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59. That is the number of movies that I saw that Wikipedia says were released in 2016. …I go hard in the paint. Last week, I posted the video where I picked my best and worst 5 of the year (view it here on my YouTube channel), but many people might be wondering what I thought about the other 49 movies I watched this year. Well wonder no more! Now, if you have the balls and the stamina to read 10,558 words and 20 pages worth of reviews, you need only scroll down from here to find out my thoughts on them all! …Or you could just find the ones you specifically want to know my thoughts on. You do you.
I can’t say that I had any major problems with The Forest. Except that it wasn’t scary. That’s probably a fairly major problem for a horror movie though. The premise was a fairly interesting one since I didn’t know about this suicide forest before this movie, but it kind of falls apart after that. Like, I certainly hope it’s not actually the police’s policy to not even bother looking for someone 2 days after entering the suicide forest and just assuming they killed themselves, but if it is, maybe if you’re going in there, let the cops know that you’re going in there to look for someone and definitely not to kill yourself, so come looking for me if I don’t come back. And if the person you’re looking for is your twin sister, why bother bringing a picture? Just point at your face and say, “With dark hair.” But this movie at least has Natalie Dormer going for it, who is good and pretty. And technically it has two of her, ‘cause she’s twins. But that’s about it.
Two in a row with the mediocre horror movies, eh? And along with the Forest, another mediocre horror film with good, hot actresses from very good, very popular TV shows I love. The big thing that sets this one apart is that it’s reeeeeeally weird. You think it’s all about some super crazy old people that want to pay a hot lady to watch a doll they act like is their actual son. …Okay. Fair enough. Then the movie starts seeming like it’s a little more subtle and psychological version of Chuckie from Child’s Play, and then it’s even weirder than that! Somehow, ghosts would be more feasible (and probably scarier) than the way they ended up going. Lauren Cohan was good though, and she was hot. I did not care for Brahm though. His performance was a bit stiff and wooden. …GET IT?!?!?! ‘Cause he was the doll!!! …You get it…
I don’t know if I would go so far as to say The Witch is a scary movie. It’s certainly unnerving though. It’s kind of weird and creepy and there’s old naked women and ravens eating women’s nipples and talking goats and creepy children. It creates quite a mood and an atmosphere though, so that probably counts for something. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find much about the movie that would lead me to recommend it either. But most other critics seem to like it, so maybe check it out or whatever. Just not really my cup of witches brew.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
This is certainly a silly premise for a movie. Take an old classic book and toss some zombies in there. But for me, it works. ‘Cause I’m not reading a book. And I also am not watching Pride and Prejudice as a movie…unless you add zombies and sword fighting. So I enjoyed the movie well enough AND I can now tell people I’ve read Pride and Prejudice. …I turned on the subtitles.
Coming from a longtime fan of the character, I would have a hard time finding any fault to Deadpool … so I won’t! I loved this movie! The action was great and the comedy delivered practically nonstop all the way to the end of the movie and starting from (and including) the opening credits. How many times would you tell someone that they better not miss the opening credits? Once! The whole cast was fantastic; Morena Baccarin and Gina Carano were really hot and so was Ryan Reynolds… Everyone delivered exactly what they needed to. And my favorite part? Not only did they not completely ruin the character of Deadpool, they made fun of the previous time when they did completely ruin the character of Deadpool! Basically, if you don’t like this movie, you just don’t like Deadpool, because this movie is, to me, a perfect capturing of the character. To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie, and the only thing that makes me nervous about the sequel is that they won’t be able to recapture what this movie had, but I’ll certainly be in the theater as early as possible to find out. But as long as they don’t take the mouth off of the Merc with a Mouth, then it couldn’t possibly be THAT bad.
At first glance, Zootopia seems like it’s just another cute Disney movie. And it is, but there’s also a lot more to it than just that. On the surface, it’s cute, beautiful, funny and charming, all the things that kids will enjoy in a movie. And things get hit in the head a few times, and that is a child’s pinnacle of comedy. But it also bases itself on a message of trust and friendship overcoming prejudice and fear. That shit’s deep for a Disney movie! And pretty topical too! It seems like it’s all about the cute little prey bunny overcoming everyone else’s prejudice against her to make her dream a reality and become a police officer, but even she has to come to the realization that she (and other prey) also jump to conclusions about the predators being prone to violence. And the best thing about this message is that it’s there and it’s obvious, but it also doesn’t beat you over the head with it to the point of annoyance. The voice cast also kills it, especially the two main characters that carry the movie (Goodwin and Bateman) and also Shakira who sang the great song for the movie and made me feel weird things while looking at a gazelle. I cannot find fault in this movie, and I have no interest in trying to.
I feel like Zoolander 2 didn’t hurt my feelings too badly because I don’t hold the original Zoolander in high enough esteem that I went into this movie expecting much. And I also can’t say that it hurt me too drastically because I barely remember seeing it. I know I did, and I’m pretty sure I own it on Blu-Ray around here somewhere, but that’s about it. Maybe that’s because the closest to funny this movie gets is by rehashing the vaguely funny things from the first movie, but that’s not going to be good enough. And the movie has a ton of cameos, which is great if that’s more important than humor out of a comedy to you. The best things that happened in this movie were some kinda funny moments from Kyle Mooney’s hipster character Don Atari, and the fact that they killed Justin Bieber in the beginning. But if I can’t say I like a movie that kills Justin Bieber in the first 5 minutes, that movie is probably not very good.
GODS OF EGYPT
Gods of Egypt did not do well with either the critics or the people in general. Many people condemned this movie before its release because the cast was a bunch of white people acting like Egyptians. I don’t really care about that personally because I would rather have a better actor in a role than one that looks right. It probably helps that most times it’s white people taking roles from other races and I’m white, so why would I be offended? I think what’s more offensive about this movie is that it’s just not very good. But where I would take critics to task on this one is my “what were you expecting?” argument. This movie was exactly what I assumed it would be based on its poster. Decent visuals and passable action, possibly some pretty ladies scattered about, and everything else was not a concern. So whether you have seen this movie or not, whether you are making an educated decision about this movie or not, you are probably right. There’s no reason to see it really, but it’s not awful.
LONDON HAS FALLEN
London Has Fallen is a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, which is a movie most famous for being often confused with that other movie about the president being kidnapped. You probably don’t need me to say more, which is good because I don’t have much more to say. This time, a whole city has fallen, so I can only assume that next a whole country, then a continent, then a planet, and maybe even a solar system will fall as well, and only Gerard Butler can stop it because he’s super dedicated to his job and an inexplicable badass that single-handedly takes down armies. So what is there to say about this movie? It’s dumb, but lots of things explode, and the cast is maybe 10% better than standard action movie casts are. So watch this movie next time you want to shut your brain off and watch things go boom.
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was a little more drama than comedy to me, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience. It didn’t seem to hit too heavy on anything I was thinking it would go for. There were funny moments, but nothing was incredibly laugh out loud funny. There were serious moments, but nothing too depressing or tragic. Some action moments, but nothing terribly thrilling. Overall it was just a long, moderate enjoyment that I felt. Nice little love story in there that wasn’t really the focus, but Tina Fey was enjoyable as usual, as was Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie. And I especially enjoyed Fey’s relationship with her fixer Fahim. So it’s a solid movie, but as it doesn’t really feel like a spectacular version of any type of movie, I don’t know if I’d call it a must.
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
10 Cloverfield Land certainly wasn’t what I expected going in, but being a psychological thriller about 3 isolated people that’s a sequel to a Godzilla-esque giant monster movie will have that effect. But after the initial shock of that wore off, I found myself able to enjoy this movie for what it was. It was a very well done, tense, and psychological movie that was also very well acted. Not typically the type of movie I go for, but I felt like it carried the flame from the first movie pretty well. I just hope to get a little more info and a little more Godzilla if they do another one.
I think what mostly drove me to want to watch The Bronze was how often I stumbled across it. I came across the movie in RedBox many times and saw the mildly amusing trailer for it many times. Finally I stumbled across it on the list of movies that came out in 2016, and figured I might as well give it a shot. Once I did, I found it acceptable. The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it had a decent amount of humor sprinkled around to make it enjoyable, especially the gymnast sex scene near the end. The cast was good too. Melissa Rauch wasn’t very likeable until the end, but that’s what she was going for, and I’m always happy to see Thomas Middleditch and Sebastian Stan. Haley Lu Richardson was pretty enjoyable too. The Bronze has some things going for it that I would say bring it dangerously close to being worth your time.
THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT
I don’t really know why I watched Allegiant. And I don’t know why I watched Divergent either. And more than that, I don’t know why I watched this one when I apparently forgot to watch Insurgent, which is the second one. So maybe fans of the movie would argue that the reason I didn’t like this one is because I wasn’t able to follow the deep, cohesive storyline. Well that may be the case. Also a possibility: it was boring and dumb. When I watched the first one, I barely understood what they were trying to go for. Then this one adds more stuff for me to be confused by. Perhaps, had I seen the second one, it would’ve been the appropriate level of confusion for my brain to shut down and enjoy the movie. But I found myself completely capable of realizing that they had some fairly big ideas and stopped right about there. But they threw some pretty computer pictures around to make it look fairly nice, and then threw a few great actors in and surrounded them by pretty actors that could pass as moderately acceptable actors, and then that was a trilogy. Skip it.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
I would never have been classified as a fan of the DC Universe, and with movies like they put out when Christopher Nolan isn’t behind the camera, they are doing nothing to help that. Now, I didn’t despise Batman v Superman as much as other nerds I have heard discuss it because I’m not as close to the source material, but the movie still mostly sucked. Y’see, I’ve actually read the Dark Knight Returns. Zack Snyder should’ve too. It’s pretty good. Instead, I think he might’ve read the Wikipedia article about it, or the Cliff Notes if they do that for comics. What he understood was that Batman fights Superman at some point. Didn’t really get why. He also didn’t really get the character of Batman and his whole “One Rule” thing he talked about it The Dark Knight. You know, how Batman doesn’t kill, like even if blowing up that car with enemies in it would look REALLY cool and get those bad guys out of his hair for a while. Like not even if there was a 1% chance someone could be a bad guy, since y’know EVERYONE has about a 1% chance of being a bad guy and he specifically never killed the Joker who has about a 147% chance of being a bad guy. And if you thought his reason for fighting Superman in the first place was stupid, wait until you find out why he stops fighting him. Also, I did not like Eisenberg’s over the top Luthor weirdness. He was super annoying through the entire movie, but then a little bit good and intimidating at the very end of the movie. On a positive note, I liked Ben Affleck a lot and look forward to what he’ll do in the future, and he had some great action scenes that felt straight out of one of the Arkham games. And Gal Gadot was great and every Wonder Woman scene was awesome … and would have been much more so if every one of those scenes wasn’t in the trailers. So this was not a painfully bad movie to watch, but where it hurt itself was being a movie about well-established characters that it didn’t seem to understand … and not being very good.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
I absolutely loved Civil War. I’m sure that’s no surprise coming from a hardcore Marvel fanboy, but I think the movie was fairly universally loved. Full of the fun one expects from Marvel movies but with the serious moments when they were needed and a great plot where all the characters had clear motivations. Interesting concept, eh Batman v Superman? Obviously they couldn’t make this movie exactly the same as the comics (which I had heard complaints about), but of course they couldn’t because they don’t have the ability to use the word “mutant” or use the X-Men. So shut the fuck up, nerds! The whole cast was great, especially new characters of Black Panther and the new Spider-Man, and also Daniel Brühl as Zemo, and everyone had a great moment in their wicked awesome fight at the airport, which was only one among many great action set pieces. Marvel is killin’ it, as always.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
I had no interest in The Jungle Book for a long time. I saw the cartoon. I thought it was okay. Later on they made it again with one real person and some computer stuff and that guy that made Iron Man. That would probably be fine, but I know what’s gonna happen. Eventually, the media talked me into it as podcasts I listened to talked it up. Then I watched it and they were right. It is really good; better even than the cartoon. The story is roughly the same, but the new visuals really help to tell that story, and those visuals combined with the voice acting makes me have to say a statement like, “That wolf gave a performance that brought tears to my eyes.” I don’t recall actually crying because I’m so manly and all, but it worked very well. And they had all the musical numbers that they should have and though only Scarlett Johansson really had much of a singing voice; it was still nice to hear them again. This was a really entertaining and touching movie that everyone should enjoy.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR
Though I would not be bold enough to call The Huntsman: Winter’s War a good movie, I would certainly say it was better than the original. Is that because this one didn’t have Kristen Stewart in it? Possibly. But I would say I had no major problem with the sequel too. The story was fairly bland and not much more than good guys versus bad guys followed by credits, but I also wasn’t really expecting much more than that. The actors can probably take most of the credit for this movie being watchable. I liked Theron and Blunt and their interactions, and I really liked Chastain and Hemsworth and their chemistry together. I even liked the dwarves, even though they really had no real reason to be there save for mild comic relief. But the movie was fine. You don’t need to see it, but at least Kristen Stewart isn’t in it.
Keanu was cute. The cat, I mean. Not the movie. The movie was fine. I’ve never seen Key and Peele’s show, but I’ve enjoyed the clips of it I’ve seen, so I expected a fair bit from this movie. It was somewhat funny, but not uproariously so. Just kind of enough to make me smile throughout and chuckle at a few parts. The story premise can keep you smiling because it’s just so silly, but not very many jokes really got me. The cast was enjoyable too. Key and Peele are very likeable, and Anna Faris was probably my favorite part of the movie. Besides Keanu, that is. He was slightly cuter than she is.
RATCHET & CLANK
My main goal in watching Ratchet & Clank was to see if I could learn the story of the games without bothering to play them, which I had never bothered to get around to even though I typically heard good things. Was this movie successful in this endeavor? How should I know? I had nothing to compare it to. So instead, I’ll say if it was successful as a movie. Probably. I’m sure it made a lot of money. As for its quality, I would say it was fine. It looked great and its story was the basic dream-fulfillment, zero-to-hero thing. Kids will probably like it, but as far as I can tell, random shapes and colors moving on a screen will be enough for most children. Disney and Pixar have probably set the standard for movies too high for parent to be entirely thrilled by this movie though.
I might actually surprise you all with my review for X-Men: Apocalypse. I didn’t actually love this Marvel movie. I would say I just really really liked it. Number one thing it had going for it: there were X-Men in it. It also had Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen in it, as well as a killer subtle gag where they used Metallica’s “Four Horsemen” in the movie. And it also had an awesome Phoenix moment. I liked the greater majority of things about the movie with only few minor problems. First, I think Xavier should really be portrayed as stronger than he was on the Astral Plane. I also really didn’t care for the kid playing Cyclops or the look of Archangel, but I did like all the returning cast and the new people like Apocalypse, Sansa Stark, Olivia Munn, and Nightcrawler. The Weapon X sequence was also cool, but their attempts to make the Weapon X gear look less goofy for camera didn’t really go that well. Overall, I found it quite enjoyable, but I’m also an X-Men nerd. I may not be trustworthy.
ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
I have no particular love for the previous Alice in Wonderland movie. It looked pretty and computers made wonderful fantasy things look somewhat realistic. And there was probably a story, but damned if I remember what it was. Cut and paste for Through the Looking Glass. It was fine. Pretty computer things and a story about time-travel or whatever. Nothing too mind-blowing. It has some pretty good actors giving mixed performances though. Depp and Carter are a little over the top for my taste, but I like Wasikowska and Hathaway, and I thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a really enjoyable part of the movie. Probably not so much as I’d really recommend the movie, but I’m sure kids would really get a kick out of it, and the parents probably won’t hate it while watching with them.
I didn’t even know this movie existed until I saw it on the Wikipedia list, and then out of nowhere it gets to be on my list. Congratulations! Anyway, I know we’ve all sat around and thought to ourselves about how much we’d like to see a boring and cliché version of Poltergeist, right? And then we watched the remake of Poltergeist, and after feeling like that wasn’t quite bland and obvious enough, we started demanding to see The Darkness. It’s Poltergeist with the burial ground replaced by 5 rocks an autistic child found in the desert. And the family’s biggest concern for most of the movie was with the dry cleaning from getting black handprints off of everything. And the funny weird lady from the Poltergeist is now a Mexican lady and her granddaughter…who for some reason are the experts you call in when having troubles with Anasazi demons. I guess as long as their skin is brown, they can probably do it. They all look the same to us anyway. So what I’m saying is, instead of bothering with this movie, just go watch Poltergeist. …Either one is better.
THE NICE GUYS
For a long time, I could not imagine a reason for me to watch The Nice Guys. A comedy on the backs of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling? Sounds like a pretty terrible idea. The only funny thing I can think of involving either of them is a series of videos where someone tries to feed cereal to one of them. But it turned out that this movie was almost as funny as feeding cereal to Ryan Gosling. The story was the buddy cop movie basics, but with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way, making it feel like that Starsky and Hutch movie but funny. And you gotta give credit where it’s due: Crowe and Gosling delivered. I doubted them and they shut me up. …No I mean it. I’m gonna shut up now. Watch the movie though.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
What can one really expect when going to see a movie like TMNT: Out of the Shadows? …Yes. That is the answer. You should be looking for a dumb, roughly pointless story with as much fan service as they can muster (Hey, we added Krang this time!). Then you should expect a visual extravaganza, and I guess they kinda get there. I still hate how the turtles look, but can’t change that now. One of the actors is Megan Fox, so you can’t expect much there, but the turtle voices are pretty good, and I like Will Arnett and Stephen Amell, and I liked Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams as Bebop and Rocksteady. So what can one expect out of this movie? Yes. Exactly what you think.
POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING
The first thing I would clarify about seeing Popstar is that I didn’t want to. Someone had to suggest it to me. The reason I didn’t want to see it is because I really don’t care for Andy Samberg very much. He’s occasionally acceptable to me in small cameo roles, but the only time I’ve seen him in a starring role was Hot Rod, which was talked up as the greatest comedy in years to me by one of my friends and was instead something that made me want to kill myself. Also, I think I thought it was that movie where Adam Sandler is Samberg’s dad for a while. But even though it was an uphill battle to overcome my general disinterest in Samberg, I feel like this movie pulled it off. It’s like This is Spinal Tap for the new generation … but not nearly as good as that. But that’s a high bar to reach and one shouldn’t necessarily expect it to be able to reach that. Basic story, decently funny, pretty well acted, Samberg was enjoyable, and tons of cameos from the comedy and music world for those that would find that interesting. Popstar was pretty solid though. A decent watch, and probably more so if you’re a big Samberg/Lonely Island fan.
NOW YOU SEE ME 2
I thought the first Now You See Me movie was fine. Didn’t blow minds, but was entirely watchable. The sequel was roughly the same, and perhaps took a step down for losing much of the surprise of the movie to its predecessor. And the biggest problem of both movies is that it bases itself on magic and illusion which is impressive when watching someone do it in person, but much less impressive to watch when it’s the skill of a computer and not of a person who spent their life mastering the craft. But the story of the movie seems fairly well planned out, had a few nice twists, and some of the magic stuff was interesting to watch. I also still like how they use magic tricks for fist fights and heists, and the actors are all good. The movie’s a decent watch, but not a required one by any stretch.
THE CONJURING 2
So many of these movies come out that I have a hard time remembering which is which sometimes. The first Conjuring was about the Amityville stuff, right? …Or am I thinking of Amityville Horror… Well, this one is about this English family that claimed to be haunted in real life and the Warrens are back to kick ghost ass and chew bubblegum, but their bubblegum didn’t make it through customs! And this movie was pretty successful. I like the use of “real life” hauntings as a basis for a movie because, if nothing else, it’ll make me read about the “real life” stuff and be entertained by that, but the movie entertained pretty well too. It pulled off jump scares pretty successfully and creepy build up decently. The old guy ghost was somewhat scary, but that old nun lady was downright chilling. All the living actors did very well too. I’ll call this one worth a watch.
My idea to watch Warcraft came from a discussion on a podcast (Shout out to Just2Pals Podcast!). My friend (a big Warcraft fan) loved the movie, while his partner (less of a Warcraft fan) did not. My history with Warcraft puts me somewhere in the middle of those two, as did my enjoyment of the movie. I played and loved the original RTS Warcraft games, and even played a little of World of Warcraft, though I lost interest fairly quickly. And since my time with Warcraft pretty much ended around 2003, my knowledge of the lore of Warcraft has mostly dispersed. I know humans don’t like orcs. And this movie does enforce that. And pretty much covers the story of the movie as well. The action was decent, but it’s hard to make very impressive action when it’s technically a guy swinging a plastic sword at air, but the computers did some good work on this movie. I especially liked what they did the orcs, especially with Paula Patton. It’s hard to feel for (and be attracted to) a big green lady with tusks, but nature finds a way. So what it seems to come down to with this movie is that my recommendation is dependent on your involvement with the Warcraft lore, sliding up from “don’t bother” if you know nothing of Warcraft to “you’ve already seen it” if you’re a huge fan.
Sequels to animated movies (especially in Disney movies) can be hit and miss. Finding Dory at least had the benefit of not being straight to DVD, which typically means better, but Cars 2 hit theaters, so it’s not perfect. And neither was Finding Dory (long way to go for that one, I know), but it was really good. It’s a nice emotional story about Dory trying to find her family and overcome her memory problems, and it’s pretty well assembled. I feel like Dory works better as a secondary character generally, but she’s more fun to be with than Marlin, so it’s okay. I also really enjoyed Hank the octopus and Becky the bird, who pretty much stole the whole movie for herself. And the story did tug at the heart strings, but I don’t recall being overwhelmed by emotion at any point. So the movie is good, and probably met my expectations, but it doesn’t quite blow me away.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
Independence Day: Resurgence is exactly what it needs to be. If you went into this movie expecting it to absolutely brilliant, you might be stupid and I pity you. Before going to see this movie, I remembered the good times of things exploding a lot, Bill Pullman dropping a killer speech, and Will Smith and his patented way of welcoming someone to our planet. So when seeing the sequel, I expected roughly the same thing except someone else would be on our planet’s welcoming party. But I enjoyed the experience of the movie. What was the story? …That wasn’t a set up to something. I really don’t remember. Something about aliens coming back with bigger and angrier ships but we found this white sphere that helps somehow. And the cast was solid, even if they weren’t Will Smith. But who is? Besides Will Smith, of course. But none of that stuff really matters, does it? I went to this movie to see aliens blow up as much stuff as they could before America whooped that ass. This movie delivers on that. It’s not smart; it’s big and spectacular. That’s what it was supposed to be.
I was surprised I liked this movie too! But this movie has it all: thrills, chills, suspense, and Blake Lively in a bikini. This is what I expected from The Shallows and this is what I got. I would say it takes a little long to get to the heavy stuff, but since that time is spent watching Blake Lively be super-hot, it felt like a productive use of my time. But then when it gets going it is pretty damned edge of your seat stuff all the way through to the end. And that shark was a dick! I mean, I understand you gotta eat, but if you’re just looking for food, there’s this huge dead whale like 20 feet away that they used to explain why you showed up in the first place. There’s a lot more meat on that thing than on Blake. So really you’re just doing this to be an asshole, right? And he was. Fuck that shark. And even not counting her ridiculous hotness, I thought Blake Lively was fantastic, and I’d be willing to kick that up to amazing since the only other thing I’ve seen her in was Green Lantern, so I didn’t know she had this kind of performance in her. I thought everyone did a really good job with this movie, and think it’s worth watching. Just like Blake Lively is.
THE LEGEND OF TARZAN
There wasn’t much memorable about The Legend of Tarzan. I could say that I remember that Margot Robbie is hot, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the movie. It’s Margot Robbie. When is she not? And then I remember Christoph Waltz stole Tarzan’s lady and he must return to his Tarzan roots to get her back, and he does. And there’s some black dude that wants to kill Tarzan too. Don’t remember much about that. The Legend of Tarzan was a perfectly fine movie that just wasn’t special enough to dedicate any space in my extremely limited memory to. I think I might just prefer my Tarzan animated.
Growing up a fan of the Doom series as I did, I was very disappointed when starting The BFG. It wasn’t about a Big Fuckin’Gun at all! It’s about a Big Fuckin’ Guy and his friendship with a young girl. After I was able to get over my disappointment (and realize that most movies that have been released based on Doom haven’t really worked out too well), I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was. And it was surprisingly enjoyable. The story was as simple as a little girl befriending a giant and then helping him take care of the bad giants, but it was the world that was created that was impressive. Visually stunning and well planned out, it can be really immersive. And the performance of the little girl and the giant really get you attached to them pretty quickly. A very nice little movie to take kids to.
THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR
Holy hell! There was a second Purge movie? Oh well. I missed that one, and I don’t care. I haven’t particularly cared to see any of the Purge movies. The first one was standard and unimpressive unless you have a phobia about red corn syrup, which I do not. The third was roughly the same, maybe made slightly more interesting by some story elements, but really it just comes down to different ways to make people shoot corn syrup around. But this time people are trying to protect a candidate that wants to stop the Purge. So that should count for something. But that something isn’t a recommendation. It’s just also not a warning.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS
The Secret Life of Pets is also a simple story of pets. There’s no real surprise to the story of this movie. Happy, content dog has his world turned upside down by the addition of a new dog that he fears will take his owners love like a child when a new baby arrives. But the real surprise about this movie for me was how enjoyable it was. It seemed so cookie cutter from the trailers and seemed like something only kids might fall for, but I fell for it too, based mostly on the excellent and often adorable animation and the quality of the voice acting cast, especially Jenny Slate, who I adored in this movie. I was so happy every time Gidget showed up so I could hear her again. The movie also had some solid funny moments. Definitely a good movie.
Talk about the new Ghostbusters movie was as mixed after its release as it was before. “How could women do funny things?” they asked. I wasn’t one of those people. I looked at the cast and found Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon sufficient to believe comedy was possible (I’m not really a fan of Melissa McCarthy and I wasn’t familiar with Leslie Jones). And after seeing the movie, I decided that they succeeded in realizing that comedy. This was a very funny movie. Was it as good as the first two Ghostbusters? No. Not much is. And that’s why I didn’t expect this movie to surpass the first two Ghostbusters. It’s not the same kind of dry, subtle humor that made those Ghostbusters brilliant. It’s a different thing. This movie probably would’ve been very well received had they chosen a different title, but these women busted ghosts, so they must’ve felt the need. Sure, it wasn’t the Ghostbusters we fans wanted, but since that’s never going to happen, this one will do.
STAR TREK BEYOND
Star Trek Beyond was fine, but a bit ridiculous in parts which held it back from greatness. The story was solid and included a nice twist surprise at the end that worked very well. And the movie had no real shortage of blockbuster action, which is also enjoyable. And all the returning cast as well as the new additions of Idris Elba as Krall and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah were all enjoyable. So what was the problem? Their determination to make sure there was a moto cross scene that barely makes sense and the fact that the music of the Beastie Boys saves the day. Having the anachronistic music playing is fine because I like the songs and they work well as soundtrack music, but having it be their main weapon against the enemies is a little silly. Still an enjoyable movie though.
Though I don’t necessarily think that the movie world needs to leave this Jason Bourne guy alone, I would find it acceptable since it would make sense in the story of the movies that the government would finally decide that they should stop fucking with the guy that just wants to be left alone, but will happily destroy you and everything you have if you don’t leave him alone. Plus, the latest couple of movies haven’t been that good and eventually there’s going to be more mediocre ones that great ones. This is one of the mediocre ones. It’s fine, but it doesn’t really add anything to the world of Jason Bourne, and it also didn’t really need to exist. It’s a fine basic action movie that fans of the series will want to watch, but it doesn’t really stand out enough to recommend.
I would say that I really wanted to enjoy Suicide Squad. DC’s movies have been so disappointing that, even not being a big DC fan, I was hoping they would get a surprise Deadpool-esque hidden gem movie out sooner or later. This wasn’t it. I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, but I really didn’t enjoy it. It felt to me like they were trying too hard with their moments of freezing and throwing up title cards for their characters and their “cool” music, but it couldn’t quite come together. The story was just an origin story with a somewhat secondary and forgetful story about a bad guy and the “good” guys have to stop it. The action wasn’t impressive either, but it was okay. And the characters were mostly disappointing. I didn’t care about most of the characters going in, and not much changed on leaving. I liked Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Rick Flag and Katana were kind of bland and forgetful, El Diablo and Enchantress were fine, Captain Boomerang was fairly funny sometimes, and I didn’t care for Killer Croc at all. He just felt like his performance should be him saying stupid things and licking things a lot for no reason. And he looked strangely emaciated for some reason, even though the character and the actor portraying him are pretty big and buff. And the biggest problem with the whole movie in my opinion was Jared Leto’s Joker. You could tell he really had a character choice in mind, but I didn’t like the way he went at all. I just found him annoying. And worse than that, pointless. It felt like everything involving the Joker was a waste of my time and he could’ve been not involved at all, or at least only involved in the flashbacks.
Pete’s Dragon is … I don’t know, man. It’s whatever. I don’t remember the original well enough to compare them, and I already don’t remember this movie well enough to care. The kid has a dragon, a family takes him in, bad people try to catch the dragon, happy ending. It looks really pretty and the dragon is fairly well done, but I didn’t feel like I cared enough to pay attention while watching it and it couldn’t pull my attention. I say skip it, but if you have kids it’ll perform as background noise fairly well.
I would give this movie some credit. It almost lost me in the first 5 minutes with the musical number that opened it which I found completely devoid of humor and just trying too hard to be offensive. And though the trying too hard to be offensive continued throughout the movie, some humor showed up making it more worthwhile. It’s a silly movie that hides a strange religious argument meaning in between some of the lowest comedy that sometimes works. I had a hard time in the movie weighing the jokes that were just too dumb or too gross with some actually well-written and funny jokes, but I’d say I warmed up to it, and I enjoyed the cast, particularly Nick Kroll doing his character Bobby Bottleservice as Douche. I don’t recommend it if you’re easily offended because you probably wouldn’t make it very far into the movie, but if you can deal with that, you could actually enjoy the movie. Or wind up somewhere in the middle of enjoying and despising it.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
This movie blew my damned mind! I had a mild desire to see it based on its interesting style and Asian feel, but never bothered to get around to it until my friend Maggie raved about it. I rented it, watched it, and went out to purchase it in full immediately afterwards. It succeeds on every level. The story is new, funny in parts, touching in others, and interesting to all ages throughout. The animation is beautiful and engaging. The cast also knocks it out of the park. I don’t have much to say beyond saying I loved this movie and recommend you watch it post haste.
Even if it’s not necessary, every movie will probably be remade eventually, even if the original holds up just fine and the new one has nothing to bring to the table. Granted, I probably don’t remember the original Ben-Hur well enough to say what the new one brought in or left out, but I do remember liking the original and being bored of the remake. It’s not bad. The race at the end is cool and some of the Jesus stuff is interesting and the cast tries their best, but it all seems futile. Just go watch the original.
I found myself pretty surprised by Don’t Breathe. Not so much by the quality. The premise seemed interesting and the trailers sold the movie pretty well to make me think there was some quality to be found here, and there was. I liked the premise of the kids breaking into the blind guy’s house and then he turns out to be a badass, and they were able to milk this for some really tense scenes. My concern going into it was that the kids were supposed to be our protagonists, but I wondered if they would be able to make me feel bad about the blind war veteran killing the little shits that broke into his house, and they did that with the real surprise in this movie: all the stuff going on in the basement. It made it so we didn’t like the blind guy a whole bunch more than we didn’t like the thieving kids, and led to some real weirdness and at least one super grossness. But besides that, it was a very interesting movie, and I’d say it’s worth checking out.
If you like Jason Statham action movies, this is one of them. It’s not particularly special in any way, and it’s more than a little silly, but I didn’t hate it. It’s a standard action movie that seemed like they had 3 ideas for interesting set pieces for and then just figured out some way to slap them all into the same movie. They are also going to need A-Team-style ‘prepare for hit’ montages before each one. Heaven help you if you don’t have that. Then they added in a corny love story with Jessica Alba who this hardcore, lone wolf killer guy falls for way too quickly even though he knows she was sent by the bad guy. But there were some cool action scenes and some cool fight scenes, also Jessica Alba is hot and Jason Statham is shirtless a whole bunch for anyone who may be into that sort of thing.
It is known that I am a fan of Kevin Smiths. I listen to his podcasts, I enjoy his TV shows, and I enjoy the greater majority of his movies. When I listened to the creation of the term “Yoga Hosers” on Smodcast, I thought it was hilarious. Sadly, I didn’t feel the same about the movie. Smith goes back to the convenient store in this movie, this time replacing Dante and Randall with his daughter and Johnny Depp’s daughter, and also replacing the witty conversations with slapstick silliness. Smith said he was going for a cheesy 80’s buddy movie with this one, which is probably fine but I just didn’t get any laughs out of it, which is less fine. It was just too goofy and seemed like Smith just wanting to put friends and family in a movie and see them do things that amuse him, like having Ralph Garman’s character do impressions for no reason other than Kevin knows Ralph can do them and they make Kevin laugh. And they make me laugh too when listening to Hollywood Babble-On, but not so much here. Perhaps this movie is better suited for Smith’s target audience of preteen girls, but it just didn’t do it for me. I haven’t been a preteen girl for years.
I liked Sully, but I have to say I found the movie a bit implausible. There’s no way that could actually happen! Silliness aside, I realize that a certain amount of the credit for this movie goes elsewhere because it’s probably pretty easy to make an interesting movie about this just by following the real life events of a hero, but the movie was deftly handled. I saw some complaining about how they handled the NTS board that was actively trying to prove that Sully fucked up and saying that this wouldn’t be how it would’ve happened in real life, but screw that. They need a bad guy and they have to build it up so the audience would be amped when Sully proves that what he did was right. That wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful if they were just like, “Yup, you were right. Just as we all thought. Good work, Captain.” He needs to teabag them with knowledge. After that stuff, you’ll be shocked to find that Tom Hanks was fantastic in this movie and carried the movie well. Whoda thunk it? Great movie and worth watching.
As another addition to the Blair Witch mythos, I found that this sequel raised more questions than it answered. Like why is that black dude being such a dick to the two stoned weirdos? They’ve been perfectly civil and helpful so far. And why did the stoned weirdos fake those wooden doll things? Like, you wanted others to believe in this stuff, but you wanted to stay in the woods longer and those things just made everyone want to leave. And when they were leaving, why not just admit you faked it? And why was faking it such a big deal to everyone else? And why would our heroes tell them they had to leave because of it? They could get lost and die in those woods … because they hung up their arts and crafts? And why are the “heroes” still terrified after finding out that stuff was faked? And why does everyone in horror movies think it’s okay to sneak up behind people that are already dealing with a scary situation? These are the kinds of questions Blair Witch raises. But the biggest one is why did they make this? It really only rehashes the original Blair Witch movie, but now they have better and cooler technology.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
There are two things that need be expressed in my review for this movie. First, I have a predisposition towards enjoying Westerns. Second, I haven’t seen the original, so I have nothing to compare it to. That being said, I really enjoyed The Magnificent Seven. Granted it’s a super standard movie in that a bad guy is terrorizing a town and the good guy must assemble a team of misfits to save the day. And then a lot of bullets, a lot of explosions, a lot of death, and then the day is saved. Who can’t name at least 5 movies to compare that stuff to? Especially if you count the original Magnificent Seven, which I assume is similar. But this movie is a solid western with good action and good acting. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you like Westerns.
JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK
I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher movie pretty well, but not well enough to bother seeing the sequel in theaters until it was time to start watching movies for this review. I had to go to the Dollar Theaters for it. And that’s about the right price to see this movie. It’s fine, but formulaic, and generally unnecessary. The action’s okay and the fights are fine, but the story leaves something to be desired. Mostly I just desired something not easy and obvious. And probably desired (without knowing it) that they not have a completely pointless subplot about a daughter. She only served the story as a damsel in distress, and was even more pointless because she wasn’t even his daughter. They just sort of thought she was for parts of the movie but wasn’t, thus rendering her pretty pointless to the movie in general. But it’s not a bad movie and I liked the action, so I would say it’s not necessary to see, but not painful to see.
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL
I’ve seen so many Ouija movies that I can’t even tell if any of them are supposed to be connected or not. And if any of them are, I’m not sure why I watched this one because all the rest of them I’ve seen are just awful. According to Wikipedia, this is a prequel to Ouija, which was garbage. But Origin of Evil was inexplicably pretty damned good. Pretty well-paced and nerve-wracking, with a solid story and some good scares, and pretty good acting to bring it all together. One of my favorite things that they did in this was that they had scary things standing in the background a lot, but didn’t make a big deal out of them. There would just be a silhouette back there with glowing orange eyes, but they wouldn’t zoom in on it or hit it with a music sting to make sure everyone saw it. You don’t need to see it for the movie to work, but once I saw one I was nervously checking the background in every scene. And when they looked through the lens in the planchette it made me want to hide until it was over. This movie brings in a fair amount from The Exorcist and Poltergeist to help it be effective, and that’s just what it was. Great horror movie. Worth watching.
I didn’t think Inferno was nearly as bad as most critics seemed to, but I didn’t think it was good either. If nothing else, a Tom Hanks movie has Tom Hanks in it and he can hold any piece of crap fairly well by himself. I think my biggest problem with this movie is it didn’t feel like it had anything in common with the Da Vinci Code, which it should because that movie is the reason I watched this one. The other movies didn’t really feel like full on action movies. They felt more like Zelda. Some action, but a lot of puzzle solving and interesting ideas about how Jesus had children or whatever. Because of how this movie was set up, Tom Hanks’ character didn’t remember anything, which meant that he was pretty much being dragged from scene to scene until he finally got his shit together. And the big reveal that the person you thought was good but was in fact bad was only a surprise because I thought they were being so blunt and obvious about it that it couldn’t possibly be the way they were going. But it was. And the black guy cop was hunting this bad guy for years but didn’t know he had a girlfriend or what she looked like? So there’s not much going for this movie to make it worth watching. I would say Hanks and their cool Hell imagery is about the only thing, but it’s not enough. You can skip this one.
Never having been a big fan of Doctor Strange, I wasn’t sure how well this movie would work out for me. That of course is stupidly forgetting who I am as a person and how I generally feel about Marvel movies. Of course I loved this one. But, in my defense, critics seemed to as well, so I feel justified. This was a fantastic origin story movie that really worked on every level. You can’t expect too terribly much from the story because it’s going to be an origin story and a small bad guy that probably sets up a bigger bad guy, but mostly serves as proof that he’s finished his origin by the end of the movie. And that is what it was, but it also had some surprises and cleverness and humor in there to make it feel different enough. The most obvious difference that sets this apart from other Marvel movies is the imagery. Obviously I don’t mean that the CG was great, because it was and most Marvel movies are, but the jokes that it seemed like Marvel’s Inception I had heard before seeing the movie were apt. But also, who cares? It looked great and no one would need to guess that something magical was happening when you’re in a Kaleidoscope world. Also, Cumberbatch was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed Swinton, McAdams, Ejiofor, Mikkelsen, and Wong. Which is pretty much everyone, but that’s because they were all good, and only surpassed by the amazing performance of Doctor Strange’s Cape. That was my favorite character by far. Great movie, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future with the character.
I hadn’t heard of the Arrival until someone suggested I watch it. I typically don’t expect much when watching a movie I’ve never heard of because I’m so damned hip that I’ve always heard of everything worth hearing of. And while that might not be true, it was also not applicable to this movie. Definitely a solid movie. I don’t give it quite the acclaim that it gets from other critics just because I found it boring in chunks of the movie, but it was generally worth sticking it out. The movie felt a lot like Contact with a lot of sciencey stuff and aliens and whatnot, but very few explosions. This movie was less about engineering and math and more about language though. What it shares with other alien movies is the stupidity of so many people getting bored of trying to communicate so fast and deciding what needs to happen is we need to wave our gun dicks at the super advanced alien civilization. Great idea, guys. But since there’s a very good chance that would happen in real life, I can’t hold it against the writing. And the writing was good anyway, even though the ending was a little confusing and hard to follow. Still an enjoyable movie.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
I’m a fairly big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, but I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them … mostly because I didn’t know they were related. I believe I mentioned how hip and well-informed I am. Well, once I figured it out, I went to see it fairly quickly. And it’s good. Not great, but good. Story was interesting, but not mind-blowing. I like what it adds to the mythology of the Harry Potter world and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future. The graphics are of the quality that should be expected from Harry Potter and were really awesome. And the cast was mostly great, at least in what they were going for. Dan Fogler seemed to be the comic relief and largely unnecessary for most of the movie, but he performed it well. And he had a great little love story with Queenie, so it made it worth it. So there really wasn’t anything wrong with Fantastic Beasts, it just didn’t really resonate with me like the other Harry Potter movies did. Maybe I just require a little more Emma Watson in my Harry Potter movies.
I loved Moana far more than I expected. It looked like a fairly average Disney movie, and it was. But one forgets that the standard Disney formula has worked for a very long time for a good reason. And Moana is a Disney-ass Disney movie. It’s straight Disney as fuck. The story is a classic follow your heart type of story as well as a save the day movie. It also has something that I like in movies that wasn’t as big for other Disney movies: a strong female heroine. Sure, Disney movies have had strong female characters, but most of them are the prize of the hero or the damsel in distress. This movie doesn’t even waste it’s time with a love story. Moana loves the sea and exploring, but she’s probably not shacking up with Maui afterwards. He’s a big dumb oaf for most of the movie, and not worthy of Moana until the end, but that’s not what the point of the movie was anyway and I like that. The movie also looks beautiful as one would expect it to. The songs were good and “How Far I’ll Go” was great, and Dwayne Johnson’s “You’re Welcome” was a decent song, but showed that The Rock actually has some pipes. Great movie for kids and adults alike.
I don’t know how much weight one can put behind my opinion of a Star Wars movie, but suffice to say I enjoyed Rogue One. It was not my favorite Star Wars movie and I thought it paled in comparison to last year’s offering, but I am typically going to be pretty happy to go back to the Star Wars world. I think what I enjoyed most about Rogue One was the gaps that were filled in the mythology of Star Wars, like how the Rebels got the plans to the Death Star in the first place, what powered the Death Star, can they pull off CG young Leia, etc. I also like the greater majority of the performances. I especially liked the robot K-2SO for being a straight up funny asshole (and apparently voiced by Alan Tudyk, which makes me love it more), and Donnie Yen as Space Zatoichi. I really wish I could’ve seen that guy use a lightsaber. He was rad. I thought the movie was great, just not really great enough to make my top films of the year, but it had stiff competition. Heck, it has stiff competition amongst Star Wars movies. I would also like to say that I’m super glad I saw this movie when I did, because if I had waited longer I would’ve broken down in a blubbering pile of tears when Leia showed up. RIP Carrie Fisher.
What was it about the Assassin’s Creed movie that caused me to ignore history and actually have hope that it would be a good movie? It’s a video game movie! That’s a pretty big hill to climb. It was probably mainly the inclusion of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. They wouldn’t do a shitty movie, would they? Well yeah, apparently. One of the criticisms I have for this movie is the same that I’ve always had for the games that they are based on: No one cares what happens outside of the Animus! I want to be an Assassin! I don’t want to be Desmond Miles! The parts inside the Animus seemed like they could’ve been a fairly cool movie on their own if they spent a little time with it. Heck, the time out of the Animus probably could’ve too, but together it just kept slowing the movie down. At least the games know to make us spend the majority of our time as an Assassin. Now, I wouldn’t say that I absolutely hated this movie. The CG was cool and Fassbender and Cotillard were good, but it was just kinda boring and lackluster, and nowhere near what I was hoping for.
I respect a movie that can do so much with so few cast members. Of significance, there are like 4 actors in this movie. Sure, Andy Garcia shows up at the end, but I don’t even think he says anything. But I enjoyed Passengers, based mostly on some interesting story ideas and the strong chemistry of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. I saw a lot of criticism of one really big decision that Pratt makes in the movie, and I get that, but I don’t know why people are saying that takes away from the movie. The characters in the movie treat the decision fairly appropriately, and it’s also hard to say it wasn’t justified. Dude thought he might have to spend the remaining 60 years of his life completely alone. And did a year of it already. It’s a hard decision to make, but one I think most would’ve made sooner. Especially for Jennifer Lawrence. Also, the movie looks fantastic. And I also thought Michael Sheen was surprisingly charming for an android. I wouldn’t say Passengers is one of the greatest movies ever, but I’d certainly recommend it for a rental.
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We Just Have a Bad History with Freaks Dressed like Clowns.
The only thing I can think of that attracts me to see a movie more than the fact that it’s a comic book movie is when I hear that it’s terrible. Especially with today’s movie. I was always a Marvel fan growing up, so when I hear that a DC movie is shitty, I feel the need to go revel in their failure … and act like there hasn’t been a Marvel that was terrible. Elektra was great, guys! The reviews for today’s movie, and some fear of spoilers, made me rush out to see it, and then I had me some thoughts. So I will now write them down as I review Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, written by David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio, directed by Zack Snyder, and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher.
In an attempt to explain why it was totally cool that Superman (Henry Cavill) destroyed the greater Metropolis area in his battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon), Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is upset that his favorite corporate headquarters was knocked down in the fight … and he’s probably bothered that that people died and some dude lost his legs. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also doesn’t like Superman, and decides to use the corpse of General Zod to take Supes out. In the meantime, he sets out to pit Batman (also Ben Affleck) and Superman against each other. It works and they V. They V it up!
Disappointingly, the critics apparently thought they were going in to see Shakespeare or something. This movie was not terrible. It doesn’t blow the mind, but it doesn’t blow anything else either. It’s what I wanted and expected. Perhaps one could find it disappointing just knowing that it’s based on the Dark Knight Returns, which is one of the best Batman comics I’ve ever read. This movie isn’t that good and doesn’t quite live up to the comic, but it’s solid. It has its problems, but it delivers on what it promises. One of those problems is that they went back to the stupid green rocks that are the major antagonist in every Superman movie. I thought it was the big decree in Man of Steel that they wouldn’t be relying on those? Well, I guess they need to use everything they can to make Superman interesting. Another problem I had was with the constant dream sequences. They did like 7 of them! Just whenever they realized that they hadn’t done any action scenes in a while, they teased us with a fake one. They even had a dream sequence WITHIN A DREAM SEQUENCE! Fuck you movie.
Probably the biggest problem with the movie is that it’s fairly predictable. Sure, I’ve read the comic that it’s based on, but it’s LOOSELY based on it, so you can’t say for sure where it’s going. Then you could say it’s obvious because … well because it is. Who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman? The same person that would win in a fight between Superman and anyone: Superman. Superman’s powers might as well condense themselves to be “Whatever he needs to do to win eventually.” And you can throw green rocks at him and slow him down a little, but I’ve seen him lift an island made out of green rocks in Superman Returns, so that doesn’t mean that much. But Batman is too popular and cool to let lame ass Superman beat him, so who wins? I was asked this question shortly after this movie was announced and my prediction was, “Stalemate.” They battle to a stalemate so that no fans have that much ammo to complain with and then they realize there’s a bigger problem and they team up. The title gives that away! “Dawn of Justice?” Meaning it will dawn on them that they should create a League of some sort, with Justice in the name somewhere. But I didn’t come to this movie to be surprised. I just wanted to see them fight and for things to explode.
And explode they did! The action was pretty good, but not without their problems. For instance, do you all know how the best part of any Batman movie is when he kicks the shit out of a building full of bad guys, but we just hear about it from witness reports later? Yeah, I don’t either! The first two or three times Batman does something awesome, we find out about it when the police enter the building and find a bunch of unconscious bad guys and one of them has a bat branded on his chest. And if we’re lucky, we’ll find out that Batman was goofily hanging out in the upper corner of the room hoping no one would turn their head and see him there. Then, when we finally see Batman do something, he’s not great at it because he’s wearing a big chunky suit to fight Superman, but I did find that fight pretty similar to Dark Knight Returns and pretty satisfying. And later, while fighting Doomsday, the writers really couldn’t figure out anything for Batman to do so he spent the battle hiding or running from laser blasts while Wonder Woman and Superman did all the work. But between that, Batman did a pretty sweet Arkham City impression when he whooped up on a room of baddies in true Bat-fashion. Does it sound like I’m only talking about Batman fights? Well that’s true. Because Superman can suck it and Wonder Woman is underused.
The loudest cries from the nerd community before this movie were about Ben Affleck. He already ruined a superhero when he made Daredevil, so how could he do what Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds did already and redeem themselves with their next attempt at a superhero? Also, we liked the last Batman, and remember how we all liked the last Joker when it was Nicholson so we preemptively hated Ledger? And then he was terrible and in no way blew the last one out of the water? That couldn’t happen again! Well he was good. He did redeem himself from Daredevil with me and, though I wouldn’t say he blew Bale out of the water, he at least rose to the challenge and did not disappoint. So I’m absolutely convinced that the next time an actor has to change, the nerd community will be understanding. But one of the biggest complaints about these recent DC movies is their gross misunderstanding of the characters as we know them. Man of Steel=Superman kills someone. Supes don’t kill. BvS=Batman uses a gun the first time we see him. Bats don’t shoot. Granted, it was just a dream sequence, but since I’ve already said those could go fuck off, I will say this particular one also goes to fuck off. It’s like taking away Deadpool’s mouth when his nickname is The Merc with a Mouth. And who would be dumb enough to do that? Supes was fine in the movie though. He seemed very Superman. I hated him, but that that means he captured the character correctly. Although he did feel at times like he wasn’t doing anything for the world unless it involved saving Lois Lane. And when Superman tells Batman to stop being Batman? Fuck you, Supes! How are you gonna tell this man not to be violent? ‘Cause he don’t need to go the same route that you went? Forget about that!
A lot of the secondary characters were good as well, except maybe some of them shouldn’t have been so secondary! Wonder Woman? WAY underused. Dub Dubs just spends most of the movie as a hot chick walking around all mysterious-like. Way to waste a great female character! Let’s step that up for the next movie, shall we? She basically only Dub Dubs it for the last battle of the movie. But her intro was rad. It was strong, powerful, and COMPLETELY RUINED BY THE TRAILER! It was awesome, but since it was pretty much the only time you used her in the movie, it was the only scene you could show in the trailer. But she totally had the lasso, and that was worth it. They had other superheroes too, but don’t get your hopes up. They were just shown in surveillance footage. It was cool to see them, but not significant. Lois was there too. I don’t know why she had to be in a tub at one point. I assume people will complain about that in much the same way as that scene in Star Trek Into Darkness. It was just unnecessary, but I’m not too bothered by it. That’s for the rest of the internet to bother complaining about. I found Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor annoying for the greater majority of the movie, but it was pretty good once he started letting out the evil near the end. He didn’t seem quite as smart as Lex is usually portrayed though. Lex is supposed to be a super genius, so how is his big plan to fight Superman to reanimate the guy that Superman just beat? It would seem that the real smart money would be to bet on literally anyone that Superman hasn’t beaten over the one guy that he has. And lastly, why are Superman’s parents the worst? In Man of Steel and in this movie, their big thing is trying to talk Superman out of doing anything good with the special abilities only he has. Even when the option is either you let Clark be Superman just a little bit so that dad doesn’t get swept away by a tornado! The Kents used to be so nice!
So that’s what I thought about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Nowhere near as bad as most critics said it was. It’s exactly what I expected. Batman v’s Superman, and it’s pretty cool. What more could you want? Besides maybe a little more Wonder Woman. I say go see it. And if there were any chance of that, you probably already have or have made plans to. But I’m gonna take credit for it. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets “That son of a bitch brought the war to us” out of “I thought she was with you.”
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It’s Not What I’m Doing … It’s What I’ve Done.
You could say that my sister has a bad habit of picking the worst game from my Christmas list to get me as a present. I prefer to think that she has a gift for it, and that the bad habit is my naiveté for assuming I’ll like so many games. If you’re up to date with my reviews, you’ll know that two years in a row my sister has given me a game that made it into my worst games of the year. Last year was Twisted Metal, but this year she got me Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition, developed by NetherRealm Studios, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and starring the voices of George Newbern, Kevin Conroy, Adam Baldwin, Susan Eisenberg, Richard Epcar, Phil LaMarr, Neal McDonough, Joey Naber, Khary Payton, Mark Rolston, Tara Strong, Alan Tudyk, Stephen Amell, Troy Baker, Grey DeLisle, Jennifer Hale, J.G. Hertzler, Nolan North, and Fred Tatasciore.
In an alternate reality, the Joker (Richard Epcar) tricks Superman (George Newbern) into killing Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis, sending Superman off the handle to the point where he kills the Joker and establishes a new world order as the High Councilor. In our reality, the Joker’s plan did not succeed, but did send the heroes from our world over to the other one, where they must join Batman’s (Kevin Conroy) insurgency and try to take down Superman’s regime.
There must be some sort of mistake. I seem to not have taken any notes on the story of this game. Of a fighting game! They’re always so story-driven! This game didn’t have a bad story (especially when you compare it to other fighting games), but it was fairly forgettable. I guess I didn’t take any notes about it because it didn’t really make any impact on me one way or another. It didn’t impress me as being particularly well-written, and I didn’t think of jokes to tear its shittiness apart. It was roughly as good as any of those straight to DVD DC or Marvel movies. Take that for what it is.
The thing that really makes or breaks a fighting game is the gameplay. The problem with that when it comes to me reviewing them is I don’t really like fighting games. I was interested enough to complete the story and beat the game with a couple of the individual characters to see their specific endings, but as with all other fighting games, once I hit that wall of boredom I hit it hard. When I reach boredom with a fighting game, there’s no taking a break and coming back to it; I’m out. Returning to the game is extremely painful at that point. This game controls like most of the newer Mortal Kombat games. There’re some punches and some kicks, a few special movies, and a super move for each character. Nothing revolutionary. I do like the fighting games that allow you to transition between different sections of the same level by knocking your opponent off of an edge, and this game does that as well. Of course, once you’ve seen it once you can pretty much put a check mark behind that ‘cause it’s just going to be the same thing over and over. There were a couple of notable changes to the fighting game mechanics that I noticed. The first was the health bar system. Unlike most fighting games that give each character a full health bar for each round, you’re given two from the beginning but do not get full health when you knock out one of the enemies’ health bars. I actually liked this because it inspires you to do good all the way through as opposed to getting a fresh start because you just got KO’ed. The other thing I noticed was the Wager system, which I hated. It basically just gives the opponent the chance to prolong the battle by sacrificing their super bar. They’re about to die, so they’re not going to need it, but you may have if you were trying to finish the game spectacularly with a super move. Instead, they wager their entire super bar every time and you have the choice to either sacrifice your ability to do your super move or let them win, damaging you or healing them. It just seemed like an unnecessary annoyance.
The characters were pretty good in the game. It’s basically every notable character from DC comics, at least as far as I know. I’ve never been that big of a fan of DC, but I certainly couldn’t think of anyone else from that universe that I would care to see in the game. That basically means that Batman is in the game. But I also resented Batman because they changed his default costume and made it look lame. Thankfully, that could be repaired with alternate costumes, but you couldn’t fix how lame his super move was. He basically just jumps up into the air and hits the opponent with the batmobile. This is Batman we’re talking about! Stupid ass Aquaman stabs the guy with a trident, hits them with a giant wave, and gets them eaten by a giant shark! Wonder Woman’s super also sucks because it makes her seem like she needs help because she basically gets her Amazons to come in and beat your opponents ass. It would’ve been less lame to involve that stupid invisible airplane she used to have. But there were lots of characters to choose from, and even more because I got the Ultimate Edition. That means I had even more characters to not care about. Like Zatanna. …Yay…
Injustice: Gods Among Us was a decent enough game for those who like fighting games, especially the Mortal Kombat games. Unfortunately for it, this review was written by me. I’m not that big of a fan of DC and I’m not that big of a fan of fighting games. Kind of makes you wonder why I asked for this game in the first place, doesn’t it? Well I am a complicated individual, but I will not complicate my review any more than I need to. If you like DC and fighting games, buy it. Otherwise, skip it. Injustice Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition gets “There is no justice!” out of “You could feel the love, right?”
We’re in For a Show, Kid.
Today’s review is brought to you by Smodcast. Well, Kevin Smith and Smodcast are in no way paying me to write this review, but it probably wouldn’t have come to pass if it weren’t for Kevin Smith. I listen to numerous Kevin Smith podcasts, and I think I’ve heard him rave about today’s movies on a few different podcasts he’s taken part in. The movies are based on some comic books that meant a lot to Smith, but I had never read. I had attempted to read them, but I found them a little verbose and not as visually interesting as the comic books that I tend to go for. Then these movies came out, and Smith loved them. If I remember correctly, he stated that he is brought to tears by the retelling. After hearing him talk these movies up numerous times, I finally decided that they begged a rental. And that brings me to review Part One and Part Two of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, based on the comic books by Frank Miller, screenplay by Bob Goodman, directed by Jay Oliva, and starring the voices of Peter Weller, Michael Emerson, David Selby, Ariel Winter, Mark Valley, Wade Williams, Maria Canals Barrera, Robin Atkin Downes, Paget Brewster, Michael McKean, Gary Anthony Williams, Tress MacNeille, Grey DeLisle, Bruce Timm, Conan O’Brien, and Frank Welker.
Part One. The government has banned superheroes. Billionaire Bruce Wayne (Peter Weller) retires from crime fighting as the Batman. But, without the Batman, Police Commissioner James Gordon (David Selby) is left to fight a losing battle against the gangs of Gotham City. Harvey Dent (Wade Williams), having undergone surgery to repair his face, relapses and returns to crime. Bruce also relapses, succumbing to the gangs, Harvey’s reappearance, and the memory of his parents’ death, and returns to the cowl after saving the life of 13-year-old Carrie Kelley (Ariel Winter), who he starts training as his new Robin. But Batman’s return may have other consequences…
Part Two. Batman’s return brings the return of the Joker (Michael Emerson), who remained in a catatonic state in an asylum in Batman’s absence, his life having no purpose. Joker intends to make his big debut on a talk show interview, and Batman determines to stop him, even though he must get through Commissioner Gordon’s successor, Ellen Yindel (Maria Canals Barrera), to do so. But making such a public showing of the Batman’s return comes with another danger: the government may send Superman (Mark Valley), who works as a government operative now, to deal with the vigilante detective.
I was really happy with this movie. I knew that the comic books were well-written and entertaining, but I’m too easily bored by reading to make it through. Turning these into a movie was the perfect way to enjoy the story without any of that annoying reading stuff. And the story is definitely one that’s worth getting into your brain, either by reading or by watching. I start into the movie a little closed off because I don’t like seeing Batman retire, but I also understand the world that Miller creates that leads to Batman retiring. And then I like it even more when Batman comes back because of Two-Face. But if Two-Face no longer has two faces, doesn’t he have to change his name to Harvey Face or Scary Face? Plus, don’t they already have a villain that walks around with his face wrapped up like a mummy? Hush or something? I also thought it was cool that the movie shows us what it’s like to be an aging Batman, in the shadows planning his move against a group of criminals, and then you get to see a little bit of what it’s like to be one of the criminals, getting beaten down by the Batman, but not knowing where it’s coming from. But really, I feel like I was more excited to get to part two of the story. Part one does a lot of hinting at bigger things on the horizon. I was waiting to see what would happen with Superman, and I was waiting to see what would happen with the Joker. The relationship between the Joker and Batman has always been a fascinating one. I really liked Kevin’s Smith’s take on it in the comic book series Batman: Cacophony, and that one seems to take some ideas from Dark Knight Returns in things like the fact that the Joker is catatonic in a world without Batman and only comes back when Batman does, and Joker says something to that effect in Smith’s book. But the talk in Smith’s book was only a preamble to what happens further along in the timeline in this story, and it is an epic conclusion to their relationship to be sure. I also knew that part two would include a showdown between Batman and Superman, which I was very excited for. Mainly because I hate Superman. Such a goodie two-shoes son of a bitch. And not even a bright one! Why would he shove a train to a halt to save one blind man on the tracks when he could’ve just … I don’t know … picked him up and carried him off of the tracks instead of demolishing a train by shoving it to a stop? Fuckin’ douche…
I really don’t have a lot to say about the look of the movies. I wouldn’t say that I “liked” it, per se, but I do respect that they captured the look of the comics very well. I just wasn’t that big of a fan of the look of the comics. It works very well either way, but it’s not really my bag. I also like how the fights are realized in the movie. They’re very effective. It’s kind of like watching a UFC fight … in mud … between Batman and a mutant guy with spikey nipples … Also, I was a fan of that Bruno chick, or as I called her “Swastika Titties.” Swa-stick-ons? Swa-tit-kas? I don’t know, you work it out.
I found myself very conflicted by the voices in the movie. I liked them all, but I kept feeling myself missing the people that I had become more familiar with. Batman’s voice for me has pretty much always been Kevin Conroy from Batman: The Animated Series, which may have been one of the first times I heard him speak. Either that or Pete Holmes imitating Christian Bale. Those are my Batman voices. The same could be said for the Joker. No one does Joker like Mark Hamill. Peter Weller and Michael Emerson do good jobs, but my brain is so resistant to change that I will probably always shy away from any deviation.
If you’re anything like me, you should definitely go out and buy Parts One and Two of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. It allows you to experience Frank Miller’s fantastic story of the aging Batman and his return to crime-fighting without all that tedious reading. They capture the comic book entirely, as best I can tell from my limited skimming of the graphic novels many years ago. Definitely worth buying for any comic book fans, Batman fans, and people who lack the attention span to read things. Of course, if that’s you, I doubt you made it to the end of this review. I wouldn’t have read it all, that’s for sure. Part Two is way better in my opinion because it has the fights with the Joker and Superman, but you kind of need Part One to set it all up. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns gets “It took years and cost a fortune. Luckily, I had both” out of “This isn’t a mud hole. It’s an operating table. And I’m the surgeon.”
I Guess That’s the End of Scary Face
This will probably be a quickie review, but I wanted to do it now to keep with the Batman theme. This is a downloadable content pack for a game I’ve already reviewed, but it has its own story so I figured it would count. I generally don’t play that much downloadable content because, once I’ve finished with a game, I don’t tend to go back because I’ve probably moved on to another game. My decision to play this game came from one of Kevin Smith’s newer podcasts, Fat Man on Batman. In this podcast, Kevin talked with one of the voice actors in the game, Tara Strong, about this DLC pack, so I decided that I should give it a go. And that brings us to my review of an expansion for the DLC pack for Batman: Arkham City, Harley Quinn’s Revenge, developed by Rocksteady Studios, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and including the voice talents of Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Troy Baker, and Nolan North, among others.
Two weeks after Arkham City ended and Batman (Kevin Conroy) has disappeared while searching for Harley Quinn (Tara Strong), who is not taking the loss of her boyfriend, the Joker, very well. Fearing the worst, Barbara Gordon sends Batman’s partner Robin (Troy Baker) to find the Caped Crusader. What Robin finds is that Harley has been driven even further into madness by her grief, and that she’s indeed done something with Batman as he finds only Batman’s utility belt. We need to find out what has happened to Batman and, if possible, save his life.
This was actually a lot of fun, but I don’t imagine it was that difficult to accomplish. They basically just used stuff that I had already used with a little bit of extra story to extend the life of the game and give us a little bit more to the story and tie up some loose ends. But I guess that’s what DLC really is. That’s why they call them expansion packs. But the story was good enough, I suppose. It’s not a complicated story, but it’s told in a slightly more complicated way in order to draw it out a little. It’s roughly equivalent of what would have just been one mission in the actual game. Harley Quinn kidnaps Batman, Robin saves him. The little bit of extra complication they add in there is that we start as Robin, find Batman’s belt, then we jump back in time a little bit to become Batman and see how he got himself into that predicament. Then back to Robin, and then back to Batman to finish it out. Not a whole lot more complicated than that. They did have to do some writing for it, though. The dialogue was good and you could tell that they spent a little extra time than necessary writing dialogue for random goons that talk about the situation as you pass by. But it’s a good enough excuse to get back into a game that was already amazing, so I don’t complain. If I were going to complain about one thing, it would have to be the ending. I don’t think they handled the situation very well, but it requires ::SPOILER ALERT:: It’s made to look like Batman dies. He’s trapped with Harley Quinn and a bomb without enough time to disarm it. Then we cut outside to see Commissioner Gordon run up as the building explodes, seemingly taking Batman and Harley with it. But it only lets us think that for a few seconds before Batman jumps through the window (with Harley in tow) to safety. Then they try it again with Harley making Batman think that Robin was still in the building when it blew up, so now he knows what she feels like after having lost the Joker. But a few seconds later, Robin comes out and everything’s all better. You have to let this stuff sit for a bit so we can actually believe them. Obviously, we don’t at first. Why would you do that? But then the doubt starts creeping in as the scene drags on. I felt it was at least two missed opportunities. ::END SPOILERS::
There’s not a whole lot to add about the look of the game or the gameplay. I already wrote the review with that stuff in it. The gameplay is fantastic and enjoyable, and satisfying all the way through, just like the rest of the game. And I also can’t imagine a game looking any better for what it was trying to do. The only complaint I had about it was that, being nearly a year removed from having played the main game at this point, I found it really difficult to try to remember what all the controls were as I was trying to get through battles. But I warmed up to it and remembered it soon enough, and that’s really more my problem than the game’s. As far as achievements go, this DLC is pretty easy to get the few achievements you can get. It’s basically just finishing the game (with a few rare stipulations) and make sure you hit all the balloons. That’s about it.
I told you I’d keep it short, just like the DLC Harley Quinn’s Revenge for Batman: Arkham City. It’s a short and simple story, but it’s an enjoyable excuse to get a little more time out of a game with some of the most satisfying combat and graphics of 2011. It’s also pretty dang cheap and can net you a few easy achievements. Can’t ask for much more for such a low price. Harley Quinn’s Revenge gets “Is it … a helicopter?” out of “Okay, I didn’t write down any quotes from the game. So sue me.”
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