Category Archives: Thriller

Green Room or Boring “Trapped Horror Movie” with Patrick Stewart

Green Room Poster

This is going to be a really awkward movie review for me.  First of all, it’s going to be quick.  I really don’t want to spend much time talking about this film.  And then I don’t want to waste your time reading about this film.  So, let’s get this over with, shall we?

Green Room is a “Trapped Horror Film”, (think the first Purge film, REC, The Shining, The Cube, etc.)  Now, The Shining is a good example of a “Trapped Horror Film”.  The trapping is done by the weather and the malevolence of the Stanley Hotel.  The film then adds to the terror by having one of the trapped become the main feature of violence and antagonism.  Another excellent example is John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982).  Again, a trapped environment with the tension so high that it hangs the cast by their underwear.

Literally the first image I found after Googling "Underwear"...something about that sounds wrong.
Literally the first image I found after Googling “Underwear”…something about that sounds wrong.

Now comes Green Room.  If you haven’t heard of it (I would not be surprised), then just understand it’s a sub-standard version of any sort of closed location horror film.  I just didn’t have a lot of love for the way this film was handled.

Created and written by a relative rookie indie film director, Jeremy Saulnier, who seems to be limited to writing some awkward dialogue and having possibly the most washed out color design in film I’ve seen recently.  On top of that, the creation of a film to showcase how a bunch of heroin producing Neo-Nazi’s enjoy their pastime is hardly something I look forward to in general.  It seems live punk-metal music is their true passion…oh, and hating all races, that’s a close second.

And I was sure it was all about hats and mustaches.
And I was sure it was all about hats and mustaches.

Anyway, the only thing I can really establish was the movie was filmed well.  That does show Saulnier’s talent.  Most of his film credits come from that of a cinematographer.  He does seem to have a knack for extreme closeups and every actor savors it when it’s their moment to shine.  The only real veterans in the film are Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots, who reunite again since the campy Colin Farrell vampire remake Fright Night.

Oh, there was another reason this film was created: giving Patrick Stewart the chance to be a bad guy.  And the British Knight does a great job at being hateful and frightening. It’s entertaining to see the Enterprise captain calmly tell individuals to kill a no-name band and send attack dogs to maul people mercilessly.

Ah, that’s also a point that I could not stand in this film.  I’m sure there is a reason why I felt this way, but I just cannot get past a film that depicts graphic use of animals for horrific gains.  Of course the dogs were not hurt in the making of the film, but even having them “act” like they were killing people put a thorn in my head that I couldn’t remove with an entire lobotomy.

Honestly, not only was this film poorly made, completely meh on the actors, and just a complete silly mess of a story, but it just made me sick to my stomach.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Unless your absolute favorite movies are Human Centipede, Hostel, or House of a 1000 Corpses, then skip this movie.  There is hardly any Patrick Stewart and what he does looks so unnatural that it’ll take you out of the film.  Is it even possible to want to spit on a film?

-Darkmovienight

The Jungle Book or Surprising Amazing Uncanny Valley Movie

Disney-The-Jungle-Book-Jon-Favreau1

Ah, 2016.  A movie enthusiasts dream.  You’ve got your original pictures like Money Monster, Midnight Special, and Zootopia.  Then of course the finest sequels studios could put out: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, and Star Trek: Beyond.  And what’s a year in film without a few remakes: Ben-Hur, Ghostbusters, The Jungle Book, and of…wait…The Jungle Book?

“Wait, wait, wait…slow down now I say.”  Why in the name of Stephen Spielberg remake The Jungle Book.  And just to sate curiosity, they actually do mean a remake of the beloved animated film from 1967. This is Disney after all and they have been making it a bit of their MO recently: remake old animated features into live action adaptations, some good:

It's all about the shoes and dress...
It’s all about the shoes and dress…

And some not so good:

Well...the horns are cool...
Well…the horns are cool…

So, it’s come to this Disney.  You took the remake/reboot wagon to new heights and then made it skydive.  Well, I have one thing to say to you about your precious new Jungle Book live action film: how did you make it so good?

First of all, I’m all for remakes.  I don’t care, if I loved the film before, and Hollywood remakes it now, I either get to laugh at it and remember how good the original still is or I get to see it through new eyes and be surprised by the unique take a director or actor has done to my loved film.  Of course the bottom line is that Hollywood is out of ideas so they’re just hoping all the people that saw the film originally in theaters are dead now.  I mean, after almost 80 years, I think it’s okay to retread a little bit of ground:

Not sacred ground...
Not sacred ground…

But, now that I think of it…

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
“Louis, I think we’re going to kick some Nazi ass all Inglorious Basterds style”

Okay, so Disney is taking their classics and remaking them with today’s technology.  In the case of The Jungle Book, director Jon Favreau (the guy that pretty much made the Marvel Cinematic Universe possible) used cutting edge animation to make the most believable CGI characters I’ve ever seen.  There is even a question of if the film will compete as an animated feature instead of the typical “live action” films in Award Season.  I’m reasonably tech savvy myself, but what those artists and Weta did is something unlike I’ve ever seen.  Right there, it’s worth the price of admission.

After you’re done gawking at the realistic animals actually talking to the new actor, Neel Sethi (Mowgli), you then have to listen to who is talking. Voice work is where it get’s a little sticky for me.  For a while, animation voice work was done by relative nobody actors or some that just had a natural talent at voice work and eventually became completely iconic:

"If you can't hear that voice in your head right now...you're dead to me."
“If you can’t hear that voice in your head right now…you’re dead to me.”

But then Dreamworks had success with Shrek in 2001 with Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy headlining the film.  First time I can remember that an animated feature actually billed the actors playing a role.  Well, that’s not quite true:

I am really trying not to cry now. And credit to the artist on this beautiful image.
I am really trying not to cry now. And credit to the artist on this beautiful image.

Nevertheless, once Myers and Murphy headlined Shrek, every animated feature had to have Hollywood stars doing voice work, whether they could or not.  This was not a problem in the least for The Jungle Book. Being told the tale by the amazing Ben Kingsley as Bagheera the panther, laughing it up with Bill “Freaking” Murray as the lovable lazy bear Baloo, or just being plain freaked out and comforted by Scarlett Johansson’s boa constrictor Kaa.  These actors didn’t just phone in a lazy script.  They made their mark on the characters, and yes, I thought of the animals just as real as Mowgli.  Usually you can hear the voice and see the actor’s face, but Favreau went to great lengths to gather a cast of professional actors to bring more life into his CGI world.

I skipped two names up there.  The first one, Idris Elba as the vicious tiger Shere Khan, who basically took an entire jungle hostage for the sake of revenge, was terrifying.  Not one moment did he not sound menacing, in charge, and lethal.  I’m now convinced that Elba should be available at all times so parents can have him call unruly children and calmly speak until their pants are full.

Don't make me pick up that phone again, you remember what he said the last time...
“If your shorts aren’t up to your armpits on the count of three, Mr. Elba will call again…”

Hell, I bet it would even work on adults:

"He only said he was disappointed in me!" *Sobs uncontrollably*
“He only said he was disappointed in me!” *Sobs uncontrollably*

The other name I left off was someone that absolutely stole the show every second his character was on screen.  Christopher Walken portrayed the devious (and humongous) King Louie the Orangutan, and oh yeah, they let him sing.  Walken’s  “I Wan’na Be Like You” started off as a discussion with Mowgli and soon took off like a bullet from a gun.  His talents were absolutely perfect.  Dancing, singing, and totally creeping everyone out.  I have no doubt in my mind that Walken didn’t audition for the part, he simply came in took it over.  There is not enough words of joy to describe his performance.

Now that he's retired, I'm pretty sure Walken has already commondeered the Dous Eccious factory until he is the replacement.
Now that he’s retired, I’m pretty sure Walken has already commandeered the Dos Equis factory until he is the replacement spokesperson.

The only downfall in Favreau’s The Jungle Book is that it is a remake and thus no surprises in the story.  It’s not even a “The original was better” argument, it was just the same.  Sure, they added more adult dialog and changed a couple scenes up, but it was still the same Jungle Book I remember from when I was a kid.  That’s the trap you have with a remake or a reboot: if you don’t make it different enough while still using the same framework, you’ve pretty much already lost.  We’ve seen it happen with multiple films, and unfortunately the best example of a remake/reboot giving better life to the source material would be 2010’s True Grit.  While tons of people will argue that there is no one better than John Wayne in a Western Film, seeing “The Dude” bring Rooster Cogburn to whole new levels and satisfactorily bringing in crowds for a Western film…in 2010!  So, yeah, it sucks, but unless you’re Jeff Bridges getting drunk, you can’t escape this aspect of a remake.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

The Jungle Book took almost every fear away from being it being a remake.  It was truly an adaptation.  Showcasing probably the best CGI I have seen to date which allows a talented director and a myriad of stellar actors to move and breathe just as if it was all real.  No surprise in the story, but it won’t matter when you here this:

-Darkmovienight

Hardcore Henry or Best Video Game Film EVER

Hardcore Henry Poster

Going into this film, I knew that it was going to be insane.  The previews had me giddy with anticipation and Sharlto Copley has easily become one of my favorite actors since he stared in District 9.  And that’s not even mentioning the fact it was produced by Timur “The Action GENIUS” Bekmambetov.  You may not know the name, but you likely have seen his work.  He did a little film called Wanted a few years back.

When he said "Mutha****er" at the end of this movie, it was like seeing a Priest ACTUALLY invite the alter boy into his office
When he said “Mutha****er” at the end of this movie, was like seeing a Priest ACTUALLY invite the alter boy into his office

If you have never seen Wanted, then just imagine the dorkiest guy getting trained to become an elite assassin by Morgan Freeman with the most amazing fight choreography seen to that date.  Not to mention it was funny as hell.  Anyway, Timur took what he learned from all of his films (including some incredible Russian Horror/Action films: Night Watch & Day Watch) and shoved it into the relative fledgling director: Ilya Naishuller‘s brain and let him loose with a GoPro and some cocaine. And when I say “relative fledgling” I mean this was his first film outside of some music videos he did with his band.

"Post Production" crew
“Post Production” crew

Well, being jazzed up, afraid a little bit that I might get motion sickness and make a mess at my local AMC, but thankfully that never became a problem.  Probably the easiest way for me to describe my feelings for this movie is this: From the moment the film began to its perfect, yet simple, ending, I have not had that much FUN in a movie since I can remember.

Not this kind of fun...and oh, make sure you have safe search on when you Google "Adult Theater Images"
Not this kind of fun…and oh, make sure you have safe search on when you Google “Adult Theater Images”

I knew what to expect from the action and choreography, but had no idea what the full content would look like.  First of all, I think the amount of gore and violence would make the Deadpool film blush.  I’m not kidding, from the beginning credits on, it was pretty much the most mature and bloodiest film I’ve seen since Deadpool, and considering nothing had been on that level for years, that says a lot about what I was watching.  I’d love to say that it was all completely necessary, but I just can’t quite get there.  I will say that using the first person perspective did lend a little more credence to the gratuitous amount of gore, but not by much.

Some of my favorite moments of the film were the multi-character fight scenes.  There are two reasons for this: first, everyone attacked at once. There was none of this “one guy at a time” fight choreography. Sometimes that did get a little overwhelming, especially since the point of view, but honestly, when you have a full on gang rush you, they’re not going to take turns getting the crap beat out of them.

"No sir, I insist that you take your turn. I will follow afterwards."
“No sir, I insist that you take your turn. I will follow afterwards.”

And secondly, the music was just pitch perfect.  The trailer set it up, but delivering Queens “Can’t Stop Me Now” during the pentacle fight scene was just brilliant.  If you felt that the movie was moving fast before, and believe me the non-stop action kept the pace lightning quick, then you have no idea what speed can be.

I could dote on the action and the innovation for a long time, but sadly a film can’t be judged on that alone.  For all intents and purposes, Henry (or you) are the main character of this film, at least that’s what they’re going for.  But  Sharlto Copley is the one who steals the show.  Using a clever method (which would spoil the film, so I won’t give it away), they’re able to shove as much Copley in this film as they can.  And not just the first one you see on screen.  Copley plays at least over ten characters throughout the movie that assist Henry.  I loved that at first there was absolutely no explanation and once they did explain it, the explanation was one of the best bits of the film.

Honestly, who can't get enough of this face?
Honestly, who can’t get enough of this face?

Aside from Copley, there really isn’t another presence that gives this film a fully fleshed out performance.  Actor Danila Kozlovsky, gets the opportunity to play “Generic Russian Villain #420” and the writers don’t give him much to do.  I will give the make-up and effects team some serious props for making him pretty damn creepy looking and seemingly untouchable.  For those of you looking for the video game parallels, he’s the endgame boss you meet multiple times who kicks your ass due to a power you seemingly can’t get past (in this case, it’s telekinesis).

Honestly the plot, story, and dialogue will seem immediately familiar to any video gamer.  Much like the multiple Copleys, this film is broken into multiple “missions” which just break down to changes of the location and level of insanity.  One particular scene shows Copley as a coked out hippie who fights alongside Henry with a frantic pace and screaming non-sense.  All of this takes place in a bordello and in the first person point-of-view, the entire experience is, how do I say…quite realistic.

Duke Nukem: Closest facsimile I could show without giving you a few grand and sending you to Nevada...
Duke Nukem: Closest facsimile I could show without giving you a few grand and sending you to Nevada…

Clearly the writers (ones that actually wrote for the game “Payday 2”) and director were not looking for Best Picture in 2017 here, but I would be highly surprised if they didn’t get nominated for visual effects.  All in all, they knew what they were creating.  A fast paced, action packed, tiny plotted and limply acted video game film.    I just can’t endorse it other than a frantic action film.  Now it’s extremely innovative with both their filming method and a few good surprises along the way, but the longest lasting legacy of Hardcore Henry will be using crowdfunding to complete it (make sure to go there, it showcases some behind-the-scenes stuff as well as the team doing the film), and likely spawning a whole host of copycat films.  Yeah, I’m guessing Hardcore Henry will come in the top five films at the box office this week, even opening in a relatively weak 2700 screens nationwide.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

I pretty much did this part the paragraph above, but it’s pretty simple: if you enjoyed Deadpool or play first person style shooters and are desensitized extreme gore and violence, you’ll really enjoy Hardcore Henry.  I mean, it has a really low threshold in terms of enjoyment, but I guarantee if you’re this film’s target audience, you will have an absolute blast watching it.

-Darkmovienight

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

First Annual Oscar Clobber or The First time we rant about the Academy Awards

I honestly had a real plan for this article.  It was going to be a week long event in which we had guest writers discussing things like #OscarsSoWhite, how terrible the panel is due to ridiculous rules, eligibility, and voting, but I just can’t seem to care enough about the award show to make a real effort at posting something profound.

Seriously, I just Googled "Apathy" and this was the first image that came up...
Seriously, I just Googled “Apathy” and this was the first image that came up…

In lieu of an article about how awful the Oscars have become (and pretty much always have been), I’m going to go over some of the major categories and see if we can find something of interest somewhere among them to talk about.

VmHnLxj

Academy Award for Best Actress

First off, I really don’t like the fact that we still distinguish between “Actresses” and “Actors” via gender.  They are all actors and should be treated as such.  In my opinion, we should really put Jennifer Lawrence (nominated this year for the movie Joy) up against Eddie Redmayne (nominated for his (her?) performance in The Danish Girl) or Matt Damon (nominated for The Martian).  If you’ve seen Joy, you know it’s no where near the caliber of her past performances (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, etc.), but it’s still a well put together movie and for her part, she does everything right and again, showcases an immense amount of talent.

"Don't put metal in the SCIENCE OVEN!" Still my favorite line of that movie and quite possibly 2014.
“Don’t put metal in the SCIENCE OVEN!” Still my favorite line of that movie and quite possibly 2014.

Anyway, there are other actors (yes, screw the word Actress) that are nominated as well, here is a quick round up:

  • Cate Blanchett, in Carol Aird, as Carol
  • Brie Larson, in Room, as Joy “Ma” Newsome
  • Jennifer Lawrence, in Joy, as Joy Mangano
  • Charlotte Rampling, in 45 Years, as Kate Mercer
  • Saoirse Ronan, in Brooklyn, as Eilis Lacey

IWTMM’s Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence

Of course it has to be Jennifer Lawrence.  Everyone loves her (she is really seemingly charming by all accounts) and if the panel even recognized any other actor’s name in that pile, then I would be surprised.  Just give her another one, let her trip on the stairs or her dress *cue laughter* and a “surprised” winning speech.

IWTMM’s “Who Should Have Won”: Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Seriously, you’ve likely seen Mad Max: Fury Road, the other nominations, not too likely.  If you have (or even if you haven’t), Charlize Theron kicks so much ass in two hours than all the “Action Stars” of the 80’s combined.  I totally think she should go all Kanye West on the Winner.

"I'm gonna let you finish, but first, I want to shoot a few idiots in the crowd." -Charlize Theron
“I’m gonna let you finish, but first, I want to shoot a few idiots in the crowd.” -Charlize Theron

Academy Award for Best Actor

 I believe they add, “in a Leading Role” to this title, but I don’t really care (that’s going to be a theme during this whole article).  Let’s take a look at our powder-white nominees:

  • Bryan Cranston, in Trumbo, as Dalton Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, in The Martian, as Mark Watney
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, in The Revenant, as Hugh Glass
  • Michael Fassbender, in Steve Jobs, as Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, in The Danish Girl, as Lili Elbe / Einar Wegener

IWTMM’s Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leo has been passed over for this award in four separate years.  They skipped a year between nominating him so it didn’t look too suspicious, but I believe DiCaprio has been thoroughly snubbed.  It likely doesn’t make any difference to him.  Did you see what he got to do in The Wolf of Wall Street?

I can just see all the tears spewing from his gold-lined tear ducts...
I can just see all the tears spewing from his gold-lined tear ducts…

I mean, come on, you think Leo cares?  Does he want to win, probably, it’s seemingly a big deal to these Hollywood types.  But if a little gold statue is more important than the millions he rakes in for almost every film he does, then I really think the “art” in film is moot.

I think this is a bit more up everyone's alley...
I think this is a bit more up everyone’s alley…

Academy Award for Best….

You know what, I really don’t give a crap.  The Oscars are horrible.  The monologue is obnoxious and no matter who wins, someone is going to be upset.  I don’t even have enough apathy to finish this article.

IWTMM’s Prediction for Best Director: Adam McKay for The Big Short

IWTMM’s Prediction for Best Picture: The Big Short

Seriously, I don’t care.  The Big Short was a phenomenal movie with excellent actors, a horrifying reality, and was honestly both entertaining and filmed very well.  It’s on the “Unicorn List”.  It’s both entertaining and “Critically” acclaimed.  So, for my money, it’s going to come out the winner, but I really don’t care.  The whole thing is just a big Hollywood circlejer…….

We apologize for the inconvience as us at I Watch Too Many Movies attempt to appeal to all audiences, thus the ending of the review has been closed and censored.
We apologize for the inconvenience as us at I Watch Too Many Movies attempt to appeal to all audiences, thus the ending of the review has been closed and censored.

…..and that’s all I have to say about that.  At least I get to see Zootopia next weekend.

-Darkmovienight

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi or Michael Bay’s 2nd Best Film

13-Hours-The-Secret-Soldiers-Of-Benghazi Poster

*****DISCLAIMER*****

Heavy subject in today’s review.  As usual with anything a little bit off kilter, controversial, or political, I want to state that we at I Watch Too Many Movies will not give our own personal opinion on the movie.  We are just here to review the movie itself.

*****RE-CLAIMER*****

Michael Bay is one crazy dude.  Not only can the man figure out a way to kill the Transformers as a franchise with exceptional CGI and explosions, but he can also slow down long enough to direct a film like 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  When I say slow down, I’m probably searching for the word restraint.

"Hold on you guys, this is serious material, tone it down." -Michael Bay (maybe)
“Hold on you guys, this is serious material, tone it down.” -Michael Bay (maybe)

Even if Bay twisted the explosion knob down from his usual 11, this was still an action movie after all, so yeah, there were explosions.  I will give it to Bay that he did something that I didn’t think was possible: took a highly charged political issue and made it about the event instead of the aftermath.  That takes some guts and I appreciate Mr. Bay for that action and sparing us from his opinion.

13 Hours was based off a 2014 book (13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff, who took actual accounts from the point of view of the Benghazi compound’s defenders. The book itself does not address any of the political controversy surrounding the attacks in the aftermath of the September 11th, 2012 horrible incident.

I’ll give a quick thought I had while I was watching the film.  In the beginning, the information on the screen read, “This is a True Story”.  If you’ll recall, I explained what these types of terms meant in the world of film.  When I read those words on the screen, I got to thinking about the “Chain of Custody”.  Quick definition is that when evidence or something else is handled by multiple people, each of them sign off so that anyone can quickly identify where, when, and who had the evidence.  Basically, it’s a much more accurate version of “Telephone”.

Unless you hear it from a Hamburger Phone, don't trust the Intel.
Unless you hear it from a Hamburger Phone, don’t trust the Intel.

Anyway, all I’m trying to say is that you can believe the depiction of the events in the film about as much as a packet of salt.  Here we have an author who discussed the events with the survivors, then we have Michael Bay and his writers dissecting the book and creating a screenplay from it, and finally the actors actually got a chance to discuss the events with the individuals that experienced those hellish hours.

If you want my opinion, the “Chain of Custody” had so many places to break and I believe it did.  That’s okay though.  Like I said, there were no allegations made in the film or the book, and the actors portrayed their characters who likely couldn’t care a “Lesser Hemsworth Brother” about the politics.

One is Thor and the other is living with Miley Cyrus. The different smiles say it all.
One is Thor and the other is living with Miley Cyrus. The different smiles say it all.

We’re glad they took the politics out of the event.  Great job Mr. Bay. Now, what did you fill the two hours with?  Actually a pretty solid action flick.  From the very beginning of the movie, it was obvious that our heroes were in hostile territory.  I mean even before Jim Halpert, excuse me, I mean John Krasinski‘s character lands in Libya, he’s given the evil eye about 100 times.

Yeah, I don't think I'd be too happy with someone waving a gun in my face either.
Yeah, I don’t think I’d be too happy with someone waving a gun in my face either.

At this point, it is my complete obligation to tell you that I really had a hard time separating Krasinski’s character from his portrayal of Jim Halpert in The Office.  He doesn’t deserve that at all, as there isn’t even a “Hint of Halpert” (say that five times fast) in the whole movie.  I just really kept waiting for him to turn and look at the camera and shrug his shoulders.  I saw an interview with him and he said that he never once slipped into a Halpert-ism.  In fact, all the actors do a very good job (but odd how more than two of them were from The Office). Perhaps it’s because they were allowed to discuss this particular incident directly with their real-life counter-parts or something else, but every single person took their job seriously.  It was the script that was a bit heavy handed.

Neither did we...
Neither did we…

Here is my huge issue, these guys went through hell and back.  You don’t have to spend every other minute reminding me that they either have a family, a dog, or a pet cactus.  WE GET IT, the stakes were high.  In Hollywood, there is a tendency to spoon feed the audience the emotions of the characters instead of letting the ambiance and actors do their jobs and, you know, tell the story.  Chuck Hogan, who wrote the screenplay from the novel, can do good work, I’ve seen or read it.  He wrote The Strain series with Guillermo del Toro and even wrote the novel in which the film The Town was based.  So I’m not quite sure why the audience is bashed over the head with a Skype call to family, new pregnancies, calling children, or even taking photos into battle throughout the whole movie.  If anyone had bothered to watch the trailer, they would know that there is tons of action, gunfights, and explosions, then they likely knew someone was going to die.  Come on, this is based on a real event, you could have spoiled the movie by reading a HISTORY TEXTBOOK.

Look at those smug bastards just waiting to spoil the movie for you. Just to be safe, you should Un-Friend them so they don't spoil the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Look at those smug bastards just waiting to spoil the movie for you.  Just to be safe, you should Un-Friend them on Facebook so they don’t spoil the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Other than being told repeatedly that this is a dangerous situation, the film is fine.  Typical action with plenty of gunfire, death, explosions, and the terrible feeling that you have no idea who is your enemy and who may be a sympathizer.  I was especially impressed by how the actors shot and reloaded in this scenario.   Typically, in every other action movie, an automatic weapon fires for minutes at a time and doesn’t need to be reloaded.  This wasn’t the case in 13 Hours.  Small 3-4 round bursts and dedication to actual tactical maneuvers that might be used in an actual battle.

The set was interesting in that the creators used all of the actual blueprints to construct the buildings in the film.  That’s a pretty neat bit of dedication.  Last thing that was impressive?  The beards.  Apparently, and this is true, if you’re going to be stationed in a CIA base, and you’re hired mercenaries, then you have to have an awesomely groomed beard at all times.

Ahhhh, I can smell America from here
Ahhhh, I can smell America from here

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Michael Bay actually showed some restraint in this film about a real-life event that was devastating for our country and he kept the political aspects completely out of the film.  The actors did play “super-hero” versions of their actual counter-parts, but they hit the right notes and didn’t ring false at all with just a few real touches.  I was a little disappointed in the script as it intravenously fed you the stakes of the event and the artificial terror of someone dying.  It’s not a bad film to see in theaters, but you’ll enjoy it just as well by streaming or buying it on Blu-Ray.  Oh, and if you even had to wonder what I consider to be Michael Bay’s best film, then shame on you.

Just can't beat the combination of Cage, Connery, Helms, and Bay
Just can’t beat the combination of Cage, Connery, Helms, and Bay

-Darkmovienight

*****BONUS*****

Quick little bonus for all you good boys and girls.  In the first 15 minutes of the film, I realized that all grizzled looking action stars had one thing in common: they either roll up their shirts or wear short sleeves.  Just take a look (and know this is just the tip of the iceberg):

Rolled up from 13 Hours
Rolled up from 13 Hours
Short Sleeves from Casino Royale
Short Sleeves from Casino Royale
Short Sleeve Over-Shirt from Die Hard 3
Short Sleeve Over-Shirt from Die Hard 3
Rolled Up Sleeve from Chris Pine as Jack Ryan
Rolled Up Sleeve from Chris Pine as Jack Ryan
Short Sleeves for the Thieves in Ocean's 11
Short Sleeves for the Thieves in Ocean’s 11
So many Rolled Up Sleeves in Argo
So many Rolled Up Sleeves in Argo

Now you can look for it in the next film you watch.  Have a nice day.

X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer Reveal or I Still Think Cosplayers Dress Better

X-Men: Days of Future Past, in my opinion, was the pinnacle of the X-Men cinematic franchise.  I don’t know anyone who could have done a better job of bringing together two timelines and killing the movie that everyone hated in the franchise.

If you see this man, approach with caution, Brett Ratner is considered armed and untalented
If you see this man, approach with care.  Brett Ratner is considered armed and untalented. While we do not condone violence, we will make one exception

They finally gave us a look into what the next movie in the X-Men franchise will look like.  Honestly, I dig it.  Cast is top notch and Bryan Singer is sticking with an X-Men film.  Because we all know what happened when he switched sides.  There really isn’t anything I’m worried about here.  I’m sad we don’t get to see Sir Patrick Stewart or Sir Ian McKellen again (jeez, still with the knights), but McAvoy and Fassbender will do.  Not to mention we get to have another Evan Peter’s deliciously amazing Quicksilver moments:

Also, all the actors portraying the younger versions of the X-Men we’ve come to love and hate, *cough* “Cyclops”, look great, especially Nightcrawler:

Nightcrawler
Yeah, they made him Emo, but you can kinda see both eyes

Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long while, so even though 2015 had Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Fantastic Four and The Martian (what, are you really going to argue that Matt Daemon wasn’t a superhero in that movie when we had to include the Fantastic Four movie in this list?!), it looks like 2016 is shaping up to be pretty epic superhero movie wise itself:

The only thing we have left is to talk about how bad Apocalypse’s costume is, and we’re trying not to beat a dead horse, but c’mon Singer! Did your costume department even look at the comics?  As many have pointed out, cosplayers can even do Apocalypse more justice.

Comics
Comics
Cosplay
Cosplay
Failure
Failure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you Bleary-Eyed fans enjoyed the trailer and are as excited as we are for 2016 and its stellar lineup of superhero films.

-Darkmovienight

Spectre or The Bond Movie that was a Bond Movie but not like Recent Bond Movies…Bond

spectre-poster

Bond, James Bond.   Over 24 movies, we’ve heard this phrase uttered a million times by a million actors (giver or take a million) and it never gets old.  When a Bond film is announced and then hypes its way to release, there is a certain air of mystery and excitement.  Who is the villain and what is their master plan?  What new gadgets does Bond get this time? How many STD’s has he contracted since the last film?

"Seriously 007, Gonorrhea is no joke" -M
“Seriously 007, Gonorrhea is no joke” -Q

Since 2006’s Casino Royale, the Bond reboot if you will, both the quality of the action and storytelling of the films has increased and changed dramatically.  In general, the tone of the films have deviated from the typical action film with repetitious plot points to an adventure film that happens to have James Bond in it.  It is much the same way that The Dark Knight was a gangster/mob film that happened to have characters dressed as a Bat and a Clown.  It is also no coincidence that these films were released so close together as in the mid-to-late 2000’s, writing good films came first and then adding all the traditional troupess (superhero powers, spies, and bulletproof protagonists) was a large part of the film-making industry.  Iron Man is another great example of this sort of style. The movie was first about the morality of arms dealing and terrorism, then eventually included a man in a supersuit.  And as we all know, this method was extremely successful as all of the films mentioned above went on to either complete series or start an epic universe.

This would not have happened in any other age of filmmaking
This would not have occurred in any other age of film-making

In Spectre, the James Bond franchise reemerges as what audiences think of as the “typical Bond film”.  While its really the culmination of the story arc started in Casino Royale, it is very different from the films that proceed it. Casino Royale and Skyfall both gave the Bond films a much needed change of pace and style.  They still had witty dialogue, gadgets, attractive women, sex and excitement, but gone were the “over-the-top” set pieces and world destroying plans.  In short, those Bond films were much more subtle and personal.  You can really tell the difference between them by just knowing the villain’s motives and ultimate goals. Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre from Casino Royale was there to win a poker tournament to pay off other villains.  And Javier Bardem’s Silva in Skyfall just wanted to exact revenge against Dame Judi Dench’s M and MI6 for him being spurned by the agency and his “Mother”.  This is a far cry from the last “traditional Bond film”, Die Another Day, which included an ice castle hotel, North Korean face transplants, and a giant sun focusing laser in space.

It's the
It’s the space laser one, that’s what doesn’t belong. Also Halle Berry, but that a whole other story

What made Casino Royale and Skyfall so special was Daniel Craig’s performance and tearing away all the familiar and expected Bond behavior. Daniel Craig’s Bond is vulnerable, he can be hurt, he makes mistakes and he’s all the more entertaining for it.  Now don’t get me wrong, all the actors proceeding him had their merits, especially Connery who brought Bond to life, but none of them have been put through the ringer like Craig’s Bond.  And with Spectre, you’re going to get a lot more of that, but as we’ve come to expect, Craig pulls it off effortlessly and showcases why he was the perfect choice for James Bond in the first place.  Now, there is already a large discussion on whether or not he should return to the role for a fifth time as 007.  I believe he wrapped up a good storyline in Spectre and should only return if it is absolutely necessary to the film’s story that Craig be the face of Bond.  I’d honestly rather a fresh new face portray the most well known spy, but my choice is pretty controversial:

Just seems right to me, but I'd be fine with anyone on this list
Seems like a perfect, bold, and unique fit to me, but I’d be fine with anyone on this list

Back to Spectre.  With a brilliant character, excellent track record, and all the hype in the world (at least what’s not being used for The Force Awakens), it really puzzles me why Director Sam Mendes decided to return the series to its typical troupess.  The action was completely over-the-top, which while still enjoyable but felt out of place from the other films with Craig’s Bond. Even the elaborate torture machine has been reintroduced.  SPECTRE as villainous organization is way more “World Dominating Illuminati”-Type than what we’ve seen in a while.   The film makes it seem as if they’ve been behind every criminal activity from terrorism to mismatching hot dogs with hot dog buns.

I KNEW it had to be a Conspiracy
I KNEW it had to be a Conspiracy by a shadow organization

At any rate, Spectre is very entertaining but lacks the subtle nuances of the more recent Bond films.  Now don’t discount the film just because it eschews from what Craig has done with 007, but remember that the James Bond series was highly enjoyable with all the troupess in place. One of these famous troupess are the unique, diabolical, and just plain cool villains.

Christoph Waltz was universally regarded as absolutely terrifying in Inglourious Basterds as Colonel Hans Landa.  Then everyone cheered for him passionately as Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained.  It’s also worth noting that he won Oscars (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role) for both performances.  So, bringing him on as the newest and most diabolical of all the new Bond villains was nothing short of a perfect casting decision.  He commands all of the attention in almost every scene he is in like a Kardashian on TMZ.

This is what a
This is what a Kardashian is, right?

Now I won’t spoil anything, but suffice it to say, if you know your Bond lore, you know who heads up SPECTRE.  If not, go back and watch 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever and you’ll get it.  Sadly Sam Mendes takes a page from J.J. Abrams’ playbook and chooses to hide details that any Bond fan will easily see.  This robs any drama from any possible surprise revelations and just confuses anyone who hasn’t been following the franchise since the early 1960’s.

His name is actually
His name is actually Thanos, but for marketing the film, we’ll call him Luke Skywalker

Coming into the film knowing Waltz will be brilliant pulls a lot of the stress from all the other actors.  Ralph Fiennes, with his decidedly attached nose, does his job as the new M by being cross with 007 most of the time, but he gets to kick some ass this time around, which is pretty awesome. The other two actors who I adored in Spectre are Ben Whishaw’s Q (sadly he’s no Desmond Llewelyn or John Cleese, but he brings his own charm and idiosyncrasies to the character of Q) and Dave Bautista as the main brawler villain in the film.  Bautista, wrestler turned actor, has been climbing the ranks and becoming one of my favorite people in Hollywood.  He absolutely delivers the strong, silent, and menacing big gun of the film.

I don't have a trigger
“How can I be a gun, I have no trigger or hold any ammunition?”

Anyway, Waltz and Bautista are the perfect villains for the traditional Bond style, and that’s really what Spectre is, just a return to the old Bond films which were mostly successful and beloved. I left the theater entertained, which is the whole purpose of movies, but not “wowed” by the film.  Don’t get me wrong, you should absolutely see Spectre in theaters just for the sheer enjoyment of a Bond film and all that that implies, but just be ready to experience the Bond films of old, Aston Martin and all.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

You’re absolutely going to be entertained by Spectre.  From the stylish action, over-the-top set pieces, Craig’s perfect portrayal as Bond, and some of the coolest villains in recent memory, there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy it.  Just don’t go in expecting Casino Royale or Skyfall.

Also, I want this on the record that I went this whole review without making A SINGLE REFERENCE TO TENTACLES, so that should make my partner, TheManChicken happy.

I’ll leave everyone with a parting gift.  One iconic aspect of all Bond films that is always my favorite are the opening credits and the song that accompanies them.  While the official footage isn’t available yet, Sam Smith’s music video (they still make those?) is available, so enjoy “(The) Writing’s On The Wall” and then go see Spectre while it is in theaters.

-Darkmovienight

The Walk or The Greatest Love Letter to the Twin Towers via Film

The Walk

I am not afraid of heights.  Roller coasters, skydiving (haven’t done it yet, but I will), and even tall buildings have not registered anything but exhilaration on my emotional spectra.  That’s why coming into The Walk in gorgeous IMAX 3D did not seem a daunting task at all.  I was wrong.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or JGL for the remainder of this review) has come a long way from being the you “kid” on the fantastic sitcom “3rd Rock From the Sun”.  His filmography in the last five to ten years has been stellar.  I really would love to credit Christopher Nolan’s Inception for putting him on his serious acting career, but honestly, that honor belongs to Marc Webb’s brilliant (500) Days of Summer.  At any rate, this film would have not been near as powerful without him leading the cast.

Philippe Petit (JGL’s Character) was a French high-wire artist who gained fame in August 7th of 1974.  He garnered his fame due to his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  This was a 1,362 foot above the ground walk.  Now, without some sort of safety system, I would likely pass out the moment I took the first look over the edge.  Wire-walking is just not for me.  Gravity and I have just had such a long relationship that at this point, It would be more like us taking the step of marriage after the second date.  That’s just not something I could do.  He performed for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire. This was, how do you say…illegal in the City of New York.  Did I mention the 45 minute walk at 1,350 feet?  Anyway, all of his charges were dismissed in exchange for doing a performance in Central Park for children.

Children, helping people avoid jail time since 1974
Children, helping people avoid jail time since 1974

What really popped for me was the writing.   Robert Zemeckis has always been a good screenwriter but he excels in dialogue and this film is simply one of his best.  Of course we can’t compare it to the classics (Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Forrest Gump),  but watching him add his dialog to a true story is something of a wonder.  He writes each and every one of these characters perfectly and JGL’s Philippe is just so full of energy and quickness that you would be hard pressed to not admire what both Zemeckis and JGL bring to life here.

Something I’m always enamored of in films is the narration.  Philippe narrates his own adventure and of course this was based on a true event, but we have no idea how much of the surrounding material is actually true.  It doesn’t matter though.  We’re guided on the adventure by Philippe (well, JGL anyway) and the way they keep it moving, it’s brilliant.  I’ve not seen such a well narrated film since Moulin Rouge.

Of course when you have an unreliable narrator, things can get weird
Of course when you have an unreliable narrator, things can get weird

Now this being based on true events, anybody can read Wikipedia and see how the event plays out, so they have to put the drama elsewhere.  And where they stick it is in the visuals.  I cannot say enough about how brilliant the 3D and cinematography are in this film.  Like I said at the beginning, I am not afraid of heights, but however they shot the scenes of his performance, I will never forget the drama and exhilaration I felt.  And 3D has become such a gimmick these days to inflate ticket prices, but when I say it is completely necessary to see this film in 3D, please believe me.  Find the largest screen with amazing audio and crisp 3D glasses and you will not be disappointed with the up-charge.  I find that AMC’s IMAX 3D experience to be suitable.

There were a few elements that didn’t ring quite true to me, but those were mainly the relationships between characters.  Of course this is an illegal undertaking and maybe it was just the 1970’s but the ease he is able to recruit others in his insane venture just doesn’t seem feasible.  I can barely get two people to go to lunch with me let alone a whole crew to pull off a caper with (although I do have an idea how we can kidnap the Pope from Italy, but it’ll take some peanut butter, duct tape, some non-Newtonian fluid, and this guy’s legs).

Maybe it was just me, but they did seem to drag the run time a bit and some of the actors that were added close to the climax had absolutely zero time to develop so I don’t know why they even bothered unless that’s how it really happened.  It didn’t do much to harm the film, but I would curse the editor here for not trimming enough fat.

What does go on to be tragic is that you can no longer view those beautiful towers that Philippe crossed on his wire.  We know of the event that changed the world and of course we will never forget, but as one of the characters said in the film, “You gave life to those towers”, I will say this film treated them with a tremendous amount of respect and love instead of just a set piece.  They were as much characters as anyone else in this film. Robert Zemeckis did what few are willing, respecting the past, showcasing that they existed before 2001 and that they were one of the wonders of the world.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts on a terrific performance,Robert Zemeckis directs writes beautifully, and visually, the 3D is stunning.  While I will not spoil the dramatic final dialog of the film, but rest assured that you will be choked up and look upon a former staple of New York City in a new, more positive manner.

-Darkmovienight