17
Jun
18

Solo: A Star Wars Schlock

The latest Star Wars movie, directed by Ron Howard, is the most Ron Howardiest movie Ron Howard has ever Ron Howarded. That is to say, it’s pretty average. It’s not offensive, it takes no risks, and it offers nothing interesting or unique to the Star Wars canon. From the outset, the entire movie was a mistake. Nobody cared about Han Solo’s origin story. The first film, A New Hope, was Han Solo’s origin story. He was a smuggler who only cared about himself, and who ultimately came around to helping others. It was a perfect, if somewhat shallow, character arc. We didn’t need to see what he was up to when he was younger. This only removes the character’s mysteries, and makes his backstory more complicated, and not in a good way.
The movie begins with Han on his home planet of Corellia, where he scrapes by dealing with shady gangsters. He tries to escape the planet with his girlfriend, Emilia Clarke, but she is unable to get out. Han enlists in the Empire to become a pilot with the goal of one day returning to Corellia to save Clarke. The movie then skips over what would probably have been the most interesting part of his past: seeing Han as an Imperial pilot who washes out of the academy due to bad behavior. We could have had a Star Wars version of Top Gun, which would have been a totally unique spin on the franchise. Instead, we follow Han who is now in the Imperial infantry (although why is he not a Storm Trooper?), where he meets up with Woody Harrelson, and joins his criminal organization. They botch a train robbery, and the second half of the film follows their efforts to pay back the main bad guy who was expecting a big payday from said robbery. Along the way we are introduced to Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, and learn the origins of Han’s greatest exploits. Yawn.

Continue reading ‘Solo: A Star Wars Schlock’

Advertisements
08
Jun
18

Deadpool 2 AKA Skull Poop L 2

Ryan Reynolds read my review of Logan, and agreed with me 100% that killing Wolverine was a mistake. After all, it’s referenced in the opening scene of Deadpool 2. How could Fox kill their most profitable superhero? What a bunch of morons! Anyway, it’s nice to know that Reynolds has good taste in blogs. Oh, and by the way Ryan, you still owe me $500; you can send it to me via Paypal.
Deadpool 2 is a classic superhero sequel movie. Classic, though, isn’t always a good thing. It excels and stumbles in all the usual ways a superhero sequel does. However, with Deadpool being a unique character, breaking the fourth wall and satirizing the idiocies of the genre, the film manages to keep itself afloat, and entertains throughout.

Continue reading ‘Deadpool 2 AKA Skull Poop L 2’

18
May
18

The Other Side of the Door, Doctor Strange

The Other Side of the Door
This 2016 horror movie tries to be the Indian version of The Grudge, but is too inept to be scary, and too stupid to be entertaining. Some white people living in India get in a car accident, and the mom’s son dies. A mystical Indian woman (this movie assumes all Indian people are mystical) tells the mom if she spreads the son’s ashes on a temple’s steps at night, she can speak to him one more time. The catch is that they have to talk from opposite sides of a door, and she can’t open the door no matter what. This being a horror movie, and the characters all being idiots, she obviously opens the door and lets her son’s evil spirit back to the land of the living. The son’s spirit terrorizes the family, but it’s mostly just stuff to startle the audience. The film’s low body count prevents the audience from feeling that there is any real threat to be found. The acting is dreadful, and there is a lot of scenery chewing and screaming over ridiculous things. The mystical Indian woman dies, but other mystical Indian men ultimately save the day. In a “twist” ending that is completely hilarious and eye-rolling at the same time, the mom dies, and her husband brings her back from the dead and opens the temple’s door, starting the whole thing over again. If the movie wasn’t so badly acted and directed it could have been decent, but it languished. Setting it in India could have given us an insight into a culture we rarely see in Western cinema, with a unique twist on the horror genre, but it’s all couched in generic mysticism, and the entire point of being set in India is lost. This movie is only good if you need to laugh.
Verdict: Shitty
Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch dropped his Sherlock Holmes role and donned a doctor’s white coat and a bad American accent for this 2016 film. As far as Marvel movies go, Doctor Strange wasn’t too bad. It is removed from the super-self serious tripe we got with Captain America, and the herky-jerky “everything and the kitchen sink” stuff from The Avengers. Unfortunately, it plays out like every Marvel origin story. Cumberbatch is an egotistical neurogsurgeon (has there ever been a movie doctor that wasn’t egotistical?) who loses the use of his fine motor skills, but replaces them with the ability to conjure magic. Yeah, sure, okay. The villain has the same powers as him, which is something we always see in Marvel origin stories. It’s completely predictable with nary a story-telling stray alley or twist to be found. On the positive side, the visual style is rather unique. The psychedelic magic made it rather a pleasure to watch. There were enough moments of levity sprinkled throughout to keep the movie bouncing forward without becoming a self-parody. Basically, it’s a generic Marvel movie wrapped up in a fresh visual style, and a lead actor who is fun enough, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I didn’t find myself getting bored with this one, which is more than I can say for most of this studio’s output.
Verdict: Average
30
Apr
18

Mom and Dad, The Witch

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad is a weird film, and since it stars Nicolas Cage, that’s saying something. It tries to be a hybrid of genres, combining zombie and home-invasion styles to create something new and utterly terrifying. Except it isn’t terrifying in the least. And it isn’t interesting, funny, exciting, or well-acted. It’s a giant turd of a film, and when you watch it you can’t help but wonder how something like this ever got financed. The premise is a mind-control signal is broadcast on TV, and any parent who sees it wants to kill their children. They don’t want to kill other children, just their own. The parents act like fast-running zombies while they try to kill their children. However, the bulk of the film takes place in a house, with the kids trying to escape being killed by their parents. The movie is peppered with flashbacks which don’t work, and go on for far too long. The music is mostly heavy metal, which clashes with the 70s vibe they go for visually. The acting is atrocious, although Cage gives his usual 110% so he can’t really be faulted. It doesn’t offer any explanation for why this happened, any cure for the parents, or even an ending. It just stops mid-sentence, in fact. It’s a slog to get through as it offers little to grab onto, and no characters to identify with. I have read that this is a “black comedy” but there’s no fucking way that was the original intent. The film is utterly bereft of humor. I think the marketers slapped the “black comedy” label on it after it failed at being any other genre. Fuck this movie, what a waste of time.

Verdict: Shitty

The Witch

The Witch has been heralded as a modern horror masterpiece. Horror is a bit of a stretch, and masterpiece isn’t even a part of the equation. It’s a boring, turgid film that will test the patience of any seasoned film-goer. It takes place in colonial America, and an ultra-religious family is kicked out of town to go live in the countryside. While there, strange things begin to happen. Unfortunately, strange does not equate with interesting. Nothing interesting happens at all. The family just goes from scene to scene, fucking around, being boring, praying, and farming. A few times, when it seems like something interesting might happen, the film cuts away so you don’t see it. The filmmakers are so obsessed with building atmosphere, that they do it at the expense of things happening. It become excessively aggravating as you desperately want something, anything to happen, but the film refuses to attempt anything noteworthy. The culmination, with everyone dying, happens in the last five minutes or so. And then, the main actress goes off into the woods to become a bride of Satan. Apparently, the goat was supposed to be Satan or something, but whatever, who gives a shit? A movie this boring cannot be considered scary in the slightest. But as cure for insomnia? Certainly.

Verdict: Shitty

20
Mar
18

Mute, Radius

Mute

When you decide to make a movie about how the Amish are affected by a dystopian future, you have officially reached the bottom of the idea barrel. “But wait, there’s more!” writer-director Duncan Jones cried out. “What if the Amish main character was also mute?!” What follows is a pathetically uninspired fart of a film. The gist is that Alexander Skarsgard plays a mute Amish guy in the neon-lit big city of the future. His girlfriend vanishes, and he tries to find her. In theory, I could get behind a noir film about a mute person trying to perform an investigation. It has obvious roadblocks, and the idea is kind of intriguing. But the movie overreaches in trying to smash that idea together with a dystopian future that ultimately serves no purpose in the story. Nothing much really happens, it meanders slowly, and we quickly stop giving a shit about Skarsgard or his girlfriend. The acting is atrocious with everyone phoning it in (Skarsgard) or turning in caricatures (Paul Rudd). Rudd seems to actively hate his role as he does everything possible to make his acting as cringe-worthy as possible.  The movie strokes Duncan Jones’ ego as it wastes millions of dollars on glossy special effects that serve a poorly-plotted story. Who is this movie for, anyway? Who did Netflix think would like this? Were people clamoring for yet another dystopian movie? Are the Amish subscribing to Netflix now? What the fuck? This movie offers nothing of value to anyone.

Verdict: Shitty

Radius

Radius is a 2017 Canadian film that has a killer premise, the kind of premise you wish you had thought of first: an amnesiac discovers that any living creature that comes within 50 feet of him dies instantly. It’s a neat little sci-fi thriller film which banks too much on the thriller side, and goes too light on the sci-fi angle. It has solid performances, and an excellent mystery. There are problems, though. The biggest problem is the story isn’t robust enough to justify a feature length. It could have been better as an episode of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror or something. There are several parts where the pacing drags, and nothing happens while minutes just tick away. The other major problem is that everything the characters do, every plot point, is in service of unraveling the mystery (why Liam and Rose have amnesia), and the sci-fi angle gets short shrift. The mystery’s solution is cool once it is revealed, but it is completely disparate from why Liam can’t get within 50 feet of anyone else lest they die. Finally, the conclusion was what happens when you write yourself into a box. There were several better possible endings, but they picked the most obvious and dumbest way to end things. And how did Liam know his solution would work? It’s not like how he ends up would suddenly stop his body from being radioactive, so he solved nothing. Poetic justice could have been served when Rose had him walk into the lake, but the writers were too obtuse to realize that, even though the solution was screaming in their faces. Anyway, Radius is an interesting movie with good acting, but its writing isn’t smart enough to properly service the premise, and it’s light on content.

Verdict: Average

19
Feb
18

Slow West, The Salvation

Slow West

Slow West is a pretty good title for this movie. Boring West would also work. It was helmed by Scottish director John Mclean who barely understands the genre. The film’s languid pacing makes this 84-minute film feel three times as long. The characters are barely characters at all, merely one-dimensional constructs for lurching the plot along incrementally. The only action scene comes at the end of the movie, and the main character retardedly throws himself into a bullet and dies. Michael F. Assbender stars in this, and it was the only reason I gave it a chance. The movie sucks, and even though he’s a good actor, he couldn’t save it. Westerns without a story or at least without a charismatic character are pointless. They thrive on personal drama, punctuated by violence that has come after slowly building suspense. Slow West delivers none of that, only the slowness.

Verdict: Shitty

The Salvation

The Salvation is about a Danish immigrant who travels across the old west. I liked this angle, because there were a lot of immigrants in this period of U.S. history, and until now they have been left out of the story on the silver screen. Mads Mikkelsen plays a former Danish sharpshooter who immigrates with his family, only to have tragedy strike at the hands of ruthless gang members. What follows is a dual tale of revenge, with gang leader Jeffrey Dean Morgan attempting to get revenge on Mikkelsen, and Mikkelsen attempting to get revenge against the entire gang. Morgan is completely over-the-top with his scene chewing, and almost ruins the movie, but manages to keep it reined in enough to not lose it altogether. Mikkelsen is pitch-perfect as a man-on-fire looking for vengeance, but who is also smart enough to know he needs to keep his cool in order to survive. I liked that he prefers a rifle over a revolver, which is a different choice for the genre, and set the action scenes apart from genre standards. Eva Green is underutilized as Morgan’s girlfriend, but she has a great scene at the end. The biggest problem is the movie doesn’t feel like a real, lived-in world. The town feels like a set, and none of the characters are fleshed out except for Mikkelsen. You don’t really get fully absorbed, and always know you are watching a movie. The Salvation has plenty of action, and will satisfy any fan of the genre. It’s worth a look, especially for Mikkelsen’s performance, and the fact that it’s a modern western that isn’t boring.

Verdict: Average

 

01
Feb
18

Bright, Death Note (2017)

Bright

This Netflix original movie comes with an interesting premise: orcs, elves, and magic exist alongside humans in the modern era. Unfortunately, the bland writing does nothing for the concept. It’s a standard buddy-cop movie set in the gritty streets of L.A. But instead of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, we get Will Smith and an orc played by Joel Edgerton. Every character is hugely racist against orcs, and Smith especially comes across as an insufferable asshole. I guess it’s to help you sympathize with Edgerton, but it’s overboard here. They don’t even trade witty one-liners, it’s just non-stop racism and swearing.

The story is rote. Director David Ayer cribs from his own filmography, bringing out every cop movie cliche in the book from dirty cops (like in Street Kings) to two cops trying to escape gang members in the ghetto (like in End of Watch). Smith and Edgerton stumble across a magic wand, and are constantly running from everyone who wants to get it for themselves. It’s mostly Smith and Edgerton surviving shootouts and car chases, and none of them are inventive or memorable. The entire concept of fantasy characters in a modern setting is irrelevant to the story. Something more should have been done to make this stand out, but writer Max Landis was too busy jacking off from creating a cool concept to be bothered to write a compelling plot.

The acting is borderline atrocious. Smith and Edgerton are fine, but everyone else is hammy as all get-out, with Noomi Rapace turning in one of the most over-the-top performances this side of Nicolas Cage. When the credits finally rolled, I was happy to turn Netflix off, and I have no interest in revisiting this world for the already-announced sequel.

Verdict: Shitty

Death Note (2017)

Death Note exists in a lot of mediums from the original manga, to anime, to several live-action Japanese films, and now a Netflix live-action movie. I’ve experienced every version, and there is no doubt that Neflix’s version is by far the worst. Trying to compress 37 episodes (going by the anime) of material into 100 minutes is an impossible task. Plot lines, world building, characters, important scenes, and character development are all tossed by the wayside. How can you even have character development in such a compressed running time?

Light is changed from a brilliant sociopath with a god complex into an average, angsty teenager with misgivings (somewhat) about what he’s doing. His girlfriend Mia is more of a threat than him, and ends up being a more interesting character. L is portrayed accurately, but even he devolves to shouting at everyone when things go sideways. The things that made the original Death Note great are not to be found here.

The backbone of the anime was the cat-and-mouse game between Light and L. In this film, it is gone, with L figuring out Light is Kira immediately, and trying to ram home the conclusion to his investigation as quickly as possible. The movie is too stupid to even follow its own rules. For example, they mention multiple times that the Death Note can only have one owner at a time, and it can’t change hands unless it is separated from Light by seven days. Then, they have Mia stealing pages and killing people left and right, and even L possibly writing Light’s name down at the end, all while Light was in possession of the book within the seven-day window. For fuck’s sake, the filmmakers don’t have the attention span to follow the rules they established thirty minutes earlier.

The ending tries to include Light’s trademark elaborate machinations, but it comes across more as deus ex machina rather than the workings of a criminal genius. All of this happens amid a swirling shit storm of bad acting, corny dialogue, and poor plotting. The only positive thing I can say was Willem Dafoe was perfect as Ryuk, even though his character was watered down from evil/mischievous to boring/asshole. Worst of all, there was no scene of Light eating the potato chip! Total letdown, utter garbage.

Verdict: Shitty




June 2018
M T W T F S S
« May    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Archives

BrikHaus - Find me on Bloggers.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 402 other followers

Advertisements