Friday, August 21, 2015

Movies! 8/21/15 Plus More Stuff I Watched

Last week proved that people liked Straight Outta Compton a lot more than Man From UNCLE, which doesn't really matter to me since I'll wait to watch them on DVD or streaming.  (Meanwhile, Fantastic Four continued its fantastic demise, losing almost 80% of its audience.  Look for it in the second-run theaters in about two weeks.)

Another movie to watch on DVD or streaming comes out this week: American Ultra.  I keep seeing ads for it on my Roku, which doesn't really make me want to watch it.  Jesse Eisenberg is some kind of stoner Jason Bourne and Kristen Stewart is involved, though the two look like brother and sister.  And Topher Grace is after them for whatever reason.  I seriously doubt anyone will care.  Of the three stars really I think only Eisenberg is still relevant.

In a similar vein there's Hitman:  Agent 47, which is based on a video game series.  I have Hitman: Absolution on my computer from Steam, though I don't think I ever bothered to play it.  Since pretty much every video game movie ever in the history of the universe has stunk like rotten eggs, I wouldn't hope for much.  But hey, maybe this will be the first, right?

Maybe there's some other stuff, but I think we've had all the real blockbuster stuff now.  I'll probably just retire this feature for a while.  On to November with the last Hunger Games and then of course Star Wars at XMas!  In the meantime, well, maybe it's time to catch up on stuff on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon.

With that in mind, stuff I watched!

The Gunman:  speaking of movies I waited to watch on DVD, this is one of them.  This is from the Luc Besson action movie factory and while it follows the same formula as Taken or other recent movies from Besson's people, this really lacks the frenetic action of the Taken series.  Though there are some OK set pieces, the last involving a bull ring.  In the credits the city of Barcelona stresses they have not hosted bullfighting since 2011, but let's not let that get in the way of the story, right?  Hollywood.  Anyway, Sean Penn is a former assassin whose handlers are facing an investigation and so try to wrap up some loose ends, ie him.  Pretty standard action movie plot.  The main wrinkle is that the girl Sean Penn loved ended up marrying one of his former bosses in Javier Bardem.  Besides those guys and Ray Winstone you also have Idris Elba cashing a paycheck as an Interpol agent who does almost nothing.  Overall it wasn't really that great.  As I said, it's kind of slow. This is why I wait to watch certain movies, so I only spend $1.50 instead of $5 or more.  BTW, if you're a fan of Fast Times at Ridgemont High there's a scene where Sean Penn is surfing in the Congo.  (2/5)

Community:  Like "My Name is Earl" and "Parks & Recreation" this was an NBC show I figured I'd probably like if I ever bothered to watch it.  I did watch the first couple episodes when they originally aired, but I could never remember to watch it when it was on, so now I can catch up on Hulu, except for season 6 which was only on Yahoo.  Anyway, like I said, I figured I'd like it and I have, mostly.  The problem as always with a show like this is romantic entanglements usually stop the humor dead in its tracks.  That got to be annoying on "Friends" and it's why I stopped watching "Pscyh" when they hooked the main character up with the female cop.  Like Abed says in the show, I'd rather watch far out adventures than relationship stuff.  The first couple of seasons flirt with that, but at least don't make it the whole show.  I'm not sure if they'll ever get around to making a movie or not, but this was a good show.  An interesting factoid is that besides creator Dan Harmon as executive producers you have the Russo brothers who have now been handed the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan who originally wrote on Family Guy and then worked on Scrubs, which this show resembles in some ways--and not just because it aired on NBC except for a final season that aired somewhere else.  (3/5)

Blue Mountain State:  Speaking of college, there's this show that some years ago aired on Spike TV.  Does Spike still exist or is it something else now?  I don't have cable so I don't know.  Anyway, since Spike billed itself as TV for Men (basically a gender swapped Lifetime) this show is a male-centric parody of college life that's mostly sex, drinking, drugs, and occasional football practices.  It focuses on three college freshmen who go to the eponymous school, a football powerhouse.  One is a star running back, one is a backup quarterback who wants to play as little football as possible while reaping the football team benefits (ie booze and broads), and the other is his nerdy friend who deposes the school mascot--a guy in a goat costume, not a lovable bulldog.  It's some raunchy fun though not Shakespeare by any stretch.  BTW, in the 4th episode Stephen Ammell of "Arrow" has a cameo as the starting quarterback. He's also in the final episode of the first season, where his big contribution is throwing up.  But it makes you wonder how good Oliver Queen would be at quarterback.  He ought to have good arm strength at least.  (2/5)

The Lost Boys:  Another cheesy 80s movie I had somehow neglected watching up to this point.  And I mean it's totally 80s cheesy.  They probably went through a couple cases of hairspray a day on the set.  The Coreys (which one of them is dead now? I always forget) fight vampire Kiefer Sutherland and Bill S Preston, Esquire.  And also there's Jason Patric.   Honestly it's so cheesy that it's just cringe-worthy.  It's not really a surprise Joel Schumacher directed it.  Has this been remade yet?  Seems like a perfect subject for an even lamer remake. (2/5)

War:  This starts off as a typical Jason Statham action movie.  His partner is killed by an Asian assasin named Rogue while they're investigating a war between the yakuza and Triads, basically the Japanese vs. Chinese Mafia in San Francisco.  Three years later Rogue returns and blah blah blah fighting, gunplay, etc.  I started tuning out.  Then it takes a couple of twists at the end that might not be extremely plausible but at least save it from being too predictable. An interesting factoid is a couple of years later, Jason Statham and Jet Li would join forces as part of Sly Stallone's Expendables.  (2/5)

Magician:  This was a biography of Orson Welles I watched on Amazon.  It didn't seem particularly insightful.  I mean you could probably get just as much reading his Wikipedia page.  At least I assume he has one of those.  BTW, it's disappointing they never mention Transformers the Movie which was probably his last role since it aired a year after he died.  It was my first encounter with his work because you know I was 9 at the time so obviously I wasn't watching "Citizen Kane" yet. (2/5)


  1. You should watch Odd Thomas. I rather liked it.

  2. Lost Boys is one you had to watch when it came out, so you could rewatch it now with Nostalgia Glasses.

  3. Hey human, Pat,

    You watch a lot of stuff. The Lost Boys is the ultimate in sleezy cheese and an eighties nightmare, with the big hair.

    Have a good one, human!




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