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Movie Review: Baby Driver

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Edgar Wright is one of my favorite writers and directors having yet to disappoint in a film and effortlessly blending action and humor. Baby Driver, his latest film, leans heavier on the action side of things, but also gives us his best work yet in a movie that blends action, humor, and music in a way that feels original and a nonstop ride.

Actor Ansel Elgort shines as Baby, the “Baby” in Baby Driver who is forced to be the wheelman for some bad folks. It’s a good thing Baby is a natural behind the wheel moving a car like some direct symphonies. The film opens with a sequence that sets the tone as to what we can expect and for just shy of two hours we’re treated to a music driven action film that feels like as much as a ride as it is a movie.

What surprised me at first is the use of music which feels not like a soundtrack but instead we’re part of the action surrounded by the thumping sound. It’s diagetic, as Baby experiences the music, so do we. It also emphasizes the role music plays driving our lives and helping us perform our actions. Even a scene in a laundry mat feels like it’s straight out of a music video.The music too provides clues as to Baby’s life. Wright brilliantly uses the music to teach us about Baby’s life allowing a backstory to be presented without wasting time with filmed scenes.

The music too provides clues as to Baby’s life. Wright brilliantly uses the music to teach us about Baby’s life allowing a backstory to be presented without wasting time with filmed scenes. It also provides clues as to where things are going. As Baby’s world unravels so does the music as it slows and becomes eratic. It’s impressive and one of the best usses of music in any film I’ve experienced.

Ansel is cool in a movie full of cool individuals. A relative newcomer, Elgort goes toe to toe with Jon Bernthal (underused), Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx. That’s impressive, beyond impressive. Eiza Gonzalez and Lily James are newcomers to me and deliver fantastic performances as well, one bad ass and the other Bonnie to Elgort’s Clyde. Everyone, no matter how big the role, nails it. Truly impressive is CJ Jones who plays Joseph, Baby’s caretaker who is now being taken care of. Jones is the rarity in films a deaf individual playing a deaf character and his inclusion shows how focused on the details Wright was when creating this film. While a lot of the characters and performances borderline on tropes/stereotypes, each is beyond enjoyable and most importantly fun.

Baby Driver is a mix of films, Goodfellas, Heat, Fast and the Furious, but still stands out as an original. This is my favorite film of the year by a long shot and one I could watch over and over. Baby Driver is a music driven, action packed, adrenaline fueled, instant classic.

Overall Rating: 10

Director Edgar Wright to Debut Baby Driver at Awesome Con

LeftField Media has announced that Director Edgar Wright will make a special appearance at this year’s Awesome Con. Wright will screen his new, highly anticipated film Baby Driver to a select DC audience, and will appear as part of the Awesome Con’s featured weekend programs, including a signing with fans. Awesome Con is Washington DC’s Comic Con and attracts over 60,000 fans, guests including David Tennant, Stan Lee, and Scott Snyder, and partners including the Smithsonian and Nickelodeon. Awesome Con will be Wright’s exclusive US Comic Con appearance in the lead up to Baby Driver’s debut.

Baby Driver – written and directed by Wright – is the story of Baby, a talented, young getaway driver who relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway, but after being coerced into working for a crime boss, Baby must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love, and freedom. Baby Driver features an ensemble cast including Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx. Tristar Pictures and MRC present Baby Driver opening in US theaters on June 28.

Wright has developed a cult following and widespread acclaim for his clever, quirky, and imaginative films – including Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. Fans looking to meet him and get a first look at his Baby Driver can find him at various Awesome Con events…

  • Baby Driver Preview Screening – Thursday, June 157 PM at Regal Gallery Place
    A special pre-Awesome Con event, this limited screening is open to select fans and media, and will feature a showing of the full film together with a Q&A from Wright.

 

  •  Baby Driver Debut Panel and Q&A – Saturday, June 172 PM at Awesome Con’s Main Stage
    Edgar Wright and Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible) take to Awesome Con’s Main Stage to speak about Wright’s career, the creation of Baby Driver, his fans, and working with the film’s all-star cast. The panel will feature giveaways, surprises, and special clips from Baby Driver.

 

  •  Edgar Wright Signing – Saturday, June 173:15 PM in Awesome Con’s Autograph Area
    Meet Edgar Wright and get a Baby Driver poster signed by the film’s writer and director! Wright will conduct a special signing with details on participation coming soon.

 

Awesome Con takes place June 16-18, 2017 in the Walter Washington Convention Center, and tickets are available now at awesomecon.com.

What Could Be Expected in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

After its initial success with Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor, Marvel Studios quickly realized that it had a formula for success on its hands and seemed ready to take advantage of it.  To do so though required a plan, and studio head Kevin Feige soon had broken down the movies into various phases, with the most recent Ant-Man signaling the end of phase 2.  Aside from the developments inside the movies, there have been some developments outside the movies which have affected the universe as well, chief among those the partial reversion of the rights to Spider-Man back to Marvel, or at least the use of Spider-Man inside the shared universe in a collaboration with Sony.

At the moment, we kn ow the entire lineup for phase 3, starting with Captain America: Civil War and continuing through two new Avengers movies and the Inhumans.  What might be expected in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  The release of the newest Fantastic Four might signal some of the changes which we can anticipate ahead (there are some spoilers below).

Ant-Man and Wasp

waspMany expected Ant-Man to be one of the bigger disappointments thus far in the MCU, due to its ongoing problems with the direction, after it passed from Edgar Wright to Peyton Reed.  It seemed as though the studio was not going to take any risks with the character as they could not even confirm his role in any future movies.  This presumably will all change now that the movie has been released.  Although it can’t compare to the financial success of the year’s other Marvel movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, it also is noteworthy as being a better critical success, with a better rating at Rotten Tomatoes than Avengers.  With both financial and critical success it seems as though there will be more to come from these characters.  As was hinted at the end of the movie, there is still a lot of story left to tell as well, as the end hinted that Janet van Dyne might not be truly lost.  Furthermore Hope van Dyne was presented with a Wasp suit by her father.  There could be a lot of places to take the story of the two heroes, though one in particular might make the most sense …

Micronauts

micronautsThe Micronauts are a bit of an oddity in comics.  They started out as a line of toys, who were written into comics after in the 1970s after Marvel writer Bill Mantlo saw his son open a box of the toys.  The series started as somewhat of a standalone, but slowly was incorporated into the Marvel Universe, with appearances by some other mainstream characters.  While the rights for the characters do not presently rest with Marvel, there is a long publication history with the characters and as the rights rest with other smaller comic companies, it would likely not be too difficult to reacquire the rights.  Furthermore for the film studio that might try to replicate the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy, they might look smaller instead of bigger and find their next surprise hit there.  There would be some hurdles, but also there might be a few benefits, as Janet van Dyne disappeared into the smallest dimension, the Microverse.  This small universe is not in itself small, but the pathways to enter it are, and could give an explanation as to where the character disappeared.  They might find Janet in the Microverse, but they might also be able to find some other heroes there as well…

Fantastic Four

fantastic fourThe Fantastic Four is one of the best known Marvel properties that does not lie within the company’s grasp at the moment, instead being controlled by Fox.  While Fox has managed to control the X-Men franchise strongly enough with some decent movies, the Fantastic Four has mostly been a sequence of failures.  The first of the series was good enough to warrant a sequel, but this was before the wake of Marvel movies changed how fans expected superhero movies to turn out.  Marvel Studios was looking to be innovative, not just rehash generic action/sci-fi plots with superheroes thrown in.  The most recent attempt by Fox to revamp the Fantastic Four might have been an attempt to do the same, to get some new excitement into the mix, but it evidently did not turn out that way.  Critical response (and probably financial) will mean that the characters will have to be shelved for a while before the public has forgotten enough about them.  Using the Sony/Spider-Man approach, lending the characters back to Marvel Studios might be a wiser choice, one that would probably make more money for both, and one which would keep the fans happy.  By this point though, with two origin movies behind them, it might make sense to jump straight into the Fantastic Four with them already established as heroes.  They could exist in a similar sense to Hank Pym in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, unknown but still present.  More so, one of the places that is visited by the Fantastic Four is the Microverse, and if they were stuck there then it would be an easy bridge between Ant-Man and the return of Marvel’s first family.

Namor

namorIt is not entirely clear where the rights to Namor presently rest.  Kevin Feige has indicated that Marvel, if they desired, could make a Namor movie, but that there would be some “entanglements”.  Rights to the movie have rested with Universal, but seem to have at least partially lapsed.  What remains is speculated to be the same arrangement with 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, that Marvel creates but Universal distributes.  While it was not a problem when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still nascent, it seems moving forward that Marvel likes to create and distribute, and to get rewarded financially at 100% for its efforts.  It might make exceptions for Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four but maybe less so for Namor.  Another factor to consider is what DC Comics will manage to do with its own movies.  The other of the big two comic companies is playing catchup, but also has the benefit of controlling the movie rights to nearly all of its characters.  They have already greenlit an Aquaman movie, but it remains to be seen just how well it will do.  Aquaman is after all a hero that is taken not so seriously in pop culture, but if DC can make it work, maybe it will give Marvel second thoughts about its own underwater hero.

Thunderbolts

thunderboltsThe fact that DC Comics is playing catchup in the movie game can also be to the advantage of Marvel.  Marvel has already taken its gambles and seen those pay off, as with Guardians of the Galaxy.  DC Comics, who are eager to catch up, are also taking their own gambles, and chief among those is the Suicide Squad.  Featuring a group of villains forced into a heroic role, it might catch on, or it might flop.  Fans certainly will not be very familiar with the concept, and the concept in itself is strange enough that it might not work.  On the other hand, it might work, and if yes then it could serve as a gamble that Marvel gets to witness the results of without gambling anything itself.  If popular it could use its own villain-turned-heroes team the Thunderbolts and catch the wave of people wanting more Suicide Squad before a sequel to the DC movie comes out.  If played right as well it could help quieten those that think that the MCU’s villains are the weakest part of the movies.

Defenders

defendersMarvel is already a long way along in its development of the Doctor Strange movie, and holds the exclusive rights to the Hulk as long as he is not the featured character in a movie.  A Namor movie could be forthcoming depending on the success of Aquaman, and if Fox sees the benefits of doing so, a collaboration might be in the works to return the Fantastic Four and associated characters to the MCU, which would include the Silver Surfer.  Those four make up the original four members of the Defenders.  For those that are getting a bit tired of seeing the Avengers over and over again on the big screen, it might be an excuse to feature this other Marvel team (although Marvel is working on a street level Defenders television show as well.)  One interesting aspect about this team is that as opposed to the Avengers that the original team is made up of all non-street level characters, meaning that the stakes could be higher and that bigger things might happen as a result, such as …

World War Hulk

wwhThis has been a long rumored development in the MCU, but also not one that has not yet come to fruition.  Marvel has been careful to include in story arcs from the comics, and it has made for some great connections for fans of both mediums.  Although World War Hulk is not necessarily the best all time Hulk story, it is up there, and would be a better vehicle for putting a new spin on the Hulk stories, more so than what we are seeing at the movies, with both Hulk movies fitting the same general pattern of the Hulk being hunted by the government after smashing up a bunch of stuff.  It would also allow the character to move beyond the Avengers, which is a connection that is not as strong in the comics.  Also if all the pieces fell into place, it would mean that a lot of the major players from the crossover might be able to make it into the movie, save for the X-Men.

Hawkeye

kateRumors abound that another major character will die in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War (especially that there are pictures from the set of a funeral sequence), and without any other way to verify this other than by seeing a movie that will not be released until 2016, it still seems likely that one of the characters that might be easiest to kill off would be Hawkeye.  He is among the less popular of the main characters in the MCU, and has been almost a footnote to the movies series, appearing to provide fans with another superhero, but also one that doesn’t really do much.  Even if he does not die in the movie, it is also worth noting that the character is one which is on the verge of retirement, being somewhat older than the other heroes and with responsibilities to his family.  This could leave open the possibility for a Hawkeye movie except not as we might expect.  As the movies expand in popularity it makes sense to be closer to four quadrant movies, and one way to do this is to introduce more female characters.  If Clint Barton were to retire on screen, it could open the door for Kate Bishop to step up, providing the MCU with another superheroine, and one with a lot more of an edge than Clint.

She-Hulk and Spider-Woman

shehulkOn that same note, if Marvel is looking to keep its female fans happy it might look to develop these characters as well.  Most of the main Marvel superheroines would be tied up elsewhere, with most of the major heroines being members of the X-Men, and other such as Sue Storm or Medusa mostly only operating as parts of teams.  Others such as Elektra and even Hellcat are tied to the television series, which mean that only a few major female characters would be left to get the big screen treatment.  She-Hulk and Spider-Woman could both be strong contenders to hold down their own movie, especially if Marvel did something unexpected and went off the script with the Spider-Gwen version of Spider-Woman.  It would also help to fill the ranks of the Avengers, a team which needs to be mixed up a bit from time to time to keep the roster fresh and the fans intrigued.

Ka-Zar

tigraKa-Zar is one of the longest running Marvel characters, but also one that has not had a very solid fanbase in modern years, although unquestionably popular among many.  Although Marvel is keen on taking risks, could it make the Savage Land work the same as it made Guardians of the Galaxy work?  The Savage Land is the source of many stories within the Marvel Universe, though most of them with the X-Men.  Why might the MCU be interested in the Savage Land?  It is a fantasy setting, and while it does not match up with other heroes, could still serve as an explanation for the re-appearance of some characters who also happen to be Avengers – Hercules, Tigra or even the Black Knight.  It might be a stretch, but Marvel will be looking for new blood for its Avengers as it moves forward, as is evident from the new roster after Age of Ultron.  Tigra especially might be interesting, as she not only is her own character, but is also indirectly responsible for the development of Hellcat, whose non-superpowered version is already set to be introduced in the Marvel television show Jessica Jones.

Iron Man 4

iron manThis is perhaps the biggest question to solve in phase 4.  A big part of what made the MCU so popular is that it based its hopes on the initial movie, Iron Man.  If this movie had failed so too would the plans for the shared universe.  Success would probably have still come the way of the studio, but it would have been a longer road.  Part of the runaway success of the original Iron Man was that Robert Downey Jr. was perfectly cast as Tony Stark, what some might say is not even really acting as he seems to be mostly playing himself.  That having been said, superheroes never really age but actors and actresses do.  While the studio can get a few more years out of Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson (all in their early to mid 30s), and even a lot more out of Paul Bettany (whose character the Vision wears so much makeup as to be ageless) and Elizabeth Olsen (who is in her mid 20s), it can probably expect less out of Robert Downey Jr, who is now 50.  They might push him for a couple more movies, but eventually he will need to be replaced, and the biggest question would then be by who, as the character is one that is of highest importance to the MCU.  There might be no bigger question heading forward in the MCU than who will fill this role.

Edgar Wright Leaves Marvel’s Ant-Man

edgar wrightDue to a difference in “their vision of the film,” director Edgar Wright has left Marvel‘s Ant-Man. A new director has already been chosen, but Marvel hasn’t revealed who that is.

This is especially shocking since Wright has been attached to the project since 2006 as a screenwriter. To put it in perspective that’s before the first Iron Man. Test footage was shown at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012.

This was an “amicable” decision and doesn’t impact the film’s release date on July 17, 2015. It had originally been set to be released November 6, 2015.

Marvel and Wright parted ways “due to differences  in their vision of the film,” the company and director said in a statement.

Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly star in the film, with Corey Stoll, Michael Pena and Patrick Wilson.

Michael Douglas to be Hank Pym in Marvel’s Ant-Man

Michael_DouglasVariety has the news that acclaimed actor Michael Douglas will be stepping into the Marvel cinematic universe and play Hank Pym in the upcoming Ant-Man. Douglas is fresh off a Golden Globe win for Behind the Candelabra and is another award winning actor signing up to take on a classic Marvel character. The movies have a habit of attracting award winners.

Edgar Wright is helming the pic from a script he wrote with Joe Cornish.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said to Variety:

With Hank Pym’s rich history in the Marvel Universe, we knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves. We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn’t be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life.

This answers a major question of which Ant-Man fans can expect. Numerous people have donned the persona and recently it was announced that Paul Rudd would be the main character, but no one knew if he would be Hank Pym or Scott Lang. Pym was the original character as well as the creator of Ultron who will be featured in the next Avengers film.

Paul Rudd Confirmed for Ant-Man

Paul RuddAfter a few days of speculation and jumping the gun by many on the tubes, Marvel has confirmed and announced that Paul Rudd will star in Ant-Man. The movie, which will be directed by Edgar Wright, comes to theaters July 31, 2015!

In the release, Marvel says that they and Wright wanted Rudd long ago.

The casting of Rudd represents the actor that Marvel and Wright had long ago identified as its first choice to play Ant-Man, continuing the studio’s desire to cast actors that bring several dimensions to its onscreen heroes.  The film’s plot is being kept under wraps.

There are numerous versions of the character with many people taking on the identity of Ant-Man. With the inclusion of Ultron in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, it is speculated we’ll see Hank Pym, the scientist and hero who in the comics created Ultron. That’s all speculation. There are versions of the character who have had greater ties with S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization that has play a prominent role in the Marvel Movie Universe as well as spawned the television show which is airing its first season on ABC.

Rudd can be currently seen in Anchor Man 2: The Legend Continues and has a long acting history.

In 2015, Ant-Man will be joined by Avengers: Age of Ultron which hits theaters May 1, 2015. 2014 brings us Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4 and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1.

Around the Tubes

It’s Friday, which just means the weekend is almost here…. yay!  I really have nothing else, so here’s news for you to waste away your time at work.

Around the Blogs:

IGN – Marvel’s Big Hero 6 Hitting the Big Screen?That’s unexpected.

Hollywood Reporter – Edgar Wright Directing ‘Ant-Man’ Test ReelA good way to lead into the next group of movies.

Latino Review – EXCLUSIVE: Marvel’s 2014 Movie Revealed! – This could be cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Batman, Incorporated #2

Talking Comics – Before Watchmen: Night Owl #1

Talking Comics – FF #19

ScienceFiction.com – Hit-Girl #1

Cambs Times – Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Spider-Man

ComicBooks.com – Spider-Men #2

Talking Comics – Whispers #3

Talking Comics – Wolverine & The X-Men #12