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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

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If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go see it…like, NOW!!!

I’m gonna start this off by saying that this post DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS!!! My TL:DR review for you is that the movie is worth seeing, no doubt about it! Seriously, if you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want it ruined, please stop reading now!

The Lish and I ventured out last night to see the Force Awakens at a local theater. I must admit, I was extremely apprehensive and nervous throughout the film. I was waiting for something shitty to happen that would make the movie worthless or ruined. While I do have things I didn’t care for about the movie, I must say that my fears did not come true. The movie was actually awesome, and I can’t wait to see it again in the theater when I bring the boy with me. My full review is below.

SPOILERS BELOW!!!

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OK, first of all, they stuck to the formula of the original. Droid with plans/map lands on desert planet, meets teen who was left there by someone else, leaves on the Millenium Falcon, teams with Solo and Chewie, and get to the rebel base, all while being pursued by evil force wielding dude in all black with a black mask and a deep voice. Then, a final assault on a planet killing super weapon to prevent said base from being blown up. Sound familiar? Oh, and the whole father-figure mentor being killed in front of the main protagonist is there too. While this was all very predictable, it didn’t make it a bad movie. The acting was pretty good, special effects were good, and the story was decent. I LOVE that they went back to the lightsaber battles being more like medieval sword fighting. The whole Woo Ping shtick they did in the prequels was entertaining, but didn’t have that true Star Wars feel. These were WAY better. That said, there were things that put me off a bit.

First, Kylo Ren was kind of a bitch once he took the mask off. Before that, he was an ominous, terrifying badass who seemed to have his shit together for the most part. When he took of his mask, however, he looked to always be on the verge of tears, and lost all intimidation factor. I get that he was supposed to be torn still, but I think it was a bit much. Also, he got his ass beat by a completely untrained person at both his use of the force and a lightsaber battle. This is someone who Luke supposedly trained, and he got pieced up by a neophyte who didn’t know the force existed until the day or so before.

That leads me to Rey. She’s able to use the force to pull objects to her without knowing how to do it, she knows how to use force persuasion without ever being taught, and is able to fight with a lightsaber and win a duel against a far better trained opponent. Just seemed a little out there. Otherwise, her character was fucking awesome, and the actress did an amazing job with her!

Finn is a great character, and he showed great depth, emotion, and humor. He also had some good growth during the film, which was great. I can’t wait to see where they go with him.

The death scene was expected, but still fucking brutal. My heart still hurts…

For as much as they showed Captain Phasma beforehand, she had barely a bit part in the film. It seems like the character was only there to serve as a plot device to facilitate the dropping of the shield, something I can’t imagine any commander in her position giving in to so easily. Just seemed out of character for someone in her position. Seriously, why was she on the poster in the very center. She had about 3 minutes of actual screen time…

Finally, the general tone and immersion seemed off to me. I’m not 100% sure why, but I have suspicions. Part of it, I’m sure, is my apprehension. Part is the special effects, which were more realistic than fantastical, as opposed to the original. That also might be a product of the times and how filming techniques have changed. Another part is the sound editing and score. The sound and music had much more prominence in the original trilogy, and served to set the tone and add to the story a great deal. It was very memorable. This film didn’t really have that. The sound and music took a back seat, and I think that detracted from the impact and immersion the film had.

Despite my pedanticism, the movie was awesome, and is a worthy sequel to the originals! As someone who was a die-hard Star Wars fan his whole life (original trilogy), I’m very happy with what we got. I have issues with JJ’s new Star Trek films, but I think he did this one right. I can’t wait to see the rest of the story unfold. If you’re on the fence, you shouldn’t be. Go see it, even if you just spoiled the fuck out of it by reading this review. It’s worth your time if you’re a Star Wars fan.

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Matt Damon in space, a review.

The Martian. The title "Matt Damon in space" didn't do well with the test audiences....

The Martian. The title “Matt Damon in space” didn’t do well with the test audiences….

For the handful of you that follow me here, you likely saw my recent review of the book The Martian by Andy Weir. Well, they made it into a movie starring Matt Damon, and I saw that shit last night. Now keep in mind that I nitpick the fuck outta stuff, and it’s difficult for me to be objective about something I have strong feelings about. This book is definitely something I have strong feelings about, since I really loved it. Ok, enough bullshitting, let’s get down to some reviewing.

As far as the story goes, the movie doesn’t really deviate in any significant way from the book. Of course, they left shit out, because if they didn’t the movie would be insanely long. The stuff they left out wasn’t really mission critical, and I’m mostly ok with it. The characters are also mostly on point. Only a small number of them weren’t really the same. The acting in the movie was great, and the plot moved along well with some great pacing and suspense. The special effects were absolutely first rate, and there are some really great visuals and scenes.

Now, my nitpicking. SPOILERS!!!! The character interactions weren’t really fleshed out as well as I’d have liked. There was a lot of book crammed into the movie, but a lot of the relationships between characters just wasn’t really dug into in the movie, so those who didn’t read the book wouldn’t know or feel as deep of a connection. Also, the characters themselves weren’t as well developed. It felt a little like many of them were kinda shallow, due to only a lack of screen time and dialogue. All are great actors, but only Watney and Lewis were really dug into. The rest played their parts, but they seemed more like plot devices than actual relatable characters. The book did NOT suffer from these problems at all. Some of the changes they made didn’t seem to make much sense, either. For instance (SPOILER) when Mitch sends the coded message to the Hermes crew with the course settings, and Teddy confronts him about it, he doesn’t cop to it, and Teddy doesn’t demand his resignation. This seemed like a pointless change, as I don’t feel it did anything to further plot or character development. The actor they originally had for Venkat Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, could not do the movie due to scheduling conflicts, and I think he’d have been absolutely fantastic. He was in Jurassic World, and he was fucking great in that. Chiwetel Ejiofor did a good job, but my imagining of Irrfan in that role gave him tough shoes to fill. Also, they really underused Annie, played by Kristen Wiig. She was an awesome and hilarious character, and Kristen is both awesome and hilarious. Seemed like a win-win, but she just didn’t have the lines or screen time to really shine. Those scenes where she did, she did it well, but I’d have liked to have had more. Apart from that, I’d have done the movie more like the book, where Watney was recounting what happened during the day, and acted it out with a voiceover instead of long scenes of him doing stuff with no dialogue. During many of those, I kept thinking how much time was being wasted that could’ve been used for his excellent comedic delivery. They also let most of the science take a back seat, where it was fully in the foreground of the book through the entire journey.

Now, I know you’re probably taking this as a negative review, but keep in mind that I’d have wanted a movie that would’ve either not come off well for those who didn’t read the book, or would’ve been impossible to make. All in all, the movie really is fantastic, and if you’re a fan of science fiction, you do yourself a disservice by not seeing it. I’m just having issues getting past the fact that I built it up insanely high in my head, to a level that would be extremely improbable to deliver, and it didn’t deliver as I’d hoped. It’s ok, though. I still have the movie, and the book, I just wish there was more movie. Maybe a director’s cut.

TL:DR It was good, left out some stuff, and you should go watch it.

Many shades of abusive relationships

I’ve kept pretty tight lipped, publicly, about this atrocity of a story. I only post now because I really want to share someone’s review of the movie, and once the door is open, I can’t help crashing the party!!! (Just like tequila, right Jim?)

"If your BF does THIS....you might be in an abusive relationship" - Please read if Jeff Foxworthy's voice...

“If your BF does THIS….you might be in an abusive relationship” – Please read if Jeff Foxworthy’s voice…

Anyways, by now I’m sure you all know about this 50 shades of grey book, which has now transitioned into a movie. The story, in short, is basically about a wealthy guy who seduces some “innocent” girl and they proceed to have a kinky sexual relationship, and eventually fall in love. Sounds decent, right? Well here’s the kicker: It’s not about real S&M, it’s more abuse than anything else. The dude basically beats the piss outta this girl, even after she screams the safe word over and over, and is generally a complete asshole to her. In the end, though, she “understands him” better, he supposedly grows a minimal amount, and they end up in love. The moral of this story? If you get involved in a physically abusive relationship, and the guy is a complete asshole, just stick around and endure it cuz he might end up changing into an ok guy. Seriously?! Is that what we want young women to believe? Is this the lesson we should teach our daughters? Fuck that! This crap is the least empowering-to-women tale I’ve heard of in recent memory. Twilight is a close second, which is ironic since this book is just Twilight fanfic made into a novel. The worst part about this whole thing is that women were fucking obsessed with this crap, and tons of them read it and got titillated by it (see what I did there? huh?…..nm). What is so exciting about being physically abused? Is it just because he’s supposedly very attractive? So hot dudes can abuse women, and all is cool? Pretty fucked up shit, when you think about it.

Anyways, enough about ME. Check out this article, which is a brief review of the movie. I was laughing my ass off reading it, and couldn’t help but share it. Good times. Oh, and be sure to also watch the Honest Trailer for Twilight if you haven’t already, they sum it up pretty well there too.

Been a long time since I rock n rolled

Wuzzzzzzaaahhhhhh

Wuzzzzzzaaahhhhhh

As some of you know, I dropped off the face of the blogosphere (I can’t believe I actually just used that ridiculous word) a while ago. Lots of shit happened since then, the biggest of which being my change to a new place of employment. I’ve had a bunch of stuff to write about, but just haven’t had the space or time at work to do so, and my personal time at home is pure insanity most days. I’ll try my best to sum it all up here, so bear with me.

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Lish showing off the guns!!!

First and foremost, the Lish decided to try out for a roller derby team. I’m, of course, fully supportive of this, being a straight male and all. She made it onto the team, and has been balls deep (metaphorically speaking) in derby ever since. She’s currently working on passing her skills test so she can be cleared to play in games, and I have no doubts that she’ll pass and kick ass. The team she’s with is great, with some real top shelf people involved, and I’m happy she got involved in it. I kinda wish some of my hobbies had the same feeling of camaraderie, but alas I have geek hobbies,  so the power playing and dick waving (again, thankfully, metaphorically speaking) is always prevalent. That brings me to my next point.

The forecast on audition day....

The forecast on audition day….

My bands have been in a sort of flux lately. The cover band is doing ok, and we actually played shows recently! The original project I was playing keyboards in took a turn for the worse. We lost our drummer and bassist, and have yet to find replacements. Our searching has so far turned up a large number of complete lunatics, wackjobs, and dudes who really need to learn what it means to say they play an instrument. Some dudes came in and just had no idea what the fuck they were doing. Some had personal issues, such as the guy who was pushing 50 and had to work out with his daddy, whom he still lived with, what nights and times he could come out to play. And some were just plain bat shit crazy, who looked like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s 2 having a seizure. Finally, my old original band has had some movement lately. We broke up a year and a half ago, leaving an album unfinished and without playing a last show. Recently, we all got together to discuss our next steps, if any, and we all agreed to finish the recordings and play some shows. Where it goes after that is anyone’s guess, but at least we have something good on the horizon. I’m honestly stoked about it, since this is really the only band I’ve been in that I really felt was “my” band. Here’s hoping something good comes of this.

Aside from that, it’s pretty much been business as usual. We’ve been attending a few SCA events, and enjoying that. I haven’t been to fighting practice really, with only one attendance since Pennsic, because the timing never really works. Lish usually has derby practice that night, and I’d rather save the sitter than go to practice. I do wish I was able to get into it, since whenever I see guys fighting at events I kinda wish I could suit up and join in for a bit. A close friend of mine got into it the same time I did, and is having a great time and really enjoys it. I must admit that part of the reason is me being grossly out of shape, as well as being not physically strong. Much of my training would just be straight up strength and endurance training, and let’s face it, I’m a lazy fuck. I’d much rather sit at my bench and rebuild PCBs than do squat jumps and burpees…

You've been warned...

You’ve been warned…

I’ve seen a few movies that I’d like to share my thoughts on, stuff like Snowpiercer, Europa Report, 5 armies, etc. I’ll do my best to get those going, as well as some other shit. I’m also going to post some more arcade related stuff on my other blog, so if you have any interest in that crap, give it a look. Otherwise, I’ll see you freaks around soon!

TMNT 2014 review: Thug turtles

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Heroes in the half shell!

I finally saw the new turtles flick the other night. It was a special occasion, so we saw that and Lucy, which I’ll review later. For right now, though, I’ll dig into TMNT, and the gripes I had with it. Please keep in mind that this post will contain MASSIVE SPOILERS!!!! So if you don’t want it ruined, then stop reading now.

 

MASSIVE SPOILERS STILL COMING!!! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!!

 

Turtles lookin all diesel n shit....

Turtles lookin all diesel n shit….

OK, so first and foremost, I’ll go with the differences with the turtles themselves. They looked too….human. Their undershell, the part that would visually consist of their chest and abdomen, are formed to look like a jacked up human with large muscles. This is not what they were supposed to look like. They also weren’t supposed to be 8 feet tall. Apparently, source material doesn’t mean shit anymore. Their faces are also different, and it just doesn’t look right. In a vague sense, their personalities are close to the original, with one HUGE exception. Raphael. In the cartoon, he was a sarcastic ass, and I loved that about him. In this, he’s this gangsta thug with a serious attitude problem, and is thus a complete dickhead through most of the movie. He was constantly bucking Leo’s leadership and talking about going out on his own, totally different from the cartoon. It didn’t make it cool, it just made one turtle “the asshole”. Oh, and what the fuck is up with Donatello wearing a Ray Stantz outfit?! Seriously, the goggle thing, the backpack, gimme a fucking break here! We know, he’s the tech guy, you don’t have to make him look like a cyborg to get that across.

 

Ray, we'd like to fight the shredder, could you move please?

Ray, we’d like to fight the shredder, could you move please?

NO! I Ray am Donatello, and will kick your lily ass!!!

NO! I Ray am Donatello, and will kick your lily ass!!!

Another big change was, of course, the origin story. In this, April O’Neil’s father and another dude used alien DNA to genetically alter the turtles and splinter, but they didn’t grow until they got dumped in the sewer. Splinter learns martial arts from a book he finds, then teaches the turtles. Not sure why they’d go with that instead of using the ooze from dimension X, and including Krang and shit from the first one. I think it would’ve paid off better. The shredder’s outfit was a suit of power armor, and he had no personal relationship with Splinter, which again is totally outside of canon. Also, in this movie, the foot clan was a generic militant crime syndicate, and not a clan of ninjas. They were just run of the mill jack-booted thugs with no real significance whatsoever.

 

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Nope, none of this whatsoever….

This could have been so badass.....

This could have been so badass…..

So now you’re probably asking “but, was it good or not?! Stop nitpicking canon you ginger bastard!!”. I’ll say, for the most part, that it was an entertaining flick. The action was good, although the overuse of CGI was personally annoying. The acting was fair, except for Megan Fox who was ‘meh’ at best. I have to say, though, that the change in the personalities of the turtles was painful. They were pizza obsessed surfer dude types, and now they’re more like gangsta types, which was really annoying. Mostly it was Raph, but still, it changed the whole dynamic. Mikey was awesome though, total goofy like always. At least they got that right. All in all, I’d recommend seeing it if you’re a TMNT fan, even despite the issues. It’s entertaining, and I almost always love when a cartoon is made live action. If you’re not a TMNT fan already, I’d still see it, though some of the subtle references will be lost.

Godzilla and Xmen DOFP impressions/review

I’m throwing these two together because I wasn’t so amped in any one way about either of them, but figured I’d throw my thoughts out there anyways. I’ll start out with everyone’s favorite Kaiju!

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!

 

 

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOklahomaaaa!!!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOklahomaaaa!!!

So my recommendation of this movie will come in 2 parts, one for fans of the previous films, and one for everyone else. The movie started much like the older Godzilla movies, where you don’t really see him until well into the film. I like that. Cloverfield did the same thing, and it was awesome. Godzilla in this movie looked great, though it WOULD have been cool if they’d don’t rubber suit stuff instead of just CGI. The sounds were great, all classic stuff.

Face it, this would be fucking EPIC!!!

Face it, this would be fucking EPIC!!!

That being said, it didn’t really FEEL like a Godzilla movie, per se. It felt more like a drama that takes place in a supermarket, with monsters fucking up the breakroom. It didn’t feel like it was a monster movie. That bummed me out. He did get a fair amount of screen time, but all in all I would’ve been happier with a little more of a classic feel instead of try to overdo the dark drama like it’s another Dark Knight movie, or that atrocious new Superman flick. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far above that sacrilege that was the Matthew Broderick one, but I didn’t feel like it was done right. Just seemed to be something missing. The Lish, however, enjoyed it. So my recommendation is this: If you’re a fan of the series, it’s “meh”. If you’re not a fan of the series, it’s pretty good. I’ll probably pick it up on BluRay, but only when it’s on sale. I honestly feel that Pacific Rim was more along the lines of what this should’ve been.

Another Xmen poster with Wolvy front and center?! Nooooooo...

Another Xmen poster with Wolvy front and center?! Shocker…

Now, onto Xmen: Days of Future Past. I really liked this movie. I enjoyed First Class, and thought it was a cool new take, especially after that horrendous offering of Xmen 3. This one involves a type of time travel where a mutant can send another’s consciousness back in time to take over their younger body and do stuff. Pretty interesting stuff, and cool gimmick in my opinion. So they send wolvy back to alter history and prevent a big war, and hilarity ensues. Overall, I thought it was good. It was a fun movie that held my attention and had a good, albeit recycled, story. Could’ve used more action, but let’s face it, we ALL wanna see super-powered people beating the crap outta shit. I’m not gonna try comparing it to canon, since I don’t have enough background, and since I HIGHLY doubt it’s even close since the initial Xmen are wrong. It was just fun, and I’d watch it again, gladly.

Freaked? Never heard of it…

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Hells Yeah!!!

This is sort of a retro movie review. I’ll be doing a few of these, but I wanted to start with one of my favorites that most people haven’t seen. That movie is Freaked, starring Alex Winter and Randy Quaid. You may know Alex Winter from his portrayal  of Bill S. Preston, Esquire in the Bill and Ted movies. This movie was one of his babies, and this shit is killer.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick!!!

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick!!!

Made in 1993 by Alex Winter and Tom Stern, who also had a TV show called The Idiot Box, Freaked is a absolutely ridiculous comedy about an actor who gets hired by a huge multinational corporation to promote a controversial chemical called Zygrot 24. He is sent to South America with his best friend, where he gets captured by a mad scientist running a freak show, and mutated into one of the attractions. The main character is played by Alex Winter, who is awesome in it. The mad scientist is Randy Quaid, who is a combination of Wilder’s Frankenstein (pronounced fronk-en-steen), and Cousin Eddy from the Lampoon movies. William Sadler plays the head of the corporation, E.E.S. (Everything Except Shoes), who is also brilliant. Other actors include Mr. T, Brooke Sheilds, Megan Ward, and Bobcat Goldthwait. Keanu Reeves also plays the role of the dog boy, but goes uncredited for it.

The problem with trying to review this movie is the risk of spoilers, which I won’t do. I’m not gonna ruin it for anyone who’s geniunely interested in seeing it. There’s some slapstick, some gross out humor, and enough wit to fill a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. There’s a lot of random, stream of consciousness stuff as well, which is a big part of what I love about it. The special effects are also top notch for the time. Lots of costumes, prosthetics, some claymation and stop motion, etc.

Hooray, PNG liked our movie!!!!

Hooray, PNG liked our movie!!!!

To say this movie is stupid and ridiculous is a gross understatement, and this is why it’s one of my favorite comedies of all time, right up there with Airplane!, Naked Gun, and Coming to America. Honestly, stop reading my inane ramblings and go watch this movie. I don’t care if you buy it legit on DVD or BluRay, or obtain it more nefarious ways. Just do it if you like the kind of shit I described above, and you won’t be disappointed. If you do like it, buy it, the DVD extras are totally awesome!!!

TL:DR – Great Movie!