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:

Review: ‘Once Upon A Time In Venice” is for the dogs… and Bruce Willis fans.

SYNOPSIS:  Bruce Willis (Die Hard) is Venice Beach P.I. Steve Ford: a detective who’s good with the ladies, bad with the punches, and wild about his dog, Buddy. But when his beloved pet is stolen by local thugs, Steve makes a questionable alliance with their devious leader, Spyder (Jason Momoa, “Game of Thrones”). Teaming up with his best friend (John Goodman, The Big Lebowski), Steve pulls out the big guns in search of Spyder’s stolen cocaine and cash in order to set things straight and get Buddy back where he belongs. Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”), Famke Janssen (X-Men), and Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) co-star in this bullet-ridden action-comedy that shows just how far one man will go for his dog.
The film features an all-star ensemble cast including Bruce Willis (Die Hard),

John Goodman (The Big Lebowski), Jason Momoa (Aquaman, “Game of Thrones”), Famke Janssen (X-Men), Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”), Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan), Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle), and rapper Tyga (Barbershop: The Next Cut).

ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE is the directorial debut of Mark Cullen who co-wrote and co-produced the film with his brother Robb Cullen. The Cullen brothers previously collaborated on Cop Out which also stars Bruce Willis.  The film is produced by Nicolas Chartier (The Hurt Locker), Laura Ford (Carolina), Zev Foreman (Dallas Buyers Club) and is executive produced by Jonathan Deckter (Colossal) and Stephen J. Eads (Live Free or Die Hard).
Once Upon A Time In Venice is one quirky piece of hilarity. While I was not prepared to see Bruce Willis buck naked on a skateboard, I was not mad about it. The film is a bit all over the place but wildly entertaining. In practically every new scene there is a crazy celebrity cameo, aside from the major ensemble cast to begin with. Willis and Goodman are charming as ever. Momoa is almost unrecognizable and Middleditch is genuinely adorable. Everyone is stellar and the script has some huge laugh out loud moments. ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE is in theaters and on VOD and Digital HD now! Check out the trailer below.

 

TITLE: ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE

IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL HD: June 16, 2017

DIRECTOR: Mark Cullen

WRITERS: Mark Cullen, Robb Cullen

CAST: Bruce Willis, John Goodman, Jason Momoa, Thomas Middleditch, Famke Janssen, Stephanie Sigman, Adam Goldberg, Kal Penn, Christopher McDonald, Wood Harris

GENRE: Action/Comedy

DISTRIBUTOR: RLJ Entertainment

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.

It’s Official: James Wan to Direct the ‘Aquaman’ Movie!

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Warner Bros. Pictures has just announced that director James Wan (Furious 7) has agreed to helm the  upcoming Aquaman feature film! The announcement was made by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

“We’ve been so lucky to have worked with James, first on New Line’s ‘The Conjuring’ and now on their upcoming ‘The Conjuring 2,’” says Silverman, “and are thrilled to have him on board as we continue to expand our DC slate. The ‘Aquaman’ film will be a major tentpole picture for us and James’s span of work has proven him able to take on any manner of project, bringing his incredible creative talent and unique voice to the material.”

Not only will Wan be directing, but he will also serve as supervisor to the script, which is currently being penned by Kurt Johnstad (300, 300: Rise of an Empire).  Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder and Zack Snyder will serve as producers. Already announced Jason Momoa will star in the film as the titular character.

“James is not only a great storyteller but can make action truly explode on the big screen,” says Roven, “and Jason has a dynamic presence that commands your attention. Together, they will bring an undeniable vitality and energy to this character as he headlines his first feature film.”

Before appearing in his solo film, Momoa’s Aquaman will make his big screen debut in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, set to hit theaters on March 25, 2016.  Aquaman hits theaters on June 14, 2019.

 

 

Zack Snyder Reveals First Look at Jason Momoa as Aquaman!

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Zack Snyder pretty much broke the internet today when he decided to reveal the first look at Jason Momoa as Aquaman!

Included with the photo was the following statement and hastag:

There is only one true King. #unitetheseven

Momoa, it has been previously announced, to is set to first appear as The Marine Marvel in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set to be released on March 25, 2016. He will then star in Justice League Part One in 2017, followed by the solo Aquaman movie in 2018 and, most likely, Justice League Part Two in 2019.

Biggest question here is, what does the tagline  “Unite The Seven” refer to? My guess is this is the first of seven posters which will reveal the Justice League, as there are seven on them (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Green Lantern, and Flash). We will just have to wait and see…

Sound off! What do you think of the look?

Warner Brothers Announces New DC Comic Book Movies Thru 2020!

justiceleagueIn what was the shocking announcement coming out of Time Warner Investor Day, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced the future of the DC movie universe by unveiling nine DC properties coming to multiplexes, along with already in production Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, over the next 6 years. Read More →