High-Rise vs Circle: A Film Comparison Game Show

Time for another Film Comparison Game Show with your host: Meeeee

High-Rise (2015) vs Circle (2015)

So it’s the proverbial end of the world as we know it and people are acting nutty. We’ve only got one set. One location. Maybe a couple of peeks outside. But we’re going to show you what the human race is like when the motherfucking world is ending. This is…

High Concept Apocalyptic or Dystopian Science Fiction Without Special Effects

Let’s look at the two films we have on the show this time around.

Circle (2015)

Circle (of death)

“Wait… did someone just say, ‘You ARE the weakest link. Goodbye’ or am I hearing things?”

A film about a bunch of random Americans in a room deciding in what order they should die in… you know… just because.

and

High-Rise (2015)

Tom Hiddleston naked in High-Rise

“Yes ladies, I am naked in this movie. You’re welcome.”

A film about a bunch of Brits in a high-rise building trying to kill each other during their own little apocalypse… you know…  just because.

I watched these movies back to back (but not on purpose) so they kind of blended together. I had no idea about the similarities but they stripped my conscience bare. And I really liked both films in a “this shit is disturbing” kind of way.

So bookmark this page. And go watch them. NOW

They’re both pretty quick films. Films of this genre usually are. That way I can spoil them because you just can’t talk about these movies without spoilers. Usually you don’t even know what’s happening in these kinds of films until the end. And also you’ll know when I’m being full of shit and we can talk about it in the comments.

Go on and watch them now. I’ll wait.

We’ll ALL wait. What’s 3 hours between friends?

Are they gone?

I lied. We’re not gonna wait for them.

Let’s get right to it.

Circle 1

“That’s cold, man.”

I love this genre. When I wanted to make movies this was the kind of shit I liked to do. Because the concept overshadows everything else. You can do them on a shoe-string budget. All you need is good writing and good acting. In fact, Circle (2015) is a lot like a play I wrote in college. And High-Rise (2015) reminds me of one of the concepts in my novel. But enough about me. Let’s start the film comparison. (cue the music)

Still no music? We don’t need music.

But we do need this:

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

spoiler alert (for the wee folk)

spoilers up ahead… I’m serious. (for the people who don’t think I’m serious)

Everything past this point is full of SPOILERS.

For the love of god go watch the movies first before reading this!!!

High-Rise (2015) vs Circle (2015)

A Film Comparison.

1) Casting & Characters

High-Rise (2015): Starring Tom HiddlestonJeremy IronsSienna MillerLuke EvansJames Purefoy & Elisabeth Moss

Circle (2015): Starring Michael Nardelli, Carter Jenkins, Lawrence Kao, Allegra Masters & Julie Benz

Circle Cast

“This is a pretty inefficient way of exterminating the population. I’m just saying.”

Circle (2015) has some well-defined almost stereotypical American characters from all walks of life thrown together in a spaceship. (They’re in a spaceship. I told you I was gonna spoil it) Trying to talk themselves into two more minutes of life.

Elizabeth Moss and Tom Hiddleston from High-Rise

“Fair warning. I’ve lost my mind.” “Me too. Isn’t it liberating?”

High-Rise (2015) has several of my favorite actors playing people who are losing their minds as their mini society begins to breakdown in their state-of-the-art self-contained high-rise apartment building as the infrastructure crumbles..

Winner: High-Rise

Sienna Miller in High-Rise

“Well, If you don’t want a smoke or a drink or want to fuck me then there’s just no pleasing you.”

You can’t beat that British cast in High-Rise (2015). Circle (2015) needed lesser known actors to promote the equanimity of their situation. But what can I say, I just like watching people I loved in other things doing wacky shit. I’m a big fan of Sienna Miller. I think she’s brilliant. And Hiddleston and Moss and Purefoy. Great cast.

 

2) Location & Setting

The High-Rise

“Yes. It is shaped like a penis. Why do you ask?”

It’s right there in both titles. High-Rise (2015) takes place in a high-rise building high above the streets. And Circle (2015) literally takes place in a circle. Just a bunch of people standing in a circle unable to move or they get zapped by the evil unseen aliens.

Circle location unknown

“You guy’s realize this is just Duck Duck Goose with consequences, right.”

High-Rise (2015) is the more interesting location because what floor you live on has so much meaning to the characters until it absolutely doesn’t. However Circle (2015) is the higher concept (if that’s a measurable thing) I mean they’re standing there in the dark for the entire movie. Except for the stupid peak outside at the end. (My play ends with the last guy just walking off… and yes we are talking about me again)

Winner: Circle

Death in Circle

“Guys, take a minute to appreciate how bad-ass this chamber looks. Um… well… two minutes.”

If you want a high concept setting look no further than Circle (2015). You can’t even see the damn walls. It’s crazy man. It’s intense. They’re dropping like flies.

 

3) The Social Message

Circle politics and race

“Wait two minutes. Did someone just research the demographic make-up of the country and match the percentages?” “Yep.”

Circle (2015) tackles ageism then racism and xenophobia then sexism and ends up being a huge slap in the face to our concepts of good versus evil.

High-Rise Upper Class

Marvel’s The Fantastic Four (the later years)

High-Rise (2015) is a straight across the bow shot at class-ism and social standing with an over-powering moral message that tells us in no uncertain terms that if the working classes aren’t respected and stop working then everything collapses and you’ve gotta fight for your right to party.

Winner: Circle

There is so much underneath the concepts of both of these films. And interpretations may vary. I was more connected to the story in Circle (2015) (as an American) and in my opinion the anti-moral of the film seems to say that since everybody is gonna die, fuck the concept of good and evil and, just survive.

Circle 2

“Wait… Is this the Vagina Monologues? I’m in the wrong theater.”

And while you’re at it, fuck your liberal and intellectual ideals. Intellectuals are abortion loving assholes anyway. Which is a screwed up message. But I may have brought a sensitivity to a political agenda into the movie with me. However it seemed pretty blatant where I was sitting. Especially the whole abortion thing.

 

4) What Each Has To Say About Humanity

High-Rise

“I’m on a horse.”

When society breaks down in High-Rise (2015) it’s pretty much every class for themselves. Then every species. And then every man for himself. Chaos.

And when the chips are down in the very American Circle (2015) the entire system breaks into factions based on race or ethnicity or age or politics or ideology. There are factions within factions. It’s deep shit.

Circle No Touching

“Not it!” and just like that we had a winner.

While the men in High-Rise (2016) get extremely violent.

Folks aren’t allowed to touch in Circle (2015). Touching gets you zapped to death.

While the Brits lose all sense of composure like it’s some massive catharsis of anger and pleasure and ego.

The Americans become competitive and believe the last one alive should be the winner… and it definitely should be them… for reasons.

Circle 3

And then he breaks into the gang fight dance from Michael Jackson’s Bad while the rest of the group fall off their platforms laughing… The End. “Your butt is miiiine.”

And also pregnancy doesn’t give you a pass during the apocalypse in either movie.

It’s just a shit show all around in both countries.

Winner: High-Rise

High-Rise Jeremy Irons

“Aren’t you a deliciously good boy. I could eat you up. Yes I could. Yes I could.”

Personally I prefer the fucking and fighting of the Brits to the manipulating and back-stabbing of the Americans. Just my preference. Doesn’t make me anti-American or anything. Except for the part where the Limey bastards eat a dog. I could have done without that part.

 

4) Writing & Directing

High-Rise (StudioCanal)

High-Rise Poster

Directed by Ben Wheatley

Written by Amy Jump  Based on High Rise by J.G. Ballard

High-Rise (2015) gets the immediate edge by being based on a science fiction book by J.G. Ballard written in 1975 and for using 70’s items as if they are state-of-the-art future tech. Just lovely. I love that past as future crap. The building as social experiment. And the world outside as oblivious. I’ve never read the book and many of the themes went over my head but it was a very good movie.

Then there was…

Circle (FilmBuff)

Circle Poster

Written & Directed by Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione

Circle (2015) is clearly some Tea Party propaganda film with a shitty fuck all liberals ending where the one good guy and smart guy turns out to be a coward and baby killer. Thanks FOX News. In the end our liberal villain is standing outside with a bunch of children because most of the other groups let one of the kids live. But not our atheist, liberal scumbag. He kills the child, pregnant woman and fetus. And he’s unfazed.

But for the most part, both of these are good thought-provoking films. Also if you have to give lectures to explain what happened in your film, you did not do your job.

Circle 4

“I know I’m human. But how many of you are that thing I don’t know… John Carpenter’s The Thing… aw c’mon… Rent it. It’s a classic.” “Is it longer than two minutes?” “Oh yeah right.”

Circle (2015) is well-directed and for the most part well-written. With great performances from the entire cast. This is a performance-driven film. The dialogue is fantastic and there is an actual silent clock moving the movie along at lightning speed. Every two minutes someone dies regardless. The trick is that the people in the circle get to decide who it is that dies next. I love the concept. It’s a monumental study in human ego. The ultimate snooze bar. The people do anything and everything for two more minutes of life.

Circle 5

“Hold up everybody. Mel’s gonna tell us how he’s better than all of us. This should be good.”

Personally, I’m out of there as soon as I figure out what’s going on.

“Alright guys. I’m out. Do me a favor. Be good to each other. Don’t let the last thing you do on this earth be screwing somebody over. Remember the last person is not the winner but the loser. They’re the one who chose to kill 49 other people. And they’re the one who has to live in a nightmarish hell-scape with that knowledge.” And as I stepped off my platform I’d leave ’em all with a salute, a smile and comically cartoonish, “See Ya!” in a goofy voice right before I died.

Always leave ’em laughing.

High-Rise Party

“Am I in the wrong era again? Doctor! The TARDIS took us to the wrong year again. Doctor!”

High-Rise (2015) is a big old mess. However, the depths of depravity make it really entertaining. They go from the most British prim and proper stick-up-your bum-ness to THE LUNATICS ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM, and it is a joy to watch. There is no comedy in Circle (2015). But High-Rise (2015) is funny as fuck. And the cast is phenomenal. I love Sienna Miller and Tom Hiddleston and my girl from Mad Men, Elizabeth Moss (and her English accent), and James Purefoy (the guy from HBO’s Rome). I love this cast.

High-Rise Supermarket

“Oh my. Clean up on aisle: gorgeous.” “They say the supermarket is a great place to find a date. In fact you can find a whole box of them.”

The high-rise building is a microcosm of British society and of the world under capitalism and perceived meritocracy. And once they realize that there are no rules… then there are no rules. It brings to mind the most decadent civilizations in human history right before the fall, the crash or the wrath of god.

Winner: High-Rise

Tom Hiddleston Sunbathing in High-Rise

“Drink it in, ladies… My bookmark is my penis.”

As a movie, I liked High-Rise (2015) way better than Circle (2015). Mostly because there’s a big old abortion-sized hole at the end of Circle (2015) That’s because if you’re including the bloody unborn baby as another person that’s 51 people and if it ends with the mother being last. She would have had to kill her unborn child to survive. Or have the machine kill the mother, the winner would be the unborn kid… oops no. The baby would die too wouldn’t she. Thus making this little ending stunt fundamentally flawed. A fundamental flaw of this magnitude in a film that was otherwise perfect (up to that point) pisses me the fuck off… but also because High-Rise (2015) is just much more fun to watch because again… THE LUNATICS ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM!!!

 

5) Verdict: Human Beings Suck

High-Rise Endless Party

“Do you know whose house this is? Do you know whose shirt I’m wearing? How about my name. Could you tell me that? No? Do you wanna just have sex again?”

You were expecting something else? It’s the only conclusion you can come to. It’s the only conclusion these movies allow. There are no good guys. In both movies, the best the human race has to offer ends up being part of the problem. There are no Bodhisattva in hell, I suppose, is what they’re trying to say to us.

Circle 6

“Okay let’s do a good show guys. Don’t die on three. One… two… three. DON’T DIE!”

Well personally I think they’re wrong. I’ve never been to hell, (just hell-adjacent) but that’s where you find them. That’s where they’re most needed. So while another jaded creative intellectual tries to tell us that everyone is just as bad as they think they are, I have a message of my own; They’re not as bad as they think and neither are we.

Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise

“We’re all going through this.”

I’m gonna leave you with this simple realization. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second. Someone does something good for someone else without wanting anything in return. For absolutely no reward. It happens so often it’s not even newsworthy. It’s common. But when someone does something evil, we point all our cameras at it. Evil is news. You know why? Because evil is the anomaly. Good is our default position. And we need to realize that… especially when we’re in hell.

“See Ya!”

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Crimson Peak

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Crimson Peak (Universal Pictures)

crimson-peak-poster

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins

Starring Mia WasikowskaJessica ChastainTom HiddlestonCharlie Hunnam & Jim Beaver

There are so many things wrong with this film, I don’t know where to begin. I know ghost stories are Guillermo’s favorite genre but Crimson Peak is all ghost, no story. It is clumsy but pretty. So pretty in fact that it makes it seem even more clumsily put together. The set; This Haunted House from the title is far more important than the story or the acting or the back story or the directing. It is a beautifully put together full-sized doll house of horrors but it doesn’t belong in this horrible film. It is completely out-of-place.

Crimson Peak Haunted House

The Happiest Place On Earth

Yet Crimson Peak is supposed to be the star, the theme, the location, the something… But instead of writing a house, Guillermo built one. And the movie he put inside it is terrible. Just awful. I’m going to spoil it now.

Verdict: SPOILED

Crimson Peak

“Are you going to spoil us?” “No I’m here to kill you.” “Well that’ll be alright then.”

SPOILER ALERT

First of all, to spoil this movie is no big deal. There isn’t much of a mystery and the plot really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to the characters or to the film-makers apparently. Something about this brother and sister who murdered some people. Their mother and his wives because of the house or because they like fucking each other. I don’t know. It appears on-screen in the form of a story but it isn’t really a story.

It’s the ghost of a story.

Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak

“Ghost of a story. That’s quite humorous.” “Yes… Quite.”

Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain have been better. They are chewing the scenery from the first time we see them on-screen. The movie starts away from “the house” in America. The house is in Scotland or something I think. Again it doesn’t matter. There’s a dance. A waltz where a candle stays lit. Which is comical because all that twirling would put out a forest fire or at least a camp fire. And the sister’s hands. Something to do with her hands. And she’s creepy. Honestly who gives a fuck.

Crimson Peak still

“You wound me, sir.”

Then there is the hero but she has no character at all. She’s in love with some guy because he read her story and danced with her. But they go out of their way to present her as that era’s equivalent of the modern woman. But there’s no character there. She’s a writer or something. And she’s female. But that’s as far as they got. She is useless. She starts out as this American fire-brand but is quickly reduced to a victim by the death of her father. I don’t know. Whatever. Get to the house already.

Crimson Peak Jim Beaver Charlie Hunnam

“I’ve had just about enough of this old boy.” “I concur.”

So the house is stupid. The idea of the house is stupid. They live on top of a clay mine. Red clay. The house is falling apart. It has a hole in the roof and leaks red clay all over the place. The faucets. The walls. Really cool looking. Really stupid writing. But it is this gorgeous, I have to use the term Doll House because that’s how it seems, this gorgeous doll house. It’s like Guillermo del Toro built himself a little doll house (a big doll house), a graphically bleeding doll house and then had a ghost story play-date with his friends.

Crimson Peak Ghost

“I’m not dead. I’m just well red. Get it? Well read. Well red… Is this thing on?”

So the plot takes us up and down and around this obnoxiously pretty but annoyingly run-down house and there are ghosts and there are ghosts and there are ghosts. The brother and sister try to kill our hero; the character-less one. Remember her? Well she returns to being self-sufficient just as soon as the plot tells her it’s okay. Of course she had just been thrown off a balcony and landed on her back but she becomes super-human around the same time the sister becomes a ninja. They have a less than epic battle on the tiny sound-stage. It was a big sound-stage but the house takes up most of it and they’re supposed to be outside. So they basically walk around in a tiny circle. The sister kills the brother. Our hero kills the sister. Then I guess she dies anyway of the poison. Oh yeah they’ve been poisoning her the whole time. The end. It’s really stupid.

crimson-peak candelabra

“You forgot about the part where I carry this bad-ass candelabra. It’s spoooooo-oooky isn’t it? Well, ISN’T IT? I give up. There’s just no pleasing you.”

And now I’ve spoiled Crimson Peak for you. The movie is very bad and everybody dies at the end. Use the two hours I’ve saved you wisely, my friends.

– Mel

Raised By Animals (A Film Comparison Game Show)

It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen.

It’s time to play social media’s favorite and most recent Blog Based Game Show. That’s right. It’s time for…

Raised!… By!… Animals!!

(cue the music)

We don’t have music? Okay then.

This is the game where a panel of experts compare recent movies that imagine what happens if a human baby is raised by a different species.

The Legend of Tarzan Margot Robbie

“You were raised by a different species.”

Tonight we compare The Jungle Book to The Legend of Tarzan. Two classics from Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Two epic adventures. Two old-timey stories of people who never existed in jungles that no longer exist because of hunting and deforestation and the general suckyness of human beings.

Is there gonna be a review in here somewhere

“Is there gonna be a review in here somewhere?” “I certainly hope so.”

It’s that time again, people.

Time for

What? We did that part already?

Raised… By

No?

Okay then let’s get right to the game.

Panel of experts are you ready?

Name That Genre Contestants/ Panel of Experts

I’ll take your stunned silence as a yes.

I watched two movies based on classic literature with a similar premise. The Jungle Book and The Legend of Tarzan and neither of them deserved its own post.

So here’s my comparison.

Tarzan

“This could be good for us.” “Yes. I prefer a good fight.” “You’ll kick that little wolf boy’s butt.”

Let’s start with the whole believability factor of the main characters shall we.

 

Tarzan of the apes vs Mowgli the wolf boy

1) Raised By Animals

Tarzan – Apes

Mowgli – Wolves

The Winner: The Legend of Tarzan 

Tarzan as a baby

“Mommy. Can I have another banana?” “Boy. Get yo ass to sleep.”

In Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan a young human baby is raised by apes. However improbable the premise. Apes and humans at least share more characteristics than humans and wolves. As long as the apes don’t accidentally pull the kids arms out of their sockets. It’s possible they’d protect him. Right? (RIP Harambe the gorilla)

The Loser: The Jungle Book

Mowgli and his brothers

“Mommy, what do we feed it?” “I think it picks fruit from the trees to eat.” “Ewwwww.”

I’m sorry, Rudyard Kipling, I know you were first with the idea, but wild wolves would eat a baby right up. If just to shut it up. There are little to no similarities between the species. We are food to a wolf pack. And what they eat is completely unpalatable to humans. After he is weaned off that wolf teat it’s not like he’s going to tear into a fresh kill with those flat teeth of his. Or digest uncooked putrefying meat through miles of intestines.

Let’s find out what the experts have to say about the subject: And by experts I mean Wikipedia: Feral Children.

In summary (if you don’t feel like reading): There are only a few cases of children living with animals. None of them can be defined as being “raised by.” Not a single one is pretty or heart-warming. And there has never been a successful re-integration into society. In fact all of them died young.

But let’s not forget these are both fantasy stories with science fiction elements. So let’s leave believability to the experts and talk about this crap like it’s possible.

 

2) Animal Friends

Tarzan – Friend to all animals.

Mowgli – Friend to a few select animals

The Winner: The Legend of Tarzan

Tarzan and a lion

“You’re not gonna find your contact lens in all this grass.” “I don’t care. Keep looking for it.”

This is no contest. Tarzan is The King of the Jungle. Friend to all animals. Doesn’t really get along with all the local humans because he fights against them to protect the animals from over-hunting and deforestation.

The Loser: The Jungle Book

Mowgli and his mom

“Are you crying, Mowgli.” “No. I’m cold and wet and naked. I’M FUCKING NAKED.”

Wolf boy Mowgli spends most of the story trying to get to the human village because pretty much everything in the jungle wants to kill him except his close friends and family.

Scarlett Johanson in The Jungle Book

“I dreamed of Scarlett Johanson wanting to hug me. But… not like this… Not like this.”

Damn Nature, you scary… Damn.

But let’s talk about the most recent movie versions.

 

The Legend of Tarzan vs The Jungle Book

3) Casting & Characters

The Legend of Tarzan – Ape Man, His gorgeous bride, A bunch of humans (African and European) that truly suck, and a bunch of animals that really don’t.

The Jungle Book – Wolf Boy, His immediate family (or “pack” if you will), His best friend & mentor; a black panther (the struggle continues), His new friend; an industrious brown bear with a great sense of humor, and various creatures that want to eat him (when they’re not singing)

The Winner: The Jungle Book

Starring  Bill MurrayBen KingsleyIdris ElbaLupita Nyong’oScarlett JohanssonGiancarlo Esposito & Christopher Walken

The Jungle Book Cast

“You were saying something about – Gimme your lunch money? Well let me introduce you to my friends… Don’t run… it’ll just piss them off.”

You can’t beat a movie that features Bill Murray as the voice of a bear and Scarlett Johansson as a seductive snake. Christopher Walken as a giant orangutan and Idris Elba as a truly frightening tiger. Ben Kingsley as a panther and Lupita Nyong’o as a beautiful wolf mother. The cast is stellar. Christopher and Bill even sing songs from the animated movie. They cut Scarlett’s song but you can hear it in the credits. Fantastic cast all around.

The Loser: The Legend of Tarzan

Starring Alexander SkarsgårdSamuel L. JacksonMargot RobbieDjimon HounsouJim Broadbent & Christoph Waltz

The Legend of Tarzan Cast

“Now that we’re in Africa, shouldn’t my face be well-lit and you guys look overexposed.” “I think you’re being racist.” “Fuck that. You can’t even see me.”

This is a heartbreaking loss for the Tarzan movie. The first of the day. Heartbreaking because the actors who play Tarzan and Jane are two of the hottest people on planet earth at the moment. And then throw in two of Tarantino’s favorite bad guys Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz and you’ve got a pretty awesome cast. But they can’t beat the star power of Bill Murray & Christopher Walken singing Disney songs out of the mouths of authentic looking animals.

 

4) Animal Actors vs CGI Animals

The Legend of Tarzan – The animals do not talk or sing.

The Jungle Book – The animals DO talk and sing and it’s wonderful.

The Winner: The Jungle Book

Christopher Walken in The Jungle Book

“You are big and scary, sir. Quite big and quite scary. But what’s worse… you sound like Christopher Walken. I think I just pissed myself.”

The animals are talking and it doesn’t even look creepy. It barely looks animated. They’re singing and they’re dancing and it’s more believable than being raised by wolves. Completely believable. And now I’m convinced that animals talk when we’re not around. I know that was my cat who answered when my girlfriend called. No seriously that was my cat, baby. I swear… Damn.

The Loser: The Legend of Tarzan

Tarzan fighting an ape

Sorry Tarzan. You’re cool and all that but get back to me when your animals can talk.

 

5) Writing & Directing

The Legend of Tarzan – Bad story, Bad dialogue, Cool characters, Great special effects, Exciting action sequences, Strong climactic battle, and a powerful ending.

The Jungle Book – Bad story, Good dialogue (from Bill Murray), Familiar songs, Great characters, Cool special effects, Completely stupid action sequences, A totally stupid climactic battle, and a horrible ending.

It’s a tie.

The Legend of Tarzan (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Legend of Tarzan Poster

Directed by David Yates

Written by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer  Based on Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Legend of Tarzan continues the adventures of the so-called King of the Jungle and his wife Jane after they have integrated back into society as Lord & Lady Greystoke only to be lured back to the jungle by nefarious forces bent on Tarzan’s destruction. Too bad the story is stupid. The dialogue is hokey. And the only thing really cool about it is the ending.

The Jungle Book (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The Jungle Book Poster

Directed by Jon Favreau

Written by Justin Marks  Based on The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle Book is a re-telling of the classic story and the classic Disney animated movie with live action and CGI animals. If you can call that live action. There’s a lot of CGI. It’s fantastic, but it doesn’t help an already bland story. The cast is phenomenal and they save the movie from a lot of its problems but they can’t change the ending. Jon Favreau does a fine job. Once again proving that he can do every genre well. But he and the producers really didn’t know what to do with the songs. And the script is a mess.

It’s a toss-up.

 

6) Verdict: Both of these movies sucked.

Idris Alba in The Jungle Book

“The human speaks lies. Our movies do not suck. I will kill you.”

Both Tarzan and Mowgli are dumb characters. Just because a boy is raised by wolves doesn’t mean he can run as fast as they can. And just because a man was raised by apes doesn’t mean he can hold his own in a fight against one. I know it’s fantasy but do what everybody else does and add some radioactivity or something that gives them their superpowers. It’s fantasy. Act like it.

The Legend of Tarzan

“You tell him to take it back. I do not suck.” “If I know Mel. I don’t think it’s you that would be doing the sucking.” “Whoa. I don’t know how to respond to that.”

And then there’s Tarzan and those swinging vines. Firstly, unless he put them there as a sort of rapid transit, it’s stupid. He’s in the thicket of the jungle until he grabs a vine and starts swinging and all of a sudden there are no branches in his way. It’s worst than Spider-man. I haven’t forgotten about you Spider-man. Swinging above the rooftops in Queens. What the hell are you attaching your web to, Fool? Tarzan is the Spider-man of the jungle. Or is that the other way around?

Mowgli and Baloo

“What’s a spider-man anyway?” “I have some comic books back in the cave. You can read them.” “You’re the coolest bear ever.” “I know. Right?”

And Mowgli’s mom. What’s her damage? Your boy has fingers. He won the evolutionary lottery. Let the kid build you a house. You’ve earned it. You kept a human baby alive in the jungle. Somehow you hunted with a crying baby in tow. You must have found a store that takes wolf saliva in exchange for baby food or something. You’re an incredible woman. A bitch to be reckoned with. Let the kid use his hands. Damn.

Tarzan and Jane

“You know Mel would switch places with either one of us in a heartbeat.” “Yes. And I’m trying not to think about it right now.” “It’s ALL I can think about.”

And Tarzan producers, what the fuck? How you gonna have a movie where the too hottest actors on the planet play a married couple and they don’t make sweet monkey love? What’s up with that? I know I, and probably the rest of the world, want to see Eric Northman and Harley Quinn getting down. I’m just being honest. Epic fail, guys. Damn. I mean, just look at those two.

You know what? I’ll be in my bunk.

Show’s over.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: The Nice Guys

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

The Nice Guys (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Nice Guys Poster

Directed by Shane Black

Written by Shane Black & Anthony Bagarozzi

Starring Russell CroweRyan GoslingAngourie RiceMatt BomerMargaret QualleyKeith David & Kim Basinger

One of the common, tragic themes I run across a bunch in my cinematic endeavors is the writer as director. And the inability of some film-makers to separate the two hats when tasked to do both jobs. Mostly what you get is a talented scribe presenting the audience with a visual interpretation of their script. It’s easy to think that’s all that movies are, from the writer’s perspective. I guess that’s all they really want. Hey, look at this cool thing I wrote. Here it is as a glorified table read… on location… to music. And Shane Black who wrote & directs The Nice Guys does that same thing. He puts a great script on film. Without any of the intangibles that bring a story to life, that make the written word into a film. You might as well be buying a ticket to watch a table read… with music.

Verdict: SPOILED

the nice guys

“I don’t think this is gonna be a good review.” “Really? What gave it away?”

SPOILER ALERT

Abbott & Costello meet Mickey Spillane. The Nice Guys is a buddy comedy and a mystery and it has great dialogue but both Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling needed to reign in their Abbott & Costello shtick. They needed to be reigned in. A better director possibly would have. Both of their performances are way over-the-top. The only believable character is the daughter who delivers the best line in the movie when she says her dad is the worst detective ever. She’s right. He’s awful. We’re talking Inspector Clouseau. Gosling’s detective is the Abbott to Crowe’s Costello. It’s silly. It’s really fucking silly.

The Nice Guys with Ryan Gosling

“Wait. What’s wrong with silly? There’s nothing wrong with silly. Monty Python are silly. Abbott & Costello are silly.” “Try not to let it get to you, dad.” “I like silly. There’s nothing wrong with silly.”

The plot and the mystery have something to do with the car industry and the porn industry. And even that ends up being kind of silly when the plan was to show a porn film to a car show audience as a way to expose corruption in government. Whatever. It’s really stupid. But the dialogue is great. Shane Black is a good writer. Scratch that. He’s a great writer. But because he’s not much of a director these lines feel like they’re being delivered on a sound stage or in an acting class or a High School auditorium. It doesn’t feel organic… even in all its silliness.

Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys

“I think I let it get to me. No. I definitely let it get to me.”

The Nice Guys includes the customary violence and cartoonish masculinity we expect from Shane Black while he’s doing his best channeling of Mickey Spillane or Raymond Chandler. I have no problem with that. It’s Shane Black. There will be gun-play. Somebody’s gonna get punched. Someone’s masculinity will be questioned by the proverbial manly man’s man. That’s fine. Again, it’s Shane Black. The problem is there is nothing else there. After the clever dialogue and the cool violence, nothing. There’s no visual story. And by that I mean. The sets don’t tell a story. The wardrobe has nothing to say. The camera doesn’t have a secret. The music is not helping us empathize with the action. There’s so much more to presenting a story than just… presenting the story.

“What the hell does that mean?” “Just ignore him.” “I can’t. He’s insulting our film.”

The Nice Guys is not a good movie. Shane Black fails to make us care about any of the main characters (except the daughter… but I think the actress does that on her own). The two title characters are so very hateful you just want to smack ’em. There’s no sense of jeopardy at all. Because nothing feels real. And also because it’s hard to care about what happens to these two fucking assholes. Honestly, they should have told the entire story from the daughter’s point of view. Her exasperation with the two adults is the best thing about The Nice Guys. The rest is a total mess.

The Nice Guys movie

“You’re a total mess… I love my film.”

So in conclusion, The Nice Guys is a waste of two hours. I wasn’t invested even through the shoot-outs and fight scenes. I rarely laughed even though the dialogue is extremely funny. The actors are completely over-the-top. And I don’t even remember the plot and I just watched the damn thing. I literally just watched the damn thing.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad (with apologies to the BvS Ultimate Edition)

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

(Unless Joker hijacks this review and makes it all about Harley)

Harley Quinn

“You heard the man. It’s all about me.”

Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Nope.

Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad (From the nincompoops at Warner Bros)

Harley Quinn Suicide Squad Poster

Written & Directed by David Ayer  Based on a Character from DC Comics

Starring Margot RobbieWill SmithJared LetoMargot RobbieJoel KinnamanViola DavisJai CourtneyJay Hernandez, Margot Robbie Adewale Akinnuoye-AgbajeIke BarinholtzScott Eastwood & Cara Delevingne and Margot Robbie

Let’s get right to it. I really liked this movie. And no one’s forcing me to say that. But I think a lot of what I liked had to do with Margot Robbie’s Harley and Jared Leto’s Joker. So granted I would have liked it better had it just been about those two. And also I agree that the beginning is disjointed and wordy. And after having to sit through all the origin stories, and how each character has their own theme song, and how all the songs are movie cliché needle drops, and how DC comics sucks at making movies (and comics), and how Warner Bros execs have screwed up the last three comic book titles they’ve put out. Knowing all of that. Knowing all that failure that was baked-in from before the opening credits… Suicide Squad ends up being a pretty good film (about the epic love story of Harley Quinn and The Joker: Partners in Mayhem. A movie I have re-titled as Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad). In my completely un-coerced opinion it is the best DC comics movie since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

But that’s not saying much.

suicide-squad-margot-robbie-harley-quinn

“Look Puddin’ I’m a meme… But that’s none of my business.”

And I’d like to add, of my own freewill, that Jared Leto is the best Joker since Mark Hamill redefined the role, rescuing it from Jack Nicholson’s awful interpretation. And since Heath Ledger broke the part by actually becoming the Joker and then dying. Jared Leto is amazing, but not in the film nearly enough.

And here’s the part where he tells you he’s not going to spoil the movie for you because that would be wrong.

Verdict: SPARED

Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad

“I make this look good.”

I saw Suicide Squad at the NYC premiere and I was expecting a mess of a movie on the same level as Batman v Superman. but I wasn’t as disgusted as I thought I would be. It was alright. No seriously. No one’s holding a gun to my head or anything. I actually liked it.

Don’t look at ME.

Batman from Suicide Squad

Joker & Harley’s Batman-sized car ornament shaped like Ben Affleck.

By the way, dear readers, I watched the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman before going. And at well over three hours long, I see why they needed to cut some shit out (language). The idiots at Warner succeeded in cutting out the movie’s heart. Every cut was wrong. Completely fucking wrong (LANGUAGE). What needed to be cut were special effects shots and explosions and large expensive set pieces. But what they cut out was story and coherence and good performances and logic. And what was left is more like the producers flung excrement at the screen and proclaimed proudly “Look mommy. I made a stinky.” And we’re all expected to hang it on the fridge like proud parents.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad

“I really like this guy.”

I wanted to do a blog post on how much better the Ultimate Edition is from the theatrical release but it was just paragraph after paragraph of me cursing about how fuck**g stupid (Better) the studio was in their cutting and slashing and justifying. And I get it; They needed a shorter movie so they could squeeze in another showing in a day and make the studio more money in the first month. But after that month was over, maybe they should have put it all back again or made the cuts I suggest here, respecting story and logic. Cuts to BvS that go against every instinct in their expensive business suit wearing bodies.

suicide-squad

“Just tell me… where… they… are.” “Easy, Vasquez… um… ALIENS… Rent it.”

“You can’t cut this special effects shot,” They’d say. “It cost us millions.”

You know what cost you millions? Putting that crap in theaters the way you butchered it, ASSHOLES (I’ll allow it). Now you see why I didn’t do a blog post.

Jared Leto as The Joker in Suicide Squad

“Woooooo.”

But what were we talking about… Oh yes. Suicide Squad (Excuse me). I mean Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad. The movie is fun and cool and the characters are interesting and full of Bad Good Guys and Good Bad Guys, however you want to look at it. But it’s the casting here that truly shines. The actors are all amazing. Even Cara Delevingne who still can’t act but is not as annoying as she usually is in other movies. But you know it’s all about my girl Margot. Long-time readers of my blog will know how much I love her and think that if they let her play something other than the hot girl she’d really show us something (Other than her ass). And of course Jared and Will can each carry a movie. Both guys can go above the title, and for good reason. They are all sensational in it. The cast is not to blame for the weak quality. Not at all.

Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad

“See. I told ya we’d hook ya up. Did I lie?” “Aren’t you cold in that?” “I’m crazy.” “Crazy hot.”

What I had a problem with was the crowd pleasing classic movie tunes. Not because they are all over-used needle drops. But because there were so many of them. Each character had their own rock song intro theme and it was too much and too cheesy. Actually the entire first half hour was hokey and awkward. But once they get past the sloppy-ass way they introduce the characters, the movie is pretty decent. The relationships feel real. The characters are three-dimensional and the actors do a great job. This is a DC comics movie, so all the characters are extremely paper-thin from the start. Marvel has always had more depth in their heroes (Careful). One of the reasons I never picked up any DC titles as a kid was they were all so dumb (Except for Batman). Except for Batman. So when I say three-dimensional characters, I mean more like origami or paper airplanes. The actors themselves add more depth and save a flimsy premise populated by minor characters defined by their countries of origin. They don’t call DC; Dumb Comics for nothing. I get it. She’s Japanese and he’s Australian. He’s got a boomerang and she’s got a katana. I’ll try not to feel insulted (Geez. This guy’s a real spoil sport).

Margot Robbie and Jared Leto in Suicide Squad

“You’re gonna like this part, my dear.” “Don’t call me my dear. I’m your doctor.” “You wanna play doctor?” “That’s not what I meant.”

But having said that, I found the Harley and Joker story very enjoyable. I thought Margot Robbie did an exceptional job balancing the crazy with the sexy. Marrying the homicidal with the likable. Just when you’re thinking she’s just the hot chick, or just the girl, or you’re staring at her ass, she cracks your skull open with a mallet and laughs at your corpse. Somehow though I think Jared Leto, and his “method” acting may have even helped her… in a weird way. And Will Smith, I’m sorry, he can’t play a bad-guy. Not really. So it’s hard to paint him as a villain. But he tries to sneer every once in a while to sell it. But what Will is good at is making the action look cool and he does. However his quiet scenes with Margot are some of the best in the movie.

And I can’t wait for the Joker and Harley movie to come out. What a great relationship those two have. I’d buy that video tape from my local Blockbuster video store for sure.

Harley and Joker the movie

“That was nice but ya know Blockbuster’s outta bizness right?” “You’re outta business.”

Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad is better than the critics say and a thousand times better than Batman v Superman. And, in my opinion, it’s worth the price of admission. Unless of course you want substance (Hey). There’s very little of substance (Uncool). It’s not substantial at all. It’s mostly fluff (Watch it, you). But it’s fun fluff (That’s better). Gun to my head, I’d even buy the Blu-ray (I’ll get my REAL gun). And like I said, it’s the best DC comic book movie since The Dark Knight.

But again, dear reader, that’s not saying much.

– Mel

(J.) Voiced by Mark Hamill of course