The Post (2018) review

Rated: 3/5


Warning, this review gets political, makes no apologies about it, and gives no free flying fucks if you disagree with it (unless any of you dare to try having an honest discussion with me). You’ve been warned.

The Post, a movie.  Like how there was a TV series called The Office.  Now all there needs to be is a miniseries titled The Post Office.  All joking aside, The Post is short for The Washington Post, which I guess wouldn’t have attracted as many viewers to the movie for some reason, or perhaps because they wanted to eliminate “Washington” from the title, considering it’s supposed to be corrupt and led by a corrupt president during this time period (everyone’s favorite corrupt president that films always like to remind everyone exists and is corrupt about as often as they like to remind us Hitler was a scumbag, Richard Nixon).  How they stood with The New York Times in publishing a story on the Pentagon Papers regarding how Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon both kept the reality of the Vietnam War hidden from public, that it was a war we were either destined to lose, or a war that we would have to be fighting for a long time with a lot of manpower in order to win.  Basically a similar situation to what the British faced during the Revolutionary War, except America had assistance from France.

I’m not going to lie, I had preconceived notions when going into this film.  I expected this to be a preachy movie that praised the Washington Post, to the extent that it’s the end-all-be-all of news and newspapers, that it should always be allowed to post stories because all their stories are flawless and true.  That, and to bash the Trump administration ever so subtly (something I’m sure we’ll see more of for the next few years, as evident from a few films that came out near the end of last year).  So yes, I expected some serious subliminal messaging, or even messaging that is too blunt to be considered subliminal.  And while that stuff is here, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Besides, as I had to remind myself, any decent movie is a work of art that can be viewed with different perspectives. More on that later.



There are some negatives I had with the film.  There’s a brief moment near the end of the film after the Supreme Court sides with the papers over the government (oh, spoilers by the way, for any of you who didn’t already know or take an educated guess as to how things would turn out).  We see Meryl Streep walking down the steps surrounded by a bunch of smiling women.  Pro-feminism message much?  She can be an inspiration to both men and women, not just women goddamnit!  Can’t we live in an age where any gender and race can inspire all genders and races?  I mean, for Christ’s sake, the whole film is supposed to be about how an underdog newspaper company did a brave/bold thing which caused all other major papers to follow suit and side with freedom of speech over the power of the government telling them no.  That’s a cause everyone can rally behind!  But it’s just a minor moment that only lasts a few seconds, and I’m just making a big deal over a nit-picky moment.  The rest of the film is quite solid.

For the first half of the film, I started to wonder why it wasn’t about the New York Times.  I mean, it seemed as if they were doing all the interesting stuff.  But then during the 2nd half, it becomes clear why The Washington Post is the main focus of the film.  While the New York Times was the first paper to print on the Pentagon Papers, and the first to be challenged by the government over their publication, it’s the Washington Post that gets a hold of the larger amount of paperwork, and ultimately follows what the New York Times did.  The thing is, I think the film would’ve been more interesting if it focused on both sides, on the New York Times and on the Washington Post.  Certainly would’ve been more energetic and intense.  But then there would be less time for the more dramatic character moments, especially this one moment between Streep’s character and her daughter, which is definitely one of those moments where Spielberg is indulging himself with the drama.  It’s the one aspect about him that’s been a bit bothersome ever since E.T., where the character drama and character interaction comes off as a bit too emotionally manipulative and overdramatic.  It plagues a respectable number of his films.  That said, I found it bothersome in only that one scene.

The obvious themes come up from a film like this, about freedom of the press, freedom of speech, needing high quality reporting for high quality newspapers that readers will love and therebye become loyal fans of, how the papers have a duty more to the people than towards the government, etc.  An element in the film that took me by surprise is how it showcased that some of the higher-ups in the press tend to have political connections, and are friends with some high-standing government officials.  And this causes an inner conflict when they must consider if they value their work more than their friendship, or vice-versa.  A welcoming subplot in a film like this.



No More Pussyfooting

Now, with all that said, let’s stop pussyfooting around the pink/white/orange/black/whatever elephant in the room shall we?  I’m not going to ignore how many reviewers state that this is a timely and relevant film that has strong parallels to today’s environment.  And we all know what they’re talking about. Consider the headlines from some of the reviews:

‘The Post’ Review: Steven Spielberg’s Spectacularly Entertaining Journalism Thriller Is a Rallying Cry for the Resistance — David Ehrlich of IndiWire

“The Post” doesn’t feel so urgent because it was rushed into production — it was rushed into production because it feels so urgent. In a year full of accidental Trump movies, this is the first one that’s completely on purpose.


“The Post” works as a history lesson, but its priorities are clearly sorted by their relevance to the crises we’re enduring right now, the need for a free press being first among them.


Nixon is a pivotal character, but he’s sheared down to the parallels he shares with Trump


“The Post” is essential because it stares down cynicism with a smile, because it enshrines the fact that governments only see journalists as a threat when they have something to hide.

The Post film review: Steven Spielberg’s riveting newspaper drama could be subtitled: ‘FAO Trump’ — Christopher Hooton of Independent

Holding political feet to the fire, it will be applauded by a newly politicised Hollywood, looking to give the Trump White House some serious side-eye.


Is this a political film about holding truth to power? An industry meditation about journalists uniting for a common cause? A feminist reading of Graham’s role in history? Or a parable for the situation the press currently finds itself in with President Donald J. Trump (“I don’t think I could go through this again,” a character laments in one of the final scenes)?

‘The Post’ isn’t just a masterpiece, it is a call to arms against Donald Trump — Gregory Wakeman of Metro

What feels most prescient, though, is the fire that it looks to set underneath all of us, especially journalists, when it comes to their duty to take on Donald Trump and his attacks on the freedom of the press. “The Post’s” final speech will hopefully immediately stir and inspire.

So yeah, all that stuff. Even Spielberg noted that he made this film in 2017 because he felt either he makes it then, or not at all, because he felt it was so timely, because he spotted parallels between Nixon and Trump. Over the past couple years, Trump has been bashing several major news outlets, though never to the extreme that Nixon did in the early 1970s. Because that’s the reason the film exists, as a call against Trump bashing the news outlets.

However, and this is what I suspected would be the case, this is not the only way to view the film. Like any decent film, like any decent work of art, there is more than one way to view it, even if it doesn’t conform to the artist’s original intent. Some mainstream reviewers can attest to that.

Steven Spielberg’s The Post Is Good, and It’s Not About Trump — Kyle Smith of National Review

[…] the hacks will note that the film’s co-star, Meryl Streep — on the strength of her January Golden Globes speech, which she devoted entirely to attacking the president — is as strongly identified with anti-Trump sentiment as any major Hollywood player. For these reasons, The Post stands to be one of the leading contenders to win the Best Picture Oscar on March 4. Academy voters who are dying to turn the ceremony into an expression of revulsion for Trump will have no better weapon this year with which to attack him.

Yet The Post is simply a potent newspaper thriller that could have been released in the Obama years (when it was written) or for that matter at any other point in recent decades. It offers very little in the way of actual parallels to Trump, and to Spielberg’s credit he doesn’t include any overt Trump bashing. Hysteria-prone Hollywood liberals who see the president’s likeness in every passing cloud will be thinking of him throughout the movie, but only because hysteria-prone Hollywood liberals are prone to hysteria.


Today, of course, the public trusts neither the government nor the media, but it would take a more ironically minded filmmaker than Steven Spielberg to capture that in a film.


The lasting importance of the Pentagon Papers was not that they altered the course of the Vietnam War (I’m not sure they did) but that they heralded a media Reformation, a new era of doubt and iconoclasm in which journalists like Bradlee (and Graham, who was personal friends with McNamara) chose an antagonistic new stance toward institutions. This isn’t activism or partisanship: Journalists should relentlessly investigate whatever Washington is doing, regardless of party. While it’s true that the media are much more hostile to one party than the other, the principle is a valid one: Journalists should be diggers, not Victorian gents.

Good follow-up to the above article here:

Despite how much the film aims its sights at Nixon (a metaphor for Trump) as the villain for attacking freedom of the press, historically speaking, it was more due to Henry Kissinger for attacking the press than Nixon (though I’m sure Nixon was all for Kissinger’s actions). That aside, as I said earlier, this film doesn’t make any stretches or anything all that blunt about bashing Trump, it’s made well-enough to be considered a sort of time capsule that can be watched in any time period to reflect upon this historic moment in the early 70s, followed up with the Watergate scandal (covered in All the President’s Men), and eventually Nixon’s resignation.

Anyway, I bring this all up because I disagree, strongly, with the message being taken from this film by many people, even if it’s the message Spielberg wished to inject into the film (but again, viewers can have opinions differing from the artist). First off, the idea that the Trump administration is attacking the press anywhere near as violently as the Nixon administration did (or even McCarthy, as can be seen in the highly recommended and still quite relevant film Good Night, and Good Luck). He bashes them, sure, but never to the extent that he’s also attacking the first amendment. I mean, for crying out loud, there’s a scene in the film where Nixon bars the Washington Post from a wedding reception and from any other White House event. While that may have happened in 1971, the case is reversed in the present, where CNN (among others) voluntarily choose to not attend similar White House events of their own accord.

And then there’s the other message contained within the film. It is said briefly in some speeches early on in the film that reporter integrity is vital, the quality of the paper/article helps to gain readers/fans and thus keep the Post alive. They have a responsibility to report important events as much as they do for reporting the truth. So thus I found it possible to also view this film as a call for news integrity, for honest and unbiased news that doesn’t leave out facts much like how Nixon and LBJ left out some inconvenient truths/reports on the Vietnam war. Most, if not all, of the instances I’ve seen Trump bash the media has been because of their false/biased reporting. Because they are not being as honest as those from the early 1970s. And it’s a long list of events where the media has falsified stories or taken them out of context.

Should news agencies not be bashed if what they report is bullshit (assuming they’re not literally reporting about shit falling out of a bull’s ass)? Do those they report against falsely not have a right to attack them back for doing so? Should fake news not be treated as false? It’s stuff like this that makes me think of the other elements in the film, about how the higher ups in the media/papers are sometimes associated with government officials, and how that can lead to bias and not producing coverage of their “friends” when it’s honest and negative coverage; much less the fact-checking and source-backing (done to a greater extent in All the President’s Men). The sort of thing that should be done more often to government entities that are corrupt like the Clinton administration and portions of what Barack Obama did.

So there’s the other perspective one can take from this film. Not just a call for government honesty, but also for press/media honesty. As they said in the film, the press is more for the people than it is for the government. More for the ruled than for the rulers.

Otherwise, there is the social media alternative, and more are emerging beyond Twitter and Facebook.

But anyway, recommended film.

Jumanji (1995) and Welcome to the Jungle (2017) dual review

Jumanji is one of my favorite films from the 90s.  It’s not just a good kid-flick, but a good film in general.  So when I heard they were making a sequel to it, all I could think was, “Why?”  Then I saw the trailer, and I thought, “WHY!?!?!?”

My second thought was, “So this is what it feels like to have your childhood raped.”  So I expected this to be terrible going in to see it.  That probably should’ve worried me, because setting expectations so low provided a decent chance for the film to rise above them.  Which is ultimately what happened, and that pisses me off even more.

I wanted a film that gives me plenty to rant and rave about damnit!  It’s supposed to be worse than Star Wars: The Last Jedi!  In all fairness, The Last Jedi is a better film than this one, but that’s only because this film is simple mediocrity, with no aspirations whatsoever (make the movie, have fun, cash out) where as at least The Last Jedi at least strives to be more than that.  And for that matter, so did the original Jumanji movie.  From here on out, when referring to the 1995 film, I’m just going to call it Jumanji, while this new one I’ll call WttJ (Welcome to the Jungle).


Rated: 4 / 5

Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got fun and games!

When watching Jumanji, I admire several things about it.  This film is a drama, with some adventure and comedy thrown in.  At its core, it’s a film about taking responsibility and facing your fears, and the consequences of not doing so.  It takes a long while before this becomes evident, as the film does a somewhat unique style on how it introduces our main characters.  I haven’t seen very many films that pull this off successfully.  First we’re introduced to Allen, a young boy who doesn’t want to live a life his father wants for him, and wishes to run away rather than face his father on the issue (at least not too much).  His girlfriend is introduced more slowly, first by dialogue discussions between Allen and the bullies, and then she is revealed later on.  Then they (unintentionally) play the game, a mystical board game that looks too well-made from a wooden design standpoint for something that isn’t well known (thus helping with that mystic aura it gives off, sound effects and musical complimentary notes aside).  An accidental play, much like how life throws unexpected surprises (some good some bad) at us.  Allen is sucked in, and disappears, much as how he intended to run away and disappear.  And his girlfriend, Sarah, runs away rather than tries to help him get out of the game (but, in all fairness, she was just a girl at the time, and was scarred emotionally by the whole ordeal, so it’s easy to sympathize with her, just as it’s easy to sympathize with Allen).

Then we are introduced to 2 other characters, Peter and Judy, who we become acquainted with and spend more time with than we did with Allen and Sarah.  These two kids also desire an escape from their current lives, which have gone downhill ever since their parents’ unfortunate death via an airplane crash, while on their way to a ski vacation.  It’s not until far later in the film that Allen appears again, due to the 2 new kids playing the game.  And even later on, Sarah finally re-enters the film.  The main characters aren’t firmly established until the film is practically halfway over.  Have to admit, when taking it in that context, this film seems rather daring.  Having the main protagonists appear early on, then disappear for a good portion of the first hour, and then re-appear to continue the story.  The film eases its way into allowing the viewers to be familiar with the main protagonists.  And it works.

Oh yeah, and Lilith from Cheers is in this.

As the film goes on, Allen, now an adult played by Robin Williams in one of his best roles, eventually comes to realize not just how much his father loved him despite the fight they had, but also what can happen when he runs from his fears.  When he visits the old shoe factory, after going through his old town and seeing how terrible it has become compared to what it once was (think Detroit before and after the 60s), he meets a homeless man who is familiar with the town’s history, who must’ve been associated with it to some extent in the past before becoming how he is now.  His speech to Allen about how the town became how it is now, how the Shoe Factory went out of business, how it was all because Allen’s father searched for Allen endlessly after Allen disappeared, no longer caring about anything else but finding himself.  Likely blaming himself for Allen’s disappearance, thinking he ran away because of him (which is true, but under a different context).  It’s such a tear-jerking moment, especially seeing this realization wash across Allen’s face, realizing not just how much his father loved him, but how much damage his running away has caused (metaphorically speaking, as his disappearance was caused against his will, though he did intend to run away prior to that).

But the film doesn’t just settle for the character trying to right the wrongs of the past.  It also shows how Allen’s character has evolved.  Not just turning into a survivalist with his time in the jungle within the game, but also with how he has become like his father.  He is still afraid, hates himself for not being more mature earlier on, but also becomes angry at Peter for wishing to continue playing the game.  Because Allen knows what will happen if they do so, that more creatures, and individuals, and weather conditions will emerge from the game to make things worse.  He warns Peter of this, but also knows that Peter is right.  This doesn’t make him any less angry, and eventually tells Peter in his anger that he needs to man up and face all of this like a man, because it’s Peter’s doing for causing this to happen.  Immediately after doing that, Allen realizes how he’s acting like his father in the past, and also realizes how he’s being hypocritical, and tries to comfort Peter after this.

Regarding the facing of fears and taking responsibility, the film handles it as it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  And longer one runs from their own fears, the worse things will get.  This is shown early on with Allen confronting these bullies after running from them earlier, the bullies chasing him because he went out with their leader’s girlfriend (Sarah).  It results in him getting beat up, but then things more or less work out after that.  With him running away from his father, and staying away for years (again, the film plays with this with him wanting to run away, and him escaping to Jumanji unintentionally and against his will), this causes consequences resulting in the town going bottom-up economically when the Shoe Factory shuts down due to his father searching for him.  It’s also shown from a more metaphorical standpoint with them playing the game, something they must do to resolve everything, and it continually makes things worse not just for the main characters, but for the town around them.  It’s not until near the end of the game when Allen finally conquers his fear, his primary fear being that of his own father.  It’s some heavy-hitting metaphors, reminding me of Silent Hill 2 with how everything in that game is basically a projection of the protagonists own fears and desires.  And yes, I just compared Jumanji to Silent Hill 2.

Jumanji being a 1995 film, two years after Jurassic Park hit theaters, CG is used, but it’s used along with practical effects.  Granted, the film hasn’t aged THAT well, but it doesn’t look all that terrible either, all things considered.  The CG is dated, but acceptable.  Most of the practical effects work, but a couple are laughable (those spiders, I lose it every time they show up).  Then there’s instances of blending CG with actual objects, which do a good job of making them seem more real.




Practical spiders.




Blending CG with real objects.
Honestly, I still think this effect works.

So, yeah, a film that I still think is great today.  It still works as a character drama mixed with a fun adventure film, with some decent comedy moments thrown in for good measure.  Emotional, fun, all around solid even with the somewhat dated effects.  As for the sequel…




Rated: 2 / 5

Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here every day!

So like I said, I expected to despise this film.  And it started off meeting those expectations.  So some metal drummer punk finds the board game in the sands on the beach, more or less picking up where the last film left off.  Except that the last film left off with the board game on some beach in Mexico, Puerto Rico, or some place where they speak Spanish.  You know, it’s times like these that I think it might be a good idea for American film studios developing a temporary partnership with some foreign studio and allow them to take a jab at the property, whether it’s a remake or a sequel.  Seriously, it might not be a bad idea, and a perfect way to inject a different and fresh style into the film.  Granted, everyone will be of a different ethnicity and speaking a foreign language and viewers would have to read subtitles (unless they’re lazy assholes who refuse to watch any movie subtitled), but for those of us who care, it would be worth it.

But I digress.  Ignoring where the board game wound up in the previous film, this metal dude gets the board game out of the beach sand, takes it to his home, and opens it up to see what it is.  He sees it’s a board game, and says something along the lines of, “Who plays board games anymore?” before tossing it aside onto his stack of Playstation games.

Fuck you you fucking fucker!  Board games are fucking awesome, even back in the 90s!  What, cocksuckers like you never heard of Crossfire!?

How about Forbidden Bridge!?

Kiss my dick and suck my ass!  You deserve whatever fate befalls you for pissing off the Jumanji game!

But rather than letting curiosity get the better of him to try out the game, you know, by hearing that drum beat or something (which doesn’t fucking happen!), the board game transforms into some Atari cartridge game or something so that he can play it.  What the fuck!?

Scarily enough, this is likely foreshadowing.

So that’s basically how they decided to make this into a sequel to Jumanji, by having the board game transform into a video game just for the fuck of it.  And you know, from here on out, aside from this dumb fucking reference to the first film that happens in the middle of WttJ, this movie is completely different from Jumanji!  They could’ve called this film ANYTHING else, anything not associated with Jumanji, and I wouldn’t be forced to do this comparison bullshit.  It has more in common with Tron than it does Jumanji.  Stop making half-assed sequels and remakes Hollywood!  Do what Disney has been doing since the 90s, ripping off stories and making them their own (The Lion King = Hamlet + Kimba the White Lion, Pocahontas rewriting history, The Little Mermaid being more lighthearted than the original source, etc.).  Rip off movies, stop trying to claim that they’re remakes or sequels!


*deep breathe*  Ok, with that out of the way, and after metalhead gets sucked into the videogame, the film basically becomes its own thing that bares little resemblance to Jumanji.  4 kids get put into detention, one for be a snot-nosed bitch who refuses to turn her cell phone off, 2 of them because they cheated on their school assignment, and the other because she mouthed off to the PE teacher.  And in detention they stumble across this game (somehow), and plug it in, play, and get sucked into it, each becoming a different character based on which character they chose at the start of the game.  So each of them is given a new body with certain personality traits that peak through occasionally.

Like being so black and unfunny it pisses the Republicans off.

Now, before I continue, it’s worth noting that the dumb fucks who made this movie think that cartridge games actually have a loading screen.  Did any of you motherfuckers ever play a Sega Genesis or a Super Nintendo?  None of those fucking consoles had loading screens.  Why?  Because cartridges are faster than CDs!  Just take a USB drive compared to a fucking Disc for comparison in today’s world!  On that note, I wouldn’t be surprised if games eventually went back to a cartridge style play, assuming everything doesn’t wind up online (not likely since Net Neutrality has been killed and now cocksuckers like Verizon and Comcast can start throttling other companies if they don’t pay a little extra, like in 2005 when Comcast delayed BitTorrent traffic, or in 2007 when AT&T censored Pearl Jam, or 2007-9 when AT&T forced Apple to block Skype, or in 2011 when MetroPCS announced it would block streaming services over its 4G network except for YouTube, or 2012 when Verizon blocked tethering app use on their phones, or when Verizon and Comcast throttled Netflix until 2014 when Netflix agreed to pay them extra, or 2014 when T-Mobile used data caps to manipulate competition, until 2015 when net neutrality was in place until 2017 when that went away [those dipshits will likely throttle my site now just for bringing that up]).

Too much stress for the hair to endure.

With that tangent out of the way, the plot of the film is that our 4 heroes need to return a green crystal McGuffen to a big McGuffen statue in order to win and get back to the real world.  So no, there’s no trying to roll a 5 or an 8 on the dice.  That’s all I’ll say about the plot.

Honestly, the only time she was funny was during her make-out scene with The Rock, which was definitely one of the funnier moments of the film.

So, are there any deep character moments in this film?  What the hell do you think?  Of course there isn’t!  As if you would think otherwise after seeing any of the trailers.  There’s this theme of friendship, and acceptance, not being selfish, and of tranny stuff like being a woman trapped in a man’s body, or a wimp trapped in a muscular body (or vice-versa), or an average-looking chick trapped in a hot chick’s body.  There’s a line in the movie that goes, “What you are on the outside is not what you are on the inside,” which is stating that it’s your character and personality that counts, not your looks, but it’s more fun to think of this is as a transgender message.  Personally, I think the tranny theme existed just so Jack Black could do that role of acting like a woman.  And in his case, it works, because he completely steals the show from everyone else.  He gets the most laughs and produces the best comedic charisma out of everyone, even doing better than Dwayne Johnson (who also got a couple laughs from me here and there, by doing his usual The Rock routine).  He must’ve loved doing this, and I’m not going to lie, despite my gripes, it was fun watching him do this role.

Or maybe I’ve misjudged this film.  This bit could be a complex female fat joke.

This movie exists primarily to be a comedy, not giving much of a shit about the dramatic moments, which would be fine if it was funnier than it is, but it isn’t.  The film is just another typical forgettable comedy affair that offers some chuckles here and there, but nothing that’s going to be all that memorable.  It’s not the trainwreck I expected it to be, but it’s still a desecration to the Jumanji film, and it does not deserve to have that word in its fucking title.  I would’ve liked it more if it had nothing to do with that title.  Just being called Welcome to the Jungle would’ve been fine.  Hell, I’d be interested if they just called it Atari Jungle or something.

Oh, guess that title was already taken by this suckass film.

So in case you didn’t guess from the rating, this movie is a pass.  You’re better off tracking down and watching the Jumanji animated series.  And you can buy the entire series right now on DVD, all 3 seasons for less than ten dollars (hey, if this fucking movie is going to have advertisements in it, then so will this review!).


PS: Oh, right, and there were some blatant obvious advertisements in this film, mainly with Sony, their PS4, their smartphone, and Dave & Busters.  Well, at least they kept it game-themed with the ads.



Star Wars: The Last Jedi review

Rated: 2.5 / 5

So I know what you’re thinking.  Will this review contain spoilers?  You bet your ass it will.  I’m gonna spoil the shit out of this movie.  But before I do that, there’s a few things I need to get off my chest.  I’ll put up a spoiler warning sign when I get to that point.  So for those who are worried about spoilers and just want to know my opinion on the entertainment level of this film, how good or bad it is, I’ll say this.  It is better than The Force Awakens, and addressed some of the issues I had with that film.  That being said, this is a film that basically did 3 steps forward, 2 steps back, which frustrates the shit out of me because it could easily have done 4 steps forward and 1 step back instead (there was know way they were going to go all 5 steps forward, not with a Disney movie).  So if you loved The Force Awakens, you’ll love this.  If you hated The Force Awakens, this might change your mind and give you some hope for the final installment in the trilogy (except that that hack Jar Jar Abrams will be back in the director’s chair for that film, which has me worried, even if it’s an improvement upon the last director attached to that film; Christ I wish Christopher Nolan would grow a pair of balls and try one of these out).  And just to throw this in, if you loved The Force Awakens more than Rogue One, go fuck yourself.

Continue reading

Brawl in Cell Block 99 review

Rated: 3.5 / 5

Skip-able Intro

So you remember when I said, “my next review is going to be on a very controversial film that you’ve probably never heard of that you’ll likely only be able to see on a porn site“?  Well, guess I lied.  I’m putting that on hold for a review or two.  Or three.  Lately I’ve been getting bogged down replaying The Witcher (the first one from 2007), which I’ve finished playing and am in the process of reviewing, but that involves finishing editing/uploading the “movie-version” like I did.  That takes a while, especially for that game.  I don’t plan on doing the whole “play and record” thing with the next game I play, because going back and editing footage takes a long time and it becomes frustrating seeing my output suffer as a result.

So I was going to watch and review that “controversial” film, but that got sidelined when I found out about this other movie released recently, still playing in theaters, and is an indie movie.  Well where I live, “movie in theaters” and “indie” don’t go well together, so it’s not playing anywhere near me.  So I opted for the next best thing., rented it there for $7.99.  It was worth it.


The Review

Holy crap, it’s a miracle.  A film starring Vince Vaughn that is actually good.  I usually take a disliking to this guy, something about his aura and personality in his roles just turns me off.  It’s why I was rooting against him in Dodgeball and wished they went with the alternate ending (sure they would’ve lost to the bigger assholes, but at least the bigger assholes were doing something with their lives and were fun and hilarious to watch, especially Ben Stiller [makes me wonder why he doesn’t play the bad guy more often, because that’s when he’s at his most entertaining]).

Plus that would make for a logical continuation, making this movie sort of a sequel to that movie.  Vaughn becomes more down on his luck, and more angry, and doesn’t get the bisexual chick, so he settles for a straight chick played by Jennifer Carpenter (which, in all fairness, is a pretty good deal all things considered).  Hell, I think the movie is also a sequel to Requiem for a Dream, since Vaughn asks her early on if she “fell off the bandwagon” (ie started doing dope again for those of you who think I’m talking about a western/musical flick or something).  Those would be decent films to watch prior to this one, starting with Dodgeball for the “good old fun times,” then Requiem for “everything crashing down and everyone becoming miserable because life sucks”, and then this film to see where it goes from there.


Also kind of fits, considering that Vaughn’s big time Hollywood days seem to be behind him.  That doesn’t seem to be a bad thing here, at least not for us viewers, not sure what that means for him financially.  But in any case, this role is perfect for Vaughn.  Plays a more dead-serious guy, occasionally making a wisecrack to give a peek into his more comedic side.  But make no mistake, he plays a grim character in a grim film with other grim characters and a grim environment.  And grimy prisons.

The film starts with him getting laid off from his job, and follows immediately by learning that his wife was cheating on him.  So you would think the film is going to be a slow downward spiral from there right?  Well, not quite.  They actually manage to rebound for a period of time, both in regards to their finances and their relationship.  But there was only one way Vaughn (I’ll refer to him by his character name from now on: Bradley) could do it, and that’s by resorting to illegal activities: being a drug carrier.  He didn’t want to do it, he’s clearly a guy with a troubled past who wants to do the right thing and live an honest life.  But economic conditions just won’t allow for it.  It’s the only way he can achieve the American dream of having hard work and effort pay off, maintaining a sustainable income, being able to support his wife and household, and help raise a family.  But, of course, it eventually goes wrong and he winds up in prison.  Seriously, has there ever been a decent movie made where someone makes a successful living off the drug trade with no repercussions that messes up their life somehow?  I don’t think so, because that’s a bad message to send, because the film industry needs to keep people honest and off drugs.  Except marijuana, thank God.

In fact, the film even mentions the hypocrisy of such a system.

“I’m aware that the system is harder on guys who distribute drugs than those who commit acts of violence against women and children.”

Life isn’t fair, but people must make due with what they’ve got, and hope they make the right decisions, and consider how much they’re willing to sacrifice in terms of their morals.  And his hard work and effort does have some payoff, with his wife, a house, and a baby on the way.

And her life was hard too.

Because Bradley’s life has been hard and he’s had a hard upbringing, he is a hard man.  And by hard, I mean he has a high pain threshold and can beat the shit out of just about anyone.  An aspect of his past life he wants to leave behind, but eventually finds himself in a state where that isn’t possible.  He’s basically forced to fight in prison.  And it’s this portion of the movie where it becomes a cut above the rest (though the previous section was still good too).  It transitions from drama to action, and the action is very well done.  Some honest to God effort put into the fight choreography and directing.

With each fight scene and each situation Bradley is put into, the situation and the environment and lighting becomes darker and darker.  The chances of him getting free to eventually see his wife and daughter become more and more bleak.  But what he does he does for his wife and daughter, for his family.  To say why, and how it all turns out, would be spoiling things, and I’m not going to do that, because I don’t do that for new movies that I enjoy unless I get neck-deep into some philosophical/thematic/metaphorical/symbolic discussions that are brought up in the film.  This film isn’t that deep in that regard, but there is stuff to talk about below the surface (guess that could be considered a pun in this case).

Because Bradley loves his wife and sacrifices much of his time for her, working jobs to support her, he is willing to do “less than legal” things to make that happen, which he discusses with her (how refreshing, a film where the husband who traffics drugs doesn’t keep it from his loved one).  The reasons Bradley ends up in prison.  He could’ve gotten away when some Mexican thugs decided not to do things his way during a drug pickup, when a shootout with police ensues.  But he doesn’t, because he hates how disrespectful the thugs were to him, the country, and to the police.  The whole thing could’ve been avoided, but that’s not how it turned out.  So Bradley ends up helping the police take them down, though it results in him going to prison.  He keeps his mouth shut due to loyalty, which results in him staying in prison.  When his wife’s life is threatened, he does things he doesn’t want to do to try and keep her safe.  Everything he does in the film is either out of sacrifice for her, or out of sacrifice for his patriotic morals.  And the film doesn’t hide that what he does isn’t exactly the most noble deeds, as he is almost constantly in a bad place whenever he is “working.”  Christ, makes me want to get high just typing all this down; it’s making me depressed.

As for the downsides to this movie, aside from personal tastes in how entertaining I can find a film, there were a couple moments where the film tries to be extra violent, but it just comes off as looking fake.  It’s only for 2 very very brief moments, but they’re there.

Let me show you how badass I am by destroying this mannequin!

Other than that, the film is solid enough, but it’s the fight scenes during the latter half of the movie that truly make it memorable.  Plus there’s a moment where Carpenter gets a hold of a gun and uses it, which put a smile on my face.

All in all, well-made movie.  A bit depressing, yet also having a somewhat pleasant (probably not the right word, but says that’s an appropriate antonym for “depressing,” so…) ending.  Has me eager for the director’s next film, which is titled Dragged Across Concrete and will star both Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson, and is currently in post-production.  Considering how the director doesn’t shy away from violence in his films, at all, and how much Mel Gibson loves putting violence into his films…  oh God, there is hope for the film industry yet.

Because we’re bored with the current state of the film industry.


Sonic, and Zombies, and Sexhogs, oh my!

So for those of you who thought I was going to review some classic horror film for the Halloween season, something like John Carpenter’s Halloween, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Puppet Master, etc, think again.  That’s too typical, and you’ve likely seen those films already (though that doesn’t mean I won’t review them sometime down the road).  Oh no, fuck that traditional bullshit, I’m reviewing Sonic the Hedgehog stuff that can be considered Halloween-ish.  And best of all, they can all be seen, for free, on buttfucking YouTube (I hate that site with their goddamn censorship and liberal bias, but they have the most content, so…).

So as you can tell by the title, this is going to be a Sonic Halloween theme.  Now, there is technically a Sonic movie, made in the 90s, and it’s just so-so yet faithful to the feel of the games (which is more than I can say for the Super Mario Bros. movie, so those plumbers can keep sucking dick the way they suck Mario golf balls through a drainpipe for all I care).  But that’s not what I’m reviewing today.  Why?  Because it’s Halloween, and I found this web-series far more entertaining than any other Sonic product as of late.

But first, an appetizer.

Entry #1: Sonic: Night of the Werehog

So it’s ok for what it is.  Basically a glorified promotion for the game Sonic: Unleashed, which I heard was just a so-so game.  Haven’t been too interested in Sonic games since Sonic Adventure 2 (though I’m eventually going to have to give Sonic Mania a shot).  So Sonic and some pincushion I’ve never seen or heard of outside of this film explore a haunted mansion for some reason.  Probably for the adventure of it all, hence why 2 kids arrive earlier just to see if there is anything scary there.  Turns out there is, 2 ghosts with a camera trying to take picture of the victims they scare for the sake of gaining the adoration of this ghost princess.

So when sonic and the adorable pincushion wimp show up, guess who the ghosts decide to target for the scares first?  The fuzzy one obviously.

Fuck jump scares, they’re only useful for parody montages like this if they aren’t going to be a rare occurrence.

They waste no effort in taking every opportunity to scare the ever-loving-shit out of this pink furball that only exists to be adorable when it is scared, or not scared, so obviously I felt no sympathy for this thing when all this started happening to it.  Hell, not even Sonic gave a shit (just wait for the ending, even the creators didn’t give a shit).  This pleases ghost princess, but she becomes dissatisfied when the ghosts fail to scare Sonic himself.  So they attempt to challenge/scare him, but for some reason, out of the blue, with no explanation given other than the presence of the full moon, sonic transforms into a fucking werewolf, er, werehog!

So awesome it’s taunting Zack Snyder to adapt this into a full-length feature film.

So Sonic the Werehog and these ghosts duke it out in an amusing but not entirely fulfilling fight (I mean, when the entire film is only 11 minutes long, what do you expect?), Sonic eventually wins, and then proceeds to leave the mansion with his fuzzball buddy.  However, the ghost princess has taken a liking to Sonic (as foreshadowed by her liking for pictures of people being scared shitless decorating one side of her room, and images of werewolves decorating the other side of her room), and decides to go with him, and get the last picture with him.  She does this by impersonating Sonic’s fuzzball friend.

Which is nice and all, Sonic getting the girl and walking off into the sunrise (and for some reason staying as a werehog, later getting very very frisky and having hardcore animal sex with the ghost; I’ll let your imaginations run wild as to how fucked up that’s going to be; there’s a reason I went there).  But then wait a minute–  What the hell happened to Sonic’s fuzzball friend?  Oh, he got kidnapped and tied up by the ghost princess and left to his fate with the other ghosts in the mansion.  Jesus Christ, I think that’s more fucked up than the sexhog sex.



Alright, warmup’s over.  Let’s get into this.  It’s the Sonic Zombie series created by Balena Productions.



Entry #2: Sonic Zombie Origins (part 1 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

First off, the image still above for the preview of this episode used to be a tad bit different, actually showing Sonic groping Rogue’s boobs as opposed to being off to the side.  Fucking YouTube.

Anyway, as you’ll tell within the first second (let alone the first minute) of this video, this is not made professionally.  Far from it.  It’s amateur, rough around the edges, and damn proud of it.  None of the characters are loyal to their videogame counterparts, and Sonic drives a hummer rather than run around like the speed freak he is (supposed to be).  Tails is an illegal immigrant Mexican who is obsessed (demonically) with tacos, Knuckles is an Eddie Murphy gangster, Shadow is something, Amy is obsessed with Sonic (“Sonic, will you make me a woman?”), the bunny sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger (and no I couldn’t spell that right without looking it up), Rogue can fight and has boobs, and Sonic is a douche bag.  And this group of seven make up our main characters for this series.  Some would live, some would die and then come back to life again.

And in this episode, everyone gets together for Christmas, while zombies from Half-Life show up in Garry’s Mod to fuck up their festive gathering.

So they go all Night of the Living Dead and start barricading themselves into their house.

Meanwhile Eddie Knuckles gets bitten and starts hallucinating Mike Myers.

Eventually they have to leave the house and get to the airport to try and get away, until a giant fuck-off alien-saurus shows up, and they all seem doomed.  But Sonic knows that there is one thing that can save them all.  Rogue’s boobs!

No she isn’t planning on beating the monster to death with her tits (though I would absolutely love to see her try).  Oh no.  Sonic can go supersonic by feeling up a girl’s boobs.

Anyway, it’s at this point you should know what you’re in for.  This series is stupid, ridiculous, makes up the rules as it goes along, immoral, sacrilege to the Sonic lore (more-so than any official game-to-film adaptation ever made).  And I fucking love it.  It’s so ridiculous and immature and creative that I’ve gotta laugh at it.  It’s seems like it’s written by a 10 year old and narrated by someone with the same mindset and this allows for just about anything to happen.  So many memorable moments, especially the stereotypes.  And this series is just getting started.


Entry #3: Sonic Zombie Vengeance (part 2 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

While this may be part to, there are some mini-episodes that I like to call 1a, 1b, and 1c that bridge the gap between these two videos.  Dumb shit happens in them, as usual, and it’s not going to make any more sense of the plot, so it’s up to you if you want to take a look into those.  As for this particular episode, the main highlight of this one is that the werehog makes an appearance, and so does Dr. Robotnik (aka Eggman).  Except the werehog is a sexhog, and Robotnik is Robo-fat-fat-fat-fucknik (and he’s Russian).  And the thing about sexhogs, aside from being bigger badder and stronger that a hedgehog, they are also a lot friskier.  So they basically want to have sex with anything.  So Sonic the Sexhog ends up fucking Robofatfucknik to death.  Seriously, that happens.

And since the sexhog is horny as fuck, you know what that means…

While not as overall hilarious as the previous episode, what it lacks in quanitity it makes up for in quality (sort of).





Entry #4: Sonic Zombie in Space (part 3 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

And like most horror franchises, this eventually went into space.  And there is a fabulous payoff to the sexhog here.  But first, after they go to space, they land on a space station that has clones of all our main characters.  They all eventually get loose, and the Shadow clone has a time with Rogue.

Yep, it went there.

And then Sonic and Robofatfucknik get into a lightsaber duel (oh this is awesome).

And the sexhog clones rape each other.

There’s other things that happen, but I wouldn’t want to spoil everything now would I?






Entry #5: Sonic Zombie the Finale (part 6 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

Final entry (except the one video that comes after this).  And yeah, I’m skipping several videos to get to this one.  Go watch the rest of the damn videos if you want to know what’s in them.  And, uh, I’d rather just have the images do the talking.




So this is an entertaining series where the entertainment spawns partly from the “no fucks given” attitude of how cheaply this is made, and how virtually every character is a (racial) stereotype of someone, has some fabulous over-the-top moments, and some legit moments of well-thought-out humor.  Plus, even if it’s not loyal to the Sonic franchise at all, it’s certainly something I would choose over Sonic Boom (fuck that show).  It’s not for everyone, but you have to at least try out the first 10 minutes of episode 1 just to see if it’s your thing or not.

This isn’t exactly a franchise I can go deep into with its themes and characters and stuff.  Because, well, do you really think that’s even possible after all the shit you’ve just seen?  It’s just something with events/lines/images that you can point and laugh at, so the best I can do is just show some highlights.

Plus it’s somewhat inspiring to see that something like this can be made with Garry’s Mod, and makes one wonder of the potential for other mods for games.





Ok, so on a serious note for a moment, there’s a reason I haven’t been reviewing new theatrical releases lately.  For one, the films largely don’t interest me all that much.

“But they interest us goddamnit!  We want to hear your opinions!  Review them!” you may shout at me, to which I’ll reply, “Then donate to me on Paypal or Patreon goddamnit!”

For another, and this is the big one, is this whole Weinstein scandal.  The scandal is bad enough, but what finally sent me over the edge is Corey Feldmen’s video and his plea for funds not just for a budget to make his own biography film, but also for his protection and funds for his legal battles.

This got to me.  So I’ve put forth some funds for him.  If you guys/gals want to do the same, go for it.  If not, fine, I’m not holding anything against you.  Just thought you should be aware.

It’s just seeing how much Hollywood is cracking down on (former) child actors and silencing others and doing all this despicable shit, it makes me less willing than ever to put forth money to watch their stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to be reviewing films, but it’s more likely going to be films that aren’t “New Releases.”  I’ll still likely wind up reviewing some film where some actor/actress was exploited, but avoiding it isn’t exactly going to change what’s already been done.

I’m probably not being entirely rational about this, but it’s currently the only thing I can think of right now as an appropriate reaction to all this.  It’s infuriating, because I love film.  I love entertainment.  And I hate being deprived of it about as much as I hate seeing others suffer for it.  To go further into the irrational side of things, my next review is going to be on a very controversial film that you’ve probably never heard of that you’ll likely only be able to see on a porn site.  Gives me an excuse to bring this up again while the IndieGoGo campaign is still going.



Blade Runner 1 and 2049 dual review

Blade Runner rated: 3.5/5
Blade Runner 2049 rated: 3/5

Like the first film, this one ended up bombing at the box office, even though it’s ranked at #1 for the weekend (well thank fuck not that many dumbass kids and fucking bronies are giving My Little Pony that much fucking money). Will it gain as much of a cult following and reach the same level of fame as its predecessor? Or will it just be remembered as a meh movie? Only time will tell. Until then, here’s my opinion.

So I was going to be very disappointed in this film if it didn’t at the very least provide a visual treat that is pure ecstasy for the eyes. Not only because the first film was also that, with intense attention to detail, but also because it provided a way to make both things that are pleasant and/or horrible (death, pollution) beautiful to look at. There is beauty even amidst suffering and a toxic environment. Not only because of that, but also because the first film had a theme that was all about the eyes. That film opened with a visual shot that ended up being a first person perspective of the city of Los Angeles 2 years from now (hey, it could still happen), and showcased this by switching from a view of the city, to a view of the eye that reflects the city. This film opens in a similar way, minus the fire and smoke. It opens with an eye. I’m honestly not sure why, because if it’s supposed to be the main protagonist’s eye, which was my assumption, then it shouldn’t have started with Gosling asleep at the wheel, with his eyes closed. Fuck advertisements against drinking and driving, they need advertisements about not sleeping at the wheel!

“But the flying vehicle is on auto-pi–“
I don’t care!

Anyway, the first film had a lot of instances with regards to “eyes,” which is a central theme/symbol in that film. Not just with the showing and highlighting of the eyes, but also the discussing of them.


Blade Runner 2049, on the other hand, only uses “eyes” as a brief callback to the first film, in only 2 scenes. I didn’t catch anything particularly re-ocurring objects throughout the film in that way, at least not on this watch.

That being said, as I had hoped, this film is fantastic from a visual perspective. The special effects, set designs, all fantastic. One of the best-looking sci-fi films since Tron: Legacy. And aside from some scenes in the city, the film largely carries a different color scheme to it, a different atmospheric film, than the first one. That’s not a bad thing, because it looks great in any case. Plus we actually get a look outside Los Angeles in this film. Usually foggy, sometimes an orange color.  Both films use atmosphere and visuals as their primary strength, becoming a mood-piece, leaving the plot and characters secondary, and this works to their advantage since both films have their own share of plot holes (more on that in a moment).  It makes it easier to overlook those flaws in that way.  How scenes drag on and let the music carry you, how the sound effects carry you, how the pleasant visuals allow you to settle into and take in all that there is in each well-crafted sequence.  Letting the colors dominate to create a particular mood, almost making things dream-like.  This is when both films are at their best.  In the case of the previous film, the mood of it is dream-like, but slowly becomes more and more like a nightmare (with less music to lighten the mood I might add), before rising back up to its dream-like quality, and then having the final sequence take place in silence as if the dream is over, we are awake, and on edge, wondering what will happen next.

The 2049 film follows this aspect for the first half of its runtime, but becomes more plot/character driven during its latter half (with a couple scenes here and there that return back to the welcoming atmospheric style), which ends up being to its detriment because then one has to consider the problems with the plot if there’s going to be heavier focus on it.

But make no mistake, the previous film has some plot holes (or at least some leaps in logic) as well.  It may be a masterpiece, but it’s a flawed masterpiece.  For starters, why the fuck would they be designing androids to look exactly like humans? Pleasure models I can understand, but models made for work and labor, why? Not to mention why the fuck they would program them to act real and have emotions? Seems to me like a lot of the problems brought up in these films would be solved if they stopped making robots look and act human, since it brings no logical benefit. I mean seriously, how are they profiting off of these things if they’re going to make this many? Does the robot labor force make so much profit that the Tyrell Corporation have no problem putting the entire workforce at risk by giving them emotions and making them all look and act human, giving all of them unique looks and personalities in the process? Granted, this film mentions the aftermath of all that and how it lead to Tyrell going bankrupt and being bought out by some other company, that would continue to make the exact same fucking mistakes that Tyrell did before going under!

Another problem with both films is the security issue. Not just in the city air, but also inside actual security buildings! In both films, an employee/employer of importance within the company gets blasted/knifed/thumbed into oblivion, while inside the security building, and the perpetrator gets away each fucking time in each fucking movie! That’s just insane! Did Los Angeles turn into Mega City One or something?

As for the flaw unique to this film, it’s more of a storyline and thematic issue. As a sequel, it is mandatory to compare this to the first film, and consider how it’s going to develop the story/world/lore/character(s). In terms of developing the theme, it honestly doesn’t. The theme of the first film is if artificially created beings are capable of being human, of being alive, of feeling/giving love, etc. This film is basically the same thing, except limited to Ford’s and Gosling’s characters. Any other (supposed) replicants don’t count because they’re not given enough screen time to matter, even if it happens in one scene for the sake of sequel-baiting. It doesn’t take the theme in any other meaningful direction that expands from the first film, except that it ignores the religious aspect of fallen angels from heaven, and implies robots will eventually fight back and threaten to take over the world. That’s bullshit, and that only belongs in Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, and Planet of the Apes films.

Also it relies too heavily on the existence of the first film. I’m not talking about building off of established plot/world/characters; I’m talking about the last scene ending not only on a character of the past film, but also not ending on any note that is thought-provoking and/or conversation-starting like the first film did, let alone making you view the film differently on a second viewing knowing what you know after a first view. Speaking of that, if you’re wondering whether or not this film answers the question definitively if Deckard’s a replicant or not, to my surprise, it doesn’t. It actually handles Deckard’s character in such a way it would be the same whether he was a human or replicant. So viewers can look at this movie with either conclusion they arrived at after seeing the first film.

That aside, the pacing was well-done in the 2049 film. It starts at a crawl, but starts to kick into gear about 30-40 minutes in when Gosling’s character arrives at a junkyard.

Back to the visuals for a moment. In this film, there’s a (kind of) sex scene that I’m sure people will talk about afterwards. It’s not explicit or anything (if it was that would be legendary, us guys would get to see 2 smoking hot females in the nude, and the girls and gay guys would get to see Ryan Gosling’s six-pack and incredibly tight muscular ass; fair trade), but it’s an interesting stylistic scene with a digital girl trying to “sync” with a physical human during sexual intercourse. If that scene was cut down to to MPAA censors, then I want to see a goddamn director’s cut! This honestly wouldn’t surprise me, since the sex scene in the original film was also cut down, I shit you not.

Like the first film, this film succeeds as an atmospheric visual film, with everything else taking second priority at best. The scenes in both films are top notch. The 2049 version even manages to succeed the original in terms of visuals for a brief duration when Gosling visits the corporation (and after he leaves it) that took over the Tyrell Corporation. The lighting, the rooms, the sounds. It’s glorious.

Anyway, I’ve discussed the flaws of the film, but there’s one other thing I personally consider a major fault, but only on a personal level. I felt it played it too safe and strayed too close to reliance on the original in a way different than mentioned above. It’s that this took place on Earth. In both films it is mentioned that there are colonies established on other planets, some of which are used for replicant slave labor. I’d like to see a film take place on one or more of those, to see what life is like there. This would expand the world building (a lot), and potentially the lore and themes in this way. Plus there wasn’t any good reason to continue a story arc for Ford’s character. This film didn’t take it in a direction any more interesting than Gosling’s character, and it was wrapped up in a satisfying way in the first film.

And, well, there it is. The first film is better, but this film is worth seeing just for the visuals alone. And the story, despite my gripes, is still worth going through even if just to experience the visuals.


Edit 10-9-2017:

Oh, right, and the villains didn’t have as much depth as those in the previous film.  They came off as cookie-cutter villains compared to those from the first film who had a sympathetic plight.  It wasn’t enough to make them out to be good guys, but it made them more relate-able, even if they were machines.  And in my opinion, that’s the whole point/purpose of films that focus on artificial intelligence.  Using robots as a metaphor for some aspect or element to humanity, so that humans can know more about themselves, what it’s like to be alive, what it’s like to be human.