Movies

I Saw 47 Ronin So You Don’t Have To

My brother and I have an awful habit of watching absolutely horrid movies in the theater when we get together.  And so it was last night that we found ourselves in a mostly empty auditorium with Real 3D glasses strapped to our faces in anticipation of, sigh, 47 Ronin.

For the record, I am not entirely opposed to Keanu Reeves.  I absolutely loved Man of Tai Chi which he directed and starred in.  And I wouldn’t mind him as Spike Spiegel in the live action Cowboy Beebop. But I can’t figure out why he’s in this stupid thing.

This thing is pretty rad.

This thing is pretty rad.

I also can’t figure out why the studio sunk so much money into this thing.  47 Ronin cost $200 million.  Why? Where did the fucking money go? Certainly not to Keanu’s salary.  As far as Hollywood stars go, he’s the least likely to demand a stupid large pay day.  Certainly not the writers.  I don’t think they actually know a thing about the actual legend. They certainly didn’t spend money on historians or researchers or anything historical at all.  I suppose the creature design was pretty cool.  There were four creature scenes that a bunch of CG houses probably spent a lot of work on.  The virtual locations and set extensions were pretty impressive.  And the costumes were absolutely exquisit.  Buuuuuuuut that still doesn’t account for such a high price tag for such a dull ass movie.

47 Booooooooooring

The chief sin of this movie is not its vast list of historical inaccuracies.  Its fatal flaw is that it’s a total bore.  The few action scene are spaced entirely too far apart so that you almost forget you’re watching a movie about swords.  Everyone speaks ever line of dialog like it’s the. Most. Important. Thing. They. Have. Ever. Said. In. Their. Entire. Lives.  Which robs the dialog of the entire film of any import or weight.

There’s a lot of extraneous stuff in here.  The romance between Keanu and Lord Asano’s daughter lacks any real chemistry which makes it entirely difficult to connect with.  Many of the fantasy elements take away from the main plot.  Sadly, those are also the most interesting bits of the film which makes me think that maybe they needed to go even further with the fantasy stuff.

The saddest victim of waste in this movie is Rick Genest.  You may remember him from the trailers as the tattooed man with guns.

This scene isn't in the movie I watched.

This scene isn’t in the movie I watched.

There are entire posters of him in much of the 47 Ronin publicity campaign.  He’s in like one scene which doesn’t include any of the action shots from the trailer.  What the fuck?  There’s so much wasted film in this thing, you might as well extend his scenes.  I don’t know why his stuff was left on the cutting room floor, but it’s a damn shame.  Might have made those scenes in the Dutch port somewhat interesting.

Also, there needed to be more of Lord Kira’s giant warrior.

This guy is totally badass and underused.

This guy is totally badass and underused.

The Great White Token

I complain a lot when minority characters are used as tokens.  If there is a single Asian character in a majority white cast, their Asianess is their justification for inclusion in the film.  Either they’re a martial artists or some tech wizard or some former Yakuza.  It kind of surprised me to see this, but in this instance, Keanus is the token.  His whiteness is the entire reason he’s there.

I really love Tengu man's design.

Tengu man is tired of your shit.

You see, the ronin can’t defeat Kira on their own.  Kira has the witch, Mizuki played by Rinko Kikuchi, who can poison men and defeat entire armies.  The 47 need someone on their side who can fight the demons.  Which is where Keanu comes in.  Since he’s half white and an outcast, everyone calls him a demon or a half breed.  As it turns out, he actually is a sort of demon.  He was taken in by the tengu of the forest when his mother abandoned him because he was a horrid half breed.  They taught him their demon ways so now he can do things no normal human can.

The really sad part, though, is that if you cut his scenes out of this thing, you’d still have a pretty solid movie.  Even though the movie makes every effort to convince you that the 47 need Keanu’s tengu powers to defeat Kira, his character is completely extraneous.  The 47 would have succeeded on their own without Keanu’s help.  Sure, it would have been a little more difficult to fight off the dragon lady, but I think they would have eventually done it.

More Creatures! More Dragons! More ANYTHING INTERESTING!

I don’t believe I’m saying this because it offended me so that they’re using the title of the actual legend, but I kind of wish they pushed the fantasy angle way more than they did.  By making it so subtle, Keanu’s character never felt fully integrated into the narrative of the damn thing.  More demon fights would have also helped to keep my interest.

Mako Mori as a literal dragon lady is actually fucking rad.

Mako Mori as a literal dragon lady is actually fucking rad.

As long and as boring as it is, we surprisingly don’t get a lot of character development from anyone.  We see very little growth from our heroes which makes it difficult to get emotionally attached to any of them.  The romance angle feels forced and you can only get so far with a revenge story.  Lots of things going on but none of it very focused.

If you want to see a movie with samurai doing samurai things, there’s an entire Akira Kurosawa library of films to go through.  He did way more with way less.  Universal should feel embarrassed for dumping so much money into this thing.  Ran is waaaaay longer than 47 Ronin but hardly feels boring even with the camera locked down on that shot of Hidetora Ichimonji slowly walking out of a burning castle.  If you’re looking for a fantasy movie with lots of creatures and dragons, well shit, there’s a Hobbit waiting for you.  If you’re looking for both samurai action and demons, there’s nothing in the theaters for you.  47 Ronin fails to deliver on both the fantasy and reality fronts making for a totally boring experience at the theater.

It’s Lady’s Night With the ExpendaBelles

Talk shit, get hit.

Talk shit, get hit.

Though it’s fun to see every action star you ever loved punch the shit out of each other and shoot things in The Expendables franchise, it’s kind of a sausage fest.  Millennium Films agrees and hopes to expand the appeal with an all-female version, tentatively titled ExpendaBelles.  There’s no director or a confirmed title or even an announced cast.  But during her promotional tour for her upcoming film Raze, stunt woman turned leading lady Zoe Bell confirmed that the project exists and that she’s had meetings.

No, I have not yet [been offered] but we should print that they should. I’ve been in and I’ve met. Yes, I’ve had meetings with people but they haven’t got a director attached yet so that’s the next thing. I would obviously love to be involved in it.

It seems like it’s all in its very early stages.  Rumored to possibly star alongside Bell should she get the call are Milla Jovovich, Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz and Meryl Streep.  I’m kind of surprised that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t on that list seeing as how she’s pretty good with a bow so I’m gonna put her name into the rumor put just for the fuck of it.  I’d also like to see Maggie Q join that lineup to kick some ass.  She’s been killer in Nikita.  Michelle Yeoh is absolutely mandatory.  And I don’t think you can have a legitimate all lady action movie without a zombie killer so Danai Gurira is a total must!  Michonne!

I sincerely hope this project gets off the ground because it’s the new damn millennium and we’ve kind of seen the all-male action squad movie over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.  Making the team all female already makes it ten times more interesting than action team movies we’ve seen in the past.

The only other action film that I can think of that had a predominantly female cast was The Descent which was more horror than action.  That movie completely blew me away.  I expected it to be a typical horror flick with a bunch of ladies running around getting their clothes torn off.  There was absolutely zero objectification, just a terrifying film with situations that pushed these women to their limits of sanity.  I think it would make a great template to guide the producers of the ExpendaBelles.

Women don’t need to be sexualized to be in an action movie.  They can just kick ass and take names.  And that’s what I’m hoping we’ll see from this project.

From: Crave

Joseph Gordon Levitt is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

Stop being so moody, Dream.

Stop being so moody, Dream.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we’d ever ever eeeeeeeeeever see a Neil Gaiman Sandman movie.  Maybe, maaaaaaaaaaybe, an HBO series but never a movie.  I always thought it was one of those comics that was entirely too big for the silver screen.  Then again, I never ever thought Watchmen would ever be made into a film or a series of prequel comics or a video game.  And we saw how well that shit turned out.

I can’t help but greet the news that Joseph Godon-Levitt is going to direct and star in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman with a degree of skepticism.  Mostly, I just don’t trust Warner Bros with anything anymore.  The good news is that Neil Gaiman hasn’t let anyone do anything with a Sandman movie until now and the fact that he’s signed off and will be participating in the production gives me hope.

If they are indeed starting with Preludes and Nocturnes, I don’t see how you can make that story anything but a hard R.  It’s a terrifying thriller, through and through.  If they end up pulling punches and making it any less graphic, I don’t think the comic nerds will be satisfied.  Then again, this has to appeal to the widest audience possible.  I’d be extremely surprised if they aim for anything but a PG-13 rating.

I can almost guarantee that I’ll be seeing this in the theater.  No matter how bad the trailers might end up being or how wonky the interpretation is, it’s fucking Sandman!  I think it’s a comic nerd’s genetic imperative to watch anything that deals with Sandman as soon as it comes out.

So do you guys think this will work?  Or do we have the makings of another Watchmen on our hands?

From: Super Hero Hype

 

Venom and the Sinister Six Get Their Own Movies!

So many Venom!

So many Venom!

While no one really wants to see Sam Raimi’s Topher Grace version of Venom return to theaters any time soon, of all the Marvel villains, Venom deserves the spotlight.  So the news that Sony is teaming up with Marvel to bring us a Venom movie is kind of exciting.  They will also be collaborating on a Sinister Six film.

The Sinister Six film has me a little curious.  While I could see Venom being a sort of anti hero like in his solo comic series, there’s nothing heroic about the Six.  They are evil through and through.  Will the film show them killing people just because?  Robbing and stealing?  Will they be recast as heroes gone rogue?  While Venom is clearly a fan favorite, the Six seem like an odd choice.  But hell, Guardians of the Galaxy are even less known that the Sinister Six and they’re getting a big push so what do I know.

But the real big news here is that Sony and Marvel are working together.  If the collaboration proves successful, and really, how can you lose with a Venom movie, I totally foresee an Avengers vs. X-Men film in future.  I mean, holy fucking shit, that would absolutely destroy the box office!

From: Super Hero Hype

All You Need Is Tom

On its surface, Edge of Tomorrow looks like a fun little action flick.  Certainly looks a hell of a lot better than Tom Cruise’s last foray in the fiction of science, Oblivion.  I also quite like Emily Blunt.  Using the Groundhog Day mechanic to learn how to become a badass weapon is probably one of the best things you could do when the fate of our world is at stake.

So why has this film appeared on my list of things to nerd rage over?

Well it turns out that this is based on a Japanese light novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka entitled All You Need Is Kill.  From the synopsis:

When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally–the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?

Sooooo as much as I dislike the trend of Hollywood White Washing Japanese things, I will give this movie some credit.  Unlike the Americanized live action Akira film which I pray never makes it to screen in my lifetime, they’ve come up with a new title and have renamed the characters.  If AZM Ally Derek Jeffers had never pointed out the basis for the film, I would have never known.  I would have been slightly dismayed that there seemed to be no minorities in the trailer, but I would have had no idea.

I’ve got mixed feelings on this.  I really hope Sakurazaka gets a nice big royalty from the movie rights.  I’m dismayed that Hollywood is mining Asian fiction for ideas rather than tapping some home grown talent.  There are plenty of amazing ideas right here at home that aren’t getting a chance.  But then again, without this trend, we wouldn’t have this amazing Godzilla film to look forward to.

Thanks to AZM Ally Derek Jeffers for the heads up.

GO GO GODZILLA!!!

WOW!

My one regret is that I didn’t see this in the theater first.  If I’m being completely honest, I thought the trailer with the Oppenheimer quote had a bigger impact on me.  The tone was just so stark and the final reveal of Godzilla out of the dust just grabbed me instantly.  Still, I love this trailer and I can’t wait to see the big guy trash the shit out of a city.

I’m also very pleased with the decision to reveal what this new Godzilla looks like.  If there is one positive thing to say about 94 Godzilla, it’s that they built a huge buzz around not revealing what he looked like.  But I think to placate the fans, this reboot needed to reveal at least the silhouette of their interpretation.  And they’ve done a beautiful job.  New Zilla looks beefy and mean and ready to crush, kill, and destroy EVERYTHING!

Thank you to absolutely everyone who sent this my way!

Hey Nerds, Ease Up On Gal Gadot

Talk shit, get hit!

Talk shit, get hit!

Short of giving everyone in the theater an bone shattering orgasm as the end credits roll, I don’t think Warner Bros will ever satisfy us nerds with Batman vs. Superman.  The announcement that Ben Affleck would don the bat cowl was met with venomous criticism.  And last week’s reveal that Gal Gadot would be strapping on the golden bracers and magic lasso was viciously lambasted.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • She’s too skinny for the role.
  • Maybe if she gets on them horse steroids, she can fill out.
  • She talks funny.
  • We haven’t seen enough of her yet to step into such a prestigious role.
  • She not good enough to carry a franchise.
  • Ah, she’s just a model.
  • She needs to eat a burger or two or three.
  • Maybe if we complain hard enough, she’ll back out.
Facepalm Piccard

SMH

This is why we can’t have nice things.

You know who else we hadn’t seen do anything at all unless we were fans of Australian musical theater? HUGH FUCKING JACKMAN who has gone on to play Wolverine in seven fuck movies.  As shitty as I think many of those movies are, he’s been an amazing Wolverine.  I actually think that the fact that we haven’t seen much from Gal Gadot works in her favor.  Casting relative unknowns as comic characters has paid off in spades.  Had any of us in ‘Merica heard of Tom Hiddleston before he put on Loki’s horned helm?  And now look, every fangirl in the world swoons at the mere mention of his name.

Now it’s true that we haven’t really seen her act in anything.  The Fast and Furious franchise basically asked two things of her: be hot, kick dudes.  I think she did both marvelously well.  Wonder Woman does require a little more on the acting front.  But I’m willing to give her chance.  Remember how Chris Evans stunk up the theater twice as Johnny Storm in those ill conceived Fantastic Four things?  By nerd law, there was no way he should be cast in anything based on a comic book ever again.  Yet I think he’s a great Steve Rogers.

So fucking ease up on Gal Gadot and let put on a damn costume.

If we want to nerd rage, let’s nerd rage about the fact that this isn’t a solo Wonder Woman film.  For fucking serious, it’s been far too long since we’ve had a proper live action Wonder Woman.  Linda Carter is getting lonely out there.  I can’t believe Gal Gadot is only the second woman to put on the golden tiara when we’ve had umptysquat numbers of Bat and Super men.

DC considers Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to be their holy trinity, yet Warner Bros can’t figure out how to make a goddamn Wonder Woman film.  So instead, they take the lazy ass way out and shoehorn her into someone else’s party.  It’s a disservice to the character.

My fear is that Gal Gadot won’t really have a chance to shine as Diana.  She’s competing with the titular characters of the film and when push comes to shove, they’re going to be cutting a lot of her out of the thing to make room for the two super dude bros.  It’s their movie and there’s a real danger that Wonder Woman will just be a footnote much like Colossus in the X2.

Remember who the real enemy is.  It’s not Gal Gadot.  It’s fucking Warner Bros.

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