Month: May 2017

Adam Wingard will direct ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

Adam Wingard is the new King of Monsters. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the filmmaker has officially signed on to spearhead the forthcoming Godzilla vs. Kong for Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment.

If the title is anything to go by, the film promises to pit against one another the two movie monstrosities, paw-on-claw. One from Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla and the other from this year’s Kong: Skull Island (catch our review here).

Wingard himself is a busy guy. So far he’s established a cult fandom with B-list horror flicks like You’re Next and The Guest (starring Dan Stevens). He’s also been recognized for his standout entries in the two anthology horror series V/H/S and The ABC’s of Death. The filmmaker’s last directorial effort came in the form of last year’s surprise sequel Blair Witch and he’s currently wrapping up an American-ized Death Note film for Netflix.

Godzilla vs. Kong will start tearing up theaters May 22, 2020. If you can’t wait that long to sink your teeth back into this shared monster-verse, don’t fret. Godzilla: King of Monsters, a sequel to the 2014 film, is slated for release on March 22, 2019.

So what do you think of this news? Does Wingard’s involvement make you more or less excited for this film? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts and let us know!

Ranking ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ & the rest of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies

Believe it or not, Johnny Depp actually garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Actor with his iconic performance as the goofy Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s fourteen years later and we’ve now got five of these things (that’s right, five films based on a Disney theme park ride). Obviously, certain films in this tired franchise are better than others, so with the release of ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ just on the horizon, now is the perfect time to reflect back on the series’ high and low tides.

*The list below is ranked from best to worse. Everybody knows which film is the best in the series so there's no reason to try and hold you in suspense.

1.) Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

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I’m just going to come right out and say it: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is a perfect film. Now by no means am I asserting that it’s one of the greatest films ever made (although it’s certainty one of my favorites). I’m simply suggesting that the first ‘Pirates’ film is the best version of itself that it could possibly be. It’s funny, action-packed, and frequently heartfelt with strong characterization and memorable performances from its tremendous cast. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and make sure to cross this one off the ole bucket list.

2.) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

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To many critics and fans, this is where the ‘Pirates’ films start taking on water. And while I agree that this first sequel marks the beginning of the series’ over self-indulgence, by no means is this a bad film. Not only does Dead Man’s Chest expand upon the mythology of the first movie in new and interesting ways but it successfully grows the three leads beyond where they initially left off: Will and Elizabeth are arrested for aiding the escape of Jack (in the first movie) and in exchange for their freedom, the pair must hunt down their former partner in crime and return him to Port Royal. This film also marks the only time we see Captain Jack truly terrified as he’s simultaneously pursued by fabled infamy himself, Davy Jones. The new villains are equally well developed and Bill Nye as Jones is a strong addition to the already impressive cast. Dead Man’s Chest may not be a timeless treasure, but it’s a worthy follow-up to Curse of the Black Pearl.

3.) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Unfortunately, the latest film in the ‘Pirates’ franchise is not the greatest. That said, it’s still one of the better entries (if that means anything to you). There are flashes of inspiration here and there that come close to recapturing the adventurous spirit of the original light-hearted fare, particularly in terms of practical stunt work. And while Captain Jack is as static as ever, we do learn a bit more about his backstory and see just how he became Captain Jack. The series also continues to add talent. Javier Bardem is an outstanding addition to the ‘Pirates’ hall of infamy. Likewise, Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario are great as the “new” Will and Elizabeth, though they’re often overshadowed by Captain Jack’s predictable hijinks. Additionally, this film seems uninterested in the established ‘Pirates’ lore and does little to expand it. Essentially, it’s the Diet Coke of the Pirates of the Caribbean pictures. It’s not as sweet as the original but neither is it a detriment to your health… At least in small doses.

*You can catch our video review of the latest ‘Pirates’ here!

4.) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

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If Dead Man’s Chest is where these movies start taking on water, then At World’s End is where the whole thing gives way and sinks under the weight of its own bloated cargo. There are too many concurrent subplots, a bounty of useless characters, a convoluted development of the mythos, and most of the practical stunt work is replaced by special effects noise. Worst of all, this excess of nonsense racks up a total runtime nearing three hours. Thankfully, voyage isn’t entirely hopeless. There are a couple lifeboats. For one, the performances are still top notch despite the fact that most of the characters’ arcs head in some overly-silly directions. And some of the action lends itself to some pretty memorable sequences, particularly the three-way war at the end which features a magical whirlpool. I’m getting a headache just thinking about all this.

5.) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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Our reflection from first to worst ends here, On Stranger Tides. Before we dive into justifying this film’s ranking, let’s talk about the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. This, the fourth entry in the series, does boast the shortest runtime of the bunch, ringing in at only two hours and seventeen minutes. Ian McShane and Penelope Cruz jump aboard, once again keeping with ‘Pirates’ tradition of bringing in big-name talent. Unfortunately, none of it is enough to keep On Stranger Tides afloat. The film is a dreadful bore. The action is much too tame and Captains Jack and Barbossa are both caricatures of their former selves. This film plays out more like a fan fiction “What if?” scenario than a legitimate chapter in the life of one of cinema’s most iconic adventurers.

Yo-ho-how did we do? What do you think of our ranking and what would yours look like? We want to know! Drop down into the comments section and let us know!

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)– Video Review

Director(s): Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario

Synopsis: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon (source: IMDb). 

Rating: PG-13

Should Disney abandon ship with these movies? Here’s what we think! Let us know your thoughts by hitting up the comments section below!

The Void (2017)– Video Review

The Void is one of the most… Unique films of the year. Check out our video review below and let us know what you guys think!

Logan (2017)– Steelbook Unboxing

Logan is one of the best films of the year so far (you can check out our own video review here)! Directed by James Mangold, Logan features Hugh Jackman’s last ever performance as the iconic Marvel mutant Wolverine. This week the film hits blu-ray and DVD this week and we got to sink our claws into the Best Buy exclusive steelbook! Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Sony’s ‘Venom’ finds its star in Tom Hardy

You read that correctly.

The in demand actor Tom Hardy is set to star in Sony’s standalone Venom movie, which will feature the titular Spider-Man villain from space. Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer will direct from a script written by Scott Rosenberg (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Jeff Pinkner (The Dark Tower).

Venom will be the first entry in Sony’s planned Spider-Man extended cinematic universe. Ironically, there are currently no plans to include the web-head in this cinematic universe (at least not the current Tom Holland version). Sony has also announced a standalone Black Cat and Silver Sable film.

Venom swings into theaters on Oct. 5th, 2018.

*Opinion*

This is a bold move on Sony’s part. It’s smart casting and a strong foundation for a Spider-Man movieverse without Spider-Man. Initially, I wasn’t excited by the idea. Now, I’m dying to see this movie!

What do you think of this news? Does this excite you for Sony’s Spider-Man-less Spider-Man universe? Let us know in the comments below!

Ranking ‘Alien: Covenant’ among the rest of the ‘Alien-Predator’ films

There is a lot of history to sink your teeth into between the Alien and Predator franchises. Both have experienced their high’s as well as their low’s. Despite the ceaseless debates about what exactly qualifies as what, it seems diehard fans are perpetually bursting at the chest for another chance to live inside this quasi-shared universe (whether it be the movies, comics, video games, whatever). If you’re among them (or just a casual fan of gory sci-fi action), then you’re in luck! Friday marks the release of the latest entry (directed by Ridley Scott, too!) in the series: Alien: Covenant.

To commemorate this surely divisive event, we here at Movie Minutes have ranked the eleven films (including ‘Covenant’) of the Alien and Predator (kind of) shared cinematic universe in an order we consider “worst” to “best.” Enjoy!

11.) Alien 3

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This film is so bad that its director, David Fincher (The Social Network, Gone Girl, Fight Club, if you can believe that), did not even want to be given credit on the project. It’s so bad that the Fox Studios, at one time, had officially announced plans to retcon the film with a Neill Blomkamp installment that was going to take place chronologically after James Cameron’s Aliens. And then there are the fans, who felt sleighed by (among other things) the unceremonious, unnecessary killings-off of two beloved characters in the first scene. Nobody wants this movie.

10.) Predator 2

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This film finds itself as low on our list as it is simply because of how forgettable it is. It’s your prototypical “copy-paste” sequel that plucks the titular extraterrestrial from the actual jungles of Central America and plops it into the concrete jungle of New York City. It’s an interesting idea on paper, but the film offers few new ideas or at least anything that sticks. Plus, Danny Glover just does not have the campy charisma of Arnold Schwarzenegger that helped make the iconic first film so much fun.

9.) Alien: Resurrection

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Unlike the last film on our list, Alien: Resurrection is anything but forgettable. It’s a weird, mixed bag of interesting ideas, poor visual effects, and fun performances. It focuses on the hybrid experimentation between the humans and the iconic xenormorphs, which not only revived Ripley but, in turn, granted her superhuman strength. It’s a completely ludicrous concept that actually lends itself to some fun action and some strange sci-fi sequences that almost play out like a send-up of the series itself. Plus it never hurts to put Sigourney Weaver, Ron Pearlman, Winona Ryder, and Brad Dourif in the same movie together.

8.) Alien vs. Predator

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I know already that this is where I’ll be taking the most gruff. You see, I enjoy the Alien-Predator throwdown flicks more than most. I love the idea that the Predators hunt the xenomorphs as a sort of right of passage/sport, though the more specific explanations necessary to bridge the two mythologies are a bit muddled. Regardless, there is a certain novelty is watching these two titans of sci-fi go head to head as they perfectly compliment each other’s weaknesses: the xenomorph with its brute strength and killer instinct and the Predator with its superior intellect and advanced technology. However, I don’t quite understand the math that says two brutally R-rated franchises come together to make a PG-13 film.

7.) Predators

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Slapping an “S” at the end of “Predator” was exciting. They did it to Alien and we got a whole bunch of aliens! What would Predators be like? Well, as it turns out, exactly like the first ‘Predator’ movie only with less believable characters. It’s not all bad though. The film does introduce some unique ideas such as the Predators dedicating entire planets to  the hunt and setting the film on one of those planets is an intriguing idea gushing with possibilities. Unfortunately, the filmmakers weren’t quite able to capitalize on it. Predators does, however, boast some exhilarating action sequences. Those combined with some fresh ideas and some pretty hammy performances (particularly from one Adrien Brody), is enough to warrant at least a once through.

6.) Alien vs. Predator: Requiem

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Here we are again. This is the movie I wanted the first film in this short-lived series to be: xenomorphs, Predators out in the open, duking it out in gory, R-rated fashion. ‘Requiem’ benefits from a simpler plot involving a rogue Predator visiting Earth to extinguish the abominable hybrid of their two species (the “Predalien”). It puts a sci-fi twist on the classic revenge Western. Unfortunately, the humans prove once again to be the weak link here. The dialogue is often cartoonishly unspeakable and the characters speaking it laughably lite on development.

5.) Prometheus

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There’s genuinely a lot to admire about Prometheus. It’s a technical splendor. The cinematography is gorgeous and the visual effects are out of this world (get it?). Scott’s premise of going back and exploring the origins of life within the beloved Alien universe is utterly fascinating. And, of course, there’s the stellar cast: Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, and Idris Elba, just to name a few. It’d be higher on my list if it had answered more questions than it asked. Prometheus was marketed as an Alien prequel but failed to deliver that connection.

4.) Alien: Covenant

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The latest in the long-running franchise is every bit the technical splendor that it’s predecessor, Prometheus, is. Unlike Prometheus, however, Alien: Covenant delivers the extraterrestrial goods. It more closely bridges the gap between Prometheus and Alien seamlessly, answering a lot of big questions while also leaving some big ones for Scott’s next couple installments to tackle. If those next films are anything like this tense, slow burning slasher, then I say keep ’em coming!

3.) Predator

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You know how everyone always says the original is the best? Well, in this case that’s true (at least so far). Like its featured band of beef cakes, Predator‘s savageness is rivaled only by its simplicity. One hyper-intelligent alien warrior vs. a squad of super-macho commandos (think of it as a beefier, sweatier, bloodier Ten Little Indians). Thankfully the film plays up the camp of its own premise and Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the outfit’s commander with just the right amount of tongue planted in his cheek. Plus, the guy knows how to sell an action scene and this film’s full of ’em!

2.) Alien

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This is by far the best true-to-form horror film on this list. Technically, yes, it is just Jaws in space, but who doesn’t want to see that? Director Ridley Scott masters the art of tone with this film. Every prop, set piece, and lighting configuration in every shot is meticulously designed to make you feel uneasy or on edge. That way when things do eventually go horribly wrong (and they do!), it feels that much worse. Alien also features the trippiest-looking shark ever in a space movie. H.R. Giger’s designs are so singular and so powerful that just gazing upon the xenomorph is enough to let you know that, whatever you’re looking at, it can’t be good for your health. Then there’s the fact that every movie about an alien aboard a spaceship ever has tried to be this film and that’s got to count for something, right?

1.) Aliens

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It’s pretty much a tossup between Ridley Scott’s original slow burn and James Cameron’s action-packed follow-up. It more or less depends on the day; however, on this particular day we’re giving the edge to Aliens. It never tries to be Alien. Instead, it takes the core concept of the original film and expands it into the mythology we know and love today by approaching the story through the lens of a different genre and introducing elements that have since become franchise fixtures, such as the xenomorph queen. Cameron also surrounded Signourney Weaver with a strong cast and introduced us to some beloved characters such as Hicks and Newt. Aliens is not only one of the greatest sequels of all time, it’s one of the greatest films of all time.

What do you think of our list? Hit up our comments section below and let us know and don’t forget to share how you’d rearrange this list!