Race to First: Ranking the Fast and the Furious Franchise

Ask any racer. Any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.” – Dominic Toretto, The Fast and The Furious, 2001.

From street racing and stolen trucks to taking on international drug lords and terrorists, The Fast and The Furious is one of the most successful and versatile film franchises ever. With a combined gross of $5 billion, the success is hard to argue against. In honor of the first Fast and Furious spin-off, Hobbs and Shaw, I thought it was time to take a look in the rear view mirror and rank the Fast franchise.

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Spider’s Web: Ranking The Spider-Man Film Franchise

On May 3, 2002, one of Marvel Comics’ most popular superheroes graced the silver screen in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s young aspiring scientist imbued with superhuman abilities after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Since then, we’ve gone through three men wearing the outfit and two reboots, making the character progressively younger. With the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, I thought it would be a good time to rank the web-slinger’s big screen adventures.

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My most anticipated movies of 2019

New year, new movies. Now that the fireworks have faded and the first week of the 2019 is in the books, let’s look to the rest of the year.

Some franchises are closing their current chapters like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Disney looks to continue their silver screen dominance with live action retellings and there will be those small films that aren’t making much noise for now that will roar with larger crowds through audience word of mouth. These lists are always fun to predict what could be really good and what could potentially bomb (I really hope nothing on this list does).

So without further ado…

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2018’s Best

When I look back at 2018 in film, I will remember a few things: this was a great year for documentaries; foreign and world cinema are on the rise; smaller studios are creating the majority of original content and interesting projects right now; the superhero genre continues to grow and still has the ability to break the hearts of their fans, both positively and negatively. Overall, I’d like to think that 2018 was a very strong year for film – filled with its ups and downs, successes and failures. Many studio films balanced monetary and critical success excellently and smaller films challenged many perceptions we have and placed them under a sometimes uncomfortable microscope.

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My Top 10 Movies of 2017

As we reach the final act of this year, it’s time to take a look back at a strong year for films. We’ve had a major assortment of movies come across the silver screen and got audiences into theaters almost every weekend. These movies offered an escape from our lives for an hour or two. These movies thrilled us, made us cry, and had us cheering for a wonderful work of creative art done by actors, directors, and the crew that put all the magic together.Read More »

Summer Movie Season Preview

With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  blasting its way into theaters this weekend, the Summer Movie Season will officially begin. For all of us moviegoers, we should be in store for a plethora of solid Summer entertainment to get us through these heated months. We have our usual sequels headlining, a Rock-solid comedy on a 90’s staple television show, some family entertainment, and the returns of Edgar Wright and Christopher Nolan to the silver screen.

There are so many movies that I’m excited about that it’s hard to narrow them all down. But I have finally gotten this done! So here are the top ten anticipated movies to corral audiences into those air-conditioned theaters:

10) Cars 3 – June 16

I’ll admit that I’ve never had the chance to watch either of the previous movies in the Cars franchise, despite the fact that I love most of the films out of the Disney/Pixar factory. While the last outing didn’t fair well with critics or fans, there is enough story to add another entry for this animated racing movie. This time out, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) will face the future as a new generation of blazing-fast racers, led by Jackson Storm (voiced by Armie Hammer). After an accident, McQueen will have to prove to not only his fans, but himself, that he’s still the best racer in the world.

9) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – May 26

Captain Jack Sparrow sets sail again! For the fifth time, Johnny Depp puts on his pirates hat as Captain Jack Sparrow sets off to find the legendary Trident of Poseidon. As always, it wouldn’t be Jack to not step on a few toes along the way. The deadly ghost pirate, Captain Salazar (Javiar Bardem) seeks to kill every pirate at sea…including Sparrow, who he ran across years before. I wasn’t a big fan of On Stranger Tides and thought that the franchise could have ended after the third entry, At World’s End. Captain Jack Sparrow seems to have more adventure in him and he could have some old friends joining him as Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom return to the franchise.

8) BaywatchMay 24

“Hollywood-Viagra” superstar Dwayne Johnson is back again, looking to claim the summer early in May by giving an old television series an R-rated facelift. Johnson plays Baywatch legend Mitch Buchanan who butts heads with a brash new recruit, Matt Brody (Zac Efron). While trying to rebuild the Baywatch name, the duo uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the beach. Of course, it wouldn’t be Baywatch without the lovely women of the beach: Alexandra Daddario, ABC’s Quantico star Priyanka Chopra, model Kelly Rohrbach, and Llfenesh Hadera head up the female contingent of the team. Beaches ain’t ready for what The Rock will bring.

7) Alien: Covenant – May 19

Lately, I’ve caught up with the Alien franchise, starting with the first two movies. I’ve seen Prometheus, the start of the prequel series to this franchise. All of them have been brilliant science fiction works from the mind of Ridley Scott. Scott returns to direct the next installment in the prequel trilogy. Picking up ten years after the events of Prometheus, the crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far end of the galaxy to colonize, discover a threat beyond imagination and must attempt a harrowing escape from this uncharted paradise. Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocolypse) returns as the android David and joined by Katherine Waterson (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride (HBO’s Vice Principals). When are we going to learn to stop going to planets outside of our solar system?
6) Detroit – August 4

This movie caught me off-guard but once I saw the preview, I was on board. Directed by Oscar-winning Director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), this film documents a police raid in Detroit in 1967 that results in the one of the largest citizen uprisings in United States history. This film boasts a solid cast with John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Jacob Latimore, John Krasinski,  Kaitlyn Dever, and Jason Mitchell leading the cast. Kathryn Bigelow could become a three-time Oscar nominee with this film that has the potential of being an early Oscar favorite.

5) Wonder Woman – June 2

After many delays, script rewrites, a revolving door of directors, and other roadblocks, the Amazon Princess will be making her solo movie debut. This origin film tells the story of Diana (Gal Gadot), princess of the Amazons and trained warrior. When pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes and tells of the conflict in the outside world, Diana leaves home to fight in the war, discovering her full powers and true destiny. Gal Gadot did a wonderful job in her introduction during Dawn of Justice and deserves her chance to shine on her own. If this film can be a success, DC’s Cinematic Universe can get a leg up on Marvel.

4) Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7

After his long-awaited appearance in the MCU during Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man will get another reboot under the Marvel Studios banner. Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker as he attempts to balance his life in high school with his career as the web-slinger, Spider-Man. Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark will also play a role but I hope that it’s not dominant, only appearing when he needs to. Spidey will have his hands full, battling Michael Keaton’s Vulture. Let’s see how Marvel Studios handles one of the greatest and relatable heroes of all time.

3) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – May 5

Like there was any doubt that this would make my list. Marvel Studios’ favorite team of A-holes are back to take us on another ride on the Milano. Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mix Vol. 2 and three months after the first film, this film continues the team’s adventures throughout the cosmos as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) true parentage. Along with the main players from Volume 1, Kurt Russell joins the cast as Ego, Pom Klementieff as the empathic Mantis, and Elizabeth Debicki as High Priestess Ayesha. With an stellar soundtrack and James Gunn’s direction, this film should be a joy for all Marvel Studios fans. My review for this film will be posted as soon as tomorrow.

2) Baby Driver – June 28

If you are not a fan of Edgar Wright or seen any of his films such as Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz, you have time to catch up. Returning to write and direct for the first time since 2013, Edgar Wright helms this film about a young getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort), who is coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey) and finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail. If you need any indication that this film could be amazing, it currently holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and was originally scheduled for release on August 11, but moved up to June 28. After watching the trailer, all I can say is buckle your seatbelts.

1) Dunkirk – July 21

And speaking of returning writer/directors, Christopher Nolan returns after three years to bring audiences another epic film. This war epic tells the story of Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. This is based upon a true story during the Battle of France between May 26 to June 4, 1940. Christopher Nolan has always been able to tell a great story and this film looks no different. In case you need any more convincing, here is the most recent trailer for Dunkirk.

What movies are you looking forward to watching this summer? Are there any that have not made my list? Either way, I hope you all enjoy your time at the theaters.

Top 10 Anticipated Film of 2017

After much thought and taking a glance at what we have coming down the line for this year, we could be in for an entertaining time at the theater this year. We have the DCEU finally picking up steam with two anticipated films that may finally satisfy fans. An original war film, a superhero homecoming and a intergalactic band of misfits returns, and then there are sequels, sequels, and sequels. Did I forget to mention sequels?

10) Justice League – November 17th

The DCEU got there a little faster than Marvel, but a moment fans young and old have been looking forward to has finally arrived. We’re getting a Justice League Movie! DC’s Gods Among Us will take center stage as Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) assemble a team of metahumans to face the threat of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and the Parademons, who are on the hunt for the three Mother Boxes on Earth. The team consists of Cyborg (Ray Fisher), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa). The obvious question is: how will Superman (Henry Cavill) return and will he join the team?  The other supporting cast members from the previous movies will also be making cameos in this ensemble film. Considering the mediocre success of Batman v Superman, this is DC’s chance to really right the ship. They will have an earlier opportunity in the summer, but this could be their second chance.

9) Kingsman: The Golden Circle – October 6th

In 2014, the British-spy action film Kingsman: The Secret Service surprised everyone. The fresh storyline, comedy, and stylized action scenes (remember that church scene?) made the film one of the top grossing films of that year. It only made sense that a sequel would be made. Now, we’re finally being treated to one. Taron Egerton returns as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin as an attack on the Kingsman Headquarters forces him, Merlin (Marc Strong), and Roxy (Sophie Cookson) to head to the United States and join forces with Statesman, their American Counterpart, to take on a new enemy called Poppy (Julianne Moore). I, for one, am looking forward to this film after having so much fun watching the first. New cast members include Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges to represent the Statesman but the big question is how Colin Firth’s Harry Hart will make his return after presumably killed in the first film.

8) The Fate of the Furious – April 14, 2017

‘Family No More’ seems to be the tag line for this installment in the high-speed series and, after the first trailer, it’s very appropriate. Dom (Vin Diesel) and the crew, despite being exonerated after the events of Furious 7, are still up to their old tricks and found some semblance of normal lives. When a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron) corrupts Dom into betraying his family and into a world of crime he cannot escape. They each will face trials that will test them like never before. Vin Diesel returns along with series veterans like Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, returning characters played by Kurt Russell and new players like Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren will be joining the cast. Since the original cast has returned, the series has truly evolved past its street racing beginnings. Despite the tragic loss of Paul Walker, the Fast and the Furious continues to run. Let’s see where this direction takes them in the final trilogy of the Fast and Furious film series.

7) Blade Runner 2049 – October 6, 2017

An unexpected cult classic is FINALLY getting a sequel. After languishing in developmental hell, going through changes to the script, writers, and all the stalling, Blade Runner returns. Picking up thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. Since it seems like Harrison Ford is returning to past role that made him a star and we have seen Han Solo’s end, who knows what the fate of Deckard will be? I’m looking forward to seeing Blade Runner’s sequel will translate with the masses.

6) Wonder Woman – June 2, 2017

Before the Justice League finally assembles in DC’s biggest film yet, one of the founding members and iconic heroes of all time will, at last, get her own solo movie. Gal Gadot reprises her role as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in this origin story set in the early 20th century, finding the Amazon princess of Themyscira meeting American military pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) when he washes ashore. After learning about the outside world embroiled in World War I, Diana leaves the island to bring an early end to the war. A film about the iconic comic book hero has been long discussed and teased that we never thought it would happen. Now, it looks like DC might get a chance to one-up Marvel Studios with the first solo film for a female superhero.

5) Dunkirk – July 21, 2017

Christopher Nolan returns to the director’s chair this summer to deliver a war epic that could be an earlier front-runner to win the summer and possibly an Oscar nomination. This film concerns the Dunkirk evacuation during the Second World War, where Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German Army on the beaches of Dunkirk and evacuated in Operation Dynamo. Starring a stellar cast that contains Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and introducing Harry Styles, this film could be very strong. We’ve never seen a movie cover the early years of World War II, but if there is one director who can do that film justice, it is Christopher Nolan.

4) Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017

After an original trilogy and a reboot under the Sony banner, Sony finally struck a deal with Marvel to bring the web-slinger home. This second reboot of the Spider-Man film series and the sixteenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe follows the events after Captain America: Civil War, finding Peter Parker (Tom Holland) trying to find a balance in his life as an ordinary high school student with fighting crime as his superhero alter-ego, Spider-Man, along with the help of his mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) as a new threat emerges in the Vulture (Michael Keaton). I was very impressed by Tom Holland during Civil War and it will be amazing to see how he stands on his own and interacts with this established universe and all its amazing characters. Welcome home, Spidey.

3) Beauty and the Beast – March 17, 2017

One of my all-time favorite Disney movies and one of my favorites of all time is getting the live-action treatment. This movie doesn’t need to be changed or modified in any way. It just needs to be done right. Belle (Emma Watson) is a young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast (Dan Stevens) in his castle in exchange for her father’s (Kevin Kline) freedom. Despite her initial fears, she comes to befriend the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s physical appearance to recognize the true heart and soul of the human prince inside as a hunter, Gaston (Luke Evans), is on the loose to take Belle for himself and kill the Beast at any cost. Disney could not find a better cast to be a part of this film with the talents of Emma Thompson, Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, and Josh Gad. This film deserves to be one of the most anticipated of this year.

2) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017

Marvel’s intergalactic band of misfits are back! The sequel to the surprise hit of 2014 finds James Gunn returning to the helm the new adventure with its cast of colorful characters. Set two months after the first film, the Guardians of the Galaxy travel throughout the cosmos and struggle to keep their new family together, while helping Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) learn about his true parentage. Featuring the returning cast members of Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker along with new members like Kurt Russell along with what is sure to be an amazing soundtrack (like the first film), this film could be out of this world.

1) Star Wars: Episode VIII – December 15, 2017

In what seems to be the start of a holiday trend, a new Star Wars movie will blast into theaters in December. The second installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy following The Force Awakens, finished filming in July 2016. Little is known about the film that will pick up after the events of the previous episode. Star Wars veterans Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher in her final role before her untimely death as General Leia return to team up with returning new cast members Daisey Ridley as Force-sensitive Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Issac as Poe Dameron, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. I cannot wait to see the first preview for this film, knowing that this film is the top of the anticipated movie list for many entertainment forums.

What’s your most anticipated film for this year? Did any of them show up on my list? Let me know!

Here’s to a great year of movies!