Some Stuff

As you know, I stopped posting for over a year and started again just recently. But during that time it wasn’t that I was not writing, I just didn’t complete anything that I wrote. Currently I have 18 draft posts just sitting there waiting to be re-examined and maybe posted.

Well this is one of those. Well part of it. All the way back in Nov 2016, I was in the middle of writing an epic review post that covered a bunch of movies because well I had stopped writing, was reviewing stuff, and thought it should still be posted…well that sounds familiar.

Anyways, I posted the first part but not the second. So here are short reviews to a bunch of movies I saw a long time ago.

This movie got very little coverage when it was released and I am not sure why. It marked the return of Guy Richie directing something worthwhile; it gave Armie Hammer a good movie to be in; and Henry Cavil is in a suit 90% of the film. Do I have to say more?

Based on the TV show from the 60s, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a cool stylish film set in the height of the cold war. A KGB agent and a CIA agent have to work with a beautiful mechanic from the wrong side of the Berlin wall as they figure out how to put their feelings aside to work as a team. They must stop a criminal organisation from acquiring and using nuclear weapons.

This movie is a lot of fun. It is classic 60s spy stuff, complicated for the sake of being complicated, filled with witty banter, car chases, and fancy clothes. Even though it does take place in the original time period it still feels updated and new. And whoever did the costume design, bravo. Every outfit was just on point; fit, lines, and colour.

The movie also had a great cast. As previously mentioned there is Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill, there is also Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant, and Jared Harris. There is even a cameo by David Beckham (which I didn’t even realise until I started writing this up). The on screen chemistry between the main actors is clear making their rapport just a bit more believable. I think they may have had a bit too much fun hurling insults at each other.

I really liked The Man From U.N.C.L.E. so much so that I recommend it. Especially for your campy, 60s, spy fix.

If you thought I didn’t see this movie, then shame on you. OF COURSE I SAW THIS MOVIE. Deadpool is one of my favourite comic book characters and I have waited for so long for this. I spent years explaining to people that the character that was in Wolverine: Origins was NOT Deadpool. This is whether or not you prefer the early iterations of the character that was a lot darker and very serious or the current version of him. Not. Even. Close. They took away his mouth for god’s sake! That is 90% of the character!

Deadpool was perfect for the long time fan and as an introduction for new ones. Right from the fade in, including the credits, all the way to the end, including the crawl and post credit sequence, it was all Deadpool. It was vulgar, violent, bloody, and hilarious! All the things needed for the character. If any of these aspects were toned down it would not have been Deadpool or possibly there would have been constant reference to the lack of potty mouth. It is much better with the cussing and certain implied things. I mean, “Happy National Women’s Day!” To the dismay of my friend, I may have laughed a little too loud at that. And the forth-wall breaks. The best. He even broke the forth-wall in a forth-wall break. That is like 16 walls!

The story itself was very good, tight, and well paced. The movie was half a flashback that provided a succinct origin and motive for the characters where as the other half jumped off from that. The fight scenes that were in the movie were flat out awesome. I liked the fact that they did not show every fight that Deadpool was in. They showed the aftermath or made reference to some of the fights allowing for the movie to progress without being drowned in blood. If that wasn’t properly balanced I don’t think this movie would have worked as well as it did.

I think from that you can surmise that I wholeheartedly recommend Deadpool. I am just gonna remind you that even though this is a comic book movie, it is definitely not for kids. Let them watch Captain America or Ironman, but Deadpool is for you.

Neither a prequel nor a sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane takes place tangential to the events of Cloverfield. It is a very uncomfortable, intense, contained (almost claustrophobic) film.

After getting in a car accident, Michelle wakes up to find herself trapped in a bunker with 2 men. After tending to her wounds and feeding her they won’t let her leave insisting that there has been some kind of chemical attack and she will die if she leaves. But something isn’t right about these 2 men and she needs to find a way out.

Like I said this movie is uncomfortable. From the moment she wakes up in that bunker it just gets you. You feel that unsettling nervousness, that need to flee, that fear. They capture it so well. The quiet of the small space abruptly broken with loud bursts.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays fearful determination perfectly. John Goodman is absolutely terrifying. And John Gallagher Jr. just brings that extra nervousness.

I do recommend watching this. It is such a well constructed and executed story. Your nerves will be wrecked by the end but it is worth it.

I didn’t see this in the theatre. Either people saw it without me or just didn’t want to watch a kids movie. For the latter they really missed out.

This movie is a well done, thinly veiled, look at racism and stereotypes masked in a cute story about a new bunny police officer teaming up with a conman fox to solve a mystery.

With many animated movies, they try to entertain the children as well as entertain the adults. They know that parents have to be there with their kids, so why shouldn’t they enjoy the experience as well?

The animation in the film is absolutely beautiful. Not just the characters but also the environments. The designers did a wonderful job creating a world that reflected the different types of animals and the habitats that they would live in. It is also very lush, filled with colours and textures that you just wanted to reach out and touch.

The voice work was also spot on. Ginnifer Goodwin’s sugary sweet voice was perfect as Judy Hopps and her fox counterpart Nick Wilde was captured sly but friendly by Jason Bateman. And the rest of the cast was filled by some perfectly chosen but very recognizable voices including Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, Octavia Spencer, and more.

I definitely recommend this film, it is great for both kids and adults that just makes you feel good at the end.

I saw this movie just a couple of days before the tragic news of Anton Yelton’s death was released. I remember thinking that this kid is gonna be a big star and then he was just snuffed out. This was a great little film to have added to his repertoire before his untimely demise.

A broke punk band gets a gig through a guy they met at one of their shows. It turns out it is at a skinhead bar in the woods. They put on their show but on the way out witness something they should not have. Now the only way out is to fight.

Green Room was directed by the same guy who did Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier. It has that same moody, intense feel throughout with moments of quiet and bursts of intense violence. He utilises a shift in visual tone as the characters move from one act of the story to the next. First the opening, bright and a little dreamy. Second, the core of the film, was dark and confused. Last was the end when things were brighter, fresh, and clear. This colour and light change helps keep the characters and the audience in a specific frame of mind. The script was sparse letting the visuals show the story but the few words that were used were carefully selected and used effectively.

The cast is great. There is the late Anton Yeltin the leader of the feisty band of punk rockers. Then the antagonist menacingly played by Patrick Stewart. I had never seen him play the bad guy in anything before. He was so calculating and filled with malice, it was creepy. The rest of the cast was filled with faces you may know but names you might not recognize that included Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, Eric Edelstein, and Joe Cole. They all did a fantastic job portraying their fear, angst, and malcontent.

Green Room is a great little movie. It is a short compact thriller filled with solid acting and moody scenes that are punctuated with violence. Give it a watch.

The X-Men comic books have some of the most complex and interesting characters and stories in the comic book world. Their vast and varying abilities along with their interactions with humans allow for thoughts on ethics, law, and human rights as it can bring up comparisons to race wars, gender biases, genocides, and equality that have plagued society for generations. It can also allow for some very cool battles.

X-Men movies however have not fared so well. They did bring beloved characters to life but in many ways have failed to create the same depth and wonderment that was afforded by the comics. With the most recent reboot, X-Men: The First Class and X-men: Days of Future Past, for the most part everything about this was better than what came before; the acting, the directing, and the script. The story was more complex, a bit darker, cleverly weaving together an intricate plot that fans of the X-men and newcomers would easily enjoy. This upward trajectory has faltered with X-Men: Apocalypse.

Thought to be the first and one of the most powerful mutants, Apocalypse rises to bring fear and destruction to the weak and unworthy as they should all serve him. In his mission he recruits 4 mutants, his horsemen, to help him complete his task. It is up to some new X-Men with the help of Xavier and Mystic to stop them.

With the acclaim and success on the last 2 films this had a lot riding on it and sadly it fell apart in several ways. Visually many of the new cast worked but looking the part isn’t enough they also have to play the part, this is where the real problem lies. They did not bring the tension or fear or growth required for these roles. This may seem trivial in an action flick, but when you do not believe in a character’s fearsomeness especially in the enemy then the action falls flat because you do not fear for the hero. The movie also had too much in it, adding several new characters to this cinematic world, catching up with previously introduced characters, and the origin, development, and destruction of an almost godly new foe. With all this going on some elements had to have been cut from the film most likely to save time. These elements may have filled in the story, gaps that would have made this a much better film. Because of this some characters seemed pointless, the importance of others seemed to come out of nowhere, and some seem to have been thrown in just so they could do some cool visuals. That Quicksilver scene was amazing but it seems to have been wedged in just so they could do the same thing from the previous film that everyone raved about.

X-Men: Apocalypse fell flat overall. It tried really hard to show the cool but lacked the substance.

When this was released critics panned it and no one was surprised. Then there was a mini-nerd-revolt where DC fans insisted that critics were biased and only panned it because it wasn’t a Marvel film. Either way Suicide Squad killed at the box office. I didn’t know which side to buy into even though I was mostly leaning to the side of the critics but I could not make a proper judgement until I saw the film myself. I waited a little while, until media focus had shifted, clearing my head of other’s opinions, and headed to the theatre.

As the story unravelled in front of me I realized I was hoping the critics were wrong, that the movie was good and their disdain for it came from previous DC cinematic experiences and a corporate conspiracy to ensure Marvel’s box office supremacy. Sadly that was not true, their dislike was greatly warranted by the claptrap of nonsense that I saw.

I don’t know how DC (their producers, people in charge) manage to do this over and over again. It is not that they do not have the time, or the money, or access to the talent, they just seem to think that sub-par is acceptable. They seem to spend all their time, money, and efforts on costume, make up, and visuals, but forget they are telling a story that has to have a well executed plot with characters that should be multidimensional, have motives, and be interesting. If the plot and the characters do not work then the visuals no longer matter. People would prefer a crappy looking movie with a good story than a beautiful movie with no story any day. Look at all those indie films and cheap sci-fi movies that garner massive followings. It is because even if the visuals aren’t right the audience can still connect with the characters and the concepts. Otherwise it is like draping a doily over a turd sure its pretty but nobody wants it.

But then there is the argument that they must be doing something right because the DCCU (can I do that?) films are making a ton of money. Of course they are doing something right, they are using well known and loved characters that come with a built in audience. They head to the movies hoping that the film makers got it right this time and every time they are grossly disappointed. This encourages audience drop-off as no one wants to pay to be continually disappointed.

The thing is Suicide Squad movie wasn’t all bad. The casting was alright and there were snippets of change, of how the story is presented, that instilled a little bit of hope. But in the end one of the clear factors seems to be editing. There were clearly elements missing that were removed most likely for time reasons but possibly also to reduce the darkness of the film. There was lots of buzz when there were late re-shoots for the movie, most articles cited that the movie was too dark and needed some levity. What is wrong with being dark? The Christopher Nolan movies were dark and 2 out of 3 of them were great. The thing is what was removed seems to be the elements that would have made this an at least acceptable movie. Who is making these bad editing choices? Or maybe it really is that the writers and film makers just do not know how to put together a good movie.

All I know for sure is Suicide Squad is awful. It is boring, and stupid, and makes you dislike characters you have liked for a long time. If you wanna watch it, watch it, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

I got to see a TIFF movie this year. I was treated to it by a friend of mine on the last day of the festival. I was offered a synopsis and trailer for the film but refused, looking forward to being surprised. Sadly it was a disappointing film that wasted some fantastic performances.

Told in vignettes, the lives of 3 women intersect in a small town. That is the best description I can give without just telling you the whole boring story. And that is what they are boring.

Since the movie is told in vignettes it is expected that the intertwining of the stories would make it go somewhere. The thing is nothing happens. You are shown very mediocre pieces of these women’s live, the fact that their world is not great and yet they keep going despite of it, and then the movie ends with no clear vision or point as to why you sat through that. Also except for 1 character they are pretty unlikable people so you can’t even pretend you want to know more.

The performances though were great. Especially Lily Gladstone who I had never seen in anything before. She was just fantastic; she was subtle yet powerful and moving. There is a scene, as she drives, that is just trained on her face and the emotions she expresses are just heart breaking. It is so well done without being overwrought. The cinematography is also interesting. I wouldn’t say it is beautiful but the shots of the spread out, barren, cold landscape captures a particular feeling.

I can’t recommend Certain Women it is pointless and at the end you feel like you have wasted your time.

I had to head out to the movies to see this just to help shut down the haters. Women can be Ghostbusters too ya know. There is no rule against that. And I am happy to say the movie was good.

I mean it was fine. It just what you would expect for something like this. But like with lots of movies like it they focus more on “cool scenes” than story or possibly they were trying not to upset the misogynistic fan boys too much.

The cast does a good job with the characters. They’re funny and you can’t deny that when you have a group like Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. There are a few solid laughs in there. The supporting cast is good and most of the original cast make fun cameos.

I have to say though, I hated how they decided to animate the ghosts. It was just awful and disconnected. It just didn’t look like it was part of the film I was watching.

Like I said the movie is fine. I am not going to say it is something you have to see but if you watch it you won’t mind.

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