Add I thought a Rubik’s Cube was confusing (Cube movie review)

cube-1997-movie

Sometimes you wander around Netflix and just pick whatever. If you randomly watch Cube, you could do worse.

I think the thing I liked most about this movie was its ability to make me care and like these characters. I actively rooted for them and I didn’t want them to die – this might seem like a low bar, but trust me, many movies grasp for this bottom rung and fail. Even when one character goes crazy for reasons I don’t fully understand, I just care about how this changes the way that character interacts with the others. I still care, even if it doesn’t make sense.

This is an achievement.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie do so much with so little. Man, they recycled and reused basically one set and just let the tension draw from the performances. But more than that, even when the dialogue was pretentious or unclear, the movie found a way to sell it.

Some of the performances are over the top, the last scene is too vague, but somehow, it overcomes all this. Cube isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s pretty damn good. I’m excited to watch it again, so that’s about as ringing an endorsement you’re going to get from me.

3000 Miles to Graceland is a huge pile of shit (movie review)

3000-Miles-to-Graceland

I decided not to bury the lead.

So yeah, this movie is not good. 3000 Miles to Graceland opens with two silly looking digital scorpions fighting each other. The metaphor and connection to the plot is, in a word, forced. Anyway, the basic premise is five guys dressed up like Elvis during an Elvis impersonator weekend in Las Vegas rob a Casino. Your brain is going to make you expect to see a scene where they all disappear into a crowd of Elvis’s (or Elvie?), but it never happens. That’s a recurring motif in the movie; the thing the plot seems to pointing to never happens. (The studio decided not to release this movie under its original title: Shattered Expectations.)

And don’t bother waiting for the climactic fight between Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell, because there isn’t one… I guess I just made this point, so moving on.

Besides its own fundemental plot issues, the other big problem with 3000 Miles to Graceland is the characters. You sort of root for Russell, but you don’t sympathize with him, and you don’t really like anyone else. Costner is sorta fun in a bad guy you love to hate sort of way, but you don’t want him to win, and Courtney Cox is just a dispicable excuse for a character you’re supposed to relate to, because you can’t get behind a mother abandoning her son with someone who just got out of prison.

Add I was really surprised when that woman snowballed Costner, but that’s beside the point.

So you’re sitting there, watching the movie, wondering how much longer it could possibly be (it’s a grueling 2+hours), Ice T shows up out of nowhere (Howie Long also pops in and out, doing basically what he did in Broken Arrow) and gives you false hope but provides two of the biggest laughs of the movie, one intentional, one not.

At the end of the day, 3000 Miles to Graceland is bloated and pleases no one. The action isn’t exciting enough, the characters are too flat and the plot barely holds together, so you can’t write it off a genre flick when it doesn’t adhere to any conventions of any genres – except poorly made movies.

3000 Miles to Graceland is streaming on Netflix – proceed at your own risk.

Pics: Dogs Mirroring, Cardinal, can’t fit in coach seat

Two of the dogs ALMOST lying in the same position.

There’s been Cardinals around recently and I was lucky to get a quick shot of one.

I’m under six feet tall, but when I fly coach with United, I just can’t fit in the seats. The leg room space is comical.

White Castle vegan Impossible Burger review

impossible burger at white castle

As a vegan, you may be thinking, “I wish White Castle could compromise my digestion just like my carnivore counterparts.” Well, your wish is granted now that they’re offering the Impossible Burger. Read the rest of this entry

Bad Samaritan or Dropped Thread: The Movie (movie review)

bad_samaritan_pay_phone

Yeah, there’s a pay phone in this movie. Because those are still around.

When I go to the movies, I want to like the movie.  I’m not hoping for it to be bad.  I went into Bad Samaritan totally cold – I don’t think I’d even seen the poster.  I was ready to go with whatever story this movie wanted to tell.  No expectations, no preconceived notions, I was ready to see an entertaining story on any terms.  And for the first twenty-ish minutes, it seemed like maybe this trip to the theater might work out – there’s David Tennant, the story might have potential… and then it falls apart, piece by piece. Read the rest of this entry

Fahrenheit 451 is the latest reminder that Michael B. Jordan is your new God

I saw That Awkward Moment in 2014 because everything else was sold out. You probably don’t remember hearing about it because it’s not a good movie. Zac Efron stars and I think he has a lot of talent, but I haven’t seen him play a complex role yet. Michael B. Jordan, on the other hand, had been crushing it since then. Every movie I’ve seen him in isn’t perfect (or even good – COUGH Fantastic Four COUGH), but Jordan is never the problem. In fact, after seeing him in Fahrenheit 451, I now consider him as automatic as it gets.

But just to be clear, this movie is not great.

Yeah, Jordan is excellent. Yeah, I like what they did with social networking, but this movie could use some more world building and more character development. It’s clear enough to get by, but from a story point of view, it’s a straight A student turning in C work.

I don’t want to debate changes they made from the book or nitpick dialogue (Michael Shannon practically had to memorize a phone book), I just want a little bit more. HBO cut corners and prioritized style over substance and it shows. Fahrenheit 451 isn’t bad, but it could have been great.

If you have HBO, consider this a soft recommendation. Michael B. Jordan delivers, but that’s all anyone will remember about this movie.

Avengers Infinity War: high drama or cheap shell game? (Movie Review)

avenger-infinity-war-spidey-iron-man-mantis

Here we are for the third Avengers film and the 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. (“Who knows what adventures The [Avengers] will have between now and when the series becomes unprofitable.”) The MCU has been an above-average experience for me with a high point of Winter Soldier and the least enjoyable experience being Age of Ultron. Now, we get to finally see all of the different corners of the MCU come together, which turns out to be a lot of fun. But at the same time, does this story give us high drama or are the cornerstones of the plot indications of the whole thing being just a cheap shell game? Spoilers follow!

spoiler alert Read the rest of this entry

Ready Player One is the clickbait version of a movie

iron-giant-ready-player-one

“Oh my God, it’s THE IRON GIANT! I’m so excited, that’s worth the price of admission alone!” -what every executive at Warner Bros expects you to say when you see the marketing for Ready Player One

I knew going into Ready Player One that there would be a never-ending parade of nostalgia geared toward people around my age. What I didn’t realize was that it was the sole focus of the movie. While that does sound like something that COULD work, my conclusion is that it doesn’t.

And to be clear, I’m reviewing the movie only. I’ve never read the book, nor do I think that should be required for seeing the movie.

I thoroughly reject the argument that you won’t get this movie if you are not a gamer. I wouldn’t call myself hardcore, but I’ve been playing video games for nearly my entire life. The fact that the movie’s plot is covered in a video game wrapper doesn’t matter. Nearly all action adventure movies conform to The Hero’s Journey just as this movie does – there’s not really anything new happening here in terms of structure. Most adventure stories have a down-on-their-luck hero (Marty McFly, Billy Peltzer, Luke Skywalker, etc) with a love interest, then he overcomes threshold guardians to ultimately beat the bad guy and win the day. That’s just how these movies work.

The real problem with Ready Player One is the lack of world building backstory (I don’t understand how a corn syrup drought created a dystopia and so on) and a cast of characters that just don’t compel. I wasn’t actively rooting for the protagonists to fail, but I wasn’t excited when they won, either. At a late point in the movie, I just wanted it to be over because the end was so telegraphed and obvious that I was starting to get bored.

In concept, I would think I’d like Ready Player One. The movie is all about 70’s, 80’s and 90’s pop culture (which is very much my bag), but it wasn’t charming.  Instead, it’s beyond forced. Maybe that’s the problem – references work when they’re subtle, not when they’re the sole focus and reason something exists. That’s when something stops becoming a reference and just becomes the plot. Yeah, I saw the campaign poster from Back to the Future in the background, big deal. That didn’t make the movie better. Yes, I see the Iron Giant too, except this film seems to be missing the entire point of its to titular character and if you were going to ignore the moral, then why leave out the giant gun that lives inside his chest? When the good guy army was rushing toward the bad guy, I think I saw a Battletoad in there, but honestly, everything image is so saturated with characters and things that I feel like the movie is really just an advertisement for the Blu-ray. By this I mean the movie is intentionally visually dense to the point where the only way to really see all of its bloat is to watch it at home while continuously pausing it and examining each frame. I guarantee you that when this movie hits the aftermarket, you’ll see every single website in existence write an article entitled All The Stuff You Missed in Ready Player One. It’s coming, I promise you – if they’re not here already.

The thing is, I didn’t hate the movie. I wasn’t particularly bored or frustrated with any one scene, it’s just that the movie as a whole is bland. I didn’t really feel anything while watching this movie. At all. I appreciated all the work the zillions of digital animators did on this movie and I think that if Steven Spielberg didn’t direct it would be a horrible mess, but that’s about the only positives I can rattle off.

When when it comes down to it, Ready Player One is an underdeveloped movie that tries to make up for its own shortcomings with nostalgia and flashy visuals, but it’s just not enough. The only reason to see this in the theater is because every image is so cluttered that if you care about seeing every single thing, the bigger it is the better.

Breaking News: Cats Insist They Both Fit In Perch

We have more than one cat tree, but they’re brothers. They stick together.

Or they’re cold.

Or both.

I don’t know much about cats, but they’re cute, and that’s good enough for me!

Lowe’s uses cutting edge software in cash registers

I kid Lowe’s, I kid!

But seriously, Windows stopped supporting XP in 2009. The last service pack came out the year before. More importantly, this particular Lowe’s didn’t exist back then.

So… Yeah. Starting to figure out the problem with the self checkout system. Of course, I’m sure checkout programs are fairly simple and businesses shouldn’t (and won’t) spend money fixing things that don’t need fixing.  On the other hand, when your self checkout is closed because your decade old software is spinning the entire time I was in the checkout area… might be a problem.

My dog is snuggly

Siberian husky dog

Those are my legs he’s snuggled against. Can you blame him? I’m the alpha, but he’s the handsome one.

I poured cereal in my coffee

I poured cereal in my coffee

This is a new one for me – I was apparently so tired this morning that I poured cereal in my coffee.

That is all.

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