Benedict Cumberbatch

The London Sanctorum has fallen, I am here to Bargain

Well Marvel is back at it again. In 2008 they launched Iron Man. At the time a little known B Character to the majority of movie going audiences. And it was a massive hit. In 2011 they brought us Thor. Another unknown hero that once again was a hit. The in 2012 they did something none of us ever thought we would see. They brought together Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye on the big screen in a live action vision of The Avengers. But it did not end there. They made Ant Man a house hold name. And now they look to do the same with another of their long lived, but relative unknown, Doctor Strange.

The new film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. It is directed by Scott Derrickson. The story follows world renowned neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch). After a tragic car accident he loses the use of his hands. He depletes all his options, until he is shown a new way. A way through the mystical Arts. Strange begins a journey to be the Sorcerer Supreme, but is confronted with an even more powerful being that threatens the fabric of reality.

First off, Marvel has done it again. They have done such a good job at bringing another character to life and into his public eye in a way that the majority of the movie going audiences will be able to get behind! While the history and story behind Doctor Strange is not easy to grasp, the film does very well at bringing it together pretty easy and pretty quickly.

First off the cast is all very functional. No that’s not a bad thing. They all do a great job. They bring the characters to life. What I mean by functional goes along with my thoughts of Thor and Iron Man, when I see RDJ, I see Tony Stark, when I see Hemsworth, I see Thor. I refer to them as those characters. When I see Cumberbatch, I’m still going to refer to him as Cumberbatch. And that is not a knock on him or the film. He is really good in this movie. It’s just not an iconic performance that he disappears into.

There was a lot of controversy behind the casting of Tilda Swinton, and I will say she was great in the role, but again, it was not an iconic performance. You could have casted someone closer to the characters Asian descent. But she was still good in the role. Rachel McAdams was also a good edition to the cast, but my favorite was Benedict Wong. Now he didn’t do anything special, he was just a fun character to have.

Mads Mikkelsen suffers from Marvel Villain disorder. Aside from Loki Marvel villains don’t historically live up to the hype. And Mads’ character suffers from it. He is fine in the role, and it builds to someone else, who I will talk about in my spoiler review on the Jackass Nation Podcast Channel. But the mark out, is Chiwetel Ejiofor. His take on Mordo could be the first and only, villain since Loki to really build on itself. I am excited for where this character goes.

The best thing about this film is the visuals. They are off the chain. It was absolutely stunning. It was really cool in IMAX 3D, and you guys know me; I’m not a fan of 3D. Now I hope to see it again before I record my spoiler review in normal, because I don’t know if it NEEDS to be seen in 3D. But I will say that I enjoyed it. The cinematography, whether it be the fight choreography, or the inceptionish like feel to it, is incredible.

Derrickson was obviously the perfect director for this film. You really feel his touch on it, and has the perfect hint of horror, mixed in with Marvel humor. Marvel does such a good job bringing the right directors in for each of their films. And Derrickson is once again an example of Marvel’s perfection.

While it is definitely not my favorite film in Marvel, it would probably wind up in the lower half, I still really enjoyed. There is no Jeebus Bonus for it, so it’s final Jeebus score is 3.5. But what say you Jackass Nation? Are you excited for Doctor Strange? What is your favorite MCU film? Sound off in the comments below! And remember, It Is What It Is!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

"Black Mass (film) poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

Black Mass the Return of Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp hasn’t had the biggest success ratings lately. With failures like Dark Shadows, Transcendent, and Mortdecai, he has left audiences wondering if we would ever see the real Johnny Depp again. Though the Pirates franchise continues to be box office hits, they have even fallen to the scrutiny of critics. His newest outing, Black Mass however has been silently working its way to the theaters, with a decent marking campaign that has made it look like a return to form for the major talent that is Depp. The question on everyone’s mind was, is Black Mass as good as it looks?

Black Mass is a crime drama released on September 18, 2015. It stars Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsguard, and Dakota Johnson. Written by Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Spectre) and directed by Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) Black Mass tells the true story of the infamous mobster Whitey Bulger (Depp) and his alliance with the FBI that kept him out of prison, and at the top of organized crime in the late 70s and early 80s. It is based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr.

What works best in this film are the performances? Johnny Depp must have heard people talking down about his acting and said “Oh yea? Watch this!” Because this is the star that we knew Depp was. He still has his makeup on, but that helps him disappear into this creepy, disgusting creature that is Whitey Bulger. He is phenomenal. One of his absolute best performances.

Another star performance is the one and only Joel Edgerton. Edgerton is putting together quite a resume. From Warrior, to The Gift, and now Black Mass, Edgerton is showing us he is a talent to be reckoned with. It won’t be long until the big leagues try to snatch him up, the Star Wars’ the Marvel’s, the DC’s. This guy is good.

To go along with Edgerton and Depp the rest of the cast is stellar. Cumberbatch is a star as always and nails the Boston accent. Bacon is a stand out and fun to see. Corey Stoll’s role is small but had the potential to be really impactful. The scenes he is in are intense and deep.

Another plus for this film is its tone. It is dark, and gritty and real. There are scenes that are legitimately hard to watch. And not because of gore or anything like that, they are just well written scenes. You feel the tension. There is a scene that was in the original trailer at a dinner table, and it just chills you to the bone. And it is not just that scene from the trailer; it is expanded, and heavy. The deaths are intense, and real, and you hurt with them, it almost feels like a serial killer film rather than a mobster film.

What hurts the film is I think the run time. It could’ve used another half hour to 45 minutes. The story seems to jump a lot, and when it does it almost leaves you lost at what has happened and what was missing in the years they jumped. Thy use some exposition to show you what all Bulger was doing, but they never really get into it. They never really show you his workings. They also didn’t show much of the war between the Italian Mafia and Irish Mob. I would have liked to see them delve into that a little more. Show us the battles, and turf war they were in.

Another issue I had was a lack of protagonist. Everyone is kind of the villain. You don’t really root for anyone until Corey Stoll arrives. And when he finally gets there you think ok, here comes the deep investigation into Bulger. And they give you one intense scene between Stoll and Edgerton’s characters, but then it is kind of left alone. And you are left to assume he had an investigation.

Over all Black Mass is a pretty good film, with incredible performances. Casting was out of this world, and every actor knocks it out of the park. While it suffers from a rather hollow story, it is still worth seeing. This might not be one that you re watch over and over, but it is still must see, especially for any Johnny Depp fan looking for his resurgence. I’m giving Black Mass a score of 3.8, with a .2 bonus for every actors, most importantly Depp’s, transformation into these roles. That leaves us with a Jeebus Score of 4.

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Martin Freeman, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

One more time to Middle Earth.

So I will preface this by saying I was not a fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. That’s right I said it. I was not a fan. And because of my lack of fan ship after seeing the three films, I chose not to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. When Smaug was released on DVD I finally took to time to watch An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of Smaug. I felt first film was a little childish and cheesy, but I decided to carry on and watch the second. Which I loved. That said I never watched either again until right before going to see The Hobbit: There and Back Again The Battle of Five Armies. My feelings toward the 2 remained the same, and as for the third and final adventure in Middle Earth? That thing is AWESOME!

So it’s time to return Middle Earth for one last adventure. And Peter Jackson has pulled out all the stops. Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, and Lee Pace, among others, all return for the final battle, and a battle it is. We pick up literally immediately where Desolation of Smaug leaves off and Smaug (Cumberbatch) is ravaging the town. Bard (Evans) stands up to Smaug and the standoff is nothing short of Epic. We now have Thorin (Armitage) and Crew back in control of Lonely Mountain. As Bard and The Elves come to claim what the feel is owed to them, The Orc army attacks, and the battle begins.

I loved this film. Where the first film is basically all story, and the second is a good mixture of story and action, this film is nearly all action. The battle literally takes up 90 minutes (maybe more) of the films 144 minute run time is an all-out war. And not that he would be reading this, but Michael Bay, take a little note. This is how you do a war! Not a single minute of the battle is wasted or feels forced. It is shot beautifully, and the CGI, though at times is noticeable, is still pretty crisp. The film takes place nearly all in one setting, right outside of the Lonely Mountain, so you don’t get a lot of Middle Earth, but you still feel like you are in this world still.

The story, though not heavily focused on is still well done. I never read the book, so I don’t know how close to the source material they stayed. I know Legolas was not in the book, but he is a great edition to the film. Bloom plays the character so seamlessly that you forget that that is Orlando Bloom, you just see the character. And he is so Bad A! Probably the most kick butt character in this film. The story arches between the characters are tied up and done perfectly, especially the relationship between Bilbo and Thorin. The film serves as a seamless link between Lord of the Rings trilogy and this Hobbit trilogy.

That said I had a few problems. There is some “Stormtrooper” logic to some of the Orcs during the battle that can take you out of the film, but those are the most easy to overlook. There is a character played by Ryan Gage named Alfrid, who had a small role in Smaug, and he is kind of the “Slimy Smee like comic relief” and the character gets about 20-25 minutes of screen time and I could have done with them killing him after 3 minutes. The character is cartoony and he completely takes you out of the film every time he is involved in a scene. Also, an aspect I liked in Smaug was the relationship between Tauriel and Kili. However in this film it feels very forced, and unnecessary. In no way does it suck you in, and you just don’t care about the relationship.

So all in all, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is an epic end to Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. So good in fact that it has made me make the decision to go back for the first time since I saw them in theaters and rewatch The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And for a film to do that, because I hated them, I’m giving it a full .5 bonus to go with my score of 5.1, giving us a Jeebus Score of 5.6, Multiple Viewings Required.

Penguins of Madagascar

You know, those Penguins in the Madagascar movies are the only characters that have not worn out their welcome. Someone should make a movie about them….. And boom, we have it. Now as the idea of the Penguins of Madagascar came out I thought “Oh come on now, do we really need this? This is nothing more than a cash grab!” But then something happened, a trailer came out, and I became very excited! Did you see that thing? It looked so cool! So my enthusiasm skyrocketed! And so this Thanksgiving, I decided, after both my Cowboys and Longhorns had let me down, I needed something up beat, something fun. Time for the Penguins!

The Penguins of Madagascar tells the story of Madagascar’s break out characters, penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private, as they set out on their own spy thriller adventure. In the continuity the film takes place after Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and has near nothing in common with the television series despite the characters and name. It is directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell, and stars the voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, and Ken Jong.

Unfortunately this was not the film I was looking for. It had a lot of cute moments, and it was ok, and if you have kids they are going to love it that’s for sure. While the original film series did a good job of incorporating these characters I think the stick gets a little old when they are thrust in their own hour and a half film. The show worked well because it it’s only 23 minutes or so, you get a good little run with the Penguins, however in an hour and half they run a little tired.

The story basically follows Private in his attempt to prove his worth all in while an Octopus from the Penguins past attempts to extract his revenge on the penguins for a lifetime of pain they once caused him. It plays out like a long version of an episode of the show. I chuckled a little throughout the film, nothing that really had me rolling or that I’d be quoting this film whatsoever. I honestly even almost fell asleep one or two times. The characters are fine, including the newbies, but that’s it, they are just fine. There is nothing memorable about it. I think they have just taken this too far.

All that said, that is not to say that it is not a cute film. Going with a Jeebus Score of 3.4 Check out the Matinee, but that said only do so if you have kids or a nephew or niece that wants to see it, because they will get a big kick out of it.

San Diego Comic Con day 1 top news stories

So today was a little tid bit of information out today, let’s just dive into and start with the DreamWorks panel. They released their upcoming schedule and it looks like we got some decent films coming our way. They first showed a short teaser for a film called Home. The plot seems to center around an alien race who attempt to take refuge on earth while hiding from their mortal enemy and make earth their new home. While attempting to relocate the humans, a young girl escapes and is accompanied on the run by a banished member of the alien race named Oh. Next up is a film called B.O.O. the Bureau of Otherworldly Operations. B.O.O. seems to center around a government organization that employs ghost to protect humans from hauntings. Two of the newest agents uncover a plot to destroy the organization and it is up to them to save the day. Finally, we get a little bit on the movie of the Penguins of Madagascar! Out came Comic Con virgins John Malkovich, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Apparently the Hall couldn’t help but ask Cumberbatch about the Dr. Strange rumors. To which he only replied maybe he’d be playing Nurse Normal. Funny guy. The three films seem fun. Penguins more than the other two.

Paramount took the stage next and dropped some major bombs. To start they announced a 2nd SpongeBob movie. Followed by the Ninja Turtles panel where they played some footage and talked about the film. Nothing new here. I haven’t seen many of the newer trailers and I’m pretty excited for the film. Next up they debuted the Hot Tub Time Machine 2 trailer. Which I will try to post at the bottom, don’t really know how. But it wasn’t anything special. Liked the first one, and you can’t judge a book by its cover, or a film by its trailer. There are a few funny spots, the nerd song, and the final clip.

Next up, well, I’ll get to what’s next. First they finished the Paramount panel with Interstellar. Matthew McConaughey and Chris Nolan showed up to discuss the film! I am very excited for this one, sadly I don’t think we get to see the trailer just yet, but from what I’ve heard it’ll be great. But now, Finally, The Rock has showed up at Comic Con! The Rock came out to apparently a tremendous ovation. He invited everyone to s special screening of Hercules, to which he was greeted by chants of Rocky, no, wait, it was another word, SHAZAAM! I think this entire Shazaam talk is misdirection. I think he’s going to be Black Adam. You don’t get the Rock, the most electrifying man in sports or entertainment and only let him on the screen half the time.IMG_1297 Aliens-Search-For-a-Home-in-First-Trailer-For-DreamWorks-Animation-Comedy IMG_1290 IMG_1292 IMG_1296 www.indiewire.com_-600x421

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