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Matthew Razak

Sam Mendes photo
Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes possibly tapped for live action James and the Giant Peach


Next up in Disney's live action crusade
Aug 26
// Matthew Razak
As we all know Disney is on a relentless quest to turn their animation adaptation into live action movies. And considering that the likes of Maleficient, The Jungle Book and Cinderella all did gangbusters it makes s...
Jon Favreau photo
Jon Favreau

Jon Favreau will direct Seth MacFarlane's new space comedy show


Not a Star Wars parody
Aug 25
// Matthew Razak
I fell off the Family Guy band wagon after season five or six, but that doesn't mean I'm not excited for Seth MacFarlane's as-of-yet unnamed new science fiction comedy show coming to Fox. The live-action show will hopefu...
Batman photo
Batman

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders gets a trailer


The best Batman is back
Aug 24
// Matthew Razak
I'm pretty sure very few people under the age of 50 became fans of Batman through the old Adam West Batman TV show, but that's how I did. Reruns on some random channel at some random time were some of my favorite things ...
Star Trek photo
Star Trek

William Shatner not really apologizes for Star Trek V


What does god need with a star ship?
Aug 22
// Matthew Razak
Fellow humans, the day has come. William Shatner has shown some humility. Well, no, not really, but he has admitted that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier wasn't actually all that great a movie. I mean, it's great in all t...

Screenings photo
Screenings

See Morgan early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore screenings
Aug 22
// Matthew Razak
Morgan looks like it could be one of the creepier films to land this year, but it could also easily fall into the trap of too clever for its own good. If it holds out on the creepy, all-powerful child experiment theme it...

Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

Aug 19 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220794:43057:0[/embed] Kubo and the Two StringsDirector: Travis KnightRated: PGRelease Date: August 19, 2016 Kubo is a bit of a departure for Laika both visually and thematically. While their animation style still seeps through Kubo is far more inspired by Japanese art and anime than their previous work. It's also their most serious plot to date. Kubo is a young boy who lives with his mother in a cave hiding from his grandfather, who, when Kubo was a baby, stole his eye. His grandfather is now after his other eye for nefarious reasons. One day, when Kubo doesn't make it home before dark, his mother's evil sisters find him and adventure begins to find three pieces of magical armor in order to defeat Kubo's grandfather, the Moon King. Having to set out on his own, Kubo is accompanied by Monkey and Beetle on his grand adventure. It is a very traditional quest adventure, but the story is infused with themes of family, love and loss. If it weren't for the stop motion animation you would easily thing that this was a Pixar movie the story is so well executed and characters so likable. Kubo's tale isn't just one of high adventure, but also deep sorrow. It, like Pixar films, believe in the intelligence of the children it is geared towards and instead of pandering to them executes and story that engages both young and old.  It is, of course, easy to engage when your visuals are probably some of the most stunning of the year. You'll want to pause every scene to see the clear and crisp details while marveling at just how they could possibly do half the things they do with some lumps of clay. Even the simplest movements seem to stand out more thanks to the stop motion. The painstaking creation seeping through every scene.  Director Travis Knight, who is CEO of Laika but has never directed, paces what could be a very dull story beautifully. Despite the standard set up the story unfolds wonderfully, building tension between the characters fantastically. He also has an eye for pushing scary things just enough. Never letting them get so overwhelming that children won't enjoy it, but actually making villains menacing and powerful. Kubo is also being pushed hard in Dolby's new digital theaters where new projectors bring forth some the sharpest images you'll ever see and surround speakers shake the seats. It is possibly one of the best advertisements for these theaters, though whether or not the fantastically crisp picture and blacker than black blacks are worth the extra cost is up to you. I can only tell you that the movie looked better than anything I've seen outside of true IMAX. It isn't what size screen you see Kubo on or how earth shattering the sound is. Those things can make it better, but what make it great is its imagination. It's a stunning world that's hard to forget, and in that world a poignant story is told. The title may only mention two strings, but it will easily pull on all of your heart strings. 
Kubo Review photo
Stunning
If you know the name Laika then you know they do amazing things with stop motion. They may be the only ones doing it at the scale they do it too. Anyone who has seen Coraline or ParaNorman or any of their other work...

Middle Earth photo
Middle Earth

Massive Hobbit/Lord of the Rings box set announced


What a stylish shelf
Aug 18
// Matthew Razak
Are you ready to lay down some serious money for three really great movies and three not as good movies? Then you'll want to head over to Amazon and sign up for an email alert for when you can buy "Middle Earth UCE (BD) [Blu-...
Screenings photo
Screenings

See Hands of Stone early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore screenings
Aug 17
// Matthew Razak
Roberto Duran might not be the household name he once was, but the boxer led one of the most interesting careers in the sport. Now, as with all great boxers, there's a movie about him and you can see it first. We've got passe...
Holmes & Watson photo
Holmes & Watson

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly join forces again for Holmes & Watson


Funny people getting together is good
Aug 17
// Matthew Razak
When Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly make a movie together it usually turns out pretty damn hilarious. Step Brothers wasn't a big hit, but it's garnered a solid cult following, and now the pair are looking to follow it u...
Firefly photo
Firefly

Fan-made animated Firefly series gets a trailer... and not much more


Because our hearts need to break more
Aug 16
// Matthew Razak
Firefly just will not die, and there's very good reason for that. Despite only having one season on the air it has influenced sci-fi for years and created a devoted following. I count myself among that following so it is...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

The Assassin's Creed movie is doing the Leap of Faith for real


Jump around
Aug 15
// Matthew Razak
You know when you're playing Assassin's Creed and you dive off a really tall building in the iconic Leap of Faith jump and then you think, "That could never happen in real life." Well, it can... kind of. While the stunt ...
Hidden Figures photo
Hidden Figures

First Hidden Figures trailer brings the women of NASA forward


Oscar, your bait is here
Aug 15
// Matthew Razak
If you were watching the Olympics last night you got a chance to see the first trailer for Hidden Figures, a movie about the unheralded black, women mathematicians who helped John Glenn be the first American to orbit the eart...
Screenings photo
Screenings

See War Dogs early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore screenings
Aug 13
// Matthew Razak
War Dogs might look ridiculous, but with Miles Teller and Jonah Hill leading you know there's probably something a bit more too it. Gun running movies are always interesting anyway (see Lord of War). So you should grab some free passes to a DC or Baltimore screening. Just click the links below. Remember to get there early so you know you've got a seat and come back and tell us what you thought!
Star Trek photo
Star Trek

Tons of new details for Star Trek: Discovery revealed


Female lead, timeline and more
Aug 11
// Matthew Razak
Star Trek: Discovery head Brian Fuller was on a roll at the CBS All-Access panel at the TCA Press Tour dropping bombs about the show that Trek fans have been desperate to learn. The biggest one is that the show is s...
Ghostbusters photo
Ghostbusters

Ghosbusters less likely to get a sequel after loss at box office


Are you happy now, Internet?
Aug 10
// Matthew Razak
After much gnashing of teeth and unwarranted anger Ghostbusters came out and was actually quite enjoyable. It didn't really blow the box office away, however, as THR is reporting that the movie is heading for a $70 milli...
The Silver Chiar photo
The Silver Chiar

TriStar rebooting Narnia series with The Silver Chair


Third times the charm
Aug 10
// Matthew Razak
If there was any movie series that should have been massive in this day and age it's C.S. Lewis' books based in Narnia. It's got an established brand, it's kid friendly and it's just plain cool. Yet, two studios have had trou...
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Is that a triple barrel shotgun?
If you had told me that back in 2002 the Resident Evil movie -- a fun enough action horror flick -- would spawn one of the longer running and relatively successful action series in cinematic history I would have cut you ...

Luke Cage photo
Luke Cage

First full trailer for Luke Cage lands some punches


I heard it was four guys
Aug 09
// Matthew Razak
Man, Netflix is killing it with their Marvel shows and Luke Cage looks no different. Like with their films the Netflix TV shows take a codified look and tone and warp each show into its own genre. Luke Cage looks to...
TV Comedy photo
TV Comedy

New Girl and Brooklyn 99 are doing a crossover


I may not live through this
Aug 08
// Matthew Razak
New Girl and Brooklyn 99 might be the funniest shows on television right now. After a brilliant resurgence in New Girl's fourth season and continued awesomeness throughout Brooklyn 99 it is pretty much impossib...
Phantom Tollbooth photo
Phantom Tollbooth

Phantom Tollbooth movie is back on at


Because we gotta win sometimes
Aug 08
// Matthew Razak
If you're me then your favorite book in the whole world growing up (and now) is The Phantom Tollbooth. Also if you're me than you loved the animated version that was made, but you've been desperate for a new feature film beca...

Review: Suicide Squad

Aug 05 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220744:43031:0[/embed] Suicide SquadDirector: David AyersRated: PG-13Release Date: August 5, 2016  There have been plenty of very harsh words thrown around about Suicide Squad already, and they really aren't all that deserved. This isn't a terrible movie, it just isn't great. What is happening is that the loss of potential and the clear mishandling of this film is making some overact to its flaws. In many ways Suicide Squad is a perfectly acceptable, if unremarkable, superhero (villain) flick, but it could have been more. That fact screams out through frame after frame of this film. The premise here is ripe for intrigue. Government agent (and most intriguing character of the film) Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has the bright idea to make a "superhero" team from a collection of super villains in order for the government to save the day, but also have plausible deniability when things go wrong. She convinces everyone this is a good idea gathers up Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margo Robbie), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and Slipknot (Adam Beach). Then the world gets threatened so the team goes into action. The main thrust of this one is exceptionally lacking. That didn't have to be a problem. The characters here are varied and all have the chance to be incredibly interesting, even the guy who just throws boomerangs. The film chooses to focus especially on Deadshot and Harley Quinn. There's good reason for that: both Smith and Robbie are on their A game throughout the entire thing, often turning pedantic dialog into something that actually works. Robbie's Harley Quinn is especially on point and one can't help but wish she and Deadshot had their own films prior to this to actually flesh out the characters. Diablo is the other surprise of the film as most people won't even know who he is, but he delivers probably the most compelling story line of them all. Sadly, despite these individual strong performances the film is far too cramped to actually deliver the character study director David Ayers clearly wanted it to be. An awkward opening that was reportedly redone multiple times gives you a glimpse of the two films competing with each other as the competing styles are awkwardly mashed together. One is a comical action flick and the other is a look at bad people doing good things. The latter should have won out with hints of the former, but instead the movie often feels tone deaf to itself as it lurches from dark tones to one-liners. This balance can be handled well, but it isn't here as many of the jokes failed and often the comradely building got lost as the action movie took over. Ayers' action is also all over the place. His gritty style would have been a perfect fit for a much different Suicide Squad film, but instead he chops scenes together so roughly that it is hard to keep track of what is going on let alone stay within the momentum of a scene. He desperately needed the R rating to make the movie really work, but instead has to cut around a bunch of bad guys doing violence. The final fight, which is probably the weakest part of the film thanks to a paper-thin villain and plot, never earns its payoff and so the audience is left with a bit of fun, but no emotional conclusion. Meanwhile the most intriguing part of the story involves not the big bad, but Waller and her machinations. Mistakenly, it is pushed aside for a big flashy villain.  Speaking of big and flashy: Jared Leto's Joker. Early reports were that he had a small part in the film, but he probably gets more screen time and more to do than half of the Suicide Squad. Honestly, the man had the impossible feat of following up Heath Ledger's masterpiece. I'll give him credit for doing something different with the smooth, deranged, "pimp" Joker, but the performance lands awkwardly between Mark Hamill in the animated series, Ledger and a hint of the campy Cesar Romero. In short, it doesn't really land at all. One struggles to see this Joker facing off against Affleck's deadly serious Batman.  It's easy to come down harshly on the plethora of problems in Suicide Squad, but it's also easy enough to enjoy the movie once disappointment wares off. While the plot may feel horribly cliche, it is tried and true and checks all the right boxes. Smith and Robbie deliver enough to keep the rest of the rushed character development feel slightly acceptable and when the jokes hit they actually work. There is just enough here to enjoy yourself, which is more than I could say for BvS.  Suicide Squad feels like a knee jerk reaction to BvS, in fact. After WB was blindsided by the bad reviews and middling box office we know they ordered re-cuts of Suicide Squad to lighten it up. What they fail to realize is that the tone that BvS, a movie about redemption and hope, set was wrong for that movie, but would have worked wonders for Suicide Squad, a movie about bad guys doing bad things. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is often codified it at least allows the tones of its films to vary with the characters that are in it. Suicide Squad may work as a very basic film, but it isn't enough to pull DC's comic films into the light. Next up to bat: Wonder Woman.  Also, stop trying to make a Guardians of the Galaxy type soundtrack happen, Suicide Squad. It's not going to happen.
Suicide Squad photo
Death by a thousand cuts
Do I need to open this review explaining how important Suicide Squad was to DC and WB? After the poor reception that Batman v. Supermanm received and the less-than-expected box office this movie was what was going t...

Great Wall photo
Great Wall

Great Wall director speaks up about White Washing


Chinese guy OK with not Chinese actor
Aug 04
// Matthew Razak
Last week the first trailer for The Great Wall dropped, and as it was a movie about China with its lead being not Chinese cries of white washing went up. And it is, of course, white washing. It would make a lot more sens...
Pumpkinhead photo
Pumpkinhead

Pumpkinhead is getting a reboot


You know, that obscure 1980s horror?
Aug 04
// Matthew Razak
I've got a few regrets in my life, but one of them is that I've never sat down to watch Pumpkinhead. I hear it's... interesting. I'm still disappointed that the creature didn't have an actual pumpkin for a head, though, becau...
Bad Santa 2 photo
Bad Santa 2

Bad Santa 2 gets first images featuring Billy Bob Thorton


Still seems useless
Aug 02
// Matthew Razak
 There's a long list of movie sequels coming out that I just don't think we need, but somewhere at the top of it is Bad Santa 2. The original was such a unique, dark and interesting comedy that came out of nowhere that I...
The Last Knight photo
The Last Knight

The first poster for Transformers: The Last Knight actually gives me hope


Wait, this looks kind of cool
Aug 01
// Matthew Razak
OK, I know we've all been burned before about four times over, and that teasers this early on almost never reflect the final outcome of a movie, but this first poster/banner for Transformers: The Last Knight actually loo...
Deadwood photo
Deadwood

HBO says Deadwood movie in the works for real


It worked so well for Entourage
Aug 01
// Matthew Razak
It actually didn't work so well for Entourage.  When shows go off the air its often popular for fans to clamor for more in the form of a movie, even when that show concluded on its own and probably shouldn't go on. HBO's...
Beetlejuice 2 photo
Beetlejuice 2

Michael Keaton pretty sure Beetlejuice 2 isn't happening


Another rumored sequel bites the dust
Jul 28
// Matthew Razak
No matter how many times you repeat the word Beetlejuice it appears the ghost with the most is most likely not going to appear. Though rumors (bordering on confirmations) have been constantly swirling about a sequel Michael K...
Hacksaw Ridge photo
Hacksaw Ridge

First trailer for Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge


Someone is still giving him money
Jul 28
// Matthew Razak
Mel Gibson isn't a good guy. He's also a really talented director. This kind of sucks because it's hard to watch his stuff without being sick with yourself for watching his stuff. I'm running into that problem after watching ...
Office Christmas Party photo
Office Christmas Party

First trailer for Office Christmas Party delivers on title


A party at an office during Christmas
Jul 26
// Matthew Razak
It's basically a new holiday tradition that an R-rated Christmas comedy comes out every year now. R-rated comedies are so hot right now, and Christmas is a great time to juxtapose tradition with sex jokes. Last year we got Th...
Suicide Squad photo
Suicide Squad

See Suicide Squad early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore screenings
Jul 26
// Matthew Razak
After Batman v Superman bored us all into a superhero coma it was hard to get excited for Suicide Squad, but after a host of awesome trailers and basically the entire cast saying all the right things there might not be a...
Star Trek photo
Star Trek

CBS Star Trek gets name and ship


Ugly, but wonderful
Jul 25
// Matthew Razak
CBS has been keeping their new Star Trek TV series under tight wraps, but at SDCC this past weekend during the Star Trek 50th anniversary panel they finally gave us some new news. First the name of the show will be Star ...
Captain Marvel photo
Captain Marvel

Brie Larson confirmed as Captain Marvel


Nailed it
Jul 24
// Matthew Razak
Rumors had been swirling to the point of confirmation that Brie Larson would be taking on the role of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, but last night at Comic Con Marvel finally confirmed it. It's a pretty spot on choice as Danv...
Marvel photo
First looks galore
Netflix came out swinging at this year's Comic Con. Not only did they drop a trailer for the upcoming Luke Cage movie, but also teasers for Iron Fist and The Defenders. As you may or may not know the latter of those...

Review: Star Trek Beyond

Jul 22 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220689:42999:0[/embed] Star Trek BeyondDirector: Justin LinRated: PG-13Release Date: July 22, 2016  While many Trek fans will probably balk at this idea, Justin Lin was the exact right man to helm a Star Trek. We'll never be returning to the all out, slow-pan-around-a-star-ship, philosophical, socially aware, political format of Star Trek of yesterday because that's not what makes money, but we can have a strong mixture of action and heart. Lin brought that to the Fast and the Furious franchise in spades, turning a crappy series into something spectacular that people want to see. He did this not just through action, but by turning a cast of characters into a #family. That's what he's done with Star Trek Beyond too. The crew of the Enterprise is finally on their five year mission. In fact, they're three years into it and, as Captain Kirk's (Chris Pine) captain's log tells us, they're all getting a little bored with the daily grind of exploration. Kirk is questioning whether he wants to be a captain anymore and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is shocked to find that his elder self has passed. Luckily they're docking for resupplies at the newest and largest Star Fleet space station, but before they can settle in an alien shows up requesting help to rescue her crew from an uncharted part of a nearby nebula. The crew of the Enterprise jumps into action and promptly gets the ship torn to shreds, crash landing on an alien planet run by an evil alien named Krall (Idris Elba).  The separation of the crew after the crash landing and the relatively small scale of the story overall delivers a Star Trek that is far closer to the original series in tone than either of the previous two films. The removal of larger political pictures and the Enterprise itself means the focus lands squarely on the crew and that works wonders for finally delivering a Star Trek where you feel the crew is anywhere near the family that the crew of the original series was. Spock and McCoy's (Karl Urban) relationship is especially fleshed out while Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) actually become characters instead of plot devices. It's clear that screenwriters Pegg and Dough Jung along with Lin have a far better understanding of what makes Star Trek special than Abrams and crew did. That doesn't mean that the movie turns its back on the new Trek formula. This is still an action movie first and a space drama second. Lin, of course, is really good at action. Again, though, the fights feel more personal and well executed than the previous films. The action is possibly even more over-the-top, and yet it feels more grounded. More importantly Lin keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout every sequence. By the time the now obligatory Beastie Boys song comes on its hard not to be cracking a massive smile no matter how much of a dour original Trek fanboy you are (and I am a big one).  It's even more refreshing that Beyond finally pulls the rebooted franchise out of the shadow of its predecessors. Into Darkness's misguided attempts to recreate Wrath of Khan made the crew seem trite and the story not hit when it was supposed to. Beyond is finally its own story, defining its own crew and creating its own feeling. While it still makes a nod here and there to the original films, it is finally telling its own story -- even if that story isn't all that groundbreaking. I must also champion the film for finally ditching the under armor uniforms that made it look like they were all on the way to bro out at the gym for a bit. The new costume design is spot on and feels much more like something the crew of a starship would wear. The redesign (yet again) of the Enterprise is pretty stellar as well.  For all the fun (and it is really fun) of the movie it isn't really pushing any new boundaries. The story may be new and the cast finally feels like it's gelling, but the plot is paper thin overall. You don't really have time to catch your breathe and think about it while you're watching, but Beyond doesn't go very far beyond in terms of pushing ideas or themes. Maybe, in this case, it doesn't have to. It's focus on the characters overrides its need for a strong plot line and it clearly cares more about hashing out the crew as people than making a profound social statement.  That focus on the crew means that this is by far almost every actors best turn in the role. Pine seems especially comfortable as a more laid back, experienced Captain Kirk while Urban's McCoy becomes less homage to the original and more something of his own. Yelchin finally gets a chance to turn Chekov into something else than a funny accent and nails it, and it's a shame we won't get to see him take the character any further.  Star Trek beyond feels like a very big budget episode of the television show, and while that was a insult for Star Trek: Insurrection, here it is a compliment. The original series and all its progeny had a sort of magic to them, and it stemmed from a crew that felt like a family. That, it turns out, was missing from this new Star Trek thanks to Into Darkness's attempts to replicate instead of create. Thankfully, Beyond brings it back and turns the franchise into something you definitely want to see live long and prosper.
Star Trek photo
Going where no new Trek has gone before
The rebooted Star Trek franchise hasn't really had a bad movie. J.J. Abrams put together two highly entertaining pieces of cinema back to back. However, if you're a Star Trek fan Into Darkness was concerning. A...

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Poster for new Ducktales series full of ducks and tails


Life is like a hurricane, full of remake
Jul 21
// Matthew Razak
Ducktales is coming back because there's nothing original anymore. In fairness, if there is any Disney property I'd like to see back in from the heyday of their Saturday morning cartoon glory it's probably Ducktales, and...
xXx photo
xXx

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...
Ash vs Evil Dead photo
Ash vs Evil Dead

See the Ash vs. Evil Dead trailer banned from Comic Con


Or... you know, it's a marketing gimmick
Jul 20
// Matthew Razak
The first season of Ash vs Evil Dead was a miracle in modern television. It brought back a franchise that fans had been clamoring for while imbuing it with (yet another) new slant. Plus, it was a bloody, gory, one-liner-packe...
Van Helsing photo
Van Helsing

New Van Helsing movie is inspired by Mad Max


Shiny and chrome stakes to the heart
Jul 19
// Matthew Razak
You may have forgotten that Universal is working on a big cinematic universe starring all of its classic movie monsters because the movie to kick it all off, The Mummy reboot, has been in production forever. Well, it was Drac...
Ghostbusters photo
Ghostbusters

That dance number from Ghostbusters will be in the extended cut


By the way, there will an extended cut
Jul 19
// Matthew Razak
I liked Ghostbusters, but I readily pointed out that it had its flaws. The biggest one of which was the fact that it often veered into tired comedic tropes instead of capitalizing on the skills and chemistry of its cast. One ...
Star Trek photo
Kirk's dad got famous
We all heard the rumors, but now it is official. Star Trek will carry on into a fourth film, which probably isn't too surprising to anyone. The rebooted franchise has been a moneymaker for the studio and the movies haven't th...


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