Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kick-Ass 2

***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, 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! Why wasn't Phoenix Jones given a cameo in this movie?

Kick-Ass 2 – 4 out of 5

Okay, so I really enjoyed the first Kick-Ass film and I’m a fan of the comic book. I was more than excited when they decided to adapt the comic’s sequel and the Hit-Girl book into a follow-up to the film and that excitement only reached critical mass levels when I went to San Diego Comic-Con this year and got to meet the comic creators Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. and the director of this film Jeff Wadlow. I even have an autographed poster of the movie from them hanging proudly on my wall.'s not on the wall here but...

I didn’t get to see the film in the theaters (because seeing movies in theaters gets fucking expensive) and a large portion of the movie discussion group I belong to on Facebook all gave the film a raspberry-enhanced thumbs down. Recently I got to see this and, while I was still anticipating something as racy and fun as the first film, I was trying to set myself up for heartbreak. But, as you can tell from the score, no heartbreak found me.

Or, thankfully, Hit-Girl's left hook.

After the events of Kick-Ass, Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz) have given up being superheroes and hung up their Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl costumes. Meanwhile, new heroes, inspired by their actions, have started to spring up. Eventually, the lure of costume crusading becomes too much and Dave puts on the costume again and joins a team started by a man calling himself Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) called Justice Forever. The team; consisting of Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison), a husband and wife team inspired to take up vigilantism after their son went missing, Insect Man and Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), sets out to do the community good with community service and shutting down criminal organizations…but yet, Mindy stays steadfast in her attempt at leading a normal life and refuses to become Hit-Girl again. 

Now...imagine Hit-Girl in the role of Carrie in the remake of Carrie...

However, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is still a little sore with Kick-Ass—what with the whole “killing your father with a bazooka” thing—and is looking for a measure of revenge. He quickly adopts a new, dominatrix-based look and takes up the name The Motherfucker and quickly puts together a team of super-villains and sets out to kill Kick-Ass. He quickly gathers his forces—The Tumor (Andy Nyman), Genghis Carnage (Tom Wu), Black Death (Daniel Kaluuya) and the imposing Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina)—and they set to work on destroying everyone in Kick-Ass’s life. Now Kick-Ass must muster his forces and enter the war that The Motherfucker has started but will Hit-Girl be there to back him up?

"He's still mad at me for killing his dad?!?  Let it go, bro!"

I really enjoyed this one just as much as I enjoyed the first one. The movie is vulgar, ultra-hip and super-cool, funny, über-violent and just as amazingly entertaining as the comics are. The spirit of the pages and the spirit that was established in the first film is still here even though the shock of hearing a little girl use swear words like “cunt” and other colorful swears is no longer here thanks to Moretz growing up and the film did get super dark during the film’s second act but, this aside, I had just as much fun watching this follow up as I did when I saw the first movie.

The guy-liner is essential for a modern day villain.

Justice Forever really like DX apparently.
The film, of course, gained some controversy when Jim Carrey decided to not endorse it because the violence within it and the recent Sandy Hook shootings. While I am a big fan of Jim Carrey and think he’s an extremely funny and talented man—he was also really great in the film as Colonel Stars and Stripes—I couldn’t help but think the man was being a little foolish (if he was still with Jenny McCarty I would have thought she pushed him to do it). I’m sure he read the script and understood the film is intended to be extremely violent to the point it becomes near-obvious satire but he just suddenly had a change of heart because of Sandy Hook? Or was he trying to distance himself from a project he predicted was going to fail because of the tragedy since it has happened in the past with 9/11 and Columbine having a negative impact on the Box Office for Donnie Darko and The Boondock Saints respectively? Or maybe he just really and honestly had a change of heart. Either way, I still found Carrey’s performance very entertaining in the film but I don’t agree with Carrey’s condemning of the movie (mostly because it felt like, at least to me, a publicity stunt by the guy).

His desire to not create any attention for the film just created more attention.
Nice job, Carrey.

The violence in the film is intense and brutal. It’s not for the faint of heart. However, that’s the point. Like I already stated, the violence already feels like satire as it is insanely over-the-top. There’s tons of blood and brutality but it’s presented like a cartoon or…a comic book (see what I did there?). Carrey felt the film was too violent but has he read the comics? The violence thrown into those pages will make a crowd of over-protective mothers simultaneously have their faces melted off like they looked into the Ark of the Covenant if they made a 100%, panel-for-panel adaptation.

Some people dress like this without plans of revenge killings.

The violence is part of the entertainment of the film. It’s often shocking, sometimes fun and, occasionally humorous. The violence fits with the universe of Kick-Ass and director Jeff Wadlow really knew how to take what was on the pages and bring it to the screen in a way that was still as horrifying to see in the comics but not to the point that everyone and their grandmothers would be joining Carrey in his damning of the film.

"Behold, pigs, gaze upon the crotch of your destruction!"

Like the first time around, I thought this movie was very funny and the performances were fantastic. It was nice to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson grow a little more as an actor and see his character have some growth because, let’s face it, Moretz stole the first movie. Not to mention that the rest of the cast is just fantastic. Everyone from Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity to John Leguizamo as The Motherfucker’s bodyguard to every member of Justice Forever and The Motherfucker’s gang. Granted, many of the characters in these two gangs are not developed really well but, at the end of it all, the story was really about Kick-Ass and The Motherfucker’s rivalry and Hit-Girl trying to be a normal kid.

John Leguizamo's short performance almost made up for
the Super Mario Bros. movie, The Happening and pretty much most of his career.

Are those things real?
One thing that I was really taken back by was how dark the story got in the 2nd act. Once The Motherfucker learns Kick-Ass’s identity and sets out to make him pay, the film hits a stride where everything is crumpling around the character and all the funny and fist-pumpingly awesome moments were replaced by very disturbing violence that was no longer fun, outrageous stuff (however, once again, the comic is even more disturbing; it's just hard to see it adapted to the screen). But, this didn’t ruin the film for me. It was just classic superhero/comic book stuff where the hero loses everything and is forced to become more than what he once was. I’ve seen it a million times in fantasies and stories and it keeps working for me every single time.

"We're here to chew bubble gum and kick ass...we still have some bubble gum
if anyone wants any..."

Kick-Ass 2 proved to be a great follow-up and a great adaptation of the comics for me. I was entertained the entire way through with its great action sequences, ridiculous violence, offensive humor, fun antics and great characters. My only real complaint was that Evan Peters wasn’t able to reprise his role from the first movie and it would have been just a great geek moment for me to get to see the man who is playing Quicksilver in the new X-men movie share a film with the man playing Quicksilver in Avengers 2…and that’s barely a complaint. It’s just something cool I would have liked to see.

The Lone Ranger

***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, 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! Hi-Ho, Silver...Let's go!  (That's what he says, right?)

The Lone Ranger – 3 out of 5

I like The Lone Ranger but have you heard of The Lone Rangers? They’re awesome!

Hmmm, never realized The Lone Ranger was so young.

Okay, the dude on the right is the creepy uncle that is no
longer allowed at family get togethers.
During a time when the West was wild, a young, and hungry for justice, lawyer; John Reid (Armie Hammer—Arm and Hammer? Army Hammer?) joins his badass, gun-slinging brother in a posse to take down the notorious and vile villain Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). However, a traitor in their midst causes the posse to be gunned down and only John clings to life. A wandering Comanche Native American named Tonto (Johnny Depp)—who has also been hunting Butch because he believes him to be a wicked spirit—nurses Reid back to life and points him in the direction of extracting vengeance upon Cavendish for the death of his brother. Donning a mask, Reid becomes The Lone Ranger and he and Tonto set off to bring justice to the Wild West. However, they soon learn that their target has ties to a powerful railroad tycoon.

Spoiler Alert:  The railroad tycoon is the umbrella.  It's a strange movie.

The critics and audiences haven’t been too kind with this one but I was pretty sold on it when I saw the first trailer. I really enjoy director Gore Verbinski’s work and have found the man can really make movies that are action packed, filled with colorful characters and have just the right amount of humor that keeps everything light and fun. In all honesty, despite some minor issues I had with The Lone Ranger, I have to go against the grain and disagree with the popular vote because I found the movie to be pretty enjoyable to sit through.

Pictured:  Me trying to escape after admitting that I disagree with the masses of the internet

The only problems I had with the film comes from the fact it does feel a little longer than it should have been, so there are parts where the story tended to drag and there’s even a part of the film where it feels it should be wrapping up but it suddenly goes on a little longer. However, each time it started to drag, a really great action sequence or some funny moments between Tonto and Reid would start and the dip in pace no longer becomes an issue and only seems like a minor inconvenience.

Another Spoiler Alert:  His teeth stayed white the entire film.

When I wear a mask, I'm called a burglar.  When he wears a
mask, he's called a hero.  It doesn't matter that I was caught
breaking and entering, my point is still valid.
While the man eventually gets to really embody the man in the mask, I wasn’t completely sold on Hammer as The Lone Ranger for much of the film. I understand the film is the origin story of the fabled hero but for much of the movie, The Ranger came off as a bumbling fool who couldn’t tie his shoes if given a week of study and prep time to do so. Eventually, he becomes the badass gunman that has been established on television and radio but the change he goes through felt way too sudden and the development of him to that point felt sloppy. He’s pretty much pathetic for much of the film and then the third act hits and *BAM!* he’s a hero. While it’s distracting, Hammer is still very funny and amusing to watch as the growing hero and then is very cool as the epic cowboy, the only problem I had was how the story made the very abrupt jump from one to the next. However, if there’s a sequel (which I really hope there will be), Hammer is already prepared to be the legend.

Legends often ride their horses through trains.

Tonto is literally staring through your computer screens right now
and into your homes.
Finally, I don’t know if it’s racist or not to have Depp (is he still pretending to be British?) as a Native American but he was definitely entertaining as the eccentric Tonto. Depp is known for playing wildly eccentric characters and, sometimes, he can be fantastic in those roles and sometimes I find myself saying, “Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to see if he can just play a regular guy and find out if he can do it?” Tonto was one of those roles where Depp was more than just acting strange in make-up; he really owned the role and made him a very comic, cartoon-like sidekick—even though it’s unfair to call him a sidekick. I can’t say Depp stole the movie because there’s no denying, despite the title of the film, this movie was more about Tonto than anything else. Most scenes focus on him and he’s even the one who is telling the story as the film is told by an elderly Tonto regaling a young boy about the rise of The Lone Ranger.

Depp, shown here sharing a scene with another actress who is known for playing
eccentric characters.  That's right, Helena Bonham Carter played the horse.
(Bet you thought I was going to go for a Sarah Jessica Parker joke.)

I won’t deny that the film had some issues but none of them were successful in throwing me out of the film like how I get thrown out of the farmer’s market last week after diving into the broccoli stand and loudly proclaiming that I am the Broccoli King. Everything else about the film is amazing. Hammer and Depp make a very unique team on the screen and really had great chemistry together, while William Fichtner, an actor I am already a big fan of, is great as Butch Cavendish and he just looks all kinds of gross and terrifying in his make-up.

Butch's face killed more people than his gun.

Another Spoiler Alert:  They get decapitated at one point.
Finally, the film has a perfect blend of very funny moments and some very awesome action. Hell, my complaint about the story dragging instantly became null and void the moment the final action scene takes place. The very exciting train sequence looks flashy and cool, and is just wildly over-the-top fun and action-packed. The Lone Ranger may not be a perfect adaptation of the classic tale but it was a pleasantly surprising and fun popcorn action movie that appealed to the part of me that just craves slick action.

Everyone looks cool when they're on a horse and it does this.

Fast & Furious 6

***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, 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! This shit keeps getting faster and even more furious-er.

Fast & Furious 6 – 4 out of 5

I’m about to get real (that’s what the kids say, right?). Time for total honesty here…this review might be a little bias. No, I didn’t work on the film and, despite how our body builds are are so similar, The Rock is not my brother. Nope, I’m going to be bias because The Fast and the Furious films are guilty pleasures of mine. No matter how stupid they get or how many annoying characters they add (looking at you, Tyrese), no matter how ridiculous the car chases become or how many implied deaths occurred to innocent bystanders during the reckless racing and crime capering (seriously, at least 200 innocent people died while dragging the safe in Fast Five), these films entertain the hell out of me (even if, sometimes, it's just average or mildly entertaining) because they are unbridled testosterone in movie form. The cars are fast, the action is satisfying and there’s always hot girls only a scene away.

It's pretty much legally required in these movies at this point.

After the events in Fast Five, the gang has retired to the sweet life of doing nothing but working on cars and working on the ladies. However, DSS agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has uncovered a dangerous gang hitting military convoys and he asks for the help of Dom (Vin Diesel); the deal is sweetened with a full pardon if the crew helps him take down the nefarious Shaw (Luke Evans). With a chance for a normal life in their sights, Dom agrees and he, along with his crew; Brian (Paul Walker), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot), Tej (Ludacris), along with Hobbs and his partner Riley (Gina Carano), get in some supped up cars and get ready to deal out justice a quarter mile at a time. However, the crew soon learns that one who was once believed dead, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), is still alive and working with Shaw.

**Warning: This review may contain some spoilers and objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear.**

Like I stated before, I don’t care how many sequels they make to this franchise, I don’t care how incredibly stupid they become or how impossibly over-the-top they get, these movies are just stupid fun (except 2 Fast 2 Furious, I didn’t care for that one…too much Walker and way too much of Tyrese trying to be funny). Since the series has now officially moved its way away from street racing and moved into more crime capers and crime fighting, the series has been able to make itself self-sustaining. You still get the muscles cars, the drifting and the speed but now you get something a little more and something that can have life beyond someone having to race for pink slips in order to “fill-in-the-blank” (something like, I don’t know, save someone or make enough money to save someone or stop a crime organization that loves street racing and, in doing so, will save someone).

Or maybe they're just racing fast because they really need to get to a bathroom...
it would explain the face.

Fast & Furious 6 gets really out there to the point that the production clearly said, “Fuck it” to things like physics and the amount of punishment the human body can take before it loudly proclaims it is dead but that’s one of the things I love about the movie. It’s so unapologetic with its ridiculousness. For example, in the film’s climax, Dom somehow is able to blast a car through the front end of a plane as it is exploding in a fireball that would make Michael Bay pass out from the total blood-loss of an erection it would give him or how about the scene where the bad guy gets launched through the front windshield of a car when it is rolling in neutral and hits a barricade going exactly two miles an hour?  Not to mention the climax of the film is a chase involving cars and a cargo plane on what has to be the world's longest runway.  Then there’s the untold, numerous deaths that occur when Shaw successfully steals a tank and goes on a GTA-style rampage down the highway, squishing dozens of cars (and their drivers) beneath the treads while Dom, Brian and the gang race like madmen to stop him using the power of fast cars and looks that are either determination or constipation. 

Seriously, a lot of innocent people died during this rampage but, it's okay, Letty lived.

There’s even a sequence in this chase where Letty is thrown from the tank and Dom launches himself out of his own car (through the totally feasible method of jumping while crashing the car into a guardrail), proceeds to catch the character-less character in midair and then uses the cushioned surface of another car for a safe, totally non-spinal injury landing.

"I didn't really think this through!"

That shit is insane and just stupid…but, goddamn it, it’s fun to watch. I don’t watch the Fast films for realism or even character, story or drama—no, I watch it to see explosions, cars zooming around like a video game and hot girls who wouldn’t look twice at me. I don’t even know anything about cars (or women for that matter). Hell, you can’t convince me that the gas I put in my vehicle to make it run isn’t some potion created by a wizard and I only learned a few years ago that horse power doesn’t actually mean I have tiny horses in my engine. I’m not a car guy but I do know that listening to the roar of a shifting engine and watching colorful hunks of steel fly by in a blur is simplistic, primitive entertainment and it works for me.

I'm sure Paul Walker's car runs because of his piercing blue eyes.

I won’t sugarcoat it, rarely does this series have a story that isn’t cheesy…and this one is no change. When you really look at it, it’s absolutely fucking ridiculous that a crime kingpin who targets military hardware would use a team of excellent drivers to start a criminal empire (and, strangely, Shaw’s team all come off like the “evil twin in a parallel universe” to Dom and his crew) or that it is totally batshit, underwear-on-your-head-like-a-hat insane that a law enforcement agent would gather a team of lawbreakers who are super good at driving to help him catch the guy. It’s laugh-out-loud silly but it works for the Fast and Furious universe and it works for Furious 6.

You know he's evil because of the lighting.  He has evil lighting.

Look at their excitement for this adventure.
All the characters in the film are generic gear heads who have no other interests in life beyond racing (hell, I’m pretty sure that actually hate the physical act of eating and using the bathroom because it doesn’t involve racing) but these one-dimensional characters work for the one-dimensional popcorn action films that are the Fast and the Furious films. Sure, a lot of them are annoying (like Tyrese—his character is clearly the friend in the group who thinks he’s funny but is only getting laughs because the rest of the group find it hilarious that he actually THINKS he’s funny) and a lot of them are really poorly acted (like Ludacris and the “I’ll be typecast till the day I die” Michelle Rodriguez) but, like all elements in the film, it works for the product they are creating.

And it keeps Vin Diesel out of comedies, so that's a plus.

However, I have to say that The Rock is genuinely entertaining as Hobbs and bringing him into the franchise was a fantastic idea…even if it means making Vin Diesel look like a munchkin when the two men are in a scene together.

It strange how so many people confuse The Rock and I.

The only real complaint that I have for the film was the inclusion of Gina Carano in the cast. The fitness model/MMA fighter quickly gained the love of the internet because she’s tough and easy on the eyes, so, of course, someone who was either trying to sleep with her or was too scare of her and her possible wrath, decided that she should take up acting but the sad reality (a reality that some who are either too attracted to her or in great fear of her to reveal to the woman) is that she can’t act to save her fucking life.  

This is, literally, the most acting Carano gives the entire movie.

Haywire was quick to prove that, despite the fact she can probably break a person’s spine in a matter of seconds, it can’t help her actually create some realism when playing a fictional character or make her bland portrayals sound less robot-like in her monotone, emotionally empty delivery. Shit, Haywire made me believe that the only reason she is tough is because she has a robot exoskeleton underneath some very convincing synthetic flesh and the programmers just forgot to give her human emotions. 

Someone also forgot to include the part of her body armor that covers up her cleavage.

Her lifeless performance is apparent in every second of every scene she’s in (despite her being involved in some great action scenes but even then you can feel the humdrum, flavorless performance playing around). When she is not speaking in monosyllabic replies to the other characters in a way that only her lack of acting talent can justifiably call dialogue, she looks like a deer in headlights with no clue what she should be doing in any scene she’s in. There are extras in this film (and, really, ALL films) that give off far superior performances than Carano just standing lifeless next to her costars. Her presence was a really bad decision…however, the piss poor choice of including her only makes the piss poor choice of bringing Letty back from the dead look like a move of brilliance by comparison.

Seriously, the best part of this franchise was eliminating her from the series.
Why ruin it?

Besides a kinda/sort of good looking MMA fighter that can’t act being included in the film, Fast & Furious 6 is a fun, action-packed movie. It is just another brick in a franchise that will remain a guilty pleasure of mine. Not to mention, the film finally gets the timeline all zipped up as it sees Han (who dies in the third film, by the way…which, of course, means 4, 5 and this one take place BEFORE Tokyo Drift) lose his reason for being with the group and heads to Tokyo to meet his ultimate demise that we witnessed in the films’ third installment. While I’m not a fan of the man, it is cool to see Jason Statham be the one who removes Han from this mortal coil (even thought I really liked the character of Han and didn't want to see him go...of course, they DID bring Letty back, so...) and his arrival is just more star power from an incredibly generic action star to add to a franchise that is pretty generic to begin with…but it’s still fucking awesome and fun as shit to sit through.

Alright, just what the franchise needs...another bald actor with a distinct voice.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

***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, 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! If only the ancient Greeks were around now to see how their gods are treated in our world of fiction.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – 3 out of 5

I really enjoyed the first Percy Jackson film and was pretty excited that a sequel was finally produced. Is it as fun as the first movie? Does this outfit make me look fat? Does it look like it’s going to rain?

Another question:  Is Ron Perlman doing the voice of this Cyclops?
Actually, yes...yes, he did.

After stopping the lightning thief in the first film, Percy (Logan Lerman) is starting to feel like maybe he isn’t the strong half-blood demigod that he is destined to be. Things only get worse when it is revealed that his father; the God Poseidon, had another child…only instead of a mortal woman, he got his freak on with a Cyclops. However, before Percy can process that he has a half-brother with one eye, the camp where the children of the ancient gods live in comes under attack and the ancient tree that provides the barrier that protects them is destroyed. Now Percy must team with his friends; the satyr, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), his Cyclops half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), and the daughter of Athena, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), in order to go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece—an ancient object that can heal the tree and restore the barrier. However, along the way, Percy runs into the son of Hermes, Luke (Jake Abel), and learns that he is trying to claim the Fleece for himself in order to restore the father of the gods, Kronos, and have him extract his revenge on his children and destroy Mount Olympus.

Wait a minute...didn't I see this guy in another movie?  One where he
a little more anatomically correct?

**Warning: This review may contain some mild spoilers and contents are under pressure**

Going back to the questions I asked in the first paragraph: Yes, I thought vertical lines were slimming and it looks cloudy but maybe we should take an umbrell. Yes, I thought this one was fun like the first film. Did I enjoy it as much as the first one? Um, I’ll answer that later.

I'll answer that after you look at this steampunk bull.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the first movie was the concept of taking the old myths and incorporating them into modern society. I found it interesting and fun to see that the old gods were still around and still getting into wild shenanigans by having demigod children and those kids all gather at a summer camp to learn their powers. The film also had some great action sequences, a great cast and awesome special effects. For the most part, this sequel has all that but still feels like it’s missing something.

Missing something like a satyr who is clearly shitting his pants.
Wait, satyrs don't wear pants...gross.

Just as good as Brosnan...I guess.
The established universe is still here for Sea of Monsters but the cast doesn’t feel like it has the star power of the first film. The first time around, we had Sean Bean as Zeus, Kevin McKidd as Poseidon, Ray Winston as Ares, Steve Coogan as Hades and, not to mention, Uma Thurman, Catherine Keener and Joe Pantliano. The previous film also had Pierce Brosnan as a Centaur but he didn’t return and now we have Anthony Head taking over his role of Chiron and Nathan Fillion taking over for Dylan Neal as Hermes (actually, that last bit was a change for the better because Fillion’s role steals the movie). The only real star power this sequel has is Stanley Tucci as the god of wine making at Camp Half-Blood.

There isn't a script in the world Tucci will pass up.

Just stare at this picture and try not to laugh.
While it’s a downer that there’s no real big names, the kids involved are doing their jobs decently—albeit, ONLY decently. Brandon T. Jackson is still fantastic as Grover but the film desperately needed more of him because he was eliminated from a large part of the quest and it robbed the film of much needed talent. Logan Lerman looks like he no longer cares about the character of Percy Jackson and is giving only a minimum amount of effort in his scenes and that effort is mirrored and almost lessened to a degree by Alexandra Daddario. Additionally, Douglas Smith isn’t bringing that much to his role as Tyson. Finally, Jake Abel, while a decent antagonist in the previous film, didn’t really have much of a presence in this one; both in the script and in his acting.

Seriously, his part made the film.

Even the special effects feel watered down when compared to the previous film. While some shots look incredible and really help sell this fantasy world…
Yes, this looks awesome!

…other times the special effects look questionable. For example, Tyson’s one eye looks really bad and, thankfully, the production decided to try and save money by working around it by providing sunglasses to cover that shit up or pulling a plot device out of their bag of tricks with a ancient relic that makes Tyson look like an average, two-eyed human.

This effect...not so much.

However, despite all the downfalls this follow-up had, the movie still has some fun action and the story is quirky and enjoyable. Overall however, as fun as Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is, the film ultimately feels like a Direct-to-DVD sequel and isn't offering up the special effects bonanza that it should be and not nearly as entertaining as the first film.

Friday, November 22, 2013


***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, 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! If you watch this movie on an Apple device, the fabric of reality rips open.

Jobs – 3 out of 5

I’m not an Apple fanboy. I own an iPod and I’m pleased with it but I feel no desire to own an iPad, iPhone or any other “i” product that Apple has out there. However, I have nothing against the insane masses that worship Steve Jobs’ company. Whatever makes those weird hipster fucks happy.

Jobs is a biopic that follows that story of one of America’s most ambitious (and, maybe, the biggest dick) businessmen to exist. The film follows Steve Jobs’ (Ashton Kutcher) life from 1971 when he was doing drugs and “totally finding himself, man” in college to 2000 where he made Apple one of the biggest companies in the world by striking the fear of god in the people who worked for him and instilling a cult following with consumers to the point they will wait days in line for a phone that is only slightly different than the last one they released.

"We love you like a god!"
"Please don't fire us!"

I never knew the man personally, so I have no idea how much of this Steve Jobs story is accurate (according to Steve Wozniak, not much of it is) but I was impressed that the film didn’t shy away from the man’s reputation of being a complete narcissistic asshole. He is the man who reportedly would fire employees just because he didn’t like the color tie they were wearing (actually, I made that up.  He usually fired people in the elevator if he didn't like their pitch but I wouldn't be surprised if he hated certain ties). Going into the film, I really suspected it was going to be a really bias piece of work that showed Jobs as, basically, a tech Jesus who created a religion with fedora wearing followers but was surprised that they didn’t sugarcoat that the man was an unlovable dick who would take advantage of his best friends, kick his girlfriend out of his life because she was pregnant with his baby and just be a disrespectful turd to the people who were creating his products while all he did was wax poetically about how they need to “think outside the box” and “push the paradigm” and a whole bunch of other buzzwords that people who wanna seem smart say in order to get rich off the hard work of others. 

"Stop calling me crazy guys.  I'm telling you, one day I'm going to be called a genius and
all I have to do is release a yearly product that is only improved in slight, almost non-existent ways..."

I’m not trying to sell the man short and say that he was just a charlatan but the film doesn’t reflect the man’s drive very well. Early on when the company was just operating out of a garage, you see a man who is driven to succeed and when he’s making deals to get his product out there, you see a guy who wants to truly change the world but then…that’s it. The rest of the film doesn’t hold the balance to show a man who is both driven and ambitious and slightly underhanded. After a certain point, I didn’t see Jobs as a man who was too self-absorbed to realize he was leaving a wake of bodies behind him in his drive to be the best, I just saw a guy who was being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole. And I think that has less to do with the script and more to do with Kutcher’s performance.

So, I'm assuming that Jobs always looked like an evil Bond villain?

I’m not a fan of Ashton Kutcher; I don’t think he can act, I don’t find him amusing or entertaining and I have never found him to have any range. While seeing him as, arguably, one of the most famous businessmen to ever exist was probably the best performance I’ve ever seen from him, I still didn’t see him doing much to stand out. Sure, he got Jobs’ posture and mannerisms down incredibly but whenever he was on-screen, I saw the same asshole that annoyed me in the trucker hat on that awfully unfunny MTV prank show.

Jobs?  Or Kelso? 

Biopic’s are really tricky because you always get actors you know well from other projects  playing real life characters that you’re brain recognizes in a very familiar way. The wrong casting choice and you’re brain says, “Hey, he doesn’t look or act at all like the guy I’ve seen on the news. What the hell, man?” and you instantly can’t engage yourself in the story. This was my biggest problem with Jobs. Ashton just didn’t look like Steve Jobs…he looked like Ashton Kutcher.

Okay, here he looks like Jobs.

When the film begins, we see an old Steve Jobs before it jumps back to the 70s where we see a bearded Steve Jobs dropping out of college. In both instances, Kutcher looked like he had the potential to be the Apple man because he wasn’t looking like the actor but rather like the part he was playing. However, once the beard was trimmed, he was Ashton. No make-up was done to try and mimic Jobs’ face on Kutcher and the hair he was sporting was no different than I’ve seen Kutcher sport since his days on That 70s Show. For a majority of the movie, despite the fact he walked like the man, he wasn’t Steve Jobs. He was just Ashton Kutcher living Steve Jobs’ life. It was very distracting and it didn’t help that a lot of Kutcher’s performance was flat and boring. However, I was very impressed with Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak. Not only did they make him look like the Apple co-founder, Gad's performance was just terrific.

I assume Wozniak is explaining that aliens is how the PC works.

I try to take biopics with a grain of salt because the events I’m seeing are only the perspective of some of the players involved and, most of the time, are not from the perspective of the person who actually lived them. I don’t look at the films like they are history lessons (if I did, I wouldn’t have found Argo entertaining) but rather I just look at them from a movie perspective and if they are entertaining and engaging. Jobs wasn’t spectacular and tended to be a little messy as it jumped from point-to-point in Steve Jobs’ life. There wasn’t much character development and we don’t really see Jobs grow as a person; we just see the movie jump to a new scene where all the needed development of the man is conveniently there when the scene arrives. However, I admire what the film was trying to accomplish, I admire that they weren’t trying to make Steve look like a saint and the film has a fantastic soundtrack.

The reality is, Jobs could have been a truly fantastic biopic but with a lead who I just wasn’t sold on or could believe to be the Apple guru and a tale that spends a lot of time jumping around, the movie looks more like a cheap, unofficial biopic that was made-for-TV rather than a big budget film.