Category Archives: Dystopia

“Blade Runner” Movie Review

*The following review will account for the Final Cut version of Blade Runner, as I feel it’s the only one worth watching.*

In honor of the new film, Blade Runner 2049, which is due out in October, I felt it was appropriate to review the original classic. This neo-noir sci-fi thriller- written by David Webb Peoples and Hampton Fancher -released on June 25th, 1982. It vastly underperformed both overseas and domestically, only grossing $33.8 million against a $28 million budget. And that includes rereleases. But now it is considered among the best in its genre and one of the most highly regarded films of the 1980’s. Disclaimer: this review will contain significant spoilers, so read at your own discretion. It’s the not-too-distant (And not too absurd) future of 2019 in Los Angeles. Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, is the type of human who is tasked with finding androids that look like other humans and even imitate them. When a group of these androids, called Replicants, escape from custody on an off-world colony, he has to track them down and kill them all. Dystopian sci-fi futures aren’t anything new in cinema. Nor are stories that attempt to have sociopolitical allegories infused into their overall narratives. And yet, there is just something about Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner that makes it feel so singular, so original, and so memorable in almost every frame of the motion picture. But it’s not just a science-fiction story. Hell, even if you erased the flying cars, and any mention of future technology, what you’re left with is still a compelling drama. This is a movie focused on the question of general ethics and our capacity to follow them. Not just human beings but Replicants as well. In fact, some of the Replicants are more humane than some of the human characters we meet at all. This movie never did get enough recognition, especially when it first debuted in 1982. It bombed so hard because few people were interested in a science-fiction film that made the audience think about the story rather than big explosions or sentimentality. It also failed to recoup its budget because it premiered at the same time as E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, a fantastic movie in its own right. But in terms of filmmaking, Blade Runner is an infinitely more fascinating picture. Everything you see on screen, there is more of it to show behind the curtain. From the history of the Tyrell Corporation to the details of the off-world colonies, the whole universe oozes with detail and layers of personality. Being based on a Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, It would have been so nice to see more of this interesting yet somewhat gloomy world. No one directs science-fiction films like Ridley Scott. From the original Alien in 1979 to 2015’s The Martian, every single one of his films looks absolutely gorgeous. They have lived in worlds made with sets that probably took several days to design and build. These sets seamlessly blend with CGI and bluescreen to create a unique and wholly original vision of what 2019 might look like. Even the way they are directed feel thematic, from the sexually-charge mystery of Alien to the isolation of Prometheus. And then there’s that ending. An ending that has had so much discussion that it puts the finales of both Inception and Birdman to utter shame. After saving his life, Roy Batty peacefully dies in the rain a content man. Not a machine, not a Replicant, a man. And when Deckard goes back to that apartment, he picks up that origami unicorn. “Too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?” he remembers Gaff telling him as a warning. And then he runs out. Is Rick Deckard a Replicant, the type of being that he’s been hired to track down as a Blade Runner? Or is he still just a human and feeling a sense of imagination or paranoia? It’s a great question to ponder with other people who have seen it. Personally for me, though, it would make more sense if he turned out to be a Replicant. Why go through all this trouble and all this discussion just for it to be untrue? It has to be true, for the sake of the themes of the story. While I ultimately have mixed feelings about Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sequel set in 2049, I have no doubt in my mind they will address either of the two. How they approach it is the real trich, though. Blade Runner is not strictly speaking a perfect movie. The pacing, especially around the middle act, wanders from time to time. And some of the effects don’t necessarily hold up very well. But this is still one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time, and one of the greatest films ever made, period. Even with epic works like Gladiator, Alien, and even The Martian, this has to be Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, and one worth watching many times just to pick up something new each time.

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“Metropolis” Movie Review

The mediator between the movie and the audience must be the reviewer. This silent epic science-fiction drama from Fritz Lang- based on the novel by his wife Thea von Harbou -was released worldwide on January 10th, 1927. Despite its universal acclaim in the modern era, contemporary critics dismissed it and only barely made back 1% percent of its budget of 5 million Reichsmarks.But today, it is frequently listed among the best and most influential pictures in cinematic history, and for good reason. Set in the (not so) distant future of 2026, the gigantic titular city is inhabited by an array of wealthy, pretentious industrialists who revel high skyscrapers. Underneath it all, workers break their backs to ensure that the city keeps running and that the big machines are in mint condition. The whole city is run by the master and mogul, Joh Fredersen, who really wants nothing more than to keep his high societal status. His son,  Freder, a humble man, realizes how corrupt this system is, and sets out with a young and beautiful woman named Maria to fix what has been wrought. Does that sound like a familiar premise? Absolutely, because Metropolis was the original dystopian story, film or literature. In fact, it was also the first feature-length movie of the science-fiction genre, clocking in at about 2 hours and 33 minutes. Well, at least that’s how long it was at its initial premiere before getting severely chopped down by the studio for commercial reasons until much of the film was restored in 2010 at 2 hours and 28 minutes, which is the version I watched. Though some of the footage is still lost and replaced with modern texts, the restored footage is stylistically different with a dirty film grain and smaller frame. But it still adds to the experience. I promise you this: If there is a franchise in the genres of sci-fi or dystopia that you hold near and dear to your heart, Metropolis paved the way for it. In his breakthrough role, Gustav Fröhlich is excellently convincing as the young Freder. Often frightened by his new surroundings, he has little to no experience in the lifestyle he tries to enter. In an age where heroes are seemingly able to adapt to completely alien situations at a moment’s notice, it’s nice to see a protagonist who has little clue as to what he’s doing. Right by his side is Alfred Abel as the conniving Joh Fredersen, Rudolf Klein-Rogge as a Frankensteinesque madman bent on a powerful creation, Heinrich George as the pragmatic foreman of the machines underneath the big city, and Brigitte Helm as the pseudo-goddess of the working class. Helm is particularly memorable as Maria, showing a great capability of compassion even in her most fearful state. She also shares a dual role with the Maschinemensch, a man-like robot who is used to carry out the wealthy’s agenda. This android is undoubtedly the most iconic aspect of the film and is recognizable to any film buff, regardless if they’ve seen the movie or not. Released during the Weimar Period in Germany, the G-rated film was one of the last in the mostly forgotten movement of Germanic Expressionism. For the unfamiliar, this was a movement of many different arts, including painting, dance, architecture, and cinema. Very few words are needed to describe what is happening onscreen and is all part of the creator’s stylistic logic. Everything that you see in the background is just as important and as interesting as what’s happening in the foreground. Speaking of background, the Art Deco and the production design are simply stunning, even by today’s standards. Everything, from the paintings of distant skyscrapers to the intricate machines of the underworld, took nothing but time and heart- for days on end, perhaps. Although the accompanying soundtrack has likely changed many times over, the score for the 2010 restoration is breathtaking. Recorded by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, it mostly comprises large bombastic tracks with huge horns and percussion during some of the more exciting scenes, while switching to high strings and piano for emotional character moments. Metropolis is not just entertaining black-and-white eye candy, though. Its story delivers important themes such as the gap between social classes, mass production, the dangers of industrialization, and American modernity. The lattermost category is reflective of the Roaring ’20s, or the “Jazz Age,” which was occurring at the exact time of the film’s release. Like many socialites of that era, many of the wealthy people would rather drown in excess and meaningless parties than pay attention to the world around them. Even in the climax, when everything is coming to a head, they still don’t care. In fact, this was arguably the first movie in the so-called “social science-fiction” subgenre, which used futuristic settings to explore themes and concepts regarding human nature. At a time when all anyone wanted to see was the next movie featuring Charlie Chaplin’s The Tramp, this is especially brave. It may be over 90 years old and have some minor middle-act pacing issues, but Metropolis is still a relevant cautionary tale about what would happen if class warfare was allowed to flourish. Easily the most influential science-fiction film ever produced, it also stands as proof that not a single line of dialogue has to be spoken in order for a movie to still be engaging, grippingly powerful, and moving. And- dare, I say –Metropolis is the single most impressive and ambitious silent film ever created.

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2016 in Film: Retrospective Superlatives

I know what you’re probably thinking right now. You’re expecting me to publish my list of the Top Ten films of the year. Rest assured that is coming, but as a bit of a prelude, I decided to give some superficial awards to other movies deserving to be recognized. To be clear, almost none of these will appear on the Top Ten list to be published in a day or so. Rather, I just had fun because I saw more movies released this year than any previous one. So let’s get down to business.

Most Original Film: “The Lobster”

Never before has a vision of the future been so terrifying yet hilarious. Yorgos Lanthimos’ black comedy revolves around a newly single man who has 45 days to find a new mate before he’s turned into any animal of his choosing.. in his case, it’s a lobster. Collin Farrell is subtle and low-key as the main character, in the most absurd situation possible. How many other films can you say feature a man who may have the possibility of becoming a crustacean? The answer should be none.

Most Overrated Film: “Hail Caesar!”

Some may remember my overall appraisal of this film in m review back in February. And for the most part, I still stand by it. However, upon a second viewing, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pointlessness in the story. The fantastic cast and sharp script, aside, the Coen Brothers have certainly done better in the past, and I believe they can still do better in the future. A good love letter to fans of classical cinema, and decidedly nothing more.

Most Underrated Film: “The Magnificent Seven”

Despite the criticism it received for its unoriginality, it’s important to remember that this is technically a remake. Going into the theater, all I wanted to see was a reminder of why I love the Western genre. An excellent leading titular crew who share great chemistry, lead by Denzel Washington himself, make this a fun adventure for a modern era. And that final gun battle was really some exciting stuff to behold.

Most Overlooked Film: “Midnight Special”

Overshadowed by other, much larger films released during the Spring, it’s a shame that Midnight Special didn’t see many viewers in the theater. However, that absolutely doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to watch it. Jeff Nichols’ beautiful science-fiction drama is a gorgeous blend of emotional family drama and action spectacle. A truly original “modern sci-fi,” I implore you to find a way to watch this by any means.

Most Disappointing Film: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

To be clear, I’m not saying this film is outright terrible. It’s just nowhere near as good as the hype had told us it would be. A real tragedy, considering this is the first feature film where the titular heroes and Wonder Woman all appear on-screen together in live-action. The action scenes were undoubtedly enjoyable, but the substance of the story and the relevance of various subplots is still lost on me.

Funniest Film: “Keanu”

Predictable? Yes. Funny as hell? Yes. As a fan of Key and Peele’s sketch show on Comedy Central, I had been looking forward to their first theatrical movie together. And boy, did they deliver on the laughs? Remaining 100% self-aware the entire time, the chemistry between the two leads, alone, is worth the price of admission. All of the pop culture references hit the right chords, and the scene where Key is tripping balls in the club was probably the hardest I laughed all year long.

Worst Film: “Now You See Me 2”

They can’t all be good, though, and that’s why my pick for the worst film of 2016 is Now You See Me 2. At what point after the first one’s release did they see the need to produce a sequel that’s somehow even less comprehensible than its predecessor? I was all set to give this spot to Meet The Blacks, but I remembered this movie and just became infuriated. Numerous plot holes and forced acting aside, the magic tricks are condescendingly and unbelievably explained, making me just mentally check out. Avoid this.

Do you agree with my picks? What was the worst or most overrated movie of the year to you? Whatever it may be, be sure to leave a Comment below and Like this Post. And if you’re interested in seeing more content like this, be sure to Follow my blog and I’ll see you in the future.

“Meet The Blacks” Movie Review

Why can’t spoof movies just die? Seriously, they’re dead, or at least they should be. This zany attempt at spoof comedy co-written and directed by Deon Taylor saw a wide release over April Fools’ weekend, where it earned ten times its $900,000 budget. This could be typical for cheap horror films, but the fact that this is a spoof makes its success even more surprising, and almost perplexing. Stand-up comedian Mike Epps plays a down-on-his-luck dad, Carl Black, who has recently his family moved from Chicago to Beverly Hills. On the day they move in, The Purge begins, where all crime is legal for an entire night. This is the movie which is being spoofed. And to its credit… no, it just failed. To give you some perspective, I laughed harder and more often during the Wayans Brothers’ Scary Movie than I did here. To start off, Mike Epps is just not a very funny actor. He had no charisma or proper comedic timing whatsoever, which compromised his ability to carry this movie on his shoulders. He and his family members have absolutely zero chemistry throughout the entirety of the runtime. Zulay Henao is perfectly functional as the protagonist’s wife, though she could have been played by literally anyone who was offered the role. On the other hand, Bresha Webb and Alex Henderson, playing the son and daughter, respectively, annoyed me to no end. To be fair, they’re young and this arguably not a good showcase for their potential, but their characters are just so unlikable I can’t stand them even in one scene. The script is where everything falls flat. One of the many problems it suffers from is that several scenes felt as though they were created just to tell a single, isolated joke. Sometimes, it will play it extremely safe and take the easiest possible joke for the scenario. Other times, it will try way too hard, either to take itself seriously or hitting multiple jokes at once. I wonder if the writers had based the jokes and screenplay on their shared experiences watching films centered entirely around sex and toilet humor. Surprisingly, there’s a great deal of talent in the supporting cast and behind the scenes. The soundtrack, composed by East Coast rap legend, RZA, is filled primarily with modern hip-hop or R&B songs, which admittedly fit well with the setting of Central California. Onscreen, comedic actors such as Gary Owen, Charlie Murphy, Lil Duval, DeRay Davis, George Lopez, and even cameos from retired fighter Mike Tyson and rapper Snoop Dogg, are reserved in the sidelines. In a way, they all manage to outshine the main star of the movie, and some of them only have about 20 minutes of screentime. A couple of them do seem to have fun with their roles. But the ratio is very unbalanced. I have to believe that the filmmakers kidnapped their families and forced them to take the paycheck. Also, (like the actual movie, The Purge) it became evident at a point that the Purge is meaningless in this movie. The fact that some rich white neighbors of theirs want to break into their house and kill them is just like any other home invasion you’ve seen. A few alterations in the script and that entire circumstance didn’t need to happen. If anything, it’s just background noise, which becomes apparent when you hear a gunshot or explosion sound effect now and then. In all honesty, there were a couple of moments that made me chuckle and one in particular where I nearly died laughing. To save the torture, I’ll just tell you right now. Vine legend King Bach made a cameo appearance in the first 45 minutes as the daughter’s boyfriend, and when The Purge starts he starts a murderous rampage in the house. That was actually pretty funny. For the rest of it, however, Meet The Blacks is a boring comedic mess from top to bottom, and one of the worst movies released this year. If this had come out on straight-to-DVD, it would make sense, but the fact that it was released theatrically just makes it more painful to bear. One last side story that you might find both interesting and pitiful: Here in Texas, it is currently Cram Week, where we have to get in some last minute studying for the Final Exams. However, I absorbed 1 hour and 33 minutes of my life to set aside my assignments to watch Meet The Blacks on Netflix. So for those of you who say that I have absurdly stupid, jacked up priorities… Congratulations, you’ve guessed correctly.

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“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” Movie Review

Alright, so here it is. The year is drawing to a close, and there were some earlier releases that I feel would be criminal to not look back and review. Let’s start off with one of the most anticipated movies of the year, and one of the most disappointing. This comic superhero film meant as a kickstart for the DC Extended Universe, released nationally on March 25th, 2016, where it had the biggest opening for a superhero movie of all time at that point. This was unfortunately followed by a historic drop at the box office and never recovered, hampered by the negative reactions from fans and critics. Some time after the events of Man of Steel, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne returns to his vigilante persona of the Batman, whom he has worked as for nearly 20 years. Meanwhile, Clark Kent, A.K.A. Superman, uses his resources as a freelance reporter at the Daily Planet to try and expose Batman for his increasingly violent actions against criminals. Eventually, they will come to a head and face-off, with eccentric billionaire Lex Luthor watching their fight from afar. To start this review, is Dawn of Justice as terrible as many critics say it is? No, it’s not. Does that make it a great movie like many fanboys profess? Okay, let’s start off with what I liked. After years of being the center of tabloid scandals, Ben Affleck has proven himself as both a filmmaker and an actor, and he does a fantastic job as Batman. It’s hard to imagine that 3 years ago, fans were outraged at his casting, going so far as to post petitions online for a different actor. But Affleck embodies the brooding, tortured, and charismatic qualities of the American icon, even if his actions are very different than what we know him for. Henry Cavill was fine as Superman, but the chemistry he had with Affleck on-screen is questionable. In a small role that had many people scratching their heads as to why it was relevant, Israeli model Gal Gadot is beautiful and strong as Wonder Woman. She totally encompasses the warrior spirit and loving nature of the character and was actually useful in the story, even if she doesn’t appear for much of it. This being directed by Zack Snyder, a very visual director, the special effects look beautiful. The crisp camera work from Larry Fong is matched by the intense editing job by David Brenner. The action? Oh yeah, the action scenes are insanely cool. In one particular segment, Batman is invading a warehouse crowded with mercenaries and he just beats the piss out of all of them. It felt like a Batman: Arkham video game come to cinematic form. And the titular battle between the heroes is really intense. It’s long and drawn out, and, by the end, you can clearly tell both crime fighters are exhausted. Now let’s get to everything else. Narratively, this movie is a mess, chock full of unresolved subplots and pointless characters. Even with a whopping runtime of 2 hours and 31 minutes, it still didn’t feel like enough time to flesh out everything to its fullest extent. For example, the Knightmare Sequences everyone’s been talking about was badass in every sense of the word. But when you really start to think about it, there wasn’t much point to it other than to tease Darkseid’s existence in this universe. It was never mentioned again by any of the characters, so if they cut out that segment, I don’t think that their lives would be any different. And then, there’s Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. He’s bad. I don’t his character was bad, but his portrayal was jarring. He felt out of place with all of his quips and crazy mannerisms, especially considering the dark tone. Speaking of which, this is a major point of contention among audiences; the tone and characterization. Both are very dark and gritty, with one reviewer calling the film “joyless.” I’m fine with this new take, as interpretations of the characters have to remain distinct and different. But in the end, when that new take ends up compromising the story of the film, then it really doesn’t matter. However, recent reports say that executives are trying to right the wrongs with their upcoming slate of comic book productions, specifically Justice League. So I’m excited for that to come out next November. For right now, however, the theatrical Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a visually impressive yet jumbled up superhero adventure void of any plot cohesion. If you are going to watch this movie at all, watch the Ultimate Edition. It has added 30 extra minutes of footage that help explain certain plot points better and gives more R-rated content. The best thing to come out of this movie? I’m now pumped to see Wonder Woman and the Batfleck solo film more than I was before.

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“Firefly” T.V. Show Review

What did I do? I watched Firefly. And if a show is able to make me content being that slothful and doing nothing else for an entire week, it was worth doing a post. This space western drama by nerd icon Joss Whedon originally aired for a brief 3-month stint on Fox before getting canceled; for all intents and purposes, it was dead upon arrival. I’ll dive further into detail about that, but let’s dissect the series as it was. Set 500 years in the future, the Solar System we currently live in has been used up, and all of the human population has migrated to a new one. Dozens of new planets and moons were terraformed to match the likeness of Earth. The “core” planets are very lush in technology, while the “outer” planets are quite forbidding and desolate- the primary setting of the series. Shortly after colonization, the United States and China formed a supergovernment known as the Alliance and began a war against outer planet colonies for total dominance. The rebels, widely called Browncoats, got stomped in the war, thus the Alliance now maintains control over the vast system. Six years later, the main character Malcolm Reynolds, who fought on the losing side, embarks on a series of quests onboard his Firefly-class smuggling ship, Serenity. He goes on adventures alongside one of the greatest ensemble casts in the history of television. The very first thing to address is that Firefly is more like a Western than it is a sci-fi. There are no alien species, most people in the galaxy use powder weapons rather than lasers, and most of the outer planets feel like deserts for people to run around on horseback. In that sense, it’s arguable that Firefly is the grounded and plausible depiction of the far future yet, no disrespect to Star Trek. Now let’s break down each crew member aboard Serenity. First of all, Malcolm Reynolds is one of the greatest characters Joss Whedon has ever written. He’s such a bitter, cynical space pirate after losing the Unification War. You really get the implication that not only did he lose the war, he lost his faith entirely. Actor Nathan Fillion was able to bring a likability and a sense of humor that made Mal feel like a complete person. He does put up a lot of walls on himself, but that’s because he absolutely has a heart of gold underneath. It just got ripped out a stomped. His second-in-command is Zoe Washbourne, a war buddy who is incredibly efficient with firefights. What makes both her and Mal complete badasses is that Greedo would never stand a chance; they shoot first. Her husband, Wash, is more or less the comic relief of the show. He never fought in a war, he never lost anything, so he’s not bitter. He pilots Serenity and manages to get the crew out of tricky scenarios. Then, there’s Derrial Book, a Shepherd or priest. Mal is initially reluctant about letting a preacher on board, but they mutually respect one another. Book is the voice of reason among a ship full of criminals and wackjobs. It’s implied that he has some high priority status with The Alliance in the past, but since the show was canceled, we’ll never know. (Unless you read a graphic novel) Jayne is the mercenary aboard the ship, meaning he will do anything you tell him as long as he’s paid. His personal love is Vera, a custom firearm of great power. Next, is Inara, the credible person aboard. She’s a Companion, which is more or less the Buddhist version of a prostitute. That’s right, prostitution has been made legal in the future, thus they are seen with high members of society. Another strong woman is Kaylee, the engineer that helps run the ship and figure out the kinks. Though a Firefly is  not prestigious, Kaylee is still highly optimistic and the only genuinely sweet crew member. Now fo the Tams. Simon is an extremely intelligent doctor from the Alliance, who brings a mysterious crate on board. You find out it’s his sister, River. He gave up his entire fortune to find her and get her to safety. River was experimented on and is quite confused throughout the show. Even with such a big ensemble, everyone on the show feels relevant at all times. Projected by the fact that everyone on the show loved each other as a family in real life. So why did Fox break up a family? Because they didn’t like it. They chose to air all of the episodes out of order, and ultimately cancel a show that was before its time. It’s almost a slap in the face. It’s an example of a drama that can still be funny due to good comedic timing. However, when the show wants to be creepy and uncomfortable, it’s definitely that. A few times, Serenity runs into the Reavers, a sub-populace of cannibalistic humans that will rape you to death and sew your skin onto their clothes. Scares me every time I see a ship of theirs. Despite the short run, Firefly still has relatable characters, a fantastic musical score, a unique style, and realistic dialogue. After finishing, you’ll be watching the movie Serenity. Joss Whedon did get a chance from Universal Pictures to wrap up his story in cinematic form. But that’s another review for another day soon.

Most Anticipated Movies Summer 2016

According to social media, you wanted to hear what I’m most excited about this summer. Also according to social media, no one gives a crap about Ratchet and Clank: The Movie. 2016 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years in cinema history. Over 30 long-awaited movies are releasing during the 3 month-long period, but only 10 are appearing. At the end, I’ll add a list of Honorable Mentions that are still on my radar. But the following are the 10 movies receiving a theatrical release between May and Early August.

10. Warcraft: The Beginning (June 10th) 

It has been rare, I’m talking trinkets in the desert, that a video game adaptation has been good. Best ones  have been Mortal Kombat and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. This one looks like it can save video game movies and prove that they can tell compelling stories. Co-written and directed by Duncan Jones, the film stars an ensemble cast as humans and orcs. Both races hate each other with flaming passions, but the key to survival is ultimately working together, creating tensions. From what the trailers have shown, it looks like it’ll to focus on both sides of the conflict, equally showing their views and struggles like  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I’m crossing my fingers for both this and the Michael Fassbender-led Assassin’s Creed movie, but if both fail to resonate, then Hollywood should just stop trying with video game to film adaptations.

9. Ghostbusters (July 15th)

What? How could this be up on your list, Cade? Simple, because I love the original movie from 1984 and no matter what, I’m going to see this movie. I didn’t like the trailer that much, but I wasn’t up in arms over the fact that there are women taking over the franchise for geeks. From what I understand, Bill Murray, who will be making a cameo, has handpicked many of the cast members such as Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones. I’ve seen some skits of theirs on Saturday Night Live, and I think that there will be better comedy than screaming that “the power of Patty compels you!” It also has Chris Hemsworth as the team’s secretary and Charles Dance cast in an undisclosed role. I hope it can get me to laugh hard at least once.

8. The Legend of Tarzan (July 1st)

After the massive success of the Jungle Book, this feels like more of a victory lap. Directed by David Yates, maker of the last three Harry Potter films, this reboot-sequel hybrid focuses on John Clayton III after he had left the jungle and become a successful Lord and husband in England. Don’t worry though, as he’s soon drawn into a deadly plot that forces him to embrace his past and become one with the jungle once more. Alexander Skarsgard leads the pack as the titular hero, along with a star-studded cast that includes Christoph Waltz, Margot Robbie, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, and even Samuel L “The Mofo” Jackson. Top that off with a musical score by Hans Zimmer, and this has the potential to be an epic and emotional tribute to an iconic character.

7. Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24th)

To be honest, I’m not as pumped for this movie as other people I know that are. But that doesn’t change the fact that it still looks pretty cool. Taking place 20 years after the original movie, this sequel sees the return of Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Vivica A. Fox reprising their roles in a future where mankind has adapted the technology of their former alien invaders and set defense systems on the Moon. Sadly, Will Smith will not be returning as Capt. Steven Hiller, as he was committed to another role to appear later on this list. But it does show off some cool CGI action scenes and may finally explain why the aliens invaded us in the first place. That is all assuming they’ve updated their technology to withstand being infiltrated by something as meager as Windows 95.

6. Finding Dory (June 17th) 

As if Disney couldn’t leave us this year with just one great animated picture. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks return as Dory and Marlin in a new adventure of when Dory suddenly remembers a part of her past and sets out to find her family. In this reviewer’s personal opinion, Finding Nemo was one of the most definitive computer-animated films of the past decade. Based solely on the trailers and marketing, this sequel looks like it can recapture all the lightning-in-a-bottle its predecessor once had. The animation effects look gorgeous, some of the jokes have me laughing, and there is bound to be some sort of unifying theme somewhere in the story. That’s how it will be.

5. Xmen: Apocalypse (May 27th)

3 whole months after Deadpool left me laughing my ass off, 20th Century Fox provides us with another film in their ever-growing franchise. Concluding the trilogy arc set up by First Class and Days of Future Past, audiences will be introduced to the new villain Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant in existence. Pretty much everything mankind has learned about gods and deities up to this point, including the Holy Bible, came from this being. He even has the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding along, which are essentially mutants who have been enhanced with special powers to fight with and defend the titular villain. With Oscar Isaac tapped to take on the role, it appears that he is starting to take over Hollywood.

4. Suicide Squad (August 5th) 

Following the mixed/poor reception of DC’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. is looking to close out the summer in style. Featuring a range of iconic Batman villains, the story follows a group of super-criminals who are temporarily busted out of jail by Amanda Waller, played Viola Davis. She offers amnesty if they can pull off a dirty assignment for the government, and if anything goes wrong, Waller has plausible deniability to blame them. Unlike the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, which show likable, straight-arrow superheroes willing to save the day, this movie makes the bold move of focusing on an ensemble of quirky, unpredictable psychopaths whose motivations can change on a dime, and can die at any moment. Think of a DC version of Game of Thrones, but instead with a large cast consisting of Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, and Jared Leto as The Joker.

3. Jason Bourne (July 29th) 

This feels like a long time coming, as it has been almost 9 years since the last installment. Yes, 9 years; Legacy with Jeremy Renner doesn’t count, damn it. Director Paul Greengrass and lead actor Matt Damon reunite for the 4th time in a co-written script about the titular spy, who has seemingly regained all of his memory and manuevers through a world that is particularly unstable. When I first heard about this sequel I was skeptical, but after the trailer, I may have changed my mind. Tommy Lee Jones, Riz Ahmed, and Alicia Vikander have joined the cast as the new CIA operatives attempting to track down the rogue special agent. Better get ready for another round of super shaky, handheld camera angles and intense fighting sequences.

2. The Nice Guys (May 20th)

After a wave of sequels, spinoffs, and reboots galore, here we come to an original movie, and just misses out on the top spot. Starring Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe, the story is set in 1970’s Los Angeles and follows a down-on-his-luck private eye and a lethal hired enforcer who work together on a case revolving around a young missing girl. Their investigation supposedly leads into a larger criminal conspiracy. Director Shane Black is delivering us a buddy-cop dark comedy that can hopefully pay homage to classic buddy-cop movies, including Crowe’s own L.A. Confidential. In a world full of high-octane blockbusters and CGI showcases, it’s nice to see someone going back to a movie genre that has been all but forgotten.

1. Captain America: Civil War (May 6th)

Honestly, anything with the word “Marvel” slapped in front of it, we nerds are bound to get pumped about it. But there is a particularly high amount of anticipation for the first movie in Phase Three of the M.C.U. Based in part on the commercially successful yet controversial comic book of the same name, Iron Man and Captain America go to war with each other when the government issues an accord that all super-humans register their true identities in case of collateral damage. Similar to Warcraft, it appears that this movie is going to attempt to examine both sides of the argument. It also marks the cinematic debut of the Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, as well as Tom Holland as Spider Man crossing over into the M.C.U. Pick what team you’re on, because we the audience are in for the biggest all-star rumble in history.

So what movies are you most excited for? Which ones are you concerned or don’t care about? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to Like and Follow my Blog for more awesome content like you see here.