Friday, November 10, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

Seventeen films and Marvel has once again proven itself to be able to both craft huge blockbuster films and well told stories without ever feeling old and worn out. With Taika Waititi in the director's chair of Thor: Ragnarok, he surpasses even James Gunn in making a strange and fun movie that isn't afraid to go all out as a comic book based film. In Ragnarok, Thor has to fight against her sister, Hela, the goddess of death who wants to take over Asgard and conquer all of the universe with an undead army. Trying to fight her the first time, Hela manages to destroy Mjolnir and sends Thor and Loki to another planet wherein Thor is forced to fight in a gladiatorial match against the Hulk and manages to convince him, Loki, and former Asgardian warrior Valkyrie to come back to Asgard and fight against Hela and her forces. Focusing more on comedy than the previous two Thor films, this MCU installment is balls to the wall fun. Cate Blanchett makes for an awesome villain and Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster is a great secondary antagonist in all his fun, campy glory. Waititi himself plays an alien through motion capture and is absolute fun, though at times can try a bit too hard in being comedic. While Anthony Hopkins returns as Odin and does a great job in portraying him one last time, his death scene itself felt very anticlimactic. While I do love the scenes taking place in Sakaar, even I feel that it's a bit too coincidental that Thor happens to land where both Loki, Hulk, and Valkyrie eventually are. One aspect I absolutely loved is the use of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song at the beginning and end of the film during huge fighting sequences. The chemistry between Thor and both Hulk and then Bruce Banner makes for a really great buddy movie. Thor's revelation that he never needed the hammer and he always had his own lightning powers while awesome to watch feels like it was rushed a bit. Great acting, fun and well told story with some flaws, amazing visuals inspired by the comics, and comedy that most of the time works but sometimes feels like there's too much is why Thor: Ragnarok is so memorable. Over all: 100%
2017 top lists so far:
1. Baby Driver
2. It
3. Thor: Ragnarok
4. Wonder Woman
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
6. Logan
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
8. Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman
9. Blade Runner 2049
10. Dunkirk
11. War for the Planet of the Apes
12. Alien: Covenant
13. John Wick: Chapter 2
14. The Lego Batman Movie
15. Saban's Power Rangers
16. The Foreigner
17. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
18. Kong: Skull Island
19. Split
20. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
21. The Fate of the Furious
22. Beauty and the Beast 2017
23. Transformers: The Last Knight

Friday, October 27, 2017

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women tells the story of American psychologist William Moulton Marston, the creator of the lie detector, and his very unconventional life in living with both his wife and another woman they both loved, their taste in very dominating sexual pleasures, and Marston's work in creating Wonder Woman. While some have said that the film takes some liberties with the actual life of Marston and his family, as stated by the descendants of him, the film is really well told and has a perfect cast behind it. The relationship between all three leads as played by Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote feels very real. One of the most interesting moments in the film is near the end as it looks at Marston creating Wonder Woman and dealing with the fallout of how much sexual situations who put in the comics and many conservative  groups attacking him and comics over it. An aspect that really bothers me, though, is the fact that the movie takes place in the span of about 20 years and yet no one looks like they've aged, except for their children growing up, where Evans doesn't even have any aged makeup or to look more sickly due to his cancer. The best scene in the film I found is when Marston and his wife finally come up with the idea of how to properly finish and use their lie detector by measuring blood pressure and using it for the first time. Over all: 100%
2017 top lists so far:
1. Baby Driver
2. It
3. Wonder Woman
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
5. Logan
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
7. Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman
8. Blade Runner 2049
9. Dunkirk
10. War for the Planet of the Apes
11. Alien: Covenant
12. John Wick: Chapter 2
13. The Lego Batman Movie
14. Saban's Power Rangers
15. The Foreigner
16. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
17. Kong: Skull Island
18. Split
19. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
20. The Fate of the Furious
21. Beauty and the Beast 2017
22. Transformers: The Last Knight

Pop Culture Guy episode 35: Carly Fleischmann

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Foreigner

Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan star in The Foreigner, an action thriller drama that relies more on the performances than huge action scenes. Not to say the action scenes aren't great, they are, it's just that director Martin Campbell focuses more on Chan and Brosnan playing roles completely opposite to what they usually do. Chan plays a former Chinese special forces soldier whose daughter is killed by an IRA bombing with Brosnan as a former IRA member who may have ties to recent attacks. While the story itself is nothing that new it at least is told very well even if at times can be a bit cliche. The strongest part of the film is Jackie Chan proving how powerful of a performance he can give without being comedic or relying on over the top stunts using weird everyday objects to fight with. Brosnan, though not the villain, works really well as an antagonistic supporting role who has a questionable past but tries to do whatever he can to stop the next generation of the IRA. The fight sequences themselves though basic are still choreographed and filmed in such a majestic way that is both the same and new for Chan. One of the biggest problems the film does have is that it's marketed as a Jackie Chan film, but he appears less than Brosnan does. I don't actually mind that, I just wish the marketing was more clear about all that, though Chan is still perfect in it. Over all: 87%
2017 top lists so far:
1. Baby Driver
2. It
3. Wonder Woman
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
5. Logan
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
7. Blade Runner 2049
8. Dunkirk
9. War for the Planet of the Apes
10. Alien: Covenant
11. John Wick: Chapter 2
12. The Lego Batman Movie
13. Saban's Power Rangers
14. The Foreigner
15. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
16. Kong: Skull Island
17. Split
18. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
19. The Fate of the Furious
20. Beauty and the Beast 2017
21. Transformers: The Last Knight

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

Just to get it out there, I haven't seen the original Blade Runner from 1982 or any of the different cuts of it, though I do know the basic story of what happened in it and I do want to see it. What drew me into watching Blade Runner 2049 was its director Denis Villeneuve whose previous two films, Sicario and Arrival, were movies that I really loved. The film takes place thirty years after the original and deals with a replicant model, played by Ryan Gosling, working as a blade runner investigating how an older model replicant could have conceived a child which leads him to various clues after another until he uncovers a conspiracy. 2049 has a very typical detective mystery style to it while still taking place in such an advanced future. You don't really have to see the first film since the events of that don't really play that much into what happens in here since most of it has to do with what happened in between the films. The acting is perfect, especially from Gosling as he goes from emotionless drone to more emotion when he learns that his fake memories are real. Harrison Ford returns but doesn't actually appear until near the end of the film, which is a good choice as it doesn't rely on his appearance alone. Like Sicario and Arrival, the film is slow but done in a way that makes it work, though there are moments that sometimes feel like filler and at times forced. Jared Leto as the creator of the new replicants was very interesting, though it felt like many of his scenes just ended without really giving something else. The story is well told, though prodding at times, the cinematography by Roger Deakins is on point as always, and the action sequences and effects are on point. Over all: 100%
2017 top lists so far:
1. Baby Driver
2. It
3. Wonder Woman
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
5. Logan
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
7. Blade Runner 2049
8. Dunkirk
9. War for the Planet of the Apes
10. Alien: Covenant
11. John Wick: Chapter 2
12. The Lego Batman Movie
13. Saban's Power Rangers
14. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
15. Kong: Skull Island
16. Split
17. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
18. The Fate of the Furious
19. Beauty and the Beast 2017
20. Transformers: The Last Knight

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tate's Not At Comic Con Local Indy Anthology #8

Every year, Tate's Comics, one of a few comic book stores I regularly go to, hosts a Comic Con-esque event at the same time as the San Diego Comic Con for those who can't make it to the real one. There they hand out a mini comic that has a map of what there is during the event as well as stories people in the area wrote and drew and sent in. Tate's Not At Comic Con Local Indy Anthology #8 was the first time I attended and received a copy of the mini comic. In it you see various one or more paged stories by comic book fans near Tate's. Many are written and drawn really well, while some others are very basic, though a big problem is that they sometimes end without anything else happening. Some of the stories actually tell you that you can see more of certain stories by going online to a link they posted. Many of the stories are actually interesting enough to continue reading online, though there are more that don't feel as exiting. Over all: 79%
Top list so far for 2nd set of comics:
1. Tate's Not At Comic Con Local Indy Anthology #8