Tag Archives: comedy

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.

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The Dark Knight Is A Liar

Everybody loves The Dark Knight trilogy.  Geeks love it , Girls love it, Jocks love it, Parents love it, inmates love it, Nolan excels at making thinking man movies that also function as pop corn movies.  Fans of Nolan think he is a genuis, and god’s gift to cinema.  Detractors say that he’s overrated, and simply uses narrative tricks to fool people into thinking his movies are better then they are.  Me being Mr. That’s Over rated , Tend to lean to the detractor side.

Not to say that Nolan isn’t a genius, or at least isn’t capable of being a genius, but I think he’s a much better director then screenwriter.  His dialogue is absolutely atrocious ” Cat’s got your tongue”, and his scripts tend to have get really sloppy, especially during the third act.  I don’t think I’ve seen a Nolan movie that hasn’t dipped in quality in the third act.  Inception was going great until it buckles under the weight of itself and really lost me emotionally. The Dark Knight has one of the weakest 3rd acts , for me personally , because it falls into the trappings and just becomes your typical Batman movie.  I noticed with Dark Knight Rises , and I hope this trend doesn’t continue, that his movies have gaping lapses of logic inside of them.  Stuff will happen that doesn’t make sense that nobody can explain.  Like in the beginning of The Dark Knight the joker knew exactly when to drive a bus out of the side of a building, and none of the other drivers or passengers notice?

The Dark Knight, to some, is the epitome of superhero movies.  Personally it’s more of a crime drama , so i prefer the darker Spiderman or the Avengers before.  Now I’m going to lose a lot of people, but the dark knight trilogy do not have a “dark” tone.  Now somebody of lesser intelligence may say ” What are you talking about it has dark in the title”.

Let me explain.  Having a dark tone, means having a movie that on the surface level is funny , quirky, or fun, but on further inspection you realize how depressing it is. It also means having characters you aren’t necessarily supposed to root for, and characters who are introspective and self loathing or even doubtful.  Fight Club is a good example, it’s real funny, but overall the story and characters and the situations they find themselves in are messed up.

The overall message of The Dark Knight trilogy is hope in humanity and hope in general.  It’s got other themes and ideas that ultimately conflict, but basically what I got from Dark Knight is people are good.  That’s definitely not dark, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that except it feels like a cop out.  The reason people like myself honest to god hate the dark knight rises, but can understand why some people of equal intelligence can like it, is because all the contradictions.  The Themes conflict other movies,  The overall smartness conflicts with the dumb logic the movie has and plot inconstancies, and worst of all is the tone.  The overall tone for your last movie needs to be absolute dread, something that was pulled off a lot better in The Dark Knight.  Harry Potter was a much better conclusion for several reason.  First it split up the movies into two parts giving both stories time to breathe and keep the story structure in pacing under control.  Second it meant that we can really get a sense of looming dread throughout the series.  They even desaturated the posters and marketing to make it look like saving private ryan to help really nail home ” This is the end”.  The most obvious thing it did was kill off it’s characters. Spoilers I guess, or is it too late?  Shit even Twilight had the balls to kind of kill off most of the main characters.  In the entire Dark Knight trilogy only 2 secondary characters die.

It doesn’t feel dreadful because Nolan is too soft to kill off any of his main characters.  Your last movie needs to have character death or that sense of dread, neither work because the last act is so rushed you don’t really get a sense of time passing for suffering.  The lesser intelligent person may also say ” But it’s so realistic and gritty, and he’s Batman”  Well you’re not all the way wrong.  He is in fact Batman, and it’s realistic and gritty for a superhero movie I suppose, but not really.  Kickass was realistic and gritty save the rocket launcher.  TDK trilogy always had moments that stick out as clearly unrealistic but no more so then TDKR, and gritty? Not really if you read the comics you realize Batman is a thug.  He will break your bones, snap limbs, bring you to the bring of death, but there’s none of that here.  Bane even snaps a guys neck offscreen.  Nolan doesn’t have the edge like Fincher who would’ve knocked this out of the park. And even if it was “gritty and realistic” outside of relations to other comic book movie that still doesn’t mean it’s dark.  It’s more of just a pop corn movie then an intellectual masterpiece people make it out as.

That being said, i can genuinely see why people love this movie.  It really only pays service to people who like TDK , which is a lot of people.  For people like me who loved TDK but doesn’t think it’s the best film ever, it’s a serious letdown, to each his own

Top 5 Let-downs of the Summer

Continuing with my last point, 2012 is a rough year for movies. The last two years where undeniably great, while this one is just meh. Then The Avengers came and surprised everybody by not only having lots of explosions and special effects, but by having a heart, and having every part of the ensemble in top-gear, and being one of the funnest movies I’ve seen. Then.. Nothing. No other movies came out that even approached the Avengers. Here’s my top list for 5 lists for disappointments of the summer. Granted none of these movies are bad per see. Just big let downs for people out of it’s core fan bases.

5. The Dark Knight Rises

Let’s start this list right. The mighty Dark Knight falls. On it’s face several times. There’s three real problems with this movie. One Nolan tries too hard to make this feel like it’s an important piece of film. So much so he forgets to make a superhero movie. Except a few moments that feel  like he put them there. I’m not going to spoil anything but basically Batman puts a big ass Bat symbol in the middle of Gotham for no real reason. Stupidest shit ever. Also the dialogue is horrendous. He works best when Batman is more of a symbol as opposed to a superhero. That’s when you get lines like “I’m the hero Gotham needs, not the one it wants”. That corny shit they put on the poster. Next He’s making a crowd-pleaser. Anybody with a brain could figure it out but for my readers who just got a lobotomy, it’s for a broad audience. Nolan has no teeth, that’s why there are no on-screen deaths, No real violence to speak of and everything in the last hour is predictable. I’ve never seen a Nolan movie that doesn’t get lazy at the end. Even Inception buckled under it’s own weight in the last 15 minutes.

Lastly there’s so much to digest, and the sloppy editing doesn’t help.A good conclusion needs to feel like it completes the series, answers all the questions, and needs to feel like all hell broke loose. TDKR does none of the aforementioned. There’s no real tension because we know all the characters are going to be okay and it’s a Nolan movie. They could easily make a new movie, hell like two movies and they did a terrible job of concluding the series. The returning characters are no different then where they start, Lucius Fox getting once again next to no screen time, and Officer Gordon doing basically the exact same shit he did in the last movie. The problem with wanting to make everything important is that he adds unnecessary undertones to everything. Bane is a solid villain, even though he’s really copy of the joker (Note the facial deformity, the hidden face in the intro, and even having basically the same plan on a larger scale), but I really think he could easily be a great villain. Nope. Not only does the twist at the end undercut his entire character, but his political views contradicts his plan. He wants to have an anarchy basically, which we never see play out, and then he plans to blow up the city.. How about you stick to one or the other. Not to mention the movie is long as shit, for no reason. It takes Nolan an hour and a half what would take any other director half that. Then you have more time for character development, and letting all these themes of identity, self-preservation, and darwinism come into play. Once again , not a bad movie. Just a sloppy, long, kind of boring, disappointing one. Not to act like there’s nothing positive, but everything they do right is completely ruined by a decision made later in the movie.

It’s not higher on the lists because I really didn’t expect too much from it to begin with. I love Dark Knight, but it basically had a few of the same issues, but everything I saw from the trailer made me figure out I probably wouldn’t enjoy it that much. The problem with wanting to be so relevant is you look at it more closely then you would say Ironman or X-Men. Ironman and X-Men had political statements that wasn’t too obvious and really anybody could understand. Respectively, Responsibility and Equality. Simple, you learn that in Kindergarden . You can’t rap up Bane’s political agenda in one word or even a paragraph. If you want to make a real movie make it, get your head out of your own ass and just make a political thriller or a superhero movie. Anybody who thinks I’m crazy you’re probably a fan boy and wanted to do all the extra work that the film made you do to enjoy it. I didn’t so there you go.

4. Prometheus

Now I could put Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus on the same bracket because they have the same problems. Bloated length, illogical character motivations, contradicts it’s own themes, overstuffed, and a false sense of self importance. First off, I needed to do several hours of research to figure out this movie. Anytime a movie makes you so intrigued you go off and do research outside of it that’s great. Anytime a movie Requires you to go off and do research it automatically gets knocked a few notches down. Now when I mean several hours, I mean SEVERAL HOURS. Between youtube, wikipedia, and a bunch of lists, I got it down what the movie wanted to get across. Still, several notches down.

Positives. This is actually an easy section to write because there are a lot of positives. I can understand why some people, who actually followed the movie and love Aliens, could love it. I could see even enjoying it completely in the dark. But as I discussed a positive can easily become a strike against the film if followed up poorly. The visuals ride the line between physical and clearly CGI but are incredible, jaw-dropping in some parts. The only minor complaint is that since it’s a prequel the technology looks so futuristic it doesn’t fit, but I can let that go because they’re so many beautiful images in this movie. The performances are still great. And when they aren’t it feels like the scripts fault, but Ridley Scott’s strength is clearly in set design and working with actors. Micheal Fassbender… Ahhhhh he’s so dreamy. And creepy. And fun to watch. If he doesn’t get, no win, a Best supporting Oscar Trophy I’ll be mad. The atmosphere works great through the whole movie. Here’s where the line grays. The story works great at the start, it’s a slow-burn but it’s taking it’s time it feels like it’s leading up to something.

But….as the story progresses it hits the half way mark and gets dumber and dumber and dumber and dumber, while still pretending to be a smart movie. When you take away all the fixings it’s your typical space horror movie. The fixings being psychological jargon, metaphors, and so much ambiguity. It feels like the writer didn’t know the answers to the questions he presented so he said fuck it we’ll make a mystery where none of the questions get answered people will call it brilliant. No..No…NO. Mr. Screenwriter you’re the sole reason this movie is weak. Everything but your smart stupid ass script works. But then you come in and throw a wrench at the whole thing. Everything that can be wrong with a script is here. Overarching themes, stupid characters, overly insightful characters, too much ambiguity, poor dialogue, just overall sloppy. This script needed to be tight and this easily could’ve been one of the best movies in the world. The writer even acknowledged they should get somebody else. It would’ve taken like a week to just punch up this script and make it good again. Nope I’ve been noticing that a lot. Dark Knight I’m looking at you buddy.

3. The Amazing Spider-man

Now I love Comic Book Movies. They’re basically character studies that get millions of dollars and get to be epic and dark and funny possibly all at the same time. Now my favorite CBM is Spiderman 2. No Ironman. No Avengers…. No Spiderman 2 actually. Sam Raimi took a great comic book hero and made this magical movie that did the best possible job in adapting a comic book. He got the spirit of the character and the comic right, while also putting his own spin , Much like Nolan with Batman, and Matthew Vaughn with Kick-ass. Crafting a movie that’s fun on the exterior and dark and depressing on the inside. So to say I have a chip on my shoulder for the reboot, is an understatement. The Spiderman trilogy is my favorite. I even liked Spiderman 3 a lot. So I hated it before it even came out, and I still came out disappointed.

The New Spiderman is okay. It’s not horrible, it’s not bad, it’s just okay. The problem is it has an entire trilogy of movies hovering over it’s shoulder. It’d be different if it’s just one movie, but no 3 separate movies it has to be better than. Basically Sam Raimi scored a 100 percent. There was no conceivable way to make this reboot work as well as the original. I don’t know why they didn’t just make a sequel with a new guy and director. The acting doesn’t have that charm as the originals, the action scenes don’t come close. Not even the special effects, the one thing that could work.. They look.. like special effects. The original two movies where stuck in that golden age of film making where CGI and pratical effects met in the middle and created a genuine look that can never be recreated. ASM has special effects that look like any other movie out there. Now with Avengers you have the epitome of a fun superhero film and Dark Knight you have the opposite in an, arguably, dark realistic tone. It kind of just floats somewhere in the middle not really committing to one side, unlike the original which ended up working as both very well. As a kid I watched it and loved it then grew up as a teen and appreciated the more moody aspects and related to them. This is like Twilight meets Spiderman. And I have to keep bringing up the original since it just ended 5 years ago. It dips into too much of the moody stuff instead of keeping it hidden under the surface. If this was the first movie, it’d probably be a little better but it did feel like set-up so we’ll see how the next one does.

2. Dark Shadows

My main fear with this list is that I would alienate people, but this is not a problem for Dark Shadows. Nobody saw it , Nobody cares about it, and it pretty much flopped at the box office. Normally this is the kind of movie that’s really fun, a little goofy, but no this has to be the dullest vampire movie i’ve seen in a while. Really all these movies are on this list because they have a decent start decent end but kind of just take a nap in the middle. This doesn’t have that decent ending to back it up. There’s only two good thing in this movie. The visuals and set designs and Eva Green. She plays the worst psycho ex girlfriend ever. She goes from looking absolutely sexy to fucking crazy every time she’s on screen. I wish this movie was better because she honestly deserves Best Supporting, but Tim Burton pretty much ruins any chances of that by having her be in one of the worst sex scenes I’ve ever scene.. Ha.. Johnny Depp is kind of just phoning it in, I’m not sure to blame the script him or Mr. Burton so I’ll pass it around. The underlying problem is the tone and the decisions. It’s so goofy, then it tries to be really scary. And when I say goofy, I mean like Looney Toons type shit. Besides Eva Green a complete and total waste of time.

1. The Expendables 2

Now I actually hate this movie. I hate this movie I hate the last one I hate what it stands for. HATE. This has to be the laziest fan service movie I’ve ever seen. When you do a team movie right you’re effectively making a movie better than any standard movie of the genre. That’s why Toy Story is better than Shrek. Lord of The Rings is better than Harry Potter. Why Avengers is better than Dark Knight. If done right, every actor can turn in a memorable performance and also the pacing can improve since the screen time is spread out more cuts which means faster editing.

Now this isn’t an ensemble. This isn’t even a team movie. There’s no since of “We need this guy for this” or “wow that guy is a badass”. Nobody in this series has any personality, beyond what kind of weapon they use. They don’t even have a good performance to carry the movie. There’s literally nothing good in this movie. It’s dumb but not dumb fun just dumb lazy. The villain name is Villan.. No irony seriously that’s his name. The action scenes aren’t even all that good, only having a few moments of inventiveness, but mostly being routine and outright confusing. The worst part is most of the actors here can do combat. You have three action stars, a master martial artists, a lineman, and a UFC fighter. If Jackie Chan did the choreo we’d have a bad ass movie on our hands, but nope.

This movie shows a devolution of what we call an action movie. Horror movies and comedies are already in the shitter but action is slowly sinking to their level. There’s no effort they have a cast that could be decent with an okay script and good direction, but nope both are terrible. Really the cast isn’t that great either the only one I’d consider a good actor is…… I guess Stallone, but he’s been in his fair share of shitty movies himself so yeah.. All they said was “If we get all these guys together people will come see it and love it.. A script.. Yeah I got my 13 year old nephew he writes fan-fiction he’ll take care of that”. I said none of these are bad movies but this one is easily a bad movie, I’m out.

5 Reasons Cabin In The Woods is the best horror movie of the last decade

2012 was a really weird years for movies. After a great year in 2010 where every Oscar movie ended up on my Bluray shelf, and then 2011 where we got at least two great movies a month, 2012 is really a let down. Until April the best movie I’d seen all year was 21 Jump Street. No mistake it is a really good movie, but as a film buff it feels awkward to list a Channing Tatum movie as the best of the year. Then the wonderful Cabin in The Woods came out. Even knowing to be surprised it still threw me for several loops and I was smiling the entire time. It’s almost a pastiche of other scary movies. Name your top 10 horror movies and it either references them and then upstages them and then switches to another sub-genre. But a lot of people who wanted a standard horror movie where disappointed. Here’s why they’re wrong.

1. The Characters

Cabin in The Woods is all about making a movie that pretty much goes back and makes excuses for why most horror movies suck. Usually in a horror movie the characters are cliche, annoying, or stupid doing stuff the audience wouldn’t. Here the characters are labeled as cliches , Stoner, Slut, Jock, Nerd, but they’re given so much personality they feel relatable. The more you like the characters in a horror movie the more tension the scenes bring in. The main complaint people has is the movie isn’t scary. For me it’s scary because I care about the characters and nobody feels safe.

2. The Acting

The entire cast shines here. There’s not a single lead who feels like they’re not pulling their weight. Chris Hemsworth solidifies himself as a leading man given the scenes an added sense of charisma and humanity. Richard Jenkins is hysterical and incredibly sympathetic in his role. The one who completely carries the movie is Fran Kranz as The Stoner. He’s the funniest character and he’s also the avatar for the audience.  Embodying the frantic tone of the movie and actually growing as a character as the movie progresses he’s my choice for best supporting actor for this year, aside from Micheal Fassbender in Prometheus, nobody else has this much screen presence in a movie that i’ve seen for a while.

3. The Writing

The screenplay co-written by Joss Wheedon, the director/writer of the Avengers, is probably the best of the year. It works on every level, dialogue, story structure, character development, etc. They even subtly put in references to other horror movies, like Evil Dead, also one of my favorites. The script is flawless and since Joss Wheedon already got nominated for Original Screenplay for Toy Story, I’m hoping this movie also gets The Best Original Screenplay nomination. What really shines is the premise. So many movies take a great premise and then drop the ball. This takes it’s premise throws it through the fourth wall, bends it, and makes it it’s bitch, and then flips it on it’s head. In a very smart move they don’t give the cabin any exposition, but they give a lot of set up. It’s a lot like Inception, just tossing the audience into the movie without explaining anything then letting them slowly digest it. Except this movies from 2009 and is ahead of it’s time. It’s predictable, but in the best sense, letting audience figure out what’s going to happen and rewarding them for doing the work. Nothing happens in the movie that isn’t explained by an earlier scene, and figuring that connection out makes the movie that much more satisfactory. Some people have to have their hand held through the narrative, but for seasoned movie goers they’ll have a vague sense of what’s going to happen building up the anticipation. By the end of the movie you understand fully what’s going on. Just like with Avengers it feels like they just say in a room and said “What if”. Except most directors wouldn’t put those “What if”s in a movie. Not Joss Wheedon. The movie also points at other horror movies and says “here’s where y’all messed up”, explaining why characters do dome stuff in horror movies. First it works as a Cabin horror movie, then as a zombie movie, then as a survival movie, then as a psychological horror movie. It sticks to a sub genre , bodies it, and then keeps going. Also one thing I really love is the script actually makes them seem like they actually go to college instead of the audience being told “They’re from college check out the letterman”. Just a little something I liked.

4. The Monsters

The most inventive thing about this movie is it’s monsters. The main course what everybody came to see. And wow I don’t want to spoil anything, but let me say, for anybody who just wants to see deaths, these are the best. This is has the same amount of any given slasher franchise packed into one movie. It’s really smart and then in the best way it gets really dumb and just gives the audience exactly what it wants. The best part is you’re given forewarning of every creature earlier in the movie, making it more exciting. To give an example there’s a family of zombie rednecks and one of their weapons is a bear trap on a rope they use to swing at people. Every monster in the film feels like it has a backstory. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the ingenuity.

5. The Humor

Now this is where people usually disconnect from the movie. I’ve heard so many times “It’s was a comedy, not a horror movie”. Well no, not really. The comedy comes from the characters and the dialogue. And all the physical jokes are in the deaths. That’s really any horror movie though, especially 90’s horror. I haven’t seen a single horror movie that people liked that didn’t try to be funny. And the comedy makes the characters feel like real people. I don’t even like using the word “comedy” there aren’t any fart jokes or any slipping on a banana peel jokes, it’s jokes you’d make with a friend if you where clever enough. And half the time that shit that’s funny I’m not even supposed sure it was intended that way, it’s just the audience is having such a good time they find reasons to smile. And even as a comedy it’s better than most of them. A comedy essentially needs the same thing as a horror movie. Like able characters , and motivation that makes sense. In that sense it’s a great comedy and is pretty much the funniest movie i’ve seen this year. The humor also helps with the pacing, making scenes that are for narrative set up come more to live. Even compared to the best horror-comedies like Shaun of The Dead and Evil Dead 2, it’s funnier and is more ambitious, and is my favorite horror movie ever.