Sunday, March 27, 2016


BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is the most frustrating comic book movie experience I've had in awhile. Frustrating, because I'm so mixed on what I thought of the film. I liked it! that is a fact, but it's got a lot of stupid stuff in it. Real stupid.

As a comic book fan, I really liked the movie. There were times I even loved what I was seeing. But BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE isn't perfect and deserves the criticism it is receiving.

The sequel to MAN OF STEEL picks up 18 months after the world was introduced to Superman. But first we are shown the attack on Metropolis from the point of view of Bruce Wayne. And he is pissed! It's a powerful scene and we get a clear understanding why Bruce hates the last son of Krypton.

But there may just be someone who hates Superman more! The son of Lex Luthor, Alexander. While watching the movie you may have blinked and missed some character development? He basically wants to have some control and order for meta-humans. Apparently Superman isn't the only god among us? Oh, and Alexander is crazy! I have two thoughts on this; one, he is a clone of his dad and two, he is being manipulated by the DC universe villain known as Darkseid. I really believe both of those are correct!

While saving Lois Lane in Africa, Superman is set up by mercenaries for killing some people. A U.S senator wants answers and Luthor gets involved to bend the favor toward his will.

Meanwhile, Bruce is tracking a potential WMA and discovers it's kryptonite. After a terrorist bombing of a Capital building involving Superman, enough is enough and Batman steals the green rock from Lex Corp. He decides Superman is a threat to our world and must be killed.

The plot thickens as it becomes evident that Alexander Luthor is behind the whole thing and forces the two titans to fight to the death. Like any good evil mastermind, Luthor has a back up plan in the form of a General Zod mutated monster. And if you've seen the trailer you know already that DC's holy trinity (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman) team up to fight the monster.

Man, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is a lot to take in! A lot of things in the film don't make sense and it's overstuffed with cinematic universe world building, but I'd be lying if I didn't enjoy this film! While not perfect, this is the DC comic book movie I've been waiting for!

The things I hated. Why do people believe or think that Superman actually killed those “terrorists” in Africa with a gun? Why didn't Superman see the bomb in the Capital building? Why is Bruce Wayne not smart enough to realize he's being punked by Luthor? This is a detective we're talking about here! And last but not least, the appearance of Doomsday was way too soon!

I have a few more questions and complaints but the rest are extreme nitpicks.

The things I liked/didn't have a problem with. I liked that Luthor had files of other meta-humans in the world. It made sense plot wise. At the beginning of the film he was trying to get government approval to protect the world from these “threats”.

I liked the Knightmare dream sequence, it was so bad ass! Darksied is coming! Someone pinch me, Darksied is coming! And I felt this whole sequence had weight to it for future films. Batman better settle his beef with Superman is all I'm saying.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is a gorgeous looking movie. It's cinematic in every sense of the word!

I loved the music! Especially Wonder Woman's theme! Which brings us to the surprise hit of the film, Diana Prince! Gal Gadot the short amount of time she's on screen made me optimistic about her upcoming stand alone film!

The main event of the film, Batman vs. Superman was adequate with moments of awesomeness. If you're a fan of Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS then you'll love this fight. It could have gone longer and should have been the climax of the film, but oh well.

Ben Afleck as The Batman (heh) is the best thing about the DC cinematic universe! I have wanted a version of this character since for ever. Cannot wait to see what is in store!

And finally, Superman. I think we're seeing a slow evolution the character, he's not the iconic Boy Scout yet but he's getting there. I have faith that by the time JUSTICE LEAGUE: PART II comes out, he'll be sporting the spit curl.

If you like comic book movies then I recommend BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. It has it's flaws but we're not talking BATMAN AND ROBIN bad. More like IRON MAN 2 bad.

Monday, March 21, 2016


When I first saw the trailer for PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY I laughed, but not in a good way. My first impressions where that maybe Paul Reubens should have retired the character. And I got the vibe that the new film wasn't going to acknowledge events from previous movies. It has been awhile since those movies and his Saturday Morning television show, so a soft reboot was probably the way to go? So far Netflix's track record for original movies hasn't been a good one. RIDICULOUS 6, while a step in the right direction for a Happy Madison production, the movie still wasn't very good. And CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY, the (pointless) sequel to CROUGHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON sadly ended up being a bust.

Thankfully, I can say that PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY works! While it won't please everyone, the new movie should make fans young and old happy.

Just like in PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, the new film opens with a elaborate Rube Goldberg machine. It's not as cool as the set-up in the first movie, but not terrible. Pee-Wee lives in the town of Fairville, a Norman Rockwell place of sorts. In this small town he is a short order cook at the local greasy spoon diner. As expected the townsfolk love Pee-Wee and he loves them, with the exception of a rather persistent lady friend (nice callback to the original) and obnoxious salesman.

One day while working at the diner alone Pee-Wee gets waits on a out of town customer. The fella introduces himself as none other than Joe Maganiello, the actor. What happens next is a pretty funny bit where Joe asks Pee Wee if he recognizes him or has seen any of his films. The MAGIC MIKE reaction is priceless!

Pee Wee shows Joe around town and the two become friends. Before leaving town, Joe invites Pee-Wee to his birthday party in New York City. But if he wants to come Joe insists it has to be a road trip. “It's time you live a little Pee-Wee!”, Joe says.

So PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY is another road trip movie, which isn't a bad thing. He meets some interesting characters along the way; a gang of switchblade sisters, gag-gift salesman, and a farmer with 9 daughters. These meet and greets are classic Pee Wee, but nothing like Large Marge from PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE.

I don't know if by the time Pee-Wee made it to New York City the movie had already went over budget? For me it was the weakest part of the film. I was expecting a big chase or something trying to emulate the ending of the original movie? Instead we get our main character stuck in a well? Sort of a let down when the word “Big” is in the title of your movie.

I can understand New York can be expensive to shoot on location and the movie is not a blockbuster budget, so I can be a little forgiving?

I recommend PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY. Fans won't be disappointed, I think?

It's been a long time since we've seen Paul Reubens as the character, and when you see the movie it's as if time has stopped. With our current culture being obsessed with nostalgia, maybe it is time for Pee-Wee to make a comeback?

For those old fans who are now parents, good luck with that conversation with your kids when they ask, “Why was Pee-Wee Herman gone for so long”?

Saturday, March 12, 2016


There is a scene in THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY that is appalling and yet probably the funniest moment in the movie. Appalling, because I can use the scene as a metaphor to sum up what I thought about the film. And funny, because my potty humor sensibilities (don't judge) got the best of me. At one point in the film our heroes hide from the bad guys inside a female elephants vagina. I almost did a spit take of my Coca-Cola in the theater! And in case you're wondering how far the scene went? Well, it is a Sacha Baron Cohen film, so yeah you've answered your own question. I laughed my butt off but there are just some things once you've watched, cannot be unseen.

There is a reason why I don't review comedies. Comedy is subjective. If someone doesn't think something is funny, you cannot convince them otherwise no matter how hard you try. And when it comes to film and the genre of Comedy, there is no accounting for taste. The humor in Cohen's latest film isn't the reason it sucks, the reason is because a lot of the jokes make the tone of the movie a incoherent mess.

Too many times it felt as if jokes got left on the editing room floor. Meaning things got cut for time or content. Which doesn't make sense because of the elephant scene. So it just goes to show I have no clue what I'm talking about, other than I just didn't like the movie.

MI6 extraordinaire, Sebastian has a syndicate known as Maelstrom in his crosshairs. Nobby, his brother has spent the last 28 years trying to find Sebastian. After hearing about Sebastian's whereabouts , Nobby plans to reunite with his brother. It is during this reunion that Nobby accidentally botches Sebastian's mission. Now a rouge agent, Sebastian must clear his name before MI6 terminates him. Joined by Nobby who desperately wants to reclaim the loving relationship they lost. The two dodge bullets and bad guys all the while trying to work through their issues.

After the red band trailer I was on board for the genre mash up of a Sacha Baron Cohen farce mixed with a spy action thrill ride. Sad to say it did not work. From the opening we get dizzying first-person action sequences ( Ugh), mixed with somber and hilarious moments with Nobby. This sets up the tone of the film nicely and the contrasts are very interesting.

It's only too bad that this happens for a little bit, and quickly the film turns out to be gag after endless gross-out gag. Again, I'm fully aware that something like this was expected, and now I know never to expect Sacha to grow as a comedian.

I laughed out loud more than just a few times but the gags after endless gags really hurt the story in my opinion. So much so that it feels like a lot of the movie is on the editing room floor. The first thought that crossed my mind was that maybe they cut the film down because of time, and in the process lost some jokes and story along the way. I can't name them all but there have been some recent comedies where I thought the unrated/directors cuts were better than the theatrical versions. It's a rare breed but does happen.

So if a Director's Cut of THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY happens to come out on Blu-ray, I may give the film another watch.

I cannot recommend THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY. This one is definitely for hardcore Sacha Baron Cohen fans only, but I say they're better off watching BORAT again.


10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is a 2016 film directed by Dan Trachtenberg. It is his first feature length movie, and what a debut it is! I loved this film from start to finish. The best part of the experience was not hearing much about the movie till just a couple of months before it hit theaters. And the trailers were great too, because they didn't show every beat of the film.

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to theatrical trailers is when they show you the entire movie in 2 minutes. And in the past 10 years it's only gotten worse! Take for instance the second BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE trailer. It was awful! Not only did it show way too much, the ad insulted moviegoers by showing the beginning, middle, and end of the super hero grudge match! Common sense tells us that the World's Finest make up in the end to fight the greater threat, the MCU.

The third and final trailer ended up way better, so much so that whoever cut that last one was probably fired. And with the (no end in sight) popularity of the comic book movie, do we even need a trailer for a Superman vs. Batman trailer? A teaser at best of punches being thrown and you got yourselves a box office draw!

So what does this have to do with 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE? The marketing genius of J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot. Ever since SUPER 8 their mission statement has basically been “less is more”. To this day, the teaser for 2008's CLOVERFIELD is still one of my favorites. The highlight of seeing TRANSFORMERS that summer for sure.

With all the endless movie news websites how did a “sequel” to CLOVERFIELD surprise us so much? Probably because it had a non-interesting title at first. Here's probably how it went down; Bad Robot buys a script called “The Cellar” they makes some changes, and slap the Cloverfield brand on it. Oh, and call the production “Valencia” that way nobody is the wiser. Great marketing move! It's refreshing not knowing about a movies release until only a couple of months before it comes out. It's just too bad fans are going to be pissed the film is not a sequel! Or is it?

After getting in a car accident, a woman wakes up in a underground shelter held captive by a man who believes the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack. Michelle doesn't trust Howard and thinks he's just some crazy pervert. But after some horrific convincing, she starts to think Howard might not be crazy after all?

That's all I can say plot wise about 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE without ruining one of the best thrillers I've seen in years. Dan Trachtenberg has a natural knack for directing. I cannot believe this is his first feature! For a film set in a bomb shelter and only having four maybe six sets, Trachtenberg knows how to keep things interesting. I didn't realize until the move was over just how minimal the production was. That's signs of a talented filmmaker!

The acting is pretty good as well. This might be my favorite performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Great body language, especially in her eyes. It's true when they say actions speak louder than words.

And of course John Goodman does a great job as Howard, the creepy prepper. Just the right amount of crazy to keep the audience guessing. Guessing if he'll ever go full crazy that is! Goodman brings something to the role that makes you almost feel for Howard, almost.

The film has been out for a couple of days and news travels fast, so you've probably heard that 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is not a direct sequel. This is something that did not bother me in the slightest. The filmmakers have called the film a blood relative, which after seeing the movie I am totally on board for. More Cloverfield anthology films the better in my opinion. And keep the “mystery box” style of marketing going!

Final thoughts. I highly recommend 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE! An impressive indie thriller packaged as a mainstream J.J Abrams production. 2016 has just gotten started but I expect to see the film somewhere on my “Best Of” list come December.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


From the moment I saw the trailer for GODS OF EGYPT it was apparent from the get go that this film was going to be a bomb. I couldn't believe my eyes, a straight-to-bargain bin Walmart movie was coming soon to theaters?

Holy cow did I have fun with this film! Within the first five minutes, GODS OF EGYPT reminded me of two types of movies. A Roger Corman blockbuster knock-off from the early Eighties, and a Cannon Films production. An attempt to make a Sword & Sandals action epic with “cutting-edge special effects”, but with no budget.

The “adventure” that is GODS OF EGYPT takes place in ancient Egypt of all places. But this Egypt is not of the real world. We're dealing with pure fantasy here. Which works for me because I grew up on Sinbad movies and the original CLASH OF THE TITANS. Just to give you an idea; Ra the sun god, cruises around the realm's (because I'm not 100% it's planet Earth) orbit in a space boat. Hands down the coolest thing in the movie! I'm an easy sell for fantasy like this because I grew up on Sinbad films, BEASTMASTER, KRULL, and CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981).

So as I was saying our adventure takes place in Egypt and king Osiris is about to crown a new ruler, his son Horus. But uncle Set, god of darkness has other plans. After killing Osiris and leaving Horus powerless, Set becomes the new king of Egypt.

Enter our mortal “hero” Aladdin, oops I mean Bek, who is a thief and nuisance to Set. After getting his girlfriend killed and left to wander the afterlife, Bek seeks the aid of Horus to bring her back. The two make a pact with one another and with the aid of Bek, Horus might be able to pull himself together and take back the throne from his uncle.

Getting right down to it, what makes GODS OF EGYPT not so great is the special effects. We're dealing with what looks like 90's CGI and some of the fight scenes are done with old school green screen. One fight scene in particular is so bad that they try to hide the cheapness with clever editing, but it only made matters worse.

Next, the performances in the movie doesn't help matters much either. Thanks to Brenton Thwaites, Bek is one of those characters that you wouldn't mind something terrible happening to them. Like falling into a pit of baby scorpions. Or getting ran over by a chariot!

I liked Jaime Lannister (not even going to try and spell his real name) who played Horus. He did a decent job, but lazy like the rest of the cast.

There's fun to be had only if the movie didn't take itself so seriously. In my opinion there was only one actor who knew what type of film GODS OF EGYPT should have been! Geoffrey Rush, who played the sun god Ra,he was the only actor who understood the tone of the film. His character sells the fantasy universe, it's a shame the rest of the movie did not earn this level of awesomeness.

Do I think that GODS OF EGYPT is getting some unfair press/reviews? Yes. Is the movie good? It's a decent enough B-movie that would be better if it didn't take itself so seriously at times. And the special effects could use some work. But like I said earlier, I did have fun watching GODS OF EGYPT. Suspend your disbelief and have fun in a fantasy Egypt. I'm serious about the Corman and Cannon Films comparison.

With that being said, I cannot recommend GODS OF EGYPT. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard that a lot of critics hated the film. A select few of their opinions I'd say is valid and worth listening to, the rest are just assholes. Or maybe I'm the delusional one? The entertaining factor that the movie made me think of all the cheesy 80's fantasy movies I watched as a kid may not be the best recommendation for others?