Yesterday we lost a true legend in pop culture, Stan Lee. A personal idol of mine and the former chairman of Marvel who helped the company become a comic book juggernaut Lee was an icon to many, helping originate countless superheroes many of which have earned cinematic adaptations. I thought hard about how I was going to honor this man and legend on my blog. This is a movie blog after all and I like to keep things pretty on topic. That said Stan Lee was not a movie star, but many did consider him a master of the cameo as he appeared in all 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date as well as other Marvel-based properties that have hit theaters. While it has been confirmed we will see Lee at least one more time in the MCU in next years’ “Avengers 4” I felt the most appropriate way to honor this man and have a little fun at the same time was to put these cameos front and center. So, to honor Stan Lee and his legacy here are my picks for the Top 10 Stan Lee Cameos on Marvel Movies.
Last week we saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” make a statement with a box office win kicking off the penultimate month of 2018. November doesn’t look to be slowing down either with Oscar season offerings and big budget projects all being churned out over the next six weeks or so. This past weekend was no different with three new major releases attempting to draw crowds, all from different genres. Were any of these films able to defeat the Queen biopic or did they fall flat with audiences? Let’s take a look in this week’s Box Office Breakdown, Nov. 9-11, 2018.
I was eleven years old when the first feature length adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” hit theaters in 2000. Since then that live action version has become the quintessential classic for my generation while those from older generations still hold tightly to the impact of the original television cartoon. Now the current generation of children will have their own adaptation of the famous Christmas story to embrace with “The Grinch”, a computer animated take of the tale of the titular grump and his war on Christmas. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know or enjoy the story of the Grinch in one form or another so this new take on the tale certainly had a lot to live up to. That begs the question, does this new animated version of “The Grinch” hold up and add something new to the legacy or is it a carbon copy retread worth skipping over? Well I’m late on making this post as it is so let’s get to it. This is my review of “The Grinch”.
Earlier this year we got an underwhelming “Cloverfield” universe addition called “The Cloverfield Paradox” that left fans wanting more from the J.J. Abrams produced franchise that explores different genres in science fiction with each film. With Abrams producing another movie released this weekend called “Overlord” many believed this would be the SECOND “Cloverfield” tie-in movie to be released in 2018, alas it is not. “Overlord” is an intriguing movie though, one that melds war film and zombie horror into a single project with the full intent of being a no-holds-barred cinematic experience of gore and fun. But how well does it actually do the job? Well I’m here to fill you in. This is my review of “Overlord”.
There are countless movies based on books that are released year in and year out and many of them are based on some pretty lengthy works. But not every book that inspires a film is 500 pages long. Heck some aren’t even 100 pages long. For example, Dr. Seuss’ classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is only 69 pages and yet this weekend we get our second theatrical film adaptation of the legendary picture book with “The Grinch”. You’d be surprised how many of these short picture books have indeed been the subject of theatrical films and since “The Grinch” does grace the big screen this weekend I decided to take a closer look at these products and pick out the best movies that have captured, or at least tried to capture, the magic of our favorite childhood stories. These are my picks for the Top 10 Movies Based on Children’s Picture Books.
Dr. Seuss-based theatrical films have not always had the best track record in theaters. They may make money, but many fans consider nearly all of the feature length movies based on the author’s work to be an injustice to his legendary books in some way. But two movies shine above the rest as the most infamous, 2003’s “The Cat in the Hat” and 2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Now these movies do have their fans. Some consider “The Cat in the Hat” a genuinely fun bad movie to watch while “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” has become an undeniably beloved holiday classic. But these legacies don’t exactly make them great films or great adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ works. In fact, both movies were so divisive and, in many cases, despised that Dr. Seuss’ widow actually forbade future live-action adaptations of the author’s characters making these the only two such works based on his library of children’s books. With the story of the Grinch getting an animated treatment this weekend I went back, rewatched both live-action movies back to back and decided to pit them against each other to see which is worse….err….I mean which is better. This is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Versus “The Cat in the Hat”.
Happy Election Day America! It’s officially awards season in the world of cinema as nominations have now opened for the Academy Awards. Throughout this month the ballots will be submitted deciding which films will vie for the coveted trophies in early 2019, but which movies that we’ve seen so far deserve to get a nod? Well that’s the theme for my list today. Not every Oscar hyped movie has been released for our viewing just yet, but many films containing Oscar worthy elements have already had their theatrical run so today I’m going to look at quality movies that were released prior to Halloween of 2019 that I personally believe deserve to be at least mentioned in Oscar conversations. These are my picks for the Ten 2018 Movies (So Far) That Deserve Oscar Buzz.
November is in full swing and after a record October the second-to-last month of 2018 showed no signs of slowing down with a pair of potential hits heading to theaters, a new comedy starring one of the most bankable genre stars of today, and of course the continued success of holdovers that made October such a huge month at the box office. A biopic, a new take of a classic fairytale, and a movie about catfishing all looked to take the top spot to start the month off strong, but which one reigned supreme? I think you know from that pun alone. Let’s break down the box office results for Nov. 2-4, 2018.
You’d think that Disney had touched almost every fairytale or classic story there is to tell right? Well one of the few stories they had yet to truly put their own stamp on was “The Nutcracker”. The legendary ballet has seen countless other renditions from cartoons to stage shows and television specials. For Disney’s spin on the story they decided to attempt to turn the production into an epic fantasy expanding the scope of the story beyond the limits of the source material. A lot of times Disney hits a home run with their own unique take on a story, but with a respected work like “The Nutcracker” it’s a huge risk even for one of the world’s most successful studios. So, does Disney do justice to “The Nutcracker’s” legacy or does this new live action rendition fall flat? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”.
Growing up I was introduced to rock-n-roll through the music of two bands, Stix and Queen with the later teaching me the true nuance and artistry of the genre. Honestly, I was thrilled when I heard that the band, and mainly lead singer Freddie Mercury, would be the subject of a biopic to be released this year. However, the film endured development hell as well as a change to its leading man and controversy over the continued disappearance and odd behavior of director Bryan Singer who was fired with two weeks left in principal photography. So there were many who questioned whether or not this film would do the legacy of its subjects justice based on its rocky development alone while others have been anxiously awaiting this biopic the same way countless fans embraced the music of the band back in the day. So did this movie live up to the hype or do an injustice to the story of a treasurer musical icon? Let’s find out. This is my review of “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
So Disney comes out with a new film this weekend, an updated live-action retelling of “The Nutcracker” which surprisingly is not a live action remake of a previous Disney feature. In fact this is the first time Disney has ever truly attempted to tackle the iconic ballet. But I digress. With the new film coming to theaters this weekend I wanted to find a way to work that into my latest Versus battle and I was inspired to explore a matchup I’ve debated with myself for a long time. One of last year’s biggest hits was Disney’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” and there are many who have debated whether the original is better or if the more in-depth live action treatment is superior. In honor of Disney’s latest live action adaptation of a classic work I decided to look at the most successful live action remake in their lineup and see which version of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic fairytale truly stands the tallest. This is “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) Versus “Beauty and the Beast” (2017).
Happy Halloween everybody and welcome to the final countdown of Horror Month! There have been many filmmakers who have tried their hand at horror, but only a select few have made a career out of it and even fewer have earned the right to be considered iconic. For my final list of Horror Month here on Cinema Spotlight and just in time for Halloween I wanted to take a look at some of the best directors who have helped make horror a credible, marketable and beloved genre bringing us some of the most iconic horror features in history and etching their permanent place in pop culture. So to close out my month of horror let’s count down my picks for the Top 10 Horror Movie Directors.