Saturday, July 30, 2016

Rev. Ron's Realities: The Lock In (Part 2)

Hey, everybody!  It’s time for another addition of Rev. Ron’s Realities!

What is Rev. Ron’s Realities?  Well, they are short stories that dive in deeper into minor plot points or background characters that strike my fancy and that I think deserves a little more elaboration.  I’ve done it with Jurassic World and talked about the purchase of the intellectual property of it all, I followed the survival of an extra from the film San Andreas and, recently, I created a background to someone who wandered into shot in an absolutely terrible but undeniably hysterical Christian “found footage” film The Lock In.

Well, as I stated in that last one, that one actually inspired two stories and, like I promised in that one, here’s the second tale that was born from someone who just walked into the scene by accident…

The young Jesus sits outside his apartment building and stares across the street at the church.  He knows that most of the kids he goes to school with are there right now and about to be a part of the lock in.  He knows they’re going to have a blast while they eat junk food, talk about how cool Kirk Cameron is and listen to only the best that Christian rock has to offer.  But he’s not going to be there with them.  Instead, he has to be with his father, helping him with his time machine.  (Jesus’ father is obsessed with Back to the Future and is convinced he can build his own time travel device but Jesus isn’t so convinced.  After all, he’s building it out of an old refrigerator box and is trying to use old coffee grounds as a form of fuel.  He means well, Jesus tells keeps repeating to himself.)

Jesus' home across from the church.

His sister tells Jesus to "not sweat it” about not going to the lock in because she went last year and it was “totes lame.”  She said they couldn’t even get a DVD copy of Left Behind and they had to watch it on a worn-out VHS tape.  His brother told him that it’s better for him anyway because the kids there aren’t the kids he’d wanna hang out with anyway.  Jesus didn’t know about that because they seemed cool.  Of course, he admitted, one of the kids’ parents was a little weird.  He heard they were freaking out about him getting some pizza with a girl.  Plus, he thinks he heard them say some racist things once in church.

With another defeated sigh escaping his lips, Jesus hears his father call for him to get upstairs so they can work on the time machine.

After a few hours go by and it’s getting near lunchtime, Jesus’ father sends him out to take out the trash.  He looks longingly at the church and imagines the fun they are having at the lock in.  That’s when he noticed a couple of the kids and the youth pastor is outside.  Quickly tossing the garbage into the dumpster, he squints his eyes to see what they are doing.  If he didn’t know any better, he would have thought they were burning something.  He starts to wonder what they are burning when his father calls out the window for him to hurry up; he thinks he’s found a breakthrough.

Spoiler Alert:  They are burning something.

It turned out the breakthrough was Jesus’ father literally breaking through the thick cardboard of the box.  Jesus didn’t blame his father for his excitement, he is a very optimistic man and celebrated anything that got him closer to his goal; however, cutting through some thick cardboard was about all he got because he suddenly stopped and gave his son a long, studying look.

Future Time Machine!

“Jesus, my boy,” he said, “I know you want to be over at the lock in and I don’t blame you but we just don’t have the money for it.”

“I know, dad,” Jesus sadly replied.

Jesus’ father set down his tools and put his hand on his shoulder, “How about we get some pizza?”

With lunch in his belly, Jesus goes outside to toss the pizza box in the dumpster.  He glances over again at the church, his eyes a mixture of melancholy and longing.  There’s no doubt that if his family had the means he’d be at the lock in but no amount of understanding or even pizza will change the fact he really wants to be over there having fun with the kids.  With a sigh of resignation, Jesus turns around and a single faint sound stops him in his track.

Jesus stands, unmoving, straining his ears to hear.  There are cars in the distance, someone’s TV in one of the apartments, flies buzzing in the trees and even his heartbeat filling his ears but that’s not the noise he just heard.  He swore he heard someone yelling his name.  He thought he heard someone pleading for his help.

Shrugging it off, Jesus goes to the front door of the apartment complex and as he puts his hand on the door, he hears it again.  Someone is yelling for his help and that person is yelling from across the street.

It's coming from the church!

His parents instilled in him early to be a charitable but, most of all, helpful person.  He bolts through the church’s parking lot and up the service ramp towards the door.  He yanks as hard as he can on the doors but they are locked and not budging.  This was his church, he reminded himself.  He knew it backwards and forwards and knew every exit and entrance.  Running around the building he hurried to the back entrance of the building—the entrance that he often heard the one kid’s mother whisper that Jesus and his family should use.  Man, he thought, she really is racist.

For one reason or another, the backdoor was completely unlocked and Jesus threw open the doors and ran inside.  Most of the lights were off and the building was fairly dark but he could hear the anguished cries and sobbing of a man in torment up stairs.  With no hesitation, Jesus took the nearest staircase, leaping the stairs several at a time, and ran to where the noise was coming from:  The baptismal pool.

As he got close, he slowed down and walked around the corner to find a kid about his age just lying on the ground soaking wet and crying for help.  Jesus stood there for a second and realized that the kid wasn’t injured; he was just lying there, sobbing and crying out for Jesus Christ.  He wasn’t calling out for his help—not him Jesus.  He didn’t think the guy actually needed help of any kind.  Jesus thinks to himself that the kid just snuck in some booze or drugs with his buddies, got messed up and slipped into the baptismal pool and he is now, in a drunken stupor, whining about his hurt knee or something.  In fact, the youth pastor and the other kids have probably heard his whining and Jesus decides now is the time to get out of here before he gets in trouble for sneaking into the lock in.

As Jesus returns to the back hallway he can hear the faint noises of the crying kid reuniting with the rest of the kids.  He wonders to himself if he’s going to get in trouble for whatever he snuck into the lock in but his thoughts are interrupted as he gets to the door and sees a magazine sitting on the floor.  It’s a certain, special kind of magazine.  The kind of magazine his father has hidden underneath the bed.  The kind of magazine he is not supposed to see.  It’s a porno magazine.

They really snuck that in, he thought to himself.  Haven’t these kids heard of the internet?  Only old people use porno magazines anymore.  How out of touch are they?

And there ya have it!

The second Reality that was inspired by a single crew, member of the congregation or family member walking into frame during the terrible (but absolutely hysterical) Christian “found footage” horror movie about a haunted porno mag.

Keep checking in for more reviews (I churn those out a lot faster, I swear) and more of my Realities.

The Revenant

***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! Little known fact:  The bear that provided motion-capture for Red Dead Redemption was the bear in this movie.

The Revenant – 5 out of 5

The most heartbreaking thing about The Revenant is the fact it has the real potential to only be remembered as the film that finally—FINALLY—won Leo the Oscar that he should have won with literally any film he’s done in the last decade plus.  People will probably forgot the intense story, the incredible visuals and just how amazing the rest of the cast is alongside my man Leo (him and I are totes friends, I swear).  I think the only other thing they’ll remember is the bear, I guess.

Is the Academy happy?  Leo practically had to kill himself to finally get
that damn Oscar.

In the early 1820s in a region of America that will one day become known as the Dakotas and the states you only visit because you wanna see some big ass president heads, a man named Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his half-Pawnee son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) act as guides for a group of trappers lead by Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson).    After the group is attacked by some hostile natives looking for a member of their group that was kidnapped, the group suffers heavy loses and are forced to travel on foot back to their camp.  Soon after this begins, Glass is mortally wounded by a bear and becomes a burden.  One of the trappers; the antagonistic John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), believes that carrying Glass’ injured body will only slow them down and eventually tricks the group to abandon him—but not before he murders Hawk.  Now fueled with revenge the once believed to be dead Glass crawls and struggles across the wilderness in order to extract vengeance on the man that wronged him.

I'm tempted to make another Oscar joke.

The Revenant was a film I’ve been intending to see since I first heard about it because it starred Leo and I will pretty much seek anything out that this man is doing nowadays.  Add to the fact it was directed by the visionary dynamo director that gave us Birdman and I knew that I had to see the film.  I never got around to checking it out in the theaters because I’m poor and time became a factor when it finally was available to rent.  However, I’m kinda kicking myself for not jumping at the opportunity to watch it because I was absolutely blown away with the film.

I was blown away and also still harbor a massive distrust of bears.  I don't care
if they help stop forest fires they also take picnic baskets and attack
great actors!

Nearly everything about this is simply exquisite.  The story, based loosely on the events of a real trapped named Hugh Glass, was something I found myself easily investing in and the intensity that it supplied was absolutely addicting.  The performances—not just from Leo but from everyone like Hardy, Gleeson and Will Poulter and Forrest Goodluck—are absolutely incredible.  Sure, I honestly had a hard time understand what the hell Tom Hardy was saying most of the movie but his unique vocal choices help sell the film’s reality and really helped me get completely sucked into the events that were unfolding.

Is there a role that Hardy can't do?

Finally, one of the most astounding aspects of The Revenant was the visuals.  Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (who brought us the equally visual spectacle that was Birdman) not only captured the beauty of nature in this film but he caught the emotion of Hugh Glass’ journey and all the hardships the group faced.  Iñárritu made the camera dance as it circles the action in 360 degrees and puts the viewer right next to the characters.  It’s truly a wonder to see the intense action scenes play out in this format.

"Ugh, and I thought they smelled bad on the outside!"

The only downside I had for the feature is that, occasionally, the story of Hugh Glass’ journey felt a tad meandering and like it was losing focus at times.  This feeling was very rare in the film and usually only came during the moments when the adrenaline rush of the intense scenes died down but there was definitely times where I found myself wondering if certain particular moments were really that necessary to the plot and story.

Believe me, any dragging moments were incredibly rare.

Beyond a very minor complain that did absolutely nothing to destroy my enjoyment and complete awe I had of the movie, The Revenant proves to be just an absolutely amazing film.  From a technical standpoint, the film is gorgeous and amazing.  From a writing standpoint, the film is visceral and intense and, finally, from an acting standpoint the film is unparalleled.  From start to finish and top to bottom, this movie is just unreal and completely stunning.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition

***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! From now on, all conflict in films should be resolved with the characters both having mothers named "Martha" so we never know a satisfying conclusion ever again.

Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition – 3 out of 5

Despite being one of the most anticipated films of 2016, Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice was met with overwhelmingly negative reactions from the critics and the feelings among the audiences were definitively split.  I was damn excited for the film but was pretty disappointed with the final product.  As I stated in my review, I dug some elements of the film but was turned away by a story that felt bloated and messy.  Recently, the R-rated version called the Ultimate Edition was released and it promised a more cohesive story and more Martha (well, maybe not more Martha...).  So, was an extra 30 minutes worth it?

Or is it like pulling a giant ship?  Tedious and boring and probably impossible
to fix.

What does a fart sound like in that suit?
Does it echo?
To just provide a quick recap, BvS tells the story of a grumpy, aging Batman (Ben Affleck) who isn’t too happy with Superman (Henry Cavill); who recently made a mess when he made his presence known to the world.  Meanwhile, Superman isn’t too happy with Batman because he acts like judge, jury and executioner with the criminals he faces.  However, neither man fully realizes that all sides are being played by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and he’s about to unleash a monster called Doomsday on the world.  With Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) arriving on the scene and getting into their corner, can these two heroes put aside their differences and save Metropolis and Gotham City?

I'm so excited for her solo movie!

I like the kid with the glasses and who is protesting
Superman.  You can just tell his dad convinced him to vote
Trump and he probably is an Alex Jones fan. 
I was labeled a “hater” with my review for Dawn of Justice (one gentleman was even kind enough to message me and tell me to “fuck off”) all because I didn’t state that I absolutely loved the film.  I liked parts of it but wasn’t in love with it like I wanted to be.  Ben Affleck is amazing as Bruce Wayne/Batman, the Doomsday fight is incredible, even though it stops the story dead in its tracks the cameos from the Justice League members Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman are wickedly fun fan service and Gal Gadot steals the Gee-Dee show as Wonder Woman.  However, the film was bogged down by a story that felt both crowded and underdeveloped at the same time, an antagonist who had motivations that were blurry at best and pointless at worst, way too many dream sequences to the point that I thought they were going to have a scene of Batman forgetting to study for a test and fight crime naked, a severe lack of action for the first two acts, a plot that dragged too often and one of the main points of conflict solved in the most anticlimactic way imaginable.

When you have more than 3 dream sequences in a superhero film, that's probably
more than you really should have.

Honestly, the Ultimate Edition does solve some problems of this film but as you can see from my score it doesn’t help the overall product much.  The 30 extra minutes does make the story more complete but it doesn’t make it a better story.  There are times when the extra footage helps like Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) investigation of the mysterious weapons that some terrorists owned and it really strengthens Superman’s motivation to stop Batman and why he mistrusts him so much.  Unfortunately, the rest of the time this extra footage is just extended scenes that do nothing to help the convoluted story.

Nor did it get rid of the horribly uncomfortable scene of Lex feeding a Jolly
Rancher to this dude.

Finally, there’s nothing really about this film that makes it worthy of the R-rating.  The extra moments of violence are heavily edited around and, to be honest, the violence in The Dark Knight felt way more extreme and that thing got away with a PG-13.  So, it’s very apparent that this was just some executive saying, “Hey, Deadpool made a lot of money and it didn’t do it because it was a quality, entertaining product.  It did it because it was R-rated and we should do that to make more money with our movie!”

"Hmmm, a strange object that could threaten my undersea world.  Better let it
get a perfect shot of me before I destroy it and flee."

There are definitely elements to Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition that make the overwhelming 3 hour running length worth it but, to be honest, it’s only a small percent and not enough to really improve the overall product.