Posts Tagged ‘star trek into darkness’

6 Fast 6 Furious…or Furious 6…or Faster 6 Furiouser or whatever it’s called (2013) – Justin Lin (Dir.), Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludicris, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne “Samoan Thor” Johnson, Sung Kang, Luke Evans, Gal Gadot, Gina Carano

 Do you see how unrealistic this movie is? It's only mildly cloudy in London. Bullshit.

Do you see how unrealistic this movie is? It’s only mildly cloudy in London. Bullshit.

Guys…I’m not sure what happened. What began as a joking suggestion to waltz into the sixth installment of a series that I would rather encounter less than a bout of super-herpes, ended with me walking, nay, stumbling from the theater, falling to my knees and crying to the heavens, “WHY? WHY DID YOU NOT TELL ME ABOUT THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS? WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (I was, of course, talking directly to Roger Ebert, duh). I would have put my face in my hands if it hadn’t already been melted off by Justin Lin’s fatality of a blockbuster. Like that guy who claimed he had gotten to third base because a girl had fainted on him breasts-first, I was basically a virgin when it came to this…I can’t even call it a ‘franchise’. Words fail me when describing what this series of films represents. It is no mere set of cheap cashings-in on some out-played formula. I mean, it is…but it is also so much more than that. It is not an epic, but rather a saga, a creation myth for, what one brilliant writer at Grantland termed, the ‘Fast & Furi-verse’. It is a beautiful and complex realm. A land of beautiful vehicles speeding recklessly through foreign cities with impunity while their mildly invincible meat puppets at the wheel communicate only in punches to the face and bullets to the chest. This is a world without logic as we know it. A world where the laws of physics are merely a suggestion. A world where runways can be thirty miles long to allow for a 20 minute finale. A world where the otherwise absurd concept of racing thieves isn’t just a possibility but an active scourge on the legal landscape. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where magic is born. And by magic, I mean Vin Diesel.

I had little to no understanding of the series before taking my seat. I had seen snippets of the first movie and, with the rest of the footage I have had incessantly burned onto my frontal lobe from every HD ad for DVDs ever, I managed to piece it together. However, there were 4 more fucking movies after that. Do you know what that means? Lord of the Rings happened in 3 movies. Imagine what could happen in 4! Well, apparently, not that much. From what I gathered in the “Previously on the only thing on Paul Walker’s Resume”, a bunch of shit went down in the last movies. However, because Lin’s throbbing techno soundtrack played in the place of actual audio, the plot round-up seemed more like an NYU experimental film just with very pretty people.

"The script says this is where we make out..." "I will fucking stab you if you try this again, dude."

“The script says this is where we make out…”
“I will fucking stab you.”

Basically, we have Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), a man who both simultaneously gives enough fucks that he will do anything for his friends and so few fucks that he will RAM HIS SPEEDING CAR INTO A WALL TO PROPEL HIMSELF OVER A RAVINE TO CATCH SOMEONE HURTLING FROM A FLIPPING TANK…IN SLOW MOTION (true story), is chilling in the Canary Islands with newly-fathered and Chris-Pine-if-he-were-homeless Paul Walker when The Rock shows up to ask for his help in taking down an international crime lord. The twist is? The crime lord uses CARS. Because, in this universe, caltrops and tire traps don’t exist. Of course, Dom and his super rich pals (I guess they robbed a place in the previous movie and became exceedingly rich) are hypnotized by a picture of Michelle Rodriguez. Now, I like Rodriguez just fine. She basically eats badass for breakfast and regurgitates it on the cinema audience like a mother returning to her chicks. I don’t understand getting yourself caught in a massive crime scheme because of a grainy photo. I guess she ‘died’ in a previous movie so they were ‘shocked’ she was still ‘alive’. What the fuck ever.

THE POINT IS: There are multiple bags of flesh flapping multiple mouths. Some of them are people and some of them are Tyrese “I’m Pretty Sure He’s a Robot That Wasn’t Wired Right” Gibson. But this is all blah-blah-blah until someone gets punched or someone gets into a moving vehicle of some kind. Our director Justin Lin understands this well. Thusly, there is nary a scene of this film where a gun is not discharged or a person is punched in the moneymaker (and seeing as the entire cast is populated by models, both male and female, it’s absolutely an accurate term). But then the cars start and suddenly every member of the cast becomes invincible. It doesn’t matter if a car flips or smashes in half or gets crushed by a tank, as long as you are inside the car, in this Furi-verse, you are deemed worthy of life and safe from harm. The second you get out…well, that’s another story. In terms of the ‘scenes’ between car-gasms, I believe I counted almost ten that began with an explicit act of violence. It’s a purer form of communication in this world.

Finally, we come to the action. Oh the action. It is difficult to describe the feeling one gets when witnessing a high speed chase through Picadilly Circus, or a fist fight between Michelle “Midwife of Badassery” Rodriguez and Gina “I Am Literally Trained To Fucking Kill You” Carano in the London tube, or the aforementioned aerial/auto acrobatics of one Vin “His Last Name Isn’t Ironic In the Least” Diesel. It might be that sense of glee a young Andrew might find while awaking at five am on Christmas morning, rushing downstairs and discovering a tree surrounded by presents. Except, instead of presents, it’s the fucking Rock with his neck increasing in size every day and biceps comparable to damn jackhammers. Every set piece is captivating and pulse-pounding from beginning to end. And, seeing as it is quickly defined that every character in this universe has as much to fear from physical harm as Superman, watching the flesh marionettes beat the ever-loving shit out of each other takes on a zen-like joy. I mean, watching Diesel get a face full of roundhouse kick, you can finally sense that there is some order to the universe. THAT IS HOW LIFE-CHANGING THIS MOVIE IS. Also, Ludracris playing, I guess, a stoned super-computer-genius garden gnome uses the phrase: “We need more alphabets!” Yet. This is pure, uncut, Colombian amazingness.

Terrifying. On a pant-wetting level.

Terrifying. On a pant-wetting level.

And it, I am sure, is all thanks to Justin Lin. He is the director of this batshit menagerie. Mr. Lin was, I believe, brought on to direct the dark horse of the series, 3 Fast 3 Furious: Something About Tokyo (or something) and, since then, has cornered the market on ridiculous sequel names since. I, however, know Justin Lin as the man who delivered the genius ‘paintball’ episodes of the harshly underrated TV show, Community. This is a man who knows his humor and so, when Tyrese delivers yet another of his bland, misogynistic, cowardly one-liners, you don’t roll your eyes, but laugh. All attempts at intentional humor are almost intentionally humorously humorless. The lack of funny in the quip is exactly what makes it hilarious. It’s a moebius joke. An inside-out jest. An ouroboros chortle. His understanding of action is so precise, perfect and complete that you never once fear that your hopes will fail you. The ordeal is so beautifully paced that you never get bored. I mean, yes, I started looking at my phone when the meat muppets began yapping, but I could always assume there were only a few seconds before someone felt some facial malefaction by way of a fist to the nasal region. It could have been due to the writers, though it’s seriously doubtful. Most the lines dribbling from The Rock’s mouth had about as much gravity as a fucking M&M on a diet. There is literally a moment when the crew, who is currently in London, discovers that Luke “Zeus” Evans and his bad guy team are in Spain and Diesel says “That means they’re in another country!” Do you really have so little faith that your audience has so meager an understanding of European geography that you have to…oh wait, someone’s about to get punched again!

Now, I am keenly aware of my rather pretentious leanings when it comes to my flavor of cinema. Only a few days ago, I took Star Trek into Darkness to task for almost exactly the same things for which I laud this movie. And, yes, this might be hypocritical. But there is so much more going on. This series is brilliant. I don’t mean ‘brilliant’ in the sense of Beasts of the Southern Wild. No, even with its predilections for it’s heavy-handed ‘FAMILY IS FOREVER’ themes, it’s about as thematically deep an ant’s paddling pool. Its complexity comes from pure scope. Upon our exit from the movie, my friend Ben regaled me on the finer points of the Furi-verse’s chronology. Turns out, movie 3 takes place after all of the others. Due to the fact that they enjoyed the totally awesome character of Han so much, they decided to make the next 3 movies in the franchise his origin story, which finally culminates at the end of 6 with a brilliantly ret-conned cameo paving the way for movie 7, which will no doubt be titled 7 Fast 7 Fur7ouslier. It’s as intricate a world as anything Marvel can pump out. Yes, it’s fluff. It’s mental meltdown of the purest kind. But it has no pretension towards anything else. Lin keeps you on the edge of your seats, not because you’re afraid the good guys might lose or that anyone will get ‘hurt’, but because LOOK AT THE ROCK’S BICEPS, WHY HASN’T HE FOUGHT ANYONE YET? I BET WHEN HE DOES IT WILL BE AMAZEBALLS. Sure enough, it is. Both he and Carano shift through the film like springs wound to their tensile limit, ready to fucking explode. When they finally do, you will not be disappointed.

If I could sum up this movie in a single image...

If I could sum up this movie in a single image…

This is not good cinema. This is an anomaly. If I had seen something half as stupid, I might have condemned it to the lowest ring of hell. But not this. There is a level of passion and love that is coursing through this franchise’s veins that could rival any great film. It truly cares about its characters. I mean, how rare is it that I would remember any of the characters’ names in a bullshit fest like this? It never happens. You know what? For two hours, I forgot that I once suffered through The Chronicles of Riddick while bedridden with the flu and, for the first time in years, I actually rooted for Vin Diesel to not get his face caught in a weedwacker. Do you know how significant that is to me? Life-changing. Nothing but.

However, I then left the theater and saw a poster for the next Riddick movie and my bloodlust was ignited once more. Fuck that guy. Oh well.

Summer Movie Preview 2013

Part One – Movies I Want to See

Every summer movie season has about as many ups and downs as the “Bi-Polar Coaster” at Six Flags. We’ve got our A game, our Dark Knights, our Jurassic Parks, you know, shit that makes audiences spontaneously spew fan-boy goo from every orifice. Then there’s the mid-shelf stuff. At first you’re like, “Nah-uh, they did NOT just greenlight a sequel to the prequel of the sequel to X-Men”. But then, like that old bottle of milk, you can’t find anything else to drink. You sniff. You shrug. You sip. It ain’t that bad but it’s not exactly a game changer. After that, you’ve got your indies, your cults and your duds. You know the duds. The ones the studio just NEEDS to recoup some of their investment. Why not shove every b-list slab of talent you’ve got on endless retainer up its ass and hope their recent guest spot on SNL was painless enough to jolt you from your couch, through the searing heat of the sun and into the air conditioned movie theater? You know, the one-night-stands of movies.

Well, fear not, today is dedicated to those glimmers of chromatic brilliance lost in an otherwise black and blue palette of blandness that this year has to offer. Now, last year had the likes of The Dark Knight Rises, the allure of Prometheus, the anticipation of The Avengers and the assumption that Joss Whedon was going to get sucked into the Marvel jet engine like some wayfaring bird caught in airspace over O’Hare. This year…not so much. We have a few palatable offerings but nothing that going to make me squee like I did during the opening moments of Les Miserables um…during the…(research and insert up-to-date sports reference). And much like my girlfriend on “Andrew’s Extended Striptease Night”, you are all probably saying “Get the fuck on with it!” And my response to her is the same to you: “Don’t rush genius, baby.”

Iron Man 3

RDJ, the Man so fine even G-Palt is copping a feel.

RDJ, the Man so fine even G-Palt is copping a feel.

Ah yes, once again Marvel must tighten the chains and drag out our good ole pal Robert Downey Jr. for yet another foray into the suit of iron. If Disney has given us any indication of their artistic farming practices in the past 60 years, they are going to milk that mutherfucker dry until his udders are pouring nothing but limp-lipped catchphrases and phoned-in numbness. Following is the list of stuff that RDJ has appeared in for Disney over the past few years: Iron Man, Iron Man (The Video Game), The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, The Avengers 2 – Electric Boogaloo and the Avengers’ rarely seen sex-tape Thor’s Hammer and Some Man Iron. Dude is like 60 and a recovering heroin addict. Either he is immortal or he is working on borrowed time, people.

Back to the movie. While The Avengers (or as it was turdishly known as in the UK Avengers Assemble because British people can’t discern the difference between a major blockbuster with a hundred famous people based on the massively successful comic book series, and a movie adaptation of a 60s TV show no one gives a shit about where Sean Connery goes for the Oscar for Best Supporting Comatose Actor) was brain-bustingly amazing, the lead up was a parade of uneven snore-fests. Thor? If you’re not into Hemsworth-abs, it ain’t workin’, darlin’. Captain America? It was totes dece until that montage that made up the ENTIRE SECOND HALF OF THE MOVIE. Even Iron Man 2 was an exercise in tepid blandness. How the fuck can you make Mickey Rourke, you know, that guy with a face that looks like he tried to make his nose look like a vagina, with a Russian accent, a pet bird and ELECTRIC WHIPS ATTACHED TO HIS SPINE boring? Well, Mr. Favreau did it. And then he was fired. Thank the lord.

This time we have the little-known Shane West, responsible for the gut-spewingly funny Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, as well as the addition of Guy “If Vanilla Were to Take Human Form” Pearce as boring bad guy number 1 and the ubiquitous Ben “I Have a Lot of Ex-Wives” Kingsley as the dangerously-close-to-racism-if-they-aren’t-incredibly-careful Mandarin. And, from the trailers, it looks pretty cool. Now, I won’t O over the keyboard for yet another RDJ speed-speak competition. There will be funny lines, over the top action and, most importantly, Ben Kingsley wearing Ray Bans and speaking with an accent that rivals Bane for what-the-fuckery. I am always in favor of that.

This is the End

And the award for sweatiest pile of humans goes to...

And the award for sweatiest pile of humans goes to…

So, there are these guys in Hollywood. We all know them. They’re a little boy’s club that has grown from humble beginnings to taking over the ENTIRETY of mainstream comedy. No, I’m not talking about Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler and the rest of the SNL circa 1995 gang. And no, I’m not talking about Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and the other duds from SNL circa the 2000s. And, jesus, NO, I’m not talking about Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and John Belushi. God, guys, not cool. Belushi is dead. Go think about what you’ve done.

I am, of course, talking about the entire cast of Freaks and Greeks along with all the other kinda-indie funny guys they have sucked into their charging snowball of increasing revenues. These guys show up like the Magnificent Seven every fucking year with yet another film that you hope isn’t just a dumb stoner comedy and yet, it almost always is. We have Seth “The Writer” Rogan, James “He Says He’s a Writer But I’m Pretty Sure He Has No Idea Where He is Half the Time” Franco, Jonah “The Younger, Fatter Seth Rogan” Hill, Paul “Dreamsicle” Rudd, Jason “Actually Does Other Things, Like the Muppets, Seriously” Segel, Craig “The Black Guy” Robinson, Jay “What Happened to His Face? Like, Has it Always Been Like That? Does He Constantly Have Something Stuck in His Eye?” Baruchel, Danny “If a Mullet Were a Human Being” McBride and Michael “Please, For the Love of God, Stop” Cera. Well, their years of circling around the inevitable have finally come to an end. Yes, we all believed that they would eventually suck themselves into their own anuses but, while many assumed it had occurred on the set of Your Highness, they deliver this little puppy into theaters.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

You know what isn’t funny? Watching a bunch of smug comedian friends sit around being assholes to each other and the rest of humanity. You know what is? Watching that same load of smug assholes get VICIOUSLY MURDERED ONE BY ONE. The concept is, for all intents and purposes, balls-out brilliant. I’m talking, swinging-testicles-free-from-pants-and-flying-in-the-wind genius. What’s the problem with apocalypse movies? That pesky thing known as ‘characterization’. It’s a scourge on all Emmerich-esque screenwriters. Unfortunately, for an audience to care about whether or not you drop a fucking skyscraper on a character’s head you have to get them to actually care about them. You don’t get points for making them a) black, b) a child, c) a black child, d) gay or e) a black, gay child. Until they do something worthy of our interest, they are simply slabs of meat readied for the oncoming abattoir of choice. Here, however, they already have characters…themselves. Suddenly, the jokes that all those Disaster Movie and Scary Movie Vs have been attempting for years suddenly become hilarious. Love them for their banter or fucking hate them for it, you are guaranteed that every one of the ‘Geek Squad’ is getting mutilated somehow. Yes, I know the third act will be a horrid unfunny mess. Yes, it will totally overstay its welcome. But, I mean…come on…Michael Cera gets impaled in the trailer. Oscar for Best Screenplay written all over it.

Elysium

Elysium, the touching story of a man overcoming scoliosis and terrible back-tattoos

Elysium, the touching story of a man overcoming scoliosis and terrible back-tattoos

A few years ago, the geniuses in Hollywood greenlit a movie adaptation of Halo. I know what you’re going to say, but wait, it gets better. They then hired Alex Garland, the brains behind Danny Boyle classics The Beach and 28 Days Later to write a screenplay for $1 million. They then threw it out. The Halo debacle cost someone or other millions upon millions of dollars, Peter Jackson a major headache and almost killed the career of up-and-coming filmmaker and Bond-villainly-eponymous Neill Blomkamp. Luckily, from the mountain of artistic manure grew a single delicate flower. District 9 hit theaters with a shoe-string budget, a no-name cast and a whole lot of limb-dismemberment. It was a brutal and half-clever/half-video-game-fanboy-snuff-film that explored the politics behind South African apartheid and fear of otherness. The movie was so damn good that even my mother, you know, the matriarch of “Game of Thrones looks disgusting”, fucking adored it. No joke, I bought it for her on Blu-Ray for a birthday and she couldn’t have been happier.

Now, years later, Blomkamp is back with Mr. Matt “Please Don’t Ask Me To Do Another Bourne Movie” Damon in the lead. What’s it about? Fuck knows. Earth sucks. Elysium is great. Also, they use a bone saw to attach a metal skeleton to Matt Damon’s spine. TICKET PLEASE! You had me at ‘bone saw to attach a metal skeleton to Matt Damon’s spine’. District 9 was one of the first of many sic-fi movies forcing the winds of change to sweep through the desolate soulless plains of Hollywood Summer-dom. Intelligence and humanity is finally finding its way into this horde of messes hotter than an Lindsay Lohan between rehab visits. Sci-fi is now skirting the realms of Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clark and more writers with middle initials. From Inception to Looper to the recent stylings of Oblivion, science fiction is desperately trying to discover this concept called ‘intelligence’. Now, yes, it’s hard because most of the writers are insufferable morons, but the thought does count. Who knows? Maybe Elysium will be more the bang-bang-lightning-gun-head-a-sploding second half of District 9 and less the ponderous and discussion-provoking first. I’m willing to give hope a chance. Unless hope fucks it up then I’m going to hunt hope down like the dog it is and burn it in public effigy. You hear that, Blomkamp? If your movie sucks, I will make sure that this world becomes a hopeless hellscape!

Kick Ass 2

Um...Kick Ass 2, I think your catch phrase is broken.

Um…Kick Ass 2, I think your catch phrase is broken.

Alright, I’m not really sure how this bad boy made the list…but I guess that’s what happens when I gotta scrape the bottom of the barrel. Sometimes you don’t get the good stuff, just the black and moldy leftovers that people forgot to wash out months ago. Oh well, I’m talking about it now. To those of you who didn’t see it (and judging by box office receipts I’m pretty sure that includes everybody in the world) Kick Ass gracefully slid into theaters, cutting under the sensors with it’s cunt-and-knife-weilding 12-year-old Chloe Moretz Grace and Nicholas Cage giving his best performance in a trillion years. And, so graceful it was, Kick-Ass slid right across the stage and into the orchestra pit. Nobody noticed. I had a multitude of reasons to see the first Kick Ass. First of all, it’s called Kick Ass. Second, it’s from the disturbingly dark mind of Mark Millar, the man responsible for Timur Bek-Oh-God-Please-Don’t-Make-Me-Say-His-Name-betov’s literal blood-and-shit-show Wanted. Third, it was written and directed by Mr. Claudia Schiffer and the talented half of the Snatch production crew, Matthew Vaughn.

Let’s get this straight. Kick Ass wasn’t good. It was awesome. Foul-mouthed, invincible ninja 12-year-old girl? Check. Mark Strong being an asshole? Check. And…well, really it only needed that first one and I’d be cool with it. So, years later, after Ms. Moretz Grace has been tapped to remake every movie ever (Let Me In, Carrie etc.) and the titular Aaron Johnson was in that one movie where Salma Hayek had bangs, the crew is back. But Chloe isn’t 12 anymore. And Nic Cage isn’t in it. And the allure of Moretz Grace who, since the first movie, has now eaten people, ripped people’s heads off, murdered an entire auditorium of high schoolers and almost killed herself because of her period, has worn off. Yes, she murders people. YAWN. Gimme something else. Well, there is Jim Carrey. Who doesn’t love Jim Carrey? Oh, right, me. Um…who cares. It’s going to be violent, dumb, and Hit Girl is delightful. NEXT!

Star Trek to the Ground into Darkness

Star Trek's shocking twist: Cumberbatch is really the Kool Aid guy

Star Trek’s shocking twist: Cumberbatch is really the Kool Aid guy

Ah yes…the coup de grace. Through all of this seasonal mediocrity finally a morsel worth supping upon. Alright nerds, hide your boners. Let us sit upon the ground and talk of kings. And by ‘kings’ I mean the jerkoff who made me both love and despise LOST. Mr. JJ Abrams (because he’s just too good for first names, JEFF) is a man who has both plagued and saved Hollywood over the last few years. From his breakout dud Mission: Impossible III to the confusingly mislead Super 8, his career is filled with more misfires than a blind man’s firing squad. His movies are never bad per se…they’re just not exactly, well, good. That was until Star Trek. We all groaned when we saw the Enterprise under construction in Iowa back in 2008. I think the Nerd Discussion Boards crashed faster than Evil Kineval on a bad day, loaded with death threats and rages of the pimpled variety.

And then the movie arrived in theaters.

To say that we all let out a sigh of relief would be like saying people were ‘slightly excited’ about the return of the McRib. If it weren’t a horrific Obam-ian sci-fi faux pas, I’d say that there had been a disturbance in the Force. But I ain’t no nerd baiting moron. I mean, all I would have to do is point out that Spock intends to cut open the heads of the Enterprise’s crew to steal their powers, Chekhov will have to go back in time to impregnate Sarah Conner, Sulu is going to get lost on his way to White Castle, Bones is going to save Helm’s Deep from the forces of Saruman, Uhura is going to turn blue and hiss at things, and Scottie is going to defend a pub against zombies. Oh yes, that’s all while the director opens a Jedi Academy.

So…many…crossovers…brain…melting

So, what’s the plot of this movie? Well, it seems the crew, hot off the victory over Eric Bana playing, I guess, a crazy Roman emperor with some serious skin and rage issues, are taking it easy. And then things blow up. Maybe. Who knows? All I care about is the fact that the enemy is Bendy-Dick Mutherfucking Cabbage-Patch-Kids. That’s right, the Federation is fucked because, for some reason, they pissed off Sherlock “Gun to My Head? Sure” Holmes. That’s right, JJ Abrams, the man tasked with rebooting the two greatest science fiction series of all time, has decided to insert so many juggernauts of nerd-joy into this thing that he seemingly intends to force a critical mass of squee, a chain reaction of dork-bliss, a nuclear blast of fan-person-doo-doo-batter and unravel the fabric of the universe. All we need now is for the Star Wars reboot to include David Tenant, Nathan Fillion, Sir Ian McKellan, Matt Smith, Patrick Stewart and, let’s say, Daryl from The Walking Dead and I think he will have his Nerd-pocalypse in the bag.