RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2015
STUDIO: Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)
DIRECTOR: Robert Schwentke
MPAA RATING: PG-13
STARRING: Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Maggie Q, Ray Stevenson, Mekhi Phifer, Zoe Kravitz, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, Octavia Spencer, Theo James, Shailene Woodley, Jonny Weston, Daniel Dae Kim, Ansel Elgort, Emjay Anthony, Rosa Salazar, Suki Waterhouse, Keiynan Lonsdale
GENRE: Action, Adventure
A few years back everyone and their mother was looking for the next Hunger Games in the young adult book world. Plenty of people tried and plenty of people failed. Dear god the immense amount of fail. There was one that had hope; Divergent. It wasn’t quite as well done as the juggernaut Hunger Games film but there was potential enough for a sequel and here it is. Only now, it seems that it’s found it’s way to differentiate itself from the others with Insurgent.
I was actually shocked at the amount of action in this one. The amount of gunfire and hand to hand combat was nice to help balance out some of the talk heavy sections of the movie. They also made Shailene Woodley more of a bad ass fighter than before. It adds a layer to the character of Tris that was needed. I will say though, that there were scenes that required her to express conflicting emotions and they were made comical by her inability to demonstrate subtlety in her performance. Kate Winslet is back as Jeanine and just as ruthless as ever. She holds down the role capably as in the previous movie. Miles Teller as Peter feels a bit out of place in this film coming off of his magnificent performance in Whiplash. He’s actually a pretty big part of the film and handles the role well. In my opinion though it just feels like a step back instead of forward for him. Theo James as Four is still as ho hum as ever as Four. Jai Courtney plays the ever evil Eric once more and he’s an even bigger douche than before. Zoe Kravitz who plays a rather large role in the last film is rarely seen this time around. Also, the relationship between Tris and Four is supposed to be super strong at this point but it just doesn’t come across that way. Woodley and James make for a terrible onscreen couple and all of their lovey dovey scenes seem forced. It’s painful to watch.
This movie feels more sure of what this series of films wants to be. It commits to the level of violence and keeps it up. Blood is spilled but seldom shown during kills though which is slightly disappointing. There’s even a sex scene that has Tris showing bareback and straddling Four. I thought that it was a little risque for a film made for teens but, it only lasts a few seconds really. There was also some decent 3-D in this one so that’s something, I guess.
Honestly, there were a few issues with this movie but all in all I had a good time with it. The ending made me want to see the next one and have some questions answered which is usually a problem for me as I despise movies that push a sequel all heavy handed. Robert Schwentke found a way to avoid that here and it adds to the anticipation for more. If you enjoyed the last one you’ll get more than a kick out of this one.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm