Metallica Through the Never (2013)

Twisting, Turning, Through the Never.

Metallica Through the Never (2013)The story of wanting to see today’s movie was simple.  I wanted to see it because it was Metallica.  Metallica is my favorite band, and I’m probably going to want to see anything they’re involved with.  But I wanted to see this movie while it was still in theaters, and I probably wouldn’t have felt it necessary to get to the theaters to see a simple concert movie.  I have some of those on DVD already.  This movie seemed different.  But was it?  We’ll find out as I review Metallica Through the Never, written and directed by Nimród Antal, co-written and starring James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, and Lars Ulrich, and starring Dane DeHaan.

Metallica – singer and rhythm guitar James Hetfield, lead guitar Kirk Hammett, bassist Robert Trujillo, and drummer Lars Ulrich – are putting on a concert.  A stagehand named Trip (Dane DeHaan) is tasked with taking a can of fuel to a truck that was transporting something for the band and ran out of gas.  He sets out on his journey as the concert gets underway.  As Metallica plays, Trip finds that the world outside the concert hall has fallen into chaos.  Trip gets caught in the middle of riots and murders, all over a duffel bag with unknown contents.  And even worse than the riots and murders, he’s missing the Metallica concert!

I suppose I could say that I was a little disappointed by this movie, but I don’t regret buying it at all.  This movie originally interested me because it looked like it was half concert movie and half narrative, as if it was a concert movie interwoven with an interesting narrative story that coincided with the songs they were playing.  That is kind of what the movie turned out to be, but it was really more like series of really similar music videos.  There just wasn’t much of a story.  The kid shows up, he gets sent out on a quest, the apocalypse happens, he gets the bag, he returns.  I don’t know how much more I was expecting out of the story of the movie, but I guess I would concede that it’s really not required for this movie.  Though I thought it was an interesting concept, I imagine my interaction with the movie would have been no different.  It’s still a Metallica concert movie, so I probably still would have bought it.  And if they did have more story, I might have been embittered anyway.  I found myself a little annoyed in the beginning of the movie that they kept interrupting a great Metallica concert with the stupid kid from Chronicle.  So I guess what I’m saying is that the story of this movie couldn’t possibly win with me.  There wasn’t enough of it but it would go away.  And what little story they had was a little weird.  First of all, I didn’t think there was any reason to go supernatural with the whole thing.  The movie ends with a showdown between Trip and the rider that has stalked him for most of the movie, but instead of defeating him in a fight, he smashes the ground with a hammer, destroying most of the city around and making the rider shatter like glass as he charges.  And then there’s that weird little creepy toy Trip took around with him.  I don’t know what that was there for.  And then there was the duffel bag.  When they didn’t show us its contents immediately, I knew that there were three options that were equally as likely: either it would be some deus ex machina thing that would fix all the apocalypse problems somehow, it would never be revealed Pulp Fiction-style, or it would be James Hetfield’s teddy bear.  They kind of did two of these.  They never showed us what was in the bag, but the supernatural saved the day through Trip anyway.  Even so, there are few movies that can force a physical reaction on me, let alone making me air guitar and fist pump devil horns in the air.  I’m just pretty sure it didn’t have much to do with the narrative story.

The other stuff in this movie is a Metallica concert.  It’s a concert that I feel like I’ve mostly seen before because I’ve seen them live and I’ve watched their Cunning Stunts DVD.  It’s roughly the same setup as that concert was, except this time the crumbling of the stuff on stage is caused by a dude named Trip hitting a parking structure with a hammer 2 miles away.  What makes this particular concert stand out is that it is spectacularly filmed.  They added a bunch of new set pieces to the concert and filmed it in high definition, 3D, and in IMAX.  “One” starts with a cool laser effect to accompany the bullet sounds that start the song, they have a giant “stone” statue that crumbles along with “And Justice For All,” crosses rise up from the stage for “Master of Puppets,” coffins lower from the ceiling with images of people struggling projected on them, and “Ride the Lightning” is accompanied by giant Tesla coils firing lightning bolts into an electric chair.  It was awesome!  As was the music, but I expected that.  Not only do I own every Metallica album, but I’ve heard and seen them live several times and I know that their CD’s don’t do them justice.  The only disappointment with the concert side of the movie was the fact that there were no titties to be found!  How did that happen?  Female Metallica fans love to show their tits at concerts!  They’re not always boobs that you’d want to see, but they’ll make you look at them for sure.

It’s a little difficult to talk about the acting in this movie because there was only one actor in the main cast.  The band only had a few moments where they had to act a little, but even most of that wasn’t much more than they do in one of their concert performances where the stage is supposed to crumble and the band has to act concerned.  They also each had a little introduction into the movie that I found amusing.  James rides in looking badass in some old car that spits fire, Kirk lets the hero of the movie into the concert (even though he had a pass) because he’s the nice guy in the band, Robert doesn’t really say anything or interact with the hero but he was making the ceiling crumb with the power of his metal ass bass playing in a room lined with speakers, and Lars comes across as a jerk as the guy that needlessly give the stink eye to the hero.  All of these introductions perfectly line up with my ideas about the band.  Dane DeHaan did a good job for someone who didn’t speak.  He’s got a good look in this movie.  I might start wearing blood red hoodies under leather jackets.  For the chicks!  Though I totally understood his character’s fashion choices, that was probably the extent that I understood his choices.  I understand his love of Metallica, but I don’t understand the extent of his love.  If Metallica needed me to get something (legal) for them, I would totally be on board.  If I went outside and everyone was trying to kill me and all the cars were on fire, then fuck Metallica.  The car with the duffel bag would probably be on fire anyway!  And I understand how frightening fire can be, but I don’t understand how his reaction to being cornered by a group of enemies is to cover himself with gasoline, light himself on fire, and run into the group swinging wildly.  This … actually … happened!  Does that make you stronger?  Like from the adrenaline of you being in excruciating pain?  Was it supposed to frighten them so much that they would run away?  I admit that I would be pretty scared of somebody that lit themselves on fire, but I’d probably just keep backing away until you succumbed to the EXCRUCIATING PAIN?!  How about you kick the can of gasoline at the bad guys and light THEM on fire?!

Metallica Through the Never was not without its problems.  I was drawn in because I thought it was a cool idea to have a concert interwoven with a narrative story, but that story was somewhat lackluster.  Of course, the other thing that drew me in was Metallica, and they were Metallica.  I sometimes use Metallica as another word for awesome.  The concert footage is fantastic, and the music is Metallica.  This is a movie that Metallica fans need to watch, and probably already have.  I’m not really sure what people that don’t like Metallica would think.  It’s a very nicely filmed concert, but I don’t think there’s enough here to entertain people who aren’t also digging the music.  Metallica Through the Never gets “Master of Puppets” out of “Sad But True.”

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0030 – The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Review

0030 - The Mortal Instruments: City of BonesCLICK ON MY FACE TO LINK TO THE VIDEO!

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A Knight’s Tale (2001)

The Moon, At Least.  Her Breasts Were Not That Impressive.

A Knight's Tale (2001)Going into the break room at work can be a dangerous thing.  Half of the time they’re doing something supremely boring like watching sports and other times they’re watching movies of varying quality.  When I walked into the break room a few days ago, they were watching a movie I was aware of but had no desire to see.  But what I saw of it piqued my interest enough that I decided I should give it a look.  So hopefully that will explain why I watched A Knight’s Tale, written and directed by Brian Helgeland, and starring Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Alan Tudyk, Laura Fraser, Mark Addy, and James Purefoy.

A squire named William Thatcher (Heath Ledger), along with his fellow squires Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tudyk), find their master Sir Ector dead while on the road to a jousting tournament.  In desperate need of money, William concocts the idea to compete as Sir Ector in his armor, regardless of the fact that he doesn’t have noble blood.  After winning some money, William talks Roland and Wat into continuing their charade to win more money, but they’ll need a forged patent of nobility to do it.  Luckily for them, they happen to encounter Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany) walking naked along the road, naked from gambling debts and in need of money himself.  On his way to glory, William also encounters a standard love interest (Jocelyn, played by Shannyn Sossamon) and a standard rival (Count Adhemar, played by Rufus Sewell).  And then the standardness continues.

I didn’t really get this movie.  I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t really see any appeal to it.  It’s very by the books when it comes to story.  The hero triumphs, he gets the girl, everything works out in the end.  But the lack of surprise doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad movie.  It’s just entirely predictable.  But that also can make it pretty boring.  I guess that could also have been the subject matter though.  Jousting just isn’t that interesting.  That’s why no one goes to Medieval Times or The Excalibur anymore … I assume.  I’m not researching here!  I’m just spouting off random nonsense.  But there’s nothing life or death about it; it’s just a game.  It’s practically a high school movie, replacing some boring sport with jousting and taking it back in time.  And since it’s basically a sports movie, we’re going to have to watch training montages.  I kind of understand the training montage.  It would be weird for him to just be untrained one moment and show up in the next scene saying, “Oh that was some good training,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a little boring too.  And they sometimes don’t make sense.  Some of the training scenes were of William riding at a device holding a shield, and then they show scenes of him trying to hit a shield held by Wat.  If you have that device, why are you risking Wat’s life?

The weirdest thing about this movie is the anachronisms in the movie.  It was innovative, I suppose, but also kind of weird.  It opens up with a crowd of people at a medieval jousting tournament singing Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”  To think Freddie Mercury has been getting credit for that song all these years!  People dress weird and use terms like “Foxy Lady” in the 14th century, having no knowledge whatsoever of Jimi Hendrix’ catalog.  “All Along the Watchtower” is a much better song!  William’s armoress, Lady JustDoIt, puts a Nike Swoosh on his armor after she apparently invents Vibranium (that would later be turned into Captain America’s shield) that is lighter and more resistant to damage.  It’s not bad that they made these choices in the movie, but it is definitely strange.

The cast of the movie was fine.  One of these guys would later be the best Joker in history, in case you didn’t know.  I can no longer tell if I like his performances in movies because he’s doing a legitimately good job or because I’m always thinking of the Joker.  Rufus Sewell plays a great dick.  He seems very easy to hate.  Alan Tudyk is always fun, even in the sometimes annoying comic relief role like he was playing here.  Paul Bettany was also entertaining throughout the movie, though I could’ve done with seeing his ass a few less times.  And maybe they could’ve balanced that out a little bit by showing us Shannyn Sossamon’s ass at some point, but they didn’t see the value in that apparently.  Despite her hotness, I found myself generally annoyed by her character.  She seemed a little too aware of her hotness, for one thing.  Granted, she’s aware of something that’s absolutely true, but being so aware of it kind of makes her seem conceited.  Also, what’s the deal with this “lose your jousting matches to prove your love to me” shit?  Will it prove that he values you more than he does winning at jousting?  Yes.  Could it get him killed or at least seriously injured?  Absolutely.  So he does prove his love, and he does get seriously injured, which proves that your love is pretty shitty.  Also, with her character sometimes coming off as unlikeable, and with how many other similarities this movie has with high school sports movies, I half figured they were setting up a hidden romance with Lady NikeSwoosh played by Laura Fraser.  All it would’ve taken is a few more bitchy moments out of Sossamon and a moment of Fraser taking a bath, letting her hair down, and replacing her paint-stained overalls with a pretty dress and this would’ve been Sixteen Lances over here.

I found A Knight’s Tale more strange than anything else, but it wasn’t bad.  The story was a basic high school sports movie with jousting instead of football and the performances were pretty good, but it was almost off-putting how odd it was for it to be so anachronistic in its presentation.  I thought this movie would be much dumber than it was, but I still don’t think there was anything spectacular enough to warrant a viewing, so I’d still say you may as well skip it.  A Knight’s Tale gets “You have been weighed.  You have been measured.  And you have been found wanting” out of “Change your stars and live a better life than I have.”

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The Transformers: The Movie (1986)

Bah Weep Gragnah Weep Nini Bong!

The Transformers: The Movie (1986)A friend of mine named LaCharizard was once really excited about requesting movies for me to review, but I never really got around to any of them.  I think what kept me from fulfilling her request for today’s movie is that I was worried about it ruining my nostalgia.  I had been a big fan of this franchise when I was a child and didn’t want watching it in my adulthood to make me realize that it was actually a piece of shit as my ill-fated purchase of Bobby’s World on DVD had.  Should I rather not just allow myself to believe I liked it and never find out if I still would?  No!  Mainly because LaCharizard was alphabetically next on my list and this movie appealed to me more than her other requests … and because she’s named after my favorite Pokémon.  And that’s why I decided to watch The Transformers: The Movie, written by Ron Friedman, directed by Nelson Shin, and including the voices of Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Orson Welles, Robert Stack, Frank Welker, Lionel Stander, Chris Latta, Susan Blu, John Moschitta Jr., Scatman Crothers, Casey Kasem, and Corey Burton.

In the far distant futuristic year … 2005 … the giant robot Galactus rip-off named Unicron (Orson Welles) is roaming around the universe eating planets.  The evil transforming robots known as the Decepticons (lead by Megatron [Leonard Nimoy]) leads an ambush on the Autobot city called … Autobot City.  In the fight, Ultra Magnus (Robert Stack) gets off a signal to Autobot leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), who arrives to join the fight but is mortally wounded in the fight with Megatron.  After the Decepticon retreat, Optimus passes the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, telling him that it will show them the light in their darkest hour.  After passing on the Matrix, Optimus passes on himself.  In deep space, Megatron is marooned by his second-in-command Starscream (Chris Latta), but is rescued by Unicron, who fixes him and turns him into Galvatron in exchange for the destruction of the Matrix.  Can the Autobots stop them?  CUE SHITTY 80’S MUSIC!

There!  My childhood is ruined!  Good work, LaCharizard!  I am totally gonna sick LaBlastoise on you!!  In truth, this was not a good movie but I don’t really feel as if my childhood is destroyed.  I think I knew this movie would be cheesy, and I was right.  Keeping my expectations low helped me to just watch this movie for the humor of it.  Not the intentional humor, mind you.  The best joke they could come up with was calling the Decepticons “Decepticreeps.”  Good one, bro.  I would’ve gone with Decepticunts, but then parents might have frowned on my choices.  The story of this movie is pretty dumb, but pretty ballsy as well.  They kill off so many Autobots in this movie, including Optimus Prime!  That takes balls.  I don’t really like it because Hot-Rod seemed like a tool and Rodimus Prime was Hasbro stealing my patented porn name, but it does take balls to kill your main hero early into your movie.  And it took even more balls for them to resist the temptation to slap that “You Got the Touch” over the scene when Optimus died.  Speaking of which…

This movie is the 80’s.  I thought the soundtrack was supplied by Ratt, and every other scene of music was a person using his Casio keyboard as a punching bag.  And what’s worse is that they really seemed to have no regard for the music that they chose to make sense or to sound appropriate for the situation where they were using it.  Look at Stan Bush’s classic song “The Touch,” as later famously covered by Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.  That song was in this movie!  It was like a joke!  What does that song have to do with Optimus Prime transforming?!  I know the second line is “You got the power!” but what is he touching?  And then they use “Dare to Be Stupid” during a big battle with a robotic Mongol horde in a junkyard.  And they definitely did dare to be stupid, but it has nothing to do with the scene, and doesn’t even sound like appropriate music for a fight scene.  That being said, I do love some Weird Al.  I also feel like the animation of this movie doesn’t really hold up that well.  It’s okay, but even Saturday morning cartoons nowadays look way better than this movie.  And the sound mix of this movie never really seemed right.  First of all, it seems weird for the giant, planet-devouring robot to make chomping sounds when it absorbs a planet.  It should be Om Nom Nom or nothing!  And at other points in this movie, it seemed like they just plum forgot to put sound effects in, like the whole scene when Optimus was giving the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus.  Apparently, opening his chest and pulling a glowing orb out is completely silent.  Who knew?

One of the most impressive things about the cast of this movie is that it was one of the great Orson Welles’ final performances.  So Kudos to him.  The voice cast of the movie did a good job.  The only problem I had was with Frank Welker.  I like Frank Welker a lot, but that Wheelie character was annoying as hell.  Every time he had to speak, he had to rhyme.  And I had to sigh.  But there are plenty of problems with the characters.  First of all, Megatron.  He’s the biggest villain in the Transformers universe, surrounded by robots that turn into jets and diesels and dinosaurs and this guy … turns into a tiny pistol that is 1/10th his size.  …And must be fired by one of his allies.  What could ever be lamer than that?  Oh wait … there’s an Autobot that turns into a microscope.  Okay, you win.  And of course, there are two Transformers that turn into cassette player boom boxes, just in case you forgot this was the 80’s.  Truth be told, I’ve always had a soft spot for Soundwave for some reason, but his transformation is inarguably lame.  Oh, if you did forget that this movie is in the 80’s, the kid in this movie rides a hoverboard.  He probably used to use a pink one like a bojo until he got stuck over a lake, ‘cause those things don’t work on water unless you’ve got power.  Also, the Decepticon Astrotrain turns into a train that looks awfully similar to Doc Brown’s train from Back to the Future 3.  And Astrotrain is stupid.  Not only because his name is stupid, but because the Decepticons were riding inside him fighting about who would take over with Megatron gone and he never thought to suggest the choice between them making him the leader or being jettisoned out of his ass into deep space.

The Transformers: The Movie might still be able to entertain children, but I even doubt that.  The story is pretty simple, but if they have any love for the Transformers going into it, they’ll probably be bummed out by how many of their favorite characters are killed off, only to be replaced by someone that would call himself Rodimus Prime with a straight face.  This movie is also horribly dated by the 80est of 80’s music that has ever 80’sed.  But, thankfully, I did not find that this movie was able to destroy my nostalgic love for the Transformers.  I just regarded it as a goofy movie that was fun to make fun of.  But there’s still not much reason to watch it.  The Transformers: The Movie gets “I’ve got better things to do tonight than die” out of “Did we have to let them detonate three-quarters of the ship?”

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