Archive for July, 2015

RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper.  Damn.  In my college years, back in the good ol’ ’80s, I never really got into wrestling, but I did have a fair number of roommates who just ate it up.  And I have to say that the two characters that I actually did enjoy watching were Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper.

61.  Damn.

I was stoked when I heard that John Carpenter had cast Rowdy Roddy Piper as the lead in They Live.  It wasn’t a great film, but it was a whole lot of fun.  Now I have to make the time to sit the kids down and have them watch this.  Especially since they’re also fans of Duke Nukem.

 

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Jurassic World

Sigh.  The few reviews I read about this ahead of time were pretty mixed, so this is yet another film that I went into with lowered expectations.

Oh dear.  That is one big pile of shit.

I’m convinced that two more script revisions and some extra thought given to the casting process is all they would’ve needed to turn this into a fantastic piece of moviemaking.  Alas, no.  Most of it is crap.  Watching this on the big screen was a major waste of time and money for me.

Where do I start?  The script: stupid people doing stupid things, with too many blatant attempts at homages to classic scenes from the first film.  Every time I hit one of those moments, it pulled me out of the story.  With the exception of Owen and Barry, the characters weren’t characters; they were caricatures at best, completely cardboard at worst.  (And I had to actually look up the name of Omar Sy’s character, because I don’t even remember anyone ever calling him by name in the film.)  I’m also convinced that Owen and Barry were as good as they were entirely because of Chris Pratt’s and Omar Sy’s acting abilities and personalities, not because of how the screenwriters depicted them.

The cast: Chris Pratt and Omar Sy were excellent.  Everyone else could be flushed down the toilet for all I care.  Especially the two lead kids.  For the love of all you consider holy, if you are going to have kids carry two of the lead roles, you have to make sure that the child actors are able to make us care enough about the kids to carry us along for the emotional ride.  Rooting for the dinos to rip people apart here is like rooting for the zombies to rip people apart on The Walking Dead.  I desperately wanted these two kids to be shredded and eaten alive, and was tremendously disappointed when that didn’t happen.

Likewise for Bryce Dallas Howard.  Are you telling me that Claire *REALLY* can run all over the place like that in those shoes?!?  Plus, earlier in the film she is in a near panic, desperately forcing Owen to take her out into the park to rescue the two boys.  Then what happens?  They stop.  For a long time.  To have a pseudo-emotional moment with a dying apatosaurus.  What the fuck?!?  From a character standpoint, that makes *NO* sense!  It does make sense for Pratt’s character, but not for Howard, at least not in the sequence of moments leading up to that scene.

And I’m sorry, but the mosasaurus moments were all blatantly telegraphed in advance.  What could have been two really cool bits were spoiled by foreshadowing heavy enough to slap you in the face.

Lastly, are you telling me that, after laying completely dormant for 20ish years, there is still enough juice in the batteries to power that pair of night vision goggles and to get one of those jeeps started?  I really don’t think so.

I’ve had enough.  This is the worst of the Jurassic Park series.  I’ll rewatch The Lost World again before I’ll rewatch this one.

But … in the meantime … this is FANTASTIC:

 

 

The Dick Van Joker Show

Okay, following up on my previous complaints about Avengers: Age Of Ultron, where one of the best things in the film for me was scenes of the Avengers just hanging out … and then I saw the Comic-Con footage for Suicide Squad … it suddenly came to me, exactly what I want to see.

I want a domestic sitcom.  A satirical domestic sitcom, using The Dick Van Dyke Show as a model, with that level of comedic writing … but yank Rob & Laura Petrie out of the show and replace them with The Joker and Harley Quinn.

I want to see a sitcom showing The Joker and Harley Quinn in their domestic life, along with the work-related issues that they face with their various criminal activities.  But I want it to be closer to The Dick Van Dyke Show in quality rather than Heil Honey I’m Home.

The Dick Van Joker Show.  That’s something that I would go out of my way and pay good money to watch.

 

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Sigh.  Word of mouth told me going into this that it wasn’t quite as good as the first one, so this is another film that I went into with lowered expectations.  Apparently I didn’t lower them low enough.  It was good, and bits of it were excellent, but it could’ve been so much better.

(Incidentally, I almost did not bother seeing this in the cinema.  The quickest way to kill my desire to see something on the big screen is to tell me that an extended cut will be released later on disc.  In retrospect, considering how choppy some of the storytelling was here, I should’ve stayed home and waited for the blu-ray.)

I would’ve loved to have seen Whedon’s original cut of the film.  First of all it would’ve fleshed out Thor’s silly cave sequence.  Hopefully it would also provide a better explanation for Quicksilver and his sister flip-flopping allegiances so quickly and how Nick Fury was suddenly able to pull a helicarrier out of his ass.  (Okay, yes, I know there’s a throwaway line or two in Agents Of SHIELD referencing that, but it still doesn’t explain how Coulson & Fury were able to cobble it together get it on station to help the Avengers that fast.  Consider it a suspension of disbelief problem for me here.)

Do I have good things to say about it?  Yeah.  It was fun.  The early scenes of the Avengers just hanging out were the best bits in the film.  I would love Marvel to make an Avengers film that consists entirely of them spending time together in their off time.  Avengers: Downtime, maybe?  And James Spader frakkin’ nailed it as Ultron – I adored his level of snarkiness.

So … yeah, worth watching, could’ve been a lot better, hopefully the rumored forthcoming extended cut will make up for it.