Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Dark Knight Rises

It's time for Knightfall.

The end is here. All those years, all his enemies, and the Bat was broken. But he came back, 8 years of nothing before Bane comes to Gotham and took the city, making it a no man's land. And the Dark Knight came out of retirement to take control of his city. Was it worthwhile? Was it a brilliant end to an iconic trilogy? Well here's the thing, answers don't give you a sense of satisfaction, sometimes you have to brace yourself for disappointment. I mean, think about it! You've seen this series since it began, the birth of the Batman, the crazy and chaotic Joker pushing him to his limits, and then bang! The ultimate fight for Gotham ensues and ends. Would you be happy? Does it make sense? How come the true villain sucked ass? Well, let's start at the beginning. 8 years since the Batman has been seen, and not all is well. True, Gotham seems to be in a time of peace but Bane has different plans, severing all ties to the outside world and keeping Gotham in his pocket thanks to a four megaton nuclear bomb. He broke the bat, threw him in a pit, and is about to do what Ra's Al Ghul was always planning: destroy Gotham. And hell, that's just the brief basic synopsis. Good gravy is there a lot going on in this movie! What with Bane controlling the city, Bats coming out of retirement, Catwoman doing her own thing, and poor Jimbo scrambling to restore order, it's a miracle you remember what happened in the first movie! But specifics are key here, and really there isn't much to talk about casting and production wise, except for Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Great job guys! I thought she was awesome! Now I think the problem many people did not get was this is NOT a Batman story. At all. It's a Bruce Wayne story. It deals with him coming out of retirement, defending a city that hates and fears him, and just him trying to do one last good deed in his lifetime. This is important to know if you choose to see it again. Now onto the villains! Bane is damn near pitch perfect, I mean Tom Hardy friggin' nailed it. This is the comic book Bane, and for those of you who read the comics know what I am talking about, he's brilliant, super genius intellect almost, incredible strength, military backing in some cases, this guy is a true force to be reckoned with. He broke Batman's back, no one has ever hurt him like that before. This shows a capable villain who is a great character in and of himself. But then they done screwed it up! I have no qualms spoiling this, because it's absurdly obvious to the comic book fans, and means precisely nothing to those who want to just watch the movie. The whole mastermind behind all this is Talia Al Ghul, Ra's daughter. Thanks for taking away such excellent menace from Bane and just pissing me off! Seriously?? What the shit is she doing here??? There's no reason!! None! Whatsoever! The character is meaningless, she doesn't even reveal her name until about 15 minutes before the end! Are you fraking kidding me?! This movie is 2 HOURS AND 45 MINUTES LONG!!! God I hate her in this movie, now you might be saying "But Dude that's the point! You're not supposed to like her! She's the bad guy!" but that is not the point! You built up an incredible villain, faithful to the comics, with a damn fine performance, and just chucked it all in to the fraking trash! I knew her whole schtick once she babbled on about having balance or order or some bullshit in the world for the 8 millionth godforsaken time! Also, worst death ever! Oh yeah, she dies. Not in a even slightly satisfactory way! It is literally, the worst on screen death I have ever seen! I mean for Christ's sake, that was the best take you could get?? It's horrible! Oh my God! How do you do this man? Besides that....disgustingly horrible aspect, the rest of the movie is fine. When I first saw it I found it very underwhelming because I didn't want it to end, but you know, it's been 5 years, and the movie has grown on me. I like the scale of the movie, the tone of the movie, (most) of the characters in the movie, the action is very good, the drama hits hard and by the way, shame on you Bruce! You made Alfred cry! That ain't right man! It's a perfectly fine ending to The Dark Knight Trilogy, thaey just done fraked it up in terms of villains. In fact, just watch the How It Should Have Ended video of this movie, if you don't feel like sitting down for almost 3 HOURS! There are movies that warrant that run time, this one....not so much. I can totally get why someone would not want to sit through a movie like this for that long. But honestly when I sat down, it took about 20 minutes for me to get interested and then the rest of the movie pretty much flew right by. But then again, I am used to such run times. 3 hours is a powerful repellent to the uninitiated, but we are initiated aren't we? The ending pissed people off too, I frankly didn't mind. I mean damn, it's all gone now, we got Batfflec and all these new kickass superhero movies coming out, so get over it! Oh, and The Joker totally called it. He was right about everything. That's why we love you Heath! But anyway, I'm done. New reviews next month, you know the drill, thank you so much for reading and I need some ice cream cake now. Happy Birthday to me, The Dude reminding you that the movie reviews will never die.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Dark Knight we go!

What can I say? The Dark Knight is not just an amazing superhero movie but also an amazing movie in general. I saw it not once, not twice, but 3 times in theaters and surprise! I love it. The story is great, picking up about a year after Batman Begins with Bats facing off with The Joker for the first time and subsequently brought to his breaking point. Now let's just get this out of the way, Heath Ledger is outstanding and far worthy for his Academy Award. I mean, I thought Jack Nicholson was pitch perfect, ha ha ha ho hee ha ha and I thought my jokes were bad. Heath blows Jack out of the water, and that a stiff fraking order! Top Jack Nicholson as The Joker! Almost an impossible feat but he did it!! Don't know how, don't even care, cause I love him. Now moving on, Aaron Eckhart is Harvey Dent and he is great, bringing my absolute favorite Batman villain to the screen, though I do admit I wish I saw more of him, quite like Scarecrow in the previous movie. Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachael Dawes......oh lord, I thank you for this good performance and for not having Katie back. Truly you have great wisdom. Thank you! And everybody in supporting cast is still kickass and I love seeing them again as these characters. Now for the more, intricate parts. I thought Chicago looked good in the first movie, I mean it looks absurdly great, it adds much more scale, and depth, and it looks glorious. Action scenes have improved by leaps and bounds, and I am so thankful for that! The dialogue, oh boy the dialogue, it's just as good. Hell in fact, I enjoyed this movie so much more than ever before due to one single scene and the actions of the characters afterwards. Jim Gordon's "death". Wow, I mean you don't buy into it cause, how do you kill Jim? It cannot be done! But really take a step back and look at how people react to it. For all intensive purposes, Jim Gordon is dead. How does Batman take it? He...snaps, almost killing people because he wants The Joker because he killed his friend, his partner in crimefighting. How does Harvey take it? He holds a guy at gunpoint, threatning to blow his brains out all due on a coin toss. Damn. That adds so much more character, and even more when they discover he is alive. That speaks volumes about how they viewed each other. And when it comes down to the wire, and the suspense and drama hit, it packs an explosive punch. Top notch direction, acting, editing, and cinematography in these scenes. The Tumbler, which a lot of people didn't see as a true Batmobile gets demolished and thus we get the Bat Pod, which looks awesome and many people liked more. And now we reach the ending, and so many people complained about, "Why not blame The Joker for all the deaths? Why does Batman have to take the fall?" and well, The Joker is an easy way out. They knew the direction they wanted to go in the next movie, and they set that up. No question about it. That part was essential in the making of the last movie, which of course we will look at to cap the week off. All in all, great movie, need to see it if you haven't already, and soon the legend ends....or does it?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Batman Begins

Well it's birthday week again, so screw it. Let's finish the Batman movies!

The first of The Dark Knight trilogy, how is it after 10 long years? It's a great start, it builds the world it wants, executes an origin story on a more realistic setting, and kickstarted the most acclaimed Batman movies ever made. Do I need to spout off the plot? Well just so I can talk more, absolutely. Bruce Wayne has been missing for several years, training with a mysterious organization known as the League of Shadows, and returns to Gotham City to fight crime and reclaim his city. But the League has a few tricks up it's sleeve, including the first live action potrayal of The Scarecrow, easily one of my top 5 Batman villains played brilliantly by Cillian Murphy who has a helping hand in the destruction of Gotham. I won't give much else away, but believe me when I say it's a great movie. Now onto the cast! Christian Bale on first viewing for me, was nothing special. But as I grew older, and started appreciating the story and the characters more, he does a fine job. As Bruce Wayne, he is cool and unassuming and as the Dark Knight, he is a force to be reckoned with. Supporting cast ranges from perfection to what the flying hell were they thinking. Michael Caine as Alfred? Fan-flipping-tastic! Very difficult to replace Michael Gough, but he puts his all into it. Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon is terrific, well that's pretty much Gary Oldman in general. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox? A more unknown character, hell Morgan was an avid reader of the Batman comics and didn't know who he was, but still very likable and entertaining. It's God for crying out loud, how can you say bad things about him? Alright, Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul.....he's not terrible, but didn't really feel like Ra's. Plus I hate how they pronounced his name, I know that's nitpicking but it seriously gets irritating after awhile. He plays the part well but it just felt off, character wise not performance wise. Katie Holmes as Rachael Dawes. Good God, she is bad in this. I'm not bashing on Katie Holmes but she sucks in this. Her character is just so boring! There's no development, no depth, she just acts kinda bitchy and there you go, there's her character! Might as well wrap up the rest of the negatives while I'm at it. The fight scenes are horrendous, they are so closely shot, so fast with motion, it is almost fundamentally impossible to tell what is happening. And that's kind of an important part of a superhero movie, where you know...people fight crime! I don't know what they were thinking but at least they learned. Also, criminal underuse of Scarecrow, Christopher Nolan is a cerebral filmmaker so I expected Scarecrow to be a terrifying force, front and center of the whole film, main villain being awesome. But nope. Cillian Murphy gets to be Scarecrow for maybe five minutes, and he is great! He is awesome! I fully believe this is a guy who experiments on people with fear toxin! Spot on acting sir! And that's about it really. Good stuff as is follows, great story, great retelling of an origin story, good acting, a memorable script, decent effects, using Chicago as a backdrop for Gotham which I am totally cool with even though it's quite obvious Gotham is a gothic caricature of New York City, and for the first installment of a trilogy it does it's job well. Also, side note the reason I fraking LOVE Batman movies is because somehow, I don't know how, the movies keep getting better as time goes on. But wise, kinda. I'll try to explain. You see when you delve into this mythos, these stories, these characters, you notice little details. Call them easter eggs, call them references, whatever but once you know something you can connect it to something else, especially in comic book media. It's like, every adaptation, every retelling, every version of this story compliments everything so much. People hated that Jim Gordon drives the Batmobile in this movie, but recently Jim Gordon actually becomes the Batman in the comics! The whole scheme of destroying Gotham is strikingly, even suspiciously too similar to Arkham Knight with Scarecrow and his plans. It's that sort of references that always make it well worth my time to revisit and watch not just these movies, but all things Batman. I live it, I breathe it.....because I'm Batman!!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Going In Style

Well I'd say that was worth the wait.

Going In Style is a very good movie, it's a comedy, a heist, and a buddy movie all at the same time. The plot revolves around 3 friends who after working for a steel company for 40 years learns that it's shutting down, and their pensions are being taken away. And that's actually really hard to watch because these things do happen, in this day and age quite often. So they decide screw it, they don't have much to lose, so they decide to rob a bank to provide for them until the end of their days. Casting is great, I mean you got Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin, star studded cast if there was one. Comedy is very good, Christopher Lloyd has a small role and I could not stop laughing when he was on screen, I just wasn't expecting to see him so I got a real kick out of that. All in all, it's a funny movie, you want to see these guys succeed and get to live their life in comfort, and I don't think the ending will disappoint you. Well that's it for today. Next week, I don't know. I'll figure something out. It is my birthday soon.....

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Last Vegas

God this week sucked! School has been kicking my ass all week, so screw it. Let's go to Vegas.

Last Vegas is a truly hilarious movie, with a lot of heart and an all star cast. So let's round up those movie totals, we have: Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburg, one vegas trip, one bikini contest, several scantily clad cleveage showing beautiful ladies, pelvis gyrating, over 100 bottles of alcohol, one viagra pill, one bachelor party, 4 stars check it out! So our story begins with Michael Douglas getting married to a 31 year old woman, and his friends decide to take him out to Vegas for a bachelor party. This movie seems like the elderly version of The Hangover, but really it has a lot more heart and not nearly as outrageous or insane. You do get a great sense of the bond they have, and they do fight and bicker but really, what group of friends don't? So the story isn't exactly brilliant, it's a popcorn comedy movie and it knows it. It still takes time to develop it's characters, and the jokes made me laugh to beat the band. You know what I don't get? Why there are so many of these types of movies? Old man or old guys do stuff old folks usually wouldn't do, usually leading to a laugh out loud adventure, and ends with them returning to normal life albeit with a very memorable moment of their life now with them. I mean I like those movies, I'm friggin' reviewing Going In Style tomorrow! So obviously they hit a stride with me. This a good movie, not great but hey with a movie called Last Vegas I'm not expecting an Academy Award winning film. But that would be awesome.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Life (2017)

That's a great poster by the way. A hand on the face part of a space suit, even though that is impossible. Do you know how space suits are put on? Why not just a hand on the glass of say, an airlock? That does a much better job and makes sense at least. Alright sorry, brief tangent, moving on.

Life, a new science fiction movie dealing with an alien parasite brought aboard the International Space Station, as it breaks loose, runs amok, and my God this movie is boring! Hmmm....where have I seen this before?? An alien brought aboard a ship, that attacks the crew, grows everytime it kills somebody, and has a distinct weakness in the form of fire and electricity. Oh yeah, The Thing From Another World and Alien! Jesus Christ. It does nothing, it doesn't deliver anything new, the characters couldn't be more static and two dimensional if they tried and in fact they are supremely idiotic, the alien doesn't even have a slightly interesting design, and I'm not sure if just my anger or aggravation caused this but I kept on seeing major clashing facts in this movie. Like is the alien attracted to oxygen or light? I heard both so what is it? Is it over there in one section or another? This movie defies all logic on being created. What was the point? And don't you start that, "It could be the Symbiote from Spiderman" bullshit, whoever actually thought that was true is somehow MORE idiotic than the people who say Star Wars Episode VIII is going to be just like The Empire Strikes Back. Cut me a freaking break. What a waste of time. And you know what pisses me off? Well actually two things piss me off, the ending which is unnecessarily dark but also this was not the movie I was originally going to review. I wanted to see Going In Style, but complications arose, I needed a new movie that was still in theaters, so I chose this one. Dear sweet merciful celestial beings, why did I choose this?! God....bless it. Don't watch it. Don't buy it. Don't rent it. Don't even watch it when it hits cable. It is worthless, and you should spend your time watching better sci-fi movies. Like Alien or either of The Thing movies and not that piece of garbage that's a prequel that came out in 2011 or whatever. I am fed up now. Time to cleanse the palette. Now where's that vodka?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

In Retrospect: Doctor Strange

More magic filled movies, what's not to like?

Doctor Strange might well be my favorite Marvel movie of all time, I mean it's got Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen, a great retelling of an origin story, outstanding effects, surprisingly philosophical and spiritual overtones, all done so well. It's a really good movie, and the one good thing I can say about most Marvel movies is the fact almost every movie is a standalone movie. You don't need to watch all the movies from Iron Man to Doctor Strange, you could just watch Doctor Strange! Skip the after credits scene, and voila! A solid superhero movie that stands alone. The story is very interesting, mainly just due to the fact of Stephen Strange's training in the mystic arts. Doctor Strange, the only superhero who got powers from reading books. All jokes aside, it is the best part of the story in my opinion, and yes while the rest of the story is fine, that was the part that still grabs me and pulls me into the movie. All the main actors do great jobs, and the comedy didn't actually grate on me that much this viewing around. Not sure why, maybe I just accepted it and moved past it, knowing damn well there is nothing I can do to change it, so why complain? The really bad part is, I looked up the full list of films in the Marvel cinematic universe, and there was only....3 I would watch, and only one in the future that I want to see. Now granted, I'm not much of a Marvel fan, I hardly know anything about characters or certain stories first hand, 99% of my knowledge stems from comic reviews and these movies. But I will admit I do want to read the Doctor Strange comics from the 60s just to see what it was all like. Beyond that, it's just another Marvel movie but a damn good one that I can safely say I will enjoy in the future.

Alright, that's enough In Retrospects for awhile and this Friday it will be a new movie in theaters. Until then, catch you later on down the trail.

In Retrospect: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Yep, still highly enjoyable.

Fantastic Beasts has finally hit video and I got to sit down and rewatch it, and it is better on second viewing. I still love the setting of 1920s New York, something out of our element both in time and space with new characters, a good story, and fantastic beasts. I still say Eddie Redmayne is the best part of the whole movie, still the most Timelord wizard you ever did see and I love him to death. Now originally on viewing I hated Tina, not the actress who potrays the character I like her just fine and dandy but the character just seemed so out of place, this timid little worry mouse, but then I watched it again put myself in her shoes, and my entire perspective changed on her. She has to put up with some bullcrap in this movie, of course she would act like this, the poor dear's practically harboring on a nervous breakdown any moment. Jacob is still very entertaining, he gets that everyday man thing down to perfection, and yes the ending is still very bittersweet, but I still like it. Queenie is still absurdly adorable, I just friggin' want to squeeze her she's so goshdarn, gee whiz, cutesy! Graves is still an interesting villain, and I can only imagine where the story could pick up after the events of this one. A 5 picture deal? Really? Damn. I mean I'm psyched to see more but you just wonder how this is all going to go down. The creatures are still great, I'm happy each has their own distinct personality and traits, you could never confuse the creatures in this movie and that's something I greatly admire. The action while minimal is still really good, the drama hits when it needs to, the comedy is still very good, and I just want to see more of these characters. If memory serves (and it rarely does for me) I think the next movie comes out in 2018 and I can deal with that. Probably. Highly recommend buying this movie, it's great for adults, it's great for kids, it's a movie I can definitely see viewing multiple times in the future, and hopefully you do too.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

In Retrospect: Rogue One

You may fire when ready.

I forgot how amazing Peter Cushing was in this! I don't care if it's cgi, it's Peter Cushing back to do another movie. Automatic 12 stars out of 10, when you add Carrie Fisher in this as well. I love Star Wars, the original 1977 Star Wars was the first movie I ever saw if you have somehow forgotten that, I already talk about it enough. But it was the first time I saw these actors in my life, and then through the years I saw them in more things. And they are gone now, so it was both triumphant and crushing to see them in this movie again. So Rogue One is still a great Star Wars movie, now that I have watched Rebels, I noticed several more easter eggs that flew by me the first viewing in theaters. It was a lot of fun, the characters in my opinion got better with repeated viewings. Now that I have the ability to rewind and pause, I could gather much more evidence of good performances in this movie. Jyn Erso still feels like an outsider to it all but becomes a true Rebel as the film progresses, Cassian Andor is this hard edged, no nonsense captain willing to do shall we say...morally ambiguous things. In fact, the Rebel Alliance isn't all comradery and heroes and doing the right thing no matter what. They do bad things in this movie, which is very much more like a real war, not everybody believes in their side and does things they may not be proud of. That is a great aspect. Krennic is a backstabbing son of a mother, has no respect or anything for other people, so he gets under your skin quickly. All the side characters like Baze or Ip Man (Yeah I know his name is Chirrut, but it's Donnie Yen so he's Ip Man!) got a lot better as well. Everyone says the Battle of Scarif is the best space battle in Star Wars, I would still say either of the Death Star assaults but it is pretty spectacular. I still am not a fan of Vader's castle on Mustafar though, now people would argue "Well it's on Mustafar because that's where he lost everything. Being there taps into his anger, and pain, therefore making him more powerful in the dark side." and I don't like it. I loved the idea he had this castle on a remote, desolate ice planet, more desolate than Hoth that he could retreat to away from the Emperor. The imagery alone in my mind makes it so badass but whatever, I didn't make the movie. The ending scene was still unbelievable, and it does indeed just keep getting more awesome every time. So worth buying it, so awesome still, Rogue One makes a fine addition to my collection. Will it be part of yours too?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Star Wars Rebels: Season 3

What the hell? This shouldn't have taken so long. They literally did a Christmas break, which I can fully understand, it lasted for nearly a month, fine. But then they had the gall to take almost a whole nother month off, and just to add insult to injury it was between a two part story. This series should have already been ended in either late February or early March. Not almost fraking April!!

Ugh, anyway following the kickass season 2 finale how does this hold up? Quite well actually, but really the sheer focal point of viewing this season besides the usual Star Wars fan ideology is because of Grand Admiral Thrawn. This is major to the hardcore Star Wars fan. Thrawn has been in Star Wars since 1991, but recently since Episode 7 was deemed Legends, it never happened it was just a tale. But now he's back, it was due to the season 3 trailer that I went out and bought The Thrawn Trilogy (Close to finishing the last book.) , and pre-ordered the new book Thrawn written by the man who created him Timothy Zahn. So going into season 3, I was expecting great things, what I got was a decent continuation of the story, with the same characters that had minor character development, and Grand Admiral Thrawn being just as I had imagined him. It was a good season, had only a few filler episodes maybe 3 or 4 out of 22 episodes, so not bad and even then they have an interesting factor in them, like seeing what looks like Dark Troopers but are really a cross between a super battle droid and a stormtrooper, and a similar ship to Dash Rendar's. Plenty of nice nods to the Expanded Universe are within this series. What kind of sucks though is, like season 1 the finale which is actually a two part ending, feels like just another episode. It wasn't this amazing, groundbreaking episode that would have reprocussions in the next season. It's just eh, we lost a bit but whatever. Nobody dies, nothing is truly resolved, and we're pretty much where we started at the beginning of the season. La dee da. Alright, good points! Thrawn obviously, Tom Baker as The Bendu was awesome because it's Tom Baker, that voice is just mesmerizing, and....that's it. Everything else is just okay. Except for Kanan's mask, I hate it. It does nothing, the design is wretched, it has no artistic or practical appeal to me. Other than that though, the season is just okay. Just watch it either for Tom Baker or Thrawn.

Oh, but we are not done yet. Our buisness in a galaxy far, far away has not yet been completed.