There Is Nothing New To See At The Dark Tower!

I did my best to read all the books before watching The Dark Tower, and I am glad that I did, but the books didn’t help me gain any understanding with what was going on in the movie.  Not that the movie is confusing in any way, because it is constantly going out of its way to inform the audience with what is going on, but because it is a radical departure from the books.  That is not my main issue with The Dark Tower however, my issue is that they turned one of the craziest Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Western universes out there in to something generic.

The Dark Tower is about Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), who see visions of a strange land and a Dark Tower, and an ongoing battle between a Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and The Gunslinger (Idris Elba).  Jake seems to think that the current series of world wide earthquakes are due to the Man in Black attacking The Dark Tower.  No one believes Jake of course, so he has to travel to Mid-World himself to find The Gunslinger and save The Dark Tower.

It probably made sense to the writers to make the movie about Jake instead of the Gunslinger because then Jake could be the avatar for the audience seeing all these strange things for the first time.  Of course if any of this was strange it probably would have been fine, but in all honestly had you told me that this was just the next Maze Runner movie and in this one they can hop dimensions, I would have believed you.  Mid-World is just a random place with a lot of broken stuff and a creepy Matthew McConaughey constantly feeding us Gunslinger trivia.  The only part of The Dark Tower that really works is when The Gunslinger comes to New York and does his best Last Action Hero impression.

Thankfully the cast they hired was excellent.  Even new comer Tom Taylor sold his role.  The fact these actors had almost nothing but exposition for dialog and almost pulled it off as natural is a minor miracle.  The Dark Tower would have been so much better had people just stopped explaining everything and just started having meaningful character interactions, or better yet shown us what they were explaining.

I don’t know if it was budget or lack of vision that kept Mid-World from being as interesting in the movie as it is in the books, but it was a shame that it felt stripped of everything that made that place feel unique.  I didn’t need a homicidal train in the movie, but it would have been nice to feel like one could have shown up at any minute.  Thanks to the great actors and the brisk pace The Dark Tower ended up being okay.  Almost like the cheep cable version of the book that made you want a real movie.  For people that haven’t read the books this movie might be easier to watch because they don’t know what they are missing.  Though they could also go out and watch The Maze runner or Divergent again and have just as much fun.

Spider-Man Comes Home!

We finally got our first Marvel Studios co-produced Spider-Man movie, and it was worth the wait.  Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best Spider-Man movie to date.  Just narrowly beating out Spider-Man 2.  My only complaint is that I feel they played the movie a bit safe.  The Marvel movie formula works, but I wish they would try and shake it up a bit.

Spider-Man: Homecoming starts out with a quick recap of the events of Captain America: Civil War from Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) perspective.  He then waits to hear from Tony Stark about his next mission while becoming the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man we have all come to know and love.  Along the way he gets in a fight with some guys with super weapons.  To protect his city he is going to have to track down and take out the maker of these very dangerous weapons.

Did you see something I didn’t mention in the plot above?  That’s right Peter never gets bitten by a radioactive spider, and there isn’t yet another Green Goblin.  Spider-Man: Homecoming is not an origin film in the classical sense.  Peter is still new to his powers, and not far along in his superhero career, but those looking forward to Uncle Been dying while saying something about power and responsibility will be disappointed.  It is very refreshing.

Tom Holland is the best Peter Parker we have had on screen.  Which is saying something.  Both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were pretty good Spider-Men.  Even if their movies weren’t.  All of the backup cast was great as well, and obviously Michael Keaton is going to be good no mater what movie he is in, so it is no surprise that he is fantastic as the blue-collar villain Vulture.  His performance keeps the character from becoming a one-note throw away villain.

Honestly, like I said above my only complaint is that Spider-Man: Homecoming can be a little too Marvel-y.  It fits in very well with the other Marvel movies, but that is because it is very much like the other Marvel movies.  It is a weak complaint I know, but after sixteen movies it would be nice to see something fresh and new from the studio.

For everyone that was excided to hear that Marvel Studios would be taking the reins for at least the next few Spider-Man movies, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the movie they hoped it would be.  It is funny and charming, and it brings in a lot of Marvel cameos and Easter-eggs to find and enjoy.  Just don’t expect something new and different.  It is like buying a Snickers at the grocery store, very good, but you know what you are getting.

Catch A Ride With Baby Driver!

Ever since Edgar Wright’s dramatic exit from Marvel’s Ant-Man, we have been waiting to see what was next from this unique director, and if Baby Driver is anything to go by, Wright has got a lot left in the tank.  Baby Driver is cool, fun and funny.  Even if it could have used just one more chase scene.

Since Edgar loves to play with movie genres it should be no surprise that Baby Driver features a lot of clichés and tropes for him to manipulate, make fun of and ultimately revel in.  It is about, get this, a tormented getaway driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort), that has to do just one more job to free himself from his scary crime boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey).  Baby just wants to skip town with his girl, Debora (Lily James), and leave his life of crime behind him.

Now Baby Driver isn’t the crazy comedy that makes up the bulk of Edgar Wright’s work: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, but it still offers plenty of laughs.  This slightly more restrained version of Wright is no doubt what we would have seen from him if he would have been able to complete Ant-Man.  Which is a shame because Marvel could have stood to have its own studio turn its cinematic universe on its head.

The acting was all terrific.  Elgort was able to portray a kid who is gifted at his job but hates it, and Hamm, Foxx, and Gonzalez are all able to play varying shades of crazy gangster.  Spacey’s job was to deliver on the nose dialog without actually winking at the audience, and Spacey was in peak Spacey.  I am sure Wright’s direction for him was, “Can you be more Spacey in the next scene?”.

Baby Driver isn’t perfect.  It drags a little in the middle.  I think Edgar was worried that the audience may not like Baby, so he did some character building which I didn’t think was necessary, and for a movie about driving, it could have featured just a little more.  The reason I say this is because the driving that is in it, is excellent, but then it kind of tapers off as the movie progresses.

Baby Driver is a very good modern gangster film that knows and has fun with the fact it is a gangster film.  It is another great film to add to Wright’s portfolio.  Which already has a lot of great films in it.  It is a fun summer action movie to go check out if you are a little tired of them all featuring tights and capes these days.

Did You Want A Little Tron With Your Breakfast Club? Jumanji Thinks So!

They have obviously changed up the Jumanji formula quite a bit.  Instead of the game coming to life in our world.  It now sucks you in to its world giving you 90’s style videogame avatars.  Complete with special powers.  Of course this time around the game sucks in four teenagers from different walks of life during detention, and they will have to overcome their differences to survive Jumanji’s jungle.  It looks funnier and like more fun than I thought it was going to be, but I am going to wait for reviews before I spend my hard earned cash to watch this flick.

Wonder Woman Is Having An Incredable Box-Office Run!

Remember when I said Wonder Woman was avoiding the massive day to day drops of the other DC Extended Universe films?  Well it turns out that she is avoiding the massive weekend to weekend drops as well.  In the blockbuster era any weekend to weekend drop of less than 55% is good.  Wonder Woman only dropped 43% for an impressive haul of $58.5 Million in its second weekend.  Marvel is probably kicking itself for not making that Black Widow movie.

There has been so much pent up demand for a good female superhero movie that Wonder Woman’s run is making film executives look like idiots.  Luckily for DC they already have Batgirl and Gotham City Sirens in pre-production.  Not to mention Wonder Woman 2 has no doubt been fast tracked.  Marvel still only has Captain Marvel on the schedule, but it hasn’t even finished its script.  Though I am guessing Wonder Woman’s success will set off a female superhero arms race.  Marvel has a lot of them, so it is time for them to come out shine with the ladies from DC.