Month: December 2016

TV Geek Review: Doctor Who:The Return Of Doctor Mysterio

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I’ve written before of how much I love the tv series, Doctor Who, and how that show got me through some rough times before.  As a fan for me, this year, the roughest times were that we had no Doctor Who season to watch.  No new Who since last Christmas.  So, I was hoping that they would do something truly special with this year’s Christmas special.

It starts off at some undisclosed time in the past, on Christmas eve, as young geeky kid Grant Gordon finds The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) hanging outside his window, literally.   The Doctor gives him an alien gem to hold onto, and he swallows it, thinking it to be medicine, since he said he was a doctor. It turns out that this gem brings to life what one imagines to be real, and being a superhero enthusiast, it gives the alliterative named young Mr. Gordon superpowers.

We then cut to 24 years later, to our present day,and Grant Gordon (Justin Chatwin-Dragonball Evolution) now saves the people of New York City as it’s own superhero The Ghost when not working as a nanny for reporter Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield) .  The Doctor soon returns when discovering an alien plot to take over world leader’s brains for an invasion, because that’s what aliens do on Christmas here in Doctor Who-ville.

One of my favorite things about Doctor Who are the Christmas specials, which don’t always have anything to do with the holiday, but are always a fun treat for the fans, and sometimes get a little more deeper into the story.     There are a lot of great one liners in this special as well,  I was going to quote a few, but there are too many to mention overall, you just have to watch for yourself.

Justin Chatwin does a great job in the superhero role, something he attempted to do before playing Goku in name only in the Dragonball adaptation a few years ago, I liked all the nods to classic superhero fiction tropes as well.     It even managed to give us an in-universe explanation for the lack of Doctor Who this year, tying it into the events of last year’s special with River Song.  (I’d say more but….Spoilers)

I eagerly await next season of Doctor Who with baited breath, from the preview they show at the end of this special it seems we’re in for a return to form for the series.  I’ll be here writing about it when it happens.

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Reel Geek Review: Jackie

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So, I did my Top Ten Movies of 2016 last night, thinking that I’d seen every movie that I would see this year.  I was mistaken, it seems.  Had I done my list today, something would have to be bumped off that list to make room for this movie.

Jackie tells the story of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Natalie Portman) in the minutes, hours, and days following the assassination of John F Kennedy  (Caspar Phillipson) on November 22, 1963.  It’s done in the form of an interview she’s having with a reporter played by Billy Crudup (Almost Famous) with glimpses into the famous television special she did in 1961 showcasing the White House.

As a movie buff I’ve long known the difference between movies, and cinema.  Movies entertain you, distract you for a few hours, let you live vicariously through the lives of other, far more heroic or daring individuals.  Cinema…films, they make you feel, and think.  Every shot by the camera, every note of the musical score tells you something into the thought process of the characters, whether they be fictional or in this case all too real.  And this is, a film.

Everything about this film I fell in love with, from the fantastic performances by the cast.  Natalie Portman does a pitch perfect Jackie performance, range that you could not tell she had in her Star Wars performances.  We also get a good supporting role from her Garden State co-star Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy.  The cinematography by Stephane Fontaine was breathtaking as well, just in the placing of the camera and positioning  of it spoke much into the emotion Jackie was feeling both internally and externally during those days.

Director Pablo Lorrain (Naruda) directed one fine film here, which speaks a lot of legacy, as Jackie wonders what will be remembered of her husband, and herself in the long run, as she carefully constructs the narrative herself that will be told in the days to come, whether that actually happened or not is beside the point.  As she says in the movie, it’s about what’s written down that gets remembered and then becomes the truth, regardless of what actually happened.

What they’ve managed to do is to bring back that exact look, and feel of the time period as well, with the mixing of both the real footage of events and the mixing in of the actors, not unlike Forrest Gump, but it really brought the history to life.  And that’s one of the greatest things about cinema, it can make what’s happened in the past live again for new generations of eyes to see it, and feel it, and remember it.  Even more powerful than creating new worlds to life it allows the past to always be remembered.

The movie is up for a few awards in the coming awards season, and it is a film that is decidedly deserving of them.  It’s a movie that should be seen, by lovers of good cinema, great acting, and history as well.

Final Grade- A

Top Ten Movies (That I’ve Seen) of 2016

Well guys here we are, the last twenty four hours of 2016.  It’s been a hell of a year, a lot of growth, a lot of falling back as a society,a lot of sadness, a lot of happiness and good times too.  But we’ll cover all the highs and lows of 2016 in the next column that I’ll do later today after I think and marinate on it a bit more.   What I have prepared in my head, and on paper, is my Top Ten List of Movies for this year.

It’s just movies that I personally have seen this year, so there’s going to be some omissions here.  Haven’t seen La La Land yet, or Fences, but I will at some point in the coming year, but as such they won’t be making the cut for this list here.  I’ve done proper reviews for almost all of these movies, save for a few that came out at the beginning of the year B.R.G.G. (Before Reel Geek’s Guide) so when there are proper reviews I’ll link them in the article, so you can refresh yourself, or read for the first time newcomers, my thoughts on the film.

Honorable Mention: Sausage Party

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Was one of the most bizarre and hilariously dumb comedies of the year also had some biting social commentary and I for one relished the opportunity to see it on the big screen.  Just didn’t quite make the final cut of the top ten list for me though.

Original Review: https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/08/21/reel-geek-review-sausage-party/

10.  Suicide Squad

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A very polarizing film takes my #10 spot.  It could have been better, but I, for one, was sucked in by the stylistic action and fun that was Suicide Squad.  It’s also one of the few movies this year that I paid to see twice in the theaters, so it had to make the top ten list for sure.

Original Review: https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/08/09/reel-geeks-review-suicide-squad/

9. Star Trek: Beyond

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Justin Lin’s (Fast and The Furious franchise) take on the Star Trek rebooted franchise that JJ Abrams started was one of the most fun times I’ve had at the theater this year, and the first time in the reboot series history that it really felt like a Star Trek story to me, albeit still a fun roller-coaster ride of a time at the movies.

Original Review:  https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/09/14/looking-back-on-star-trek-at-50-from-a-mostly-star-wars-fan-perspective/

8. The Jungle Book

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Disney has been doing their, let’s remake an animated classic of ours into live action for a little bit now.  I still haven’t seen Cinderella, but if Beauty and The Beast is half as good as Jon Favreau’s  (Iron Man) The Jungle Book was, then we’re in for a real treat when he does The Lion King in a year or two.    He kept the feel and fun of the original movie, while still making it it’s own movie, it’s own story, and he gave some more depth into some of the characters, such as Idris Elba’s Shere Khan.

I hear rumors of another Jungle Book movie getting made with Benedict Cumberbatch in the Shere Khan role, which will be interesting to see, but it’ll take a lot in my book to top this one.   You can also watch this movie on Netflix now, thanks to the partnership with Disney.  Go watch it now if you haven’t.

 

7. Doctor Strange

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Marvel’s best original movie since Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the role had some of the best visuals I’ve ever seen in a Marvel movie, or in any movie this year, really capturing the trippy Steve Ditko comics of the 1960s.  And Cumberbatch brought new life and personality into the character that until I read the most recent run on the character in the comics by Jesse Aaron, I wouldn’t have thought existed.

Original Review:

https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/11/05/reel-geek-review-doctor-strange-spoilers/

6. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

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Jk Rowling’s return to the Wizarding World was a total blast from start to finish, and the most dark PG-13 movie I’ve seen (in parts) since Temple of Doom.   She breathed new life into a once completed franchise, great for Warner Bros accountants, and even better for us Harry Potter fans.  Hopefully we’ll get plenty more returns to this magical world.

Original Review: https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/11/21/reel-geek-review-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-spoiler-review/

5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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I for one, am genuinely shocked that this didn’t get the top spot on my list.  I loved the movie, but there were films in 2016 that I liked just a bit more overall.

Full Review: https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/12/18/reel-geek-review-rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-review-spoilers/

4. Captain America: Civil War

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The best Marvel movie of the year, and the best comic book adaptation we’ve seen in a while, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a fantastic movie, and you can watch it on Netflix now as well.

Original Review: https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/05/09/reel-geeks-review-of-captain-america-civil-war/

3. Deadpool

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Deadpool was a long anticipated movie, that really should not have succeeded, or even gotten made at all, but somehow it did, and legions of fans both old and new are forever grateful for it.  Ryan Reynolds was the perfect choice to play Deadpool, a fact which Fox realized years ago but messed it up the first time.  Thankfully they fixed it all with this one, a raunchy, violent, hilariously immature comedy that dares to poke fun at the superhero genre itself.

2. Zootopia

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Zootopia was the first big release Disney had this year, a movie which dropped early in the year, at a time when not a lot of greatness gets released usually (except for Deadpool, and like..The Lego Movie a few years ago)  but this movie, which until very recently held my favorite movie of the year spot, was one of the more deep Disney movies I’ve ever seen.  Great social commentary tucked into a fun and funny buddy comedy film noir esque family movie.   And it’s on Netflix as well so you can watch it again.

  1. Hidden Figures

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For a lot of you, this movie hasn’t been released yet, not til next week.  But as I got to see it today, and it is released in select cities, this squeaked in right at the last minute as my favorite movie of the year.  Heartfelt and inspiring, it’s a movie that everyone should see.  If only to show Hollywood that movies with black women as lead roles can be successful too.

Original Review:

 

https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/12/31/reel-geek-review-hidden-figures/

 

Well that about wraps up my Top Ten Best Movies (That I’ve Seen) In 2016 list.  Stay tuned for later today when I wrap up the year with the last column, the first ever Geeky Awards, where I give out non existant awards for my favorite things of the year.

 

Reel Geek Review: Hidden Figures

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A lot of times, certain smaller movies get releases in “select cities” first before getting released nationally.  Such is the case of Hidden Figures.  I’m just thankful that the movie itself took place in Hampton, Virginia (where I’ll soon be a resident of in the very near future) and as such this big small town in Virginia gets the movie a week ahead of the rest of the country.   Which means for me that I got to see it a week ahead of most of you, so I get to talk about it right now here at Reel Geek’s.

Hidden Figures is based on the true story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), a black woman who worked at NASA at their Langley base in Hampton, Virginia in the early 1960s, right in the prime of the US’s space race with Russia.    It also tells the story of her two friends Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) and Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer)  whom also worked at NASA and hit their own achievements in the organization as well.

The movie, adapted from the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, is one of the greatest untold stories in the space race, and as such this would make for a great historical double feature with The Right Stuff, getting a fuller picture of the beginnings of  the space race.

I absolutely loved this movie, from start to finish.   The script, written by Allison Schroeder, who co wrote the film with director Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) really captures the feel of Virginia in the 1960s, and the local attitudes back then very accurately.  Even though the movie was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, it feels very much local to this critic, I’d almost thought that they were actually in parts of downtown Hampton, and Phoebus while watching it.

I have to talk about the acting in this movie as well, the entire cast gets their own moments to shine in this movie, from Taraji P. Henson to Kevin Costner to Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage) ,it really feels like an ensemble piece even if the movie is really about just the three women, but not a single actor is wasted in this movie.    The movie gives equal opportunity for every actor to have a moment at least in this great story.

Hidden Figures had both my girlfriend and I smiling, laughing, and crying throughout the entire movie.  It’s a great inspirational story that I feel that everyone should see, with a lot of relevancy even now to the world we live in today.  I’d even go as far as to say that it’s a crime that these women’s stories weren’t told sooner.  But I’m glad that they are being told now, and hopefully everyone else will love the movie as much as I did when it gets it’s wide release next Friday, January 6.

Final Verdict-  A+

 

2016 Wrap-up, Top Ten Articles

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As of the time of my writing this article, we’re less than 100 hours away from putting this year behind us, for better or worse.  Now, there’s been a lot…a lot…I cannot stress how much bad stuff has happened this year, but there’s been some good things too.  Captain America:Civil War, Rogue One, AJ Styles is in WWE…in my personal life I met my girlfriend this year, and also, most importantly here, I started this site in March of this year.

9 months later, and 95 articles on the site, I thought it’d be fun to take a look back, and see what you guys, the loyal, worldwide readers of Reel Geek’s Guide took a look at the most this year, and I’ll link the articles too, so in case you’re a newcomer, and missed something you want to read about, you can read them all here, well not all of them.  I’d be here all day, but, as the title says, the Top Ten articles of 2016.   So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at what you guys read the most here, during the first year of this site, 2016.

10.   Food Geek Review: Cap’n Crabby Food Truck

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/11/03/food-geek-review-captn-crabby-food-truck/

This was one of the tastier food trucks I was able to sample during this year, and one of the first big reactions I got on the site, it took a few months to find my voice, and find the audience on the site, but I was glad when things started to turn around for the site here.

9. Food Geek Review:  All About The Cheese-Stuffed Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/12/13/food-geek-review-all-about-the-cheese-stuffed-mac-and-cheese/

The concluding chapter of my Grilled Cheese Trilogy, talking about the many delicious sandwiches from  the All About The Cheese food truck.   This trilogy, you can read out of order, and it still makes sense.  Sorry, I guess that joke could be considered a bit….cheesy.

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8.  Reel Geek Review: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates 

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/06/29/reel-geeks-review-mike-and-dave-need-wedding-dates/

For the longest time, this review was the most looked at article on the site.  It’s  cheesy comedy, not going to make my Top Ten List for movie wise, but it’s review does make the top ten articles.

7. Food Geek Review: Sweet Mama Tee’z

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/08/22/reel-geek-food-reviews-local-spotlight-sweet-mama-teez/

The first local spot I reviewed for the site, in an attempt to branch out the site into doing food reviews, mostly because this funnel cake I had was so amazing.  I’ve been back there a few more times since then,  and I look forward to going there even more in the future.  Also, you can see that I was still playing with the title of the Food column at the time too.  Thankfully I shortened it a bit down the road.

 

6. Top Ten Christmas Movies

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/12/08/top-ten-christmas-movies/

Christmas may have just passed us, but the article, and the movies themselves, lives on.  There were a few glaring omissions I realized in retrospect, but that just provides us with more fodder for Christmas-y articles next year.  So everyone wins in the end.

 

5. Music Geek Review: The Hamilton Mixtape

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2016 for sure was the year of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, and I got drawn up into the hype as well.  It’s so good.  What’s also fantastic is this Mixtape which just dropped a few weeks ago, which you can read about here.

https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/12/02/music-geek-review-the-hamilton-mixtape/

4. Food Geek Review: All About The Cheese-Mac Daddy Sandwich

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/12/08/food-geek-review-all-about-the-cheese-mac-daddy-sandwich-review/

The second part of the Grilled Cheese Trilogy, just as delicious as the rest.

 

3. Food Geek Review:  All About The Cheese Food Truck

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/11/10/food-geek-review-grilled-cheese-academy-food-truck/

My first time having the deliciousness of the All About The Cheese Food Truck, that started the cheese filled saga.

2. Reel Geek Review: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Spoiler Review)

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/11/21/reel-geek-review-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-spoiler-review/

No surprise that the biggest worldwide review of the year would be discussing JK Rowling’s return to the Wizarding World.  I absolutely loved this movie, can’t wait to see the next chapters in this saga.

  1.  Food Geek Review:The Subway Reuben

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https://reelgeeksguide.com/2016/11/15/food-geek-review-the-subway-reuben/

The most read article on the site this year is to me the most surprising.  For all my talk of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel Comics, Doctor Who and such, the one that got the most attention is my review of a chain restaurant sandwich.   That did get my attention that that’s what everyone can relate to, is chain stuff, so expect to see more of those type of reviews in the coming year.

Well that’s it for this top ten list, I hope you enjoy reading, or re-reading these articles again, and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on all the goings on here at Reel Geek’s Guide.

 

 

 

 

 

Reel Geek Review: Sing

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Often times we get “dueling movies” in Hollywood, two movies coming out in the relatively same time with almost identical plots.   It’s not quite the same thing with 2016’s Zootopia and Sing, but two anthropomorphic animal movies definitely would put these movies in the same category as Armageddon and Deep Impact, Volcano and Dante’s Peak, Antz, and A Bug’s Life.   But other than the fact that they’re about animal populated worlds, the movies are two different things.   While the former tackles social issues in a fun, easy to digest for any ages package, the latter, and more recent film is just a fun movie, that may be a bit bigger that it planned on being.

Written and directed by Garth Jennings (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-2005)  Sing tells the story of failed theater promoter Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), who, in a last ditch effort to keep his theater afloat, hosts a singing competition.  A typo about the amount of the prize money attracts a slew of aspiring singers, including gangster’s son  Johnny (Taron Egerton-Kingsmen)  overworked/underappreciated mother of 25 Rosita (Reese Witherspoon)  streetwise street musician Mike (Seth McFarlane)  punk rocker Ash (Scarlett Johansson) and a shy girl with a big voice Meena (Tori Kelly) .

The movie has a large cast of characters, and it cuts a lot between the group of them, which pacing can be a bit hectic at times, especially in the early goings, but the movie has a huge heart to it, which you really can’t deny.    The songs they used in the movie are all used to great effect, either in comedic fashion or to make you move your feet in the theater

The cast all works their roles to perfection, I really enjoyed McConaughey’s work in the movie, I didn’t even realize it was him til the credits rolled, as he doesn’t have his usual southern twang in this one, didn’t know he could do that, was a nice surprise.    Taron Egerton also continues to impress in this movie too.  Between Kingsmen and Eddie The Eagle, he’s shown some range here and I look forward to seeing where he goes next.

The script does have an almost cliched feel at times, but still has it’s own charms to it, and the animation in the movie from Illumination Studios (Despicable Me, Minions) is fantastic.  I can honestly say that I had a smile on my face throughout the entire movie.   Definitely one of the most fun movies I’ve seen this winter season.   I’ll say Sing is definitely worth seeing, giving it 4 out of 5 Stars.

 

A Tribute To Carrie Fisher

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For those of us  guy geeks who grew up in the late 70’s or early 80’s, a lot of our first celebrity crushes would have to be Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars movies.  Far from a damsel in distress, she could come back to every quip that Grand Moff Tarking or Han Solo could throw at her and turn it around with the quickness, there was something special about this take no bs attitude that resonated with us as we were growing up.  Oh, who were we kidding, back then it was the gold bikini in Jabba’s palace that really resonated with our pre-pubescent minds back then, made us think there maybe, just maybe, girls aren’t yucky after all.

As an actress of course she’s done far more than just Star Wars, but it is her most iconic role.  To hear of her struggles with bipolar disorder and seeing her standing strong still in spite of that made her a hero to generations, on top of any acting roles that she could do.  In addition to that,  to see her again in the role in last year’s The Force Awakens brought a tear to this particular geeks eye.

Tears are falling once more, as 2016 wasn’t done yet in taking our childhood heroes.  She suffered a heart attack on a plane last week, and fans worldwide were concerned.   Audiences got to see a cgi created younger version of her iconic character in this month’s Rogue One, who closed out the film with the line “Hope.”, and that is what fans had that she would pull through and makde it to see 2017.   The actress  managed to return to stable condition, but that was merely a calm before the storm, and it was announced earlier today that she had indeed passed away at the age of 60.    She will be remembered forever by fans now, and in the future, as new generations discover Star Wars, so in that sense, she isn’t gone from our world, just one with The Force now.    RIP Ms. Fisher, thank you for the movies, May the Force be with you.