adaptation

[Movie Review] ‘Logan’ Infuses Heart and Violence into a Potent Cocktail

logan_poster-tgofWhile superhero fatigue still has me in its icy grip, along comes Logan to warm that chill–at least temporarily. Perhaps it’s the, at times, overwhelming violence or the emotional vulnerability of being a new dad that makes the arc Wolverine’s final chapter that much more effective. Whatever way you look at it, Hugh Jackman’s curtain call as the claw wielding potty-mouth is a fitting and emotional bow that might rely a little too much on its R rating and hero cliches.

Picking up in 2029 where mutant residency has since passed, Logan spends his days driving a limo for drunk brides and frat boys chanting ‘Merica near the US/Mexico border. South of the border Logan lives with Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and an aged Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart with his most powerful portrayal as Professor X to date) suffering dementia and the occasional population crippling seizure. With his health steadily declining and his body unwilling to heal like it used to Logan begrudgingly accepts to transport a young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen), with powers strikingly similar to his own, North across the Canadian border and hopefully to safety away from the research facility tracking her down. (more…)

Movie Review: I Am Not a Serial Killer

iamnotaserialkiller_posterDan Wells’ John Wayne Cleaver trilogy is certainly not your typical set of YA novels. Not having read them myself and seeing Billy O’Brien’s adaptation I would have to assume the books have more in common with the works of Jeff Lindsay than that of Suzanne Collins. The delineation of course moot as I Am Not a Serial Killer distances itself from either categorization with something of a supernatural twist.

Similarities aside, the film adaptation puts us along the path of the aforementioned John Cleaver (Max Records). A kid who by most indications seems normal; he loves seems to love his mother, he occasionally looks in on his elderly neighbors, and has a crush on a cute girl in school. However, John is a diagnosed sociopath who spends time discussing his violent urges with his psychologist and how to suppress them. For instance, whenever John feels the need to hurt someone, he simply smiles and pays them a compliment- a strategy that to this point has worked. However, a series of murders in his town peaks his interest as the killer takes a new body part with every victim and leaves a puddle of black muck behind. Using his unique instincts John seeks out the culprit, but what he finds might just tear down all the work he’s done to calm the monster dwelling inside of himself.  (more…)

TGoF Hangover: Game of Thrones Season 6

The TGoF hangover. Originally meant to help me catch up on some movies I had seen and wanted to review, but perhaps in a more abbreviated fashion. To be clear, this section is still for those purposes, but going forward it may be the go-to spot to talk about something tragically overlooked on this site…TV. 

To be fair, I do not watch a whole lot of TV. Most of my consumption comes in short bursts and with specific shows that I’ve become attached to. I along with a large section of society recently consumers ten captivating episodes of the HBO juggernaut, Game of Thrones. Okay, so maybe not all ten were as captivating as I personally would have liked them to be, but Season 6 will still go down as one of the show’s best. It’s not without its missteps, but a breathless finale very nearly merits a boast of genius in the general direction of the show runners. 

Before reading further be aware that I will delve into spoilers, so do not continue along if you wish to not have any of Season 6 spoiled for you. 

Instead of running down and overwhelming anyone by hitting every show best from beginning to end, it’s much more time and eye friendly to hit some of the highs and lows for the season. Beginning with the lows. The worst, by far, would have to be Arya’s story arc. For the last two seasons we’ve been witnessing her slow transition into a cold blooded killer. That in and of itself is not a problem, but her time spent with the whole coven of faceless men and becoming no one felt like a complete waste of time given where the last two espisodes left the young Stark girl. Was it satisfying to see her cut the sniveling throat of Walder Frey? Absolutely. At the same time it’s sad to see one of the show’s most consistent sleazy characters bid farewell at the expense of what was an intensely sloppy storyline over seasons 5 and 6. 

Limping behind the Arya missteps are the criminally underused or misused trio of characrers: Tyrion, Lord Varys, and Little Finger (aka Lord Baelish). Tyrion has already been flipping around like a fish out of water for the last couple seasons, but he’s done it with some undeniable swag. This season, his wisdom and typical hijinx either felt secondary or rendered impotent. Attempts at what has made him one of Thrones’ most popular character often fell flat until the heartfelt finale when he and Daenerys’ team up finally caught some traction. Varys and Little Finger simply were too absent from this season to warrant much to talk about- which itself is the complaint. Still, looking forward to what is sure to be a firey season 7 as Daenerys chargers her way to Westeros.

Now on to the good, of which outweigh the bad by a landslide. Sure, this season was a whole lot of moving around of chess pieces with few moments of “Check,” but we also got to see a few pieces enter back into play. Long suspected to be still among the living, Sandor Clegane (aka The Hound) made a peaceful return that was short lived as his life as a faithful carpenter quickly escalated to bloodthirsty revenge. Cersei made a bang at her own trial and in the process wiped out some potentially large players in the GoT universe. Jon and Sansa took back Winterfell and turned Ramsey Bolton into dog meat. We finally learn the tragic truth behind why the sweet gentle giant Hodor is how he….*gulp* was as well as the true lineage of Jon Snow. All in all when you start adding it all up, fans shouldn’t have much to hate on at the end of the day. 

We now wait anxiously for the series’ return next year and how all of these new developments play into the fates of all our favorite cheaters. Until next time, Game of Thrones…until next time.

TGoF Hangover: Warcraft, Angry Birds, Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2, TMNT 2, and More!

It’s been a while and there are plenty of movies in my rear view so to conserve some space you can check out my reviews of some recently released flicks all in one place- as well as beer recommendations to go with. Read on to check out some reviews for the following: Warcraft, Angry Birds, Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Manson’s Lost Girls, and The Ones Below!

Warcraft

Zero. That is exactly the amount of not hours, not minutes, but seconds I’ve spent playing World of Warcraft. So what business have I to attempt to review a film that is so obvious in its attempts to please its fans? Technically none. As a fan of cinema and someone who tries to see anything and everything that I possibly can it behooves oneself to have a voice amongst those who are like me, but maybe are on the fence about spending money to see it.  (more…)

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

bvsdoj_tgofThere are those of us who willingly choose to avoid the paper representations of the immensely popular superhero films. In doing so, while unable to provide a glimpse into how faithful the adaptations are, can still provide a unique and still truthful outlook to the success of the filmmakers to present a story that is worthwhile and thrilling. Sadly, it’s filmmakers like Zack Snyder who make us realize how good we had it with Christopher Nolan and his uneven take on the cowled vigilante in The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan, provided a grim perspective on the Batman universe and Snyder too uses the grim approach, it also is more often than not…soulless.

For better or worse I approach each superhero flick hoping to experience a well told story. With any luck it’ll come together cohesively even without having read the comics. One should not have to have that knowledge to enjoy the film counterparts because it is the job of the filmmaker to present the story in a way that makes sense in its own right. Snyder has not done his due diligence in this regard- at least from this viewer’s perspective. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly sets the table for DC’s own Avengers type formula, but does so in messy fashion. Consider Synder’s vision the Island of Misfit toys so to speak, which goes a long way in describing the film as a whole. It’s like a child playing with his toys and like a child they’re no sense or meaning to anything that happens, just the bashing together of plastic soulless figures because it’s fun. Plus this particular child has a $250 million budget so those plastic toys look a lot cooler.  (more…)

Movie Review: Deadpool

teaser-one-sheetIn 2009, if someone had mused about the possibility of a Deadpool movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine almost singlehandedly put those hopes to bed. The fact that we are here now, means of course the fate of the “Merc with a mouth” wasn’t quite as grim as previously feared. Comic fans and non-readers alike can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the gleefully profane Deadpool not only found the light of day, but shattered box office records even with its much needed hard R rating. Breathe a double sigh for the fact that the film is pretty f*ckin’ awesome too.

A superhero movie decidedly not for the kiddos, but don’t worry, when they are of age they’ll seek this bad boy out and you can finally share in the love. Deadpool follows the origin story of the anti-hero played wonderfully by Ryan Reynolds. Before he was Deadpool though he was Wade Wilson, a mercenary for hire who meets and falls in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Things seem to be going perfectly when he’s hit with a bombshell- he has cancer. Facing certain death and unwilling to make Vanessa endure the pain he accepts an invite from a mysterious man proclaiming he has the cure and can turn Wilson into a hero with extraordinary abilities. The process leaves him horribly scarred and Wilson embarks on a revenge mission to find the man who turned him into an invincible monster.  (more…)

Movie Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

fiftyshadesofgrey_posterI am just one of many husbands or boyfriends who spent their Valentine’s Day weekend engaging in some saucy cinematic shenanigans. I then battled back and forth with rather or not it would be worth it for me to sit and write out my thoughts on those cinematic shenanigans. For one, I questioned if I would be fair since the content in question doesn’t really target my demographic. Secondly, I was worried that I would forfeit any remaining “dude cred” by reporting back the unthinkable- that I didn’t completely hate the experience. The saucy cinematic shenanigans in question is none other than FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, the literary phenomenon that started as Twilight fanfiction which then took to assault the sexual fantasies of countless housewives and hopeless romantics around the world. I for one can’t speak to the book’s ability to stimulate the nether regions of it’s readers, but the movie- for all the hate it will attract- is not without its charms.

The dilemma for me reviewing FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is that since seeing it all I’ve said to people is, “it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it’d be.” Of course I had no idea what to even expect, I just know all the hateful backlash since the books met popularity had me expecting something pretty hideous. It’s also not a glowing recommendation to say, “it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever see,” or, “I’d watch it over any of the TWILIGHT movies-” all things that I’ve been saying when people confront me about what I thought. That all being said, it’s all still very true- it isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen and I’d gladly watch it over a single one of the TWILIGHT movies.  (more…)

Movie Review: Gone Girl

gonegirl_posterMaybe it’s just me, but the institution of marriage is really taking heavy fire from a cinematic standpoint this year. Or Maybe in previous years I just didn’t watch enough movies about marital relationships. I’ve been witness to a marriage plagued by a serial killer (A GOOD MARRIAGE), newlyweds prey to mysterious forces tearing them apart (HONEYMOON) and a dramedy featuring a marriage falling apart from infidelity and a past miscarriage (THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU). Now there’s GONE GIRL, a thriller from David Fincher featuring a marriage of two people so messed up that they are perfect for each other. Fincher’s film is haunting, tense and depressingly brilliant in how it presents, in extremes, what marriage can do to people and the faces we put on for those watching us.

Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) are a married couple about to celebrate their 6th wedding anniversary. When Nick comes home in the middle of the afternoon he finds his living room showing signs of a break in and Amy is missing. Amy as it turns out is the inspiration for her mom’s bestselling book series character Amazing Amy which helps to turn the investigation into an over-the-top media circus. Nick increasingly becomes the target of the investigation and villain in the eyes of the media even as he cooperates unflinchingly with the police. The question still remains though; is Nick the concerned husband he seems to be or is he hiding something that could be the key to finding Amy. (more…)

Movie Review: A Good Marriage

agoodmarriage_posterOh boy where to start? I won’t beat around the bush here, A GOOD MARRIAGE is not a movie made for the big screen. In my opinion it’s not even a movie that should be released via the many On Demand platforms. This is essentially a made for TV flick- though one that’s slightly better than most. Stephen King has long been a well respected horror writer and it saddens me that King’s script, though quite good at times, feels so much less consequential than it could be. A GOOD MARRIAGE for all its promise essentially feels like it could have just as easily been a Lifetime movie.

The premise asks the audience to accept quite a bit pretty early one. Bob (Anthony LaPaglia) and Darcy (Joan Allen) are a happily married couple celebrating their 25th anniversary with friends and loved ones. Shortly thereafter When Bob leaves for a business trip Darcy goes in search of batteries for a remote only to find evidence that links her husband to a series of murders by a  serial killer who calls himself Beadie. Darcy is then thrust into a downward spiral fighting her own sanity and wondering how she could have been so blind to her husband’s dark secret for so long.

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Movie Review: Found.

found_posterBrace yourself folks, the movie on deck today is about as indie as indie gets. Now, the landscape of independent horror tends to be a mixed bag as is, but FOUND is a dangerous mix of sexualized violence and coming of age drama. The film as a grab bag full of mouse traps and Smarties- you know that chalky candy that’s okay if you’ve got nothing else, but let’s be honest it has no taste. Plus, if you put a bunch of non-actors to convey a pretty dead serious story the results are not going to swing in anyone’s favor.

FOUND’s premise is pretty straightforward and believe it or not nothing within the following sentences should be considered a spoiler. Marty is a pretty normal kid, he just has an obsession with horror movies. Marty gets good grades and minds his own business, but kids at school pick on him and his parents are a little clueless, but not offensively neglectful. Yet through it all Marty is harboring a pretty hefty secret- he knows that his brother is a serial killer. Moreover, he knows that his brother is a killer AND keeps a severed head in a bowling bag inside his closet. No way this is going to end badly for everyone right? (more…)