Review: ‘Justice League’

Hot off the wildly successful Wonder Woman solo film, Warner Brothers has released their first DC team-up film, Justice League, bringing together the biggest names in the comic giants universe. A once slam dunk project has been plagued with bad press, a sad and unexpected tragedy that forced Zack Snyder to leave the directors chair and lukewarm fan expectation that have stunted the excitement surrounding the film and has left the finished product in a tailspin. Does Justice League have enough to win over audiences and prove once and for all that the DC Cinematic Universe is back on track?

Following the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, our heroes are learning to exist in a post-Superman world. Crime and uncertainty have swept over the world like a tidal wave and Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) is looking towards the coming storm. Fearing something bigger is upon us, Wayne looks to put together a team of extraordinary superheros to defend the Earth from the unknown. Already having fought besides Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) before, the two recruit Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to defend the three ancient mother boxes from falling into the hands of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) who intends to use them to destroy the Earth.

Justice League, on the surface, is a fun film with some enjoyable moments, but beneath the surface lies a total mess with a lot of flaws, amateur editing and a convoluted story that is painful to watch. Let’s first tackle what the film got right. Wonder Woman continues to be a bright spot for the DCCU. Gal Gadot is absolute perfection as the Amazon warrior, portraying the character with strength and charm, and providing the leadership this team so desperately needs. Jason Momoa was not my first choice for Aquaman, but after seeing him in this film, I have a better sense of the overall direction they are taking the character. Momoa‘s Aquaman is morally conflicted, but in tune with the sheer power of his legacy and the child-like nature of his personality which makes for amusing screen time. Henry Cavill continues to shine as Superman. Cavill understands the character and what it takes to don the tights and it’s nice to have him anchoring this franchise, along with Gadot, to hopefully help right this ship in future films.

And now, the bad. Ben Affleck’s Batman takes a huge step back in this film. While they try and lighten up the caped crusaders persona a bit, the entire transformation appears unnatural and painful for Affleck, who appears more awkward around his new super friends. Ezra Miller‘s take on Barry Allen falls short of expectations. The beloved character is relegated to comic relief in the film with the filmmakers electing for an immaturity angle which becomes tiresome not long after the bit begins. Warner Brothers election to rush this film to market instead of completing the origin films of each character beforehand, limits the amount of time the filmmakers can spend on setting up the characters in the film. With a short run time, horrific editing and a sub-par script, Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon (who reshot and rewrote some of the film in Snyder’s absense) left the audience handcuffed to just “buy in” to their explanations of the “why’s” and roll with the finished product. Lastly, the inclusion of Steppenwolf as the films protagonist made sense for his link to what we hope will be the inclusion of Darkseid in the sequel, but the election of a full CG portrayal was a horrendous decision. The character has some qualities that could have transitioned to the big screen, but all of that was lost from scene one when we were introduced to an amateur CG depiction that looked like cutting floor fodder from Warcraft.

Overall, Justice League misses the mark in a big way. We can only hope that Geoff Johns can take creative control over all of the DCCU and give back to fans the films that they rightfully deserve.

Stars:

2 1/2 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

Yes. One mid-credit and one post credit

Trailer:

The International Trailer for ‘Justice League’ has Landed

Warner Bros UK has unleashed the new trailer for Justice League and we have it for you below!

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

The movie also stars Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen and J. K. Simmons.

Justice League is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2017, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D.

Review: ‘Live By Night’- An American Crime Drama from Ben Affleck

Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) directs and stars in Live By Night, an American crime drama about a young man from Boston and his desire for revenge. The film is based on the award-winning best-seller by Dennis Lehane and is written for the screen by Affleck himself. A film that starts with a lot of promise but quickly loses steam and struggles to make it to the finish.

Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is the son of a Boston Police Deputy Superintendent, a WWI vet, and an outlaw. He’s a man with a good heart who seems destined for a better path, but it’s his anti-establishment ways that keep him in business for himself. Joe works with a loyal crew including Dion (Chris Messina), a close friend who’s got Joe’s back under any condition. Joe falls for Emma (Sienna Miller), the girlfriend of Irish gangster Albert White (Robert Glenister) and the two have a secret love affair, but when the gangster finds out, it forces Joe to make some life changing decisions. Driven by a need to right the wrongs committed against him, Joe accepts an alliance with the Italian mob and a move to Tampa with his crew to run the rum business there. But every decision comes at a cost as does the price of revenge, and Joe is about to find out just how much.

Live By Night, on the surface, is an enjoyable enough gangster film. An all star cast including Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson and Elle Fanning do their best to provide insight into their personal piece of the elaborate puzzle, and each actor does an admirable job to help bring their character arc to fulfillment, but Ben Affleck tries to navigate thru the myriad of storylines he’s created and ultimately leaves the story winded and the characters unfulfilling.

Overall, the film sets out to tell a gangster story and it does just that, but the journey is long and tiresome and loses it’s muster about halfway thru. Should you see it? Sure, but don’t expect the next Godfather, for that it is not.

Stars:

3 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

Review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

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To say Warner Bros. has had a hard time getting their DC Movie Universe off the ground would be an understatement. Failed projects like Green Lantern and underwhelming resurrections like Man of Steel have put the movie studio behind the eight ball as they continue to watch their rivals over at Marvel succeed, but things are about to change, or so they hope, as director Zack Snyder brings two of the biggest comic book heroes to the screen in a head to head battle in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Can bringing these two iconic heroes (well, three actually when you add Wonder Woman) put Warner and DC back on the right track and truly bring the dawn of a new cinematic universe to fruition?

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We begin where Man of Steel ends, at the battle of Metropolis. Superman (Henry Cavill) is in the midst of a furious battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon) and the chaos that ensues from the two combatants leads to much loss of life and the wrath of one billionaire vigilante, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). The world begins to question the existence of Superman and his unchecked powers; the government demands there be regulations regarding Superman’s unchecked heroics and the general public is has a mixed view on his actions. As Superman continues his crusade, his actions bring consequences that lead men like Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) to look for a solution to stop the man of steel, but Luthor’s plans are much more sinister than just doing the right thing for mankind.

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Luthor is not the only one looking for a solution to stop Superman. Bruce Wayne’s mixed emotions regarding Superman bring him to the realization that he must prepare himself for battle if that moment arises. The Batman must stand against the coming storm with everything at his disposal and he will let no one stand in his way of accomplishing his goal. Wayne, convinced that Luthor may have vital information that he needs, decides to infiltrate the tech genius’ files to find a suitable answer, but Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), a mysterious woman who is also looking for answers of her own, crosses path with Wayne and leads the billionaire to a much larger discovery. As the time line accelerates, Batman and Superman must come face to face, but will their battle lead to an understanding as a larger threat rears its ugly head?

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, on the surface, seems like a can’t lose film, but looks can be deceiving. Director Zack Snyder learns very little from his short comings with Man of Steel and continues to wrap chaotic action sequences around poorly written dialogue and tries to sell it to audiences as a complete film. The first half of the movie is a jumbled mess with too many side stories jam packed into an hour and a half. The premise is there and you can see that there is a really good story there somewhere, but Snyder proves that he is not the director to bring it out.The second half picks up and brings some amazing action sequences, but the damage is already done and you’re left trying to piece the film together on your own.

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Each of the stars battled fan boy anger over their casting and knocked their roles out of the park. Ben Affleck is fantastic as Batman and brings the darkest version of the character to the screen to date. Gal Gadot is breathtaking as Wonder Woman. She is elegant and powerful and a perfect casting for the Amazon princess. Henry Cavill‘s performance is a bit hollow, but I believe that has more to do with his character arc and less to do with the actor himself. Jesse Eisenberg was fantastic as the menacing Lex Luthor. His portrayal is very different from previous incarnations of the character and he creates a perfect version for this new dark cinematic universe. The one low point in the cast is Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Her sole purpose in the film was to show up and be rescued and denied this wonderful actress a chance to help move the story forward. This is a far cry from the character we were give in Man of Steel.

Overall, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a good film, but not a great film. There are elements of an epic movie underneath the chaos and that’s unfortunate because the actors were giving it their all. Should you see the film? Absolutely. Draw your own conclusions as we will all experience the film differently, but for this comic book lover, I was left wanting more.

Stars:

3 out of 5

After credit scene?

None

Trailer:

The Final ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Trailer is Here!

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From director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) comes Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, starring Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Superman/Clark Kent in the characters’ first big-screen pairing.

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs.  And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the film also stars Oscar nominees Amy Adams (American Hustle, Man of Steel) as Lois Lane, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as Lex Luthor, Diane Lane (Unfaithful, Man of Steel) as Martha Kent, and Laurence Fishburne (What’s Love Got to Do with It, Man of Steel) as Perry White; Oscar winners Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Alfred, and Holly Hunter (The Piano) as Senator Finch; and Gal Gadot (the “Fast and Furious” films) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.

Snyder directed from a screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, based on characters from DC Comics, including Batman, created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, and Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  The film is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer serving as executive producers.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will arrive in theaters on March 25th

New Trailer for ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Features a Familiar Foe

Batman-v-Superman-Dawn-of-Justice-LogoWarner Bros and DC Entertainment released the new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice during Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night and we have it for you below!

From director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) comes Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, starring Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) as Batman/Bruce Wayne and

Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Superman/Clark Kent in the characters’ first big screen pairing.
Fearing the actions of a god-like Superhero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war
with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
The film also stars Oscar nominees Amy Adams (American Hustle, Man of Steel) as Lois Lane, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as Lex Luthor, Diane Lane (Unfaithful, Man of Steel) as Martha Kent, and Laurence Fishburne
(What’s Love Got to Do with It, Man of Steel) as Perry White; Oscar winners
Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Alfred, and Holly Hunter (The Piano) as Senator Finch; and Gal Gadot (Fast Five) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.
Snyder directed from a screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, based on
characters from DC Comics, including Batman, created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, and
Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The film is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer serving as executive producers.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens worldwide on March 25, 2016.

New ‘Batman v Superman’ Photos Surface from Empire Magazine

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Empire has revealed three new Batman v Superman photos and we have them for you below! The photos feature Ben Affleck’s Batman and the Bat signal, Henry Cavill’s Superman in Wayne Manor, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor at LexCorp.

The film stars Henry Cavill reprising his role as Clark Kent/Superman, and Ben Affleck assuming the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman with Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, and Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane returning from Man of SteelJesse Eisenberg will also star as Lex Luthor along with Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Holly Hunter in a yet to be announced role. Jason Momoa will also be making an appearance as Aquaman, but the significance of his role has yet to be announced.

Directed by Zack Snyder, written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer, the film is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in theaters March 25, 2016

 

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EW Features New Stills from the Upcoming ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

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Entertainment Weekly brings us new photos from the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in their upcoming comic con edition of the magazine. The photos can be viewed below. They feature Henry Cavill’s Superman, Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman as well as a good look at Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor!

 

Rumor: Ben Affleck to Direct ‘The Batman’ for Warner Bros.

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Not unexpected given his past history as a director, but it is now being reported that Ben Affleck will indeed be directing himself in the upcoming WB film The Batman apparently slated for November 2018. Chris Terrio, who rewrote the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice script and is currently working on the two part Justice League film, will write the movie is it also reported.

This is a rumor as of now, but we should know more in a few weeks as DC has a major panel at this years San Diego Comic Con. Stay tuned as we will be coming to you live from the event.

Zack Snyder Reveals ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Posters

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Following the release of the teaser trailer a few days back, director Zack Snyder has unveiled the teaser posters for the film. You can check them out below.

The film stars Henry Cavill reprising his role as Clark Kent/Superman, and Ben Affleck assuming the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman with Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, and Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane returning from Man of SteelJesse Eisenberg will also star as Lex Luthor along with Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Holly Hunter in a yet to be announced role. Jason Momoa will also be making an appearance as Aquaman, but the significance of his role has yet to be announced.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in theaters March 25, 2016

The 35th Annual Razzies Awards Nominees Have Been Announced

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For the 35th year, The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation has announced their nominations for the Razzie Awards. You can check out the list of films and performances deemed to be the absolute worst Hollywood has to offer below… Read More →

Michael’s Review: ‘Gone Girl’- Edge of Your Seat Who Done It, Done Right

Going into this film I had modest expectations from the latest David Fincher book to film adaptation and as always the acclaimed director did not disappoint. Taken from the novel ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn, the film tells a story of the disappearance of Amy Dunne and the subsequent investigation into her husband, Nick Dunne’s involvement. Gone Girl is as shocking and suspenseful as any thriller I’ve seen in recent years. A fresh take on a stale genre and one that screams to be seen. Read More →