one word reviews of Movies and TV

Listen Now!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

(Ep. 95): Elves - Movie Commentary: December 2017

Elves

R
1989 ‧ Drama/Horror ‧ 1h 29m
_________________________________________________________________________________


A department-store Santa Claus (Dan Haggerty) discovers a Neo-Nazi plot to mate a nice girl (Julie Austin) with an elf in Colorado.
Release date:  October 24, 1989
Director: Jeffrey Mandel
Screenplay: Jeffrey Mandel
Music composed by: Vladimir Horunzhy

That time of the year is back when the gang sits around and watches nothing but terrible holiday themed movies.

Today is not only our first appearance of Dan Haggerty here at Simplistic Reviews but also a ending for a movie that flabbergasted DJ. I suppose this would already be enough for a Movie Commentary but nope...that's not all. We also have a homeless department store Santa investigating a modern-day Neo-Nazi plot to finally bring about the master race that Hitler had always dreamed of.

Instead of a race of pure-blood Aryans, it is revealed that Hitler dreamed of a race of half-human/half-elf hybrids.

Yep... what a movie everyone. So grab that egg nog and sit back, things are about to get weird.


Merry Christmas!


P.S. Enjoy the Elves because next week is a cold one set on a tropical island. Try not to question it.


   

Saturday, December 16, 2017

"The Last Jedi" Debate: Seeing It From Both Sides

Well the word is out; "The Last Jedi" is great!

Also, "The Last Jedi" is awful!

Don't you just love the Internet in all of it's infinite wisdom.

With Friday, December 15th being the official official release date of Lucasfilm and Disney's latest cash cow, there's been plenty of talk about where "Star Wars: Episode XIII The Last Jedi" falls in the conversation of greatest "Star Wars" film. We had the same conversation two years ago when "The Force Awakens" was released and we'll have the same conversation again in two years when "Episode IX" is released.

But there is disturbance in The Force for Rian Johnson's sci-fi epic. Whereas JJ Abram's restructuring of "A New Hope" was met with almost universal praise with nostalgia galore and some actual moments that shook the film universe and fanbase to it's core, this time around there seems to be more backlash than ever.

Perhaps this is just the world that we happen to live in now. People love what they love, and people love to shit all over what people love. The people that love the thing they love will defend it, and the people that love to shit on the thing that people love will continue to argue until either their mom turns off the Internet in the house or those people move onto the next thing they decide to shit on. Personally, I love to have a rousing debate, but we've also gotten to a place in this world, and by world I mean the world of Twitter, message boards on Reddit and anywhere else where people can have an opinion until they can't afford it anymore because Net Neutrality is gone (but that's something else to bitch about for a different time) and there is a simple sense of being way too sensitive that someone might not have the same opinion as you. There is also letting the troll win and controlling your emotions in a way that make you re-think what you may really like. Or there is the even more trap of going down to a troll's level and insulting their intelligence because all logic has been thrown out of the window.

These types of things always seem to rear their ugly heads when it comes to fandoms. We rarely see this type of dissension for dramas, comedies, or action films, but it could also be the case that we've all put ourselves in bubbles of protection with like-minded people who all agree on the same thing, and when our opinions are challenged, we usually strike back quite forcefully.

My point is that, sure, you are always going to have to deal with the few people out there with 45 Twitter Followers who bring up a "hot take" and yet we'll go out of our way to re-tweet, or answer or have the classic post "look at this stupid idiot," and at the end of the day, what's the point?

But with all that being said, I love reading an opposing review because honestly most of them are interesting to read. Within our bubble we have built of the safety of protecting all things we hold dear. But isn't it healthy to actually read another opinion and maybe challenging your thinking about something. You might not agree with it, but there are some people that make some compelling arguments, even if you feel those arguments are petty and silly.


Honestly, and let's get into it and stop standing on ceremony, I liked "The Last Jedi." Did I like it more than "The Force Awakens?"

No.

Does that make me a monster? I certainly hope not, but by saying this isn't the best "Star Wars" film, period, is already putting me in the line of fire and leaving my "Star Wars" card up for grabs by the masses that have already anointed this film the greatest.

Why did I like "The Force Awakens" better? For me, it was simply more fun and exciting. I got plenty of nostalgia with "The Force Awakens" and while it introduced some new and exciting characters, it still gave me a lot of what I was used to and wanted to see.

"The Last Jedi," while introducing some new ideas and creating some new relationships, come the end of the film, which for me clocked in at a pretty bloated 2 hours and 32 minutes, had my mind a little fried. But this could have been the poor sound mix in the theater and maybe the fact that I had been up for just about 15 hours after the credits rolled.

Let me just get this out of the way with the gripes: Not a fan of the way Snoke was treated, and the same goes for Luke. The middle sagged. Not a fan of Canto Bight and it's something that could have been cut down to help the run time. Finally, Porgs are just reasons to sell toys, totally worthless.

Could there be some things done in "Episode IX" to fix some of my issues? Of course, and I hope they are and hopefully my worries are assuaged.

On the other side of the coin, there was plenty I liked; The opening space battle sequence. The middle sacrifice. And the ending battle sequence. There was a great scene in all three acts, with two in the final act. But looking at it now, the things I liked don't add to the overall progression of plot, they are more set pieces that look awesome and give "The Last Jedi" it's grand scale.

But at the end of the day, are there fundamental flaws with the film? Sure, but there are fundamental flaws with most Hollywood Blockbusters. Should everyone be able to make their own opinion about a film like this without being accused of not being a fan or having someone say "they feel sorry for them" for not liking something that they happen to love? Of course! But just having to justify why you have an opinion is a microcosm of the world we're living in now. There is always an opinion of someone else's opinion, and if that opinion doesn't match someone else's opinion it is almost always thought of as the wrong opinion. We don't listen anymore, we simply react and shoot off a "hot take" which can be read in so many different ways.

There are times that I long for the days before the Internet. Those days when you would talk about the movie you saw over the weekend with your other friends. And even if you disagreed, you at least had to look someone in their eyes and explain your stance. Those days are gone and everyone is anonymous and hidden behind a keyboard and can say whatever they want without a point or purpose with the benefit of not being found out.

But hey, what do I know. I'm the biggest hypocrite there is most of the time. But at the end of the days, let's all just have a civil conversation about these things and agree to disagree without saying we're all idiots about the things we can't all agree on.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

(Ep. 94) SR Podcast - December 2017

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
 On this early holiday addition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys discuss all the Hollywood news they missed while on Thanksgiving break during an edition of Can You Dig It. They also review everything from The Punisher to Vice Principals during TV Roundup. They even get to try out some new impressions during the game Simply Quotable…and all this is bookended by Justin’s attempt to cancel a gift basket he bought from Costco…yes really. All that, a new trailer spoof, and some underhanded shots at Matt Lauer on this Season’s Greetings episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

NOTES
Vince McMahon Buys WCW

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Justice League

Justice League: Fun

PG-13
 2017 ‧ Fantasy/Science fiction film ‧ 2 hours
__________________________________________________________________________________________

What Is The Story?


Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes -- Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash -- it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. (IMDB)




Did I like it?


Justice League is a fun movie with problems I can't believe went unseen, but lets talk about that later. Did I enjoy JL? I did. This was a film I went into with zero care especially with the amount of crap thrown at me. Whether it be online ads or TV spots I was already hungover by the time JL was hitting screens. So when I sat down and drank my coffee I really had a fun time watching. This wasn't do to the genetic storyline but it was watching these characters and as well having them interacting with each other.


Without the strong characters this film is light on its feet. With the mess that was Suicide Squad and Dawn Of Justice, the key take away was the dark tone. With Wonder Woman that tone changed. What we got was a happier, brighter and more colorful film. This was needed and I believe was part of the success that Wonder Woman had. With JL I am happy to see the dark visuals get toned down. Now it wasn't Wonder Woman levels and in the film it even fights with itself, but still it was nice to see a more colorful look. Don't believe me? Take a look at the comparisons with the first trailer and the newest one. Same exact shots but with a brighter and clear look. The addition of Danny Elfman scoring went a lot further in helping this tone problem WB has.

That 2hr running time should be the new standard. This sets up boundaries for filmmakers like Snyder. Stick with the 2hrs everyone! 

We finally get the classic Superman we have been waiting for. Talking like Superman and acting like Superman.

The Flash is great thou he needs to be turned down a few. Having the Flash at 11 the entire time is a bit draining.

Wonder Woman is still great.

Aquaman was good. Wish we had more but I'm looking more forward to his standalone movie.

Cyborg was better then I was expecting.

Batman was Batman. Wish we had his standalone already. Not sure what is going on behind the scenes but I feel we are missing out on The Batman film not yet shooting.





What Was Bad?


A lot. Story, dialogue, CG, sound mixing and more. Again I am surprised to see some of this in a tentpole film. I had to shake my head a few times do to the sheer craziness of allowing this into the final edit. I understand the issue this film had during production. But I wont allow that to hinder my final view on the film. I would love to talk about the super mustache but I won't because the amount of work that goes into a movie production is incredible. What happened was terrible and I can look past that. Probably should of just added a beard on him to cover it up. The fact that any movie is completed is an achieve on itself.

But some stuff is just surprising. 

The first few minutes should grab your attention but here I was shocked right away. The kids on their phone recording Superman was terrible. Great idea but terrible execution. The video should of been filmed by real kids. I would of loved to see I child film this with other children around in the frame. It felt so fake and that's another issue with this film, cheap execution. The onscreen camera buttons just did not need to be there. This was the first thing we as the audience see and it wasn't done right. 

Then we jump into Batman on the roof capturing a criminal. This entire scene felt out of place on top of that it felt shot like a TV movie, cheap. And out of all the scenes that need to be dark this was lit way too much. Then the stupidest thing I've seen in ages happens. Batman talks to Alfred using his real name right next to the criminal. Are you kidding me? This is a one on one conversation. There is no need for real names. You could use a codeword but again this is two people talking, no confusion on who is talking to who.

Now the criminal knows Batman talks to a man named Alfred, I'm sure he won't go home and google Gotham and Alfred together. Christ. The way these DC films treat Batman's secret identity is appalling.  

Now with the villain I would not go as far as what others are saying. He is definitely not the worst ever. I don't believe that. What I can't believe is why make him a full CG character? Why hire the great CiarĂ¡n Hinds and only use his voice. What the hell are you thinking? Throw him in the make up chair and allow him to use his sinister facial expressions to bring that character to life. But hey no one really wants Steppinwolf as the main baddie in a JL film anyways. What if Doomsday was approaching Earth to take it over. First half hr is Doomsday taking over and enslaving humans. Flash goes back into time and sets up the team with a plan to bring back Superman. Bring him back is the only chance they have. Superman comes back as evil and the JL film is about fighting Superman and setting up the arrival of Doomsday in part 2.

That would be in my opinion a better storyline. Perhaps having Batman v. Superman in this universe kills that. Another reason they shouldn't have made that film. Starting to think WB didn't plan any of this out.





My Favorite Parts?


The league fighting Superman. There is a great shot that almost makes the entire movie. More of this WB.

Elfman using Superman's classic theme which got my heart racing. Again more of this WB.

Elfman bringing his Batman 89 theme back brought tears to my eyes. This was the moment the film became more for me. I felt honored to hear that again in a theater. This is Batman's theme just like Star Wars and Bond have theirs. But if you weren't paying attention you might of missed it. It pops up a couple time but the poor sound mixing drowns that out for the general audience. I don't know who is at fault here, someone needs to be brought back. That was almost disrespectful. Felt like the movie was embarrassed of the theme.  

That's the recurring theme with WB and their DC films. They seem to be embarrassed of their property. We have been witnessing this for awhile now. Allow your property to be itself. You saw that happened with Wonder Woman. Your on the right track but I feel like your out of chances. Right now your on track to lose money. It's a shame because this is a ton better then Dawn of Justice. 





Wrap Up


Snyder and Terrio need to go. I do believe Joss Whedon brought this film up to fun for me. If he wasn't apart of it this would of been a remake of Dawn of Justice. Give Whedon the control or hell Patty Jenkins she already showed us she knows the property better. The numbers are there and the people have spoken. It can not continue this way.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Can There Be Justice for the Justice League?

So what really went wrong for "Justice League" in it's underwhelming opening weekend? Was it the fact that DC decided to make their own version of "The Avengers" without strong stand-alone films? Was it the condensed sub-2 hour runtime? Was it the fact that the film had two completely different tones and styles? Was it Superman's amazing mouth CGI? Was it the fact that Batman was almost as lifeless as Charles Manson? Was it the fact that Cyborg as a head on some questionable CG body? So many questions; so little time.

In case you haven't heard, the Internet hasn't been too kind to DC's latest outing where you get to see their greatest heroes all join forces to defeat a bad guy who isn't Darkseid. Sure, there are tons of problems with "Justice League." Overall, it's a rushed mess with trite dialogue, awkward performances, a main villain that makes Malekith from "Thor: The Dark World" look good, and it just feels rushed. But that's what the DCU has felt from the start; a rushed attempt to catch up to the MCU.

But here's the thing; is "Justice League" all that bad? Of course if you ask the Internet in it's infinite wisdom is bad and they just can't get past how bad the CG was on Henry Cavill's magic mustache removal. Yes, it's not good, it's almost criminal that in a 300+ Million Dollar tentpole blockbuster that someone would sign off on that actually being passable in this day and age. Of course I'm not an artist of any kind and I have no idea how had it is to digitally remove a mustache, but for the past 27 years we've been able to make dinosaurs come back to life, create liquid metal terminators, de-age actors, bring them back to life, but somehow, facial hair removal eludes us. Go figure.

To to uninformed, here's the gist of "Justice League."

*Some Spoilers to Follow*

The world is still in mourning over the loss of Superman, and a new threat has arrived; Parademons and their leader, Steppenwolf who is after three Mother Boxes, which are essentially terra-forming alien technology kind of similar to the World Engine in "Man of Steel." If all three Mother Boxes are found and combined they will essentially bring about the end of Earth as we know it.

So it's up to Batman to form a team to save the world, but it's going to take a lot more than a really fast guy, a head on a robot's body, a powerful Amazonian, a drunk lifeguard, and a guy dressed in black rubber to save the world, they need Superman back. The only problem is that he's buried in Smallville, Kansas. Good thing there is still a good amount of Kryptonian technology sitting around Metropolis.

If you're a fan of the "Justice League" or "Justice League Unlimited" cartoon series, you'll likely be a big fan of this version of "Justice League." But in a world that's been created to be dark, humorless, and void of a general sense of right and wrong, it's odd that we have so many moments that are supposed to be funny and genuine. Why am I supposed to care if these characters like each other? I barely know them, and they barely know each other. It's hard to buy into that as a viewer since there is very little frame of reference and not much history. But, you're expected to buy into it.

However, one of the biggest issues overall with "Justice League" is the tonal difference between what we see directed by Zack Snyder and what's directed by Joss Whedon after he took over for Snyder. Whedon does his best to create an Avengers-like vibe, and you could argue that some scenes are directly cribbed from his superhero Magnum Opus. I've never been a Snyder fan aside from just one of his films, but at least his style has been consistent with "Man of Steel" and "Batman v Superman" and just knowing that you're watching the work of two different directors within the same film is quite infuriating for me. Whedon should have at least tried to keep the same tonal approach as Snyder instead of trying to reinvent a MCU film in DC's backyard. But hey, that's just like, my opinion man.

Surprisingly, Batman is actually one of the worst things about "Justice League" with Steppenwolf coming in a close 2nd thanks to more shoddy CG. I gave Ben Affleck the benefit of the doubt in "BvS" it's his first time out and he's doing the best he can, but this time around, he's kind of just going through the motions and I don't know how you make Bruce Wayne/Batman uninteresting, but Affleck did it, and it might be the reason why he's potentially on the way out of the DCU.

I know i've spent a lot of time harding on things I don't really like with "Justice League" but looking back at my experience, despite my eye rolls and scoffs, this might be DC's most complete film to date. It hits all the right tropes, doesn't diminish what was created in "Wonder Woman," introduces The Flash who isn't half-bad, and actually makes Superman/Clark Kent more like the Superman/Clark Kent that people might recognize.

So despite a slow start, can "Justice League" bounce back after a poor start? At the box office, probably not, but on the bright side, the US Box Office is about as useless as a screen door on a submarine, it's all about the Foreign Box Office. But could a Snyder cut, or can a 2nd viewing show a film that is actually better than it really is? Perhaps, but please fix Superman's lip...he deserves better.

Monday, October 30, 2017

(Ep. 93): Killer Klowns from Outer Space - Movie Commentary: October 2017

Killer Klowns from Outer Space


PG-13  1988 ‧ Science fiction film/Cult film ‧ 1h 28m


When teenagers Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) see a comet crash outside their sleepy small town, they investigate and discover a pack of murderous aliens who look very much like circus clowns. They try to warn the local authorities, but everyone assumes their story is a prank. Meanwhile, the clowns set about harvesting and eating as many people as they can. It's not until they kidnap Debbie that Mike decides it's up to him to stop the clowns' bloody rampage.
Release date: May 20, 1988 (USA)




What could be better then watching some Killer Klowns this Halloween!? Well with the Simplistic Reviews crew! Join us as we watch a movie that was made to be wacky and goof, yet its still better then half the shit that comes out today! So grab that frankenberry! Pour some of that Halloween themed choice of beer because... this Movie Commentary is gonna scare your socks off!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

(Ep. 92) SR Podcast - October 2017

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

On this October episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, Matthew takes the reigns and guides us on a spooky journey which takes us from Harvey Weinstein, to Tyrese & Rock beefs, to Rush Hour sequels. The boys play the game where cross-dressing is totally allowed, What Are You Supposed to be, and we all try to figure out the name of the black guy who hosted Nick Arcade. All that and more on a terror-filled edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast!

NOTES

The Great Pumpkin Soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi
The Shining Theme by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hummingbird Fly: How Jude Angelini is Writing His Own Rules

*Interview was conducted October 9th, 2017 with Matt Stewart from Simplistic Reviews and Jude Angelini via phone. All quotes have been taken from the interview*

The beat poets of the 1950s were a revolutionary idea. Intelligent writers struggling to find meaning in a world where they didn’t think they belonged. From Ginsberg to Kerouac, it sparked a literary revolution and inspired a generation of new writers to simply write about life. But where are the new crop of “beat” writers? They’ve become a relic of a bygone era. But the idea of writing about one’s life experiences lives in one “Rude” Jude Angelini with the release of his newest book, “Hummingbird,” the follow-up to his 2014 release, “Hyena.”

Many have made comparisons that Angelini is a modern day Charles Bukowski, whereas I see shades of Brett Easton Ellis with his vivid depictions of sex and drugs. However, “Rude” Jude shakes those comparison’s off and doesn’t want his voice to be put in a box.

“He (Bukowski) inspired me to write…’Notes From a Dirty Old Man’ that’s the one that get me to think about writing a bit, but I try to stay away from those two guys (Bukowski and Ellis). I’ve been listening to a lot of Elmore Leonard, and reading Larry McMurtry lately…I try to stay away from the Beat writers, because I don’t want to be compared to them, but I do consider myself a modern day Beat writer.”

From unabashed, self-deprecating, and in some cases, extremely sympathetic, Angelini writes from the heart, and it’s that attitude that has garnered him a devoted following in both the literary and radio world. But even with such a following, it’s hard to break the stereotype he finds himself in. Angelin explains.

“If you look at my trajectory…I don’t see myself as this, but, a lot of people do; I went from white trash wigger on ‘The Jenny Jones Show,’ to wigger shock jock. I didn’t want to be called that anymore…it overly simplified me. I wanted people to understand that my story wasn’t a unique story, if anything, it’s a common story, that’s under shared…”

Growing up in Pontiac, Michigan. Angelini has risen from the working poor in a factory town, becoming a recurring guest of “The Jenny Jones Show,” to hosting Shade 45’s “The All Out Show” on Sirius XM Radio. He now stands on the precipice of being a New York Times Best Selling author. However, even after the success of “Hyena” he’s still faced with an issue; being thought of as an overnight success in a literary world where many people don’t think he belongs.

“What’s popular in the arts? Is a heterosexual Caucasian popular in the arts right now? It’s so simplistic…’does he check off this box, this box, and this box.’ Diversity goes beyond who you fuck and what color you are. I got passed over by everyone. I’m not a celebrity, I’m not an author, they don’t know where to put me, they thought Hyena was a fluke. The company that I went to (Rare Bird Books) deals with fringe writers, like books by sex workers, and we’re doing quite well now.”

With the struggle to get “Hummingbird” published, Angelini recognizes that an honest day’s work isn’t going to be enough these days and your work ethic has to be extreme in order to get ahead, and at times, sacrificial.

“I like a lot of gangster rap from Detroit…they talk about ‘go get it, don’t wait,’ that’s my philosophy. It (the book) is about sacrifice. I sacrificed relationships, family, my daughter, loved ones, women, to not be broke, and be successful in my field. Nothing comes for free. That’s why one chapter is called ‘Abraham.’ You have to be willing to sacrifice to make it in this world.”

‘Abraham’ explores how Angelini wanted to “blow up” before settling in Los Angeles, where he now lives, his initial struggle, a move to New York, and a tumultuous relationship with Julie, who is a frequent topic in both “Hyena” and “Hummingbird.” It’s moments like these where you see a softer side to “Rude” Jude. Another example is the chapter entitled “Sadie Hawkins,” where he meets a young lady who has cystic fibrosis.

“What smart people see is that there is heart in each and every one of these stories. I might do grimy things, I might do things that society might deem unacceptable, but I have my own moral (compass) and value system, and it’s about being respectful and allowing people to make decisions on their own, but some people might read that and say it’s sexist…is it? To allow people to make their own decisions after being given all the information is sexist?”

It’s questions like that that give readers pause and challenge what they not only think about Angelini, but also think about themselves. We all share similar life experiences, but just don’t happen to write it down and have it published and read by the masses.

But at the heart of “Hummingbird” there is the underlying idea of acceptance. Whether it with your friends, sexual partners, or parents, the idea of acceptance is something that weighs heavily with Angelini. Even with book sales, that’s not the goal at the end of the day, it’s being accepted as an equal, on his own terms of course.

“You don’t write a book to make money. It’s about the prestige, it’s about the acceptance. You know what it would mean to me...a guy that took five years to get through high school that was in shitty English class, took a few junior college courses, to be a New York Times bestseller on some literary shit? People buying the book is a vote, I need votes...I want entrance into that part of society, the same part of society that rejects me, on my own terms.”


For more of “Rude” Jude check out his socials:

IG: @onemorejude
Twitter: @rude_jude
Snapchat: rude_jude

'The All Out Show' can be heard on Shade 45 on Sirius XM Radio from 4-7 pm EST Monday-Friday.

You can purchase “Hummingbird” via Amazon HERE
You can also pick up “Hyena” HERE

Matt Stewart was born and raised in South Florida and recently moved to Nashville, TN. Simplistic Reviews started with three buddies, Matt, DJ, and Justin, bitching about TV and Movies in July 2012 and guess what...they are still bitching and better than ever.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Simplistic Interviews: Lou Simon, Director of "3" Talks Horror



In the edition of Simplistic Interviews, Matt "sits down" with director, Lou Simon, and discusses her newest film, "Lou Simon's 3."

CLICK HERE for the entire YouTube interview and check out all of here social media below:



MAIN SITE
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM
IMDB
FACEBOOK

Copyright © Simplistic Reviews