Emily Blunt

May 11, 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…

June 6, 2014

Edge Of Tomorrow

THROWBACK

Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but he knows how to make entertaining films.  Yeah, yeah.  There are some Knight & Day and Rock Of Ages anomalies in there.  However, you would be hard pressed to go through his filmography and find a film of his that you didn’t at least think was fun.  From the grossly underrated Oblivion, to the pulpy Jack Reacher, to the exhilarating Ghost Protocol.  Tom Cruise STILL can make films that are exciting and fun.  Edge Of Tomorrow is no different.  It is a THROWBACK to some of the balls to the wall sci-fi action films I grew up watching as a kid.  Aliens, Total Recall, Terminator, etc.  It takes a sci-fi concept and blends it with great action set pieces and smart dialogue, hello Christopher McQuarrie, to create a film that gets you munching popcorn in the theater like a rabid woodchuck.

Edge of Tomorrow, based on the way better titled book All You Need Is Kill, tells the story of a cowardly soldier forced onto the front lines of a war against an alien invasion.  Through a miraculous set of circumstances, he gains the power to reset the day every time he gets killed.  With every reset, the soldier learns the skill and the courage he will need to defeat the aliens and save humanity.  And yes, I’ll be the one millionth person to use the analogy…IT’S GROUNDHOG’S DAY WITH ALIENS AND MACHINE GUNS!  Although, I see Edge Of Tomorrow as a little less complex than that.  In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character becomes a better person on the inside through use of the recycling days.  Edge Of Tomorrow uses it’s time traveling concept mainly for the goal of defeating the enemy.  Some personal growth is there, but most of it takes a back seat to the mission at hand.  You might think that I’m saying that this is a bad thing, but I honestly think it works here.  The movie never slows down and the repeated timeline gimmick never becomes tedious or, ironically, predictable. 

Tom Cruise’s performance in this is…well…very Tom Cruise.  He doesn’t break ground on any particularly new territory here.  But this is a film where he doesn’t really have to be anything other than Tom Cruise.  The biggest range of acting we get from Cruise is seeing him actually portray a coward.  Despite his long history as a leading man, this is something we rarely get to see him play and he does it quite well. 

The biggest weak spot for me in Tom Cruise’s other recent sci-fi film Oblivion was that the connection he has with actress Olga Kurylenko didn’t feel that strong to me.  Their chemistry just wasn’t right.  On the other hand, Emily Blunt is literally chemistry personified.  By that I mean she seems to just have amazing chemistry with every leading man they put her up against.  Whether it’s the chemistry she has with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper, or the insane amount of chemistry she has with Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau.  Seriously, watch that film again.  The bathroom scene between her and Damon is a textbook example of what onscreen chemistry looks like.  Blunts powers once again come into play because every scene with her and Cruise is great.  Surprisingly, some of the scenes where they are just talking are as entertaining as the scenes where they are blowing things away.  Maybe it would have been better if Blunt was in Oblivion and Olga was in Edge, seeing as Oblivion is more dependent on the chemistry between the two leads than Edge Of Tomorrow is.  But I digress.

The rest of the supporting cast fill in their roles well.  Bill Paxton is just as humerus as he needs to be, and the members of Cruise’s J Squad are memorable and entertaining enough in their limited screen time to stick with you.  I was so hoping for Paxton to appear later in the film during an airdrop into alien territory so as to assuage my Aliens similarities fetish, but alas.

For as competent of an action director Doug Liman is, he really flies under the radar. This is likely due to him focusing more on producing than directing as of late.  However, this is still the man who brought Jason Bourne to the silver screen.  Hell, his romantic action comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith is the reason that there is such a thing as Brangelina.  Liman can do action, and he does it well here.  There is nothing as eye jarringly exhausting as Neill Blomkamp’s other exosuit extravaganza Elysium.  Just solid set pieces with thrilling, coherent action beats.  This saddens me because Edge Of Tomorrow will probably be the last action film I’ll see before Michael Bay’s new Transformers movie maces my eyeballs.

Edge Of Tomorrow fully embraces the summer popcorn flick philosophy while still delivering enough smart dialogue and concepts to keep you guessing.  It isn’t interested with hitting you over the head with social commentary or a heavy handed message.  It just wants to entertain you over and over again.  Grab an extra mag…an extra battery…don’t get injured anywhere near Emily Blunt…watch it…then tell me I’m wrong.

March 26, 2014

Simplistic Sneak Peek Ep. 1

Behold the inaugural episode of Simplistic Sneak Peek!  What is that you ask?  Simplistic Sneak Peek is a new ongoing series that allows you to hear Matt, Justin and DJ’s first impressions and discussions on trailers for upcoming films.  It’s kinda like a podcast shortened to a mini-sode mixed with vlog serving as a tri-editorial.  Yeah, I don’t know either.

The trailers the boys discuss on this episode include Bryan Singer’s 2nd trailer for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Tom Cruise’s action epic Edge Of Tomorrow, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s attempt at Hercules.  You can click the links to the those films trailers below to watch them without commentary then come back and listen to what Matt, Justin, and DJ had to say about them in real time.

X-Men Days Of Future Past

Edge Of Tomorrow

Hercules

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