Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them
I’m a real latecomer to the Harry Potter thing. I was aware of the series for most of the 2000s of course, but didn’t see any of the movies (still haven’t read the books) until 2010 right before the last one came out. Dawn and I marathoned the series on Netflix (Discs by mail!)and then saw the final installment of Deathly Hallows when it reached theaters. I have afoundation of the series without being a super fan. I didn’t know what to expect from Fantastic Beasts. It is a very interesting film with more than a few strange choices. Firstly, the lead role played by Eddie Redmayne is really strange. He’s so socially awkwards, mumbles most lines and rarely looks other characters in the eye while speaking directly to them. Dan Fogler is unrecognizable but is also putting on a great character performance. I’ll admit to not being very familiar with most of the other actors but they were all similar shades of awkward. Kinda neat for a movie that is supposed to be a huge studio action film with kid appeal.
Held on the DVR for about 3 or 4 months. Finally watched it and wasn’t disappointed. A fitting tribute to George Michael.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Ok so when Indy is running from the natives in the opening scene, he’s left behind a small crew dead in the expedition. Then he gets in a single engine plane with one seat. What the hell was going to happen to all those other guys? Was he counting on them getting killed? Otherwise, this movie holds up.
I’ve seen The Lego Movie a hundred times. Kids love it. I was hot to see this one before it came out then the reviews were great too, so we finally made it out a couple weeks ago. It almost plays like an official parody of Batman movies. The weird Tom Hardy Bane voice coming out of the comic looking Bane was pretty great.
Batman v Superman
OK so Superman arrives at congress to face questions and Bruce Wayne is watching on TV and asks whats the deal with the former employee who is also appearing. He sees the returned checks, he sees the bomb go off and while I can appreciate it might be hard to directly connect this entire thing to Lex Luthor is should be clear to HIM that there is a conspiracy to frame Superman. One so great it will put him in the US Capitol building with a bomb and kill hundreds. Why the hell does he continue to pursue his insane plan to stab Superman to death? Shouldn’t the world’s greatest detective go deeper at this point?
My dad had a brush with death 2 months ago. Trapped in a hospital bed watching network TV as he recovered, we saw a lot of ads for this Matt Damon bomb. We decided this movie had to be either so great or so stupid. As he got better, we went out for a weeknight screening at the nearest IMAX screen. I know it was an off peak time to see a movie in its 2nd or 3rd week of release but we were the ONLY people in an IMAX theater. The weird mix of fake history, science fiction, fantasy, and Matt Damon’s accent conspired to make a movie that defied rationality. Monsters from space that attack on an Earth clock! One Chinese warrior speaks perfect English! Bungee jumping with spears! Willem Dafoe! Emperor of China is played by some kid from a boy band! Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work? Never mind the white washing, the movie was shot and paid for by the Chinese and there is so much nationalism for a culture, society, and events that do exist it was difficult to comprehend. I’m not sure who this movie was for! It is barely on the edge of Mystery Science Theater 3000 level bad.
I recently cancelled my netflix by mail. I had no problem waiting 2 days for any movie, but I had pulled myself down to only 2 movies a month and at that point it is really just a lot cheaper to rent from Redbox, so that is why I rented Pitch Perfect, since I’m limited to new releases. It did come with a reccomendation from Will West earlier that week who praised the accuracy of college acapella groups depicted. I can’t speak to that, but I did enjoy the music for what it was worth and also the performance from Adam Devine (Workaholics) in a less mentally unstable role. Anna Kendrick is an actress I really like in everything I’ve seen her in and playing a mashup DJ was a recipe for a huge crush. It reminds me of the Josie & The Pussycats movie in the way that it should have been very lame and by the numbers, but has enough bizarre humor and clever moments to elevate the material to a point where it can be safely enjoyed by someone not a teenage girl. There is puke, a physchotic whispering girl, and big nerd who I can’t help feel is making fun of Glee by his inclusion. Can’t say I’d watch it again and again, but it is worth a rent. I might watch the “Cups” video a few more times though.
Iron Man 3
The runaway success of this movie is not something we should praise but expect. It is better than Iron Man 2. It is also better than the original Iron Man in a lot of ways. I’d even say it tops Avengers as far as telling a story with character development (Avengers was a series of amazing events and jokes, but no real development). The female parts of this movie stand out against the titular Iron Man very well. Tony’s girlfriend isn’t a Bond girl, she’s the CEO of his company and his most trusted ally. The female AIM agent that stands in his way wasn’t easily dispatched. The scientist Tony met with 13 years ago doesn’t pop up to rekindle an old flame or get revenge, she just wants to get the rest of the formula Tony wrote on a cocktail napkin. And with little exception NONE of these women are sexualized nor do that dress in a way meant to seduce him. Yeah, this movie passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. And we’re rewarded with an amazing climax and a ride off into the sunset. Please, no Iron Man 4. Do not try to top this. Bring Tony back for Avengers and cameos, but let Iron Man 3 be the movie that closes his solo adventures.
These DC movies can be hit or miss. Red Hood, New Frontier, Apocalypse, Wonder Woman, Elite… These were great stories with the characters and it helps that most were adapted from great stories with the characters. I mentioned before that Avengers was just a series of events with those characters, and that is kind of how I feel with Unbound. The movie is bookended with scenes featuring Lois Lane and Clark’s relationship with her. In the middle there is some good Supergirl stuff showing Kara being homesick. But the bulk of the movie is Superman fighting Brainiac on multiple fronts. That fighting is fun, good action dialog, and superb WB animation to bring it together. But the movie never once shows why it is called “Unbound” aside from the one time he is bound by Brainiac and breaks free like 12 seconds later. There are lots of reasons for Kal El to lose it as part of this story, from being worried about Lois or Kara or pining to live inside Kandor with his fellow Kryptonians. All those are touched on but never dug in to. I guess that is a lot to ask for a 72 minute animated feature, but I’ve see these movies characterize Superman and family well and the fact they only half assed it bothers me more than if they went full on Justice League mode and made the entire story about the action and never talk about secret identities and relationships. The movie’s opening shot is also the weakest most unrealistic thing I’ve ever seen animated. Thankfully the movie picks up and is fun from there, but I could not suspend my disbelief that a swat team would pour on to a rooftop with armed kidnappers firing with NO COVER AT ALL and then only a few are slightly injured. I’d have junked that gun battle entirely in storyboarding and have the bad guys get away as soon as swat arrives since that is what happens anyway. Spent that recovered 45 seconds telling me why they kidnapped Lois in the first place. All told, it is still a fun movie and worth watching, just doesn’t elevate to the same level as Superman VS The Elite or Under The Red Hood.