Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Justice League Review

Well, the Justice League movie finally came out.  It was a movie. That played in theaters. So, uh...yeah I guess that happened...

Look after four movies, only one of which can be considered anything remotely resembling "good", it's not a surprise that people (myself included, obviously) were a tad skeptical as to whether or not uniting the league was going to be anything but painful, and that was before we heard about all the production problems, the director switch, the re-shoots, and Henry Cavill's CGI-mustache removal.

Yup they spent something on the order of $25 million giving Cavill a digital shave so he could appear in the re-shoots without changing his look from the next Mission: Impossible movie.  You'd think at that point DC/WB might've pushed back from the table and said "you know what, let's rethink this thing. How about we delay this release a few months and give everybody time to re-assess and re-work this project into something fans and casuals alike can enjoy while saving ourselves $25 million in additional costs in the process?"

But yeah, it's the DCEU, making rushed, highly reactive, and otherwise bad decisions is kind of their forte.  Pity it isn't making good movies because Justice League is pretty much exactly what we all expected it would be: the kind of tangled matte of CGI scruff that inevitably results from years of poor decision-making.  Hence it's getting savaged by the critics, of which I am certainly one.  So without further ado, let's take the razor to the gnarled mess that is Justice League:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok Review

The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps chugging along, this time with the release of Thor's third movie, Thor: Ragnarok. Since the first two Thor movies are widely considered some of Marvel's weakest offerings (an opinion I share), there wasn't much in the way of excitement for another solo Thor outing when it was announced.

Then the trailer came out, and boy did that change.  Instead of Shakespeare in the Park, suddenly Thor was like some crazy 80s-inspired sci-fi/fantasy/comedy mashup.  Plus the Hulk showed up in one of the most hilarious reveals we've ever gotten in a trailer. After that, I, like many other people, was pretty excited to see Thor: Ragnarok. It looked like it would be a ridiculously fun watch, which is saying something since this whole MCU universe only works because Marvel keeps finding ways to make the movies entertaining even if they aren't that great.

For once, looks were not deceiving. Ragnarok is indeed ridiculously fun, and I had a great time with it overall. There's still reasons to be cranky about it though, so let's talk about them:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery Season Premiere Review

Well by now it's on its sixth or seventh episode, but when Star Trek: Discovery's premiere came out I did review it like I did with The Orville because hey, I'm a huge Star Trek fan and I had to at least give it a shot despite my poor first impressions from trailers and such.

Like with The Orville, I did my level best to give it a chance to prove me wrong.  Despite the tone, the weird look with the Klingons, the SJW nonsense with the casting decisions, and the political commentary by the cast and crew, I went into it hoping for a good show because I wanted to see good Star Trek again.

Sadly, Discovery is not good Star Trek. Frankly this show isn't Star Trek at all.  It doesn't even fit in with the JJ Abrams reboot, which itself already turned Star Trek's corpse into a mindless zombie searching for brains, and unlike the reboot which could at least claim to be paced well enough to make you forget how stupid it is, Discovery fails on just about every level.

Fortunately for me though, STD is locked up inside CBS All Access so even though they're going to give it a second season, this will probably be the last time I'll ever have to talk about it:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

American Made Review

Continuing in our series of "why the hell haven't you put a post up for your latest review yet, Cranky??", we have American Made, a comedic biopic starring Tom Cruise! This one is based on the "true story" of Barry Seal, an airline pilot who got roped into running guns and drugs for the CIA back in the 70s and 80s. That's certainly more innocent sounding than the guy probably was in real life, but hey it's Hollywood, what can you do.

It's been quite a year for trailers since this was another one that got me into the theater. Maybe it's just that I've been on the lookout lately for just about anything that isn't a comic book movie or sequel to something I know that I can check out, but in any case, the trailer looked like some goofy fun, and generally I like Tom Cruise as an actor, so I took a flier on it. Pun fully and completely intended.

For the most part I was rewarded for my decision, but while this isn't a Mummy-level catastrophe, it still didn't really live up to its premise. Let's talk about why Tom Cruise couldn't run hard enough to save this one:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review

Kingsman: The Secret Service was one of those rare movies that turns out to be a pleasant surprise. It looked like it was going to be a dumb, goofball parody of a Bond movie, and the studio buried it in the winter months, which means they probably agreed. And yet, it turned out to be a really enjoyable send-up of the spy movie genre that worked just as well on its own as it did as a parody. It had a great sense of humor and some fantastically inventive action sequences, and pretty much everybody loved it.  Naturally any movie that turns into a sleeper hit like that gets a sequel, and so now we have The Golden Circle.

Sequels tend to make me nervous because they're tricky things to pull off, and most movies that get them really don't need them because they've told a self-contained story with character arcs that are finished at the end. So coming back for more usually involves ham fisted reasons to simply repeat everything you saw in the last movie. It ends up just being more of the same, which as we all know tends to get old quickly.

Kingsman, on the other hand, seemed like it had the potential to be a franchise. While it did have a self-contained story, it set up a universe and a character that could continue to evolve if the people making it were clever. Since they had already delivered a movie that demonstrated they were, I was hoping they'd find a way to build a sequel that didn't succumb to the "more, bigger, louder" impulse.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Let's talk about how Kingsman: The Golden Circle became everything Kingsman parodied before and a bit of a bait and switch to boot:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

American Assassin Review

As I continue to catch up on getting reviews posted to the blog, here's a little movie that popped up a couple weeks back called American Assassin.  This is apparently based on a book series that I unfortunately haven't read so I can't comment on how well it was adapted, but essentially they want this character Mitch Rapp to be your new Jack Ryan.

This is another one where a trailer actually got me into the theater.  It had a reasonably interesting premise: a guy decides to personally go kill every terrorist he can find after they murder his fiancĂ©, and in the process he runs into professional terrorist-killer Michael Keaton, who as these things go runs a secret terrorist-killing unit for the government and is forced to train Rapp to do it the right way.

The main danger with that kind of trailer is of course that Keaton could be nothing more than a glorified cameo in a bad B-movie.  Fortunately he wasn't, but unfortunately, it's not enough to save this movie from mediocrity. So let's talk about why American Assassin made me cranky::

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Defenders and The Orville Reviews

Well I've been pretty lax lately about putting up posts for the reviews on the blog.  Blogger makes it somewhat of a pain in the ass so it tends to dissuade me, but in any case I have two TV shows to talk about with you all for this one.

First up is Marvel's new Netflix show, The Defenders, which teams up all the heroes from all their other Netflix shows.  Of those, the only one I genuinely enjoyed from start to finish was Jessica Jones, but Daredevil wasn't too bad.  Iron Fist had a few good secondary characters, but otherwise just kind of sucked.  As for Luke Cage, well, I had plenty to say about that one already.

So how does putting them all together stack up? Not well, I'm afraid:

And then there was The Orville, Seth MacFarlane's personal Star Trek fan fiction/parody/homage.  The trailers for this thing made me cringe, but as a huge Star Trek fan myself, I had to at least give this one a shot.  Sadly it too made me very cranky: