Movie reviews


I thought the kid who played Spider-Man nailed it.

But what was up with Marisa Tomei as Aunt May? Isn’t Aunt May supposed to be in her 70s?


Hard to believe she is 51


Both Siglets (5 and 8 now, somehow) adored Angry Birds. My expectations were low; I was mostly just curious as to how they were going to try to graft a coherent story or universe onto a game where the heroes literally self-destruct in their attempts to destroy the villains. Not very well. Doesn’t matter. They adored it, we’ll have to buy it. It wasn’t as bad as Walking With Dinosaurs.


Zootopia came out on home video on Tuesday. Target had two exclusive versions that offered a different slipcase and a redeption code to unlock two online videos. Pretty much every Target store that I went to or checked online sold out of those versions within two or three days. I got one of the last four yesterday.

I wrote up two things for the Zootopia Wiki. The first is a buyer’s guide that describes what’s available in each version. The second is the announcement that points to that blog.

If the two exclusive videos have any appeal for you, you’ll have to find a Target store immediately that still has them in stock. There’s no guarantee there will be a second manufacturing run.


Exclusives don’t bother me too much, but I just said to $Wife yesterday that we need to get Zootopia on DVD/Blu-Ray for the extras. Thanks for the review!

We’re going to see the rerelease of the original Ghostbusters on the big screen this afternoon.


I think it was considered a “failure” because had it not been for what S.H.I.E.L.D. had been doing with the Tesseract, it never would have happened in the first place.

Similar with Sokovia. In both cases, The Avengers were needed because one or more members of The Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. dun goofed.


[quote=“Force10, post:101, topic:598, full:true”]
I thought the kid who played Spider-Man nailed it.
[/quote]Finally saw CA:CW last weekend. Totally agree. I want more of this kid as Peter Parker. He went total fanboy when Tony recruited him and it was awesome.

[quote=“Force10, post:101, topic:598, full:true”]But what was up with Marisa Tomei as Aunt May? Isn’t Aunt May supposed to be in her 70s?
[/quote]Don’t care. I want more Marisa Tomei.


I think that’s even less reason to consider it a failure. The Avengers were asked to form by SHIELD, but they were not really part of SHIELD and were certainly not responsible for what SHIELD did. In New York they just cleaned up the mess that was partly caused by SHIELD. In fact, Steve Rogers was one of the ones who was responsible for SHIELD being torn apart.
Sokovia was definitely down to Stark though.[quote=“dakboy, post:107, topic:598”]
Don’t care. I want more Marisa Tomei.

Yep, fully agree there.


Movie Review: Ghostbusters (1984) is still awesome. You may return now to your normal activities.

In all seriousness, a few effects have not aged well (the stop motion dogs being one major point) but it’s still very funny. I noticed a lot of little stuff I don’t think I ever really noticed, like Rick Moraines’ little bits where he’s possessed and mimics another character.

The special theatrical showing included a long trailer/behind-the-scenes bit for the modern remake. It doesn’t look bad. Honestly, the biggest thing I wish as different about it was that it was somehow a continuation (with the characters rediscovering the ‘business’ after 15 years with some ties to the origionals) instead of a total reboot with the original characters as cameos. Especially since it looks like there’s going to be more than a few, “Look, it’s a reference to the original!” scenes in it. Still, willing to give it a shot.


I watched Fantastic Lies last night. 100 minutes of the Duke Lacrosse team rape accusation story.

The timeline of the documentary mirrors the timeline of the events, so if you don’t know how it ended, minor spoiler below. We probably talked about it a decade ago on a previous incarnation of the boards.

I spent the first hour getting super ragey watching the boys get raked over the coals and the whole country get up in arms over everything they could connect to white privilege, rape culture, misogyny and anything else all over again.

Then 40 minutes watching Nifong’s case get shredded and his DNA expert get destroyed by a junior attorney who had 15 minutes to prepare for cross examination.

People were furious at the time that the players and coach put up a wall of silence. Turns out it was the best possible thing they could have done. But the university didn’t stick up for them. No one would except for their parents.

But the weakass mea culpas from the 2 media people they got on film don’t put those kids’ lives back together.

Edit: it hit me tonight that the primary thing that saved these kids from being wrongfully convicted was the very thing that made everyone immediately assume their guilt - the fact that they were rich kids being protected by The Establishment. If their parents didn’t have the resources to pay for the attorneys they had…shudder


Range 15, the best bad movie I’ve seen in my life. I laughed harder than I have in ages, for about an hour’s worth of the movie.

It was horribly offensive, there is a scene that makes fun of someone’s disability for a solid 10 minutes, and I laughed through the whole thing.

And I walked out more thoughtful about my time in the service than I have been in a long time. The making of ran right after the movie. It was a great thing to share with fellow veterans, and I think it gave my wife a window into that time in my life. A sick twisted, and funny window, but still, a window.


Oh, and forget watching that movie @dakboy my TV has years of life left in it, I don’t need to be throwing shit at it.


I saw X-Men: Apocalypse about two weeks ago. This is another case where I’m finding it difficult to write a review about it, but now I have less to say about it than I did with Captain America: Civil War. It’s kind of like “I saw it and I enjoyed watching it, so it wasn’t a waste of time”, but that’s about it.

We finally get to see the younger Charles Xavier become bald, Mystique learns to be a leader and a teacher, and we see the mutants at the school transition from just being students into also being fighters. There’s also enough planetary devistation that you wonder how they’re going to rebuild. Quicksilver still looks a bit odd when he’s running, and at one point, he even calls himself a loser that still lives in his mom’s basement.

I guess maybe the reason why I’m having a harder time with this movie is a couple of “fridge logic” issues:

  1. Apocalypse is the “first mutant”, he can supercharge other mutants and he transfers his consciousness into other bodies when the one he’s currently is starts having problems due to old age. He refers to all mutants as his “children”. But it isn’t explained if he is responsible for all other mutants showing up afterwards or if they developed on their own and he found them and picked which ones he wanted to make his Four Horsemen.

  2. Quicksilver listens to music on a Walkman while he’s running. Unless his mutant powers allow him to speed up the function of the cassette player, he shouldn’t be able to hear anything out of the earbuds. He can run several thousand or several tens of thousands of miles per hour. Sound at that speed should just be one long, continuous tone, not music.

  3. Likewise, during one pretty impressive sequence that shows off how fast he actually is, he takes a drink out of a soda can that got knocked into the air. As fast as he was moving, the soda should have been more like a solid than a liquid. But he still does it.

There’s quite a few references to the previous movies and the global devistation I mentioned does kind of lead the way for if they wanted to do another movie, they could explore how the world copes with the recovery.

You know. That sounds familiar…


I’m still on track for seeing movies about two weeks after they premiere so the theaters aren’t so crowded and I can get there with my snacks and avoid most of the previews. As much as a nuisance as those can be, the funny thing is that I decided to watch “Nothing But Trailers” on AXS TV last night. Two hours of movie previews, with at least one repeat on some of them.

Anyway, Saturday’s excursion was for Independence Day: Resurgence. Yup, 20 years after the aliens take out our major landmarks, it’s time to see what’s become of the place.

Well, the answer is that the nations of the Earth finally see that they need to get along with each other, and the alien technology has been used to improve aircraft, space vehicles and weaponry. In fact, construction is wrapping up on a defensive base on the moon and travel between the Earth and the moon is commonplace and doesn’t take long. There’s a mishap that’s prevented with minimal damage that no one seems to get around to investigating the cause of, but everyone quickly has other things to think about when an unidentified spaceship shows up out of nowhere.

Everyone’s not sure what to do, especially since people have started having visions of it over the past few weeks, months or earlier. They make the decision and hope it’s the right one.

Just about then, big mama alien queen shows up with a ship that’s 3,000 miles in diameter. Seems that one of the ships from the first attack managed to get off a distress signal and she ain’t happy. Her ship can drill to the core of planets and use that for energy.

From there, it’s massive battles and massive destruction, and the queen personally gets involved in the fight. Word to the wise: do not get her mad. You may live just long enough to regret it.

I think I’ll stop there because I want to cover some of the background of the movie. They got back pretty much everyone they could from the first movie, with the exception of Will Smith. Smith was “too expensive” and busy working on Suicide Squad. Robert Loggia only had a cameo as General William Grey, but according to Wikipedia, somewhere on the War of 1996 website, it says he became the 43rd President of the United States after Bill Pullman’s Thomas Whitmore finished his second term in 2001. I had forgotten that Loggia had died last year and I almost didn’t recognize him on screen. Alzheimer’s wasn’t kind to him the past few years.

There’s many references to the first movie and I think one for Jurassic Park. Brent Spiner’s even better this time around as Dr. Brackish Okun. And Liam Hemsworth showed up in another role that I didn’t recognize him in because he didn’t have a beard or the Odinson accent. The first was the Hunger Games movies. No, actually it was the Star Trek reboot movie that I saw before any of the Hunger Games movies.

Going along with the movie is the tie-in material. There’s a six-issue comic book series by Titan Comics that is one of the prequels to this sequel, with the other being a novel called Independence Day: Crucible. And that War of 1996 website I mentioned before has a link for “Join the ESD” (Earth Space Defense), a website that will allow access to some exclusive content and show how the “missions” you go on have related careers in the U.S. Army.

Two last notes: After the first movie came out, there was a series of “Area 51” books written by Robert Doherty that looked like they might be related to the movie. Nope. They’re separate, and that’s the pseudonym of Bob Mayer, who wrote a separate group of “Area 51” books.

Second, as the film was wrapping up, they use the drilling to the Earth’s molten core as a countdown timer. Great plot device that gives a sense of urgency and danger. But it’s another case of “fridge logic” where if you think about how close they actually got, the Earth is about to experience an artificial volcano that’s going to rush 1800 miles upwards and insta-boil who knows how many thousands of cubic miles of ocean water. That ain’t gonna be pretty. This was just as conveniently ignored in the first Austin Powers movie.

All in all, it’s a good movie. It’s worth seeing.


Quick bit of news: the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman does more than just add scenes and change it to an R-rated movie. Those additional scenes fix a lot of problems in the story from the original the theatrical version. There’s a page on that lists what those differences are, and then there’s a review of the Ultimate Edition where the reviewer had skipped the theatrical release.


OK, time running down to the new Ghostbusters reboot. Still don’t know why they had to trash canon to give another origin story. Still not sure how gender flipping the cast is edgy or supposed to make it better.

Still not sure how “Bridesmaids” humor translates to a scene for scene reboot of totally different humor. It’s possible this version could be closer to the original desire for Belushi and Murphy.

I do know the new promos with “Girls can do this” BS tags are some of the most annoying ads ever. The controversy over the female leads is just a small part of the uproar here. In case Hollywood has forgotten, people get pissed when you break their stuff. Aliens 3 and beyond, the latest Terminator, the RoboCop reboot, but they are happy when things are done correctly, Creed, Predator 2, and Phantom Menace vs. Force Awakens.

At this point I hope it flops, the director didn’t like the original movies, the cast and producers are being total dicks, and the trailers are just bits of one liners strung together with some really low hanging fruit in there.


I’m kinda with you on this. From what I recall, whoever came up with the idea went out of their way to try to get Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson to publicly approve of the reboot and regendering before it was announced. Like they were already anticipating being on the defensive. That made me suspicious - you shouldn’t have to plan a massive defense for a good idea. Fast forward to now and the advertising doesn’t make me want to run out and see it. I don’t even think I’d waste a Redbox free movie code on renting it, probably just wait until it is available to stream for free somewhere, which shouldn’t take long. The biggest turn off is casting Melissa the Hutt McCarthy - she’s just awful. The only things I’ve seen her in that were good were either in spite of her, or because she didn’t have creative input, or both. I don’t know her personally, but the impression I get from what I’ve seen of her is that she’s just a horrible horrible person.


I saw two movies recently.

Secret Life of Pets is a pretty solid animated movie. Lots of good moments for dog owners, and a few for cat owners. It’s not a particularly surprising storyline, but you probably aren’t expecting one. $Wife and I have the constant discussion about what Noodle does when we’re not there. (The consensus is sleep, and he’s crate-trained anyway, so…)

My one thought is that Pixar wins due to verisimilitude. They think through the world very, very well. This is (in many ways) Toy Story but with pets instead of toys. However, the pets are mostly limited to Things Pets Could Do, yet this rule gets broken a lot. They’re ‘cartoon’ in the sense that they can operate electronics or such when it’s funny. And they are shown in the ‘normal day’ scenes being destructive: For example, in one trailer the cat destroys the contents of a fridge, and this is portrayed as normal, or at least something that will not surprise the eventual owner.

Pixar movies seem driven to rationalize this, less so the filmmakers here. Still a good movie, though. Lots of celebrity voices, albeit not as forced as some of the early Dreamworks productions.

We also saw Ghostbusters (2016) and we enjoyed it. The original is still better and, yes, this one is a bit more slapstick than the original, but it is still entertaining. I thought they made the right choice in that it was less of a clone of the original than I expected. Sure, it has the arc of “academics kicked out due to beliefs, start dubious private enterprise, get involved to stop big monster eating NYC” but it mostly diverges there.

One big difference is there’s no real capitalist thread to the story. The Origional Ghostbusters (OG from here out) were totally in it for the money (even if you got the idea that Stanz and Spengler probably would use it for research funds) and the ‘first mission’ and inevitable montage are about them doing business and enjoying the fame. That’s not here: the group refuses the call and tries to be a private research group as long as they can, only really accepting the name near the end. The characters aren’t perfect analogs. We go from:

  • Leading Man “face” of the group who never studied and is one step removed from a con-man.
  • Emotionless Scientist
  • Child-like Scientist/gear-head
  • Hired Gun/Only Sane Man

The new crew is more:

  • Enthusiastic scientist (McCarthy’s character does a lot of physical humor as you should expect, and is a ‘true believer’ even before they start gathering evidence.
  • Reluctant believer (Wiig’s character formerly wrote a book with McCarthy’s that is an old shame as she’s a “serious” professor in particle physics. This goes weird as she’s drawn into the weirdness.)
  • Mad Scientist/Engineer (Don’t remember the actresses name, but she starts feeling like a “sidekick” to McCarthy’s character, then develops her own personality. She’s a lot more outgoing than Egon, and comes off as a bit more of a ‘cowboy’ (than someone building unlicensed man-portable nuclear accelerators…) with more than a little influence from the modern archetype of the techy/maker/startup engineer who prototypes with anything they can get their hands on.)
  • Source of Information (Patty is going to be compared to Winston from the original, but gets an important (and interesting) trait in that she apparently has a near-psychic memory for history of various NYC structures. They really didn’t go to the “angry black woman” stereotype much.)

So, different team, and a different mission. The OG were in it for the money. The new ones are more in it for vindication that they’re not crazy. It makes the motivations a bit different, even if the finale is still saving the world.

There’s a lot of cameos, mostly welcome. They even stuck Harold Ramis in as a bust in an appropriate scene!

It’s not perfect. The third act is a bit weak, something I recently read is considered common among modern movies. This is suggested to be because they’re being made with the franchise and Cinematic Universe in mind. There’s few cringey moments in my mind. Overall, though, I did enjoy it.

I still would have preferred this be in the same universe. I’ve seen some clever idea as to how it could have been, and even a crazy theory should the powers that be want to do a sequel and unify things (hint: multiple dimensions) but that’s all just rumors.

There’s certainly better movies, but it’s by no means horrible.


Considering the canon, this would have been the best. They could even have had the same sort of startup, but in the left coast instead, with one of them watching old youtube videos of NY, which of course the rest of the nation ignores from 20 years ago.

But, less fuss, less free advertising, more liability to actually tell a new story. And required a director who liked the original.


Ooh, Ghostbusters in LA (or maybe SF). That could be cool.