Twister in 4k from Warner Brothers

Twister

Twister is the story of a group of scientists that chase tornados in the hopes of finding ways of predicting them in this classic from Warner Brothers!

The folks at Warner Brothers were kind enough to send us the 4k edition of Twister for the purpose of this review. To be clear, this edition of the film is the exact same story told in the exact same way as previously released. The only difference here is the quality of the visuals. For those that have yet to see the film, it follows a group of scientists that are attempting to send a device into the center of a tornado. This device is meant to map out the tornado itself and better study how they work, how they move and to help create a way to more effectively anticipate their arrival.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I was lucky enough to never see a real tornado and only ever saw the aftermath on the nightly news. Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton and Cary Elwes lead the film and are joined by a talented supporting cast full of names that went on to be big names of their own. The cast in it’s entirety are fantastic and even after 20+ years the film itself holds up. Overall the film remains a classic but just looks a hell of a lot better than the old DVD copy we had previously and will continue to get regular play in our house.

American Fiction from Warner Brothers

American Fiction

American Fiction is about a writer who decides to change his style of writing when his latest title fails to find a home with a publisher in this film from Warner Brothers.

The folks at Warner Brothers were kind enough to send us a copy of American Fiction, a tale about a writer named Monk. Monk is a published author and professor at a university in Los Angeles. After seeing the success of another writer for pandering to the market by changing the language of her book to make it more “real”, he decides to do the same in an attempt at showing the industry how idiotic they can be. His agent even argues against submitting the book only to be shocked at how quickly it has sold.

The film was written and directed by Cord Jefferson, who was one of the writers on The Good Place. Had I known about this connection I might have expected a very different film. After watching some of the trailers I had believed this film to be a comedy of sorts and on IMDB is listed as one as well. There are some minor comedic moments but I don’t feel like this was a comedy in the slightest even when it’s being a little silly. That being said, calling it a drama doesn’t feel right either.

As someone that has written and published a book, dealing with the market and trying to build my own success, I felt like this film was written for people like me in mind. It reminds us that as a writer, the market can chase things that make absolutely no sense. I was glued to the film every step of the way. This film was spellbinding and wasn’t just good, it was utterly fucking brilliant. I sincerely hope we see more films from Jefferson.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire review

Godzilla x Kong

Following the events of Godzilla vs. Kong, two of the world’s favorite monster heroes are back for a new fight in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire from Warner Brothers.

Godzilla vs Kong introduced many of us to the theory of Hollow Earth which has been around since, I believe, the 1950s. It was an absolutely fascinating subject to deep dive on and that film explained it in a way that made it actually make sense. Warner Brothers has taken us back to Hollow Earth with Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. Kong is believed to be the last of his kind and being a social creature is very lonely. While he remains there, Godzilla protects the surface world from threats and if Kong were to return would become very territorial and unleash hell on the ape.

A spike in interference signals a request for help and some of our returning heroes from the previous film decide to travel back to Hollow Earth and look for who or what is putting out the signal that they believe is an SOS. The transition between the outer Earth and the Hollow is an interesting effect that can tear the psyche and done with some fantastic visuals.

The film is listed as an Action-Adventure story but has some heartfelt moments between some of the characters. The visual effects are absolutely stunning and if you’re watching just for the destruction, I’m happy to report there is a TON of it. Even a little monster-dental work thrown in early on. The story is well written, leaning on the lore of the previous films and tying them all together quite nicely. The characters were fun with some quality portrayals even though the dialogue is a little campy at times, as I expected with this type of film. Overall I thought it was the best of the four films in the series (including Kong Island) and had a great time watching it.

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.

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.

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.