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Better than expected when I don't take into account the white washing, although I was still a little disappointed. I would see the sequel because this is one of my genres.

The movie itself really isn't trend setting in this current day and age. I suspect the is a weird result of its original anime being so influential. Twenty plus years ago when it came out it was a relatively unusual, groundbreaking event, influencing such seminal works as The Matrix. The Matrix and other movies then in turn, influenced other movies making the tropes from the original GitS cliche.

The whole concept of exploring what makes you human really had nothing new  in this movie that you couldn't see in a dozen other movies that handled it a bit better.

That being said, Scarlett Johansson did a good job as the Major. I felt she did convey the spirit behind the character, but unfortunately not enough to raise the move above "just ok". I was especially pleased with Bataou and how he was portrayed, but once again they didn't give him a big enough part to do much more than give some interest. The rest of the characters were just blips in the movie.

Now we get to the white washing. This clouded my opinion of the movie the whole time. The movie could have been done with any Japanese actress and I probably would have liked the movie better. Once again not because SJ did bad, but because the knowledge of the white washing left a bad taste in my mouth. I guess as I get older, the harder it is to look past stuff like that.

The movie did try to give a partial explanation of a white actress playing a Japanese character late in the movie, but it was less of any sort of in depth story idea, and rather something pieced in to explain why the major has a white body and not a Japanese body. Basically it was a reason they could use on why they went with SJ rather than it being a real plot point.

The good: Decent sci-fi, nice choreography, and an ok story.

The bad: White washing with a bit trope thrown in.
 
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There are some slight spoilers, not about the movie plot but about the world.

Kong:Skull Island was a surprise to me. I had walked into the movie with my husband expecting a bad movie, or at the very least something like the most recent version of Godzilla. However, for what it was, it was a lot better. That would be a summer blockbusting creature feature.

Don't get me wrong, Kong won't win any drama awards. It is a B grade monster movie filmed with a AAA budget. The budget was worth it though. The effects were believable and very enjoyable. The only issue I had with the filming was the transition from night scenes to day scenes left me blind for a few seconds.

The acting was decent for what they had. The only really fleshed out character was John Reilly as a shot down American Pilot (if you have seen a preview or trailer you already know he who is, the funny older guy). John Goodman, Samuel L Jackson, and team are all good at what they do, but they just weren't fleshed out. Their characters were generic.

Probably the most interesting part though was little Easter eggs laid around that indicated Mothra, Godzilla and I believe King Ghidorah. It even includes a monster hunting organization. I love the idea of a marvel level universe for the large monsters. This is a good idea, almost as good of an idea as Universal's monster universe started by the remake of the Mummy next month.


The good: It hit all the right notes for a monster movie, action, adventure, no reliance on arbitrary romance. I didn't detect any racist stereotyping and I really liked that it was set in 1973.

The bad: Some of the effects were filmed for 3D, I did not watch that version, but even the flat 2D screen was annoying when it tried to push those scenes into the movie. Also, I would have liked more monstrous creatures on the island.
 

 

 
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Absolutely, without a doubt, the single best superhero movie I have ever seen. Not only that, it is on the very top of my list of favorite "real movies" as well. I can't really come up with a better movie at this moment.

We went to see Logan in the RPX so we could choose our seat. However, it was a Tuesday and the RPX is double the price of the discounted Tuesday prices for other showings that there wasn't a packed theater. This meant no distractions and we could focus on the movie.

I can't go into too much detail here, I don't want this to have spoilers, but I can say I will post again and break it down. The movie had a huge personal impact.

What I can say is this is not your Avenger's big tent action movie. The focus is on an aging Logan, Professor X and a young Laura (c'mon its not a spoiler if its in the trailer). Laura is being hunted by a group of powerful mercenaries and Logan and Professor X are trying to protect her.

The R rating does allow people to see the brutality of what it would be like to fight Wolverine, limbs and heads amputated, faces clawed open and the absolute monster that Wolverine could be in a fight. That however was not what the rating really made better. The storytelling was much better. It could handle much more adult subjects such as aging, consequences of a life of conflict, and family. This movie is not for someone who is a child or who is only interested in a mutant battle. If that is the limit of a movie you are interested, go see the new Thor, Spider Man or Guardians of the Galaxy movies coming out this summer.

I won't say anything else about the plot of the movie except to say it mirrors Deadpool in a way. Instead of redefining a superhero movie into a darker comedy, Logan transforms this movie into a gritty western as much as a superhero movie. It has a very broad, if very adult, scope for an audience. Some have talked about Oscars. I think it would be justified to receive best actor/supporting actor nominations if not the actual Oscars themselves.

The emotional impact of this movie hit both me and the hubby that night. It was near the anniversary of my father's death (one year) and there were a lot of similarities, the movie was like a gut punch. Those I will talk about in my next post about Logan where I can break out spoilers.

The biggest takeaway I saw another critic say is that the R rating is an excellent injection into the superhero niche. Not for violence, but for the way it can open a story up and allow superhero movies to grow up and become full stories, not just comics.

It has been reported that this is Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart's last movie each for their characters. 20 years of Wolverine and Professor X wrapped up on the best superhero movie made. I am sad they are turning in their characters, but I have to say it was absolutely the best movie they could have chosen to do so.

The good: Absolutely the best acting in any superhero movie, and in the top for conventional movies. The story is tight, not distracted with explosions or too many special effects. It satisfies both the action need and the story need that no other superhero movie can.

The bad: It is the last movie with Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman playing their characters.
 
 
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I was surprised, I was definitely surprised.

I wouldn't call The Great Wall a "great movie". It is a niche genre piece mixing a big of Hong Kong fighting with some fantasy type action. I was really hesitant about the movie though. A Chinese movie, set in a "vaguely" historical China with what I was worried would be the "Great White Hope". However it wasn't like that at all. In fact there was a subtle (or not so subtle) reversal of that.

Instead of him saving everyone, he is saved by them. The movie portrays the greed of capitalism as bad, and the rich elite as just useless. Instead it is those who serve selflessly who are revered in the movie. Definitely Chinese politics are involved in the movie, but maybe I am not so different with my outlook that I found it an overall good message.

Matt Damon is pretty good in the movie as the angry, greedy white boy from the crusades, with Pedro Pascal as his sidekick (you may know him as Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones) who is even more greedy. They are met by one other white person, William Defoe as a very back stabbing kind of capitalist merchant as well. Matt Damon changed over the course of the movie, Pedro changed maybe a little, and Dafoe did not (and suffered for it).

While those actors were as good as to be expected I absolutely loved Jing Tian (she is also starring this year in Kong: Skull Island, and Pacific Rim 2). True she didn't speak a lick of English, but she still portrayed a real badass, and had an intensity. Since I am seeing both of her other movies, I am excited to see her in those.

Overall though the movie was pretty good. People complained about the CGI, but I didn't notice too much. People said it was really colorful, such as the uniforms, sadly my colorblindness means I missed that part, but I still liked it.

However, all that said, it was an ok movie. Not super great, but definitely not as bad as people had said it would be.

The good: action sequences were good, Ms Tian was good, and it was entertaining.

The bad: It is popcorn material, you will forget about it within a few weeks (or sooner) and the political message was a little ham handed.
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Let's just say it, that film rocked what it does hard.

First, let's be clear, John Wick series of movies is a lot of things. It's excellent fighting choreography, brutal deaths, an orgasm of male testosterone wish fulfillment. That isn't bad, I absolutely love it for what it is, a great revenge thriller, Keanu Reeves delivers an excellent badass air to himself. It has a lot of great supporting actors including Ian McShane as the Manager, Common is great as a foil for Keanu and even Ruby Rose, whom I dislike a lot as an actress fits in it.

The best part about it, is it stays in its lane. It doesn't try to be more than what it is and because of that it scratches that itch of an up-powered action flick that has a lot in common with the 80s revenge movies. I will see these as long as they keep coming out.

I was surprised that Keanu, who recently turned 52, can do the part. There is no doubt in his performance that he plays the person perfectly. I was surprised that I didn't want to tear my ears out with Ruby Rose's character. They were smart, they had her play a mute, used her looks as an attractive assassin. The only part about her I didn't like was the portrayal that she is a badass, sorry I didn't buy that for a second... then again I think it was reflected in her last fight scene so maybe the writers had judged correctly as well. The rest of the cast were great too, no complaints.

The thing I liked most about the sequel was its subtle expansion of the world of assassins. I won't go into depth as I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but the movie unwrapped a small slice more of the world, making it feel deeper and more real (well as real as wish fulfillment fiction can be).

Oh, and I really liked that they didn't repeat the same plot devices they used in the first (that is the only semi-spoilerish thing I will say).

The good: great action with lots of choreography, gun porn, and Keanu just rocked it.

The bad: could we please stop with "how cool" Ruby Rose is already?
 
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reinternationalWell it happened, one of the most iconic movie series in my adult life is ending and it took us by a big surprise, it was pretty good, especially for its status as a B grade horror movie. What I really love (and this isn't a spoiler since its in the previews) is that it comes back to Raccoon City.

Don't get me wrong, it won't be winning any sort of acting awards, the writing isn't Oscar worthy and the special effects are lagging behind. However, even with all of that it was the most cohesive chapter of the series to date.

We originally saw the original Resident Evil when it first came out, since then, barring a single movie, we have seen them all in the theater. Much like the Underworld series, it is just a thing we do.

I was surprised at how well everyone looks (especially Milla) after so many movies and so many years. However, like Kate Beckinsale she probably doesn't have a lot more time in that she could do this movie and supposedly be the same character at the same age.

Out of all of these movies, this definitely had the most cohesive plot. The wrapped up several strings, and even brought in some new things that were maybe a little obvious but they worked well with it. Contrary to some of the movies in the middle though it kept my attention, and entertained us. We were a bit sad to see it wrapping up, it rests up there as a tie for second place for my favorite RE movie (no matter what I do, the original RE always keeps its spot).

Pros: Cohesive storyline, not bad acting, and a satisfying conclusion.

Cons: For a B grade theater movie there really isn't any big cons except this is the final chapter.

Final words, definitely go see it in the theater.
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Underworld: Blood Wars turns out to be another movie that I consider a general "meh".

I don't consider that bad, after all the entire series just isn't very good. However, it is traditional that we try and watch this in the theater when we can. We saw the original Underworld 13 years ago when it came out, and it wasn't a masterpiece then. However in our geek subculture we thought it was awesome, a vampire versus werewolf action movie.

It turns out that Blood Wars is about the same as the rest of the movies. The plot is full of holes, the acting is poor and not anything really original. It really was a waste of Charles Dance's acting abilities (he was Thomas, the older vampire who died defending his son). You will notice I didn't say Kate Beckinsale because honestly I never found her a good actress and only liked her in the Underworld series.

The movie itself was long, boring but had interspersed some decent action scenes. The travel montage itself was probably the worst part of the movie when Selene and her companion vampire traveled north. It is boring, but the part that caught me the most was when they were on the frozen over fjords of the north and they were walking, the very next moment they are riding huge draft horses across the same ice. Where the hell did those come from. I realize they probably filmed it because it "looked cool" but dear god give us something believable to assume they found horses on the ice, with no villages around.

The Eastern Coven and the total emo/goth dress style did absolutely nothing for me. All Wolsey and I could joke around is that half the budget of the movie (and in the movie world half the cost of the coven) had to be based on the dress style of the coven. Maybe 14 years ago I would have been more impressed (and even more so 25 years ago in the early 90s) but now I just roll my eyes at the all black dress style. That trope just needs to die.

Don't even get me started on the weird Salubri crap of the Nordic Coven (white wolf reference). The mysterious "nice" vampires who can go to the other world. My biggest problem with them was that they were getting destroyed by the vampires in their coven, but were badasses when they went back to the Eastern Coven. I realize they were surprised at their home, but it was their home, they had the advantage of ground, and supposedly being great warriors, except they weren't. Yet another inconsistency in the movie.

I could go on about this, however even with all the inconsistencies I do have to say I still have a fondness for the movies and I will see the next one.

The good: I liked the action scenes, even if a bit overdone. I like the subject matter, although I could use with a little updating of the tropes used.

The bad: Plot holes I could drive a semi-truck through, bad acting, overdone tropes and can we please stop with the goth/all black look for the vampires.
 
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Jurassic-World-poster-MosasaurusJello and I went out to see Jurassic World last night and I have to say overall that it was a thumbs up. It is a hesitant thumbs up, but a thumbs up nonetheless. I will try not to post any spoilers, but I can not guarantee it.

I think I will start with the smallest part of the write up, the good part. JW was fantastic in the dinosaur fights. It was hands down a theater experience (and in full disclosure we saw it 2D, not 3D). Even with that the dinosaurs were fantastic.

Owen-Jurassic-World-Vest
Serious Chris doesn't do it for me.

Weirdly enough I found the Indominus Rex the least interesting. I loved the raptors and the T-rex and of course the Mosasaur. I was disappointed at the lack of focus for the herbivore dinosaurs, but it was still pretty good. The fighting was absolutely fantastic, but I won't go into details because that is a spoiler.

Now let's go to the cons of the movie. First and foremost I was disappointed with Chris Pratt. Don't get me wrong, he did fine, but he doesn't really do it for me as a "serious" action hero. He was awesome as Star Lord because there was always a bit of humor with the character. As a generic action character he was just "meh". I also really disliked the sexist comments he was making to the main female lead (OMG I don't even remember her character name) when they were at his place

Best character in movie.
Best character in movie.

The next part I was disappointed with was the rest of the interpersonal action. All the interpersonal relationship stuff was pretty damn flat. It was all tropes, combined with lazy acting. The only person who I felt had a real personal flair wasn't Chris Pratt, it was Irfan Khan. Not sure what I liked about his performance as the man in charge, but it was better than pretty much everyone else. I think it really had to do with the positive outlook he had.

Evidently she isn't complete without kids
Evidently she isn't complete without kids

I also didn't like Bryce Dallas Howard (I finally found "Beth's" actress name when I was looking up Mr Khan), but I don't blame her acting itself. Rather the whole treatment of heras a character was fairly sexist (the whole heels in the jungle was only the tip of annoying). It was the same treatment women got in the late 80s/early 90s. The absolute worst part was when she was told she couldn't understand kids until she had them (and it was a when, not an "if"). Stereotyping was horrible in the movie.

The final dislike was a personal issue, I forgot it was a "PG" movie, with dinosaurs eating people and other dinosaurs, it felt unsatisfactory, like it was a child's movie. Which, it was of course. It felt like I was watching a movie made for TV in that aspect (the effects were great, the gore not so much).

So overall I recommend seeing it, just don't expect good acting, good stereotypes for women or men, but do expect some awesome dinosaur action.

 

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