2010s In Film Part 3 (2013)

January – Movie 43

Yeah, this year did not start out on a high, did it? It’s a shame this film is (allegedly) awful, as I wish there were more anthology comedy films. It could be a great way for new writers to get their work published alongside established ones. A way to overload a film with talent so you’re almost guaranteed to get an audience. Plus they’re easier to film as you can do quite a lot at the same time on different sets, and you don’t have to worry about continuity that much. This could have led to a resurgence in the genre. As it is, we got one of the worst films ever made.

February – This Is 40

This is such a waste. So much of it is not needed. Entire characters seem like they’re just there to pad out the runtime. It’s a shame as there is some very funny and interesting stuff in here, but since the film is over 2 hours long it’s not that you remember. There’s so much nothing there that it overloads the good stuff. This really could have been edited down to a really good 90 minutes.

March – Red Dawn

This movie exists. I had no idea this movie exists until now. I know the original exists, but I had no idea this did. There have been so many remakes of classic 80’s films and barely any of them have been any good: Footloose, Robocop, I’m sure there are more but they’re so forgettable that I’ve…….yeah I’ve forgotten them.

April – Scary Movie V

This film series went down FAST. I think it’s because the parodies became less focused. They stopped being genre parodies and just became “this film happened, let us reference it”. The first one specifically targeted the scream movies, as such the things they made reference to were well researched and funny. A good parody should make it hard to watch the original without laughing, and the newer films scattergun approach to parody doesn’t achieve that. The series also led to the unfortunate “[blank] movie” films, most of which were just terrible (Date Movie, Disaster Movie etc).

May – It’s Such A Beautiful Day

This is not a film you enjoy, even if you like it, you won’t really enjoy it. It’s an animated film which is a lot bleaker than that sounds. Don Herzfeldt is a scary genius. If you don’t believe me, look at what he did for The Simpsons. That was him on a leash (not literally, unless he’s into that sort of thing, I don’t know him.), so imagine him with no limits, no eye on the mass market. It’s insane. At time horrifying, at times beautiful. At times unbearably sad, at times it’s so uplifting it’s wonderful. This film is everything you want and everything you don’t want but you need to witness. Just watch that Simpsons clip first, if you can’t handle that, you won’t manage the film. If you see the beauty in it (the “still love you homar” moment always makes me feel teary) then you will in this too.

June – Man Of Steel

Why hasn’t the DC universe hit like the MCU has? Maybe it’s expectations. Everyone knows Batman and Superman so everyone has expectations for when they watch a film with those characters in. Not as many people were familiar with Iron Man when that film came out, so the film-makers had more of a blank slate to work with. Plus, there hasn’t been a critically and audience acclaimed film based on the MCU characters (with the exception of Spider-man and he didn’t arrive until late), the only character to have a film audience was The Incredible Hulk. Compare this to DC, the main characters for that: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. All three of them have already had iconic performances (Christopher Reeve, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Linda Carter etc) and great films (and some terrible ones, let’s be honest).

July – The Smurfs 2

Did we really need a smurfs sequel? Did we really need the first one? Both of these questions and more can be answered in my Big Book Of Fuck No, available everywhere because it didn’t exist.

August – Kick-Ass 2

Fuck Jim Carrey. Now, this has nothing to do with his performance in the film, which was actually surprisingly good, and everything to do with his promotional work for the film. Which consisted of him disowning the film and telling people not to watch it. His reasoning was that after the Sandy Hook massacre, saying he could no longer support being in a film with that level of violence. Because before Sandy Hook there was never any violence, and certainly no mass shootings. Nopenotasingleone.

Whilst I have no doubt that Sandy Hook was a tragedy, for it to be the bit of violence that tips you over the edge is just strange. It’s almost naive to think there was no violence in the world before that, and his reaction is like a schoolchild getting into politics “guys, guys, did you know there was a war years ago?” Also, he’s anti-vax. So yeah, fuck him.

September – White House Down

I’m still not sure if I’ve seen this. I watched either this, or Olympus Has Fallen, and I can’t remember enough about it to remember which one. It was so dull. It would have worked in the ’80s but it was just so lacking in substance that it left zero impression on me (I can’t even remember which guy was in the one I watched, that’s how little impact it left on me).

October – Thor: The Dark World

I saw this at a midnight screening, so not only did I watch a terrible film, I stayed up until about 2am to do it. Really soon after this, a relationship ended which I’m not entirely sure I’m completely fine with yet. Now I’m not saying this film was entirely to blame, but it didn’t help. Electric bastard.

November – The Counselor

I should love this film, it’s dark, gritty, has an interesting plot, is well made, and has great performances. My issue is that it’s a little too dark. It’s just relentless bleakness, but it’s so relentless that you end up becoming immune to it and just not caring. It’s just too cold a film with characters who you don’t really care about that much.

December – Frozen

Yes, there was a time before this movie existed. A wonderful time, America had a black man as president instead of someone who probably blacks up in his spare time for sex with his wife. Britain had an unpopular racist in charge instead of a perplexingly popular racist one. Alan Rickman was still alive, sugary drinks didn’t have an extra charge on them. It was a good time, then this happened. I feel I should watch this film but I won’t be able to take it seriously as one of the only voice actors I know in it is this guy.

Why We Love…..John Wick.

Directed by: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch

Budget: $20million

Box Office: $86 Million

So this week the teaser trailer for John Wick: Chapter 2 dropped, with the full trailer being released tomorrow at New York Comic-Con. Usually I hate the idea of trailers for trailers, but I think I finally get their purpose. They’re basically a “heads up”, a “keep your eyes out for later this week”, and I know for certain that I’ll be searching for the trailer on Sunday. It helps that I really love the title for some reason, it’s both ordinary and superb at the same time. The original had a real sense of being part of a wider universe. There were a lot of moments in it which set up that this world wasn’t just for the benefit of the main characters, you got the feeling that everything continued to exist even once the camera stopped rolling. I remember coming out of that and wondering whether it was a comic book adaptation, it genuinely felt like one, but a good one.

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So not this, definitely not this

I will admit I went into this with low expectations, I’ve never really rated Keanu Reeves that consistent, he’s had flashes of brilliance but I would never think “I’m really looking forward to the new Keanu Reeves movie” I went in basically expecting a dumb but fun action movie. Whilst it is fun it is definitely something more than that. The films starts off with his wife dying, now most films would have her killed by a dickbag (not a literal one), and then the hero has to go through and avenge her death. But this? This has her die of an unspecified disease, but before she dies she arranges for him to get a puppy to help him cope with her death. The villains in this KILL THE DOG! Most films don’t do that, even Kick-Ass 2 which was ultra violent had the lead villain balk at the idea of killing a dog (in the movie anyway), so the fact that it’s that which kicks off the story is a brave piece of storytelling, and it’s effective. He doesn’t even spend the film chasing the guys who did it, he gets his retaliation in then has to deal with the person’s father who’s the head of a crime family. The entire story is not generic revenge, it’s about dealing with the consequences of your actions, the second half of the film is basically what a lesser film would put in the sequel.

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But it’s not just the story it’s telling, it’s the way it’s told that is effective too. It looks beautiful, yes it’s quite dark in terms of lighting, but it’s not in a bleak way, it uses bright lights often to create the contrast between light and dark, it’s like an extremely toned down neon noir film. The choreography is superb as well, I do love a good fight scene in films, but only when done a certain way (I’m quite picky). I hate the fight scenes where every single punch/kick etc is accompanied by a cut, where the scenes cuts away just on the impact. It can be effective tool to use, but when it’s used with every single impact it just makes the scene disorientating, particularly when you change the focal point with the cuts so your eyes are constantly wandering (although Mad Max: Fury Road did this superbly where even when they changed angles they kept the action almost dead centre). This film does cut on impact occasionally but it also lingers long enough for the punches to have an impact. Both the colour and the choreography can be showcased best in this scene.

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Or just this

The film is even more impressive when you realise it’s a directorial debut for both directors. Previously they’d done mostly stunk work and assistant directing (it was actually their stunt work on The Matrix which led to Keanu Reeves suggesting them directing this), but they definitely step up to the plate here and knock it out the park. Utilising visual techniques from anime films, choreography (particularly in regards to “gun fu”) from Honk Kong cinema, mixed with an almost old-school Western movie vibe (to the point where if I had to put this in a genre I’d say “Neon Western”) combine to make something truly exciting even on mute. Even the character’s costume has a good look to it, it’s kind of “priestly gangster” and works well for the character. Basically I can’t oversell this film enough, it’s superb and you should see it.

Also watch:

The Drop. Another film I saw with low expectations which ended up being a personal favourite. Tom Hardy is superb and the storytelling is brilliant.

Nightcrawler. Similarly coloured, also great.

 

5 Of The Worst Comic Book Adaptation Castings

Yes, it’s time for the disappointing sequel to last weeks blog. I would explain what it entails but if you can’t gather what this blog is about from the title then you’re not really our intended audience.

5. Val Kilmer – Batman Forever

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Do I even need to explain why? I mean, look at him! I won’t do the unfair thing of posting a current picture of him and decrying that, I’m looking at a picture of him from the film. Awful, just awful. . Do you know who I blame for this miscasting? Not the director, not even the studio. I blame this man:

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Yup, Ethan f*cking Hawke. Now I know, I blame him for everything, but this time I have justification (unlike the time I blamed for the time I fell over a cat). He was offered the role and turned it down.

4. Jamie Kennedy – Son Of The Mask

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The original film was very much a product of its time, pushing the line between light and darkness, and launching the career of both Cameron Diaz and Jim Carrey. At the time it was the second highest grossing superhero film, and considering that it’s based on an unknown quantity it’s amazing that it took the studios so long to realise that if the film is good enough the fact not enough people know the source won’t matter (a lesson that it could be argued wasn’t truly utilised until Guardians Of The Galaxy in 2014). Now, let me just say here that I do really hate Jim Carrey, but that’s not based on the quality of his work, more the stupid idiotic things he says.

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Things like this

But credit where credit’s due, he’s a good clown. And that’s what this film needs, a clown, someone slightly elastic and otherworldy. And he does that very well. You cannot replace that with Jamie Kennedy, a person who’s done almost nothing of note outside of that E3 omnishambles. So yeah, on this note, Jim Carrey was the better option.

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3. Jim Carrey – Kick Ass 2

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Now this has nothing to do with his performance in the film, which was actually surprisingly good, and everything to do with his promotional work for the film. Which consisted of him disowning the film and telling people not to watch it. His reasoning was that after the Sandy Hook massacre, saying he could no longer support being in a film with that level of violence. Because before Sandy Hook there was never any violence, and certainly no mass shootings. Nope, not, a, single, one.

Whilst I have no doubt that Sandy Hook was a tragedy, for it to be the bit of violence that tips you over the edge is just strange. It’s almost naive to think there was no violence in the world before that, and his reaction is like a school child getting into politics “guys, guys, did you know there was a war years ago?” You read the script, you signed on to do it, in a world that was post-Columbine, post-9/11 etc you knew what you were doing. So for you to not fulfil your duties post-filming is just shameful. If you want your profession to be seen as a proper job, then actually do the thing you’re paid to do.

2 Idris Elba – Thor

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Now this is in no way a slight on his performance, or even a slight on him. In fact it’s the opposite, the reason I oppose this is because he’s too good for such a minimal role. And the fact he’s now such a badly written (barely even) supporting role is an insult to an actor of his quality. Now I don’t want to be a prick and say like “oh, he’s much better than that, proper actors shouldn’t do super hero films”, I just feel he could have played another role. The fact he has already been established in the Marvel Universe means he now can’t move into another role within the universe, one with a bit more gravitas (and screentime).

1. Robert Swenson – Batman And Robin.

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I know, it may be unfair as he’s not an actor. But I remember when it was announced that Tom Hardy was Bane, all that people were talking about was how big a failure the character was in Batman and Robin so this means that the film will surely fail with such a weak character. Now, I know he’s a devastating character in the comics, but most people who would be going to see the film aren’t going to have read the comics. All they will know about the character is what he was like in the film. Part of it was due to the way the character was written, but part of it was due to the casting as well. The fact they didn’t even cast an actual actor, instead casting an overweight wrestler, spoke volumes about how seriously the makers took the character, and it almost killed the chances of the character being taken seriously.