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Final Age Of Ultron Trailer Is Out!

5 Mar

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The third and final theatrical trailer for next summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron has been released by Marvel!

This is the first trailer that doesn’t center around the epic battle between Hulk and Iron Man (though it still comes crashing in). We do get a bit more insight into the relationship between Ultron and soon-to-be-Avengers Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. But perhaps the most exciting moment is right at the end with our first glance of Vision!

Here are the first two trailers from Marvel along with our fan-made trailer. How close did we get?

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Earth’s Most Diverse Heroes

13 Feb

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With news that Sony and Marvel will be sharing Spider-Man, internet rumors are abound that this now third reboot for the web-slinger could see someone besides Peter Parker behind the mask. With Black Panther and Captain Marvel getting their own movies, is it time for Miles Morales or Spider-Girl?

Take a Tour of Roswell, New Mexico!

7 Jul


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Ever wonder what it’s like to hang out in the most famous UFO city of all time? Even non-believers and hardcore-skeptics are familiar with Roswell, New Mexico and the 1947 crash.  Whether a top-secret military device or a spacecraft from out of this world, SOMETHING happened out in the desert and people still want answers. The truth is out there, my friends.

‘An Honest Liar’ Wins Audience Award at AFIDOCS

23 Jun

EP-140619200As the 2014 AFIDOCS Film Festival comes to a close, An Honest Liar walks away with the Audience Award for Best Feature Film. Directed by Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom, the film follows James “The Amazing” Randi as he devotes himself to exposing con artists like faith healers and psychics as complete frauds. An accomplished magician himself, The Amazing Randi is a true professional who believes the craft and art of deception should be used to entertain and never extort.

112 Weddings: AFIDOCS Review

20 Jun

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FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a news photographer by trade who has filmed weddings in the past and is about to get married myself (#humblebrag) so this documentary had me hooked before the opening the music. Luckily for me, it only went uphill from there as this film delivered in every category from writing, to editing to music.

112 Weddings is part doc/ marriage guide/ social experiment brought to us by Doug Block, a documentary filmmaker who moonlights as a wedding videographer. Looking back through footage from his side jobs, Block begins to ponder the true meaning of marriage. For the past 20 years he’s captured moments of love, intimacy and joy for couples celebrating one of the most important days of their lives. But when the video is edited these newlyweds leave his life. But how have they fared over the years? Is marriage everything they dreamed it would be? Having spent two decades documenting what it’s like to get married, Block now embarks on finding out what it’s like to stay married.

The film introduces us to nine couples that Block had worked with in the past and -as you may expect- their experiences vary drastically. The film is a wonderful wave of emotion that makes you smile and cry- for all the right (and wrong) reasons. The simple questions he asks elicit profound answers from the husbands and wives who took part in his retrospective study.

But Block goes beyond revisiting old clients. Perfectly structured, the doc never gets repetitive as we are introduced to a lesbian couple who have their own wedding photography business as well. While working at a same-sex marriage ceremony, Block stops to ask them why the institution of marriage is so important to them. Then we meet a heterosexual couple who, years after celebrating their partnership ceremony, finally tie the knot due to the potential legal ramifications for their child. Of course with all this 20/20 hindsight , Block balances the film out by also following the bride and groom-to-be of his 112th wedding.

Exploring romance and commitment through so many angles, 112 Weddings is a beautifully woven story of how love matures past marriage. While it sometimes ends in pain and heartache , it also endures and is a source of strength few knew they had.

Block asks just what he needs to and never says too much as the couples on camera share intimate feelings and fears with the audience. Complimented with wonderful original music by Jon Foy, this post-cana documentary shows an honest view of one of mankind’s most sacred institutions.

Whether single, engaged, married or divorced, 112 Weddings will leave a lasting impression on what we think, hope and pray love is. Grade A

EDITOR’S NOTE: 112 Weddings will premiere on HBO on Monday, June 30 at 9pm, so set your DVRs!

Bronx Obama: AFIDOCS Review

20 Jun

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“If you really work hard at what you do, then things will come to you and you’ll be successful.” That is, according to Reina Ortiz, the American Dream. And who better, really, to understand the promise of the good ol’ U-S-of-A than the daughter of the the 44th President- or at least his twin brother from another mother.

Bronx Obama, directed by Ryan Murdock, follows the story of Louis Ortiz, a Puerto Rican/American living in New York trying to make ends meet for himself and his daughter. We’re introduced through home movies of the Ortiz family circa 2008 when a young, Illinois senator by the name of Barrack Obama starts making headlines.

He and his friends realize that he has an uncanny resemblance to Obama and their gears start spinning. From Times Square to low-budget Japanese movies, Ortiz does what he can to earn a few bucks portraying his “Bronx Obama.” A poignant parallel is drawn between the real Obama as he campaigns in the midst of the Great Recession and Ortiz trying to find work. Jobs and work are the priorities of both men.

After seeing Ortiz’s persona grow into an idea he can truly capitalize on, the documentary slows down to revisit his personal life in an effort to humanize our main character. It’s a necessary dimension of Ortiz so the audience feels more attached to him. But it feels as though Murdock only grazes the surface with minimal exploration into Ortiz’s actual struggles with unemployment and family tragedy. Luckily Ortiz’s daughter, Reina, is very open about her dad’s life and shares some raw truth and insight. Without her, the doc would have been emotionally flat.

Murdock really hits his stride when Ortiz decides to take his game to the next level and joins a troupe of comedic impersonators. This is the most interesting and entertaining part of the film. With his newly signed agent, Ortiz works on perfecting not just looking like President Obama but sounding like him as well. Teaming up with a faux-Romeny, faux-Trump and faux-Clinton, Bronx Obama crisscrosses around the U.S. with his political shtick. The audience clearly sees a transformation of Ortiz from a street performer to a ticket-show entertainer.

But the demands of the road can take their toll and all this time away from his daughter starts to wear on Ortiz. Overlaying Obama’s campaign rhetoric as he runs for re-election in 2012, the life lessons Ortiz is learning follow what the president is saying. Achieving the American Dream isn’t easy. The road to recovery isn’t quick. Murdock does an artful job of broadening out this one man’s unique profession into the goals of a president and his fellow citizens.

In a way, it’s a tale of two Obamas. Without getting too political, Murdock ties Ortiz’s fate to Obama’s 2012 re-election and that of the country. Ortiz needs four more years of Obama for his own career. Whereas divisive politics is often good for business, this doc pulls away from turning bright blue or red. Yet as with Ortiz’s life beyond Obama, the film doesn’t delve deep enough to a truly profound level.

Entertaining and interesting, for sure. But Bronx Obama won’t stick with you for long. Grade = B- 

Movie Review: 300: Rise of an Empire

27 Feb

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Slow motion. Blood. Action. Nudity. Naval warfare. Accents. Little to no storytelling. Narration. If these things have peaked your attention, then boy do I have a movie for you. 300: Rise of an Empire is the accompanying movie/sequel to 300, which starred Gerard Butler and told the story of King Leonidas and 300 Spartan soldiers holding back a massive Persian army until they [spoiler alert] all died300: Rise of an Empire tells the tale of Themistocles, played by Sullivan Stapleton, an Athenian general who fights the same massive Persian army in hopes to repel invasion and to unite all Greeks – but this time, on water.

Visually, Rise of an Empire is similar, if not the same, as 300. There is a graphic novel or video game feel to all the scenes in the movie, which actually helped hide some of the CGI that would be much more obvious in other movies. I did appreciate the fact that it went over the top with again with the costumes and character and set designs. You really got the sense that this was supposed to be a movie based on a comic. I also like to think that this embellishment of characters and how they looked and acted is how people would tell the story of these battles in ancient times. I’m not entirely sure that’s what their intention was, but hey, it’s a pretty good thought, ok?

In true Zack Synder fashion (even though he was just a writer in this movie), there was a lot of slow motion. It sometimes got to the point where there was so much slow motion in certain scenes that it felt like Noam Murro, the director, was just throwing them in there and going “Am I doing this right?” For those more familiar with video games, the slow motion events of the movie reminded me of quick-time events from God of War. I was half expecting a combination of buttons to flash on screen so that whichever character was fighting at that time would do a sweet slow motion move. So it kind of worked but there was just too much of it sometimes.

Do I dare talk about the acting? If you go and see this movie with the desire to be blown away by someone’s performance, then you’re going to have a bad time. The acting wasn’t horrible, but it was just what you would expect from this type of movie. The action is the important part of this movie, whereas the dialogue is just something that lets you know why the next scene is more fighting. As for storytelling, there isn’t much of that either. Lena Heady, who reprises her role as Queen Gorgo from the first 300 movie, narrates just about the first third of the movie to get you going. The rest is pretty much self-explanatory. Again, much like the acting, the over the top action takes precedent over the storytelling.

Overall, if you’re in middle school, into cosplay, or really into the first 300 movie, you’re going to love this second installment – and I recommend you go see it in theaters in IMAX 3D (the way we were able to last night). If you’re a regular ol’ person who just wants to be entertained and has realistic expectations for this movie, wait for it to come out on Redbox or HBO. But if you’re like the guy who sat next to me last night and was just in utter disbelief about the unrealism of this movie, know that nobody likes you and next time take your date out to a nice restaurant and not to a free screening.

300: Rise of an Empire comes out in theaters on Friday, March 7.

Kibitzers rating – 2.5/5

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