Ready Player One

I am hard to please when it comes to movies. Most movies and TV shows, I figure out relatively quickly which takes all the mystery out of them. Others, suffer from poor writing and don’t make any sense. Plot holes and unanswered questions are common in Hollywood nowadays. Needless to say, most movies I pick to death and am just not impressed with.

When the trailer for “Ready Player One” came out, I was not impressed and didn’t bother to view it in the theater. Then the other day, I had a chance to spend some time movie browsing. It was a lazy Sunday, and I thought “What the heck, I’ll watch it”. As I started, the CGI, which there’s a lot of, impressed me. It was really good and flowed well. It was done so well that you forget that it’s basically a cartoon. The story started off like a lot of stories, poor guy that can’t catch a break, gives it his all to get out of his crappie life. I thought “here we go, this is going to be a cookie cutter story.  I have to confuse though, the more I watched the more I became drawn in and the story kept getting better with every little twist. Sure, some of the story is predictable but even those parts are done so well that I didn’t care. You got mystery, action, even a little drama and it all went well together. All the characters are very relatable and you’re probably see one of them that reminds you of someone you know. Everything made sense and I don’t remember any noticeable plot hole.  Ready Player One is simply a great story, shot, directed and acted perfectly. I would watch this movie again in a heartbeat and I would recommend to everyone to do the same.

War for the Planet of the Apes

I am not going to do a long review on this except to say what a disappointment this film was. It should have been named “Journey of the Planet of the Apes”. There is little to no war in the movie and practically no excitement. I was pretty sure by the end of the movie the overall plot was “People are evil” and “Animals are good”. If you haven’t seen it, don’t waste your time. If you have seen it…I’m sorry you had to sit through that.

Bright Burn

This movie was watchable but don’t expect a lot from it. It was very predictable. The cast did a pretty good job, especially the kid, Jackson A. Dunn, who plays the main character Brandon. He is the bright spot in this rather dull film. His transition from sweet kid to crazed killer was done well by him.  The over-all story was very similar to the origin of Superman with the exception that Brandon was sent here to take over the world. Once activated he goes on a rampage, killing anyone would oppose him. I personally think that the whole thing doesn’t really make sense. He was raised to be a humble farm boy with good values and at the drop of a hat comes a psycho. There should have been some drama in his life that made him resentful and mad so that when the time comes the switch was what made sense to him. Instead, you get a good kid that goes super bad. If you have nothing else to watch, flip it on and give it a try but don’t plan to be overly happy you did.

Good TV shows are hard to find!

Good TV shows are hard to find!

 

More and more I find myself re-watching TV shows that have long since ended. One of these shows, which I have watched about 8 episodes in the last week, is The Mentalist. I noticed it on Prime a little over a week ago and it has pretty much been the only thing I have watched since. It is such a great show and has a fantastic cast. The main star of the show is Simon Baker, who also stared in a show call The Guardian. Maybe I will write up something about that show sometime as well, it’s another great one. The Mentalist is about a man name Patrick Jane who loses his wife and daughter at the hands of a serial killer named Red John. A lot of back story revolves around catching him, but each episode has its own story and plot. Cast is made up of characters you can believe are real. Each having their own strengths and weaknesses. Each having a role to play. The acting is top-notch and the chemistry is some of the best I have ever seen on a show. The only one I can think of, off the top of my head, that would match it is JAG. The episodes are well written and thought out. They are not always hard to figure out, but there are some surprises along the way. It has smooth camera work and not a lot of jumping around and quick takes to make it look edgy or complex. I really just can’t say enough good stuff about it.

As I was watching the first few episodes it dawned on me that there really isn’t much out there like it anymore. Each character is well written and has their own style and characteristics. It was women on the show that really stood out when you compare them to today’s female characters. They are nothing alike on the show, other than both being cops. They all have ranges of emotion and handle themselves like women in the real world.  nowadays, every woman is written the same way. Five foot three, one hundred and twenty pounds of tough chick. Don’t get me wrong, that works sometimes but not in shows that are supposed to be realistic. Most people, women and men, in the real world know their limitations. Not the women in shows of today. These women have no limitations and no flaws. They can do no wrong and are “unstoppable”. There is nothing worse than a show full of loud mouth, bossy, tough chicks that look like they would fall down if the wind blew hard. There is nothing appealing about it and in fact I would say it’s a smack in the face to women. Most women don’t act like that. They know there is a lot more to a person than something so one dimensional. How much fun is a story there the person can’t lose or is flawless? Even in the old school action movies, the heroes were flawed. Most of the time they had lots of flaws and the only thing they were good at was this one thing they needed for the movie.

This is all caused by lazy writers that are more interested in their agenda than telling a good story. They start with bad characters who they know nothing about other than their “oppression” type (gay, female, ethnic…etc.) and then go about writing a story that speaks out about that so-called oppression. This makes for bad stories and even worse characters with no depth or personality. It makes someone like me, who has always loved TV shows and movies, not want to even watch it anymore or at the very least not watch anything new. You just get tired of the same lame characters and the same BS story lines.

  • White people are bad.
  • Men are bad.
  • Orange man bad.
  • Any life style you have is normal and everyone should accept it.
  • Women can do anything a man can do.
  • Women don’t need a man.
  • Everyone is oppressed.

These few things cover just about everything on TV now, and I am fed up with it. They have ruined several shows on Netflix that had great first seasons with good stories and characters with a crappy second season with terrible stories and characters. It’s as if they can’t help themselves.

This brings me back to my opening point, which I find myself watching more and more older shows. Maybe that’s what it will take for these companies to catch on that they are putting out garbage. If everyone stopped watching the new stuff and tuned in to old shows, they would see people don’t want this crap. If you do, make sure you check out The Mentalist on Prime. The show is funny, dramatic and just well put together. You’ll be glad you did.

One last thing, if you find a new show that doesn’t have all the SWJ stupidity, leave me a comment and let me know so I can check it out.

Was “Man of Steel” really that bad?

As many of you know the movie Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill has not been held up a good Superman movie. I have heard it called lackluster, crappy, garbage…etc. I personally think those words and sentiment is unwarranted. Sure, the movie is not perfect and there is some stuff I didn’t like about it.

First, I think they didn’t set up Clark very good. That side of Superman is extremely important, and you lose something when Clark does really show up. He is the humanity of Superman and helps set him apart from other super heroes. Clark, unlike most alter egos, is very simple and humble. He’s not a billion, a test pilot or even a police forensic analyst. He’s just a report out doing a normal 9-5 job. Here is this man who could do anything in the world he wants and he is content to be normal. To me that’s extraordinary and worth the time to set up in a story.

Second, I don’t like the way they killed off Jonathan Kent. Unlike the first movie in 1978 where Clark didn’t know he could have saved his father, this time he stands there knowing he can but on a simple wave off by his dad he doesn’t. That is out of character for Clark or Superman and was a bad idea.

Third, Let’s face it. Lois was terrible. Amy Adams is a fine actress, but she just can’t pull off Lois Lane. Especially after seeing Erica Durance play her for years on Smallville.

Lastly, the absence of the Superman theme. It just doesn’t have the same feel without it.

I am sure there are a few more things I could nitpick about but those were my biggest complaints. Despite those things, there was a lot of good there.

First, Henry is a great Superman! Sure, his Clark needs some work, but I think that is easily fixable. He looks sound and acts like you expect Superman to. When you see him run out on the helipad and grab the failing structure, you see Superman. Top notch in my book.

Second, after the terrible fight scenes in the original Superman movies we finally got a realistic battle with Superman and a supervillain and it didn’t disappoint. These scenes could not have been any bigger or better.

Third, Krypton was really cool. The design of the one from the original never really made sense to me. How would grow food on a planet of nothing but crystals and all the white clothes made no sense. Don’t get me wrong, it was very cool back the day but still not logical.

Fourth, Jor-El was great in this movie. Russell Crowe mailed it. This is the kind of guy that would risk everything to save his son. No matter the cost, his son was going to live. Crowe is great in just about anything and he brought his A-game.

Finally, for the first time we got to see some of the struggle a boy would have to go through if he had these powers. Learning to control them. Learning to hide in plain sight. This would not be an easy thing to do and they should that. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate well in the adult Clark scenes but it was great seeing a young Clark struggle and it not just be because he wants to show off.

The long and short of this is that I think this was a pretty good movie and they could easily fix the mistakes with a sequel to it. It’s a shame they kind of gave up on it so quickly and tried the silly Batman vs Superman, which was a God-awful movie. If you haven’t seen it or maybe saw it when it first came out, give it watch and see if you again or disagree with me.

BumbleBee Movie

The first 10-15 minutes of this movie were great. Seeing all the old school transformers on screen, looking like they fell out of 1984 was fantastic. After that, it went straight downhill. I am not talking, coasting down a slight incline; I mean down a roller-coaster hill. What a hot mess this movie was. Every scene is so easy to predict and badly written that there was nothing you didn’t see coming. I like Hailee Steinfeld but she really didn’t have much to work with on this one. Every aspect of her story was some kind of Easter egg you just know is going to be “important” at some point. From her lazy back story to her awkward “romance” with the neighbor kid, it was just bad writing all the way around. I will have to give the director on this one some credit thought. The Transforms themselves look great. Much better than the Michael Bay freak machines he pumped out. If you could mix this guy’s love for the franchise with a really good writer, you would have one heck of a movie. I personally would like to see a Transformer movie about “Transformers” and not the human tag along they threw into the movies.  Call me crazy but it is called Transformers for a reason. Anyway, If you are going to watch it, watch the first 15 and then skip to the last fight scene at the end you’ll get the best of it without having to sit through the ugly middle.

6 Underground

Like a lot of people, I was off work on 1/1/2020 and this allowed me some much-needed time to catch up on some shows and watch one movie. That movie was 6 Underground on Netflix. It is a Netflix original and though it was never in the theaters, it should have been. While many critics slammed this movie, I completely disagree. I thought the movie was really good. It is a typical Michael Bay action flick but that’s not a bad thing. It was action packed and some of the best action scenes I have ever seen. The movie opens with a chase scene that rivals anything I’ve seen in the Fast and Furious franchise. The same for the fighting scenes, they were top-notch. The movie was also extremely funny. Ryan Reynolds showed up in his natural form and it worked perfectly for this film. I enjoy watching this guy on screen any chance I get. He reminds me a lot of Bruce Willis in that he is incredibly funny but able to turn on a dime and be a tough guy that can hold his own with just about anyone. The rest of the cast was pretty good as well. Most of them I don’t recognize from other movies or show, but they didn’t come across as rookie actors at all. Each of them brought something different to the screen. Unfortunately, the female characters came across a little flat a few times but I believe that has more to do with the state of female characters in Hollywood and less with the actresses playing the parts. When you try to turn the women into men, you end up with female characters who have very little depth and development. With that said, this movie wasn’t weighed down with a lot of wokeness and in fact, I don’t recall being overly aggravated by anything. The storyline is a little different and I suspect that is why so more of the “critics” didn’t like it. I found it refreshing to not have the same stale story telling. We get little pieces of each characters’ back story in the form of flashbacks. Flashbacks are nothing new but they are done a little different in this movie. It really reminded me of a TV series. You got just enough about each one to keep you interested and wanting more. Over all I would give the move an easy 4.5 out of 5 and I am looking forward to a sequel. Let’s hope it does well enough to prompt Netflix to follow it up with one.

That’s my take on 6 Underground, what did you think?

Lost in Space: Season 2

Over my short Christmas break I got a chance to watch the second season of Lost in Space. Much like the first season, it was generally pretty good. The writing was a little lack luster on some of the episodes but overall not bad. I like the characters in this show and think they spend an equal amount of time building them and giving them all heroic actions. While this does become tiresome at times becomes in some episodes, the dangerous life altering scenes run right into each other and you don’t get a break from it. That’s great when you are making a two-hour movie but, in a series, you have to space this stuff out. There is no tension or belief of real danger is every second on the screen is life ending danger that doesn’t result in lives ending. The major downside to this show is the purposely added female agenda. It’s subtle but it’s there in abundance. To be fair, I think the writers are trying to be balanced but their version of balance is having a couple of good male characters and a lot of “strong female” characters. Will Robinson is the only male character that gets a real fair treatment in this show. The father is done well about 75% of the time though he does play second fiddle to the mother most of the time. The other male characters are either weak “soy-boys” or mean villain type characters. Over all though the show is watchable and if you ignore the subtle woke stuff, it’s not a bad show. Its action packed and the story movies along with each episode building on the last. You grow to care about the characters as you watch and the actors have great chemistry. Over all the show is worth watching, though I wish they would drop the agenda and just stick with good story telling. Give it a watch and see what you think.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I can’t tell you how much I loved the first Kingman movie. It was like watching James Bond learn how to be a spy. I thought everything about it was done well. I wish I could say the same about this one. The second outing for our young hero is anything but amazing. Sure, it’s watchable, and it even has some really good parts in it but it’s not over all good. I did like Harry’s return, and I thought the explanation was believable for a sci-fi movie. Killing him in the first one was not the smartest thing to do in the first place so I felt like they were trying to right that wrong. The problem was that they then go on to repeat that same mistake with this one, by killing off everyone else. They also added in a way to many agents for this film. What makes the Kingsman so great if there are people just like them in another country? I’ll tell you…nothing. It total ruins the plot of the first film in that Eggsy and team are the only people on earth good enough to stop the bad guys. The bady in this one is also nothing more than a waste. Give drug addict a sickness that will kill them and expecting the world governments to give in to your demands, does not sound like a way to win to me. The whole things just seemed like a rushed, unthought out sequel that really should have had more thought and development put into it. Over all it’s worth a watch for the action but don’t expect to get the thrill you got from the first one.

The Expanse Season 4

Seasons 1-3 were good, but I have to say that each one was a little less good than the one before it. By Season 4 they have reached a point where it is becoming too blotted. There are just too many story lines and to be honest some of them are just boring and obvious political statements. I don’t care about the election of the new UNN head. It had no bearing on the story other than to supply another role for “Female Empowerment”, as if there wasn’t enough of that already. It’s a good show with a good cast but if they don’t stop with the boring side stories and the political statements, they will ruin it. There were already a few episodes in the last two seasons that were just hard to watch and I fear that season 5 will be worse. They need to stop making all the leaders women. Stop making all the “smart people” women. Women make up a small fraction of engineers and mechanics in real life, but in this show they are about 80% of them. I wonder sometimes if Hollywood writers just don’t get that they overdue everything. They get a JSW thought in their head and they just keep going and going until it is so over done that it makes shows and movies unwatchable. With The Expanse every new character seems to be a woman, unless it’s a villain, all those are men of course. This show would be so much better if they would just stop worrying about the gender of the character and just write good characters.

With all that said, I still like this show. The four main character and very likable and work great together. Their story lines and screen time make the show worth watching. After season 3 I was hoping Bobby would stay with them, her and Amos would have made a great due of brute force again the crew’s enemies. That didn’t happen, but Bobby is still around, so it could at some point. Jim is very human and fallible, which gives him depth and likability. Not ever choose he makes is going to be the right one, but he is always quick to see when he screwed up and owns it. Naomie, who started this series as a kind of loud mouth blowhard has developed well and has become a great XO for the ship. Alex, who had up to season 3 seemed flawless, showed that he is not, and it makes you like him a little less, but in a good way, if that make sense. Amos shined this season, and he is no longer Naomie’s lapdog. His loyalty is now 100% his captain’s and you learn so much about who he is and why he is the perfect man for his job. It’s even made him more likable. In the end I have grown to like some other characters more and some of them less and it gave me a new balance and enjoyment of the show. To be honest, it’s that simple fact he helps me see past the silly JSW stuff they shoe horn in. All in all, if you are riding the fence on whether to watch season 4 or to even start watching the series I would tell you yes, watch it. I would also tell you to just hold your nose through the PC stuff and enjoy the main cast.