It has been a hot minute since I’ve posted on this blubbering mess of a baby I oh so adore. Some quick life updates, after writing for sites like CRAVEOnline and ComingSoon, I decided to take a break from the writing world as some personal issues arose that I couldn’t ignore. I sporadically wrote here and there as an outlet for whenever I needed some stress relieving and if you’ve been following me on Twitter (particularly for the last few months), I’ve been engulfed in the #RenewEverythingSucks campaign that stemmed from Netflix’s premature cancellation of one of its best original shows…
After being fortunate enough to have the time off I needed, I decided it was time to possibly look into gradually becoming an adult at 20-something years old. I’ve recently entered the working world, being hired at my local DMV and damn it, do I love interacting with people who are superbly stressed out on a consistent basis.
During my training process which was in a city two+ hours away from me – commuting is an ugly bitch and I sympathize entirely with those that have no other choice but to do it on a daily basis – I needed some form of solace to sink my tired woes into when I’d arrive home dead tired.
All Hail The Earps
I ultimately found out about a show called Wynonna Earpthat ticked off every possible box I needed to bring me out of my slump in the form of a sarcastically witty female-led series who sends demonic spirits back to the underworld complete with compelling characters all set in a glorious Canadian backdrop. This thing was basically made for me.
After devouring the first two seasons, I was utterly psyched for its third season. While perusing its subreddit, I came across a thread asking for anyone interested in writing recaps for it for a website dedicated to Canadian film & TV productions called The Mutt. It had been a little while since I had written any long-form pieces, however I knew that Wynonna Earpwas a series I wanted to jot my thoughts down on and send off into the wide world of the interwebs. I expressed my interest in potentially joining their team and after talking to their fantastical editor, I was welcomed aboard to write recaps for Season 3 starting with Episode 4, “No Cure For Crazy.”
So this is basically a long-winded way of me saying hello again! If you’re at all interested in reading what I’m working on, check out my recaps for the series over on TheMutt.ca! I try to come up with clever headers and like to think I could potentially make you chuckle with my words… No promises though.. However if I do make you laugh, please clap let me know.
If not, you can always send me a telepathic message, I will definitely receive those.
Steven Spielberg’s latest movie Ready Player One is based on the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline. It follows the story of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) as he searches for a virtual reality treasure that would grant him a fortune. It seems to have been well-received by viewers, judging by Variety’srecent report of Ready Player One having earned more than $500 million around the globe. The film also stars Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance and is directed by the God of the Movies, Steven Spielberg.
My Thoughts On The Characters And Story
The world is on the brink of chaos, and many of Earth’s cities have turned into massive slums. To escape this reality, people have found salvation in the virtual universe known as the Oasis. It was developed by James Halliday (Mark Rylance) as a place where people can be anything, and where the only limits are their imagination.
On his death day, the creator announced the existence of an Easter egg hidden somewhere in the vastness of the virtual world he created. The player who finds it will be rewarded with full ownership and control of the Oasis. The worldwide contest comprises of three challenges, which reveal more clues to the egg’s location. Since Halliday was a big 1980s geek, many aspects of the quests allude to the era. Wade Watts, who spent years searching for the egg, has just won the first challenge, and it’s this moment that sets the film in motion.
For those that haven’t seen it yet, Ready Player One is filled to the brim with pop culture references. In fact, these references are the movie’s main attraction; everything else just feels secondary. If you’re a fan of any of the major films or video games from the ’80s, you’ll definitely enjoy Spielberg’s newest release.
But that’s also where the movie’s weakness lies. If you take away these pop culture figures and replace them with original characters, Ready Player Oneis not as memorable. You have to wonder if they’re just there to distract viewers from the glaring weaknesses of the film, including a rushed storyline and a generic young male protagonist.
Sheridan is a good actor, and has embodied the role well. But the film doesn’t provide the viewer any other interesting sides of the character aside from the fact that he’s an awkward geek who occasionally rebels. To be fair though, that’s exactly how the source material’s character was written, too. Ernest Cline admitted that Wade Watts is an embodiment of himself as a teenager whose brain is filled with ’80s pop culture trivia.
Sheridan shares the screen with his female lead, Olivia Cooke, who plays Samantha Cook. Prior to her role in Ready Player One, she appeared in one of my favourite A&E shows, Bates Moteland horror flick Ouija. Considering the two leads are somewhat newbies, they gave decent performances. It’s just too bad their romance isn’t believable. Let’s just say the film did not take the time to develop it further.
Ready Player One is essentially about these characters moving from one challenge to the next. The villain takes the form of a whole corporation called the IOI, which wants the egg in order to monetize the Oasis. If anything, the film could have further explored the consequences of a world succumbing to virtual reality to have more substance, but it wastes no time on heavy themes. At its heart, Ready Player Oneis a simple fun movie that celebrates a specific era. And for many, that works! Of course, if you’re searching for something more, prepare to be disappointed.
How were the Other Aspects of Ready Player One?
A film that banks on nostalgia should feature a killer soundtrack, and thankfully, Ready Player Oneobliges. Songs from the likes of Prince, Tears for Fears, and Bruce Springsteen blast through the film’s sequences.
It’s also a visual treat, as it indulges in a variety of graphics that pay tribute to particular franchises, including The Shining and Back to the Future. Sometimes, it can get flashy and other times, it can become scary. The bottom line is that there’s no dull moment on screen.
If you’re looking for a film that lets you geek on out ’80s pop culture, be sure to check out Ready Player One.
Ready Player One receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.
featured image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Were you a fan of the film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying and relishing in the glory that is a popular superhero flick, another installment of a franchise or a remake of a classic. Now of course, while these kinds of films will certainly always be around, there are those that may prefer watching a good Non-Quel flick on a weekend.
“Non-Quel” meaning movies that aren’t sequels, remakes/reboots or new additions to the superhero/comic book genre… Not that there’s anything wrong them. One may also refer to them as being “original movies” but I like using “Non-Quel” because… It just sounds nicer to me. YMMV.
The summer season looks to be jam-frogging-packed starting the month of (it’s gonna be) May to the conclusion of my birthday month in August. With films like Avengers: Infinity War (releasing the tail end of April), Solo: A Star Wars Story, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man And The Wasp etc. set to most likely dominate the box office, I thought it prudent to list some of the Non-Quel flicks I’m most looking forward to.
Check the list out and let me know if you too can’t wait to delve into Armie Hammer‘s mysteriousness in the upcoming Sorry To Bother You.
1. Tully– May 4th
Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston.
Directed by: Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air, Young Adult).
So is there any role that Charlize Theron can’t execute phenomenally?
Jason Reitman re-teams with his Juno writer Diablo Cody for the upcoming dramedy Tully starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron. The film follows the friendship between Marlo (Theron), a mother of three, and her babysitter Tully as portrayed by Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049). Filming began back in September 2016 and Theron reportedly gained nearly 50 pounds for the role within a 3 and a half month period, eating round the clock in order to keep the weight on.
The film currently has an impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, with 14 Fresh reviews out of 15 and an average rating of 8.1/10.
See The Trailer Below:
2. Breaking In – May 11th
Starring: Gabrielle Union, James Lopez, Craig Perry and Sheila Hanahan Taylor.
Directed by: James McTeigue (V For Vendetta, The Raven).
Gabrielle Union seemingly does not take kindly to individuals who terrorize her and her family.
Union portrays Shaun Russell, a mother of two who takes her children on a weekend getaway to her late father’s secluded, high-tech estate in the countryside in order to settle his estate. She soon finds herself in a desperate fight to save all of their lives when four men break into the house who are intent on stealing the deceased’s goods.
V For Vendetta helmer James McTeigue directs the thriller while Union tackles both starring and producing duties. Will Packer is also a producer on the film which marks the fourth time Union and Packer have collaborated on a project – Their other films include 2012’s Think Like A Man and its 2014 sequel along with 2016’s Almost Christmas.
At this point I’m convinced Sam Claflin’s agent exclusively seeks roles where their client portrays the “devoted partner who must be taken care of by his equally devoted partner.”
Based on the true story of two avid sailors who set out on a journey across the ocean in 1983, the film follows the gorgeous coupling of Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) as they end up sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. “In the aftermath of the storm, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and their boat in ruins, and must find the strength and determination to save herself and the only man she has ever loved.”
Miles Teller was originally in talks to star as Richard, however he ended up dropping out due to scheduling conflicts which led the way to Claflin nabbing the role. If you’re keeping track, had Teller portrayed Richard it would’ve marked the fifth time he and Woodley appeared together on-screen as they previously starred in 2013’s The Spectacular Now and the Detergent trilogy.
4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?– June 8th
If you managed to get through the trailer without turning into a pile of literal mush, I salute you.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is an upcoming documentary from Academy Award winning director Morgan Neville(The Cool School, 20 Feet From Stardom, Best OfEnemies). The film takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mr. Fred Rogers. “A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.”
The doc currently boasts a whopping 96% on RT, with 22/23 Fresh ratings and an average score of 8.8/10. If you’re planning on watching this in theatres, prepare to hold the person sitting next to you tenderly as you softly caress their head while whispering “won’t you be my neighbor?” under a fog of snot mixed with tears.
5. Hotel Artemis
Starring: Jodie Foster, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Sterling K. Brown, Jenny Slate, Charlie Day and Zachary Quinto.
Directed by: Drew Pearce.
Academy Award winner Jodie Foster stars as a nurse who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals… Aaaand I’ve already bought my tickets.
Hotel Artemis is the directorial debut of Drew Pearce who previously co-wrote the screenplay alongside director Shane Black for 2013’s Iron Man 3 as well as writing the story for everyone’s favourite Mission: Impossible installment, 2015’s Rogue Nation. While the upcoming action thriller boasts an impressive ensemble cast, one of the main reasons I’m most excited is the inclusion of Cliff Martinez who is set to compose the film’s score.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Martinez has reguarly scored the works of director Nicolas Winding Refn whose previous collaborative credits include Drive, Only God Forgivesand The Neon Demon. I listen to these films’ scores on a consistent basis so I cannot wait to see what he brings to Artemis.
6. Tag – June 15th
Starring: Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb and Jeremy Renner.
Directed by: Jeff Tomsic.
Tag is the directorial debut of Jeff Tomsic whose previous TV credits include Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and 2 episodes of Broad City.
The upcoming comedy is based on the true story of a group of ex-classmates meet up and organize a game of tag that finds them traveling across the country. After their story was profiled on The Wall Street Journal in 2013, offers to adapt the story in a feature-length motion picture obviously arose because the story is amazingly insane.
Jeremy Renner stars in the film and apparently whatever stunts appear in it are going to be wild because he fractured both of his arms while filming in 2017 due to a “stunt gone wrong.”
7. Under The Silver Lake – June 22nd
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace, Zosia Mamet and Jimmi Simpson.
Directed by: David Robert Mitchell (It Follows).
Four years after the immense success of his supernatural psychological thriller It Follows, director David Robert Mitchell teams up with Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough for the upcoming A24 neo-noir dramedy Under The Silver Lake.
The film follows young and disenchanted Sam (Garfield) when he meets a mysterious and beautiful woman who’s swimming in his building’s pool one night. When she suddenly vanishes the next morning, Sam embarks on a surreal quest across Los Angeles to decode the secret behind her disappearance, leading him into the murkiest depths of mystery, scandal and conspiracy.
8. The Hustle – June 29th
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp and Ingrid Oliver.
Directed by: Chris Addison.
Alright, this is a bit of a cheat but it everybody gets one.
The Hustle is the gender swapped remake of the 1988 classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine as two men competing to swindle an American heiress out of $50,000 – A bunch of no-good dirty and rotten scoundrels, you ask me.
The upcoming comedy stars Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson and is the directorial debut of English comedian Chris Addison whose previous TV directing credits include Veep and Fresh Off The Boat. From an outline by Deadline, the lead actresses portray “two female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who compete to swindle a naive tech prodigy out of his fortune.”
No trailer is available yet for The Hustle.
9. Sorry To Bother You– July 6th
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun and Armie Hammer.
Directed by: Boots Riley.
Lakeith Stanfield leads an ensemble cast including Thor: Ragnarok’sTessa Thompson and one of my favourite humans on Earth, Armie Hammer, in the directorial debut by Boots Riley with Sorry To Bother You.
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, the sci-fi comedy follows telemarketer Cassius Green (Stanfield) as he discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe. The film currently holds a stellar 92% on RT with 33/3 Fresh ratings and an average rating of 7.3/10.
Ant-Man And The Wasp is set for release the same weekend as Sorry To Bother You.
10. Skyscraper– July 13th
Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Pablo Schreiber, Byron Mann, Hannah Quinlivan and Noah Taylor.
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber (DodgeBall, We’re The Millers, Central Intelligence).
Skyscraper AKA the-film-whose-poster-makes-no-scientifical-or-physical-sense re-teams The Rock (who seemingly never sleeps) with his Central Intelligence director Rawson Marshall Thurber in an action/disaster movie where he must save the lives of those he loves.
The film follows FBI agent and amputee Will Sawyer (Johnson) who lives in the tallest and “safest” skyscraper in Hong Kong with his family. The skyscraper itself, known as “The Pearl” houses several floors that function as their own society and despite the risks highlighted by Sawyer, who is the building’s head of security, his bosses insist that it is impenetrable. True to Sawyer’s belief, the building comes under attack by terrorists, forcing Sawyer to take action. Matters are complicated further when he finds himself framed for the attack, and his family trapped above the resulting fire line.
I will probably watch this movie solely because fellow Canadian and Party Of Five/House Of Cards alum Neve Campbell stars as Sawyer’s wife, Sarah… There are a few people in this world that I’d sacrifice everything for and Neve Campbell is one of them.
11. Hot Summer Nights – July 27th
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, Maia Mitchell, William Fichtner and Thomas Jane.
Directed by: Elijah Bynum.
Yet another A24-distributed film is set for release this summer and I am hyped.
Timothée Chalamet, the breakthrough star of last year’s critically acclaimed (and my favourite of the year) Call Me By Your Name, stars alongside It Followslead Maika Monroe in Elijah Bynum’s directorial debut, Hot Summer Nights.
The film follows Daniel (Chalamet), a shy out-of-towner who gets in over his head flipping weed with the neighborhood rebel (Alex Roe) while pursuing his new business partner’s enigmatic sister (Monroe). With a hurricane looming in the wings, tensions rise against a backdrop of drive-ins, arcades, and crashed parties as the stakes (and temperatures) grow ever higher.
Only 5 reviews have been written so far on the film which currently has an 80% on RT, however 4 of them have given it a Fresh rating with an average rating of 9/10.
12. The Spy Who Dumped Me – August 3rd
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan, Justin Theroux and Hasan Minhaj.
Directed by: Susanna Fogel (Life Partners).
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon team up on an action-comedy and I am here for all of it.
Directed by Susanna Fogel and releasing one day after my birthday (hint hint for people who want to buy me gifts and are too nervous to ask when my birthday is), The Spy Who Dumped Me follows Audrey (Kunis) and her best friend Morgan (McKinnon) who find themselves embroiled in a major international conspiracy when Audrey’s ex-boyfriend unexpectedly re-enters her life with a team of assassins on his trail and reveals that he is actually a CIA agent.
Both Kunis and McKinnon are hysterical human beings so I am ecstatic to see how they tackle this project.
13. The Meg – August 10th
Starring: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, Masi Oka and Cliff Curtis.
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub (3 Ninjas, While You Were Sleeping, National Treasure).
This is one of those movies you hear about being in production like eight years ago but believe it’ll never come to fruition… Thankfully for movie audiences, it’s here and it’s big – or should I say – Megalodon?
Based on the 1997 sci-fi book, The Meg follows a deep sea submarine as it’s attacked by Megalodon, a giant 75-foot shark that was thought to be extinct for over millions of years. With the ship disabled at the bottom of the sea, a rescue diver and oceanographer must quickly work to rescue the crew.
It looks ridiculous, it looks like Jason Statham is going to be doing some shit to a shark and I just may use my accumulated Cineplex SCENE points to purchase a ticket for it without using any actual money from my wallet.
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Jasper Pääkkönen, Corey Hawkins, Paul Walter Hauser and Harry Belafonte.
Directed by: Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Inside Man).
As soon as I heard about veteran director Spike Lee and soon-to-be-veteran-if-he-keeps-up-the-phenomenal-work Jordan Peeleteaming up for this story, I was immediately hooked.
BlacKkKlansman follows the remarkable true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective in Colorado Springs, Colorado, who works under cover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in 1979. Stallworth and his partner Flip Zimmerman risk their lives to penetrate the KKK at its highest levels. The film is based on the book “Black Klansman” written by Stallworth himself. Ballers star John David Washington is set to portray the lead while Adam Driver will star as Zimmerman.
No trailer is available yet for BlacKkKlansman.
15. Slender Man – August 24th
Starring: Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Talitha Bateman and Javier Botet.
Directed by: Sylvain White (I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, Stomp the Yard, The Losers).
Finishing off the summer season strong with… Slender-Man! From the director of such a horror gem as I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, I can’t wait to see how he tackles this Creepypasta tale.
The film tells the story of a malnourished man who is a tall, thin, horrifying figure with unnaturally long arms and a featureless face known as Slender-Man, who is reputed to be responsible for the haunting and disappearance of countless children and teens.
While it may be good for a few jump scares, Joey King is one of my favourite up-and-coming talents as she surprised me with her incredible performance in 2013’s The Conjuring. I look forward to seeing how she tackles her role as “teenager who doesn’t realize summoning spirits is a bad idea.”
Which of these Non-Quel flicks are you most anticipating? Let me know in the comments below!
featured image source: The Meg | Warner Bros. Pictures