Monday, October 22, 2018

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (2018)

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is Batman re-imagination set to 19th century Gotham. Steam punk Batman sounded good but we didn't get one. There is steam punk imaginary but it is inconsistent. Batman has motorbike when there is nothing even remotely like that around except a zeppelin which is as much out of place in world where people move with horse carriages. I wouldn't talk about this if the story was engaging.

Batman is trying to find Jack the Ripper who is killing women in streets of Gotham. This is not origin story but Batman is not well known yet. Some think he is the killer. Movie relies heavily on you knowing the original characters and wanting to see different versions of them. Characters are not who they are in regular Batman but versions they could have come if they lived in different era. This could have been strength but there is one big problem.

This should be detective story but there is very little investigation. Batman literally stumbles into Jack the Ripper's room when he is there for totally other reason. This came out of the blue. All hints given pointed to wrong direction. Maybe if I watch this again knowing who the killer is I might see hints given during the movie but I won't be seeing it again.

This should have been clever detective story. But it is not clever nor detective story. There is a scene where old woman shouts to Bruce Wayne in front of police he will be hanged if he doesn't pay her. Police doesn't react to this at the time but you can see how this could be important in the story later. Story telling was this subtle. Everything else was thrown at us like this but detective story was two or three scenes showing microscope and having references to Sherlock Holmes without giving any real hint who the killer was. Batman found it out by mistake.

Batman fought Jack the Ripper three time. Jack didn't have any problems dominating Batman. But for some strange reason Jack wanted to run from Batman and Batman fight Jack. This wasn't used as story element or character development. Batman just wanted to catch Jack. He didn't plan fight or trying to gain advantage. He just got lucky last time.

There was lot of potential but only memorable things were few visuals. They had some good ideas but something doesn't work. Movie doesn't find correct tone. Sometimes it feels they wanted to show too many 19th century versions of Batman characters. For example everything with Hugo Strange could have been cut off. Movie is about 80 minutes long but it feels much longer because story doesn't go forward. There are just lot of scenes which doesn't lead to anything. If they do it is much later when you have forgotten the scenes.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life (2003)

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life has terrible name. The movie isn't much better. These movies doesn't have to be smart to be enjoyable but too much stupidity will hurt the movie. They tell in first fifteen minutes or something the cradle of life is in Africa. Later in movie it is surprise to characters it is in Africa. To same characters who knew earlier it is in Africa.

Whole movie is characters stupidity moving the story forward. Lara rather takes photos of orb in secret laboratory where she caused fire alarm than take the orb and escape. She end up doing that but only after bad guys catch her and she leaves them hint how to find her friends. Bad guy isn't any smarter. His plan is to open Pandora's box and let diseases to kill millions. Then he wants to save best and brightest. Politicians and corporate leaders. Corporate leaders at least have to have some merit but as we have seen lately being politician is no indication of being best or brightest. I wonder who would do all the work when only survivors are those whose skills are negotiation, delegation and looking reliable. That could be good premise for dystopian science fiction movie.

Movie had many good action scenes. I wondered why I didn't remember them being in the movie. When I saw the sets I remembered how good the scenes where. Then I saw the ending which made me want to forget the movie. Cradle of life set was terrible. It was hard to follow what is happening when characters could walk on walls and everywhere. There was too much bad cgi everywhere. First movie didn't have problems with special effect. This does but it wasn't the worst thing.

I am going to spoil the ending to tell why it is so bad. Worst thing was they tried to have dramatic ending with Lara and King Leonidas. They had something going on but during the movie Lara only used him to find cradle of life. She was going to kill him earlier because he wasn't fast enough. She told him she could kill him when she left him. In the end we are supposed to wonder if she can kill him to save millions. She was prepared to kill him for much less earlier. There wasn't a scene where they got back together. There was one which started like one but it was one where she left him telling she could kill him. We knew she would do it. She didn't want to do it but she didn't have choice.

If they wanted this ending Lara and King Leonidas should have got back together. Then it would have been what they tried to have. They should have also changed Pandora's box to something which give user power. Then bad guy could have had better motive. Trying to kill almost everyone is not a good motive unless you explain it like they did in Infinity War. Here the plan was to let disease to kill almost everyone and sell cure to little group of people. It is as bad plan as Umbrella Corporation's plans in latest Resident Evil movie. Maybe we should accept that plan because bad guy hated all life. Poison Ivy at least had some reason to kill all humans in Batman Forever.

You might have guessed I didn't like the movie. That is not completely correct. I liked those few good action scenes. It is the ending which was so frustrating I keep forgetting what was good.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Venom (2018)

I am honest. Only reason I saw Venom in theater was because I had expiring tickets and there wasn't anything more interesting running or coming before tickets expired. I expected this to be big mess. But I enjoyed it. It is bit of  a mess but it is enjoyable mess. Movie got bad reviews but box office looks like we will get sequel.

I don't understand why this gets so bad reviews. Movie is hilarious. Maybe you hate it if you expected something serious like DCEU or MCU. This is closer to Deadpool. You can't call this good movie. There are gaping plot holes and some of the story was left on cutting room floor. Movie feels like 80's and 90's superhero movies on steroids. Writing is either lazy or ingenious. I wish it was ingenious because then sequel can be as good. Or at least that they understand why we like the movie.

Venom is movie where punchline of a joke is protagonist eats people's heads. That punchline was used couple times. Movie has PG-13 rating but it is not a problem. I didn't need the gore. Not showing the gore keeps head eating jokes funny. People say Venom is The Room (2003) of superhero movies. I disagree. The Room was meant to be serious drama. Venom was never meant to be serious. Some of the funniest moments were probably unintentional but it was meant to be funny movie. Nobody can say fancy restaurant scene wasn't meant to be comedy.

It has been a while since I read Venom related comics. Venom is probably not too faithful to source material. I don't remember comic Venom being this funny. Funny Venom works in lower budget superhero movie. If you like bad movies and dark humor Venom is movie for you. It is not a bad movie but to fully enjoy it you need to enjoy bad movies. It has some bad parts but it isn't problem unless you only want to see flawless movies. It is highly entertaining movie if you watch it with right mindset.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

After watching Tomb Raider (2018) I wanted to check Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider movies. At least first of them has been my guilty pleasure. I didn't remember much of them. After watching first one I realized everything I remembered was from first movie. Except King Leonidas who I think is in second one. I mean Gerard Butler the actor. Not the character King Leonidas.

This movie has James Bond which I had totally forgotten because Daniel Craig puts very little effort in his character. He almost sleepwalks the whole movie. Angelina Jolie puts too much effort. She doesn't feel like real person. She tries too much to be cool. I didn't saw this before I saw Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft. It was hard to watch set up part because it reminded how much better Alicia Vikander was in the role. It doesn't help both movies tell same story of Lara letting go her father.

Movie becomes more enjoyable when they find the clock and main story can begin. Shoot out at mansion is bit too much over the top and soundtrack doesn't help. I rarely notice bad soundtrack but this time it doesn't have intensity in needed. It tries to be cool but isn't edgy enough. I can see what they wanted but they didn't dare to go far enough. It is not just mansion shoot out. It is whole soundtrack.

First temple still looks amazing. It has lot of CGI but it still looks good. It is better than new Tomb Raider's tomb which had couple obvious CGI effects. This one made almost twenty years ago was more realistic looking even with walking stone statues. Second temple wasn't far behind. Tomb raiding was more entertaining in this where they didn't try to be too realistic. Music and Angelina Jolie's performance were aged worse than special effects. I didn't expect that.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is enjoyable stupid action movie after they leave the mansion. It doesn't work as well when it tries to be more than action movie with nice sets. In mansion shoot out it doesn't work when it tries to be just that but when they get out of mansion it is different story.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Tomb Raider (2018)

Does it tell something about the movie if I almost forgot I saw it? I did like Tomb Raider but next day almost forgot I saw it. It is pretty much what you expect from Tomb Raider movie. It is action movie with female lead and raiding tombs. Alicia Vikander is good in her role. Action looks realistic. It is darker than Angelina Jolie's movies because it is based on new rebooted games.

It is hard to write anything about this movie. I was going to complain about one scene which felt little bit like Anakin turning to dark side scene. When I watched it again it made more sense. Movie tells Lara Croft's origin story. There is one scene where Lara decides to become Lara we know. Before that she has mainly escaped but after that she becomes killing machine. It was like something clicked in Lara's head and she was different person. It was weird because later similar change from not caring about myth to taking it seriously was handled much better.

There were couple bad shots and characters made few stupid choices to have epic scenes. Other than that it is competent and entertaining movie. It is forgettable because it has similar story as all the other genre movies. It is more realistic and grittier than other movies in genre. Movie ends with sequel bait. Sequel bait didn't look too promising but I want to see more of Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft.