Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why I don't like Wonder Woman Comic-Con Trailer

Warner Bros released Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers during Comic-Con. I don't have much to say about Justice League trailer. It didn't get me excited or made me dislike it. I could pick somethings I liked and didn't like but I am not into that. Wonder Woman trailer got different reaction.

I don't like idea of it being in First World War. It feels too much Warner Bros want to make their version of Peggy Carter and first Captain America movie. Superhero with a shield fighting in world war and woman seeing how women were oppressed at the time. Marvel made both work. Even if Wonder Woman can make it work it is doing same thing again.

First Captain America movie was set in Second World War. It is easier to set adventure movie to Second World War since it is more of battle of good versus evil than senseless slaughter in no man's land. First World War taught the world war is not a heroic adventure. First World War was industrial slaughter of solders by people who had inherited their positions.

Warner Bros are making superhero adventure set into war which showed the world war is not heroic adventure any more. All because this was hinted in Batman V Superman. We understand why Wonder Woman went hiding after First World War. We don't need to see it in two hour movie. We don't want horrors of First World War in our superhero movies. Which is reason why they probably have to water then down and have feel good elements. Which waters down the point of the movie.

I really don't get why this has to be set to First World War. All the jokes from the trailer would work in modern day setting. This could have been fun superhero action movie if it wasn't set during one of the most senseless slaughters in human history. Captain America didn't visit concentration camps. They didn't feel like showing the worst humanity has to offer. Wonder Woman movie has to show that for some reason. Wonder Woman walking into no man's land don't feel heroic. It feels sad and disgraceful to those who died there.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Stranger Things (2016)

If video is not shown you can watch it here.

If you have not seen Stranger Things and want my spoiler free review you should check the video above. In this post I expect you have seen it or don't care about spoilers. Usually I have written spoiler free version and made video with spoilers. This time video was published first so I go this way.

Stranger Things have seven good episodes and last one which is ruined by ending. I had only one issue with first seven issues. Hopper's actions should have had some consequences but there is nothing. He fights other police men and breaks in top secret facility without any consequences. He can do anything. Nobody says him anything. It feels odd when Jonathan is arrested after a fight. It felt like only reason for it was to get Hopper and Jonathan to meet.

Ending is not the only issue in last episode. Before ending characters conveniently go where they need to be. They may not have good reasons to be there but they are needed there so they go there. This is most obvious with Jonathan and Nancy going to Jonathan's home to kill the monster. They went there to have Steve come there too.

Why would you build monster trap into your home and potentially destroy your home? Lights are not good reason enough. They could have set lights elsewhere. They used blood to get the monster. They could have done that elsewhere. And they don't kill the monster. Monster survives and goes to school for some reason.

In case you have not seen the series here is briefly what is going on before I go into ending. Superpowerful human guinea pig called Eleven has opened doors to alternative universe. Monster from alternative universe has killed and taken humans to its universe. First one was Will Bryers, Hopper and Will's mom are looking for him in alternative universe. it sound weird as written here but in series it works and there is bit more into it but this is enough to know before I get into ending. I won't go into government agency story arch because it is not important in the end.

The monster is now in school where Eleven is. Eleven destroys monster and disappears doing it. At this point it looks like Eleven sacrificed herself to save others.This seem to close the door to the another universe. Series doesn't make this clear but it is heavily indicated. Hopper, Will and Will's mother were in alternative universe when this happened. We never saw them come out but they are in our universe few moments afterwards. How they got back?

Heroes have small moment together with Will. When Hopper leaves the hospital shady agents take him away hinting he has to pay for what he has done and the deals he made. If Stranger Things ended here it would have had some plot holes. But it doesn't. It wanted to have bigger plot holes.

We jump one month ahead. Everything is almost like it was before events of the series. Hopper is still alive. Nothing he did had any consequences. It is hinted Eleven is still alive. So she didn't die after all? What actually happened when she killed the monster? We jump to Will who sees flashbacks from alternative universe. He pukes little monster like in Alien movies. Unlike in Alien movies he doesn't die. He is like nothing happened.

Before one month jump story had conclusion. After it the setup for second season was made. By conclusion everything we needed to know was revealed and story arcs had ended. They only opened many new plot holes with one month jump. If there will be second season they have to start almost everything from beginning and do many things again. Ending is mess because Stranger Things doesn't know if it was ongoing series or did it end after one season. It tries to be both.

All I have said here may make Stranger Things sound like bad series. It is not. That's why I am so disappointed at the ending. Even with this ending it is good series.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Drive (2011)

Drive is another Nicolas Winding Refn movie starring Ryan Gosling having score by Cliff Martinez. In many ways it looks. sounds and feels like Only God Forgives. Main difference being location and lack of being edgy for sake of being edgy. Drive is the movie almost always mentioned when talking about Nicolas Winding Refn. How ever I like Only God Forgives more.

Ryan Gosling plays almost same character with almost same story arch in both. He is someone without personality who is drawn into a mess without his own fault. He is nice guy but also a criminal. He don't feel like being criminal but doesn't resist too much. Some kind of honor code draws him into mess where people get hurt.

Just like in Only God Forgives first half hour feel like nothing is happening. It might be even longer before story really starts. Nicolas Winding Refn like to spend time building set up and then trash it down. Everything looks and sound good. Story and characters lack something.

I can't say if this is good movie or not. It is easy to praise because it looks and sounds so good. I would liked Drive more if I had not seen Only God Forgives before it. Only God Forgives did everything better. Why Drive is the Nicolas Winding Refn movie instead of Only God Forgives? Probably because it came first and Only God Forgives has more Asian movie feeling and story arc.

Monday, July 11, 2016

John Wick (2014)

I don't think Keanu Reeves is great actor. I don't even like his acting that much. But he has been in movies I like. John Wick had potential to become one. I have heard good things about it and it will get sequel. Seeing it after Only God Forgives I am not sure what all the hype is about. Both movies are highly visual with minimal dialog and story. Only God Forgives has more to give.

John Wick is not bad movie. I have just seen this done better before. Maybe not exactly like this but this takes elements from other movies where things were done better. Movie would have worked better about 20 minutes shorter. Last 20 minutes concluded story arcs which didn't need it. There were few cool moments but most of last 20 minutes was unnecessary. Main story arc ends about 25 minutes to go. Second story arc starts there. We didn't need to see that in this movie. It could have been in sequel or forgotten totally.

Story is pretty simple. John Wick was superior hit man. He got away to live with his wife. After wife dies gangster's son steals his car and kills his dog. John start to hunt the son. You pretty much know where this goes from here. Only thing movie offers is good looks and execution like kills by John Wick. There are no interesting characters or story development. It is just John Wick hunting the son and meeting other hit men.

Movie is cool and good looking. Hit men has strange sense of honor and rules which gives them shade of character but nothing more. Everyone is cool. It is their only character trait. If you are looking more than cool and good looking action movie you will be disappointed. This has been done better with more dimensions before by other movies.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Advantageous (2015)

You don't understand how important good score is until you see movie which lacks one. Advantageous is one of those movies. It screamed for good score on some scenes. I am not sure why some scenes didn't have any score. Was it stylistic choice? Didn't they have good enough score? It is weird to watch a movie and think what kind of score this scene needed.

Movie was slow. It didn't have much dialog. It tried to be emotional but it didn't have score to boost those emotions. We just saw what happened. Almost like every really important scene didn't have any score. This made Advantageous hard to watch. With better score it could have been one of the best science fiction movies of this decade. Everything else worked. Only score was lacking.

Advantageous is science fiction movie written by women, directed by woman and aimed to women. I wish to see more of these. It is refreshing to see something different. Movie tells about older career woman in world which appreciates youth and good looks. She has hard time finding new job after she was laid off to make room for younger woman. She is in trouble because she wants to give her daughter best education possible.

I can't relate to most of the movie's themes. Like I said this was aimed for women. But it had enough of good science fiction to keep me interested. After big twist was revealed movie became much more interesting. With good score to give the movie a flow and amplify the emotions this could have become one of my favorite science fiction movies. Movie is bit dream like. It needed score which amplified that.

Advantageous is worth watching. Everything except the score works. It is well directed and cleverly written.