Dave I: Blue Thunder, the helicopter from Rip Tide, or Airwolf?
Dave C: There is a god. Charlize Theron dumped that idiot Sean Penn. If I can’t have her none shall!
DC: You know what they call a zombie in France? A zombie royale. (Image from the zombie t-shirts collection)
DI: Because of the metric system?
DC: I think because they are purple.
DI: France doesn’t really need a lot of excuses to be lame.
DC: Airwolf BTW. It was armor plated like KITT and could do Mach 1. Godzilla vs Aquaman.
DI: Please. Godzilla even in the ocean.
DC: Aquaman could send wave after wave of blue whales to their deaths while he called JLA.
DI: Lol. Aquaman vs sodium.
DC: Naven Johnson vs Paul Blart.
DI: Naven. DIE PAUL BLART DIE!
DC: Stay away from those oil cans.
DI: Ever wonder if Aquaman actually had powers? What if he were just a guy who hung around the Justice League telling everyone he was the king of Atlantis? I bet you could get away with that for a while.
DC: Tie him to a tree for one hour and one minute and see if he lives.
DI: “I just swam every inch of the Pacific Ocean looking for Lex Luthor. Uh, no sign of him.” Maybe he’s a crazy man with a good PR department.
DI: Also why do they never him search the sewers? Seems like Batman is the one who ends up the Worlds Greatest Poo detective.
DC: He would not want to soil his armor.
DI: “Here’s your chance fish boy! Help us find Killer Krok!” “Uh, this looks like a job for Batman.”
the Infamous Dave Inman
Thoughts on Family, Fun and Fandom.
As fun as all of that was, and it really was, the best part of the convention was seeing the stars of the show as themselves rather than as their parts, in person and they were all uniquely lovely. Jarrod and Jenson weren’t there on Saturday at all, and they are quite pricey to get a picture or autograph with, but I honestly wasn’t there for them. I was there to see Misha Collins, whom I follow on Twitter and Facebook, who has his own charity, GISHWES, and who most people know as playing Castiel, the guy I was dressed up as. (Dary Dixon T-shirt from our vast Walking Dead T Shirt collection, because I want to see Cas and Daryl cross over).
I was also surprised and excited to see Sci-Fi god Mark Sheppard there, in all his cranky British glory, presiding over unruly fans with aplomb. Mark plays Crowley, the King of Hell on the show, the bad Angel to Cas’ good. Both of these gentlemen spoke a great deal about the importance of fandom, of family, and of taking care of ourselves and each other especially in the face of a world which can so often be cruel. They spoke out against bullying and Sheppard even spoke about self-harm, and about himself being a recovering alchaholic, now 20+ years sober. He said, “When you reach out in fandom, make sure you are extending a hand and not a fist. Because this is about love, including love for yourself. Lift each other up.”
Everything is Awesome!
OK this movie would have had to try really, really hard to get me to dislike it. If I were to sing the Dave version of My Favorite Things the list would include Lego, Batman, Star Wars, stop motion animation, wizards, dragons, pirates, robots, cyborgs, evil geniuses bent on world domination, cowboys, and spaceships and this movie had all those things rolled together. However, even if it weren’t the visual representation of the Dave Skinner box in my head I would still love this film because it is amazingly creative, fun, funny, and in all ways imaginative.
I admit I had my trepidations. I have seen other cherished childhood toys taken out of the box and forced onto the screen dressed up in creepy clothes and makeup like a 5 year old entered into a child beauty pageant by her overbearing mother. G.I. Joe, Transformers, Battleship, Smurfs, and the Garbage Pail Kids are all toys who were touched inappropriately by Hollywood much to my dismay (well, Smurfs was OK, but still. Also they started as a cartoon). Does anyone else remember when toys would come from movies, not the other way around?
Fortunately Lego has managed to create something wonderful without destroying the love of their toys in my and many other adults and children minds. Frequent readers of my blog may well think that Star Trek was the only light in the darkness of my childhood otherwise filled with bullies, fights, alienation, disdain from my so-called peers, feelings of inadequacy, mean dogs, uncaring adults, illegal fireworks, and frequent injury but I can say that Lego was my other life preserver. I would spend hours a day building forts, castles, houses, robots, tanks, cars, planes, spacecraft, and more robots (I really liked robots). It was the one thing my parents got me each birthday and Xmas. I think they liked it because it kept me out of their hair.
If I were to really break it down I guess I could say that Star Trek was the role model that taught me about how to be a decent, honorable, brave human and Lego was where I practiced it. I actually created my own game using dice could occupy myself endlessly with it. Oddly enough I never mixed the two. I never did Star Trek with Lego. I don’t know why.
Incidentally I still have my entire massive collection and still buy the occasional set, just to keep my hand in as it were. Usually a Star Wars set, and once in a while when I’m feeling lonely, bored, or depressed (usually right after getting rejected by someone) I will bust them out and recreate another Battle for Post-Apocalyptic Legoland.
What was I supposed to be doing here? Oh, yeah the movie. Freaking amazing in all ways. Maybe not as top shelf as Wreck It Ralph but the nostalgia value and personal love elevate this film dramatically. As a burned out emotionless husk of a human the times when movies make me feel anything at all are rare gems. Usually the best I can hope for is a fleeting hint of an adrenaline rush of excitement, or a sad moment when someone dies in a noble way. As I left the theater for the Lego Movie I had a big dopey smile on my face and was humming the theme song. I had a bizarre, alien uplifting feeling and suddenly realized the film had made me happy. Even now thinking about it I have a warm feeling in my heart and am fighting a strange impulse turn on some beat heavy electronica and dance in my office.
The story starts off with main bad guy Lord Business (Will Ferrell-Zoolander, Stranger than Fiction, Anchorman) stealing the Kragle, the most deadly item in the Lego universe. Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman-the Shawshank Redemption, Now You See Me, Olympus has Fallen) tries to stop him but gets blinded and Business gets away. Skip forward 8 1/2 years and meet Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt-Parks and Rec, Delivery Man, Her), a Lego construction worker who lives in a happy, controlled city under the benevolent guidance of President Business. He works on a construction site building Lego skyscrapers and singing the main theme song along with all the rest of the city.
As work ends he notices a girl digging at the site. It is Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks-What to Expect when You’re Expecting, Pitch Perfect, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and Emmet falls in love with her at first site. While chasing after her he falls and comes across the Piece of Resistance, a mystical item that is said to the the only thing that can stop the Kragle. He touches it and passes out.
He wakes up in a prison being interrogated by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson- the Grey, Taken 2, Wrath of the Titans). He has the Piece of Resistance glued to his back. He gets rescued by Wildstyle, Vitruvius, and best of all Batman (Will Arnett-Blades of Glory, Ratatouille, Arrested Development. By the way, now that I love him in this film do I feel like crap for dumping on his last animated venture the Nut Job? Nope! That movie still sucked). He lives a moment lifted directly from my life when he learns the love of his life has a much cooler boyfriend in Batman.
Honestly I’m not going to go into the whole story as it is super cool and you should all go see it. They travel around meeting a bunch of other Master Builders, including Unikitty (Alison Brie-the Five Year Engagement, Community, the Kings of Summer), Metal Beard (Nick Offerman-Parks and Rec, We’re the Millers, 21 Jump Street), and my personal favorite 1980 Something Space Guy (Charlie Day-It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim). The story is surprisingly cool and complicated, the jokes are amazing (keep an eye out for the blade joke), and if you are a fan of Lego from back in the day you will love every second of it.
I don’t do my usual stars and black holes for kids movies. I generally base the reviews on how the kids in the audience were reacting and to a child they were going bat5%$& crazy. They loved it and so did I. Should you see it? Duh. That’s like asking yourself if you should keep on processing oxygen. If you have a soul and enjoy happiness then yes. Yes you should. Date movie? If you bring a girl with a sense of humor to this film and you don’t get laid check your pulse because you might have died a few years ago and have been living on as a rotting zombie. Heck, I think even I could have gotten laid had I had the foresight to bring a girl with me (well, maybe. I dream of one day having the sex appeal of a rotten animated corpse. Dream image courtesy of the zombie t shirt catgory). Bathroom break? Hold it. It’s only 100 minutes and every second is packed with cool stuff. If this is a problem you might want to bring along your Truckers Friend.
Thanks for reading. This film was fun to see and review. Makes me glad I do what I do. Look for my review for for Monument Men tomorrow. I think I am going to have to see Vampire Academy so you can enjoy me projectile vomiting all over my keyboard on Monday. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Comments on this film or my review are welcome and can be left here. Off topic questions or suggestions should be emailed to email@example.com. Talk to you soon.
Note-I screwed up the ordering and originally wrote this and called it Episode 68. Now I need to flagellate myself for sins against Star Trek.
This is one I only saw a couple times as a kid and never really absorbed much. I just went over the plot again and am trying to come up with something interesting to make a comment on but am coming up dry. I will say the timing of the episode (haw!) always struck me as a little bit odd. Given when Spock and McCoy find the Scalosian water in Kirks coffee until the time they find an antidote shouldn’t a couple months have passed for Kirk? Seems off to me.
This is a rare episode where I did not find the Kirk girl to be the woman of my dreams. Deela, Queen of the Scalosians didn’t really have it in the face to turn me on. I’m partial to brunettes and those pale water blue eyes always kind of leave me cold. However I will give them an A for the costume she was wearing. In the years since I have been inundated by images of naked women but at age 8 that one completely bare leg and midriff was an eye opening experience.
I suppose the reason this episode never struck home was even as a kid I thought the Scalosians plan was pretty stupid. You want to accelerate yourself so that you live and die in the time it takes a normal speed human to have dinner? What’s the point of that? It seems they could have dedicated more time and effort to some other trick. If you are super fast how do you grow food? Do plants grow at super speed too? See what I mean? Also what was up with that cellular damage being fatal? Don’t you damage yourself every time you take a step on some level? How long do you have until the slightest scratch doesn’t kill you? Definitely a season 3 worthy episode. The I’m Fine shirt I found in our Zombie T Shirt collection BTW.
Ever wonder what the illegitimate love child of Harry Potter and Twilight would look like? Wonder no more.
It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I suppose that is true in some circumstances. Having worked for years in the t-shirt business I can tell you there is a lot of flattery going on when t-shirt companies rip off designs from each other with alarming regularity. However, this is something that people say when someone imitates your idea and comes out with something better (or at least competitively equal). What we have here is less imitation than it is repetition (or perhaps regurgitation).
I have been told by several of my more literate friends that author Cassandra Clare is a writer who borders on competent and who’s books actually have something of interest rather than being uber trite brain damaging garbage spewed out from her fingertips, unlike a certain author who shall go nameless in this review but whose name may or may not sound like Mephanie Steyer. Apparently her main character in this series is more than a two dimensional, bland cute chick with all the appeal of moldy bread and her love interests are more than sizzle chested man/boys who cover the screen with metrosexual good looks and estrogen. This may or may not be true, but if it is then she has been done very badly by director Harold Zwart (the Karate Kid, One Night at McCools, Agent Cody Banks (really??)) and screenwriter Jessica Postigo (no prior film credits). The two of them look like they swallowed the Twilight punch and have set up a franchise distribution business. Does this sound familiar? A cute but otherwise unremarkable (in literally every sense of the term) chick discovers a world of mythical creatures and magic where she is torn between the love of a safe and familiar friend and a hot and dangerous magical newcomer who wants to induct her into his world while fighting against evil super villains. Oh, yeah. There are vampires and werewolves in here too.
Let me talk for a minute about the screenwriter Jessica Postigo as she relates to a phenomenon you only see in Hollywood (for the record I don’t know her or her work. For all I know she could be the next William Shakespeare, although based on my one experience with her writing I sincerely doubt it. Zombie Shakespeare is from our zombie t shirt category). If I had a budget of $60,000,000 (this film’s estimated budget) to build a new business and someone came to me and said “We have a person who has never done anything like this in your industry and has no track record whatsoever but we think she would be great at it” I would have that person killed and his or her head placed on a pike outside of my office as a warning to all the rest of the idiots to not waste my time. Yet somehow in movie making multi million dollar productions find people with no experience whatsoever and give them the keys to this Exxon Valdez. Honestly, take $1,000,000 and hire a team of the best writers in movie history to make your film. Writing should not be treated like a minor technical position.
Anyway, this turd. The issues are extensive and since I have no life I will list them all in detail. The biggest one is that this film suffers from the condition known as Nocluus Nocarrus. In other words, if you didn’t read the book you have no idea what the hell is going on and therefore will never care. What grinds is they had not just one but two perfect opportunities to explain everything through extensive fish-out-of-water exposition with the main character and her man-friend eunuch. What do demons really hope to accomplish? Do they have super powers or are they just gross? They seem to go down pretty easy to swords and knives. Do Shadowhunters have super powers? How to those tattoos work? Do they drain your life force or have a cool down, or can you just use them with impunity? If so why would you not cover your body with them? Are vampires super human too? They also seem to go down to a quick knife in the gut pretty easy too. Are vampires and demons immune to guns? If not why are you idiots running around with swords instead of Kalashnikovs? Especially when in the last half of the film one of the Shadowhunters starts running around with a m-f-ing flamethrower! If flamethrowers work why don’t you all carry them? For that matter how does a flamethrower work against demons who seem to made from molten lava? Why did Jocelyn not take the magic cup and create like 10,000 Shadowhunters to kill Valentine? Again, what does being a Shadowhunter do for you other than make you think BDSM Goth is the fashion to go with?
Sigh. Next up up characters. The only character I felt even the slightest connection to was Simon, Clary’s man friend, and that was only because he got punched in the face with the let’s-be-friends speech so hard I think his parents felt it. Having suffered through more than a few reiterations of that speech (by a couple orders of magnitude. Just this week a girl I have been attracted to for a long time told me how she went out last week, had a couple beers, and hooked up with some random dude. Let’s just say the next Warhammer player who crosses my path will suffer for that) I felt his pain, but other than that he was another drip in a sea of drips. The main character is a bland little whiner who contributes next to nothing to the film except to give the camera something to focus on. The “hero” is a blond pretty boy you will hate from his very first scene. He looks like exactly the dude who shows up at your party, drinks all your booze, smokes a bunch of pot in your living room, vomits into your bed and pulls the covers over it, and then cuts out with the pizza and the girl you were into five minutes before the cops show up. He has two facial expressions: I’m Bored and I Just Sharted But Secretly Don’t Care. He’s also the guy I really hope to run into at my next Fight Club as I know in spite of his washboard abs (shown extensively) and the fact that he’s at least 20 years younger than me I could break him like a tongue depressor. Too girly to really be an action movie guy. The mother is a non-entity and her man friend (I’m starting to get a clear understanding of the male relationships Cassandra Clare has in her life) is a werewolf (yep) who is basically there to provide the red shirts. The other Shadowhunters are The Angry Chick and The Angry Dude, although I will give this movie props for having a couple of gay characters.
Then there is the costuming. The costume designer obviously gets a discount at Hot Topic, as Goth is the word of the day. Ever wonder why martial artists wear loose cotton gi’s? If you ever tried to kick someone in the face wearing leather pants and thigh high boots, or fallen onto your studded leather jacket you will understand why. If these kids are more or less invisible why not walk around in full body armor? Also the Shadowhunters all have symbolic tattoos that give them powers that (I’m not kidding) look like they were drawn on with a Sharpie. Once I noticed it I couldn’t help but look for it in every scene and it was driving me nuts.
Naturally the CGI sucked, which is weird as I hardly see that anymore in any film with more than a couple mil budget. It’s something of a novelty these days. It has been years since I saw the sideways pool of water as a magical portal trick (1987, to be exact. Prince of Darkness by John Carpenter), and the rest of it nothing to write home about.
And finally, the story. OMG awful. Nothing seems to have a reason for anything. The romance felt completely forced and unnatural, like Joseph Stalin’s attempt to breed ape human super warriors (no joke. Google it). Most of the scenes were expository dialog, but instead of explaining what the hell was going on it was all bad romance and tertiary crap. The secondary plot seemed even more worthless than the first. And the whole thing ground on for an agonizing 130 minutes.
Another film where I am 1380 words in without even getting to the story. Clary (Lily Collins-the Blind Side, Mirror Mirror, Priest) is a teenage girl living with her artist mother Jocelyn (Lena Headey-Dredd, the Purge, 300) in NYC. She is haunted by a symbol of some kind and keeps drawing it, something of concern for her mother and mother’s man friend Aleric (Harry Van Gorkum-the Karate Kid, Batman and Robin, Gone in 60 Seconds). She goes out with her own man friend Simon (Robert Sheehan-Misfits, Cherrybomb, Season of the Witch) to a suicide poetry reading (in other words, listening to this poetry makes you want to commit suicide) and on the way home stop off at a club. They are let in by a Goth guy who turns out to be a demon, but before they can talk to him the demon is killed by Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower-Sweeney Todd, Rocknrolla, Twilight), a Shadow Hunter.
The next morning Jace tracks down Clary and talks to here while her mother is kidnapped by some Goth thugs (the fact that her mother has been kidnapped is pretty much forgotten by Clary for most of the rest of the film). Jace takes Clary and Simon to their castle in NYC where she meets the other two Shadowhunters (Kevin Zegers-Dawn of the Dead, Wrong Turn, Frozen and Jemina West-Lines of Wellington, the Messenger, Play it Like Godard) and the head guy Hodge (Jared Harris-Natural Born Killers, Lincoln, Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows).
Bleh. Recounting this story is giving me a rash. I’ll speed up. The bad guy Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers-Match Point, Bend it Like Beckham, August Rush) wants the magic Shadowhunter cup that Jocelyn hid in order to do something (?) with demons. Everyone else wants the cup for some other unspecified reason. Clary has her memory blocked by her mother and they have to visit the Wizard of Brooklyn (Godfry Gao-101 Proposals, All About Women, the Queen of SOP). Simon gets kidnapped by vampires, who in this film don’t speak and are pretty much evil henchmen for someone (?) and go down by the bucketful. They are rescued from the vampires by werewolves (who are good henchmen also for someone(?)). Stuff gets blown up, there are a couple of obvious twists, Jace temporarily gets possessed by the spirit of Moe from the Three Stooges, Clary is revealed to be the magic queen of bad tattoos and two dimensional hiding stuff (as well as two dimensional acting), and a lame plot twist is revealed that makes the romance possibly even more creepy and contrived than it already was.
I suppose I have to give the film credit for at least having action happen often enough to earn it’s PG-13 rating. One star. Lily is super cute, and at one point (for literally the most contrive reason of all time) they find an excuse to dress her as a super hot hooker. One star. I did glean some amusement when characters (appropriately) made fun of all the Goth clothing (I can’t decide if that’s the movie sincerely poking fun at itself or just an attempt to draw in kids who don’t think vampires are super sexy). One star. Total: three stars.
The black holes.
Where to begin? The fact that the writers assumed that we the audience each wrote a PhD thesis on the book and know every detail going into the theater. One black hole. I hated all the characters in this film (some more than others) and was really hoping they would all die (and ironically, none of them did. Hope I didn’t just spoil the film for you). One black hole. A bonus black hole for the blond man/boy, whom I especially hated. One black hole. The romance in this film made me wish for the sweet, sweet kiss of chemical castration. One black hole. The Goth clothing was nothing short of ridiculous. The costumes the Strangers wore in Dark City looked more real, functional, and believable. One black hole. Crappy story that I couldn’t care less about. One black hole. Crappy CGI. One black hole. Tattoos that looked like they were bought out of a vending machine at Denny’s. One black hole. Twilight rip off, complete with vampires and werewolves. One black hole. A million blatantly ignored questions. One black hole. A bunch of sub plots hinted at and then ignored as well (again, maybe if I had read the book). One black hole. Paced like watching old people f…requent a local dining establishment (what did you think I was going to say there?). 130 mind numbing minutes. One black hole. Overall a complete failure to entertain me or give me the slightest reason to care. The entire cast and crew could fall into a sink hole and it wouldn’t phase me one bit. Two black holes. Total: fourteen black holes.
A grand total of 11 black holes. A crap score for a crap movie. I don’t know. From what I hear the source material is better than this so perhaps they could have done better, but it looks like the studio had Twilight fever and this is the result. Any reason to see it at all? Sure, if you read the book and/or love Twilight and wish to return to robot love and machismoly challenged “men”. Perhaps you just had brain surgery and need to avoid thinking too much and/or non dark images gives you a migraine. Do you work at Hot Topic and want to feel like your life and job are not a complete drain on American culture? Write a bitter little movie review blog and are looking for something to make fun of for a couple hours in order to make up for your feelings of inadequacy? These are all perfectly valid reasons to see this film. Otherwise give it a pass. NetFlix is fine on this one. Date movie? Sure, if she loved Twilight. If she suggests it you can probably convince her that after suffering through this bomb the least she can do is reward you with a sexual experience. Bathroom break? At 130 minutes you will probably need it, if only to vomit. Any of the romance scenes would be great, especially the Three’s Company-esque moment when Jace is walking Clary back to her bed and finds Simon in it. Actually your brain would thank you for missing that whole sequence starting with the walk in the roof garden so take a few minutes to make sure you got everything out, grab a smoke, and run upstairs to punch the projectionist in the head.
Plenty more to see soon. Too late tonight so maybe tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. If you have comments on this movie or my review (please comment if you disagree on this one. I love a good laugh) feel free to post here. Off topic questions or suggestions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great night.
P.S. Where the hell did the title of this movie come from? They mentioned the City of Bones like once and looked at it for about 20 seconds. The rest of the time this film was all about the City of New York. Lame.
P.P.S. I just checked and this film flopped badly its opening weekend. The theater I was in was pretty empty for a Saturday on opening weekend, so I’m not surprised. Most of the audience was laughing at things I’m pretty sure the director didn’t really think was funny. Also I forgot to black hole this film for really horrible dialog, so I guess they get a pass on that one.
Pretty much lives up to it’s name.
Yes I’m still sluggish getting these out. Saw this movie Thursday night but honestly if you saw the amount of work I have piled up (literally) you would understand.
So I enjoyed this film about as much as I expected to (something of a singular event these days). Fortunately I expected to enjoy it a lot. This film follows the typical sequel pattern of a kick ass first movie (haw!) followed by a sequel that is about 80% of the first one. However, when you have a movie as good as the first Kick Ass 80% of it make it as good or better than all the Ryan Reynolds films put together.
The film definitely had a different tone. I would have to say this one was darker, grimmer, and lacking in the cuteness of young Hit Girl. Her assault down the hallway in the gangster penthouse (with Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts playing in the background) is one of my personal favorite action scenes of the last ten years. She is an iconic character and based on the number of HG costumes I saw at Comic Con a popular one.
Hit Girl is back, but now is cursed with all the teenaged angst that they seem to hand girls on their first day of high school. Due to the nature of the story she is in the film less and fight less, at least until the last 20 minutes, and her fights are just not as super squirrelly as they were in the last one. Her best fight she is not even wearing her HG costume, although that was the fight that most reminded me of the last film.
On the other hand Kick Ass is back and faces some interesting comic book-ish issues, such as why he even became a super hero and what he hopes to accomplish from it. A lot of this movie is taken up with him and Hit Girl in street clothes trying to figure out what they should be doing in life, which tended to make the film less cool and exciting but added a nice note of realism and drama otherwise missing from the last one.
The story starts off with Kick Ass (Anderson Taylor-Johnson-Kick Ass, Savages, Nowhere Boy) back in high school with Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz-Dark Shadows, Hugo, Let Me In), except Hit Girl has been cutting class to train. She gets Kick Ass (yes, I know his character name is Dave and Hit Girl’s is Mindy. I just like calling them by their superhero names) to join her and they start fighting some crime. During their first caper she gets caught by her now legal guardian Marcus (Morris Chestnut-the Call, Boys in the Hood, Identity Thief) and he gets her to promise to stop with the Hit Girl thing. She does out of respect for her father.
Meanwhile Kick Ass has a taste for the action and looks for other super heroes to team up with. New York is now lousy with them and through a guy called Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison-Scrubs, Remember the Titans, Clueless) he meets up with Justice Forever, a team lead by the psychotic Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey-Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, The Truman Show). One of his fellow team members Battle Guy is his old friend Marty (Clark Duke-Hot Tub Time Machine, A Thousand Words, the Croods) and a hot chick named Night Bitch (Lindy Booth-Wrong Turn, Relic Hunter, Dawn of the Dead (image courtesy of the Zombie T Shirt category)). They run around the city doing public service and catching bad guys.
Meanwhile Kick Ass’s old enemy Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse-Superbad, Role Models, Pitch Perfect) is back. He has kind of lost it and is now a super villain named the M-F-er whose sole purpose is to cause pain and suffering in order to destroy Kick Ass. He recruits a bunch of other psychopaths and they go berserk.
I’m going to blow off the rest of the story mainly because it’s late and I always find the story recap to be the most boring and arduous part of these reviews. A movie like this I expect any of my readers to see so the recap is redundant anyway. Sufficed to say crosses are doubled, stuff gets blown up, and a lot of asses get kicked.
Hit Girl is awesome again. One star. The evil team the M-F-er put together was also pretty awesome, especially Mother Russia. One star. I expected all the new super heroes to suck (except for Col. Stars and Stripes) but in fact they were each cool in their own way. One star. All the acting was dead on perfect. One star. The story delved deeper into the angst of being a super hero than most films bother to. I thought it was neat. One star. The fight scenes were all really cool and fun. One star. Comic book movie. One star. Over all a fun, exciting film. Two stars. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
Honestly I’m at a loss. I could give one for there being less action and more character development, but I just gave the film a star for that a in the last paragraph. Pacing slugged up at times but overall felt right. I’m going to have to do my very rare no black hole reviews. There wasn’t anything I wish they did differently.
So a total of nine stars and my hearty endoursement of this film. Not better than Kick Ass, but worthy be being mentioned in the same sentence. Please see this film in a theater. We need to encourage quality film. Date movie? Meh. Romance was kind of limited to Kick Ass knocking boots with Night Bitch in a bathroom, so not really. Plus if are a Hit Girl fan you might end up looking kind of creepy. Bathroom break? Depends on what you are here for. If all you want is action that kicks ass (that’s the last one I swear) I’d say go in any of the scenes where Hit Girl is trying to convince Kick Ass to put on his costume or Kick Ass is trying to do the same for Hit Girl. If you like the characters and angst involved go during any of the action scenes. (Or if you are a true fan just hold it. It’s only 103 minutes long).
Thanks for reading. I’ll see something tomorrow for sure, but have another trip to Las Vegas that I leave for Monday so I don’t know if I will have time to write it up. Sorry. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. By the way it would be very cool if you liked us on Facebook. If you have comments about this film or my review feel free to post a comment here. Off topic suggestions and review can be emailed to email@example.com. Talk to you soon.
I am getting tired of writing these. For those of you who don’t know, Richard Matheson was an author and screen writer. He wrote the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Twilight Zone episode, as well as a few others. What he is best known for (and the reason I am a fan) is his book I am Legend, one of the best zombie novels of all time.
If this title sounds familiar that is because it has been made into a movie on three separate occassions: the Last Man on Earth in 1964 with Vincent Price, the Omega Man starring Charlton Heston in 1971, and most recently (and most badly) I am Legend with Will Smith in 2007. This book was also the inspiration behind Night of the Living Dead, and I think it can honestly be said that every zombie axiom we currently enjoy has been at least influenced if not actively created my Mr. Matheson.
What makes his book awesome is that zombies are a visual phenomenon, yet he managed to make them menacing in print. Most zombie novels rarely elicit any kind of actual fear response mainly due to the fact that you can’t really paint a true zombie horde with words (zombie horde image courtesy of the zombie t shirt category). Mr. Matheson did it by focusing on the survivor rather than the zombies, and by making him as real and cool as possible. Plus the story is pretty amazing and goes far beyond the cliche zombie survival canon. If you saw I am Legend and thought it decent without reading the book you should read it and then feel shame for being such an ignorant moron for the rest of your life. Believe me when I say that they literally turned that story into cliche pap. The only things it really has to do with the book is zombies (sort of) and the title.
Anyway, it seems we are hitting a bad spell when a number of great sci fi readers are dying and yet Stephanie Meyer keeps on producing. Once again I am bummed, and feel that if anyone deserves to come back as a zombie it’s Mr. Matheson. You will be missed sir.
I am at a loss for a clever subtitle on this film.
Hey, I can’t be brilliant every day. Just most days. If this movie had sucked I would have had some decent ones like “Now you shouldn’t”, but the fact is I quite enjoyed this film. It’s no Citizen Kane, but it has a lot of the things I enjoy in a film: a complex story, some very engaging characters, and intriguing plot twists. The story is relatively light and it ramps up the hokey-meter as it crosses the finish line, but if all you are going for is entertainment this is the film for you.
This is one of those movies that manages to hide all it’s plot holes behind other plot holes passed off as complex plot twists. In other words, if there is a gaping plot hole dangling they explain it with magic (literally) and don’t really bother to detail how exactly things actually worked. On a different day I might bitch heavily about that, but given the last few movies I have seen have been dismal and the whole premise of this film is magicians who rob banks I am more than willing to let those issues fade under the warm glow of suspension of disbelief.
This will be a short review as movies that I enjoy but have no real draw into (in other words, not science fiction) leave me with not a lot of opinions. Movies that suck or that I feel betrayed me somehow tend to be the longest (cough cough Star Trek cough cough) with movies that I love in a genre that I love being the second longest.
The story. Four street magicians (Jesse Eisenberg-30 Minutes or Less, Zombieland, the Social Network; Dave Franco-Warm Bodies, 21 Jump Street, Fright Night, Zodiac; Woody Harrelson-Zombieland, Natural Born Killers, No Country for Old Men; Isha Fisher-Rango, Wedding Crashers, Rise of the Guardians) are recruited to perform the greatest magic show ever. (Zombieland image courtesy of the Zombie T Shirt category) They each have their individual skills: Merritt (Woody) is the mentalist (and easily the most entertaining character), Daniel (Jesse) is the fast talking card trick guy, Henley (Isla) is the showman (showwoman, I guess), escape artist, and general eye candy, and Jack (Dave) is the young hustler/pickpocket con man. They set up their huge show in Las Vegas with the aid of their benefactor Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine-Children of Men, Dark Knight, the Prestige), a wealthy business tycoon.
During their performance they magically rob a bank in Paris. The FBI is called in headed by Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo-the Avengers, Shutter Island, Zodiac) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent-Inglorious Basterds, Don’t Worry I’m Fine, the Concert). However, no charges can be leveled unless the FBI wants to admit they believe in magic. They track down TV magician debunker Taddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman-the Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy, Glory) and ask him to help but he’d rather pursue his own agenda. At that point it is a crime mystery except the criminals are infinitely more clever than the FBI and spend most of the movie making them look like fools. Twists are twisted, some tricks are revealed, and in general a good time is had by all.
Generally a fun, interesting story. Two stars. All the characters were great, especially Woody’s. One star. I like a movie where it is OK to root for the criminal. One star. Acting was good. One star. I thought I had the plot twist figured out early, but instead it was something else that caught me completely off guard. One star. The writers of this movie expect most of the audience to at least have a triple digit IQ, which I appreciate. One star. Two bonus stars for not being a waste of my time. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
This film definitely put suspension of disbelief through a workout, and if you let yourself really think about it you realize there is no way they could have planed for all this. One black hole. In the last half of the film this film wandered very close to the border of “magic is real” hokeyness and in the last 10 minutes sneaked under the wire without actually doing anything. One black hole. While this film was fun and interesting, it wasn’t terribly exciting. Lots of time spent on making it look cool and polished without increasing my heart rate. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
A grand total of six stars, a very credible score. Worth seeing if you just want some good old fashioned entertainment. Date movie? Yes if you have no alternative. There is nothing here to really turn her on (unless she is turned on by stage magicians, which is actually a whole other set of problems) and the two guys are hipster dreamboats, so you could lose in the comparison. On the other hand nothing here will turn her off. Bathroom break? The convoluted nature of this story means if you miss two minutes you could be greatly diminished in your understanding of the film. Try to hold it. If you can’t I’d say the airplane scene where everyone is flying to New Orleans. I don’t recommend it though.
Thanks for reading. I still need to write up Fast and Furious and will see Hangover 3 tomorrow. Lo does my cup runneth over. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu (a friend of mine retweeted my Tweet for my After Earth review and readership shot through the roof. If you happen to be one of my 6 followers please retweet. That would be awesome.). Post comments on this movie or my review here, and if you have any off topic questions or suggestions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon.
I can honestly say I have not to date really been a Dwayne Johnson fan. Not that I dislike him by any means. In action movies he has always delivered a solid action perfomance. It’s just that in my mind he never stood out. Until now I guess I thought of him as the carbon dioxide of action films; necessary on some level I’m sure (photosynthesis) but not nearly as interesting or fun as some of the other gases (oxygen or helium, for example).
The other thing about Dwayne Johnson is when you see him in a film you can pretty much put the movie into one of two categories: either an over the top action flick that stresses explosions over story or a dopey kids movie where he flies around on a giant bee or something. I honestly expected to see the first type when I rolled into the theater to see Snitch.
I now have to revise my opinion of Mr. Johnson. This film exceeds his normal boundaries in all ways by being well written, interesting, and founded on telling a story not showing car chases. I must applaud Dwayne for choosing it, and then proceeding to deliver a very credible performance. I was engaged with his character more than any other role I have seen him in and enjoyed his story very much. There were little character things I really liked, like his character staying at the warehouse to replace a shot out signal light on his brand new big rig.
That’s not to say the movie was flawless. There were a few issues, and you could occasionally see him revert to his super tough action guy persona. However, like a butterfly emerging timidly from it’s chrysalis and needed to flap it’s wings in order to dry and strengthen them I am going to say this film is the start of a more serious acting career and am very interested in seeing what he does next.
The other thing I enjoyed about this film is they managed to keep the action exciting and yet very believable. There were no monstrous explosions or gun fights where the good guy is effectively immune to bullets. What action there was seemed very realistic and there was a very believable Road Warrior-esque truck chase scene at the end that I really enjoyed. The truth is I’m getting sick of bigger explosions and car wrecks (just wait for my review of the new Die Hard film). Given that it has been established that the CGI and special effects technology is going to be amazing for any big budget film these days going bigger and more “exciting” just makes a film look more childish. This might be a positive symptom of a movie coming from a real life story (I remember thinking the same things about real life based movie Unstoppable) or it just might be a very smart and savvy decision made by the director to not gimmick his film up.
The story. John Mathews (Dwayne Johnson-Fast Five, Race to Witch Mountain, Journey 2: the Mysterious Island) owns a successful construction business in Missouri. His dopey 18 year old son (Rafi Gavron-the Cold Light of Day, Breaking and Entering, Mine Games) gets busted for receiving drugs in a way that has him being mostly innocent and due to draconian mandatory Federal sentencing laws gets 10 years. John begs the DA (Susan Sarandon-the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thelma and Louise, Dead Man Walking) to help but she says she won’t do anything unless the kid helps her bust other drug dealers. John instead offers to help her himself and contacts a ex con working for him (Jon Bernthal-the Walking Dead, the Ghost Writer, Rampart. Walking Dead image courtesy of the Zombie T Shirt category) to introduce him to a local drug dealer (Michael Kenneth Williams-the Road, Gone Baby Gone, Brooklyn’s Finest). With the help of another DEA agent (Barry Pepper-Saving Private Ryan, True Grit, the Green Mile) they set up an operation where John uses one of his trucks to transport drugs.
The deal is soured when a rival drug cartel attacks them and John impresses the head guy with his coolness under fire. At the drop off bust rather than get the local guy the DEA agent opts to go up the chain to the bigger fish. John takes some convincing but in the end decides to help them out with a few twists of his own.
The stars. Good story. While it sounds like another drug action movie there were a lot of things going on, like a strong social commentary regarding the mandatory drug laws and the struggle of an ex con trying to get his life in order. Lots of plates spinning that made the story really engaging. Two stars. Good acting from pretty much everyone, especially Jon Bernthal IMO. One star. The limited action felt realistic and also felt like a necessary part of the story. In other words, the action facilitated the plot instead of the plot being a rickety rack to hang the action on. There were no tacked on scenes that made the film seem stupider. Two stars. Overall an impressive and enjoyable film. Two stars. Total: seven stars.
The black holes. While I understand the director was trying to say something about the unfairness of mandatory drug laws after a while I got a little tired of him beating it into our heads with the subtlety of a baseball bat with nails driven through it. One black hole. Once in a while you could see the old Dwayne Johnson acting style bleed through, setting him at odds with his characters main tone. One black hole. Total: two black holes.
Five stars total. A decent film worth watching. Date movie? Maybe. It’s not too action so she might get into the story but no real romance besides the fact that the two main dudes are married with kids and love their families. While nothing in this film will offend or turn her off, there is nothing here to really aid in your campaign to get her clothes off. Bathroom break? That’s easy. Any of the scenes where John goes to visit his son in prison. There is a plot point established there but it is running over three scenes so you could easily miss one and lose nothing.
Thanks for reading. Kind of a short review but honestly the ones I like end up getting the kid treatment. I did see the new Die Hard yesterday as well and just might have a few more words to share on that train wreck later on. Look for that review later today or tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. Feel free to post comments on this film or my review at the bottom of this article. Off topic questions or comments can be emailed to email@example.com. Talk to you soon.
Definitely has a pulse.
Thousands of years from now when alien archeologists are sifting through the decayed ruins of our once mighty civilization some clever PhD student will write a thesis claiming that that the decline and fall of Western Civilization (if you know where that came from we should hang out and listen to music some time) started when the entertainment priests decreed that all forms of film need to appeal to to teenage girls. When you think about it, the film Interview with a Vampire turned vampires from horrible blood sucking monsters into teeny bopper dreamboats that goth girls swoon over, setting the stage for the inevitable worst case scenario, the entire Twilight series. We have recently seen the noble film role of brutal melee combat switched over with the Hunger Games, and now we see them make a stab at turning zombies into adolescent romance fulfillment.
First of all let me do a huge public service to any dumb teenage girls who think having a zombie boyfriend sounds like a good idea. The idea of zombies being so charmed by you and falling in love is ludicrous. No matter how much like a hipster dreamboat he may look like, when he gets close he will smell like death and try to eat your brains (new Caution sign courtesy of the Zombie T Shirt category). Of course, the same thing could be very well said about vampires (that they are evil blood suckers who only want your life essence and burst into flame in daylight, not pretty boy sparkle fairies) so I doubt any of you will listen.
On the drive home from this film I was worried that this, like Interview, would be patient zero for the deluge of zombie romance films but upon reflection I decided this is a seed not likely to take root. When you think about it Hollywood is fighting an uphill battle trying to convince us that zombies are sexy. They got away with in this film (more on that later) but the fact is they are animate rotting corpses and if there is anything remotely romantic about that for you do the world a favor and move to a pod at the bottom of the ocean please.
So this film was cute and I did indeed enjoy it. However, it could have been amazing and instead opted for trite and cute. This is the only real issue I have with this film. You see, the idea of societal integration of zombies has been well explored in great movies like Fido and Shaun of the Dead. In those films zombies are still rotting corpses but uses are found for them. In this film the zombies are coming back to life, but we only see ones who do are fortunate enough to not be missing their lower jaw, or have half their face rotted away.
Think how shocking and cool the story could have been if the main zombie had not been a hipster pretty boy (by the way, in retrospect it is pretty amazing how well hipster guys play zombies. When you think about it there is something zombie-ish about all hipsters: bad hair, pale skin, poor posture, and clothing that looks like they crawled out of a shallow grave wearing it. Put a picture of a zombie next to a picture of a guy stumbling home from Zeitgeist in San Francisco and I defy you to accurately tell the difference) but instead been a gross, rotting zombie missing half of one cheek (classic image) and most of one arm who starts to recover his faculties and falls in love with a living human. She then falls for him not because he looks like Elliot Smith but because he saves her life over and over again and shows that he cares for her. That would be a great story. Then imagine of all the zombies regained their facilities, even the Boneys, forcing humans to reintegrate with walking skeletons. But no, all the recovered zombies have to be more or less perfectly human and all the bad guys have to be horribly disfigured. Lazy.
By they way, for those of you who know me and believe me to be a zombie purist and are wondering why I am not incensed about the idea of zombies recovering their brains let me tell you that as a concept that one has been long established in books like The Omega Man and most of the Romero films. The idea is that as time goes by they learn more using what brains they have left. I don’t have an issue with it.
The story. It is eight years past the Zombie Apocalypse and power is still running in some airport. A zombie later named R (Nocholas Hoult-X-Men First Class, About a Boy, A Single Man) stumbles around with his friend M (Rob Corddry-Hot Tub Time Machine, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, What Happens in Vegas) running an inner monolog narrative that details the undead life. He collect things like vinyl records and knows how to play them (using batteries that have lasted eight years as well). Meanwhile in the last remaining human stronghold eight cool kids with no training or experience are sent out in the wild to recover drugs or something. Among them is Julie (Teresa Palmer-I am Number Four, Bedtime Stories, the Sorcerers Apprentice), the daughter of the local dictator (the great John Malkovich-Being John Malkovich, Burn After Reading, Con Air). They are in a hospital when R and a bunch of his cronies attack. The kids show how incompetent they are (one guy yells “Shoot the head!”. Thanks Captain Obvious) and get pretty much all chomped. R eats the brains of Julie’s boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco-21 Jump Street, Superbad, Fright Night) and gains some of his memories. He has some kind of emotional reawakening and falls in love with Julie. He rescues her from the group and hides her in his plane. At that point the film devolves into a goofy romantic survival movie, with R trying to keep Julie both alive and interested in him.
Meanwhile the “Boneys” (zombies who have degenerated to the point where they have no capacity for emotion at all and are walking skeletons) have a problem with all this newfound emotion. R’s reawakening spreads to M and then to all the others. The humans, zombies, and Boneys all scrum up in an epic battle. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but if you have any kind of deductive reasoning (and by any kind I mean if you can deduce that jumping into a swimming pool will get you wet) then literally no part of this film will surprise you.
The stars. Cute and fun. Two stars. Interesting twist on zombies. One star. Zombie movie. One star. John Malkovich. One star. The new creepy-old-man love of my life Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid Love, the Green Hornet, Damsel in Distress) was looking super cute in this, and Teresa Palmer is pretty easy on the eyes too. One star. Overall an enjoyable movies. Two stars. Total: eight stars.
The black holes. Trite, with missed opportunities to be awesome. One black hole. A four year old could have predicted how this film was going to end (and, for that matter, pretty much every scene in it). I guess plot twists are passé. One black hole. Every kid in this film, human or zombie, reminded me of every super cool kid in high school that I wanted to murder. Also the main kid might have been a zombie, but if hipster were a disease I know what he died of. One black hole. Total: three black holes.
So five stars total. A good movie, and worth seeing. Definitely on the light side, so don’t expect too much. I think even a hard core zombie fan could enjoy this as long as he or she doesn’t take it too seriously. Date movie? If she is into zombies, vampires, or anything even remotely nerdy than absolutely. If this doesn’t get you laid I don’t know what will. If she is not into any of these things she will probably still like it as it is cute and romantic, but she might be grossed out by some of the undead stuff. Bathroom break? There is a scene where R and Julie shack up in a house for the night that is not really critical for the story. Most of this film is worth seeing and it’s only 97 minutes so I’d say try to hold it.
Thanks for reading. I have been really kind in my reviews lately. I think I need to buckle down and see something awful so I can remember what is like to deliver righteous vengeance on to a deserving bad flick. Looks like Hansel & Gretal wins that honor. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Feel free to post any comments on this film or my review at the bottom of the page (if you don’t see a review section click here). Off topic questions or suggestions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon.