‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Trailer: The God of Thunder visits Planet Hulk

First day of the work week got you down? Do not fret, true believer, as a trailer for Thor: Ragnarok has just made its way online.

Who said Mondays had to suck?

At a brief 1 minute and 53 seconds, the trailer for the third Thor film wisely chooses not get bogged down in exposition. Instead, we are treated to a flurry of images which provides you a sense of the size and scope this film will have. It also gives us a peek at what kind of tone director Taika Waititi is aiming for.

While the dialogue is sparse, what little is given tells us things aren’t going too well for the Mighty Avenger.

Click below to see the trailer and see the return of Thor, Loki and the Incredible Hulk.

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This year’s Independent Film Festival Boston lineup announced

Spring time has arrived and for many film fans that means we’re mere weeks away from the start of the summer blockbuster season.

There will be animated movies! Superheroes! Remakes! Superhero remakes!

However, if you’re a cinephile who prefers their movies to be wrought with drama, grounded in realism and worthy of Oscar gold, the slate of upcoming summer movies may leave you feeling a bit dead inside.

Well thanks to the fine folks at The Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston) – who are celebrating their 15th anniversary – those of us who prefer their films to be on the more highbrow and artistic side will have a plethora of healthy options to binge upon before being faced with nothing but months of popcorn flicks.

IFFBoston has just announced this year’s lineup and yet again it’s an eclectic mix of narrative and documentary features and narrative and documentary shorts. Several of these films have screened at Sundance and other festivals but, being that it’s IFFBoston, many of the the movies debuting were made by New England filmmakers.

Past films to have appeared at IFFBoston include Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Jackie and The VVitch.

The 2017 edition of IFFBoston will take place between April 26 through May 3 at four different venues in Boston – the Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Somerville Theatre, the Brattle theatre and University of Massachusetts, Boston. 

The festival’s opening night film will be the documentary Stumped. Directed by Robin Berhaus, Stumped follows William Lautzenheiser, a Boston-area teacher who had all four of his limbs removed after contracting a vicious bacterial infection. Berhaus’ camera captured Lautzheiser’s entry into the stand-up comedy world as a form of therapy as well as undergoing a rare transplantation surgery at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Stumped will screen at the Somerville on April 26. 

Closing IFFBoston will be Band Aid which is the directorial-debut of Zoe Lister-Jones. The indie comedy stars Lister-Jones and actor Adam Pally as a married couple who create a band to work through their issues with one another. Band Aid will screen at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on May 3.

For the complete list of films, showtimes and locations, check out the IFFBoston website.

 

 

‘Ghost in the Shell’ Review: Controversy and mediocrity haunt this hollow anime adapation

All style and no substance, Hollywood’s superfluous remake of a cerebral anime classic fails to quell valid concerns of whitewashing.

Created in 1989 by writer/artist Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell was a popular cyberpunk manga which has spawned countless media adaptations, ranging from video games, animated television series and feature-length films. Though the different incarnations of the Ghost in the Shell property have varied in tone and story, one constant has always remained – protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi. Deadly as she is beautiful, this Japanese cyborg law enforcement agent who commands a counter cyberterrorism task force was ripe with big-budgeted Hollywood potential.

Well, in theory at least.

A live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell certainly had all the makings of being a critical and commercial success – myriad action sequences, timely philosophical themes, a visually arresting setting and a compelling ass-kicking female leading character. Instead, the 2017 Rupert Sander’s directed Ghost in the Shell serves as a sad – albeit pretty to look at – reminder of Hollywood’s disgraceful tradition of marginalizing Asians and Asian-Americans.

(Warning: Spoilers below)

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‘Power Rangers’ Review: A surprisingly mighty morphing reboot that finds its power in diversity

The 90’s reboot no one wanted is an unexpected near triumph where diverse characters with heart overshadow big robots and bland action. 

At about an hour into viewing Power Rangersthe Dean Israelite-directed reboot of the 90’s children’s show of the same name, the realization that the film is not the heartless cash grab you braced yourself for begins to sink in. 

It’s true. At the halfway mark of Power Rangers, only one of the film’s five superheroes has even donned a cool, colorful costume and it’s only for the briefest of moments. Instead, the five teenagers with attitude sit around a campfire, unsure how to reconcile their differences while being thrust into a team together. Battered and bruised from failing in their warrior training, the rangers put aside their frustrations and begin to open up to one another emotionally, discovering about each other what we the audience have known all along – they are hurt and lonely.

They need friendship.

They also really need their mighty morphing powers, as an evil blast from the past named Rita Repulsa (played by Elizabeth Banks) has awoken with Earth-destroying intentions.

(Warning: Spoilers below)

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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Trailer: It’s complicated being a high school hero

There are very few givens in life – though death, taxes and superhero movies come to mind. 

To be honest, I’d rather feel the cold, dark embrace of the Grim Reaper himself or be audited by the IRS than subject myself to director Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League movie.

However, I take comfort in the fact Marvel Studios and Disney are, as per tradition, gearing up to dominate domestic and international box offices when when they release three – count ‘em, three – films this year. While never Oscar worthy, Marvel Studios’ movies are consistently high quality and always provide a good time at the theater.

First up, and right around the corner, will be the highly-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which opens in the U.S. on May 5. And on Nov. 3, the God of Thunder himself will be returning to the big screen in Thor: Ragnarok.

Sandwiched in between both films, and landing smack dab in the middle of the summer blockbuster season, is everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood wall-crawler who will star in his first feature-length Marvel Studios’ film – Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Check out the trailer and find out what Spidey, Iron Man and Michael Keaton’s sinister Vulture are up to after the break.

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‘Colossal’ Trailer: Anne Hathaway destroys a city with quirky kaiju charm

Photo courtesy of TIFF

Have you ever wondered what an indie comedy starring Anne Hathaway would be like if it co-starred a giant city-wrecking kaiju?

No?

Well, director/screenwriter Nacho Vigalondo did, so he created the film Colossal.

Vigalondo’s latest work follows the exploits of 30-something-year-old Gloria (played by the aforementioned Hathaway) as she tries to rebuild her life after finding herself out of a boyfriend and home due to her hard-partying ways. Gloria’s attempt at a new start finds her returning to her hometown where she reconnects with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis).

While that may sound like the premise to countless run-of-the-mill indie comedies, that’s where the similarities stop.

You see, there is also the issue of the massive kaiju monster who has just destroyed much of Seoul, South Korea during a late-night rampage.

As the latest trailer to Colossal shows, Gloria and the gruesome giant are somehow connected.

Check the trailer after the break.

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‘Deadpool’ Review: Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth stars in middling superhero comedy

After having accumulated an unsuspected and mind-blowing worldwide box office total of over $300 million in five days, nearly everyone has seen the latest and arguably most divisive superhero film to date – Deadpool.

If you are one of the few who have yet to see the film – get outside your cave and catch some sun, you agoraphobe – you have undoubtedly been told all about it. That the film is either the greatest superhero movie of all time or that it is among the most – if not the most – obnoxious comic book motion pictures of all time.

Well, since I care deeply about you and the hard-earned money you plunk down at your local cineplex, let’s get down to brass tacks – Deadpool lies somewhere in the middle of those wildly opposing views.

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Takashi Miike to be honored with 2014 Maverick Director Award at Rome Film Festival

miike

Prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike will be the recipient of the 2014 Maverick Director Award at the upcoming Rome Film Festival, event organizers announced today.

The Maverick Director Award, the festival’s website states, “is dedicated to filmmakers who have contributed to the invention of a new, original, and unconventional cinema.”

Miike was already schedule to appear at the festival, which runs from Oct. 16-25 in Rome, Italy, to world-premiere his latest film, As the Gods Will.

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‘Killers’ invade: Indonesian-Japanese co-produced film added to Japan CUTS 2014 lineup

Already diverse and eclectic, the 2014 Japan CUTS film festival in New York City (which begins July 10th through the 20th) has recently added the psychological-thriller Killers to its lineup.

Co-produced by Japanese film studio Nikkatsu and the Indonesian Guerilla Merah-Films, Killers follows the exploits of a Japanese serial killer named Nomura (played by Kazuki Kitamura) who uploads footage of his tortures and murders onto the internet. Nomura’s snuff films fascinate an Indonesian journalist named Bayu (played by Oka Antara), who in turn begins to kill and upload his murderous acts onto the internet as well. Nomura soon becomes aware of Bayu’s work, leading to a dark and twisted confrontation between both men.

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‘Obvious Child’ Review: Raunch meets romance in this progressive abortion comedy

Rating: R

Length: 84 minutes

Director: Gillian Robespierre

Stars:

Donna – Jenny Slate

Jake Lacy – Max

Gabby Hoffman – Nellie

For a movie that is so clearly progressive in its premise, Obvious Child is also earnestly nostalgic for the good old days when love at first sight was something to be cherished and believed in. Obvious Child is a film that adeptly maneuvers itself through the controversial issue of abortion. It does so while existing within the stifling confines of a tired genre that is rife with cliches – the dreaded Rom-Com.

Undoubtedly, many Americans may find the premise to Obvious Child audacious and hard to swallow, as it is a comedy centered around a twenty-something female standup comic named Donna Stern (former Saturday Night Live member Jenny Slate) who discovers she is pregnant after a drunken, one night only sexual tryst with a young man named Max (Jack Lacy). Upon discovering her pregnancy, Donna, without any reservations, plans to terminate her pregnancy with an abortion.

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