Showing posts with label 2010's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2010's. Show all posts

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Pain Watch: Ember Days (2013)

Watched:  06/21/2024
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Sean-Michael Argo

Where to start?

Since high school, intentionally watching bad movies has been a routine part of my film viewing.  I couldn't count how many bad movies I've watched with the aid of MST3K, RiffTrax, Dug, etc... or just putting a bad movie on myself and giving it a go with no professional support.  But the number of these films watched has been... astronomical.  And, in fact, my guilt regarding watching so many bad movies is part of why I've recently taken on my homework task of watching movies by the big name directors I've previously avoided.

And so it is that, thanks to Dug, I've now seen a movie that was not just bad for many of the reasons a movie doesn't work out (flat acting, a wandering script, horrendous editing...), but Ember Days (2013) pioneered new and innovative ways in how it chose to be a very bad movie.  It's one of those movies where you'd love a whole other movie to cover what went into this movie, what the filmmakers were thinking, and how they think of their product now.  

I do not say this lightly:  this is possibly one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  That's a spot which is, honestly, pretty hard to reach (and I'm pretty sure is usually occupied by Monster-a-Go-Go).  And I say this in the same year I watched Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven.  

If I have any sympathy for the film, it is most certainly due to the zero-budget nature of the production.  And, yes, I appreciate that a bunch of people outside of Hollywood decided to make a movie, and you shouldn't bag on people trying.  

But I watched it, and I'm here to tell the tale.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Mars Watch (Revisited): John Carter (2012)

Watched:  06/08/2024
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  I've lost track.  5th?
Director:  Andrew Stanton
Selection:  Joint household

You can see prior posts on John Carter books and movies here.

Back in 2012 when this movie came out, I'd read the novel A Princess of Mars at least twice.  It's a breezy, fun read, the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars/ Barsoom novels.  If you can get past some very not-21st Century politics and concepts, they're an interesting read, and I recommend.

Those books were almost 100 years old when the movie was released, so, suffice to say, folks have enjoyed them for a while.  And there's something to be said for any novels that last a century, and double that appreciation when it comes to any genre material that manages to last beyond a few decades.  There's something there.   So it came as a bit of a surprise to me at the time that this movie got the critical lambasting it received, currently residing at a 51 on Metacritic.   And most of the folks who saw it at the time told me "oh, I hated that."  

Look, your faithful blogger has just enough ego to assume it's everyone else who is wrong sometimes, but this was a case where I said "ah, well, it's working for me.  I dunno." and moved on with my life.

But, to be truthful, it's been quite some time since I re-watched this movie or read that first novel, and with some separation, I now more or less get why this movie got the reaction it did.  And TheWrap put out a fascinating history of the film, that I consider good reading.    

To be blunt, I was familiar enough with the book that the movie was just seeing portions of the book come to life, and knowing there were many more books, I thought they were just moving things forward in order to make a more seamless narrative.  


There's essentially two large problems with the movie in my mind at this point -

Friday, May 31, 2024

Disney Watch: Zootopia (2016)

Watched:  05/31/2024
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  2.5th
Director:  Byron Howard, Rich Moore
Selection:  Joint

Zootopia (2016) is one of the movies I really wish I hadn't missed in the theater.  Yes, yes, the story is actually great as both cop story and metaphors we could learn a lesson from.  But, visually, it's mind-boggling.  And hilarious.  

No, it doesn't have the completely insane experimentation and visual dynamics of the Spider-Verse movies, but what does?  What it does have are a million ideas and gags, a lot of very clever stuff relating to the animals of varying species and sizes.  It's got crazy good design that feels absolutely coherent despite numerous changes of scenery and "worlds".  And, I dig the character design like crazy.  Every single character is a great example of how you take an expressive character doodle from page to 3D.  

I'm sure Michero could weigh in more on what this movie does well visually (the lighting in the jungle sequence is tricky and great, imho), but - if nothing else - pause the movie and look at the backgrounds, look at the DVD covers, have a good laugh at the Disney film in-jokes (I just noticed the weasel is named Duke Weaselton, and that is gold).  

But, yeah, the story has some meat on it.  Alone, Judy's story of "believe in yourself and you can do anything" is *fine*.  I'm not going to tell people, especially kids, that it's not a good 'un.  But Nick's story and how it reflects on the sins of Zootropolis - and what it all says about how we try to live together in urban environments, is really great.  As is the "othering" to claim power that was way, waaaaaay too prescient in 2016 that I think it lands better in 2024 than it did then.

Anyhoo... I also just like the two leads.  They're well-conceived.  I dig that Judy is the eager do-gooder, but still feels like she's that way because she believes in the dream of Zootropolis.  Nick Wilde is fun as the hustler, but they know where to set the dials so he doesn't seem like a cliche - and, of course, has no illusions about Zootropolis.  They're not as dewy eyed as the princesses.  Kids aren't likely to dress up as Nick and Judy, but I think they play as well as any buddy-cop, post-48 Hours duo is like to.  

The writing is solid, and it's dropping some funny stuff beyond the visuals, without relying on so much of what's become the go-to of falls and farts in kid's cartoons.  I will forever enjoy the wee Godfather reference and his bee-hived daughter.  And, man, do they commit to the bit with Flash and the DMV workers.  That's next level.

It just seems like this movie was a hit at the time, but didn't really stick in the US (evidence tells me Asia embraced it more than we did).  It did a billion with 65% of that overseas.  And Shanghai just got Zootopia land, which I think people here would find odd.  

If nothing else, it's got Shakira playing a Gazelle, and that's good movie.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Yikes Watch: Beastly (2011)

Watched:  05/25/2024
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Director:  Daniel Barnz
Selection:  Sort of me, but people agreed to this

So, I watched all 4 hours of that Jenny Nicholson video on the Star Wars Hotel ARG thing, and I highly recommend her video essay.  But that's not why we're here, exactly.  My YouTube algorithm - as it manifests specifically through Chromecast - thinks if you watched one video on, say, baby alligators, you will be force fed baby alligator videos for a week.  And 4 hours of Jenny Nicholson convinced YouTube all I need right now is a big-eyed YouTuber analyzing things into atoms.  And so it fed me her discussion of a movie called Beastly.  

I was only a few minutes into the video that auto-played while I was doing other things, and decided "I will watch this movie."

And so, we did. 

Beastly (2011) was made because Twilight existed and someone wanted to make money.  It's also a sort of fairy tale story with some hand-wavy magic about a very normal girl who gets pressed into a relationship with a moody guy who is probably actually a huge fucking red flag.  But instead of draculas, this movie hopes you saw Disney's 1991 hit Beauty and the Beast.  Because this is a version of the fairy tale, and I'm not sure kids really even get fairy tales read to them anymore to get the cultural context.  

Anyhoo...  this is told less from Belle's perspective - in this case, "Lindy", played by a fresh-faced Vanessa Hudgens - and more from the Beast's POV.  In our movie it's a guy named "Kyle KING-SON" (GET IT???).  And he's played by a British actor doing his best American accent so he just sounds off from time to time.  

I'm not going to write up the movie, really.  Watch Nicholson's video.  

But here's some talking points
  • This is the worst makeup I've ever seen in a movie.  It's insane.  My guess is that they needed to make sure you still saw the actor's face so his general handsomeness would still play for the audience under what looks like a Star Trek Next Generation make-up crew tripped and fell on an actor in a bald cap.
  • Told from The Beast's perspective, this very old story sucks.  It feels more like The Beast singling out a vulnerable girl (she's still in high school) and acting out what love might be in a desperate gambit to get his life back.  At no point does he seem pure of motive.  Because he is not.
  • He stalks.  Oh, lord, does he stalk.  He is absolutely a villain.  He creeps on this girl and takes advantage of her shitty situation in maybe the scummiest way possible.
  • The dialog is meant to sound young and therefore funky fresh, but mostly it sounds like people forgetting how to finish words or assemble a sentence. 
  • One half of the Olsen Twins are in this movie.  It's impossible to know if she's bad or not for reasons I'll get into later.  But this was it for Mary Kate.  Apparently this broke her and she decided she didn't need this shit any more.  And I cannot blame her.
  • Vanessa Hudgens' character is a high schooler who loves the bad boys.  Or at least the idea of the bad boys.  There's ample evidence that she does not care about how awful "Kyle" is at the beginning of the film when he's a Grade-A shitheel.  He's cute.  And therefore must be good at his core, all evidence aside.  
  • Poor Peter Krause, Neil Patrick Harris, etc...  who were just going along for the ride.  I can only imagine what they thought if they ever saw this movie.
  • Supposedly national treasure Regina King was in a cut of this movie, but was removed.  I cannot imagine how she fit in.  But Regina dodged a bullet.
  • This looks like an ABC Family week night movie, but was a major studio release.  I don't remember it in the slightest, which is Nicholson's point, but it never blipped for a second.  If you want to know why the studios are mad about box office, this movie no one remembers made $27 million.  Now it would just not be released and written off.
  • Also, in what I would assume is an otherwise mundane world, there's a wizard who can alter reality and no one seems upset by this.  Like, whatever my face looked like, I would be running to my NEWS ANCHOR FATHER to say "a magic lady did this.  MAGIC EXISTS."  And, yet... all of the "I have been cursed" convos seem to have happened off screen, like they were checking in on whether they needed more toilet paper, and it was irrelevant.  Wild.
  • This movie was written and directed by someone who seems unmoored by how people act, how cause and effect work, how movies function or the actual point of the story of Beauty and the Beast, which is not particularly new and exists to perform a function.  And that function is not whatever this movie thinks it is - which is muddled at best.  I've never seen a version of this story where I thought the better ending was the Beast remaining beastly, but this movie should have been that.  But that bad direction and story telling makes everything about every character - including poor Mary Kate - seem insane/ dumb.  
Anyway.  Beastly.  

Monday, May 20, 2024

Monsterverse Watch: Kong - Skull Island (2017)

Watched:  05/20/2024
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Third?
Director:  Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Selection:  Jamie

Confession time.  Or, possibly, self-realization time.  

I can be a wee bit protective of OG versions of popular entertainment content.  I think it's important to know where something which is part of the zeitgeist first appeared, the context, and - if I can - seek out that original bit of entertainment and understand how it came to be.  

My personal feelings on the original King Kong (1933), I've tried to make clear.  
I won't belabor too much on the original King Kong film here, but suffice to say, knowing most people are only familiar with latter-era version of Kong, I always want to direct the spotlight back to the original formula, because it's an amazing technical feat as well as a lovely film.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Shark Watch: Sharknado 4 - The Fourth Awakens (2016)

Watched:  05/04/2024
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Anthony C. Ferrante

So, in honor of May the 4th, which is the day everyone says "ha ha, May the Fourth be with you" - I made Jamie, Dug and K watch Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens because I am that guy.  

It is not a real movie, it's a Sharknado.  And I think there's something fascinating about where we were at as movie consumers, what the SyFy channel could afford, and -in particular- the movies made by The Asylum, and how all that led to the first Sharknado movie.  And people forget this, but Mia Farrow's delighted real-time tweets helped make Sharknado a thing the night of the first broadcast, took that lightning in a jar and held it up for all to see.

In the decades years prior to Sharknado the First, SyFy had given up on making *good* programs, discovering the might of things like a Mansquito and Giant Shark movies, which were mostly Z-list actors standing around talking about the creature at hand, but rarely seeing it.  Because seeing the creature cost money.  The Asylum rode this wave by producing an ever evolving array of usually very-large animals to attack submarines or campers.  And there was often a straight-to-video component of the company that was making off-brand versions of whatever was coming to the cinema.  Transmorphers.  Shurlock Homes.  You get the idea.  But all cheap and cheerful.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Indefatigable Watch: Showgirls 2 - Penny's From Heaven (2011)

Watched:  04/14/2024
Format:  Amazon 
Viewing:  First
Director:  Rena Riffel
Selection:  me.  And Jamie did not watch.

Okay.  So, a couple of years ago I became aware of the existence of Showgirls 2:  Penny's From Heaven (2011).  But finding information about the movie was pretty difficult.  

The film was made a good fifteen years after the release of the actual Showgirls, and is - legally - not associated with that film.  It was, however, written, produced, edited and directed by Rena Riffel, who played a supporting part as "Penny" in the original film.  You will remember her as the girl with the blonde bob at Cheetah's.  

In olden days, I would have live tweeted the film, but I chose not to subject anyone else to my curiosity about this mysterious artifact as I didn't know what I was walking into, so (a) no watch party, and (b) no live tweeting the film.  

Aside from Riffel's involvement, I knew nothing before hitting "play".  Here are my notes.

  • Oh no.  This is shot on regular HD video circa 2010.  There was no sound mixing.  They're using a room mic of some kind.
    • Yup, that's Penny and Jimmy from the original film.  Actors Rena Riffel and Glen Plummer.
  • She's... still stripping 15 years after the original movie.  To her credit, she looks exactly the same.
  • This strip club is clearly not a strip club.  She's dancing in a bar and grill against a pole attached to a carousel horse shaped like a duck.
  • Ah, the plot:  apparently a movie producer is offering "Penny" a job in a movie called "Showgirls 2".  Meta.
  • The camera work is on a par with A Talking Cat!?!
  • I can't explain the weird Wizard of Oz thing this movie is about to try to do, but it is going to try
  • We're doing an homage to the OG Showgirls out of order
  • It just occurred to me, she abandoned her kid and husband
  • The sound is so good, you can hear the insects in this night scene and cars passing nearby
  • Oh no.  This is 2 hours and 25 minutes.
    • Oh no.
    • no no no no
    • why?

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Yorgos Watch: The Favourite (2018)

Watched:  03/17/2024
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  First
Director:  Yorgos Lanthimos
Selection:  Me

My viewing of Poor Things did finally get me to check out director Yorgos Lanthimos' The Favourite (2018).  I had intended to see this film eventually after seeing the trailer, but time is a slippery mistress.  Featuring four actors I quite like and what seemed like a curious sense of humor as indicated by the clips I'd seen, it seemed like a good time.

It was a good time.

To be clear:  I know absolutely nothing about British history, and the more I learn about the royals and monarchy, I feel pretty good about democracy and two-term presidencies.  As I said to my brother as we stood in Westminster years ago: "damn, this whole place is about 'get rich or die tryin'."

So, while I was aware Queen Anne existed, mostly because of architecture, furniture, I'd spent approximately no time learning anything about her until after watching this movie.  And if there's something that will send you down a Google-hole, it's an engaging two hour movie about melodrama run amok in the royal palace.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Sports Watch: Moneyball (2011)

Watched:  02/27/2024
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  Bennett Miller
Selection:  Jamie, but I was happy to do so

We're getting geared up for baseball season, so I'd expect we'll watch another baseball movie or two til the end of Spring Training and then switch over to regular Cubs-viewing.  

I hadn't seen Moneyball (2011) when it came out basically because I was busy watching other stuff.  I thought the premise - based on real-life events - seemed great.  And the aftermath of the events has wildly informed how baseball now works for MLB teams, analysts, fantasy players and even casual fans like myself trying to better understand the game (and occasionally checking on a hunch).

The basic plot of the movie is based on the 2002 season for the Oakland A's - and I can tell you now, I have zero memory of any of this happening as I didn't follow baseball at the time.  Following a great 2001 season that ends in a loss at the ALDS, the A's lose their best players and have no budget.  GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) sits with his scouts/ brain-trust to think about who to bring in, and he knows it will be a disaster.  Coming across a bright young man with a degree in economics and a head for SABRstatistics, Beane and Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) return to the recruiting session and put a roster down of players who are cheap, but - statistically - should be able to take the team far farther than best guesses and the weird mumbo jumbo that informs sports-think.

The team doesn't perform, and then it does.  (This is all on Wikipedia and common knowledge to A's fans, I'd guess).  

Meanwhile, Billy navigates his past and present, informing him how he should proceed.  And somehow they landed Robin Wright for what's usually a walk-on part of the ex-wife.*  


Monday, December 25, 2023

Worst Christmas Movie of 2023: Christmas in Hollywood (2014)

no, not Matt Berry.  And, no - it's not clear who gave those awards

Watched:  12/24/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First, and, God willing, last
Director:  Some asshat

Los Angeles/ Hollywood always strikes me as one of two places in America where dreams don't just go to die, they mutate.  (The other is Las Vegas, but that's a completely different thing.)  

Folks head out west to get into the motion picture business, and find out that maybe they haven't got the talent, social skills, what-have-you to make it in movies.  Sure, you can chalk it up to luck, too, I guess.  But, also, some people are just ridiculous.  And, so, Hollywood always seems to have this weird underbelly of people looking for their shot.  And sometimes they go ahead and make their own shot happen, which - if you believe the Hollywood story - is what you've got to do.  But, I watch a lot of not-great movies, and I'm here to say, you really don't have to take that shot.  

Saturday, December 23, 2023

G Watch: Godzilla - King of the Monsters (2019)

that's a spicy meatball!

Watched:  12/22/2023
Format:  Bluray
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Michael Dougherty

I'm slowly making my way through Apple+'s Monarch series - more on that in a future post - and was curious how it was matching up to the 2014 Godzilla movie, the foundation of Legendary's Monsterverse franchise.  And then I saw the BluRay for the follow up was on sale for cheap when I was looking for Godzilla vs. Kong on disc.  And, so it was, that I watched 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters.  

Here's my theory about this very long and subpar movie:

They started with the title and reverse engineered everything from there.  

I have no real evidence to back this up, but it does seem that with the success of 2014's Godzilla, Legendary decided that they would move forward with a "Monsterverse" which would include Kong: Skull Island and then a slate of other films, arriving periodically and nowhere near as aggressively as Marvel.  I can imagine the braintrust at Legendary saying "so, the American title for the original Gojira was Godzilla: King of the Monsters.  Can we re-use that?  And, if so, what does that mean?"  Americans love to eliminate ambiguity and poetry in favor of being very on-the-nose.

So, you'd have to have a movie in which Godzilla subjugates the other monsters, and is shown to be their "king".  I guess.  But Godzilla movies always had this one monster that I think we can agree was the biggest asshole of all the Godzilla monsters, King Ghidorah/ Monster Zero.  So now you have two "kings" and you have your fight all set up.  

Write in some scenes that will look rad in a trailer, come up with human characters that will crack wise and add the element of human drama, and there you go.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Straight to Streaming Christmas: Candy Cane Lane (2023), Genie (2023) and Noelle (2019)

Watched:  CCL 12/01/2023, G 11/27/2023, N 12/02/2023
Format:  Amazon Prime/ The 'Cock/ Disney+
Viewing:  First for all
Director:  Reginald Hudlin / Sam Boyd / Marc Lawrence

We have a lot going on, and so we've been seeking out comfort-food-movies.  As this is the Holiday Season, that means Christmas-related movies.  

Yes, we've watched a shit-ton of Hallmark movies, enough so that I've forgotten all that we've watched and I'm not sure I'll post on it.  Instead, I'm taking a look at three of the "well, it's free on the service" movies we watched this week.  

I don't understand what the story is/ was on Noelle (2019).  It was listed as a 2019 release, and maybe it was.  I mostly remember it as one of the first "originals" I saw listed on Disney+, but not something I'd gotten around to watching (this makes me want to rewatch Togo, which I remember really liking).  But no one ever mentioned the movie to me, and so it just kind of fell into the background.  But maybe it had a theatrical run? 

But, this being 2023, we finally got to it.  

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Pre-Christmas Cat Watch: The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)

Watched:  11/12/2023
Format:  You know where we watched this, commercials and all
Viewing:  I swear to god, I think it was my third viewing
Director:  Mark Jean

Jamie had a medical procedure this week, and was all nerves and needed something to just coast along on.  Guess what was on?

So, yeah, it was round two or three for me of watching this particular holiday gem.

This movie features my favorite Hallmark-specific star, Kimberly Sustad, and I'll leave it at that.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Marvel Watch: Captain Marvel (2019)

Watched:  11/05/2023
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  I dunno.  4th?  5th?
Director(s):  Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck

This is a kind of weird movie, and it's amazing it holds together.  It takes place in the late 90's, is very concerned with events of 6 years prior, hints at things that will impact Marvel in the future, and introduces two warring species, a 2-eyed Nick Fury and the origins of the Avengers Initiative.  It's got a *lot* of ground to cover.

But at the center of all that is a story about a former pilot who has been told over and over again to stay in line, that she's a mess if she doesn't have people telling her what to do, and that she lacks self-control/ is too emotional.  Ie: this is a movie working as a gigantic metaphor that is constantly saying "get it?  You see what we did there?"  And, of course, this created a cottage industry of very angry YouTubers who are still out there, four years later, getting clicks talking about how this critically and commercially successful movie is bad, actually.* 

Anyway, I like it.  It's a tight sci-fi actioner with a well-developed lead, well-considered supporting characters and a very interesting take on Young Fury.  I dig Larson's cocky test-pilot je ne sais quo, and the moments as she's realizing her own power (which comes in levels through the third act).  

Let's not forget this movie has Annette Benning, which should get it a high-five anyway, but she's having a lot of fun with the part and you'll kind of wish you got way more time with her Mar-Vell/ Lawson.  And, really, a gigantic, embarrassingly rich cast, including Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Jude Law, Gemma Chan, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, and the great Ben Mendelsohn.  And plenty more!  

A while back, we podcasted this one, and I'm sure it was a restrained and well-pondered podcast since I think we did it like an hour after getting back from the movie.  

By the way, I've never really gotten into Captain Marvel in the comics, but have tried to catch up here and there.  But she is, to me, a highlight of the MCU.  

Anyhoo, that's all the homework I'm doing before seeing the new movie, The Marvels, this coming week.  

*Like, people are still making these videos in 2023, which means not only are they still fired up over a single movie, there's people *watching* these videos.  Which.  Man.  You're allowed to not like a thing, but if you're still worried about it 4 years on, the problem isn't the movie.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

G Watch: Godzilla (2014)

Watched:  11/04/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second, I think
Director:  Gareth Edwards

In a couple of weeks, Apple+ is dropping their decade-spanning, genre-mixing show about the Monarch organization, which is the group that.... something something.... in a world of giant beasties, based on Godzilla (2014) and the series of attached movies.  I've heard where/ when in the movie timeline the show takes place - just after this movie, and it had been a while, so I finally rewatched the first of the Monsterverse films to remind myself what the hell happens in the flick.

I remember going into Godzilla (2014) with some trepidation.  The last American-made Godzilla movie I'd seen was the 1998 trainwreck that just piled on all the worst habits of 1990's-era blockbuster entertainment, and then curb-stomped you with them.*

The trailers for the 2014 edition certainly looked cool, but the fact is that at the time of the film's release, Hollywood was doing this thing where they would come up with cool stuff for trailers and then maybe make a movie that tied those scenes and lines together.  

It was promising a movie for all-ages, including adults - casting thinking-person's stars like Bryan Cranston, Juliet Binoche, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn and Sally Hawkins (a curious trend that has continued through Godzilla v. Kong with Rebecca Hall as our lead).  So it was literally *buying* gravitas with the casting choices.  Which was maybe needed after the 1998 debacle.  

Leaving the movie, I remember a vague sense of disappointment, but wasn't blogging at the time, so there's no record of what I was thinking.  In the 9 years since I've re-watched the movie, I'd kind of forgotten what the deal was.  Certainly I remembered them bumping off Binoche in the film's first five minutes, and that Cranston similarly exits the film in the first act, when I thought he was going to be our lead.  

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Hallo-Watch: The Dog Who Saved Halloween (2011)

Watched:  10/07/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First and Last
Director: i don't care

Here's a thing I didn't know until last night:  for all the complaints about the connected universe of Marvel movies, there's been a universe of movies out there that live somewhere just below the Air Bud/ Buddies franchise and just above the world of movies like A Talking Cat !?!.   This franchise stars the brother of Kevin James (who, before I realized he actually is the brother of Kevin James referred to him as "Dollar Store Kevin James") and a yellow lab that doesn't really wise-crack so much as just say shit to fill awkward spaces.  

At the end of the movie, it was agreed:  despite having seen movies like Santa With Muscles, Bailey the Christmas Hero and innumerable other absolute pieces of shit movies - this one was just offensively bad and maybe one of the worst.  And Dug, K, Jamie and I curate bad movies.

It's hard to say what makes a bad movie. We can all have a chuckle at a misfire that shoots too high and misses, or is just misguided (see: Cats).  And I know some folks find it distasteful to enjoy the swing-and-a-miss of a no-budget movie that just wasn't ever going to work (see: most of MST3K's fodder).  And I appreciate the bottom-feeders of the Hollywood ecosystem who have found a way to generate money by making absolute trash they clearly shot over 3-5 days, making it up as they went along, and being savvy enough to make something someone will accidentally pay to see (see: Santa's Summer House).

But this movie seems somehow even more cynical.  It's depending on parents to see the formula of Holiday + Talking Animal, covered by everyone from Disney to fly-by-night sometimes soft-pornographers, and leaving their kid in front of the TV without caring at all what plays on screen in a post Air Bud/ Buddies world. 

Monday, June 26, 2023

Doc Watch: Deepsea Challenge (2014)

Watched:  06/23/2023
Format:  YouTube
Viewing:  First
Director(s):  John Bruno, Ray Quint, Andrew Wight

Like everyone else, I spent last week keeping up with the story of the Titan, the submersible that was designed by a California firm who seemed to play pretty fast and loose with fairly common knowledge about the ways in which one usually plans and develops a vehicle intended for use 3800 meters below the ocean's surface.  As details about the Titan came out, as well as photos, my eyebrows were raised as I saw how the vehicle worked and how it looked.

Look, I'm no engineer, but you couldn't have gotten me in that thing for love or money.  I'm modestly aware of how submarines look, the need for redundancy and failsafe systems that are as robust as possible when one is not going to be in a position to be rescued should something go wrong.  And while I agree that Playstation controllers are a marvel, I also don't want to lose connectivity to my controller whilst being pulled by ocean currents.  And, really, those game paddles were seen as a sign of the clear hubris suggested by the ship's design and thumbing of the nose at well-established standards of engineering, and, in fact, physics, that I think some of us were responding to.  It was less a lack of respect for other engineers and more of a lack of respect for the danger.*

Monday, June 5, 2023

Review Watch: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Watched:  06/02/2023
Format:  Blu-Ray
Viewing:  fifth?  I don't know

Not going to write this up, but we did a re-watch in preparation for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which we saw Saturday morning.  

This movie holds up like crazy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

PodCast 239: "The Raid 2" - A MikeS/ Social Bobcat PodCast Episode w/ Ryan

Watched:  04/09/2023
Format:  Netflix
Viewing: First
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Gareth Evans

The Social Bobcat is back, and this time he brought a whole case of whoop-ass. Join Ryan and MikeS as we talk about the surprisingly well-developed sequel to the 2011 film that came flying out of Indonesia like a boot to the head. In this installment, we ponder sequels that increase the scope and breadth of the original and stand-alone just fine. And somehow still manage to kick a metric ton of ass.



Prison Riot - Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal, The Raid 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)  
Showdown - Joseph Trapanese, Aria Prayogi, Fajar Yuskemal, The Raid 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 

Action Watch!

Monday, April 10, 2023

Superheroes Every Day Watch: Man of Steel (2013) - Part 1

Watched:  03/26/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  third?  4th?
Director:  Zachary Snyder

Well, Danny of Superheroes Every Day has started a podcast.  To kick things off, he's selected (1) the film Man of Steel (2013) and (2) me as his guest (!) for what is a 3-part discussion about the film.  

Even at three-parts of about 40+ minutes each, I'm aware of at least two points I didn't make, so that's to say there's a LOT to say about this stab at superhero flicks by the studio that brought you Catwoman and Green Lantern.  Sure, they did those Nolan-Bat-flicks, but we know who they really are.