Monday, May 23, 2016

The Big Short

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The Asylum's mockbuster of this one is called The Small Tall.



The Big Short – 5 out of 5

Well, if I wanna be positive, The Big Short might be the only good thing to come out of the housing bubble collapse and the near devastation of the world's economy by greedy bankers and Wall Street crooks.  Still, I don’t wanna sound like I’m trivializing how badly their actions affected millions of people in America but, all things considered, their horrible actions (that we are still barely recovering from) did result in this absolutely fantastic dramedy.

I swear, I wanted a cool pic of Christian Bale but I just stopped on this and had
to 'cap it.

I think the movie gets a perfect score for Pitt's
facial hair alone.
Based on the book of the same name from Michael Lewis, this film tells the story of the housing market crash in 2007 and the people involved who saw it coming.  There’s Michael Burry (Christian Bale); the first man to see how unstable the market was, and a trader named Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling); who hears about Burry’s predictions and is obsessed to find out if he’s right and he ends up working with an admirable hedge fund manager named Mark Baum (Steve Carell).  Finally, we watch two young go-getters who seek to become big-time investors; Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock), who accidentally discover this mess and they decide to get involved with the action with the help of a retired genius in the world of security trading; Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt).  What follows is a maddening and confusing trip down the rabbit hole of the collapsing housing market and the only people who had their eyes open wide enough to see it all coming.

"*whispers intensely* You're not Ron."

Breaking fourth walls are so fun!  It makes me feel
included!
All the crap that went down with the housing market crash is over my head.  I don’t understand all the ins-and-outs the banks used to screw the people over but one really cool thing about this movie is they made it easy to understand.  This film told its story very creatively and featured Ryan Gosling’s character acting as the narrator and, very often, he and other characters would break the fourth wall to speak directly to you, the viewer.  Most the time it was to give you the details of what was going on, sometimes it was to either verify what you say really happened or, very amusingly so, tell you what you saw didn’t happened but was exaggerated for storytelling purposes and, finally and probably the most amusing, was how they would bring in special guest cameos (like Margot Robbie, Anthony Bordain and Selena Gomez) to offer up “lessons” of what was going down.  Add in a flashy and slick presentation filled with great music and stock footage from those years and you had a story that moved fluidly and very creatively.

Sure, when Margot Robbie gives a financial lesson in a bubble bath it's "sexy,"
but if I do it, I'm an "intruder" who "broke into your home."  Double standard.

I swear I'm not trying to get bad screencaps of Bale.
I'm a big fan of yours, Bale, but there's were too funny.
Director Adam McKay, who is usually known for his more wacky comedies, does a fantastic job of blending drama, tension and humor in this film.  I never really found the film to be out-loud hilarious but there are plenty of moments that made me chuckle.  What McKay really succeeded in creating, in my opinion, was a sense of urgency in what was happening and a sense of tension—especially when it concerned the character of Mark Baum.  The way those sequences were created and edited together perfectly showcased the stress that Baum was under and the seemingly insurmountable battle he and the others were up against.

"Fourty"-seven million dollars, eh?


Finally, this feature really delivers on the cast front.  Their four main stars; Bale, Gosling, Carell and Pitt, are already super talented and, not surprisingly, all give off great performances but the rest of the cast are matching them step-for-step.  Whether it’s the fun cameos of Anthony Bordain and the rest or Fin Wittrock and John Magaro, this cast shines and it shines brightly—with each performer matching the other and all working on delivering a fantastic film.

I bet he can afford to eat his cereal now!  (Ha ha, this joke is already super dated.)

The Big Short is a damn impressive and terrifically entertaining film that contains a great cast all doing their best, a story that is terribly depressing but really captivating and a presentation that is endlessly unique and clever.  It’s definitely one of those movies that earns and deserves its accolades and praise.

Transmorphers: Fall of Man

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! After watching this, I don't want to ever insult Michael Bay ever again.



Transmorphers:  Fall of Man – 0 out of 5

About three years ago, I watched the film Transmorphers; The Asylum’s mockbuster of the very financially successful Transformers series.  As you can see by how long it took me to get around to the sequel, the film didn’t have the biggest of an impacts on me.  If you’ve ever read any of my reviews of films from The Asylum, I don’t think too highly of their productions.  I’m a little more forgiving of their monster movies but their mockbusters are pretty insulting because they are created for the sole reason of taking advantage of the uninformed consumer—and that’s pretty crummy and you have to be quite the sleaze to go with that business model.  Any-hoo, the first film is just a complete mess of incoherent action, terrible CG and bad acting.  So, how does Transmorphers:  Fall of Man compare?  Well, honestly, not much better…
Jeez, the fall of man could have at least waited until
she finished her shift at the Go-Go dance factory.

300 years before the events of the first film, mankind is living peacefully without giant robots trying to kill them.  Mysterious events start happening that include people being killed and left with mysterious wounds on their heads and an Air Force Base intercepting an alien signal.  While this is occurring, a young girl named Madison Ryan (Alana DiMaria) is reunited with her old flame; a super smart and totes badass vet named Jake Van Ryberg (Shane Van Dyke—who is also the writer of this film and that makes sense as this film never stops talking about how great Van Ryberg is), but no sooner than they are reunited are they thrown head-first into an invasion of giant robots—that are no way in disguise and don’t have anything to do with more than meeting the eye.  Can they stop them?  Well, no because this is a prequel and you learn that man lives underground in the first film but, that being said, how will they survive so that man can one day rise against the machines in a way that is not at all the same as the Terminator films?

The best part is when a character encounters this robot and the robot literally
does nothing and the dude freaks the fuck out.

In all honesty, in the actual film you won't see that
much more movement from the Transmorphers.
Crappy CG costs money.
So, Fall of Man has all the crummy things you would expect from your typical mockbuster from The Asylum:  The store brand feel of far better films (and yet, somehow worse), a whole lot of really bad ADR, atrocious special effects, really lame and lazy action sequences, a plot that makes no sense and not a single enjoyable character to be seen.  However, this film even decides to go a step further but making every single scene very awkward—pretty much every scene feels like it is starting the moment it comes into play in the story and not like the events are just occurring naturally.  Literally, every sequence of the film feels like you can almost hear the director yelling “Action.”  Already the film feels very awkward and it drags very badly because every scene contains a butt-load of reaction shots (90% of this film is shots of people reacting and looking at other people’s reactions) but this inclusion of really bad editing that makes all the scenes feel like they start and stop only when the viewer arrives at the point in the story really makes for an awkward experience.

Interesting acting choice there, Kemosabe.

Why was Boxleitner even trying?  He realistically didn't
have to.
When it comes to acting, this film does have one person—Tron himself; Bruce Boxleitner—playing Madison’s father and he does a great job with the awful script he is given but, beyond this, the rest of the performances are pretty weak.  When you don’t have actors not even attempt to give the bare minimum, you have people like the fearless writer; Shane Van Dyke, overacting the living hell out of their performance.  Actually, come to think of it, Van Dyke’s performance is one of the films highlights because he is trying so hard to be intense and live up to how totes amazing he wrote his character to be.  Sure, it’s pretty narcissistic to write a character that is constantly told how amazing and tough he is and then end up playing the part you wrote but it sure makes for some funny moments.

Such intensity!

Finally, this movie is just plain boring.  There’s no real plot going on and a lot of the story details (like how the Transmorphers are out to terraform the planet) are revealed by characters literally TELLING our hero Van Ryberg rather than showing (because Van Dyke firmly believes in telling, not showing…and the fact the budget could never afford the plot points).  Boredom is only amplified when you realize that in the entire film and throughout all the really messy and uninteresting action sequences, you only see about six or seven giant robots and they all look pretty much the same.  You would think that an alien robot invasion that ultimate results in the human race nearly being wiped out would be a little larger and grandiose but what you get is something that is incredible boring and overflowing with characters always driving away from action (and then having their cars destroyed and they get into a new car and then having the characters looking at action that the production just can’t afford to show us...rinse and repeat and you have the movie).

"Quick, get in!  We're late for the next scene of us driving and looking at things!"

My favorite part is how the Transmorphers contain
absolutely no threat whatsoever.
I can’t say I was expecting something good from Transmorphers:  Fall of Man but I was hoping for something that was so bad that it was fun to watch.  Sadly, this film with its overacting, lack of action, its poorly written script completely devoid of decent dialogue, plot, interesting characters and story and its horrifyingly lazy CG, I just found a film that was boring, uninspired (ironic since it’s blatantly stealing from three films) and, well, just dumb.  The experience is so lackluster and light on any form of entertainment (it was hard to even make fun of it) that I feel like The Asylum shouldn’t be tricking people into paying to watch this but, rather, paying the audience for the waste of time this film provides.  Say what you will about Michael Bay and how the guy isn’t good at handling character and story but, after watching both this one and the first one, the man now looks like a goddamn brilliant storyteller.  Shit, this film actually makes the second Transformers film—with all its terrible potty humor and horrible racist moments—watchable and good.

Dinoshark

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! So...did the creator of the Syfy channel have a bad experience with sharks as a child and has since sworn revenge by filling the network with bad shark movies in order to smear their name?



Dinoshark – 1 out of 5

I’ve never made it a secret that I love bad movies.  The lower the budget, the worse the acting, the more abysmal the filmmaking the more enjoyable I find the experience but when those bad movies include sharks (and believe me, there are A LOT of bad shark movies) you can guarantee I’ll watch the ever-lovin’ hell out of it.  Syfy has for a long time been the network to go to for bad films and they have a rich history of giving us some real B-movie monster stinkers—hell, these films have even become events with the yearly releases of the Sharknado films.  I never got to watch Dinoshark when it aired originally in 2010 because, despite my love of bad movies that include beastly sharks, I still don’t go out of my way to watch them—especially when they have *ugh* commercials with them.  This one has been sitting on my queue for some time (well, since 2010) and I finally got around to watching it.  Honestly, I was hoping for a little more…

Dinoshark tadpoles or...um...dinoshark sperm?


"Help!  A rubber dinoshark head has me!"
After an extremely cheap opening title sequence, we are whisked away to an Arctic glacier that, thanks to global warming (great, this is just another monster movie with a liberal agenda), is cracking apart and, with that, releasing an ancient baby shark.  A handful of years past and the creature has made its way to a tourist town in Mexico.  Once there, it wastes no time in attacking the visitors but it makes the mistake of eating the friend of Trace McGraw (Eric Balfour).  After witnessing the beast in action, Trace tries to tell people that a dinoshark is eating people but, predictably, no one believes him.  With the help of a local teacher named Carol (Iva Hasperger), Trace sets out to stop the prehistoric creature and all of its terrible special effects glory.

Of course a shot like this would be in this film.
While I wasn’t expecting a genuinely terrific monster film (let’s be honest, those are pretty rare), I was hoping for a fun bad movie and those expectations definitely were there when I saw this feature was produced by Roger Corman—the grand-daddy of B monster movies.  However, I found the film to be pretty weak and light on all the ridiculousness that makes these features so fun.

Oh Corman, your terrible movies are usually better and more entertaining than this.


Dinosharks aren't bad, the one that was frozen just so
happened to be a serial killing dinoshark.
Bad computer graphics were a guarantee going into the film and this, as well as the fact the shark and the depths of the water cannot maintain a standard size, were actually the fun parts of the film.  Laughing at these moments really ended up becoming the only decent parts of the movies because the rest of it just falls flat.  The writing was terrible (which was also expected) but it was never fun terrible.  Aside from it pretty much following your typical shark movie structure and spending most of its time just lazily wandering through this typical formula but it really gets bad when the film, right before it ends, decides that it wants to have some emotional reaction to all that is going on (something that wasn’t happening that much up to that point).  The only problem is that this is not only too little too late and doesn’t at all fit with the rest of the tone of the film but because pretty much all the characters are defined by one or two character attributes and have no real depth, this attempt at an emotional response just comes off awkward and creates for the funniest moment in the film.

Oh no you don't, movie.  You don't get to try and get all emotional at the end after
phoning it in for an hour and twenty minutes.
  
No joke, this was this guy's actual reaction when his
girlfriend was eaten by the dinoshark.
On the acting front, it was all but guaranteed that you would see some of the most bottom-of-the-barrel stuff and maybe even a has-been or D-lister.  This film gives you Eric Balfour and he’s giving the same performance he gives in literally everything I’ve seen him in—read that as a slightly douche-y, very uninteresting dude.  In this one he is a hero and he just can’t pull it off.  Nothing about him seems tough or heroic but he’s quickly overshadowed by the rest of the cast who is just doing an absolutely horrendous job.  And the bad acting is so bad that it never really achieves that perfect balance of being bad but being stupidly fun to watch.  Instead, every and all interaction in the film just feels awkward and very uncomfortable.  Acting isn’t helped at all, either, by the cringe-inducing ADR that plagues the film at every turn.

Has Balfour ever done a role without his facial hair?

I was kinda hoping for a schlocky fun-fest with Dinoshark—a film that hits all the right spaces in B-movie monster Bingo but with really bad acting, a terrible script and the very uninspired kills and weak gore, none of the fun elements that the film needed for it to be entertaining were present and it just made for a feature that is just another addition to Syfy’s long list of forgettable low budget shark movies.

Not even bad computer generated helicopters are safe from this thing!