Batman: Killing Joke Review (Spoilers)

Batman-The-Killing-joke-movie-posterIs there some kind of Batman writers strike I’m unaware of? I have to imagine there are hundreds of thousands of writers penning Batman scripts right now, dying to be made into a movie. And yet out of all that we get two such poorly written scripts as we got this year in Batman v Superman and now Batman: the Killing Joke. That’s right. Unfortunately the animated Batman movie everyone was hoping would redeem the franchise sadly did not. In fact, in my opinion it is even worse.

I sincerely wanted this to be good because I love Mask of the Phantasm and list it as one of my top 50 favorite animated films of all time. To read that post click here. I had reason to be hopeful. They were going with an R rating which could mean they were taking some creative risks (I checked it out and it isn’t too hard an R so I decided it was acceptable for me).  They had a really strong trailer and most importantly the original cast of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are back as Batman and Joker with great voice actress Tara Strong as Batgirl. This sounded great!

What a letdown!

killing joke1Ok. Let’s talk about Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon.

The first 30 minutes are actually her story.  The trailer is very deceiving in that regard.  Joker does not appear in the film until the 37 minute mark and it is only a 75 minute movie. I’d love to see Batgirl but alas we have another poorly written female superhero character. Barbara Gordon is a character out of a soap opera (please don’t do that to Wonder Woman DC. please!). When her and Batman interact it didn’t feel genuine or earned at all. I didn’t even like her design which is very boob-focused. I know why artists design female characters this way (look at the rebooted female Power Rangers designs which are also very boob-focused). But it’s such a cheap way of making a character sexy. Batgirl should be sexy because of who she is not because she has a ridiculously large bosom.

killing joke2She’s also a throwback to female characters I thought we had moved past. She’s basically a plot device for the male characters to trick, manipulate, encourage and rape (you read right) whenever the story needs her. She makes no plans herself aside from looking in a mirror and saying ‘Barbara what are you doing?’. Sigh. Give me a Mary Sue any day over this kind of convenient woman. killing joke4Batman’s character is once again very flat and we get almost no Bruce Wayne. I mean next to nothing. So any kind of hiding who he is or struggles with how he is treating Batgirl are completely lost in a gruff bland guy wearing a mask. I think you may see Alfred once but it’s mostly just Batman grumbling about Batgirl getting in his way and other bland things. He might as well have been made of cardboard.

killing joke5It’s called Killing Joke and you’d think that Joker and Batman would be together a lot. At least the trailer would leave you to believe that. Alas, just like Batman v Superman the title fight is very brief (about 7 minutes) and it resolves in a completely nonsensical way given the character development we’d seen so far.  Then they give additional endings after the fight and I didn’t buy it for one second.

The animation isn’t even that good with nothing really special about it. It all feels like images we’ve seen before with amusement park rides and shadowy figures. When will they learn that just having a dark color palate doesn’t make something dark. You could have something truly disturbing in the sunlight. I mean Jaws creates fear and it is on a sun-dripped beach. It’s the characters that we get to know when they are taken to dark places that it becomes dark. Come on Hollywood- do better!

killing joke6

We also get another origin story because that’s exactly what we all needed right? Sigh…And it’s not even an interesting origin story but one with more corny melodrama. There have been like 30 animated Batman movies let alone the live action. Does anyone in the world not know how the Joker became the Joker? or how Bruce’s parents are killed? (I’m talking to you Batman v Superman). We all get it. Move on to something interesting in a story!

I’m so disappointed. At this point my hopes are on Lego Batman to save the character. I get that those who love the comic book may love this. I can’t say one way or another. All I know is I didn’t like it and was very letdown by it.
As far as the adult content it’s there but nothing really shocking or interesting done with it. No pencil in the eye moment for people who like that kind of thing. Blast…

The only really good thing I can say about this film is that the voice cast is strong as expected. I just wish they had been given something strong to do. It feels like they kind of decided last minute to make it R rated instead of it being an integral part of the design and story.

Maybe other people will like it but I thought it was a soapy mess and I really hated the way they portrayed Barbara Gordon. Next time make her an actual character that makes choices and then has a real story arc instead of a cog in your dopey movies timeline.

Overall Grade- D+

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Hit Me with Best Shot: Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind

close encounters posterOpinions are an interesting thing. We can have a response to art at one time in our life that is a certain way and then at another it strikes us completely differently. So was my experience with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Directed by Steven Spielberg when I saw it in my 20s I was bored. I don’t know if I was expecting a movie like Independence Day with alien action (which ironically bored me on the rewatch) but at the time it seemed boring.

Now as a grown up adult I look at it and scratch my head at my earlier thoughts. How could I possibly think this movie was boring? It has so many characters and so much going on that it almost feels a little disjointed at times (especially in the beginning). Isn’t that funny?  A completely 360 degree turn around for me on this film. Who knew!

I think what really struck me this time around was its commentary on media and communication. Perhaps it is just seeing the Republican Convention and the Democratic  Convention starting, but I’ve seen so many people passionately trying to explain what is crystal clear to them (including myself I might add) and being told they are insane in response. There are so many scenes like that in Close Encounters. People know what they saw. They sometimes have the scars to prove it and yet they are told they are delusional.

Richard Dreyfuss is so good as an electrician who has a UFO encounter and his wife and others won’t believe him. He gets more and more manic as the signs grow and that makes people push away from him even more. The same thing happens with Melinda Dillion’s Jillian who’s son is taken by the spacecraft and people still don’t believe her.

We as the audience have seen the spaceship in bright technicolor so we know they are right but the other characters either ignorant (lots of scenes of people playing unaware of situation), or chose to not believe and some lie. Is that not also how communication is today more than ever? We either don’t know, chose to not believe or we are lied to and that goes for both sides of the political spectrum.

John Williams score is so great in this; although I did think the ending with the music was a little silly. In fact, I don’t know if I needed to see the aliens at the end because they weren’t really what the movie was about. Still, it’s not a huge problem.

My best shot is probably a strange one as there are dramatic shots of spaceships I could pick but my pick goes back to this commentary on media that impressed me. It’s a news conference where the leaders are trying to explain away what the people know they have seen. I think the way this guy is holding up the plate mocking their concerns shows how we often do the same today with people who hold passionate views different than our own.

close encounters of 3rd kindNathaniel at The Film Experience is doing a week-long series of best shots for the 1977 Cinematography nominees, so Close Encounters best shots will be posted today, and the rest on proceeding days. None of the others sounded very interesting to me so I’ll probably just stick with this but you should check out the blog for the posts.

Star Trek Beyond Review

I will do a more in-depth detailed review of Star Trek Beyond after we do our podcast but this is my basic thoughts.

star trek beyond posterIf you have been following my youtube channel you will know I have been doing a series of podcast style videos with a friend of mine on the Star Trek movies. We just finished our 8th discussion on Into Darkness on Wednesday and will talk all about Star Trek Beyond this upcoming Wednesday so make sure you are subscribed to my channel. (I kept having some technical difficulties with some of the earlier podcasts but the last 3 have worked most of those out. Still I think they all worth listening too. I enjoyed doing them).

Anyway, the more I have talked about Star Trek the more into I have gotten. I still have yet to see an episode of the show (something I hope to soon remedy) but the movies are all very unique. There are some definite duds, particularly Star Trek V: the Final Frontier. However, even the duds feel like practically a different genre within the world of Star Trek. You have everything from a silly romp in Star Trek IV to horror elements in Star Trek II.

The recent reboots have focused more on making an action franchise instead of a science fiction story like you get in Star Trek: the Motion Picture and III and VI. But that new take is okay with me because like I said Star Trek has had many different looks to it. Why not action blockbuster?

The 2009 Star Trek is very entertaining but the cast was still getting into their roles and particularly Zachary Quinto as Spock fell flat for me. In this timeline of Star Trek Spock is more emotional and has a relationship with Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and his line readings just fell flat. The Eric Bana villain Nero is also pretty bland but that doesn’t really bother me.

Then we got Star Trek Into Darkness which is entertaining but tries to wedge in elements of Wrath of Khan that drag it down. Benedict Cumberbatch is great as Khan but he is constantly interrupted by secondary villains and the attempt to mirror events like the death of Spock in Wrath of Khan with the death of Kirk don’t work (especially because they wimp out and make him not dead minutes later). Anyway, it’s an okay film but not great.

A-Phaser-in-Star-Trek-BeyondNext is Star Trek Beyond and in my opinion it is the strongest of the three. I was thoroughly entertained by this movie from start to finish. It’s so well paced. The action is great. There are real moments of heart and the script is full of witty banter In a way it reminded me of a Marvel movie with that kind of energy and joy.

The story of Star Trek Beyond has our crew on year 3 of their 5 year mission to explore the galaxy. They are given a task from the Federation to help an alien named Kalara get her stranded ship. When they arrive close to the planet they are hit by a swarm of enemy ships that attack the Enterprise.  This was a new type of space battle I hadn’t seen before and I thought was very exciting. The swarm feels dominating and I worried for our crew.  They did not feel invincible like some superhero movies.

star trek beyond swarmIn order to escape, the crew has to leave in different pods which land in different areas of the new planet.  This is my favorite thing about the movie because divided up in pairs you really get to spend time with characters like Chekhov, Bones, Scotty and Uhura which can sometimes get lost in the Star Trek films.

Also the dialogue between the pairings is very engaging and funny. The actors have grown accustomed to their roles at this point and it felt like groupings of friends instead of colleagues. The unusual pairing of Bones and Spock was particularly fun to see.

Star-Trek-Beyond-Karl-Urban-Bones-Zachary-Quinto-SpockScotty meets a woman named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).  I liked her character because she is strong and tough which we see all the time in movies,  but she’s also insecure and fearful of what the villain Krall might do to her and the others. There’s a point where she breaks down over what happened to her father that is devastating. Boutella is great in the role. She also is smart and a problem solver who knows how to fight hard when she has to. Her and Simon Pegg’s Scotty have good chemistry together  and made me smile.

star trek beyond jayla and scottyJaylah has been living on an old abandoned USS ship, the USS Franklin, which becomes central to the story.  I liked the way the crew had to be creative in making the newly acquired ship work. I often wasn’t quite sure how they were going to get out of a situation and then they’d try something and we’d all see how it worked. This created a sense of anticipation and excitement to the action. The villain,  Krall played by Idris Elba, has an attachment to the ship which explains why he took a turn towards his evil ways. The villain is maybe not the most creative one out there but Elba does a good job especially as he is less constricted by makeup. There have certainly been far worse villains in the history of Star Trek. That’s for sure.

star-trek-beyond-zoe-saldana-idris-elba-krallI thought all of the action was terrific- both space and fist fighting. I also like that not every situation is solved in the typical space movie way particularly a final big space battle that was very cleverly handled.

There are also nice moments of heart. I particularly liked seeing Spock wrestle with the death of Spock Prime. And like I said, it feels like these characters are friends, giving the conflict more weight. We even get to end with a birthday party for Kirk and everyone celebrating with him. I guess you could say I liked spending time with these characters and their adventure.

I’m not going to pretend like I am the greatest Star Trek fan in the world but I have watched 9 of the movies and to me Star Trek Beyond had energy, warmth, humor and heart I expect in a Star Trek movie. It solidified this new cast as the modern Star Trek cast and gave me action in new unexpected ways. Most importantly it was a film about characters, which has always been the most important part of Star Trek. We even got 1 on 1 time or 2 on 2 time that we don’t normally get. It was great! I left with a huge smile on my face, having been thoroughly entertained.

If I am going to fault it there were a few instances of lazy CGI work and a couple places where it was pretty obvious a green screen was used. Also Krall could have been better written but I still like what we got. If I was being nitpicky some elements do feel derivative of Guardians of the Galaxy but repeated storylines don’t really bother me.

Overall Grade- A-

What side are you on with this latest Star Trek Beyond? Love it or hate it? Put in comments section.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Review (Mild Spoilers)

abfab2

Comedy is really hard to write you guys. It really is and you need only look at the last few years as proof of that. By my count this year there have been 14 comedies I haven’t really laughed much in. Isn’t that a depressing statistic? There have been a few standouts that did make me laugh such as Barbershop: the Next Cut, Central Intelligence and Ghostbusters but that’s about it.

So I went into the theater on Monday for an advanced screening of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie hoping above all else to laugh. I needed a good laugh. Sadly the movie didn’t give me much to chuckle about.

abfab5Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie is of course based on the characters from the British TV show. Edina and Patsy are now nearing retirement age and finding themselves becoming less relevant by the day. They are still the bad examples they always were with their partying ways but in the days of reality TV antics nobody really cares any more. Still, Edina needs to save her PR firm so they want to sign Kate Moss as a client. However, she ends up dying and the ladies become suspects on the run!

abfab4This seems like a funny set up and there are a couple laughs but they are too few and far between for me. Jennifer Saunders is great at the physical comedy and knows how to do a drunk walk better than most but it grows old quick

I think part of the problem is the jokes become very repetitive. Patsy is selfish. Edina is a narcissistic hot mess who screws everything up and that’s repeated in various forms again and again.

There is also a dated quality to the jokes. Back in the 90s when the show originally aired such antics were so outrageous. Now in the world of reality TV narcissism it feels overdone and played out.

abfab3Chris Colfer from Glee had some really nice moments as does Rebel Wilson as a hilarious flight attendant but in a way these fresh young talents were a reminder of the stale gag of the AbFab women. Sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s how I felt.

abfab6Julia Sawalha feels very awkward as Saffy, Edina’s daughter but I did like a scene where she sings At 17 by Janis Ian in a drag queen club. Colfer is great in this scene as well.

absolutely-fabulous-movieThere are lots of cameos like most comedies these days (over 60 listed cameos in this film) and a few like Wilson work but a lot fizzle. And a number of characters are underused such as the rival PR pro played by Celia Imrie.

I particularly didn’t like a sequence where they go to Cannes and swindle an old rich lady.  When humor like that fizzles it feels really mean.  Edina also drags her granddaughter Lola through all of this without notifying her mother.  This seemed too cold even for her. When you are involving a child in this kind of nonsense to me it changes the tone and is harder to laugh at. They also endanger the life of a friend of theirs and don’t give it even a moments thought beyond their own problems. Again if the jokes work I can forgive it but it didn’t, so it feels mean. Laughter excuses all as they say and this didn’t have enough.

abfabuI feel bad in a way because I really wanted to laugh but about 80% of the gags just lay flat and didn’t make me laugh. I was left thinking ‘why is that funny?’.

I don’t know what grade to give it because humor is so subjective but I must own I don’t see why this is 81% and Zoolander 2 is at 23%.  The two movies are extremely similar. They both are about are ‘sequels’ to properties people love, about ‘has-beens’ in fashion, and their selfish escapades across Europe. They both have lots of cameos and the style of the jokes are very similar. I certainly don’t think this is 4 times better but what do I know. Zoolander 2 actually may have even made me laugh more.

abfabAll that said, there are a few laughs and the ladies give it their all. I’m giving it the same grade I gave Zoolander 2 which is probably very generous and proof how hard up I am for a laugh.

Overall Grade C

This is definitely a pretty strong R rating so you’ve been warned.

The BFG Review (Spoilers)

bfg2So The BFG came out while I was in Spain but I have been able to catch up and saw it on Monday. And what did I think after I saw it? It was okay but it could have been much better. Like Bridge of Spies last year I left feeling underwhelmed by Steven Spielberg’s latest offering. I will still never understand why Bridge of Spies got nominated for best picture and was on so many top 10 lists. Beats me! To me both films have the same problems. Neither are awful films but they are both kind of boring and forgettable.

The BFG was my 4th most anticipated film of the year so suffice it to say I am very disappointed by this response but this year seems to be the year of the disappointment at the cinema. Oh well! It’s not a total disaster by any means so let’s talk about it.

bfg3Written by Roald Dahl, The BFG, tells the story of a little girl named Sophie who is taken from her bed in an orphanage in the middle of the night by a giant named BFG (Big Friendly Giant). He takes her to Giant Country where he is the only nice giant.  The rest like to eat humans or “beans” as they call them. It turns out that the other giants are bullying (another tolerance message for 2016) the BFG and Sophie will have none of it.  The BFG is kind of like the Sandman and he brings dreams to humans. Sophie and BFG create and execute a plan to involve the Queen of England to capture the Giants and live happily ever after.

Disney's THE BFG is the imaginative story of a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and the Big Friendly Giant (Oscar (TM) winner Mark Rylance) who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country   Penelope Wilton is the Queen, Rebecca Hall is Mary and Rafe Spall is Mr. Tibbs. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film is based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl.

The casting is probably the strongest part of The BFG. Little Ruby Barnhill is a revelation as Sophie. She’s not too adorably cute and precocious but is still very charming. She feels like a real little girl.  Also Mark Rylance is warm and natural as The BFG. I also enjoyed seeing Penelope Wilton of Downton Abbey fame as Queen Elizabeth. She gets some much needed laughs especially trying frobscottle, the flatulence inducing soda BFG loves.

In some ways watching The BFG felt a little bit like what a Richard Linklater film would be like if he tried fantasy.  It doesn’t have a strong plot but is mostly about relationships and characters talking. The problem is Linklater is a master of dialogue where let’s be honest that has never been Spielberg’s strength. It takes an hour and a half for anything to really happen in the film.  Most of it is BFG explaining the world to Sophie.

bfg6One thing that confused me is why is BFG the only giant who has a house and a job? He’s the only one that has heard of a snozzcucumber? The giants are never shown going into London to get ‘beans’ as they call it so what do they eat? What do they do all day? It’s like they exist just to bother BFG. They literally sleep right outside his house. Isn’t that odd? They seem horrified when a rainstorm comes in the film but they live outside. Surely they would be used to rain?   I don’t remember in the book, but I thought they went and did things in the city.  Why is BFG the only one who collects dreams?  Who gave him that job? Who told him how to do it? Are there other giants doing it in other cities and towns? You get the idea. There are lots of questions

bfg5The production design is wonderful throughout. I loved the jars of dreams and when BFG and Sophie dive into the dream world it looked magical. This will probably sound like an unflattering comparison but the way the dreams looked kind of reminded me of the fairies in The Black Cauldron. I also liked the labels on all the dreams like ‘I is naked at my wedding’. That was very creative. The motion capture on Mark Rylance as BFG was also excellent. It felt like a real character that actually looked that way- not the pasty look in early motion capture films like Monster House and Polar Express.

bfg 9Spielberg does make an odd choice that I don’t really understand in the narrative. They add a backstory to BFG that is not in the book. In this version BFG had a previous boy that he raised who wore a red jacket. Sophie gets taken to his little room still full of drawings and things. The boy even taught BFG how to read and write. But he was eaten by the Giants.  I don’t see what this adds to the story? I don’t know if this was supposed to create tension but it felt unnecessary to me. Sophie is already threatened by Giants. We don’t need them to be more threatening. Is it supposed to make BFG more sympathetic and wounded? I guess but that never really pays off. It kind of ends up feeling awkward more than poignant.

There is some nice humor particularly towards the end which I enjoyed. The scenes where they are preparing breakfast for BFG was a lot of fun. However, it does seem like a little too late.

bfg11A film that did this story a lot better was last year’s Paddington. It’s about a creature coming to London and meeting ordinary people, with a baddie out to get him. But Paddington is so much sweeter, funnier and has much more story to keep it going. And Paddington’s visuals are equally strong as in the BFG.

One thing Paddington did not have is a score from John Williams. Honestly I think The BFG is one of the best we’ve heard from Williams in a long time. I loved it!

So in the end The BFG is a mixed bag. Great production values, performances, music, with its heart in the right place. It’s not a bad watch it just could have been great and it’s not. The writing isn’t strong enough for how little plot there is, and I was left asking a lot of questions about the giants and the world presented. If the dialogue had grasped me enough I would not have cared about such questions.

I’m bummed because if this had been better it could have been a real catalyst for new stories instead of remakes for Disney.  Oh well. On to Pete’s Dragon, which I don’t care what others say I’m excited for. Ha

I don’t know what grade to give this one because it’s not like I was miserable. It’s passable. I guess I will give it:

Overall Grade- C+

Hit Me with Your Best Shot: Zootopia

I haven’t participated in Hit Me with Your Best Shot in a while because of traveling and not being interested in the selections but this week I had to participate! If you don’t know Hit Me with Your Best Shot is a series by Nathaniel over at the Film Experience where a bunch of bloggers all watch the same film and pick one shot that conveys that film to us. You can see all my entries here.  Like I said, this week I had to participate because the topic is Disney’s latest animated classic Zootopia!

I have spoken, dissected, reviewed Zootopia in about every way you can. My friend AJ and I spent over 90 minutes discussing every last detail of the film.

I even recently reviewed The Art of Zootopia.

But I want to address one of the complaints I’ve heard about the film. People say the messaging is too heavy-handed and that the metaphor falls apart. To those that make this claim I would like to introduce you to something called a FABLE!

fableAs the definition implies a fable is a story that exists to teach a lesson usually to children. To me saying Zootopia is heavy-handed is as insane as saying the Tortoise and the Hare  or the Boy Who Cried Wolf are too heavy handed. THEY ARE FABLES!!! Again, they exist to teach lessons to children. Are nursery rhymes heavy handed? Do we need to not read the Lion and the Mouse or other Aesops Fables to kids any more because they are too heavy-handed? Give me a break…

I mean what’s next someone claim the tortoise and hare metaphor is flawed because it doesn’t show a broad range of athletes in the race! Of course not, all fables and all metaphors are at a certain point flawed. But they teach the lesson they are meant to teach to children. Talk about overthinking it.

But Zootopia isn’t just a fable for children. There’s lots for adults too-

Now what makes Zootopia special is it takes a fable about prejudice (amongst other things  that people always forget about like bullying and never giving up) and adds a detective story that’s very entertaining. It has all the flavor of a film noir buddy cop story we used to get in the 80s with great chemistry between Judy and Nick. AND even more than that it has amazing world building with an incredible attention to detail for each of the lands of Zootopia. The voice acting is superb and it has tremendous heart.

But even adding to the greatness of Zootopia is how funny it is.  There are tons of background jokes in signs, dvd covers and the like but there also great primary jokes. My favorite that still makes me laugh each time is Mr Big and his skunk rug. This is a play up on the Godfather meant to entertain adults.  Everything down to the design of the wedding is a perfect send up and it makes me laugh.

In this scene with Mr Big, you also get some key elements of the fable.  We learn that “My child. We may be evolved, but deep down, we are still animals.” Deep down inside we all have weaknesses and prejudices we pretend aren’t there but that is no excuse. Through the story Judy realizes her own ‘deep down inside’ feelings and learns to be a better person (or bunny)!

So for me the best shot combines humor, beautiful lighting and design, and a memory of what Judy has just learned. It has everything I love about Zootopia- a film which I think is the best Disney non-musical since 101 Dalmatians and one of the only truly memorable movies of 2016

zootopia best shot

Blind Spot 7: Talk to Her

talk to her4This month for my Blind Spot series I happened to pick a Spanish film without knowing I would be visiting Spain in July. Isn’t that a crazy coincidence? Anyway, I decided to look at Pedro Almodovar’s 2002 Academy Award winning film Talk to Her. It’s a moving, intriguing, weird film that definitely won’t be for everyone, but I’m glad I saw it.

talk to herIt’s a pretty simple story about 2 men, Marco and Benigno who fall in love with strong women who end up in comas. They then care for the comatose women but it’s what Almodovar does with that basic story that makes it interesting.

On the surface what these men are doing is really quite lovely.  They are caring selflessly for women in a coma.  How can that be anything but good? Well, that’s where the line between love and obsession come in. Especially Benigno begins to fantasize  what his life with Alicia is like and that she is responding to his advances.  He imagines this fantasy existence and even says at one point that his relationship is better than most other married couples.

talk-to-her_03There is something decidedly creepy about the way he cares for Alicia which is an intriguing element to the story.

Marco has more of a backstory with his love Lydia who was a bullfighter and is injured in the rink. He is a very emotional man and often takes what others are feeling upon himself. This makes his responses to Alicia, Benigno and Lydia very interesting. Dario Grandinetti as Marco is the standout of the film. He’s a type of man you don’t often see in the movies- sensitive to a fault.

talk to her3The cool thing that Almodovar does is he never really judges either men. You can tell he feels sorry for all involved. They are all weak- whether it is a weak mind or body, and human weakness is sad for Almodovar. Benigno takes his obsession to a disturbing place and it just shows how the human brain can create false narratives to justify our own poor choices.

talk to her2Talk to Her is definitely not for everyone. There is nudity in the film but most of it is non-sensual while the women’s bodies are being cared for. However, there is a fantasy sequence involving a silent movie that is truly bizarre. I can’t really explain it but just know it is out there and is explicit! It was too much for me to be honest but it was brief.

talk to her5If you want to watch a film showing a unique side of masculinity and can handle something that is different I recommend watching Talk to Her.  It earns its R rating but it is a thoughtful unique depiction of that line between love and obsession.

I feel like a movie such as this would never win best screenplay now. What do you think?

Overall Grade- B+

Here is the trailer

Ice Age 5: Collision Course Review

ice age 5-6There are times when I wonder about my commitment to see all of the animated films of the year. Watching the latest Ice Age film, Ice Age: Collision Course, is one of those moments. It’s kind of crazy because I just saw it this morning but I’m having a hard time remembering anything that happened just hours later. This is a completely lame animated film that hopefully will be the end of the series.

The core story is Scrat, the squirrel who is always looking for his acorn, activates an asteroid in space that is headed towards Earth. Manny and company see the asteroid coming and follow Buck to a prophesied place that will keep them safe. Along the way you have lots of attempts at humor, sheer randomness and Manny dealing with his soon to be son in law. If that sounds boring it kind of is.

ice age 5-3There are moments where the randomness can be interesting but other times it’s just frustrating. Characters will wander off just for a joke that isn’t funny or pay off well. And some stuff is weird more than it is funny. Like Neil de Grasse Tyson appears inside Buck’s brain explaining the science of the asteroid.

ice age 5-5There is of course a lot of scatological humor but most of the jokes are more characters complaining about each other. Plus, you have the specter of the world coming to the end which gives the whole enterprise a rather downbeat feeling.

They end up meeting this Shangri Llama who is doing yoga in an asteroid that grants a fountain of youth.  Then they had to take the crystals and make a pit that would then repel the asteroid.  This is as convoluted as it sounds and it never worked in creating tension or empathy for the characters.  I frankly just didn’t care.

ice age 5-4They also keep zipping back to Scrat and his silly antics can be amusing but at this point it’s a very tired gag. A few of the characters land jokes but mostly it’s complaining more than actual jokes.

The 3D also looked terrible- instead of immersing me in the experience it kept shoving things in my face.

The best joke of the screening was when Scrat turns a planet into Mars and a little boy behind me said ‘that’s not how it happened Mommy”.  That made me laugh!

Ice Age Collision Course is a definite skip.

Overall Grade- D+

I was able to review this on my channel with my friend Rachel and I would love if you gave it a watch and thumbs up.  I am getting close to 1,000 subscribers so thank you!

Ghostbusters 2016 Review

ghostbusters_ver6Today I saw the movie that broke the internet. For months the battle over the Ghostbusters remake has been raging strong.  It has a female cast, some idiots trolled, people involved overreacted and then a bunch of lousy trailers came out. Plus, like Independence Day it’s another movie that others feel much more nostalgia for than I do. You can see my best shot pick and thoughts on original Ghostbusters here.

So is this new version the monstrosity that some people hoped for? (Yes some idiots hoped it would be bad). No, in fact, I liked it very much!

ghostbusters6Going into Ghostbusters I looked for a few things. 1. I wanted charismatic, likable female cast, 2. I wanted to laugh, 3. I wanted some entertaining ghostbusting action. This film gave me all of that. I left with a big smile on my face.

ghostbusters reactionSo let’s start with our leading ladies. We have Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. I like that they aren’t exact copies of the 4 original Ghostbusters. McCarthy and Wiig are long time friends who have written a book on the paranormal. They had great chemistry together and I thought McCarthy stole every scene she was in. I know some are tired of her shtick but it’s really not here. There isn’t a single fat lady joke in the whole movie. She’s just funny.

ghostbusters1All of the ladies have great chemistry together and things like Leslie Jones being from the street was actually well done. For the most part character-wise what worried me in the trailer didn’t come to fruition.  Kate McKinnon verges on being a little annoying but I was ok with it.

A lot of people have complained about the depiction of men in the film. I think this complaint misses the subtle humor these roles have. I can’t even tell you how many movies I’ve seen where every female character is a dimwit, shrew or hooker. Now they turn it around. That’s part of the joke! It’s called turning the tables to make people think and maybe laugh a bit at the way we see gender played out in film. Chris Hemsworth isn’t just the idiot, he’s a satirical jab at every dopey receptionist babe we’ve seen in a thousand other films.

ghostbusters3Let’s get to the humor. I must own I actually haven’t seen many Paul Feig films because they are usually hard R ratings. Here he is working in PG-13 territory and for the most part I laughed a lot. The banter between the ladies was very funny and dry.

Also Chris Hemsworth is hilarious in every scene he is in as the dopey receptionist. I also liked little moments like when Melissa McCarthy can’t get her broth to wanton ratio right from the Chinese restaurant. Things like that made me laugh.

ghostbusters8Now the action it is not as horror influenced as the original but I liked it. I thought some of the designs of the specters was cool and how the women had to use their brains to take them down was also cool. I particularly liked a set of ghosts that were giant balloons that felt very day of the dead influenced.

ghostbusters10It was also cool to see all of the new gadgets that McKinnon’s character invents. I think young girls will see this movie and have fun playing scientist and killing those ghosts! It’s the same thing that makes me excited to see girls playing Rey. I had Ariel and that’s basically it. Nothing tough and fighting like this.

ghostbusters wiigThat does bring me to a negative I had in the movie. Most of the movie is so kid-friendly that it bummed me out when unnecessary crude and vulgar humor was thrown in for no reason. Like a character gives another the middle finger repeatedly. Why did that have to be in there? I don’t need that for my little girl. You also had a joke about female anatomy I could have done without. That said, those crude and vulgar jokes are much worse in the original so it’s not really a surprise.

ghostbusters9There are also a number of cameos and callbacks to the original and some of them do feel forced. It didn’t bother me that much but it is definitely fan service. I particularly could have done without Slimer and his wife driving around.

I honestly hope there is a sequel because I think that will be even better. I think these fan service moments are out of the way and we can move on to an entirely fresh story.

Overall, if you can turn off the critics I think you will have a good time.  Is it the greatest movie of the year? No but honestly neither was the original- at least to me.  They are both fun summer movies with quippy dialogue and scientists taking down ghosts! Give it a shot. I don’t think you will regret it.

Overall Grade- B+

I did something new with my youtube video this time. I hope you guys like it