I won’t say this film was unwatchable. I enjoyed Emily Blunt as the Bakers Wife and I appreciate a story that doesn’t feel the need to whitewash everything into happy happy joy joy in fear of exposing younglings to something that might traumatize their little brains (or perhaps help them grow a little backbone for when they grow up and deal with actual life. Your mollycoddling is doing them a disservice (said the man with no children) and only serves to protect you from having to explain things to them. Kudos on helping to raise the Wimpiest Generation. Plus if you really think you are protecting your children you should know that by age 10 I guarantee they have a friend who lets them play Assassins Creed. Let them have a few nightmares. My parents did nothing to insulate me from violence, bullies, and massive self esteem issues and look how great I turned out. Image courtesy of the video game t shirt category).
It’s just that the good is so grievously outweighed by the bad. The songs. The story. The dialog. The mediocre sets, CGI, and special effects. The fact that every male character in this film looks, sounds, and acts like a sexual predator. It’s like the casting director logged onto a talent agency site but was redirected onto the Megan’s Law page. There was nothing in this film to draw me in. A couple of characters die and I felt all the bereavement of flushing a toilet.
The story of a man and his dog.
I have decided I want to be kinder in my thoughts towards Keanu Reeves. Sure it’s easy to jump on the “His current movies suck” bandwagon but I read in interview with him where he wished he got better roles and people liked working with him more and suddenly I was struck by the realization that he actually has provided me (and the movie world in general) with a ton of kind of awesome entertainment. Obviously the Matrix is a no brainer and in spite of the Wachowski siblings taking a left turn into the Dark Valley of Unplanned, Unnecessary, and Ungood Sequels he did an admirable job with the role he was given. For all everyone laughs at Point Break that was more about the live action stage play. Devil’s Advocate was great, as was Constantine and it’s easy to forget Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Speed set the barometer for dumb fun action adventure. I even liked Johnny Mnemonic once I got over how badly they translated the story and found a lot of things to like in 47 Ronin. I won’t go so far as to say I’m a fan but honestly I’m appreciative of the many hours of entertainment Keanu has given me.
So what about John Wick? Honestly shockingly good. Keanu managed to pull the cold heartless killer off well and the action made this movie kind of rock. This is a movie that plays out like a video game and that video game happens to be Max Payne. Lots of guns, lots of shooting, and the story of a grizzled burnt out killer of men trying to get revenge for…well more on that later. Most of the action scenes were so Max Payne-like that I kept expecting to see a Bullet Time meter in one corner of the screen (Bullet Bill image courtesy of the video game t shirt category). This is definitely one of those movies that when they come out with the special DvD release one of the special features will be a body counter that hits three digits.
However I am going to rail against the whole name a movie out of some jackass no one has ever heard of thing. This failed miserably in Jack Reacher. It failed again in Jack Ryan. Does Hollywood think 3rd times the charm? At least those two had some kind of literature tie in and popularity but I am no pop culture slouch and I couldn’t have told you who those two were to save my life. Making up someone entirely new and then expecting us to flock to the theaters becuase the name sounds vaguely like a sexual innuendo is asinine. Also why is it all these name as title movies have to have a one syllable name starting with a J? I don’t see Hollywood lining up to do an action movie called Barnabas Grossweiner.
For all that I thought the movie was awesome. In a business that claims to want to generate excitement but then produces nothing but the blandest crap ever this movie was exciting. You get engaged with all the characters with a minimum of exposition and feel hurt when something bad happens to them. The action was adrenaline pumping for sure. The Nazis were evil, the Americans mostly good, and best of all the film had tanks in it. Win win win.
Brief story recap. Sgt. Collier “Wardaddy” (Brad Pitt) and his crew gunner “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), driver “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña), and loader “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) get back from a battle and have a new recruit Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) assigned to them as their new bow gunner (the last one having died). They are given a mission to go help some guys against the Germans and Norman screws up, getting another tank killed. Wardaddy tries to toughen up him up and eventually has him hooked up with a local girl. They get sent somewhere else and an epic battle ensues. Most of the world blows up.
Worth seeing? Absolutely. The only issue I really had was the blatant use of stereotypes for all the characters and that is more upon reflection. During the movie I thought they were all cool. You don’t have to love tanks to love this film but if you do you will be in pig heaven (in a tank. World of Tanks image from our video game t shirt category). Pacing was great, filming amazing, action awesome, and the characters well worth your time. I’d say definitely not a date movie especially if your date is the type to focus on one little thing (like humans burning alive) and they bitch about it all night. Guys film for sure. Bathroom break? Honestly I’d hold it. It is 134 minutes so it might be a bit of a strain. If you can’t go that long I’d say the dinner scene is the most disposable but even that one is good. Try to hurry. Final rating? 4.5 out of 5 Phasers.
Thanks for reading.
the Infamous Dave Inman
This is an episode that strikes a cord with most nerds. I mean, which of us hasn’t simulated interplanetary war on a computer at some point? The Eminiarians and Vendikarians just took it to the next level and started executing simulated casualties. It’s like if South Korea and North Korea chose to restart hostilities but instead of fighting opted to play marathon games of Starcraft II (I think South Korea might have the advantage. Starcraft image courtesy of the video game t shirt category).
This is one of those episodes that doesn’t really spring to mind when I think of my favorites but if I see it I realize I like it a lot. It’s pretty damned cool, has a great title, a jackass that Kirk gets to put in his place, and the chance to wreak havoc upon not one but two planetary civilizations. Prime Directive? What’s that again? Also the Eminiarian sonic disruptor pistols look a lot cooler than most of the Federation weapons. Thank god in Next Gen they brought back the phaser rifle (previously only seen in one episode of TOS, Where No Man Has Gone Before).
The Infamous Dave Inman
Today we continue with my interview with Shane Saucedo from Hellbent Studios.
Dave: Do you feel you can handle pretty much any special effect you might be called upon to perform, or are there things you would have to farm out to a different studio? Like, for example, if I wanted a scene where 18 walking people’s heads all exploded simultaneously while the villain is throwing Molotov cocktails and burning doves off a bridge, could you pull it off?
Shane: Most definitely! LOL!!! That’s right up the studios alley. I think the only thing I would farm out would be huge pyro work like in the movie Demolition Man, when they blew up the building and then it collapsed. I don’t know anything about imploding a building.
(8 bit Molotov cocktail image courtesy of the video game t shirt category)
Dave: Maybe one day. I’d love to blow up a building. What changes have you seen over the last years in physical special effects techniques? Is there a newsletter or special effects site you check to see what the newest innovations are?
Shane: I would say the only changes I have seen would be the overuse of digital effects. It is understandable, it seems like a lot of new directors just want to pass it of to the CGI studios and then cut it together. I have no clue of a newsletter or a site. Lemme know you know of one.
Dave: What are your thoughts on CGI verses physical special effects?
Shane: I like both and feel the both have their place. Very few can balance the two and use them to enhance each other. When they pull that off it is truly art.
Dave: Are there specific situations where physical effects can actually generate a better look than CGI?
Shane: I would have to say time, budget and crew skill have the most factor in quality. You rarely have the time needed or budget and so you have to do the best you can.
Dave: Do you see CGI affecting your business?
Shane: Yeah, but I think its okay. Sometimes its cost prohibitive to pull an effect off, or it’s a question of safety. Again I think visual and practical should work hand in hand to provide the best product possible.
Dave: Is the use or overuse of CGI specific to larger studios than smaller studios or vice versa?
Shane: I have seen the smaller productions doing a lot of CGI, almost to much. A lot of it has to do with certain skill levels available to the filmmaker. Myself, I have a cinematographer, editor, and director a phone call away. So when we go to make a film on a budget, if its cheaper I would most definitely would call a CGI guy in and hopefully be able to increase production value for a better price.
When World of Warcraft was released, it was a game requiring a high amount of skill and commitment to progress to the upper echelons of dungeon and raid content. The casual player who didn’t even own a WOW t-shirts (from our video game t shirt category) had no place in high end raiding, even in the first raid dungeon of Molten Core. The Burning Crusade continued this trend to a lesser degree, and still made it difficult for most guilds and players to progress to a higher level of play. This all changed with Wrath of the Lich King that feels a lot like the Coke Zero of what WoW used to be. No longer are there barriers from casual players enjoying all the content in the game. There is little to no commitment involved in the whole game, as the needs for farming, raid preparation, and even research have been dumbed down to a severe degree.
WoW, which was once like Frodo journeying to conquer the Dark Lord Sauron that was Everquest, is now like Frodo had he been consumed by the greed of the One Ring. MMORPGs that have been made in recent years can’t stand up to WoW both in scope and design. Blizzard simply has too much money. It is now greed that drives them to continue to release content for an MMORPG that has been discarded by the original players who worked so hard to conquer it. Blizzard may have gained more casual players with the release of WOTLK, but in doing so they’ve also lost some of those hardcore players who made the game famous.