Lucien’s Review: Avengers: Endgame

The end of an era.  The final film in a saga that spans twenty-two movies.  Everything led up to this.  And I gotta say – it ends on a high note.  It’s hard to push the envelope after the last film.  Infinity War set the bar so high that this film could never surpass it.  That being said, the film does live up to it.  The highest compliment one can give a movie like this is that it lives up to the expectations that we all had.  Bringing the end to a film saga the likes of which we have never seen before, and for my money will never see again.  I said a while back that when this film came out and I saw it, that was it for me and Marvel.  Meant it.  The only thing I want to see now is Guardians 3.  After that, I have no desire to see what’s next from Marvel.  It’s sink or swim for this franchise now that the Avengers saga is done.  And if the end of this movie is any indication, it can only go somewhere stupid.  Let’s talk about it.

You all know the plot.  After Thanos snapped his fingers, he destroyed half of all life in universe.  Now it’s up to what’s left of the Avengers to find a way to make things right.  What follows is a pretty fantastic bookend to all the build-up we had.

My favorite parts of this movie were early on.  It opened with a truly fantastic scene with Hawkeye’s family disappearing.  It sets the stage for his personal drama really well.  Seeing what happens to every character when they are at their lowest point is just exceptional.  The reunion between Stark and Rogers was everything I hoped it would be, and more.  Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the movie was pretty fantastic, but that stuff early on was gripping.  It’s great to see all these heroes who we’ve seen be powerful as fuck up until now pushed to their breaking point.

It’s hard to talk about this movie, honestly.  See, you already know that the acting is pretty phenomenal across the board.  Visuals are incredible.  Soundtrack is really great.  So I decided that I’m going to preface my next point that I really liked this movie.  It closes things out on this storyline in a way that no other film could.  And with that said, I’m going to talk about some stuff that bugged me.  Because there’s an angle where I have lots to talk about.

First, I’m genuinely glad they kept Captain Marvel out of this film for most of it.  Because the comparisons between her and Superman are apt.  She’s OP as fuck.  Like, to the point that it’s genuinely boring when she enters the fray because you know that she’s going to win.  Watching Thanos kick her ass was actually kinda fun.  I bring this up because there was one scene in this movie that made me visibly cringe – the chick squad charge.  That was awful!  I swear, they might as well have had “GIRL POWER!” on the screen the whole time.  It was just as subtle.  I don’t blame the directors for this.  I get it – Disney wants to promote diversity.  But that didn’t stop it from being one of the cringiest things I’ve see on screen in a VERY long time.

Also, Bree Larson can’t act.  Her face has zero emotion.  She’s almost as bad as Daisy Ridley or Hunger Games chick in being a stoic, bland, unemoting female character.  I’ve figured something out.  See, a lot of people in Hollywood think that the strong male hero was a bland, boring character who just kicks ass.  When that wasn’t the case.  Sure, we’ve had a lot of stoic male characters in 80’s action movies, but here’s the thing – they had personality.  Watch old Ah-nold movies.  He was a stoic badass, but he had personality to make up for that, and cheesy one-liners.  Bree Larson had…um…something?  I’m drawing a blank.  Describe Captain Marvel’s personality in this film in a way that doesn’t require you describe what she looks like, what she does, or her role in the film.  The Red Letter Media Test.  You can’t do it.  This character is the most boring thing ever.  And given how I’ve seen Bree Larson act about all this off-screen, it’s clear that this woman needs to get her head out of her ass.  She’s clearly enjoying the smell of her own farts way too much.

Lastly – why was Falcon made into the new Captain America?  Yeah, I know – diversity.  I get it.  This is not rocket science.  Disney is all about this shit now, so of course their next Captain America has to be a diversity thing.  Here’s the problem – Falcon isn’t a super-soldier.  He’s some guy.  Just some random guy with no superpowers of any kind.  I think back to that fantastic scene in Winter Soldier, where Bucky and Cap are fighting, and he takes his shield.  The scene was a FANTASTIC set-up for him becoming the next Captain America.  And that makes sense, because he went through the super soldier project with Hydra.  I guess we can chalk that up to another fantastic scene from Winter Soldier ruined by Disney down the road.  Like the line about Nick Fury and his eye with that fucking cat in Captain Marvel.

Those are just nit-picks though.  Overall, this was a great film.  A perfect way to bookend the franchise, and that’s it for me.  The next thing I do will be to make a Top 10 of my favorite MCU characters, and then check out.  Disney has taken this franchise as far as it can possibly go.  The only place now is somewhere stupid.  Jay on Half in the Bag made a great point about this franchise in their video about Comicon 2019.  Marvel should have taken a break for a while.  But Disney couldn’t do that. Then they’d miss out on that sweet Marvel movie cheddar.  And if Disney doesn’t get their money, the whole company will collapse.  Or the studio execs there might not be able to get another yacht.  The poor dears.  As for me, nope.  This franchise cannot go higher than this point.  We’ve reached the high-water mark for the MCU.  It’s all gonna be downhill from here.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Advertisements

Lucien’s First Take: Mulan Official Trailer (2020)

I’ve made very, very clear how much I despise modern Disney.  I’ve described the media as a tired old whore telling you whatever they think will get your click fingers going, but Disney sure isn’t far behind them.  Doing whatever they can to get the maximum amount of money in with the minimum amount of effort.  We’ve seen that with TERRIBLE live-action version of films, each worse than the last.  But it seems that Disney is keen to one-up their shitty movies, and we get to see the dim-witted, dumb-shit millennial audiences who will shell out money to see it because they are nostalgia junkies who need their next fix.  The first trailer dropped, and it pissed me off.  Let’s watch it together, then we’ll talk about it.

 

Oh fucking boy.  Why do people keep seeing this crap?!  Can SOMEONE please tell me what it is that draws you fuckers in to watch this garbage?  That’s not rhetorical.  Someone explain this to me in a way that a pretentious pseudo-intellectual can understand.  All ears.  Lots to talk about.

For starters, we have this scene where Mulan is on a horse, in what is a nice setting of the Chinese countryside.  Okay.  Then we cut to her at home, and it seems the match-maker has already got her hitched.  So the scene where she fucks up the appointment with the match-maker and gets yelled at, only for her father to say that he cares for her for the person she is?  Yeah, guess they cut that out.  Now the dad just says this is for the best and we leave it at that.  What a great way to avoid having a family dynamic and getting to know the characters.  Not to mentions one of the big song numbers.  Given what we see in the rest of the trailer, I have a sneaking feeling there won’t be any actual music in this movie.  Call it a hunch.

Then there is a montage with who I presume to be the match-maker, listing off qualities that a wife should have.  During this montage we see Mulan doing martial arts and practicing with a sword.  Wait, what?  Why is she this really competent warrior already?  In the original film, she wasn’t.  There was no indication she could fight.  Her taking her father’s blade and going to serve in his place was done because she was more scared of him dying than how little she knew.  Part of what made the original film great was how she had to grow.  There was the best song number in that film where we see this fantastic musical and visual montage showing Mulan’s growth for a weak, unskilled newbie and her journey to become a skilled fighter and able to keep up with all the guys.  It’s so weird to me that in a movie that is marketing on girl power, they’re stripping an element from the film that helps show Mulan grow as a character.

The montage continues showing Mulan as she is with the troops and heading into battle.  Um, am I the only one who thinks that she looks feminine was fuck as a guy?  This is why animation works and live-action doesn’t.  Her features betray that she is a woman.  This film is gonna totally lack all suspension of disbelief when she tries to pretend to be a man and nobody notices that she looks like a bad tomboy.  The least they could have done as butch her up a little.  But then you can’t sell girl-power, because then she looks masculine, and that can’t work.

It ends with her whipping her sword around all cool and I guess she ditches the male persona pretty quick in this movie.  Because throughout the whole last bit, she’s looking like a woman again.  As memory serves, that was after she was wounded and her cover got blown.  Guess that scene doesn’t happen in this movie.  Not to mention, where’s the bit with the Imperial City and catching the Mongolians in their plan to ambush the Emperor?  Where’s the scene with her and her chums using skills they honed before to sneak in?  Where’s the scene of the chums in drag?  That shit was hilarious.  I don’t see any chums in this movie.  Guess that would take too many actors, you know, acting.  That’s too much work.

Also, where the fuck is Mushu?  Are they just ditching that?  Did they learn from Aladdin and realize that all these CG side-kicks just look fake as fuck?  Oh wait, I know why he’s not in this.  See, China has this rule about movies that are shown there – no ghosts, no gays.  Mushu ends up with her because the spirits of the family elders try to send one of the guardians to watch over her, and he ends up fucking that up so he goes to make things work with her so he doesn’t lose his ability to go home.  But all that stuff with ghosts is no-go in China, and Disney won’t do anything to disrupt that sweet China cheddar.

Can’t help but notice that since she’s supposed to be in a big battle, her outfit is very nice and not dirty or cut or anything.  Her face is very nice too.  So’s the makeup on it.  Guess they don’t want to worry about that little detail. If she wasn’t cute, then little girls couldn’t put themselves inside her like a skin to vicarious experience the movie through her.

It’s so weird to me that the film that CLEARLY is marketing itself on girl power is so much less of a female strength metaphor than the film it a remake of.  The original film told the story of a woman who didn’t let herself get held back.  She stood tall with the men, and earned their respect.  She went from an inexperienced woman pretending to be a man, to being the savior of China.  This film clearly decided that that was too much work.  Instead, just make it a Lord of the Rings knock-off in terms of battles, and make her super strong and super awesome without having to work at it.  Oh, and ditch the songs because then the characters would have personality.  That’s too much work for modern Disney.

Initial Verdict
You people who see this are the reason this shit gets made

Peace out,

Maverick

Rational Man in Disney Movies

I got to talking to a now former coworker of mine about how there are so many things that I would do if you put me in any random film.  And I still feel that way.  So I gots me an idea for a post series that I could do – putting a rational man inside of films, books, what-have-you.  These are just going to be little things that I have noticed in little blurbs.  Let me know if you have ones that come to you.

Rational Man in Snow White
To the Evil Queen: “So, you go through all the effort of making a poison that seeps into an apple when you are the queen of a kingdom?  Why not just send your army to kill that chick?  It seems like you went out of your way to make killing her a thousand times harder than it needed to be.”

To Snow White: “Why is it you felt that it was a good idea to just set up shop in the home of seven dwarfs?  I mean, they probably haven’t seen a woman in years.  The fact that they didn’t turn you into a living sex toy is insane.”

Rational Man in Sleeping Beauty
To Maleficient: “Look, I think you’re awesome.  But why is it you decided to become the dragon?  I mean, as a witch you have nigh-unlimited power.  It seems like you were REALLY handicapping yourself by taking them away and turning yourself into a giant fire-breathing monster when he was clearly geared up for that.

Rational Man in Cinderella
To Aurora: how is it, if that glass shoe fits you just right that it fell off your foot?  I mean, that seems to signify that it is too big for your foot.  Which means that the Prince could easily have found a woman whose foot fit it more snugly and lived happily ever after with her.

To the Prince: why is it, precisely, that you needed to have a shoe fit to prove that someone is the person you danced with the night before?  I get that her attire would be different, but it would still have her same facial features and eye color.  Is your memory that bad that you couldn’t remember those details about her?

Rational Man in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (the Fantasia one, not that shit-tastic live action abortion)
To the Sorcerer: this kid nearly destroyed your entire home, ruined your spell-book, destroyed Groj-knows how much priceless artifacts of your trade, and could have potentially made a nigh-unstoppable army of broomsticks and all he gets is a whack on the butt with your broom?  I would kick the shit out of that little snot.  At this period in history, that wouldn’t even be frowned upon.

Rational Man in Robin Hood
To Prince John: Why is it you never hired an assassin to kill Robin Hood?  I mean, it can’t have escaped your notice that your own men can’t hit the broadside of a barn.  So why not hire a professional to deal with the problem?  A man with your power and connections, I refuse to believe you didn’t have that ability.  Hell, I bet there are people within your own country who could have got the job done.

To Robin Hood: So wait a minute, you’re telling me that you’ve been in a place where you could easily have dispatched the Prince and you never did?  Why?  It would have saved the kingdom a ton of grief, and you were already a wanted criminal.  It’s not like you would be losing anything by killing him.

Rational Man in Aladdin (the good version, not the live-action abortion)
To Jafar: Why is it that you decided to kill Aladdin in a way where he falls into the Cave of Wonders?  Seriously, you could easily have helped him out of that pit, gotten the lamp from him, and then killed him right there.  You were in the middle of the desert.  The only ones who would know is the sands and the vultures that would eat his body.  Hell, you were in disguise anyway, so yeah.  It just sounds like a needless risk.  And since his clever monkey friend got the better of you, it sounds like you lost out anyway.

To Aladdin: How is it that a guy with your level of cunning wasn’t able to find easy ways around the Genie’s rules?  I mean, you should have been able to see this right in front of you.  For starters, wish that the no wishing for more wishes rule was gone.  Boom, problem solved.  Or, failing that, wish for more genies.  Again, problem solved.  You show early on that you are capable of outsmarting the Genie and getting him to have his ego make the best of him, so why was this beyond you?

Rational Man in The Little Mermaid
To King Triton: How come you didn’t let Ariel absolutely have it after everything she did?  That girl not only disobeyed you, but she fucked up your kingdom, betrayed you and everything you stand for to an evil witch, and all for a boy that she likes.  In the end she gets everything she wants and doesn’t have to answer for anything.  I mean, how is that fair?  That girl should at least get locked in her room for a year or two until she gets why what she did was unfathomably stupid.

Rational Man in Atlantis: The Lost Empire
To Rourke: Why exactly is it you felt the need to try and steal Atlantis’ power source to get rich?  Do you not realize that your discovery is going to make you and everyone else in that crew rich beyond their wildest dreams?  They are a lost civilization, with untold treasures.  I mean, in the end they sent everyone back to the surface with a mountain of gold and jewels.  Who knows how much more they would have parted with if you left on good terms.

Rational Man in Jungle Book (the animated version, not the live-action abortion)
To Shere Khan: Why didn’t you just kill Mogli and be done with it?  You are too good to die this way.  Your pride is the thing that killed you.  You should have been picking your teeth with that upstart’s bones.  Seriously, fuck that smug kid.

Rational Man in Frozen
To Elsa: Why is it exactly you had to flee from the kingdom?  You’re a princess, eventually to be a queen.  Why do you care if the peasants label you a witch?  You can freeze their asses when they rebel and then sit on your throne with absolute power and a sister who is pretty much your bitch.

To Kristoff: So…what’s the deal with you and the reindeer?  I mean, the level of closeness you exhibit makes me REALLY think there’s something going on here.  I can’t be the only one who’s noticed this.

Rational Man in A Night on Bald Mountain
To Chernabog: How do I land an invite to the next party you have?  This looks to be a pretty awesome time.  You have sexy fire women, all these crazy demons and ghosts, and you’re fucking with everyone.  I bet this party is off the chain.

Let me know if there are other works you want to see done.  This is just testing the waters on my concept.

Until next time, a quote,

“Provoking people is extremely important because it gets people to think.” – Lawrence Krauss

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Three More Star Wars Movies…

This franchise needs to die.  This franchise needs to fucking die right the fuck now.  It needs to die the death of a thousand cuts.  I thought that the prequels ruined this franchise, but I was wrong.  The new films did.  And before you write this off as me just being some Red Pill guy who hates the movie because wahmen, don’t.  I hate this franchise now for a whole bunch of other reasons.  Though I do think that Rey is boring and you could cut her from the most recent numbered film and nothing would have changed.  Not really.  Daisy Ridley can’t act, but that’s not her fault.  Emma Watson can’t either, and everyone loves her too.  But this franchise needs to go, and Disney has told us that it’s not going to.  Ugh…

What am I talking about?  I’m talking about the fact that Disney just announced that there are three more numbered films being made.  Groj only knows how many side-movies that means too.  You’d think they would have learned their lesson after what a financial disaster Solo was.  Well, I suppose they kind of did.  They realized that the best way to make these movies is to just feed the fandom fan service to make them cum in their pants.  That’s why you have J.J. Abrams back in the driver’s seat.  Rian Johnson tried to do something different and failed so spectacularly that J.J. outright said that he is going to retcon the ending to the previous numbered film for the next movie coming out this December.  Wow.  That’s pretty bad.  The trailer was boring and stupid, and it ends with the biggest fan service moment of all time – the Emperor laughing!  How did he survive being atomized in the Death Star?  I’m sure the answer will be stupid, but the fanbase doesn’t care.  They will cum in their pants just like Disney wants them to.

See, that’s the thing about Star Wars fans.  They are die-fucking-hard.  It doesn’t matter how stupid you makes these movies, how ridiculous the plot is, they will eat it up.  They will eat that shit sundae and make videos on YouTube defending them.  Hell, there was one where someone said the most recent numbered film was the best in the entire franchise.  J.J. Abrams said you don’t like it, you hate women.  This fanbase is so utterly exploitable.  Even Marvel isn’t this easy to cash-grab.  Disney seems to have realized where they hit their limit and is now toning it back.  But not Star Wars.  You can feel slop to these people for eons and they won’t care.  It blows my mind.  Part of why I have always avoided fandoms.  These bitches be crazy!

Never mind that The Force Awakens was a mediocre film at best.  It had the Millennium Falcon!  Never mind that Rogue One was genuinely bad for two acts, with only the final battle sequence being cool.  Never mind that The Last Jedi was a giant dumpster fire that was awful in every way, or that Solo was butt ugly to look at and boring.  They are still cheering that three more films are being made.  They don’t care.  I wonder what it would take for them to give up on the franchise.  I really do.  Disney has realized that taking risks with this license is a bad thing, so you know that it’s going to be nothing but fan service for years.  Is there ever a point where that isn’t enough?  When boring movies aren’t able to be sold to the fanbase just based on what pandering you put in there?  That’s not a rhetorical question.  I really want to know.

From where I’m standing, this franchise needs to fucking die!  It’s past the point where it is able to be enjoyed on any level.  The fan service does nothing for me.  The films have gone from mediocre and have been getting progressively worse.  Sure, Solo wasn’t even close to as bad as The Last Jedi, but the fact that it was so boring and I can’t remember the plot hardly at all is kind of worse.  I can at least remember everything about the former movie.  Especially the scene where Leia becomes Mary fucking Poppins to go back into the ship.  That was so funny to me when I watched it.  I was laughing so hard in the theater when that happened.  Got dirty looks from fanboys, but whatever.  If you can’t see why that’s so stupid, I pity you.

This franchise should have died thirty years ago.  No prequels, no sequels, just death.  Let it die with some fucking dignity.  Oh wait, this is modern Disney we’re talking about.  You know, where every one of their classic cartoon films is being remade as live-action cinematic abortion.  EVERY single one of their live-action films has sucked.  Badly.  Disney can’t let anything die.  Then they’d have to do something original, and I don’t think they even know how to do that at this point.  Things to ruminate on, eh?  I refuse to partake in any of this.  I said in my Solo review that that’s it.  No more.  I won’t let me friend give any of his money on my behalf (he convinced me to go on the pretense that he would pay my way) to see these movies when they are either going to range from okay to a turd sandwich.  I’m done.  Hopefully you are too.

Until next time, a quote,

“This sucks.”
“Yeah, this really sucks!” – Beavis and Butthead

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 War Movies

For those of you who didn’t know, I’m a filthy liberal.  It’s true.  But I’m not some crazy social justice type.  Instead, I’m part of what’s call the “libertarian left.”  However, just because I am a filthy liberal doesn’t mean I am naturally opposed to the military.  Time was, before my head injury, I wanted to go into military intelligence.  One of many things in life that Lady Luck saw fit to take from me.  I can’t play contact sports, or serve.  However, the movies have provided me with some good depictions of the life.  Sure, there are the ones that are basically “America, Fuck Yeah!” The Movie, but then there are the ones that actually look at war and what it means to fight.  Or at the very least just have a very honest depiction of fighting it.  These are the films that have stuck with me in that regard.  Or, and I’m just being honest here, some of them are just cool.  I’m not above liking a movie for having cool shit.  The shame of my pseudo-intellectual bravado.  Here are the top 10 war movies that I like.

10. Green Zone
Made by the same guy who did the first three Bourne movies, this film tells the story of an Army unit commander who ends up getting caught in a labyrinth of intrigue, all on a quest to find out the truth behind the WMDs in Iraq.  This movie surprised me, when I first saw it.  See, the United States military is VERY protective of their image.  They have to approve movies depicting them before they get released.  So a film that is critical of military intelligence and isn’t nice about it is more than a little but of a shock to think that that got past their censor.  But then, you realize that Iraq was a giant cluster-fuck and with so many dead and wounded, they probably don’t feel all that bad throwing the government and the people who got us into that mess (that we still aren’t technically out of to this day.  We still have troops there) under the bus.  This film has flaws.  The hand-held shake-y cam can get annoying in chase sequences.  But it is a good look at what happened to this country and where everything went wrong.

9. The Patriot
Now we go to the war that started this country in the first place.  I do loves me some historical fiction.  Now, the cynic in me does recognize that this film is pretty much just Braveheart, but during the American Revolution.  But there is a lot of flavor to this movie.  Mel Gibson’s character is what holds it all together.  Taking the role of Capt. Benjamin Martin, he leads a force waging a guerilla war against the British.  What I like about this film is the characters.  You get to know Martin and his forces.  Everyone has personality.  Even the British are not just shown as pure evil.  Pompous and arrogant, but there are those among them who recognize that they need to be decent to the colonists.  What’s more, you see that the issue of starting a nation wasn’t as clear-cut as history can make it out to be.  There were those who opposed forming a Union.  Not the most complicated film, but worth your time.

8. Top Gun
Remember when I said that there would be films on this list who are here strictly because of cool factor?  Yeah…this is what I’m talking about.  Thing to know about me – I think that fighter jets are fucking rad.  The F-22 Raptor is the coolest thing in the world.  So a movie all about being a fighter jockey and learning to dog-fight?  I am all over that.  Sure, this movie is cheesy as fuck.  It is 80’s to the max!  ALL of the 80’s cheese is in here.  And the lengths they go to in order to make Tom Cruise look tall is just adorable.  But then they play Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone” again (no joke, they play it three times in this movie) and I am saying “fuck yeah!” to the screen again.  I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

7. Eye in the Sky
Another film that is very critical of the military.  However, since the primary focus is on the British, with the Americans merely as the partners in this mission, it makes more sense to me how this film got past the censor.  Telling the story of a British and American military operation to take out a British national in Africa, this movie looks at the ethics of drone warfare.  What’s more, they don’t just paint the whole thing as black and white.  One of the things that I love about this movie is the fact that they go so far to make sure all sides are heard.  And they let you, the viewer, come to your own conclusion about whether what they did in the end was right or not.  I like when movies respect my intelligence enough to let me come to my own conclusions.  Not only was Helen Mirren amazing, but the final role of Alan Rickman, and it was pretty fantastic.  If you haven’t seen it, you really should.

6. Fury
When I heard that they were making a film about a tank crew during World War II, I was curious to see what that would end up being.  I mean, it’s a different concept.  Something you don’t think about is how many people it takes to make a tank work.  It’s not just one dude in there.  And during World War II, this was a time when we had German artillery outmatching us.  A LOT of people died inside of tanks during this war.  So we have a movie following the exploits of an American tank crew and their vehicle, doing their best to succeed and survive in the most talked-about war in history.  I was surprised with how good this movie was.  Can add its name to the list of great movies that few people saw.

5. Glory
Heading back into the wars of yesteryear.  This time it’s the Civil War.  Telling the story of the first black regiment in the Union army.  I said before that I loves me some good historical fiction.  But the thing that really makes this movie are the performances.  It’s a fantastic cast all-round.  We have Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and even Matthew Broderick.  I’m with the nostalgia critic and thinking very little of Broderick as an actor.  But every performance in this film is stunning.  Looking at racial politics over a hundred years ago is harrowing.  This film hinges on the strength of its cast as it’s a very character-driven story of these people and their own prejudices as they learn to accept each other.  It’s not especially preachy, either.  If you’ve forgotten about this movie, you really should revisit it.

4. Saving Private Ryan
There’s a reasonable argument to be made that this is the most famous war movie ever made.  When it came out, this film was making huge bank and the critics couldn’t stop talking about it.  And to be fair, there’s a reason why.  We have Spielberg when he was at the top of his game, making a movie that opens on one of the most violent military engagements in history.  Telling the story of a squad of soldiers who are on a mission to find a man whose brothers have all been killed and get him home.  The cinematography of this film is graphic and unforgiving.  If you’ve ever looked for an accurate representation of how awful this war was, you could do worse.  Though I did have the same thoughts about Fury.  Tom Hanks is what makes this film.  I would argue he’s the best actor working today.  When he dies, it is going to be a VERY sad day for me.

3. We Were Soldiers
Heading into a different war, now we get to take a trip to Vietnam.  Telling the story of the first usage of helicopters to deploy troops into active combat zones, we have Mel Gibson back.  Taking a new unit of his into battle, in a war that all of historians agree was a GIANT cluster-fuck.  This movie is also pretty unforgiving in its portrayal of how bad war can be.  You can feel the oppressive heat and terror these guys must have felt, with the enemy pretty much being unseen and all they can do is fire at the green and hope they hit something.  This movie does tend to kiss America’s ass a bit, but given how Vietnam vets were treated like shit when they got home because of America’s attitude about the war, it does make you think that maybe they’ve earned a little adulation
For those who are wondering, this is basically where I would have Platoon, but I had to pick one or the other.  It was close, but I chose this one.  Mostly because I couldn’t take Charlie Sheen seriously in the latter film.  Willem Dafoe ALMOST clinched it, but this film took the spot.  Still, both are excellent films.

2. Black Hawk Down
A war film directed by Ridley Scott?  Sign me up!  This film is hardcore.  Not only is the cinematography at the top of its class, but this has some HUGE names.  I do love how many British people are in this movie doing their best American accents.  I think the best of them was Ewan McGregor.  But then, that dude is one of those actors that everyone forgets about, but always brings his a-game.  Still, this movie had a ton of real talent in there.  Josh Hartnett, William Fitchner, Tom Hardy, Jason Isaacs, and get this – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau before he had any name recognition.  That’s right, Jaime Lannister was an American soldier in a movie.  A sniper for Delta Force, to be exact.  That’s cool.  The violence is hardcore, and the performances are all great.  Not to mention the cinematography is incredible.  This film isn’t remembered the way it should be, but trust me, it’s worth your time.

And my favorite war movie is…

1. Gettysburg
Those of you who have actually seen this movie are definitely scratching your heads at this choice.  On top of some of the best war films ever made is a film that definitely has its flaws about the Civil War.  Let me explain.  This movie tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg.  The turning point of the Civil War.  Had the Confederates won there, who knows what would have happened.  Historians will say otherwise, but I think they would have gone through to Washington.  This movie has some VERY corny elements.  The score being the biggest among them.  However, the reason this movie ranks so high on my list is the performances.  There are some real powerful roles in this!  We have Martin Sheen as Gen. Robert E. Lee.  One of the most beloved generals in American history.  We have Tom Berenger as Gen. Longstreet.  His role especially got to me.  He doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Lee on several occasions.  He has a realist perspective on what they’re doing, but can only follow his orders.  It’s pretty great stuff.  Lastly, we have Jeff Daniels, who is also one of my favorite actors.  He’s playing Col. Chamberlain, a college professor turned soldier, leading a regiment against some of the worst fighting in the war.  The corny bits are able to get past me mostly because you can tell this was a passion project of a ton of dedicated people.  You can feel the passion in every performance.  I love this movie.  If you haven’t seen it, and you like the time period, do yourself a favor and check it out.

So, what about you all?  What are your favorite war movies?  Let me know down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“They’ve gotta be tired, the Rebs.  They gotta be close to the end if we are.” – Col. Joshua L Chamberlain, Gettysburg

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Two great movies in one day.  I have the two DVDs at once plan with Netflix right now, so yeah.  That all worked out really nicely.  And man, what a movie this was.  Worth the wait, honestly.  I remember when all the reviews were coming out about this film, and everybody screaming its praises to the moon.  Having finally gotten a chance to see it, I can see why.  I have one major issue with the movie, but aside from that, it’s pretty great stuff.  Let’s talk about it.

The story goes that there is one Spider-Man.  Peter Parker.  However, when Miles Morales happens to gain him some spider powers, and then subsequently end up in a bad situation where he ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, he figures out there are more Spider-Men.  A lot more.  In universes entangled with our own.  From there, he’s on a mission, both to come to terms with his powers, and to save the city and more importantly his family from annihilation.  As origin stories go, this one is definitely unique.

What I want to talk about first is the animation.  This film goes out of its way to be like a comic book, and it’s awesome!  It’s genuinely weird to me that this came from Sony Animation.  The same studio behind all kinds of cinematic abortions in the last few years.  This film looked and felt like a comic book.  The use of color in this film was absolutely out of control.  What’s more, because there wasn’t the limitation of a camera and a set, the film had some incredible shots that makes me realize that while I did love Spider-Man: Homecoming, the film really didn’t capture this character in a way where being this character feels vertical the way Sam Raimi’s and this film did.  I missed it.

Next up are the characters.  All the versions of Spider-Man in this movie had so much charm.  I love that they got Nicholas Cage to do the voice of Spider-Man Noir.  However, the thing that held this film together is the relationship between Miles and alternate universe Peter Parker.  The chemistry between these characters as a growing bond of mentor to student is believable and you feel for them by the end as they are saying their goodbyes.  But those weren’t the only good characters.  Miles’ dad and uncle both have so much presence.  You can feel the relationship between them and our main character.  With the dad it’s the fact that his son is growing up, and he wants to stay connected with him.  Then there is the uncle, who is something of a mentor to Miles and in the one scene we see of them bonding while engaging in some criminal activity, you buy it.

I will say that this movie is also one of those films where diversity works.  Instead of the unnecessary preaching of Spider-Man: Homecoming that comes from the character they got as the new Mary Jane, we have a character who has his own ethnic identity, but it’s also tied in with the New Yorker identity, and it feels genuine.  See, they did something in this movie that a lot of REALLY bad modern Disney diversity beating-you-over-the-head films don’t do – they made a character first.  Miles is a character, with his thoughts and struggles and personal life, with his identity being second.  That’s believable.  And it makes me like the character.  If only the rest of Hollywood would take a fucking hint.

The action in this movie is incredible.  I will say that the villains weren’t especially interesting to look at, but the action itself had this smooth, seamless quality.  I’m starting to realize that in animation, you can make fight sequences for this kind of movie work so much better.  In the MCU films, everything is so much CG that you start to think that you might as well just be watching something like this.  Since they’ve teased a sequel, here’s hoping that we get more interesting villains and can see more of these interesting fights.

Oh, and something else I want to mention is that while so many Disney films lately have a REALLY bad habit of having bad jokes intertwined with all their movies to diffuse any and all tension, this film doesn’t do that.  There is a LOT of self-referential humor, but it’s all done with some excellent timing.  Not to mention them poking fun at the concept of characters from various universes.  I realized watching this movie that Spider-Pig is by far the most dangerous of all these characters.  Since he comes from a universe with cartoon physics logic, still able to use that in a dimension where things that do that hurt a lot worse, there is really no limit to how much destruction he could cause.

So, what’s my beef with the film?  It’s simple – the ending.  I get that I’m not a kid, and these movies are primarily made for children, but the cynic in me found how utterly sappy the ending to this movie was kind of gag-inducing.  I don’t know, maybe I’m getting too old for this stuff.  I’m not saying everything has to be super dark.  Not at all.  But for the love of Groj, can you PLEASE stop ending movies with big hug sequences?  Just putting that out there?

Overall, this is a really good film.  It captures the character so well, and was a fun ride from start to finish.  That finish was a little weak, but nobody’s perfect.  Not even a film.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Overlord

Let me take you all back to a magical world in cinema that we’ve been at several times.  It’s a place I like to call “great movies that nobody ever saw.”  See, modern Hollywood is out of ideas.  Definitively.  Between the sequels and remakes, movie theaters are filled with giant piles of shit.  Mostly.  There are the occasional diamonds in the rough, but overall, it’s a lot of cash-grabs, bland sequels, superhero movies, and straight-up shit from Sony Entertainment.  That company needs new management.  But then you get movies like this.  Genuinely good movies that nobody knows about, mostly because they had the unfortunate luck of coming out at the exact same time as some other movie that was popular, and shit.  Which brings us to the movie we’re talking about today – Overlord.  A movie that works as both a World War II film, and works as a zombie movie.  How they were able to do this without turning it into schlock, I don’t know.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot goes that the day before D-Day, there is a mission to destroy a German radio tower so their air power isn’t hindered in the attack.  Believe it or not, but the premise for this film is based on an actual mission that happened.  Needless to say, but things go south, and now those who are left have to finish the job.  But things are about to get a LOT more complicated, as it seems there is more to the village they are infiltrating than just soldiers and a radio tower.

When I told a coworker about this film when I saw it in theaters, he said “I’ve seen that Call of Duty game before.”  This premise had all the potential to be complete garbage.  See, when you make movies like this, where the concept is ridiculous, you have one of two choices.  Either you can acknowledge how silly it is and be schlock.  Or you can go all the way and take the ridiculousness seriously.  This film decided to do the latter.  It didn’t ride the line at all.  This is essentially Saving Private Ryan with zombies.  And it works!  This director has some real chops on him to actually make a premise this off the wall work.  Kudos.

This film has some great set design, good acting by some people I’ve never seen before, and excellent pacing.  The soldiers have the whole “we don’t like each other at the start but bond as brothers” concept, and they make it work.  You believe the chemistry that grows between them as the film goes on.  Our main character is Pvt. Boyce, a peaceful and very scared young man who has been thrown into not just war, but now a Lovecraftian nightmare.  As the film goes on, you see the transition where not just the reality of war, but what he is stuck in hardens him.  Then there’s Cpl. Ford, the leader of the crew who is a grizzled veteran, but he doesn’t appear to just be cold-blooded.  You can see that war has changed him, and there are moments where he does actually be a good leader.  Finally, there is our young French female lead, who ends up helping the Americans because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Since this is a zombie movie, gotta talk about the creature effects.  The lab in this game is something straight out of a B-grade horror movie, but because this film just takes everything about the concept so seriously, it has this creepy charm.  What’s inside, however, is anything but charming.  There are some real monsters in there, but the film is genuinely smart about how they do it.  Pacing in this film is excellent, and the scene where Boyce is stealthily trying to escape after ending up there has some really great usage of audio and silence to lead in to some freaky shit.  But the film doesn’t hang on it all too long.  It’s not gore-porn.  There are genuinely grotesque things, but the movie has a plot that it doesn’t forget about.

That’s worth mentioning too – the great thing about this movie is that it’s not just a zombie movie.  Throughout the entirety of it, there is the objective of destroying the radio tower, and they have to get it done.  Even as everything is going to shit and the Americans feel they have no way out, the mission has to come first, no matter the cost.  What’s more, the weapons in this movie have that great World War II feel.  The guns here look and sound weighty.  You can see shells flying out.  When their carbine are empty and there’s the beautiful ping, it sounds right.  This film looks and sounds the part of its time period.  Little details like that go a long way for me.  Plus, when people get shot, it’s violent.

Overall, this is a genuinely good movie.  With all the endless crap that gets remade, there are some moments where you actually get to see something cool, and it’s pretty great.  This film had the unfortunate reality of coming out at the same time as the latest in the long, sad history of CG abortions related to Dr. Seuss movies.  It sucks that movies that are so mediocre get to detract from things that are worth people’s time, all because of fucking name recognition.  Oh well.  That’s Hollywood for ya.  Sucking the life out of all the cool shit, one big-budget cash-grab at a time.  But for real, now that it’s out on video, check it out.  Stream it, buy it, whatever you feel, but definitely check it out.  A good movie in two genres, that could have been complete shit.  Kudos.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick