Tag Archives: movies

Captain America: Civil WTF???

civil-war

Okay, so this Christmas I got a whole heap of dvd’s. I love movies. I especially love superhero movies – but they keep messing them up. They just can’t seem to make a decent follow-up to most of the superhero movies I loved.

Let’s talk about THE AVENGERS. That’s a great movie. I’m having a bad day or sick with a cold and I want to watch a movie – odds are I might pick up the Avengers and watch it. Again. But AVENGERS: THE AGE OF ULTRON left me wanting a couple of hours of my existence back.

Same thing with IRON MAN. The first flick was brilliant. The second and third flicks were about as entertaining as projectile vomit.

CAPTAIN AMERICA? Well, while I know a whole lot of folks have sung the praises of THE WINTER SOLDIER (Captain America 2) – it left me feeling like I had eaten an entire bucket of unsalted, unbuttered three day old popcorn.

Turns out that CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is no exception to the rule.

I know.

I should have posted a spoiler alert. You can skip the rest of my movie review if you want to. Just by reading that sentence “Turns out that CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is no exception to the rule.” you can already guess what I thought of the flick.

It sucked.

Except it didn’t – for just a tiny little while.

Let me tell it to you. Humor the old fart, would you?

Let’s start with the title, shall we?

First off, the Civil War (at least in America) took about four years to resolve itself. I mean, there was Fort Sumter and then throw in the Monitor and the Merrimac, Antieatam, the Emancipation Proclamation, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg – and a whole bunch of other battles I can’t remember – and we’re still arguing over the flag on the top of the Dukes of Hazzard’s Dodge Charger.

Wait.

You mean that the movie wasn’t about THAT Civil War?

Oh yeah.

I forgot.

Well, secondly, the actual Marvel Universe Civil War saga went on for about a couple of dozen graphic novels worth of material involving damn near every single superhero in the whole entire Marvel Universe.

I haven’t read any of it, you understand. When a storyline runs that long it tends to be garbled and DEFINITELY out of my wallet-range.

Yup, I’m a cheapskate. And I’m broke. That’s a bad combination, but there it is just the same.

So the filmmaker who decides to try and cram all of that into one single two and a half hour movie has REALLY got their work cut out for them.

Well, the folks who made this movie didn’t let that stop them. They crammed about two hours worth of hissy-fits, pointless dialogue, long meaningful glances and stunned looks into a long and pointless movie.

First off, they forgot the villain.

I mean, I read some of the earlier Captain America comic books and I remember Baron Zemo looking something like this.

baron-zemo

If I recollect correctly, he was a Nazi mad genius who accidentally got his favorite red toque super-glued over his face in a kind of a sudden-death-reverse-wedgie maneuver. I figure he was the sad victim of a ruthless high school hazing incident.

Actually, he was the dude responsible for the death of Bucky Barnes, back when Bucky looked like this.

bucky

Well, probably because it’s become politically incorrect to use mad genius Nazi dudes in movies these days they decided to use some dude who looked like a high school nerd-gone-bad.

raiders

WHAT’S WRONG WITH MAD GENIUS NAZIS, ANYWAY???

So then we have the start up – about an hour of folks talking back and forth and a whole lot of intense arguing and then there’s General Thunderbolt Ross chewing up the scenery and wondering where in the heck the Hulk is and then all of a sudden Iron Man and Captain America throw a simultaneous hissy fit and send each other nasty tweets and blocking each other’s Facebook accounts.

Then there is about fifteen solid minutes of superhero entertainment when Captain America pulls together his version of the Avengers (Hawkeye, Sharon Carter, Falcon, the Ant Man and Scarlet Witch) and Iron Man pulls together HIS version (War Machine, Black Widow, Black Panther, Vision and Spider Man) into an absolutely kickass superhero versus superhero experience.

And I’m on the couch going “YEAH! DUDE! THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! SPIDERMAN! ANT MAN! GIANT MAN!”

And then there’s an hour long stretch of more boring back story and a blurry and poorly shot scrap and then Captain America and Iron Man kiss and make up.

That’s right. A two and one half hour episode of Big Brother – with about fifteen minutes of kickass WWF (back before the World Wildlife Federation sued the “F” out of the WWF) action.

I know.

If you do the math you’ll come up with one hour in the beginning, one fifteen minute kickass airport fight scene, and one more hour of muddied-up carnage.

The other fifteen minutes is the credits.

And yes, there is an Easter Egg credit surprise scene – two of them actually, that don’t give you much more than a hint that the next two Marvel movies are Black Panther and Spiderman.

(And who the hell thought that Marissa Tomei would make a good Aunt May? What, did she fall into a time vortex or something?)

That’s it.

That’s all that I’ve got for you.

Okay, so I will watch this movie again – but I’ll most likely skip to the scene list and just pull up the Airport fight scene and skip the other two hours and fifteen minutes.

Seriously.

I’m not kidding.

Sometime today I think I’ll watch Deadpool and see what all the excitement was about!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

LET’S TALK ABOUT MOVIES!

All right, so this Christmas blog is a little bit late – but I promised you folks that I was going to tell you all about the movies that I watched while I was on holiday over Christmas.

Let me start off by admitting that I am a movie addict.

I love sitting down and watching a good movie. It is my escape and it is my pleasure in this life to be plunked down upon a comfortable and entertained by the flickering reality of my DVD player. So, when I begin my Christmas shopping, usually around August or so, I keep a space in my sock drawer for the inevitable stack of movies that I buy for myself and my wife to enjoy together.

This Christmas was no exception.

We started the Christmas season with a couple of classics.

First off we watched Patrick Stewart in A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Followed by A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES.

And then the original 1947 MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET.

Those first two movies are a bit of a ritual at our house. We always watch them every year and it just isn’t Christmas until we have seen them. Some of you folks might find that funny and possibly even quaint – but let me tell you, the corn grows high in this old fart’s soul and the field is well watered in pure one hundred percent shmaltz.

Then came the movies that I had purchased for the Christmas season.

We started out with CHEF – and I know that sounds like a weird movie to start with – but it is one of those movies that will make you laugh and make you go “Aww…” and make your belly growl contentedly. I am telling you the truth. You will NOT be able to watch this movie without hungering for a good Cubano sandwich. If I wasn’t on a diet I would go out and make one this morning for breakfast – and that is AFTER me already having a breakfast of scrapple, fried egg and a strip of bacon.

Hey, I didn’t say WHAT kind of a diet I was on, now did I?

CHEF is a movie about following your passion and making your dreams come true and we can all use a little more of that in our diet. Don’t watch this movie expecting to see a lot of action or a strong plot line. It is more about following your own muse with a really strong overtone of a Dad just trying to connect with his son.

And sandwiches.

A whole lot of freaking awesome sandwiches.

I am still undecided about whether I enjoyed the ending or not. I will have to watch this movie again to decide – but I will say that I enjoyed the ride and I am glad I put this flick into my collection.

The next movie we watched was X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. We had already seen this one at the movie theater and we loved it – so it was an easy slam dunk to tuck this one into the Christmas stocking.

It rocked. Wolverine kicked butt. Magneto and Professor-X likewise.

End of story.

🙂

Now, I do not want to give you folks the impression that we sat around and watched non-stop movies the whole time. We did go visit with family as best as we could and saw a couple of friends and took care of some housework – but yeah, we found time to fit in a WHOLE lot of movies.

Next up was Robert Duvall in A NIGHT IN OLD MEXICO.

This was an uneven flick for me. The storyline was a little basic and underdeveloped – but Robert Duvall brought it on home. The man just knows how to play a role and old farts like me have a deep respect for a true old fart kicks ass kind of movie like this.

I’m glad I bought it and will watch it again. It hit the spot like a shot of cheap cold whiskey.

We had seen a trailer for this next film and I had been keeping my eye out for it for a while. CALVARY is a wonderfully shot movie and Brendan Gleeson does an amazing job portraying this tired old priest who has decided to live his life by the code of the Catholic church. It has a strong art house feel and will not appeal to a lot of movie-goers and the ending is pretty bleak – but the music was wonderful – and again, the cinematographer truly beautiful and I am definitely glad that I picked this up.

HERCULES did not necessarily “rock” me, but I still felt that it was one of Dwayne Johnson’s most solid performances. I have always enjoyed watching The Rock in any movie. He is really a somewhat under-sung actor and he has made more than a few bad career decisions and I really feel that his performance in his 2010 noir-action flick FASTER was real triumph even though the box office was abysmal.

I did enjoy the idea of a man living up to his own legend in a kind of BIG FISH sort of a way. Still, I really would have loved to see a movie centered more around the labours of Hercules. As it is, we go through those labors in a very fast flashback scene early on in the movie. The movie had a strong SEVEN SAMURAI kind of feel to it – sort of a Hercules and his Merry Men. Ian McShane really rocked in it.

I enjoyed the movie and will happily watch it again.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, on the other hand, let me down big time. I really enjoyed the first movie in this rebooted series but this second flick just fell short. The problem was a lack of quality actors. The only real actor was Gary Oldman – and he is alright as a character actor but just doesn’t have the star quality to carry an entire movie. There was some solid acting going on behind the ape costumes (And can you really call a CGI effect a costume?) but all it all it was pretty predictable and was a bit of an ordeal to sit through. I got tired of listening to the ape’s broken grunted English and the very best I can say about this movie is that it was a reasonable step towards the third movie in what I expect will be an inevitable trilogy.

Speaking of let-downs I also picked up a copy of GODZILLA – fortunately catching it on a Black Monday sale for eight dollars.

I want my eight dollars back.

What was wrong with this movie?

Well, for starters, just take a look at that poster. That pretty sums up the movie for me. The whole thing was about two hours of moody dark film making interspersed with the occasional fleeting glimpse of Godzilla. I am sorry, but if you put Godzilla up there as a title you really would expect to see more than about twelve minutes worth of giant lizard. It is CGI, for golly’s sake. It isn’t like it is all that hard to capture that giant lizard on film. The few peeks we got were great but they spent way too long on the mysterious punkass little critters that were also created by the nuclear radiation – sort of a mutant Mothra/Rodan/giant-assed-mosquito kind of creature.

And what about Bryan Cranston? The only actor with enough cajones to stand toe-to-toe with Godzilla and we get rid of him about twenty minutes into the movie and substitute his estranged son, played by Ford Brody who has all the acting skills of rusting red pick-up truck.

I had heard that the movie sucked but I was stubborn about it and really wanted to give it a try but now I just want two hours of my life back. Why is it so hard for Hollywood to get Godzilla right?

Do you want a Godzilla plot?

Let me give it to you.

Godzilla stomps on a city. The tanks roll out. Policemen too. Godzilla stomps on another city. Maybe flosses his teeth with a passenger train. Some more tanks, some machine guns, and a couple of jet planes are harmed in the making of this movie. Godzilla jumps off of a mountain and cannonballs directly into the heart of a third city. They bring out the nuclear weapons but Godzilla farts contemptuously upon their efforts and maybe hits them with a blast of nuclear radiation halitosis. Turns and sumo walks out into Tokyo Bay. The credits roll. GODZILLA WILL RETURN.

How fucking hard is that?

We had seen and owned HAMLET before in VHS but I had not been able to find a copy in any of the local stores for a long time – so I had to send to Amazon to get this flick. I know Mel Gibson has made a royal ass of himself in his personal life – but the man sure knew how to make and act in movies before he futzed everything up. I love his BRAVEHEART and I really enjoyed his portrayal of HAMLET and I would love to see him tackle MACBETH.

Speaking of which…

When I was hunting for HAMLET on Amazon I came across this flick – which is a PBS filming of Patrick Stewart’s performance as Macbeth.

Well, let me tell you his performance left little to be desired. The man can bring the thunder to any role, there is no denying that. But, the director’s insistence upon costuming the actors in a sort of a World War II Russian garb and giving them modern weaponry really left me scratching my head. I am sure that there was some sort of a deep mysterious meaning behind that wardrobe choice but I have to wonder if maybe the director just didn’t find himself a yard sale full of old Russian military costumes and make the best of it.

On the whole I was bored by the film, and I really love Macbeth, even more so than Hamlet. If I had to make a choice I would say that much rather sit down and watch Roman Polanski’s MACBETH.

I have heard that there will be a new Macbeth with Michael Fassbender as the dark Dane, due out in 2015 – so I will keep an eye out for it and keep my fingers crossed. As long as they keep it a costume drama I’ll be halfway to happy.

Call me a purist, if you want to.

I found this flick, SUPER 8,  in a drop bin in Walmart for about three dollars. I had always to wanted to see it but the trailer had always given me the feeling that this was going to be just one more damn found-footage flick – you know, like the Blair Witch? – and I mostly hate and despise and fart upon those found-footage flicks which are usually nothing more than an excuse for shaky camera work.

Let me tell you, I was dead wrong.

This was a great giant monster movie and a great coming of age movie and I really wish that the moron who made Godzilla had watched a few movies like this one. It was great to see Kyle Chandler (remember him from EARLY EDITION?) get some good use of his own personal acting chops.

We spent Christmas at our son’s home watching a couple of good movies.

I won’t bother telling about the first Christmas movie, DIE HARD – an absolute classic of an action flick and if you don’t like it you better check your pulse because I am pretty sure that you have passed away maybe twenty years ago or so.

However, the second we watched was THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

I hadn’t heard a thing about this movie and a lot of folks will find it sort of strange in that weird BIG FISH art-house sort of feel. It is almost a movie about somebody telling you a story and I really enjoyed watching it. It was a movie that transported and entertained and I definitely intend to grab myself a copy of this flick down the road.

There were about a half a dozen movies but I do not wish to bore you or to spend anymore time on creating this blog entry when I really ought to be writing, right now.

Let me just tell you about the last movie we watched.

JULIE & JULIA is an absolutely wonderful story about following your passion. I intend to pick up a copy of the book it was based on.

It is another “foodie” movie and I do not recommend that ANYONE on a diet should watch this movie. I have begun to think about something called lobster thermidor as well as Julia Child’s DUCK STUFFED WITH MEAT AND WRAPPED IN PASTRY

Meryl Streep did an absolutely amazing job of transforming herself into a six foot two Julia Child. She moved and sounded exactly like the old videos of Julia Child that I have seen. Stanley Tucci did a likewise amazing job of portraying Julia’s husband. It was a very quiet and restrained and enchantingly un-Tucci like portrayal.

This movie is a love story and a story about following your dreams and a story about the powerful role that food can play in our day-to-day existence.

Now I’m hungry, damn it.

🙂

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


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300 : RISE OF AN EMPIRE – This Ain’t Sparta, dude…

All right – first things first.

I absolutely LOVE the movie 300.

I love it so much that even though I had my leg broken while watching the movie’s first release at a local theatre here in Halifax on a St. Patrick’s Day evening matinee I still went out and bought the dvd when it hit the stores.

I love the testosterone and the straight-ahead no-nonsense storytelling of 300.

So, last night when I made a quick run to WalMart I was very happy to see that 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE had finally hit the stores.

I grabbed a copy. Figured I’d go home and watch it with my wife. We had both had a long day and an evening of cold beer and swashbuckling would be just fine and dandy.

Turns out we might as well have just plugged in an old Ed Wood movie for all the entertainment we got out of this flick.

What a crappy, crappy, crappy movie.

I may have have left out a couple of crappies there.

First off, let’s start with the actors. Our main hero, THEMOSTICLES, was played by an Australian dude named Sullivan Stapleton.

Anyone remember Gerard Butler from the original movie, 300? Butler just oozed charisma and masculinity. The man was a walking advertisement for porterhouse steak, marinated in Old Spice aftershave and testeronal bull sweat.

This Stapleton dude looked like he would have felt more at home in Dr. Oz infomercial. The man always looked a little constipated and uncomfortable on screen. I took a look at IMDB to see what else he had done and I saw a whole lot of nothing. Maybe in Australia he is King Kong – but to me he seemed just a little bit on the Tarzan-Cheeta-side of life.

What was going on, anyway? First off we have got this evil woman Artemesia who is supposed to be a super-nasty expert of all forms of military conflict but mostly all she seemed to do was to stand around and stomp her foot and throw little hissy-fits before throwing her generals over the side of the ship.

And then we’ve got Themostocles who’s sole military achievement was to fire a dumb luck arrow at the fleet of Persians. That’s it. The dude got lucky – so that made him our hero.

We saw a glimpse of the Spartans and of Queen Gorgo and of Xerxes – but mostly it was Artemesia chasing after Themostocles in muddy murky blurred out battle scenes. Blood was flying all over the place like so much badly-shook-up cherry cola and every now and then we’d have Aremesia demonstrate her military prowess in another hissy-fit.

I mean that girl was making more drama than a season full of The Kardashians.

About 90% of the way through the movie Queen Gorgo (Gerard Butler’s wife from the first movie) and Dilios (the one-eyed storyteller/soldier from the first movie) decide that it is time to do something about the Persians that are pouring into their country after having shadily turned her husband Leonidas into a stunt-double for Saint Sebastian)

“You know,” I said to my wife. “This is RIGHT where they ought to have started this movie.”

That’s the point they missed.

You’re making a sequel to a much-loved movie don’t be messing around inventing characters that didn’t appear in the first movie, clogging up the story-line with unnecessary back story.

Beginning, middle and end – that’s a story.

Take your hero, put him into a tree and then throw rocks at him.

WHY didn’t they just start right there and then take Queen Gorgo and her Spartan and Greek forces with Dilios keeping busy with a little testosteronal-narrative every now – “Now what those Persians didn’t know was that the Duke Brothers had actually switched the roadblock sign…”

Lastly, I want to say a bit more about I call false strong women.

I know a lot of strong women. They are as common in this world as are strong men. But the strong women I know DO SOMETHING if there is something that needs to doing. They don’t just stand there and shake their ta-ta’s and arch their eyebrows and throw their generals overboard. They actually use their mind and come up with a strategy and take action.

Women can kick butt – just like fellas – and they don’t need to be all bitchy to do it – but that was all that Artemesia seemed to be able to do.

“I’m a strong women and a mean motor-scooter,” Artemesia would say. “Want to see my bodacious ta-ta’s?”

I’m sorry – but women play a bigger role in this life than just being there to waggle their bodacious ta-ta’s. If you are going to give us an evil character who happens to be a woman and is supposed to be a military wonder – DON’T LEAVE US STANDING THERE WONDERING!

I mean, what was up with that big naval master-plan that she concocted?

Let’s put a bunch of kamikaze suicide-bomber Persians into the middle of an ocean full of oil and have them dog-paddle with explosive backpacks up to the Greek ship and then when they halfway there lets start shooting some flaming arrows at them – while we are sitting our boat in the same darned oil-filled look-out-its-gonna-blow ocean?

Yeah, that was brilliant, all right.

I am truly sorry that I wasted twenty good bucks on this dvd. I am going to give it away. I don’t ever want to see it again. The movie absolutely sucked. It was a masterpiece of truly abysmal storytelling.

That’s okay, though.

I’ve got another movie I picked up from the five dollar bin. I figure it will make up for the incredible disappointment that was 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE.

That’s right.

I bought myself a copy of MEN IN BLACK 3.

yours in storytellling,

Steve Vernon