Movie reviews


#81

International Bigamy? Or is it really since it’s two commonwealth nations?


#82

Well, now I’ve seen Deadpool. Cute concept, but I still haven’t been able to find an explanation of how he’s aware he’s a comic book character. Came close to laughing a couple of times, but couldn’t quite get past a smile at those points. And seriously? Colossus has never seen anyone get killed before?

I stayed as long as I could, but in the end, my bladder won out just as Vanessa removed Wade’s mask and I decided I wasn’t going to go back in for the credits. I’m not even sure if I want to rent it later to see what I missed. I thought I was fully aware of what was going to be in this movie and even had watched the “red band” trailer, but still, it felt like someone said, “We’ve got the green light to make this R rated. Don’t hold back. Spew out as many profanities as you want. No, keep going. We need at least one profanity per minute of film. That’s 108 profanities, folks. How many can we put in? 200? 300? 500? 1000?”

Roger Ebert wrote in his review of Death to Smoochy 14 years ago: “It uses four-letter language as if being paid by the word.” Deadpool does, too. That’s disappointing. And I’m disappointed that I went against my better judgement and saw this movie. I would have enjoyed it more if they had taken more care to choose when to put in the profanity. I don’t begrudge them the use of it, just the fact that it was overdone.


#83

One theory is that since his brain is constantly rebuilding due to his healing factor he just thinks he’s in a comic. Another is that since he’s aware of every part of his body so much, he understands how the world works and his place in it, including the fact that it’s a comic book. The main reason is apparently because when he started as a character everyone assumed he was going to be cancelled at any moment so they just went crazy with him.

As far as cursing, there was much less than 108 minutes of a couple average military dudes talking. I still slip back into that when I’m talking to one of those old friends.


#84

That kind of makes sense on the first and third ones. A healing ability can rebuild brain matter and structure, but that’s no gurantee that it can restore the information stored at the point(s) of injury. So, I could see that new information would find its way there, and maybe a heightened awareness of what’s going on. And if the comic book you’re working on could get cancelled at any time, why not go with wild ideas?

Regarding the profanity, though it may have been less than what occurs in some situations, it just still seemed like too much. There’s no thought to it, no care in choosing when to say it. It becomes meaningless, and at that point, you might as well just leave it out. Rhett Butler’s “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” had impact and meaning. George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” can actually be a thoughful discussion about their use. But with what I see and hear from a lot of people and in a film like this, I begin to wonder how long it will be before every word in their sentences are only profanities.


#85

Which the X-men movies used positively to explain Wolverine’s amnesia.


#86

Also used to explain why he’s bat shit insane. Since neural pathways get “healed” as they form. Though old “damage”, his basic personality in his head, can’t be healed. Taken to it’s conclusion, he can’t learn anything new, and is a total basket case. I think it’s just handwavium someone didn’t think all the way through.

@RRabbit42, at times more than 50% of what I was saying was profanity. And I often used one word for a noun, verb, adjective and adverb in the same sentence. I’ve toned that down since then, 20+ years ago, but I doubt the way soldiers have spoken has changed in hundreds of years. I can get you saying it was too much for you, but I didn’t even really notice it.


#87

He speaks truth.


#88

This week, we’ve got Zootopia, the latest computer animated movie from Disney, or if you’re in the UK, it’s called Zootropolis because I guess it’s too similar in title to Zooropa by U2. The premiere date there is March 25th, so we’ll have to wait to see if anything else was changed since the main city is named Zootopia and there’s a “Welcome to Zootopia” sign in the movie.

It’s the story of the Earth without humans but the animals have developed equivalent technology and cultures: pop music, electricity, cameras, cars, trains, parking meters, smart phone and apps, clothing, you name it. And that city of Zootopia has different areas where the habitat and landscape matches what different animals need, such as arctic, jungle and arid conditions.

Judy Hops is a young rabbit that wants to grow up to be a police officer, and what better place to help people as one than Zootopia, where “Anyone can be anything”? In keeping with that motto, she’s the first bunny graduate of a new equal opporturnity program put together by Zootopia’s mayor. But as she learns on her second day on the job, the city isn’t the idealistic place she thought it would be and she has to prove herself to everyone. Her determination helps her in investigating a case that the rest of the police aren’t making any headway on, and it goes a lot further than she was expecting with help from Nick, a small-time hustler who stays just on this side of the law that she tricks into helping her.

The artwork of the movie is very beautiful and a lot of effort went into making the city believable and recognizable, where the different sizes of the animals are taken into account when designing things like public transportation. It’s also interesting in that it’s both obvious and subtle in how issues of stereotypes, preconceived notions and bullying are addressed. Even when it’s something like Nick reciting what he’s pieced together of Judy’s background, or the desk sergent talking about he’s a stereotype, it doesn’t come off as a fourth wall break or being preachy. It’s just people having a conversation.

My experience in watching this movie was completely different than all other movies I go see in a theater. First, this is the first one I can remember where I went to see it on opening weekend. I prefer to wait a few weeks so the crowds thin out and I have a better choice of seats. But because I did this, I got to listen to some of the audience around me reacting to the movie. Suprisingly, I don’t think I heard any kids laughing at the jokes, but the adults definitely did because they could relate more directly to what was going on, such as the scene where Judy and Nick go to the DMV, or when Judy’s parents do a “wonderful” job of giving her advice on what to do in life.

The reason why I could spare some attention for what was going on around me was due to the second reason why this was a different experience. I purchased the Zootopia Junior Novel about a month ago, so I knew about 80-90% of what would happen in the movie, just not how it would look when it happened. Junior novels are, after all, written for younger readers and have to summarize some of the events.

I did this to prove a point and to verify something. I do a lot of work on wikis and on a couple of them, the people have gotten in the habit of taking small pieces of info from movie trailers, articles, etc., and blowing them up out of proportion to where they’re completely convinced that they know everything about what a character is, what their motivations are and what they will do. “The character’s on screen for five seconds in this trailer, so that must mean they’re the main antagonist and they’ve got this huge, complicated plan to rule the galaxy and I know exactly how they’re going to do it and exactly where that character ranks in relation to all other characters.” And that’s before the movie has even premiered.

In the case of Zootopia, this was happening with the mayor, twisting him into this horrible monster that orders the murder of the assistant mayor. Thanks to the fact that the Junior Novel and a few other related books came out quite a bit ahead of time, I was able to find out the truth and confirm it by watching the movie.

Did it ruin my enjoyment by reading the story ahead of time? No. I had the time to take in details that would have required a second or third viewing of the movie to catch, such as seeing Judy’s nose twitching, just like bunnies in our world do. The small details that show the film crew and artists are paying attention and really care about the movie they’re making. Being able to think “that sounds like Tim Conway”. (It wasn’t.) Or wondering if when Maurice LaMarche was doing his impression of The Godfather, was he doing it based off of Marlon Brando or Dom DeLuise’s Don Giovanni from Robin Hood: Men in Tights? And hearing the audience around me identify the pop culture references strewn in the movie, such as the guy selling bootleg DVDs of “Wrangled” or a certain TV show that played on AMC. The movie parodies are all Disney movies, but Disney came up with some other “Zootopia-fied” posters of recent movies like “Bridge of Sloths” and “Mad Yax: Furry Road” that you can see over on the Fandango website.

This is a movie I can recommend that just about anyone can watch, though there’s a couple of scenes that would be very scary for really young kids around about 4 or 5. I think I even reacted a little bit to how menacing and scary those were, which shows how effective the filmmakers were in those scenes.


#89

There was an awesome jump scare in there. I watched it with my now 9 year old daughter and two friends and my wife Friday night.

It was pretty clever, and there are a lot of things going on at once there, good movie for rewatching. I thought it sounded like Tim Conway too, looks like him some as well.


#90

Well, it’s possible they might replace the name of the city and the sign after all, because there’s already reports of regionalized versions of the movie, where one of the newscasters is a different animal, depending on which country you’re watching the movie in. For the US and Canada, it’s a moose. Brazil gerts a jaguar, Japan gets a tanuki, and Australia and New Zealand feature a koala.

And since those animals are different sizes, it means that the spotted leopard that is the co-anchor also needed to be animated slightly differently so she can maintain eye contact when she talks to the other person.

I can’t tell if the second picture over on the Cheezburger website is the tanuki or the koala. Small update: that’s the tanuki, as shown here on Tor.com, and via one other site, they also report the moose is in the version for France, Germany and Finland, while China gets a panda. UK is reported to get a corgi, but people are saying that since there are no dogs shown in the movie and dogs are a human-raised animal, they wouldn’t be in there.

Oh, and regarding one of the last jokes in the film, I get why they put that joke in but I just can’t quite figure out how it’s supposed to actually work, given what was shown about that character earlier in the movie. The two are direct contradictions of each other.


#91

I finally saw The Martian this weekend. Read the book on vacation last summer.

I enjoyed it, and I’ll watch it again, but as someone who really liked the book, it was frackin’ frustrating. So much stuff that was done without explanation, or skipped over entirely. I kept saying “but what about X!? why aren’t they explaining Y!? He didn’t even get to Z!” I could have used another 30-45 minutes of to get more of that covered. I’ve heard that in the US anyway, there are no plans for an extended/director’s cut, which is really too bad - both The Abyss and Terminator 2 benefited greatly from restoring footage that was cut from their theatrical releases.


#92

Ah yes, the version of The Abyss where the ending actually made some sort of sense.

Sunbeam and I took the siglets to Zootopia on Sunday afternoon. Siglet Primus (aged 8) loved it, although I don’t think he laughed as much as his parents did. Siglet Secundus (aged 5) found it too intense and frightening and asked to leave a few times. We never quite got all of the way out of the theater; I think he watched the ending through his fingers, in my arms.


#93

Did the jump scare get you? I almost dumped my jumbo drink down my pants.


#94

I want to see this movie so bad.

It’s very similar to my Abbey of St. Cenodoxus project, but I don’t mind at all.


#95

I saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice during the week after it premiered. I had read some of the reviews that amounted to saying it was okay but could have been better. One I agreed with is that the movie did a good job of setting up why Bruce Wayne hates Superman, though I think that line of “if there’s even a 1% chance he could be bad, we have to take him out” was a bit extreme. Another review brought up some fans’ objections to Batman using guns, even if some of it was in a dream sequence, but I didn’t have a problem with that. My take on this Batman is he’s practical enough to use guns if necessary, rather than the previous stances of “my parents were killed by a gun so I’ll never use them”.

The biggest part of the movie I was pleased with is the Batman voice. The past couple of movies have had the actor growl the Batman voice, which makes it harder to understand what they are saying. When it’s really bad, you begin to wish the theater had closed captioning so you can read the dialogue on screen while you’re watching the movie. This Batman uses voice-changing technology and I didn’t have any problem understanding him. It was a nice touch that during the final fight when Batman’s helmet got damaged, the voice changer kept cutting in and out.

Though I did enjoy the movie, it left me confused in several places. The first was the title. They made a big deal of changing it from “Batman vs. Superman” to “Batman v Superman”, and that’s the way lawsuits are titled. Plaintiff v Defendant. The closest they ever got to any kind of legal procedings was when Superman has to show up in front of the Senate, but that didn’t involve Batman or Bruce Wayne and was overshadowed by what the Senator played by Holly Hunter was doing.

The way she was coughing or choking or whatever it was made me think Lex Luthor had released some kind of airborne poison or biological agent into the room. But I don’t think he did that because that would have been wasted effort due to what he did do. Or did he do both just to be thorough or just a jerk, more than when he makes his point with the jar of “Grandma’s Peach Tea”? Or was that evaorating and becoming the airborne poison/agent, to give her a nudge that something big was about to happen?

In regards to Lex Luthor, it’s a given that he’s going to be bald at some point, so people objecting to him having hair during most of the film is a lot like that old Saturday Night Live skit where an actor is being interviewed about being in The King and I and all the reporter can focus on is that he isn’t bald like Yul Brynner. It gets to the point where no matter how much the actor tries to point out that in the play it’s not a factor, she’s fixated on it and he then breaks down and tears the wig off his head, showing that he’s stuck playing the character bald because Brynner did in the movie. In the theater I went to, I heard a couple of teenage girls giggling at the scene where Lex loses his hair, but I couldn’t tell if they were giggling at Jessie Eisenberg the actor getting his hair cut off, or if it was at Lex Luthor the character getting his hair cut off.

I think my issue with how Lex Luthor was portrayed was the same reaction I had when I saw Sam Rockwell play Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2: “What is this guy doing being in charge of a company?” Lex inherits it from his dad, but still. If I worked for him, I’d be looking for a different job quick.

 
Another point of confusion is where the two cities are located. I always thought Gotham and Metropolis were a lot farther apart. In this movie, they’re just across the river from each other. If that’s the case, then Perry White’s comment about crime in Gotham being standard comes across as a bit elitist. It’s like he said, “Gotham has crime, but Metropolis doesn’t.” Really? Your next door neighbor is a cess pool of crime but your city is a paragon of virtue? All of the criminals stay on the other side of the river? Somebody dressing up as a bat and being a vigilante to fight crime is meaningless because it’s happening two miles away?

But as I was typing this, I did a search for how close they’re supposed to be. The answer is that it’s changed over the years, but it’s essentially both are New York City, but Gotham is the NYC you see at night and Metropolis is NYC you see during the daytime, or Metropolis is the better parts of NYC and Gotham is the worse parts. Or according to an article on Quora, the “DC Heroes Atlas” puts Gotham in New Jersey and Metropolis in Delaware. But according to a different article on CinemaBlend, this Metropolis is both a city and a District/State, kind of like Washington D.C. Whichever one it is, Perry White still sounds like a snob.

 
If I had to pick one scene I was most disappointed in, it would be the one where Batman stops fighting Superman. That was a really weak reason. Batman stops the fight because of a coincidence? Who came up with that?

But on the positive side, DC did better with setting things up for future movies than I thought they would. My concern was that DC’s about five years behind Marvel in terms of changing their movies from independent films that have no connection to each other, to a more cohesive whole. They’ve still got the fundamental problem that they’re going for a “multiverse” approach so they won’t be copying Marvel’s Cinematic Universe where the versions of the characters we see in the different Marvel movies are all the same characters, whereas with DC, if the Joker shows up in more than one movie, it may be a different Joker from a different universe.

Because this “it’s a multiverse” approach sputtered four years earlier when Green Lantern didn’t do so well, I thought DC was going to have to cram everything about the upcoming movies into BvS. CinemaBlend says that the way they did do it derailed the movie, but I didn’t see it that way. It was presented as “here’s a little bit of info about the characters you’re going to see more from shortly”.

 
So overall, I thought it was okay but confusing. If you haven’t seen it yet, it will be at least worth renting.


#96

I like the poetic aspect of Gotham/Metropolis as night & day. I vaguely also remember reading some material that suggested Metropolis was supposed to be more of a Chicago analog. This makes some sense, with the idea that Chicago is certainly big enough to be a ‘big deal’ for a superhero and Smallville to Chicago is still a big deal of a move.

I’ve decided I just can’t care about the B v S movie or the attempt to build a franchise off it. The DC works just don’t have a sense of fun, and I feel like Marvels are losing that sense too, with notable exceptions like Guardians of the Galaxy. Maybe Ant Man, which I have yet to see. Big Hero 6, although that’s essentially de-Marvelized and more of the Disney Animated canon than anything else at this point. These have grim dark moments, but also show that it is indeed cool and awesome to be a superhero, even if your peers come at the cost of being the last survivor of a back-alley murder of your entire planet after being bitten by a radioactive wombat and something something aliens.


#97

Yeah, Marvel is going into the dark period now. Civil war could easily be the low point of the whole plan. And Dr. Strange isn’t exactly comedy material. Maybe GG2 or the Black Prince movie will pull out of the depressive slump.

But that’s OK, we’ll always have International Women’s Rights Day.


#98

I’m not super familiar with Doctor Strange, but I’ve seen him in a ‘fun’ role in some. Honestly, he almowt sounds like he’d be a great option for a CGI-heavy Netflix/Marvel series that takes a page from Benedict Cumberbund’s primary big hit, Sherlock and does 3-4 ‘mini movies’ a season. He seems like a good supporting character, but not sure if he can or should carry a film series.


#99

I got to see Captain America: Civil War a few days after the premiere. I have been trying to come up with a longer review for it to match the other ones I’ve done in the past, but so far, I don’t have as much to say about it. Maybe that will change if I go see it again. It isn’t a case of I didn’t like it. I did. I guess I’m just having a hard time figuring out what I might want to say about it.

In general, it’s a story of Captain America’s search for his friend, Bucky Barnes, who has been indoctrinated and conditioned to be the Winter Soldier. That friendship comes into conflict with the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron, where people are saying, “You guys are out of control and you need to be reigned in.” Though he sees they have a point and believe that oversight is the correct answer, he also sees where it will lead. After receiving some advice from a friend, he can’t in good concience sign the registration document.

Tony Stark is on the opposite side. When he’s given the reason that leads him to comply, I saw an echo of his “It’s a hoot that you don’t get why we need this” speech to Thor and Scarlet Witch’s assessment of he can’t tell the difference beween saving the world and destroying it in Age of Ultron.

It’s a movie that will make you see both sides of the issue as being valid. It also helped me see that Kevin Smith may have been right about his assessment of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. People didn’t like Smith for saying back around 2007 or so “Why couldn’t this really bad person have started as some emo kid?” The villain’s motivations for his actions in Civil War could have come off as kind of the same. “Oh, you got hurt and now you’re going to make everyone pay. Boo hoo.” Well, it didn’t. We accept what he did and why he did it. It’s part of a good story.

I think I’ll wrap this up by confirming what one reviewer wrote. There’s a lot of characters in this movie, but every one of them has an important part to play in it, even when they only have a couple of lines in a scene. When Peter Parker/Spider-Man shows up, it wasn’t a case of “We got an agreement to use this character so shove him into the movie no matter what.” I think the next Spider-Man movie will be pretty good, especially if Marvel can be more directly involved in its creation.


#100

I really liked the movie. I thought the Spiderman portrayal was one of the best I’ve seen and based on that I’ll want to see that movie.

The one jarring note that I didn’t like was when they were given the list of "failures"
There is no way that New York could be considered a failure. The alternative to the Avengers showing up there was that New York would have been levelled and the population killed/enslaved. Yes, there was collateral damage, but it would have been so much worse if the Avengers hadn’t helped. Same with a couple of the other major “failures”.
Sokovia - Yep, I’ll give them that. It was pretty much Tony Stark’s arrogance that caused all the problems there. Ironic that he is now the one that the government trusts.