Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

We Just Have a Bad History with Freaks Dressed like Clowns.

Batman v Superman (2016)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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Good Will Hunting (1997)

It’s Not Your Fault

Today’s review comes as a combination of a request and a regret.  I wanted to see today’s movie for a while, but never really bothered to get around to it until it was suggested by my Friendboss Josh.  I don’t remember what the hell we were talking about that made him think to request this movie, but I managed to write it down in my phone so that I wouldn’t forget it along with everything else he’s requested of me.  And, with the movie available on Netflix streaming, I was happy to fulfill the request.  Also, I’ve heard Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier (who produced the movie) talk about it the few times on their podcast, Smodcast.  Today’s movie is Good Will Hunting, written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Cole Hauser, and George Plimpton.

Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a genius, but he’s also an asshole.  He’d much rather spend his time drinking and fighting with his friends Chuckie (Ben Affleck), Billy (Cole Hauser), and Morgan (Casey Affleck).  He works as a janitor at MIT and solves a complicated math problem (I think it was “1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 x 0 = ?”) that is put up as a challenge by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard).  Will meets a Harvard student named Skylar (Minnie Driver) shortly before getting arrested for assaulting a guy.  Professor Lambeau gets him out under the condition that Will study mathematics with him and see a therapist.  After scaring off a number of potential therapists, Lambeau calls his old college roommate, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), who is slowly able to get through to Will.

Despite this movie being a drama, I’m happy to report that I actually enjoyed this movie.  I thought the writing was very clever, and the story was very interesting.  And, thankfully, it has a happy ending, so this review won’t have to be a bummer.  I was not aware that reviewing this movie today would cause back to back Massachusetts movies, but that accent always makes me laugh so it wasn’t a problem.  I feel like I was uniquely able to relate to this movie because I too have lived life as a genius but choosing to waste my gifts.  I also chose to react to this by pushing anyone away that tried to get close to me, drinking a lot, and beating the shit out of random people.  Some or all of this may or may not be true.  The dialogue was also very intelligent, or it at least seemed that way.  I couldn’t tell if Will’s speech about History had any actual facts or truth in it, but it sure seemed smart.  A lot of the speeches were very well-written.  I especially liked the speech that Maguire delivers when he’s dissecting Will’s reasons for not trying anything in life.  I feel like all of the writing in the movie was fantastic.  The movie looked pretty good as well except for one glaring problem I had: the slow motion fight scene.  It looked super goofy.  They could’ve just had a couple of guys rolling around and punching each other in the face.  Instead, they decided to make parts of it slow motion, but the slow motion seemed more like guys acting like they were fighting in slow motion than film of guys fighting that was slowed down.  Close ups of people’s faces getting punched in slo-mo only works if it looks like it hurt and not as if a guy didn’t like the smell of some other guy’s knuckles.  It was a really goofy scene that shouldn’t have been, located in the middle of an otherwise great movie.

Almost every performance in this movie was fantastic.  Matt Damon knocked this shit right the hell out of the park.  It was wicked awesome.  I think the man deserves wicked praise just for being able to deliver some of the speeches he does in this movie, let alone the very real performance and a great couple of emotional breakdowns near the end.  He was a dick for the bulk of the movie, but still managed to keep real and likeable somehow.  His fantastic performance may have been overshadowed by Robin Williams though.  That guy was great.  He also had a couple of big speeches to deliver, and most of his were super emotional ones, especially when he would talk about his wife.  Stellan Skarsgard also put on a pretty great performance.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with either Minnie Driver or Ben Affleck until they had their required emotional speeches near the end of the movie.  That elevated my opinion of their performances to “pretty good”.

I was happy to finally watch Good Will Hunting, and even happier to find that it was really good.  I found the story to be very charming, the dialogue incredibly smart, and the performances mostly fantastic.  I’m only 15 years late, and if you are too then I recommend you fix that problem like I did.  You too can have your Friendboss recommend it to you on your review blog.  But if you plagiarize me I will fucking kill you.  Good Will Hunting gets “My boy’s wicked smaht” out of “Nail them while they’re vulnerable.  That’s my motto.”

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Phantoms (1998)

Phantoms Like A Mother Fucker

For the longest time, the only knowledge I had about today’s movie was that Ben Affleck was the bomb in it. That information came to me from Kevin Smith in his movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I saw the movie was available in Netflix streaming and found out that I had given this movie 5 out of 5 stars, but I didn’t even remember watching it. I decided I needed to make it today’s review because I needed to see if I actually loved this movie (and somehow forgot about it completely), or if I had given it 5 stars because it amused me to do so based on Jay’s reaction to it. We’ll both find out today in my review of Phantoms, written by Dean Koontz, directed by Joe Chappelle, and starring Joanna Going, Rose McGowan, Ben Affleck, Peter O’Toole, Liev Schreiber, Nicky Katt, and Clifton Powell.

Two sisters, Dr. Jenny (Joanna Going) and Lisa (Rose McGowan), go back to their hometown on vacation. The town looks completely empty as they pass through on their way to their house. In the house, they find their cleaning lady dead under mysterious circumstances. They try to call the police, but the phones won’t work. They then try to hop in their car, but that also won’t work. Mondays, am I right? They hoof it down to the police station, but the cops are dead too. They take a shotgun (and give it to the girl that doesn’t know how to load it) and head to a restaurant. More dead folk. But then some cops – Sheriff Bryce Hammond (Ben Affleck), Deputy Stu Wargle (Liev Schreiber), and Deputy Steve Shanning (Nicky Katt) – enter, having been on the phone with one of the dead cops when they became dead and deciding to investigate. While investigating, they find evidence of strange happenings and a message on a mirror mentioning a Timothy Flyte and an Ancient Enemy, written in blood … red lipstick. Hammond contacts the FBI, who then find Dr. Timothy Flyte (Peter O’Toole), who tells them about an Ancient Enemy that has apparently wiped out entire civilizations, leaving very little evidence. They get him down to the town and shit goes down.

I have decided that I gave this movie 5 out of 5 strictly for comedy’s sake. It’s not a great movie, but it is a pretty fun movie in parts. In fact, the first half of the movie is pretty fun times, but the pace slows down to a crawl once they get into the mobile laboratory and start planning their attack. It never really picks up from here either. Even the climax of the movie isn’t really climactic, and it was kind of confusing. I remember them saying they only had one vial of this thing that could kill the enemy, but they suddenly had like 20 when they were each off on their own. I probably could’ve been paying better attention though. Also, the big surprise punch at the very end of the movie is entirely predictable. ::SPOILER IF YOU’RE DUMB:: When Peter O’Toole says “This will kill this thing, unless there’s a nucleus away from the main mass of it” or something like that, you should INSTANTLY think to yourself “DUH! That’s exactly what’s going to happen.” Problematically, how DOES Liev Scheiber show up at the end? They shot him with those vial things just like they did every other part of the big black blob, but he survived somehow? ::END SPOILER:: There are a few other things that don’t add up to me, most notably the fact that they have a machine that they put a piece of the big bad thing in to analyze, then a “vocal mode” turns on and it starts talking to them. Why would such a computer have a “vocal mode”? Chit chat with many amoeba? But, in this movie’s defense, the first half of the movie IS a good deal of fun. It’s fast-paced, they go for some easy startle/scares, but it’s pretty entertaining.

The performances were pretty okay in this movie. I don’t know if I’m willing to go so far as to say that Ben Affleck was “the bomb” in this movie, but he was pretty good. I think I would only refer to someone’s performance in a movie as “the bomb” if he was totally badass (think Val Kilmer in Tombstone or Jeff Bridges in True Grit) or if it was extremely well acted (Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List is my easy answer for this). Affleck was neither in this movie, but he was pretty cool and fairly charming. Joanna Going made no impression on me whatsoever, which is strange since she’s the de facto lead of the movie. She didn’t seem to do much of anything but give medical advice. Rose McGowan did even less. It may be fairly masochistic of this movie that, though the female characters are the first you see, they make little to no impact. Once Affleck shows up, it’s his movie. Then once Peter O’Toole shows up, it’s his movie, though this movie may be one of O’Toole’s weakest performances that I’ve seen. Liev Schreiber was super annoying to me. He was kind of inexplicably creepy BEFORE he was a minion of black goo, and afterwards he was just really hammy. Why would this black mess be all sinister and badass until it jumps into the body of one dude and then he starts making dumb jokes?

Here’s my recommendation: if you want to enjoy this movie, watch the first half and turn it off. Then I’ll tell you how it ends in person. I may even tell you what actually happens and not just make something up that might be better than what actually happened. But, if your movie is only half good, half bad, and your performances are about half good, half bad, I’m pretty sure you don’t get 5 out of 5 from me. Instead, Phantoms gets “You always had an urge to shoot little boys?” out of “5”. That’s how I do.

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Gigli (2003)

The Movie That Made My Penis Sneeze

It’s time for another review request, this time of a movie many have called “The Worst Movie Ever Made”. I’m pretty sure I had watched this before because one of my friends actually purchased it on DVD and claimed it was actually good. When I watched the movie then, I thought it was boring and juvenile, but so was my friend. And when it was requested for me to watch it again and write a review for it, I realized I had retained nothing from the first viewing of the movie whatsoever. But now I’ve watched it again, so let’s find out what I thought of Gigli, written and directed by Martin Brest, and starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha, Lenny Venito, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, Lainie Kazan, and Missy Crider.

Larry Gigli (prounounced Jiggly, I think. Also, played by Ben Affleck) is a very cliched mobster. His boss, Louis (Lenny Venito), tells him to kidnap the mentally handicapped younger brother of a federal prosecutor to save a mob boss from jail. Jiggly shows up to take Brian (Justin Bartha) back to his apartment when a pretty Hispanic lady (Jennifer Lopez) asks to use his phone. He lets his penis do the thinking and lets her in, only to find out she’s another contractor sent by Louis to make sure Jiggly doesn’t fuck up. She tells him her name is Ricki, but it’s not. Jiggly starts falling for Ricki because of that sweet ass, but finds out he’s barking up the wrong lesbian. Add a cop who’s only suspicious of Jiggly for one scene (Christopher Walken), the ex-girlfriend of Ricki who slits her wrists in Jiggly’s apartment because she can’t get over Ricki (Missy Crider), and the mob boss who doesn’t like the way things are going with the federal prosecutor (Al Pacino) and you fill enough time to call this a movie. Leave Brian on a beach and Jiggly rides off into the sunset with Ricki and you have the movie Gigli.

What? I spoiled the movie? Whatever could that mean? DON’T WATCH IT! This isnt a good movie. It’s kind of like watching a Kevin Smith movie that he wrote shortly after being brutalized in the head with a lead pipe, and then someone threw a mob plot in there. In fact, there’s one scene in the middle where Ben Affleck is confessing his growing affection for the lesbian Ricki that is very reminiscent of a very similar scene from Chasing Amy if you took away the rain, added a bad Italian accent, and removed the emotional quality of the scene. Sadly, it seems as if the story may have worked if they removed the thin subplot about Affleck and Lopez being contract mobsters and the unnecessary comic relief of the retarded kid. But then you’d just have a poorly written Chasing Amy, so I guess you shouldn’t do that. They had plenty of moments involving Lopez and Affleck discussing how awesome the penis or the vagina are, but to no great effect because they didn’t have the charm and cleverness of Kevin Smith’s much better version. Even the fact that Lopez (at her best) was wearing skin tight workout gear and doing yoga held no interest for me because I had to listen to what the two of them were saying. And, ladies, even if you’re as hot as J’Lo, if you ever invite me to perform cunnilingus on you by saying “It’s turkey time. Gobble, gobble,” I will leave. Or at least think twice. The greater majority of the “funny” moments are supplied by Justin Bartha acting retarded; being a retarded white dude rapping songs about big butts, and making statements about how someone makes his “penis sneeze”. God bless you, penis. I like Bartha, but I found these moments came closer to offensive and unnecessary than funny. The rest of the moments made me uncomfortable in how unfunny they were, like when Affleck was psyching himself up to go in and bag Lopez by flexing in the mirror and spouting things about how he was the bull and she was the cow. The funniest thing in this movie was the scene from the Man Show playing on the TV Justin Bartha was watching. There were also a few things that didn’t make any sense, like when Affleck had to cut the thumb off of a corpse and decided to do it with a plastic butter knife. A rock would be sharper! You’d have better luck with a piece of paper! You’re in a hospital and you can’t find SOMETHING to cut a thumb off? Don’t give me that. It makes less sense that he was able to find a plastic butter knife!

Though I consider myself a big fan of Kevin Smith movies – and this gentleman can be found in the lion’s share of them – I have never been that big of a fan of Ben Affleck, and this movie did nothing to assist that. His over-the-top Italian schtick got on my nerves early and stuck it out for the rest of the movie. But he was the bomb in Phantoms. J’Lo was hot through the entire movie, so that was nice, but I never believed that either of these two were mobsters. It just didn’t seem to be in their genetic make-up. I guess I kind of believed her as a lesbian, but those lesbians are tricky. They can be anyone! One positive thing I will say about the two stars is that they did have a nice chemistry to their lame interactions, which I suppose you should expect from people that were dating – or engaged or whatever – at the time. I like Justin Bartha from the National Treasure movies … so I’m going to ignore that he was in this. Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, and Lainie Kazan all popped up in cameos for one scene a piece, and did a much better job than the movie deserved. Christopher Walken was the wacky Walken character that he seems to love to play. Kazan was the Italian mother that either sets or follows the standard for Italian mothers. Pacino was a good character too because he starts off seeming a bit goofy and turns pretty hard into intimidating. I liked all three until I got to thinking about why they would be in this crap.

Gigli is a movie that I feel would be offensive to ‘tards, dykes, and wops, and I personally would never do, say, or type anything to offend those lovely ‘tardy, homo, guido peoples. In fact, it is probably offensive to anybody because it’s a comedy that isn’t funny and a movie with lame story. There are a couple good performances and decent chemistry by people that are otherwise unappealing beyond J’Lo’s hotness. Is this, in fact, the worst movie ever made? No. Is it even the worst movie of 2003? Probably not, based on my limited memory of what movies came out that year. But is it a movie you need to see? No, unless you want to be bored and uninterested. You can skip this movie. Gigli gets “” out of “This must be mental-fuckin’-illness week!”

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