Review: Doctor Strange

The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps expanding, seemingly showing no signs of stopping. Each new film brings us new heroes to fight new villains, new locations or planets filled with people to save, and new clashes and conflicts to bring characters together or drive them apart. But while Doctor Strange certainly continues the trend, it broadens the universe in entirely new ways, pushing not only the boundaries of superhero storytelling but of visual craftsmanship. It’s a mind-bending head trip of a film, which attempts to introduce a spiritual aspect to an otherwise science fiction series, all while serving up some of the most creative and exhilarating action sequences in recent memory. Doctor Strange may stick to the tried and true Marvel origin story formula, but it’s a fun ride anchored by a strong cast and impressive effects, and it offers an intriguing glimpse into the potential future of this ever-expanding Universe.

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Trailer: Doctor Strange

Last night Marvel unveiled the first trailer for Doctor Strange as a part of the publicity train for Captain America: Civil War. Due out in November, Doctor Strange will be the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and possibly its strangest yet. The trailer gives just a brief look at the “Sorcerer Supreme”, a former surgeon who lost the ability to do his job after his hands were injured in a car crash. We get some glimpses of the crash and its aftermath as the trailer juxtaposes the pre-crash Strange, a man at the height of his life, with the scruffy shell of a man he became afterwards. But Doctor Strange is really all about that man’s journey to find a new way to help people through the use of magic. Honestly, while I’m very excited for Doctor Strange, I feel like this film is going to be a hard sell as far as the general public is concerned. It’s just so different, far more than Guardians of the Galaxy, and the idea of magic mixing with the world of Iron Man is going to require some convincing. It already looks like it’ll be a trippy film, with visuals that recall the world-bending effects of Inception, a film which I thought was interesting to look at but emotionally hollow (like most of Christopher Nolan’s work). Hopefully Marvel can find a way to make Strange’s story as compelling as those of its other heroes. For now, I’m just happy to see Tilda Swinton get so much screen time and can’t wait to learn more about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character. But what do you think? Take a look at the trailer below and then tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Review: The Imitation Game

In telling the story of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game is an interesting conglomeration of films and stories, and which one it feels like to you will probably be more a reflection of your interests and views than of the film itself.  It could be a World War II movie, about the various efforts by the Allies to gain the upper hand and win the war against the Axis powers in a race against the clock with lives hanging in the balance.  It might feel more like a celebration of math and science, of how wars are won with brains instead of brawn, and how one of the first computers was created to solve an unsolvable problem.  Or perhaps it’s the story of a brilliant man with a gift to offer society who is unable to find his place or fit in, and how that society he stood to help eventually destroyed him just because he was different.  Regardless of which story you might feel you’re watching, the end result is a compelling, driven, expertly crafted film shedding some light on a man and an endeavor with which few are probably familiar.

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Trailer Tuesday: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.

I’ve always felt like the second full trailer is always the hardest one for a film to pull off.  Teaser trailers are pretty easy, offering just a glimpse to get people talking, while the first full trailer is generally full of entirely new footage that will excite audiences.  But the second trailer often reuses much of the footage from the first trailer, hitting the same story beats as its predecessor with little new to add.  Often a second trailer will feature a few, specific revelations, trying to keep interest in the film high and promote continued discussion.  We saw the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a while back, and now we’re presented with the second.  Take a look below and read on for my thoughts:

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