Friday, April 29, 2016

Screen Shots! - The Jungle Book

 TITLE: The Jungle Book (2016)
RATED: PG, for animal on animal violence
GENRE: Family, Action, Adventure, Animation... kind of
STARRING: Neel Sethi (as the only human in the movie, you can't miss 'em) and an overworked visual effects team as: Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Lupita Nyong'o as Raksha, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, and Christopher "Cow Bell" Walken as King Louie. (Yes, he sings.) 
NOTABLE CREW: Director: Jon Favreau, Writers: Justin Marks (screenplay), Rudyard Kipling (book), Cinematographer: Bill Pope, and the amazing visual effects team, who are too numerous to name and whose credits are too confusing to be able to pin just one of them to hand the credit
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A young boy raised by a family of wolves and a panther is hunted by a vengeful tiger and must flee the jungle in search of his own kind.
WHAT I THINK: Much better than I expected it to be. (I tend to approach these Disney remakes with an air of skepticism.) The animal actors are fun and engaging, and young Neel Sethi deserves major props for interacting entirely with a blue screen during production. The real star of this movie is, of course, the amazing visuals. The animals are astoudingly realistic, and the 3D cinematography was utilized well. (Especially for the ending credits. Honestly, I could watch an entire movie like those ending credits. Can that be the sequel?)
WHO SHOULD WATCH IT: The whole family. Your teeny tiny children may be frightened by the fierce tiger and the somewhat creepy King Louie, but otherwise it's good for kids, and there's lots of nostalgia-y moments that the adults will appreciate too.
COOL FACTOIDS: Mowgli has a scar on his chest in the shape of the letter "r" and another scar on his left shoulder in the shape of a "k". This is a nod to the original author, Rudyard Kipling.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Screen Shots! - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

TITLE: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
RATED: PG-13, for superhero violence and angst
GENRE: Action, Adventure, Superhero
STARRING: Ben "I can be Batman if I want to be Batman" Affleck, Henry Cavill as Superman's chin dimple, Amy Adams as the character that taught girls everywhere that almost dying is the only way to get your man's attention, and Jesse Eisenberg as the only character Jesse Eisenberg ever plays
NOTABLE CREW: Directed by Zack Snyder, you know, the guy who brought us the classic superhero hits: Shirtless Spartans Yell in Slow MotionDr. Manhattan's Enormous Blue Wang, and, who can forget, Sucker Punch
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel.... also Lex Luthor decides he hates Superman for no apparent reason and uses General Zod's old stuff to mess with him.... also Wonder Woman is there, you know, just hanging out.
WHAT I THINK: This could have been a very good set of movies. Unfortunately, instead of these stories being given the treatment they deserve by being broken up into at least three movies, they were all shoved into a bloated 2 hours and 31 minutes of what is clearly DC's impatient attempt to catch up with the scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (current movie count: 12) in a single stroke. (Current DC universe movie count: 2). Also, I appreciated the nods to famous comic storylines, but that appreciation faded into resentment as I realized that those, better plotted, stories were not what I was going to see on the screen. Not that there weren't good parts. There were good parts. (Ben Affleck's Batman was the high point of the film.) But that was the problem, you see. It was good as parts. Not so much as a whole.
WHO SHOULD WATCH IT: Fans of Man of Steel.
COOL FACTOIDS: This is the 10th time Batman has been portrayed since 1943. Superman has been portrayed 16 times since 1939.