The Lone Ranger (2013)


Justice is What I Seek, Kemosabe.

The Lone Ranger (2013)The amount of awful things I heard about today’s movie made me desperately want to see it.  Not quite enough to see it in theaters, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to see it.  The studio seemed to try to hide the movie under the rug after that, keeping it off the shelves for about 6 months.  Did they not know I was waiting to make fun of it?!  By the time I finally got the opportunity to see it, I had already watched the people over at Schmoe’s Know report that it was the worst and second worst movie of the year, depending on which host you asked.  But you people are here to find the opinion of the host that really matters: ME!!!!!  So what did I think of The Lone Ranger?  You’ll just have to read more words and find out.  Some of those words will be the people that wrote it, whose names are Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio.  Gore Verbinski directed it.  And the movie also starred Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, and Barry Pepper.

A young boy at a circus goes into a Wild West exhibit and sees a statue of an elderly Comanche that seems to come to life to tell the boy a story.  The Comanche reveals himself to be Tonto (Johnny Depp), and starts to tell the boy a story about how he met a lawyer named John Reid (Armie Hammer) while trying to exact his revenge on a man he calls a “wendigo,” but is more commonly referred to as Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), notorious outlaw.  Butch escapes and John joins his brother Dan’s (James Badge Dale) search party to try to bring him to justice, but a betrayal leads the slaughter of the entire team.  Tonto arrives and gives the bodies a proper burial, only to realize that John survived, if only just.  Tonto decides that John is a “spirit walker” and unable to be killed, which will be very useful in future fights.  Slightly less useful in future fights is a mask that Tonto gets John to wear.  Even less useful is the moniker of “The Lone Ranger” for someone that is eternally accompanied by a partner and a horse.

This was not a great movie, but I would argue that the amount of hatred received by this movie is unjustified.  It’s just a dumb fun movie.  I might be prodded to say that I enjoyed the experience.  For obvious reasons, it felt like a worse version of the worst Pirates of the Caribbean movie (That would be easily the fourth one, On Stranger Tides) set in the Wild West.  It had some simple story, an odd love story, some funny moments, and some okay action.  Not a whole lot to say about the story in general because of its simplicity.  It’s kind of just a double revenge plot and not much more.  I can say some things about the love story though.  John is in love with his brother’s wife and can move in on her without regrets because Dan’s been killed, instantly proving them both to be shitty wife and shitty brother simultaneously.

There were some pretty interesting and spectacular action scenes that I enjoyed in this movie.  The big train scene at the end was pretty interesting, like in the parts where Tonto was climbing up the ladder on the moving train.  The thing that did the most damage to this action sequence was the fact that they used the Lone Ranger music, the William Tell Overture, during the whole scene.  Look, I understand why they did it.  It was an appeasement to people that loved the original … whatever it was.  TV show?  Radio program?  Both?  Who cares?!  I’m not nearly old enough to give a shit.  But I do know that this music sounds a little goofy and dated by today’s standards and I would’ve been much happier with some random metal or orchestra music in that scene.  You could’ve thrown those old people a bone by playing it during the credits or something, but the people old enough to know that music had probably fallen asleep by then.  4:30 pm is way past their bed time.

One of the things that the Schmoe’s boys hated about this movie was Johnny Depp, comparing his goofy characterization to his performance in Pirates of the Caribbean.  I may be way off base here, but I liked his performance in both movies.  I find them funny and entertaining.  So sue me.  You can have all the money I make doing these things for you.  In fact, you already have it all.  I also found his interactions with Silver the horse to be pretty funny.  And Silver was my second favorite character in this movie!  That horse had a good amount of funny moments, like when it licked the scorpions off of the Lone Ranger’s face and when they found Silver standing in a tree for no good reason.  Of course, another part of the problem with this movie is that my second favorite character was a horse and not the person riding it.  Armie Hammer didn’t really make any impression on me.  His portrayal of the Lone Ranger was not nearly as badass as I wanted him to be, and not nearly as badass as someone being portrayed by someone named Armie Hammer.  With a name like that you should be eating lightning and crapping thunder!  Instead he won most of his victories by accident and dumb luck.  He was starting to come into his own as the Lone Ranger in that last action scene, but I had already written this down in my notes by the time I got there.

The Lone Ranger was beaten up pretty hard, but I feel it was unjustified.  Sure the story was unimpressive and the love story seemed all wrong, but there was some okay action scenes and I found Johnny Depp amusing enough to overcome Armie Hammer not living up to the awesomeness of his own name.  This movie would never really warrant a purchase, but I would feel confident recommending that you rent it from RedBox.  It’s worth a dollar.  The Lone Ranger gets “That was supposed to be a warning shot” out of “Something very wrong with that horse.”

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0022 – World War Z


0022 - World War Z

CLICK ON MY FACE TO LINK TO THE VIDEO!

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World War Z (2013)


Be Prepared for Anything.  Our War Has Just Begun.

World War Z (2013)I feel a little awkward going into this review.  I indeed saw this movie, and I even saw it in theaters, but as I go to write the review, I feel like I don’t remember the movie at all.  It hasn’t even been that long!  I saw this movie a week ago!  I don’t know if that’s a sign that this movie is bad, or that drugs are bad.  Mmmkay?  Either way, it’s a big movie, and one that I was excited to see because of the subject matter, so it deserves a review, as best I can muster one.  Let’s see if I can jog my memory as I review World War Z, based on the novel by Max Brooks, written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof, directed by Marc Forster, and starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, Peter Capaldi, Pierfrancesco Favino, Ruth Negga, Moritz Bleibtreu, Abigail Hargrove, Sterling Jerins, and Fabrizio Zacharee Guidoas.

While sitting in traffic, former UN employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family – wife Karin (Mireille Enos), and daughters Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) and Constance (Sterling Jerins) – are witnesses as mayhem breaks out all around them.  Radio reports suspect a massive rabies outbreak, but it looks a lot more like zombies.  And an extremely fast-acting strain of zombification that turns people into zombies 12 seconds after being bitten.  Gerry manages to get his family to the safety of a naval landing craft, but in exchange he must return to his former post and find the cause of the infection in hopes of finding a cure.

From what I have deduced from my notes and my limited memory, I enjoyed this movie very much.  I also didn’t have the same problems that I heard from many people that disliked this movie because I have never, and would never, read the book this was based on.  Or any other book for that matter.  But most of the anger I heard about this movie was based around the fact that they didn’t stick very closely to the book, but I would have no idea about that.  Judging this movie on its own merit, I enjoyed it.  I did feel like the name was a little mediocre, and that it also was probably the result of someone’s sloppy hand-writing when they were writing a movie about World War 2.  But then I appreciated that they didn’t waste much time getting into the movie.  They get started with the zombies right away.  The virus doesn’t waste any time either.  It takes about 10 seconds for it to work.  That keeps the action moving, but I did think that it hindered a staple of the zombie movie.  There could be no real suspense built in scenes where the audience knows someone’s been infected but the other characters do not, or when someone really close to one of the characters is turning zombie right in front of them.  Zombie movies love to do that!  But in this movie, all you have to do is wait 10 seconds and if they haven’t turned, they aren’t going to.  It’s a minor gripe, and I did like the scene Gerry thought he might be infected so he prepared himself to jump off the roof of the building if he thought he was turning.  Downright noble of him.  I also thought this movie showed for the first time how easy it could be to survive a zombie apocalypse with things like battleships at our disposal.  Especially since it only takes 10 seconds for someone to turn.  There’d be no chance that zombies could make it onto one of these ships, allowing us to be safe on them for a very long time.

I would say there were a couple of parts to the story I took issue with, and almost all of them require ::SPOILER ALERT::  The first one was when the scientist that accompanied Gerry died.  The savior of humanity is really gonna die by slipping and shooting himself with his own gun?  I know he probably had minimal military training at best, but come on.  That’s a little goofy.  And then I took issue with the part where all of Jerusalem falls.  They all died because some people in the city had the rhythm in them?  They started singing and dancing for no reason, which attracted the attention of the zombies and caused the entire city to die.  And people wonder why I refuse to dance.  From now on I’ll be able to say, “Because of the zombies.”  And how about the doctor in the WHO (World Health Organization) facility that turns because he’s looking through a microscope and reaches for the infected blood while not looking?  I’ve seen that episode of Scrubs and I know that kind of thing can happen with infected blood, but shouldn’t you be a bit more careful?  And how is there not a doctor in the WHO facility that refers to himself as Doctor WHO? Also, how does that facility not have some ability to set off alarms remotely so that they can draw the infected away from where they need to go?  I also thought it was interesting that they overcome the problem by infecting people, because the infected wanted a clean host for their own virus.  It especially made me happy because my Hepatitis C would save me from the zombie apocalypse.  ::END SPOILERS::

I dug all the performances in the movie.  I love Brad Pitt.  He’s one of those people that I want to hate because they’re so handsome and women love them so much that I wish they weren’t also great actors, but he is.  I would say that his lady, Mireille Enos, was not believable.  I guess her performance was, but I don’t see someone that looks like Brad Pitt going for a chick that’s just cute at best.  He pulls Angelina tail!  I also took issues with her, and all of them were based around her cell phone.  I wanted to thank the movie for showing the world the arduous process of entering a contact into a cell phone.  It’s something no one in the world has any familiarity with, so I’m glad they spent so much time showing it.  And then this bitch almost gets Brad killed, and DOES get some nice military guys killed, because she had to try to call him multiple times.  He said he’d call you, bitch!  As good as I thought Brad did in the movie, I found myself less interested in him and more interested in Daniella Kertesz, the bald Israeli lady.  I liked her.  She was badass and hot.  And she was missing a hand, and that’s my biggest fetish.

One could say that I’d have to call World War Z completely forgettable because of the empirical evidence I have from personally forgetting most of the movie shortly after watching it.  But as I started writing the review I realized that everything I could force myself to remember was enjoyable.  The story was good and kept me interested all the way through, even with the few small quibbles I had with some parts of the story.  And the performances caused no complaints.  I’m perfectly comfortable recommending that you see this movie while it’s still in theaters.  World War Z gets “Mother Nature knows how to disguise her weakness as strength” out of “That’s not stupidity or weakness; that’s just human nature.”

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Iron Man 3 (2013)


I’m Gonna Offer the Choice: Do You Want an Empty Life, or a Meaningful Death?

Iron Man 3 (2013)The release of the Avengers set a high bar for superhero movies that I imagine filmmakers will find it very difficult to meet.  But it would be horrible if they decided that they had done it and that they had to stop there.  Of course they needed more.  Nay … I needed more.  I was worried that I might go into the follow up movie with expectations too high for any movie but Avengers 2 to match, but I found myself able to manage my expectations fairly well.  And it certainly wasn’t the movie that made that so easy to do; it has quite a pedigree of its own to live up to.  And not just the Avengers.  The first movie in this series was probably the first step in the process of Marvel (and probably Hollywood in general) taking comic book movies seriously.  The second one let a lot of fans down, but I wasn’t altogether opposed to it.  And I finally got to see the third.  And so I present to you my review of Iron Man 3, written by Drew Pearce, co-written and directed by Shane Black, and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, Don Cheadle, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ty Simpkins, Paul Bettany, and Stephanie Szostak.

In 1999, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) meets a scientist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), who has been working on something she calls “Extremis” – an experimental cellular regeneration treatment with the nasty side effect of making some of the patients explode.  He also meets a disabled scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who offers them a place in his company, A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics).  But Stark is mainly interested in banging Hansen, so he neglects the other things in favor of that goal.  Years later, Stark is mentally unstable in all sorts of different ways.  Because of the events with the Chitauri, Stark cannot sleep and instead spends his time building new suits of his Iron Man armor, he has occasionally debilitating panic attacks, and his relationship with his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are strained.  And to make things worse, a terrorist named the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is laying siege to the world with random explosions that leave no bomb residue.

I liked this movie … but I had a few problems with the movie that hindered my ability to love it.  And a big portion of the problems surround the problem with being a fan.  I loved what I thought they were doing with the Mandarin in this movie by making him a terrorist, but I did not like what it turned out they were actually doing with him.  I’m okay with you removing the magic rings element of the Mandarin if you want to keep the series based more in real life (even though the Avengers introduced someone that also relies heavily on magic rings in a matter of speaking), but what you did with the Mandarin in this movie was take one of Iron Man’s greatest villains and make him completely insignificant by the end of the movie.  And it wasn’t even a surprise!  I started getting sad that I was seeing it coming when I first saw the movie studio the Mandarin would broadcast from.  And they did the same thing with another of the biggest characters in the Iron Man mythos: Iron Man himself!  I didn’t come to see Tony Stark 3; I came to see Iron Man 3.  But the greater majority of this movie is Tony Stark fighting outside of a suit because his suits were destroyed or ineffective.  And then – almost to apologize for that – they spend the last fight scene of the movie dripping with Iron Man suits.  You’d think I’d appreciate that since I was complaining about the lack of metal suits through the rest of the movie, but that’s also not the case.  The suits Stark kept jumping into in that last fight were so disposable you’d think they were made of Post Its.  The bad guys would slice through them like a hot hand through Iron Man suits.  Then he’d run around for a while and jump into a new suit for a few seconds of fighting.  And he didn’t even get to be the ultimate hero at the end of the movie!  Though how it happened was fairly badass, it wasn’t Iron Man doing it.  I need my hero to defeat my villain.

That amount of complaining might lead you to incorrect conclusions about my thoughts on this movie.  I did not hate it, but parts of it bummed me out.  It was still a good movie, and I’d even recommend seeing it in theaters if you haven’t already.  It’s still got some decent writing in the story, and Tony Stark has some great lines as always.  For instance, I liked when he called that little kid a pussy.  When an enemy asked Tony Stark if all he had was “cheap tricks and cheesy one-liners” and Tony responded with “that should be the name of my autobiography,” I still laughed.

The look of the movie remains fantastic, and I could not bring myself to complain about that.  Even though I didn’t like that most of the action didn’t involve Iron Man, I appreciated the action that was there.  And I could not stop myself from getting a little excited when the large group of Iron Man prototypes shows up to throw down, but I found myself thinking that it was good that Tony fucked around and created all those disposable Iron Man suits, but why wouldn’t he create just one of them that could withstand tremendous heat?  In the comics, Stark has different armor for all sorts of different occasions.  He has one that can go underwater, he has one that can go into space, he has one that can take on the Hulk, but he doesn’t have one that can withstand heat?  I find that farfetched, and I refuse to realize the irony in calling something in a superhero comic book movie “farfetched.”

The performances in the movie also remained excellent.  I find it impossible to not like Robert Downey, Jr., especially as Tony Stark.  He’s got more than enough acting and comedic chops to go around.  Gwyneth Paltrow remains great as well, able to go toe-to-toe with Downey in every way.  I thought Guy Pearce was a little over the top in the nerdy version of his character, but he did the rest of it very well.  I thought Ben Kingsley was amazing and badass throughout the greater majority of the movie, and he even brought some (unwelcome) comedic parts to the movie.  I welcome comedic stuff when Tony Stark brings it because it’s true to his character, but it’s really not something I want to see the Mandarin doing.  When I saw Ty Simpkins in the movie, it made me nervous.  You see, I’ve been watching Married With Children recently and I’ve just reached the part where they unleash the character of Seven upon the world, effectively destroying every episode he was in, as is generally the case when they decide what something needs to boost ratings is to add a child sidekick.  Thankfully, I didn’t have those feelings with Simpkins.  He didn’t specifically bring very much to the table for me, but Downey did in his interactions with him.

Iron Man 3 was a good movie, but my nerdiness made me resent certain parts of it.  The story was good, but I didn’t appreciate the angle they went with the Mandarin.  The action was good, but I didn’t appreciate the relative lack of Iron Man, nor did I appreciate how disposable his armor was.  And anything I didn’t like about the performances was not to be blamed on the actors.  They were all fantastic.  Overall, I was torn in my feelings about Iron Man 3, but I am not torn in my belief that you should watch this movie.  It could have been better, but it remains worth the price of admission.  Iron Man 3 gets “Lesson number one: heroes, there is no such thing” out of “You know, it’s moments like these when I realize how much of a superhero I am.”

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The Grey (2012)


Once More Into the Fray.

I’ve known about this movie’s existence for a while now, but I never had any interest in seeing it.  It certainly wasn’t the fault of the main actor in the movie, ‘cause that guy is this shit.  I really can’t say what kept me from having any interest in seeing it, but it just kind of looked boring to me.  I had seen it in RedBox for a while, but never felt like I was in the mood to see it.  It might be because it looked like a drama and I tend to not like those, but it also looked like it might have some action in it.  When I was looking through the RedBox this last time, I picked Chronicle because that seemed like a cool movie, and I finally submitted to the wiles of this movie and picked it out as well.  I might as well give it a chance.  So let’s see what happened as I review The Grey, written and directed by Joe Carnahan, and starring Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Jacob Blair, Ben Bray, and Anne Openshaw.

John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a total fucking bummer.  He works in Alaska, killing wolves that try to attack an oil drilling team, and has had some issues with his wife Ana (Anne Openshaw) that we don’t fully understand just yet.  Whatever these issues are that keep him separated from his wife, we know they’re affecting him to the point where he tries to commit suicide, but his gun doesn’t fire.  Giving up really quickly, he goes on about his life, boarding a plane with other employees of the drilling team.  He goes to sleep on the flight, but wakes to find the plane plummeting out of the sky.  He manages to survive, along with Hernandez (Ben Bray), Diaz (Frank Grillo), Hendrick (Dallas Roberts), Flannery (Joe Anderson), Talget (Dermot Mulroney), and Burke (Nonso Anozie).  They make a fire to stay alive in the freezing cold, but soon find out that they’ve got other problems as a pack of wolves is hunting them.

I’m as torn about my feelings about this movie as I was about watching it in the first place.  I didn’t like the movie, but I respect it.  It was kind of slow moving and boring, but they did try to fix that by occasionally having someone get eaten by a wolf, or die in some other horrible way.  It builds some solid tension and is an interesting study of the personalities of these people in a similar way to Alive, without them getting hungry enough to eat each other.  At least I assume all that stuff I just said was true, having never seen the movie Alive, but I’m pretty sure that’s what happens in it.  But this movie also seems to fall into a pretty set pattern.  It deals with some interpersonal problems within the group that’s typically pretty slow and uneventful for about 10 or 15 minutes, and then they deal with some situations that will probably lead to one of the survivors losing their “survivor” title, and then back into the character study.  Some people might be able to find the personal side of it interesting, but the movie’s pattern translated to me as, “Boring part, death part, boring part.  Repeat.”  You can practically set your watch by the times when people in this movie die too.  I’m sure that was a conscious decision, realizing that the interpersonal stuff would be interesting to a certain audience, and the rest of them would just be waiting for a wolf to drag off another survivor, but it still just resonated as boring to me by the time it was over.  I already found myself bored by the end of the movie, and I was not a fan of how the movie ended.  But, since I stuck it out through the credits, it showed something afterwards that would’ve made me feel a little better if it was part of the movie proper, but I didn’t really count it since it was an after-credit sequence.

I took a good degree of issue with the look of the movie.  Part of me wants to say that the way they filmed it made it more immersive to the audience, helping us feel as if we were trapped in a blizzard as the snow was falling in our face and having us question what we couldn’t see when it was too dark.  The other part of me realizes that I was watching a movie and this stuff made it difficult to see what was going on sometimes.  If you put a thicket of trees or a flurry of snow in front of us, or just make the bulk of the scene occurring in shadow, then I just can’t see what’s happening, and that makes for an annoying movie.  The settings were all very nice to look at, but they got in the way of the scene on more than one occasion.  I found the wolves in the movie occasionally less than convincing, and they seemed to realize that their wolves sometimes looked straight out of Twilight so they would do as much as possible to not have to show them.  There was one cool and stylized scene where the wolves were in the shadows and all you could see of all but one of them were their eyes glowing in the shadow that was pretty nice, but other times weren’t.  Sometimes a wolf attack just looked like someone had a fake wolf head on a stick and they were jamming it into an actor’s leg or something, and other parts they just showed some bushes shaking to show us that we just missed the wolves running through there.  If only we had looked a second sooner!

It’s really no surprise that Liam Neeson is awesome.  He keeps that up in this movie with his quiet badass performance, reminiscent of his character from Taken, but more depressed so I guess it’s that guy if his daughter decided that she wanted to stay with that Sheikh at the end of the movie.  The other characters in the movie were all good as well.  Frank Grillo played a good asshole who I hated for the bulk of the movie, but he was going for that.

I’m fully aware of the fact that the majority of the reason I didn’t like The Grey was because of my desire to be constantly entertained.  The great performances aided in a good story that studied the tension building between the group of survivors while they periodically got picked off by their surroundings, but the picking off was too short and too spread out by uneventful boring bits that left me bored with the movie in general.  There were problems with the look that I would say were not entirely my fault, but I would say that, though I didn’t like the movie, it is worth a watch.  There are definitely people in the world that would enjoy this movie; I’m just not one of them.  The Grey gets “It’s good that it hurts” out of “Maybe I’ll turn into a wolfman now.”

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