0040 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review


0040 - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

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Metallica Through the Never (2013)


Twisting, Turning, Through the Never.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chronicle (2012)


There’s Something Wrong With Andrew.

As best I can recall, the only thing that really inspired me to see today’s movie is Doug Benson talking about it on his podcast, Doug Loves Movies.  If I recall correctly, I believe he said that this movie was the best found footage movie he’s ever seen.  Doug has also indicated that he’s not a fan of the found footage genre.  Since I generally am a fan of the found footage genre, it got me to thinking that I really should give this movie a look.  When I came across the movie in a RedBox machine, I felt like its time had come.  And so we come to find out what I think of the movie Chronicle, written by Max Landis, directed by Josh Trank, written and directed by Jay Alaimo, and starring Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordon, Michael Kelly, Bo Petersen, Ashley Hinshaw, and Anna Wood.

Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a weenie.  He lives with his mother, Karen (Bo Petersen), who is dying of cancer, and his abusive alcoholic father, Richard (Michael Kelly).  At random, he decides he needs to start filming his mundane life as a pussy.  Thankfully for the audience, something interesting finally happens in his life when Andrew, along with his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and a popular student named Steve (Michael B. Jordan), investigate a strange hole in the ground with a glowing blue crystal in it.  When they touch the crystal, it turns red and the camera shuts off.  Next thing we know, the three kids have telekinetic abilities and can move things with their minds, and their abilities only improve over time.  At first, they mainly use their powers to play pranks on people, but this too elevates with use, and things start to go downhill because of it.

I was actually kind of surprised that I enjoyed this movie.  It has similar problems to other found footage movies, but altogether I thought it was a pretty interesting watch.  The story does the bulk of the work to make this movie enjoyable.  It starts off a little irritating, but still exciting.  For the bulk of the first part of the movie, it was just about a whiny little creepy voyeur.  The biggest issue I could take with the movie is that there was no good reason for Andrew to start filming in the first place.  Obviously there’s a decent reason to start filming everything in life once you’ve got super powers, but for a couple of days beforehand?  I understand it when it comes to making the movie because you need a little bit of set up before jumping into the movie, but I’m sure there was a more believable reason for Andrew to start filming.  Maybe he should’ve just gone full scale voyeur and have just been filming women getting dressed through their windows until he got super powers.  It’s also really irritating that there are apparently two people in this one school that feel the need to film everything, and Matt must get involved with her so that he can be filmed when Andrew isn’t around.  Once they got the super powers, I kept at least a little bit of my irritation because these three douchebags only ever used their powers for things that you would expect of high school kids: pranks and pussy.  They first use their powers to play little pranks on people, like making a teddy bear come to life and permanently psychologically scar a young girl, and moving a lady’s car so that she’ll be mildly puzzled when she returns from shopping.  Then they use it to get Andrew popular during a talent show so that he can have sex with a girl that looks an awful lot like Juliette Lewis, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.  But I started to realize by the end of the movie that my interest was slowly growing as the movie was amping up along with their powers, and by the end I was pretty invested.  As another shot against the found footage style they used for this movie, I don’t know why Andrew would film himself breaking the law.  Just so they would have evidence later or something?  But, either way, I found that I had liked the movie by the time it concluded, and I really liked the way it ended.  Didn’t much care for Matt’s little part after what I considered the ending, but it didn’t ruin it or anything.  It just felt unnecessary and a little strange.

The performances in the movie were all well delivered, but I didn’t necessarily like most of them.  Dane DeHaan was a huge puss and pretty irritating.  I suppose he had a good enough reason with what he was going through at home, but he really wasn’t pleasant to spend time with in the movie, and it seemed like his friends agreed for the most part.  Hanging out with someone like that can divide you.  Do you want to be a good person and try to brighten the life of this perpetually depressed person, or would he probably just bring you down and make you hate life as much as he does?  That’s a good question for all of my friends to put some serious thought into.  I also wasn’t a fan of Ashley Hinshaw’s character in the movie.  Granted Alex Russell’s character was a little hipster, a little pretentious, and a little too cool for school, and she was the only one that put him in his place for it, but she was also a bitch the rest of the time too.  Let the dude quote philosophers to make himself feel smart and just enjoy the smug satisfaction that he probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about half the time.  You don’t have to be the one to put him in his place, especially not when he’s just trying to talk to you normally or do something nice for you.  So I guess the two people in the movie that annoyed me the most were the two people that were randomly filming and had no good reason to.

I found Chronicle to be a very cool movie, but the found footage style got me wondering.  I feel like this movie would’ve been much better if they hadn’t wasted time and made themselves irritating by taking the found footage approach, but then I also don’t know if this movie would have stood out at all if it was just a generic super powered high schoolers movie.  The story was a little smarter than the basic super hero stuff, as it’s an interesting character study to see what happens to a person like Andrew when you give him super powers, and the movie gets more and more interesting as it goes along, so that by the end the fact that I liked it had snuck up on me.  I would say this movie is definitely worth a watch, but it was also probably hindered by the found footage style.  It’s definitely at least worth checking out in a RedBox.  Chronicle gets “I’m stronger than all of this!” out of “I’m an apex predator!”

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