The Good, The Bad, and the Awesome

Alright fanatics, before I really begin this post, I have a bit of a public service announcement...Wash the absolute crap out of your fruits and veggies!
There has been a bad strain of bacteria going around, called Listeria, that I think I may have just fought off. It's usually a meat and dairy associated bacteria, but it's finding its way around right now on improperly washed fruits and vegetables. I'm pretty sure I just defeated it, because I ate a prepackaged salad from Walmart on Monday, and have been in utter agony from about that time up until late in the afternoon the following Friday. I bet if my doctor knew about it, he could have given me the antibiotics, but was ignorant and just gave me something for the nausea.
Anyways, if you don't want to be laid out and exploding from everywhere, thoroughly wash all your produce you're bringing home.

Enough about the rabbit food, meat and potatoes. I've been out and seen a trio of films recently, and it's time to render my verdict.

Lucy

This one turned out to be a bit of an intellectual thriller, to be frank. I thought that this would be a relatively easy to follow Scarlett Johansson led sci-fi female ass-kicker. The first 30 minutes of it though more felt like a strangely edited documentary through the history of our understanding of intelligence and the evolution of thought and the human brain. And then...enter Lucy. If you've seen any of the trailers for the movie, you know some baddies have put a new form of drug in her stomach, and intend to use her as some kind of drug mule...which all goes awry when the packaging bursts inside her and begins to leak, jump-starting her powers. What follows is an interpretation of what might happen if one were to suddenly and violently unlock all the dormant parts of our brain...interrupted by intermittent bursts of ass-whoopings.
If you're looking for a nice flashy movie to turn off your brain, and vegetate to for and hour and a half, this isn't for you...you're going to need to do a little bit of thinking to follow along with this one. I'm not harping on this, I actually really enjoyed it, the requisite of a little mental give and take to keep the plot moving. This is one of those flicks that might require a second visit to completely wrap your head around, and a second visit I wouldn't at all mind paying.
Lucy - 8 out of 10

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Let me preface this by saying that I went into this movie with significantly lowered expectations...like, I went ahead and took my bar and put it on the floor. I still loathed this movie.  I had heard that the original Chris Evans version of Captain America was pretty bad, lowered my expectations accordingly, and ended up kind of enjoying the movie having done so. This new ninja turtles is absolute rubbish. If you loved the ninja turtles as a kid, they have taken everything and completely corrupted it. I had to pay this movie the ultimate disrespect by walking out in the middle of it (I say the middle, it was probably right at the climax, regardless, I was done). Even though I'm not going to give any spoilers, it doesn't matter...they reveal the entire plot line right at the beginning. What I will tell you is that they have perverted the entire origin story of the turtles (MINOR SPOILERS) into some intentional lab experiment, and have turned April O'Neal into some kind of deific spiritual protector (/MINOR SPOILERS). Oh, and as you could have guessed, Megan Fox's acting was absolutely horrid. Will Arnett was no redeeming factor, his performance was good, but he was far from able to save it. Splinter was bad...no other way to say it, just bad. And the Shredder, there was no mystique to him, he was just some poorly developed baddy that didn't get a lot of screen time. The turtles themselves may have been the best part, and I still want to pick them apart. Johnny Knoxville, to his credit, did an amazing job voicing Leonardo. But, he has such a distinctive voice, all I could ever here was the Jackass member talking at us. Michelangelo constantly felt like a stoner. Donatello was the über nerd that was only given one real chance to be a badass, and that lasted all of about 20 seconds. Raphael is supposed to be dark and rebellious and broody, but Jesus, you almost thought that he was the black sheep, the shamed brother by how dejected he constantly acted.
I would love to sack all the blame for this atrocity on Michael Bay, as I've built up his pedestal so much, but he is not the sole contributor to this tragedy. Nickelodeon seems largely responsible for the revamp of the origin story, and the progression of the turtles into their teenage years. I'm so let down by the network, this is what they've become: destroying from my childhood that which I loved. I'm done, time to put this to bed.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) - 1 out of 10

Guardians of the Galaxy

Thank God that turtle movie wasn't the last one I saw over the weekend. I was able to exit this week with a bad taste in my mouth, but then came Guardians of the Galaxy...and it saved my week. There's no two ways around it, this movie was fantastic. Once again Marvel Studios, this time in the hands of Director James Gunn, has put together a big ensemble cast  movie, and fit everyone together correctly. The casting could not have been more perfect. Chris Pratt was fierce and funny, all at the appropriate times. Zoë Saldana was sexy, strong, independent, and driven. Dave Bautista continues the trend of pro wrestlers/fighters showing us that they can bring much more to the table than just a big set of muscles, but acting chops to boot. Bradley Cooper brought Rocket Raccoon to life, and in fact made me love a character that many months ago I swore I would hate. Even Vin Diesel was able to pack loads of variance of tone, empathy, and emotion into the one line that Groot was forced to repeat. His last utterance in the film...So. Many. Feels. Won't spoil it for you, but I'm sure you'll see it and get it. The secondary roles were really strong too, I really wish Michael Rooker had more screen time as Yondu. Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser was perfectly dark and unfeeling, and Karen Gillan's Nebula... beautifully oozing with crazy daddy issues. Well casted, and well executed, but there was something else that held the entire movie together, and as an audio guy I am so glad to be able to say this...the music was the gravity that pulled everything together. Given embodiment in the form of Peter Quill's tape deck, and his "Awesome Mix" cassette, the playlist of hits from the 80's both serve as Quill's link to his home and past, as well give small plot points, comic relief, transition, and points of celebration throughout the film. The music is its' own character, and a crucial member of the cast. Guardians of the Galaxy is a good laugh, a fantastic voyage, and delicious eye candy for all to love.
Guardians of the Galaxy - 10 out of 10

Alright friends, family, and followers...it's time for me to retreat back behind the veil of the interwebz. I bid you farewell and adieu. Until next time.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

Thank You For Smoking (2006), another great ensemble cast movie.

Thank You For Smoking (2006), another great ensemble cast movie.

Destruction Porn

How's it going friends and followers? Sorry if you were looking for a post last week and I let you down. I've got no energy when I get home in the afternoon, and what energy I do have goes to the fur baby.

It's taken me a while to define my interactions with this puppy, as he is my roommate's and I'm not actually his master. But I'm all he's got for most afternoon, as my roommate gets mostly close-shifts at his job, so I have some mastership over him. This is what I've come up with...This puppy is like a Pokémon that's been traded to me from another trainer, and I don't have the badges yet to control him. And...he has really crappy attacks. Puppy, use your Leer attack on that cat...immediately hides behind me. Puppy, there's a wasp in the casa, use your Fury Swipes...plays with it, it gets away. Puppy, theres a cute girl walking the neighborhood, use your Charm attack...hey, that kinda works!

That, and the weird crap that's been going on at work...I don't really wanna get into it now, I just want to escape, into a good movie or something. Hey, this feels like a good time for a transition.

So, I've seen a couple of movies recently. Godzilla is a little old to talk about right now, but Transformers 4 is still topical, so let's render a verdict on that.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Oh...kay. So, several years after Optimus, Sentinel, and Megatron destroy Chicago in a battle over the transport of Cybertron to our planet, we find ourselves in a world where all Transformers are being hunted down and eliminated. The truces are over.
Any and all Autobots and Decepticons left have gone into hiding. I guess this was done so the could finally release Shia LaBeouf and Tyrese from their contracts with Michael Bay. Our protagonists are replaced with a garage inventor (Mark Wahlberg), his extremely hot and engineering smart daughter (Nicola Peltz), and her Aussie rally racing boyfriend (Jack Reynor). Marky Mark is supposed to be playing a died in the wool Texas boy, but he maintains his ever-present Boston accent. Wahlberg is like Sean Connery in that respect...he'll never do another accent (you remember Connery in "The Hunt for Red October"...yea, very convincing Russian submarine captain with that Scottish drawl).
I'm not going to reveal any plot points that aren't revealed in the marketing for the film, but let's talk about this movie poster that I posted above: Optimus Prime riding a huge dinosaur shaped Transformer. I thought as many of my friends did, that this was going to be an introduction of the "Beast Wars" bots back into the franchise. Nope, it's the Dinobots introduced in the original 1980's show. They were designed as primally strong but intellectually limited back in the show, but were simply described as legendary warriors in the movie. Anyways, once Optimus "tames" the Dinobots and mounts one (pictured above), I lost all sense of the semblance of plot. Actually, I felt like all plot was abandoned in the last film, "Dark of the Moon", and this is just a continuance of this...destruction porn.
Dark of the Moon made an attempt, which I felt wasn't present here. I feel like someone handed Michael Bay a script for Age of Extinction and he was just like, "Psh, nah, let's just blow 70% of the budget on explosions." The other 30%? It probably went to Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer, and Stanley Tucci. Thank God for Stanley Tucci by the way...he was the only redeeming factor of this movie.
Alright...I've said my piece, and expressed my disdain for the film.
Transformers: Age of Extinction - 3 out of 10

If I could briefly continue my hatathon on Michael Bay, I saw my first theatrical trailer for the new Ninja Turtles movie while waiting for Transformers to start...

The first thing that occurs to me while watching this, is that the voice acting feels so horribly wrong, especially given what I remember from the original live action movies and the 90's cartoon. Why does Mikey sound like...well, a cholo? And the leader of the 4 brothers, what should be the voice of reason and wisdom...Leonardo...actually being voiced by Johnny Knoxville. Oh Jesus Christ. And William Fichtner as the Shredder. I'm sorry, Fichtner is a great actor, but the Shredder needs to be Japanese and have a martial arts background. Combined with Megan Fox as April, and all the weird crap adorning the turtles themselves...and how about the general monstrous look of the turtles?
[Sigh] I won't lie, I shed a few tears seeing this. I feel like it's destroying my childhood memory of the turtles.
Never forget...

Bay has his heart set on destroying my sense of nostalgia. Our only hope then may lie in the future, and this has been a pretty good summer so far for the box office. Here are the next 3 films I'm looking forward to seeing soon.

Earth to Echo - I know that A) It's only rated PG and most likely geared towards a much younger crowd...and more importantly, B) It is a Relativity Media production, and they haven't had a box office hit since...ever. Seriously, as defined by any movie that earns $100 million or more at the box office, they've never had one, never.
Still, it looks interesting. Thinking I might go and check it out this weekend.

Lucy - The smallest synopsis you could give it is...Scarlett Johansson kicks a lot of ass. Sold. The director is really good at doing the the femme fatale style too, so you know you'll be wanting it up until the second she rips your eyes out (I don't know if that actually happens, so don't take my word on it). Morgan Freeman doesn't hurt the chances of this movie destroying the box office. I'm all in.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Yea, I didn't think I'd want to see this one. I might have even wrote in my last blog how much it's going to suck. I'm coming around though, even for Rocket Raccoon. It looks like there are a lot of good personalities coming together here, including Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper)...kind of seems like Face (A-Team), just really small and furry and with a constant bad attitude. Zoë Saldana as Gamora, what an awesome choice. Marvel is just on top of it's game right now, especially with the success of Cap'n 'Murica 2. 

Alright kids, I'm gonna call it quits. I'll try and get back to you next week, but we'll see what kind of time I get. Till then amigos.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.