Fangirly Crush of the Week: Michael B. Jordan

If your dad is anything like my dad (I’m taking the liberty of assuming that he is), then he’s got a weird thing about Rocky. You know, he bought the collector’s edition Blu-ray box set of the first three movies. He has “Gonna Fly Now” on his iPhone to be played before a big meeting or when he’s alone in the car (as if you didn’t know). His idea of hijinks was to shout “Adrian!” at the top of his lungs outside your bedroom door. It’s a 936full-michael-b-jordan.jpgburden shared by Millennials the world over.

That being said, when my dad insisted our family go see Creed,the Rocky reboot for a younger, pop-culture inundated generation, I went along, totally of my own volition. Aside from being a shockingly wonderful movie (more on that later), it gave me the chance to objectively evaluate the acting talents of one Michael B. Jordan. By which, of course, I mean I spent two hours doing an involuntary Kristen Wiig impression.

 

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My squees were heard ’round the world.

Michael B. Jordan has been a source of ongoing angst for us here at Fangirly since Chronicle and Fruitvale Station. Thanks to Creed, the situation has devolved further into a condition I like to call Fan-Madness. But seriously, who’s gonna blame us?

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In addition to being one of the dreamiest boats in Hollywood, Michael B. Jordan has delivered some amazing performances in the last few years, with only a few notable exceptions (cough, Fantastic Four, cough). And though his place in the Fangirly Hall of Fame is secure, we encourage him not to rest on his shapely laurels. If that means that he keeps making movies that include scenes like this…

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then so be it. That seems to be testing very well over here.

Whitney Weldon

 

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The Reviews are In: Fantastic Four

194149It would be too easy to join the Fantastic Four pile-on. I will be the first to admit that the amount of vitriol being slung at this movie is beyond excessive; an 8% percent on rotten tomatoes should be reserved for Indiana Jones sequels and Michael Bay movies. HOWEVER, this movie is pretty bad, and I’m ready to tell you how, as tactfully as the crappiness of this film will allow. First, though, lets start with what I liked about Fantastic Four.

The first half of the film is, in a lot of ways, pretty good. Reed Richard (Miles Teller) is a Boy Genius who gets recruited to join a prestigious research institute by Franklin Storm and his daughter Sue (Kate Mara). Reed and Sue, joined by Sue’s brother Johnny (Michael B. Jordan *swoon*) and resident vengeful science nerd Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), try to crack inter dimensional travel. This is by far the most engaging part of Fantastic Four, watching these five really smart people work to 90287accomplish a common goal. We see friendships form and budding romances emerge. Then… they get superpowers.

I’m not going to give you the rundown on the plot of FF, because we’ve seen three of these things already and everybody knows the drill. Through a series of mishaps the titular foursome are endowed with powers they cannot hope to control. This is the point where the film grinds to a halt. The energy of the first act is lost and we are left with four characters who don’t know how to handle each other or themselves.

It’s really not fair to compare this team to the one that preceded it, but I’m going to anyway. The first FF movies were far from perfect, but at least they interacted with one another in a way that was fun to watch. Chris Evans and Jessica Alba bickered like brothers and sisters should; Michael Chiklis and Ioan Gruffudd bro-ed out; Gruffudd and Alba exchanged furtive glances; Chiklis and Evans verbally eviscerate each other. We just don’t get that from this new team. Sue and FourbarReed’s romance stalls out as quickly as it starts. Johnny and Sue act like two people who’ve never met before but tacitly agree to pretend to be siblings anyway. Johnny and Ben (Jamie Bell) don’t really exchange any dialogue at all until the last thirty seconds of the movie, and the audiences miss out on the antagonistic banter that made their predecessors at least watchable. In the end, what should have brought them together (superpowers) seems to only drive them apart, and they never feel like much of a team.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to matter how bad this movie was because it’s likely that Marvel’s First Family will get a chance to redeem themselves in a sequel. Because that worked out so well the last time.

-Whitney

Early Reviews for Fantastic Four are in…

fantastic-four-kate-mara-invisible-woman…And it’s pretty much just as I expected. Reviews have been mixed, but most critics say the reboot hasn’t significantly improved or innovated the franchise. Even before it hit most theaters, the movie garnered a measly 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. A. O. Scott of the New York Times said:

“‘Fantastic Four’, despite the dogged efforts of its talented young cast, has nothing. The special effects are at about the level of the early “Harry Potter” movies — lots of glowing green clouds and ice-blue bolts and force fields. The human drama is meager. Once again, the only real pathos belongs to Mr. Bell’s Ben, who finds himself trapped in a stony new body and weaponized by a ruthless government. Mr. Teller stretches, not as an actor but as a digitally enhanced body. Mr. Jordan burns in the same way, and Ms. Mara disappears. Her character also has the power to make other things vanish. I would say she should have exercised it on this movie, but in a week or two that should take care of itself.”

(Ouch. Here’s a link to the full review in case you enjoy a good crucifixion).

Even though I fully expected to be underwhelmed by this movie, I’m still disappointed. Mostly, I just hope that filmmakers screen_shot_2015-01-27_at_9.32.47_amwho plan to tackle the superhero genre will take something from this: a story doesn’t necessarily need to be dark and gritty to be complex and momentous. Taking this goofy coterie of heroes and simply mixing in some post-adolescent angst is lazy film-making and, from what I can tell, not very true to the source material. These characters- a stretchy professor, invisible lady, human matchstick, and rock monster- are just too whimsical to be taken so seriously. That’s at least something that the first FF movies, despite their many flaws, understood pretty well.

A full Fangirly review is forthcoming, but in the meantime, tell us what you think in our comment section, on Twitter @fangirly2, or email us at fangirlyfangirls@gmail.com.

Whitney

Cinema Chutes and Ladders: Summer 2015

It’s August and that means that the summer box office has begun it’s inevitable cool-down. We’re here to give you our take on a few of this summer’s biggest releases and speculate on a few late season stragglers. It’s time for another edition of Cinema Chutes and Ladders!

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Marvel Fatigue and the over-saturation of comic book movies. In response I’d like to say, um, boo hoo? What a bummer for audiences that this production studio is churning out these pretty consistently good films that make people excited to go to the movies. The nerve. I, for one, really enjoyed Age of Ultron.  It gave me everything I needed from an Avenger movie, like good character moments, and solid performances, and…

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Chris Evans chopping wood. Can’t forget about that.

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tom-hardy-as-max-in-mad-max-fury-roadMad Max: Fury Road (May 15)

I wasn’t sold on Fury Road when it was announced last year; I prefer studios to spend their time developing something original rather than rebooting a franchise that flamed out thirty years ago. So you can imagine my surprise when this turned out to be not only one of the best, but in many way one of the most original, summer release. Fingers crossed for a Nux spin-off, am I right?

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Jurassic World (June 12)JURASSIC-WORLD-15-1940x1042

I gave Jurassic World an initial good review that I stand by. But when this movie is taken into context with all the other summer releases, it’s definitely one of the weaker links in the cinematic chain. It was fun, but not much more than that.

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Trainwreck (July 7)

The alternate title of this movie was How Whitney Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Amy Schumer.

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Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Ant-Man (July 7)

I had one hope for this movie. I only asked that I could make it though Ant-Man‘s 117 minute run-time without hearing the phrase “why don’t you pick on somebody your own size”. I did not get that wish.

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (July 31)

It’s really easy for me to forget what an amazing franchise Mission Impossible has been, until I’m confronted with yet another off-the-chain installment of said franchise. In other news, Rebecca Ferguson is my official Girl Crush of 2015. Crossfit has clearly served her well.

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The Gift (August 8)

From watching the trailer of The Gift, starring Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, and Rebecca Hall, I catch whiffs of Single While Female and Fatal Attraction. Since we haven’t seen too many psychological thrillers this season, I’m interested to see how this one shakes out. For now, I’m calling it a ladder based on casting alone.

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Fantastic Four (August 8)first-fantastic-four-trailer-arrives-online_vbew.1920

So Twentieth Century Fox, your plan was to take a quartet of inherently ridiculous superheroes whose attempts at film success has nose-dived not once, but twice, and make them grittier? Good call. Hey, maybe next you could remake The King and I as a raunchy sex comedy.

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Dark-Places-Movie-2015-starring-Charlize-Theron-and-Nicholas-HoultDark Places (August 8)

Probably capitalizing on the success of Gillian Flynn’s last film adaptation, Gone Girl, is a movie that looks stylistically and thematically very similar. Hey, if it’s half a bananas the trailer implies, you can sign me up.

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Man From U.N.C.L.E. (August 14)maxresdefault

Henry Cavill, why must we always do this? You insist on looking balls-to-the-wall sexy and I’m sent into a celebrity crush tailspin. Do you know how hard it is to live like this? DO YOU!?

Whitney

Fangirly Presents Who Wore it Better: Summer Reboots

This summer gave us more sequels and reboots than we knew what to do with. Scratch that, we know exactly what to do with them. The Fangirly Fashion Police are standing by to determine who’s hot and who’s not from some of the biggest summer blockbusters, then and now.

Mad Max:

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Tom Hardy v. Mel Gibson

I guess this one boils down to preference; do you want your Max dressed like A Guy on a Buffalo or  Dystopian Edward Scissorhands? Mel surely gets points for showing us that road warrior couture didn’t need to sacrifice form for function, but I think this one goes to Tom. At least Hardy Boy’s outfit didn’t make me wonder about the chaffing potential of a full leather jumpsuit in a post-apocalyptic desertscape.

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Fantastic Four:

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Michael B. Jordan v. Chris Evans

This was very close. I wasn’t a dyed in the wool fan of the original Fantastic Four franchise, and I’ve got some reservations about the upcoming reboot. Artistic merit aside, I think I’m going to give this one to Chris Evans’ Johnny Storm. My bias is well-documented, and I like my superhero costumes to look as flamboyant and impractical as can be; Michael B. Jordan’s look is a little too utilitarian for my taste. I mean, look at all that ventilation. A hero should be ready and willing to sweat it out for the sake of fashion. Score Evans!

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Poltergeist:

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Kennedi Clements v. Heather O’ Rourke

Uh, both? Neither? I’m not sure whether to judge based on respective cuteness or creepiness. Obviously, both of these women know how to work a look. Clements and O’Rourke successfully took these outfits from jammy to whammy, and never have banana bangs looked so on-point.  Unfortunately, Heather O’Rourke’s full-length sleepwear is nothing short of iconic, so this one goes to Carol Anne. It’s an ensamble that really says, “I’m hereeeeeeee”.giphy (3)Whitney 

Fangirly Crush of the Week: Chris Evans

IMG_2693You know how some actors can be totally ubiquitous and yet somehow still manage to fly under your radar? In honor of the upcoming release of Marvel’s The Winter Soldier, I thought I’d crush this week on just such an actor. It’s not that I ever actively disliked Chris Evans (although Not Another Teen Movie certainly didn’t help), I just never got around to crushing on him. Which, thinking back, is kind of outrageous. He looks like some weird genetic amalgamation of Sam Rockwell, Gary Cooper, and Jensen Ackles. It shouldn’t work, but it totally does.

I think the real reason I never hopped on the Evans Express was because most of the movies I’ve seen him in are, you know, categorically not great (Fantastic Four, Push, What’s Your Number?, the list goes on). And while I liked him in Captain America: The First Avenger, it wasn’t enough to make me go gonzo. Then I saw Puncture. (Sidebar: this movie should really be mandatory viewing for anyone going into healthcare.) Not that it was a perfect flick; I thought the David and Goliath element was a bit over-dramatized and www.pinterest.comoverall it felt like total Oscar-fodder. But that movie pretty much marked the first time I realized that Chris Evan could actually act, in addition to being aggressively good-looking. Since then I’ve been able to catch some of his good stuff, namely Sunshine and The Iceman, and have been heading down a crazy crush spiral ever since. As if that weren’t enough, he is actually pretty funny. So Captain, we here at Fangirly salute you. Better late than never, right?

Whitney