Speed Reviews: X-Men Apocalypse; Popstar; Ninja Turtles; Warcraft; Conjuring 2

01 xmen apocalypse

Well, hello there!  Seems like it’s been a while!  How are you?  Have you lost weight?  Is that a new hat?

It’s been about three weeks or so without any reviews.  I’ve just been too busy to write.  And I’ve wanted to!  Trust me!  But I’ve been working long hours every day, shuffling around a few clients, and preparing for a big international business trip to Japan, which I depart on next week.  So…  This will probably be my only post for the month of June.  Savor it.  Drink it down in little sips.  Even though my writing just tastes like warm soda.

When I get back in July, I hope to start writing more frequently.  Or, I can keep working really hard and making a bunch of money.  I’ll take either/or.  But I didn’t want everyone around here to think I gave up on my pointless hobby, or that I fell into a cave in the forest and a log collapsed over my bottom half.  Because we all know that *eventually* I will be gone for several months and then, out of nowhere, you will read a random news article about how I got eaten by a mountain lion a while back.  The sad part of the mountain lion story will be that it wasn’t during a hiking trip, but rather it just escaped from the zoo and ate me in a Taco Bell parking lot.

Maybe I’ll even write a travelogue of my time in Japan when I get back…?  I don’t know.  The world of unpaid blogging is a seductive one, isn’t it…?

Anyway, I’ve seen a bunch of those moving picture things over the last few weeks, and I have about enough time to puke them out as quickly as possible.  Here you go!

 

02 xmen apocalypse

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

Hurry up, what is this?  It’s the second sequel to the prequel reboots of the eight film X-Men series.  Heck, nine if you count Deadpool.  It’s encroaching on Jason Vorhees territory.

Why should I waste my time?  The special effects are cool, the Quicksilver scene was great, and I like watching a variety of mutants clobber one another.  It’s certainly not the disaster that the reviews would have you believe.  Is it worse than the other prequel series films?  Yes.  Is it better than two of the original series films?  Yes.  I don’t see how someone could sit through Wolverine: Origins, and then still consider Apocalypse a bad movie by comparison.

Move it along, what’s bad about it?  The bad guy has too many, and too powerful of abilities.  If he can sink people into the dirt, or into walls with relative ease, why doesn’t he just do that to the entire X-Men squad, and have no opposition?  TOO GOD-LIKE.  And [SPOILER ALERT] then they best him with a fight in a freaking dream sequence.  I thought the whole movie sort of took a nosedive in the last thirty minutes.

Give me a quick Haiku for the road:

It was star power
That made Mystique a good guy
She should have been bad…

Grade:  B-

 

03 popstar

POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

Hurry up, what is this?  The Lonely Island’s spoof of modern pop artists like Bieber, One Direction, etc.  It’s also probably the best spoof movie since Black Dynamite, which I guess isn’t saying much, considering the spoof genre hasn’t been very good in the last 10 years.  But I meant it as a compliment.

Why should I waste my time?  Well, if you’re into Lonely Island (I am), this movie is great.  If you find them annoying, then I wouldn’t bother.  I downloaded the soundtrack after I saw the movie (which basically serves as a new Lonely Island album), and I’ve probably listened to it about 15 times in my car.  It has some genuinely hilarious songs on it, and they are spot on rips on today’s self-awareness-lacking youth.  It’s pretty funny how good a 37-year-old Andy Samberg is at playing an early-20-something knob.  It also has celebrity cameos that feel like they fit into this project, unlike the forced ones they put in things like Zoolander 2 or something.

Move it along, what’s bad about it?  I guess it’s not as “out there” as Hot Rod was.  But Hot Rod was a masterpiece of nonsensically stupid filmmaking (IS THAT SULLIVAN?).  Nothing in Popstar made me cry-laugh like the falling down the mountain scene did the first time I saw Hot Rod.  Also, nothing makes me groan like a forced in weed joke, which Popstar managed to avoid until the last act, and then it wasn’t even funny.  Luckily they made up for it with a legitimately clever stoner joke during the end credits, by playing a reggae song  called “Legalize It”, about accidentally smoking crack.

Give me a quick Haiku for the road:

That Bin Laden song
I want to sing it out loud
I can’t in public

Grade:  B+

 

04 ninja turtles

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Hurry up, what is this?  It’s the Ninja Turtles sequel that has what every 7-year-old in 1991 was hoping for:  Beebop and Rocksteady.  Remember when we had to settle for Tokka and Rahzar?  What a gyp!

Why should I waste my time?  You can bash Michael Bay all you want for (over) producing these movies/toy commercials in typical empty calorie fashion, but this is the first time in the Ninja Turtles 30+ years that random fan favorite characters finally made an appearance in a film.  The Ninja Turtles work best as a weird slew of crazy characters, so this is a breath of fresh(ish) air.  Pretty good character design on everything but the Turtles as well (I especially liked Krang).  It’s a good dumb kids movie that a nostalgic, former action figure collector can also appreciate.  Anyone else over the age of 12 be warned.

Move it along, what’s bad about it?  It’s not exactly sophisticated, obviously.  The plot is obnoxiously simple.  And now that we’ve had two movies to look at these new Turtles, we can officially, definitively agree that they are horribly ugly.

Give me a quick Haiku for the road:

When I was a kid
All that I wanted to see
Was that dumb Rhino

Grade:  C-

 

05 warcraft

WARCRAFT

Hurry up, what is this?  A video game adaptation (those are always successful, right?) about the first Warcraft game from the 90s.  So there’s no pandas…  YET.

Why should I waste my time?  I actually went in with an open mind, and the hope that it would be better than reviews were indicating.  And for the first 10 minutes, I was totally hooked.  It starts out great (and slides downhill slowly after that).  It has some pretty good visuals, and the production design and character design are pretty good.  Gul’dan is a decently intense bad guy.  If you have a fetish for things getting hit with hammers really hard, this is for you.

Move it along, what’s bad about it?  I could chalk a lot of this up to me being really tired when I watched it, but it had many scenes that failed to hold my attention.  Like, at all.  I hated everything about the young wizard guy, from his story arc to his acting to his dumb face and haircut.  The half orc/half human character was underdeveloped despite their best efforts, and she looked like a Party City “sexy orc” costume.  The whole thing is mostly just generic, uninspired, eventual Wal-Mart bargain bin material.  It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it definitely a miss.

Give me a quick Haiku for the road:

Full body make up
And Zoe Saldana declined?
Must be a bad role

Grade:  D+

 

MK1_5074.dng

THE CONJURING 2

Hurry up, what is this?  The sequel to that good horror movie from a few years ago that spawned a terrible spin-off movie (Annabelle), that also seemed hell-bent on making up for it.

Why should I waste my time?  While this movie relies primarily on jump scares, they are some of the most finely crafted jump scares out there.  They are like high art.  They belong in an Art Institute exhibit.  I was riveted the entire time and was actually engaged every time a new scene would start.  If you’re into horror, it’s hard to argue that this is a worse option than any of the competition this year.

Move it along, what’s bad about it?  The demon thing gets beat in a kind of dumb and easy way.  When I went home and looked up info on the case this was inspired by, I was quickly shown many articles explaining how it was a giant hoax.  I mean, I knew it wasn’t actually real, but it was so obviously a hoax that it really took the wind out from under it.

Give me a quick Haiku for the road:

Marilyn Manson
That’s who the demon looked like
It was uncanny

Grade:  B

 

See you in July!   読み取り恐竜の骨に感謝

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2 thoughts on “Speed Reviews: X-Men Apocalypse; Popstar; Ninja Turtles; Warcraft; Conjuring 2

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