Month: January 2018

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Year: 1991
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron and William Wisher

RYAN’S REVIEW

12/3/17

Sometimes this journey through our DVD collection thoroughly surprises me. Sometimes I go into something with a certain impression and find that I was entirely wrong to begin with. I sat down to this movie whole heartedly expecting to like it more than its predecessor. While I do love this movie, and I do think it is one of the greatest sequels ever made, I find myself really having enjoyed the first film more. The action is better in this one but there is a tonal shift that I am not crazy about. It’s not as hardcore as the first film and has a lighter, almost comical, tone that doesn’t sit right when watching them back to back.

I really loved Schwarzenegger as the terminator in the first film. The first time around he was a cold blooded killer who didn’t say much but didn’t have to. This movie is a full blown Schwarzenegger love fest with a terminator that doesn’t kill and asks far too many questions. Granted things were much different for Schwarzenegger in 1991 when he had more power, and an image to protect. I always liked Schwarzenegger better in the 80s when he was a bit more rough around the edges. Once the 90’s rolled around he became the musclebound funny guy with a lot less violence to his performances. He grew more famous, but I think the product suffered a bit and after watching this I just don’t think this T-800 compares to the one we saw in the first one. He simply talks too much in this movie.

Robert Patrick on the other hand fills the void of villain nicely. I don’t understand why Robert Patrick wasn’t utilized anymore than he was as a villain over the years because he was great in this movie. James Cameron handpicked him after seeing him in Die Hard 2 but it seems no one else saw what Cameron did as his career lagged through the 90s before finding his niche on television in recent years. As the T-1000 he’s as ruthless and unstoppable as Schwarzenegger should have been.

1/23/18

I’ve now let this review sit for over a month and I still haven’t found the right words to finish it up. I think I was just flabbergasted by my lack of enthusiasm after watching it. This is such an important film and such a fixture in my household growing up that it just can’t be right. However watching the first film and this in succession left me thinking this one really wasn’t all that good.

That isn’t the case of course, this is a timeless classic and I love the movie. I just feel like the first one was much better and I can’t get past that realization.

I can’t close this out because my tone is all wrong and I can’t get it back. There aren’t enough words in the world to convey quite how influential this movie was in the household I grew up in. Lines like “he’ll live” and “I know now why you cry” were dropped on a regular basis and even to this day I hear those lines coming from my brother. Not only that but I’m pretty sure my brother has some sort of neurological disorder fixated on this movie. No matter where we are or what we are doing he is humming, whistling, tapping, or just making general noise to the beat of this movie’s score.

It’s also my brother holding me up on this one because I know he is going to read this and find my impression to be nothing short of blasphemous. The expectations are simply too high and my thoughts don’t live up to them.

This is a groundbreaking movie for special effects and action, but I think it lacks the edge that the first film had. The first film is darker and that is simply what I prefer in this franchise. I don’t care how likable Schwarzenegger needed to be to protect and enhance his own product. I thought he was better as the quiet and ruthless killer. In truth it makes little sense for him to be in this movie at all. Why would they send the same model Terminator that was sent to kill Sarah Connor anyway?

This was and is a vehicle for Schwarzenegger and wanting to be the good guy was natural whether it makes any sense or not. It’s one of the things I have always admired about Schwarzenegger, throughout his entire career he has not been a man to say no to, be it as a movie star, television star, or even Governor. It’s an incredible life the man has lived and one day it will make an exciting story. Doesn’t matter if his smiling Terminator was a poor substitute for his killer Terminator or not.

Despite my opinions posted here I do think this is one of the best sequels ever made and it was a great continuation of the franchise. It easily is the primary reason the franchise has never been able to be put to rest properly. Everybody wants to get this glory back but no matter what they do they simply aren’t James Cameron and they can’t get it done.

Leave this franchise alone people, and um I’m speaking to you Mr. Schwarzenegger. Every new entry only tarnishes the legacy of something great. So to bring my rambling to an end I’ll simply say that of course this movie is worth your time and if you haven’t seen it there is something wrong with you.

There is so much more to discuss but I’m spent, I’ve sat on this one long enough. Maybe I’ll come back to it in time and discuss the badass Linda Hamilton or the snarky and street smart Edward Furlong. In the meantime feel free to share your own thoughts, because this one did not go at all as I expected.

NEXT MOVIE: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

As expected my brother had some thought about the lackluster review I wrote for one of his most beloved movies. He made several good points so I thought I’d share them with everyone. Without any further adieu, here they are:

NICK’S THOUGHTS

Just a few issues I had with your review.  I have to get to work so not a lot of time here.

First of all every proper savior must have the initials JC.  Humanity – Jesus Christ.  Terminator – John Connor.  Rome – Julius Ceaser.  Pinocchio – Jiminy Cricket.  Madden – John Campbell.  And even cinema with James Cameron.  Failing to mention this fails to educate your legion of readers.

Second the warning of AI.  While Cameron isn’t the first to mention this he does drive the point home.  We are within decades of not being the smartest kids on the block.  I was just listening to a lecture by Sam Harris the other day where he says and I quote “I’m not saying we’re going to invent Skynet here, but we have to stop and steer this thing in a direction we want.  We tell this thing that we don’t want any more spam and it decides to create an army of terminators to wipe out humanity because that’s one potential way to stop spam.”

The information dump.  The scene where they’re driving through the desert and Arnold spills the entire back story within 2 minutes that has as much story as the whole movie combined and nicely ties it all together.  I love these.  See Donald Sutherland in JFK, Sam Neil in Event Horizon, Morpheus in the Matrix and the Architect in the Matrix Reloaded.

The scene in the park where the nuke goes off while she’s shaking the fence.  Absolutely terrifying to 10 year Nick like nothing else he’d seen to that point.

While the scene from the first movie where Arnold goes into the fuzz station and handles his business is one of the greatest examples of badassdom ever, the 2nd movie offers up a more than healthy buffet of badassness to feast on.

Yes there is some comedy in this one that is hard to reconcile, however I offer up the Asian guy that gets caught in the crossfire at the mall as a proof its worth it.  Hilarious.

And yes of course the soundtrack.  Nothing musically has ever been so catchy.  Nothing.

I’m sure I could go on but that’s what I got with 5 minutes.

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Potential Return of The Office

Going all the way back to the mid 2000s Amber and I have been avid fans of The Office. Watching every new episode all the way up till the ending in 2013. We have since binged the entire series multiple times on Netflix. It is literally our go to when there is nothing on and we find that we are still laughing in nearly every episode.

So when I recently heard that there was a possible comeback for the show we were both very interested. I read that the show is looking to return with a mix of old and new characters. I am intrigued, but I do have a few thoughts about this possible comeback.

First, I don’t think I can take the show seriously without the presence of Dwight. The show ended with Dwight finally becoming Regional Manager and I don’t think it would be practical for any continuation without him in that role. The article I read said that they were looking for someone who could fill the shoes of Steve Carell but I think that would be a horrible mistake. Avid fans like us know, Dwight would never leave Dunder Mifflin, and I think he is already the character they are looking for. It’s not like Rainn Wilson has anything else going for him so he would be perfect as one of the returning characters.

Obviously Jim and Pam are out and I don’t think either of those characters should be involved. It’s blasphemous to say so but I never liked the two of them as a couple. They were terrific as the friends who were actually in love but once they actually got together I thought they lacked the chemistry to be a believable couple. Jim was great and I loved his shenanigans with Dwight but his character moved on to bigger and better things and it simply wouldn’t make sense to bring him back.

Other characters who moved on at the end of the season include Darryl (Athlead), Andy(Cornell), Oscar(running for office), Stanley(retired), Creed(in hiding from the law), Toby(fired by Dwight) and Kevin(opened a bar after being fired). I didn’t mention Ryan or Kelly because they were gone long before the show ended and I don’t see a return from either as practical.

That leaves Angela, Erin, Phyllis, Meredith, Pete, and Clark. I actually really liked the new additions in later seasons of Pete and Clark so I would like them to return. It’s hard to imagine Ellie Kemper coming back but Erin became one of my favorite characters and I really hope she does. I hope the door isn’t closed for an Oscar return, maybe his running for office didn’t pan out and he returned to his old job. I’d also really like Kevin to be the barkeep that makes regular appearances at happy hour.

I don’t know what is in store for any new rendition of the show but I know quite a few people like Amber and I who continue to watch the show on a regular basis. If anything I would assume that because it’s streaming on Netflix that the show is actually much more popular now than it ever was while airing weekly. Just last week I found myself at a resort in Cabo San Lucas and walked around wearing a Dunder Mifflin t-shirt that got a lot more attention than I expected.

I would really be open to a continuation of the show as many shows are currently seeing some sort of revival and finding success. If they don’t pick up in some sort of fashion where they left off though I would be really disappointed. Dwight will be the indicator about whether or not I give any new version a chance. I think the show should really get back to the basics. When it was its strongest was in the first three seasons before they started upping the ante for more laughs with weirder and weirder plot lines.

It should be just like Seinfeld, a show about nothing that takes place in an office with characters that peak our interest and keep us laughing.  That’s exactly what it was in the first three seasons and that’s where it should pick up. With Dwight as the zany boss that drives everyone nuts and some fresh faces to go along with some of our beloved older ones.

What do you think about a potential return of the series? Would you like to see Dwight still in charge or should they go with a new Michaelesque character? Which characters would you like to see return? Let us know with a comment or a message.

 

The Dark Tower

Year: 2017
Directed By: Nikolaj Arcel
Written By: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, and Nikolaj Arcel (so many writers…a wonder the script was a blur right?) Based on the The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’m one of those dedicated readers who climbed the tower all the way to the top and saw what was through the doorway of fate for Roland of Gilead. So I knew better than to expect too much from this movie. I mean for starters it seems a little baffling for several thousand pages to be condensed into an hour and a half movie. Beyond that there is just no way this story was ever going to translate to the screen the way we wanted it to. Considering all of that from the beginning puts this film in an interesting perspective. So when I received this movie as a Christmas present I was delighted to add it to the collection.

I love Idris Elba, I mean who doesn’t think Stringer Bell is the shit right? He’s a cool guy and I think he looks really good on paper but in this movie he seems like he doesn’t really know what to do with the character. In this movie he delivers one of the worst lines I have ever heard. Shortly after Jake discovers his mother has been killed the two find themselves sitting on a dock and Roland looks to Jake and says “I will kill him” or something to that effect. It’s a poorly written and poorly delivered line that just doesn’t hit the spot. I don’t think Idris Elba ever bothered to read the books and only went by the convoluted and regularly rewritten script. He has several moments in this one that make it worth it, but overall I just don’t think his heart was in it. I did think he looked cool as the gunslinger and I didn’t mind the race bending.

Matthew McConaughey on the other hand was simply overplaying his part. I do get the feeling that McConaughey read the books and got really invested into the part but I think he was over doing it nonetheless.  There are better ways to convey this type of bad guy and I don’t think McConaughey pulled it off at all. He’s too super powered as a magician that likes to make people stop breathing with the oh so subtle phrase of “Stop breathing.” Walter Paddock, Walter O Dim, The Man in Black are all incarnations of Randall Flagg and McConaughey had nothing on Jamey Sheridan. Yes, I’m comparing McConaughey to the television adaptation of The Stand and determining he sucked at this part.

I did think that Tom Taylor was fantastic in the part of Jake and probably gave the strongest performance among this film of giants. It’s sad that in a film with two such well known leads that the best performance is giving by the kid with barely any acting credits to his name. I don’t know much about this kid but looking over his IMDB page shows he came from television and I hope the future is bright for him. This movie certainly isn’t going to get his foot in the door to bigger parts but I think he showed a lot of promise in the role.

What I do like about this movie is that I feel like it is full on Stephen King. I am a big fan of King and noticed many easter eggs referencing the universe he has created in this writing. Off the top of my head I remember references to Cujo, It, and the Shining among others. There are probably tons more that I either didn’t notice or forgot to mention. I love Stephen King and the interesting ways his books manage to tie all together. I can’t claim to be a mega reader who has read all of his books but I have read many and more than most.

With the way Stephen King sells books it’s understandable why filmmakers would want to develop any of his works into featured films but I’m at a loss on what they were thinking when it came to this series. There are just so many problems in adapting it. First of all there are seven books in the series, eight if you count Wind Through the Keyhole, which is a lot for any film to take on. Where do you even start? You can’t really start with The Gunslinger because that book is barely readable much less adaptable. Had King not been so persistent this series would have never got off the ground. The second book, The Drawing of Three, is far and away superior to the first book in every way but it is so out there that I couldn’t imagine how someone would adapt it. When you go on from there it only gets weirder with a talking train, a really long flashback, then all hell breaks loose with worlds colliding. It just doesn’t translate into a film and they were never going to get it right in a short film at that.

What I don’t understand is how they approached this. If you aren’t franchise building with a property like this I don’t know what the point is and they obviously didn’t build this film for sequels. Killing off the main antagonist in the first film for example leaves little to build on and where are all the other characters besides Roland and Jake? If they were going to bring this story to the big screen they needed Eddie Dean at the very least, and I for one really would have liked to see Oy. The Dark Tower series is a rich and fantastic story but it’s really really weird and it just doesn’t make sense to adapt it with one film. You’re only going to disappoint people like me and you certainly aren’t going to make new fans with a movie that makes little sense to those who didn’t read the story.

I watched a YouTube video recently where the commentator listed this as one of the worst films of the year, and I can’t really say she was wrong. I found things that I liked about it but I was being generously optimistic in doing so. I liked the references to King’s other work and some of the action was satisfying enough. In the action I liked that they came up with all those nifty reloading tricks instead of having Roland twirl his gun like a gunslinger in a western. I always find it silly for people to twirl and shoot at targets in western movies. These shenanigans just seem unnecessary and foolish. A real badass doesn’t need to show off with tricks. Roland isn’t showing off his skill in this movie we simply see it through the action of him doing it.

If you made that long and arduous journey to the top of the tower like I did I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on the film. I can’t say I loved this movie by any means but I honestly can’t say I hated it either. I found enough I enjoyed to add it to the collection but my bias is well noted here. I came into it with low enough expectations to avoid utter disappointment and found things worth wild. If you’re willing to do that then I think this movie might be worth your time. If you are unfamiliar with The Dark Tower or Stephen King then don’t even bother because it definitely isn’t worth your time.