Elizabeth Banks

How They Held Up: 2017 Anticipated Movies Part 1

You may remember a Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017 list that we published back in January.  Or you may not. I don’t know if you read it…

Either way, as of March, three of the ten films on the list have already been released. What a great time to recap these films and see if our some of our 2017 Most Anticipated Movies lived up to our expectations or if they fell flat.

Kong: Skull Island

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Released: March 10
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%    Metacritic: 62%    imdb: 7.1
Worldwide Box Office Gross: 394 m
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly

This movie was really everything I wanted from a Kong film, to be honest. When I see a disaster monster film, the last thing I expect is Oscar-bait performances and epic story telling. I expect over the top stakes and realistic terror-stricken actors. That’s what I got. I was ultimately impressed with the well placed story lines woven throughout the film. Each character had a different goal once they set foot on Skull Island, which was handled by everyone quite well. The center of the movie, King Kong, was brilliant. His CGI was rendered so well it was frightening at moments. As an audience, you believed he was the perfect protector.

Overall grade: B. See the movie, stick around after the credits

Beauty and the Beast

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Released: March 16
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%     Metacritic: 65%     imdb: 7.8
Worldwide Box Office Gross: 710 m
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline

What a spectacular film! This long-awaited live-action adaptation of the classic Disney cartoon blew me away. It left me with such a magical fulfillment that very few movies give me nowadays. I was astounded by the sheer talent and detail that was packed into every corner of the film. Aside from the visual spectacle the movie created, the beloved soundtrack, including the newest additions, were stunningly recorded from start to finish. This movie will be tough to beat for me. It was everything I wanted and more, making it a shoe-in for my favorite film of the year.

Overall grade: A. Relive the magic again and again.

Power Rangers

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Released: March 24
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%          Metacritic: 47%           imdb: 7.1
Worldwide Box Office Gross: 61 m
Director: Dean Israelite
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader, Dacre Montgomery

As far as the numbers go, this is the most polarizing film of the year so far. The fans and critics are once again at odds. And I can’t say I’m surprised. For Power Rangers, this film is amazing. It features some great moments that even casual fans of the franchise will love. It does Power Rangers immense justice. However, there were a lot of issues that left critics feeling sour. It lacks an identity between a kids’ film and an adult fan service movie. It’s very apparent they had no idea who the target demographic was at any point.  And it struggled because of it. My hope is that now the pesky origin story is out of the way, they’re able to build on what they created, give us more Ranger time and less Breakfast Club moments.

Overall grade: C+. Go in expecting to have fun and nothing more.

 

****BONUS****

Logan

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Released: March 3
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%      Metacritic: 77%     imdb: 8.5
Worldwide Box Office Gross: 567 m
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen

This film was not on my Most Anticipated list. That was a mistake. For me, the previous Wolverine films had been ultimate let downs and I was almost certain that this one was not going to be any different. I was dead wrong. Logan brings every ounce of A game it had to the table. Featuring stellar performances from every actor involved, the film hits you with an emotional heaviness that isn’t found often on screen, despite the many efforts.  It was a movie that could stand on its own, not requiring the knowledge of any previous X-Men films beforehand (which is fantastic, because who needs homework?)  The combination of Mangold + Jackman + Stewart, all of whom have said this is the end of the line for their characters*, was so overwhelmingly brilliant that I cannot recall another director/actor combo that produced the same gravitas in a comic book film.  It’s almost a shame that this was a finale for them all. But what a beautiful beginning to Dafne Keen as X-23.

Overall grade: A-. Nothing is perfect, but this is damn close.

 

What did you think of some of our most anticipated films? What are you most anticipated movies for 2017?

 

*The author is well aware of multiple interviews where each party gave stipulations for their individual returns. She is noting that as of now, all of them have confirmed their characters would go no further in the timeline.

How They Held Up: 2017 Anticipated Movies Part 1

SH S3E11: It’s Morphin’ Time!

It’s Morphin Time! So, break out those old Zords and make sure to grab your power coins because it’s time to break down the new Power Rangers movie starring Elizabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston. Before we morph, we talk some news including the new trailers for Justice League and Spider-Man: Homecoming. We talk about our thoughts on tone, style, and personal interest. Then it’s all Power Rangers. Spoilers are here, so be ware! Plot points, happenings, and more are discussed about the new movie, so if you don’t want spoilers, hit the good old pause button and join us later.

Head over to our Facebook page to let us know your thoughts on the new Power Rangers movie. Do you want a sequel? Who would you want the villain to be? What did this movie do well or not? Let us know!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

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SH S3E11: It’s Morphin’ Time!

Mockingjay, Part 2 Review

I have been waiting for this movie for 4 years now.  It’s been the equivalent of what Star Wars has been for many others.  This Friday, Mockingjay, Part 2  released in theaters and I was there in line (not really, because I buy reserved seats. I’m an adult; no need to savagely fight for chairs anymore.). Because I had read the books, I was prepared for what was to come: the emotion, the loss, the finale.  It was going to be a movie of relentless pain, with very little joy to behold.  While I was overall underwhelmed, I was not wrong.

Mockingjay Character Posters

Mockingjay: The Good

Hunger Games is without a doubt one of the best movie sagas to hit cinemas since the Harry Potter franchise.  This movie fits nicely in the legacy that had come before it.  It manages to take a cadre of characters and highlight Katniss, Peeta, and Gale in a way the other movies couldn’t.  You’re aware of the stakes all of them are facing, yet the romantic subplot doesn’t seem to overshadow the importance of the main story.  The revolution is finally upon us and it is not forgotten.

This film also may be the most beautiful film out of them all.  Maybe it’s because the majority of it is filmed in the Capitol of Panem, but the design of it all was absolutely gorgeous. The stark contrast between District 13 and the Capitol is so well done here, that the difficulties facing all parties is finally apparent.  I’ve personally have been waiting for the actual hunger part of the Hunger Games for quite some time.

Like all of the films, Jennifer Lawrence shines.  She is truly the best for the role of Katniss, capturing the enigmatic resolve of a character meant to be unlikable and inspiring at the same time (something other YA adaptations have sorely lacked). Her Mockingjay is every bit of what it’s supposed to be: a revolutionary leader that the world has never seen before.

One of my favorite parts of the film is Donald Sutherland.  Say what you will about the character of President Snow, but he is definitely one of the highlights.  He maintains his terrifying nature throughout the entire story.  The cold, calculating dictator that he has been from the beginning never falters. In fact, the acting in this film is probably the best it has been throughout the whole saga.

The way they handled the passing of actor Phillip Seymour-Hoffman was beautiful.  At the time of his death, it had been reported that he had only one scene left to film.  Fans everywhere were very curious how this was going to be handled.  There have been quite a few instances where actors have passed and it played out poorly.  A couple of tweaks here and there and you have Mockingjay, Part 2, a proud ode to the late actor.

Mockingjay Katniss

Mockingjay: The Bad

I have to say that, in my honest opinion, this movie was my least favorite of the series.  I felt that with the intense emotion this film needed to have, the pacing of the film was too fast to appreciate everything in the proper emotional state.  It seemed more important to have the beautiful explosions and floods of tar that we couldn’t take 5 seconds to reflect on yet another loss of a comrade.  I know the arguments for surviving the situation’s gravitas because they’ve already been made to me.  Yet, this is the part where I miss Gary Ross over Francis Lawrence.  Ross’s style of directing was a pleasant balance between the dangers of the games and the loss they caused.  In the case of Rue, she was given such a beautiful funeral and Katniss took the moments that we needed as an audience to reflect on her tragic loss.  That wasn’t given for these characters.  Now, I’m not saying that we needed to mourn the Leegs, Lieutenant Jackson, or even Castor (even though Pollux sure did, and it was fantastic).  But both Finnick and Primrose deserved better.

That being said, some of our favorite characters also deserved better.  Where was Effie and Haymitch?  Lawrence decided to keep Effie present in the Mockingjay films because of how high her fanbase was; however she was barely in this film.  And Haymitch? What’s the excuse for him not being present?  Johanna Mason was another character not given her due.  We didn’t get to see her bonding moments with Katniss that existed in the books, which I believed reduced this strong character into a junkie shell of what was.  Did you have to be a member of the rebellion invasion unit to get any valid screen time here? Because even Cressida was pushed into forgotten territory.

Mockingjay Overall

I’m going to give this movie a second chance.  Why? Because out of sheer love and respect for what the series has already given to me.  I love everything that Suzanne Collins was able to create and the world that has risen from it.  I believe that my own life has been enriched by this series.  I also believe that Mockingjay, Part 2 probably was not meant to be viewed separately from its predecessor.  Here soon, I’ll watch all four movies together and appreciate it all that much more.  Until then, I leave you with the rating of 3.5 out of 5.  Watch it for what it’s finishing, if nothing else.

Mockingjay, Part 2 Review