2016….New Content…Same Old Rambling words.
…or not. Or just go on living your life. Its your decision man, do what you feel.
….or woman. I’m not sexist.
2016….New Content…Same Old Rambling words.
…or not. Or just go on living your life. Its your decision man, do what you feel.
….or woman. I’m not sexist.
Stub Review Rundown
I know I said I would stop, but I kinda like the idea of the rundown working for my advantage of helping me review the weekends worth of films in a precise manner, while I save my full on Stub-Reviews for important films that I have something real to say about them.
This past few weekends brought forth a wide arrange of films, many starting big names and many different style plots taking us from the online poker world to the vast space above our heads.
Captain Phillips – 8/10
Paul Greengrass both delivers his standard visual direction in addition to one of Tom Hank’s best performances in over a decade. This film throws you right back into remembering why Hanks is one of the best actors of any generation, his Boston accent is a bit shaky, but other than that, he gives a top to bottom award winning performance as Phillips. But while this is based on a true story and you might know the outcome already, it doesn’t stop you from being at the edge of your seat the entire way, the first half of the film is already suspenseful, but the final half is where it really picks up and you almost just lose yourself waiting for what will be the tipping point for the ending.
Machete Kills – 7/10
This is just pure grind-house entertainment once again from Robert Rodriguez. Now with the first Machete movie, I thought was ok, but got boring in the middle and had large stretches where it was more talking than Machete chopping up people. All the criticism I had with that film is fixed with Kills, RR has a plot that is quick and loose and just focuses on the fun over the top violence, beautiful women, and great Z-grade fun of an exploitation movie. I really hope they make a third one, cause the previews for it in this film makes it look so freakin over the top it would be a great way to cap off the trilogy.
Carrie – 5/10
I haven’t watched the original in a while, but even going off what I remember of Brian de Palma’s original version, just just feels very watered down. If not for a copule of curse words and not even a lot, just a handful, this movie is easily a PG-13 film. Cause there is no nudity or real violence, just very old school in the sense of a violent film. Chloe Moretz is really great though, when you know her so well as Hit-Girl which is a very stand out type character that isn’t shy and is very brash, she completely goes 180 and becomes this shy, lonely character and you buy it. Julianne Moore as the crazy Christian mother was good too.
Escape Plan – 7/10
I fuckin dug this movie. It is completely bonkers in terms of sensible plot, but its Arnie and Sly teaming up and actually having fun working off each other. It gives you everything you wanted from two 80’s action stars, you get one liners, lot of violence, both guys kicking ass, and lots of cursing. I like the Expendable movies, but I think this is better version of what Sly tried to do with those films.
Bad Grandpa – 7/10
On one hand its a great and funny movie by Jackass’ standards. I think its the best thing the group has done since the first Jackass film and all the gags pack a laugh and the situations are funny and its interesting to watch them do a prank film but also have a narrative toward it…but on the other hand, all the best gags are given away in the trailer. Except for one prank, all the best ones are given away and you already know the joke with the good ones cause of the trailer.
The Counselor – 4/10
Cormac McCarthy delivers his first screenplay in a film that feels like it wants to be just as good and just as interesting as No Country For Old Men, but just never lives up to that measuring stick. So many scenes that have no purpose to them and just feel like moments that McCarthy just thought up on the fly and decided to put in. Do we really need to see Cameron Diaz have sex with a car? A lot of talk was about the violence of the film, but it doesn’t feel any worse or gorey than the typical Rated-R horror film, actually pretty tame. All the big name actors are ok, nobody is amazing, just the type of film where I was looking at the time every so often wondering how much longer this film was going to be.
Enders Game – 7/10
I never read the book its based off of …or any of the books in that series to be honest. I knew of all the “controversy” regarding its author and his stupid ideals regarding homosexuality…but none of that should matter when it comes to a movie. Going in clean, I was surprised about how much I was waiting for the “training” be over, just because in any other type of military style film, training always last the smallest and then you are thrown into war, but here, war isn’t just another stage but something to take seriously. Most of the young actors do a good job, Harrison Ford does a great job of balancing a mentor and a general at the same time. THe ending does hold a bit of a morality question, regarding the importance of “winning” a war.
Last Vegas – 6/10
Although it was just an excuse to get four well known actors together for a buddy picture, Last Vegas is still easily a better comedy than the last two Hangover sequels. It plays it pretty straight forward with the plot, but all the actors have a lil something to do in the film and all seem to be having a good time. It was enjoyable to see Morgan Freeman really cut loose for once and have a comedic performance, while Kline and De Niro both do their usual thing as well.
…so yeah those are my thoughts and tonight I’m going to see Thor: The Dark World…so expect that review sometime this weekend!
I promise…I swear to god at some point I will return back to my traditional way of doing the stub reviews, but honestly, I’ve just seen so many movies at once, it is much easier for me to summarize my thoughts on the mass, than write out long essays on the few that I think deserve it.
Anyway, last time we left off, the Summer Film season came to an end, so with the exit of blockbusters and tent pole films, comes more ready to be nominated hopefuls and …crap. Yes, just like in January and February, that time between Summertime and Oscar season, is filled with a lot of PG-13 scary films, genre specific movies, and just anything the studios can hopefully roll out without too much prep work.
On to the films…
The Family – 5/10
It’s not as much of a comedic take of the Mafia genre as the commercials kinda let it be played up, but more of a …R-rated version of Analysis This if you base the film on DeNiro’s character from that film too. Luc Besson the man behind the camera of one of my all time favorite films in Leon, kinda disappoints with a average movie, where the likes of DeNiro and Pfeiffer give better performances than the film deserves.
Prisoners – 9/10
I dont know what to say about how strong of a film this is, but only its writing and directing, but the effort and sacrifice you can tell went into the acting from Hugh Jackman, to Paul Dano, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Those three, which is not give least credit to the rest of the actors, but those three all put in career performances. The Hugh Jackman in this film, could make Wolverine in any of the other X-Men films come off as a teenage whiny girl, which how vicious and angry a father can be when his daughter is taken away from him. The plot points are hard to talk about in detail without giving away spoilers, but if you think this is a pain by numbers drama by the trailers, do yourself a favor and pay out that twelve bucks and sit back and watch one of the best films of 2013 at your local theater. Its riveting, heart breaking, and makes you even second guess yourself, thinking at which points would you consider doing…or not doing what the characters in the film resort too in order to gain justice.
Thanks For Sharing – 6/10
All I could think about the first 20 minutes were how pissed of Tony Stark was going to be that Pepper Potts and Bruce Banner were banging behind his back. After that wore off, the film which is more a character study than a film driven by plot, is showing how sex/drug addicts dealing with that itch in every day life and comedic situations mostly. Pink makes what im guessing is her acting debut, which isn’t to bad, the script isn’t really something too dramatic, so I guess it was a safe attempt for her. Tim Robbins is really good as the long time recovering addict that is looked at as a leader to many, but still dealing with his family issues.
Blue Jasmine – 8/10
Woody Allen does not know how to not produce something yearly. I don’t think Blue Jasmine tops the feel or genius that was Midnight Paris, but its right there in quality as some of his better films since the 2000’s. Cate Blanchett is fantastic and award winningly good. Andrew Dice Clay and Louis CK both have semi-small supporting roles and Dice was better than expected. But the film lives and breathes through Blanchett’s amazing performance.
Rush – 8/10
Rush is probably, if not easily the best thing Ron Howard has done since A Beautiful Mind. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are both great, while I dont know that much about Formula 1 racing or the historic rivalry that is being told int his film, for anyone like me, the film easily opens you up to the dynamic between both men and the intensity of the races, as well as the danger.
Don Jon – 8/10
Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes/acts/directs this film, but probably the wises choice he did was pick Scarlett as his on-screen love interest. Somewhere in my top five, Jersey guidette Scarlett ranks as one of her hottest versions (do I smell a potential future Top Ten list ??). Besides all of that, the film actually is a good directorial debut for Levitt, he is the sole focus of the film, so there is not that many scenes without him on it, so I’m guess he had a heavy workload for his first time behind the camera. There are some bumps in the road, some easy cuts he could of made to make the film flow a bit better and tighter, but in the end, its a good film that talks about the idea of how overly sexualized woman are in our society for people our age.
The Spectacular Now – 7/10
It is a indie teen romance in the most simplistic of descriptions, but deep down its more about how vulnerable most kids are coming out of high school to not only life, but love. Miles Teller plays Stutter as a functioning soon to be alcoholic teenager with no drive, while Shailnene Woodley greatly portrays the most perfect idea of that “girl next door” high school romance. From the start you can feel that everything around Stutter is planned for destruction, but its an enjoyable and touching ride to see where life takes him. I really dug the film and really starting to enjoy Woodley more and more in more of the films I’m seeing her in.
Welcome to Level 7.
Usually I save my big reviews for films…not TV shows. But last night was a very big occasion not only for Television, but for all fanboys around the world. For the first time in history…we had a comic book based live action televisions show (I could just stop right there and be impressed) … debut on a major network that is…yes…IS canonically connected a film franchise.
Littered throughout the pilot episode of SHIELD was references to all the major players in the Marvel films. Tony Stark was named dropped, Thor was talked about, Hulk was brought up, Captain America and his super solider serum, Black Widow was used as the measuring stick towards all other combative agents…and even more impressively, one of the key elements and plot points of this summer’s Iron Man 3, played a role in the very first episode of SHIELD.
Besides an opening cameo appearance by Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, the true core of the team we are introduced to is headed by fan favorite and death beater, Agent Phil Coulson played greatly by Clark Gregg. We are given what seems like a lame excuse for Coulson’s resurrection at the start of the film, but a quick line turns that on its head in a split second. We are now under the first tease and storyline to be followed up about…what REALLY happened to Phil Coulson to bring him back to life?
The rest of the team consist of a pilot with fighting skills in Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), a scientific pairing of Agents Leo Fitz and Jenna Simmons (Iain De Casestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge), glorified hands on combat Agent Grand Ward (Brett Dalton) and a civilian that is newly recruited to join the team for her expert hacking abilities, Skye (Chloe Bennet).
So how well does Joss Whedon and co. do in adapting a live action series without the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster? … actually very well. There are some big action moments in the first episode and separating them as usual with any Whedon TV project is a lot of character development. You will never say that a Whedon project is left with one dimensional characters, from the get go, we learn not only everything we need to know for the core group of Agents, but also a little backstory and idea of where they can develop into the future.
Most importantly…Extremis. The key plot point of Iron Man 3, is also the key plot point of this pilot episode. We are introduced to what we think is a new “hero” early on, but only to find out this Michael Peterson is nothing but a down on his luck average Joe that put his body on the line for experimentation with a mysterious group. We are given the term “Centipede Project” which is enough mystery to make us wonder who else has been part of this project. But what is really deep inside of Michael Peterson that makes him super strong and heroic…is a vile dose of Extremis.
Without the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, and the rest of the Avengers, how well do our new group of SHIELD agents do in taking down their first perp as a team…pretty well. It isn’t just as simple as a man that turns bad and has to be killed…its so much more. Its about an average person who has had nothing but bad luck on his side and thinking with help and a good spirit he can be a hero like the ones he has seen on TV. Its that idea that makes me love this show from the start, because everyone wants to be that hero at some point in their life. Agent Culson doesn’t have a suit of armor, a serum running through is veins, and isn’t a god of mythical perorations. Agent Culson is just a man. A man with a goal, a man with a sense of humor, and more important a man with a heart and that is why he is who he is and why his “death” was important enough to make a group of heroes come together and fight…for a normal man.
I can’t wait for next week’s episode.
I give Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D a NINE out of TEN, on the merit of great writing and exciting action.
Sorry for not really being the most active with my latest reviews, just a mixture of personal stuff and lack of time, but I’ve been keeping up with my ever so many adventuring trips to the movie theaters to see an array of films that is closing out this Summer of 2013.
You really can tell it’s the end of the summer not just by the box office (but it’s a helping sign when the likes of 15 million dollars can win you the weekend), but also the quality of film stops being that of a tent pole film and gets more low budget and closer to quality as the award season is around the corner.
So I am calling this my “Summer Run Down” of review list, I am leaving out one film specifically though that I will do a full on “Stub Review” for, because it just really was a impactful film after viewing it.
But lets get it started!
We’re The Millers – 7/10
Pretty funny movie, its not an all time classic, but has enough laughs and funny moments to make something like Hangover III look like utter trash. Sudeikis and Anniston actually work well together and Emma Roberts is pretty good, I forget the other kids name but he has some great moments too.
2 Guns – 7/10
I really dug this movie. It just shows how much of a star Denzel is, he just has the star power to take this from just some forgettable action film, to something that feels fun to watch. Whalberg is great too, he and Denzel work off each other very well and has his typical Whalberg style humor. The action is good, not to much shaky cam work, the plot is a bit thin, but you don’t really care so much cause the scenes of Denzel and Marky-Mark working off each other is enough to entertain.
Elysium – 8/10
It is an amazing film. Damon is Damon to say, he does what he does in making you instantly care about his character and those around him and the situation he is in. You at no point second guess the state of the world the film is in, and even though its a “sci-fi” film, it is not anything like a typical Sci-Fi movie, it feels grounded and futuristic at the same time. Like a live action Wall-E.
Kick-Ass 2 – 7/10
Just as fun as the first film, but I wouldn’t rank it above it. I think taking Mathew Vaughn out of the directors chair kind of took something away from the film, but it was still violent, foul mouth and over the top fun. But as someone that read the comic it was based on, the film took out some of the three most fucked up moments of the book, they make sly mention of said moments, but never go there. So the book is still more fucked up than the actual movie, but if they are going to come back for a third film, id go, Hit-Girl still the most fun to watch.
At Worlds End – 8/10
A great and fitting end to the Cornetto trilogy by Edgar Wright. In the ranking of the three, I don’t really know how to put them, cause right now, Hot Fuzz still stays as my favorite of the films, but AWE was just so much fun to watch and the ending was great. The fight scenes are really well shot and probably some of the best, because everyone now goes with the quick cutting style where you can’t see anyone land a blow, but Wright takes his time to show off the practice these guys put in to make it look grand.
The Getaway – 2/10
God this was awful. Its the most toned down version of Taken meets Drive there could ever be. The only good thing to say about this film was the car stunt work, since the crashes looked good…but that’s it. Selena Gomez is horrid as a gutter-punk/teen/hacker/car girl/whatever… Ethan Hawke pretty much sleeps his way through the role too.
Jobs – 5/10
I don’t know what to think, the movie wasn’t horrible, but it also wasn’t that good. Its somewhere in the middle, where after you leave the theater the film instantly leaves your mind. Kutcher looked like he tried hard to capture Jobs’ quirky nature, but sometimes just didn’t work and felt comical than dramatic. Played more like a made-for-TV movie than something that is a big screen adaptation of one of the most important figures in technology of the last few decades.
You’re Next – 6/10
Its a low budget, small ensemble horror film that tries to earn its R with gruesome kills, but also bring in the laughs when it can. The lead heroine, “Erin” leads the pack against woodland creature mask wearing psychopaths that ambush a rich and WASPY family. As the events of the film play out, it becomes pretty predictable of how it will end, but he ride from start to finish is fun. Its not scary, but more jumpy. There is more than enough laughs though too to keep you going between each kill.
… so there you go, the rest of my summer movie viewing. This Summer went by very quickly in some ways and very slowly in other, one of the most important summers of my personal life and I am eternally grateful for film, because it was a very rough summer for me and watching movies, escaping to a movie theater when I really needed it, truly helped me escape my life for a few hours. Be it good or bad films, that hour and half in the dark with strangers all watching a flick projected on a big screen …. It is still something that seems simple, but means a lot.
Affleck is going to be the bomb as Batman, yo!
…let that sync in for just a moment. The man that spent the better part of the 2000’s getting ridiculed and almost run out of Hollywood. The man that was critically hated by as Daredevil. The man that was a running tabloid joke…is our next Cape Crusader..
…BUT WAIT…it is NOT that Ben Affleck.
It’s the Ben Affleck that has proved over the past 6 years of how talent of a director he is. It’s the Ben Affleck that has gained back the critics. Gained back his long time fans. The Ben Affleck that has shown that not only is he as good in front of that camera as he is behind…but also has a nice golden Oscar statue to back up his case. That’s the Ben Affleck who has been cast as Batman…so why is everyone pretending we took a time jump to 2003 and hating this decision?
Is it because it’s a weird choice…well…yeah it is. But Batman has never been a role deemed for an unknown, that is Superman. Batman has a long line of actors very well known during their time under the cowl (Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney, and Bale).
Every since it was announced that they would be looking for a more older and war torn Batman to go with, a lot of people quickly pointed toward John Hamm as the obvious choice. Someone who has been rumored for the role in the past and even rumored for Superman too. Would of that been any more odd of a choice…not really, because Affleck isn’t just an actor taking a role right now, he is riding the wave of enormous postive buzz since the Oscars and since Argo, that picking the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman has to be a collected and calculated choice for Affleck.
He had to deal with the backlash and jokes coming from what I think is the underrated Daredevil film a decade ago, why put himself through all that if he A) didn’t like the scrip, B) didn’t want the role, and C) didn’t think he could do something with this role that maybe hasn’t been done in the past Batman films.
Lets not forget though…this isn’t a Batman movie, this is the sequel to Man of Steel, this has been rumored at least to be titled Superman vs. Batman, so The Dark Knight will be sharing screen time with the so-called “lead” in Superman, but we all know why we will be buying a ticket, to watch Batman beat people up. Its why we always want to watch Batman, be it film, television or videogames…cause Batman punching villains in their turkey necks is always a grand ol’ time.
The one type of Batman we haven’t really seen done is … “detective” Batman. Which is weird, because “The Worlds Greatest Detective” is one of the most famous monikers associated with the Caped Crusader, yet hasn’t been displayed on film …at all. The extent to Bale’s Batman’s detectiveness was screaming “WHERE’S THE ____” you can fill the blank with whatever you need, its basically his catchphrase in the Nolan trilogy.
So far the reaction to the news has been overwhelmingly negative…but honestly, that comes with the territory unless you pick someone that fanboys deem worthy, like Nathan Fillion…or….Nathan Fillion for the role. It just takes me back to not that long ago when the likes of Robert Downy Jr. and Heath Ledger were announced for their comic book iconic roles as Tony Stark and The Joker respectively…and the outcome from the fanboys were vastly negative too. Talk about how someone like Ledger who came from teen RomComs and fluff picture couldn’t handle the sadistic nature of The Joker…look how that turned out. Or when people talked about how RDJ was too old and not charismatic enough to pull of Tony Stark…a role that he has now gone on to define and make into an A-list character.
The lesson is…until the movie comes out, we as a people have no fuckin idea how Affleck will fair in the role of Batman. Some have taken it and done great things, some have crumbled under the weight of the role and bad writing. Everyone wants to talk about how Affleck is not right for it…but we kinda forget that the likes of David Goyer and Zach Snyder are writing/directing it…where is the backlash that those two get to have a role in bringing Batman back to the big screen?
The casting of Affleck, takes me from a point where I was indifferent to the entire idea of Superman vs. Batman movie…and now makes me a little bit more interested to see it in a few years. I feel bad for Cavill tough, he is just buried now under the talk of Affleck and who the next Lex Luthor will be and to think this is all a sequel to HIS Superman film.
He is the best at what he does…and thus far it hasn’t been used for a great solo film.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the last time we got a taste of a full fledged Wolverine adventure in our local cinemas…and it left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. If not for an amazing foul mouthed cameo in X-Men: First Class, it would have been the last time anyone would of thought about Hugh Jackman in his iconic role…but now we have Hugh back to his claws and a new director at the helm for the aptly titled, The Wolverine.
This movie is a Wolverine comic book come to life in the best way possible. Everything you wanted from a solo Wolverine adventure that didn’t get delivered in Origins, is given to you on a silver—err, how about adamantium platter?
Based off the comic book written and drawn by the team of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, the adventure of Wolverine in Japan was a comic book story that over the years has been regarded as a classic not only for the genre, but the character itself. There have been many Wolverine stories told over the decades he has been around, but his time in Japan rank up high amongst the most important and is treated as such in it’s adaptation to film. This isn’t just another run of the mill story, it has the level of importance to it. It might not be as earnest as a Nolan Batman film, but it keeps its self-leveled with the characters that surround our anti-hero.
So one thing you will notice about this tale of the man named Logan in Japan…is that besides Wolverine, Viper, and Jean Grey…all the other characters are truly of Asian origin. Some films would take this maybe this opportunity and warp the script to white wash some characters, but to the credit of James Mangold, he put this film in Japan and filmed it with a surrounding Asian cast. The three most important roles that were cast to almost comic-book perfection were Rila Fukushima as Yukio, which is a Miller trademark in its own, a lethal, but sexy Japanese woman with a sword, who serves as both Wolverines guide and “bodyguard” in the film. We then have Tao Okamoto as Mariko, the fabled long love of Wolverine’s heart in the comics and in the film, the one that helps bring him from the brink of his despair. And finally we Haruhiko Yamanouchi, who plays Ichiro, grandfather of Mariko and another silver armored character that has its roots in the Wolverine lore.
If you watched any trailer for this film, the plot is seemingly easy to get behind. Wolverine is about 10 years removed from the events of X3: The Last Stand. He is constantly having nightmares about Jean Grey, and wishing for death to finally ring his door bell. He is found by Yukio and brought to Japan, where from there the tale of how Wolverine deals with a suppressed healing factor amongst a land of killers is brought to life. Watching Wolverine not just wave off an attack, but seriously have to deal with long lasting pain is something new to the character on film. From his first solo film, to all the X-Men movies, Wolverine has taken a beating, but then easily come right back to fight. Here, we watch as Logan has to deal with the last effects of a gun shot wound and how badly that can slow me him and alter his fighting style.
The Wolverine is the movie not X-Men fans have been wanting, but what Wolverine fans have been hoping for after the utter disappointment all around in Origins. I don’t think it’s the perfect film, but it’s the right film for this character. There was no need to add in extra X-Men characters that have no use in Wolverines life to this feel, they made this big budget film seem small and large at the same time. Taking cue from classic Samurai films of the past and designing a beautiful film where the blood of his enemies can be seen in the snowy white landscape of Japan.
Mangold has gone on record to proclaim when this film hits blu-ray it will be a much bloodier unrated version of the film we get in theaters, which is both understandable and smart. The talk of a R-Rated Wolverine movie has been discussed often, but the character is TOO popular to be tagged with an R and have some of its box office taken away, the PG-13 version we get is just violent and berserker enough to satisfy any fan and I’m sure the blu-ray release will be enough to satisfy the even more bloodlusting fans.
Like any Marvel film, be it Marvel studios or any other studios, there is a nice mid-credit tag after the film. Wont ruin it, but lets say, this Wolverine still has ties with his old team and there is a reason we will see Hugh Jackman pop those claws in next years X-Men: Days of Future Past.
I give it an EIGHT out of a TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.
But I also give it a SKNIT out of TEN, on the scale of the slicing and dicing of ninjas. This movie was actually really fun watch and worth the price.