Keanu Reeves to reprise role as John Wick

4 May John Wick

Given the commercial and critical success of 2014’s John Wick, it comes as little surprise that a sequel is already in the works.

Lionsgate officially confirmed their plans for John Wick 2. Keanu Reeves is set to reprise his titular role. The directing and writing are set to return for the sequel as well.

If you missed Wick, it is definitely worth a look. Reeves plays a retired hitman who is pulled back into his violent past. Previews for the movie didn’t point to a particularly compelling story and it definitely appeared headed toward ‘Will Suck’ territory. But the biggest surprise in the movie didn’t come from the story, but the shocking revelation that Reeves can still carry a film. Wick was a brooding character with a dark past and Reeves managed to channel the subtle performance. This is quite the accomplishment for a man known for:

And these:

Consider this, in 2013 Reeves was the leading man in three movies (47 Ronin, Generation Um…, and Man of Tai Chi) that had an average Metacritic score of 35. Then Wick comes out of nowhere (Metacritic score: 68) and it appears that Reeves’ career maybe on the upswing.

John Wick 2 may seem like an unnecessary sequel at first glance, but I for one am happy to see the beleaguered star getting a chance to revisit the role. So, here’s to Wick teaching some bad guys a lesson.

Post Mortem – The Avengers: Age of Ultron

1 May Avengers Age of Ultron

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is the eleventh movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and hit screens this week. The commercial success of this movie is guaranteed: it will, without question, be one of the highest-grossing films all-time. So how will fans of the series judge the Avengers’ return to the big screen?

I will admit to having guarded expectations regarding this movie. For me, the original Avengers movie was one of the best comic book movies. I think Joss Whedon did a great job of mixing action, charm, and humor in the film. He did a great job of combining the fun of the Iron Man films with the gravity of Captain America. My one complaint is that the fight scenes were a bit too muddy on screen–it was sometimes difficult to follow the action. So, I entered Age of Ultron with guarded expectations. Could this film ever live up to the enormous hype generated by the Disney/Marvel juggernaut? Could it recreate the unique blend of ingredients in the first one? Could we feel the same excitement the first time we saw the Avengers assemble? And I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

The Plot: The movie begins with the Avengers raiding a HYDRA base as they search for Loki’s staff (Chitauri Scepter for the mega-fans). From the first scenes, you can tell that Whedon learned from the missteps in the Avenger action sequences. The camera easily moves from on Avenger to the next and serves as a showcase (or introduction if you are new to the Marvel Universe) of each member’s ability. This entire battle serves mainly as a prologue, because it is only after they have captured the staff and begin to examine it, that we are introduced to the main theme of the film.

Tony Stark is tired of saving the world and believes that the Avengers were brought together so they could eliminate the threats that only the Avengers could solve. With the power of the staff, he believes that he can create a robotic sentry that would safeguard the world. But, predictably, the artificial intelligence that was supposed to protect humanity, realizes that the only way to protect humans is to remove the largest threat to their safety–humans. This A.I. is Ultron, and he is the Avengers most persistent and dangerous opponent.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story, but I do have a few notes:

  • We are introduced to several new characters in this film, and they all fit very naturally. Their personalities and powers fit right in with the rest of the Avengers.
  • This movie is funny. Not full-fledged comedy funny, but action movie funny. The laughs diffuse tension. And even in a huge blockbuster, Whedon manages to sprinkle in scenes that provide an intimate look at the heroes, when they are not being heroic.
  • There is a romance, that while not offensively out-of-place, still feels shoehorned into the movie.
  • The Hulk vs. Iron Man. That is all…

HulkBuster

Verdict:

For all of the build up over the past three years, Age of Ultron manages to more than meet my expectations. The action is tighter, the one-liners are funnier, and the 3D is the best I have ever seen. The stakes are just as high in the movie–you feel that the survival of humanity hangs in the balance of a decisive battle. As I left the theater, I heard many comic book fans talking about how the comics were better and how they changed this detail. This is an adaptation of comics, inspired by the stories that took hundreds of comic books and years to tell. They cannot possibly make a word-for-word, panel-for-panel recreation of the comics. In short, this is how every person who read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or Gone Girl, or The Da Vinci Code felt when they saw movies based on those books. Compromises must be made to fit a novel’s worth of material into two hours.  But most important, this movie did not feel like a placeholder. Yes this is part of a much larger story, but it was a self-contained thrill ride. So does it suck?

Avengers - Dark together

Batman v Superman: Batman’s suit has color?

30 Apr Dawn of Justice

If you have ever watched a Zach Snyder film, or read our thoughts on Batman v Superman, then you know that the director loves to use a muted color pallet.

Zach_Snyder

But today, we learned that there is some color in Ben Affleck’s suit in the film.

JPosters is a website based in Argentina and shared a photo of Affleck in the suit…in FULL COLOR!. The company says the photo is an exclusive (hence the huge watermark on the photo). We don’t know if the photo is real, but we do know one thing, it is very unlikely that any scene from the movie will be in full color. Take a look:

Ben Affleck in his Batman v Superman suit.

Ben Affleck in his Batman v Superman suit.

Need a Marvel movies refresher? Look no further

30 Apr Age of Ultron Poster

Thank goodness there are some people on the Internet who have more free time that they know what to do with! In this case, one of those people used their powers for good. Thanks to YouTube user ahmed elsherif for putting together a comprehensive review/recap of Marvel movies released between 2008-2014.

If you don’t have time to watch all of the Marvel movies before The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases tomorrow (really tonight at 7 PM in many markets), you can use this as a crib sheet. Still, you will have to clear a bit of time, the video requires the same time commitment as watching a feature length movie.

Here is the link to watch the video.

A Post about Nothing

29 Apr Seinfeld Cast

Will it Suck is focused on movies, and telling you if movies, will in fact, suck. But we are all huge fans of Seinfeld, so we felt compelled to share some thoughts on a big piece of news regarding the greatest sitcom.

It was announced today that Hulu won the rights to stream the entire Seinfeld catalog. Before the deal, this was one of the biggest holes in the collective streaming catalogs of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, et al. So, on the face this is a great deal.

Amazon Hulu Netflix

But what is the goal of Hulu in making this splash? In theory they are hoping to 1) reward current subscribers with a show that many of them likely want, and 2) attract new customers. Is this a viable strategy to win subscribers? In the short-term, yes, it appears that companies believe so, as is evidenced by Amazon’s decision to pursue HBO’s catalog. But in the long term it remains to be seen if new subscribers will stay signed up once they have gotten their fill of Seinfeld. Netflix, on the other hand, was never in the bidding for Seinfeld rights. Instead, Netflix has taken the strategy of creating original programming (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Marvel’s Daredevil, and many others).

What could be the big risk in Hulu’s Seinfeld gambit is that reruns of the show are ubiquitous on basic cable and local channels, while Sony was demanding huge sums for the show’s streaming rights. Industry analysts said that Sony could have asked around $500,000 per episode. There are 180 30-minute episodes of the show.

So, $500,000 x 180 episodes = $90,000,000!!!!

That is absolutely enormous. The HBO/Amazon deal is reportedly in the neighborhood of $100 million spread out over several years.

So, the question is, how many people will subscribe at $7.99/month now that Seinfeld is available On-Demand? For me, it seems much easier to just set my DVR to record all episodes of Seinfeld on any channel. As George Costanza said “It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?”

George Costanza

I would be willing to bet that I would have the entire series recorded in just a few months. Unless you have completely “cut the cable”, it just doesn’t make sense that you would pay $96 a year just because of Seinfeld.

Then again, I did pay to own each season on DVD, so maybe I am just the pot calling the kettle black…

Take a look at Man of Steel, in color!

27 Apr Superman

Those of us at Will it Suck, felt that Man of Steel was a misstep. There were several issues (as detailed here), not least among them was the washed-out color pallet.

Now, the team at Video Lab has added the color to Man of Steel. Take a look and let us know what you think!

Did Amazon UK reveal details about the Avengers DVD special features?

26 Apr Age of Ultron Poster

The Avengers: Age of Ulton could become one of the top-grossing films of all-time, but will not be released in the US until later this week. If you are like me, you are trying to avoid spoilers for this film, but that may be the least of our worries. The folks over at Screencrush may have stumbled upon a spoiler for the special features that will appear on the Blu-ray and DVD release of the movie.

The UK branch of Amazon is already offering customers the chance to pre-order the film (it opened on April 23 in many locations, including the UK). Included in the product description is the mention of an extended version of the film and hints at a possible alternate ending.

I have not seen the latest Avengers film, so I do not know how the ending could be changed/approved upon, but this is a bit disconcerting. The Age of Ultron represents the end of Joss Whedon’s involvedment in the Avengers and it is disappointing that he could be shipping a product that he is not completely behind. I am much less disturbed by the additional/deleted scenes that will appear in the special features section, but am a little perturbed at the inclusion of a different ending.

Or, this could all be some last-minute jitters. How will The Age of Ultron live up to the original Avengers? Can it? That is yet to be seen, but I will be back with a review of this summer’s can’t miss blockbuster next weekend!

Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters in the US May, 1.

In Theaters This Weekend: Still waiting one more week until Avengers

24 Apr

Today marks a milestone in movie releases….not that there are great movies coming out, but it marks one week until Avengers: Age of Ultron gets released, and kicks off the 2015 Summer Movie season! (Yay!!!)

But until then we still have a weekend of releases to get through, and could you guess, there’s not much…

The Age of Adaline – starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford


So someone thought it’d be fun to remake Benjamin Button but with a female lead. Or is this a female Picture of Dorian Gray? Either way, it’s a time movie about Blake Lively who in the 1930s, gets into a car crash (and then almost drowns…and then gets struck by lightning) and the combination of the three horrific events has now left her unable to age. So when she’s stopped by police in 1953, they’re amazed that she’s 45 years old(!), even though Lively only looks like the 28 year-old she is in real life….and will probably look the exact same when she’s actually 45. It’s an interesting premise, albeit one that’s been done much, much better before (see again: Dorian Grey), but there’s a plot where she’s constantly on the run, and changing her identity, because I guess it’s weird for people to meet a 60 year-old woman looks like a 28 year-old movie star. And I guess maybe the government wants to probe her, to see how she’s pulling off this trick….or maybe it’s Oil of Olay – I don’t know. But there’s also a love story here, or maybe a love-triangle, as she dates and then leaves, a young Harrison Ford, and then years-and-years later, she takes up with a young guy, and goes to meet his parents, and guess who his dad is….! (hint: it’s Harrison Ford). Shot like a Nicholas Sparks-movie, you’d think a person would take the ability to never age as a Godsend, but in this film, it comes off like a burden, and “oh whoa is me, I could never keep a man because then he’ll know my horrible secret….that even though he will someday get old and gray, I’ll still look like a 28-year-old movie star”…..Man, that would really stink. I think I’d rather go try this anti-aging trick of swimming during an lightning storm, than sit through Age of Adeline, but if you like young hot chicks, and schmaltzy father-son love triangles, then be my guest.
Ex Machina – starring Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleeson 


Ex Machina
is a weird Blade Runner/A.I. type movie, where robots have feelings, and are confused why they don’t deserve every right to life that Man possesses. So it’s interesting that when Ava, the robot in this movie, meets a new person for the first time (Domnhall Gleeson), she befriends, and flirts with him, and begs him to take her away, almost sensing that her creator (Oscar Isaac), is about to turn her off, to upgrade, like we do with our phones, to the new Ava 2 (which is thinner, and lighter, and has a bigger screen). Remember when Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with his computer in Her? Well, it’s sort of the same thing, except Ava isn’t just an operating system, and she has a smoking body. First-time director Alex Garland (who wrote Sunshine and 28 Days Later) wears his love for Stanley Kubrick on his sleeve, and there are obvious nods to The Shining and HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey (not to mention, the aforementioned, unfinished Kubrick project A.I. that Steve Spielberg ended up directing). Ex Machina probably builds its slow-burn creepy factor up to a twist-ending, and could be just weird enough, with just the right amount of Kubrickian-spice, to make a good movie. But then again, it could just wind up being all curves, and no soul.

ex-machina-movie

New Trailer – Jurassic World

23 Apr Jurassic World - Logo

Universal hopes to recapture the wonder of 1993’s Jurassic Park, but can the excitement be brought back from extinction?

22 years ago, Steven Spielberg made us believe that dinosaurs could be brought back to life, and it would be simultaneously cool and terrifying. Jurassic Park demonstrated the danger of man’s hubris–believing that they could control the most fearsome creatures to ever walk the earth. And viewers bought into Spielberg’s vision–Jurassic Park netted more than $1 billion at the box office.

The tyrannosaurus rex, brontosaurus, and velociraptor became overnight stars. Who can forget the first time the dinosaurs appeared on screen? We were all like Dr. Grant (Sam Neill); speechless and awestruck. Sitting in theaters, we shared the wonder of seeing the long-dead reptiles live and in flesh, and we all felt the terror when the power went out and the dinosaurs took control. We all knew the science was unrealistic (seriously, DNA cannot live for tens of millions of years in a fossilized mosquito), but that didn’t matter. For just a couple of hours we were kids again!

And then something terrible happened. More specifically, two somethings terrible happened–The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. There is no getting around it, those movies were just bad, really bad. Now, 22 years have passed since the events of the first Jurassic Park and we return to Isla Nublar (not Isla Sorna where moves 2 and 3 take place). It is clear that the writers are hoping to pretend the events of the original sequels did not happen–something anyone who saw those movies can empathize with. And the producers are placing this billion dollar franchise in the hands of a director who has only one previous feature-length directing credit to his name. Colin Trevorrow helmed the cult dramedy, Safety not Guaranteed; a movie that grossed just over $4 million. Now, he is leading a movie that has a budget of more than $180 million. That’s a big risk…

The Trailer:

When your movie stars Chris Pratt, it is a good idea to lead your trailer with him. Pratt has been on fire since 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty, and cemented his status as a blockbuster star with last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In Jurassic World, it appears that Pratt may be the “Velociraptor Whisperer”, but Jurassic World is a much better title. And comes a scene that is at the center of some online controversy. Pratt is telling a scientist–played by  Bryce Dallas Howard–how the dinosaurs are motivated by the need to hunt and…make dino-babies. Joss Whedon, the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, took issue with the scene, after a self-styled feminist pop-culture blog posted an article gawking at Pratt in the scene.

Park - concept art

Now we get the see guests in the park that John Hammond envisioned more than two decades ago, and what’s not to love? You can take a motorized hamster ball and drive it among dinosaurs; you can observe a goat being eaten from the safety of a glass tube that is designed to look like a tree trunk; you can sit in the ‘splash zone’ for a show featuring a blood-thirsty, prehistoric, Shamu; and you can stroll down the park’s main street for some shopping!

Swimming Dinosaur

We hear that the park was a hit, but people just are not impressed by dinosaurs anymore–large numbers of visitors only visit the park with the promise of a new exhibit. Now the company in charge of the park thinks they have a winning idea: they want to genetically modify dinosaurs!

A nameless scientist, portrayed by Omni-present B.D. Wong, says the new ‘attraction’ was “designed to be bigger than a T-rex!’ And apparently she really wanted to be an only child, because she ate her sibling. The brains at corporate also decided to make their new pet smart–she removed a tracking implant that she shouldn’t remember having implanted. As if that weren’t enough, she is like 19th Century American frontiersmen–she kills for sport. How do the humans respond to the threat? By using a two-pronged approach: one, loosing Chris Pratt and his band of velociraptor hunting buddies; and two, allowing Vincent D’Onofrio to unleash everything but tactical nuclear weapons to stop the beast.

Will it Suck?

Is there any demand for another Jurassic Park movie? Can the movie rise to the nostalgia-inflated heights of the original film? Will a new generation buy into the idea of a dinosaur theme park? Those are some big unknowns confronting a blockbuster in a summer as jam-packed as 2015. Last year, this movie cruises to a huge box office total. But this year, movie-goers have so many options–Avengers 2, Mission Impossible 5, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland, etc. If this trailer is any indication of what we can expect, the biggest crowds for this movie, may be in the movie. The trailer had plenty of action, but by creating a monster, you lose what captured the imaginations of audiences with Jurassic Park–the most fearsome animal ever gets loose and we can’t stop it! In 2015’s Jurassic World, Godzilla-lite causes chaos on some remote island.

Pratt and Raptors

Jurassic World releases June 12.

New trailer – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice!

20 Apr Dawn of Justice

Zack Snyder returns to the DC Cinematic Universe, this time pitting Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent against one another.

To paraphrase Jacobim Mugatu, “Comic book movies are so hot right now!” The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Iron Man all topped the box office and became part of the zeitgeist. They were all also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movies based on DC characters have not been nearly as commercially successful, and you rarely hear anyone say ‘want to go see the new DC movie?’ Previous DC releases include: the Zack Snyder-helmed Man of Steel, the one-off Superman Returns, and Batman movies starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale. Now DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers are counting on Ben Affleck to once again reinvent the role of the World’s Greatest Detective. And therein lies the problem.

Mugatu - Comics

(To illustrate how thoroughly Marvel dominates DC in theaters, here is are links to box office totals for Marvel Movies and DC Movies)

As recently as April of last year, those in charge of the development at DC had no plan to create a unified universe (it is only in the last several months that they have shared any road map to future films). Operating without a coherent plan means that fans have no character to latch onto and root for. Compare that to say, Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. has been Tony Stark since 2008! Age of Ulton will be the sixth film that he appeared in as Stark. DC does have a plan now, and they are counting on Dawn of Justice to set up the Justice League movies.

The Trailer:

Wow, that was dark, wasn’t it? I don’t mean dark, ‘but it looks like they’ll work it out’. I mean dark like ‘these two heroes actually want to kill one another’. I have to admit, this trailer lost me almost from the start. I don’t mind when a movie uses a voice over as exposition (see: intro to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), but I HATE it when a preview doesn’t show me characters and instead gives me fake panel discussions–as you would see on CNN–debating the true nature of Superman. Zack Snyder sold me on Man of Steel by couching it as a movie that would examine the alien background and implications of someone with Kal-El’s powers living among us. And what does this trailer feature? A discussion about the alien background and implications of someone with Superman’s powers living among us! You already made me sit through a 143 minute movie that was supposed to answer that, but didn’t!

Let’s continue. After an interminable ‘dolly shot’ and some heavy handed lighting effects (they are lighting up the statue of Superman like this movie will shed light on his true identity–see what they did there) we finally see that the words “False God” are spay painted on the chest of Superman. So are we to believe that Batman is now a common graffiti artist? Probably not, but either way, just make an action movie! I know that I don’t want to see another meditation on the theme of ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. (Haven’t there already been like five Spiderman movies?)

False God

Now to the meat of the trailer! Action, right? NOPE! Ok, I’ll admit that we see the Batmobile and Batplane and that is cool. But outside of that, all we get is a look at Batman in a mechanized suit and some vague soliloquy about wrath or some such nonsense.

I am left with so many questions after this trailer: why do Batman and Superman hate one another? Has Batman manufactured kryptonite, or made a deal with Lex Luther to acquire the material? And finally, where does this take place? That is a big question. As you will recall, Man of Steel, ended with an outrageously destructive battle in Metropolis. The folks over at comicsalliance.com did the math on this and estimated that the battle between Superman and Zod caused $750 billion in damaged to property and had a total economic impact of $2 trillion. For comparison, the attacks on 9/11 had a total impact just north of $120 billion. So yeah, I guess this can’t take place in Metropolis.

Will it suck?

I am rooting for this film, but I do not have faith that a movie based around two superheroes fighting can be the spark that DC is looking for. And the climactic battle will likely be pointless–both characters have to be alive to be present in the upcoming Justice League movies. This is a setup that feels like there should be major consequences–arguably the two biggest characters in comics are meeting for a battle, but they both just shake hands and make up at the end? Now, let’s look at the director. Zack Snyder is often venerated as a director with a highly stylized vision. But his last three films; Man of Steel, Sucker Punch, and Legend of the Guardians were all average, at best. His glory days of “300” are far behind him. He has a lot of weight on his shoulders as he is at the helm for this film and both Justice League pictures. So yes, this will suck for many reasons, but maybe the main one is that DC is trying to cut corners and expect the same success as Marvel

Batman V Superman - Suck.

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