Thor: The Dark World (2013)


I Only Ask for One Thing in Return; a Good Seat from Which to Watch Asgard Burn!

Thor: The Dark World (2013)I would like to offer you some backstory to why I saw today’s movie, but it simply doesn’t exist.  It’s a sequel to a movie I’ve seen and vaguely liked.  But more importantly than that, it’s a comic book movie.  That is all that is required for me to find interest in seeing it.  And then the movie came out and I watched it.  What do you want from me?  There’s not always an interesting story leading up to these reviews!  Sometimes I just watch movies!  And this one was Thor: The Dark World, written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely, directed by Alan Taylor, and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christopher Eccleston, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, and Tadanobu Asano.

Eons ago, the Asgardians defeated the Dark Elves on the battlefield of Vanaheim –where Disneyland will someday be built – before they got the chance to plunge the universe into darkness with a weapon known as the Aether, but their leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) manages to escape with his lieutenant Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and some of their men.  In present day, the realms come close to aligning again, bringing the return of Malekith when he senses that the Aether was discovered by Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) when it started to use her body as a host.  Her “boyfriend” Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Midgard to take her back to Asgard with him to see if it can be removed.

I didn’t really go into this movie expecting much.  The first Thor movie was okay, but not really anything special.  This one was slightly better.  Not the greatest thing ever and not the worst, but it was an enjoyable enough watch.  The story was your basic “Bad thing’s gonna happen, hero’s gotta stop it” storyline.  And some of the subplots were a little predictable.  If you were the type that kept thinking during the Avengers, “Why did they make Coulson’s part so much bigger?  It’s like they’re trying to get us attached to him for some … Oh …,” then you may think the same thing about a returning character that had one or two lines in the first movie and was suddenly Chatty Cathy.  There’s also a fight near the end of the movie between two characters who – though they are technically enemies – are clearly faking it.  I don’t think anyone watching thought they were actually fighting instead of feigning a fight.  Though the writing can be predictable, there are some well-written funny moments to be had.  The scene where Thor and Loki are walking down and Loki was changing his appearance was pointless, but funny.  I also thought the moment where Loki and Thor are arguing over who’s a better pilot and Thor says, “Out of the two of us, which one can ACTUALLY fly,” was a funny line, but Loki really dropped the ball on that one.  Thor doesn’t fly!  He throws his hammer and gets dragged through the air by it!

Not much to say about the visuals of this movie.  It looks pretty great all the way through.  One thing that stood out to me was the singularity grenades that the enemies used.  Those were pretty awesome, and pretty brutal.

We’ve all probably seen this cast before, either in Avengers or the first Thor movie.  They do that.  But they still do it pretty well.  Chris Hemsworth is all around solid, in both performance and body.  And Natalie Portman is sexy, in both performance and body.  …I don’t think that one makes sense…  Tom Hiddleston is also very good.  I think the stand out performance in this movie for me was Kat Dennings.  She was comic relief in the first movie, but they really gave her a lot of funny to work with in this one, and she made good with it.  She’s one of the few comic relief performances I’ve enjoyed in recent memory.  I was really curious about the Warriors Three, or more specifically the Warriors Two out of Three.  Ray Stevenson came back as Volstagg, but new actors were portraying Fandral and Hogun.  They did fine jobs at it, but what the hell are the other two doing that they can’t be in an epic Marvel movie?  Once Upon a Time?  Worth it!

Thor: The Dark World was a step up from the original Thor.  The story was basic, but entertaining, and even managed a good couple of laughs.  The look was great and the action was solid, and all of the actors did fine jobs, especially Kat Dennings, who was typically hilarious.  This was an enjoyable movie and definitely worth the money to check it out in theaters.  A rental would also work if you would rather wait for it.  Thor: The Dark World gets “Look at you!  Still all muscly and everything!” out of “If we do nothing, they will destroy us.”

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Red Dawn (2012)


You Fucked With the Wrong Family.

Red Dawn (2012)I was feeling lucky today.  I had been so lucky recently with remakes of cheesy old movies that I decided it couldn’t possibly hurt to give another one a shot.  The first two were remakes of Total Recall and Judge Dredd that both had some camp appeal back in the day, but were not what I wanted them to be.  The remakes were badass and exactly what I wanted them to be.  So obviously this third movie would be in the same boat, right?  It too is a remake of a cheesy 80’s movie that a lot of people show a lot more respect than I feel it deserves, but I still needed to see how this remake would go.  And that’s how I finally relented and rented the remake of Red Dawn, written by Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore, directed by Dan Bradley, and starring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Will Yun Lee, Brett Cullen, Josh Hutcherson, Connor Cruise, Steve Lenz, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Edwin Hodge, Alyssa Diaz, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kenneth Choi, Matt Gerald, and Michael Beach.

A North Korean battalion lead by Captain Cho (Will Yun Lee) invades Spokane, Washington, probably assuming that it was Washington D.C. and would thusly be the best place to strike at America.  I know it’s a stereotype, but those Asians really need to pay better attention in school, am I right?  Racism aside …  A Marine named Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) is here on leave, visiting his father Police Sergeant Tom Eckert (Brett Cullen) and brother Matt Eckert (Josh Peck), and manages to get his brother and a few other people – Robert Kitner (Josh Hutcherson), Daryl Jenkins (Connor Cruise), and Pete (Steve Lenz) – to the safety of their cabin in the woods, even though Hemsworth has had bad luck with one of those in the past.  A few of their classmates meet them up there.  Pete betrays the group for some stupid reason and that leads to daddy Eckert getting killed.  This puts this ragtag group of kids on the warpath against trained military soldiers in a war the Koreans can’t possibly win.  AMERICA!!

This feels like it certainly has to be a shorter review because I didn’t even realize I was watching the movie for the most part.  I often write these reviews while watching or playing something else that I’m writing a review for, and apparently typing my own words for Game of Thrones was much more enthralling to me than this movie was.  I’m sure you all feel the same.  Unlike all of you, I am often fairly bored by my own words and will often dedicate a lot more of my attention to the thing I’m experiencing for the first time than to my reviews.  This was not the case for this movie.  It was on, and I knew it was on, but I could give a shit less.  And I went into this movie thinking it was impossible to make a movie less interesting than the first Red Dawn.  At least that movie was easily mocked in its stupidity.  This movie was just boring.  It was like they weren’t even trying.  I don’t think they even wanted to release this movie, but they threw it out there because they thought they could make a few bucks off of Hemsworth’s rising stardom.  And they probably did, which makes it worth it to them.  But not to me.  Really, if you saw the first Red Dawn, there’s no reason to watch this one.  It’s the same thing, but it’s not nearly as fun.  It’s just thoroughly bleh.  There’s still no reason for an invading army to target some Podunk town of little importance.  Sorry if anyone is reading this in Spokane, but you should know what you are.  I grew up in Barstow, and I didn’t complain when one of the Fast and the Furious movies treated Barstow like it was a piece of shit town.  I knew that already.  I grew up there.  But I still think if some foreign army invaded Barstow, I would have no problem throwing down.  I didn’t understand the kids that seemed to have a problem with it, like Hutcherson.  He would hesitate when he needed to kill someone and throw up when he saw a dead body.  Hey, it’s me or him.  I’m cool with this.  Stay out of my country and we won’t have this problem.  White power.  Wait, that went off the rails there…  It was probably because he was in Hunger Games.  That surgically implants a vagina on you.  Also, why the hell is there a functioning Subway in this occupied town?  The Sandwich Artists and customers are acting like this is just another day, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there is a Korean invasion going on.  I like Subway too, but I think I’d take that shit to go and enjoy my Meatball Marinara at home if there was a war going on outside.

I can’t really blame the actors in this movie.  This movie wasn’t their fault.  They didn’t help it, and really didn’t seem to give it their all, but I can’t blame them for that either.  This movie was paying for dinner.  No need to bust your acting chops on this.  Thor wasn’t nearly Thor-y enough in this movie, and I think the other characters caught on to that.  That’s why that douche Pete guy was arguing about who was in charge with him.  Under normal situations, of course Thor would be in charge.  No one would argue that the God of Thunder was in charge of a group of stupid High School kids.  But Thor wasn’t in a Thor mood in this movie.  He tried to muster up at least a Captain America mood when he fought a guy using the back of a computer chair as a shield, but he still wasn’t getting into it.  Josh Peck was a shit in this movie, but people kept letting him off the hook for it.  He gets a dude killed by running off on his own to save his girlfriend, and the dude’s girlfriend or whatever forgives him just because they stared at each other for a few seconds.  I wouldn’t have.  That chick was evil.  She didn’t show it in this movie, but I know for a fact that she’s an evil robot with a prehensile tongue.  Okay, maybe it’s worth it then.  And then I got mad at the other chick, old what’s-her-name (I told you I wasn’t paying attention!), for getting mad at the dude that was tagged with a tracking dart.  He didn’t intentionally lead the bad guys to them!  He was tagged with a tracking dart!  Stupid what’s-her-name…

I almost feel bad telling you that the remake of Red Dawn sucked since I invested so little of my attention into it, but I feel like I saw enough to tell you that you don’t need to see it.  It’s boring, it’s not fun, the action is mediocre, the story is ludicrous and unoriginal, and the actors phoned it in.  There are better uses for your time.  If you want a remake of a crappy 80s movie so much, watch the new Total Recall or Dredd.  Leave this movie alone.  Red Dawn gets “Dude, we’re living Call of Duty … It Sucks” out of “That’s a shit sandwich without bread.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)


I’m Drawing a Line in the Sand.  Do NOT Read the Latin!

It’s time for another October Horrorthon!  I had heard so much about today’s movie that I was very excited to see it finally come out, not only on DVD, but also on RedBox.  When it finally arrived, I had already set my mind to go and pick it up when my roommate told me he had purchased the digital copy of it.  Score!  A few days later, when we both had the time to sit down and watch it, we prepared ourselves to watch the movie that our friends and many critics have been talking up since its original release.  That movie is Cabin in the Woods, co-written by Joss Whedon, co-written and directed by Drew Goddard, and starring Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian J. White, Amy Acker, Jodelle Ferland, and Sigourney Weaver.

A very typical scenario unfolds as a group of college students decide that the best thing they can do with their time is to go to an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods for a vacation.  The stereotypes involved are the nerdy quasi-virgin Dana (Kristen Connolly), the stoner Marty (Fran Kranz), the egghead who is actually a receiver on the football team Holden (Jesse Williams), the jock who is also on full academic scholarship Curt (Chris Hemsworth), and the whorish blonde who is actually only recently blondized Jules (Anna Hutchison).  Okay, so they’re slightly off the normal stereotypes, but they get much closer as time goes on.  As does the story, as the group find the basement of the cabin, filled with various items of creepy origin.  They pick a journal and read Latin words aloud, which sets a zombie redneck pain-worshipping family on the loose to kill them.  As typical as all of this sounds, there’s something very atypical happening behind the scenes…

A lot has been made of the idea of “the twist” in movies, mostly since M. Night Shyamalan made it super famous.  We’ve also seen movies before that mock the cliché’s of horror movies while adhering to them themselves, such as the Scream movies.  The twist to this movie takes that stuff to a new level.  But here’s the question that brings people to my reviews: is it amazing?  No, not really.  I was not nearly as charmed by this movie as I expected to be, and certainly not as charmed as everyone made me think I would be.  But I’m still trying to put my finger on why I didn’t like the thing.  I’ve watched it twice already and I remain relatively confused.  I’ll try to work it out as we go along.  The writing was probably a big part of my dislike of this movie.  I never really minded the idea of the twist in a movie, but when you spread that twist all the way through your movie, it hardly feels like a twist.  I was just confused by the two seemingly-unrelated movies until the reason for both stories made itself clear.  At that point I thought it was a really cool idea for a movie… and then the movie kept going.  I get it already!  You’re so clever for lampooning the entire horror movie genre.  Now get to making a good movie.  But the movie never salvaged itself as far as I was concerned.  I’ve no intention of spoiling the twist in this movie for anyone as I was given the pleasure of not having the movie spoiled for me, but I took issue with the fact that the movie seemed to spoil itself.  Hell, the movie actually starts with the twist before it gets into the typical dying college kids movie.  But I also don’t know how they could have made this movie work for me.  If the twist stuff wasn’t in the movie, it would have just been another underwhelming horror movie.  Maybe I would’ve liked it if they didn’t reveal the twist stuff until Dana and Marty were in the middle of it, but I can’t really know that because that’s not the movie I watched.  All I can really know is that this movie didn’t work for me, certainly not as much as I thought it would with Joss Whedon’s involvement.  But where I did see his involvement in the writing, I liked it.  I’m mainly referring to the clever and funny moments in the dialogue that really worked for me, though not enough to redeem the rest of the movie.  You could see that stuff in the dialogue from pretty early on, like the, “I learned it from watching you!” interaction between Curt and Jules.

The look of the movie was mostly fine, but there were parts of it that were less than convincing.  What made them better is that they were close to, but legally distinguishable from, many classic horror movie monsters, and that was fun to pick them out and recognize them.  There were zombies, werewolves, ghosts, giant bats, and angry robots, but they also had some more specific monsters like a Cenobite reminiscent of Hellraiser, a killer clown reminiscent of Pennywise from It, and there was apparently even a Reaver from Firefly, but I didn’t see it.  The main zombies were a bit of a problem from, but only because they were occasionally unconvincing and reminded me more of the creatures from the Thriller video.  Otherwise there were no complaints about the looks.

I liked the greater majority of the performances in this movie, so anything I didn’t like about the movie was probably not their fault.  I liked Kristen Connolly a lot, especially because she was really cute and opened the movie walking around in her panties.  Would girls actually walk around in their underwear with all their windows open in a busy residential neighborhood?  If they do, then I officially hate my mom for having us live on the outskirts of town.  Anna Hutchison got her boobs out in the movie as well, but that was disappointing because I didn’t find her nearly as attractive as Connolly or Amy Acker … or Chris Hemsworth for that matter.  I don’t wanna sound gay or nothin’, but I’d let that guy vacation in my cabin in the woods.  Wink wink!  I even liked Jodelle Ferland as Patience Buckner, but that may have been mostly because I seem to be inadvertently reviewing her entire career.  She was in Silent Hill, one of the Twilight movies, and the second Bloodrayne abortion.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but four movies now for someone most people probably can’t name is pretty weird.  Also, she did fine in the movie.  The only performance I really took issue with was Fran Kranz.  I realize that they were going for the super cliché pothead character, and he was even probably supposed to be a little bit annoying.  If that was true, it worked.  That dude got on my nerves.

I guess expectations hurt Cabin in the Woods with me more than anything else.  When a movie is talked up too much, it will inevitably find a very difficult time matching those expectations.  I expected to be blown away by the movie, but instead it was just okay.  The idea of it was nifty, but it wasn’t surprising as I thought it might be because they put the twist of the movie right up front, the look was mostly hit but occasionally miss, and the performances were mostly excellent.  I still feel like, if you want to watch a movie that turns the horror genre on its head, you’d be better off with Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.  It’s not a bad movie, it was just underwhelming to me.  Pick it up at RedBox for a dollar so that you can find out for yourself.  Cabin in the Woods gets “And you have no pants” out of “Cutting the flesh makes him have a husband’s bulge.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)


Don’t Flatter Yourself.

I decided to take a vacation for my birthday.  The first part of the vacation was occupied with the contest that just finished, but I decided that it was also a good time to head to the theater and see some of the movies that were there.  I set the vote out to Facebook to see what people wanted to me to do with my free time and the result was almost unanimous.  My friends cried in unison, “Make fun of Kristen Stewart some more!”  The movie that was voted on the most was Snow White and the Huntsman.  This is a movie I had the vaguest of interest in seeing, but most of that was taken away by the involvement of Kristen Stewart.  Let’s see how it went in my review of Snow White and the Huntsman, written by Evan Daugherty, directed by Rupert Sanders, and starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost, Johnny Harris, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Ray Winstone, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan, Noah Huntley, Liberty Ross, Lily Cole, and Christopher Obi Ogugua.

A Queen (Liberty Ross) wishes she could have a hot daughter.  She forgets to wish that the daughter could act.  Later, the Queen gives birth to a daughter she names Snow White and, later still, dies.  Her husband, King Magnus (Noah Huntley), is inconsolable, and a mysterious army decides to attack while he’s weak.  The King’s army defeats the phantom army of glass soldiers and finds a beautiful woman named Ravenna (Charlize Theron) locked up as their prisoner.  He falls in love with her and marries her the next day, but Ravenna – a powerful and evil sorceress – kills him to take his kingdom, having Snow White imprisoned.  The kingdom turns dark, corrupted by the evil queen as Ravenna drains beautiful women from the village of their youth and beauty to keep herself young and bangin’.  When Snow White comes of age (now Kristen Stewart), Ravenna’s mirror (Christopher Obi Ogugua) tells her that Snow White is the fairest of them and her mere existence is draining her of her powers, but she can become immortal and not have to steal hotness from others if she kills Snow White.  When Ravenna sends her brother, Finn (Sam Spruell), to retrieve Snow White, she manages to escape into the Dark Forest.  With the promise of bringing his dead wife back from the dead, Ravenna convinces Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to venture into the forest to bring her back.

This movie surprised me.  It definitely has a few things going for it, but it also has things holding it back.  Starting off with the story: it’s actually pretty solid.  It’s a cool, slightly darker take on the old story we’re all familiar with, and it works pretty well.  Sure, it’s kind of a sign that Hollywood is running out of ideas, but I don’t mind it.  In fact, if they intend to turn all old Disney movies into dark, epic, action movies, I’m casting my vote for Sleeping Beauty to be next.  I want to see a live-action version of Maleficent, damnit!  On the other hand, you really can’t give the story that much credit since it’s based largely on the old story of Snow White.  The stuff they added was pretty cool.  I liked the idea of the group of people that would intentionally scar their faces so that the Queen wouldn’t have any interest in them.  Of course, I didn’t appreciate them acting like Snow White hadn’t made her sacrifice yet.  Yeah, she didn’t put a scar on her face, but she did spend 15 years in a dungeon shortly after losing both of her parents to the Queen.  So fuck your scarred face right off, how about that?  I also didn’t understand when Ravenna got pissed at her brother for Snow White escaping.  I say blame the goddamned mirror!  You had her locked up for 15 years and he didn’t say shit.  He could’ve mentioned that she was the solution to all of Ravenna’s problems a long time ago.  Also, the first encounter with the scar-faced people goes to show you that if you’re surrounded by people with bows and arrows, saying, “We mean you no harm,” will get you out of it.  Either that or just say, “I don’t want to harm you all.”  I can’t blame this movie for it as it was part of the original story, but it still strikes me as weird that either necrophilia or date rape saves the day when you make out with an unconscious girl that just bit a roofied apple.  So the story was fine, but I will say that the ending of the movie was pretty disappointing.  First, you know exactly what’s going to happen to the Queen and how.  I won’t spoil it or anything, but I think you can guess when the Huntsman shows Snow White how to use a dagger, and I shouldn’t be able to predict what’s going to happen in your movie in the first 20 minutes of it.  After that, the ending was kind of lackluster and the romantic angle was never finished.  They left it like there would be a sequel, but I have no idea how that would work out.

The look was probably my favorite part of the movie.  All of the sets and scenery and CG looked really good and stylized and artistically satisfying.  All the visual aspects of the movie worked really well for me.  I really liked the little acid trip that Snow White goes on when she gets into the Dark Forest.  It reminded me of the scenes in Batman Begins when the Scarecrow drug gets used on people.  The Magic Mirror was also a cool effect, having it drain out of the mirror and turn into a gilded Ring Wraith from Lord of the Rings.  Speaking of which, the part where they were crossing the mountain seemed like it really wanted to be Lord of the Rings.  All of the Queen’s magic looked really cool and stylish, though some of them served no real purpose.  The Queen bathing in milk served no purpose but to almost show us Charlize naked, and the part with her eating the hearts out of birds was pointless and just for gross value.  The fights had their moments.  Most of them were hand to hand combat that was fairly well realized, but I found myself more interested in the close-range bow and arrow fighting stuff.  That was pretty cool.

When reaching the performance part of my review, many of you would think that I’d have more than a few jokes prepared for Kristen Stewart.  Yup!  She’s still awful.  But, I would say this is possibly the least awful she’s been.  I only counted 2 of her random Bella-style sighs in this movie, which has to be a record for her.  I had heard someone make this joke before watching the movie and I shared it with my friend Greg and it was all he could think about during the movie, but Kristen Stewart will not close her mouth.  Once you start paying attention to it, it becomes more and more ridiculous how true it is.  One of my biggest issues with this movie ruined the entire concept: what definition of the word “fairer” gives Kristen Stewart the Edge over Charlize Theron?  I was literally tracking the time in the movie where I would consider Stewart to be fairer and, even with all the aging makeup and prosthesis that they used on Theron, Stewart maybe won the contest for about 5 minutes in this movie.  And I was still thinking about it.  When the dwarves were talking about how their ailments went away when Snow White was around, I got confused because every time Kristen Stewart comes around I get a headache and diarrhea.  I don’t know if it’s more to blame on Stewart or the writers, but her big, inspirational speech was a failure as far as I was concerned.  Also, “You can’t have my heart,” is your big closing line?  That’s the worst “I just killed you and here’s my zinger” line I’ve ever heard.  Charlize Theron is gorgeous and I would like to have her babies.  That being said, she kind of overacted in parts of this movie.  I’m sorry baby, but you did.  Can we just get over this and get back to the loving?  Well, if I can’t have her, maybe I can have Chris Hemsworth.  I don’t wanna sound queer or nothin’, but I’d really like to have sex with him.  Beyond the physical, he’s really good at the fighting, and actually pulled off his emotional scenes very well.  The dwarves of the movie didn’t do a whole lot to impress, but I was impressed by who they got to play them.  People like Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, and Nick Frost were dwarves.  I thought that much was awesome and they all did a fine enough job, but I feel like real midgets were probably pissed.  You could’ve at least got some Dinklage in there for some midge-cred.

Altogether, Snow White and the Huntsman wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t ground breaking either.  The look and artistic style of the movie is the best part.  After that, the story is just trying to make a dark version of an old story, and some decent action to go along with it.  Kristen Stewart’s in it, so you shouldn’t expect much by way of performances, and you’d be right.  Especially when you can’t get past the fact that everyone in this movie is so crazy that any one of them would say that Kristen Stewart is fairer than Charlize Theron.  No way, man.  I don’t recommend you pay good money to see this in theaters; it’s not really worth that much.  But seeing it in RedBox wouldn’t be that bad.  Snow White and the Huntsman gets “Beauty is my power” out of “You have eyes huntsman, but you cannot see!”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

The Avengers (2012)


Guys, I’m Bringing the Party to You

Today’s movie was a hard movie to put off for as long as I did.  It came out almost a week ago now, but I didn’t have a good moment to go and see the movie with my roommate Richard until today.  It was not an easy couple of days.  I’ve been somewhat excited to see this movie since it was announced, and from the day it came out I’ve been beaten over the head with the fact that I need to see it.  But, when someone called the movie “The Best Comic Book Movie Ever”, I found myself very skeptical.  Had these people not seen the Dark Knight?  Or Watchmen?  Or was there a chance that this movie was that good?  We’ll find out today in my review of The Avengers, written by Joss Whedon and Zak Penn, directed by Joss Whedon, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harry Dean Stanton, and Paul Bettany.

The fallen Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has reached a pact with an alien race known as the Chitauri.  If Loki is able to capture the powerful source of energy known as the Tesseract, they will declare war on Earth for it.  Armed with a fancy spear, he easily breaks into a facility of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (aka SHIELD) and takes the Tesseract, also brainwashing the physicist Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and SHIELD agent Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner).  In response, SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative, compiling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to face the threat.  SHIELD agent the Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is sent to retrieve the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is sent to retrieve Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and Fury himself goes to retrieve Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).  Iron Man and Captain America are able to capture Loki, which captures the attention of Loki’s brother, the God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth).  Can these very conflicting personalities come together to work as a team?  Can they thwart Loki’s plans?  And, more importantly, how many times will I masturbate during this movie?

This was the worst movie ever … for someone with a heart condition.  HOLY SHIT is this a good movie!  I loved the living bejesus right out of this movie.  But, as much as I loved it, I don’t think I’d be willing to call it the greatest comic book movie of all time.  It’s certainly the greatest of its kind, though.  I would divide comic book movies in much the same way as I would regular movies.  Some are really smart, and some are really fun.  I wouldn’t call the Watchmen or Dark Knight particularly fun, but they’re great movies.  I also wouldn’t call Avengers the smartest movie, but it’s fantastic fun pretty much from the very beginning of the movie.  One thing that should be kept in mind while reading my review is that I do not have the ability to think about this movie as someone who is not a fanboy.  My fanboy boner is drawing all of the blood out of the rest of my observational abilities.  But fellow fanboys will have such the nerd boner throughout this entire movie.  Comic book movies already get +10 love in my mind, but this movie had no use for those excess points.  It’s such sweet, sweet fan service all the way through, thanks to the man at the helm, Joss Whedon.  Being a nerd himself, he would not allow any one of the Avengers to not have their moment in this movie.  Because of his nerdiness, this is the first Marvel movie (that wasn’t just a sequel) that took so much from what happened in the other movies into itself.  Things like the Tesseract that was introduced in Captain America’s movie and some of the Asgardian stuff that was introduced in Thor helped really connect this movie as opposed to leaving it to its own devices.  The introduction of each individual character in the movie was badass and usually preceded by an awesome quip that got me extra excited.  Things like, “Wars are won by soldiers,” and then BOOM!  Captain America punching the shit out of some heavy bags.  They did something like this for almost every Avenger and I loved it every time.  I was also assuming as I went into this movie that I would only be interested in the main Avengers like Thor and the Hulk, leaving me bored with the time I spent with the less spectacularly gifted Avengers like Black Widow and Hawkeye.  When the gigantic battle at the end of the movie was starting, I wondered what good Widow and Hawkeye – and maybe even the Cap – would be in this fight, but every one of them had the opportunity to be awesome in it.  And almost everyone on the Avengers teamed up with the other Avengers.  One of my favorite moments in the movie was something I had seen in some of the Marvel video games: when Iron Man shoots at Captain America’s shield during battles and Cap swings the beam around to hit the enemies around them.

I got to thinking about something early on in the trailers leading up to this movie.  I’m sure there was a time when goose bumps served a purpose like making our hair stand up because of cold in the environment or perhaps even fluffing up our hair when threatened to make us look bigger.  It made me laugh that, over time, these defense mechanisms have become completely useless and goose bumps now only involve showing our excitement over movies.  The trailers that preceded Avengers were for other movies I’m extremely excited for, like the new Spiderman and Dark Knight Rises, and they got my skin prepped for goose bumpage.  The Avengers movie barely ever gave my skin the chance to rest.  The introduction for each character caused goose bumps, each fight caused goose bumps, almost everything said by anyone in the movie, all of these things got my skin all riled up.  Even for some two hours after the movie, my skin wouldn’t knock it off with every time I thought about my favorite moments.  Hell, even writing this review caused me to get goose bumps.  I tell you all of this to let you know that goose bumps are stupid and this movie is awesome.

I briefly skimmed one of the very few negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to see how someone could possibly not like this movie.  It criticized the movie for being a big mess of CG action.  What did you go into this movie expecting?  Schindler’s List?  It’s a comic book movie!  It’s supposed to be like you’re watching a comic book come to life.  If you saw this same movie without CG, it would be the worst movie ever.  You’d have to bring Lou Ferrigno back to be the Hulk and no one could really do anything awesome.  So, what I’m saying to that guy is: go fuck your own face.  This movie looked epic and fantastic.  Things like SHIELD’s helicarrier looked as massive and realistic as humanly possible.  And, for the first time, the Hulk looked fantastic and real.  Well, as real as a giant green guy can look.  The other movies had the Hulk kind of stand out and not look like it was properly lit, but this movie didn’t have that problem.  Even the practical things were given the weight that made them feel like superpowered individuals were doing them, like when Cap blocked Thor’s hit as they were fighting in the woods, creating a shockwave that cleared a large portion of the surrounding area.

I’ve probably already discussed every character in this movie already in their own respective movies, but that shant stop me from doing it again.  But this time I’m going to discuss them in order of awesomeness.  First up is the only new addition to the Avengers team: Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk.  Though Ruffalo was the only one in this movie to not appear as his character previously, I think he stole the show.  I found him to be a combination of the most humorous and most badass characters in the movie.  When he randomly, and unexpectedly, punches Thor at one point in the movie it was pure comedy enjoyment.  When he lays an epic beatdown on one of the major characters in the movie, flopping them around like a ragdoll and following it up with one of his trademark “Puny …” lines, I nerdgasmed.  When he fights one of the good guys in the movie, I was worried that they wouldn’t give the Hulk his proper amounts of awesomeness in order to make another character that I wasn’t that fond of look better.  But when Captain America unleashes him on the enemies by commanding him to smash, he did just that.  The big question would be whether or not Ruffalo set himself apart as the best version of the character, and I’m not sure I’d be willing to give him that.  I would definitely allow Ruffalo to be called the actor that played the Hulk in the best movie he was in, but I didn’t think that Ruffalo had the appropriate build for Banner.  He did a great job acting as the character, but he was a little more muscular than I’d think of Banner.  I think Edward Norton looked the part much more, and acted the part equally as well.  My next favorite would have to be Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.  Adding Downey’s own wit and timing to Joss Whedon’s sharp writing is a winning combination.  RDJ is Tony Stark, and I don’t know how there will ever be another.  He got to bust out the hero chops more than any of the Iron Man movies here, and was still really funny.  Another of my favorite moments in the film was when Stark prodded Banner in the lab because he was just like a big child that just wanted to see the big, green smash machine.  Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor had tons of awesome moments and each had a couple of comedy moments as well that I appreciated.  Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow sets herself up as pretty awesome right in her opening scene, and also takes part in an epic fight with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye.  I was worried about Hawkeye going into the movie, thinking that a character whose only power is to be really good at firing arrows would not be super interesting.  Though his parts were lighter on the awesome, he still pulled a good bit out with some sweet shots and some cool, no-look shots.

The Avengers might not be what I’d be comfortable calling the best comic book movie ever, but it’s unequivocally the most fun, most action-packed, and most exhilarating comic book movie I’ve ever watched, and I’ve seen almost all of them.  The story is great, the dialogue is smart and funny, and the performances are all fantastic.  But, more importantly, the action scenes are frequent, amazing, and exactly what every fan wants to see.  Being a fanboy myself, I can’t really get into the mindset of someone who doesn’t like comic books.  But I also can’t imagine the type of person who would not think this movie is awesome.  I don’t only recommend you see this movie, I outright demand it.  Go see this movie now.  And, if you can, go see it in IMAX, and even in 3D.  I’m normally a 3D hater, but I hear this movie is worth it.  The Avengers gets “The world has changed” out of “I still believe in heroes.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Star Trek (2009)


I Like This Ship!  Y’know, It’s Exciting!

No one requested this movie and I think most people already know how I feel about it.  I watched this for me.  I bought it on BluRay, special edition style for the win!  I’ve watched it numerous times since purchasing it and I likes it just as much every time.  Let’s get right into it, shall we?  This movie is Star Trek, the revamped movie series written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, directed by J.J. Abrams, and starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Clifton Collins Jr., and, unfortunately, Tyler Perry.

Alright, this little ship comes up on this black hole and this huge ass ship comes out and is like “WHAT?!” and then starts going “Pachew, pachew pachew”.  The USS Kelvin is no match for the Romulan ship, the Narada, so the captain of the Kelvin goes over to discuss a cease fire.  The captain of the Narada, Nero (Eric Bana), asks him a few questions about a person he’s never heard of, then kills him.  George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) takes over as captain and orders an evacuation of everyone on board including his really, really preggers wife.  Kirk must stay aboard the ship and his wife leaves, giving birth to their son, James Tiberius Kirk.  Also, on Vulcan, baby Spock gets picked on for having a human mom.  Now grown up, James Kirk (Chris Pine) drunkenly hits on Uhura (Zoe Saldana) at a bar and gets beat up by her Starfleet buddies.  One of the shots to the noggin and a pep talk from Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and he enlists in Starfleet.  On the way there, he meets and befriends Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban).  Years later, Kirk and Spock (Zachary Quinto) get on each others bad side when Kirk cheats on Spock’s test and Spock gets Kirk suspended for it, which keeps Kirk grounded when the Starfleet leaves to check on a distress call from Vulcan.  McCoy gets Kirk on board the USS Enterprise where Kirk is able to stop the ship from warping into a trap from the Narada.  Some people are saved, but most of Vulcan is lost, and Captain Pike is captured by Nero.  Can Spock and Kirk settle their differences and take out this new threat?  No, Spock jettisons Kirk to a frozen planet instead.  But at least he gets to meet old Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (Simon Pegg)!

Some may assume that my nerdiness would inherently make me a Star Trek fan, but this is not the case.  I’ve seen this movie, but I’ve never seen an episode of the TV show and I’ve only ever seen parts of the original movies.  As any self respecting nerd, I picked a side in the Star Wars/Star Trek war and irrationally disregarded the other half.  I’m a Star Wars man.  But something inspired me to watch this movie and I’m very glad that I did.  It rules.  Does it rule as much as Star Wars?  I’ve conferred with my nerdiness and determined that I cannot confirm nor deny that.  But this movie is very good.  The story took a dangerous concept and pulled it off.  Not only is it dangerous to remake such a beloved series, but time travel can be a dangerous, easy story device used by bad writers, but both are pulled off well.  I don’t think I heard too many Trekkies getting their panties in a knot about this movie after it came out, though most had preemptively tied up their panties.  But the story they delivered was well thought out, action-packed, emotional in parts, and charming throughout.  It also looked better than I assume every other incarnation of Star Trek, so it’s got that goin for it too.  The Narada looked awesome, but it was a little problematic for me.  It was apparently originally a mining vessel, but was also more menacing than any mining vessel ever was or should be, and apparently loaded with the most advanced weaponry of it’s time.  Seems a bit overkill for a mining vessel.  But it is comforting to know that we’ll still be able to listen to the Beastie Boys in the year 2245.  Also, why come they have all this advanced technology but they forgot that some technology can automatically time stamp things, taking away your need to start everything with the stardate?

The casting is the best part of this movie.  Every single person in this movie fits their characters and performs them excellently.  Chris Pine was a cocky douche, was funny most of the time, and pulled off the emotional scenes very well.  Zachary Quinto made a fantastic Spock.  When he turns down the Vulcan council early in the movie, I loved the way he practically spat “Live long and prosper” at them.  But for the rest of the movie I felt he was a little dry and unemotional.  Just kidding.  He’s a Vulcan.  He actually came close to emoting too much for a Vulcan.  I didn’t like the choice for his mom though.  Winona Ryder is too hot to pull off being Zachary Quinto’s mom.  Zoe Saldana was fantastic as well, and super hot as always.  She also managed to Navi-whip Spock.  Navi-whipped, p-whipped…get it?  No?  It sounded better in my head.  I got in a argument with myself over whether I liked Simon Pegg or Karl Urban better in this movie, but I wasn’t able to decide.  They’re my favorite characters in this.  Simon Pegg easily gets the win over Karl Urban in total career, but in this movie I give them equal.  Both were funny whenever they were on and both captured their characters.  I felt like Eric Bana may have hammed it up a bit, but not too bad.  Tyler Perry was my only problem with the casting.  Not because he didn’t do his small part well, but because his movies are awful.  I don’t want to go through every name in the movie, but every other name was great.

So, yeah.  This movie rules.  You should watch and own it.  And this is coming from a verified non-Trekkie, so this comes with no bias whatsoever.  I dig the look and the story of this movie a lot, but it wouldn’t be anything without the fantastic cast.  GO WATCH NOW!  Star Trek gets “I’ve never beamed three people from two targets onto one pad before!  I thought that was pretty good!” out of “I am grateful for this.”

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Thor (2011)


In all my comic book nerdiness I only ever became briefly acquainted with Thor when the character ventured into the realm of the Marvel comic books I did read.  Being that he mainly stuck to his own comic series and to the Avengers, I didn’t see much of him.  I knew only his basic history so when they released the movie version of Thor it was a good opportunity for me to get a crash course on the character without all that tedious reading.  Thor stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kat Dennings.

Way back in the day, king of the Norse gods of Asgard Odin (Anthony Hopkins) laid an epic beating on the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and took their special refrigerator box, the Casket of Ancient Winters.  Much later a few Frost Giants find their way into Asgard somehow to try to steal their box back, just to get annihilated by the Destroyer armor that guarded it.  Well Odin’s son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) gets all mad and decides to take his buddies; Sif (the chick), Volstagg (the Gimli-lookin’ dude), Fandral (the Robin Hood-lookin’ dude), and Hogun (the Asian); along with his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) into Jotunheim to whoop up on the Frost Giants to put them back in their place, against Odin’s wishes.  Well they succeed in whooping up on some major ass over there but Volstagg gets frostbite on his arm and Fandral takes an ice spike through the chest (but lives) in the process.  Odin rescues them and this breaks the truce between Asgard and Jotunheim.  Odin and Thor get to arguing and Thor gets banished to Midgard (or as we like to call it, Earth) and Odin whispers sweet nothings into the ear of Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir, so that it won’t be able to be lifted by anyone unworthy of it’s power, Excalibur style.  Thor lands in New Mexico and is promptly hit by the car of 2 scientists, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard, who obviously doesn’t want to hang out on the Dutchman anymore with his son, William), and their assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings).  While they check to make sure he’s okay, he gets up and starts yelling at the sky to let him back into Asgard, so Darcy hits him with a taser.  After he gets friendly with the scientists – and starts towards getting even more friendly with Natalie – he goes to where Mjolnir landed and whoops up on the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that are now studying it, but finds that he’s not worthy of it’s power yet, and then he’s captured.  I don’t know why he couldn’t have just gone to Home Depot and got a claw hammer instead.  But noooooooooooo, it just has to be Mjolnir.  Back on Asgard, Odin reveals to Loki that Loki was actually a baby Frost Giant that he took and raised as his own to hopefully create a peace between the realms, then he gets all narcoleptic and falls into the Odinsleep (which he does to recharge after a long days work).  Loki is then in charge and gets all corrupt and crazy.  Later Thor has to make everything better.

I kind of dug this movie.  I see most comic book movies as breaking into 3 categories: ones that are all around amazing and story-driven (Watchmen), ones that are big dumb action movies but are cool (the second Hulk movie), and ones that are awful (Ghost Rider).  This movie is between story-driven and big dumb action, though much closer to big dumb action.  It has a good story, but I liked it more for the epic battles.  The main story elements are the relationships with Thor, mainly the Thor/Odin, the Thor/Loki, and the Thor/Portman ones.  By the way, if Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman became a couple, I vote for calling them Thortman.  Thor/Odin is a fairly typical father/son dynamic, or more so a king/prince dynamic where the good king wants his spoiled son to grow up to be a good king.  Thor/Loki is a fairly typical brother dynamic where Loki is jealous of Thor and manipulates him into failing so he can overthrow him.  And Thortman is a typical romantic relationship.

The look of the movie is pretty great.  Most of the sets are apparently practical and not CG, so they look good (unlike a mostly CG Green Lantern).  The scale is probably the most epic a comic book movie has ever been, but then contrasted with the least epic real Earth landscape.  It goes from this uber-grandiose Asgard to a very small town in New Mexico.  The full-on double rainbow bridge was also very pretty.  The fights in this movie are pretty good, the best being the whooping laid on the Frost Giants by Thor and his group.  The worst, for me, was the battle with the Destroyer armor.  Thor, still depowered, tries to sacrifice himself to the Destroyer armor in order to save his friends and Jane, and gets killed by the armor for it.  Then, as everyone probably expects, that is the moment Mjolnir decides he’s worthy and it flies over to him and he becomes Thor again.  This part, though entirely predictable, still gave me goosebumps.  But then the battle with the Destroyer armor is pretty quick and anticlimactic.  Block twice, hammer to the face, the end.  The battle with Loki could have drawn out the tension a little better too.

The acting chops of this cast warmed my heart.  I love seeing a comic book movie, that are typically looked down upon by society as “stupid nerd stuff”, get a cast that can elevate the material.  I mean, this movie has Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman, for crying out loud.  Anthony Hopkins does a great job, and Chris Hemsworth manages to hold up his end in scenes with the man.  Kat Dennings part is pretty much being in the background and cracking wise, and she performs it well.  Natalie Portman seemed to kind of take it easy on this picture.  She wasn’t bad or anything, but she wasn’t bringing the Black Swan hustle to it either.  Of course, that probably would’ve been out of place anyway.  All that ballet in the background of fight scenes between gods might be goofy.  I think Tom Hiddleston stood out the most for me as Loki.  He really pulled off the hidden agenda of Loki well, and acted his ass off when it called for it.  And I had never seen this guy before, so I’m looking forward to him coming up again.  Renne Russo as Thor’s mom was a little weird to me.  She’s a big Hollywood name, right?  But in this movie she’s usually just standing around in the background and has one, maybe two, lines in the whole thing.

I liked this movie.  Whether that’s just my comic book nerdiness talking or my movie lover, I can’t say.  I still say it’s worth a watch.  I give this movie a “Not as dumb as I thought” out of “DOUBLE RAINBOW, ALL THE WAY”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.