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You can't win an argument just by being right!
You will not question Big Brother. You will not argue with Big Brother. Big Brother is always right.

I noticed he said in another post he said a few more things that'll do it every time. Some people get report happy.

Martial Arts Action / English / 1988

One of several entries from the Action Movie Countdown I haven't got around to watching. Figured I was especially obligated considering I'd never seen a Jean-Claude Van Damme starring film and it's considered one of his best if not the best.

Bloodsport is an extremely simple film in concept, Jean playing as Frank Dux, grows out of a poorly dubbed child actor with a thick accent into a martial arts extraordinaire with a thick accent, seeking to redeem his sensei who's lost his blood lineage by carrying on his teachings and proving their worth in a martial arts tournament.

After the hilariously bad first impressions of his backstory, most of the movie is sadly just a hash of pretty sub-par fighting clips between the contestants of the tournament. The Tournament itself doesn't seem to make much sense either. Firstly, it's supposed to be illegal, and yet they have nothing in the way of bouncers to prevent reporters, police, or foreign military personnel just strolling onto the property. Secondly, it's a full-contact sport where risk of dying is advertised up front and yet the entire audience and rank of judges turn their backs on Big Bad for killing a competitor? This is some weak criminal ****, man.

Jean's "death touch" is drawn attention to at the start of the tournament too, but it's never called back to again.

Why even are foreigners allowed to run around the streets of Hong Kong tazing people either? Isn't that against the law?

Oh hey, Forest Whitaker is in this movie too and he instantly has more personality, weird that.

In fact, the interpersonal drama between the characters in this movie is WAY better than in Rogue One, that's fricken' ridiculous. Frank and Best Friends Forever hit it off immediately and you get a sense for their camaraderie really quickly, and even though Frank and Reporter Girl jump in bed way too quickly, and she then betrays him way too quickly, and she then flashes him the smile-of-complete-innocence after that way too quickly (develop your female characters, for ****'s sakes), I still get more of a sense for how distinct each of these characters are, either from the main three protagonists, their manager, the two guys chasing them, and the Big Bad at the end than I did for the entire Rogue One crew and Tarkin's Bitch.

Not that that means a whole lot, it's mostly just padding to prevent the movie from going full Drunken Master on us, not that I would mind that, Drunken Master was awesome, but Drunken Master was also way more varied in it's combat scenes in more ways than one.

The main selling point of this movie is obviously the image on the tin, you wanna see Jean-Claude Van Damme roundhouse kick a mother****er and go ****ing ape**** on people (basically crazy-mugging like Bruce Lee did), and he does, but that really doesn't happen much till the final fight where Big Bad throws dust in his eyes and you get that absolutely ludicrous overreaction of a bloody Frank screaming wide-eyed into the middle distance before pulling a Donnie Yen and beating the guy blind.

Overall the movie kept my attention, but it wasn't anything too terribly bad or special.

Oh, what's this? This was based on a true story? The dude went over 300 matches undefeated before retiring with 4 world records? Wow.

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
In 2012 Sheldon Lettich, co-writer of the film Bloodsport based on Dux's "Kumite" claims, dismissed those claims and others Dux had made as being completely false.
Oh. Okay then.

Final Verdict:

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"Well, at least your intentions behind the UTTERLY DEVASTATING FAULTS IN YOUR LOGIC are good." - Captain Steel
Movies / Anime / Ultimate Showdown / Veg*nism / Action 2015

Carnival of Souls
Horror / English / 1962

To give an impression of just how massive my watchlist list is, this was 7 months ago:
A heads up: I've already got Carnival of Souls on my watchlist.
I love the idea of a carnival-esque underworld, Devil's Carnival incited the itch, but it seemed a pale follow-up to Repo!: The Genetic Opera. A brief search and Carnival of Souls is invariably one of the first movies to pop up. Will it scratch that itch?

No. Predictably, Carnival of Souls spends far too much time dancing around the concept than really indulging in it and by the end of it seems like an especially sub-par Twilight Zone episode.

Basic premise is Main Girl is a passenger in a car, the driver gets into a street race and runs off a bridge into river. She escapes well after you'd expect someone to have drowned and she goes about her life only to find herself stalked by the visage of a mysterious man and compelled to visit an abandoned bathhouse/carnival where I guess Spirited Away is taking place offscreen.

The movie starts off brisk, but after a while the pace slows to a lope while she just goes about her daily life with near constant and increasingly annoying organ music in the background.

A recurring subplot throughout the movie is this scumbag she's sharing a building with who is just the walking embodiment of the sort of person you should never interact with. Sight unseen this guy hits on her and needs to be talked down and told "no" like 5 times before he gets his intrusive ass out of her door. She indulges him in some attention the next morning, but it's transparently obvious that this guy just wants to have sex with her. All she does is give him an increasing laundry list of reasons he shouldn't be interested and turn his attention elsewhere, but he desperate falls all over her like a puppy in heat and for ****'s sake I would hate this guy in real life.

Amid some totally erratic sequences of "Wow, nobody's paying attention to me like I'm a ghost or something, HMMMMMMMM" we take some time setting up the overacting therapist who conveniently explains that he needs to turn his back to her to write down what she says, HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, and eventually she gets fired from her church organist job because she's playing heretical music, HMM- wait. What? What was heretical? Was that fancy organ stuff just the slightest bit too cult-y to your ears, Minister? It's an organ. Or was she playing this offscreen?:

Man, that would've been a ****ing amazing break from the movie.

Been listening to a hell of a lot more metal since that Metal Song Tournament we had in case you can't tell. Sick ****.

Anyway, she eventually returns to the carnival, finds it populated by creepy people who swarm her, investigation finds she mysteriously disappeared, and of course they finally pull her car out of the water and HOLY GEE WHIZ SHE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME!

I am absolutely stupefied by this ending, I did not see this coming at all. Completely stunned and shocked that the creators had such vision, such unparalleled craft to end the movie that way. Truly a marvel of it's time that has aged like fine wine.

Final Verdict:

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Horror / English / 1985

Campy 80s cult classic mad scientist movie? I'm game.

I was hoping for campy more along the lines of Return of the Living Dead, but that'd be a bit too good to be true, huh?

Re-animator is weird in that the character on the cover is surprisingly neither the protagonist nor the antagonist, but a prevalent side character who sets the events of the story into motion. This guy is just deliberately creepy in such a way that it's ridiculous that any of the other characters give him the time of day. At least he seems creepy up until he starts having what seem like regular conversations with people and then the villain, our "teacher?" character gets even creepier by drawing out his sentences and staring wide-eyed out into the distance which affects other people like he's performing hypnosis or something even though this is never established and appears to work inconsistently because it doesn't seem to affect Re-Animator Guy who reasons that are also never established.

The movie doesn't shy away from gore at all, and I know I must be pretty de-sensitized to a lot at this point, but gross as it was, it never really bowled me over with anything, not that I'd want to watch it again. Especially since the movie drifts into gorn territory where it looks like Main Girl is gonna get eaten out by a decapitated zombie.

I really gotta wonder why anyone even bothers with that ****. Seriously, why do horror movie makers insist on adding nudity and sex alongside blood and guts? The blood and guts do not ADD to my experience, movie, they're pretty fricken' distracting. Anime's the same way; if a girl's about to get raped, she's going to get raped by the most unsexy disgusting monstrosity of a creature the creators can imagine.

You know what turns me on? Jabba the Hutt with no jaw, 3 rows of teeth, and visible stink lines. Mmmmmm... do me now.

Let's just leave aside the complete nonsense of a zombie scientist getting off from groping a pair of breasts when his dick and hands aren't even attached to him.

I will offer credit to one scene where Main Guy and Re-Animator Guy are chasing the zombie cat around the basement with only a hard light swinging overhead and a moving growling sound to indicate where they should direct their swings. It's pretty obvious there was no puppet in those shots, but they did a good job illuminating the action while sufficiently hiding the supposed location of the cat. I appreciated that, good job movie.

Also, if nobody else, Re-Animater Guy was interesting and there was a decent little arc for Main Guy to follow regarding his "optimism" with saving lives. Overall though, it was a pretty blegh movie. The plot wasn't interesting, but they managed to make the reanimation goo glow nuclear green which'll look great for marketing.

Final Verdict:

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The Box
Psychological Thriller / English / 2009

I've been meaning to see this ever since the trailer. A couple receive a box with a button in it. If they press the button, they receive a million dollars. The catch is that somebody they don't know will die.

Beyond the premise, this movie falls short on what it promises to deliver. Sure enough it's revealed that accumulation of the results of these kinds of tests result in some sort of "altruism coefficient" which determines whether some unseen alien race terminates the planet, but this information comes very late in the movie and it's never expanded upon, ultimately leaving more questions than were answered. Really, this movie sounds like the plot of a Twilight Zone episode, but never really evokes the sort of thoughtfulness you'd expect from one.

Oh. Wait. It was a Twilight Zone episode.

Hold on, I'm going to go watch that.

Okay, well that was mildly entertaining for how ridiculously over-acted it was, but ****ing seriously, the Twilight Zone episode is basically the first 15-20 minutes of the movie. The package arrives, it contains the "button unit", it says wait till 8 o' clock, Main Girl waits and talks to G-Man alone who says she'll get 200,000 dollars if she pushes the button, and someone she doesn't know will die. She and her husband argue over it and her husband, as in the movie, opens the thing and reveals there isn't even anything inside to suggest that pressing the button will have a real-world effect on anything. Eventually Main Girl presses it on impulse, G-Man shows up, hands over the money and leaves, saying he's going to reprogram it and give it to somebody they don't know under the same conditions.

In terms of concept, the Twilight Zone episode is superior, if only for the fact that it ends on an anti-climax, but with fridge logic reveals that the "somebody they don't know" conditions implies that they too can be victimized by somebody else in the same way, implying a Golden Rule-style morality lesson.

According to Wikipedia however, the original short story both the movie and episode were based on ended still differently:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
In the original short story, the plot is resolved differently. Norma presses the button, and receives the moneyóafter her husband dies in a train incident where Arthur is pushed onto the tracks (the money was the no-fault insurance settlement, which is $50,000 instead of the $200,000 in the Twilight Zone episode). A despondent Norma asks the stranger why her husband was the one who was killed. The stranger replies, "Do you really think you knew your husband?"
Now why didn't either end like that? If the episode had seeded some doubt as to the nature of the husband's behavior, like suggested he'd been cheating or gambling or concealing something from his wife, we needn't really really have seen what that was to get a payoff from it, here being to have the viewer question what constitutes "knowing" somebody. I think that would have been a much better ending, ironically even more befitting for The Twilight Zone than what was actually made into a Twilight Zone episode.

The movie honestly seems like the worst iteration of the three because it spends a grotesque amount of time having the characters investigate the G-Man revealing him to be some NSA guy involved in a lightning strike that gave him super powers for some completely unnecessary reason. That, on top of some ridiculously convoluted plot jumps involving some entirely unexplored teleportation system involving water which is lampshaded to not even be real, WHAT EVEN is the point of setting up some "pick one of three doors, one leads to salvation, two lead to damnation" bit when you've already established that this couple pressed the button? Is this not the sole means of determining the altruism coefficient, or is this really some entirely irrelevant sideplot about seeking the afterlife through this alien technology?

And you know, really, when it comes down to presenting this test as a reliable metric of whether someone is moral or not, why in the **** do you allow the characters in both the episode and the movie to open up the box and show it to be empty? Doesn't that further call the entire idea into question? Isn't this all pretty dubious to begin with anyway, I mean G-man does absolutely nothing to suggest what he's saying is true and only in the movie does he reveal the cash on him to show how serious he is.

EVEN THEN though, it's not as if you could be held accountable for murder in such a situation, if these guys have inexplicably decided to shoot some random person depending on whether or not some random other people press a completely unrelated button, how can you genuinely hold those people accountable, PARTICULARLY when the entire prospect seems absurd and is entirely unsubstantiated on it's face.

The only way I can conceive to rationalize this concept realistically, is if pressing the button would leave a finger print which the bad guys would then be functionally paying for to frame their pre-determined murders, BUUUUUUT even then, why pay to leave a fingerprint at all in the first place? And on top of that, why leave evidence that could be traced back to people who witnessed you?

As ridiculous as this is, even this makes more sense than the mindboggling scenario in the movie where the presumed deaths are apparently caused by COMPLETELY unrelated scenarios going on simultaneously; one guy shooting his spouse in the chest for pressing the button which somehow saves their child, which then somehow then serves as the first death caused by Main Guy and Main Girl pressing the button which, for reasons undisclosed, blinds and deafens their child, only to be resolved by a second deal which involves Main Guy shooting Main Girl which serves as a death caused by pressing the button by AN ENTIRELY UNRELATED COUPLE...


Pressing the button in the initial deal seems to do nothing but coincidentally line up with the time of death cause by killing one's spouse as part of an inevitable follow-up deal. THAT. MEANS. NOTHING. Pressing the button does nothing! Whether you press it or not, that same person will still die because it's predicated on entirely different characters making entirely different decisions!

This movie is crap!

Final Verdict:
[Just... Bad]

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Re-Animator is legitimately one of my favourite films. It's campy sci-fi horror comedy at its best. I can definitely see why it would turn some people off though haha. Jeffrey Comb's performance as Herbert West is really the highlight of the film for me. I actually got to meet him at a convention a number of years back, which I think may have made me love the film even more haha.

Re-Animator was very cutting edge when it came out. It was well written and very funny. I suppose a lot of the humor can be sneaky, though. The hypnotism subplot was further developed in scenes that are on the releases that have them. For time reason they were cut from the film. Never bothered me, though. I just went with it. But I'm old fashioned. I like my horror with a little blood and boobs.

On The Waterfront
Drama / English / 1954

I was watching Razorfist's video on why Hollywood Was Always Red, a video debunking the myth of McCarthyism, that the threat of "reds under the bed" was not merely empty fearmongering, but substantiated by the counter-cultural popularity of Socialism, a persistent fact in America which, Razorfist argues, goes a long way to explain the exceptional efforts by California legislators to rigorous control the economy, leading it to become one of the most expensive places to live and, by ironic extension, a source of one of the greatest (if not the greatest) wealth inequities in America.

This is particularly pertinent to me considering certain literature I've read concerning the topic of wealth inequities in the California area, but it also echoes a glaring opinion in my own periphery of political discourse; the blatant denial that "Cultural Marxism" is even a thing. On multiple occasions I've been accused of parroting "nazi propaganda", that because Nazi Germany at one time said something that means it's not true. Curiously, Nazi Germany and Hitler himself were fond of the ideals of socialism, going so far as to call themselves "National Socialists", and while they may, economically, have shared little in common with the USSR, they can be easily cited parroting the ideals represented by socialists on multiple occasions. Even were that not true though, the fact remains that the denial is simply a flat contradiction, an association fallacy, whereas I can point to pervasive evidence that the idea of Cultural Marxism is staggeringly prevalent, and California is a hotbed for it in fact.

In his video, Razorfist explains that On The Waterfront was conceived as a response to the unspoken prevalence of communistic thought in Hollywood, and considering that it was a name of a popular movie I recognized and featured Lee J. Cobb of 12 Angry Men, I decided to watch it.

"I coulda been a contender."

On The Waterfront takes way too damn long to make explicit the actual relationships between characters, but it eventually makes sense even if some things are too ancillary to leave an impression. As a result, I don't know any of the main characters' names, but secondary and tertiary characters whose names are mentioned repeatedly I do remember. Provided you know what a union is, it's easy enough to deduce the general plot of the movie by about the halfway point, but very little if anything goes into talking about the relationship unions generally have with businesses, why they exist, or how they're supposed to work in theory.

As far as the movie is concerned, it's at least taken for granted that unions are intended to work peacefully and democratically, however it deliberately subverts this expectation by presenting the union here as a top-down hierarchy, where the boss, played appropriately by Lee J. Cobb, is in the privileged position of dispensing Waterfront work according to favoritism. The main character is ostensibly the younger brother of Charlie, an elite goon in Cobb's union, and by this connection it's shown that he receives preferential treatment in stark contrast to some employees who are literally assassinated to preserve the scheme. The trick, as tends to be the prevailing criticism of unions in general, is that money which goes towards supporting the union and "justly" distributing work and pay, instead coalesces in the hands of a few.

One would like to believe that socialists, ever the enemy of hierarchies that they claim to be, would be receptive to this concern, but if Stalinist Russia is any indication, loyalty to the party is an absolute condition, and so, in objection to the "capitalist hierarchy" of traditional business models which absorb the profit margins off the top of each employee's paycheck, the employees seek safety in the form of a union which does exactly the same thing.

This seems more than enough reason to be vehemently reject any calls SocDems have made in recent memory for fighting "right to work" legislation, which essentially forbids unions from mandating membership. It's bad enough that the economy is so that you're forced into the labor market to work at whatever pay can be spared on your miserable ****ing life, but now you're being forced into a union to tax your paycheck even further. Thanks, Socialism.

Anyway, the movie is fairly predictable as it goes, the guy is stuck in the middle of this scheme and while he obviously has misgivings, he sticks by his "D&D" (that he should be "deaf and dumb"), rather than "stool", which I take to be an abbreviation of "stool pigeon", which is a euphemism for "tool", which is a euphemism for tattling to the cops that your union is embezzling money and killing anyone with loose lips.

The "stool" bit seems a little on the nose considering there's an entire pigeon subplot in which Main Guy ends up taking care of the pigeons (by "taking care of" I here mean "needlessly entrap") left behind by the guy he inadvertently helped get murdered at the start of the movie, probably out of some more subtle nod to him eventually confessing to the local pastor out of guilt.

A much better subplot involves a seemingly pointless diversion from the story to discuss Main Guy's past as a prize fighter. This serves no purpose in the moment when it's mentioned which sucks, but it's reincorporated in two ways later on in the movie: not only does he ultimately get into a fight with Lee on the Waterfront, forcing him to call in his friends to gang up on him, but his career as a prize-fighter is referenced earlier, pointing to the fact that he took bets to fix a match rather than fight clean.

This roughly parallels his attitude towards work in the union, taking the easy way out rather than the honest way out. Favoritism pays off in cash and easy work, but it does little for his character and comes at the implicit threat of worse conditions should he fail to tow the line.

Overall this movie really does appear to be a veiled strike at radical leftists, the tendency of fringe socialist organizations is to compel complicity and burn traitors (not all that different from what I would call the extreme right; monarchy). Whether or not it resolves into a despotism as in the case of our union here, silent uniform obedience to the motion is what gives the monster it's momentum, and as the movie shows, that momentum easily reverses with collective effort. The eternal problem is getting that collective effort, even democratic states are prone to mob rule, in this way, enforcers of the status quo are just the new conservatives.

I like some of the ideas expressed in the movie and I like how a couple scenes are played out cinematically (particularly when Main Guy admits to Main Girl his role in the death of whats-his-face), but there's a lot of empty dialog early in the movie, there's a pointless romance, Main Girl has difficulty acting at times, Lee Cobb doesn't do nearly enough finger-pointing and yelling, and the music is awkward when it's not forgettable. But then maybe I'm spoiled on 12 Angry Men.

If nothing else, this movie makes me want to watch more 40s-50s black-and-white pieces, cause I dig the atmosphere they occasionally bring, I really gotta find a movie more symptomatic of the times.

Final Verdict:

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Lean On Me
Drama / English / 1989

I've been wrapped up in a research project and the educational deterioration is a central theme. I'm sure I've seen it before, but I'm certain it's been over a decade so I don't remember if it's ideas of reform are relevant to the subject I'm researching.

"You smoke crack don'tcha!?"

Morgan Freeman's character, who, as the reluctant principal of a ****awful school charged with turning its grades around for a basic standards test, is partly enjoyable and partly irritating, but not significantly in either direction. Per his character he's frustratingly brash, arbitrarily assertive, and has a tendency to monologue because he's Morgan Freeman.

On the other hand he's Morgan Freeman.

Personally the charm wore off pretty fast for me, I can pinpoint the moment when he finishes giving an over-the-top speech about education and then it cuts to him giving another over-the-top speech at an emergency parent-teacher meeting, complete with clapping and cheers, as when I knew this movie wasn't going to rank high with me. A stilted pace with forced plot beats can really ruin the tempo of your movie and that's not really helped when you immediately run into the ground your character's central eccentricity which is to walk into any given situation, point at the nearest person, yell in their face, and then leave after making some grand proclamation about what will be done differently from now on.

One of these things is asserting that every student should memorize the school song. Apparently "school spirit" and the football team are exceptional weak points in the school so naturally Morgan "Joe Clark" Freeman must divert his time away from correcting teachers and reforming the curriculum, two things which could have a tangible impact on test scores to focus on them, but **** that the kids need to know how to recite a stupid song, in chorus, on command.

To be honest, Lean On Me almost feels like a social conservative power fantasy. Guy roles in in a suit, smacks kids across the head, tells them to jump to their deaths if you smoke crack, publicly humiliates students for their choice of clothes, insists that test scores are relative to character and the best way to build character is to be patriotic towards your school.

I hate that "school spirit" ****, honestly, but moreover the problems that resulted in this school being a ****hole in the first place were not even resolved by the end of the movie. The premise is that Eastside is a city public high school, not to be confused with a private high school. The characters bitch that "the state" will come take their school away if they fail to pass the Minimum Basic Standards Test and in that moment I was taken back to George W. Bush passing the No Child Left Behind Act.

You remember that act? It has one of those sceevy scum**** names like "Black Lives Matter" which sounds unobjectionable, but in reality it's a hellacious nightmare of unspeakable evil. But hush, you're not supposed to say that, because if you do you'll offend all the political ignoramuses who can't be bothered to read past pretty names.

Or headlines.

So yeah, in actuality "the state" already runs the school, the state just happens to be a city run by a mayor and school board. They're weeping into their cereal because a bigger more encompassing state is setting quotas. And further they're complaining that they can't meet those quotas because an even bigger state than that, the Federal United States, won't give them enough money to buy security alarms for their exits or afford regular teachers.

So to clarify, a state is the government of a given area; Eastside High School is a product of a tertiary state, the city it resides in. That tertiary state is subject to a secondary state, the "state" the city resides in. That secondary state is also subject to a primary state, the federation of "states" the city resides in. All in all this school had 3 separate governments sticking their fat ****ing fingers into the gears trying to get it to work and failed.

OOH, but ONE MAN, one special dictatorial man has the experience and the willpower to march into that school, point his fingers every which direction and FIX EVERYTHING.

Nevermind the literal cronyism that orchestrated to put him there and take him back out in the first place. See, this is where your "modern liberal" just blows my ****ing mind because this platform of "we the people" and "democracy" just evaporates out the window when it comes to government intervention. You could even say that Morgan Joe Clark is a quaternary form of government, how did we solve this terrible education dilemma? WE JUST NEED THE RIGHT KING OF COURSE! One with an iron fist that won't take any ****!

This exact same model is what failed your school in the first place and you think the problem is solved by swapping out bad people for better people? You're delusional. Literally as delusional as every single revolutionary regime in history.

I refer you to TVTropes' wonderful page on "Full-Circle Revolution":

They call it a revolution for a reason.

This trope refers to when a revolution loses revolutionary zeal and appears to just repeat the pre-revolution business as usual, via bureaucratic inertia. Names and rhetoric change, the injustices stay the same.
The beginning of the movie, set 20 years prior, the school is shown to be relatively well off with the teachers bitching about the budget.

And by the end of the movie, the school has apparently recovered from it's obscene descent into chaos and anarchy, the school is shown to be relatively well off with the teachers still bitching about the budget.

What has the changed? The only difference is the guy the state happened to appoint to the position. They could just as easily have appointed someone else or yet appoint someone worse after Clark leaves. What is to stop the school descending back into the mess it fell into?

A traditionalist, a social conservative might argue that it's merely a matter of having the right person, but that assures nothing, and there is no legal mechanism to ensure that you have the right person even if it did.

A progressive, a New Deal liberal might argue that it's merely a matter of having enough money, perhaps to hire the right person, but that also assures nothing, and there is no legal mechanism to ensure that you hire the right person even if it did.

Firing the old guard and throwing money at the problem solves ****ing nothing because the problem is endemic to the way the system is organized in the first place, there is no mechanistic cause in the bureaucratic machine that makes it spit out quality schools, money and job candidates are not mere ingredients for "good schools", that assumes that the government is a blackboard on which you can scrawl whatever you aspiring little heart desires on it so long as you have tax-dollars to do it with.

It's not, that's utopian command economy bull****, if they didn't want the state ****ing with their school, they shouldn't have opened a public school in the first place. **** public schools, a private school is under a constant market pressure to offer a quality education at an affordable price under conditions that are voluntary.

If you can't afford to send your kid to a private school, then teach them yourself. What the **** are these parents doing going to a parent-teachers meeting and calling Morgan Freeman a fascist cause he expelled their scumbag drug-dealing son? **** you, bitch, take this time you're wasting telling us how how to educate your damn kids and educate them yourself.

I don't see your son with you now! Whose watching your son? Whose dropping the ball right now, MOM?

And on a funny, if slightly irrelevant note, the child actor who Morgan Freeman verbally abuses and tells to kill himself for doing drugs has been arrested multiple times since for exactly that.

Seems not even Morgan Freeman can save these kids. Case in point.

Final Verdict:

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Night of the Comet
Thriller / English / 1984

A classic example of an obscure 80s B-movie, featuring about what you'd expect.

"My parents told me never to breathe anything from strangers."

Night of the Comet is a pointless movie with promotional artwork far cooler than it deserves.

I say it's a pointless movie because very little comprises the middle area between the setup and the ending. A comet is set to fly by the planet one night and an unrealistic amount of people decide to go outside to see it. Boom, rapture.

Everyone who isn't instantly reduced to dust is inconsistently afflicted with a disease which reduces them to dust zombies at an inconsistent rate.

After the grief has quickly come and gone, a gratuitous montage of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun plays as our two main heroines try on clothes and bide time waiting for "The Last Man On Earth" to return to them only to then be jumped by some sadistic dudes who are just a tinge too creepy to be wasting a bullet killing them both. They get saved by a research crew who have somehow been researching this dust disease thing, Alpha Bitch acts all heartless about wanting to save kids and the research crew splits up our two heroines only for Alpha Bitch to euthanize one of them, ostensibly to save them from the disease.

BUT LO, as it turns out, it was all a ruse, for Alpha Bitch kills herself for real(?) shortly before it's revealed that the injection given to our heroine was fake! Turns out the research crew is evil and trying to capture people and harvest their blood in an attempt to find a cure to slow the disease. "The Last Man On Earth" returns for a timely rescue and all of the characters who matter make it out alive just to return to the same "yay for us, we're all alone again" montage.

On retrospect the plot raises some bizarre questions. Firstly, if Alpha Bitch gave Heroine #2 a fake lethal injection just to fool the one research crew guy there to make sure she does it, why did she immediately kill him afterwards? Like, it's even implied that she might go for her gun afterwards, but she still outdraws him. Pretty dumb.

Second, the serum is never found and all the researchers are dead. Soooo... does the dust disease really kill them in the 36 hours after the movie ends? Cause that was a mighty happy ending for what should be a real tonal dissonance. I'd like to emphasize that there's nothing in the way of the sort of subversion we got in Looker, where we played upbeat television jingles to people dying, it's just a generic running off into the distance credit roll with the same sort of music that's been playing throughout the rest of the movie.

And that is to say that the "horror" genre that this movie is so often tarred with is wildly ancillary to the proceedings. You get maybe what, 3 total "horror scenes", each accompanied with a score designed specifically to spoil the jumpscares before they happen? Like there's one scene where Heroine #2 is stripping in a dark bathroom and the soundtrack just starts bleeding strings into the 80s pop.

Are you serious? Girl stripping in front of a mirror with high strings playing in the background? Thanks to for warning me that something's going to pop-up behind her. I realize this is an 80s movie but really, if the purpose was to scare, how do you accomplish that by wildly telegraphing that something scary is about to happen?

Maybe I just answered my own question there.

Anyway, the "zombies" are so fringe to the movie they're virtually non-existent. The plot could just as easily function without them. There's a grand total of 2 of them in the whole movie with 1 scene each, not including the 2 bad guys who are shown with eye makeup seconds before they both die.

In terms of a sort of 80s period movie (if you could call it that) it has some shots in the radio station building that look kinda cool, but most of it comes from the big hair and interchangeable pop soundtrack.

Distinctly inferior to the likes of Adventures in Babysitting.

Final Verdict:

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Action Adventure Horror / English / 2018

I saw some gameplay of the Jurassic World: Evolution park simulator game and felt inspired.

NOTE: Beginning with this review my scores will be measured on a 10-point scale, rather than a 5-point scale. All previous reviews can be considered -0.5 popcorn for conversion.

"You exploited a living thing in a cage for money."

What to say about this movie... Immediately I can say with complete confidence that it is an overall better movie than the first Jurassic World. The endlessly insufferable and contrived romance is virtually non-existent here and the annoying kids are thankfully replaced with significantly less annoying teen/young adults here. That alone spares this movie the worst of it's predecessor, but it also goes without the best of it's predecessor too as the ending here in no way lives up to the awesome climactic multi-dino-brawl of the first movie.

That's not to say we don't get some solid action sequences, and just in terms of dinosaurs, this really is a movie for dinosaur geeks. All previous movies have always felt, and been deliberately written to emphasize, a very narrow pool of dinosaurs. Not only is this narratively justified by the fact that only so many dinosaurs were made up to the point in time the movie takes place, but it undoubtedly saved the effects budget to segment parts of each movie for featuring one type of dinosaur at a time. Here, it's as if the brakes are off, because we repeatedly see a wide range of different dinosaurs embroiled in the proceedings. Whereas in the first Jurassic Park, your dominant predators were limited to just the one T-Rex, here, not only do you get the T-Rex, but you also get the Carnotaur, the Allosaur, and the Spinosaur. Truly, the dino geeks among us can appreciate the cameos.

So what really happens? Well, the movie opens with Clare, our Lead Bitch from the first movie working for the "Dinosaur Protection Group", which involves soliciting donations and begging the federal government to fund their wildlife preservation project.

Right off the bat, totally prepared to get to know this character all over again... I dislike her. Almost immediately she sees the news on TV that the island of dinosaurs is going to be left victim of the active volcano on it, some nameless politician just straight up gives the rational economic justification for it: "The government should not be subsidizing a private business."

Of course they slip some throwaway line about "leaving them to God" in his dialog just to further stir up our inner raging liberal, but seriously, the government should not be in the business of handing out money to people who beg for it, especially for species preservation.

Our protagonist hangs her head in a sad moment and says "NOBODY CARES..."

Bitch, you're part of an organization that exists specifically TO care, but hey, I'll take you at your word: NOBODY CARES. Nobody gives a **** that these dinosaurs would prefer to live free of human interference, you and your ****ty organization just want to continue rationalizing your selfish ****ing attitude. "BUT YOU'RE WRONG, IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING THE DINOSAURS WILL DIE IN THE VOLCANO!"

And your alternative is what? To enslave them? To force them to breed and play with their lives for entertainment? That's what you were doing before and I have to admit there's certainly was a financial incentive for it! I hate that the movie portrays the environmentalists as the downtrodden good guys here, cause they're only marginally less *******-ish than the cigar-chomping military dude who rips the teeth out of the dinosaurs while their still awake just so he'd have a sadistic trophy before they're sold off.

Did I mention how this is basically just Lost World?

Jurassic World is to Jurassic Park what Fallen Kingdom is to Lost World. The similarities are numerous:

1. A friendly-seeming organization contacts one of the survivors of the Park incident, claiming to have totally 100% legit reasons to go back to the ruins to recover something.

2. The character is reluctant, but ultimately agrees when it's revealed their love interest got strung along behind their back already.

3. They go to the island with a bunch of their suicidal "save-the-dinosaur" hippy friends.

4. They're forced to work alongside a bunch of armed mercenaries who are also totes-on-the-level man.

5. The movie uses multiple setpieces from the previous movie to show decay and the passage of time at familiar locations.

6. SURPRISE! The mercenaries are here to capture dinosaurs and bring them back to civilization for money! Greed! Profit! Muwhahahaha!

7. In the process of escaping the hippies set a bunch of dinosaurs loose which has predictably disastrous consequences.

8. The bad guy gets absolutely destroyed by a T-Rex for karmic justice.

9. Queue nightmares about large carnivorous dinosaurs outside your bedroom window.

10. Jeff Goldblum monologuing.

Yeah, so this movie really is just The Lost World except with Jurassic World's cast and frankenstein twist.

This time, instead of the Indominus Rex, you have the "IndoRaptor" which is immediately less intimidating considering it's much smaller. However unlike the Indominus, it doesn't have some bull**** magical invisibility powers. It also appears much later in the movie with much less mystery surrounding it; it's specifically a blend of the Indominus and Blue, the "friendly" raptor from the first movie. This is rationalized in that it has all of the ferocity of the Indominus, but with Blue's domesticated streak which, I guess, instead of translating into being more peaceful, results in it being capable of taking commands with a laser pointer and sound gun, a Chekov's Gun which sadly gets little payoff by the end of the movie.

I will say though, that they do manage to make this creature much more frightening than the Indominus. It's much easier to recognize by it's eyes and glowing stripe, it's mouth opens criminally wide, and it's got long arms with which to reach out and grab you with. Easily the best moment in the movie, for me, was seeing the IndoRaptor hunt down the Little Girl across the roof in the rain like Krampus. That one shot of it slowly descending upside down into view of the bedroom window is not only creepy, but it's plausible while also being something I'm confident is beyond the physical abilities of the other dinosaurs.

I do have a couple grievances with how it was handled though. First off; dumb**** in charge finds the thing upset in it's cage, tranqs it twice and then OPENS THE CAGE to go inside. At first I'm wracking my head wondering what in the ****ing hell would compel this stupid **** to OPEN THE ******* CAGE when the stupid dinosaur is obviously CONTAINED. It only really makes sense in retrospect when you consider he's trying to collect teeth from all of the dinosaurs he sees, but really? At a time like this? I'll grant the rationalization that he's a cocky hunter who wants a trophy, but **** was it stupid to do that. Perhaps it just seemed far too obvious to me that the IndoRaptor was only pretending to be dead knocked out. We played up this thing as one of the most intelligent things on the planet, genetically engineering for combat, it gets hit with two tranqs and all dramatically falls over? Puh-lease.

Also, what's with the brainiac plan of escaping the IndoRaptor by turning the lights off? You're not nocturnal. You know this thing more than likely is. Way to handicap yourself.

Round of applause, once again, for the villains, who for the second movie in a row just straight-up explain how stupid the other characters are. "What's that, protagonists? You want to ****in' moralize to me after you ran a ******* zoo into the ground and released countless bloodthirsty genetic abominations into the environment killing untold numbers of people and animals, then started lobbying for government subsidies to sustain the lives you condemned to the private death island you enslaved them on AND I'M THE BAD GUY?"

Final Verdict:

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Comedy Romantic Drama / Hindi / 2013

Someone posted an animated gif of the above image to a vegan subreddit with the caption "when you bring hummus to the party", the image was sourced to this video which I watched once and IMMEDIATELY had to see the entire movie it was from.

"A man with a hairless chest cannot be trusted."

So the movie opens up with some Indian guys sitting around the black market where they casually remark upon the fact that guns are illegal, ubiquitous, and used to arm both the Rajadi and Sanera clans who've been feuding for generations and are tempted to wipe each other out every single day. What could go wrong, right?

Well, just such a fight breaks out and in the heat of bullets and broken clash, someone mentions Ram, the only guy who preaches peace and love. Queue the viral Youtube video linked above. Ram rolls in, posing horizontally across his motorcycle, chest out, aviators on, taking a selfie, as the music kicks in, he jumps off his motorcycle and leads a synchronized dance sequence involving stripping, hip thrusting, and muscle flexing, all to lyrics explaining how this man is a God among men, an Adonis whose mere gaze can turn straight men gay and lesbians into jelly.

This opening sequence is hilarious and weird and unfortunately the high point of the movie because it gradually goes downhill from here.

This movie is portrayed as a modern Indian version of Romeo and Juliet, but, given it's musical stylings, shares more in common with West Side Story. There are roughly 5 song-length dance sequences in the movie all with their own choreography. Most of these are forgettable, but they do have an odd tendency of splashing in some truly ridiculous looking dance moves. Not impressive, just ridiculous.

Basically, Ram is son of the Don of the Rajadi clan, and Leela is the daughter of the Don of the Sanera clan. Both appear to operate outside the law, but this fact is never explored or really expanded upon. Essentially they have their own monopolies that they don't like the other infringing upon and both have a nasty predisposition towards violence.

Naturally this begs Ram and Leela to unite the two, but, really, they do pretty much **** all throughout the whole movie. By the 30-minute mark, they've already kissed and had that whole love-at-first-sight bull**** and barely one apart from their closest friends sympathize at all with the politics of their situation. Everyone's either "damn those Rajadis", or "damn those Saneras" and that really never changes until the Don of the Saneras totally breaks character and gets all weepy about violence after we've already seen her endorse extortion and personally chop off her daughter's ring finger to avoid spoiling the arranged marriage she set up for Leela. She's a pretty contemptible bitch to pull this heel-face-turn on us and we don't really see that development.

Speaking of development, the characters who we should really be seeing development from, Ram and Leela, offer virtually nothing. Leela doesn't appear to have much of a personality apart from being Ram's feisty significant other, and Ram appears to have ridiculous mood-swings.

Ram tries to play peacenik with both sides, but eventually plays along to both sides target shooting at each other. ****ing shocker when his brother gets shot, WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT FIRING GUNS AT PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES???

This isn't really played off as a joke either, but it sure comes off as unintentionally funny when Ram the pacifist takes his dead brother's gun and fires scattershot into a crowd of people.

Boom, suddenly both Ram and Leela's brothers are dead, now they hate each other. They elope together, but they're at each other's throats with the same old prejudicial bull****, these characters were supposed to be above this and they're not. Eventually schemers on both sides of the fence play them against each other, they return to their respective factions and get nonsensically promoted to Don.

NOW can they have their happy ending?

No, they have to have a passive aggressive negotiations session where Ram's just a puddle of tears and Leela's a vindictive bitch for no reason. It ends when Ram forcing out a selfie with the two of them that looks like they're going to double-suicide.

And that's what they do. Not right away, annoyingly, no they gotta jerk the audience around by the dicks some more, fooling you into believing they may actually, eventually, have the happy ending you expect is coming, but instead they shoot each other in the guts seconds away from learning that peace has been made between both factions without them and they have a totally unrealistic parallel fall backwards into the garden pond.

So, the movie's overall plot is just crummy, but it's not all bad. Ram's initial portrayal as a stud-muffin is immediately contradicted by reference to the fact that he sells stolen cars, porn, and hits on girls with a water pistol, but he manages to be an amusing and charismatic character besides, at least when he's not dropping a metric ton of pick-up lines on Leela.

There are some pretty good lines of dialog in the movie too, the Don of Saneras is a woman named "Baa", and when a sexual assault fiasco ultimately lands both sides with rape accusations, the old Rajadi insult "I thought there were no men in Saneras" becomes "so there are no men in Rajadi after all" which Ram pitches back to Baa by challenging her to prove he's not a gentlemen by starting a relationship with him.

Given the political context here where both sides are at each others' throats, this is a FANTASTIC line that could lead both sides towards a peaceful co-existence. Unfortunately Baa organizes a hit on Ram in retaliation for this slight, which for no explicable reason winds up getting her shot, which puts Leela up as the Don... and it just seems like we're in the perfect position for a happy ending at this point and the characters just screw it the **** up for no reason.

It reminds me of Code Geass's ending, which is not a good thing.

There are a lot of terms used which I never learn what they mean, but the plot is still coherent despite this. Characters will frequently shoot bullets into the air if only to emphasize a point which seems to me a massive waste of ****ing money. There's a part of the movie where Ram is seen smoking and they seriously needed to add a label to the bottom right corner of the screen saying "cigarette smoking is injurious to health". No ****, India. You know what else is injurious to health? Driving a motorcycle with your feet. Shut the **** up.

I also have to credit the movie for reminding me of Dragon Tiger Gate because Ram goes on a rampage in the third act where he starts kicking guys across the room and bouncing them off the concrete. It's great. I wish there was more of that.

Overall it's a mildly amusing movie with a dumb plot, one ridiculously awesome dance sequence, and enough color, charisma, and music to keep you engaged the rest of the way.

Final Verdict:

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Avengers: Infinity War
Superhero Action / English / 2018

I've become increasingly intrigued by the villain of Thanos who's been hyped up to be one of the arch villains of the Marvel universe. I've never been a fan of the superhero genre and remember watching the first Avengers, liking it, and learning second-hand that the character teased during the credits of the first movie was some bigwig. I just thought he was another instance of "OMG NOSTALGIA", but the more I learn about his whole arc around collecting some 6 "infinity stones" which govern the universe and would confer upon him the power to snap life out of existence, the more I want to see him be a great villain.

I had no interest in Age of Ultron so I skipped that, and I didn't see Captain America: Civil War either which I understand to be like an Avengers 2.5. The only Avengers: Infinity War related movies I've seen up to this point are Iron Man 1 & 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Avengers. Also The Incredible Hulk, but I barely remember it. I've read zero of the comics.

"We're in the Endgame now."

If I had any outstanding criticism for The Avengers, it would be that too much of it is occupied by characters just standing around talking. Not being superheroes, just being boring. At it's peak, it was solid popcorn entertainment, Loki acts like an irrepressible douchebag throughout the whole movie and gets his **** pushed in by the Avengers just being your friendly neighborhood superheroes. Queue Tony Stark quip, queue Captain America being an uptight melodramatic dick. You win some, you lose some.

Infinity War smashes this fault to pieces by consisting almost entirely of setpiece action sequences, and even when the action dips the dialog and plot development is fast and informative enough to keep us up to pace with just enough room to breath before plunging us back in for more. Immediately as the movie opens, we're greeted by the big purple villain himself as he beats the **** out of Thor, Hulk, and straight up kills Loki. Just having seen the first movie is enough to cement him as a threat and that major characters can die in this movie, and that's no great farce, Loki isn't sacrificed for a mere hook, Thanos kills multiple major characters throughout the movie, death is real insofar as he wills it.

I was hoping he'd have more depth as a character overall, but Thanos, lacking the distinctive voice or personality of noteworthy villains like the Joker or Darth Vader, is helpfully supported by a decent script which gives him some reasonably appealing lines, and it's good that they exist because the only things really holding him up are is design concept and his dialog. His motivation is about as bog-standard as it comes for universe villains; "I must genocide trillions to preserve balance". He delivers some thoughtful points on unchecked population growth which reminds me of Thomas Malthus (given the other economic references he's been memed into), but overall his evil plan is as bland as a superhero origin story... which is why I didn't watch all the garbage they shoved out in preparation for this movie.

Most of the major characters in these movies have origin stories, but if you've seen Iron Man, and you've stomached Avengers, and didn't put a bullet in your brain already for the number of times "I am Groot" has already been uttered in the English language, then you'll be fine watching the movie with at least a peripheral understanding of everyone's roles and relative capabilities. About the only character that really threw me off was Vision, who apparently is introduced in Age of Ultron. I hope he's not a worthless damsel in that movie cause he sure felt like it here, it's like every other scene he's in he gets stabbed in the gut by a spear. It gets ridiculous.

I like that Doctor Strange featured heavily, which is one of the few Marvel origin movies I actually had some interest in seeing, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Spider-man, who I forgot appeared in Civil War. Spider-man probably being top of my list of tolerable superheroes. But it's not just Spider-man, it's IRON SPIDER-MAN, out of nowhere, Stark just had an Iron Man suit made for him which gives him robot spider-legs and ****, and Iron Man's suit is made of NANO-MACHINES now...

This movie had a lot of WOW moments for me. Perhaps it was because this new stuff wasn't spoiled for me in previous movies, but not since Final Fantasy VII Advent Children have I been satisfied seeing normal-sized people beat the **** out of each other with skyscrapers, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

The best fight scene in my opinion was when Stark, Strange, Spider-man and the Guardians team up to ambush Thanos. It sounded like a ****ing retarded plan,

"Thanos can't get the Time Stone!"
"I've got an idea, let's go to Thanos."
"Okay sure, let's do that."

...and it was, but it opens with Iron Man dunking a ******* spaceship on Thanos head and the whole fight exploding into a cluster**** of lasers, energy beams, telepathy, webs, gunfire, anything to incapacitate Thanos and keep him from manipulating the Infinity Gauntlet. Course, it's all Starlord's fault that they didn't totally subdue him cause he couldn't keep his emotions under control. The consequences of that punch to the face were untold.

Something I also appreciate from this movie is that they very explicitly set up Thanos goal to rid the universe of half it's life, that if he had all 6 stones that he could do it with a snap of his finger.

And he does. It's a slow build-up to Thanos acquiring all the stones, I think they could have done a much better job highlighting each little step towards the end, but when he finally gets there he literally evaporates half the life in the universe. Boom, half the cast of supers is reduced to dust. Vision's girlfriend, yeah okay, a bunch of Wakandan warriors, yeah okay, but Black Panther? The Guardians? Doctor Strange? SPIDER-MAN?

Sure, most of the big players like Stark, Thor, and Hulk remain intact, I wouldn't have it any other way, but these are still BIG character deaths! This single movie puts a canon end to more spin-off franchises than anything else I can think of.

And it ENDS that way. Thanos wins. End credits.

The ******* balls on that writer. I can't help but respect this movie not just for neatly assembling the stars of well over a dozen other superhero movies with merits in their own right, but throwing them together in such an explosive team matchup against the comic-book equivalent of Toguro from Yu Yu Hakusho, and then killing half of them off, including multiple fan favorites.

Bravo. I don't even care that they lost, I'm just happy to have seen it happen.

What I wasn't happy to see was the after-credits scene which obviously teases Captain Marvel coming in to save the day in the sequel. Both Black Panther and Captain Marvel were unforgivably plagued by race and sexual politics. I can forgive Black Panther's presence in this movie because the topic isn't brought up at all and he serves as a sort of ambassador to a nation with technology ostensibly powerful enough to be plot critical. That's fine, I have no issues there, he's still stupid caricature of a superhero, but he blends in with the rest of the cast well enough. Equality, that's all I want.

But now, Captain Marvel's supposed to swoop in, with what is perhaps the worst superhero name and the most Mary Sue (or shall I say "Superman"?) of superpowers to save the day, Miss Smash-the-Patriarchy herself?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like strong female characters, it's part of why I like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, it's part of why I like Charlize Theron in Fury Road, they're badasses and still human in their own way, in an industry that normally suffocates the genre in big burly dudes. Well here I am rooting for the big burly dude, because I have no interest in such a cheap political character being the convenient foil to fly in during the final act to ruin the fun because "**** you, girl power".

I'm not convinced Endgame can live up to Infinity War, the central stone collection arc is over, creative options have been explicitly reduced due to major character deaths, and here, before the end at least, there was still some semblance of the goofy old Marvel comedy bristling around the edges to keep things light. A darker finale with fewer likable characters, no pre-built-to-break plot pressure, and a cheap Mary Sue ready to swoop in and girl power all the bad guys away?

It looks bleak, but I'm more interested than I was before.

Final Verdict:

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Hardcore Henry
Sci-Fi Action / English / 2015

It was marketed as an entirely first-person action movie featuring parkour. Sounds cool, let's check it out.

Hardcore Henry is an extraordinarily perplexing movie. At it's peak it's a deliberately cheesy action movie romp with a fun quirk of the protagonist essentially smack-talking the other characters through body language like a self-aware video game. At it's depths, it's a gratuitously gory story about spilling as much blood and breaking as many bones as possible to defeat a guy with telekinesis (for some reason) and stop his cyborg mind-slave army.

Whereas I might immediately compare it to Maniac for it's camera gimmick, as the movie goes on I end up reminded of the more unpleasant mutilation scenes from that movie instead. But more than that movie, I'm reminded of Turbo Kid, because just like that movie, it appears to excel when it's tone is that of the more family-friendly/PG-13 genre it wants to glorify, but gets dragged down by an unhealthy obsession with gore.

In Turbo Kid I witnessed a bicycle being used to crank someone's intestines from their body. In Hardcore Henry, Henry literally pulls his own eye out of his head, wraps the cord around the Big Bad's head, and bisects the lower mandible from the rest of his skull.

I hadn't really considered that Henry's eyeball could be used as garrote wire, but there you have it. Apart from being absolutely ridiculous in the moment, I don't really get anything out of that, and the movie's not consistently ridiculous enough for it to feel appropriate. The trailers portrayed this as a conventional action movie with the flare of a first person character gunning down baddies from atop speeding vehicles. I'd call that quality entertainment, but whereas the first half of the movie verges on Jason Bourne in terms of narrative sincerity, the second half collapses into a mad spectacle of setpieces and intentionally goofy character moments, and ultimately culminates in visuals that don't resemble anything I would have expected or wanted out of a movie with that trailer.

The movie seems self-aware enough to splice in a Wilhelm during one of it's more on-the-nose action sequences, it mocks the notion of an epic horseriding sequence by having Henry bucked off, and it even plays Queen during the climax of the movie, but in the moments where there really isn't any subversive context to the scene, these elements just fall flat and out of place. I remember another obvious stock scream effect show up in one of the later fight sequences and just being taken aback because there really isn't anything silly going on beyond Henry being "Hardcore" and shooting lots of guys.

The main character apart from Henry is this British Guy who appears to show up in multiple outfits and personalities despite dying in previous scenes. I wasn't sure what was going on, but the protagonist doesn't have the voice to question it and the movie takes it sweet time getting around to rationalizing it. Henry's back-and-forth with British Guy however forced it feels at times is the only sign of humanity we really see in this movie, and it feels good when British Guy compliments Henry on murdering everyone in the room and Henry simply whips him an OK sign. That's cute, I like that, I wish more of the movie was like that.

But by the end we have a villain who, despite looking silly, doesn't really act silly enough to turn the movie into the satire it desperately wants to be. We establish we got cyber prosthetics so Henry can take a few more bumps that ordinary goons, but then out of nowhere, like in Looper, we have a telekinetic villain just flying into the air and throwing dead bodies around.

It might have been one thing if this movie tried to thrive on constant brutal intensity which movies like Speed and Fury Road did so well, it even sits itself up in this manner, literally telling Henry that he'll die in 20 minutes just as the movie begins to rev up, but that conflict is shortly resolved, we go to a whorehouse so British Guy can snort a line of coke and shoot guys in his underwear and the viewer can see women touch his crotch and... just like that the charm has totally worn off.

I credit the movie for some moments of complex choreography that they pull off and some understated CG that must have been necessary to pull certain stunts off, but just as the tone is inconsistent, so is the CG, as certain scenes just look like total trash out of nowhere.

It was an okay movie, and I'm sure you can have some spirited arguments with friends over how bizarre and ridiculous it gets, but while the package remains a mixed bag, I can't honestly recommend.

Final Verdict:

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Enemy at the Gates
Historical War Drama / English / 2001

I was reminded of it in a recent critique of Battlefield V I rewatched. The criticism followed that instead of inventing nonsensical war scenarios just to insert playable female protagonists into these settings, game developers could and should draw from actual history, such as Lyudmila Pavlichenko. Focusing on legendary World War II snipers has already made for successful movies, such as Enemy at the Gates.

"The essence of class struggle."

I don't know if it's simply that I haven't watched any war movies in a long time, but the first 30 minutes of Enemy at the Gates is great and I think I can only attribute it to the intensity these films bring out. While movies like The Hurt Locker do a fantastic job of conveying high-risk intensity, it mainly comes out of the premise of bomb disposal, apart from that, the setting of American modern warfare is relatively sterile. Not only are the weapons scaled up into killing more enemies at further distances, but culturally, the concept of wartime is quite apart. Now you can usually be discharged for all manner of reasons, whereas in the setting of Enemy at the Gates, you may very well find yourself conscripted into the lunatic Communist army of Stalin and forced to run headlong into your death at the point of a gun.

Before we ever see the battlefield, the reactions of soldiers reluctant to depart the train they arrived in telegraphs just how miserable a situation they're getting into which is only reaffirmed when our hero learns that only half the soldiers are even getting guns and the ones that do are more or less expected to die.

With the inclusion of older slower weaponry, the concept of a drawn out sniperfight between two marksmen dug into the landscape and using every element of the environment to their advantage is excellent. Before a third of the way through the movie though, I was beginning to lose interest though.

The applauded sniperfight actually takes place throughout the majority of the movie across multiple encounters. Most of the encounters are great, but the ending honestly felt abrupt. Up until then we really don't see Bad Sniper Guy just walking around in the open, we've constantly had to assume that he sneaks away off camera between bouts, but of course the one time he pokes his head out he eats a bullet in the face, and this is after he's foiled multiple fakeouts by Main Guy. Not big on that.

A subplot surrounding Main Guy's apparent friend Jewish Guy starts with propagandizing his exploits in the field. The "tell don't show" rule is in full effect here and it's about at this point I knew the movie was beginning to wane on me. Jewish Guy also serves as a third wheel to Main Guy's overnight romance with Main Girl who only becomes relevant halfway through the movie. Again the audience is informed that they have a romantic relationship offscreen before anything of the sort is conveyed onscreen, and when they DO decide to show it onscreen, it's a wildly inappropriate drawn out sex sequence in which Main Guy uses his sniper stealth to conceal the fact that he's having sex. It's funny in a bad way; I don't know how self-aware the creators were when they decided to do that scene. If it was intentional, it was stupid, if it was unintentional, it was stupid.

Jewish Guy catching this affection offhand and deciding to turn his propaganda around into a scathing indictment of Main Guy to such an extent that we'd expect Main Guy to be arrested and executed on this information, seems like it would be a big turning point in the movie, but it's never resolved and seems more like a big intake of breath they want to knock out of you when they kill off Main Girl, which gets absolutely no emotion out of me cause she's a useless romantic interest.

This drives Jewish Guy to suicide on Bad Sniper Guy to close out the movie, but SIKE Main Girl's not dead and the two hook up, what a waste of a character arc.

Ed Harris does a good job of playing Bad Sniper Guy, he's great at exuding presence in the scenes he's in. It seems only appropriate for him to hang Stupid Kid offscreen as bait for Main Guy too cause Stupid Kid was getting on my nerves with his double agent dumbassery.

You would think that if Stupid Kid is regularly interacting with both of these legendary opposing snipers on what seems like a daily basis that one or the other would stop trying to get information on the other's military schedule and just hide in the kid's closet or something and shoot the other when they come to visit. I don't know why this simple and decisive strategy never occurred to either of them.

Also I was disappointed to hear almost no Russian accents throughout the entire movie. I'll compromise on them speaking English for the sake of the movie, but give me HYEAVY RHOUSHIN ACKSCENT COHMRRAD.

Overall, it makes me want to match more war movies, which is a positive in my book.

It also makes me want a movie about Nikita Khrushchev, who despite being played by a fun actor and being a really interesting figure in history, has very little show in this movie.

Final Verdict:

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Drama / Russian / 2014

I don't remember what about it appealed to me, but some aspect of what I read or watched about it persuaded me to put it high-up on my watchlist.

"We live like animals and we die like animals
because we are nobodies to each other."

Durak, or "The Fool", is one of those rare movies with a core message which it manages to consistently expand up from title to the final shot. Before the major (or superficial) conflict of the movie, the collapsing building, is ever presented to us, we're exposed two families; one in which a drug addict brutally attacks his starving family members over a money dispute only to have the cops ignore his crimes due to their financial dependence on him, and another in which our protagonist is lectured by his mother at dinner, complaining endlessly about her do-gooder son's construction aspirations and pointing to her husband's reluctance to steal as evidence of failure. In this way, both Main Guy and his dad are "fools", moralizing in the face of cold and uncaring circumstances, unperturbed by their simple desire to do the right thing.

Personally, I would have to note the size of this woman. They are all sitting at a table eating only bread and soup and this gargantuan bitch takes up half the table. I can very much see she takes for herself, whether that was a deliberate idea the movie was trying to convey or not. Simply put, she's a reprehensible human being, and this is after we've already seen a drunk junkie beat the **** out of his wife.

After we've lamented on the fact that times are tough and Main Guy and Main Guy's Dad are decent despite all disincentives, Main Guy receives the call alerting him to the collapsing building.

Roughly half of the movie is dedicated to Main Guy gently trying to persuade the local authorities to evacuate the 800+ people in the building. Given it's not his professional field of expertise, everyone is drunk and would rather celebrate the Mayor's birthday, and his direct leads are defacto guilty of the exact mismanagement which caused the building to be in such a state to begin with, everyone in administration is resistant to the information. To make matters worse, relocating the people within a reasonable amount of time would nearly double the current deficit, because of course the entire administrative board is disgustingly corrupt. Nepotism is on full-display, bribes are casually acknowledged, and much dirty laundry is aired to the effect of what each member has done to secure their comparably luxurious lifestyle, albeit under the direct thumb of still more corrupt bureaucrats so far up the chain it goes offscreen.

Eventually, we're left with this:

When did you start worrying about the people? Only when 800 of them might perish at once? Were you worried about them when they were dying one by one? When you took a piece for yourself out of every line in the budget? The roads are ****, one pot-hole on top of another, accidents every day. The people drinking themselves to death, killing each other, because there are no decent jobs here and the wages wouldn't suit a beggar. Kids are wasting their lives shooting up in basements. The schools are a mess; teachers and doctors can't afford to buy food. Old people and the disabled are better off dying. [...] There's not enough of the good life to go around. Divide it evenly, and nobody will get anything. Everyone will be equally poor.
And here we have what might be the most decisive summary our economic issues I've ever seen in a movie; Socialism would just spread the poverty around, not solve it, while our current remedy is damaged by politicians "washing each others' hands", handing down crumbs from a ladder of less and less accountable authorities so that poverty and wealth consolidates regardless of merit.

And Durak subtlely, but well conveys that merit is out of the question here when the tacitly corrupt politicians frankly dehumanize the tenants of the collapsing building, degrading them for their squalid lives and referring to themselves as "normal". The patent irony is that these ******** are morally condescending to people they're in no way above. Their evil manifests differently only due to their socioeconomic circumstances, they still steal, they still kill, they still get wasted like the paupers in the concrete slums, they just wear suits and wear a veil of legitimacy when they do it.

There's no noble proletariat caught under the boot of the insufferable bourgeoisie, there's only mere human fallibility, scrambling to satisfy it's wants and urges at the expense of all the "nobodies".

It's a very compelling message the movie sends, it's more introspective than raw political critique. That said, I feel the movie falls down in a small handful of ways.

Firstly, I felt far too much time was spent dealing with the administrative people. I didn't expect so much of the movie to be spent away from the collapsing building in question, and not even directly talking about the collapsing building.

There are also two or three scenes in the movie that seem to exist for no other reason than to just hold a shot on our main character much much MUCH longer than it has any business being. It reminds me of Kara No Kyoukai when it does that. One scene is literally just two continuous shots of Main Guy walking, profile, down the street as music plays. You couldn't have interlaced some establishing shots? Give us a peek at the awful neighborhood? Wrecked cars? Dying street lights? Trash in the street? In no way can I believe that that wouldn't have been objectively better than what you chose to show on screen.

Finally we get a montage of Main Guy running through the building alerting the tenants to the imminent structural threat, leaving behind his family, under a reliable threat of death by his employers, and with zero credibility that what he says is true... only for him to get absolutely mobbed upon exiting because he only appears to be wasting their time. CREDITS.

No resolution. Does the building collapse? Do 800+ people die? Probably. It doesn't pay to be a fool.

Needless to say, painfully bleak and realistic as it may be, it's an extremely dissatisfying ending. If the guy had died in the collapse trying to save everyone, or everyone died except him, or he saved one single person, there would be some semblance of hope in the movie. Futility would still be a significant theme, but nothing says "give up" like curbing stomping the only good guy in the movie (apart from the Dad who's revealed to be a fatalist by the end) and undoing all of his efforts to be a selfless person.

It's as Jewish Guy in Enemy at the Gates said, "There is no 'New Man'. Man will always be Man."

Final Verdict:

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Horror / English / 2017

I recently saw Epic Rap Battles do The Joker vs. Pennywise and while I was impressed by the Joker impersonation, the Pennywise one seemed super weird to me because my only familiarity with him is Tim Curry's version. Considering how well ERB generally manages impersonations, I decided to see for myself what the It remake was all about.

"And look at this mother****er!
He's leaking hamburger helper!"

Now I've never seen the original It miniseries, but I feel that I've seen sufficiently thorough video reviews to have a general impression of Tim Curry's Pennywise performance and the movie(?)'s narrative focus.

This is plainly a very different take on the concept and with, perhaps, a very deliberately different impression of how to present a movie with this concept.

Perhaps because of Stephen King's intimate involvement with his own miniseries, they seem to have an agonizingly persistent emphasis on the recurring themes in his books, including violent bullies, drunk dads, accosted writers, and Maine. All of the adult drama that seems to exposit on these mostly unnecessary themes is practically non-existent in favor of focusing on the experiences of the kids central to the story.

This makes a lot of sense for keeping an audience engaged, however the remake clearly struggles with this because the kids onscreen roughly half the time sound nothing like kids this age would talk in real life. These kids look like they're in middle school and one of them just straight up is a research expert on the town and actually begins sentences with "So, according to my research" with seemingly no self-awareness.

Perhaps the most realistic one is the comedy relief who bombards the other characters with immature opportunistic jokes about dicks and "your mom". This character could easily be very annoying but they come off as a legitimate personality one of these kids could have and at times manage to be just a little bit amusing. I think part of the reason this works is because it's all directed at his friends and not as some heavy-handed wink to the audience, and even his friends have little patience for his ****.

One of the kids that simply didn't work for this movie was Token Black Kid. At first I wondered whether they could succumb to or subvert the trope of The Black Guy Dies First, but it takes an unusually long time for him to even join "The Losers" and even when he does he never develops any sort of relationship with the other characters, unlike Main Girl, and yet he arrives armed with a boltgun when they return to confront the clown when Main Girl goes missing even after literally saying "I should stay an outsider". Clearly something is missing here.

I don't even understand what the deal is with Main Girl. They heavily imply that she's sexually abused by her dad, if only to reincorporate him as one of Pennywise's shapeshifts later, but after saying she's had one kiss before she gets two kisses from two different characters on two separate occasions. The first which was setup as a blossoming romance and culminated in a rescue scene, and the second which closed out the movie but with no reconciliation between these two potential love interests.

Also have I said that kissing is stupid and that I have no sympathy for any character that boltguns sheep?

Token Black Kid's slaughterhouse subplot seems to exist for no reason other than to imply the presence of cruelty early on and I see no merit whatsoever in any of this "Oooooh, that middle school kid totally kissed that adult trying very hard to be a child actor!"

...okay I just looked her up and apparently she was 15? when she was in this role? She looks far and away older than the rest of the cast in my opinion and it was very distracting. I think those scenes with the boys oggling her wouldn't be quite so weird if in the back of my head I wasn't thinking "Gotta wonder what that 24-year-old is doing in her underwear with a group of tweens."

Also, HUGE thing that goes completely overlooked: Comedy Relief goes on a whole spiel about the risk of AIDS and the movie ends off with every character slitting their palms open and holding hands.

Yeah, just get all that blood up in my open wound. I don't know if they all cut the same hand, but that immediately what I was thinking when I saw that scene, and I might not have thought about it had you not mentioned AIDS earlier in the movie. Also, ritualistically slitting your palms open with a piece of broken glass to emphasize a promise is really ****ing stupid. Honestly. Just immediately drops my opinion of every character's intelligence by a good margin.

Finally, let's talk about Pennywise.

Pennywise isn't scary. The whole movie isn't really what I would call scary. Creepy, yes, but I didn't get that insufferable horror vibe I get from most horror movies, which is to this movies credit, I feel. Now, I really like Tim Curry, and it's hard to outdo Tim Curry doing Tim Curry, but for the purposes of this movie, I think the new Pennywise was a far better monster. Part of it is certainly just the personality going into it, in this case, Pennywise is considered to be just as childish and fear-prone as his victims, so when he's defeated by a group of kids ganging up on him, it feels less contrived.

His manner of speaking felt very inconsistent too, and while in part it was because he was imitating his previous victims, it still at times felt like his candence would shift unusually, and not even in a way that would serve the character as being unsettling.

Beyond that, he's definitely helped by a significant dose of special effects which allow him to bend, morph, and contort in disturbing ways. Seeing the scene in which he unfolds out of a cabinet to then tauntingly dance over to one of the kids was what sold me on seeing the whole movie. It's definitely a movie to see for the villain performance if nothing else.

My grievances beside cannot be assuaged though, however a certain Chapter 2 may manage to improve.

Final Verdict:

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Avengers: Endgame
Superhero Action / English / 2019

I liked Infinity War.

"You could not live with your own failure.
Where did that bring you? Back to me."

Endgame is utterly inferior to Infinity War.

Now that doesn't make it a bad movie, I wouldn't even necessarily call it a bad sequel, but it fails to deliver on the previous cinematic powerhouse.

Like it's predecessor, it's highlights are it's action sequences, but unlike it's predecessor, most of it's action is confined to the last 3rd of the movie. The first two thirds are mostly sluggish exposition on where the Avengers are now, how society is managing in the wake of what I'll call "The Snap" and whatnot. It's largely boring, I'd say, and mustering the remaining heroes for another go at Thanos is a predictably weak exercise in feigned futility.

But once they do they get going, boom, Thanos is just suddenly decapitated, it's discovered that the Infinity Stones were destroyed offscreen and it was all futile in the end anyway. Fast forward 5 years.

Whoa, really? What the ****? That's such a muddled rush to a climax. It throws me off, and since I know that can't be the end it just bothers me that they wasted a Thanos death scene and comeback one-liner on it. Now it's gonna affect me less when actually does die. That kinda deflates my sails, movie. So anyway, it's 5 years later and out of the blue Antman (a movie I haven't seen) shows up and just proposes time travel I guess. Suddenly it's "Let's Kill Thanos Again" time and the movie basically repeats again.

Perhaps the only mildly acceptable sticking point here is Tony Stark who managed to start a family with Potts in 5 year timeskip, but you know he's gonna sign off on it anyway and it's at least reasonable that regrets over Peter Parker drive him to into irrevocable consideration.

So boom, they got a time machine, and instead of time traveling to when they were fighting Thanos in the last movie to literally double their numbers, or even to a period before Thanos decided to get the Stones to stop him then, they go on this whole spiel about how they can't do this or that because "time travel isn't like in the movies". They even refer to Back to the Future being wrong, but then proceed to explicitly follow Back to the Future's time travel logic with ultimately no explanation as to how they can't do what is being proposed.

Clearly the writers had a specific solution in mind and they weren't overly concerned with exploring time travel seriously, as Back to the Future did, but they clearly aware of the rational objections enough to give it a backhanded reference. Kinda ****ty writing if you ask me.

And sure enough, deciding to seize the Stones during altercations in the previous movies ended up being extremely costly, it attracted Retro-Thanos' attention and he ended up with them again anyway.

Of course, the ultimate villain isn't defeated without an ultimate hero, and Captain Marvel shows up to make small change of a number of obstacles. Not having seen Captain Marvel, I was resistant to seeing the character be the insufferably cocky jerkass I expected her to be and she initially was. By around the final battle when she's single-handed destroying Thanos' mothership I have a moment of appreciation, where I consider her to be the Badass Action Girl #1 she should have been.

BUT THEN, the movie literally frames her in a group shot with all of the female superheroes. ******* IT, you couldn't leave well enough alone, could you? You couldn't just have a cool sequence in which a cool female character does something cool, you gotta highlight the moment by throwing every diversity token onscreen at the same time to virtue signal to us, huh? UUGGGGHHHHHH!!!! I hated that.

Most of those characters have only peripheral roles to the overall story too, so you're basically begging the audience to notice how heavily sidelined the female cast has been!

And that's fine, the superhero genre is dominated by male characters and that's fine... but when YOU have an issue with that, stop beating us over the head with it, especially when you're guilty of the very thing you're advertising you're so heavily against!

And by the end of the movie Thanos dies, as you'd expect, by a Deus Ex "I grabbed all 6 Infinity Stones when I grabbed you" move that immediately set off my bull**** detector, sooo CRUMMY checkmate move there.

Thor begins and ends the movie as an unattractive fat ****, because that's what I wanted one of the main characters to devolve into for this movie, a shut-in with a beer belly who literally plays Fortnite... I cannot imagine how many groans that got out of audience members when they saw that ****.

And then it all ends with, what I can only assume is one big reference to one of the Captain America movies which I didn't see because a superhero based on American patriotism just makes me gag.

To be fair, Captain America: Civil War is basically an Avengers movie, and it introduces Spider-man, but really there are so many references to other movies here I don't expect the majority of viewers to know who even half of these characters are when they show up.

So the ending was wasted on me, because I didn't see what is in all likelihood one movie among literally dozens that have been released in this setting. So yeah, an anti-climactic ending with a completely unnecessary closing monologue by Tony Stark, a sluggish beginning that's only marginally more interesting than the first Avengers...

This is definitely the most anime I think I've ever seen western big budget animated action movies, but, the high points, I feel, don't sufficiently outweigh not just the negatives, but the failure to maintain the momentum and intensity of the previous movie.

EDIT: I'd also like to state that as the highest grossing quadrilogy of movies to date, I think OG Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings are far more deserving series.

Final Verdict:

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