It is the most profitable movie in nearly three years and one of the best reviewed Marvel films of all-time, but does Spider-Man: No Way Home live up to the hype? In many ways it absolutely does, but in some other ways it does fall a bit short. The film starts where Far From Home leaves off, with Spider-Man thought to be a killer and his name exposed to the world. This creates a hell of a problem for Peter Parker (Tom Holland), so he goes to visit Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to see if he can help. Strange creates a spell to help, but accidentally opens a portal to the multiverse, allowing villains and fellow Spider-Men to make their way through into their universe.
As a Science Fiction geek I love the whole idea of multiple universes, but as a film reviewer, I can't ignore the glaring plot hole here. Why did only Spider-Men and Spider-Man villains come through the portal? I also loved the fact that Andrew Garfield and Toby Macguire came back and played a part in the film, however it seemed like they were having a bit too much fun with their roles, and not taking it very seriously. Most of their dialogue was jokes and instead of fellow superheroes from another dimension, they really came across as more of a gay couple than anything else. Finally, where was Miles Morales? ...and don't give me any of this he was a cartoon shit! This was a perfect opportunity for Disney/Marvel to address the lack of cultural diversity among their superhero franchise and they didn't do it.
That being said, this was every Spider-Man fans dream. This film not only appeals to fans of Marvel, but to Science Fiction fans as well. The whole multiverse angle was ingenious and will tie directly into the next Doctor Strange movie. It was also a blast from the past and brought back great childhood memories to see the other actors who portrayed Spider-Man in those roles one more time. As always Tom Holland was spectacular, the writing was clever and good for a few laughs, and uncharacteristic of most Marvel films, even the ending was unexpected. Despite the obvious plot holes, I really enjoyed this film and I think you will too.
Now days, superheroes and remakes are all the rage, while finding something original and worth your time, takes some doing! Jon Watts however did just that, in-between making Spider-Man movies of course. Cop Car is an edge of your seat thriller that is as funny as it is exciting, and easily one of the biggest surprises I've had in a while. If we're being honest here, after reading the description of this movie, I almost passed on it, if it wasn't for Kevin Bacon, I may have, but I decided to give it a shot, and I'm sure glad I did. Cop Car is the story of two naive and unhappy children, who run away from home. On their travels, they come across every ten year olds dream, a seemingly abandoned police car, unlocked, with the keys inside. Of course the kids take it for a joyride, what kid wouldn't, but as it turns out, the cop who it belongs to is not amused. On the surface this films seems like it's pretty straight forward, and at first it is. The kids, played by newcomers James Feedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford are absolutely hilarious. I really appreciate the fact that the filmmakers used actual kids to play these roles. A lot of times, because of language or content they opt to use older teens instead, and it's just not as real. The fact that these kids are around the age of their characters, just adds to the realness of the film. On the other side of the coin, you have the police officer played by Kevin Bacon. His character was kind of a bad ass, and even though he doesn't know it was kids who took his car, he doesn't want to report it, he wants to get it back himself and is willing to go to extreme lengths to do so. Cop Car has a lot of great action scenes, funny and surprising moments, and even a pretty interesting side story going on. You have newcomers performing along side veteran performers, making an interesting dynamic, and of course you have an original story that is most definitely worth your time!
When you watch a G rated movie on the Disney Channel, you pretty much know what you're going to get, so why bother? For me, it's less about the film and more about seeing how the actors/actress I like got their start, in this case Ryan Merriman. While you might not recognize the name, he has had roles in 42, Final Destination, and Pretty Little Liars just to name a few. While he is a versatile actor, who takes on varying roles, his talent was not immediately evident from the start. Smart House features a boy who copes with the loss of my mother by signing up for every contest under the sun, with the hopes of striking it rich, in order to help his father. He never actually believed he'd win anything, but surprisingly he does! Ben's family wins a state of the art Smart House (by 1999 standards) which at first is a dream come true, until the house comes to life and tries to become a member of the family and control their lives. Even by kid standards this isn't a good movie. You'd expect their to be some kind of juvenile humor or pre-teen side story, such a bullying, young love, something, but there is none of that. This film is pretty much focused on this house, what it can do (which really isn't all that remarkable, even for the time), and the family that is living in it. Katey Sagal stars as "the house", but much like her character, she was very robotic and doesn't really do anything to help the movie along. Smart House is a movie that could have gone a lot of ways, with Disney's money, the technology and special effects could have been remarkable. The story could have had some humor, some character development, something to make it more than it was, a straight forward dull movie for kids, that even they probably won't be able to sit through.
In the not so distant future, human evolution takes the next step. Certain people start to develop superhero like powers and are referred to as freaks. They are easy to spot, as often times, after using their powers, they bleed from the eyes. As with anything they don't understand, the government sees these people as a threat and has started to hunt them down. One such family, having recently lost a wife/mother has gone on lock down in a suburban neighborhood, this is their story. After seeing the trailer for this movie I was intrigued, until I realized it was just a rip-off of the X-Men, without the special effects. Basically they promote this thing like it's the next big thing in Science Fiction, when it's just a very old idea that's been done to death. As for the film itself, it takes forever to get going and even longer for you to realize just what the hell is going on. This crazed father is babbling on making no sense and keeping this little girl locked in this house. All she seems to care about is ice cream, more so than the life of her father or her personal safety, the whole thing was just so bizarre. As for the cast, there really wasn't any chemistry, Emile Hirsch was just awful, playing this paranoid babbling idiot. He's paired with Bruce Dern, who is far too old to really do much of anything, and then there's Chole (Lexy Kolker), the little girl stuck in the middle of all it. The bottom line, Freaks is an idea that has been done and done again, with a cast that so vastly different, that really doesn't click on any level. Worst of all it takes so long to get going and explain what's going on. By the time you finally get it, you've really stopped caring. Freaks looked cooled and has a trailer that will suck you in, but ultimately it's a disappointment.
When we think of iconic action heroes, the names that come to mind are John McLain, Rambo, or Jack Bauer, but what about Mike Banning? For a third time, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has proven himself to be the only thing standing between the U.S. President and assassination, only this time, he's also a target. In the third installment of the fallen series, Mike Banning saves the president from a drone attack, only to wake up in the hospital to find himself under arrest, accused of planning the whole thing. Now Banning must escape and find out who set him up, before they get to him and finish the job they tried to pin on him. Unlike most trilogies, every single one of these films is terrific, and despite different writers and directors, it has never lost it's edge. In choosing a favorite however, I picked this one, because it was so much different than the rest. Not only is Banning on the other side and in the position of trying to save himself as well as the President, but they bring his family into the story. We finally meet his estranged father, played masterfully by Nick Nolte. A paranoid former veteran living in the woods, the elder Banning is an absolute riot and brings much needed levity to a series that already given us so much. People will look at this and say it's just another action movie, just another attempt by Hollywood to continue to cash in on a successful movie, and normally I'd agree, but not this time. Angel Has Fallen not only features the new face of action films, but it also offers edge of your seat action, a compelling and dramatic story, as well as a little bit of humor, all things that you're normally hard pressed to find in just another action film. That's why we're labeling this one a must see movie!