Top 5 Most Disappointing Movies of 2015

This section always makes me sad. Very sad. In a medium I love so dearly, why must shit cloud its artistic shelves?

Honorable Mention: A Most Violent Yearmaxresdefault (1)

It’s honestly a good flick, but in no world can it justify its run time. The plot is solid but could be condensed to forty minutes. When I can shave off over half the movie’s run time and still piece together every single story element, that’s an issue. A Most Boring Year is good, if you’re doing spring cleaning with it on in the background or something.

5.) Black Mass
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Damn, organized crime movies just can’t get it together this year. Basically, Johny Depp’s makeup looks ridiculous, the movie is tediously slow without the skilled tension mounting of, say, the Godfather series, the pacing is awful and god help me did they waste Corey Stoll’s character. He singlehandedly could’ve saved this movie if they’d introduced him in the second half rather than the final twenty minutes. There was potential for a great throwdown and the movie just says “use your imagination because it DID happen we’re just not showing it.” No, Black Mass, I go to a movie to SEE cool things. Not imagine them.

4.) Spyspy-poster
If I were viewing this movie as a comedy, what it’s ADVERTISED as, it’d be my worst movie of the year simply because of how awful and devoid of humor the whole thing is. I give it the benefit of being a comedy/spy-thriller hybrid though, as the actual execution of the spy stuff wasn’t that bad. Still, not funny whatsoever. Two chuckle-worthy one-liners are all you get and the run time is much longer than those two sentences, I assure you.

3.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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This movie managed to rip my heart out even though I went in with zero expectations. It’s just so soulless. As much as people hate on the prequels, at least they TRIED to tell a new story. This shit is just a shameless rehash of the original trilogy’s plots rolled into one gargantuan pile of Disney money-generating garbage. The story has so many ridiculous conveniences after the first twenty minutes that I honestly couldn’t take it seriously, and my friends and I were laughing from the halfway point to the finish line at how much of a joke this reboot was. And it IS a soft reboot, because if it wasn’t, what the fuck is their justification for calling this Episode 7 when it’s just a supercut of Episodes 4, 5 and 6?

2.) Avengers: Age of UltronAvengers-Age-of-Ultron-Trailer-1-Quicksilver-Saves-Captain-America-570x237

Disney is knocking it out of the park this year with people eating up their shit and throwing money at by-the-numbers cookie cutter action flicks. My issue with this movie is, simply put, it’s the week of Ultron, not the age. He is the most poorly written villain I’ve seen in my LIFE. In the first trailer, he was fucking scary, in a good way. In the movie? He’s a comedian who never uses any of his fucking powers, literally just to let the good guys win. HE CAN HACK THE INTERNET. You know how much damage he could cause within a matter of seconds? He could’ve started WW3 and been on his merry way while the Avengers drowned in a sea of global violence. But no, he hacks one bank account then plays with vibranium cylinders for the rest of the movie. It’s pathetic, and I really hope none of the writing staff are proud of themselves for this, Joss Whedon and his secret ghost assistants or otherwise.

1.) Terminator GenisysNE1PqyiYsqPO54_1_a
At least the other movies had some form of endearment going for them. Some scene or line of dialogue I could pick out and go “hey, that wasn’t so bad”. This movie has pasties on tits, special effects from the 70’s and a lead female who can’t decide whether she wants to be Juliet or Sarah goddamn Connor. The plot is garbage and riddled with the same kinds of awful conveniences and plotholes Age of Ultron and The Force Awakens had, just without even a glimmer of the same charm. Ew. This movie is just ew.

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Man of Steel Is Better Than Most Marvel Flicks

Having just re-watched Man of Steel, I have to say, it has aged SUPERBLY. These past two years, filled with nothing but Marvel-this and Marvel-that, have kind of desensitized me to the notion of a superhero movie actually having stakes. Thankfully, after my re-visitation of Man of Steel, I now remember why we need heroes in the first place.2840438-bg
Marvel movies range from great fun to shitty. Captain America: TWS and Iron Man 1 fall into the former, while Age of Ultron claims the latter title like it’s a trophy. But, regardless of their individual merits and pitfalls, the one overarching issue is that the stakes are never high in any of them. Ever. Mainly because A.) they’re Marvel and don’t want to go dark, and B.) they need to keep everyone happy and healthy for the MCU inter-connectivity to be sustained. And that means that none of the movies can ever reach the title of “epic”, since they all cap out at the aforementioned “great fun” due to their low stakes. Man of Steel, however, was epic. When I first watched it I was still a bit blinded by Marvel’s unprecedented success, so I couldn’t give it a fair shake. After Age of Ultron, well, those blinders were GONE. So, with the advent of my second viewing of MoS, I have to say, it’s a stellar movie. The villain is SPECTACULAR, and even for his miscasting, Michael Shannon still does a fantastic job. More importantly, though, he’s written so that he actually gets shit done. Particularly, that scene with the world engine sucking up people in Metropolis, then slamming them into the earth (effectively mushing their bodies to microscopic pieces) was borderline cringe-inducing, and that’s a good thing. When the villain in a movie actively makes you go “dude, stop, pleaseeee” instead of “Hey, guys, can we let James Spader win a round or something?” you know the writers are doing something right.

I just don’t want to watch another Marvel film, because I can already tell the plot before even having watched the movie. That’s not to say I won’t go and see them, but it definitely won’t be at full-ticket price anymore, and not in the first week of release either. DC has proven that they’re willing to take risks, however, and with shit like Age of Ultron coming out of the opponent’s camp, I think they’ll find that more people are receptive to their gambits now. With that said, DC, please don’t let your own DCU stumble into the same pitfalls that the MCU is currently entrenched in. While Batman V Superman‘s trailer definitely looks like it will continue off Man of Steel‘s strength, don’t sacrifice high-stakes conflict solely for a Justice League jamboree.

Review of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (SPOILER REVIEW)

At least I’m stoked for the Black Panther movie now.avengers_age_of_ultron_concept_art-wide6.jpg

Age of Ultron is a mediocre ad for future Marvel Cinematic Universe adventures. Black Panther nods? Check. Thor: Ragnarok teasing? Literally ten minutes’ worth. Infinity War hints? So many it’s not even enjoyable. And yet, ironically, the movie doesn’t end on a note that even slightly hints at Civil War, the immediate follow-up. Although the real crime in all of this is that I’m left wondering where the FUCK the AGE OF ULTRON WAS. If you want to talk about by the numbers, filler sequels that serve no purpose of their own beyond setting up future expansions, take off your Marvel fanboy cap, apologize to the Amazing Spider-Man 2 and put Age of Ultron in its place as the most contrived, plot thread dangling garbage expansion-bait movie of the decade.ultronavengers2trailer

It’s not even that Age of Ultron is BAD, per-say, it’s just so lacking and so decidedly average. Literally 5.5 out of 10 average, .5 better than downright neutral. The first thirty minutes are pretty solid, leading you to believe that Joss Whedon actually knew how to evolve the charm of the first Avengers. The Hydra battle in Sokovia is solid as shit, even if there are some stupid things like Hawkeye not dying from a DIRECT HIT to the chest by a goddamned tesseract laser. But I can let those slide, as Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and the crew throwing down is too much fun. The banter and witty dialogue is better than ever, probably the best out of any Marvel movie yet. Unfortunately, immediately following the celebration party after the big Hydra battle, things dissolve to utter shit. Ultron is rushed into full-on villain by this point, after a brief thirty second segment where he is born into the world. Within ten minutes of having entered the scene, Ultron’s character has evolved to the point where any other movie’s villain would be at after an hour and a half, and not in a good way. He’s already got his whole plan, his motives, his gang, etc. and all of this goes unexplained and unexplored. Same goes for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s history. They get one monologue explaining their past and then BAM, they’re bad guys with Ultron now because of a downright stupid grudge. Joss mentioned in an interview how there was about an hour’s worth of film cut to get the movie from three and a half down to two and a half hours which involved cutting a lot of Ultron’s and the Twins’ story development, but having seen the final product, I wish Whedon had manned up and kept all of it in. Maybe then these new characters would feel fleshed out, rather than generic obstacles for the Avengers to overcome.

Now, even if a plot is rushed as hell there’s still a chance it can be enjoyable and make sense. Unfortunately, this is not one of those cases. Age of Ultron relies on deus ex machinas like Hugh Hefner relies on tits, and I’m not even exaggerating. For the past seven, eight or however many movies there’ve been in the MCU, adamantium has been unbreakable, right? So of course in this movie, the one time a villain gets his hands on it, Iron Man magically finds a way to break it using Vision’s mind gem and Thor’s electricity combo. So stupid. But while we’re making up excuses for plot convenience, how about we analyze the final battle in which EVERYONE repeatedly says “we’re not gonna make it. Either civilians die, or we die, or we all die, but one of those populations is getting the boot”. They say this LITERALLY right up to the final second when inexplicably Iron Man solves everything and stops Ultron’s master plan. They do not explain how an entire city coming down from orbit in the form of thousands of burning comets does no damage at all to the planet, nor do they explain how that was a safe move considering literally every character said that would damn the earth if they did it, hence why they didn’t just start with that. But of course, let’s all turn a blind eye to the blatant disregard for plot coherence. I’m not kidding when I say that Transformers: Age of Extinction had a better plot. We’ve hit rock bottom (or wait no we haven’t because somehow that magically doesn’t do any damage, sorry Ultron).Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Trailer-1-Quicksilver-Saves-Captain-America-570x237

The kicker of that above paragraph is that at one point the battered, nearly destroyed Ultron openly references how bullshit this all is and how contrived and contradictory the writing is, when Hulk enters his getaway Quinjet and all you hear is James Spader yelling “For God’s sake!”. It’s my favorite quote of the whole movie, because that one line sums it all up. Even Ultron recognizes that there’s no way he shouldn’t have won in some fashion, but because of plotholes, conveniences and the necessity of the heroes needing to win, he had to lose it all.

And even plot elements that aren’t technically “flawed” are shit, like Black Widow’s past being explored. They try to make it super emotional and dark when we find out the KGB had her sterilized, but because of how cheesy her sad face is, how poorly done the flashback implementations were and how irrelevant it was to the bigger picture, while everyone else was busy crying I was  just sitting there non-plussed at the fact everyone else gives DC shit for this but in reality they do the dark stuff so much better. This one scene justifies why we need Marvel to stick to light-hearted stupid fun rather than DC’s more realistic take. Same goes for Quicksilver’s death. I mean, who cares? Joss kept teasing one teammate was going to die to fill the quota for “dramatic sacrifices”, and I called Quicksilver as being the sacrificial lamb a month ago in a post on this very blog. I predicted why he would die, how he would die, all of it. Yet given how obvious they made it, they still expected me to care, which was hard with all the moronic sheep sitting next to me blubbering like toddlers at the scene when Quicksilver was the only logical character that Marvel could afford to kill off. And the fact that I could call it so far in advance is a testament to how blase the writing of this movie was.

In terms of other flaws, Brian Tyler’s score is lackluster. He just reuses Alan Silvestri’s far superior Avengers theme a minimum of four times throughout the movie, and then calls it a day. Pathetic. And the special effects continue Iron Man 3‘s trend of deciding to use up the budget on unnecessary advertising rather than CGI work, meaning that it looks like a cartoon at times; another parallel to Transformers: Age of Extinction. Not good. One last thing as far as personal gripes go is that they decided to implement a trailer-effect on one of the in-movie shots, where things are moving at normal speed then turbo boost for a split second for no reason (not related to Quicksilver either). If you want to see what I mean, watch this video at the 1:52 mark to see the effect I’m talking about in action. Again, just a nitpick but it’s such an amateurish move in terms of editing. Ew.

The only three compliments I can really give this movie are for A.) Doing the Vision justice, B.) Giving Rhodey some much needed love and a cool Iron Man 2 throwback scene, and C.) Nailing the humor balance in the dialogue. But those are it. The only benefits this movie has going for it. Given how rushed everything is, the action doesn’t feel rewarding, but rather obligatory and soulless. In fact, those two words pretty much sum up what Age of Ultron was, obligatory and soulless. It is the foundation in a plot-point pyramid that will support and hopefully atone for its sins in Civil War, else this might prove to be the start of a downwards spiral for the MCU.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Character Death Confirmed?

So, Joss and the team at Marvel keep hinting at a death in the upcoming Age of Ultron movie, which would be a nice change of pace from the “near death late movie revive” trick that they keep using (Coulson, Fury, Bucky, etc.). Seriously, that stunt got old before its first use was finished. Anyway, a perma-death is being rumored. So who can this potentially be, accounting for contracts and future movies in the MCU that we already know about?

One candidate remains, after future movie contracts are considered: Quicksilver.

Some of you might be wondering why Hawkeye isn’t on there, the most expendable-looking Avenger, but that’s because two days ago he was confirmed for Civil War. Otherwise, he’d be a prime candidate for that list.

Let’s analyze the evidence as to why Quicksilver has reason to be worried.

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First off, the scene from the first trailer with Scarlet Witch on her knees howling. The death of her brother could cause this. Namely, Ultron will kill Quicksilver convincing Scarlet to hop sides to the Avengers, which we already know happens. Secondly, Quicksilver is nowhere to be seen during that final top-down shot in the third trailer when every other Avenger is present (although he might be running the perimeter or something outside the shot). Thirdly, Aaron Taylor-Johnson openly admits he doesn’t like doing sequel work, and since this is his first appearance in the MCU… draw your own conclusions on that one. Finally, couple that last reason with the fact that he’s a new face with not a whole lot of character development (one cameo in a credit scene) and Joss’d have an easy time passing off his one-shot death as a “major” death since he is a principle character, just not one essential to previous or future Marvel flicks.

A Hulk death might been in the playing cards, only because it would be a ballsy move for Marvel, and they do tend to make those. However, given Ruffalo’s six movie deal and character popularity, it’s hard to see Marvel volunteering that kind of a loss. On the other end of the spectrum is the potential for a Hulk exodus, which, while not a death, would be a loss of a major character in a way. By the end of the movie they could fling him off to space for a GotG2 cameo, although James Gunn doesn’t want this based on certain reports, so maybe it could be an eventual Planet Hulk starter and see Hulk getting repeated credit cameos during GotG2 and the two part Avengers: Infinity War, so that after Thanos is dealt with Marvel launches things back up with a Hulk flick that’s had multiple credit scenes of build-up. Just a thought.

Ode to a Hedgehog

Blue hedgehog, blazing past.
Running swift, running fast.
How I loved you, in Secret Rings.
Even when the controls denied me of nice things.

Then came Unleashed, on the 360.
My favorite title, so visually nifty.
Then came Colors, a solid successor.
In between, there was Black Knight, which made the good games look even better.

Then came Boom, ’twas not happy.
Now he lives on iPhone for good, which is downright crappy.

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(this ode was written by my tears as I watched the trailer for Sonic Runners)