The Lone Ranger

So, being this will be a Mini review, it may contain spoilers. For those not interested in the spoilers, here’s a small sum up of how I feel about it. It’s Pirates Of The Caribbean in the old west. So not very good in terms of writing. Also Armie Hammer has no balls in this movie. Now onto my review.

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The movie has major issues, pacing is fine, the acting is about on par with the actors’ usual talents. The special effects are good, very little CG. The main plot is very much like that of Pirates Of The Caribbean, focuses too much on Tonto aka Jack Sparrow with less dialogue and rambling. The story of the Lone Ranger isn’t about Tonto, it’s about the Lone Ranger. It should have been that Tonto would be a supporting character that we know very little about in this one. It should have focused the attention on building Hammer’s character and giving him a proper back story and leave Tonto out if it, until say the Third movie, if they make one.

I doubt it, as the movie flopped hard, and big time. Disney was expecting it to be a monster hit, unfortunately they got Armie Hammer. Johnny Depp, should consider less and less major roles. I liked him better in 21 Jump Street, reprising his character from the show and getting what he wanted out of the movie, which was resolution for his character. Armie Hammer, good god. The man has trouble acting, he has no balls for action and cannot hold weight for a big character like this. The only time I found he was good, was in The Social Network as the Winklevoss twins.

This seems to be a pattern for Disney’s big budget movies, aside from the Marvel ones which are Paramount and Marvel’s creative projects. John Carter has this same problem, don’t put someone who’s barely been in the movies as a main character. Unless they’ve proven that they can overshadow the main character in another movie. The only exception to this, was Christopher Reeve in the Superman movies of the past. He was a nobody before the first movie with Donner at the helm.

As interviews with Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen said: “On set, Chris would ask me to refer to him as either Superman or Clark.” To help him stay in character. Which is awesome, Reeve would use method acting to help him keep perspective and make himself become that character. Anyway, I’m going on a tangent.

There are only 2 good things in this movie. One, is the action sequences. Unfortunately it kind of makes people lose interest when you can tell that the first action scene, has a climax that is insanely predictable and very unlikely. I could see it coming a mile away, especially when they show you that a piece of the drive linkage from the train almost hits the two, and then stops the train from squashing them. Kind of sad when its horrid layout. There were supposed to be funny scenes in the movie, and very few of them were funny. The humor is bad, cheap slapstick that isn’t funny. Two, I noticed was the writing team’s concealment of the main villain.

Granted he threw the secondary villain in our face like he was the main, so that helped. I had a feeling the main villain, being the most intelligent (Even more than Armie Hammer’s character), had some sort of hidden agenda that involved the love interest. I just didn’t expect it to be that big. Which was fine, as Tom Wilkinson is a great actor. Along with William Fichtner as the secondary villain. We just needed a much better hero.

This movie just left a bad taste in my mouth, they should’ve just made Pirates 5 and be done with this crew. Disney just needs to stop with the casting problems for main characters. Anyways, I’ll sign off for now. Look for a retro review coming up in a few days. I’ve been watching some old movies that I hadn’t seen and will be covering those in a new Retro segment.

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

So, here we are again, Christmas Eve. 2 Year Anniversary for me. Didn’t even realize it until now, haha. Well, to keep with last years tradition, I went and seen The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.

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As such, thoughts: This one is a much quicker pace than the last one, and previous trilogy for The Lord Of the Rings. Being that this trilogy is mostly padding for the fact the Hobbit is only a single book. Much smaller than the others, being a children’s book after all. You do tend to notice as I do that there is less blood in these movies. Well with The Desolation Of Smaug, we do see the padding. It’s just woven masterfully into the rest of the parts from the book. Granted, anyone whom has read the original book will notice, as they know which parts would be the padding. I myself as I stated before, have not read the book yet.

I’ve read The Two Towers, from The LOTR trilogy. Unfortunately, it is not a very easy read for some. Hobbit, though I hear is much easier. The LOTR books, have tons of description, and set up, and very little pay off in terms of action. Anyone who knows me, will know that while I like the book, I just found we spent WAY too long in that stupid hole next to the gate of Mordor. Thankfully the movie made it much easier in that respect and we sat there for maybe 5 minutes.

Anyway, back to Smaug. The movie takes place right where we left off with the previous movie, the band of Dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo are getting closer to the mountain. The movie’s padding is mainly in the fan service that it gives us, characters and places added in to give those of us who have seen the LOTR trilogy set up for that one. So, without spoiling too much, I will start with the usual technicalities.

The Acting: Everyone delivers a deeper, even more involved character arcs as we continue the story. Not to mention, Richard Armitage as Thorin is still bad ass, and much more so in this movie than last time. Ian McKellen still is the lovable Gandalf we know, but gets his own bad ass moment during the fan service moments. Despite his lack of screen time in comparison to the others, none the less. I enjoyed everyone’s performances, although as much as I liked the character of Legolas in the LOTR trilogy, he is an asshole in this movie. He hasn’t had his character arc that we saw in the other trilogy, so he hates the Dwarves right now.

Evangeline Lily does a good job as Tauriel. She doesn’t feel shoed in, although can be a bit predictable in a good way. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the movie. Martin Freeman’s character of Bilbo grows more and more dark, much like his older self in the LOTR movies/books. Mainly from his use of the ring, and holding it. One thing is though, he has more resolve than Frodo. Frodo was feeling the effects of the ring a lot, it felt like a ball and chain to him, slowing him down. In this, Bilbo feels the addictive nature of the ring, but snaps himself out of it.

I suspect its due to the power of Sauron being very weak in comparison. In this, he’s non-existent with the ring. Where as in LOTR, he was almost holding it the entire time Frodo had it around his neck. With that it brings us to Benedict Cumberbatch, and the gravitas his voice brings to the movie. For those who have been following the production, he plays Smaug: The Dragon. While the movie went on I didn’t notice his voice as much, probably due to the special effects put in place to make him sound loud and deep, very much like a dragon. As a villain, he’s huge, all-powerful, and not completely stupid. Which is always a plus, when it comes to villains. The necromancer sub-plot that is added, I can’t say much on. Mainly because it’s a huge spoiler in this one, if I do.

Special Effects: Brilliant for CG and practical blending. The thing is, the CG is mostly in big scenes involving something huge, much like Smaug. The artists behind it, make the things happening on-screen look like they would happen in real life. Like buildings being destroyed, fire looks pretty close to what it would be, mainly for the huge bursts of flame. The little ones are practical, as it would be stupid to CG in a small flame, like we’ve seen before in other movies. 3D, I believe was a post effect again, as there were moments I took my glasses off, and some things in the foreground were 2D and the background had the 3D effect. Its miles better than Clash Of The Titans was for 3D.

All in all, a good popcorn movie for anyone really. Not as much humor in previous movies, but still good for a cheap laugh for some parts of the Dwarves. I’d say give it a shot at the theatre, but go on a Tuesday to save some money. Theatres are ridiculously expensive in this day and age, unless you feel like spending 30 bucks and getting the digital download of both the previous movie and this one from Cineplex.

Trailers: Godzilla, which looks amazing, and the pay off is right at the end. Which is bad ass in a trailer. A movie adapted from a book, that looks like its supposed to compete with Hunger Games and Twilight for the teens. That trailer was pretty forgettable, so was the title, as I don’t remember, haha. 300: Rise Of An Empire, looks pretty badass, granted its Zack Snyder’s production team returning to the movie that made them pretty big. So we have the return of the remaining cast, at least those who survived. Although I didn’t see David Wenham as Dilos, but according to the IMDB for the movie, he will be returning. Which is always a plus, as continuity is always good.

The Amazing Spider-man 2, which looks pretty good, although a lot of CG for the action sequences with Electro. Also, the glimpses of Rhino’s costume are not looking good. Granted, I know his normal costume makes him look like a body builder in a spandex suit with a horn. This is supposed to make him look badass, but it looks like he’s in a mech suit. Seems like all the villains in these two movies are horrid, despite the rest of it being good. Anyway, I’ll find out whenever I get to see it.

With that I’ll sign off, look for a small mini review of The Lone Ranger coming shortly. Being that it’s Christmas, I will wish those who celebrate it to have a Merry one! Those who don’t celebrate Christmas, I’ll just say Happy Holidays!

DVD Rentals

So to try to end the long periods between posts, I’ll post some more stuff I’ve seen recently. The last while, I’ve watched This Is The End, and Elysium.

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This Is The End
With more and more future plots where people fear other forces looming on the horizon, the modern-day fetish -as it were- with the apocalypse is pretty much here and in full swing. As such, this is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s way of being satirical with the traditional, biblical apocalypse. The humor with is more so about some really dumb stuff, but its alright. It’s the same humor we’ve come to expect from Seth’s movies. This one is just more blatant than the previous ones, as he’s playing himself.

Instead of Seth Rogen playing Seth Rogen, in a movie where the role is tailored to him, but could’ve been played by someone else. This movie a lot of shock and awe moments and some really stupid humor, which is still funny. I enjoyed the humor for the most part, the only parts I didn’t enjoy too much is the Jonah Hill parts towards the middle of the movie. Where it involves a possession.

The acting is solid, as the actors are playing loose adaptations of themselves, and in some cases, most likely a parody. Which is fine, as most of them are known for doing so anyway. The plot is typical people trapped in a close quarters environment, but the humor masks the predictability of the basic plot. The humor being the central point of the movie, is pretty solid. If you like these guys’ movies, you’re going to enjoy the movie. I have some issues with the plot and weird out of nowhere parts to Pineapple Express, but I can relate to the characters, which makes it funny to me.

This movie is similar, but makes fun of the apocalypse, at the same time as the tropes associated with different people in the modern age. Also, I’m not a fan these days of this “Boy Band”, but when I was a kid (10 or so), I liked a couple of their songs, (All before I got into Jimi Hendrix and Zeppelin).

Any woman in their 20’s fawned over these guys, like the preteens fawn over Justin Bieber. Backstreet Boys make a cameo, at the end of the movie, when the story has hit is resolution and everything has a happily ever after moment. So the one actor summons up all 5 members to sing their Halloween hit, “Backstreet’s Back”. I know the song, because my sister drove me nuts with their music, and the Grease soundtrack.

So for me, I don’t mind the song. I just found it laughably funny, when the actor -whom I associate with his other movies and TV shows-, going giddy over them. Overall the movie is pretty good, its good for a group watch with friends when having a night of movies and games. So give it a watch if you like these guys.

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Elysium
Now with this movie, I had been on the fence about seeing it. I hadn’t seen much for trailers, except Matt Damon in the exoskeleton. My friends were more excited to see it than anyone. So for me, the reason why I was on the fence about it, was the fact its a Neill Blomkamp movie. I didn’t like District 9, mainly because the camera work was intentionally in a documentary/handicam format. So it had the blatant side effect of causing nausea.

I was fighting the urge to hurl in that movie, as I can control my stomach pretty well. So every so often, I’d have to close my eyes to let my stomach calm. It also didn’t help that my friends and I when seeing District 9 in theatres, were right up front. With our heads craned back so the screen is all we saw. So I tried watching it at home, and my dad and I agreed the cameras were so annoying that it ruined the movie for us.

Now with Elysium, I’m SO happy that Neill went with a more traditional camera style. I could see what was going on, and it didn’t make me nauseous. The movie is bright and vibrant, showing the differences between the posh, Beverly Hills style of the Elysium (Halo with supports in the middle) Habitat. The special effects are really good for a modern movie.

Neill’s camera work during specific action scenes give us slight rotative curve during shots with no cuts. To almost slow down time, as if the camera was there and was moving out-of-the-way of the actors. Which is really innovative. I liked it, since he used it very rarely, and only in one major scene.

For Major casting, we have Jodie Foster as the Secretary of Defence for Elysium, and Matt Damon as the main character. Both of which perform very well. We hate Jodie’s character so much in this movie, as she comes off as so vile and ruthless, its scary. It’s going to suck not having her in pivotal roles, as she’s retired from acting these days. Matt Damon does a great job playing the average joe whom is thrust into a situation where he needs to do things he walked away from in order to save his own life, but in doing so alters the course of history. We kind of see this coming as the movie goes along, but its done in a good way.

We also have Sharlto Copley from District 9, playing a hired gun for Jodie Foster’s character. He is charged with going after Damon for something he does in the movie. Then we have the performance of William Fichtner, he has always played a supporting cast role, and does it well. In this movie he is the owner of the company that Matt Damon works at in the movie. He usually does play an asshole character, and has us believe this. I loved him in Drive Angry, playing opposite Nicholas Cage.

Elysium is a good example of a rehashing of common science fiction concepts, including the dystopia regime. I myself have had the idea of writing 2 small dystopian tales involving different things. As recent movies have put me into this mood to write some. As my writing influences are with what is involved around me. What I watch, read and listen to, and as such gives me ideas about what to write. So as a final thought, both movies are pretty good for what they are. I doubt Jodie Foster would get nominated for her performance in this movie, but I believe it deserves an award for a villain role.

I’ll probably write something in a while about other things going on and concepts I’ll be exploring. Including video over on my twitch stream and on my YouTube channel.