New Podcast Episode – ‘Crawl’ Spoiler-Free Thoughts, Trailers for ‘Mulan’ & ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,’ Mortal Kombat & More

A new episode of The Movie Pit Podcast is here!

It was a packed week of movie news like the new trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and the first teaser for the live-action Mulan. Plus, we got our first casting update for the new Mortal Kombat movie, and I give my spoiler-free quick thoughts on the new horror-thriller movie Crawl. 

You can listen two ways. One, through Apple Podcasts (Link  – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608) 

 

or on Youtube

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‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ Review

Director: Jon Watts

Writers: Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers

Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Angourie Rice, Tony Revolori, Cobie Smulders and Marisa Tomei

Synopsis: Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

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

*Reviewer Note 2: There are TWO post-credit scenes.*

 

How do you follow one of the most comic book-y movies of all time that spanned over a decade and over twenty movies? That was the challenge Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures had in front of them when putting together Spider-Man: Far from Home. Not only did they have to follow Avengers: Endgame, but also make a proper sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming that wasn’t just Spider-Man/Peter Parker having to move on from saving the entire universe with The Avengers and his now deceased mentor/father-figure Tony Stark. So did they pull it off? Yes. Yes they did.

Set months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is eager to take a break from the superhero gig, and go on his European school vacation with his friends and tell MJ (Zendaya) how he feels about her. Of course, being a superhero and an Avenger now, that isn’t easy. Unbeknownst to Peter and the public, elemental monsters – The Elementials – start to wreck havoc across the globe, which leads him to be recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help fight the threat alongside Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a hero who claims he’s from another dimension, and has first hand experiencing fighting these monsters. Peter now has to handle fighting giant monsters while on vacation and having the responsibility of being the potential new Tony Stark/Iron Man.

One of the troubles of reviewing Far from Home is a good chunk of the great scenes and moments are all spoilers, so I’ll tread lightly going forward. That said, one of the best story elements about these new Spider-Man movies is director Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers really have a firm grasp about what makes Peter Parker just that Peter Parker. Peter is still a teenager, and despite being a teenager with superhero abilities, he wants to be that, but is constantly told he needs to step up and be a superhero/Avenger. It’s not that Peter is being ungrateful or that he is ungrateful, he loves being Spider-Man, and wants to help people, but he is still a teenager and wants to hang out with his friends, tell the girl he likes that he likes her and just be normal for five minutes.

The other great thing about the sequel is that it keeps its charm, humor and heart from Homecoming. Holland and Zendaya, who has a lot more to do this time around, have great chemistry together, and pretty perfectly recreate that awkwardness you’d have when you’re around your crush. It’s also nice to see the balance between the more serious moments, like Peter questioning himself, and humorous moments, mostly between Peter and his classmates, are mostly tight enough.

The rest of the cast have their moments, but one of the big highlights is Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck aka Mysterio. Gyllenhaal is obviously having a lot of fun with the role, and whether or not you know anything about the character from the comics, you’ll enjoy what they do with Mysterio here.

All in all, Spider-Man: Far from Home is a ton of fun, and does a lot with what they have. It thankfully doesn’t feel bloated or overstuff, and while it does have its lull moments, the cast and balance of tones keep the film together. Finally, in true Marvel fashion, the post-credit scenes change the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. It will be interesting to see Marvel goes forward with it, and also how it changes the story of Spider-Man. Either way, Far from Home is highly enjoyable and should be watched on the biggest screen you can find it.

Spider-Man: Far from Home

4.5 out of 5

The Podcast is Back!

After a brief-ish break, The Movie Pit Podcast is back!

I explain where I have been since the last podcast, so sit back and enjoy everybody. Remember you can listen to the podcast in two ways. One on iTunes

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608

and on Youtube

June Movie Releases

Hi there!

Can you believe it’s already June! How the time passes by. Anyway, the second month of the Summer Movie Season goes into full swing and, just like May, brings with it some highly anticipated movies. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

7th

Late Night – Amazon Studios, Stage 6 Films, 30West, Imperative Entertainment

A late-night talk show host (Emma Thompson) suspects that she may soon be losing her long-running show. Eventually, she hires Molly (Mindy Kaling, who also wrote the script) to her all male writer’s room to help her boost her rating and keep her job.

 

The Secret Life of Pets 2 – Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment

Synopsis: Continuing the story of Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt) and his pet friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day.

Thoughts: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Secret Life of Pets movie,  I didn’t hate either, but it wasn’t something I was screaming for a sequel.

 

Dark Phoenix – 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Donners’ Company

Synopsis: Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now, the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.

Thoughts: Fox’s last X-Men film, and a rehash of the classic Dark Phoenix comic storyline. While a lot of people have written this movie off already, especially with the Disney/Fox merger, I doubt Fox would want to go out with a whimper. At least that’s the hope. Rumors say the movie’s a mess, and reshoots went into effective to fix the third act – which isn’t always a bad thing. That said, I hope Dark Phoenix is at least descent.

 

14th

Limited Release: The Dead Don’t Die – Focus Features, Animal Kingdom

The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves. The Dead Don’t Die is lead by Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, Selena Gomez, Danny Glover, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits.

 

Shaft – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Davis Entertainment

Synopsis: John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher), a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, enlists his family’s help to uncover the truth behind this best friend’s untimely death. Shaft co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Avan Jogia, Method Man and Richard Roundtree.

Thoughts: Shaft is bringing three generations of Shaft’s together, and you know what, it actually looks fun.

 

Men in Black International – Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Original Film, Amblin Entertainment, Tencent Pictures

Synopsis: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Men in Black International stars Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani (voice) and Emma Thompson.

Thoughts: The Men in Black series is one of those franchises I can take or leave. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the first movie, and the sequel wasn’t all the great (I haven’t seen part three). That said, International is not a full reboot, as it takes place in the same timeline as the past films, but just follows our new heroes.

 

21st

Limited Release: Wild Rose

A musician from Glasgow (Jessie Buckley) dreams of becoming a Nashville star.

 

Anna – Summit Entertainment, EuropaCorp, Canal+

Synopsis: Beneath Anna Poliatva’s (Sasha Luss) striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins. Directed and written by Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element, Lucy), Anna co-stars Cillian Murphy, Luke Evans and Helen Mirren.

Thoughts: It’s a little rare for a movie to just come out of the blue, and even more rare to really surprise me with a trailer, but damn did Anna do that. Sure it’s giving off Atomic Blonde vibes, but seeing Luss’ Anna beat the crap out of guys with a broken dinner plate is awesome to watch.

 

Child’s Play – Orion Pictures, MGM, United Artists Releasing, Oddfellows Entertainment

Synopsis: A mother (Aubrey Plaza) gives her son (Gabriel Bateman) a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature. Child’s Play co-stars Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson and Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky.

Thoughts: The movie already has some fans up in arms, due to creator of the series and characters Don Mancini, not being involved and also denouncing the movie – even making a TV series of his own. Regardless of that, the movie does seem to be different than the original. It looks like Chucky is more Skynet that Voodoo. That or it’s a major misdirect.

 

Toy Story 4 – Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar

Synopsis: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Thoughts: Many see Toy Story 4 as a cash-grab, especially considering Toy Story 3 had a perfect ending, but it seems like Pixar isn’t truly don with toys, and you know what, neither am I.

 

26th

Annabelle Comes Home – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster, The Safran Company

Synopsis: Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologist Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind scared glass. But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target – the Warren’s ten-year-old daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace). Written and directed by Gary Dauberman, making his directorial debut, Annabelle Comes Home co-stars Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife and Steve Coulter.

Thoughts: The first Annabelle movie was a little underwhelming, but Creations upped the ante on every level. Now, we have the man that wrote those films, plus The Nun, It and the upcoming It: Chapter Two) behind the camera, and brings in the Warrens, the third film could very well be another great film.

 

28th

Yesterday – Universal Pictures, Working Title Films, Etalon Film

Synopsis: A struggling musician (Himesh Patel) realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed. Directed by Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire), and co-written by Richard Curtis, Yesterday co-stars Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran and James Corden.

Thoughts: When I first read about this project happening, I never thought the project would end up like this. The idea of the film is pretty out there, so it will really come down to execution.

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘Pokemon Detective Pikachu’ Review

Director: Rob Letterman

Writers: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Derek Connolly and Rob Letterman

Cast: Ryan Reynolds (voice), Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy

Synopsis: In a world where people collect Pokemon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.

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

 

I, like many my age – no matter how bad you want to deny it – grew up watching and playing Pokemon. It’s something that, somehow, has remained in nerd culture through new generations and fans still bringing it up. If it wasn’t apparent, when Pokemon GO came out, the thing spread like wildfire and was a craze that I think people wouldn’t happened (do people still play it? Serious question, not bashing). It was because of the GO craze, Warner Bros. and Legendary decided to jump on it and announce they were developing a Pokemon movie, and they were choosing to do the Detective Pikachu route.

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t fully onboard with the idea at first. I thought Hollywood would bastardize one of my childhood favorites with another crappy CGI/live-action hybrid movie that would probably water down what made the property so good and memorable. Then the trailers came out and I was fully onboard. So, did Pokemon Detective Pikachu live up to the expectations the studio put out? Or does the video game curse continue?

Pokemon Detective Pikachu follows Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a once aspiring Pokemon trainer, who suddenly gets a call informing him that his estranged detective father has been killed in a car crash. While going through his father’s apartment, he runs into a talking Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who claims to be his father’s Pokemon partner, but can’t remember anything since he has amnesia, expect one thing – Tim’s father isn’t dead, but only missing.

The two decide to embark on a journey to find out what happened to Tim’s father, who was on the verge of breaking something huge. Along the way, they helped by Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), an intern at the big news corporation, who has a nose for a good story, who also has her Pokemon, Psyduck, with her at all times. What follows is Pokemon shenanigans, world building, and a mystery buddy-cop film.

Detective Pikachu’s staying power is going to be interesting to see. On one hand, the movie is jam packed with Easter Eggs for the hardcore fans, to the point that you may need to watch it twice to catch some of them. On the other, non-fans will maybe have at least a little bit of a hard time with the world they are thrown into. Because, director Rob Letterman wastes no time filling the screen with Pokemon. Once we get pass the cold opening and Tim’s introduction, which shows him trying to catch a Cubone after being forced by a friend, we go straight into Ryme City.

Ryme City is the creation of Bill Nighy’s Howard Clifford, a city where Pokemon and humans coexist together. The Pokemon fill the city streets and hold jobs like everyone else. It’s here where most of the Pokemon are shown, and I’m sure fans will have a field day trying to name them all. It’s also not filled with generation one Pokemon, there were Pokemon there I didn’t even know or recognize. Dare I say, it’s almost Who Framed Roger Rabbit-esque in its story and format, and Blade Runner in terms of visual look for the first half of the movie.

All that said, Detective Pikachu can’t just thrive on the Pokemon, it is trying to tell a story. Smith’s Tim is charismatic enough to push the story along and his chemistry with Reynolds’ voiced Pikachu keeps the movie going until the credits roll. Newton’s Lucy is a hard buy at first, as her character seems to be pulled from the old noir films – which the film does try to be for the most part – but then becomes the ambitious news reporter, even though she’s really an unpaid intern, by trying to break the case along with Tim, Pikachu and her Psyduck.

Of course, the highlight of the cast and the movie is Ryan Reynolds as the talking Pikachu. Reynolds is always reliable for witty, crisp delivered one-liners, and he brings that with Pikachu, and while he’s not foul-mouthed like Deadpool – although Reynolds said there are R-rated outtakes enough a movie – Reynolds’ Pikachu genuinely funny. Plus, the chemistry he has time Smith, despite the live-action and human interaction differences, is fantastic.

All the fun aside, Detective Pikachu does have some faults that keep it from being a good movie to a great movie. The movie’s story gets a little too ridiculous for its own good in the third act, and despite some cool Pokemon action, it doesn’t really justify the direction of the story, although you might be able to guess where it was headed at some point. Of course, there is the big one – do you need to know anything about Pokemon to enjoy the movie? Sort of. Knowing little things about the world could be helpful in some moments and situations while watching the events unfold, but not knowing them should affect your enjoyment.

Then there are the tonal shifts. The first ten, fifteen minutes of the movie is pretty much a drama with Tim dealing with the loss of his father, but then Pikachu is introduced and the movie becomes a comedy. But then Tim’s story comes back and the movie stops everything to have a drama beat, and then go right back to comedy. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the movie missteps on balancing the two sometimes. To get a little nit-picky, despite the amazing designs of the all the Pokemon, and how amazingly truthful they are, there some times with they look just a tad bit wonky, again, nit-picky.

All in all, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a fun entertaining movie that you’ll enjoy whether or not you know anything about the Pokemon lore or franchise. The story is a little flimsy by the end, but it’s the core cast of Justice Smith’s Tim, Kathryn Newton’s Lucy and Ryan Reynolds’ Pikachu that will keep you invested from beginning to end. Pika Pika.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

4 out of 5

New Podcast – ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ and ‘It: Chapter II’ Trailers & More

Episode 101 of The Movie Pit Podcast is (has) been up!

I got a little busy with some crazy house work to put this up sooner, but yet, here we are. Anyway, I rundown those great trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home and It: Chapter II, along with more fallout from the merger between Disney and 20th Century Fox. Of course, some more news as well. Remember, you can listen on Youtube or take the podcast on the go with you on iTunes.

iTunes Link  – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608

Youtube

New Podcast – Summer Movie Season Preview 2019

Hello everybody!

I got a new podcast for all of you, and it’s a big one! A guest and I rundown the Summer Movie Season. It’s a fun one – even though the mic was a little farther away from us than I had originally thought. You also take the podcast on the go because the podcast is on iTunes!

 

iTunes Link  – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608

 

Youtube