The reviews are in: ‘Fantastic Four’ left critics fantastically underwhelmed

Michael B. Jordan plays Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch, in "Fantastic Four." (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox/TNS)
Michael B. Jordan plays Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch, in “Fantastic Four.” (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox/TNS)

The latest superhero flick, “Fantastic Four,” has yet to hit theaters, but the first wave of critical reviews have already surfaced. However, Marvel’s first family seems to have left most film critics fantastically underwhelmed. Entertainment website HitFlix called the movie “powerfully mediocre,” and ruled it neither a disaster nor a success.

A review from the Miami Herald agreed, “‘Fantastic Four’ lives up to it’s bad buzz.”

We scoured the internet to round up more reviews and see what everyone else is saying about the latest Marvel movie:

• Variety: Fox’s attempt to revive an inherited Marvel property feels like an also-ran in the comicbook-adaptation sweepstakes

• Forbes: “Fantastic Four” Is A Tragic Chore

• The Guardian: “Fantastic Four” review – a dawdling indie drama dressed up in superhero garb

• The Independent: “Fantastic Four” film review: The plot of this updated reboot is full of black holes

• The Wrap: “Fantastic Four” Review: 10 Minutes of Michael B. Jordan-Kate Mara-Miles Teller Chemistry, 1 1/2 Hours of Bad Story

• The Telegraph: Josh Trank’s grindingly dour Marvel adaptation views super-powers with fear rather than fun

• AV Club: Fourth time is not the charm for “Fantastic Four”

• Uproxx: “Fantastic Four” is not the worst superhero movie ever, so there’s that

• The New York Times: Review: “Fantastic Four,” the Reboot (Wanted or Not)

• The Washington Post: “Fantastic Four” reboot sets franchise back, in more ways than one

Why all the lack-luster reviews? As the Miami Herald put it, the film “is so bereft of all the things we expect from a superhero movie — humor, excitement, adventure, awe — that it plays like a drawn-out pilot episode for an upcoming TV series no one will ever watch again.”

A scene from "Fantastic Four." (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox/TNS)
A scene from “Fantastic Four.” (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox/TNS)

The rest of the world can decide for themselves how they feel about the movie starting this Friday, when it premiers in theaters.

In related news, “Fantastic Four” stars Kate Mara (Sue Storm), Micheal B. Jordan (Johnny Storm) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm) have all recently come to the defense of their co-star Miles Teller, who plays the brains of the operation, Reed Richards, after Esquire gave Teller’s recent cover interview a less-than-nice review.

Are you feeling excited or “eh” about the upcoming flick? Let us know in the comments.

MondoCon announces line-up!

October 3 and 4, The Marchesa Hall & Theater will be overrun with artists, panels and exhibitors for MondoCon 2015, the art/design/toy/film/music celebration sponsored by the Mondo division of the Alamo Drafthouse empire. There will also be events, exhibitors and programming the near-by Holiday Inn Midtown Conference Center.

MCII_TEASEThe biggest guest is designer William Stout who will be attending a panel on his career, which includes design work for more than 35 feature films, including both “Conan the Barbarian” films, “The Hitcher,” “Invaders From Mars,” “First Blood” and “Return of the Living Dead.”

Filmmakers Roger Lay, Jr. and Corey Landis’ documentary “Toy Masters” looks at the 30-year battle for credit for designing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe figures.

A lot of this is Mondo-focused. Mondo Creative Directors discuss the creative process behind Mondo’s work,  while another Mondo panel will look at the toy making process and record label kanager Spencer Hickman and production manager Mo Shafeek discuss the creative process behind Mondo & Death Waltz’s soundtrack releases.

Look for a pop-up record shop full of indie soundtrack, a selection of titles from Data Discs, Tiger Lab, Milan, Light In The Attic, One Way Static,Waxwork Records,Terrorvision  Monster Worship and more.

There will also be a live score event with composer Matt Hill d.b.a. Umberto, who re-scored the 1982 splatter film “Pieces”” in 2012. To celebrate the “Pieces” Blu-ray release, Umberto will perform his re-score to “Pieces.”

MondCon Single day tickets are $45,  two-day tickets are $90 and can be purchased here.

Go to Mondo-Con.com for the full line-up.

‘Fantastic Four’ lives up to its bad buzz (Our grade: D)

A scene from "Fantastic Four." (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox/TNS)
A scene from “Fantastic Four.” (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox/TNS)

Rene Rodriguez – Miami Herald

Most comic-book movies are grounded in some degree of realism, to counterbalance the over-the-top nature of their source material. “Fantastic Four” goes the other way. This second attempt by 20th Century Fox to give the iconic Marvel Comics superhero team its own film franchise starts off on a preposterous note — a grade-schooler invents a machine that can teleport matter into another dimension — then grows dumber.

Even if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and roll with it, you eventually start feeling insulted. This movie stretches the limits of logic and credulity so far, a Pixar picture seems more plausible, including the one with the bugs that spoke English.

» Read full review on MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “Fantastic Four”

‘Samba’ tracks an immigrant’s problems in France (Our grade: B-)

Omar Sy, right, plays the title role in "Samba." (David Koskas/TNS)
Omar Sy, right, plays the title role in “Samba.” (David Koskas/TNS)

Gary Goldstein – Los Angeles Times

For much of its overlong running time, the French dramedy “Samba” is a warm and captivating look at the world of workers in that country illegally and the immigrant advocates battling on their behalf.

However, by its second half, the film, from writer-directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano — of the 2011 international hit “The Intouchables” — becomes meandering and diffused, undermining the buckets of charm and goodwill it initially provides.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “Samba”

‘Poem’ is aimed at Leon Russell aficionados (Our grade: C+)

Leon Russell in the documentary "A Poem Is a Naked Person."
Leon Russell in the documentary “A Poem Is a Naked Person.”

Mick LaSalle – San Francisco Chronicle

“A Poem Is a Naked Person,” about two years at musician Leon Russell’s Oklahoma studio, is the first feature film shot by the documentarian Les Blank, but it hasn’t been released until now. Filmed between 1972 and 1974, it was held up in legal and creative conflicts for more than 40 years. Now it comes to theaters as a curiosity, its moment long past.

The four intervening decades work against the film in most ways — yet work for it in a few others. In essence, the real audience for this are Leon Russell aficionados, of which there are fewer today than in 1974. The movie makes something of a case for him, in that he is quite a good piano player, with absolute command of the blues, country and rock idioms, but there isn’t enough here to make someone a fan who isn’t already interested.

»Read full review at MyStatesman.com »Find showtimes for “A Poem is a Naked Person”

Woody Allen gets existential again in ‘Irrational Man’ (Our grade: C+)

Left to right: Emma Stone as Jill and Joaquin Phoenix as Abe in "Irrational Man," scheduled to open in Austin on Aug. 7.
Left to right: Emma Stone as Jill and Joaquin Phoenix as Abe in “Irrational Man,” scheduled to open in Austin on Aug. 7.

It’s impossible to watch Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man” without thinking of his longstanding philosophical stance: that existence is utterly random and meaningless.

Allen often leavens such grim thoughts with humor, except when he’s exploring tragedy, as he did in “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Matchpoint.” But “Irrational Man” is neither a comedy nor a tragedy. It’s something in between.

» Read full review on MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “Irrational Man”

Streep turns into rocker for ‘Ricki and the Flash’ (Our grade: B-)

Rick Springfield and Meryl Streep star in "Ricki and the Flash."
Rick Springfield and Meryl Streep star in “Ricki and the Flash.”

Jane Sumner – Special to the Austin American-Statesman

“Ricki and the Flash” opens with seven minutes of hard-core rock ’n’ roll, proving director Jonathan Demme still owns the groove that 31 years ago made the Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense” one of the great, nearly perfect concert films.

Here Demme directs a super group he put together for this family dramatic comedy with three legendary sidemen, including Neil Young bassist Rick Rosas, who died shortly after filming, a lean, tall pop idol-1980s heartthrob as lead guitar and a red-hot tattooed mama with three Oscars as singer-guitarist.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “Ricky and the Flash”

‘The Gift’ is a smart thriller (Our grade: B)

This photo provided by STX Productions LLC shows, Rebecca Hall, left, and Jason Bateman, in a scene from the film, "The Gift." The movie opens in US. theaters on Aug. 7, 2015.  (Matt Kennedy/STX Productions, LLC via AP)
This photo provided by STX Productions LLC shows, Rebecca Hall, left, and Jason Bateman, in a scene from the film, “The Gift.” The movie opens in US. theaters on Aug. 7, 2015. (Matt Kennedy/STX Productions, LLC via AP)

Rick Bently – The Fresno Bee

“The Gift” is old-fashioned in the way it conjures up scares. It’s filled with creepy characters who are one emotional jolt from going over the edge, scares that come more through psychological twists and more plot curves than in a Major League Baseball game.

It doesn’t rely on the loud orchestration of a creepy soundtrack, bloody images or ghastly scenarios to move the audience. Its Hitchcockian approach creates tension. You won’t go running from the theater, but you will look at the person sitting next to you in a very different way.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “The Gift”

TONIGHT: We will be live-tweeting Jon Stewart’s final “Daily Show”

Hey, folks, Joe Gross here. I will be live tweeting the final episode of Jon Stewart’s 16 year run on The Daily Show TONIGHT from 10 to 11 p.m. Central.

A man and his paper take their final bows tonight
A man and his paper take their final bows tonight

Follow @austin360movies to join the conversation.

You can also find a roundup of the tweets over at Austin360’s Buzzworthy blog  over at http://buzzworthy.blog.austin360.com/

See you at 10, folks!

Watch: The new ‘Deadpool’ trailer is definitely R-rated

Update: The wait is over. The full trailer for “Deadpool” is finally here, featuring Ryan Reynolds’ take on the Merc With a Mouth.

You can watch the red-band trailer below. WARNING: This video contains graphic language and content and is not suitable for certain viewers. It is NSFW.

Austin360 movie critic Joe Gross weighs in on the trailer below:

A little context: Deadpool was created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Rob Liefeld, back in The New Mutants #98, cover dated February 1991. He was, with Cable, an epitome of Liefeld’s bro-ish character design — lithe and ninja-looking where his enemy, the cyborg Cable, was tank-like (both characters had a lot of pouches, but, as a colleague put it, Cable had enough pouches to look like “a photojournalist in the field”).

Anyway, Deadpool was a pretty straight-forward baddie with a bit of wit here and there, but, in 1997, the character changed into a legitimate anomaly: a genuinely funny, self-aware superhero book at odds with the prevailing look and feel of superhero books at the time.  Written by Joe “Big Hero 6” Kelly and drawn by Ed McGuinness, Deadpool, “The Merc With a Mouth,” was a fourth-wall breaking, violent, indestructible wise-acre. He’s been like that, more or less, ever since, a fan-favorite for folks who value a little humor in their comic books have kept an eye on the character ever since.

Looks like this movie will be just that: R-rated wisecracks, ultra-violence of the brains-on-the-pavement variety and yammering at the audience. This is tonal shift for most of the Marvel movies.

Now, “Deadpool” is a 20th Century Fox film, part of the X-Men cohort rather than the Marvel/Disney movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Avengers, etc.). But this is still the first R-rated picture from the superhero stable.

From the trailer it looks like Ryan Reynolds stars as Wade Wilson, a cancer-stricken soldier who gets his life saved and genes scrambled in something that look a whole lot like the Weapon X program that created Wolverine. (The trailer even uses DMX’s “X Gon’ Give it to Ya,” which was clever). Reynolds even takes a shot at his disastrous turn Green Lantern after he is promised to become a superhero (“Please don’t make the super-suit green… or animated”).

There’s also a nice shout-out to the character’s creator, with Fabian Road and Nicieza Street signs in the deep background.

As for the other characters, Andre Tricoteux shows up as the metallic X-Man known as Colossus and Brianna Hildebrand raises an eyebrow as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a mutant named after a Monster Magnet song. TJ Miller (“Silicon Valley”) plays Wade’s pal Weasel, Leslie Uggams is Wade’s older pal Blind Al and Morena Baccarin plays Wade’s …wife? love interest? named Copycat.

Earlier: A new hero is in town, and he’s breaking all the rules. Deadpool, the masked “Merc With a Mouth,” as he’s known in the comic books, will be hitting the big screen. Eventually.

Deadpool lounges in front of a roaring fire in this promotional still provided by 20th Century Fox.
Deadpool lounges in front of a roaring fire in this promotional still provided by 20th Century Fox.

 

Actor Ryan Reynolds from "Deadpool" speaks onstage at the 20th Century FOX panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor Ryan Reynolds from “Deadpool” speaks onstage at the 20th Century FOX panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

(For those unfamiliar with Deadpool’s brand of humor, the trailers that follow feature perverse jokes and profanity, so watch at your own risk.)

Ryan Reynolds will be reprising the role, a full six years after audiences caught a glimpse of his original portrayal of the character in “X-Men: Origins.”

Fans of the chimichanga-eating, wise-cracking mercenary-turned-comic hero were no doubt excited when the first “Deadpool” movie trailer was released. But in true form, the red-and-black-clad assassin wasn’t going to give everything away so easily.

In the 45-second trailer released Monday, Deadpool sat in a tall wing back chair, shrouded in darkness. He introduced himself as “a man on an eHarmony date with destiny,” and waited until the last moment to let everyone know that the full trailer would be coming…tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Marvel studios released one last “Fantastic Four” trailer. This one come with a suprise ending, though – after the footage ended, Deadpool appeared on screen, promising that “Fantastic Four” movie-goers would be treated to a viewing of the real “Deadpool” trailer this weekend.

For those who can’t stand the tease, Team CoCo, the people behind Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show, “Conan,” have announced that a red-band version of the official “Deadpool” trailer will be premiered on the show Tuesday night.

Will be the real trailer this time? There’s just no telling.