Sunday, January 11, 2015

The *You-Know-What* is Back!

It's been a horrifically long time since I've blogged, and I have a great excuse! I've been working on my Master's Degree! But I have really missed blogging, and so I've decided to give it another go. You know, because I have so much free time on my hands.

I don't know what Kel's excuse is. She's just lazy, I guess.

Anyway, expect commentary on movies, TV shows, books, and other pop culture to-dos, and a healthy serving of silly crap with a cherry on top.

For starters, here are links to some of my favorite movie reviews since April, when I took my little blogging hiatus:

'Winter Soldier' a step forward in Marvel Universe - I'm not even uncomfortable saying that it's the best Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure since the Avengers suited up together in 2012.

‘Godzilla’ update captures spirit of original - I am sure that part of my enthusiasm for “Godzilla” comes from my unwavering appreciation of giant monster movies (after all, one of favorite movies from last summer was “Pacific Rim,” which also features giant monsters), but even through the haze of love for all things kaiju, I can see that “Godzilla” is a really good movie.

'Edge of Tomorrow' top-notch summer spectacle - But sometimes, especially in the middle of summer, what you need is a big ol' blockbuster spectacle. It may not be particularly deep or artistic, but if you're itching for wham-bam action and fun, "Edge of Tomorrow" will scratch that itch.

'Transformers' sequel stunningly stupid - I have a high threshold for stupid movies. I happily watched "Sharknado" last summer, after all, and I'm looking forward to the sequel (which premieres July 30!).
But there's stupid, and then there's "Transformers: Age of Extinction" stupid.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ a dizzying, fun romp - The “Guardians of the Galaxy” team, when they finally team up, are like the scuzzy misfit version of Marvel’s other big-screen team, the Avengers. There’s some of that same great chemistry, but without the honor and prestige of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. That also means that “Guardians of the Galaxy” has a sillier, wilder, naughtier edge than previous Marvel movies. If the “Thor” movies are the romantic adventures and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is the ‘70s spy thriller, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the space fantasy romp.

‘Into the Storm’ lacks commitment in post-‘Sharknado’ world - But in a pop culture landscape where “Sharknado” movies are beamed into living rooms in all of their campy glory, something as generic and half-baked as “Into the Storm” just feels flat. Sure, it features the Biggest Tornado Ever and plenty more scary twisters to boot, but, even so, it doesn’t really do anything new.

Stark, understated nature packs a punch in ‘The Drop’ - The best thing about “The Drop” is star Tom Hardy, who plays Bob. If there were any doubts that Hardy is one of the best actors working in Hollywood right now, they will be squashed after seeing his performance. Hardy gives a quirky, understated performance that helps build a very complex, very interesting character. At times, Bob seems almost stupid. At other times, he seems exceptionally compassionate and sweet. Still other times, he is ruthlessly efficient. All of this is accomplished with an economy of words.

‘The Best of Me’ is the worst of Sparksian schlock - Once again, as with every other Nicholas Sparks movie I’ve ever seen, “The Best of Me” relentlessly beats the audience with tragedy and drama over and over and over again. Does Nicholas Sparks need the tears of readers and movie viewers to keep his skin soft or something? He could cool it with the doom and gloom already. I especially dislike how every terrible situation is trussed up in such a gauzy, sun-dappled package. Every catastrophe has some higher noble purpose that teaches the characters, and by extension the audience, a Very Noble Lesson about life and love. It gets old really quick, especially when there are at least a dozen tragedies per movie.

Ambitious, artistic ‘Birdman’ deserving of Oscar buzz - “Birdman” is a sharp, darkly funny commentary on the nature of celebrity, art, and relevance in the modern age. It takes a layered approach with riffs and messages that I’ll be parsing days and even weeks afterward. This is a movie with a lot to say on a lot of different levels, from the deep and dark to the wonderfully meta - after all, it could be said that Keaton as Batman sowed the seeds for the big-budget superhero blockbuster crop that we’re harvesting multiple times a year.

'The Interview' not worth kerfluffle, but still amusing farce - "The Interview," had it not been thrust into the international spotlight by the Sony hack and subsequent canceled release, would probably be remembered, correctly, as a dumb-but-funny, gross, foul comedy. I was actually kind of impressed by the array of scatalogical humor in this movie. There was a lot of bad language, a fair amount of sex-related gags and a surprising amount of gross-out gore, especially in the final act, but it was old-fashioned poo-centric humor that "The Interview" really kept coming back to.

You can read all of my movie reviews by clicking here.

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