Summer Movies

March 18, 2016

Trailer Hot Take: X-Men: Apocalypse (Final Trailer)

We’ve been getting some pretty nice trailers in the run-up to the Summer Movie Season, but I guess trailers are all you get when there is a glut of ho-hum films, so it’s easy to get excited.

This time on “Trailer Hot Take” we take a look at the latest, and what seems to be the final, “X-Men: Apocalypse” trailer. It’s a mixed bag of goodies and for me personally, my verdict is still out on this one.

I have to admit, I’m digging this 80s style. I mean, look at that purple V with the sports coat!
Oscar Issac on the slab, pre-Apocalypse. I’m interested to see how they weave this origin story.
So is the suit going to be something created through “magic” or an actual tangible suit, or of “celestial” origin.
The new and improved Magneto helmet
And the new and improved Magneto suit.
Who could this be in the scene with Quicksilver? Magda….Magneto’s wife?
Is the RUSH shirt a little too on the nose?
Pre-Archangel fighting Nightcrawler in Hell in a Cell.
It looks like William Stryker is back, but in what capacity.
I may not be an Oliva Munn fan, but at least they got the Psylocke costume and sword right.
Havok going crazy in Cerebro…but why?
I hope the X-Mansion was covered for Apocalypse Insurance.
With a ton of J-Law shots in this trailer, will she meet her end at the hands of our titular villain?
Well, that’s it for this Trailer Hot Take. kthnxbye.
July 18, 2013

Pacific Rim (Matt’s Take)

Pacific Rim – Correct

CORRECT

In a movie climate of big booms, there is a vacuum of emptiness. You have “Transformers”, “Man of Steel”, and countless “Fast and the Furious” sequels where droves of people go just to see what I’ll call “explosion porn.” In a summer full of disappointment it’s refreshing to finally see a big budget tent pole film live up to not only its potential, but gives even more. “Pacific Rim” might be the wild card blockbuster of this Summer, but it does everything correct.

I could make this review brief and just say “Rim” is great and you should plunk down $10 at your local multiplex and support a film that, one, doesn’t take itself too serious, two, provides over two hours of action eye candy, and three, is a breath of fresh air in a time of cinema that relies on sequels that are inferior to its predecessors.  The sad part about “Rim” is that it will ultimately become a cult hit, which is odd for a film that cost upwards of $200 Million between it’s production and marketing, but that is what Guillermo del Toro films are; cult hits that delivers fan service up the ass, but just don’t make enough at the box office to call themselves “monetary hits” despite the fact that nearly all of del Toro’s films have been critically lauded (I’m not including “Rim” in that bunch because at heart it’s really just a bunch of dumb fun).

But what’s wrong with dumb fun?  I mean “Grown Ups 2” made nearly $50 Million in it’s opening weekend. “Grown Ups 2”?!  Really?!  A film that has plenty dumb, and I’m sure some people would say is “fun.”  And this isn’t going into an Adam Sandler rant.  I respect anyone that finds a niche and makes money off of it.  Del Toro has his niche, sci-fi and fantasy geeks, which are mostly single guys and girls between the ages of 18-35.  Seems like a solid demographic, right?  Not when you look at the ticket returns.  I can see “Hellboy” not making a ton of money.  It’s literally a fringe comic from Dark Horse that not many people would know about outside the comic book reading public.  “Rim” should appeal to EVERYONE who saw all three “Transformers” film as well as anyone who saw “Cloverfield” or “Independence Day” or “Godzilla” or I could keep the list going but I won’t.  My question is why didn’t this film get the love, and money, it deserves its opening week.  Yes, it’s the Summer and there are a lot of movies to see right now.  I’m not going to say they are good movies, but they’re movies nonetheless.  What continues to befuddle me is the movie-going audience in this day and age.  They will celebrate sequel after horrible sequel, but when something interesting comes their way with the same thing they are watching over and over, they dare not give it a chance?  Rant end, now let’s get to Grown U…..I mean “Pacific Rim.”

In short, “Rim” is about a war between humans and giant sea monsters.  These monsters, or Kaiju, are creating havoc within the ‘Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, decimating China, Japan, Australia, and the West Coast of the United States.  To combat this menace, the Jaeger Program was created.  A program comprised of giant robots piloted by humans, the robots, called Jaegers, hunt the Kaiju, engage them in combat, and most of the time defeat them.  Controlling the Jaegers requires a mind-meld between the pilots called “drifting” in which the pilots share memories, fears, and anger in order to fight better.  As the plot progresses we are introduced to your typical action movie archetypes; the loner with a past, the quiet girl that kicks ass, the grizzled guy in charge with a past, and your typical bad-ass roughnecks, but just become fodder for story’s sake.  The whole story leads up to a final confrontation with “a category 5 monster” and when all seems lost for humanity….well, I’ll stop there.

While acting isn’t it’s strongest suit, the camp element of robots fighting monsters makes the acting fit like a glove.  Even when Idris Elba gives his “Braveheart” speech, which is shoehorned in, I still felt inspired despite the fact I’ve heard the same speech in every sports film ever made.  Even though Charlie Day does his best Charlie Kelly the Scientist impression I still thought the character had a place in the film as a so-called “Kaiju groupie.”

Yes, we’ve all seen “Rim” before, just not all in one film.  del Toro, a master of genre film-making, borrows what he likes best from “Aliens” all the way to H.P. Lovercraft, and creates a cohesive film filled with colorful characters, locations, and amazing action set pieces.  There isn’t any new ground being broken which leads to my massive confusion of why this film isn’t getting the love it should be getting.  Are we going cold turkey on big-budget robot/monster beat-em-ups?  In the case of “Transformers”, I hope so, but not “Pacific Rim.”  There is a love and commitment to detail in “Rim.”  Keep in mind, this is the film that del Toro left “The Hobbit” for.  “The Hobbit,” a guaranteed, and critic proof, hit, was put aside so he could create a wonderful genre piece that is now being overlooked by audiences.

I could be getting ahead of myself.  Perhaps word of mouth will help “Rim” in the coming weeks and it’s box office receipts won’t drop off too much, but it’s Summer, where a film’s time to make a dent in an audiences’ wallet is limited, and it could be an uphill battle.  Regardless, the fact that “Pacific Rim” exists is a good for film.  It reinvigorates the “giant monster/robot” genre but it does it in a way that provides just enough heart and tongue-in-cheek fun where you wouldn’t mind seeing more Kaiju vs. Jaeger fist fighting.  For a fun time, check out “Pacific Rim.”

Fun Fact:  Having now appeared in five of del Toro’s films, this is the first film where Ron Perlman plays a human character, Hannibal Chau.

July 12, 2013

Man of Steel

Man of Steel – Sponsors

SPONSORS

The time is now for Warner Bros. and DC Comics.  The window has already closed to be able to compete with Disney and Marvel Comics so its time to just try and carve out a little bit of a niche for themselves.  Sure, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was a huge success, but that’s over, and unless you thought “Green Lantern” was a good direction for DC Comics film-wise, well, I’d have to disagree with you on that one.  So with all their chips on the table, Warner/DC has decided to go for the Hail Mary.  That Hail Mary is “Man of Steel,” sponsored by Sears, 7-11, IHOP, and of course, LexCorp.

Contrary to what you might hear about “Man” the film isn’t that bad, sure its loud, bombastic, brash, and suffers from a severe case of style-over-substance…..hmmm, well, I guess “Man of Steel” isn’t that great when I really stop and think about it.  While it has some good ideas, the way Superman is presented almost makes this attempt feel like this is a sequel to another film.  And while “Man” tries it’s best to distance itself from the less-than-super “Superman Returns” there are too many scenes where director, Zack Snyder, once again, lets his ego get in the way and decides to make things explode as opposed to detailing the psychology of Clark Kent and how he’s torn between being the last son of a dying world and the protector to a new one. Snyder shoehorns scenes of Clark’s more impressionable years in Smallville, but the scenes merely feel like a feeble attempt at trying to make us feel like he has a soul and why he feels an obligation to the human race.  I almost feel “Man of Steel” would have been better suited as a trilogy as opposed to fitting everything into one giant action-fest.  Obviously Warners has no interest in another compelling “Dark Knight-like” trilogy, they are so busy trying to catch up to Marvel.  The one thing I will say is that Superman isn’t as interesting to be able to fit into an entire trilogy like Bruce Wayne/Batman.

At the end of “Man” I was left both wanting more and wanting less, if that is possible.  The action scenes were both large in scope, but felt empty; the story of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman was both easy to follow, yet lacked depth; and the story became inconsequential come the start of the 3rd act when everything that can go boom, goes boom.  I’m sure Michael Bay had plenty of tissue handy when he witnessed Metropolis being torn apart by a group of Kryptonians.

What troubles me the most about this new direction for Warner/DC is the world building, or lack thereof. Sure, you get a nod to LexCorp, Wayne Enterprises and other minor DC characters that may exist in this specific universe, but while Warner says they want to complete with Marvel in the superhero-movie-making business, they still seem to want to make self-contained films and somehow make them all gel.  If you go all the way back to when Marvel released “Iron Man” the plan was already in motion for more films within a coherent universe.  Marvel could have slapped “Iron Man” together and flown by the seat of their pants, but they made a conscience effort to create a world where other heroes could exist.  “Man of Steel” provides us with glimpses, or “Easter Eggs” of companies which have meaning to characters such as Lex Luthor, Batman, and Cyborg, but you’re left to wonder how many movies it is going to take to finally set in motion a “Justice League” or even a “World’s Finest” film.  At this stage in the game it looks like we’ll get another “Man of Steel” film in 2015 and maybe a “Batman” reboot in 2016.  You might say “Well, you can’t create an entire universe in just one film.”  I’d say back “How come Marvel was able to do it, and make us believe they knew what they were doing from the get-go?”

In no way am I shredding this film, even though it might sound like it.  There are things I genuinely like about “Man of Steel.”  I thought the acting and casting was spot on, and it looks like we finally have an actor playing Superman that we can believe in with Henry Cavill.  He fits the suit like a glove and his banter with Lois Lane, played wonderfully by Amy Adams, is vintage.  Michael Shannon continues to impress as General Zod and is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters actors in Hollywood.  The supporting cast is solid as well, including Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White, Chief Editor of The Daily Planet.

With “Man of Steel,” Warner/DC neither loses ground or gains ground on the Disney/Marvel juggernaut.  If anything it washes the taste out of Superman fans mouths for “Superman Returns” and gives people plenty of explosions.  What it didn’t do is break new ground.  Sure, Superman does some super things, but he also feels like a shell of what Superman should be; a protector of the Earth and Metropolis, not it’s destroyer as seen in the final 30 minutes of “Steel.”  This review sponsored by Wayne Enterprises.

Fun Fact:  General Zod’s first appearance was in Adventure Comics #283 in 1961.

June 24, 2013

This is the End

FRIENDS

This is the End – Friends

Modern comedy falls into three groupings; buddy comedies (The Internship) re-hash comedies (any of The Hangover films) and comedy that came from the penis of Judd Apatow.  If it wasn’t for Apatow you could say that comedy would be dead.  Coming from a generation that thought “The Cable Guy” was one of the best comedies of the 1990s, that pretty much sums it up.  But what happens when you get a film that doesn’t have any of Apatow’s fingerprints on it, yet, remains at heart, an Apatow film?  You get the Rapture-inspired comedy, “This is the End.”  A film about friends, redemption, and a lot of jokes about cum.

Let me put this on front street;  “End” will not be for everyone, but it should be if you’ve seen any Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, or Danny McBride film, which I guess would mean that THIS film IS for EVERYONE!  Sure the humor is sophomoric, gross, and the conversations between the actors runs from inane, homoerotic, to, at times, philosophical, but what would you expect from the same guys that brought you “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express.”

“End” revolves around a party at James Franco’s new house where he’s invited everyone from Kevin Hart to a coked-up Michael Cera (who steals every scene he is in). Between the cocaine lines, bong hits, and Capri Suns, The Rapture begins, sucking people into heaven in blue light, while sinners remain on earth.  A majority of the cast dies, but a small group, including Rogen, Hill, McBride, Franco, Craig Robinson, and Jay Baruchel,  survive and slowly turn on each other while trying to figure what to do in the now-post Ap

If you’re looking for a plot and/or story, you’re looking for the wrong thing.  “End” is clearly a comedy showcase from Rogan to Robinson.  Each actor gets their chance to shine and it’s hilarious the watch even if you kind of know where the story is heading come the climax (that sentence is full of innuendo, but so is this film).  There will be some people in the audience that might feel divided about the humor, that ranges from potty-talk, to mean-spirited, but remember; it’s comedy anyway you slice it, and unless you are simply someone with no sense of humor, you’ll get a chuckle every few minutes.

What sets “End” apart from other Apatow fare, as well as any other comedy that’s been in the multiplex lately is the film’s take on celebrity.  “End” plays out more like a reality TV show, which might make you wonder; are these actors really like this in real life?  The answer is; maybe, maybe not.  Most of use are used to the characters that Seth Rogan, James, Franco, and Jonah Hill play in their movies; man-boys that smoke pot, have menial jobs, yet somehow end up for the better come the end of their films.  “End” takes this idea and puts it in some semblance of reality, yet all the actors are still playing a caricature of themselves from their films.  It’s an interesting way to view the film when you think about whether these guys have slowly taken up a role in “real” life that they are known for from their films.  It’s meta upon meta upon meta……

If you don’t want to get that deep, that’s fine, “End” is still the funniest movie that you’ll see all year without a doubt, and that should be enough to get you’re money.  However if that’s not enough…..spoiler alert……the Backstreet Boys are in it.  Now if that doesn’t make you want to pony up about 10 duckets, well, I’m sure you can still check out “The Hangover: Part III” at the dollar theater.

Fun Fact:  Over the course of their careers, The Backstreet Boys have sold over 130 Million records.  Suck on that N’Sync!

May 12, 2013

Iron Man 3 (Matt’s Take)

CHUCKLES

Iron Man 3 – Chuckles

The one thing I didn’t expect was that I was going to be laughing more than saying “Wow, the MK 42 Armor just blow an entire shipyard up!”  In there lies the rub with Marvel/Disney’s newest blockbuster superhero epic, “Iron Man 3.”  While great at times, I couldn’t help but think I was watching “Lethal Weapon,” “Predator,” and “The Last Boy Scout” all at once, and oh yeah, there happened to be some superheroes doing some superhero-type stuff.

When I first heard that Shane Black was taking over for Jon Favreau with “Iron Man 3” I thought it was really interesting. I know Black from the “Lethal Weapon” series and of course as Hawkins in “Predator.”  There were moments in “Iron Man” that I thought Jim Rhodes was going to lean over and tell Tony a joke about his sister, but sigh, it wasn’t meant to be.  Anyway, but with Black at the helm you get a totally different take on a Marvel movie, it’s dark, funny, twisted, and bombastic, even more so than “The Avengers” at times.

The sequel picks up about a year after the events in New York in “Avengers.”  Tony Stark is suffering from post-traumatic and has become obsessed with building new Mark Armor, preparing for humanity’s next big threat.  Jim Rhodes has taken his role as War Machine in stride, now becoming to overly-patriotic American savior, The Iron Patriot.  Of course things don’t stay quiet for long as The Mandarin, a mysterious new terrorist with a Baptist preacher drawl, begins his reign of destruction, which brings Iron Man back into the fold, ready to stop this newest villain.

Stark’s newest adventure draws inspiration from the “Extremis” storyline from 2005-2006, and throws in The Mandarin for an added bad guy, which works, but you might be surprised by way he is ultimately used come the end of the film.  While the first two “Iron Man” films focused on Stark and his shortcomings, there is more of a sense that while Tony is still a loner at heart, he is broken down emotionally after “Avengers” and relies more on Pepper Potts, Rhodes, and his trusty robot buter, J.A.R.V.I.S.  The film talks a lot about demons, and while it could have been said and forgotten about, this theme plays well into what Tony is fighting with, both internally and externally.

The casting is once again pitch perfect, and the additions of Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce give the film more clout, especially Pearce, who is great and fills the void that Sam Rockwell vacated when Justin Hammer was essentially written out of the Iron Man universe, sadly.

Like Jon Favreau said, it’s Kiss, Kiss, Clank, Clank.”  For some that might not be what you were looking for in the newest Iron Man film, but Black has set the tone for Marvel’s “Phase 2” plans, by adding more humor and a few big twists that should hopefully carry over to “Captain America 2” “Thor 2” and what I’m waiting for the most “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Fun Fact:  Between “The Last Boy Scout” and “Last Action Hero” Black made a pretty penny; netting over $3 Million dollars for his scripts.

May 6, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: April Edition

It’s that time of the month again, take that as you may, but you won’t need any tampons to listen to April’s Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

In this month’s edition we ponder who is more evil, Red Skull or Adolf Hitler, Sheri Moon Zombie’s ass, and Justin tries to sell Matt on Mad Men, and the P-word gets thrown into the mix.

The guys also test their movie quote knowledge in the new segment, “Simply Quotable,” and do a little Summer movie preview of their own with Iron Man already making waves.

If you like good wholesome family fun, well, find another podcast.  If you like three guys talking out of their ass for over an hour, well, now you’re on the right track with The Simplistic Reviews podcast.

Also, May 6th is National Nightmare Day, a Day to celebrate the 1984 horror classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”  Check over at SlaughterFilm.com for more information.

Show Notes:

Hannibal Review
Summer Movie Preview
The Benefit of Mad Men
National Nightmare Day

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

Click HERE to listen to podcast

Check us out on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

September 11, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods – Tribute

*There could be some spoilers in the links, so tread with care*

The 2012 Summer movie season is over and I saw all the big ones; The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Amazing Spider-Man (even though some people wouldn’t agree that Spidey was a “big” Summer movie) and Prometheus.  Sure, you had The Bourne Legacy and a few other hyped movies, but my best experience came before Summer even started when “The Cabin in the Woods” FINALLY was unleashed to unsuspecting audiences in April.

Love letters are always nice when you get them from people that mean it, and people like Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard must really have a crush on me.  I feel like a mobster in “Goodfellas” and this is their Tribute to not only me, but everything they love as well.
 
The premise is simple; five stereotypes (including the nerd, jock, and stoner) are headed for a secluded cabin, are menaced by a “prophet of doom” and are attacked by monsters.  Like I said, simple…….WRONG.  Contrary to what people might think, this is a very self-aware tribute to genre films, and it’s pulled off perfectly.

Due to this movie being delayed, its a tad funny to see Chris Hemsworth, you might have seen him in a few low-budget movies like “Thor” and “The Avengers,” in one of his first roles.  You also get a few Whedon favorites like Amy Acker (Dollhouse) and Tom Lenk (Buffy and Angel)

Sprinkle some Evil Dead, a dash of Lovecraft, a sprinkle of ’50s giant monster movies, and good dose of splatter/slasher films, and you have “The Cabin in the Woods.”  This is definitely a trip you’d like to take, sure, you might end up tied up, gagged, and set on fire by people in white cherub masks, but at least you’ll finally be able to see the “merman

Fun Fact:  Please see “The White Board.”  It’s a magical experience.

 

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