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No Grandeur for The Justice League

After the surprise dose in quality of Wonder Woman, DC’s Cinematic Universe is back to normal with Justice League. Justice League is a severely disappointing movie in a film universe without a great track record to begin with. But in a way, it hurts more than Batman v. Superman or Suicide Squad, despite being overall better than both, because it’s the big team up movie of the DC characters; and the Justice League in title alone has a great degree of dignity to it. By all accounts it’s a more interesting team than the Avengers at Marvel, yet ultimately its’ movie isn’t a fraction as engrossing as theirs. With Earth in a climate of fear following the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), an ancient villain called Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) returns to Earth with an army to conquer. Aware of this threat, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) goes about assembling a team to combat him. With Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), he recruits the Atlantean Aquaman (Jason Momoa), a young man with super-speed called the Fla…
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Pixar Sundays: Cars 3 (2017)

No one asked for this. Sure Cars had its fanbase, but after the disaster of Cars 2, why would Pixar continue this franchise? Okay, I know the marketing gold mine is the main reason but I like to pretend Pixar has more integrity than that. Luckily as of now, there’s no plans for an abysmal fourth movie, so hopefully this is the last we have to suffer. John Lasseter’s heart may not even be in it anymore as this is the first one he didn’t direct, instead handing duties off to a first-timer, Brian Fee. So let’s just get this over with and retaining some hope for Coco, it’s time to look at Cars 3. Given this franchise’s aversion to original stories, Cars 3 does the has-been trying to prove himself routine. Lightning McQueen is not a young racer anymore and as most of his contemporaries are retiring, new racers are coming to take the limelight. After a bad crash on the track, Lightning does some soul searching, realizing he doesn’t want to be forced into retirement like his mentor Doc Hudson…

Agatha Christie Gets a Modern Makeover

Murder on the Orient Express is not a remake! Some are calling it that because of the popular 1974 film starring a cast of greats including Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, John Gielguld, Anthony Perkins, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, and Albert Finney as Poirot; but this is a story that’s been adapted numerous times in both film and television. It’s one of Agatha Christie’s most enduring stories and for good reason. Kenneth Branagh’s not only the latest to adapt this book, but he also has the task of reviving the murder mystery genre, and Agatha Christie stories in particular, for a new audience. And with this movie he does, though probably only for the right new audience. Hercule Poirot (Branagh) is the self-proclaimed greatest detective in the world on his way back to London from Istanbul via the Orient Express. He’s surrounded by a collection of unusual strangers, including one who comes to him fearing for his life and asking for protection. The following day, as an avalanche has bl…

Pixar Sundays: Finding Dory (2016)

When it was announced Pixar was going to be going ahead with a bunch of sequels to their popular properties, Finding Dory was the one I was dreading the most. A completely unnecessary sequel to one of my favourite Pixar movies focussed on a character I liked, but could very easily be misused and rendered annoying, did not instil a lot of confidence. Luckily, Andrew Stanton came back to direct, which I’m sure is the main reason why Finding Dory, while not as good as the original, is easily the best non-Toy Story Pixar sequel. Taking place roughly a year after the first movie, Dory is now living with Marlin and Nemo. However when she remembers her parents and how she was lost from them as a child, she, with the two clownfish, sets off on a quest to find them, slowly gaining back some long forgotten memories along the way. Once they reach the Marine Life Institute and are separated, Dory enlists the help of a grumpy octopus called Hank to help find the exhibit her parents are in, in retur…

Battle of the Sexes is its own Winner

The 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” was a major moment in the history of womens’ sports. A highly publicized tennis match pitting veteran Bobby Riggs against talented up-and-comer Billie Jean King, it’s a story that’s long been waiting to be made into a movie. It’s Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris finally bringing it to the big screen and, through great casting and commitment, make it one of the best sports movies I’ve seen in years. The film tracks the lead-up to the titular match, starting when King (Emma Stone) leads a troupe of female tennis players in quitting a tournament and starting their own tour in protest of payment discrimination. Meanwhile Riggs (Steve Carrell), retired from the sport, is a gambling addict in a troubled marriage. Eventually, he proposes the idea to challenge King, play up a false chauvinism, and make it a show. As this is happening, both players struggle with their personal lives, particularly King in trying to hide her burgeonin…

Taika Waititi Gives Thor: Ragnarok a Dose of Fun

The Thor movies have never been one of Marvel’s highlights. Granted, the first Kenneth Branagh-directed film in 2011 was alright, but the second was pretty dreadful and diminished any interest in a follow-up. However Thor: Ragnarok, coming four years after the character’s last solo outing, chose New Zealander Taika Waititi, director of cult hits What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, to take the reigns for this instalment. As a result, Thor: Ragnarok is vastly different from either previous film, but in a really good way. Returning to Asgard to find his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) masquerading as their father on the throne, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) takes him to Earth where Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is dying. His passing allows his secret first-born Hela (Cate Blanchett), with whom he’d conquered the Nine Realms, to escape her imprisonment. More powerful than Thor or Loki, she casts them off and begins a despotic rule of Asgard. Thor meanwhile winds up on another planet r…

The Grim Side of Suburbia

Media from the 1950s is often guilty of portraying a quaint society free of harm, disruption, or discomfort. Particularly early television shows from that period like Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, and Leave it to Beaver often focussed on perfect nuclear families living in healthy suburbia. You could even make the argument they’re what some older people really mean when they refer to the “good old days”. The goal of Suburbicon is to subvert these notions of the peaceful idyllic middle class lifestlye of the 1950’s. And by golly, does it ever! The plot concerns a peaceful constructed neighbourhood called Suburbicon, recently upset by an African-American family being integrated into what they assumed was a whites-only community. As this is going on, robbers break into the home of Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) one night and kill his wife Rose (Julianne Moore) with chloroform. Shortly after, Rose’s twin sister Margaret (also Moore) permanently moves in, and Gardner’s son Nicky (Noah …