Thursday, May 28, 2015

Push (2009)

Push is science fiction movie about people with extra ordinary abilities. I would not call it superhero movie because there are no superheroes, just people with superpowers. I can see what they are trying to do but story is not on level of everything else.

Movie tries to be mix between Asian and western movies. It has visuals, locations and sad mood from Asian movies. Movie happens in Hong Kong where American agency called Division is looking for stolen briefcase. Story involves several superpowered individuals who want to find briefcase before Division. Addition to this local mafia with their own superpowered persons are after girl who should have the briefcase.

Watchers are people who can see the future via their drawings. Story is moved forward by watchers and attempts to hide from watchers. Heroes have one watcher who takes heroes to where they need to be. Mafia has own watcher from which heroes want to hide. This dynamic let writing to be lazy. Movie doesn't give any other reasons why characters do what they do than watchers drawings. This makes things confusing when motivation is something else than watchers drawings.

Lazy writing includes huge plot holes. Superpowered individuals have power classes familiar from superhero comics and role-playing games. Classes are what story needed at least in one point. If story need someone to have special power at any point there is class for it. Bleeders might be additional class because movie needed other physical combat class than  pushers. Others were there because the power was needed at one point.

I liked visuals and mood. Some scenes are great. Story has interesting elements and it doesn't explain everything. It left enough open. Some power classes were used like they should to drive the story. Biggest problem of the writing was writer didn't ask enough from himself why would characters do this and why and how this would work.

Push teased with sequels. Movie introduced the world and characters. Bigger picture is on background and movie ends when bigger story seems to start. Bad response movie got meant no sequels. Even though Push teased with sequel where heroes go against Division it is hard to see how it could have worked if they kept dynamics of first movie.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tomorrowland - A World Beyond (2015)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here. Review contains mild spoilers.

I call the movie Tomorrowland - A World Beyond because it known as that in Finland. It is known as Tomorrowland in some other places. If you google for Tomorrowland you find music festival with same name. I guess subtitle is there because of the festival rather than plans of making this first movie of series of movies. Many questions were left unanswered but ending didn't hint any sequels.

I don't understand what Disney's marketing department is thinking about. Tomorrowland - A World Beyond was marketed by Brad Birds Oscar's rather than him being director of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. Tomorrowland is in many ways live action version of animated movie. It has nothing to do with Oscar baits.

I almost skipped this until I remembered who Brad Bird is. I guess many people didn't remember or know. Theater was almost empty on premiere night. This is kids movie and I was in late screening which could explain it. I was entertained for whole movie. It is not great movie but worth checking because of the positive message.

This is another quite experimental video and another with vignetting. I have few videos where light dies during shooting. This time I had same problem with daylight. That is why beginning looks different than ending. I think I got it looking reasonable similar. It required few tricks but I think result is ok.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Agent Carter (2015)

Agent Carter is part of ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. I enjoyed it until the end which reminded what is wrong with Marvel Cinematic Universe at the moment. Everything is connected to everything else and you can't be sure if build up was for next season or some other movie or series. Marvel and DC has same problem with comics. If you start to follow comic you will soon learn you need to follow many other comics to get the whole story. This is one reason why I don't follow any comics. Now Marvel is bringing this to movies and series.

Agent Carter don't have as much of continuity pressure because it happens different time than rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Agent Carter is spin-off of first Captain America movie. It tells what happened to Peggy Carter after second world war. Howard Stark is recurring character. There are few other characters from first Captain America.

Year is 1946. During second world war women got to important jobs but now when war is over they are pushed back to kitchen and being secretaries. Feminist agenda of Max Mad Fury Road has been in discussion but Agent Carter has much more feminist agenda. Series has three classes of people. Strong males are first class citizens while women and crippled men are second class. Third class is those who have lost everything after the war. Series makes second class citizens the heroes but first class citizens are not as one dimensional as they seem at first. There is much more social commentary than I expected.

Peggy works for Strategic Scientific Reserve which is 1940's version of S.H.I.E.L.D. Howard Stark is accused for selling weapons for enemies. He goes underground. He asks Peggy to clear his name and find his stolen inventions. Peggy and Stark's butler Jarvis investigate on their own while SSR is looking for Howard Stark.

I had my doubts with Agent Carter but I was positively surprised. Series was well written. It had interesting story with several twists I didn't see coming. My major issue was code breaker mentioning Alan Turing when he shouldn't have known Turing's work with Enigma code. That was kept secret at the time. British didn't want anyone to know their code breaking abilities.This being my major issue tells how much I liked Agent Carter.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here. Video contains some mild spoilers.

Mad Max: Fury Road was pretty much what I expected it to be. Trailer told what kind of movie this was. It was Mad Max updated to this day and age with everything bad of this day and age. Everything was bigger and action was over the top. Good ideas were buried under over the top action. Everything which made Mad Max 2 so good was forgotten. Everything people remember from it was given steroids.

I will watch Mad Max: Fury Road again. It might not be as stupid as I let you believe in the video. Positive reviews have praised things I thought were stupid. There is lot of action and it is brutal and "cool". There were few interesting twists. I wanted to know more about the world and how it worked. Immortan Joe's cult wasn't explained at all. His solders thought they were going to Valhalla and reborn. I wanted to learn more about that.

Bullet Farm or Gas Town weren't explained at all. We saw their weird leaders and that was it. There were two desert gang which weren't given any history or told who they were. Over the top action was more important. I have nothing against over the top action if everything else works. Usually over the top action tries to hide flaws of the script. This seems to be the case with Mad Max: Fury Road.

I kind of understand the hype but I don't understand why almost everyone seem to like Mad Max: Fury Road. It is good if you want brutal over the top action movie. There is just little beyond that.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

I tend to always find something interesting in dieselpunk and steampunk movies. There are not too many genre movies which makes every movie special. Every time genre movie is box office bomb next genre movie has harder time to get funding. Genre need a big hit. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow could have been the hit revitalizing the genre. Instead it was box office bomb.

Making movies is collaborative effort. I don't want to blame failure of a movie for one person but in this case one person was in wrong place. Jude Law was wrong choice for Sky Captain. Sky Captain should have been more like Han Solo and Star-Lord. Jude Law makes Sky Captain too serious and not fun. He appears as jerk each time there is a joke. Jude Law is best when he plays serious or robotic character like in Sherlock Holmes movies or in A.I. His serious style doesn't fit to Sky Captain's role.

Everything works when movie follows Gwyneth Paltrow's Polly. I thought I didn't remember how good the movie was for first half hour. After that Sky Captain becomes male lead and movie turns too serious and action scenes lose all excitement since nothing can hit Sky Captain. More I think what doesn't work in this movie more it seems reason is Jude Law as Sky Captain. Role was not written that serious. Jude Law is one of the producers. Which could be one reason why he was allowed to act the role so seriously.

I liked the style. Style could be one thing carrying the movie for first half hour. After that you might want something else. During first half hour Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was detective story. Then it changes more into adventure movie with dieselpunk gadgets and it becomes more like action scene after action scene. First action scene told nothing can touch Sky Captain and he appears as jerk in humorous scenes. This makes you wonder why you keep on watching and how far movie can go from good beginning.

Story is nonsensical. It would have been enough with the style if leads had any chemistry between them and male lead didn't felt like total jerk. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was written and directed by Kerry Conrad. This is only long movie in his CV which is great shame. Movie had potential. It is style over substance but the style was something I liked. Only great flaw was one casting choice and it has prevented us from seeing more movies from Kerry Conrad. I have nothing against Jude Law. He just was in wrong role in this movie.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Schedule change

This blog will change to video review on Monday and text review on Thursday schedule. Next text review will come tomorrow. This means that I will get back to schedule I had first two years of this blog. I drop one weekly review to get more time for other things like making music. I want more new music for my videos. For last two weeks I have not been able to do any. This also gives me more time to watch tv series and review them.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Man Bites Dog (1992)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here. Unlike my videos normally this one contains some mild spoilers.

Man Bites Dog was one of those movies you remember to be great but you don't remember much more to me. Like most of those movies Man Bites Dog was not so great after I saw it again. Back in 1990's it was big thing because it was something we usually don't see. It was very violent art movie. It being from Belgium helped it get past censorship in Finland. Back then many movies were cut. Nowadays we have got past that.

Man Bites Dog is done by film students with shoe string budget. Only the guy who acted the serial killer got career in movies. For others this is almost only movie in their cv. Which is kind of strange when you think about critical praise and awards Man Bites Dog got.

This time I read the script aloud before shooting the video. It helped reducing shooting time to half of regular and reduced number of cuts I had to do. I will do this with future videos too.

I used different vignette effect this time than last video. I am not sure which is better. This time I used it more subtly like effect is meant to be used.  Out of focus effect is from camera. I guess there was too little light for autofocus. Usually autofocus is spot on all the time. It is the reason I like the camera so much.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and little bit of Star Wars

I had so hectic week that I didn't have time to watch a movie for today's post. Good for me, there have been few pics and trailers released past few weeks I can talk about. I already commented little about Batman v Superman in Tumblr. But because it get much less hits I can comment it here too.

Let's start with Jared Leto's Joker. It got negative response from comic book fans. They say Joker don't think he is damaged and would not tattoo "Damaged" into his forehead. Some think new Joker is too far from Heath Ledger's Joker. I have read some comics with Joker and liked Heath Ledger's Joker. I don't understand the negativity. I have seen some really outrageous Jokers in comics.

To me Jared Leto's Joker looks like most outrageous comic book Jokers. Forehead tattoo is stupid but it is not too much. It is just a picture. I liked Heath Ledger's Joker from first pictures. First picture of Jared Leto's wasn't as good but it looked like it could work when we see video and hear him. I guess biggest problem was it was so different than generally loved Heath Ledger's Joker.

First pictures of Suicide Squad got some negative response as well but not as much as Jared Leto's Joker. These pictures made me doubt if Suicide Squad could be good movie. Pics showed team of nine. I didn't realize they went for that big team. That feels too much even if everyone didn't look like each others. There will be other important characters too. All probably introduced in the movie.

I didn't like Harley Quinn at first but I will give her a change. This Harley Quinn fits with Jared Leto's Joker. Maybe they work on screen. I am not so sure if dark grey team of nine will work. It seems like DC cinematic universe will be as dark as possible. Everything will be as dark as possible.

If I am not expecting much from Suicide Squad at the moment same is not the case with Batman v Superman. Latest trailer looks like Superman movie I want to see. One where people turn against him and where he is not the good boy scout he usually is. It is said movie is based on The Dark Knight Returns. I liked that version of Superman. How that works with Man of Steel and upcoming Justice League movie is different matter. Trailer concentrated on Batman and Superman. Movie might have other Justice League members too which could make this something other than Superman movie I want to see.

I want to see a movie where people react realistically to Superman. Some people will see him as threat rather than someone who will help everyone because he is so good. Normally in movies and comics everyone are on Superman's side and no-one second guess if he is really that good guy. This got negative response because it is not like Superman normally is.

If DC Cinematic Universe got negative responses on everything latest Star Wars trailer got overly positive response. I don't understand why. All trailers tell is movie will look like Star Wars. Is that enough for everyone? I want more than just that. Prequels looked like Star Wars. That wasn't enough. Does seeing Han and Chewie confirm it will be like classic trilogy?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I, Frankenstein (2014)

I, Frankenstein goes into same category as Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter. It takes old well known character and changes the story totally. Abraham Lincoln as Vampire Hunter was so outrageous idea that it could have worked. Too bad the movie was too serious. Frankenstein's Monster as demon hunter is not as outrageous but it makes as little sense.

I, Frankenstein feels too much like Underworld. Underworld is my guilty pleasure but this doesn't work same way. I, Frankenstein is based on graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux. Same guy was behind Underworld. Rumors tell there were plans for I, Frankenstein and Underworld crossover. Because I, Frankenstein got quite negative response there are no plans for sequel or anything at the moment.

Frankenstein's Monster gets into middle of fight between demons and gargoyles. Gargoyles being angels but called gargoyles for some reason. Demons and gargoyles have fought their hidden war for ages. Did I tell you this feels like Underworld? Demons want Monster because they want to learn to reanimate dead bodies.

Story begins where original Frankenstein's story ends. In this version Monster is immortal superhuman. He goes hiding after first encounter with demons and gargoyles. When demons find him he gets back to hunt demons. This happens during modern times. He gets back in middle of hidden war. He doesn't choose sides but is closer to Angel's side even thought he can't trust them either. Did I tell you this feels much like Underworld?

I. Frankenstein has two big problems. Things don't make any sense and there are no interesting characters. Monster can take anything and other characters are what story requires them to be at the time. On next scene they could be something else because story requires it. No-one has any personality.

When I watched I, Frankenstein I thought it was part of Universal Monsters shared movie universe. Movie felt like it was made to introduce character for later movies without thinking too much about this movie and it brought old character to modern day. It tells what kind of movie this is. Movie is not part of Universal Monsters shared movie universe but I could easily see this being Frankenstein movie of the shared universe. What I have hard time to see is how anyone could want more of this.

Monday, May 4, 2015

HK: Forbidden Super Hero (2013)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here. Unlike my videos normally this one contains some spoilers.

I have seen three different versions of the name. IMDB knows this as HK: Hentai Kamen. My blu ray says movie is HK: Forbidden Super Hero and I have seen somewhere name HK: Forbidden Superhero. I used the name on my blu ray. I knew I have to see this when I learned about this movie. That happened last December. I got blu ray last January and it took this long to make video review of it.

HK: Forbidden Super Hero is superhero parody with perverted Japanese twist. The movie is heavily inspired by Spider-Man. I don't know if this came from source material.

This video was made under bad signs. First it took months to start making it. When I finally started to shoot it my camera had problems and I had to shoot some of the video again because I only had audio for last six minutes I shot. You probably don't see where second shooting video starts because I shot new footage right after first one. Second time went much better. I guess I have to start read scripts aloud before shooting them.

Problems didn't stop here. I had strange problems with one plugin I haven't used before. For some reason it didn't want to work consistently. After I got it working pretty consistently I realized it works differently during rendering and previewing. I think I won't be making hole in a wall look with extremely heavy vignetting any time soon. Or I use different vignetting plugin. I have few different plugins with vignetting. To be fair all vignetting plugins are not meant to give this extreme effect.

I have not made my mind up yet if I will do more artistic looks for my videos. This has quite extreme look. It had even more effects at one point but I took some away to make it render faster. Later I learned those effects weren't the problems. Having two source videos made software to think it has to render much longer video and that caused longer rendering times. After I fixed it rendering time became reasonable.

I had too much problems with this video. I hope you enjoyed it. I also hope next video won't be as troublesome.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mystery Men (1999)

Mystery Men is superhero comedy loosely based on Flaming Carrot Comic. It tells about three regulars guys whose hobby is to be superheroes and fight crime in Champion City. Champion City has one real superhero Captain Amazing who has almost got rid of all the crime. This causes his sponsorship revenues to decline. Because of this he decides to help supervillain Casanova Frankenstein to be released on parole. Plan backfires as Casanova catches Captain Amazing. It is up to our three to save the only real superhero from Casanova.

Mystery Men have similar themes as Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2. Normal people playing superheroes without much success. Main difference is that Kick-Ass understands the genre and is ready to go over the top. Even thought Mystery Men is loosely based on comic it feels like parody of 60's Batman with Tim Burton's Batman's visuals. And it tries to be too generic and appeal to everyone. It was box office bomb making only about half of the money back.

Mystery Men is not as bad as box office may imply. It has few interesting characters like boy who can turn invisible when nobody is watching or weapon designer who doesn't want to design lethal weapons. Some jokes are actually clever and there are couple good twists. But overall Mystery Men is too generic. It feels like it was written by people who don't know superhero genre but wanted to parody it after seeing Batman and reading few comics.

There are no characters standing out. Everyone is just grey mass, even those interesting ones. First they are not very effective. When they have no other choice they find their inner superheroes and learn to work as team. William H. Macy does good job as Shoveler. His character was supposed to be gray mass, a down to earth guy with no ego who keeps the group together being real leader of the group even though bigger egos like to think themselves as leaders.

Because Mystery Men is aimed for kids Mr Furious can't really be furious, he has to be more funny than furious. Then you have characters like The Spleen whose superpower is tainting farts. I don't know the comic so I can't say was he in comics or was he created for this movie.

Mystery Men ends up being generic 90's superhero movie with comedy elements. There are much better movies in genre but if you like the genre you find some entertainment from this.