Behind the Bandwagon: Skyfall (2012)

Ditto.  Just ditto.  To everything ^.

Number one complaint: IT WAS TOO FREAKING LONG.  I mean, really?  I could have cut out 45 minutes at least, and nothing would be lost.  In fact, I think a lot could be gained.  45 minutes of my life would have been spared, at the very least.  Boo.  Hiss.  Not a fan.  And what a shame, too, since I was totally on the Blond Bond Bandwagon. 

Time for a reboot.

On the bright side, I’m excited about the new M (Ralph Fiennes, who has sadly retired his Voldemort garb) and Q (the delightfully geeky-hot Ben Whishaw).  Now bring me more change!

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Behind the Bandwagon: R.I.P.D.

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R.I.P.D.  the latest from both Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, premiered earlier this summer.  I’m sure it was marketed at a big summer blockbuster, and probably could have been except for the large dose of camp.

The movie follows Nick (Reynolds) who has just died after being shot by his partner Hayes, played by Kevin Bacon.  Because he was a slightly dirty cop, he has been given the choice to work for the Rest In Peace Department for 100 years, or take his chances at judgement.  Because he would be working in his hometown of Boston, he takes the job, eager to be near his wife.  He gets partnered with Roy (Bridges) who has been at the job for a good long while, due to multiple extensions for bad behavior.  He’s a remnant of the Old West and talks with a wad of something in his mouth that makes it impossible to understand a word.  Roy teaches Nick the ropes, including the fact that the living and “deados” (dead people who have escaped judgment and are living on Earth in disguise) see them as their aliases—a hot woman and old Chinese man.  The pair light upon a plot within the deado community that would allow them to reverse judgement day and remain on Earth.  Basically, the dead would inherit the world.  The leader of the plot is none other than Nick’s former partner Hayes, who is in fact a deado.

The movie is about as good as it sounds.  There’s some hilarious slapstick and some big explosions for those that like them, but everyone is a two-dimensional caricature and there are some huge plot holes.  I understand the story began as a comic.  Perhaps it works in that format, but as a movie it falls incredibly flat.  There’s just nothing about the film that makes you want to root for the characters or care what happens.  Just pure eye candy.  Want a grade? D, and that’s being generous….

Behind the Bandwagon: Star Trek Into Darkness

Star-Trek-into-Darkness-wallpaperStar Trek: Into Darkness, the latest film by the incredible JJ Abrams, opened in the US this past May.  I got around to it last night, finally, and was not disappointed.  I was pleasantly surprised with its 2009 predecessor, which turned me into a minor Trekkie, but was worried Into Darkness would suffer from the sophomore curse.  That was certainly not the case.

The film picks up not long from where the first ended.  Captain James T. Kirk and his crew on the U.S.S. Enterprise are surveying an alien planet.  Upon finding out that the planet’s active volcano is close to decimating the primitive local population, Spock detonates a cold fusion device that freezes the volcano and nearly costs him his life.  Captain Kirk breaks protocol to save his friend, whereby allowing the Enterprise to be visible to the inhabitants–a decision Spock disagrees with.  Back on Earth, Starfleet has been alerted to Kirk’s decision through Spock, causing Kirk to lose command of the Enterprise.  Meanwhile, a former Starfleet officer named John Harrison blows up a Starfleet secret installation before attacking a meeting among all the senior officers, killing Admiral Christopher Pike.  Admiral Marcus sends the newly reinstated Captain Kirk, his crew, and 72 torpedoes after Harrison with orders to kill on site.  Once in Klingon territory, where Harrison is hiding, Kirk decides to take him prison and bring him back to Earth the stand trial.  Once they interview their captive, though, Kirk and Spock realize they have been lied to.  Harrison is really Khan, a 300 year old super soldier who has been frozen for centuries and reawakened by Marcus.  He discloses both that Marcus wants an epic war, and that the 72 torpedoes contain the bodies of Kahn’s “family”: more super soldiers.  It does not take long for Marcus to find the Enterprise, though, and demand Khan and the threaten the destruction of Kirk and his entire crew.  Through the aid of Khan, they manage to prevent said destruction, although they do discover that Kahn is no ally after all.

Into Darkness is definitely a non-stop action summer blockbuster type of film.  While a climax was built, there were a number of mini climactic moments along the way.  I loved the bromance between Kirk and Spock, as well as the “who can you trust” twists and turns.  As ever, Captain Kirk is a complete badass, and Spock is played to perfection  by Zachary Quinto.  Because my only experience with Star Trek lies with the past two Abrams-helmed films, I don’t have much to compare the films with.  They do, however, entertain me, and I’m into the mythology that is developing.  I don’t really have any complaints, but the movie was missing….something.  It just wasn’t mind-blowing, although I have no concrete reason why.  Either way, I’m looking forward to the next one!

Behind the Bandwagon: 2013 Emmy Awards

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I know, I know, the Emmy’s aired on Sunday night.  SOME of us, however, have jobs outside the Monday thru Friday 9-5 structure.  But thanks to the holy genius who invented DVR, I got to watch it a few days late.  However, the freaking show went over AGAIN and I missed the two biggest awards of the night.  But it is 2013, afterall, so I just looked that crap up online 🙂

My impressions: NPH as a host is pure gold (as opposed to the surely plated awards).  I loved all the tongue-in-cheek gay references thrown in throughout the show.  I LOVED the choreographers’ showpiece toward the end.  It honestly made my night, and made up for the completely pointless “Number in the Middle of the Show”.  Yes, Neil, my darling, I get that the point was to be pointless.  But you were AT the awards.  I watched it three days later and your stupid song and dance lost me the Best Comedy and Best Drama series.  So thanks.

When it comes to the awards themselves, I was ashamed to realize that apparently, according to the mysterious Academy, I do not watch the best shows on television.  I have never seen Breaking Bad, Nurse Jackie, or Veep.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s in-character acceptance speech was therefore lost on me.  Once I realized wtf, I was humored and impressed.  At first view, though, I was rocking the “huh?” face.  I was THRILLED, however, as well as brought to tears, when the lovely and talented Jim Parsons accepted his third consecutive win for lead actor in a comedy series.  What a gem.  I was also pleased (after trolling Google) to learn that Modern Family nabbed best comedy.  Well, duh.

So what were everyone else’s impressions?  Were you pleased with the results?  Enraged?  Completely indifferent?  I know I for one will have to check out Veep.  I’m too far behind for Breaking Bad, and Nurse Jackie just does not look that freaking interesting.  Isn’t it just Grey’s Anatomy with HBO issues instead of PG-13 ones?

Behind the Bandwagon: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower is hands down one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.  I couldn’t even wait to read the book first, which is a big deal, trust me.  The only other times this has happened were with Stardust and The Princess Bride, and that was only because I didn’t realize they were based off books.

If you’ve watched many movies centered around teens, you will understand why it is so rare to come across one so rich with heart, wit, and insight.  I knew going in what the big twist was at the end, but I was still crying like a baby and feeling for poor Charlie.  But  I am getting ahead of myself.  Perks centers around an awkward, introverted freshman named Charlie, played by an absolutely adorable Logan Lerman.  He sits alone at lunch and doesn’t speak up in class, even though he knows all the answers.  Until a group of seniors change his life.  Sam (Emma Watson) is his first love, even though she is tortured and much more experienced girl who doesn’t feel like she deserves love.  Patrick is her outspoken gay step-brother, and Charlie’s new best friend.  They accept him into their circle of friends and teach him what high school is all about: finding yourself, making mistakes, and learning about life. 

If you haven’t seen it, you need to.  It is most definitely The Breakfast Club for our generation.  And the best part?  If you’re a 90s kid, get ready for some flashbacks—the film takes place in the 1990-1991 school year.

Behind the Bandwagon: Pacific Rim

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Everyone has been talking about this “epic” action flick called Pacific Rim.  All my best buds, at least, have spent the summer trashing the sure-fire hit Man of Steel in favor of the sleeper phenom Pacific Rim.  But I have been dubious.  It looked like a mindless action escape with crazy Godzilla creatures fought by Iron Man on steroids, both with dumb names.  So I resisted.  But I finally gave in and BOY was I surprised.

SHOCKER!!!  Pacific Rim was actually good.  In fact, it was great!  So I am chasing after the bandwagon a few months late, trying to jump on.  Unfortunately, it would appear there are several sceptics out there, since the film was not the Box Office giant it should have been.  Allow me to convert you poor, deluded masses.  Below follows a breakdown of the movie’s awesomeness.

40% Godzilla.  And I’m not talking cheesy Matthew Broderick Godzilla.  I’m talking real live ohmygeez action and terror.  Which makes sense, since Guillermo del Toro co-wrote the screenplay and directed it.  That SOB sure knows how to get into a girl’s nightmares and bring out all the creepy crawlies (you doubt?  Go watch Pan’s Labyrinth).

40% Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  NORMALLY that would be an insult.  But seriously, it’s not.  I’m raving about this film.  This is the Power Rangers like my child mind envisioned them years ago, not the corny tv show my adult mind sees now.  Two soldiers hop into these MASSIVE robot creatures and control them with their own movements.  Wow.  It makes my legs tired just thinking about it.

15% Armagaeddon.  A small group of ex-military have to pool their resources to save the world from certain destruction.  Using machines and (kind of) drilling into the earth.  I can’t give away more than that or I’ll ruin some of the movie.  Sorry.

5% Avatar.  A neural handshake?  That sounds something totally Avatar-esque.  In fact, I can feel James Cameron incorporating it into Avatar 2 as we speak.  There is also the whole terraforming aspect.  Although in this case, the humans are the victims…not some uber cool blue creatures.

100% sexy mancandy.  I mean COME ON LADIES, the newly cast Christian Gray is the lead.  Enough said. 

You put it all together and you’ve got one incredibly interesting and unexpectedly awesome film.  I was drawn into in a way I never would have expected.  You’ve got action, suspense, horror, comedy in all of its various forms, and a smidge of romance thrown in to please the ladies (although, honestly, the 973 delicious men are enough to please any straight, bi, or curious female).  So go see it, unconvinced reader, and discover for yourself what we converts have already delighted in.  The rekindled MAGIC of the movies.  This isn’t some sequel or half-baked rom-com.  It is something completely new and magical and just plain fab-fucking-tabulous.  Go see it.  Please.  For me.  If you hate it, well…..you won’t.

Behind the Bandwagon: The Bling Ring

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Sofia Coppola’s most recent film, The Bling Ring,  was released in theaters this past June.  Like many of Coppola’s films, it was met with mixed reviews.  While it was certainly not as captivating as The Virgin Suicides, I still very much liked it.  The movie is based on the Hollywood Hills heists that took place in 2008 and 2009.  The stark sets, close camera angles, and natural dialogue give the film a documentary feel that lends to the “based on a real story” premise.  Although the relatively unknown Katie Chang plays the ring leader of the group (a cold, calculating, and incredibly manipulative little brat), it is Emma Watson who steals the show.  Her character is so atypical of the Hermione we’ve come to know and love….and it’s great!  Nicki is a spoiled little slut who is so used to getting her way, it doesn’t even phase her to break into celebrities’ homes and rob them blind.  She wants it, she takes it.  They all do.  Over and over and over again.  The heists get bigger and the thieves brag louder.  That is, until they’re caught (largely due to their outrageous Facebook photos).

The movie is a commentary both on the youth of today and our nation’s fascination with celebrity.  The upcoming generation of teens are portrayed as spoiled and bratty, but who can blame them when they’re allowed to do as they please and are given very little supervision.  To add to that, they see their  role models on the cover of magazines partying, going to rehab constantly, and ending up in jail.  And the attention they get for it makes it all look incredibly glamorous.  It’s incredible to behold and The Bling Ring shows how it can end up going to extremes.

Best part of the movie: Paris Hilton has a cameo, and let the crew shoot in her house, which in real life was the one most often hit.  Come on, celebs, LOCK YOUR DOORS!  And seriously, invest in surveillance.

Interested?  Check out the trailer for more on the movie!