An Atypical Thriller

Movies featuring special needs characters always end up being tear jerkers. It’s rare to find a feel good or even a thriller that deals with people who are non-typical. When these characters are in movies like this they are usually secondary and stereotypically and overly dramatic versions of what people with these issues really are like. The Accountant does a great job integrating someone who is different and enmeshing them in a thrilling fantasy world.

the-accountant-5Christian Wolf (and his plethora of aliases) was diagnosed with autism at a young age back at a time where society was even less accepting of those that were different. His mother wants to do everything to help her son succeed life but his father sees his son’s issues as weakness. As his father tries to eradicate these weaknesses by putting Christian and his brother through a variety of trials that will affect them the rest of their lives, his mother leaves the family because of the lack of help for her son. Christian is now an accountant using his talent for math and organization to have a semblance of a normal life. But he hides his true work like he hides his autism negating his work with mob bosses and drug cartels to the background and keeping his head down. That is until he goes to work for Lamar Black and uncovers a money laundering scheme that puts himself and his coworkers in danger. Christian uses his certain set of skills to protect her and solve the puzzle.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Accountant. As someone who has studied and worked in the field of autism for over a decade, I was worried how they would portray the main character and his developmental disorder. Luckily, it seems that the writer, directors and actor were truly aware of what autism entails and how it often manifests. The entire movie was entirely respectful not negating it to an unrealistic role in his life nor over blowing it for dramatic affect. Affleck does a great job with the character and does well portraying a high functioning autistic adult.

The rest of the cast shines as well. Iconic actors such as J.K. Simmons, Jean Smart, Jeffery Tambor and THE ACCOUNTANTJohn Lithgow add powerful depth. While Smart and Tambor have minimal parts, it’s always great to see their face on the big screen. But the best parts of the movie feature Affleck and Jon Bernthal, an up and coming heavy hitter. The two have major chemistry and their interactions are imbued with a variety of emotions. Bernthal is an amazing actor, and I look forward to seeing where his career takes him.

The plot seems farfetched in the trailer but the movie smooths things out nicely. The movie spans Christian’s entire life featuring flashbacks to his youth and the defining moments of his life. It builds a complex story about family and nature vs nurture. Stories that seem to run parallel entwine and most often come full circle. The movie features two promenade twists (only one in which I saw coming early on) that answer any questions that the movie brings up.

Well researched, written, and acted, The Accountant is a fun thriller that changes the way we see movies with nontypicallly developing characters. Now if Affleck would just continue to make these kinds of movies instead of the Batman movies.


Summer Movie Swing Part 2

Independence Day: Resurgence

Available on BluRay and DVD Oct. 18

The movie has garnered a lot of negative attention from critics but it is a pretty good action movie and the ending magnifies the movie in tone and scope

This summer both Hemsworth brother get the spotlight (Chris steals the show while Liam is the new generation of leading men). Liam is the handsome face of the new American generations (with the required darkness of course). He joins a team of returning cast (including Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman) and newbies (Sela Ward, Jesse T. Usher) that are awesome combination of past and present (but be prepared to say goodbye to some beloved characters)independence-day-resurgence when the next threat hits. Earth has been planning for the aliens return and has used the alien’s technology to benefit the entire planet. As the movie opens they are working one a new weapon while an elite team of pilots are getting ready for just about anything. Their patience is rewarded when the mother ship comes home. But what we haven’t anticipated? Earth wasn’t to the first to be attacked by these monsters.

Many critics have killed Resurgence which surprises me. It’s pure Hollywood Action Movie Recipe and manages to produce a capable action flick. I must agree that it doesn’t live up to the original but it has all the same pieces: great action, characters you like, and a final outlandish attack (there’s even a pretty moving speech). I enjoyed the action and was interested in where the alien’s history will take us.

Resurgence is notable because it is the perfect sequel/reboot. There is the passing of the crown to the younger generation while honoring those that came before. Integrating characters from the first movie and having several of them survive is a key in keeping the franchise consistent but their rolls make it easier for the new characters to become center stage. Viewers get to say goodbye and hello without feeling cheated (unlike other recent reboots).

I was unhappy with the forced franchise set up. As the plot develops there is no doubt that the franchise could continue so it was rather tacky and cliché as the ending is set up for an ensured sequel. I guess, at this point, Hollywood hasn’t had time to learn from Divergent. I’ll see the sequel (if the producers decided this one made enough money), but don’t expect it to be as good as the first or even as good as this one.


Suicide Squad

Available on BluRay and DVD Dec. 13

Suicide Squad gets a few things right and a few wrong. It’s nowhere near the best comic based movie this year and it is not the worst.

Suicide Squad follows a group of villains who have been put together to fight the new growing supernatural threat in the world. In the wake of Superman the government is scared and somehow letting lunatics out to fight those like him is a great idea. When Enchantress (one of the squad’s own) goes berserk, the team is called out for their trail one. The team proves they can battle the forces of evil while being (mostly) evil themselves.suicidesquad

Suicide Squad is the best when it’s using its sound track to personify the characters and getting viewers into the mood for a good ass kicking. The music gives death to the many one dimensional characters. That’s not to say they are all one demission. Diablo is the most compelling of the stories and we do get flashbacks into what Harley Quinn once was and a small look into what actually motivates her.

The writing of the characters isn’t the only problem; casting cripples character like Deadshot and Flag. No matter what Will Smith thinks, this was an ensemble movie and his desire to push his leading man status down our throats harms the movie. Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag is the poor man’s Tom Hardy, literally. After Hardy left the project (I knew there would be problems with this movie when he walked out), the production set out to find someone who could be Hardy and since that’s impossible, ___ is slammed between a rock and a hard place. Outside of the Human Flame, the best characters are regulated to a just a few lines; Boomerang and Croc get to make a few wisecracks and stand around taking up space instead of being integrated into a cohesive team. I would have rather have seen more of them and less of characters like the Joker.

Ah, Jared Leto, the most controversial of all of this. He was a horrible Joker playing him as a strung out meth head who paraded around as a mob boss. It was painful to watch and you just waited for his over-the-top scenes to be over. Everyone involved wanted Joker to be different and he is, in fact, very different but no one bothered to ask if it was any good.

Suicide Squad is an entertaining romp that needs a lot of fine tuning before its next foray.



Now available on BluRay and DVD

Ghostbuster also reboots an old story. The Ghostbusters crew dedicated the movie to original writer and star Harold Ramiz but the movie doesn’t live up to the Ramis’ reputation.

A team of estranged researcher reunite when a local historic location has shown evidence of haunting. While the team easily sees through the gimmicks, they suddenly find themselves face to face with real ghosts. The two must expand their team (including their research assistant, an outspoken subway work, and a model of receptionist) to get to the bottom of the disturbance. And they quickly find that it’s not isolated. New York City has a ghost problem!

The movie had some great parts but the biggest issue is that it isn’t Ghostbusters. The tone is not the ghostbusters2016image004same, the movie is super CGed and the only real connection is some icon images and gear. The movie would have been better standing on its own as a Ghostbusters inspired movie; the four ladies get together to bring back the old idea and gear and set up their own movie with tone and vision. The overly CGed world of this Ghostbuster isn’t scary at all and is just another C level reboot.

But there are some fabulous parts to the movie and those are the two characters that get the most laugh. Leslie Jones starts out as stereotypical hysterical black women but quickly she starts saying and doing what we as normal people think. The prime example is the “room of nightmares”; she refuses to go in a room of mannequins because she knows how it will end. But the move is propelled by Chris Hemsworth who gives his best performance ever as the dumb secretary that throws gender roles on its head. He is hilarious but turns on the gravitas in a heartbeat (it also helps he was allowed to use his own accent).

I’m not a Trump supporter (screw you Apatow), but I still believe the quality wasn’t very good. Hollywood stuck with a gimmick but lacked substance. Women are funny, especially when you let them be.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Available on BluRay and DVD Nov. 29

It is interesting that Hollywood is finally getting behind female centric comedies when other countries have been doing it for years. It’s hard to look at BBC comedy without noting the plethora of female comedians. AbFab’s returns continue to prove that women are funny and can pull the big screen attendants.

Edina Monsoon is desperate not it sink into oblivion and continues to struggle with her PR firm. She is always on the edge of the next big get or the next big trend but never fully lands. Eddie has finally lands something and it’s not good. When it is revealed Kate Moss is looking for a new PR director, Eddie accidently kills Moss in her scramble to get the position. Eddie and Patsy must escape before she can be crucified for the fashion world’s biggest death ever. But Eddie and Patsy don’t know how to do low key and their situation continues to sink and sink and get funnier and funnier.

English movies based on TV show like to recycle old materials from their shows (see Are You Being Served and Bean for examples) but AbFab is more subtle about how it does this. Instead of pulling whole gags from the series, running gags appear at every corner. Mother is still being verbally trashed; her nurse still thinks Eddie’s fat and Eddie has finally added a second verse to her “walking down the road” song! This is wonderful treats for long time fans without trying their patience. And as always, the movie is star studded with a variety of cameos from Game of Thrones Gwendoline Christie to the “really hot right absolutely-fabulous-the-movieartnow” Rebel Wilson. And, of course, there’s Lulu!

The movie largely secedes because Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley become Eddie and Patsy and they give it their all. They don’t inject anything PC into this character taking women’s issues as basis and then exaggerates them to the point of being funny. A movie about woman insecure about her weight is usually a Lifetime movie with a sad sound track. Instead Saunders takes Edina and makes her larger than life, and it is at that point we can connect to Eddie; while some of us may have done dumb stuff, none of us are as dumb as Eddie.

Many of today’s comedians such as Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham need to take note. It’s ok to be honest, foul mouthed and talk about our vagina without sinking to likes of their male counter parts. (I mean, I don’t want another Sausage Party from men let alone something like that from women. Ick. That genre of comedy should just die out.) Saunders and Lumley do it right, they do it real, and they do it with a lot more class.


Me Before You: Another Perspective

A different kind of review from my chronic illness blog

The Spoon Project

As someone with a disability I was not offended by the movie Me Before You. There has been a wave of negatives reviews and propaganda surrounding its release. Many of those with disabilities are outraged but I am not—at all. It, in fact, captured a lot of feeling I have had during my journey. Suicidal actions and suicidal thoughts are huge in our population, and I thought it did a great job of bringing that to the public’s attention. It is not uncommon for people to want to be relieved of the pain and depression that accompanies so many illness and disabilities especially when you have a variety of conditions (co-morbidity is high for chronic illnesses). Many of the people I know who struggle (as well as myself) have thought about during their journeys. This movie brings up a very real and very important issue.


Some people with disabilities perceive…

View original post 307 more words

Summer Movie Swing Part 1

Now You See Me 2

The trailer wasn’t strong for this second installment causing the movie to seem more spectacle than heist, but the film itself it’s actually a pretty good follow-up to its predecessor.

10NOWYOUSEE-master768A year after the original heist, The Horsemen are stalling for time, waiting for the right time to reappear after their original heist (sans one member who they just write off). Atlas is anxious to get back into the world even going behind Dylan’s back to talk to The Eye on his own. He is ecstatic when he receives a new mission: take down Owen Case and his all-seeing technology. But all does not go along their well thought out plan so they must out to trick the men who first tricked them.

The trailer captured some the biggest showy moments but the movie is more than just spectacle. There is character growth as each character shows them to be human and not just show men. The plot delves into the back story of Dylan, the almost mythical character that helps the team in the first film. The audience learns why magic is so important to him and his involvement with The Eye

The humor adds a great layer keeping things from becoming melodramatic. These moments are some of the best as tension is relieved through this humor for a great balance in mood. It’s a fun movie and worth the ticket price.

The Conjuring 2

Movies like The Conjuring intrigue me. I like things that are based on actual events but they often disappoint because the movies embellish. I have found that real life if often more scary than the clichés used in horror films. While the first movie was enjoyable, the second movie tries to up the ante but really just makes a spectacle of it.

In England, a girl is possessed by a ghost of a man that died at their home., teleportation and telekinetic events terrorize the poor family. The Warrens are called in to investigate before the church will perform an exorcism. But Lorraine brings personal baggage into the case keeping answers veiled.

The Conjuring isn’t scary unless you are awake at two in the clock in the morning and are envisioning the nun’s face next to yours. The movie depends on clichés of scary faces, creepy voices, and standard horror fare. While it is not gory (a plus), there isn’t much to distinguish this movie from the many that have come before it. While the first one kept afloat by great casting, this installment does not; it feels like a B movie peddled by Hollywood.

The one thing I did enjoy was the way the writers spun the Amityville Horror and the Enfield Poltergeist. T used hey used Lorraine to explain the portion of the cases that were documented hoaxes .The movie uses Lorraine’s personal issues with a spirit to explain why she feels the spirit is at both places. This allows the Warrens to have some credibility after backing the mockery that was Amityville. (While I know Amityville was faked as a publicity stunt, there is still a picture that was taken in that house that haunts me. I’m sure there are emotions from the family murder that hang in the air at that house.) But otherwise this movie is a dud.

X-Men Apocalypse

The third in the story of the younger X-men turns out to be a lot better than was anticipated. Overshadowing and making fun of X-Men 3, this story follows ten years after the events portrayed in Days of Future Past. Mystique is now a hero, Magneto has a family and Xavier’s school is full of students. But when the First Mutant is revived, the world changes for all whether on the side of good or evil.

x-men-apocalypseThe movie does have some problems. The love story of Scott and Jean is shoved down our throats from the beginning. Its makes the love story artificial and staged. The movie also depends too much on the two starlets who producers consider hot right now. Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress but her character has evolved from the comics to make her a central character only because Lawrence won an Oscar and draws in crowds. The tale of her and Erick is repeated over and over, and it’s boring. The addition of Sophie Turner does nothing for the movie. High off her role as an annoying (but now fan loved) Sansa Stark, she is cast as Jean Grey but brings nothing to the characters and gives the same stilted performance she gives in Game of Thrones. The movie finally remembers that it the relationship between Erik and Xavier that truly propel these line of stories and that’s where the best acting and most interesting arcs lie.

But there are a lot of things the film gets right including the relationship between Xavier and Moira, and Erik’s desire to be a normal person. The two best scenes feature appearance by some of the best characters of the X-Men world. Wolverine makes a cameo and the writers did well explaining his intense love for Jean. The second features Quicksilver and the Eurhythmics. Sweet dreams ARE made of this.

Fun, exciting and often meta, Apocalypse is one of the better of the X-Men movies. Not as good as the first film or First Class, it never the less stands on its own.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Tim Burton does not return for this installment but his vision of the world is alive and well. The writing, on the other hand, needs a coffin.

Through the Looking Glass creates its own story instead of taking from the source material. The Mad Hatter is dying and the only way to save him is to find his family; heAlice_Through_Looking_Glass_tea_240516_620_347_100 believes they did not die like he had originally believed. So Alice, fresh off a sea voyage and looking at disaster in her personal life, descends deep into imagination and time to save him. She must steal the Chrono Sphere from Time to find out what really happened to the Hatter’s family.

My first thought was this was supposed to be a movie about Hatter and would let Johnny Depp shine. But The Hatter is not Jack Sparrow, and his entire performance is subpar. As the movie unfolds it seems to be more about the Queens than about Hatter and his family drama. While it was interesting to see how the Queen of Hearts got such big head, the story drags.

The best sequences are those featuring Time. Sacha Baren Cohen is hilarious and great at character acting and he outshines Depp like a supernova. A semi-villain, Time is given only moderate screen time and not enough chances to break up the monotony of the film.

The only other thing that stands out is the Alan Rickman; but don’t get too excited. His butter fly gets two lines at the beginning of the movie. It’s rather sad that this was all there was. I still have not completely mourned for this great and Alice did nothing to help me.

This Means War

With superheroes on the rise thanks to the Marvel Universe of characters (whether it be Marvel Studios, Sony or Fox), the DC characters have struggled to gain a modern foothold unless, of course, your name is Batman. DC tried to revive Superman, a character loved and who really took of for modern audience with Christopher Reeve. But the time has come for them to raise their character troupe the movie graveyard and kicking it off is Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.

After Christopher Nolan’s Batman the world seemed ripe for more characters Superman came back played by the fabulous Henry Cavil but the movie was all melodrama with a couple of invincible people throwing each other around. Back at Marvel, Ironman and Captain America were taking off. The Hulk wasn’t doing it’s best but their was promise in the character. Then there was Thor. Marvel brought them all together plus a few fresh faces for their mega comic assemble The Avengers. The an insane amount of money was generated and a plethora of characters got their own movies. Even Guardian of the Galaxy blew everyone away. Marvel was on top. DC knew they could cash in too and decided, instead of a new Superman movie, they would give set up for Justice league. But they didn’t really take the time for quality especially with the Marvel superhero vs superhero war coming soon.

Dawn of Justice introduces us to a mediocre Ben Affleck as Batman setting up for this to be Batman-v-Superman-Dawn-of-Justice-Trailer-Screenshot-Henry-Cavill-Courtroomhis movie as he goes over his past and sees his future. Meanwhile, Superman is saving Lois Lane again and people die from the fallout. The public is enraged. Clark Kent can’t even balance out all the negative spin at The Daily Planet, but he is more concerned with a vigilante bat that is branding those he captures. As the two men find out who their alter egos really are, they end up going to war over their personal brands of justice while Lex Luther is terrorizing the world and egging them on.

The Avengers are dealing with a similar issue. They are coming under government scrutiny for the damage and destruction and death that follows their latest missions (including the events from Age of Ultron). They are faced with a choice Sign the Sokovia Accords and live by the government rules or retire their capes. Tony Stark leads the side that wants to sign the accords; he saw in Age of Ultron what damage his power can really do. But Captain America can’t shake his past and continues to fight for freedom-especially those of super heroes and his friends. Essentially the fight starts over Bucky, but runs deeper into the philosophical ideas of right and wrong and the two sides ultimately fight for the things they believe in.

Civil War’s only real issue is that the villain is horribly weak. Zemo’s reasoning is nothing and makes little sense but when you look back at it. With all the superheroes clashing, it was a good idea to take back the villain. Whereas in BVS it took a big villain to bring them together, for Civil War the villain took a back seat to the ideology that both movies were trying to portray.

There is character depth to Civil War that Dawn of Justice just doesn’t have. While both untitledmillionaires in high tech suits throw big baby fits, at least Tony Stark’s breakdown makes some modicum of sense. He stays very logical until the end when his emotions take over changing his and Cap’s relationship irreparably. Batman, on the other hand, deduced that Superman is bad because people have died when he has foiled plots. There is not a personal reason other than one of his employees died during the events of Man of Steel. So he goes off on a tangent and decides to be judge and jury for Superman. ( This coming from a man who brands the criminals he captures.)

Dawn of Justice does not live up to the hype. The excited teasers don’t even take place in the current story but are visions that Batman sees of the “future”. There is never any explanation as to why he sees these things. Some would say these were the reasoning behind Batman’s baby fit but nothing is clear. While future movies may make these things clear, it’s not very good writing if the movie can not stand on its own. Civil War, on the other hand, is a complete story that will have ramifications on the future without using confusing tools of past and future. Civil War depends on the characters to move the story forward and then those emotions are channeled into the epic battle scenes.

Civil War shows the grey areas of right and wrong while Dawn of Justice assaults the senses but not the brain.

Marvel easily does the best job portraying what happens when superheros have conflict. . The reasoning is better and you see passions rise. Each side thinks they are doing the right thing and viewers can see both sides. Dawn of Justice is not thought provoking and the movie is movie is highly polarized It’s no wonder that Marcel is still on top; DC is still nothing but a cheap imitation.

What This Not That

Gerard Butler~Now

Watch This…

London Has Fallen

London_Has_Fallen-600x321London Has Fallen is the sequel to 2013’s Olympus has Fallen, a witty action flick. Butler is a pretty awesome action star and has found a niche in being a bad ass. Movies like the Fallen series are perfect for his rugged charm and handsomeness. London has Fallen is a fun trill ride that allows you to escape from reality.

In this sequel, Banning is preparing for the birth of his baby, but his time off is interrupted by the death of the British Prime Minister. The president (Aaron Eckhart) is obliged to attend the funeral as well as some of the biggest political rulers of the modern world. Sounds too good for a terrorist to pass up doesn’t it? In fact, this has been staged and planned to a “T”. But there is one ripple in their plan: Banning.

Fallen is good because of several things, the first being that the movies take the characters on emotional roller coasters and leave them no time to be stale and static. Those are also two words that cannot be used for the movie. The movie continues to pack thrilling punch after punch with little time to rebound. Sprinkled humor and a great relationship between the main characters inject moments of respite from the onslaught of violence (they seem to be channeling Taken at this point). Do I care if it’s realistic? No, because action movies are meant as an escape.

There is a huge fault in the movie that does have to do with bad character development. Angel Basset continues her role as the head of the Secret Service but she shrinks from her former bad ass role. When the attacks on London starts, the writers turns her into a sniveling woman who has apparently forgotten how to shoot a gun. This is disgraceful to the character and to Basset.

London Has Fallen is thrilling fun like it’s predecessor. So grab some pop corn and get your ass in the theater.

…Not That

Gods of Egypt

Gods-of-egypt-summitIn the trailers, Gods of Egypt looks gods awful. It’s that kind of awful you can’t look away from. But the movie is surprising better than I thought. That is not to say it was good. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. In fact, it reminded me of all the B movies of old that used stop motion. The movie looks good but has no substance.

The story follows Horus’s rise to power and destruction after his father passes Horus the throne. But uncle Set is angry at being passed over for the crown. In a coupe, he dis-eyes Horus and rules all Egypt This would be the end of the story except some young and stupid kid steals one of Horus’s eyes and in the process gets his girlfriend killed. He makes a deal with Horus: he gets the god the other eye and his girl friend will be brought back from the dead.

Gods of Egypt doesn’t take itself too seriously. That is why I think it attracted actors like Butler and Geoffrey Rush; it was fun to do. And you can tell Butler is living it up. Yelling in his bough as Caucasian as you please. And it seems like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau can never keep all his body parts in tact. The humor helps cover some of the less cohesive parts of the movie (quite a lot of it) leading to a few good laughs.

Over all, this is a rental to pass a stormy evening. Save the money for a ticket for London has Fallen.

Dead vs dumb

For Valentines weekend two big movies opened at the box office. You had Deadpool for the comic fans and millennials and then you had Zoolander oft forgotten but still worth your time I made a deal with my movie going partner: I would go to Deadpool the opening weekend as long as I got to see Zoolander 2. Here’s how the two movie stood up to expectations.

Deadpool-Jump-GunDeadpool has slowly been building steam. I was unexcited for another mediocre super hero movie. I had read some of the title character’s comics and enjoyed it but that didn’t mean I was running to the theaters. But early review came in and people loved the movie. It was so hyped up even Bettie White gave her endorsement. So I got excited about the movie and, honestly, this was the worst thing I could have done.

Deadpool follows a non-super hero as he avenges himself and his overly erotic lady love. Wade Wilson starts off as a violent, jerky mercenary that is diagnosed with cancer. In an effort to prolong his life and be with the woman he loves, he takes a dangerous treatment option. But that treatment turns sinister and he is turned into a mutant with insane healing powers. The down sides? His skin has been ruined leaving him literally scarred for life. Wade then takes up the mantel Deadpool hiding his hideousness behind a flashy costume while taking down the man who has changed his life.

In the first two minutes, I was convinced this would be the nest Guardians of the Galaxy (the best modern comic hero movies). The opening titles poke fun at what has become the predictable formula of these movies. It’s meta presence is sprinkled through out the film with many reference to Wolverine and Hugh Jackman. This jokes are perfectly timed and not over done. But the ,movie degenerates as it goes along. Part is the lack of faith buy the studio. The movie features third string X-Men whose characters were flat and one delusional. But the biggest issue is that the movie tries too hard to break the mold. The movie was raunchy, yes, but there were times were it was just offensive for offensive’s sake; it didn’t propel the story it just hurt it.

But over all the movie performs well. Ryan Reynolds is perfectly cast and does his best work when playing off other characters. In fact, he is a better leading man than several other movie heroes including Ant-Man. A future film with Cable (or heck Hawkeye but we can’t move across studios now can we?) will make better use of this banter as a anti-buddy buddy flick. Now that would be perfection.

Speaking of buddy buddy movies,Zoolander 2 shows us what happens when two perfect idiots get together. I am not a big Ben Stiller fan, but the original was too perfect not to love. The movie was ridiculous and stayed ridiculous (in a good way). It knew how to push the envelope with out knocking it off. It was laugh after laugh even after multiple viewings. So when they announced a sequel I was nothing but excited. The trailers didn’t disappoint; it was still just as ridiculous. It was going to be a great laugh. The movie met those expectations and I was more please with it than I was with Deadpool.

After a tragic accidents kills his wife and has his son taken away from him, Derek Zoolander has sequestered himself away. His pity party is crashed by Billy Zane who tells him he has been grieving for long enough and it was time to get back to work so he could get his son back. He is reconnected with Hansel who can’t stand him because the accident left Hansel scarred and ruined his carrier. But the two must put aside their issues and get to the bottom of why media stars are being killed.

Zoolander beats out Bill Pullman’s character in Ruthless People as the stupidest human635907104884099048-ZL2-12177R being alive. And it’s funny because this is a pooling of various idiotic statement people have actually made. When humanity’s various stupidity is put into one person, its collectively hilarious and believable. But that is all that is realistic about this. Every other event and plot point is exaggerated with great glee. For a time you are taken out of the violence and seriousness of the real world and get a chance to laugh. Here fictional male models ironically due what models are suppose to do: transport you to another place weather it is the runway, the visions in a fashion designers mind, or to a world were there is someone more stupid than Donald Trump.

The two movie are so polar that is it hard to compare them especially at what is a better movie. Zoolander made me laugh more and gave me just what I was expected. Deadpool didn’t meet my expectation but gave me some glorious shots of Ryan’s Reynolds butt.

The Force is Fit for Fans

n a world where sequels and prequels run rampant, it was as no surprise that Disney would bring back the Star Wars franchise. What was uncertain was the quality of the films would be produced. The Disney brand almost certainly lends to a viable sequel but fans were left with a taste in their mouth after the mediocre prequels from years before. Add J.J. Abrams (someone with good idea but usually ruins them when he executes them) and the trepidation for The Force Awakens was mighty.
While I understand not spoiling the story, I really don’t like not knowing what the story is about and the movie handles that in the first two minutes. Basically Luke has disappeared after a tragedy involving training new Jedi. Han and Leia have drifted apart; Han has gone back so a life of smuggling but Leia is still looking for her brother. Meanwhile, a new crop of heroes join in the pursuit of Luke: Rey, an orphan abandoned on Jakku, Finn a Storm Trooper who defects, and Poe Leia’s best fighter pilot who is instrumental in battle against The First Order. I’ll keep these spoiler free (I’ll save those till the very end past the photos).
The movie pays homage to the original three films. But this becomes one of the few drawbacks. The first fifteen minutes are pretty much recap of things that have been done in the originals. This quickly gets boring but doesn’t last very long. The movie quickly begins to stand on it own while blending past characters with future characters seamlessly. But you can create checklist of things from the originals and play a drinking game with it. A cantina? Take a drink. A villain with a screwy voice? Chug! The only issue is that the end but I won’t discusses it until after the cut.
With a strong story, The Force Awakens looks great. CGI and technology have come along way but it still visually feels like Star Wars. The characters are developed as the movie progresses with out falling back on stereotypes. Abram does not screw this up. This was a fear I had after Star Trek but here he doesn’t stray away from the things original fans loved but made it accessible to a new generation. Luckily, he doesn’t have to back up his work in the sequels; this won’t be like Alias, where after the second season everything went down hill. I thank Disney for this, for there dedication of not ruining the legacy.
If you’ve seen it, then we have SO much to discuss. Skip down to below the pictures and we’ll kick some ideas around. If you haven’t seen the film, move along there is nothing to see here.

Let’s talk that ending. While it was imperative to see Luke, condemning her travel to him into a five minute time span stinks of the issues that plaque the prequels. Plus, Luke never says anything to Rey when she finds him. This is the moment where he should have announced who her parents were. But nothing was learned or benefited by this exchange. The film could have easily ended with her getting the Millennium Falcon and taking off and then cut to Luke watching and waiting for her arrival. While this is a small issue, it could mean that the pacing for the next film will be ruined.
Parentage is a big issue. With Luke being the last Jedi, we knew that Kylo Ren and Rey had to be related to someone. They came right out about Ren to move the story with Han along. But the writers fed you bits and pieces as they went and overly hinted at her being Luke’s daughter. But could this be a red herring? I certainly think so. I believe that she will be another child of Han and Leia’s. Since twins run in the family and the fear of the force going to the Dark Side, it’s not a stretch to think that they separated her from her brother to keep her safe. What proof do we have in the film? There are two notable moments: the first being when Ren take off his helmet and the two share a charged moment. It wasn’t sexually and was more than just the force clashing between them; it was loaded with recognition and importance. Plus, they looked a lot alike. Next, you have Han’s paternal feelings for her. This is odd in the loner and its possible that he doesn’t know that she is that second child. This also repeats themes from the first films which The Force Awakens has done since the opening minutes.
And finally, I should address Han himself. Many people had no idea that he was going to die and have intimated that I had been spoiler spelunking before I went on opening night. This is outright insulting. In fact, I knew because Ford has been talking about it for YEARS. Just by reading interviews with him, I have known his desire for Han’s death and that it would happen this film. ( While, I don’t make fun of people who didn’t figure it would happened, I was pissed that people would throw hate my way.) But I knew this info before I knew that Han would be such a pivotal role in this movie. Han has arguably been the character that was the moving force in the franchise (the only other character we could argue would be the Darth man himself), and he continues to be so in the Force Awakens. I don’t say this to belittle the other characters. But it will affect the upcoming films. We now know that all the characters would show up in the next film (Star Wars often overcomes death, so this won’t be an issue), but what will the films be like without him as a driving force?
I look forward to the next film and am very annoyed that it will be so long before we get the next installment. But that does give us plenty of time to develop our fan theories.

A Cult Classic Returns

More than just nerds rejoiced when news surfaced that Fox was bringing back the X-Files. Fox has done well reviving their best shows including 24, but I don’t think Fox was prepared for the response regarding The X-Files. The premier was scheduled after the NFC Championship and was delayed due to the game but fans came in droves with rating higher than anyone expected. If Fox was trying to kill the The X-Files they failed. The two night premier shows had very little to do with one another and was probably designed just to boost the ratings Fox thought would be miserable. But the fans proved, we still want to believe.
The show starts with Scully and Mulder reconnecting after a crash in their personal relationship. Scully has tried to put the life begin her because she can’t (and never will). Mulder has become even more obsessive over the stories of a government conspiracy involving aliens and the government’s involvement in their experiments. The two come back together when a loc3al web series host bring them to a girl who had been abducted.
Sunday’s show was little more than just a recap of the show fans know and love but, finally, new information about the conspiracy arises and it more notorious than ever thought. The premier polarized the main characters: Scully was a total unbeliever again and Mulder was like a lunatic with his theories. This flashed fans back to the beginning of the series but made no sense with the character development. The writers chose to go back and make their relationship null and void to rework that chemistry and it is getting old. And where was the joke about Scully’s hair? Mulder should would have made one.
The following episode was a “monster of the week” but had someXF_sc7_0067rjw_hires2f link to the overall conspiracy story.
This second episode is more like The X-Files we remember, no longer focusing on catching up new fans. Chris Carter and company were able to get back to what they do best: create creepy stories using the paranormal as metaphors for human fears. Mulder was believable again and Scully seemed genuinely interested in the pursuit of the mystery. The only downside is that the show was more gruesome that it has been in it hey day. The production team upped the gore to keep up with today’s standards (and they didn’t really need to.)
But over all it is exciting to have Scully and Mulder back. The fans never really gave up. They have bided their time with a movie and comic books that even looked at the origin of the The X-Files. No matter their age, it is wonderful to have the show cast and crew back together.

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.