Archive for the 'Movies' Category

23
Apr
16

The Doctor Will See You Now (James Bond 1)

The first James Bond film, Dr. No, was released in 1962. I imagine there was little fanfare considering it was the first in the series, and Sean Connery was not yet a household name. It’s fun to look back, over 50 years later, now that the franchise has exploded in popularity and seen several changes in actors and styles.

You can also see how differently movies were made back then. Bond shows up and immediately gets to work on his mission. Everyone interacts as if they have known each other for years. This is not an origin story in the slightest. It’s a bit jarring in a sense, but I think it’s only jarring because today Hollywood is obsessed with origin stories. The lack of an origin story is quite refreshing.

The origin of the film itself is interesting. The producers, Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli, wanted to start at the beginning, with Casino Royale. Unfortunately, they couldn’t secure the rights to the novel, as CBS had already made it into a one-hour television special. It was altered in several ways, including, most egregiously, turning the main character into an American named Jimmy Bond. Even though the TV special wasn’t a hit, CBS was interested enough to turn it into a full-fledged series. Ian Fleming was paid to write an additional 32 episodes comprising two television seasons. When the deal ultimately fizzled, Fleming took what he wrote and turned it into his book For Your Eyes Only.

Continue reading ‘The Doctor Will See You Now (James Bond 1)’

16
Apr
16

Bad Words, Wild

Bad Words

Jason Bateman stars and directs a movie about a guy who finds a loophole in a national spelling bee. Since he never graduated from high school, he is able to join a bunch of pre-teens in the big competition. As an adult, of course, he obliterates the kids. He psyches them out, screws with them after-hours, and bangs a journalist who is following him around, wondering why the hell he is doing all this. Bateman has a secret, the true reason for joining. It isn’t revealed until the final minutes of the film, and it’s completely out of left field, preposterous, and utterly pointless. The big reveal lets what little air was in this heap of a film out. The bulk of the movie sees Bateman befriending a young Indian kid with absentee parents. They bond over cuss words and some really pathetically forced scenes. This movie fails hard all the way around. It isn’t funny or dramatic or interesting in the slightest. It’s one of those films where the concept is brilliant, but the execution is piss-poor.

Verdict: Shitty

Wild

Reese Witherspoon tried to break out of her rom-com stereotype with this movie, taking on double-duty as both star and producer. I commend her for trying, and I also commend her for turning in a decent performance. She really does have some dramatic acting chops, and I completely believed her in the role. Unfortunately, this is a dog of a movie, with a turd of a script, which tries to force drama down your throat, and ends up being more unintentionally funny than anything else.

Witherspoon plays a sex-addict/drug-addict who is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her mother dies from cancer. She thinks that hiking 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail will be life changing. She struggles in the elements, and she meets interesting people along the way. All of the hiking parts were really good. Sadly, though, the movie focuses on the reasons why she went on the hike. They are doled out in fragmented flashbacks, so you don’t know the whole story until late in the film. 60% of the film is flashbacks to her fucked-up life of fucking random dudes and shooting IV heroin, and 40% of the film is about her shot at redemption. Character motivations are generally more interesting, but they failed to make them so here. They could have easily condensed the flashbacks by half. The way it is now, you feel like you are relentlessly beaten over the head with all her tribulations until you are more exhausted than the character. And, wouldn’t you know it, at the end she is a changed woman. Yeah, sure. You expect us to believe that a depressed, sex/drug-addict suddenly lives a happy life and becomes completely sober because they went hiking? That’s a tough one to buy.

Verdict: Bad

03
Apr
16

Max Payne is Painful to the Max

In the history of this blog, I’ve called a lot of movies “shitty.” Some of them might not have really deserved that. Some of them were probably “bad” or perhaps “average.” But if they pissed me off, I went for the “shitty” rating because they wasted my time. Max Payne made me re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about movie reviewing. Max Payne plumbs new depths in the world of shitty film-making. I wish I had a score lower than “shitty” because that is what Max Payne deserves.

Max Payne is a movie based on a video game based on film noir. In the game, detective Max Payne investigates the murder of his wife and child, and in doing so, gets involved in innumerable gun fights. It’s an action game, so it’s to be expected. One of the things that separated Max Payne from other games of the time was that it incorporated slow-motion “bullet-time” as a game mechanic. It made the frenzied shoot-outs manageable, and added an extra layer of fun.

As a movie, Max Payne does everything wrong. It’s based on a shooter game, so you’d think it would contain a plethora of action scenes. Well, it doesn’t have any action until a full hour into its one hour and forty minute runtime. That’s right. A full two-thirds of the movie is dedicated to fantastic dialogue and insightful character development. Nah, I’m kidding. It’s just Mark Wahlberg brooding and screaming at people.

Continue reading ‘Max Payne is Painful to the Max’

20
Mar
16

Movies > Books: Naked Lunch

William S. Burroughs was a writer and a drug addict. He was good at one and not so good at the other. Why don’t you take a guess as to which he excelled at?

The book Naked Lunch is the ramblings of a heroin junkie. There is no story. There are no themes. Hell, there aren’t even any characters. Not really. Sure, people get mentioned here and there, but they don’t have through-lines, and there certainly isn’t anything remotely resembling a plot in which the people can function.

People have lauded Naked Lunch as a literary masterpiece. I’m sorry, but, no, it’s a piece of shit. I’ve spoken with plenty of people high on shit. They all ramble like Burroughs. Perhaps not quite as uniquely, but there is commonality between them.

The only reason this book is even considered “literature” (and I use that term loosely) is because there’s nothing else like it. If literary critics got a chance to sit down and chat with some real junkies high on heroin or cocaine or whatever, they’d soon see that Burroughs is just another junkie, albeit one with a typewriter.

Continue reading ‘Movies > Books: Naked Lunch’

12
Mar
16

Deadpool AKA Skull Poop L

Hey, guys, I just wanted to let you know about this movie called Deadpool. You probably haven’t heard of it. It was released a month ago, and it totally slipped under the radar. It probably won’t be playing much longer, and you probably won’t get a chance to see it. I suppose it might do well enough to get a DVD release someday. On the off chance you are interested in this film, check out my review.

Deadpool is a superhero movie. Well, at least they say it’s a superhero movie, but I’m not so sure. You see, Deadpool kills a lot of people. A LOT. He kills them in cold blood, which doesn’t seem like a very heroic thing to do. And while he’s killing them, he’s saying all kinds of one-liners. He actually tells jokes while he kills people. Have you ever heard of such a thing in a movie before? It’s mind-boggling.

Continue reading ‘Deadpool AKA Skull Poop L’

06
Mar
16

The Babadook, The November Man

The Babadook

The Babadook was supposed to change my life. It was supposed to be the greatest horror movie of the decade. It’s a low-budget Australian film from 2014, directed by nobody and starring a bunch of nobodies. Hey, that’s OK. Every director and actor was a nobody at some point. But you know what’s not OK? Making a shitty movie.

The Babadook (pronounced bah-bah-duck — a duck, how terrifying) is an amorphous black blob with a top hat that terrorizes a single mother. She has a really bratty, super-annoying kid that drives her crazy. All he does is talk about the Babadook from morning to night. That would drive me crazy, too.

Eventually, she starts to think the Babadook is real. She goes nuts and tries to kill her son. It’s supposed to be metaphorical, with the Babadook being a stand-in for a person doing something insane after they break under pressure. Oh, wait, it’s not? The Babadook was real? Oh, well, nevermind, this movie is completely stupid, then.

For a horror film, there are absolutely no scares at all. The movie chugs along at a languid pace, the characters all suck, and you’d rather have them die than survive. It’s a weak movie, and I wouldn’t bother with it if I were you.

Verdict: Shitty

The November Man

Pierce Brosnan’s return to espionage films was a rather lackluster affair. He plays a gritty spy this time, a clear retaliation against the sheer lunacy of his final Bond films. And I certainly didn’t mind watching Brosnan shoot guys in the chest in what turns out to be a surprisingly bloody film. Unfortunately, The November Man is woefully generic. It offers up nothing new for the genre, instead relying on age-old spy clichés, a boring soundtrack, a ton of boring character actors, and a plot that can barely move itself ahead. Brosnan scowls his way through the film, barely keeping it afloat.

Verdict: Shitty

 

27
Feb
16

Jur-ASS-ic World

I finally got around to watching Jur-ASS-ic World the other night. My lovely wife got me the Jurassic Park complete collection on blu-ray. It was a very thoughtful gift. A nice box set of four movies, and only one of which is any good. Well, that’s what I thought anyway. So, we sat down to watch the Chris Pratt starring reboot, expecting the worst and hoping for, well, not the worst.

It turns out Jur-ASS-ic World is actually pretty good. Of the four films in the series, it’s the second best after the original. The creators of this film managed to do something that most of today’s reboots are incapable of doing: feature nods to the original but do not slavishly adhere to old tropes so much that they create a remake. *coughStarWarscough*

The story is pretty simple: the new theme park, the aptly named Jurassic World, actually opened to the public. People have been able to visit real dinosaurs for years, and nobody has been eaten. It’s a roaring success, and in order to stay a success, the theme park has genetically engineered a new attraction so the masses won’t get bored with the same old dinosaurs.

Continue reading ‘Jur-ASS-ic World’




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