These Are Not Blockbusters

I had low expectations for each of these films, but I watched them anyway. The quick summary of my opinions on these films would be something like this. I was both annoyed with and bored by just about everything in Robin Hood. Mortal Engines big failing was weak characters and incomplete and character development and motivation. And lastly, Dudes & Dragon, was bad in all the expected ways, but still better than I thought it would be. Now, let’s look at each in more depth.


Robin Hood, 2018

My hands-down, no-holds-barred favorite character of all time is Robin Hood. Which is why I am always apprehensive when a new Robin Hood movie comes out. That apprehension is warranted as I am inevitably disappointed. This movie is no exception. It’s not good. It’s a weird mix of Hunger Games, Assassin’s Creed, and Kevin Costner’s 1991 Robin Hood, and makes no apologize about not concealing those roots. Machine gun crossbows, some sort of future-apocalypse-medieval time period, and lots of current day, thinly veiled politics all make this movie a fucking mess.

I could go off on quite a long tangent about all the stuff I didn’t like about this movie, but let’s suffice to say that I have many complaints. I spent most of the movie playing games on my phone and only half watching. And yet I was still annoyed.

If I were to write an open letter to the film industry it might read something like this: Dear Hollywood, please stop making Robin Hood movies. You obviously don’t get it.

Robin of Loxley, is a lord living in Nottingham with Marian until he gets drafted into the army. While he’s gone the Sheriff confiscates and then apparently trashes his castle, Marian becomes some sort of mine worker/rebellion leader, and an enormous mine/city grows up across the river. You know what, forget it. I’m not summarizing this. It touches many of the points of the legend, but ignores the point of most-all of them. I didn’t like it. Two stars.

didn’t enjoy it

Mortal Engines, 2018

Mortal Engines is a mixed bag. It was not a great movie, but I did enjoy watching it more than I expected to. This may have been partially because I didn’t know what I was getting into. This is, to my mind, leaning very heavily on the Hunger Games/YA tropes; some of which work and others don’t.

As silly as the mobile, predator cities idea is, I was able to accept it as part of the world building. The 60-second war is a cool idea. The effects were excellent. The sets were first rate. This movie was definitely made to be a blockbuster and the beginning of a series. That didn’t happen and I fear it’s not getting another chance… it lost a lot of money.

Some of the heavy effects/chase scenes could have been cut to make room for scenes that would have cleared up character motivation, character relationships, and story development. This would have made for a better more cohesive movie. I did not realize until watching the “making of” feature that our main character was actively hunting/seeking London. That wasn’t made clear. That’s how the movie starts. That’s a problem. The main character was pretty stereotypical of the YA/supernatural genres. She’s not particularly likeable, but everyone likes her. The declaration of love comes mostly out of the blue, but is completely predictable. Maybe, and I’m hypothesizing here, maybe, these issues were going to get straightened out/developed in future movies. Unfortunately, those wont be happening. I would have watched them. I liked it. 3 stars.

liked it

Dudes & Dragons, 2015

I fully imagine that no one has ever gone looking to watch Dudes & Dragons. This is a movie that is following in the steps of Your Highness, but has a fraction of the budget and lacks the star power. It’s a comedy/heroic fantasy with terrible special effects.

I put this on while I was working on some other stuff, but I confess, there were multiple occasions where I stopped what I was doing to watch. I must confess to being both entertained and amused at various points in the movie. I’m not going to recommend this. I wouldn’t do that to you. But it’s not as bad as you’re probably thinking it would be. It’s got a couple name actors in there. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is your big bad. Dylan from Beverly Hills, 90210 has a role. The ladies are attractive. The funny bits are funny. Really, it’s all about accepting that this is a bad movie and enjoying that aspect of it.beast. I’m giving it 3 stars.

liked it

Consider Me Avenged

Now that Endgame is available to rent, I’ve seen it. I know. I know. I’ve heard it all already. But you can pry my card from my cold, dead hand. I can’t be bothered to pay movie ticket prices to drive to the theater, sit with a crowd, and watch an overly loud movie. Damn. That makes me sound old. But whatever, my TV is plenty big, I have complete control over the volume, and I can’t remember the last movie that I just absolutely had to see the day it came out. The Marvel movies are no exception. But I hear a lot of people have seen these movies, so I figured I’d check them out.

Lady Ronn and I had a bit of a movie marathon on Saturday. We watched both parts of the latest Avengers assemblage. That’s more than five and a half hours of sitting in front of the TV, but I did it. Pizza was involved.

part one or part three?

I was going to recap what I said before about this movie, but I couldn’t find a post about it. Did I not give my review of this movie? That seems unlikely, but apparently is the case. So here is my completely fresh take on a movie from April of last year.

You’ve all seen it. You don’t need me to recap it. My big take away from the movie was that I liked it more the second time around than I did the first time. This could be because the hype is further away, and I admit to having a negative bias to movies that get hyped like these two did, or it could be that I saw more in it than I did the first time. There were a surprising number of things that I either did not catch on the first viewing or simple didn’t remember. Whatever the case, I enjoyed watching it more the second time than I did the first. I still think that the invasion of earth and subsequent battle suffers from a issue of scale. I don’t buy the idea that Waconda is so isolated, hidden, and technically advanced that every other government on the planet ignored the big battleships flying in from space and attacking the jungle. I think this was handled better in the second movie, but I would personally like to see these heroes incorporated into the real world a bit more. This could be due to my recent viewing of the Amazon series of The Boys. After watching it again, I’d give this a solid four stars. It was good.


the next part

I must confess that I do not think that a 50% population loss would have the result that this movie portrays. I think that some things would be worse and some things would be better than portrayed. And five years later… well, I hope we’d be better at picking ourselves up and moving forward.

A bit of quick bit of unnecessary research tells me that the population of the USA is about 329 million. Since we see almost nothing of the rest of the world, I’m ignoring it. So we would lose half that and put us at a population of 164.5 million, or roughly the population of 1954. Five years later, using historical numbers, would put the US population at right about 178 million. Just seems unlikely that we’d be in some sort of Mad Max situation. Anyway, back to my impressions of the movie.

I was pretty sure that this was going to be the end of the line for most of the original heroes. They’ve been doing this Marvel Universe thing for 10-years and while the movies all make big bucks, the big three are all getting fat cash. So I was not surprised to see Captain America and Ironman written out. I’m surprised Thor will be back. Really, I figured this would be the changing of the guard.

At the halfway point, I was still wondering how they were going to right-set their universe. Their solution was not terrible. I enjoyed the execution of things.

I was underwhelmed by the amount of screentime and roll that Captain Marvel played. But I guess that she’s Superman-level stuff, she could pretty easily make the rest of the heroes irrelevant. Scarlet Witch is another one that seems to have a pretty high power level. Hey, as long as were talking power levels… Black Widow has no powers, right. I mean I looked it up. Nothing. She holds her own pretty well for just being a karate-knowing, glow stick-using spy-lady. Maybe there’s more to it that I’m missing. But then, I think these movies don’t do enough to show the various power levels among the characters.

Anyway, I liked it. Favorite movie ever? No. But it was a good wrap up of the first 10-years of Marvel movies. I’d give this one four stars and say that it’s probably better than part one, but I’ve only seen this once.

So there you have it, my impressions of the latest Avengers movies. Do with that what you will. Later.

Popcorn Time

Google sent me a coupon to watch a movie for $1.99. So this weekend I watched Captain Marvel, a movie that I hadn’t seen yet and a movie that seemed to stir up quite a bit of internet fuss when it came out a couple months back.

Captain Marvel (2019)

To my mind, the two biggest problems for Captain Marvel are it’s inevitable comparison to Wonder Woman and the fact that Carol Danvers is not particularly likeable. The first issue is directly related to the second issue there. From what I’ve seen online this is a problem in the comic books as well, the Carol likeability thing. She actually shows more personality at the beginning of the movie than she does at the end. But even at the beginning she’s not really likeable. I mean, I never wanted to hang out with her.

This is not a Brie Larson thing. I’ve enjoyed Brie in the few other things I’ve seen her in–Kong: Skull Island and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. No, this seems to be a character problem. If you’re going to make this super powerful woman the new Marvel headliner, you need to make her a bit more relatable and easier to root for, i.e. Ironman or Captain America. Wonder Woman was relatable, shit, even Black Widow is relatable, Scarlet Witch not so much. Captain Marvel is too much Scarlet Witch and not enough Wonder Woman.

I enjoyed pretty much everything else in this movie. The de-aging effects on Nick Fury and Phil Coulson were very good, the twist done with the skrulls and the kree, the cat, the original Mar-Vell, and even the origin of the eye-patch were fun and entertaining to me. Watching Captain Marvel do her thing was well done and very cool, the fights were good, and there were only a couple CGI scenes that stood out negatively to my eye. But damn it, I just don’t like Carol Danvers enough to get invested in her as a character.

I’ll give this movie four out of five stars because it’s better than three stars and I don’t give half stars. Besides, had they just made Carol more personable, or at least more interesting, it would have been a solid four star movie.

P.S. I waited around after the credits for that. Really.

This next one may surprise a few of you. I forgot to include it when I did my last round-up of recently watched movies. Let’s take a look at Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt (2016)

The previews for this movie looked pretty sweet, but damn if it didn’t get slammed by critics and audiences alike. What’s the deal? Hey, it’s on the Roku channel and it’s one of their front page banner movies. They seem pumped about hosting it, let’s give it a try and find out what the deal is.

IMDB says that this has a 5.4/10 score, 25% from Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes shows a 15% positive critic score and a 37% audience score. Yeah, I can see where the critics would hate this movie. It’s that kind of movie. But even the audience score seems low to me. I mean come on, Metacritic gave 40% to Jupiter Ascending and that’s one of worst movies I’ve seen. This was not a great movie, but it wasn’t terrible. I watched it and was suitably entertained.

Sure, it was cheesy as all get out in places, the special effects ranged from good to not good, and the story was weak. But having said all that, let me tell you what I did like and what I didn’t. They had these worm/dragon things that were pretty poorly done, but I had not seen anything like them before and they were kinda cool, you know, if you could get past the shoddy CGI. The gods being taller than the mortals was pretty cool and done pretty well. The gold winged form of Horus was cool as were the wings of Isis. And there were a bunch of name actors in here that I was not expecting to see. Oh, and the music was pretty good.

And the bad. Acting wasn’t great. The dialogue was weak. Weirdly, no one in this thing looks egyptian; it’s a bunch of white folk. Well, except for Black Panther. Gerard Butler was in it and while he’s not unlikeable, his movies don’t do well. Just sayin. This movie steals all the cool stuff from about a score of other movies, which is not terribly original or done as well, but it is all the cool stuff. And lastly, I’m sure it didn’t live up to its 140 million dollar budget, but I watched it for free. And for free, it was not bad.

I’m not going to run out and buy this thing on blu ray, but neither do I regret having spent 127 minutes watching it at home on a Saturday afternoon. It’s not particularly memorable, but I’ve seen way worse. I’d give it three stars out of five and consider it an average action/fantasy movie. I enjoyed watching it.

I liked it

Latest Watchlist Impressions

It’s that time again. Time for me to tell you what I think about all the stuff that has been playing on my TV. I know. I know. I hate everything. But that’s not true. I liked almost everything I put on this page. Read on if you don’t believe me and see for yourself.

Did you see Deadwood? The movie, not the series. I mean you should watch both, particularly the series. I mean, watch the series before you watch the movie. This isn’t a Firefly situation where you can see one without having seen the other. You need to see the series. Good news is, it’s a great series so you’ll enjoy it. But I’m here to talk about the HBO movie that picks up 10-years after the series ends. First things first, I’ve been looking forward to this since I heard they were making it. I watched the trailers. I watched the interviews. I listened to the NPR interviews. I guess what I’m saying is I had some anticipation going into this one. I watched it the night HBO released it. The problem here is one of expectations. Something like this is never going to make everyone happy and everyone is looking for something different. But whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ve got to say that they did a great job taking you back to Deadwood. It may be my memory playing games with me, I haven’t gone back and watched any of the original series, but it seems to me (and Lady Ronn) that they amped up the elocution on the dialogue a bit. Noticeably so. Not bad, but noticeable. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I’m not sure what that would have been, and it felt long, so it may have been a bit slow, but I was happy with what they gave me. Everything made logical sense and the passing of years was well done. The story wasn’t one that I would have written, but I enjoyed it. And given how reunion shows generally turn out, that’s not a given. This one was a winner. If you like the series, you’ll probably like the movie.

Mad Men – I enjoyed this series, mostly. I mean it’s basically about Don Draper and he’s not the best person in the world. Is it the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, no. But it was very good and even though there were times I wanted to give up on all these characters, I didn’t. This is another one of those shows where I find myself saying, “All of these people are screwed up. None of them are good people. Why am I watching this.” But then I keep watching. It’s got good writing and the characters stay consistent throughout the series. The glimpse into life in the late sixties is enlightening, and as that’s when I was born, I found it interesting. It’s not perfect, but I did like it. This is another show that I’d say is good TV and makes for good watching.

Aquaman – This was more fun than I would have expected. But dear lord, did it ride the edge on being cheesy as fuck. Never quite went over the edge, but this could have been a bad movie. I mean really bad. Jupiter Ascending bad. But, it wasn’t. Sure it was a big budget CG ladden, popcorn flick of the first rate. It could have taken itself too seriously, but it didn’t. It balanced the source material pretty well. It was just a fun romp with your favorite super dude-bro. I’m still not a fan of Jason Momoa, but this was probably my favorite thing I’ve seen him do. This was no Wonder Woman, but neither was it Batman V. Superman. I hope this is an indicator that DC has figured out how to make movies and will do it’s own thing, rather than trying to copy Marvel’s thing. One other thing… with all the CG and the enormous budget, what’s the deal with the bad wigs. Can’t we just dye Amber Heard’s hair a reasonable shade of red and call it good?

The Handmaid’s Tale – This is our current watch. I listened to the audio book before we started this series and while we’re only a season and a half in, I think they’ve done a great job with it. This is one of those stories where you could really expand on the book without damaging the connection to the original material. The stories are strong, the acting is good, the world is believable, and the writing seems strong. This applies to the parts where they’ve expanded the world as well as the parts straight out of the book. I was concerned that they were going through the story at breakneck pace in season one, but they’ve done a good job of weaving the story together in some unexpected ways. This one has great production values and I’d call it good TV. Series is very good so far and while it’s not really my thing, I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse – I don’t watch a lot of animated stuff. Partially, this is because Lady Ronn doesn’t care for it. But she was gone and I wanted to check it out. Some of the animation was of a style that I found disconcerting, but not bad, and I didn’t think it was the end-all be-all that some of the reviewers I’ve seen seem to think it is. I enjoyed it. I liked the new spider-kid, the alternate dimension spider-man, spider-lady-girl Gwen, and would have liked to seen more of the noir version of spider-man. Spider piggy and anime spider robot girl, however, didn’t do anything for me. Aunt May having a Spider-cave under the shed was odd, too. But I don’t follow the comic books, so maybe that’s a thing. My biggest complaint about the movie was the post credit scene with the old cartoon spider-man. That was dumb and a total wasted opportunity. Otherwise I found it to be an enjoyable watch and I’ll call it a good movie.

Catastrophe – I really liked this series. All four seasons were great. They did a few jumps in time that I found unexpected and passed over some things that I would have expected to get more air time, but it worked. I didn’t feel like I was missing much and some of the places they left you at were unexpected. I think I liked this one more than Lady Ronn, it really resonated with me and felt genuinely funny. The writing was good. The acting was good. The characters were good. The interactions between the characters was entertaining. Sure, this is a comedy, and it is genuinely funny, I mean I laughed a lot while I watched this, but it is also a realistically amusing look at relationships, marriage, and the ups and downs of both. I’d recommend this one all day long and am actually sad that they’re not going to make more.

Wine Country – Six ladies get together for a vacation getaway and hijinks ensue. This is a comedy? Because it’s not all that funny. I found myself thinking, “Oh my, is this what a girls getaway is about?” Getting your drink on and hiding your problems? Because that seems to be what the majority of this movie is about. Maybe it’s because of the gout, but I’m always surprised at the weight placed on the value of getting drunk and/or the anticipation of getting drunk. Maybe I’m just envious. It was entertaining enough, but it didn’t get but one or two laugh out loud moments from me. My favorite scene was the one at the art show, where the younger crowd was basically clueless. But I wouldn’t recommend this one. Not because it’s bad, but simply because I don’t think you’ll be missing anything by not seeing it. This gave me pretty much what I expected and nothing more.

A few things that we tried, haven’t given up on them, but they didn’t stick on the first watch. The Strain – kinda gross to watch while eating dinner, Better Call Saul – another show about horrible people that has high production values and good writing, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – just not pulling me into this world, am I the demographic for this show?, and

I feel like I’ve watched some other stuff that I haven’t mentioned, but enough is enough with the reviews. You know the deal, I mostly don’t like watching movies and TV. Very little of it leaves an impression on me. I’ve got a few things on the watch list, but there’s so little time and so much content. We need to watch season 3 of True Detective, the latest season of Agents of Shield will definitely make the list, we’ll probably finish all the series I listed above, and our “to watch” list is far longer than we’ll ever have time to watch.

Movie-wise, I still haven’t seen Captain Marvel, Incredibles 2, the Shazam! movie, or Avengers: End Game. I’m a little behind on my superhero flicks, mostly because I’m waiting for them to show up on the streaming services. So that’s where I am with my watch time and what I’ve been up to. Now, get out of here and go look at something else. Later.

Not Much to Say

I don’t have much to say today and I didn’t get much done this weekend so there’s no updates to anything. I did see Bird Box on Netflix; It was not good, do not watch it. Sandra Bullock in a Netflix movie. Maybe it’s just me, but all these movies that take one sense and make that the terrorizing thing are dumb. If you look you die. If they hear you you die. If you smell it, but aren’t the one who dealt it, you die. You get the idea.

I before E

Except when your foreign neighbor Keith receives eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty caffeinated weightlifters.

seen on a coffee cup

I did see The Highwaymen as well, that one was pretty good. It was another Netflix original movie. Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner. If I recommended movies, I might tell you to watch that one. But I don’t, so I wont.

Other things I’ve watched lately on Netflix include the following. The Dirt, I was a big Motley Crue fan in highschool and it was done pretty well, so I was entertained. MadMen, which is our ongoing series currently, is pretty good for a show about a bunch of bad people doing bad things in a way that is supposed to be entertaining. And lastly, Kevin Hart: Irresponsible, which wasn’t very funny and left me with the impression that Kevin Hart is a very angry man at this point in his life. I think I actually laughed, like twice. Which is not good for a comedy special.

96

This is the sexual position where you and your partner basically just rub the back of your heads against the others ass crack. It’s not that great.

Ronn McCarrick

I’ve been watching a lot of TV, and I can’t say it’s been great. The youngest boy is visiting and he’s a big fan of TV, as is his mother, which means I’m getting roped into this terrible habit. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is a dinosaur movie, so it should be great. But instead, it’s more of a bore. Not terrible. Just not great, or really even particularly good. How can you not make these better movies. Fuck, they’re dinosaur movies. Maybe concentrate on that more and on the science of making them less. And probably you should get rid of the whole genetically improved monster dinosaur hybrids. Stop ruining this series for me.

Speaking of ruining a series for me… I watched all or part of the last two Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I don’t even know what they’re called and I don’t even care. The first one was a classic. That was an incredible movie. They have gotten worse with each addition to the series. But I’m sure we’ll keep seeing them until all life has been drained from the franchise. Would you be surprised to learn that I didn’t like them? They were mildly entertaining, but the magic is all but gone in that series.

Seventy five percent of all traffic deaths and injuries happen within 25 miles of home.

This is not news. I mean, how often are you more than 25 miles from home? As a percentage, it’s probably pretty small.

Ronn McCarrick

This ended up being an awful long post for one where I had nothing to say…

Well, based on the retirement clock in the sidebar nothing has changed. I’ve got work to do. Later.

we have a cat

Multiple Universes

It’s time for another round of movie reviews. I remind you that I, mostly, don’t enjoy watching movies or television. There are just things I’d rather be doing. With that prejudice explicitly stated, let’s move forward and talk about some movies. I watched all three of these on my couch, as I rarely make it to the cinema anymore, so I missed out on the giant screen, the too cramped seating, and the overly loud sound. I guess I’ve missed out on the whole movie going experience and I’m sure that will color my opinion, but it will probably be offset by not having had to pay the high ticket price to get in.
I’m going to talk about three movies today. If I were to take the time to go through all the things I’ve seen since I last wrote a review post, this would be considerably longer. Let me simply say that, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is getting better the further we get from season 1, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 wasn’t nearly as good (or fun) as the first one, Star Wars: Rogue One wasn’t great, I enjoyed Wonder Woman, and Moana was not bad for an animated movie, but I’m not really into that sort of thing. Like I said, not really a fan of watching the screens…
Let’s get to the meat of this post.


Suicide Squad

2016 | PG-13 | 2 hr 5 m | They are the baddest of the bad–a band of supervillains assembled by a top-secret government agency. Led by Deadshot and Joker’s maniac lover Harley Quinn, this misfit and rather deranged ‘suicide squad’ is tasked with a do-or-die mission against a super-human enemy in this blockbuster comic mashup. Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis star.

Oh cool, a Will Smith movie. I like Will Smith. Oh wait, this movie is a mess. First, let me state explicitly, for the record, and to expose my personal prejudices; I don’t like stories about villains, bad guys, or even most dark heroes. These are not the stories I want. Did I mention the Joker is crap in this? This is a movie about a group of convicted super villains, who are actually the most relatable group in this movie. And they are not relatable, they suck. There is also some government folks and some military folks and some other villains doing some stuff. Oh look, Harley Quinn’s ass in skin tight hot pants… not enough to save this movie. There are too many characters and we know nothing about them, we don’t learn anything about them, and we don’t care about them. Will smith plays himself with a beard, that sounds like a criticism, but that’s actually a good thing. People like Will Smith. There’s a couple different romance plot lines, but who cares and they’re mostly ignorable. Oh look, Ben Affleck’s Batman. How much did he get paid to show up and do nothing; but we can say he was there. Who cares? Lame! So despite all this, and this movie is a mess, I did make it through this one. DC has no idea how to do this whole movie universe thing. Their movies are not great. But there was enough in this movie for me to not say I didn’t like it. But it’s damn close. I’m giving it three stars out of five and I think it probably doesn’t deserve all those.

Doctor Strange

2016 | PG-13 | 1 hr 55 m | After a neurosurgeon loses the use of his hands he meets a mystical mentor who helps him harness magic to become the most powerful sorcerer on Earth.

Oh look, Marvel has taken us into the mystical side of their little superhero/space/comic book universe. Is that a big deal? I guess it is. All the reviews seem to think it is anyway. I’m sure that Doctor Strange is going to get a trilogy of movies (minimum), and maybe you’re excited by that. Maybe you’re a big fan of Doctor Strange. Personally, I think he came off as a less likeable, less charismatic Tony Stark, and I don’t know that he’s a character that I really care about. He has a cape that I enjoyed watching. I actually liked the cape more than any of the characters in the movie. Don’t miss understand me, I didn’t hate this movie or even dislike it. It was okay. Pretty typical fare for a Marvel movie. The origin story was a bit weak. The good doctor seemed to get his new skill set pretty easily, without much effort, or any real trials. I guess he’s just a natural. The villain was lame. I think I saw all this bending CGI in that movie where the guy from Titanic is obsessed with his spinner-thing… overdone. Oh, and why exactly is all that folding going on? Is that how magic works? Weird. I’m glad I’ve seen it. I mean, it makes me feel like I’m up to date on the whole Marvel Universe thing, but this ranks right up there with the Thor movies for me on the who cares spectrum. And having just watched Suicide Squad, this seems like a masterpiece of modern film making. Probably, it’s rating is benefitting from that comparison. Three stars out of five, I liked it, but I probably will never watch it again and will pretty quickly forget that it was a thing.

Kong: Skull Island

2017 | PG-13 | 2 hr | In a world where monsters exist, Kong is King! The second installment in the ‘MonsterVerse’ series of films that began with 2014’s ‘Godzilla,’ this kaiju-inspired epic is a rollicking adventure that follows an expedition to the mythical Skull Island–a place crawling with prehistoric dangers, led by the giant ape himself, King Kong.

MonsterVerse? Second installment? WTH? Okay. I get it. Everybody has to do a universe now. I think I shut off that Godzilla movie. That was the one with “Breaking Bad” in it, right? This is better. I don’t think I ever saw the “School of Rock” King Kong from 10-years back. Was that good? Kong is very large. Probably because  they’re setting up for Kong vs Godzilla, or some crap. Research tells me that Kong has ranged from 25-150 feet tall through something like a dozen movies. He’s closer to the top of the range in this one. He’s enormous. The cast is too big; why does Hollywood keep doing this. But it mostly worked for me. The island is suitably weird and full of weird creatures. But I’ve got to say that I absolutely hated the bone-headed, two-legged lizard-things. I thought they were dumb. There was enough talk about a “hollow earth” that I figure they’re setting up for another Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. There were some things, more than a few, but they’re pretty easy to overlook given that this is a movie about a 100-foot tall ape living on an island surrounded by a hurricane. I liked it. I’ll give this one four stars, but I imagine most people would give it three. I enjoyed it more than either of the other movies in this post. Oh… at the end, after the credits, yeah, there’s a Godzilla teaser.
Everybody wants a universe linking their films. I’ve spent time in three of those universes lately and it ain’t all great. Marvel has become a little predictable. DC has no clue what they’re doing. The idea of a MonsterVerse sounds cool, but it won’t be. There you have it, three movies rated. I know what my opinion is worth, but hopefully it was an entertaining read.
Later.

Movie Night

Let’s take a look at some of the movies I’ve watched over the last couple weeks. I don’t watch a lot of movies and I don’t have strong feelings for those that I do see. I’m not a movie guy. There are things I would rather be doing than watching a movie. Two of the three opinions expressed here are likely to be controversial. All I can say about that is, I warned you.

So to recap, we’re using the old Netflix star scale here, one to five stars with no half stars available: Hated, Didn’t Like, Liked, Really Liked, Loved. Now that were all on the same page, here are my thoughts on three movies I have seen recently.



CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

Basking in a $408-million box office, critical praise, and gallons upon gallons of fan boy saliva, Captain America: Civil War showed up on my screen with the bar set very high. The cast was large enough to be an Avengers movie. There were whole tangents to introduce characters new and re-enshrined. Marvel wants to show off Black Panther, because he’s getting his own movie. Marvel wants you to know that they’ve got the rights to do a Spiderman movie, and they’ll be doing it right. Marvel wants you to know that Hulk and Thor are not in this movie, repeatedly. Oh yeah, Antman shows up and grows really tall. It’s a Captain America movie, I expect to see Falcon, Black Widow, and Bucky/Winter Soldier, but everybody shows up here, because it’s a civil war among the heroes. There’s twelve super heroes in this thing, a few government agents who would seem to be important, the villain, a love interest, political intrigue, political conflict, internal strife, talk about characters who are not in the movie, lots of inconsequential blame thrown around, five new super soldiers, and a whole movies worth of story at the beginning that is pretty much ignored.

So what about all this talk of serious plot and thought-provoking theme? I guess it’s in there, somewhere. I mean they present big ideas, gloss over them, and then get back to the fighting… mostly for no reason. It’s way better than the reasons for the fight in Batman vs Superman, but it still felt like a lot of action scenes and not a lot of substance to me. You cannot have the kind of movie they want to say they have and put this much stuff into it. Much like the Avengers movies, there are too many characters and too much going on. Stuff falls through the cracks. Sure the comic fans can fill in all those gaps with their preexisting knowledge of the Marvel Universe, but the regular folk seeing the movie have got to feel let down by the story presented on screen.

I didn’t hate this movie, but I was disappointed in it. I liked it. It was a good Avengers movie, probably the best Avengers movie. But I wanted more Captain America in my Captain America movie. For my money Captain America: The First Avenger (the 1st CA movie) was the best, it was the one that gave me what I wanted. This was good, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting very big and I’m not sure how long it will remain cohesive. And while I feel like I’m betraying myself here, I may be getting burned out on superhero movies.



DARK PLACES

Lady Ronn had listened to the audio book for this one and wanted to give it a watch. I knew nothing about it that wasn’t revealed in the description blurb on Amazon Prime. But it was pretty good, in a not-the-kind-of-movie-I-usually-look-for kind of way. As with all of these movies based on books, they left a

lot out. The wife filled me in on all the missing bits, as she is wont to do. But even without her exposition there were a lot of things that I saw and thought to myself, I bet they went a lot further into that in the book. But such is the nature of the translation from page to screen. I am told that they touched on a little bit of everything

from the book, left not much out, and changes were not overly distressing. Personally, I found the resolution to the mystery to be a little far out and slightly annoying, but not a deal breaker. I don’t watch this kind of thing to solve a mystery; I just want to be entertained. I was. Would I watch it again, probably not. Was I left asking why all the female protagonists in stories lately are unlikable, yes. I guess its a genre thing.

GHOSTBUSTERS

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard terrible things about this movie. I know I have. The reviews were bad, it was in and out of theaters quickly, and the fan base had fits over what had been done to their beloved franchise. Did these people not see Ghostbusters II (1989)? Sure the first Ghostbusters movie was good, but that sequel was less than stellar. This movie is not a sequel; it’s a reboot, a new take on the idea, an homage.

I watched this with the wife on New Year’s Eve, after 45-minutes of looking for something to watch. And I do not know what was in the extended edition that was not in the theatrical release.

This was a funny movie. I laughed. I was amused. It made me smile. I really liked three of the four lady ghost busters and was not terribly annoyed by the fourth. Pretty-boy secretary was funny. The villain was a creep; as he should be. There were cameos by many of the original cast members, in funny bits. It was a fun movie. I think this was hurt more by the existing fan base than by any flaws in the film. I’d be up for a sequel, if for no other reason than to see if it would be done better than the original sequel. If you heard the reviews and avoided this movie, I would recommend you give this one a shot. I really liked it.

Batman on Film

Not sure what got into me last night, but I went a little batty and put this collection of 1920 x 1080 HD wallpapers together. Batman as he has appeared in all his live-action glory. Enjoy.

1943 Lewis Wilson
1949 Robert Lowery
1966 Adam West
1989 Michael Keaton
1992 Michael Keaton
1995 Val Kilmer
1995 Val Kilmer
1997 George Clooney
1997 George Clooney
2005 Christian Bale
2008 Christian Bale
2016 Ben Affleck
2017 Ben Affleck

Terminator Salvation

Sunday has apparently become movie day. So here we are another Sunday at the movies. Same cinema, different theater. This time we went all out and got soda and popcorn… it’s that kind of movie.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Terminator or any of its sequels. I liked Terminator, thought it was cool at the time, but couldn’t really count it as one of my favorite movies. I seem to remember Terminator 2: Judgment Day being pretty good, but being slightly annoyed at the idea of a terminator being a good guy, although that was balanced by the cool liquid metal terminator effect. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was a decent action flick, but felt weak too me and the ending was unsatisfying. I don’t know that I’ve actually sat down and watched any of those on TV or DVD since I saw them the first time. The television series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I didn’t watch and only saw bits and pieces of assorted episodes, it never felt like I was missing anything by not watching it. So I went into Terminator Salvation with a pretty open mind and no real expectations.
Pretty good. Definitely a big-budget summer movie. I liked it. Lots of things blowing up. Lots of guns and shooting. A couple chase scenes. Some fighting. And even a little hint of romance amongst the ruins of humanity and the resistance.
It’s pretty obvious that they’re setting us up for a few more of these, probably a trilogy, they always make these things in three’s. And I think they might be able to pull it off. This movie stands alone nicely, but acknowledges what has come before it and leaves plenty of open space for something to come after. Christian Bale does alright as John Conner, but he is not the focus of the tale, which is just as well because my opinion might change if I had to watch him storm around more than I did. But the characters that the movie does focus on are interesting and if not likeable, they are at least captivating.
As with any movie of this sort it does something’s that make me ask why? And there’s plenty there that I would have written differently. But all in all it was a good, entertaining movie. I wouldn’t pay to see it again, but I just might sit through another watching or two on cable. My recommendation, go see it. Everybody else is going too, and you may as well be able to talk to them about it. Besides, it’s a summer popcorn movie and it’s hard to go wrong with those.