American Sniper in 4k

American Sniper

Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, the most lethal snipe in American history in American Sniper from Warner Brothers.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Warner Brothers, American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle. Chris is a member of the Navy Seals where he earned himself the nickname, “Legend” with over 150 confirmed kills. Originally released in 2014, the film is finally being released in 4k. The film follows him through one of his four tours in Iraq and the time following with his family leading until his death in 2013.

Typically war films, especially modern ones, typically don’t hold much interest for me but Eastwood’s style of storytelling keeps you glued to the screen. What he does really well is breathing life into his characters that normally would be more bland for the screen. This is done so subtly that you find yourself connecting with characters you normally wouldn’t.

Eastwood’s visual storytelling is fantastic and watching this film 10 years after it’s release proves that it holds up just as well. I was halfway through the film before I realized that this wasn’t a new biopic. The acting is believable and the story is incredibly well told.

Dune Part Two review

Dune

The team behind Dune are back with Part Two, completing the adaptation of the first book of the same name by Warner Brothers.

Paul Atreides is back and this time is no longer fighting for his place among the Fremen in Dune Part Two from Warner Brothers. Playing into the hands of his mother and the prophecy she is trying to force into reality, he begins to leads guerrilla style attacks on the Harkonnen forces stationed on the planet. The end goal is to eliminate the threat entirely and retake his place at the head of his Great House and of the planet.

Prior to this version of the story we had multiple attempts at adapting the book, first a movie that included Sting in the cast and a series produced for the Syfy network. Each adaptation more accurate than the last and the two most recent films are not an exception to that. Where these adaptations consistently miss is on the same point, the story is more than just the first book of Frank Herbert’s series. So far only time will tell if the current vision will include the rest of the films but I sincerely hope that they do. Chapterhouse Dune and Heretics of Dune were by far my favorite installments in the main series.

Visually, these two films are an absolute treat, capturing the world of Dune better than any medium outside the books have done. Sufficient time was given to developing the myths within the story that it didn’t rely on the knowledge of the books before watching and the cast did a brilliant job of bringing these characters to life. My only complaint is that the film was made as two films instead of one long epic viewing. I would have gladly sat for the 5-ish hours needed to watch in its entirety as that is the only way this story should be viewed. Would just need an intermission to hit the restroom. Doing this would have allowed the impact of the film to be better felt where coming into the second half of the story means it feels a little disjointed.

The Beekeeper from Warner Brothers

The Beekeeper

Warner Brothers have released their latest action film, The Beekeeper, staring Jason Statham, Jeremy Irons and Josh Hutcherson.

The Beekeeper is the latest action film from Warner Brothers with Jason Statham as the lead and dominating nearly every scene he is in. The film starts with him retired from his years of service and now as a Beekeeper, literally. He helps his neighbor by removing a wasp nest and is more than happy to do so as they are a threat to his hives. Shortly after he leaves, the neighbor receives an alarming message on her computer and is coerced into giving her financial data to a group of scam artists who empty all of her accounts including a charity she works for. Seeing no way to recover the funds she ends her life. Later Adam, Statham’s character, returns with a jar of honey and finds her dead. He starts a one man rampage targeting the group that caused her to end her life, first by burning the building they worked out of to the ground.

The group he worked for was also known as the Beekeepers. Their creation was to protect the society, or hive, as a whole and were given the training to complete their mission how they saw fit. In an actual hive there are designated bees that are known as the Queen Killer with the sole purpose of eliminating a queen that spawned inadequate offspring. That’s basically him. This is important for the story later on.

When I saw trailers for the film I thought it was going to be a mindless action flick without much in the way of story and really was more of a story for the sake of violence. Like most actions films these days. I was not expecting a film of this depth, looking at society as a whole, an officer having to look at their own roles and coming to terms with discovering which is more important- their own desires or their service to the job. Honestly, there are even more layers of depth to the film but I’m not going into all of the aspects. Even when on his rampage, Adam focuses on the people that are really the problem and not those that are having to work for them. Overall I thought the film was fantastic and quite impressed how well they were able to film the violence in a believable way without making it unnecessarily gory. Even when a guy had his fingers sawed off there was virtually no blood. This could be viewed as a detractor from realism but it really aided the story in allowing you to focus more on the story and action than on the blood splatter that tends to draw your attention away. I had an absolute blast watching the film and look forward to seeing what else this team is capable of.

The Departed Steelbook Release

Departed

The Departed is the latest film from Warner Brothers to get a rerelease in 4K HD and this time with an accompanying Steelbook case!

The folks at Warner Brothers have shared another classic film that I’ve been told is a must watch. This time they are doing it in style with a Steelbook case for The Departed. The film follows an Organized Crime boss, Costello, and the two officers tasked with bringing him down. One is a rat and the other is undercover to infiltrate the organization. It becomes a race to uncover who the other is while Costello works to expand his empire.

For anyone that still hasn’t seen the film, NOW is the time to do it. The only thing I knew about the film was the sound track, specifically Shipping Up to Boston from The Dropkick Murphys. The first time I had even heard of this film was while watching the music video from TDM. Watching the film I was surprised how many big names were attached. Seeing that it was done by Martin Scorsese made it make more sense. Start to finish the cast, the acting, the writing, direction, ALL OF IT, was beyond fantastic. No wonder it won FOUR Academy Awards and over a dozen other awards. This film is one of the few instances where the hype truly does not do it justice. Highly recommend watching, I’m already planning my NEXT viewing.

Justice League Crisis of Infinite Earths Part Two

Crisis of Infinite Earths

Warner Brothers have come back with the second volume of their animated event, Justice League Crisis of Infinite Earths.

The previous Crisis film focused most of the story on Barry Allen as the Flash and him assisting in the construction of a series of towers. These towers would protect various Earths from an Anti-matter wave that seemed to be trying to erase the entirety of reality. Part Two of Crisis of Infinite Earths from Warner Brothers is a direct continuation of the story but this time follows Psycho Pirate. Psycho Pirate is tasked with making each hero confident and to minimize the panic on each world. Being the true villain he is, he betrays the trust placed in him and starts working for the Anti-Monitor. The Anti-Monitor promises Pirate that he will essentially be a god in the new reality and he enthusiastically agrees.

Anytime I watch an animate DC film, if it features Batman, I want him to be voiced by the late Kevin Conroy. Obviously, after his passing that will no longer be an option without the help of AI. Let’s not even get into that can of worms. Jensen Ackles taking over the role sounds like a perfect successor. Troy Baker, while good as the Joker, still doesn’t hold a candle to Mark Hamill. Basically if the original Batman The Animated Series is the gold standard in DC voice acting then this film is a strong Silver. Overall the cast did a fantastic job, it’s just hard to beat the best.

Having never read the original comic story, or seen any of the previous tellings of the story, I went in mostly blind. However I did read the novel close to two decades ago. I remember the novel being great and there being an emphasis on the Flash but not much else. I had forgotten almost the entire story by the time I watched both parts One and Two. Both parts of the story have been great. From what I’ve read, there will only be three parts I cannot wait for the finale. I also hope we see more of these classic comic events getting the animated treatment, especially if they follow this level of quality.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Aquaman

Aquaman returns for what appears to be the final move of the current DC Cinematic Universe.

Recently the folks at Warner Brothers sent us a copy of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, featuring Jason Mamoa. Unlike most sequels this film directly follows its predecessor in every way. That means it is a direct continuation of the previous film. The story had ended off with Arthur and Mera in love, Orm imprisoned, Black Manta off somewhere licking his wounds and Arthur remains the ruler of Atlantis.

The film starts with Arthur sharing the joys and frustrations of balancing, life, family, jobs and how much he misses the more simple days where he could simply punch his problems. To make matters worse, his son likes to target his face whenever he changes the diaper. Life does not sound too enjoyable for our hero. Black Manta is using this time to hunt the oceans for any sign of Atlantean technology to repair his broken suit so he can kill Aquaman once and for all.

Visually the film is absolutely stunning. The effect and detail of the underwater cities and creatures alone make the film worth watching. The dialogue can be a bit campy at times but not more so than the original film. The fight scenes were a lot of fun and well choreographed. Overall I had fun watching the film but I only had one main complaint, that Amber Heard wasn’t recast. It makes no sense that she would be allowed to continue in her role after being found as the guilty party but when she accused Depp of the same behavior he was immediately removed. It’s an odd double standard that frankly doesn’t make sese.

Poor Things from Searchlight Pictures

Poor Things

Emma Stone leads in Poor Things from Searchlight Pictures alongside Willem Dafoe in a twisted tale of self discovery and learning.

Poor Things from Searchlight Pictures features Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe, The film begins with Emma Stone jumping from a bridge to kill herself without any explanation. Just as suddenly we see her through a black and white lens and she walks like a toddler, her mind clearly underdeveloped. Again, no explanation, at least not at first. We soon learn that the woman is mostly the same as the one that jumped but that she had died on the operating table and the deceased brain was swapped with that of the brain of the unborn baby she carried. Through the entire film she gradually grows and develops her skills and abilities at a rapid rate. This is similar to an infant growing to adulthood, just in a much more accelerated rate.

Emma’s portrayal of Bella is absolutely brilliant, overshadowing the other cast members who take the spotlight less often. I would be shocked if she isn’t nominated for an Oscar for this role, along with the film itself and the makeup department. I don’t know if the makeup departments get nominated but for Willem’s many scars. The story itself is dark and twisted but done in a way that makes light of the mad science with a focus more on Bella’s personal development and growth. The film as a whole was brilliantly directed, acted and filmed but left me respecting the work and efforts of the whole cast but failed to provide a story I personally enjoyed. The film is now available through digital retailers.

Willy Wonka returns from Warner Brothers with Wonka

Wonka

Willy Wonka returns to tell his origin story from Warner Brothers and staring Timothee Chalamet!

Timothee Chalamet stars in Wonka as the main man himself, Willy, in the film from Warner Brothers. The film follows the early days of Willy after he completes seven years at sea collecting ingredients so he can start his own chocolate business and bring joy to the world through his creations. I had no idea this was going to be a musical. Willy immediately is noticed by the dastardly Chocolate Cartel who’s aim is to control the world through chocolate and believe that it should be simple.

The world is no place for the complexities and imagination in his treats. In a world designed to strip new comers of every sovereign they own, Willy runs afoul of a dastardly pair and must use his ingenuity to free himself from their employ. There he befriends a few others that were in similar circumstances and he was forced to work alongside them.

Visually the movie is a feast for the eyes and the cast are fantastic. The music I did not enjoy despite how well the cast performed the songs. The story was well written and felt like a perfect origin story to the master chocolate maker. My only complaint with the story was that we didn’t see his father in the story and I learned that this version of his father was only ever in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, my wife had to look it up and prove that I was wrong on that note. Overall, the film was a great experience to watch with the whole family.

Contagion from Warner Brothers

Contagion

Contagion has been re-released by Warner Brothers but this time in 4k!

Contagion was originally released by Warner Brothers in 2011 and focuses on the spread of an unknown disease as it rapidly spreads, originating in China. Nearly a decade before the world experienced it’s own real life version with Covid-19. In some ways the real story was worse but the other surrounding events and actions went better. In the film the fear of this virus caused an extreme reaction from the population. The film does a great job of painting our worst fears of what could have happened and what many of us thought would have happened. 

What many people don’t know about me is that I had contracted Covid-19 before it was named at the end of 2019 and was in a coma by New Years Eve of that year. I was one of the lucky ones and made it through. I still have PTSD from the experience and watching the film was a bit triggering. The first half hour of the film especially. It was physically difficult for me to watch.

The film was brilliantly filmed and an amazing cast. Watching it now it feels almost prophetic but the response of the population was a much more extreme version than what we had seen. Perhaps the film inspired better planning? If you have PTSD related to the pandemic this film will likely be difficult for you as well. The did a great job on the film but I expect I likely won’t be watching it again, even though it was released into 4k.

All of Us Strangers from Searchlight Pictures

All of Us Strangers

Searchlight Pictures bring us a film about finding ways to overcome grief with their latest film, All of Us Strangers.

All of Us Strangers is a film that focuses on finding ways to deal with your own grief while also allowing yourself to find love along the way. The film begins with a chance meeting between Alan and an inebriated neighbor that ends as quickly as it begins, transitioning to Adam writing a new screenplay for a film or show. Another chance encounter and the neighbor is invited in for drinks. As they navigate their own feelings and sexuality, Alan begins to think more about his deceased parents. With a trip into the country, or possibly suburbs, where he takes a walk by what has become of his childhood home. Seeing a boy in the window they stare at each other for a moment before continuing the walk.

This is where things get a little weird and I apologize for the slight spoilers to come. Seeing a man watching him, he follows to find it is his own father but oddly younger than himself. They return to the former home and find Alan’s mother there, also younger. Is this a dream? Is this some weird wormhole through space and time? Is any of this even happening? Watching the film you will have these questions answered but I won’t be spoiling them.

The cast and directing were fantastic as different parts of the past and modern day were blended together. The film will leave even some of the hardest hearts feeling for Alan and those around them, including my own. The story telling was absolutely brilliant and edited together perfectly. If you are looking for a film that stuns you on almost every level this film is it.