Tuesday, May 17, 2022

In Retrospect: Ghostbusters Afterlife

I still have a fair bit to say.



First and foremost I did enjoy it more on the second watch and made my peace with some aspects. When I first saw it I felt it was mostly superflous to rely so much on the original Ghostbusters, with so much iconography incorporated into the plot. I still stand by that point and feel it was unnecessary to bring back Gozer, the terror dogs, Ivo Shandor, the Stay Puft marshmallow man, among other things because I was so invested and digging the original story. Oh sure, could I believe Gozer came back at some point to slug it out with the boys in grey? Absolutely, it wouldn't surprise me if during the comics run or in the animated show such a thing did happen, but it really is the crux of my albeit small problem with the movie. Just swap it out for an original villain and I would have next to zero to complain about. I loved the story of Phoebe Spengler learning about her grandpa's past and using her own smarts to carry on his legacy, while meeting these new characters and getting to see the old ones. McKenna Grace is nothing short of perfection in this, and adds one more example of future daughter goals for me, I just cherish her in this. Paul Rudd is such an affable great guy to hang out with, we go out for drinks twice a month he's wonderful, but anyway he's just fun to watch in this although he is 1000% to blame for the events that occured in the movie. Logan Kim, a wonderful addition to the cast and feels like a real kid in these situations. I do still feel Finn Wolfhard's brief portions of the plot were...yeah, pretty much useless and no slam against the actor of course but I hope should he come back for another film gets a lot more attention and stance in the story. Of course I hold no grudges seeing Bill, Dan, and Ernie again to the point where if I was being crystal clear, Ernie's line of "I should have called. I miss you my friend." and the after credits scene with him and Janine were kinda cutting near the heart man. Those bits were handled expertly. Now I must confess, I didn't actually like seeing Egon the first time I saw this. The beginning was fine, just seeing a silhouette or a hand, and it honestly took me an embarassingly long time to figure out he was leading Phoebe to all the important kit and the secret lab. But when he shows up at the end and you fully see him I felt that wasn't needed. That we didn't need a physical manifestation, I let out a heavy sigh when he was essentially a desk lamp, I don't know man I just wasn't for it. But then I saw other people's reviews and how much they loved seeing Egon in the movie, so it softened my opinion on it and I'm mostly okay with it now. I will also admit I had no idea that was Olivia Wilde as Gozer, that blew my mind when I found that out. PS. I would fully fund a short film where the mini-Stay Puft's wreak havoc and continue to be adorable even when they are brutally and graphically killed. It's a tiny bit of a love/hate relationship with this movie, I adore the original stuff and am screaming for more but all the call backs do bog it down just a little bit for me. But a good movie is a good movie, and I do still find it highly entertaining and a worthy succesor to Ghostbusters 2. I move it up to 4 stars, 8/10, and apologies in advance for only getting two reviews out this week and I suspect next week might be the same as well but I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Second Coming

Jesus.





I mean no wonder Russell The Davies and big daddy Christopher collaborated on Doctor Who a few years later, when you have a script like this. I'm not even fully sure where to begin but I will say it is very good first and foremost. So the story concerns a completely average and unimportant human named Steve who imparts to the world that he is the son of God, and more or less we follow the aftershocks of such a revelation. I do thank the movie for getting to the point of the world accepting such a fact, no last 30 minute nonsense or any of that rubbish. It takes a realistic and strong stand on such an event and doesn't shy away from asking a hard question. Leave it to an atheist to write about a spiritual subject matter and it turning out quite well. Russell does admirable work with such a concept, and brings a distinctly human touch to Steve where he doesn't have all the answers and if anything is drip fed the holy plan because of his ultimately subpar human physiology. Now on one hand I can see people decrying that the movie doesn't amount to anything, it has buildup but zero payoff, there's some major handwaving away important aspects of this world. But I didn't see it like that, it's almost set up as a social what if and poses a challenge of faith in a unique way. Christopher, my man, I love you my man, I saw some unadulterated 9th Doctor moments in this performance but he sells everything flawlessly and sums up just how a normal guy would feel with the world almost literally on his shoulders. I promise not to go on Doctor Who tangents because it's actually ridiculously easy with this cast, we got Lesley Sharp, Mark Benton, Ace Bhatti who appeared if not on the show at least on one of the spinoffs. It's so fascinating to see that the working relationship between two very seperate projects could have so much connective tissue. And everybody does very strong work with great love going to Lesley Sharp and Peter Armitage who have the most drama to work with. The direction is really solid as well, effectively using hanheld techniques but can still frame a nice shot, while keeping the pace up for a little over 2 hour film. Props to them for touching on demons and hell, I mean you think that would be a no brainer but look at the last two pieces we checked out. No hell, no damnation, no dukes of hell, no possession, no Lucifer Morningstar. Can't have one without the other and the effect they use to show a demon is incredibly subtle but immensely eerie, bringing to mind the technique they used in Blade Runner for a replicant's eyes. And that ending, the balls on you Russell. I appreciated it, it's going for it's own thing and proposes a fascinating world, and even more so pushes a message that I strongly agree with. You get one shot, one life to live, you gonna complain about woulda' coulda' shoulda', or are you going to take steps to better the world and the people living on it anyway you can? It's a hidden gem that raises good conversation and delivers a pretty decent movie if you ask me. 3.5 stars, 8/10! Another week done, another week awaits. What will we talk about next?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Bruce Almighty

Probably been longer than 10 years since I've seen this.





Has time aged a film almost 2 decades old? God only knows but I'll tell you what I think anyway. I had no clue whatsoever this movie even existed until one day either my mom or my Nan handed the DVD to me, and me still being the young and enthusuastic Jim Carrey fan I was, I immediately went for it. A movie where Jim Carrey was God, I mean he wasn't that far off when I was younger and I enjoyed it a lot. Looking back, I still had a good time with it but I will admit I didn't love it as much. Not to say the story isn't a very good and interesting one, with a news reporter who feels very down on his luck and left behind in the dust is contacted by the Almighty who grants him all of the heavenly powers to see if he can do better. A fascinating concept, albeit a very predictable because ohhh our main character is a human, a very fallable, kinda self centered, average human. Of course he would use such power for entirely selfish reasons but something I applaud in the writing is not only the fact that Bruce isn't a complete ass and totally irredeemable, but his actions as an all powerful figure have consequences almost from the start. Any other film would just brush it off and not even acknowledge that oh yeah if he made the moon that big, the oceans would go mental, and all that stuff. Well done. In fact there really isn't a real antagonistic force in the movie, apart from perhaps human hubris and being vain. But it's great to see a movie confront that in some sense. Jim Carrey though not as hilarious in other films gives a good performance, balancing jokes and body humor akin to Ace Ventura and The Mask to more serious and dramatic points like Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine, and yes I could tie reference string to all those and more within his filmography. Jennifer Aniston though not as prevalent as I would like or as grand as she is in more recent years is great to see and sells everything beautifully. Morgan Freeman, I'm not saying a word. No really, there is no point, we all know it. You know it, I know it, your great-great-grandparents know it, your unborn children know it. I will however bring up a certain discussion point, what about this performance wowed so many people? Because I'm fairly certain if you flat out asked people what do you think God looks like, I think a good chunk of them unironically would say Morgan Freeman. There's a reason they gave him the host duties of a show called The Story Of God. I rest my case. Now, this is where I act kinda like a dick. You know that scene, probably the most famous scene of the movie when Bruce makes Evan have a verbal meltdown on the news? I think that's breaking one of exactly two rules set for him by God, don't tell anyone you're God and don't mess with free will. He is messing with free will! He might as well have shoved his hand up Evan's backside like a puppet, I call plothole. 3/10! But in all seriousness, it's a decent movie that has good stuff in it and even if you're not slightly resembling a religious person can still enjoy it a fair bit. We all know the best part, and I'm happy such a thing came to pass. 3 stars, 7.5/10! And I will not be reviewing Evan Almighty tomorrow but something a lot more different from a television writer I enjoy a great deal.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Oh God

I guess I was in a mood after watching all the Cinema Snob's religious movie reviews.



A very unexpected turn of events for this show but it's genuinely a good movie to talk about. So the story boils down to an average grocery store assistant manager named Jerry is called in for an interview by the creator upstairs to simply pass on a message to the world. What I like a good deal about it is, it takes a lot of the then modern cynicism of 1977, and really there probably is even more today about the existence of God, and addresses the fact that our main character isn't even a religious man, he doesn't go to church, has no standing on the whole is God real thing, and that's really interesting to watch cause it shows time hasn't changed all that much. Cause he doesn't buy it for a second, but stuff keeps happening and he does meet a physical manifestation to where even though he doesn't turn religious or anything slightly like that, he wants to make sure that his message gets out. Cause he is a nice guy, and respects the message of showing care and consideration for not just people but the world itself, and I feel that was a wise decision. Man, religious movies were so much better then. Nowadays we get friggin' God's Not Dead and War Room (mother of mercy give me strength), but back then we had this movie, we had The Exorcist man! And you might be saying but Dude come on, The Exorcist isn't a religious movie. Isn't it? The devil and the priest can't exist if the other one goes away, it's just like the battle of the sun and the moon. And it's pretty great to see another generations popular culture iteration of God in George Burns, who I gotta say is pretty dang good and the philosophical questions posed to him are indeed answered and elegantly so, and not just simply handwaved away. And I think the reason why the movie works so well is because of the story, it handles the subject of a crisis in faith in an original and down to earth way, Jerry is hassled by religious nuts and "official", about as official as anyone can actually get when you're talking about any form or shape of a religion, "official" heads of churches and particular sects of Christianity and he isn't here to take the piss out of any of it, he's just being honest about the circumstance he's in. Although this movie firmly shoves a righteous middle finger right up the back side of televangelists and church organizations that take copious amounts of money, and rightfully so in my opinion. I have zero problem with religion no matter what you practice and believe, but get out of my sight to those who participate in such acts of avarice. I appreciate the movie for how it progresses the story, how they portray God as undoubtedly the real deal but is surprisingly laid back and actually doesn't know everything, I really dig how they set him up and explain things from his perspective. It's not even really an interesting movie in terms of direction there's no avant garde cinematography or pretentious writing, the cast is mighty good, but they don't show off flashy miracles just for the sake of it, it's not trying to be a spectacle it's trying to be on the level. It's a religious movie that doesn't shove anything down your throat, insult your intelligence to the extreme, or try some half assed attempt to convert people. It's a neat little idea, they have some fun with it, and that's it. 3 stars, 7.5/10!

Friday, May 6, 2022

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Ha, and you thought I forgot!



I got the 1 in 14 million and whatever the hell it was, and finally got to see the new Doctor Strange. I was pretty happy with what I got, had some things that could definitely be improved but overall a very good and enjoyable film. Now as you will see through my history, I haven't reviewed a Marvel movie since Endgame so I have no clue what transpires for Peter Parker after Homecoming. With that in mind, let's continue. So we pick up some time after No Way Home as Stephen is more or less dropped into this plot of a young girl who can traverse the multiverse and has to keep her safe from evil forces wanting to take her power, now obviously with such a mindwarping thing as the multiverse there is clearly going to be more than that. Which is one aspect I highly applaud, it is a multiverse of madness, it goes apeshit and gets wild quick which is what I loved most about the world of Doctor Strange, it cannonballs into the deep end of fantastical, escapist, beautiful nonsense and easily were my favorite parts of the film. Now there is one instance where I absolutely can see people getting pissed off and agravated at, but at the same time this does deal with alternate realities so I can excuse the stuff that doesn't work because that is how that universe works, it works in the film's favor. However what did not work for me is Wanda. Yeah, we're walking down this street again. However. However, Elizabeth Olsen's acting in this...10/10! She nails it, she's spectacular, she is not f***ing about, and I feel I need to make this point clear with my reviews. I don't hold grudges or hatred toward actors unless they have done some shittastic things in life, when I have a severe problem with a character, I have an issue with exactly that. The character. I could have written Wanda clean out of this movie and you wouldn't miss much besides a very strong performance, in fact it kinda drags WandaVision down even further for me. I never hated the Scarlet Witch until recently, so those parts actually took me out of the movie. The cast do very good work, and I like seeing them all again even with our new characters. I have no idea why but I just really loved that Wong was Sorcerer Supreme instead of Strange, it just made me happy. It almost feels odd to have Strange in his own film all the way through, I think he contracted a heavy case of sidekick-neosis but they focus on him in the right way and it reminded me of why I was pumped to see this. But the best of the best, man let me tell you what, Sam Raimi. God to the hell damn yes, this visual style...mm, it's sublime! Visuals alone, not just effects which were ropey at times but ultimately strong, but direction, framing, cinematography, editing, is king of the hill where this movie is concerned. I got a healthy bit of Evil Dead style, some highly recognizable Spider-Man moments, and he utilized the visuals to the best potential. Well done sir. And this movie actually reinforced something I was thinking about on my way to see it, I was having a rough day where nothing seemed to be going as planned, really got me bummed out man but on my way to the theater I was very happy because I got out of work and it was a lovely day and I was finally able to do the thing I like doing the most. You can't stress about that shit, life goes on man. Bad days pass, trials and tribulations end, and you still get to move on and enjoy something. 3 stars, a high 7.5/10 close to an 8, but still a recommended movie. Whew, what a week. You Marvel fans are superhuman I swear.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

What If...?

Thank God this was better.




After the tepid at best reception of WandaVision I was hoping for better and I got a pretty solid and dang good show. I mean it's such a simple premise that's been in comics for about 30+ years, tell an elseworlds story with familiar heroes in different situations and realities, and now go one step further to make an anthology animated series involving the MCU. It's super short too, only 9 episodes though it has a semi-standard runtime akin to most animated shows I was surprised how much it could do and even how easy it was to jump into. Granted you do kinda need to know your MCU movies in certain episodes, they don't hold your hand for anything, you either know or don't. I can't begrudge it too much on that factor cause you do have to be a fan of the Marvel stuff to even have any intention of watching it so it gets a pass on accesibility. The animation style is that odd Tron Uprising, Into The Spiderverse style of 2D but actually 3D animation, and while it did take a brief moment for me to get adjusted to it I found it to be very well done and captures the color and spectacle of those movies. Easily my favorite episodes were Agent Carter getting the supersoldier serum, T'Challa being a guardian, Doctor Strange turning evil is the crown jewel for me personally, and the final two episodes which cap it off nicely should this be the one and only season we get. But truth be told, I am 100% down to see more. I know, the guy who gave the majority of the MCU one gigantic ehhhh, actually has some interest and passion for What If. Will wonders never cease. I do actually appreciate how not every story ends happily, obviously with such a multitude of multiverses not all ends in a good way and there is some screwed up stuff that happens. Though that does make me wonder what the demographic is for this, I'd probably put it in the teens to adults category alone due to the zombies episode. I'll never fully grasp society's fascination with the zombie genre, let undead sleeping dogs lie for God's sake, it needs to end quick. Besides that small gripe with the entertainment industry, it's a very good series that while an experiment that has been tinkered with before still tells good stories with good production quality. I give it 3.5 stars, 8/10! Finally, a Marvel movie I have been waiting to see coming up next.

Monday, May 2, 2022

WandaVision

Well it wouldn't be Marvel time without f***ing homework.




It can't ever just be watch a movie can it? To hell and be damned with your interconnected universe! Now I will admit it had me for the first 3 episodes, wowing me with the attention to detail of television shows of the 50s, keeping me guessing exactly what the hell was occuring, building intrigue despite me knowing a fair bit because social media is a blight upon the planet. And then episode 4 happened, and I was disinterested ever since. So how does one talk about a show that has a show within the show? Besides ranting for half an hour how the whole intrigue, pulling factor, and reason anybody even watched it was because of that bizzare format. Now granted it's a intriguing setup, with two characters who unequivocally died suddenly finding themselves in a sitcom that continually evolves in style from decade to decade, as neither are entirely sure what is occuring while breaks in reality happen more and more leading to a final confrontation with a surprising foe. I thoroughly enjoyed the attention to detail, the writing, and the mystery of this town they inhabit until like I said the 4th episode when it just decides to blow it's load instead of crafting a more complex and interesting puzzle box for the audience to work with for the majority of the series. It almost shrieks of lazy writing, we could have kept the charade going but instead we're gonna explain damn near everything roughly halfway through and focus on characters and situations you don't care about when the focus should be primarily on Wanda and Vision. God. Damn. I couldn't have given a f*** less about the stuff happening outside of the town. It had one brief neat little scene showing the restoration of the universe from the snap from a normal character's perspective, when we didn't hardly see anything like that in Endgame. If I was writing this series, I would hold off on the explanation until damn near the end. Scrap the 8th episode it's mostly useless padding anyway, thusly making the series eight total episodes instead of nine, and drop two bombs by the 7th episode, the villain reveal and the town reveal. It takes too much attention off our main characters who while I don't hate the writing for by any means, they do still act like the characters we have seen movie after movie, but what was the end goal of this show? The endgame, if you will. I found nothing truly happened to affect the character and future of Wanda or Vision, and I know it's been about 2 years since I've watched the Marvel movies so I was having rather a hard time figuring out the time scale of everything that happened. Who's on first, Wanda's on second, I Don't Know is on third, is this after Endgame? Is it after Hulk saves the universe? Why is Wanda still in crazy grief mode if that is the case? I'm so confused. I just feel such a monumental disconnect here and all down to one single element. People are not watching or even discussing the show, they are watching and discussing the sitcom within the show. You follow me? They're getting kicks off seeing sitcom variants from different decades, they're gushing about the classic costumes for Vision and the Scarlet Witch, but they're not actually talking about what transpires throughout the series. And I think that's just because nothing actually happens. It's spectacle television with the lichpin being previous famous examples of television, oh ha ha don't you remember The Dick Van Dyke Show and Malcolm In The Middle, oh wow they have a whole episode where they break the fourth wall like The Office, isn't this such a brilliantly written show, despite it being so predictable and old hat that I was dragging my way to the finale because I have seen this shit time and time again. They wrote and marketed this show based around that instead of a personal story. They grabbed people's attention with the 1950s TV setting and used that alone to gain traction and generate audience numbers when they could have just made a show about Wanda and her story. But I do have good things to say, the comedic writing worked somewhat but I still enjoyed it. The set design and aesthetic is spot on and must be commended. Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany honestly have better chemisty presented here than in the movies, being very cute and charming but still can hold down the dramatic parts to the end. The only reason I would have ever watched this show outside of a review is Kathryn Hahn who my stars and days, is the best part of the show. I...cannot...get over this woman. Every fashion was smashing on her, she was so funny, she was a delight every second she was on screen, oh my God yes give me more! Ohh, I haven't evil laughed in sheer joy like that in a long time. 12/10! Still however felt the writing for the villain was weak in terms of motivation, and I'm just stating this now. Ever since that Doctor Strange trailer dropped everyone. Everyone. Could not stop saying oh Wanda's gonna be a villain, she seems like she's turning heel. Motherf***er have you forgot about this show? She is the villain as far as I'm concerned in this, she does some messed up stuff and I know there is palpable and important messages in this show that, reality must be faced, you cannot live and hide in dreams and not accept the truth, that pain and loss must be accepted as much as happiness and love in life, but I feel it's going to be unnoticed. Hell people don't even talk about this show nowadays unless connecting it to Doctor Strange. I mean is this all that show was meant to be? Just connective but ultimately superflous tissue for a movie that isn't out yet? Will people really talk about this show at all in even 3 years time? I don't think so. It just seems like such a waste. Jesus, I know I'm not a Marvel fan by any stretch but I know they can do good stories and make captivating characters here and there. It just wasn't worth the time. 1.5 stars, 4.5/10, next show has to be better right?