Kung Fu Panda 3

The 3rd round of the goofy, punching, and kicking panda voiced by Jack Black is a solid sequel and much fun to be had. The plot is narrow and predictable but the beautiful and colorful animation, action packed martial arts, all the funny moments and one liners made up for it. The all-star voice casts give each characters vibrant life. I loved listening to both Bryan Cranston who voiced Po’s newly discovered father and J.K. Simmons, the voice of the main villain, Kai. There’s some beautiful moral points that can be used to teach children, and even adults for that matter. All in all, I had a lot of fun. So that being said, I cosign Kung Fu Panda 3. Now go see it, and have a good time.

Brooklyn

The heart of this tale is the journey of an immigrant from Ireland finding a new home and herself in 1950s Brooklyn, NY. One of the best picture nominee and rightly so, Brooklyn nails all the right points of what makes a beautiful film. Lead by stunning work of Saoirse Ronan, the emotional journey is on point and felt by the audience, especially my wife. By the end, you wanted to stay in Brooklyn and experience more. Could this win best picture? I honestly don’t know, but this does win my cosign. Take your date to see this if you can.

Spotlight

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In a powerful and humbling way, Spotlight shines on the efforts of a team of investigative journalists who exposed the scandal of the Catholic church and sexual abuse of children. Now it wasn’t about the prosecution of the men who committed these crimes but to expose the system that which tried to hide those men to protect the sanctity of the Church . This film is humbling in many ways, one being that how often have opportunities come up for us to do something right and yet we pass on it not knowing what terrible outcome could come from it. To think of so many victims this has produced over the years and how many has turned a blind eye is mind-blowing. The telling of this story is outstanding. Taking the subject matter with such care and giving honor to whom honor is due. The cast couldn’t have been more perfect than what they have given. Spotlight is one of the best films of last year and worthy of best picture status. It’s rumored to be the film to take the win, and I can believe it. Consigned immediately, see this when you can.

Deadpool, rated R…. R for … reasons

It seems people have a love hate relationship with superhero flicks. They hate them because there is always superhero movies coming out; this year has at least 6. Or if you are like me, you can’t wait for all of them. And kicking off this year’s run is Deadpool. Fans have waited for a live action version of the famed wise cracking, 4th wall breaking Merc with the Mouth, especially with the huge disappointment with X-men Origins: Wolverine. Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson is, arguably, the only good part of Origins until they butchered him at the end for the climax.(Sorry for spoilers, but the movie sucked so don’t waste your time.) Then over a year ago, we got a test footage of Reynolds donning the red suit and kicking ass while making one liners jokes and the fans went crazy. Finally, the Deadpool we wanted. The footage green lit the film for a full production and now 2 weeks away, Deadpool arrives at the cineplex.

However, Deadpool is stirring up a bit of controversy because of the R rating, and from what I read about it, a very hard R. Simply put, this movie is not for kids, and that makes parents upset. The most common backlash on Twitter is superheroes and comic books are for kids. I have to argue that, not all of them are. Some have been made into films others are still waiting to be greenlit. Films like Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass, 300, The Watchmen, Punisher, Blade, Sin City, etc. All R rated films adapted from mature rated comics and graphic novels. Even Batman has an animated movie coming out which is being adapted from the Killing Joke, a rated mature graphic novel. The film has been greenlit to be rated R. Personally, to be true to the source of what the Killing Joke is, an R rated is fitting due to its dark nature.

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A couple of weeks ago some folks got an early surprise screening of Deadpool and one of those in attendance was the creator of Deadpool himself, artist/writer Rob Liefeld. Rob was ecstatic about seeing his creation on-screen. He called it the “best version of Deadpool”. Click here for more. The point of bringing up Rob Liefeld is that he believes the R rated films version is the best version of his work. That may not be the best argument against the idea that superheroes and comics are created for kids and the movies should support that idea. Only that not everyone believes this to be so.

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I can sympathize with the idea that Deadpool as opposed to the other characters mentioned above in the list of mature rated comic books is a little more well-known to the younger audience as he has made appearances in the Avengers and Spiderman cartoon series. Though I have to say, even though he may not have caused any bloodshed nor does he use any language in the kids shows for obvious reasons, he is still true to his nature. He passes off killing people like it’s a joke.

Could they have settled for a PG13 for the kids, sure but true comic fans know that it wouldn’t do him justice. So I’d like to propose an idea that may satisfy both those who want to keep it rated R and those who want it to be suitable for the whole  family. First keep the original version rated R. Then, for the PG13, dub over the naughty words with silly words like chimichangas, book, etc. And during the naughty scenes, literally replace those scenes with random kid friendly sketches featuring Deadpool. Like maybe an infomercial about a chimichanga maker. That actually may make those who watch the R version want to see this version just for kicks and giggles. Sound off below your thoughts. In case you haven’t seen and are curious on just how bad it could be, here is the Red Band NSFW trailer.

 

That brings up another thought, which perhaps can be discussed in the comment section(please be civil), have we as society become so desensitized to violence, sex, and other mature themes? What are your thoughts what’s even allowed in a rated R film and societies adjustment to accept these kind of things?

Steve Jobs

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Within a half an hour of Danny Boyle’s wonderfully and artfully directed picture straight from the screenplay of Aaron Sorkin, my first thought was that Leonardo DiCaprio has some competition in the best actor race at the Academy Awards with Michael Fassbender. Although, I still think Leo will win. Set backstage at 3 major product launches of Steve Jobs ending with the famed unveiling of the sleek iMac, Boyle masterfully weaves intricate relationships and emotions surrounding both Steve Jobs life and work, and those involved.  Michael Fassbender is outstanding, capturing the enigmatic CEO, delivering each line with perfection, and having a stellar supporting cast especially Kate Winslet to dialogue with that which
makes each scene captivating. It’s interesting that Leonardo DiCaprio was originally selected to play this role but dropped out for The Revenant. Personally I think the Oscar’s could have added one more film to the best picture category and it’s Steve Jobs. Cosigned immediately, go see this when you can. It’s a bicycle for the mind.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

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“When everything went wrong, 6 men had the courage to do what was right” is the tagline for Michael Bay’s latest movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Courage is a tremendous word, and what these men faced to save the lives of at least 32 Americans, courage feels like an understatement. When I walked out of that theater I was wrecked with many emotions. Thankfulness for those who served and put their lives on the line just so that others may have a chance at a full life. Frustrations and anger at those who are responsible for the deaths of American lives, not just those who would enact such atrocities but also those who ignored the warnings and pleas for help. (I realize that there are many claims to this being a false telling but I’ll choose the words of one of the surviving soldiers who said this movie was mostly spot on as opposed to corrupt politicians and corrupt media sources.)

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This is, in my opinion, Michael Bay’s finest work. A few of his trademarks are in there including plenty of explosions. It is a war movie so that is to be expected. When Michael Bay isn’t destroying my childhood, i.e. Transformers and producing Ninja Turtles, he shines. It is rated R for language and war violence. Some of the violence is gruesome and may be unsettling for some to watch. Having said all that, I would gladly cosign this movie and would like to give a huge thank you to all who served and is serving for our country. May your sacrifice never be taken for granted and also may one day I’ll be able to be a part of sharing your story of courage.

Room

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Number 6 of the 8 Oscar nominated best picture of 2015. Room was a simple, engaging, suspenseful, and heartbreaking tale. Brie Larson has been gaining steam as an actress and I believe with Room, she proved herself. Even more surprising, Jacob Tremblay who plays the boy is an outstanding actor for a child. I couldn’t help be amazed on how he had convinced me. I haven’t read the book this is based on and judging by the amount of reviews telling us how close it was to the source, I’ll just believe the reports. To imagine what it would be like when all you ever known is life inside a shed, or as the boy calls it Room, then coming out into the world having absolutely no clue what you are seeing. I would gladly cosign this film, and I believe it to be very worthy of its Oscar Nomination of best picture and best actress in Brie Larson. I realize it’s probably at the end of its theater run as it came out in the fall, but if you can see it, take that opportunity. If not, get it when it comes out on bluray. It is rated R for language but it’s not excessive or vulgar. And there’s a couple suggested adult moments but nothing is shown and situation is offscreen.