Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Superhero movies that deserve more recognition

Joe Cianciotto. The superhero movie genre has gotten bigger and better through the years. But while some moviegoers only watch those produced within the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes, there are still a lot of films outside of these worlds that deserve more recognition. Here are some of them.

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Joe Cianciotto. While this comic book series is part of the DC Universe, not a lot of people associated this group of antiheroes with the publisher's well-known characters. A thriller drama, this superhero movie directed by Zack Snyder took an unfamiliar route and gained fans along the way.

Sky High

Joe Cianciotto. This 2005 film is about teenagers in a superhero school. One of them, Will Stronghold, is the son of famous superheroes whose powers haven't yet manifested. In Sky High, he meets other aspiring superheroes who also need to grow into their own personalities and abilities. While the plot might sound trivial and teenybopper, the film earned rave reviews from critics for its light, fantastic, and comedic appeal.


Joe Cianciotto. This 1990 film was directed by Sam Raimi who later on directed the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films. Liam Neeson stars as Peyton Westlake, a disfigured scientist who develops superhuman powers. Strong, powerful, and unstable, Darkman sets out to find justice for those who ruined his life. As Neeson’s first action film, his take on Westlake was praised by critics and fans alike. Darkman became a franchise with two direct-to-video sequels.

Looking for a different kind of superhero tale? These underrated movies are worth a watch.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Why 'Parasite' is truly deserving of the Oscar win

The 92nd Academy Awards signaled a much-needed change in the prestigious award-giving institution for films and filmmakers. That a foreign language movie won a slew of key awards from Best Screenplay and Best International Film to Best Director and Best Picture is unprecedented, and should shake up how international films are (and should be) perceived in the United States. Joe Cianciotto.

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The monumental film is "Parasite," a South Korean movie directed by Bong Joon-Ho, whose previous works include the 2017 hit Netflix movie "Okja" and the critically acclaimed "Snowpiercer" (2013). The win shows the Oscars' newfound appreciation of things outside the scope of Hollywood, especially in the time of woke politics and the #metoo movement. Joe Cianciotto.

Of course, the important thing to note here is that "Parasite" surely deserved the haul of awards. Apart from the engrossing plot and storyline, the film offers a refreshing commentary on social injustice and the economic divide between the poor and the rich, concerns that encompass the modern world. The film is sad and funny in most places and even surreal in certain instances, but is gripping throughout with a cast of actors offering truly memorable performances. What's even more interesting and enthralling is that the events depicted are based on real events. Joe Cianciotto.

"Parasite"'s win shows —and it's about time—that knowledge of film language is not something monopolized by western directors. The universality of the themes of societal hierarchy and class divide is felt everywhere and is thus relevant to everyone. Ultimately, what sets "Parasite" apart is the director's vision, a keen understanding of the nuances of filmmaking, and the ability to depict wonderfully and unabashedly the all-too-familiar human situation. This film is a definite must-see. Joe Cianciotto.

Friday, March 27, 2020

More sci-fi classics from the '90s

When the ‘90s rolled in, film buffs were doubtful if films in the next 10 years could measure up to the previous decade’s. After all, the ‘80s saw some of the most iconic movies in almost all genres. However, in many ways, the ‘90s exceeded expectations.

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On that note, here are three more great science fiction films from the ‘90s. Joe Cianciotto.

Flatliners: Joel Schumacher opened up the decade with a sci-fi thriller unlike any other in the 1990’s “Flatliners.” Incredibly harrowing and impeccably shot, the film gives a unique take on the afterlife, and what may happen if people take a stroll in it before their time. Joe Cianciotto.

Jurassic Park: Master director Steven Spielberg redefined the use of CGI on film with his mega-blockbuster “Jurassic Park.” A breathtaking thrill-ride through a perilous natural (and not-so-natural) park, this film marks the first wide-release wherein creatures seemed all too real. It was something absolutely no one had ever seen before. Joe Cianciotto.

Galaxy Quest: A hilarious and quirk-filled take on “Star Trek” and almost every similar space opera, “Galaxy Quest” is the perfect example of how the elements of a film simply work. From the plot to the action sequences to the comedic timing to the iconic punchlines, “Galaxy Quest” has over the years, become quite a cult favorite, as it deservedly should be. Joe Cianciotto.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Why Peter Jackson’s LOTR will stand the test of time

Why Peter Jackson’s LOTR will stand the test of time Joe Cianciotto. There’s no debate about it, as far as fantasy movies go, Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is the be-all and end-all. One could probably count the other fantasy films that can hold a candle to this epic series of movies with the fingers in his right hand.

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What J.R.R. Tolkien’s magnum opus was, and still is to literature, that’s what Peter Jackson’s trilogy is to films. It’s a body of work that has risen head and shoulders above the rest, standing the test of time, and even getting better with age.

While some critics may not give that much credit to Jackson and his team and cite that it naturally helped that they had arguably the greatest fantasy source material, to begin with, it has to be said that no director had been willing to take on the responsibility of a live-action adaptation. Joe Cianciotto.

And Peter Jackson didn’t just take it on; he crafted the best adaptation that any living director could craft. Critically praised and huge blockbuster hits, those three movies didn’t just do the books justice (although nitpickers and elitists would always have something negative to point out), they also ushered in a new era in epic filmmaking, the likes of which the world has never seen before. Joe Cianciotto.

And just like the books, which are revered almost a century later, Peter Jackson’s films will live on just as long. Joe Cianciotto.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Ranking the Star Wars movies now that the Skywalker Saga is complete

Joe Cianciotto. Now that “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” has completed the Skywalker Saga of the Star Wars franchise, it’s time to rank the films.

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A few notes though before the rankings. First, this is only a list that includes the episodes. That means, no Star Wars Stories. No “Rogue One” and “Solo.” It also doesn’t include that animated film “The Clone Wars.” Joe Cianciotto.
Also, this ranking doesn’t take into account critics’ or viewers’ reviews. It mostly pertains to the overall enjoyment the movies bring and the amount of Star Wars “spirit” that they possess.

So, without further ado, here are the Star Wars episodes ranked from worst to best. Joe Cianciotto.

9. Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones
8. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
7. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
6. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
5. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
4. Star Wars Episode I: A New Hope
3. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
2. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
1. Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back.

  Joe Cianciotto.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Signs that people might be a true-blue film buff

Joe Cianciotto. The difference is that true-blue film buffs keep the act of watching films sacred. Here are signs that a person might be a true film buff.

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They get rid of distractions.

Film buffs switch off phones when in theaters. At home, they close the doors, turn off anything that might distract them, even tell their friends or family members not to disturb them, and watch the film through and through as though in a movie theater. Joe Cianciotto.

They position themselves in a comfortable (but not too comfortable) manner.

At home, film buffs set up everything from dimming the lights to shutting the drapes to prepping the snacks and drinks before watching the movie.

They don’t overthink on the first viewing.

As difficult as it may seem, film buffs try not to overthink things during the first viewing. They try to take in the experience and leave the more technical insights like on cinematography, dialogue, and editing the next time they watch. Joe Cianciotto.

They are immersed.

Probably the most important thing film buffs do is to be immersed in a film. They can imagine being part of the movie as if the characters are right in front of them. Joe Cianciotto.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ranking the top five MCU films to date

Joe Cianciotto. And just like that, the Marvel Cinematic Universe wraps up its Phase 3 with a bang. After "Avengers: Endgame" came and went, leaving record box-office numbers in its wake on its way to becoming the highest-grossing film of all-time, "Spider-Man: Far From Home" capped things off with a heartfelt epilogue.

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In line with this, below are the top five MCU Films to date. Joe Cianciotto.

5. Avengers: Infinity War

Edging out Endgame on this list, many people believed that Infinity War had a tighter story altogether and provided more gravitas to the overall story of the MCU.

4. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Joe Cianciotto. With the split of Disney and Sony, Far From Home will probably be the last time audiences see Spidey in the MCU. If that’s the case, it couldn’t have been a greater exit. Far From Home is the best Spider-Man live-action film in over 10 years.

3. Marvel’s The Avengers

The first Avengers film wasn’t so much a film as it was an event. Much like the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, something of this magnitude had never been done before in cinema history. Joe Cianciotto.

2. Thor Ragnarok

While some of the more traditional fans still balk at how Ragnarok mocks the God of Thunder rather than raise him up to a status worthy of a god, it was far and away the most original of the MCU films. It was also hilarious. Joe Cianciotto.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The peak in MCU storytelling, this second Captain America film turns everything and everyone on its head with a twist that had forever changed the MCU. It also deepened many of the main characters’ stories, laying the groundwork for the rest of the existing MCU phases. Joe Cianciotto.