Archive for the 'Movies' Category

17
Jun
17

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar X-Men

Director Tim Burton’s latest film is a book adaptation, yet another in the deluge of young adult novels Hollywood has flooded us with as of late. They remain desperate in their attempts to find the next Harry Potter and shove it down our throats, but so far they continue to come up short.

The basic gist is that some children are born with special abilities. These gifted youngsters live in a special school where their headmistress teaches them to use their abilities for the greater good. A scrappy outsider named Logan Potter discovers the school, and is welcomed to their makeshift family. Professor X attempts to persuade Logan to join them. Logan doesn’t think he’s special, but over the course of the film realizes he has powers of his own.

Continue reading ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar X-Men’

11
Jun
17

The Nice Guys, Pan

The Nice Guys

Director/screenwriter Shane Black has been having a bit of a career renaissance lately. With Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3, he’s quickly falling back into favor with Hollywood. In case you don’t remember who Black is, he’s the Christmas-obsessed mind behind gems like The Last Boy Scout and Lethal Weapon. He’s generally regarded for razor-sharp dialogue and eschewing standard movie tropes.

The Nice Guys is his latest effort. It’s a retro film, taking place in the 70s, starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. And, as you’d expect, it has all the trappings of a Black movie, like the crazy dialogue, two main characters who hate each other, and a precocious wisecracking kid. It’s plays out like a neo-noir with a twisty plot, violence, and a little nudity thrown in for good measure.

Performances are generally good, and the directing is fine. Somehow, though, this movie didn’t really do much for me. The plot isn’t enthralling, and the twists can be seen coming a mile away. Plus, an extended, bumbling “hot potato” scene at the end is more aggravating than it is thrilling. Much of the dialogue is good, but an equal amount of it is rote, without any memorable lines whatsoever.

Overall, The Nice Guys is an OK film. I suppose I liked it. At least I didn’t actively hate it. But it doesn’t do enough to become an instant classic. It’s serviceable, and, fortunately, a non-superhero movie in an age of CGI bullshit.

Verdict: Average

Pan

Wow, what a huge piece of shit this movie is. To be honest, I’m at a loss for words how exactly to review this thing. It’s an exercise in atrociousness not seen since Transformers 2. There is literally nothing good about this movie.

It’s a prequel to Peter Pan, because Hollywood apparently thinks we need an origin story for everything. Peter Pan is fine on his own. We don’t need to know how he got to Neverland. We don’t need to know how he and Captain Hook used to be friends. We certainly don’t need to know how he is “the chosen one” to have magical bullshit powers or whatever the fuck. And we certainly didn’t need to hear Hugh Jackman crooning classic rock ballads in a fantasy setting against an all green-screen backdrop.

Seriously, fuck this movie.

Verdict: Shitty

12
May
17

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Being a fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise isn’t easy. There are five million different universes to keep track of. Each iteration is its own thing, having the same characters, but entirely separate events. This is a good and bad thing. Good because you can ignore Mamoru Oshii’s shitty film versions, but bad because each time you get a new TV show or movie, you’re always starting over, there isn’t enough continuity.

My favorite version is the TV series, Stand Alone Complex. It is the most accessible due to its incredible action, interesting characters, and amazing soundtrack. Digging deeper, it offers up philosophical insights regarding human nature and identity, and humanity’s interaction with connectivity and technology. Even though I haven’t liked every version of Ghost in the Shell, this was the one that got me into the franchise, and made me excited to see the live-action movie.

2017’s live-action Ghost in the Shell is a failure. It is a hodge-podge of the entire franchise. It combines disparate elements from all the different universes. In doing so, it becomes confused and diluted. It is a mere soup of what makes Ghost in the Shell unique. They had a number of deep storylines from which to choose, and they attempted to tell them all in the most milquetoast way possible. Continue reading ‘Ghost in the Shell (2017)’

29
Apr
17

Sing (No, Please, Don’t)

Now that I have a kid who’s old enough to take to the movies, you can expect to see more children’s film reviews. So, yeah, enjoy these, everyone.

Sing is the latest in a long line of non-Disney animated films that tries hard but misses the point entirely. You see, most non-Disney animated movies think that all they need to be good is a bunch of brightly colored animals cavorting around on-screen. Kids aren’t that stupid. Movies don’t have to pander to them.

Sing is about a koala who owns a failing theater. As a last-ditch effort to save the theater (save the rec center, amirite?), he hosts a singing competition a la American Idol. What follows is a parade of animals singing popular songs. The songs are strung together at regularly intervals to hold together the paper-thin plot.

Continue reading ‘Sing (No, Please, Don’t)’

22
Apr
17

The Man with the Midas Touch (James Bond 3)

Goldfinger was the film that perfected the James Bond formula. The first two films developed it, but there were bits that were rough around the edges and pieces that were missing. It wasn’t until this third film that everything solidified into the quintessential formula. Filmed on a budget of $3 million, and raking in a whopping $125 million, the filmmakers quickly learned that the public loved this latest iteration, and they have rarely strayed from it since.

The behind-the-scenes history of the James Bond franchise is often more interesting than the films themselves. A few years earlier, when the filmmakers wanted to make Dr. No, they had originally attempted to lure Guy Hamilton into the director’s chair. Hamilton declined, and the producers went with Terrence Young instead. This was a huge benefit to the film series, as it was Young who taught Connery how to play Bond. Without that insight, who knows if the series would have been so popular?

Continue reading ‘The Man with the Midas Touch (James Bond 3)’

02
Apr
17

Lucy, Spy

Lucy

This movie is based on the myth that humans only use 10% of their brain’s capacity. OK, right out the gate, the whole film’s premise is based on shitty pseudo-science, so it’s not off to a great start. The concept is this: what would happen to a person if they could unlock 100% of their brain’s capacity?

Unfortunately, Lucy isn’t able to come up with anything original. As the title character unlocks ever greater portions of her brain, she is able to see cell phone signals (apparently it unlocked greater eyesight, too), and she develops telekinetic powers (apparently it unlocked the ability to defy the laws of physics, too).

As Lucy herself becomes more intelligent, she becomes less empathetic, essentially becoming a machine. This is one of the oldest, most tired clichés in all of science fiction. It would have been nice if they had tried to come up with something a little different. By the end of the film, she literally becomes a machine, swamped in black goo, and interfacing with everything on the planet. She becomes a god-computer or something, I don’t know, it didn’t make any sense. It goes completely off the rails, and is hilarious in how stupid it is.

Verdict: Shitty

Spy

Melissa McCarthy’s movies are trash. Most angry bloggers on the Internet agree with me. But, at the same time, I kept reading how Spy was the exception; how it was the one movie where she plays against type, and how it’s a laugh riot. So, stupidly believing said angry bloggers, I watched this movie in the hopes I would enjoy it.

Once again, McCarthy fails to deliver. This is just as shitty as the rest of her work. She does play against type at first. She plays a nebbish CIA desk jockey who aids suave super-spy Jude Law in his field assignments. She’s frumpy and passive, and in love with a man who uses her without any intention of reciprocating her feelings. That’s all fine and good, but none of it is actually funny.

Later, McCarthy winds up going into the field. She ultimately dons the usual McCarthy persona: brash, rude, bitchy, and with fat jokes abounding. What good will the film might have earned by that point is immediately squandered. The “jokes” the film offers up are nothing more than insults and slapstick. They could work if they were clever, but they exist solely as a vehicle for McCarthy to cavort on screen, offering no humor whatsoever.

The only part of the movie that gave me any joy was Jason Statham’s hot-headed, dim-witted secret agent. But it begs the question, why are the CIA’s top two secret agents British? Is it movie law that all secret agents be British?

Verdict: Shitty

18
Mar
17

Amadeus, Sleeping With Other People

Amadeus

Amadeus is a tour de force of film making. It has everything you’d want in a period drama: lush sets, flamboyant costumes, fantastic dialogue, deep drama, scandal, and treachery. While Amadeus is far from portraying the events of Mozart’s life accurately, it is a riveting film nonetheless.

The most brilliant aspect of the film is that it is told not from Mozart’s point of view, but rather his rival’s. Antonio Salieri is the court composer for the Holy Roman Emperor. His also a deeply pious individual. He is gladdened to learn that musical prodigy Mozart will be coming to Vienna, where he lives. He is then abhorred to discover that Mozart is lewd, tactless, and arrogant. He questions why God would imbue such undeniable talent into someone so abrasive. The film moves on to portray the major events in Mozart’s life, and how Salieri tries to thwart him at every turn.

The acting is great all around, but F. Murray Abraham is especially fantastic as Salieri. Every inch of his face exudes his love of music, his hatred of Mozart, as well as confusion, dismay, joy, and every other human emotion. He towers among the other players, but never overshadows them.

It is an expertly directed film. While it might not get the historical details right, that really isn’t the point. It showcases a wonderful rivalry set against a historical backdrop. And Mozart’s thundering music helps to perfect the atmosphere.

Verdict: Good

Sleeping With Other People

This movie is an utterly forgettable romantic comedy from 2015. It managed to snag some decent talent with the likes of Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, and Amanda Peet. How they managed to secure those big names for such an abysmal failure is beyond me.

Sudeikis and Brie lost their virginity to each other in college, and then never saw each other again. Both went on to become sex addicts. They meet at a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, and rekindle their friendship. They decide they’ll not bang, and by doing so, they will become true friends.

Yawn. The movie derives its comedy from juvenile humor. They expect us to believe that the couple will just be friends, but they do shit like Brie modeling sexy underwear to Sudeikis. What kind of friends do that? It’s like whoever wrote this movie came from Mars, and is writing what they think Earth-friends must do together.

Eventually, Brie and Sudeikis have a falling out over Scott, whom she is having an affair with. She breaks it off, and then she and Sudeikis fall in love. This movie has every trope you’ve ever seen in a romantic comedy. This movie is bland, not funny, and sucks.

Verdict: Shitty




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