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Vin Diesel

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

May 03 // Matthew Razak
[embed]221505:43546:0[/embed] Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Director: James GunnRating: PG-13Release Date: May 5, 2017 We should just get this out of the way first: even if this movie sucked more than Suicide Squad I'd recommend it just to see baby Groot. Baby Groot is the cutest, adorablest, most bestest thing that has ever happened on a movie screen. His adorableness could reduce a theater of hardened criminals into a gaggle of teenage girls who have just seen 12 puppies playing with 12 kittens with some baby otters splashing in a pool nearby under the watchful eye of 3 baby pandas trying to lick fruit out of an ice cube while a group of babies give those tiny baby smiles that make your heart melt. You cannot even understand the level of Internet-breaking cute baby Groot is.  It's pretty clear director James Gunn understands what he has on his hands as well. The entire opening sequence trains the camera on baby Groot doing a dance number to ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" while the rest of the Guardians battle it out with a giant space creature in the background. It's a fantastically creative opening reestablishing why Guardians feels so different from the rest of the Marvel universe and brings us right back into the team's dynamics while making sure everyone understands baby Groot is the best.  Those team dynamics are at the forefront this time around. After establishing their new family the intrepid group of heroes -- consisting of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel) -- are still bickering among each other as they charge for their services throughout the universe. Rocket lands them in a heap of trouble by stealing some fancy batteries from some gold aliens called the Sovereign. This leads the Sovereign's high priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) to hunt them down, but the group is saved by none other than Star-Lord's father, Ego (Kurt Russel). Turns out Ego is a Celestial, an ancient being, and now a living planet. Basically Star-Lord has some god in him. Meanwhile Ayesha hires Yondu (Michael Rooker) to chase down the Guardians, and Nebula (Karen Gillan) is on her own quest to kill Gamora. Basically, the band's back together. Vol. 2 has a lot to unpack, and it spends a lot of time unpacking it. Its overall themes are about family and friendship, especially fatherhood, thanks to the parenting love triangle that is Star-Lord/Ego/Yondu, but it also needs to get through a ton of exposition because of the mass amount of character background it needs to unpack. That can get a bit cumbersome. While the original film moved effortlessly through its emotional cues and action, Vol. 2 sometimes feels like its pulling you along so we can get to those spots. Exposition dominates a lot of the interaction between Star-Lord and Ego; meaning the emotional punch gets a little lost. Luckily it's made up for in a lot of other areas. The relationship between the crew is still fantastic even when the screenplay gets a bit too on the nose. Gunn and the cast just know how to make this crew work, and they continue to do it all while merging Nebula and Yondu more fully into things. The clunkier segments of dialogue can't keep down the actual spark that these guys have on screen together (even if a chunk of the team is completely digital).  Then there's the action. Gunn was let loose on this one. I can see the Marvel execs giving him carte blanche the second the first film exploded, and he goes wild with it. The opening I described above is just one example of him having an absolute blast with the action. There is a Yondu fight scene that is one of the most clever pieces of action I've seen from Marvel, and the final battle is simply stunning, and, more importantly, coherent. With a plethora of characters doing a plethora of things, Gunn manages to pull together an impressive sequence, which is no easy task. He's also a master at making sure punchlines hit. Even some of the cheesiest lines in the film are timed wonderfully, leading to what is probably the funniest of the Marvel films. Of course letting loose isn't always a good thing. Vol. 2 is a very busy movie with a lot going on almost all the time. The color palette used is massive and sometimes Gunn can get a little carried away with what he's doing. He's a good enough director to keep everything coherent, but a little restraint here or there may have been in order at times. That doesn't mean anything is bad, but things get a little overwhelming at points.  It always helps that your cast is fully into it. Pratt shines again in his leading role, showing why the first film turned him into a superstar. However, the biggest standout is probably Bautista, who is given a lot more dialogue and screen time in Vol. 2. He nails it. While Drax's whole shtick is not emoting, there's a skill to doing that while still emoting and Bautista does it with surprising adeptness. Baby Groot may steal the show, but it's Drax who grounds the film more than anything.  The film still stands on its own in the Marvel universe. In fact, it quite wisely almost entirely ignores the rest of the universe and its ongoing plot. There are mentions of Thanos, but he doesn't show up this time. There are five(!) teasers at the end, but none of them connect to the other Marvel films. Much like its style, humor, and themes, Vol. 2 stands apart from the rest of Marvel for now. That doesn't mean that comic fans won't have a few jaw dropping moments, but this is as far away from an Avengers tie-in as you can get. What it comes down to is that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just fun. It's funny as hell, full of touching and inspiring moments and despite its screenplay issues keeps its momentum going throughout. While it never quite captures the magic of the first film, it has its own. The first movie was such a surprise and so damn charming, that it's impossible for Vol. 2 to regain that feeling, but it makes its own, and it owns it. Even if it didn't it has baby Groot. -- After reviewing the first Guardians of the Galaxy, I noted it shared a lot of similarities with other films of its ilk while seeming unique enough through the Marvel lens. Vol. 2, however, throws that completely out the window and delivers an experience wholly its own. While Matt is absolutely correct about the sequels frantic nature, and stimulation overload, when the film focuses itself it can go to some truly remarkable depths not seen in many of the other MCU films. Dave Bautista is indeed the standout, once again, and grounds the crazy technicolor world in a way I didn't see coming. Gunn adds a unique flair to the MCU, again putting his stamp on the universe with some light body horror, soundtrack meshing with colorful action, but also doesn't let moments shine. Several emotional beats were undercut by constant jokes. The humor may land, but it's also constant. Taking a breath every so often would've been nice. -- Nick Valdez - 78
Guardians photo
Baby Groot is everything
When the first Guardians of the Galaxy hit I'm not sure any of us we're really prepared for it being as fantastic as it was. We weren't prepared for a team of mostly unknown superheroes being turned into one of Marvel's ...


Fate of the Furious races past global box office opening weekend record with $532.5M

Audiences still love cars, explosions
Apr 17
// Rick Lash
Universal's The Fate of the Furious, aka Vin Diesel Wears a Tank Top While Driving a Car 8, just did a rolling stop right through the previous record for biggest global opening weekend of all time with a haul of $532.5M, pass...

New Fate of the Furious trailer is all about a family crisis, 'splosions, fast things

Mar 09 // Hubert Vigilla
Well, what did you think? So dumb and over-the-top it's brilliant, or so dumb and over-the-top it's just dumb and over-the-top? Let us know below in the comments. The Fate of the Furious will be out on April 14th.
The Fate of the Furious photo
Let's play the feud!
The first trailer for The Fate of the Furious featured an unexpected heel turn from series anchor Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). The latest trailer for the Fast franchise sequel is even bigger and sillier, with a plot point in...

Fate of the SB spot photo
Fate of the SB spot

Fate of the Furious gets a furious Super Bowl spot

Furiously bad
Feb 05
// Nick Valdez
Furious 7 was such a huge disappointment to me, I can't bear the thought of the series continuing further. I know some folks enjoyed it, and some are excited for the next film in the series but I'm kind of over it.  This...

xXx motorcycle jet skis photo
xXx motorcycle jet skis

Watch Vin Diesel & Donnie Yen go full Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Our fine 4-fendered bro to the exXxtreme
Dec 22
// Hubert Vigilla
I don't know if I'm necessarily excited about the release of xXx: Return of Xander Cage. There's something really goofy and fun about The Fate of the Furious, but xXx is not the same sort of franchise with the same fond feeli...

The Fate of the Furious trailer: Swerves, turns, and a family in crisis

Dec 11 // Hubert Vigilla
Helluva a swerve there, right? Makes me wonder if Dwayne The Rock Johnson's beef with Vin Diesel earlier in the year was just a coy bit of marketing to signal Dom's heel turn in the film, And they say kayfabe is dead. (From here on out, I will write Dwayne Johnson's name as "Dwayne The Rock Johnson" without quotation marks and as if The Rock were his legal middle name.) We see Charlize Theron in there as a temptress and supervillain, but no glimpse of Helen Mirren in F8 yet. As you may recall, Helen Mirren really wanted to be in one of the Fast and the Furious movies. She was officially cast in some role for F8. We've got a poster for F8 below, as well as a fake poster we concocted for the 10th Fast and Furious film, Fasten Your Seatbelts. (F10, get it?) Let us know what you think of this dramatic turn of events in the comments.
#F8 Trailer photo
The eighth film of the Fast and the Furious franchise is officially dubbed The Fate of the Furious. (F8, get it?) The trailer for the movie just hit the internet tonight, and we have it below. Get ready for heel turns, face turns, and some car crash booking straight out of Vince Russo. It looks like the family is dysfunctional, guys.

Review: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Nov 14 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221033:43193:0[/embed] Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkDirector: Ang LeeRating: RRelease Date: November 11, 2017 You may recall complaints about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey being shown in HFR 3D. Audiences said it looked strange and artificial, which is why neither of the two sequels had HFR screenings. That was just at 48 frames per second. With Billy Lynn, more frames per second doesn't translate into greater verisimilitude. Instead the high frame rate tends to make the movie look amateurish and fake. This is experimental technology, and only two theaters in the United States are equipped with the projectors to properly show the HFR version of Billy Lynn. The full experience is underwhelming on the whole with a few exceptions. What does HFR look like? Picture an HD cooking show shot with a consumer-grade digital video camera. Or maybe a local news broadcast viewed on an LCD viewfinder. Movements tend to look overly smooth. In some shots, the figures in the foreground look like they were inserted via green screen. In an early graveyard scene, it felt as if Lee was laying Colorform decals of his actors onto a flat background. 3D never looked so artificial. Other scenes felt like HD versions of cut scenes from 90s video games. I was reminded how expensive things can often be so tacky. It doesn't help that the cinematography lacks life. The film is built out of mechanical, workmanlike medium shots, flat close-ups, and pristine tracking shots. Lee continually returns to the POV of Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn), like a riff on the symmetrical POV dialogue scenes in an Ozu film. There's a problem. Since Billy's eyeline is not trained at the viewer like the people he's speaking to, the Ozu effect is lost from inconsistency. It's one of many curious choices with the overall way the film was shot. The movie doesn't look clinical but synthetic. In terms of camera placement and movement, the movie almost feels as if it was shot by a first-time cinematographer. In fact, the film was lensed by John Toll, whose credits include The Thin Red Line, Almost Famous, and Cloud Atlas. High frame rates may make amateurs of pros. Occasionally the HFR works well. When Bravo Company takes the field before the game starts and throws some footballs around, the vast length of the field is captured thanks to depth of the tableau. But it's also a tech-demo shot ("Let me show you what this baby can really do!"). The battle scene and halftime show--the sole justification for the technology--are pretty spectacular as well, though more the Iraq scenes than the halftime show. At the Dallas Cowboys game, the troops are meant to share the stage with Destiny's Child. Destiny's Child body doubles, to be more precise. Just when the halftime show seemed like something real, the blatant fake-Beyonce took me right out of the scene. So much of Billy Lynn is about small character moments rather than big spectacle, which makes the decision for HFR filmmaking somewhat baffling. Billy flirts with a cheerleader (Makenzie Leigh) after a press conference. It's a medium shot with a dark curtain as the background. The distracting look of the frame rate and the lack of 3D depth in the shot called attention to the artifice of the scene and the superfluous use of this technology to tell this story. It would be a bad shot and a poorly blocked scene in 2D, but in glorious 4K 3D the banality of the shot is much more apparent. I've spent all of this time complaining about the look of the film that I haven't even gotten to the scenes that work. That ought to say something. Lee's got a good lead in Alwyn, who carries the imperfect movie on his back. He has the all-American look coupled with vulnerable eyes. He's a kid always at the verge of breaking, trying to tamp down the unspeakable hurts. Vin Diesel is the late philosopher warrior of Bravo Company, essentially playing Vin Diesel. Kristen Stewart makes a solid impression in her brief supporting role as Billy's anti-war sister Kathryn. A tense Lynn family dinner scene feels more real than the stadium stuff. Garrett Hedlund makes the most of his screen time as the driven head of Bravo Company, a strong center that orients the group. All of the boys in Bravo have an easy camaraderie, though some of it's built on the same old war movie cliches. This may be just a roundabout way of saying the real immersive material in a movie has nothing to do with 3D or frame rates or spectacle and everything to do with the emotional content. I think about an alternate universe in which Billy Lynn was shot in the same way as The Ice Storm or Brokeback Mountain (and with no fake-Beyonce). I wonder how much more moved I would have been. I wonder what kind of movie this would be. As it is, there's a good movie in Billy Lynn that's constantly struggling to break out and breathe. Witness in 120 frames per second and 4K 3D the folly of mismatched form and content. It's ironic yet fitting that Billy Lynn's technology gets in the way of what works in the film. This is a movie about people using troops as a means to an end--they're good for ratings, they're good as a recruitment tool, they put butts in seats, they're fantasy figures, they can angle for a movie deal (a cloying, winky, meta element to the film that's too on the nose). It's also a movie about disregarding our troops as people. Lee had good intentions, but is feels like the tragedy of these heroes is just an excuse to play with some new cinematic toys.
Review: Billy Lynn's photo
High frame rate, low level execution
I can say this about Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: Ang Lee and his cast have their hearts in the right place. Adapted from Ben Fountain's novel of the same name, the film is constantly trying to remind its viewers about th...

xXx photo

xXx: Return of Xander Cage gets its first trailer

Yea, this is happening
Jul 20
// Matthew Razak
Did you think that the xXx franchise was dead and buried? Nothing Vin Diesel ever does truly dies! And so here is something you may not have been expecting a sequel to a movie so couched in 90s extreme sports that you wo...
Fast and Furious photo
#Family... but divided up
Cinematic universes are all the rage thanks to Marvel and their ability to print money with theirs. Universal has been desperate to get their own, but the best thing they have to offer is turning their classic monsters into s...

Review: The Last Witch Hunter

Oct 23 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]219379:42358:0[/embed] The Last Witch HunterDirector: Breck EisnerRelease Date: October 23, 2015Rating: PG-13  The best moment in The Last Witch Hunter comes less than ten minutes in. It's a small thing, when Vin Diesel acknowledges a child in the middle of some intense supernatural setpiece. It's badass, and it's funny – intentionally so. It's the only moment in the movie that I look back on with legitimate fondness. Because it's all downhill from there.  For reasons that don't matter, Vin Diesel is immortal, and because he is immortal, he has taken on the role of The Last Witch Hunter. He's basically a beat cop, and his beat is the supernatural. Witches do things, and he comes and gets them. Maybe they're arrested, or maybe they're executed (they're not executed). But the people around him aren't immortal. Like Michael Caine, for example, who Vin Diesel refers to as "kid" (which is the second best thing about the film). Michael Caine is a priest of some sort, and his job is to basically watch the Watchman. He writes down the oral history of the deeds and the life. I wonder how interesting those stories are. If this is what the writers thought was the story that needed to be told, well... maybe his life's been pretty boring. I'm not the first person to say this, and I won't be the last, but the cardinal sin of a bad movie is being boring. If you're going to be bad, at least be entertaining. If I look at my watch during a schlocky movie, that's a bad sign. If I look at my watch knowing full well that my batteries are dead, that's an awful one.  I wanted to like the movie, at least a little bit. I mean, heck, I kinda did like it a little bit. I was bored, but I wasn't angry. I get angry at movies sometimes, but this wasn't one of them. I felt more or less indifferent, which is also bad... but less so. The Last Witch Hunter's biggest failing is literally every single aspect of it. The acting is bad (although Rose Leslie does a decent job considering what she's got (unless they were trying to make her a Vin Diesel love interest, in which case that was horrifying)), the writing is bad, the CGI is garbage, the action scenes are among the worst I've seen in years, and it's just like... why? What was the purpose of this movie? I legitimately and honestly wonder that, because some part of me hears the name Vin Diesel: Witch Hunter and gets excited by the prospect. Because it sounds pretty awesome. Like, in a bad way, but awesome. And it's just disappointing that the film isn't that. But there's just something about it that kept me from actively disliking The Last Witch Hunter, and I've been trying (and failing) to figure out what it is. But what makes it more frustrating is that I don't care enough to figure out why. My job as a critic is to be able to answer these questions (or at least pose more interesting ones), and I really can't do my job here. Aside from a few moments here and there, there's not a whole lot to redeem The Last Witch Hunter, but I also wouldn't call it a "bad film." Perhaps it's because there's nothing to really damn it either? No scene in the movie goes so far off the rails as to be anything more than eye-roll worthy. I can't bring myself to actively dislike it because it's just... there. This movie is more bad than good, but the reality is that it's just painfully average. Maybe average plus. But if you asked me where the plus came from (which you implicitly did by clicking on this review), I honestly couldn't tell you. Sorry. About ten minutes before the film ended, I thought: "Oh how cute! It thinks it's going to get a sequel!" Many films like this throw a last-minute twist in there that sets up a sequel. This devotes a whole bunch of time to it. The final climactic battle is shorter than the setup for a sequel that this film will never get. That's some serious prioritization failure right there. But some part of me also wishes that there was going to be a sequel... not because it would have been good, but because maybe it could have been more bad. Good bad. It could have been the thing that this promised to be with its premise but was not.  We're not going to get that. There is no way this film is anything but a colossal failure at the box office. And if I'm wrong? Well... I'll be shocked and possibly hopeful that the second movie will try a little bit harder to make something fun. But it's a moot point, because yeah... no one's gonna go see this thing. And really, they shouldn't. 
The Last Witch Hunter photo
A thing I have seen
There are movies that you know you will like before you see them. You'll hear the premise and it'll grab you. You don't need to see a trailer or read a synopsis. All you need to know is a few key words, the ones that get you ...

Fast and Furious photo
People don't want money
When Furious 7 turned into a massive hit we all probably thought that James Wan would be back to direct for Furious 8, but after the truly stressful shooting thanks to Paul Walker's untimely death the director was allowe...

Last Witch Diesel photo
Last Witch Diesel

Newest Last Witch Hunter trailer wakes me up inside

Sep 18
// Nick Valdez
I wasn't a big fan of Furious 7 as I should've been, but I'll always love Vin Diesel. He's one of the few actors in Hollywood who unabashedly loves what he's doing and it always comes through on screen. Even if he gives the s...
Hunting Witches photo
Hunting Witches

New trailer for The Last Witch Hunter oddly intriguing

If he's last why are there others?
Aug 06
// Matthew Razak
I am 90 percent sure that The Last Witch Hunter is going to be incredibly bad. Despite Vin Diesel's constant promotion of this sucker it really does look like just another budget flick. That being said, I'm oddly intrigu...
Witch Huntin' photo
Witch Huntin'

The Last Witch Hunter probably getting a sequel

Not so last anymore
Jun 17
// Matthew Razak
Despite the fact that The Last Witch Hunter doesn't come out until October 23rd and the first trailer for it looked like someone had photoshopped Vin Diesel into an Underworld movie Lionsgate appears to already be lockin...
Last Witch Diesel photo
Last Witch Diesel

First trailer for The Last Witch Hunter starring Vin Diesel

Apr 30
// Nick Valdez
To me, Vin Diesel can do no wrong. Regardless of his odder career choices in the past, I've always dug his genuine love for his work. He's a nerdy dude who loves trying out crazier roles and his latest film seems like the cra...

Fast and Furious 8 to be released in 2017

Vin Diesel says it'll be the best movie we've ever seen
Apr 24
// Per Morten Mjolkeraaen
Furious 7 crossed a billion dollars worldwide in seventeen days, so when Vin Diesel took to the CinemaCon-stage in Los Angeles to announce the next movie in the franchise, not a single person in the entire universe was s...

James Gunn: Guardians 2 is about fathers

Get ready for a heaping helping of daddy issues
Apr 15
// Matt Liparota
The true parentage of Chris Pratt's Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (who?), was a running subplot throughout the original Guardians of the Galaxy – well, OK, his dad was mysteriously mentioned a couple of times. That movi...

Review: Furious 7

Apr 03 // Matthew Razak
Furious 7Director: James WanRated: PG-13Release Date: April 3, 2015 [embed]219227:42315:0[/embed] Furious 7 is everything you expect it to be. An over-the-top car chase film jam packed with fist fights, gun battles, insanely awesome set pieces and lots of dialog about family. It is definitely an absolute blast and a good movie, but it misses Lin's flare. The director had a unique skill for building up action sequence to their most implausible conclusions, and then jumping the shark again so that all you could do was sit in your seat and think, "WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?" While Lin shoots for this on many occasions he hits the target far less meaning Furious 7 is awesome, but it is not as good as its predecessor.  In terms of plot it might be the weakest of the entire series, which is saying something. Dom (Vin Diesel) returns with the majority of the gang: Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). After the last film they all settled down, but now the brother of Fast and Furious 6's villain, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), is out for vengeance. He attacks Hobbs and then goes and kills Han, as we saw at the end of the previous film. This causes Hobbs to call in Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russel) who leads a covert US spy team. Dom and he make a deal that the "family" will rescue a kidnapped hacker in return for using her world monitoring technology to turn the tables on Deckard Shaw and hunt him. It is a truly weak excuse to go from one action sequence to another in exotic locales, but it works enough. And yet at the same time the plot may be one of the bests thanks to its focus on family, loss and the untimely death of Paul Walker. Walker is digitally edited into some scenes, including an incredibly touching conclusion handled with a surprising amount of subtlety for the series, but even the ones that were filmed before his death seem touchingly appropriate. A conversation he has with Mia before going into the last action sequence is heart breaking and the series' continuing themes of family and friendship work the best they ever have.  You came for the action, though. It is the same ridiculousness you've come to expect from the series, and while it lacks that aforementioned touch that Lin brought to it it is still some of the most mind blowing stuff you'll see on screen this year. That building jumping scene we all saw in the trailer? If you think you saw everything, you are so wrong. Every time you think a scene won't top the last one they pull out some new ridiculous stunt that makes your jaw drop. It's also nice to see that Wan prefers to use actual cars when he can whereas Lin often relied on digital escapades. Wan also prefers showing a lot of gyrating female bodies in bikinis to the point that the actual "porn" overshadowed the car  porn.  That obsessions with showing off naked women also goes for burly men (and women). Wan's fist fights might be the best the series has seen, if not the most plentiful. The inclusion of the amazing Tony Jaa and Ronda Rousey helps to no end, and the Statham/Johnson fight is pretty much everything you could have hoped for with a little more thrown in. If Wan lacks the magic to put together action sequences as well as Lin he definitely has it when it comes to fights.  Furious 7 also balances its cheesiness well thanks to the Walker scenes. Previous entries into the franchise often felt heavy handed when Diesel started talking about family or the franchise tried to develop characters, but here it all seems to fit. While you're itching for the next action sequence to start or for Johnson to drop another incredible one-liner (the man flexes out of a cast at one point) at this point we've been with these characters for so long that you actually care. That doesn't mean the camp doesn't reign supreme. Kurt Russels entire point in the film is to say bad lines and put glasses on his face like he's doing his best David Caruso, and once the action does start it's pretty much just one-liners and Tyrese punch lines.  Furious 7 is indeed everything you want and expect from the franchise, and while some of the magic is gone thanks to Lin's departure there's plenty left to keep the franchise awesome. If this entry is any indication, by the time the ninth film roles around we won't have any plot and Diesel will just come on screen after every action sequence and say something about family, but that will be fine with me. What is great about the Fast and Furious series is not that they're a guilty pleasure, but just that they're a pleasure. It's a franchise of ridiculousness that everyone is, for some reason, heavily invested. Keep em' coming and in the case of Furious 7 bring some tissues. 
Furious 7 Review photo
Cars, breasts and family
To begin, I am not Nick Valdez, our resident Fast and Furious reviewer. He is in transit to a new life in the big city and thus cannot, at the moment, partake in the next installment of the series. I hope you will accept...

Furious 7 Trailer photo
Furious 7 Trailer

Second Furious 7 trailer is still furious

"This time it ain't about bein' fast."
Feb 05
// Nick Valdez
Furious 7 is definitely my most anticipated film of 2015. Over big science fantasy action, man dancing, and comic book shenanigans, Furious 7 is the biggest sequel of the year. But I'm trying to not let myself get too excite...
Furious 7 Super Spot photo
You will believe a car can fly.
Pack it up, every other movie of 2015. You're done. I'm calling it now, there won't be a better scene this year than the final shot of Furious 7's Super Bowl spot. I've still got goosebumps! Furious 7 releases April 3rd.&nbs...

Yo Soy Groot photo
Yo Soy Groot

Here's "I Am Groot" in 15 different languages

Nov 18
// Nick Valdez
ICH BIN GROOT  [via Disney]
Fast and Furi-YES photo
Fast and Furi-YES

Rumor: Justin Lin returning for Fast & Furious finale?

Nov 13
// Nick Valdez
I've reached a crossroads. Writing so much about the Fast and the Furious franchise makes me feel like such a hypocrite. Take the first trailer for Furious 7, for instance. Here I am celebrating a series' seventh installment ...
Furious 7 photo
Furious 7

Fast & Furious 7 now officially titled Furious 7, gets new poster

Oct 27
// Nick Valdez
The Fast and the Furious franchise is heading in a new, mysterious direction. With James Wan accomplishing what Fast & Furious 6 director Justin Lin couldn't (as he wanted to title that film Furious 6), Fast and Furious 7...
Last Witch Diesel photo
Last Witch Diesel

Look at Vin Diesel's glorious man beard in The Last Witch Hunter

Sep 23
// Nick Valdez
Just...look at it. The Last Witch Hunter releases sometime next Fall.  [via Facebook, of course]
Vin Beardsel photo
Vin Beardsel

Vin Diesel gets hairy in first Last Witch Hunter image

Sep 05
// Nick Valdez
From Vin Trieesel to Vin Beardsel, Vin Diesel is always working on some kind of project. And as natural for the one man PR firm, we've got our first look at his next big film The Last Witch Hunter from his Facebook page with ...
GOTG photo

Watch Guardians of the Galaxy's super cute, super spoilery final scene

Aug 18
// Nick Valdez

Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy

Aug 08 // Nick Valdez
Here are a few comments from community members who really liked the film!  NeoShinGundam:  I AM GROOT!!! Anime Dad: James Gunned for the top and nailed it. @TalkingMagnets:  Regardless of little flaws, it succeeds leaps and bounds in the shear effort to give the audience the best time possible...the most unabashed piece of indulgence I've been treated to in a long time.  Nate:  I'm glad they kept Groot to his standard comic book dialogue. And I'm impressed that Vin Diesel took the role only saying three(4) words. Did he do the mocap for Groot or just the voice? Taytor Tot:  Guardians was the most fun I've had in the theaters in a long time. The movie didn't take itself super serious, but at the same time, it had some genuinely heartfelt moments as well. In some ways, I think it may be one of the best Marvel movies to date. At no time did it feel bogged down by exposition like most origin stories, or first films in a franchise/series. It also felt super honest to me. I agree with Nick that at times the language was crude (but tame compared to some of Gunn's other projects like Lollipop Chainsaw), but it didn't feel fake, smarmy, or over-dramatic. At times, it reminded me of the way my friends and I talk to each other. On that note, I was pleased with the friendship that developed between the characters. Sure, there was the obligatory conflict before learning to trust each other, but I believed they could be friends/teammates more than the Avengers crew. Overall, I was extremely pleased with everything from the beginning to the end, unique soundtrack included. I didn't leave the theater disappointed and haven't stopped recommending it to my friends and family. Here are two community members who didn't like the film due to a lack of oomph. I'm paraphrasing, but one of them is me so whatever.  Geoff Henao (Cool Guy/Taco Supreme):  It was meh. For a film I had so much hype and excitement for (both for the film, but what it would ultimately represent for the future of the Marvel Films universe), I felt let down. Sure, the tone was solid and very fitting of Guardians of the Galaxy, and yeah, it showed that Marvel could take risks and be just as successful and prosperous as their other, low-risk films have been. However, it felt formulaic and a bit dead. I appreciate the fact that it wasn't an origin story, but it wasn't a very captivating one, either. I'm excited for GOTG 2 because of the seeds they planted in this one that can be explored later on (Who Peter Quill's father is, the expansion of the cosmic universe and the importance of the Kree/Skull, Comso, etc.). Great cast, great tone, but ultimately empty film. Nick Valdez (Flixist News Editor and Guardians Reviewer)  Looking back I can't clearly recall very much of what I saw. Sure it's fun (and I stand by what I wrote in the review), but it might've been more hollow than I realized. It's different from what Marvel has done so far, but just barely. It's got standard adventure tropes that work because they've never been used in a Marvel film, but the references to the outside world wear thin (along with the juvenile, superfluous use of hoarse language). I guess you can liken it to Star Wars in that way. A fantastical world full of regular joes. If you're willing to be a part of the ride, then you're going to have fun. But if you find it off-putting even slightly (or somehow miss most of nostalgic gags aimed at a certain generation), prepare to be totally alienated.  And these community members like the film but have the most spoiler filled contributions. Enjoy at your own risk!  Travis Boswell:  Although I really enjoyed The Winter Soldier, I think Guardians is the most complete Marvel film yet. The humor hit the mark like 90% of the time, especially Drax's lines. I had a great theater experience because the crowd was laughing their asses off through most of it. I haven't heard an audience laugh that often in a movie in quite a while. And they even nailed the dramatic elements. Starlord's scene with his mother's present near the end was incredible. I teared up and I really can't think of another Marvel superhero movie that made me so emotional. Alec Kubas-Meyer (Flixist Reviews/Features Editor/Cool Guy): I thought it was awesome, and probably Marvel's best movie thus far. I've never read a Marvel comic in my life, but by cultural osmosis I'd heard about a lot of the big characters, but every single aspect of Guardians was new to me. (All I knew was that there was a raccoon and Chris Pratt was jacked now.) My expectations were set by the ridiculous hype, and they were totally met (and probably exceeded).  My biggest problem with it was a total lack of clarity about character powers. The green one jumped crazy high at one point, but never did that before or after. She didn't seem so overly strong, so that made absolutely no sense. And if it wasn't for Raccoon saying, "No! You'll die!" I would have had no idea that him making that shrine thing would have killed him, because his powers seemed pretty extensive. (Not that it mattered in the end.) But I mean, that movie is basically Chris Pratt being amazing and definitely the best soundtrack to a superhero film. There's some cool action and stuff, too.  I'm still waiting on the comic book movie that makes me want to read comic books, though. This wasn't it. Matthew Razak (Flixist Editor-in-Chief/Cooly McCoolerson):  This was easily my favorite Marvel film in a while. That might be because I'm a big space opera/science-fiction fan, but it's probably because James Gunn is fucking awesome and knows how to have fun. It's great that it wasn't just fun, but also touching. Spoliers: When Rocket lost Groot and Drax sat down and started rubbing his head I almost lost it. Nate:  "They got my dick message!" With Disney/Marvel, we've come to expect a level of quality from their films, and Guardians meets it. A lot of people say that this film has been the biggest risk Marvel has taken, and while I agree to a degree, they went very safe in plot and story telling. And announcing there would be a Guardians 2 before 1 even made theatres, made the already predictable plot even more so. *spoiler* Announcing that made Groot's apparent death have less meaning, as there would be no way the second movie would be made without him/it. With already knowing people have a love for these characters and that it will rake in cash, I hope they actually make the next film as risky as this one should have been. Thanos' presence felt like Nick Fury's in Iron Man 2. Forced for the sake of introducing a character further. Which worked for Fury as his role is expanded movie to movie, but if Thanos' presence is just being around around until he becomes the big bad in whichever avengers movie it is from now, why make him linger? Also, if they have him be the main antagonist in Guardians 2, then gain a power up with the Gauntlet and be the big bad in an Avengers movie; I'd be sad, as it is just retelling a rise to evil power similar to what they did with Loki. I'd rather see Kang or Civil War if that is the case. Scissors: Spot on with the Thanos bit, he was pretty much just shoehorned into the film for the sake of build up. Especially since they're building him up now and he's suppose to be the baddy in Avengers 3. Not Avengers 2, but 3. All this build up to Thanos is making them squander the potential of other villains and is one of the reasons many of the villains in the Marvel Studios films are very forgettable. Each film alluding to Thanos is just taking the power away from any other villains. As Drax put it in the film Ronan was just a pawn of Thanos. Every time they remind you of Thanos in these films it's just saying X villain is nothing compared to Thanos. By your comments, it seems you all like Guardians due to its pleasant mix of humor, nostalgia, and how the cast bounces off of each other. It seems like one of the main problems is the extended Marvel universe around them. Thanos is a huge part of this film. Although the brunt of Galaxy would have you believe that it's not the case, Thanos is mentioned several times, forced into scenes that grind the movie to a halt, and makes all other villains seem tame in comparison.  It's sort of like that running before crawling analogy. As much as folks accepted the generics this time, will they be okay with a sequel that does it again? What about when more of the comic book stuff makes it in?  We're fine with talking trees and raccoons, but what about giant talking god statues? Or Josh Brolin in purpleface?  What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy? Comments or suggestions? Keep an eye out for future discussion opportunities! 
FCD: Guardians photo
Diesel or Dud-sel?
Guardians of the Galaxy has caused quite a stir in the Flixist Community. It's blown up on Twitter, Facebook, and I've even heard some of my non-fan friends discussing it for some reason. It's got the kind of pull I haven't s...

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Aug 01 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218131:41721:0[/embed] Guardians of the GalaxyDirector: James GunnRated: PG-13Release Date: August 1, 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy is the story of Peter Quill aka "Star-Lord" (Chris Pratt), a boy who was abducted by space pirates in the 80s after the death of his mother. Twenty years later, he's now a thief who stumbles on a powerful stone and gets wrapped up in a fight between Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and the Nova Corps. After a couple of shenanigans he winds up with unlikely allies: the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and the bounty hunter Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his tree companion, Groot (Vin Diesel). When Ronan poses a threat to the entire galaxy, it's up to this group of unlikely heroes to band together and stop him.  With Thor: The Dark World breaking ground on Marvel's cosmic universe, Guardians quite literally shoots for the stars. I was worried initially that it'd be hard to accept all of these outlandish things, but the casting fixes all of that. Pratt especially utilizes his screen time well as having him  at the center (sort of an audience stand in as he's the guy who's made the world his own, but still is an outsider) brings the film down to Earth. Pratt brings a suave awkwardness that gives the film's tone a pulpy 70s science fiction vibe. You know, like where he could start smoking at any moment and it would only make him that much cooler. Other standouts include Zoe Saldana (who by this point is used to playing the badass), Vin Diesel (he works so much out of three words), the delightfully weird Benecio Del Toro, and Bradley Cooper, who'd be even better if he weren't forced to make terrible jokes most of the time. Unfortunately, everyone else misses the mark.  While I want Dave Bautista to go on to a successful acting career after his WWE days, Guardians of the Galaxy isn't the best showcase for it. Most of his dialogue is stunted as his stiff delivery brings down every scene he's in. He's got the physicality, and his yelling is top notch, but completely hurts in smaller moments. That stiffness extends to some of the supporting cast as well. Whether it's a result of poor characterization, or poor delivery, the villains all seem hollow. While that's good for the tone of the film as the Guardians should take center stage and focus should be on the why instead of whom they're fighting, it's a shame to see their threat deemed virtually meaningless. It's hard to rally behind this group of losers when you don't care if they win or not.  But what about the plot? It's something you've see many times before, but that's not entirely a bad thing. Although it's formulaic, it's a formula that's never been applied to Marvel films and the intrinsic wackiness of this property gives it a fresh spin. Although the action scenes are a bit clunky with noticeably poor stunt work in every scene but Saldana and Karen Gillan's, Guardians of the Galaxy is having such a relaxed, good time with itself that you'll be hooked into that feeling too. Trying to fill the faulty cracks with humor (when it lands, at least), Guardians' pleasant carefree tone also makes criticism a little tough. Although it annoyed me to hear so much "shit" and "bitch," in the place of actual dialogue (thus making the Guardians seem more like children than badasses), how much of it is serious? The humor may clash with emotional wells later in the film, but how deeply am I supposed to think about this when the film repeatedly reminds me of its juvenile roots? At least it finds the time to break up the potentially monotonous action scenes with that humor...even if that leads to rough patches of stagnant space in the story.  In the end, I think I'm just floored by how this was pulled off. Sure there're plenty of little things that bother me more than they'll likely bother fans (or you), and those problems added up enough to factor into my final decision, but Guardians of the Galaxy is still entertaining. Guardians of the Galaxy may be yet another building block to a future film, sure, but for the first time in a long time, I really am looking forward to what happens next. With an ensemble rivaling The Avengers in its star quality, I can't wait for all of these dynamos to share a single screen ten-twelve years from now when all of these wrinkles are ironed out.  Guardians of the Galaxy isn't a flawless victory, but it still wins. 
Guardians Review photo
Good-ians of the Galaxy
I should admit this outright. Whether it's the nature of my job, or the seemingly endless deluge of Marvel Studios news that we write on everyday, I've succumbed to Marvel fatigue. That's why I was instantly drawn to Guardian...

GOTG photo

See Guardians of the Galaxy early and free

Washington DC, Baltimore, and Norfolk screenings
Jul 18
// Nick Valdez
Guardians of the Galaxy is probably my most anticipated Marvel movie in ever. It looks like it's finally shaking up the stale franchises for good. And if not, at least it's got a great cast at the center. So for some lucky fo...

Fast & Furious 7 has finished filming, here's a super sad note about it

Jul 14 // Nick Valdez
Today we completed the last shot in the production of FAST & FURIOUS 7.We wanted to take this moment to express how thankful we are for your support. We felt the love and strength from our fans throughout this journey, and it’s because of you that we got here. There was a time when we didn’t know how we could go on, or even if we should. But we listened to you, and you inspired us not only to keep going but to try and make the best FAST & FURIOUS movie yet.Our FAST family has been together for almost fifteen years now and has grown a lot in that time. From the start, Vin has been our leader who feels what’s right for FAST in his gut and in his heart. When we had to stop production last year, Vin gathered us back together and moved us forward when we needed it most. He led us to this day. Some of us have been here from the very beginning. Vin, Michelle, Jordana and our producer Neal all go back to that first little movie we shot on the streets of LA. We came back to LA in FAST 7, and it was an especially emotional homecoming for those who’ve grown up with each other since that first shoot. There are those we count as brothers who we gathered along the way and are with us again: Dwayne, Tyrese, Luda, Lucas and our writer, Chris. We’ve got some new additions this time in Jason, Kurt, Djimon, Nathalie and our director, James. Caleb and Cody joined us to honor their brother and help complete his work. Our family is big and strong but it won’t ever quite be whole again without Paul.All of us -- those who’ve been here from the start and those whose first FAST film is 7 -- wanted to create a special film for him and for you. We believe we have.Thank you for being there for us. You are the biggest part of our family, and we couldn’t have gotten here without you.The countdown to April 3 begins.
Fast and Furious 7 photo
Sniff :(
The Fast & Furious franchise is never going to be the same without Paul Walker. The filming process of the seventh film has been paved with heartache and drama, but at least it's finally over. Knowing that Fast & Furi...

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