Comic Book Therapy » Movie Reviews http://www.comicbooktherapy.com News, reviews and happenings in the Comic Book World. Get your Daily Comic Book Therapy Today Sat, 01 Nov 2014 11:59:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Review: This is Where I Leave You http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-leave-275062 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-leave-275062#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:53:59 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=275062 This Is Where I Leave You had a lot going for it if you only watched the trailer.  The final result mostly delivers, but there are a few problems in between. The plot (based on the novel of the same name) center around Judd (Jason Bateman) and his father dying.  But not before his wife […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: This is Where I Leave You

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This Is Where I Leave You had a lot going for it if you only watched the trailer.  The final result mostly delivers, but there are a few problems in between.

The plot (based on the novel of the same name) center around Judd (Jason Bateman) and his father dying.  But not before his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) cheats on him with his boss (Dax Sheppard).  Judd goes home to see his brothers and sister (Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, and Tina Fey) as well as help his mother (Jane Fonda) grieve.  The family works through years of issues as they observe Shiva, where they grieve the death of a loved one for seven days.

This Is Where I Leave You is a very simple story at heart.  We’ve seen stories like this before in “big budget indie” films before. A family doesn’t get along but can’t leave each other’s side for a predetermined period of time and they work their problems out.  With this family though, there are a lot more than most films.  This ends up making the movie a tad scatterbrained at points. Tina Fey’s character, Wendy, has a quick love story with Horry (Timothy Olyphant) which could have been cut entirely.  Adam Driver (Phillip)’s cheating story could have been cut.  Removing these would have made this a very short movie, but the pacing would have been even.

While some stuff could have been cut, a lot of the plot points do work.  The little side stories about he characters past weave their way into the main story nicely without seeming out of place.  Judd’s train wreck of a life relatable and every character development feels earned by the end of the movie.  Judd feels like the only person who really grows throughout the film.  Other characters seem to have small realizations about themselves but nothing major like Judd.  If you can’t tell yet, Judd is the eyes and ears of the story for the audience.  Everything is compared to his life and what his happening with him and Quinn.  It keeps the audience invested, but also makes a few plot points feel forced.  Wendy cheating on her husband with Horry isn’t the same as Quinn cheating on Judd and the audience knows that. But the film feels the need to make sure we know 100% and not pass judgment on Wendy.  Don’t worry movie, we’re already on Wendy’s side.

The humor mostly hits its mark. I laughed quite a bit throughout the movie, and some in the theater laughed even harder than I did.  There were a couple scenes though, while funny, should have stayed away from the humor. They undercut the seriousness and end scenes somewhat awkwardly when keeping the tone serious would have benefited the movie as a whole.

Ultimately, the main draw for the movie is the cast and their chemistry.   The family feels like a true dysfunctional family and we can’t wait to see what other awkward situations they can be placed into next.  Bateman and Driver have incredible chemistry as the younger of the two siblings. Fey and Bateman have a great back and forth as well. This puts Paul, Corey Stoll, on the outside of the family fun.  Stoll isn’t given enough to work with to join in on the comedy aspect. While his character is described as “not a lot of fun,” it seems strange to have one sibling not playing as big a part in the family proceedings. Jane Fonda ends up being a scene stealer throughout This Is Where I Leave You. She’s incredibly funny, and really feels like a mother to the rest of the cast. The massive boob jokes surprisingly didn’t get old.

While I love Jason Bateman, he plays the role he has always played. He’s a character with a dysfunctional family and shit love life.  He’s great in the role, and plays a hurt, confused man really well.  The audience really feels for Judd as the shit constantly hits the fan for him.  The movie as a whole would have worked more if Bateman had any chemistry with Rose Bryne (Penny, who plays Judd’s love interest).  We are told that she loved Judd back in high school, but the spark is never felt.  She serves her purpose to the story, but nothing else.  Which is sad as Bryne is a likable actress and could have excelled in her role.  Penny doesn’t receive much in the way of character development besides “she’s in love with Judd. Oh and she sakes.”  We’re told she’s strange but nothing in the movie SHOWS us why she is strange.  There is nothing there to relate to for her.

This Is Where I Leave You gets 3.5/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: This is Where I Leave You

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Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-walk-among-tombstones-275059 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-walk-among-tombstones-275059#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:42:19 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=275059 It takes a rare movie to physically pain me when leaving the theater.  While I love Liam Neeson, A Walk Among the Tombstones is utter garbage. Based on the novel of the same name, A Walk Among the Tombstones follows Matthew Scudder (Neeson) as he investigates a string of kidnappings that have turned into murder. […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

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It takes a rare movie to physically pain me when leaving the theater.  While I love Liam Neeson, A Walk Among the Tombstones is utter garbage.

Based on the novel of the same name, A Walk Among the Tombstones follows Matthew Scudder (Neeson) as he investigates a string of kidnappings that have turned into murder. Unlike some detective novels, this has nothing to do with his past, which is the only cliché this movie avoids.  Scudder uses his great detective skills to find out who these bad men are and put a stop to them.

A Walk Among the Tombstones is a slave to novel. There are tons of colorful characters that would have worked well on the printed page, but become unnecessary in the movie adaptation.  TJ (Brian “Astro” Bradley) is the main culprit. He’s a kid who is there to just make fun of Scudder and his lack of understanding “slang” or technology (movie takes place in 1999).  Besides the ending, he offers nothing of value to the plot as a whole. He’s there in the book to break up the seriousness and add some comic relief to Scudder’s life.  In a book, where the writer doesn’t have a specific time to entertain the consumer, TJ would work as a character. Instead he takes up valuable screen time.  Other characters like Loogan (Olafur Darri Olafsson) have small back stories told, when we don’t care about them and/or they have little effect on the plot.

The villains are generic bad guys with little in the way of motivation beyond “they are bad.” There is a sub plot about them being DEA agents but that never gets resolved or develops enough for the audience to figure things out on their own.  Such as, why did they cut that girl’s fingers off? No reason why at all.  For a rated R movie, A Walk Among the Tombstones is surprisingly light on the gory details of what these guys are doing. They rip people’s parts off but we never actually SEE them do this. They are two generic white guys who are a means to an end.

The tone of the movie stays quite serious with small dabs into humor. But the humor never lands or cuts the tension of Scudder’s investigation.  The endless Y2K jokes and sight gags are overdone and make the audience cringe instead of actually laughing. The entire setting of 1999 has little effect on the plot besides a few technology gags.  I was somewhat hoping the killers would be the personification of the Y2K bug brought to live and tried to kill everyone. I was sadly disappointed.  TJ’s jokes get old incredibly fast and had me begging for his scenes to end.  One scene, where the kidnapper sees a little girl and has a weird “first love” moment (the girl is around 14) that tries to add a sense of “villainy” to these guys, but instead borders on absurd weirdly funny.

Fans of the new sub-genre of “Liam Neeson kicking everyone’s ass” will be sadly disappointed in A Walk Among the Tombstones.  Neeson does more investigating than ass kicking, although the phone scene shown in the trailer will thrill a few people.

The acting is terrible to say the least. The only person who can gain any type of emotion is Neeson. Everyone else over acts every line, which makes them feel like caricatures instead of real people.  This over acting actually fits well in book format if you think about it. Each character over acts a tad and gives you a clear picture of who they are in your mind. Dan Stevens (Kenny)’s recap of his wife being taken feels like he is thinking, “Ok, I’m supposed to be angry. OH WAIT sad too. Crap which do I pick.”  It’s funny but incredibly distracting as Neeson can figure out complex emotions without a problem.  The two villains, David Harbour and Adam David Thompson, look quite creepy in their roles. They have the “those two are up to some shit” look.  The script gives them little to work with and, in Thompson’s case, few lines.  I could count on one hand the number of lines Thompson spoke in this movie.

If you’re a fan of the book series, I suggest at least checking it out.  You may enjoy seeing a story you like acted out, but no one else will enjoy this.

A Walk Among the Tombstones gets 1.5/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

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Review: The November Man http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-november-man-274854 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-november-man-274854#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:09:17 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=274854 August. That time of the year where the movie theater is a sad and scary place where you never know what is around the bend, but you know what’s over there might be terrible. The November Man is terrible. The November Man is about a spy (Pierce Brosnan) who is trying to crack a conspiracy […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: The November Man

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August. That time of the year where the movie theater is a sad and scary place where you never know what is around the bend, but you know what’s over there might be terrible. The November Man is terrible.

The November Man is about a spy (Pierce Brosnan) who is trying to crack a conspiracy that has killed his spy wife and entangled his protégé (Luke Bracey).  The film is based on the novel There Are No Spies, and the series itself is called “The November Man.”  Either way, it doesn’t matter as anyone who sees this movie won’t remember much about it once they are out of the theater. The word that most seemed to use when describing this movie was “generic.” There isn’t anything about the plot that stands out or sinks its teeth into your memory.  The entire plot feels like the writers watched a lot of popular spy movies from the past few years and went, “We got this.” Then made a checklist of every big scene from the movies they watched and wrote a film around stringing those set pieces together.  All of this might have worked as a book, but it doesn’t flow well as a movie.  The few twists worked into the movie hold up neon signs so that can been seen three miles away and spoil any sense of surprise that could have been achieved if done correctly.

The script is nothing short of sad.  Characters barely develop throughout the 108 minute affair.  Bracey’s character, David Mason, fits so well into the “generic white action hero” role that any hint of development is pushed down in favor of more generic character attributes.  Daddy issues? Sure why not have them.  It has nothing to do with the plot and it’s a stab in the dark at character development, but it’s good for one scene and will never be mentioned again so use that.  Characters that do develop suddenly act much differently than how they were just shown a few scenes before. There isn’t a sense of consistency. Brosnan’s character, Peter Deveraux, seems like a fine spy who will do what he needs to do in the hard situations but doesn’t act that way ten minutes later.

While there is a decent amount of action throughout The November Man, the pacing is atrocious. I was checking my phone multiple times to figure out how much time we had left. At around the 45 minute mark, I figured the movie was almost over as it had seemed like the plot was reaching its climax and it also felt like we had been there over an hour. I was horribly wrong.  Scenes drag as we get later in the movie, showing The November Man’s weakness of not having enough to show an audience to fill a 1 hour 30 minute movie.

The November Man is rampant with misogynism.  Women can’t be left to fend for themselves and are often treated like sex objects to the men.  Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko) could have been a bad ass heroine alongside Brosnan’s character, but can’t seem to go two feet without tripping over herself and needing Brosnan to rescue her. Kurylenko deserves a better role than this.  There is one female CIA rep named Celia (Caterina Scorsone) who is referred to by tits.  Granted it’s the villain of the movie, but we hear her called tits more than her actual name.

The acting is a mixed bag, but most of that bag is filled with crap. Pierce Brosnan is likable as Deveraux, but the script is so lacking in any concrete form of character development that Brosnan had an uphill battle walking onto set.   Brosnan fills the mentor role of the mentor-protégé dynamic quite well and avoids falling into clichés of “I taught you better” scenes even when the script is calling for it.  As stated before, Kurylenko deserved a better role than the one given to her in this film. Her character is a walking McGuffin that has nothing to do besides be the object everyone wants.  There is a slight subplot about her being abused sexually, but it never pans out. It was an interesting plot point too. It would have given her something to work with and really make the audience root for Deveraux and Fournier to get to safety.  The simplest way to put Luke Bracey’s performance is this: he was there.  His character is completely one note and he portrays him that way.  If you paused a scene, and guessed how he would react after something happened, you’d be able to get 100% on that test.  But the crux of Bracey’s acting issues is the lack of emotion he brings to any scene. Even if there is a bad script, the actor should be able to find some angle that will bring some sort of emotion to the table.

The November Man gets 1/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: The November Man

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Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/movie-review-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-274652 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/movie-review-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-274652#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 21:05:21 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=274652 Once again our friend and guest contributor from Syndicate Press, Kyle Stephens, has written a review of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Take it away Kyle: I am an 80’s and 90’s kid. I grew up yelling “Cowabunga” and having pretend fights with the Foot Clan. My love of pizza was only furthered […]

Agent Burgos, Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Once again our friend and guest contributor from Syndicate Press, Kyle Stephens, has written a review of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

Take it away Kyle:

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I am an 80’s and 90’s kid. I grew up yelling “Cowabunga” and having pretend fights with the Foot Clan. My love of pizza was only furthered because of my love of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael. I even joined the Burger King Kids Club just so I could get my hands on the exclusive Ninja Turtles VHS tapes. So when the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came to the big screen in 1990, I was ready to be dazzled. At the ripe ol’ age of five, my every dream came alive on the silver screen.

Fast forward to 2014 and I am now pushing 30 years of age and getting just as excited to see the new Michael Bay produced, Jonathan Liebesman directed, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). Launching after a wave of bad press due to them being changed to aliens (then back), issues with the turtle’s look and most recently the upset surrounding their Australian poster; I was holding my expectations pretty low. I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.

By no means is this the evolution of cinema as we know it. It won’t win any awards for the best acting (by the human components) nor will it go down as the best film ever created. You know what? I am okay with that. In the end I went into the movie expecting to be disappointed and came out pretty happy. I found the 101 minute film to be full of nods to the previous films and television shows. Even the into is a throwback to the original comic series. I was filled with equal parts adrenaline, excitement and nostalgia throughout the movie.

The first thing I noticed while watching the movie was how the turtles were kept hidden for roughly the first 15 minutes or so. While some movies *cough GODZILLA cough* can take over an hour to finally allow viewers to see the namesake character(s); TMNT holds out just long enough. Once finally unveiled, the movies kicks into overdrive. The turtles are bigger than any previous incarnation and look to stand well over six feet. The size alone isn’t the only change. Now each turtle is given personality in their unique look. For example, Michelangelo embraces his surfer inspiration by wearing sea shell necklace. Leonardo on the other hand rocks some make-shift armor that is adorned with a New York City button. It is the little touches like this that I enjoyed. Also, I appreciate that each brother had their own body type. From the tank-like Raphael to the slim and meek Donatello, each of the four were easily distinguished.

On a more technical level, the motion capture and CGI for the brothers (and Splinter) is amazing. The level of detail found on their skin and fur to be extremely well done. While I am on the topic of Splinter, I found him to be a tad to rat like. Yes, that is an odd thing to say since Splinter IS a rat, yet I found those features to stand out. As for the design choices regarding the turtles, I honestly didn’t mind. Give them lips and a nose; didn’t bother me. What mattered to me was their personality; something each turtle had in droves. Each of the four retained their signature style and that was something that pleased me greatly.

While the look and technical specs of the movie made pleased me, the story and human element left something to be desired. The plot of the movie, which I will not spoil here, is something we have seen a million times over. Heck, I even called the resolution about midway through the film. But again, I stress, don’t expect an Academy Award winner here. Megan Fox’s April O’neil and Will Arnett’s Vernon Fenwick are alright. Not the best acting I have ever seen, but certainly not the worst. To be fair, I was actually surprised at how much I like Fox’s version of April.

With every hero story, you need an equally great villain. TMNT had two, neither of which I thought were any good. William Fichtner’s character, Eric Sacks, is a one dimensional and stereotypical bad guy. He kind of reminds me of Bill Gates if Gates had decided to go insane and take over New York. Shredder, the turtle’s longstanding nemesis, is a one trick pony. What you see in the third trailer is almost all he does. He is a like a Samurai Swiss Army knife. By the third time he pulled out ALL his blades I was thinking “Oh come on now, we have already seen this.”

I am an 80’s and 90’s kid. I grew up yelling “Cowabunga” and having pretend fights with the Foot Clan. My love of pizza was only furthered because of my love of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael. I even joined the Burger King Kids Club just so I could get my hands on the exclusive Ninja Turtles VHS tapes. So when the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came to the big screen in 1990, I was ready to be dazzled. At the ripe ol’ age of five, my every dream came alive on the silver screen.

Fast forward to 2014 and I am now pushing 30 years of age and getting just as excited to see the new Michael Bay produced, Jonathan Liebesman directed, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). Launching after a wave of bad press due to them being changed to aliens (then back), issues with the turtle’s look and most recently the upset surrounding their Australian poster; I was holding my expectations pretty low. I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.

By no means is this the evolution of cinema as we know it. It won’t win any awards for the best acting (by the human components) nor will it go down as the best film ever created. You know what? I am okay with that. In the end I went into the movie expecting to be disappointed and came out pretty happy. I found the 101 minute film to be full of nods to the previous films and television shows. Even the into is a throwback to the original comic series. I was filled with equal parts adrenaline, excitement and nostalgia throughout the movie.

The first thing I noticed while watching the movie was how the turtles were kept hidden for roughly the first 15 minutes or so. While some movies *cough GODZILLA cough* can take over an hour to finally allow viewers to see the namesake character(s); TMNT holds out just long enough. Once finally unveiled, the movies kicks into overdrive. The turtles are bigger than any previous incarnation and look to stand well over six feet. The size alone isn’t the only change. Now each turtle is given personality in their unique look. For example, Michelangelo embraces his surfer inspiration by wearing sea shell necklace. Leonardo on the other hand rocks some make-shift armor that is adorned with a New York City button. It is the little touches like this that I enjoyed. Also, I appreciate that each brother had their own body type. From the tank-like Raphael to the slim and meek Donatello, each of the four were easily distinguished.
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Size comparison. Megan Fox is 5′ 4″. Raph is a giant.

On a more technical level, the motion capture and CGI for the brothers (and Splinter) is amazing. The level of detail found on their skin and fur to be extremely well done. While I am on the topic of Splinter, I found him to be a tad to rat like. Yes, that is an odd thing to say since Splinter IS a rat, yet I found those features to stand out. As for the design choices regarding the turtles, I honestly didn’t mind. Give them lips and a nose; didn’t bother me. What mattered to me was their personality; something each turtle had in droves. Each of the four retained their signature style and that was something that pleased me greatly.

While the look and technical specs of the movie made pleased me, the story and human element left something to be desired. The plot of the movie, which I will not spoil here, is something we have seen a million times over. Heck, I even called the resolution about midway through the film. But again, I stress, don’t expect an Academy Award winner here. Megan Fox’s April O’neil and Will Arnett’s Vernon Fenwick are alright. Not the best acting I have ever seen, but certainly not the worst. To be fair, I was actually surprised at how much I like Fox’s version of April.

With every hero story, you need an equally great villain. TMNT had two, neither of which I thought were any good. William Fichtner’s character, Eric Sacks, is a one dimensional and stereotypical bad guy. He kind of reminds me of Bill Gates if Gates had decided to go insane and take over New York. Shredder, the turtle’s longstanding nemesis, is a one trick pony. What you see in the third trailer is almost all he does. He is a like a Samurai Swiss Army knife. By the third time he pulled out ALL his blades I was thinking “Oh come on now, we have already seen this.”

Splinter meets the Swiss Army version of Shredder. Does he come with a toothpick too?
When all was said and I came out and was happy that I had seen the film. Was it original? Not really, no. Was it the best movie I have seen this year? Nope (that honor goes to Guardians of the Galaxy so far). Did I have a good time? Yes, yes I did. It is by no means perfect, but it is one hell of a fun ride.

SIDE NOTE: Don’t see it in 3D. It isn’t worth the upcharge and the fight scenes are almost unwatchable due to the quick cuts.

Rating: 7 / 10

Agent Burgos, Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Dragonball Z: Battle Of Gods Review http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/dragonball-z-battle-of-gods-review-274528 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/dragonball-z-battle-of-gods-review-274528#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:59:14 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=274528 The following Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods review is brought to you by Kyle Stephens from Syndicate Press. Everyone who grew up loving Dragonball (and the subsequent “Z” and “GT” series) has their favorite moments. Whether is be the Goku vs Piccalo fight in the original series or the Cell games from DBZ, everyone has […]

Agent Burgos, Dragonball Z: Battle Of Gods Review

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The following Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods review is brought to you by Kyle Stephens from Syndicate Press.

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Everyone who grew up loving Dragonball (and the subsequent “Z” and “GT” series) has their favorite moments. Whether is be the Goku vs Piccalo fight in the original series or the Cell games from DBZ, everyone has a moment they can instantly recall. Personally, I have so many the instantly come to mind. When I heard that the 2013 Japanese release of Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods was dubbed with the English voices and was set to hit theaters, I felt 12 again.

Nostalgia aside, Battle of Gods, is a lot of fun with a few points that drag it down from true greatness. On a technical standpoint, the movie is a thing of beauty. Seeing Goku and all the Z-fighters in HD clarity is something to behold. The action which used to be full of shaky lines and repeated animations is gone thanks to new animation technology and CGI. On top of that, most – not all – of the English voice cast returned for the movie. From beginning to end, your eyes and ears will be treated to the best looking Dragonball Z film to date.

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Story wise, it is a solid “good”. From the beginning we are warned that a certain god of destruction, Lord Beerus, has awoken. He is a legendary warrior who destroys whole galaxies because they annoyed him. Once we are actually introduced to the character, the first thing you will notice is his feline qualities. Appearance aside, his motions and actions resemble that of a cat; down to licking his “paws” to clean himself after waking up. Normally this would take me out of the movie, but this is Dragonball Z. An anime that is filled with talking pigs, little green guardians of Earth and men who get so angry they go blonde. A cat man is nothing to bat a lash at. The reason for Lord Beerus to visit Earth on the other hand is a little silly.

The long and short of it is that Lord Beerus had a dream (or premonition) that he would battle a Super Saiyan God; a legendary form whose power exceeds even that of Super Saiyan 3 (SSJ3). He is surprised at this because it was by his direction that Planet Vegeta (home of the Saiyans) be destroyed by Freeza. Learning that there were Saiyan survivors, Beerus heads out to find said Super Saiyan God. After a quick stop to visit King Kai (which leads to Goku getting his backside handed to him), Beerus makes his way to Earth. This is where the movie falters.

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After being warned by King Kai, Vegeta is tasked with keeping Beerus calm and ushering him off Earth since Goku was quickly defeated. He must do this while trying to entertain all the Z-fighters for Bulma’s birthday. The entire middle section of the movie feels like a filler episode. You know, the ones where Goku spent the episode screaming to power up and the other characters were tasked with finding the Dragonballs. That is how the middle 30 odd minutes went. Yes, there was plenty of humorous moments (including one hilarious dancing segment), but most of the events felt like something to stretch the run time.

Even when Lord Beerus arrived, instead of jumping into battle, he dives into the food and makes himself at home. Even his decision to destroy Earth is fueled by greed and pudding. Yes, pudding. I won’t go into spoilers, but this whole middle section of the movie could have gone in so many more action packed ways. The filler mentality didn’t subside until Goku recovered and arrived to save the plant. Once there, however, the tone of the movie went full force.

While we got to see the Z-fighters each do their thing, I would have liked to see more of their signature moves. There is something special about hearing Piccalo yell “Special Beam Cannon!” Alas, all the flashy moves were saved for Goku. On a side note, my showing of the movie was completely sold out. Every seat was filled. Every person came together to say “Ka-me-ha-me-HA!” with Goku. That moment gave me chills. Any who, back to the topic at hand.

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The ending fight was an adrenaline fueled extravaganza filled with power moves and lots of signature Dragonball Z yelling. What I didn’t expect was the lackluster ending. The last 15 minutes or so set up for another movie that may or may not get made.

When all was said and done, I found the movie to be worth the price of admission. The nostalgia alone is worth the $10. What could have been a great movie was bogged down with to much filler. However, if you love the Dragonball universe, you will find plenty to enjoy here.
Rating: 7.5 / 10

Thank you Kyle Stephens for contributing with this review.

Agent Burgos, Dragonball Z: Battle Of Gods Review

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Guardians of the Galaxy Review (Spoiler Free) http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy-review-spoiler-free-274434 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy-review-spoiler-free-274434#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:04:47 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=274434 We have all been waiting for Marvel’s next big blockbuster franchise “Guardians Of The Galaxy” and in a few days the movie will be released in the USA. Last night I was able to watch and advance screening of the newest James Gunn film, and it did not disappoint. My friend. Kyle Stephens who is […]

Agent Burgos, Guardians of the Galaxy Review (Spoiler Free)

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We have all been waiting for Marvel’s next big blockbuster franchise “Guardians Of The Galaxy” and in a few days the movie will be released in the USA. 20140730-163750-59870105.jpg

Last night I was able to watch and advance screening of the newest James Gunn film, and it did not disappoint. My friend. Kyle Stephens who is an author and comic book writer (Unbound, Syndicate Press) was also there. He wrote a review and wanted me to share it all you fine folks that visit the site

Here’s the review, and it’s spoiler free. Check it out:

Star Wars meets The Avengers and yet so much more

There is something special about Guardians of the Galaxy. It is a unique recipe of titles that many know, yet put in a way that makes it fresh, new and exciting. It has the scope of 2012’s The Avengers mixed with the dynamic teamwork of the X-Men movies. Take both of those titles and blend it with the wonder of Star Wars and you have an idea of what Guardians is like. So, let me get right to the point. Go see this movie as soon as it opens. If you have plans, change them. If you have a date, bring them. If you have work, I will personally write you a semi-believable note for why you were absent.

Now before I go on, let me preface this with saying that while I am a comic writer/lover/collector, I mainly follow DC comics. You can ask me about the history of any Justice League member and I can rattle it off. Marvel on the other hand is something I only dove into in the last few years. I started with Thor and moved through Captain America and the rest of the Avengers lineup. When I heard of this movie, I had some homework to do. While beneficial, it was not needed. Guardians of the Galaxy introduces you to all the members in a natural, fluid manner. It doesn’t hurt that each actor played their role exquisitely. Chris Pratt took on the role of Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) and made him a believable leader. His ability to spit one liners one moment and rallying speeches the next is something not many actors could do; or at least do well.

While Pratt is the leader of this band of wayward souls, he doesn’t over shadow the rest of the cast. Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Rocket) and Vin Diesel (Groot) all give wonderful and captivating performances. I will admit that I was a little worried about Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket. In the trailers leading up the film, I would hear Rocket and think of Cooper. Once unleashed in the full film you will forget about the actor and will be invested in the character alone. As someone who regularly has a difficult time suspending disbelief, this is to be a wonderful thing.

Another actor who needs to be recognized is Dave Bautista. Known to many as Batista in the WWE, he was the one I was most worried about. His lack of acting roles left him open to being the weakest link in the title cast. I am very pleased, however, to confirm that his portrayal of Drax the Destroyer was spot on. Bautista was able to convey the emotion of Drax while still keeping the rage palpable. Also, be ready to laugh as Drax has some of the best lines in the film. The banter between the group is some of the movie’s highest points; even in a film with so many good things.

Every hero, or in this case anti-hero, is only a good as the villain he/she is pitted against. Ronan (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), while not the true focus of the movie, play their parts well. The two are one of the driving forces that form the heroic group. I won’t say what they are after exactly, but I will mention that they aren’t the only ones. Much bigger things are in play.

Finally, I have to mention the director, James Gunn. His unique take on directing is really what made Guardians shine. This movie could have easily been a flop if handled by anyone else. His use of lighting, sound and camera work truly transported you out of the theater and into deep space. Not just that, but his ability to let each character have their time in the spotlight, is something worth noting. Too many times have I seen a movie where the hero is either skimmed over or much too much back story is given (do we really need to know how Peter Parker became Spider-Man again?). Gunn also has this knack for assuming the viewer is paying attention. Not once during the films 121 minute running time did I feel as though my hand was being held. A fact that I am grateful for. I am excited to see what he brings to the table for the second movie. A movie which I will surely be in the front of the line to see.

Overall, I found the film – one that must have been a risk in the eyes of Marvel – to be a resounding hit. It gives each actor and the subsequent character their time in the forefront. Guardians of the Galaxy may have villains to fight, yet the movie itself focuses on the group and how they came together. A smart move by the director. As I said in the opening paragraph, go see this movie.

I give it a 9.5 / 10

Oh, one more thing, Thanos. That is all.

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Thanks Kyle for the review!

Agent Burgos, Guardians of the Galaxy Review (Spoiler Free)

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Review: Lucy http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-lucy-274317 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-lucy-274317#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 03:49:34 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=274317 In a summer full of sequels, prequels, and rebooks, it’s nice to see something original.  Lucy is certainly original, but also a lot of weird. The premise is quite simple; what would happen if a human used 100% of their brain?  Luc Besson starts with some decent enough science then blows it up with science […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Lucy

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In a summer full of sequels, prequels, and rebooks, it’s nice to see something original.  Lucy is certainly original, but also a lot of weird.

The premise is quite simple; what would happen if a human used 100% of their brain?  Luc Besson starts with some decent enough science then blows it up with science fiction about mid way through.  The result is a lot fun for the audience.  Besson jumps right into the plot ten minutes in and doesn’t lose focus for the brisk 90 minute film.  There is little character development, hero and villain alike, for the sake of showcasing Lucy’s powers as she opens up more of her brain.  This makes the movie quite thin on the plot side of things, but a short run time negates scenes running along with nothing to speak of in terms of development.

The main thing to take away from Lucy is this: this is a weird movie.  It constantly makes gigantic leaps in logic for the sake of a flashy set piece.  This isn’t bad considering its fun to see Scarlet Johansson run around and treat people like rag dolls, but it borders on the stupid side at points.  But these aren’t small leaps of logic we are talking about.  These are massive leaps that make you say, “How the fuck did we get here?”  This is where my enjoyment for the movie started to waver.  I’m fine with not having to think much for a movie, but when I need to think because I don’t understand what the hell is going on, we have a problem.  Most of these moments are near the end, so you have around an hour and fifteen before things start going downward.

The ending is really the big mind fuck.  While the leaps in logic are great it’s possible to see the train of thought of Besson.  If those are leaps of logic, then the ending is a plane ride so far from logic town that you can’t figure out where on Earth you are.  Weirdly enough though, it works.  The zaniness has been established enough that seeing Besson go nuts with theories is expected and encouraged.  And then movie ends with little to no explanation and says, “Deal with it.”  You have to respect a movie for doing that in a day where everything needs to be spoon fed to audiences.

The trailers made it seem like Lucy was going to be a complete badass along the lines of Haywire.  I went in expecting her to be kicking ass and taking names.  Instead she mostly uses her powers to make fools out of the villains.  It created a lot of very funny scenes, but didn’t fit my expectations.  The little ass kicking flows very well, and Johansson looks like a natural when the action heats up.  The villain, a Taiwanese gang, aren’t exactly the greatest villains.  They want their drugs back and you don’t develop much beyond that.

Scarlett Johansson keeps the movie’s wheels from coming undone.  She’s a likable lead and her becoming more robotic as her mind opens up feels believable.  Her deadpan delivery once she goes psedu-robotic becomes annoying and kills the little bit of seriousness this movie creates.  What really impressed me was the opening sequence when Lucy was still normal, and terrified beyond belief.  Scenes like this have been played out before, but Johansson brought so much terror and emotion to the screen that I feared for her life. Morgan Freeman seems to not realize what is going on around him as he’s quite a blank slate.  His only real purpose is to give the insanely large exposition dump at the beginning of the movie, and then provide somewhere for Lucy to go.

Lucy gets 3/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Lucy

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Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-dawn-planet-apes-274081 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-dawn-planet-apes-274081#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 18:26:17 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=274081 Three years after Fox rebooted the Planet of the Apes franchise with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we are getting Dawn of the Plant of the Apes.  Dawn is superior movie to Rise, and what I wish Rise had been in the first place. The plot centers on San Francisco and what happened […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Three years after Fox rebooted the Planet of the Apes franchise with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we are getting Dawn of the Plant of the ApesDawn is superior movie to Rise, and what I wish Rise had been in the first place.

The plot centers on San Francisco and what happened to the area in the 10 years since Rise.  Simian flu has wiped out most of the humans on the planet, and some remaining humans have built a little colony in San Francisco.  The apes meanwhile, have made their home in the woods could care less about humans.  Then they bump into each other and all hell breaks loose over the next two hours.

Dawn is a simple movie at heart, and maybe the simplest of the Ape movies as there is little exposition needed. We know how apes are evolving from the first movie and that the human race is dwindling due to the well used opening credits (a lost art in Hollywood these days).  The weaknesses in the plot rear their ugly head early as the main conflict is condensed into two characters: Carver the human (Kirk Acevedo) and Koba the ape (Toby Kebbell).  Hinging the entire plots catalyst on two characters is lazy writing and doesn’t give the weight that a conflict like this deserves. Having some small threads of speciesism in the rest of the humans and then have their thoughts about the apes be proven wrong would have flowed more and made the subsequent conflict more engaging. The apes have some hesitations for the humans throughout the movie which keeps the plot from falling apart later.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a long movie.  Pacing doesn’t become an issue though until the end of the movie when subplots are brought it in to fill dead space. I didn’t feel the need to check my cell phone during the movie until about the 1 hour 45 minutes mark when most of the action has taken place and we are just waiting on the ending. But when Dawn has your attention, you can’t look away.  There is an even amount of time spent on the colony in San Francisco, the apes, and the humans and I never wondered why we hadn’t seen a specific plot thread in a while.  A few threads could have been cut to make this a brisker movie, such as the superfluous human subplots.  Malcolm’s (Jason Clarke) interaction with the apes and wanting to coexist with them is enough to drive the human element of the movie.

One of Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ weaknesses was the script.  It was often dull and lacked any real emotion.  Considering most of the dialogue in Dawn is “ape no kill ape,” it’s ironic that the script superior to Rise.  The ape dialogue is often stunted, but the ever growing inclusion of speaking apes instead of sign language showcased how much the apes have evolved in the 10 years since the first movie.  Even with The human dialogue has vastly improved and I found myself actually liking the human leads.  Well, really just Malcolm, the only human who gets character development.  The rest of the humans, Gary Oldman included, have little or nothing to do for most of the movie.  Not necessarily a bad thing as we get to focus on the ape/human relations, but wanting the audience to suddenly care about these characters late in the movie causes issues when we could care less if they live or die.

The special effects are simply astonishing.  The line between practical effects and CGI was very blurred throughout Dawn.  I found myself saying, “Well that has to be an ape suit,” and finding out later that I was quite wrong.  The late action sequence looks beautiful and decent in 3D (I was forced to see it this way).  The level of detail on the hair, added with it constantly raining, made the effects that much more impressive.  While a marvelous work of CGI, the monkey double wielding machine guns on a horse going through fire broke the illusion a bit. What was a tense moment now had the audience laughing and sets the wrong tone for the end of the movie.  But hey, it’s a monkey on a horse holding two machine guns jumping through fire. It might be the most badass thing of the summer.

Michael Giacchino (composer for the Star Trek reboot movies and LOST) composes a bombastic soundtrack. He starts the score of softly, but as the apes slowly take over the drums and brass pick up.  While some weren’t a fan of the movie, most everyone agreed the score was very good.

Andy Serkis is a motion capture god in this movie, but I found his performance as Caesar not as great as Rise. That’s a hard performance to live up to as we saw Caesar grown up to become the hero we see in Dawn.  Jason Clarke is likable as the main human Malcolm.  The rest of the humans kind of float into the background except for Kirk Acevedo, who is terrible as the asshole who starts the ape vs. human war.  While I’m one to not place complete blame on the actor as the script calls for him to be an ass, he just isn’t likable in any way. Why would a group bring him along anywhere if he is just going to be an ass 24/7?  The guy shoots an ape, and you want to bring him along…WHERE THE APE HE SHOT IS?!

Kerri Russel is good as Malcolm’s girlfriend.  She’s likable enough that we worry about her a little when the monkey doo doo starts hitting the fan.  Gary Oldman in Dawn is the same as Brian Cranston in Godzilla.  Big name star to put on the movie poster but is barely in the final product.  I somewhat forgot he was in the movie when his character popped up in the final act.

With most Hollywood franchises these days, there is normally some feeling of continuance that leaves an audience wanting more.  There are always sequels so why not leave them wanting to see the next movie already? But Dawn had some closure at the end. If they never made another Apes movie (psh, yeah right) I wouldn’t feel like I needed to see more.  If the later Apes movies hadn’t mucked up the timeline so much, I’d say Rise and Dawn work well as prequels to the 1968 original.  But it looks like a third one will be out in two years and be called Planet of the Apes

While I did not stay to confirm, there isn’t an after credits sequence.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes gets 4/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Review: 22 Jump Street http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-22-jump-street-273213 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-22-jump-street-273213#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:31:20 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=273213 The movie that everyone thought wasn’t going to be funny has received the sequel treatment. While most of the jokes are retreads of 21 Jump Street, I couldn’t help but laugh throughout 22 Jump Street and think that 22 might be a better movie. The plot uses most of the story beats that 21 Jump […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: 22 Jump Street

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The movie that everyone thought wasn’t going to be funny has received the sequel treatment. While most of the jokes are retreads of 21 Jump Street, I couldn’t help but laugh throughout 22 Jump Street and think that 22 might be a better movie.

The plot uses most of the story beats that 21 Jump Street used, and that was the plan. The screenwriters (Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman) make liberal use of the fourth wall, letting the audience know what they think of sequels and what studio executives think of sequels.  They lay it on a tad thick in the beginning and it takes the focus off Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill), the real reason why people will pay to see this movie.  These jokes don’t build towards anything so it’s a lot of one liners that make it hard to transition towards the next scene.  The constant reference to “We need to do this the same” gets old fast and seems like an out to do the same thing. The plot is fun as hell so I don’t mind, but don’t draw so much attention to this fact.  Once the dynamic duo starts the investigation though, things really start to pick up plot wise. It follows the same storyline as 21 Jump Street, but there are enough small changes that most audience members won’t feel robbed of their $10.

The script goes with the theory that bigger is better.  The jokes hit at a rapid fire pace that can be a little overwhelming at points. I was laughing so hard from one joke I missed the next two or three.  A friend actually said, “Hey, can they slow down the jokes for a bit?” in the middle of the screening.  Even when the jokes aren’t as funny as others, they still give a great chuckle.  The action is generic action, but thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome.  It’s also punctuated by some great physical comedy.  I liked the subtle thread of Jenko might be gay.  It was done tastefully and even seemed like a great direction to take Jenko in for future films (more on that later).

While the jokes hit hard and fast, there is a slew of sight gags that went unnoticed by most of the audience. Unfortunately they pop up when something else is already happening and they get lost in the shuffle. I’ll need to watch this movie a few times to see every joke.  My favorite was the Benny Hill reference that is funny its own, but gains another level of humor when you notice what is going on in the background. 21 Jump Street’s original purpose, poking fun at 80’s teen movies, has completely gone by the wayside except for a song or two.  Considering how dense the jokes are at points, I’m glad they decided to leave those jokes out.

The real charm of this series is the electric chemistry of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Their characters don’t seem to have matured much but who really cares.  Tatum and Hill’s rapport seems to have improved as their jokes and dialogue bounce off each other more naturally than before.  Hill continues to be funny, but I’d argue that Tatum is the funnier one this time around.  He’s dumb but not incredibly dumb like the last outing.  He’s just all around more likable in this outing.  Ice Cube gets a lot of time to develop his character as well as stretch his comedic chops. His antics often got the hardest laughs.  Amber Stevens, as Schmidt’s love interest May, doesn’t get as much to work with as Brie Larson did in 21 Jump Street. She’s more of a plot device and their relationship is dropped near the end of the movie.

Make sure to stay for the credits. The poking fun of sequel culture in Hollywood doesn’t stop once the movie stops.  But in making this joke, it almost eliminates any future sequels.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but does cause that hiccup for the future.

22 Jump Street gets 4/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: 22 Jump Street

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Review: The Fault in Our Stars http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-fault-stars-273021 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-fault-stars-273021#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:20:39 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=273021 Young adult movies have never been my thing. Throw a chick flick into there and you’d be damn sure I’m not going to see it. But The Fault in Our Stars bucked both of those notions and was actually a good film. Big spoilers for the book and movie. This movie is based off the book […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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Young adult movies have never been my thing. Throw a chick flick into there and you’d be damn sure I’m not going to see it. But The Fault in Our Stars bucked both of those notions and was actually a good film.

Big spoilers for the book and movie.

This movie is based off the book of the same name. I have never read the book, but my fiancée who has says the movie was a very faithful adaptation of the novel.  Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is a cancer patient who meets and subsequently falls in love with Augustus (Ansel Elgort), who she meets at a cancer support group. Augustus has survived cancer but has his leg amputated.  They bond as the months go on and their relationship hits some highs and lows.

Early on, the plot deals with a lot of clichéd story beats from other young adult movies, such as being alone and clearly no one understands how she feels.  It’s hard to watch as it has been done a thousand times over and The Fault in Our Stars doesn’t add anything fresh to the formula.  She meets Augustus and they instantly fall in love and we are shown many scenes about why they are perfect for each other. Nothing about them meeting feels natural though. It’s instantaneous and feels like some fantasy that Hazel is playing out. I was told multiple times by my fiancée that, “This is how it feels to be in the head of a teenage girl.”  Maybe that’s why I couldn’t relate? I prefer other movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and (500) Days of Summer, where the start of the main couple’s relationship feels earned and natural.  Once all the pleasantries are out of the way though, their relationship starts to feel real. It’s very sweet and gives the actors plenty of time to use their chemistry to drive the movie. I found myself caring for them as a couple, where I normally could care less for a movie of this genre.  The humor also gets some time to shine, and I found myself laughing at most of the jokes.  But once the couple gets home from Amsterdam, the problems start to pop up again.

Since this is was originally a first person novel, I’m not surprised there are narrations at certain points.  Narrations can be a hard thing to do well in movies.  Near the end though, Hazel’s narrations give away that Augustus is going to be dying soon.  This feels cheap as it manipulates the audience’s heartstrings for the sake of manipulation. Why not forgo the narration and let the scene play out? Then when Augustus actually died, it would hit the audience that much harder. The narration drags out the final act of the movie, as the audience sits there waiting for events the narration gave away half an hour ago.  It’s emotional, and very well acted, but revealing the ending well before the climax was a mistake.

For a film that only has a two hour running time, The Fault in Our Stars feels quite long. It’s hard to place a finger on what specific scenes needed to be edited down to quicken the pace, but something had to be done. I found myself wanting to check my cell phone a couple of times later in the movie.

The acting is superb with Woodley and Elgort lighting up the screen. They have an infectious level of chemistry that gives weight to their relationship and the heartbreak each suffer.  When Augustus is trying to tell Hazel about his cancer, Elgort gives it his all as we can see him trying to hold it together for her but slowly breaking down. It really brought me into the scene.  The script makes Augustus a massive prick at the beginning but Elgort slowly worms his way in and makes the character very likable.  Woodley, who has already shown she can act in The Descendants, shines as Hazel. Woodley feels held back in the beginning by the early scripts mistakes, but makes up for this as the movie goes on. I loved when Hazel have a fight with her mom (Laura Dern, Jurassic Park)  then make up as Woodley, through tears,  shows how much love she has for her mom even in difficult times.   The audience can see the range of conflicting emotions that flow across her face, and really sold how quickly her friendship with her mom can change.  Willem Defoe has a brief role that pushes the plot along nicely, and seems to be having quite a bit of fun being an absolute ass.

The Fault in Our Stars is a good date movie and one that will entertain the guys more than most. It’s has quite a few problems, but is entertaining enough.  And if you liked the book, you’ll most likely enjoy the movie as well.

One last thing….“You were making out during Schindler’s List?!”

The Fault in Our Stars gets 3/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-million-ways-die-west-272823 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-million-ways-die-west-272823#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 23:08:33 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=272823 I didn’t have high hopes for A Million Ways to Die in the West. It seemed like every funny joke was in the trailer and it was trying very hard to be Blazing Saddles. Well what do you know; I laughed my ass off for most of the movie. As with every comedy, your enjoyment […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West

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I didn’t have high hopes for A Million Ways to Die in the West. It seemed like every funny joke was in the trailer and it was trying very hard to be Blazing Saddles. Well what do you know; I laughed my ass off for most of the movie.

As with every comedy, your enjoyment depends greatly on what you consider funny. Do you like Family Guy and thought Ted was very funny? Well then you’re going to love this movie.  Do you not like Family Guy? Then you may want to hit AMC theaters before noon ($6.50 a ticket around me) or rent it.  I’m not a fan of MacFarlane’s Family Guy style of humor, where random things pop in that are inconsequential to the story and it’s suppose to be funny.  A Million Ways is weakest when MacFarlane goes for these types of gags.  The audience is pulled right out of the western motif as the humor falls flat.  MacFarlane also goes for gags that last a few minutes too long, and those are also supposed to be “funny.”  He also can’t seem to stop pointing out the oddities around them and why it’s stupid that people are happy to live in the west.  It really takes the audience out of the scene.  Thankfully for us, this brand of humor is gone when the movie’s plot really kicks into high gear.  Here, we have humor that is built off a set up/pay off type of equation instead of random things happening.  Those rear their ugly head occasionally but never for long and attempt to be connected to something happening around the characters.  This gave me a good chuckle instead of sitting there silent.  Leaving the theater, I remembered myself laughing more times than not.

MacFarlane seemed to try and make the Blazing Saddles of this generation, but didn’t know how to effectively with his brand of humor. Of course there are racial jokes, but unlike Blazing Saddles, where the bad people (for the most part) were racist, even our heroes are racists here. Only one of the racial jokes actually hits and the rest end up falling flat.  Granted that one racial joke pays off for a great cameo.

The plot is rather thin, but doesn’t exactly need to be for this type of movie. Boy loses girl, boy meets new girl who has secrets, new girl shows boy the way of being a normal person, and finally a conflict.  The lack of plot gives the movie more time to focus on the actors and their chemistry, which ends up being the backbone of the movie.  There are some pacing issues near the end of the movie, when MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild (the screenwriters) seem to realize the plot has been on hold for 45 minutes because they were having so much fun with the characters.  This leads to the plot sprinting along, then slowing down, and then sprinting along again.  Ruth (Sarah Silverman) and Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) are all but forgotten once the second act starts, even though they weren’t that funny.

The big surprise for me was the music. I found the soundtrack invoking memories of past westerns (which clearly was the idea).  The breakout song will no doubt be “If You Only Had a Moustache,” which I’ve had stuck in my head for days.  I normally shy away from soundtracks but have already bought this one.

MacFarlane is clearly still learning the ropes as a director of live action. There are some unnecessary crane camera shots that feel oddly placed and are there to only look pretty.  He’s still very accustomed to characters just standing around and talking, as these scenes look the best throughout.  Once the action heats up, hell even dancing heats up, it can be difficult to figure out where everyone is in relation to each other or the size of the area around them.  I found myself a little confused as to how far they had actually danced when singing “If You Only Had a Moustache.”

Whoever decided to include the Back to the Future reference in the trailer deserves to be fired. After seeing the movie, it could have been up there with Bill Murray in Zombieland for all time funniest cameos. But instead we can see it coming from a mile away.  Even leading up to the scene I could tell the gag was on its way.  Still a funny scene, but could have been a hysterical scene.  There are few other cameos that elicit laugher, but nowhere near what that could have been.

The acting is quite good as you’d expect with an A-list cast like this. MacFarlane plays the character he always plays: the everyman pointing out the absurdities around him.  I don’t see anything to make me seem as anything more than a funny man, but at least he’s good at what he does.  MacFarlane and Charlize Theron (Anna) have a lot of chemistry in both humor and romantic scenes.   Theron doesn’t have a lot of room to stretch her acting chops here, but at least has the comedic timing down to match wits with MacFarlane.  Neil Patrick Harris steals the show as Foy, the evil moustache wearing man who steals Albert’s girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried).  He plays an evil bastard perfectly while showing off his comedic timing skills along with his dancing capabilities.  Amanda Seyfried is good, but isn’t given a lot to do.  Liam Neeson continues to be a badass in everything he is cast. But like Seyfried, he doesn’t have a lot to throughout the movie.  He appears at the begging of the film then disappears until the end.  His acting abilities don’t really mesh well with the humor of MacFarlane.

When deciding on a number, I was quite torn. I laughed quite a bit through the movie, but couldn’t help but notice the flaws that kept popping up. I originally thought to myself a 4/5, but as I wrote the review and thought about the movie more and more, I decided on 3.5/5.

A Million Ways to Die in the West gets 3.5/5.

 

Kevin Finnigan, Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West

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Review: Maleficent http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-maleficent-272817 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-maleficent-272817#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 18:43:29 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=272817 I’m a Disney fan. Have been since I was a kid. So seeing Maleficent, a reimagining of the classic Sleeping Beauty told from the villain’s perspective, had me intrigued. What I got was an hour and a half of pure pain that made me want to turn into Sleeping Beauty so I didn’t have to […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Maleficent

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I’m a Disney fan. Have been since I was a kid. So seeing Maleficent, a reimagining of the classic Sleeping Beauty told from the villain’s perspective, had me intrigued. What I got was an hour and a half of pure pain that made me want to turn into Sleeping Beauty so I didn’t have to watch it.

The plot of Maleficent follows Sleeping Beauty’s basic story.  Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is an evil witch who curses Aurora (Elle Fanning) so that she falls into a death like sleep on her sixteenth birthday.  What Linda Woolverton (the screenwriter) does here is add some back story and motivation for Maleficent.  Woolverton’s intentions are good but she destroys the character and turns her into something that isn’t Maleficent.  Maleficent is a powerful figure who doesn’t back down from anyone. Now, she lets one guy be the focus of her entire life and everything she does is based off that one moment he changed her. Granted the King (Sharlto Copley, District 9) is an ass and does something terrible (clips her wings), but considering how much she flip-flops on her plan it must not have scarred her as much as the plot lets on.  She seems quite determined to kill Aurora but saves her at every chance she gets. This is all BEFORE she meets Aurora and comes to love her.  Save ten years of your life and let the girl die!

You read that second to last second correctly: Maleficent comes to love Aurora as the movie goes on. What this ends up doing is creating a Frozen like ending that had many people throwing their hands in the air. It’s not even done well! This FURTHER goes in the face of Maleficent as a character and left me wanting to exit the theater.

Since this is Disney, we can’t have a villain be the main focus of a movie.  Maleficent is turned into an anti-hero instead of keeping her wicked ways from Sleeping Beauty. This aspect was the most enticing portion. I wanted to see Jolie go nuts and be the evil bastard we all know Maleficent can be.  But if she’s not somewhat redeemable, then the audience will hate it. Well they hated it anyways.  This character choice ends up making her a frail shell of what we have been accustomed to for the past 50 years.

The script is so sad that I wanted to pat it on the back and say, “You tried but you need to stop.”  There is a strange amount of narration where there could have been dialogue or even character development.  This isn’t The Creeping Terror where filmmakers lost audio.  This is a big studio that had plenty of time to edit the movie or reshoot a scene so that a narrator wasn’t needed.  Jolie has very little dialogue and speaks in very short sentences. Maleficent wasn’t a quiet character in Sleeping Beauty, so this makes zero sense. The King, a supporting character, should not have more dialogue than the star of the movie.  All of this is quite odd, as Woolverton has been working with Disney for some time and written some of their most classic films, such as Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast.

The one redeeming element in Maleficent is the art direction. Joe Roth, art director for such films as Avatar and Oz: the Great and Powerful, creates a lush world that never gets old to look at.  When practical sets are used, they look great and invoke the look of Sleeping Beauty perfectly.  Roth is a rookie director though, and ends up taking his growing pains out on the film. Fight scenes are impossible to watch with the constant zooming in/out and slow down fuzziness that Roth seems to love so much. He keeps zooming in exactly when something interesting is going to happen in the fight, thus making it happen off screen and losing the impact.  I took my 3D glasses of multiple times as they hurt my eyes to see.

Rick Baker’s makeup on Jolie is worth noting.  The horns and cheekbones look fantastic and completely sold me on the look. Jolie looks strangely airbrushed at points, and so much at others that people started to laugh.

Angelina Jolie IS Maleficent. As much as this movie hurts to watch, she makes the pain somewhat better. When she is given time to spread her wings (pun intended), she shines as the wicked villain.  She clearly has a love for the villain and could have played her perfectly if given a great script and a seasoned director.  Sharlto Copley is a good actor, but the King has nothing to do except be a one note character. Jolie and Copley try, but can’t muster up an ounce of chemistry, which ends up hurting the plot development. There’s not sizzle or spark for us to truly care for them as a couple, and that derails every plot development afterwards. Sam Riley plays Diaval, a new character, and does a decent job as the comic relief.  Elle Fanning has the look of Aurora down, but again is a one note character. She’s bubbly and nice, but that’s all we know about her. Brenton Thwaites gets the short straw as Phillip. Phillip was one of the first Disney prince’s to get character development and (surprisingly) a name. To see him be swept aside as a pretty face and inconsequential to the plot is a little saddening.

Maleficent presents a bigger issue for Disney in general. Besides Marvel, Star Wars, and Saving Mr. Banks they cannot make a live action movie to save their lives. All style and no substance has been their motto for far too long and they need to change.  Hire a good screenwriter (which they did here) and a seasoned director and let them do what they do best.  While I was researching the movie before this review, I got the feeling that Disney didn’t like the final product and wanted things changed. They are prime example for letting filmmakers do what they do. Pirates of the Caribbean wouldn’t have been the smash hit if they hadn’t let Johnny Depp do what he wanted.  I’m hoping that Disney will learn from this and make better movies going forward. They could start with the Guillermo Del Toro Haunted Mansion movie.

Maleficent gets 1.5/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Maleficent

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Review: Godzilla http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-godzilla-213591 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-godzilla-213591#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 15:20:01 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=213591 It can be hard some days to wash the taste of the 1998 Godzilla movie from your mouth. But Gareth Edwards may have done that with one very enjoyable, if a little flawed, reboot of the classic Japanese franchise. Mild spoiler warning. No major plot points are given away. Godzilla mostly focuses on the Brody […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Godzilla

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It can be hard some days to wash the taste of the 1998 Godzilla movie from your mouth. But Gareth Edwards may have done that with one very enjoyable, if a little flawed, reboot of the classic Japanese franchise.

Mild spoiler warning. No major plot points are given away.

Godzilla mostly focuses on the Brody family and how kaiju (Japanese for “strange creature”) have affected their lives.  It starts with Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and how his wife is killed by a kaiju at a nuclear power plant in Japan.  15 years later, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor Johnson), Joe’s son, has moved on with his life and has a wife and son.  Joe continues to live in Japan and study what killed his wife.  This leads Ford to look at his father in a new way and help stop Godzilla and Muto (villain of choice for this movie).

The human element of a monster movie can be a tough one to figure out. It needs to be there, but can’t be the main focus of the movie. I paid $10 for a movie ticket and I want to see big things destroy buildings.  Godzilla balances the monster and humans effectively, but then tries to take the focus away from the kaiju and make you feel for the humans near the middle-end of the film.  The final product ends up derailing the pacing late in the movie.  A simple plot of Ford wanting to fight Godzilla and Muto for his father was a great motive for Ford and would have driven the human element effortlessly without taking screen time away from Godzilla.  But instead, we keep transferring back to Ford’s wife (Elizabeth Olson) to see how she is doing and we could care less if she survives. She is there to add a sense of purpose to Ford fighting/helping Godzilla against Muto, but that purpose doesn’t have any weight.  It creates for a nice ending but kicks the momentum in the shin when everything starts to get going.  The ending is a tad strange as all the humans are happy….but didn’t a few million people just die? It feels tonally off.

Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Wantanabe) is our main exposition man and catalyst for big monster battles.  He gives us the history of Godzilla and how it has affected the world, which integrates classic Godzilla lore.  Fine and dandy, but the wordless opening credits did a better job of that and prepared the audience for what was coming.  His exposition of Muto on the other hand was welcomed.  Serizawa feels like an essential part of the film during these scenes.  But once Muto has appeared and we know everything…Serizawa seems to keep coming back for some reason. “Let them fight,” he says to an American General when Godzilla is almost at San Francisco. Thank you for the catalyst for the final battle Wantanabe.  This IS a monster movie though, so things will be a little contrived as points for the sake of entertainment. As long as the audience is entertained, who cares?

Gareth Edwards (the director) used the Jaws method of monster reveal.  We see bits and pieces of Godzilla as we lead up to the big reveal in the first act, but never the full beast.  Even after Godzilla has been fully revealed, we never see Godzilla fully again. Part of him is always blocked by a building, smoke, or Muto.  It plays with the audiences perception of size and leaves them wondering how large Godzilla actually is.  The big battle at the end is filmed perfectly.  Fights are done at eye level or below eye level of Muto and Godzilla.  This keeps the audience looking up to the kaijus and making us feel like ants compared to them.  All of this leaves a great deal of mystery as to how powerfully Godzilla actually is.  Godzilla is a force of nature and humans shouldn’t know his full capabilities.  And when the King of Monsters was finally revealed, I got chills.

Alexander Desplat’s score is a thing of beauty.  The brass mixed with violin sell that Godzilla is a destructive force that can be graceful at times.  It’s mixed well though, so the big bombastic notes during the fight never overshadow the cracks from the punches.  There are very few quiet moments, other than Godzilla’s big reveal.  This is one soundtrack I’ll be buying.

Muto, a new creation for this movie, has a great look.  The motivation for why Muto is destroying everything in sight is a classic one, but Max Borenstein (screenwriter) adds a couple of twists to keep it fresh while also paying tribute to the classic Godzilla plot points.

The CGI is very lifelike for giant monsters destroying a city.  Andy Serkis, motion capture extraordinaire, consulted with Godzilla, which makes the fluid and lifelike motions the kaiju use comes as no surprise. Even when green screens are apparent, the seamless addition of the CGI keeps the audience in the audience in the scene and the believability intact.  This greatly helps later in the movie when Ford is running around with the army. Most monster movies have the humans in one place, and the monsters fighting in another. Keeping them both within the same block adds a sense of urgency to Ford’s actions and makes the kaiju feel bigger.

The acting is quite good for a monster movie. Bryan Cranston is his normal brilliant self and brings a great sense of tragedy to his character.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson does his best to pick up the mantle of main character, but doesn’t have the range that Cranston has. But he’s portrayal of Ford is likable and heroic which keeps us rooting for him as he runs around a destroyed San Francisco.  Elizabeth Olson is given nothing to work with other than reacting to the destruction around her.  Ken Wantanabe is solid, but is too serious at points. A few of his lines drew laughter from the crowd when it was supposed to be a tense moment.

Keep an eye out for a few hints to classic Godzilla monsters.  I noticed one but there could be more.  In case you were thinking there is an after credits scene, there isn’t.  There wasn’t one at the preview screen I saw, but there could be one released for general audiences. I’ll update if there is one.

Godzilla gets 4/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Godzilla

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Review: Marvel Knights Animation’s WOLVERINE WEAPON X: TOMORROW DIES TODAY http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-marvel-knights-animations-wolverine-weapon-x-tomorrow-dies-today-213347 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-marvel-knights-animations-wolverine-weapon-x-tomorrow-dies-today-213347#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 15:30:45 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=213347 Shout! Factory and Marvel Knights Animation are at it again this month with the release of a new motion comic. This new entry in the current line of motion comics adaptations is Jason Aaron and Ron Garney’s Wolverine Weapon X: Tomorrow Dies Today. With Deathlok seeing an increased popularity, thanks in part to Agents of […]

Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell, Review: Marvel Knights Animation’s WOLVERINE WEAPON X: TOMORROW DIES TODAY

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xShout! Factory and Marvel Knights Animation are at it again this month with the release of a new motion comic. This new entry in the current line of motion comics adaptations is Jason Aaron and Ron Garney’s Wolverine Weapon X: Tomorrow Dies Today. With Deathlok seeing an increased popularity, thanks in part to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., now is a great time to have a home video release featuring the half human/half cyborg warrior. Aaron’s Weapon X run was well received, but how does it hold up when it gets the motion comic treatment?

Steve Rogers has recently been brought back to the land of the living and that whole time period where Norman Osborne and some knock-off heroes who were actually villains is at an end. Wolverine and his old pal Steve Rogers are out on a pub crawl (with designated driver Nightcrawler) when things get weird. Wolverine is approached by a waitress who says she’s having visions of a future controlled by the Roxxon Corporation where Deathloks have killed all the heroes. The Deathloks are being sent back to the past (Wolverine’s present) to nip the heroes in the bud. It’s an unbelievable story, but when cyborgs start making a mess out of upcoming heroes and slaughtering a few hospital’s baby wards, Wolverine and company start to take the girl seriously. Time has already run out, but the heroes are making a final stand as they try to change the future and keep Roxxon and the Deathloks from destroying everything. How can they change the future that has already happened? What events need to be changed to give the future freedom fighters a chance at winning the battle? Can Wolverine, Captain America (the Bucky Barnes version), Steve Rogers, Thing, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, and Iron Fist stop the army of Deathloks?

Aaron wrote an action-packed, pulse-pounding fast-paced, and many other hyphenated words story that adapts to motion comics very well. This Weapon X story has some cinematic flavor to it (think Terminator), so it makes for a very entertaining hour. Wolverine and all the other heroes are perfectly captured, though the voice acting for Luke Cage and Spider-Woman aren’t quite there. Luckily the weaker cast voice characters have small cameo roles. The main voice cast is excellently chosen and the dialogue is delivered well. Garney’s art is a bit rougher in translation. The artist has a very nice, raw style that adapts in a hit and miss manner for the six episodes. Some things look absolutely stunning when in motion, though others look a bit spotty and stiff. It works well for the Deathloks’ movement, but some of the other characters are a bit too blocky. Overall it matches the tone and tenor of the story.

The special feature is a look at the comic book series the motion comic is based on, though Aaron is noticeably absent from the 13-minute look back. Luckily Garney gives an in-depth interview about the series, his art, and the working relationship for this particular story. Garney gives you gold, but you can’t help but wish Aaron popped up for a minute or two. The packaging, both DVD cover and menus/opening credits, are some of the sharpest and sleekest in a motion comic release yet. It’s a really beautiful collection.

Bottom Line: Wolverine Weapon X: Tomorrow Dies Today is one of the more action-packed motion comic releases to date. We get to see a lot of heroes that haven’t gotten the love they deserve in the motion comic format, and that makes it worth the price of admission alone. If you’re a fan of motion comics you’ll love it, and even if you’re not you’ll still probably find it an enjoyable way to spend an hour. You can check it out on Shout! Factory’s website right here. 4/5

Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell, Review: Marvel Knights Animation’s WOLVERINE WEAPON X: TOMORROW DIES TODAY

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Review: The Other Woman http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-woman-211256 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-woman-211256#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:11:29 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=211256 I don’t normally loathe movies. Maybe in a joking manner, but never to the point that I’m angry to be in the theater. The Other Woman is that type of movie. It panders to woman and ends up being borderline sexist. The Other Woman is about Carly (Cameron Diaz), Kate (Leslie Mann), and Amber (Kate […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: The Other Woman

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I don’t normally loathe movies. Maybe in a joking manner, but never to the point that I’m angry to be in the theater. The Other Woman is that type of movie. It panders to woman and ends up being borderline sexist.

The Other Woman is about Carly (Cameron Diaz), Kate (Leslie Mann), and Amber (Kate Upton).  All of these women are in love with Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones), specifically Kate who is married to him.  As you might guess given the title, Mark is sleeping with all of these women at the same time.  “Hilarity” ensues as Carly and Kate become friends while plotting to get revenge on Mark. Amber is the late comer and adds to the escapades to take down Mark.  I put quotation marks on hilarity because this movie is not actually funny.  The humor is often cheap laughs that undercut any empowering message that the movie is trying to convey.  Why go for character development when you could get the audience to laugh for five seconds?  Kate starts to become more independent, but then gets drunk that night and sleeps with her cheating husband.  Surely this is funny! Right?

The plot is scatterbrained and keeps trying to spin all the plates.  But considering there are only two plates you’d think this would be easier to manage.  The endgame for torturing Mark never materializes; even though the women bring it up a few times.  It’s squarely focused on the cheap laughs and keeping your focus on that.  Mark’s embezzlement storyline is almost forgotten until the final part of the movie where it is shoehorned in like it was there all along.  It ends up being the magical wand to save the plotline and bring all the dangling threads together.  Strangely enough, the movie tells us what happened to each of the characters after everything is said and done. THEY ARE MADE UP CHARCTERS. WE DO NOT CARE.

While talking to my fiancée after the movie, we both agreed that this movie is catering to women who have just been scorned by a man in the past few weeks. It’s a borderline revenge fantasy masquerading as a romantic comedy.  Men are all pigs…..unless they are really hot (Kate’s brother fills this role).  Never once does it entertain the notion that a person can independent and figure out their own life.  They constantly bicker about men and how they can’t seem to live their lives without someone beside them. Carly seems to have her life figured out for the most part but all of a sudden is desperately trying to find a man in her life. Kate becomes a mess fast once she figures out Mark has been cheating on her, and her life is over. Even though the plot has established multiple times that she actually is quite bright and is a decent entrepreneur.  But no…..can’t do anything without the guy.  Amber is really there to keep men’s attention when the movie starts to drag.  Which is fairly early on.

The acting isn’t any better.  Leslie Mann is playing a similar role to her character in Knocked Up, but can’t to bring in the nuances and likability from that movie.  Mann seems to be having fun at points, but incredibly bored in other scenes.  Cameron Diaz, again, has fun at points with Mann but can’t seem to muster up an interest in this movie when she’s by herself.  She needs to work on her physical comedy, where she seems inept at points.  Kate Upton gives the only good performance of the bunch because of her character’s stupidity. She plays a ditzy 20-something well.  And yes, her breasts are on display for most of the movie guys.  The most saddening part of The Other Woman is Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. He’s a phenomenal actor, and his acting skills deserve something better than this movie.  Once Game of Thrones is over, I expect him to be a superstar.

Then there is Nicki Minaj……hold on I need to suppress the anger.  Her delivery feels like someone behind the camera was holding cue cards up and she was reading off of them. She speaks with her mouth barely opening which leads to her mumbling everything.  I could hear Jeff Bridges in True Grit easier.  I audibly groaned after her first scene because it was so difficult to watch.  Thankfully she isn’t in all that often.

Maybe I’m not target audience for a movie like this. At the screening I went too, about 75% of the audience was women and all of them were laughing through the entire movie. The critic’s row was dead silent.

Don’t see The Other Woman. Avoid it at all costs.

The Other Woman gets 1/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: The Other Woman

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Review: Draft Day http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-draft-day-209400 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-draft-day-209400#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 13:44:58 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=209400 With football season over and many fans looking towards baseball, what better time to release a football movie!  While the technical aspects of Draft Day are entertaining, the acting and script make this a bore. The best way to describe Draft Day’s plot is taking that one scene in Moneyball where Brad Pitt and Jonah […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Draft Day

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With football season over and many fans looking towards baseball, what better time to release a football movie!  While the technical aspects of Draft Day are entertaining, the acting and script make this a bore.

The best way to describe Draft Day’s plot is taking that one scene in Moneyball where Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill fool other teams into thinking less of players so that the Athletics can get what they want. It was my favorite scene in Moneyball, but Draft Day stretches the premise so thin that it breaks early on in the movie.   There isn’t that tension that builds up as a season goes on and seeing the successes and failures of your choices.  The only tension that effectively builds is during the tension of making a pick when a team is on the clock.  The rest of the movie focuses on Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) and his family issues, namely with his secret girlfriend Ali (Jennifer Garner).   It never hits the right tones that it’s aiming for and instead just leaves the audience bored. I heard two separate people snoring during the family drama scenes.  This is exacerbated by the lackluster script which can’t figure out how to properly convey emotions other than stressed.  Any twist or turn in the plot can be seen miles away and undercuts the emotions that the actors are attempting to convey.

Draft Day’s main issue is that there isn’t enough meat in the plot.  Much of this could have been reworked to remove the fat or unnecessary sub-plots, but then we’d barely have a movie to release.  I would have rather seen a documentary on the real life stressed caused by draft day in the NFL. That would have been much more interesting and sustained an audience’s attention for an hour and a half.

An unplanned effect of releasing this movie after the NFL season has ended is that teams aren’t in the places they were in 2013 (when this was filmed).  Coming off a recent Super Bowl win, it’s hard to believe that the Seattle Seahawks would have the #1 pick.  The rest of the teams will probably cheer that their franchise is featured in a movie, but since most are at the bottom to middle of the league it ends up being a slap in the face.  At least they picked the Cleveland Browns, whose history of losing ads some much needed purpose to the team’s efforts.

Draft Day is essentially one big commercial for the NFL, and they don’t need more publicity.  Nothing even remotely bad about the organizations or its players is said.  And if they are, there is some loophole that will show that they aren’t as bad as they seem and that the media was grilling them unnecessarily.  Anyone who occasionally watches ESPN will know that isn’t the case and it makes the movie come off as cheesy.   If you live and breathe football, you’ll enjoy Draft Day.  As an avid baseball fan, a few of the jokes about past draft picks failing flew right over my head, but football fans in the theater seemed to enjoy them.

The acting is average at best as no one can seem to muster any interest in the movie.  Kevin Costner is likable as Sonny Weaver, but flounders in any scene that isn’t about football.  Costner starts to have some fun with the role while negotiating with teams about players and the audience can pick up on this. These scenes are the best in the movie and had me actually entertained.  He has zero chemistry with Jennifer Garner, and it becomes painful to watch as he tries to show some sort of emotional connection with her.  Speaking of Garner, she seems to be the only one slightly enjoying her role.  Denis Leary, as the coach of the Browns, tries his best to make the script his own but is giving nothing to work with besides bitch and moan.  There are numerous cameos from football commentators (mostly from the NFL Network and ESPN) and their acting is about as stiff as you would expect.  Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, makes a quick appearance.  Surprisingly his delivery wasn’t terrible and seemed somewhat natural acting.

While this doesn’t affect the score, I do have some questions about the marketing team for this movie. Did they completely phone this movie’s campaign in? The poster is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while, and the screening I attended was imploring fans to use countless hash tags and tagging real life people. It seems that they couldn’t be bothered marketing this movie to an audience and figured they’d just leave it up to the fans to spread the word.

Draft Day gets 2/5

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Draft Day

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Review: Captain America: the Winter Soldier http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-captain-america-winter-soldier-207579 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-captain-america-winter-soldier-207579#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:37:14 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=207579 The summer blockbuster season can’t start until a Marvel movie has been released. With that said, the blockbuster season is off to a splendid start with Captain America: the Winter Soldier.  If you don’t want to be spoiled, I give Captain America: the Winter Soldier a 4.5/5. MAKE SURE TO STAY FOR THE CREDITS. There […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Captain America: the Winter Soldier

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The summer blockbuster season can’t start until a Marvel movie has been released. With that said, the blockbuster season is off to a splendid start with Captain America: the Winter Soldier.  If you don’t want to be spoiled, I give Captain America: the Winter Soldier a 4.5/5. MAKE SURE TO STAY FOR THE CREDITS. There are two after credit scenes.

Mild spoilers to the Winter Soldier comic storyline and movie.  Nothing major.

Captain America: the Winter Soldier is a political thriller at heart. It focuses less on the politics of America and more on the ethics of preventative police work.  Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (the writers) forgo any long monologues about the ways of the world and why Cap needs to get with the times or how they are wrong, etc.  Instead they cut to the core of the argument and condense it into a few sentences, but infuse character’s backgrounds into the argument.  This adds a fresh take on arguments that we have heard in movies before.  The Winter Soldiers’ pacing is quite brisk given the complex nature of world politics.  Scenes don’t overstay their welcome and the audience feels like they are close to another pivotal scene.  This is a rare blockbuster film where I don’t feel like any scene could have been cut to keep the momentum up.  Each scene feels necessary to the plot and character development.

Captain America: the Winter Soldier is the kind of modern day Cap movie that I’ve hoped for as a fan. It cuts to the core of Captain America as a character and why he is still a relevant in pop culture and in the Marvel U.  As the name suggests, most of the plot borrows heavily from Ed Brubaker’s acclaimed Winter Soldier Saga.  The Winter Soldier is a legendary assassin and is on a rampage and Captain America has to decide how to stop him without killing his friend.  What surprised me though was the cherry picking that Markus and McFeely of Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors run.  The two storylines blend surprisingly well with story beats complimenting each other in a way that feels organic.  HYDRA is the real villain of this movie, and this makes a lot of sense in terms of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Arnim Zola, one of the kookier Cap villains, gets a great new origin story that works in the more grounded Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It stays to his routes but tweaks a couple of things to for a mass audience to accept more.  Batroc the Leaper, a joke in the comics, is a complete badass.  Markus and McFeely deserve a raise for that alone.

Captain America never preaches in The Winter Soldier.  The nature of the character can give way to this during monologues or big confessions, but instead of it comes off as just a man’s opinion against yours here.  It gives more weight to his thoughts and why Cap inspires characters the way he does in the comics and movies.  Captain America truly feels like a symbol by the end of the movie.

The only flaw in an otherwise fantastic movie is the direction of Joe and Anthony Russo.  The Community alums direct a good movie as long as characters are talking or standing still.  They have a great sense of depth and where everyone is in the room, but the action gets frantic and it becomes hard to figure out what is going on.  The choreography is the best we’ve seen in a Marvel movie, I would have liked the camera to be steadier so I could admire the fighting more.  Considering this is their first major movie, they did a great job.  The Russo brothers have a promising career in action movies and I’m glad Marvel has signed them on for Captain America 3.

Chris Evans has completely become Captain America.  He was great in the The First Avenger and The Avengers, but he really steps into the role of Steve Rogers in The Winter Soldier.  The humor in the script gives Evans material to make Cap more human and achievable here. In The First Avenger, Evans wasn’t as humorous and thus not as personable (but still good.  In this outing he has that personable aspect that makes Cap so beloved. Sebastian Stan is good as the Bucky/the Winter Soldier, but isn’t given enough to chew on.  The stand out star of The Winter Soldier is Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/the Falcon.  His chemistry with Chris Evans oozes off the screen, and the audience can tell the two are enjoying playing off each other.  I’d like to see Mackie make an appearance in the Netflix Defenders series that are coming up.  Scarlet Johansson is good as Natasha/Black Widow, but she doesn’t bring Black Widow to a new level. We see some growth at the end of the movie, which foreshadows Kevin Feige’s comments that she will play a big part in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Sam Jackson (Nick Fury) and Colbie Smulders (Maria Hill) don’t exactly have a lot of chew on and are more background characters.  Robert Redford is great as Alexander Pearce.  By the way, those rumors about him being the Red Skull were false.  Emily VanCamp (Sharon/Agent 13) is barely in Captain America: the Winter Soldier. Her character is being set up for the sequel, but she is inconsequential to this movie.

What follows next is pure spoiler territory. If you want to read it, highlight it with your mouse to read it.

Fans will love that Marvel has effectively confirmed a Phase 3 movie in Captain America: the Winter Soldier.  Stephen Strange (Doctor Strange) is mentioned as being watched by HYDRA.  It’s the first hint that the guy even exists in this universe.

The first after credits scene involves Baron Von Strucker and his new weapon against the Avengers……Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

The second after credits scene involves Bucky walking into a Captain America exhibit and seeing himself hailed as a hero.  Big hint that Bucky will eventually become Captain America.

While this is purely speculation, Callan Mulvey looks to become Nuke in the next movie. His body is almost destroyed in a blast, and he was shown being taken away. It’s easy enough for SH.I.E.L.D. to get and turn him into Nuke.

Spoilers are done.

Captain America: the Winter Soldier gets 4.5/5.

Kevin Finnigan, Review: Captain America: the Winter Soldier

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Review: AVENGERS CONFIDENTIAL: BLACK WIDOW & PUNISHER http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-avengers-confidential-black-widow-punisher-204955 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-avengers-confidential-black-widow-punisher-204955#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 18:40:42 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=204955 Today sees the release of Marvel and Madhouse’s new full-length anime movie, Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher. The film is directed by Kenichi Shimizu from a screenplay by Mitsutaka Hirota based on a story by Marjorie Liu. The film’s subtitular characters are voiced by Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) and Brian Bloom. You can guess which […]

Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell, Review: AVENGERS CONFIDENTIAL: BLACK WIDOW & PUNISHER

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confidentialToday sees the release of Marvel and Madhouse’s new full-length anime movie, Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher. The film is directed by Kenichi Shimizu from a screenplay by Mitsutaka Hirota based on a story by Marjorie Liu. The film’s subtitular characters are voiced by Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) and Brian Bloom. You can guess which is which. Marvel’s first anime film, Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, had a bit of a mixed reaction. How does the sophomore presentation fare?

Punisher is out there doing what he does best. He’s tracked down an arms shipment and plans on taking everyone involved down. The problem is that the people he’s just slain were being watched by S.H.I.E.L.D. The organization had planned to follow the deal up the food chain until they found the supplier. Frank Castle doesn’t play the long game, he thinks it leaves too many dead bodies. That one mission brings him into direct conflict with Nick Fury and Black Widow. After the obligatory fisticuffs, Widow and Punisher team up to track down Leviathan and shut down their latest development. They have some pretty high-tech weapons, both guns and humans, so it’s vital that it’s brought to an end. Can Widow and Punisher get their hands away from each other’s throats long enough to strangle the bad guys? What secret projects are Leviathan really working on anyway?

black widowThe movie is easily Marvel’s most mature and violent animated effort to date. There aren’t scenes of full-on blood and decapitations from Punisher, but very few punches are thrown. We get some flat-out violence followed by some quick cutaways and scenes of implied violence. This film shows you how to do a PG-13 Punisher (not that you should do it often). Brian Bloom is a fantastic Frank Castle. He’s gruff, he’s hardened, he’s a no-nonsense guy who has a mission and plans on seeing it through. Jennifer Carpenter’s Widow is a bit of a mixed bag. Overall it’s good, but for the majority of the story Carpenter is rather flat and sounds sort of bored with the whole thing. There’s a lot of character development and great action, but the line delivery feels off. The addition of a love story for Widow feels like it takes some of the badass-ness away from the character. It often tiptoes on cliché territory, but by and large it is handled well. There is plenty of action the entire way through, something that usually only comes in spurts and starts with similar movies. The addition of The Avengers (as seen in the trailers so don’t get all ‘Spoiler!’ on me), feels slightly like it’s just to show face but it actually makes story sense and provides for several great minutes of addition action. Having Amadeus Cho, a fan-favorite character who hasn’t been seen much outside of the comics, is a nice little bonus as well.

The DVD has two special featurettes, Espionage and Punishment and The Vigilante VS. The Spy the Blu-ray disc contains an exclusive concept art presentation as well. The two featurettes are exceptionally well done. One gives you a quick rundown of each character, their backstories, their motives, methods, and how they have teamed up in the past. Black Widow and Punisher haven’t teamed up that much, but this movie will probably make a lot of fans get loud about seeing the two partner up in the comics sooner rather than later. The other featurettes looks at the characters and how they work together in the film. The quickest way to sum it up- Black Widow is a scalpel and Punisher is a baseball bat.

Bottom Line: Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher is a fast-paced, action-packed, mature anime that delivers on all fronts. The story has very few things that distract from the overall enjoyment and other than some occasional wooden dialogue, there’s not an awful lot not to love about this movie. Anime, especially Marvel’s anime features, are an acquired taste, but this is easily one of the best efforts to date. 4/5

Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell, Review: AVENGERS CONFIDENTIAL: BLACK WIDOW & PUNISHER

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Home Movies: The Lego Movie http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/home-movies-lego-movie-202596 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/home-movies-lego-movie-202596#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 16:03:59 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=202596 I saw the Lego movie and now everything is awesome.

ZenithWillRule, Home Movies: The Lego Movie

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I saw the Lego movie and now everything is awesome.

ZenithWillRule, Home Movies: The Lego Movie

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Review: 300: Rise of an Empire http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-300-rise-empire-199329 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-300-rise-empire-199329#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 02:48:37 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=199329 300 was a fun movie that most could argue didn’t need a sequel.  But this is Hollywood, so we are getting the sequel anyways. 300: Rise of an Empire is a dumb movie, but who says a dumb movie can’t be fun right? Well, the movie can’t be so dumb that the audience laughs AT […]

Kevin Finnigan, Review: 300: Rise of an Empire

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300 was a fun movie that most could argue didn’t need a sequel.  But this is Hollywood, so we are getting the sequel anyways.

300: Rise of an Empire is a dumb movie, but who says a dumb movie can’t be fun right? Well, the movie can’t be so dumb that the audience laughs AT it instead of with it.

300: Rise of an Empire is the Lion King 1 ½ to 300’s Lion King300: RoaE takes place before, during, and after the original film, building upon the story of Leonidis and his 300 Spartans taking on Xerxes.  And while the structure of the plot allows 300: RoaE to shed more light on the story of Leonidis and the Spartan warriors, it spreads itself too thin, never allowing Leonidis’ sacrifice to gain any more significance.  300:RoaE deals with Themistocles, leader of the Greek army and all-around lover of Democracy, and his battle with Xerxes’ top assassin, Artemisia.  Unlike 300’s battles on land, 300: RoaE takes to the water (the next movie: 300 on Ice!).  The battles between Themistocles and Artemisia hit the same story beats as 300: Greek army is a group of underdogs with glistening cartoon muscles, Persian army underestimates them, Greek army triumphs when they shouldn’t.  This doesn’t hinder the enjoyment of the movie, but it would have been nice to vary the battles up a bit.  Where the movie really picks up steam, however, is when Leondis and his 300 Spartans have been annihilated, giving the plot more room to breathe.  Xerxes becomes a credible threat in the eyes of the audience and thus makes the battles more entertaining to watch.

What I loved about 300 was the visual style that almost felt like a comic book. When Leonidis thrusts a kick at a soldier, I could pause the movie and see an image that looked like it had been ripped from a panel in a comic.  But in 300:RoaE, the movie doesn’t have that flow or sense of motion.  It’s basic slow motion stunt work that we have seen in movies countless times before.  The division between real stunt work and CGI is painfully obvious.  Big things swoop into the audience’s line of site to hide the cuts between real and fake.  When Themistocles charges at Artemisia on a horse, the audience burst out laughing at how fake the horse looked.  I also want to know who has been prescribing the blood pressure medicine for these soldiers, as it’s clearly not working.  Blood squirts like it was shot out of a cannon, and then continues long after the person has died.  The amount that flows out victims has been upped, with unlucky victims expelling significantly more blood than is actually in their bodies.  Does this impede your enjoyment of the movie? Of course not.  It just adds to the over the top humor that 300: RoaE revels in.

Part of me wishes that Zack Snyder had directed this instead of Noam Murro.  For Snyder’s faults in other movies, 300 was a damn fun film.  It’s hard to not compare 300:RoaE to the sequels of the Hercules franchise (the Italian sword and sandal movies).   Movies like Hercules vs. the Moon Men, where everything just repeats with different villains.  Maybe my 300 on Ice idea will take off and Greece will fight Xerxes in the winter.  And by “in the winter,” I of course mean on figure skates with breathtaking choreography.  Screw the Mediterranean climate of Greece!

The 3D (I was force to see it this way) is a mixed bag.  While a few shots of Xerxes overlooking a crowd have a sense of depth, this depth is severely lacking as the movie goes on.  I found myself forgetting I was wearing 3D glasses or even that the movie was in the 3D format.  See it in 2D if you have the option.

The acting is……I’ll call it average.  Gerard Butler’s presence is missed throughout this movie.  Sullivan Stapleton (Themistocles) doesn’t have the screen presence and commanding nature to make the audience fully believe that he could fight off Artemisia.  Speaking of Artemisia, Eva Green gives the best performance of the bunch.  The script starts to fall apart in the second half, however, and it leaves Green with nothing to work with.  Even the odd sex/fight scene that occurred between Stapleton and Green seem to confuse even its belligerently naked participants.  And for a movie about buff guys in scantily-clad outfits, there is surprising amount of lanky looking men doing the fighting.  Google searches for “300: Rise of an Empire workout” won’t be lighting up the internet anytime soon.

With a movie like 300: RoaE, you know what you’re get going in.  If you liked the trailer, you’ll like the movie.  You’re brain switches off and it enjoys the limbs flying off bodies like an item on a Wal-Mart shelf on Black Friday.

300: Rise of an Empire gets 3/5.

 

Kevin Finnigan, Review: 300: Rise of an Empire

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Review: THE RAID 2 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-raid-2-188474 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-raid-2-188474#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 23:34:49 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=188474 In the midst of all the touchy-feely, dramatic films of Sundance, fans were served up a film to break up the monotony of the usual “Indie” films that the film festival is known for. This little gem of an action film not only blew away it’s viewers, but cemented its status as one of the […]

Josh "ecksmanfan" Johnson, Review: THE RAID 2

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MV5BMTg4Mjk1MjQ0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzY3NzY1MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_In the midst of all the touchy-feely, dramatic films of Sundance, fans were served up a film to break up the monotony of the usual “Indie” films that the film festival is known for. This little gem of an action film not only blew away it’s viewers, but cemented its status as one of the greatest action films to hit screens in recent years. You’ve probably already seen numerous reviews for The Raid 2, and most of them have been very enthusiastic and heavy on the praise. I can assure you that every bit of it is warranted. Gareth Evans took what worked in the first film- non-stop, bone crushing action- and added a more complex plot and some stellar camera work, with the end result being a stunning actioner for the ages.You won’t find anything in this review that hasn’t been seen in the trailer by the way, so things won’t be spoiled for you. So read on, fans of ass kickery!

While the first film’s focus was to give viewers a martial arts movie filled with creative and effective action scenes and Evans gave us that and more. With this sequel, he’s added a story that helps move the film along and offer a bit of a breather from all the good stuff. Taking placer literally hours after the close of the first installment, Rama, played once again by Iko Uwais, is approached by the head of a small under cover unit to join his ranks. His main goal is to rid the city of the ever-growing crime syndicates, starting with the numerous corrupt cops, which we witnessed in The Raid: Redemption. In order to do this, Rama must be placed in a prison and forced to befriend the son of one of the city’s most powerful bosses. Yes, the story is familiar and straightforward, but let’s face it, this is not a film you make a point to see because of the story.

raid-2-berandal03It’s at this point the action takes off, starting with a scene filmed entirely in a bathroom stall, in the type of close-quarters-type scene that Evans does so well. From there, were jump to one of the most chaotic and messy (in more ways than one) fight scenes in the prison yard. It all just keeps going from there, introducing some very intriguing and entertaining characters, each one- villain or hero- more unique than the next. The climactic battle, which has already gained a reputation as one of the most epic fight scenes to ever grace the silver screen, is nothing short of breath taking. It is one of the most clean (not that kind of clean) and precise sequences I’ve seen in some time. In the final sequence of the first film, you found yourself cheering for the heroes, which is what you’re supposed to do. But with this one, you find yourself cheering for both of them, wanting them to keep going to give you more! The film closes in a bloody, face-exploding finale, with you searching for your breath and a cigarette, relieved from the orgy of blood and violence you’ve been subjected to.

Which brings me to my next point. The film we watched last night was a cut that has yet to be submitted to the MPAA for a rating. I’ve decided that, once they pick their jaws up from the floor, will have to piece together a whole new combination of letters and numbers to give this a rating. The Raid 2 makes the first film looks like a Disney flick. I’m certain even Quentin Tarantino would be in awe of the violent, yet creative ways people meet their end here. A whole new slew of weaponry is included here, with a few of the highlights include the use of a couple of hammers being methodically used to dismantle a protective posse, which is cut with an assassin using a baseball and bat with sickening accuracy. Naturally, the film will need to be heavily edited before it arrives in theaters, but I have no doubt that Evans will deliver a film with no less impact than this cut.

The-Raid-2 kitchen

The story is a vast improvement over the first film, adding more depth and needed character development for all involved. The addition of subtle comedic elements helps lighten an otherwise heavy film, as do the over-the-top baddies. There are some moments of confusion that become hard to follow at times, but it all comes together in the end, leaving you with the satisfaction of closure. Fans of the first film will no doubt love this film. Action fans in general will be quite pleased as well, assuming a little blood, gore and a quick scene of a strap-on don’t offend you.

5/5 Stars

The Raid 2 is slated for a March 28 release, with Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Yayan Ruhian, Julie Estelle, Tio Pakusodewo and Oka Antara starring.

Josh "ecksmanfan" Johnson, Review: THE RAID 2

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La Crítica Gerxam: 47 Ronin http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-47-ronin-187558 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-47-ronin-187558#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 10:24:05 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=187558 Nuestro amigo Gerxam ha regresado con una crítica mas: 47 Ronin o La Leyenda Del Samurai como se ha traducido en español. Veamos que opina:     Si algo puede salir mal; saldrá mal… Ya lo decía ese maldito Murphy del que tanto nos hemos acordado cada vez que hemos fallado, cada vez que hemos […]

Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: 47 Ronin

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Nuestro amigo Gerxam ha regresado con una crítica mas: 47 Ronin o La Leyenda Del Samurai como se ha traducido en español. Veamos que opina:

 

 

Si algo puede salir mal; saldrá mal…

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Ya lo decía ese maldito Murphy del que tanto nos hemos acordado cada vez que hemos fallado, cada vez que hemos tenido cualquier tipo de contratiempo desafortunado.
Y es que esta vez la película que comento ha pasado por la peor de las suertes durante su camino, y eso, inevitablemente se ve reflejado en el producto final. Y es que entre otras cosas la película sufrió varios retrasos que la colocaron al final 13 meses después de lo previsto, mal número… Amen de una producción ligeramente “larga” para este tipo de cosas que cuentan desde antes de anunciarse con fechas de estreno, no en vano, la película ha costado la cifra de 175 millones, así que estamos hablando de una superproducción en toda regla. Ni el nombre de Keanu Reeves consigue que la película levante el vuelo.

47 Ronin cuenta la historia (real) de un grupo de Samurais que deciden tomarse la justicia por su mano y vengar la muerte de su señor después de ser desterrados (y por lo tanto, convertidos en “ronins”), obligados a abandonar todo lo que tienen y empezar una vida en otro lugar. Ahí es donde entra Kai, Keanu Reeves, un mestizo al que tampoco le fue bien en su clan antes de que pase todo esto ya que todos piensan que está maldito y que en él habita el demonio… Y que para colmo es descubierto al suplantar la identidad de uno de los Samurais en un enfrentamiento que tiene lugar durante la estancia en los dominios de Asano del Shogun y de un señor feudal llamado Kira. Éste último aparenta esconder más de lo que se puede ver en principio, y ciertamente así es, ya que Kira cuenta con una hechicera que será la causante del envenenamiento del señor Asano, el ataque de éste a Kira, con la consiguiente afrenta que supone eso para el anfitrión y que desembocará, como decía en el motivo del suicidio y posterior destierro y degradación del clan… 
Kai resulta ser una pequeña parte del problema, ya que lo que realmente ocurre aquí es una historia de traición entre casas. Todo ello adornado con brujería y criaturas varias. La mano derecha de Asano y ahora ex líder del clan, Oshi, será el encargado de reunir de nuevo a los 47 Ronin antes de que tenga lugar la boda de Kira con la princesa Mika (hija de Asano), una boda, por cierto, obligada por la parte masculina y que tendrá lugar justo después del año de luto decretado por la muerte del Señor anfitrión….
Entonces ¿Qué es lo que falla en esta historia de venganza, celos, amores, hechiceras y Samurais en busca del honor?
Pues no es ni mucho menos la occidentalización de todo, ya que la puesta en escena es bastante mas que digna y propia de la época, el problema aquí es lo inconexo que resulta todo, el tremendamente mal montaje que existe hace que todo el resto caiga sin remedio y que la película en realidad se convierta en una serie de Set pieces que aunque algunas muy buenas (como por ejemplo la genialmente resuelta escena de los guerreros tengu) en conjunto convierten a la película en algo bastante anodino, llegando a parecer todo más largo de lo que realmente es. Con la lógica pérdida de interés por parte del espectador, que una vez más lo único que quiere es que llegue la escena del dragón, que también resulta ser menos interesante de lo que le corresponde, y que todo esto termine… y es que lo que en el trailer pintaba de lujo, junto no es más que un quiero y no puedo… Lo que me sirve para comentar si es realmente necesario que en la promoción se nos destripen TODAS las sorpresas, y es que no hay ni una sola aparición de criaturas que no veamos ya en el trailer. Por otra parte, ¿Era necesario poner por todos lados al tatuadísimo Rick Genest durante la promoción para que solo aparezca 20 segundos en pantalla?
Una lástima.

Keanu no está mal aqui, el papel le viene como anillo al dedo, y los efectos especiales no son malos, y como decía, en el diseño de producción se notan cada uno de los dólares que ha costado el film. 
Quizás el problema de todo sea la la inexperiencia en largometrajes del director, ya que esta resulta ser su opera prima, que me vuelve a llevar a preguntarme de quién es la idea de poner a un director así al frente de una producción de casi doscientos millones.

Al César lo que es del César, y zapatero a tus zapatos. Este tipo de películas solamente quedan bien cuando las hacen los propios protagonistas, así que por favor, Keanu Reeves y Tom Cruise, alejaos de Japón como fuente de inspiración y empezad a fijaros más en películas como las de la trilogía Wu Xia de Zhang Yimou, que si, que no son japonesas, son chinas, pero las tres son mucho más redondas e interesantes que la que nos ocupa y que aquella “El Último Samurai”.

 

Twitter: @GerxamTTopic

Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: 47 Ronin

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La Crítica Gerxam: Carrie http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-carrie-180889 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-carrie-180889#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 17:05:34 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=180889 Gerxam vuelve con otra Crítica! Esta ves le toca a Carrie. Que opina Gerxam? “Terror” en tiempos revueltos. Terror quizás es lo que había a la hora de volver a a reinterpretar la novela de Stephen King al cine. Y más terror al comenzar a ver material promocional que no auguraba nada bueno en apariencia, […]

Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: Carrie

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Gerxam vuelve con otra Crítica! Esta ves le toca a Carrie. Que opina Gerxam?

“Terror” en tiempos revueltos.

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Terror quizás es lo que había a la hora de volver a a reinterpretar la novela de Stephen King al cine. Y más terror al comenzar a ver material promocional que no auguraba nada bueno en apariencia, aparte del cast anunciado, que tampoco pintaba bien pese a la presencia de Julianne Moore… Al final quizás el resultado se haya quedado en tierra de nadie, pero juega muy a su favor el hecho de que esperásemos algo peor.

No recuerdo especialmente la primera adaptación setentera, cosa a la que pensé ponerle remedio antes de ver esta, y que al final dejé aparcada por no condicionarme a la hora de ver la película, es por esto por lo que tampoco pretendo compararlas en demasía ya que, repito, no tengo nada fresca la primera versión. El caso es que como he dicho la película actual funciona, asi que entonces, ¿Cuál es el problema? Pues que NO funciona como lo que aparentemente pretende, como película de terror, siquiera como Thriller sobrentural.

En apariencia, Chloë Grace Moretz no es ni la Carrie del libro, ni Sissy Spacek… Ni se les parece lo más minimo… pero funciona como una atormentada joven de la Escuela Superior, es decir, nos vale como la Carrie del año 2013 que pretende ser. Así que superado el “drama” que nos puede suponer aceptar la historia desde el prisma actual; con Smartphones, tablets, youtube e internet el general, no nos queda otra que tratar de disfrutarla como lo que es. Aquí el acoso viene dado en este sentido “online” también, y a la joven no le queda más remedio que aguantar esto por parte de sus compañeras de clase, y más importante aun, aguantar por parte de su ultracatolica y conservadora madre esa forma arcaica de educación que se ha propuesto darle a la joven. El problema es que Chloë, como se sabe no es precisamente fea, así que cuesta creer que nadie quiera saber de ella o si acaso que alguien pretenda hacerle algun daño. Aunque su situación familiar es la que nos ayuda (y bastante) en este caso gracias a su madre, y hablando de la ésta solo hay halagos (otra vez) para Julianne Moore, que resulta tremendamente inquietante y odiosa, siendo practicamente lo mejor de la película ya desde el principio con esa secuencia dando a luz…

¿Dónde está lo malo, pues? Entre otras cosas está que, hasta donde mi memoria recuerda, hay MUCHO que es practicamente calcado de la versión de los años 70, eviedentemente aquí se resuelve con los medios actuales, que en algunos casos puede que no sean mejores que en aquella, como se podría intuir. La razón de esto viene tanto en cuanto aqui todo está demasiado “limpio”, puede que no nos coja por sopresa habiendo aceptado que Carrie ya no es “fea”, pero en una película que pretende inquietar o hacer pasar mal rato no está bien que TODO esté cuidado hasta el más mínimo detalle, y se echa en falta que todo sea bastante más sucio, incluso lo que pretende serlo y lo es pincha porque queda claro que ese era el objetivo, con lo cual al final es lo que comentaba anteriormente; Carrie (2013) no da miedo, pero su resolución es bastante mejor de lo esperado.

Kimberly Peirce aquí no imprime personalidad sino practicamente al principio a partir de entonces todo es igual o muy parecido. La escena principal del baile que todos conocemos, eso si, está “asquerosamente” bien resuelta, pero se vuelve a alejar del final del libro y simplemente copia lo que se vio hace casi 40 años, y es una pena, porque deja la película ahí; en ninguna parte…

En resumen, es buena película, es buen remake. Pero se le pedía bastante más que copiar en más de la mitad a una película que resulta de culto para el gran publico y que cuenta con bastantes años a sus espaldas. Amen de que podría haber arriesgado más por los tiempos en los que estamos. Echémosle la culpa al maldito PG-13.

(En cualquier caso, siempre mejor esta, que aquella “La Ira (Carrie 2)”)

Un 6/10

Twitter @GerxamTTopic

Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: Carrie

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La Crítica Gerxam: El Hobbit La Desolación De Smaug http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-el-hobbit-la-desolacion-de-smaug-180602 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-el-hobbit-la-desolacion-de-smaug-180602#comments Tue, 24 Dec 2013 21:09:27 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=180602 La Pornografía del Anillo O algo así, porque si algo queda patente en este segundo film de “la nueva” trilogía del anillo es lo desmedido que resulta todo. La falta de tijera tanto en duración de escenas, como en añadidos termina pasando factura… La película es buena, creo que nadie al que le guste mínimamente […]

Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: El Hobbit La Desolación De Smaug

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La Pornografía del Anillo

O algo así, porque si algo queda patente en este segundo film de “la nueva” trilogía del anillo es lo desmedido que resulta todo. La falta de tijera tanto en duración de escenas, como en añadidos termina pasando factura…

La película es buena, creo que nadie al que le guste mínimamente la saga lo duda. Pero ¿Es necesaria? Pues evidentemente NO, y no “rotundisimo”; con La Desolación de Smaug queda más que patente el gran error por parte de Jackson que ha sido colar una película más por una razón clara y cristalinamente económica… No hay más.

Es una lástima enorme ver cómo los devaneos mentales megalómanos de Peter Jackson (Con cameo incluido al principio de la cinta) se carga lo que podía haber sido una película más que notable, y que pese a ser la más corta, se hace larga hasta el hastío.
Se pueden aceptar tranquilamente estos añadidos, claro que si, ya lo hicimos con muchas cosas en “Un viaje Inesperado”. Aquí entre otras “lindeces” tenemos a la Elfa T’auriel, y como no, sabíamos que nosequién pedía como loco meter a Legolas en esto, así que también ha sido incluído en la aventura, ¿para qué escatimar a la hora de meter paja? Porque si, porque al final ocupan tanto tiempo en pantalla, y su historia e incluso romance Interracial son tan burdos en algunos momentos que es imposible no tener la sensación de que esto parece más “Las Aventuras de la Tierra Media” en formato de serie de televisión, que la adaptación cinematográfica de UN libro sobre El Señor de los Anillos.
Que existan escenas resueltas en dos minutos para así extender hasta lo ridículo algunas cosas como la escena de los barriles francamente clama al cielo. No es mala escena ésta, pero llega el momento en el que el espectador está saturado de ver durante diez minutos al “elfo incluido” dar volteretas y hacer malabarismos mientras rebana cabezas de orcas que parecen no acabar jamás.
Demasiado tiempo en la ciudad por otro lado, posiblemente para que nos hagamos con los habitantes, para empatizar con ellos posiblemente porque adivinemos la que se les viene encima y nos produzca pena. Pero francamente creo que ni el propio director ha reparado en esto, y simplemente es que está extendido hasta la extenuación porque si, sin ninguna razón. Aparte de que aunque así fuera, el resultado no es ese…

Menos mal que la aparición del dragón que da subtitulo a la película hace que la espera merezca la pena. Se disfruta tanto de este personaje que da igual que sus intenciones no sean buenas. Pero nuevamente vuelve a saturar, así la persecución de los Enanos, el Hobbit y el dragón llega a ser tan larga que llegamos otra vez a ese momento en el que ya no se sabe qué pasa, pero no es por otra cosa sino porque seguro que hubo un momento de desconexión. Realmente no creo que la película esté mal rodada en este sentido. Simplemente es lo que digo a lo largo de toda la critica; SATURACION pura y dura. Miedo a la tijera.

Evidentemente no todo es malo ni muchísimo menos, y lo cierto es que pese a todo, la historia interesa. Amen de tener algunas escenas más que dignas como ese enfrentamiento de Gandalf y su “resolución”, las escena malrollista de las arañas, el dialogo de Bilbo y Smaug…
Al respecto de la fotografía poco hay que se pueda decir, o más bien poco más. No parece existir una diferencia de tantos años entre una trilogía y otra, todo luce como hace diez años, Incluso los FX malos… Y es que sigo sin entender que en muchos casos Weta nos muestre a unos personajes que no parecen tener “peso físico”; hay (sobre todo en Legolas y T’auriel) filigranas que hacen verlos como si fueran ligeros como plumas o toscos como piedras a conveniencia. Ya pasaba esto antes, no pasa solo en esta película, ojo, pero no comprendo que diez años después una empresa como esta no depure este tipo de cosas en una película como esta. Máxime cuando la estrella de la función es absolutamente SOBERBIA. Smaug es un prodigio de la técnica y otro paralelismo más con la trilogía principal, ya que es imposible no pensar en la aparición de Gollum también en la segunda película de aquella. Lo que me lleva a plantearme si realmente es bueno que lo mejor sea precisamente un personaje que no existe, también como en aquella.

Esta vez no ha funcionado como nada; ni como película, ni como adaptación. Se queda a la mitad de todo. Mi nota también.

5/10

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Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: El Hobbit La Desolación De Smaug

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La Crítica Gerxam: The Purge / La Noche De Las Bestias http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-the-purge-la-noche-de-las-bestias-179289 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/la-critica-gerxam-the-purge-la-noche-de-las-bestias-179289#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 23:02:42 +0000 http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/?p=179289 Bienvenidos amigos hispanohablantes. En esta sección nuestro amigo Gerxam expone su punto de vista acerca de una variedad de películas, y en base a sus críticas ustedes podrán opinar y dejarnos saber si les gusto o decepciono dicha película. Iniciamos esta semana con la película The Purge o La Noche De Las Bestias. Adelante Gerxam! […]

Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: The Purge / La Noche De Las Bestias

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Bienvenidos amigos hispanohablantes. En esta sección nuestro amigo Gerxam expone su punto de vista acerca de una variedad de películas, y en base a sus críticas ustedes podrán opinar y dejarnos saber si les gusto o decepciono dicha película.

Iniciamos esta semana con la película The Purge o La Noche De Las Bestias.

Adelante Gerxam!

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La sociedad perfecta…

Si, ese sueño es el que parece haberse conseguido en la sociedad americana alternativa que proponen en esta película. Pero la solución desde su premisa ya resulta ser un pelín absurda; para conseguir esta sociedad perfecta y armónica en la que no existe paro sino del 1% y en la que tampoco hay crímenes solo es alcanzable habilitando una noche al año en la que purgar a la sociedad de todo aquello que no necesita. A saber; gente con menos recursos, pobres, etc… Los crímenes estarán permitidos esa noche, donde no habrá servicios de emergencia tampoco. Muertes, muertes y más muertes…

Conocido esto, la familia protagonista se prepara para esa “noche de las bestias”, con más o menos ganas por parte de los habitantes, pero logrando crear una sensación de inquietud por ver qué va a pasar… Y san se acabó… Porque lo que prometía ser algo nuevo o interesante se convierte en la película de 85/90 minutos más larga que he visto nunca. Las situaciones absurdas se suceden una tras otra; hijos que hacen justamente lo que no deberían, padres que actúan de una manera ante el conflicto que no deberían… Todo el mundo dentro de esta casa hace lo que no debería hacer, y claro, por si no os habéis dado cuenta todo esto pasa porque uno de los miembros de la familia tiene la brillante idea de abrirle la puerta a un homeless (negro, claro, para que no se confunda con uno de los ricos blancos) que estaba siendo perseguido. Y claro, los “cazadores” que lo buscaban ahora lo reclaman y exigen su entrega, o si no entrarán a la casa por la fuerza y sin miramientos… Ah! Me olvidaba, resulta que nuestra familia tiene un cabeza de familia que se dedica a sistemas de seguridad para esta noche, para que las urbanizaciones estén seguras ante estas horas de descontrol, pero que resulta que son fácilmente “saltables” si se tira por ellas con unas cadenas atadas a la defensa de un todoterreno…

Como decía antes, las situaciones que se van dando lugar son tan absurdas que ya solo te preguntas por qué estás viendo esto, y supongo que es porque pensemos que vaya a mejorar, pero no, eso nunca pasa y todo va a peor, sin gracia, sin “chicha”, sin miedo… Y atención al momento ASOCIACION DE VECINOS enfadados por lo inseguro de los sistemas de seguridad, que es de traca… Ni los actores (que tampoco son nadie pese a que ella esté actualmente en auge por Juego de Tronos). Como digo, con situaciones absurdas del tipo “te puedo quitar del medio a ti que estás entrando a mi casa y más esta noche que me lo permiten pero no lo hago porque se me presenta un debate moral que hará que se siga dando vueltas a lo mismo otros 15 minutos” (Si, no poner comas aquí es totalmente intencionado) o hijos que desaparecen de las habitaciones cuando peor se ponen las cosas sin venir a cuento, son cosas que en lo poco que dura esto vemos varias veces, y no ayudan a crear una buena actuación por su parte.

Ni la fotografía, que es típica hasta decir basta, ni tampoco la dirección están a buena altura. Todo se desinfla en el momento en el que empieza la purga que da titulo.
No hay tensión, no hay nada que invite a seguir adelante porque todo lo has visto ya, la actitud estúpida de las víctimas se ha visto una y mil veces en las películas de los 80. Y eso en 2013, por mucho que las hombreras vuelvan a estar de moda; NO.

1/10 (y porque el principio está muy bien)

Sigue a Gerxam en Twitter @GerxamTTopic

Agent Burgos, La Crítica Gerxam: The Purge / La Noche De Las Bestias

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