Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Day of the Doctor


I'll admit to having a bit of a falling out with the Doctor Who series. I haven't really kept up all that well since the end of the 5th season, and I think that's because it was starting to get a bit too much for me. I think it has a lot to do with what they keep doing with each new season and how they keep on 1 up-ing the last one in terms of stakes. I like the first season finale quite a bit because of how contained the whole situation was even though they had to go up against really tough challenges. Then, the next one involved a war on Earth that got a bit out of hand but it seemed to take place in just one area. The next one involved the entire world being enslaved with the final fix being a rewind button. The next one involved all of time collapsing, though, they actually did get pretty clever in their solution. The next, next one involved an even bigger collapse of time that involved Pandorica's Box and...stuff happens in order to fix that.

It just gets pretty tiring, following a series when it bends and breaks all of the newly presented rules from each new episode.

Still, with how incredibly popular this show has gotten, it's easy to see why it has been working so well even if plays fast and loose with what can happen(pretty much anything can happen long as The Doctor ends up preventing time from collapsing). It's because of the emotional connection that's in every episode. The reason why The Doctor has a companion with him is because that companion acts as a surrogate for your understanding of this strange new universe. These are the people who are incredibly eager to go on these adventures just as much as your eager to wish that there was a Doctor that can take you on these kinds of adventures. A Journey through Time and Space with new interesting planets, life-forms, and technology. That, and the show is also really well written.  Even the filler episodes that don't really affect the overall arching plot line of the series will be some of the best stuff you'll see on television.

So, while I haven't been keeping up too much with Doctor Who lately, I still looked forward to this 50th anniversary special where they bring every doctor in order to fight the good fight. And, no, I'm not going to get into anymore details into the plot if you haven't seen it already. But, suffice it to say, it's pretty damn incredible.

The one word I've heard described after the first time viewing this episode(yeah, I saw it twice. Once at home, the next at the movie theater), the word I heard described was "Epic." When I thought about it, it's kind of an unusual word to describe this particular episode, because most of it takes place in just a couple of rooms where people have long conversations with each other. Yes, there are a lot of glimpses of epic battle scenes, but a lot of the drama and conflict comes from The Doctor...and the other Doctor....and the other other Doctor. It's what's great about this series; it's able to bring out these high stakes and epic moments by conveying it all through just the characters. While most of the plot line revolves around other characters than the title character himself, this episode exclusively focuses on The Doctor.

Weirdly enough, the world didn't blow up when they showed David Tennant(yes, he's back again as The Doctor) and Matt Smith in the same scenes. And their time together is an absolute riot. I've always kind of felt like that these two actors were sort of playing the same kind of Doctor just by the fact of how quirky they like to act(maybe Matt Smith goes a bit on the quirkier side). The way they wrote both of these characters into the story doesn't necessarily confirm that they're playing the same kind of person, but I wasn't wrong to think og how similar they are. Either way, this episode goes to show how great either of them are as The Doctor. I think, by this time, people have finally settled into the fact that Matt Smith really is a good Doctor; he just had the misfortune of having to follow up on David Tennant, even though they both do exceptional jobs(I actually might kind of, sort of like Matt Smith just a little bit more than David Tennant and I'm going to miss him when he's gone, though, I'm looking forward to the new actor).

If it's anything this 50th anniversary special does is that it reminds us of why we like this show in the first place(much in the same way the recent Bond movie did that with its 50 year anniversary special). The creators of the show are just as excited of showing us a new episode as a lot of people are in watching these new episodes. The Day of the Doctor is here to commemorate the show and all of the Doctors and of all of the fans of the show as well. This episode has gotten me excited enough to maybe even get back with the series. The show definitely seems to be looking forward to the shows progress in the future. So, bring it on!

Also, as long as we're on BBC British Television Shows...


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

So, just a preface, everyone seems to have come out of this movie loving it. I wasn't one of those people. I didn't hate it, I didn't dislike it, but I also didn't really like it all that much either. It's not bad and it has its moments, but, just be warned that you're not going to see the most positive things being said about a movie that you probably really like.

Also, I haven't read the books either, so, feel free to distrust anything I have to say based off of that as well. Though, if there was anything to get me to read the books, then it would be to end on the worst possible way with one giant cliff hanger without any sort of resolution to anything.


Alright...here we go.

This movie had me asking a lot of questions by the end of it all. Questions like:

1. Why did they bother to introduce a bunch of characters and decide not to do anything with them ever again?

2. Why did they decide to make the final shot of having Jennifer Lawrence make one of the most hilarious looking faces since...well, I don't know when.

3. Why is everyone try to say "Peter" in a really bad British accent.

4. Oh, it's "Peeta"...why is everyone's names so silly?

5. Seriously! They introduce a character who carved her teeth to be able to bite people to death, but they never show her again throughout the rest of the movie, as far as I can remember.

6. Why are all the good guys normal looking people while all the bad guys look like they are one step away from being a part of The Rocky Horror Show?

7. If The Hunger Games take place in a dome, and it seems like they can create what every they would like, why do they always choose the most boring settings? The first time around, it was a forest. The second time around, it's another forest but with a body of water in the middle.

8. Seriously? They're going to end it right there?


So, it's half past the future and people are living in this dystopian world where the poor kids get sent off onto this reality TV show, called The Hunger Games, where they have to kill each other for the rich people's entertainment. The main character, Catfish Jellybean, gets caught up in one of these things, but, in order to survive, she pretends to fall in love with one of the other contestants, Pita Bread, in order to win the emotional support of her audience and to get help from sponsors. Usually, only 1 of the 24 people survive The Hunger Games contest, but Catnip and Pita Bread manage to both survive. Now, in the second part of this story for the second movie, Cataract has given people hope that they can somehow end The Hunger Games once and for all when she managed the unthinkable of having more than one person survive the last game. The richest of the rich people doesn't like that, so, he decides to throw her into another one of these games, only this time, it's with contestants who have already won before.

To be fair, there were a lot of things that I actually did like. Kit-Kat and Pizza Crust get caught up in the whole reality TV show thing where they really have to sell it to the audience that they're just hopelessly in love. It's a great satire on reality TV shows of today and just how BS the whole thing really is. Also, there are some things about class disparity, so and and so forth, but the whole reality TV show thing was really when the movie actually felt like it was trying to do something interesting

Other than that, the movie just kind of sits around, almost providing us a near identical experience of the first movie, and then finally goes, "Oh yeah! Hey guys, make sure you come around for the next movie, because that's going to be pretty cool and stuff...so, umm, see ya then" It's all well made and it's got good leading characters, but the movie just never really clicked with me. It brought up some good ideas, it likes to play with some interesting science fiction concepts, and a lot of the scenes(particularly the actions scenes) are even better staged than the last movie(even if it's just a small improvement).

Writing this part, I literally just saw the movie a couple of hours ago, and I'm already forgetting most of everything that happens other than the broad strokes of the plot and a couple of the characters names. This pretty much happened to me with the first movie as well. I could tell you that The Hunger Games was about a bunch of kids killing each other for rich people's entertainment, but having just re-watched it yesterday(in preparation for the new movie) I completely forgot about the relationship between Katniss and Peeta and how Peeta actually does start to develop feelings for Katniss, even though she's really only pretending just to help her survive. These things aren't exactly small plot points for the movie either.

Also, that ending. So, someone compared it to the Empire Strikes Back and how that sort of ends on a "To Be Continued" note. But that movie actually had a complete story and experience, even if the movie didn't exactly end with complete closure. It had characters and plot points that actually came into full circle in the end so it can open up a new story with its own plot points that come into full circle. Catching Fire, even if the entire movie was 2 and a half hours long, feels like it stops right in the middle of it all so it can force us to wait for the next part of the story...and then the one after that(Yes, they're splitting the last book into two parts for some, inexplicable reason).

I know it sounds like I'm being harsh and dissenting of a popular movie just for the sake of being harsh and dissenting, so, let me just clarify by saying that this isn't a bad movie at all. There were things that had me scratching my head, but it's all competently made and I was mildly engaged while watching it. But, it feels kind of weird when people get incredibly excited after the whole experience(there was a lot of cheering in the screening I saw) while I'm just kind of sitting back just thinking "Well, that was alright, I suppose."

The entire movie is really just fine. Sure, the movie is 2 and a half hours long, but it does go by at a good pace and I was engaged through most of it. Other than that, it is really hard for me to conjure any more of a reaction than just "Yeah, it was okay." It almost feels like a movie that was made because the books have gotten so popular and not because some people really wanted to bring these books onto the big screen. It is cool that a lot of people really do seem to be enjoying these movies and are even getting really excited for the upcoming parts. Hell, I'm at least looking forward to the next part. But it just sort of feels like these movies can do with a little more bite, if that makes any sense.

So, I liked it enough, I just didn't have that explosive experience that everyone else seemingly got. So, let's just say this movie gets my shrug of approval.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Summer Wrap-Up

So...I just met a guy who has a blog called "Sharks With Laserbeams" Now I feel a bit more obligated to go back and do this thing again. Also, you should be checking out that guy's blog as well, because it involves sharks with laserbeams. You also get more insight from somebody else rather than my boring opinions.

Anyways, let's get through all of the movies that I didn't get around to talking about because I got lazy and didn't really want to do anything for a while.

Man of Steel: Well...you know everything you like about Superman with his optimistic heroism and his stance for the greater good and justice and stuff? Well, none of that appeared in Man of Steel. It's not a bad movie, it's definitely an interesting visual experience, but it does have a really messy story and screenplay. The thing is, the movie is such an interesting and fascinating experience, I almost want them to just try again. But, it looks like they are trying to do interesting things in the future, but, those movies are going to be carrying the heavy sad weight that Man of Steel introduced.

2 Guns: HOLY CRAP! Did this movie SUCK! Okay, it's not exactly bad, but it's boring as all hell. It's not really worth getting into details, but, suffice it to say, I saw this with a couple of friends and they seemed to like it. After a couple of months, I brought this movie up in a conversation and they forgot that this movie even existed. They were incredibly sure that we did not even go see a movie together. "Sean, I swear, we did not go see 2 Guns!" After a while, at least one of them remembered. Shouldn't this be a crime or something? Two hours where it puts people in an unconscious phase that they'll never remember again.


The Lone Ranger: I really don't need to go on about this one. We all know it's pretty terrible.

Elysium: Hard, sci fi action? Awesome!

Kick Ass 2: If there's any reason why this movie is not as good as the first one, it's because there's never really been any other movie to sort of bring anything like the original Kick Ass. The original was shocking, disturbing, but also a lot of fun while also going into a weird, dark commentary on the super hero genre. The sequel is really just there to be a lot of fun. It doesn't have the same impact as the original, but something good has to be coming from this movie when I left in a really good mood.

World War Z: A complete waste of time. Not entirely bad, but nothing worth watching.

Monster's University: I'm still convinced that Pixar hasn't really been even trying ever since their super-good movie that was Toy Story 3. It's funny and even engaging and not a Car Sequels, but, maybe Pixar will get around to picking up the ball again.

The Wolverine: Probably worth watching so you can get a taste of what they're planning with their next movie. It's probably got some of the most well directed action scenes(The one involving a train was kind of awesome!), but, other than that, it's not much more than just a competently made movie. It's fine, it passes the time, and it's got Wolverine cutting people up with claws. Good enough for me!

Riddick: Weirdly enough, I just got done watching most of this today(People were watching this in the lobby of the college dorm place of where I'm staying) and it's just okay...It does have some genuinely awesome scenes(especially one involving a box), but, other than that, there's nothing really too special about this movie.

Prisoners: Go see this movie!

The Conjuring: This one is pretty interesting in the way that it does do a lot of things right but I still can't get away from that feeling that it kind of didn't work for me. It actually got an R-rating, not because it had excessive gore, violence, or swearing, but because it was too scary. Well, I wasn't really scared at all. It's got good jump scares and it understands that subtlety is power, but I really can't say what it is that kind of made this movie not work. It seemed like it was going to get more interesting than it was in how the movie is about Paranormal Investigators and that almost kind of play to "Is stuff here really happening?" but it turns out that things really are happening. I can't speak for people since it's kind of hard to scare me, but I guess I could say it's fun to watch....

You're Next: This movie has been growing on me, even though I've only seen it once. I really can't say anything about this movie without spoiling it, but it's pretty damn good!

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters: I actually liked this one. It's not particularly that good, but I liked the first one and I'm looking forward to their next movies.

Machete Kills: I LOVED the first movie. It's hilarious, violent, and even insightful. This new movie just goes all out meta. It's definitely funny and it gets pretty creative on how to stack up a body count, but it never really rises more than just a one note joke. Suffice it to say though, it manages to be funny all the way through.

Carrie:....the original is on Netflix. You're probably better off watching that instead.

Maniac: This one I caught on Netflix and wow....it's definitely really good and it has its impact, but this is really, REALLY not a movie for everybody. It's an entire movie where you see through the perspective of Elijah Wood as a serial killer, and, mostly because of this, this is NOT a fun movie to watch. But it is incredibly memorable(probably because of how provocative it's trying to be), but it's also fascinating and interesting in a good way(unlike Man of Steel). So, I'd recommend it, but, just know what you're getting into.

Pain and Gain: Michael Bay actually made a good movie. Who knew?

Gravity: Go see this movie!

Don Jon: Joseph Gordon-Levitt turns out to be kind of a really good director. I kind of wish that it didn't get a bit too predictable in its ending, but the entire movie does carry this sort of honesty that pretty much anybody wouldn't really be brave enough to say out loud.

The World's End: My favorite movie all year this year! Yeah! REALLY go see this movie!

Also, I'd like to apologize to anybody who I convinced to go watch Now You See Me. I probably gave that movie a little too much credit than it was worth. I'd like to see it again to see if I'd still have the same reaction, but, honestly, I really don't want to. I'd probably just come to the conclusion that it's really just a sort of "not there" kind of movie. It's pretty hard for me to stay mad at it even if I did watch it again and I would end up hating it because of how forgettable it is.

Oh well!

Oh, and judging by the Box Office of Thor: The Dark World, you've probably already seen it and would know there really isn't much to say about it other than that it's good enough to bridge the gap of Thor's storyline for The Avengers.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Hitchhikers

So, here's the film!

We also won at the film contest!

DVDs will be out shortly for any of you who are interested.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jake Burga Presents...

A film directed by Jake Burga.

Starring Sean Conner, Jordan Johnson, and Ty Astle, and Featuring Curtis Burga as...that guy on the radio.

So, you might have been one of the people I invited to go see the premiere. If not, and you want to see it, don't fret. Info is right here!


So, yes, after talking about movies for a long time, I'm finally in a movie and did some things that involved some sort of creativity and stuff.

You could see the movie right now, if you'd like, but I would actually like to hold off until the contest for people to get to see it because I'd like to make this a sort of event thing and keep people in suspense, even if it does make me lose a couple of audience members.

But, if you really feel like you need to see the movie right now, you could look for it on youtube

So, the reason why I'm making this post is just to express on how pleasantly surprised I am on how good of a director my brother, Jake Burga, is! He seems to understand how to shoot things and film composition and cinematography. In fact, the movie probably wouldn't have been anywhere as good if Jake wasn't behind the whole creative process. He wrote the script, shot the scenes, edited though scenes.

I just added a Wilhelm scream.

So, well, excellent job Jake!

So, after this, you could probably expect more movies from me and my brother, and maybe I'll have the directors chair on one of these movies. I think I picked up enough from watching my brother point a device at things happening.

But, really, I think my brother has really done something special and it has a good chance at winning at the contest.

So, let's get our champagne bottles and pour glasses for the fact that we actually made a movie.

Our next movie will be coming out with an even bigger budget and more CGI. It's going to be called The Hitchhikers 2: Even More Hitchhikers! The movie will feature 5 hitchhikers this time with even more explosions and CGI!

Well, hope to see you guys at the competition!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pacific Rim

Before seeing the movie:

"I'm not sure how it's different from Transformers"

After seeing the movie:

"That was probably the best of the summer!"

A quote not by me, I was actually excited about this movie. But, I feel like somebody who actually said this should be the only confirmation you need in order to see Pacific Rim!

It is really hard for me to stop myself from just saying "THE MOVIE IS AWESOME! GO SEE!" But, sometimes, that's just the case with some movies. Also, it seems to be equally as hard to get people to go see this movie, but it also seems that word is spreading that this actually isn't just another cash-in Transformers knock off. Pacific Rim seems like it's going to be the sleeper hit of the year that surprises everyone by just how good the movie is. It's an absolute marvel of a movie that puts aside cynicism and moral complications for an extremely well made movie with a lot of heart and care to give us the monster movie of the 21st Century.

The story, for a summer Blockbuster, is actually kept simple for once. Alien Monsters, called the Kaiju, are invading Earth by way of transporting through dimensions through the Pacific Rim. In order to fight back, the Humans build giant robots, called the Jaeger, and beat the living crap out of these monsters. The monsters start getting stronger as time goes on, so the plan is to make one big asserted attack in order to stop the Kaiju once and for all. You have the protagonist who is called back from a traumatic event in order to help fight the Jaeger, Mako is the eager trainee who hopes to fight one day, two off-beat, whacky scientists who are also kind of awesome,  Idris Elba playing the leader of the faction, and Ron Perlman playing as...well, you'll see!

So, why is this movie awesome you ask? Well, good film making for one thing. Even if your not familiar with Guillermo del Toro, he has managed to create a staple among many film fans. But, with this movie, it's his chance to shine with a wide audience. The reason why this film works so well is because of the simplicity of it that allows the film makers in order to capitalize on other things in this movie to make it work. We're presented with world building, as in, what it would be like in a world with the Jaeger and the Kaiju fight each other, there are 3-dimensional and even fun characters with clear motives and character actions, and, most of all, great action scenes of giant robots punching giant monsters IN THE FACE! 

I can't stress enough on how well made these action scenes are. It's not just how the movie actually shows the audience on what's going on(in other words, there isn't any of that shaky cam bullcrap), but it's just the overall design of the Jaeger and the Kaiju. These things actually feel like giant monoliths just going at it on each other. Every movement, step, or contact they make with other things just feels right when your watching these giants in action. Also, the design and look of these enormous mechanical monsters and the actual monsters are just spot on. Each of the Jaeger robots you see are uniquely designed and easily recognizable from each other and the same can be said about the Kaiju as well. This isn't some sort of mess thrown together in order to make incomprehensible giant things doing stuff in a thing that resembles a story like Michael Bays Transformers, Pacific Rim is the real deal!


Okay, all gushing of praise aside, there are actually problems I have with this movie, albeit small ones as they don't really matter that much in the long run when the whole damn movie just works. The only problem that involves the story is how there's an action scene towards the middle that felt like it should have been at the end because it had a lot of build up and an incredible pay off. The final action scene of the movie is still pretty awesome, but it didn't seem to have the proper build up like the first one had which kind of hit a rough spot for me.

There's another thing about this movie that's pretty great but also something I found lacking. What's great is that the movie doesn't frame itself on how the US is the one and be all country in order to save everyone. They've pretty much got the entire world involved in this movie in order to stop the Kaiju, and even one of the main characters is Japanese. There are also side characters like the Australians, who play into a big role into the movie, and the Chinese and the Russians with their own Jaeger suits. My problem is that the Chinese and the Russians barely get to do anything at all in the movie and I was a bit disappointed on how it all panned out for them.

Still, when it comes to this kind of thing, we are making steps in the right direction.

Really, in the end, I honestly just love this movie. I've seen it twice by now and I still want to see it even more times. So, if you guys really need to see Grown Ups 2, at least give this movie a chance as well. I know a lot of you guys are probably unsure about it because it isn't tied to any sort of well known IP. This isn't a Superman movie, this isn't something from the Avengers, this isn't a J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie, so, it's sort of understandable to be unsure about this movie. This is something new and different, even if it's a sort of familiar setting for many people, it sure isn't for a lot more others. But, let me testify that this movie is very much well worth seeing. This is the action movie of the year, a new movie with a director who deserves this chance to blow people's minds in exactly this way. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Olympus has Fallen VS. White House Down

So, for whatever reason, people decided to make two Die Hard rip-offs within the same year and only a couple of months from each other. And, not only that, they both involve the White House. Maybe there was something going on that gave people the idea of making a Die Hard movie involving the White House would be a good idea at the exact same time. But which one was good? Were they both good? Were they a bad idea in the first place?

Well, let's prepare for a death battle and find out.

I'll be comparing the two movies in no particular way or style, just what ever I feel like talking about.

So, here we go!


Olympus has Fallen

So, there this guy, who is the protagonist(Gerard Butler) and the president and the president's wife on some sort of convoy trip. There's a big accident where the protagonist saves the president but is unable to save the president's wife. This sets up some sort of dark history for the protagonist in order to create some tension between him and the president.

Some time passes and the Protagonist has PTSD about not saving the President's wife. AND THEN! The White House gets invaded by Koreans. There's no build up to it; Koreans come in with a bunch aircrafts, shoot some parts of the building, and then just invade it. It's up to Gerard Butler to over come his trauma in order to save everybody.

Things happen and there's nothing that gets resolved for the president and the main character by the end of it all.

White House Down

Mr. Obama(But with a more american name for some reason) is having a good run after his election. He's working on settling peace with the countries in the Middle East. He's a great president that people love even if he's a little over idealistic.

Channing Tatum takes the lead this time as NOT JOHN MCCLANE, a veteran who is looking for a job for the Secret Service while he is taking his daughter on a tour of the White House. The daughter Emily, played by Joey King, turns out to be well adept on knowledge of the White House and knows her politics. She also keeps a video blog on this thing called the internet. I'm not sure what this internet does, but I'm pretty sure it will come into play later.

This movie does set itself up in the most obvious ways in fact. There are a lot of scenes that scream "I WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER!" There was this one scene where they make sure to point out that President Jamie Fox has a gold watch and I knew exactly what the payoff was going to be on that one, though, it's hard to imagine anyone not calling that part of the movie.

Either way, the White House gets invaded, but there's actual build up this time around. Instead of a bunch of guys just charging in and shooting people, these guys sneak in using disguises, careful planning, and timing in order to take over the White House. It's not just something that happens in order to set up the plot as we actually get to feel things building up and turning for the worse instead of it just suddenly happening. And instead of it being Koreans, or some guys from other countries that The US is afraid of, they are angry republicans, white supremacists, and The Military Industrial Complex. That isn't going to make people angry at all!

It's up to not John McClane and Jamie Obama to save the White House.

Also, unlike Olympus has Fallen, everything set up in the movie comes in full circle. Maybe a lot of it can be contrived, but at least it's there in order to make somewhat effective story telling like how the Protagonist may not have voted for the person whom he is protecting and how he has some relationship issues with his daughter. Yeah, like I said, pretty contrived but at least it's there while also not giving us a bunch of go nowhere plot threads.

Bad Dudes

People have still yet to top the story of this!


Olympus has Fallen

There's the protagonist, there's the president, and there's a bunch of other people. We're supposed to care about them because they're American. One of the characters even recites the pledge of allegiance before she thinks she's about to die. Isn't that touching?

White House Down

The president is an idealistic, I.V League Graduate who is trying to settle peace with the Middle East and also trying to give up smoking. Channing Tatum's character is having relationship problems with his daughter and hopes to fix that by spending time with her...at the White House. He also hopes to be a part of the Secret Service. The bad guys all have their clear motives and reasons to want to attack the White House and do what they want to do, but to explain, that would be spoiling. But, I will say that it all pays off in a silly but makes sense in its context kind of way.

But, what I'm trying to say in this part is that I can actually remember the characters in this movie other than their role in the movie. There was actually stuff to them.


Olympus has Fallen

The thing about action is that there's a lot more to it then just what's going on between the characters in conflict. There's a special note you have to give to the sense of geography, what we can see during these scenes, if we care who wins.

Well, Olympus has Fallen gives us one note characters in badly staged action scenes in one dark hallway after another. You can never tell where the characters are in relation to everything else in the White House, it just deals with a bunch of guys in boring hand to hand combat with obvious digital blood. The movie carries an R-rating, but since they don't even bother using actual physical material to make it look even the slightest bit real, they might as well have not have even tried.

White House Down

There are actual characters in this movie, and we're made sure to know where everything is, making the set actually feel real. The movie works under a PG-13 rating, but the action turns out to be even harder than Olympus has Fallen, even if it doesn't bother with blood effects at all. Even if it gets over the top and silly, we're still more invested into what's going on, making it feel more real than other movies that might even bother with realism. And yes, in the context of White House Down, realism might as well be a dirty word, but it's also awesome and competently directed.


Olympus has Fallen

To make money.

White House Down

To piss of republicans with its unsubtle message. Sure, it's cathartic and silly, but at least the movie actually means something.


Olympus has Fallen

Olympus has Fallen might be one of the worst movies I've seen this year. It was a dumb, pointless action flick that tries to be a Die Hard movie that doesn't really get what makes Die Hard such a great movie. But, it doesn't matter, because this movie made a lot of money anyway. So, well done guys!

White House Down

White House Down is a really dumb and silly action movie. But it's also a really well made dumb and silly action movie that actually does have a point to it. Yeah, it's unsubtle, indulgent, and bound to make people(for people who both like and dislike Obama), but at least it's there in order to make this movie unique. It indulges in big, loud set pieces that happen to be really dumb, but also quite awesome. Whether you're laughing at or with the movie, you'll still be laughing and having a good time.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Heat

Yeah, just...go see The Heat!

Okay, yeah, I know what you're thinking, "Sean! How can you be telling me to go see a movie about some generic looking comedy that just involves the straight lead dealing with the bumbling looking side kick? This seems like the worst movie you can recommend." Well, I'm not going to say that The Heat is a life changing master piece nor am I saying that it's really that great. But when you get right down to it, this movie knows what it's doing and is still absolutely worth seeing because it is FUNNY! Remember funny? It's what movies were when they actually try to tell jokes without devolving to making references and expecting people to laugh all because you made a reference to something your average idiot recognizes. No, this movie isn't exactly the smartest nor the funniest, but the entire movie works in the end, offering a glowing light to what has been a pretty bleak summer thus far.

So, here's the story, though, if you've seen the trailer, you'll probably know the entire plot by now. Ashburn, played by Sandra Bullock, is having some rough patches as an FBI agent. Sure, she actually does a really good job in her line of work, but she has trouble getting along with people while also having to deal with the fact that nobody seems to liker her because of how well she does and also how uptight she can get. Her boss(Hey, it's Tom Wilson, look at that!) assigns her to a partner named Mullins, played by Melissa McCarthy, who is a foul mouthed, loud eccentric who likes to do her job her own way that seems to ignore a lot of regulations. Being the exact opposite of each other, they must learn how to work as partners in order to solve a case that both of them are working on.

Errr, yeah, I know it seems like the most formulaic and dumb thing you can ever put on screen, and, yeah, it is pretty formulaic; I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be skipping out on this movie because of it. But, the thing with this movie is that instead of using formula as a crutch in order to get a movie out without doing a lot of work, The Heat opts to use formula as a tool to accomplish to tell a story your well familiar with in its own way. In other words, making sure that it keeps the audience laughing as much as possible, and, to that extent, it succeeds quite well.

Not only is the really funny but it also provides really well rounded, likable characters. Seeing the trailers, you're probably thinking that McCarthy's character is a bit incompetent, having the jokes revolve around having Bullock's character roll her eyes every time her partner does something soooooooo wacky(!), but that's not the case in this movie. The characters actually do feel quite a bit realistic as they all have to deal with their own problems. And, McCarthy's character isn't as incompetent as she seems, in fact, she's quite capable of getting the job done, she just likes to do things in her own way. And, these are where most of the jokes come from, McCarthy's character pretty much saying some of the most outrageous things ever. Every other line of dialogue she spouts is some sort of snarky comment that just ends up being hilarious.

I can't really talk about most of the jokes here as if I did tell you what these jokes were, you would be expecting them and they probably wouldn't be as funny. But...let me just say how convincing a revolver with one bullet can be.

I don't want to over sell this movie, but as an R-rated comedy that actually turns out to be clever and funny, I've had a more enjoyable time with this movie than a lot of other movies that have come out this year. The movie doesn't exactly have a lot to say or isn't particularly unique(other then showing that it's possible to actually have decent female characters as leads through the movie), but when it comes down to being a comedy and it's this funny, what more could you ask for?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This is the End

This is the End....

This is the End alright!

This is the End of good comedy!

*ba dum tsh*

Oh, were you expecting me to review either The Purge or The Internship? Were you expecting me to even see those movies? Screw that!

Sure, maybe I'll see them eventually the next time I feel like torturing myself, but, until then, here's something not quite as bad as torture.

To be fair, I probably shouldn't get too mad at this movie because not even Hollywood seems to have faith that it's going to do all that well since it's being released right next to Man of Steel.

So, the movie is based on actors that you know who are supposedly playing themselves, or, more like "so whacky and weird" versions of themselves during an apocalypse. And, honestly, I actually laughed a couple of times during the times when the movie wasn't pretending that it was being funny and actually started being funny. However, those times were only few, making this movie to be kind of bad. Not really awful or anything terribly offensive to movie making itself, it's just that it's kind of stupid.

"But Sean!" I hear you asking, "This movie is supposed to be stupid and that's what makes it funny! I'm not one of those elitists, like you, who only goes to high brow comedies that makes references to Shakespeare or some stupid bull**** like that!" In which case, you're probably exactly the kind of person who would enjoy this movie, but I would also like to point out that you're a fallacious little idiot strawman that I created in order to make a point. So, don't worry, if you're reading this, I'm not talking about you specifically...probably ; )

Anyways, yes, I realize that the movie is supposed to be kind of 'stupid.' The premise itself is incredibly stupid and they just sort of laugh at itself along with the audience. And that's fine really. Unfortunately, that's all it really does and never gets anywhere past "Hey, look how crazy everybody is in this movie!" And, to be fair, most of the time it doesn't even go that far. A lot, and I mean a lot of the jokes are really just non-jokes where the movie just makes a reference and expects people to laugh only because it made that reference. Hey! Are you still not tired of somebody referencing Lindsay Lohan and it's supposed to be funny, because...well...ya know....Lindsay Lohan?

I'm not oppose to jokes that are created by references, just as long as there's an actual joke in there. It'd be like me saying "Hey, did any of you guys actually watch Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees" and expecting the two people in this world who could actually stand watching that movie all the way through to laugh. And since this movie is made up of Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinsons, Danny McBride, and Jay Baruchel who just sort of like to talk about the different movie's they've been in, but never really say anything other than "Hey! Remember this movie?"

I'm starting to think that actual humor is starting to die. And, for that, I blame Facebook(Yep, I'm using my movie review page to rant about Facebook!). I can just go onto Facebook right now and see the same four or five incredibly unfunny jokes involving cute animals, or a reference, or Hitler saying the word 'mein' in the wrongest way possible, or the same old tired photos of Ashton Kutcher from That 70s Show shouting "BURN" over some stupid Facebook conversation where somebody supposedly 'burns' somebody else with a snarky comment. Well, that's what watching this felt like for me. A movie that can get by on pretending to be funny, but if you actually start thinking about why a lot of the things in this movie are supposed to be funny, you'll kind of start to realize that it isn't.

Like I said though, it's not like I didn't find this movie to be completely unfunny. During the few times it actually strayed away from making references and actually just tried being funny, I did laugh out loud. In fact, maybe I found more things to be funny in this movie than I remember it being. But, really, in the long run, I didn't like This is the End too much. Now, I know a lot of people who did, including my dad and my brother and all those people who actually applauded at the end of the movie, so, I'm willing to conjure a guess that you'll probably enjoy this movie too.

At the same time, if what I said in this review actually meant anything to you, than maybe you probably won't.

At the same time, at the same time, Man of Steel is coming out around the same time anyway, so, it kind of doesn't matter.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

REVIEW: After Earth


M. Night Shyamalan, what else is there to say about this guy?

I'm actually familiar with his earlier films, IE, the good part of his career where it seemed like we had one of next great, coming of age film makers. The Sixth Sense was incredible, Unbreakable was really good, and Signs, being the first movie I've seen by him, is one I'm willing to call a great horror flick.

And then he came out with The Village, which was an incredibly poorly made, boring film with a supposedly clever twist that also had nothing interesting going on before the beginning. And while I remember actually liking Lady in the Water when I first saw it, keep in mind that it has been a really long time since I last saw the movie and, if I saw it now, my reaction to the movie is subject to change. But, suffice it to say, it's one of his movies that has panned the hardest. I haven't seen The Happening or The Last Airbender, but with the consistent reception his movies seem to keep making, nobody has there hopes up for After Earth.

But is After Earth really as bad as you've heard? Well, I'm not sure if I can say.

To be honest, I was never bored throughout the movie and it does seem to hold together well even with its problems that you can go through. So, I'll give this movie a big 'maybe' I suppose.

If it's one thing that did intrigue me about the movie is that it actually plays by video game rules. The movie is about Jaden Smith and his father, Will Smith, getting trapped on a post apocalyptic Earth that has be vacated by civilized life. In order to escape, Jaden Smith takes orders from his father, who has been injured by the crash that lead them to this planet, in order to make it all the way to the end of the level by way of limited resources, a weapon that can change into many different blades, and checkpoints that he has to go through before the planet becomes to cold for some unexplained reason. This may not seem like it can be good story telling for a movie, but I kind of dug it, even if they never really do anything interesting with this whole concept. You can take your average first person shooter, where, throughout the entire game, there's somebody yelling orders at you to where you have to follow them in order to advance the plot, and you'll get a good idea of what this movie is like, except, unlike most of those games, the main character is actually a character, albeit, a very messy character.

The whole movie is kick started by having Jaden Smith narrate this battle that took place with these monsters who hunt their prey by sensing fear. By removing his fear, Will Smith was able to help win this battle. Jaden Smith hopes to live up to his father's legacy, and there's where the plot of this movie comes from. The movie isn't about a battle or what happens on Earth after Earth(even though it's the title of the freakin' movie) but more about a kid who wishes to be as cool as his father. Talk about a squandered concept.

The reason why I referred to the protagonist as being a bit of a mess as a character is because all of the pieces don't come together until the middle of the movie where we find out that he has a tragic history. To which I have to ask "Why did they wait til then to reveal that?" Well, my only guess is that since M. Night Shyamalan has also become a synonym for 'plot twist,' the director has to live up to his reputation of having a twist in every movie he does even if the movie is worse off because of it.

Well, since this is a movie that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, the obvious reference I can make has to go to that boring mess that was Oblivion, which might have been smarter(even if pretty dumb in hindsight) but also more boring. So, I'll give After Earth this. At least their's an actual plot. At least there are things that actually happen in the movie. At least it wasn't boring.

And, when it comes down to it, I'll take something that's dumb rather than boring any time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

REVIEW: Now You See Me

One of my teachers from college wanted our class to define the word "cool." Cool, as in "Cool Brah, that was a sick a gnarly skateboarding stunt." And, really, the whole thing is that you can't really come up with a tangible thing and give a definite answer of why something is cool. It's really something that's whatever is trendy at the moment.

The definition I created was "What people want." I still stand by it too as it's about as tangible as you can get on describing what is cool.

I bring all of this up because the word "cool" can handily describe Now You See Me.

Now You See Me feels like a movie that's design to be the coolest movie ever. It's got a cast involving Jesse  Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo(The Hulk from The Avengers), Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, it's plot involves stealing money with flashy magic tricks, and the story is built off of twists, mysteries, surprises, and other pesky story telling tricks that have seemed to be popping up in every movie now. Usually, this seems like a movie that can go disastrously wrong. A movie that just sort of plugs in a lot of things in order to make this moving picture showing off a lot of flashy tricks to entertain the audience but also forgetting how to make a movie with an actual story(*cough* The Amazing Spider-Man *cough*)

But, somehow, they've manage to pull this off.

Now You See Me is thoroughly entertaining movie. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's a great movie, but it's a good movie that is worth watching and a lot of fun to watch. In fact, I'll even go on record by saying that this is a better movie than Star Trek Into Darkness(and I still can't get over how dumb that title is. Into Darkness? Seriously?). It's an entertaining fun romp that knows what it is and what it's trying to accomplish while doing it quite well.

Seeing the trailers, I really didn't know what to expect other than that it felt like it was going to be a sort of high concept film that involved stealing money with a magic show. And, that's basically what the entire movie is. Four supposedly great magicians get cards from a mysterious figure to all meet at the same place and to follow directions in order to pull of these highly elaborate heists. During the mean while, the movie follows Mark Ruffalo, an officer trying to stop these people in the act.

That's basically the entire setup of the movie. The rest goes of the movie is done through a lot twists and turns that'll keep you second guessing yourself, but the movie is never confusing and is easy to follow along. It does a really good job engaging the audience, and, unlike Oblivion, all of the turns and twists that happen in this movie aren't there just for the sake of being there as they actually mean something for the story. It gives a clear plot with a clear goal and characters with clear motivations. See Hollywood? It isn't that hard to make this crap work.

It's not that the movie doesn't have its problems though, as (like a lot of the magic tricks you're probably familiar with) there's nothing really to this movie. This is where the problem comes in when a movie is trying too hard to be cool, because, even if it's a really well made light show that's engaging all the way through, there's very little substance behind this movie even if it is a well told story.

The problem comes with the main cast itself as they aren't really characters but more of plot tools in order to make sure that stuff actually happens in the movie. In the respect of actually keeping the story moving forward, they serve their part really well. But, when you get past the fact that they're cool magicians with a lot up their sleeve and big on style, they are pretty paper thin as characters. Their only defining feature is the kind of magic they like to do. Jesse Eisenberg likes to do card tricks and deception, Woody Harrelson shares the same psychic powers as Shawn Spencer but with ability to hypnotize people as well, Dave Franco is the guy who picks locks, and Isla Fisher is the girl. Seriously, that's her only defining trait in this movie as she is never really given anything to do other than to just be the girl of the group. And then there's Melaine Laurent who is mainly there to be Mark Ruffalo's love interest. Jeez, thanks! Way to add female characters, who if you took out, wouldn't have any significant changes to the plot.

Also, it seems like the entire movie was shot with a hand held camera, and no matter what the scene was, even the quiet conversation scenes, the camera is a bit shaky. It's not an entirely big problem and it isn't all that noticeable, but I noticed it.

All problems aside, it's still a fun movie to go see that I'd say is a good time at the theater. Because of the lack of substance behind this movie, I doubt anyone is really going to remember that this movie even existed a few months down the line, but it's good enough for me to give a recommendation.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

Okay...so, I'm confused. Why is this movie called "Into Darkness?" Man, what a hack movie!

I got to see this at a double feature where they showed the first movie as well. Because I haven't seen the first movie since...well, probably since the year it came out(though, I watched it a lot of times when it came out), watching it for the first time since then kind of brought back that excitement I had when I did see it for the first time. It was an exciting action movie while also being a good Star Trek movie. You could point out that it didn't really like to follow the logic of its own universe and that it was spoon feeding the audience information with archetypal characters and a really basic plot, but taking that approach was probably the best thing they could do for rebooting a franchise. It was about setting up all of the pieces together for how all of the characters ended up together. Now, with all of the pieces assembled, they can take the series in new and interesting directions.

Maybe that'll happen in a couple of more movies, but, until then, Star Trek: (Insert generic title here to badly try to hide the fact that they couldn't call it the Wrath of Khan again) is a really good action movie and is even better than its predecessor.

After seeing the first movie in theater, during our break, I over heard guys having a conversation about Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan 2.4 the Re-Make and it kind of went something like this.

Guy 1: Well, that was pretty good, it was better than 1st one.
Guy 2: Yeah, it felt more like a Star Trek movie.
Guy 1: Yeah, it used more of the standard tropes.
Guy 2: Yep....
Guy 1: Mhmm

And that's as far as the conversation went. I kind of felt like these guys wanted to say more about it but they kind of couldn't because there really wasn't much else to talk about. It's good, it feels a bit more like Star Trek, and it's an incredibly fun action movie.

The best thing this movie has going for, though, is Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. Some of you might know him as Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock but he's also been in other movies, with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy coming to mind, but, now, we finally get to see him in a really big role where he gets to display his talent to the general audience. He is absolutely great and entertaining to watch as he actually gives us a memorable bad guy as opposed to that one guy from the first movie(quick, tell me the bad guy's name without looking it up).

If it's another thing that I really like about this movie is how it doesn't try to "raise the stakes" from the last film. The first movie involved a giant space ship that could destroy planets and it had scary looking tentacles that also involved galaxies getting destroyed. In the sequel, however, the entire movie is made up of two space ships at battle with each other and that's pretty much it. And it's great too as they manage to do so much with just a simple concept. There are still a lot of different ways where they keep on raising the stakes but the keep the movie a little more character focused when it comes to these stakes. Instead of just involving the destruction of planets or galaxies, they opt for keeping the whole battle contained and keeping it  involved with characters we actually know.

Okay, there's actually a lot I would like to talk about when it comes to these actions scenes, but it's one of those things where you're just going to see for yourselves. Though, what I will say is that the action scenes are extremely well directed and it's pacing is really good as well. All of the intense battles and life threatening situations are well shot and they make sure that you actually see everything you need to.

With all of the good this movie has going for it, it does feel incredibly held back with not all that good screenplay. This is where things get frustrating as it has all of the pieces for an incredibly great movie, but once they can actually get good writers on board, we've yet to come across anything special. The problem lies in the fact that the story is told in one of the laziest ways possible. The first movie had this problem as well, but, like I said, it might have been necessary since it was all about putting everything together. Now, though, it's kind of disheartening to see how hard these guys seem to be actually trying. 

I guess it shouldn't be too surprising as the guys behind the screenplay are also behind Transformers, but the things that happen are quite baffling when you think about it. The dialogue in the movie is serviceable and it can get pretty funny when it tries humor(they do sarcasm pretty well), but when it comes to the plotting it gets pretty dumb. The problem is the over reliance on Chekhov's Gun, that all important plot device where a scene screams "THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER ON IN THE FILM" and everything in the movie gets resolved this way. Seriously! It makes me wonder if these guys can do anything else besides playing on coincidences and the unlikely. I think they try to bring in destiny to explain this but that's even worse as that really is an excuse for lazy screen writing.

When you get right down to it, though, this is still a really fun movie to watch. Although I'm convinced that they really need to get better writers on board before they can start really going anywhere with this franchise, it's still a great action movie.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

REVIEW: The Great Gatsby

And...summer 2013 continues...with this movie for some reason. Oh wait, it's being directed by that one guy who likes to infuse modern day music with old timey settings to make the "I can't relate to this, it takes place during a time when the internet didn't exist" movie into something that might get kids to actually get their butts in the theater to see the movie.

Okay, let's see what I can make of this.

This is something I'm really hesitant to dive into. A movie based on a book that's considered to be one of the great American Novels, except, not really for its time though. When you look back at the history, you'll find out that this book wasn't exactly the most well received book. In fact how critics were reacting to this book are actually pretty similar to how critics today are reacting to this movie. But, after a while, the book started to develop an underground following and it gradually caught on and, now, kids are forced to read this book in High School.

I'm not trying to make a point that the book isn't as good as most people seem to think it is just because it wasn't the most well like even for its time. After all, that's what happened to The Lord of the Rings, where those books never really found an audience until hippies got a hold of it. And, sure, you can point out that Tolkien wasn't really a writer(he was more of a linguist who wrote the books for his created Elven language) and The Lord of the Rings books are a bit drawn out and verbose when you get right down to it, but it is easy to see why the book did catch on with it's audience, presenting a different, made up world that was pretty fascinating and wondrous, and I'm willing to bet that the people who made the book popular in the first place really liked the idea of The Shire.

So, while I'm in no way(ok, maybe some way) inferring that this book might be bad, I still have to wonder how this book really caught on the way it did, especially considering that there are a lot of people who are put off by it(I mean, other than the fact that it was another one of those books you had to read in High School). At the same time, I've seen comments from guys who loved it and others who hated it, with the people who hated it pointing out that the characters were one dimensional and incredibly unlikable.

As for me, I didn't really have a reaction after reading the book, which actually did make me dislike it pretty strongly. Explaining why might get some people telling me that it's supposed to be this way and it's really intended for me to look for the deeper meanings in the book, but it doesn't really matter to me because I didn't like it enough to care. And here's why...

The story(or the thing in this book that resembles a story) is about this one guy named Nick Carraway who watches rich people make idiots of themselves. However, for some reason he is fond of this particular fellow named Gatsby, who likes to throw parties. But, it turns out that Gatsby got rich from illegal activity and he throws these parties in order to impress Daisy. Other things happen and then Gatsby eventually gets shot. You guys probably know the story by now.

The thing is, I actually probably would have liked it if I did end up having a feeling for any of the characters, even if I would have ended up hating them. There's a lot to discuss about how to make people actually care about the characters with things like making them likable or relate-able or personality-able, but it all really comes down to just understanding the character and knowing where he is coming from. A character doesn't have to be likable to be a good character, in fact, there are a lot of great stories that thrive on the fact that their characters are guys you'd like to punch in the face. But it all requires a connection to the audience or, in this case, the reader, and the best way to create this connection is to have a sort of character that the reader can experience with vicariously. He doesn't have to be your every day average schmo or someone who people can relate to, he just needs to be someone that we understand and someone who can help take us through the plot of the story. You know, someone like a PROTAGONIST!

The Great Gatsby doesn't really have one. Sure, there's a guy who narrates the story and he has a name and everything, but if you take out Nick from the story then it would be roughly the same experience. What we have is some guy who we sort of know who has a couple of opinions and comments to make(though, it's never clear why he holds the views he does) but he goes through the story in a sort of unnoticeable state. The book gives us some guy who we don't really know or understand that gets surrounded by more characters who we really don't know or understand.

I'm not trying to say that every story needs to work the same way in order to be good, but if you're wondering why some people just can't seem to grasp "the genius" behind the book, I'd say this is the main issue. There's really no connection to the reader. It just throws characters together while putting them through a couple of events and says "Make what you will of it" While there may be people who are fascinated by these events and they will put a lot of conjecture into them, people like me are just going to walk away with a cold feeling with not a whole lot to get because the book makes no attempt to involve the reader.

So, yes, we finally get to the movie, and this is a pretty faithful adaption, meaning that any criticisms I have of the movie might leave one screaming "Haven't you read the book?" So, for those people who might point out that I can't really criticize the movie for doing something in a certain way because that's how the book did it, well, rest assured that I read the book and that's why I was largely talking about my issues with it. But, even then, things that work in books does not mean it will work well in a movie. Granted, there are things that can make people baffled because of how wrong they seem to got it from the book, but, really, think about it for a second. Take The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for example. If you made a movie that happened exactly the way it did in the books it wouldn't really make movie that would work as the book is entirely made up of events random events that aren't really connected with each other and there really isn't much of a story when you get down to it. This is why the TV Show that was adapted from the book was able to work better as that kind of format allows for some room to tell it's story in unconnected ways. Still, I'll maintain the movie we eventually got did keep a lot of cleverness and insight from the original source material and was still pretty damn awesome

Wow, look at me dancing around the topic of the actual movie I'm supposed to be talking about.

Well, it's pretty much what the book is like and I'll gather that people who liked the book are probably going to like this movie because it's a faithful adaptation. I will say that they actually did try a couple of things in order to make it work better as a movie. For one thing, the main character, Nick, is actually given some personality and he feels like a decent protagonist for a while, but it falls apart because he gets shoved off to the side as we're supposed to see the affairs of the Great and Powerful Oz...err, Gatsby. Also, the movie was made in a way where the audience is supposed to root for Gatsby and Daisy getting together even if Daisy is shallow, materialistic, and probably not worth getting killed over...

I did like that they implemented Rhapsody in Blue in the movie though.

So, in the end, fans of the book might like the movie but I do doubt that people are going to remember that this adaptation actually existed in a couple of months. Sure, people may be still talking about the book(even more so since this movie is out) but if people do remember this movie, it's going to be because it was directed by that one guy who just can't help but modernize things in a way that just can't seem to connect with modern audiences.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

REVIEW: Iron Man 3

Woohoo! Summer Blockbuster time!

Now I get to experience rushed movies with big stars who are only there for the paycheck. It doesn't matter if the movie was an rancid abomination with writing so poor and rote that it will question your sense of humanity. All of the people will just come flocking to the bland action movie that's only there to make profit, and it seems to work no matter how high that number is at the end of a title. Who cares? It's got big explosions, hard action, and maybe some other things while I'm texting my friends in the middle of the movie.

Luckily, Fast and Furious 6 isn't out yet, so, let's talk about Iron Man 3!

I wasn't sure how they were going to pull this one off, since this is only after The Avengers, IE the coolest damn thing ever! It is probably leaving a lot of people thinking "Where can one go after a movie like The Avengers?" Everything before that big event has been leading up to that big event. Four protagonists in five superhero movies to team up in one massive action movie that was so good that The Oscars completely ignored it. I felt sorry for anyone having to follow up on that.

Thankfully, the people behind this whole Marvel project really know what they are doing with, Iron Man 3 being an incredibly great film. People knew that they couldn't top The Avengers with just an Iron Man movie, that would be an insane task to even try to do. What they go for instead is a movie that takes the whole comic continuity experiment into darker and stranger places that makes it feel unique and necessary to the whole series.

Iron Man 2 has been getting a bad reputation, not entirely without merit as the movie was basically just kind of waiting around for the other movies to get things going. I'm probably one of five people that actually liked Iron Man 2 and thought it was about as good as the first one. I can start hearing people preparing a mob to gather around as I typed that sentence, but I feel like that probably the reason why we liked the first Iron Man as much as we did was because it was the start to this whole thing with the surprise appearance of Nick Fury, being played by Samuel L. Jackson, letting us know that "Yes, The Avengers is really happening!" Iron Man 2 didn't have that kind of surprise weapon to help back itself up, leaving them to just sort of let things play out while throwing in a lot of Easter Eggs.

The reason why I brought all of that up is because not only is Iron Man 3 a good movie that doesn't need to support itself with a lot of exciting surprises or big twists, but that it's a great film on its own merits and definitely the best Iron Man movie out of the three.

I guess there is supposed to be a point where I talk about the story to give people an idea on what the whole movie is about, but, this time, you're really just going to have to see it for yourselves. Not because the whole movie is built off of surprises and twists, but that it's a film that requires to grab a hold of your attention and to just let you fall into the experience. Trust me, with this kind of movie, you'll be better off knowing as little as possible, even if you have already seen the trailers.

However, one of the best things Iron Man 3 has going for is that it's incredibly sharply written. Granted, the Marvel movies tied in with The Avengers have all been really well written with The Avengers having a fantastic screenplay by Joss Whedon, but maybe having The Avengers before hand actually helped Iron Man 3 be as good as it is. Now that The Avengers have shown us how much better action moves are when they actually have characters with real depth to them, Iron Man 3 goes for the same thing, giving us a great deal of time with Tony Stark, the main character, and how he is after the events of The Avengers. But, it's also worth noting how unique this movie really is when it's being directed by the same guy behind Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

You know, it's kind of weird what happens when the people making action movies actually care about how good it's going to be.

At the end of the day, this instant I walked out of the theater, seeing Iron Man 3, the first thought that came to mind was "Damn, I gotta see it again!" This movie shows us that, yes, there are still things you can do after The Avengers. It's a great movie and everyone should definitely go see it.

Now, I just feel sorry for all of the summer popcorn munchers that have to come out after this movie.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

REVIEW: Oblivion

I don't think anyone else can really put it in a better way.

I could leave this entire thing right there, because it felt like everybody was asleep when they were making this movie. But, since you asked nicely, I suppose...

Nobody cared, that's my best explanation for this movie. Oblivion is an overly long, boring two hours that doesn't even want to try to be anything. It doesn't take a full on dive into the completely stupid and dumb territory or even try to do anything interesting with its already dull premise. It's just there for people to take a pay check.

So, it's half past the apocalypse after an incredibly violent war with aliens that involved nuclear weapons, leaving the moon destroyed as well. Jack Reacher and his partner, Victoria, work together to scavenge remaining resources for whoever they are working for. But. the further they go into to this work, the more Jack Reacher realizes something isn't right and...he meets up with guys...stuff happens...plot twist...the end.

I appreciate that they are actually trying to go for more of a slow paced, methodical, science fiction film rather than an action packed, fantasy adventure in space, but the whole problem is that nothing interesting happens in the movie, even with all of the plot twists in this movie that you are already able to figure out from the trailer. Sure, fine, the movie does go into a couple of unexpected directions, but none of them really save this movie. The plot twists are mainly there just to be there to make this movie look smarter than it actually is.

While the surprises in Oblivion don't really work on any kind of level, it would have been saved if anything interesting was happening in this movie. But, as we've established, nobody is actually even trying, so, everything is made up of Tom Cruise playing a boring character with Andrea Riseborough playing another boring character where they all do boring things as the characters are only there to drive the plot along. But, don't worry, they also start meeting more characters who face the exact same problem of being walking card-board cut outs.

To top it all off, the movie is visually boring as well. Sure, there are a couple of scenes showing off the vast landscape of a destroyed Earth that looks sort of nice, but all of the visual aesthetics are just bland and uninteresting. The robot drones, the weapons, the workers' outfits, and the space ships, seemed like they all came from a design person who just wanted to come up with something that vaguely looked futuristic looking so he can call it a day slightly quicker.The costumes that other characters use are probably the only things that are actually interesting looking, but it's only because they took all of the cool bits from the Predator costume.

Could this movie have been any better? Thinking on what I just saw, I find it hard to really salvage anything to make this into a good movie. You could probably actually create decent characters, a visually interesting movie, but as nonsensical as this movie already is, you'll probably just end up making Prometheus...again. But, even then, Prometheus was way more worth watching than this movie if only because that movie takes a full on dive into something that you're not sure what you're watching, but at least it's interesting. And that's the whole problem with Oblivion; it doesn't even try to do anything with itself. The entire movie feels coldly calculated, being made in such a way where nobody really has to do anything to get this movie to go anywhere. It just stays in its safe little bubble never really going in the good direction or the bad direction. But, that in itself is what actually makes this movie bad and not really all that worth watching.