09th Jan2015

West Week Ever – 1/9/15

by Will

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Welcome to 2015! I hope, by now, you’ve all had a chance to read West YEAR Ever. If not, you can do it now. I’ll wait. Good? Cool. So, I had a stomach virus for most of last week, so I spent my time on the couch, watching DVR and Redbox. So, that brings us a movie-heavy WWE this week.

obvious child

I’ve been a fan of Jenny Slate ever since she accidentally said “Fucking” during a live SNL broadcast. So, I’ve especially loved whenever she popped up on shows like Parks & Rec and Married. When I heard about Obvious Child, I knew I’d never see it in theaters, but would pick it up on Redbox – which is exactly what I did. Plainly put, it’s an unlikely love story centered around an abortion. Slate’s character ends up pregnant from a one night stand, and immediately decides to have an abortion. The movie follows her as she shares her decision with the people around her, while also getting to know the father of the child. I highly recommend it, and one of the bonus features is the original Obvious Child short film from 2009, so it’s interesting to see how a 30 minute short was fleshed out into a feature-length film.

edge of tomorrow

Edge Of Tomorrow/Live. Die. Repeat. really wasn’t what I’d call “my type” of movie, which is why it surprised me that I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. Tom Cruise plays a communications officer who finds himself on the front lines of a war against alien invaders. Due to ingesting the blood of one of the aliens, he finds that every time he’s killed, the day resets to right before he’s placed in his unit. Cruise may be crazier than a shithouse rat, but he’s really hard to dislike. He’s great in the role, and Emily Blunt is a surprising action hero. If the talks of her becoming Captain Marvel are serious, I’m certainly on board, as they could do a lot worse. The thing I found funny about the movie is that the invasion seemed like a European problem. Sure, the invaders would probably eventually make it to America, but part of me was like, “Why are we in this war again?”

zach-braff-main

Wish I Was Here is an interesting little film. Did you see Garden State? If yes, then you’ve basically seen Wish I Was Here. Zach Braff only seems to know how to write one type of movie. They’re not exactly “coming of age” tales, but it’d be more appropriate to call them “failing into adulthood” movies. They focus on that unrest that precedes quarterlife/midlife crises, and that feeling of “There’s got to be something more”. This movie was somewhat controversial because Braff sought out Kickstarter to get financing for the film. A lot of people felt that Kickstarter is for the up and coming creator, and not an established writer/director like Braff. At its core, the movie is about Braff as he tries to get some meaning out of life as his father dies from cancer. Yeah, it’s bit of a downer, though it does have its bright moments. As much as it was fan service, my favorite scene was probably the Guy Love reunion of Braff and Donald Faison. There are several outtakes on the disc of just this scene, which shows that those guys still have great chemistry all these years since Scrubs.

burt

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was actually a decent movie. Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi play a magician team whose act grows stale once a new, radical street magician (Jim Carrey) hits the scene. That’s pretty much it. Olivia Wilde plays their assistant. There aren’t any twists or turns, and it’s a pretty straight-forward riches-to-rags-to-riches story.

gallery_819fe_NON-STOP UK Quad Final_x410

Non-Stop, or as I like to call it “Taken To The Skies”. Seriously, one day, when you find that 4-movie Liam Neeson collection in Target, this is the movie that’ll be in the #4 slot, along with the other 3 Taken movies. He’s basically playing the same guy, only now he’s on a plane. The interesting thing about this movie is that the cast is wasted on the material. You’ve got Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o and Lady Mary from Downton Abbey.  Apparently, it was filmed in 2012, but didn’t come out until last year, so they were just waiting for the supporting cast  to have a bit more heat on them before releasing it. At its core, it’s a message about how “safety” in the post-9/11 world is just an illusion, but it’s a pretty clunky delivery method for that message.

skeleton twins

The Skeleton Twins was not what I expected at all. If you told me that Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader were doing a movie together, I would’ve told you it would be a guaranteed laugh riot. And I would’ve been wrong. God, this was a dark movie. It basically begins and ends with a suicide attempt, so that should let you know what you’re getting into. Hader goes through a breakup with his boyfriend, so after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, he goes to stay with his sister (Wiig), who’s struggling with issues of her own. The movie does have some funny moments, like the “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” singalong, but it’s a dramedy with full emphasis on the drama.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. I don’t hold any of the TMNT movies in that high of regard, so it pretty much held its own with the rest of them. That said, I did have some issues with the cultural misappropriation. In the past, the turtles were just teenagers, but something about them this go-round made them seem more like minority teenagers. They were either Black or Puerto Rican, but there was some ethnic stuff in there that hadn’t been a component of turtles past. Look at the bandanas, which hang more like du-rags, or the sagging pants on Mikey. Something about that just kinda bothered me. Also, as dumb as Splinter’s origin seemed in the original movie (kung-fu rat who mutated), it seemed even dumber in this version (mutated rat who teaches himself martial arts from a book he found in the sewer). I also didn’t really buy Megan Fox as April. I feel like she really tried her best, bless her heart, but that wasn’t good enough. I get that it’s a movie for kids, but I feel like even a smart kid could pick out the plot holes in the movie. For example, why does Sacks have a ton of deadly chemicals in the spire of his building BEFORE he even knows there’s a cure out there in the form of the mutagen. After all, he thought the mutagen was lost, so why would he create this doomsday device without the antidote?

Man-of-Steel_01

Man of Steel is certainly a movie. A joyless hunk of a movie. I’ve never been much of a Superman fan, but it’s amazing to contrast this with the Christopher Reeve movies. He brought such wonder to the role. You wanted to be Superman. I don’t wanna be Henry Cavill’s Superman. That dude’s just built and sad. Who do you think gets the FEMA money first? Metropolis or Smallville? Those were the kinds of questions I was asking myself during the fights. And, seeing as how the Snyder/Nolan DC films take themselves so seriously, are we still supposed to believe that humans are dumb enough to be fooled by a pair of glasses? I get that these movies are about suspension of disbelief, but that’s not how this was filmed. This seemed to want to be a realistic take of “What would happen if we found an alien amongst us?” I thought that the movie was going to give up the identity of Clark Kent, and I felt that was a bold direction in which to take the character. This Superman would just be Superman all the time. Then, they went and made him a reporter at the end, which is just an insult to the intelligence of everyone involved.

MillionWays

A Million Ways to Die In The West was much better than I’d been led to believe. I’m pretty much a Seth MacFarlane disciple, so he can do very little wrong as far as I’m concerned. I’m still willing to call him out when there’s a misstep (like this year’s Christmas episode of Family Guy), but I’m typically a booster of everything that he does. The movie bombed in theaters, so I figured it had to be bad if his other fans didn’t support it. That wasn’t the case, though. I think the idea of a comedic western is just polarizing to a lot of people. In some circles, Blazing Saddles is the gold standard of that genre, and can’t be touched. I’m gonna say something that might be blasphemous to some, but I never really found Blazing Saddles all that funny. Sorry, but I didn’t. I’m not a fan of the west (ironic, I know), so I can understand others not jumping at the chance to watch this movie. Having seen it, however, I LOVED it.

What else happened this week? Oh yeah, someone went into my car and stole some stuff that I was planning to donate. I can’t say they “broke” in, as I had left it unlocked, but I was in my mom’s driveway, so I figured it was safe. I got back in the car several hours later, and noticed the donation bag gone. And I think they stole my GPS (I’m not sure, and it was almost obsolete anyway). In any case, I hope they’re happy with their dictionary of real estate terms and some Harley Davidson puzzles.

ant-man-movie-logo

The was an Ant-Man teaser released this week. It was kinda meh. If you want a good scene-by-scene takedown, check out this post from my pals over at The Robot’s Pajamas.

galavant

I’ve been looking forward to Galavant ever since I wrote my ABC fall preview post. Now that it has actually aired, I’m not quite sure where I stand with it. I finally watched the two-episode premiere the other night, and while I enjoyed it, I have to agree with some critics that the pacing somewhat hurts it. Whose idea was it to make this a 30-minute show? And to air it in one-hour blocks? Lately, networks have embraced the “burn-off” technique of airing shows (NBC with Parks & Rec, for example), but it really is to the detriment of the show itself. It’s almost like a vote of no confidence, and it’s the network saying “We paid for this, so we might as well air it.” I was a musical theatre kid, so I love the musical aspect of the show. Still, I found myself unable to fully pay attention to everything going on. Knowing it’s only a 4-week “event” is good because it shows that it will actually have an ending, but it almost makes me want to wait and watch it all once it’s over. It just doesn’t feel like the kind of thing I’ll watch in real-time, and I feel no obligation to try to “save” it since the season’s already been shot. It’d be great if it could get a second season, but I never had high expectations for the show. I was excited for it, but I knew it’d be a long shot. If it doesn’t do well, ABC can just spin it as “Hey, it was just a special event, and was never meant to be a regular series.”

I’m probably the last person to know about this, but I found it hilarious. My pal Keith showed it to me on New Years, and made me promise to mention it this week. In any case, I’m really impressed by all the artistry that went into making this. I can’t really say much more about it, so just watch:

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– USA canceled Covert Affairs after 5 seasons

-John Travolta was cast as Robert Shapiro in FX’s OJ biopic American Crime Story

-Marvel’s Daredevil series will debut on Netflix on 4/10/15

-It was announced that the X-Men spinoff Gambit will be released on 10/7/16 – giving us 3 X-Men movies in one year.

-Neil deGrasse Tyson is getting his own weekly talk show, called Star Talk, on Nat Geo. Yay.

Bob’s Burgers was renewed for season 6

agent carter

The week belonged to Agent Carter. Spinning off of the successful Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter follows SSR Agent Peggy Carter as she battles nefarious foes in post-WWII America. While she could’ve gone down in the annals of movie history as simply “Captain America’s girlfriend”, Agent Carter found a way to make her a strong character in her own right. Every review I read gushed over how it was this bold step for women. I don’t know if I’d go that far. It was better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it’s got that going for it. Personally, I don’t like the Agent Carter character. She’s kind of a bitch, without a sympathetic side. Sure, she’s doing the whole “People who get close to me get hurt” thing, but there’s really no evidence of that so far (well, except for her dead roommate). Still, the episode did rather well, and it accomplished its goal of keeping the audience excited about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, for all of that, Agent Carter had the West Week Ever.