Blog Archives

Three Nice Things: Battlefield Earth

In this episode, Nic (of the All the Books Show!) and Crystal join me to try and come up with three nice things to say about the movie, Battlefield Earth! This was the hardest movie yet to come up with three nice things and it nearly broke me. But, the episode is a fun listen!

http://threenicethings.libsyn.com/battlefield-earth

Three Nice Things

Three Nice Things: Johnny Mnemonic

This episode of Three Nice Things is about the film, Johnny Mnemonic. I’m joined by Kendra and Marius, and they liked the movie way more than I did. Which, is to say, at all. I was a bit disappointed by Keanu Reeves, but I’ll forgive him.

Either way, we all say our nice things about the movie. Give it a listen!

http://threenicethings.libsyn.com/johnny-mnemonic

Three Nice Things

 

Three Nice Things: Super Mario Bros.

In this episode of Three Nice Things, we talk about the Super Mario Bros. movie! I’m joined by Kendra and Julia as we all try to say our nice things about this movie, and it’s a lot harder than I remember. Time normally heals wounds, but, this is an exception to the rule.

Give this episode a listen!

http://threenicethings.libsyn.com/super-mario-bros

Three Nice Things

 

Batman and Harley Quinn – A Review

batman-harley-quinn-2dI haven’t written about a DC Animated Movie in a while. I liked Batman: Assault on ArkhamJustice League Dark and the second half of Batman: The Killing Joke. But everything else has left little impression on me. I miss the days of adaptations that brought different styles to each film, like All Star Superman or Wonder Woman. The new continuity driven films are stuck with boring stories and uninspired voice casting.

Considering my disdain for the Suicide Squad’s take on Harley Quinn, I wasn’t surprised by my lack of interest in this new entry. But, when I looked up pictures of Batman and Harley Quinn, I found myself getting excited. It looks like the WB years of The Batman Animated Series! They got Kevin Conroy back as Batman and they brought Loren Lester out of mothballs to play Nightwing! Wow! And Bruce Timm is involved? I’m back in, baby!

The biggest mistake I made with that excitement was actually seeing the movie.  I should have watched my dvds of the animated series or read a new Batman comic. Instead, I drove ninety minutes to the nearest theater showing the movie and saw what poison (ivy) can do to nostalgia.

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Batman and Harley Quinn doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. Sometimes, it’s trying to be call back to the great, genre-defining show of the 90s. Sometimes, it’s wants to be the Adam West Batman show with the old cartoon’s setting. Sometimes, it wants to be a comedy. Sometimes, it wants to be a lost episode of Justice League Unlimited. Most times, it’s just bad.

As a comedy, it falls so flat you’d have to think it’s intentionally not being funny. Barely any jokes land and the ones that do are stretched out too far. Melissa Rauch plays Harley Quinn almost as a parody of the Arleen Sorkin. It’s a DOA portrayal, living in the same space of the original character but not breathing the same air. I’d be willing to accept it’s not Rauch’s fault though, as the writing is lazy throughout the whole movie.

Really, Batman and Harley Quinn is a shadow the 90s show, taking the goodwill from the past twenty years and punishing us for it. It makes me wonder if Bruce Timm isn’t as talented as I thought he was. Maybe, he needed all those other writers and artist to keep him from raveling in his inherent tackiness.

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We spend far too long in a dive bar with a bunch of extras, watching two twins sing “Don’t Pour Your Love” on stage, only for Harley to then do the same thing with “Hanging On the Telephone“. And, both songs are played in their entirety, because this movie is looking to waste as much time as possible.

The animation looks cheap throughout and closeups are worse. It really does look like a lazy episode of a cartoon from twenty years ago, if that was it’s intention, I don’t know what was. The ending is a dud, but, by then, what was I expecting? The whole affair can’t decided if it’s for adults or kids and is never fun for either. Considering that the 90s show did the whole thing better with “Harlequinade”, it’s hard to understand why anyone thought this movie needed to happen. There were no extra scripts lying around?

Look, if this is canon, I won’t accept it. I’m going to be unreasonable about this for the rest of my life. I’ve long ago said goodbye to the DC Animated Universe of old and I don’t need more of it in my life. Batman and Harley Quinn made sure of that by being the Superman: Braniac Attacks of it’s series. I won’t mourn again.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – A Review

valerianWe shouldn’t compare Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets to The Fifth Element, even if director Luc Besson is behind both of these films.

We shouldn’t compare the two because The Fifth Element had lead actors we liked, like Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. Valerian, on the other hand, has Dane Dehaan and Cara Delevingne. Dehaan, who was compelling in Chronicle, is a black hole of charisma in this film. As the action lead, he’s a failure. Too young to be taken seriously, too much of a snot to be likable, Dehaan’s portrayal as one of the galaxy’s best soldiers is hilariously off mark. Delevingne, who you might remember as the shaking, shadowy non-character Enchantress from Suicide Squad, fairs betters in the film but not by much. She has a flat, no-nonsense delivery that helps some of the lifeless dialog seem planned that way. But, she too comes across too young for the type of character she’s playing. If I’m supposed to believe either of these two have the field experience to be given any of the responsibility they have in Valerian, then consider me unconvinced. The only time I had any affection for them was when the two were dressed like characters from Final Fantasy X. Then they changed clothes and I lost all my positive feelings.

valerian_and_the_city_of_a_thousand_planets-hdWe shouldn’t compare Valerian to The Fifth Element because that nineties film had an energy that felt more like a comedy than a drama. It’s almost a scifi Rush Hour and not just because of a manic Chris Tucker. Valerian’s plot moves at a snails pace but I still found myself forgetting what our “heroes” were doing or if it had anything to do with the plot. The movie’s second act is a huge detour from anything that matters to the story and, when it finally gets back to the main plot, I had almost forgotten the goals and problems I was supposed to be invested in. A good example of why we shouldn’t compare the two movies is how The Fifth Element has that famous opera scene that connects to main plot. In Valerian, we had a strip tease from Rihanna that has little to do with the threat to the city (of a thousand planets). Sure, Dehaan needs her help, but only because of a sidequest that’s taking up forty minutes of the movie.

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There’s not much more to say about Valerian. It was an exhausting film and not in the way that War for the Planet of the Apes left me ragged. I was bored after the first half hour and was never won back. Clive Owen gives a performance that left me feeling bad for the guy. None of the supporting characters, alien or otherwise, were charming. While I complained about the reason Rihanna’s character is involved, she’s has an energy that the film desperately needs but then ignores. The alien race we follow from the beginning is too noble to be interesting and too passive to connect with. The film’s opening of humanity greeting hundreds of new races to it’s space station, all set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is charming but false advertising for the rest of the movie.

Yes, we should support original scifi (even adaptations), especially the ones that get bigger budgets. But, when the results are movies like Valerian, it’s hard to fault studios for not wanting to fund one hundred and fifty million dollar films, no matter how pretty they are. We shouldn’t compare Valerian to The Fifth Element because we still talk about that movie and Valerian will probably not last in the public consciousness. Heck, this review is running short because there just wasn’t enough on screen to talk about.

All the complaints people had about the Star Wars prequels apply here. Technical aptitude over plot, archetypes over characters, and stilted dialog over, well,, human dialog. George Lucas was torn apart by fans. Yet, for some reason, I’ve seen people trying to give Luc Besson a pass because he tried something big and grand and failed in the process. Maybe they’re just fans of The Fifth Element. But Valerian is no Fifth Element. Let’s not compare the two.

All Hallow’s Read 2015 – Dragonfly

Gah.

Look. I didn’t want to start my holiday celebrations with this movie either. But friendship is a democracy and I was outvoted in the movie pick that night. I mean, I knew this movie was going to be bad. I kept shouting, “I brought games! Let’s play a game! Anything but that movie! PLEASE!” but my voice was drowned out under the excited baying of cattle unaware of the slaughter before them.

I guess the cattle are my friends in this metaphor.

Anyway, on to the movie.

Dragonfly is a movie of sorts that came out in 2002. It’s one of those films that I remember seeing commercials for and thinking, in my sixteen year old wisdom, that it looked bad and was not worth seeing. Not even as a casual viewing. There’s so much good cinema out there that I haven’t seen, why waste any time on a Kevin Costner dud? And so I was successful for thirteen years, until a few weeks ago.

Kevin Costner’s wife has died (maybe) and now she might be haunting him (maybe). Of fun note is that his wife is played by Susanna Thompson, mother of Oliver Queen and failer of cities. That’s about where the interesting notes end.

Do you like jump scares? This one tries and fails at a few. Do you like creepy kids with weird psychic powers? This movie hopes so but then drops the ball by having the kid not be creepy or psychic.

In the end, Costner isn’t being haunted, he’s being texted by his wife because she may have left something for him in the jungle. The movie stops being creepy after the opening shot but things really lose all sense of purpose when Costner gets on a plane. The whole third act is in a jungle with him looking for a bus and his wife (maybe). Seriously, I can’t describe this movie, it makes me go into a comatose state.

This is the type of direct-to-dvd trash that my friends of my teenage years made me watch and that gave me such a bad taste for bad movies. The kind that even a Rifftrax can’t fix. I know people who can watch a bad movie if it’s at least entertaining, or the prestigious so-bad-it’s-good. But I can’t. Films like Dragonfly waste everyone’s time. It has nothing to say, it poorly says that nothing, and in the end, you’ve wasted a hundred minutes watching Kevin Costner talk to a bird.

For different opinions, all my friends are blogging our holiday celebrations!

First we have Smallville Chronicle with Nic Gunning, a long-time friend, co-worker and all-around fun time!

Then we have Sallylife’s Blog by Sally Murphy, another long-time friend, artist and all-around fun time!

And then there’s Musings From a Music Box by Kendra Mikols, my lovely wife, singer and all-around fun time!