ENJOY THE MOVIES
Having in mind the most recent years, Hollywood has been trying to amplify the "twin films" phenomenon whenever it happens - two (or sometimes more) movies about the same story produced and released within a short period of time by different studios. The examples are vast over the last few decades, and a quick search for the term will surprise anyone who believes such an event rarely occurs. In fact, with this concept, it's more unusual for two films about precisely the same narrative and featuring the exact same protagonist to be released in the very same year. This is the case with Pinocchio, which is also being adapted into an animated version by Guillermo del Toro - scheduled for the end of November - and a Disney live-action reinterpretation lead by director Robert Zemeckis. Unfortunately, the latter isn't very impressive… at all.
A few years ago, Overlord opened, which was one of the best surprises I hae ever experienced on the big screen. With almost no expectations, Julius Avery blew me away with his sophomore feature, so when I learned that the filmmaker was exploring a dark take on the superhero genre, I immediately got interested in this project. Despite understanding the reasons behind the "superhero fatigue" discourse, the truth is that this so-called tiredness is only mentioned when movies don't succeed. Therefore, as this is a genre I quite appreciate, I'll always be invested in what directors and writers have to offer. That said, Samaritan holds a premise filled with potential, but it mediocrely fails to develop its fascinating ideas in any satisfying way.
As someone born in 1994, Dragon Ball was one of the TV programs that accompanied me throughout my childhood, impacting my life – and that of many children and teenagers worldwide – in an unforgettable manner. No other television offerings came close to watching the epic adventures of Goku and the Z fighters. It's impossible to describe the tremendous happiness fans felt when Dragon Ball Super was announced as a continuation of the anime – a series that improved exponentially, arc after arc. Then came Dragon Ball Super: Broly in 2018 - by far the best movie in the franchise. Therefore, expectations were very high for the latest Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, so it hurts to write that I left unsatisfyingly unfulfilled.
Moviegoers possess countless reasons to visit movie theaters, some unrelated to the movie chosen for their viewing. However, when it comes to reasons related to the cinematographic work itself, these factors cover a vast range of possibilities: the cast, which genre, the franchise or saga connection, the director, among many other options. Bullet Train contains many of these enticing benefits, with David Leitch - a filmmaker known for entertaining action flicks like John Wick (which he co-directed with Chad Stahelski), Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool 2 - and lead star Brad Pitt as top picks, along with a sensational ensemble cast, this has the potential to reach a lot of viewers. It will mainly entice fans of unrestrained action with a touch of humor that fulfills the promise of emptying your bucket of popcorn. And Bullet Train doesn't fool anyone.
Landing in theaters worldwide this July is the 29th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Love and Thunder. It's the second MCU movie this year, with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever still due in November. It is also the fourth solo Thor movie, following Ragnarok from 2017. Love and Thunder is once again directed by Taika Waititi, who brings his comedic style back to the story of Thor Odinson as he contemplates his place among the Gods. Natalie Portman's return has generated much curiosity, mainly due to her surprising reveal as The Mighty Thor, but Christian Bale joining as the antagonist has also raised expectations tremendously. With Waititi at the helm again, will Chris Hemsworth and company be able to deliver a better movie than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? [A spoiler free review.]
There are many filmmakers who have endless opportunities regardless of the success of their films. There are also just as many filmmakers who find it extremely difficult to "move up the ladder" regardless of how well-received and financially profitable their projects end up. Despite his inconsistency, I consider Scott Derrickson an example of the latter. From The Exorcism of Emily Rose to Sinister, not forgetting Marvel's Doctor Strange or his 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, it's strange that a director so talented & capable of transforming low budgets into visually immersive movies doesn't have more chances to shine. Therefore, his return – after five years inactive – to cinema with The Black Phone was highly anticipated.
As time has gone on, moviegoers have been given more and more access to the behind-the-scenes of cinema and the filmmaking process. Nowadays, there's a clearer idea about the complexity and difficulty of creating a film. If being the director of a feature is already recognized as a herculean task on many levels, imagine also being solely responsible for the screenplay and playing the main character in addition to directing. At just 25 years old, Cooper Raiff is one of the most promising filmmakers working today, delivering one of the best movies of the year with Cha Cha Real Smooth, where Raiff nails these three roles impressively.
Joseph Kosinski conquered all kinds of audiences with the sequel Top Gun: Maverick, one of the most successful summer blockbusters in recent years. An action film with such impressive realism and scale that demands to be seen on the biggest screen. Ironically enough, due to a series of particular circumstances related to the global pandemic and Hollywood delays, the director's follow-up film is headed straight to the streaming world instead. Boasting a high-concept sci-fi premise and with Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick – screenwriters of the Deadpool and Zombieland sagas – at the helm of the story, Kosinski's Spiderhead is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting works of the year so far, but it fails to reach its narrative potential.
I've never dedicated time to write about my all-time favorite movies, nor have I made any lists. However, it would be nearly impossible for Jurassic Park to be left off of such a list. A masterpiece that quickly turned into a classic, and even though The Lost World and Jurassic World are decent enough, the saga gave rise to drastically inferior sequels on every level. Despite the tremendous disappointment that Fallen Kingdom caused most viewers, its cliffhanger finale created a terrific premise for the next installment. How could anyone fail to succeed with a story involving dinosaurs scattered around the world again while humanity learns to coexist with them? Unfortunately, Jurassic World Dominion achieves this "feat" of failure.
Being a lover of the art of cinema and not having the 80s very close to your heart is practically impossible. Culturally impactful movies such as Empire Strikes Back, Die Hard, The Terminator, Back to the Future, and hundreds more were so unforgettable that people who have never seen these movies can still recite many of their most famous lines from memory. Top Gun may not be the first film that comes to mind when going back more than thirty years, but its epic score and energetic male camaraderie maintain the high entertainment levels of a pure blockbuster - not to mention better action sequences than many movies of today. That said, Top Gun: Maverick surpasses the original in every aspect in every imaginable way.
More often than not, good actors end up with a "bad" reputation because of their "less enjoyable" cinema projects, and the opposite is also possible, albeit in fewer numbers. The truth is that the general idea that literally all Hollywood celebrities live an above-average life without financial, personal, or family problems is somewhat misleading. Nicolas Cage is a perfect example of an incredibly talented actor who, due to the obstacles life confronted him with, was "forced" to participate in "smaller jobs" in order to solve complicated situations. Writer / director Tom Gormican's film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is the quintessential tribute to the iconic career of someone who has always managed to elevate films he's been in.
Since originally debuting at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival back in March, Everything Everywhere All at Once has become one of the most anticipated films of the first half of this year. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, better known simply as "Daniels", made their big-screen debut six years ago with the Daniel Radcliffe comedy Swiss Army Man, a movie overlooked by many viewers. Personally, I was fascinated by the strangely captivating mix of a flatulent corpse and the emotional aspects of the screenplay. Since then, the bizarre duo hasn't made a new feature film, until now… I hope we don't have to wait another six years for their third flick because Everything Everywhere deserves all the hype its generated over the last month.