Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy! (2017)

Happy! (2017)

Holy shit, what did I just watch?

This has got to be one of the most well done crazy train rides I have ever seen. It's an all out full throttle punch to my face that I was not expecting at all. Just a quick warning though, this is not for you if you can't handle: Violence, including sexual violence, massive amounts of blood, pain, suffering, grievous injuries, drug use, death, children in danger, all manner of sexual situations, prostitution and probably a few I'm forgetting. Yeah it's all in there.

Basic plot line: Nick Sax is a disgraced alcoholic ex-cop turned hit man who cares about nobody, not even himself. Meanwhile Hailey, the daughter he didn't know he even had, gets kidnapped by a very bad Santa so she sends her imaginary friend Happy to find her father, whom she's never met, to save her. Meanwhile Nick gets involved in a mafia power struggle in which a man who has messed with him before named Blue needs a password that he think Nick has. While the very bad Santa is collecting kids and pulling mind trips.

Got that? Yeah it's that messed up and I think that is only the first episode.

Nick can actually see Happy, a little blue flying unicorn that is tooth rottingly sweet, and quickly figures out that he is real. Insert of stream of characters that are either disturbing as all get out (Smoothie) trying but not trying to screw over Nick (Meredith) or just want all of it to end and everything please go back to normal (Amanda). It just plain gets stranger after that.

As the violence ratchets up and Nick starts taking a beating that should kill a man three or four times over he just keeps on going. He is the unstoppable force that is pissed off, drunk, high and really needing to release some stress. With a friend that (almost) nobody else can see by his side that gets dragged down into the world of Nick Sax and all the darkness it has gathered.

Then, really subtle like, they start doing something that makes it even more over the top. Tiny bits of supernatural elements are slipped in under the radar. I mean if imaginary friends are real then why not? Catching onto this is what really drives the final perfect nail into the series and holds it all together nicely. Leading to a scene at the end that definitely lets you know that dark shit is afoot and season 2 will try to blow my already blown mind.

Everyone does their job above and beyond here. The actors are putting everything they have into it. The attention to detail on the sets, costuming, Nicks constant growing collection of injuries, etc are superb. Then the way they shot the entire thing is jarring in all the right ways. This is the kind of show you need a cigarette after watching an episode.

So if you like some really over the top messed up television. Watch Happy!. But don't say I didn't warn you.

If you like what you see here please think about hitting the 'support this blog' button at the top or the 'Ko-Fi' link at the side for ways to help me keep this blog going.

To see a list of movies I have reviewed click the 'movie reviews' listing at the top of this blog.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel (2019)

Marvel shows they still know exactly what they are doing.

First thing here, this movie was not on my 'see at the theater' list. Very few movies are just because they cost so much for a ticket now days. However the sheer level of hatred spewed forth from groups like ComicsGate and their ilk made me change my mind. So, on opening weekend even, I scraped up some cash and got my ass in the theater to give this film a viewing. I was so happy I did.

They managed to hit all the notes just right. Enough humor to keep you amused, some great action scenes to have you excited, just the right twists in the story to keep you surprised. They even managed to hold back just enough on the time period of the movie. Being set in the 90's I was expecting a never ending spew of pop culture references from then. But there wasn't, they dropped in a few obvious ones, then a few subtle little pokes then just kept the story going forward without dumping any more on your lap. Very nicely done.

Story wise they didn't go cookie cutter either. We start off with a group of Kree warriors fighting against the Skrulls with the focus being on Vers (our Captain Marvel) and Yon-Rogg. Things don't go as planned and we find ourselves on Earth in the nineties with Vers questioning who she really is while a small group of Skrulls skulk around disguised as other people. We get a young Nick Fury and Coulson, both of which were pulled off beautifully even down to perfect writing to fit the characters. We start digging through the mind of our good Captain to discover secrets deeply buried about her past.

Some of the high points without giving you any spoilers as best I can. The cat 'Goose' with the call back to Mavericks co pilot in Top Gun. A really nicely done twist with the Skrulls that even I didn't see coming, but I haven't bought comics in over ten years so what do I know. Getting back up. The young Nick Fury realizing that shit just got strange. A tie in to CaptainAmerica: The First Avenger and the first Avengers movie. Finally our good Captain attitude of not giving a shit about who she makes angry was nice.

Visually, as you can pretty much guess, the visuals were damned stunning. They make a point to show you just how powerful she can be when motivated. Using the old Kree suit designs when they are in space, the slightly familiar look of her powers, shit blowing the hell up. Yeah they did all that in spades.

So in the end I will highly recommend this movie as a rock solid entry into the theatrical MCU line up. But it really makes me want to see Avengers: Endgame even more, trust me that first extra scene in the credits is nice.

If you like what you see here please think about hitting the 'support this blog' button at the top or the 'Ko-Fi' link at the side for ways to help me keep this blog going.

To see a list of movies I have reviewed click the 'movie reviews' listing at the top of this blog.

If you want to pick my the next movie that gets reviewed I run a poll every week over on MeWe now. Click here to add me to your contact list. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Robocop (1987)

Robocop (1987)

One of the quintessential action movie of the eighties. But it also so much more than that. A film that heaped up the violence while making several political statements at the same time. Put out by a director that seems to make either really solid movies or films that leave you wanting a refund on the hour or so of you life that you just spent watching them. Thankfully, Robocop is of the first kind.

The edition of this film I watched for the review was the unrated directors cut. As some may know the movie had to be submitted to the MPAA twelve different time in order to finally get the rating down to a R. I believe everything cut for that rating was violence and gore. Especially in the scene where Murphy is executed by Boddickers gang. Not surprisingly it is still far less gory then what we see getting R ratings now. Times have changed and many wouldn't see the extended footage as shocking as they would have back in 87.

We see the biggest and continual political statement of the film rather quickly. Corporate control of public services and how little they actually give a shit about them aside from making money from this. Seeing corporate top dog Dick Jones talking about how OCP moved into the private sector making money by running schools, prisons and so on makes a very profound point now as we are actually seeing this happen today. Getting a good view of the top management in their towers fighting for power over who gets to put their project forth paints a nice stark difference from the police station that is rundown, underfunded and outgunned on the streets. Having OCP in charge hasn't helped them in the least.

It's like a warning we should have listened but didn't because we were distracted by everything else in the movie.

The feeling that Officer Murphy is pretty doomed from the start is something you can see coming down mainstreet. He's optimistic, happy, has a good family life and is a bit charming to his new partner. Yeah if you don't see him going down hard then you weren't paying attention to how things were going. Kind of like that dude that got blown apart by the ED 209 and his body, complete with lettuce sized gaping bullet wounds, was laid out across the model of Delta City earlier on.

More corporate indifference every time you turn your head. They mention moving officers to give us a prime candidate for the Robocop project, which means they put good officers in places they will likely be killed in so they can harvest the body. Losing the arm they saved. Walking in and taking over part of the police precinct while telling officers to piss off. The excess of indifference is played up very well.

Speaking of excess, let's talk about the other political and social messages in here. The idea of American Excess is one, from the SUX 2000 advertisements to the hookers and blow celebration, we go all out when it comes to over doing every damned thing. They just don't bother to hide it. Crime going out of control is another, we see everything from gas station robberies, attempted rape in the middle of a parking lot, a massive drug lab and even Dick Jones tempting Boddicker with being the top dog in charge of a huge potential criminal enterprise with the building of Delta City. Many shots of the police mentioning how many officers they've lost to news blurbs quickly covering something terrible before happily moving on to the next topic.

While the basic premise of the film is simple there is a whole lot going on that it's almost an overload. But it's all good business and you won't get bored watching.

This is also the movie that forever cemented Kurtwood Smith as a dangerous mother fucker in my mind. His portrayal of Clarence Boddicker is creepy as hell and he outshines every other person in any scene he is in. Seeing him later as Red Foreman was something that took me a while to wrap my head around.

Yeah there are some cheese moments. The way Joe Cox laughs is something I wish I could edit out of the entire thing. A few obvious fashion statements that come with any older movie. But thankfully most of everything else holds up very well 30+ years down the line.

In the end I cannot recommend this movie enough. An action movie with a story bullet that really hits where it needs to. Although seeing some of the aspects coming to the real world over the years is a bit depressing. But this should be in the library of any action/scifi movie fan.

Especially useful to have a copy if you have one of those idiot friends who says things like “political statements doesn't belong in movies”, toss this sucker in and watch them cringe as you explain how those political statements take it from your average action movie to a great action movie.

If you like what you see here please think about hitting the 'support this blog' button at the top or the 'Ko-Fi' link at the side for ways to help me keep this blog going.

To see a list of movies I have reviewed click the 'movie reviews' listing at the top of this blog.

If you want to pick my the next movie that gets reviewed I run a poll every week over on MeWe now. Click here to add me to your contact list. 

"Cue super hero shadow shot since we can't do a super hero landing with this suit."

Monday, March 4, 2019

Logan's Run (1976)

Logan's Run (1976)

Buy from Amazon.
Watch on Amazon.
Get the book it's based on.

Whenever you bring up science fiction classics this is one movie that always makes the list. Deservedly so as it has had a tremendous influence on the scifi fandom in the decades since it's release. So let's talk about this film.

First off a quick rundown of the plot for those who may not know. In the future after wars and destruction the human race is isolated into enclosed cities. It is, for the most part, a utopia of pleasure and relaxation. However there is one catch, you are only allowed to live to the age of thirty, at which point you are entered into the carousel which will take your life. Those who do not follow this rule are called Runners and are hunted down by a select group called the Sandmen and killed. Logan 5 is a Sandman who is assigned to locate Sanctuary, a place that Runners are trying to find, in order for him to do this he is forced to become a runner himself. With the help of a woman named Jessica who has connection with a group of people who support Runners he fights his way out of the city.

Got that? Good.

Now first off a bit of truth to admit here. I had only seen this movie on regular broadcast television before. So everything I had seen had been edited down for both time and content. So I was in for a bit of surprise when I sat down to watch this thing on Netflix.

But first off I will say for a 70's scifi movie this film is pretty slick. I mean it is of course dated but in comparison of other films from that era it looks really good. The enclosed world gives them a lot of freedom for things such as costuming. There is a bit of standard fair, short skirts, tight fitting pants and tops, etc. But it is carried over through out the entire film and you get the idea that there really aren't new fashion choices being cranked and they are fine with what they have. So while you get to set back and laugh at some 70's fashion it's not the over the top styles we see in most films and it just fits with the setting actually.

The city is done in miniature and they obviously put some work into it. It looks good and, once again, they avoid over the top ideas that couldn't be pulled off in the regular shots of the film. The sets are solid and work. A weak point in the effects is probably the shots from the Sandmen guns, not so much them being fired but where they hit. Oh and Box, a robot who poses a threat to our heroes that suffers from inconsistent appearances, mainly in his arms and movement.

There are a few scenes that just make you shake your head an eye roll a bit. When we get to our first Runner scene it appears the Sandmen, including Logan, have their guns set on “Miss Every Damn Time”. I mean I hoped they would shoot better than Stormtroopers. This doesn't continue throughout the movie as later Logan is nailing people in the chest at quite a distance like it was nothing. Oh and back to that first scene the Sandmen really eat the scenery in their over the top antics of taunting their target. You start to think Logan is just another psychopath on film pretty quickly there.

Then come the scenes I wasn't expecting as they were also cut for television. The casual let's have sex attitude where anyone who wants a good boning can enter themselves into the 'system' and picked out by whoever likes the way they look. Later we have a trip through a psychedelic orgy room where our protagonists are grabbed by the participants who want them to join in. Later Logan and Jessica have zero problem stripping in front of each other and we see plenty of TnA shots including a row full in the frozen hall of Box. Now I will say all of these fit the world in which the story takes place and none of them are done with a tasteless view. It just took me off guard because of my previous viewing experiences with the edited version.

One of the best parts of the story is when they make it outside and have to transition from living in a fully protected and controlled environment to the absolute wilds of what is left. We also see just how little they know about anything other than that isolated environment and just how different everything is for them. This is made even more obvious when they meat the old man.

There are a whole lot of messages in this movie. The dangers of isolationism, how most of our societies rules could simply be lost, a little bit of anti-communism painted over it and not to mention how we could all fall under the spell of giving up our freedom, and lives, for guaranteed happiness while we are there. That's just scratching the surface and it makes me want to get a copy of the book it's based off of to see how much more there is.

This is the definition of a SciFi classic across the board. It is slow in parts but they manage to give you a constant stream of information about the world that you may not notice. A lot of thought went into how that self contained city works even if they may not come out and spell it all out for the viewers.

Top recommendation for anyone that is a fan of the genre.

If you like what you see here please think about hitting the 'support this blog' button at the top or the 'Ko-Fi' link at the side for ways to help me keep this blog going.

To see a list of movies I have reviewed click the 'movie reviews' listing at the top of this blog.

If you want to pick my the next movie that gets reviewed I run a poll every week over on MeWe now. Click here to add me to your contact list. 

"The next fyre festival is going to be lit."

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Jaded Gamer - goodbye

I've been a gamer for over thirty years. It has been the hobby I have loved and enjoyed. Many friends were made, good times were had and it's been a real blast.

But this last week has taught me that the hobby has changed and I'm pretty sure I no longer want to be part of it. All it took was one sign to set it all off and plenty of people opening their mouths to show just how little people cared.

It started with a single pdf packet going up on DrivethruRPG for 99 bucks of a game I would never have bought into anyways. Me, and several others, simply said that the price point was to high and out of price range to afford. I mean that amount of cash puts a lot of groceries on the table at my house where when we have soda it's the cheapest generic we can find. Stretching every little bit we can to cover meals for the week. We buy what we can from the Hope Store which sells out of date products donated to them my regular grocery stores.  So yeah, 99 dollars is a lot of money to me.

But once it was stated that by several that it wasn't affordable that's when it began. The lectures about how much value was actually in there, how they were pricing it at a range so they could pay their employees well, as if we didn't care about the people making that product. We do, but we still can't afford to cough up money like that.  Then we were the reason people pirate games so much in the hobby, that we were expecting to get everything for free. No idea where they got that from but that was laid on anybody who said that the price was to high.

This has made it obvious. The hobby doesn't want poor people involved. I scrape and save up what I can to buy something every now and then but that is far and few between. So I'm not somebody they want around... well except to have someone to place the blame on.

I think I'm finished here. The hobby that I loved for so many years has become a hostile environment because I don't feed enough cash into it. People I respected and followed; bloggers, content creators, publishers, many of them raised their heads and spit some poison at those of who said they can't ever see paying 99 bucks for something.

You don't want me here. Fine. I don't want to be here anymore either.

Friday, March 1, 2019

John Carter (2012)

John Carter

Ahhh... John Carter, the movie that Disney hoped would bust out and turn into a big franchise. They sunk a bunch of money into this movie, both in production and into one of the most inefficient advertising campaigns ever. But it fell very flat at the box office and didn't get anywhere near the level of hype they had hoped. The main reason, in my humble opinion, for this is simply that Disney forgot one thing.
Nobody knows who the hell John Carter is.
Okay so that should be most people. Those of who enjoy old pulp stories knew full well who he was. But slapping up just his name as the title was a huge mistake. I firmly believe if they would have made it 'John Carter – Warlord of Mars' it would have put more butts in the seats. But I digress... onwards to the review.
The entire intro with Edgar Rice Boroughs as his nephew, the letter summoning him, the locked vault and all that. It feels out of place. Like something added to the story that didn't need to be there at all. Even using it as an expository device that wasn't even needed because it only ends up explaining itself and nothing more. But finally it's over when Edgar starts reading the journal and we get to part of the story that actually matters. John Carter is currently a gold prospector and a former cavalry man for the Confederacy that is now trying to be recruited by the US Cavalry to help fight the Indians. Everything we need to know is right there, zero need for that other introduction.
Everything progresses at a pretty good pace after that, after an encounter with an evil bald dude John finds himself transported someplace else with abilities that he didn't have before. Strong and able to leap massive distances, not to mention a bit faster on his feet to boot. Although they don't describe him as immortal as they do in the original book.

There are lot of liberties taken with the source material, which is understandable, but they also stick closely to some. The Tharks are very well done as big, green, four armed fierce types. Technology is also upgraded to something more flashy than anything that was described in the books and I'll admit it looks really neat. Dejah Thoris is a large change, now she is a scientist who can fight tooth and nail with the best of any man, when in the books she never swung a sword, was pretty much a professional damsel in distress needing rescued every time you checked your watch and wore a LOT less clothing. Therns are introduced rather quickly and they didn't come along until later in publications, plus they are powered up with some super tech now. Plus they crammed a lot of story in here that was spread out between different stories before.
But Tars Tarkas is still a bad ass and that is really something that they had to keep.
We get an attempt at a grand far reaching story and they touch a lot of the notes that needed to be hit. But it suffers from a few things like John Carters now super human abilities seemingly change in power from scene to scene. One time he's having a time with one or two soldiers and then in another he is throwing down with a Thark army until he is waste deep in bodies. So is he and a super bad ass or not? Well Mars may never know.
After much running around, trust building, fighting and flying it has a nice big throw down near the end. We almost get that perfect happy ending. Then we get tossed back to earth and that damned storyline we started with involving Edgar Rice Burroughs. Which that entire set up could have been saved in case there was a sequel and then you use that as the opening and how he gets back to Mars. But no, we get fed it now.
But in the end it does provide us with an enjoyable film with plenty of action, some characters you like, great special effects and a setting that actually does leave you wanting to know more.
Sadly we won't know anymore. Because some dumbass at Disney had no idea how to market this movie and failed so completely that most of America had no idea about this movie. Even after a huge ad campaign nobody knew what the hell it was about. So it stops here at one singular movie... the end.

If you like what you see here please think about hitting the 'support this blog' button at the top or the 'Ko-Fi' link at the side for ways to help me keep this blog going.

To see a list of movies I have reviewed click the 'movie reviews' listing at the top of this blog.

If you want to pick my the next movie that gets reviewed I run a poll every week over on MeWe now. Click here to add me to your contact list. 

"No, wait, Virginia I see one person who knows who the hell you are!"