Welcome to "Last Month In Movies", a column that takes a look back on all the new releases that came out in the past month. Posted at the end of every month, LMiM talks about the good, the bad, and tops it off with a "Movie of the Month".
Note: Sorry for the delay! It was a mix of both life getting busy and me slacking off. Anyways, enjoy! LMiM: March 2016 coming April 1!
This month saw everyone's favorite anti-hero get his own movie, a fantasy flop of epic proportions, the Coen brothers take on 1950s Hollywood, a sequel to a cult comedy, and two biopics of Olympians who defied the odds.
The (Surprisingly) Good
Also known as The (Subjectively) Good, these are movies that, while caused some division among critics and audiences, I personally enjoyed and I recommend checking out.
The Coen brothers follow up on their written work for 'Bridge of Spies' with the comedy 'Hail, Caesar!'. Studio executive Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is making sure scandals surrounding various actors are kept out of the press, but when superstar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is abducted, Eddie must rescue him, while keeping rival gossip columnists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton) from finding out.
The movie is an all-star spectacle that does an amazing job of putting the viewer in 1950s Los Angeles, and although it focuses mainly on Eddie and Baird, each side story feels natural to the overall backdrop on post-war Hollywood.
The second all-star movie to come out this year tells the story of a group of police officers and former soldiers (Chiwetel Ejifor, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr. and Anthony Mackie) who must murder a fellow officer (Casey Affleck) in order to pull of a heist.
This has been a movie I've heard a lot about over the past couple years, and to see it on the big screen was well worth the wait. The acting from each actor is top-notch, the cinematography is beautiful, and John Hillcoat does a phenomenal directing job. The sole problem the movie has is its story and they are a couple moments that do nothing to advance the plot or make any sense at all. Other than that, it's a solid crime caper.
Set after the Resurrection, a Roman soldier (Joseph Fiennes) is ordered by Pontius Pilate to find the body of Jesus Christ in order to stop an approaching uprising in Jerusalem.
Christian films have been on a downhill trend lately (and this is coming from someone who IS a Christian FYI), somehow we went from great movies like 'The Ten Commandments', 'Ben-Hur', and 'The Prince of Egypt' to movies such as 'God's Not Dead' and 'Left Behind' (the Nic Cage version). But when a movie like 'Risen' comes along, it's a reminder of how faith based films should be done; non-biased, engaging, and overall entertaining. It also helps that 'Risen' puts the viewer in the perspective of a non-believer, a point of view that most Christian films tend to ignore. Aside from that, it has the element of a manhunt story thrown into it, and Joseph does a fine job as the Roman soldier. Regardless of what you believe in, this is definitely worth a watch.
The (Disappointingly) Bad
There are two types of movies in this section; the ones that SHOULD have been good, and the one that we knew was going to suck the instant the trailer dropped.
Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel McDonald are back, and this time, they must help Interpol agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) investigate a conspiracy after multiple celebrities were assassinated while posing the "Blue Steel" look.
To the writers, actors, and directors of the future, if you're going to make a sequel to a popular comedy, either make it good or don't make it at all. I understand, it's tough to be a sequel to a cult classic, especially a comedy. Make it too soon and people think it's just to make more money, make it too late and people think it's just to make money. But 'Zoolander 2' is just an unfunny romp that's awkward and clumsy, but if anything good has come out of it, it makes me want to watch the first one.
'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'
The parody novel of the Jane Austen classic got an adaptation and, well, the results were less than stellar. Set in 19th century England, the Bennet sisters Elizabeth (Lily James, Jane (Bella Heathcote) are trained by their father to fend off the zombie hoarde.
First off, and I'm sure plenty of other critics have said this before, this should have been great. One reason why zombie movies are still popular is because they're done in different ways and have different styles. One great way to keep the genre fresh is to integrate a certain time period, giving viewers the chance to see how people from different points in history might have reacted to an undead uprising. Here, it's more in the vein of 'Pride and Prejudice' rather than 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter', and I am NOT a fan of the 'Pride and Prejudice' story.
'Gods of Egypt'
Taking inspiration from Egyptian myth, a mortal named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) must team up with the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to stop Set (Gerald Butler) from taking over the Egyptian Empire.
*sigh* do I really need to say anything? I mean, c'mon! If you're going to make an epic about ancient Egyptian deities, at least make it good so that audiences can actually enjoy it. Anyway, I feel sorry for anyone who was involved in this movie, and it's safe to say we have found our first contender for "Worst Movie of 2016".
For me, February was a bit out of balance in terms of quality for movies, some of them were pretty good, others were terrible, but there was one movie this month that everybody seemed to flock to. To be honest, it deserves the attention. Fans have been waiting for YEARS for this character to get his own movie, and now, it's arrived, and it delivered on every level.
Movie of the Month: 'Deadpool'
Is this really a surprise? Between the hype at Comic-Con, the marketing campaign, AND the R rating (14A in Canada), it's no wonder it broke records and received astounding reviews! It was a fun, adult-friendly, action-comedy that proves that if you do a character right, it really pays off. Hopefully we'll see more mature movies from Marvel and DC in the future, and as long as it works for the movie, and not just to bring in the dough, I'm game.
That's it for Last Month in Movies! Again, sorry for the delay!