Thursday, September 10, 2015

Prestige Movie Season: Bless Us, Oh Hanks

That chill in the air. I guess the chill in the air is an actual reason to sit inside a movie theatre instead of when it’s really nice out and the sun is shining, but there’s just more fun when it’s summer movie season, and the explosions seem louder, and the comedies seem funnier. Unless they’re Vacation. Then there’s nothing funny about it. 

Regardless, Joss Whedon has blessed us with a fruitful Summer Movie Season. And I enjoyed it. Now it’s time to turn down the explosions, make the comedies a little more thoughtful, and prepare for some movie about a war in the stars. It’s the seventh in the series, hopefully it will live up to the Seventh Fast and The Furious movie. Time will tell. Movies get more serious during this, Prestige Season. What do we think is going to get nominated for an Oscar? 

Anyway, bow your heads, and it’s time that we offer up our prayer to Tom Hanks, the Patron Saint of Prestige Season.

Our Tom Hanks
Who art very Prestigious,
Hallowed be thy name
We honor you today as you grant us
A noble Prestige Season.

How will Jennifer Lawrence lighten up a fourth Hunger Games So dark?
Will Jack Black give us Goosebumps?
On history will SPECTRE make it’s mark?
And will Tina Fey make us laugh, or having us sitting like a lump?

We can’t forget the sequels to movies long past
As once again we’ll see VHS’s and Rings
That creepy Girl will have us Aghast.
Is this the last Paranormal Activity we sing?
The fact that it’s the fifth is probably a no.

And let’s not forget Hotel Transylvania 2… Really? A second one? And still not sequel to Serenity? At this point Hollywood is just actively trying to mess with us. R


It is with great pleasure that you bring us the Oscar Bait
Twice the Tom Hardy in Legends is a gift
And you don’t make us wait.
As The Walk will make our spirits just lift

We will get more Hanks in the Bridge of Spies
Eddie Redmayne is a Danish Girl
And By the Sea with Angelina Jolie with some sighs
Let’s not forget Sisters… Probably not Oscar Bait but let’s give it a whirl.

Rocky is back in Creed
Bill Murray Rocks the Kasbah
Pixar fills our November need
For some Good Dinosaur huspta. 

Of course oh Hanks, we can’t ignore the big tome
As Star Wars rises again
And Han and Chewie are once again home
This time without Hayden Christensen. 

The Maze Runner Scorches us with Trials Galore
Everest scales us to new heights 
The Peanuts return, with technology unlike before
And how many old Jokes will the Intern ignite?

Tis this and many others are before us
I didn’t even get to the Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
But it is in you that we trust
That will grants us grant movies

So bless us oh Hanks
As we switch to a completely different kind of movie
And it is to you I give thanks
I managed to work in the word groovy. 

Thanks for joining us for Summer Movie Season, everyone. See you all next year for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ghostbusters, Captain America: Civil War, and many, many others. Until then, I’m probably going to do a limited Prestige Movie Season review, we’ll see. I know I still enjoy going to the movies. A lot more than I enjoy writing poems. 

Summer Movie Season: Thumbs Up!

Well, we’ve reached the end of the Summer Movie Season coverage with this… the best. It’s how I end every Summer Movie Season, with reflection and a positive note of what we’ve seen over this past summer. And there have been some good things…even great things. We’ve seen Volcanoes in love. A return to practical effects. Spies out the wazoo. Superheroes. Some of them actually good. There have been controversies. But one thing is for certain: It’s been a fun summer.

And keep in mind that when I say “the best” it’s purely subjective. I know what I like, and I enjoy it.  If you don’t like my responses, feel free to start your own blog.

That being said, here are my favorite moments leading up to my two favorite movies of the summer.

Best Guitar Solo: That guy with the flaming Guitar in Mad Max. I kind of feel that this didn’t need to be said. But what it’s indicative about is the fact that it didn’t need a dude riding a wall of speakers shooting fire out of a guitar. It’s a tribute to the visuals presented in this movie, the use of color, the practical effects. Then, after all that was painstakingly put on screen, we got a flaming guitar solo. Still wish Nux didn’t have to die…

Favorite Romance: Arnie Hammer and Henry Cavill in The Man from Uncle. Spy meets Spy. They Fight. They eventually learn to work together. It’s romantic, I tell you. 

Creative Storytelling Moment that Got Cold Feet. We Are Your Friends isn’t going to win any awards. Except for a movie that people didn’t go see. But throughout the movie there were fantastic moments of brilliance, where we would get these wonderful voiceover narrations that moved onto quick shots of anatomy books, elevating what a lot of people consider letting your computer play some music into an art form. if only the rest of the film had taken hold of these moments, we might be having a very different conversation.

Best Use of a Motorcycle to Subdue Your Enemy: Obviously Captain America in Avengers 2. It just slipped. 

Avengers 2 also wins Best Recurring Gag. “Language.” 

Best Chris Pratt. Chris Pratt in Jurassic World. Obviously. 

Funnest Movie of the Summer. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. A nice throw back to when heroes didn’t need hardcore angst to move a plot forward. 

Now You’re Just Messing With Us Award. Seriously? A singing Volcano? Who just wants to find love, and does after slowly dying over thousands of years? Now Pixar is just making movies on bets, apparently. I was going to make a joke about roaches but they already made an adorable roach in WALL*E

Biggest Surprise. LeBron James in Trainwreck. I, like so many Americans, sauntered into Trainwreck to see  how Judd Apatow’s “change yourself to find happiness” routine mixed with Amy Schumer’s sheer awesomeness in comedy. What I didn’t expect was to find LeBron James holding his own against Bill Hader and Amy. Seriously? When do we get a LeBron James spinoff? Soon? 

Thank God You Pulled Back on the Source Material Award. This is a tie. I originally didn’t like Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl. Mostly because Greg spends most of the book whining and telling the reader how terrible the book was. And because Earl is not really a character so much as an excuse to get the word “tittes” on the page as much as possible. All of this tied in with the fact that the two characters supposedly weren’t friends. But just about everything was pulled back in the movie version, giving the characters a chance to grow and make them real characters, and avoided their offputtingness. If that’s a word. 
Tied with Paper Towns. This is another movie that’s a tough sell, because despite being featured on all the materials, the movie isn’t really about Margo so much as it’s a look at trying to find her as well as trying to find that dream. Again, we get more of an idea of character, and about how the journey is spiritual for one character. Plus, the ending is a lot better in the movie version. The sad part is, I didn’t realize how little I liked the ending of the book until I saw the movie.

Still Not Sure If I liked it Award. End of the Tour still vexes me. I can’t decide if it’s a brilliant portrait of an artist that wasn’t sure he wanted to be considered an artist, or a mocking cash grab by a guy who interviewed a guy who was troubled and shot himself. I’ll still be thinking about this for a while.

The Million Ways to Die in the West Award for a Movie that was Better Than it Was Supposed to Be. Damn You, Pixels. I don’t know if it was the nostalgia, or the tie into my adolescent fantasy about saving the world using my video game skills, but I actually enjoyed you. I spent so much time mocking your premise as an old Futurama episode. Why did you have to do it so well?

Best George Clooney. Tomorrowland version George Clooney. George Clooney is usually at his best when he’s a borderline jerk. Anything to make up for Batman and Robin. Also, this movie was a great antidote to all the pessimism lately. 

Runner Up for Favorite Movie of the Summer


On Paper, Ant-Man probably shouldn’t have worked. In addition to having the superpowers of “being able to control ants” and “not being as well known as all of the other Avengers” the original Ant-Man was an abusive alcoholic. There was turmoil… TURMOIL I TELL YOU… behind the scenes as Edgar Wright exited, displaying that Marvel has finally lost it’s touch. But everyone managed to pull together and make it work.

Paul Rudd worked as a man aware of Superheroes, and befuddled as to what to do with his newfound power. Michael Douglas seemed to enjoy being able to say things like “I’m the Ant-Man.” But mostly… after Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, and Avengers 2, this was the first Marvel Film in along time to feel like a Marvel Film. From the fun with the premise, to the references to other movies, to it’s non-self contained nature… it just worked. Plus, we finally got a decent Superhero on Superhero fight scene. Fantastic. I really hope that Marvel is back on point, and we doing get PTSD: The Movie again. 

Favorite Movie of the Summer.

The Man from Uncle.

I realize this is a controversial choice, because it doesn’t include any combination of the words “Mad” or “Max”. I realize that this movie didn’t exactly break any records on opening day. And that is quite the shame, because anyone who didn’t see this movie missed a rare little treat of a spy movie. There was no attempt to bring it from the Cold War to the modern day. They used big, bulky gadgets, and we loved them for it. The style was awesome, with 3 piece suits and designer shoes. All directed by Guy Ritchie who actually toned down his usual style to try to appeal to more people. All of this and you throw in a great cast… Arnie Hammer, Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant… This was just a fantastic movie all around. I’ve been to it twice, and I may end up going to see it again, because I loved it that much. It was just a cool movie, filled with twists, and really deserved more attention than it originally got. This isn’t just a must see movie, it’s a MUST SEE MOVIE.

And that wraps up Summer Movie Season 2015. Stay tuned tomorrow for our prayer to Tom Hanks.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Summer Movie Season: What Didn't Work, He Said Diplomatically

The first weekend in May is always my favorite. It’s always filled with hope. I always look at the list of movies being released and I hope that it’s going to be amazing, even though I know that in the back in my mind that some movie will end up being a disappointment. This year was different as there weren’t a ton of terrible movies, but terrible parts of movies. There was potential… I’m looking at YOU Aloha… but sadly, they just didn’t live up to what they promised. For instance, whoever designed the trailer to Fantastic Four probably deserves some kind of award. 

But before we can get to how great this summer is, like we will tomorrow, let’s hand out the awards for the movies that were less successful than they could have been..

Most Needless Subplot. Let me list the number of reasons we needed to break away from Chris Pratt punching dinosaurs to view divorce proceedings in wherever the hell those kids’ parents were getting divorced. (Chicago? I didn’t care. Because it wasn’t taking place on an island full of dinosaurs.) Seriously, the plot was never resolved except to briefly view the parents picking their kids up from Jurassic World. It just goes to show you, kids… it just takes nearly being murdered by a genetically enhanced dinosaur to get your parents back together. 

The Aloha Award for the Misuse of Bill Murray. Seriously, Aloha was a slam dunk on paper. Bradley Cooper as a disgraced contractor finding redemption by returning to the place he lost his love? Vague references to Hawaiian Gods? But nope. It wasted literally every piece of it. But the worst was the fact that it relegated Bill Murray to a villain after selling him as a wise old man in all the trailers. Bravo to the trailers that tried to sell him as an old sage, dispensing advice when in fact they kept highlighting him being threatening. He’s America’s Drunk Uncle. Why mess with that formula?

The Double D Award for Comedy Gold. Did you know that Sofia Vergara is well endowed in the chest area? Hot Pursuit does. And if you forget about it, they’ll bring it up a few times so you’ll know. The worst part about all this is that Modern Family shows that she’s an accomplished comedianne, and she could have been hilarious rather than focusing on her… assets for two hours. 

Pixar is Testing My Limits Award. I love Amy Poehler. She’s pretty damn awesome. I love Pixar. They probably have a movie gestating about a couch that wants to be a love seat and when they make it, I’ll sob like when they told me Firefly was cancelled. But Joy in Inside Out really tested my patience. I get that she was supposed to represent the idea that we need to be happy all the time, but really I’m surprised that Anger didn’t smack her into next week. And her turn was WAY too sudden. Literally seconds before she fell into the pit of evil with Bing Bong, she had tried to basically kill Sadness. Then she pops up and everything’s ok. I walked away loving the movie, but wanting her to go away. 

Most Needless Death that Needed to Happen. (Spoilers.) This is pretty much the only positive that will be on this list but it’s a tie between Bing Bong and Nux from Mad Max: Fury Road. Both of them were beloved. I get why Nux had to die… to prove his newfound devotion. But really? Same for Bing Bong. I really wanted him to take that trip to the Moon.

Actual Most Needless Death (Continued). In reality, the only death that didn’t need to occur was Topher Grace in American Ultra. This took the fun premise and continued it down the rabbit hole of just not knowing what the movie wanted to be about. Was it a fun stoner comedy? Was it a disturbing look at PTSD? Was it a mind bending twist on the amnesia spy drama? Nobody knows….. But it took me out of the movie.

Worst Temper Tantrum. Say what you will about Fantastic Four or any bad movie, but Josh Trank’s temper tantrum during the release of the movie was unacceptable. Badmouthing the movie rather than standing behind it was just unprofessional and killed any chance the movie had, no matter how small. 

Best Metaphor for the Movie in One Trailer. The Griswolds bathing in Toxic Waste. 

Worst Doctor Who. Terminator Genysis had a lot of problems. Most of the twists were spoiled by the trailers. The pacing was off, and even after sitting through it, I’m still not entirely sure what happened. But Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, was featured heavily on all of the posters. He had less than 10 minutes of screen time. Thank God he was cut so we could get more of trying to watch the Terminator smiling. Oh, and if you’re going to leave a gaping cliffhanger of just who sent The First Terminator Back in Time, let’s make sure you’re good enough to get a sequel. 

Lamest Joke Set-Up. Mark Wahlberg and his Teddy Bear are going to rob a sperm bank. What do we think was going to happen? Because literally the same thing happened in an episode of Family Guy.

Hey It’s Worked For Every Movie So Far So Let’s Not Do It. Seriously Avengers 2? No Post Credits Scene? No setting up Ant-Man or any of the other Billions of properties that may not need your help, but could have been awesome? No Spider-Man? No Black Panther? Nothing?

Worst Movie of The Summer (Runner Up. It will be named Worst Movie of the Summer as soon as I can get a Flux Capacitor and prevent it from being made, or if the Worst Movie of the Summer Can’t live up to it’s duties.):

The Fantastic Four. 

Unlike our other movie, which is a type of reboot, there was reason to make the Fantastic Four. Fox owned the rights and wanted to set up a new Universe that included FF and the X-Men to establish a world so they can dip in to that sweet, sweet Avengers type money. But from the glacial plot, to the temper tantrums, to the almost disdain for superheroics, everything abou this movie was just painful to watch. I’d really like to see a Fantastic Four Movie that works. But sadly, this is not that one. The bar has never been set lower: Of the three previous movies there was one that was literally not meant to see the light of day, and two that focused on how quickly they could get Jessica Alba naked and built a plot around that. This was a slam dunk. Most of their work was done for them. All they had to do was put together something halfway decent, get Hugh Jackman to show up to recruit them to the X-Men at the end, and boom. Hit movie. But instead we got… that mess. 

The Thing has never been more depressing.

Bad Shakespeare’s Worst Movie of the Summer is…


No one in this picture wants to be here.

Not much of a secret here. I hated this movie with the passion I never thought I’d feel for Ed Helms. From the murderous brother sold to the audience as “just a bully” to Ed Helms being a poor man’s Chevy Chase (that’s saying something) to a gross misuse of Chris Hemmsworth, this movie was just remarkably terrible at every turn. 

I separate it from Fantastic Four because of the needlessness of it all. At least with FF Fox was attempting something. With this it was… I don’t know. The tone shifted wildly, and with not much surprise… I don’t know if anyone else in that theater wasn’t waiting for the “big reveal” that Christina Applegate was unsatisfied with her marriage. Or that Chris Hemmsworth kept hitting on her in front of his wife. Or that anything in the movie would happen. Hey, guess what, the car is wacky, will they figure out what all the fun things do? Because there’s a button on cars that totally make them explode. And then there’s the aforementioned “let’s bathe in toxic waste” scene that was in every trailer because… why not? I love stupid comedies. I named Let’s Be Cops as one of the best of last Summer. But like I said in my original review… the movie starts off with a picture of a dude’s buttcrack, and goes downhill from there.

So, with that in mind, I’m rating this my worst movie of the summer. 

Tomorrow: The Which Movie was Bad Shakespeare’s Best Movie of the Summer?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer Movie Season... the ReCap, Praise Joss!

The air has taken on a slight chill. Football fans start arguing over who is better: Cowboys or whoever plays the Cowboys. The Walking Dead comes back to make us fall in love with characters and then kill them off completely. Television starts it’s traditional model of starting it’s shows despite the fact that we’ve long evolved past that model. That can only mean one thing…  Summer Movie Season is over. 

This has certainly been an interesting Summer Movie Season. I’ve hit upon some wonderful surprises (Hello, LeBron James in Trainwreck). And I’ve hit on some disappointments that really made me sad. (Hello, Fantastic Four, you were a Trainwreck.) Some movies were big flops. We had one weekend that set two records: one for biggest flop and one that grew beyond expectations. There were controversies, a lot of them manufactured. But the bottom line is… I saw a whole bunch of movies. It was fantastic. 

Basically, it was everything that I’d come to love in Summer Movie Season. Joss Whedon hath blessed us. (No, I’m not changing that next year.) It was quite the bounty. Despite the fact that we took a little break from Summer Movie Season to pop on over to Ireland for a month, we still managed to hit up 36 movies counting those I saw twice, one holdover from good/bad movie season (Paul Blart 2: Why the Hell Are they Making a Sequel to This and Not Firefly?) and one past tense movie. 

I did try to review as many of the movies as I possible, but I know I didn’t hit them all. But I love this particular post each year, the one where I recap what I’ve seen, and, through the magic of time, I get to re-think my grade for each one. So, without further ado… here’s what I’ve seen this summer, complete with a few lines of summary and rating.

Also a quick shoutout to Judy Greer. If you don’t know who she is, check the background of most of the movies and look for the mother who dies or divorces. That’s her. It was the unofficial Summer of Judy Greer. You go, girl.

All movies in the order I saw them.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron: Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, and everyone else is back to fight off an evil A.I. and do whatever it takes to hold off putting Thanos in a movie and tries to address the fact that the one dude in Man of Steel couldn’t save everyone but they can with an army of about 10. Great way to start off the summer. (9/10)

Hot Pursuit: Obviously no one thought anything could beat Avengers 2 as two women take a cross country road trip. One of them’s a bumbling cop. The other one is the large-chested wife of a criminal, because they address it 50 times. Will they ever get along? Does anyone care? (5/10)

Mad Max: Fury Road: Mad Max is back making a few cameos in a few scenes in a movie about a woman with one arm named Furuosa tries to save a bunch of other women from being breeding stock. Gave us Immortan Joe and people who spray silver frosting on themselves. Beautifully shot, acted, directed, and not a lot of use of CGI. Only the gratuitous late death of a character kept this from being a perfect movie. (9/10)

Tomorrowland: George Clooney teams up with a young girl to save Tomorrowland (The magic land, not the Disney Ride) and the world. I’ll fully admit that it wasn’t the perfect movie. I just enjoyed the optimism of the movie a lot more than everyone else. It was oddly sincere in a climate that prefers things bleak sometimes. That’s the reason it’s rated so high. (9/10)

Mr. Holmes: Sherlock Holmes, aging and keeping bees, must solve the mystery of his failing memory. More Character Study and Less Mystery, it kept me entertained as it looked deeply into the world of a man is losing his purpose. (8/10)

Spy: Melissa McCarthy teams up with Jason Statham to fight an evil Rose Byrne. Jude Law was in it, too. Really, what else do you need to know? (8/10)

Inside Out: A girl is held hostage by an evil dictator that lives inside her head; telling her that everything is fine and she doesn’t need to worry about anything. Also the pre-movie was about a singing Volcano. Damn you Pixar. Damn you and your ability to play with my emotions. (9/10)

Jurassic World: Chris Pratt fights dinosaurs. Why are we debating anything? TO THE MULTIPLEX! But seriously, what was up with that divorce plot that went nowhere, and the creepy kid that wanted to break up with his girlfriend. Why are you interfering with Chris Pratt riding into battle surrounded by Velociraptors? (8/10 because of the STUPID DIVORCE SUB PLOT.)

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl: A kid befriends a girl who is dying. Also Earl. Rare example of being better than the book. (9/10)

San Andreas: The Rock fights an Earthquake while Paul Giamatti gives us exposition. Or something. I was unclear on everything, I just know that we had another family drama when I wanted to see the Rock body slamming stuff. (7/10)

Ted 2: Let’s make another movie about a talking, foul mouthed Teddy Bear and not a sequel to Firefly. Makes perfect sense to me. Hey, when they go to the Sperm Bank, do you think they knock over a shelf? What do you think? (7/10)

Aloha: How dare you. How dare you waste Bill Murray in such a fashion. That man is a national treasure. (5/10)

Terminator: Genysis: Arnold is back in his wackiest role as an evil computer/father figure to the young girl in Game of Thrones. Plus, Doctor Who was in it, and everyone rewrote time. Now let’s go back to pretending there haven’t been any other Terminator Movies since Terminator 2. (5/10)

Minions: Banana! (8/10)

Self/less: The Thriller you forgot existed where Ryan Reynolds switched bodies with Ben Kingsly. And it was certainly that. A movie where Ryan Reynolds switched bodies with Ben Kingsly. Like a sexier Freaky Friday with more angst. (6/10)

Spaceballs: I got to see Spaceballs in theaters again! I’ll have the soup. (Ridiculous Speed out of 10)

Ant-Man: Paul Rudd gets all the powers of an Ant. Also: Michael Douglas makes a tank into a keychain, and Marvel Movies stop being so afraid of talking about other Marvel Movies. (10/10)

Trainwreck: Come for the Amy Schumer. Stay for the LeBron James. (8/10)

Southpaw: What happens when you need an underdog but you also kinda want to start him off on top? You throw in a few gunfights and some drunk driving. (8/10)

Pixels: Damnit, Adam Sandler. You aren’t supposed to make movies that hit me with the nostalgia quite so hard. Or make it genuinely entertaining. I’m supposed to make fun of you. (9/10)

Vacation: Hey, you know what really needs to be rebooted? National Lampoon Vacation series. Said no one. Ever. (2/10)

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation: Bunh bunh… bunh bun… buhn bunh… buhn buhn buhn…  (9/10)

Paper Towns: Another example of toning down some of the more outrageous elements from the book, and keeping a pretty decent story. (8/10)

(un)Fantastic Four: Three days before the release the director and studio started their temper tantrums. That’s all I needed to know. And yet i saw it anyway, because I hate myself. (1/10)

Man from UNCLE: Probably the coolest movie of the summer. I’ll have a lot more to say about this one later. (10/10)

End of the Tour: Interesting look at a one man’s rise to fame. A fame he may not have wanted. (Still not sure/10)

American Ultra: So close to being the Bourne Lebowski, but tonally, not sure what it wanted to be. (7/10)

Hitman: Agent 47: Stop trying to make Hitman happen. (2/10)

We Are Your Friends: Surprising. I know it got bad reviews, but really not worth the negative hype it got. If you didn’t see it, you missed out on a little gem. (8/10)

Transporter: Refueled: You know what worked in the first three Transporters? Jason Statham. You know what we’re going to do with this one? Take him out of it. (5/10)

There you have it: a quick refresher of the summer. Some movies may have changed as a result of me thinking about them a little more. 

Also, a programming note: If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I have Lil’George Clooney coming with me to the movies and taking pictures. Sadly, I’m going to retire him for the winter. He needs time to rest. Say hello to Lil’Misha Collins, who will start following me around for Prestige Movie Season!

Tomorrow: Your Movie is Bad and you Should Feel Bad.