Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Mountain Between Us Trailer

Now, this looks interesting.

You know, when I think to myself, and reflect on the world of film we are living through right now. I sometimes wonder if we are living in one of the laziest eras of filmmaking. When was the last time somebody had an original idea in the world of film? Not something based on a series of books. Not a movie treatment of a TV show. Not a superhero movie. Not a remake. Not a prequel. Not a homage. None of those? Its hard to really remember when original ideas were turned out just as much as everything else. It seems that studios don't want to take risks on anything anymore, everybody just wants the big franchise that they milk for the next decade.

There was a time when you could make a decent return at the box office by making a great movie featuring two A-list, strong leads. It seems that day is done for now. It makes me sad. Yes, we still see movies that run on the power of its actors, but studios only greenlight those movies when they are told that they are meant to be Oscar bait movies. Very few movies are actually made out of risk, very few movies are made to be bankable by the power of its stars. The studios play it safe, and sadly I can't imagine that being a platform to stand on.

This is why something like "The Mountain Between Us" grabs my attention. It seems to run on the power of Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, its two stars. It doesn't look like its coming out anywhere near award season, and the visuals are all stunning. Its been awhile since we had a really good survival movie, so I am hoping for the best for it. It looks good.


Review: "Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie" is a by-the-numbers yet satisfying murder mystery

Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie
 As an avid movie watcher, there is no genre that I put before another. I don't think I'd be able to do this blog very well if I wrote off movies of a particular genre simply because of what they are. I will admit that there are genres I prefer over others. One of the genres I prefer over other genres is the mystery movie. The film noir movie. I love a great mystery, I like a movie that keeps me guessing. That buzz can keep me on the edge of my seat, make me get goosebumps. You can do just about anything with the mystery genre, even comedy. Netflix recently released a mystery movie entitled "Handsome."

There is a comedic edge to the film that takes place right at the very beginning. We see Steven Weber (the one who used to star on TV's "Wings") get out of a pool. He immediately introduces himself as the killer. Right away, we already know that a chain of events will lead this man to murder, but why and how is still not on the table. Weber is being goofy throughout, this doesn't feel overly-serious or anything, but something the audience is going to have fun with if they open themselves up to the experience. After Steven Weber introduces himself as Talbert Bacorn, we are off to the opening credit sequence. There is seedy music, surreal images in black-and-white, and the whole time, I was getting giddy.

Jeff Garlin, from ABC's "The Goldberg's" stars as Gene Handsome. A successful and on-point police detective operating in Los Angeles. He's not a hard-boiled detective like we see in film noir movies. But he's lonely, he has nobody to come home to, except his loyal dog. New neighbors move next door, Nora (Christine Woods) is a single mother living with her daughter Cary (Ava Acres). They have a protective babysitter that Handsome meets during a neighborly cookie delivery. The next day when Handsome is on duty at the next crime scene, he sees the babysitter cut up into the Star of David. Of course, we already know who did this, but we start on the road with Handsome as to why and how she got caught up with the killer.

"Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie" follows the same tropes we find in mystery movies. The evidence stacks up. We see Handsome cozy up with Nora and there is some kind of a romance there. Handsome conflicts with his superiors. This isn't a dog-chasing-his tail type of movie though. This isn't something that is going to make you scream at your own television. There are some funny moments. I really enjoy Garlin on "The Goldberg's" and I find his sense of humor on par here. He's not playing a different version of his character on the show, a trap many actors fall into from time to time. He makes Handsome different from any of his other characters, which shows his range.

The rest of the cast is spot-on. Christine Woods is a delight here, and does good work. Natasha Lyonne plays Handsome's partner and she does good work here. She bounces off of Garlin with ease. Amy Sedaris plays Handsome's boss, and she has some funny material but her moments are the only one in the film that feel forced. Kaley Cuoco shows up at the end of the film with the pointless cameo appearance I can name. Which may baffle her fans.

The thing is that the movie is so ordinary that its not too exciting. Its so similar to every other mystery movie that its not completely fun watching it unfold. Yes, there is fun to be had here and yes they are toying with the entire notion of a mystery movie here. But, you will see so many similarities here that it begins to feel like pieces of other movies, instead of some kind of homage film. But at the very least, they do a good job assembling the pieces of the other movies, and making them feel original. More than anything, Jeff Garlin proves to be a fine leading man and I hope he gets more leading work.

FINAL GRADE: B

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trailer for "Batman and Harley Quinn"

Well, there is no denying it. Batman is a hot commodity right now. You can say that at nearly every point in time, because he's one of the most prolific superheroes ever, if not the most prolific. Also, thanks to "Suicide Squad," for better or for worse, Harley Quinn is now a hot commodity. DC Animation has made several Batman movies recently, so it would only make sense that they would make a movie where both Batman and Harley Quinn team up together.

I sure do wonder what The Joker will think of this one.

It looks like Poison Ivy along with some kind of green monster that I don't recognize, is trying to turn everyone on earth into green monsters. So Batman and Robin will team up with Harley Quinn to stop her. I wonder if since Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy know each other, Quinn can probably get to her better than Batman alone? That's my best guess as to why they would be teaming up. Even though it still doesn't make too much sense. Batman is the World's Greatest Detective, he can get to anyone he wants. Including Ivy.

No matter what though, I enjoy reviewing DC's animated movies on my site, so I look forward to seeing this one. By and large, the DC Animation does a good job with their movies. I am hoping for another fun one to enjoy!


Review: "War Machine" coasts on Brad Pitt, brings little to the war room.

War Machine Review

When I first heard about "War Machine," it quickly became one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Brad Pitt, starring and producing in a war satire for Netflix. With a near all-star cast at his back. What could possibly go wrong? Now, I am sitting on the other side, in complete denial that I didn't love it.

Is "War Machine" any good? Yes, its a movie that is built on moments. There are several well done scenes throughout the movie, its just a shame that none of those moments really connect to each other. The cast, which includes Sir Ben Kingsley, Tilda Swinton, Will Poulter, Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Ruck, Keith Stanfield, John Magaro (who Pitt worked with on "The Big Short) and Scoot McNairy. That's a damn fine cast, and as expected, they all do good work here. There is even a small Russell Crowe cameo if you are really paying attention. There is no fault in the cast, except for one which I will get to in just a minute here. The movie looks good in high definition, but really that's where my praises stop. Should we only watch movies for their moments? Am I to advice my readers to just skip around to the good parts and forget the rest of the movie? Does that make a movie good or bad?

The biggest disappointment is Brad Pitt himself. His mannerisms, the way he curls one eye while keeping the other wide open, the way he talks in the movie...he literally acts like he came off the stage of "Inglorious Basterds" and walked right into the shoes of General McMahon. General McMahon is the lead character in "War Machine," a highly decorated general who has been brought to Afganistan somewhere around 2009-2010 to deal with the War In Afghanistan. Brad Pitt is such a great actor, one of the most influential of his generation. So why would he want to reimage and regurgitate a character he already created? Pitt's fake accent this time around is grueling to listen to, the faces he makes are easy to laugh at. This is a highly decorated general, and he treats it like a big joke.

 The big strategy McMahon brings to the table in Afghanistan is counter insurgency, which is beaten over our heads in one of many voice-over narration scenes. Seriously, there is so much that is told to the audience instead of shown to the audience, that it all begins to feel quite arbitrary. Entire things are said, instead of us feeling the moments and the material. Then, in about the middle of the movie, the narration stop. I sat there wondering to myself, what was the point of the narration at all? Its so distracting, and it feels like the filmmakers eventually got wind of this themselves. But they were also too lazy to do much about it, so they allow it to happen for the first half of the movie, then pretend for the last half that it didn't exist. Its a bizarre editing choice to make, and one that definitely left me cold.

I am starting to notice something inside myself. I am starting to notice that war satires are incredibly hard to pull off. Its incredibly clear to me that is been a long time since "Dr. Strangelove," and nobody knows how to properly make the next big thing for this sub-genre. Especially when those war satires are taking place in the Middle East, and that its tough to know who to laugh at because our enemies are not clear cut. Its confusing over there, and there is no clear "villain," which makes the humor difficult to achieve in "War Machine." Maybe also my feelings have to do with writing this on the end of Memorial Day, which is when we give thanks to all the men and women who gave their lives so I could write the words are reading right now. You as a filmmaker either have to commit to the satire or tell a serious story about war.

Tonally, "War Machine" is all over the place. Its a movie that wants it both ways. It wants to be slapstick funny at moments, but then also tell a brutal portrait of life, fighting, and the confusion coming from the Middle East right now. The sudden shifts in tone and the lack of identity makes "War Machine" hard for me to sit through. I am not sure whether or not I should feel something strong from the dramatic material or if I should be laughing. Although most of the humor is throwaway material that wouldn't make a third grader snicker. I just wish this movie had an idea of what it wanted to be, instead of taking two things and throwing them into a blender. 

In the end, "War Machine" is a slog to sit through, mostly uninteresting with a disappointing lead. Too bad, I had big hopes for this one.

FINAL GRADE: C-

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Vanity Fair has some The Last Jedi pictures

Vanity Fair has some set photos of the upcoming "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." We don't have them all and we probably won't get any real in-depth photos until tomorrow. But here are some of the magazine covers to help sell the photos.





So is there anything we can gather from these covers?

Well, first of all, we might be getting a new character along with the Resistance in the next movie. I don't know who that Asian lady is, but I know she wasn't in the first film. We also get a glimpse of Phasma with no helmet on, will she not be wearing it in the new film? Also, I wonder if Rey and Luke hanging out will be a big part of "The Last Jedi's" story in the upcoming film. I must admit that this gives me cause. I love "The Force Awakens." But I am fully aware that its built on the spine of "A New Hope." Some would even call it a remake of "A New Hope." Rey hanging out with Luke all movie is a little too close to Luke hanging out with Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back." If "The Force Awakens" is "A New Hope," will "The Last Jedi" just simply be "The Empire Strikes Back?"

I certainly hope not, I hope this interplay between characters leads us down for something exciting. Hopefully some of the photos that get released give us more clues.


RIP Roger Moore

RIP Roger Moore
I grew up on a steady diet of James Bond films. Out of any franchise there is in Hollywood, that is probably the only one that has engraved itself on my soul. Sure, there are eras of Bond I like or admire more than others, but there is no denying that each new actor brought something new to the franchise, in the weirdest continuum we've ever seen in a franchise. Each actor made the character their own, each actor brought something special to the role.

Roger Moore's era with the character took the James Bond on some of the more wackier adventures. I would never had expected James Bond to fight villains in space, or have a gun duel with a master marksmen who carried a golden gun, or fighting Christopher Walken in a zeppelin. But that was the norm in Roger Moore's time. Moore wasn't afraid to be silly, Moore was fully aware that James Bond is fiction, first and foremost, so why not add a little fun and a little pizazz to the classic character? Yes, its crazy to think that Roger Moore never got roughed up. Yes, its crazy to think that he kept his astonishing good looks in check even though he was risking his life. There was this thought that Moore's Bond could never get hurt, which frustrated some viewers. No matter what, Roger Moore made the character his own, and he carved something out of it that will last forever.

Roger Moore's career didn't just stop at James Bond though. Its impressive to think that he played the spy seven times, tying with Sean Connery with most times playing the character. But there was much more to Roger Moore's filmography. The James Bond films will always be there, always be discussed, always be dissected. I'd ask you all to also celebrate the other work Roger Moore did. Check out his work in "The Saint," a show he did from 1962-1969. Check out "Maverick," "The Alaskans" and "the Miracle" from 1959. Check out "Gold" from 1974. You should track down and see "The Cannonball Run" and "The Curse of the Pink Panther." You should check out "Boat Trip" even though its a completely horrendous movie, Moore made the most of his time in it and its not like he didn't play his character well. Also see the Jean Claude Van-Damme film "The Quest." Moore's resume is so rich, and there is much more to it than Just James Bond.

This is just a long-winded way of saying that I will miss Sir Roger Moore. 


Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: "The Circle" is a diet-1984

The Circle Review
I have no problem admitting that I am fairly active on social media. I mostly use it for blogging purposes, but I do use several social media outlets to keep up with friends. I like experimenting with different things on my social media uses. But I also like to keep my accounts private, I don't just let anybody into my world, because I don't trust people I have never met before. I know many people who don't like to simply put their entire selves out in the open. As social media evolves though, that gets harder and harder to do, no matter how private you make your accounts.

"The Circle" is a cautionary tale about a girl named Mae (Emma Watson) who gets in over her head at The Circle, a social media company that that is making breakthroughs in technology and the internet. What seems like a normal company at first glance by Mae isn't all that normal. Maybe company leaders Eamon (Tom Hanks) and Tom (Patton Oswald) are up to something worse. I was expecting this to be something very special, I mean we have "Brave New World-esque" science fiction with social media. A film starring Tom Hanks and Patton Oswald as evil Mark Zuckerberg dopplegangers. It co-stars John Boyega, Bill Paxton and Karen Gillen. Its got all the ingredients for a great movie. 

So why am I not falling backwards for this?

Because director James Ponsoldt made every bad decision he could possibly make. He didn't read the screenplay clearly enough, he didn't make sure his all-star cast was at the top of their game, he didn't make sure that this movie made sense. "The Circle" isn't really a cautionary tale about the abuses of social media and how people can exploit it for power. It turns out that "The Circle" really isn't about a goddamn thing. Its weaker "Eagle Eye," a diet-1984 that will leave a bad taste in your mouth by the time its over. 

The biggest problem is that this great cast assembled for this film feel like a bunch of amateurs. Tom Hanks is fine, but he didn't blow me away like he usually does. This is a rare occurrence when he actually plays a villain, and its not engaging at all. Even though he has Patton Oswald to bounce off of, who tried really hard to make this count, but simply can't. Emma Watson is another disappoint. But I don't know if I hate her performance or if I hate the character she's playing. Mae is a selfish twat, who knows early on how damaging the secrets of The Circle are, but she doesn't care because working for them is so great! Her character will radically shift in personality for convenience of plot. One moment she's perfectly happy working for this company, then suddenly she's the hero of the movie when it benefits her the most. She only ever reacts to events in the movie when its good for her. Not really the type of character you put as the hero of the movie. Everybody else is fine, but perhaps they knew they were in a bad movie, but couldn't say so.

The film itself is like a piece of Teflon foam, waiting to swallow you up depending on where you step. As the company begins to place cameras everywhere around the world, how can Watson's character learn all the secrets of The Circle from a surprise character without getting caught? How come The Circle can become so broad and gain so much power with so little explanation? There is never any time to really give a good explanation on anything, the movie is in such a hurry to keep things moving with characters we never care about that storylines fly right by us. Why should we care about the story at hand, if we can't even care about the characters? 

It kills me that this movie blew its chance at being something special. I am not against movies ever being silly, especially science fiction films, sometimes they are broad in fiction due to the metaphors they are playing with. There is no problem with that, as long as it serves the story. There is no story to serve in "The Circle." The ending is meant to be provocative, I can just tell by looking at it. But the story is so convoluted to being nothing at all that its hard to tell what the ending means, or if its even a good or bad ending.  I can't tell with the evidence given what the ending is supposed to mean or what Emma actions mean. Not that this revelation is really that surprising. There are so many "big moments" in this movie that fall flat because the film refuses to engage with the audience, refuses to create development with its characters, refuses to tell a decent story. Honestly, its kind of hard to care.

I can't believe all the good talent involved in this couldn't smell the shit coming off this screenplay. But, I suppose even the A-listers need money for groceries. 

FINAL GRADE: D-

The Dark Universe is upon us...

The next big film franchise (potentially, I might add) is upon us, and it begins with "The Mummy," coming to theaters real soon. The name of this franchise is called Dark Universe. It is the official name of the new shared universe that Universal Pictures is creating with its classic monsters.

Yep, I have written about this a couple of times now, and I am just so amazed that this thing is happening. I am not sure if that is a good amazement or a bad amazement, I am just simply amazed. I would have never guessed that we'd ever see a shared universe of films revolving around the Universal classic monsters. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at all though. This is the new Hollywood model of money-making. Its been in effect since the new millennium began. When "X-Men" made money in 2000, and when "Spider-Man" made money in 2002, everybody needed to make a superhero movie. It didn't seem to matter if they were good or not, everything got greenlit, hoping to be the next big money machine. When "Lord of the Rings" brought in box office dollars for three straight years, every studio needed a fantasy novel to adapt. And now, in 2017, after the success Disney has had with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and (even to a much less degree) the success Warner Brothers has had with the DC Extended Universe, I imagine studios are rummaging through their franchises, desperate for the next big shared universe franchise.

We know Tom Cruise, Sofia Botella and Russell Crowe are in "The Mummy." We know that Russell Crowe is playing Dr. Jekyll in the film. It is also starting to sound like Tom Cruise is going to be involved in this franchise for the near future as well. There have been rumors running rampant around this shared universe, and we got some confirmation on those rumors. It has been made official that Johnny Depp will portray The Invisible Man and Javier Bardem will portray The Frankenstein Monster. It sounds like The Frankenstein Monster will make his debut in The Dark Universe in "Bride of Frankenstein" due in 2019. Then there is a solo Invisible Man movie for the future, as well as solo Wolfman and Creature From The Black Lagoon movies coming too. Though as of right now, we don't know who will be portraying those monsters (Though its been rumored that The Rock is attached to be The Wolfman.) These will, of course, all share continuity together.

It will be interesting to see "The Mummy" solely because I don't know what genre I'd put it in quite yet. I am not sure if this will be in the same vein as Steven Sommers 1999 blockbuster. Which, in my opinion, one of the best blockbusters of all time. There isn't a moment or a detail of that Sommers movie that I don't love. What I liked most about it is how it blended action-adventure, humor and yes, even horror. Not one genre overwhelmed the other, which is insanely hard to do. I don't think the new "Mummy" will be like that. Telling from the marketing I've seen for the film so far, this looks like it will commit to its seriousness. That this Dark Universe maybe a straight-up horror franchise. That would be pretty interesting to see too.

The only thing I get hung up on is the point of this shared universe. Is there some kind of endgame for this franchise? Or will it be all build-up with no payoff? Will it simply be a series of reboots where Dr. Jekyll and The Wolfman star in a movie together? If that's it, then is that really something exciting? Will this franchise be more in the vein of what Marvel and DC are doing? If so, how? Are we going to get a movie where Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, The Lagoon Creature and both Frankenstein creations are standing arm and arm, united against...Van Helsing? I see the potential dollars in a shared universe, but its got to lead somewhere, or else what's the point?

That will end up being the supreme trap when and if these other studios start cranking out shared universes. I don't think its gonna be enough to simply say "HEY, CHARACTER A FROM OUR ARSENAL IS MEETING UP WITH CHARACTER B IN A SHARED UNIVERSE!" Its got to be in the service of telling a story. There is no evidence so far that I've seen of telling a grander story within this shared universe. That worries me, because I don't know if its going to be exciting to simply have an Invisible Man movie where Dracula drops by. If there is a plan to bring all these characters together, what will be the purpose? I am having trouble imagining how this will come together and be exciting. I have hope, like always. I want this to be special, and I want it to be something cool.

Time will tell.

Right now, check out this retro introduction video




SOURCE:
http://www.aintitcool.com/node/77900

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Review: "Alien: Covenant" suffers from an identity crisis

Alien: Covenant Review

"Alien: Covenant" is suffering from an identity crisis. It doesn't know if it wants to be another edition in the "Alien" franchise or if it wants to be "Prometheus 2."

 In 1979, Ridley Scott made a classic film called "Alien." It was a haunted house movie in space, and it was unlike anything that had been made at that point in time. It put the xenomorphs deep in the canon of entertainment popular culture. It created one of the most popular female heroes in the history of movies. Re-watching it, I find it amazing what Ridley Scott pulled off in that movie. How frightening he made it, how he made it almost like a gothic horror film. In the sequel, "Aliens," Ridley Scott bailed and in came in James Cameron. Cameron made a really great follow-up to Scott's masterpiece. But it feels like a massive change to what came before. "Aliens" is incredibly action-oriented, but its still fantastic. There were a couple other sequels to "Alien," made by different directors, and they all felt like inert retreads, adding nothing of substance or entertainment to the equation.

In 2012, Ridley Scott finally returned to the franchise he made famous in the first place. He said in interviews over a hundred times that "Prometheus" was in no way or shape an "Alien" prequel, just a movie set in the same universe. "Prometheus" was shockingly philosophical, dealing with creation and who it was that was responsible for it. Yeah, it was also a slow burn horror film that I think worked in more ways than people give it credit for. Yes, I am one of those rare people that actually really enjoyed "Prometheus." Yes, its a flawed film, but so is every film, even the classics. So I can't just write a film off over some flaws, there is so much on the film's mind, and its so confident that I do enjoy the film quite a bit.

Ridley Scott once again returns to the "Alien" franchise with "Alien: Covenant." The film takes place ten years after the events of "Prometheus." A massive ship called the Covenant is headed for a planet that can sustain human life. Its a seven year journey to this planet, and the crew is entirely in hibernation sleep. Well of course that gets interrupted by a space shockwave and they all wake up. This accident kills the original captain of the crew (the strangest cameo made by James Franco) and then we learn more about the rest of the crew members. There is Oram (Billy Crudrup) who takes over command, there is Daniels (Katherine Waterston) who is second in command and James Franco's wife and is better suited in leading the team, there is also pilot Tennessee played by Danny McBride. There is also Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejolo, Amy Seimetz, and Callie Hernandez. All great actors, but for the life of me I can't remember their names. Oh, and of course, it wouldn't be an "Alien" movie if the crew didn't have an android. There is also Walter, played by Michael Fassbender. 

Now that the crew is awake, they begin to repair the ship, when Tennessee gets a strange recording signal from a nearby planet. They notice that the signal features a human singing a popular song. There is human life somewhere, much closer than the planet they have a set trajectory towards. Oram believes they might as well go and investigate that planet, if it can inhabit life, why not just go and live there? Every body will live happily ever after, right?

Well, of course not. The investigation begins, and soon enough people begin to die. This is also the point in time when the movie begins to run off the rails. This being a Ridley Scott movie, its a drop-dead gorgeous film to look at. Scott has proven time and time again that he is an expert at navigating special effects and if you need a reason to see this movie in a theater, go to be absorbed by the world Scott creates. With the cast assembled for this one, obviously the film contains great performances, especially by Michael Fassbender and surprisingly by Danny McBride. That is all good and well, I just wish this work was in service of something that wasn't such a mixed bag. But when David, the android from "Prometheus," also played by Fassbender, shows up, dressed in the same outfit he wears in "Assassin's Creed," things go off the rails as I suggested.

I think Scott's goal was to bridge the gap between his "Alien" movies and "Prometheus." But it seems Scott struggles with this and wants it both ways. He tries to make a sequel to "Promtheus," but fails to answer any of the questions from that movie, and only piles on other movies. He also decides to over-explain the xenomorphs. I am of the mind that less is more, I don't need to know where the xenomorphs came from. The untold history of how the xenomorphs came into being lands with such an immense thud that I can't believe this came from the guy that gave us the original "Alien." The exposition is laid on so thick that it comes off boring.

On the other side of the coin, he tries to make a conventional "Alien" movie, and it just doesn't feel the same. While I will say that I really liked the special effects, I don't think they look good when it comes to the xenomorphs. Its amazing how puppetry and animation was more convincing and scary than world class CGI. The aliens look so fake in this movie that it took me out of the experience several times during the movie. Its also just not that scary as a film. There is a big moment in the middle of the movie, and at first, I loved the scene it was creepy and disturbing, but as it continued, I couldn't believe this horror scene was punctuated by slapstick hilarity. When an auditorium of movie goers are giggling at the end of a sequence meant for horrors, something has gone completely wrong.

Then there is the "big twist" at the end. I put that in quotes because I am sure there are going to be people who hastily defend this ending, but I found it to be quite ridiculous. First of all, the screenwriters weren't clever at all, because I saw it coming a mile away, as I am sure the rest of the audience did as well. Second of all, it was just a stupid storytelling moment.

I feel like I am being overly harsh on this film and what's weird about admitting that is I liked watching individual moments and scenes in this movie. Just when you try and connect those scenes and moments to an overall story, it really looses me. This movie is full of beautiful imagery and great performances, but those performers are playing dumb characters who make dumb decisions (something I think "Prometheus" was wrongfully accused of), and it is also filled with unnecessary story beats that end up not making a lot of sense. "Alien: Covenant" is fun to watch at times, and at others its infuriating.

I plan to revisit this in a couple weeks, to really dive into the film's spoilers.

FINAL GRADE: C-

Tom Hardy as Venom

For a few years now, there has been a plan for a stand alone "Venom" movie. There have been several false-starts, several months in development hell, and it seemed to be one of those projects we'd never ever see. Especially since the Spider-Man movies have been in many different hands...oh...just within the last decade. I just figured a stand alone Venom movie would never happen.

Well, its really beginning to happen now. There have been whispers for many months that Sony would be developing a stand alone "Venom" movie. They have a director set to direct, and it is in their plan. Now, it feels even more official, now that Tom Hardy has been cast in the lead role. There is no word if Tom Hardy would be playing Eddie Brock or several of the other different men who have taken up the symbiote suit over the years in the comics. But we do know that Tom Hardy is the lead.

Now, you are probably thinking, "HELL YEAH TOM HARDY AND TOM HOLLAND!" But sadly, while Marvel and Sony are sharing Spider-Man for the character in the MCU. Sony though, has their own plans for Venom, and for right now, they have no plans to include this Venom in the MCU. So it will be interesting if anything, to see how this "Venom" movie plays out.

Hardy though will be a good fit for Venom. He's certainly got the build for Venom and he absolutely has the talent to do anything he wants. I will be curious to see what route this movie plans to take. Normally, Venom is a villain, he began life as a villain anyway. In some cases, in the comics, Venom has ended up as an anti-hero. I suppose that may be the route they take for the movie. But we'll see. I wonder if they plan to include much as far as Spider-Man mythology in the movie. Only because the web-slinger is so immersed in the MCU right now.

We shall see!

SOURCE:
http://www.aintitcool.com/node/77887

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Couch Potato- Sweeps Week

The last week in April, first few weeks in May are called "Sweeps Week" in the world of television. Its basically the time when the primetime cable studios get together with their top executives. They decide what they are going to renew, what they are going to cancel and what new material they plan to take a chance on. It can be frightening or fun depending of what shows you like. There is always a possibility that your favorite show will be cancelled, or maybe it will be renewed. This week, all the final decisions on the 2017-2018 fall schedules for television are to be finalized this week. Let's take a look at each studio and see what survived and what got the axe. I have grouped the shows by channel, green means renewed, red means cancelled.

NBC 
The Blacklist 
Blindspot 
Chicago Fire 
Chicago Med 
Chicago PD 
The Good Place 
Great News 
Shades Of Blue 
Superstore 
Timeless 
Chicago Justice (surprisingly still on the bubble)
Trial & Error (surprisingly still on the bubble)
Blacklist Redemption 
Emerald City 
Grimm 
Powerless 
Yes you are reading that correctly, "Timeless" was originally cancelled by NBC, but in a rare chain of events, the studio flipped their decision and decided to renew "Timeless." I like "Timeless," but I didn't love "Timeless." However, I think the show has potential to be great. I look forward to its second season. No surprise that all the Chicago-centered shows got renewed, but "Chicago Justice" had low ratings, its interesting that the show is still on the bubble, even as the week comes to a close. I wonder what will happen. Its also no surprise that both "The Blacklist" and "Blindspot" got new seasons, they have become wildly popular, and I personally love both shows. Super excited for "The Good Place," a major surprise last year and "Superstore," which continues to be lots of fun. Never saw "Great News" and don't see the appeal of "Shades of Blue" but whatever. I couldn't get into "Emerald City," never liked "Grimm," absolutely hated "Powerless" and thought it totally squandered a great idea full of potential.  No surprise those got axed. I never saw "Blacklist: Redemption," but now, I probably won't watch. If a show I haven't started gets axed, I usually don't bother. I hate being left open-ended on a show, and there's already too many movies and other great TV to watch. Why start a show that will go nowhere?
Fox 
Bob’s Burgers 
Brooklyn Nine-Nine 
Empire 
The Exorcist 
Gotham 
Last Man On Earth 
Lethal Weapon 
Lucifer 
New Girl (season seven will be its final season)
The Mick 
The Simpsons 
Star 
Family Guy 
Shots Fired 
APB 
Bones 
Making History 
Pitch 
Rosewood 
Scream Queens 
Sleepy Hollow 
Son of Zorn 
24: Legacy 
Honestly, not too many surprises here. Shows like "New Girl," "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Bob's Burgers" and even "Gotham" have become FOX's bread and butter. Of course all of those shows were coming back. The big surprise for me is "The Exorcist" I found that show to be truly unbearable and just a quick cash grab in TV form. So I am amazed that people watched it, though I will also say that I am amazed people keep watching "Gotham." I really, really liked "The Mick" and I am glad it survived to see a second season. I'm amazed "Lethal Weapon" survived. I thought "APB" was dumb after the first three episodes, high-concept science fiction shows are a hard thing to master apparently, there aren't too many good ones in the history of the medium. So its no surprise it didn't survive. "Pitch" could have been good, but I think it liquidated all its potential in the first few episodes. I loved "Sleepy Hollow," but I think the show should have ended its run last season. This new season was barely interesting and just didn't feel like the show it once was. "24: Legacy" wasn't terrible, but I can't say I'm surprised its cancelled. I am really going to miss "Son of Zorn," you guys missed the boat on that one, that was really good. Its replacement, "Making History" was mediocre. I am starting to wonder if the follow-in theory is false. People aren't going to watch a new show simply because their favorite shows come on before or after said new show. Honestly, FOX was once unbeatable in their Sunday night line-up, but sadly that's suddenly starting to wane. "Family Guy" used to make me laugh hysterically weekly, now they only produce 2-3 great episodes a season. I wonder if Seth McFarlane new show does well if it will replace "Family Guy?" If FOX wanted my advice, throw "The Mick" in the Sunday line-up.

ABC 
Agents of SHIELD 
American Housewife 
The Bachelor 
black-ish 
Dancing With The Stars 
Designated Survivor 
Fresh Off The Boat 
The Goldbergs 
Grey’s Anatomy 
How To Get Away With Murder 
The Middle 
Modern Family 
Once Upon A Time 
Scandal 
Speechless 
Quantico 
American Crime 
The Catch 
Conviction 
Dr. Ken 
Imaginary Mary 
Last Man Standing 
Notorious 
The Real O’Neals 
Secrets and Lies 
Time After Time 

Not too many surprises for ABC. Pretty much everything you'd expect to get renewed, got renewed. There was no way shows like "Scandal," "Grey's Anatomy, "Once Upon A Time," "The Bachelor" "Dancing With The Stars," "The Goldbergs" "Black-ish," "How To Get Away With Murder," "Modern Family" and "The Middle" wouldn't get new seasons. I know "Quantico" was on the bubble before getting a last minute renewal. What I love the most is that "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." survived the 10PM death trap. Usually when a shows ratings are beginning to drop steadily each year, a studio will drop it in the 10PM slot and if it can't stay alive there, its cancelled. Its really rare for a show to do well in this slot, so color me baffled that "S.H.I.E.L.D." will continue its missions. Its moving to Friday now, so I really wonder if ABC is working overtime to kill it. If that's the case, they can fuck right off! I've been enjoying catching up with "Designated Survivor" so kudos to them getting a second season. Basically looking at ABC's list above, its seems their big name shows are overshadowing the new stuff they are trying to pull in, so they may need to be a little more selective with their content.
CBS 
Amazing Race 
The Big Bang Theory 
Blue Bloods 
Bull 
Code Black 
Criminal Minds 
Elementary 
Hawaii Five-0 
Kevin Can Wait 
Life In Pieces 
MacGyver 
Madam Secretary 
Man With A Plan 
Mom 
NCIS 
NCIS Los Angeles 
NCIS New Orleans 
Scorpion 
Superior Donuts 
Survivor 
The Odd Couple 
Ransom 

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders 
Doubt 
The Great Indoors 
Pure Genius 
2 Broke Girls 
Training Day 
Much like ABC, there are no real surprises about what did and did not get renewed over at CBS. All their heavy-hitting shows got their new seasons. Did anybody catch "Superior Donuts?" I liked the people in it, but just didn't get a chance to watch it. I may catch up with it when I can due to its second season renewal. What surprises the shit out of me though, was the renewal for "MacGuyver." People, I may be in the minority, but that show was bad. I can't put into words how much I hated it. Everybody who tried to cash out on a classic show should be ashamed of themselves. I don't know who is watching this, but they are officially wasting their lives.


The CW 
Arrow 
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 
The Flash 
iZombie 
Jane The Virgin 
Legends of Tomorrow 
The 100 
The Originals 
Riverdale 
Supergirl 
Supernatural 
Frequency 
No Tomorrow 
Reign 
Vampire Diaries 
No surprises here. The CW's superhero line-up remains strong. I have the entire first season of "Riverdale" on my DVR, so I am a little excited to get started with it, I hope I enjoy it. The CW's heavy-hitters continue to dominate, but some of their new stuff remained strong through the year too, so that's always a good thing.
Tomorrow, we will take a look at the upcoming fall TV schedules for these channels. Look at some trailers for new shows coming out, and see what we are excited for moving forward. Right now, which of your favorite shows got renewed or axed? Are you satisfied by these decisions?
SOURCE:
http://www.aintitcool.com/node/77836

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: "Snatched" features minor charms, but ultimately isn't a steal.

Snatched Review
The first time I saw Amy Schumer anywhere, it was some stand-up routine my wife showed me on her phone one time. I liked Schumer's style. She was fearless, she was ruthless, and she had a gift of making her "I don't give a shit" attitude somewhat endearing. I liked her style and I liked her as a comedy woman. We need more women in comedy willing to cross some lines, and she had a style that would be welcomed. Then I saw "Trainwreck," and while seemingly many in the critical world fell over for that movie, I sat in the theater wondering what all the fuss was about. Then I saw more and more of her, stand-up, movies, appearances and I wondered; is she a fluke?

After seeing "Stranded" tonight, I think Amy Schumer is a fluke. "Stranded" has some charms, but they mostly come from Goldie Hawn and surprise appearances by Ike Barinholtz and Wanda Sykes. Other than that, this is a comedy with no laughs, jokes with no punchlines, funny situations that don't even cause a snicker. When watching comedies, I base lots of my reaction and my review based on how much I laugh, what do I do when I barely laugh at all?

Amy Schumer plays Emily, a girl who is obsessed with social media and social interactions, but has no real life ambition. She loses a boyfriend because of this and now she has nobody to take on a non-refundable trip she is planning. I know its non-refundable because this typically nonexistent trait in this movie shoved down your throat. With nobody else to take, Emily has no choice but to take her mom on the trip. Her mom, Linda, played by Goldie Hawn, never leaves her home and Emily is hoping to get her out of the house. When the duo get to the south of the border, they enjoy some of the days of the vacation. Then suddenly, they are kidnapped and must work together in order to be rid of the bad guys.

With a situation like that, and a movie featuring Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer, you'd think that the laughs one come right after another in a pounding rotation. Sadly, that's not the case at all.  It just seemed like the script written by Katie Dippold wreaks of trying too hard. The raunchy jokes aren't all that raunchy and feel like a twelve-year-old made them up. The slapstick jokes aren't very slapstick at all. And of course, the entire movie devolves into a sentimental movie of two people realizing how much they need each other. This wouldn't be so bad, if it wasn't telegraphed at the very beginning of the movie. Amy Schumer isn't really playing a character in this movie. She's typical Amy Schumer. Except if she took her normal personality and cranked up the annoying and the obnoxious aspects of said personality. There is really no difference between Emily and her character in "Trainwreck" or the way she carries herself in her stand-up routines, its all the same person, therefore Schumer has no range.

The only people that act like this movie has some sort of pulse is Goldie Hawn, doing what she can with rather stupid material. Then there is Ike Barinholtz. I love this guy. He brings a special life to each character that he plays. Here, he plays Emily's brother who lives at home with their mom. He has a goofy personality, but he knows how to make a human character out of it and make him interesting and even funny. Wanda Sykes shows up here too, and I was wondering to myself just the other night, where did she run off to? Sykes is here, and she is still full of the charm and wit that she had in all of her other movies. She does good work here, and much like Hawn, at least tries to make this movie feel like it has something going for it. Christopher Meloni shows up, but we've seen this type of work from him before, very familiar and very forgetful.

I wish I could say more about how much of a waste of my time this movie is, by and large. But I have a feeling that this movie will be so irrelevant that I will probably forget its existence by the end of the year. Its so inconsequential that I won't remember it after a week. I guess if that isn't a testament to how bad this movie is, I am not sure what is.

FINAL GRADE: D-

Will "The Last Jedi" include "the most shocking reveal in Star Wars history?"

I loved "The Force Awakens." But I do realize it was a polarizing movie. I am sure I have readers who groan by the mere image of a positive sentence pertaining to "The Force Awakens." But I did enjoy the movie quite a bit, and I continue to enjoy every time I sit down to watch it. I know it kind of looks like a remake of "A New Hope." But I think the movie worked differently because the new characters took center stage. I could argue more and more about what I thought worked about the movie. But I stand by my review I wrote almost two years ago now and I still love the movie today.

I also know that the movie did not answer all the questions it raised, but when Hollywood pushes a trilogy of movies, you can't expect all the questions to be answered in the first film. One of the biggest questions raised from "The Force Awakens" concerned Rey's parentage. Who is Rey's family? Even though people connected to the movie said differently in interviews after the film's release, Rey has to be related to someone we know, right? Why would it be cool or exciting if Rey's parents were just a couple of schmoes in the galaxy who were Force-sensitive?

On www.StarWarsNewsNet.com, a Japanese leaflet was posted on the site. The leaflet pretty much said that "The Most Shocking Truth In Star Wars History Will Be Revealed!" I thought to myself, even more shocking than Darth Vader revealing to Luke Skywalker that he was his father? Even Anakin's realization that Chancellor Palpatine was a Sith Lord all prequel trilogy long? So does that mean we finally find out who Rey's parents are? Or what if Luke Skywalker has gone evil? Or at the very least, has become a Dark Jedi? The internet was an in uproar during the first trailer for "The Force Awakens" around who Kylo Ren truly was. There was a rumor going around that Kylo Ren was indeed Luke Skywalker. I always thought that particular rumor was stupid. But I do wonder if Skywalker has become disillusioned by being good, and I wonder if his Dark side will take a hold.

No matter what, I think we are in for an installment unlike anything we've ever seen in "Star Wars." I think episode eight is going to hit every emotion we has human beings can possibly emit. I think this series is about to showcase some sharp turns and big twists. I know the use of words like "Shocking" and "History" is scary to some people. Even I understand that this could all be empty hype. I hope its not though, I really hope they are planning to take this saga in an uncharted direction! We, the audience, would be the winners if that happened.

Here is another quick synopsis from the Japanese leaflet:

A new generation’s tale of the struggles of light and dark, virtue and evil has begun with the death of Han Solo.
In a Galaxy where First Order and the Resistance are fighting against each other in a war, the heroine, Rey, had the Force awaken within her.
What will happen to the galaxy when Rey and the only remaining Jedi knight, Luke Skywalker, meet?
Kylo Ren has fallen to the Dark Side of the Force and killed his father, Han Solo. As a successor of his grandfather, Darth Vader, and a high ranking enforcer in the First Order, where will his ambition lead him to?
Furthermore, Kylo Ren’s mother, the leader of the Resistance, Leia, Poe, Finn, and BB-8, will embark on a new mission!
The story has finally begun and it will lead to a mysterious climax!



TV REVIEW: Agents of SHIELD (SEASON FOUR FINALE)

TV REVIEW

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

SEASON FOUR FINALE

Thank you "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" for brining back Ghost Rider. Especially since he was brought back solely to that evil bitch, AIDA. Now that's how you bring back an awesome character. Since AIDA in her human-robot-hybrid form was created by The Darkhold, only a being born out of The Darkhold can destroy him. Watching Ghost Rider and AIDA battle made the episode, and they had some awesome back and forth. I loved Ghost Rider in first half of the season, and I was incredibly sad when they took him away. I was so happy to watch him come back and throwdown. I even must say that I kind of wish the entire hour was dedicated to Ghost Rider kicking butt.

The episode seemed to stop cold telling the sub-story lines of Yo-Yo getting Mack out of the Framework and Jemma and Fitz coming to ahead. The Yo-Yo and Mack story was what really dragged the episode though, almost to a point of insanity. It was a storyline that really didn't need to happen. I like that Mack has a love interest, I like Yo-Yo as a character. But please don't make their relationship stop the episode cold. Make it provocative, make it feel real. Everything about it made it feel plastic and unnatural. I am glad that Yo-Yo got Mack back to the real world, I don't know if I could function without Mack on the show, but make their relationship better. Its pretty clear that they are popular characters, why else would we be getting them shoved down our throats? If they are so popular, nurture them. Make them matter.

Jemma and Fitz matter to us. Because when AIDA appears to threaten Jemma so that Fitz will be hers forever, the tension feels natural, it feels real. At this point, we care very much what happens to Jemma and Fitz, so when Jemma is screaming for her life, it was enough to nearly put a lump in my throat. I hated seeing it, hated AIDA almost kill her, hated the show make me think that for one moment, she really was dead. But the LMD reversal was so perfect that I was cheering loudly in my home. Our heroes did some bait-and-switch tactics to cheat our evil villain, and it was one of the most thrilling moments in the entire series, and I am including Coulson AND Fury versus Garret from the season one finale. It was a wonderful moment. 

I loved all the Ghost Rider versus AIDA stuff, I thought the Mack getting freed from The Framework a little tepid, I hope for season five they strengthen Yo-Yo as a character. The Fitz and Jemma material was unexpectedly sweet. I didn't like that Ghost Rider just disappeared again after killing AIDA, but I have a feeling we will see him pop in from time to time. It felt by the end of the episode, we'd actually have a happy ending. Then our characters were abducted by strange men in the shadows. When we see Coulson again, he takes a look out the window, talking about getting to work. Except he's not on Earth anymore, he's floating in space on some kind of space station.

What does the space station mean? Did SHIELD create their space sister group? Or does it have something to do with "The Inhumans" show coming this fall? There was a tease for the show during the credits of the episode. We don't see much at all, but we hear people talking. I especially heard the voice of Iwan Rheon, because I'd know the voice of Ramsey Bolton anywhere. I can't wait to see some actual footage from the show. "The Inhumans" will have eight episodes this fall before "Agents of SHIELD" begins its fifth season this fall, so I wonder if their content will feed off of each other? Only time will tell, but I have to say I am curious as to why our heroes are in space.

Overall, season four worked better than I thought. I can forgive Ghost Rider "dying" and disappearing for most of the season after how awesome the finale was. The LMD content was hit or miss, but the "What If" "AGENTS OF HYDRA" storyline was better than I thought, and it created some of the best episodes of the show so far. Thank God that this show survived the 10PM death trap, because we could have a really good fifth season up ahead.

What did everyone else think?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: "Colossal" is not your average monster movie.

Colossal Review
We are already seventeen years into the 21st Century. Movies have been being made for over 100 years now. In all that time, it feels like all the possible ideas have been seen now, that there is no such thing as originality anymore. Especially in the climate of filmmaking we are living in now, it certainly feels like we've seen it all. In any and all genres. But just when I feel like I have seen it all, somebody comes along and makes something that may have ingredients from various things that came before, but the ending result is something original.

"Colossal" is a film that blindsided me. I thought it was going to be more of the same I have seen before. I didn't know how I'd like Anne Hathaway as a lead, an actress that I respect much more than I actually like. With all that said, "Colossal" surprised me at every corner. Not only is this not more of the same, but Anne Hathaway does some of the best work she's ever done in her career so far. For a woman who has an Oscar on her shelf, I hope that statement means something, because it should. I sat back, waiting for something to piss me off, waiting for my interest to wane. But it didn't, in fact, I was baffled by just how much I was engaged in the film.

Anne Hathaway plays Gloria. A freeloading drifter who doesn't seem to know what she wants to do with her life. Events in Gloria's life come to a head when her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), kicks her out of his home. She goes back to her hometown for a little soul-searching, and runs into a childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and he offers her a job at his bar. She feels good to have a friend in these tough times.

And that's when a giant kaiju starts terrorizing Seoul, South Korea.

Now, this was about the time where I thought I knew where the movie would be going, but it began to throw me for a loop. Are we going to find out that Anne Hathaway's character is somehow connected to the giant monster in South Korea? If so, how? Is she some kind of savior, or some kind of evil? And why is Jason Sudeikis being so nice to her and what's his role in all of this? I am not planning on giving anything away, but I will say there were some slight turns in the overall plan and it made for a film filled with fun. Its pieces of movies we have seen before, with some minor upgrades, and telling a well-rounded, character-driven story told by actors doing grounded work. It a real look at what would happen if the blockbuster spectacles we see flooding the theaters each year would look like if they spent more time on character and story instead of special effects and pixels.

The film also works as a metaphor tale. I have never been in a controlling relationship before, but I have known people in them. It felt like a nightmare, even though I was looking from the sidelines, and I waited for the people in question to simply get themselves out of their predicaments, but they never had the courage or the confidence to do so. This is what "Colossal" is about. Some people are hazardously controlled by their significant others. They are so far under their thumbs that they can't get out, don't have the push or the desire to get out. This is a movie about finding that inner strength, this is a movie about taking control of your life and not wavering for something worse. This is a movie about becoming the person everyone should strive to be. 

Like I said, Anne Hathaway is amazing in this. Taking total control of the film as the main character. Its clear she is having fun in this movie, but she's doing everything she can to make it count, to do her best work. Then there is Jason Sudeikis. He's a humorous man, sometimes I feel a one-note humorous man. But he's also surprisingly fantastic in this movie. I am dazzled how he is his normal funny self in the first half of this movie, then something else by the end. And its no fluke, no unbelievable shift in character. Sudeikis is a broken, twisted man in this. Its not something we'd ever expect to see from him and he goes all in with the character. 

"Colossal" is a powerful zing of inspiration. A reminder of what can happen when you believe in the power of your own craft. This was not what I was expecting, and its that feeling I chase every, single time I sit down to watch a film. This is one of my favorite times at the movies so far this year, and something more blockbusters should aspire to be.

FINAL GRADE: A

RIP Powers Boothe

RIP Powers Boothe

I can't believe I was so late on this. But the legendary Powers Boothe passed away yesterday at 68 years old.

Boothe was a known for playing villains, and its not really surprising. If you have heard the guy speak before, you know he was ripe for any villain role that came his way, which is exactly what happened. Not only did he have an iconic voice, one of the most iconic in the history of the craft, but he had a menace in his eyes, a cruel demeanor, vile veracity in the structure of his sentences. Its too bad, because even though he was really good at playing bad guys, and even though he has been in the game for decades, he never became the star I think he should have been. He never got on the A-list level, he never broke out as a star. But no matter, what he did, you certainly felt his presence.

Its interesting discussing Powers Boothe's career and thinking of all the villains he's played. Any "Walking Dead" fans that are reading this right now, get on Google or take out one of the comics you have in your collection. Look and find a picture of Negan. Now, look up a picture of a young Powers Boothe. Wouldn't he be perfect for Negan? I would have loved to see him play the part had "The Walking Dead" come out a few decades earlier. 

What were the best Powers Boothe performances? Well, that's a loaded question. I will honestly say that I love his work in "Tombstone." This is my favorite Western. Now, I know I am probably a bad Western fan for saying that. Because it doesn't star Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. But I absolutely love "Tombstone." Its a wonderful little Western, tells an incredible true story and is a great showcase for Kurt Russell, Bill Paxton and Val Kilmer before he disappeared off the Earth. Powers Boothe is in the movie, and he gives that sweet, vile performance I discussed at the beginning. Something you will never forget. In a movie filled with grand tough guys and memorable performances, Boothe really made himself stick out in a feature full of legendary actors.

Boothe had several overly-memorable performances to his name, including his work in "Red Dawn," the original film. There is also "Southern Comfort," "The Emerald Forest," "Sin City," and even made "Sudden Death" passable as a movie. Then there are all of his TV credits, which include the TV movie "Guyana Tragedy" which told the true story of the Jonestown Massacre. Jim Jones was a monster, a real life boogeyman and Boothe brought him to life with a fair amount of ease, and does an impeccable job in his portrayal.

Boothe is a guy that should have been more well known than he was, and he was gone way too soon. He will definitely be missed. And in honor of his passing. Well...bye.







Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: "Free Fire" the hour and a half shootout

Free Fire Review

When you watch movies as a hobby, there are always thoughts in your head that maybe you've seen it all. But then again, stuff comes up and you feel like surprised again. That can be great fun, if its handled correctly. In 2014, I reviewed a film called "Locke" which took place entirely in a car, about a guy calling people from the blue-tooth in his car. That was the storytelling device, and there was a compelling story that was born out of that device. You can pretty much make a movie out of anything, and it has the potential to be good. I firmly believe that there is no bad idea. It all boils down to execution. 

"Free Fire" is literally an hour-and-a-half shootout. Set in the 1970's, it is a movie about a gun deal gone bad. A group of gun sellers; Vernon (Sharlto Copley), Martin (Babou Ceesay), and Harry (Jack Reynor) meet with IRA buyers Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Micheal Smiley) and their associates. They are brought together by middle man Ord (Armie Hammer) and are accompanied by intermediary Justine (Brie Larson). Harry knows one of the IRA associates, and he beat him up the night before. There is an argument, a brief scuffle, but nothing serious. Both parities want to defuse the problem quickly, so the sale can move forward and everybody gets what they want. Sadly, that doesn't happen, Harry pulls a gun. He starts shooting. The IRA draw their guns and start shooting, and soon a line is drawn and people pick sides.

What ensues is a gun fight, with style and laughs, but nothing even resembling character development. Every character in this show is a stock character from another gangster movie. Tough guys, who shout profanity, can't shoot straight, and just want the other side to die. There is nothing to them, and because the movie is all about the bullets, there is no time to get to know any of these guys. Yes, gangsters should be charismatic, yes they should be tough, but if we never get to know them, why would we care who ends up leaving this site alive? What's even worse is that there are some twists and turns introduced in the movie, but with no development, they fall with a loud thud. Never adding anything engaging to the movie.

"Free Fire" is at least watchable due to its cast. Yes, you read all of that right. This movie features Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy and even Noah Taylor. These are great actors, and they do great work here. I am not sure you can cast people like that and not get a product that is, at the very least, well acted. These actors land the punchlines, make the movie funny, make it interesting, at least they keep your eyes open. Sadly, the way the script lays out, its not enough in the end.

Is it worth a look? Depends on the film fan. If you don't like shoot 'em ups in search of an actual movie, you may not like it. If you like seeing actors having some fun, you may like it. If you can't stand non-character development, you'll hate this.

FINAL GRADE: B-

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hellboy reboot?


A few months ago I participated and retweeted a poll on my Twitter account. It was made my director Guillermo Del Toro, who made the first two "Hellboy" movies. He wanted to know if there was any fan interest in seeing a third "Hellboy" movie. There was plenty of interest, it turns out. Because based on votes, he could have easily made a third "Hellboy" movie. 

It turns out that there will be third "Hellboy" movie. But it won't be made by Del Toro, it won't star Ron Perlman and it will be a reboot of the franchise.

Yep, Mike Mignola, the original Hellboy writer, has taken the rights back and is planning an R-rated "Hellboy" reboot. David Harbour, who has starred in such things as "The Green Hornet," "Black Mass," "Stranger Things," and "Suicide Squad" will star in the title character. I like Harbour as an actor, I find him really underrated, and I think he will do a good job. He's due for a movie like this, especially since he was a candidate to play Cable in the upcoming Deadpool sequel. But there was something special watching Ron Perlman and Guillermo Del Toro working together on this property. Although I do understand that Perlman may be getting too old to play the part. 

Its tough because its clear Del Toro still had interest in this character, and it kills me that after "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" we wont see the massive conclusion Del Toro had planned for the character. I know internet fandom has been in the uproar over this today. It definitely stinks. I just hope that this ends up good. I never read any Hellboy comics, so I don't know about the tone, but the writer is in control so that has to be good, right?

SOURCE:
http://www.aintitcool.com/node/77794