Spared or Spoiled Movie Reviews: Logan

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

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I did not like this movie. I thought it was a child’s idea of what an adult movie would look like. Violence and cursing. “Please daddy can I stay up and watch Logan with you? I won’t get bad dreams honest. No? Why not? Why should I listen to you anyway? You’re not my real father.”

Go to bed. Because I said so and I’M AN ADULT!!!*

“It’s bedtime. Let’s find another nice family to kill.”

(Off topic* For the last several months, whenever I stop myself from doing something stupid or childish, I yell out, “I’m an adult.” in a fake stage voice out of pride and silliness. Which is admittedly stupid and/or childish but it has become my new mantra and the theme of this review for some reason)

Logan (20th Century Fox)

Directed by James Mangold

Written by Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green

Starring Hugh JackmanPatrick StewartRichard E. GrantBoyd HolbrookStephen Merchant & Dafne Keen

I’ll put up my review now. The last post was me being happy with the theme of the movie Logan and what it means for comic book movies. I did not hate the movie as much as you might think. But I did not like it as much as most of you did. I thought the violence was unnecessarily um… violent. I’ve always believed that when it comes to Wolverine the idea of him doing those brutal things to people is sufficiently gruesome enough and not every kill has to be shown in gory HD detail. I thought the writing was sloppy. The plot was non-existent. The performances were good if only the actors were playing other characters. The only thing recognizable about those characters on the screen was the way they looked. I liked the theme though. I really did. Lone Wolf and Cub meets Mad Max meets Tuesdays with Morrie. That’s the reason I can say I didn’t hate the movie. The execution just left a hell of a lot to be desired. And obviously I’m going to spoil the shit out of it. And rant, and rant, and rant.

Verdict: SPOILED

“Are we really going to do this again? The first time was brutal enough.” “Honestly father. I thought at the very least you would see the irony in a Logan review being unnecessarily brutal… father?” “What are you like 60?”

SPOILER ALERT

The 25 Worse Things About The Movie Logan by Mel Rook

I started listing things and just kept going so there’s much more than 25 and they’re in no particular order because honestly I got bored.

To the list…

1) Wolverine’s adamantium does not corrode: I waited for them to say that he had some kind of radioactive substance in his body or that he was being poisoned because his fucking skeleton would not be leaking into his blood stream and affecting his healing. Not even acid would do that.

(Can we get someone in here who’s actually read the source material)

2) Wolverine is not a werewolf: Adamantium bullet? For fuck sake. Maybe it would go through his metal skull and then again maybe it wouldn’t. But Wolverine is not the fucking metal around his bones. Why would shooting him in the head kill him? Wolverine is not a zombie either. He heals after much worse injuries.

(Read the books)

“These are just props. No one actually fucking read them.”

Speaking of adamantium.

3) They put adamantium in the little girl’s body? Well then that means she can never grow any taller. It’s not an organic material. They encased her bones in a metal cage. She’s a human bonsai tree. What the fuck idiots?

(She’ll never be an adult… not like me. I’m an adult!!!)

Let’s move on to the unnecessarily violent action sequences.

4) The bad guys are like cannon fodder: They run right into the line of fire again and again. To the last man. They look like bad ass mercenaries but act like lambs being lead to the killing floor.

And what’s with all the gore? vicious kills of guys who can’t move. Vicious brutal kills by a little girl. It’s way over-the-top. In Deadpool it was necessary and comical. Here it’s just a way of screaming. “I’m a comic book movie for grown-ups!”

But let’s talk about the victims… the endless stream of so called bad guys.

5) Five guys show up for a fight and Wolverine kills twenty guys: Hub-cap thieves or industrial corn farmers or bad-ass mercenaries with cybernetic implants, more people die in the fights than actually show up for the fights. Just count them. I know continuity is an adult film-making concept but come on guys. At one point Bizzarro Wolverine is killing ranchers off camera but you can hear him and there’s like fifteen death screams for like eight rednecks. It’s dumb. The movie is dumb!!!

(I’m an adult!!!)

“The guy behind me knows I’m going to kill him right? Well then what the hell is his motivation?”

The little girl, Laura was made in a lab and yet…

6) She’s incredibly wise for someone so young: She doesn’t speak for half the movie and won’t shut up for the second half. I guess she had to speed learn English or something. She’s a kid. They learn things fast… like driving a car for instance.

7) She knows how to drive a car: For someone who has never left the lab, she parks the truck perfectly her first time behind the wheel.

(We’re all real proud of you Laura)

But how did she get Wolverine’s dense, metal bone having, passed out, grown man’s body into the stolen truck anyway? Never mind… it’s movie magic!!!

9) Shane, the classic western is on TV in the hotel room in the movie that we’re watching. And there is more emotion on the screen than at any time in the actual movie: Shane is not playing in the theater. Logan is not Shane. Logan will never be Shane. Logan… apologize to Shane.

“I can lift a man ten-times my size because… I’m a little adult!!”

10) What’s the bad guy’s motivation? Were they supposed to take Laura back alive? So that they could kill her later? Were they supposed to leave Charles alive. The “weapon of mass destruction” he had become. Were they supposed to keep Wolverine alive? What are the bad guys even doing?

“What’s my motivation? Am I a bad guy in this scene? Does the blade go through the back of my head from underneath the chin or the eye socket or is this yet another beheading? Wait… what’s my motivation again?”

(Grow Up)

Oh yeah let’s talk about this degenerative brain disease that causes people for miles around to have seizures when Charles has one. Then again let’s not it’s just dumb. Take your damn pills Charles.

(He can do as he pleases. He’s an adult!!!)

11) The young mutant clones are all so well-adjusted: Are we sure the corporation was treating them badly? They seem well-educated and healthy for lab experiments that they wanted to become super weapons. They should not have let them watch all those old westerns and read all those comic books.

And yeah…

12) Why are there X-Men comics in the movie? At no time in the X-Men timeline in any of the movies or comics are they accepted as heroes or even anti-heroes. We’re supposed to buy that they’ve been wiped off the face of the Earth. All of them including their children… their entire bloodline, but still the kiddies love to read about them in the comic books.

(I need to calm down before I have a seizure of my own)

“Professor. tell me how Magneto’s helmet works again.” “It works like a Faraday cage.” “Sure but in order to cover his head in all six directions wouldn’t he have to…” “It’s just a comic book you jackass.”

13) Logan is not in some dystopian future even though the film-makers forget and try to make it look like it is. I think they had Mad Max on the brain while filming. It’s the future, sure. You can tell by the tech. The self driving trucks and whatnot. But everything else is business as usual. Kids going to prom. People going to Vegas. Horses on the highway. Just because the last mutants are hiding out in some abandoned factory across the border doesn’t mean the world isn’t still spinning… just spinning without X-Men.

14) If they wanted to do the Old Man Logan story then they should have done that story. A darker, further in the future, story where super-villains divided the world up. They lame-assed it here. They lame-assed it real good.

15) What the fuck’s up with Callaban. I’m guessing the half werewolf, half zombie, Wolverine from Logan needed a vampire servant or some shit. Was Stephen Merchant supposed to be comic relief? because… not funny.

16) So is that tank that they keep Charles in supposed to act like a Faraday cage? Is it to protect others or to protect him. Because it doesn’t work for others. His seizure thing goes right through the tank. And if it’s supposed to hide him, well then they’re doing it wrong. The main mercenary bad guy cannon fodder guy actually says, “Keeping him in the tank. That was smart.”

(PLEASE EXPLAIN!!!!!!!)

“Well it’s obvious someone didn’t think this through.” “Don’t look at me. I’m the not at all funny comic relief. What do I know?” “You know enough to stay out of the sun.”

17) Hi I’m a nurse working for a secret corporation in the future but when I enter their top-secret facility they don’t take away my cell phone because… well because of plot. If you’re watching this then I must be dead… or I showed it to you because it’s evidence of the corporation’s wrong doing or you’re watching it on YouTube. I don’t know. If you’re watching this you must have pressed play. I was recording this when they broke in but I was still able to hide it and leave you note. And also they killed me but didn’t search the room. Whatever… my boyfriend worked there.

Let’s go back to the science behind this adamantium bullet for a second.

18) Did they mean adamantium tipped? That’s what they meant right? Still shouldn’t be able to kill Wolverine but you guys do see the error in your logic don’t you? Indestructible metal and all.

19) The coordinates are in the comic book. The coordinates are in the comic book. Just let that sink in for a second. Precise Longitude and Latitude? Because Stan Lee was thinking ahead and because of… you know plot?

(Excelsior!!!)

“He’s being so cruel.”

So did those kids build that house when they got to the coordinates that are from a fucking comic book or was the house already there? Asking for a friend.

20) The dialogue is crappy, people. The best line in the movie is a quote from another film. And she doesn’t even quote the burial scene in it. She watches Shane’s monologue to the kid and she watches the burial scene as well, so that when she quotes the final monologue during a burial scene it makes sense to us. It doesn’t. It’s fucking stupid.

(Hell I can still hear that kid yelling, “Come back, Shane! Mother wants you!” and it brings a tear to my eye today. They should be ashamed of themselves. That’s film-making. That’s real emotion. How dare they even compare Logan to that)

21) Is she a clone of Wolverine or is she his kid?

“He is NOT the father.” (Thank you Maury).

“Daddy!!!” (Use your words, Laura.) “AAAAARRRRGH!!!”

So they’re kids when it’s convenient. Weapons when it’s necessary. She’s a sweet kid when it’s cute. She’s a trained killer when it’s necessary. Because of plot, is that right?

Back to the seizures one last time… Because of their healing ability the two mutants are not as affected by Charles Xavier’s powerful seizures. Because of healing and… plot. Or is it their metal skulls?

(Tell me!!!)

22) Take your fucking medicine, Charles: “But I’m so sad about killing people, Logan that I can’t take my medicine that stops me from killing people.”

“Logan?” “Yes, Charles.” “When we’re on this boat you’re saving money to buy, how will I get my medication?” “Don’t ask me stupid questions, old man.” “But if we’re just getting on a boat to die then why does it have to be so expensive?” “You always were a pain in the ass, Professor.”

I almost forgot the dumbest part.

23) Let’s stay in this lovely family’s home. It’s not like we’re being chased by killer mercenaries. It’s not like the old man in the wheel chair (let’s take him upstairs by the way) is an out of control weapon of mass destruction or anything. And the feral kid isn’t a ticking time bomb of rage. And Wolverine himself isn’t fucking suicidal. Let’s repay their kindness by getting them all killed. That makes total sense.

Best part of the movie is when the father decides to shoot the real Wolverine knowing that he wasn’t the guy who killed his family directly… Indirectly, though… hell fucking yeah. He killed those nice people. “We almost killed an entire hotel full of tourists in Vegas. Let’s have a sleep over in the country!”

(I’m an adult!!! And I wrote me a comic book movie!!!)

Here’s something else stupid.

24) We’re going to buy a boat: Yeah because a guy with heavy metal bones and an old man who can’t use his legs are a great idea on the open water.

(OH MY GOD!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK!!!!)

If they’re not going out on that boat so that Logan can “Fredo Corleone” the Professor then I don’t know what the fuck’s going on.

“Pay attention Laura. You may have to drive me somewhere… without knowing where you’re going, knowing how to drive, being able to reach the pedals or how to read. And you’re going to have to steal a truck. Are you watching me? You need to watch me.”

Did no one read the script before making this movie???? No one??

Was there not an adult somewhere who could point out how dumb these things were?

What a great idea it was to do an adult comic book movie. Too bad they couldn’t find an adult to make it. Am I being too harsh?

And finally…

25) They tried to pattern Logan after the American western but totally missed the point. Wolverine is not a gunslinger. Wolverine is a fucking samurai. There’s a reason why I think the second Wolverine movie is the best one of the three, because it’s the only one that gets him right.

Wolverine.

Honor. Solitude. Bad-ass.

Not.

Whiny. Little. Bitch.

Okay I’m done.

– Mel

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LOGAN: The Death of the Comic Book Movie (The Birth of the Comic Book Genre)

This is not a review, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants of Gods, X-Men, Destiny, Time, Love, Storm, Rogue, Beauty… Comic Books.

Logan: The Death of a the Comic Book Movie (The Birth of the Comic Book Genre)

…Or this is just me rambling on about movies and comic books as usual.

Logan (20th Century Fox)

Directed by James Mangold

Written by Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green

Starring Hugh JackmanPatrick StewartRichard E. GrantBoyd HolbrookStephen Merchant & Dafne Keen

“I get the feeling this review is gonna hurt, kid. The kind of pain that doesn’t heal. You know what I mean?” “Of course I do. I’m extraordinarily wise for a lab experiment… oh yeah and I can drive.”

Make no mistake, people. Logan is not a good film. It’s not a good superhero film or a good western. Even as it tries to compare its own shit writing to the classic western Shane (SACRILEGE!!!), it is not a good movie, period. But what it is, what Logan turns out to be, is the latest in a welcome trend. A regular movie that just happens to star a comic book superhero. Not a superhero movie. Not a comic book movie. There are comic books in the movie. Wolverine waves them around from time to time, if that helps to put the character in context. But that’s about it. And it does not.

“You see, in this reality they made us into comic book superheroes for their kids but still hunted us down like dogs… because that makes total sense.”

Wolverine, everyone’s favorite X-Man, has had three solo movies. The first and the third have been complete bullshit. The second, however, is one of my favorite comic book movies of all-time. The second Wolverine is an homage to his stand alone title. It is a perfect replica. The pacing. The cinematography. This is The Wolverine. This is the comic that I collected from issue ONE. I say this all the time and I will say it here again. “If you do not respect the source material do not take on the job of bringing it to the screen.” But I was about to tell you what this awful movie Logan means for the industry.

“Awful? Well that’s just harsh. Play that Johnny Cash song again. I think I’m gonna cry.””

The first sci-fi genre was a straight space adventure. Trip To The Moon. The second was The vampire Film. Nosferatu. Since those two, we’ve had tons of space adventures and tons of takes on the vampire. These are tried and true genres that once every decade somebody tries to reinvent and breathe new life into. But also there are other types of movies that aren’t as flexible. They come and go from era to era. They disappear and have resurgences. Like the western or the gladiator movie. These are just types of movies not genres. (in this context anyway. Because words can be tricky)

“I will kill you all with my Star Wars Prequel Yoda-like, physics defying, aerial acrobatics because I am a cartoon character in a serious movie!!! ARRRGH!!!”

In the past, the superhero movie was a type. (type vs genre) It was a costumed adventure. Fight the bad guy. Save the girl. Save the world. Period. End of story. There were a few comedy bits thrown in but mostly it was the superhero’s tale. But these types of movies are coming to an end. Their time has passed. Logan is not a comic book movie. It just happens to star a character from a comic book. And that is awesome. (Even while the movie Logan is not that awesome).

“Say my movie is bad one more time. I dare you… Bub.” *snikt

Logan is not a western either, by the way. I read that somewhere. I disagree whole-heartedly. It thinks it’s a western, but it’s not. If anything it’s a post-apocalyptic survival story like Mad Max: Fury Road. But instead of a global apocalypse, Logan is about the mutant apocalypse. The chase to hunt down the last mutants. At the start of this movie all but three mutants are dead. Professor X, Callaban and Wolverine. By the end of this movie… no spoilers but everywhere you look people are saying this is the last Wolverine movie. This is the last Wolverine movie. So you figure it out. And don’t talk to me about the kids. They were made in a lab (*see note). So not a natural mutation. Logan, the end of the Wolverine franchise, is some dark stuff.

*note: Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton was added in a lab but his mutation, his healing factor (Deadpool has the same thing but that too is from a lab) and Wolverine’s heightened senses (smell mostly) are a natural mutation. Of course the movie Logan all but ignores his sense of smell. It’s almost like the writers never read the comic books… but anyway. What was I saying? Oh yes.

“Wolverine, would you please tell Mel to stay on topic.” “He doesn’t listen to me, Professor.”

The comic book superhero is officially a film genre and not a type of movie now. And I know I’m not using the right words but bear with me. Because the word genre can fit for both of these categories of things and it gets confusing. The way I’m differentiating here is in the ways they can be presented. Some film types are the same no matter what. Different plot. Different characters. But you know the beats. Romantic Comedy. You get the gist. International Spy Thriller. You know what you’re going to get. Gladiator films changed from Roman to Martial Arts but they generally stayed the same. The Comic Book Movie was just like that not too long ago. Dark or Light. Marvel or DC. Nolan’s Batman, Donner’s Superman, Whedon’s Avengers and Raimi’s Spiderman are all the same fucking films. Like the western. It was a box. You could throw whatever superhero you wanted into it and the beats would always be generally the same. I’m not saying they are all the same quality because they are not. And there’s nothing wrong with opening up a box, knowing what you’re going to get and still being pleasantly surprised. It’s hard to like movies unless you’re okay with that.

“Wait… Are you the vampire, Callaban? And does that make me the Zombie? I don’t get it.”

But then you have the full on classic genre that’s not beholding to any style. Vampires. Are probably the best example. There are no rules. You can have a space opera with vampires. You can have a rom com with vampires or a western. Most recently Zombies have become the go to for putting them wherever the fuck you want. If you made a section of vampire movies it would make no sense. There would actually be more types of movies than you could shake a stick at under the vampire genre. Comic book superheroes are now officially crossing into that zone. And I’m psyched. The R rated comic book film with no crime to fight, no world to save… fuck yeah.

“Did somebody call for a super-villain? That isn’t really super or necessarily a villain. Just a misguided corporate stooge who blindly follows orders. Did somebody call for a misguided corporate stooge who blindly follows orders?”

And again I’m talking Sherlock Holmes in space type shit. Not just some detective. I’m talking about recognizable comic book superheroes in all kinds of movie boxes. Not just some generic superhero they made up that’s supposed to remind us of stuff from the comics, but the name-brand heroes from the comics. It’s time for a Batman movie where he never puts on the cape. Just a detective story or a revenge tale. One of my favorite aspects of The Hulk movie (still my favorite comic book adaptation) is the romance between Liv Tyler and Ed Norton. And that’s what the Hulk was for me when I was a kid, a romance. Stop trying to make him into a superhero. He’s not a superhero. He’s a monster in love. Spider-man as a teen drama would be nice. Sure he’s still the spider-man but that’s not the movie. The movie is about a kid trying to finish high school. Stop it with the super-villains. Enough already. We get it.

“Logan, do you remember that Star Trek episode where Captain Picard has a full life and grows old in a simulated tribute to an alien species?” “No I didn’t watch that nerd crap.” “I wish that was what this was. Because this movie is depressing as fuck.”

So anyway, what Logan represents to me is the death of the comic book movie. We saw the beginnings in Winter Soldier… that’s more of a spy thriller than comic book. And Deadpool… an R rated fourth wall comedy, a parody of itself. The comic book movie as movie type, is burning itself out. There will still be tons made, because you know how it takes Hollywood a couple of decades before they get the point, but we’re already getting tired of them. Bring on the comic book heroes in regular movies. These are great classic characters. They don’t have to fight The Riddler every week. That’s just their job. It doesn’t have to also be the movie plot.

“Here Lies The Superhero Movie Genre… I mean Movie Type… May It Rest In Peace… I mean Pieces. – Hugh Jackman.”

So Logan, this mediocre, unbelievably corny and poorly written take on The Wolverine, really wasn’t that great of a movie from where I was sitting (seat L10 right behind the wheelchair section because, you know, leg room ftw). Even though Hugh Jackman is great as Wolverine, here he reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger coming back to play the Terminator one last time… nostalgic. And to tell the truth, I didn’t see Wolverine in Logan at all. I saw the actor who plays Wolverine and a character with claws who references the comic books like that’s enough. That’s not enough.

“Daddy?” “Yes Laura… wait. Did you just call me daddy? Damn, maybe Mel is right. This is some corny ass shit.” “I have to go to the bathroom.” “Hold it. We’re almost there.” “AARRRRGH!!” “Really? Again with the screaming?”

But what I also saw, in the theater, and on the screen, is what it means for comic book movies going forward… a whole new set of rules. The possibilities are endless. Creativity run amok. And that shit was better than the movie. That shit was beautiful.

– Mel

The Comic Book Movie is dead.

Long Live the Comic Book Genre.

5 Quick Reviews from October (Catch-up Edition part 1)

It’s almost December and I haven’t posted a 5 Quick Reviews for October or November. So here are two posts back to back. One for each month.

First up: 5 Quick Reviews of 5 New DVDs from October

Sin City 2

This installment includes two of my favorite movies from 2014 and also two of the worse. Throw in a film that isn’t actually about abortion but centers around an unplanned pregnancy and you have the DVDs of October.

To the list…

First up…

Obvious Child (A24 [USA], The Exchange [International])

Obvious-Child

Directed by Gillian Robespierre

Written by Gillian Robespierre and Karen Maine & Elisabeth Holm  Based on Obvious Child written by Anna Bean, Karen Maine and Gillian Robespierre

Starring Jenny SlateJake LacyGaby Hoffmann, Gabe Liedman & David Cross

Abortion movies are polarizing. They are either pro-choice or very pro-life. While Obvious child doesn’t take a political side in the debate, here’s a hint: Planned Parenthood loved this movie. It is the story of a young woman, her unplanned pregnancy and her choices.

Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy

“Why are you in a box?” “I’m afraid Mel is going to start talking about abortion and… well… he has a penis. So I kinda wish he wouldn’t. I’m hiding, alright?.”

This is my abortion paragraph. It is more than okay to skip it: As far as being pro-life or pro-choice, I am staunchly pro-birth-control and anti-rape. I would love to live in a world where there was no such thing as unplanned pregnancy. And I believe with early and comprehensive education, effective birth control and early rape prevention measures that take care of the problem at its source, there would be no need for it. And all the politicians that raise money from the issue would have to…. oh yeah that’s right… nothing will change as long as the issue is a massive revenue builder for both sides. Never mind… but there is this very cute movie.

Jenny Rulz

“That wasn’t too bad.”

Obvious Child is based on the 2009 short film of the same name from the same director. In the film, the main character, played by Jenny Slate, a comedienne who works days in a bookstore, becomes pregnant from a one night stand and has a decision. But the story is not about the decision but about the girl. Her professional evolution. Her relationships. And about a one night stand that produces a pregnancy.

Jenny Slate

“Then he spent a whole paragraph talking about abortion. Why do men do that? I know i said it didn’t bother me but… I’m a little drunk now, so fuck his opinion.”

Obvious Child is a good movie with a great performance by Jenny Slate. She is perfect as the young comedian that finds her voice when her life is tipped on its side. I really liked this cute twist on the romantic comedy. However I know that abortion is a trigger for some.

Jenny Slate and David Cross

“Talk to me about the box.” “Um… I’d rather not.”

I hate being preached at in film especially about abortion. Again, this movie does not do that. It is not about abortion. And the decision doesn’t affect the plot even as it is the central focus of the film and yet it isn’t. It is a smart film. Funny, sweet, very real, very good, well-written, well-directed and Jenny Slate is outstanding. Nice work.

Rent it

Next up…

Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Edge of Tomorrow

Directed by Doug Liman

Written by Dante HarperJoby HaroldChristopher McQuarrieJez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth  Based on All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Starring Tom CruiseEmily BluntBill Paxton & Brendan Gleeson

Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow

I make this look good.

Edge of Tomorrow is a great movie. One of my favorite films from this year.

"Come and find me when you wake up."

Come and find me when you wake up.

It holds up well on disc. As long as you have good speakers. Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise turn in great performances in an action-packed sci-fi adventure.

Edge of Tomorrow Jump

Didn’t Mel already review this one when it was in the theaters?

Now… will somebody please write me a damn sequel.

Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise

If you haven’t seen it, rent it or just buy it. It’s that good.

Buy it

Next up…

X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox)

x-men days of future past

Directed by Bryan Singer

Written by Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman  Based on “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont & John Byrne

Starring Hugh JackmanJames McAvoyMichael FassbenderJennifer LawrenceHalle BerryAnna PaquinEllen PagePeter DinklageIan McKellen & Patrick Stewart

Wolverine before adamantium

Days of Future Past is another great movie in the X-Men franchise. One of my favorite films from 2014. Maybe even my favorite.

Days of Future Past

I love the prequel casting. McAvoy, Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence are superb.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique

And the original trilogy cast too. Stewart, McKellen, Jackman, (Halle, Anna, Ellen)

Magneto

X-Men was my favorite title growing up because I identified with the misfits and outcasts.

xmen-days-of-future-past

So combining the two casts together for the best X-Men story was outstanding.

Magneto and Quicksilver

I love this movie. I will own it. (Hell, one day I hope to marry it)

Buy it

And now the bad…

Life After Beth (A24)

life-after-beth

Written & Directed by Jeff Baena

Starring Aubrey PlazaDane DeHaanMolly ShannonCheryl HinesPaul ReiserMatthew Gray GublerAnna Kendrick & John C. Reilly

Life After Beth

Life After Beth is an exceptionally bad zombie romance but it is also a bad horror film, a bad comedy and a total waste of time. This is a one joke movie. And that one joke isn’t very funny. (Hey dude your girlfriend is back from the dead). Badly directed and poorly written, I laughed once through the entire film and I think I was laughing at how bad it was.

Aubrey Plaza

Romantic zombie stories have been done so much better in films like Warm Bodies and TV shows like In The Flesh. Life After Beth is the story of a young man whose recently deceased girlfriend comes back from the dead. The premise is promising. The casting is good. And that’s it. The characters are bland and two-dimensional. There’s an older brother character that is idiotic and parents (both his and hers) that are useless. Even their relationship, the central theme of the movie, is pointless and weak.

The big brother

The dialogue is awful. The plot is stupid. There is nothing about this movie that I liked. I’m hoping these actors, that I enjoyed in other things, did this movie as a favor to someone because it’s really bad, there is no script and the director has no vision.

life after beth 2

Life After Beth is a bad movie in every single way.

Skip it

and lastly…

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Dimension Films)

A Dame to KIll for

Directed by Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller

Written by Frank Miller  Based on Sin City by Frank Miller

Starring Mickey RourkeJessica AlbaJosh BrolinJoseph Gordon-LevittRosario DawsonBruce WillisEva GreenPowers BootheDennis HaysbertRay LiottaJaime KingChristopher LloydJamie ChungJeremy PivenChristopher Meloni & Juno Temple

Speaking of sensationally bad movies. This Sin City sequel does something rarely seen from bad sequels. It actually makes the first movie worse. The story is okay… I guess. But you can’t tell because they never let a story play out before switching to another one with a new narrator. I like Frank Miller but he can’t direct.

Marv

There are too many voice-overs from too many different characters. Instead of showing one story at a time, the stories are edited together so that the different narrators of each tale are practically talking over each other.

Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis

A Dame to Kill For plays more like an audio book. An audio graphic novel with moving images. It is visually annoying. That black and white with splashes of color thing was cool in the first one but this movie does it so badly it makes me think the first one sucked too. this is not a good movie at all. Frank Miller is still a god in my eyes for his comics & graphic novels (Daredevil, Batman) but he shouldn’t direct movies. He is really bad at it.

Sin City A Dame in Color

Telling a visual story in comics and telling a visual story in cinema are two separate disciplines. The two main differences that Mr. Miller fail to reconcile are camera movement and visual continuity. A Dame to Kill For is stupendously bad directing.

Eva Green - the dame in question

And I know Robert Rodriguez also has his name on it as director but I have a hard time believing that Mr. Rodriguez got this bad at his craft this quickly. This is all Frank Miller. This is someone who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing.

Skip it

So to recap…

There were two movies in which the main character couldn’t be killed despite everyone’s best efforts: Life After Beth and The Edge of Tomorrow. One of the best and one of the worse movies I have seen all year.

There were two movies with bad titular colon subtitles based on comics penned by two of my favorite comic book writers: X-Men: Days of Future Past and Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. One is directed by someone who should stick to comic books. The other brilliant.

And there was a romantic comedy that was well-written, well-directed and with a great performance but an uncomfortable theme that may turn some people off; Obvious Child. And that’s sad because it’s a really good movie and it may not get the recognition it deserves or make the money it deserves.

That was October

November coming right up…

– Mel

X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer #2

Okay. This one is much better.

Here’s the new Days of Future Past Trailer…

I quite literally can’t wait for this. I’ve hyped this up in my mind to the point where it could never live up to my expectations.

Still don’t know how I feel about Nimrod’s look. I love the classic Sentinels look. These kind of look like that robot from Thor.

I’m loving the fact that this will merge the X-men movies to the X-men: First Class cast in the most perfect way with the best story from the comic books. This is how you reboot a franchise people; Have the older actors go back in time. (J.J. Abrams agrees with me)

My Bold Prediction: This is going to be good. This is going to be so fucking good.

– Mel

5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD Nov/Dec

I’ve gotten a little behind on my review folder so there should be another post coming soon. This time out we have 4 action films (Superheroes, Martial Arts & Science Fiction) and one biopic. The schizophrenic biography of a porn classic.

Let’s get right to it…

To the reviews

First up another stab at a Wolverine solo movie.

The Wolverine 2013 (20th Century Fox)

The Wolverine

Directed by James Mangold
Written by Mark Bomback & Scott Frank
Based on Wolverine by Chris Claremont & Frank Miller
Starring Hugh Jackman, Tao OkamotoRila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Brian Tee & Famke Janssen

This is a really good comic book movie. This is what it’s like when the filmmakers respect the source material.

Wolverine without Adamantium

The Wolverine 2013 is a lot like the Wolverine comic. Complete w/ ninjas, that remarkable calm before each storm and another doomed romance. I owned these books back when I was a collector. I like this story.

Wolverine and Yukio

I love this movie. This is how a comic book movie should be made.

Wolverine & Viper

There are epic battles against Ninjas and Yakuza and Evil Mutants and an epilogue that serves as a prologue to the next X-Men movie. This is a great film.

Rent it (I’ll be buying it. Definitely re-watchable)

Next up

Elysium (TriStar Pictures)

Elysium

Written & Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura & William Fichtner

Elysium suffers from a sloppy story that veers off in odd directions. A great premise but some bad writing.

Jodie Foster

I wanted to like this movie so much. I love Neill Blomkamp’s other film; District 9, but Elysium is a swing and a miss his second time out. Jodie Foster is amazing as always, acting in both languages (I love when she pulls out her French) but honestly, at this point, it would be strange if she weren’t amazing. Ms Foster brings 100% every time out.

Damon & Foster

I would have preferred for her and Matt to have had more scenes together. I would have added a comm link between the two for a little trash talking as she tries to capture him. You have two sensational actors and they don’t play off each other. What a waste.

Matt Damon

Elysium has a good message about the direction the world is taking and Matt Damon is fantastic but it’s a bad execution of a great idea. I think I wanted more from this film. Good effects. Good premise. It’s just lacking in focus.

Rent it (There are good things here. Good performances etc. Just don’t expect too much)

Next up… a sequel?

Kick-Ass 2 (Universal Pictures)

Kick-Ass 2

Written & Directed by Jeff Wadlow
Based on Kick-Ass 2 and Hit-Girl by Mark Millar & John Romita, Jr.
Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-PlasseChloë Grace MoretzJim Carrey

I would have preferred Kick-Ass 2 had just been a Hit-Girl movie. She was the only truly badass character from the first movie. She should have gotten her own film.

Hit-Girl

Kick-Ass 2 is about the formation of a justice league type superhero group. But the only good thing about the movie is Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s supervillain; The Mother Fucker. I love that guy. McLovin is the shit. And in this he’s mostly silly but still the best thing in the movie.

Kick Ass, Hit-Girl & The Mother Fucker

The writing and directing of Kick-Ass 2 is very bad. It is awful. And at times the screenplay borrows scenes from other, better films. There is a scene stolen directly from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off where Hit-Girl is trying to get home before her guardian and way too much of the dialogue is lifted from other things, other movies, better movies. It’s lazy writing. It’s lazy filmmaking. And then there is this wholly unnecessary vomiting and diarrhea scene in a High School cafeteria. This is a bad movie.

The Justice League

And except for McLovin, it’s not even that funny. Not even interesting. There are a couple of “kind of” cool fight scenes… kind of cool. Jim Carrey is underutilized (he’s still an underrated actor in my opinion) and (THIS IS IMPORTANT) Sharks have to move to breathe. (That’s right I said it). The shark’s tank is too small. The shark is dead. The joke would have been better with Piranhas. Kick-Ass 2 is just too silly and too dumb.

"Are you saying you didn't like it? Cause I don't like what I'm hearing."

“Are you saying you didn’t like it? Cause I don’t like what I’m hearing.”

The movie is crap.

Skip it (There is very little of substance here that isn’t silly, stupid or disgusting)

Next up… a drama… no explosions.

Lovelace (Millennium Films)

Lovelace

Directed by Rob Epstein and also by Jeffrey Friedman
Written by Andy Bellin
Starring Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Adam Brody & Juno Temple

Lovelace is a film that means well. It has a great cast that give fine performances, including Sharon Stone, Peter Sarsgaard & a sensational James Franco cameo as a young Hugh Hefner. Headed, of course, by Amanda Seyfried at her best, it tries to show both sides of the always sleazy and sometimes sordid story of the most famous porn film in history.

Lovelace & Hef

Lovelace starts off by showing us the industry’s (and her ex-husband’s) claim; that the experience wasn’t as bad as Linda Lovelace tells in her bio and then it switches abruptly to show her version of the story. Obviously a lot truer than theirs but there was no need to separate them.

Peter Sarsgaard & Amanda Seyfried

I don’t know if they had to do this because they feared lawsuits but it was a bad choice.

Amanda Seyfried

Why they didn’t just put all the scenes together in a linear timeline (because they don’t overlap much at all). So that her version and their version can share the screen at the same time. A better director (there are two here) could have made a sensational biopic out of the footage they have,

Peter & Amanda

But what they end up with is this half porn industry cinderella tale, half porn industry horror story, cautionary tale. Lovelace feels ham-fisted from both sides (yes I did that on purpose). The directors try too hard to separate the two accounts and end up with two disparate versions of a confusing story.

Rent it (For the performances but really nothing else)

And lastly… something good.

Man of Tai Chi (Universal Pictures)

Man of Tai Chi

Directed by Keanu Reeves
Written by Michael G. Cooney
Starring Keanu Reeves, Tiger Chen, Karen Mok, Simon Yam & Iko Uwais

Man of Tai Chi is a fun movie that’s a bit of a throwback to the classic mainstream Hong Kong martial arts films of the past.

Tiger Chen

First of all it’s half in English, even to the point where in the middle of a sentence they’ll just start speaking English. It reminded me a lot of the old Jackie Chan films or the ones with the British bad guy who speaks English but the good guys speak Chinese.

Man of Tai Chi Tiger-Chen

Second, Man of Tai Chi is about a martial arts tournament where our hero enters but no one believes he has a chance to win because of his chosen discipline, in this case, Tai Chi, thought of as more of a meditation and an exercise than a martial style.

Tai Chi

Third it’s about a school/temple that is falling apart and a teacher with only one student (our hero, whose teacher does not want him to fight) trying to rebuild it on his own.

And lastly it’s about a separate underground, no rules, illegal tournament run by the evil & wealthy, but really evil Keanu Reeves, who also directs the film, and the Hong Kong cops who are hot on its trail. I’ve totally seen this movie before.

Teacher and Student

Because Man of Tai Chi has all the makings of a classic Hong Kong martial arts movie and it’s a lot of fun, I recommend it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. Keanu is a decent director (and like I said it’s paint by numbers Hong Kong action). It has a great message about the balance between Chi and Meditation, between Flow and Power. There are some really good fights. A couple of epic battles and a bunch of great tournament fights showing different brutal MMA type styles against Tai Chi.

Man of Tai Chi Fight

I don’t know how accurate or authentic these fights are but they are well-choreographed. Not too much wire work from the great Yuen Wo Ping, and it’s a good story. Although even after the movie, I still don’t know how long Tai Chi would last in an authorized tourney or an MMA style underground tourney. But it’s a really good movie.

Rent it (especially if you’re a Kung Fu instructor and your name is Alex. You, my friend will love it)

And that’s all we have for this time. There was…

"I am an old man. I cannot wait for the recap. Please do it now."

“I am an old man. I cannot wait for the recap. Please do it now.”

Okay, old man.

So to recap…

There were two movies based on comics; The Wolverine and Kick-Ass 2. One of them very good, the other not so much. It sucked.

There were two movies with stellar all-star casts; Elysium and Lovelace. Both of them worth a watch but neither live up to its casting.

And one Martial Arts film; Man of Tai Chi. That doesn’t take itself too seriously while paying homage to the Hong Kong classics.

I will probably be back in a couple of days with another five DVDs. There were a lot of new releases that I missed, A lot of big comedies I need to watch. And miles to go before I sleep.

Until next time.

See you at the movies,

– Mel