Monday, July 27, 2015

Terminator Genisys

Ok, Ok. I admit when I heard they were making another Terminator movie and having Arnold reprise his role, I was the first to jump on the "He's too old" bandwagon. I am also the first to admit when I am wrong. This film not only respects the original two films, but incorporates them in a way that gives Arnold's age a feasible reason. I apologize to Mr. Schwarzenegger. He still has it. This film is now the third movie in my perfect trilogy of The Terminator series.

This movie takes place long after and long before the events of the first film. When playing with time travel you can easily bake your noodle. They do it in a way that makes it easy to follow. A guardian terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sent back to prepare Sarah Conner (Emilia Clark) to survive when they send another terminator back to kill her. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) comes back in time unaware that Sarah is waiting for him and prepared to rescue him from a new terminator.

What really gets me is their dedication to the original film. They took great pains in reshooting the original scenes from the first terminator movie to such detail that I had to go back to the original and verify they didn't use remaster shots. They did a great job of matching it shot for shot.

As Arnold isn't getting younger they quickly age him by way of having to jump forward in time without him. The guardian can't go with them he has to go the long way around to meet them. Thus providing the means of having Arnold just the way he looks now. He also has more of a heroic role that he wanted. He is the protector and the series two terminators (T-1000) are the bad guys.

He has trained Sarah but she has also trained him. He is now programed to not kill humans. This is an interesting dynamic that was in the second film and it works well.

Another nice touch to show the distance in time was the addition of the Character O'Brien. When Kyle jumps to the 80's He meets a cop by the name of O'Brien (Wayne Bastrup) once they jump further in the future O'Brien (J.K. Simmons) is there and his run-in with the killer robot has affected him and he looks for stuff like time travelers. This gave the scenes distance from each other. It added to the realism of the time travel.

Matt Smith is now the embodiment of the Skynet and a complete change from his previous role as the Doctor in Doctor Who. This is a perfect example of his range. The Doctor was charming funny and fun to be with, Skynet not so much. He takes over John Conner(Jason Clark) in the future and send John Conner back to start the process that will ensure Skynet's creation.

This is where it blends in with the second film. The same location and company but this time Skynet has advanced the technology they have created to make the T-1000 machines a lot sooner in the time line.

Emilia Clark is outstanding as Sarah. She plays her with strength and just a touch of humanity. She has proven to me that she can take on some more action roles and not lose touch with her charm and femininity. She is not the victim in this timeline. She has been training for this fight and brings the heat to the machines. I would pay to see her in another action film.

A perfect Saturday would be Subway sandwiches, cooler of your favorite drinks some snacks and a trilogy with The Terminator, Terminator Two: Judgement Day and Terminator Genisys. The others two don't need to be brought up. Who's in?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Private Parts

Private Parts - 109min - R

Howard Stern appeals to a lot of people. Not me, but I have to admit that he has a very interesting life. See what my thoughts are in my article  Here on web Wombat. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dumb and Dumber To

I almost don't want to write this review, because it would mean having to admit I have seen this movie. I really want block out the whole thing. But if I have to say I saw the movie then here goes. Avoid this move like it was a warm glass of laxatives disguised as a good luck toast. I have said it once I'll say it again. Don't make a sequel for nostalgia's sake. Make a sequel if the story is strong enough to warrant a movie. This one was not.

I don't want to recap the movie because it's still too painful. Let’s just say that Harry (A fucking Emmy Award Winner Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) are the same but now they are looking for what they think is Lloyds daughter, Penny (Rachel Melvin). They stumble into lots of great setups for fart jokes and a few other scatological hijinks, but really, nothing happens.

I saw the first one and I enjoyed it. It was exactly as it said on the tin. It was at the midnight showing and I had just gotten off of a 12 hour shift so my judgement may have been impaired, but the first one was funny. This one is not funny, and it’s convoluted and doesn't work. The jokes are stale and every punchline takes way too long to get to and once you do hit us with the payoff it doesn't really pay off. I kept hoping that they would stop the movie and say “just kidding.”

The formula is still the same but with only a few changes in side characters. I would have liked to see some progression with the characters. They have this painful joke about Lloyd acting like he is in a catatonic state for the past 20 years as a prank. It gives them a reason not to progress the characters. They could have had Harry learn few things while Lloyd remained the same character because of the prank. That stinker is the opening of the film. You would think that it would at least get a little better if you start out so low. It doesn't.

In this go-round, Rob Riggle is the butt monkey who takes all of the abuse from the two idiots while he is trying to kill them. I am so sorry he has to have this on his list of credits. If anything Hollywood should give him more films so he can push the stink of this film further down his credit list.

I literally left the theater in a worse mood than when I went in. Every joke that bombed was another kick to the groin. I was so embarrassed for these people who can and have done so much better. You could tell they were selling it for all they were worth, but the material was just not funny. I can't even tell if it was just me because the theater I was at was empty except for me. Well that may be telling right there. I only went because it was showing next.

I understand the need to recapture the magic of something that worked once but it’s like smoke: once it's in the wind it's gone. You can only enjoy it for that one moment. You look sad when you try and get the same magic out of a manufactured moment. Like a high school graduate going back to the campus 20 years later to remember the glory days it should be a private walk down memory lane, not filmed and packaged as a bad movie.

Do you want to know the most annoying sound in the world.... this movie. Let's all just pretend this sordid affair didn't happen and we can go on with our lives. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind - 137min - PG

This movie is from my youth I enjoyed it and its held up for the most part. Take a flight down memory lane reading my article Here on Web Wombat. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hitman: Agent 47

Hitman: Agent47 - 96 min - R

As much as I love video games, I have been burned by how bad a video game translates to the screen. There have been way too many misses to justify the few hits. This movie falls in that middle ground. Not good enough to be a hit but better than many of the video game movies I've seen. The first time director, Aleksander Bach, steps onto the scene with power and excellent skills, all be it rough around the edges. He could evolve into the next Luc Besson given more time to develop. They definitely took great care in making sure the story matches the spirit of the game. At least he hasn't followed in the footsteps of other directors who have taken a dump on video game moves..Koff.. Uwe Boll, Koff, koff.

Katia (HannahWare) is a woman trying to find answers about her past. She has remembers a man, but nothing else. An agent is after her, a genetically engineered killing machine with no emotion or motivation other than to complete his mission. The Agent, who is numbered 47 (Rupert Friend) will stop at nothing at getting to her. A man named John Smith (Zachary Quinto) is trying to help Katia but in this movie nothing is as it seems. This is an extremely hard balancing act to pull off. Everyone is a mystery we are just as lost as the characters to start off.

Keeping the audience in the dark about the who is a good guy or a bad guy is a good hook but you can’t maintain it for too long. When the audience doesn't have anyone they know going into the second act you've lost any chance at getting the audience to root for them.

As a first major film for the director it’s really decent performance. It has just the right amount of action and the supernatural abilities of the main character to make it feel like you are watching great player play the game. The timed cause and effect special attacks and general fighting are fun to watch. The acting is monotone. Agent 47 is not designed to have any emotions so it makes sense he would be toned down when delivering lines. There are a few spots he lets a little life into the delivery but only the briefest of moments. The lines are also very binary. What I mean is one person says something and the other person responds. There is no interplay with the dialog. It would be nice to see the effect of what’s being said on the face of one of the characters.

The scenes in-between the fighting are amateurish. There are little to no depth or construction to the in-between shots they seem to be there only to pass the time until we can get back to the action. The CGI is applied with a heavy hand in some scenes. There was one scene where the Agent and Mr. Smith are falling into a moving train and then fall to the track below. Very heavy CGI effect takes me right out of the movie and wonder if they should have perhaps done better or cut the scene all together.

This is the second attempt at making the Hitman series a hit. The first attempt at a movie from this video game franchise in 2007 was a critical disappointment and this one isn't doing much better. I have begun to wonder if this is just not meant to be made into a movie. If they do want to do this right, (I know I am going to get heck for saying this), they need an origin story. Hear me out. What this movie is missing is an emotional connection to the character. He is a tin man who excels at killing folks. The audience needs to be invested in the character’s progress. This movie doesn't give us this.

There was also no doubt the good guys would win. They had absolutely no consequences or risk in the fights they were having. In the end, this movie is nothing more than violent eye candy. That's fine and sometimes really hard to do. Now they need to make sure they can balance out with more story.

Did you think this better or worse or on par with the 2007 film?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Top Five

Top Five - 102min - R

I have enjoyed Chris Rock's work. He out does himself with writing this great story while acting in a not so great story.  Take a look at my article here posted to Web Wombat. 

Monday, July 6, 2015


Minions - 91 min - PG

Side characters almost never do well when they try and pilot their own film. Looking at my coffee, I am struck by an analogy. I love my cinnamon dolce latte but I don't want a cup of hot cinnamon water. The same goes for the Minions movie. At first glance I admit I was interested because I loved them in the Despicable Me franchise. But they really only work as side characters. This film is not strong enough to be a green but not average enough to be a yellow. I guess you can't eek by on cuteness and charm.

This is the origin story of Minions and shows us how they came to work for Gru. From the dawn of time they have sought out the strongest, meanest bad guy and devoted their entire existence to serving them. As we watch them progress from bad guy to bad guy we see them inadvertently kill off each and every bad guy they serve. The literally love their bosses to death. This movie tries to explain what we have taken on faith.

Charley Bucket wisely said chocolate doesn't need a reason, the same could be said for minions. This movie does nothing to enrich the Despicable Me universe. So much time and effort needs to bring something to the universal story arc. The minions do fine with shorts, but after the first thirty minutes the film loses steam. It starts back up again once the people who speak English are on screen.

Some of the good qualities are the performances by the actors. Sandra Bullock gets her mean on by playing Scarlet Overkill, the baddest villain before Gru. John Hamm is great as her husband. Talented as they were their characters made no sense. I know I am arguing sense in a movie where in the first film they stole the moon. But some things you are willing to go along with.

The psychotic nature of Scarlet Overkill was way out of check. The example of her having planned out how she was going to be Queen and based her dress and look on the picture she drew when she was young. When the designer doesn't make her look exactly like her picture she loses it. I don't believe she has the wherewithal to become the biggest villain when she can't see that this is an unrealistic request. She could have been stronger and more maniacal. Instead she comes off as unstable.

This is a journey that is best forgotten. If you are getting an urge to see the minions, watch the shorts on the extras disk on the Despicable Me movie. That's about as long as they can carry a story. It's not a bad thing to do really good short films. You have to know where your strengths are and work with them. Keep banning them out, make 2 hours worth of them. Just don't put them together and try to make a movie with them.

I think they should have focused on Gru as a kid. Start off fighting Scarlet Overkill take us through the relationship they have with Gru. You have established characters and if you want to have a we have killed all the bad guys we have worked for in the past montage. But they are trying their very best not to inadvertently kill young Gru. That opens up many more humor options than what they have.

Can you think of any movie that had side characters take center stage in their own move that did well? Perhaps this is why there is no Side Character Genre.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - 101min - PG13

Oh how wrong can things go when you underestimate the viewing audience. This movie didn't play with the fan base or new audience. See what I wrote about this steaming pile of Turtle leavings here on Web Wombat.