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Fall 2017 Movie Preview: Action/Adventure

It’s that time of the year again when the leaves start to change color. Well, not for me. I live in Florida. For me, fall means that most of those big summer tent-pole blockbusters are reaching the end of their runs and we are getting closer to the crop of movies that traditionally fares better in the awards. This is my favorite season for movies. We generally get more dramas with impressive acting and striking cinematography. Not saying we don’t get awards movies during the rest of the year (Wind River is out right now and I think it is going to make a run). But, with so many movies preparing to hit theaters it can be overwhelming and I don’t want you to miss anything.

I’ve taken a look at all of the films coming before the end of the year and have divided them into 4 major categories: Action/Adventure, Drama, Comedy/Family, and Horror/Thriller. Not everything fits perfectly into these categories but it works to try to divide this up into manageable chunks.

First, I want to look at the larger releases which tend to be more action/adventure and sci-fi films. I’ll pick one or two from each month between now and 2018. Please let me know which film will have your butt in the theater with a bucket of popcorn in hand? I’ll tackle the other three categories in my next posts.

September

Kingsmen: Golden Circle – September 22nd

When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

So, if you liked the first one from 2014, you will probably like this one. The same cast returns (Taron Edgerton, Mark Strong, and even Colin Firth) plus they’re adding some new American blood in the form of Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum. It looks to be a lot of fun. Director Matthew Vaughn is back for this sequel and I think it could be the highest grossing film of the month if the reviews are favorable.

October

Blade Runner 2049 – October 6th

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

I’m super excited for this one! I love the first Blade Runner from Ridley Scott. I’m frankly happy that Scott is not returning to direct the sequel because his track record has not been the greatest lately and I’m stoked that Denis Villeneuve is at the helm. His previous films Sicario and Arrival were some of my favorites of their respective years and with Ryan Gosling in the lead and Harrison Ford returning to reboot yet another of his franchises I will be in the front row to see what gorgeous sci-fi adventure they have in store.

 

November

Thor: Ragnarok – November 3rd

Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok — the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization — at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger — the Incredible Hulk!

If you don’t know about this one, I think you’ve been hiding under a rock. I’m very excited to essentially see a buddy cop movie with two of the most powerful creatures in we universe, Thor and Hulk. They were curiously absent from Captain America: Civil War and now we get to find out what they’ve been up to. It’s being helmed by Taika Waititi (What We do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople). I’m excited to see how he brings his own brand of awkward comedy to play. But, that first trailer with Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song still has me pumped. This this my most anticipated personally.

Justice League – November 17th

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

I was so happy to see D.C. have some success with Wonder Woman. I really hope that we get more of that quality of film and that we stay clear of Suicide Squad or Batman vs. Superman style that audiences are tired of seeing from D.C. I’m excited to see Ezra Miller’s take on the Flash and we can’t forget Jason Momoa’s Fish Whisperer. It will be interesting to see the team dynamics. This one will certainly make the most at the box office for the month as die hard D.C. fans have been panting for this movie that way that I was for the Avengers. It should be very exciting and I hope it does well. Which are you more excited about Thor: Ragnarok or Justice League?

December

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – December 15th

Having taken her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.

For Star Wars fans there is nothing better to find underneath the Christmas tree than a great new installment in the ever expanding Star Wars Universe. We keep getting little hints from the promotional information, but I’m actively trying to avoid most of it. I hope that we rejoin Luke and Rey on that island immediately after the opening crawl and we get the answers to some of the questions we’ve all been asking. Who is the last Jedi? Who are Rey’s parents? Why has Luke been in hiding? I don’t think this will have quite as large of an opening as the Force Awakens just because that was the first after 30 years of silence, but regardless, there will be piles of geeks lining up for this one and I will be one of them. How about you?

Others to watch for:

American Assassin coming September 15. Twenty three-year-old Mitch (Dylan O’Brien) lost his parents to a tragic car accident at the age of fourteen, and his girlfriend to a terrorist attack just as they were engaged. Seeking revenge, he is enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy as a black ops recruit. Kennedy then assigns Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) to train Mitch. Together they investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on military and civilian targets. The discovery of a pattern in the violence leads them to a joint mission to stop a mysterious operative intent on starting a world war in the Middle East.

American Made coming September 29. Doug Liman (Bourne Trilogy and Edge of Tomorrow) directs Tom Cruise who stars as a pilot who lands work for the CIA and becomes a drug runner in the south during the 1980s.

The Foreigner coming on October 13th. Director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale and Mask of Zorro) presents the story of humble London businessman Quan (Jackie Chan), whose long-buried past erupts in a revenge-fueled vendetta when the only person left for him to love – his teenage daughter – is taken from him in a senseless act of politically-motivated terrorism. In his relentless search for the identity of the terrorists, Quan is forced into a cat- and-mouse conflict with a British government official (Pierce Brosnan), whose own past may hold clues to the identities of the elusive killers.

Geostorm coming on October 20th. I’m really not sure what to make of this… It looks like it could be similar to 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow. We’re all in deep trouble after our weather tech starts malfunctioning and we need Gerard Butler to save the day. Ed Harris is in it so I’m going to guess right now that he’s the bad guy kind of like in The Rock. It will most likely fade into obscurity, but you never know with this kind of movie.

Thank You for Your Service coming on October 27th (Just in time for Veterans Day). This film follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq who struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield. Starring an ensemble cast led by Miles Teller, the drama is based on the bestselling book by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author David Finkel. Jason Hall, who wrote the screenplay of American Sniper, makes his directorial debut and also serves as its screenwriter.

Death Wish coming on November 22nd. A remake of the original Taken franchise. We see a mild-mannered father (Bruce Willis) transformed into a killing machine after his family is torn apart by a violent act. I’m afraid we are all a bit too tired of this type of film where the washed up old guy goes out and kicks butt. However, you should never count out Bruce Willis. I’m afraid it will be lost in theaters since it is coming out the week after Justice League.

So, what’s on your radar? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. Check out the other sections of this preview below:

Nerdwriter says DC’s Flaw Is Not Lack of Comedy

I’m a huge fan of YouTube creator Evan Puschak a.k.a. Nerdwriter1 and his video essays on everything from film and culture, to politics and economics. He does a great job  of saying the things that I am thinking better than I could have if I tried. He releases videos every Wednesday and I would strongly encourage you to support him on Patreon if you like his work.

Nerdwriter

In his latest video, he talks about the apparent course correction that DC is making with Suicide Squad and Justice League and why he doesn’t believe that more comedy is the solution to the problems that people really had with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I talked about this in my review of Batman v Superman, and I talked about levity as one of several things that DC needed to change. But as usual, he discussed it with more polish and finesse than me and really got to the core of the problem which is more than the lack of comedy but is an overemphasis on movie moments at the expense of rich scenes. Watch his latest episode below.

I really agree with his discussion of the various locations within Batman v Superman. The usage of medium to close-up shots throughout keeps us disconnected from the setting. I would contrast that with the iconic fight between Iron Man and Captain America in Civil War. There were definitely moments in that film that were meant to play to our nostalgia and evoke memories of the comics, but they were so organically placed within their respective scenes that nothing felt forced. The plot and camera were allowed to move in and around those moments so they took us deeper than a simple two dimensional frame of reference into a dynamic world in motion.

2008 Best Movie Bracket

As we continue to march backwards through the years to fill our Best Movie Bracket, we come to 2008 which was an historic year especially when it comes to Superhero movies. We have had superhero movies for decades all the way back to 1966 with Batman: The Movie, but I believe that the current Superhero craze took hold in the summer of 2008.

This fervor took root 8 years earlier when we saw a team of mutants take form in X-Men, and Spider-Man in 2002 confirmed that audiences were ready for more spandex and secret identities in their summer movie going diets. Both of those franchises had lost some of their steam releasing sub-par sequels in 2006 and 2007. That could have been the end, but two things happened in 2008 that changed what our summer movie seasons have looked like ever since.

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First, Christopher Nolan captured the attention of a generation with The Dark Knight in part due to a disturbing performance of the Joker by Heath Ledger who died earlier in 2008 before he could see his creation come to life. The Dark Knight was the highest grossing film of the year by a long shot and Ledger was awarded with a posthumous Oscar for his performance (unheard of for a superhero movie).

The success of The Dark Knight may have been enough to keep the Superhero genre going, but in that same year Marvel Studios created an interconnected cinematic universe which we are still seeing built today. Marvel released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk about a month apart from each other along with their promise to continue to bring other second and third tier properties to life.

Continue reading 2008 Best Movie Bracket

Comic-Con 2016 Trailers

If you’ve been hiding from social media all weekend you may have missed that it was San Diego Comic-Con, and what used to be a lively gathering of comic book fans has now become the place where all the major studios release their goodies to hordes of ravenous fanboys (and fangirls). Clearly at an event of this scope they talked about more than just movies, but as this is a movie blog, I will not be discussing any of the comic or video game news.

However, because I am so thoughtful, I’ve made you handy list of all the trailers / exclusive previews for new movies (and a couple of exciting TV shows) that I could get my hands on. Marvel traditionally holds some of their stuff back for a week or two after Comic-Con so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Because of this, it looks like DC won the show with some great new content, but we haven’t seen anything yet. I’ll try to keep you up to date with other cool movie related things that come out of the convention.

Wonder Woman

Finally, a woman-led superhero movie. She is 75 years old this year and she’s never looked better. I couldn’t help but think of Star Trek when I saw Chris Pine washed up on shore, but it looks good and their might actually be some humor here that DC has been sorely missing.

Appreciated feminist tones aside (“what I do is not up to you”), the movie takes on a lighter color palette than other DC movies. It looks gritty, but not in the might-as-well-be-black-and-white monotone of movies like ‘Batman v Superman. ‘Wonder Woman was probably the best part of that movie anyway, so things are looking good.

Justice League

After the mess of ‘Batman v Superman,’ I’m a bit wary of Zack Snyder being at the helm of a superhero flick as important as this one, but this “special footage” reel (Warner Bros. isn’t calling it a trailer) actually looks quite good.

While Snyder still doesn’t seem to like colors very much, the reel takes on a lighthearted, humorous tone as Batman goes about collecting his teammates. I’m tentatively hopeful.

Suicide Squad

On the more villainous side of things, we have another trailer for Suicide Squad, which comes out in a couple of weeks.

Lego Batman

Lego Batman was the best part of ‘The Lego Movie.’ So why not give him his own movie. This one could be my favorite of what DC currently has to offer.

Doctor Strange

Alright, since DC had their fun, let’s see what Marvel had to offer. There was this awesome trailer for Doctor Strange. Probably the most visually enchanting trailer of the event. Here we see Sherlock Dr. Steven Strange learning the ways of magic. This will be one that must be seen on the big screen to be appreciated. It’s hitting theaters this November 4th.

Marvel’s Iron Fist

I don’t normally cover much TV, but Marvel has some great looking offerings and they have given us quality entertainment in the past with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Here’s the first teaser for Iron Fist, set to be released in 2017.

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Luke Cage – one of the main characters in the fantastic ‘Jessica Jones’ is getting his own show, and the music in this trailer is on point!

Marvel’s The Defenders

The above two heroes are teaming up with Jessica Jones and Daredevil for The Defenders. This teaser doesn’t show any actual footage, but we do hear what sounds like ‘Stick’ from ‘Daredevil’ talking in the background and it gets me excited nonethless.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

We’ve got some great non-comic book movies that also released some updated and new trailers during Comic-Con. I for one am very excited to see the wizarding world come to 1920s New York. This is the most detailed trailer for the movie we’ve seen yet, although it still reveals very little in terms of overall plot. I’ve very excited to come into a J.K. Rowling movie without already knowing the ending from the book.

Kong: Skull Island

King Kong gets supersized in this reboot from the producers of the most recent Godzilla. It looks like they could be setting things up for a potential Kong on Godzilla battle. If this movie does better than Peter Jackson’s maybe we could see a Mothra movie too.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself with films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Sherlock Holmes, and he’s carried that same distinctive dialogue and visual style over to the Arthurian legend.

There’s an incredible cast lined up for this as well with Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, and Eric Bana. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword hits theaters on March 24, 2017.

James Wan on Why Superhero Movies are Popular

If you’ve been paying any attention to the current climate in the world of film, you’ll notice one thing: superheroes are ruling the day. Comic book movies have become the most lucrative films in the biz, breaking box office records and ensuring boat loads of money for their respective studios. And while they’re usually visual masterpieces with stunning effects, it seems unlikely that movies about men flying around in tights would be so universally adored. So the question that rises is: why the hell do we love superhero movies so much?

aquaman

Director James Wan, who will be helming his very own superhero flick with the DC Extended Universe’s Aquaman, recently opened up to Collider and answered that very question, saying:

I think a big part of it is because we’re finally at the point where we can actually tell these larger than life stories and have the technology to make them work. That’s one factor, that we can create these whizz-bang visuals to go with the story and ultimately superheroes say a lot about the society we grow up in. Pretty much all the good superheroes have some kind of social commentary about why they are who they are. It teaches values and so it’s a very important thing. On one hand it works on a surface level because it’s super incredible to watch from a visual feast standpoint but on another level it works on a very human level it works on a very human, emotional level and I think it makes it fun for us. Let me pose you a question. Do you think people are having superhero fatigue?

James Wan’s statement offers some answers and as well as an important question, while also erasing any trace of doubt as to whether or not he’ll be able to make Aquaman a successful superhero flick. He just gets it.

To start, James Wan cites our current technology as what is causing this superhero renaissance. This seems to make a great deal of sense. Sure, comic fans would have liked to see Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman together kicking some ass years ago, but the visual effects might not have allowed the action sequences to be what they should have been. We certainly got some questionable Batman flicks in the 90’s, with the Dark Knight becoming campy and with less intense fight scenes. We’re in a point where action sequences become some of the highlights of superhero movies, with amazing and extensive scenes like Captain America: Civil War‘s airport battle and Batman v Superman‘s heroic beatdown truly wowing audiences.

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Additionally, James Wan notes that there is something essentially moral about superhero movies. These heroes fight for what is right, we all inherently want the good guys to win and for villains to get their comeuppance. Sorry Suicide Squad.

But the Conjuring and Aquaman director ended this statement on an important question. Are we facing superhero fatigue? With so many heroes dominating both the small and big screen, it definitely has the potential to become a bit saturated and stale. The MCU might be untouchable, but it’s entirely possible that other studios may suffer in the future due to overcrowding. Only time will tell.

Wan’s Aquaman will be released on July 27, 2018.

Source: Cinema Blend