Tag Archive: Tom Holland


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you have any doubt young actress Iman Vellani was destined to be the next Marvel Comics superheroine, just watch her in the first episode of new series Ms. Marvel, and watch the short background feature that follows (A Fan’s Guide to Ms. Marvel).  Her character is similar to Hailee Steinfeld’s Hawkeye, who we only met last year in her new series.  Both grew up admiring Avengers in a world where Thanos ruined five years for so many, and both take actions to become those superheroes.  Both actresses have created characters with a respect for their family, culture, and upbringing, but both want to be themselves, too.  Vellani’s character, a 16-year-old named Kamala Khan, faces the same teen angst issues of most American teens, and her choice is to distract herself with other things.  Primarily that’s marveling at Carol Danvers’s Captain Marvel, who she admires from afar (actor Brie Larson is not expected in this series, but both will appear together in the forthcoming Captain Marvel movie The Marvels).  This coming of age story has much going for it in only its first 47-minute opening episode, premiering this week on Disney+.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Spider-Man: No Way Home is coming to DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K in two weeks, arriving April 12, and now available on “Early Access” Vudu, Movies Anywhere, and Prime Video.  The movie trailers last year already revealed the return of the best of the Spidey villains (including arguably the best of all Marvel Comics villains) with the incorporation of earlier Spider-Man movies’ Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin, Alfred Molina as Doctor Otto Octavius, Thomas Haden Church as Sandman, Jamie Foxx as Electro, and Rhys Ifans as Lizard.  But there are plenty more reasons to get this movie for home viewing–it’s available for pre-order on physical media now here at Amazon.

So for those who haven’t seen it yet (it didn’t approach the Avengers: Endgame box office so we know they’re out there), is it worth seeing, and how about the special features on digital, Blu-ray, and 4K?

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This summer Marvel Studios adds their next superhero from the youth set to its pantheon of superheroes, on the heels of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Florence Pugh’s new Black Widow, and Hailee Steinfeld’s new Hawkeye.  Iman Vellani stars in Ms. Marvel, a series which looks a lot like Marvel’s answer to DC Comics’ lighthearted, coming of age superheroine series, Stargirl.  Just as there have been different versions of Captain Marvel over the past 80 years in comic books, there have been multiple Ms. Marvels.  This iteration hails from comics stories from only the past decade.  Just as Steinfeld’s character first admired and was inspired to be a super from first seeing the older Hawkeye when she was young, Vellani’s character has a similar backstory with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel.

Check out this trailer, and some earlier videos you may have missed, for Ms. Marvel:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

As with the first three books in Abrams’ Cinemagic book series, The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man blends filmmaking techniques with its key franchise star.  Author Eleni Roussos combines a quickstart education in filmmaking, applied to Spider-Man’s MCU movies as the latest Spidey sequel, Spider-Man: No Way Home, is released internationally.  If you love concept art, props and costumes, and all things Spider-Man, you won’t want to miss this.

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Just as Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has been a great relief to fans of the character after so many years of just not getting it right, moving upward to replace Tony Stark as leader of the new Avengers, Sony Pictures seems to be bringing it all crashing back down to earth.  Earth of the past.  Or that’s how it looks in the latest trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, with the full pantheon of villains–ghosts of Spider-Men past–make their way into the Multiverse of Madness, revealing the true leader of the Avengers is probably Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.

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Zendaya Holland sp 3

With an MCU Phase IV release schedule in chaos, and nothing but peeks and false starts last year, Marvel fans are more than ready for the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which officially arrived late yesterday after an apparent leak earlier in the day.  It was originally scheduled to premiere in theaters last month.  We won’t know until December if we’ll see the movie this year, but at least it confirms its set-up for the second Doctor Strange movie, Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, and will lay the grounds for the possibility of a host of cameos, which could include characters from the animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  Spider-Man has been Marvel’s #1 superhero for nearly 60 years because he’s a great character teens and adults can relate to, and because Spidey fights some of the best villains in all of comics.  As expected Alfred Molina will reprise his character Doc Ock from Sony’s 2004 movie Spider-Man 2, as will Jamie Foxx as Electro, last seen in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  These leave open the likelihood of at least cameos from former Spidey actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.  But the best addition may be the return of Willem Dafoe as one of Marvel Comics’ best villains, Green Goblin, last seen in Spider-Man 3.  Wouldn’t it be great to fit in a cameo of Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, or even the first live-action Miles Morales?

Strange

What will be the sixth appearance Tom Holland as Spider-Man (since this takes place right after his fifth appearance in (Spider-Man: Far From Home) looks like it has the potential of being as fun as his past appearances, more Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, more Jon Favreau as Happy, Zendaya as MJ, and the rest of Peter’s school friends returning.  Plus Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Benedict Wong as Wong.  And music again by composer Michael Giacchino.

sp 3 pic

Take a look at the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home:

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Woody venom

There’s something quite deja vu about the origin story for the villain in the 2021 sequel to Marvel Studio’s 2018 surprise hit Venom Woody Harrelson joins Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams in the second trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage.  In this next trailer (check out the first one here if you missed it), it’s all about Harrelson’s new villain Cletus Kasady, and how he becomes the Venom (literally) spun-off baddie comic book readers know as Carnage.  Yep, the entire sequence is in the trailer, so if you don’t want spoilers you may want to skip this one.  The new trailer is below.  While you’re waiting for its arrival in theaters (which seems every day like it’s going to get delayed), check out the book The Philosophy of Venom, the novel Venom: Lethal Protector, or the giant Venom Factor Omnibus.

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Carnage poster

Before Tom Hardy starred in the surprise Sony Pictures Entertainment success Venom, most of the movie-going audience didn’t know Eddie Brock.  But after Marvel Studios kept delivering very similar takes on its 50-70 years of superheroes, anti-heroes, and villains, the 2018 movie (reviewed here) was a refreshing surprise, which stands up to re-watching much better than many contemporary Marvel movies.  Why?  It didn’t take itself seriously, and it featured Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams–two actors with plenty of critical acclaim behind them.  They infused a great chemistry into their characters’ relationship and made the darker side of Marvel great fun for all ages.  Now, will the addition of Woody Harrelson’s golden touch make the autumn theatrical release Venom: Let There Be Carnage another blast for genre fans like he brought to Solo: A Star Wars Story?  It sure looks like it.  Check out the first trailer for the movie below and see if you agree.  It was shared this week by Sony along with the official poster (above).

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Happy holidays!

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look forward at what movies should be on your radar for 2021!  But wait!  Next year’s list sure looks a lot like the the films we previewed last December.  The covid pandemic has delayed hundreds of film projects, but some made it through.  When you walk back through last year’s list and compare it to movies released after theater lockdowns, you get some insight into how Hollywood thinks.  Big movies and movies predicted to be successes were universally held back, while less popular films were released to low box office returns from theaters that remained open, and yet other films went directly to home streaming or related media platforms.

Last year we pulled 85 of the hundreds of films then slated for the 2020 movie calendar.  The first two dozen made it to theaters (films like Underwater, Dolittle, and Birds of Prey) before the national shift began on March 11 with news of the NBA reacting to the pandemic by suspending pro basketball–the first national awareness of the scope of the problem.  Suddenly we saw Vudu and other home platforms coming to the rescue for our entertainment fix, adding a new Theater at Home option, which captured movies like Anya Taylor-Joy’s Emma, Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot, and the animated Scoob!  Disney began an interesting tiered release of Mulan, which for half the year showed a studio doing its best to maximize returns on what would have been a key release in any other year.  After another delay The New Mutants made it briefly to theaters followed by home release after three years of getting kicked aside as the last vestiges of the Disney-Fox merger were shaken out.  Other films, like Vast of Night, Extraction, The Old Guard, Rebecca, Radioactive, and Fantasy Island safely premiered on Netflix and Amazon Prime, with Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction standing out as the clear popular winner–the entire world needed some new entertainment and after what would only be the first of several months of shelter-at-home, it tentatively filled the void.

So our predictions for the year’s big genre films were flat wrong, every single one except Mulan was delayed to 2021, including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Black Widow, No Time to Die, a new Fast & Furious, Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, and superhero flicks Venom 2, Eternals, and MorbiusWonder Woman 1984 is expected to have a theatrical release by year end.  Altogether 35 of last year’s 85 movies previewed on our annual list are back again below, plus we found more than 35 new genre films we think will appeal to borg readers.

So what’s left and what’s new?

Grab your calendar and start making your plans–here are the movies you’ll want to see in 2021.  Then compare the below list to our 2020 list, and look back to the 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list, 2016 list, 2015 list, or 2014 list.  Last year we noticed studios moving genre content from the big screen to the small screen via streaming services, and the pandemic only stepped up that migration.  Note:  Warner Bros. has reported it will issue its 2021 releases simultaneously on HBO Max.  Netflix has mostly dramas slated for 2021, but a few genre films are in pre-production, so expect a few surprises throughout the year.  Amazon Studios has fewer, most partnerships with Blumhouse Productions.

As we learned well this year, many of these films will have revised release dates, and even get pushed to 2022.

January

Mortal Kombat Based on the video game.  New!  Tentative release date: January 15, 2021.  HBO Max.

Wrath of Man Next Jason Statham action flick.  New!  Tentative release date: January 15, 2021.

The French Dispatch.  Wes Anderson and his familiar actors in new quirky film about journalists.  New!  January 28, 2021.

The DigA film about a woman finding archaeological treasures on her land, starring Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, and Carey Mulligan.  January 29, 2021.  Netflix.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Thirty years after Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home forever put a stake in the ground that whaling is a bad thing, you wouldn’t think a true-life whaling story would fare well, especially in movie theaters.  And you’d be right–director Ron Howard′s In the Heart of the Sea unfortunately lost more money than it cost to make.  And yet Howard’s deft direction combines some of genredom’s top stars with a solid script in a worthy interpretation of Herman Melville’s inspiration for Moby Dick apt to provide any audience with something to cheer about.  Far and Away meets Apollo 13, sea disaster and cannibalism in this 2015 release, a prime survival story now streaming on multiple platforms.

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