Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War has only been released for 11 days and the domestic sales already exceed $461,390,000. I've enjoyed most of the Marvel comic book movies, but Avengers Infinity War took things to another level. I really like how they wove so many different characters and prior movies into one cohesive event. I've always enjoyed multiple story-line films like Our Mutual Friend, Crash, Traffic, Hereafter, etc. I liked how this movie incorporated so many different superheroes and their back stories into one movie.

My wife is not a comic book movie fan and had only seen a couple of the prior installments but she still liked it. She said it was epic and I’d have to agree. The villains were so much better than past ones we've seen. I especially liked the henchmen that worked for Thanos. The end battle at Wakanda and Thor’s new weapon were also way cool.

The body count really surprised me. I was a little surprised to see Loki and Heimdall die so quickly in the beginning. I was expecting a death or two but I was blown away in the last 5 minutes with seeing half of the characters die. If I didn’t know that many of them already have sequels in the works I would have been more concerned. I also liked the balance between action, drama, and humor. This movie had some funny parts but the humor was toned down a little bit since Thor Ragnarok so it was a little bit easier to take seriously. I really liked all the superheroes, but Dr. Strange is starting to grow on me. When I saw the preview for his first movie I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d seen but I’m liking his style and how he plays by a different set of rules than most heroes who just use brute strength or super powers.

I may be biased since I have not seen a movie for so long, but I enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War enough to give it 8.5 stars and would have to say it is my favorite Marvel movie so far.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky can be summed up as a redneck version of Ocean's 11. It's about two brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan who are down on their luck and attempt to pull a heist at a Nascar race. They enlist the help of their friend Joe Bang but they first have to help break him out of jail to pull it off.

The hardest thing about this movie for me was accepting the actors in their roles. They all had great performances but it was still hard seeing James Bond speak with a southern drawl or Kylo Ren being a slow talking bartender. Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes, and Riley Keough were also very believable in their roles.

I didn't even realize until after the movie was over that it was directed by Steven Soderbergh who also directed all the Ocean movies. There are many similarities to those movies including  a host of characters working together in a complicated heist. The main difference is the absense of a glamorous Vegas setting. This movie comes off a little earthier with more simple characters but it is still well done. It's also quite quirky and almost Napolean Dynomite-esque with how goofy some of the characters are. 

If I were from the south I might take offense with the blatant southern redneck stereotypes but I thought it was a funny and enjoyable movie. It even had some entertaining plot twists.

This movie was a little strange but it was also one of the funner movies I've seen in a long time. I give Logan Lucky 7.2 stars.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More Movie Pet Peeves

One of my very first blog posts was about movie pet peeves. At the time I thought I got everything off my chest but I seem to have missed a couple things that I’ve noticed in many movies recently.  The first is the abrupt phone hang up practice and the second is the self-healing car. I will address them in that order.

Often in a movie there will be a cop calling his partner or a wealthy business man making a deal, or a bad guy who calls one of his henchmen and then hangs up after a short conversation with few instructions. They seldom say "goodbye" or "I'll see you at the office later" or anything like that. They just hang up! There are so many problems with this.

I recently tweeted how much I hate it when I see this in a movie but Twitter is not the best place to discuss it since I really need to elaborate, so it's a good thing I have a blog.

1) It's rude. You don't just hang up on someone when your attention span maxes out. At least say "I have to go" prior to hanging up. This really shouldn't surprise me since these are the same people who just state their last name when they answer the phone instead of saying "hello."

2) I can only imagine how many times these people must have to call each other back during the day to verify what someone said or didn't say and to get more specifics to their vague and super short conversations from earlier. Maybe those are found in the deleted scenes. 

3) It's not realistic. When I make a movie it will be realistic. It will probably be a long and boring movie but it will be accurate. I will show the characters waiting in line at drive thrus and the DMV and having detailed phone conversations where they practice good communications skills by restating back what was previously said to them so the other person knows they understand. They will also wait the customary 12 weeks for DNA tests and lab results to come back from the coroner instead of getting them the next day.

Now its time to address another major offender and that is the car that gets in multiple crashes and wrecks throughout the movie but editing didn't seem to notice that the damaged car repairs itself throughout the movie. The only time this should be allowed is if it is a car belonging to Wolverine.

I've seen this in many movies in the past but I was recently on a plane and the person next to me was watching Kidnap staring Halle Barry. In the movie, her son is kidnapped and she chases down the abductor in her minivan and is involved in many crashes and accidents with her vehicle, yet in later scenes, parts of the car that were previously damaged were shown dent free and the damage has repaired itself. For how much money companies spend to make movies, you would think they would hire someone to look for obvious goofs like that. I'm available to do it if they can't find anyone else in Hollywood.

These things may not be a big deal to you but they drive me crazy and I look forward to the day when our society no longer permits such egregious occurrences to happen in movies.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Black Panther

I recently saw Black Panther and I liked it. I know there's been quite a bit of speculation about political messages or other statements the movie is trying to make but I didn't get too caught up in that and just enjoyed a good super hero movie.

One of the best things about this movie is that Marvel finally got some good villains. It's easier to get involved when you have a believable adversary. Michael B. Jordan does a great job as Killmonger and his rival Chadwick Boseman comes off as composed royalty and is well cast for the lead.

Martin Freeman's character is very dull, quiet, and almost invisible, but Andy Serkis is another great villain in the film. His voice alone is mesmerizing. I remember seeing him play a villain in Oliver Twist years ago and he is a great actor even though he is mostly known for his computer generated characters. I thought it was interesting to see that the only two white guys in the movie were Bilbo and Gollum so I got a kick out of the meme below when I saw it.

The rest of the supporting cast is also good. There is a strong female cast with Danai Gurira as the military general, Lupita Nyog'o as Black Panther's girlfriend, and Leticia Wright as the young technology expert of Wakanda. She reminded me of Q in a James Bond movie. The entire cast was good, but I'm getting tired of seeing Forrest Whitaker pop up in so many movies.

There were a few short remarks or jabs that some might take offense with. In one scene the young teenage girl calls Freeman's character 'white boy" which is kind of rude just considering their age difference let alone any racial message.

The first post credit scene was the most boring and anti-climactic seen I've ever seen in a Marvel movie, but overall I liked this movie and really enjoyed the costumes, design, and African feel to it. I give Black Panther 7.8 stars.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Past Due Movie Reviews

And the Winner is...
As usual I am behind on posting reviews. Here is a brief summary of the movies I've seen since I've been back to the United States over the last two months.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi- I was really looking forward to this movie. I liked many things about it but I also disliked several things. Some of my hangups included Poe Dameron being a wreckless dork in this movie, Princess Leia float around in space and bring herself back to life (it would have been such a clean way to let her exit the series. The worst part had to be Finn and Rose Tico and their whole piece of the story which I found to be a worthless distraction that detracted from the movie. But... I like Star Wars so I give it 7.5 stars.

Thor: Ragnarok - This movie was fun. I liked the humor but I also felt they kind of went overboard with it. It was hard to take too seriously. I also didn't even recognize Cate Blanchet as the villain until the end of the movie. This was my favorite Thor movie so far by a long shot. I give it 7.8 stars.

Justice League- Marvel has really cleaned up against the DC movies with the exception of Wonder Woman so I wasn't expecting too much with Justice League but it was still alright. I thought it was a little more entertaining than the prior Supermen movies. It makes it more entertaining with the additional characters and back stories. I give it 6.8 stars since I didn't think it was as bad as the critics said.

Jumanji- I wasn't a big fan of the original movie that came out back when CGI was so new. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. I thought it  was well done and was funny and had an entertaining cast. I give it 7.4 stars.

The Commuter- I enjoy Liam Neeson and he always gives a good performance in anything he does, but this script was ridiculous. This movie had so much potential but was too fake in so many ways. It was kind of like a remake of Nonstop but on a bus instead of a plane. I wanted to like this and get more involved but there was way too much unrealistic crap so I can only give it 6.5 generous stars.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure- I never even saw the second installment of these movies but I don't think it mattered. The special effects were pretty good, but it still felt too bubble gummy with such a young cast. Maybe I'm just getting old and can't relate to the demographics of the film. I give it 6.7 stars.

The Greatest Showman- I don't remember seeing a musical in the theater since when I was a little kid and my parents took me to see Willy Wonka but I've heard nothing but good about this movie so I decided to give it a shot. I'll admit it was pretty good and the music was catchy but I still don't buy into the concept of people spontaneously breaking out into song and dance in real life. I suppose it was good, but I'm just not into musicals so I only give it 7.0 stars.

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