Posts Tagged ‘Disney

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’

24
Dec
17

My Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi Review (Guess What, I Didn’t Like It)

Reviewing Star Wars films objectively is an impossible task. They have baggage. Whether it’s preconceived notions of how the audience thinks events should unfold, or whether it’s just getting a glorious nostalgia bomb, no one is watching these films objectively. No critic and no fan can watch these films with a completely open mind. Many of us weren’t even alive when the first one came out, so Star Wars has always been with us. That being said, I’m going to try to lay out my thoughts on the newest film in the series, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi. I’ll probably do a terrible job, and you’ll probably think I’m a virgin moron, but hey, let’s give it a shot anyway.

The greatest crime a film in a franchise can commit is rehashing things that were already done. Case in point, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was little more than a remake of the first Star Wars film. Sure, it had a few cool moments, and yeah Kylo Ren was a good villain, but generally it was a giant waste of celluloid. The Last Jedi, at least, is not a remake of any of the other films in the series. Because of this, it is automatically a better movie than The Force Awakens. But does that mean The Last Jedi is a good movie? No, far from it.

The Last Jedi suffers from terrible plotting issues, pointless scenes, useless characters, woeful editing, gaps in logic, dumb humor, and it still cribs from the original trilogy. I suppose most of the blame should lie with Rian Johnson. The instant the movie ended, John Williams’ score boomed into the theater along with the text that said, “Written and Directed by Rian Johnson.” So, since he’s taking full credit, he should also get full blame.

Continue reading ‘My Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi Review (Guess What, I Didn’t Like It)’

05
Aug
17

Pirates of the Caribbean 5, John Wick 2

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The fifth film in the franchise tells a bit of an origin story, showing how Jack Sparrow became Jack Sparrow. He double-crossed (of course) a ruthless privateer when he was a young man, and simultaneously became captain of his first ship. Decades later, the privateer, Captain Salazar, returns from beyond the grave to exact his revenge.

This outing was a step up from the previous one, Pirates of the Caribbean: I Can’t Even Remember What It Was About. It was essentially a rehash of the first movie, featuring young male and female leads who are in search of a fantasy McGuffin, and reluctantly enlist Jack Sparrow’s help in order to get it. While it is a rehash, it doesn’t contain the same effortless storytelling, and elements of whimsy and adventure the first film had. Let’s face it, the first film in the series is a modern classic, and they haven’t been able to recapture that.

This film wasn’t a complete waste. While most of the jokes were lame and forced, some of them absolutely worked. There was still a sense of high-seas adventure, although held back a bit by an over-reliance on CGI. Instead of letting two ships duke it out in a naval battle, they had to throw in stupid bullshit like the mast coming to life and attacking Jack Sparrow (ugh, why?). Back on the positive side, the finale was pretty inventive, and I loved the Black Pearl dropping anchor as it skirted the edge of the ocean.

Johnny Depp is still watchable as Jack Sparrow, and there was fun to be had in this film. Overall, though, the franchise is completely out of steam. It wasn’t exactly a memorable film, but it wasn’t complete garbage. Disney should do the smart thing and end the series on a decent note. But they probably won’t, and will make another one.

Verdict: Average

John Wick 2

 

Taking place immediately after the first film ended, John Wick 2 shows Keanu Reeves getting deeper into trouble in the world of assassins he tried to leave behind. An old ally of his returned and cashed in a favor Reeves owed him. Then, the ally double-crossed Reeves, making him the target of every assassin on the planet. The action scenes were incredibly inventive, flashy, and a whole lot of fun. The only thing that didn’t work for me was Reeve’s bullet-proof suit, which made him nigh-indestructible. Other than that, I liked everything about this movie. I especially enjoyed the hall-of-mirrors finale, and kept on wondering how they filmed it without ever showing the crew. All in all this was a worthy sequel in a cool-as-hell franchise.

Verdict: Awesome

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)’

14
May
16

Captain America: Civil War AKA WTF Did I Just Watch?

Full disclosure, here is a list of Marvel Cinematic Universe properties I haven’t seen: Captain America 2, Thor 2, Iron Man 3, Avengers 2, Ant-Man, Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Amazing Spider-Man, and Amazing Spider-Man 2. So, I probably wasn’t prepared for Captain America 3: The Combining of All Properties Civil War. Seeing this movie presented an interesting experiment: watch a bunch of characters I’m not very familiar with cavort on-screen, and try to see if I can figure out what the hell is going on.

Civil War is about Selfless Captain America fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Err, wait no, scratch that. Civil War is about Sanctimonious Captain America defending his psycho assassin best friend despite the fact he’s a murderous lunatic who deserves to rot in a prison cell.

Continue reading ‘Captain America: Civil War AKA WTF Did I Just Watch?’

09
Jan
16

Star Wars VII: The Remake

Disney: We want to make a new Star Wars movie. Who’s the most generic director working today that won’t offend anyone with a unique style?

Lucasfilm: J.J. Abrams.

Disney: OK, hire him.

Lucasfilm: Done. Here he is.

Abrams: Hi.

Disney: We want you to direct a new Star Wars movie. But you can’t do anything too crazy like the prequels. They have to be exactly like the original trilogy, you know, the movies that people liked.

Abrams: Sure, no problem.

Disney: What ideas do you have for Episode VII?

Abrams: The main character should be a kid who is a genius pilot living on a backwater desert planet.

Disney: So, Luke Skywalker on Tatooine?

Abrams: No, Rey Noname living on Jakku.

Disney: And who will train Rey in the Force? Luke?

Abrams: No, we won’t waste the audience’s time with training sequences. Rey will become a Force master in about five minutes.

Disney: Okay, sounds great. What else have you got?

Abrams: How about a struggle between the First Order and the Resistance for control of the galaxy?

Disney: So, the Empire versus the Rebellion?

Abrams: No, no, this time it’s totally different. You see, the Galactic Republic exists again, and the Resistance backs them. Although why the Resistance would be called the Resistance when they are upholding the current regime is anyone’s guess. And the First Order are super-powerful bad guys who have Storm Troopers and Sith Lords and everything.

Disney: You’ve got to bring back the old characters. People won’t see if it there aren’t any familiar faces.

Abrams: Oh, I ‘ve got that all figured out. We’ve got Han Solo and Chewbacca ready to go. Han looks so decrepit he’s got one foot in the grave. Chewie looks good though. Not a gray hair on him. He hasn’t aged a day.

Continue reading ‘Star Wars VII: The Remake’

24
May
15

Guardians of the Galaxy Took a Shit on the Universe

The latest mega-blockbuster from unstoppable Marvel Studios was Guardians of the Galaxy. People hailed it as the greatest cinematic achievement since the introduction of the talkie. It was heralded as the best movie of the year. It had everything: action, adventure, comedy, and wonder. It also had a giant sentient tree and a talking raccoon. Let’s face facts here, people. Guardians of the Galaxy was passable summer fare. It wasn’t revolutionary, it didn’t do anything that hasn’t already been done before. It was an average, braindead, popcorn movie that doesn’t have a lot of rewatch value.

I say Guardians is braindead because it requires no active thought on the part of the viewer. All the audience is required to do is sit back, relax, and DURR WATCH DEM EXPLOSIONS BLOW STUFF UP REAL GOOD DURR! As you start to curl your hands into angry fists, take a second to think about that last statement. Try hard to think of a single scene in Guardians that challenges your brain, has a plot twist, leaves something ambiguous, or posits a viewpoint that might challenge your deeply set beliefs about morality or cultures or relationships. Guardians doesn’t do anything close to any of that. All it does is blow shit up.

Continue reading ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Took a Shit on the Universe’

29
Mar
14

The Wind Rises

Jiro and Naoko.

Hayao Miyazaki’s final film (until he un-retires again), The Wind Rises, is an excellent capstone to his already legendary career. The movie is decidedly less fantastical than the rest of his work, but just as emotionally moving as anything else.
The Wind Rises tells the story of Jiro Hirokoshi, a Japanese man who loves aviation. He has poor eyesight and is told he can never fly a plane, so he decides to do the next best thing: design airplanes. The film follows him from a young boy into his middle years as he toils to develop a new kind of airplane. The storytelling, while fictionalized, is quite riveting. You understand Jiro’s eagerness to build an aircraft, and you feel his successes and failures through each attempt.
28
Sep
13

A Pirate’s Life for Me

Captain Jack Sparrow.

I recently decided to watch all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies back to back. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was either going to be a hell of a lot of fun, or so bad that I’d wind up strangling myself with a belt. I saw these in the theater upon their initial releases, and haven’t seen them since. All I could remember was Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, wearing makeup, and acting quasi-gay. To make matters worse, these were all very popular, and, like Transformers 2, popular things are often horrible. Not to mention, it’s a film series based on a ride at Disneyland/World. There were a lot more things going against this trilogy than going for it. But, as I always say, sometimes you just gotta shit your pants, and — wait, that’s not it — how does that saying go — oh nevermind, let’s just get on with the review.

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Jack Sparrow: Gentlemen, m’lady, you will always remember this day as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow.

Norrington: That is, without a doubt, the worst pirate I’ve ever seen.

The first of the series, from 2003, is certainly the strongest of them all. It has a fun vibe running through it, and it doesn’t give a shit if you don’t like it. One of the most interesting things about this movie is that Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is not the main character. The two main leads are Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Sparrow shows up from time to time and affects people and situations, but he isn’t integral to the plot. He has his own motives, and sometimes they align with the heroes and sometimes with the villains. Interestingly, he is also the comic relief of the film, not so much as he’s written, but due to Depp’s quirky portrayal. His introductory scene, where his tiny boat sinks but he still manages to step gracefully onto the dock was pretty damn funny.  Continue reading ‘A Pirate’s Life for Me’

25
Feb
12

The Borrower Arrietty

The Borrower Arrietty

Why is it that Hollywood feels the need to dumb shit down to the lowest possible level for children?

Recently, Mrs. Brik and I went to the first-run movie theater (which we rarely do) to check out The Borrower Arrietty. Here’s a list of the crap we saw trailers for before Arrietty started: Mirror Mirror, Madagascar 3, The Lorax, Brave, and a horrible Disney Channel sci-fi sitcom.

Madascar and Lorax are both an assault upon the eyes. Bright, clashing colors, huge amorphous shapes, and a general sense of unreality that makes me want to puke. Of course, if it’s for kids it has to look cartoony and overdone. Apparently, kids can’t understand something animated that looks at least somewhat real. Mirror Mirror looks just as shitty, except it’s live-action. The whole movie looks cheap and fake and must have been filmed entirely on a green screen. Plus, the addition of Julia Roberts in anything automatically drops it into the crap heap. The woman hasn’t been in anything good since Ocean’s Eleven in 2001, and she sucked in that, too. Brave also looks like a CGI shitfest, but it comes from Pixar and they have a good track record, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt this time and hope it might be good. And that Disney channel show. Jesus fucking Christ. Mrs. Brik and I were cracking up at how retarded it looked. They make the most obvious, lamest, safest jokes imaginable. Sure, kids don’t need to be subjected to Chris Rock or George Carlin style standup, but they aren’t morons. They can understand a joke with mild complexity. All of these are proof that we as a culture constantly insult our childrens’ intelligence. Unfortunately, our children like this drivel because it’s all they are ever exposed to.

They should be exposed to good stuff, like anything in the Studio Ghibli film library. The Borrower Arrietty (that’s the official title which was inexplicably changed to The Secret World of Arrietty in the U.S. and just Arrietty in Europe) is one of those movies, and would be a great option for something you could watch with a kid.  Continue reading ‘The Borrower Arrietty’




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