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Tag Archive: IMAX


Review by C.J. Bunce

Amazing?  Definitely.  Spectacular?  Absolutely.  Tom Holland, who stole the show in the key battle of last year’s Captain America: Civil War, has provided the definitive, and yes, the ultimate Spider-man performance in this weekend’s latest Marvel masterwork, Spider-man: Homecoming.  And Holland is equally good, if not better, without the suit as angst-ridden, overburdened teenager and Spider-man alter ego, Peter Parker.  Kids of all ages who ever envisioned the ultimate battle between Spider-man and Batman get their satisfaction here, too: Michael Keaton, in one of his best performances in decades, creates out of an obscure character one of the best supervillain performances to hit the big screen, complete with high-tech bat wings and the classic Keaton we all love to watch.

Moviegoers have seen good efforts from Marvel creating the comic book empire’s flagship, web-slinging superhero before, with Tobey Maguire in three Spider-man solo films and Andrew Garfield in two follow-up Amazing Spider-man films, but this latest story supplies what was missing from the other five: an authentic, likeable, smart, voice-breaking do-gooder and a classic coming of age story with heart.  But it doesn’t skimp on the action, and thanks to some well-filmed 3D and magical IMAX cinematography, one key scene that takes place high atop the Washington Monument made this viewer practically step backward out of his seat into the back row.  Just breathtaking filmmaking.

If you keep a list of superhero movie requirements in the back of your mind, you’ll find that Spider-man: Homecoming fulfills or surpasses them all.  A story with a solid character arc for its lead and antagonist.  A big relief for filmgoers who go to every new superhero movie: writer/director Jon Watts and five other writers (a fact that alone would normally spell certain doom for a film, but not here) knew enough to steer clear of another superhero origin story and instead delved right in.  They flesh out Parker’s relationship with his like-minded, knowledge bowl peers at school and provide more than one jawdropper along the way.  In Keaton’s villain they provide an exceptional, compelling villain, something lacking in the past several years of superhero movies.  Holland sports an update to the Spidey supersuit, and Louise Frogley’s latest costume design is superb, complete with believable, readily available tech supplied in-story by mentor Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark aka Iron Man in his latest perfect adaptation of the role from the comics.  And Michael Giacchino’s powerful and emotional score is among his best, complete with plenty of clever and unexpected themes that amplify the story at the right time.  If you think Peter Parker is a throwaway character, prepare for some emotional work by Holland, especially at his character’s lowest point in the story.

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The Eternals.  The Defenders.  The Champions.  Alpha Flight.  The Invaders.  The Marauders.  Power Pack.  The Sinister Six.  The Elementals.  X-Force.  Squadron Supreme.  Guardians of the Galaxy.  Cloak and Dagger.  Power Man and Iron Fist.  Marvel has had plenty of team-ups over the years besides The Avengers and The X-Men.  But unless you read every issue of every Marvel monthly you may have missed some of the more obscure groups of superheroes.  Which may explain how audiences have been in favor of familiar characters as they hit the big or small screen in movies for The Avengers or The X-Men, or even Daredevil.  But Marvel has had a tougher time maneuvering the TV waters for its superheroes than DC Entertainment.  One of the reasons for DC’s success may very well be the fact that its Justice League of America has for so long been the flagship title for the publisher and it incorporated so many supporting superheroes into its stories over the decades that even the general public can name several.  So more of general audiences have heard of and accepted Green Arrow and Black Canary, The Flash, The Atom, and Supergirl when they emerged in our living rooms over the past five years.  As for Marvel, unlike Marvel’s Luke Cage–Netflix’s excellent and loyal update to the classic comic book series–Marvel’s Iron Fist hasn’t garnered similar acclaim.  Why?  Because of the story?  The production values?  The character?  The marketing?  Marvel’s Luke Cage demonstrates an obscure superhero can succeed if it brings to audiences a compelling story, talented actors, and high production quality.  Which brings us to the next new TV series from Marvel, Marvel’s Inhumans.

Marvel’s Inhumans is coming later this summer to ABC, from showrunner Scott Buck, the same creator that brought Marvel’s Iron Fist to Netflix.  Most people haven’t heard of the Inhumans, and even long-time Marvel readers may not be familiar with the characters in the Royal Family of the Inhumans, including Medusa, Maximus, Karnak, Gorgon, Crystal, Triton, and Auran.  So it makes sense that audiences witnessing the team for the first time don’t have enough to be excited about–yet.  As for its general appearance Marvel’s Inhumans arguably looks like Marvel’s Iron Fist, but it also looks like Marvel’s Legion, a somewhat overlooked yet well-received X-Men series hidden in the 500-channel cable line-up on the FX Network earlier this year.  So how will Marvel’s Inhumans fare?

   

The greatest challenge is one of story and character development.  Black Bolt is now the King of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, who were superhumans descended from humans experimented on by the Kree in Marvel lore.  Played in the new series by actor Anson Mount, Black Bolt doesn’t speak, or else he might bring forth a powerful shockwave that could level a city.  So a difficulty of the first trailer released for the series is conveying that fact, while showing plenty of scenes with the actor who will be the male lead of the series.  In the first show trailer we get a bunch of silent expressions by Mount just as his irritated (irritating?) brother Maximus (played by Iwan Rheon) does most of the talking.  How long can an eight-episode series run with the lead keeping his mouth shut?  It’s also difficult to immediately have any empathy toward royalty of any variety, especially those looking so formal and shown with a certain level of arrogance.  Another current series, BBC’s Class, has had trouble gaining traction with viewers, and it also follows a lead male who is an alien royal who is troubled and arrogant.

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Finn lightsaber

When it comes to Star Wars, the red carpet rolls out.  For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that means every IMAX theater in the country–including those tied to museums, will pull their other films to make room for the next episode.  So for at least four weeks beginning December 18, 2015, Star Wars have all the North American IMAX screens and most of the foreign screens all to itself, about 400 U.S. and 400 other screens worldwide.  Only The Hobbit trilogy films had a similar exclusivity arrangement.

Abrams has said one sequence was filmed with IMAX cameras, so don’t expect Episode VII to be entirely in full IMAX mode.  Luckily, if you’re among the three people out there who aren’t Star Wars fans, the IMAX exclusive shouldn’t impact other genre films of the season–SPECTRE, the next James Bond flick, will likely have completed its run in theaters by then.

New SW teaser with Daisy - Rey and BB-8

We also have a quick clip that was released via Instagram today showing a surprising image–John Bodega’s Finn, revealed in earlier trailers as a Stormtrooper who wrecks his TIE Fighter, is wielding a lightsaber in the same dark and blue lit location as Adam Driver’s Darth Vader-inspired Kylo Renn–the villain with the unique hilted-blade saber.

Don’t blink–or you may miss this brief clip, also featuring a new shot of Daisy Ridley’s Rey and the nifty new non-CGI droid BB-8.  Here’s the clip:

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Everest movie poster

The more I see of Universal’s latest disaster movie, the more I think this one could be next year’s biggest Oscar nominee.  Next month’s IMAX release Everest looks even better in this new trailer released a few hours ago, better even than the first great preview.  If you’ve read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air or any of the other accounts of the 1996 Everest disaster, no longer the biggest disaster in the history of the mountain, then you can’t help but cringe as each character that doesn’t make it off the mountain utter their lines.

If you know nothing about it, be prepared for a gut-twisting story that will leave you breathless–if director Baltasar Kormákur and writers William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy can reflect the reality here that in this case, is greater than fiction.

One think to note about this preview is how cocky Jake Gyllenhaal appears.  He plays Scott Fischer, and Fischer, as well as the other guides who hiked that mountain multiple times were as cocky as anyone you can imagine–if the accounts of their lives match what we’ve read.  The bottom line?  The 1996 Everest was so harrowing and full of incredible stories that it’s going to be very difficult to screw up.

With an all-star cast including Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, and Robin Wright, and an IMAX production that looks so pristine and real, we’re in for something big.

Here’s the new trailer for Everest:

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wizard-of-oz-shot

Warner Bros. has announced a grand celebration to honor the 75th anniversary of the greatest fantasy film of all time, The Wizard of Oz.  Imax has remastered the original 1939 film and created a 3D version that will be released for one week, September 20-26, 2013, in North America, and a stunningly loaded collector’s edition box set will follow October 1.  MGM premiered the film at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1939, and re-released the film in 1949 and 1955, before beginning its TV run on CBS in 1956–Turner Classic Movies will be hosting a re-release event at the same theater this month.

Warner Bros. marketing disclosed that even 75 years later, statistically 100% of all Americans have heard of The Wizard of Oz and 80% of children.  Warner Bros. will have a hot air balloon and giant balloon characters featured in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  A themed competition will also be featured on an upcoming episode of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars to be aired later this year.

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IMAX 1201 banner

At the 12:01 a.m. IMAX premiere screening of Marvel’s Iron Man 3, on May 3, 2013, IMAX will be giving away limited edition Mondo Iron Man 3 prints.  The artwork, created by Detective Comics and Green Arrow: Year One comic book artist Jock, is a collaboration between Marvel Studios, IMAX, and Mondo, the Austin, Texas-based limited edition poster company.  According to Walt Disney Studios, owner of the Marvel properties, the Iron Man 3 print will be the last entry in the IMAX 12:01 poster series–a series that began in 2012 with alternate poster concepts to promote the films.  No idea what a Mondo poster is?  They are only released in limited editions and tend to sell out fast, and are created by a myriad of artists.  Here is the Iron Man 3 poster to be given away in this last IMAX 12:01 giveaway:

Iron Man 3 1201 print

Prior IMAX 12:01 posters have been created for Oz: The Great and Powerful, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Real Steel, John Carter of Mars, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Amazing Spider-man, The Avengers, Frankenweenie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Prometheus.  One of the best of these fantasy/sci-fi throwback designs was created for Oblivion:

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