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Movie Review: Deadpool 2

May 18, 2018

deadpool-2-poster-final-405x600Not as good as the first. I still very much enjoyed it, but it looses some of that key Deadpool flavor by putting the character in a story that just in’t a good fit for him. Not to mention the lazy conceit that starts the plot off.

Ryan Reynolds still perfectly embodies Deadpool, and the rest of the returning cast are welcome additions except for maybe TJ Miller. Josh Brolin does a pretty good job for not having a whole lot to work with, he’s basically just playing a discount terminator. Zazie Beetz was a welcome addition as Domino, lucky and likable.

David Leitch came in as director and clearly had an action mandate to fill. Not that I’m complaining, it was all pretty awesome stuff. I dunno, maybe it just didn’t feel as funny or inventive as a fight between super beings should be?

Soundtrack was suburb. Getting Celine Dion to do a song for a James Bond style intro was inspired. Not to mention all of the songs that helped various jokes land. My personal favorite though has to be “You Can’t Stop This Motherfucker!” the orchestral theme of a pretty awesome character.

Overall I did really enjoy it in spite of the few plot points that bothered me. I’d watch a third one, though who knows if Disney will let that happen. 8/10

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Movie Review- Avengers: Infinity War

May 1, 2018

Wow, so this was an experience. Not exactly something I would recommend for anyone that hasn’t seen at least half of the MCU films released so far, but as a super nerd who’s seen them all several times it was a highly satisfying experience. The next film can’t get here fast enough.

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These actors perfectly embody these characters at this point and while most of them don’t get full arcs in this film you do get a strong sense of who each of them are. Josh Brolin’s Thanos does get an arc and he brings much needed pathos and depth to the big purple CGI Titan. Without giving too much away I would say the two other stand out performances were from Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora.

Directing was I imagine a headache inducing experience for the Russo brothers. With about forty characters to juggle and taking place in multiple locations across Earth and the Galaxy they pulled it off with a resounding success in my opinion. I didn’t have the chance to see it in Imax, but the choice to use all Imax cameras was still a choice that you can see as even the smaller battle scenes felt like they had a bigger scope then previous films.

The story is perhaps the most ambitious Marvel Studios has ever attempted despite it still being extremely comic booky in nature. Thanos is very concerned about overpopulation here, changed very much from his comic motivation which kind of bothers me but it still works. Personally more engaging from me over the plot was the character dynamics at play.

Alan Silvestri composes some damn epic music. He takes that now classic score from the first Avengers film and expands on it in new and interesting ways. I might even want to put this on next time I read some Avengers comics.

Special effects are of course top notch, from the epic battles to the smaller battles and the many CGI characters. Thanos in particular looked really good, better then most Hulk appearances even. Also a shout out to whoever decided to pull inspiration from the Harry Potter films for Doctor Strange visuals, it looked awesome.

Overall I understand why many critics found fault with it but for me this is a fucking 10/10.

My Top 10 Favorite Stoner Films

April 20, 2018

Today I thought we should take some time to appreciate some high art.

10. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004) When I first saw this film I had never heard of White Castle burgers and to this day I still have not been to one. I remember not liking some ill advised CGI, but the comedic timing and ridiculous plot were more then enough to compensate. The second film might be slightly better but I honestly haven’t seen either in years so I just gave it to the original to be fair. I also know there was a third one but I never saw it and given that it was a 3D Christmas special I kinda don’t think I’m missing much. 7/10

09. Half Baked (1998) This film was my first exposure to the great Dave Chappelle and the concept of medical marijuana. Plot is pretty basic as far as stoner films go, sell a bunch of weed to bail out somebody from jail. It’s comedic timing that really sells this though, the leads have amazing chemistry with each other. So much so that you ignore all of the mind boggling implications of people literally getting high in this world. 7/10 

08. American Ultra (2015) So a stoner dude discovers that he’s a programmed weapon of the CIA or something and now he has to kill a bunch of guys using skills he never knew he had. Not bad for a stoner film set up. Action was pretty good, soundtrack was awesome and the two leads played off of each other amazingly well. It kinda seems like they wanted to do a sequel, probably won’t ever happen but if Super Troopers can do it then I guess there’s still hope. 7/10

07. Grandma’s Boy (2006) This one might have some of the dumbest moments ever committed to film but I laughed my ass off through most of it regardless. This follows a video game play tester who dreams of being a video game designer. He’s also a huge stoner in his 30’s who’s forced to move in with his grandmother. This film features my favorite type of humor, bizarre humor. 7/10

06. Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000) Speaking of bizarre humor, this movie is random as fuck. From an ostrich from to a drive thru to a cult meeting and an arcade this film is just a wacky stoner adventure. Ashton Kutcher and Seann William owned these roles, if you don’t laugh at how dumb they are then you probably haven’t smoked enough. I know the 18% on Rotten Tomatoes might turn you off but I promise you DUDE! it’s a SWEET! film. 7/10

05. Super High Me (2008) This is the one and only documentary on my list. It follows a stand-up comedian who gets extremely high every day for thirty days straight and then tests to see how it has effected him both mentally and physically. You could just glance at the wiki if numbers and stats are all you care about but Doug Benson is one funny fucker, he makes the whole thing very watchable even during his thirty days of not smoking. 7.5/10

04. How High (2001) So Redman and Method Man use the cremated ashes of their dead friend in the soil of a pot plant. then they smoke that plant and the ghost of their friend appears to them. They use this power to get perfect test scores that land them in Harvard. They’re maybe not the best actors, but I enjoyed the high concept. 7.75/10

03. Friday (1995) Very simple day in the life type story elevated by great performances throughout. Ice Cube and Chris Tucker are an awesome comedic duo, but the small minor roles also manage to stand out when they’re on screen. Not much actually happens, but it’s also a little overwhelming just watching them watch the goings on in their neighborhood. 8.75/10

02. Pineapple Express (2008) So reading the plot summery of this makes it sound maybe a lot dumber then I remember it being while watching it. That being said the comedy and action is firing on all cylinders. Seth Rogan and James Franco are a legendary duo and the addition of Danny McBride only improves that duo. 8.75/10

01. Up in Smoke (1978) Of course this has to be my favorite, the original stoner comedy starring the original stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong. Honestly I could have filled this entire list with films from these guys but I decided to hold back and just give them the number one spot. There’s no plot really, just a series of hi jinks as only a couple of stoners could experience.  8.75/10

Movie Reviews: Isle of Dogs/Ready Player One

March 30, 2018

wes2banderson2bisle2bof2bdogs2bmovie2bposterIsle of Dogs is Wes Anderson’s ninth film overall and his second foray into stop motion. The film is the classic tale of a boy and his dog filtered through the uniquely quirky charm of Mr. Anderson. It very much looks and feels like a kid film, but it can be surprisingly dark for anyone not familiar with Wes Anderson’s previous films.

If you are familiar with his previous films then the cast list will read like a greatest hits. All your old favorites are here doing that deadpan exposition humor that Wes Anderson has gotten them to perfect at this point.

Score was awesome, Alexandre Desplat perfectly captures the whimsical feel Anderson was going for while making a better use of the Japanese setting then the rest of the film did. Lots of Japanese percussion and string instruments, it’s a joy to listen to.

Puppet work is by and far the best part of this film. The attention to detail, the huge variety of dog designs and just the number of eye catching things on screen at any given time. I also really liked how they blended in drawn animation seamlessly with the stop motion.

As for negatives I can’t really disagree with other critics who found this film to be slightly racist in it’s deception of Japan and the human characters. I don’t think it was intentional and it perhaps it wouldn’t have even been picked up on if not for Greta Gerwig’s character. Not giving the Japanese dialogue subtitles didn’t help either, most of those characters were just there to be talked over by Frances McDormand. I understand that the dogs not being able to speak Japanese was a plot point, but there were no dogs in many of the offending scenes so I don’t know why we couldn’t have some subtitles.

Overall it’s still an enjoyable quirky adventure that you’ll enjoy as a dog lover and or a Wes Anderson lover. Also really don’t bring young kids to this, it’s PG-13 for a reason. 8/10

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ready-player-one-poster-600x890Ready Player One is a film that wants to warn us about how the excess of nostalgia can halt progress in our society while at the same basking in the heaps and heaps of nostalgia that this film is overstuffed with. The novel this was adapted from didn’t have the most complex plot, but what it did have was stripped down even further for a film that was much more interested in spectacle then story. That being said it does deliver a spectacle a minute in that edge of your seat adventure pacing that Spielberg does so well.

Overall I do miss all of the character and story stuff from the novel, but I would watch this film several more times just to see these set pieces unfold again. I’m a long time nerd so seeing all of these things I love interact with each other on screen did slightly elevate the film around them. I mean Gundam vs Mecha Godzilla is worth the ticket price alone in my opinion, let alone that genius haunted house sequence near the middle. 8/10

Movie Review: Boogie Nights (1997)

March 23, 2018

big_347Wow, I always forget how obsessed with sex and nudity the 90’s were until I go back and watch a 90’s film. Granted this film takes place in the late 70’s and early 80’s porn scene so at least it has a good excuse for all the t and a.

Acting is amazing because this is one of the most stacked casts of all time. Even Mark Wahlberg tricks me into think he’s a good actor when he’s playing off masters like Julianne MooreBurt ReynoldsDon CheadleJohn C. ReillyWilliam H. MacyPhilip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham.

I loved the pacing, slow intro as we’re introduced to the world and then the film shifts into high gear as years start ticking by. Then everything slows down again for the third act and you’re reminded that this is a Paul Thomas Anderson film in spectacular fashion.

The story is about Dirk Diggler, man with a thirteen inch penis who goes on to become a porn legend. Sounds pretty dumb on its surface I know, but it does a really good job of digging into these variety of characters who work in the porn industry with Dirk. It is mostly a comedy, but there are several dark elements that take the forefront in the final act.

Soundtrack is amazing, though any film that takes place in the late 70’s is almost guaranteed to have a good soundtrack.

Overall this was pretty amazing so long as you’re not a prude. It’s on Netflix lat time I checked if you wanna see it yourself. 9.5/10

Movie Review: Eagle vs Shark (2007)

March 18, 2018

51f59zygg2bl-_sy445_So I loved Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do In The Shadows so much that I decided to go back and watch Taika Waititi‘s first feature length film. This is yet another indie romantic dramedy that isn’t all that different from other films in this genre except for it’s aggressively New Zealand sense of humor.

Acting was good all around, I always enjoy watching Jemaine Clement and Loren Horsley was a sympathetic lead. Directing here is decent, you can see the seeds of the director he is today. Story is pretty simple and a little dumb in a lot of ways, but as a highly introverted person myself I understood a lot of the odd choices the characters make a little too well for my own liking. Score is a bunch of indie folk songs, which works fairly well and kinds makes me bias in favor of it.

Overall it’s not the best romantic dramedy, but it did make me laugh and it’s on Netflix so why not check it out. 7.75/10

10 Heroes That Should Join The MCU

March 9, 2018

So Marvel Studios just claimed a bunch of dates up through 2022 or something like that. By my estimates they could do a solid decade of just sequels, but I like to assume that a few of those dates will be introducing new heroes to us. So using my extensive nerd knowledge I will attempt to guess which heroes will make the cut. For more wildcard picks I have decided to ignore any heroes who almost definitely getting their own film already such as Nova and Black Widow.

cg-2lycukaashsnBlue Marvel is a character who I never read before and based on his wiki entry a film origin will need to be drastically tweaked, but also based on his long list of crazy powers he could really bring some impressive elements to a film. I don’t really have space to detail everything he can do here, but suffice to say he’s like one of those overpowered Dragon Ball Z characters but a super genius at the same time. He also has a lot of potentially juicy story elements wrapped up in his arch villain Anti-Man. This may equate to too many people running around with the word Marvel in their name, but I think it could be worth that risk.

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20085952Hercules is a character that on the surface is pretty much the same as Thor, and that’s exactly why I have sold myself on a Hercules film by the director of Thor: Ragnarok. Possibly even have said Thor in a supporting role, it could be pretty great. But I think if Marvel really wants to push a Hercules film to the next level then they should make him gay. I’m serious, you embrace the fact that he looks like a big gay bear and audiences will show up for that. Not to mention that you can do for Olympus what you finally perfected for Asgard and Wakanda.

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1b67d5b4cf1afe9bb9ae55466f78965dMachine Man is what happens when Inspector Gadget has Bender’s personality. Born because Jack Kirby finished adapting 2001: A Space Odyssey but no one at Marvel wanted to cancel the series so Kirby kept going and eventually ended up with this crazy robot man. People might think this would make for too many robot people in the MCU, but I’m game. Hell why not throw Jocasta and Vision in there too, maybe even have Ultron come back as the villian. They could also go cosmic with it too given his origin, and they do seem really set on more cosmic stories.

c34479c3d07917f28f7ad9ea3206da84Moon Knight is a fairly dark and brutal character that I know many fans want to see on Netflix, but if Batman can have as many PG-13 adventures that he has then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Moon Knight. His origin is pretty simple and yet is ripe for a few different directions, essentially he’s a mercenary who is killed in action but becomes resurrected by the Egyptian Moon God Khonsu to protect those who travel at night. The powers granted to him by Khonsu also drives him insane as he develops a Dissociative Identity Disorder. His history in the comics is bizzare to say the least, but a good screenwriter could easily consolidate all of that into at least one awesome film. I would maybe change his race to that of an Egyptian given his connection to an Egyptian God, but then again nobody does mental illness quite like us white people.

ms-marvel-comics-kamalaMs. Marvel is the newest character that I’m going to suggest here. Only four years since she adopted the title from Carol Danvers and she’s made the name all her own. Somewhat similar to Spider-Man in that she’s dealing with High School and super heroics at the same time. What really sets her apart though is her Pakistani heritage, lean into that and not only will you give Muslim Americans a much needed positive image but you’ll also make a ton of money from audiences that clearly want different perspectives. Probably need to futz with her origin since the Inhumans were dead on arrival, but that’s easy, something something since accident would work for me so long as the rest of the story is good.

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dlr4qdxuqaa8hm2Namor is far and away the oldest character in Marvel’s roster, debuting way back in 1939 when Marvel was still known as Timely Comics and three years before the more well known Aquaman existed. While he is fairly similar to Aquaman his one major difference is that he’s an asshole. More anti then hero Namor could fill that Wolverine shaped void in the MCU and he can do it without being R rated since he’s lacking in sharp objects protruding out of him. If they really wanted to make him stand out then they could always go with a Namorita film, basically the same backstory, but female. And again, now that Marvel has figured out how to show us fantastical locales I really wanna see what they could do with Atlantis.

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red-wolf-marvel-comics-rangersRed Wolf is a character that full disclosure I had combined in my mind with Thunderbird from the X-Men. In compiling this list however I discovered that not only did this character have nothing to do with the X-Men but he was a legacy hero who’s been bouncing around the comics since 1970. Reading through his wiki Red Wolf clearly has a decently rich history that could easily hold up a film or three. Not to mention that westerns seem to be on a bit of a resurgence, this could lean really heavily into that. I can count the number of positive Native American characters I’ve seen on one hand, Red Wolf deserves to join that short list if nothing else.

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dce3519bb74cd45c5e8d336aa14d4518-avengers-comics-marvel-dcShang-Chi isn’t a character I thought needed a film until I saw just how bad Iron Fist was on Netflix. At this point Marvel absolutely owes us a good superhero martial arts film. He does have a fairly involved story with secret agenting, adventuring, and an evil father, but honestly I would just give this over to those guys that do the Raid films and let them go crazy. Power wise he kinda just kicks ass in multiple fighting forms and weapons, except in recent issues he apparently gained the ability to create copies of himself which sound like an OP combo to me. They just need a lead that can actually fight, a repeat of Iron Fist would kill me.

4596854-msSquirrel Girl does perhaps beat Ant-Man for goofiest hero concept, but that’s exactly why she should get her own film. For some reason they tried making a team show featuring her and a bunch of lame characters, but I think she’s big enough to carry her own film. Edgar Wright probably won’t be returning to Marvel like ever, but I’m imagining a film with vibes similar to that of Scott Pilgrim. She doesn’t really have her own set of villains, but I would love if they pulled most of their inspiration from the Unbeatable series.

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748full-white-tiger-28marvel29White Tiger is another long running legacy character that I honestly didn’t know much about except for what little was in that Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. Researching that character a little I discovered that there are apparently five characters who’ve held the mantle. They all seem like good contenders for a film, but I would probably go with one of the female ones just for variety in the MCU. All five of their stories seem to revolve around grounded street level crime, but that could be a refreshing change of pace in between some bigger cosmic stories.