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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Trailer and Impressions

So, this is pretty much just Tim Burtons take on the X-Men, isn’t it? i mean come on, it’s about a group of children with special (or should i say “Peculiar”) powers they get from birth who are rejected from society so they stick together in a school just for them…. Yeah, this is just Tim Burton trying to make a X-men movie in his trade mark style. Personally, i can deal with that. While i easily tire of Burton’s style i still think he’s one of the most interesting film makers working today. Plus he also had the good sense to give the  “Charles Xavier” to Eva Green, which means i’m going to see this eventually because I’ll watch just about anything she’s in becuase i’ll take whatever excuse i can to look at this woman…i mean watch her amazing talent as an actress (in all honesty, she really is just as talented as she is pretty and it’s a shame she’s not in as many films as she should be).

As far as the movie it’s self goes, it looks pretty ok. It’s clearly aiming at a younger audience, which may dapen my enjoyment of the film, but it looks better than most of the “young adult” garbage that’s being pumped out. So yeah, i’ll probibly end up giving this a look but can’t see it making it past the “good, but not for me” camp.

Captain America: Civil War Trailer 2 and Impressions

I have two complaints with this trailer: 1) i wished they had cut just after Cap’s shield gets taken away an the end and left the Spiderman reveal for the movie itself and 2) i think they gave just a little too much away. I’m pretty sure nothing here is “shocking” for the fans that have been keeping up to date with the MCU, but even then this trailer comes off as a plot-line highlight reel. I’m sure the film will still be worth the price of addition, but i almost wish i could go in knowing less.

Ghostbusters 2016 Trailer and Impression

This looks bad. Really bad. This doesn’t even come off as being a movie, it feels more like sitcom. From the 90’s. Right from the start things look bad. Not only is the trailers first joke a puke joke, but the puke effects and the ghost effects don’t even look like they belong in the same movie. Then when  Melissa McCarthy starts talking after that she sounds like she’s acting in a kids show on the Disney channel. Both the “let’s go” and “is it the wing or the hat” jokes both go on to long. And neither one is even that long. I will say that i rather like the looks of the ghost. They remind me of a more family focused version of what Del Toro did in “Crimson Peak” which i absolutely loved.

I wanted this to be good. I really did. I wanted this too be a huge win for women in film, but if this is representative of the overall quality of the film, that’s not going to happen. In fact, this trailer makes me think this will be the biggest disappointment of the year. Not the worst movie, just the one that wastes the most potential. Maybe with the next trailer we’ll see something better, but i have to ask: if there is something better, why lead with this?


The Purge: Election Year Trailer and Impressions

“The Purge: Anarchy” was a great B Action movie that got held down by people expecting it to be a sub par horror film like the 2013 original. Leaving behind any pretense of being a horror film allowed for some fun action in a while variety of scenarios that helped the film reinforce it’s core theme of wealth and class disparity. “Election Year” seems to be aiming to do more of the same, and i’m totally on bored. While the franchises satire has never been subtle (they did name the woman running for president who is going to make things better “sanders” after all) it’s a message i’m on board with and i like my message movies to be stuffed with as much blood, guts and explosions as they can fit in. So yeah, i’m looking forward to this one, big time.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenplay By: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Release Date: December 18, 2015
Run Time: 135 Minuets
Rating: PG-13
Score: 4/5

I’m not going to lie, I went into The Force Awakens with lower than average expectations. I was sure the film would be…okay……tolerable……competent…..but nothing more. Most of this came down to one major issue: J.J. Abrams. Abrams is, by far, the most uniquely bland director I’ve ever known. He may be a better director than some one like Michael Bay, but from watching his films alone I can tell you more about Michael Bay than I can Abrams (like, for example: Bay as a clear hard on for Americana and the US Military especially). This is most clearly seen when focus is placed on Abrams one true strength as a film maker: mimicry. Abrams is always at his best when he’s trying to be another director, but once he tries to put his own spin on things, that’s when everything falls flat. The best example of this was, in my opinion, “Super 8”. When Super 8 was trying to be a Spielberg film, it was really enjoyable. Once Abrams had to rely on his own creativity, the entire film fell apart. This was a long form way of saying that I was expecting this to be the best Star War movie George Lucas made scene “The Empire Strikes Back” until it becomes yet another uninteresting, underwhelming Abrams film.
And I was totally wrong. While I still feel Abrams
shouldn’t have to lean so much on ’70s era Lucas to make a good film, I think this is the best film he’s made thus far in his career. So, with all that out of the way: lets talk about the movie.
We open, as Star Wars films always do, with a text crawl setting the scene. After “Return of the Jedi” and the fall of the Empire, and new foe called The First Order has surfaced to bring down the newly founded Republic and trying to reinstate the empire as it once was. We also learn that Luke Skywalker has gone missing. The film proper opens with a rebel pilot named Poe (Oscar Isaac) being given a map that leads to Luke’s position, but the First Order has found him before he could get the information to General Leia (note the “General” there. Leia has always been a badass, people seem to forget) so he gives it to his droid, the incredibly adorable BB-8, and sends it off so the information doesn’t fall into enemy hands.
As the enemy lands and attack the village Poe was in, we see a lone Stormtrooper cower from battle and unwilling to fire at the unarmed civilians. We learn that this is his first battle, and it’s clear a life of war isn’t something he is cut out for. So when the New masked Villain, Kylo Ren, abducts Poe to learn the whereabouts of the map, our Stormtrooper, Fin (John Boyega) decides to break him out. The two men manage to escape and even start becoming friends, but are shot down and land on the same planet they had just left.
As this is going on BB-8 runs into Ray, played by Daisy Ridley, and the two decide to team up and look for Poe in a near by town. It’s hear that Ray and Fin meet up and decide to escape together as the First Order soon attacks the town knowing it’s about where Poe and Fin’s downed ship would have landed.
Once the two are free they come across some old friends, Han and Chewy, who decide to help the two of them get BB-8 to someone who can take the droid to the rebel HQ. Unfortunately, once they get there they are spotted by both First Order and rebel spies and a full on battle breaks out. Ray is kidnapped and taken to the First Order base. Fin, Han and General Leia go back to theirs, using Fins first hand knowledge of the enemy base to get in, rescue Ray and destroy the enemy HQ once and for all.
Now, you may have noticed something in this description of the films story. Barring a few details, this sounds an awful lot like the plot of the first Star Wars (i’ll rot in hell before calling it “A New Hope”), and you’d be right. However, this didn’t really bother me much as it truly felt more like an homage rather than rip-off. The new beats keep things feeling new and unless you’re really looking for the similarities between the films they’re not all that noticeable.
However, there were two major issues (and a few minor ones as well).
The first is how much of the film relies on coincidences. Poe just happened to be on the same planet as Ray, Ray and Fin just happen to meet up, they just happen to run into Han and Chewy and so on. While i’ve heard some say that this is “the force” leading these people on their path, but I don’t really by that. Nothing about how the force has been depicted, even in the prequels, makes it seem like the force is some kind of conscious being.
The second thing, unfortunately, deals with this films relation too the prequels. As much as I hate the prequels, I will defend them as cannon. So, with that in mind, how does no one seem to remember the fact that the Jedi were real? How has Luke and his journey become the stuff of legend when it would have happened within most of their lifetimes or just before it? I’m sorry but if the Jedi were aiding the republic only about 100 years ago, especially in such a technologically advanced society, there should be some evidence for it, right?
Those were the two things that bothered me to the point were I had to doc the movie. But then there was Captain Phasma, who only shows up three god damn times and doesn’t do shit in the film. Sure, that didn’t make the film any worse, but so much could have been done with her. (if she doesn’t show back up in 8 or 9, I’m going to be pissed).
Pretty much everything else is top notch. While the film may not be as jaw droppingly beautiful as this years Crimson Peak, there are still a ton of amazing shots throughout, like one early scene where a laser blast is being force held in place. Fin and Ray are two of my favorite leads in a long, long time and Ray is probably the best female lead in a genre film scene Sigourney Weaver in “Aliens” (sorry “Mad Max: Furry Road” Fans, I like Ray a bit more)
And going back to Abrams: one of the reasons his work fails is his “misery box” crap which never pays off well enough for it to be the big selling point for his films. However, there is a twist in the film that I honestly never saw coming. It’s not a story twist, but when it comes, you’ll know and it is beautifully well done.
In the end I’d say this is my second or third favorite film in the franchise. It’s not better than “The Empire Strikes Back” but I may have enjoyed this more than either the original or “Return of the Jedi”. I am absolutely looking forward to seeing where this new trilogy goes from here (although this “one new movie a year with a main installment every two years” thing kind of bothers me). If you haven’t seen this yet, just go do it. But don’t bother seeing it in 3D as it just does not add anything to the over all film.

Intro to Film: American Beauty Review

So, for my Intro to Film class we have to watch and review 6 movies, and i thought, “Why not shar my work once it’s been graded?” So, yeah, for the next few months, while i’m in class i’ll be sharing my class reviews with you guys. The first one up: American Beauty

American Beauty is a 1999 drama directed by Sam Mendes about a man named Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) and his 90’s suburbanite angst. As the film opens Lester is feeling undersexed, overworked and unappreciated by his family. He longs for more than the mundanity of Suburbia, and it would seem that he finds it when introduced to his daughter’s friend Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari). Lester soon finds himself reinvigorated, doing what he can to woo the young girl while also going after the other things he feels like owes him by now.
Lester Burnham is clearly the focal point of the movie. Not only is it booked ended with his naration, but he is also the only character with an arch. Sure, other characters change in the course of the film, but their changes are mostly based around finding people who mirror their own feelings on life and no longer feel isolated in their disillusionment. Lester actually goes on a journey in the film and he comes out of it a new man. The film starts with Lester feeling “sedated” in his life and unlike The Ramones, this isn’t something he wants in life. But once he hears Angela say she’d be willing to have sex with him if he had more muscles he instantly starts working out. Here he finds how easy it is for him to get the things he wants out of life and he starts living without inhibition. However, once he actually has Angela ready and willing, he can’t go through with the act because he is suddenly aware that she is not what he wanted. She may have been a muse of self-improvement, but she wasn’t what was going to make him happy and he understands this, ready to return to life with his family as a happier and more engaged man.
This is supported with the use of rose petrels in the film. This imagery could be a homage to 1941’s “Citizen Kane”: in that film the misty behind the phrase “rosebud” was Kane referring to the last thing that made him happy. It is possible to that the roses in “American Beauty” are playing on this. We first see roses at the films opening as Annette Bening’s Carolyn Burnham cutting roses while Lester narrates about how distant they’ve becomes. He is inside the house, miserable while she is outside cutting roses and happy. The next few times we see roses is when Lester is fantasizing about Angela. She removes her top and the rose pestles spill out, or she is in a bath filled with them. With each fantasy more petrels. But once he gets her he can’t take her. She’s not what he wants, and there are no roses. The last time we see roses, and in fact the only time we see Lester closes to any real ones in the film, is in his death seance. He has rejected his lust for Angela and sits down, happy in the mommies of days gone by, ready to rejoin his family as a better man, and in front of him as the roses his wife picked in the beginning of the movie.
American Beauty is a movie about what it means to be happy and how little the facade of happiness means. Lester’s wife has a motto about keeping up appearances, needing too look happy to be happy. But the viewer sees how her marriage is falling apart and how her own disappointment in her abilities leads to her breaking down and starting down a path of self destruction. Angela keeps talking about how there is nothing worse than being normal, but once confronted with a person she doesn’t understand she starts calling him a freak and doesn’t understand why her only friend would want to stay with him. But for all the effort she puts into her act of happiness and self assurance, once someone called her average she breaks down.
The only character who is truly happy throughout the film is Ricky Fitts, who is so overwhelmed by all the beauty in the world he doesn’t know what to do with it; and for his passion he is ostracized. While everyone wants to put up a charade of happiness, but facing the real thing makes everyone uncomfortable. This sentiment is mirrored by Lester dying as he becomes happy again for the first time in years.
The band Rush said in their song Subdivisions “…the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth”. So long as that remains true, American Beauty will have a place in the discussion of American film making, but after nearly 20 years the film is starting to show it’s age. While none of the acting is bad, a lot of the scenes from the younger members of the cast feels forced. It also doesn’t help that most of the cast stays firmly in the realm of the first dimension or that the film is an incredibly slow burn. The fact is, American Beauty doesn’t do anything that Fight Club didn’t do in the same year, and Fight Club remains a more engaging movie. As is, the two make good companion peaces; both able to make the same points but in different ways to suit the views performance of what amount of sleaze is considered acceptable.


My Grade: 20/20

Zoolander 2 Trailer and Impressions

My Thoughts:

What the hell is with the flood of sequels to movies from the early 2000’s that we’ve been getting? Zoolander 2, Joe Dirt 2, and Tremors 5 have all either came out or been announced this year and all i can say is: why? Tremors i kind of get; at lest those were good movies but really, who the hell was asking for more Joe Dirt? Are we going to get the “long awaited” 3rd Charlie’s Angels movie too? Oh no, i know, maybe Halle Berry will reprise her role as Catwoman for the DCCU.

Onto the topic at hand…this trailer sucks. When i think of “bland comedy about a really stupid person” this is exactly the kind of thing i think about. From the “let’s talk about something smart sounding that everyone has at least heard about” opening to the “this guy is so stupid he doesn’t get that ‘2oolander’ is a pun because he’s just sooooo stupid and ‘funny'” ending punchline. I don’t know who would want to make this, i don’t know who would want to watch this and i really don’t understand the sudden wave of early 00’s nostalgia.

GoodBadFlicks Patreon

So, as you may know, i like taking some time to direct you towards Partreons and kickstarters i think are worth a look, and today i have another: GoodBadFkicks. Cecil here has been on youtube for the last five years, and i’ve been subscribed for the last year or so. He does reviews of movies that are all either So bad their good, low budget movies that were unfairly judged or other kinds of “slock” movies he finds.

On top of that he does weekly netflix recommendations which is…exactly what it sounds

like, and “WTF Happened too…” where he talks about different aspects of film making and talk about their evolution and where they’ve gone wrong.

His content is consistently worth while in my opinion, and i think you should give his work a look. If you like what you see, think about sending him a few bucks over  patreon. You can find that here: GoodBabFlicks Patreon.