Double Feature: The Incredible Hulk (2008) & Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Next up in the double features, we head into a Marvel Cinematic Universe double feature as I try to catch up with all the movies that I’ve missed to date. Also, one of the reasons why I haven’t gone to see Avengers: Endgame in theatres as almost everyone has. Pairing it with my I selection on Netflix, The Incredible Hulk is a rental that I got for cheap and chose to see what the latest version of Spider-Man is like, because we’ve had a lot of them in the past 15 to 20 years. If its the first time being here, I have no basis on comic book adaptations or how it is there and only the movies so if you want to share your knowledge about how characters and villains are and how they are adapted in terms of these movies, feel free to share it in the comments below but  I’m not comparing to the source material.

Let’s check it out!

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

the incredible hulk

Director: Louis Leterrier

Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell

Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he turns into, whenever he loses his temper. – IMDB

Its quite incredible to think that The Incredible Hulk is the second film in Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films especially since he’s essentially become a supporting superhero in the films that follow with no sequel. However, it is understandable as this one outlines how he became Hulk. The Incredible Hulk portrayed Edward Norton is pretty much different from the one that reappears in The Avengers portrayed Mark Ruffalo. The Incredible Hulk isn’t a bad film, in fact, it lines up quite well the style that Marvel was doing in Phase One. There is some dark humor and then some deeper moments. Hulk is a pretty sad origin story as he has no control over his actions when he transforms and turns into a beast. In that sense, the story here is done well. Plus, its paced fairly well. The best part here does have to go to Tim Roth playing a fairly adequate villain (and I don’t quite acknowledge a lot of the villains much). However, it still feels slightly far-fetched in the sense of the motives of Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) and Abomination.

Its not that the movie itself isn’t enjoyable. The Incredible Hulk feels a bit disjointed in its storytelling in general. The story doesn’t lean too much on the origin and never dives too deep in the relationship side nor does it go very deep on the disapproval and the issues with the General and then it never really explains the reasoning behind Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky and Abomination. However, the movie does offer up a lot of action and there’s some cool moments here which work to make this a fun movie to watch.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

spider-man homecoming

Director: Jon Watts

Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City. – IMDB

I’ve lived through three changes in Spider-Mans already. To be honest, Spider-Man is about the most familiar superhero now other than Batman at this point. Another very fair point is that there is something  about being quite skeptical about how successful this Spider-Man will be and what makes him different. Of course, we’ve already had a snippet of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man due to Captain America: Civil War (review) who was adequate enough with that dose of geeky humor. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is not too different from the first films of both Spiderman (Tobey Maguire version) or The Amazing Spiderman (Andrew Garfield’s version) in the sense of say humor and personality. However, this one changes because we don’t see how he became Spider-Man which is a nice step because after so many, most people already know but rather takes the path of his feelings after the events of Captain America: Civil War and coming to terms with his desire to be more helpful rather than stay in his everyday routine as Ironman would like him to do. However, as dynamic as Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. add to the humor of the film, its feels underused in the sense of Peter Parker and his best friend because there is a nice friendship bond with that as well.

One of the things I also did enjoy with this one (similar to The Incredible Hulk) is Michael Keaton as The Falcon. For one, the villain design is really nice. The Falcon still doesn’t have that sort of evil villain sort of feeling to him but there is this nice mesh of bringing together past events and technology to create this character and the many situations that Spider-Man encounters because of it. At the same time, it gives this Spider-Man a real sense of learning a few qualities to become a part of The Avengers and realizing when he feels that he is ready for it and how it ends gives it a sense of the coming of age of Spider-Man. The direction and the characters and even the humor works overall in Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, the issues with it is that the film does feels at times a bit dragged out and long (but then I have issues with a lot of these superhero films being too long).

That’s it for this Marvel double feature!
Have you seen these two films?

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What’s Up Week 14: And the second quarter of 2019 begins

As we enter into the second quarter of 2019, things are finally seeming to get some balance as nothing seems to be too skewed to one category, which is how I’d like for this segment to go (but I know its only a rarity). Either way, I don’t deliberately do anything so it was all a relatively fun week.

READING

fables vol. 2

  • Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) Review
  • Fables Vol.2 Animal Farm

Currently reading: The Collection of Negatives

The Illuminae Files did not disappoint and actually its made me crave for some more sci-fi reading adventures (although I usually end up regretting it afterwards). Its the format and structure of this one that really works for me. Of course, I’m falling behind in the Goodreads Reading challenge with 8 books completed out of 40 (2 books behind..although one of the selections had 4 books together..so am I still behind?). I am also working on some of the other little things sitting around like graphic novels and such, which leads me to Fables Volume 2 Animal Farm. I like the Fables thing especially with Telltale Games The Wolf Among Us that really worked for me, sadly with the company’s shutdown, the sequel isn’t happening. Maybe some other company will pick up on the idea and adapt some game in that realm, we never know, right?

PLAYING

futuregrind

Currently playing: Omnicube, FutureGrind

Back to some previous titles that I put down and forgot to get back to. Surprisingly fun with company rather than solo even if these are single player games. They are more indie titles  and things that take priority. The first is a puzzle game called Omnicube which is about shifting colored boxes into their colored portals. It got pretty challenging after a while. As for FutureGrind, its a fun little arcade game where its a bit like Trials but with a two wheel bike that you have to rotate to go on the right colored rails. It sounds easy but things get a little harder. Both of them have a back story to it. Either way, I’ll be getting those playthroughs up on the channel soon :). I’ll be gaming more to build up some backlog for the second half of April when things get too hectic to even think about gaming, let alone editing.

WATCHING

incredible hulk

  • The 5th Wave
  • Gods of Egypt
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Ouija

My double feature segment may be in order but I don’t always follow the order when watching it, mostly because my husband wouldn’t watch some of those movies with me so I bumped them backwards. Among a bunch of not so good movies (notice the pattern yet?), the standout this week has to go to The Incredible Hulk. I had the initial ambition of doing my own little Marvel marathon until I realized that I only had Phase 1 films from MCU and then Netflix pulled a lot of the older ones and I wasn’t going to rent or buy them so I quickly dismissed that idea. Anyways, I finally caught up with The Incredible Hulk which was the only Phase 1 movie that I hadn’t seen so now to catch up with the newer titles, starting with Spiderman Homecoming next in line.

BINGING

On My Block s2

  • On My Block (Season 2, 2019) Review

Currently binging: The Brightest Star in the Sky, The Singer 2019, Mr. Swimmer, Great Escape, The Legend of White Snake, Viva La Romance (Season 2), Master in the House

TV series is going to be the death of me. So many new ones, variety and drama, and they were all on my radar and came out at the same time. The Singer 2019 is hitting its finals so that is going to end soon and I’m still taking a break from Mr. Swimmer (probably will until I get another 4 more TV binges done to thin out the backlog more) however keeping it here so I don’t forget to finish it up. The issue with Great Escape and Viva La Romance Season 2 is that they are only able to watch full episodes on Mango TV app and that app isn’t compatible to Chromecast so its a pain to watch on the phone so I only watch it certain times of the day. My guess is Master in the House is going to be the same way as it seems Mango TV is taking this new approach probably to maximize their profits from their own app and not benefit YouTube. I get where they are coming from but its just inconvenient. With that out of the way, my fave series right now is The Brightest Star in the Sky and The Legend of White Snake which is currently streaming on Tencent app.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
The starts of the 2nd quarter has been pretty good!

What have you been watching/playing/reading/binging?

Double Feature: Doctor Strange (2016) & A Little Chaos (2014)

Welcome to a much more star-studded double feature! It feels like I don’t watch enough mainstream films anymore but as I am trying to catch up with the few Marvel films that I haven’t seen, I landed on Doctor Strange a few weeks ago but just couldn’t find a worthy pairing for it until well, A Little Chaos the other day which is a period drama but still has the weight of a bigger film to match up. I am working on a few filns that are supposed to leave Netflix in June so those reviews should be coming up.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange

Director: Scott Derrickson

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts. – IMDB

I am not going to lie that I had my doubts about Doctor Strange, but it ended up being surprisingly good. I have my issues with Marvel that everyone else doesn’t always seem to have especially in terms of The Avengers and Loki. I find that Marvel movies in general suffer from weak villains who don’t have enough presence to make them threatening. But then can we really blame a superhero film because we know the named superhero will become victorious in the end. However, as much as I still dislike using a bunch of Western actors in source material Asian roles seems ridiculous, I honestly do love Tilda Swinton as an actress because she is unique and then the villain is Mads Mikkelsen who did a fairly decent job as well. To be fair, Doctor Strange is a fun role as Marvel injects a lot of humor in their franchise which is a good approach. Benedict Cumberbatch, known for his Sherlock Holmes role definitely had what it takes for it since those roles other than the deductive abilities swapped into a superhero abilities were quite relatable.

doctor strange

The action here was different mostly because it was about shifting and illusions, something like what you’d see in Inception. There are lots of great moments and some comedic moments to lighten up the mood. Apparently the world of MCU is always on extremes of being on the brink of disasters, luckily the heroes always find their strength to make it a little better and in Doctor Strange’s world and his manipulation of time, things can just reverse itself. I may sound sarcastic or maybe a little tired of superhero films, but Doctor Strange is okay. Its fun but nothing outstanding in the MCU realm. The feelings I have towards Doctor Strange are starting to feel lesser and lesser everyday as I start to feel it being forgettable. I enjoyed it more than I expected so that gets a lot of points there. Plus, that ending was all about setting up for a next film or at least an upcoming villain perhaps.

A Little Chaos (2014)

a little chaos

Director: Alan Rickman

Cast: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Helen McCrory, Jennifer Ehle

Two talented landscape artists become romantically entangled while building a garden in King Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles. – IMDB

I’m going to be honest that I love believe that Alan Rickman is a talented man however, I have a lot to catch up in his filmography. With that said, it came as a surprise to me that A Little Chaos was his work as a director. I’m a big fan of period dramas. One of the main selling points is the costume design. In A Little Chaos, it delivers very well especially highlighting the contrast between Kate Winslet’s Sabine De Barra being her normal non-royalty outfits where she gets dirty and they are very basic compared to say the extravagant French royalty with their wigs and big dresses. Matching with the beautiful costume designs is of course my favorite thing about period dramas and that is the score. From the moment the score started in A Little Chaos, I was in love with it. It was so beautiful and matched the scenes so very well. Kudos to Peter Gregson on a great job!

a little chaos

Another really great point of A Little Chaos has to be for those beautiful period drama settings. In this case, it is set in France and the King’s Gardens of Versaille. I’ve been to Versaille back in 1994 and to this day, I still remember a lot of the beautiful environments there and I was just 8 years old back then. This movie has a lot of focus on the whole gardening aspect and the passion for it and how this brought together the two main characters. The cinematography and production set of it all is done really well. Aside from this, the cast here is lead primarily by some familiar faces like the ever so elegant and talented Kate Winslet who is stunning as this female gardener who breaks the societal norms of this period. Paired with her is the also very talented Matthias Schoenaerts who I love so very much not just for his charming appearance but his acting chops. Of course, acting as both director and the King Louis XIV is Alan Rickman and well, we also somehow always get these little supporting roles with Stanley Tucci. The cast here does deliver quite charming and beautiful performances for their characters.

Now, where A Little Chaos loses its appeal is really in the story. For most of it, it feel disjointed and to be honest, it can be boring because there isn’t anything too extreme about it. The romance is quite subtle where its just exchanges of glances and small conversations. It jumps to events that happen that don’t really seem to make any big differences but to bring in some circumstance for people to meet up. There is never any huge turning point that happens. I know what was meant to be that moment but it never feels like it had enough build-up to make it worth it. It just felt rather flat and disjointed and if it wasn’t for these charming talented cast on screen dazzling us with their performances, this would have been a snoozefest. Sad to say, but if the script was a little better, the outstanding character created for Kate Winslet’s character Sabine de Barra and the hints of chemistry between her and Matthias Schoenaerts who plays Andre Le Notre, the King’s gardener would have been quite the romance to watch. Still, it fell short of its potential.

Sunday Lists: Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, Ranked

With the sheer amount of MCU movies we get every year, they are now in so many different phases, it seems to be the right time to start ranking these films.

Compared with other superheroes, MCU is more or less complete in my viewing with only a few slots as this post goes up now but it will be updated with the remaining films in between that I have to catch up with. You will see the unseen movies at the bottom.

Let’s take it away!

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Review

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

Captain America Winter Soldier

3. Captain America: Civil War (2016) Review

Captain America Civil War

4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

Thor: Ragnarok

5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

guardians of the galaxy vol.2

6. Iron Man (2008)

iron man

7. The Avengers (2012) Review

avengers

8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Review

9. Thor (2011)

Thor

10. Ant-Man (2015) Review

11. The Incredible Hulk (2008) Review

the incredible hulk

12. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Review

spider man homecoming

13. Thor: The Dark World (2013) Review

thor

14. Doctor Strange (2016) Review

doctor strange

15. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron

16. Iron Man 3 (2013) Review

iron man 3

17. Iron Man 2 (2010)

iron man 2

Not seen yet:

Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

That’s my list..to be updated as I catch up gradually!
What is your favorite MCU films? How would your ranking be different from mine?

Double Feature: F*&% the Prom (2017) & Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Back full power into the alphabetical train, the next two films in the double feature

F*&% the Prom (2017)

F The Prom

Director (and co-writer): Benny Fine

Cast: Danielle Campbell, Joel Courtney, Cameron Palatas, Meg DeLacy, Aidan Alexander, Michael Chey, Brendan Calton, Nicholle Tom, Jill Cimorelli, Madelaine Petsch

Maddy and Cole were inseparable friends until high school started and Maddy became the most popular girl on campus. When she starts feeling lonely and heartbroken, she reconnects with Cole and the duo conspire to destroy the ultimate teen popularity contest – the Prom. – IMDB

If it wasn’t for the sporadic releases of movies like The Edge of Seventeen (review), Easy A (review) and even The Duff (review), I’d have written off teen comedies in general. Netflix Originals in general have been fairly cool but when it comes to teen comedies, it seems they are not really finding the unique angle to take quite yet. I can’t remember the title of the last one I saw that was a disappointment..gimme a sec..#RealityHigh (review).

F the Prom

F the Prom is absolutely better than that one. It has hints of some of the older teen comedies but unfortunately, does fall flat and gets rather generic. You can’t shame it for at least doing like a Carrie style scene or having a ragtag team of bullied kids. The film is okay for what it is. There are some funny parts and I think Madeleine Petsch fits into the mean girl character (just like she is in Riverdale). I’m guessing this movie is more for this generation as it fits in a lot of social media and lets just say, I’ve been out of high school for almost 15 years now so to be honest, I laugh at some of the overexaggeration of say selfie-taking (since I always feel weird about it) and the emojis and whatnot. Either way, point is, F the Prom might have something and might have its demographic but its not for me and other than some little chuckle moments, I thought it was fairly generic.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

guardians of the galaxy vol.2

Director (and co-writer): James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel(voice), Bradley Cooper(voice),  Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Sean Gunn, Sylvestor Stallone

The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. – IMDB

Its really hard to not love the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 even when there are some of the normal downfalls I feel about MCU movies. For one, their soundtrack is fantastic and it remains that way in the sequel. On top of that, the ragtag team’s follow-up is one that shows them both bickering but also in the depths sees them forgiving towards each other in their stubbornest or dumbest moments. In fact, its because of their mishaps and their differences that give each of this team so much character and uniqueness and makes them both lovable and fun to watch. With that said, I don’t think in my limited film knowledge would I find so much joy in watching a little baby tree stump who only says three words over and over again. And not to sh*t talk Bradley Cooper but every time Rocket Raccoon talks, I forget that its Bradley Cooper and wonder who does such a great dynamic voice.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

Aside from the strength in the key characters, The Guardians along with some of the new additions to their team, we do also meet some cool characters and cameos. Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn, playing Yondu and his right hand man Kraglin, get a bigger role here and we learn more about The Ravagers. Alongside that arc, we also see a cameo from the awesome Sylvester Stallone. We love Stallone over here, so its always great to see him in all kinds of projects. He only had two scenes but its still really great. The Ravagers is something of a side arc while the main arc really goes to both the Guardians being chased down by the Sovereign, lead by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and Peter Quill’s father, Ego (Kurt Russell) showing up. I recently saw Elizabeth Debicki in Cloverfield Paradox (review) who was fairly decent. She’s alright in this one although to be fair, in terms of villains, Guardians still is quite lackluster as always, maybe its because we know our heroes are always going to be victorious. With that said, the Sovereign is an interesting galactic race to see especially when they battle like going to the arcades. On the other hand, Ego is a decent turn of events and introduces also the pretty funny Mantis (Pom Klementieff). The planet is beautiful and they have their own mystery as to what happens with it all.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun ride through the galaxy as we see the Guardians save the galaxy another time. This time, there are fun characters, Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone with some new funny additions like Pom Klementieff as Mantis. On top of it all, the best moments is absolutely with Rocket and Baby Groot who have some adorable moments especially when Baby Groot does a great dance around as the Guardians fight a interdimensional monster. Just from that first scene, it already sets a tone for what to expect in the rest of this action adventure.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Aren’t we feeling like the youngsters? Haha! It seems Jigsaw was given up and Les Affames was also given up for this month’s movie at the theatres and I ended up heading out to see Thor: Ragnarok with my friend. I’ve mostly been on track with the MCU films with a few exceptions like Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Let’s check it out!

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

thor ragnarok

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins

Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization. – IMDB

The MCU timeline has only gone through 2 years since the last we’ve seen Thor however, the previous movie, Thor: The Dark World has been four years. It is perhaps one of the first Marvel movies that I’ve gone in very blind. While Thor movies aren’t exactly very strong to the Marvel films, its always a fun time and its a very important factor of why I feel Marvel has been successful. Finding humor and blending it with a right amount of action helps form these characters and in Thor: Ragnarok, it is no different. The humor is fantastic especially with a lot of familiar faces and a few new ones. These blockbuster superhero movies have grown to be a norm to have incredibly long run times and it still is one of the criticisms I tend to have because it drags on in some parts however, Thor is also full of laugh out loud moments that it never falls flat for too long before it gets you immersed or simply having fun again.

Thor: Ragnarok

One of the best things about Marvel is that it knows that the fun in the movie, particularly in a blockbuster superhero film is simplicity. Sure, it takes a few turns here and there but everything works when its straightforward. There’s an issue then a dilemma then the superhero hits a snag that he or she needs to come back from and figure out a saving the planet or world or city solution. Nothing wrong with a little formula when you can get the tone right and the characters to be charming and engaging to watch. Thor: Ragnarok does all of that right and part it goes to having those engaging characters. Thor is always a joy to watch and with Loki being there as well, its always a fun time to watch their brotherly bickering even as they mock each other on their predictable characters. Being self aware is so important sometimes and that is the charm of it all.

Thor: Ragnarok

With that said, aside from Thor and Loki that Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are so fantastic as, the other characters all have their parts. Familiar faces go to Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Idris Elba as Heimdall. Making an appearance here and some very odd funny moments is The Hulk and of course, his human counterpart, Mark Ruffalo. All delivering on their roles very well. However, its great to see some other faces here as we learn a little more about Thor and Asgard’s history and of course the little sidetrack they make into The Grandmaster’s wastelands. The Grandmaster is played by Jeff Goldblum. Its been so long since I’ve seen Goldblum in anything but he takes on The Grandmaster with so much character in the most eccentric way. The awkward moments were the centre of a lot of the comedy here. A little younger in the cast was Tessa Thompson joining into the cast as Valkyrie who was a very different type of role than what she’s done in the past and I mean it in the best way. She’s a bad-ass lady and can definitely carry her own.

Thor Ragnarok

Its impossible to get through superhero movies without a mention of the villain. Except, Marvel movies have the fault of making incompetent villains who lack depth. Point exactly is that I can’t remember for the life of me what the name of the villain in The Dark World is. I think it starts with a “M” but all I remember was that he wasn’t really key to anything. Thor: Ragnarok is a little better mostly because Hella is the sister of Thor. She’s the secret of Asgard when Odin was much more ruthless. Nothing like sibling rivalry to get things heated up. Hella is played by Cate Blanchett and while a lot of her scenes were truly just amplifying how incredibly powerful she is, leaving it a little empty, its still Cate Blanchett and she is a fantastic actress that adds a little something to the role. Now, I’d be lying if her get-up didn’t remind me a little of Maleficent however, Hella is a dangerous villain all on her own, especially with a right hand man played by Karl Urban who never quite gets the depth in his character.

Overall, I have my criticisms about this movie but they feel a little like I’m nitpicking because Thor: Ragnarok is downright fun and packed with some cool action and awkward humor. Its villain is more competent and its humor is spot on and the characters are versatile and awesome. Thor: Ragnarok has its little issues and a lengthy runtime but it is my favorite Thor movie so far.

Have you seen Thor: Ragnarok?
Talking about lists, I’m definitely thinking of putting together a list of best to worst for the Marvel movies. Good idea?