Friday, March 31, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons Honor Among Thieves

Aged like wine or a very nice bourbon.

I know some hardcore, dungeon crawling, bone rolling fans who are gonna dig the shit out of this movie. And as a newbie I felt very proud to know so many tidbits of the world from creatures to spells, but the overall story and characters is where it's at. The plot is pretty much exactly stated in the trailer, a group of noble thieves help a secret dark wizard to acquire a powerful artifact and while working out their own baggage turn full on heroes. The reason why exactly this movie works so well aside from the performances themselves is the backstory, the motivation, the history of these characters. All easily understandable, grounded, and fleshed out enough to where you get them. Though I think the dialogue is written well enough to where even if the backstory wasn't there you get a solid grip on the personalities of our main characters. Of course Chris Pine is a charismatic, funny, and great lead as the bard Edgin and has the biggest arc of our party. Michelle Rodriguez is...okay without shamelessly fawning over a century for this woman, plays a powerhouse barbarian named Holga who is absurdly awesome, has a dry sense of humor, and an undying loyalty to Edgin. I am smitten. Justice Smith is our residential sorcerer Simon, bit of a klutz, has some awkwardness, but is a strong spell slinger. Sophia Lillis as a shapeshifting Tiefling named Doric I feel gets the least stuff to do but I like her character motivation to join the party and has some really cool moments peppered throughout so she is far from a waste. Daisy Head as Sofina, great villain in appearance but average in terms of scheme and I must admit red wizards were unknown to me in my research, but guys seriously? This woman who stares at you like she's from the fucking dark side, in a cloak, smoky eye to the max, and she wants you to break into a vault housing treasure of villains, none of this tipped you off?? Cause that would be a hard pass for me. But truthfully that's the only nitpick I got. The movie is really dang funny, in situation and dialogue with actors who have good timing, and it never feels unnecessary. The tone makes it all work, it projects a sense of fun, high stakes but not really heavy, adventurous feeling and delivers beautifully. It truly does feel like you are watching the visualization of a group of people playing the game, there are botches, good saving throws, proficiencies, getting loot and better weapons, it all feels legit. It works as a fantasy movie yes, you can walk in knowing jack shit about D&D and have some fun, but if you know your stuff it feels like an extension of that universe. And it feels like there is comraderie, group effort, and combining of skills which is the true spirit of the game. So it works well as a movie, it works well as an adaptation of the most popular role playing game in the world, and it no doubt can work well with sequels either following this party or going on a different quest with a new group. Nothing but 4 stars from me, 8.5/10, check it out even if you have just an ounce of interest. Dungeons & Dragons has been nothing but inevitable in my life, I've been hearing about this game since my teen years and I did the research and bought the books, and I may have gotten sidetracked and made my own character (A high elf warlock in league with an Elder God if you wanna know), but the interest is still there and I'm down for more. Hell I already bought the dice, I think I'm pretty much in at that point. Tune in next week for some adaptations of good old Nintendo games.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Dungeons And Dragons (2000)

I'm surprised I heard way more bad things about this.

Ah 2000, when fantasy was still considered box office bombs, CG quality was here and there, and Dungeons And Dragons was still underground. Apparently the director got the rights from TSR to make a Dungeons & Dragons movie but it took a decade to garner the necessary funds with mixed success. Considering this is based on a role playing game where anything can happen and there isn't necessarily a plot aside from campaign stories that could probably be adapted with ease, it gives a tremendous freedom of storytelling because you can make up any story, characters, and progression you want. Now though they sprinkle references of the game into the movie, the film does feel very fantasy standard which is a bit of a tricky double edged sword. How do you make a fantasy movie feel authentically D&D? Cause the whole basis and inspiration for it was classic fantasy literature like Tolkien and fairy tales, so it easily falls into this trap. But I did not hate the movie! I actually wonder how it got such a negative reputation because in all truth and honesty it's not bad. It has some elaborate and big sets with some neat period costuming and props with a good amount of practical effects. The acting can be a bit broad but mostly commited and decent even with Jeremy Irons being the best part of the movie period just chewing the scenery and milking the lines. The story is a bit cookie cutter where two thieves get embroiled in a political power struggle between an empress and a court mage, and they eventually meet a young lady sorcerer named Marina, a dwarf named Elwood, an elf named Norda, and have to contend with baddies on their trail as they search for a mystic relic which can help end the conflict. Now one thing I simply cannot forgive and what kind of makes this a bad D&D in one respect is, our party comes across several situations whether it be a deadly maze for a treasure, sneaking into an enemy castle, or trekking into a dungeon to complete the quest but the part that irks me so severely is only our main character Ridley does really any of it. And that's just so not Dungeons & Dragons, even to a hardcore newcomer like me, the point is to get a bunch of characters in a scenario and see what they do in a story sense, but in a real world sense the game has a tremendous community feeling where you and a group of friends combine your skills and knowledge to overcome problems in fun and interesting ways. It's just so...dull watching a thief maneuver a trap maze or dungeon crawl when the rest of the party sits it out! Have the sorcerer use spells to progress through the maze while the elf does a bunch of evasion parkour shit to avoid traps, have the dwarf slay monsters while the thief makes it to the treasure room for the relic, this isn't complicated stuff! I suppose it's a decent fantasy movie but a sub par D&D movie, and maybe that's why people hate this movie so. It's not a complete mess, there's just off things about it. Marlon Wayans is a weird ass casting decision for this movie as the comic relief Snails, but he's enjoying himself and not completely grating. Friggin' Jeremy Irons and Bruce Payne are the villains and that is a sight that must be seen, cause the movie gets real interesting when they are on screen. The dragons and bits of scenery are not great in the CGI department, but it ain't no Mortal Kombat Annihilation either, and it's just a means of telling the story so it's fine. Our heroes you could entirely argue the only ones worth a damn are Ridley and Marina and you would be right! I'm very split on this movie, cause it ain't bad but nor is it very good. Sooooo....average. 2.5 stars, 5.5/10. It's been 20 years, so let's see if the movie idea has aged like wine or milk next time.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

8 Years In A Flash

I know I said it but I still don't feel great about it. But it's time. From now until the 9th year anniversary next year, I'm taking a major break from reviews. New movie reviews will come out, I actually have a little over a month of stuff coming out pretty much culminating on my birthday so this isn't goodbye. And who knows, madness may indeed strike and I shall briefly rise from my tomb in the month of October to talk more spooky goodness! But it's genuinely a lot to take in, as I stated in my Rings Of Power review I can't believe I've hit 1,000 reviews and now we're almost to 1,050 in just 8 years. It certainly doesn't feel like 8 years! Just holy crap I've done way more than I ever thought I was going to do, I was wondering if I was gonna keep going to 100 reviews let alone ten times that amount. I don't hate doing it, I couldn't quit if I tried, and even with the breaks I take each year I'm still working on a constant regular basis. As an individual with a great love for cinema and expressing yourself through writing, if you add autism and depression into any equation you're going to have a lot of mental balancing. I'm not even stressed over this show man, I keep up a pretty strict relax regiment on a daily basis to keep my mind limber and at peace, with great success. I'm not burned out I promise, I'm just taking several steps back and looking at the big picture and evaluating what I've done. And I've done a lot with plenty more still to do. The fact this website garners about 1,000 people a month who read any of my reviews blows my mind completely, from here in the States to Russia to Asia I've had some big attention shed on my work and I really fucking mean this when I say, thank you. I'm incredibly content with the number of folks who seek out an opinion of mine, completely counterculture and wild though they are! I don't get paid a dime for my work but I could care less. Would I absolutely love to make this my living? Of course! But I certainly ain't mad about dumping probably close to $5,000 give or take over the course of all these years for movies cause let's be honest here I got a track record of mostly good movies. And I genuinely feel I'm only now starting to become more critical, I've held the belief that my writing has only gotten better with time, and it is night and day between this year's reviews and my 2015 reviews. I also will continue to pursue to be an optimistic reviewer, and you can absolutely expect a much needed addition to the Evolutionary Viewing Of The Internet Critic next month for me to elaborate further on that point. I must admit something though man, I'm so thrilled I've been writing reviews because it terrifies me beyond belief I'm having a much harder time of remembering things now more than ever, it's very concerning cause I can somewhat describe the feelings I got from a certain film but not a great deal on details of the film itself. You know? The human mind can only hold so much information, and to be candid none of the information in my head is incredibly useful not unless I win a cash prize for a Star Wars quiz. Not to close out on a morbidly introsepctive note but people create things and do things to create an impression, a legacy after they die, something to be not only remembered for but just to show you were there at all. This is mine. Memento Mori. I will see you all next week for admittedly just 2 reviews to kinda set the pace for the future, but the fun will never end it's adventure time!

Friday, March 24, 2023

John Wick: Chapter 4

I really hate to say this but I don't feel this will be a competent review.

I was an absolute fool, and you can quote me on that, not taking the opportunity to do an In Retrospect of John Wick 3 because I am always on the level here and I speak plainly. I did not remember jack shit about the last 3 movies, I mean nothing. Nada. Zip.'s kinda friggin' pertinent information to have so it almost legitimately was like I walked into this movie without watching previous installments. Hell I re-read my old reviews to try to jog my memory and it didn't ring a bell, ding a bell, or ting a bell in my head. So I apologize profusely in advance, if I sound like I don't know what I'm talking about...yeah. So we pick up some time after Parabellum, John is still excommunicated, Winston and Charon are in hot water with the higher ups, and some bitch boy lieutenant apparently thinks he has John Wick's number. I don't remember if that guy was in the last movie, I think he was, but fuck that guy in this movie! He just irked me the right way that few villains can do, so props for that completely! Seeing Ian and Lance again in these roles was simultaneously joyous and bittersweet, I mean nobody could have foresaw Lance Reddick's unfortunate and very sudden passing and it just sucked man. Cause I greatly enjoyed his bits in these movies and now that's it. And of course Keanu back in the suit again (and I will talk about that suit I assure you), it's another fine outing for him and once more he relies on almost silent acting with few lines and lets his body language do the talking. And I gotta say, for an almost 3 hour film which didn't feel it's length, I greatly appreciate the not necessarily lack of action scenes but more the balance between action and quiet moments, I think I counted 5 action sequences total. Granted they are very lavishly choreographed, wonderfully even ingeniously shot at long stretches of time but never feeling dull. Yet the shining pieces of the movie are the beautiful, and I do truly mean beautiful, quiet, peaceful interludes that just worked wonders for me. Pay attention to that shit! But I also give my thanks for them just going all out and giving us an eastern sword duel with Donnie Yen and Hiroyuki Sanada and a western gun duel with Keanu, briefly settling into the rhythm and filmmaking of those genres as nothing but loving homage. However! Yell at me if you wish but was the bulletproof clothing in the last movie? I don't mean the fully decked out head to toe, nary an opening, straight up special forces armor. Oh no, I mean the fucking jump the shark, tailored, nice ass suits which are bulletproof. What. The fuck? I think I would recall something like that previously and shout bullshit! It makes zero goddamn sense both in universe and from a filmmaking perspective other than they needed an excuse to make the fight scenes longer. Well shit, how do we do that? What if we made our characters impervious like the last son of Krypton? My God, Johnson's done it again! And motherfuck, I said what I meant and I meant what I said, you do not fall 3 storeys onto a van and just walk that shit off. Bulletproof suit or not. It really kept taking me out of it. Now one scene that did not and if anything got my nerves skyrocketing is the staircase segment, where it's like the fucking Exorcist Steps × 100, just because of a ticking clock implemented. Well done on that! And even that ain't got shit on the Zelda shootout, you'll understand that reference when you see it classic gamers out there. I mean sweet Jesus that was a feat! I did actually expect the movie to end on an ambiguous note because I heard something about the director wanting to take a break before the next John Wick movie but it ends on a solid definitive note which thank you for that as well. So I don't know man, I'm stumped. Did I like it? A good deal yeah! But booooy howdy do I need to have me a little movie marathon once this hits video and re-evaluate my stance. But all in all I give it 3.5 stars, 8/10! And tomorrow is nothing but the beginning of the end or perhaps the end of the beginning.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Bit different from what I knew.

I'm not sure exactly how or why but Speed really got some cultural osmosis transference to me. I mean it is not a bad premise for a kind of thriller action summer movie, and yet there was a good deal I had no clue about. And I actually really really enjoy movies where you think you know the whole plot but then it surprises you! Gives you a bit more. So, set up. This is the city Los Angeles, California where we meet officers Jack and Harry who have to contend with a mad bomber on two seperate occasions, now I may be in a severe minority here but I greatly enjoyed the elevator setpiece more than the bus setpiece. Not only is it a really great way to start an action movie by basically giving you an action movie climax and resolution just as the beginning 25 minutes, but the way it was all put together with cinematography, dialogue, and the sequence of events worked for me tremendously. Is that to say the main plot of a bomb being placed on a bus rigged to blow if the speed limit drops below 50mph bad? Hell no! In fact it's truthfully been a long ass time since I have experienced flat out, no horseshit, on the edge of my seat tension and entertainment in my life. Yet I don't think I can explain why. It's almost stressful to watch when something awry happens, and that really goes to show what a good setpiece and production this was! And I got to applaud the living shit out of this production, cause if it's not 100% all real it's mighty damn close to it! I think I saw one model shot at the tail end, but all the crashes, maneuvers, and explosions are legit. The tone holds pretty solid realism for the most part and that adds to the excitement of the movie. Keanu does good here, he has enough to do and works as an officer so good on him. Dennis Hopper is your villain, I need not say more apart from the fact I would be scared shitless if I met that guy, and he is just that right flavor of fucking nuts in this movie. Sandra Bullock I'm a bit perplexed on how to word this but, I found her personality and acting endearing and kinda adorable. I don't know, just how she acted put a smile on my face, but that romance was bullllshit. Sorry, the movie would have worked better without it and it did not need it in the slightest. But that's a small gripe in a good movie. And yes I fully believe Jeff Daniels plays the same Harry in this as he does in Dumb & Dumber. Good times! All in all a pretty good movie, it has enough for me to call it great even, solid premise, very good execution, and has a lot of love for it even today. I give it 3.5 stars, 8/10! Will the 4th be the last for Mr. Wick? We'll find out next time.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Johnny Mnemonic

Probably one of Keanu's least recognized films but may have played some part in him getting The Matrix role.

Set in the far distant future of 2021 the world has kinda gone to shit, with the advancements of technology and augmentation a virus has spread across the world to an epidemic state with no cure or real discernable origin, as we meet Johnny a courier of data and information for hire using his brain as a hard drive when he gets a data package a bit too much for him in more ways than one, leading to it being a race to extract the data before his head completely blows a fuse. For a movie made in 1995 it called a few things right and crafts an interesting world that arguably could be said has further stories set in it, cause it's not too futuristic and cyberpunk. The cityscape is normal, nothing is presented as far out and highly futuristic, people just so happen to have cybernetic body parts. It truthfully really reminded me of Ghost In The Shell in terms of setting and tech, they even flat out have a line about the ghost in the machine, so the movie wears it's influence on it's sleeve and tells a competent story. Clocking in just over 90 minutes, it moves at a very good pace and doesn't overstimulate you with technobabble and a complex story but neither does it hold your hand throughout, sure some aspects of the plot are forced if not at warp factor 1 like the romance but it's a decent flick. Keanu is okay, I think this was still him trying to find his groove and honestly the best part is when he goes on this completely uncalled for and hilarious tirade near the end, but hey I'm not expecting groundbreaking acting in a 90s sci-fi film. Dina Meyer plays Jane, a lady who takes on the position of bodyguard for Johnny for a hefty sum, and I will say she is the better of our two leads but some deliveries are kinda off. I attribute that partly due to script, tone, and direction in equal parts. Dolph Lundgren looks like he's having some fun as this religious nutcase hitman, so that was fun! Ice-T I'm kinda wondering why he's in this but he ain't terrible, just oddly casted. The only thing the director had under his belt beforehand was one episode of Tales Of The Crypt, but in terms of cinematography, editing, and effects (though the effects are gloriously 90s when it comes to cyberspace) it looks pretty good. There's some atmosphere, dingy lived in sets, neat props, gnarly practical gore effects, and a few explosions. It's not bad! To be completely on the level though the only reason I knew of this movie to begin with was Spoony's review of the PC game, the premise sounded interesting so I figured why not spotlight a lesser known film of Keanu's career. It's not a great film but far from terrible, I think I could only solely recommend it for people who just want to see the futuristic tech bits, seeing Keanu in a movie before The Matrix but after Bill & Ted, and wonder why in the hell aren't we surfing the world wide web in the most overcomplicated yet bitchin' way possible? 2.5 stars, 6/10, and we're hitting the mainstream next time.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Shazam Fury Of The Gods

I felt they were quite deliberate in showing little for this movie.

The only things I knew going was Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu were the baddies, there was a dragon involved, and....Captain Marvel's suit turned a bit black. Not much to go on but I'm happy to report I really liked the movie! I even will say I liked it better than the first with this movie doing what a good sequel should, expanding the world, furthering the characters, and progressing the plot. So we pick up some time after the first, it's stated Billy will be 18 in a few months but I truthfully can't remember his age in the first film so forgive me on that, but Billy has become a bit of a control freak trying to corral and focus the family's efforts as a group when two ancient gods have a quarrel with a familiar wizard in this world and conflict of course arises. Now I will state the control freak thing isn't given much weight in the story, it's no character arc part two for Billy, so the movie primarily goes business as usual for a superhero film. You get your fights, learning bits about the villains, seeing some creature fodder, and a higher stakes scenario for the family to resolve. One aspect I oh so wish they delved much deeper into is the goddesses have a deep rooted hatred for the wizard because he used the staff to actually steal the gods powers and thusly caused their realm to crumble, because that is a cool ass story where this benevolent figure who creates heroes did some shitty things that could be construed as evil, kinda forcing the idea of you're the villain in someone else's story and not always a good guy, but it's barely touched. However the dynamic between our antagonists are interesting when it's revealed the duo is actually a triumvirate of trouble and none fully get along with the other, it gives some interesting dynamic and good characterization. But the same aspect of inner dynamic didn't transfer well to our Shazam fam, they're much the same except for Freddie and Mary who just want to do their own thing with their own lives. It's not badly written or anything but it's just the status quo, but I can appreciate that. Not every superhero film has to keep pushing the envelope and craft a deep emotionally complex story so that doesn't bother me greatly. The stuff the movie actually gives besides a few groaner lines hither and thither, is good stuff! Now that Zachary Levi has room to spread his wings more, he projects a lot more personality and still captures that teen awkwardness. Jack Dylan Grazer, the friggin' MVP of this whole damn movie, screw Billy Badass Freddie Badass is where it's really at and he kicks ass throughout! Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu are actually pretty intimidating from the word go, especially in their opening scene and the fact they never drop to the level of quips and humor helps tremendously. We don't see much of the kids until near the end but I applaud them for not recasting anybody to increase the continuity. And it's official Meagan Good is my favorite of the family hands down, never to be topped, I cannot get over her adorable and fun personality. She saves kittens before humans, that is a girl who knows her priorities and lives rent free in my heart of hearts. Of course the acting is good from all our major players, some of them bringing their A-game acting, and I bring more good news! Mary, still a babyface. Thank the gods. The CG has improved, giving us a bounty of fantastical creatures beyond a Godzilla wannabe dragon, blue fire breath is still neat though, and any fan of greek myth will have a smile on their face. I really have no clue what the future holds for all these movies releasing this year, we still got Flash and Aquaman but I sense this is probably gonna be their last bow. I hope not! But my pessimistic side is outweighing my optimistic side profusely. Nothing lasts forever. And on that somber bombshell it is time to end, I still very much enjoyed the movie and I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10! Thank you so much for joining another week of rambles and reviews, and next week we're diving back in time for some Keanu action before John Wick 4.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

In Retrospect: Shazam

You know man, this movie has a lot to enjoy but it really puts me in a bad mood at the end.

I'm really trying here with all of my might not to just devolve into this cyclone, this maelstrom of anger and utter fucking frustration the likes of which even GOD has never seen so I'm going to attempt to just talk about the movie. Shazam has lost none of it's fun luster in the intervening 4 years, sweet Samhain has it been that long? And I feel I appreciated aspects much more than the first go around, in particular the whole character of Billy Badass because the whole point of Captain Marvel is you pretty much gotta be a virtuous, pure of heart, selfless individual to even obtain the powers of the wizard Shazam, but this version of Billy isn't as altruistic and much more just a teenage kid, dare I say a little shit at times. He's not a completely bad kid by any stretch, but he does have several moments of selfishness, cowardice, and emotional distance to people but the beauty of it is the movie is all about the arc. We see him grow, change, and become a hero at the end and it doesn't feel like a failed attempt at character growth or anything like that cause it's done well and not super in your face. And well the performances of Asher Angel and Zachary Levi did not hurt one bit, they are what makes the movie as fun as it is. Mark Strong in terms of villains for the DC movies may be low tier but he still cuts an intimidating presence and does quite well. I'm actually really happy Djimon Hounsou isn't dead as he appeared to be in this movie and he will return in Fury Of The Gods and I'm really interested what part he may play in that. What I'm also curious about is if they will decide to adapt that stupid ass decision of Mary Marvel turning heel like in Countdown To Final Crisis, hopefully not because some comic book ideas just should never be brought to the screen. As one last huge positive before delving into one aspect I wasn't keen on, Faithe Herman and her grown up counterpart Meagan Good still own my heart completely. They just have this infectious degree of cuteness and I am powerless in their wake, easily my favorite of the whole family group and the only competition is Billy himself. This may sound terribly strange to say considering the time period we live in, but I really did not like the seven deadly sin monsters due to one specific factor that they are all CGI. There was just something about this movie where it felt so flat and fakey, and this is coming from the series of films that gave us Doomsday, Steppenwolf, and not Cheetara from Wonder Woman 84, and I think I can pin it down to they're kinda gaseous creatures that can take a solid shape so there's no weight or substance to them despite some interesting designs. But that's truthfully the biggest mark against this movie. Well....god fucking dammit, I knowww I know, he was filming a different movie at the time but fuck me sideways it has aged poorly and like I said I'm trying here. It's not working in the slightest but I'm trying. Just why? He was there! You had Superman ready in the wings and you did fuck all!! You what, let some C grade television company have any fucking semblance of a stake in the future of your projects and company, decided to do a shake up, and pretty much shit canned a series that while was finding it's footing early on when it settled we actually got some good movies out of it but oh no wait, I'm sorry, we can't have that. He is GONE, my patience has snapped, you have no sympathy from me and all I can say is catch you later you disappointing fucking traitors! Waste of my time. I'm out. Good movie, happy to see it again, fingers crossed for the second but time is running out for this series it seems. 3.5 stars, 7.5/10!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Superman & Shazam: The Return Of Black Adam

Well shit that wasn't what I expected at all!

I'm pretty sure this is the only instance of such a conundrum, considering this was an animated release in 2010 before the DC animated movies mostly had their own continuity, but what would you expect from this title? I'll give you some clues to help out. It's a notch over just an hour long, it covers the origin of Billy becoming Captain Marvel (the correct superhero name in my opinion), and while it doesn't touch a great deal on Black Adam's backstory mention is made of him being a fallen champion for the wizard Shazam. Sounds like a decently made movie showing Billy Batson come into his powers, meet up with Superman, and be a pretty formidable tag team when Black Adam comes knocking. This is partially true. What you get is that and 3 additional short stories that have no correlation with each other, focusing on The Spectre, Green Arrow, and Jonah Hex as pretty much a silver age anthology movie. Brilliant title huh? It's not a complete lie but goddamn it, I walked in expecting an hour of Superman and Shazam to get me in gear for the rest of this week so what the hell am I supposed to do? Talk about a quarter of this film or touch base on all the stories? Well I did actually enjoy all the segments, and while the animation style is unchanged throughout each story has their own flavor and storytelling style. Shazam is a contemporary, no frills, modern day crossover between two class act superheroes. The Spectre is full on 70s cop movie, groovy soundtrack and film grain included, with a highly lesser known hero of the DC universe getting his time to shine sans the origin story. Green Arrow goes back to contemporary and basic, with Oliver Queen stopping an assassination attempt on a foreign princess from Malcolm Merlyn. And Jonah Hex of course leans hard into westerns, with classic iconography in terms of setting and costuming, great music, and a pretty ruthless but awesome anti-hero depiction of his character. I feel Shazam and Green Arrow got the longer segments, but each one brings something interesting and enjoyable to the table one way or another so I do feel all of them are worth watching. Hell I'm honestly really wanting to dig into the history of The Spectre, I was ever so slightly aware of the name but knew nothing beyond that but color me intrigued after this! The animation, voice cast, and music are all quite good across the board I'll say. I feel each actor voicing their designated hero are top notch, and it's pretty damn cool to see big name talent like Malcolm McDowell, Linda Hamilton, Arnold Vosloo, and Michael Rooker in this as well! I'm still just kinda floundering here, I'm really thrown off, it's like I tried to switch gears without the clutch and I don't even know what the fuck that means because I don't know cars. I mean it was a happy surprise, I'm not mad I saw some cool shorts, but I mean you couldn't brainstorm for a better title? Granted I couldn't come up with jack shit and I was thinking on it for a bit, even if you threw a silver age comic title like World's Finest not everyone would immediately know what it was. But then again you could have called it, DC Showcase: Bronze Age Heroes or something akin to that with a collage of each hero and plainly put on the box cover this is an anthology! Once upon a time that was how comics were. You didn't get the story just on the cover, you got several stories with the longest one being the showcase. If that was what they were intending and going for stylistically, okay fine job well done, but it's not the late 1940s to the early 1970s anymore and unless you know comic book history they just ain't gonna get it, and the title is misleading. But whatever. It's in the past and I'm fairly certain this was the only case. Just...urgh, nevermind. Scores! 3 stars, 7.5/10, now that you know the frick fraking trap card on the field I leave it up to you to give it a watch and see what you make of it. If we can avoid any more surprises this might turn out to be a good week.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Conan The Barbarian

I won't lie, I liked it.

I have no clue what the consensus is on this movie, good or bad, I heard Conan The Destroyer pretty much sucks but this one I find is good! Out of all the movies this week I had the most background and foreknowledge on this movie, yet even then there was plenty I did not know or expect. A popular plot I'm sure, concerning a young boy who watches his village be burned and his parents murdered before being enslaved, and through the years becomes a mass of muscle with vengeance on the mind as he obtains freedom, meets companions, and eventually settles the score with the evil sorcerer who perpetrated it all. But what I greatly enjoy is the movie is a notch over 2 hours and it actually takes it's time liberally moving from plot point to plot point. It's not in a constant rush where it's a checklist of tasks to gain enough experience points to face the evil mage, it lets the plot and characters have their moments with the exploits of Conan having time to sink in. Despite the barbarian moniker he possesses Conan is a war master with several weapons, gifted with languages and writing, and while lavishing in the decadence of the barbarian lifestyle of PMS (Plunder, Murder, and Sex) there's more to him. Arnold is great casting and it is pretty hilaruously awesome to see him on this quest and wrecking fools, yet from all the stories I've read he was monumentally grateful for the role and wanted to do it as best as he could to which I say he did without fault. James Earl Jones is our villainous cult leader Thulsa Doom which may be the coolest bad guy name ever, and I'll admit this he's kinda scarier and far more intimidating than Vader, he just has this unearthly gaze and you know he's a threat from the start. The guy doesn't speak a word till past the hour mark but you can tell Thulsa Doom means business. Sandhal Bergman, what a badass she was in this movie playing Valeria, taking on an almost Amazon warrior vibe and at the same pace as Conan throughout and while the romance initially seemed quick as hell the chemistry and moments they share I buy completely! And we have Mako as our resident wizard, no complaints from me man, he's cool! Much more action in this one, keeping the blood packs flowing and decent choreography throughout so good work there. Let me tell you something though man, I'm not sure they liked making cuts in the editing room. For those heavyweights or just alcoholic folk out there, take a shot everytime there is a cross dissolve or cross fade as it's sometimes called. Good sweet lord, you're gonna need a liver transplant before we're through. I'm fairly certain the movie performed well and it seems like the crew making the movie formed a tight community, so a lot of the love and care show on film in some variety or another and I had a pretty dang good time watching it so yeah, full recommendation from me. I give it 4 stars, 8/10, ended on a high note and added some more experience to my geek level. I'll be casting 8th level magic in no time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


No it is not sci-fi, I refute that to my dying day!

What the fuck? Why does this film not have a bigger fanbase? True I've heard less about this film than Hawk The Slayer, the only part I knew was the Glaive but I'm straight up impressed with this movie! It's such a shame this was a box office bomb because I honestly loved it, it's more your typical hero saves princess from evil lord story but how the movie goes about telling it all in a 2 hour runtime makes the difference between stereotype and originality. So the movie takes place on an alien world where an invading force known as The Beast and his army of Slayers (Brutal.) has taken root and decides to pillage the land, purge all life, and steal a quite beautiful red haired princess named Lyssa. A goal I can respect. But her man and newly appointed king Colwyn ain't having it and with the ever growing help of a hermit, a traveling magician, a band of thieves, a cyclops, and a mystical seer take the fight to the Beast's castle with a multi-bladed chakram known as the Glaive. It truthfully did not take long for me to get into this movie and in a technical sense this is easily the best looking fantasy film I've seen of the 1980s. They spared no expense on costumes, props, set design, pyrotechnics, weapons, visual effects, and pretty amazing animatronics! Combine that with natural scenery and sets that rival Lord Of The goddamn Rings, and you got yourself an always visually interesting world. The characters fit the roles they need to play, with particular love going to Ken Marshall as our hero, who has such undeniable charm and props to him for doing all his own stunts, and our friend Bernard Breeslaw rejoins us from Hawk as Rell the cyclops who's pretty badass and again respect for the actor who could not see a single thing but still nailed it. All the acting is really good and they treat it seriously which helps immerse you more. Man, we need to get our ass back to using practical effects as much as possible, it's movies like this that actually tax the intelligence of the filmmakers because they have to do this stuff for real and have to figure out how exactly to do it, but they succeed tremendously in my opinion. Perfect example, they have to show the villain's castle crumble and float UP into the air, how do they do that? They can't string the pieces together and lift them up, it's way too complex and wouldn't look good. Well they filmed the castle upside down and all the explosions that blew pieces off would fall naturally and voila! Brilliant! Actual thought and effort, mein Gott! Like I'm completely stumped almost to the point of rage as to why this film tanked so bad, it's a really friggin' cool movie! It wasn't cause of Star Wars, it released in May. What was the competition?? Jaws 3, Staying Alive, Risky Business? Get fucked. Maybe the advertisment campaign wasn't all that, but I don't care! Buy it, rent it, watch it! 4 stars, 8/10! Conan is next, and I request that you join me. If you will not join me next time...then to hell with you!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Hawk The Slayer

More cult fantasy films! Why? Because I'm nerdier as each year passes.

I heard ever so slight things about this movie, mainly from Spoony in his Yor review but I had some interest and found an excuse to see it so let's talk about it! What I find most interesting about Hawk The Slayer is it simultaneously does the fantasy story of evil villain wants ultimate power, ultimate power finds a hero, hero kills villain, the end, and yet at the exact same time it completely doesn't fit your typical fantasy storyline at all. You see, Hawk and the evil Voltan are actually brothers and our hero is called into action when Voltan abducts the abbess of a church and demands a hefty 2,000 gold pieces for her return but obviously being family they have some past issues leading them into conflict. Hawk gathers his old adventuring companions, Crow the elf, Gort the giant, and Baldir the dwarf with the help of a witch to assist in the rescue. Sounds quite typical but the devil could not be more in the details than here. It's...different. In terms of technicals the soundtrack could be the best part of the entire film, it is all kinds of funky cool and had zero issue getting me to groove along. The editing I think is the part that could be the dealbreaker for audiences, it is cut with a lot of quick edits and seems almost comically inept to where fight scenes are over in less than 2 minutes. But the fact that it happens often almost leads me to believe it was a stylistic choice and I found enjoyment in plenty of things besides the fights so it doesn't lose major points. I find enjoyment in seeing the artistry at work, sure the backdrops are clearly paintings at times but they look really nice, the costumes are not heavy in detail but recognizable, and the world is never named once or given a broad overview but you get bits that you can piece together in your mind to craft your own vision of this world. It seems very akin to Dungeons & Dragons in how there are setpieces to the quest that aren't tightly knitted together but it still works. The acting I felt was over the top at brief instances but overall was fine and you get a strong sense of the character. Jack Palance is fucking amazing as Voltan, he is that level of go big or piss off and he nails the dramatics and isn't the having fun playing the villain type but just plays the villain to the absolute best of his ability and he is awesome! John Terry is a suitable hero lead, he's got the voice and the look, and plays a more solemn quiet hero but still always on the morally right side but with the cast that surrounds him he is the weakest link. Major props to the actors playing his companions, you actually get the sense that these characters have known each other a good while and have very good chemistry with each other and each segment that introduces them nails the type of character they potray. The elf is more solitary and has keen senses that make him a damn death machine with his bow, the dwarf is a crafty smartass but ultimately is a ride or die, and the giant is someone with intelligence and integrity but has a huge craving for food. That's not bad writing, even if there are times where I feel events occur just to pad the movie out a little but thankfully it only occurs twice. And I gotta admit I really wanted to see what happens next cause it has a tiny bit of a cliffhanger but that just shows that I did like and enjoy the movie enough. It's no major fantasy classic but if you're a sucker for that stuff like I am I think you can genuinely get some entertainment out of it. I give it 3 stars, 7/10!

Friday, March 3, 2023

Creed III

Well it kiiinda distinguishes itself from the first two movies. 

Not bad though, I still got involved with the story, I liked the characters, the focus of the fight, may have shed a tear or two, and I'll tell you this now if they legit did not want to go farther than this movie I would not be mad one tiny bit. I was really shocked when credits rolled and Michael actually directed this movie, cause I noticed severe quirks and methods of cinematography I hadn't seen before previously, I'm not sure if this is his first time directing but he did good work. The story focuses this time on the past of Adonis, which I like because we never truly got a grasp on it except briefly in the first film, where we see a childhood friend return after Adonis has retired and stirs up a bit of a rivalry to bring him into the ring once more. So yeah, kinda takes some cues from Rocky V! But I gotta tell you man the way they showcased that story was pretty profound atleast to me anyway, where Adonis has to get where Rocky was in Creed II, it's all about facing the demons of his past and to reconcile with them, to let go of years of guilt and just come to terms with how things happened. Cause Damian isn't immediately an antagonist, it almost seems like the movie is gonna cross into full blown thriller territory where he'll break into their house and do a bunch of crazy shit, but anyway you can tell there is some less than good history between the two and they don't immediately take advantage of one another. I greatly enjoyed the arc both Damian and Adonis go through, and the movie pushes that previously stated message even more so when you see Adonis still talks to Ricky and Viktor and holds no animosity in the slightest. Make peace with your past to better yourself in the future. That's a monumental message to people regardless of age or walks of life. Now I will call myself out hardcore on this, I did not know in the slightest that Sylvester Stallone stepped down from being Rocky, Creed II was his last. I did not know that. So the whole movie I kept wondering where is Rocky? Is he safe? Is he alright? And they make no direct comment or statement as to what happened between films. Now the movie truthfully is very good at visual storytelling to where if you pay attention to both background and foreground the movie tells you a lot. Bianca has stopped singing and has been producing gold records, significant time has passed since Amara has been born, and this film gets artsy, dare I say avant garde. It's pure metaphore, SYMBOLISM abound, and visually striking. You'll know it when you see it and I will give many props and great love to it because they just decided to go for that. The actors bring their A-game full force, I mean they always do but it really does make you stop and appreciate that at moments. The more I genuinely think about it the more I like it. And before I forget I fucking applaud Wood Harris as Duke, that guy gets to shine big time in this movie, he's always been there, always been a part of it but this gives him a lot of material. I appreciate that. As I was watching I thought, ehhh this so far is the weakest of the Creed series but now...I really don't think so. I'm almost stumped where I would rank it. I still feel the first movie is the best as a whole, but those sequels they give you something storywise and for the characters to where you can't count them out! So I'll just get to the rating and let you decide once you see it. 4 stars, 8/10, so check it out and see what it does for you. Apologies for kinda lacking in new releases up to this point, but hopefully this is a sign of getting back on track for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

In Retrospect: Creed II

I know some people consider this to be Rocky IV: Part Deux, but there's more to it than that.

If I'm being real honest I didn't ever expect them to pull out the Drago card this early, if anything between the release of Creed and before the trailers started coming out for Creed II, I figured the resolution of that 30 odd year conflict would be like the finale to the Creed series. Cause it really feels resolved but I feel not really in the way many people would think. This movie focuses almost exclusively on the drama aspect, these character's baggage, why exactly they want this fight to happen and I greatly appreciate the shift between the solution of these movies. Before the solution to Ivan Drago was to beat him down for the death of Apollo in an almost vendetta story, to defeat this massive oppresive Russian menace to our American boxing sport. But nowadays, it's just more complicated and I can truthfully see 2 points audience members can take from this: 1. This movie does not give clean cut reasons and explanations for why Adonis wants to fight Viktor Drago because I don't think even he has a full grasp on the answer. People love to have easy, clean, black and white reasons for things both in life and cinema and this movie doesn't give a lot of that. 2. There's no climactic TKO, the one punch that floors Viktor for the 10 count, it's through the history and actions of Ivan Drago that make him stop the fight. I can honestly see some audiences feel completely ripped off for not having a decisive winner. However! The movie goes out of it's way to add humanity, a little pathos, and the simple fact that anger and vengeance does not grant you victory through the father and son relationship of Ivan and Viktor. Rocky brings up that point with Adonis, that you can't let rage and revenge fester inside you and if you want to fight you need to have a real reason. Cause a lot happens for Adonis in this movie that progresses his character and defining of why he fights, he marries Bianca, they have a daughter, he moves to L.A., and he becomes the heavyweight champion of the world. That's a lot of life changing events in a relatively short span of time, and it by shittin' hell makes you think and act different in life. Rocky seems to be more on the mend and not as sick but you can tell a lot of pain, a lot of regret, and a lot of fear is on his conscience. Cause he got a bit of closure with Drago but he still lost his friend and it shows, to where he steps away from training Adonis. This movie just works so well with the emotional aspect of this story and these characters, I almost wouldn't call it a sports movie despite there being training and matches, it's not really the focus here. In some aspects I think this movie is greater than the first, the writing is great, the acting gets pushed further, and you get invested real quick because of it. Yet on the other hand, despite it being well shot it's not as well directed as the first, I actually forgot Ryan Coogler was shooting Black Panther at the time, the soundtrack was good but not as strong as the first, but those are truthfully small potatos because it still had it's moments to shine in it's own respect. It ain't bad, I'd be lying straight out of my ass if I said it was bad or even just okay. A very strong continuation and a great movie regardless. 4 stars from me, 8/10! Although I did have this slightly horrifying thought come to mind of, what if Creed III went the way of Rocky III and it just started to go a bit off the rails and get ridiculous? Cause there is a clear and distinct divide between the styles of the first two Rocky movies and Rocky III and IV, I love them all do not get me wrong, but that would be a twist wouldn't it? I highly doubt they would go that way but only time will tell come Friday.