Category Archives: Movies

Please Stand By…

 

please-stand-by

Almost three months since a posting over here. 

That needs to be rectified, pronto like Tonto. 

Speaking of the Lone Ranger’s sidekick….or vice versa, as evidenced in the recent film….I might put up a post, or two, about some of the recent movies I’ve seen.

  • The Lone Ranger
  • Lego Batman: DC Heroes
  • R.I.P.D

Stay tuned…..

Star Trek: Into Darkness

"She's breakin' up, Cap'n!"

“She’s breakin’ up, Cap’n!”

So, we finally saw  Star Trek: Into Darkness and I have to say, I was very impressed.

Without giving anything away (even though others didn’t mind doing so…especially as to the identity of Mr. Cumberbatch’s character…ahem), here’s a brief rundown.

The Good:

"Damnit Jim, I'm a doctor not a ____"

“Damnit Jim, I’m a doctor not a ____”

  • Karl Urban as “Bones”. For me, he’s one of the most entertaining parts of the film and doesn’t get near enough screen time. I think DeForest Kelley would be proud.
  • Kirk gets to be Kirk and not a shadow of William Shatner. Thank God, as I’m not a Shatner fan….besides T.J. Hooker, of course. Loved him in that!
  • Overall look of ‘the future’. Things look futuristic, without looking “too” futuristic. If that makes sense. The words ‘retro future’ keep coming to mind.
  • Simon Pegg: Again, I wouldn’t call myself a “fan” of Pegg’s. I don’t dislike him or his work, I guess, but I don’t seek it out, either. He makes a great “Scotty”, though, and has some of the best bits in the film.
  • The story. I like when we get to see ‘layers’ in the Federation and find out that not everything is as ordered and regimented as they appear. There are dissenters.

As an added bonus (at least for me), Whovians will see a familiar face for a small bit.

The Bad: 

  • Spock. Not so much Quinto’s performance….I think he’s, actually, pretty good as our favorite Vulcan….it’s the whole idea of the character in a relationship. It just comes across as ‘forced’, to me. Also, on the subject of Spock, (Highlight after for semi-spoiler….)  I hope his cross-dimension doppelganger isn’t used as a “deus ex machina” in every installment.   
  • The Enterprise…..once again….gets shot up, to say the least. I’m hoping that’s another trend from the old franchise that doesn’t make it’s way into this one.
  • The story. Yes, it was both good and bad. Mostly good, but there were a few bits that were pretty predictable and you didn’t need to be a fan to see them.

That was, for the most part, all that I found ‘bad’ about this flick without getting into ‘nit-pick’ territory.

The Ugly:

  • The Klingons…..but in a cool way and I was glad we got to see them in this universe.

All in all, this was a very entertaining film with a solid cast. While I, usually, gripe in a ‘get off my lawn’ sort of way when Hollywood does their “re-imaginings” I can’t really complain much about their latest offering in the Trek series.

Since Paramount has said “make it so” to breathing new life into the Star Trek franchise, I’m just glad that  J.J. Abrams is sitting in the captain’s chair.

Until next time…

What’s goin’ on?

It’s a timeless question…there was even a song about it by the late, great, Marvin Gaye. The overall answer is ‘not a lot’, but we have been doing a few cool things around the Means Ranch.

On Saturday we went and saw G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Yo Joe!

Yo Joe!

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, but I found it to be a very entertaining movie and keeping kind of/sort of true to the original source material. That’s always a sticking point for me. It had some semi-heavyweight starts in it. Channing Tatum (who I’m not a fan of…by any stretch) reprised his role as Duke, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came on board as Roadblock, and Bruce Willis played Joe Colton……the ‘original’ G.I. Joe.

Willis’ role left me a bit confused though as he didn’t have fuzzy hair or a fuzzy beard…or the scar down his cheek.

The Original Joe

The Original Joe

Meh…what do I know, anyway?

Later that night, we watched a movie on Netflix called Fat,Sick, and Nearly DeadA documentary about Australian, Joe Cross who wanted a healthy change in his life and decided that juicing fruits and vegetables was the way to go. He had a medical condition that caused skin eruptions…sort of like mosquito bites…to form on his skin. The problem being that he didn’t need to be bit by a mosquito to have the lesions appear. The film documents Joe’s journey across the country as he meets different people, inspiring them with his story.

Inspiring!

Inspiring!

One thing is for sure…it sure inspired us. We’ve already been watching what we’re eating and have been doing a bit of juicing, but this…this challenges you to try a ten day ‘reboot‘ of your system. Basically a juice fast…which we’ve already been doing for one day a week….now, though, we’re being challenged to stretch it out to ten.

So, yesterday, we started our juicing fast. Nothing but juiced fruits, veggies, water, and some decaf tea. We’re going to try for five days first and, if we’re doing o.k, we’ll go for ten. I’ll be keeping you all updated on how we do and I know I’ll struggle with one part, for sure…

….not having coffee!!

Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

Yesterday also started the A to Z Blogging Challenge with my theme “Obscure Superheroes”. My entry for “A” was Adam Strange.

Today was “B” and my entry for that is Black Goliath.

Until next time…

The Case of the Man Behind the Curtain….

"Follow the Yellow Brick Road..."

“Follow the Yellow Brick Road…”

Yesterday the wife and I caught a matinée of the new Disney film. Oz the Great and Powerful. I make mention of it being a matinée because that’s how you can always tell if I have confidence that a movie’s going to be good or bad. If I think a movie’s going to be worth it, I’ll go at night and pay the normal, albeit outrageous, prices.

If I think it’s going to suck….I’ll go see a matinée.

I’m happy to say that, as I’ve been with quite a few other films (ahem…Top Gun, E.T. the Extraterrestrial), I was wrong on this one.

I hadn’t done a ton of research or seen a lot of press for this one and only remembered it was a Disney film after it started. I also didn’t realize that it was directed by Sam Raimi and that helped to quell some of my fears that this might be a stinker.

One of the facts I did hear was that it was starring James Franco who, frankly, never really impressed me in anything else he’s ever been in. Not that he’s a bad actor, but he’s always come across as a sort of ‘pretty boy’ who phoned it in a lot.

To my surprise, Franco really pulled off the carny con man/huckster/stage magician pretty well and I could totally see him aging into a version of Frank Morgan’s portrayal of The Wizard.

Zach Braff, who I knew from “Scrubs” played the long-suffering ‘friend’ of Oscar (Oz) as well as voiced a strange parallel character of Finley the flying monkey.

Mila Kunis of “That 70s Show” fame played Theodora a ‘good’ witch and sister to Rachel Weisz’s Evanora character. Not to give anything away here, but if you remember your “Wizard of Oz” lore, you do remember hearing about witches who were….sisters….right?

Michelle Williams, who I had never seen before but recently played Marilyn Monroe, played a very convincing Glenda the Good Witch.

Being a Raimi film, you just know Bruce Campbell was going to make an appearance….which he did….and I’m not going to tell you who he plays, but I will warn you to not blink and look very close, or you may miss him. Of course, if you’re a Campbell fan, you’ll have no trouble spotting him by his voice.  Bruce did get pretty high billing in the opening credits for the amount of screen time he got.

I really enjoyed the story and while it didn’t try to explain how everything came to be, it did touch on quite a few plot points from the original Wizard of Oz. I found myself, quite a few times, nodding and saying “Ahhh…this becomes that…” etc.

God bless Sam Raimi…he never seems to forget his Evil Dead roots and I always look for it in every film he directs. This flick was no different, especially at the end. Things happen and one of the character’s true form is revealed….looking a lot like a “She Bitch” from another of Raimi’s films, Army of Darkness. At least it did to me…but, maybe I was looking too hard, I don’t know.

Something else I look for in a good movie is the ability to surprise me. Nothing I hate worse than a film where I can predict almost every beat. Luckily, this wasn’t one of those films. I found the story well paced and not that predictable. The actors were convincing….even Franco….and, even though it had elements in it that made you believe you should have seen it in 3D, it wasn’t anything totally overwhelming. It was also pretty kid friendly and a good family film that everyone could enjoy.

I’d have no problem recommending this film and, honestly, wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel. Seeing as how The Wizard was an old man by the time Dorothy Gale got there, I’m sure there were quite a few years and a lot of adventures that could have happened in between.

So what are you waiting for? Hop on the next Kansas twister and head to Oz….just remember that you’re not supposed to look behind the curtain.

Until next time…

The Case of the Saturday Morning Musing…

100

This costs how much??

Have you seen any good movies lately? I mean really good movies. The kind that leave an impression on you. The kind that fire up your imagination. The kind that have you saying “Wow!” under your breath.

I haven’t. At least, not in a long while.

Now, granted, I’ve seen some ‘good’ movies in the respect that I didn’t really mind spending the money to catch them in the theaters, but it’s been a long time since a movie has grabbed me by the shoulders, kicked me in the gut, and really knocked the wind out of me.

I promise this isn’t going to go off into another rant on Hollywood, but there really just hasn’t been much out there to capture the imagination (at least for me) like a Star Wars, or Back to the Future, or Raiders of the Lost Ark did back in the day.

Sure, there have been some “blockbusters” out there…The Avengers being a prime example, but even that wasn’t much more than Joss Whedon bringing his formulaic writing to the big screen with some Marvel ‘retreading’ and flashy (albeit awesome) special effects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Buffy, Angel, and Firefly fan…and Whedon told the tale of the Avengers well…but there was nothing earth-shaking in the film. Nothing that made me say “Oh..didn’t see that coming…”.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just the genre of movie that I most frequent. The sci-fi/fantasy genre seems to be big these days and there’s a good chunk of that genre that seems to rely on retreads and ‘retelling’ stories I’ve seen a few times before…..Planet of the Apes and The Amazing Spider-Man, for starters.  Both enjoyable flicks…just nothing very “original” from my viewing.

I think one of the best films I saw last year was The Hobbit, which was surprising.

Cool poster, I have to admit.

Cool poster, I have to admit.

I tried reading the book years ago and was bored to tears. I also gave the Lord of the Rings trilogy a shot….Zzzzzzzz. To those who worship at the altar of Tolkien, my hat’s off to you….I don’t know how you do it….honestly.

I think I’m too low-brow for his brand of descriptive story telling, honestly. Still…I enjoyed the movie.

Maybe I should start watching romantic comedies? (Don’t tell my wife I just said that!)

Nahhhhhhh!!!

Anyway, it’s not like I’ve given up on the movies. I still hold out hope that something will come along and knock my proverbial socks off…..but the wait, in the meantime, is killing me.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

How about you? Seen any good movies lately?

Until next time….

The Case of the Ranty Rambler….

So, I’m sitting here….my second (or is it third?) cup of coffee beside me. The steam rising up into the cool, but steadily warming, air.  The sky is blue and the birds are chirping. I’ve just come back in from watering our container tomatoes and noting the newest blooms. If things turn out as I’m hoping, we’ll have quite a few tomatoes from our two plants.

My Google homepage weather widget thingy is telling me that it’s about 75 degrees out….the low today will be around 68. A far (as well as welcomed) cry from some folks in the North who are getting more snow.

As far as I’m concerned, they can keep the white stuff. I’ll stick with the warm and, occasional, rain.

It’s probably evident by now, with all my talk of the weather and tomato plants, that I don’t have a set topic to write about this morning.  So, if you don’t mind, and  from what I can tell of my near non-existent readership here, I’m sure you won’t….I’ll just ramble a bit.

 

ZeroHourBanner

A bit of potential….maybe.

 

Anyone catch the premier of the new ABC show Zero Hour? While I had pretty much sworn off watching any new series until they’ve established themselves (so I can catch up via Netflix or Hulu Plus), I just couldn’t help but give this one a look. I’m glad I did, though, as it has a real National Treasure vibe to it, without the Nick Cage swagger. It looks like it has the potential to be pretty interesting and I hope they don’t foul it up. Anthony Edwards isn’t one of my favorite actors, but I’m still willing to give the show a shot.

 

hansel_and_gretel_witch_hunters_ver2_xlg-Copy-21

Witch hunters, eh?

 

I recently saw Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and….ugh. While it wasn’t terrible, per se’, it wasn’t near as good as Van Helsing, a film I had thought this one would emulate. The acting was so-so and the plot was pretty predictable. I also didn’t realize they dropped the “F” bomb so much back in that era….color me puzzled.

 

I know it sounds like I’m down on Hollywood and that’s because, well, I am, for the most part. It’s a shame, though, because I remember a time when I used to love t.v. And those were back in the days when we only had three…four if you were lucky…channels to watch. I think the glut of channels and “specialty” stations on cable have caused originality to suffer. It seems like, these days, all you need for a “hit” show is to get a bunch of morons together and point a camera at them. Then,as the sparks fly and people degrade down to their primitive instincts, you can sit back and say “Now that’s good t.v.!!”

An industry where a show like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” can be a hit isn’t one I’m going to put a lot of faith in….just sayin’.

It seems like my ‘ramblings’ have turned into a ‘rant’, which wasn’t my intention, so we’ll leave the sad state of affairs in Hollywood and talk about something else….something totally random like…..

 

….Roller Derby!!

 

602821_491235060927649_323840988_n

Sounds like a wholesome group of young ladies…

 

Down here in Vero Beach, we have our own roller derby team…the Vero Vandalettes. My wife and I have been saying, for over a year, that we’re going to go a match, but haven’t made it yet. I find it a very interesting sport, though I’m not real clear on all the rules. From the looks of things, though,  it’s action packed and never a dull moment, I’m sure.

After we get the chance to get to a match, I’ll make sure I do a full report for all you derby fans out there.

Maybe on Saturday I’ll talk about cartoons, or comic books, or Leathermen tools, or something…..

 

Until next time…

 

The Case of the Scary Serial.

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost…”

 

Since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I’d relate a tale of horror. O.k, well not “horror” in the classic sense, but more like a time when I was horrified.

The year was around….1975-76 and I was seven or eight years old. My dad was in the Navy and we were stationed in Sigonella, Sicily. Back then, before the days of cable television, you only had what was on your local t.v. stations. Being in Sicily meant that everything was in Italian. At least, I’m pretty sure it was as I don’t think we even owned a t.v. back then.  I didn’t speak Italian of course (nor do I speak it now), so it really put a damper on what entertainment venues I had at my disposal.

Luckily, there was a movie house on the base and it was roughly five or six blocks from our house so, needless to say, I spent a lot of time there. My dad and I spent many nights there, after dinner, catching such movies like The Planet of the Apes, American Graffiti, and, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Now, this movie place showed all sorts of films, from first runs to a lot of the old stuff. I remember seeing quite a few old cliffhanger serials. There was one, though, that used to scare the crap out of me. It was called…The Crimson Ghost.

I remember it to this day. On Saturdays, it was some sort of “Kid’s” day, so that’s where we all congregated to watch the old movies. They’d show a cartoon and then the ‘feature’ which consisted of an old movie serial. Back then, I had no idea what a “serial” was…I just knew I had to come back each week to find out what was going to happen next and was always left on the edge of my seat.

Well, one Saturday they started with Chapter One of  The Crimson Ghost and the more I looked at that guy in the skull mask and cloak, the more terrified I became. I would start fidgeting in my seat and it got to the point where I had to cover my eyes whenever he’d come on-screen.  If it weren’t for the fact that they rotated different serials in (I don’t really remember the other ones, I just knew they were different each week of the month), I’d probably have stopped going on Saturdays instead of opting to just skipping the Crimson Ghost weeks.

Of course, one week I miscalculated and thought they were showing a different serial only to see that giant skull face appear on the screen and the scary music booming from the speakers. I don’t think I’ve ever moved that fast in my life. I bolted out of the seat and ran for the door…screaming bloody murder the whole way. I don’t think I went back for a few Saturdays after that and took quite a bit of teasing from the other kids, afterwards.

I know it will sound a bit silly but, I’ll always remember that as a time in my life when, for a brief moment, I was the most afraid.

Of a guy in a skull mask.

Self Analysis Moment: This whole incident could be one of the reasons why I really don’t like horror movies, or haunted houses, to this day.

The funniest thing was, as time went on, that incident would be pushed back to a deep, dark, part of my mind and I’d almost forget about it. Then one day…I think it was in the late 80s…the USA Network was showing  old ‘horror’ movies at midnight. I forget the name of the show, but I saw where the they would be showing The Crimson Ghost. Of course, I had to tune in and sat there laughing. Not only at the cheesiness of the serial, but at the idea that it could ever scare me so much. I also realized that the actor who played the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore (in the rare role as a villain), played one of the Ghost’s henchmen.

If you want a good ‘scare’…o.k, well more like a chuckle at some old production values, you can catch the whole thing on YouTube…starting with the first episode below. If you watch it, though, try to keep from hopping from your chair and running through your house in terror. <Insert Vincent Price-esque laughter here>

Happy Halloween!

Trancers

“Dry hair’s for squids.”

Last week on my Google Plus page, I put up a trivia question and then realized I had neglected to give the answer. Silly me.

Well, if you’re reading this then you know the answer. That’s right….the movie quote was from Trancers. What? you’ve never hear of  Trancers? If you haven’t, you’ve really missed one of the those little sci-fi gems that, sometimes, get lost in the straight to video market.

I was going to post this straight to my G+  stream but, the more I got to typing, the longer it got and I then figured it might make for a good blog post. ‘Good’ being a relative term, I guess.

Trancers came out around 1985 and starred character actor  Tim Thomerson, who I remembered (don’t ask me how) from the old 70’s t.v. Quark, as Jack Deth….yes, you read that right. Deth. Anyway, Jack Deth was a cop (or ‘trooper’) in Angel City (old Los Angeles) in the year 2254. He’s a ‘hunter’ of sorts. He hunts the weak-willed people who have fallen under the sway of futuristic cult leader “Whistler”.  These weak-willed are then turned into ‘Trancers’. Apparently they look ‘normal’ until activated….then they become zombified, homicidal, killing machines willing to do the evil Whistler’s bidding.

Well, it seems that Whistler has found a way to go “down the line” or time travel, as we’d call it. To help ensure his plans to take over the future (his present), he’s decided to kill off the ancestors of  The Council, Angel City’s ruling body responsible for helping rebuild after some sort of terrible disaster that we’re never really told about or I just don’t remember if they mentioned it. My guess is that it had something to do with part of California falling into the sea. The Council thinks that the best way to bring Whistler back to their time period is to send the man who’s been hunting his minions and ‘singeing’ them….Jack Deth.

Now for the big twist! O.k, it wasn’t that big…but still…

It seems that, in 2254, the only way to time travel (at least in the first film) was to send your consciousness back to inhabit the body of a blood ancestor by injecting special drugs (those barbarians!). The problem comes in when it’s revealed that Whistler’s relative, in 1985, is the chief of police and well-respected. Deth’s relative, on the other hand, is a writer named Phil. Jack is sent back to make sure that The Council’s remaining ancestors aren’t killed and to bring Whistler back to stand trial.

I won’t go into the plot but, I will say, it’s surprisingly good for a movie with a budget of only around $400,000.00 and they had some neat ideas about the future and time travel.

Without giving away too much, here are a few interesting tidbits about this flick:

  • Besides Thomerson, a few of the other stars of this little movie were Helen Hunt (before hitting it big on Mad About You) , Telma Hopkins (of Tony Orlando and Dawn as well as Family Matters fame), as well as great character actors Richard Herd and Art LaFleur.
  • While I don’t really follow fashion in my own time period, I always though it was interesting that the year 2254’s fashion sense was a strange meld of the 1940s and the 1980. Hats were back for the menfolk

  • The fact that part of California had fallen into the sea was reflected in the slang of the day. Weak people were “squids” and, upon finding out the his ancestor, Phil, had more than one woman ‘on the hook’, Jack calls Phil a “shark”. He also mentions, as they drive by Mann’s Chinese Theater, that he used to swim by there.
  • Supposedly, the only relative in 1985 that Jack’s boss from the future, McNulty had, was an annoying little girl. She mentions having to sneak past her parents to get out, so I always wondered why McNulty couldn’t jump into one of the parents….unless she was adopted, or something.  The same actress reprised her role for Trancer’s II.
  • This was the first of six Trancers films. All were direct to video.
  • Renown sci-fi/comic book writer Peter David wrote Trancers 4: Deth of Swords.
  • In later Trancers installments, they figured out how to send actual bodies ‘down the line’…probably for easier plotting.
  • Trancers was the debut screenplay for Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo who later went on to write the The Rocketeer and then The Flash, for t.v.

I think next to the Dr. Strange inspired, cult classic, Dr. Mordid, Trancers ranks up there as one of my all time favorite “B” movie. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s a very fun movie to grab a bag of popcorn and a Coke, kick your feet up, and watch. You can catch it on Netflix Streaming as well as on YouTube (for free!)

And, always remember Trooper, dry hair’s for squids.

The Amazing Spider Man

 

My wife went to a housewarming party yesterday, which left me to my own devices and a quiet house. I had every intention (I swear) of staying home and working on the editing of my novel, but it was such a nice day out so I decided to, you guessed it….

Go to a movie. Yes….I know…I”m lame.

Anyway.

A few flicks have come out, recently, that I’ve wanted to see….Brave, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and The Amazing Spider Man. Knowing that the wife wants to see Abe Lincoln, again (she went with her perpetual ‘movie pal’, her sister, earlier), I decided to hold off on that one and, while Brave looks ‘o.k’, I can honestly wait for DVD on it. Yeah, I know….heresy, you say. Just didn’t grab me, I say in return.

That pretty much  cinched it for the re-booted Spidey flick. Now, I’ll admit, I’ve been poo-poo’ing this film since I’ve found out about it.

“It’s too early for a reboot.”

“Seriously? Another reboot?”

“Here we go again….Hollywood looking for more of my money!”

I really do need to learn to keep my big trap shut, sometimes.

This movie was pretty awesome, I have to say. It’s times like this when I’m actually glad to be wrong.

Now, I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible….

First off, Andrew Garfield (who I’ve never heard of before) was a top-notch Peter Parker/Spider Man. He’s no Tobie McGuire…..and thank God for that. As Parker he comes across pretty believable as the average adolescent with an interest in skateboarding and photography, who also happens to be a scientific genius. We see, early on, that Parker is one to stand up for the little guy and willing to do what’s right and what he believes in. In this film, we see how Peter’s parents hastily drop him off at his Aunt May and Uncle Ben’s before taking off, never to be seen again. As Spidey he brings out that wise cracking, smartmouthed, wallcrawler that I remember so well from the comics.

That brings us to the second bit of good news….at least for me. Sally Field and Martin Sheen. I’ve never been a huge fan of either one of these actors and the last thing I think I liked Sally Field in was the old Gidget t.v. show but, they do a pretty good job here. Especially Sheen as the ever wise Uncle Ben.  Sally Field does a decent job and I think the fact that we only get these two in smaller doses makes them even more bearable….at least for me.

Emma Stone makes for a cute Gwen Stacie, though I had a tough time buying that she was supposed to be just seventeen….but that’s, mainly, a nitpick.

Denis Leary, as Capt. Stacy, is well….pretty much Denis Leary. If you’ve ever watched Rescue Me, he’s, for the most part, the same character just not as abrasive.

I figured that, through the whole film, I’d be constantly comparing it to the Raimi version but, again, I was wrong. The closest this movie got to being like it’s predecessor was the opening credits which kinda/sorta resembled those of Raimi’s Spider-Man and that was about it. The film, pretty much, stood on its own merits.

Now onto the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

The Good:

  • Andrew Garfield was excellent. You could say he was a tad bit more ‘angsty’ than the comic book Spidey, but I think it fit in a modern re-telling.
  • Non-biological web shooters!! Wait, let me do some more exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!!!)  One of the biggest gripes I had with the original film was Spidey’s web shooters not being man-made. I mean, come on, it was one of the biggest Spider-Man gags….running out of web fluid at an inopportune moment. It didn’t happen in this film but there’s a point, near the end, where his webbing is ‘neutralized’ and he has to do without.
  • There wasn’t a lot of time spent showing Peter adapting to his new found powers, which I didn’t mind at all. I guess, after seeing so many different origin re-telling’s in the comics, I was fine with it being glossed over.
  • It’s been said in quite a few issues of the comic, that part of the reason Spidey can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds is due to the fact that he can infuriate his foes with his constant and inane chatter. In other words, he jabbers on way too much….and he did that in this film. Some great one liners, even when taking a pounding which is classic Spidey fare.
  • The way the story starts was very different from almost every origin tale I’ve ever seen, which was pretty cool. I also think it helps set up the sequel.
  • The camera angles were well done. Granted, some were shot to enhance the 3D aspect of the film, I’m sure, but they still looked good in 2D.
  • Emma Stone is a cutie….that is all.

The Bad:

  • The music. Some of it reminded me of something you’d hear on a CW show. Admittedly, though, that could just be my age talking, I don’t know.
  • I’ve never been a big fan of the Lizard as a villain and, while I thought he was played well and was a sympathetic type villain, I still couldn’t get into it. Besides that he just looked….well….weird. Even for a giant lizard.
  • The costume reminded me more of the old Spider Man: 2099 series (minus the underarm webbing) than the original. Not that it was a game changer, just something to go ‘meh’ about.
  • It seemed like the plot point of Peter finding Uncle Ben’s killer just fades away. We never see any resolution there…at all….which was very odd, I thought.

The Ugly:

  • The Lizard. ‘Nuff said!

All in all, I really enjoyed The Amazing Spider Man. Enough, even, to go see it a second time….at the theater….and anyone who knows me (and my ‘frugal’ ways) will say that’s high praise, indeed.

Men In Black III

We are ‘they’, ‘them’, we are….the Men In Black…

After seeing Men In Black II, I can honestly say that I really wasn’t all that excited about seeing the third installment.

What I should have remembered, though, as taught to me by the Back to the Future franchise, was the lesson about the second film in a series of three is usually the worst. Which was exactly the case in the MIB trilogy and, more than likely, why MIB 2, sucked.

Men In Black III, on the other hand,  was pretty darn good. It’s not an Oscar winner, by any stretch but, these days, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was a fun movie, well paced, some nice plot twists, and Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones still seemed to have the same chemistry they had back in MIB I.

The best part of the film for me was Josh Brolin. He had Tommy Lee Jones down pat and really made me believe that he was a younger version of Agent K. It was more than just the voice inflection, it was his facial expressions (as well as lack thereof) and speech patterns that really sold me.

Will Smith’s Agent J has been an agent for 14 years (has it really been that long since the first MIB film?) and has gotten a promotion. We know this because he reminds us of it the entire movie…..but, in a funny way. It seems that there are some things even a Grade 1 agent isn’t let in on….such as K’s past. There’s a good reason for this, but you’ll just have to go see the movie to find out why. Agent J has that ‘seasoned’ air about him but, at times, you can tell he’s still learning the ropes. Smith’s delivery is, as usual, pretty flawless and like I said, he and Jones still have that first movie chemistry.

Tommy Lee Jones is as crusty as ever and that’s o.k., because he’s supposed to be crusty. This movie added another layer to the character of Agent K, though, as a man with a much more haunted past than we realize from previous films. We find out about that layer of crust and why he has it.

The guy who played the main villain, New Zealander Jemaine Clement (though I would have sworn it was Tim Curry) did a decent job as Boris the Animal. An alien from K’s past who’s been locked up for over 40 years at…..well, I won’t tell you where, I’ll let you see that for yourself, as well.

As always, the effects were top-notch and it was funny seeing how the MIB equipment has evolved since 1969. Oh, did I not mention that Agent J has to go back to 1969 to …..well, again, I’ll let you see that for yourself.

Without spoiling (or my best attempt) anything, here’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Men In Black III

The Good:

  • Will Smith. As usual, great delivery and, something I’ve never noticed before, he’s great at physical comedy. Why I didn’t know that, I haven’t a clue.
  • Josh Brolin. It was the scene in the film trailer of Brolin’s Agent K that gave me hope that this movie wouldn’t be a total stinker.
  • There are two cameos that I think a lot of people will get a kick out of. The first is 1969’s head of MIB and the second is the actor who plays ‘Andy Warhol’. Both are comedy gold.
  • The special effects and creature effects are out of this world…no pun intended.
  • If you remember from previous films, the MIBs keep track of aliens all over the world. Many of whom are celebrities. This one is no different and some are quite believable. Trust me, you’ll laugh.

The Bad:

  • While I enjoyed the overall plot, there were some pretty big plot holes that needed filling.
  • One of the big plot points was pretty obvious. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t more covert.
  • I could have done without Emma Thompson….just sayin’.
  • The method used to travel through time seemed a bit…extreme..for my taste, if not downright silly.
  • No Rip Torn. Too bad he can’t stay off the sauce enough to work. “This isn’t an intergalactic kegger.” , indeed Rip.

The Ugly:

  • Tommy Lee Jones. Man, how old is that guy, anyway? Awww…I’m just joking…(mostly)

Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Men In Black III. If you liked the first one, you’ll definitely like this one.

If you liked MIB II…….

….you have my deepest sympathies. 😛