Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Movie Review - Kong : Skull Island


   It's the return of the King, again.  The remake for the turn of the century needed another updating and this is it.  It's still set decades past so it's not a monster for the modern times.  The special effects are still on the cutting edge of creature feature CGI with a few more beasties to boot.  

  As a period piece set in the war, the tone reflects a guerilla army feel instead of an adventure.  Lead Tom Hiddleston is the hero, yes, but very low key (not the bombastic trickster God type) to the point of being forgettable.  The King himself is larger than life, with personality exuding from his stoic expression.  There's a dissonance between seeing Kong eat people alive at the reveal then rooting for him to triumph by the end.  Still a meaty treat to see, though you turn off your brain to enjoy.

Movie Review - Logan


   There was a lot of positive buzz on the new X-Men film and, even though I managed my expectations, the movie still blew my mind.  I wasn't prepared for the gut-wrenching feelings twisting in my stomach as I watched familiar characters run through the meat grinder.  It isn't the juicy splatterfest (though the brutality involved is appalling) but the emotional wringer I experienced.  It tears at your heart to see the proud and supposedly unbreakable Wolverine reduced as such; even more so with the dignified Charles Xavier.

  Hugh Jackman's gives everything into his final foray as the titular wild mutant.  He is unrecognizable with his unkempt hair and shabby appearance but his acting shines through the facade as he limps and growls through all the obstacles thrown at him.  He does stumble near the end with his lumbering gait and so Patrick Stewart overtakes him in the acting department.  One shouldn't have to see the fatherly Xavier broken like that.  Such a painful sight to behold but what a masterful performance.  Defne Keen as Laura is also to be commended as a frightening revelation.  Her action scenes might be film trickery but she does this young version of the character justice.

  This film is grim, yes, but the brutality sets it apart.  With its new rating, the violence is ramped up to exploit the true horror of Wolverine's weapons.  Blood and guts, gore galore.  The abundance of swearing in a usually controlled setting took some time to get used to as well.  The story is supposedly based on a comic arc Old Man Logan but this is a more realistic, non-apocalyptic future.  Being set away from main cities kept evidences of handy technological advances to a minimum, though cyborg enhancements are no longer surprises.  There are no extravagant displays of flashy special effects, well, except for the camera shaking one.  There isn't that much in terms of regular heroism as expected in a Marvel movie.  This is a grounded type of story, grounded so hard into the unforgiving, dirty floor.

   This isn't a superhero movie.  I consider this an alternate 'Days of Future Past' timeline, one that hopefully will not come to pass.  But either way, Logan is an unforgettable masterpiece as a superhero alternative.

  Just to geek out, SPOILERS below!
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  I knew it was Donald Pierce!  Great portrayal.  The Reavers were teched out too.  I recognized Bonebreaker from the haircut.  No tank treads though, haha.

  I thought X-24 was going to be Predator X but I guess an animal would break the realistic feel.  I thought it was Sabertooth reborn coming back.  Would have been wild if it was Daken instead but, honestly, they could have combined the other mutant genes to create a hybrid instead of another Wolverine clone.

  Who in the world were the children?  Rictor looked like he did some telekinesis.  What happened to the flame thrower?  The black electrical kid isn't Bolt or Berserker.  Who's that ice princess?  The lizard boy is Anole?  There aren't the New Mutants or even the Academy X kids.  The way they disposed of Pierce was frightening.

   Loved the classic comic appearing, even though I don't recognize it.  Who wrote that and who drew it to?  

  Xavier's mental maelstrom was well executed.  Terrifying to see in action and the alluded event must have been more catastrophic.

  I'm so glad this isn't Old Man Logan.  This is much better, even if it's something I wouldn't want to be canon.  Maybe Laura can find her way to the prime universe though, haha.
  

Movie Review - Fist Fight


   Fist Fight has more to talk about on the school system or the parody it does of such over the media frenzy it supposedly generates.  The exaggerated mischief and lowbrow antics of the students and teachers themselves push the envelope of good humor as drugs, sex, swearing, administrative failings and general havoc is inflicted on campus.  It does try to present a message about educational conditions but this is largely a background hum to the chaos depicted within one school day.  So much is unbelievably crammed into a few hours but the premise is incredulous to begin with.  It's a mess of fun as the hapless Charlie Day struggles desperately to stay on top of things and one can just laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

Movie Review - Hacksaw Ridge


  Mel Gibson tries to do another transcendental experience but without the deep, religious roots.  This one is a conscientious objector who wants to take part in the war without actually making war.  The result is a split between his efforts during training to be accepted as a medic without using weapons then his actual exploits on the field.  Perhaps a more interwoven type of storytelling could have worked but the split in the story segments is obvious and sticks out as if it could have two different films.  The latter part is still quite inspirational and the production is well done either way.  Hacksaw Ridge is a pacifist's war film and it's merits must be recognized.

Movie Review - A Cure For Wellness


   A Cure of Wellness goes heavily for atmosphere to establish the horror.  There's less jump scares and more flowing dread.  But a flaw appears to be the unsympathetic lead who is not exactly noble to begin with.  He's hard to root for as he wanders around the premises.  Odd and unsettling scenes abound but are not essential to the story and are added for extra effect.  Extending the already plodding film doesn't quite help and just leaves the audience tired.  The high production is to be commended but isn't a curative to not being able to stomach the plot overall.

Movie Review - The Lego Batman Movie


   Batman was popular enough to get his own Lego movie.  There's also a slew of direct to DVD Lego movies based in the DC universe but this one is a big budget feature.  Does it live up to the hype?

  This Batman is a wildly hilarious parody of himself set in the building block world.  It's a colorful romp for children with nostalgic triggers for the older crowd (see soundtrack).  The attention given to the comic book fans is rather detailed, with nods to the source material that come out of nowhere (the Condiment King?  Seriously?  He wasn't even a real villain!).  The action is fast paced and explosively depicted, even in Lego format.  There are even surprises with the crossovers that could be considered brilliant or sacrilegious (I'd go with inspired).  This Batman is an absolutely hoot, picking fights with Superman and putting down Iron Man (which, if you think about it, Lego Batman is actually imitating.  The Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man that is).  It's a mess of fun so enjoy!

Movie Review - Arrival


   The Arrival is about how us humans react to aliens arriving on our doorstep and how academics try to communicate with them before a war breaks out.  Sounds extremely exciting, right?

  This is a moody piece and never about the action.  The aliens are freaky creatures to be sure but the culture they impart, or at least how the film depicts it, is quite brilliant.  And for someone who's suppose to be a boring brainiac, Amy Adams as the lead is a bit of a rebel.  She doesn't seem like it but the lying and doing her own thing regardless of what others say show her reckless independence.  This figures into the subtext later on in a poignant reveal that turns the film on itself.  This is a heartbreaking view of predestination but this gem of a concept shouldn't be given away so I won't say anymore.  Either way, experience the Arrival and be richer for it.