Movie Review: The Judge (2014)

Title: The Judge

Running time: 141 minutes

Director: David Dobkin

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Billy Bob Thomton

Summary: Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.  


The Judge is the first film produced by Team Downey, the production company Robert Downey Jr. has founded with his wife, Susan Downey. The premise actually resembles a lot the one in This Is Where I Leave You, which I reviewed earlier this week. A guy, whose wife has cheated on him, has to go back to the small town he grew up in because one of his parents just died. There he has to deal with the family he isn’t much close to and reunite with his high school flame, who never intended to leave town.

I’m glad to see Robert Downey Jr. playing something different from Tony Stark, but he’s still playing the same kind of character, witty, quick with words, proud… The character of Hank Palmer is a role very well-tailored to him that allows him to show off as much as he can. I enjoyed the father-son relation and Robert Duvall was excellent but he is there because Downey needed to act apposite someone. Watching this movie it seems Downey wants to keep the spotlight on himself and that’s maybe why his two brothers never get a chance to develop or do anything major besides being there and add some drama that will affect, of course Hank.

I had a problem with the strong lack of female characters and at the same time I’m conflicted about it because of the fact that the only woman, who is played by Vera Farmiga, is the character I could have actually done without. There are just too many dramatic plots to create a high level of tension and sometimes they don’t blend together.

The court scenes were the best part and I wish they had focused more on those, but they didn’t turn out to be as relevant as I thought they would be. Also, it got really distracting at points because every time they were in cars, the shots looked fake, as if it had been shot against green screen. I don’t know if that was the case but there’s especially a wide shot when Downey’s character first arrives to Indiana and the landscape is so bright and unreal it actually pulled me out of the movie for a bit.

The movie is too long and could have easily been half an hour shorter. It’s quite obvious that The Judge intended to be a strong Oscar contestant this year and, though is a good and beautifully shot film, I don’t think it reached that level, especially with so many great movies coming out this fall.


Marvel Announcements!

The battle between DC and Marvel to dominate the conversations keeps unstoppable. Two weeks after DC released their movie plans until 2020, Marvel organized an event for the press at El Capitán theater in LA to make some big announcements. And let’s just say, they didn’t disappoint. This is their movie slate for Phase 3.

Captain America: Civil War


As it had been rumoured for the past few weeks, Captain America 3 will bring the Civil War to the big screen. Kevin Feige stated that it’s not going to be like the one in the comics and instead of dealing with secret identities, it will be the government wanting some oversight, but the generalities of the Act will be the same. Joe and Anthony Russo are returning as the directors.

Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr took the stage, after Marvel showed a scene from Age of Ultron between Tony and Steve having and argument, and introduced the actor for Black Panther, who will be making his first appearance in the movie. But we’ll get to that later.

 Doctor Strange


We didn’t have an official confirmation yet, but with a director (Scott Derrickson) already attached to it and the constant casting news for the Sorcerer Supreme, it was obvious Doctor Strange was going to be Marvel’s next movie. Benedict Cumberbatch has been heavily rumoured this week for the role of Stephen Strange but the negotiations are not finished yet so there was no casting announcement.

 Guardians of the Galaxy 2


The Guardians of the Galaxy sequel was one of the few things announced this year at San Diego Comic Con but, given the success of the first one, the director James Gunn announced that the release date had been moved forwards.

Though they didn’t confirm any new addition, it seems possible Adam Warlock will appear in Guardians 2.

 Thor: Ragnarok


It was also rumoured that the third installment in the Thor franchise was going to feature Ragnarok and now we have the official confirmation. Of course, Tom Hiddlestone will be returning as Loki and the story will pick Thor right after the events in Age of Ultron.

 Black Panther


People started to freak out when Andy Serkis appeared in the Age of Ultron trailer with a very similar look to Ulysses Klaw, one of the villain in Black Panther comics. Chadwick Boseman was officially introduced as the actor to play T’Challa and, yes, we will see him a year before in Captain America: Civil War.

 Captain Marvel


Phase 3 brings us the first female superhero solo film in the MCU! Kevin Feige confirmed that indeed, the incarnation of this Captain Marvel will be no other than Carol Danvers. There are no director, screenwriters or cast attached to it yet.



Another team franchise, this time its members will be part of a race of superhumans. And you might think this comes out of nowhere but, according to Kevin Feige, we may find sooner rather than later how they fit into the MCU. Maybe some Easter Egg coming up in Agents of SHIELD?

 Avengers: Infinity War Part I and Part II


And last but definitely not least, Avengers: Infinity War, will be the culmination of everything that has come before. Done in two parts coming out one year apart from each other, to face the titan Thanos the Avengers will crossover at some point with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Extended Trailer for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’




Movie Review: This Is Where I Leave You (2014)

Title: This Is Where I Leave You

Running time: 103 minutes

Director: Shawn Levy

Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Jane Fonda

Summary: When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide-driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.


From the Night at the Museum director, and based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper, This is Where I Leave You is a comedy-drama film that, while it isn’t a disaster, there are many problems with it.

The good thing about it is the cast. What an amazing cast Levy has assembled here. The siblings have great chemistry together and a nice dynamic and, even though it doesn’t come close to feel like a real family in a real situation, is fun to watch. With Jason Bateman in the lead role and Corey Stoll playing his older brother, is Adam Driver as the youngest of the siblings the one who steals the movie.

But what really annoys me about this film is it’s the poor portrayal of women. Every single female character here is a stereotype and one-dimensional.. You have the main character’s ex-girlfriend who is now married to his brother and desperately wants a baby. There’s no more depth to her character than that. There’s the rich cougar who is dating the youngest and rebellious son. The wife that cheats on his husband with his own boss. The beautiful new love interest. I love Rose Byrne and she’s an incredible comedic actress but she doesn’t have anything to do here besides being cute. Jane Fonda is the mom that has basically embarrassed her kids while growing up. She wasn’t too over the top, which was nice. The only female that came close to having a rounded character was Tina Fey as the sister, who I’m glad to see in a more serious tone, still being quite funny, but sometimes I didn’t get her character.

Now, this could all be overlooked because when all the characters are thrown together, despite their lack of depth it somehow works and creates some interesting conflicts. But the kid dragging the toilet around was just stupid and annoying and not funny at all.

This is Where I Leave You sets up things conveniently without giving any explanation. We’re suppose to believe that these siblings don’t get along but there’s no actual reason to sustain that fact and when they are together, except maybe for Corey Stoll’s character, they do like and care for each other. So the whole point of the movie is diluted.

In the end, This is Where I Leave You is quite an enjoyable film, but can’t help being also a disappointment. If you walk into a movie with a cast like this, you’re not looking for something enjoyable, but something memorable and this movie sadly fails to achieve that.


This Week’s Movie News (20-24 oct)

Jena Malone rumoured to play Robin in ‘Batman v Superman’

Jena Malone

It was no secret that Jena Malone was involved in Batman v Superman after she was spotted on the set with Zack Snyder, but the character she was playing had remained a mystery. However, while doing an interview, one of the extras spilled that the character of Robin was going to be a female. This comment, shortly after followed by the actress posting a photo on Instagram of herself with red hair, which is Carrie Kelley’s trademark in the comic The Dark Knight Returns, led to the speculation that she might be playing this incarnation of Robin.

Bryan Singer wants Tom Hardy for major role in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’


It seems these days Tom Hardy is attached to every single comic book property out there. He is one of the actors Marvel is considering for Doctor Strange, Warner Bros is interested in him to have a part in Suicide Squad and now Fox and X-Men director, Bryan Singer, want him to play no other than the title role of the next film and main villain, Apocalypse.

Tom Hardy is no stranger to villains in superhero movies as he was Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

‘The Martian’, Ridley Scott’s next project


Based on the sci-fi thriller by Andy Weir, The Martian follows the story of astronaut Mark Watney, one of the first people on Mars. He is left behind by his crewmates after a dust storm tears through the area. His fellow astronauts assume he was killed during the tempest, and Watney has to find a way to survive being stranded on the Red Planet.

Matt Damon will play the lead role of Mark Watney and will be joined by a stellar cast formed by Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels and three new additions, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan and Mackenzie Davis.

The Martian will hit theaters on November 25, 2015

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Official Poster


First Look at Johnny Depp as the Wolf in ‘Into the Woods’

Entertainment Weekly has released a bunch of covers featuring the main characters of Disney’s next musical, Into the Woods, giving us the first peek at Johnny Depp as the Wolf.


Top Trailers of the Week

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ Teaser “Choice”

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Teaser Trailer

Read my review here.

Movie Review: The Boxtrolls (2014)

Title: The Boxtrolls

Running time: 100 minutes

Director: Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable

Starring: Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Elle Fanning, Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan

Summary: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator. Based on the children’s novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Alan Snow.  


The Boxtrolls comes from the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman and, it might not be as good as the first one and the style might be getting weirder and weirder with, but it’s still a great movie. This is what you would likely get by mixing Rohald Dahl and Charles Dickens together. The stop-motion animation is so good and there’s so much care put into the details, you even forget that is not CGI animation.

The voice work was great. There are a lot of well-known actors in it but they disappear into their role and in some cases is hard to recognize them. The main kid, Eggs, is voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Bran Stark from Game of Thrones. I think he is terrific in the show and was also very good here. More a stand out was Winnie, who was a very realistic character and fun to watch. Elle Fanning did an amazing job and was more alive than in her actual live action roles. Ben Kingsley voiced Snatcher, a very well fleshed-out villain, though some of his scenes were quite gross.

Maybe it would have been nice to get more depth for the boxtrolls. Apart from Fish and Shoe, who are the ones more involved in raising up Eggs, there’s no distinction between the rest. It would have been so much fun if they had approach it like in Despicable Me, where every minion has an iconic personality trait to tell them apart from each other and make them more charming.

Predictable and a simple story but The Boxtrolls is still a fun time and it explores more complex themes than what you’re expecting at first, without the need of constantly emphasizing on them and treating the audience as smart people. There are some disturbing images, considering this is a kids movie, and I wasn’t particularly a fan of the visual style but once I get pass that, it was delightful to watch.


Official Trailer for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

Yesterday was announced that the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was finally going to air during next week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD but somehow it got leaked on the internet and Marvel had no other option than officially releasing it. Check it out!

“There are no strings on me”

It’s not exactly the same trailer that was shown at Comic Con in July though a lot of the shots are, but they have omitted at least the party scene that seemed so fun, where everyone tried to pick up Thor’s hammer. That would have been awesome to see but I’m not complaining because this trailer is in itself perfect.

I love everything about it. The Hulkbuster is an obvious stand out, also the Hulk who looks even better than in the first one and resembles Mark Ruffalo more. I wasn’t very convinced about the rumour of Bruce and Natasha having a relation but that shot of them holding hands was beautiful. Also, how cool does Black Widow look being drop from the quinjet on her motorbike? Thor picking Tony up, the first look at Andy Serkis and his still-unknown character, Cap’s new suit and that shot of his shield broken, the twins and their powers… But Joss Whedon confirmed that Hawkeye was going to have a bigger role this time and he is still the less featured avenger in the trailer.

Everything accompanied by a creepy version of “I’ve got no strings” from Pinocchio and Ultron narrating. The CGI on him is incredible, James Spader sounds so terrifying. It looks like he is going to be an amazing villain.

I loved the wittiness of the first Avengers but is so great to get a darker tone and more depth this time around. I can’t wait for this movie.

Movie Review: Dracula Untold (2014)

Title: Dracula Untold

Running time: 92 minutes

Director: Gary Shore

Starring: Luke Evans,  Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Charles Dance, Art Parkinson

Summary: Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, Immortals) stars in Dracula Untold, the origin story of the man who became Dracula. Gary Shore directs and Michael De Luca produces the epic action-adventure that co-stars Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, and Diarmaid Murtagh.


I walked into this film with very low expectations given the negative reviews it received and maybe that’s the reason it didn’t turn out to be as bad as I initially expected. Still, it doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. It starts quite good with an interesting premise, combining the legend with actual historical events, but Dracula Untold fails to deliver anything special, and if Universal wants to reboot their Monsters Cinematic Universe, they have started with the wrong foot.

Luke Evans was a great choice for the lead role of Vlad the Impaler and carries the film without a problem. He was one of the good things about the movie, but the plot goes down when it tries to focus too much on the relation with his wife. Let’s be honest, no one goes to a Dracula movie to see him happily married and in love. And when the wife, played by Sarah Gadon, doesn’t have anything to do besides being beautiful, it’s a waste of time. I liked the father-son relation with Art Parkinson’s character though, that seemed to fit way better into the story.

Mehmed, lacked all the charisma of a good antagonist. Dominic Cooper was fine, but didn’t do anything to make him a stand out. Charles Dance on the other hand, with a minor role and only a couple of scenes, was the most exciting to watch.

Dracula Untold‘s biggest problem, just as it happened in Pompeii, relies on the fact that it takes itself too seriously and takes the fun out of it. Everybody who would go to see this movie will already know how it’s going to end. That takes away a lot of the suspense and makes it predictable. Instead of focusing so much in building up the tension for a moment everyone knows is coming, it should have centered on telling a good war story with interesting characters instead of forgettable ones who are just there as plot points. The rating didn’t help at all either. In a vampires-war movie you expect to see a lot of blood but due to the PG-13 rating there was hardly any.

It’s only fair to mention that there were some really cool looking special effects and as dumb and lazy as the origin story itself is, the movie is entertaining enough, when you know what you’re going to get. And is only 90 minutes.

Maybe there’s still hopes the Dracula sequel will be better handled and more interesting now that they’ve got rid of the tedious origin story but I’m not really looking forward to the next installment in this cinematic universe, which is supposed to be the reboot of the Mummy. I thought the first two with Brendan Fraser were really good and funny which is just what Dracula Untold lacks.



This Week’s Movie News (13-17 oct)

Ezra Miller cast as the Flash & DC Movies revealed!


After the revolution that Robert Downey Jr’s rumoured involvement in Captain America 3 caused this week on the Internet, Warner Bros. didn’t want to be any less and they have released their whole film schedule from 2016 to 2020.

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), directed by Zack Snyder
  • Suicide Squad (2016), directed by David Ayer
  • Wonder Woman (2017), starring Gal Gadot
  • Justice League Part One (2017), directed by Zack Snyder
  • The Flash (2018), starring Ezra Miller
  • Aquaman (2018), starring Jason Momoa
  • Shazam (2019)
  • Justice League Part Two (2019), directed by Zack Snyder
  • Cyborg (2020), starring Ray Fisher
  • Green Lantern (2020), reboot

The day after releasing this, Warner Bros. added on Twitter that the Batman and Man of Steel sequels are not included but they obviously have plans for them. One thing to take from this schedule is that if the Wonder Woman movie comes out the same year as Justice League Part One it might imply that Gal Gadot will not appear in it, which is weird considering she is one of the Holy Trinity.

Later this week was announced that Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Tom Hardy and Ryan Gosling had been approached for the Suicide Squad movie.

I’m so happy for Ezra Miller landing the role of Flash. He is such a fantastic actor and hasn’t had yet the opportunity to be in a big film like this. We also get the confirmation of Jason Momoa as Aquaman and something that is good to know, Green Lantern will finally be rebooted.

If you are excited about these news, there’s more. Warner Bros. has decided that before the sequel to The LEGO Movie comes out, we will get a LEGO Batman solo movie!

Actors considered for Doctor Strange


After the negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix failed, Marvel is keeping their search for Doctor Strange and apparently is looking at a handful of well-known actors that include Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Ryan Gosling, Ewan McGregor, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Oscar Isaac, Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Farrell.

I, personally, would have never considered Ewan McGregor as Stephen Strange but after seeing him amongst the rumoured candidates I was quite excited about the possibility and would love to see him playing the Sorcer Supreme. Jared Leto would be my second option.

Javier Bardem in talks to play the villain in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’

Javier Bardem Presents 'Sons Of The Clouds: The Last Colony' Documentary In Paris

Reports say that the spanish actor is expected to play a ghost pirate who blames Jack Sparrow for the death of his brother and is searching for a supernatural object to aid him. Bardem won his Oscar for his performance as the villain in No Country for Old Men and more recently he went toe-to-toe with James Bond himself in Skyfall.

Other new characters to join the franchise include a love interest for Sparrow, who is accused of being a witch, and a male role to replace those of Orlando Bloom in the first three and Sam Claflin in the fourth. There are no casting clues about them yet.

Neil Patrick Harris to present Oscars 2015


The How I Met Your Mother actor is no stranger to hosting awards shows. He has already hosted the Emmys twice and the Tony Awards four times and next year Neil Patrick Harris will be presenting the 87th Academy Awards. This is what he had to say about it:

“It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year’s Academy Awards. I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show. To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true.”

The Oscars will air on ABC on February 22, 2015

Top Trailers of the Week

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ Teaser “Return tu District 12”

‘In the Heart of the Sea’ Trailer #1

‘Top Five’ Trailer #1

Movie Review: Gone Girl (2014)

Title: Gone Girl

Running time: 149 minutes

Director: David Fincher

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens

Summary: On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?  


The Social Network, Zodiac, Fight Club, Seven… David Fincher never disappoints and Gone Girl, with its creepy and disturbing atmosphere and beautiful editing, is definitely no exception. The author of the book herself, Gillian Flynn, adapted the screenplay and, while I can’t compare it to the book, the movie turned out to be unexpectedly funny, with well-handled humor that doesn’t feel forced and comes naturally with the situations.

The casting is simply perfect. Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne is phenomenal. I like that they didn’t saw the necessity to make him a likable guy. He had flaws and he makes things that sometimes make you hate him but still you keep feeling sympathy towards him. But the real stand out of the film is Rosamund Pike, who is terrific as Amy Dunne, making the character so fascinating and mysterious. This is her best performance to date and I would be surprise if she doesn’t get at least an Academy Award nomination.

Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister has a wonderful dynamic with Affleck. Tyler Perry was an amazing surprise. Kim Dickens was great too as the detective. The only piece of casting I had a bit of a problem with was Neil Patrick Harris. It’s not that he is bad in it, he actually does a pretty decent job, but I think he was miscast and didn’t seem to fit.

I know of some people who were disappointed with the ending. Maybe that’s the reason it was rumoured for a long time that they were changing it, but I thought it was very appropriate given everything that happens and how the characters are portrayed and developed.

Shout out to the marketing campaign and whoever put the trailers together because they were fantastic, giving the audience the enough amount of information to catch your interest without giving away any part of the plot. And in a movie like this, with so many twists and turns, that’s something important.

I have to say, I figured the big twist quite at the beginning but I was still completely engaged in it. It’s a long film but It has a way of keeping you on your toes and make you constantly think about what’s happening that it never gets tiresome. Gone Girl succeeds at capturing a sense of reality, where you just know what the media is showing you and it makes you wonder how much of what you see in the news is actually true. One of my favourite movies of the year.


Robert Downey Jr. in Talks to Join ‘Captain America 3’?


Before we begin, Variety broke the story yesterday but there has still been no confirmation from Marvel or Downey’s team, so until they say these news are true or false, this is all speculation.

Rumour is Robert Downey Jr is in negotiations to play a key role in the next Captain America movie, which will bring the Civil War to the MCU. If you are not familiar with the comics, the Civil War brings Iron Man and Captain America against each other as they feud over the Superhero Registration Act, which forces superheroes to reveal their identities and work for the government. Stark supports the program while Rogers does not, creating a conflict between the two Avengers.

But this is where the story gets interesting. Apparently, Marvel wanted Downey to have a small role in the film but the actor wanted to have a more substantial role in it. Ike Permutter, chief of Marvel Entertainment, wasn’t pleased with this requirement and ordered the screenwriters to write Iron Man out of the script. Thanks to Kevin Feige, it seems Robert Downey Jr finally got away with it.

According to the sources, Downey would earned around $40 millions and an additional payout if Captain America 3 outperforms Captain America: The Winter Soldier because its success could be attributed to his involvement. Which, in my opinion, is completely stupid. Chris Evans is also a bigger star now and the character Captain America more popular thanks to the success of Winter Soldier and his role in the MCU, which had nothing to do with RDJ.


I don’t know how I feel bout this. While I would love to see the Civil War storyline brought to the big screen, I’m not sure I want to see it in a Captain America movie. For starters, in the MCU the superheroes don’t have secret identities. Everybody knows Steve Rogers is Captain America or that Natasha Romanoff is Black Widow, so they would have to change the main conflict.

Also, if Iron Man is in it, it’s no longer going to be a Captain America movie. You just can’t bring a character that big with his own stablished franchise and keep the focus in Chris Evans. Apart from the Steve Rogers, giving Tony Stark a big role is going to decrease the amount of screen time for characters like Falcon and Winter Soldier, whom I was really looking forward to get into more depth. And also the rumoured Hawkeye, who I think deserves better the opportunity to join Cap as he hasn’t had the change yet to play a big part in the MCU.

But my big problem here is with Robert Downey Jr himself, if the news are true and he is basically demanding a big role in the movie. Outside from the Marvel franchises he is not exactly a box office hit, which has been recently proven with The Judge. It makes me wonder how much power does RDJ have inside Marvel. Yes, his character is very popular but he has already had three solo movies, a big part in the first Avengers and one of his demands to return for Age of Ultron after his contract expired, was to have a bigger role. As much as I love Downey, this behaviour is just selfish and is not fair to other cast members, specially to Chris Evans, who is doing an amazing job as Captain America and has proven that he can carry his own movies.