For Part 1, click here.
Almost three years ago, the world was blessed/cursed (decide for yourself) with Zack Snyder’s reboot of the Superman franchise: Man of Steel. Man 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.
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
So it’s been, what, like two months? Yeah, that seems about right. Leave it to me to take a two month coffee break when I’m getting the most views of PKtM‘s lifetime, and to come back when I’m getting my lowest amount of views in years. Fuck me, right?
Before beginning this review, I should point out to any impresionable folks who may read my stuff that when I implied that, at the end of my Deadpool review, I gave that movie a rating of 10/10 because 20th Century Fox paid me to do so, I was totally joking. The rating is the least important part of the review to me, and I would never compromise my journalistic integrity or whatever by accepting money and other rewards from studios, even studios owned by the benevolent genius that is Rupert Murdoch.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be stuffing the Best Picture ballot box with votes for The Revenant, easily my favourite picture of the year. And after doing so, I will absolutely NOT be taking a ride in my private jet with the FOX logo plastered on its side, accompanied by a harem of hookers and mountains of blow.
Holy shit, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?
To be fair to myself, you try to write two papers and four exams in a three-week period and still have the energy to post a Bridge of Spies review and/or X-Men profile that deftly incorporates insightful critiques with an overwhelming amount of F-bombs and dick jokes. Not so easy, is it (please don’t respond to me if you do find it that easy).
Anyways, here’s a movie about a pansexual gun for hire and the girl he loves.
Happy Belated New Year, you filthy animals!!!
I’m sorry for the continuing lack of activity over the holidays, but to be fair, it’s hard to do a lot of writing when you’re busy ringing in the new year with gusto.
Of course, when I say “ringing in the new year” I obviously mean “getting drunk on bathtub moonshine, loudly proclaiming my love for Brie Larson in the middle of Churchill Square in the afternoon and making the street urchins I have chained up in my basement dance to the Pokemon theme song for my amusement”.
Yes, my parents are proud of me. Why do you ask?
Anyway, with 2015 now being spoken of in the past tense, I figured now was the ideal time to both do some minor housekeeping and do some extremely quick reviews for any 2015 movies that I haven’t had the chance to comment on yet.
First, some aforementioned housekeeping stuff:
- For the most part, business as usual will continue. I will write mostly movie reviews, and (hopefully more often) other things. Occasionally, I may attempt a joke. It will end badly.
- It’s getting into Oscar season and, as usual, I need to get on reviewing some of THOSE movies. If I get around to it, i may look at the Razzie movies too (shudder).
- My Top 20 Best Movies of 2015 list isn’t coming out until after I’ve seen the movies that I need to see for Oscar season. Otherwise, that’d be pretty stupid of me, wouldn’t it?
- DeathMatch is dead. I’m sorry for anybody who really liked that (I’m sure there was maybe one of you), but I kind of don’t want to do it anymore, and the response I got (or lack thereof) in the last post just doesn’t justify me keeping it going. I enjoy doing Who the Fuck!?!? much more, anyways.
- As usual, comments are welcome and appreciated. Just know that my tolerance for spam, racism, sexism, homophobia and general dickheadishness is low. This comment section is not a democracy. It is a totalitarian regime, and I am Supreme Leader. will only earn you a cruel response from me viciously attacking everything about you, followed by prompt deletion of your comment. Don’t like it? Start your own shitty blog.
Mind you, I’ve only ever needed to delete one comment, so I’m not too worried about needing to exercise the BanHammer. This counts as a Fair Warning, though.
Now that that shit’s out of the way, it’s time for some extremely quick, extremely poorly done reviews!
(Note: On the off-chance that any of these movies are nominated for Best Picture, I’ll be sure to do a full review)
Plot: Sean Penn spends two hours showing us his abs.
Thoughts: The solid action from director Pierre Morel and star Sean Penn doesn’t excuse the uninteresting plot, boring pace, and waste of both Javier Bardem and Idris Elba.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Plot: An American spy (Henry Cavill), a Russian spy (Armie Hammer) and a German civilian (Alicia Vikander) must team up to stop Italian fascists from ending the world, or some shit.
Thoughts: It figures that an American would be played by an Englishman, a Russian would be played by an American, and a German would be played by a Swede, doesn’t it?
Anyways, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a solid throwback to the spy movies of yore. Does that make it anything special? Hell to-the-no, but it’s definitely not bad.
What We Do In the Shadows
Plot: Some folks from Flight of the Conchords made a movie about vampires living in modern-day Wellington, NZ. It’s just as fucking awesome as it sounds.
Thoughts: Why are you still reading this shitty blog after reading this premise? Watch the fucking movie!
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Plot: Greg (Thomas Mann) is forced by his parents to befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who, you may have guessed, has terminal cancer. Hilarity ensues.
Thoughts: If you’ve ever read a John Green book, you probably know some of the more basic beats of this movie, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive in its execution and emotional impact. Also, RJ Cyler is fucking hilarious.
Plot: In the dystopian hellhole of a future that is 1997, a teenage boy (Munro Chambers) and a free-spirited girl (Laurence Leboeuf) must team up against a tyrannical warlord (Michael Ironside).
Thoughts: It’s extremely violent, fully aware of how silly it is and overindulges in the fact that it’s an 80’s movie released in 2015. And god bless it for that.
Plot: Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geeky, hardworking high school senior from the not-so-friendly town of Inglewood, California who, through no real fault of his own, gets mixed up in some less-than-savoury activities. Hilarity ensues.
Thoughts: Watch Dope. Why? Cuz it’s DOPE.
Beasts of No Nation
Plot: A West African boy is separated from his family during a civil war and joins up with a rebel group as a child soldier. Hilarity ensues.
Thoughts: It’s harrowing and dramatic, but also incredibly acted by Idris Elba and newcomer Abraham Attah, as well as beautifully shot by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Who doubled as cinematographer and director). Sure, it’s violent and heartbreaking, but that doesn’t make it any less of a must-see.
And just like that, the last real quality YA adaptation franchise came to an end. Have fun with The 5th Wave and Divergent, plebes. Continue reading
It’s kind of an atrocity that “Life on Mars” wasn’t played once during the movie. “Starman” was though, so I suppose that’s something.
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Produced by: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Aditya Sood, Mark Huffam
Screenplay by: Drew Goddard
Based on: The Martian by Andy Weir
Genres: Science fiction, drama
Starring: Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie
Plot: In the (Hopefully not-so) distant future, NASA has put people on Mars.
So, who are the lucky bastards who get to leave everybody and everything that they know and love on a whole different planet a hundred trillion miles away (Or whatever the hell the exact measurements are)? Well, specifically, they’re scientists tasked with learning as much as possible about Marvin’s home turf.
One of these expeditions, Ares III, is forced to abort their mission because of a storm, and unfortunately, one of the crew members, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is killed by debris during the evacuation….
… Or is he?…
… I mean, obviously, he survives, because otherwise, we wouldn’t have a premise for the movie. I mean, we could have one focusing on the guilt the other crew members feel about leaving him dead on- ah, fuck that, I’m getting off track.
Watney survives, and eventually makes contact with NASA, but since it takes a shit-tonne of time to get from Earth to Mars, Mark can’t count on help arriving anytime soon, and must find a way to survive on the Red Planet as the good folks at NASA work to bring him home.
Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge fan of Ridley Scott’s. Yeah, I know that Blade Runner, Alien and Thelma & Louise are all great, and Gladiator is one of my favourite movies, but if you look at his filmography as a whole. there’s a lot of crappy stuff in there. His last couple of movies especially haven’t been kind to his reputation.
In fact, Ridley Scott was the one aspect of The Martian that was making me consider going to see Sicario instead. The near-universal acclaim that The Martian is getting swayed me back into its’ corner, though.
Good thing it did too, because The Martian is absolutely one of my favourite movies of 2015 so far.
One can’t exactly make a movie where 50% of the action takes place in space, have it look like shit, and still come out of it with arms raised in a victory pose. Thankfully, like the the other major space movies of recent years (Gravity and Interstellar), this movie promises to show us outer space (Specifically Mars, obviously) and it delivers in spades. It maybe doesn’t reach the level of the other two movies in terms of pure CGI goodness, but the visual effects are still top-notch, and the beautiful cinematography and steady direction don’t hurt either. What it piles on top of the effects and cinematography though, is what really makes the movie for me. Specifically, the awesome, involving story from Drew Goddard (And I suppose Andy Reid’s novel, which I haven’t read, also deserves praise), of Cabin in the Woods fame. The dialogue and banter is surprisingly buoyant humorous, something one wouldn’t expect from subject matter like this.
Obviously, the movie makes a point to show the isolation and loneliness that Watney is feeling throughout, because holy shit, how could it not, but it also makes a point to have a sense of humour about itself, and not make the audience wallow in a sense of despair. Aside from the surprisingly good, solid, mood-lightening humour, the main character’s infectious optimism is such a welcome touch. It would have been so easy to have Watney sulk around in a haze of self-pity throughout the runtime, only having breakthroughs when it conveniences the plot. What he actually does is a million times more entertaining to watch, and what he does is attack every problem with such an unrelenting sense of positivity that makes you root for the guy to get home that much more. If life handed him lemons, he would not only make lemonade, he could probably somehow make Fireball.
Of course, also to be thanked for Watney’s incredible likability is Matt Damon’s performance, which is great. , because he’s Matt Fucking Damon, and he’s great. However, lost in the fact that Damon is the one with his face plastered on all the publicity is the fact that the cast assembled for The Martian is one to be reckoned with. Jessica Chastain doesn’t have as much to do as she did in Interstellar, but she’s still great at what she does, and she shows it here. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and Sean Bean are all A+ as the dedicated, underfunded (AHEM) folks at NASA, and Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie and Michael Pena all have excellent chemistry with each other and Matt Damon as the crew members of ARES III. Somebody I was really surprised and happy to see appears in the middle of the movie, but I won’t say who it is to preserve the surprise.
The Martian is one of those movies where it really takes a lot of effort to find any flaws whatsoever, but if I had to nitpick, I would have to say that, as welcome as Watney’s optimism is, it can skew a bit on the unrealistic side at times. That said, the movie does make a point to frequently show his discouragement with the situation, so I guess that argument’s pretty much moot.
I dunno, would anybody have a problem with me labelling it as the closest possible thing to a perfect movie? Because that’s pretty much all there is to it.
Overall: Excellent visuals, terrific performances and a cheerful sense of humour and positivity make The Martian one of the best movies of the year.
Aaaaaaaand summer’s over. Fuck.
Soon, bugs will die by the truckload. Leaves will bail from their trees at the first sign of chilly weather like the unfaithful bastards they are. Children and most teenagers will be back in school (Hah, losers!), and the other teenagers and young adults, if they’re not working full-time, will be back in university (Aw, nuts).
Since September is looking of be a real dumpster fire of a month when it comes to movies (Which suits me well, since I’m trying to focus more on other stuff, anyways), let’s take a quick, extremely half-assed look at some of the movies from earlier in the year that I got around to seeing last month instead of going to the cinema, because aside from Straight Outta Compton, August 2015 can go fuck itself.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden
Plot: Plain (You know, for Hollywood) college student Anastasia Ste- Wait. ANASTASIA STEELE?!?! BAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
Okay, okay. As a writer myself, I get it. Names can be tough. You want a name that fits and/or says something about your character, but you don’t want it to be too obvious, and yeah, a name like “Jane Smith” would be boring, but “ANASTASIA STEELE!?!?!?!”
Fuck off, E.L. James. Just for that, I’m skipping the plot summary and short blurb. You gave up all hope of that semblance of dignity when the thought of naming your protagonist/Avatar ANASTASIA FUCKING STEELE, and I’m not going to encourage you.
Besides, it’s not like anybody doesn’t doesn’t know the premise of the book. It’s a Twilight fanfic minus vampires and werewolves and plus bondage. I don’t know what part of that is screaming “make me a fucking movie”, but silly me thinking that Hollywood cares about the quality of the source material it adapts.
- + The two leads actually to a pretty solid job with what little worthwhile material that they’re given. They don’t stand out or anything, and everyone else is fairly terrible, but they don’t embarrass themselves, and that’s a small mercy in this movie.
- + The cinematography and direction in general are also quite good. It’s very cold and clinical, which can work with the tone sometimes. It’s not Kubrick, but it’s alright.
- – Unfortunately, this same coldness makes the movie about as erotic and emotional as Spock and the T-800’s sextape.
- – This movie should’ve embraced the fact that everybody thinks the book is terribly written trash. At least that would’ve been more entertaining.
- – If you want to learn absolutely nothing about BDSM culture except that there’s dominants, submissives, and sometimes, a metric shitton of leather is involved, then have I got the movie for you!
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Directed by: Richard Starzak and Mark Burton
Starring: Justin Fletcher, John Sparks, Omid Djaili
Plot: Growing tired of the same old routine at their farm on the countryside, a flock of sheep, led by the one apparently known as Shaun (Although you wouldn’t know without the title. This movie has little to no dialogue whatsoever) decide to take a day off from the daily grind. Unfortunately, through various hijinks, their actions result in the Farmer getting lost in a nearby city. Accompanied by the loyal sheepdog, Shaun and the flock must venture into the city to bring him back home, all while evading the local Evil Animal Control Guy.
Shaun the Sheep is the latest movie from Aardman Animations, the British stop-motion animation studio who brought us Wallace & Gromit and Flushed Away, among other stuff. This latest movie is based off of a TV show (Also made by Aardman), and as far as kids’ show adaptations go, it’s probably one of the better ones we’ve seen in a while. That last sentence should most definitely not be seen as high praise, by the way.
- + Stop-motion animation looks like hell to create. That said, when done right, it can rival CGI and hand-drawn animation. I don’t think Shaun the Sheep quite attains that level of greatness, but it’s still really good, regardless.
- + Shit, I dunno, it’s funny? I have literally nothing to say about this movie, you guys.
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Mike Birbiglia, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller, LeBron James
Plot: Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) is not the most responsible person you will ever meet. Devoted to a lifestyle of drinking, partying, smoking pot and sex with multiple partners, she had it drilled into her head by her father (Colin Quinn) that monogamy is not a realistic ideal. However, this lifestyle of her is challenged when she meets funny, charming sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), and hijinks ensue.
Aside from the gender/role reversal and a few wrinkles here and there (Amy can be straight-up cruel and unlikable a lot of the time), Trainwreck plays out more or less like your average rom-com, except much cruder. Which is awesome, because the romcom genre and its many cliches are getting fucking unwatchable at this point, and if we can’t expect an original storyline, the least we can hope for is really good comedy, and Trainwreck delivers on that front.
- + WHO IS BRIE LARSON, AND WHERE THE HELL HAS SHE BEEN ALL MY LIFE!?!?
- + All the performances in this movie are great, but LeBron James gives us a candidate for the best athlete/actor double threat to ever appear on screen.
- + Also, John Cena, because why not?
- – As is par for the course with a Judd Apatow movie, it probably goes on a little longer than what is needed. Ah well, at least it’s not as bad as Funny People in this respect.
Directed by: Ken Scott
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, Nick Frost
Plot: No. You can’t make me.
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death
Directed by: Tom Harper
Starring: Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory Adrian Rawlins, Oaklee Pendergast
I have said before before that I hate horror movies, and while my sentiment on them still hasn’t changed (Give me Wet Hot American Summer over even the most highly-touted horror movie any day), even I realize that there are plenty of good scary movies out there, like The Babadook, The Exorcist and pretty much any foreign horror flick.Hell, I may not enjoy Nightmare on Elm Street, but I can still recognize that it’s a well-made horror movie, technically speaking.
So, why do I still profess to hate the genre? Well, it’s precisely because of dogshit like this movie. If I wasn’t already ambivalent enough towards the genre, I would be insulted that this movie was even considered a horror movie. What this movie is is part of a near-universally despised subgenre of horror that I hereby dub “StartleCore”.
What is StartleCore, you ask? Well, without going into detail (Maybe some other day), it’s any movie that tries to sell itself as a horror movie, but then spends the entire runtime trying to startle the audience with shitty jumpscares instead of focusing on creating an actually scary atmosphere and leaving an impact on the audience.
To summarize, this is one of those movies. There, I just saved you 98 minutes. You’re fucking welcome.
- + Phoebe Fox is actually legitimately good in the lead role. Way to do one thing right, movie!
- – There is one jumpscare that is just a bird flying into a window. Ya done fucked up, movie.
- – At least this movie makes sure to make sure that a lot of time passes between the jumpscares… Too bad it’s wasted on terrible dialogue and story development that interested me less than try to follow the squiggly lines floating across my eyeballs until the next bullshit jumpscare.
Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Jens Hulten, Simon McBurney, Alec Baldwin
Look, just watch it. It’s a really good time, and if this movie is any indication, Tom Cruise isn’t going to be alive or not horribly crippled for much longer. You know, unless Scientologists are hiding some kind of cure-all/anti-aging formulas in their churches or whatev- that’s totally it, isn’t it?