The Unborn (2009)


Jumby Wants to be Born Now.

My coworker Shannon seems to be a horror movie aficionado.  I’m fairly sure she has seen every horror movie Netflix has to offer.  So when October comes around, I have come to rely on her for at least one solid recommendation.  She seems to be a nice person so I always have to remind her first that I don’t necessarily want a fun movie, but want to MAKE FUN OF a movie because she always leads with something good, but once you get past that she can deliver the good stuff.  Or the bad stuff.  So she claimed today’s movie would be good to make fun of, but then I saw it was written and directed by David S. Goyer, who wrote the Nolan Batman trilogy and Dark City.  This can’t be right!  This is supposed to be a bad movie!  Then I saw he also wrote Batman v. Superman and BOTH Ghost Rider movies.  …This has potential…  And if nothing else, the poster for the movie was mainly just a hot chick’s butt, so it’s got that going for it.  This movie is The Unborn, written and directed by David S. Goyer, and starring Odette Yustman, Meagan Good, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, Jane Alexander, James Remar, and Idris Elba.

A super-hot lady named Casey (Yustman) starts going crazy and having strange visions of dogs wearing masks and mittens.  Then a little boy smashes a mirror on her face and makes her eye change color.  Somehow, this leads her to find out she was to be a twin but her brother didn’t survive.  She finds her Auschwitz survivor grandma (Alexander) who was also a twin, but Nazi’s made her brother into a babadook.  …No wait, it’s a dybbuk.  And that’s a Jewish demon, so her brother starts acting like a real dyb-bag until she kills him.  The evil demon thingie wanted to be reborn as Casey’s brother but was instead unborn.  Now it’s after her.

Shannon comes through again!  I wouldn’t say this was necessarily a bad movie, but it certainly wasn’t good.  I wasn’t pained by watching it, but I feel like I spent most of it fairly confused.  The movie contained a lot of superstitions that it just acted like everyone knew and were totally normal.  Did you know that newborns aren’t supposed to see their own reflections or they’ll die?  Yeah, me neither.  Nor, I assume, did millions of parents who don’t go around smashing every mirror in their house when they get the plus sign on that pregnancy test.  Want to know what else isn’t a thing?  The name “Jumby.”  Right before he smashes Casey in the face with a mirror, the creepy little kid tells her that “Jumby wants to be born now.”  I would then say that I hope that “Jumby” is never born because he won’t last long with a name like that.  And then Casey finds out that that’s the nickname her parents gave her twin brother and she somehow didn’t stop in the middle of her freak out to say, “I can’t believe you never told me I had a twin…wait…Jumby?  Did he die in utero because of all the drugs you guys were doing during the pregnancy to come up with that name?”  And what sort of drugs was her grandma on when she said, “What is a twin but another kind of mirror?”  …Well, grandma, a twin is lots of things.  A person. One that shares a lot of your genetic code.  Of all the things a twin could be, a reflective piece of glass would not make my list.  I kind of get what you’re saying because they may look alike, but not all twins do look alike and even the ones that do are not mirrors.  But I guess old grandma didn’t get herself in an old folk’s home by having full control of her faculties.  Anyway, the movie ends with an exorcism that goes poorly.  The dybbuk shows up and starts slinging people around the room like a little hurricane.  At this point, I agree with Casey when she says they have to finish the ceremony.  I don’t really understand her luck that the first piece of paper she grabbed at her feet as the book was blowing around the room just happened to be the page she needed.  This movie wouldn’t have happened if she was prone to such good fortune.

As always, a horror movie not making a lot of sense isn’t my top concern so long as they can make that up by being scary.  Unfortunately, this movie didn’t really do that either.  Mostly clichés and jump scares.  I guess I should’ve guessed it would be cliché from the thumbnail, but I kept getting distracted by Odette Yustman’s butt and couldn’t see the rest of the picture.  But she was standing in front of a bathroom vanity mirror that had her reflection and another mirror… sorry, her twin (I get those confused all the time).  But isn’t the bathroom vanity mirror in a horror movie one of the most played out and cliché things ever at this point?  You know exactly what they’re going to do with it eventually so the only suspense involved with it is wondering when.  I guess you could say they broke from cliché a little in the movie in that the black friend of Casey was not the first one to die, but I also felt no remorse for her when she did.  She’s supposed to be really superstitious but then she’s at home all alone and the power goes off and she hears a knock at the door but can’t see anyone when she looks outside so she opens the damned door?  She deserved to get stabbed by that little kid for that.  Also, you can’t take a little kid in a fight?  Maybe she’s just too nice, but I wish that little kid would try to stab me.  I would whoop that ass so hard!  Even if he did stab me in the gut first, I still think I could lay a beating on a little kid.  One thing I would say for this movie in the scares department is a good amount of the creatures they had were pretty creepy.  The dog with the mask or its head turned upside down and the old man later were both pretty well done.  And then I also have a burning question that this movie left me with: if an infant dies do the paramedics really bring in the full-sized human stretcher to bring it out?  I’m not suggesting they use a shoe box or something, but it seems like a waste of space.

The performances were pretty hit-and-miss in this movie.  The most surprising ones were Gary Oldman, Idris Elba, and Carla Gugino.  Not because they put on their career-defining, tour-de-force performances in this movie by a long shot, but more that they agreed to do the movie AND seemed to actually give about 10% more effort than the paycheck was probably worth.  Odette Yustman was the star of the movie in that she got the most screen time, and she did exactly what she needed to.  She was hot, she walked around in her underwear and made sure no one left this movie without knowing she has a nice butt.  And she screamed occasionally.  Otherwise, her performance and a lot of the other ones in the movie were good sometimes and very bad on others.  She probably did about as good as she could with the material, I suppose.  I mean, her character was written to make a really big deal about getting hit in the face by a kid with a mirror when talking to her friends, but never really bothered to bring up that she hatched an icky-looking bug out of an egg that morning.  I mean, shitty little kids hit people with things all the time.  It’s not every day that something other than egg comes out of an egg.  I also found it curious how profusely she thanked her boyfriend for accompanying her to the doctor.  She only had a minor scratch on her face really, but she WAS hit in the face so hard with a mirror that her eye was changing color.  Feels like going to the doctor with her would just be part of being a concerned boyfriend.  As I mentioned before, I did not get why she was so freaked out that she had a twin that died in utero.  Granted, it wouldn’t be great that the parents never thought to mention it, but I still feel like my reaction as an adult to receiving that information would be more along the lines of, “Oh…that’s interesting, I guess…”  I also wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that losing this twin was the reason my mom killed herself.  I mean, it was probably quite the bummer at first, but this movie showed that the mom killed herself when Casey was at least 9 or 10.  Seems like she probably would’ve moved past that by then.  I would at least give this movie credit that it seemed to write the character of the super-hot chick well on a couple of occasions.  Like when she took that book to Gary Oldman and asked if he could translate it for her.  …You want me to translate a thousand page religious manuscript for you?  “Could you?  That’d be great!  You’re such a sweetheart!”  That seems like a hot chick thing to do.  …I’d probably have done it for her too…  It also seems like a hot chick thing to do that when she’s told what to do to take the dybbuk’s power away, she only half-asses it.  Your grandma told you to break the mirrors in your house, burn the pieces, and bury them.  Why do all the mirrors in your house still have shards around the edges and pieces in a pile under them on the mantle?  Good enough, eh?

The Unborn was not particularly well-written and didn’t often stand up to logic, the performances were pretty hit-and-miss, and it was more cliché than it was scary.  The best parts of it are a couple of the creepy creatures and Odette Yustman’s butt. But I feel like you can get every piece of the enjoyment of those things from the movie poster I am attaching to this review.  So there’s not going to be much enjoyment to be gotten out of this movie, but I would say this would be a good candidate to watch at home with friends just to make fun of.  The Unborn gets “It’s not safe to be around me” out of “Am I going to be falling forever?”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.

Advertisements

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.”

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?!

Man of Steel (2013)


KNEEL BEFORE BOB!!

Man of Steel (2013)Seeing today’s movie proved to be harder than it should have been.  Shortly after it came out, I made a trek to the theaters with Friendboss Josh to see this movie, only to find it sold out.  That worked out for us both because we went and saw This Is The End instead.  Later, I tried to get to see it with some of my other friends, but going to my sister’s wedding made things difficult because I needed to pack.  And then my dog died.  Jesus didn’t want me to see this movie in a big bad way!  After I got back from my sister’s wedding, my friend Phil had returned to town and he was the only other person in the world besides me that had not already seen the movie, but he didn’t really care to.  I gave him such a purple nurple that his nipple was fully removed.  I promised to give it back to him after we had seen Man of Steel, written by David S. Goyer, directed by Zack Snyder, and starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Anteje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Richard Schiff, and Laurence Fishburne.

The people of planet Krypton have mined the core of their planet to the point where the planet is beginning to implode, just as their head scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) had warned them.  Jor and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) decide to send their baby, the first baby born naturally on Krypton in centuries, to the planet Earth in a shuttle to avoid the collapse of Krypton.  The planet’s military commander, General Zod (Michael Shannon), is the only one that agrees with Jor about Krypton’s state, but disagrees that Krypton’s genetic codex should be sent to Earth with Jor’s son.  He disagrees so strongly that he kills Jor while staging a military coup.  Jor still manages to send his son away with the codex, and Zod and his rebels are captured and sentenced to prison in the Phantom Zone, where they are released a short time later when Krypton is destroyed.  On Earth, Kal-El is taken in by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) and raised in Smallville, Kansas.  As he grows up, life is difficult for him as he develops superhuman abilities.  When Kal – now called Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) – becomes an adult, he leads a nomadic life because he always ends up having to use his abilities to save someone and must then disappear again.  On one job, he meets a reporter named Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and finds a ship from his ancestors that tells him his past.  Shortly after that, Zod shows up in orbit and demands that the people of Earth turn Kal over to him.

I heard such mixed reports about this movie before I saw it that I had no idea what assumption to make going into it.  But that’s typically a good thing because expectations do more harm than good.  Overall I thought this movie was good.  It didn’t blow my mind, but it was an entertaining watch.  I guess part of the problem I had with it is that there’s nothing really surprising about the story.  I’ve seen this story so many times, and they really didn’t change it drastically from what I had seen before.  And I hate Superman, but I still know this story like the back of my hand!  But the minor changes they made were ones I appreciated, like the fact that Kryptonite was nowhere to be seen in this movie.  The greater majority of Superman movies that I’ve seen are all completely based around Kryptonite.  Superman is all awesome, someone busts out a shiny green rock making him less awesome, and he overcomes it by taking it super seriously or flying into space to charge up.  This one came close to that by having him weakened by the Kyptonian atmosphere, but they never had a green rock lying around.  It also made me wonder if people making future Superman movies would be pissed that they took away their typical major plot point.  But the atmosphere thing did make the same stuff happen with Superman.  He was weakened by the atmosphere when he had to take out that terraforming “world engine” but had to sack up and take a cue out of Randy Quaid’s book from Independence Day and fly straight up that alien ship’s butthole.  I did have a problem with Superman’s flying though, just because of the part where they were saying he needs to take a leap of faith before he starts flying.  That’s not a leap of faith.  A leap of faith is like what Indiana Jones did in the Last Crusade, where he stepped off a ledge with the faith that he wouldn’t die because of it.  Superman is invulnerable and can fly.  Not a lot of faith involved in such a leap.

The visual effects of the movie and the action were all very well done, which helped save the movie from the very typical story.  Everything in the movie looked great, though occasionally I found that the shaky cam look they went for got a little tedious.  But the fights were pretty dope, especially the ones involving Faora.  She was dope.  And hot.  I liked the fight with her, that unnamed Kryptonian, and Superman, even though they made a bitch out of Superman.  Superman should probably be able to hold his own a little better than he did in most of that fight.  On the other hand, I hate Superman.  Seeing him made into a bitch doesn’t bother me that much.

I liked the greater majority of the actors in the movie, but I took issue with a lot of the characters.  Superman, for instance.  What kind of protector did you turn out to be when your fights with the Kryptonians leveled a large portion of both Smallville and Metropolis?  The Superman I know is a little more concerned with collateral damage than that.  The Superman I know also doesn’t have a hairy chest, but I guess that’s okay because chicks seem to be into it.  And speaking of being into chicks: was I the only one that was disappointed when baby Superman didn’t come flying out of his mom in the beginning, fist first?  I also had some thoughts about his parents.  First, how well does Krypton train its scientists in combat that they can beat up their top military officials?  And what the hell is the deal with his mom?  I understand the concept of a parent not wanting to give up their child, but she’s fully aware that the planet is dying.  It’s better in her opinion to let the baby die with you than to live without you?  You’re a shitty mom!  Superman’s adopted parents weren’t much better either.  I don’t remember the Kents teaching Superman the valuable lesson that sometimes you should let people die so you can keep yourself a secret.  Jonathan Kent was spectacularly stupid.  He actually dies because he tells his invulnerable superhero son to stay under the safety of the overpass while the aging human Jonathan ran back into the middle of a tornado to save a dog.  Your son … IS SUPERMAN!  He could’ve zipped out and saved that dog so fast that no one would’ve even seen him do it.  He could’ve walked through the middle of a tornado like everyone else walking in front of an oscillating fan.  But you’re right that dying in a tornado is the best way to go.  That’s how I intend to go.

Man of Steel offered nothing new in the story department, but made up for it with some pretty decent action and some fantastic visuals.  If you’ve followed Superman at all, you know pretty much where the story is going, but it will at least be visually entertaining enough to make it worthwhile.  This movie didn’t exactly blow my mind with pure awesomeness, but I was satisfied with the experience.  I’ll recommend you check this movie out in theaters.  Man of Steel gets “You will give the people an ideal to strive towards” out of “That’s why we risked so much to save you.”

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 Dark Knight (2008)


And … Here … We … Go!

Having already seen Batman Begins, I figured the sequel would at least be good.  Christopher Nolan’s new vision for the Batman universe struck me as mostly realistic, but totally awesome.  When the sequel was on its way, you could assume that the quality might diminish as with the greater majority of sequels.  But my hopes were fairly high regardless.  What my hopes were low about was the villain.  I was definitely amongst the group of people that thought it would be completely impossible for anyone to surpass Jack Nicholson in the role.  I was sure the actor they picked would do a fine job and, from what I had seen, he looked fantastic in the role, but come on!  It’s Jack Nicholson!  Well, what happened?  Let’s all be not surprised by the results of me reviewing The Dark Knight, story by David S. Goyer, written by Jonathan Nolan, co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Chin Han, Eric Roberts, Ritchie Coster, Michael Jai White, Ron Dean, Monique Curnen, Nestor Carbonell, Colin McFarlane, Nydia Rodriguez Terracina, and William Fichtner.

A make up wearing criminal known only as The Joker (Heath Ledger) is robbing mob-owned banks in Gotham City and, though he loves to show his face on camera, continuously evades Batman (Christian Bale) and Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman).  In reaction, a Chinese accountant named Lau (Chin Han) hides the money for the mob bosses – Sal Maroni (Eric Roberts), The Chechen (Ritchie Coster), and Gambol (Michael Jai White) – until the Joker shows up and tells them they are avoiding the problem.  What they really need to do is kill the Batman, which the Joker claims he can do, but he demands half of their money to do it.  If you’re good at something, never do it for free.  Out of the desperation of the mob bosses, the Joker is unleashed on Gotham.

I always remember that I like the Dark Knight before I decide to rewatch it, but it still blows my mind with how good it is.  I’ve said it before with two other movies, but this movie stands a very good chance of being my favorite comic book movie.  Avengers was easily the most fun, Watchmen is a fantastic movie as well, but the Dark Knight is an amazing movie.  So exciting, so dark, so smart, and so so good.  It’s an extremely well-written story with action, chaos, and loss.  And the darkness and realism that I liked so much about the previous movie returns for this movie.  That would, of course, mean that the Joker wouldn’t be using the toys you’d typically find him using – things like guns that pop flags with “Bang” written on them or Jack in the Box’s that explode – that Joker purists may miss, but it wouldn’t fit the atmosphere.  What you get instead is a super dark and demented insane genius that actually has his shit together while still being completely off his rocker.  We all knew the Joker was coming, though.  They hinted at it at the end of the last movie.  But when I was going into this movie, I started wondering why they didn’t hint at the villains from the next movie.  But I think I found one.  It seems like there was a very good chance that, when Bruce asks Lucius how his new suit will do against dogs and Lucius said, “It should be fine against cats,” it may have been a hint that I never caught before.  As much as I loved the movie, I took issue with a few smaller things in the story.  The first was that I never understood what happened with the rescues of Rachael and Harvey.  Batman tells the cops that he’s going after Rachael as he’s leaving the police station, but then he shows up to rescue Harvey.  Did the Joker lie to Batman and he actually intended to rescue Rachael, or did he change his mind off camera and tell the cops to go after Rachael?  It’s always kind of bugged me.  The second was the cell phone echolocation machine that Bruce had built.  He spends all this money and all this time researching and perfecting this technology to find one man one time, and then he blows it all up.  I grant that it worked, but it just seems so wasteful.  The third part I had a problem with was towards the end of the movie, when someone was going to punish someone else by having him choose between his wife, daughter, and son which one he loved most.  How shitty do the wife and daughter feel?

The action in this movie was spectacular, made even better by the fact that the greater majority of it was done practically and involved minimal computer graphics.  As good as computer graphics have gotten over the years, you can usually tell when it’s fake.  Most of the Dark Knight is not fake, as best as I could tell.  There were plenty of highlights amongst the visuals, but I’ll focus on three.  Two of them were in the same fantastic action scene: when the Joker was trying to destroy the SWAT vehicle with Harvey in it.  It was freakin’ amazing when the Tumbler drove into the garbage truck that was following the SWAT vehicle, smashing the top of the garbage truck into the ceiling of the underground road.  Thinking that couldn’t be topped, slightly later they make a semi do a front flip.  Later on, they even actually blow up a building to simulate Gotham Hospital.  Suck it, Avatar!  You can take your blue people with hair dicks back to Pandora and sit on Home Tree.

Credits be damned.  Even amongst the stellar performances in this movie, I think we all know who the real star of this movie is: Maggie Gyllenhaal.  I don’t know how they didn’t incorporate it into the story that, much like Harvey Dent, Rachael must’ve endured some serious trauma and third-degree burns in between the first and second movie, and all in the face region.  In fact, the moment I realized that the Joker was truly insane was when he referred to this new Rachel as “beautiful”.  Okay, in truth I don’t think Maggie Gyllenhaal is as ugly as all of the things I say about her indicate, but she’s certainly not great looking.  And the real star of the movie is actually Heath Ledger.  This mother fucker disappears into the role of the Joker, and easily (and surprisingly) blows Jack Nicholson’s take on the character right out of the water.  I believe that, had I gone into this movie unaware of the Joker’s true identity, I may not even have recognized Ledger in this movie.  He’s that fucking good.  I said it after I first saw the movie and it’s as true today as it was then, but everything else in this movie could’ve been complete horse shit and his performance alone would’ve made it worth seeing.  It truly was the performance of a lifetime, and a gundamned shame that it was the last performance in his lifetime.  The only non-Gyllenhaal performance I took issue with in this movie was Melinda McGraw as Commissioner Gordon’s wife.  All of her reactions to bad news in this movie were a little over the top and never convincing.

The Dark Knight is an amazing movie.  The story is great, the action is fantastic, and the performances are all terrific.  There’s not a lot of bad things to be found in this movie, but even if there were, the movie would be worth the watch for Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker alone.  The fact that the rest of the movie is also amazing is just icing on the cake.  I don’t know that I’d be comfortable calling the Dark Knight my favorite comic book movie of all time, but it would certainly be considered.  This movie should not only be owned; it should be watched at least once per month.  Put it on your calendars.  The Dark Knight gets “A little fight in you.  I like that” out of “Harvey Dent.  Can he be trusted?”

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.

Batman Begins (2005)


You Must Become More than Just a Man in the Mind of Your Opponent.

Let’s go back in time to roughly 2004.  At this point, Batman had fallen on hard times, somewhat devastated by the shit sandwich known as Batman and Robin.  So devastating was this movie that it was almost a decade before they put out another one.  But this guy, he wanted to reboot the whole series.  What kind of bullshit is that?  We’ve all seen Batman’s origin story!  And you want to throw down your movie against the Tim Burton Batman’s origin story?  This has bad written all over it.  But, they wanted to take the movie in a darker direction, and it seemed as if they got mostly good people to be in it, so maybe I was judging too harshly.  I would still give it a chance.  Also, the word “Batman” was in the title, so there was a very good chance I would be seeing it anyway.  How could this movie possibly do?  We’ll find out as I review Batman Begins, written by David S. Goyer, co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Mark Boone Jr., Ken Watanabe, Linus Roache, Sara Stewart, Richard Brake, and Gus Lewis.

A young Bruce Wayne (Gus Lewis) must leave a play because of his fear of bats.  His father Thomas (Linus Roache) and mother Martha (Sara Stewart) escort him into the alley behind the theater where they are murdered in a mugging gone wrong by a desperate criminal, Joe Chill (Richard Brake).  Later, when Chill is granted parole if he testifies against crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson), Bruce (now Christian Bale) sets his mind on killing him, but is beaten to the punch by one of Falcone’s men.  Seeing how corrupt Gotham City has become, Bruce disappears into the world to study the criminal element and train physically and mentally in martial arts.  He gets himself arrested and, while imprisoned, he meets a man named Ducard (Liam Neeson), who offers Bruce the opportunity to train with and join the League of Shadows, a group of ninjas led by Ra’s al Ghul with a mind to bring justice to the world but, after training with them, he realizes that their plot is to dispel the evil from Gotham by destroying it and allowing it to rebuild.  Bruce says, “Good day,” picks up his hat and spikey gloves, and burns the place to the ground, killing Ra’s and saving the life of Ducard.  Bruce is picked up by his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) and returns to Gotham to use his new skills and a pointy cowl to bring justice to Gotham in his own way.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but is Ra’s al Ghul immortal?  Are his methods supernatural?  Eh, it’ll probably never come up…

I tried, probably in vain, to act like I wouldn’t like this movie.  I can’t imagine anyone didn’t see right through that.  Of course this movie is awesome.  With each new reboot of the Batman it gets darker and better.  The old Adam West Batman was goofy and fun, then Tim Burton put out a much darker and more serious Batman with Michael Keaton that got goofier and more terrible over time as George Clooney took over the role.  What Christopher Nolan gives us is the darkest and most realistic look at the Caped Crusader we’ve ever seen, and probably the best Batman movie that had ever been released up to that point, renewing the faith of the fans that had been trampled down over the years.  I can’t recall if I went into this movie thinking that it couldn’t possibly be better than the Tim Burton Batman, but I would say it succeeded.  And, just as great, they went with some fantastic villains that we hadn’t seen in the movies prior: Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul.  I loved the realism in the movie as well.  Everything they changed they changed for the better, and all of it seemed like it could really happen.  The armor, the memory cloth cape, all of the setup stuff.  I don’t know that any of that stuff really exists, but it feels like it does.  The Tumbler seemed much more realistic, but I must admit that I miss the Batmobile from the first movie.  It’s an acceptable substitute.  Even the villains were more realistic.  Ra’s al Ghul stayed immortal with the use of the Lazarus Pit in the comic books; here he uses deception to spread the legend of Ra’s al Ghul as immortal.  Scarecrow was never all that unrealistic.  It’s probably not that hard to find an inhalant that will make you trip balls.  The only real issue I took with the story of the movie is that the fat cop was made out to be a dick for telling the guy he took food from that he should feed his kids falafel.  That’s just good logic right there.

No one should’ve been surprised that the greater majority of the people were able to bring it.  They got some fantastic actors to participate in this thing.  Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman; so many great actors that deliver in every way.  And Katie Holmes is in the movie too.  That’s perhaps harsh.  She actually did a fine enough job.  Not spectacular, but certainly not bad.  Christian Bale is probably the best performance in this movie as far as I’m concerned.  He really gives three performances.  The Bruce Wayne he puts on is mostly for show; what he’s been told a billionaire playboy would act like.  Then there’s the real guy, who is much more serious, but still finds the time to toss quips back and forth with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman – both of which bring a great deal of snarky comedy with their lines.  Then, of course, the Batman, who is always serious and speaks in a super gravelly voice that does grate on the nerves, but I didn’t take that much issue with it.  I think I more took issue with how breathless it always made him seem.  It was as if … he couldn’t do … more than three … words at a … time … like that …

Batman Begins is awesome.  One could argue that it starts out a little slowly as we have to sit through the origin story that the bulk of us were already familiar with, but once it gets moving, it gets moving.  This is the exact type of Batman movie the world wanted.  Or, in the very least, it’s the one I wanted.  The action is fantastic, the darkness and the realism are amazing, and the performances are top of the line.  I love you, Batman.  And you, Christopher Nolan.  Something tells me I might be saying that once or twice more in the next couple of days.  Come back to find out.  For now, Batman Begins gets “You’re not the devil.  You’re practice” out of “Death does not wait for you to be ready!”

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.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)


You Were the Worst Fucking Deal I Ever Made!

I finally managed to get to a theater to see a movie followup of a movie I reviewed last month.  After how badly I felt they ruined one of the most compelling comic book characters last time, I went into today’s movie hoping for the best.  I mean, why wouldn’t it be a winning combination to take the stuff from the first movie and add two directors that I feel are completely overrated?  Who knows?  Maybe the different take on things will improve things.  We’ll find out right now in my review of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, written by David S. Goyer, directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (or Neveldine/Taylor as it was in the credits), and starring Nicolas Cage, Fergus Riordan, Ciaran Hinds, Violante Placido, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, and Christopher Lambert.

Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still under the curse of the Ghost Rider.  At night, or in the presence of evil, he turns into a badass with a fiery skull and prehensile chains.  All the rest of the time, it causes him to overact.  He’s now hanging out in Europe until he gets approached by Moreau (Idris Elba) and is asked to use his overacting powers to rescue a little boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan) who the Devil, or Roarke (Ciaran Hinds), wants to possess the body of.  At first, Johnny doesn’t want to get involved, but when Moreau promises him some sweet, sweet freedom from the curse of the Ghost Rider, Johnny jumps on board.  But he also does a pretty shitty job because he comes across Danny and his mother, Nadya (Violante Placido), gets his ass kicked by the Devil’s henchman, Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth), and lets Danny get abducted.  The rest of the movie is the Ghost Rider playing tug of war with the Devil, with Danny as the rope.

This movie sucked out loud.  Though the story is much improved from the original movie, the way it’s told is stupid, annoying, and lackluster.  For some reason, people seem to enjoy the work of these two shitty directors, Neveldine/Taylor.  Yes, it is interesting that they film while riding on Rollerblades to make us feel like we’re closer to the action.  What it isn’t is enjoyable to watch.  The camera is constantly shaking, whipping back and forth for no reason, and doing whatever it can to make me give my popcorn back to the nice people at the movie theater in a slightly more digested form.  If I wanted to watch Crank again (and I don’t), I would go watch Crank.  Get a new trick, guys.  Your current one sucks.  Some of the visuals in this movie were really awesome.  Some of them were less than that.  The Ghost Rider looks so much more badass in this movie.  Something about the new way they did the skull is really awesome looking.  But the Ghost Rider is a worse actor than Nicolas Cage.  Instead of being a hardcore badass, his body movements are more like the little girl from the Ring.  He oddly darts around the field of battle and often chooses to try to win a staring contest with an enemy while the enemies around him are reloading.  And I don’t mean that he’s killing them with the Penance Stare.  They forgot about that for this movie.  He just runs up to guys, gets face to face with them, and stares.  Then gets hit by a grenade.  One new trick that he has is that whatever the Rider rides turns all firey and badass like his bike, and this is pretty cool.  He does it to some gigantic digging machine and a big truck.  At one point, Ghost Rider was knocked into the air where he stopped in midair and started spinning around in circles, parallel to the ground that he was about 5 feet off of.  What the fuck are you doing?!  The only logical assumption to be made is that the directors were riding their Rollerblades behind a truck when it stopped abruptly, causing them to smash their faces into the vehicle causing them brain damage.  And, though I still had to sit through the movie, at least they’re brain damaged now.

The basic story of Ghost Rider is good enough, but the dialogue and other ideas ruin that.  The basic premise of the movie is like End of Days, the Arnold Swasserhassermcgoo movie.  Something going to be inhabited by the Devil, there’s a good cult and a bad cult, and there’s only one person that can stop them.  Well, three people, but only one is really effective at it.  The dialogue, however, is generally pretty awful.  The entire opening narration by Cage is really blase about the whole situation.  Like “Yeah, that’s me.  I sold my soul to the Devil.  Whatev’s, bro.”  Part of that is Cage’s delivery, but I assume it was written, and written poorly.  As a plus though, in the recap of his past in the narration, Blaze actually intentionally puts his blood on the contract so that it’s not complete bullshit like the last movie.  But then I started wondering: Why would anyone WANT this “curse” lifted?  The only way it really affects you is by keeping people that are evil away from you, and part of your life you get to be a badass.  There’s also a part when one of the bad guys turns into a creature that can cause things to decay with a mere touch, but they also decided this would be a good point to have him digging through a guy’s lunch for something to eat.  He grabs a sandwich; it turns moldy.  He picks up an apple, but it also decays.  Then he picks up a Twinkie, and that stays fresh.  OH, I get it!  You’re retarded!  Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my life for that gem.  The worst part in the movie for me was when Cage was talking with the little kid, and the kid asks what he has to do if he has to pee when he’s the Ghost Rider.  Blaze responds “Oh, it’s great.  It’s like a flamethrower.”  This joke wouldn’t be particularly funny, but it was just something throw out there … until Cage jumps up and starts mimicking a flamethrower with his wang, and the kid visualizes the Ghost Rider doing it.  Personally, I think it would’ve been more appropriate if the kid imagined the writer of the movie standing over the Ghost Rider, peeing on him.  It’s pretty much what you’re doing anyway.

Some of the performances in this movie were fine, but not too many.  Nick Cage … I suppose I don’t really need to say it, do I?  For the first 20 minutes of the movie, I was thinking he toned it down and was not annoyingly overacting the entire time, but then he started doing it again.  Idris Elba did a good enough job with the performance, but his French accent made him go over the top on occasion.  He’s not really French, he’s English.  But he literally kills two guys by throwing a bottle of wine at them, shooting them, and then berating them for wasting good wine.  It’s a shame they cut out the part where he choked someone with cheese and snails.  Ciaran Hinds and Violante Placido do solid jobs in the movie, and Johnny Whitworth and Fergus Riordan made no impact whatsoever.  I was really happy to see Christopher Lambert in the movie, but he didn’t have a very big role.

I must say, easily the best part of this movie is the trailer for the new Spider-Man that preceded it.  As for this movie, they somehow managed to made a movie worse than the original Ghost Rider.  And we thought it couldn’t be done…  There were a couple of parts in the action scenes that were bona fide badasslery, but the rest of it was crap.  Neveldine/Taylor continue to beat the shit out of the dead horse that is their Rollerblade riding style of directing, making most of the scenes shaky and nauseating.  If you wanted to see what Crank would look like if Chev Chelios’ head was on fire, this might be the movie for you.  Also, you might enjoy this box of Crayons and a padded room, but you can always keep drawing with your own feces.  The Ghost Rider himself looks better, but acts worse.  And so does Nick Cage.  I can’t recommend you watch this movie in the theaters.  It’s too expensive and I’m pretty sure they won’t give me my money back if I call and complain.  If you REALLY want to see this, it’ll probably be on RedBox in no time.  I’m looking out for you.  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance gets “Roadkill” out of “I will eat your stinking soul!”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!