Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016): Review

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This weekend the much anticipated movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out and I am happy to say that it was much better than I thought it would be. If you know me, you know that I tend to like big budget action movies and that I don't expect too much from these superhero movies (especially DC) so going in, as long as there wasn't anything really bad I was ready to be entertained and enjoy the experience. I think that this one is a good kick off to the spring/ summer movie season and did get me really excited to see what they will do with the Wonder Women and eventual Justice League movie.

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice incorporates the Superman timeline, established in Man of Steel (2013) but brings Batman into the mix.  Batman (AKA Bruce Wayne), played by Ben Afflick, witnesses the destruction resulting from the battle between Superman (AKA Clark Kent), reprised by Henry Cavill, and General Zod in Man of Steel. During this time he is hardened against The Superman and does not believe that he is to be trusted because powerful good man don't stay good. They are brought together and become at odds due to pursuing their own agendas for justice and those around them, especially Lex Luther, played by Jesse Eisenburg.

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This movie has a great ensemble cast but doesn't do a lot with many of the characters you are suppose to just know.  on the Superman side there is Amy Adams as Lois Lane, who in this movie is just fodder to keep the plot going and seems to make just stupid decisions and is around just to have Superman save her (I have been told that that is all Lois really does but I keep forgetting this about the charactering hoping for her to be likable). I could have used this movie without her and think that it would have easy to have her plot forwarding points without her. Laurence Fishborn as Perry White who was fine but nothing special and seemed there just to nag Clark that he is too focused on the Batman vigilante. Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Superman mother, she was able to bring in some emotion and caring to the movie and I can see why she furthered the movie. On Batman's side you mainly had Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Bruce's butler and helper, who for me was a fantastic version of Alfred. He was the only side kick/character for me that added to the movie and added some much needed humor to a completely too serious movie (they are superheroes people, this isn't Shakespeare).

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Also involved was Holly Hunter, as Senator Finch, who is the character who creates strife for Superman as he tries to hold him accountable like humans have any control or say over what a basically invincible alien does and gives Lex someone to interact with in his attempt to scheme. One of the gems of this movie was the inclusion of Wonder Woman played by Gal Godot, who actually had some intrigue. I think the movie could have used more of her and I am now really really hoping the Wonder Women movies does justice to the excitement I now have for the possibility of this character.

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This movie starts by establishing the Batman origin which I don't get why because at this point, who seeing this movie doesn't understand the Batman origin story. But then it expects you to remember what happened in Man of Steel and if other movie goers are more like me I know a lot more about the basic Batman origin story than Man of Steel which I haven't really watched since it came out in 2013.  Ben Affleck did a decent job as Batman, but I found Henry Carvil's Superman a bit annoying and superficial.

One great thing about this movie is it was great to watch and listen to. The cinematography, staging, choreography, sets, and specially effects were all of very good quality. I usually complain that the special affects take away from the movie and I can tell where they are but with this it was worked in very seamlessly and works very well. I think that it was shot well and even when it had close up shot fight sequences I didn't really notice until the second viewing (yes I saw it twice this weekend).  The music was well used and I think it was a great score. The only real complaint is that if you were watching this movie without knowing weather Lex was good or bad the music mad it clear.

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The plot wasn't great but wasn't anything too annoying, the main complaint is that that the fight sequences were drawn out too much (not as much as Man as Steel), and when these sequences are drawn out the intensity plateaus for me and I don't get the emotional journal that I would like, I get a bit bored and just want it to continue on. While it dragged out the battles it did fast forward through some character developments or moments that could have been even more fantastic (I'm especially taking about the wonder woman role, and the Clark/ Bruce meet. It also tried to pull at your emotional heartstrings but did not connect with me as I didn't really believe what was happening and I hadn't connected to the person in the forefront with the emotion reaction (although usually the actor is very likeable and you care about their experiences, in this movie it just didn't work) [I hope that makes sense as I am trying to express my thoughts without giving away a major spoiler].

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Overall, I think the movie was good, and slightly above average. There was nothing super annoying about it and it was enjoyable to watch. It will be one that I can watch multiple times and thinks it has potential to build momentum in the following DC movie series. I am hoping that this is trigger more good movies to come and not the height of what can be expected. For anyone who is very particular about their love of certain aspects/ renditions of Batman movies you will not like it or are a comic book snob you will not like it. For those looking to like it and are ready to be pleased it is definitely worth seeing.

My Rating: 2+

Shutout to Detroit where it was filmed! And there is nothing after the credits (boo DC)

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Deadpool (2016): Review

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This Valentine's weekend my first choice of movies was Deadpool. Deadpool is a character that before this last week I did not really know much about but is one that I feel I could always name on sight. I was always able to say that's a Deadpool cosplay when I have been out and about, but if asked anything more about him I could not say.  Based on the excitement I have gotten from some of the people I know and the movie sights that I follow piqued my interest especially when the consensus was that Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool and that everyone wanted to forget the not so goodness of his rendition in X Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).  Several of the youtube stations I follow also did some origin and facts about Deadpool videos that helped with this.

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Deadpool is a Marvel Character who was created in the 1990s and quickly became very popular, initially as a villain and then as a sort of anti-hero. He is snarky and breaks the 4th wall (talks to the audience and makes real work pop culture references) and is desired as the Merc with a mouth. I was trying not to expect too much from this movie but was expecting the standard Ryan Reynolds portrayal and I can completely understand why he was thought to be great for this part. Although it seemed like there was some inconsistency within the character (loving partner/ wisecracking juvenile) for the uninitiated (aka me) it was a great movie. I am looking forward to seeing it again as I know that I missed lot of the references and wisecracks.

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In Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds plays the title characters also known as Wade Wilson. He is a for hire mercenary who likes to have fun with everything/everyone around him. He is diagnosed with cancer and then has the opportunity to be experimented on to save his life. In being experimented on he develops the ability to regenerate and essentially become immortal but this also allows the cancer to infuse with his cells (I hope I am close in this description) which results in him not being so pleasant to look at although I think it was mentioned that he was hideous looking more then he actually was to look at. I didn't think he looked that bad. While this is happening he is juxtaposed against his nemesis Ajax, played by Ed Skrein, who is unable to feel any pain due being experimented on himself. Deadpools self appointed mission is to find and then kill Ajax. The movie also stars Morena Baccarine, as Wades love interest Vanessa; T.J. Miller as Weasel Wades friend; Stefan Kapicic as the voice of Colosses; Brianna Hidlebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead; Karen Soni as Dopinder a taxidriver;  Leslie Uggams as Al; and Gina Carano as Angel.

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Overall I think that this move was well cast and I enjoyed how the ensemble was together. I think that there was a lot of characters that didn't necessary let for any real character development, it didn't even seem like there was any development for Wade just confliction due to his new appearances but it was a fun movie. That being said I was still able to keep track of the main characters and didn't think who were all those people.

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This movie is definitely rated R and not appropriate for younger kids, it is not just due to violence and from what I have heard it is needed for this character to be able to have a free range or it will not really be true to himself. For some who likes a fun, big budget, action movie this was right up my alley. I don't always like things that go for a cheap joke but it was not pushed too far with this movie and besides the two sides of Wades personality it was consistent in essentials. Like I said I am looking forward to seeing it again to try and understand more of the references and slid in jokes that I missed the first go around. This is definitely a movie made to see multiple times.  Also I know that since I saw it there has been a lot of buzz about Ryan Reynolds being naked and seeing his junk in the movie but I noticed that he was naked but come on people it wasn't that big of a deal (you only think it is because he is male).

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The CGI at times looked a bit video game and I could tell that it was CGI and am not just talking about those moments that were made to be artistic but those things that were just worked into the movie.
I enjoyed the 4th wall breaks but actually wanted more of them, I really would have like the character hamming it up even more and going really over the top. If this had been done I wouldn't have felt that Wade was two different people mushed together with no real transition/ integration between the two facets. I wanted more of the wise cracking mouth that I had heard Deadpool is characterized by. This also could have had something to do with the non linear format of the movie and how it jumped around but it still could have worked out really well as I can see why this was chosen to do some of the meta moments.

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That being said I think if you are old enough, not easily offended, and like big budget blockbusters you should go and see this movie and as it is a Marvel movie make sure to wait through all of the credits and see the extra scene (but if you don't know this already, like way too many people in the theatre with me, you don't know anything about the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

My Rating 3

PS: How does he end up with the swords? It doesn't go into this in the movie

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016): Review

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If you know anything about my literary preferences you will know that the Jane Austin book Pride and Prejudice (1813) is one of top if not absolute favorite book. Going into this movie I was not sure what I expected to see but that I do have a tendency to be quite tolerant of movie/ TV adaptations because I love the story so much and that the more period versions have been very good (1940, 1980, 1995, and 2005) not a fan of the modern day version (2003). I am even a big fan of the Bollywoodesq movie version  (Bride and Prejudice 2004) (If you haven't seen this you should!).  The trailer got me excited as it seemed like the move was going for a great style and I was impressed with the styling of the movie although underwhelmed with the actual Pride and Prejudice story.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a 2009 book by Seth Grahame-Smith which is just what it sounds like, Jane Austin's (who gets author credit) story but incorporating zombies into the daily lives of the characters. Instead of the Bennett girls just being renown for their beauty they are also known for their abilities as fighters against the zombies that is overtaking England.  This book is actually what sparked off what some people would call my obsession (although I just consider it a favorite fandom) of reading Pride and Prejudice variations and adaptations which there are a ridiculous number.

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This movie version somewhat follows the story of the books but as the movie goes on it veers more and more away from and adds it own stuff to the basic story. I understand why the movie did this but for someone who is expecting it to be really similar to the know Pride and Prejudice cannon you will be disappointed. It has the basic plot points but doesn't follow how they come about. If you are familiar with the story you will be familiar with many of the characters that don't add to the movie except to be there for the fans and they are required for the cannon (Mary, Kitty, Carolyn, the Hurst, Charlotte and they completely delete Col Fitzwilliam and barely  mention Georgiana). However if you are not familiar with the story you will probably have a better time swallowing the movie storyline. I don't think that the movie needed to add as much other stuff as it did (come on Pride and Prejudice cant get much better!) but that the movie fell victim to the standard tries to do too much and therefore didn't spend enough time of what it has problem that many movies do.  Pride and Prejudice is hard to do in the standard movie length on its own but adding the zombie aspect (and the in-between/ Wickham BS) was just too much to handle.

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I was impressed and really liked the overall style of this movie. I liked how it was shot and framed and I was not distracted by the close up action shots (which if you tend to read my post you know is something I tend to hate) and it was a pleasure visually to watch. The special effects were good and I was not distracted by anything that was happening visual. I don't really remember the musical score but that at least means that there was nothing annoying about it.
 
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I was overall underwhelmed with the cast and that fact that they threw in a lot of characters just because there were suppose to be there didn't help with this aspects. Lily James was a good Lizzy Bennett and her quirks went really well with my favorite literary heroine. She looked great as a brunette and was able to embody that characteristics of a strong women although the love connection with Darcy fizzled. She was convincing in her portal although at times over acted a bit.  Jane Bennett was played by Bella Heathcote and Mr. Bingley by Douglass Booth both of who were alright but again didn't have a lot of fleshing out of their characters. Lady Catherine De Bourgh was played by Lena Headey who is awesome and kickass and Lt. Wickham was played by Jack Hudson and I was more applauded with how they mucked with the character then how he acted as Wickham.

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The best and worst casting choices for this version was Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy and Matt Smith as Parson Collins respectively. I am a Colin Firth (1995) as Mr. Darcy fan and do not think that anyone will ever beat him but I am also a big fan of Matthew Macfayden (2005). Where Firth was the rock who you wanted to be there to support you not to mention see coming out of a pond soaking wet, Macfayen was that slow burn that you don't understand why you are so attacked to him, Riley was just strange. I didn't find him to be anything that I look for in a Mr. Darcy and kept thinking that they were going for a vampire feel with him and he didn't really pull the Mr. Darcy feel for me except for the insulting part. He did not have the insulting because he is socially awkward and overwhelmed but that he is just being an ass. I think it could have been better cast. On the complete opposite of this I LOVED loved LOVED Matt Smith (of Dr. Who fame) as Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins is usually a hard character as he is odious, oblivious, and not attractive character but Smith was able to make him this as well as funny and an enjoyment on screen. I am trying to think of a scene he was in that I did not laugh at and he quickly became my favorite part of this whole movie. I want a compilation of just his parts as I am still laughing right now thinking about how absolutely fantastic he was.

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Overall this movie was alright but I don't see many people going for it. It is not Pride and Prejudice enough for the fans (even those who live the adaptations and variations of the story) and I don't think there is enough of anything else for it to really resonate with people seeing it for the romance (no real underlying burn between Lizzy and Darcy), it is not exciting enough for those who want an action movie (which it isn't even at all) and it is not scare for anyone who gets drawn into the zombie part of it.  If it wasn't for Matt Smith the movie would be basically forgettable.  That being said I will probably watch it again and add it to my collection as even thought it isn't the best version it is still a version of Pride and Prejudice.

My Rating: 2-

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