Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 spoiler free review

I fell asleep.  In the theater, at 1pm, after a full nights sleep, I fell asleep.  I have watched and enjoyed the original film.  The original film was visually stunning and the first movie representation of cyberpunk that was ever filmed. 

This movie was also very beautiful.  Vast colorful landscapes of ruined cities or a metropolis. 

I woke up, the music was loud and I feel it was meant to be unsettling. So when I fell asleep, I didn't stay asleep long before I was jolted awake.  But I would eventually start to doze again.  Maybe they did that on purpose.  In test screenings people had to have been drifting off and the director just had the sound engineers pump up the volume in certain spots to get people paying attention again.

The story just wasn't captivating.  Every aspect of it has been done before in a more fluid and coherent fashion.  The visuals themselves aren't even groundbreaking, sure it is a beautiful movie but is that any different than Interstellar, Oblivion, After Earth (shudder).  Without a compelling narrative, pretty isn't enough.  I understood Ks motivations, but not the motivations of others that set him on his path.  We are told that new replicants are needed in large numbers and a new way has to be devised to produce them more quickly almost in the same breath as the character orders replicants killed.  The twist was obvious to me, not the reveal, but the twist. 

Overall, this movie makes the ultimate movie sin.  It is boring.  It might be an amazing film, but I am not a film person.  I like movies.  As a movie I enjoyed the Netflix original The Babysitter, that I had just watched prior to going to the theater, much more than Blade Runner.  I realize they are different genres, but one entertained while the other put me to sleep. 

Kids probably won't like it and it has sex scenes and shows bewbs.  scfi violence.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Best Scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Drax looks out over the tranquil landscape and in an uncharacteristically calm manner states that it reminds him of taking his daughter to the lake.  Mantis wanting to share this happy memory that can calm the usually boisterous Drax, reaches out and touches his arm.  She then breaks down in tears. 

Drax was being played as comic relief in this movie to the point that you had forgotten his back story and may have felt that he had too.  It turns out that he hadn't and the revelation that such a happy memory is tinged with unbearable pain reveals a lot of depth about his character.  He failed his family.  They are dead because of him.  He may carry himself as a bumbling idiot but he is driven to make amends for  this failure.  Maybe to even prevent it from happening to others.  His boisterousness is possibly just him putting on a mask to hide the pain that he still feels inside. 

It would have been so easy for this scene to have been cut.  To leave Drax as just this lummox and comic relief.  We know from this scene that Drax remembers and that he will protect his new family to prevent what happened to his old family.  This scene says so much with very little dialog.  

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

DC owes their TV success to Buffy

DC has had a pretty good success with their super hero TV shows in spite of underwhelming showings in the box office.   How do they hit that teen-twenty-something market so effectively?  Well they recreate Buffy in every show. 
Buffy had her Scooby team.   Every successful DC show has replicated this formula.  It might not be obvious unless you watch the shows back to back to back though.  After watching Smallville, Arrow, and The Flash, you can turn on Supergirl and wonder, "who is the character that is actually a wolf in sheep's clothing. 

"Oh, they just have a team dynamic and this is true of every show," you might say. Yes, to a degree.  All of these shoes have the same characters mapped out.  Hacker/science (admittedly, almost all of the Flash characters fall under this heading), comic relief, wise mentor, not quite good/evil character, and somewhere along the line another super friend to come to help when chips are down.  This is exactly the Buffy formula, I think it might be the first time this formula is used on TV.  It is a slight tweak to the actual Scooby gang (from Scooby-do). 
Other pieces of the formula include Monster of the week with big bad theme throughout season.  Special circumstance that creates all the evil they are to fight/most villains have a common background/origin. 
It really is a can't miss formula and only becomes obvious when you have three shows on one network using it at the same time under the banner of an expanded universe.

If you like the DC shows and have not seen Buffy, I suggest that you check it out.  While the DC shows are arguably good, Buffy was great (for the most part) and really pretty revolutionary in some episodes. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man spoiler free movie review

Behold, in the year of our lord 2015 a hero will emerge that may at first go unnoticed because of his stature.  Word will spread of his deeds and his renown will grow!

Saw Ant-Man this weekend.  Let me tell you, it was great.  I think I enjoyed it more than age of Ultron.  It just hit the right note.  I am not a huge Ant-Man comics fan.  I did read the Scott Lang origin story and an issue where he gets a job working for Tony Stark.  Classic Ant-Man was never really my thing, though.  I worried about Marvel's ability to put up a hero that would be believable in a battle against super-powered opponents.  I saw the movie because I trust Marvel.  They have not abused that trust to this point. 

This movie should have come out on Father's Day weekend as Fatherhood is a huge theme in this movie.  It covers absent fathers, distant fathers, step fathers, father figures, and redemption.  I think it handles the relationships pretty realistically, even in the context of and separated from realism, comic book universe. 

The action was amazing. They really surprised me with how they handled the fight choreography and the use of Ant-Man's powers.  They managed to make the combatants in the fight completely serious and still infuse humor into the fight scenes.  In the climactic fight scene you don't get the Spider-man, I am not really taking this seriously, banter (that is fine for Spidey, it his thing).  The characters are fighting and it feels like a fight,  hate on one side, and a defensive attitude on the other, lightened up by secondary scenes and plays on setting.  This created the perfect tone. 

Go see this movie, heck, take your dad to see this movie, you both will enjoy it immensely.  If you don't have a dad, take someone else's.  My girls took me, and the movie was all the better for it. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

5 Best Scifi Books for People New to Scifi

Are you looking for a book to introduce yourself or someone you know to Sci-Fi?  I have been asked to recommend books to first time Sci-Fi readers many times.  Maybe the person already reads fantasy or is kind of into the YA dystopian scene.  Maybe the person has never even considered scifi.  Here is a list of books and the types of people you should introduce them to. 

1.  Ender's Game-  This is great for kids and adults.  It is an amazing and brutal work.  The downside of this recommendation is that some people are Orson Scott Cardaphobic.  They refuse to recognize him as a person because of his beliefs.  Don't recommend this book to those people. 

2.  The Martian-  Engineers will absolutely love it and so will most other people.  This book is great for people that have never considered Sci-Fi before.  The reason is that it is set in a plausible future with hard science throughout.  You might have to tell them it was Sci-Fi after the fact. 

3.   The Handmaid's Tale-  We all know people that think they are too smart for Sci-Fi.  This book is smart and bleak.  Intellectuals will love it for those reasons.  The Road can also be substituted here.  Neither of these authors will even admit that the books are Sci-Fi so your too smart for Sci-Fi friends can feel safe in the knowledge that they have been reading speculative fiction. 

4.  I, Robot-  This book is great for people with short attention spans or who don't necessarily want to read an entire book.  Each story is independent but pulls you in more and more.  I think this was my first introduction to literary Sci-Fi.  My mom told me to read it. 

5.  The Rookie-  Know any sports fans?  Just start talking to them about football and the future of the sport.  Then you can tell them about a football book that takes place in the future with different alien races playing positions suited to their abilities.  I bet they will find it interesting to hear about alien wide receivers that can leap 20 feet into the air to make the catch. 

Got any other ideas about great introductions into Sci-Fi, let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers

Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers - Volume 1Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers - Volume 1 by Steve Gerber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers reprints the original mini series and cameo appearances from other titles from the 70s. This is a fun if somewhat corny book. Corny, mostly because it is so dated. It was a huge mistake of having a character from the 70's/80's era in the far future as a member of the team. This original version of the team has several members, most are post human inhabitants of other planets in our solar system. While it is fun imagining what these people would be like, it really makes the invasion look implausible. These few guys that are so tough are the exact genetic makeup of everyone else on their respective planets. Yet the Badoon march in and take over only to be forced out by a very small group. Doesn't make sense. Not to mention that they fly around in a mock up of the Enterprise that they have named the Captain America.

This book is wordy. It is about 20 issues of some of the wordiest comics you will read. not that this is either good or bad, it is and you should just be expecting it. Not great, but not horrible either. There is some good writing tucked away in several issues and some interesting ideas that seldom ever seem to get fully explored. The art is on par with other titles of the time and some of it is rather striking.

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