Justice League: Gods and Monsters is the latest DC animated direct-to-disc feature. This one got people all excited because it’s Bruce Timm’s return to the creative end of things for the first time in a while, but it’s also an alt-universe thing where the Justice League people are kinda evil.
Batman (Michael C Hall) in this is Kirk Langstrom (normally Man-Bat), and a vampire. Superman (Benjamin Bratt) is Zod’s son and landed on the US/Mexico border where he was picked up by a Mexican family (which seems a tad racist, to have the Mexican-raised Superman be semi-evil?). And Wonder Woman (Saroyan from Bones) is Bekka, Orion’s wife from New Genesis, but in this one Highfather is the bad guy and I guess Darkseid was an ok dude. They’re sorta superheroes, but more like the Authority than the usual Justice League, very aggressive and authoritarian and perfectly ok with killing people. They do have fun with the DCU, as almost every character is a version of a comics hero or villain. Will Magnus, Michael Holt, Ryan Choi, John Henry Irons, lots of C and D-listers who you’d not really expect to see in a movie.
The presence of those smaller characters is about the only positive I saw, it wasn’t very interesting in general.
Nightcrawler is the Jake Gyllenhaal movie where he plays a guy with a camera and police scanner trying to get video of crimes and things to sell to the local news. I didn’t think that sounded very interesting, but I kept hearing good things and it was on Netflix streaming, so I gave it a shot. And it was pretty damn good.
It’s in a lot of ways an indictment of local news coverage, how they’re more interested in scaring the shit out of you than informing you about things worth knowing. But it’s also weirdly exciting. Gyllenhaal’s character is a step beyond morally compromised, and you never quite know what he’s going to do next, or how he’s going to get away with the shit he’s pulling. Quality movie.
My cable system didn’t get SciFi (back when it was called that) when The Invisible Man was on, but I’d caught half an episode once and it seemed reasonably ok (also hot girl with a hot accent). I was just reminded about it the other day, and saw that it’s on Hulu, so I thought I’d finally give it a shot. The two-hour pilot was kind of a drag, largely due to the aforementioned hot accented girl not appearing. So I tried the next couple and they are a bit better.
Generic scoundrel anti-heroic protagonist is a thief who gets caught and sent to prison, but his scientist brother has invented a thing to turn people invisible and the government needs a guinea pig. So he gets a new gland attached to his brain, and then the scientist brother and all the data about the gland are destroyed, Captain America-style, so our scoundrel is the only one who can turn invisible. There’s some deal where turning invisible messes with his mind, so he has to get an injection every week or so, or he goes nuts. Which is how they keep him working for the government, because they’re the only ones who can keep him sane. There’s a mysterious fed boss guy, the Greek from The Wire as his tough guy agent partner, and the hot accented girl as his doctor/handler. She’s not as hot as I remember (mostly from the original WB network faux soap opera Muscle), but still hot.
Even though the subsequent episodes were better than the pilot, they weren’t good enough to continue. They open every episode with the main guy reciting a quote from some famous person. That annoyed the shit out of me on Criminal Minds and it annoys the shit out of me here. I also wasn’t finding the one-off stories very interesting, and they failed to do anything to indicate a long-term story. So nothing really managed to hook me at all.
Crusader Kings II is the first game where I took advantage of Steam’s new 2 week/2 hour no questions asked return policy. I’d heard people saying good things about it, stuck it on my wishlist, and was notified that it was 80% off, so I picked it up for $8. I thought it was a Civ-type game but set towards the middle ages, and with a dynastic/internal politics aspect. But it’s actually a politics sim with a combat element but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of tactics or strategy to the combat. I basically just worked my way through the tutorial, arranging my own marriage, placating lesser nobles, dealing with internal strife, political machinations to justify war, and generally feeling like I was doing pointless micromanaging. It has like a billion DLC packs, so apparently some people are super into this, but I am not.
The refund process was pretty simple, so I do feel comfortable being less choosy with future Steam purchases. Now to finish off my Fallout 3 replay.
Ant-Man probably should have been terrible, since Edgar Wright worked on it for about 10 years before dropping out at the last minute, hiring a new director I think just weeks before filming started. But the Marvel formula just seems to work, Paul Rudd is a pretty damn likable actor, and the size changing visuals were actually quite cool, so it’s hard to dislike this movie.
It’s not great by any means. The Marvel formula is starting to feel more and more formulaic, Paul Rudd is actually less likable than usual (and not just because his character is a thief), one specific (and plot-critical) use of the shrinking powers doesn’t actually make any sense, and the villain is pretty boring.
But the good outweighs the bad, and it’s a perfectly entertaining movie.
Unrelated, but the imdb trivia section has become a pile of garbage. I still pretty much read them after every movie I see, but they’re increasingly awful. “This marks Paul Rudd’s first time as a Marvel Superhero.” How is that a piece of trivia? And they’re increasingly interested in playing weird games of six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Like from Terminator: Genisys, there was an item about how Emilia Clark is in a TV show with Lena Headey who was in another TV show with Summer Glau who was in another show with Jewel Staite who was in another TV show with Jason Momoa who played Conan like Arnold and also was in that first TV show with Emilia Clarke. Like, that Lena Headey is on GoT and also played Sarah Connor, that deserves its own entry, sure. But it’s actually mentioned five times in that trivia section. It’s terrible.
Anyway, spoilers to follow:
Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is Denis Leary’s new FX show about an almost-famous 80s rock band getting back together to launch the career of their singer’s daughter who he just figured out existed. Leary plays the singer, who’s a drug addicted piece of shit. That guy who was the radio host on Northern Exposure is the guitarist, some guy I don’t recognize is the bass player, Louie’s brother from Louie is the drummer, and some girl (who’s fairly attractive but I think was more hired for her voice than anything because I would expect the part to be someone smoking hot) is the daughter.
It’s… not that good? I’ve liked a lot of Denis Leary’s shows, but he’s typically had a co-creator, and I’m wondering if that’s what’s missing. The premise is ok-ish, the jokes are also ok-ish, but the protagonist seems like maybe too much of a piece of shit. I might give it another episode, because it’s a 30 minute show which doesn’t give a lot of time to establish story or characters, and also because I don’t have a lot to watch on Thursdays this summer, but I’m not optimistic.
Terminator: Genisys is the stupid title of the next installment in the Terminator franchise, which I saw because I was bored on my day off and had nothing better to do. This one stars Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor (she is super hot with dark hair, but that’s kinda canceled out by the American accent, and it’s hard to try to live up to T2 Linda Hamilton), the guy from The Chicago Code as future John Connor (I never liked him that much), and Reggie Cleveland Group member Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese (he’s ok I guess but nothing special). Schwarzenegger returns, with some plot gymnastics to explain him being old.
And those plot gymnastics also make the already messed up timeline into a complete disaster. I considered shouting “what the fuck is that?” at least twice during the movie. I think they saw the Star Trek reboot, and thought “hey let’s do that with the Terminator franchise, except instead of like those other franchises where they try to simplify continuity, let’s make it even more complicated!” Spoilers to follow:
7 Days in Hell is a tennis mockumentary starring Andy Samberg as an Andre Agassi type and Kit Harrington as an Andy Murray type, facing off in a Wimbledon match that runs 7 days. Serena Williams, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, David Copperfield, Soledad O’Brien, Jim Lampley, Will Forte, Michael Sheen, Karen Gillan, Mary Steenburgen, Howie Mandel, Fred Armisen, and Lena Dunham show up. I was surprised it was only 45 minutes, but it’s pretty funny. A surprising amount of nudity though, mostly male. But it was still pretty good.
I’d had His Girl Friday in my netflix queue forever, and finally decided to watch it. Oddly, half the reason I watched it was to understand what people meant when they referred to someone as a “girl friday,” which obviously meant some kind of helper person, but I assumed it was a reference to the movie. But it turns out the phrase “girl friday” predates the movie, and I don’t think they even used the term at any point in the movie.
Cary Grant plays a tremendous asshole who schemes to prevent his ex-wife from marrying some new dude (played by a young version of the Duke brother from Trading Places that was not Don Ameche), and convince her to rejoin the newspaper business. I think we’re supposed to like him? But I just thought he was a total douche and she should have stuck with whatshisname Duke.
The Spoils Before Dying is IFC’s follow-up to their star-studded miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. The first one was a send-up of the event miniseries of the 70s and 80s, while this one is more of a film noir thing (with some French New Wave), which fictional writer/director Eric Jonrosh describes as “post-post-modern French neo-fake-ism.”
Will Ferrell returns as Jonrosh, who does an intro and outro before each episode . Michael K. Williams is a jazz musician who goes on a bender and wakes up with no memory of the night before, and accused of murdering his girlfriend, Maya Rudolph. Haley Joel Osment, Berenice Marlohe, Tim Meadows, Emily Ratajowski, Michael Sheen, Val Kilmer, Kate McKinnon, Molly Shannon, Tim Robbins, Ted Levine, and Chris Parnell also appear, and Peter Coyote voices a cat.
It’s… ok. The opening credits were the best part, but it’s only 3 hours so I’m going to finish it off.