Superbowl 50 Superhero Movie 30 Second TV Super Spots

The game was exciting. But you have to be a big football fan like me to think a defensive match was exciting. However it was the new movie trailers that made the night for me. There were others I’m leaving out here. Jungle Book, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, among them. But these are my favorites.

I even liked the Batman V Superman Turkish Airlines spots.

Check those out first.

And then moments later… (I would have separated them)

I really thought those were cute. And also the fact that they couldn’t get an American airline to do them is telling. But the movie could still be good I guess.

Next X-Men Apocalypse looks pretty wild. I love the Olivia Munn entrance. It’s pretty cool. Check it out.

There certainly is a lot going on for 30 seconds.

But the biggest by far was the Civil War “choose a side” theme spot with #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan. We get to see the two sides defined in this one.

You can see the Good Guys on one side and the Bad Guys on the other. The Establishment on one side and the Rebellion on the other. I’m obviously Team Iron Man. Any team with The Vision on it is the team to beat.

And last but not least Jason Bourne. He’s a superhero. Deal with it.

I can’t wait for the return of Jason. I have all the movies on BluRay. And I love them all. And it sounds like Julia Stiles is back which is awesome. Can’t wait.

Nice bunch of mini trailers and they really got me more excited for all of these movies.

Nice jobs all around.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Anomalisa

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

Anomalisa (Paramount Pictures)

Anomalisa poster

Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson

Written by Charlie Kaufman  Based on Anomalisa by Charlie Kaufman

Starring David Thewlis as Michael Stone, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Lisa & Tom Noonan as Everyone Else

This is a weird film. Anomalisa is a weird animated film. It’s Charlie Kaufman to the max. And I love his writing. This is no exception. Anomalisa is a beautifully written story of a man stuck in a monumentally existential and comical rut. A world where everyone is the same. They all sound the same. Until one day he meets someone else. A woman named Lisa. An anomaly. Anomalisa. Someone different. It is a beautiful story of love and pain and the relationship between self and others. And it’s weird. It’s just really badly directed. And Charlie Kaufman is wholly responsible for this as well. In the end I did not like Anomalisa. I didn’t appreciate all the weirdness. There was just too much weird.

Verdict: SPOILED

Anomalisa

SPOILER ALERT

Right off the bat you can see that the cast of voice actors is short. There are three. There are many more characters but only three actors playing them. David Thewlis is our hero, the author Michael Stone, Jennifer Jason Leigh is his Anomalisa. And then there’s Tom Noonan, who’s listed in the credits as playing Everyone Else. And he does. Every other character in the film speaks with his voice. Regardless of age or gender. They all sound like Tom Noonan. This is disturbing. But at first it’s really funny and interesting. Less so after a while. And then it just gets creepy.

Anomalisa 2

Anomalisa begins with a conversation on a plane and the general weirdness is comical. What a great idea. To show this bland world and our hero’s relationship to everyone else, Mr. Kaufman makes everyone sound the same. And look the same, in a creepy as hell sort of way. Tom Noonan is an excellent choice here because he has long been one of my favorite artists (actor, director, screenwriter). But not only does everyone sound like Tom Noonan. They’re all assholes. They are all annoyingly passive aggressive.

Anomalisa 3

Every other person has this dickish quality mixed with sardonic wit and sarcastic condescending asides. Like when a married couple has been together too long. They just hate each other but don’t come right out and say it. Everyone else talks to our hero like they’re an annoyed spouse. And it itself is annoying to say the least, but also very funny. Charlie Kaufman is an immensely creative person and talented writer and this idea is amazingly disturbing but successful in relating to the audience the main character’s view of the world and its aggravating sameness. He wants to leave his wife.

Anomalisa 4

And then he meets the girl… Lisa. The only other person in the world. And she is uncomfortable with herself, and with her looks, and her education, and her voice. She hates her voice. But Michael immediately recognizes what he’s found when he hears her in the distance. The sound of her voice resonates through the walls of his hotel room and he runs to track her down. Only to attach himself to her in an awful and needy death grip. But she is self-conscious and self-defeating and she already had a case of hero-worship because he happens to be one of her favorite authors. So they form a duo that is incredibly uncomfortable to watch. But it’s great. It really is.

Anomalisa 5

And Anomalisa would be a fantastic movie if not for directing choices. The animation style. The journeys off into weirdness. He takes off his own jaw at one point for absolutely no reason. He takes his face off. It’s another disturbing breakage of the animated fourth wall. The animation style is puppetry but there is no reason for him to let us know that he knows that he’s a puppet. Instead of the lack of variety in voice actors being a metaphor, it makes it seem like it’s just something he finds himself trapped in. Like he’s trapped in a badly-directed and under-cast animated film. And so are we. And I just wanted to get the fuck out of there. It was no longer enjoyable. Just weird for the sake of being weird.

Anomalisa 6

So in the end Charlie Kaufman takes the idea way too far. He needed a completely separate director. Someone to take his ideas and show them to us with confidence. Not bury them and make them even weirder with weird visuals and weird choices and that Charlie Kaufman claustrophobic weirdness that he’s famous for. And we’re trapped. And he’s trapped. And I’m trapped. And I just don’t want to be stuck in a hole with Charlie Kaufman in a Charlie Kaufman world filled with Charlie Kaufman weirdness.

Anomalisa 7

I just wanted to visit.

Anomalisa is an extremely creative and very interesting idea. It was funny and creepy. And bordered on enjoyable. But then you made it weird, Charlie. You had to make it weird.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: The Last Witch Hunter

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

The Last Witch Hunter (Lionsgate)

The Last Witch Hunter Poster

Directed by Breck Eisner

Written by Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless

Starring Vin DieselElijah WoodRose LeslieÓlafur Darri ÓlafssonJulie Engelbrecht & Michael Caine

It was obvious going into this, my two hours set aside to watch The Last Witch Hunter, that it was not going to be a movie of substance. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching Oscar nominated films (It’s that time of year again). So I was looking at it as a sort of palette cleanser, you know. But as it turns out The Last Witch Hunter is a pretty decent story. The movie has a nice cast with Michael Caine and Rose Leslie (Ygritte from Game of Thrones) and Elijah Wood. I mean it’s unbelievably lacking in substance to the point where it’s a rather shallow film… like a puddle after a light rain. And it’s like the film-makers were more concerned with having Vin Diesel say something cool to end a scene or have him pose or look good with a sword than with telling a good story that the movie has extraordinarily little depth. But sometimes after so much Oscar nominated heaviness, you can use a little shallow. Something light. And honestly the film had its moments.

Verdict: SPARED

“There’s something missing. I’m not sure what it is.” “My sword’s not on fire.” “That’s it.”

The Last Witch Hunter tells the story of an ancient hunter of witches (hence the name) who is condemned to live forever by the witch queen. Vin Diesel is that Hunter. So the movie starts off with this cool ancient battle between him & his boys and the witch queen & her brood. And then continues into the present. There are lots of cool visuals. And by that I mean things and situations that are set up to look cool. Or to make Vin Diesel feel cool. Here he is with a flaming sword. Here he is as an ancient warrior. This is Vin’s fantasy (he’s a big fantasy gamer) and we’re just lucky that he’s let us watch.

Rose-Leslie-in-The-Last-Witch-Hunter

“So you like to watch, do you?”

But then Ygritte from Game of Thrones comes into the picture and I don’t have to tell you that I have a huge crush on this girl. “You know nothing, Jon Snow” She’s so fucking awesome (she shows up in the last season of Luther [far too short a season if you ask me] and kills it). And you know she’s cool in this as well. I definitely want to see more of her. In The Last Witch Hunter she plays a young witch (a good witch?) who grew up hearing scary stories about Vin’s immortal witch hunter. Bedtime stories designed to make a young witch follow the rules.

The Witches Council The Last Witch Hunter

The Witches Council

You see there’s this uneasy truce between the hunter and the witches. They don’t involve humans in any of their shenanigans and he doesn’t kill them all with a sword. Because not only is he The Last Witch Hunter but now that he’s immortal they have no chance. It’s a great back story to a movie that totally lacked any substance whatsoever. But was still a pretty decent movie… considering.

Vin Diesel is The Last Witch Hunter

“My sword is on fire that makes me a bad-ass.”

There are many things in The Last Witch Hunter that are borrowed from other series and other movies. Or maybe we’ve reached a saturation point with fantasy ideas. And everything new is a little derivative of everything else. I don’t know. There’s an order of priests who pass down their knowledge from generation to generation like Fifth Element. And there are other things that leap out that remind me of Harry Potter or The Mortal Instruments. But I think maybe I’m expecting originality where there’s little room for it.

The Last Witch Hunter Witch Queen

The Witch Queen

In the end, the movie was not that bad. It held my attention and Ygritte was hot (and you know how I like redheads) and Vin Diesel does his best Sly Stallone impression and Michael Caine played Alfred from Batman Begins and Elijah Wood was Frodo (I almost called him Elijah Frodo) and the movie was alright. Not that bad. The Last Witch Hunter is not Citizen Kane or even Citizen Kane goes to Hogwarts but it was also not a complete waste of two hours and I could even stand a sequel.

Rose Leslie and Vin Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter

“What would we even do in a sequel?” “I don’t know. I could get another flaming sword.” “Again with the sword? What is it with you and that sword?”

The Last Witch Hunter is a movie without substance but some pretty cool style and some interesting bits stolen from other things but it wasn’t half bad. Not that bad.

The Last Witch Hunter Vin Diesel

“Swords on fire look cool. Just ask Manjushri or Avalokiteshvara.”

And yes Vin Diesel looks cool with a flaming sword. So what else do you need?

– Mel

2 Quick Reviews of 2 Batman Movies on DVD: Batman vs. Robin and Batman: Bad Blood

A Batman Animated Movies Double Feature.

First up…

Batman vs Robin (Warner Bros. Animation)

Batman vs Robin poster

Directed by Jay Oliva

Written by J. M. DeMatteis  Based on Batman: The Court of Owls by Scott SnyderGreg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion

Starring Jason O’Mara as Batman-Bruce Wayne, Stuart Allan as Damian Wayne-Robin, Sean Maher as Dick Grayson-Nightwing, Jeremy Sisto as Talon, “Weird Al” Yankovic as Anton Schott-The Dollmaker, David McCallum as Alfred Pennyworth, Grey DeLisleKevin ConroyRobin Atkin DownesTroy Baker & Peter Onorati

Batman vs Robin

“Don’t make me break my foot off in your ass boy.”

Batman vs Robin is a pretty good Batman story and I’m happy they improved the fight animation. The fights are more realistic. In Son of Batman, Damian would fly around like he was lighter than air during the fights. I don’t like when the animators suspend the laws of gravity. This one respects the rules of physics at least.

Batman vs Robin vs Nightwing

“I’m the better Robin. Say it!” “Never!”

It’s a good story about Batman trying to bond with his son. These have to be watched in order. So if you haven’t watched Son of Batman, you’ll be lost. Batman’s son is raised by the League of Assassins and now lives in Wayne Manor. And he’s become the new Robin. Replacing Dick Grayson who became Nightwing. The kid’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder to say the least. But Damian isn’t as annoying in this one as in the last.

Batman vs Robin Talon and Robin

“Is this watchmen? Or are we still doing Batman? This is still Batman right?”

Batman vs Robin has some brutal fight scenes. Some nice Batman action. There’s a great Robin vs Nightwing fight. The Robin vs Batman one from the title. And a couple of epic battles between Batman and an Army of the Dead. I enjoyed this one because the fights are more realistic than in the previous one.

Damian Wayne

“Were you trying to look down my dress just now?” “No ma’am.”

I’m looking forward to checking out Batman: Bad Blood next.

– Mel

(flip cassette to side b)

Batman: Bad Blood (Warner Bros. Animation)

Batman Bad Blood poster

Directed by Jay Oliva

Written by J. M. DeMatteis

Starring Jason O’Mara as Bruce Wayne-Batman, Yvonne Strahovski as Kate Kane-Batwoman, Stuart Allan as Damian Wayne-Robin, Sean Maher as Dick Grayson-Nightwing-Batman II & Morena Baccarin as Talia al Ghul

Batman and Talia al Ghul from Bad Blood

Real Housewives of Gotham City

I think I liked Bad Blood a little more than Batman vs Robin even though the fight scenes weren’t nearly as good. We were back to having Damian flying around like he was Yoda in the prequels and defying gravity just to have him face off against larger enemies.

Batwoman from Bad Blood

Hey Batwoman. That’s a lot of red you got there. I thought the whole point was to sneak up on people. I guess not.

But the plot of Bad Blood is epic and I like the formation of the “Bat Family” that happens in the movie. Also Bad Blood has a much cooler bad guy, Talia al Ghul. And more epic fights because in this one we have the whole squad. All the bats are here. (and even one more you’re not expecting at the end… it’s Batgirl. They tease Batgirl for the next movie)

Batgirl

“Wait until they get a load of me.”

The two movies go well together. Bad Blood is sort of a companion to Batman vs Robin. In my opinion The Batman Animated Movie Series has progressed nicely. So it’s absolutely imperative that you watch them in order. I’m really starting to like these movies. Can’t wait to see where we they go next.

The Villains from Bad Blood

The Villains from Bad Blood kick serious ass

So to Recap…

Holy DVDs Batman.

At almost three hours, the double feature of Batman vs Robin and Batman: Bad Blood is an entertaining Bat-Time on home video.

Enjoy,

– Mel