¡y el cómic #61 ya está disponible en español en yendoacasa.koolyfish.com!
I skipped movie log duties last time because I had only seen one movie, and I didn't feel like having an entire post dedicated to it. But that's not the case this time around. We've got 7 movies to cover now! That's a bunch of them, alright. But honestly, ... this wasn't a particularly great bunch of movies. There's one I really liked, but the rest of them are either terrible or I've got to, you know. Act a bit self-aware of the circumstances. The one that was pretty good is, indeed, pretty good. But we'll get to that one in due time.
And since we're dealing with a bunch of movies in one sit, I'll make this one a bit shorter than usual -- quality over quantity, or some form of that, you could say. Here we go!
First up is Jeremy Snead's Video Games: The Movie
. Like Indie Games: The Movie, this was a Kickstarted/IndieGogoed project boosted by the involvement of an A-lister such as Zach Braff (and his buddy Donald Faison, sure). It's a documentary about... well, video games! Their history, evolution, regressions, the highs and lows, all that. And that's about it, really. There's nothing else going on here. It's so exclusively about video games we don't get unique perspectives or even a minimal fun fact about them. They were made, they were sold, they got big. Nothing else. Hope you investors got your money's worth.
This is a terrible movie. I mean, it shouldn't be so hard to make an engrossing documentary about something you love. Want to see an excellent video game doc? Go check out The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. That movie speaks volumes about hardcore gaming and competitive exclusivity, all from the point of view of two guys playing Donkey Kong. I mentioned Indie Game: The Movie a while ago, and though that's not a great movie, there were some pretty decent chapters. The Phil Fish story was good enough to serve as its own thing, I thought. However, Video Games: The Movies is simply a Wikipedia entry on Video Games. It's somewhat insightful if you didn't know anything about it, but if you know your minimum, then there's nothing fresh for you here. And still, even if you're an outsider, what's in here for you other than propaganda and namedropping? "Video games are the ultimate medium", "it's a new, wildly creative form of art", "they're here to stay", and such. As a gamer, you don't feel empowered by these sayings. You feel like if they're still trying to prove that Roger Ebert was wrong when he said video games weren't art.
It's such a waste of money and time and good people involved. No need for Reggie Fils-Aime, Hideo Kojima, Nolan Bushnell or Cliff Bleszinski -- in fact, I think their presence makes the movie a doomed project from the get-go. I wonder if any of them would've participated here if the movie had any inkling of a criticism towards them, their brands and their products. We do now that not everything Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft ever did was perfect and brilliant in all ways, shape and form. But we do have the people behind them here, so we can't afford to say "maybe the Virtual Boy/blatant imitation of Nintendo/the RROD wasn't so great, guys". They have everybody on board, so they have to please them. No bias or point-of-views here.
Just don't. Play a good video game instead. BTW, would you guys quit it with this "The Movie" subtitle? It cheapens the project so, so much. We don't see "Banksy: The Movie", we see Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Up next is... yes, here it is. I had to wait a bit of a while, but no longer. Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction
. Long gone are Sam "no no nO NO NO NO NO" Witwicky and "what was her name again" Megan Fox (she was already gone by Transformers 3, but still). This movie's part of a new trilogy starring Mark Wahlberg. That alone is enough for me to make me interested in this, since the last time Wahlberg and Bay worked together they ended up at #5 of my favorite films of 2013. They were very comfortably on my good graces -- at least for now.
... and they're still are, to some extent. Maybe if this movie was as bad as Transformers 3 I would've put back the status quo on Bay, but honestly he's made the best (live-action) Transformers movie so far. Maybe all it took was taking Shia LaBeouf out of the equation to make these movies palatable: Mark Wahlberg IS a believable action hero. He can stand by Optimus's side and look convincing -- and menacing in his own way because the dude's fucking crazy. But keep in mind that all things considered, it's still a Transformers movie. It's not bad, but it's not good either: It's... not regrettable. It's a movie too long, with too many plot threads for its own sake. It started good. Then it got rather boring. Then it good good again, but at hour three you'll be more exhausted than you'll ever be hyped for its super gratituous violence.
Regardless, it's the best so far (with Kelsey Grammer bringing the series's best performance to date so far, as a no-nonsense, behind-the-curtains villain, too. Stanley Tucci's here also, and he's fun too, but I'm always there for Tucci anyways). It avoids falling into crude sexual anti-innuendos and annoying comic reliefs by mostly having none of them. It's the first one of the series you could somehow take seriously. I'll be checking out the sequel as soon as it comes out, I figure. As long as they keep Shia away, that is.
Then we've got the one, the only... James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy
. The final Marvel movie before Avengers 2, no less. It introduces a handful of characters, all of them odd and less-than-perfect compared to their already-tested coleagues like Iron Man and Captain America, but that's what makes them so great. They make an effort on being as unique and out-there as possible. It's new-ish, so I'm not gonna go that much into a plot synopsis (let alone talk about the currently-a-staple Marvel post-credits scene). They're all so good it's tough to think about the MVP here: Rocket, Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Groot... the five of them are so fun to watch together I can't help feeling that they're so great precisely because they're all standing next to someone just as weird as each of them.
It also speaks volumes about Marvel's confidence, 6 years removed from the original Iron Man. Only after delivering a slew of superpowerful characters, born from the most unexpected circumstances and the wildest realms of the universe, they could deliver a movie as crowded, as deadpan, as quirky and as 80s-hip as 'Guardians'. They've tested the waters on us with the technological excesses of Iron Man, the kitschly patriotic Captain America, and the campy musclehead of Thor and his infamous, trickster brother Loki. Now it's time for something else.
It's a really fun movie. Worth a repeat in my opinion. But I'd say it's more fun than it is good in terms of action. There are some good action sequences here, but they're dwarfed by the punchlines and the sitcom-like humor present. Not to mention that the villains here are probably the weakest we've ever seen from Marvel so far (aside from Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2, but granted, the problem with him was that he wasn't enough in the movie to feel like a true villain... and Iron Man 2 is terrible no matter what). They're not distracting or badly performed. They're just not very memorable.
You've probably seen the movie a number of times now, so I'm not gonna choir the chants anymore: it's good. Top 3 Marvel for me, alongside Avengers and Iron Man 1 (although if we're incluiding every Marvel movie out there, Days of Future Past's still my favorite).
What's not so fun is Keiichiro Kawaguchi's Hunter x Hunter: The Last Mission
. Where to even begin with this piece of ass. I'm a big, huge fan of the original series, and I'm not trying to come off as a geek who'll foam at the mouth over minor details being changed. But this movie is simply put, inept. I haven't seen a movie so careless with its continiuity in my life. Things not only not make any sense in its own universe, but they don't even make any LOGICAL, COMMON SENSE.
Because I wrote this entire movie log forgetting to write about this piece of shit, so I'm adding it at the very last minute, I'll make it super quick: our heroes use an aural-based power to come up with their own supermoves and talents. But in this movie, and for this one movie only, there's A DARK SIDE TO THAT POWER. And our heroes will have to fight against that.
If you're a fan of the series, you're gonna hate this movie with every passing scene. Yes, I said I wouldn't geek the fuck out of this movie, but if my suddenly more aggressive language highlights is that I'm so, so angry at this movie, because while this is around, the animé finished a fantastic arc in such an excellent, emotional way. Where similar series would go all out, celebrating victory, this one found comfort in hushes in the dark. There's a rarely seen level of artistry and authorship in the final episodes to that arc that... it's just lost in this movie (and in last year's Phantom Rouge, too). To whom are these movies made? Diehards will hate them, newbies won't understand them because it'll put them in the middle of it. You're not gonna get why, for instance, Kurapica's working as a bodyguard unless you've read/seen the original works. So what's the point of making this movie like this? New concepts introduced here won't hold no water if any new fans are born from watching this movie: they'll soon realize they suck.
I have plenty to say about it, but I'll save my words for a later time. Unless this year turns out to be catastrophic to the point the whole industry just dies, I'll be talking about it in due time. Stay tuned. It's bad. It's clichéd. It's nothing the original series stands for.
Then we have Camille Delamarre's Brick Mansions
, a remake of the 2004 french film District 13, and also Paul Walker's last completed film before his death (thought it was Hours, but no). Walker and David Belle (who also starred in the original) must cooperate to disarm a bomb located in the den of thieves and drug dealers (and home to some nice people, too) known as Brick Mansions. However, the RZA, a local kingpin, is trying to ensure a healthy piece of money in exchange for the bomb which is now in his possession. But, once again, however, things won't be as easy as either party expect. Because there's a third party involved.
The action pieces here are fine and fast-paced, all over town, over and under roofs. Very parkour-y thanks to an eye-catchingly acrobatic David Belle. Still, for as good these sequences are, the movie is literally 90% action, 10% plot. They'll very much jump from one fisticuff to another with a mere exchange of words, and with as little reasoning as possible. I'm not kidding when Belle and Walker, not too long after meeting each other, find a car and proceed to fight each other by simply saying "that's my car" to one another. They fight over a piece of shit van that they'll ditch after crashing it a few minutes later.
But the action pieces, if anything, are good enough to salvage the movie: it's a fun movie to watch without minding what's going on. It's very, very well choreographed, and the scenes go on for a while, so you're not going to be bored by a lack of fighting variety. But you'll be confused and surprised when you find out the ... "twist?" going on here. It's absurd. I wouldn't mind a longer movie if only to make that 10% of plot a bit bigger, just enough to make the plot work -- because it doesn't.
It's fun, but it's nothing to take too seriously. One you can enjoy by leaving it on the background while you attend something else.
Thought we were done with Bay? Nope. Now we get Jonathan Liebesman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
, which Bay produced. You know what's going on here, right? 4 anthro turtles are masters of ninjitsu and fight against Shredder and the Foot Clan in the streets and sewers of New York. That's it. Nothing much else changes here. Well, some changes transpire, but most of it is kept in place. Leo's the leader, Ralph's the rebel, Mikey's the jokester, and Don's the tech-geek. You know the colors, you know the weapons each of them uses. You know Splinter, and you know April O'Neil. Speaking of which, thought we were done with Megan Fox?
In all fairness, this movie was better than it had any right to be: the CGI's awful. Just terrible. Look at those lips. What were they thinking. The only one who's given a pass with this botoxed-up design is Raphael, since he's by far the biggest, most muscular of the turtles, so his facial features feel downplayed given his general anatomy. For his proportions, they look fine-ish. It's also worth pointing out that Ralph's the less busy looking one, as he's not covered in made-up clothes or gadgets, making his body easier to read and... welp, accept. Donatello's just a mess of looking too thin and being covered in crap, if you want to look an opposing case.
The action scenes are all terrible too. They're this blurry, continuous mess in which you can't tell heads or tails of what's going on. You only get the more general idea from them "the turtles are doing this", but not the specifics or the individual locations of each turtle, so your eyes are constantly moving trying to figure out where's everybody when they happen. In the end, you end up seeing nothing. And the plot's not great, too. It's too convinient for its own good. Things just happen for the sake of happening. Spoiler warning: they very much learn ninjitsu because Splinter finds a ... um, ninjitsu guidebook in the sewers. And he teaches himself so he can teach it to his sons. Um... sure? This bit is just one of plenty instances in which things just happen for the sake of happening, but I'm not gonna count them all because...
... when I mean this movie was better than it had any right to be, I meant it because despite everything I've listed above, the terrible designs, the messy action scenes, the weak plot, it's still fun. Finally, after all these years, I finally got a movie in which I can say the turtles are actually their first T in TMNT. Teenage. They act accordingly to their age. They're loud, they're jokey, they're dumb and unorganized. But they're not aggravating or ever boring. They're fun. So is Megan Fox's April O'Neil and Will Arnet in this movie. If anything, and much like in Guardians, the villains are the weakest links here, but the heroes are fun enough to compensate their dullness.
Is it a good move? Nnno? It's okay. It's not the worst thing ever, not by a long shot. It's a movie you have to see without expecting much, however. It is what it is.
Finally, we've got Olivier Dahan's Grace of Monaco
, a film based on the true story of Grace Kelly, who in the 60s relinquished her Hollywood, Oscar-winning fame in favor of marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco. However, in the thick of the Algerian-French war, her creative longings and the reality around her will make things difficult for her, her marriage, and Monaco as a whole.
While it's a very pleasant movie for the eyes with its elegant, dreamy fabrics and monagescan landscapes, there's not a whole lot going on here considering all the angles it had to work with. Fame, drive, politics, war, economy, artistry, ... all that. It deals with them, sure, but only a very shallow level. Nothing that'll make you more insightful on the handling of the ongoing crisis, either personal or international. The performances don't help much here either -- they all fall in the "with an accent" territory. It's Nicole Kidman! with an accent.
It's like a muted Baz Luhrmann film, devoid of any joy, energy or purpose. It could have it all if it tried, because everything's so neatly laid out for this movie. At times it'll try some jumpy, up-and-down editing whenever there's a practice montage of the royal protocols, but they all start and end without much provocation. One day Grace was thinking she should do something, thinks about it for a sec, and then she's very much into it, devoting days to perfecting whatever's on her mind, whether it's a part for a movie or something politically important. She'll just go straight to it -- and Rainier, played by Tim Roth, isn't any better either. He'll flip from bitter to loving in a blink.
It's not a good movie. But it'll do great at Best Costume Design, at least. It'll be there, but winning will be something else.
That's it for now! Best of luck