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Game Of Thrones – Why It’s Not As Good As People Say

Game Of Thrones is that show that everybody and their grandmother like to watch every time it comes on.  It’s epic, it’s got drama, boobs, sex, and violence. Just like any other HBO show.  I was watching Season 2 and i found myself totally uninterested in what was happening. For the so called Greatest TV Show Ever it had completely lost me and I was utterly bored in it. Now I’m  not going to call the show overrated it’s got fantastic elements and this might be just those “only relates to me” type deals that said I’m going to list my problems with Game Of Thrones.

Season Structure

We all know how a season works. It’s a collection of episodes that tell a large story that usually ends in a cliffhanger that starts the next season off.  That being said GOT is just one continuous story.  There’s no long lapse of time as soon as one ends the next begins.  So I’m guessing they’ll use the 10 episode structure, but it feels like they end out of nowhere.  Since it’s one story GOT arcs can last over several episodes, and the seasons sort of mash together without any discern-able difference.

A Season should have a continuos buildup of tension and elements should weave together and converge on one event. It should have set up, build up, and pay off to every single subplot in the show. Instead it just feels like they end whenever they feel like it without concluding those story arcs. Which brings up another problem.

Character Arcs and Story Arcs

Now I’ve never read A Song Of Fire and Ice so this could be purely a problem from the source material, but one of the things I find frustrating is character and story arcs that don’t’ conclude inside of the season they’re introduced. None of the characters feel any different from where they started, none of the story feels complete by the end of a season. Most of the scenes with characters are set up for something that likely won’t pay off until after the next two seasons.  Not to mention when they do end it’s never all that compelling. The episodes don’t even end with very interesting cliffhangers, meaning for me there’s no urgency to tune into the next episode. The arc is usually move from one location interact with another one of the principle cast and then end up in a different location.

Pacing

This is a personal point. Some people like when movies or shows take their time and sit around thoughtfully, but I don’t. I think you should show what you need from a scene, show some character development, and then move on.  Sometimes it feels like padding out the episode, but it makes every other scene feel dull and uninteresting. It’s got good dialogue, but not good enough that I want to sit and watch two characters talk to each other about nothing important to the plot.  Speed things up I mean that in story progression, scene progression, story passing, EVERYTHING.

Too Many Damn Characters

Now I’m almost 100 percent sure this is a carry over from the book, but there are too many characters in this show. It feels like there might be over 100 characters I’m supposed to know and remember the names too. It makes it utterly exhausting for me to try to pay attention because of how much memory it takes to be fully aware of what’s going on.  Since there are so many characters they don’t get developed and they all feel like minor characters.  Not to mention they don’t change at all. They may switch appearances, but in the end they are exactly the same as when the season started.

Story Progression

This is my biggest and ultimate complaint.  The story goes absolutely nowhere. It’s called Game Of Thrones and so far there’s only been one throne change as far as I’ve seen. To give a perfect example of why the show doesn’t work for me is that we’re introduced to mysterious creatures in the wild in the very first episode.  We don’t get to actually see them until the end of the second season. That’s the most obvious example I could think of, but a show like Breaking Bad changes dynamics every season.  Game Of Thrones Season 2 still feels like Season 1. There’s not a whole lot of change in the story.

The average season long story arc for Game Of Thrones is about 2-3 episodes on another show.  This is the weakest aspect of the show and this is a big problem when watching the show all at once. I tried to plow through half a season in one day and I became utterly frustrated. This is definitely one of those shows you watch 1-2 episodes at a time.

How To Fix It

Let’s Just hope this is a problem with Season 2. I actually thought season 1 was fantastic and worked a lot better then season 2 so let’s hope that’s the case. Maybe the show would do better to varying up season sizes to fit how much they want to adapt so they can complete more arcs. Still a cool show I hope it gets better for the third Season.

Pretentious vs. Brilliance 

People on the internet tend to be really opinionated. Sometimes these opinionated people might make a blog or a vlog about a movie people really like. Sometimes the people are cool and list their reasons they disagree. Most of the times people seem to get personally offended. A lot of their responses start with ” I can’t believe how people could say that” or ” I don’t understand how people can say that” which tells me that they mean it. People genuinly don’t get how a movie they consider moving and brilliant can come under scrutiny.

Now as a blogger whose also an independent filmmaker, I note the irony of the title and subject of this article. The mere fact that I’m basically going to tear down a movie people love with just opinion is pretentious in itself. I understand that and I want to have uncharacteristically unbiased discussion about something I may not like, on the internet. I want to help give some perspective and try to relate to people better.

I am in no shape or form trying to change anybodies opinion. I am a firm believer of liking whatever you want. Also , this is not a critique of movies this is an assessment of how well movies get across their themes and how well it’s integrated into the story.

Pretentious in movie making terms is a scene or moment that doesn’t serve the overall story. Filmmaking in this day and age is all about how effectively you can tell your story. It’s also about making a cohesive experience for an audience. Of course you have experimental films which don’t follow the traditional narrative or style of most movies, I’m only referring to films that are released into theaters. And by this definition all movies have pretentious moments, which is good. Putting personal touches on a story gives it a voice and style. Movies would be extremely dull if no director ever put their stamp on a story.

All the movies I deem “brilliant”, have a lot of themes underlaying and overlaying the plot. I put allegories, metaphors, and themes in the same file. These are good for a story if they come naturally or organically and is a good way to make movies relatable. The problem starts to come in when they’re inorganically put in a narrative where it doesn’t belong. Or as I like to say “shoved down people’s throat”.  A theme should be embodied in a character arc as to better integrated into the story. It should never be a backseat driver, or actually dictate the narrative, it should be a blanket to go on top of a story that makes it better. All your themes should come back full circle in the 3rd act and should pay off.

I’m going to use an example I hope everybody has seen Fight Club. Now regardless of how I feel about Fight Club overall this movie is very subtle with it’s discussions about society. Fight Club works both as a good story and as several allegories in the same movie. It’s a satire and there are several layers of Irony in not only the movie, but even the title.

Except you don’t need to “get it” to like it and if you revisit it you’ll find more metaphors that are carefully placed inside of the movie that don’t interrupt the movie. Fight Club never stops to explain itself it just keeps pushing. It also has it’s major themes of Anti corporation and Breaking out of Conformity symbolized by it’s two main protagonists Tyler Durden and Jack. Fight Club is brilliant because of it’s ability to relate to people who want to be entertained , and for people who want to be entertained and informed.

Now to be more effective and I’m going to reference and use what I consider to be the most polarizing movie of recent memory. The Dark Knight Rises. Nothing fits the either love it or hate it quite as well. I’m also going to compare The Dark Knight to The Dark Knight Rises, but not in overall quality only in use of themes.

Now, The Dark Knight was about a lot of things. It was about Anarchy, Moral Decay, Personal Sacrifice, and Symbolism. For fear of spoilers I’m not going to go into details, but effectively you have a whole lot going on on top of what’s basically a crime epic. How does Nolan pull it off. You guessed it, by having a character represent the themes. Nolan pushes the line of pushing it in our face, but that’s mainly because he’s got such a massive undertaking and you have to keep it simple to keep the movie from buckling under the weight of itself.

The Joker represents Chaos, Batman represents sacrifice, and Harvey Dent represents Symbolism. There is some crossover of course which makes for better storytelling. But what about the Moral Decay? That’s embodied not only by all of the characters in the movie, but also Gotham itself, It effects everybody and gradually builds up until the climax, and is underlying every major plot point.

Now to The Dark Knight Rises. It’s about War among Classes, Redemption, Morality, Rising Up, and a lot more. The problem this time around is the themes feel really forced. There’s a lot more show and tell and some of themes don’t even really come into play in the last act. In it being more show then tell the themes feel under developed. There’s never really a sense of any of them, except Redemption, a plug that was already tackled with Batman Begins.

Bear with me, it’s arguable that The Joker and Bane are very similar in themes.  Once again not comparing the characters just what they represent. Bane’s plan is basically The Joker’s on a bigger scale which to me is real neat, without being a rehash. Nolan said out of respect to Heath Ledger there would be no mention of the joker so he had no choice but to be subtle. Bane even says “take control of your city”. Which is all good and dandy until you think about it. Joker gave Gotham an ultimatum with no easy choice. But Bane is the one with the bomb. There’s absolutely nothing any citizen of Gotham could do to alter their fate. It is quite literally out of their hands. And this starts a massive train wreck.

So Bane has a bomb that has a timer set to a ridiculously long timer. I’m assuming it’s so we can get a Gotham that is decaying. Visually it’s absolutely Gorgeous, but does it serve the story. Not Really. There’s no sense of decay because the movie suddenly goes into warp speed and skips seemingly months at a time. So arguably it’s just there to appear as if it’s having a discussion about Class Separation, but it’s really not, or as much as it pretends too. There’s not even a moral for the city to learn, and even Bane’s character reveal completely undercuts the big statement the movie was trying to make.

Now like i said this is purely just based off of observation. I’m not trying to say I’m better then anybody else and I’m not trying to insult people’s intelligence. There are plenty of movies that have went completely over my head, and it is not my intent to say otherwise. Ultimately what I want people to take away is a better understanding of a conflicting opinion. In other words let’s agree to disagree.

An Awkward Pain And Gain Review

I hate Micheal Bay, I think he’s one of the worst directors working right now.  His movies are progressively getting worse and he hasn’t made a good movie to date.  Pain And Gain is about the “Sun Tan Game” starring Mark Whalberg, Anthony Mackie, and Dwayne Johnson.  Now I like Anthony Mackie.  He’s a really good actor and my first though was “eww why is he in this”?  Now this is not a movie for me.  The Trailers sold this as a really broad generic comedy.

Wow did the trailers not sell this movie.  This  is the best movie of the year.  No seriously , this is the equivalent of mixing Fargo with Horrible Bosses.  If you know me you know I have a sick morbid sense of humor, I love love love love black comedies, and it’s so rare they actually work for me.  Now When I say Fargo mixed with Horrible Bosses those are two black comedies, and while they both work really well, horrible bosses isn’t quite as dark as I wanted it, and Fargo wasn’t as funny as I wanted.  This movie is as dark as Fargo and as Funny as horrible bosses.  This feels like one of those movies that everybody including the cast and the crew was having a fantastic time.

Let me start with the acting.  If you had told me Anthony Mackie would be out shown by The Rock i’d be just as surprised if you told me Micheal Bay would make a movie I’d like or even love.  If you needed any proof Dwayne Johnson can act watch this movie.  There’s a certain type of performance that embodies the movies tone inside the character.  His performance is really bizarre, hilarious, and really likable.  I want to say this is the first real contender for best supporting actor.  Now everybody in here is great.  Marky Mark who usually plays himself, is actually playing a character here and it works.  Anthony Mackie is also really good.  Rebel Wilson is in the movie and brings the funny.  Ed Harris shows up and delivers a real grounding performance. All in all everybody showed up for work.

Now the real stars of the this movie are Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely , who really have knocked this movie out of the park.  This is also a contender for Best Original Screenplay.  They have the story structure down, the pacing of the story is also excellent.  This feels a lot like GoodFellas in the way it bounces around a narrative, only focusing on things that are essential to the overall story.  There’s no fat to trim.  Where these guys really excel at is Dialogue.  This movie has the best dialogue I’ve heard in years.  This movie gets crazy and I’m not going to give it away, but it really feels like a Coien Brothers movie on cocaine.  And there’s actual cocaine in the movie.

Now on to the direction.  Now I hate Micheal Bay’s camera work.  He films everything like a commercial.  One of the things that seriously pissed me off about Transformers 3 is that the camera is never stationary, it’s always moving and it gets really annoying.  Here Bay pulls back heavily on his tropes and gimmicks and really milks them to make it work.  It’s almost like he makes fun of himself, there’s that shot from Bad Boys 2 with the spinning around two different rooms, and several instances of slow motion that work really well.  He directs the action and the actors really well, and his frantic camera work and pacing really push this movie along.  I had to constantly remind myself it was a Micheal Bay movie, and this really gives me hope for him.  There’s a sense of real intent behind the movie.  A lot of the time a really weak director will get a good script and they will squander it or mess it up, but Bay really seems to have an understanding of story structure.  It just blows my mind he directed this. 

Now this is not for Micheal Bay fans.  This is almost a parody of Micheal Bay movies.  You got cocaine, guns, strippers, cops, and it all fits into the story.  All his excesses really serve the story.  There are a few moments that are a little ridiculous outside of the actual accounts, but nothing that ruined the scene.  Even the whole body builder aspect you’d think would make this a meat head movie, but it’s not.  There’s just so many good things to say about the movie.  Rush out and see this.  You’ll love it.  It’s so rare that a movie just has me completely guessing, and saying “That’s Fucked Up” literally every 5 minutes.  This is another one of those times where critics are really being biased and not giving the movie enough credit.  If this was directed by the Coen Brothers or David Fincher, which it feels like it was at point, then it’d probably be up for best picture at the oscars.  It’s sad that once a film maker finally makes a project of passion and does his job people can’t see past his previous work.  Do yourself a favor go see it and be entertained like you never have before.

Why Everybody Should Be Pissed At Marvel Right Now

I’ve just done a whole lot of raving and praising Marvel for the past week.  Saying how great it is, and how it’s the best Film Company in the business, and they went and really ruined all that goodwill I previously had.  Kevin Fiege The head honcho at Marvel has always been one of my favorite Studio Heads.  He’s the only guy I see out there doing press conferences, promoting the films, keeping us fans up to date and begin honest with us.  Basically if I see Kevin Fiege at a bar, i’m buying him a drink. Marvel takes a lot of risks with it’s choices and it pays off.  

Now I feel personally betrayed, because I have invested a lot of time and money into The Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I’ve seen every single Marvel movie in theaters, bought half of them on Blu-ray, kept my friends updated so they’d see the movie, i’m very much a fanboy without the blind rage.  I can admit when Marvel drops the ball, and usually Kevin is right there with me.  The reason Ironman 3 is the way it is , are the complaints from Ironman 2.  He listened to us fans, and delivered on all the complaints we had.  So once again the problem is that Marvel is basically Man handling it’s actors.  It’s almost like when you give money to somebody to buy food, and they go buy something they don’t need.  I’m supporting you because you’re a great company who takes care of their actors.. Boy was I wrong.

Marvel has always been very penny pinchy.  Robert Downey Jr, was allegedly only payed 2 Million for Ironman.  Now at this time Robert Downey Jr. was sort of like Mel Gibson or Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Nobody wanted to touch him because of his drug habit.  He was uninsurable, but Marvel took the risk and Ironman was a hit.  Now Terrance Howard was promised 8 Million for Ironman 2, but they only wanted to give him 2 Million.  Maybe a bad long term move, but I can understand why, that’s a huge dip in pay, and you’d think after making a half a billion dollar movie you’d want to keep all the chips in the basket.  So they recast.

Now, fast forward 5 years.  Robert Downey Jr. is pay 50 Million Dollars.  Why is that not a lot of money?  Because This whole franchise, which is on it’s why to beating Harry Potter for most money grossed, is on his shoulders.  He started it from the ground up and with Robert there’s no Avengers.  Not to mention the Movie made over 1.5 Billion Dollars.  Marvel should make sure all their actors are happy.

Well, it turns out Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth are about to walk away from the franchise because Marvel is being too tight pocketed.  Now Chris Evans has never been a big star, but he only got a 1 Million dollar raise from the Avengers to do Captain America Winter Soldier.  Which is frustrating , but understandable he seems like he’s doing it for the fans more at this point.

Robert Downey Jr. is also up for a renegotiation.  Personally I don’t want an Ironman 4.  I’ll go see it, I’ll love it, but if there is one i want it to be natural. Like maybe an idea hits Drew Pearce and he writes another script on his own and it’s fantastic.  Now I love RDJ. He’s my favorite actor, but I can understand maybe not wanting to give him 50 Million a movie.  They’d make it back obviously, but that’s a big chunk of money.  So if they Recast RDJ, I can’t be mad at either parties.

Once again you’ve got Chris Hemsworth, somebody who showed up for work, and embodied Thor.  Nobody else could play Thor like he did, once again Marvel hit the proverbial Jackpot.  But Thor is no Ironman or Captain America.  Chris literally has to be hulked out to play Thor.. well not literally, but you get my point.  So this man who probably hasn’t had a carb in years from playing this character, is only getting a 500.000 pay raise.  This is what pisses me off.  The way the world works is, when somebody does work above and beyond, you compensate them accordingly.  Marvel wants to be cheap and is threatening to recast him.  This is where I draw the line. Chris Hemsworth is on his way to becoming the next Stallone or Schwarzenegger or even Nathon Fillian or Bruce Campbell.  He has made excellent career choice after excellent career choice, starting with a Star Trek Cameo, then Thor, Then Cabin in the woods, then Avengers.  So not only is he a rising star, but everything he’s in has been a finacial hit or a geek property.  I am truly disquieted by the cheapness and a lot of other fans are as well.

The plan I think right now is that Renner, Johannsen , and Jackson are pretty much nailed down.  Mark Ruffallo is under contract so he’s pretty much stuck as well, and Evans is under contract, but he’s in danger of leaving, and the two biggest are Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr.  They’re negotiating the contract right now and I think RDJ’s terms is to take care of Chris Hemsworth so that he gets fair compensation for his work.  So once again it’s Robert Downey Jr. , whose Sherlock Holmes series is easily just as lucrative as the Ironman series, to try to get something worked out.  They can recast one member, but there’s no way they’ll find somebody to replace Hemsworth And Robert before they start production in Feburary.  I hope this all gets worked out so i can start liking Marvel again.

Why The Mandarin Twist Is Fantastic – SPOILERS

There is something about the internet that makes people real hyperbolic.  Either something is a 0 or a 10.  Love it or Hate It.  Ironman 3 has just opened up to 175 Million Dollars, so of course that’s just gasoline on the fire.  The deciding factor or the underlying argument people are making is that the twist with The Mandarin is a detriment to the comic books, and a big slap in the face to the ironman Fans, and the Fans of the Mandarin.  I’d like to to make a few points to counter the argument. i don’t plan on changing any minds, but hopefully i can put some things into perspective.

The Twist Basicaly is that Aldrich Killian manufactured the Mandarin to be a front for his organization, as a decoy as to keep attention away from himself, whilst himself metaphorically being the Mandarin, and representing his ideals.

The Mandarin’s Origin

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty keen on trying to add a level of realism to their movies aside from the more fantastical aspects Frost Giants, Laser Guns, Glowstick Of Destiny.  The original Mandarin’s Origin is that he received 10 Rings from an Alien which gave him each individual powers he used to become basically a General. At his best he’s a Sun Tzu a formidable military strategist or a Martial Arts expert who was competent in combat well before he got the rings.  At his worst he’s an offensive stereotype of Oriental Culture.  Given the nature of Marvel Movies I’m not surprised they decided to go with a different origin that much was apparent to me before I walked into the theatre.

Nobody Cares About The Mandarin

Ironman is a B-list comic book character.  The Avengers is an A-List property, but their individual members save the Hulk are all slightly obscure.  I hear a lot of people claiming that The Mandarin is like Joker or Lex Luthor.  The Mandarin isn’t nearly as popular or as well known as Joker or Lex Luthor.  Even before The Dark Knight The Joker is a staple in Pop Culture through movies, animated shows, the Adam West show, and video games.  Lex Luthor is also the poster child for intelligent villains, and while not as popular as the joker still pretty well known.

Nobody knew who the Mandarin was outside of him being rumored for the Ironman movies.  I’ve never read a comic or even seen him in a video game, unlike say Loki, Doctor Doom, Magneto, or Thanos.  The Mandarin is extremely obscure, making him the perfect character to do something new with, without pissing so many people off. Or So You’d Think.

Nobody Cares About Ben Kingsley

I noticed that once The Mandarin was named as the villain a lot of people shook their heads and rolled their eyes, or those who knew who he was.  And when Ben Kingsley was rumored to play him there was a similar attitude.  Now if you don’ t like the movie Ben Kingsley is their favorite actor, and Mandarin is their favorite character.  Now Ben Kingsley is a fantastic actor, but to say his career is a mess would be an understatement.  To quote Korey From Spill.Com ” Kingsley went from playing..Ghandi , to being in The Love Guru”.  He has made some bad choices, and he’s in that same bracket of Nicholas Cage who is also an amazing actor who always go for the pay check.  

That being said, this was supposed to be his come back role.  At least to most people, I respect the man very much, and to me this very much was the perfect move for his career.  He shows a lot of range, and goes from menacing to hysterical in less then 2 minutes, really showing off his range, and hopefully this will lead him to play more villains.

He’s An Archetype 

The reason the Manderin is so effective in the first half is that he’s basically an accumulation of what we consider to be exceptional villains.  He’s menacing, based in reality, and based of a real life character.  The most obvious comparisons people can make is Christopher Nolan’s super villains from TDK trilogy.  Got the intimidating voice, the realistic take, and the tactician aspect down.  

The Reason this works is because he’s almost Every great supervillian stitched together.  Hans Gruber, The Joker, Bane, Jig Saw, the list goes on. Even at the end of the movie Killian’s plan is to have the president assassinated in the Iron Patriot suit, with oil so people can take away their own interpretations in the media.  That’s hilarious because that’s something straight out of a Die Hard movie, but instead of coming off as a rip off it comes off as a tribute or genre turning.  That’s what makes it brilliant, Shane Black saying “this is what we all think of when we think supervillian”.

You Still Got Your Mandarin

So basically Alrich Killian is using Mandarin as a front.  There is no Mandarin, and all the tension is gone.  But wait, Guy Pearce is the guy behind all the planning, and metaphorically the Mandarin, and if you need to imagine it, he can be considered “THE MANDARIN”.  His scheme is actually really brilliant, and for once is actually pretty easy to follow.  Shane Black and Drew Pearce basically give a real good hint at the start of the movie that puts everything into perspective.  He has a plan, there’s a constant sense of that plan and it’s not convoluted or messy, it completely makes sense.

Now, That Being Said

I still get where people are coming from when they complain about the twist.  It’s ultimately unsatisfied and I plan on going to see the movie again to see if it works better when I know what to expect.  The Mandarin is just so awesome and badass in all the right ways it hurts to find out it’s a hoax, by Guy Pearce.  Alrich Killian is still a good villain but he’s not the same as the menace of the original Mandarin.  But it’s a damned if they did damned if they didn’t.  Had they made Mandarin less threatening then you wouldn’t have that sense of fear the first half.  Overall I’ll just be grateful that Marvel took a big risk like that, and i can’t wait to hear others opinions on the matter.

Ironman 3 Opening And What It Means For Marvel

Marvel is now officially on top of the world. Ironman 3 has opened 175 Million it’s first weekend in the U.S. Alone, and has grossed 680,000,000 WorldWide in the past 10 days.  That’s the second highest opening save the Avengers last year and it looks as if Ironman will be the highest grossing film of the year, and definitely the summer.  This is  the moment that officially marks Marvel as a brand to be reckoned with.

Summer of 2011 Thor and Captain America performed Modestly with both around 400 Millionand 350 Million , both really good starts for B- List comic book characters.  Marvel’s A List Characters are Hulk, Fantastic Four, Xmen, Spiderman, and DeadPool, and seeing as Marvel only has one of those properties they’re doing extremely well.  Avengers last year was predicted to only make around 800,000,000.  I say only like that’s not a lot of money, but Marvel has always been the underdog of Geek Properties. Needless to say it made that in foreign release only and caught everybody by surprise. It was better then we could’ve hoped, and a lot of people went back to see it multiple times. I saw it twice in one night.  So of course same situation with Ironman 3, People are expecting Man of Steel to do better, and Ironman to make only around 700,000,000 Million.  Welp once again through great marketing, risky choices, and overall quality Ironman 3 has made that in it’s first week and a half. So what exactly does this mean for Marvel Studios.

This may still be a little pre mature, but basically it means they have a license to print money.  As long as they keep on a winning streak Marvel movies will continue to out perform and make more money because of the shared universe aspect. Marvel is pretty much going to make at least a billion a year, at least, not even counting The Avengers gross. And even if Avengers 2 doesn’t gross as much as Avengers 1, it will still be made up from the boost of the individual movies. It overall increases an interest in the characters and individual franchises.  The beauty of it is that marvel hasn’t made a bad film yet, and the chances of franchise fatigue is really low, since we only get a Thor or Ironman movie every three years as opposed to every other year or every year.  People are excited for properties that were before just for comic book fans.  Marvel’s Phase Two will be extremely lucrative.

What’s it mean for new properties coming out?  They’ve confirmed a Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and an Ant-Man,  adaptions to come out.  Now this is where it might be back to square one, as none of these properties are very well known, but the entire idea is to use the avengers as a spring board to propel other movies to more public interest.  Guardians of the Galaxy is already selling more comic books and if done right will be sort of another Avengers except in space.  I imagine one more sequel will be announced for Phase 3, possibly Thor or Captain America, or possibly even Guardians, which has a chance of making a lot of people new fans.

Basically the Reason everybody loves Marvel is because they’re the best of both worlds.  They have the Disney Marketing Machine which will make the movie appeal to wide audiences, but Marvel will make sure every movie is of quality first and the fans will be the first ones served.  It’s a dream come true, a studio that cares about making money, but also about making good movies first and foremost, and this is a giant nail in the coffin to the other studios trying to imitate their business model, looking at you DC and Fox.

5 Classics That Don’t Hold Up

Every once in a while somebody will try to get me to watch a “classic” movie.  The reason I tend to stay away from these is because film making has significantly improved over the last few decades.  Older movies tend to be slower and boring, because story pacing just wasn’t what it was today.  When I look at Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Fight Club, and GoodFellas I’d like to think I could watch them in 40 years and I  wouldn’t really be able to tell they were older save the actors. I recently watched The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and that’s still a good movie. Movies have evolved from slow, meandering , at least most we still get Tree Of Llife, and now with good editing movies can still tell great stories in a 3rd of a time. I don’t even think movies had deleted scenes back then so everything they filmed was left in.  These are the movies I think are fine, but really don’t hold up, and these are what people consider the greatest movies of all time,  and I can see now you feel that way but they don’t work for me anymore.

5 Citizen Kane

So everybody tells me this is the best movie of all time right, so I put it into my Bluray player and I’m sitting waiting for it to get good.. and waiting.. and waiting.. and waiting.. and waiting.. and then it was over.  Now had I seen this when it came out, I’d probably be dead by then, but i’d enjoy it better.  This also had a decent pace and good cinematography , it only suffers from me having seen the movies that takes the elements this used.

4. Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom

If I believe correctly this is considered the weakest of the Indiana Jones movies and for good reason. Not to say any of these is bad or is a bad movie, but this is the one where they took the most risks and it didn’t pay off it bit them in the ass hard.  The characters are annoying it’s not very funny or charming, the action doesn’t hold up because of the technology unlike the first one.  Not to mention the characters are so annoying, even Indie isn’t as fascinating as he usually is, still a whole lot better then Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls.

3. 2001 : A Space Oddessey

This might be the most boring movie I’ve ever seen in my life, I’m not joking whenever I want to take a nap , I put this on.  I can appreciate the fact that the special effects are frickin amazing.  It has that old school charm, but it still holds up, now admittedly I’ve never finished this movie, i’ve sat through the opening three times and either fell asleep or lost interest.  Once again amazing special effects, I think the movies biggest problem, along with most Kubrick films sorry I know i’m in the minority, is the overall lack of urgency with the story telling.  The opening with the apes should’ve only taken about 10 minutes, maybe, but it goes on for like 30 whole minutes, which just encases what’s wrong with the pacing with this movie, every scene is 3 times as long as it needs to be.  Another thing is I appreciate a good score, but this turns into a video with scenes going along with 5 minute songs when the audience has already taken away what they need to in the first minute.  Hopefully one day , I’ll be able to finish this movie , and I’ll admit it’s not entirely fair to judge without seeing the entire thing, but sue me I tried.. like 4 times.

2. The GodFather

Sharpen your pitchforks, heat up your tar I know I know.  I think a big thing that doesn’t help these movies is that everyone tells me they’re the best of all time, and i get my hopes up.  Once again the main killer is pacing and lack of subtly.  We just told stories different back then.  This is a 3 hour movie that honestly could’ve been 2 or even standard 90 minutes.  I can see why people like it it’s so damn iconic.  This might be the most quoted movie of all time.  If they were to realease a “If you’ve got shit to do later” edition i’d buy it and probably love it.

1. The Shinning

This is the only one of these movies I consider bad.  The acting is bad, the writing isn’t that great, it’s boring, it’s not scary, and worst of all it’s boring as fuck.  I don’t know if I’m catching the director’s cuts of these movies, but my god they’re not doing themselves any favors.  When I heard the Razzies nominated this for Worst Picture and Worst Actress I was offended.. and then I saw the movie and i’ll be damned if the women who played the wife doesn’t give the worst performance I’ve seen in a movie so celebrated.  This movie didn’t even get nominated for a whole lot of Oscars and I see why.  This seems to be that one Kubrick movie that it’s okay to hate, and boy did I hate it. There’s too much of this movie that’s nothing going on.  There was a 5 minute scene of the wife and boy watching T.V.

It seems to me that Kubrick really needed a better editor.  Of all the movies I watched of his they all tend to be over 2 and a half hours and it usually feels unnecessary, I was going to include ClockWork Orange, but I actually enjoyed that movie somewhat, this was totally unpleasant experience.  And really the score doesn’t help, it almost becomes a parody of itself.  Not to mention too much ambiguity.  Now I complain about this a lot , but as someone who writes screenplays half the time something is ambitious , I either couldn’t explain it or didn’t feel like explaining it.  Now I’m nowhere near as good as the great Kubrick, but I can’t help but wonder if he didn’t have answers so he just left them blank, and let the audience do the work.  This seems to be the most polarizing of Stanley Kubrick films and I dare you to go back and watch and it tell yourself it’s not silly and it still holds up.

The Place Beyond The Pines – An Awkward Review

There’s a class of movies that deserve “Almost Oscars”.  These are movies that are quite good, but not quite Oscar Caliber film making.  Something Like Looper, Drive, Scott Pilgrim, movies that are really great, but not something that should win Best Picture.  Well with Place Beyond The Pines we have something that Almost deserves an almost Oscar.

This is a crime drama from Derek Cianfrance , featuring a fantastic cast.  This is a movie about fathers and sons, choices and decisions and consequences and is a massive undertaking of storytelling and a very ambitious movie.  The story spans two generations of a cop and a criminal and their sons.  It stars 3 of my personal favorite actors Ryan Gosling, Dane Dehaan, and Bradley Cooper who are all fantastic.

Now right off the bat I had a grudge against this movie.  First of I don’t believe any movie should be over 2 hours long.  Film makers should keep their audiences in mind when making these movies and generally speaking most of the movies over 2 hours don’t need to be that long.  Not to say I don’t like long movies, but it takes fantastic editing, story structure, and story pacing to make it work.  So when I saw this movie was 2 hours and 20 minutes I already stuck my lip out to pout at it. I can’t stand really slow meandering movies that are under the guise of atmosphere or intellectualism.

Another thing that had me worried is a usually don’t like these multiple storyline crime dramas.  Crash was cool, Pulp Fiction and Go made it work, but almost every other time they don’t work for me.  I thought this was going to be one of those gimmicky movies were all the stories would intertwine and the characters would meet every once in a while, and those can be fun, but this looks like it’s going for the gold.

The best and worst thing I can say about this movie is that it’s basically 3 different movies in one that tell one narrative.  A lot of the reasons that these multiple time line movies don’t work is because usually one is better or more engaging then the other and maybe one drags.  Another problem is one might get too much attention and the other might be under developed.  All 3 segments here are given equal development and time focused, I’m going to give each Segment it’s impression since it’s so fragmented, and also strangely congealed.

The First segment has Ryan Gosling realizing he has a son, and trying to be involved in his life.  The reason this segment works is because we all know his character.  It’s a good guy who can’t help but stay in trouble with the law, but has a heart of gold.  Ryan plays it well with not too much attitude or “swagger”.  It also works in that sort of predictable story told really well sort of way.  You can pretty much tell how it’s going to play out, but what makes it good is the knife twisting as the tension ratchets up constantly. It also had me reassured because it’s very tight and moves just fast enough while giving enough development to make it work.  This is where the writing, acting, direction, and score really come together to make a damn good short film and start of the movie. Excellent start, I almost advice turning the movie off at that point, because it peaks at that point.

Next is the Bradley Cooper as the cop.  His segment starts after the Ryan Gosling segment and here is when the movie starts to lose it’s punch after a while, but it’s still hanging in there.  Once again very predictable what’s going to happen, but it’s still got tension and recurring themes of consequence and choices.  Acting good, direction still good.  The problem is that while the first segment had an excellent solution and set up, here the solution is really weak, which takes the wind out of the momentum the movie had.  Everything’s just a notch down, but I’m still hanging with it.

The Third Segment is where the movie turns into what I was afraid of.  The tightness and focus is gone along with the tension.  It’s just waiting for the big reveal.  And this brings in a complaint with one of the actors the son of Bradley Cooper’s character.  Now Bradley Cooper is the cop, and Ryan Gosling’s is the criminal , but for some reason Bradley Cooper’s son is a wigger.  It’s still a good performance but it’s really weird and off putting at times.  And once again the segment really just drops the ball on the ending.

Now the reason I really liked this film is that it is basically one really long story and they don’t use any narrative tricks or fancy editing to tell the story, it’s very traditional.  Part of me thinks that maybe they should’ve used the segment with the sons as a frame story and then let the movie play out as a sort of mystery.  But really that’s not the problem.  The problem is that the story is just top heavy.  They simply had a better beginning then the ending and the movie just continuously drops in quality.  It’s not a significant drop, but you do notice.  And even where it ends up isn’t even that bad it’s just a disappointment given the excellent start.  Overall I’m glad I saw it, I wouldn’t rush out to go see it, but if it’s playing in your city check it out, or even better catch it on Redbox on a Lazy Sunday and you’ll enjoy it that much more.

Ironman 3 a dissapointment?

Just saw Ironman 3 last night, and wow did I enjoy it.  I’m not going to say I love it yet, I want to go see it again to really get a feel for it.  I think the biggest hurdle this movie has is the fact that it’s not a superhero movie anymore.  It’s much more of a thriller, maybe a little Jason Bournish, with a mystery all through it.  This is not a review, this is purely a comparison to the Ironman Franchise, including Avengers.

This is the mis steps Ironman 3.  This is a mixed complaint, but the movie doesn’t have a really fast pace or great story structure.  There’s no 3 act template so the movie, probably on only the first viewing,, doesn’t seem to have a direction for a lot of it. The story is also very untraditional.  A british screenwriter Drew Pearce wrote the script with Shane Black and you can really feel his hand here.  It feels like a new franchise, and a new character.  there’s also a real lack of action during the beginning. Also the snappy dialogue is gone and it’s more of a dry wit sort of thing, so it’s not as funny, whilst still being pretty funny. The complaints that I have are more in the comparison with The Avengers then Ironman 2.  There’s also a character moment that I won’t spoil that personally I enjoyed, but I can understand why people found it unsatisfactory.

Now the positives, and there are many, is that this is the most mature Marvel film out of the bunch, and while I did complain that Tony Stark wasn’t swarmy or Jokey enough, that’s the point, he’s not the smooth talker anymore, we get a little bit of it in the beginning, but now he’s out of his element.  The humor is darker and more specific dialogue then the rapid fire style of the first two.  But Ironman 2 was too jokey with lazy humor, people talking over each other, and it really wan’t all that funny.  This is a new side of Tony Stark, much more vulnerable and frightened almost frail portrayal.

This movie is ultimately a left turn for the franchise, instead of being a traditional action movie, it’s a thriller.  As a thriller it’s pretty bad ass, It wasn’t very convoluted it has good villains, really good acting,and a real sense of threat.  Most of the time Ironman is in a defective suit and can’t fight the way he usually does adding a sense of danger, that was missing in Avengers and Ironman 2.  Also the villain to me hands down is a mass improvement for the franchise, much more clear motivations, and a plan that’s actually excellent.

Basicaly all my complaints with Ironman are in comparison with Avengers, it was hard to top and I don’t think they were trying to do that, I think they were trying to make a tony stark centric story and focus back on the characters.  In comparison with Ironman 2, it’s a much more superior film, in almost every fashion.  So for anybody wondering it’s better then Ironman 2 not as good as Avengers.  If you come in expecting Avengers you will be utterly disappointed. I’m finding more things to appreciate it the more I think about it

Will Marvel Ever Get All It’s Characters Back?

When I was growing up I was never very much into comic books, I was more of a manga guy, admittedly I regret this, but comic books are way too expensive even for me know as a grown adult.  I did end up reading a few runs here or there, but I got the essentials book for Spiderman and Xmen, both fantastic runs, and I read the ultimates for both of them.  Ironically whenever the Avengers came in the picture, I was like “boooooo”.  They all seemed silly weak and boring to me compared to Wolverine or Spiderman.

Now I’m all about the Avengers characters.  Captain America and Thor are two of my favorite Superheroes, and Ironman is my absolute favorite movie character, maybe second to Tyler Durden or Scott Pilgrim.  Marvel took them embraced their silliness and made really fun movies out of them.  I just came out of Ironman 3 and wow comic book movies have come so far. I got into an argument with someone on the internet over if Spiderman would show up in the Avengers 2. I said no that’s stupid, the amount that sony would charge would not be the amount worth of the income.

In a bit of mixed bag news it’s just been reported that Marvel now has control of Blade, Punisher, DareDevil, and Ghost Rider.  Now all of these movies are damaged goods, except maybe Blade.  While I didn’t think the Thomas Jane Punisher was all that bad, all of these movies have had what’s considered the lowest reception for a major superhero movies.  Personally, i’d rather not see any of these characters back.  They’re hard to get done right and many are arguing that every one of these movies needs to be Rater R to really stay true to the comic books.  But this brings about really good news.

The good news being that it’s not going to be too far off until Marvel has Fantastic Four, Xmen, and Spiderman and can actually make a true Avengers movie and can hand pick the best of the characters that fits the stories and easily pump out 3 movies a year.  The reason I say that is because Fantastic Four, and Xmen are also damaged goods.

The way franchises work is, if you make a weak sequel the following movies will suffer, Fox has shot themselves in the foot not once, but twice with the Xmen franchise.  First the made X3 then it was Xmen Wolverine Origins.  So when they finally made a fantastic movie , xmen First class, it didn’t do that great.  It was a modest hit, and after looking at the returns I was surprised that they are proceeding with a sequel.  then I thought about it, they’re absolutely desperate to get that tentpole.  Right now it’s all up to Wolverine, which honestly i don’t see doing that well. Personall I’ll go see Xmen Days of Future Past because I love the new reboot, but I’m done with Xmen and Fanastic Four.  And I’m sure a lot of people feel this way, Fox has a bad reputation of mishandling superhero movies.   Even if the reboot is successful, which it probably will be, I doubt the general public will care enough to keep it going, eventually both franchises will stop making money, and Fox will stop making the movies.  If they were smart they’d make a movie once every other year to keep public interest up, but nope they’re being greedy, and wringing them dry.  I give it 10 years.

On the other Side is Spiderman. now Amazing Spiderman did pretty damn good business, not quite reaching The originals, Avengers, or The Dark Knight, but slightly better then ironman numbers, but once again instead of Sony spreading these movies out they’re making one every other year.  This doesn’t work because eventually you’re either going to make a bad sequel or the public will get tired of them. They’re even talking about a Venom movie trying to copy the Marvel shared universe template.

The Advantage Marvel has is that they’re not on a time clock to get these movies made.  For those of you who don’t know, Sony and Fox have to make a movie every certain amount of years or they lose the rights to the characters.  But if Marvel doesn’t want to make another Captain America movie they don’t have to worry about losing him as opposed to Spiderman.  Marvel also has the advantage of having an excess amount of characters to pick from.  It also has the advantage of not having franchise fatigue.  An Avengers movie comes out once every 3 years so it’s an event, they’re on their way to having a license to print money.  Ironman 3 has already gotten a huge boost from Avengers, they just need to keep the momentum going and have all their properties flourish , while Fox and Sony get picked of sequel by sequel, and once Marvel gets their hands on Spiderman or Wolverine it’s over, money in the bank.