Tag Archives: ‘Captain America: Civil War’

Movie review: ‘Black Panther’ impressive addition to Marvel Cinematic Universe


See Tim’s review on “Black Panther” on KARE 11 (NBC) with Adrienne Broaddus in the video above.

“Black Panther” (PG-13)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to amaze with “Black Panther,” the first solo movie featuring the legendary Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. First appearing on the big screen in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016 with Chadwick Boseman in the title role, the “Black Panther” solo film finally gives the character of T’Challa/Black Panther the big screen real estate the character deserves, and Boseman, director Ryan Coogler and the film’s impressive supporting cast make the most of it.

“Black Panther” is set almost entirely fictional African country of Wakanda, a hidden fortress that is the most technologically advanced country in the world. At their disposal is an endless supply of an alien metal known as Vibranium, which the newly-anointed King T’Challa use for good, but if it falls into the wrong hands, could have global implications. The threat becomes real when T’Challa’s long-lost cousin Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) finds his way into the Wakanda and challenges the king to his birthright to ascend to the throne.

Following his impressive turn in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016, Boseman proves from the beginning of “Black Panther” that he can easily carry a film on his own, something fans of the actor already knew after his memorable turns as Jackie Robinson in “42” and James Brown in “Get on Up.” Boseman is no longer one of about a dozen principal characters he’s dividing time with, and he’s able to give T’Challa/Black Panther some depth because of it.

By Black Panther having a solo film, it also allows for other characters to be introduced into the story, which are wonderfully realized by the likes of Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Forrest Whitaker, Dana Gurira, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Letita Wright and Daniel Kaluuya. The key to the film’s success is, while the action is intense, the sets are jaw-dropping and the special effects are spectacular, they never outweigh the story Coogler is telling. “Black Panther” gives more than enough room for its characters to breathe, and they create a memorable superhero film in the process.

Lammometer: 8 (out of 10)

AUDIO: Listen to Tim’s review of “Black Panther” on “The KQ 92 Morning Show” with Tom Barnard in the audio above.

Tim Lammers reviews movies weekly for The KQ92 Morning Show,” “KARE 11 News at 11” (NBC), “The Tom Barnard Podcast” and “The BS Show” with Bob Sansevere.

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Movie review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (PG-13) 

Tom Holland puts in an amazing performance in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the third time an actor has assumed Spidey’s costume in the past 15 years following turns by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

Following his introduction to the world of the Avengers in “Captain America: Civil War,” Peter Parker (Holland) returns to high-school life as a 15-year-old in New York City. Waiting for his next call from Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to join the Avengers for his next mission, Peter struggles with how he can best serve his friendly neighborhood as he awkwardly stumbles through adolescence and newfound responsibility as a superhero.

The film offers a completely fresh take on Spider-Man from a film standpoint, introducing new characters and a fresh villain with the Vulture (the always great Michael Keaton). Despite his large presence in the film’s trailers and clips, Downey is only in the film about 5 minutes, but he makes the most out of every second.

Lammomter: 8.5 (out of 10)

Listen to Tim’s review of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” with Mike Compton on KQRS-FM.

Movie reviews: ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ compelling experience; ‘Doctor Strange’ fits bill

Click audio player to hear Tim’s review on the “The KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard.

“Hacksaw Ridge” (R)

There’s no way to prepare yourself for emotional experience that is director Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” the compelling true story of forgotten World War II hero Desmond T. Doss, a battle medic who single-handedly saved 75 soldiers, one by one, in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Providing an inspiring, in-depth look at Doss — the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor – “Hacksaw Ridge” is easily the best film of the year, and its message of courage and sacrifice will echo for generations.

Andrew Garfield is brilliant as Doss, a devout Seventh Day Adventist who, following a turbulent youth with a violent father (the always great Hugo Weaving), swore off violence of any kind. Weathering his father’s actions — which were spurred by his haunted past as a World War I veteran — Doss readily enlists in the Army, yet with caveat he does so without ever picking up a weapon. A strict believer in the Ten Commandments – specifically the Sixth Commandment of “Thou Shall Not Kill” – Doss wants to save lives instead of taking them. His determination to serve his country, however, comes at an enormous cost long before he steps foot on the battlefield.

There’s no question Gibson has led a tortured, personal existence over the past 10 years, but when the

man steps foot behind the camera, incredible things happen. Flanked by excellent performances by Theresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey and Vince Vaughn in pivotal supporting roles, Gibson constructs a complete and utterly compelling look at Doss’ life here – with a story that extends from Doss’ time as a boy growing up in Virginia to an incredibly emotional look at his life after the war through real-life footage and testimonials by fellow soldiers. It may be the best film he’s ever done in an already stellar canon of work.

Of course, “Hacksaw Ridge” will draw attention for its brutal depiction of violence, as its intense, unforgiving battle scenes no doubt match, if not surpass, the carnage displayed in the unforgettable opening of “Saving Private Ryan.” While not for the faint of heart, the carnage in “Hacksaw Ridge” is a necessity in order for the film to get its point across. If there’s a film today that is meant to teach the sacrifices of our country’s military and the cost soldiers have paid and continue pay for our freedom, “Hacksaw Ridge” is it.

Lammometer: 10 (out of 10)

“Doctor Strange” (PG-13)

While this year’s “Captain America: Civil War” ranks among the best films in Marvel’s amazing run since 2008’s “Iron Man,” the studio’s latest entry is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to keeping the sprawling superhero narrative fresh. Much different than Marvel’s superhero movie entries, “Doctor Strange” still fits within the framework of the overall story the studio is assembling, and the presence of Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a welcome one as the story moves forward.

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Cumberbatch perfectly embodies Steven Strange, an arrogant neurosurgeon who loses his gift of saving lives in the operating room when his hands are severely damaged in a car crash. Feeling helpless, Strange’s path to leads him to Katmandu, where he hopes leading a mystical guru known as “The Ancient One” (a brilliant Tilda Swinton) will teach him the power to heal with his mind. As it turns out, Strange is much more gifted than he realizes, and if he properly harnesses his power of sorcery, he’ll be able to battle forces in the mystical realm that pose threats to the physical world.

While the visual effects in “Doctor Strange” are brilliant, they sometimes get in the way of the story. Still, the film – which co-stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen – is entertaining throughout, right up until the very end of the end credits. Stick around, as per Marvel tradition, the sequences (there are two of them) help set up chapters in upcoming “Avengers” adventures.

Lammometer: 7.5 (out of 10)

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Summer at the movies 2016: The best and worst

CBS Films/LionsgateBy Tim Lammers

There’s no better way of putting it: Most of this summer’s movie offerings were pitiful. Loaded once again with sequels, remakes and reboots, the obvious lack of originality this summer movie season seemed to finally affect the box office, which at one point, was more than 22 percent down from last summer.

This summer yielded a slew of decent films, a few obvious winners and some huge disappointments. Here’s a look at the best and worst films to hit the big screen since summer movie kicked off in May.

  1. “The Conjuring 2″/”Don’t Breathe” (tie)

Horror movies usually do well at the box  office, usually due to low budgets and normally large enough turnouts over opening weekend to make back their production budgets. Often, though, low budgets equate to cheap thrills, and “The Conjuring 2” and “Don’t Breathe” defied convention. Yes, the films have their fair share of quick scares to make jump, but layered within were actual stories and the novel approach by directors James Wan (“The Conjuring 2”) and Fede Alvarez (“Don’t Breathe”) to allow intensity to build towards suspenseful and exciting conclusions. If the studios are smart, they’ll rush these out on video in time for Halloween viewing.

  1. “Kubo and the Two Strings”/”Finding Dory” (tie)

The animation genre provided the most steady returns this summer, and the Laika stop-motion wonder “Kubo and the Two Strings” and Pixar’s long-awaited “Finding Dory” were easily the two best. The key to the success of both films is that they respected the intelligence of kid audiences and equally entertained adults audiences with smart scripts, loads of excitement, lots of humor (especially in “Dory”) and healthy doses of emotion (“Kubo”). The two films are shoo-ins for Best Animated Feature Oscars.

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  1. “The BFG”

It’s odd that one of Steven Spielberg’s most magical films in years turned out to be one of his biggest box office disappointments. Sadly, Spielberg was the only marquee asset available to market the film, a live-action/motion capture animation hybrid that delightfully brings late author Roald Dahl’s enchanting tale to life. Fresh off his Oscar win for Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” Mark Rylance is brilliant in his motion capture performance of a big, friendly giant (hence, the BFG), who teams with an orphan girl (Ruby Barnhill) in a ploy to prevent his fellow not-so-friendly giants from wreaking havoc with the children of London. The film features a bittersweet reteaming Spielberg and his “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” screenwriter Melissa  Mathison, who died before filming was complete.

  1. “Captain America: Civil War”

The third and easily the best film in the “Captain America” movie arc, “Civil War” is arguably one of the best in the entire “Avengers” saga. Expertly directed once again by brother Joe and Anthony Russo, “Civil War” boasts a brilliant mix of action, emotion and effective storytelling that’s not undermined by the film’s thrilling visual effects. Grounded in real-world storytelling that infuses contemporary issues, the film pits Captain America (Chris Evans) against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) – who are at odds over an international accord that would impose government oversight on the Avengers’ actions. Unlike the two “Avengers” film chapters, the film doesn’t feel overstuffed with superheroes, even though one massive, entertaining scene features 12 of Marvel’s greatest characters. It’s easily the best traditional superhero movie of the year (“Deadpool” gets its own designation since it’s anything but traditional).

  1. “Hell or High Water”

The biggest mystery behind this brooding crime thriller was the decision to release it in early August when it clearly would have been better served in the fall during awards season. The bank robber thriller feels fresh and exciting with some unique plot twists, and the “Heat”-like narrative is expertly constructed through the taut direction of David Mackenzie complimented by the flawless acting of Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster aids “Hell or High Water” as moves  toward its thrilling (and unpredictable) final showdown. The film, which refreshingly isn’t afraid to be politically incorrect (a rarity these days) is not only the best films of the summer, but one of the best films of the year.

And … the worst

Three films vie for this dishonor, although there are several more that could have easily been included. The ill-conceived “Warcraft” made the disastrous assumption that everybody was familiar with the plot of the blockbuster game series, and the confusing plot only compounded the pain of watching archaic-looking special effects; “X-Men: Apocalypse” was more disappointing than bad, mainly because there were so many expectations after “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which was arguably the best film in the “X-Men” film series.

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The worst movie the summer, hands down, was “Independence Day: Resurgence,” an embarrassing follow-up to the blockbuster “Independence Day” from 1996. The dialogue is horrible (“Let’s kick some alien ass!”), the acting is B-movie laughable and talented actors like Jeff Goldblum and Brent Spiner are completely wasted (Will Smith smartly declined to be in the film). Writer-director Roland Emmerich had 20 years to make this film and this is the best he could come up with? “Independence Day: Resurgence” is summer movie formula crap at its very worst.