Let’s get this out there before we start. Yes, Deadpool is part of the Marvel universe, but this character, played perfectly by Ryan Reynolds, is far from a virtuous superhero. In fact, it’s his frequent, fast-talking quips that not only wow the movie-going audience, but also earn the true hard “R” rating for the film.
If you’re wondering what kind of film you’re getting, the opening credits clue you in pretty quickly, starting off with a chaotic action sequence followed by some non-traditional credits eschewing the real names of the key player in favor of taking pot shots at each person involved in the cast and crew.
The film centers on Wade Wilson (Reynolds), a former special ops mercenary taking jobs as a thug for hire and not particularly interested in the acclaim that comes with the good work he’s often doing. He’s frequently hanging out at a seedy bar run by his friend Weasel (TJ Miller). It’s there that he crosses paths with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a damaged woman whose personality is a perfect fit for Wilson. Their “meet cute” is verbal foreplay trying to one-up each other with increasingly sad childhood stories. But their happiness is shattered when Wade learns he has terminal cancer and finds himself at a loss as he watches Vanessa suffer over his condition.
He’s soon approached by a recruiter (Jed Rees), who offers him a chance to take part in an experiment that would not only cure his cancer, but would imbue him with super powers. Feeling this is the best option, he leaves Vanessa to undergo the experiment only to find out after its too late that those experimenting on him, Dr. Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his assistant Angel Dust (Gina Carano), don’t have altruistic goals and plan to enslave him to the highest bidder should his transformation into a mutant succeed.
After escaping the nefarious mutant doctor’s testing but being left for dead, Wilson lies low and lays in wait for revenge and the hope that he can return to his former form. Severely deformed by the transformation, Wilson reconnects with Weasel, takes up residence with an elderly blind woman (Leslie Uggams) and starts tracking down Ajax’s associates, but can’t bring himself to reveal his deformed self to Vanessa.
As the masked vigilante Deadpool, who has amazing healing powers, he tracks down Ajax and is all set to exact his revenge when X-Men’s Colossus (Stefan Capicic) and his trainee Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) intervene and allow Ajax to escape. With his plan foiled and Ajax aware of his existence, Deadpool must then act quickly to save Vanessa as Ajax knows how to hit where it hurts.
As a whole, the action scenes are expertly navigated and beautifully choreographed by up-and-coming director Tim Miller, while the humor comes more fast and furious than the action. Writers Rob Liefeld,Fabian Nicieza, Rhett Reese,Paul Wernick are teased as “the real heroes” during the opening credits, and the consistently sharp banter is part of the reason this film works so well. Wilson’s motor mouth may have you wanting to return to make sure you caught all the jokes. With the character breaking the fourth wall with the audience, it’s even more entertaining as Deadpool takes shots at not only Reynolds’ persona, but also with the X-Men franchise and studio backers Fox making for some of the film’s more clever quips. And the humor doesn’t stop there as Deadpool returns for not one, but two end-of-credits appearances, each worth staying around for.
Deadpoolis a departure from the traditional superhero film and the brash sense of humor will appeal to many, especially those who don’t like their heroes sanitized by a PG-13 rating.
Director Greg McLean, best known for his 2005 feature Wolf Creek, reunites with Radha Mitchell (they worked together on the man-eating crocodile film Rogue) with The Darkness. Co-starring Kevin Bacon,David Mazouz, Jennifer Morrison, and Lucy Fry, the storyline centers on a family who return from the Grand Canyon with a supernatural force that feeds off their own fear.
It’s been a busy year for McLean, as he recently finished shooting The Belko Experiment, a movie that was penned by Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn. Daniel Radcliffe signed on earlier this month for McLean’s next movie Jungle, an Amazon set thriller which is based on Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival.
The Darkness opens nationwide May 13. Check out the trailer, which features a pretty cool scare with David Mazouz (whatever is coming out of his mouth is pretty disgusting), and tell us what you think!
One of The Witch’s many assets lies in director Robert Eggers’ singular vision of 17th century New England. Banished by their church and forced to live in a remote area on the outskirts of a forest, William (Ralph Ineson) and his family must now fend for themselves. Though they grow crops and raise animals on their land, surviving in this secluded area leads to the worst kind of cabin fever, as daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy, delivering a pinpoint performance) and her paranoid mom (Kate Dickie) continue to butt heads. This level of suspicion from the mother may be warranted, as Thomasin holds a mysterious connection to a powerful forces that lives deep within the forest.
Though Robert Eggers is one of the up and coming voices of cinema, he approaches storytelling from an entirely different vantage point. “Religion. Mythology. Folk tales. Fairy tales. They are more important to me than film,” says Eggers, who received the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award (U.S. Dramatic).
Click on the media bar below to hear Robert Eggers talk about how the support of producers Rodrigo Teixeira, Lourenco Sant’Anna, and Sophie Mas helped The Witch achieve its potential.
To hear Anya Taylor-Joy discuss her own journey with The Witch, check out the story on our sister site Deepest Dream.
Director Ramin Bahrani’s latest work, 99 Homes, was released last year to critical acclaim, with Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield receiving heaps of praise for their respective performances. Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, the film centers on Dennis Nash (Garfield), an unemployed single father who’s kicked out of his residence after consistently failing to pay his mortgage. Although Dennis and his family (Laura Dernco-stars as the mother) were thrown out by unscrupulous real estate broker Rick Carver (Shannon), Dennis ends up working for Rick in a desperate attempt to get his home back.
The tables are turned when Dennis lands the gig, as it’s now his turn to kick people out of their homes. Though initially hesitant at the prospect, he adopts Rick’s “kill or be killed” approach to business, and this Faustian bargain leads him down an ultimately heartbreaking road.
Director Ramin Bahrani’s dedication to neorealism, a cinematic method in which non-actors are employed as characters in the film, is evident all throughout 99 Homes, as real life construction workers, police officers, and eviction clean up crews were utilized in the narrative.
Special features on 99 Homes include an insightful documentary from Bahrani, who discusses the film’s visually arresting, three-minute Steadicam shot that begins the film. Bahrani also focuses on his work with cinematographer Bobby Bukowski and details the importance of effectively lighting some of the movie’s most dramatic sequences. The director also gives a good case for why blocking a scene and having actors step on specific marks can, at times, be constricting.
The commentary is worth a listen if you’re a movie fan or wannabe director looking for cinematic methods in telling your story. Lastly, the Blu-ray also features one deleted scene (which is also a long take, visually beautiful steadicam shot) that has Rick Carver giving real estate advice To Dennis.
**To hear Michael Shannon talk about the research behind 99 Homes, check out our Soundcloud interview below:
X-Men Origins: Wolverine featured a scene stealing performance from Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, and though the actor took a poorly received detour in comic book land with 2011’s Green Lantern, he’s back with the suit that truly fits him. Red, not green, is the true color of the day, and the long awaited film Deadpool capitalizes on Reynolds’ quick witted sarcasm and indelible charm.Directed with panache from first time filmmaker Tim Miller, the film is true to one of Marvel’s most intriguing anti-hero, a fourth wall breaking wiseacre whose mile a minute humor who’s never boring to watch.
Wade Wilson is a mercenary for hire who, after falling in love with a tough minded ex-prostitute named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, who has a palpable chemistry with Reynolds), is ready to settle down and possibly carve out an honest life. Wilson’s happiness is short-lived when he’s diagnosed with cancer, and in sheer desperation he agrees to enter an experiment that will cure him of the disease and give him superhuman powers. Even with the promise of being cured, Wilson knows he’s walking into a trap, especially since his medical handler, a tough guy named Ajax (The Transporter Refueled’sEd Skrein), oozes evil from the get go.
When the inhumane and painful procedure leaves Wilson’s once pretty face an absolute mess, he names himself Deadpool (with the aid of his trusted friend, played by TJ Miller) and undergoes a one-man mission to take out Ajax and fellow baddie Angel Dust (Haywire’s Gina Carano). With X-Men members Colossus (a CG creation voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) unwittingly blocking Deadpool’s path to redemption, our anti-hero’s mission is much harder to pull off.
If you want eye-catching, adrenaline filled action sequences coupled with wall to wall humor, then Deadpool should be your cup of tea. The film is a no-brainer for Marvel Universe fans and it scores huge points by not having the end of the world plot dynamics of your average X-Men or Avengers installment.
Although the movie’s over the top and gleeful approach to comic book violence will turn off a healthy share of moviegoers, my frustration arose with the incessant comedic banter and jokes. The film takes a few moments to give us a little breathing room (especially when dealing with Deadpool’s relationship with Vanessa) but most of the narrative swims in this fever pitched madness.
This unyielding jolt of energy, whether it’s the action or nonstop comedy, will please a huge chunk of movie fans, and it’s safe to assume a Deadpool sequel is in the offing. Credit goes to Miller for fusing both Reynolds’ and Deadpool’s manic energy, but hopefully the next movie will ease up on the gas pedal. That being said, Deadpool is worth the watch, and if you feel the need for speed, you’re probably driving in the right direction.
***To hear my discussion of Deadpool on the new podcast CinemAddicts, click on the Soundcloud bar below: