Pacific Rim and The Art Of Simplicity

“Rawr, rawr, mother fucker!!!! I’m a mother fucking monster!!! Rawr, rawr!!!!!” – The Monster

I used to have a go to move back when I first started balling broads. I called it the Tallahassee Twister. First, I’d start by swirling my tongue around the chick’s eye. Then, once she moaned a little, I’d flip her around and give her ass a massage. (Ladies love a good ass massage.) Next up comes the bends and grind, where I’d squeeze her legs together, fold them over my shoulders, and then insert my penis into her vagina.

Now, obviously, hindsight being what it is, I understand that all this work isn’t actually necessary during sex. I was making things far, far too complicated. And, while I’ve never had a bad review from a lady (Whatever Tanya told you is a fucking lie.), I didn’t realize that fucking is best when it’s straightforward, without all the frills. In a lot of ways the same can be said of a good action movie. Lately, they’ve been so complex and bloated it’s hard to remember that, at one point, an action movie consisted of a good guy fighting a bad guy. Pacific Rim harkens back to a simpler time and it’s a better movie for it.

Pacific Rim is about a dimensional rift that opens up, sending crazy ass giant monsters onto earth. They kill a whole bunch of people, as monsters are want to do. Then humans are like, “Fuck these assholes that keep killing us. Let’s kill them for a change.” So they make these giant ass robots and spend two hours fighting monsters.

Pacific Rim is straight forward like that. There aren’t any plot twists or third act hi-jinks. It gives you exactly what it sells: monsters fighting robots. It’s easy to enjoy a film that wears its sleeve like that. Cause, I don’t know about you, but when I go watch a film about monsters fighting robots, I pretty much only want to see monsters fighting robots.

And oh boy do they ever fight. Great, intense sequences that are simply filmed. Cause another pit most action films have fallen into lately is the hyper-kinetic-ever-shifting-camera action scenes. And those are a chore to follow. You can never tell who is doing what or where they’re doing it.

Pacific Rim favors steady wide shots that clearly show the action and further the narrative. The viewer always knows which robot is fighting what monster and why. And, because it’s so easy to understand the stakes, the film is easy to root for.

Hopefully one day action directors can chill out and realize, much like sex, an action film doesn’t need a convoluted plot or complicated action shots. It just needs a good guy to root for and a bad guy to get punched.

Grade: A-

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The John Hughes in Monsters University

They’re the cool jocks that act like jerks. You know how I know? The jackets, bro. It’s all about the jackets.

Like any self-respecting film nerd from Generation Y, I grew up on 80’s flicks. I’ve seen Sixteen Candles so many times I can recite it almost exclusively from memory. I loved Pretty In Pink so much that, to this day, my dick gets hard if I see a redheaded chick. And let’s not forget the man who taught me how to be the biggest pimp in the universe: Ferris Bueller.

These films had one dude in common, a guiding Yoda who oversaw some wonderfully impressionable films: John Hughes. I’m not gonna list all the ways this dude ruled, or how he changed Hollywood comedies for the better. Instead, I’ll just tell you to go watch Monsters University because it’s possibly the greatest homage to Hughes ever created.

So Monsters live in an alternate dimension and take jobs scaring children to pay the bills. But you knew that from Monsters Inc. What you didn’t know is that these furry assholes had to go to college to get a job scaring. The little One Eyed Monster from the first film really wants to scare people, but the Big Furry Kitty Monster from the first film doesn’t think One Eye is up for it. So a bunch of 80’s shenanigans ensue as they learn, laugh, and slowly develop a gay-bones relationship with each other.

There’s a lot to love here. The pace is snappy. The jokes are plentiful. And the images are possibly the prettiest Pixar has ever done. The whole experience is a light breezy comedy that harkens back to some of the greatest, cheesiest Hughes films of the 80’s. It’s got the bizarre zaniness of Weird Science. Plus some of the class/social issues of Pretty In Pink. And the buddy relationship from Planes, Trains, And Automobiles. MU, like all good 80’s films, follows its own set logic, where you can get into a specific major through a series of games, where Deans actually walk around campus and intimidate students, where good guys are socially awkward nerds and bad guys are popular jocks, and you know which one is which because they signify it with glasses and Letterman jackets.

In that respect, it’s easy to dismiss Monsters University. It is a very simple, straight forward comedy. And that’s probably why so many critics are beating it up. At this point, Pixar should be beyond something so basic. But, to say that MU is solely a kiddy comedy vastly undersells it’s charms.

There’s a deep core to this flick that underscores just how adept Pixar has become at telling a story. First, with the exception of a couple of monsters, everyone in MU is a complex, relatable character. Like characters in a John Hughes film, Pixar takes a base characteristic and expands upon it until truly memorable character emerge.

Then, just when you think you’re having happy-fun-times, Pixar drops a pretty radical moral on the audience. One that I’ve never seen a film have the balls to tell children. It’s a lot heavier than “follow your dreams” or “be yourself.” ‘

So, to all the haters thinking that Pixar has lost their touch, I beg to differ. They just made one hell of an 80’s film. And, sure, on the surface 80’s films can seem fairly shallow. But, like John Hughes before them, Pixar found a memorable way to present tired tropes.

Grade: B+

Shot Gunning Some Generic Summer Movies

Epic

Prettiness. There’s a lot of it here. Even if it’s light on plot.

Fern Gully but prettier. Sure, there’s no Christian Slater or a giant toxic monster, hell the movie doesn’t even really have a moral, but it’s light and breezy. If ya popped out a kid, sure, go see it. It’ll shut the little fuckers up until Monster’s University comes out.

Grade: B

 

The Hangover 3

I know. I’m sad this dude is the lead too.

 

Do you like that fat Alan dude, you know, the crazy one from the old Hangover films that acted like a dick and said crazy things? Well guess what?!?! Alan is in almost every fucking second of this sequel!!! Depending on how you feel about him as a character, this news is either a promise or a threat. Me, personally, find him deeply annoying. So, fuck this shit.

Grade: C-

After Earth

YAAAWWWWNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!

I hate M. Night. The dude made one good film, which was Unbreakable for the record, and everyone flips out and says he’s the next great filmmaker. He’s not. But, as much as I despise The Village, The Happening, and Lady in the Water, they weren’t generic. They had their own little twisted vibe to them. I can respect that.

I can’t respect a film that goes out of it’s way to be so vaguely generic.

Grade: F

 

Now You See Me

Chicks, man!!!!!!

Magicians rob a bank!!!! Yes, it’s stupid!!!! No, it’s not going to be your favorite summer movie!!!! But the cast kinda rocks and it’s snappy enough to be entertaining. Plus, fuck it, there are impossibly few original films during summer.

Grade: B-

Oblivion and the Benefit of Surprises

It’s ok, Wall-e. Someday you’re true love will fall from the sky and send you on a crazy adventure. You just gotta keep waiting, buddy.

Guess what, Bitches? I’m coining a new phrase: Trailer-Fucked.

Trailer-Fucked: Noun. Adjective. 

        1: When a Trailer doesn’t show important scenes from a movie.

        2: Bait and switching the final product of a movie. 

Boom! It’s in the books people. Trailer-Fucked. And, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been Trailer-Fucked by Oblivion.

Oblivion is the new flick starring Mr. Ex Nicole Kidman. He’s stuck on a post apocalyptic earth, like Wall-e. And he’s tasked with fixing the joint up, like Wall-e. But he dreams of more, like Wall-e. Then a mysterious ship crash lands on earth and changes everything our hero knows, you know, like Wall-e.

Truly, from that description, and from the trailer, you’d be smart to expect Wall-e. On paper, the film walks like Wall-e, talks like Wall-e, and is even as starkly beautiful as Wall-e. There’s nothing wrong with that. That cartoon is a masterpiece and more films should strive to be as good. But, if you go by the trailer, you’re in for multiple surprises.

Which is a great thing. Really. Too few films throw every radical scene into the trailer. Have you watched the trailer for the Avengers? Nearly half of it takes up the final battle of the film. Which, whatever, isn’t bad or good. But, frankly, it’s rare for a film to surprise me these days. Watching a trailer is a short-form film. Nearly every major beat of a movie is in the trailer. Sometimes, I’m looking at you Quarantine, a flick even blatantly reveals the climax in the trailer. I’m not even railing against trailers. They’ve always been this way. You wanna get butts in seats, you gotta show cool shit, which generally includes the final scenes of a film. Oblivion goes the opposite route and is all the better for it.

The entire trailer of Oblivion takes up, maybe the first forty minutes of the film. Then, well, then it’s a cluster-fuck of crazy thrown onto the screen at a furious pace. I’m not sure if I was entertained by this film because it was actually good, or because I was actually surprised by the events unfolding. Either way, I’m not gonna spoil the second half, but rest assured, it gets pretty nutty. I like nutty. You’ll probably like Oblivion if you like nutty.

So, summing up, a good trailer is a work of art on it’s own merit. The purpose is to, not only entertain, but get you to throw money at the silver screen. Generally they show too much, which ends up dimming the final effect of the film. Oblivion saves the aces for shock value. And it works. Damn it all, it’s a surprising little film thanks to a little thing called secrecy.

Grade: B-  

Evil Dead Quickie

“Yo Dawg, you want some candy?” Killer Evil Chick

I’ve really been banging my head all week trying to review this film. But it’s hard because it’s just SO fucking similar to the basic plot points of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2.

The shtick is the same. Kids go to a Cabin. Some evil spirit starts possessing them. They fight. There’s a chainsaw. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

At first I was gonna focus the review on gore in cinema, and if it has a place there. But I don’t really fucking care about gore and, more than that, I’m too fucking cool to lecture about how violence warps our American Ideals. I will say, arms get ripped off, faces get chewed, and tongues are knifed.

It’s pretty fucking entertaining.

But is the film itself?

Well, sure, I guess. If you liked any of the Evil Dead films, you’ll probably like this one. It’s near identical. The camera work is even similar. It just has better effects now. So, if you’re a snob like that, if you can’t appreciate financially induced ingenuity, then go with the remake.

But if you like your horror a little rough around the edges and made with actual love, go with the originals. Either way, you’re gonna be entertained. Unless you’re a pussy. Don’t be a pussy. Horror films rule.

Grade: B

Dying A Good Day To Die The Hardest Death That Ever Died Hard 5 The Electric Boogaloo

Yeah, I know this picture isn’t from the new Die Hard. I just figured this one would remind us all of a time when Die Hard ruled all.

What up dawgs? EXPLOSIONS!!!!!!!!!!!! I banged a boring chick last night. LOTS OF BULLETS!!!!!!! And it’s the damnedest thing, it’s like the entire event has been sucked out of my brain. FIRE!!!!!! I’m adding sound effects to make this dull story a little more exhilarating. TENSE SOUNDTRACK AND MORE BOMBS!!!!!!!! I learned this little narrative technique from A Good Day To Die Hard. MODERATE AMOUNT OF BLOOD!!!!!!

Wait, what? Seriously? Explosions and violence don’t make up for a shitty script? Well then what’s the point in watching a fucking Die Hard sequel? No, I’m asking. For real, cause I no longer know why I watch Die Hard sequels.

It’s still about John McClaine, which is nice. That dude’s a baller. This time he goes on a vacation to Russia to help his son, who happens to be a spy. And, in case you didn’t remember, John McClaine will remind you over again, that he’s just there on vacation. In fact, he’ll try to save the entire non-existent plot with his quips. They aren’t enough. The entire thing is a lost cause, John McClaine be damned.

I really wish I could describe the plot too, because it sucks. But there… fuck… there just isn’t one. The entire film is barely 90 minutes, which a saving grace because of how pointless it is, but it’s still not long enough to make an impact. There seems to be some sort of fight between John McClaine and his son but whenever they talk something explodes. So it usually doesn’t amount to anything.

Movie like this are actually critic proof too. So it’s hard to talk about because it’s too dull to even rant about. Kinda like the boring chick you took home after too many whiskey shots. You’re gonna have an orgasm. But you won’t remember a damn thing about her the next day. EXPLOSIONS!!!!! God damn it, not again. BLOODENINGED!!!!!!!!!

Grade: D  

Broken City

That’s right, Jack Fucking Reacher is driving a… wait… Oh… Wait. My bad. Uh, Marky Fucking Mark is driving a car.

So there I was, watching Broken City, munching on some turkey jerky I slipped into the theater, and getting ready to start my mid-movie jerk off when it hit me: I’ve seen this movie before. And, more than that, haven’t I seen this movie before recently? Listen, I’ve got a shitty memory but something about Broken City seemed familiar.

I started going through the checklist. It starred a tarnished hero with a mysterious past. The bad dude is a man of power played by well respected cinematic royalty. There’s a blond chick that doesn’t add anything to the plot. And people get murdered because of some real estate conspiracy. WHAT THE FUCK?!?! THIS IS JACK REACHER!!!! I swear to you, I threw my turkey jerky at the screen and lost all interest in jacking it. Ha, just kidding, I never lose interest in turkey jerky or jacking it.

It’s a weird thing that happens, when a different director gets the same plot points and puts his own spin on it. It happened with Antz and Bugs Life, Dantes Peak and Volcano, 500 Days of Summer and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Debbie Does Dallas and Tiffany Taps Toronto. In fact, for a film dork like me, it’s kind of fun to watch. It’s almost like a film school project. The plot is the same but the genre is different. Broken City is Jack Reacher as a thriller. And Jack Reacher is Broken City as straight action.

That’s the power of genre, bro. It can completely transform the exact same film, even shitty boring films like these. Cause neither is a good film. They’re serviceable, sure. But almost instantly forgettable. Still, if we’re forced to dissect generic films, I’d take Broken City. Cause, sure, it’s a snooze-fest, everything about it is easy to telegraph from a mile away. But it tries harder than Reacher, which always wins points with me.

It’s not like either film had to be made. But, just a heads up, if you’re forced between the two, gun to your fucking head, Broken City should be the boring generic film you pick. Otherwise, you know, pick something radical like Back To The Future or something. Really, yeah, ok, yeah, that should be your rule of thumb from here on out: when in doubt watch Back To The Future.

Grade: C-    

Dudebro Gets Depressed After Watching Amour

Nope, they’re still alive. You know, for now.

Hey dudebros, I’m sad. I tried looking at porn for a while. Naked chicks usually cheer me up. Not today. Then I tried masturbating. Nope. Nothing. So I slammed an entire bag of pizza rolls. Still nothing. Then I got thirsty so I chugged a couple of beers. That made me drunk so of course I wanted to masturbate again. That just made me sad… again. Now I’m drunk, full on pizza rolls, and I’m going to die alone. I know this because Amour told me so. Earlier this week, I was my usual bad-ass-don’t-give-a-fuck-fuck-a-ton-of-bitches self. Now I’m all bummed out and depressed because I watched Amour. Fuck Amour.

Amour is a movie about this old couple. They’ve been married for years. And, as old people are known to do, the wife gets sick and the husband has to care for her. But the husband is old too so he pretty much just makes a mess of things while the wife shits herself for two hours. Then the movie is over and you’re left wondering what the point of life is.

The movie does its job perfectly. After all, the main goal of any film is to pull you in and make you care for the characters on screen. I liked these dudes. Sure, the old man was kind of an asshole and the wife is a ball of dying sadness, but they were easy to root for. Plus, the film gets point for showing a real side to life, the dirty parts of dying, that most films gloss over. 

That’s mostly accomplished through the efforts of the director. Homeboy barely lets us, the audience, leave these people’s home, so it becomes just as claustrophobic and depressing to us as it is for them. And, really, that’s all it needs. There are no flashy angles or cocky camera work, or even progressive narrative tricks. It’s mostly just two old people in a room waiting to die. Seriously, I need more beer. Just a sec.

Alright, back to being drunk, now where were we? Oh! Right, Amour works because it isn’t flashy but be warned, it’s also the film’s biggest detriment. Because, frankly, it’s easy to feel like nothing is happening. After all, you’re basically just watching someone die slowly. So, yeah that’s sad, but it’s also easy to let your mind wander to those strange dark places. That’s probably why even porn isn’t lifting this funk.

So, here I sit, drunk, gassy, and unable to watch Debbie Does Dallas. It’s a sad, cruel world, people. And the only thing that makes it a little happier happens to be youtube videos of cats. Hey, wait a minute, youtube videos of cats!!!! Of course!!! Nothing cures depression like cats running around like idiots. Boom. Problem solved. I’ll be back banging bitches in no time.

Grade: B-

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Stand

Oh look, he’s in a car… again…

Dying was the best thing that ever happened to James Dean. We love that angst ridden son of a bitch solely because homeboy made a handful of films then bit it before he could outstay his welcome. Now, I’m not saying I wish The Governator was dead or anything. Because I’m not a dick. But, at very least, he should have given up while the getting was good. Instead he makes us suffer through boring, lifeless throwback films like The Last Stand.

The Last Stand is about the Governator driving a car. Because he’s old. He can’t fight anymore. So it’s basically him in a car. Or him sitting on his porch drinking a beer. Or him sleeping in bed. Really, anything to keep him from actually, you know, using his wasted body. Cause fighting is a young man’s game. There’s a bad dude driving too. They drive against each other, but it’s not exciting. Then they stop driving and the movie’s over.

And, really, I blame the Expendables for this mess. For some reason, people are under the assumption the Expendables was fun, and lively. It wasn’t. Stop being fucking stupid. It was boring and depressing. Literally nothing happened except for Rambo sitting around yawning in a cave. But people ate it up, like it was a clever throwback to old action films. Now, apparently, it’s ok for the Governator to make his own boring action movie where nothing happens.

I’m not embellishing this either. I estimate around 80% of every action scene is a car chase. The Governator running dudes over or blocking people’s gun fire with a car. Over and over and over again. And, whatever, car chases are cool but it loses the entire effect when it takes up so much of the fucking movie. Really, I just feel sorry for the Governator. The dude can’t even fight. They final battle, taking place outside a car for once, basically just boils down to two dudes grunting on the floor. Again, because the Governator can’t actually fight anymore.

That’s why maybe he never should have come back. Maybe the dude should have just kept fathering illegitimate Governators and enjoy a day off. Cause there was a time this dude was the king of action. There was a time when I would be mad, crazy excited to see him explode some shit. But, now, eh. Now the dude can barely even lift his arms. It’s sad to see someone like that wither away instead of simply exiting stage right.

Grade: D

The Expendables 2

This scene looks rad but it’s completely boring. Trust me.

I’ve been putting off reviewing this film. Partly because it’s too boring to actively have a legitimate opinion about. Partly because, well, how do you say anything constructive about a movie so pointlessly bland? And I mean that. The Expendables 2 sucks not just because it blows, (Apparently that’s physically possible.) it sucks because it’s a shoddy, lazy, boring piece of shit that has somehow spawned more shoddy, lazy, boring pieces of shit.

“Oh, but, Dudebro, it’s just a silly action film. Loosen up, enjoy all the explosions and nostalgia.”

Fuck that noise. Because, no, it’s not even fun. It’s not even entertaining. It’s hardly even nostalgic. It’s just a bunch of old, washed up men standing around being useless and sad.

For real, can you even remember the conflict? Or any real themes? Or, on a purely superficial level, any legitimate dramatic tension during the battles?

FUCK NO!!!!!!!!

Explosions do no equal entertainment, or thrills.

Hell, I don’t even think Rambo’s shoulders moved more than thirty degrees the whole movie. There was a scene that required him to run. He hired a stunt double for that scene. And the Terminator just stands there and throws around bad puns like he’s been recast in Batman and Robin. The only dude that seems to be having any kind of fun is the Universal Soldier but his face is too botoxed to be certain. He might have just been having a stroke.

The final battle between Rambo and The Universal Soldier is, actually, pretty fun. There’s a clear sense of what is happening. The actors’ stunt doubles seem to be able to kick pretty fucking high and they beat each other with chains. Boom! That’s the fucking film I want to see.

Instead I get this jumbled mess where characters show up for ten seconds for no reason other than they used to be popular. And action scenes are poorly shot and blurry so all tension is sapped from the film. Oh and for some reason He-Man gets to be racist every ten seconds. NOT COOL BRO!!!!

Yet this stupid fucking film series has made it possible for outdated and pointless action stars to thrive again. The Terminator and Rambo have new films coming out soon that look just as pointless and stupid as this.

Look, I’m not shitting on old school action films. I love old school action films. But they have their place, in the past. Action films these days owe a huge debt to what these men did for the genre. But these men have their place and time. It’s sad they never evolved but, in a Christopher Nolan world, action films need a little more than muscles and explosions.

Grade: FUCK YOU RAMBO!!!!