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Author: Subject: 2019 Movie Round Up
Flash
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posted on 4-5-2019 at 08:53 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
SHAZAM!

I'll do my best to avoid spoilers for with this one as I usually do, but there's some stuff I want to touch on that might be a bit spoilery for non-comics fans; so proceed with caution.

First off; while quite entertaining, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D... Until now the Jason Mamoa Conan was the worst movie I'd ever seen in 3D, and at least in that case I can attribute that one to it being the early days of modern 3D when they were converting movie into 3D which radically darkens the image; in the case of Conan it felt like you were watching any one of it's numerous cavern scenes by candle... Okay maybe Shazam isn't the worst, but given that 10 years have passed since 3D has been around I was pretty disappointed by what they did here; not only did the 3D offer nothing, the darkened image took away from what I think of as the vibrancy of Captain (Shazam) Marvel.. Just something that DC movies tend to wrestle with anyway; as I think often heroes fall into two categories: Day time heroes and night time heroes... I don't mean that heroes punch a clock and can't right wrongs while on down time; more that artistically some characters lend themselves better to a day or night time setting... Superman and the Flash; Day time, Batman or Daredevil; Night time. Given that childlike nature of Shazam/Captain Marvel and his bright colours I think he lends himself better to day time (although they did do some nice night effects with the glowing lightning bolt in his chest)... There's plenty of day time in the movie, but also lots of indoors and night stuff that over it's 2 hr and 12 min run time the darkened 3D makes some of it a trudge to get through.

Why Captain Marvel or Shazam? Yeah the timing makes it confusing, but I'm not working in references to the recent Marvel movie... For those not in the know Shazam IS Captain Marvel... well, kinda: Waaaaaay back in 1939 Fawcett comics in an attempt to cash in on the brand new (well 1 year old) Superman came up with a knock off character called Captain Thunder which would amazingly enough go on to outsell Superman. Turns out the Captain Thunder name was already trademarked so he was rechristened Captain Marvelous, which in turn go shortened to Captain Marvel. DC comics took notice as apparently a flying super strong hero with a bald evil scientist for an arch nemesis was a little too close for comfort to Superman... So in 1941 DC sued after about a decade of mixed decisions largely going against them Fawcett settled and by 1954 were out of the comics game. In the intervening years there were a few small revival attempts (hilariously enough one of them became Miracleman which kind of morphed into his own thing, but wound up going through a host of lawsuits before Marvel comics wound up with the ownership)... By the early 70's DC licensed the character and would eventually own him outright, problem is in those intervening years Marvel Comics came up with their own Captain Marvel (well, over the years maybe a half dozen of them) and given the name of their company were pretty litigious about keeping the name... So on comic book covers DC's Captain Marvel had to be Shazam, or The Power of Shazam, or some other variations over the years, but in the book could still go by Captain Marvel... Basically by this point DC has given up as most people just confuse his names anyway, and in the comics he's largely become known as Shazam now (fun aside, on my first day of university I wore a Captain Marvel t-shirt with the stylized lightning bolt on it, and a guy I met who'd go on to be one of my best friends mistook it for The Flash, and took to calling me Flash... well, everybody did for a while... so there's my OO handle secret origin).

Now taking the above into account here's what I'm curious about should they decide to use them in a heroic fashion... Over the years foster kid Billy Batson hasn't been the only Captain Marvel; his sister, and various foster siblings have all taken on a Marvel moniker... Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr... ect; So I'm curious how they handle it in the movies, as those names are sufficiently different and precede Marvel's Marvel by decades... but hey; confusion.

So who is Shazam? In a nutshell he's a foster kid who because of his kind heart is chosen by an ancient wizard (named Shazam) to become his magical champion on Earth... That's what the movie is about more or less as he combats the seven deadly sins and their own avatar; Dr. Sivana. It's a lot of fun and the Superman meets Big descriptions being bandied about are pretty spot on, as by saying the making word... SHAZAM, teenager Batson turns into adult Captain Marvel... er Shazam. The movie definitely plays with what it is to be a kid in todays day and age as they both make us of social media and a limited view of cashing in on being a hero... Good stuff, with some well done action scenes.

I think this one is worth watching in the theatres; I enjoyed it, and I think that while it does tend towards some bleakness and there's some violence and creepy monsters in there that might be a bit too much for the younger audiences, it falls more in line with the happy go luckiness of Aquaman than the nihilistic contemplations of Snyder's DC movies... SO maybe a touch darker than I expected, but still a lot of fun.

Oh... and you're going to walk out of the movie if you aren't familiar with Shazam and go "what the hell was that last image?" It's Mister Mind... a pretty major Captain Marvel villain; I mean remember old comics had a lot of weird stuff in them back in the 40's and 50's... Like apparently the lone the survivor of Krypton wasn't just Superman... It was Supergirl, and his dog, and her cat, and a horse, and I think a monkey even.

Unrelated to Shazam... Aladdin trailer at the start of the movie looks pretty meh.

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salmonjunkie
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posted on 4-5-2019 at 08:14 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Flash
Aladdin trailer at the start of the movie looks pretty meh.


I can't get over how fucking weird the genie looks with Will Smith's face on that bald blue body.

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Flash
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posted on 4-8-2019 at 08:14 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Yeah the whole trailer just feels off; like even the colour timing of it gives it this weird vibe... But yeah; Smith is probably where it all stands out the most. Shame as I think this is one where they could have done some cool stuff with the visuals of it.

I'm kind of hit and miss with Guy Ritchie, who's directing it... I thought he found a style that worked with King Arthur and the two Sherlock Holmes movies, but sometimes he's kind of constrained...

Oh well, I'm sure it will make several hundred million dollars whether I see it or not.

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Flash
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posted on 4-10-2019 at 09:11 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
PET SEMATARY

Saw this one tonight and honestly was a bit disappointed by it; It just really felt like the needless remake that we often accuse Hollywood of doing. Yes it does depart from the novel and 1989 movie in a few different ways, but nothing so profound either story wise, or visually that it begged to be remade. Where it ultimately goes wrong is that at it crux it teases a far more interesting story than that which unfolds on the screen; namely the demon in the woods, what's happened in the past, and just in general the "sematary's" origins. A close runner up for script problems is some elements are over developed, while others are under developed... There might have been some fun that could have been had with Rachel's nightmare omens, or the ghostly accident victim who tries to warn the family off... See An American Werewolf in London for how this can be done really well... See Pet Sematary 2019 for how it can be done really poorly.

In brief the Creed family has moved to a small Maine town from the big city (in the book I want to say it's Chicago, here it's Boston... Not that it matters) in hopes of experiencing a quieter life; Louis, the patriarch, quickly takes to being a small town doctor and befriends neighbour Jud... Kind of the elderly keeper of town secrets. The Creed's have a cat named Church (short for Churchill of the Winston variety), and two young kids; Gage a toddler and Ellie who's 8. There's some backstory and frequent discussions about death which ties to some unresolved issues that Rachel, the mother has... which is pretty timely as living on a country highway the family cat falls prey to one of the many speeding transport trucks that whip by. Jud feeling for his friend, shows him a secret cemetery (misspelled Sematary) where thanks to some ancient evilness in the woods, things come back... Problem is he forgets to mention that sometimes they don't come back right. From there things are in motion as good intentions fall short, further tragedy strikes, and as the movie's tag line says... Sometimes dead is better.

I'm a huge John Lithgow fan, so it's always fun to see him getting to cut loose a bit; although his constant twitching like he's hearing some whispering in the woods no one else can doesn't didn't quite grab me the same way that Fred Gwynn's "ah shucks" did in the original... I also think Gwynn's being known for playing Herman Munster helped juxtapose the role a bit when things turned a bit more sinister. Jason Clarke was decent in this, but I just don't think he was very challenged... Ditto for Amy Seimetz who played Rachel. The girl who plays Ellie... Jete Laurence steals the show; getting to play a the cute kid everyone loves, and at the other extreme something more sinister.

I don't think this will go down as an all time bad King adaptation (I'm looking at you Lawnmower Man), but it certainly continues the trend of King adapted works that are mediocre and fail to live up to the potential of the source material. I don't think anyone would regret watching it, but definitely more of a Netflix type thing for a boring Saturday.

Just for fun; Flash's favourite King adaptations in no particular order

1. Battleground (made for tv adapt, Nightmares and Dreamscapes)
2. Carrie
3. Graveyard Shift
4. IT (miniseries)
5. Christine (King and Carpenter.. how can you miss?)
6. Shawshank Redemption
7. Stand by Me
8. The Stand (miniseries)
9. The Shining (miniseries)
10. Misery
11. The Dark Half (King and Romero... again!)
12. Green Mile
13. The Dead Zone (King and Cronenberg!)
14. The Mist
15. 1408
16. Needful Things (Max Von Sydow is just having too much fun to not love it)

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Flash
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posted on 4-13-2019 at 08:52 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
HELLBOY

I actually saw this one on Thursday night before the reviews came out... I don't think it warrants the (last I saw) 12% it was sitting on metacritic, but it wasn't the movie I think a lot of us hoped it might be.

For those not in the know this isn't a continuation from the Guillermo Del Toro helmed, Ron Pearlman starred movies from several years ago... or rather is that a decade ago; man time flies. It's a reboot that draws more from the various comics storylines... and honestly; that's probably the problem here. Instead of distilling the stories down to their essence and then finding what works in a different medium the movie tries to cram about 4 different multi-part plot lines into one movie which means there's some big fight roughly every 15 minutes, but little time other than a quick monologue or two devoted to making those fights mean something.

I'll give the movie credit for finding a way to work Hellboy's origin into the movie in a way that worked with the story they were running with, and for drawing from the larger "Mignola-verse" (I don't know if it has a name, but Mike Mignola invented Hellboy and has a tonne of tie in books) there's a few neat cameos in there... which while cool as a comic geek, do kinda pull away from what's going on.

David Harbourd does a nice job filling in for Pearlman; and seems to be having fun even if some of his dialogue feels a bit forced. When I heard Neal Marshall was directing this one I was pretty excited; He's not a huge name director, but has helmed some neat horror films like Dog Soldiers and the Descent, and the extremely bloody apocalyptic Doomsday... While Hellboy wasn't a home run I will praise the imagination in it as several of the monster designs are quite cool, and the visuals in it are decent... The fights were a bit of simplistic and disorganized at times, but on the whole it's a pretty enough pictures filled with blood and gore. I was reading something right after a got out of the movie and it sounds like the movie had a fairly troubled production with about 16 different producers on board, and it sounds like they hijacked the film firing Marshall's cinematographer mid film, denying Marshall final cut, and even clashed with Harbourd several times as apparently he stormed off set a few times getting fed up with constant script rewrites and even in some cases he tried to write the dialogue just to get it done... So probably a case of they hired a visionary director, a well regarded actor, and then proceeded to push and pull them in 16 different directions.... which shows in the films editing as the pacing and tempo of the movie suffers.

Is it terrible? No... I was quite happy to see Mila Jovovich on the big screen again and like I said visually it's a cool movie with lot's of action. I think the R rating probably hurt it... I mean had they trimmed a few of the gorier shots and needless F-bombs they could have gone a bit wider with the release... Maybe not kids, but up here in Ontario it was 18A (I think that's the equivalent of your R rating in the States)... I mean the R just felt needless like they heard Deadpool made a lot because of the R, but forgot that Deadpool genuinely used the R to make a movie better that probably couldn't have been done under the constraints of a lower rating. None the less like I said it's not terrible, it's just not good... more okay.

Skip the theatre, probably say goodbye to Hellboy for another Decade... There's potential with the character, but honestly I think it's more in the smaller screen streaming as the demonic paranormal investigator is a great idea and Mignola has done some cool stuff milking that teet with stuff like Hellboy, BPRD, Edward Grey Witchfinder, and Baltimore among others.

Really... do yourself a favour; check out the original comics; They just got released for around $20-25 apiece in 6 omnibus collections (4 Hellboys, and 2 short story collections)... The art is gorgeous and the books are fun if you dig creepy stuff.

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posted on 4-24-2019 at 08:01 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA

Another offering from the Conjuring-verse, and while not bad, this is a franchise that while still entertaining enough with a few good creeps and scares, has started to feel a little tired... to me anyway. Case in point one of the trailers at the start of this movie was for Annabelle 3: Annabelle comes home. Conjuring 3 is about to start shooting with a September 2020 release date, and there's a sequel to The Nun in the works, and a supposedly a Crooked man film in pre-production (because yes, every character that appears in one movie must have their own origin explaining film).

If you're keeping score the franchise has 6 movies currently out, 1 imminent (Annabelle 3 drops in June), and one in production for a total of 8 films between 2013 and 2020 (more potentially if the Nun 2 and Crooked Man movies hit)... That's getting into Marvel territory.

Still... The movies aren't half bad, and some are actually quite good. I think the yesteryear settings help the movies as it tonally gives them a different look than more contemporary slasher films, but at the same times there's only so many slamming doors, bumps from the attic, and jump scares you can take before it all starts to feel like the macarana or a line dance everyone knows the moves to.

I digress...

La Llorona is essentially a weeping woman who murdered her two children out of spite by drowning them and then promptly moved into Mexican folklore as an evil spirit (Much like most of the Conjuring movies it finds its roots in some fable or questionable "true" story). Jump to 1973 and we find recently widowed Linda Cardellini, mother of 2 children herself working in the city's child welfare office which brings her into contact with a trouble woman who on the surface appears to be potentially abusive parent, but who may in reality be haunted... It's a ghost story, so guess which one it is Flash forward through a few grizzly going on's and now it's suddenly Cardellini and her kin that are dealing with the weeping woman.

LA LLORONA has some decent jumps, although with the amount of doors opening and shutting randomly I found my mind drifting to thinking about that old 90's film The Frighteners where Michael J. Fox's ghostly cohorts went through the motions to open and shut doors... Is it spooky when you can picture the ghost just more being a dick to get a rise out of you as opposed to genuine malevolence? Kinda like who keeps locking pissed off cats in the closets of every horror film? The ghost in a white wedding like dress shows up in a lot of folklore (Lady in white) but I can't off the top of my head think of too many films featuring her... it makes for an interesting visual and probably contrasts well with last years The Nun, but it's not quite as horrific.

Cardellini is always a treat, but is mostly just there to scream "run", get thrown around a bit, and to kind of sleuth the audience through what's going on, but the movie's compressed time frame (it probably takes place over 2-3 days) hurts it a bit as the horror beats feels like a drum solo coming one after another instead of letting us get more and more invested into the family with the scares growing. There's some shots in there from rookie director Michael Chaves, but as outlined above plenty of what's familiar as well.

On the whole I'm intrigued by the timeline that the Conjuring movies kind of lay out spread over 30 years or so; the interconnectedness makes for some fun viewing, but the whole one movie spinning into another kind of robs some of these films of their originality and mystery... Case in point there's a priest/shaman like character in this movie that you just know the producers are itching to spin off into something else... Hell, La Llorona even features a small role from a character who appears in one or two of the other movies.

The verdict? Well if this was a quiet October or November when the days are short and the night is long I'd say it would make for a nice night out full of scares... It's fun enough despite a major glaring plot problem near the end that drove me nuts, but with Avengers dropping this week knowing this crowd I'd say just Netflix it... it'll hold up just as well.

Maybe call it like a 6/10.

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posted on 4-27-2019 at 04:23 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
AVENGERS: ENDGAME

No full write up needed, its awesome

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posted on 4-29-2019 at 06:52 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I'm chiming in late here, but holy shit what a massive bomb Hellboy turned out to be. I still don't understand why they didn't just try to finish out the Del Toro/Perlman trilogy, but hey, I don't work in Hollywood.





Nash is only a few inches bigger than JBL and depending on how stiff he gets Punk should be able to take it. -JB King, meant in a totally non-sexual way

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Flash
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posted on 4-30-2019 at 02:26 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I think Del Toro just got busy (don't forget he was supposed to direct all of the Hobbit movies originally) and Hellboy III just kept getting kicked down the road further and further... The first two made some money, but not so much so that the studios were prepared to dump a bunch of cash on him to execute his own vision of it, but just enough money that they wouldn't want to lose the rights.

There's a few interesting articles floating around about what a troubled production this Hellboy had that are worth a read... Suffice it to say, not a great experience for most involved.

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posted on 5-3-2019 at 09:28 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I'm a little sleepy tonight to do my usual rambling musings, but saw THE LONG SHOT tonight and it was entertaining enough. In a nutshell a decent enough romcom that tried to infuse some politics in there... think THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT or DAVE, but with a few more drug jokes thrown in.

Fun, maybe a date night out if Avengers is still packed in your neck of the woods, but probably more of a netflixer.

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posted on 5-17-2019 at 07:29 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
JOHN WICK 3: PARABELUM

I'm a bit torn on this one as while the action in the Wick movies is generally top notch and stylish, there does come a point where you can only see so many one note bad guys get shot in the head or stabbed before you the franchise feels fatigued.

I think what worked so well with the original Wick was not just how visually it was so fresh, but there was a bit of a mystery there... that you kinda had this sad man who's beset by some bad luck until you realize that it's actually the thugs who stepped in it. By the time the second rolled around you could see them trying to peel back the layers on some of the backstory stuff of the Continental and the High Table... Intriguing, stylish, but missing the spark of the original. By the time we get to the third movie we find Wick on the run because of fallout from the second film, and very much facing the consequences of his actions (which is funny, and telling that they probably didn't envision a franchise when the first came out as the one female assassin tried to kill Wick in the Continental for a million dollars; when Wick did kick someone at the Continental, albeit a member of the high table, he gets a $14m bounty on his head)... Consequences and a further delving into the Wick secret world of assassins and crime are the major themes of this outing, but really... talky talky scenes feel like they are just there to move you to the next big action piece where multiple guys will get shot in the head.

It's a fun enough movie, and I think you more have to look at it as a kind of art film where the style is the main reason to see it as opposed to any kind of major story... although based on how this one ends it seems like the producers are dead set on milking at least one more out of the franchise.

I think if you enjoyed the second Wick then you'd probably enjoy this one in the theatres as well... If you were kinda "meh" on the second, then I'd say save this one for home.

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