Monthly Archives: July 2019

Movie Review: The Extendables

“A vapid photon, glittering for an ignorant audience…I wish they knew what an appalling effort it takes to get your facade ready to be photographed.”

Today’s post comes days after watching Pokemon Detective Pikachu, a film I truly enjoyed. It was a product Pokemon deserved, a lot of fans deserved. It was nice to see a creative project turn out that way. Offered quite the euphoria, the passion of a honeymoon.

All nice things come to an end, however. In comes The Extendables, a picture my brother nominated for Worst Ever. Surely, it could not compare with the infamous Alien 3?

Now, our feature presentation.

Annihilation of art is apathy, approved of affluent if not agitated aggression against amorous activity and an affiliation for assembly. Bemoaned of both brethren and breed, it behooves this beast to bluntly and brutally banish bright benevolence and broach banality boastfully as both benefactor and beneficiary. Cold, collected, calculated, conceded and consumed with callous contains, cancerous cats carry cautiously, carefully clawing cleverness, charm and chivalry whilst creating chaotic confines and crippled creatures. Devoid of desire and detached from development, a drift destined for destitution and desolation, this decrepit and diseased, dour and damaged delicacy devours destiny, destroys design and disables emotion, envious even enamoured with elegance whilst estranged from empathy.

Image result for extendables movie poster free use

If you struggled to understand that poetic dedication, let me dumb it down for you. Apathy is love’s greatest villain and apathy chomps at the bit at any sort of attachment whether emotional or intellectual. It is to apathy’s salvation to eliminate the arts, creativity and all that is good in life. It rips at the fabric of imagination. Color, intrigue, tonality, character, story, passion, apathy wants all of it off the reservation. Apathy is manipulative and a control freak. It’s a parasite and its existence depends on sucking the life out of everything around it.

Apathy presents a large hurdle to progress. Education and resolution depend on conversation. If someone doesn’t care, why would they engage in discussion? It stifles dialogue and emboldens annoyance and frustration. If you get frustrated enough, you’ll start throwing things.

I wanted to throw all the things while watching The Extendables, a film so destructive to the finer qualities of life it’s hard not to mistake it for a toxic waste facility. This production is pretty upfront about its sewage. Its opening sequences reek of an unimaginable fermentation. You recoil from the discharge, effusive and debilitating as it is. The stench is overpowering, paralyzing even. You want with all your power to flip the switch, pull the cord and toss the television off the balcony. It’s infected and your house must be cleansed but you have already been traumatized, made immobile by the force of this wretchedness. There is one option:

Burn it.

All of it.

Rid this poor planet of its existence. Save humanity, for the love of God. Don’t let this cretin escape the premises or we are all doomed. Our extinction is inevitable if you don’t. It is up to you, dear reader, to do what must be done, for the sake of not just this world but the universe as a whole. Black holes, suckers of all things big and small, fear The Extendables. Global warming is caused by this picture. The Sun is being sucked closer to Earth each and every minute by this evergrowing wormhole. The fragments of reality shake in its presence.

The Extendables is a hit piece, designed to attack the framework of Hollywood and art itself, painting the experience of film making with a broad brush of power, greed, negligence and sexual harassment.

Director Brian Thompson had worked in the industry previously and given the blurb he dictates here, he doesn’t think much of the place, slathering it in debauchery and hate-filled rhetoric. If Mr. Thompson wanted his concerns aired, an interview would have done the trick, even a documentary. A parody was not the right format to air his grievances.

And as stupid and unlikable as Mr. Thompson is, I think he was well-aware of this. The Extendables wasn’t about making a point; making a point involves critical thinking, persuasion, communication and a somewhat functioning heartbeat, none of which the abomination possesses. It just is.

The Extendables is all that is wrong with this world: contrived, arrogant and narcissistic, unwavering in its incessant need to control the room. Selfish, short-fused and with the attention span of a fly doused in kerosene, The Extendables is one of those movies that has a face asking to be punched and it feels righteous and right to do so. No redeeming qualities can be found in this hellspawn. Best light it on fire and kick it off a cliff.

Brian Thompson is a sick, sick man, a man full of himself to the point that interacting with him induces vomiting. He’s one of those people who views himself as a supremacist, superior and undeterred until the end. A megalomaniac drunk with self-adulation, Mr. Thompson can’t help but check off the boxes of ways he’s better than everyone else. He probably sends himself a birthday card, the chump.

This dolt, jealous of the success of the musclemen of Hollywood, decided to devise a smear campaign rife with politics and rumor mills. It felt like watching a political commercial if political commercials were an hour and a half long, shot in abandoned buildings in Detroit on film from the 90’s and edited like a college news station in your mom’s basement.

Brian Thompson is a hack. No real artist could ever compose something this unspeakable. The dialogue’s blood flow is clamped with the exception of two snippets where I caught myself edging forward with the slimmest of hopes, the same type of desperation one buried alive shudders with when they see a pinprick of light.

It wasn’t light.

It was water. The cemetery was being poured on and soon I would have the luxury of drowning whilst being entombed. Quite the entertainment.

Beings with such a disregard for human life are often locked away. Thompson walks freely under the “It’s art” license. What crud.

Bumbling birdbrains meander from shot to shot uttering content that makes Billy Madison look like Harvard law school. With such a narrow scene of production, it’s impossible for creativity in shot selection or cinematography to take place.

It’s a single droplet of feces on a canvas, so small and yet so inexplicably damaging. Abrasive like racism and soothing like the Saw franchise, The Extendables leaves me unsympathetic. It’s undeserving of pity or empathy. It wouldn’t know what those things were anyway.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Pokemon Detective Pikachu, The Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The World)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (XXX: State of the Union, The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe Gunman)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for The Extendables: 3.

Apocalpytic agony awaits anyone attempting to extend their life after watching this atrocity. Truly terrible in every critical way, The Extendables is the type of work that needs all of its copies burned. Erase it from history. It will take weeks to soothe the scars on my memory.

With that, we have a new champion. The Extendables is officially the worst to be critiqued on this site.

Congratulations, tool. Now go lock yourself in the basement and swallow the key.

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Movie Review: XXX: State of the Union

“Wars come and go but my soldiers stay eternal.”

Tupac. Nice.

As I went over in a few posts back, XXX wasn’t a good movie. Its spark faded quickly but Hollywood has a severe case of separation anxiety and could not dare distance itself from XXX. It must coddle it and breathe new life into its corpse.

It’s difficult to have a relationship with the creative pasture. Hollywood is the same friend we all have who complains about the many problems of their current relationship. There’s an evident, clear solution but he/she can’t help his/herself. They can’t let things go. Neither can the big wigs.

The brainiacs in California have nightmares about leaving pennies in the trash. They wake in the middle of the night and fling heaps of it all over their mansions, searching for even a speck of metal that might have gone lost. To forgo even a smidge of potential is punishable by death.

No, throwing millions into skydiving without a parachute projects is much more logical.Image result for xxx state of the union movie poster free use

Like many awkward seconds before it, XXX: State of the Union seems destined to fail, with callback after callback in its screen time, as if “remember the first one?!” was its go-to marketing strategy. It spends a considerable amount of film doing this, a coworker who’s jumping from negligible points to unneeded details constantly before even approaching the subject matter of the story. It cuts the air supply to the room, in essence, leaving little wonder why we begin drifting into unconsciousness.

For whatever reason, Ice Cube is told to act like a punk, plain and simple. Spinning your main character as a tough talk jerk isn’t a great sales pitch. That’s part of the XXX program. I understand that. As the original grew, we saw Cage for what he was: an idealist with a rebel streak. Darius Stone is a Navy SEAL who questions authority but his motivations, from start to finish, incur skepticism. Despite his resume, you’re never real sold on his character. The course of the film seems predetermined regardless of the inherit good involved here. The movie doesn’t have the backbone to take a surprise twist into dark canals. It would rather take a trip down memory lane than boat us past storyboards.

Removed from dynamic characters, XXX: State of the Union…I mean, it’s bad, people.

People are usually creating the intrigue in stories, the ones who make the cogs in our head move around. Whether that occur through lust, humor, adrenaline or rational/irrational thought is of little consequence. When the personas are revealed to have little volume, us intellectuals get disgruntled, discouraged and disinterested. We start asking questions.

What is going on?

Who are these people?

And why do they all suck?

Once you’ve lost the dog, you need to have a leash to redirect it. That leash can be cinematography, action sequences, some drops of comedy or sound editing/musical score. I can recall exactly one scene of any of these things that fulfilled its calling and only because of its direct statement to subtle racism. Even a film with poor adventure arches can be tied together with some dialogue composition, banter thrown here and there. This film can’t even get banter right. This movie would be awful at whack-a-mole. Never knows when to swing and when it does, it misses.

It’s not like the director is out of his element either. Lee Tamahori directed Along Came a Spider and Die Another Day, which was the most profitable Bond film to that point in time. He wasn’t a scrub so why does State of the Union play out like one?

A change in writers likely played a role. Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen chose other projects (wise choice) and the writer who originated the idea was, I assume, nowhere to be found for this adaptation. The tone doesn’t transfer and the rebel cause which was the driving force behind the 2002 tale can’t find its footing.

It’s a straight shot from here to the station. You can see the pieces lining up rather easily and nothing quite shoots a film in the face like predictability and the absence of the realm of possibility. A walk down the street is fine and sometimes a bike ride a few miles down the road but international travel from believability, especially when you don’t have much else going on, is not recommended.

With so little to report, it’s hard to put copy down for this. What am I supposed to talk about past character disorientation, tone betrayal, an absence of showmanship or theatrical prowess, graphic mediocrity and plot pushing?

Can I move on with my life now?

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Pokemon Detective Pikachu, The Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The World)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for XXX: State of the Union: 22.

It’s been quite a few months since I’ve reviewed a film that got a suckage label. XXX: State of the Union just missed out on the honor. Still, we get a new addition to the 20’s, the crudfield before the Chernobyls.

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Movie Review: Pokemon Detective Pikachu

“Harry is still alive. Case closed but still open until I solve it.”

Video games don’t have a great track record and despite my initial reluctance to identify it as one, that’s what Pokemon Detective Pikachu is. Pokemon’s emergence came from its GameBoy release, Pokemon Red and Blue. Since then, it’s developed into one of the largest universes in entertainment, with stocks in anime, manga, trading cards and television.

Unlike some franchises, however, Pokemon has already found success with animated films, composing over 20 projects, though they were all shipped by Kunihiko Yuyama, an acclaimed anime director. Its animated television run is still ongoing, spanning 22 years.

Surely, this would be the one to do it. There’s too much right for this to go wrong.

We’ve said that before though, haven’t we? Numerous times, correct? It’s predetermination, part of sacred cinema texts: Video game movies shall not work.

There were concerns before it came out. Justice Smith had made himself into Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s most hated character, a film which had plenty wrong with it. Casting him in the lead role made my stomach turn. Director Rob Letterman hadn’t released a film in four years and didn’t have the most extensive nor impressive resume. Seemingly innocent flags start to look like red ones when connected to a video game adaptation.Image result for detective pikachu movie poster free use

However, my compatriots, you can finally, after all these years of torment, breathe a sigh of relief and toss that monkey off a cliff. Pokemon Detective Pikachu got it right.

There were other flags before it released that said it might. Ryan Reynolds, who has completely revived his career, was a perfect cast for bantering anime rat, the adrenaline shot a film like this needed. The studio also decided to write an original character rather than bring Ash to screen, a choice I applauded. It demonstrated backbone and a willingness to create. That meant an introductory character arc which could be viewed as its own commodity rather than torn down and berated for not being an exact replica of what was demanded by hardcore fans. It would be able to distance itself from the mass expectations smashing against theater entrances and gather the confidence to walk out on stage.

That’s what this film was going to be about at the end of the day. It wasn’t going to be about the Pokemon themselves, though it could have been. It wasn’t going to be about the spectacle, though that would inject some nostalgia into the room. It was always destined to formulate itself upon the plateau of character. Pikachu became more than a colorful rodent who squeaked “Pika, Pika”. He became a street detective with a caffeine addiction, the writers ascribing a character upon a creature that, even after all this time, the fellas at Nintendo had never considered personifying. Suddenly, Pikachu became even more likable and certainly more relatable. He was funny, whimsical, light-hearted and became a central focal point of the experience more than a sidekick who never had much say in decisions or discussions. Pikachu had an enlivening spirit.

Ryan Reynolds is the best Pokemon Detective Pikachu has to offer and it’s not remotely close. It’s quite remarkable, the difference voice acting can make. Reynolds is the perfect talent for such a thing, as hopefully all my readers have seen from Deadpool, Reynolds’ most iconic role, a performance I believe he’s unlikely to eclipse. Some roles you’re just born to play and Deadpool was and will forever be Reynolds’ baby.

Whenever you feel Pokemon Detective Pikachu begin to teeter, Reynolds brings it back, serving as both quarterback and coach. The story funnels through him and though he’s not the main character, whenever he’s gone too long, the product suffers. Reynolds looms over the picture, in a good, encouraging manner, like a heavy-handed father urging his son forward. Despite his best intentions, that father, and Reynolds here, will continue to overshadow his son until he finds his way, which is what this film is driving towards. It’s pushing Tim (Justice Smith) to become who he was meant to be. Reynolds is just far too talented for his presence to be forgotten for more than a few minutes. Letterman does a commendable job directing the spotlight but it begins to lose some of its glimmer without our bright yellow friend.

Tim is one of the populace, childhood aspirations killed by reality. He wanted to be a Pokemon trainer, wanted to be somebody. Now, he sells insurance.

Tim is coming to the road many shall come upon: deciding to fall back into the plush comfort of running in the hamster wheel at 9-5’s or leaning forward into the gamble that might make us feel whole again. Throw in some family dysfunction and social inadequacy and we’ve got a character, a genuine Poke nerd.

While much of the film is catered to a young adolescent audience, there’s material for more seasoned generations, allowing those to relive what they used to dream of in simpler times. Most notable is the dialogue writing. Sometimes the vehicle is more entertaining than the destination and such is the case here. Stories, especially films, often suffer from anticipation anxiety, so obsessed with getting to the big hurrah that they forget about all the intricacies that make the build what it is. We see this with adaptations especially, production executives jumping with glee when they get to throw Godzilla onto the screen or reveal the Power Rangers mech. One of these films demonstrated self-control and was a box office hit. The other? Oh, the stench.

The best things come to those who wait and toil in the meantime. Reynolds and Smith demonstrate chemistry with their lines and most of the production’s best work comes in the middle frames.

The visuals are fine though not overly glossy. Sometimes, that is what we as an audience needed. Not all pictures have to be so crisp. Sometimes the mind fills in the blanks. That’s not to say Letterman doesn’t take luxuries. A well-composed product will shoot for the awe star from time to time and Letterman makes sure to fire a couple rounds off to remind us he’s standing at attention.

The final third leaves us with some questionable narrative choices and a plot more complicated than it needs to be. Does stint the finale a bit.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldThe 40-Year-Old Virgin)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Detective Pikachu: 82.

I do not find it coincidental that Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero is the hit Legendary went with as their trailer song. It’s awfully on the nose. We have been holding out for a hero for quite a while, us video game people. We’ve had to put up with a lot of crap for it. We’ve had some that seemed close but never quite got there like Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft films. We’ve had the Mortal Kombat editions, Doom, which, having reviewed it recently, I can confirm has not aged well. Hitman, Max Payne, Need for Speed, Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed, Tomb Raider and we mustn’t forget this surefire trainwreck coming up. They’ve all abused us but salvation has come. We have a good live-action video game movie and it’s a taste I’ll do my best to savor. Who knows the next time this’ll happen.

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