Category Archives: Movies

A Pregnancy Workout

With some fun doc style videos planned in the next couple months here is a look back at a set of videos I edited for the New York Times. If you enjoy running or you‚Äôre too lazy to get off the couch, this women should inspire you. Clara Horowitz Peterson is amazing! Running while pregnant ūüôā

Her Story!

The Workout!

Follow us on Instagram! @kmi_tv

Follow us on Twitter! @Thisiskmitv

 

Advertisements

The Wolverine The Review

the-wolverine-wallpaperWhen first watching “The Wolverine,” all I could do was compare it to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” It just had to be better than that mess. That wasn’t too difficult to do. However, once I started to let the second Wolverine movie stand on its own, I realized it didn’t little more past that initial goal.

The film has Logan going to Japan so that a dying man whom Logan saved in World War II can say a proper good bye before passing. As a thank you for saving him all those year’s ago, the man offers Logan, who does not age thanks to his healing ability, a chance to be mortal. Of course nothing can ever be that simple, and throughout the movie we see everyone’s true intentions and how they all collide with each other.

Here is the main way this movie surpasses Origins. Where Wolverine’s first solo effort was heavily tied to the other X-Men movies, this one essentially stands on its own. Jean Grey does have a significant role, but she mostly acts as a vehicle for Wolvie’s inner thoughts and you are brought up to speed easily enough. Through Jean, we see how Logan has had enough of the life he has led killing and watching his loved ones die while he doesn’t age. It’s the killing part however that is my first gripe with the film, and all the movies Wolverine has been in the more I think about it.

Wolverine is most notable for being a ferocious killing machine who goes into berserker rage. While that behavior is certainly referenced, we never actually see it. At no point does he ever lose control of his actions and really let loose. Instead he just fights everyone in a controlled fashion. He should be acting like an animal on the loose. He doesn’t even really take advantage of the fact that he has razor sharp claws coming out of his hands. Sure there are some stabs, but he fights more like Batman than a wild animal. Overall, the fight scenes are just a bit tame. Yes, the bullet train scene was cool, but there just weren’t many moments that got a big reaction from the audience.

My other gripe is the way they handled Logan losing his healing ability. I had a small issue with how it was taken instead of him choosing to have it removed, but the effects of it are what really bothered me. It could have been played as a big dramatic moment for him. Sustaining real pain that doesn’t go away for the first time. Just popping out his claws the first time without a healing factor could have made him scream. Instead he just gets a little dizzy from wounds and has a limp for a while. Then when he does have his healing factor, it is basically just seen healing cuts that he gets on his face so that enemies can look freaked out when they realize they can’t hurt him. It all just comes off as playing it too safe.

Just once during the movie I would have liked to see Wolverine get his face blown off and see a gruesome shot of his skull or guts exposed, or seeing any other character bleed or lose a limb. It doesn’t have to be an entire movie and blood and guts, but to at least introduce how far Wolverine and his abilities can go would go a long way toward giving us Logan we know and love. Instead, the worst that happens to Wolverine is losing his hair in an explosion, and a guy gets stabbed in the neck with no blood in sight. Would it have really been so horrible to have an explosion take some of the skin of his face to regenerate, and for a couple of guys to have their legs chopped off in battle?

The rest of the positives all come with negatives of their own. Thankfully, The Wolverine does not try to throw a ton of X-Men characters at you like Origins did, however by the end of the movie all of those characters get exposed for their character flaws. Viper is initially believable as a biochemist to go with her powers, but then she also knows ninjitsu? The other supporting characters seem to swap sides on a dime, and seriously does everyone have to be a trained ninja? I also liked having the bulk of the movie take place in Japan to separate it from the other X-films and provide a fresh setting true to the comics, but despite being on location, it was a very Americanized interpretation. More Rush Hour than Kill Bill. The more I think about it, that could some up my entire opinion of the movie.

Hugh Jackman is of course great as Wolverine. He could probably do this in his sleep by now but he keeps bringing the attitude and look you want from Logan. He just isn’t required to do enough with it here. The rest of the cast is fine, excluding Rila Fukushima who stands out as Yukio, Logan’s sidekick.

I didn’t hate The Wolverine by any means. I just didn’t like it very much. It existed. It was better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It just wasn’t more than that.

Stay for the post credit scene though. It makes the whole movie worth going to.

Man Of Steel Review

man_of_steel_dc_comics_superhero-wideWith the Dark Knight trilogy over, the disasters that were Green Lantern and Superman Returns, and the desire for Warner Bros. to get a Justice League movie off the ground, to say that there is a lot of pressure on Man of Steel is a bit of an understatement. Fortunately for the WB, Man of Steel rights all of the wrongs of the last Superman movie, and creates a world worth building around for future installments.

The first thing I noticed while watching the movie is how good it looks. From Krypton to Metropolis it is a very beautiful film. Colors are vibrant and is it just shot well. In some parts I was reminded of Thor’s design, but it adds a depth that is all its own. I would not recommend the 3D version though, as it seemed to have very little impact or immersion.

More than any Superman movie before it, Man of Steel is a true origin story of not only Superman, but Clark Kent as well. Using flashbacks throughout the first half of the film, we see how Clark made his way to the Kent house in Kansas, the scrutiny and hardships he went through while discovering and learning to control his powers, and deciding the type of man he wants to become.

That last part is especially key, as Superman is constantly faced with moral choices from his Earth dad, his Kryptonian dad, his enemies and the world around him. The way he comes to these decisions gives us a clear vision into not just what makes Superman so good and pure, but how he got this mind state in the first place. In this way, Man of Steel is more about Clark than it is about Superman.

Russell Crowe is very good as Superman’s biological father from Krypton, Jor-El. He urges Superman to be something great, and is believable in everything that he says,which isn’t easy considering some of the plot points he has to deliver, and makes you care for people you know are doomed. The opening of the movie could have been a movie on it’s own (hello prequel!) as we see what makes Superman (Cal-El) so special in a Krypton that we get to see (albeit briefly) as a vibrant world that is on the way to self destruction. There are a couple of scenes where Jor-El overstays his welcome, being extremely important to the plot even after his death, but he does push things along. He is critical in grounding this movie in any sort of believability. Meanwhile, Kevin Costner is practically typecast as the farmer Jonathan Kent, who wants to protect Clark from the world by having him hide his powers. The way both Jonathan and Jor-El affect who Clark is with similar yet totally different ideals is very interesting, despite Costner’s presence being much less felt than Crowe’s.

At the heart of the conflict is General Zod. Zod leads an army of banished Kryptonians to earth in order to find Superman and used him (dead or alive) to help save the Kryptonian species by destroying and recreating Earth as the new Krypton. Zod is well represented by Michael Shannon, who gives us a Zod that can be related to in some aspects. He’s not just out to kill Superman. Instead he is looking to save his people’s existence in the only way he knows how. This makes his dialogue with Superman even more compelling as Supes is forced to choose between the planet he’s from and the planet he’s lives on (it reminds me of the Transformers episode “The Ultimate Doom” where Optimus Prime has to choose between Earth and Cybertron). The confrontations between Superman and Zod bring all of the movie’s themes to the forefront.

Speaking of confrontations, remember how Superman Returns has no real enemy for Superman to face? Well forget that. Man of Steel knew it had to make a big impact and it did, taking perhaps the most famous formidable enemies that can physically challenge Superman and created some fantastic fight scenes and other action sequences. A fight against a couple of Zod’s top soldiers was specifically entertaining, while the final fight between Superman and Zod ended things with a flourish, ending in a way I definitely did not expect, showing once and for all how far Superman is willing to go in order to save lives.

With most of the supporting cast out of the way, I’ll bring up now the fact that Henry Cavill is a pretty damn convincing Superman. He certainly looks the part physically, and while he’s is all action for the fight scenes, he also shows a gentle nature that is just as big of a part of Superman’s character as flying is. His emotional vulnerability is on display as he travels the country tying to help people the best way he feels he can, hiding in obscurity whenever his deeds are noticed by too many. He is truly a Superman in training.

On the other end of the spectrum is Lois Lane, which I feel Amy Adam’s just wasn’t right for. She plays Lois tough, but somehow she comes off as too sweet to me. She is just missing a certain edge. I did however appreciate the liberties taken with Lois trying to find this mystery hero, instead of Clark just starting at the Daily Planet for no reason. No complaints from the rest of the cast, as Lawrence Fishburn (Perry White) and Rebecca Buller (Jenny, yes JENNY Olsen) are mostly just window dressing but do provide a human element that is needed when watching alien gods duke it out.

I do have a few issues with the story. Lois and Superman’s eventual relationship got going a little too quickly for my taste. The plan to save the world seems a little corny and it was pretty heavy for a Superman movie. A little more levity could have gone a long way. I’m also curious how Clark was able to keep faking his resume to get jobs under false names. Also, this movie was so big that I worry about leaving little room for sequels. Metropolis has already been torn apart once so doing it again wouldn’t be as menacing. If it is indeed Lex Luthor in the opposing corner, it could be a more psychological move that this one (just spitballing). This is nitpicking though in what is easily the best Superman movie in over 30 years. It had action, drama, character development, and just enough easter eggs to satisfy nerds and give us an essence of what could be on the way if they continue with this series (which I fully expect).

By the way, I’ll save you the trouble and let you know now that there is no post credits scene.

Iron Man 3 Review

Iron Man 3 Iron LegionMarvel’s Phase 2 is officially underway with the release of Iron Man 3, and after everything I had heard about the movie and where the next series of films were going, the word that best describes the movie is “surprising.”

Set after the events of The Avengers, Iron Man 3 spends a lot of time showing us what Tony Stark went through following a battle where a guy in a metal suit fought with a super solider, a green beast and a norse god against aliens from another dimension. Here lies one of the movie’s greatest strengths as Tony basically goes into shell shock after such a huge battle. It’s a completely logical reaction that puts Tony against a mental condition that can’t just be fixed with science and technology like his broken down body in Iron Man 2. Of course this wouldn’t be a super hero movie if there wasn’t some type of physical threat, and that’s where the Mandarin and extremis come in. Exremis is essentially a genetic steroid that destroys the body it’s given to only to rebuild it to an almost indestructible state. This makes regular people a match for Iron Man. Led by the Mandarin, soldiers injected with extremis turn into a terrorist organization set on killing the president of the United States and doing other things that terrorists do. Meanwhile Aldrich Killian, the man who developed extremis, has an axe to grind with Stark after an encounter before Tony became Iron Man that comes back to haunt him. Sir Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin about as realistically as you could expect such an over the top villain to be portrayed in a movie, leading right into another one of the movie’s strengths. Surprises. This movie has more twists than a bag of pretzels. You never really know who is aligned with who, and at one point it seems to be more political thriller than action movie. Don’t worry, it hits plenty of those action notes though. I guarantee your jaw will drop more than once.

The action and special effects sequences are top notch of course. Like the previous couple of movies, Stark doesn’t actually spend too much time in the Iron Man suit, only this time there are a lot more suits and he doesn’t need to be in them in order to have them function, This premise is used in a lot of creative ways throughout the film, leading to some very unique and thrilling action sequences and even some dramatic moments. The much talked about attack on Stark’s Malibu home was very impressive, and even made you care about the sentient machines as the house is going down. The final battle also spares no expense, and found a way to match the single shot fight sequence featuring all of the Avengers by just having a ton of Iron Man suits doing the same thing (Hulkbuster FTW!)

A big part of this films success goes to Robert Downey Jr, who has his most developed performance as Tony Stark to date. Unlike the Iron Man 2, where Downey seemed to be doing an impression of himself, there is a real depth and natural progression to Tony’s behavior. The laughs and quirks are still there, but it comes with a certain charm that was previously missing. This is specifically so when Tony is without his suit and has to be a hero anyway. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts gets a little lost in the shuffle during the middle section of the movie, but comes on strong in the beginning and ending, essentially becoming as much of a hero as Stark. The same can’t necessarily be said for Happy and Rhodey but it isn’t Jon Favreau and Don Cheadle’s fault as there is only so much movie to go around. Rhodey specifically just gets dumped on for practically the entire film series now that I think about it.

One of the main questions supergeeks liked to ask was how could Iron Man work in a solo movie after the Avengers assembled. What is to keep him from calling his buddies if things got bad. In what was one of very few sticking points I had while watching, they do and don’t answer this question at the same time. On the one hand, you can see how Tony would not contact his superfriends (although it is revealed that he is still in touch with them) but on the other hand, somehow there is no presence of SHEILD as a terrorist group tries to kill the President with fire breathing super soldiers (yeah you read that right). I’d imagine that would be right up SHIELD’s alley.

There was a certain finality that came after the finale of the movie. Characters seemed to resolve all of their issues and move forward, passed the adventures of the last handful of films. If this indeed was Robert Downey Jr’s last appearance as Iron Man, his story was certainly told in it’s entirely. There is very little in terms of loose ends here.

I thoroughly enjoyed Iron Man 3 but not in the way that I thought I would. I expected an action packed movie filled with witty one liners and comic easter eggs that would leave me thinking as much about the next movie as I would this one. One I got instead was an interesting character piece with twists, heart and a personal journey to go along with those explosions and action scenes.

Also, of course you need to stay through the credits, but don’t expect the earth shattering reveals that you were getting in phase one.

 

 

Iron Man 3 Trailer and Screenshots Revealed

The trailer for Iron Man 3 debuted today, and it doesn’t look like things get much easier for Tony Stark after the events of The Avengers. Check it out:

Pretty grim huh? Marvel Studios has also posted this synopsis on the movies website:

“Marvel’s “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?”

The movie is based largely on the Extremis storyline, where Tony Stark is severely beaten by a stronger, faster opponent who is using a test drug called extremis. To counter him, Tony is forced to undergo the extremis procedure himself. During the process he injects himself with a control sheath that allows him to control and apply the Iron Man armor mentally, making him faster and more powerful. In the comics, while it does increase several abilities, extremis is considered a virus that will kill most people it inhabits. Only those with a rare genetic code (like Stark) will be enhanced by it. This is where Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin fits in. The Mandarin sets out to expose large amounts of the population to extremis in order to reshape the human race. He is not aware of the consequences and obviously Iron Man must stop him.

It’s a great story that goes into the struggles that Tony has with all of the decisions he has made, both as a former arms dealer and as a hero, and the consequences that he faces, both personal and on a larger scale. The trailer certainly takes steps in that direction. In addition, we also get a shots of the Iron Patriot armor (most likely War Machine), as well as glimpses of the extremis armor being developed and Mandarin himself. Several screenshots are also available on the website. You can check them out here though too:

Iron Man 3 is set to be released on May 3rd, 2013.

The Dark Knight Returns, Pt 2 Panel Highlights (NYCC)

I attended the panel for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 at the New York Comic Con with executive producer Bruce Timm and dialogue director Andrea Romano. Together they have basically built the entire animated universe and have done an outstanding job in doing so.

The panel led off with the trailer for the movie. A sequel to the Dark Knight Rises, Part 1 (obviously) it picks up right where the first left off. Batman is back, the Joker wants a piece of him, as does the Gotham Police Department. The government is against Batman as well, which is why they put Superman (who is basically the President’s lackey) into action to stop him. Check it out for yourself:

When talking about the decision to make this story into two separate movies, Bruce Timm said that there was no way this could ever be done right as one film. Furthermore, both movies had to be green-lit at the same time. He didn’t want to make the first part and see how it did before working on the second. It was all or nothing and thankfully the studio agreed to produce both movies at the same time.

Three addition scenes were shown during the panel. The first showed Batman attacking the Gotham Police on the rooftop. The music was top-notch, although to me the action seemed slightly off. Up close all the hits had impact and looked great, when they broadened the shot however the movements and speed just didn’t click for me. Next was Batman rallying his troops to not use guns, fighting with their fists and minds instead. It was referred to as the “Braveheart” speech. When you see it you’ll know why. The final clip was of the talk show scene where Joker is interviewed by David Endocrine.¬†Endocrine¬†is played pretty well by Conan O’Brien of all people. Romano said that he nailed getting affected by the Joker’s laugh gas in one take. What we were shown was a very tense scene that got creepier and creepier until the Joker finally went into action.

Timm noted that while he could have cast Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to reprise their famous roles as Batman and Joker, he knew that this was a much different type of film and that he needed to reflect that tone in the voices. Peter Weller (Robocop) was an absolutely perfect fit for Batman. He was also fond of Michael Emerson’s (Lost) work as Joker. He said he doesn’t sound anything like Hamill, or Jack Nicholson, or even John Di Maggio. Romano was also impressed with his ability to do his performance through Skype, as conflicting schedules made it impossible for him to record in studio.

A couple of other notes from the panel:

-Bruce Timm revealed that Jim Gordon chews nicotine gum instead of smoking cigars because smoking in cartoons equals an automatic R rating (film is PG-13). Interestingly,¬†swastika’s on naked women do not have the same impact (you know where I’m going if you read the comic).

-Timm also hinted at working on some films based on Grant Morrison’s work. Could this mean Arkham Asylum? R.I.P? Final Crisis?

-The first thing actually seen in the panel was the trailer for¬†LEGO Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes United. It’s essentially Joker and Lex Luthor getting all the villains together while Batman and Superman do the same with the Justice League. The trailer was legitimately funny and will appeal to both adult comic book fans and their children. The Justice League they assemble is the New 52 version and it will be released sometime in the spring of 2013.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 is set to be released in the winter of 2013.

Ghostbusters Goggles And More From Mattel (NYCC)

For the second straight year Mattel had a lot to show off at the New York Comic Con. Among their usual assortment of figurines and show exclusives was a peak of the latest addition to their collection of Ghostbusters equipment. To go along with the PKE meter and  ghost trap, you will soon be able to get your hands on the  goggles from the movie! Mattel did another great job recreating the classic look and you can expect to see them available sometime next year.

Here are some more pictures from Mattel’s display including DC, WWE, Masters of the Universe, Ghostbusters and the hoverboard from Back to the Future 2:

Monster-Mania Con 22 Recap

A few weeks ago Ryan and Chris ventured back out to Cherry Hill, New Jersey for Monster-Mania Con 22. Last year’s Monster-Mania 19 (they do several each year) was the first event that we covered and it was a blast. I couldn’t attend, but Ryan admirably filled in. There were indie movie makers, cosplay and a lot of other stuff. Enjoy!

Why Are There So Many Animated Halloween Movies?

Remember a few years ago when there were two comedies about mall cops that came out around the same time? First, there was Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the Kevin James movie from Happy Madison Productions that came out in January of 2009. Then three months later, Seth Rogan starred in Observe and Report, in which a mall cop does a large number of the same things Kevin James does, only in a much darker setting. Neither movie was overly memorable, but it didn’t help that most people couldn’t tell the difference between the two until they sat in the theater. With that in mind, why in the world are their so many animated Halloween themed movies coming out right now?

Already in theaters is ParaNorman, the PG rated comedy horror film from Focus Features. It revolves around a young boy who has the ability to speak to the dead and the misadventures that go along with it. It takes note for being just the second stop motion film to be shot in 3D (the first being 2009’s Coraline from the same studio). Coming this month is Hotel Transylvania, which might as well be a Happy Madison production since it stars Adam Sandler and his usual crew of buddies. In this computer animated 3-D comedy, Sandler plays Dracula, who runs a hotel in Transylvania (of course) specifically for monsters on vacation. Everything is great until a regular American tourist (voiced by Andy Samberg) visits the hotel and zany antics ensue blah blah blah. Meanwhile, Disney steps to the plate in October with the first stop motion 3D comedy horror comedy movie since ParaNorman, with Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. In it, Burton remakes his famous 1984 short film (of the same name), and is essentially Frankenstein as a dog.

Let’s make one thing clear, I am interested in seeing all of these movies and like the idea behind each one individually. However having them all come out at the same time is just too much. Going to work I saw a big billboard for ParaNorman while standing next to a bus stop with a Frankenweenie ad just as a bus passed by promoting Hotel Transylvania. I get that you want a horror themed movie to open around Halloween but all in the same year? One studio couldn’t have the foresight to sit back and be the only animated Halloween movie in October of 2013? How many of the same notes do you think will be hit in all three of these movies?

Beating a dead horse is nothing new in Hollywood (I’m looking at you, vampires). Could there be any more superhero movies right now? There was even a trend of villain themed animated movies in 2010 with Megamind and Despicable Me. But something about the volume and timing of these movie just doesn’t sit right with me. My fear is that because they are all so similar in style and theme (with Hotel Transylvania possibly being both the most different from the other two but ironically also the least original), none of them will do well enough in theaters and therefore we will see less of this type of movie in the future. I love the Wallace and Gromits and Nightmare Before Christmases of the world and want those styles to continue. Best case scenario has all three of them make money because they are all just so good that people have no choice but to go see all three. Considering limited budgets and limited free time however, I just can’t see many people committing to see the same type of movie three months in a row. Then again almost every superhero movie made money (sorry Green Lantern and Ghost Rider) so what do I know.

By the way, Monsters University hits theaters June 21st, 2013.

How Does Daredevil Fit in the Marvel Movie Universe?

There have been a lot of rumors surrounding Marvel characters going from Fox to Marvel Studios lately, but this week some news actually happened as the movie rights to Daredevil have officially be relinquished by Fox and are now controlled by Marvel Studios. It’s a big deal for Marvel, who also announced that the Avengers’ sequel (currently unnamed) has been given a tentative release date of May 1st, 2015. It’s also a little surprising since Fox seemed to be working toward producing a 70s style retro film directed by¬†Joe Carnahan. Based on the sizzle reel he made, it looked like it could have been pretty good too:

Regardless of how cool Carnahan’s vision might have ended up, we can be pretty sure that Marvel Studios will have their own take on the man without fear. Marvel has managed to make all of their movies blend into each other, and that brings up my question; Where does Daredevil fit in the Marvel movie universe?

The short answer is that he doesn’t. The rumors suggested that Marvel was willing to give Fox an extended period to get things going with Daredevil, as long as they released the rights to some of their other properties, specifically Galactus and Silver Surfer from the Fantastic Four franchise. This would make sense considering that there is a Guardians of the Galaxy movie in the works and that Thanos and the Cosmic Cube will be in play for the sequel. The devourer of worlds and his messenger boy would fit right into all that.

Would this work on the big screen?

Not so much for Daredevil though. Marvel seems to have their eyes set on space and technology, and I’m not sure how a blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen fits into all that. What’s more, Daredevil has never been a big team guy. In fact, he turned down being an Avenger twice already. I would think that while Marvel ended up with the bigger name, they might have preferred the other characters instead. Let’s not forget Ben Affleck’s failed DD movie as well. The stench from that one might be part of why Fox let it go in the first place.

So now that they have him, what to they do with him? Daredevil has been more involved in the rest of the Marvel Universe lately, most recently teaming up with Spider-Man and Punisher (not Marvel properties, I know), and did hook up with the Avengers during Fear Itself. Daredevil has also been among the hottest comics Marvel has had to offer lately, with Mark Waid giving us a lighter take on him than we have seen in the past. Since the movies have tried to reflect the current comics and vice versa, putting one of its current top sellers in the mix does makes sense. Iron Man 2, Captain America and The Avengers were all largely based in New York, so Matt Murdock wouldn’t have to go too far to find his new super buddies.

The other option of course is to make a movie in¬†Joe Carnahan’s original vision. Hell maybe he could even direct it. No one said that every Marvel character has to work together. The idea of a more mature 70s style action movie sounds pretty great to me. It would also give them the opportunity to get more characters into the mix without everyone having to be in the Avengers sequel and fight for screen time. This could be a place for Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Songbird and other characters that don’t necessarily fit into the grand scheme of what Marvel has called, “Phase 2.” Only time will tell how they incorporate Daredevil into Marvel Studios’ grand scheme, but I would bet that Joss Whedon is working on it as we speak.