29
Aug
15

Justified Season 6

We’ve reached the end of the road. With the conclusion of season 6, Justified has finally gone off the air. It’s sad, really, because this has been one of the most consistently well-written, well-acted series on TV in an extremely long time. Fortunately, the final season did not disappoint in the slightest.

Season 6 is the culmination of everything that came before. Raylan and Boyd, the two main characters, were often like ships passing in the night for much of the series. Their exploits affected one another in tangential ways, and they only occasionally crossed paths directly. This season, however, removes all other distractions, and Raylan’s final task is to confront Boyd directly and bring him to justice.

But it’s not that simple. It’s never that simple. It’s Justified, after all.

Continue reading ‘Justified Season 6’

22
Aug
15

Escape Plan is the 1980s Most Disappointing Dream Come True

Escape Plan is the movie the 1980s desperately wanted, but, sadly, came about 30 years too late. I’m talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone finally teaming up. They did briefly team up in The Expendables 2, but that doesn’t count because Arnold’s role was pretty small. Here, though, they share the screen equally, playing off one another, and finally bringing a team up that has been decades in the making.
Unfortunately, if they had been waiting 30 years for “the right script,” this one wasn’t it. Now, don’t get me wrong, Escape Plan isn’t really a bad film, but it isn’t the 1980s wet dream/action star team-up movie we’ve all desperately waited for. No, it’s one of those films that actors do just to pay the bills.
For having the two biggest 1980s action stars as the leads, there is surprisingly little action in this film. The movie is a prison escape film. Generally, those kinds of movies work on building suspense and have very few fights, explosions, shootouts, etc. Right off the bat, this movie is not playing to the strengths of its two lead actors.

Continue reading ‘Escape Plan is the 1980s Most Disappointing Dream Come True’

15
Aug
15

They Came Together, Frank

They Came Together

If you’ve seen a lot of romantic comedies and think they’re stupid, then you’ll probably love They Came Together. This is a farcical send-up of the chick-flick genre. It hits pretty much every cliché in the books, and revels in how much it blasts them. It has everything from the cheating girlfriend who says, “You should really be questioning my motives” to the entire genre structure of 1) hate each other; 2) love each other; 3) break up; 4) get married. This is not a subtle movie. Its sense of humor is more akin to The  Naked Gun than anything else. Despite its short running time, the gags start to get a bit tired by the end. At first, they’re a blast, but there’s almost too much. It’s non-stop buffoonery, and you get bogged down in the horrible clichés they are lampooning. The cast is great, and Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd have good chemistry together. This is definitely worth a watch. You’ll probably get a laugh out of it.

Verdict: Average

Frank

Full disclosure: when I watched this movie, I had no idea who was playing Frank. The leader of an ultra-quirky band, Frank always wears a giant human-faced helmet. You don’t get to actually see his real face until the end of the movie. The actor’s probably a bit too good looking (he is an Awesomely Shitty favorite) for his self-shame to be believable, but hey, whatever, it’s a movie. Frank follows the exploits of this trippy band as they record an album and try to play the South by Southwest music festival in the U.S. The band members’ abrasive personalities cause friction and cause the band to degrade over time. A series of comedic mishaps ultimately lead to disaster. Although it is funny, this is not a comedy. It is a heartfelt character study of broken people trying to make their lives work in spite of their quirks. Ultimately, I liked the message the film conveyed, and felt this was a great watch.

Verdict: Good

08
Aug
15

Mission Impossible 5 V Five Rogue Nation

I’ve generally enjoyed the Mission: Impossible film series. It’s a franchise going on its 20th year, and it’s still going strong. Five movies deep, you’d think it would be getting stale, but somehow they keep reinvigorating it. Part of that has to do with having a different director for each movie. This keeps infusing the franchise with new ideas, and gives each film a unique vision. Christopher McQuarrie helms Rogue Nation, and brings us the best film the series has had since the first movie.

I was pretty worried after watching Ghost Protocol. That movie was such a campy, cheesy, CGI-laden piece of shit, I figured the series was doomed. Ghost Protocol brought out the worst of the spy genre. It had the over-the-top crap from the Pierce Brosnan Bond films combined with the corny jokes of the Roger Moore Bond films. It was abysmal, an absolute travesty. Sadly, it did extremely well at the box office, and I figured they would keep up that style in order to wring every last penny out of the movie going public.

Continue reading ‘Mission Impossible 5 V Five Rogue Nation’

01
Aug
15

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Repo Man

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

And here we have another exhibit of Wes Anderson’s overly indulgent, self-absorbed hipster film-making tendencies. He gathers an incredible cast, puts them in a unique and fun setting, and then takes a shit all over everything. This movie pisses me off because it could have been amazing. It is part tribute and part parody of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Bill Murray plays the titular Steve Zissou. He goes on a quest to find a Jaguar Shark or some shit. What unfolds is little more than a series of loosely connected episodes that have only a slight relation to each other, and do nothing to develop a more robust plot. Sure, some interesting things happen like when Steve’s ship is overrun by pirates, and Bill Murray gets involved in an unexpected gun fight. But that doesn’t sustain a movie. It’s absolutely bloated in length. I would say nearly 45 minutes could have been excised and nothing much would have been lost. There isn’t much substance here. It’s meant to be whimsical, like all of Anderson’s output, but it fails at that too. It just doesn’t do anything. It isn’t worth anyone’s time.

Verdict: Bad

Repo Man

If any movie screams the 1980s, it’s this one. Repo Man is a comedy/sci-fi about a young punk (Emilio Estevez) who drifts through life until one day he winds up working for a repossession company. Harry Dean Stanton takes him under his wing, and trains him in all the tricks of the trade that every repo man must use in order to survive their job. Everyone hates them, they get paid crap, and they work horrible hours. There isn’t much to like about the job, but once he starts, Estevez finds he has a purpose in life. He’s actually pretty good at the work.

A secondary story about a stolen Chevy Malibu slowly intersects with Estevez’s tale. Everyone wants this Malibu: criminals, the CIA, rival repo men, etc. It turns out to actually be an alien spaceship dressed up as a Malibu. Anyone who looks at contents of the trunk (and we never see what those contents are) is immediately vaporized in a blaze of green light.

Anyway, the two stories intersect in a completely absurd way. There is a lot of ironic humor. It’s not a laugh out loud comedy, but more of a “huh that’s weird and clever” kind of comedy. It’s incredibly low budget, the fight choreography is laughably terrible, the special effects are about as basic as they come, and the acting leaves a lot to be desired. But despite all those factors, the movie is as charming as hell. You can’t not like it, because it’s got heart and originality, and it’s pure fun.

Verdict: Good

26
Jul
15

Terminator Genisys is on Trial

Bailiff: Hear-ye, hear-ye, this court will come to order. The dishonorable Judge Brikhaus is presiding.

Judge: Today’s case is the People of Good Taste versus Terminator Genesis, no, Genysis, no, Genisys, oh for fuck’s sake, why did they give this movie such a stupid title? From now on, it’s Terminator 5. Anyone calling it otherwise will be held in contempt.

Defense: Objection!

Judge Brikhaus: You can’t object, the trial hasn’t even started yet.

Defense: I’m sorry, your dishonor.

Judge Brikhaus: Very well, let’s hear the opening statements.

Prosecutor: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I stand before you today as a representative of mankind. All of humanity craves good entertainment. And we were all cheated out of good entertainment when this new movie, Terminator 5, was shat into theaters. By this time this trial is over, you will agree that this movie is a rancid piece of shit that should be wiped off the face of the planet.

Continue reading ‘Terminator Genisys is on Trial’

18
Jul
15

Fringe Rewatch

You didn’t think I was done posting about Fringe, did you? I recently got the blu-ray set, and I decided a rewatch was in order.
Season 1
I actually enjoyed Season 1 more the second time around. Although, my initial complaints about it still hold true. It does get off to a slow start, and there are several clunky episodes that don’t work. The first half feels disconnected from the rest of the series. It still seems like a X-Files rip-off for about 10 episodes until the meat of the main storyline starts to take effect. On the positive side, the seeds for what is to come were planted early on. There are many subtle hints about the future of the series that are so subtle you couldn’t have realized what they were talking about until you’d already seen the series at least once. For example, in one episode, Walter is distressed and laments that he doesn’t “have access” to all of his memories. The first time you see this, you just assume that it’s because he’s crazy and spent 17 years locked in a mental hospital. The second time you see this, you realize it’s a hint to the fact (later revealed in Season 2) that Walter had parts of his brain removed. There are other subtle hints about the two universes and the truth about Peter early on. It seems the writers had put more thought and planning into the early days of the show than I had originally given them credit for. On this rewatch, I can appreciate these things more. Of course, I know that the story is going to get a lot better, so watching the early clunky episodes is kind of a drag. I just wanted to skip them. The other complaint I had was the villain of the season, David Robert Jones, is squandered. He shows up a few times, does some cool and evil things, but is defeated far too easily. They should have done much more with him. The season still works in terms of character dynamics. The acting is fantastic, and the actors bring these wonderfully written characters to life. They interact in believable ways, and Peter’s lessening estrangement from Walter is handled in a realistic manner. Overall, though, Season 1 is Olivia’s story. She is a cipher for the audience, being pulled into the world of Fringe, and slowly learning about all the crazy things this world has to offer. She’s a strong, uncliched female character, and a great anchor for the series.
Verdict: Good

Continue reading ‘Fringe Rewatch’




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