Archive for Donald Glover

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Following the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes and his salvage company are contracted to clean up the city, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), a partnership between Tony Stark and the U.S. government. Enraged at being driven out of business, Toomes persuades his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have already scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced weapons. Eight years later, Peter Parker is drafted into the Avengers by Stark to help with an internal dispute, but resumes his studies at the Midtown School of Science and Technology when Stark tells him he is not yet ready to become a full Avenger.

Parker quits his school’s academic decathlon team to spend more time focusing on his crime-fighting activities as Spider-Man. One night, after preventing criminals from robbing an ATM with their advanced weapons from Toomes, Parker returns to his Queens apartment where his best friend Ned discovers his secret identity. On another night, Parker comes across Toomes’ associates Jackson Brice / Shocker and Herman Schultz selling weapons to local criminal Aaron Davis. Parker nearly drowns intervening, and is rescued by Stark, who is monitoring the Spider-Man suit he gave Parker and warns him against involvement with the dangerous criminals. Toomes accidentally kills Brice with one of their weapons, and Schultz becomes the new Shocker.

Parker and Ned study a weapon left behind by Brice, removing its power core. When a tracking device on Schultz leads to Maryland, Parker rejoins the decathlon team and accompanies them to Washington, D.C. for their national tournament. Ned and Parker disable the tracker Stark implanted in the Spider-Man suit, and unlock its advanced features. Parker tries to stop Toomes from stealing weapons from a D.O.D.C. truck, but is overpowered and trapped inside the truck, causing him to miss the decathlon tournament. When he discovers that the power core is an unstable Chitauri grenade, Parker races to the Washington Monument where the core explodes and traps Ned and their friends in an elevator. Evading local authorities, Parker saves his friends, including his fellow classmate and crush Liz. Returning to New York City, Parker persuades Davis to reveal Toomes’ whereabouts. Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Parker captures Toomes’ new buyer Mac Gargan, but Toomes escapes and a malfunctioning weapon tears the ferry in half. Stark helps Parker save the passengers before admonishing him for his recklessness and taking away his suit.

Parker returns to his high school life, and eventually asks Liz to go to the homecoming dance with him. On the night of the dance, Parker learns that Liz is Toomes’ daughter. Deducing Parker’s secret identity, Toomes threatens retaliation if he interferes with his plans. During the dance, Parker realizes Toomes is planning to hijack a D.O.D.C. plane transporting weapons from Avengers Tower to the team’s new headquarters. He dons his old homemade Spider-Man suit and races to Toomes’ lair. He is first ambushed by Schultz, but defeats him with the help of Ned. At the lair, Toomes destroys the building’s support beams and leaves Parker to die. Parker is able to escape the rubble and intercepts the plane, steering it to crash on the beach near Coney Island. He and Toomes engage in an open confrontation that ends with Parker saving Toomes’ life from his own unstable equipment, and leaving him for the police along with the plane’s cargo. After her father’s arrest, Liz moves away, and Parker declines an invitation from Stark to join the Avengers full time. Stark returns Parker’s suit, which he puts on at his apartment just as his Aunt May walks in.

In a mid-credits scene, an incarcerated Gargan approaches Toomes in prison. Gargan has heard that Toomes knows Spider-Man’s real identity, but Toomes denies this.

REVIEW:

With all the success Marvel has had with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), they could not say they truly were a success story until there was a Spider-Man film under their wing. With Sony holding the rights to the character (not to mention the Fantastic Four) hostage, many were wondering if we would ever see the day when Spidey would grace the big screen in the MCU…then we saw Captain America: Civil War. Now, Spider-Man: Homecoming aims to take that character introduction and flesh out a third cinematic version of Peter Parker. Hey, at least this one is age-appropriate, right?

What is this about?

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

What did I like?

Fun. Audiences and critics have been noticing something in superhero films (and TV shows). A lack of fun! Think about how bright and vibrant Superman is and now think about what we were forced to sit through with Man of Steel. Somewhere along the way, our superheroes stopped being beacons of hope, and turned into examples of how to brood. Spider-Man has not been exempt from this curse. Toby Maguire’s version started out pretty good, but couldn’t keep it up. I never cared for Andrew Garfield or his take on the character, so I won’t waste time on him. Tom Holland brings a fresh take to Spider-Man in that we haven’t seen him as a high schooler, at least not an age appropriate high schooler. With that, the fun and innocence that Stan Lee intended for the character is front and center, as are the awkward moments of being a teenager. Again, this is what Stan Lee envision when he first created him, not some attitude having, puffy haired, British string bean who ruins the character of Peter Parker.

We know the story. Look, if you don’t know the origin of Spider-Man by now, either through comics, cartoons, Watchmojo.com, Wikipedia, or whatever, then chances are you either don’t care or just haven’t bothered to learn yourself something. With that said, I join the billions of fans who saw this and noticed the absence of Uncle Ben’s murder. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even mentioned! We are more than aware than Ben gets shot and its Peter’s fault, but in the last 5 Spider-Man movies, we have either seen this happen or been privy to a bevy of flashbacks so that we can relive the scene ad naseum. Thank goodness the 6th time they got it right and didn’t include anything about the murder…though I do hope in future films we get something on what happened. I’m mostly curious as to who they’ll cast as Uncle Ben to pair with Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May

Cap must’ve needed the money. One of the best cameos in the picture is Captain America doing PSAs. While I was laughing when Cap showed up in these videos, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was doing them. Did the government make him? Is he just being a good guy and attempting to help the youth? Just some thoughts that popped in my head. I’m sure that I am just overanalyzing and  these were nothing more than a funny thing to include in the film.

What didn’t I like?

Homage or ripoff? About halfway through the picture, there is a scene where Spider-Man has to use all of his strength to hold two halves of a dissected boat together. As I was sitting there watching him strain, I couldn’t help but recall the train sequence in Spider-Man 2 when Toby Maguire is called on to use all of his strength to stop the train. Many people have noticed this comparison and now I must ask…is this an homage or a ripoff? I see it more as an homage, personally. The scene in question is from what is arguably the best Spider-Man film to date, so why wouldn’t you bring something from that great film into this new version? Also, if it was a ripoff, I think we’d have a seen something involving the subway, I’m sure.

What a shock! Shocker is one of my favorite in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. I can’t tell you why, but I have this affinity for him. Maybe it’s the Texas connection?!? At any rate, I was over the hills with excitement when I heard the announcement he was going to be in this film. Then I saw him and my jaw dropped. This is not Shocker. He doesn’t even really don the costume, save for the sleeves on his jacket. How is it we can get nearly every detail right with superheroes, but for the villains they just seem to wear similar colors to their comic counterparts. I wonder why that is!

A change will do you good. My first introduction to the Vulture was as an elderly gentlemen who was running part of the criminal organizations in NYC. Obviously, there are some differences between that idea and the one we see on the screen. Most importantly, the family man version of the character remained intact. So, why would I not like the change in history? Well, just this week, some promotional photos were released for Deadpool 2, specifically images of the mutant, Domino. I bring this up because she’s quite the curvy wonder in the pics, it is the sudden realization that she is now to be played by an actress of color…complete with afro and some weird face that causes her to look like a dog. What is the reason for this change? No real reason, they just wanted someone of ethnicity to play a character who has plae white skin.

Final verdict on Spider-Man:Homecoming? This is the superhero film we’ve all been clamoring for. It has action, humor, sci-fi, crime, and even a love story. What is there to not like? While Marvel and Sony are sure to fight over who gets credit here, really it is the fans and moviegoers that win. Do  I recommend  this? Emphatically yes! The cons are few and the pros are many. Go check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

 

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The To Do List

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza), from Boise, Idaho, is an overachieving and socially awkward teenager who graduates as the valedictorian of her high school in the summer of 1993. Brandy is revealed to be the polar opposite of her older sister, Amber, who makes fun of her for being a virgin. After the ceremony, her two best friends, Wendy (Sarah Steele) and Fiona (Alia Shawkat), take Brandy to a party and she gets drunk for the first time. At the party, Brandy almost has sex with a college boy named Rusty Waters, but she doesn’t know how so he backs off. At this point she decides to learn all about sex over the summer and so she can be experienced enough to go with Rusty.

Rusty works as a lifeguard at the local pool, where Brandy gets hired to as well, along with her study-buddy Cameron Mitchell (Johnny Simmons). As the newbie, she is hazed by her slacker boss, Willy, and her other coworkers, and given unpleasant jobs including fishing a turd out of the pool. Based on the Baby Ruth joke from the film Caddyshack she is confident it is only a candy bar, and picks up the turd and takes a bite, only to find out it was a real turd. At the end of the way, she pushes Willy into the pool for revenge and finds out he can’t swim, so she agrees to teach him if he knocks off the hazing, which he does.

She gets advice from her sister, Amber (Rachel Bilson), her mother (Connie Britton)and father (Clark Gregg), a judge and devout conservative and makes a list of sexual acts to learn about and perform. As the summer progresses, Brandy has several sexual encounters with Cameron and other boys, whilst trying to catch the eye of Rusty. Cameron begins to fall for Brandy and is hurt when he discovers her list, and that he was just part of her “mission”. Meanwhile, Willy catches Brandy, Wendy, Fiona, and other boys messing around in the pool after-hours so she is sent home where she is confronted by Cameron over the list. He refuses to speak to Brandy again.

Later, when Wendy and Fiona come over so they can all watch Beaches, they discover Brandy’s list and see who she experimented with. They get upset because Brandy was hooking up with their ex-boyfriends behind their backs and also refuse to speak to her. Brandy finally gets close Rusty when they vandalize on a more upscale pool, but it leads to Willy being forced to fire Brandy.

Brandy finally calls and asks out Rusty, and they drive in his Volkswagen Vanagon to a popular make-out spot to get it on. The sex is very short, disappointing Brandy. When she sees her father and mother in the Dodge Caravan next to them, apparently having sex, she becomes dismayed that sex isn’t what she thought it would be. Brandy demands Rusty take her home.

Meanwhile, Willy goes to the Klark house to warn Brandy about something and is met at the door by Amber, who immediately seduces him. When Rusty gets Brandy home, a jealous Cameron is there to meet him with a sucker-punch, and they fight until Brandy breaks it up. She compliments each one out on their good qualities, then apologizes sincerely to Cameron for what she did and offers her own view of sex.

Afterwards, she seeks out Wendy and Fiona to apologize to them. She sings “Wind Beneath My Wings” under Wendy’s window, and the two girls eventually join in, back together again as friends. Brandy meets up with Willy at the pool, who offers her his job if she comes back next summer as he had decided to quit and chase the Grateful Dead before Jerry Garcia dies.

Brandy and Cameron meet again at Georgetown University where they both are studying. Cameron confesses he had sex once sometime after the whole to do list with an unnamed girl but Brandy tells him that she doesn’t care. They have sex in her dorm room and Brandy finally achieves orgasm, the last thing on her list, right before her father walks in on them.

REVIEW:

Remember those sex comedies we all grew up on and enjoyed? It seems as if they were all centered on the male perspective. Enter The To Do List, a sex comedy that spins the genre on its ear and offers some new things for the audience to enjoy. This is a film that slipped under the radar, somehow, probably because there aren’t any A list stars in the cast.

What is this about?

In this racy ensemble comedy, sexually inexperienced high school graduate Brandy Klark comes up with a list of erotic activities she’d like to work her way through before heading off to college in the fall.

What did I like?

Plaza. Ever since I first saw her in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I’ve been intrigued by her dry wit. Since then she has gone on to bigger and better things and now is starring in her own film. What I like about this character she plays is that she isn’t trying to have sex as a way to impress her friends, but because she wants to do it. Not only that, but the way she goes about it, with a scholarly approach, even looking things up in the encyclopedia.

Summer of ’93. I was loving the fact that this was set in the 90s after graduation. The music, styles, and pop culture references that were on display for us to see. More importantly, though, is the fact that this wasn’t shoved down our throats. Usually in films of this nature that are set in times gone by, these references take over the film more than the actual plot.

Pool. A good potion of this film takes place at the pool, where Plaza gets a summer job. She gets hazed by her coworkers, including a rather gross scene involving her eating something (you have to watch to know what I’m talking about). There are a couple of little boys running around that terrorizing the girls at the pool, specifically Plaza’s friends. Watch what they do to them in the pool!

What didn’t I like?

Plaza. At a point during the film, Plaza is talking Bill Hader’s character and they get on the topic of why she has isn’t well liked. It is discovered that she comes off as a bitch. Truth be told, this is how she comes off in nearly every character she plays. The same shtick can only go so far.

Support. The supporting cast is great, let’s get that out of the way. However, I think that some of them, such as Rachel Bilson and Alia Shawkhat, could have been used a bit more. Bilson is the big sister and although it is more than obvious that they aren’t necessarily close, it just seems that she should have been more a part of the list and schooling her little sister. Shawkhat is an actress that has always impressed me and I wish she would get more roles. This is one of those that would have been a time for her to shine as one of the best friends, but she doesn’t get anything special to do but just be there. The only spark she has is when she gets asked out at the drive through by the guy Plaza has mostly been using for her list (and has a huge crush in her).

Stop the raunch. The amount of raunchiness in the film rivals that of some of the greatest sex comedies of all time, but after the dénouement, we get no more raunch. The final scenes, at least to me, felt a bit out of place. If this was a John Hughes film, it would have been perfect, but since this isn’t, then not so much. At least the ending sort of brought it back, but I still wasn’t happy with the tone change.

As I said in the opening, not many people saw The To Do List. I would wager that you haven’t even heard of it, but now hopefully you’ll want to track it down and watch. I had a great time watching this and hope that you will as well. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! So, check it out!

4 1/4 out of 5 stars