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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Collateral Beauty (2016) – Review

In between doing films like Men and Black and Suicide Squad Will Smith tries to do films that allow him stretch as an actor, now sometimes this results in films like The Pursuit of Happyness but then other times we get something like Collateral Beauty, a treacly mess that wouldn’t pass muster as poor community theater.

The central character in Collateral Beauty is advertising executive Howard Inlet (Will Smith) who we first meet as he gives an inspirational speech to his staff, extolling the virtues of advertising *cough* bullshit *cough* and how "Love, Time and Death" are three abstractions that connect every single human being on Earth, “We long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.” Then during a nice camera move we jump ahead three years and learn that his six year old daughter has died and this tragedy has left him unmoored. The loss of a child is certainly one of the worst things that could happen to a person, and normally this would put us completely on the side of the film’s protagonist, but then we see that this very successful advertising agency is in danger of losing its clients because the heart of the company is spending upwards of five days building elaborate domino set-ups.


Fine, his daughter must have loved dominoes, we get it.

Enter his three friends/colleagues Whit Yardshaw (Edward Norton), Claire Wilson (Kate Winslet), and Simon Scott (Michael Peña) who fear that Howard’s behavior will sink the firm, there isn’t even a domino company on their client list, and the one small ray of hope is that another company is offering to buy them out, but unfortunately Howard isn’t even interested in talking about it. This is where my sympathy began to slide as its one thing to grieve, and with losing a daughter he certainly has earned that right, but to let others suffer because of it is not cool. He refuses to even talk to his friends so we don’t learn if he has some valid reason for not selling the company, two years of moping around the office kind of illustrates he doesn’t give a shit about it, and so Howard moves into the “Damn, what a selfish asshole this guy is” territory and my sympathy for him vanished. His “friends” then decide they have to somehow prove he is incompetent so that they can have him declared mentally unfit to run the company and gain control of his voting rights. They hire a private investigator who steals letters that he has mailed (Note: These people seem really cool tampering with mail which is a federal crime) and in these letters they find out that he’s been writing letters addressed to Death, Time and Love.


Get it? Those were his three pillars of advertising.

Unfortunately writing to abstractions could be considered therapeutic and not crazy so when Whit runs into actress Amy (Keira Knightley), and meets her fellow thespians Raffi (Jacob Latimore) and Brigitte (Helen Mirren) he comes up with the brilliant plan to gaslight Howard. Brigitte would appear to Howard as Death, Raffi as Time and Amy as Love and once the private investigator gets video of him arguing with them, and after digitally removing them from the footage so it looks like he is yelling at thin air, they will have the “evidence” to have him removed. My question here is “Are we supposed to like anybody in this movie?” I sympathize with Whit and company for wanting to prevent the company they help build evaporate but this plan is insanely cruel and would most likely land them all in jail if discovered. What's worse is that these actors are apparently doing this to get money to fund their avant-garde play so the danger of them later blackmailing our trio of idiots is very real...if there wasn't more going on of course.


Sure, they look like honest people.

The film tries to make us understand the motivations of this trio of Judas Iscariots by revealing that Whit is in financial reunion after a nasty divorce and lives with his mother who suffers from dementia and his daughter hates him, Simon we learn has terminal cancer, so he needs the money from this sale to give his family financial stability when he's gone, and then there is Claire whose biological clock is ticking. Sure Claire occasional protests to the group, that what they are doing to poor Howard is wrong, but as she never outright stops them she has no moral leg to stand on, only Simon is the least bit sympathetic but Michael Peña’s “I’m *cough* *cough* dying" is so movie of the week lame that it engenders more laughs than tears.


“Have the producers of Ant Man 2 called yet?”

So we have three dubious friends trying to get rich by making another friend believe he is talking to the incarnations of Death, Time and Love so they can declare him nuts, which all seems like the grounds for a suspense-thriller, but if you saw the trailer to this film you know that was clearly not how this movie was marketed. Nowhere in that ad campaign was there any hint that Will Smith was talking to hired actors and not the incarnations of celestial beings themselves, but to discuss this further I’m going to veer into major spoiler territory.

While Claire, Simon and Whit orchestrate this nasty gaslighting business we also have Howard attending a therapy group for parents who have suffered the death of a child, the leader of the group is a beautiful and attractive black woman named Madeleine (Naomie Harris) whose six year old daughter Olivia was lost to cancer. Like 79% of couples who lose a child her marriage ended, but here we have the added bonus of her husband sending her a note wishing that, "They could be strangers once again." Now Howard’s daughter also died at the age of six and whenever Madeleine tries to get him to tell her the name of his daughter he completely shuts down, this is all blatant set-up for the big twist reveal that Madeleine is in fact Howard’s wife and that Olivia was their daughter. I think even M. Night Shyamalan would have been embarrassed by such a lame reveal, but the twists don’t stop there as in the final scene in the movie we get a shot of Amy, Raffi and Brigitte looking down at the reunited Howard and Madeleine and as the movie then makes it clear that Madeleine cannot see them we now know that they were in fact actually incarnations of Death, Time and Love all along and that they tricked Whit and friends to employ them in “helping” Howard.


Later they will visit the set of Touched By an Angel.

This is all utter bullshit as nothing in this film had been introduced to even hint that the actors were actually cosmic beings, and at one point Amy refuses to be involved because she believes what they are doing to Howard is horrible. Does Love really feel that way or is she just "acting" the part of the sensitive actress? The whole actors/incarnations thing is a complete mess and wouldn’t have supported a 30 minute episode of The Twilight Zone let alone a 96 minute movie. The caliber of actors on display here are so monumentally wasted that it is almost a crime against humanity, and forcing Oscar winner Helen Mirren to spout gibberish that would sound overly treacly on a Hallmark Get Well card should at the very least get you kicked out of Hollywood. Collateral Beauty is one of those films that all involved will most likely hope the paying public forgets ever existed. I certainly plan on forgetting I ever watched it.


And that's how they all learned the true meaning of Christmas.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Tick (2017) Season One Review

The superhero comic book character The Tick was the brain child of writer/artist Ben Edlund and it has managed to remain fresh and fun since his birth back in the late 80s; from his adventures in his own comic book to his later animated incarnation for Fox Kids and even later in a live action incarnation starring Patrick Warburton this lovable lunkhead was always finding a new audience, and now Amazon Prime has released their version of The Tick for a new generation. Using the same model Netflix created, releasing an entire season in one go, we get the first season of The Tick that though "complete" it is sadly only six episodes long. The pilot had been released a year ago but now with the full run available we can answer that most important question, "Does it actually work?"  Can this surreal parody of superheroes survive a second live action attempt?

This new series has The Tick’s creator Ben Edlund as one of its producers, as well as Patrick Warburton and David Fury, and Edlund even wrote the first two episodes, but what makes this version of The Tick stand out is that though the show is called The Tick the actual central character is “sidekick” Arthur (Griffin Newman) who as a child witnessed the death of his father when the villainous menace, aptly named The Terror (Jackie Earl Haley), sent the ship belonging to superhero team Flag Five crashing down on the poor hapless dad. Young Arthur was forced to watch his heroes, stricken blind by syphilis, being gunned down by The Terror’s minions, and who now fifteen years later he is a somewhat mentally fragile mess who is obsessed with proving that The Terror is very much still alive.  The world has come to believe that The Terror was killed by the hero Superian (Brendan Hines), this world's version of Superman, when after one fateful fight only The Terror's teeth could be found. One night while investigating what looked to be an illegal arms shipment, which Arthur believed to be connected somehow to The Terror, he runs into The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz) the blue clad avenger of all that is good, and with that Destiny makes its first call.


Though Arthur does try and hang up a lot.

The first couple of episodes dance around the idea that The Tick may just be a figment of Arthur’s unbalanced mind but as we see The Tick off on his own beating of gang members it’s more of a case of Arthur thinking that The Tick is a delusion and not us the viewers believing that to be the case. It does lead to some nice comic moments with the Tick popping up and disappearing at the oddest moments.

The other key character in Arthur’s life is his sister Dot (Valorie Curry) a med student who pays her bills working nights as a paramedic but she is also making extra cash providing medical treatment to the members of the cities underworld, but despite those "occupations" it does seem that Dot’s main job is bailing her brother out of trouble and insuring that he is taking his prescribed meds.  It's when The Tick enters the picture that all bets are off and things go from crazy to worst for poor beleaguered Arthur, and when The Tick gives Arthur the winged super suit he'd obtained after taking down that arms deal the shit really begins to hit the fan.


This is not a costume that instills fear in the hearts of criminals.

Chasing after the suit is the supervillain Ms. Lint (Yara Martinez), ex-henchwoman of The Terror, who has nasty electricity based powers that though quite effective in a fight also create quite a bit of static cling and thus she finds herself often becoming a walking lint brush, thus the name. Arthur is the standard reluctant hero for the most part of this season, he does want to uncover the truth behind The Terror but he also has no desire to don a costume and fight the evil madman himself, that’s what the cops are for, but eventually we will be forced to man up.

Throughout this six episode season Arthur is plagued with henchman trying to kill him, despite his willingness to give back the suit, and The Tick constantly showing up like a cross between an adorable puppy and a boomerang. As each episode is about a half hour long the action and comedy really zips along with Peter Serafinowicz doing a great job as the titular hero, his booming voice is perfect for the goofy-ass monologs that The Tick continuously spouts, and he and Newman really have good onscreen chemistry. Though as good as those two are I must single out Jackie Earl Haley’s performance as The Terror for being so insanely fun and completely engaging that he almost steals the show in those few moments he appears. His brand of off-the-cuff evil is comic gold and I can’t wait to see where they go with this character in the future.


Hats off to the character design department as well.

The world of The Tick is presented rather realistically for this iteration, there are superheroes in this world but their existence is rather down played and treated as something matter of fact, and this show is also seasoned with a good amount of dark humor that could catch the unwary viewer off guard. We are told that that there is a government agency called Aegis that is supposed to be keeping tabs on both superheroes and supervillains but people on both sides of the law consider Aegis to be a useless bureaucratic nightmare. This version of The Tick doesn’t quite have the massive cast of crazy heroes that previous versions have had but so far this season along with the all-powerful Superian, who we see can turn terrible coffee into wonderful pumpkin spiced with a mere blast of his eye lasers, we have the armed vigilante called Overkill (Scott Speiser) who is kind of a cross between Marvel’s The Punisher and DC’s Deathstroke.


His brutal killing of his enemies has The Tick wanting to give him “The Talk.”

With only six episodes making up the first seasons how exactly this show will work in the long run as a series is still up in the air but so far I love the cast and the tone the showrunners have chosen and certainly look forward to season two.  Hopefully the will introduced his battle cry of "SPOON!"

I will now take the time to posit my own theory about The Tick’s origins; in all version of The Tick he seems to have no memory of his life before being The Tick, and indeed he doesn't have much memory of anything before meeting Arthur; head trauma or clinical insanity have both been posited as reasons for this but I think for this show it could be a bit stranger than that. At first Arthur believes The Tick to be a figment of his imagination, with a flashback of young Arthur’s blue night light speaking to him with The Tick’s voice supporting this idea, but once it’s made perfectly clear that others see and interact with The Tick this can’t be the case, so what if somehow Arthur created The Tick?  If you agree with me on that theory, or think I'm totally insane, let me know in the comment section below.

Final Thoughts:

• Dot balances her time as a paramedic/med student/underworld doctor with being a member of a roller derby team. I simply love Dot.
• Arthur’s stepdad (François Chau) has strange interest in people’s feet.
• Overkill’s lair is his also his partner and is called Deathboat voiced by Alan Tudyk.
• We meet talking super dog Onward the only surviving member of Flag Five and whose master was Christian Soldier.
• Arthur’s super suit has an Armenian control system so he basically has the same problem that William Katt had as The Greatest American Hero when it comes to operating it.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Batman and Harley Quinn (2017) – Review

The character of Harley Quinn was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm back 1992 for Batman: The Animated series and over the years her popularity has grown by leaps and bounds, she’s pretty much the reason the Suicide Squad movie even exists, but now we get her starring in her first PG13 outing within the DC’s Animated Universe, and to say this entry was a bit of disappointment would be a vast understatement.

Note: This movie’s cool stylized credit sequence is much in the vein of the classic Pink Panther movies, I guess they were trying to set the tone for to the wackiness ahead, but what follows is often far from wacky and instead is simply crude and lame.

The film’s plot is about as thin and nonsensical as possible and barley takes up much of it's 74 minute running time, what Bruce Timm instead decides to focus on are the road trip antics of Harley Quinn (Melissa Rauch) as she is forced to team-up with Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Nightwing (Loren Lester) to save the world. The movie opens with Poison Ivy (Paget Brewster) and the Floronic Man (Kevin Michael Richardson) breaking into Star Labs to steal files pertaining to a formula created by scientist Alec Holland, who comic book fans will recognize as the man who became the elemental known as Swamp Thing, as they hope to use it to turn all of humanity into plant-people. They believe this is the only way to stop mankind from destroying the planet. Batman figures that the best way to find Ivy and stop her diabolical plot is to locate her old BFF Harley Quinn, and so Nightwing is sent out to track down Joker’s old girlfriend.  After endlessly canvasing the city by just showing random people a picture of Harley (did he learn nothing about being a detective from Batman?) Nightwing discovers that she is now working at a superhero themed restaurant called Superbabes that has a solid Hooter’s objectification of woman vibe to it.


You stay classy, Bruce Timm.

Nightwing follows/stalks Harley back to her digs and soon finds himself in a knock down drag out fight with a very bitter Harley Quinn, and this led to me asking, “When exactly did Harley Quin become a master of hand-to-hand combat?”  Now I don’t have an issue with them turning Harley Quinn into a bit of a badass but to see her actually win a fight with a dude who was trained by friggin Batman is patently ridiculous, and I don’t care that she technically won because she injected him with Joker venom because that fight still lasted way too long for it to be even remotely plausible.  Of course that whole sequence was really just a set-up so we could get to a scene with Nightwing being tied to Harley’s bed, apparently she got all hot and bothered by his superhero cuteness and decides to have sex with him, with a little light bondage being a bonus I guess.


Harley informs Nightwing,“You don’t meet a lot of likely prospects at Superbabes.”

Bruce Timm even brings up the actually real book “Seduction of the Innocent” by American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, which was key in bringing about the comic book censorship/purge in the1950s, as something that Harley had read back in her college days, and because of that she states “I didn’t think you and Batman liked girls” but because she spots Nightwing’s erection she realizes that the author was clearly wrong. It’s at this point one starts to wonder if we are watching a DC produced Batman movie or someone’s fanfiction. Batman eventually shows up, but not before stopping off at Argus where he blackmails one of the agents for information, and then the three of them hit the road to track down Ivy.

Note: Batman actually threatens to out the agent’s sexual fetish if he won't spill government secrets, thus proving that this particular Batman is a complete asshat.

What follows next is not something one expects to find in a Batman movie, and that would be an extended fart joke.  Turns out the food at Superbabes is not the best and Harley really needs to use a restroom, but Batman refuses to pull over so she repeatedly farts in the backseat of the Batmobile. *sigh*


Batman responds, “It’s not so bad…it smells like discipline.”

I love Kevin Conroy, and he is still one of the best of all the incarnations of Batman, but he really should have refused to deliver that line. In fact he should have passed on the part entirely because it pretty much pisses on the legacy he helped create during the shows original run.  Also this movie should not have been called Batman and Harley Quinn as it’s more about Nightwing and Harley with Batman solely there to play the stick-in-the-mud straight man to those two.

In fact Batman is so bad at his job in this movie it boggles the mind; the World’s Greatest Detective resorts to the aforementioned blackmail to get information he needs to track down the villains but when he eventually does encounter the Floronic Man, a guy made of planet matter and who is an exile from an interdimensional world, he fails to pack anything useful in his utility belt to combat him. Instead in both of his encounters with the Floronic Man it’s mostly Batman trying to punch the super villain in the face.  Don't forget this is a man/creature who is mostly plant matter and who has plant controlling powers, not someone you'd assume was particularly vulnerable to a fist to the face. Did he forgot to pack the Bat-Weed-Be-Gone in his utility belt?  Batman deserves to get his ass handed to him here.  To add insult to injury there is a throw away gag at the end of the movie that reveals how our heroes eventually defeat the Floronic Man that is such an insult to Batman that Bruce Timm should have been sent to the corner for a time-out.


Does Batman hope enough punches will take him down via erosion?

To make matters even worse Bruce Timm decided to waste much of the film’s short running time with a useless scene where Harley takes Batman and Nightwing to a bar where costumed henchmen hang out with the hope of finding one of Ivy’s old associates. Not only does Batman and Nightwing's arrival at such an establishment illicit no response, you’d think at least a couple of them would wisely try and slip out the back door, but then we get two full musical numbers for no bloody reason. The scene ends when one of Catwoman’s old crew eventually does pick a fight with Batman and we get a terrible nod to the classic Adam West Batman series.


That’s comedy right there folks, move along nothing to see here.

Batman and Harley Quinn was directed by Sam Liu, whose last two outings were Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and The Killing Joke which were less than memorable, but the fault here I’d say lies squarely on writer Bruce Timm's shoulders as he took a character he so lovingly brought to life in the original Batman: The Animated series and then turned him into a punching bag for a bunch of lame ass jokes. Then as if dragging the Batman legacy through the gutter wasn’t enough we are subjected to a terrible “surprise” cameo from Swamp Thing that is only there as a pointless and awful throwaway gag.


Somewhere out there Berni Wrightson is rolling over in his grave.

Finally I will say that though Big Bang Theory actress Melissa Rauch wasn’t terrible as Harley Quinn I see no reason for casting original voice actors Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester and then not casting Arleen Sorkin as Harley, who I’d say is as responsible for the popularity of the character as Bruce Tim and Paul Dini are, but maybe she read the script and turned them down. Even if that’s not the case I will pretend it is.  This is not the lovable ditzy character we all know and love, who back in the original cartoon did actually team-up with Batman in an episode called Harlequinade.  That episode was brilliant and funny, as most of her appearances in the original show were, but what we got here is a poor excuse for fanfiction that is best forgotten as quickly as possible.


Dig up the original and treat yourself to something great.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Defenders: Season One Review

I don’t want to sound too harsh here but in my opinion Marvel’s The Defenders really should have been called “The Reluctants” as this eight episode season spent way too much time with our heroes bitching and moaning about fighting the bad guys. I know the "reluctant hero" is a standard trope of comic book stories but The Defenders took it too far here as it seemed that everyone, with the possible exception of Iron Fist who had other personal issues of his own, really didn’t want to be heroes. This would be a tough starting point for any superhero show but in this case it’s not just where the show starts but where it goes on for several episodes, and on and on. I’m not saying every superhero team has to be as fun as The Avengers, that could become just as boring, but goddamn does this show need to dial back on the angst a tad.

The series opens with Danny Rand aka Iron Fist (Finn Jones) and his partner Collen Wing (Jessica Henwick) battling a powerful member of the evil organization known as The Hand, this member is later revealed to be the resurrected Elektra (Elodie Yung) but we will get into that later. While spectacularly failing to save one of the order of The Chaste (Note: Danny is really bad at his job) he also lets the villain escape, but at least he does learn from the dying dude that the war will be fought in New York City. So that’s something I guess. I will go on record as not being much of a fan of this interpretation of Iron Fist as I find actor Finn Jones to be fairly terrible in the part and his characterization of Danny Rand seems to consist solely of him whining and feeling guilty about failing "his" people. (Note: I so disliked him that I only managed about three episodes of the Iron Fist series.) The shows depiction of the Iron Fist power is also beyond the pale lame; whenever we see him go into combat he only tries for that awesome power after getting his ass kicked for a while (Note: It's never made clear how long he can use the Iron Fist power or long it takes to recharge it) and no spoilers here but the one time he does engage the power early on in a fight he was a complete moron for doing so. I must say that if your show already has badass martial artist Daredevil on the roster you got to bring more to the game then, “I’m billionaire whose parents were murdered.”


Can he fend off lawsuits from Batman better than he can fight off agents of The Hand?

Next we have Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) who is still reeling from her encounter with Kilgrave aka The Purple Man and has fallen even deeper into the bottle. She refuses to take on cases until after turning down one particular case involving a missing architect she gets a mysterious phone call warning her to stay away from the case.  This of course has the opposite desired effect and soon she is tracking down the missing architect which eventually leads to her crossing paths with Elektra and The Hand. Then we have Luke Cage aka Power Man (Mike Colter) who has just been released from jail after the law firm that Foggy Nelson (Elden Hensen) now works for got him cleared of all charges. Luke’s love interest Claire Temple aka The Night Nurse (Rosario Dawson) would like nothing more than for her man to stay out of trouble but the two barely have time for some nice “I just got out of jail sex” when Detective Misty Night (Simone Missick) shows up to ask Cage to look into the deaths of a bunch of Harlem youths. Finally we have Matt Murdock aka Daredevil (Charlie Cox) who since his break-up with both Foggy and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) has given up his identity as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen to instead focus on doing pro bono cases.


I’m not sure how he pays the rent, but sure why not.

As this season is about the formation of The Defenders these four individuals will cross paths and eventually team-up, which will lead to some damn fine action set-pieces as these guys do know how to kick ass…with the possible exception of Iron Fist who is really a tool that should best be left in the box. We will learn that the architect Jessica was looking for got mixed up with The Hand, the kids in Harlem are dying because The Hand has terrible work ethics when it comes to outsourcing, Danny and Luke Cage will have the standard “Two heroes fight because of a misunderstanding ” cliche and Matt will end up getting involved because he had become Jessica’s lawyer after Foggy is told by his boss (Cary-Anne Moss returns briefly as Hogarth) to keep an eye on her. (I'm guessing Foggy passed the case on to his buddy Matt so that he could maybe pay this month’s rent.) We also get painful scenes of both Foggy and Karen treating Matt’s past vigilante activity as if it were a drug habit and that they are terrified he will have a relapse.


“The first step is admitting you’re not just Batman with radar.”

Now let us talk about this show’s villains. This is the fifth Marvel series from Netflix and we’ve had some pretty amazing villains so far; in the first season of Daredevil we had the amazing Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin and then in season two John Bernthal was fantastic as The Punisher, Jessica Jones gave us the chilling performance by David Tenant as Kilgrave and in Luke Cage we got Mahershala Ali's riveting portrayal as the gangster Cottonmouth (the less said about Diamondback the better), but then we get to Iron Fist and though I’m sure it had a villain I’ve pretty much forgotten what little I saw of that show. Now with The Defenders we finally meet the supreme leader of The Hand who turns out to be an immortal woman by the name of Alexandra.


Hey look, it’s Sigourney Weaver!

Don’t get me wrong I love Ms. Weaver but to finally meet the head of the all powerful mysterious organization The Hand, who have been popping in out of the Marvel TV universe since the beginning, but then to immediately learn that she is dying from multiple organ failure and only has weeks to live is a tad distressing. She never pulls off being a viable threat, listening to classical music and casually referencing that you are hundreds of years old does not make you threatening or even barely interesting, even the show itself seems to have disdain for her as is illustrated by the writers having Elektra step up to be the main big bad.

Next to our heroes arguing about fighting evil the use of Elektra as the key villain was the shows biggest mistake, she wasn’t interesting in season two of Daredevil and now that she is "The Black Sky" she has somehow become even less interesting. And what about the Black Sky? Wasn’t that supposed to the big thing that Stick (Scott Glenn) and his group where trying to prevent The Hand from getting a hold of way back in the first season of Daredevil?  Yet this show almost immediately jettison its importance with The Hand now really needing the “Iron Fist” power to open up the latest McGuffin.


“Sorry Black Sky, your relevance is in another castle.”

I was really looking forward to The Defenders having quite enjoyed Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, and so maybe my expectations were a tad high, but I found the characters I loved in those shows were being totally wasted in this one, and the characters I didn’t like were given too much screen time. They key moment that illustrates how poorly the writers of this show understand the superhero genre is when after our heroes had their first encounter with The Hand, barely escaping with their lives, they seek sanctuary in a Chinese restaurant to figure out what to do next, it's here that we get a moment where Matt Murdock tries to convince the group to not get involved by positing the question, “Imagine if doing something made things worse?" What the fuck kind of question is that? The Hand is going to destroy the city what exactly could they do that would make things worse? I know having conflict among your characters makes for a more interesting story but when we look at say The Avengers we had Captain America not trusting Tony Stark, which made sense for his character and in that situation, while here it’s just lazy and then forgotten almost as fast it was brought up.  The Defenders had so much potential but instead it's a cluttered mess of bickering idiots.


“With great power comes great complaining.”


Final Thoughts:

• Matt Murdock forgets he has super senses and lets Jessica Jones follow him and take pictures of him doing Daredevil ninja moves.
• Jessica Jones is a fantastic character but is given very little to do here and her motivation for not wanting to get involved in a fight with The Hand was lame, “I just want to find my client’s husband.”
• Misty Knight should have been given something to do or else she should have been completely written out.  It seemed like every two minutes she was being told, “We can’t tell you anything for your own good.”
• The police as a whole were depicted as vastly incompetent in this show.
• In the fights between Elektra and Daredevil they seem pretty evenly matched but then we get scenes where she takes on the whole bloody team.  A little consistency with everyone's powers would have been nice.
• Colleen Wing’s story arc of facing off against her former master was a complete waste of screen time. I just didn’t care.
• The threat of The Hand destroying the city never felt credible, this was most likely due to the shows budgetary constraints.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Death Takes a Holiday (1934) – Review

The anthropomorphic personification of Death in cinema is almost as old as the art form itself, whether Death is playing chess with Max Von Sydow in The Seventh Seal or crashing Vincent Prices party in The Masque of the Red Death it has always been a fascinating architype that writers and filmmakers have loved to dabble with. The1924 Italian play La Morte in Vacanza by Alberto Casella is if not the first portrayal of the incarnation of Death in a somewhat sympathetic light it is at least one of the earliest, and then after being successfully adapted into English for Broadway as Death Takes a Holiday in 1929 it made its way to the silver screen in a film directed by Mitchell Leisen and starring the great Fredric March.

The movie opens with Duke Lambert (Guy Standing) and his family and guests driving home after a fun night at the local carnival, but the evening almost takes a nasty turn as a dark shadow seems to be stalking them. The two cars carrying our cast of characters survive this scary encounter, though one of the cars does take out a flower cart, and they arrive safely at Villa Felicitá the stately home of Duke Lambert. While everyone unwinds after their narrow escape with death we learn that the Duke’s son Corrado (Kent Taylor) is hopelessly in love with Grazia (Evelyn Venable), the daughter of Princess Maria (Kathleen Howard), but Grazia herself is reluctant to marry despite everyone thinking this is a perfect match, almost badgeringly so as they tell her, "Oh we think you have been free long enough."


Cause you know, freedom is so overrated.

She tries to explain to the group that though she loves them all that she isn’t quite ready to settle down, “Because life is too…there is a kind of happiness I want to find first, if I can. There is something out there that I must find first. Something I must understand.” Grazia asks to be left alone for bit and goes to sit in the garden, but alone she isn’t and soon the group hear her scream and find her collapsed in the garden. When asked what happened she is unable to explain herself clearly, “There was something cold and terrible. I was sitting by the fountain watching the water. I could hear the music, and then a shadow blew over. That’s what it was, a shadow.” Some think she was startled by a prowler, though no evidence of one can be found when the grounds are searched, but later that night Duke Lambert is approached by the “intruder” and is shocked to learn that he is speaking to Death itself, “I am…how shall I describe it? A sort of vagabond of space. I am the point of contact between eternity and time.”


After he is done here he has to visit Ebenezer Scrooge.

Turns out that Death (Fredric March) wishes to discover why men fear him as they do and plans to spend three days as a mortal to find out. He himself has no way to grasp even the concept of fear, “What could terror mean to me who having nothing to fear?” Seems Death has grown weary of always being misunderstood, “Can you conceive how lonely I am when there is nothing that doesn’t shun me, that doesn’t fade as I come near?” Death wishes to know why men cling to life while fearing him, and to do this he strikes a bargain with Duke Lambert; he will put Death up for the weekend with the added stipulation that none of the household can know of his true nature, “I shall be a mortal, and I must be treated as a mortal in every particular. No one shall show repulsion or fear, on pain of my instant displeasure.” He clearly states that if this happens he will return in his proper form and the results will not be pleasant for anyone. Death decides to take on the mortal form of Prince Sirki, a guest who was expected but who Death informs the Duke that he will not be seen again, “Not in this life.”


Death in the meat suit of Prince Sirki of Vitalba Alexandri.

The Duke tries to prepare his family and friends for the arrival of the Duke by warning them that this guest is no ordinary person and to ignore any of the Prince’s eccentric or strange behaviors, “And above all, you mustn’t be afraid. And no matter what happens you must not shun him, or protest or run…or run.” It’s clear that the Duke is terrified of what Death could do if displeased but that kind of an introduction would seem to cause more angst and suspicion and thus result in the exact opposite of what he’d intended, but lucky for him this group consists of the idle rich and so they’d let almost anything slide as long as the perpetrator was stinking rich, doubly so if he is also of royal blood. This is especially the case with La Contessa di Parma (Katharine Alexander) and American Rhoda Fenton (Gail Patrick), who are hungry for rich husbands and who spend much of the three days in a competition on who can win the Prince’s heart. They unfortunately (or pretty lucky in the long run) don’t stand a chance because Death is clearly smitten with Grazia, but her and her mother were not staying for the weekend so Death must suffer the gold digging efforts of the Contessa and Rhoda.


I’d hate to have Death find me boring.

Throughout the three days, while the two women vie for the Prince’s heart, we learn that a man survived jumping from the Eiffel Tower, that a schoolhouse blaze suffered no casualties, and the guns of two warring factions fail to work. So apparently while Death is in a mortal form he is unable to fulfill his duties, which would really set the world into utter turmoil, but what is odd here is that being dead and being hurt are two different things yet this film treats them as about the same thing; leaping off the Eiffel Tower would result in a person’s body being smashed to bits and the schoolhouse fire should have turned the children into crispy critters whether or not they die of those injuries. In those cases death would be considered a release from pain and suffering, but I guess this movie would be a little too dark if it addressed children in agony without the ability to die.  So instead while Death is on holiday everyone in the world is suddenly invulnerable. I understand the choice here but I think if handled a little differently it could have gone towards showing how Death isn’t a villain but an important part of life.


Instead we learn that Death can’t lose at the gaming tables.

After almost breaking the bank of the local casino he states that he doesn’t understand men spending time in smoky rooms gambling when they could be outside in the fresh air, “It seems to me that men have not discovered the magnificence of this life.” When Baron Cesarea (Henry Travers) asks pointedly to what exactly is the Prince looking for he is informed that, “I came here for a game to play…a game worth playing” and that in the two days he’s been with Duke Lambert and company everything he has seen seems so very futile and empty. The Baron explains that there are only three games, “Money, love and war” but that it really all comes down to the one game, “One never grows tired of love.” The Prince states that he finds this game to be, “The strangest, the saddest, the emptiest of all.”


“One pair of lips will change your mind one day.”

What follows is The Prince trying to explore this game but when he spends too much time analyzing his emotions while experimenting with Rhoda she is put off by his calculated thinking and storms off, but later when the Contessa makes a play for him he informs her that this is impossible, “Because you will take one step toward me and know my secret, and lose courage.” The Contessa pleads with him to “Try me” and when he does she sees the shadows inside him as he wills her to see who he really is. Things do not go well. She screams “I want to live!” and calls for Eric. When a worried group arrive the Duke has to do some fast talking to prevent his son from calling out the Prince, but later the Prince admits to the Duke that he has been “Caught in this web of flesh” and that he cannot think of returning as he is, “To die alone, without living or being loved, and that I will not have!” The theme of gods or immortal beings envying us puny mortals is nothing new but it is really handled beautifully her by Frederic March, you feel the pain and agony of being given a taste of something but then being told to abandon it for all eternity. Lucky for him he once again encounters Grazia, and despite Eric’s efforts, the two fall deeper in love.

There is almost a Romeo and Juliet vibe to this as it looks like they are doomed lovers, “I will hear your footsteps wherever you are,” the Prince tells her, “When our two worlds hold us apart.” With his last hour of humanity quickly slipping by he is sorely tempted to take her when she asks him to, but instead he pleads to her, “Let me hold you once and feel your life. You are the meaning of beauty I must know. Oh Grazia let me hold you, let me feel that last ecstasy and know that I had lived.


Who knew Death was such a romantic?

When the two go off together for a bit it’s not clear exactly what happens between the two of them, as the Hays Code wouldn’t allow audiences to see hanky-panky between unmarried people (even if one of them is technically not quite a person), but I’m betting it was pretty steamy. Things finally come to ahead when the Duke is forced to reveal to the group the Prince’s true identity, which really angers Death who had wish to part with the group as friends, with kindly remembrances, “But now my shadow has come between us.” He reveals to the group that not only has he found love but the pain of losing it, “If I must lose it.” Grazia’s mother pleas for the life of her daughter and he eventually relents but when Grazia joins them she insists that she wants to go with him. He tells her that she can’t go with him, that she doesn’t know who he is, and then the clock strikes midnight and he becomes Death, in all his dark glory, and once again he bids them farewell, “Goodbye my friends. Remember that there is only a moment of shadow between your life and mine. And when I call, come bravely through that shadow and you will only find me your familiar friend.”


Scary but not so grim of a reaper.

Now this is where you’d think the movie would end, Death having sacrificed his own happiness so that the woman he loved could stay and live with her friends and family, but when he says goodbye to Grazia and tells her, “Now you see me as I am"  and then her response shocks them all, “But I’ve always seen you like that. You haven’t changed."   I've seen this movie four times now and this moment still causes me to tear up.

Death: “You have seen me like this?”
Grazia: “Yes, always.”
Death: “Then there is a love which casts out fear, and I have found it! And love is greater than illusion and as strong as death."

If that isn't one of the most romantic endings in movie history I'll eat my hat.  Sure it's dark and has echoes of Persephone’s deal with Hades to live with him in the underworld, minus the kidnapping, but Grazua is clearly a woman who saw deep inside the soul of another and fell in love.  That in this particular case that person in question turned out to be the incarnation of Death is only a minor quibble. This is truly a beautiful film and March’s portrayal of Death is simply wonderful as is Evelyn Venable’s performance here as the lovely Grazia, and though this movie has been remade a couple of times, rather terribly in the case of Meet Joe Black, it’s this original telling that will warm your heart and bring a tear to your eye. I highly recommend Death Takes a Holiday to even the most stoic of hearts.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Triangle (2009) – Review

A masked killer stalking a small group of survivors, as they run through the halls of what appears to be an abandoned ghost ship, may sound like elements to your standard slasher flick, which to be fair it does, but you are in for a big surprise when you sit down to watch writer/director Christopher Smith’s horror/mystery film Triangle because it is far from standard. Now the best way to view a movie like this would be to go in blind, with as little foreknowledge as possible, and if that is the way you’d like to see Triangle than stop reading now and go rent or stream it, but for the sake of this review I will be getting into “some” spoilers but will avoid the big ones.

The movie’s central character is Jess (Melissa George), a waitress and single mother who has come to the veritable breaking point due to the stress of bringing up her autistic son Tommy (Joshua McIvor), and on this sunny Saturday afternoon she plans to go on a sailboat ride with a group of people in the hopes of regaining a bit of her sanity. When she arrives at the dock she seems very frazzled and it's there that good looking Victor (Liam Hemsworth) comments “I don’t think so” when boat owner Greg (Michael Dorman) asks her “Are you okay?” Also part of this nautical outing is married couple Sally (Rachael Carpani) and Downey (Henry Nixon) and their friend Heather (Emma Lung), who they hope to hook up with Greg. Sally seems rather keen to set Greg up with a sensible stable woman and not a waitress with an autistic son, but before there is any chance of romance on the high seas the wind suddenly dies and a nasty storm appears on the horizon.


At this point I would have started my engine and headed home.

Instead of engaging his boat’s engine, and getting the hell out of there, Greg calls into the Coast Guard to get weather information. The radio is full of static and the response from the Coast Guard is cut-off by the voice of a woman crying out, “Please help me, she killed them, they are all dead.” Greg is unable to get anymore from the radio but they soon have more to worry about than cryptic radio messages as soon the storm is upon them in full force, and their yacht is soon capsized by a huge wave. Our cast survive the storm, all that is but poor Heather who we never see again, and they find themselves stranded on the hull of the overturned boat in the middle of the ocean. Things certainly look bleak for our intrepid heroes.  Well that is until they see an ocean liner approaching in the distance and when it draws alongside their capsized boat they quickly clamor aboard, that is after spotting a lone figure up on the ship’s deck that strangely failed to respond to their hails.  It's at this point that things begin to look a lot worse than bleak as their situation starts to turn towards the bizarre and the terrifying. The ship seems strangely abandoned as our group searches up and down the hallways, with not a soul in sight, and though Jess mentions she is suffering from a serious case of déjà vu, insisting that she has been here before, the group decide to ignore her ramblings and follow the standard horror film rule of splitting up so they can be killed off more easily.


It’s not Camp Crystal Lake but I still wouldn’t want to wander around alone on that thing.

Our first real clue that something is decidedly off, well aside from the fact that there are no passengers or crewmembers to be found, was that of Jess discovering her own keys sitting on the floor of one of the ship’s corridors. Sally posits that they may have been dropped by the missing Heather, who somehow could have survived the storm and made it on board, but as this makes no fucking sense this mystery is ignored. Jess spots a figure and Victor rushes off to chase it down, then Jess and Greg decide to continue their search of the ship while Sally and Downey chill out in the ship’s dining room; a room that is strangely set up for a banquet consisting of more fresh food than you’d expect to find on a ghost ship. Jess and Greg checkout one of the staterooms and discover a message written in blood on a bathroom mirror that states, “Go to the theater.”


This is not a ringing endorsement for the arts.

Greg starts to act like a jerk, minimalizing Jess’s fears and feelings, and so she runs off on her own because that is a good idea.  When she arrives back at the dining room she find Sally and Downey missing and all the food now rotted, but before she has a chance to wonder what’s going on Victor enters, all covered in blood, and he tries to kill her.  She fights him off by aggravating a small bloody hole in the back of his head, this ends up killing him, she then flees to the theater where she encounters a freaked out Sally and Downey who are standing over a dead Greg. They tell Jess that Greg said she (Jess) shot him and before Jess has a chance to defend herself against this accusation a figure wearing a burlap mask opens fire from a balcony above. The shooter kills both Sally and Downey and then proceeds to stalk Jess through the ship until they have a showdown on the outside deck where Jess disarms the assailant while screaming, “Who are you?” but all she gets as a response is the masked figure mumbling "You have to kill them, it's the only way to get home" before falling overboard.


This kind of thing would never happen to Jason or Michael Myers.

Unfortunately her nightmare is far from over as barely a moment after the masked killer went overboard Jess hears yelling coming up from the ocean, and when she looks over the side she sees the overturned yacht with Greg, Sally, Downey and herself standing on it. This "new" group board the ocean liner while Jess, the survivor from the first group, becomes the unseen watcher that the original group were tracking. She is the one who dropped the keys for her earlier self to find, and she was the one to encounter Victor and is responsible for his bloody appearance as she accidentally slams his head onto a small wall hook, which is what set him off on his bloody revenge attempt that we saw earlier. Jess flees into the bowels of the ship where she finds a locker full of dozens of duplicates of the shooter's outfit, the shotgun, and numerous copies of a note in her handwriting stating “If they board kill them all.” She also drops her locket down a grate onto a pile of what appear to be dozens of exact duplicates of said locket.  This is what really cements the fact that the loop she is currently stuck in may have been going on for quite some time, but it is when Jess runs into another version of herself that things really start to go crazy.


“You are not me.”

I will go no further with spoilers as this a very dark and twisted in the vein of a good Twilight Zone episode, and I hope I’ve said enough to at least wet your appetite without ruining the experience.  Christopher Smith has constructed a very labyrinthine tale that though it deals with time loops is not really a science fiction story as it fits more into the genre of dark fantasy/horror, which kind of absolves some of the film's inconsistencies in its time loop element as those very same inconsistencies could be elements showing the loops more sinister nature. Triangle is also one of those films that can really benefit from a second viewing in the same vein that The Sixth Sense and The Prestige are just as good on repeated viewings; the movie works just as well when you know where the story is going because this allows you to pick up on things you missed the first time around. Triangle is a very atmospheric piece, and the director really knows how to keep the audience at the edge of their seat here, but without the stellar performance provided by Melissa George it probably wouldn’t be nearly as compelling. I don’t think there has ever been a “Final Girl” as captivating nor as complicated as the one found here and much of that is due to Melissa’s performance. I can’t recommend this film enough.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2016) - Review

If you were to look up the world “Hubris” in the dictionary one should not be surprised to find a picture of director Guy Ritchie and the poster of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword staring back at you. When I heard that this film was to be the first installment of a six picture franchise I thought it had be some kind of April Fool’s Day prank because nobody could be that stupid, but it seems that Warner Brothers were eager to get their hands on some of that fat franchise money that Marvel Studios had been making hand over fist with their cinematic universe. Then to make matters worse they spent a whopping $175 million dollars (that's not counting the millions spent on marketing) to make this film about the legendary king when the last three King Arthur movies didn't earn that much box office combined. Where the studio heads in a cocaine fueled stupor when they made this decision? Guy Ritchie’s last film The Man From U.N.C.L.E. cost $75 million to produce but only managed to bring in $45 million domestically, and yet this is the guy they wanted to start off their proposed billion dollar franchise? I wonder how man execs lost their parking spots over this colossal bomb.


Some spoilers await thee below.

And bomb it did, managing to only make $39 million dollars domestically, even with the foreign markets the studio still ended up losing about $150 million dollars, but what exactly went wrong?

First off was anybody really crying out for a six film epic that dealt with the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? In 2004 Antoine Fuqua’s reimagining of the King Arthur tale only managed to bring in about $52 million domestic and before that we had First Knight with Sean Connery as Arthur which took in a meager $37 million, with both of those movies getting mixed to poor reviews you be hard pressed to believe audiences were clamoring for more. You actually have to journey back to the year 1981 and John Boorman’s Excalibur to find a really good version of this classic tale and even it wasn’t universally praised at the time of its release.  So with Excalibur being the bench mark of what a good King Arthur movie, and that one only taking in $34 million dollars at the box office, you have to be pretty ballsy to spend $150 million on your version.

So Warner Brothers decided to spend an obscene amount of money on a subject matter that had a rather bad track record at the box office, they hired as their lead actor a man who has yet to prove himself as a bankable movie star, then they gave the reins to a director who hasn’t had a certifiable hit in quite some time, and exactly where did all this money go?


A shit load of money was clearly spent ripping off Lord of the Rings.

I myself am a big fan of the Arthurian mythology and John Boorman’s Excalibur, based heavily on Malory's Morte d'Arthur, is a fairly faithful adaptation of the legend (It is about the best take on King Arthur we’ve ever got in my opinion) yet I’ve have no real problem with a filmmaker re-interrupting these ancient stories for new generations, but what I do ask for is that the versions they give us should at least make a little sense and also not suck.


Also maybe avoid ripping off artist Frank Frazetta as well.

In the mid-1980s DC comics released a 12 issue limited series called Camelot 3000 which dealt with the reincarnated Knights of the Round Table as they re-emerge in an overpopulated future world of 3000 A.D. to fight off an alien invasion masterminded by Morgan Le Fay.  That was an excellent graphic novel with an interesting take on the old legends, but Guy Ritchie’s version of King Arthur will have even less bearing on the legend than that science fiction re-imagining.


Note to Hollywood: Make this into a movie.

There really isn’t much of the actual King Arthur legend to be found in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; we get a dude named Arthur but in this version as a child he was apparently but in a small boat to save him from being killed by his evil uncle and his little craft took him down the river to where he was found by employees of a Londinium brothel, think the story of Moses only with more prostitutes, now there is a magic sword stuck in a stone in this version but we are told that Arthur’s evil uncle Vortigern (Jude Law), who staged a palace coupe killing King Uther (Eric Bana) and his wife (Katie McGrath) after gaining dark powers from the local sea witch, needs to kill the rightful heir to the throne before he can use the power of the sword. Which is of course his missing nephew Arthur.  Thus Vortigern has his minion round up every man of age to see if they can pull the sword from the stone so that he can then kill the bastard and achieve ultimate power. If none of this seems even vaguely familiar to you it’s because not a bit of it has anything to do with the legend of King Arthur.


Him drawing Excalibur from the stone is about the only thing they kind of get right.

This film even opens with Uther Pendragon ruling from Camelot when bloody Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table were formed by Arthur not his dad, who in the legend was a bit of a womanizing dick and not the noble lord portrayed here by Eric Bana. I will give the movie credit for putting magic back into the Arthurian legend as I’ve grown tired of “realistic” interruptions of the myth, and even the character of Vortigern though not from the Arthurian legend, he was a 5th century warlord who may or may not have actually existed, made for a pretty compelling villain and Jude Law seemed to have fun playing the part.


Jude Law leaves no scenery un-chewed as Vortigern.

What I can’t stand is that Guy Ritchie gives us a reluctant hero who teams up with a bunch of rebels in the woods to harass the evil king. For one thing Arthur has never been considered a reluctant hero, a flawed king but never reluctant about fighting for the common good, and he certainly didn’t hang out in the woods with a band of misfits to give the usurper a hard time, that’s fucking Robin Hood. It’s one thing to ditch the entire story of King Arthur but then to crib from the story of Moses, Robin Hood and the visual style of Lord of the Rings kind of implies that you don’t actually have anything new or original to say.


I’m not sure which of these guys is supposed to be Little John.

What about Lancelot and Guinevere?  You know, the two others who with Arthur make up the tragic love triangle that destroys Camelot. They are completely missing here and one must assume that they would have eventually shown up in one of the five proposed sequels, but there absence in a story about King Arthur is really unforgivable. Go ahead and leave out Arthur’s evil bastard son Mordred and the sorceress Morgan Le Fay, ditch the whole search for the Holy Grail and I wouldn’t bat an eye, but if you cut out one of the most famous love stories in literature you’ve really fucked up. Also missing is the wizard Merlin, even though he is named checked as the Mage who forged Excalibur (which he didn't) we never get to see him in this movie.  Instead we get a young woman who is simply called The Mage (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) and are told she is an acolyte of Merlin’s. Her job in this film is to be the constant deus ex machina that will save Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) from being killed on multiple occasions, she also has the ability to move her mind into and control animals which I assume she learned from watching Game of Thrones.


She will fight over the title of “Person of Least Charisma” with Charlie Hunnam.

Who exactly are the Mages? In the opening prologue we learn that “For Centuries Man & Mage Lived Side By Side In Peace. Until The Rise Of The Mage Sorcerer Mordred. Turning His Dark Ambitions Against Man.” Is it just me or is the term “Mage Sorcerer” a tad redundant? Also the use of the name Mordred here has nothing to do with the evil little shit from the legend who was sired by Arthur when the king accidentally fucked his half-sister (Doesn’t the original story sound so much more interesting?) but instead Mordred is a generic evil sorcerer who dies pathetically in the opening act when he is unceremoniously killed by King Uther.


Mordred doesn’t even get a single word of dialog.

The film’s basic plot is that Vortigern was jealous of his brother so he convinced Mordred to rebel against humanity, when that fails Vortigern sacrifices his wife to a sea witch to get temporarily turned into Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer so that he can kill Uther.  He then needs to build this “Dark Tower” so that once its completed he will become untouchable some how. Young Arthur escapes and remains a loose thread in Vortigern’s evil plans because he is the rightful heir to the power of Excalibur. While Vortigern builds his tower Arthur is raised in a brothel where he is taught martial arts by an Asian dude named George (Tom Wu) and over time he forms a group of low level criminals to make a bit of cash.


We may not get Merlin in this movie but we do get a martial arts master.

I’m not sure what kind of movie Guy Ritchie was trying to make here but his blend of hyper editing and trademark zippy flashback techniques may have worked fine in films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and even to some extent his first Sherlock Holmes movie, but here they are too jarring and out of place.  The movie is also set to an annoyingly overdone score by composer Daniel Pemberton that seems to want to beat the viewer into submission.  The final crippling blow to the film was in the casting of charisma vacuum Charlie Hunnam as Arthur. He may have been great as the protagonist on television’s Sons of Anarchy but the few times I’ve seen him on the big screen have been less than impressive.  In Pacific Rim almost every scene he had was stolen by the relatively unknown Rinko Kikuchi, and in Crimson Peak his bland boyfriend part is completely forgettable.


This is our Once and Future King? *sigh*

With King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Guy Ritchie tried something new, and I will give him credit for at least putting magic back into the story when others have abandoned it for the sake of realism, but at no point did I find myself invested in any of the characters or what they were trying to achieve. At one point Vortigern needs the "Demon Knight" power again and to get it he must sacrifice someone he loves to the Sea Witch, but with his wife already sacrificed the first time he needed the power he is now forced to kill his daughter. It’s clear that this is supposed to be a powerful scene but as we’ve had almost no screen time with the woman, nor learned anything about her, the film hasn’t earned this moment and so we really don’t care when she gets stabbed by dear ole dad. That is the real key flaw to this film, we are never given a reason to care about any of these characters and when your film is about good versus evil you kind of need the audience to be rooting for the good guys.

Final Thoughts:

• If Vortigern needs Arthur dead to claim Excalibur why not order his soldiers to immediately kill anyone who draws the sword from the stone?
• Vortigern’s soldiers look to be cosplaying medieval Jason Voorhees.
• Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish from Game of Thrones joins Arthur.
• Arthur has to fight Rodents of Unusual Size.
• We have Viking slavers in this film, because?
• The Round Table gag at the end of the movie is ridiculously lame.


It’s a fucking table you bunch of gits!