Summer Movies 2017

Summer Movies

Last weekend Wonder Woman was released in theatres and it’s amazing.  Seriously, you have to go see it if you haven’t.  My wife, who isn’t a comic or superhero fan at all (except Batman.  She has a thing for Batman, oddly enough) loved Wonder Woman.  I plan on taking my son in the next week or so as well.  Go see it.  You’ll be rather impressed.

As we are into the second week of June, I started looking at what was coming out for the rest of this summer and planning on what I was seeing next.  But first, here’s what I have seen thus far these last couple of weeks:

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2 – Its fun! I liked it a lot, likely wont live up to the hype of the first one and I’m ok with that.  Its an impossible task to surpass the unexpected surprise of the first movie.

Alien: Covenant – Stay the fuck away.  Wait until it drops on Netflix. Seriously.

Wonder Woman – See above.  And then go see it.

And here are the movies that I want to see in theatres this summer:

June 9: The Mummy – I’m not overly hyped to see this movie but if a friend called and asked (and maybe bought the ticket), I would go.

June 23: Transformers: The Last Knight – Honestly, the only reason I would go is because you almost have to see it in theatres, it’ll be so big and loud.  I highly doubt it’ll be amazing, but it seems to follow the same logic (or illogical) as the Fast and Furious movies.

June 28: Baby Driver – Edgar Wright looks like he’s hit it out of the park.  I get a very early Quentin Tarantino-vibe off these trailers.

June 30: Despicable Me 3 – I have kids.  I’m going to be stuck going.

July 7: Spider-Man: Homecoming – I can’t wait to see this movie.  Seriously…after 5 movies, it looks like Sony finally got Peter Parker right.  Well, with the help of Marvel, of course.

July 14: The War for the Planet of the Apes – Yes!  YES!  Take my money!!!  This looks amazing.

July 21: Dunkirk – Thus far, the trailers haven’t really hit a home run for me, but so far Christopher Nolan hasn’t done wrong by me so I’m in.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – I just re-watched The Fifth Element and it didn’t really hold up for me, but it was still enjoyable. The visuals look amazing but, if I don’t get to see it, I wouldn’t be heart broken.

August 18: The Hitman’s Bodyguard – This just looks…fun!  At the end of a summer with huge blockbusters, I like having a plain old fun movie. And this will be it.

Summer Movies 2017

I know there are a lot of other movies within these months, like Atomic Blonde, The Dark Tower that are coming out.  But honestly, I don’t know if I would go to see those in the theatre. Shit, as I type this, I think I do want to see The Dark Tower.  So maybe I will.  Who knows.

So what movies are you going to be watching this summer?  Any sleeper movies I should be aware of?  Whatever you end up watching, I hope it was worth the money you spent.  Otherwise, that a kick in the junk.  Much like Alien: Covenant. Fuck….

 

 

Netflix and….Cough?

I’m alive! Or is this some weird Matrix like trickery?  No, i’m alive.  From April 14th to this past Monday, May 8th I’ve been fighting this weird cold-virus-disease thing.  This was worse than a man-cold, trust me. In fact, I couldn’t go see a doctor due to my poor, weakened state (women all roll eyes at this) so I had a doctor come visit me.  He told me that I may have the start of pneumonia.

So the good doc put me on meds with the hopes of fighting it off.  And since you’re here reading these very words, its safe to say that I survived.  That said, don’t you hate it when you tell people what the doctor has diagnosed you with and they just rip you to shreds?  This actually happened to me while I was dropping my kids off at school one morning, before heading home to bed:

Person:  Hey, how are you?

Me:  Ugh, Sick.  The doc thinks I may have the start of pneumonia if these meds don’t work..

Person:  Trust me, you don’t have pneumonia.  have you ever had it before? No? I have. You don’t have pneumonia.  There are two kinds of pneumonia, viral and bacterial.  If you have viral you would be in the hospital.  I was.  Its horrible. You don’t have that…

Me:  Oh, yeah I don’t think…

Person:  …or there’s bacterial pneumonia and if you had that, you wouldn’t be walking around so I don’t think you have that.  I’ve had that.  You don’t that.  Maybe you just have a bad cough.

Me: Yeah, maybe.  Ok, well, thanks.  See you tomorrow.

Person: Yup, see ya.

Its those times that I wish I had a massive cough and just did away with conventional etiquette and coughed in their face and gave them whatever ailment I had.  But alas, I refrained and went home to bed.  While sick, I watched a fair amount of TV.  It was funny, usually when you’re sick, you sleep all day.  I couldn’t.  I just could not get any sleep.  So I spent my time watching Netflix. Lots and lots of Netflix.  I took some screenshots and X’d out the ones that were either a) watched when I wasn’t sick or b) watched by my kids.  I think you’ll be able to discern which follows under which category.

sick-netflix-1.jpg

sick-netflix-2.jpg

Ok so listen, apologies for the ridiculous pics.  Maybe in my head the execution was better.  But regardless, this is what I watched, in order:

Five Came Back (all episodes); Lone Survivor; Silicon Cowboys; Dave Chappelle (first special); De Plama; Star Trek Beyond; Mechanic: Resurrection: Love (all of season 2); West Coast Customs (all of season 2…ugh); Entourage Movie; Suits (all of season 5); The Fear of 13; Better Call Saul (all of season 2); Captain America: The First Avenger; The Fifth Element;  Bill Nye Saves The World (only first 5 episodes); Interstellar; Ascension (episode 2).

Phew.  That’s a lot of Netflix.  Here’s where I realized I needed to be concerned. I’m not a car guy.  So why the hell was I watching West Coast Customs?  And why did I watch all 16 episodes?!?  I don’t deny that the guys are talented and the cars looked kinda cool, but how did I spend 7-hours and 20-minutes on this show???  I have no answers.  Frankly, I’m afraid of what the answer could be.  So I will accept what happened and move on.

The rest of the lot that I watched…some good.  I like Suits. I liked Star Trek. I quite enjoy Better Call Saul.  But then you get The Mechanic: Resurrection and that’s a pant load of a movie. The documentary Silicon Cowboys is not about fake boobs – as an FYI – and its an ok doc.  But The Fear of 13 is far more superior and I would recommend watching that.  Or De Palma, especially if you’re a fan of cinema.

The reality is this: despite watching some questionable content, thank the stars that we have Netflix. Because in the days before Netflix, you would be stuck with ridiculous talk shows, courtroom shows (Peoples Court, Judge Judy) and infomercials.

So, if anything, Netflix has saved us from the ridiculous and mundane. Now, if it can only save us from conversations with know-it-all asshats…

 

Power Rangers.

Power Rangers LogoMy son is 8 and discovered Power Rangers on Netflix a few years ago and fell in love with it. He watched almost every episode of the series that are on Netlflix, except – strangely enough – the original series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (MMPR).  I tried to get him to watch it but he thought it was weird looking.

Huh? Compared to the Dino Thunder series? And what the hell is the Mystic Force series?  What is happening??  But I digress…

When the MMPR dropped on TV audiences in 1993, I was working at Rogers Video (Canada’s sorta-answer to Blockbuster) and vividly remember the phenomenon that was the Power Rangers, exploding onto the lexicon.  The video store carried baseball cards of the characters and posters, selling them to kids and adults alike.  The show was so weird, but it was also weirdly entertaining because, anyone like me who grew up in the 80’s, immediately thought of Voltron.

And we derided MMPR as being a piece of shit Voltron ripoff and yet we all watched it because, ironically, it was a live-action Voltron and it was geek-tastic!  Nerds…we’re never happy.

I remember going to the theatre in 1995 to see the movie but soon realized that the show had most definitely jumped the shark, for me at least, and I was done.  I never thought about the Power Rangers again until, some 18 years later when my son started to watch all the shows on Netflix. I watched a few with him but soon found myself wishing for death by any means…a bullet, asphyxiation, blunt force trauma.  I didn’t care, I just couldn’t handle this stupidity that the later series of Power Rangers had become.

Then last year I heard that a new movie was coming out.  Ugh.  But then I head it was a reboot and as much as I think that reboots are overdone and uncalled for most times (hello, thrice-rebooted in 13 years Spider-Man!), I had to agree that a reboot of the Power Rangers was needed, especially as there are 20-something versions of Power Rangers.  No shit…check it out.

I wasn’t overly hopeful that this reboot would be any good.  I mean, I really thought it was going to be a crapfest and I was dreading the inevitable grovelling of my son to take him to see it.  But then something weird happened – he still begged and grovelled, mind you – I actually enjoyed it.  And I mean, I really enjoyed it.  Holy shit.

Power RangersI know the film has gotten mixed reviews and there are some legitimate complaints about the movie taking too long for any real action to happen but you know what?  I don’t care.  I didn’t care about that one bit.  The movie clocks in at just over two hours and it flew by.  And as I sit and write this, I still cannot believe how much I enjoyed this film.  But then I remember the reasons why – the messages that are strung throughout are really, really empowering and smart.

One of the characters is gay, but shes not playing up every stereotype you can think of.  Instead, she describes what its like to be the “different” member of her family; a perfect family that all fit into a certain mold and she doesn’t.  She refuses to conform to her parents’ ideals and she feels like an outcast but knows that she needs to be who she is – to be true to herself.

Another character is autistic.  In fact, this is spoken about within the first 10 minutes of the movie when he tells another character that he’s on the spectrum and then describes that his brain sees and understands things slightly differently; however, there isn’t anything wrong with him but he asks and expects that people will understand and be patient with him.

Both of these characters become two of our 5-member teamed heroes and it showed that anyone, no matter their race, gender, sexuality or differences could be a hero.  And then on top of that?  They cant work as a team and become the heroes, the Power Rangers, until they truly understand what friendship is, that acceptance is not needed but required.

Honestly, I will outright admit that I am not sure if these messages hit home to me because I am a father vs. a non-parent.  Would I still have enjoyed the movie if I didn’t view it through the eyes of my son and think of what the narrative is saying to him?  I don’t know.  I really don’t.  But what I do know is that his legs were shaking the last 30 minutes out of sheer excitement (and not, like I had thought, because he had to take a leak).

I really enjoyed Power Rangers. I know that its not for everyone and maybe I am a small minority. But it was fun and above that, it had great messages for kids.  And I think that in today’s world of online bullying and undeserved anger and emotional outbursts…I think a good moral message, while kicking Rita Repulsa’s ass, is more than ok.

 

The Wild West.

tombstone-bannerI was born in 1976 and yet I am a fan of a time period about 100 years before I escaped my mother’s body. I don’t remember the first Western movie I ever saw. I have vague memories of seeing those old John Wayne movies that ran on our local PBS station from time-to-time.  I think my dad enjoyed westerns.  I know he was a fan of Zorro and the Lone Ranger and we would watch those old movies or serials.

I do remember that feeling of being kinda bored with the Western movies from the 50’s in that they made very little sense to me and the outfits were weird and had lots of tassels. But I did like the shootouts (regardless of cheesy production) and horse chases. I grew up in the 80’s when playing Cowboys & Indians was still ok to do and say.

But the real first Western movie that I got excited for was Young Guns. Now, don’t come at me with historical inaccuracies and what not. I don’t care for that argument and, while you’re likely correct, I don’t care. I loved that movie.  I remember wanting to see it in the theatres when it came out and being told that I wouldn’t be able to as it was rated R.  And when it came out in 1988, I was only 12.

young-gunsI remember walking into my local Video 99 store and seeing it on the shelf, months later.  And I needed it. I needed to see that movie and I grabbed it and a couple others, hoping that the clerk wouldn’t stop my rental due to the age restriction.  Which was silly because they never stopped me from renting any movie. Fuck I loved the 80’s…no one gave two shits.  I went home and I remember putting that movie in and watching it and falling in love with it instantly.  I then told my mom that I had the movie and she watched it, not because she liked Westerns but because she likely had nothing better to do.  And then the next day I took it to my dad’s and we watched it and he liked it but thought it played too much to the Brat Pack era of movies. Whatever, dad.  I’d take Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips and Emilio Estevez as Billy The Kid over John Wayne any day of the week.

I enjoyed the sequel, so aptly titled, Young Guns 2 but more because it was a Western and not so much for the actual plot.  I watched Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns and The Man With No Name trilogy. When Unforgiven came out in 1992 I had to once again wait for it to drop on VHS but ate that one up, although it was much slower than I had wanted. I did re-watch Unforgiven about two months ago and while its a good Western, its still slow and plodding.

Tombstone dropped in 1993 and wow. WOW.  What a movie.  And again, historical inaccuracies aside, I loved Tombstone.  What Val Kilmer brought to that movie as Doc Holliday was just amazing.  “I’m your Huckleberry, Johnny Ringo”.  Damn.

Recent Western’s haven’t failed to disappoint either, like 3:10 to Yuma or “modern” westerns like No Country for Old Men and, most recently, Hell or High Water.

I always thought that if I had the ability to time travel, like Doctor Who, I’d jump into my TARDIS and visit the Wild West. Of course, I would bring myself a bunch pf penicillin and maybe a bullet proof vest just to be safe, but it would be the one time period I would jump at the chance to check out.  I got envious of the visitors to Westworld because I wanted to that idea to be real!

I don’t know what it is about Westerns and why I like them so much, but I do.  From the great movies mentioned above to the arguably crappy ones like Back to the Future 3, I just really enjoy a good Western movie. Of course, I’ve never ridden a horse before and quite enjoy central heating, air conditioning and, you know, electricity.

the-westThere’s a new documentary series on Netflix The West, which is produced by Robert Redford that I recommend. I’ve watched the first 5 episodes but they’re good and much more historically accurate than, say, Young Guns.

But if I got a chance to travel in time to the time of Deadwood?  Yeah, I’d suit up in a heartbeat. Except, without the tassels.

Suicide Squad. What’s It Worth? 

img_6612This movie is an example of when the marketing for a movie is far better than the actual product. The lead up to Suicide Squad was unreal. I couldn’t wait to see it. The trailers made it look so damn awesome.
And then the movie hit in August (2016) and…it was ok. I mean, it wasn’t a big pile of shit. But it wasn’t the awesome spectacle that the trailers made it out to be.

I’ve stared it before, I’m a DC comics fan. I want these movies to work. I want them to be awesome and fun and looked at with the same love as Marvel movies are. But so far, DC movies are a distant second to Marvel.

Suicide Squad was released in December on home video/digital download. The price for the Blu Ray/DVD combo (extended cut) was $30 Canadian and then settled down to about $25 CAD. That’s way too much for Suicide Squad. Sorry, but that’s the truth. As a DC fan, I want to own this movie but not for $25.

Imagine my surprise when I was shopping at Costco (Canada) on Saturday and found it, on sale, for $14.97. Now this?  This is a price I can get behind. And I know some people would disagree and say that $15 is too high a price for Suicide Squad. But I plunked down the $15 gladly and look forward to watching it again.

Of course, part of me is nervous it’s gonna be worse than I remember.

Sigh.

Lethal Weapon

lethal_weapon1Last week I wrote about a number of movies that were bouncing around inside my head that I needed to watch (I’m a Movie Junkie. It’s True) and last Friday night I watched Lethal Weapon.  Again.  For some uncountable time…maybe 50-something times.  Or more.  who knows.

Regardless, I watched it and I loved every minute of it.  I love the Lethal Weapon movies.  In fact, all four of them are just really, really good movies.   Its hard to find a movie where all the sequels hold up.  And while they’re not as good as the original, I think a case can be made that Lethal Weapon 2 is right on par or just under.  3 and 4 were more comedic and yes still a lot of fun action involved.

Every time I think of Lethal Weapon 2, all I can think about is “Diplomatic Immunity!”.  Fuck I love that line.  I often wonder if, when my kids are able to watch these movies, they will find the pure joy in them that I have or will they think they’re too dated and old and crappy?

There is something so pleasurable about seeing a good, hard action movie that doesn’t involve tonnes of special effects and computer wizardry.  That’s likely why I love the Lethal Weapon series.  You don’t need to be The Matrix all the time.  You don’t need green-screen, computer graphic-based action movies to be good. In fact, most times those movies cost hundreds of millions of dollars and suck ass.  Just give me a good action movie with fun and guns and fighting and you’ve got my money. Take it!

But again, maybe this is all because I grew up in the 80’s and find the quality of these flicks to hold up better than modern action movies. I dunno.  What say you?

Oh, and I know there is now a Lethal Weapon TV series.  I’ve begrudgingly watched the first few episodes and I’ll discuss that later in another post.  Suffice it to say, though…go watch the movies instead.

 

John Wick 2? Yes, Please!

johnwick

John Wick was one of those movies that looked cool in the trailers but then came and went in the theatre before you could get a chance to see it.  I really wanted to watch it when it came out in October 2014 but just never got around to it.  So when it dropped on Blu Ray/DVD in February 2015, I rushed to grab it as a ‘blind buy’.

I love this movie.  I seriously love this movie.  Oh, it has its flaws. The plot is pretty basic.  Guy’s wife dies.  She gives him a dog to remember her by.  He gets robbed of his car and the thieves kill his dog.  The thieves are Russian gangster punks.  The guy who was robbed and lost his dog is a former contract killer who, supposedly, terrifies the Boogey Man.   That’s John Wick.  And John Wick gets his revenge.

Let’s be real – it ain’t rocket science and it’s not winning an Oscar. But fuck, who needs it??  John Wick is pure ruckus!  Its so much fun, it crazy. So when word came that a sequel was being made?  I was beside myself with so much joy and excitement, my wife considered having me committed.  I think its hard to find movies nowadays that are just pure fun; movies that you can watch over and over again and not get bored.  John Wick is that movie.

So John Wick 2 opens today and yes, I have my tickets to see it tonight.  I cant wait.  I am giddy with anticipation.  Also, its a night out from my wife and kids.  All that plus some John Wick ruckus?  I am a king among men tonight.  For 90-minutes, anyway.