Life and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
What’s with movies trying to tell us that Space is totally scary!? I LIKE space! That’s where all the Star Trek stuff happens! I mean, between Ridley Scott’s Alien, Gravity from a few years ago, and now THIS movie, it’s like Hollywood has a grudge against NASA or something! This may be the most overt example though considering it’s literally called LIFE which is about the FIRST FORM OF LIFE WE’VE DISCOVERED OUTSIDE OF EARTH (from freaking MARS of all places) is apparently a serial killing jellyfish monster. Anyway, does this latest entry into the horror sci-fi genre turn out to be another classic, or is this yet another uninspired snooze fest trying to grasp onto ideas that have already been done in much better movies? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins IN SPAAAAAAACE on what I believe is supposed to be the International Space Station, but it could just be a unique space station for this movie. The six member crew of this station (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya) receive a package from a probe that was sent to Mars which has some dirt samples for them to analyze, and of course they find a single living cell tucked away inside; confirming once and for all that there is life outside of Earth. Of course, the cell turns out to be PURE EVIL as it grows SUPER fast and eventually turns into some white squid/bat looking thingy which starts to wreak havoc on the crew members and on the integrity of the station itself. Can our fearless astronauts stop this space menace from killing them all and destroying the station? Failing that, can they keep the monster from making it back to Earth and presumably destroying all life on it!? WHY DIDN’T THEY BRING SOME SPACE MARINES ABOARD IN CASE SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED!? Master Chief could have solved this in minute!!
Table 19 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Directed by Jeffrey Blitz
Table what now? Has anyone heard of this movie before like a week ago? Hell, did anyone see a trailer of this or is its target audience people who couldn’t see Beauty and the Beast because it was sold out but made the effort to get out of the damn house anyway so are going to see something else? I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty niche market to go after! Well just because no one has heard of the damn thing doesn’t mean it’s a BAD movie. Hell, Shawshank Redemption was a HUGE flop and now it’s one of the most beloved and overexposed films of all time! Okay, so this probably isn’t gonna be THAT good, but maybe it’ll still manage to be rather enjoyable. Let’s find out!!
The table in question refers to a table at the wedding reception, and the nineteenth one is the LAST table in the hierarchy of wedding guests. While all the important people are at the first few tables and all the REAL guests are in the latter ones, the ones who were invited but weren’t expected to show up were placed at the TABLE OF INFINITE SHAME!! The guest list includes the brides former babysitter (June Squibb) which seems kinda mean spirited, a couple who worked with the one of the dads of the married couple many years ago (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson), a family member who screwed someone out of A LOT of money (Stephen Merchant), and… some teenager (Tony Revolori). Honestly, I don’t remember why he’s even there in the first place, but his shtick is that he’s horny all the time so maybe he’s on hand to fill a cliché quota. ANYWAY! There’s still one more person at the table. The best friend of the bride (Anna Kendrick)!? SAY WHAT!? She’s ALSO the former Maid of Honor and is personally responsible for the seating arrangements!? As it turns out, there was a major falling out, particularly in regards to the brother of the bride (Wyatt Russel), and while she ultimately decided to still go, she’s stuck with the losers and rejects who probably resent being considered losers and rejects. Will shenanigans inevitably ensue now that a Molotov cocktail of resentment has landed at the table with people who pretty much have nothing to lose here? Just what exactly happened between our heroine of sorts and the happy couple’s family? WHAT ARE THEY GONNA DO TO THE WEDDING CAKE!?
So, 2017 has so far been a good year for stories about grizzled heroes past their prime who decide to grow out their facial hair and must undergo one deadly, final journey that will hopefully allow them to do something right after a long string of failures; a journey that turns out to be far more violent than anything that they’ve done before.
Power Rangers and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Dean Israelite
Look, I’ve been dreading this one since they released the first image of them in their power suits, and everything since then just seemed to confirm my suspicions about what this movie was going to be. On top of that, while I do have a soft spot for some Power Rangers/Super Sentai stuff (I have the movie with Ivan Ooze on VHS and I’m a pretty big fan of Tensou Sentai Goseiger), my knowledge of the Mighty Morphin iteration of this franchise is pretty limited. It’s an odd place to be in when going into this movie as I’m someone who still needs to be taught pretty much everything about the movie, but I’m also gonna be more aware than most when it comes to how much this diverts from what the core of Power Rangers is supposed to be. Now I don’t often go into movies READY to hate them, but there have been occasions where I went in knowing that there’s a pretty good chance I’ll end up hating it, and this is one of those times. Now that’s not to say I wasn’t going to give this movie credit if it DID end up being great… it was just that my expectations were very low from the outset. Did this movie ultimately prove me wrong and ended up being a worthwhile reinterpretation of the original series as well as a great continuation of the Power Rangers brand, or was this movie everything I dreaded it to be and so much worse? Let’s find out!!
As I’m sure we all know, the story of Power Rangers is about five teenagers with attitude who are chosen by the Great and Powerful Zordon (Bryan Cranston) to fight alien monsters who threaten their small town of Angel Grove and by extension planet Earth. This sticks pretty close to that, though replace teenagers with attitudes to teenagers with angst, tragedies, mean streaks, and felonies, and replace chosen with begrudgingly accept because unlike the previous version, the teens find Zordon rather than the other way around. COINCIDENTALLY ON THE SAME DAY THAT THE TEENS FIND ZORDON, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) is fished out the ocean instead of being uncorked from some canister on the moon, and proceeds to run amuck in Angel Grove while slowly gaining her powers back. Now the new Power Rangers which are comprised of Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Trini, and Zack (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, and Ludi Lin) must come together as a team and fend off the bad guy before she finds the McGuffin of Ultimate Destiny (I think they called it a Zeo Crystal) and… blows up the Earth I guess? Can these teens who aren’t even friends to begin with find a way to overcome their differences and beat the crap out of the space witch? Will they learn to control their individual animal robot vehicles in time to fend off Rita’s gold monster thingy and eventually come together to form one giant robot? WHY IS EVERYTHING I JUST DESCRIBED SO DISAPPOINTINGLY REALIZED IN THIS MOVIE!?
Riverdale and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros Television Distribution and The CW
Episode directed by Allison Anders
We’re back with another episode of The Incredible Jughead! Just like Bruce Banner, our nominal hero of this show (Archie certainly isn’t the star of this) can’t stay in one place for too long as trouble follows wherever he goes. That, and his last house got torn down, so we should probably get that resolved before too long as well as the whole POLLY WENT MISSING thing from last week. Does this episode manage to tie up some of the loose ends that have been left dangling as we enter the second half of the season, or will this show double down on making things as needlessly complicated as possible (*cough* Lodge Industries *cough*)? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with… honestly, what looks to be a better show but I guess I’m supposed to find this hilariously dated instead. It’s a dream that Jughead is having where he looks a bit closer to his comic counterparts and they’re playing Lambs in Clover by Jack Strachey; a song that you probably don’t know by name but you’ll recognize immediately when you look it up. First, Ren and Stimpy were doing this kind of twisted domesticity set to Lambs in Clover over two decades ago and were doing it WAY better, so I’d hardly call this edgy or even that subversive. Second, while I will grant them that Jughead has basically looked the same since the 1940s, it’s not like the series was hermetically sealed in the golden age of Boomer Americana! The series grew over the decades and kept up with the times, and while there were places where it took longer than it should to catch up to society, taking a shot like this feels like mocking Batman for wearing purple gloves which he hasn’t worn since before World War 2. Granted, I know more about the comics than most people, but then I always thought the public perception of the series was late sixties youth culture; not mid-fifties suburban paradise!!
Beauty and the Beast and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios
Directed by Bill Condon
So Maleficent was good, as were the two Alice in Wonderland movies (WHAT!? THEY ARE!!), but what exactly is Disney’s end goal in trying to burn through their entire catalog in search of reigniting nostalgic fans to spend money on these stories once again? Sure, Mulan seems like a good idea, but they’ve got plans for live action adaptations of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and even a Dumbo movie that’s been in development for almost three years now! Before all that though, we’ve got this remake of the classic 1991 film which seems to be the most… shall we say FAITHFUL, of the bunch so far as the trailers seem to imply that it’s basically shot for shot. Then again, they did bring Bill Condon on hand to direct who’s work includes Dream Girls and Chicago, as well as the ONE decent Twilight movie (*cough* Breaking Dawn Part 2 *cough*), so maybe there’s a bit more inspiration and creative flourish on hand than what we’ve been lead to believe from the marketing. Is this the yet another success for the Mouse House and the new direction they’re taking with their non-Marvel and Non-Star Wars films, or is this just a lazy cash grab for a studio that can do much better? Let’s find out!!
The movie is… well it’s Beauty and the Beast. Do you NEED me to tell you what it’s about? Ugh… fine. There once was a prince (Dan Stevens) who was total jerk. He rejected a beggar woman at his door which seems to be standard protocol in the Aristocracy, but this beggar was the one in ten thousand that you do not mess with as she turns out to be an Enchantress who puts a curse on the prince, his castle, and all of his servants. The prince, who is now a furry, has to find true love before time runs out which is determined by a magic rose slowly dying in his room or else the curse will be permanent and he will have to live as his fursona for all time! Now I wouldn’t think that would be TOO bad of an outcome (buff as all hell, no summer heat because the castle is in a perpetual winter, you don’t have to pay your servants anymore), but I guess it’ll do for a redemption arc. More important than that though is the story of Belle (Emma Watson) herself who is a bright young woman from the local village that can’t wait to live a life of excitement, adventure, and proper bathing habits; none of which she can find as long as she stays there. The village thinks she’s strange because she can read and stuff which makes her a bit of an outcast, but that doesn’t avert the local hottie Gaston (Luke Evans) from pursuing her with all his M’lady charms; backed up of course by his friend LeFou (Josh Gad) who’s just happy to be spending time with the big lug the same way Smithers finds working with Mr. Burns to be so rewarding! When disaster strikes and Belle’s father (Kevin Kline) is locked up by The Beast for trespassing on his land, Belle agrees to take his place and stay in the castle… FOREVER!! Admittedly not the BEST way to start a relationship, but maybe he can learn to stop acting like an uncouth animal from her example and maybe she can finally experience some of that adventure and wonder that has eluded her for so long. I mean… she’s STILL a prisoner, but it is at least a really nice prison! Will The Beast learn his lesson about giving poor people food (or was it finding love?) before it’s too late? What will Belle do now that she’s trapped in a magical castle with talking furniture, and will she find a way to escape her captor? Does anyone else think Ron Perlman should have been cast in this? Thirty years later, and he can STILL pull it off!
Kong: Skull Island and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Truth be told I’ve always been more of a Godzilla fan, and while the recent Shin Godzilla was pretty good (if a bit disjointed and tonally uneven) the American film with Gareth Edwards wasn’t so much. Now Warner Bros is trying to create yet another Expanded Cinematic Universe (because the DCCU is working out SO well for them) and this is in some ways a sequel… or prequel I guess… to the 2014 Godzilla film. Does this manage to make up for the mistakes of that film while setting the groundwork for future monster movies to come, or are we much better off watching that 1962 film where the two of them duked it out and threw rocks at each other? Admittedly that wouldn’t be the WORST thing to do as it’s still pretty freaking awesome, but let’s find out!!
The movie starts by introducing us to Bill Randa (John Goodman) who is the head of Monarch; an organization that is hell bent on proving the existence of monsters. They’ve hit a rough patch, mostly due to them never finding any monsters, but 1973 just might be the year they turn things around! They have some satellite images of a heretofore unknown island which may or may not contain resources that the government can use in their fight against the Russians, and Monarch wants to tag along with another organization already headed there for some basic geological research. Actually, all Bill wants to do is find monsters, but the US government gives them the go ahead to tag along and to also bring a military squadron who JUST SO HAPPEN to be one day away from heading back home from Vietnam. Of course the commander Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) is thrilled at the opportunity as he doesn’t seem too interested in leaving the war, but those under his command which includes Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell) are less so. Still, they follow the orders that are given to them and they are even joined by former British SAS bad ass James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) who’s supposed to be an expert tracker and photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who somehow manages to be a part of this expedition as well. The crew packs up, they fly to the mysterious island that is colorfully known as Skull Island, and IMMEDIATLEY get their asses kicked by Kong who mows down all their helicopters; leaving all of the name actors but only a handful of army and scientist extras. Along their travels, they run into even MORE monsters, find a World War 2 fighter pilot who’s been trapped on the island for almost two decades (John C Reilly), and ultimately have to come up with a way to escape the island before their one chance of rescue passes them by. Can the remaining survivors make it off the island before they become monster food, or will some of them refuse to leave until Kong is dead? Just what is Kong fighting on this island when he’s not swatting down humans? Most importantly, WHEN ARE WE GONNA GET A NEW GODZILLA VS KING KONG MOVIE!?
You know we can’t end a discussion about a convention without talking about all the stuff I got! It’s TRADITIONAL to brag about your level of disposable income to whoever cares to listen! I made sure to save up a lot more money this year, not only to have more flexibility in what I could do during the trip, but also to make this part of my convention recap all the more interesting. No need to thank me! Just enjoy reading about it below!!
Now I ended up focusing most of my budget on grab bags this year rather than anything specific (other than some overpriced snacks), but I did grab these LEGO knock-offs at a pretty damn good price which is hard to find at a convention. Plus, the poster was free!
Once again, my love for Sailor Jupiter shines through as she is the only Sailor Scout I picked up. The remaining scouts were there to purchase, but even at a decent price of twelve dollars each, I didn’t want to spend THAT much for a complete set. The Hatsune Miku one was all the way at fifteen dollars, but then everything with her does come at a premium price. It’s like an anime law or something. I did pick up some manga too, and it just so happened that the same vendor was there with the same deal as last year (10 for $40), but the selection this time around was not as good as most of it is still books from Seven Seas which doesn’t license a lot of books that I like and I already grabbed most of the stuff I wanted last year. Still, there are a few gems here and I also grabbed one from at another table for $3.50 when they cut prices in half on the last day.
Short Version: 12 years later, the future still sucks and our samurai savior may not be up to the task anymore…
So, going into this new season, there are a few expectations that are shaping what people like me would want from Samurai Jack’s return, mainly something that takes me back to the presentation and style of the series’ original run, while delivering on the staff’s promises of adding more mature themes without having to sacrifice the overall feel of the show. So, after this premiere, how’d they do? Let’s see…