Pointless Nonsense

Posted in movies by Bill on May 19, 2018

Deadpool 2 is hard for me to judge, as I had an unpleasant theater experience. The woman next to me laughed audibly at literally every joke in the whole movie. Who does that? Especially in a movie with rapid-fire jokes like this. Not every joke can be everyone’s cup of tea, and even some can be funny in an “exhale through your nose and smile” way or a quiet chuckle way, rather than an audible giggle. After just a few minutes of this, it didn’t put me in a very good mood to enjoy a movie.

A lot of the jokes fell flat to me. I’m thinking it was mostly being in a sour mood over the annoying lady, but I also think there were too many ideas recycled from the first one (hey, a fourth wall joke about Wolverine Origins! and another about Green Lantern! how original!). And I feel like the first movie’s director leaving was a step down in the visual style of the movie. There were some nice fight scenes, but it didn’t have the same flair as the first one. And the more they try to build Wade’s character, the more apparent it is that there’s no foundation (which is why I’ve never read Deadpool comics, some of the jokes are great, but I don’t see how it’s a character than can support a longer term story).

Overall, I think it was fine, but a significant step down from the first one. I’d be curious to see it again though.

Tiny spoilers: (more…)

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Posted in movies by Bill on May 1, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War is the big crossover event-movie culmination of 10 years of these things. It’s pretty good, I guess? It’s hard to say though since ultimately this is part 1 of a two-part story, to be concluded in Avengers 4: Probably A Title That Spoils The End of Avengers 3 Which Is Why They Haven’t Revealed It Yet.

Though I have a hard time deciding how much I liked it, I am definitely impressed by it. It’s a fairly difficult task to incorporate almost 30 major characters into a movie and give them all something to do. Big event comics that try to do that often end up being pretty dull. While the thrill of “oh my god, it’s Doctor Strange and Iron man together!” is long gone in the comics, but the movies are still relatively rare events, so it still feels like a Big Deal. Warren Ellis mentioned in his newsletter, in what is actually a fairly glowing review even though it doesn’t seem like it:

It is not a movie. It is a brand manifestation that wants to have prolonged, eager and reasonably skilled cultural sex with you. It wants your experience with its content™ to be satisfying and it hopes you are pleased enough to return for further interaction with the Brand.  This is a very 21C thing.  I like it for that alone, to be honest.

Posted in movies by Bill on April 4, 2018

I’d heard about The Lobster a while back but by the time I got around to watching it, all I remembered about it was that it was some kind of weird love story and that Colin Farrell was in it. It is indeed weird. One might call it science fiction or fantasy, but in the way one might call Being John Malkovich some kind of SF, but it’s not about technology or magic or anything, there’s just something weird and impossible around which a story is built. I think the whole thing went over my head, because it just seemed weird as hell, and the style (in which all the actors speak in flat tones, saying everything matter-of-factly no matter how emotional they might be) was fairly off-putting to me.

It turns out to also star Olivia Colman, John C. Reilly, Ashley Jensen from Extras, Q from the latest Bond movies, the main girl from The End of the F**king World but playing an adult which is kinda strange (although she is in a bikini in one scene, and at that point I appreciate her being an adult), and Lea Seydoux. I also spent much of the movie trying to place the voice of the narrator, and purposefully avoiding Amazon’s X-Ray feature because I wanted to figure it out myself, but I failed and it turned out to be Rachel Weisz.

Posted in movies by Bill on April 4, 2018

I watched the first crappy TMNT movie to see Megan Fox wear hot outfits, only to discover that the pictures I’d seen were from the making of the sequel. So I figured I might as well suffer through TMNT: Out of the Shadows. It’s bad. The turtles’ noses are weird, their stunt sequences are seemingly endless (full of wisecracking but still manage to be fairly joyless), Will Arnett is phoning it in, there are a bunch of weird cameos… but Megan Fox is hot. Technically I could have watched a clip on youtube (she should have kept the glasses on) and probably gotten all the enjoyment out of this, but that feels kinda like cheating. And I liked TMNT as a kid, so I get to complain about it now that I half-watched it while playing video games.

For villains, they add Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang, and Baxter Stockman (pre-transformation) to the mix this time, and you’d think the rhino guy, the warthog guy, and the brain in the stomach of a mech would be the tricky ones, but they’re actually fine (not particularly good, and goofy along with the tone of the whole rest of the movie). Somehow they fuck up “evil scientist.” Tyler Perry plays Stockman and… he’s not very good, but the dialogue they wrote for him is amazingly awful. He lists his science idols as Galileo, Newton, and Steve Jobs. He brags about how many digits of pi he knows (and it’s 15). Just shitty.

Stephen Amell and Laura Linney also join the cast as Casey Jones and some fed, respectively. Linney is obviously good at acting but it doesn’t matter, Amell is actually quite bad at acting and his part is really poorly written. Not quite as bad as Stockman, but not much better.

Posted in movies by Bill on April 2, 2018

Ready Player One is a reference-filled celebration of pop culture that ends up taking it so seriously as to make it seem like a satire of the pop-culture-obsessed. The protagonist comes off like a gate keeper, everyone treats John Hughes movies and Atari Games like they’re super important shit to know. I dunno. It was fine, a decent enough story, and interesting enough to get me thinking about a lot of things after, but at some point it flipped from “oh look, it’s that thing from that thing I like” to “this is ridiculous.” More in the realm of disappointing than bad, though.

Posted in movies by Bill on April 2, 2018

I started watching The Cloverfield Paradox shortly after it was released, and then something came along and I don’t remember what, and I picked it back up again when I finally ran out of things to watch after that overstuffed weekend when Jessica Jones, Sneaky Pete, and Love all had new seasons. I wasn’t hooked early on, but I got far enough in that I just wanted to finish it off, and watched it in pieces over about a week when I had nothing else to do. It’s not very good.

Like the last one with John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, its connection to Cloverfield is minimal. Also like the last one, it was originally written as a non-Cloverfield thing and they shoehorned in the tie-in aspects. I think the movie would have worked quite a bit better without, especially because the tie-in plot thread I think may have included scenes that were actually reassuring to the predicament on the space station. Minor spoilers, but I think it would have worked better if the action had stayed on the station the whole time, and they just had an insane ending with a crazy reveal.

It stars Gugu MBatha Raw (who is British but I think this is the first time I’ve seen her not playing an American), David Oyelowo (who is also British but plays an American here), Zhang Ziyi (Star Wars-style just speaking Chinese and everyone else speaking English and they all understand each other), Chris O’Dowd, that sinister looking German guy from the Thor F1 racing movie, that Cuban guy from the Miami Vice movie, the blonde girl from The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and in a bit part, Donal Logue.

Posted in movies by Bill on February 19, 2018

Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is an anime movie set in the video game universe that I didn’t know existed until recently. It’s incredibly low production value… Vega’s the main character and they got Freddie Prinze Jr, but they have Anderson, Hackett, and Liara, but didn’t get their voices (Anderson and Hackett I get, they’re B-to-C-list celebrities, but Liara?). The ships in CG look worse than in the game by a lot, they frequently do a group conversation by showing all the people not talking holding perfectly still while the camera pans across them (so as to get a few seconds of “moving” footage out of a single still drawing), the lip sync is awful (it’s anime styled, but their mouths just move in patterns, usually something like “ba wa wa wa ba wa wa wa,” so it can’t be right in any language).

It’s set during the early ME2 period during which Project Lazarus takes place. It’s basically the long version of the story Vega tells you when you spar with him early in ME3, though having now played through the whole game after seeing it, there are a couple other spots where he makes references to this movie (having worked with a Krogan before, being into Asaris).

There’s a Dragon Age one too, about Cassandra sometime prior to DA:I, but if the quality is as low as this, I doubt I’ll waste the time.

Posted in movies by Bill on February 19, 2018

Black Panther is Marvel’s latest, from Ryan Coogler who wrote and directed Fruitvale Station and Creed, and stars most of the black people in Hollywood, plus Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis. It’s good, though I’m slightly puzzled as to why everyone is losing their shit over this like it’s the most amazing thing ever. I’d kinda put just above the middle of the pack as far as Marvel goes. Not up there with IM1, GotG1, Winter Soldier, or Thor3, but not near the bottom with Hulk, Thor2, etc. I’d actually consider it very average for Marvel if it didn’t have a rare good villain in the form of Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger. He’s entirely sympathetic and more than a match for the hero. But the actual hero is a bit bland. I’d be more interested in seeing a Shuri/Nakia/Okoye movie than Black Panther 2. That’s all fairly nitpicky though, as it’s a good movie, I just feel compelled to compare it to the other Marvel movies, which are almost all good.

Posted in movies by Bill on January 5, 2018

Some reddit thread says Brawl in Cell Block 99 was on Amazon Prime and really good, so I checked it out. Vince Vaughn plays a guy who they want us to root for who has a bad run of luck and out of desperation takes a gig smuggling drugs, ends up in prison, and then beats the shit out of a lot of people. It spends a lot of time setting up that Vaughn’s character is honorable and the people that fuck with him are not, and then eventually there’s just some brutal violence. I guess if that’s your thing, it could be really good, but I honestly didn’t get much out of it.

Posted in movies by Bill on January 1, 2018

As usual, saw some movies over Christmas, mostly Oscar-bait:

  • Darkest Hour sees Gary Oldman in another role where he’s totally unrecognizable, this one as Winston Churchill. It really only covers about a month, between him becoming Prime Minister early in the war, and when the Dunkirk thing happened and he wins the support of Parliament for the war effort.
  • Mudbound is a Netflix original about two families: poor white landowners in Mississippi and a black family of sharecroppers on the white family’s land. It’s slow and intentionally somewhat predictable, but pretty decent. Mary J. Blige turns out to be a decent actor, and somewhat thanks to Bojack Horseman, after not paying attention to the credits I spent the whole movie wondering if I was watching Carey Mulligan or Emily Mortimer (it was the former).
  • All the Money in the World is about the J.P. Getty kidnapping, and not knowing anything about it beforehand, it was a really compelling story with an excellent villain. It seems that they may have stretched the truth in quite a few places to make some characters more sympathetic than others. Which is a little bit disappointing, but it did make for a great story. At least based on the finished product, it makes sense that they were able to reshoot the J.P. scenes to replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer, because his scenes were generally pretty separate from the rest of the action. Had Marky Mark or Michelle Williams been a secret sexual predator, I don’t think they could have replaced them on short notice.
  • Molly’s Game is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, but more in line with the Social Network’s dark tone than his more happy/jokey TV work. Not to say that it didn’t have some amusing moments, but there wasn’t a ton of the snappy, witty back and forth that I’ve come to associate with Sorkin. It was an interesting enough story (and apparently Tobey Maguire is a real dick), though with kind of a hokey ending. Jessica Chastain’s cleavage was in top form throughout, though.