Batman v Superman: The Fallout- Part 1 (SPOILERS INCLUDED)

Make out. MAKE OUT, DAMMIT.

Almost three years ago, the world was blessed/cursed (decide for yourself) with Zack Snyder’s reboot of the Superman franchise: Man of SteelMan of Steel proved to be… Uh… Let’s succumb to massive understatement and say it was divisive. Some people (myself included) really liked it. Others think it was the worst thing to happen to the character since The Quest for Peace, a movie so atrocious it single-handedly crippled Christopher Reeve’s career.

I’m going to hell for that one.

Despite the mixed reaction, Man of Steel made enough money to get a sequel greenlit, which was originally announced as being another Superman movie, but was eventually revealed during Comic-Con as being both a Batman and Superman movie. This was huge news. Even people who have never entered a comic book store can tell you the basic plot points of Superman and Batman’s origin stories. Shit, even people in North Korea can tell you that the two characters were both created by Kim il-Sung as satires of Western imperialism so subtle that our backwards capitalist lizard-brains have yet to notice them as being anything other than cool characters who dress funny. This movie was going to make BANK, regardless of whether it was actually good or not. And now, in 2016, here we are, almost one month after the movie’s release. And boy, was it ever…. Well, it was something.

Now, I’ve seen Batman v Superman: World’s Finest (See Warner Bros.? That’s a GOOD title. And not much sillier than Dawn of Justice, either!) multiple times, and I’ve given myself some time to process my feelings on the film. I know that everybody who didn’t love the movie is kinda sick about hearing about it at this point, but oh well.

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT 

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A Quick Look at the Revealed DC Cinematic Universe: Part 1 of 4

‘The Guardians of the Galaxy can suck it.”

Last week, likely in response to Marvel’s announcement of the plot details to Captain America 3, Warner Bros. decided to go one further by announcing all of the movies planned for the DC Cinematic universe up to the year 2020, along with some casting details and a couple director announcements. So, was this really a hasty, impulsive announcement that doesn’t really bode well for DC’s ongoing rivalry with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, or is this a genius publicity  move by WB that will get people to forget all about the MCU?

Definitely the former. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested though. So, after getting through the last of my TV reviews until this week’s Legend of Korra episode, I decided to take a quick look at the movie announcements, with each movie accompanied by a short blurb. Let’s do this!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I dunno if this is official art or not, but I really like it.

Release date: March 25, 2016

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder

Screenplay by: Chris Terrio (Argo)

Story by: David S. Goyer

Cast: Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), Ben Affleck (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diana Prince) Amy Adams (Lois Lane) Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) Diane Lane (Martha Kent) Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor) Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth) Holly Hunter (U.S. Senator) Tao Okamoto (Mercy Graves)

Cameos: Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/Aquaman) Ray Fisher (Cyborg/Victor Stone)

This is the movie that we currently have the most information on, as it’s currently the only movie that’s in production. Really, there isn’t much more to say about it. I still liked Man of Steel more than most and think that the returning cast from that movie could do a great job, I still have faith that Ben Affleck can pull Batman off (Even more so now that the photos of him in the batsuit have been released), and Jesse Eisenberg is still kinda iffy for me. I guess this is where you pull the Heath Ledger card on me, because “You don’t now if he’s gonna be great until you see him.” That’s true enough, I suppose. I guess we’ll just wait and see.

Also, high fucking time that Wonder Woman appears on the big screen. We had a damn Steel movie with Shaquille O’Neal and no Wonder Woman? Bullshit.

Suicide Squad 

I’m not sure what the fact that I find a psychopath murderess attractive? Well, I find Harley Quinn really hot. There, I said it.

Release date: August 5, 2016

Directed by: David Ayer

Screenplay by: Justin Marks

This…. This announcement really threw me off.

I just don’t get it. There was no solo Batman or Superman movie announced, and yet, a Suicide Squad movie?

The only possible reason that I can imagine why this was green-lit is that Warner Bros. saw Marvel and Disney make all the money because of Guardians of the Galaxy and thought “Hey, we can make a movie starring charming criminals who become reluctant heroes!!! Let’s do that!”

“But edgy!!!”

Regardless, I’m still pretty pumped about the movie, although I’m kinda pissed off that it doesn’t look like Harley Quinn’s gonna be in it as, morbid sexual attraction aside, I think she’s a great character. But hey, Deadshot’s gonna be there, and even if he’s got a bunch of nobodies behind him, they’re in negotiations to bring in an A-list cast of Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie (Who, just saying, would be a great Harley Quinn). Also, David Ayer is a pretty highly regarded director, having helmed movies like Fury and End of Watch. I dunno, it’s bizarre, but it could pay off.

 To be continued…

Gone Girl (Movie Review)

That cat has seen some shit.

So, who else  is getting tired of me writing about baseball? I sure as hell am! Let’s just sit back, relax and settle down to watch a nice popcorn flick. Let’s see what’s in theatre right now…

Oh…. This is gonna be weird as fuck, isn’t it?

 Gone Girl

 Directed by: David Fincher

 Produced by: Leslie Dixon, Bruna Papandrea, Reese Witherspoon, Ceán Chaffin

 Screenplay by: Gillian Flynn

 Based on: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 Genres: Thriller, Mystery

 Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick  Fugit, Casey Wilson, Missi Pyle

 Music by: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

 Plot: In a sleepy town in Missouri known as North Carthage live former writer and current barkeep Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his wife, Amy Elliott-Dunne (Rosamund Pike), another former writer and, weirdly enough, the inspiration for a series of children’s books known as “Amazing Amy”, written by her parents. They are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary, but unfortunately, it isn’t quite being celebrated under the best of circumstances, as they have grown distant from one another, ruining what used to be quite a lovely marriage. On the morning of, Nick returns from the bar he co-owns with his sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), to find that his wife is missing from his house with no prior warning, and there are signs of a struggle in the living room. Understandably, he freaks the fuck out and calls the cops, and the whole community rallies behind him.

However, things are shaken up a bit when Nick’s facade of being the perfect, worried husband starts to slip and what was once perceived as being a shy, awkward, kind person starts to look more and more like an angry, remorseless sociopath. It doesn’t help his case much when evidence gathered by the police starts to shift the blame in his direction, and even less so when the media jumps all over his case, all but screaming for the governor’s office to fry this man for murder. Did Nick Dunne kidnap, or even murder his wife? Or is there another explanation?

Weirdly enough, the first people that I want to praise for this movie are not the actors, director or writer, but the marketing team. Whoever green-lighted the decision to only use scenes from the first third of the movie or so in the trailers for the film. I was completely oblivious to the whopper of a twist that was to come, and for that, I thank them.

Before I get into some of the numerous stuff I really loved from this movie, I’ve gotta get the one thing I didn’t like in the movie out of the way, so here goes: I thought some of the dialogue from when Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike’s characters were meeting for the first time was kind of annoyingly pretentious.

Well, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for me to voraciously kiss this movie’s ass.

Holy crap, was this movie ever the definition of perfectly cast. I heard that some people, mostly fans of the novel that the movie is based on, were bitching about Ben Affleck being cast in the main role. I, personally, have been a huge Affleck supporter ever since he came back onto he scene in a big way with The Town, and I was one of what seemed to be the few people who weren’t losing their minds over him being cast as you-know-who.

“What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am?”

Well, it puts my ever-worrying mind somewhat at ease to know that Ben Affleck absolutely brings it to this movie. His character is not always shown doing the nicest things on-screen. In fact, I probably should have hated him at one point, but throughout the whole movie, he displays a type of charm that makes Nick Dunne irresistibly likable. He’s a nice guy (Or he seems to be), but he also most certainly is not a perfect person., rather a very complicated human being who’s dealing with a lot of crap, some of it it brought on by himself.

Affleck’s co-star, Rosamund Pike is…Well…..I don’t know if I can say too much about her or her character without spoiling the movie, but I will say that she is fantastic. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that she delivers one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. No joke.

The supporting cast is perfect as well. Carrie Coon (From The Leftovers) is funny at times and has some good lines. Neil Patrick Harris is very good as a slightly unhinged ex-boyfriend of Rosamund Pike’s. Tyler Perry is also in this movie, in his second appearance in a movie not directed by him since his cameo in the 2009 Star Trek movie (His first was 2012’s Alex Cross, and the less said about that, the better). I’ve never been a Tyler Perry fan, not because I don’t like the guy, because he seems nice enough. I just find Madea unfunny,  the Madea character insufferable, and religious movies in general to be incredibly preachy, bad pun intended. Eh, different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

But hey, Tyler Perry was excellent as well as Nick’s somewhat morally ambiguous defense attorney.  The dude can act! Now, Hollywood just needs to get him into some better movies and the world may soon forget…Well, anything that wasn’t Precious, Star Trek and Gone Girl.

We have a lot of forgiving to do, folks. A lot of it.

Much praise is deserved by the director as well. David Fincher, director of such masterpieces as Se7en, Zodiac, Fight Club, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network (As well as the hunk of shit that was Alien 3)  and probably one of the best directors working in Hollywood today, really, creates a very dark, unsettling nature in direct contrast to the idyllic suburban setting of the story. It also helps that he brought his frequent collaborators, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Who had previously done the soundtracks to The Social Network and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), along to do the music, which is, in a word, eerie. Eerie, eerie eerie. Electronic buzzes and drones aren’t that much fun to listen to on their own, but holy shit, did they ever provide the perfect atmosphere in this movie. If this movie isn’t at least nominated for a “Best Original Score” prize at the Oscars, I will be very, very angry.

Kudos to writer Gillian Flynn as well. It’s not very often you see the author of the source material write the screenplay for the script. The only author I can think of who really makes a point to write the movie adaptations of his work is Frank Miller, and everything he’s done that isn’t 300 or Sin City is utter shit. Flynn, on the other hand, writes a pretty fantastic script, aside from the minor gripes I mentioned in the beginning. She also does a really good job of incorporating elements of black comedy into the movie, which was a pleasing surprise.

Overall: Sure, it’s a long movie, clocking in at over 140 minutes, but it’s such a wild ride that you don’t care. If you don’t have a weak stomach, this is a must-see movie. I sure as hell loved it.

Rating: 9.5/10

“Oh, shit, it was the cat who did it, wasn’t it?!?!”- A thought that I’m ashamed to admit crossed my mind multiple times during the movie.

Ugh…

Well, the geniuses who decide film ratings in Canada decide to give Gone Girl an 18A rating, meaning that I’m unlikely to see it unless I can convince my parents to take me. If I can’t see what looks like the best movie of the year so far, I’ll probably end up seeing The Equalizer. It’s not like I can complain, as I wanted to watch that anyways, but still….Ugh.

Gotham: Episode 1- Pilot (TV Review) SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Selina Kyle: Apparently, the all-seeing eye of Gotham City. Who’da thunk it?

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

 If you had told me one year ago that Fox was panning to release a TV crime drama set in Gotham City, I would have been completely overjoyed. I’ve always kinda thought that transitioning to TV might be a better idea for those grittier, more down-to-earth superheroes that don’t necessarily have the flashy godlike powers (Smallville notwithstanding). And as much as I don’t hate the idea of Ben Affleck donning the cape and cowl (Even if the rest of the DC cinematic universe is starting to look like a giant clusterfuck) I would love to see a Batman TV show.

Take away Batman from the equation though, and I would’ve been less than enthused.

Indeed, Gotham chooses to focus not on Bruce Wayne (Played by child actor David Mazouz) and his transformation into everyone’s favourite rich nutjob, but on the exploits of Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, former star of The O.C. and, actually a former Batman voice actor. He voiced the Dark Knight in the animated movie, Batman: Year One)  and his troubled partner, Harvey Bullock (Irish-Canadian actor Donal Logue). How did the pilot episode of this risky venture prove?

Absolutely brilliant is how it turned out.

Don’t get me wrong though, Gotham has problems, and I’ll get them out of the way first so I can gush later. My only real qualms with the movie have to do with the characters, not that the actors are to blame. I think they all do very great jobs, especially newcomer Robin Lord-Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, Jada Pinkett-Smith as original villain Fish Mooney, Cory Michael Smith’s brief cameo as Edward Nygma and the two leads, McKenzie and Logue. Problem is, the show seems a bit over-preoccupied with stuffing as many villains into it as possible in order to give super-nerds like me a hard-on. I guess it kind of makes sense this one time, given that it was the pilot episode, and they had to stuff in as much fan service as possible in order to convince Fox that they could attract an audience. In that respect, it makes sense, but I hope that they can segway into villain introductions a little better than their introduction of the man who will eventually grow up to be a Tim Burton- directed abomination.

SCENE: A group of thugs are viciously beating up on a fellow criminal. The most violent aggressor is a younger man, brandishing an umbrella while wearing a tuxedo

ANONYMOUS THUG:  Take it easy (Practically turns to audience) Penguin! (Practically winks at the goddamn audience)

PENGUIN: Don’t call me that!!!

Huh, they took lessons from the James Cameron school of subtlety, I see.

Also, I love how Detectives Montoya and Allen go ahead and take Cobblepot at his word when he tells them that Gordon and Bullock framed and murdered Mario Pepper, and immediately report their suspicions to Barbara and threaten Gordon without a shred of evidence. I thought these guys were supposed to be real hotshots. What the hell?

Overall, though, my favourite thing about the show is that it feels like a comic book set in Gotham City ,especially something like Batman: Year One (Again, minus Batman). It has a very dark atmosphere, and doesn’t hesitate to bust out the blood (Unlike the great Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan movies, who had to maintain a PG rating). The scene where Bruce’s parents are murdered (Spoiler alert, in case you’ve been living under a rock) is as emotionally  resonant as it’s ever been, the writing is, while not exactly Shakespeare, very fitting to the tone, and really, I can’t wait for the next episode.

Episode Rating: 4/5

Holy fuck, was that the Joker!?!?

Movie Review: Dogma (Spoilers!)

Well, it sure has been a while.

I guess I should begin by apologizing to any followers (All two of you) for not posting anything for around a month. I’m sure this has created a deep emotional void in your soul that only illicit substance use can come close to filling.

Yup, that was my bad.

Truth be told, I haven’t had much time for writing in this month of September, 2013, what with the start of the school year, and my getting a job. And when I have been writing, it’s usually been dedicated to trying my hand at non-fiction. And even if I did try to blog, I ended up with sub-par results, even by my standards. I ended up with a shitty back-to-school related article that I ended up shelving, and a Musician Biography camouflaged as a blank sheet.

Fortunately, I did eventually get inspiration for a movie review from one of Kevin Smith’s better known films. While not as much of a household name as Clerks, it still managed to get some positive recognition and even piss some people off. Ladies and Gentlemen, once again, give it up for…

Dogma (movie).jpg

Directed By: Kevin Smith

Genre: Dark Comedy, Religious, Independant

Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman, George Carlin (R.I.P.)

Legacy: Ben Affleck’s last good pre- Hollywoodland movie before his descent into madness.

Plot: The movie opens with an old homeless man getting himself beaten into a coma by three roller-hockey playing teenagers outside of a skee ball arcade in New Jersey. Why does this sound like the setup to a George Carlin joke?

Speaking of which, the next scene takes  place in front of a church in New Jersey, where Cardinal Ignatius Glick (Played by the late king of comedy, George Carlin) unveils his plan to celebrate the centennial anniversary of his church via a plenary indulgence. For those not well-versed in Catholic theology, this would essentially mean that anyone who passes through the church doors has their sins forgiven and will be permitted to go to heaven upon death.  The references to Catholicism aren’t getting any less frequent from here on out.

Meanwhile, in distant Wisconsin, news of the plenary indulgence reaches a couple of fallen angels (Angels cast out of Heaven for rebellion against God), violent, unstable Loki (Matt Damon) and philosophical Bartleby (Ben “The Whipping Boy” Affleck), who were exiled from Paradise after Bartleby convinced a drunken Loki to renounce his job as the Angel of Death, which in God’s defense, does sound like it would be one bitch of a position to replace.

Sure, the salary isn’t as much as you’d think but really, the wholesale slaughter of the wicked is its own reward.

Anyways, Bartleby and Loki decide to set off for this church, deciding to go back home to Heaven via this loophole.

Meanwhile, in McHenry, Illinois, lifelong Roman Catholic Bethany Sloane (Men in Black‘s Linda Fiorentino) attends a sermon at church, where donations are being accepted to help out the old homeless guy in Jersey, who’s on life support. She later goes on to do her job at an abortion clinic. She’s a skeptical Catholic, by the way.

That night, Bethany is visited by the angel Metatron, who is the Voice of God (Alan Rickman) . He tells her about Loki and Bartleby’s plan and explains that if they use the loophole to get back to heaven, all of existence will be destroyed, as it would be overruling the word of God. I guess God doesn’t respond well to constructive criticism. Does this sound like someone else you know?

“Writing a nasty review for [Kevin Smith’s shitty-as-hell buddy cop movie] Cop Out is akin to bullying a retarded kid.”-Kevin Smith

However, Bethany resists the mission, as she has lost her faith in God after her divorce, a direct result of her infertility.

She wakes up and dismisses it as a dream. The very next day, she is attacked on her way back from work by the same three punks that assaulted the homeless guy in Jersey. Before they can assault her though, they are defeated by a couple  of pot-dealing Kevin Smith staples, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), two prophets that Metatron said would assist her on her journey. As she reluctantly accepts the journey and sets off with obnoxiously raunchy Jay and silently raunchy Bob, they are joined by Rufus (Chris Rock), the little known Thirteenth Apostle (Who was left out of the Bible for being black) and Serendipity (Salma Hayek), the smoking hot muse with severe writer’s block.

You got me. The entire purpose of this post was to have an excuse to use this photo. You would have done the same.

Overview:

This movie served as my introduction to Kevin Smith, who I only knew previously as the chubby director from New Jersey who calls people “cats” a lot. And I have to say, I’m pretty damn impressed. Smith, a lifelong Catholic, has crafted a pretty damn interesting world, and skillfully displays how to weave Catholic mythology into an entertaining piece of work. Now, personally, I’m an extremely skeptical agnostic (Though I did go to Bible Camp when I was seven) and couldn’t give one shit about somebody’s religion unless they were using it as an excuse to hurt somebody, but I must admit, this movie got me interested in Catholicism.

Well, this movie and the pope.

Now, am I going to get myself baptized at age sixteen? Of course not. There’s too many things standing in the way of me and religious faith (Namely, science and logic) but man, can I ever respect the idea of making religion actually look entertaining. Sure, the dickless angels are a bit much, but overall, I enjoyed how the movie seemed to both pick on and maintain a hopeful optimism for the Catholic Faith.

However, I do have a problem with the movie’s jokes. It’s not that I’m insulted by the digs at religion, because, as I arrogantly said before, I really couldn’t care less. It’s just that the movie seems to suffer from long stretches of little to no jokes.  I found myself more drawn in by the presentation and the performances, which is fine, but one would expect that a comedy movie, especially one starring George Carlin and Chris Rock, would be quite funny. It’s not like it’s completely humourless. There were a couple of moments where I laughed out loud, and Jay and Silent Bob were hilarious. However, maybe it’s not that the movie wasn’t funny enough. Maybe it’s just that Linda Fiorentino ruined all the lines that were supposed to be funny.

With all due respect to Ms. Fiorentino, she was utterly terrible in this movie. I didn’t like how she played her character, how she delivered her lines, or how she never, not once in the entire fucking film, broke the role of “surly middle aged woman who says everything in a snarky tone of voice.” She took me completely out of the movie, and single-handedly demotes this movie from a must-buy to a rental.

The rest of the cast, however, does a bang-up job. Affleck and Damon do great jobs as the fallen angels, and are obviously having fun with their respective roles, as demonstrated in the scene where they pass judgement on and subsequently murder a room full of fast food CEO’s. Carlin is funny, though criminally underused, and Mewes and Smith had field days with their characters. Alan Rickman was awesome, as always, Hayek was awesome (And unfathomably hot) and Chris Rock was excellent as the racially-discriminated apostle. (SPOILER ALERT) Alanis Morrisette was also in this movie, as God’s True Form, a mute Manic Pixie Dream Girl. This is more perplexing than anything else.

Overall:

Sure, there are parts where the comedy isn’t quite up to snuff, and Linda Fiorentino definitely wasn’t helping, but excellent casting (Aside from you-know-who) and an extremely interesting plot make this movie a notable, if not spectacular, indie comedy.