SIONR: Resident Evil Movies Getting a Six-Movie Reboot?! WHY?!

I don’t know how many of you know this, but the Resident Evil movies have sucked.  I can at least watch the first one because it has a couple genuinely scary moments, but the rest can’t even fall into the category of so bad they’re good.  They just suck.  They are cinematic abortions from first to last.  When I saw the preview for The Final Chapter, I was doing cartwheels because I finally thought that they were bringing an end to a series that NO ONE asked to go on this long.  No one.  People have been begging for this to end years ago.  Hell, the films aren’t even financially solvent, so why did this go on for so long?  Mysteries for the prophets.

But it seems that the films are already being planned for a six-film reboot.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this link and really soak in how stupid this is.  Naturally, it’s because of Germans that this abortion is being forced to keep going.  As they say, it’s brought in over $1.2 billion in profits.  For six films, with their level of production values, that actually seems pretty bad.  The article even says that the idea for six films is them milking it.  They want to suck this cash cow dry until there is absolutely nothing left.  I am in awe.

Can we please stop making video game movies?  I’m being serious.  These films suck.  Without a SINGLE exception, they all suck.  Everyone tried to defend the Warcraft film, but even then it was flimsy at best.  I can at least acknowledge that the original Silent Hill film was made by someone who at least loved the games and wanted to do right by them.  It still sucked, but there was at least a little heart.  More than most of this shit.  Video game films are becoming the bottom of the film barrel, and Hollywood is showing that they don’t care if film budgets are wasted making more of this garbage.  I honestly wish that Hollywood would realize that we need some originality in film.

Movies are getting so predictable.  I just got done watching Rogue One, and the whole time I’m like – something interesting is going to happen soon, right?  I liked Civil War, but that’s because it actually had heroes fighting each other.  That was unique.  But I am still tired of comic book movies.  Star War VII was a remake of the original with a check and even less fun.  None of the big movies even get my attention anymore.  And now they are releasing a new Pirate of the Caribbean film and I bet that film will die even more than the previous film did.  That franchise has been played out.  The only film I actually want to see coming out soon is Dunkirk, because it is being made by a direct who I know will make a film that isn’t just me watching a computer.

I know that there are people in Hollywood who have good ideas.  The problem is that studios are basically condemning them to never get anything made because all they care about is something easy to market.  Something that they can put out there and know there will be a return of investment.  It’s why we have Transformers VI, Star Wars: Independent Story Nobody Cared About, Cars 3, and other equally-uninteresting films that will still make a ton of money because the audience in this country is retarded.

And while we’re on the subject, can we PLEASE stop with these reboots?!  I am fucking sick of films that play on nostalgia as the only way to keep you in the seats.  All of these films just make me realize how much I loved the original.  That’s it.  I groan when I see a previews to another franchise or something that I loved being turned into a cash-grab.  Thankfully, these films are becoming less and less financially successful, which hopefully can give the six-figure salaries and two-digit IQs in Hollywood a clue that this crap is played out.

In the meantime, fuck this latest reboot.  I haven’t seen one of these films in years, and I am not going to now.  Who are the idiots who keep watching this shit?  I honestly want to know.

Until next time, a quote,

“Running out of ideas will put in you the dark until death.” – Cambodian Proverb

Peace out,

Maverick

Critical Examination: The Real Villains of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

I am of course talking about the animated version, not that live action abortion that showed that not only can Emma Watson not act, but she can’t sing either.  But as I have been chilling with my girly-mate guest, we have shared in one of my favorite pastimes – over-analyzing media that we watch.  In this case, it’s a classic Disney film that a lot of people have already over-analyzed, but I think have all been fooled.  It’s all over the Internet that the Beast is actually a horrible guy, but while he is an abusive monster, he isn’t the real villain of the story.  Nor is Gaston, who is actually the hero of the story.  More about that later.  The true villain of this film is more nefarious than you can possibly imagine.  It’s perhaps one of the darkest secrets in all of Disney, that we shall uncover now.

The True Hero

Cracked already did a video discussing this but the real hero of the story is Gaston.  Which he totally is.  The film tries to play it as he just judges the Beast because of how he looks and that’s wrong, because really the Beast is a good guy underneath it all.  Right?  Wrong!  The Beast is a monster!  His outer image has become his inner one, as he has had years of anger and hatred of the world and himself to turn his psyche into an abusive monster.  Gaston, on the other hand, is not really a bad guy.  Let’s look at some evidence.

The entire village treats Belle like she is a weirdo.  After all, she’s reading books and trying to learn things.  In that time period, for a woman to do such a thing is considered alien and they regard her very negatively.  All with one exception – Gaston.  He treats Belle like she is someone he wants to get to know and care about.  But I hear you say – he comes on WAY too strong and is kind of a dick!  Well, yeah.  But there’s a reason.  For starters, he’s kinda dumb.  But that’s nothing to hold against him.  Him being dumb isn’t his fault.  And the reason he is a dick is because he has an inflated ego.  Why?  Because he is the most valuable member of the community.  He shows that he has a vast amount of animal heads and is a very skilled hunter.  In a time when being able to kill animals and get food is a skill that can sustain a community, it makes sense that he is a celebrity.

But think about this – in the song he sings to himself, Gaston shows that there are a ton of women who are after him, but he makes clear that these are not the women he is interested in.  These hussies are just cheap lays that he gets because he can.  The woman he is actually interested in is the woman that the rest of the village treats as something of a pariah, not only because she isn’t very ladylike for the time, but because her father is kind of insane as well and it has gotten around.  So he is a little dumb and kind of boorish, but he still wants to get to know and seek the hand of a woman that no one else in the community likes.  What’s the problem there?

Why the Beast Isn’t the Villain

We’re building up to the reveal, don’t worry.  The aforementioned video by Cracked said that the Beast is the real bad guy in the film, and while I can see where they are coming from, they didn’t go deep enough in their analysis.  See, here’s the real kicker – the Beast is just a victim of his circumstance.  While he is an abusive monster (and that isn’t going to change with him becoming human again), you can track what got him here.  Years of living as an animal in a home where the only companions he had are people who are terrified of him and whom he has probably killed a few of.  After all, it’s shown that pretty much every inanimate object in the house is one of the servants, and we see Beast’s quarters filled with destroyed stuff.  So was some of that destruction servants who made him upset?  Scary to think about what will happen when the Enchantress’ magic wears off and how many mutilated corpses will be found later.

However, the truth is that of all the characters in the film, the Beast is the one with the least agency.  He is just being strung along by the plot.  Sure, he has a goal of breaking the curse placed on him, but he is just being led along by the real villain of the film.  Some of you may have seen this coming, but it’s even more diabolical than you can possibly imagine.

The Real Villain of the Film Is…

The servants.  That’s right, all the fun servant characters, who you grow to love and think are the best part of the film, are the ones who are secretly manipulating everything behind the scenes.  I can prove it, too.  Let’s get down into this.

Have you ever noticed that the servants don’t age?  The film implies that it has been years, many years, since the Enchantress did her spell.  Yet, the little teacup children are still teacup children.  At the end of the film, when the magic wears off, you see them turn back into children.  The little dog stool creature turns into a dog and it is obvious that it would be old as fuck or dead if it had been aging like a normal dog.  But one character does age in that castle – the Beast.  Beast is aging like a normal person, because even though he looks like a monster he is still flesh and blood.  Which means that his body is growing older.  And it also means that at some point he would die.  You know who wouldn’t die?  The servants.  They are now inanimate objects that only age as their parts decay.  Or if the destruction in Beast’s quarters is to be believed, when they are destroyed.  Which means that some of these now living pieces of furniture could have centuries of life to live.  Doesn’t that sound like a fresh Hell to have to suffer through?  Makes you wonder what such a potential fate would compel one to do, doesn’t it?

The servants talk in the film about how they had nearly given up hope that they would be able to escape that fate.  But then, along comes hope!  A girl who can potentially break this curse and save them from this torture existence of being objects for the rest of their potentially eternal existence.

But I hear your rebuttal – how does that show that they are the villains?  I mean, sure they got a stake in the situation but how do you postulate that they are the bad guys because of it?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s how I know – because they know what Beast is like.  They are terrified of him.  They know what kind of monster he has become.  And while some of them like the Cogsworth may be delusional enough to buy that he will snap out of it when he turns back into a human, others like Lumiere are nowhere near that naive.  He is clearly the smartest out of them, and he knows the truth about what will happen when the Beast is given back his body.  His physical appearance will change, but his internal violence will be right where is was before.  The only difference is that now Belle will be trapped.  Trapped in a relationship with someone who is still an animal that will likely abuse her, physically and emotionally at the very least, and potentially sexually.  There is no way these servants who have had to suffer through this for years won’t have some idea about what is going to happen once all is said and done.

The thing is – they don’t care.  Why would they?  After all, if you faced the reality of living the rest of your life as a dresser, would you?  Which brings to mind another rebuttal I hear – okay, so Lumiere may be playing things to his own end.  But how do we know the others are in on it?  I have an answer to that too.  When Gaston rallies the town to go and save the woman he has feelings for, and they attack the castle, the furniture fights back.  The bureau actually leaps off a balcony and lands on a guy and crushes him.  You even see his lifeless legs after she smashes him into the floor.  That dude is dead!  She fucking killed him.  And you see the rest of the servants doing real damage to Gaston’s posse.  A threat to their freedom means that they are willing to straight-up murder people in order to ensure success.

Everything that the servants to help foster the relationship between the two of them wasn’t to help the Beast.  It was to help themselves.  When Mrs. Potts was singing that iconic song, in the back of her mind she was thinking – get with her, damn you!  I want to leave this teapot body behind!  Hell, the first thing Lumiere does after he turns back is make out with a maid.  You just know that afterwards he took her to a room and got his dick wet for the first time in who knows how many years.  And I bet you that after they are returned to their bodies, they high-tailed it out of there as fast as their legs would take them.  Given back their ability to live, why would they want to stay and watch the relationship between the two titular characters devolve into a destructive pattern of abuse?

And the best part is – they got away with it!  The servants manipulated the situation to their own ends, and they win.  They got their bodies back and condemned an innocent woman with mental problems to a life of abuse all so they could get their own bodies back.  Scary shit.  But also kind of cool.  Makes me like Lumiere as a character more, really.  From the very beginning when he started to make nice with Belle, he was planning his return to his own body because he knew that this was his last chance.  It was his ultimate gambit, and he got the entire servant body (with the possible exception of Cogsworth who was completely the Beast’s bitch) to assist him to this end.  Hell, Mrs. Potts kinds of hints to it in her part of the song.  She says that she has to make sure everything is perfect in every conceivable way for Belle, because she knows what he does too.

Kind of makes me wish that I could have seen the deleted scenes where Lumiere has the servants gathered and is talking to them about what to do next and how they were planning things.  Am I alone in that?  What do you all think?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“But that’s just a theory.  A Film Theory.” – Film Theory

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

ghostbustersI finally got around to seeing it.  That’s right, because I’ve been bored and sick and laid up, I finally got around to seeing this remake that was so polarizing.  The Internet lost its shit about this movie.  The SJWs came out and made this film their hill to die on.  Sony was caught deleting comments in order to try and advertise this movie on how much people hate it.  Turns out, that was a bad idea.  See, when people hear that a movie is hated by everyone, that usually causes them to have some follow-up question.  Such as – why does everyone hate this movie?  At which point, they may do a little investigating, and discover that nothing in this movie looked good.  And let me tell you, all the people who believed that this movie was going to be some epic fail, I wish.  It’s not good, but this idea that it would be so bad that there would be a lot to make fun of is sadly too much for this movie to hope for.  I haven’t been more bored watching a “comedy” film in my entire life.

I remember when Nostalgia Critic did his review of that cinematic abortion that was Master of Disguise, he said “there’s only so many ways that you can say, ‘that’s not funny.'” And he is absolutely right.  There are only so many ways that I can say that the new Ghostbusters isn’t funny.  Ever.  I have laughed more at Wayans brothers sewage than I have at this movie.  At least with those they are so terrible that you can occasionally get a giggle out of what a piece of shit it is.  This?  This was tedious and if I hadn’t have been sick, I would have switched to something else.  The power of disease, people.  It’s amazing.  I’ve never watched any of Paul Feig’s other works, but if this is what he makes, then I am just that much more glad to have Edgar Wright making movies.  I’ve drawn it out enough.  Let’s talk about this…movie.

The plot isn’t a continuation of the Ghostbusters story, or even a soft reboot.  Nope, the original Ghostbusters are totally shit-canned.  It’s a hard reboot, only this time with chicks!  That’s right, this is basically just the original Ghostbusters, minus all the charms, wit, comedy, chemistry, and with chicks.  You can basically see where the plot is going to go from the start by keeping that in mind.  There isn’t a single deviation, aside from a queef joke or two.  Because that’s SO funny.  Ugh…

What to harangue first.  Let’s talk about the “effects” in this movie.  See, while so much of the rest of the film is boredom, the effects are pure ass.  These effects were dated in 2000!  I’ve seen Saturday morning cartoons with better CG.  Hell, Beast Wars looked better, and that was dated as fuck!  The ghosts in this movie look so bad, and it’s so clear that they were never in the room with these people.  I can only imagine what filming was like.  “Hey, look surprised at the green screen!”  Say what you want about the original movie, but at leas it looked like something was in the room with you.  For the days when practical effects were still a thing.

Now let’s get to the performances.  I remember when the trailer was coming out, and people were thinking that it was going to be kinda quirky and really cringe-y, that was giving this film too much credit.  Kristen Wiig looked bored.  Melissa McCarthy was actually trying, but was given absolutely nothing to work with.  Kate McKinnon was trying WAY too hard to be quirky.  There’s something for the restrained nerdiness of Harold Ramis in the original film.  But hey, if there is one thing that this new film can’t be accused of, it’s subtlety.  Every single thing that the film wants you to notice is so in-your-face that I half-expected a sign telling the audience “that’s the funny part! Laugh now!”  Too bad there wasn’t ever anything funny to go with that sign.  Oh, and the elephant in the room – Leslie Jones.  All the talk about how she is a stereotypical black person.  I wish!  At least that would have been funny!  Her character is just as dull and lifeless as the rest.  And not ONE of these actresses has any chemistry with the others.  None.  Their interactions was like watching a play in elementary school.

One of the performances that sticks out most to me was Chris Hemsworth.  In this movie, he is so fucking stupid.  Since his character meant to be the male equivalent of Janine from the original film, I have to ask – Paul Feig, is this how you saw Janine?  Did you see her as the stupid secretary?  If so, then I kinda say…fuck you.  Janine was a no-nonsense New Yorker, through-and-through.  She took shit from Bill Murray, but only because he was her boss.  To other people, she was blunt with a bit of a sassy streak.  I loved her character.  She was, what’s the word?  Oh, right, funny!  All of Feig’s talk of how women are so much funnier than men, and here I am appreciating a woman’s performance in a much better film.  To Hemsworth’s credit, he doesn’t appear to be taking any of what he’s doing that seriously.  As pants-on-head retarded as his character is made out to be, at least he recognizes that and isn’t going out of his way to do anything amazing with the role.  This is just a paycheck, to him.

Then there’s the villain.  This guy has all the subtlety of a Captain Planet villain.  It was groan-inducing.  We’re supposed to take this seriously?  Listening to this dude monologue just made me appreciate the villain in the original film that much more.  No painful monologues about how EVIL they are.  Just that creepy face and that creepy voice.  I swear, this movie tried my patience during those scenes.  It sure is nice that they have this villain explain how evil they are.  Because otherwise we might have had to have gradual character development.  That’s too much effort for this movie.

Next up, let’s talk about the cameos.  This shit was painful.  Bill Murray looked medicated.  Not a surprise, since the leaked emails from Sony showed that they were going to threaten him with legal action if he didn’t play ball.  Ernie Hudson finally got to be in Ghostbusters again.  Given how he has continually gone to Comi-Con in uniform for so long, it’s clearly something he wanted.  Funny that leaked info showed that he wasn’t a fan of this new film concept either, until he was offered a paycheck.  Though, he seems to be doing well.  After all, he was in the magnum opus that was God’s Not Dead 2, so I’m sure his career is just fine.  No need to worry at all.  Sigourney Weaver looked bored.  Annie Potts couldn’t have cared less.  Dan Akroyd was trying WAY too hard, but I guess he’s the one who actually wanted to be in this piece of shit.

But the biggest thing I have to stress is – this movie was so fucking boring.  Not one joke landed.  The only time I thought there was clever delivery was in the line after the realtor tells them how much it will be to rent the space of the original film.  The quickness of her response was pretty good.  Not funny, but at least it was good delivery.  Which is more than I can say for the rest of this snooze-fest.  I swear, I nearly fell asleep watching this movie.  Maybe that’s because I’ve been sick, but this film was about as interesting as watching flies fuck.  Not one joked landed.  That is two hours of my life that I will never get back.

Which is the best way to describe this movie.  After all the screaming and fighting about this film, it’s boring and will be forgotten in five years.  It’s another crappy reboot to add to the pile, all of which no one will remember.  That’s all for the good, if you ask me.  I wish I could give this movie a really low rating, but that would imply that it will be remembered by me.  After I publish this review, I’ll eventually look back through old posts and be like, “holy shit!  I actually watched that movie?  When was that?”  SJWs died on this hill, for absolutely nothing.  Were it not for the TERRIBLE special effects, this film would be a middle-of-the-road movie.  Let’s give this sucker a number and forget about it.

Final Verdict
4 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Blade Runner 2049 Teaser Trailer

My girl and I recently saw Deni Villeneuve’s latest film Arrival.  It was smart science fiction done perfectly right.  I have SO been missing smart sci-fi.  With all the stupid shit that I get subjected to all the time in big blockbusters, it is just awesome that I saw a science fiction film that isn’t just shit blowing up and people killing people.  In fact, the killing in the movie is treated as something that should be seen off-screen.  He wanted to make the movie about the characters that it’s happening to.  I love this guy’s movies.  He takes complicated themes and applies them to kinds of films that we’ve seen a million times.  Granted, they aren’t for everyone, but he doesn’t shy away from that.  When I heard that there was going to be a sequel to Blade Runner, I was so fucking nervous.  I mean, there are so many ways that that could be fucked up.  Since Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time, my nerves were piqued.  But then I heard who is directing it, and I saw Arrival.  Now I know that it is in perfect hands.  You couldn’t ask for better.

Got to thinking – maybe Arrival was Denis trying his hands at sci-fi.  Like, he wanted to see what he could do with a story that is as overdone as it gets, just to see if he could tackle a film that is slow, methodical, and filled with all kinds of subtext.  He nailed it, and because he nailed it once, I am positive that he can do the first film justice.  They have released a teaser trailer, and this is all I am going to be watching of the trailers that are released, because this was all I needed to see to get interested in seeing where the story goes.

We open with a scene of the dismal gray of the world.  Since the original film borrowed so much from noire style, I like that this movie is making sure to remind us that they haven’t forgotten that.  We then get to see a very orange world.  Where is this?  The film doesn’t up and tell us that, which is all for the better.  Maybe one of the off-world colonies?  That honestly would be pretty sick.  Our protagonist is approaching some dilapidated structure.  Already we are seeing subtlety.  Did you notice the door to the building that our protagonist enters?  Above them there is some writing.  It’s Korean.  That’s just awesome!  Since the street language from the original film was an amalgamation of various languages, it’s kind of cool that the building that this guy enters has Korean on it.  Villeneuve is already all over making this feel right.

Our protagonist is played by Ryan Gosling.  Excellent.  After watching Drive, I know that he’s the perfect pick for a movie like this.  He can do slow plotting and subtle acting.  He’s one of those actors who really gets into a role.  Can’t wait to see how he acts off of Harrison Ford.  Speaking of, we get to hear our favorite Blade Runner!  Yay!  And he doesn’t look medicated!  My biggest problem throughout ALL of The Force Awakens was how Ford looked like he couldn’t possibly care less about being in that film.  Now he actually looks like he gives a fuck.  This can only mean good things.  Villeneuve is something if a deranged perfectionist, so the way I see it, if Ford was willing to stick this out, it meant something to him.  Either that or the studio held a gun to his head and threatened a lawsuit if he didn’t comply.  But I’d like to think that he did it because he wanted to.

There are so many questions.  In the original film, the assumption was that Deckard was a replicant.  The theory is that all Blade Runners are.  They create replicants to hunt other replicants.  It’s a twisted reality.  So, since replicants have a life span, what’s the story with him?  What has happened since the events of the original film?  Gosling’s character says that things were “so much simpler back then.”  I take it that the replicant situation has gone more than a little out of control.  It was hinted that that was the inevitable result of using cloned people to do the dirty work that no one wanted to do.  That some kind of violent uprising was inevitable.  What’s happened?  Since it is Villeneuve working on the film, I know that there are some amazing answers that will be coming.

We leave the orange-tinted world that Deckard is in, and go back the rainy city.  A reminder to us that it is in the world of Blade Runner?  I suppose.  But the real treat is getting to hear a snippet of that iconic theme as the title comes up.  Font and all, this is so perfect.  I cannot wait to see where this goes.  Next October can’t come fast enough.

Initial Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Arrival

arrivalWhen the film ended, and I looked over at my darling companion, the first thing she said is that this movie was complicated.  That’s a statement that can and DOES apply to all Denis Villeneuve’s movies.  This is a guy who expects nothing less than perfect from whatever he makes, and because of that puts out some of the most underrated films that I have ever seen.  The man loves to make his movies complicated, with both themes and symbolism that you can easily miss.  When my girl and I got to talking about the movie after we got done watching, I pointed out something that I am reasonably certain I caught that she missed.  I won’t say what it is.  I hope that there are going to be some fantastic arguments with people about all the parts of the movie.  This was the most unexpected sci-fi movie about aliens landing, and it is this movie that makes me absolutely certain that the sequel to Blade Runner (one of my all-time favorite films) is in good hands.

The plot of the film follows Amy Adams’ character, as a professor of language who seems to have had a tragedy befall her life.  I can’t tell you what it is.  Trust me, it plays into the plot in a big way.  While dealing with this, a series of strange crafts come to Earth from the stars.  The military asks her to come with them and help to establish contact, as they are completely unable to communicate with the beings.  The film chronicles her efforts to speak with the creatures, and decipher the one question that has the entire world on edge – what is your purpose on Earth?  A question that is far more difficult than you’d think to ask.

I cannot begin to praise how believable the elements of this film are without an INSANE level of exposition.  This feels so genuine.  So much of that pends on Amy Adams for her performance.  This woman is a rising star in my eyes of actresses.  She is fantastic in this role, and I hope to see her in more fantastic movies in the future.  The way she explains the usage of language and shows just how much of an academic understanding she has of the medium is wonderful.  When the film wants to show that knowledge, it does so incredibly well.  Amy Adams is the glue that held this movie together, and it is was damn-near perfect glue.

But let’s not cute short the rest of the performances.  Jeremy Renner is very good in his role.  You can see the development of his character from a science who takes what Adams’ character believes not seriously at all to respecting her as he sees just how good she is and how hard she is willing to push herself.  The relationship that develops between the two is believable and by the end, you feel their connection without some cliche kiss in the rain or something like that.  Just through little expressions, you see them growing on each other.

Then there is Forest Whitaker’s character.  In fact, everything to do with the military in this movie was worlds better than what you see the military like in other films.  Sure, they are quick to assume deadly intent, but you can see just how powerless and fearful they are.  This is so much bigger than any one nation, and as the situation grows more and more tense, globally, it makes sense why they are so on edge.  Whitaker grows to depend on his two experts feels real and even how he is having to obey orders when he knows that the situation is more complicated.  I hate in movies how the military is treated like some “let’s just shoot them” group.  Sure, we in ‘Murica do tend to shoot first and ask questions never, but in a situation where we don’t know if shooting might result in global destruction, even ‘Murica would have to bend to the idea of trying to find a peaceful solution.  Granted, there are some “we need to blow them up” moments, but there is enough time of them being unsure and trying to look into other alternatives that I can believe when it gets there.

Now let’s get to the effects in this movie.  I won’t claim that they are perfect.  In fact, there is one scene in-particular where Adams’ CG hair is so bad that it is kind of funny.  But this film keeps the visual effects to a minimum.  And when it wants to shine, it really does.  Since the entire conflict in the film is about translating the aliens’ language, the scenes where we get to see both sides communicating are just awesome.  I love the visual design for the language.  I wonder how much effort went into designing it.  Since Villeneuve tends to be an insane perfectionist in his movies, I get the feeling that it was a lot.

Lastly, if you are going to see this movie, keep in mind that it’s dense.  If you’ve seen this director’s other words, you should know that going into it.  It asks some pretty hard questions, and I can’t wait to get it on blu-ray so I can rewatch it and maybe do a Critical Examination of the film and some of the stuff I saw.  My compatriot wasn’t in the right mindset for how dense some of this got, but I could tell she was impressed when I took some of it and laid it straight.  Plus, I loved getting to watch a movie with her.  We don’t get to hang out nearly enough.  But she’s a busy girl.  Adulthood, am I right?

This was a fantastic movie.  It’s not for everyone.  If you are looking for some alien thriller with all kinds of action, you are DEFINITELY going to the wrong place.  I honestly recommend that anyone who wants to see this movie avoid trailers.  They spoil things.  This director doesn’t get the respect he deserves, but hopefully movies like this get him some more mainstream acclaim.  I can’t wait to see what he does with the Blade Runner universe.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

kingsglaiveFor those of you who know my thoughts on the film Final Fantasy VII: Adventure Children, you may see where I’m going with this.  Only this time, instead of a film that just assumes that we know all the characters and the struggles of the universe it is set in based on an established franchise, we get a film that assumes that we know all the characters and struggles of the universe of a franchise that hasn’t even been established yet.  If you went into this without knowing a single thing about Final Fantasy XV and the lore surrounding it, you will be VERY confused.  But it does looks pretty amazing.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot of the film is pretty much a prequel to the game, but this time with more extravagant outfits.  Okay.  We have King Regis, voiced by Sean Bean.  Make your “when does he die” jokes here.  This is weird, because as I understand it, he isn’t in the game.  Why have him in this movie?  Then we have Luna, voiced by Lena Headey.  This is also weird.  Partly because as I understand it, she is also not in the game, but then there is the fact that her voice does NOT go with this character.  She is clearly well into middle age, voicing a character who is supposed to be in her younger years.  It does NOT go well together.  You have Aaron Paul doing the voice of one of Regis’ soldiers, the Kingsglaive.  They are charged with fighting the invading Nifelheim army to hold them back.  It’s a useless battle, since the invading force is vastly more powerful.  Seeing defeat as inevitable, Regis is making an effort to sign a treaty.  However, this gets wrapped up in a very dull plot about betrayal and action.  Lots and lots and lots of action.

To this movie’s credit, the visuals are nothing short of incredible.  This film is a testament to the power of whatever visual software Square Enix is using.  It truly is incredible.  And this film is infinitely more colorful than the studio’s last work in Advent Children.  So the colors get more of a chance to pop.  When it isn’t so ridiculously over the top with fight sequences that never end, this movie can look pretty damn amazing.  Too bad I got so little chance to take any of it in.  Maybe because the film decided that it wants to be wall-to-wall action without end.

Now we get into my gripes.  For starters, why are they using voice actors that aren’t even in the game?  I know for a fact that neither Sean Bean nor Lena Heady are in this game.  Aaron Paul did his best to sell his performance.  Since none of the characters were particularly interesting, I enjoyed his role the most.  At least there I could tell that there was a genuine enthusiasm.  Sean Bean sounds bored.  As does Lena Heady.  The whole cast sounds like it couldn’t possibly care less about anything that was happening in the film.  There was this weirdly level thing about everything that everyone said.  Even when it was supposed to be very emotional, everyone is monotone.  Oh how I hope the game this is supposed to be a prequel for isn’t like that.  Otherwise it will get really old, really quick.

And that’s another thing – this movie took ZERO time to world-build.  They talk about refuges and parts of the world, none of which we get to see.  We don’t get why there is this huge intolerance of the refugees, or where their little catch-phrase comes into play.  I really would have liked it if we could have taken some time to get to know ANY of the world that Noctis and his chums get to explore in the game.  I mean, we are watching this movie to get a taste of the game, right?  Is the entire game just nothing but over-the-top action non-stop?  If so, then to be honest, I’m a little nervous.  But then I remember – Advent Children was much the same.  So hopefully I have nothing to worry about.

This film exemplifies everything that armchair film critics say about modern blockbusters.  There was hardly a quiet scene one.  In fact, the whole movie was basically just going from one crazy set-piece to another with only a minute or two of quiet time.  This film doesn’t give you time to breathe.  And since it wants you to care a great deal about these characters that we are stuck with, it would help if at least one of them was fun to be around, or if we knew them beyond a name.  The action went on WAY past the point where it should have ended.  There was this moment toward the end of the third act where I saw a perfect chance for the film to stop.  It was when King Regis died.  It was actually pretty emotional.  It had everything for a powerful and depressing climax.  We all knew that there wasn’t going to be a happy ending here.  So why not stop there?  Oh, right, we have an even bigger and even more insane battle sequence that never ends to go to.

All things considered, if you are able to completely turn off your brain and enjoy the pretty lights and watching things blow up (I mean more than with a Michael Bay film), or if you are the ultimate die-hard fan of the license, then I guess that this is the film for you.  For me, I was just really bored throughout most of it.  I was hoping to see some of these characters and get to know them better.  But nope.  It’s just endless explosions and fighting.  What’s more, they are hinting that the whole film is really just a story about an evil nation trying to take over the world.  So is that going to be the game?  I kind of hope not.  I mean, sure, I figure there will be some fantastic elements of world-saving, but I am also hoping that the central focus of the story is Noctis and his comrades fighting to reclaim his throne.  That was what I always thought it would be.  Am I wrong?  Let’s hope so.  This isn’t a bad movie.  It’s just boring.  Very, very boring.

Final Verdict
5 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Wolf Children

wolf-childrenI honestly should have reviewed this movie on Mother’s Day.  It is the most fitting time of year for it.  Alas, I ordered this movie now, and it arrived when it did.  If there was ever a film that will make you appreciate your mother more than this, I can’t honestly think of it.  Especially if she was a single mother.  Of course, it is from the visionary director of Summer Wars, a movie that made a big family feel like real people.  It is not only my favorite film by Mamoro Hasoda, but also one of my favorite films of all time.  While this isn’t as good as that, it is still a feel-good film that will touch your heart.  Take my word for it.

Just like Summer Wars, this is a film that combines surreal elements with very realistic family ones.  It tells the story of a girl who meets a boy.  The two fall in love, but the boy has a secret.  One that he passes on to their very special children.  But then he is gone, and now the mother is on her own to raise these two pups and try to maintain a normal life.  What follows is the tale of her very, very difficult life with these two young ones.  Not a complicated story, but it is ALL in the execution.

Talking about the animation in this film is a complete waste of time.  Anime films are almost-uniformly beautiful, and this one is no exception.  It is a gorgeous film to look at and every shot is near-perfect.  The voice-acting is top-notch as well.  The stand-out role is the mother.  I just love how subdued her performance is.  All of her best moments are subtle, and you have to be paying attention to find them.  Like where she is with her daughter and just has a line about wishing their father had taught her how to deal with things.  It’s powerful because it conveys how powerless and lonely she feels, having to stay away from all life except that of her two special children.  But that’s not to say that the rest of the cast isn’t fantastic.

Summer Wars was about family and staying connected.  Wolf Children is about community.  And the rest of the community are fantastic.  Just like the family in the other film, they all have their own personalities and getting to know them is part of the fun.  Plus, it helps show the growth of the mother as she comes to accept that there is a place in the world for her special family.  My favorite of the neighbors is the asshole old man.  He’s such a cliche, but man is it in how you execute it.  He’s such an asshole, but as you peel away the layers you find that there is a man with compassion like you’ve never seen.

Thing was, I never really got to know what this sort of life was like.  I grew up in a place where pretty much everyone around me was family.  For most of my childhood, I would go from one family member to the next.  My favorite one to hang with was my grandma.  Maybe that’s why I love Summer Wars so much.  But I have wondered what tight-knight communities are like.  When I get out of this state, perhaps I’ll find out.  City life is so damn lonely.  The jobs are here, but there’s no sense of belonging.  This city is such a poor place.  Jobs are here, but they don’t pay well, and poverty is rampant.  It sucks, and I honestly am growing to hate it more and more.  Once I am out of here, the goal is some little seaside community, hopefully on the west coast.  Man, there was a digression.

As I said, the biggest character you grow to like is the mother.  Everything about her character, from the animation to the voice acting portrays a woman trying so damn hard and having life often be very unkind to her and her tiny tag-alongs.  While we’re at it, let’s talk about the kids.  Child characters in anime often annoy.  And I’m not gonna lie, these kids do too.  But here’s the thing about these kids annoying me that other kids don’t – it’s because they feel like real kids.  And I don’t like children.  Don’t want any of my own, and it’s looking like I will get my wish on that end, since my personal life is a dead heap of broken dreams.  I actually dislike these characters because they feel like the kinds of kids who would be bothering me when I am hanging with the adults.  Kids like me.  It’s strange.  Maybe because I am a giant.  Yeah, I get the feeling that’s it.

All things considered, I do love this movie.  It isn’t one of my favorite anime films, but it is a movie that I can just put on to feel good with.  This movie will make you smile.  It will make you cry.  It will also make you want to call your mother and be nice to her.  Hopefully you all love it too.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick