26 November 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I know what you're thinking.  Isn't this blog dead?  Yes, I thought so too.  But you know what can bring me out of retirement, albeit briefly?  Fangirling.


OK fine, not the greatest, but 7000 times better than the first and 800% met my expectations for it!! My 14-year-old self was very, very happy!

Pretty sure the second book is my favorite of the trilogy, very close to the first.  As for the movies, I thought the first one was alright.  There was too much good stuff from the book left out of it for me and while it was cool to see the characters and story brought to life, it was a bit disappointing.  Have I still watched it multiple times? Yes,  But actually, now that I've seen the second movie, the first is dreck by comparison.

I'm not even really sure what the difference is, but this director is on it.  It makes me sad that the first movie exists.  Can't they redo it?  Forget it ever happened and make it more like this one?  I guess it's that it's way more faithful to the book than the first movie was.  It totally brought everything to life, and anything that was left out I'm OK with being left out.  They hit everything I wanted to see.  And they made me wish the movie was 5 times longer.  If it had taken place in real-book-time, it would have been amazing.  They truly did my favorite installment justice.

The book certainly had a lot of kickass characters, and the movie versions were perfect.  Johanna was awesome.  Finnick was amazingly perfect - can't wait to see his story continue (angst!!!!).  Haymitch and Peeta continue to rule my life with their perfection.  And Gale continues to suck, but that's OK because he's Gale -- he's supposed to suck.  And that makes him perfect.  And while there were a couple times where I thought too much Awesome Jennifer Lawrence Personality was sneaking in to the performance, Katniss rules too.

So what's next?  I hate the third book.  But I'm excited about the movies now that this one was good!  It gives me hope.  Because they're splitting that damn book into 2 movies -- they had better be worth it.  They should have split this one into 2 movies.  And made it a 5-hour epic.  I would watch that 100 times.

So now here I am, dying to see it again soon.  And re-reading Catching Fire so I can relive the flaily teen angst and drama.


09 July 2013

The Lone Ranger and Pacific Rim: A Study in Expectations

Where to start.  A movie I had zero expectations for and a movie I had the highest expectations for.  One surpasses my wildest dreams, one craps on them.

The Lone Ranger -- Lord help me, I only saw this movie because my husband wanted to.  I heard it was crap, I expected it to be crap, and it was.  It's just a disjointed mess.  Johnny Depp is doing what he's done since Pirates of the Caribbean - wear a costume and have weird mannerisms.  So that's no good.  Jack Sparrow and Willy Wonka are much more interesting characters.  Armie Hammer is adorable - and was great in The Social Network - but lord is he dull as dishwater.  Who decided to try to make him a star?  It's not happening.  It's a "Western," it's a "comedy," I have no idea what it is.  Boo.

Pacific Rim - Man, I have been living for this movie since Comic-Con last year.  I had first heard about it 2 Comic-Cons ago and was excited at the combination of Guillermo del Toro and giant robots v. sea monsters.  The movie isn't bad.  But it's not the Movie of the Summer I was hoping for either.

Warning: If you're not into giant robots fighting giant sea monsters, there is NO REASON for you to see this movie.  NONE.  If you're into that kind of thing (and you should be), enjoy.  Mostly.

Not surprisingly, the best parts involve the giant robots fighting the giant kaijus.  You seriously get sucked into it, believe it can happen, root for both sides - it's great fun.  The effects are perfect.  Unfortunately, I was surprised at how absolutely horrid all the human parts of the movie are.

I love Charlie Hunnam. He's great on Sons of Anarchy.  Or maybe he's just nice to look at.  Because the man is as wooden as a tree in this movie.  Holy Christ, I wanted to scream, "Show some personality!!!" the whole time.  There's no Oscar-winning dialogue for sure, but you can make something out of it, can't you?  Idris Elba did.  He's the best part of the movie aside from the robots and monsters.  He sold his corny lines.  But every other actor stinks.  Even Charlie Day - Jesus, man, tone it down.  We don't need him shrieking when there are explosions and roars and LOUD NOISES everywhere.  Take it down a notch, dude.  I don't know what's worse - everyone else being wooden and dull or him being a spastic gerbil.

I felt more emotion during the robot v. kaiju fights than I did during any of the human interactions.  I'll watch the movie again - definitely.  Hell, I'm sure I'll own it on Blu Ray.  But when I watch the human parts, I'll just be making fun of them.  Develop some kind of drinking game maybe.  I like drinking.

P.S. I love Gipsy Danger - that's my robot in the poster.  Love him more than any of the humans, that's for sure.

30 June 2013

These Movies Both Start with a W

They are also just mindless summer popcorn fare for the most part.  But it's in the 90s here and I hate it so I like to spend my weekend days in a movie theater.

I went into White House Down with zero expectations, so I suppose it didn't disappoint.  I still can't stand Jamie Foxx, regardless of his Tarantino status.  But I don't mind Channing Tatum.  Ever since 21 Jump Street I've been a bit obsessed.  This movie had the awful corny dialogue and situations:  Wacky White House tour guide who's all, Get your hands off the antiques!  Little girl who is wise and brave beyond her years!  Multi-layered government conspiracy!  A crowd of people outside the White House who are cheering while tanks roll in and get in a firefight with the bad guys, as opposed to running in terror (or not being allowed within a 10 block radius in the first place)!  I suppose there are worse ways to spend a summer day.  Like outdoors.  Also, Channing Tatum in a white tank top.

At least in World War Z people were acting as they would in real-life - freaking terrified of zombies.  I really liked the zombies in this movie actually -- fast-moving, and swarming, like a wave of water rushing down a street.  Pretty cool.  But OMG the plot.  You could tell there were tons of reshoots and script changes.  The last 1/3 is cool - basically a huge we-have-to-get-through-a-bunch-of-zombies sequence - but it feels like a different movie from the globe-spanning catastrophe movie in the beginning.  And the very end feels hella tacked on.

Basically, I sat through these movies and it was OK, but I don't plan to see either of them again, until they're on HBO 100 times a week and I can't escape them.  Also, I plan to read - I know, read! - World War Z, mostly because I really think this zombiepocalypse thing could happen and I need to be prepared.  I've already got a camp stove.

16 June 2013

Man of Steel/This is the End

I saw Man of Steel yesterday, so I finally feel capable of writing about it.  Not because it's so deep that it takes a lot of time to process, but because - Jesus Christ on a bike - Henry Cavill is hot.  I'm sorry, but he is.  No, not hot, just really, really ridiculously good-looking.  Like, criminally so.  So good looking that every time he comes on screen I end up with my mouth hanging open in awe of his face.  I'm not kidding.  He's beautiful.

But is the movie good?  Yeah I think I liked it.  I think I really liked it.  But I also wonder if I'd be OK with watching Henry Cavill watch paint dry.  That'd be a good film.  Jesus, he's handsome.  I think the movie is stronger in the first half - really laying out the backstory, effectively showing the struggles of a growing alien boy.  Then the second half happens and it's nonstop fighting.  The action is definitely well done - it's really well-directed.  Because a quarter of the movie is 2 grown men flying around and flinging each other into buildings and fighting and you totally buy it.  The movie also changes some stuff in the Clark Kent/Superman backstory, at least as I know it.  I'm not entirely sure I buy the way it ends up; I need to see it again to see if it makes sense.  I mean, if I have to....

I've been eagerly anticipating This is the End like no other movie this summer.  It's as if the movie industry read my mind - let's put all of my favorite funny guys who have awesome chemistry together into a vulgar comedy.  Perfect.  Everyone was awesome and it was just as funny as I hoped it would be.  Plus it's crazy because, you know, apocalypse and everything.  It's brilliant.  As brilliant as Superman is beautiful.

29 May 2013

Fast & Furious 6

Is it a ringing endorsement to say that Fast & Furious 6 is the least disappointing movie of the summer?  It should be.  Because after feeling decent-but-not-wowed over Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, this movie was every bit as awesome as I expected it to be.

Can't go wrong with racing and big dudes fighting (The Rock and Vin Diesel - as good as it gets!) and girls being tough and chases and guns and explosions.  The movie totally dragged a bit in the middle and yet is still the most fun I've had at the movies this summer.  Until I see Pacific Rim and This is the End.

19 May 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

OK, so. Star Trek Into Darkness. Saw it Thursday.  And if you haven't seen it by now, you don't really care about it, and so I'll have spoilers here. But they're not a big deal, really.

First off, I chose that photo because Benedict Cumberbatch owns the movie. I love him in Sherlock and he's a pretty slick bad guy. He'd be in good in Marvel movies as a villain. Not that his character here is developed much, but he's just cool. Also, he's Khan. But who cares. It's just a name, really.  A name and some slick, long coats.  The Khan "reveal" has been rumored for like a year and once it's actually done, you pretty much just go, "So what?"  Moving on.

I've seen all of the previous Star Trek movies, but don't remember them much beyond that one about the whales where Spock is playing a boom box on a bus. Or something.  I like this cast a lot and they're just as good in this one as the first.  Just when I think I like Bones the best I end up liking Scotty the best.  The movie feels like a ride at Disney World - in a good way.  The kind where you're jostled around and ships crash and explode in front of you.  Good fun.  There are funny lines and good chemistry amongst the cast. 

But there are also plot holes or at least "plot what-the-effs"?  Transporters that work only when it's convenient and don't work when the writers didn't want them to.  The use of Transporters makes no sense the entire time.  It's the kind of thing that didn't bother me til after the movie though.  Maybe Transporters are glitchy things.  And Spock is a stickler for the rules when it's convenient but he conveniently isn't when something needs to happen.

Again, I don't remember much about the old movies, but things in this movie are switched around.  Like, instead of happening to Spock like in the original, they happen to Kirk.  It's that whole other-timeline thing that keeps things interesting.

After stewing on it for a few days, it might be just as good as the first one.  Maybe the first one seemed better because it was brand new.  Oh also - the plot holes.  Final rating: not as good as the first, but better than Iron Man 3.

05 May 2013

Iron Man 3

You know, now that I look at this poster, I should have suspected that I wouldn't love Iron Man 3.  Because I generally don't like chicks, and I certainly don't like chicks in my superhero movies.  Particularly when they're played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Iron Man 3 had too much Paltrow.  Actually, the punnier thing to say is that it had too much Pepper for my taste.  She shouldn't be 2nd-billed and prominent on the damn poster either.

Now, I still mostly enjoyed the movie.  A crappy Marvel movie is like a crappy cup of coffee -- it still isn't the worst thing ever and it still gets the job done.  Does that analogy work?  I'll like Marvel movies no matter what, but I should love them.

So what was wrong with Iron Man 3?  Besides a certain blonde.  My main problem is that Tony Stark doesn't have superpowers.  Sure, he has cool technology and I'll even buy the super-convenient secret projects that are activated at just the right time.  But he shouldn't have the ability to fight and slide down steel beams when he's not in his armor.

I just want a dark, alcoholic, womanizing, self-hating, tortured Tony Stark. Not one with a steady GF whom he calls "honey."  Tony Stark shouldn't be calling a chick "honey" unless it's derogatory and dripping with sarcasm. (Clearly I need to find some fan fiction. And yes, it can be the kind where Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are banging. I'm all-in on that idea.)

But I guess a dark take on Tony Stark isn't going to work for Disney.  So instead we basically get a shoot-em-up, high-tech action flick.

Also, without giving spoilers, I can't decide if the Mandarin thing is good or bad.  On one hand, I like the concept, on the other hand I wanted him to be an awesome villain.  The poop joke was bad, I know that much.

Long story short, it looks like I'm relying on Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast & Furious 6, and - most of all - Pacific Rim to make my summer.