Movie reviews


#221

Oddly enough, gun handling was pretty good in this. In fact, someone racked a slide and a round came out at one point if I remember through the haze. Fingers on triggers when appropriate, along the slide on pistols unless shooting.

OTOH, when they were clearing a room they whipped around corners and shoved their weapons around them like they were trying to hand them to the bad guys. A lot of quick up and down motions presenting and lowering their carbines, a half hour of that and they’d be exhausted. Also too much fun button, but that’s a normal movie thing.

The AKs at the funeral led to a brief rage out. I’ve done that detail quite a bit and that’s just wrong. It was weird, because they were presenting them, firing them, and charging them just like we did with 16s, so someone bothered to do it right, but with a Russian gun.


#222

Or just try to park in any of the Metrocentres’ MSCPs. They recently resurfaced all three of them with this weird thick paint stuff (I think it might actually just be cement with paint in it) and good grief, my .9L car sounds like it’s in a high speed chase just driving on it. Accelerate a tad, SQUEAK, look at a corner, SQUEAL, think about taking the ramp up a level, SKWEEEE…


#223

.9 liters? Holy crap. I didn’t realize they made car engines that small. I think the smallest you can get in the US is 1.6L unless you’re buying a Smart Car or something like that (and to drive one of those around here it helps to have a death wish). My Mazda has a 2.0L engine and it’s just a regular 4 cylinder compact, nothing special.


#224

BTW, Jumanji gets the Woodman seal of approval. I went in expecting to hate it, and it was a fun little movie.

Watched it with Atmos sound and that was incredibly awesome.


#225

I concur. I had low expectations but I enjoyed it.


#226

That’s what she said.


#227

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a fun movie, mostly for watching skilled adult actors playing awkward and insecure teenagers that find themselves in bodies that are opposite their time. This includes Jack Black acting as a stuck-up popular teenage girl whose avatar is male.

I found the original book last month and it had a CD of Robin Williams reading the story. It was good to hear his voice again.


#228

No review for this one, but The Dark Crystal is back in theaters on four dates starting tomorrow: Feb. 25, 28, March 3 and 6. There’s a good article on the Fandom/Wikia site about “How ‘The Dark Crystal’ Universe Has Star Wars-Level Potential”, the upcoming Netflix series and the comic books.


#229

I appreciated the number of clever throw away lines. If I was a teenager is be communicating with my buddies in nothing but one liners from that movie, throwing in some random smoldering intensity


#230

Jack Black stole every scene he was in.


#231

I really think it was a wonderful combination of actors and they had something going on there. It helped that the kids had genuine things going on as well.


#232

I just recently, like this month, finally watched the original Jumanji. I’ll keep an eye out for the new one on Amazon/Redbox/Hulu/Vudu.


#233

There’s a reference to the first movie in this one. It’s very obvious, but because it’s underplayed, it comes across as natural and a nice reference to Robin’s part in the first movie.


#234

Black Panther is approaching its fourth week and it’s earned over a billion worldwide so far. It’s one of the few that I’ve seen twice while it’s still in theaters. I don’t plan on seeing it a third time, but I will be buying it when it’s available on Blu-ray for a reason that I’ll cover later.

It opens with a boy asking his father to tell him a story of their homeland and this sets the foundation for how the meteorite containing vibranium struck Africa, altering the biology of the plants, animals and humans. The movie says it increases strength, speed and reflexes, but my opinion is that it also increased intelligence, which is what allowed the people of Wakanda to develop technology that the 21st century is just barely starting to catch up to. They choose isolation so that what they’ve made doesn’t reach the outside world, and their cloaking devices keep their civilization and tech a secret.

But they do keep track of what’s going on through covert ops and “watchdog” groups. King T’Chaka deals with one agent who assisted with vibranium being stolen, with that agent being his brother.

Twenty years later, and one week after T’Chaka is killed (as shown in Captain America: Civil War), T’Challa prepares for his coronation by retrieving an undercover operative so they can attend the ceremony. The ceremony is trial by combat where the perimeter keeps shrinking so that the appointee to the throne and whomever might challenge him cannot back down. To make the fight even, the powers of the Black Panther are stripped from T’Challa.

 
You know, I’m going to skip giving an overview of the rest of the movie because there’s two points I want to cover that are more important.

The first is the main villain of the story, Killmonger. But as with any great villain, he’s not really a villain. He’s got a legitimate problem he’s trying to fix. He’s dedicated his life to training and obtaining the skills he would need in order to challenge for the throne. And that problem goes back to the isolationist stance Wakanda has held to: Why have you always sat back and watched when there’s so much suffering in the world? You’ve got the power, you’ve got the technology. Use it and right the wrongs.

It’s a stance that teaches T’Challa the cost of tradition, and it fixes a problem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Outside of Magneto, which at this point isn’t even an MCU character, the only other character to break out of “they’re bad because we say they’re bad” mold is Loki. You see the motivations that make Loki, Magneto and Killmonger work towards their goals, and it helps prove what Tom Hiddleston said a few years ago: “Every villain is a hero in his own mind.” That sentiment has been around in storytelling for centuries. Now Marvel is showing that they can get us to sympathize with the villains. It was needed.

 
Point #2, which is the “really cool thing” about the movie I mentioned a day or so ago, is the Wakandan alphabet. You can see a sample of it here, though I’m waiting for someone to combine it with the Wakanda-style English alphabet lettering, so you get the same effect as when it was used on-screen to identify places like London and Oakland, CA.

It was developed for the movie and appears everywhere. Signs, on the throne, inner-lip tattoos made with vibranium that serve as identification for native Wakandans, etc. But one of the most unexpected places turned out to be in the theater I first saw the movie in.

Theaters usually have cardboard displays to advertise upcoming movies. The one for Black Panther prominently featured BP in the center, and I noticed that the glowing purple areas of the suit contained the Wakandan alphabet. I got some pictures of it and there are messages in that bit of advertising. For example, I found the phrase “And I in going madam weep o’er my father.”

I want to find out what all the messages are, but it’s going to take a while. The way the alphabet was designed, it makes it difficult to figure out if each message was written backwards, upside down, if the letters were mirrored, or if it’s just spelling a nonsense word. There’s usually one distinct letter shape that helps you figure out the orientation.

What I think I noticed when I watched the movie the second time is those same letters might actually be in the BP suit in the movie. It glows purple like that when it’s storing up kintetic energy to be released. But if letters and words are actually appearing when this happens, then it would be interesting to see if they are changing each time.

And that’s why I want to buy this movie when it comes out on home video. I want to use freeze frame on different scenes and see what was slipped in there. And I want to find out if the people who made this movie took the time to add variations that could only be detected in this manner.

 
When you watch the movie, stick around for the in-credits scenes. The first ends with a very amused T’Challa being told, “That’s all very well and nice, but what you’re offering isn’t going to help much.” The second pays off a joke from the middle of the story.


#235

Very interesting - now I’m going to have to get the movie and see what I can translate. And I am so doing a “Wakanda Forever” button in Wakandan for ComiCon. :slight_smile:

I have to admit, I let out a little fangirl squee at the second after-credit scene, but it also makes perfect sense to have it in there.


#236

Was it Howard the Duck? It has to be.

Actually, trying to think of an even more obscure character, and most dial… I mean, Squirrel Girl is big now and may end up in a TV show, I hear.


#237

Nope. Think back. Who went missing at the end of Civil War?


#238

I was kind of surprised he didn’t show up before the end credits.


#239

Might as well name him. The director said that Bucky’s mental state wasn’t healed enough and he’d still be more of a weapon than a help if he was in the movie.

Here’s a sample picture of the Wakanda lettering in the movie display:

It’s rotated a quarter turn right for some reason, but that’s the shoulder and a little bit of the chest and neck. The shoulder part (the two lines towards the top, the way the picture is oriented here), give an example of how one line is upside-down from the other.


#240

I saw the new Tomb Raider movie tonight and I will probably do a review on it shortly. I think an easy way to distinguish it from the previous movies is that those were “pretty” and this one is “gritty”.

One big thing I learned tonight is the seating in the theater makes a big difference for me. The one I went to is known for having premium motorized reclining seats, so that means less seats per theater. Since the movie just premiered yesterday, the only seats available were down in front towards the edges, so that meant watching with my neck craned upwards and to the left. I’m still trying to get rid of the tension headache it caused. As I left the theater, I realized that the only way to look at the screen from a comfortable angle is to get a seat at the back. Add in that if you move in your seat a little bit, you’ve got a good chance of bumping against the recliner controls, and it can be startling to have the footrest suddenly move one way or the other.

So, while other people will find the luxury seating more to their taste, I’ll be going back to the theater that’s a little closer to where I live and making sure I wait at least two weeks after the premiere. They have the less fancy seats, so there’s more per theater and the delay will mean more empty seats to choose from that I also don’t have to select at the time I buy the ticket at a vertical height that’s more comfortable to watch the movie at.