Friday, October 2, 2015

BOND MONTH: Top 10 Favorite Bond Henchmen

Over the years, the James Bond series has had quite a lot of memorable villains, from Auric Goldfinger to Scaramanga to Le Chiffre to Raoul Silva. But a lot of times, these villains have also had some truly unforgettable henchmen, many of which have been some of the toughest opponents that Bond has ever faced due to either how evenly matched or overpowered they are compared to him. Any way you look at it, Bond henchmen are just as equally essential to the Bond formula as the villains they serve under. Now even with that said, the series has actually gone a rather long time without seeing a really iconic main henchmen, especially since Daniel Craig first took on the role of Bond in 2006. It’s gotten to the point where two of the main villains of the Craig era, Le Chiffre and Silva, didn’t even have a major henchman and the one who did… well, I’ll get to that in a second. Thankfully it looks like this will all change with the next Bond film ‘Spectre’ and the character of Mr. Hinx, played by Dave Bautista, fresh off of his amazing turn as Drax in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. But for now, to start off Rhode Island Movie Corner’s second annual Bond Month, I’ll be listing my Top 10 personal favorite Bond henchmen. But before we get to the official list, I’ll be starting off with my two Dishonorable Mentions and one Honorable Mention.



Pop quiz… do any of you even remember this henchman of Dominic Greene in ‘Quantum of Solace’? If you don’t then don’t worry because I’m right there with you. Dominic Greene was already an incredibly bland villain in the rather lackluster follow-up to ‘Casino Royale’ to begin with, but his main henchman Elvis was even worse. Literally there’s nothing noteworthy about this henchman at all except for the fact that he has a bowl-cut and that it’s also apparently a toupee because it falls off when he gets tripped by Agent Fields on the stairs during Greene’s party in Bolivia. And he doesn’t even have a ‘memorable’ death either; he just gets blown up during the finale at the desert hotel and that’s it. Heck, it even goes by rather quickly due to the film’s rather piss-poor editing. I’ve heard that Mathieu Almaric (Greene) and Anatole Taubman (Elvis) came up with a ‘backstory’ for the character in which he’s Greene’s cousin but nothing like that, if it was even how the character was written at all (which it probably wasn’t), is ever brought up in the film. It’s because of this that Elvis might just be the absolute worst Bond henchman of all-time because he fails to make any sort of impression whatsoever. My other Dishonorable Mention is more memorable than he is. Speaking of which…

It may seem a bit weird that I put the one character from ‘From Russia With Love’ that came up with the main villain plot of the film in the Dishonorable Mentions category but when you get down to it, Kronsteen doesn’t actually really do anything in the film other than that. All he really does is play chess in his first scene and then comes up with the plan to have Bond steal the Lektor for SPECTRE (I just realized that rhymed) so that they can avenge the death of Dr. No. But after this scene, Kronsteen is not seen again until near the end of the film, after Bond and Tatiana have escaped from Istanbul and have basically foiled Kronsteen’s plan altogether. Because of this, Blofeld has him killed via a poison-spiked shoe tip because ‘SPECTRE doesn’t tolerate failure’. I know that Kronsteen was in the original Ian Fleming novel that this film was based on but it could’ve easily gotten away without using this character at all and just have Rosa Klebb be the one who comes up with the plan. In fact, that’s pretty much the case with the 2005 video game adaptation of ‘From Russia with Love’ as Kronsteen never appears once in that game. Now for the record, SPECTRE wasn’t in the game either due to Eon’s legal issues with Kevin McClory but that’s beside the point. All in all, I know that Kronsteen is sort of a ‘classic henchman’ but when you really look at his role in the film, he’s greatly overshadowed by Rosa Klebb and Red Grant.



Gobinda is one of those classic ‘Oddjob/Jaws’ kind of Bond henchmen; a big and intimidating brute. Admittedly I wouldn’t go as far as to list him amongst the Top 10 because I do think these next ten henchmen are more memorable than him. However, he does get the Honorable Mention spot solely because of one hilarious moment during the finale of ‘Octopussy’ when Bond is pursuing Gobinda and Khan after the two have captured Octopussy and are escaping via plane. Just barely clinging onto the plane, Bond starts to disable one of the engines, prompting Khan to order Gobinda to go out and stop him, to which Gobinda replies ‘Out there?’ Up until now, Gobinda has been blindly loyal to his boss, like most Bond henchmen, but going out onto the top of an airplane as it is hundreds of miles in the air is something that he clearly did not want to do. But his boss commands him to do it so he just does what he’s told. And as a result, he subsequently falls to his death in the process. Gobinda may not be the absolute best of the ‘brute’ Bond henchmen, but the lead-in to his demise is easily one of the funniest moments in the highly entertaining 13th Bond film.


The one major downfall for Timothy Dalton’s first Bond film, ‘The Living Daylights’, was that it had what were, in my opinion, the series’ worst villains to date. I mean it’s bad enough to have one lousy villain but this film had two and General Koskov and Brad Whitaker were both terrible antagonists, neither of whom made any sort of impression whatsoever. Thankfully the film’s main henchman, Necros (Andreas Wisniewski), sort of makes up for this by being the most memorable Bond adversary of the film. A silent and straight-faced assassin, Necros is usually seen with a Walkman, which he sometimes uses as a strangulation device to kill some of his targets, listening to ‘Where Has Everybody Gone’ by the Pretenders, which was even implemented a bit into John Barry’s score. Quite simply he was quite the foe for Bond to face, and he even made things a bit personal when he killed Bond’s ally Saunders. But Bond ends up defeating him in the end during a pretty entertaining action sequence where the two of them are hanging off of the holding net of a cargo plane while it’s up in the air, sort of just like the finale of ‘Octopussy’. Bond ends up defeating Necros by cutting off the laces of his boot, which results in the henchman falling to his death while still holding onto the boot (“He got the boot!”).


Sean Connery’s last official Bond film ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is by no means my favorite Bond film. In fact, it’s pretty much near the bottom for me when it comes to ranking all of Eon’s Bond films, but it did have a memorable duo of henchmen in the form of Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (jazz musician Putter Smith). It wasn’t until after I saw ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ for the first time that I realized that these two were the inspiration for the duo of Mr. Wink and Mr. Fibb from one of my favorite shows growing up, ‘Codename: Kids Next Door’. But anyway, these two are perhaps the biggest standouts of the film, delightfully quirky and capable of eliminating their targets in quite a number of unique ways, from scorpions to time bombs to sealing Bond in a coffin and sending it to the crematorium. These two also have solid camaraderie with one another, as they constantly trade quips after each kill. After all, in both the novel and the film, they’re implied to be lovers. Just look at when Kidd remarks at how Tiffany Case is attractive but then also says ‘for a lady’ after Wint gives him a dirty look. ‘Diamonds are Forever’ is a Bond film that just cannot be taken seriously but in the end, these two end up being one of the high points of a mediocre Bond film. On that note…


After two viewings, ‘A View to a Kill’ is easily my least favorite Bond film out of all of the 23 films in the official series. Roger Moore’s way too old for the role of Bond, Stacy Sutton is easily the worst Bond girl in franchise history, and the film blatantly uses a lot of stunt doubles, especially during the action sequences. But then again what do you expect when your lead actor is 57 at the time of shooting? But on the bright side, the film does benefit from having a solid pair of main villains. Max Zorin is a fun over-the-top villain played by the king of over-the-top performances, Christopher Walken. And then there’s Zorin’s equally over-the-top henchwoman, May Day, played by Grace Jones. Seriously, May Day is one crazy henchwoman and remember what I said earlier about Moore being way too old at this point to be Bond? Well that leads into one of the most awkward seduction scenes of all-time involving Bond and May Day. But May Day also has the distinction of changing sides at the end after Zorin betrays her by leaving her to die when he floods his mine as part of his plan to destroy Silicon Valley. After helping Bond remove one of Zorin’s explosives, May Day nobly sacrifices herself by pushing the bomb out of the mine where it then detonates. It’s one of the best moments of the film and, like Wint and Kidd in ‘Diamonds are Forever’, May Day is one of the few great parts of what is, in my opinion, the worst of the Bond films.


During the last Bond Month, I labeled Red Grant as a ‘main villain’ when I listed my Top 5 favorite Bond villains, where I had Rosa Klebb and him ranked at the Number 4 spot. Admittedly now I recognize that he ultimately is the ‘main henchman’ of the film and so that is why he lands a spot in this list. He was the first major ‘true equal’ to Bond in terms of physicality and immediately proves it in the pre-credits sequence where you think he kills Bond but then we learn that it was only a ‘test’ and that the person he killed was just a double. We then proceed to see him tail Bond all around Istanbul for the first half of the film while actually serving as a ‘protector’ for Bond so that he can acquire the Lektor without much incident. Once he and Bond truly come across each other, that’s when he really shines. The fight sequence between the two of them on the train is easily one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. And it’s built up pretty well as Grant initially poses as an ally of Bond before finally revealing his true intentions; to kill Bond and deliver the Lektor to SPECTRE (again, that rhymed). The Bond series has seen plenty of memorable henchman over the years but Red Grant will always be the original archetype that inspired many of those other classic adversaries.


Irma Bunt killed Tracy Bond… seriously, I don’t need to go any further than that... and that is why Blofeld’s Assistant from one of my Top 5 favorite Bond films lands the Number 6 spot on this list.


Not only is Luciana Paluzzi’s Fiona Volpe one of the most gorgeous Bond girls in franchise history, but she is also arguably the best part of ‘Thunderball’, an admittedly rather lackluster follow-up to Sean Connery’s first 3 Bond films. Aside from a prolonged run-time, which was primarily due to the film’s overtly dragged-out underwater sequences, one of the biggest downfalls of the film was its main antagonist. Emilio Largo was a pretty mediocre main villain and he didn’t have any notable henchman outside of Volpe. Seriously, the only thing his other ‘main’ henchman Vargas was noteworthy for was his death via spear gun to which Bond quips, “I think he got the point” But as for Volpe, she was the series’ first true femme fatale and absolutely lit up the screen whenever she appeared. She’s a badass henchwoman with a badass missile-launching motorcycle to boot. While she does kidnap Bond at one point, Bond does manage to get out of the situation by escaping to a local nightclub during Junkanoo and directing her into the path of a bullet fired by her own henchman while they’re in the middle of a slow-dance. It’s one hell of a way to go for not only one of the most beautiful Bond girls of all-time but also the biggest standout of ‘Thunderball’, which is more than I can say for the other villains in the film.


Okay I’m kind of cheating here with these next two spots as I couldn’t just pick one henchmen from each of these next two films as I feel that these are two of the series’ best villain ensembles. First up is Roger Moore’s first Bond film, ‘Live and Let Die’. Admittedly, this film can be rather awkward to watch sometimes from a modern perspective as it’s basically a Bond Blaxploitation film complete with racial epithets and stereotyping. But despite this, the film does manage to have a pretty damn memorable cast of villains led by drug lord Kananga. While the reveal that Kananga has a second identity as gangster Mr. Big is pretty darn obvious, Yaphet Kotto does a great job in making Kananga a pretty darn intimidating villain and he has a great set of henchmen to back him up. There’s the pincer-handed Tee Hee, played by Julius Harris, who’s an equally intimidating enforcer for Kananga who isn’t defeated until the end of the film when Bond throws him out of a train window. And then there’s arguably everyone’s favorite character from the film, Baron Samedi, played by Geoffrey Holder. Samedi is both cool and mysterious, being tied to the Voodoo occult while also appearing to be a very supernatural and seemingly immortal being. While it does seem that he is killed by Bond during the finale by being thrown into a coffin full of snakes, the film ends with him riding on the front of the train that Bond and Solitaire are on, a strange ending to a classic Bond film filled with a classic group of villains.


But if I were to pick the best villain ensemble in the franchise, I’d argue that this honor would go to ‘GoldenEye’ because damn does this film has an amazing group of villains. They’re all led by one of Bond’s best main villains, Alec Trevelyan, a very personal villain for Bond given the fact that he was once his friend and fellow MI6 agent 006. But after seemingly being killed in 1986, Trevelyan suddenly pops up again nine years later and is revealed to be the mysterious head of the Janus crime syndicate. Like Kananga, he also has a highly memorable group of henchmen. There’s the ‘original’ main villain General Ouromov, who I’ll concur with YouTube Bond reviewer Calvin Dyson in that he’s a pretty damn underrated henchman as Gottfried John more than holds his own against the other villains in the film. There’s also Alan Cumming as programmer Boris Grishenko. Sure Boris is a pretty damn goofy character but in a fun way. And who can forget his classic catchphrase ‘I Am Invincible!’ whenever something goes right for him? Though ultimately he isn’t invincible at all as he gets frozen by liquid nitrogen following the destruction of the Cuban satellite dish controlling the GoldenEye satellite.

And of course, there’s arguably the best character in the entire film; Xenia Onatopp, played by Famke Janssen. Like May Day, Onatopp is a crazy henchwoman. Seriously she’s borderline psychotic. She kills people while having sex with them by suffocating them to death with her thighs. It’s clear that not only is she a major sadist, but that she also gets extreme sexual satisfaction out of killing people. Just look at the scene where she kills a bunch of workers at Severnaya and starts breathing heavily afterwards. The look on Ouromov’s face when the film cuts back to him is priceless. Well, it’s like Bond says, ‘she always did enjoy a good squeeze’ and quite frankly Xenia is the last major Bond femme fatale, that wasn’t a main villain for the record (in this case Elektra from ‘The World is Not Enough’ doesn’t count), and even arguably the last great Bond henchman to date. All in all, ‘GoldenEye’ had a terrific ensemble cast in general from Pierce Brosnan to Izabella Scorupco to Judi Dench. And of course, it had one hell of a villain ensemble, highlighted by main villain Trevelyan and his insane main henchwoman Xenia. But that doesn’t mean we should forget about the other henchman in the film, Ouromov and Boris. That’s one of the many reasons why ‘GoldenEye’, the first Bond film that I ever watched, is still one of my all-time favorite entries in the entire series. You can’t go wrong with this quartet of villains.


Okay I’ll admit it… these next two picks are going to be completely obvious to anyone who is a fan of this series. But really, can you blame me? Because these next two truly are the series’ most iconic henchmen. So with that said, why is Jaws, who may arguably be the most famous henchman in franchise history, only Number 2 on this list? Well, ultimately that’s because of the fact that his role in his second film, ‘Moonraker’, isn’t as strong as his first appearance in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. In ‘Spy Who Loved Me’, Jaws immediately established himself as a truly intimidating and even rather scary villain with his set of metal teeth and hulking stature. While originally killed off in the initial script for the film, producer Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli suggested that Jaws survive the finale because he felt that the character would end up becoming very popular. Sure enough, test audiences loved this ending when it was first screened for them and Jaws was brought back again for ‘Moonraker’. Though in this case, this might not have been the best route the filmmakers could’ve taken.

‘Moonraker’ was already a pretty darn silly Bond film as far as the franchise is concerned. After all, it is the one that sends Bond into space and was clearly made just to cash in on the success of films like ‘Star Wars’. But Jaws just made the film even sillier because he wasn’t really as intimidating as he was before. Now he was just played for laughs, like having him crashing into various things and getting out of them without even a scratch on him. They give him a girlfriend, Dolly, and he even ends up becoming a good guy by the end of the film. Now I don’t really mind the ideas of Jaws having a girlfriend and becoming a good guy but because the film is so damn goofy, these scenes just come off as being very weird. The first time Jaws and Dolly meet is punctuated by that Tchaikovsky music you always hear in movies and TV shows whenever two characters fall in love. And at the end, Jaws even speaks for the first and only time in the series. It’s strange but I will admit that it’s still fun to see the character return. He may have been turned into a goofball in ‘Moonraker’ but that doesn’t mean that he still wasn’t memorable. Besides, at the end of the day, we’ll always remember him as the truly intimidating brute from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.


Ultimately it was due to the fact that Oddjob didn’t appear in a second film and wasn’t goofed up as a result that he ends up at the top of this list. The mute henchman of Auric Goldfinger is one bad guy you do not want to mess with. That’s because by just throwing his razor-edged hat at you, you’re pretty much dead if it hits you. As shown during one of the most iconic moments in franchise history, Oddjob is so strong that his hat can decapitate a stone statue, and even though the Mythbusters proved that this wasn’t possible in real life, it’s still a pretty badass scene. It was also very fitting to have a wrestler, Harold Sakata, take on this iconic role and he does a great job in capturing the character’s silent but vicious ferocity. The final fight scene between him and Bond in Fort Knox is as classic of a fight sequence as you can get from this franchise, ultimately resulting in Bond killing Oddjob by using a loose sparking wire to electrocute him when he is trying to grab his hat after it gets stuck between a pair of metal bars. Because of his strength, his unique weapon of choice, and the final fight sequence between him and Bond, Oddjob is easily the series’ all-time greatest henchman. Just remember not to choose him as a playable character in ‘GoldenEye’ for the N64 because otherwise your friends are going to get very, very angry at you.

NEXT WEEK: I list my Top 10 favorite James Bond opening title sequences.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015 Preview: October

The Fall/Awards Movie Season continues as we look into the month of Halloween, October. Quite a lot to talk about this month, especially when compared to September. That’s usually the case around this time of the year; the season really gets started in October. But anyway, welcome back to Rhode Island Movie Corner’s year-long preview of the films that are set to come out in 2015. This is Part 10 of 12 and today we’ll be looking at the films that will be hitting theaters this October. Let’s get started…

OCTOBER 2- One main wide release and an IMAX exclusive debut to kick off the month. Aside from that, the Denis Villeneuve/Emily Blunt pic ‘Sicario’ will make its nationwide debut.

*Matt Damon stars in Ridley Scott’s latest film, ‘The Martian’, based off of the novel of the same name by Andy Weir. In it, he plays an astronaut who ends up getting stranded on Mars, resulting in him having to survive on the Red Planet while his crew tries to rescue him. The film’s big ensemble cast also includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, and Kate Mara.

*Debuting early on September 30th exclusively in IMAX theaters, ‘The Walk’, directed by Robert Zemeckis, is the true story of high-wire artist Phillipe Petit’s famous tightrope walk between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Petit and the film also stars Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, and James Badge Dale.

OCTOBER 9- One main wide release this week while ‘The Walk’ expands into all theaters nationwide.

*Director Joe Wright brings to life the world of Neverland in this prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic novel ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Pan’. It’s the story of how the young Peter Pan (Levi Miller) is first brought to Neverland and how he first met James Hook (Garrett Hedlund). The film also stars Hugh Jackman as the main villain Blackbeard and Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily.

OCTOBER 16- A trio of new wide releases include the latest from directors Steven Spielberg and Guillermo Del Toro.

*Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg reunite for the first time in over a decade with ‘Bridge of Spies’. Co-written by the Coen Brothers, the film, based on a true story, stars Hanks as lawyer James B. Donovan, who in 1962 negotiated the release of captured U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The film also stars Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda.

*Guillermo Del Toro returns to his horror roots with ‘Crimson Peak’. Mia Wasikowska stars as a young author who moves into the haunted estate of her new husband (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister (Jessica Chastain), where she comes across all sorts of ghostly beings.

*The classic children’s horror series by R.L. Stine, ‘Goosebumps’, gets brought to the big screen. Jack Black stars as R.L. Stine himself as the film centers on him, his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush), and their new neighbor Zack (Dylan Minnette) as they try and stop the monsters of his stories when they are accidentally unleashed from their books.

OCTOBER 23­- Boy oh boy is this a busy week. Six (!) new releases, one of which is a nationwide expansion.

*Bradley Cooper stars in director John Wells’ ‘Burnt’ alongside a big ensemble cast that also includes Cooper’s ‘American Sniper’ co-star Sienna Miller as well as Daniel Bruhl, Alicia Vikander, Lily James, Uma Thurman, and Emma Thompson. Cooper plays a chef named Adam Jones (and I’m only saying that because that was one of the working titles for the film) who looks to establish a prestigious London restaurant but must overcome his personal problems that had previously derailed his career.

*In a rare non-horror turn for Blumhouse Productions, we have ‘Jem and the Holograms’, based off of the toy line and 80’s animated series of the same name. Directed by Jon M. Chu (‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ and, yes, two Justin Bieber concert films), the film, like the original series, centers on a group of friends who form a hit rock band. The film stars Audrey Peeples, Molly Ringwald, and Juliette Lewis.

*But then there’s the other Blumhouse Productions release this week, which serves as the return of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise. Reportedly the ‘final’ installment of the series, ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ will revolve around the protagonists actually being able to see the ‘paranormal activity' this time around.

*Vin Diesel stars in and produces ‘The Last Witch Hunter’, in which he stars as the ‘titular’ witch-hunter who teams up with, of all people, a witch to take down the covens of New York City. The film also stars Elijah Wood and Michael Caine.

*In director Barry Levinson’s ‘Rock the Kasbah’, Bill Murray stars as a down-on-his-luck manager who finds a young girl from Afghanistan with an incredible voice and manages her as she competes in the Afghanistan equivalent of ‘American Idol’. The film also stars Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson, and Danny McBride.

*And finally from this week there’s the nationwide expansion of the Danny Boyle directed and Aaron Sorkin written biopic ‘Steve Jobs’. Michael Fassbender stars as the titular co-founder of Apple as the film will be based around three major product launches. The film also stars Seth Rogen as fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Mac and NeXT team member Joanna Hoffman, and Jeff Daniels as former Apple CEO John Sculley.

OCTOBER 30- After all of those wide releases on the 23rd, the month ends on an easier note with only two main wide releases.

*Sandra Bullock stars in ‘Our Brand is Crisis’, which is a ‘remake’ of a 2005 documentary of the same name that was about the 2002 presidential elections in Bolivia and how one of the candidates enlisted the help of an American political consulting firm to help him win the election. Bullock stars as the politician’s manager alongside Billy Bob Thornton as her rival political consultant.  

*Finally, there’s ‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse’, in which a trio of scouts have to help their town deal with a zombie outbreak.

And those are the films that are set to come out this October. Check back next week for Part 11 of this year-long preview as we’ll be looking at the films that will be hitting theaters in November.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Back to the Future Trilogy (1985-1990) review (350th Post!!)

In order to commemorate Rhode Island Movie Corner’s 350th official blog post, I decided to finally tackle a series that I’ve been longing to cover for a long time. That series in question is quite frankly my favorite film trilogy of all-time, which as you might have guessed spawned my #1 favorite film of all-time period. I’m of course talking about Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy. I remember the first time I ever watched these films back in 2004. My parents had bought the trilogy on DVD and we watched the first two films one night and then the third and final film the following evening. Despite having never heard about the films before that moment, I was immediately hooked to them and around the time I started my senior year of high school, I realized that the first film truly was my favorite film of all-time. It’s hard to identify a single film as your all-time favorite but for me there was clearly no other choice. So today, I’m finally honoring these three classics of the sci-fi genre; the original masterpiece from 1985, its more effects-heavy and somewhat darker 1989 sequel, and the sometimes ignored 1990 finale. For the record, I won’t be covering the ‘Back to the Future’ animated series that ran from 1991 to 1992 due to time constraints but I may do another post specifically for that show in the future (no pun intended). But for now, it’s time to start up your DeLorean and go back in time with me as I delve into the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy.


So yeah… ‘Back to the Future’ is my favorite film of all time, no doubt about it. While I’ll admit that it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally came to this conclusion, ultimately that’s beside the point because I absolutely adore this film. Why is it my favorite, you ask? Well having re-watched this film numerous times over the past decade, as I’m sure many of you have done as well, I think the main reason why this film is so great is because it’s more than just a ‘sci-fi’ film. Sure its premise of a teenager in 1985 accidentally going back in time to 1955 via a DeLorean time machine, where he ends up interfering with his parents falling in love which results in him nearly being erased from existence, is definitely rooted in the sci-fi genre. But this film goes beyond the standards of the genre by basically combining multiple genres into one. It’s got action, it’s got drama, it’s got romance, and it’s got humor. It’s one of those rare films that is legitimately a complete package, meaning that you don’t have to be a big sci-fi fan to enjoy this film. And of course, this is easily one of the most quotable films of all-time thanks to how well-written Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s script is and how well the cast work off each other. All of this I feel makes this film so timeless. Sure it was made over 30 years ago but it’s aged in just the right ways.

Robert Zemeckis’ direction is superb, effectively finding the right balance of serious drama and light-hearted humor. The film has one of the best soundtracks of all-time, highlighted by Alan Silvestri’s grand score and the two classic songs by Huey Lewis and the News, ‘The Power of Love’ and ‘Back in Time’. Casting is pitch-perfect all around, highlighted by the brilliant duo of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd as Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Fox’s charisma and Lloyd’s straight-faced turn as the admittedly very eccentric Doc results in a great camaraderie between the two. But of course we can’t forget about the other members of this great cast; Lea Thompson as Marty’s mother Lorraine, who ends up getting ‘the hots for him’ when they cross paths in 1955 (which of course on paper sounds incredibly awkward but is handled perfectly here), Crispin Glover as Marty’s father George, who ‘becomes a man’ over the course of the film, and Tom Wilson as one of cinema’s greatest ‘bullies’, Biff Tannen. Seriously, I can go on and on about how this film is a cinematic masterpiece but let’s be honest, you all know that already. I’ve seen this film so many times that it’s practically engrained in my mind; I pretty much know it inside and out. And quite simply that is why this film is, and always will be, my favorite film of all-time.

Rating: 5/5! (Obviously)

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”


‘Back to the Future Part II’ does exactly what any good sequel does; it continues the story and takes the series in a new direction while still managing to maintain just enough similarities to the first film without being a ‘carbon copy’ of it. And like another famous sequel, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, this film even takes the series in a few darker directions. Like how about a plot in which Biff Tannen, in the year 2015, acquires a sports almanac, steals the DeLorean, goes back to 1955, and gives the almanac to his younger self so that he could become rich, resulting in a messed-up alternate reality 1985. As a result, Doc and Marty now find themselves having to go back to 1955 in order to steal the almanac from young Biff. I really liked how this film decided to go back to 1955 and revisit sequences from the first film but from different angles. This whole part of the film, and a sequence in the future in which Michael J. Fox portrays three separate characters at once; older Marty, young Marty Jr., and yes even his daughter Marlene, required the use of digital compositing and a new camera operating system, Vistaglide, which allowed actors to seamlessly play more than one part at once onscreen while the camera was able to move around. In fact, this film has quite a lot more visual effects in it compared to both the first and third films, which is understandable given that a good chunk of it takes place in the future.

I actually have to admit that ‘Back to the Future Part II’ is my least favorite installment of the series. Though at the end of the day, this is mostly due to personal preferences and the fact that this is arguably the one entry in the series that I’ve seen the least amount of times, due to my original DVD copy of the film getting a bit scratched up. Thankfully in recent years I’ve definitely warmed up to the film a lot more, though it’s still my least favorite of the trilogy. That’s not to hold anything against it, though, as it’s still just as enjoyable as the first film. The characters are still as great as they’ve ever been, the cast is once again terrific, and the production design is excellent through all of the different time periods visited in the film; 1955, the alternate screwed-up 1985, and the futuristic 2015. But wait a minute, some of you might say, aren’t we now in 2015? Yeah it’s become a bit of a running joke on the internet to discuss how accurate this film was in predicting what 2015 would be like and obviously not every piece of technology featured in this film is real (yet), like flying cars or self-drying jackets. Though with that said, there actually were some things that the film sort of got right, like hands-free gaming (Kinect) and video chat (Skype), which is quite impressive considering that this film was made around 25 years ago. Though with that said, I must ask… where are our damn hoverboards? Well, anyway, ‘Back to the Future Part II’ is a solid follow-up to one of the greatest films ever made. Is it as good as the original? No, but obviously that’s one hell of a tough act to follow. But ultimately it’s still a damn entertaining continuation of this great franchise.

Rating: 4.5/5

“Doc… what if we don’t succeed?” “We must succeed.”


While nowadays the practice of shooting films back-to-back is fairly common (e.g. ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’), it was a rarity at the time that the ‘Back to the Future’ franchise filmed Parts II and III back to back. Originally, the plot of Part III was meant to be combined with Part II for just one sequel, but this idea was scrapped due to the fact that it would’ve just been too much for one film. Heck, even after this decision was made, many still considered Part II to be overstuffed. But anyway, ‘Back to the Future Part III’ was released in May of 1990, just half a year after Part II was released in November 1989. From what I’ve seen online, Part III is apparently considered to be the ‘black sheep’ of the franchise. It seems like the biggest reason for this is due to the fact that the film takes place in the year 1885 in the Old West, which apparently some thought was a bit out of place for a ‘Back to the Future’ film. But as for me, this was actually my personal favorite of the series for quite a few years up until I came to the aforementioned ‘the first BTTF film is my favorite film of all-time’ conclusion. But while this may no longer be my favorite entry in the series, it’s definitely one of the prime examples of a film that isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. Contrary to popular opinion, I absolutely love that this film was set in the Old West, which results in some highly entertaining set pieces. This includes what may just be my favorite climax of the entire series in which Doc and Marty push the DeLorean up to 88 MPH, due to the fact that Marty accidentally end up tearing the fuel line when he first arrived in 1885, with a train.

Another major addition that may have had something to do with this film’s weaker reception is the character of Clara Clayton, who Doc falls in love with after saving her from falling into a ravine. But like how I’m totally fine with the film’s Western setting, I also didn’t mind Clara at all. I thought that it was actually rather cool to see, of all people, Doc fall in love and the romance between the two is really sweet. It’s also cool to see Doc and Marty basically switch roles as a result, with Doc becoming the young soul in love and Marty having to be the ‘straight man’ in the situation. There’s even one moment in which the two say each other’s lines, ‘Great Scott!’ and ‘This is heavy!’ Like the previous two films, the sequences involving Doc and Marty are the heart of the film. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd’s camaraderie is as great as it’s ever been. And for the final film in this trilogy, it ends on such a terrific note. I cannot even begin to tell you how much satisfaction I got from seeing Doc return to 1985 in his new time-travelling train and flying away to travel through time in a shot reminiscent of the classic final shot from the first film. All in all, I guess you can say that ‘Back to the Future Part III’ is one of the most underrated films of all-time. I mean part of me legitimately doesn’t get what people don’t like about this film, aside from the aforementioned Wild West setting and the addition of Doc’s new love interest Clara. I think this film is just as great as the first two and a highly satisfying finale to one of the best film trilogies of all-time.  

Rating: 4.5/5

“Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.”

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) review

As far as 2014 was concerned, one of the biggest surprises for me when it came to that year’s lineup of films was ‘The Maze Runner’, the film adaptation of the first in a series of novels of the same name written by James Dashner. I hadn’t read any of the books going in and given the usual quality of young adult book-to-film adaptations not named ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘The Hunger Games’, suffice it to say I didn’t really go into this film with ‘high’ expectations. But at the end of the day, maybe that was the reason why I ended up really liking it. As far as these kind of adaptations were concerned, it was easily one of the better efforts from the genre. Having not known much about the series beforehand, I found the first film to have a very engaging mystery plot as well as a solid cast, genuinely tense action sequences, and an overall excellent production design. Sure it may have ended on a truly obvious ‘sequel-baiting’ quote but the rest of the film was so compelling that I was legitimately eager to see what happened next. And now, one year later, the ‘Maze Runner’ saga continues with ‘The Scorch Trials’, once again directed by newcomer Wes Ball. This time around, our heroes are out of the Maze and now find themselves in the dystopian world known only as ‘the Scorch’. The end result is a film that admittedly lacks the same compelling plot of the first ‘Maze Runner’ but still manages to maintain a lot of its predecessor’s biggest strengths.

At the end of ‘The Maze Runner’, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers; Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Frypan (Dexter Darden), and Winston (Alexander Flores), managed to escape from the Maze that the organization known as WCKD had trapped them in. But at the same time, they also learned that the Earth had been ravaged by both a solar flare and a deadly virus also referred to as ‘the Flare’. As ‘The Scorch Trials’ begins, Thomas and his friends are brought to a facility full of kids who were also placed in Maze-like situations just like they were, run by a man named Mr. Janson (Aiden Gillen) who tells them that there they’ll be safe from WCKD, the Flare virus, and the zombified creatures known as Cranks that spawned from it. But as Thomas and the others soon find out, Janson is really a member of WCKD who, along with the head of the organization, Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson), are experimenting on those who are immune to the ‘Flare’ (e.g. Thomas and his friends) in the hopes of finding a cure. This leads to Thomas and the other Gladers escaping from the facility, as they must now traverse the desolate landscape of ‘the Scorch’ in search of a resistance group known as ‘The Right Arm’ who might be able to help them stop WCKD.

Whereas the first ‘Maze Runner’ was confined to the titular Maze and ‘the Glade’ that it surrounds in terms of its locales, ‘The Scorch Trials’ is allowed to expand on its post-apocalyptic universe, as is the usual case with bigger-budgeted sequels. The production design is just as solid as it was in the first film and the greater scale of it all allows us to get a much greater sense of the world that this series creates. Ball’s direction is once again superb and the film’s action sequences are solidly tense in execution. Not only that, but the addition of the zombie ‘Cranks’ definitely gives this film a much creepier atmosphere when compared to the previous film. But if there’s one advantage that ‘The Maze Runner’ has over ‘The Scorch Trials’, it is that it had a much more compelling plot. It may have had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t read the book first but I was legitimately interested to find out who put Thomas and his friends into the maze just as much as Thomas did. ‘The Scorch Trials’, on the other hand, is a generally straight-forward ‘road’ story. As a result, the film actually kind of feels a bit aimless at times.

Not only that, but the film is rather lacking in terms of character development. The main characters at least have the benefit of having been already introduced and established in the first film. But even with that said, some of the main characters sort of get ignored at times during the film in favor of a greater focus on Thomas. Perhaps the biggest case of this is Teresa who, without giving too much away, has a major bit of character development during the final act of the film. Ultimately though, this crucial character moment doesn’t really carry a lot of oomph to it given the fact that she’s been rather absent for a good chunk of the film. But even with the lackluster amount of character development in this film, the cast is just as solid as it was in the first film. The returning cast members still have great camaraderie with each other and Dylan O’Brien is able to take on a much meatier role this time around now that Thomas is done being the audience’s ‘avatar’. The newcomers to the cast are solid as well, including Giancarlo Esposito and Rosa Salazar as a pair of survivors who become key allies of Thomas’ group and Barry Pepper and Lili Taylor as members of ‘The Right Arm’ resistance. As for the villains, Ava Paige and Janson, while they’re not really in the film enough to be truly intimidating antagonists, both Patricia Clarkson and Aiden Gillen do their jobs in making their characters fittingly despicable.  

Despite all that I’ve said in this review, I want to make it clear that I did still like ‘The Scorch Trials’. Ultimately though, while I’ve seen quite a few people say that this is an improvement over the first film, I’m on the opposite side of that argument as I feel that the first ‘Maze Runner’ is the better film. Both films do benefit from confident direction from Wes Ball, a solid amount of action, and a strong cast. But whereas the first film had a much more compelling plot, ‘The Scorch Trials’ suffers from weaker plotting and character development. Seriously this film is at least 10 minutes longer than the first film and yet has a much leaner story. How is that even possible? So I guess you can say that while the first film was a pleasant surprise for me given the fact that I hadn’t read the books going in, this film was a bit more disappointing now that I’m actually invested in this series. But again, I still found this film to be entertaining for what it is. Sure this series still isn’t as good as ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘The Hunger Games’ but it’s definitely one of the better film franchises of its genre. Though with that said, if you’re not a fan of these young adult book-to-film adaptations, you’re not going to get a lot out of this film. But if you did like the first ‘Maze Runner’, then you’ll probably like this film too. And despite the bigger issues that I had with this film, I’m still genuinely interested in seeing how this story is going to end, which we’ll get in 2017 with ‘The Death Cure’. Thankfully, unlike a lot of other franchises of this genre, it won’t be split into two films.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bond Month 2015

This November will see the release of the 24th official James Bond film, ‘Spectre’. Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, highlighted by the release of the then-newest Bond film, ‘Skyfall’, the James Bond film franchise has been one of the most successful long-running franchises of all time and has become an essential part of both film and pop culture history. So this October, in honor of the impending release of ‘Spectre’, Rhode Island Movie Corner will be celebrating its second annual ‘Bond Month’, in which I’ll be discussing various elements of the James Bond franchise; the highs and the lows. I had previously done this in November of 2012 when ‘Skyfall’ was released. However, I’ll admit that this was sort of something that I just came up with on the fly and I only did it after seeing ‘Skyfall’ in theaters. Because of this, I now feel that I should have done it earlier because I did include ‘Skyfall’ in pretty much all of the Bond posts that I did that month, despite having only seen the film once at that point. This time I’m not making that same mistake and will instead be doing it in October before I see ‘Spectre’. Like ‘Star Wars Month’ back in May, there will be five main posts that will be published every Friday in October. The topics that will be covered were determined based on the aspects of the Bond franchise that I hadn’t already covered during the previous Bond Month. So because of this, I won’t be listing my favorite/least favorite Bond villains, Bond girls, or Bond opening sequences. Instead, next month’s ‘Bond Month’ posts will be as follows:

OCTOBER 2ND: Top 10 Best Bond Henchmen

OCTOBER 9TH: Top 10 Best Bond Title Sequences

OCTOBER 16TH: Top 10 Best/Top 5 Least Favorite Bond Songs

OCTOBER 23RD: Top 10 Best/Worst Bond Moments

OCTOBER 30TH: Ranking the Bond Actors

Until then, grab your vodka martini, shaken not stirred of course, and prepare for a month of 007.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Black Mass (2015) review

Contrary to what recent critical and commercial buzz may suggest, Johnny Depp is technically still one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Consistently one of the highest-paid actors in the industry, he’s the star of Disney’s biggest live-action film franchise, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, with the series’ fifth installment set to come out in 2017. Not only that, but he has also had some solid critical/commercial hits over the years as well, many of which came with his most frequent collaborator Tim Burton. It’s just that in recent years, Depp has hit a bit of a rough patch as he has been a part of some highly notorious box-office bombs, including ‘The Lone Ranger’ and this past January’s ‘Mortdecai’. Because of this, his newest film, ‘Black Mass’, is being hailed by many as a ‘return to form’ for Depp. In it he plays, as the trailers promote, ‘one of the most notorious gangsters in U.S. history’, former South Boston crime boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. The film covers the story of how Bulger ended up becoming a key informant of the FBI through the workings of one of his old friends, agent John Connolly, resulting in an ‘unholy alliance’ that lasted for nearly two whole decades. Depp is most definitely the star of the show here in this highly engaging crime thriller that may not reinvent the wheel when it comes to the crime film genre but is still a well-made biopic about one of the most infamous criminals that America has ever had to deal with.

In 1975, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger (Johnny Depp) is in charge of all organized crime in South Boston as the head of the Winter Hill Gang while his younger brother William ‘Billy’ Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a member of the Massachusetts Senate. However, Bulger constantly faces opposition from the Angiulo Brothers, who run crime up in the North End and are intent on taking over his turf. Around the same time, John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), an old childhood friend of the Bulger brothers, returns to Boston having now become an agent with the FBI. Looking to take down the Angiulos as well, Connolly approaches Bulger with the idea of him becoming an informant for the FBI. That way, not only can the FBI finally take down the North End gang, who have been frequently flying under their radar for years, but Whitey will also be able to get rid of his North End rivals once and for all. Whitey agrees to the deal but is instructed by Connolly and the FBI to not commit any crimes or murder anybody. But, as things turn out, Bulger does not follow these orders as all as he continues his business as usual, expanding his empire while Connolly keeps the FBI off his tail. Soon enough, Whitey’s increasingly violent actions start to put their relationship in hot water once the FBI finally starts looking into their corrupt affairs.

‘Black Mass’ primarily focuses on Bulger’s ‘alliance’ with the FBI from 1975 to 1990. This film doesn’t cover anything about his time as a ‘fugitive’ after he got exposed by the media. Instead, his eventual fate of finally being apprehended in 2011 is relegated to the film’s final moments. But that’s totally fine because ‘Black Mass’ is still a very compelling crime drama even if it doesn’t tell ‘the whole story’. And ultimately the main reason why this film is so captivating is due to how fascinating of a character Whitey Bulger was. As noted in the film’s opening narration, despite all that he did over the years as the ‘kingpin’ of crime in South Boston, he was also a beloved figure in his neighborhood. Cold and quiet but also menacing and ferocious, you can never take your eyes off of him whenever he’s on screen, especially in scenes where he’s threatening someone. Admittedly, the film is a rather straight-forward effort as far as the gangster genre is concerned, not really pulling a lot of ‘major’ punches in terms of its story. But at the end of the day, I don’t hold this against the film that much because this is truly meant to be an acting showcase. As a director, Scott Cooper definitely knows how to get great performances out of his cast.  

As it has been advertised, Johnny Depp is absolutely fantastic in this as Whitey Bulger. While I personally feel that Depp’s been doing fine as an actor in recent years in terms of his performances, even when taking into account all of the very eccentric roles that he has played, I will concur that this is one of the best performances of his career. Not only does he completely disappear into the role of Bulger, but he also perfectly captures Bulger’s intimidating demeanor to the point where he legitimately does become quite scary at times. But while Depp has been getting the most attention for his turn as Bulger, Joel Edgerton is equally outstanding as John Connolly. Whereas Bulger is cold and intimidating, Connolly is more conniving and corrupt, loyal to the Bulger brothers but willing to break the law to help them out. The film actually does a really nice job of balancing out the roles of these two men and Edgerton more than holds his own against Depp. As for the rest of the cast, they’re just as excellent with their roles in the film ranging from major, like Cumberbatch as Billy Bulger and Rory Cochrane and Jesse Plemons as two of Bulger’s associates in the Winter Hill Gang, to minor, like Corey Stoll as the FBI agent who heads the investigation into Bulger’s criminal activities and Dakota Johnson as Bulger’s first wife, who’s only in the film for about five minutes or so, disappearing altogether after a crucial scene in which their son ends up dying from Reye Syndrome.

‘Black Mass’ is definitely one of those films that makes me want to read more into the true story that inspired it; in this case, the tale of Whitey Bulger and his time as an FBI informant. And to be perfectly frank, considering that I’m from New England, this does make the story even more intriguing to me given how big of a deal this must have been back in the day. Of course the main selling point of the film is Johnny Depp’s transformational and ferocious performance as the infamous New England mob boss. It’s easily one of the best performances of his career but another career-best performance comes from Joel Edgerton as the man who allowed the ‘alliance’ between Bulger and the FBI to happen in the first place, John Connolly. At this moment, they’ve become some of the biggest frontrunners for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, at next year’s Oscars. Heck, if we’re talking ensemble awards, this film also features an excellent ensemble cast as well. I can’t really go as far as say that ‘Black Mass’ is one of the all-time greatest gangster flicks, nor is it one of my absolute favorite films of the year, but it’s definitely a solid film that held my interest from beginning to end that, above all, proves that Johnny Depp isn’t just a one-trick pony as some may feel that he is nowadays given his recent films.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Favorite Films of Summer 2015- As Voted By You!

About three weeks ago, I initiated Rhode Island Movie Corner’s second annual end-of-summer Fan Poll and asked you folks to vote for your favorite film from this past Summer, just like I did last year around this same time. With voting now closed, I once again have to thank all who voted, as it resulted in yet another phenomenal and, compared to last year, much bigger turnout this year. 47 votes went to, believe it or not, 20 different films from the past four months of the year. This time around, however, it won’t be a similar case like last year where three different films ended up tying for the most votes. This year’s poll had one very (and I mean very) obvious favorite as it garnered at least twice the amount of votes than any other film that got a vote in this poll. And let’s be honest, a lot of you probably already know what this film is. But before we get to that, just like last year, I’ll be honoring every film that earned a vote instead of doing a ‘Top 10’ as I originally planned to do the first time I did this poll but never did. Because ultimately a lot of these films ended up getting the same amount of votes. So without further ado, here are your favorite films from the summer… as voted by you!!



There are just some films that are ‘critic-proof’ and are instead intended to be crowd pleasers. I know that may sound rather weird coming from someone like me but it’s undoubtedly true and the film adaptation/continuation of HBO’s hit series ‘Entourage’ is the prime example of this. As I noted in my original review for the film, I’ve seen quite a lot of heavy vitriol directed towards it and the show, leading up to and following the film’s release. I presume it’s mostly due to the fact that the film, like the show, is admittedly rather sexist given that it predominantly focuses on a cast of male leads and most of the female characters are viewed as ‘sex objects’ and not much more than that. While that’s definitely true when talking about the show and the film, from what I hear this is just the way things are in real life so don’t go criticizing them for simply reflecting how things really are in Hollywood. Anyway, despite having not seen the show before when the first trailer for the film debuted online, the trailer actually got me interested in the show and when I got a free 1-month subscription to HBO Now, I primarily utilized it to watch ‘Entourage’ and got through about 2 and a half seasons worth of the show. While I’ve not yet had the chance to finish the show, I can tell that this film is a much more fitting finale, if this really does end up being the ‘finale’, than the show’s actual finale. And as far as the film is concerned, it’s exactly like the show; a fun little farce featuring a fun cast of leads that have great camaraderie with each other (highlighted by Jeremy Piven as the always scene-stealing Ari Gold) and is definitely intended to be viewed with a crowd or, in other words, your own entourage.


After Pixar’s last three films failed to attract the same critical acclaim as the studio’s previous efforts (though I will always defend ‘Monsters University’), the ‘pioneers of computer animation’ finally struck the jackpot with both critics and audiences, something that some argue eluded them for a few years, with their latest film, ‘Inside Out’. Directed by Pete Docter, the man behind some of Pixar’s most beloved films like ‘Monsters Inc.’ and ‘Up’, ‘Inside Out’ is both visually beautiful in its design and emotionally powerful in its writing. Featuring a unique story concept in which personified emotions controlled the everyday actions of their human beings, ‘Inside Out’ features what could be arguably be Pixar’s most gorgeous animation yet, which results in plenty of colorful and imaginative visuals. But of course ‘Inside Out’ also maintains the mature writing that one can expect from Pixar, as it tackles subjects and situations that we’ve all been through in one way or another, whether it’s moving to a new neighborhood or being the new kid at school. I guarantee you that you’ll get emotional at least once during this film and because of it, ‘Inside Out’ is another Grade-A animated classic from the Grade-A animation company that is Pixar.


Well how about that, we go from the emotionally poignant writing of Pixar to the scatological/crass humor of Seth MacFarlane. But I don’t care because I really liked ‘Ted 2’. The first ‘Ted’ is one of my favorite comedies of the past few years as it balanced its unique concept of a teddy bear that came to life but ended up becoming a pot-smoking slacker with a surprising amount of heart and solid performance from its leads, particularly Mark Wahlberg and MacFarlane himself as the duo of John and Ted. And of course, it was absolutely hilarious. Watching ‘Ted 2’, I realized that they, John and Ted, are the main reason why these films are so funny. Whenever they’re not on-screen, that’s when the jokes fail to hit. But when these two are on-screen together, that’s where the film’s most hilarious moments occur. These two have such great chemistry and while they both may be very immature, they’re still surprisingly likable and it’s just fun to watch these two go off on all sorts of adventures. Like last time, Mark Wahlberg deserves a lot of credit for being able to work off of a character that’s basically only added in in post-production. And while the film unfortunately loses Mila Kunis’ character Lori, Amanda Seyfried is a solid replacement for Kunis as new female lead Samantha L. Jackson. While I can’t say that ‘Ted 2’ is necessarily better than the first film, it’s still a very fun comedy and it’s definitely one of my favorite comedies from this surprisingly solid summer for the genre.


I liked this more than ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’… there, I said it, come at me internet. I don’t care that this film basically got destroyed by critics. I think that not only is it a very entertaining film but a worthy successor to James Cameron’s first two ‘Terminator’ films. Hell, even James Cameron himself supports this but clearly most film fans didn’t agree. It seems that a lot of the vitriol towards the film stems from the decision to ‘reboot’ the timeline a la the J.J. Abrams ‘Star Trek’ films. But like those films, I completely support this as I feel that it allows the filmmakers to take interesting steps in telling a familiar story from a new angle, like putting the relationship between Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, and subsequently the future conceiving of John Connor, into question and having Sarah, who’s still my favorite action film heroine and is portrayed excellently here by Emilia Clarke, being a badass warrior right from the get-go. There was also the controversial twist in which John Connor was revealed to be the main villain of the film, having been corrupted by Skynet and turned into a Terminator. Without saying anything about the fact that this was revealed in the film’s second trailer, I didn’t mind this twist at all because I liked that it gave Jason Clarke, one of my favorite underrated actors, a more substantial role in the film.

‘Terminator: Genisys’ proved to be a solid mix of action and humor, especially during the scenes involving Sarah, ‘Pops’, and Kyle Reese… and yes, I thought Jai Courtney was good in this too. And at the end of the day, regardless of whether you liked this film or not, you cannot deny that one of its biggest strengths is the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his most iconic role to date; the T-800. I’m now fully convinced that one of the biggest downfalls of ‘Terminator Salvation’ was the absence of Schwarzenegger, and no I’m not counting the CGI Arnold during that film’s finale, and his return here is much welcome. Even at 68 years old, he still kicks major ass. After all, as he states in the film, ‘he’s old… not obsolete’. Contrary to popular opinion, I really loved ‘Terminator: Genisys’ and I do think that director Alan Taylor at least deserves credit for his near-perfect re-creation of classic scenes from the first ‘Terminator’. I say ‘near-perfect’ because due to rights issues, they couldn’t actually use the footage from the first film but they do come pretty close here. In short, this film pays loving homage to James Cameron’s first two films but manages to stand out on its own due to the bold move of ‘resetting’ the timeline. All in all, I had a lot of fun with this film and was actually really invested in the story that most of the film’s critics referred to as ‘bad fanfiction’. I’m legitimately interested in seeing where the series will go from here and while the film underperformed at the box office here in the U.S., thankfully the film has done a lot better in the international market so hopefully that means we’ll be seeing more of this franchise in the future.


Like I’ve been saying a lot recently, you can never go wrong with good old-fashioned ‘crowd-pleasers’ and it seems like ‘Magic Mike XXL’ was one of those films. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people were surprised that 2012’s ‘Magic Mike’ was as successful as it was. I haven’t yet seen the film but according to both critics and audiences, it was actually pretty darn good. For a film that, on the surface, seemed to be nothing more than a film about male strippers, ‘Magic Mike’, based on the real-life experiences of star Channing Tatum, surprised audiences with its strong writing, direction, and performances. As for the sequel, ‘Magic Mike XXL’, I’ve heard both positive and negative things about it and admittedly I’ve probably heard more negative reviews about it than I have heard positive ones. The most major complaint that kept getting brought up in these negative reviews was that the writing just wasn’t as good as it was in the first film. But despite that, it seems like most audiences still liked it and while it didn’t do as well as the first ‘Magic Mike’ critically or commercially, it still did solid numbers at the box office and fared decently enough with critics. So without having seen the film, it seems to me that the film at least pleased its target audience and in my book, that’s what ultimately matters the most.


I always like it when a film defies expectations, especially nowadays given the increasingly cynical atmosphere of the internet. ‘Ant-Man’, the final installment of Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was one of those films that, for a while, was unable to catch a break when it came to getting tons of flak on the internet. We all know what happened behind-the-scenes on this film. Originally to be directed by Edgar Wright, who had been working on the film ever since the early days of the MCU, Wright ended up leaving the project in May of 2014 due to creative differences with Marvel, which given recent events we can now pretty much officially attribute to the studio’s ‘creative committee’, which was probably also responsible for starting the common criticism that the studio allegedly restricts their director’s ‘visions’, which for the record I’ve never completely agreed with. Regardless, despite the fact that Marvel Studios has continuously delivered quality superhero films and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ proved that they could make great films based around lesser-known characters, many predicted that ‘Ant-Man’ would be the studio’s first major ‘failure’. Hopefully a lot of those people are now eating their words…

After the truly epic affair that was ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’, ‘Ant-Man’ was a nice change of pace as it was a considerably much more scaled-down adventure by comparison. Even with this in mind, it still managed to be another solid entry in this great franchise. Director Peyton Reed more than proved to be an excellent replacement for Wright, whose presence was still very much felt in the final product, and not in a bad way. The film gave us one of the most unique superheroes we’ve seen to date in Ant-Man and his ability to shrink down to the size of an ant resulted in some very unique visuals and action sequences. Pair that with a charismatic performance by lead Paul Rudd, an excellent ensemble cast (which you can always expect in MCU films), and the humor and light-hearted atmosphere that has defined the MCU from the very beginning and you will get an idea as to why I and many other people love these films so much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Marvel Studios has yet to make a ‘bad’ film and ‘Ant-Man’ continues their solid streak of success. Seriously, at this point, it is foolish to have any sort of doubt towards an MCU film, regardless of what happens behind-the-scenes, like what happened with this film when its original director left.   


In last year’s end-of-summer Fan Vote, one of the three most popular films from that summer, according to you folks, was ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, based off of the book of the same name by John Green. This year Green had another one of his books, ‘Paper Towns’, adapted to the big screen. And while it wasn’t as popular in this year’s poll compared to ‘Fault in Our Stars’ last year, it still managed to earn at least one vote so it’s clear that these films are still doing solidly with both critics and audiences. While I haven’t read the book, the trailer actually did get my attention mostly because this was where I learned what the film was actually about and that it was a ‘coming-of-age’ story. For those who haven’t seen it, it centers on a high school senior named Quentin (Nat Wolff) who embarks on a road trip with his friends to search for the ‘girl of his dreams’, his next-door neighbor Margo (Cara Delevingne), when she goes missing. I didn’t see the film but according to critics, it was, to quote the RT consensus, an ‘earnest, well-acted, and thoughtful film’, even if it wasn’t exactly as deep compared to other films of the genre. Regardless, while it didn’t do as well commercially as ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, it’s clear that the film at least satisfied its target audience.    


Here’s yet another instance of me disagreeing with popular opinion; I thought that the new ‘Vacation’ film was pretty darn funny. I may not have grown up with the ‘Vacation’ franchise but in recent years I’ve watched some of the older films and I really like both the original ‘Vacation’ from 1983 and the modern holiday classic, ‘Christmas Vacation’. While I don’t know if I’d go as far and say that the new ‘Vacation’ is as good as those two films, I still had a lot of fun watching it. Despite its obvious rehash of the original film’s plot, which it even fully admits to doing in a few bits of meta humor, this new film, to quote Rusty Griswold, did actually manage to ‘stand on its own’. Obviously not all of the jokes hit but there were still some notable laugh-out loud moments, like the scene in which the Griswolds go on a disastrous rafting trip with a guide who had just broke up with his fiancĂ© and quite frankly the best scene in the entire film in which a full-on family brawl occurs between the Griswolds and a rival family while at Walley World. All in all, I feel that this new ‘Vacation’ was a worthy continuation of the franchise, as it respected the original film while also doing its own thing, instead of just being a full-on remake. It may not be my favorite comedy from this year, but thanks to the solid-enough humor and its great cast, highlighted by leads Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, it was a nice return trip onto ‘the Holiday Road’.  


The ‘Mission Impossible’ series has only gotten better and better as time has gone on, most recently culminating in the modern action masterpiece that was Brad Bird’s ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’. This time around, regular Tom Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie stepped in to helm the fifth installment of the franchise, ‘Rogue Nation’. And overall, McQuarrie does a very good job following in the footsteps of Bird. His direction was solid and I really liked his method of setting up the action sequences, effectively establishing a solid atmosphere. But at the end of the day, I still feel that ‘Ghost Protocol’ is the better film, primarily because while I did really like ‘Rogue Nation’, I was rather disappointed that the film backtracked on one of the best elements of ‘Ghost Protocol’; the team dynamic. One of the best things about that film was that it finally captured the one element of ‘Mission Impossible’ that had been sorely lacking in previous films and that was the balancing of the main IMF group instead of just being centered on Ethan Hunt. But as for ‘Rogue Nation’, two of the main characters, Brandt and Luther, are mostly ignored for the first half of this film. Thankfully the film isn’t all about Ethan and Brandt and Luther do end up rejoining him and Benji for the second half of the film. But it’s still rather disappointing given that these two are some of my favorite characters in the series, Brandt especially after ‘Ghost Protocol’.

But ultimately that’s just a minor setback to an excellent action flick. It has the exact things that you’ve come to expect from the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise, from the insane stunts (highlighted by the iconic sequence in which Ethan Hunt hangs onto an airplane as it takes off) to the fast pace. Despite the fact that some of the leads are ignored, they do have an excellent camaraderie whenever they’re onscreen together. Simon Pegg gets the most substantial role out of all of the returning leads as Benji, who spends most of the film alongside Ethan and may just be my new favorite character from the series. But the biggest standout is newcomer Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust AKA the ‘female Ethan Hunt’. Ferguson more than holds her own against Cruise, especially in the action sequences, resulting in one of the best breakout performances of the year so far. And for a series that has been known for having some really mediocre villains, Sean Harris’ Solomon Lane does manage to be a pretty darn memorable villain, especially when compared to the forgettable villain of ‘Ghost Protocol’, Hendricks. So while I can’t say that ‘Rogue Nation’ is the absolute best film in the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise, it’s still one of the series’ absolute best installments so far and continues the series’ amazing run in the wake of the incredibly disappointing ‘Mission Impossible II’.


Speaking of spy films, this year has been a stand-out year for the genre. Aside from ‘Mission Impossible’, we also got the incredibly over-the-top but highly entertaining ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ and the hilarious comedy ‘Spy’. Of course we will also be getting the next James Bond film, ‘Spectre’, in a few months but there was another spy film this year that didn’t really get as much attention as those other films. That film was Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’, an adaptation of the popular 60’s TV series of the same name. As I stated in my original review for the film, it doesn’t exactly have the same amount of depth as something like ‘Mission Impossible’ or ‘Kingsman’. It is definitely a case of ‘style over substance’ as the main characters don’t really get a lot of character development outside of simple attributes and plotlines. Despite that, the film definitely does benefit from its strong visual style. As a director, Guy Ritchie has quite the knack for visuals and that is definitely evident in this film, from the fun action sequences to the pitch-perfect production design harkening back to the old-school days of the genre. Whereas ‘Kingsman’ embraced the campier atmosphere and plots of those films, ‘UNCLE’ was more a tribute to the glamour of those films and it definitely delivers in that regard. And to top it all off, the film benefitted from strong performances from its main trio of leads; Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Alicia Vikander. So if you’re just looking for a good old-fashioned spy film, I have the feeling that you’ll enjoy this film. Overall, I thought that it was solidly entertaining though ultimately I can’t really say that it was the best of its genre in terms of the spy films that have been released so far this year.


As I stated in my intro post to this year’s poll, I didn’t include every single film that came out this summer in the list of options just so that I wouldn’t overwhelm you folks with so many choices. So if your favorite film wasn’t amongst those featured, you just had to list it in the ‘write-in’ section. And from that category, the one major pick was ‘The End of the Tour’, directed by James Ponsoldt, who had another critically acclaimed summer release two years ago with ‘The Spectacular Now’. As for his newest film, it tells the story of the five-day interview/road-trip between Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky and novelist David Foster Wallace, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel respectively, in 1996 following the release of Wallace’s novel ‘Infinite Jest’. Lipsky wrote about his experience with Wallace in his 2010 book ‘Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace’, two years after Wallace committed suicide in 2008. Critics have praised the film for its performances and for its emotional poignancy and it seems like this could potentially attract some attention come awards season.   



When it was released back in September 2012, the first ‘Pitch Perfect’ was an unexpected smash hit both critically and commercially and it attracted a major cult following. So as a result, the Barden Bellas returned this summer, this time under the direction of co-star/producer Elizabeth Banks, for the highly anticipated sequel, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’. Now for the record, I wasn’t really a big fan of the first film the first time I saw it but ultimately this was only due to ‘how’ I first watched it… that and perhaps a ‘I didn’t want to watch it’ mentality that, for the record, is a mentality that I never follow anymore when it comes to films. I was on a school trip with my high school’s music program and a couple of us brought some films to watch on the bus. The first film that was played was ‘Pitch Perfect’ but the volume on the bus’s DVD player was cranked up really loud and, to put it bluntly, it aggravated me. In other words, it wasn’t exactly the best way to watch a film like this. But I did recently re-watch it and I will admit that I actually have warmed up to it. No it’s not necessarily my thing (even though I was a member of my high school’s chamber choir so I do have ‘something’ in common with the characters in this film) and I wasn’t a big fan of the film’s overt use of sexual and gross-out humor but it is a fairly pleasant film with an enthusiastic cast and plenty of great musical performances. While I haven’t seen the sequel yet, I’ve heard that it’s basically the same as the first film in terms of its plot but is still just as fun and energetic as its predecessor. Whereas the first film was a surprise hit, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ was a guaranteed success for Universal and it seems like it was a definite crowd-pleaser. 


If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of horror films. They’re just not my thing. A lot of people, on the other hand, are horror film fans and taking the spot of the favorite ‘horror’ film from this summer, according to you, was ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’. The ‘Insidious’ series has been pretty successful with audiences. Almost every film in the series has grossed around $100 million at the box office and have fared decently with critics, save for the second film. This time around, series’ writer Leigh Whannell takes over for James Wan as director and the film is ultimately a prequel to the first two films, centering on the psychic Elise (Lin Shaye) as she tries to help a family deal with demons following the death of the mother. According to critics, the film wasn’t exactly as ‘scary’ as the first film but it did manage to stand out on its own due to its surprising amount of thematic depth. Will this lead to another film? We’ll have to wait and see about that but for now, ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ at least seems like the most well-liked horror film of the summer, especially when compared to other horror films that came out this summer like the remake of ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘The Gallows’.


Basically the general consensus towards Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Southpaw’ is that while the film is a rather by-the-numbers affair, its biggest saving grace is Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role of boxer Billy Hope, who looks to resurrect his boxing career following the death of his wife (Rachel McAdams) when he ends up losing custody of his daughter as a result of his new reckless behavior. Gyllenhaal has enjoyed quite a lot of critical success in recent years and many film fans feel that he’s been long overdue for an Oscar, and they have been especially vocal about it these last two years after his performances in films like ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Nightcrawler’. Obviously he didn’t get nominated for either of those films and time will only tell if he gets any attention this awards season for his performance here. But above all, according to most critics, Gyllenhaal is the best thing to come out of this generally standard boxing film.



It makes me really happy to see that ‘Tomorrowland’ did get some attention in this poll. To me there was no greater film sin this year than seeing a film like ‘Tomorrowland’ be a major box-office-bomb. Despite being an original story, something that I know that most film snobs were clamoring for in this current age of sequels and reboots, ‘Tomorrowland’ ultimately got ignored in favor of a film that was the fourth entry in its franchise. So yeah, kind of a major case of hypocrisy here, though I guess you can say the film’s polarizing critical reception was another factor in its underperformance. But unlike most critics, and the majority of the internet for that matter, I won’t let this film ‘die’. It’s an inspiring and imaginative sci-fi story that above all promotes two things that have been ignored in today’s cynical society; hope and the possibility of a bright future. Under the brilliant direction of Brad Bird, something that you can always expect from his films, ‘Tomorrowland’ is a very fun and light-hearted sci-fi film that pays tribute to the vision of Walt Disney that inspired this film and is very well-acted by all involved, especially female leads Britt Robertson and Raffey Cassidy as Casey and Athena, respectively, my two favorite film heroines from this year so far. It will always sadden me that this film did poorly at the box office this summer but hopefully just like another Brad Bird film, ‘The Iron Giant’, it will gain the attention that it deserves in the years to come.


Earth’s Mightiest Heroes delivered yet another exciting superhero epic with the follow-up to the 2012 superhero masterpiece ‘The Avengers’, ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’. Upping the scale and stakes from the first film, ‘Age of Ultron’ was a much grander, and in some cases a little more serious, affair than its predecessor but it still delivered on exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe; a great team dynamic, plenty of funny dialogue, and awesome action sequences/visuals. Ultron, played by the badass James Spader, is another highly memorable MCU villain a la Loki who’s surprisingly much more humorous than I think we were all expecting. At the end of the day, I don’t necessarily think it’s ‘better’ than the first film but I don’t hold that against the film at all. Some critics feel that the film is rather overcrowded and while I’ll concur that the film does have a lot of characters in it, I don’t think it’s that big of an issue because of the fact that the MCU took its time prior to this film to establish its characters in other films instead of just throwing them all into one film at once (*cough* Batman v. Superman *cough*).

And as for all of the controversy surrounding Black Widow, first off in regards to the lack of Black Widow merchandise we can pretty much blame that on Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who Kevin Feige thankfully doesn’t have to deal with anymore when it comes to the MCU films. But as for her role in the film and her growing relationship with Bruce Banner, I think all of the flak this has been getting is, to be perfectly frank, rather ridiculous and overblown. Their relationship was actually sort of set up in the first ‘Avengers’ given all of the scenes between the two so it’s not like this ‘comes out of nowhere’ as a lot of critics are claiming it is. Not only that, but I also think that it’s perfectly fine for a character like Black Widow to yearn for a normal life like Hawkeye, who gets a much deserved bigger role in this film than in the first ‘Avengers’. So in short, I truly believe that ‘Age of Ultron’ is far better than its current critical reception paints it out to be. It only has a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and I really think it deserved a much higher score. Obviously I’m a little biased because I’m a huge fan of the MCU but ‘Age of Ultron’ truly is another great and highly entertaining installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  



Sorry to those who didn’t like this film, but ‘Jurassic World’, the highest grossing film of the year and one that has set numerous box-office records (including the honor of having the biggest domestic opening weekend in history, topping 2012’s ‘The Avengers’), was one of the most popular films in this poll and I’m right there with those who loved this film. It’s a highly entertaining summer blockbuster that may not have been ‘as good’ as the original ‘Jurassic Park’ but still managed to be a more-than-worthy follow-up to that film. Obviously, it didn’t fare well with everyone. The film’s biggest critics gave it crap for things like the CGI and the writing, hence why a lot of people have been too overly critical of director Colin Trevorrow being hired to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ despite the fact that his direction for ‘Jurassic World’ was actually pretty damn good. It even resulted in one of the stupidest controversies in recent memory (and given the internet, that’s saying a lot) over the decision to have Bryce Dallas Howard’s character Claire wear heels throughout the entirety of the film. Seriously internet, you’re getting worked up over frigging footwear. If anything, I think she actually deserves a lot of credit for managing to do a lot of the things she does in this film while wearing heels, including running away from a frigging T-Rex. That makes her a badass in my book.

Yes I will concur that this isn’t exactly a ‘smartly-written’ film and it shares some of the franchise’s weaknesses when it comes to the writing, particularly the characters. As is typical with this franchise, there are some very underdeveloped characters, like Vincent D’Onofrio’s Hoskins, who is meant to be the main human villain due to his scheme to use some of the dinosaurs as weapons but never actually does anything ‘villainous’, which was disappointing after D’Onofrio’s amazing turn as Wilson Fisk in ‘Daredevil’. But I’d argue that the four main characters; Owen, Claire, and Brothers Zach and Grey were all pretty solid leads and Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, and Ty Simpkins were all excellent in their respective role. And overall, this film is just fun, which seems to be something that’s becoming lost amongst some film fans who were expecting just a bit too much from this film. I had a lot of fun watching it and clearly a lot of other people really enjoyed it too. This was the true definition of a ‘motion picture event’ that not only respectfully pays tribute to its predecessor, an equally big ‘motion picture event’, and it definitely earned all of the prestige and financial success that it has achieved.



The clear winner of this poll for your favorite comedy from this summer was the Judd Apatow-Amy Schumer collaboration ‘Trainwreck’. It’s very fitting because after all, Amy Schumer has been on fire recently with her show ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ on Comedy Central and for her first major leading role in a film, she teamed up with legendary comedy director Judd Apatow and wrote the script for it as well. In it, she plays a woman who constantly breaks off her romantic relationships for fear of commitment, after her father once told her that ‘monogamy isn’t realistic’. But when she meets a sports doctor (Bill Hader), their relationship starts getting more serious than what she usually deals with. The film features an impressive ensemble cast, including an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, and even John Cena and LeBron James, the latter of whom many have said was actually was one of the film’s biggest standouts. All in all, critics have noted that the film, and especially Schumer herself, were both hilarious and some even stated that the film broke new ground for the genre. Needless to say, this film effectively established Schumer as one of the biggest comedic talents in the world right now and her star will stay shining for quite some time. 


With all of the police brutality related incidents in this country over the past few months, a film like ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is a very timely release. It is the biopic of ‘the most dangerous group in the world’, N.W.A., a bunch of kids from the streets of Compton who boldly stood up against all of this with their music that was inspired by their life experiences in the rough California neighborhood. Under the direction of F. Gary Gray, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is an emotionally driven and energetic look into the history of one of the most famous, and in a lot of cases infamous, musical groups of all time. The history of N.W.A. is expansive enough to cover a whole trilogy and while ultimately a lot of events are ignored in this single two and a half hour film, it does get across most of the essential beats of N.W.A.’s history, including their formation, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre’s departures to pursue solo careers, and the death of Eazy-E. And despite being a film produced by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, the film actually doesn’t feel like it’s ‘over-glorifying’ the main characters. Top it all off with a great trio of leads in Ice Cube’s own son O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell and you’ve got one heck of a powerful musical biopic that legitimately elicits quite the emotional response from you in certain scenes.



Are you really surprised? After all, this has been one of the most critically acclaimed films in recent memory. Pretty much everywhere you go, both critics and audiences have been over the moon in their praises of this film. While there have been plenty of highly acclaimed summer releases over the years, ‘Fury Road’ is another beast entirely. It’s pretty much a rarity to see anyone not be completely in love with this film… well, if you’ve been following this blog you know that I’m one of those people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I think this film is pretty damn overrated and in my opinion it’s only getting more and more overrated every time I hear it being brought up. I seriously just don’t see why this film is being regarded as if it was the second coming of Christ. Again, like I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s a ‘bad’ film. The action sequences, production design, and Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult are all excellent. But the film severely lacks in story and character development for any character not named Furiosa or Nux. I understand that the filmmakers truly did intended to have a very simple plot but then again it’s a very simple plot; it’s just one long chase through the desert and nothing more than that. Not only that, but for a film titled ‘Mad Max’, Tom Hardy is severely underused in the role of Max. For the record, the film isn’t actually focused on him as Furiosa is the true main character of the film. Still, you could’ve taken Max out of the story altogether and it wouldn’t have seriously made that much of a difference.

As I’ve noted already, this is by no means a ‘bad’ film. It’s just that I’m getting really sick of hearing about it all the damn time. It’s also actually starting to kind of piss me off because almost everyone I’ve seen online has been negatively comparing other films that came out this year to it, like ‘Avengers’ and ‘Jurassic World’. Well sorry folks but at the end of the day I still prefer all of those films to ‘Mad Max’. But you know something? I think I know why this film became as ‘legendary’ as it did. Because it didn’t succumb to a lot of modern practices that a lot of hardcore film fans are sick of, like the overuse of CGI and overly-complicated plots, those film fans were, as a result, much more vocal in terms of how much they loved the film because they’ve been actively craving a film where a lot of the action was done practically and not just completely done with CGI. But at the end of the day, I’m not that ‘hardcore’ when it comes to this kind of stuff and it doesn’t change my mind about this film whatsoever. If you’re one of the many, MANY people who loved this film, then the more power to you. As for me, I just never got into the hype surrounding this film, before and after its release. But many people did, hence why it was clearly your favorite film from the summer of 2015.

So those were your favorite films this past summer? Didn’t vote in the poll or see your favorite film in this post? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.