Saturday, November 28, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: What We Do in the Shadows Review

A unique concept whose dark, deadpan humor loses its bite quick.  Although the talented cast embraces their undead dysfunction with monstrous passion; the joke of this mockumentary doesn't fare as beastly with jokes that become predictable and stale by the first thirty minute's end.   As original as this indie tongue and cheek vampire flick is the mixture of a loose script and overtly obvious ad-libbing just doesn't blend well and, instead, feels forced and almost precocious.  Far be it for me to judge directing choices, but including the man behind the Green Lantern debacle as a partner might be well regretted in hindsight. I was truly disappointed in a film that could have been so much more and wasted far too much potential.  2 out of 5 Kernels: a movie that is it own worst enemy, or to put it more apropos; I liken it to a self-inflicted proverbial stake through the heart.       

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: Terminator Genisys Review

Is the fifth time a charm?  Alan Taylor, director of Thor; The Dark World, was hoping so with this latest installment of the Terminator franchise.   Arnold is back, as promised ad nauseam, this time playing the T800 version of his infamously iconic incarnation; and yes they have a rationale for his obvious aging.  In fact, Taylor manages to explain almost every nuance and anomaly of his rebooted timeline with some degree of credibility.  So, as far as sequels go, or pentequals, and yes, I just made that up, he is able to take a done to death idea, which seemed utterly inflexible in its cemented mythology, and create a semi-unique take revisiting many of the quirks that made the first two so awesome while fabricating a new canon of his own.   But that is where the good ends and the bad begins its T1000 style pursuit.   The acting is stale and tiresome with any attempt at recapturing the humanity of T2 an epic fail.   Arnold tries to duplicate the charm of his T2 persona but never remotely delivers and, in the end, merely becomes a three-dimensional caricature of himself.  And although the effects are visually stunning and imaginative, the absolute ludicrousness of some of the action sequences makes it feel more like a well financed Wylie E Coyote cartoon.  I mean, I need at least hint of science in my science fiction.  Finally, despite a rather impressive twist, which was revealed before the movie's release on its poster, smooth move Hollywood, the story does drag and become weighty with the overabundance of theoretic possibilities regarding time travel.  It is complex as it answers some questions while leaving some rather large, important ones confusingly untouched.  Then again, I guess we have to leave something for Terminator 6: Arnold's Third House Payment.  2 out of 5 Kernels: Even Skynet has to be bored with the whole thing by now seeing how every facet of any entertainment value has now been effectively terminated.

Friday, November 20, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: Jessica Jones Review

The goal to make comic book movies more gritty and realistic, as if that is even possible, was unattainable up to the point of Netflix's first Marvel outing, Daredevil.  Before that, DC tried unsuccessfully with its underwhelming Dark Knight Trilogy and miserably disappointing Superman reboot, The Man of Steel.   But DC never could get the equation right; unable to mix the right amounts of edgy authenticity with its canon's fantasy.   That has not been a problem for Marvel as they score big with its second Netflix installment, Jessica Jones.  Unbelievably, creator Melissa Rosenberg, of Twilight shame, brings us the best female hero story that I have seen in my limited lifespan on this wonderful planet of ours.  Another area where DC loses marks as their Supergirl series reduces all of its females leads to a high school special level of maturity and interaction.  Instead, Rosenberg presents us with powerful female performances that reflect an actuality that’s difficult to dismiss.  She takes some significant risks running the gambit of several archetypes with enormous rewards thanks to some inspired writing and skilled performances from a stellar cast.  Marvel also respects its source material with near dogma at times, unlike DC, who seems to feel the established mythology is as flexible as Gumby in the heat wave;    Ritter brings the bitter, jaded, alcoholic Jones to illustriously depressing and cynical life. Her portrayal is immediately convincing and you find yourself deeply conflicted at times as whether to curse her imperfections or root for her determination.  Her hero role is complimented by a villain, played terrifyingly well, by Dr. Who alumni, Tennant; a hellish Ying to her damaged Yang.   Daredevil was the first comic production to provide us with a carefully and effectively humanized baddie in D'Onofrio's ominously entertaining Kingpin.  Jones ups the ante with a disturbingly endearing, outright demonic malefactor in Kilgrave; the most frightening Marvelesque evil doer to date, in my earnest opinion.   Never have I been so conflicted in my observations of an individual who possess such definitive charm and yet exemplifies horrific abilities and absolute malice for life and others; the quintessential narcissistic sociopath.   And why are his powers so viscerally frightening?  Other deviants use brute force, technology, or magical ruses.  Kilgrave's ability to strip any person of free will with a simple statement or command, possessing utter control over their actions and persona, most times leading to an abominable demise, is possibly the most distressing and destructive weapon that could be conceived.  And Kilgrave revels in that dominance without remorse or hesitation.  The remaining cast is just as masterful leaving permanent visual and emotional imprints with each of their scenes.  Far darker and more intense than Daredevil; this is a brutal, in your face incarnation of the reluctant heroine paints its story in violence, gore, and an undeniable genuineness that can be tough to watch at times.   It is laden with mature themes, so if you intend to have the younger set view it with you, which I highly recommend against, be prepared to field a myriad of questions you will be totally unprepared to answer.   My only complaints; first it’s the gratuitous sex which adds nothing to the story and feels as clumsy and forced as a teenager who just found his daddy's stack of Playboys.   Second; I am not a fan of the whole gray hero bit, where defenders are neither good nor evil but conflicted messes forced to justify every thought and action, even when it is clear to the audience that their methods and purposes serve a complete sense of logic.   Finally; the whole idea that evil is more of a perception than actuality is tiresome and, with that rampant ideology seemingly contaminating every film of this type, it feels more like indoctrination than perspective.  With all of that said, this is an extremely well-crafted series that features a totality of original and dynamic performances.   4 out of 5 Kernels: Where DC fails, Marvel once again succeeds.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

#TheLostGuardian #NaNoWriMo Update

#NaNoWriMo...just finished 8600 words, way behind my goal of 50K by month's end but I am spent. The Prologue, Chapters 1 and 2 are complete, even did a quick edit. My overall goal is to keep this one under 200k words when finished. But knowing me, that ain't gonna happen. #TheLostGuardian #Nomoreheroes

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans' Day 2015

A red cup, an outdated flag, a dead lion...what do all of these have in common?

They are unimportant and trivial distractions.

The baby who cries in her crib at night while her dad tirelessly patrols in a foreign land. The wife who grieves at the coffin of a husband who died to protect the freedoms of complete strangers. The son who will never grow up with a father because his dad chose to sacrifice himself for a stranger's child caught in harm's eye. The boyfriend who stays by the bedside of the woman he loves shattered and torn by shrapnel from a carefully planted roadside bomb. He misshapes his lips so he can kiss her fractured demeanor.

The tears shed over the graves of the fallen. The blood saturating the soil of a battlefield. The pain that haunts the wounds of war both of flesh and soul. The soldier who fights to the edge of death when there is little strength or hope left. The warrior who finds no peace, even in the sanctuary of his own home.

These are the things to be considered when we waste our freedoms on the trivial and asinine. These are the people we should remember when we allow the media to lead us, like starving dogs, to our own filth to feast, as if it was prime rib. Is their blood and selflessness worth that waste? Is the loss and loneliness of their families worth disgracing with our nonsensical ramblings and causes?

To the heroes in uniform, I say, thank you. My family, my freedom, and even my life are granted because of your honor and service. I will never know your hardship both during and after the battle. I will never understand your reasoning for laying your life down for those you will never know. But I extend my deepest gratitude for what you have done and will do. I pray that God protects you with each and every step. That he brings your family peace that passes all understanding. Thank you, for every second that you have blessed this nation with. May never a moment be forgotten!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: The Last Witch Hunter Review

Let's only hope the title is a definitive as to the future of this franchise.  It is stale, poorly acted, predictable fare that is sorely lacking in any thrills and far less frightening than the actual money spent for ticket and concessions to watch this newest Vin Diesel vehicle crash and burn.    Even when the so-called twists are revealed, they are met with only ho-hums and yawns.  The action sequences are so badly filmed and abruptly edited that most of the elaborate effects are lost in translation.  And does Caine owe some massive back taxes or something, as it seems he has been co-starring in too many features, of late, that are well below his caliber.  Also, as unfortunate as it may be, poor Wood will not be able to appear in any film without me pining for happier days spent in the Shire.  The only magic in this flick is how effectively it made my interest and any and all entertainment value disappear.  0 out of 5 Kernels: as far as Vin Diesel's acting prowess is concerned, better stick to lines that truly express his true range, like "I am Groot."

Friday, November 6, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: Pixels Review

Iconic 80's director Chris Columbus, who launched some of the most endearing and infamous careers of that unique decade, tries to wax nostalgic with this latest Sandler outing but finds his attempt at arcade parody not only loses "life" quickly but is "Game Over" before it ever gets started.   Sandler, the man behind one of the best homage comedies of our time, The Wedding Singer, fails epically with this overtly simplistic, rarely funny, and poorly acted farce that possessed the originality and potential to be a new classic had anyone else, but he had been involved in its production.  The remaining cast fares no better but not because of a lack of talent.  Rather, it is solely due to a defective script filled with elementary level humor and dumbed down plot points that are repeated far too often and conclude without any effectiveness.   The predictability is so obvious that by credits end the only surprise is that you decided to sit through all 106 minutes.   Again, this could have been a fantastic concept, too bad it was so miserably wasted.  0 out of 5 Kernels: in lieu of any further comments, just think of the sound Pac-Man makes when he dies and you have a general idea.