We only have so many days left in the year so I am trying to be selective about what films I choose for the challenge. For today’s film, I wanted to clean up my Netflix queue a little so I decided to watch the 1981 military drama Taps. Life at Bunker Hill Military Academy is business as usual with cadets coming in and cadets leaving to bigger and better things under the watchful eye of the acclaimed General Bache (George C. Scott). After being appointed the new Major, Cadet Major Moreland (Timothy Hutton) finds out that the school is going to be shut down in favor of condos. After an accidental shooting takes their beloved general away and speeds up the closing process, Moreland and the cadets take a stand and they take over the school. The film also stars Sean Penn (Mystic River) as Cadet Captain Dwyer, Tom Cruise (Top Gun) as Cadet Captain Shawn, Evan Handler (Sex And The City) as Edward West, Giancarlo Esposito (The Jungle Book) as Cadet Captain Pierce, Ronny Cox (RoboCop) as Colonel Kerby, Billy Van Zandt (Anything But Love) as Bug, Donald Kimmel (As Luck Would Have It) as Billy Harris, Wayne Tippit (Nurse Betty) as Master Sergeant Kevin Moreland, and the film was directed by Harold Becker (City Hall).
You know I often wonder if Tom Cruise and Sean Penn knew what kind of megastars they’d end up becoming during the 80’s. They are definitely two of my favorite actors to emerge from that decade along with some others. Timothy Hutton proves in this film that he can give some strong performances because he did in this one. They definitely captured the essence of what it means to be a kid who is forced to try and act like an adult in a world that when they step up for something, they are once again treated like children. That is definitely the eternal struggle for kids who were brainwashed that there are far worse things in life then death by a man who has known nothing other than that lifestyle. The great thing about this film is that it emulates war movies where in the beginning you are gung-ho about the battle at hand then when the film continues on, it starts showing scenes of war is hell as the soldiers begin to crack or in this case the cadets. I loved the cinematography in the film especially the final scene where you may be shocked by what happens or if you are like me you had an idea of what was about to happen. Sean Penn does such an amazing job in the film and I would consider it a stellar performance as well as Tom Cruise who plays that war monger character who is just inching to become Rambo. The film is available on Netflix like I said, but for right now I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
In the war between DC and Marvel Comics, I would go as far as saying that DC had the upper hand in the animated film market. That is why for today’s film, I decided to check out the animated film Son Of Batman which came out in 2014. Ra’s al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito), the leader of the League of Assassins, is training his heir to the league when the compound comes under attack by an old disciple by the name of Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson). After escaping the attack, Talia al Ghul ( Morena Baccarin) brings her son to Gotham and reveals to Batman (Jason O’Mara) that Damian (Stuart Allen) is their son. Batman quickly learns that Damien is an unruly and violent teen with a thirst for vengeance. No matter, he will try his best to mold him to become the new Robin while they try and track down Deathstroke. The film also stars Dee Bradley Baker (Legends Of The Hidden Temple) as Man-Bat, Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) as Dr. Kirk Langstrom, Sean Maher (Much Ado About Nothing) as Dick Grayson, David McCallum (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Michelle (Happy Feet) as Francine Langstrom, Fred Tatasciore (Avengers Assemble) as Killer Croc, Bruce Thomas (Kyle XY) as James Gordon, and the film was directed by Ethan Spaulding (Batman: Assault On Arkham).
The one thing I really enjoyed about this film is that there was a different enemy for the film than the usual suspects that we are always given. First you get Killer Croc with Batman and then Deathstroke towards the end. I had been waiting a long time for something to feature Deathstroke a.k.a. Slade Wilson and we got it with this one. The only thing that bothers me a little is that he gets his ass kicked by a teenager with anger and control issues. For the whole entire film, he is an unruly teenager, but at one precise moment in the film he changes his tune and clearly wants to learn from his dad. That was the only issue I had with that, but for the most part this was an enjoyable film to watch. The thing that gets me about DC Animated films is that you don’t realize how much realistic violence is placed into their films. There is a scene where Deathstroke literally has Damien Wayne crucified with a sword through one arm and a knife through another I believe. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that, but I enjoyed it. So as I was saying, I think that is why DC dominates the animated game because their films are not cheesy. This probably isn’t going to be the last animated film from DC that will be featured on here because there is a whole lot more to see. I am going to give Son Of Batman an B+ for a final grade.
There are some stories in life that are so amazing when they are brought on to the screen which is what the original 1967 Walt Disney animated film The Jungle Book did. Now, what if we take one of the coolest stories combine it with the director that helped put Marvel back on the map in Jon Favreau (Iron Man), and made it a live action film for today’s feature film. For Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the only life he has known since he was a baby was the life and laws of the jungle as he has been taken care of by a pack of wolves and a panther named Bagheera (Ben Kinglsey). That is until one day when he is confronted by an evil Tiger named Shere Khan (Idris Elba) who is intent on killing the child for living in the jungle. So in order to ensure his own safety and the safety of all the animals, Mowgli agrees to leave, but he may have to come back to save them. The film also stars Bill Murray (Ghostbusters) as Baloo, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) as Raksha, Scarlett Johansson (Avengers) as Kaa, Christopher Walken (Dead Zone) as King Louie, Garry Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show) as Ikki, Giancarlo Esposito (The Usual Suspects) as Akela, and Brighton Rose (Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy) as Gray.
This was by far one of my favorite movies of the year and it’s ranked up there with Deadpool and any other movie I’ve seen this year so far.This film is non stop fun and adventure from beginning to end and I was so disappointed it was over because I wanted more. All of the characters in the film were absolutely amazing from the acting to the design and the scenes themselves. Bill Murray was an absolute star in this film as everyone’s favorite bear Baloo and believe me Murray delivered. It was such a joy to see him as the bear on the big screen and Neel Sethi did a terrific job as Mowgli too. You were 100% sold that this kid was raised in the jungle and that he communicated with the animals. Now if you are looking forward to seeing Kaa on the big screen, I am going to warn you that you may be a tiny bit disappointed on the amount of screen time she has in the film. Another pleasant surprise for me was hearing Christopher Walken play everyone’s favorite Orangutan King Louie (except he’s a giant one in this film). The story is amazing, the way it came to life on the screen was amazing, and the cinematography was amazing too. Like I said this is definitely one of my favorite films of the month so far and I think everyone should go and check it out in the theaters. A second Jungle Book film has already been announced according to IMDB so I look forward to it. With all of that being said, I am going to proceed and give the film an A+ for a final grade.
I usually do not like to watch films that are based off of teen novels, but I broke that rule with the Divergent series and The Maze Runner. The Maze Runner is one of those Teen series that after seeing the first film I was very impressed so for today’s film we checked out Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. The Scorch Trials once again features our group featuring Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Winston (Alexander Flores), and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), but this time around they are rescue and make it to a new facility after escaping the maze. The only problem is that Thomas discovers that there is something wrong with this new facility and he decides to escape and take his chances in the scorch all in search for a group called The Right Arm. The film also stars Jacob Lofland (Mud) as Aris, Rosa Salazar (Insurgent) as Brenda, Giancarlo Esposito (The Usual Suspects) as Jorge, Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island) as Ava Paige, Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises) as Janson, Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) as Mary, Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan) as Vince, Katherine McNamara (New Year’s Eve) as Sonya, Nathalie Emmanuel (Furious 7) as Harriet, Alan Tudyk (Wreck-It Ralph) as Blondie, and the film was directed by Wes Ball (The Maze Runner).
One of my issues with the film and it isn’t that big of an issue, but it jumps between genres throughout the whole film. We get a little sci-fi with some alien looking creatures and humans being harvested for their blood before they start to get attacked by zombies. Then its all set in a post apocalyptic world like in Mad Max or The Day After Tomorrow. Even though it may seem like I am complaining about those things, the set design was actually one of my favorite things about the film. The mall buried in sand or the decimated city that they have to navigate through is pretty cool. The film itself has it’s moments of brilliance, but sometimes it has it’s moments of dullness. There are times where the film just feels like it’s dragging and you are wondering when it’s all going to end. The action when it happens can be pretty cool as well and there is plenty of it in this film, but there are some elements of the film that are just predictable. There is one moment in the film that when it happened, I thought to myself that I should have seen it coming. Was the second entry in the series better than the first? To honestly answer that question, I would have to say that I felt the first one was better than this one. They added more as far as visuals are concerned, but there was just too many moments that dragged in my opinion. They are making the next film in the series, so stay tuned for that when it happens. I know I’ll be there to watch it. I am going to give Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials an B+ for a final grade.