Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" (2016)

Starring Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson and Noel Fisher
Written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec
Directed by Dave Green
Rated PG-13: Violence, language, frightening images
Running Time: 112 Minutes

After saving New York City from the Shredder (Brian Tee), the ninja turtles Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard) have retreated back into the sewers. Intent on remaining secret from the world above, they allow their friend human Vern (Will Arnett) take the credit for taking down Shredder. Their other human friend, journalist April O'Neil (Megan Fox) remains on the trail of Shredder's cronies and discovers a plan by scientific genius Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) to break Shredder out of prison.

The turtles put in a valiant effort, but are unable to keep Stockman from using an alien teleportation device from whisking Shredder out of police custody. But this miraculous escape has consequences: Shredder is transported to another dimension where he makes a deal with Commander Krang (the unrecognizable voice of Brad Garrett) to find two more pieces of the alien device that will allow Krang to transport his Technodrome war machine to Earth and subjugate its population.

To help keep the turtles off his back, Krang helps Shredder create two powerful mutants: Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly). But the turtles will have some help of their own: Along with the sage advice of their father Splinter (Tony Shalhoub), April and Vern, they'll be joined by enthusiastic police officer/hockey enthusiast Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) as they battle to take down the Shredder again and protect not just New York but the entire planet from Krang's forces.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"X-Men: Apocalypse" (2016)

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence
Written by Simon Kinberg
Directed by Bryan Singer
Rated PG-13: Violence, language
Running Time: 144 Minutes

Ten years after publicly stopping Magneto (Michael Fassbender) from killing President Nixon, shapeshifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) travels the world seeking to help desperate mutants flee persecution. In East Berlin, she finds Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a teleporter forced to into a cage-fight against the winged Angel (Ben Hardy). But in helping Nightcrawler escape, she hears word that Magneto has resurfaced: he'd been living in Poland, settled down with a wife and daughter until the townsfolk discover who he is. In one tragic moment, his wife and daughter are both killed, and Magneto is on the run again and vowing revenge.

Soon after, a mysterious mutant appears to Magneto, Angel, the weather-controlling Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and the telepathic Psylocke (Olivia Munn), promising them all enhanced powers and retribution for their suffering at the hands of humans.

Meanwhile, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets with CIA agent Moira McTaggart (Rose Byrne) for the first time in 20 years and discovers that this mutant is an ancient being known as En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), who was the inspiration for biblical tales of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. With old allies Mystique, Havok (Lucas Till), Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult), along with newcomers Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Charles and the X-Men face their gravest challenge yet: the Apocalypse itself.

"Captain America: Civil War" (2016)

Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and Sebastian Stan
Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Rated PG-13: Violence, language
Running Time: 147 Minutes

In attempting to avert a terrorist attack in Lagos, the Avengers, led by Steve "Captain America" Rogers (Chris Evans), accidentally cause the deaths of several dozen citizens of the reclusive African nation of Wakanda. Not long after, former general and now Secretary of State Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) informs the team that the United States has signed on to the Sokovia Accords, an international treaty that would put the Avengers under the direct supervision of the United Nations, in response to the destruction of an entire city in their battle against Ultron.

And Ross has a surprise supporter with him: "Iron Man" himself, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who, reeling from his guilt over previous adventures, has decided that he and the team are in desperate need of checks and balances. The team is given the choice to stay on and sign the accords, and thus their allegiance, and while most of them are conflicted, particularly Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Wanda "Scarlet Witch" Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Cap himself is vehemently against it.

To make matters worse, Cap's best friend, Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is manipulated into killing the king of Wakanda at the signing of the accords, and the Avengers are ordered to bring him in by any means necessary. Torn between protecting his friend from a world calling for blood — especially Wakandan prince T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) — and his duty, Cap goes rogue to save Bucky and figure out who's really behind all this. But doing so splits the Avengers asunder, with some choosing to help Cap figure out the truth and the others forced to hunt down their friends and colleagues.

And when it's all over, no matter who wins, one thing is for sure: the Avengers will never be the same.