The Girl on the Train

I did plan on watching The Girl on the Train when it came out, you know, in 2016. I knew it was based on a pretty famous book, it had a lot of mysterious elements, and it might have been a spiritual successor to Gone Girl. The book and movie are not done by the people who did Gone Girl, but similar elements were apparently there.

However, I missed the screening, and then my wife said she really wanted to see it also. Just after she read the book first, because that is what normal people do. It took a year later, but she finally picked up and read the book in only about a week, which let us thankfully still watch it thanks to Redbox. It is great when they have oldish movies on there (and yes, I realize it is within a year of coming out, but it still feels really old).

Hooray trains!

Train
I found her! The girl on the train! Did I solve it!?

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a woman who happens to be an alcoholic, and she rides a train to and from work every day. And on this train ride, she has become obsessed with another woman. She can see her in her house, this Megan (Haley Bennett), living a life with her lover, happy and free. Or at least that is what Rachel invents for her life.

Rachel is a drinker because her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her. He married Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), had a kid, all of the things that he could never do with Rachel. And it turns out that Megan was their nanny for the little kid, unsure if Rachel knew this fact.

Well one sad day, Rachel decided to get off on that stop, seeing that Megan was with another man. This could not be! She was perfect! And now Rachel was drunk and upset.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was awake in her home, with blood on her hands. And news that Megan was missing.

Was it Rachel, blackout drunk and angry? Could she have killed someone?

Also starring Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Darren Goldstein, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow.

Balcony
The Girl on the Balcony was a much sexier title, but too close to Man on a Ledge.

The Girl on the Train is told from three different points of view, Emma, Megan, and of course Rachel. The timelines are a bit out of whack, for dramatic sake, in order to amp up all the mystery. After all, if we saw Megan’s point of view when she died, there would be no story to tell!

The false leads don’t end up pissing off the viewer, but really just make sense as the story unfolds. It is not an easy mystery to guess ahead of time, although enough hints really are there. I made a lot of intentionally stupid guesses just to mess with my wife, but when the final reveals occurred I wasn’t surprised in the least.

The issues with the film are just…hard to explain. It feels so bland. The acting isn’t bad, it is just mediocre feeling. The story doesn’t end up feeling as great as it is built up to be. It was maybe over hyped by the advertising or the pacing of the book, because the movie felt rushed and just average.

I think more details in the story would have gone a long way. More drives for the characters and just more things for them to do. It took a long time to reveal not too much, and just felt like a lot of potential that was never fully reached, unfortunately. Let’s hope the sequel, The Old Lady in the Shoe does a bit better.

2 out of 4.

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women

This year was a big year for Wonder Woman. She had her DC film debut, as the first solo female superhero film in some time (Never forget, Catwoman and Elektra). She broke some records in terms of profit, and easily, she is the best of the current DCEU films.

By a long shot. The ending was still poor and CGI crazy, but for the most part it was still a great film.

But this year we are also getting Professor Marston & The Wonder Women, a film about Wonder Woman, however not a film anyone would expect. We get to learn about how Wonder Woman came to be, her eccentric creator and his interesting lifestyle with the women he dubbed to be wonderful.

Walk
And this is when he takes those wonderful woman off to see the wonderful wizard of oz!

William Marston (Luke Evans), as you may have guessed from the title, was a professor! He taught psychology and even taught classes to just women. It was very progressive for the 1920’s and 30’s. He had a DISC theory about humans, which stood for Dominance, Influence, Submissive, and Compliance, but I won’t get into all of that.

His wife, Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) should have been a professor, but was having issues with her PhD, so she worked closely with her husband in their laboratory. They enjoyed studying the human condition and what makes them tick. On that note, they also hired one of their students to be an office aide, who would work with them over long hours, an Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). She was pretty, young, influential, and William wanted to sex her.

But Elizabeth might have also wanted to sex her.

This is not a love triangle of chasing emotions, this is three consenting adults eventually deciding to enter into free and open relationship with each other, in a world that wouldn’t look too kindly with their situation. And this is just the beginning, because at some point, Wonder Woman gets created out of this. And also the lie detector. Yes, they invent the lie detector.

Also starring Connie Britton, JJ Feild, Oliver Platt, and Chris Conroy.

WW
Oohh, shiny.

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women is a story that happened many decades ago, but could not have been told until very recently. At this point, the world has somewhat caught up to what these three people discovered years ago and can find what they did accepting without a lot of shame.

I am NOT saying that everyone who watches this movie will be comfortable with what occurs, but it treats the subject matter in a fair light, noting the pros and cons of what occurred, along with the fallout. To modify an overused line, this is a better love story than Fifty Shades of Grey (and Twilight, yes).

The acting from the three leads was incredible and believable. This is the best thing Evans has ever done. I previously said that this year with Beauty and the Beast, which was true at the time, but this is Evans finally in a role that shows actual dramatics, without relying on song and CGI. For Heathcote, I don’t know most of her work, but it definitely stands out from some of the shitty movies I have seen her in. Hall is a very accomplished actress, but I would put this near the top of her work as well, definitely showcasing a different sort of range for her.

This movie will make people uncomfortable, but it really feels like a story that needs to be told. It could have gotten to Wonder Woman aspects quicker, to help draw in some of the less patient viewers, but it is a story about unconventional love and how it has changed the world.

4 out of 4.

The Fate of the Furious

Okay, let’s start this with my fast and the furious order of liking the films.

1, 5, 3, 7, 6, 4, 2.

And now that I have seen The Fate of the Furious, I would either put it after 7, or after 6. The trend continues, that I would have mentioned in a few of the previous F&F reviews I have done.

The even ones are not as good as the odd ones. It is science, bitch!

Pull
I think this is also some science.

F8 begins with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in Havana, Cuba on a honeymoon. A honeymoon! Hooray! And it comes complete with a street race so absurd and contradictory, you can accept anything else the film has to offer.

While walking around, Dom runs into a stranded woman. Car problems, sucks to suck. Turns out it was a trap, this lady is named Cipher (Charlize Theron) (A name that always means villain in any movie that features it), and she has something to blackmail Dom with. She needs him to run a mission, he can’t tell anyone, and yes, it will involve betraying his friends and loved ones to do it. But part of the film is learning about the mystery, so why would I tell you now?

We have a lot of returning characters, including: Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Deckard (Jason Statham) and Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), Elena (Elsa Pataky) and Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). For some reason, no Brian, although he is mentioned a ton.

But also new characters! Mainly featuring Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), underling of Mr. Nobody who is going to be geared towards our new Brian, Rhodes (Kristofer Hivju), Cipher’s main muscle, and Helen Mirren doing something or another.

Sub
Ending with Mirren is like popping out a secretive submarine out of nowhere, right car guys?!

What is it like to enjoy this movie? I truly cannot fathom it. It seems to be plagued with issues, from ridiculous character decisions, to plot points, to plot twists. I understand that not every character should be smart, but this group of people has now turned into an international task force that deals with apparently world ending problems, so they have to have some intelligence.

But instead we get a main character who says that ¨It doesn matter what is under the hood, but who is behind the wheel¨ before a street race. So when he is called out on that quote and given a shitty car, what does he do? A whole lot of quick modifications in order to change what is under the hood. Ah, thanks Dom, so it does matter, okay.

And that was just the beginning of the film, with the rest of the movie falling straight in line with those scenes.

We have a few mentions of Brian, but terrible reasons for not involving him. We have returning bad guys, meaning you actually have to remember the inane plots from previous films, and then watch as these bad guys gain sudden redeeming qualities and everything is fine again. We get a build up of a big fight, and it never gets to occur.

And again, we get poor decision after poor decision. In one of the above pictures we have all the cars driving in reverse to keep the middle car in place. Before that, they were just breaking to keep him stopped. But at this point in the film I had to scratch my head, wondering what their plan was going to be to actually stop him, because keeping him in place with a lot of moving tires is clearly not a good idea with no end goal. Before this scene we had a great idea with cars being hacked and forced to get in the way and block up traffic, but for whatever reason, that tactic had to be thrown out of the window for these scenes.

And you know what? The ending explosion and save rivals Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That might sound harsh, but it is true.

Some amusing banter aside, if you like superhero films where there power is driving and surviving explosions, while also having lower than average intelligence, you will enjoy The Fate of the Furious.

1 out of 4.

Beauty and the Beast

Wow, how do you introduce a tale as old as time? Something as true as it can be? You just gotta speak from the heart.

I do love the animated Beauty and the Beast film. It celebrates intelligence! It has one of my favorite introduction songs. Gaston is fascinating, with his own great song. But I have always had issues for it. So I better get it off my chest now:

The main takeaway from Beauty and the Beast is bullshit. The prince was punished for not seeing someone’s true beauty, so he was turned into an ugly creature. To learn his lesson, he needs to fall in love and be loved in return, with a nice kiss too, before he turns 21. (Which of course means he was punished as a kid, joy). So how does it eventually happen? By getting the perfect person in his life. She is smart, kind, but also the hottest chick in the village. To really drive the point home, she should have been not matched the perfect standard of beauty. It is kind of crap. Shrek and Shallow Hal end up driving the point home better.

Okay, no more of that. I also appreciate that Gaston is set up as a typical old school Disney Prince, who just wants love because they are beautiful, so it sort of shows Disney going away from their older film tropes.

What I am really getting at is that I am excited for the live action version of Beauty and the Beast. I was not excited for the live action Cinderella, because the plot of Cinderella is shit and celebrates obedience to mean people and doing chores until a prince can take you away. Fuck that.

Read
Give that bitch a book. Bitches love books.

In some nondescript village in old timey France, there was a castle. None of this is Paris, we know that for certain. There was a prince (Dan Stevens), who lived in the castle, and he was mean. He was so mean to some haggy bitch, that the haggy bitch turned him into a really hairy dude and all of his servants into utensils and shit. What in the fuck!

Now years later, they have almost given up hope at becoming human again. The Beast has to not just fall in love, but have someone love him back. They are depressed, cold, and a spell was put on the area for people to forget about their existence. So that doesn’t help either.

Thankfully, there is a really freaky girl in that poor provincial nearby town. Belle (Emma Watson), a girl who was trained to use that brain of hers, an inventor, a girl who likes books and is somehow still decent looking. Some shit goes down with her dad (Kevin Kline). He finds himself locked up in this castle forever. Thankfully, their horse was also trained to use its brain and he is able to take her to the castle and HOLY FUCK, A BEAST!

Using that goddamn brain of hers, she is able to trick her dad into taking his place, planning to escape in the future. You know, because she is so youthful. But then she falls in love. Oh, way too early. A lot of strife happens. But after a good old fashioned food orgy, she starts to love the place, and thinks about calling it home. Plus, it can clean itself, with the magical slave item army and all.

Also starring Ewan McGregor as a candelabra, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a duster, Ian McKellen as a clock, Emma Thompson as a teapot, Stanley Tucci as a piano, Audra McDonald as a dresser, Luke Evans as a tall, dark, strong, handsome brute, Josh Gad as his miniature life mate, and also Hattie Morahan as a begger.

Gaston
Gaston’s face cannot be shown because Gorgon Reviews is not a big enough website.

Remember Cinderella? That film I already mentioned? Again, it was okay. It was colorful. Shit story. Good dresses. A terrible idea for a first run. It was like the Universal Monsters series trying to give us Dracula Untold as the start of their shared Universe. But now they gotta get The Mummy to save their asses. Yes, I recognize we have had a few other live action films since Cinderella, but this is the first one since then to be about a Disney Princess!

Beauty and the Beast delivers, and it delivers hard.

Of course, we get the best parts from the original. Bonjour is fascinating, with a village of real people, and we still get the “Please Let Me Through!” line. Be Our Guest is an explosion of extravagance. The Gaston song starts off awkward for me, but grows into its own, feels like a giant party, and has a few surprises. (Although, the chorus of that song is also almost impossible to understand)

But we also get a whole lot new! An expanded introduction, more backstory on the Beast and Belle’s lives before the film and their parents, bigger connections to the castle and the village and why it is a big surprise, Belle being a stronger female character, and more. AND! Alan Goddamn Menken, the Disney musical genius, came back to rewrite some of his songs from two decades ago, plus a few new ones. Three at that. Day in the Sun and Evermore are great additions to the film and Evermore had me crying. And don’t worry, the Human Again song added to the animated film does not take place in this movie.

I am annoyed that at the timing of this review, I have to wait a week to hear some of the newer songs again, just to see if I like them as much as I am writing.

Beauty and the Beast is not just a remake. It is also a re imagining. With more backstories, more lines for side yet important characters, everyone feels more fleshed out. Even Gaston and especially LeFou. We get some good call backs, and good changes to match the times. It was an incredible job done by the team, who treated their source material with respect, and really matched what made the first film great 26 years ago.

4 out of 4.

High-Rise

High-Rise is another movie based on a famous book that I have never heard about before. Shit, this book came out in the 1970’s. It took forty years before a movie was made about it, despite having general praise. And it wasn’t even done by America, but the UK got involved to make this bad boy.

And that is all I knew going into it, outside of the setting. That being a single apartment tower.

That might be all I need to know too. Single apartment tower films have tended to be good lately. The Raid: Redemption and Dredd. If it is anywhere close to their level of quality, we got a trifecta here. (I’m ignoring Everly, but that is a guilty pleasure film of mine).

Hiddledick
I named this picture “Hiddledick” and felt very proud of that fact.

High-Rise takes place in a sleek and modern UK. In fact, it takes place in a new apartment tower that has all the commodities. There is a school, a supermarket, a pool and a gym, a spa. On the top levels, there are nice apartments and on the bottom, well, they are more modest and common I guess.

And the film begins with Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) walking around in this tower, all decrepit, falling apart, full of dead bodies. Just a sneak peak. The film then goes back three months to when we moves in and life is perfect.

The tower is designed by Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons), a great architect and meant to be the future. Laing moved there after the death of his sister, starts a relationship with a single mom (Sienna Miller) and becomes an almost father to her son (Louis Suc). Laing also befriends a low level guy with a lot of energy (Luke Evans) and his pregnant wife (Elisabeth Moss), despite the class difference.

Eventually, when residents find out that the police seem to be avoiding the tower, then changes start to occur. And you know. Laing all alone with a lot of dead bodies.

Also starring James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes, Peter Ferdinando, and Augustus Prew.

Paint
No, no, no, this shade is just all wrong.

What the hell did I just watch? I really had a hard time grasping it. I read the very detailed wikipedia outline after the fact, and it cleared up some issues, but it didn’t answer a lot of things. Was the book this vague and…weird? Probably weird at least. I just didn’t get it at all. This whole thing was probably a metaphor for something, but the film is so hard to follow that I can’t really figure it out.

Honestly, if they could have just answered the why things fell the way they did, I would have been a happy camper. But the film leaves to much up to the viewers imagination.

The film itself is shot wonderfully though. The camera use was well done and the music did a great job of guiding my feelings. The acting seemed fine for the most part, in particular I was driven towards Evans’ character the most.

High-Rise is chaotic yet slow, and a film that might require a reading of the book.

2 out of 4.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies

Ding dong the mother fucking witch is dead. That is how I am starting to feel about this franchise. In college, I wanted to do a semester abroad in New Zealand because it is a beautiful country, but now I think I have seen enough of it.

Everyone knows the Lord of the Rings are incredible, so I won’t mention them. I was really excited with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it was a bit longer, more CGI, but hey, let’s return to Middle Earth.

I completely hated The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. It was far too long, and it was a completely filler movie. I mean. FUCK. It didn’t end with the Death of Smaug. The obvious end point at least. It was just a long tease that made me bored and tired.

So, here we are, at The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Two things of note come up with the last part. First off, I really hate the title. I booed so hard and long once they announced the title change. It was originally The Hobbit: There and Back Again, a title taken from the book of his journey. Great title. This one is as lame as The Desolation Of Smaug (given that Smaug doesn’t get desolated).

Two, this one is going to be a lot more exciting than the second film. That much is certain. It is pretty easy to do when you leave like one cool aspect into the second film and delay the rest for the ending. The third film gives the end of the dragon and the big battle, so it will be super awesome. But at what cost? A shitty second movie. Given the connectedness of these films, it is important to look at them individually and as parts of a whole. So I don’t know if I can really enjoy this movie as much knowing that it was essentially delayed a year because the movies were broken up from two films into three films.

I think I am allowed to be a little biased and peeved going into this film, as I believe the second movie was 160 minutes of my life wasted.

Rams
But this one has tiny men on rams! Yay rams!

Okay so. Battle of Five Armies. Before that, we got a Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) to kill. And then they do that. Moving onnn.

Humans are all pissed off because their water town is destroyed. They have lost everything, their wealth, their homes. They need a place to go. Making Bard (Luke Evans) their de facto leader, they decide that they kind of want to head to the near by Dwarven stronghold for safety. And to get some of that gold that was promised to them.

Speaking of people who want to go to the stronghold, the wood elves are dicking around too. Apparently there is some priceless treasure in there that they want back. And that is all. A bunch of the elves are played by these people (Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom). Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett are elves too, but they are in another part of the story. I don’t really understand what they are doing with Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen, so I won’t talk about it.

Oh yeah. Dwarves. Like Thorin (Richard Armitage). He is now a real King because he has a real Castle, but he is after his special stone and is kind of going mad. Mad enough to go to war with the humans and the wood elves. But also, the orcs that no one know are coming. And Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is kind of just hanging around.

There are also non Dwarven actors, like Ryan Gage and Stephen Fry. But also all those Dwarves? I still don’t feel like tagging most of them. Just Billy Connolly, Aidan Turner, and Dean O’Gorman. I think I am done talking about the plot. And actors.

BUT WHO IS THE FIFTH ARMY?

Guys
Orlando – “I heard you got a role in another franchise. Lucky. This one is finally owner.”
Luke – “Dude, no one is going to watch the Monster Avengers movies.”

Yeahhh, dead dragon and big army fights!

And some of that was really cool. Well, the dragon death felt kind of rushed and awkward. Like, somehow, the cartoon version of The Hobbit had a more intense dragon death scene than this movie. It kind of just happened, exactly as one would expect too. So that was actually disappointing. Just that it ended so quick and easy, they could have made the death way more awesome and also, you know…put it in the fucking second movie?

Now the army fight was pretty bamf. So that is good. Entertaining fight scenes, although it was hard to follow just how many humans were actually in the war and how the battle grounds were laid out. You just kind of had to go with it and accept it, although I doubt it was planned out. Martin Freeman still made a good Bilbo, so that was good. But of course, the focus wasn’t really on him this whole movie, despite the title. He gets super pushed to the side.

The love story is not as bad as the second one I guess, because of all the fighting going on during it.

And as I said above, I have no idea what the point of the necromancer story line was. Like, they resolved it I guess, but it was totally unexplained and felt incredibly pointless. It was really shitty.

Overall, that makes this movie just okay. Not the weakest of the series, maybe the best. Hard to say. None of these match the LOTR quality and I don’t think that was their goal. But I can’t help but feel the entire franchise was a let down. I haven’t bought any of them, because I know I want to wait for the cool extended package with all of them bundled. But also, will I actually watch any of these again? Probably not. I will probably watch the cartoon Hobbit more.

2 out of 4.

Dracula Untold

Rawr Dracula! Vampires! So hot right now, of course we need to revisit the main man behind the bat, the one, the only, Vlad.

Dracula Untold (I promise I won’t get into how much I hate “this is the real story” nonsense for fictional stories that keep happening, I swear) wants to talk about how one man came to be the Dracula that people fear today. A real vampire. Not a sparkly boring person. Not a bunch of kids in private school. Just a guy who has standard vampire powers and standard vampire weaknesses.

But before we get into that, in case you didn’t know, this is becoming a franchise. Not just vampires. But all the classic Universal monsters. It was originally starting with a 2016 remake of The Mummy, then Wolfman, then eventually a Frankenstein thing, but they tacked this one on too. They are going to bring all the monsters into a movie and have them fight other monsters I guess. And it might fail terribly. And yes, it is a lot like Avengers. But I mean, it might be cool, as long as these movies are good, right?

Armor
Well, some bad ass armor could help, but why doesn’t it glow and shimmer?

This movie isn’t set in the modern day. I already told you it is about Vlad The Impaler (Luke Evans), the real inspiration for Dracula. Not that Vlad in real life was a vampire, it looks like Bram just took his name and hierarchy and ran with it.

Either way, Mr. The Impaler got his name for being a bad ass. He was recruited at a young age in the army and killed killed killed. Now he is a Prince of his own area, Transylvania, and wants to live life in peace. There is also a local vampire in a cave nearby, but ignore him. Either way, some Turks come knocking on his door, asking for the normal payment. But because some of their scouts were found dead, they assumed the Transylvanians came out and killed them. Now they payment is some cash and 1,000 boys to fill their armies. What! No!

So he goes to Mehmed the Conqueror (Dominic Cooper), the Turk leader to appeal to his better nature. Well, he ain’t having it, even when he offers up himself instead of the boys. Now they want 1001 boys, with the additional one being his son, Ingeras the Young (Art Parkinson).

Well, shit. What’s an Impaler going to do. Sell his soul to the devil for temporary vampire powers to defeat an entire army? Yeah. Thank goodness he knows where Master Vampire the Vampire (Charles Dance) is to get his powers on. As long as he doesn’t drink blood in 3 days, they will be temporary. If not, well, full on vampire.

He also should keep it secret. Very Catholic lands here. They don’t like Vampires. Maybe his lady, Mirena the Woman (Sarah Gadon) will find some parts of it interesting though.

Also featuring Diarmaid Murtagh as Dumitru the Untitled.

Patsey
Shit, they also got Patsey from Holy Grail in here?

This might be one of those movies that would be better not seeing the trailer? That is my guess. If I didn’t see literally every cool thing a dozen times from trailers, I would have enjoyed the movie more. But Dracula didn’t do anything cooler than those few scenes. Namely the bat attack related scenes.

Other than that, it is mostly a poorly acted period movie. We got accents, we got swords, horses, chivalry and more. And just a lot of bad overly dramatic acting.

And if that is what you want in your “NO THIS IS THE TRUE STORY” films, then you might actually love it.

Unfortunately, no matter what happened with this movie, we were getting the next two anyways. Universal is going to make this Monster Avengers thing happen, damn it. Maybe the final outcome will be cool. Maybe the next movies will be good. But this is not the Iron Man of the Monsters universe, unfortunately.

1 out of 4.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Last time, when I reviewed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I didn’t get to see it in the 48 FPS 3D version until about a week later. But this time, times are a changing, and I can talk a bit about that too. I ended up liking the super detailed high frame rate for the first film, so I am of course excited to see right away this time.

But I am also stoked for a second reason. Now I don’t have to watch The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug twice within a week in theaters. I don’t care how good it is. Ain’t got time or money for that now. I don’t like to watch these LOTR movies a lot anyways. Once in theaters, and once eventually an extended version.

Dragon
This picture does not do justice to how BAMF he actually looked on screen, 3D, 48 fps.

Plot outlines for this seems dumb. I assume everyone knows the story?

This movie starts out with Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and the Dwarven friends (Ricahrd Armitage, Ken Stott, and more) on the run, orcs still chasing them. Some stuff happens, and Gandalf has to leave again to go figure out some necromancer stuff.

This causes the gang to get in lots of trouble. Trouble with spiders, and then the wood elves (Where we meet Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), who totally gets the hots for a Dwarf. Odd!). Some escapes happen, they eventually get to Laketown, meet Bard (Luke Evans), sort of help an uprising, and get their way to the mountain! After all, they only have so much time to get there, before the secret entrance is no longer revealed.

Then we finally meet a dragon, Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), who just wants to get his sleep on, but bitches be burglin’, so he has to get his rage on.

Gold
“Damn it Bilbo, I will not draw you like a french girl. Stop asking!” – Smaug

The term desolation might not mean what it used to mean. With a title like that, and if you already know The Hobbit story, you then know when this movie is going to stop at.

But you’d be wrong.

After seeing this movie in theaters, I left with an overall bad taste in my mouth, definitely something I didn’t see coming, and rather unfortunate, due to the size and nature of this movie.

I should reiterate, I don’t care what the the book story is, and the sideplots they added from other source material to make these movies. More interesting plot lines never hurt anyone. But this movie is called The Hobbit and subtitled The Desolation of Smaug. A better, more descriptive title would have been Legolas Kicks Ass, and then they meet Smaug. Which is all this movie felt like to me.

Sure, there was a cool spider scene. The barrel escape was nifty. But plot line wise with this film, you would find a hard time figuring out what actually gets accomplished. Once they introduce Legolas, they almost forget about the other characters, and focus on how amazing he and Tauriel the other elf are at fighting. It becomes just a Legolas show when he is literally running around Laketown and taking out a whole Orc invasion pretty much on his own.

Smaug was very badass. That is very clear. He was a well made CGI creation, probably one of the better dragons I have ever seen in a CGI movie. The best scene in the movie for me was the initial encounter between Smaug and Bilbo, when Smaug toyed with Bilbo as he ran through the treasure piles. But eventually he felt like nothing more than a cheap cartoon villain, or something, once the Dwarves got involved and start to mess with him.

I understand that this movie is part of a series, but I felt like this one has done the worst job at still telling a complete and actual story. Each of the LOTR stories felt complete. Yes they had more to do, but they ended at appropriate points once the current biggest baddest climactic point was finished, the ones they were building up to for each film. An Unexpected Journey ends after a series of skirmishes, a close encounter with death, and the dwarves finally learning to accept Bilbo.

This movie LITERALLY ends right in the middle of a fight. What in the fuck. Is this Lost? Is this some show that needs cliffhangers? So instead of getting a complete story, I get part of a story. A 160 minute part of a story.

Legolas
Here is a third picture, to give you a better scope of this movie.

So what is the main complaint? I guess, somehow, it is their change from 2 to 3 movies. A problem I didn’t have with the first one, but I believe in this one becomes very very apparent. This entire movie, save for a few scenes, felt like filler, working towards the third, probably more exciting and conclusive story.

I will reiterate, Smaug was great. The barrel scene was way better than I could have imagined. The spiders were interesting. But everything else just fell flat or felt repetitive. I felt no fear from the Orcs the entire movie. The appeared, they died, they kept appearing, they kept dying.

Peter Jackson might thing he is infallible now, given the original success, and other successes of stuff like The Adventures of TinTin, but for this film I think he reached too far.

1 out of 4.

Fast & Furious 6

After Fast Five premiered, there was a lot of talk about the future of the franchise thanks to the scene in the credits. It left many people confused. How could Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) be alive, when she clearly died in The Fast and The Furious?

We will get to that later. More importantly, the time line of the films became more clear.

They mentioned that Fast & Furious 6 (Trailer) would follow 5, and part 7 would be set AFTER Tokyo Drift. Basically, films 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 of the series are in the correct order, and 3 is set after 6, but before 7. They also went through a little bit of development hell, where they were going to break 6 into two parts, but thankfully went back to just one film. Either way, the questions you have at the end of 6 will be answered next summer when part 7 comes out.

Fly
I don’t give a fuck about any of that, because HOLY SHIT A TANK!
Long story short, there is a highly tactical gang of drivers out there in Europe, who are trying to assemble a device that can shut down an entire city for 24 hours. That is a pretty dangerous weapon and could kill a lot of people. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his new partner Riley (Gina Carano) know the only people who can help them out are a group of lesser international criminals on the run from the law.

Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) obviously refuse to help, but when Hobbs shows pictures of Letty, his love who they thought died years ago, they assemble the team (Tyrese GibsonLudacrisSung Kang, and Gal Gadot) to find out how this picture exists and if she is really alive. Saving the world isn’t on their mind, just finding the girl.

But with Shaw (Luke Evans) being a criminal master mind, always a few steps ahead of the authorities, can their rag tag group even follow in their exhaust fumes?

Chicks
Of course the women have to fight each other. Gender equality people, let’s see some.
Fast & Furious 6 is being lauded as one of the best films in the franchise, and action movies in general. I will give the movie that. There is action throughout the movie, from car chases, to scenes completely void of cars. It doesn’t apologize for anything in the film, and goes at completely ridiculous lengths for an explosion or two.

But personally, it completely changes the genre of the film, which grinds my gears the most.

To me, everyone felt like a super hero in this film. There are TONS of hand to hand combat scenes between the two groups, and it felt like watching a live action Dragon Ball movie. Ridiculous feats of strength and long battles where neither side got hurt, when most of these people are just retired car racers. It bugged me to no end that they all basically became invincible just for the sake of a bigger action movie.

On top of that, I don’t think it flowed well. Almost every scene I felt confused due to the plot of the movie. The heroes were constantly doing nonsensical things. Nonsensical to their character and to a normal human being. They wedged a street race into the movie that plot wise didn’t make sense (nor did anything out of that London woman’s mouth before the race). At one point four or five of the bad guys get arrested and end up making their escape, yet one of the group is no longer seen in the movie. I guess they just decided to write him out of the movie.

The climatic plane ending is ruined for me thanks to it apparently being the longest run way known to man, making the ridiculousness too much to bare. It also features an Amnesia plot line, which I feel is one of the laziest plot developments you can ever come up with.

Yes, if you changed the movie to be something completely set apart from the Fast & Furious universe, I would probably enjoy the movie more. But we have five movies that are grounded (mostly) in reality, a shift in genre I can’t get over. It is breaks all the rules of the series, despite trying its hardest to include the previous five films. If it was an original movie (and better acting), I might have loved it.

2 out of 4.

The Raven

With The Raven we have a movie based on Poe’s works! Hooray! But not just his stories. This is actually a tale set in the “Real world” where someone is off murdering all these people based on the works of Poe. Even better.

I’ve seen weirder concepts for a killer to copycat. I am hoping one day there is a movie about a serial killer basing his kills off of classic Simpsons episodes. But then something else happened. Turns out this is a fictional account of the last few days of Edgar Allen Poe’s life. No one knows about what happened to him before his death, kind of just found him all drunk and dead. So why not have the actual Poe help solve a case about murders based on his book? Ehh, that’s not weird at all.

Guns
I hate how much I still think he looks like Matt Macfadyen. Mostly because its all in my head?

Alrighty then. Poe (John Cusack) likes to drink. No one cares about his work, and he is poor. Life is hard, and having a hard life leads to great stories apparently. Some people recognize his work, but I guess at this time, most people don’t care. We all know an artist becomes much more famous once they are dead!

But as you know, some murders go down. Apparently the crime scene looks like The Murders in the Rue Morgue, a story of Poes! Detective Fields (Luke Evans) realizes this and naturally questions Poe. He is all, what in the fucks, and appalled. So he gets brought in to help solve the case! This is good, because he is into the Emily (Alice Eve), but her father (Brendan Gleeson), captain of the force isn’t okay with that. Well, maybe helping out can get him on the good side!

But yeah, he doesn’t really help too much. Stuff keeps happening, based on the Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, and more stories I have never heard of. But will the pursuit of the truth in this case be the death of Poe?

Well, yes. That isn’t a spoiler. We know he is dead by the end mysteriously. Hopefully he at least gets an answer though.

Be afraid
I watched this movie and still have no real idea what is up with this scene.

Blah. I either had a weird taste in my mouth the whole time I watched this movie, or I just found the movie itself unappealing. I guess I was a bit turned off knowing that Poe was actually in the movie, rather than just a serial killer imitating Poe’s works later. Which yes, is my fault. But still. Definitely was put off, making it feel like they are cheapening the real tragedy that was Poe’s final days.

It might not help that I didn’t get most of the literary references. I think I have read three whole Poe stories in my life. I probably know more, from TV show allusions or whatever, I just couldn’t name them off the top of my head. But overall I thought the movie was a bit boring, and possibly a rushed piece of work that was trying to cash in…something. I don’t know. Not like there has been any other Poe show/movies that have come out recently. Kind of on its own.

Oh well, I got nothing.

1 out of 4.

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