Toy Fair: Lego Part 3

DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Ninjago

Thursday, July 13, 2017

War For the Planet of the Apes
Releases July 14th 2017
2 hours 19 mins
Rated PG-13


Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Mark Bomback & Matt Reeves

Andy Serkis as Caesar
Steve Zahn as "Bad Ape"
Karin Konoval as Maurice
Terry Notary as Rocket
Ty Olsson as Red
Judy Greer as Cornelia
Max Lloyd-Jones as Blue Eyes
Devyn Dalton as Cornelius
Sara Canning as Lake
Michael Adamthwaite as Luca
Aleks Paunovic as Winter
Alessandro Juliani as Spear
Woody Harrelson as The Colonel
Amiah Miller as Nova
Gabriel Chavarria as Preacher
Chad Rook as Boyle

Review by Stephen M.

Director Matt Reeves caps a trilogy with his best outing yet with War for the Planet of the Apes leaving room for more films.  Matt does a great job in pushing your emotions through the spectrum from making you hate your own human race to then pity and more.  Andy Serkis as the voice of Caesar and Steve Zahn as the comedic relief "Bad Ape," combined with the amazing visuals that combines CGI and motion capture in new ways.  In this war the only real winner is the audience.

The latest film continues two years after the last film, with Caesar now with his apes in hiding in the woods.  Having been out of sight from man, a legend grows out of his existence with the surviving human with some believing he is an urban myth.  With the word "War" in the title, it is not long before Caesar's apes and soldiers led by The Colonel played by Woody Harrelson are in full attack mode.

Overall, I would recommend watching this film in theaters given the good action scenes.  There are some campy moments throughout the film that is a bit of a turn off.  However, the film does enough good things including a stellar soundtrack to make you over look it.  As a fan of the original series and of this current series thus far, I give this 4 out of 5 bananas.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Urban Hymn
Released September 11, 2015 (TIFF), May 12, 2017 (Theaters/In Demand)
1 hr 54 mins
Not Rated

Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Screenplay: Nick Moorcroft

Letitia Wright as Jamie Harrison
Shirley Henderson as Kate Linton
Isabella Laughland as Leanne Dixon
Steven Mackintosh as David Linton
Ian Hart as Ian Wilson
Billy Bragg as himself
Shaun Parkes as Charlie
Caroline O'Neill as Fiona
Frankie Oatway as Bob
Matthew Steer as Michael
Jack McMullen as Dean
David McKell as Ryan
Victoria Alcock as Prison Chaplain


"Set against the backdrop of the 2011 England Riots, the film follows a neglected and volatile female offender, Jamie, who possesses an amazing singing voice and is torn between her loyalties toward her inspiring, unconventional care worker, Kate, and her possessive and volatile best friend, Leanne."

Review by Stephen M.

Urban Hymn is an emotionally charged film about a wayward teen that learns to channel herself constructively through singing as the world around her falls apart.  The movie is a powerful message of redemption with strong actors albeit a fairly predictable plot that is not entirely original in concept or production.

Letitia Wright as the lead Jamie Harrison, just kills it, in both her performance and in the musical portions of the film.  Overall, I enjoyed everyone's performances, including the other two leads in Shirley Henderson as Kate Linton and Isabella Laughland as Leanne Dixon.  The film gives a strong and deep look at the troubled youths of London which stories can be taken as universal to any large city.  However as mentioned before, the story is somewhat predictable as the Director mostly plays it safe despite the volatile nature of the subject matter.

Overall, I would still recommend watching if you have the chance to come across it if only to catch the great performances by Letitia Wright and the others.  Additionally the soundtrack with its original music was also good but a little subdue.  While you won't be blown away by the film, it will make for a good distraction on a lazy evening.

Rating 3 out of 5 Stars

Saturday, May 27, 2017

**“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”**

Man's Best Friend Is The Country's Biggest Hero

MAX 2: White House Hero

The All-New Original Movie Is Available on DVD, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack On May 23, 2017 & Digital HD Now.

Duty calls again, and our hero dog Max returns to action in "Max 2: White House Hero." His new assignment brings him to Washington, D.C. to serve on the U.S. president's Secret Service detail. When a foreign leader arrives with his precocious daughter Alex (Francesca Capaldi), tensions arise between both countries. First Son TJ (Zane Austin), along with Max and Alex, uncover a dangerous plot that puts both kids and both nations in jeopardy. A highly-sensitive mission will push Max’s specialized skills, intelligence and loyalty to the test.

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  • Play the Max 2: White House Hero RUN GAME below and share your best time below for a chance to win!
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• Watch the trailer and buy Max 2: White House Hero on DVD & Blu-ray May 23.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Article by Stephen M.

From Marvel:
A bright new tomorrow is coming for the Children of the Atom as the X-Men race full speed into ResurrXion! Today, Marvel is excited to release its first trailer timed with the upcoming release of all-new X-titles – X-MEN GOLD, X-MEN BLUE, GENERATION X, WEAPON X, ICEMAN, JEAN GREY, CABLE, OLD MAN LOGAN, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE and ASTONISHING X-MEN! Launching this spring in your local comic shop, these new, ongoing series bring fans a new beginning for these merry mutants – one that is sure to please fans old and new! You asked for it, you got it! The ResurrXion of the X-Men is here!

This new resurrection of the X-Men brand  after the fall out of Inhumans vs X-Men is a bit of deja vu, as we have seen the team split many times before.  In this latest split of teams we see the original five (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Ice Man and Angel) as the Blue team, while the Gold team will be lead by Kitty Pryde along with Colossus, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, and Prestige.  These new stepping stone books release next month.

X-Men Gold will be written by Marc Guggenheim with art and cover by Ardian Syaf, releasing April 5th, 2017.  X-Men Blue will be written by Cullen Bunn with art by Matteo Buffagni and Jorge Molina with cover by Arthur Adams releasing April 12, 2017.  I can't say I am particularly looking forward to one over the other.  It will be interesting to see though what they do with Astonishing X-Men.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

1 Night
Released February 10, 2017
1 hr 20 mins
Not Rated
Romance, Drama


Director: Minhal Baig
Writer: Minhal Baig

Anna Camp as Elizabeth
Justin Chatwin as Drew
Isabelle Fuhrman as Bea
Kyle Allen as Andy
Kelli Berglund as Rachel
Roshon Fegan as Henry

Past and present collide when two couples explore love over the course of one night at a hotel.

Review by Stephen M.

1 Night is a romantic drama telling the story of two couples simultaneously at different stages of their relationship and life.  The four main actors/actresses individually each are amazingly talented.  But the film as a whole while you kind of get what they are trying to do, just fails to keep your constant attention for the 1 hour and 20 mins.  Anna Camp better known for Pitch Perfect and Isabelle Fuhrman in Orphan are equally matched by Justin Chatwin (Dragonball Evolution, yes, that movie) and newcomer Kyle Allen.

Incredibly slow pacing with weak chemistry between the couples makes the film a tedious watch.  The long drawn out character building and self discovery could have been condensed tremendously.  Despite all of this, it's still a pleasure to watch each of the actors/actresses perform at their high level making this watchable.

Overall, I would recommend watching this only if you are a fan of any of the actors listed in the cast.  For a better romantic drama try "Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong" starring real life husband and wife Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg.  The chemistry as a real life couple is naturally there and with much more engaging and intriguing dialogue.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 Stars

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Releases March 3rd 2017
2 hr 15 mins
Rated R
Action, Adventure, Fantasy


Director: James Mangold
Writers: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green

Hugh Jackman as Logan / Wolverine
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier / Professor X
Richard E. Grant as Zander Rice
Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce
Stephen Merchant as Caliban
Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney / X-23

Review by Kaiah De La Tore

So here we are at the end of an era. What Mr Jackman has brought to Wolverine over the years and in the movie Logan is beyond expectation.  For me this man could have played Wolverine forever. I would run to a first night showing like the lil geek girl I am. With that said let's discuss Logan honestly and what's not to like. This is the last time we will get to see Jackman as Wolverine and the introduction of what happens to be one of the best debuts I've seen by a child star Dafne Keen in a long time. This lil bundle of pure talent left everyone  speechless. While Logan marks the end of Jackman's Wolverine, Fox has something on their hands if they are smart enough to bank on it with Dafne as X-23.

I haven't enjoyed a Fox movie this much in a long time. The action was beautiful and story line strong and yes this movie needed an R rating.  Fans who love Wolverine won't be disappointed.  The movie loosely based on the comic series Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.  As always the cast was stellar from Orange is the New Black actress Elizabeth Rodriguez to new comer Dafne Keen as previously mentioned. The cast was a collection of some greats including Eriq LaSalle  from E.R and Coming to America, was a surprising addition to the cast. It worked out beautifully. Of course Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor X was as always flawless. This movie gives fans one possible deeper look at what's happened in years after X-Men and in the mutant universe. 

It's highly difficult to talk about this movie without giving spoilers.  After 17 years Jackman doesn't miss a beat. The fact that Fox is letting this money making machine walk away is beyond us for sure. He had at least 2 to 3 more movies left in him.  To quote Mr Jackman, he "would have kept playing Wolverine if they would have given him an Avengers crossover."   Why couldn't anyone at Fox figure this out is insane.  Can you imagine the X-Men and the Avengers on screen. OMG!!!  Now you can argue that the rights are held by different studios, but the fact is that Spider-Man and Fantastic Four are doing cross-overs this was definitely possible if a deal could have been worked out.

But it was easier to let him walk away without him even making it to Deadpool. Which let's admit we were all hoping for. While watching this movie the reaction the crowd had when Jackman appeared on screen or Professor x. Is something Fox should pay attention to. Personally I don't think there's any other actor who could bring to Wolverine what Jackman has brought to this epic character. 

Sadly this movie leaves us wanting more Jackman in X-Men movies. But with that I wanna say thank you to the man for giving us 17 years of exceptional work. This movie is by far the best wolverine movie made! A full 5 stars in rating. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Great Wall
Released December 6th (China), February 17th (US)
1 hr 44 mins
Rated PG-13


Director: Zhang Yimou
Writers: Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay); Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (Story)

Matt Damon as William Garin
Jing Tian as Commander Lin Mae of the Crane Troop
Pedro Pascal as Pero Tovar
Willem Dafoe as Sir Ballard
Andy Lau as Wang, Strategist and War Counselor for the Nameless Order
Zhang Hanyu as Shao, Commander of the Bear Troop and General of the Nameless Order
Eddie Peng as Commander Wu of the Tiger Troop
Lu Han as Peng Yong, a warrior in the Bear Troop
Lin Gengxin as Commander Chen of the Eagle Troop
Chen Xuedong as Commander of the Imperial Guard
Huang Xuan as Commander of the Deer Troop
Wang Junkai as The Emperor

Ryan Zheng as Shen

Review by Stephen M.

It is kind of funny to think that the biggest complaint in Hollywood lately especially targeted this film is white washing.  Replacing roles meant for Asians or other ethnicity with white actors or actresses for the purpose of appealing to a broader American audience.  While this film doesn't have that specific problem, perhaps the great white hope in Matt Damon saving the Chinese.  But no, the biggest problem with this film is the absurd plot.

It is tough to not talk about what is attacking the Great Wall, spoiling a big piece of the film when talking about the absurdity of the film.  From the attackers to the defenses in place to how the Chinese and Matt Damon and friend fits in, it is just one big mess of hilarity.  The shining grace for the film would have to be Pedro Pascal as Pero Tovar who plays as a comedic companion to Matt Damon's character.

Overall, I would not recommend watching the film in theaters though the film was made for the big screen with its grand Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings large scale battles.  It is just not worth your hard earned money to waste or this movie that should have gone straight to DVD.  The movie poorly utilizes some of the most amazing Chinese talent in China and Hong Kong such as Andy Lau.  Not even all these talented actors and actresses could save a ridiculous sci fi re-imaging of Chinese history.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars