Posts Tagged ‘ Spoilers ’

‘Concussion’: Spoiler Free Review.


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Will Smith will always be known as an acting juggernaut, more than capable of bringing in a crowd regardless of the film.  Some of his ventures have been hit or miss (Winter’s Tale, Jersey Girl, Legend of Bagger Vance) but over all, he’s capable of playing incredibly memorable, and powerful characters, and ‘Concussion’ continues that tradition.  Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered a connection between football injuries and brain damage in the early 2000’s, and was met with an incredible amount of resistance by both scientists and the NLF.  From the opening scene of the film when Bennet Omalu lists off his academic accolades, the entire movie theater was impressed.  And Will Smith does a great job filling the shoes of a brilliant doctor.

The most notable factor about the character of Dr. Omalu is his Nigerian accent.  Accents haven’t been Will Smith’s strongest suit (After Earth for example), but even though his accent in ‘Concussion’ does waver in and out, it’s not enough to take you out of the film… (like in After Earth).  Oddly enough the accents are one of the only weak points of the film.  Alec Baldwin’s Dr. Julian Bailes has an odd wavering southern accent at certain parts of his sentences, and the rest seems like regular Baldwin.  This however is NOT to discredit his incredible acting in the film.  After 30 Rock, Baldwin can be hard to take seriously because of the show playing his dry, straight faced humor as his strongest card.  ‘Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation’ is filled with seriously played lines from Baldwin that the audience took as a joke because it sounded like a 30 Rock line.  ‘Concussion’ however jumps this hurdle, and Baldwin’s character Bailes comes across as a deeply conflicted, emotionally dignified character who belongs on screen next to Smith.

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who was amazing in Under The Lights) plays Prema Mutiso, Omalu’s room mate/love interest.  To her credit, she does very well with what she’s given, her acting is superb, and every motivational speech, or heart breaking moment she goes through feels real, and substantial.  That being said, Prema is a nurse dating a doctor, and didn’t seem to lend much help to the medical plot points of the film.  At certain points in the movie it was almost as if she was there simply to have things explained to her, so that the audience would understand.  Case in point: when Will Smith demonstrates a brain in a skull by showing her a peach in a jar half filled with water, and shakes it around.  (She’s a nurse, I’m fairly certain she knows how a concussion works.) 

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As for the film itself, there are a few more humorous moments than one would expect from a film with such serious subject matter.  There are many deliberately awkward moments between Omalu and any of the other characters that serve as good humor, and the film balances this well with darker moments that even drew a few gasps from the crowd.  ‘Concussion’ has a unique way of making its point using real NLF footage.  Even from the opening monologue from “Iron Mike Webster” (played brilliantly by David Morse) the movie intercuts with highlight reels, and gives the film a much more visceral feel.  There are even moments of police footage that are used to astonishing effect.  Smith’s character even uses dialog to illustrate his point in graphic manor, describing men “being hit in the head with sledge hammers” or “pouring wet concrete down a sink” relative to choking a brain.

The overall writing in the film is also superb, and doesn’t seek to demonize the NLF, but simply demonstrate that certain individuals within its ranks would do whatever it took to keep the league unshakeable.  There are lines like “You’re going to war with a corporation that owns a day of the WEEK… The same one that the Church used to own.” that demonstrate the gravity of Omalu’s plight.  Omalu even has a few very stirring lines of his own, including the now famous trailer scene “When I was a boy, Heaven was here, and America was here [just below]” (which I’ve read was an actual quote from the real Dr. Omalu).

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All in all, the film comes from a great true story about helping people, and not being afraid to speak the truth.  The conclusion of the film may not be as satisfying as some movie-goers may want, however, it’s the way things work when it comes to real life.  ‘Concussion is very well written, and treats its characters like real people.  There is no general antagonist just counting money in the NLF offices doing evil things to keep people down, every character seems conflicted in their motivations, and has reason for feelings the way they feel.  The doctors, and scientists especially, rely on facts and evidence before making decisions, and sometimes even state that although they may dislike Omalu, and his reasoning, or his motivations, they cannot deny the scientific evidence… which is the way REAL scientists behave.

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The emotional moments in the film (especially a break down, beautifully acted by Will Smith) all have weight, and resonate with the audience.  Some cast members shine brighter than others however. On the high scale, David Morse as Mike Webster was shockingly strong, and on the other hand Luke Wilson as the NLF commissioner was barely even in the film.  ANY person with hair could have played that role.  There are one or two scenes that may not fit into the film, like an awkward club scene that was just there to give Nina Sky some more royalties, but as a whole, ‘Concussion’ delivers as a heartwarming story of a person who will not stand for letting the truth be unheard.  I definitely recommend it this christmas.

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Batman v. Superman: Brand New Trailer.


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The wait is finally over as Warner Bros. has just released the latest and most awesome look at the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with nearly three minutes of new action-packed footage that notably includes a first and unexpected look at Doomsday. Check the method.

‘No Escape’ – No Spoiler Review.


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Once again tonight, the good folks at the Weinstein Company invited me to a pre-screening of their latest release “No Escape”.  The story centers around Owen Wilson, simply trying to get his family out of what he believes is a random bout of civil unrest in South East Asia.  I’ll let you take a look at the trailer (if you haven’t seen it yet) before I delve into the spoiler free review.

 

 

So presuming you just took the two minutes to watch the trailer, you would assume you get the idea of the film.  However, the first point I have to make is that the movie is a bit deeper than what the trailer would have you believe, which is refreshing.  Long gone are the days where trailers would get you interested in a film, and instead you can see an entire movie in two minutes.  ‘No Escape’ manages to entice audiences with the story without giving away all of the surprises it has in store.  (If you think throwing a little girl off a building is the best the film has to offer, you’re quite wrong.)  The movie is uncommonly tense, with an unrelenting pace that drives home the stakes and the stresses of this very real feeling, very terrifying situation.  From the opening scene of the film, the severity of events to come is boldly apparent, and the depiction of characters is quite true to life.  There is also a welcomed lack of typical film clichés, (If people are hiding, no one sneezes and accidentally alerts their pursuers) and there are a handful of moments that seem to go in a typical direction, and take a drastic turn.

 

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All the characters in the movie behave as one might expect them to in the real world, especially Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare, (the two daughters), and their mother played by Lake Bell is a perfect balance of what someone would do, and what someone should do in the film’s context.  Some may wonder if funny-man Owen Wilson would be properly suited for a movie like this, but rest assured his acting chops shine with a perfect balance of intensity, intelligence, and a bit of humor in the right spots (primarily the film’s first act).  Owen Wilson isn’t some type of John McClane style, American action hero, he’s simply a man who has to do what is necessary to keep his family safe, and escape the situation they’ve been placed in.  One of the best parts of the film however, is Pierce Brosnan.  His brash, rude, wise cracking character Hammond seems to be an oddity at first, but later on in the film makes his importance known, and he delivers my favorite line of the film… “I’m going to head to a strip joint.  I should put on my sweat pants…. so they know I mean business.”

 

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The events portrayed in “No Escape” never jump the bounds of reality, yet can be horrifying in spots (after you watch the film look at the photo below again, when you know who’s holding that gun.) Everything seems to be extremely well thought out. Even at the level of sound design, when a bullet whizzes past, and strikes a wall, it SOUNDS terrifying.  The CGI in the film is minimal, and even when it is used, is barely noticeable.  There are some ultra violent scenes, with people getting hacked to death with machetes, or run over by cars, or shot in the face, however, the point of those scenes isn’t for the gore, it’s to show the shockingly low level some humans can get to when they are forced to.  The film does slip in a few places however, starting with the over use of “shaky cam”.  Spots in the first act seemed to try a bit too hard to establish danger with shaking the camera to the point where I thought I was going to get a headache.  There were also certain slow motion shots that seemed a little too long lasting, or just pointless all together.  Also we see some type of an odd divorce sub-plot that doesn’t really go anywhere for some reason, and a few scenes ended with a quite predictable rescue of a character, while others were the total opposite, by seeing the family saved by things that seemed to come out of nowhere for no reason.

 

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All in all thought, this is an amazing, real world, tension filled film that, despite a few leaps on geopolitical logic, is one you should see when it comes out on August 26th, (Sorry Vick, I got the release date mixed up).  It’s nice to an exilerating story that isn’t a remake, or a reboot, or a sequel come to the big screen, and although the film is extremely graphic, it’s base in realism stands firm.  The cast shines, and the balances of challenges, issues, themes, characters, and motivations all make perfect sense (which is hard to find in many modern films).  I highly recommend ‘No Escape’ as your movie film for this weekend.  It damn near makes me want to attend some type of survivalist training camp, just so I would know what to do if things ever went that south.

 

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The ‘Entourage’ Movie Review… NO SPOILERS.


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So I was recently invited to a pre-screening of the long awaited Entourage movie, and anticipation could not have been higher.  Walking into the theater, you could see the immense diversity in the crowd.  It was a blatant reminder that this show has touched ALL sorts of people, of all different demographics, and out of everyone in attendance every single person laughed loudly before the film was over.  I’ll start the review by saying, if you’ve never watched the show, you might not want to read this review, however, I’m not spoiling any surprises about the film.  But if you’d rather not know anything about anything, this may not be the article for you.  (Like my sister, who introduced me to the show in the first place.)

I love it when shows do one of two things… either change their title sequence to something new every season, or they stay absolutely the same throughout the whole run of the show.  Entourage chose the latter, and remained with the same basic title sequence the entire time (as the show progressed, actors names were replaced).  But this new “movie credits sequence” is an amazing build upon the original, and can almost be surmised as the difference between the show and the movie.  “Yeah that was always good, but THIS is way better.”

Some people may be wondering how or way certain things have changed between the show and the film, but the logic behind 99% of the things in the film are there.  Things are explained briefly, and quite well, with the exception of a only few minute details.  The main plot points are fleshed out with ease and questions people may have after watching the trailer are answered… like if this crew are all so rich, why would one movie effect them in such a big way.  But the explanation for their plight makes a good deal of sense.

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Of course ‘Entourage’, its essentially a glorified 104 minute episode, but don’t let this dissuade you from seeing it.  This isn’t a rehashing of some old story line, or some origin story, or reboot.  The story is a new, fresh progression after the events that show concluded with.  All the actors, as well as the characters they play are at the top of their game, even though I would say when Ari Gold gets upset, he has had better lines in the show than in the movie.  This movie also corrects some of the “issues” people took with the final episode, and if you’ve seen the post credit scene of the series finale, you get a great explanation as to what came of that situation.

Everyone gets their moment to shine, obviously the 5 main characters get their time, and their individual story lines differ, yet weave well between each other.  You don’t ever lose interest in anyone’s plight, and everyone in the group feels important.  The sub-characters get their moments as well.  Mrs. Ari, Lloyd, Dana Gordon, and even Ari’s new assistant have smaller moments that bring out the best in the main characters, and the movie. (Although one important sub-character is straight up missing, and I would have loved to see a little bit more Debbie Mazar).  The movie does an unmistakable job of telegraphing EVERYTHING that is backbone of the show in a creative way.  This is also mainly done in the very beginning, so you can come into the theater not having watched a single episode, and understand who everyone is, what they’ve been through, and essentially why they behave the way they behave.

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The natural progression in the characters is easy to see, and how well they’re doing for themselves is appropriate for the amount of time that has passed.  I have to say though that the reveal of just how successful Turtle has become, is AMAZING.  The basic elements of the show are still there, at no point do you think “They had to reformat that from the show, because this is a movie and things have to be different”, everything just fits, and well.

Music has always been a big part of this show.  From breaking new artists, to brining classic songs back to the forefront of peoples memories, to taking tracks from obscurity to the limelight.  The soundtrack of this movie is one that I would buy with no hesitation, although, the frequency at which songs appeared in the movie could have been a bit more dense.  There just wasn’t as much as I would have wanted of a good thing.  All the music was well placed, however there are two songs in particular that could not have been chosen better.  (One, when someone is “drugged”, and the second, when a new car is taken for a first drive)  Those two moments in particular are amplified immaculately by the music that supports them.

The one interesting thing that I noticed during the screening was, you could tell by the laughter in certain areas who is familiar with the show, and who is being introduced to these characters for the first time via the movie.  For instance, if you’ve followed the show, you know Drama cooks for the group on a regular basis, but the way him cooking for Vince is presented in the movie, makes it somewhat comical to the newcomers. It’s just somewhat easy to tell who has known these characters for years, and who hasn’t.  There are a multitude of tiny references fans will appreciate, but theres a specific scene that lends itself to both parties better than the rest.  During that scene, if you’re a fan of the show, you KNOW what comes next, and you’re quite happy to watch it all over again.  Although it is a MAJOR plot point of how things wind up in the show, all the people watching the movie without knowing the characters specific and detailed history have no clue about whats about to transpire, and that makes it fun for both parties.

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Doug Ellin made some great writing choices, and even includes things about characters backgrounds we’ve NEVER seen before… for instance, (and this isn’t a spoiler) Vince was “found” by Ari after doing a Mentos commercial, its referenced multiple times in the show, but we never see that commercial.  You’ll see it in this movie, and its glorious. There’s video “young” Drama, A photo of Eric working at his pizza place, and you FINALY get the reveal of Turtles full name.  (Which is like 10 years coming).

As would be expected, the cameos are out of control in the best way possible.  In my personal opinion, TI has the BEST one, followed swiftly by Armie Hammer.  In a few case however, there are so many short cameos that they can be easy to miss.  (Like Common).  There is an incredible 4 minute sequence early in the film where almost EVERY single memorable cameo from the show appears in the same place, at the same time, and the reasoning behind very much holds up.  It stops you from wondering “Why would Gary Bussey, Mark Cuban, Pharrell, and Bob Saget, ever be in the same location at the same time?”  But that scene works so will, it’s irrelevant.  I do have to say though that I feel like too many people missed the Warren Buffet cameo.  (Which I feel like folks would have gasped at even though he was shown in the trailer.)  The new characters are an awesome addition to the show, and Haley Joel Osmit is great.  He’s a character you’re just supposed to loathe, and he does such a good job playing his role, you WILL.  Ronda Rousey proves that she’s as good of an actress as she is a fighter, Mark Whalburg is great as usual, and I cannot state this enough, T.I. and his wife Tiny are the best cameo of this film.

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So what’s bad about this movie?  My only real complaint is that people laugh SO hard at the jokes, you miss whatever else happens afterwards.  Which normally isn’t a big deal, but at one point, theres a major plot point that I missed because the audience was cracking up so hard at what came before it.  I missed the explanation for something crucial, because a joke in the movie was just way too funny.  But other than that, the rest of my criticisms are just minor gripes.

There are some odd, and unspecified time jumps (specifically towards the end), but thats just an attempt to wrap things up in time for the end of the movie.  However, if your very first time jump that states in writing “8 Months Later”, you should explain how long the gaps in time are when you make other clear jumps forward.  Also, the movie ends on a great note, however, you no choice but to STAY for the mid credits scene.   When the credits first roll, things seem very unresolved, there seem to be tons of lose ends.   But when you stay for the (quite lengthy) mid credits scene, 99% of those same issues are touched on and cleared up.

All in all its amazing, (or as “The Weekly Planet” guys say “Best Movie Ever”)  and the film brings a new chunk of the story to the Entourage cannon, and leaves things slightly open for a sequel.  Because this movie was completed longer ago than you would expect, some of the cultural references are a bit off.  There’s a reference to ‘The Avengers’ that seemed a bit off, but its not that big of a deal.  If you’re a fan of the show, there’s nothing you will miss.  Every aspect what made this story great is in the mix, friendship, loyalty, naked titties, comedy and a great deal of heart.  Go check it out on June 3rd.

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Our First Good Look At The Avengers: Age Of Ultron.


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Entertainment Weekly is well known for grabbing some of the most exclusive movie news long before any other source has access to it, and this week, they delivered another gem.  The Avengers: Age of Ultron, caught their cover, and they were able to give us the public a little look into one of next summer’s most anticipated blockbusters.

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Warning, SPOILERS (and such).

Fresh off the heels of their cover reveal, Entertainment Weekly has debuted the first official photos from the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, including some behind-the-scenes shots. Keep your eyes peeled while looking through them and you’ll notice Don Cheadle makes an appearance. Check them all out below.

Following this morning’s new images from Joss Whedon’s much-anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron, EW has revealed quite a few details about the plot of the May 1, 2015 release, particularly related to James Spader’s robotic antagonist!

“A lot of times when Ultron starts talking, it’s beautiful,” explains Chris Evans. “It’s really intelligent stuff. He’s out to do the things he wants to do because he’s disgusted with X, Y, and Z. You could probably sit down with Ultron and have a really intelligent conversation. He could blow your mind with his views.”

An unusual foe, Ultron actually wants to bring about world peace. He simply wants to eliminate those most responsible for disrupting it: the human race.

“I know you’re ‘good’ people,” the magazine reveals as part of Ultron’s dialogue to the Avengers, “I know you mean well… but you just didn’t think it through… There is only one path to peace… your extermination.”

The magazine confirms that Ultron’s character begins as one of Tony Stark’s “Iron Legion,” a team of Iron Man-type robots that Stark is using to continue his crime-fighting in his absence. The character also serves as a metaphorical surrogate son to Tony and has elements of his personality.

“It’s not the good version that could’ve come from [Stark’s] intellect and personality,” says Chris Hemsworth. “It’s the bad son.”

 

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A Million Ways To Die In The West: Redband Trailer.


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million_ways_to_die_in_the_west_ver7_xlrg-675x1069 AS p.txt a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-posters-sarah-silverman a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-posters-neil-patrick-harris a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-posters-liam-neeson a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-posters-seth-macfarlaneSeth MacFarlane and his out of control sense of humor is continuing his take over of all things media.  After the success of Ted, MacFarlane is back for his second big screen project.  The movie personally looks hilarious, and we can’t wait to see it, but before it comes out this summer, take a look at the first red-band trailer that recently surfaced online.