The Films of 2015


0069 Snapshot 3

Another year has passed and I still feel compelled to talk about movies that I’ve seen.  If you don’t want to read and you just want to hear the 13 best and worst movies I saw, I’d be happy to tell you all about them in THIS video.  But that’s only 13 of the 39 I saw.  If that’s not enough for you, here’s the complete list of movies I watched in 2015, and what I thought.

 

JANUARY

EX MACHINA

This was a very interesting movie that was well-executed on all fronts.  It’s an extremely small movie with really big ideas in regards to all the interesting questions that arise from artificial intelligence … especially if that AI is hot.  This ain’t Hayley Joel Osment.  It’s hot ass (and if I recall correctly, temporarily naked) Alicia Vikander.  The movie was essentially 3 people talking, but one of them was a robot, and still it keeps your attention and is pretty riveting all the way through.  Wasn’t too much of a fan of the ending of it, but I’m sure they didn’t write the whole movie for just me.

 

JUPITER ASCENDING

All I really know about this movie is that I watched it.  What I think I remember is that Mila Kunis was the lost queen of some planet and Channing Tatum was her puppy/human protector.  If not, then I had a really strange and boring dream and I should stop eating pizza before bed.  There wasn’t much going on here by way of story and it didn’t really keep my attention very well, but there is some eye candy for all manner of tastes with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum … as long as the people that like Tatum would be okay with him being part dog or whatever he was.  But there’s really nothing going on here that needs to be seen.

 

PROJECT ALMANAC

It seems like a lot of other critics have really had an ass full of the found footage genre recently, but I’m not quite there yet.  Granted, the novelty of it has worn off a bit, but I still find it an easy way to engage your audience.  So I didn’t really have the same issues with Project Almanac as I’ve seen from other critics.  It was an unsurprising movie, but it was enjoyable and engaging enough.  Some credit needs be given to a movie just being what it advertises, and that’s what this one does.  Good enough for a watch, but you’ll be able to live without it as well.

 

FEBRUARY

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

Holy shit!  This movie sucked a big ole bag of dicks.  Actually, no it didn’t.  That would imply that it was sexy in the slightest.  This is a movie that is centered around what a huge Twilight fan flicks the bean to and it’s still way closer to gross and boring than it ever nears sexy.  Unless you’ve got a real hard on for contract litigation.  There’s a lot of that.  I even have a terrible dialogue fetish and this movie still wasn’t able to turn me on, and it’s got almost exclusively terrible dialogue.  And they apparently left out worse dialogue that was in the book the movie is based on.  So a movie that’s almost exclusively about sex turning out to be the opposite, with terrible dialogue, awful story (if you would call it that), the nudity is pretty much just the same girl over and over again so that you’re bored of seeing her naked by the end of the movie, and worst of all … they’re apparently making 2 more.  And women, this is all your fault.  You should be ashamed.  Knock it off.

 

DRAGON BLADE

This movie came as a last minute request from my friend Tara, who advertised it as a laughably bad movie.  The danger that comes with this is that I love Jackie Chan movies, and I love big martial arts epics as well.  What if I didn’t hate this movie and she lost all respect for me?!  Well that’s not something we have to worry about.  I didn’t HATE this movie, but it was not good either.  I think my scale for bad movies is much different than most peoples.  When it was a big martial arts epic, I was fine with the movie, but it spent an awful lot of time being a friendship building montage between the Asians and the round eyes.  The performances were mostly fine for what they needed to be, but Cusack didn’t seem to be trying to hard and Brody went a little over the top.  And that little kid was terrible and annoying as hell.  The guy that jumped off the cliff while holding the sobbing bastard is a hero.

 

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2

This is another one the critics were perhaps a bit too hard on.  What did you expect when going in to see a sequel to a movie about 4 friends that get sent back in time by getting drunk in a magical hot tub?!  Well it was that.  It was dumb, it was ridiculous, and it was juvenile.  All as advertised.  It also had some funny moments.  If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like the second one.  And if someone ties you to a chair and forces you to watch it, you probably won’t kill yourself.  It’s thoroughly okay.

 

THE LAZARUS EFFECT

There’s nothing wrong with this movie per se, there’s just not much special to it.  I like the concept of the scientists creating a serum that brings someone back to life, but them bringing something terrible back with them.  I mean, that concept alone should be enough to scare both the religious and the scientific together!  …It probably wouldn’t, but it’s technically possible!  But the movie is decently executed and the acting is solid, but it inevitably winds up as just okay and completely skippable.

 

MARCH

CHAPPIE

I was pretty surprised by this movie.  I’ve not been a fan of Neill Blomkamp’s other movies (at least not to the degree many other people seem to be) but I didn’t mind this one.  Don’t really think I’d care to watch it again, but I don’t mind having watched it once.  I had mixed feelings about Die Antwoord being in this movie, and they’re what scared me off for a while, but they were actually pretty good at the acting part, and the painful part of them being in the movie came from their music being used so often.  The story was pretty good though, and the only other really annoying part was Chappie himself, but he was a small part of the movie and not the main character so that probably didn’t have that much of an effect … oh wait.  It’s still okay.

 

ROAD HARD

I am a fan of Adam Carolla so it my feelings about this movie probably need to be weighed against that fact a little, but I really enjoyed this movie.  It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was enjoyable.  It’s funny and it’s sweet, but if there was a problem to be had with it is that it couldn’t possibly surprise me because I’m such a big fan of Carolla’s.  This movie is a dramatized version of Carolla’s life if it hadn’t turned out so well for him with his podcast, movies, and TV shows.  Like if he hadn’t got those things and had just gone on the road as a stand-up comedian after the Man Show, this movie could have been his life.  And a lot of the jokes in the movie, if you listen to every one of his podcasts as I do, might not surprise you.  But it’s a well-executed movie and I found it very enjoyable.  I can’t really say if people will enjoy it if they’re not big fans of his, but you would have the benefit of getting to experience most of the jokes for the first time.  I say watch it.  It’s a solid, funny movie.

 

THE FINAL GIRLS

This was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that reminded me a lot of another movie I loved called Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.  It takes a well-known and somewhat worn out genre (a Friday the 13th-esque slasher film) and turns it on it’s head by making a group of friends Last Action Hero themselves into a slasher film one of the character’s mothers starred in before she died, which also brings a great emotional side to the story I didn’t expect out of a fairly goofy comedy.  There’s some real heart and some real laughs in this movie, and a good amount of Thomas Middleditch, who I’d like to see a lot more of.  Definitely a movie to watch.

 

TRAINWRECK

I don’t know why this movie surprised me with its quality, but it did.  I didn’t see it in theaters and even when it became available to rent, I took my sweet time to get around to it.  But it’s strange because I like Judd Apatow, I like Bill Hader, and I like Amy Schumer, and I still turned my nose up at it.  But turns out that liking the comedy of the 3 main creative people in charge of a movie usually means it will turn out to be something you like, and I did.  A little vulgar in the comedy at times (not for me, but that’s what my mom told me) but really funny and pretty touching in parts.  Schumer did a great job with the comedy and the dramatic stuff, Bill Hader was great, Tilda Swinton transformed so drastically for her part in the movie I had to look up that it was her, Colin Quinn was shockingly fantastic, and John Cena and LeBron James were both surprisingly good.  Great movie.  Go check it out.

 

APRIL

FURIOUS 7

I don’t know why they keep making these movies but, more importantly, I don’t know why I keep watching them.  I suppose the fact that people keep watching them is why they keep making them.  But I suppose the main reason I saw this one was to see how they would handle the tragic situation with Paul Walker, and that’s also what made this movie much more tolerable.  The greater majority of the movie was just wall to wall testosterone and the incredulity I felt over watching Jason Statham be a formidable opponent to The Rock, but the end of the movie was a touching tribute and farewell to Walker.  Granted, the real life situation with the actor informed your feelings about it a lot more than the movie and the script did, but it’s a touching moment you don’t expect out of one of these movies.  Of course, I just saw that they’re making yet another one, so hopefully I’ll be able to make myself sit that one out.

 

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

I often feel like I shouldn’t even bother writing a review for these kinds of movies because y’all know how I feel about it.  It’s a Marvel movie!  I probably loved it!  It is probably only technically worth talking about if even I thought it was awful.  But that’s not what happened here.  I wouldn’t say I liked this one as much as I liked the first Avengers movie, but this was still really great.  It mostly matches up with the first one.  The story was still what it needed to be to further the plot, the action was fantastic, there was some good humor there as well, and the cast was still great, but with the addition of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (who both did fantastic), Paul Bettany doing more than just being a voice (though I would’ve liked more of him, but that’s not how the story worked out), and most importantly, James Spader killing it as Ultron.  The Hulkbuster fight alone makes this movie worth seeing, but there’s still a lot more to this movie that makes it great.

 

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2

Allow me to save you 94 minutes that I can’t imagine anyone but me was willing to sacrifice for this movie: Paul Blart is fat and dumb.  That’s about the entirety of the joke attempts in this movie.  I don’t believe the purpose of a joke in these movies is to make you cringe.  They probably want you to laugh, but that’s not what happens.  It’s just bad.  I guess it goes against my argument that movies should be judged based on what they advertise, because this movie does live up to what it advertises.  It looks like a bad, dumb comedy, and it totally delivers on that, but since it’s a bad, dumb comedy I’m going to tell you not to see it.  Did you need me to tell you that?

 

PITCH PERFECT 2

When the first Pitch Perfect came out, I turned my nose up at it until I had heard from enough people that it was worth watching.  After seeing it, I really enjoyed it.  And I had roughly the same experience with the second one.  It’s never really the story as that’s pretty basic.  The story’s purpose in this movie is to set up a few good jokes and some great mashup songs, and it succeeds in all of those areas.  After seeing the movie, I went and bought the soundtrack.  And every once and a while since seeing the movie, I’ll go to YouTube and look up the video of the songs because the great music can only be helped by looking at some of those purdy Bellas performing them.

 

MAY

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

I enjoyed Fury Road a lot, but I was perplexed by the amount of adoration I saw for this movie.  Why is it okay for some action movies to throw story away but not others?  The story is just something that fills in the gaps between a big car chase or an over the top action spectacle.  Which is completely fine, but I’m confused how this movie gets away with it but most action movies do not.  There was obviously nothing to the story here, but the performances were all pretty great, though I was a bit bothered by Max taking a backseat in his own movie to Furiosa.  Furiosa was great and Charlize Theron did a great job with her, but it’s not really her movie.  I do like seeing a strong female in an action movie though.  And the action was absurd in all the right ways, and the fact that so many people actually risked their lives for these scenes in a world of CGI made them that much more spectacular.  Definitely a movie that needs to be adored, but I don’t really reach the same level of adoration as most for it, it seems.

 

TOMORROWLAND

I watched this movie with the intention of finding some bad movies for my end of the year review, but was pleasantly surprised by it.  It’s not going to be anywhere near my best movies of the year, but it was definitely a solid watch.  I liked the message of hope that the movie revolves around, I liked the acting from Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidy, and the visuals and spectacle of the movie were fantastic.  Nothing wrong with this movie and I’d definitely recommend it for a watch, but it falls a little short of greatness.  Landed right on top of goodness though.

 

SPY

This movie got talked up way heavier than I felt that it had earned.  I like Melissa McCarthy well enough in a supporting role or a cameo, but I haven’t totally signed off on her being the star.  This movie was fine.  Nothing special in the story, a few laughs here and there, Melissa McCarthy was Melissa McCarthy as you’ve seen in almost every Melissa McCarthy performance.  To me, she’s kind of Kevin James with a vagina.  CAN be funny, more often is not, does way too many movies, but keeps getting lots of work.  But if you like her, you’ll probably like this movie.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

INSIDE OUT

What I have often said about Marvel could also be said of Pixar, but with a much more universal blanket to the statement.  They can do no wrong.  And they seem to keep getting better.  I have loved Pixar movies often in the past, and I have even gotten sad during some of them like Up, but I don’t recall any of them ever making me shed a tear.  Inside Out?  Twice.  The story itself was a fairly basic adventure, but the magic comes from the adventure being personified feelings inside the mind of a little girl dealing with her troubles.  The imagination required to turn the emotional landscape into such a complete world was simply brilliant.  The voice cast was perfect and the movie was touching.  You should have already seen this, whether you have kids or not, and you must enjoy it, or I have nothing to say to you.

 

POLTERGEIST

I don’t know why this movie exists.  It wasn’t bad, but it was Poltergeist with different actors and a better camera.  I don’t mind a remake.  Hollywood runs out of ideas from time to time but I still demand to be entertained and distracted from the fact that I’m going to die one day.  But if you’re gonna remake, change it up a little bit so I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen around every turn.  Stuff’s going on in the house!  I wonder if it’s that Indian burial ground we built the house on!  Well no it’s not because that would be offensive in 2015.  Even Native American burial ground would offend some people.  So I guess you did totally change the movie.  I totally recommend you see Poltergeist.  But probably the first one.  Or this one.  They’re the same thing.

 

SAN ANDREAS

Through whatever tumor has developed in my brain, I love a big, stupid disaster movie.  It seems like every year without fail I go on a kick where I watch nothing but 2012, Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and any big disaster movie.  I guess some men just want to watch the world burn.  And San Andreas is definitely getting added to that cycle.  It’s big and it’s stupid, but it’s fun and the cast is pretty great.  The movie gets a little preachy at times and the “We rebuild” line at the end of the movie is so corny I thought I might find it in my poop the next morning, but it is pure fun spectacle.  And, as a message to filmmakers going for these kinds of movies, please just have The Rock do the Rock Bottom, or at least the Peoples Elbow, to the fault line.  You know what you are, so just go for dumb in the biggest way possible!

 

JURASSIC WORLD

I had gotten into an argument about this movie when I referred to it as dumb.  It’s certainly an enjoyable movie that at least mostly lives up to its predecessors, so what could be dumb about it?  How about the fact that hundreds of people have died over the 4 times they have attempted this park and yet they’re still going for it.  And not only do they reopen the park, the genetically create the goddamned Superman of Dinosaurs!  It’s bigger than a T-Rex, It has the active camo system straight out of Metal Gear Solid, it can change its heat signature, it’s intelligent, it can talk and plan with Velociraptors, and it can shoot lasers out of its eyes and it has gatling gun tits.  And oddly, very few of those things are fake!  (I bet the tits are fake)  But all that being said, if you can suspend disbelief in yet another way than just thinking dinosaurs can come back to life, then you can suspend the other stupidity and just enjoy the movie.  And the final battle with the Jesosaurus Rex is worth the price of admission on its own.

 

JUNE

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

I never go into these kind of horror movies with high hopes, but this one turned out pretty well.  Pretty basic horror movie plot, but it was well acted and creepy enough.  And I like Lin Shaye and am happy they went into prequel territory so they could bring her back after killing her off in one of the other ones.  But there’s not too much to say about this movie.  It’s good.  Your mind won’t be blown, but it’s good for a watch.

 

TERMINATOR GENISYS

I think what’s hurting the Terminator series the most is that they’ll never be able to top Terminator 2.  And also that they are going to continue to try to make it work until a few years after Arnold is dead and buried, trying to find a way he is still in it and old and dead even though he’s a robot.  But this movie reaches “fine” basically because it was exactly what I expected it to be.  Story barely made sense, acting was what it was (but at least Daenerys Targaryen was there), but things blew up with a good degree of frequency.  What more were you expecting and what more could you ask for?

 

ANT-MAN

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.  Obviously I lean towards happy with Marvel movies, but I have no particular interest in the character of Ant-Man from the comics and so wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one, especially given the news that Edgar Wright was no longer involved.  But they took this character I wasn’t interested in and put him in a really fun romp of a movie.  Well, they made the character a secondary character and some new, non-Pym Ant-Man the star, but it was still fun.  The script was good and funny though their attempts at feels didn’t quite work on me, and the performances (especially from Paul Rudd and Michael Pena) were fantastic.  Definitely a fun movie and worth a watch.

 

THE GALLOWS

I liked a lot of things about this movie, but somehow when they came together it didn’t go higher than luke warm.  It did succeed at being kinda creepy, and I liked the idea of the stage play that went wrong and created an angry ghost, but I didn’t get the ghost’s motivations.  So an accident happened and you died.  How does that justify killing people that were only tangentially involved or not involved at all?  That’s bad form!  The found footage thing also seemed more of a hindrance in this movie, and the ending didn’t work for me at all.  So altogether the movie was okay, but not something anyone needs to see.

 

JULY

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

Who doesn’t like the Mission: Impossible movies?  They’re so big and fun and exciting.  And they’ve all stayed pretty consistent to me.  This one changes nothing.  It’s hard to top Tom Cruise climbing up the side of that huge building in the 4th one, but they gave it their all.  Hanging off the side of a flying airplane is pretty spectacular.  I also love the whole usual cast (especially Simon Pegg) and I like the new addition of Rebecca Ferguson because she was super hot and badass.  And (pretty surprisingly for a big action movie) the story was pretty good here.  I liked the rogue nation aspect and the super spy turned bad guy (even though he looked like Kyle Dunnigan from Reno 911!) and I had no idea how Tom Cruise was going to win in the end of the movie until the movie revealed it, and I thought it was pretty well done and clever.  Check this movie out!

 

PIXELS

I think most of us probably made a decision about this movie pretty quickly after we heard about it.  Adam Sandler, Kevin James.  And I’m out!  Well not if you’re me.  If you’re me, then you push all your chips to the center of the table.  Well that’s misleading, because I obviously wouldn’t go see it in theaters or give it very much money.  I’ll give you my dollar from RedBox.  But this movie was much better than I expected it to be … and that means it was just not terrible.  It wasn’t really funny, but it wasn’t painfully unfunny.  I would say it was cute.  And of course I approve of the message of video game nerds that save the world with their nerdiness.  I’m still in training for that situation to this day.  Have I seen better from Adam Sandler and Kevin James?  Absolutely!  But I’ve also seen much worse.  So I guess that means the movie isn’t that bad, but you still don’t really need to see it.

 

THE VATICAN TAPES

I picked this movie up from RedBox just for shits and giggles.  I do like a ghost/demon horror movie, but the possession movies don’t really do much for me.  Most of them are just one act of slowly seeing the signs of possession and then two acts of dislocating shoulders and peeled back fingernails as the demon tries to do as much damage to its host body for some reason.  That’s essentially what this is.  But then it ends with the Antichrist going out into the world.  So it’s got that going for it.  But the way these play out don’t work out to scary, much like the gore show horror movies, but this one had even less gore.  So it’s a horror movie devoid of scares, but the performances are pretty good.  Not good enough that you need to watch the rest of the movie to see them, but they were still good.

 

AUGUST

FANTASTIC FOUR

First one didn’t work, so let’s try this again!  And yeah, of course we’re gonna tell the same origin story again!  People may have forgotten in the last couple years … how to use Google, where they can find the origin story.  But this movie does the same thing I had a problem with in the first Hulk movie: you take too long to show the title characters!  47 minutes!  Before that, it’s the goddamn Reed Richards show.  And way too long to answer the obvious question: why do I feel like this black guy with a black son and a white daughter hiding something from us?  I suppose it would get to be awkward for him to always introduce Sue as his adopted daughter, but I was a bit curious.  After that, the problem with the movie is that it was boring.  A lot of science, not a lot of fighting.  The new cast was pretty good.  Didn’t much care for Victor von Doom.  His powers were pretty cool (although they didn’t resemble Dr. Dooms very much from what I could tell), but he looked terrible after his transformation.  So, as you can see, there can be a Marvel movie I don’t like and won’t recommend!

 

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Man, Batman v. Superman looks good, don’t it?!  Anyway, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a movie that is pissing me off more as I have to type the name with all those periods in it.  But the movie itself was pretty good.  I didn’t really want to see it (unlike Batman v. Superman), but I decided to rent it as I was preparing this review and it turned out pretty well.  It was a fun little throwback movie to a time where my parents were just thinking about getting born already.  Pretty simple spy movie story, but it was fun and all three of the main actors (including the Russian, Superman, and Ex Machina lady) were enjoyable.  I’d rather see at least one of them with a big “S” that means “Hope” on his chest and another with nothing on her chest, but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s still an enjoyable watch.  …Like Batman v. Superman…

 

NO ESCAPE

I assume that this movie almost exclusively sought to create tension, and it did that fairly effectively.  What it probably didn’t want to do was make me hate Owen Wilson’s family with a passion.  They were the worst!  Always complaining and second guessing and doing everything they could to throw roadblocks in front of Wilson to keep him from saving them.  One of these little girls throws a bitch fit for a few minutes because they dropped her stuffed animal and didn’t go back for it when they were RUNNING DOWN THE HALL ESCAPING GUNFIRE!  And mom keep suggesting they stay put and wait for … I don’t know, marshmallows to fall out of the sky and save them all.  I assume the writer of this movie hates his/her kids.  After that, it’s also got a little bit of problems with the fact that white people are all good in this and any other color skin is bad, which I assume some people might frown upon.  But, since I’m sure that’s not a message they were intending to conceal in this movie, I’ll let that go.  Instead, I’ll just say that it is a pretty intense movie, but it doesn’t have much more going for it than that.

 

AMERICAN ULTRA

I have never been shy about my hatred of Kristen Stewart.  I find her mostly unbearable, but with an extremely rare chance to be slightly tolerable.  That doesn’t mean I liked this movie, but her presence didn’t really have an effect on my feelings towards the movie, which wound up just being okay.  I like the idea of the movie, though it’s been done before with brainwashed candidates only being less stoned than this one.  It wasn’t really funny (and I wasn’t even really aware that it was supposed to be until reading about it afterwards), so that would mean the movie would depend on its action scenes to impress … and it didn’t.  They weren’t bad, but if I see the best sleeper cell agent ever getting activated, I want that shit to turn into a Jet Li movie.  Jesse Eisenberg can pull off the stoner wussy guy part, and even can pull off the badass facial performance, but there wasn’t anything interesting happening when he got to fighting.  Michael Cera did it in Scott Pilgrim, they should’ve been able to do it here.  Bu the movie isn’t terrible, and John Leguizamo is great in his short scenes, but the movie is skippable.

 

SEPTEMBER

THE MARTIAN

The talking up for this movie scared me off for a while.  It just seemed like it couldn’t possibly live up to what people were saying about it.  And how interesting can a movie be that’s just Matt Damon alone on a planet with no one to talk to?  Well turns out it can live up to it and it can be really interesting.  It’s really grounded (which is a strange thing to say about a movie that happens on Mars, but he WAS on the ground of Mars, sooooo…) and Matt Damon does a fantastic job keeping it emotional, funny, exciting, and interesting all the way through.  I wouldn’t say it was necessarily edge of your seat the whole time like Gravity was because there was enough down time of Matt Damon just trying to do small things like farming to stay alive, but Matt Damon never let it be boring.  Everything was amazing and enjoyable about this movie, and you really need to see it.

 

PAN

I wouldn’t call Pan a “bad” movie, but it sure was odd.  I mean, it’s a Peter Pan sequel but they have the pirates singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” while they work to mine out a rock that is the representation of fairy dust, but that brings it to another problem: why is there a rock representing fairy dust?  This is a Peter Pan movie!  If you take all the magic out of a Peter Pan movie, you just have a movie about pirates, Indians, and an annoying boy.  But there is still some magic to be found in this movie (both in the context of the movie and in the movie itself) and their wasn’t really anything wrong with it.  There just wasn’t very much right with it either.  It was pretty and colorful in parts of the movie (especially once they met the Natives) and the story itself was an interesting enough idea, and the actors were even great.  It just didn’t contain much explanation for why the movie was made or why anyone should see it.

 

OCTOBER

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION

Yup.  I still like these movies.  I don’t know why and (for the most part) you probably shouldn’t listen to much I have to say about the series unless you also like seeing movies about the ghost of the dead horse this movie series continues to beat.  It answers some of the questions left by the rest of the series and introduces a cool new idea with the camera that can see the ghost world, but that kind of takes away from things.  Alien and Jaws were good because they didn’t show the Xenomorph or the shark for as long as they could.  I guess 26 movies was long enough for the Paranormal Activity people, but nothing you show us will be as scary as what we could imagine.  And it wasn’t.  Toby was mostly a black liquid looking thing.  The movie’s not particularly spooky, but there are enough jump scares that it can get your blood pumping.  This movie is good enough if you’re looking for something like that.

 

SPECTRE

Because I watched both in the same day, I was really able to see the similarities between this and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.  The government wants to shut down this very effective organization because it’s outdated, there’s this uber-bad guy that knows all the hero’s tricks, and they even got Léa Seydoux who was in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol!  And I’m sure none of it was coincidence!  Or maybe it was.  Spectre was fine.  Not the best or the worst James Bond movie, and not even the best or worst Daniel Craig James Bond movie, but pretty decent.  Some good action, nice car, little light on the gadgets, couple of really good looking women.  If you’re looking for more out of a James Bond movie, you don’t know what a James Bond is.

 

NOVEMBER

CREED

These Stallone movie sequels are dangerous and unpredictable.  Even if you just look at the Rocky series.  The first one was amazing and then they go straight downhill to number 5, and then number 6 is pretty good again.  So what can anyone assume when going into Rocky 7?  It’s actually better than 6.  Maybe as good as the first one.  It’s a fantastic picture.  Great story about Apollo Creed’s son coming to grips with his troublesome parentage, with Rocky dealing with his own problems, a little love story with the girl that makes terrible music that Adonis Creed gets involved with.  The performances were also great, especially Michael B. Jordan and Stallone.  Stallone can really turn it on sometimes.  A lot of people forget about that because of … half his IMDb page.  And the fights were also pretty great, but were just a few moments.  The focus of the movie was more the human adventure as it should be.  As the first Rocky was.  Speaking of which, a few moments were either derivative or homage-ey, depending on how you look at it.  Like someone gets sick as inspiration to the fighter like what happened to Mick in Rocky 3.  And the outcome of the movie has similarities to the first movie.  But this never becomes a problem.  Got all teary-eyed in this movie a couple of times, and I think that’s a pretty big compliment.  Go see this.

 

DECEMBER

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

I won’t typically see a movie in theaters multiple times, nor will I usually go see a movie the week of its release in theaters.  I’ll do it for this movie.  I tried to keep my hopes low.  I tried to remind myself how I felt when I got this excited and saw Phantom Menace, but it didn’t work.  After 2 days of hearing rave reviews from my friends and being terrified of spoilers, I broke down and went and saw this movie.  Worth.  It.  I should’ve known too.  I wasn’t a fan of Star Trek until they gave it to J.J. Abrams, so what would happen if they gave the same man my childhood to make a movie out of?  He’d make a movie that took me right back to my childhood and had tears exploding out of my face in a couple different places, both from sadness over something that happened in the movie (people who have seen it know what I’m talking about) and once out of what I can only explain as sheer awesome welling up in my face and leaving no room for liquid in there.  The story was exactly what it should be, the look was brilliant as they did as much with practical effects as they could, the old cast was amazing and the new cast was fantastic.  I’m shifting all my prepubescent love from Carrie Fisher over to Daisy Ridley.  Carrie had her chance and never made a move.  Sorry, love.  I can’t wait forever.  And you shouldn’t wait to see this movie!  What is wrong with you if you haven’t seen it yet?!

 

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The Best and Worst Films of 2015 – Video 0069


0069 Snapshot 2

CLICK THE PIC TO WATCH THE VID!

 

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Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)


Listen All! This is the Truth of It.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)I haven’t had a great deal of luck with the Mad Max series, but like a Band-Aid, it’s best to just do them all as quickly as possible and move one. I felt that the first two were entirely overrated, but the second one was much more watchable. And though today’s Mad Max movie is the lowest rated of the series, Rotten Tomatoes and I have been at opposites over the series so far, so it makes me hopeful. Well, there’s only one way to find out. I must review Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, written and directed by George Miller, co-written by Terry Hayes, co-directed by George Ogilvie, and starring Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Angelo Rossitto, Paul Larsson, Bruce Spence, Angry Anderson, Helen Buday, Tom Jennings, Robert Grubb, Frank Thring, and Hedwin Hodgeman.

Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) makes his way to a small, sleazy community in the middle of the wasteland called Bartertown. On the surface, the town is run by Aunty Entity (Tina Turner), but the electricity is controlled by Master (Angelo Rossitto) and his muscle Blaster (Paul Larsson), who maintains his control by placing embargoes on the energy to show who is actually in control. Aunty hires Max to kill Blaster, leaving Master powerless and under her thumb. Max challenges Blaster to a fight in the titular Thunderdome and defeats him, but he refuses to kill him when he realizes that he’s mentally disabled. Everyone else is not so kind and they kill Blaster, but decide to exile Max into the wasteland for reneging on their deal.

As I suspected, I appreciated this movie more than I liked any of the other movies in the Mad Max series. Rotten Tomatoes and I will forever be at odds on this. The story of this movie was nothing special, but it was coherent and more along the lines of what I expected. It’s pretty much just a straight forward action movie. As little as I cared for the stories in the other movies, I did take issue with the fact that this movie seemed to completely disregard the history of the series. Road Warrior ends saying that it was the last time any of them saw Max, that Jedediah took over as the leader of the tribe, and that the feral kid took over after his death. The very first thing this movie does is have Jedediah and his son rob Max, and they see him a few other times later. So it wasn’t the last time they saw him, apparently. Also, Jedediah is a pretty shitty leader because the tribe is never seen, even though he is a few times, so he’s at least neglecting his duties. And I’d even say it was unlikely that the feral kid would take over for the former leader when that leader has a lineage. So fuck that last movie, I guess. I mean, I agree with that sentiment, but they’re the ones building on that legacy. They should show respect for the movies that came before them. The next time I got mad at the movie was at Max himself. When he defeated Blaster and stopped before killing him, my anger was twofold. The first problem was that he refused to do it. Why?! Okay sure, he does have a mongoloid baby face. That would add a level of emotional difficulty. But he was just trying to kill you. And if you let him back up, he will probably try to do it again. Secondly, that you turn to Aunty Entity and proclaim, “This wasn’t part of the deal!” What are you talking about?! The deal was for you to kill Blaster. That is EXACTLY the deal! Verbatim! Technically, I guess there was a third problem with that situation in that the fight was super goofy. Two mother fuckers fighting a serious battle to the death bouncing around one of those spherical jungle gyms on rubber bands? That is the definition of badass. Or the opposite. I’m not entirely sure right now. The movie actually found a way to get goofier when Max shows up at the village of the tribe of kids, but mainly because it felt like it was becoming Hook. Granted, Hook came a long time after this movie, but it was also a comedy/family movie. Not a post-apocalyptic action movie.

I really have nothing to say about the performances in this movie. They weren’t bad and they weren’t fantastic, but none even bothered to give me any material to make jokes about. Tina Turner did fine enough, but the highlight of her contribution to the movie was that “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” song. Also (and I’m not entirely sure why) I found Helen Buday strangely attractive. I’ll have to look into that.

I thought Beyond Thunderdome was the best of the Mad Max movies, but I also don’t really get the appeal of the series. The story remained nothing special, but it was at least more coherent and more in line with what I’d expect out of an action movie. The action was good enough, but I find the rubber band jungle gym fight to be leaning more towards goofy than anything else. I can’t honestly recommend any of the Mad Max series, but this one was the better of the group. They could well have been epic when they came out, but I don’t think they’ve held up. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome gets “Congratulations! You’re the first to survive the audition!” out of “Two men enter, one man leave!”

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Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)


I’m Just Here for the Gasoline

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)When I went into watching Mad Max, I was very excited.  I had a mad hankerin’ to watch that movie.  That did not work out well for me.  But I was already committed, and I already own the sequel, so what was I to do?  Obviously, I was to continue reviewing!  I was also not very comforted when I saw that this movie has an even higher rating than the first movie, even though this movie has a perfect 100%.  The super high rating that the first movie got didn’t help me, why would it change anything for this one?  Am I going to be the first professional critic to hate this movie?  There’s only one way to find out.  Let’s review The Road Warrior, aka Mad Max 2, written by Terry Hayes and Brian Hannant, co-written and directed by George Miller, and starring Mel Gibson, Kjell Nilsson, Michael Preston, Bruce Spence, Emil Minty, Vernon Wells, Virginia Hey, Arkie Whiteley, and Max Phipps.

The world is, like, so dystopian it’s like not even funny.  Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) has kept on truckin’ around the wastelands of Australia in a seemingly endless hunt for fuel that he uses to power his car to further search for fuel.  Eventually, he comes across the captain of an autogyro (it’s like a helicopter thing … also he’s played by Bruce Spence), who he takes as his prisoner when the pilot tells him of a community with nearly unlimited funds of fuel.  While surveying the community, Max finds that they’re being threatened by a gang lead by ‘roided out Jason Voorhees called “The Humungus” (Kjell Nilsson).  Max gets inside and makes a deal with their leader, Pappagallo (Michael Preston), to bring them a semi-truck that they can use to carry their fuel north to safer lands.

I agree with Rotten Tomatoes insomuch as I feel this movie was better than the first one.  It was okay, but I still don’t think it’s earned that 100%.  The story was less confusing, though no more atypical.  At least it wasn’t as best I could tell, because parts of the movie seemed disinterested in allowing you to hear the dialogue.  There were parts of the movie that I only realized were intended to be dialogue because the subtitles were on.  Then the story was decent enough, but nothing spectacular.  It was just Max wanting to find a truck so he could get gas for his car.  The action was still decent, and this time they added a few action scenes that were more up my alley: gun-shooting and face-punching!  So I found it more interesting in that respect as well.

One problem I had with the first movie is that Max was always set up to be such a badass in my mind and I never really saw in that movie.  He gets to do a little bit more of that here.  At first, he’s a pretty simple lone wolf type character that just wants to be left alone.  Not a very charismatic character choice to be sure, but it works for the badass part.  Then he starts getting his heroic notions towards the very end of the movie, and that unleashes more of his badassness.  I was also a little excited to see Bruce Spence in this movie, but mainly just because I recognized him from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.  His character in the movie came a little too close to comic relief for my tastes for me to really enjoy that part of it.  Emil Minty’s character confused me too.  He was basically a little monkey boy with a boomerang.  I didn’t find him particularly compelling, which I feel like they could have fixed if they gave us a little backstory about why he was a feral little boy that hung out with people all the time.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is a start on the path towards being what I actually expected the Mad Max movies to be.  The story is okay, but nothing special.  The action was decent, and the world finally looked like a dystopia instead of just looking like Australia.  And Max finally started to act like a badass and not just a regular dude that was a little upset with the world.  There were some sound issues with the movie, but the movie itself was sound.  I would not necessarily recommend this movie for a watch just because you might want to watch the first movie first, and I still don’t recommend that.  Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior gets “It’s MY snake.  I trained it; I’m gonna eat it!” out of “I am gravely disappointed.”

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Mad Max (1979)


I’m a Fuel-Injected Suicide Machine

Mad Max (1979)I cannot justify my reasons for deciding to watch today’s movie.  I doubt there was even a reason, now that I think about it.  However it happened, I got it into my mind that I absolutely needed to watch a movie that I can only assume that I’ve seen before because I own the DVD’s.  And, because of my OCD, watching this movie also meant that I’d need to watch the other two movies in the trilogy.  But we’ll get to those later.  Today, we’re going to talk about Mad Max, written by James McCausland, revised by Byron Kennedy, directed and co-written by George Miller, and starring Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward, Joanne Samuel, Steve Bisley, Geoff Parry, Tim Burns, and Brendan Heath.

A crazed gang member is killed while trying to escape the custody of the MFP (Main Force Patrol), run down by the MFP (the Mother Fuckin’ Police)’s top pursuit man, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson).  Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and Bubba Zanetti (Geoff Parry), the leaders of the dead gang member, do not take too kindly to one of their ilk being so much less alive, so they take to running wild over a town, killing, raping, and destroying.  The MFP (More Food Please) comes across the scene later, finding Toecutter’s young ward, Johnny “the Boy” Boyle (Tim Burns), who was too high to leave the scene, and MFP (Miscellaneous Foot Powder) officer Goose (Steve Bisley) arrests him.  Toecutter steps his revenge game up, going after Max’s friend Goose, Max’s wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel), and Max’s son Sprog (Brendan Heath).  One could safely make the assumption that this will make Max a little upset.

This movie perplexes me.  Not only have I only ever heard about it in hushed, reverent tones, but it has a freakin’ 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.  I just don’t get it.  I don’t suppose I’d call the movie “bad,” but I certainly wouldn’t say I liked it.  The only thing it really has going for it is some cool car stunts.  I don’t even know if I could talk about the story because I’d be hesitant to say that it really has much of a story.  He’s a cop, Goose gets burned alive, other stuff happens, he gets revenge.  And they didn’t even go for the “your Goose is cooked” joke that I so hoped for!   I know this is a reference that few will get, but it really reminded me of the movie Sidehackers, just set in “dystopian” Australia.  Hell, Max doesn’t even really get “Mad” until the last 20 minutes of the movie!  It spends so much time building up to something and then remembers that it has to wrap the movie up, so it uses the last 10 minutes to KINDA end it.  But it felt rushed and unsatisfying.  I guess that’s why they made two sequels.

I guess what a lot of people have to be so on about in this movie is the action, but I didn’t even find myself entirely interested in that.  I may have found the movie more enjoyable if I ever cared about things involving cars and motorcycles, but I don’t.  My idea of action is more shooting guns and punching faces than making one car kiss the bumper of another car until the first car inexplicably loses control and hits something, exploding in a fiery wreck.  They did have a couple of good stunts that I was impressed by, without actually liking that much.  I realize this movie had a fairly low budget, so when people fly off of vehicles and hit the ground, some stunt people probably really risked their health doing that stuff.  Heck, there was one part at the end of the movie where two guys fall off motorcycles in tandem and one motorcycle hits the other dude in the head.  Good work stuntmen, but I’m still not into it.  Also, I thought this movie was all about a dystopian future.  It didn’t even look that dystopian!  It looked like roughly what I thought Australia looked like anyway.  At least the more outskirts areas of Australia.

Guess what else didn’t really do it for me?  The performances.  There were about two people in this movie that didn’t just go crazy over the top with their performances.  Mel Gibson and Joanne Samuel didn’t really chew the scenery, but Hugh Keays-Byrne, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, and even Steve Bisley were just crazy strange characterizations that I did not enjoy watching.  I also kind of expected Mel to come off as a total badass in this movie, especially when he starts on his revenge at the end.  The movie even sets Mel up like he’s an epic badass, giving him 12 minutes of setup before his big reveal.  But even towards the end, he never really reached badass status with me.  Maybe in the very last scene he was a little badass, but I wanted so much more.

Expectations may have hurt this movie more than anything else for me, but I was very disappointed in Mad Max.  It’s so critically acclaimed and has achieved such cult status, but all of that is lost on me.  It’s a confusing and disjointed story with characters so over the top that they can’t even see the top anymore.  In my opinion, it’s saved only by some impressive stunts.  But that does not make enough of a movie for me.  Sure, this movie gave the world Mel Gibson, but that’s only worked out about half the time anyway, hasn’t it?  I don’t recommend this movie, but everyone else seems to.  Mad Max gets “I just can’t get it clear in my head” out of “You gotta admit, I sounded good there for a minute, huh?”

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?!