Posts Tagged ‘Jason Momoa’

Steppenwolf’s Revenge

Justice League

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, David Thewlis, Billy Crudup, Ciaran Hinds

Uniformity of vision is key to director Zack Snyder’s films from his earlier films including 300, Suckerpunch and Watchmen to his onscreen tackling of the DC Comics universe starting with Man of Steel (2013) Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice (2016) and now with the latest Superhero extravaganza Justice League.

Batman aka Bruce Wayne played with a deadpan sense of humour by Ben Affleck has to assemble a team to fight the inexplicable and mythical power of Steppenwolf voiced by Ciaran Hinds as the evil underworld monster plans on destroying the Earth with enough energy to wipe out Wonder Woman’s secret Island and Aquaman’s Atlantic underwater liar.

Speaking of which Israeli actress Gal Gadot reprises her role of Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince following the hugely successful standalone film earlier in 2017 by Monster director Patty Jenkins.

New to the cast is Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa who plays Aquaman aka Arthur Curry who besides being able to control the oceans has some serious authority issues along with Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) as The Flash aka Barry Alan and Ray Fisher as Cyborg aka Victor Stone.

The best scenes in Justice League are when the superheroes come together especially Batman and Aquaman who naturally have a healthy distrust for each other. The dialogue is peppered with some great lines like “Cool, like a bat, I dig it!” or when The Flash asks Batman what his superpowers are, he simply replies “I am rich”.

The good news is that Warner Brothers is set to release stand-alone films of Batman, Aquaman and Cyborg within the next three years, so fans can have a favourite superhero to themselves. Let’s hope these films do as well as director Patty Jenkins remarkable all female superhero film Wonder Woman which smashed all box office records.

Director Zack Snyder’s Justice League is slick, fast, action-packed and filled with quirky interactions between all the world’s favourite superheroes without being puerile or garish. With suitably Gothic production design by Patrick Tatopoulos, Justice League cleverly hints at the upcoming Aquaman and The Batman films. Audiences should look out for Oscar winner J. K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.

With a funny screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, Justice League is sure to entertain audiences that loved the previous Zack Snyder superhero films and will possibly get a glimpse of the Man of Steel.

Justice League gets a film rating of 8 out 10 and is thoroughly entertaining, visually rewarding and definitely worth seeing. As the tagline goes: You Can’t Save the World alone. Even Batman.

 

Californian Crazies

Once upon a Time in Venice

Director: Mark Cullen

Cast: Bruce Willis, John Goodman, Jason Momoa, Emily Robinson, Jessica Gomes, Famke Janssen, Thomas Middleditch, Adam Goldberg, Kal Penn

Bruce Willis relives his Pulp Fiction days when he skateboards naked down a street in Venice Beach, California playing washed up cop Steve Ford in the awfully bad and quite frenetic action movie Once Upon a Time in Venice directed by Mark Cullen.

When the tag line for a film is Never Mess with a Man’s Dog one should know that the film is not going to deliver an original narrative although at times Once upon a Time in Venice feels like a collection of Californian Crazies as the audience is introduced to Hispanic gangbangers headed by Hawaiian star Jason Momoa as Spyder who is soon to play Aquaman in the Justice League along with lewd graffiti artists, drag queens and monstrous real estate agents. The cast of characters is reminiscent of director Sean Baker’s 2015 art film Tangerine shot on an iPhone in Los Angeles except this comic adventure has Bruce Willis as its main hero.

The point to note is not to take Once Upon a Time in Venice too seriously as the entire film looks like it was made on a balmy Saturday afternoon in California by a production crew that was high.

The sad part is that both John Goodman and Bruce Willis are in the twilight of their film careers and are obviously getting desperate to act in such low brow fare. Not that Bruce Willis ever elevated the art of cinema beyond the Die Hard franchise but character actor John Goodman who was so brilliantly in the Coen brothers Barton Fink should have known better.

Goodman plays Steve Ford’s faithful buddy Dave, a divorcee who is battling to get rid of a dodgy surf shop while recovering from a terrible divorce.

Dutch actress, former bond girl and X-Men star Famke Janssen appears all too briefly as Ford’s sister Katey and Emily Robinson stars as his niece Taylor.

It is when their house on Venice Beach gets robbed by the merciless drug lord Spider, wonderfully played by Jason Momoa who steals all valuables including their dog, that the story sets off in a madcap sort of coastal way, which ultimately requires a wittier script and tantalizing action to keep audiences vaguely interested in the outcome of this truly bizarre film.

Once Upon a Time in Venice is 90 minutes of mediocre entertainment with Bruce Willis pulling the tough guy routine in a beachfront neighbourhood which is as bizarre as it is crazy. Venice Beach, that stretch of Californian beachfront which is being gentrified by tech companies and slimy landlords embodied by Adam Goldberg’s character Lew the Jew.

The only redeeming feature of this film is Ford’s younger partner John played by Thomas Middleditch whose sarcastic voice narrates the misadventure story which sort of loosely holds the narrative together as much as a tacky drag queen trying to keep a bra on. Yes there are drag queens too!

Once Upon a Time in Venice gets a film rating of 6 out of 10. The film is strictly for ardent fans of Bruce Willis who occasionally has to prove to audiences that he can pull off action and comedy simultaneously.

 

 

Clash of the Icons

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Laurence Fishburne, Callan Mulvey, Kevin Costner, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa

Hollywood studio Warner Brothers had a lot riding on the highly anticipated sequel to the 2013 hit Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but fortunately they followed the golden rule of sequels, always bring in the same cast and director mixed in with a bunch of surprises.

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Fortunately in the hands of Zack Snyder whose visual range is vast, Batman vs Superman comes across as an epic battle between the two infamous superheroes, a monumental gamble on reintroducing Batman back into the mix so soon after the brilliant success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Then why not bring the writer of that trilogy on board, David S. Goyer and use Christopher Nolan’s expertise as executive producer. Then there is the casting which really pays off.

The Social Network’s Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg as the smart and brilliant villain Lex Luthor, Oscar winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Batman’s trusted manservant Alfred and the biggest coup was casting Ben Affleck (Gone Girl, Argo) as Batman which gives this comic book clash of the icons a more edgier hue.

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After all, realistically Batman, aka Bruce Wayne cannot really defeat Superman, an alien man from Krypton with superpowers. All Batman has is cool gadgets, a Batmobile and all that pent-up rage from his childhood trauma of witnessing his parents being murdered on the streets of Gotham.

Amy Adams returns as the adventurous Lois Lane, along with Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, aka Superman along with Diane Lane as his earth mother Martha Kent. If there is one way to make a superhero angry, it’s to mess with his mother!

Whilst Batman v Superman at two and a half hours long could have been edited especially the last hour of the film, visually the film is so impressive as director Zack Snyder artistically pays homage to his filmography which made him famous: 300, Watchman and Suckerpunch, the last one being especially evident in the surprise appearance of Wonder Woman, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot.

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The chemistry between Batman and Wonder Woman is sexually charged, and on screen the duo look impressive. Affleck’s Batman is a brooding, aging wealthy playboy who is hellbent on seeking revenge for the destruction of a Wayne Enterprises skyscraper by alien invaders from Krypton. Blame Superman!

Whilst Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S. Goyer’s script is not particularly dazzling, the visual effects in Batman v Superman are brilliant, as well as the tone of the film, which Snyder keeps alternating between light bright colours for Superman and dark, cavernous greys for Batman. It also helps that Affleck himself has greying sideburns which realistically makes Batman look older than Cavill’s boyish Superman.

Women in Batman v Superman also have a major role, although clearly the film itself is marketed for a primarily male audience. Lois Lane is feisty and believable, Wonder Woman looks absolutely gorgeous in evening wear and even appears as a suitable femme fatale for Bruce Wayne during a glamourous Lex Luther cocktail event. Even Diane Lane as Clark Kent’s mother Martha gets caught up in the raucous and very loud action sequence.

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It’s really Jesse Eisenberg’s superb and surprising turn as the deranged megalomaniac Lex Luther, a psychotic billionaire tech guru who thinks nothing of killing innocent people during a public gathering or messing with extra-terrestrial DNA from General Zod.

Fans of Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy will certainly appreciate the iconic face-off between Batman v Superman, but be warned the tone of this film is far darker than your average bright and garish superhero caper.

Recommended viewing for all Zach Snyder fans and those that wish to be regular attendees at Comic-Con. This is serious comic book warfare.

 

 

 

 

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