Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Fate of the Furious

It’s amazing to me that I’m alive to even write this review today! Now I know that I have said this essentially every year I have been alive on this Earth but after my latest trip to Los Angeles, it really is true this time. And no I’m not saying it simply because I just celebrated my 87 th birthday; I’m saying it because I’m a black man (who happened to be wearing all black at the time) who was walking down the streets of East L.A. at 2 in the morning with an open container and a stoned 24 year old white girl. Both cholos and the L.A.P.D. passed us with regularity and neither of them batted an eye. Was it the fact that they couldn’t see me due to my natural camouflage or was it due to the fact that the cops didn’t want any more bad press after the recent revival of the O.J. Simpson story?

For some reason, the girl couldn’t understand why I was so nervous. Had she never seen the movie Colors before? Did she know that O.J. Simpson was actually an acquitted murderer and not the name of a different flavored codeine drink? Well either way, two things popped in my mind after we spent 20 minutes talking about the upcoming release of Boss Baby and how awesome it was going to be: 1. Why am I not married to this girl? And 2. If I survived this experience, why would I not go out and pursue my dream? I mean, if car racing truck jackers from the hood can now take on Russian mercenaries and secret government agencies that have military grade weapons, why can’t I be a successful screenwriter in Hollywood?

And speaking of The Fate of My Lost Money, I can’t believe that this franchise has blown up the way that it has. There’s no way in hell that you can tell me that after you saw that first trailer of Vin Diesel spewing off such terrible lines like "I live my life one quarter mile at a time" that you said to yourself, "Now that’s a billion dollar franchise!" The first Fast and the Furious looked like the prequel to Grand Theft Auto. They had to have blown their entire budget on casting Vin Diesel and renting out his expensive muscle car. But now these films get as much attention as the new season of Game of Thrones does. And to make matters worse, I am 100% certain that 70% of the actors in these films wouldn’t even be able to find work today if it weren’t for dummies like me supporting these films. Oh and by the way, 25% of that working 30 is made up of Game of Thrones actors who were just looking for something to do in the offseason. So once that series goes away, there’s going to be a lot of out of work actors in La La Land.

I must admit that there was a time that I got pumped up to see these films. I even spent an hour in a bar one night debating with a complete stranger over which movie was better; F&F 5 or Tokyo Drift. Oh, and the answer is clearly Drift by the way. When you somehow get a 5’1" Texas scrub to take on and defeat the entire Yakuza with a street race; there’s simply no topping that.

But anyway, in Fate, Vin Diesel is somehow convinced by the nefarious Charlize Theron to turn his back on his family and to help her steal a giant EMP and codes to nuclear warheads. Now, no one in his posse believes what they are seeing, so they team together to bring him back alive to not only stop him from completing his evil mission but to also get to the bottom of his unfathomable betrayal. And along the way, they are forced to once again team up with the covert government operative Kurt Russell, the gung-ho bounty hunter of sorts in The Rock, and most surprisingly, the guy who spent his entire time trying to kill them in all of F&F 6, Jason Statham. Now what’s really shocking about that last part is, this is the same guy who killed their dear friend Han at the end of F&F 5; and no one even says a word about it throughout this entire film. They complained for about 15 seconds and then collectively shrugged their shoulders and said "F it!" How in the world is this possible?!?! Are they upset because Han got to bang the ultra hot Gal Gadot and they didn’t? And is the fact that they no longer mention her character a clear sign of jealousy that she’s now the new Wonder Woman and they’re stuck with an aging Ludacris? Speaking of, when did Luda become so uncool? I used to love his Word of Mouf and Chicken-n-Beer albums but now he’s just a sad, short scrub who spits out terrible one liners and computer jargon that he has absolutely no clue is real or not.

This film is unbelievably stupid in almost every way; and while my idiot friend did bring up the fact that they have all been super cheesy, this one unfortunately no longer tows the line between being fun and being hammy. Now I will admit that there are some pretty badass action set pieces which include remote controlled cars falling from the sky and of course Lamborghinis on ice fighting submarines but overall, this was just way too much. The film was basically XXX 3 with a bigger budget. Now do I suggest that you go see it? Hell yes you should see this film! But just know going in that it’s not any good and it’s because of this simple fact that it gets a rating of pretty WEAK. Oh, and just know, If I’m gonna clown a billion dollar franchise ima make it look seeeexy! That’s for all you Kendrick fans out there. I’m out!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

SXSW 2017 Music Preview

For those of you who actually follow this blog, you know that I typically start posting previews for SXSW at least one month in advance; and that’s typically because there are so many bands that I’m excited about that there is no way I could possibly preview them all in one article. Well let’s just say that I’m happy I didn’t go into debt this year by purchasing a badge as I had to dig super deep just to find some quality acts that were coming to town this March. Now don’t get me wrong, I did eventually find some artists I’m excited about but for the most part this year’s fest feels like it’s a redemption tour for quite a few scrubs out there. I see so many bands like Sleigh Bells and Electric Guest who initially started their careers off on fire but one day went to Marfa, did way too many drugs, and decided to make a Yaz record for their follow up album (and yes I realize how esoteric of a joke that was but I really don’t give a damn). And in making that terrible follow up, they fell off the map a bit and are now trying to recreate some buzz around their name.

So needless to say, I will be splitting my time between seeing the new up and coming acts that are out there and checking out the "veterans" that are still in the game. And of the latter group, I’m most excited to see the former Walkmen crooner Hamilton Leithauser, Sohn, Denzel Curry, Broncho, Temples, and of course Le Butcherettes. The last of which, I’m hoping throws yet another shoe at my head.

But that’s not why you’re here, you’re here to see what’s the new hotness in rock n roll these days and it took me some time but I now realize that those words are now a relative term for today’s youth. I view rock n roll very much the way Sam’s grandparents did in Sixteen Candles. After hearing her scream when she was exposed to Long Duc Dong for the first time, they rolled their eyes and said to each other "Those damn kids and their rock n roll music! Well I’m afraid it’s here to stay!" And you know what? You’re damn right! Rock n Roll should be loud with high pitched screaming attached to it but Sleigh Bells misinterpreted that and just started screaming; they forgot about the music piece of it. But having said that, here’s the best of what’s to come.


HIP HOP
LIZZO – she’s the next coming of Missy Elliott as she’s big boned and proud of it. She sings about feeling herself (not literally) as she looks in the mirror and slaps her own ass for being thick (okay so maybe literally) and she drops rhymes about wearing so much Prada that she’s a Prada G, get it? Her beats are dope and so is her wacky style as she drops a Missy Elliott "Oooh" every now and then just to keep it fresh.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjILCNcHevY

THEY. – I know that They. have been around for a while but they have yet to reach their full potential to this point of their careers. This duo from L.A. was originally put on the map with the song they did with Skrillex called Working On It and they eventually followed that up with a hot EP got Nu Religion. Well now it seems as though they are finally ready to bring off-kilter style to the world with the full length version of Nu Religion. I suggest that you get in on these guys before they turn into R, Kelly and start peeing on people.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiKqvfT3i68

HONORABLE MENTION – PORTER RAY – he’s been described as the "Prince of Seattle hip hop" but since Macklemore is considered to be the king, that’s not saying much. I do like his song Wet Dreams though as he definitely has potential to get better.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUgzjV55MI0

RnB

 
BIBI BOURELLY – I know that every girl out there is going to lose their collective minds over this next statement but Bibi has the feel of becoming the next Queen Bey or Rihanna (hopefully without the herpes and the penchant for cheating). Now clearly she doesn’t have the vocal range of the two mentioned but she certainly has the attitude, the presence, and the street wise lyrics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnugCpTmJE8

KHALID – I don’t quite understand the buzz around this kid but you can just chalk that up to me being old. He sounds like the black Bruce Springsteen on his signature hit American Teen; and trust me when I say that’s not a good thing. Thankfully his other songs aren’t nearly cheesy and they definitely show his potential; it’s just that he’s missing the "soul" piece that you normally get in RnB.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by3yRdlQvzs

BILAL – he’s an uglier version of D’Angelo with his dreads or as Eddie Murphy called them in The Nutty Professor "Damn Reggie (Dave Chappelle) I’ve heard of dreadlocks but shit locks?!?!" He’s the return of Neo Soul with smooth beats; you know, that "there’s no way I’m pulling out tonight" music.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgp6-DzZgK0

JAIN – calling her music RnB is kind of a stretch as it’s really more Pop than anything else but anyone who reads this blog knows that I don’t have a Pop section in any of my reviews. Plus her dance hit Mekeba sounds like a collabo between Gwen Stefani and Tracy Chapman, and the last time I checked, Stefani actually did a collabo with Eve, so that’s enough street cred to count as RnB. Her unique voice and style definitely makes her worth checking out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59Q_lhgGANc

HONORABLE MENTION – BANKS – she apparently wants to follow you around like a dog that needs water. Or at least that’s what she says in her thumping electronic hit Gemini. At times her voice is aided by technology but when she does break away from the pseudo auto tune, she puts her range on full display. She’s this year’s AlunaGeorge but thankfully she’s a better dresser.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7z-tA9oLPw

ROCK
WARBLY JETS – They may be from L.A. but they clearly want to be British. Their music is a high energy whirlwind that reminds you of the revival of rock days that took place in the early 2000’s. Think Strokes meets Blur.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDVHvirhpKk

LO MOON – I love bands whose music is hard to find but when you finally do unearth it, it totally captures everything you love about SXSW; hearing something that you immediately connect with. This indie prog rock trio reminds you of Grizzly Bear with their slow building beats and melodies and I would certainly expect them to be featured on an ACL stage sometime in the near future.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhZdG3R77G0

CHAIN OF FLOWERS – these boys from Wales listened to A LOT of The Cure and Joy Division when they were growing up as they are desperately trying their best to keep the post punk scene alive; and for the most part, I have to say that they are doing a good job of it. If you still have some teenage angst in you, definitely give these blokes a shot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vacg-GoNkqA

LAURA CARBONE – she sounds like she’s the offspring of David Lynch; and with the recent revival of the Twin Peaks franchise, this should provide plenty of fodder for all of you conspiracy theorists out there. Her music sounds like the dark alternative soundtrack to the 80’s rebellion movie The Legend of Billie Jean; a time where getting your first period was some serious business!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07kYylbtHRk

HONORABLE MENTION – FRANKIE ROSE – this is for all of you hipsters out there who loved the Vivian Girls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE56wTNj7J0

SNAIL MAIL – cool, lazy surfer rock. I have a soft spot in my heart for this kind of music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS7xudghUsM

PUNK
IDLES- They are a Scottish punk band that reminds me Black Flag with their odd videos and their aversion to normal life. They hate anyone who has a jobs in particular.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuQG6_evFc8

HIGH WAISTED – they are surf rockers from Brooklyn whose music starts off simple enough but turns into a frenzy by song’s end.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xykiiaV1oZY

HICCUP – not much to say here except that it’s traditional fun punk music. No frills, no thrills but I like it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlhnCHalg28

 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Logan

All good things must come to an end. It started with the end of the Revenge of the Nerds and the Cannonball Run (Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise) franchises, then it was the latest run of the McDonald’s McRib sandwich, and lastly, the most recent blow to my gut, was the end of President Obama’s reign and the impact he had on America. Well now it looks as though Hollywood wasn’t satisfied with simply taking away my cheap food options and my cool blackness; oh no, they took it a step further and now have decided to take away my superheroes!

Look, I know that getting old is a part of the program; just look at Han Solo, he’s now crashing planes and playing chicken with jumbo jet airliners with regularity, but superheroes are supposed to be invincible! They’re not supposed to get old and slow or get Alzheimer’s, that’s the kind of thing that’s supposed to happen to people like Tom Brady; Go Cowboys! Well in Logan, writer/director James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted and 3:10 to Yuma) shows us the mortality of two of our most beloved X-Men – Professor X and Wolverine.

They are in hiding near the Mexican border as the world is now almost completely mutant free and the two of them are slowly living out their last days due to the various ailments that seem to be taking their toll on them. And with the aid of the Albino mutant tracker Caliban, Wolverine is saving up money so he and his mentor can find a safer place to hide from society as the world has seemingly moved on from its once hallowed superheroes. They now only exist through the glorified stories of them that are written in comic books. That is until one day when a young mutant girl shows up in their lives needing their help to escape from a dark organization that’s trying to kill her.

Wolverine, or Logan, is resistant to helping her as his only concern in life at this point is protecting Charles (Prof X). But the ever positive and welcoming Charles sees this situation as not only a chance to help and guide a fellow mutant but also an opportunity to finally get Logan to buy into the concept of family and the joys that come along with it.

Thankfully Mangold doesn’t waste our time with any sappy storylines or cheesy long gazes into the sky to help take our characters there, something that you’ll find plenty of in the other Marvel movies; he instead takes full advantage of the film’s R-rating and gives us tons of blood, action, and cursing! After dropping about a hundred f bombs in the first 30 minutes of this movie, it felt as though Hugh Jackman was letting out 20 years of frustration with the PG-13 handcuffs that were thrown on him by the studio in past X-Men films. And I have to say that seeing his blades chop off random limbs or impale unsuspecting hitmen throughout this entire film, it gave me some hope that superhero movies could once again be cool and engaging.

The child actor who played the young mutant more than held her own with the big boys as she displayed a rage that has been unparalleled by fellow child actors who play significant roles in similar movies. They usually just bring the film down with their robotic reading of lines and their inherently bratty nature. "I hate you dad!" Oh please, just go somewhere and listen to your Iggy Azalea album while I drink my PBR! But in Logan, the young Dafne Keen comes across like a 30 year veteran as she uses her mutant ability to fend off and kill the bad men who are out to get her.

And that’s what I loved about this film, it took my initial complaint of showing the depressing mortality of superheroes and turned it into a key and touching differentiating factor that helped separate it from its counterparts. It shows you that while life can suck for even the strongest of us, we all can find something that can give us a new lease on life, no matter what we’re going through. Oh, and it also provided us with some of the coolest scenes you’ll ever encounter when it comes to seeing Professor X’s powers going haywire. All I have to say about that is I don’t think you’ll ever see me go to a casino in Oklahoma again; and trust me when I say it has nothing to do with their fat hookers.

Logan was moving, refreshing, and violent and that’s all you can ask from an R-rated film these days. It gets a rating of TIGHT!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Get Out

I used to think that Donald J. Trump aka Donald T Rump Shaker was a complete moron, but now I finally see the error of my ways! I now realize that the man is an utter and complete genius! Sure he has spent the majority of his presidency literally trying to divide us with his travel sanctions and his plan to build a giant wall, but all the while we’ve been so focused on our Muslims and our Mexicans brothers, we have completely missed T Rump Shaker’s true Piece De Resistance; his plan to once again purify the White race. Rereleasing the O.J. Simpson story to the American public in the form of an incredible documentary and a cheesy but fun television show didn’t do it. And neither did a year and a half of gratuitous police killings of Black folk in the neighborhood streets and highways. But it looks as though with the release of Get Out, T Rump Shaker has finally found a way to get Black men to stick to Black poonanny, and that’s to threaten them with a return to slavery.

Oh, now I know that any modern day Black person out there will say there’s no way in hell they’ll ever let slavery happen again, but that’s only if they see it coming! If you blind a black man with some white she devil (I don’t really talk like this) poon, he is PRIME for the sneak attack! And this is why the movie Get Out works so well, Jordon Peele, who is clearly on the T Rump Shaker’s payroll, has hit Black men where it hurts the most; right in the superior but tender genital area.

I knew deep down inside that something was amiss with Allison Williams the entire film but I kept getting distracted by those big beautiful blue eyes as well as that big beautiful rack of hers! "Oh, you want me to go up to the wooded suburbs to meet your 1 percenter parents who I know without a doubt to be racist? Sure, just let me hit it one more time and I’m sold!" Come on man, I’ve seen Mississippi Burning with Gene Hackman, and if I’m going somewhere where there’s a lot of white people and a lot of trees, I’m for sure packing some heat and bringing my boys with me! That is of course, unless my beautiful white girlfriend with boobs the size of watermelons convinces me otherwise.

In Get Out, Rose Armitage (even the name sounds shady) convinces her very Black boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) to go up to the suburbs to meet her parents. He’s initially hesitant but eventually agrees to do so for the very reasons I stated earlier. And from the very first moment he steps on her parent’s property, he notices how odd everyone is acting. All of the white people are acting as if they have never seen or been around a real Black man before and the few Black people he does run into appear to be robots who say and do things in a manner that would make you believe they were ordered straight from an L.L. Bean collection catalog. Every fiber in your being would normally tell you to run for the flat lands; not the hills because more white people are up in the hills, the brothers are going to be down in the flat lands! But every time that thought enters Chris’s head, there’s bright eyed Allison, always there to calm him down. So he decides to stay, and that’s when things really got weird.

I have to say that when I first saw the preview for this film, I thought there was no way in hell I’d ever go see it because it looked like the worst movie ever. Plus, everyone knows that any movie that comes out during Oscar weekend is a sure fire flop that just got a courtesy release from the studios. But that’s where the genius of T Rump Shaker comes into play again. This was his ingenious way of pleading to Black people to avoid all of the liberal artists who would surely be bashing him for 4 hours on national television and to go see a film that featured their people instead. Well guess what, it worked! And he even went an extra step by paying off the easily bribed film critics to give it a rating of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes! Coincidence? I think not!

I went in thinking that there was no way this had any chance of being a good film but I am happy to say that it wound up being rather enjoyable. It was funny, creepy, and totally relevant for our times. There are so many subtle messages that are spread throughout this entire film that it had to take Peele his entire life to write this screenplay. He tackles everything from the differences in police interactions with Black and White people to the 1 percenters resistance to the subversion of Black culture, all the while avoiding the death sentence of being too preachy.

And while I am not yet ready to give up White poonanny at this point in my life, I do have to say that I am looking at Janelle Monae in a different light today. After seeing this film, I can’t help but give it a rating of very very FRESH!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

John Wick Chapter 2

"Hey man, Wickleberry Fin tonight?" "Wickle Me Elmo!" "Something John Wicked This Way Comes" "Well I’m off to get some Wicken and potatoes from Whole Foods beforehand!" "Bet it’s going to be finger Wickin Good!"

This was just a part of the nerdy conversation that took place between my idiot friend and I right before we saw the most anticipated movie of the year. Now I must admit that when I first saw John Wick 1, I wasn’t really all that down with it as it just appeared to be a scrubby version of The Crow without Ernie Hudson and Nine Inch Nails. But I decided to give it another shot a few months later on a flight back from France and everything suddenly clicked for me; what’s not to love about an angry Keanu Reeves unloading clips into the heads of Russian gangsters with whatever random guns he has on his person? That dude really loved his car and his dog!

Well needless to say, I was unbelievably pumped when I saw early video clips of Keanu furiously training with automatic weapons for John Wick 2. He seriously looked like a young Ted Nugent on the night that he realized Donald trump had just won the election. "Finally, my time has come!" (while pumping fists in the air) Unless he was playing Bill from Bill and Ted’s or a confused Neo from The Matrix, Keanu has never been a great actor but with the help of Wick, I believe he’s now finally found his wheelhouse! An angry man of few words who dances while he guns down scrubs with pistols?!? John Wick movies are John Woo’s (Hard Boiled, Face Off) ultimate wet dreams. They have a ton of gun play and pigeons flying around in them; what more can a man ask for?

Wick 2’s plot is slightly more complicated than 1 in that Wick now has to get revenge on the jerk who blew up his house. Yup, a real brain teaser there! Ok, so there’s a bit more to it than that. In order for him to get out of the game the first time around, he made a blood pact with an Italian asshole. And in the hitman underworld, whenever you make a blood pact, you are indebted to that person to do whatever job they require of you to pay off that debt. If you choose not to, then they have every right to kill you. Well realizing that Wick is the only man for the job, the Italian decided not to kill him but instead chose to blow up his house to give him a bit of motivation. Wick reluctantly agrees after this but once he completes the job, he finds out that a bounty is now out for his head.

It is at this point you realize that 50% of New York is apparently made up of assassins with day jobs; Wick finds himself dodging janitors, violin players, and even homeless people as he tries to seek sanctuary with the one man who still owes him a favor, fat Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). But before we get to this point, Wick goes to Italy to pay off his debt, and this is where you are introduced to a world of tailors who make designer bulletproof suits for cocktail parties, sommeliers whose specialties are guns, and Emo Evanescence bands with dj’s.

And if that wasn’t enough, Hollywood finally gave me a bit of a reprieve with Ruby Randy Rose. She tried to ruin my action month with her awful performances in XXX 3 and Resident Evil but thankfully here, they make her a mute. I get that most of America finds her hot but she just looks like a shapeless scrub with a Macaulay Culkin haircut to me. She was ok as a villain in this film but Common, who has the coolest type cast ever as a hitman, is probably the best adversary Wick faces as they have multiple shootout/fight scenes that are pretty badass. The coolest part of the film goes to its climatic scene where director and former stuntman Chad Stahlelski pays tribute to Enter the Dragon and that one James Bond film where he perfectly blends art, film, and music when Wick takes out a bunch of Julian Edelman lookalikes in New York’s Met Museum. This scene, along with the multiple head shots and the gothic death scene of a head assassin in Italy will definitely stay with me for a long time.

To put it simply, this movie was grade A badass and gets a rating of TIGHT from me.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Underworld/Resident Evil

I chose to write a combined review for these two movies as together they mark the end of what’s been an incredible action era in film. I would’ve never guessed that a movie based off of a video game would’ve spawned 5 sequels over a 15 year span. And while it was gothic and had cool music in it, who would have ever thought that a movie which featured two of the world’s worst actors in Scott Speedman (Michael) and Shane Brolly (Kraven) would lead to a global demand for more! That’s like asking Martin Lawrence to come out with a weekly TV show for the movie Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. But here we are; after years of mindless entertainment, the day has come when we should all shed a tear for the end of these two glorious franchises.

And sadly, this also marks the end of Kate Beckinsdale and Milla Jovovich’s big screen careers. I’m not saying that neither of them are talented or that they no longer are two of the most beautiful women on the planet, I’m just saying that in the world of Hollywood, the only roles left for women their age are the old quirky moms in Adam Sandler films. You saw what poor Kathy Bates was reduced to. I can’t wait to see Beckinsdale play Sandler’s mom in The Waterboy prequel, the search for more gator. And if you think that concept is ridiculous, look no further than a young Catherine Zeta Jones falling for the crusty Sean Connery in Entrapment or a bright eyed and perky Scarlet Johannson lusting after the basically dead Steve Martin in Shopgirl. Hollywood has done women wrong for so long that it’s now nearly impossible to point out their lunacy to them.

Now if you go into these films looking to have your life changed or to walk away feeling inspired to start a rally of some sort, then you’ll certainly leave disappointed. But if you go in looking to be entertained and wanting to have fun, you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. Right off the bat, I’ll admit that neither of these films are actually good in the traditional sense of the word but they sure as hell made me cheer and shout out the word fresh on multiple occasions.

In Underworld, there is a massive search for Selene’s (Beckinsdale) missing daughter because she contains the hybrid blood of both Lycan and vampire; and the belief is, whoever has control of this deadly mix not only controls the never ending war between these two but essentially controls the fate of the world as well. Selene is still a badass in this film but because of her inexplicable love for the Emo Speedman, she has been excommunicated from the vampire coven and is now being hunted by both vampires and Lycans. Well the Lycans now have a new leader in Marius (Tully from Game of Thrones) and he has amassed a legion of Lycans who now finally appear to be unified enough to overtake the vampires. The vampires realize this, so they decide to forgive Selene for her past transgressions and ask her to help train them for the imminent battle.

Well as Tom Cruise once taught us in the early 90’s, one can never truly trust a vampire. And this life lesson is on full display as Selene is eventually betrayed and apparently killed, only to return with white David Bowie esque highlights in her hair and more power. There’s really no explanation given as to why she’s still alive or why she has more power but to be honest with you, you don’t really care because that’s how the rest of the film goes too. Some random pretty boy, whose true identity has been hidden from us for some reason, is revealed as the true leader of the vampires yet he has no special abilities nor does he ever say any fresh one liners throughout the entire film. And in this epic journey into the… ahem underworld, there seems to be convenient train access to all of these "hidden" vampire mansions; including one that’s apparently in the Alps. I guess Google Maps finally gets it right in the future. In the end, all I know is that I saw vampires fighting werewolves and 9 times out 10, that’s fresh! And this film was no different!

Well Resident Evil also realized that no one was there for the plot and chose to give us two straight hours of action instead. They sort of run through the previous 5 films by showing a video collage of random scenes in the opening sequence but after that things get really simple; Alice (Jovovish) must get to Raccoon City before another Game of Thrones villain, Dr. Isaacs (Ian Glen) gets there first with his army of zombies. His evil plan of ridding the world of the unworthy is almost complete as he plans to release yet another virus to kill all of the zombies who did his dirty work for him, so that he and his rich buddies can rule the world!

The first 30 minutes of the film makes you want to throw up as the camera literally never sits still long enough for you to see what’s going on. This is the worst use of the "shaky cam" I have ever seen in my life. But as more and more zombies get mowed down and more and clones show up, you start to get used to it and you realize that The Walking Dead is just a lame Lifetime show in comparison to this amazing bloodbath! It’s only been a few weeks and I have already forgotten the majority of what happens in this film but I do remember zombies being flamed to death, giant explosions, and Ali Larter being thrown one final bone from Hollywood, and sadly I don’t mean that in a sexual way.

In the end, these were the perfect send offs for these wonderful franchises and I can honestly say that I’m happy that I lived to see the end of them. They both get a rating of FRESH and now I can’t wait to see the conclusion of John Wick…in about 10 years!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage

After the rough weekend I just had, I now understand why Vin Diesel decided to sign on for a third XXX movie; at some point you just need to do something completely stupid to escape from reality. For Vin, in order to help him cope with the death of his pal Paul Walker, he chose to take a 2 month long vacation with some of his fellow action film friends in some of the world’s best locales to make this movie. For me, I’m broke, so my idea of escape is getting brown out drunk enough so that I can pass out on my couch next to some half eaten pizza and have weird dreams about making music videos with Mariah Carey! "Me and Mariah; go together like babies with pacifiers!" How sad is it that my dreams are Nick Cannon’s realities? Either I need to dream bigger or I need to drink more expensive beer.

Anyway, I went into The Return of Xander Cage with the high hopes that I would walk out of the theater highly entertained. But after seeing this film, it might be time to reevaluate my new dream goals as I clearly need to come back down to Earth a bit. After the 5 minute long opening credits scene that involved a transforming satellite finally came to an end, I turned to my idiot friend and asked ‘Why does this movie suck already?"

Now Vin has said all along that he only agreed to do this movie because it was pure fun and that there was nothing remotely serious about it. Ok, well I get that, but if you’re going to do something that’s fun and requires zero intellect, why not just date Taylor Swift instead? I mean, she does a ton of coke, she sings and dances like nobody’s business, and I won’t have to pay $12 to watch it on a 50 foot screen when it actually happens! Stop being selfish for one second Vin and think about all of us poor drunks out there!

Don’t get me wrong, in theory there were quite a few funny ideas in this film; it’s just that in practice they didn’t quite work out the way they played out in the writers’ heads. For starters, there’s Vin Diesel nearly getting his head blown off just so he can bring free cable to the local Colombians. Now I actually appreciated this scene because if I’m on a beach somewhere and I can’t get the Dallas Cowboys game, I’m gonna be pissed! So you damn well better jump off of a 100 foot tower while wearing skis in the middle of a hot jungle because We Dem Boys! We Dem Boys!

But from there it just became total ridiculousness. Every time Tony Jaa showed up on screen, he’d dance a little jig and yell his last name (Jaa) before he kicked someone in the face or seamlessly jumped onto a moving motorcycle. Then there was the incredible love scene between Vin and some buxom Colombian that ended with a shot of a dump truck releasing a load of white sand into a small crevice. And no I’m not making that up! But oh it gets worse! I haven’t even mentioned his weak posse that included a "hot" lesbian who said lame things like "that’s what she said" whenever someone mentioned the fact that she knew was doing something good or the one idiot whose specialty was crashing cars. Crashing cars??? Is that really how you want to pay tribute to Paul Walker? Ok, yes it’s still a bit too soon.

But I saved the best posse member for last, and that’s the scrawny Asian dude whose specialty was having fun. I really wish I was making this up. His role literally came down to walking into a crowded room, finding some turntables (because what respectable place doesn’t have turntables just chilling in the corner), and turning the party out while Vin and his pals went to work. Now as I’m typing this, I’m having the same reaction that I had when I initially walked out of this disaster and that’s that I couldn’t stop laughing for 36 hours! My idiot friend and I couldn’t figure out how this film could have all of these fresh individual parts but collectively still sucked! In the moment, the only truly cool parts that where in this film where whenever Hermione Corfield appeared on screen, when Vin had an orgy to negotiate a meeting, and when Ice Cube showed up to wreck shop with his grenade launcher! Outside of that, it was pretty painful.

The only reason why this film doesn’t get a rating of wack is because I still can’t stop laughing about utterly ridiculous it was; so based off of that, I’ll give it a rating of really, really WEAK!