Batman vs. Robin

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When Batman finds himself under attack by his own son, Damian (Robin), he at first suspects the hand of Ra’s Al Ghul behind the treachery, but then comes to see that the boy may be controlled by a mysterious and murderous society known as the Court of Owls.

What people are saying:

“More a mash-up of two of the most highly regarded Batman stories in the last 20 years than its title implies it stands alongside the best efforts of Warner Bros. Animated.” 4 1/2 stars

“This could of been the next red hood movie, if they would of stuck to just one story, but instead they shove all these storys all together instead of focusing on batman and the owls. Court of owls /night of the owls was a great stoty and would of been fine on its own, but they just shoved all these other plots in and it just didn’t work. They even took some of the best scenes from the book and cheapened them, like making that intense amazing maze part of the story and turning into a quick drugged dream thing.” 1 star

“The story itself was good, not the best but not the worst I’ve seen. The kid was just annoying at first, but it got better as the story progressed. I do think it could have been a lot better, the storyline they used had more potential but it wasn’t bad. As far as content. Definitely not for kids, I wouldn’t even say 13 and up, i’d say older. Lots of blood, violence, even a straight up massacre. Some of the language and the sexual content was unnecessary so be aware of that if you are looking at this for children. ” 3 stars

“The anticipation of the eventual fight between Batman and Robin is palpable. With all the talented voice actors bringing in realism of the character’s conflicts, it’s hard not to enjoy.” 4 stars

“Not good, this is actually a terrible adaptation of the court of owls comic storyline. The way they reworked it with Damian Wayne was just terrible, and the story line goes out of its way to make batman seem incompetent. It would have been better if they had just straight up done a court of owls animated movie and skipped out the son of batman stuff for two reasons. The first being the aforementioned batman incompetence like batman sending a ten year old boy into the wilderness on his own, stupid, or robin solving the doll maker crime before batman, lame. Then of course the second being that Damien is the most annoyingly pig headed, and truly unsavory robins ever created, plainly put he’s just unlikable and really petulant through the whole film. Spent the hour and twenty minutes on count down waiting for the torture to end.” 1 star

Wonder Woman (2017)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In present day Paris, Diana Prince receives a World War I-era photograph at the Louvre and recalls her childhood. Raised on the island of Themyscira, the land of the Amazons, the child Diana dreams of becoming an Amazonian warrior but her mother Queen Hippolyta forbids it, telling her the story of how Ares the god of war corrupted mankind and killed all the other gods except Zeus. With the last of his strength, Zeus left the Amazons a weapon capable of destroying Ares if he ever returned. Diana nevertheless disobeys her mother and is secretly trained by her aunt Antiope.

As a young woman, Diana rescues pilot Steve Trevor after his plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira. The Amazons engage and kill the German soldiers in pursuit of him, but Antiope dies protecting Diana. Interrogated with the Lasso of Truth, Steve reveals that he is an Allied spy in World War I and has stolen information from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire run by German general Erich Ludendorff, whose scientist Doctor Maru is producing a new, deadlier form of mustard gas. Certain that Ares must be responsible for the “war to end all wars,” Diana defies her mother’s orders and leaves Themyscira in search of him with Steve.

In London, Steve delivers Maru’s notes to his superiors at the Imperial War Cabinet, including Sir Patrick Morgan, who is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Steve believes Ludendorff will complete and use the gas regardless of an armistice, and Diana concludes Ludendorff is Ares himself and slaying him will end the war. With Sir Patrick’s blessing, Steve and Diana travel to the front lines to stop Ludendorff, accompanied by Steve’s team: spy Sameer, marksman Charlie, and smuggler Chief. Arriving at the Western Front in Belgium, the group’s progress is halted by enemy trenches, until Diana pushes alone through the German lines, rallying the allied forces behind her to liberate a village from German control. Diana and the team celebrate the freedom of the villagers, and Diana grows close to Steve.

Learning that Ludendorff will attend a gala at a nearby castle, Steve infiltrates the party and is followed by Diana, who intends to kill Ludendorff. Steve stops her to avoid jeopardizing the mission to destroy the chemical stores, and shortly after Ludendorff uses the gas to bomb the nearby village. Diana is devastated that Steve interfered, blaming him for the loss of life. In rage, Diana pursues Ludendorff to a complex where the gas is being loaded into a bomber to attack London. Diana fights and slays Ludendorff, but is stunned when his death does not stop the war. Sir Patrick appears to her, revealing that he is the true Ares; he tells her though he has encouraged them to destroy themselves, humans themselves contain the dark impulse to make war.

As they fight, Ares attempts to convince Diana that humanity does not deserve to be saved, and reveals that she herself is the weapon of Zeus: his last child. As Ares overpowers Diana, Steve hijacks the bomber containing the gas and sacrifices himself to incinerate it at a safe distance. Inspired by Steve’s selflessness and his final words, Diana dedicates herself to defending mankind and summons her power to finally destroy Ares and spare humanity. In London, the team solemnly celebrates the end of the war.

In the present day, Diana writes to Bruce Wayne thanking him for the photograph of her and Steve and reaffirms her mission to keep protecting and guiding mankind

REVIEW:

We’ve had solo films from Green Lantern, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Superman, Batman, etc., but one of the biggest superheroes has been missing from the big screen. Even in the small screen adaptations we don’t get this particular hero. Well, the wait is over, we finally have a solo film for the 3rd member of what was once known as DCs “big 3”. Will Wonder Woman do this character justice, or continue the downward spiral that has been the dark, depressing, DC films?

What is this about?

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when a pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers and her true destiny.

What did I like?

Color. Believe it or not, this is a DC comics film that uses color, rather than just black, gray, and muted variation of what are supposed to be colors. With the exception of Suicide Squad, we haven’t really gotten much in the way of color from these guys. Most of that blame is on Zach Snyder’s head, but it looks like we’re going another direction. Just look at the difference in Wonder Woman’s costume in this film and in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The design is more or less the same, but the red and blue pop more in this one. Then we have the lush landscape of Themyscira, greens, blues, and other actual colors as far as they eye can see. The scenes in this land are almost like a giant F-U to what has been happening in the DCEU.

On your own. Something that I’ve noticed with DC films, both live action and animated, is that Batman pops up in just about all of them. If he doesn’t then there is an Easter egg related to it, such as a Wayne Enterprise tower, truck, etc., or history is retconned so that he can be there. Well, unless he can go back to World War I, that won’t be the case with this film. Wonder Woman is allowed to stand on her own and become a character we can all love (or hate). Yes, there is a connection to Batman/Bruce Wayne, but that is part of the connecting arc DC is trying to do in making (rushing) the cinematic universe they are building.

War. The comparisons to Captain America: The First Avenger cannot be avoided. Major superhero who hasn’t been brought to the big screen because everyone thought they would be too cheesy. Film is set in wartime. Hero is helped by team of military mercenaries. Do we see the pattern here? What interested me, though, about how they did this is the selection of World War I. Not many films are made about WWI for some reason. If nothing else stands out about this film, the period in which it is set surely will.

What didn’t I like?

Scum and villainy. I believe it was last summer, when the hype was stating to pick up about this film, that I was reading an article about Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery and how they would be perfect for the big screen. Admittedly, I don’t know much of her rivals outside of Ares, Cheetah, and Giganta. That said, I have no qualm with Ares as the big bad, though I wonder if a different actor would have been better suited for the god parts. My issue is with Dr. Maru and Erich Ludendorff, neither of which we seemed to get much in the way of development. As it turns out, Ludendorff was a real person (obviously his powers in this film are false). Dr. Maru, though, seems like there is an interesting story there involving what happened to her face, but we got none of that.

Themyscira. You would think with all the money the filmmakers spent in making Themyscira look as great as it did, they would actually spend more than 5-15 minutes on the island. Green Lantern did the same thing. Oa was a sight to behold, but we barely spend anytime there before being whisked away to Earth. For the sake of the plot, though, I understand why not much time was spent on Themyscira, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

On the lighter side of things. Can this be? Was that? No way! I do believe there were some jokes in this film and not everyone was brooding! *GASP* You know what I didn’t like about this, though? Diana’s naiveté. Here we have a woman who knows nothing of the outside world. This should be comedic gold in most situations. I wish they wouldn’t have been so serious with most of her situations and given us some laughs before we got to the serious action stuff in the 2nd half of the picture.

Final verdict on Wonder Woman? Well, for an origin story it delivers everything we need to know about this character, including how that picture from Batman v. Superman came to be. With that said, I feel as if we still don’t know much about her. What I mean by that is, at the end of the first Captain America, we knew who Steve Rogers was and felt for him as we went down into the ice. With this, Wonder Woman just seems like a female superhero they are throwing out there to make the feminists happy. That said, I did enjoy this film. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! However, if you want a solid origin of the character, check out Wonder Woman, the animated feature from 2009. I believe it was just re-released.

4 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 6/1

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on June 1, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

With a new Mummy movie coming out soon, I got to thinking…where is Brendan Fraser? Guess I should look it up. In the meantime, let’s go back and watch one of his first films, Encino Man.

Storks

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this animated avian tale, storks have stopped bringing babies home and started delivering packages for an e-commerce giant instead. But when a stork named Junior creates a baby by mistake, the rush is on to make things right.

REVIEW:

Storks is charmless with rote obligation. This is a kid’s film for hire, with none of the creativity, emotion and design that elevate the genre to art, or even simply a fun time at the movies” 2 stars

“This flick had a great message buried underneath all of the intense ADHD but this movie was incredibly way too manic for me to follow. Seemed to be a children’s movie strictly for children. The annoyingly distracting flow of the flick couldn’t salvage the film’s positive message, talented cast, and impressive animation.” 2 stars

“Most of the movie doubles down on the mania and lacing the sugar-rush sensation with an almost lysergic sense of silliness.” 3 stars

“Enjoyable animated family movie, the colorful animation and the overdone funny voice-over does tend to focus on kids, still should be a decent watch for adults too. There are lots of hits and misses, some genuine funny moments mixed with equal amount of forced laughs, the plot and storytelling is the biggest weakness.” 3 stars

“Dull storyline, and a lot of the “humor” were not that funny. The ending picked up a bit but failed to really deliver anything really good to watch. I know this movie is about storks, but the humans are totally brain dead in this movie. Overall I found it to be a waste of time to watch.” 1 star

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Since we last saw Frank, he followed his dream and opened a Community Center in East Los Angeles where he mentors young boxers, not only in the ring, but in life. He often visits a liquor store run by a former hockey player, Bernie Pope. When his prized student, Manny, gets in over his head with a bad crowd and winds up dead, Frank and Bernie team up, finding themselves ensnared in one life-threatening predicament after another. Forced to escape using the only weapons they have – their wits and their fists – they must survive the onslaught of fury that is brought upon them and Frank’s new found love from a high powered, politically connected foe, Leandro (Andrew Divoff).

What people are saying:

“It’s not to be taken seriously. It’s not to be taken realistically. It’s made for fans of Danny Trejo.” 2 stars

“Not at all what I was expecting. A very warmhearted, funny action movie. Danny Trejo and Danny Glover are wonderful geezer warriors together, and there are lots of homages to my favorite movies throughout. When Trejo says, “We don’t need no stinkin'” badges, it’s the perfect train wreck.” 3 stars

“Fans of the first film and/or Danny Trejo will enjoy this sequel to Bad Ass (although you don’t need to see the first one to understand the story). A fun action comedy that’s even more ridiculous than the first one, with a good chemistry between Trejo and Danny Glover who are, literally, “too old for this s**t”.” 4 stars

“This was actually really good. I liked the first movie, didn’t know how i would stick to this one. CGI isnt great for some of it, but kinda adds to it at the same time. This is a grade a cheesy action flick, and was quite humorous and enjoyable. That said, if farting, a lot of cursing, or plain out “bad jokes” are not your thing, avoid” 4 stars

“This is what B-movie action is all about – old actors we love as the means, just enough emotional pretense to provide a motive, a cohesive and simple story as the opportunity. Doesn’t take itself too seriously, but doesn’t go so bonkers off the wall either (like The Expendables franchise or Machete 2); this one sits firmly at the uncanny peak of “so on-purpose bad it’s great.” Perfectly executed for what it was meant to be, just a fun beat-up-the-bozos flick. No Oscars will be won here, but the entertainment value is quite high. If you don’t enjoy this, B-action just isn’t for you.” 5 stars

Joy

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

JOY is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces.

What people are saying:

Joy is anchored by a strong performance from Jennifer Lawrence, although director David O. Russell’s uncertain approach to its fascinating fact-based tale only sporadically sparks bursts of the titular emotion” 3 1/2 stars

“Joy is far from Joyful; with an uninteresting narrative, performances that feel drained of passion and a filmmaker caught between his roots and his new-found mainstream sensibility, it is an utter mess.” 2 stars

“A well constructed modern fable, but a couple convenient coincidences made for the sake of time at the behest of honesty, as well as Joy’s blind focus on an selfish family, keep it from earning its deserved heart.” 3 1/2 stars

“Jenifer Lawrence has the ability to make some of the most amazing women seem just AWFUL maybe its just her garbage acting skills but God i wanted to love this movie. I knew the story of Joy and i find her a great inspiration but this movie makes her seems like a crazy push over who got as far as she did on luck. ” 1 star

“One of those movies like the Blind Side that just makes you smile. Jennifer Lawrence is at her least annoying and carries the movie well. I enjoyed Edgar Ramirez’s performance too, but Bradley Cooper somewhat stole the show for me. He’s such a great actor and has such great chemistry with Lawrence it’s a shame he wasn’t in it more! ” 4 stars

Trailer Thursday 5/25

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on May 25, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

In the mid-90s, DC Comics killed off Superman. It was a shock to everyone at the time…until he returned a couple of months later.

In his absence arose a slew of replacement Supermen. One of the most popular of these was Steel. Apparently, he was popular enough to warrant a film loosely based on him and starring (a skinny version of) Shaquille O’Neal.

Check out the trailer for Steel