Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Great Wall Review

Other than the obvious Trump jokes, just about the only thing that put The Great Wall on anyone's radar is the controversy over Matt Damon playing the lead. As usual, many people were up in arms that a white guy got a role in an Asian-centric movie.  Never mind that he's playing a white character that wanders into Asia looking for black powder and runs into a giant wall and the massive Chinese army staffing it, so it's not exactly like he stole a role from an Asian actor.

Of course had the complainers bothered to note it's a Chinese studio making the movie, they wouldn't have had much reason to whine in the first place since it's the Asians making the call, and doing so for the specific purpose of getting their first big breakout film in the US.  What better way to do that than cast a superstar like Damon and split the movie's time between him and its Asian characters?

There are however still plenty of good reasons to trash The Great Wall, and surprisingly none of them involve those goddamn Mongorians from South Park. Let me tell you about some of them:



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The LEGO Batman Movie Review

Like John Wick, The LEGO Movie was also an incredibly pleasant surprise.  It looked like it was going to be some shameless attempt to sell toys (it was), but it turned out to be an incredibly funny and well-written film that did incredible justice to the little plastic blocks.  Anybody who grew up playing with LEGOs got to delight in seeing all the interesting ways they used familiar pieces to build things in this world.  And it gave us a brand new Batman.

LEGO Batman was so well received that they decided to give him his own full feature, which as with John Wick: Chapter 2, made me pretty nervous.  In small doses this semi-parody of Batman is really funny, but I worried that trying to drag that out into a full couple hour movie would just get old and repetitive. Still the trailers looked promising, so did The LEGO Batman Movie deliver?  Let me tell you all the ways everything was in fact, awesome.



Monday, February 20, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 Review

John Wick was an incredibly pleasant surprise.  It's an action movie where you can actually see the action, and it built an incredibly interesting underground world of assassins that gave the whole thing a cool new feel.  Plus it has one of the single-best character introductions of all time, making their hero look like the ultimate badass before he even does anything. Then when he actually does things, he looked even more badass thanks to Keanu Reeves putting in enough work to do his own stunts.

That's why news of a sequel made me super nervous.  John Wick was a perfectly reasonable standalone movie, and those tend to be the ones that make for the worst sequels since they have to invent convoluted reasons to not only do another one but also to try and raise the stakes in some way.  Usually what you end up with is just an unsatisfying, messy retread of the previous movie.

So the question is, did John Wick: Chapter 2 fall into that trap?  Well, let me tell you: