Friday, June 2, 2017

Womder Woman (2017): Review

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I am soooo happy to say that the Wonder Woman movie was good and enjoyable. Waiting for this movie to come out and seeing all the hype I was really hoping that this would be alright, especially with all of the dragged out recent DC movies that I thought it could easily have gone really, really bad. If you like superhero movies, this one is worth watching and I like that it isnt a superhero (superheroine?) movie with way too many other superheroes to let any of them shin. This is absolutely a Wonder Woman movie, there are not other big deal characters put in to add (or usually subtract) from the movie and what is going on. It is worth going to see on the big screen and a must see if you like these type of big blockbuster or superhero films.

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Women Woman is about Diana Price, played by Gal Gadot, who is the Princess of Amazons, a race of women created by Zeus to fight Ares and battle to save mankind from war. Diana has been raised on a protected island where she wants to become a warrior like the other Amazons. She is trained to become the best of them all. Once day, she sees a plain crash and saves the pilot Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine (I still don't get how he made it to the protected island but hey the plot needs to move forward). Through Steve she discovers that there is a horrible war that is the "war to end all wars" and decides to leave her protected home to fight to save man kind and seek out Ares, who she believes is influencing men. She works with Steve who is trying to stop the Germanys from releasing a new horrible gas while she is seeking to find and kill Ares. Also starting: Connie Nielson as Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons and Diana's mother; Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana's aunt and trainer; Danny Hudson as Ludendorff, the main baddy of the Germans; Elena Anaya as Dr. Maru, the German chemist working to create the deadly gas; Lucy Davis as Etta, Steve's secrary (and who I would have liked to see more of); David Thewlis as Sir Patrick, a superior to Steve; and Steve's rag tag crew Sammeer, played by Said Taghmaioui; Charlie, played by Ewen Bremner; and The Chief, played by Eugene Brave Rock.

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I think that everyone was really well cast and that the interactions between them were good. Even thought some of the characters didn't have much development or were just supporting I became attached to them and what they were doing. The only character I don't think really added much was Dr. Maru as she could have easily been removed from the movie with only minor changes. Also I think the addition of the gas she gave to Ludendorff was unnecessary. I can see how it might have played a larger role in earlier version of the script but with how the end story came out these components could have easily not been there and nothing would have been missed. I get the point of having the horrible gas as a motivation for Steve to care and to give him a mission.

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I could have done without some of the obvious, trying to force sexual whatevers between Diana and Steve during their early interacts. It would have been better if it was played more subtlety. I was worried for a while that the movie would keep this tone but it improved and but the end I had bought where they ended up and how they interacted with each other.

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The big complaint that I have is about the editing. There are so many quick cuts and close up shots that it was just a mess at times. I have said it before and I will continue to say it as long as it is what movies are doing, I do not like close up fight sequences (especially hand to hand) that rely on switching angles and constant cuts to make it seem exciting. The sequences were good and could have used a little space and a chance to see what was going on to better enjoy them. Also there were some obvious CGI moments. For some of them it was fine but the end battle it was just at overdone. I saw this in 3D so it could have been made worse by this but I would have preferred Diana's opponent to not look so CGI. They could have better used the 3D effects to incorporate my favorite thing which is stuff falling and floating, they had snow at one point but it didn't come out into the audience like I always want it to when I am watching a movie in 3D.

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I will give this movie some credit, I liked that it didn't start with a big battle sequences right off the gate. It actually built into the action and story which I really appreciate. The action sequences were different enough to keep me entertained and the last sequences, where although it had the DC over the top everything is CGI it wasn't too long and had other things going on besides just the main two people going at it while destroying everything in sight. I didn't get bored or think "it is over yet" with the end climax so am very happy with it.

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Overall, Wonder Woman was very well done and I am looking forward to seeing more with this characters. Gal Gadot is well cast. I find her interesting, beautiful, and strong, everything that I want Wonder Woman to be. She is empowered and dedicated (at times she doesn't listen or consider others but this could be more black or white thinking and part of her character growth) but also she struggles to adjust to the path she has decided to take.  This movie is worth seeing and I hope I enjoy it as much as I did the first time when I see it again.

My Rating: 3

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Baywatch (2017): Review

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Those of you who have following me for a while would probably be surprised that I have actually been excited and waiting for the Baywatch movie to come out so that I could go see it. I usually prefer action movies and shy away from most of the recent rated R comedies because I don't like movies that rely on inappropriate and awkward situations for laughs instead of making them actually funny or clever. For some reason when I saw the trailers for Baywatch, I just wanted to see it. It probably had to do with the fact that I did watch the television show Baywatch (1989-2001) and Baywatch Nights (1995-1997) back in the 90s; that I have been seeing the photos of Zac Efron looking mighty fine and fit and can I just say "abs"; and that I tend to like the stupid comedies that The Rock has been in.  Anyway, I have been looking forward to seeing this movie and therefore watched it over the holiday weekend. I am glad to say that it was not as bad as I thought it would be, and except for a few moments, I enjoyed the whole thing. Is this a good movie? No. It is a lot of OTT fun? Yes.

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Baywatch is a movie based on the 1989-2001 television show about lifeguards, known for David Hasselhoff, slow motion running shots with bounding boobs, and over the top acting. The movie version casts Dwayne Johnson as Lieutenant Mitch Bucannon, who is the a head lifeguard out of Tower 1 and who takes on three new lifeguard recruits; Matt Brody, a bad boy two time Olympic gold medalist who was brought on for publicity, played by Zack Efron; Summer Quinn, the attractive counterpart for Brody who has skills and dedication, played by Alexandra Daddario; and Ronnie the not so hot or cool kid who had dedication and really just wants to become a lifeguard, played by Jon Bass. There is also CJ Parker, played by Kelly Rohrback, the hot lifeguard that Ronnie lusts over; and Stephanie Holden, played by Ilfenesh Hadera, who is there to assist Mitch and is the most capable of the group but is really only used when needed for the plot.  While training these new cadets Mitch gets involved in investigating Victoria Leeds, played by Priyanka Chopra, who he believes is involved in some local deaths and drugs influx in his bay. Also staring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Sargent Ellerby, and Rob Huebel as Captain Thorpe.

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This movie has a very high production value and I could easily see the money that was spent to make it really shinny. It draws that attention and it is obviously that a lot of time was spent on making it the way that they wanted it to be. I don't know if it was supposed to be released in 3D but it looked like there were some moments and shots that were meant for 3D but my theatre was only showing it in 2D. It was obvious enough that I noticed.

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The plot was really simple and pretty stupid but that was what I was expecting. The movie even references some of the OTT and so-not-lifeguard responsibility plots that the television show had, so it was easy to tell that although the movie was stupid it knew that it was being ridiculous. Although it was a simple and obvious plot there were not many things that I really didn't like. I could have done without the dead guys penis sequence but other than that it wasn't too much just involving laughing due to it being uncomfortable (others in the audience laughing, not me as I didn't think it was funny or necessary). Actually now that I am thinking about it the only moments that were that way (uncomfortable laughter) was related to penises.

I really enjoyed Dwayne Johnson in this movie and his over the top acting works with the tone of this movie and his interactions with others. Tone wise the movie was consistent and although the characters did not have a lot of dimension or real development the characters fit together. You could tell that none of the actors thought they were making a masterpiece so you could see in their acting that they knew the whole movie was just taking the piss.

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Overall, this was enjoyable and I would see it again. I liked how the characters interplayed together. There were some moments where Zack Efron was distracting and I didn't think that the character of Stephanie Holden really was needed or fit in well (she seemed to only be there because of the same named character on the television show) but overall it was exactly what I expected the movie to be, but with me actually laughing more than I thought I would.

This is defiantly a R rated comedy for sexual inappropriate so would not recommend bring younger kinds into the movie.

My Rating: 1+
My Enjoyment Rating: 3

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017): Review

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I was pleasantly surprised after watching the new King Arthur movie that it was not as bad as I was expecting it to be. It was an adequate movie version. Normally I am very judgmental and don't like movie versions that mess with the original or accepted stories but this one was close enough for me. There were components that were good, some parts that could have been a lot better, but overall it was an okay movie. There was nothing special or amazing out it but kept my interest thoughout.

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King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword is the story of King Arthur this time as a boy, his uncle Vortigern, played by Jude Law decides that he wants to be king and kills his brother Uther Pendragon, played by Eric Bana. Arthur, played by Charlie Hunnam, ends up being taken in a raised in a brother where he grows up learning about being a leader on the streets. When Arthur becomes a man he ends up drawing the Sword Excalibur out of the stone, identifying himself as the true born kind. Arthur gets drawn into the battle of his uncle who wants to stay King and the people who want him destroyed. Also stating: Astrid Berges-Frisbey as The Mage; Dijimon Hounsou as Bedivere; Aiden Gillen as Bill; Freddie Fox as Rubio; Craig McGinlay as Percivel; and Tom Wu as George.

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I ended up watching the movie in 3D because I didn't want to wait several hours to see the 2D version and I am really starting to think that watching movies in 3D makes the CGI look more fake and obvious. A lot of the CGI was obvious and distracting but they did have the one of the few things that I like in 3D thing floating in the air, in this movie is was the ash. There was lots of this affect.

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The action blocking and editing was very chopping and I didn't like the amount of cuts that they made. There were many moments where I found myself thinking "quick, quick, slow" during these moments as this is how the film put these sequences together. There was lots of shaking cam but the only thinking really horrible were the times where things went into a GoPro shot. It really didn't go with the rest of how everything was filmed.

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This movie is basically one action scene after another action scene and many of them are very similar so there is not at lot of variety in the whole movie. The plot is very simplistic and just enough to keep it going. There were moments where I think that the overall affect would have been better if the movie was rated R because if the gore was pumped up a bit it would have been better. It also had a strong magic component but as this was consistent thought-out the movie and the Arthur legend usually has magic in it worked.

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I like the cast and cast interactions. Everyone did a good job with what they were given. There wasn't much plot development or a lot of time spend on the characters getting to the changes or places they end up. Some of the moments that should have been emotional choices didn't really matter because the choice was very obvious or the other people affected didn't matter. The only exception was with Blue, played by Bleu Landau and this was because his motivation was fleshed out and very understandable.

I liked this movie, but it was only average. Something that it is fine to wait until it is on demand or television to see.

My Rating: 2-

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