Daredevil

Finally, after a long time, I have seen Daredevil, Season 1, on Netflix. I’ll be honest and say that I only recently got Netflix, and that was because of Fuller House. But since I have Netflix, it’s time to check out all of the other shows and movies on there. Being a large Marvel fan, I probably put off Daredevil longer than I should have. But this series is fantastic.

Daredevil tells the story of Matt Murdoch, lawyer by day and blind vigilante by night. Just to be clear, he’s also blind during the day. He has super senses that allows him to do martial arts with the best of them. Maybe even better. As can be expected, the sound design in this show is really good. They take the time to let you hear what Matt hears during tense situations, and I think the effect is really good.

The storyline is a darker than normal Marvel fare. It’s also a lot more violent. There’s blood, and that’s the lightest of it. Some scenes in this, man, it’s just gratuitous. But the action is amazing here. Because Matt has just a normal guy, strength-wise, he needs to beat down his enemies hard. His secondary power is the power to get back up.

The scene in episode 2, you all know the one, with the hallway. That was the best thing ever. The goons don’t just stay down after being knocked to the ground. They get back up, they try again. You can see everyone getting more and more tired. That little push off the wall Matt does with his body really sells how weary everyone was by the end of it.

Season one is also about Wilson Fisk and his turn into a crime lord. Well, he starts as a crime lord, but he still believes he’s the good guy. Repeated setbacks by Matt Murdoch let’s him see himself in a new light. And Wilson Fisk is always an intimidating presence, even if he acts awkward at times or is soft-spoken, you know he’s always ready to break a guy. Season 1 is as much Wilson’s story as it is Matt’s.

And, like always, Marvel brings out a bunch of pleasing side characters. Foggy and Karen are always great to watch. I just like Foggy’s attitude to stuff. And Karen, while she could have fallen into the girl that always get’s saves because she does stupid stuff, doesn’t . She avoids it just narrowly by virtue of somewhat being able to handle herself. She still gets into a lot of trouble, though.

Even the bad guys side-characters are interesting. It says a lot when I think the Russians are really interesting villains despite not being any sort of main badguy and in the show the least. They might even beat out some of the movie villains in terms of being developed. And Leland Owlsley has some surprising gumption.

This show just works so well to bring a darker, street-level look to the Marvel Universe. It shows what happens after the Avengers leave and regular people need to pick up the pieces. Going to go to season 2, now.

Wynonna Earp, Season Finale

When I first heard of this show, I really didn’t know what to think. Being that I like female main characters so I thought, yeah, why not, let’s go check it out! What I got was something fun and awesome. This show is a fantasy western set in modern times with all sorts of style and attitude.

The main character, Wynonna Earp, is the descendent of legendery gunman Wyatt Earp. Her sisters are Waverly and Willa. Her father is Ward. See that alphabetical theme naming in action. Wyatt has been cursed, and all of the people that has been cursed come back to life. That’s why his heirs must put them down again each time.

Now, Wynonna is the heir. She is sassy, full of attitude and is just slightly broken. She is a rude and crude girl that has to deal with all of the dead coming back out. They hate her, they dragged away her father and sister. And she wants revenge on all of them. Most of them happen to be assholes, too, since that was why Wyatt killed them in the first place.

Rounding out Wynonna’s team is her younger sister, Waverly, a plucky nice girl. Marshall Dolls, an outsider to the small town that’s been sent to contain the paranormal threat. And John Henry Holliday, a mysterious individual with the style and sensibilities of the old west. Wynonna, along with Wyatt’s gun, Peacemaker, must take on a new threat each week.

Unlike some other shows, Wynonna is sometimes proactive in going after the undead revenants. She’s especially pissed at the party of seven that attacked and dragged away half of her family. While some revenants are just plain assholes, there are quite a lot that also hate their situation of coming back to life every time. They’re trapped, they can’t die, things suck for them, too. It makes the whole situation that much sadder, and Wynonna uses her snarkiness to cover up how much doing that sort of thing gets to her.

The main antagonist revenant, Bobo del Ray, is fun to watch. He just has style and a threatening presence. He’s the one with the plot on how to let all of the revenants escape, and that’s going to get him clashing with Wynonna a lot.

This show just has all the makings of a fun fantasy story set in the style of the old west. Yet all of the modern conveniences don’t feel out of place at all. The story is a lot more deep than it first lets on, and all of the characters are pretty fun to watch.

Time for some finale spoilers. Stop here if you haven’t seen Wynonna Earp yet and go check it out! It was a nice surprise for me.

Whoa. Who knew that the barrier keeping the revenants in was also keeping something worse out. That was some nice special effects at the end there. It looks like the paranormal is getting ramped way up for the second season.

A Cat in Paris

What is it with French childrens cartoons and having no chill? A Cat in Paris is dark, man, and somewhat frightening in the real sense. Spoilers on that below.

The story follows Zoe, a girl that recently lost her father. But she has gained a friend that happens to be a stray cat. It just so happens that the cat is also friends with a cat burglar across the street. This is a movie of crime and escape over the Paris rooftops. It’s drawn in a 2d style with some accentuated movements. The cat burglar pretty much flows like water.

This is actually a short and simple movie, so I won’t have that much to say. It gets right into the action. Actually, it drops the viewer off in the middle what’s going on with Zoe’s home life. The focus on the main characters and lack of side plots leads to a streamlined movie. I can get behind that.

The Cat, Dino, is the cause for the entire adventure, so I guess it’s fitting he’s the title character. It’s a charming little movie that makes some compelling characters despite it’s low runtime. Somehow, it makes a goofy yet really dangerous main antagonist.

This movie is worth the watch. At just over an hour long, including credits, I enjoyed pretty much all of it.

Now for some spoiler thoughts.

France! Your kids movies have no chill! Instead of some symbolic bad guy or monster, the bad guy of this film is a straight up criminal that has no qualms about killing. And what’s even scarier is having your parents not understand you no matter how much you want them to, and that only leads to even more dangerous situations.

As a young kid, this movie would be scary in the realest of ways.

What happens in the movie just makes you feel really sorry for all of the good characters involved. It does that really well.

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

This is an animated film made in France. I saw it in Netflix recently just browsing around, and it looked interesting, so I decided to go ahead and watch it. First off, Netflix says that his movie is for kids 5-7. Don’t believe it! This movie is for teens at least. Still, this is a good movie with a lot of trippy visuals.

Why do I say it’s not for young kids? Mostly because it’s a serious movie with a lot of strange visuals that just get no explanation. Things happen that everyone ignores. A lot of symbolism goes through the movie. Listening to the lyrics of the song, it’s kind of risque at times, too. I would call this a hyper-stylish love story between Jack and Miss Acacia.

Jack is a boy with a frozen heart, so he has it replaced by a cuckoo-clock, hence the title of the story. There are certain precautions one must take when having a clock for a heart, though, and it mostly relates to not getting too emotional. That means not falling in love, a primally powerful emotion. Of course Jack falls in love.

There are several strange and imaginative sequences in the movie that are just freaky and fun to watch. The train in particular has no bearing on anything but is quite a sight to see.

The pace of the movie moves along pretty slowly. It almost got to the point where I had no idea what was going to happen because the movie defied normal conventions. The main story is Jack reuniting with Miss Acacia after being apart for four years. They pick up slowly, though and without certainty of the future.

I really like the main antagonist of the story, Joe. I mean as a character. He’s a school bully of Jack that also likes Miss Acacia, pretty standard stuff, but he has style. He comes out with a mad beat and spits cool rhymes. You know, he might have caused all of the problems in Jack’s life, but he’s still a cool character.

This is a wondrous movie full of funky visuals and symbolism. The songs are great and catchy. It’s a simple story yet it tells it in such a way that makes it a bit unpredictable. A strange experience of a movie that I found worth it. It’s not for young kids, though. Don’t listen to Netflix.

Also, Jack sounds like a full grown man even when he’s 10 years old. Come on, voice casting director.

Fantastic Four, 2015 Film

There is a conflict of movies in here. Someone wanted to make a superhero movie. Someone else wanted to make a sci-fi thriller. Neither get done particularly well. Even if it was just one coherent movie idea, there are still other problems.

This is an older movie, so I think I’ll just have some spoilers here and there, no separate spoiler section.

Now, Fantastic Four can be considered more successful if you take it as a sci-fi thriller. That’s the prevailing tone going on. It’s dark, in lighting, and mostly somber. There are some scenes of laughter, but that comes after getting sad drunk. As a superhero movie, it’s not, really. Not at all, I think.

I did enjoy the sci-fi thriller parts, though. It’s done fine.¬†And you know what, I like this version of Ben. He’s not a rough and tough giant guy. he’s just a small guy wanting to help his friend who happened to get the worse of it. It’s kinda heartbreaking seeing the Thing pleading for help.¬†Johnny Storm is also pretty good, actually. I enjoyed his performance.

For those that want a Fantastic Four like the comics, this is nowhere close. It’s like someone jammed the Fantastic Four characters into another story. Young scientist Reed Richards has discovered the way to stabilize a portal to another dimension. He gets recruited by Franklin Storm, father of Johnny Storm and adoptive father of Sue Storm. Victor von Doom also works for the project. Together, the make a dimension hopping device.

Oh, Ben? Ben starts as Reed’s friend, but is not involved in Franklin Storm’s project at all. Ben just get’s called in later because he’s Reed’s best friend.

And Sue, she doesn’t even get to go to the other dimension the first time! She get’s her powers from shockwaves, man, shockwaves!

The movie seems to make every attempt not to do character-building moments. Ben has an abusive family. Never brought up after that one scene. Reed has awkward conversation with Sue hinting at attraction. Nope, never again. Ben is upset at Reed for leaving after everyone gets powers? Just forgive him without talking things out. And sure, let’s just timeskip one year after everyone gets their powers. No need to see them adjust to that.

I cannot remember one normal conversation going on in the movie. It’s all awkward talking, explaining stuff or terse, one word conversations.

Then there’s Doom. He just get’s lost in the other dimension and turns crazy. That’s it. He starts out arrogant, ends up planet-destroying crazy. He does provide one of the best scenes in the movie, though. He turns the movie into a straight horror for a while as he goes around the base.

Then, at the end of it all, the four declare themselves the Fantastic Four, despite working together only once and because they absolutely had to. They never do any heroing or even try to work together before that. In fact, the team actively avoids each other!

There’s just no real sense of payoff for them coming together at the end because you don’t see anything growth or bonding in the film at all.

Well, if not taken as a superhero team film, I think the sci-fi thriller parts work pretty well. It’s not Fantastic Four, though.

The Martian

The first ten minutes of this movie is intense. They just drop straight into the action, no setup needed. And, being a squeamish person, oh man. I found *that* scene worse than some more violent stuff in other movies, because in those other movies, the characters are action stars that react differently to injury. This time, it’s a normal guy clearly trying hard just not to faint again.

The Martian, the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut that is stranded on Mars. He needs to survive until rescue come. I must say that I am loving these space movies recently. Gravity, Interstellar, and now The Martian. There’s just something fantastic and hopeful about all of them. The Martian might be my favorite just for how it could help boost space exploration. The Martian is based on a lot of real science. Educated guesses are only used when the real science isn’t quite there, yet.

And the Martian is wonderful in how everyone works together. The Director of Nasa is the closest thing to an antagonist, and that’s only because he has to think about more than just one astronaut stuck on Mars. Even then, he does his best to help out.

I will say that this movie has some hilarious lines. I don’t know if it’s the sudden shift in tone or just really smart writing and acting, but I laughed out loud a lot when the funny parts came on. Overall, it’s a hopeful, but serious film, but it knows how to have fun. It’s almost like actually being in that situation, if you can’t laugh, you’d just be curled up into a ball, crying all the time.

This movie is just good all around. You get a feel for the problem, but very few times does Mark Watney just stop. He keeps on going, figuring out ways to survive. Matt Damon does a great job with him.

The other characters just pop into the movie with a nameplate introducing them. You don’t find out much about them at all, but you do find out the important thing that they’re all trying to help Mark Watney. I almost forget at times that the movie takes place over 2 or 3 years. Characters you just saw last scene have been debating and worked things out already. It does get a bit jarring, but never too much.

All of the side characters get enough personality and screentime to be enjoyable. The scenes on Earth are fun to watch, even in a movie where being trapped on Mars is the main plot.

Just from start to finish, The Martian is great. I really want for it to be true someday, sending people to Mars. That Elon Musk fellow is planning a trip by 2024, which would be amazing if it happens. Just imagine, real people on Mars. This movie is as much about possibility as it is about telling a good story about a man’s will to survive.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Wow, it’s been six years since Alice in Wonderland. I am pretty suprised they decided to make a sequel after all that time. I am thinking perhaps too much time as passed for just a straight sequel. It’s also pretty great that all the major characters from the first movie show up in the second movie, even the people in the regular world. Note that I might be wrong. I don’t remember the first movie since I saw it SIX years ago.

I will say this straight out, I enjoyed this movie more than the first one. And I enjoyed the movie overall. The first movie, character’s don’t feel fully realized. They spent much more time exploring the world, but none really digging into characters. And since they gave names to people like the Hatter, White Queen and Red Queen, they obviously wanted them to be treated as more than set pieces.

This movie, thanks to time travel, Alice gets to see a lot of major events that happene in those character’s lives. For a dream world, it’s not too important. When the movie portrays the Underland as a real place with real problems, I appreciate having a deeper look into the past of the characters.

The world is still colorful and vibrant. It’s suitably wacky while still being more toned down from a full dreamscape. Time, as in a person that is the personification of Time, is a new original addition to the movie. He’s played by Sacha Baron Cohen, and he’s fantastic. His castle is awesome. His clockwork minions are alright. And Time himself is really great and fits into the movie world.

I enjoyed this film more due to a greater focus on the characters. The time traveling works well. No headscratching paradoxes around, really. It’s about as solid time traveling can be.

Time for more spoilery stuff.

Time, while he’s played up to be the bad guy, is actually the good guy. He’s the one trying to stop people from meddling around in the past and causing the collapse of time as Underland knows it. I mean, a lot of people are really horrible to him for their own selfish reasons. Time also has some great effects going through him all throughout. I like the way irises blink at times.

My favorite parts of the movie has got to be the White Queen and Red Queen’s childhood. It really has some nice development for both of them. You get to see how their feud first began, and why the Red Queen has a giant head.

The regular world stuff, I could leave it, really. I mean, I know it’s important to show how Alice has grown, and it doesn’t drag on for too long, so that’s fine.

I liked the movie. It’s whismsical with a nice clockwork antagonist that’s just doing his job. You get to know the other characters more, too, and that rounds out the world more.