Slightly Above Average Watch: #Anon @AmandaSeyfried @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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This is another movie that’s been sitting in my Netflix queue for years, but until the pandemic, I never bothered to watch it. I’m not into what the general public would call horror movies. To me, this movie is a horror movie. It takes place in a world in which all privacy is gone. Everyone’s experiences are cataloged digitally through medical implants, and that record is accessed by cops during interrogation. What happens? What do you think? A killer finds a way to hack the system, and that means there are false memories and deleted memories corrupting the evidentiary process. When they try to catch the killer, things get really bad.

This was scary fun for me. As always, YMMV.

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Worst Watch: Almighty #Thor @peacockTV #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Almighty Thor (2011) is streaming on NBC’s new streaming service, Peacock TV. It was absolutely horrible, which is to be expected. It has Highlander 2 numbers over on Rotten Tomatoes, with an 8% from the audience and a didn’t-even-bother-to-watch from the critics. It also stars Richard Grieco and Kevin Nash. Never a good sign.

Last Friday, I said I was an apologist for mythology movies, which makes that hard to square with my hatred of this movie. Let’s hammer that out a bit. When I say, “apologist for mythology movies,” I mean that I tolerate poor writing and the liberties writers often take with the source material in the interests of drama. But this is more than just “taking liberties.” This is more like “taking names.” That is, it’s like taking names from Norse mythology and placing them on characters from a completely different story. I hate to say this, but the guy who played Baldr wasn’t nearly qualified to play a god of beauty. Of course, he wasn’t actually playing Baldr because there was absolutely nothing right about this movie. We would have all forgiven the complete destruction of Los Angeles, but they didn’t even get that right. (Yeah, I said “Los Angeles.”)

This reminds me of movies that use the intellectual property for past movies in order to guarantee legacy viewership, but wipe out the original stories altogether, thus pissing off that legacy fan base. I wouldn’t say I’m pissed me off here (maybe at myself for watching it), because no one harms me by making a movie that I didn’t have to pay to see, but it was really bad, from the acting to the sound to the visuals to the writing. The reviews highlighted on the movie’s Wikipedia page are funny.

My preferred pantheon is that of the Norsemen, but that didn’t save this movie. As always, YMMV. Well, not really. You’ll agree. This objectively sucked. F-. They should all be expelled from film school and banned from watching movies ever again.

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Why Henry Cavill Is the Best Superman #movie #DCEU

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today, I’m going to answer a controversial question among nerds: Who is the best Superman?

Answer: Henry Cavill.

Why? Because I said so.

FYI, I saw this a couple days after writing this post.

Fighting the Justice League was also my #1.

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Excellent Watch: The Old Guard #movie #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife @CharlizeAfrica @Netflix

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I was not expecting to like this movie because of how trite the premise is, but I absolutely did. “A group of mercenaries, all centuries-old immortals with the ability to heal themselves, discover someone is onto their secret, and they must fight to protect their freedom.” Seriously? Haven’t there been enough movies like this? None of you are going to improve upon the Highlander!

But this was really good. Charlize Theron plays the oldest among four immortals now acting as mercenaries. As their leader, she’s been guiding their actions in an unexpected way. In addition to what’s written above, the crux of the movie is that a new immortal is “born” for the first time in centuries. The movie has a few nice touches throughout, not the least of which is a horrific incident occurring in Ms. Theron’s backstory. Chiwetel Ejiofor is pretty good in it as well, but when is he not?

I know, I know. How could I possibly get behind this? Well, it’s all in the execution. There’s obviously going to be a sequel, and I’ll set a Netflix reminder for it.

As always, YMMV, but if you don’t like it, you’re in the minority.

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Guilty Pleasure: Clash of the Titans 2010 @NataSupernova @theofficialmads @TheRealLukevans @liamcunningham1 @NicholasHoult #GuiltyPleasure #QuarantineLife #Titan

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POST #200!!!

Yesterday, I talked about the original Clash of the Titans and mentioned this one. Of course, that got me thinking. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, the Clash of the Titans remake earned scores of 27% from the critics (who cares?) and 40% from the audience, but I’m one of the 40% that liked it.

To start, I’m an apologist for anything related to mythology, even when, as here, they take far too many liberties with the stories. I get that the needs of drama override fidelity to the stories. I also thought that, special effects aside, this movie actually outclassed the original with the scenes featuring the Stygian Witches and Charon. Other than some silly dialogue, I thought the scene with Medusa (Natalia Vodianova) was a match for the original, which is no small compliment, and this movie provided more of Medusa’s background.

As much as I like Rosamund Pike, I wish Alexa Davalos had returned for the sequel as Andromeda. I thought she was good here. Overall, if you look at the cast, it was as solid as a diamond, with some established actors, some making their first attempts at a blockbuster, and some just getting their starts. In addition to Ms. Vodianova and Ms. Davalos, you have Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Danny Huston, Luke Evans, Liam Cunningham, Nicholas Hoult, Rory McCann, Alexander Siddig, and one of my all time favorite actors, Pete Postlethwaite (RIP). I think they spent plenty on the cast and not enough on the screenwriters to give the movie broad appeal.

There were definitely some annoying characters. The religious zealot who led the charge against royalty and the two brothers, Ozal and Kucuk, who had no business going on the quest, all irked me as much as they did the rest of you.

If I had to watch movies based in mythology all day, I would do so gladly. This is no exception … though even I wasn’t too fond of Wrath of the Titans (despite a better audience score). YMMV.

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Classic Watch: Clash of the Titans (1981) #movie #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife #Titan @HarryRHamlin @Netflix

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I decided to watch Clash of the Titans again. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and one of the rare ones I convinced my dad to take me to see despite no one else in the family wanting to see it. It still holds up fairly well but with some glaring flaws. First off, Zeus is a dick. He has no mercy for Acrisius because his “1,000 good deeds don’t make up for 1 murder.” How does Zeus punish Acrisius? By murdering his entire city. Zeus added that the murder was especially heinous because Acrisius murdered his own daughter, but even setting aside the sheer number of murders Zeus has committed in doling out his punishment, and their innocence in all of this, aren’t all of humanity Zeus’s children in a sense?

Then there’s the special effects. It seems like the thing to do right now is ignore the context of the time in which things are said and done, so the fact this movie was released in 1981 is no excuse! (Yes it is.) Cerberus had only two heads because that was easier to do. That was supposed to be Cerberus, wasn’t it? (EDIT: No! It’s Dioskilos, who was in turn based on Orthus!) I actually felt bad for it when it died. (For the time, though, the special effects were a groundbreaking and wonderful work of art, and it’s hard not to appreciate them.)

I also want to know how Thetis gets to claim Andromeda’s life despite Zeus’s protection of Perseus, and then once Perseus SPOILER ALERT kills the Kraken, loses that claim. Nothing has changed. Thetis is still slighted, and Andromeda isn’t dead. Joppa should be destroyed, but suddenly a heretofore permissive Zeus says,

Nah! Leave his wife alone. My boy has to get laid.

That’s not a direct quote.

I know; I know. Drama. Moreover, the disjointed logic isn’t unlike the way the gods were imagined by the ancient Greeks.

Bubo the metallic owl was stupid. Even as a 13-year-old kid, I knew better. If Bubo is trying to sneak up on the Stygian Witches and steal the eye, why is it making so much damn noise. Hell, the inferior 2010 remake (that I still liked and will discuss tomorrow) reasonably poked fun at that.

As for things that translate well, Andromeda puts Perseus in his place.

Um, I’m a princess. Do you see the Queen here? No? Then I’m in command, bitch.

Also not a direct quote.

Special effects aside, that scene with Medusa was awesome, and I liked Sir Laurence Olivier’s lethargic and reluctant, “Very well; release the Kraken,” before putting Perseus exactly where he needed to be to face the Kraken.

It’s a fun movie. As always, YMMV.

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Superhero Comlinks #movie #MCU #DCEU

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Another thing that always bugged me about superhero movies (yes, I can pick at the things I love) are the comlinks that the heroes use to communicate. It’s some sort of Bluetooth thing going on; a earpiece with a built in microphone. I always thought, “Why aren’t they constantly talking over one another?”

It just seemed impractical. Of course, we all just let it go; there are far bigger things requiring the suspension of our disbelief. However, I recently started playing D&D again on Wednesday nights via Zoom, and that has brought this thought back to the surface. Even when there are only 5 of us, the cross-chatter makes it impossible for everyone to be heard. It drives me nuts. I’d think there was a lot more planning involved in the defense of New York City from an alien army then there is in deciding how to navigate a bar fight. And don’t tell me about military discipline. The Hulk, Tony Stark, and Thor don’t care about your silly, human, military procedures for communication.

There’s no way this would work, but that’s okay.

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Good Watch: The Two Popes #movie #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife @AnthonyHopkins @Netflix

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The Two Popes is another movie that’s been sitting in my queue since it came out, but I never got around to seeing it. It’s led by Jonathan Pryce (Pope Francis) and Anthony Hopkins (Pope Benedict, a.k.a., Johnny Ratz), so you know it’s going to be well-acted. There are two things that struck me about it. First, it’s an interesting behind-the-scenes account not only of the drama of a retiring pope (the focus), but also how the mechanism of the Vatican’s selection process. I always find the latter fascinating.

Second, I had my reaction to the movie, of course, but I suspect how people take this movie will be far more varied than most because of the subject matter. My interpretation is that, despite the mission of the Vatican, the mechanism and politics are no different than any large business. Some may say it’s run more like a government, and that may be true (technically, it is one), but that’s not how I saw this movie. Still others may see it from the religious point of view, seeing it as either an exaltation or a fall from grace of the church (depending on the viewer’s perspective).

However you view this movie, it seems to be doing something right. As always, YMMV.

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The Superman IV Awards #movie #superman

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Way back in the 80s, my cousin (Tom) and I started awarding a “Superman IV Award” to the most disappointing film of the year. It’s not enough that it was bad; it had to be disappointing. The origin of the award makes sense. Superman III was mediocre at best, and we were promised a return to something like Superman II, which was a great film for its time. Instead we got a steaming pile of hot kryptonite.

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) was an award winner. We loved Highlander for reasons I doubt I need to justify to my fellow nerds, but Highlander II turned out to be the single worst movie ever. (Full disclosure: I’ve never seen the Room.) To go from such a high to such a low is the very definition of disappointment.

Then there was Showgirls (1995). There we were, two straight guys in their mid-20s watching a movie that was specifically about women getting naked. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything. It was horrible, and our lives are worth just a little bit less having been stained by the memory of that film.

I don’t remember all the movies that received the award. We didn’t have a ceremony on cable access for the thing. It was just something we decided in person once a year. When considering nominees, you have to remember that it must be disappointing. Batman and Robin was pretty bad, but that entire series was going downhill after the first entry. By the time B&R came around, I expected nothing of it, so it couldn’t disappoint me.

With all the movie watching I’m doing, I may just start doing this again once the theaters open up.

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Favorite Watch: The Seventh Seal (1957) by Ingmar Bergman #movie #death #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today, it’s one of my favorite movies offered without any sort of analysis. It’s about a group of people that are dying of the plague, and in order to fend them off, a knight plays chess with death. If he wins, they all survive. You may be familiar with its influence elsewhere. The entire movie is available free on YouTube, though YouTube also offers it as a paid rental. :-/ I re-watched it last week. This is a movie I studied in school, and it’s one of those that has lots to unpack. I’ll leave it to you to peel them away if you so choose, though there’s always some help available.

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