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Bait n Switch
I honestly can't give a complete review as I ejected it after 18 minutes.
I have heard from previous reviews that this wasn't a biblical account of the film, nor was God ever mentioned. That didn't bother me. What bothered me was the complete 180 of what the trailers for this film masterfully and deliberately left out. The watchers.
OMG and WTF? Rebellious angels turned rock monsters? Weren't rebellious angels called demons? Anyway, there they were, these improbable creatures (who looked improbable too, with an animation that would make Ray Harryhausen cringe)helping Noah). In fact, the rock angels weren't the only bad effect. The serpent in the garden looked absurdly phony.
The trailer made the film look like a dramatic survival film, and what we got was a vegan and his family on the run from progress. Imagine if you will seeing a trailer for a new Fast and Furious film, and when you go see the film, the cars are Transformers.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Shut Up and Eat Your Popcorn (contains spoilers)
I think that pretty much sums up the execs attitude when making this film.
Great cast, excellent performances, spot on effects. Too bad the script was dog food.
Lets start with the end of Xmen Last stand. Professor Xavier is killed right? Well the post credit scene suggests his consciousness survived. Although, we hear his voice, we don't actually see him (Patrick Stewart) cause it would be a whole new body, yes? Next comes Xmen Origins: Wolverine and First Class, nothing that ties this together. While X3 does close the book, it seems, on Scott and Jean, the fate of Charles Xavier is an unresolved issue. Third film comes in, the Wolverine, and again nothing...except, wait. The return of Magneto and Professor X. Wolverine is as stunned by this as we're supposed to be. But it eludes to the upcoming DoFP. So we open in a dystopian future where, ta da, there's Charles. No explanation or anything. 8 years and 4 films, and they fail to resolve this issue. By the way, that Wolverine end scene was as if that never happened, because DoFP takes place 8-10 years later.
I also found it a contrived plot device that time moves in sync, essentially time passes minute by minute in the past for wolverine as it does in the future. Ergo, Logan ages six hours in 1972, he ages six hours in the future (guesstimated at 2022). I would conservatively put Logan's sojourn into the past to be roughly a week. So for one week solid kitty pride is kneeling over him doing the time-phase thing the ENTIRE TIME. I guess she doesn't need to eat, sleep, or poop. Lets also not forget there are a dozen mutants just hanging out all this time. In a world of super sentinels, you'd think they would want to stay mobile, keep moving.
I'd like to know, wtf happened to the world to have a future like that, cause I must of blinked and missed it. X3 and the wolverine left the world in a good place for humans and mutants. Then ker-pow, now we use robots from the 70s? Funny, sentinels were never mentioned in the original films, save for a make believe scenario in the danger room in X3. Yet here they are. In fact, in the year 2000, it seemed the world was just waking up to the idea of mutants. Ohhh that's right, apparently as of now NONE OF THOSE FILMS EVER HAPPENED.
I guess wolverine never gets his adamantium then. Ohhh wait, how did he have adamantium claws in the future when he lost them in the Wolverine?
Xavier suddenly being alive is never explained. The serum he uses to walk again is horribly contrived. It's supposed to explain why we see him walking around in the flashback sequence in X3, as well as the cameo in Origins, but fails. He can walk at the expense of losing his powers. Well, he used them in X3 and Origins. And even so, if the serum later got "perfected", why wouldn't he use it all the time then? Furthermore, if the serum repaired his back, it did nothing for what happened to him at the end of this film where the steel beam crushes his legs.
While seeing certain characters fully realized (iceman using his ice- slide), the film lost its soul. What made the original films so great where how the characters connected with the audience, the social/moral implications of being "different", and the whole judgement, acceptance, and belonging that was such a heavy element to these films has been watered down into movie action schlock. If this film had any real emotional weight, it would of been all those characters in First Class being killed off by the government and the horrible experiments they performed on them. But since this happened off camera and just given a mere mention in this film, the audience is significantly less impacted. "awww, why they have to go and kill off Banshee?" vs, "OMG, you mother ******s, how could you? Avenge him!!!"
Although the original films were always set in "the near future" there were never any elements that made it seem too futuristic. Like the 3d map in the first film, nothing like that existed but it was easy to see us progressing there. In other words, the world felt very real, grounded, believable. Now, it's 8-10 years after X3, and we got giant lasers, space ships, a re-imagined NYC skyline, etc. Like aliens in an Indiana Jones film, these things felt out of place. Then, we use Sentimels, which is far beyond our current technology and have them first invented in 1972? So before we even have the same technology that brought us Atari and cassette players, we have advance cybernetic hunter/killer robots? I get how putting metal in them while they were being shipped allowed Magneto to use his mutant power on them, but doesn't explain how he was able to reprogram them. He talks and they obey him, makes no sense....ahhhhh shut up and eat your popcorn.
Ohhh, one last thing: Dear studio execs, please consider your largest demographic when choosing which characters bare butt to show off.
Man of Steel (2013)
Fantastic Jumpstart for Iconic Hero
Despite the mixed reviews from critics, this Superman delivers the goods for comic book fans and general audiences alike.
No, it is not the warm, delightful, feel good movie that Richard Donner and Christopher Reeves brought to us 30+ years ago. But don't think for one minute that this is a "darker Superman." Far from it. This is rather a more "human" Superman. It deals with an alien child who learns at a young age he is different. He learns he must bare the weight of the world on his shoulders to uplift humanity, all the while he is mocked and ridiculed by bullies, drunks, and belligerent peers.
Perhaps critics were expecting the do-gooder, previously played by Reeves. The one that always saved the day, no one got hurt on his watch, and never made a mistake. This Superman does his best, but he can't save everyone. There is easily 100 million dollars worth of collateral damage he causes in order to stop the villains. He can't save everyone, and does make mistakes along the way. ***Possible spoiler alert: In the end, to stop the menace, Superman does something even Batman refused to do, and this torments him: End Spoiler***
He spends most of his young adulthood a drifter, roaming from town to town, taking odd jobs. He continually does whats right at the cost of revealing to witnesses his powerful nature, and then moves on. One is reminded of the Bill Bixby Incredible Hulk TV show, where it was the same thing, doing the right thing, but when the monster reveals itself, it's time to move on.
Nowhere to be found is the iconic villain Lex Luthor, and justly so. If this series is to have any longevity, Lex is a character that can certainly be developed later. We do get General Zod, who's motivations and back story is leaps and bounds more fleshed out than portrayed in the film Superman II. Still, Terrance Stamp's performance was sorely missed. No disrespect to Michael Shannon's intense performance, but he was going up against an iconic on screen persona ingrained in the minds of audiences for over 30 years.
The classic Superman, we see him as mankind's savior. in Man of Steel, we bare witness to his first steps towards this mantle.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
I myself can say that a large chunk of my childhood was spent with GI JOE. I played with the toys, read the comics, and watched the cartoons. So imagine my disappointment at the ham-fisted disaster that was GI JOE: Rise Of Cobra.
GI JOE: Retaliation however, didn't disappoint. But it didn't exhilarate either. This movie felt like both a sequel and a reboot, with only two Joes returning, Duke & Snake-Eyes. As a Joe fan, I felt they did much better with the characters. Flint was the hot-head, Lady Jay was sexy, smart, and had an interesting back story. Snake Eye's costume was much better. Storm Shadow was horribly misused in ROC, but here, in Retaliation, he is spot on. I still wish his costume was less flamboyant, but his presence on screen was much more effective than before. Firefly seemed very one dimensional in the old cartoons, but here he has personality, and a sinisterness about him that comes off well. Cobra Commander, completely unrecognizable in the first film, is fantastic here. The look is right, but gone is the silly lisping, weaselly voice made popular in the cartoons, now replaced with some good voice work. If you liked Bane's voice in the Dark Knight Rises, you'll enjoy the Commanders.
Also gone are the high tech suits and the blue plasma guns,and replaced with good old fashioned bullets. Familiar vehicles such as the Water Moccasin and HISS tanks are realized for this film.
To the casual audience member though, this film would come off as a convoluted, hodge-podge sequence of action scenes, loosely fitted together into something called a plot. The film juggles the introduction of six new characters, a plot about the Joes being framed and on the run, with a sub-plot continuing the back-story and dynamic of the Storm Shadow/Snake-Eyes' relationship. Then there is the plot of Cobra and their campaign for world domination, Storm Shadow joining the Joes, recruiting help from Joe Colton, and the whole Zartan/President thing.
The action scenes are hit and miss. The ninja battle on the mountains is truly something to behold. However, other fight sequences are edited in such a fast pace, that your brain cannot process fast enough who is hitting who, what just happened, and where they are in relationship to each other.
The ending of the film ends on a hopeful note. Much of the secondary plots and convoluted storytelling have been shed, with a simple plot being set up for the third film: Kill Cobra Commander.
If a third film is made, it has only itself to blame if it fails. Retaliation did a much better job with establishing its characters and motivation for a third film than ROC did, warranting such a dramatic shift for this film. Replacing principle characters like Roadblock, Lady Jay, etc, would be film suicide at this point. While Retaliation was partially a reboot, with new characters, a new director, a different style, the third film needs to have consistency. Yes, new characters can be introduced, but the Retaliation characters need to advance as well.
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983)
A Noble Ending To A Bygone Era
Let's be clear, die hard S&tB fans will frown on this film. But being a casual fan of the S&tB films, I'd like to offer a different perspective.
Smokey and the Bandit III is essentially a string of funny lines and scenes loosely held together by a "plot". The storyline is weak, but who cares. This wasn't exactly the Godfather to begin with, so the 3rd installment should be embraced for what it is; A Jackie Gleason vehicle that allows us to revisit characters we've loved since the first film, minus Burt Reynolds' Bandit, of course.
The plot centers around Sheriff Bufford T. Justice announcing his retirement from active law enforcement. But the Enos's propose a wager, which Bufford initially turns down. But after a montage of mishaps Bufford finds retirement hell, and takes them up on the bet. The bet? That Bufford has to drive from Miami Florida to the Enos Ranch within a certain amount of time, while carrying a giant fake shark on their car (the Enos Fish & Chips logo). If he wins, he gets $250k. If not, Little Enos gets Bufford's badge. While the Enos's find some success at trying to impede Buffords progress initially, they eventually contact the Snowman (Jerry Reed) to assume the mantle of "The Bandit" and steal the logo and return it to the ranch himself.
What follows is a cat and mouse game as they each give chase, while running into a variety of characters and situations setting up for those simple, country-boy redneck laughs that have been a staple of the franchise thus far. Yes, some old lines do get rehashed, but there's plenty more to keep you engaged.
While a funny film, and a pleasure to watch with friends over beer and pretzels, it is a lackluster finale, not only to the Bandit films, but to the short lived Convoy era of movies and television, such as the Cannonball Run and Dukes of Hazzard.
Buffords final salute at the end of the film and the song "Ticket For The Wind" by John Stewart emotionally sum up a tearful goodbye to this era.
It's STILL real to me....darn it!
Not quite sure if the goal was to celebrate pro wrestling for the art form that it is, or discredit it. If the latter, it failed since Pro Wrestling still thrives.
I think the producers were getting tired of the whole exposing Magic's Big Secrets and were looking for something else fun to spoil.
As a former pro wrestler myself, I can say a few things inconsistent with the documentary. First, the ring. Under the canvas it is indeed padded, but no more than maybe 2 inches of padding. The documentary makes it look like your jumping around on a sleep-number mattress. The padding helps, but it is still wood and steel underneath. Does it hurt? Not really. But landing wrong can knock the wind out of ya.
Second is the mic under the ring. This may be a technique done in large scale arenas by WWE, and at the time WCW. But on an indy circuit, as a fan, a member of the ring crew, and as a performer myself, I never noticed any microphone.
I didn't also care for the negative words like con, scam, etc. Pro Wrestling is just like going to see a magic show. You suspend disbelief and allow yourself to get caught up in the moment.
Actium Maximus (2005)
This is the mother of all bad films
Let's talk about bad movies for a moment. A bad movie tends to fall in one of two categories. The first being that it has some redeeming quality. Maybe it's funny in spite of itself, maybe it becomes a guilty pleasure. The other category is one that is so abysmally bad that it can only be enjoyed with friends over beer and pizza, laughing and making MST3K-esque comments throughout the film. The later was our intention when deciding to watch Actium Maximus: War of the Alien Dinosaurs.
This movie was far beyond bad. It belongs in a category all by itself (and then that category needs to be shot into outer space). In fact, ten minutes into this film we could no longer make fun of it. It became physically painful to watch, and may have caused permanent psychological damage. I would not have been surprised, once the movie was over, if my phone would have rung and the voice on the other end informed me I would die in 7 days.
It is unclear what writer, director, composer and star Mark Hicks was shooting for, but what is clear is he was clearly not taking his medication. You would think a movie, containing both a narrator and subtitles would make the plot easier to understand. Not so. The narrator speaks as distinctly as the Daleks from Dr. Who. The subtitles, often paragraph long and displayed for only 3 seconds, was certainly in need of a spell checker.
I'm no expert, but if I was to venture a guess, Mark invested his life savings into this film, all $140.00, and $25 of that was spent on Chinese food while editing. There were very few humans in this film. Mark Hicks plays Jacinlun Axezun (say that fast 5 times), a character similar to Han Solo. That is if Han was an overweight, monotone, lifeless dullard with all the bravado and sex appeal of a substitute chemistry teacher on anti-depressants. The arch-villain of this film is Grand Automaton Polpox (sounds like a disease) wonderfully played by a box with a blue knob.
In order to divert the masses from his genocidal plans to exterminate the Rebel Laffrodites (I seriously am not making these names up)he holds these grand exhibitions pitting alien dinosaurs in mortal combat. Get ready, some serious blue-screen work here. I guess Phil Tippit was booked, because these dinosaurs were crafted from sock puppets, coated in play-doh, bacon and corn syrup.
Every good director knows to have an establishing shot, especially when moving from one location to another. Mark doesn't disappoint here, as he creates an establishing shot of the exterior of the city which was actually the surface of a water-less aquarium.
Sounds good so far right?
So while Mark and his crew (consisting of some woman who may or may not of had dialogue, as she apparently didn't have a microphone) Polpox's right hand man, played by a stalagmite, warns him of an assassination plot against him. The assassin, as it turns out, is a moth. Go figure.
The subtitle, "War of the Alien Dinosaurs" is also confusing. To be defined as "alien", it must come from an alien world. That's fine, as Polpox gathers dinosaurs from other planets. But dinosaurs? Unless he has a time machine, these beasts would just be indigenous animals. Or are the indigenous animals once prehistoric animals from the homeworld that somehow migrated across space. But, considering that these dinosaurs are made out of sock puppets, play-doh, bacon and corn syrup, I suppose it doesn't warrant much thought.
The one saving grace this film offers is intellectual higher ground. What that means is, if someone is engaged in a conversation and utters the phrase "(insert name here) is the worst movie ever", take comfort in knowing they're wrong.
As for me, if I was the sole survivor of a global holocaust, and this was the only DVD left on Earth, believe me when I say I would glee-fully coat my eyes with honey and face-plant into a pile of dirt covered in fire ants.
TNA Impact! Wrestling (2004)
This is Wrestling
The wrestling landscape sure isn't what it used to be. There really is only one major promotion out there, and that's the WWE. Unfortunately, the WWE is distancing itself from professional wrestling. Don't believe me? When was the last time you heard someone refer to themselves as a professional wrestler on WWE TV? They're not wrestlers, they're Sports Entertainers. Moves like Piledrivers, hangmen, chair shots, blood, knife-edge chops, and more have been purposefully eroded away as per Vince McMahon's wishes. McMahon envisions his company as an entertainment company, producing movies, music and novels. Sadly, he farms his locker room talent to fulfill these non-wrestling ventures.
Enter TNA. An upstart company that in 8 years have undergone numerous formats and changes. First associated with the NWA, than on their own. First a PPV only franchise, now on National Cable. Ever since January of 2010, with the addition of Hogan, Flair, Bischoff, Anderson, RVD and more, the TNA product is still undergoing some radical changes to their roster, line-up and presentation. So for now, the story lines and action seems, at times, inconsistent.
But that's OK. They're still a young company. What's important here is that it's still Professional Wrestling. They're striving to give us what the WWE is not. As for ratings, they can't touch WWE, yet. But that's fine too. What's important is the fans that are tuning in are wrestling fans who want to watch wrestling. The madness, mayhem, and uncertainty of this, ahem, sport is alive and well in TNA. WWE is a cemetery. A Wrestling ghost town.
New fans of TNA seem to be at odds with older, more traditional TNA fans. But what both need to realize is at least it's not WWE. And good or bad, this company strives to give fans what they want, as opposed to WWE who tells their audience what they're giving them.
TNA still has some growing up to do. They need to tighten up their format. Keep consistent with their in-ring performances. They need to develop new story lines and angles. But, at least their entertaining. As a 25 year fan myself, I am glad for TNA. I actually look forward to each and every episode, as opposed to RAW and Smackdown, which cannot hold my interest anymore. I haven't watched a full episode of RAW since 2006.
Horrible waste of time
Anyone who tries justifying this movie because of its "b-movie" feel is either someone who invested money in the film and is now broke, or thinks "Blackula" is the definitive Vampire movie.
First off, don't expect to see a MARVEL version of the DC movie Swamp Thing. In fact, Man-Thing gets very little screen time, under 2 minutes total.
In fact, I would say that the oil pump with the company logo was this movies most expensive prop, as it has almost 4 times as much screen time as Man-Thing.
If this is a superhero movie, it fails to deliver. If it is supposed to be scary, it fails to deliver. If it is meant to be a comedy, it fails to deliver. If this movie was intended for a MST3K reunion, it rules. Here is a sampling of the movies dialog:
Sheriff: Why do they call this town Bywater?
Boater: (in a hick accent)Cause it's by the water.
Ahhh....Citizen Kane beware!
Ohhh, and not to give away the ending, but when you do finally get to see Man-Thing in all his cinematic glory, I was more impressed and frightened by Large Marge from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Da Vinci Code Delivers
I've read the book three times, and knew the movie wouldn't be as good as the book. Still, the major plot points are treated well for those few who don't know the story or the reason for the controversy. At times, the film does seem rushed, but at 2 hours and 26 minutes, extending the film any longer may have had the opposite effect, ie: the film seemed too long.
The movie plays out like the book, so expect a lot of flashback sequences, not just for the characters, but historical flashbacks that help to push the movie forward.
I wouldn't look for any academy awards out of this film, but it certainly does entertain, and for fans of the book, it is a real treat to see the story presented in a movie format. But for the casual moviegoer, I think they may struggle to keep up and follow the story cause there are elements left out from the book that could help explain certain scenes and motivations more. All in all, a good film. Could it have been made better? Sure. But it could have also been much worse.