but it's still a feel good film

TROLLS - REVIEW

This movie, like a batter in a twisted game of baseball, had several strikes against it right off of the bat. The biggest one of all, perhaps, was its infamous teaser, rife with Dreamworks stereotypes. Dance parties, topical music that would probably grow distinctly out of touch in a year’s time, and awkward pop culture references. People have been ready to hate this movie for months. If the comments I get on my posts about it are anything to go by, people are still ready to hate it. So here goes nothing:

There’s something to be said for a thing called fun.

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actor’s job

genre: this is fluff

warnings: mentions of alcohol

words: 6k

summary: As an actor, Dan’s job is to fall in love. In order for him to do a good job in a film, he has to fall in love with the role he’s playing, he has to love what he’s doing, so it won’t feel like a job.  It’s just that it wasn’t Dan’s job to fall in love with his co-star.

Or, how actor Dan Howell keeps getting cockblocked by literally everyone while he tries to woo-hoo his co-star, Phil Lester.

a/n: *sweats* writing? What’s that? I can’t seem to understand that word. Wow. Sorry for that long-ass inactivity. Huge writer’s block, my guys. I do have another work that I was writing before this, but that one was so heavily planned and so complicated that I took a break from writing to. write. again. so here’s this. It’s silly fluff, basically. I love writing silly clichéd stuff.

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GODZILLA (2014) Retrospective Review

After watching SHIN GODZILLA, I’ve had a little time to re-arrange some thoughts in my head about GODZILLA (2014).
I can safely say that, while I still like the film, I have cooled on it a fair bit. I may have talked about this before, but I feel it warrants re-stating.
G'14 is by no stretch a bad film, but I’ve begun to consider that it may not be as good as the sum of its parts. The first act is stellar, with good pacing, good pathos, especially with those great opening credits and the oft-lauded performance of Bryan Cranston. By his character’s death, the film does start to take a bit of a dip, introducing some rather bland players in the form of “Admiral McBadAtMyJob” (thanks to Morgan for that nickname) and his walking wood-plank-turned-sidekick. Hawkins and Watanabe have amazing potential as a character duo but my GOD they are under-served.
And yes: ATJ, Olsen, and their little living prop are just not compelling. Their dialogue is standard and dull, and they have no quirks or anything to make us care about them other than the vague idea of family that we’re all supposed to intrinsically care about (hint - a boring family is still a boring family). They aren’t bad actors - they’re just given nothing to work with.
Edwards clearly has vision and knows how to use a camera, and his skill with effects is really something special. But I’m concerned that he’s not an “actor’s director.” Both GODZILLA and MONSTERS have performances that are somewhat lacking, but you can tell that there’s a potentially GREAT performance clawing to get out. Cranston was basically given cart-Blanche, so that one’s not hard to figure out. I’m holding out hope for ROGUE ONE, so we’ll see.
The Honolulu sequence, while already missing a solid central performance, is still extremely well set-up and features fantastic pacing and an excellent build-up, plus some of the best editing and visual storytelling I’ve seen in a while. I even like the cutaway gag. But…yes, I have to admit, it’s a gag that only works once.
When wanting to emulate a film like JAWS, I question the reasoning behind applying that logic to a Godzilla film. Godzilla isn’t a big shark. He isn’t a mysterious alien that hunts in the darkness. He isn’t a murderous mother taking revenge for her dead son. He’s a bigass visual treat, and a character in his own right. We’re there to see HIM. And “Hide the Sausage,” while a bold choice, may not have been the right one.

Regardless, once Honolulu is destroyed, my interest in the following events goes downhill. While some nice visual stuff is going on (I kinda like Godzilla being escorted by the Navy - it’s a cool bit of characterization that he truly does not give a damn), the globetrotting by the bored and detached ATJ (whom, upon every viewing, I am more and more convinced that he just didn’t want to be there) feels contrived and unreal. The train scene is cool in theory, but even that feels like killing time and checking boxes before the final battle that we’re all waiting for. Again, lots of cool visuals and creative use of destruction scenes, but…man, there’s just so little reason to CARE when the film is telegraphing itself so much.
And I LIKE the MUTOs. The idea of a species that was in an evolutionary arms-race with Godzilla is a really fun idea. And Godzilla himself, as I’ve said before, is damn near perfect.
Once the HALO jump happens, the film totally picks up again (although I hate it when movies change scenes from trailers so drastically these days - the looming shot of Godzilla was replaced by a vicious fight scene and they HAPPENED to not get swatted out of the air).

I love the shit out of the final battle. It’s exciting and really well paced and has a ton of fantastic visuals. And you get a GREAT sense of Godzilla’s character, even with only a handful of scenes. The idea of him being this ancient, battle-worn beast who’s being outfought by a pair of younger, more virile monsters is probably one of the best additions to the mythos since 1984 when the idea of Godzilla feeding on nuclear energy was introduced.
The soldiers attempting to extract the nuke from the battle-torn city is also a great way to involve human characters, and even thought it’s frustrating that ATJ doesn’t get to disarm the nuke after all that set-up, the sequence is played so efficiently and excitingly that I just didn’t really care.
So, like I said, I still like the movie. I just don’t know if I’d rank it super high on my personal list of G flicks. I still vehemently disagree with the weird new wave of hipsters claiming that G'98 is not only better than G'14, but is also some sort of under-appreciated “classic.” Even with its faults, G'14 succeeds at the one thing G'98 was supposed to do, and failed: being a goddamn Godzilla movie. While competently made and boasting some impressive effects, G'98 is also obnoxious and mean-spirited. But that’s a review for another day

The Lego Batman Movie

Went and saw the Lego Batman movie today, and while it didn’t grab me quite as much as the original Lego Movie, it was still pretty great!

The plot is basically about Batman dealing with the Joker, who is up to no good as usual, and also dealing with his own feelings about family and trust. That second part sounds a little heavy, and considering its a Lego movie, it kind of is. It actually accomplishes all that though while still having plenty of moments that made me crack up in the theater.

If you’re a fan of Batman, you’re going to love the film just a little bit more than a non-fan. It’s full of jokes that make reference to lots of things casual fans wouldn’t necessarily get. It has villains like Egghead from the Adam West show even. Also there are nods to the different Batman movies, it has Batman Returns Penguin and Dark Knight Rises Bane, for example. Two-Face makes a couple of appearances and he’s based off of the Billy Dee Williams Harvey Dent from the Tim Burton movies, I got pretty stoked about that.

The voice work is all amazing and its worth it to watch the credits to see all the actors in the movie because dang, there were a ton of recognizable people in it.

The comedy was all well done and the jokes didn’t fall flat too often, plus if one did another joke would be coming in the next 3-5 seconds so it wouldn’t matter much. I can’t wait to rewatch this on blu ray to try to catch all the jokes in the background too.

I really dug this movie and I definitely plan on watching it more in the future. If you like The Lego Movie, Batman, or have kids, definitely go see it! I’m going to give it a 8/10.

pigpocket replied to your post: “i am of the opinion that critics should be well-versed in the theory…”:

the entire concept of music criticism seems incredibly stupid to me just because its such a subjective source of enjoyment

honestly i kinda feel the same way but you could say the same thing about art and film critics… i think discussion and critique of music is still warranted like any other artform even if it’s all subjective in the end, but i think the questions music critics should be trying to answer isn’t “is it good” so much as “is it successful in what it sets out to accomplish” and “does it mark a step forward in the genre or movement or even artist’s career it’s a part of” and “is it memorable/is it able to stand out from among its contemporaries”

that and reviewers should absolutely have an understanding of the genre they’re reviewing ie. i don’t ever want to see another review like the pitchfork review of a locust album i read once written by someone who did not know dick about experimental extreme music so all they said basically was “its ugly and noisy and i think it sounds bad”

Still not over this one.

Man, guys, I love Jedistorm and I love Stormpilot and I love Jedistormpilot, but I just do not feel super good about Jedipilot on its own as a ship. Like, yes, Rey’s legal and can do whoever she wants HOWEVER she wants, but I still just can’t get over an age gap that big without, like, a bonus partner in there who’s sort of in the middle, if that makes sense? I originally assumed Rey was older watching the films–I thought she and Finn were both in their early twenties (which IS true of the actors, to the best of my knowledge)–but since finding out she’s nineteen I’m kinda like … you knooooow, maybe I ship Jedistormpilot in a bit more of a V-shape, maybe Finn-in-the-middle is how I ship it. Or at least I def don’t ship Jedipilot on its own. 

Also quite frankly I like to think POE wouldn’t be able to get over that particular age gap without someone else in there. Rey might not think it matters or be like “I am an ADULT wtf I kept my ass alive all alone for HOW LONG!!”, which, sure, she’s nineteen and has no apparent experience with relationships, she can’t know what she doesn’t know, but a thirty-two year-old who DIDN’T think it mattered would frankly gross me out. 

(spoilers: this is another reason I will not ship the Reylo, idgaf, ten year age gaps is only barely an improvement) 

If they’d met when she was twenty-five and he was thirty-eight, that might be something different, but JESUS, nineteen is just so YOUNG to me. So yeah, idk, I can’t say I don’t still like the OT3, but man, I have gotten a LOT pickier about the WAYS I like it. 

2

Drawn and Quarterly has reissued Gilbert Hernandez’ early-00′s series Grip – with a couple of interesting changes. Our reviewer Etelka Lehoczky has the lowdown:

Remember how it felt when, as a kid, you opened up a fresh-from-the-library book to discover the illustrations weren’t in color? It wasn’t a good feeling. Most of us still have a foot planted firmly in childhood when it comes to the ol’ rainbow. It means that sticking to black-and-white — whether it’s to save money on your independent film or to approximate high-end austerity in an Ikea-furnished apartment — usually entails a sensory sacrifice.

But in the case of the reissue of Gilbert Hernandez’ Grip: The Strange World of Men, a black-and-white palette confers benefits all its own.

See the full review here.

– Petra