Friday, August 7, 2015

Movies! 8/7/15 Plus More Stuff I Watched!

Last week Tom Cruise disposed of Ant-Man at the top of the leaderboard.  It's time now for another Marvel superhero movie to challenge Mission: Impossible, though this is actually from Fox so it's not part of the "cinematic universe" though it might combine with the X-Men cinematic universe if it does well enough.  I'm of course talking about the "controversial" "Fantasic Four" reboot.  The controversy being that Johnny Storm (Human Torch) is black and his sister Sue Storm (Invisible Woman) is white!  OMG, let's all riot like it's the fucking 50s even though, hello, we've had a mixed-race president since 2008.

Personally I think the first real "Fantastic Four" movie (not counting the 1994 one) got a bad rap because it came out at the wrong time.  It came out in about 2005 on the heels of "Spider-Man 2" and "Batman Begins" which were heavier movies whereas it was a lot lighter in tone.  If they were releasing that now on the heels of "Ant-Man" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" it would probably play better.

Instead this version is I guess supposed to be darker, which is not a pun about Human Torch's skin color.  It takes from the Ultimate version, which they put on sale before the movie so I got a chance to read it.  Did you ever realize that the Fantastic Four can represent the four main elements?  Human Torch is obviously fire and the Thing is Earth, then you have to stretch (pun intended) so that Mr. Fantastic equals water and Invisible Woman is Air, like she vanished into thin air!  I hadn't really thought of that before.  Though in the comics it's kind of lame how Ben Grimm just happens to show up when they're testing this dimensional portal dealie to get turned into Thing.  And why was Johnny Storm at a school for geniuses?  Just because his dad taught there and his sister went there?  Nepotism! I guess it's better than the old version where they flew into space to beat the commies and were changed by "cosmic rays."

Anyway, I'll probably watch it at some point.  I'm a little behind on movie watching.  I still haven't watched "Ant-Man" yet.

It'll be interesting to see the reaction to the new Fantastic Four.  No matter what, get ready for a lot of "fantastic" puns.  If it's successful then, "A Fantastic Debut!"  Or if it fails then, "Fantastic Four is Anything But!"  Just like "Ant-Man" had to have all the size-related puns because media people are hacks.

For little kids you can also go watch "Shaun the Sheep."  It's by the people who made that "Wallace and Grommet" show in the UK.  I'm sure my nieces are clamoring to watch that...not. (90s burn!)

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And here's some stuff I watched:

Cake:  Jennifer Aniston is a woman suffering from chronic pain after an incident that was all too easy to figure out.  She becomes obsessed with a woman in her support group who committed suicide.  That and obtaining pain medication.  It was good but like I said the whole tragic incident that laid her low was pretty easy to figure out. At least there are no instances where they have to change camera angles so she can get naked.  (3/5)

Cemetery Junction:  Ricky Gervais co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in this coming-of-age drama about three friends in early 70s England.  One is just starting out selling life insurance and dreams of settling down.  Another works in a factory and picks a lot of fights.  Their geeky third friend works at the train station.  They all want to get out or at least think they do.  Most of this was pretty good but not to be too spoilery it's a little too happy of an ending.  It reminded me of "Garden State" which I liked except for the ending where they kiss in the airport because that's a Hollywood ending, not a real life ending.  This suffers from the same problem.  And I probably should mention that just because Ricky Gervais is in it does not mean it's a funny movie, OK? (3/5)

Road Hard:  Comedian Adam Corrolla basically plays himself as a washed-up stand-up comic who used to be on a mencentric show with another comic who became a successful late night talk show host.  I'm not sure what the real Adam Corrolla does but his character in this goes around the country to various gigs, most of which kind of suck.  Though if he thinks flying to all these cities and staying at 3-star hotels is bad, he should have done my road trip last fall.  Anyway, he does a few things trying to get off the road and in the process meets a chick and falls in love.  It's kind of like "Up in the Air" only without the depressing twist at the end.  Still, like the previous movie it's a little too happy.  The most annoying part was the credits go on for like 10 minutes because of the Kickstarter contributors who have to be thanked.  I mean the list was as long as the phone book for a small city.  I guess we have to get used to that, huh?  (3/5)

These Final Hours:  This is kind of like a shorter, Australian version of "The Road" or "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World."  Basically Earth is in the process of being destroyed and so this Australian guy decides to go find his old girlfriend.  In the process he sees a couple of scumbags abduct a little girl and decides to save her.  Then they go on the road to find her dad, though the Australian guy is mostly just looking to ditch the girl.  It's pretty good for a low-budget type movie.  It begs that old question of what you would do if it were your last day on Earth.  (3/5)

The Homesman:  This is a Western starring Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank.  Swank is the spinster who has to transport three women who have lost their minds from a plains town to Iowa so they can be taken to the loony bin.  Before she leaves, Swank finds Tommy Lee Jones with a noose around his neck after he ran afoul of some people in town.  She frees him so he can help her transport the crazy women.  Of course along the way they run into trouble like Native Americans and a hunter who wants to take one of the crazy women and a hotel owner who refuses them service.  3/4 through the movie one of the main characters dies, which is kind of depressing.  Overall if you like modern Westerns that aren't a bunch of gunfights this is a good addition.  (3/5)

Plastic Galaxy:  This is a documentary on the creation of Kenner's Star Wars action figures from 1978-1985, with a little about the new batch in 1997.  I mostly enjoyed it, especially when they talked to people from Kenner back then about how the toys were made and some of the ideas they had that never got made.  Less interesting was talking to the collectors.  I guess it's because as a child of the 80s I grew up with the toys so I don't need to hear some other person saying the same stuff I already felt.   Anyway, it was interesting how no one thought Star Wars had a chance so Hasbro, Mattel, and other big toy companies passed on buying the rights back in 1976.  Not even Kenner thought the movie would succeed the way it did so they didn't even have figures ready until 1978.  They did have an ingenious idea where for XMas in 1977 you could buy an empty box for a playset and then send in a card to get a set of figures when they were available.  That would be easier now with the Internet.  Unfortunately for Kenner Lucas stopped making movies for 20 years so after the 1985 set bombed the Star Wars line was pretty well done until the mid-90s with the first batch of He-Man looking toys.  Seriously, Luke looked Ahh-nold Schwarzeneggger; it was ridiculous!  If you played with Star Wars figures in the 70s/80s then you should totally watch this! (2.5/5)

The Zero Theorem:  I put this on one night expressly because I thought it'd be really boring and put me to sleep.  I think I had that idea because I confused Terry Gilliam with Terrence Malick.  It wasn't really boring, just weird.  In a strange "Blade Runner"-type future Christoph Waltz works at some company processing data which for some reason requires pedaling like a bike and using what looks like a big video game control pad.  He's kind of agoraphobic and wants to stay home to wait for "his call" so finally Management (ie Matt Damon looking like that Tim Gunn guy I think it is from Project Runway) assigns him to work at home on "the zero theorem" which is...you got me.  It's like supposed to prove that everything equals 0 or something.  To help him keep working Management assigns him a hooker who takes him to kind of a holodeck and so on and so forth.  I don't know what the whole point was, but I'm sure Tony Laplume would think it's brilliant. (And I guess he did on his blog back in February, though with his reviews it's hard to tell sometimes.)  (2/5)

Java Heat:  Hacky review headline:  'Java Heat' Has None!  It's a pretty boring action movie about terrorists in Indonesia who kidnap the sultan's daughter for some reason.  An ex-Marine and a local cop have to track them down, like "Rush Hour" without being funny.  A lot of it is just boring and the action is mostly cliche.  It stars Kellan Lutz from that lame Hercules movie that didn't star The Rock.  Mickey Rourke wears bad clothes and mumbles a lot as the bad guy.  I guess his comeback after "The Wrestler" is officially over now. (1/5)

Wet Hot American Summer:  I kept seeing ads for the new prequel series so I thought I'd watch the original movie.  It wasn't really that funny.  I just can't watch anything about summer camp unless it involves a serial killer slaughtering everyone.  That certainly would have improved it. (1/5)

Eraserhead:  This is a David Lynch movie so you know it's got to be weird.  Ostensibly it's about a guy who knocks up a girl who gives birth to a very weird-looking baby.  The closest example I can think of is like a miniature ET.  When the woman takes off, the guy is left alone with the "baby" and then a lot of trippy stuff ensues before he does what probably any of us would have done.  As far as David Lynch goes, it's one of those where I think critics just pretend to get it so they can feel superior to the rest of us who have no fucking clue what's going on in his movies. (2/5)

Noah:  As a non-religious person I had no interest in watching this but finally I was bored and so put it on Netflix.  I really didn't miss much.  The way it starts out with magic stones, swords, and rock giants made me think this was a Bible story if it had been written by L. Ron Hubbard.  It has been a while since I read the Bible, but I'm pretty sure there wasn't anything about rock giants helping Noah construct the Ark. Once the rest of civilization gets wiped away it gets awkward as Noah decides he has to kill his daughter-in-law's baby once it's born to ensure that Man dies.  But I'm sure it's not a spoiler to say he doesn't because well otherwise there'd be none of us here, right?  Though like Adam and Eve it's creepy to think we're all descendants of eons of inbreeding.  Anyway, like Darren Arronovsky's "The Fountain" you kind of have to wonder if any studio execs ever bothered watching the dailies and wondered, WTF?  How a piece of shit like this gets out the door is beyond me. (-5/5)

Bojack Horseman:  Netflix kept advertising this on Crackle so I decided to watch this show.  It's kind of weird.  It takes place in a world with anamorphic animals, you know animals who are like people but still animals.  Anyway, the titular character is a horse who starred in a 90s Full House-type show and is now a has-been.  From the premise of the show you'd think it would be a really goofy funny show, but oddly it isn't.  It's actually more of a dramedy than a comedy as Bojack struggles with his many demons as he attempts his comeback by hiring a Vietnamese human woman to ghostwrite his memoirs.  It just seems odd that someone would think up a cartoon with animal characters and then decide that this show should tackle like serious issues and stuff.  I'm just not sure how to take that.  But hell I did binge all 25 episodes (2 12-episode seasons and 1 XMas special) in three days so I can't say I hated it either. (3/5)

Impastor:  While I was watching Seinfeld reruns they kept advertising this new show on TV Land so I decided to watch it on Hulu.  It stars Michael Rosenbaum, formerly Lex Luthor on "Smallville;" it's still weird to see him with hair, but unlike Corey Stoll on "The Strain" I think his is real.  He's a small-time grifter  named Buddy who is going to jump to his death to escape some guys after him and because his girlfriend dumped him.  But this gay pastor on his way to start a new job tries to talk him out of it and in the process slips to his death.  So Buddy decides to seize the opportunity to steal the guy's identity as a Lutheran pastor in a small town.  Which of course he's not the small town pastor type, and definitely not gay, so it's kind of awkward.  It's pretty decent so far though there are only 3 episodes.  And it gives you a whole new use for cantaloupe; think "American Pie." (3/5)

The Brink:  This is on HBO and I think the first season is done so now I can watch the whole thing.  Anyway, it's kind of a modern "Dr. Strangelove" mixed with "Homeland" where a crazy general takes over Pakistan and claims US drones are spreading electromagnetic rays to de-man Pakistanis.  Jack Black is a low-level staffer at the American embassy who gets captures but ends up as a go-between with the Pakistani general's half-brother in charge of their secret service and the secretary of state played by Tim Robbins.  The third part of the show involves a couple of Navy pilots on a carrier, one who has two kids with a woman back home and has gotten a woman on the ship pregnant while also dealing uppers to people on board.  Which is all fine but the parts where they're flying around are ludicrous.  First off, the only two-seat Hornet fighter-bombers are trainers.  Second, you don't send planes like that by themselves on missions.  And there are specially-equipped reconnaissance planes so you wouldn't have an ordinary fighter doing that.  F**king Google it creators of the show!  That aside it's funny 4 episodes in and shows just how ludicrous geopolitical theater can be. (3/5)

3 comments:

  1. Yeah I'd heard the elements thing about the Fantastic Four and it's mind-blowing how much thought Stan Lee put into creating his superheroes. The movie has the lowest rating of any Fantastic Four movie and is being torn apart in social media. I figured it would be bad from all the rumors and the review lock-downs, but it was confirmed when I watched the first clip. The dialogue was awful and the scene, which was supposed to be the tense first trip through the teleporter was ruined by horribly written one-liners. I figured if that was the best clip they have from the movie it would be terrible.

    Of all the movies I'd watch "Plastic Galaxy" and "Zero Theorem" since I love Star Wars toys and Terry Gilliam. Considering all the animation work he did for Monty Python, why oh why hasn't he made an animated movie? It would be brilliant!

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  2. I saw "Zero Theorem" I think it was weird and although it had some very interesting ideas and I liked the characters, it just focuses too much on the "everything is pointless" equation.

    About Fantastic Four, I have no intentions of watching that.

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  3. You know, regarding the Fantastic Four, I just have to say that I've personally never been a fan and I don't think that the original was a particular work of art, however it wasn't that bad either. It was just a fun and silly movie. On the other hand, EVERYTHING I've seen about the new one has been resoundingly bad so I'm not sure I'm going to see it without some major prodding.

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