Beauty and the Beast Review

Director Bill Condon and an Impressive Cast Re-Imagine the Classic 1991 Disney Animated Film to Serviceable if not Significant Effect.

Power Rangers Review

This Re-Boot of the Much-Loved 90's TV Series Earns its Big Moments and Nostalgic Throwbacks, but Doesn't Relish in Them.

Kong: Skull Island Review

An Attractive Ensemble Matters Little in this Monster Movie that Keeps its Focus Appropriately on the Titular Kong and the Adventures Skull Island Beholds.

LOGAN Review

Director James Mangold and Hugh Jackman give the Wolverine Character a Fitting, but Appropriately Dour Send-Off.

Get Out Review

Jordan Peele's Directorial Debut is One of the Most Effective and Relevant Horror Films in Recent Memory.

First Trailer for IT Re-Make
Confession time: I've never read nor have I seen the 1990 miniseries that was based on the acclaimed Stephen King novel. That King novel, which was originally published in September of 1986 spawned a two-part television event that has always felt well-renowned, but that I always felt would be too terrifying to entertain me. As I got older and became a more eclectic movie-watcher this was one that simply fell by the wayside. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, one following a group of seven misfit eleven year old children in 1958 and the other following these children as grown-ups who come back to their hometown of Derry, Maine in the mid-eighties to face the ominous Pennywise, a being who exploits the fears of its victims thus the reason "it" primarily appears in the form of a clown. The 1990 adaptation split the two time periods into two distinct parts, or so I'm told, and there are apparently plans already in the works for a sequel to this latest iteration of the source material that would continue the original story of "The Losers' Club," as the kids call themselves, into their adult years. As for how this first outing might fare-so far it certainly has my attention. Despite some solid horror efforts over the past few years I can't help but feel we've had a drought on what are truly genre-defining horror films and though It will largely capitalize on its known brand and iconic elements I'm sure there are plenty of people such as myself who've only heard tell of the dread that Pennywise has brought to his victims that will flock to this re-imagining in droves. Coming from the director of Mama, Andrés Muschietti, this certainly has the look and eerie feel of a classic horror flick and to that effect, it's been a while since we've had a solid Stephen King adaptation as well so if nothing else here's to hoping Muschietti's film might reverse that fortune. This first, teaser trailer certainly bodes well for what we might be getting this fall as the trailer sets the tone for something truly menacing. It stars Jackson Robert Scott, Bill Skarsgaard, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and opens on September 8th, 2017.   

It's still strange that we have a new Spider-Man movie coming that is again re-booting the series for the third time in fifteen years, but here we are. Of course, the difference with Spider-Man: Homecoming is the fact this latest version of the webslinger will be co-existing with the heroes that have come to define the Marvel Cinematic Universe and fighting alongside them. In the same way Power Rangers did this past weekend Homecoming seems to want to take on this John Hughes-like approach to Spidey as the major differentiators have always been Peter Parker's young age and prime high school status. This is taken as a point of pride here as opposed to twenty-somethings playing high school seniors as they've done in the movies before. This certainly makes the fact we're getting a new Spider-Man flick a win, but if this new trailer shows anything else it's that this won't simply be an origin story, but a full on action adventure picture. Directed by John Watts (Cop Car) it seems he and his writers room are taking their film as retro as we've indeed heard throughout most of the production. From the design of the logo to the very outspoken intent of making this an inexperienced Peter Parker who enlists Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark as something of a mentor (who designed Spidey's suit as we saw in Civil War), but who really just exists as a normal kid with super powers in a world where superheroes are more or less the norm. This is timely considering this too is what Spider-Man movies have become in an era where the Guardians of the Galaxy are as widely known as Captain America, but while this newest trailer delivers what we all expect from a Spider-Man movie I'm excited to see what else Watts has up his sleeve to make this latest iteration stand apart from his protagonist's new pack. Spider-Man: Homecoming also stars Tom Holland, Jon Favreau, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, Marisa Tomei, and opens on July 7th, 2017.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: March 28, 2017

Initial Reaction: Video Review - POWER RANGERS
It's been a tough month here at Initial Reaction. First, I was unable to make the early screening of Logan to kick off the month leaving me to miss our scheduled filming time for the review. The next week went smooth enough until our editor decided to try something different without consulting us first and then deleting the footage as soon as the review was uploaded with no option but to leave the review as is. Then, the weekend of what would ultimately turn out to be the biggest release of the month if not one of the biggest movies of the year in Beauty and the Beast saw our camera and review footage get stolen. I've since filed a police report in (admittedly desperate) hopes of retrieving the camera and maybe even possibly the footage. I know that will never happen, but one has to have some kind of optimism when the thought of someone simply picking up your property and taking it as their own does nothing but irritate you more the more I think about it. This brings us to this most recent week where I was once again unable to make it to the B&B Chenal 9 & IMAX theater in Little Rock in order to review the re-boot of the much-loved 90's TV series that was Power Rangers. Being out of town for my grown-up job I was still able to catch a screening of the movie Thursday evening, but for our video review Charles was able to recruit his good friend Tim to fill in for me and I couldn't be more appreciative to both of these guys for making this happen. I'd been looking forward to Power Rangers for some time and was happy to finally see the film and happy to see it turned out, frankly, better than I expected. With an estimated $40.5 million from 3,693 locations the film delivered on the high end of pre-release tracking with opening day audiences giving the film an "A" CinemaScore and audiences under the age of 18 scoring the film an "A+". This bodes well for the kind of legs Power Rangers might have over the next few weeks as the Spring blockbuster season continues this week with the release of Ghost in the Shell which, God willing, we'll be reviewing. Until then, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!

Official Trailer for JUSTICE LEAGUE
"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." It's not hard to see why many fans of Batman and DC Comics' heroes in general might be feeling this way towards the newly released Justice League trailer because if one thing is evident it's the fact the studio and director Zack Snyder know how to cut an impressive trailer. What has also become clear though, is that they can craft an impressive and outright stellar trailer from a weak film. There is no greater example of this than with last years train wreck that was Suicide Squad. While I rather enjoyed Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice more than most I can see how such an argument might be made as the trailers certainly indicated something far more exceptional than what we were ultimately delivered. All hopes are riding on Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman at the moment as all three trailers we've seen from the film have been superb and if that film can prove to be as much when it debuts this summer it might right the ship for the struggling DC Cinematic Universe. All of that is to say that of course this trailer looks and feels awesome. What is there not to like? Ben Affleck's Batman is doing his thing, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman is more or less his second in command while Ezra Miller's The Flash and Jason Momoa's Aquaman make it look like either of them could very easily steal the show. The only kind of question mark is Ray Fisher's Cyborg, but I like what we see of that mostly-CGI character here. What's interesting about this movie is that we have to keep in mind it was being planned and prepped for long before the backlash Dawn of Justice received and it is a film that has clearly had a new light shined on it due to those reactions. If you read any of the set visits from last summer you'll remember the fact WB and Snyder immediately went to work building a more positive narrative around the DCEU and for the most part, that was totally demolished by Suicide Squad.  Ultimately, the film might have a spunkier tone due to quick re-writes, but it will still look like and be an epic Snyder film which is what these heroes and gods deserve. I don't mind owning up to the fact I'm a Snyder fan and that I hope his vision for this cinematic universe is seen through to the end. Side note: really happy they still haven't showed us a glimpse of Henry Cavill's Superman despite the fact we know he will be back in some capacity for Justice Laague which hits theaters on November 17th, 2017. J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, and Amber Heard also star.


I was six years-old in 1993 when the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers debuted stateside and I could not have been more enthralled with the goofy series. It was as if someone had taken all the tropes and character archetypes I could have imagined in a super hero series and shot them at the screen with a paintball gun. The bright colors, the over-the-top antagonists, and the general playbook each episode followed may have both satisfied and informed what I thought the general public expected super hero lore to fulfill, it was so early in my life I can hardly remember what I knew prior, but whether it was one or both the fact remains that Power Rangers was a cornerstone of my childhood and one that I have always had a great amount of fondness for. I've even gone so far as to write a first draft of a novel based on an idea that spurned from the series and what it might have been like had it matured with its viewers a la Harry Potter, but now that we have this re-boot I may want to start in on the sophomore effort. Anyway, the point is-for this reason and everything else I've mentioned thus far I was beyond excited to see what this modern day interpretation of the material had to offer. Directed by Dean Israelite, the guy who made Project Almanac, this new Power Rangers movie essentially combines the conviction of The Breakfast Club characters with the plight of those in Josh Trank's Chronicle from 2012. And in similar style. Granted, this is combined with all the hallmarks of what made the original series so fun, but you get the picture. And so, how does this latest nostalgia-fueled re-boot fare in terms of satisfying a lifelong fan? Pretty damn well. In fact, far better than expected in terms of the aspect that will guarantee it the most staying power as a franchise-it's core cast of charismatic and ultimately formidable teens. It's refreshing, weirdly, for despite the fact everything in Power Rangers is more or less recycled from the series and other sources the movie as a whole manages to revitalize in the way it was no doubt intended.

Official Trailer for BAYWATCH
We've been seeing trailers for the reboot of Baywatch since early in December, but as the warmer weather finally begins to set in and the summer movie season inches ever closer it's beginning to make a lot more sense why we may not necessarily need a reboot of Baywatch, but why this thing was obviously greenlit. In what is seemingly a mix of the Jump Street movies and Bad Boys with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Zac Efron taking on the buddy cop archetypes, except they're lifeguards...get it? They think they're cops, but they're only lifeguards. While the trailer again wears this joke thin in it's appreciated, but overcompensating self-awareness there is enough other fun chemistry and good laughs to go around here for me to totally be game. Directed by Seth Gordon, whose initial Horrible Bosses felt edgy and was great, the guy has somewhat turned into a director-for-hire when it comes to comedy as he's helmed several sitcoms as well as the forgettable Four Christmases and Identity Thief (he also made the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters which I've heard is solid, but never saw). That's not to say the project is doomed to be generic, but more that The Rock probably had a hand in hiring this guy who was reliable and could competently execute what he wanted this reboot he was spearheading to be without putting up a fight. It makes sense and as long as someone has a vision I'm not going to be too doubtful. It's clear The Rock, who is very obviously a smart businessman and producer, saw untapped potential here in today's market of brand recognition and nostalgia-fueled spending and has taken attractive elements to bring as much together. This looks like a fun, Memorial Day weekend movie and I'm sure that will be exactly what it is. Baywatch stars Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddarrio, Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass, Hannibal Buress, Rob Huebel, and opens on May 26th, 2017.     


When I was a little kid and would take in a particular Disney animated feature multiple times within a very short window I always wondered what it might be like to see such characters and such worlds come to life. Real life. I never thought it would happen after the live action versions of 101 Dalmatians and its money-grubbing sequel underwhelmed (at least they did in my adolescent mind), but then again I also desperately hoped that one day movie studios might wise-up and begin building a shared universe where my favorite super heroes interacted on the big screen as well. As I've grown up and become a parent myself it seems Disney has decided to make all of my dreams come true while also giving their most iconic of animated classics updates so that they might reach wider audiences and new generations-including my daughter's. Over the past seven years or so now we've seen an uptick in the number of live-action films based on classic Disney properties. Whether they be from the respective studio that originated the tale in popular culture or not it seems many have noticed this as a way to garner solid returns-despite the brand recognition formula not always working (I liked you, Tarzan, but you cost too much). Though Disney began this recent trend by attempting to re-work properties such as Alice in Wonderland and the Sleeping Beauty story in the form of the Angelina Jolie vehicle that is Maleficent, it has been the last two live action adaptations in Cinderella and The Jungle Book that have yielded the best results in terms of quality (with all doing rather well financially). The point being, when it comes to these re-imaginings the best bet for both pleasing audiences and critics alike seems to be sticking with the source material and simply adding flourishes where might be necessary. This is one of the highlights of this latest incarnation of Beauty and the Beast as more logic and depth are applied to the characters and their plights despite the film as a whole being little more than a pound for pound remake of the Oscar nominated 1991 animated version. One would be hard-pressed to even call what director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) has made here an interpretation, but while there isn't anything in particular that separates the film apart as being great in its own regard, it pays honorable enough homage to this reviewer's childhood memories that it would be difficult to argue with the thrills and excitement it delivered in selling such a fantastical story come to life.

Teaser Trailer for Disney & PIxar's COCO
Disney and Pixar have released the first look at what will be their second feature to be released this year after this summer's Cars 3 in Coco. Not waiting for Cars 3 to hit theaters before they ramp up the marketing push, the studio is getting a slight teaser out in front of this week's Beauty and the Beast and oh, what a teaser it is. Having never been a fan of the Cars franchise and always being slightly disappointed when that is what comes up on the roster for the year in Pixar it was always reassuring to know there would be another, original Disney/Pixar movie coming down the line not too long after. Cars 3 will do well enough and do its job of selling merchandise far and wide, but Coco is the one to look forward to this year as it offers the first original story from the studio since the one-two punch of Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur in 2015. Getting back to the trailer though, the clip begins by highlighting a young boy named Miguel and his infatuation with what we are led to believe is a family member who was famous for his musical talents in which Miguel also shares a passion. All of this is beautifully rendered in warm colors with tinges of infectious melodies, but the real weight comes when the text outlines what the narrative might actually be grappling with. Knowing only that Coco, like 2014's The Book of Life, would in one way or another incorporate Día de Muertos or the Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead I wasn't sure what to expect, but as this teaser highlights it will seemingly reach for more than just the fantastic visual sense the holiday might bring to the screen, but it will capture the essence-the soul-of why such a day is celebrated rather than mourned over. The text throughout the trailer tells the audience, "We are all a part of those who came before," hinting at ideas of legacy and influence and the amalgamation of what such words can lead to all conveyed through this specific cultural event that honors as much. In short, this is one of those Pixar features that seems to be reaching for more and with that already impressive piece of the score highlighted here as well as the visuals towards the end I can't wait to see the journey on which the film takes us. Coco features the voice talents of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, and opens on November 22nd, 2017.