Tuesday, November 15, 2016

DOCTOR STRANGE is Magically Delicious!

I have to admit that I didn't expect a lot from DOCTOR STRANGE.  ANOTHER ORIGIN STORY?!!!  Is it really necessary to do another story about the beginnings of another super hero?  I know next to nothing about Doctor Strange but I don't feel the need to have my hand held and explained how he came to be even with all the magic mumbo-jumbo.  I have seen enough to know how this whole super hero thing works.  The whole movie looked like it was going to be some kind of INCEPTION knock-off.  Now that I have seen the movie I can say that I was wrong.  Not only is DOCTOR STRANGE good, it's one of Marvel's best!

Dr. Strange is one of the best surgeons in the world.  He is a man of great arrogance fully aware of how much smarter he is than everyone else around him.  Not a bad guy but he has a couple of large character flaws.  After a car wreck of his own doing, Strange finds himself no longer able to be a surgeon due to the crippling of his hands.  Humbled in body but not in mind, Strange's desperation to get his former life back leads him to look into possible magic remedies.  This journey leads him to the discovery that there is real magic in the universe and there are unseen threats that will use magic to bring destruction to our world.

DOCTOR STRANGE opens our minds to the Cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  There is not just other countless universes but other dimensions and realms too.  All of it is connected.  Dr. Strange who considered himself the biggest man in the world, is shown that he is just a small part of a much larger reality.  That doesn't make him and his existence meaningless but it does mean that everyone has value.  Everyone is important and worth fighting for.  Overtime Dr. Strange learns to use magic of the universe to help others instead of himself.  He becomes a Master of magic but insists that you still call him Doctor.

The film only gets better and better.  At no point does the story get bogged down with boring exposition or a pointless love story that will not last into the certain sequel.  This is an origin story after all.  We know how origin stories progress.   We know that we will see set ups to future films in the franchise.  We should be bored but we are most definitely not.  Part of that reason is Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as the title character.  Dr. Strange is rich, smart and arrogant like Tony Stark only not as funny or likable.  There is some deep complexity to his character.  He loves himself more than anyone and this blinds him to why he can't build a strong relationships with others.  He does care for his patients but he likes the glory a bit more.  You can't help but get involved of his story as the prideful doctor the humbled but super powered super hero.

A big positive to this film and all Marvel films is that DOCTOR is part of a much larger story.  While watching DOCTOR STRANGE you have to wonder where this is happening in the MCU.  How are they going to use this character in the Infinite War?  Are any Avengers going to show up?  What is going on in the MCU while this story is going on?  The idea of all these movies sharing the same universe helps boost interest even in the most lackluster Marvel movie.

Magic gives more room for imagination.  The fight scenes are more creative because magic is being used in a creative way.  There isn't just a bunch of shooting and punching.  In fact there is an almost subversive nature with the use of magic in the fights.  At the end the bad guys had pretty much won but thanks to Dr. Strange's willingness to break the rules of magic he is able to rewind time with the Time Stone and save everyone and defeat the bad guys while time reverses all around them.  There is time travel and dimension bending and out of body experiences that are used in the battles between good and evil.  Imagination is used the right way.  In the Marvel Cinematic Universe we haven't seen these things before except for the Quantum Realm in ANT-MAN.  You do see the Quantum Realm briefly in DOCTOR STRANGE.

DOCTOR STRANGE is a fast paced eye opening experience.  It is a welcome addition to the MCU and a course correction from the BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE ripoff CAPTAIN AMERICA; CIVIL WAR which was somewhat of a disappointment.  Hopefully DOCTOR is the last of these origin stories.  The formula needs to be changed to tell a story of a newly introduced character.  PUNISHER: WAR ZONE is the best example of that.  My only real complaint for DOCTOR is that the some of the fight scenes are too heavily edited at times.  Other than that this movie will surpass the most highest expectations.  Go see it and be amazed!

Jason



Sunday, October 16, 2016

THE NEON DEAD is worth a look.

When it comes to low budget movies made by people who actually care about film I am very forgiving.  Low budget films obviously have more challenges and obstacles to overcome to get made and shown in the public eye.  I am a big believer in art through adversity.  The challenge and limitations from the lack of money and resources can inspire wonderful results.  THE EVIL DEAD is a terrific example of this.  I am always looking to low budget films for inspiration since I myself am part of the world of no budget film making.  I want more people to know about the good ones and get motivated to support these films and maybe make their own.  I am looking for horror movies that are not homages or at least influenced by THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.  I like that film but it has been too big of an influence on many horror films in the last 20 years or so.  There are so many horror film makers that seek to out shock that classic movie through the on screen suffering of characters that a new genre of horror was created.  Torture Porn.  You can't count the number of horror movies whose plot summary is about a group of young teens and twenty-somethings who go out to the middle of nowhere and become the victims of a crazed cannibal inbred family of yahoos.  I bet there are more movies about crazed cannibal inbred families than there are about Dracula and Frankenstein combined.  People looking for new ideas to be inspired by to create new kinds of horror need to limit their intake of such films unless they just like that kind of film.  I myself like the WRONG TURN movies for some reason.  But if you are looking for something new and different I would recommend THE NEON DEAD.

When Allison discovers a violent ghost in her house she calls Desmond and Jake, an amateur paranormal exterminating duo, to find out what is going on in her house.  The investigation leads our two ghost fighters to uncover the bigger problem of an interstellar demon trying to get to earth and destroy all life as we know it.

What I love is THE NEON DEAD's ambition.  This a small movie with big special effects designed to make this movie look and feel different than so many other horror films.  THE NEON DEAD has zombies but these zombies glowy grey eyes and are painted in grey that look like they would glow in black light.  The zombies actually side with our heroes and fight these robed undead wizards (At least I think they were the wizards.) that look like the Blind Dead but with glowing red eyes.  The zombies are used differently.  They aren't just stumbling around looking for brains or living flesh to eat.  That is part of the charm of THE NEON DEAD.  The creators are using old horror elements and doing something more with them.  I love the interstellar demon-thingy that is brought to life through the magic of stop-motion.  They don't just show it once or twice either.  There is a whole sword fight with it that is rather spectacular for a film like this.

The film has a lot of color to it.  Color is used to emphasize the supernatural world clouding the normal world we live in.  I like bold color in my fantasy horror films.  Films like this are eye candy and candy should be colorful.  Horror doesn't have to always be bland and ugly.  Bland tends to be forgettable and THE NEON DEAD is not forgettable.

At 120 minutes run time I will say that THE NEON DEAD is way too long.  There is a lot of story here that really could be trimmed down.  The script itself needed to be tighter focusing on the relationship between the main trio of Allison, Desmond and Jake.  Their newly formed friendship needs to be the foundation of the film.  They do try to do this but because there is so much going on with the details of the story that the characters never fully develop believable growth.  The film has too much talk.  Too much explanation.  NEON has a lot going on and the film feels the need to explain it all.  Its not necessary.  The result is that the film is kind of a slog to get through.  It is very unfortunate and will turn many people off from the film.  There is a lot of talent behind and in front of the camera that people should take notice of.

The other problem with the film is its lack of imagination with it's choice of camera angles.  Of course this is because of the limit of budget but even the dialogue scenes are mostly shot reverse shot in close ups and mediums with little change.  This confines the visual scope of the film adding to the film feeling slow even though there are a lot of different locations.  However, there are some good camera movement at times too especially with the sword fight that has the camera following smoothly around the actors capturing the excitement of the fight in every detail.

I recommend THE NEON DEAD.  You can learn what to and not to do with your next film.  You can tell that the makers love the horror genre and want to make something that stands out from the rest.  Be sure to stay to the very end for the stinger for the potential sequel.  I hope there is one.  I like what they are trying to do even if it isn't fully successful.  I want to know who that mummy guy was.  Don't know who I am talking about?  You are just going to have to see the film for yourself.

Jason

Sunday, October 9, 2016

FINAL GIRLS!

I would compare FINAL GIRLS to THE LAST ACTION HERO but that might infer some negative connotations to the film.  I can't deny that FINAL GIRLS does have a similar concept of people getting trapped in a movie through the magic of cinema.  Instead of getting stuck in JACK SLATER part IV starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, our protagonists find themselves in a slasher flick from the 80's titled CAMP BLOODBATH having to battle a Jason Vorhees type slasher named Billy Murphy.  Both are highly imaginative but LAST ACTION falters by being too zany with the concept adding an out of place cartoon cat that is a detective and having that annoying kid from PREHYSTERIA as the lead actor.  FINAL GIRLS does a better job with the concept.  It manages to stay on the line between between horror and comedy to deliver a sincere heartfelt drama that is surprisingly effective.

Max (The exceptional Taissa Farmiga!) loses her mom (The also exceptional Malin Akerman!) in a car wreck at the beginning of FINAL GIRLS.  Her mom was an actress who played one of the doomed counselors in the cult classic CAMP BLOODBATH.  Max is talked into going to see her mom's film playing at a nearby movie theater.  When a fire breaks out in the theater Max and her friends escape through the movie screen and find themselves in the actual movie.  Trapped Max and her friends try to work with the fictional characters to fight off Billy the invincible slasher who gave the camp its notorious name of CAMP BLOODBATH.

The film is about Max dealing with the loss of her mom.  Seeing Nancy, the character her mom played in CAMP BLOODBATH alive and well, Max takes it upon herself to try and save her from her inevitable death at the hands of Billy Murphy.  If Max can save Nancy in the movie world then maybe somehow she will have her mom back too.  You can see that FINAL GIRLS has a lot of heart to it.  In most horror films nowadays you only see heart if it is literally torn out of a characters chest with liberal amounts of red stuff strewn about.

FINAL GIRLS doesn't rely on gore at all. There is barely any blood anywhere!  How brave!  Blood is replaced by an imaginative story.  Max and her friends find themselves in a horror movie.  This means they are experiencing every scene in the movie.  They see the movie credits.  They get absorbed into the flashback scenes.  They teach one-dimensional counselors to have more depth to them.  Its all rather interesting taking your mind off the fact that there is no gore.  The PG-13 rating doesn't hurt the film.

Billy Murphy looks exactly like the Jason Vorhees from FREDDY VS. JASON except for the mask of course.  Billy's trademark mask is more of a wooden block carved to look like an angry frog totem.  Billy's back story of how he became disfigured is similar to Cropsey's in THE BURNING.  Not a bad combination.  Having to abide by the rules of slasher films  only the 'final' girl can kill Billy at the end of the movie.  This presents a problem for Max's plan to save Nancy. Max is now a character in the film and there can be only one female protagonist alive to defeat the killer.

My hope is that FINAL GIRLS continues to find a bigger and bigger audience influencing the next generation of horror film makers.  Horror needs that.  For the last 20 years or so too many creators of the horror genre have been overly influenced by the classic TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.  Bleak and bland horror has now taken up too much of our time.  In contrast the look of FINAL GIRLS is bright and cheery with beautiful flowers growing about in various colors.  It takes a daring director to try such a thing in a slasher film.  Granted CAMP BLOODBATH is a fake movie meant to look different from the real world presented in FINAL GIRLS but I think a bolder look to horror that is more visually vibrant and not so colorless would be a refreshing approach.  At least it is a good way to get your slasher film to get noticed.  Slasher films can be artistic too.

Jason

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Thank You, Zack Snyder for BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE!!!


Spoilers Ahead!

I want to use this post to write about my love for BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and use it as a 'Thank You' to Zack Snyder and everyone involved in making one of the greatest super hero films ever.  The hate this movie has received is unwarranted and quite perplexing.  I thought the theatrical cut was great but the restored true version was perfect and I mean that in all sincerity.  The movie delivers a serious story that treats the audience with respect.   It doesn't dumb down the plot by adding action beats every ten minutes or comedy at inappropriate times just to appeal to mainstream audiences who view the super hero genre as nothing more than "leave your brain at the door popcorn fare".  Thank you, Zack Snyder for this film.  Like Superman doing great deeds and still being greeted with fear and hate, you too have given us a great film that has received the same.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions but I find it so strange that this film and MAN OF STEEL have been held under a higher magnifying glass while other films with more problems are given a pass.  See the CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR for example.  CIVIL WAR is pretty much the same freaking movie yet receives high positive ratings!  Don't get me wrong.  I loved CIVIL WAR too but I think BVS was way better.  By the way the Ultimate Edition of BVS is what I will be writing about.  That is the true intended version of the film.  As far as I am concerned the theatrical cut no longer exists.

Essentially BVS is a Man vs. God story.  Because of the abuse he had to endure as a child by his father, Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg) has grown into a man who believes that there no such thing as a god who is good.  To him people only pretend to be good but deep down inside they are selfish frightened creatures.   Superman's existence contradicts Luthor's religion undermining his whole wold view by giving people hope of a better future. Lex sees no such future.

There are people who revere the man from another world as a god.  Lex's view of Superman (Henry Cavill)is that he is a great lie that needs to be exposed.  In a nut shell the whole movie is about Lex exposing that lie with an incredibly complex plan to pit Batman against Superman with the hopeful result of the death of the 'False God'.  Despite all his wealth and intelligence, Lex Luther is a jealous man envious of those that Superman saves.  Why couldn't Superman rescue little Lex from his monster of a father?  After all, the young head of a billion dollar company is surely more important than the average person!

Jessie Eisenberg's Luthor is a man wearing a mask that has already began to crack from his growing ego and resentment of all those around him.  He is a smart man and he knows it.  The problem is that nobody else does.  He wants everyone to know!  He wants everyone to know that he is the one that figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman!  He wants everyone to know that it was he that discovered the great Superman was nothing more than a farm boy from Smallville pretending to be a human with delusions of being a reporter!  Of course letting anyone know would jeopardize his plan on destroying the Son of Krypton.  All he can do is toy with them.

One of my favorite scenes is at Luthor's charity party.  He had invited both Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent.  Luthor introduces the two neither one knowing who the other is and Lex in the middle knowing all.  You can see he wants to scream it in their faces but Lex can't.  He can only play along all the while going more and more mad from his own extreme narcissism.

Jessie Eiesenberg's quirky and slightly unhinged performance of Lex Luthor disarmed me.  I figured he would create Doomsday judging by the movie trailers and that wold be about it.  So what?  I wasn't impressed.  However, when Martha Kent is abducted at the diner I quickly realized that Lex Luthor already knew who Superman really was.  I was shocked!  I did not see that coming.  Lex became a villain that was a threat.  He brings Superman (God!) to his knees by simply throwing a few photo's on the ground of his kidnapped mother.  Luther's plan is unique in that it isn't about gaining more wealth or blowing up the whole world by the press of a button.  He wants Superman to bow before him and die not caring (or maybe unaware) that creating Doomsday would have destroyed the world if Superman hadn't stopped the nearly indestructible creature.

There is a line in the movie ANGUS about Superman not being brave since he is nearly indestructible.  That is a good line that makes you look at Superman a lot differently.  With his bravery questioned he seems not so great even though he is all powerful.  Batman himself almost quotes this line in the finale at the moment he is about to kill Superman.  One of my favorite things about this movie is that it addresses this issue.  The writers of BVS have created a Superman that can be destroyed with something other than kryptonite.  Bruce Wayne is shown a future where the world has been seemingly destroyed and Superman leading an army of stormtroopers for the new world order.  Superman has become what Wayne has feared most.  Evil.  How can that be?  Superman is still just a man.  His name is Clark Kent.  He has a choice.  Clark can live the quiet life with his love Lois Lane.  It would be a good life.  Yet he can't.  He cares too much and knows he can do more to help this troubled world.  Even though he is a man, he is a good man.  That is a choice he makes even as he struggles to find his place in society as helping those in need of saving.  Yet his good deeds are met by some with fear and skepticism.  Sometimes doing good may even lead to bigger disasters later on.  Lex Luthor does all he can to push Superman farther and farther from society's trust and love.  The evil billionaire doesn't see a bird or a plane.  He sees a monster in need of being destroyed and he wants the world to see the same.

Batman (Ben Affleck) is succumbing to the darkness that has changed so many in Gotham.  He too has lost faith in his own beliefs being an empty shell of a man symbolized by the rundown vacant Wayne estate.  This Batman brands the criminals he captures marking them for certain death once they enter the prison population.  In the heat of the moment he does not go out of his way to make sure bad guys are not killed in his crusade.  If they get in the way shooting, he shoots back.  At first the idea of a Batman that kills really bothered me.  It took me awhile to think about it but I realized that if Batman wasn't willing to kill then there would be no real conflict between him and Superman.  BVS gives us an older Caped Crusader who has seen good people go bad.  Is is about to join them.  You can't but help wonder who Wayne is referring to when he tells Alfred about good people gone bad.  Is he talking about Harvey Dent?  Perhaps Jason Todd?  Harley Quinn?  It is exciting to think about considering that there are at least three Batman movies coming after JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Martha....One of the most profound moments in BVS is when Superman tells Batman to "Save Martha!"  This moment is when Bruce Wayne sees Superman as a person and not a monster.  Superman has a mom.  But that is not all that is happening.  If you remember the beginning of the film we see the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne.  We as an audience just assume that we are seeing, yet again, another origin of Batman.  Even though this scene is a dream showing us that Bruce Wayne is still haunted by his past,  we don't understand what we are really watching is the set up to the moment when Batman realized that he had become a criminal.  All this time Batman had been fearing Superman becoming evil when he should have been fearful of himself becoming the same.  The mugger who killed Bruce Wayne's parents murdered them out of fear.  The murderer ran as soon as he shot them, too afraid to even stick around for a quick minute to take any valuables.  The 'Martha' moment has been much maligned by the film's detractors reducing it's importance to nothing more than two super heroes whose moms have the same name.  They are willingly ignorant if you ask me.  I think it's an ingenious way that the writers came up with for our two heroes to find something in common with each other.

Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is so important to the story.  In a big way she is the main character.  Through her and her street smarts she slowly uncovers the devious plan of Lex Luthor to isolate Superman from society and kill him.  She is the link between Superman and the world.  Without her Superman has no future worth living for especially with how negative society can be toward him.  She is a reminder as to why he fights for good.  It was she who saved Superman at the end from Batman informing the would be slayer of a god that Superman has a mother named Martha.

I think it was a great disservice to BVS to feature Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in all the promotions for the film.  The movie itself makes you think she might be Catwoman with her stealing from Bruce Wayne a flash drive that he was using to steal information from Luthor.  They have some chemistry together and her name is never mentioned until the end.  I think the reveal of Wonder Woman would have had a greater impact on the audience if they found along with Bruce Wayne when he sees the old photo of her from World War I.  A big surprise like that could only help surpass audiences expectations.

There is a lot hate for this film.  I have no idea why.  Partially it comes from some fans who have a preconceived notion on who Superman is and how he should act.  They see him as an all wise man always zipping through the clouds with a smile on his face brimming with confidence in his abilities.  That is all well and good but not realistic for a man who is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.  I think if he was always smiling then the nay sayers would change course and accuse him of being too happy.  Superman has a unique relationship with the audience.  Just like the people of Earth have a love/hate with Superman so does the audience.   The audience always questions Superman's reactions to events.  Why couldn't Superman save his dad from a tornado?  Why couldn't Superman stop the destruction of Metropolis and save everyone?  Can't Superman go back in time and fix everything just like in SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE?  It is just like when people are in bad times in their lives ask God why.  It is a different kind of fourth wall breaking.

Who is Superman, really?  I believe he represents all of us.  No matter who we are or what we look like, we all can do great things with whatever abilities we have.  Like Superman, we have to choose to do so.

I read an article about Kevin Smith watching BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE 8 times in an attempt to fall in love with it after it released on Blu-Ray.  He sees that there is something good here but can't quite see it.  I hope someone shows him this highly positive examining of the film.  I hope it helps in why he should love the movie.  This isn't a dumb fun movie.  The characters are respected giving them deep convictions, motivations and flaws.  There are many layers to every character and event depicted in this film.  It is as epic as it is serious with many elements to endlessly ponder.  That is a good thing.  It's not trying to be just like the Marvel films.  There is no need to course correct future films except maybe give the movie creators more creative control.   BVS has found its own unique style and is a better more exciting film than all the Marvel films put together.  That's right.  I said it.  Come and get me, Internets!

Let me just thank everyone again for the time and effort put into this film.  Just like the excellent WATCHMAN, the cinematography is stunning and boundary pushing complimented by the rousing music scores by Hans Zimmerman and Junkie XL.  There is a hyper focus on detail especially with the super hero costumes.  There is weight to our heroes movement grounding them in a sense of reality.  They don't look like a bunch of C.G.I. characters flying about more like cartoons than real people.  It truly is one of the greatest most epic comic book movies ever made.  Batman kung-fuing  the mercs in the warehouse with all his bat gadgets was exactly what we wanted in a Batman fight.  It was just like the Arkham games!  The fight between Superman and Batman is legendary worth the price of admission.  Everyone involved in making BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN has raised the bar.  Thank you, thank you and thank you!

Zach Snyder needs to direct THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX movie!

Jason





Friday, July 29, 2016

GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) : Be afraid of this one.

Beware!  There be spoilers ahead!

The new GHOSTBUSTERS is not funny or imaginative.  You kind of need those two main ingredients for a good Ghostbusters film.  The jokes falter due to over reliance on improvisation casting suspicion that there wasn't much of a script to begin with.  The jumbled, poorly paced, nearly incoherent story is evidence of that.    Worst yet the characters have very little on screen chemistry and provide absolutely no laughs no matter how hard they try.  Being a Ghostbusters fan I wanted to love this movie but I couldn't.  To put it bluntly this film insults the fans of the old generation while dumbing down the new.

As the film plays before your eyes you can't help but imagine better ways to tell a story about the Ghostbusters.  It would be so easy to put out a third film in the franchise and still have the four protagonists be the new all female Ghostbusters.  We wanted a sequel.  What we got is remake that is suppose to reboot the franchise.  Oh, goody!  We get the same old story of four friends getting together to form a business about catching ghosts and at the end a big giant thing stomps through the streets of Manhattan.  I guess that is the only story that can be told about the Ghostbusters in movie form.  They have told this story three times now!  If you stay to the end you get a mention of Zuul during a post credits scene.  Oh, no!  Ghostbusters is a prequel!!!  What is the deal with Sony and their reboots?  It takes two movies to tell one story that has already been told in a previous film.  It took two new AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movies to equal the amount of narrative put to screen in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man.

Intentionally or not GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) is subversive with its insults toward fans of the original films.  The main bad guy, Rowan, is a nerd not too unlike the average male Ghostbusters fan.  He is full of hate and decides to destroy mankind by turning himself into a very large version of the ghost in the Ghostbusters logo.  The sight of four female Ghostbusters shooting a Ghostbusters logo in the balls is all you need to see to understand how director Fieg feels about this franchise and its male fans.  Okay, that is probably not true but I couldn't help but get that feeling.


I want to call the new film Bizzaro-GHOSTBUSTERS.  This is a movie that seemingly comes from an alternate dimension that is complete opposite of us.  We get four actresses that belong in the background filling in the title roles while the people we want to see play the Ghostbusters are reduced to nothing more than awful cameos that do nothing more than aggravate the audience and remind us of what could have been. Once again Ernie Hudson shows up at the end just so the camera can cut away from him as soon as possible giving him as little screen time as possible.  He is my favorite, you jerks!  Bill Murray's cameo as a skeptic and paranormal debunker comes across as a dig against all us who waited years for a true sequel.  It's actually heartbreaking.  He was the life of the party in the original GHOSTBUSTERS.  Now he seems resentful of the whole franchise.  To me Murray's appearance is a nod to Harrison Ford in THE FORCE AWAKENS having himself killed off by a ghost so he doesn't have to appear in anymore Ghostbuster films.  How weird is it that a Ghostbusters film now has a body count?

The cast and the director are all wonderful talented people.  It is so strange that everything in this film is so misguided.  I don't understand how four funny actresses that have proven themselves in the past can be so unfunny.  Part of it comes from the lazy writing.  If you pay attention to what is being said in the real GHOSTBUSTERS there is a lot going on with the story.  Ray and Egon are always going on about Tobin's Spirit Guide providing an incredible back story to the reason why all of these supernatural shenanigans are taking place.  They are setting up the villains that eventually show up in the third act.  The story is well crafted allowing several layers to be noticed and appreciated upon future viewing.  Counter that with the new GHOSTBUSTERS and their mishandling of the story.  We have yet another origin story in an already crowded reboot era of film.  This time we have the origins of the Ghostbuster logo explained horribly.  The evolution of the proton pack is shown.  I guess that is neat.........(cough).......The containment unit finally makes an appearance but only at the end as if the writers forgot about it and wrote it in last minute.  Where were they going to keep these paranormal apparitions once they caught them?  In the original GHOSTBUSTERS that was one of the first things built!  You kind of need a containment unit to start a ghost catching business.

The movie is filled with all these weird scenes of random talk that is meant to provide the hilarity.  It all comes across as improved sketch comedy and not from the actual script.  It kills in the worst way possible as in not funny at all.  Instead of propelling the story forward we get nonsense banter about a dog named Mike Hat and some character backstory about Kristen Wiig being a nerd in high school.  It is so painful to watch that you are going to wish you were an actual ghost because that means you are dead and you don't have to deal with this crap anymore.  Every scene is off it's intended beat.  There are no highs and lows to the plot it just is what it is.  Meandering and pointless.  The editing is atrocious.  How did that dragon ghost end up on the shoulders of Leslie Jones anyway?  Judging by what was shown in the advertisements there was a ton of footage cut out.  The whole scene of soldiers dancing like Michael Jackson's THRILLER is removed and put in the end credits for some reason.  Either way whether it was in the film or in the credits that scene is stupid and doesn't belong in a Ghostbusters movie.

I did like the new ghost busting equipment even though they use it to turn the film into an action comedy and make the proton packs themselves useless.  The ghost grenades  and vacuum are the stuff of cartoons but it works in this film.  A better explanation as to why this equipment is needed would have helped improve the film and make it stand out from it's predecessor.  The idea of ghosts that are too powerful and need to be deionized is an idea the story should have expounded upon. The new GHOSTBUSTERS needs more science and paranormal babble.  I don't think the writers knew much about that stuff though as evidenced by EVP being explained as "Electro Voice Phenomena."  It's "Electronic Voice Phenomena."  I bet they fix that in the extended DVD release just like they fixed "Four scientists" to "Four friends" in the first trailer released for this film.  Boy, that was a bad omen of things to come!

At the end after Rowan becomes giant ghost man and explodes out a skyscraper (Miraculously all the debris avoids crushing the soldiers frozen in Michael Jackson pose below.) the four Ghostbusters defeat him and send him back to the ghost world via a portal.  Before being sucked down, Melissa McCarthy is grabbed and taken down with him.  With rope around her waste Kristen Wiig heroically jumps in to save her as the skyscraper magically rebuilds itself on top of the portal.  Time is of the essence! Oh, wait.  No it is not.  Both Wiig and McCarthy are pulled back into our world even though the skyscraper has fully reformed.  Its a weird moment because the portal has closed.  Our two heroes should be trapped in the ghost world.  Instead they are pulled to safety through concrete and glass doors as if those obstructions weren't there at all.  Shouldn't they have been pulled out before the building reassembled?  Did the writers not think of that?  You get a sense that the movie wasn't well thought out.  I think the attitude of the producers was that it is a GHOSTBUSTERS film.  It will sell itself!

Even as a remake GHOSTBUSTERS could have been good.  There are modern day elements that didn't exist thirty years ago that could have been capitalized on to make this reboot stand on its own.  Those people from a ghost hunting show that is referenced in the film could have been used as a secondary villain.  Bill Murray's character could be more than a cameo.  His comedic style would be an interesting twist for an antagonist to our new Ghostbusters team.  The mentioning of Zuul at the end post credits scene seals the fate of the sequel in the new franchise.  Its gonna suck.  However, when they make a third movie five or six or seven years from now there will be renewed promise of better things to come because they will have to come up with new ideas.  It has to be good then.  I guess as a fan of the original GHOSTBUSTERS I have become accustomed to waiting long periods of time for a third film in the franchise.


Jason

Saturday, April 9, 2016

PEELERS has arrived!

The director of SKEW, Seve Schlenze, has finished his next film titled PEELERS!  I reported on this one a while back when the creators were promoting their kickstarter.  The film is done and looking awesome judging by the trailer.  Read the press release below for more information.  

Jason



                                                                       
MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE AND GRUESOME RELEASE
Contact: Sevé Schelenz
Tel: 604.889.4805

March 9th, 2016 –  Independent Horror Feature Film PEELERS set to have WORLD PREMIERE at Palm Beach International Film Festival, Florida (April 6th – 14th).

The makers of the Independent Cult Horror Feature SKEW (2011) step it up a bloody notch as they begin their festival run with their follow-up horror flick PEELERS.

PEELERS - What starts out as the last hurrah on the closing night of an infamous small-town strip club, quickly turns into a night of bloodshed when a crew of coal miners shows up and with them a deadly contaminant.  Former baseball player and current club owner, Blue Jean Douglas has decided to hand over her bar to a new owner and leave town for good. But Blue Jean’s plans are thwarted when she discovers the magnitude of the epidemic that has been unleashed. With victims piling up, Blue Jean must step up to the plate to protect her family, her friends, and her bar before it's too late and she loses everything she holds dear.

PEELERS destroys the cliché stripper horror sub-genre by giving us a story packed with exciting twists, baseball, strippers of unusual talents and a strong female lead.  What’s being described as “Rodriguez meets Tarantino” and “Not just a great indie film, but destined to be one of the funnest films of 2016”, has Director/Producer Sevé Schelenz pretty stoked about giving genre fans a whole new ball game of horror.

Want more carnage?

Friday, January 29, 2016

The correct order to watch the STAR WARS movies!

For some strange reason there seems to be profound confusion as to exactly what order you should watch all the STAR WARS movies.  Back in the old days this was not a problem.  It was simple.  You watched STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE followed by its sequel THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK which naturally makes you want to see how this whole space opera ended in RETURN OF THE JEDI.  But then came the extremely unnecessary prequels and ruined a whole generation of Star Wars fans who just do not know any better.  The scary thing is that several generations are going to still be ruined as long as the nerdos out there insist that the prequels are canon.  Potential fans are turned away from the franchise because they started watching the odd and clunky prequels first.  I am here to stop that if possible.  I will show you the way and hopefully explain why you should watch the movies in this particular order.  Get ready for a long, rambling, incoherent rant on this one, folks.

The first movie you should watch is STAR WARS IV: A NEW HOPE.  Why?  This film perfectly introduces the audience to this new wonderful universe through the eyes of our hero Luke Skywalker.  We learn about the Empire and their main henchman Darth Vader.  The Force is introduced as well as Han Solo, Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon.  Ben Kenobi tells us about Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, who at one time was a Jedi Knight who was murdered by Darth Vader.  This gives Luke ambition to be a Jedi Knight and go after the evil jerk that betrayed and murdered his father.  How Obi-Wan explains his relationship with Luke's father is very important.  More on that later.  Luke is raised by his aunt and uncle which means one of them is related by blood to Anakin Skywalker.  More on that later too.

Next up is STAR WARS V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.  This in my opinion is the greatest movie ever made.  Yes, even better than CITIZEN KANE.  It is not my personal favorite in the franchise but it is such a great film that builds upon its predecessor expanding the universe discovering new worlds and characters that are all amazingly memorable to the point of becoming pop culture icons.  The greatest moment in cinematic history with Luke confronting Darth Vader only to discover that Vader is actually Luke's father.  How profound!  How tragic!  This revelation is so damaging that Luke commits suicide rather than join Vader only to survive by sheer luck falling into a disposal tube thingy and dropped out of Cloud City.  He has reached lower than low.  Also another important knowledge bomb was the explanation of the Force by our new friend Yoda who is the very embodiment of what a Jedi is.  It is very important to point out that Yoda does not use a lightsaber and even discourages Luke from taking his weapons when confronting the Darkside of the Force in the swamp.

RETURN OF THE JEDI is my personal favorite in the franchise.  I like seeing how long sagas end and how the characters have changed over time.  This one ended the best.  Here we see Luke can use the Force to his will yet Yoda tells him he is not a Jedi until he confronts Vader.  That is very important.  Just because you have the skills of a Jedi does not mean you have the mind or morals of a Jedi.  We also learn that Leia is Luke's sister.  Luke doesn't tell her right away.  Instead he asks her to tell him about her mother.  Why?  Luke then admits that he has no memory of his mother.  Leia was raised by their real mother and he wanted to know what she was like.  That is not what happens in the prequels.   Near the end Emperor Palpatine refers to Luke's lightsaber as a "Jedi weapon".  He is pointing out that only Jedi use lightsabers.  Vader used one because he was once a Jedi which made him unique.  In the end after dying, Anakin Skywalker appears next to Luke as an older man next to the ghost of Yoda and Obi-Wan to let Luke know that he was okay.

The next film to watch is of course STAR WARS:  THE FORCE AWAKENS.  This is a fun adventure that is a worthy successor to the trilogy. It may not be as perfect or as deep as the original "unspecialized" trilogy but it's missteps are easily outweighed by all the good.  It's worth repeated viewing in the theater.  The following sequels  would come next in the viewing order by what number they come in the episodes.  I am not sure what to think of the stand alone films.  If they are good watch them whenever.  If they are bad consider them fan fiction.  If they make a Bobba Fett movie that takes place after RETURN OF THE JEDI that automatically puts them in the fan fiction category since he died in the Sarlac Pit.

But what about the precious prequels?!!!!!!!

Easy.  You don't watch them.  They do not fit into the saga.  Worse yet they spoil the revelation that Vader is Luke's father, a crime worse than "specializing" the perfect trilogy.  The only reason Disney included the prequels was to sell more toys in my humble know nothing humble reasoning's.  Even though Disney has made the prequels official canon the stories contradict the originals therefore they are not canon.  In case you just missed it I wrote THE STAR WARS PREQUELS ARE NOT CANON!

A NEW HOPE sets the stage for the Star Wars Universe.  You have to pay close attention to everything that is said, implied, or not said.  I know that is confusing but blame George, not me.  Obi-Wan talks about meeting Anakin (Vader!) and he was already the best pilot in the galaxy and strong in the Force and Obi thought he could train him.  Here he is saying he met him in the Clone wars and it is implied that they were about the same age because they also became friends.  The important details that are left out (if the prequels are cannon) are that Anakin was just a child, who was a miracle birth, and Qui-Gon Jinn wanted him trained to be a Jedi.  You would think that Anakin was only a child strong in the Force and a miracle birth would get a mention at least once somewhere along the original saga.  The whole prophecy and Jedi not being allowed to love would also have come up at some point too.  Why is Qui-Gon Jinn training Obi-Wan when we learn that it was Yoda that trained Obi-Wan in EMPIRE?   A NEW HOPE says for a thousand generations the Jedi protected the Republic where the prequels state that it was only a thousand years.  That is a big whoops!

Either Aunt Beru is sister to Anakin or Uncle Owen is his brother.  They speak of Anakin as if they know him personally or at least who he was.  Even though these two characters are in the film briefly they give tremendous clues to Luke's family past.  Take this exchange between Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen.

Aunt Beru:  "Luke is not a farmer, Owen.  He is too much like his father."

Uncle Owen:  "That is what I am afraid of."

Interesting.  In the prequels Beru and Owen meet Anakin briefly and afterward Anakin slaughters a village of Sandpeople, kids included.  Is Aunt Beru insinuating that Luke is too much like a violent murder?  If the prequels are canon she is.  That is not the original intent of that scene from Episode IV.  She knew Anakin before becoming Vader and that is how she remembers him.  Also why would Luke refer to them as Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen?  Why not just Mom and Dad?  What is the point of taking Luke who was an infant and tell him about his real father?  It makes no sense.  If everybody was concerned about keeping Luke a secret or not wanting him to follow in his father's footsteps why tell him his real father was Anakin Skywalker?  The smart thing to do would be to let Luke think he was the son of a couple of farmers.  That way Luke will not have the expectation of following in the greatness of his father's footsteps.

The prequels tell a story we know the ending.  We already saw it.  The story of Anakin Skywalker was told through the trials and ordeals Luke faced to become a Jedi.  It was that realization that he was walking in his fathers footsteps on his way to the Darkside that saved him.  Luke Skywalker became a Jedi the moment he dropped his lightsaber.  He chose to trust in good and not hate to get resolve.  In the prequels the council decides.  That's not the way of the Force.  You become a Jedi by your choices and not by the decisions of others.

The prequels ruin everything.  Now Vader is not special because the Sith (Whoever they are.) use lightsabers including Palpatine and have the word "Darth" put at the front of their new names.  The Force is no longer spritual but physical being reduced to microscopic organisms.  If that was the case they would never have called it the Force in the first place.  How does Anakin Skywalker show up at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI when it is established in REVENGE OF THE SITH that it requires super secret training to come back as a ghost?

Remember that one time when Vader Force choked that commander guy for making fun of Vader's reliance on an ancient religion that produced no results in obtaining the secret plans to the Death Star?  Basically that scene lets us know that by the time Vader was being trained to be a Jedi he was one of the last.  People no longer believed in the Force.  Jedi were becoming myth.  There weren't a bunch of Jedi's with a big temple where everyone knew about them.  How could a commander at his age not know about the Jedi who fought so prominently making strategic decisions in the Clone Wars?

You can see how the prequels have changed the intent of many scenes in the original trilogy.  I could go on and on.  When Obi-Wan Kenobi says "So was I when you trained me" to Yoda he is no longer telling the audience that Yoda was the one who trained him to be a Jedi.  Now he is saying "When I was a child I was taught by you the ways of the Force because I had midichlorians in my blood but when I got older I was trained by Qui-Gon Jinn whoever that was."  It's makes a great story bland and that is why the prequels cannot not be part of the saga.  Search your feelings.  You know that it is true.


Jason