Review: Based on a true story ‘Skin’ inks morality questions into our brains.

Synopsis:        After a difficult childhood drives him into the grasps of a white supremacist gang, Bryon (Jamie Bell, delivering a visceral, explosive performance) tries to escape to a new life, all the while questioning whether he’s capable of undoing— and repenting for — the evil he’s done.

Academy Award- winner Guy Nattiv makes his English-language feature debut with this galvanizing story of transformation, inspired by actual events.

Indoctrinated as a child into a white supremacist enclave, Byron finally realized the fallout of his beliefs. He is ready to start a new, tattoos and all. But past violence and pride attach themselves to his present and his attempt to escape.

Jamie Bell is ever the chameleon. His physical transformation via racist tattoos that engulf his face and upper body is pretty jarring if you know Bell’s previous work. The pain his character endures is written on his face and in his nuanced performance. Danielle MacDonald shines in yet another role. Her sharp wit and vulnerability is spot on. Vera Farmiga plays Viking club mother figure Ma. Your skin crawls as she nurtures lost youth into the lifestyle. She is truly scary.

The dialogue is unapologetically offensive. The interspersed tattoo removal sessions are some of the most effective scenes in the film with their elegant score and heightened audio. Although the film already feels long one hour in (basically halfway) the story is timely and the performances redemptive and engrossing. SKIN goes behind the scenes of a culture so vile it cannot be tolerated. The fear from the screen is visceral and incredibly effective.

Release Date:  Exclusively on DIRECTV June 27, In Theaters July 26

Running Time: 119 minutes

Rating: R

Michael’s Review: ‘Fantastic Four’

Fantastic Four Poster

After months of bad press and rumors about a dysfunctional set working environment, Fox has released their reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise for all of us to lay judgement on. Director Josh Trank’s (Chronicle) contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s first family is an unmitigated disaster from start to finish and will not only anger longtime fans of the comic, but it will annoy savvy film goers with a story that feels rushed and incomplete. This film is sadly another example of how to take a franchise, which is rich in history and beloved by millions, and suck the life out of it with unnecessary changes and inconsistent filmmaking. Fantastic Four is nowhere close to fantastic.

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Childhood friends Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) have worked on building a teleporter out of spare parts from Ben’s family’s junkyard since the 5th grade. Now high school students, the duo enter their invention in the school fair, which catches the eye of Professor Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), director of the Baxter Foundation, a science academy for brilliant young minds sponsored by the US Government. Reed is recruited to join them to help complete the work of Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), a young genius who created the “Quantum Gate”, a teleporter similar to Reed’s invention.  Aided by scientist Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and technician Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) along with Von Doom himself, Reed begins work on the machine with hopes to teleport the team to another dimension.

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After a successful test run,  the facility’s supervisor, Dr. Allen (Tim Blake Nelson), informs the team that they will assemble a team of NASA trained specialists to travel to Planet Zero (that’s what they’re calling the other dimension) and explore. This doesn’t sit right with Reed and Victor who convince Johnny and Ben to break protocol and ensure their legacy as the first men to teleport to another dimension. Of course things go wrong and the team is placed in danger, leaving them, along with Sue, with super-human abilities beyond their control.  From there the group is quarantined to be monitored by the government to ensure the safety of the planet, but when an opportunity to re-open to portal is presented to Dr. Allen, the temptation to explore the dimension is too much for him to deny, but what comes out is something that neither Dr. Allen, nor the team, are prepared to fight.

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On paper this seems like a pretty decent movie if it weren’t for the execution and script. The film takes a long time to get going and much of the film is people staring into computer screens with very little interaction. From there the film spirals into spliced together scenes attempting to tell a story, but there’s little character development past brief explanations of what abilities each has been given. The buildup to the showdown with Doctor Doom is as lackluster as you can get. There is no real understanding of what the characters intentions are, or why, past a few glimpses of Von Doom being anti establishment and the opportunity to create a strong rivalry between Reed and Doom was squandered throughout the film. The reveal of Doom’s look, a moment which should create excitement from the audience was met more with laughter and cringing as the attempt to re-create this iconic character with a new look was met unfavorably.

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The films actors are presented with such little, if any, emotional exploration that much of the film each character seems to just be staring off into space waiting for something to happen. Miles Teller’s exploration into what makes Reed Richards, well, Reed Richards, is lost amongst his assumption (and seemingly the assumption of the director) of how a kid with exceptional intelligence would act, which isn’t very impressive. A lot of the venom spewed at this film was over the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, a white character in the comic book, but that’s not the problem with the character, the real problem is that he isn’t Johnny that we know and love from the comics. Jordan’s interpretation of Storm is more aggressive than playful which creates more of a character filled with angst more than ego. Jamie Bell is on screen so little that it is hard to interpret his character past introverted but loyal young man. Kate Mara spends most of her time staring at a computer screen so it’s hard to interpret the emotional center of her character, but the time she does have interacting with the other characters she is given very little to work work. A real shame for such a wonderful actress, but my real issue was with Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom. Kebbell is bland and lifeless and lends to credence to the iconic character he is portraying. At no point do you feel the menacing nature of Von Doom or understand the hatred that he emits towards the Fantastic Four. A lost opportunity on top of a series of poorly executed opportunities.

Overall, Trank’s Fantastic Four is a joyless, dull film that sacrifices everything that makes the comics so great for a gritty, realistic environment which doesn’t translate well with these characters to the screen. Chalk this one up to a promising film that fell short of its mark.

Stars:

1 1/2 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

None

Trailer:

Fox Releases Final ‘Fantastic Four’ Trailer

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20th Century Fox has released the final trailer for Fantastic Four and we have it for you below!

The film, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

The film stars Miles Teller as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara as Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm (The Thing). Toby Kebbell will also star as the films villain Doctor Doom. The movie is directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle).

Fantastic Four hits theaters on August 7

New ‘Fantastic Four’ Trailer and Poster are Here!

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20th Century Fox has released a new trailer and poster for their upcoming Fantastic Four reboot and we have them for you below!

The film, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

The film stars Miles Teller as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara asSue Storm (The Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm (The Thing). Toby Kebbell will also star as the films villain Doctor Doom.

Fantastic Four hits theaters on August 7

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Fox Unleashes ‘The Fantastic Four’ Trailer

the-fantastic-four-2015-why-miles-teller-thinks-we-re-going-to-love-it-the-new-cast-for-f4Featuring a complete retelling of Marvel’s “First Family’s” origin story, the movie has receive worldwide criticism before frame one has been seen, now it appears that the internet has the fuel for it’s fire. 20th Century Fox has debuted a teaser trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Four! You can check it out below. Read More →

Reel News Daily’s Top Movies of 2014 on The Reel Big Show!

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It’s a full house on The Reel Big Show! Michael leads the group in discussion of their favorite movies of 2014, the night before the Oscar nominations. Below are their lists – with bold for which were nominated. See the list of nominations at Oscar.org.

Check out the fun IMDb quiz based on the 36 movies in all the lists!
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Reel News Daily’s Top Summer Movies of 2014

TopSummerMovies2014At one point the Summer Season was depicted by the film’s released between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, but the time’s have changed and so has Hollywood. Summer tent-pole films are being released earlier and earlier to avoid the cluster of blockbusters being released weekly to capitalize on the lack of competition which of course means more money. So we’ve decided to expand our scope and include April into out Top Summer Movies of 2014…buuuuut we’re also cutting off the last 2 weeks of August…so sue us!

Jeremy‘s List

10. Fort Tilden
9. Obvious Child
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
7. Calvary
6. Life Itself
5. Bluebird
4. Snowpiercer
3. Boyhood
2. Under the Skin
1. Only Lovers Left Alive

Liz‘s List

10. Neighbors
9. Chef
8. Coherence
7. Filth
6. Dom Hemingway
5. Frank
4. About Alex
3. Boyhood
2. Snowpiercer
1. Only Lovers Left Alive

Michael‘s List

10. Edge of Tomorrow
9. Filth
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
7. Nymphomaniac
6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
5. Guardians of the Galaxy
4. Only Lovers Left Alive
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Snowpiercer
1. Boyhood

Melissa‘s List

10. Coherence
9. Godzilla
8. Locke
7. Dom Hemingway
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. Filth
4. Frank
3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
2. Only Lovers Left Alive
1. Snowpiercer


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Melissa’s Bluray Review: James McAvoy Is Outrageously Intense In ‘Filth’

The Filth

Look out, Filth is worth every bit of that R rating, in sight as well as sound. If you’re still up for it, what follows is a heartbreaking, devastatingly intimate and intense performance by James McAvoy.

Released last fall in Scotland, Ireland and England, Filth was dropped on American audiences only a few short months ago. Liz and I actually attended a special screening in May, where James McAvoy and Imogen Poots introduced the film. It was a star-studded event with Patrick Stewart and David Bowie amongst the crowd. Vanessa Redgrave inadvertently held the door for me. It was quite the moment. Oh, who’s that? Why it’s Parker Posey. Yeah, it was a good time.

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Melissa’s Review: Forget ‘Transformers’ – See ‘Snowpiercer’

snowpiercer“Unrelenting in the best possible way.” That was the phrase that immediately came to mind as I walked out of Snowpiercer. At 2 hours and 6 minutes, the masterpiece by Boon Joon-ho, never loses momentum, just like the train that sets the stage for this post-apocalyptic thrill ride. Chris Evans, or Captain America as you may know him, stars alongside the entertaining Tilda Swinton, the eager Jamie Bell, and the wise John Hurt.

In this future, the world is frozen and the remainder of human existence (or planetary life) is aboard a train? Wait, what? Ok, so I’m not going to explain it because the movie does a far better job than I ever could. The director picked up a comic in a store and didn’t put it down until he read the whole thing. So, yeah, it’s captivating. Read More →