5 Awesome Things About Avengers: Infinity War

As of writing, we are sixteen weeks away from Avengers: Infinity War. There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this movie if you are a fan of the giant universe that has been built for the past ten years. The giant cast of characters coming together to face Thanos and his crew of baddies. These are five awesome things about Avengers: Infinity War.

  1. The first movie shot entirely with IMAX cameras

So, what is the big deal here? Well, there are a few reasons why this is amazing. If you have never seen a movie in IMAX, it is filmed using specific cameras that when shown on screen will fill out entirely. Normally movies will have the letterbox, the black bars on top and bottom of the screen. Every movie that is shot in IMAX uses it only for a few scenes. Take a Christopher Nolan movie such as Interstellar which will have the whole screen fill on your TV but only for certain moments. Before, Interstellar held a record for most footage using IMAX with more than an hour of the movie in this way. Usually, the IMAX shot is for something important, but Avengers: Infinity War will be shot this way entirely. The Russo brothers who are directing the film and have directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War wanted this movie to feel right, so getting the proper cameras is one of the many ways this is being done. This camera is the IMAX/Arri 2D digital camera which has been used previously on some scenes in Captain America: Civil War. The scale of this movie is unlike anything that has been done before with over 65 characters and being built up for the past ten years. Joe and Anthony Russo stated, “The intent with the Infinity War films is to bring ten years of accumulative storytelling to an incredible climax. We felt that the best way to exploit the scale and scope required to close out the final chapter of these three phases was to be the first films shot entirely on the IMAX/ARRI Digital camera.” This movie is going to be huge, and these brothers know how to make it look as big as possible.

2. Higher stakes than before

Every fan of the MCU is talking about who will die in this movie. Thanos is such a powerful villain and the fact that this has been building up for so long, there should be some higher stakes than previous movies in the MCU. Just looking at the source material, a lot of people die. It is safe to say that not as many deaths will occur in the movie because some of these heroes have movies slated in the next few years. Characters like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Thor, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are all safe. Both new and old characters will come together, and many will see another day or in this case movie. Hawkeye, Captain America, and Iron Man are all potential deaths. Those older heroes who may not be needed in the next phase of the MCU could be killed off. Why a small character like Hawkeye? This can be a safe way to bring ramifications for our heroes as they fight this all-powerful being.  Instead of killing off a huge character, take a smaller character who brings a lot less to the table and kill them. This is just speculation, but it is safe to say that one or more characters will die. Another reason is the fact that the next phase for the MCU is starting soon. Captain America and Iron Man have been the main leaders for the MCU, but someone else will be leading the charge for phase four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige explains in an interview with Fandango, “This five-movie arc, which is a lot of movies. From Civil War to Homecoming, to Infinity War, Untitled [Avengers 4] and Homecoming 2″ said Feige. “That’s a big chunk of Peter Parker that’s never been explored before that is taking up all of our focus right now.” Nothing makes me more excited about the future of the MCU than Spider-Man taking the lead. This could hint at who will die in this movie that will have Spidey take a new role in the Avengers. The stakes of the movie will forever have an impact on the rest of the MCU.

3. The ultimate villain

One of the criticisms that get tossed at the MCU are the villains. To an extent, I agree. To every great hero is a great villain to face off against. Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was a good villain and served a purpose with being Peter’s father. Ego brought a lot to Peter’s character development and was just a great character throughout the movie. That is just one example of one of the better villains. Some have been less great such as Dormammu who is powerful but felt tacked onto the ending of Doctor Strange. The ending was funny on how the Doctor defeated Dormammu but did not have much weight to the character or the MCU as a whole. Thanos has been slowly built up across several movies and has a few connections already. Not only does he threaten everyone which brings the current line up of Avengers together along with new heroes like the Guardians of the Galaxy, but his personal connection to Gamora will have an interesting impact on the story. His favorite daughter fighting against him with her friends will have a lot of weight for both them. Hopefully, the movie will utilize their relationship well enough to make for an interesting conflict. The power that Thanos has especially with his gauntlet will be a difficult challenge for our heroes. In the trailer, all it really shows is everyone getting beaten down in every way imaginable. Things do not look good for anyone here. It looks like we will finally get an amazing villain in the MCU and potentially one of the best villains in the superhero genre.

4. Character interactions

One of the best parts of the Avengers movies is the interaction between the different characters. The relationship between Black Widow and Hulk has led to speculation on where those two can end up. Along with them, there is Captain America and Iron Man butting heads. In Spider-Man: Homecoming we see the mentor and parent position that Tony plays to Peter as he strives to be the hero just like Tony. We will gain a lot more of these great dynamics as more characters come together. At the end of the trailer, we can see Thor meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy. The possibilities of these personalities coming together are amazing. One I am personally excited for is to see the snarky Tony Stark with Rocket who has a similar personality and can create for hilarious moments. This is a Marvel movie so expect plenty of humor from all these characters and not just the doom that Thanos is bringing.

5. The big payoffs

Ten years has led to one movie. Not only will we be getting a big payoff by seeing Thanos and what he can actually do, but there will be plenty more. As previous movies such as Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War we will be seeing new characters come together and introduced. Whether any new characters will be introduced is still in question. Joe Russo has hinted at it, but let us not hold our breath on that one since there are still almost 70 characters, maybe it is best to not add anyone else. As previously mentioned, characters will come together who have never met before. Along with story development for the MCU, there will be character development too. Plenty of payoff for characters who have been needing certain moments for growth will happen here. As mentioned before, Gamora fighting her father will be big for her. Peter aka Star-Lord will be on Earth for the first time since he was taken by Yondu and his crew when Peter was a child. One of the biggest things is the infinity stones will be together. We have seen the power of these stones from Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captian America: Civil War along with the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Once Thanos gets his hands on them then all hell will break loose. We know about their power, but have never seen the stones used together.

Avengers: Infinity War is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. The hype is unbelievable, but there are only a few more months to go. The movie will be released May 4. What are you looking forward to the most?

 

Image via Wikimedia

Advertisements

Song Impression: Breaking Benjamin – “Red Cold River”

Breaking Benjamin got back into the swing of things from their 2015 album Dark Before Dawn. The high anticipation after a long break led that album to be a huge success by being the highest selling rock album of 2015. The album cycle is over and now comes a new album EmberEmber is their sixth album and will be releasing sometime in the spring. Fans have received the first single to start off 2018 and the promotion for the album. The new song is called Red Cold River. Let’s break down everything and most importantly answer the question, is it good? I will answer right now and say it is a great song, but it is Breaking Benjamin, so there is a lot to expect.

If you have ever heard a Breaking Benjamin song in your life, then you have an idea of how this new song sounds. The band has a Nirvana-style mixed with their own unique talents to create something unique. Benjamin Burnley has cited Nirvana as his most significant influence which comes through in the music. The song starts off soft and beautiful then explodes with Benjamin’s powerful screams. The intro gives the tone of the whole song which is hard-driving with soft, beautiful moments, a staple in the band’s style.

The verses give an atmosphere with the lack of instrumentation and heavy on the soft vocals. While the chorus gives a heavier feel that injects the song full of energy. This flow between these styles come together naturally. The overall sound is familiar but different as the band has evolved over time.

Lyrically, it is the typical Benjamin Burnley style. Just like his influence from Kurt Cobain, the lyrics are full of emotion but vague enough to give the listener their own ideas for the song’s meaning. Some of the lyrics here are, “Fight with folded hands. Pain left below. The lifeless live again.” Different ideas can come from what is being said here, but there is a lot of emotion which Benjamin articulates fascinatingly.

Sticking with Benjamin’s part of the music, his vocal style is distinctive. Most of the band’s catalog he sings with a soft tone and is able to raise it up in a typical rock fashion to give the song power. The mix of the instrumentation and vocals provide the verses with an atmosphere and emphasize the emotion. Usually, Breaking Benjamin standout with excellent choruses. Verses are always great, but this is one of the few times I feel like the verse is better than the chorus.

The instrumentation is crushing when the screams begin then transition in a more subtle way that makes this one of the more exciting songs the band has done. The verses utilize a soft guitar work and faintly in the distance is some possible electronic sound. The combination gives an atmosphere as Benjamin’s voice floats on top of it all. The chorus hit with crushing and unrelenting riffs that add to the heaviness. There is heavy bass from Aaron that is clear and mixes well with everything going on. Guitarists Keith, Jasen or Benjamin are all giving riffs to drive the song and provide that perfect rock sound. I say or Benjamin since he plays guitar and the band usually only has two of the three guitarists playing at the same time. It is uncertain which combination of the three who wrote and played the guitar in the song. Either way, it works wonderfully in such a heavy way. Shaun’s precise and heavy drums lay the groundwork in the best way, so all the pieces of the music fall together perfectly.

The new song is beautiful while managing to be one of the band’s most hard-driving and crushing songs in their catalog. Out of what I hear from this song and all their previous work, it is safe to say that this will be another phenomenal record by Breaking Benjamin. There is no hard release date yet for the album, but we should expect it soon since spring is right around the corner. You can hear the song for yourself below. What do you think of it? Are you excited about the new album?

Preorder the album here:

Image via 27k Photography

Top 15 Best Movies of 2017

 

2017 was full of excellent movies. There were almost too many good movies to see. Many I did not get to see such as The Big SickLady Bird, and The Disaster Artist. This list is out of the movies I enjoyed the most out of what I got to see. Some movies like the ones listed are going to be missed out, but I will try to catch up on them one of these days (my movie list is big). I missed some potentially great movies I hear amazing things about, but I still managed to see some great movies this year. Some of these on my list is not the best from the most technical standpoint, but I love them. I would love to see your lists which you should comment below.

15. Logan Lucky

This crime-drama-comedy with Channing Tatum and Adam Driver went under a lot of radars. After a brutally hot day, I went to the theater just to be in a room with AC for about 2 hours. That was lucky for me to be able to catch this one because it is genius. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) needs money, so he steals from a Nascar track with his brother Clyde Logan (Adam Driver). This adventure is hilarious but is able to tell a compelling story about this family at the same time. This is a must see if you are looking for one of the most fun movies of the year.loganlucky

14. Detroit

Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is one of the most intense and compelling movies of the year. Her most well-known work is almost always based on true stories such as Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker. Despite what the trailers and the name may lead, Detroit focuses less on the riots that happened, but more on this particular situation that happened that left several people killed by sadistic, racist cops. I wish it told the story that I was thinking it would tell, but overall still a powerful movie about a problem that is still going on in the United States.Detriot-movie-poster-trailer-2017.jpg

13. Wonder Woman

It has been a long time since DC made a good movie. The last time I enjoyed one of their superhero flicks was Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. After the first trailer came up on YouTube of Wonder Woman I was shocked on how great it looked. Then after people got to see some glimpses of the movie, they said negative things. Everyone then had the mindset that DC is screwing things up yet again. Then the movie came out and blew everyone away. Not only is Wonder Woman one of the best superhero movies in recent years, but arguably the best DC movies. Hopefully, we can get more good movies out of DC. Aquaman is up next, so we will wait and see how that turns out.wonder-woman-1.jpg

12. War for the Planet of the Apes

Each entry in the latest trilogy of Planet of the Apes has been excellent. Arguably that each movie has gotten better as the story gets closer to the final film with all-out war between apes and humans. When the first movie was releasing, it was hard to believe that would lead to an excellent movie. A remake of the franchise seemed like a cash grab that will make money, but be poor quality. Instead, Matt Reeves made three excellent movies that seemed a bit ridiculous of him to make. The lifelike apes are stunning to look at. The story is so compelling from both the humans and the ape’s side. Then there are the awesome action scenes when apes are fighting apes or humans are fighting apes. These movies have it all, especially the last entry, War for the Planet of the Apeswarofplanetofapes.jpg

11. John Wick: Chapter 2

The first John Wick might be my favorite action movie ever, if not it is in my top three. When I saw the trailer, I was not impressed. Okay, some guy is avenging is dog’s death, that sounds dumb. Instead, the movie has so much more with its story. There is an interesting criminal underworld and the dog all John had that was left from his late wife. On top of that, it has some of the greatest choreographed actions scenes I have ever seen in my life. Keanu Reeves is the ultimate killing machine in that movie. When a sequel was announced, I was excited but worried. Could they capture the same magic as the first? Yes, they did! I like the first movie more, but chapter 2 is still an excellent action movie that reveals more about this criminal underworld. If you have not seen either movie then stop reading this and go watch these movies!johnwick2.jpg

10. Wind River

This could be just me, but I feel that Wind River is one of the most underrated movies of the year. I just did not hear anyone talk about it. Federal agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is investigating a raped and killed Native American girl. She ends up teaming with a hunter named Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) who helps her hunt down the man who did this. Jeremy Renner hunting down a rapist, nothing more than motivation to excitedly wait for him to take the monster down. The story is a slow burn, but it is worth every minute for how beautifully made it is. The tone is dark and so well done with the pacing. Once the climax hits, then everything goes from zero to a hundred. If you can withstand the slow pacing, you might fall in love with this crime mystery.wind river.jpg

9. IT

The remake of IT is high on the list for two reasons. One, I love horror movies and needed a good horror movie which is rare. Two, I loved the characters who made this movie perfect. The actors who brought this movie to life did an incredible job. I had plenty of problems with the movie overall, but could not help myself to fall in love. As a horror movie, it is not that scary. More on the creepy side, but the storytelling and characters make it enjoyable no matter what genre it is. I am sold to see the sequel after how much I loved this one. If you need a good horror movie, this one takes the cake for 2017.IT.jpg

8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

People are divided on whether they love or hate the latest episode of Star Wars, but I love this movie. If you have read my review of this movie then you know how I feel. If you haven’t then go give that a read. Sure, there are some glaring issues both on the small and big side. The strengths are strong enough to not be brought down by the weaknesses. More movies of this caliber need to take risks and not worry about how things will turn out. Studios need to let directors and writers take a movie to their own direction and that is what Disney did for episode eight. LastJEDI

7. Thor: Ragnarok

Yes, another superhero movie on my list, but this won’t be the last either. I refused to go see this movie when I saw the trailer. It looked like the worst movie in the MCU. If you have read my review, which you should have by now, then you know I am in love with this movie. Thor: Ragnarok is easily one of the best movies in the MCU. Visually stunning, funny throughout, and is a great change for the character since his other two movies are not as beloved. If you are a fan of the MCU and have not seen this then shame on you. Go watch this hilarious and pretty movie.thor ragnarok

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Like many movies, I saw the trailer for the first Guardians of the Galaxy and thought it looked terrible. As this list goes, I might be a bid judging towards trailers. To be honest, I am not a huge superhero fan, but some movies lately have sold me. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just as great as the first movie, if not better. These movies might be my favorite movies of the entire MCU catalog at least they are my top favorites. If you liked the first movie then you get more of what you loved with these hilarious group of heroes.guardians-galaxy-2-4k-uhd-main

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming

There have been some pretty good movies based on the web-slinging hero, but not like this. Tom Holland is not only the best Spider-Man, he is Spider-Man! He was able to capture the personality of Peter Parker and his other life as the superhero so perfectly. Tom was able to do great action scenes along with being the funny and relatable character that Peter is. The movie is full of heart and is fun every single minute. This is hands down my favorite movie in the MCU.spider-man-homecoming-banner

4. The Shape of Water

 

Guillermo Del Toro’s latest movie might be the most beautiful movie of the year. This is said from both a visual and narrative perspective. The characters and story of this movie are full of heart. A woman falling in love with an amphibious man sounds so dumb but ended up being one of the best love stories in years. As of writing, this is the only 10/10 review I have given because this movie is a masterpiece. I am hoping that The Shape of Water can receive as many Oscars as possible.shapeofwater.jpg

3. Get Out

Jordan Peele’s debut directorial movie Get Out is one of the most brilliant movies I have seen all year. This thriller is funny, satirical, haunting, suspenseful, and will get your heart pumping and your mind thinking. I went in knowing nothing except for the fact that everyone who saw it during the release was in love. I had to see it for myself and I was sold by the word “horror”. This is not a scary movie but has the elements of horror. To me, horror does not need to scare you. Just the tone and themes of horror are good enough. If you want to be scared then you will not get that. If you want the things I listed above such as making you think and your heart pumping then this is for you. As unlikely as it might be, I hope that this wins an Oscar for something because it is too brilliant to not give an award to.get-out-20172203

2. Baby Driver

I am a huge Edgar Wright fan. I have loved every movie he is done and the man is brilliant. I was so curious about how he will pull this drama off. Sure, there is a lot of comedy. The first act is quite comedic and light-hearted. As the story moves forward, tension goes up. The mix of comedy, tension, action, and music are blended so perfectly to create one of the most unique movies of the year. Edgar Wright is brilliant and is able to get the team of actors and crew to make it all happen. The action scenes are wonderfully choreographed. The car chases are some of the best I have ever seen. This is arguably Edgar’s best movie yet, and he will only get better.baby driver

1. Logan

I am shocked that a superhero movie is my favorite movie of the year. I am more shocked that this superhero is from the X-Men. Most of all, I am surprised that this is not just a superhero movie. When I saw the first trailer, I was wondering what kind of drama is this that stars Hugh Jackman. When a scene is shown to him with his claws. I realize this drama looking movie is the final Wolverine movie with Hugh. As a superhero movie, it is one of the best in the genre. Out of a movie in any genre, it is still one of the best. The story is compelling as Logan forms a relationship with X-23. Their relationship dynamic and growth feels natural. By the end of the movie, you are going to cry or come close to how touching the ending is. The R rating allows from brutal action scenes for people like me who love seeing blood and gore. The perfect mix of gruesome action and compelling storytelling that makes Logan one of the most special movies of its genre.logan

Images via Shutterstock, Babydriver-movie, Universal studios, Fox Searchlight, Marvel Studios, Disney, Warner Bros. Pictures, JohnWick.movie, Annapurna Pictures, Bleeker Street

Movie Review: The Shape of Water

A woman falls in love with a fish. Yes, that is the main idea of this film. On paper, it sounds dumb and should be garbage. Everyone is saying how it is so beautiful, one of the best romantic stories in years, and that it deserves to win Oscars. Is anything of this true? Absolutely!

I have had a lot of respect for Guillermo Del Toro but never seen much of his movies. The only film I have seen from him was Pacific Rim, which I hated. So my experience in his films is low, but from what I have seen in clips and screenshots from his other movies, he always has a great style that makes for some pretty film. I did not like Pacific Rim, but I loved it visually. He nails it again with The Shape of Water. From the characters, story, cinematography, makeup, wardrobe, and everything else in this movie are beautiful.

The Shape of Water takes place in the 1960s following a young mute woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who works at a research facility. She continues her duties cleaning up the building and keeping company with her coworker Zelda (Octavia Spencer). One day a mysterious aquatic creature (Doug Jones) is brought into the facility. Elisa sees the creature to look human with the shape of his body, but to look like a fish. The amphibious man is being tortured. He forms a bond with Elisa who develops a plan to help the amphibious man escape. She teams up with her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) to support the creature. Her relationship with the amphibious man grows as they start to fall in love.

Most of the time in the story is spent developing characters and relationships. All of the characters are interesting and brought to life wonderfully by the actors and actresses. The way Elisa develops her relationship and later explains how she feels about the amphibious man is well developed and unusually beautiful. She manages to be enthusiastic, charming, funny, dramatic, and so much more without uttering a single word. Sally Hawkins does a phenomenal job and is Oscar worthy. Her supporting friends Zelda and Giles are fantastic, with Giles being my favorite of the two. His quirky and supportive personality is enjoyable. The bond between Elisa and her friends feels genuine and lifelike. Zelda is a true friend. She is supportive of Elisa throughout. Since Elisa is such a great listener, Zelda often talks about her home life and whatever is on her mind throughout the day. Her character’s attitude and dynamic with Elisa makes her an enjoyable, supportive role in the movie. The main threat and real monster of the story are Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) the director of this whole operation for the “asset” and tries to keep control of the situation. His weird characteristics and intimidating demeanor will steal every scene that he is in. He is a relentless force that is hovering over people’s shoulders. This true monster is shown to be a white, Christian, conservative, man. The stereotypical type of character for the era, but with some quirky behavior that makes him unique. Especially with the excellent performance by Michael Shannon. We have all seen this type of character being the antagonist in so many movies. The writing and performance make him different from all those other characters we have seen before. Any story needs a good protagonist like Elisa, but you always need that great antagonist that we get here.

It is more than just the romantic story and fantastic characters that make this movie beautiful, it is the cinematography and editing. Everything is perfectly done and with some unique moments. The opening shots are beautiful. The tone is set right from the beginning with the mix of the music and the camera shots around Elisa’s apartment building. The whole movie is filled with such fantastic camera shots that set the mood for the scenes or can just make the audience enjoy the scenery that is set with the 1960s look.

Most of the effects are practical which makes everything look real as can be and absolutely beautiful. Guillermo is known for loving his practical effects which shine most with the aquatic creature. The costume is almost entirely practical with some CGI mixed in for final touches to make the creature come to life. You could practically reach out and touch him. Along with Doug Jones who’s performance was the last piece to bring the creature to life as he interacts with other characters and the world around him.

The Shape of Water is a cinematic masterpiece. Blending genres from romance, some comedy, horror, drama, and thriller all into the mix to make a truly unique movie. The cast is perfect who were able to take such great characters and bring them all to life. Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor came together to write one of the most compelling stories from something that could have easily been the biggest trash of the year. No matter how you feel by the end of this review, you should check it out for yourself.

Score: 10/10

Buy from Amazon if you love the movie:

Image via Fox Searchlight

15 Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

2016 was a terrible year for movies. Some great movies came out, but overall it was dull. 2017 had its fair share of disappointments, but some amazing movies came out throughout the entire year. As the year comes to a close, everyone looks to 2018 to see what’s to come in the theaters. So far, it is looking strong. There are plenty of movies that are not on many people’s radars that will be missed until their release dates, but these are movies we know about so far going into 2018. This list will not be in any exact order in terms of my excitement, but it will give you a good idea of what exciting movies are coming. I was originally going to do a top ten but realized some movies would be left out that I could not let myself ignore on this list. Be sure to let me know what you are looking forward to the most in the comments.

15. Ready Player One
Release date: March 30

The legendary Steven Speilberg is making an adaption based on the book Ready Player One. Full of references to pop culture and a look into what the future could hold, the book has become beloved by sci-fi fans. It can always be risky when making a movie based on a book, but with all the skills that Steven has, this should not be an issue. As someone who has not read the book, I will be going into this as blind as possible. The story is about a virtual reality world in which the creator ends up passing away. His final message is for users to find his grand Easter Egg to earn a prize. Expect to see your favorite characters from video games and movies throughout this sci-fi adventure.readyplayerone

14. Blood Fest
Release date: TBC 2018

Blood Fest will be the third movie being produced by the internet production company Rooster Teeth. This horror comedy will follow a group of people in their 20s who attend a festival that celebrates the best in horror. This group of young adults discovers the headman of this festival has an evil agenda in which they must use their knowledge from horror movies in order to survive this festival of horror. This will be ambitious for the company to accomplish since their previous efforts in movies and other big productions have never been on the side of horror. With the cast set with Jacob Batalon from Spider-Man: Homecoming, Zachary Levi from the tv series Chuck, and Rooster Teeth’s own Barbara Dunkelman. There is no official release date, but since they finished filming earlier this year, it is safe to say that we can see Blood Fest sometime next year.bloodfestlogo13. Cloverfield 3 (previously known as God Particle. Name subject to change when trailer gets released)
Release date: February 2 (Rumor)

The next installment in the anthology series Cloverfield is finally set to release next year. This series is always weird with last minute information being released such as cast, trailers, and more. Once we get anything solid, it will be within a few months of the movie’s release. Previously known as God Particle, the story is to be set with some astronauts who discover something horrible and must fight to survive. Since the first two movies are so different, we can assume that this will be widely different from the previous movies. As a fan of the first two, I can say that this should be just as great, if not better.cloverfield.jpg

12.  12 Strong
Release date: January 19

Every year we get war films based on true stories, but 12 Strong sets itself apart with a story that people may not have heard of. Whether the details are accurate or not will be determined. The story follows shortly after 9/11 when a group of U.S. Special Forces is sent to Afghanistan they are met with a dangerous mission that does not go according to plan. It is a fierce fight to the death mixed with a powerful story of what this team went through. With such a strong cast with Michael Pena and Chris Hemsworth, it is hard to ignore this upcoming powerful story.12.jpg

11.  Annihilation
Release date: February 23

Alex Garland’s new film is an adaption of the Southern Reach Trilogy book series. A group of soldiers goes into a disaster zone that ends up leaving one man alive (Isaac Oscar). He manages to escape but is severely injured. His wife Lena (Natalie Portman) who is a biologist goes in with a team to figure out what happened. I only discovered this movie from researching upcoming movies in 2018. Seeing Alex Garland writing and directing gave me the confidence to look further into it. Alex is known for directing the 2015 sci-fi movie Ex Machina and writing 28 Days Later. With this experience under his belt and the overwhelmingly great cast, it looks like Annihilation will be a great way to start off the year.annihilation

10. Halloween
Release date: October 19

As a horror fan, I am sad to say that I have not seen any Halloween movie. I know how beloved the first two are and I should watch them before this latest installment comes out. Horror is a difficult genre to pull off, but based on the information we have, it looks like this could be a great one. Original cast members Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode) and Nick Castle (Michael Myers) return for Laurie to finally face off Michael. John Carpenter returns to write and produce which is another great sign that this could be great. In a recent interview, it has been announced that violence will be limited to obtain the most amount of tension. Too many horror movies rely on violence too much and lose any tension. If the pacing is right then this could work in their favor.Halloween-Movie-2018-Jamie-Lee-Curtis-Michael-Myers

9.  The Strangers 2: Prey at Night
Release date: March 9

I have been waiting for years to finally get a sequel. There have been many issues on the way for a sequel to the 2008 horror flick, but it looks like early next year we will finally get it. As mentioned before with Halloween, horror is a hard genre to accomplish. Not much is known besides the main story will be about the three masked killers from the first movie will be terrorizing a family who stopped by a mobile home park. The sequel should maintain what was so special about the first movie in order to succeed while giving itself something unique for the audience. As the release date comes closer, hopefully, we can get more information.strangers.jpg

8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Release date: December 13

The upcoming animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will be quite unique for fans of the hero. Miles Morales will have his first time on the big screen as the masked hero since Peter Parker is dead. From the trailer, we can see that it appears there will be more people taking on the spider suit to fight crime. The trailer shows how beautiful the animation will be as Miles swings around the city. More information will come out a while later since the current release date is in December but we can count on plenty of villains will be showing up if there are going to be multiple heroes. spiderverse.jpg

7. The Predator
Release date: August 3

Another remake of a classic movie is always a bit worrying. Despite my worries for the upcoming The Predator, I can’t stop my excitement. Our main cast is in the image below. A military unit is on a rescue mission to save some allies from a guerrilla force in South America only to discover there is another threat waiting for them. In an attempt to bring the same tone that the first movie had, this will be treated with action, humor, and horror to bring this remake to the same level as the original from 1987. predator

6. Venom
Release date: October 5

The iconic villain Venom is getting his own standalone movie with Tom Hardy as the character. This already sounds phenomenal. Not much is known about the project. Sony announced they wanted to do this movie a long time ago, but it has had problems. Getting frozen and forgotten many times, but Sony is taking it seriously now. The movie is said to have a horror tone to it which will provide for a unique Marvel movie experience. A rumor lately is that it can be rated R potentially. If this is true then it looks like this can be a dream come true. With movies like Logan and Deadpool taking the R rating to superhero movies, it would look just as good for a supervillain too.venom

5. Sicario 2: Soldado
Release date: June 29

If you have not seen the first Sicario then stop reading this and go watch it! The tension and pacing of that movie bring a new taste to its genre. The story continues with the war on drugs. Federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) re-teams up with operative Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) to fight the cartel. My hopes are that they can maintain the tension from the first movie. The trailer gives a more action-packed vibe which is fine as long as they can tone themselves down just enough to give that proper tone that the first had. Full of tension, brutality, and a realistic look at the cartels make this irresistible to fans of these kinds of movies.sicario 2.jpg

4. Deadpool 2
Release date: June 1

Words can’t describe how excited I am for Deadpool 2. The first movie was in development hell for so long but managed to be a fantastic movie. Disney acquiring Marvel characters like Deadpool was scary but was confirmed that Deadpool will still have an R rating and continue to have a home despite Disney being present. Not much on plot details but Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) will be new additions to the cast. We will get more information as the release date gets closer. Just like the first movie, there will be tons of violence and crude humor for fans to enjoy.

deadpool-ryan-ronalds.jpg

3.  The New Mutants
Release date: April 13

Another horror inspired superhero movie is coming next year called The New Mutants. A spinoff from the X-Men movies we have been getting in the past few years, this will deliver a new taste to the franchise. A group of young mutants has been lured into an asylum in which they are being experimented on. The cast is full of upcoming stars such as Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), and Anya Taylor-Joy (Split). It is an exciting time to see superhero movies take big risks by changing up the usual formula. I have high hopes that The New Mutants and Venom might be able to start a great new trend in the genre.The-New-Mutants-movie.jpg

2. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Release date: May 25

Another prequel movie that will expand the universe of Star Wars and one of the franchise’s most beloved characters, Han Solo. With Ron Howard set to direct, the iconic hero Han Solo will get a backstory that will dive into a part of his life we have never seen before. With the wave of excellent movies we have gotten recently in the series, there is no stopping this upcoming movie from being just as great despite some initial issues early on. Aiden Ehrenreich (Hail Ceasar) as Han Solo. Alongside Aiden will be Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) who will play as a new female heroine named Kira, Woody Harrelson (Hunger Games, True Detective, Zombieland) will play a criminal who influences Han named Beckett, and Donald Glover (The Martian and Community) will play a young Lando Calrissian. With this all-star cast and the amazing Ron Howard directing, this next Star Wars movie looks to be in safe hands

1. Avengers: Infinity War
Release date: May 4

10 years in the making, the first part to Avengers: Infinity War is coming this May. All our heroes from these movies are joining together to fight Thanos (Josh Brolin). It will be a big and wonderful year for Josh with this movie being the biggest one for him in 2018. Thanos comes to Earth and threatens the world, but he has to get through a lot of superheroes in order to get what he wants. With such a giant cast, it is intimidating to see how they can pull this movie off, but with their current track record and the build-up to this one movie, it should be worth the wait. Originally, the next movie would be part 2, but now the title is going to change. From an interview with co-director Joe Russo mentions, “”We wanted the movie to be very different and distinctive, you know,” he told Cinema Blend. Some cross over will connect the two movies, but it looks like this story with Thanos might end with one movie. It will be interesting to see how Anthony and Joe Russo manage to pull this one off with the expectations are high and with so many characters to manage, this will be a difficult movie to make. The big question is who will die? The source material kills off several characters, so who dies in the movie? This will bring high stakes to the movie that will surely help it greatly. A problem I find with a lot of these big franchises is the lack of stakes, especially with the superhero genre of movies. With a major character death, it will bring weight to the movie and the future of the MCU.

Images via Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox, Thunder Road Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, Aviron Pictures, Universal Pictures, Paramount,  Warner Bros. Pictures, Rooster Teeth, and Bad Robot.

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games for 2018

2018 is almost here, which means for another great year for gaming. 2017 has had some fantastic games such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, Cuphead, Resident Evil 7, and so much more. The line up for 2018 is looking possibly stronger. I will be looking at what I am most excited for in 2018. These are games that are confirmed or are most likely to come out for 2018, so no The Last of Us 2 and a few others will not be on this list, sadly. Hopefully, nothing here gets postponed until 2019. Get your lists ready to comment below after reading this one. Let us all get hyped for 2018!

10. Code Vein

Release date: Early 2018
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

Despite not being developed by FromSoftware, Bandai Namco’s upcoming release seems a bit similar to fans of Dark Souls. This grim vampire game will be a JRPG. We know it will be difficult, dark, weird, and everything fans should expect from the publisher of Dark Souls and the main brains behind the God Eater series.codevein

9. Overkill’s The Walking Dead

Release date: Fall 2018
Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC

This series has had a lot of attention from starting out as graphic novels, exploding on TV, becoming a hit game from Tell Tale, then the Activision game that we all need to forget about. This new cooperative game comes from Overkill, the company that made the Payday games. They are tackling the world of The Walking Dead in this new upcoming game. Not much is known, but players will team up for missions to survive in a world ravaged by zombies. Just like the other games, shows, and novels, you will have to fight off the dead and the living to survive. From their previous work and what we can see from trailers, this looks like the promising survival game that fans of The Walking Dead have been waiting for. I am a huge zombie fan, so I can not wait to dive into this with my friends.Twdoverkill.jpg

8. God of War

Release date: Early 2018
Platform(s): PS4

Okay, this will shock a lot of you, but I have never played a God of War game before. I am just as disappointed as you are. This will be my first time in the series. As stated from E3 and interviews, this game is supposed to lend itself to old fans and bring in new fans. Being able to go in knowing nothing will be great. The new style of gameplay will be easier for new players like myself. Exploring the world of Norse mythology will be interesting and to see where Kratos ends up on this new adventure. God of War lands at #8 from my inexperience with the series but manages to be on my top 10 from the amazing trailers and gameplay demos shown from E3. I am beyond excited to experience a game in this series since I know so many people who love the God of War games. After many delays, we can all hope that this game truly does come out in 2018 as promised.godofwar.jpg

7. Detroit: Become Human

Release date: Spring 2018
Platform(s): PS4

Quantic Dream’s new game, Detroit: Become Human is an upcoming exclusive to the PS4. Quantic Dream is known for games such as Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy. Just like their previous games, your actions and choices are important. You will play as three different androids who have become sentient. Each character will have their own unique story that will eventually tie in with the other characters in some way. As previous games from Quantic Dream, but there are always major issues in the plot. Hopefully, after so many attempts, we can get the gripping story that has high stakes to the player’s actions as attempted before in Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls. This could be a promising game that can make the amazing PS4 exclusive catalog look stronger or just be a forgettable mistake. The reason it beats the other games is my love for the concept, but when the final product is out, who knows how anyone will actually feel about this game.detroit

6. Far Cry 5

Release date: March 27, 2018
Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC

I have mixed feelings about Ubisoft. I usually do not care for their games and feel disappointed in many of their projects such as The Divison, but Far Cry is a series they make that I love. Sure, the past few games blended together a little bit regarding gameplay, but they work so well. The series returns in America for the first time. This has sparked controversy, but it just makes me more interested. Like previous games, you will be fighting off a group of people who have taken over with a tyrannical leader with a religious spin. The world will be full of variety and open for the player to hunt, drive around, save people, and do so much more. far-cry-5-cover-art.jpg.optimal.jpg

5. Days Gone

Release date: Early 2018
Platform(s): PS4

Imagine a biker oriented story in a zombie apocalypse. That is Days Gone. The game calls their zombies a creature called Freakers. Like many modern zombie games, there will be different types of zombies. These types will behave in certain ways and have different abilities that will distinguish them from one another. Of course, humans are a threat also. Going through this beautiful landscape in the Pacific Northwest where the danger lies all around whether it is a human or a Freaker. This unique spin on the zombie genre is what we need and I believe this should be an excellent PS4 exclusive.days gone

4. A Way Out

Release date: March 23, 2018
Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC

I love cooperative games, especially with unique twists like A Way Out brings to the table. Developed by Hazelight, the creators of Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons, this is their new gripping game. A Way Out is about two people breaking out of prison together and making it beyond the walls. You and a friend must manage different scenarios inside and out of the prison. The entire game is split-screen, even if you are playing online. A variety of ways to play the game will give unique experiences and ways to tackle a problem. This project has come out of nowhere and has caught everyone’s attention. Nothing is better than playing with a friend through a game and this could be one of the best cooperative experiences in years.wayout.jpg

3. Red Dead Redemption 2

Release date: Spring 2018
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One

The long await sequel to Red Dead Redemption is almost here. The open world experience of the first game was amazing. Knowing Rockstar, they will raise the bar a lot higher than the already high bar set from the first game. There is a lot to expect from an open world game from Rockstar. The writing will be phenomenal. Characters will be fleshed out with interesting personalities with tremendous voice acting and dialog. The story will be gripping all the way through with amazing missions. The online is what I am worried about. Despite the success they have found in Grand Theft Auto V, I am afraid that their same model will be the same for Red Dead Redemption 2. I felt burned out of GTA V by the way that game was handled. Hopefully, a lot has been learned and can be improved upon in Red Dead Redemption 2. One thing is for certain, I will love the single player.RDR2.jpg

2. Metro: Exodus

Release date: Fall 2018
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

When I first saw the trailer for Metro: Exodus, I was freaking out. This was a complete surprise that a third entry was being delivered. These games are some of the best in the FPS genre for single player experiences. The first game, Metro 2033 is good despite its flaws. The following game, Metro: Last Light is a wonderful improvement that is fantastic. The game expands itself in the third upcoming entry. The story continues and you are continuing to survive in the bleak and horrifying conditions of Russia surrounded by dangerous people and even more dangerous creatures. Gameplay will be improved and expanded upon. The biggest aspect shown so far is that levels will be much bigger. Relatively a linear experience like the previous game, except with enough open moments to lend the player a way to explore and have more to do. With this current track record in the series, it should be safe to say that Metro: Exodus will take the great qualities from the previous games and raise the bar to an even better game.metro Exodus

1. Spider-Man

Release date: 2018
Platform(s): PS4

Finally, a promising Spider-Man game. I loved the first couple of games from the early 2000s. There is nothing better when this game got announced and the developer was going to be Insomniac. From the titles such as Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive, have given them a catalog that proves they can create a beautifully stylized game with excellent writing and fluid gameplay. You need people who can deliver the right story with the proper humor that can truly bring Peter Parker’s story to life. Having the right gameplay that Insomniac is more than qualified for to bring a fluid experience for gameplay and traversal will be perfect for this open world game. Some concerns are there in terms of the number of quick time events and the progression since the player will start out with all of Spidey’s abilities are there, but with my experiences playing games from Insomniac, I am sure I will fall in love with this game. Hopefully, we can get a solid release date in 2018.spider-man-ps4-paris-games-week-information.jpg

That is my list of games I am excited about. 2018 looks like it can be a solid year for gaming. Give me your list of anticipated games, I would love to read what you are all looking forward to.

Images via Sony Interactive Entertainment, Insomniac Games, Deep Silver, 4A Games, Rockstar Games, 2K Games, Hazelight Studios, Electronic Arts, SIE Bend Studio, Ubisoft, Quantic Dream, SIE Santa Monica Studio, Overkill Software, and Bandai Namco Entertainment, Pixabay

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Two years we have been waiting, but it is finally here. The new episode in the new Star Wars trilogy is here. This is by far one of the most controversial and polarizing movies in the series. I will say it right now, I love this movie. There are perfectly solid reasons to hate it, but I will go into what felt right to me. No matter what, if you are a fan of Star Wars then you must see it. Have your expectations low and go in knowing as little as possible. That is the best bet to gain your full enjoyment out of it.

Just to say before going forward that I will not have any spoilers here. Somethings need to be said but will be kept vague as possible. If you are a fan, then go see it no matter what.

Ever since Rian Johnson was announced to direct and write this movie, I was so exciting. Looper is a really solid sci-fi movie and one of Bruce Willis’s best in a long time. Also, Rian is from my hometown, so it is hard to not be proud and excited. No matter how people feel about this movie, his vision was clear and he made the movie that he wanted. There needs to be respected whether you hated or loved it. He has been able to make some of the best choices in any Star Wars movie ever. Some decisions did not pan out, but for a two and a half hour movie, this is not a huge surprise. I loved Force Awakens for the same reason that J.J. Abrams accomplished with his own vision, despite some flaws.

The story is somewhat typical and a continuation of the last movie. Rey (Daisy Ridley) develops her power from Luke (Mark Hamill). Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and a new character Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) find a hacker who can help them on their mission to escape from the First Order who are hunting them down. Meanwhile, the Resistance is preparing for battle against the First Order. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) continue their mission for Snoke (Andy Serkis) to destroy the Resistance.

The pacing of the story is quite slow. A lot is going on and is packed into the timeline. There is enough action, humor, and big moments that take that weight off. No matter how you go about it, the length will still feel long no matter how much you love it. Most of which felt necessary, but somethings could have been done differently for the sake of time. There are enough side stories to keep everything afloat. Rey’s story goes a little slower, but some others go faster to keep the audience interest.

As it has been teased before the movie’s release, there is the biggest twist in any Star Wars movie and by the trailers, some big moments were going to happen. Without spoilers, just know that these are not what you think. Go to open-minded and clear-headed, you will be fine with what the movie throws at you. Personally, the twists and turns felt great to character arc, story, and the lore of this universe. Some questionable moves were made that I had to google and do some research afterward. Some elements from the extended universe are in this movie. Since it has never been seen in the big picture, some audience members like myself might be confused.  Out of my research, everything is canon and has happened in some capacity in the extended universe or hinted in the original trilogy. Everything stays true to how people in the universe are and how everything works in terms of the force and technology.

Some plot points are not huge. They fall flat, but that does not mean in a bad way. Yes, some do fall flat in negative ways. That is mostly with characters, but we will get to that shortly. Big reveals, twists, and plot points are usually made to be giant, but this movie makes something small. I like it because that is a bit of a risk. Takes expectations people have and downsize it. This works with how certain characters are and their overall arc.

Characters both new and old are all here. Kylo is expanded and a lot more likable as a villain. Still an emotional character, but Rian Johnson made this feel a lot more right. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan who wrote episode seven had a particular vision that did not sit well with a lot of people, myself included. Kylo felt too whiny and weak. This builds him with a lot better development that makes more sense. Adding more complexity to him and other characters. I love Rey more than before. Her growth is just as immense as expected. There is more added to the legendary Luke Skywalker. I felt Rose was a good addition, but she might need another movie to fully develop her into someone more likable. Plenty of new alien animals were shown like the popular porgs were great. I can’t remember a Star Wars movie having so many cute animals than this one. Several others are shown that are cute and have a great design for them. I was not excited about the porgs like everyone else, but they are really funny and cute. Those little creatures won me over big time!

Not every character felt right. There was a lot of hype for a new character known as DJ (Benicio Del Toro) who could have been a lot better. I am trying to be vague, but I was not a fan of what they did. It felt a lot less important than what I was hoping for. Still, Benicio did a good job like he always does. I can never be too mad at him in a role because he is just that good. More happens with Snoke who is not what I was hoping for. Personally, he did not bring what I had hoped for to the story. His scenes were great, but with how things play out, I was not a fan.

Visually this is one of the best out of any of the movies. Of course, it will be beautiful since almost all of the Star Wars movies are beautiful, except the prequels and their awful CGI. In the trailer, there is a planet in some substance on the ground that is white, but right under it is some red dust. This salty and dusty world makes for some simple, but beautiful shots. Some other interesting and pretty planets are shown, but I just wish we had more. I love being in space but seeing beautiful and unique worlds are always the best to experience.

The tone of the movie is typical, a bit darker as we move forward in this new trilogy with some humor in place. Just like The Force Awakens, a lot of humor is put in that does not always sit well. Some unexpected comedy is thrown in but honestly work. Some of the funniest moments in the whole franchise happen in this movie. I wished things were kept even darker and placement for humor was distributed differently. A funny scene occurs early on, which is great but gives a weird tone and expectation for the rest of the movie. Starting lighthearted is great, but you need some space between drama and comedy or it can bring either one down if placed too close. Something funny can happen, but right away there is something dramatic.

As everyone is saying, this movie takes some big risks. To defend it, people were made at episode seven for playing it safe, but mad at eight for playing it too risky. You are not going to make everyone happy. Most of these big risks I liked. One or two do not sit well with me, but overall, I am quite happy that Rian Johnson took his vision and ran with it. There is a clear vision that mostly works throughout the film. Despite some flat characters and plot points that do not go down like I had hoped, it is still one of the best Star Wars movies. Big franchises need to take bigger risks. Better to have people loving or hating it than having people being neutral. Having these big reactions has caused interesting discussion and has riled up the fan base. New territories for characters, the force, and the entire universe are explored here. Risky, but works out so well to give a unique Star Wars experience that we needed. I am beyond excited that Rian Johnson gets his own trilogy that will certainly continue being risky and exploring what has not been touched in one of the movies.

Score: 9/10

Image via Lucas Film and Disney