Point Break (2015) Trailer

It’s no secret how much I love the original Point Break (1991). It was my introduction to the kick-ass action of director Kathryn Bigelow. Yeah sure, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, Keanu Reeves & The Red Hot Chillipeppers frontman Anthony Kiedis were not the best actors but the movie was fun and…

Point Break

100% pure adrenaline. So when I heard there was going to be a remake I scoffed at it. I actually scoffed. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a scoff. This was a classic scoff.

Point-Break

But then  I saw the trailer and what can I say… the adrenaline is back.

The new Point Break (2015) looks more like an update. Better stunts. Bigger budget. Directed by a first timer, Ericson Core, cinematographer of The Fast and the Furious. And with none of the star power of the first film. Gerard Butler pulled out at last minute (insert sexual innuendo here). Replaced by Edgar Ramirez.

Luke Bracy and Edgar Ramirez in Point BreakHere’s the cast list…

Édgar Ramírez as Bodhi (Swayze)
Luke Bracey as Johnny Utah (Keanu)
Teresa Palmer as Samsara (Lori Petty)
and Ray Winstone as Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey)

No names, but at least these guys look like they can do the stuff in the movie.

Edgar Ramirez

And I got to say, the stunts this time around… wow. It’s like as if they took the film XXX with Vin Diesel and married it to every James Bond film from the 80’s and then those guys got into a three-way with the Kathryn Bigelow film (Shhh… it’s an open marriage).

Point Break 2015 Poster

And the Christmas Day release date makes me think Warner is very confident that they have a hit on their hands. And so am I. This looks good.

I see really good things.

– Mel

What’s Good (May 2015)

This is my second What’s Good installment. A list of ten things that I enjoyed recently from Movies, TV, Music and in my life in general. This is the May 2015 Edition.

May was a pretty good month.

You're God Damn Right

For starters, my birthday is in May. Somebody told me I was 48. I don’t believe them. I can’t be a day over 29. Unless I lost two decades somewhere along the way. I mean, look at these abs. No. Wait. Those are birthday cake crumbs resting on my beer gut. Never mind. It’s not the years, anyway, it’s the mileage.

So we got movies. We got TV. We’ve got food, family, a few farewells. And the Mets. The god damn Mets. Why can’t you be like the Yankees. Just kidding. (the Yankees suck too)

“Get on with it.”

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

Turn

Turn: Washington’s Spies is back on AMC and it’s just as good as the first season. Love this show. They added my girl Ksenia Solo from Lost Girl and now Turn: Washington’s Spies is fast becoming one of my favorite shows. Even if the title is confusing. Are we turning Washington’s spies? Or are we turning people into spies for Washington? Or am I thinking about it too much?

Mad Men was good (also on AMC). The last eight Mad Men episodes were very very good. Still one of the best TV shows in history. From beginning to end. I was trying to list all of my favorite moments from the finale and realized they were all Peggy scenes. Peggy with Stan over the phone being the best. Peggy with Don on the phone and Peggy with Joan in the restaurant. Oh yeah and Don and Betty on the phone. The Coca Cola ending made me laugh out loud both from merriment and in a purely sardonic way. Nice work guys. And little Sally turning into Betty at the end, taking care of her sick mother (still chain smoking with lung cancer), that was the only sad thing. Everybody else ended well.

Mad Max Fury Road Tom Hardy Muzzled Blood Bag

Speaking of Madness… Mad Max: Fury Road was and still is very good. It’s okay to believe the hype. It won’t disappoint. It’s that freaking good. Best movie of the year so far and it’s going to be hard to beat.

Almond Milk!!! Having Almond Milk with my Crunchy All Natural Peanut Butter and Sugar free Grape Jam sandwiches on Whole Wheat bagels is really good. I made the switch to Almond Milk and I’m never going back. Love it in my morning coffee. Almond Milk rocks.

museum_mile

Museum Trips are good.. I’m planing a few more. Think I’ll hit every museum that interests me in Manhattan (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim, Natural History, etc) and then expand to the outer boroughs. Planning to walk down the famous Museum Mile near Central Park this week. I’ll post some pics. Promise. (If I remember to charge the battery in my camera… long story)

The Revenge Finale on ABC was really good. So satisfying. Everything I wanted from a season (series) finale. Now all we need is a Nolan Ross spin-off. That would be nice. Make it happen ABC. Keep the Revenge alive.

Americone Dream

My Birthday was good. I had Ice Cream. Lots and lots of Ice Cream. Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream. Absolutely my favorite Ice Cream flavor of all-time.

Other Space on Yahoo Screen is very good. Paul Feig’s show about a group of green astronauts lost in an unknown universe is the right amount of clever and silly. It’s like a combination of the British sci-fi shows: Doctor Who and Red Dwarf. The first season is eight very funny episodes. Check it out. It’s a fun binge watch at about three hours.

relationship balance

Relationships with other humans, though not all it’s cracked up to be, is still very very necessary and can be good… for a while. Thank you green eyes for that reintroduction to the world of other people. Like a baptism of fire. I’d kiss you on the top of your head if you were still talking to me.

And this song right here… This song is very good… A little angry but still good.

This Kendrick Lamar song right here. – The Blacker the Berry

I said they treat me like a slave cause me black
Woah we feel a whole heap of pain cause we black
And man I say, they put me in the chain cause me black
Imagine now, big gold chains full of rocks
How you no see the whip left scars on my back
But now we have a big whip parked on the block
All them say we doomed from the start cause we black
Remember this, every race starts from the black. Just remember that

I got this Kendrick Lamar album on heavy rotation. I’ve been playing this and the new Taylor Swift album back and forth. (I know it’s a weird combination. I’m a weird dude).

And now for everything there is a dark side… (AKA The Fucked-Up Five)

What’s NOT so Good?

Fed Ex Note

Fed Ex Deliveries where the driver doesn’t bother to read the note you left for him, and just leaves his ticket right next to it, are not good at all. I was home all day. You guys suck at your job. And don’t call and ask him to drive back around. That’s against the laws of nature and physics and would cause the end of the world as we know it.

Avengers: Age of Ultron was not good. I didn’t like it. But sadly I will end up owning it. And even more sadly they know this about people like me and they don’t even have to try to entertain me anymore. Just paint-by-numbers. And while I’m at it Tomorrowland wasn’t good either. A big blockbuster needs to be more than just a few action pieces, bad jokes and high-priced actors… DISNEY. I’m looking at you Disney. God, I hope they don’t screw up Star Wars.

Robin Williams David Letterman

David Letterman saying goodbye was not good. I grew up with him. High School. College. An American television institution. I feel old. Well older. It was my birthday. Sad. I’ll miss him and I’ll miss Paul Shaffer and the band and the way he never took shit from nobody. But on a lighter note: James Corden is doing a good job and he is infinitely likable & fun, and I have high hopes for Stephen Colbert (and his delicious Ice Cream flavor) when he takes over in September.

Game of Thrones on HBO is straight starting to piss me off. Perhaps killing off all of our favorite characters works for a book series but it does not work for a TV series. Sorry George. Not cool, man. Not good. Also this year is nowhere near as entertaining as last season. By this time we had major battles and they had also introduced one of the best characters of the series. But this year… it’s just annoyingly slow. They broke Anya. Sansa’s getting rape fucked by her new husband. And Tyrion. Only little Tyrion is still doing work. (Talking the Slavers into taking them to the fighting pits was genius). He never disappoints. But four / five episodes in, I expected more.

david-wright

The Mets are not looking good. My Mets had a great April and then proceeded to lose almost every game in May. same ole Mets. They must be snake-bit because now their best player, David Wright, may be gone for the rest of the seasons (all of them). So sad. He has some spinal thing that may end his career. He’s too young and too cute to retire this early. David Wright retiring is not good at all. Arrghhh.

But since I can’t end this post on a bad note, here’s something: Between the time I wrote this and the time I posted it, me and green eyes made up. I know that means nothing to you people but it makes me happy.

So that’s good, right?

Yeah. Whatever. Here’s some more music…

Speaking of Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift. This nearly caused my head to explode.

I love the way Taylor just basically gives the song to Kendrick. She’s becoming one of my favorite artists (and I’m not ashamed to admit it). The video is stupid but the new song with the Kendrick verses is really good.

Coming Soon to What’s Good: True Detective Season Two (the trailers look awesome and the cast is amazing), Taking my bike out to central park (because I own a nice bike that I never use) and Writing and writing and writing and writing.

Coming Soon to What’s NOT so Good: June Blockbusters (nothing looks particularly promising… maybe Jurassic World but I’m not overly excited). More of the same from my Mets (Unless they make a trade) and The final season of Lost Girl without Ksenia Solo as Kenzi (maybe she’ll make a few guest appearances).

Until next time,

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Tomorrowland

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

Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) Tomorrowland Poster Directed by Brad Bird

Written by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeff Jensen

Starring George ClooneyHugh LaurieBritt RobertsonRaffey CassidyThomas RobinsonTim McGrawKathryn Hahn & Keegan-Michael Key

Poorly written. Badly directed. I wanted to walk out of the movie about a half an hour in but I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I stuck it out. Not because Tomorrowland got any better. It did not. It was stupid all the way through. A children’s movie where the creative team must have said to themselves, “It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s for kids and kids are stupid.” A message movie where the message is so sloppily delivered, something about saving the planet, that you leave the theater wanting to pollute and dump toxic waste and increase your carbon footprint, maybe even nuke a smaller country. No. I’m not glad I stuck around for the movie. I regretted that the entire two hours more I had to sit there. But after the movie ended, the manager of the theater gave us all free tickets to any movie we want to see at any time in the future. As an apology. Yes. The movie was that bad. But damn it, had I left, I would’ve missed the free ticket. And also they gave me a free large sprite for my birthday. So yeah…. the movie sucked.

Verdict: SPOILED

Britt Robertson as Casey Newton in Tomorrowland

“If you say you liked our movie I’ll let you have this pin that makes you accident prone.”

SPOILER ALERT

So here’s what I learned. Brad Bird should stick to animated films. It’s what he’s good at. Damon Lindelof writes paint-by-number action movies that make little to no sense. And a romantic death scene between George Clooney and a robot designed to look like a little girl is creepy as all hell. But maybe that’s just me.

tomorrowland hugh laurie george clooney

“I don’t think he likes us.” “What makes you think that? The part where he says we suck?”

First they introduce this magic trick where touching a Tomorrowland pin sends you to Tomorrowland. Well not really. It lets you see Tomorrowland but you’re still in the place where you were when you touched the damn pin. But to see Tomorrowland you have to walk around. Completely blind to obstacles in the real world. Because for some reason it starts you off in a wheat field about a mile away from the city. It’s cute for a laugh. While Casey Newton, played by Britt Robertson, who looks like a thirty year old wearing her ten-year old daughter’s clothes, walks into a wall. And then walks into another wall. Then another. She falls down some stairs. Kids will laugh at that. Unless, of course, they’re over the age of twelve. Then they’ll realize that it’s stupid as fuck. Finally she goes to an open field in the real world so as to not bump into anything. But it’s still not spacious enough to hold the entire city and that stupid fucking wheat field. Why is there a wheat field? She gets on a transport in the illusion. Goes down stairs in the illusion. It is dumb as hell. And this is like the first fifteen to twenty minutes.

“We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Look! the Emerald city. Follow the stupid brick road.”

So here’s what I learned. Brad Bird should have made Tomorrowland as an animated feature. Then it would be easier to forgive visual leaps of logic. Damon Lindelof should stick to writing TV episodes with characters we already know because character development is not his strong suit. And George Clooney should fire his agent or whoever suggested he do this movie. But maybe that’s just me.

“This review is worse than my accent. What? All child robots are British. You didn’t know?”

So what do you get for the price of admission? Cartoon action that would have been more appropriate had it been a cartoon. Dialogue that’s so insipid and repetitive, it sounds like Lindelof put a few buzz words and movie clichés into an app on his phone and it wrote the screenplay for him. And nothing more. And what’s the message of Tomorrowland? Because they seem to think they have something important to say. Was it If we think the world is going to shit then it is? Was that the message? Or was it Optimism alone will stop climate change and end all war? Children are the future? Children robots are the future? What are you trying to tell us, Damon? No. Wait. Don’t tell. Keep your dumb-ass sentiments to yourself. I don’t want to know.

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. Oh that’s right, I’m still at home.”

So here’s what I learned. Brad Bird should leave Tomorrowland off of his résumé. He directed Ratatoille, The Incredibles and The Iron Giant and he should stop there when listing his credits. Damon Lindelof is a complete moron with very little grasp of human nature; From how they talk to how they think to how they like to be entertained. And George Clooney is a very good-looking man who should read the scripts. Read the damn scripts, George. Don’t just look at the zeroes on the check. Read the script.

“Well now he’s just being cruel. I was Batman, for god sake. But maybe that’s just me.”

Tomorrowland is an awful movie with a confusing and somewhat stupid message, bad dialogue, cartoonish action, and no reason for being. Absolutely no reason for being. It’s a waste of two and a half hours. But if you’re lucky, you’ll get a free ticket to something else and a free large soft drink on your birthday. Fingers crossed.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Exodus – Gods and Kings

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

Exodus: Gods and Kings (20th Century Fox)

Exodus-Gods-and-Kings-Poster

Directed by Ridley Scott

Written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian

Starring Christian BaleJoel EdgertonJohn TurturroAaron PaulBen MendelsohnMaría ValverdeSigourney Weaver & Ben Kingsley

Okay everybody calm down about this movie. This is just your standard Ridley Scott action adventure epic with a strong biblical background. But I think the best way of thinking about Exodus: Gods and Kings is as a pre-pre-prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sure there are too many white faces in roles that would better be served with a darker hue but that doesn’t bother me as much as it did when I was a kid. Back when Elizabeth Taylor or Yule Brenner or who the fuck ever played North Africans without tans. Before Van Sertima proved definitively that the Ancient Egyptians were dark as pitch. Darker than I am… and I am the darker brother. But anyway, Exodus is a decent enough movie with a few good battle sequences and an epic chase at the end. If you don’t know the story my review may spoil it because I’m just assuming that most of my readers at least partially know the story of Moses. But Exodus: Gods and Kings is good enough to be spared.

Verdict: SPARED

Moses and Ramses

Exodus is a movie about a prince of Egypt; Moses, who discovers he was actually born a slave and how he doesn’t want to believe it and struggles with it. And it’s also about his brother, Ramses, who was born into royalty but isn’t the leader his father was or his brother is. And how he doesn’t want to believe and struggle with that. But , at its core, It’s just your classic sibling rivalry. “My slaves!” “My people!” “I’m telling dad.” “Well I’m telling god.” You know. The same old story.

Exodus Battle

Here’s what I did not like… The casting. The casting is awful. And again I’m not talking about the complexions of the actors but Christian Bale and the dude who plays Ramses are garbage in this. And they carry the bulk of the movie. Aaron Paul is decent and the other characters are well portrayed but those two are hilariously bad. And they are the stars. So bad. And I also didn’t like all of the animal deaths. Too many animals are killed in this movie. Not cool Ridley… or God… or whoever is to blame for that one.

Red Sea Exodus

I enjoyed the effects sequences however. I really liked the plagues and I liked the way the parting of the Red Sea wasn’t all cheesy like there were walls holding back the water but it was more organic. As if to say a miracle like this one is highly implausible but not scientifically impossible. Thought that was cool. And I liked God as a child. A couple of country banned it for that. I always like gods represented as children. It makes them much more formative and scary in my opinion.

Zipporah

And I enjoyed the battles. I love epic battles of any era with any weapons. Wooden or iron. By the way Ridley, wooden weapons not iron from that era. And yet Exodus: Gods and Kings really brings the grand scale battles to life. It is an epic tale. But because it is such an epic tale, there is very little character development outside of Moses and Ramses. I’m guessing because there’s no room for it. That’s sad and also serves to make the movie more mediocre. Exodus has and will always be a story best told as a multi-night television event… on cable. Ridley Scott almost completely abandons the story of Moses as a child. (It’s told in dialogue). And he rushes through the Ten Commandments like it’s just an epilogue in the life of Moses. No character development and a truncated story but still a two hours plus running time.

Ben Kingsley

But here’s the reason why I liked it. My favorite part of the entire film is the last scene. Moses has the pieces of the Ten Commandments in the… and he’s carrying them in a covered wagon and… I wish John Williams Raiders theme had kicked in at that moment. I would have died right then and there. But with the way he shot it and dressed it, you know that was what he was going for. Ridley Scott’s tribute to Raiders of the Lost of Ark. Because my two favorite films when I was a kid were Raiders and Ridley’s Blade Runner. So it was just one of those moments I was like hell yeah.

Gods and Kings

So, yeah. It’s a mediocre movie but forever I will think of Exodus: Gods and Kings as the pre-pre-prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark… really. The last shot in the film helped me like the movie a little more than it actually deserved.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Ex Machina

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

Ex Machina (A24)

Ex Machina Poster

Written & Directed by Alex Garland

Starring Domhnall GleesonAlicia VikanderOscar Isaac & Sonoyo Mizuno

I did not like this movie. Ex Machina starts off with promise and gets better and better and better as it goes along and then… I’m not going to spoil it. Because it’s interesting enough up until the end. Ex Machina is the story of four individuals alone in a futuristic underground mansion for seven days. It’s a science fiction fantasy of a breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence. Actually, I really liked it up until the ending. I can’t stress that enough. I liked it a lot. The ending is so bad. So many potholes. So stupid. So what I’m going to do, in honor of four fifths of the movie being pretty damn good is that I will review this film with four spoiler free paragraphs and then one paragraph that will be a spoiler filled rant about how stupid the ending was. Don’t worry. It will be clearly marked.

Verdict: SPOILED (but not yet)

Ava and Caleb

First of all, the performances in Ex Machina are pretty fantastic from all four of the principles. Oscar Isaac once again plays a completely unlikable guy. I don’t think he can ever truly play the good guy. I don’t know what it is about him that makes him so damn unlikable. But it’s so easy to hate him in everything. He’s a great actor though. Unless of course he really is an unlikable douche. Isaac plays the ungodly wealthy genius inventor and CEO of a future Google-Facebook-Twitter combination killer who is also a bit of a recluse. Which is a stretch for him except for the fact that this guy is extremely unlikable.

Ex Machina Male Cast

Alicia Vikander plays the AI- robot- android with a sweetness that’s heartbreaking. Domhnall Gleeson plays the young programmer tasked with testing her AI (you might remember him from the movie Frank… he plays the same sort of guy in this) and Sonoyo Mizuna plays the housemaid slash Gal Friday. And all three of them are very good. But Oscar Isaac is head and shoulders over the rest of the cast and it’s obvious even though they more than hold their own. It fits the movie though because he’s the man in charge.

XXX EX MACHINA MOV JY 5556 .JPG A ENT

Since Ex Machina takes place in the future and we’re not sure how long in the future, I can forgive its leaps of fantasy with AI and robotics and the technologies. It is a science fiction fantasy. And it grabbed my attention and held my attention right up until the end. It made me think. made me sad. Made me frightened. It’s very interesting. But there’s just a few too many open plotholes at the end. (we’ll get to those) It feels like the director (Alex Garland who also wrote it) was going for that 70’s sci-fi creepy ending without realizing that we already lived through that, rented it, saw it on cable. That’s been done. It’s too open. You need to finish the damn story. But I’m not going to give it away.

Ex Machina

Again, I enjoyed Ex Machina up until the very end, that left me wanting. The plot holes created by the end, that left me wondering. And Oscar Isaac’s performance at the end, that left me wishing he would play Al Pacino’s son in a movie. (I’m telling you it would be awesome. Al Pacino’s still working right?) But if you like stories about robots and artificial intelligence, Ex Machina is a very nice beginning to one. The special effects are decent if not a little creepy and the performances and the writing are very good. But I felt like the director tried too hard to creep-out the audience at times. And of course the ending which I did not like at all but I think you know that by now. However if AI is not your thing, I’d skip Ex Machina. It’s not a very good movie. It’s a very good concept with a bad finish.

SPOILER ALERT

Here we go

Ava

“Be gentle with me.”

SPOILERS SPOILERS

SPOILERS SPOILERS

I had a bunch of problems with the logistics of the mansion. With the escape plan. With the AI herself and the ending. Let’s start with the mansion. The doors locking when the power goes off is monumentally stupid and no engineer in the world would live in a prison that became a coffin whenever the power fails. The character is not stupid. Also the madness of his fully stocked home office having no clear way of receiving supplies. Where does he get eggs and milk. His maid bot is cooking meat. There would have to be a road. (the helicopter can’t bring it all). There’s no way to build a sprawling industrial complex without a fucking road to bring in building materials. (unless they built the place and then landscaped the surrounding area for miles). We haven’t even gotten to the plot yet. The kid re-programs the computer to unlock the doors when the power cuts off. It’s fantasy so perhaps there’s some magical way for the computer to unlock the doors without power. But since we learn that he did this the day before. That means that when she cuts the power, the day before, all the doors would have opened THE DAY BEFORE. Yet even if we accept this, then when she cuts the lights for the last time the doors should still be opening not locking. She didn’t reprogram a thing. It should have opened the doors. But let’s talk about our little crystal goddess now. How the hell does she know where the helicopter is? How the hell did she turn a pleasure bot into a killer with whispers and tapping? Why does the skin of obsolete models fit her perfectly? Not caring what happens to the kid and burying him alive are two different things. And if she has had these magical powers all this time… You know what forget it. All of it really annoyed me. But worse, if she’s so good at planning and deceiving and all that, how come she couldn’t see past standing in a crowded airport people watching with no place to go. Write your own ending?Sure why not. That won’t last very long. Because a disoriented woman without identification of any kind will be discovered as a killer android the first time someone tries to take her blood pressure. Or she shatters like glass after being knocked to the ground. Sorry. Maybe I’m just nitpicking.

END SPOILERS

Ex Machina is a great movie up until the end.

Now I’m done.

– Mel