‘Hitman: Agent 47’ (2015) Review

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) Review: Shoot to Thrill Video game movies are plagued by mediocrity. Every attempt at producing a film based on the interactive art form has done nothing to appease those who say it simply can't be done. The end result is always a half assed attempt to cram every reference to the source material the writers can think of, which does nothing but alienate the fans they're trying to appease. Critics of video game movies will call them cursed for trying to adapt an inferior, juvenile form of entertainment. However, these same critics said the same about comic book movies not too long ago. Now you have 6 comic book movies being produced next year alone. The notion that adapting video games leads to nothing but ruin is as short-sighted as it is dismissive. All the genre needs is a 'Dark Knight' or an 'Avengers' to beat the boss of sub-par filmmaking so it can reach the next level. That being said, 'Hitman: Agent 47' doesn't break the mold on video game movies but it's definitely one of the better so far. The story that follows is simple enough. In the late 1960s, a secret organization known as The Agency tasks Dr. Litvenko, played by Ciaran Hinds, with human engineering, taking the strongest genes and combining them into superhuman assassins called hitman agents.Faster, stronger and smarter than regular humans, essentially the Indominous Rexes of the assassin world, with no fear…

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‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E’ (2015) Review

The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015) Review: Sleek, Stylish, and So-so. 2015 seems to be the year of the spy. Just last month Ethan Hunt and co. returned to perform their rather difficult assignments, in one of my favourite films of the summer. In as little as 3 months Daniel Craig will don the 007 title for the 4th time, returning to battle the titular organization in 'Spectre'. Even the first major release of the year, way back in February was 'Kingsman: The Secret Service', a film which seemed to pay homage to the movies that preceded it. In situations like this, it's not unheard of for at least one of the films to suffer comparisons to another, and then be thought of unfavourably.The same happened in 2008 in which a whopping 5 films were superhero based and judged against their peers. As different as 'Hancock' is from 'The Dark Knight' the two would still be discussed under the superhero genre umbrella, despite being completely different. When surrounded by genre competition, a movie has to strive to stand out. Even if any other year it might've been outstanding.  Unfortunately, while it's not terrible, 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E' doesn't quite do that. Based on the 1960's television show of the same name, the movie takes place in the very same swinging decade and follows the adventures of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. Solo, played by Superman is a CIA agent, and Illya, played by Armie Hammer,…

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‘Straight Outta Compton’ (2015) Review

Straight Outta Compton (2015) Review: Need. Watch. Again. When it comes to biopics, they're kind of the perfect combination of filmmaking. You take a character with a story interesting enough for a 120-minute run-time, and you imbue the legitimacy of being a true story. Suddenly your film has an immediate connection with its audience, being based in their reality. As with all things though, there's a balance to be struck. You have to take a larger than life character, bring them down to their most human level, while still maintaining what makes them special. '8 Mile' has a character, the most talented in his field, and uses the hardest parts of his life to showcase his relatable, crippling stage fright. On the other hand, 'Lincoln' takes one of the greatest presidents in America's history and turns him into a bumbling old man, telling too many stories. Aside from that, in the information age where you can look up someone's life story in an instant, justifying a biopic becomes more and more difficult. That being said, 'Straight Outta Compton' establishes itself as the fourth film this year that defied my already high expectations. The story, of course, follows the N.W.A from their inception to their eventual dissolve, showcasing the true story of the rap group that ended up on the F.B.I watchlist. The movie actually opens up with a scene that is literally gangbusters. N.W.A member Eazy-E, played by Jason Mitchell, is entering into a drug deal about…

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‘Fantastic Four’ (2015) Review

Fantastic Four (2015) Review: Fanta-Stick A Needle In Both My Eyes. Superhero movies have come a long way in the last ten years, since the release of the original 'Fantastic Four'. Since then Batman has become the dark knight he was always meant to be and the galaxy is now sufficiently guarded. The genre has evolved past its origin of cringe-worthy dialogue and now garners the attention of everyone from Robert Redford to Jeremy Irons. Aside from its credibility, the genre has expanded its storytelling horizons.Each one these days corners a different sub-genre. You have a conspiracy thriller in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier', a fantasy epic in 'Thor: The Dark World' and most recently, a heist film in 'Ant-Man'. If superheroes are going to be dominating the release schedules of the next decade or two, it's a comfort to know they'll at least be interesting.The most recent of superhero cinema, Fantastic Four, seems to completely ignore all that goodwill and innovation.The movie starts out with Reed Richards, established as a misunderstood boy genius. While every other kid says they want to grow up to be firemen, he says he wants to instantaneously travel across space. A bit of an overachiever right? His teacher mocks him, his parents dismiss him. The only respite he can find is through his friend and partner Ben Grimm. Together the two work over the next 7 years to perfect Reed's plans of teleportation. Eventually, this perfection catches the eye of Franklin Storm…

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‘Ricki and The Flash’ (2015) Review

Ricki And The Flash (2015) Review: Rockin' Past Closing Time Ever since chief Brody blew up Bruce the shark and Luke exploded the Death Star, the summer has been reserved for the less thoughtful productions. This is the time of year where Optimus Prime and company typically mull about with their ongoing cybertronian war. However, every now and then in the summer season, there is a release that counters that market entirely. Essentially, it provides a movie for people who aren't interested in Ultrons and Indominus Rexes. Minions get released for kids too young to see PG-13 pictures, and films like 'Hope Springs' get released for older audiences looking for a story they can relate to. 'Ricki and the Flash' falls into that second category and despite being about a 60 something-year-old failed rock star, it surprisingly resonates very well. Meryl Streep plays the titular Ricki, real name Linda Brummel. Ricki is a never has been rock and roll star who plays in dive bars by night and works as a cashier by day. The story opens up on a day in Ricki's life and follows her until she gets an unwanted call from her ex-husband, played by Kevin Kline. Ricki's daughter is suffering a crisis, right after her divorce, so bad that her father is willing to call the woman who walked out on them to follow her dream of being a musician for aid. Ricki takes the next flight back home and what ensues is a family dramedy about the less…

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‘Southpaw’ (2015) Review

Southpaw (2015) Review: Fall, Box, Grow, Repeat The sports movie is truly special. There is no other genre of cinema that has prospered despite having changed mostly nothing in the decades it's been around. The plot points are predictable, the characters are paint by numbers, and you can even pinpoint specifically what scenes will be in each movie. Any other genre has to evolve beyond its tropes and cliches, but the sports movie seems to be the proverbial underdog of filmdom.The one genre that with all the odds stacked against it, still manages to come out on top. The sports movie is also a bit like the gangster movie, sharing both critical acclaim and popular success. The snobbiest of film fans can break bread with the general audience member over how great 'Rocky' is.  Southpaw doesn't break the mold but that's not to say it's not worth your time. This time around, the story is about Jake Gyllenhall's Billy "The Great" Hope, heavyweight champion of the world, with a 43-0 record. The film actually starts in the middle of that 43rd bout and lets you know just what type of boxer he is. He's violent, cocky and favours a knockout.He also doesn't shy from a beating or two, much to the chagrin of his wife Maureen played by mean girl, Rachael McAdams. Together, Billy and Maureen have a little girl and thus a reason to get out the ring for good. Unfortunately, you…

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