one word reviews of Movies and TV

Sunday, July 22, 2018

24: Season One



Premiering November 6, 2001 - 24 aired it's first episode marking the beginning of one of the greatest shows to ever appear on TV. Season one is simply "Historic".

Counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer fights the bad guys of the world, a day at a time. With each week's episode unfolding in real time, "24" covers a single day in the life of Bauer each season. Jack deals with assassination attempts, nuclear attacks, bioterrorism, torture, traitors, sleeper cells, other bad guys and the alarming tendency for his romances to end badly -- very badly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

(Ep. 107): The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: July 2018


 It's July, so that means it's time for a Summer blowout episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast. We broach many subjects including Star Wars' big problem, Robocop reboots, Chris Hardwick's troubles, and the Naked Gun. Yes...that assortment of subjects has never been collectively tackled before.

Also Justin is put on the hot seat for the new segment 'Questions From The Crowd.'

DJ and Justin go crazy with their love for the television show, '24.' And the boys try and figure out films by their last line in the new game, 'Simplistic Last Lines.' All that and more on this new episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.
NOTES


MUSIC

Fast Times Club By Idols

Gold Medal By Sounds Like Sander

4. For Losing It By The Triads

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

(Ep. 106): Ring of the Musketeers - Movie Commentary: July 2018


Ring of the Musketeers
PG-13 1992 ‧ Action/Adventure ‧ 1h 26m


As descendants of the original Three Musketeers, Peter Porthos (Thomas Gottschalk), John Smith D'Artagnan (David Hasselhoff) and Anne-Marie Athos (Alison Doody) are continuing the chivalrous tradition of protecting those who can't protect themselves, carrying it into the modern age. Rather than fighting lords and counts, these Musketeers have the Mafia to deal with, but they're aided by reformed burglar Burt Aramis (Cheech Marin), the newly knighted fourth Musketeer.

Initial release: December 1, 1992 (Germany)
Director: John Paragon
Production company: Motion Picture Corporation of America
Screenplay: John Paragon, Joel Surnow
Producers:Brad Krevoy, Steven Stabler


Plug that VHS player back in! It time for some David Hasselhoff! That's right, today we watch the Ring of the Musketeers. A made for TV film that... well... nobody remembers.  But when you have a modern day (90's) Musketeers film that has a cast that contains the Hoff, Cheech Marin, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, Corbin Bernsen, Timothy Stack, Ricky Jay and Branscombe Richmond. You pretty much stop whatever you are doing and pop this VHS in.

So fix that tracking and enjoy that mono audio (yes this VHS wasn't in stereo) and repeat, Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno! Because we do this together ladies and gents! This is the Simplistic Reviews Movie Commentary of Ring of the Musketeers!
                       

Monday, June 11, 2018

(Ep. 105): The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: June 2018


School might be out for summer, but not the Simplistic Reviews Podcast. We are back with special guest Dan "The Comic Book Concierge" Clark from The GeekCast Radio Network and CinemaGeeks Podcast, a couple of call-in friends of ours stop by, and we discuss everything from IHOP changing to IHOB, Hailee Steinfeld having Shape Of Water sex with an Autobot, and of course, the real problem with Hitler...you're gonna have to listen to find out what the hell that means on a brand new episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

NOTES
IHOB
David Tyree
Get A Life

MUSIC
Neon Love By Jeff Dale, Gavin Harrison, and Tim Reilly
Five Dollar Bill By Jason Pedder & Ben Ziapour
Midnight Ride By Richard Kimmings & Jason Pedder
Variety Time By Tim Garland

Friday, June 1, 2018

(Ep. 104): Justice League - Movie Commentary: June 2018

Justice League

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

Fuelled 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 in Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash, it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Initial release: November 15, 2017 (Sweden)
Director: Zack Snyder
Initial DVD release: March 13, 2018 (USA)

Box office: 657.9 million USD


Well... like DJ mentioned, we kept going with these damn DCU movie commentaries. We didn't really want to watch JL but we had to get it over with.

But hey it is still better then Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice, that's something right? Don't worry we will get back to the crappy but fun films that include a good old T&A drinking game.

So sit back and enjoy a okay film that's somewhat coherent and looks a ton better then Dawn of Justice. Grab that beer and laugh at the terrible CG... and that laughable mustache removal...man that was horrible.

Oh and we added a new gimmick. Starting with Justice League, after every movie commentary we'll spin a wheel to find out what we watch next. Fun stuff!

Today we took a spin on our new wheel!!!

We spun The Wheel of Doom (TM) a collection of request films by viewers like you!

...and we get something odd. Hint: It involves the Musketeers and David Hasselhoff...yep the HOFF...nothing but fun...


Hey did you know: Justice League is the fourth-most-expensive film ever made. Amazing is it not?! wikipedia.org



















Sunday, May 20, 2018

DJ Rambles About Revenge (2017)

INSUFFICIENT
Of all the subgenres in film, I'm kind of a sucker for a good revenge flick.  The Count Of Monte Cristo, Kill Bill, The Crow, Django Unchained, John Wick, Gladiator, The Outlaw Josey Wales.  They are all films that are the quickest to grab my attention in terms of understanding the needs of the character.  A tale of someone seeking justice without the hindrance of rules or morals.  One of the granddaddies of them all is the 1978 exploitation film, I Spit On Your Grave.  The film I'm reviewing here, Revenge, does not come close to the gory exploitiveness of an I Spit On Your Grave.  However, one can't help but feel that Revenge is a bit of an echo to what I Spit On Your Grave left, for better or worse.

The glitzy colors mixed with the minimalism of narrative makes Revenge feel like a Jonathan Glazer film (Sexy Beast, Under The Skin) by way of the late great Tony Scott (Literally every film in the '90s).  It actually comes to us from French director, Coralie Fargeat.  It tells the tale of a "party girl" named Jen who, while on vacation with her married boyfriend, suddenly finds herself attacked, left for dead, and miraculously saved allowing her to seek her vengeance.  And though it seems like I'm being vague to avoid spoilers, Revenge's plot doesn't get much more intricate than that.  Since we come directly into the middle of a pretty cliched situation between the characters and don't know or learn much about them, there really isn't much for me to cling to in terms of their goodness or badness.  This is a big part, for me at least, in getting the intended catharsis of any revenge film.

We know how good of a man and how despicable of a person Maximus and Commodus are respectively before the inciting incident and quest for revenge takes place in Gladiator.  Characters do nothing but talk about the character of John Wick and the reasons he got out and why it's really bad that he's coming in his film.  Same with William Munny in Unforgiven, or the Bride in Kill Bill, or John Creasy in Man On Fire, or Khan Noonien Singh in Wrath Of Khan.  Because we know so little about Jen her man and her man's friends, we are left to just focus on the incident and titular revenge, weakening the overall catharsis.  In short, you care less because you're given hardly anything to care about.  A stripped down revenge flick was likely Fargeat's intention, along with the idea of just having a normal victimized female brutally confronting her attackers. (A clear commentary on the social climate we are living in today with victims of physical and psychological abuse fearlessly fighting back against their abusers.) 

As I alluded to before, the visuals of the film are really well done, as well as the accompanying synthy score by Robin Coudert.  Fargeat has a great eye, a flair for symbolic imagery and a bright future ahead of her.  As far as debut feature film outings go, Revenge is not bad at all.  It just left me feeling unfulfilled near the end, making it an INSUFFICIENT tale of revenge, in my opinion.  Maybe I have to watch it again.  Maybe you have to watch it too...and then tell me I'm wrong.

Monday, May 14, 2018

DJ Rambles About Terminal

WASTE
What exactly...is Terminal?  No, no...that wasn't some highfalutin or artsy attempt to start this review.  I seriously don't know what this film is.  Is it an exercise in the limits of neon lighting cinematography?  Is it another neo-noir vehicle starring Margot Robbie that stumbles at the starting gate and never fully recovers? (I see you Suicide Squad) Is it a love letter to an era where Hollywood spit out movies like this seemingly every week, but comes closer to being a love letter written using cut out pieces of various periodicals, making the reader/viewer feel uncomfortable and frightened?  It is likely all of those things.  In short...though longer than our one word review...Terminal is a cavalcade of mistakes, wheel-spinning WASTES of time trying to masquerade as crafty foreshadowing, and performances given by actors I love that bounce around in tone and coherence like an annoying child's pink rubber ball.  What is this film?

Terminal stars the aforementioned Margot Robbie along with the great Simon Pegg, Mike Myers, and Guy Ritchie vet, Dexter Fletcher.  It is about a femme fatale named Annie, played by Robbie, as she manipulates several seedy characters into playing a dangerous game of sex, death, and double-crosses.  It comes to us from writer/director Vaughn Stein from...from...well...nothing really. (At best I could find was Third Assistant Director for World War Z.  Yeah, that's a thing.)  I'm doing my best to avoid spoiling a plot that, if you see Terminal, will likely frustrate you into wondering why I even bothered.

I remember after Pulp Fiction became a cultural phenomena in the mid '90s, copy cat films sprung up like wild fire trying to capture the same magic.  Terminal feels like one of those films.  Not Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead or Go type quality.  More like The Big Hit and 2 Days In The Valley type quality.  The overly written dialogue with segues that seem innocuous until later.  The twists that feel more confusing and convoluted than clever.  The hyper-stylized visuals used to distract from the lack of substance.  The overly heavy-handed symbolism regarding a previous work of fiction.  I'm sure the early twenties version of me might have had the DVD of Terminal in my dorm room and plopped it on after coming home from some drunken rager.  It might have even garnered a cult following like some of those films over the years due to nostalgic blinders.  However, the older me, the one that kinda sees the strings a little better, just watched Terminal with this apropos expression on my face:
To Terminal's credit, there is a literal side mission, in terms of the plot, that involves Simon Pegg's character that comes off as vaguely interesting.  If only it were the entire plot of the film.  If it were expanded to be all of Terminal, leaving aside the main cat and mouse hitman mystery, this might have been something.  But before you know it, the side mission ends and we are thrust back into a main plot that makes little to no sense and amasses little to no interest.

Margot Robbie has recently proven with I, Tonya that she brings more to the table than roles like this.  This is paint by numbers for her in this, with little to no meat for her to chew on that she hasn't devoured before in better stuff.  I appreciated that Mike Myers seemed to want to branch out of comedy and take some roles that showed off all of his talents.  This role is hardly it.  Simon Pegg is always charismatic and fun to watch.  However, despite an interesting story arc, I think Pegg is terribly miscast in this film even taking into account his chemistry with Robbie.  If he had, again, some more room to expand and grow this character, you might buy where his character goes...but he doesn't and you don't.  Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons (son of Jeremy inexplicably) are saddled with such disposable material, it's hard for me to remember anything about their characters other than they are British and have the lion share of the f-bombs.

Terminal is a WASTE.  A WASTE of talent, time, and effort to apparently tap into a type of filmmaking of the past that is best suited to staying in its era.  If you watch it, I'll bet it is going to be hard for you to tell me I'm wrong.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

DJ Rambles About Avengers: Infinity War, A Quiet Place, Atlanta Season 2, & Apple Hard Drives

I haven't written a review for a while.  This is mainly because I wanted to focus my attention on The Simplistic Reviews Podcast and guesting on some of our friends' shows to promote The Simplistic Reviews Podcast. (Have you heard it? Justin Polizzi...Matthew Stewart...moi? It's pretty dope.) Anyhow, a fateful occurrence involving a spontaneously combusting Apple hard drive suddenly hampered my ability to broadcast my random ravings. (Damn you, Steve Jobs.) However, thanks to the grace of God, Buddha, Vishnu, and two Tennesseans that I consider my family, I got back a computer and thusly my outlet for expositing my inner most thoughts on film and television. (Blame them.  It's their fault for this.) So, I saw this as an opportunity to get back to writing stuff for our lovely site again.  So...um...what have I missed?

Avengers: Infinity War - BALLSY - I was an avid comic book collector from the early '90s until around 2007.  And out of all those comics I bought and read, Infinity Gauntlet was the event book that stuck with me.  It was my introduction to many characters, including Thanos.  It was also the first time I had seen many of the heroes I grew up reading actually killed in comic book form.  Suddenly...brutally...unapologetically.

So when Thanos popped his head out at the end of the first Avengers film, I knew what was coming and I thought I was prepared for it.  I wasn't.  The altering of Thanos' motivations from book to screen (From wanting to impress a girl to wanting to balance the universe because of the destruction of his planet.) not only strengthens the character but ramps up the drama of his destruction.  Each death changed from just pure shock value, which it was in the comic book, to a heartbreaking and moving loss. 

And yes cynical MCU disparager, I am fully aware Kevin Feige, the Russo Brothers, and whoever else can resurrect the fallen at will.  That doesn't make the performances of the actors perishing or the performances of the actors reacting to their friends perishing less moving or well done.  When Indiana Jones seemingly falls off a cliff while riding a tank in The Last Crusade, I knew Indy would somehow survive.  However, Sean Connery's quivering shock while delivering the line "I never told him anything" and his gasping relief while telling his newly resurrected son "I thought I lost you, boy" still reaches in and pulls at your heartstrings despite having the knowledge Indy would likely be fine.  
The ability to bring characters back from death isn't something invented by the MCU, Marvel Comics, or comic books in general.  It is a tool often used by creators in the medium of fiction.  Just ask Jon Snow...or Spock...or Gandalf...or Sherlock Holmes...or Robocop...or Jesus H. F%*king Christ.  So stow all that, "Who cares?  They're all coming back anyway" myopic thinking and try to appreciate the journey.  

Apart from all things snap related, Infinity War is a blast.  This is a cinematic universe that knows their secret weapon is the interactions of their characters.  And that secret weapon is on full display here.  Is it my favorite MCU film?  No. (*COUGH!* Civil War *COUGH!*) But it is easily a top five for me.
  • SIDE NOTE: Thank You Taika Waititi for what you did with the character of Thor in Thor: Ragnarok.  It's like Waititi rebuilt the engine of a car and the Russos took that car for a joy ride on the autobahn.  Waititi deserves so much credit for making the previously 'meh' Thor one of the MCU's most entertaining characters. 
Atlanta Season 2 - CONFOUNDING - My Donald Glover love stretches back farther than most.  I was a fan of his comedy troop, Derrick Comedy.  I watched their oddly funny film Mystery Team and came away hoping Glover would get the chance to do more projects.  Because of his comedy roots, I found myself searching to find the punchline when Glover started his rap career.  I quickly began to realize that Childish Gambino was a legit avenue for another facet of his talents.  When he left Community to make a Twin Peaks-esque "comedy" on FX, I was skeptical.  But after watching the first season of Atlanta, I was convinced that Glover was something special.  My expectations were high for Season 2, which is probably why "Robbing Season" left me a bit underwhelmed.  The biggest standout of the season is easily the unofficial Get Out sequel episode featuring the titular Teddy Perkins.  Glover's star is shining bright with Lando, an SNL appearance, and "This Is America" grabbing headlines.  I just hope the next season of Atlanta brushes off the sophomore slump it seems to be on and gets back to knocking my socks off.
  • SIDE NOTE: Lakeith Stanfield is astoundingly good.  I'm as interested in his future as I was with Glover's.
A Quiet Place - ELEGANT - Michael Bay took something I held dear and made it into nothing less than a joke. (Nope...never letting it go.) However, Bay's Platinum Dunes studio gave me something this year that is a step towards an apology.  I was rooting for A Quiet Place because I really like John Krasinski and am creepily infatuated with Emily Blunt. (Sorry John.  You're married to her.  You should understand my infatuation.) Thankfully, I might have never heard of either one of them and still be impressed by the quality of the filmmaking in A Quiet Place and its clever simplicity.  People have tried to tear it down as of late with petty nitpicks.  My retort is...and I say this with all due respect...Shhhh!
  • SIDE NOTE: I've been hearing the rumblings of a John Krasinski/Emily Blunt respective casting for Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the MCU's relaunch of the Fantastic Four...and I honestly can't say I don't love that suggestion.
Those are just a few things I've seen that I missed the opportunity to ramble about.  I could get into the stupidity of Rampage or the sloppy storytelling of Altered Carbon or the chilling feeling that ran up my spine throughout You Were Never Really Here, but I'm gonna try to pace myself.  As one of my favorite Avengers once said...



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