tap – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlW9yhUKlkQ

 

 

Other Notable Trailers

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VLEPhfEN2M

Antlers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEM5HW7q5dY

Little Monsters (Red Band) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1KP-OhBP4

The Gentlemen – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B0RpUGss2c

 

Podcast – Danny Boyle Eyed to Direct Bond 25, Joss Whedon Exits Batgirl & More

The Movie Pit Podcast is live!

I run down Danny Boyle potentially directing the next James Bond film, Joss Whedon suddenly dropping out of writing/directing Batgirl, Jessica Chastain eyeing It: Chapter 2 and much more. Remember, the podcast is also on iTunes, and I would appreciate it if you subscribe over there (and Youtube if you like) and leave me a rating and review – they’ll be read on the podcast when they pop up. Enjoy the podcast, and enjoy your weekend everybody.

iTunes Link  – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608?mt=2

 

New Podcast: Thor: Ragnarok Will Have Planet Hulk, Brie Larson for Captain Marvel, Rogue One Reshoots & Ton More

It was a crazy week for movie news and I did my best to manage it all for the podcast this week. We talk about the mentioned news items on the thumbnail, and the casting of Pennywise in Stephen King’s It remake and much, much more.

 

Favorite/Standout Action Sequences, Genres, and Special Effects

This is a continuation of my Favorite/Standouts of the Year, this time focusing more on the genre side of things and my favorite/standout fights and action sequences and special effects.

 

Fight/Action Sequence

Ant-Man: Ant-Man vs. Falcon & Ant-Man vs. Yellowjacket (Cassie’s Bedroom)

A nice early preview of what we could see in Captain America: Civil War, and it was great to watch. It was actually a rather nice to surprise to see the scene play out and it was a ton of fun. Ant-Man was a great movie, but having this scene in there, was pretty damn cool. As for the Cassie bedroom fight, let’s face it: That was one of the funniest, goofy and action-packed scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron: Hulkbuster vs. Hulk & Hydra Base Siege

This was teased for a while, and every fan knew it was coming eventually. So when it finally happened, it was like it was ripped out of the comic books. The two literally tried to beat the crap out of each and in true Marvel fashion, there was some inject humor.  As for the base siege which opens the movie, it is arguably, one of the best openings and action scenes that Marvel has done – with the expectation of Captain America: The Winter Soldier – and it involves all of our heroes. The scene has it all; humor, great moments, and in that great shot of all the Avengers leaping into battle.

 

Creed: Adonis Johnson-Creed vs. Leo ‘The Lion’ Sporino

There was something about how the scene was structured and filmed by director Ryan Coogler that made this boxing match in Creed more of a standout than the final match. The way Coogler shot and framed the scene really made you feel that you were part of the match, and you saw the viewpoint of each character which made it even more special.

 

Jupiter Ascending: Chicago Chase

While Jupiter Ascending wasn’t all that great of a movie, it at least gave us one good thing: A great action sequence right here in Chicago.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Harry Hart/Galahad vs. Church Congregation

This may be not just my favorite fight sequence of the year, but may join my favorite fight sequences list ever. Colin Firth may not be on everyone’s list for playing a badass character, but this definitely had to silence doubters. Of course we have to give credits to the stunt team, director Matthew Vaughn and cinematographer George Richmond for putting together the scene.

 

Furious 7: Deckard vs. Hobbs, Ramsey Rescue & Deckard vs. Dom

First, It’s like a dream match come true: Jason Statham vs. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And holy hell was it brutal and fun to watch. Second, Ramsey’s (Nathalie Emmanuel) rescue happens a little before the mid-point of the movie and was heavily promoted in the ads. But, nothing comes close to the actual scene which plays out a little more than we thought. Overall, the scene is great. Finally, the whole movie builds up to this fight between Deckard (Jason Statham) and Dom (Vin Diesel) and when they finally meet, you can tell it’s going to come down to the last man standing. It’s not as good as Deckard vs. Hobbs, but the intensity is still there.

 

Jurassic World: Indominus Rex vs. T. Rex and Blue

This was like a kid’s dream come true. Hell, it was probably even mine. I don’t even know what else to say because, well, just look at it!

 

Kung Fu Killer: Hahou Mo vs. Fung Yu-Sau

Kung Fu Killer might have not gotten a wide release, but any chance I can see Donnie Yen on the big screen, I’m going to take it! The movie was filled with great fight sequences –no surprise with Yen involved – but it was the final fight in the movie that I picked because the fight had some high stakes to it and the final build up made the fight really great to watch.

 

Macbeth: Macbeth vs. Macduff

This was a short, brutal and visually fascinating scene to watch. Felt like watching a moving picture at times. I loved the aesthetic that director Justin Kurzel chose to go with for the scene.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road: Imperator Furiosa vs. Max Rockatansky & The Rig Escapes The Biker Gang

It’s almost hard to even choose a favorite action sequence in Mad Max: Fury Road, only because all of them have their awesome moments and the whole movie feels like an extended action sequence. But these two are definitely two that stood out to me. The fight between Furiosa and Max was hard hitting, vicious, knockdown drag out that totally fits into the movie and shows how tough Furiosa really is. The escape scene works on a number reasons, it shows the trust that Max and Furiosa finally get and the amazing score by Junkie XL elevates the scene even more.

 

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: Car and Motorcycle Chase

One of the best parts for me in Rogue Nation was definitely the somewhat promoted action scene that involved a pretty lengthy chase that involved Ethan (Cruise), chasing down Ilsa (Ferguson) and Syndicate henchman. There was also something that McQuarrie didn’t use a real score and instead used the sound of motorcycles and cars instead.

 

Pixels: Pac-Man Chase

Despite what many people think about the film – it’s not perfect even I know that – Pixels had its moments and the full chase scene of the main characters and Pac-Man was a ton of fun to watch.

 

Sicario: Border Shootout

Sicario is one of those rare films that is unapologetic and, arguably, brutally honest about its subject matter. It’s also one of the most tense films I’ve seen in a long while and nothing is probably more tense than being stuck on the border between Mexico and the United States during a drug war. The scene bought out those feelings of not only being trapped, but having your options limited and trying to find the best way to get home.

 

Spectre: Bond vs. Mr. Hinx & Mexico City Opening

I love a great intense and hard hitting fight scene, and that’s exactly what we got in this fight between Daniel Craig’s James Bond and Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx. The henchman role felt tailor-made for Bautista especially seeing that fight scene. As for the opening scene that takes place in Mexico City during a Day of the Dead celebration, it is one of the best openings I’ve ever seen and one of the best one-continuous-take scenes I’ve ever seen.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren vs. Finn and Rey & Finn

It wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without a lightsaber duel to end it. The Force Awakens is no different. The separate duels between Finn and Rey have different meanings. Both are done out of survival and revenge, but both of them have different meanings to each character. Finn is doing it because he’s finally fulfilling the hero role, and Rey is reaching her true potential.

 

Tomorrowland: Athena vs. Hugo and Ursula

Tomorrowland may have highlighted the house escape of Clooney and Robertson’s characters, but the highlight action sequence for me was Athena showing off what she can do for the first time. It was also a lot of fun to watch the scene in the surrounding it was in.

 

 

Honorable Mention

American Ultra: Mike vs. Laugher

Avengers: Age of Ultron: Sokovia Battle

Creed: Adonis Johnson-Creed vs. ‘Pretty’ Rick Conlan

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Harry Hart/Galahad vs. Thugs (Bar)

Run All Night: Jimmy vs. Price

Sicario: Alejandro Goes Solo

Ted 2: Comic Con Fight

Terminator Genisys: Guardian vs. T-800

The Man from U.N.C.L.E: Napoleon and Illya Chase Alexander & Napoleon and Gaby Escape Illya

Tomorrowland: Casey and Frank Home Escape

 

 

GENRES

Action

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Even with some of it, arguably most of it, being CGI, some of the action sequences were top notch and the beginning base siege was a ton of fun to watch.

 

Furious 7

The Fast & Furious franchise is priding itself on upping the ante on their action and Furious 7 did just that. Although, it hard to get any bigger than bringing down a big ass plane and then shooting a car out of it, but hey, the next big thing would probably be a car jumping from building to building and cars skydiving out of a jumbo plane.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Probably one of the biggest surprises of the year, Kingsman: The Secret Service not just delivered on doing a great spy film, but also a action great film. Because let’s face it, that church scene was damn awesome.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

I’d have to say hands down, Mad Max: Fury Road is the best action film of the year. The whole film is one long chase scene that almost never lets up and when it does it always comes back in full force. If I just wanted to pick one movie to be the best action film of the year, it goes to Fury Road. 

 

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Yet another film that is priding itself on upping the ante with every installment, Rogue Nation literally gives it to us right at the beginning with Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt hanging off a plane as it goes up in the air. You can’t get crazier than that right? RIGHT?

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has the right amount of action, and it’s action that’s a ton of fun to watch. The lightsaber duos had me riled up and the X-Wing flights where just great.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

American Ultra

Kung Fu Killer

The Gunman

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

 

 

Horror

It Follows

It Follows was a nice throwback in terms of story and tone. It doesn’t go for the easy gore and nudity tropes, although there those things in the film, it’s actually tied in to the primary story. The film is a slow burn and plays with your paranoia and makes you uneasy while watching. Also, the “monster” is so simple, along with the film that it is pretty cool to experience.

 

Krampus

I had a lot of fun watching Krampus and while it was sluggish at time, there was a lot more to it than I originally thought. What made the film work for me was definitely the fact that they went with practical effects and puppetry for the creatures that visually made them more terrifying.

 

The Final Girls

The Final Girls is a nice balance of comedy, drama, and horror, but the meta-horror elements isn’t even the main basis of the film, but are still great to watch the horror elements, especially considering how they handled it.

 

 

Honorable Mention

Insidious: Chapter 3

 

 

Comedy

Dope

Dope worked as both a drama and comedy coming-of-age film, but the film was one of the best comedic films I’ve experienced this year.

 

Inherent Vice

The film could be also labeled as a crime drama, but there was something more about the humor that makes this film special. The comedy was one of the only real things I understood about the film when I was first watched it. Not because the film has a weird or crappy structure, but because it was so weird.

 

Spy

Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy returned to form with Spy, a nice twist on the spy genre and didn’t rely on fat jokes that some films McCarthy has done in the past. Instead the film lets her actually show off her comedic and acting chops. However, the rest of the cast also steal the show, especially Jason Statham.

 

The Night Before

This could have easily been a forgetful comedy that happens to take place on Christmas Eve, but The Night Before was a little more than that. The film was done to bone a story about three friends – that treat themselves as family – and the bond that real friends go through. The comedy really had its moments and this is coming from a guy that is starting to grow on Seth Rogen.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Goosebumps

Ted 2

The Final Girls

Trainwreck

 

 

 

Animated

Inside Out

Oh Pixar, how is it that you always find a way of making us tear up, cry and warm our hearts? You did it again with Inside Out. The supposed “I guess they ran out of ideas” film sure had a lot of heart and heartwarming and breaking moments that left me wanting more and satisfied at the same time.

 

The Peanuts Movie

I’m not going to lie, this film probably shouldn’t have worked, but it really did. The Peanuts Movie stayed true to its roots and didn’t try to add anything new or ruin what fans loved from the original. Kudos to them for sticking to their guns and keeping what everyone loves about Charlie Brown and the gang.

 

Honorable Mention

The Good Dinosaur

 

 

 

Drama

American Sniper

Clint Eastwood’s biopic drama about Chris Kyle was meant with some mixed reactions over the fact of “is all or any of this true?” Despite all that, American Sniper worked best when it focused on the characters themselves and what they go through, and Bradley Cooper does a tremendous job of doing that.

 

Brooklyn

Brooklyn is one of those films that everyone will connect to in some way. It’s a coming-of-age story, a love story, and a story about being an outsider in a new environment and wanting nothing but to go back home. It’s a touching story that I loved watching and experiencing.

 

Creed

Creed is every bit as good as the original Rocky, but it’s also its own standalone story about someone wanting to break out on their own and not trying to completely live up to someone’s legacy. The film worked even better with the performances of Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. Any time they are together the film works better.

 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I read the book this was based on and when I saw the film, I couldn’t believe they captured the same spirit, heart and humor but was also able to turn the dial and make it even more stronger. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl isn’t the easiest movie to sit through – it does have Dying Girl in the title after all – but it truly is one of the best films of the year and one of the best dramas and indies of the year.

 

Room

Definitely one of the best dramas of the year, and one of the hardest to sit through Room also gives two of the best performances of the year by Brie Larson and newcomer Jacob Tremblay. The film follows the two as they escape the room they were trapped in for years and Jack (Tremblay) sees the outside world for the first time. It’s one of the most touching and heartbreaking films all at once.

 

Sicario

Sicario is one of those rare films that isn’t afraid to go to places that normally other films water down. It is definitely an unapologetic, gritty and raw look on the war on drugs between the U.S and the border of Mexico. The film is only stronger thanks to the performances, especially Benicio Del Toro.

 

Spotlight

This is straightforward filmmaking at its finest, and I say that it the best way possible. Spotlight is filled with great performances and tremendous cast that easily makes it an Oscar favorite and thankfully it’s great even if it wasn’t.

 

Steve Jobs

The story of Steve Jobs – in real life – is definitely a dramatic one. Thankfully, the film brings some of that in, but instead focusing more on the actual man himself. Michael Fassbender brings the right amount of cockiness, ignorance, genius, and humanity to the character that people will love or hate.

 

Straight Outta Compton

While Straight Outta Compton loses a lot of its great steam by the end, the film was a great experience to watch. Seeing the lives and rise of one of the most popular groups in music, especially with the cast they put together makes Straight Outta Compton a huge surprising hit.

 

The Big Short 

Nothing says drama like a true story about the housing and financial crisis in 2005 to 2007. It’s one of those movies that if you really paid attention to everything that happened back then, you appreciate it more. If not, then you’ll feel a little lost, but that’s find of the point.

 

The Martian

The Martian is undoubtedly a drama in terms that it’s about a man stuck on Mars…by himself.  You can’t really get more dramatic than that right?

 

Honorable Mentions

A Most Violent Year

Black Mass

Everest

In the Heart of the Sea

Southpaw

The Gift

The Hateful Eight

(Wild)

 

 

Special Effects

Ant-Man

Marvel’s Ant-Man has had a long road, but it finally got made and damn was it great to watch. The special effects are what really made this special too. The shrinking effect and the swarm of ants was really cool watch onscreen. There was one particular scene that involved Ant-Man running in model of the building that I think was a combination of special effects and physical (I’m not sure), but it sure as hell looked awesome.

 

Chappie

Director Neill Blomkamp has always been known for his visual work and Chappie is no different. The film harkens back to his District 9 effects given the fact the main character is a robot – with the motion capture done by Sharlto Copley – but there was something about Chappie that made him feel real and part of the story.

 

Crimson Peak

Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to show off some creepy special effects. Although Crimson Peak was more a gothic romance rather than a horror film – it was advertised as a horror film – the film still had strong visuals that only del Toro would ever think of pulling off, not only that he actually built the set they were working on.

 

Ex Machina

Chappie wasn’t the only robot of the big screen this year, Alex Garland’s directorial debut featured one of the best performances of the year by Alicia Vikander, and one of the most tension-filled  final acts I’ve seen. It’s also one of those films about A.I that will make you think “yeah, maybe we shouldn’t do that.”

 

Jurassic World

It’s been a while since we’ve seen some great looking dinosaurs on the big screen, and what better way to bring them back than a Jurassic Park movie. While the film decided to go more CGI than the original, there were moments of some good old fashion practical effects that bought the specialness of what made the original film so great.

 

Pixels

Pixels was a surprise for me in a lot of ways. No, it wasn’t the best movie out there, but I sure had a ton of fun watching it and was better than I thought it would be. One of the things I was really surprised at was the special effects and how well they really looked. The Pac-Man chase down New York was amazing to watch on the big screen and the finale was a grand showing of all these old-school video gaming.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I feel like The Force Awakens can also get credit for having the best practical effects as well because it has a great balance of the two type of effects and makes them work for the film instead of against it.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Goosebumps

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails

Tomorrowland

(The Good Dinosaur)

‘Spectre’ Review

spectre

Director: Sam Mendes

Writers: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth

Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen, and Monica Bellucci

Synopsis: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

 

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

 

James Bond is one of the most recognizable characters in film history, and while the series has gone through some missteps and a bit of a corny phase, the series has grounded itself and has, arguably, become more popular than ever. In what could be Daniel Craig’s last James Bond film – and director Sam Medes’ as well – Spectre does, for the most part, feel like a nice bookend to the recent iteration of the character. However, the film does have a lot to live up to after the fantastic entry in Skyfall before it. Does it live up to the expectations? Sort of.

Spectre starts off in an awesome and mostly one continuous take in Mexico City during a Day of the Dead celebration as James Bond (Craig) is on an unsanctioned mission. When things go awry, Bond travels back to London to deal with a frustrated M (Fiennes), who tells him the 00 program is on the verge of being canceled due to the head of Head of Joint Security Service Max Denbeigh (Scott) launching a new intelligence-gathering program. However, going off a lead he found in Mexico City, Bond goes on a solo mission to find out more about said lead. Seeing that he can’t do it on his own he eventually asks the help of Q (Whishaw) and Moneypenny (Harris) to keep M off his back and help him along the way. However, along the way Bond finds out the lead he found actually leads to something more darker and personal than he could ever imagine. Bond goes on a globetrotting adventure to discover there is an organization known as SPECTRE that is ready to take down the world.

mexico_city

Like I mentioned, Spectre is following the fantastic entry of Skyfall and what worked in Skyfall is that it gave us a better understanding of who exactly James Bond is as a character and person, instead of the James Bond we all know as a character within a franchise. What Skyfall also did was put together such a well-rounded story that nothing felt out of place and the whole film felt like every scene mattered and show something to further the story, character, and journey. While Spectre tries and succeeds in most aspects, it can’t help itself to fall back into some old clichés and pitfalls that Skyfall broke away from. Not to say that Spectre wasn’t a good film, but it’s a bit hard to follow a great addition to the franchise. Sam Mendes continues to bring his A-game and despite cinematographer Roger Deakins not returning, Hoyte Van Hoytema and Mendes still manage to bring some amazing, glorious and beautiful shots that add to the film and the scenes they are put in. They also work in a lot of darkness into the film that is done rather well and to great effective to the story, characters and scenes.

spectre2

Going back to Daniel Craig, Craig is great as Bond again. There were a lot of people doubting that Craig could hold the mantle, but now he’s on a lot of people’s lists as one of the best Bond’s. Craig does great here again, brining in even a little more charisma and charm, and if this is truly his last Bond film, than it was a good way to go for him. He’s been through a lot in the series and completely handled what needed to be done for the character and the franchise.

MV5BMTYzMzczMzgxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTA2OTMwNzE@._V1__SX1217_SY537_

But what’s Bond without a Bond girl, classic villain and gadgets/cars right? Spectre fills those spaces that are both hit-and-miss. Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann is the main female lead and handles herself pretty well, and is an important character for the film and Bond as he tries to figure out what the organization known as SPECTRE is trying to do. Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny doesn’t get to do as much as she did in Skyfall, but which is a shame, and Monica Bellucci cameos as a widow to criminal that Bond took care of, als fun fact, Bellucci is now the oldest Bond girl in history. Gadget/car wise, Spectre doesn’t have too much going on, but does have some nice callbacks to the franchise

WaltzSpectre

As for the villains, a big deal was made about Christoph Waltz’s character, and this being a non-spoiler review, I won’t address those rumors, although most have probably heard about who is character actually is, but whatever. Even with all that, there is another layer to the character that was rather interesting they went that way. The twist connects to James Bond through the series, which again, makes Spectre feel like bookend to the recent iteration of character and makes all the Craig Bond films connect to a grander story. However, Waltz doesn’t have a ton of screen time and while Waltz is great whenever he’s onscreen, it’s a shame that he doesn’t have more screen time, which makes his character feel a bit underwhelming.

MV5BNDU4MjY2NDI4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzI5NjIzNjE@._V1__SX1217_SY537_

The same can be said for Dave Bautista’s henchman character Mr. Hinx. The nonspeaking brute-like villain has his great moments, especially a standout train fight sequences with Bond in the latter half of the film. But, like Waltz’s character, he doesn’t get a ton of screen time that I think the character deserves. His character also feels like a nice throwback to past iconic villains as well and Bautista was a perfect fit for the role.

MV5BMTQ1NDkxNjY1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzk1OTMwNzE@._V1__SX1217_SY581_

The rest of the supporting cast has the great moments to shine as well. Ben Whishaw as Q continued to be my new favorite character as he has great chemistry with Craig and great timing and delivery. Andrew Scott’s Max, who is nicknamed C, plays a nice antagonist to Ralph Fiennes’ M. The two actually have their own storyline in the film debating about the use of the 00 program and whether or not it’s a “dated” feature, which is a bit on the nose considered some would think 007 is a dated franchise. Jesper Christensen returns as Mr. White in a short but powerful scene and Rory Kinnear as Agent Tanner also returns but instead of having a more prominent role after the events in Skyfall, he’s once again put on the backburner.

SPECTRE

Spectre will feel a bit long for people, and I’ll agree to some extent that the film does slow down during the middle of the film, which does hurt it a bit. Even some of the action sequences are just a bit okay, especially the car chase in Rome was a little bit too dragged out for my liking. There are also some odd choices – believe me, you’ll know what they are when you watch them – that again, takes the franchise back to some cliché routes.

spectre-daniel-craig-monica-bellucci-filmloverss

All in all, Spectre is a great addition to the James Bond franchise, but it falls short of what its previous entry in Skyfall did. If this is Daniel Craig’s last Bond film, then it is a good way for him to go out. Spectre will have its detractors, but it is a passable sequel and one that will keep Bond fans happy. Also, the opening credits with Sam Smith’s song “Writing on the Wall” is pretty cool, but the song, for me, is just okay. Maybe, I’m a bit biased because I loved Adele’s “Skyfall.”

Spectre

4.5 out of 5

spectre-james-bond-2015-billboard-650-01

November Movie Releases

It’s Turkey Month, ladies and gentlemen!

Happy Early Thanksgiving! It’s now at the point that we have a great film or films coming out every week and some that will for sure divide films fans. Now let’s jump right into the fray and see what’s coming out!

 

4th

Limited Release: Brooklyn

The film is set in the 1950s in Ireland and New York as young Eilis Lacey has to choose between two men and two countries. Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis Lacey while Domhnall Gleeson plays the Ireland man and Emory Cohen plays the New York Italian man. The film looks like a nice period romance drama story. I’ve heard some good rumblings from the festival circuit, so hopefully this finds its audience.

brooklyn

 

6th

Limited Release: Trumbo

The film tells the story of Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted by Hollywood and government in the 1940s for being a Communist. Of course, this was all going on during the Cold War and a lot of people in Hollywood were blacklisted and had to work under a fake name. Trumbo, in real life, actually won an Academy Award for Roman Holiday. The film looks pretty good and is getting some good reviews out of TIFF. The cast stars Bryan Cranston, who plays Trumbo, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Alan Tudyk, Louis C.K., Michael Stuhlbarg, John Goodman, and Helen Mirren.

 

Limited Release: Spotlight

Based on the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core. The film looks really good and looks like it’s going to be a powerful drama, that just so happens to be about a real event that was huge – and arguably still is. The film premiered with great buzz from TIFF and has an all-star cast in Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Jamey Sheridan and Billy Crudup.

 

 

The Peanuts Movie

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the “Peanuts” gang are on the big screen! The trailer have Charlie Brown and the gang dealing with a new kid in school, but the synopsis says that Snoopy is on a mission to deal with his arch nemesis, the Red Baron – which was hinted a bit on the trailer. I don’t think that it really matters at this point, because people will go watch it because they want to see The Peanuts gang on the big screen.

 

Spectre

James Bond is back and has some big shoes to the fill since Skyfall was such a huge hit and considered by fans to be the best Bond film in a long time. However, director Sam Mendes and star Daniel Craig seem to be up for it. The film follows Bond as he gets a cryptic message that sends him on the trail of a sinister organization, SPECTRE that is lead by a mysterious figure (Christoph Waltz) that may be connected to his past. The film looks great and everyone involved says the film is bigger and better, so let’s hope so. Spectre also stars Naomie Harris, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Rory Kinnear, and Stephanie Sigman.

trumbo spotlight_ver2 snoopy_and_charlie_brown_the_peanuts_movie_ver15 spectre_ver5

 

13th

Limited Release: By the Sea

Angelina Jolie pulls double duty as she stars and returns back behind the camera with story about a married couple, herself and her real-life husband Brad Pitt, as they travel to France in the mid-1970s. The couple seem to be growing apart, but then they linger in one quiet, seaside town they being to draw close to some of its most vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner. The film looks like it could be a great dramatic film and with Pitt and Jolie working together, we could be in for a great film too.

 

My All American

A biography sports drama about Freddie Steinmark (played by Finn Wittrock), an underdog quarterback on the football field, faces the toughest challenge of his life leading his team to a championship season. The film looks like a nice underdog story and coming out in mid-November probably makes it a prime spot for those that want to check it out. The film also stars Aaron Eckhart, Robin Tunney, and Sarah Bolger.

 

Love the Coopers

When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday. The film looks like we’ve seen it before, but these always have some fun to it, so hopefully this turns out better than expected. The film stars Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, John Goodman, Anthony Mackie, Jack Lacy, Alex Borstein, Jon Tenney, Diane Keaton and Alan Arkin.

 

The 33

A film based on the incredible true story of the Chilean miners that were trapped when a mine collapsed on them, leaving with them stuck with no way out. It’s no doubt that the incredible story could lend itself to a great film. The film does look great and will have a pretty big and impressive cast that includes: Antonio Banderas, Juan Pablo Raba, Cote de Pablo, Rodrigo Santoro, Lou Diamond Phillips, Gabriel Byrne, Naomi Scott, Jacob Vargas, James Brolin and Juliette Binoche.

by_the_sea_ver2 my_all_american love_the_coopers_ver3 thirty_three_ver10

 

20th

*Legend gets a limited release only opening in L.A. and New York, and gets two different expansion releases. The first one is next week, so I’ll write my thoughts and info there*

 

Secret in their Eyes

A remake of the highly-acclaimed and Award winning Spanish film of the same name follows a tight-knit team of rising investigators (Julia Roberts and Chiwetel Ejiofro), along with their supervisor (Nicole Kidman), is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered. I don’t know what to think about the film. On one hand, the film looks like a tenseful drama thriller with a great cast that also includes, Dean Norris and Michael Kelly. On the other hand, the original was a great film and I don’t know it will be able to hold its own against it.

 

The Night Before

Nothing says the end of November and Thanksgiving like a Christmas movie. However, this won’t be a typical Christmas movie. No, this is a comedy with Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie leading the charge. The film is set in New York City and follows three lifelong best friends (Rogen, Gordon-Levitt, and Mackie) who get together one last time on Christmas Eve to hang out and find the greatest Christmas party. The film looks like a ton of fun and funny, so I can’t wait to watch it. The film also stars Jillian Bell, Lizzy Caplan, Mindy Kaling and Michael Shannon.

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

The final installment to the hugely popular and financially successful franchise The Hunger Games is finally here. The film is promising the epic conclusion and final battle between Katniss’ army of rebels and The Capitol’s defensives. The film does look pretty epic, so let’s hope it doesn’t let us down.

secret_in_their_eyes_ver5 night_before hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two

 

25th

The Good Dinosaur

Disney and Pixar are back at it and what better time to do it than on Thanksgiving. The film follows the journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) makes an unlikely human friend. The film looks like it is going to be another great hit for Pixar and Disney, and if the trailers are anything like the movie, it looks like we are in for another tear-jerking film. The voice cast also includes Jeffery Wright, Steve Zahn, A.J. Buckley, Anna Paquin, Frances McDormand, and Sam Elliott.

 

Victor Frankenstein

Written by Max Landis (Chronicle), the film is told from Igor’s perspective (Daniel Radcliffe) as we follow him in the early days of being an assistant and friend to young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein (James McAvoy), and sees him become the man and legend that we know today. The film looks better than I thought it would to be honest. It looks like a fun mixture of comedy and action and almost Sherlock Holmes-esque. The film also stars Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott and Charles Dance.

 

Creed

Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan reunite to bring us back to the world of Rocky. The film follows Adonis Johnson (Jordan), the son of the late and former World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed, as he enters into the world of boxing for himself. Eventually he seeks the guidance and a trainer in his father’s old rival and friend, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). The film looks great and it looks they aren’t just doing this for a cash grab, there looks to be a good story here. The film also stars Tessa Thompson, Graham McTavish, Ritchie Coster, and Phylicia Rashad.

good_dinosaur victor_frankenstein creed_ver2

 

27th

The Danish Girl

Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables) may be vying for another Oscar with this biography drama film that tells the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander). Their marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer. The film looks interesting and, again, true stories are Oscar bait. Also, they make a great story to tell on the big screen – if told right. The film also stars Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ben Whishaw.

danish_girl

 

What are you looking forward to?