Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation

The fifth in the highly successful Mission Impossible film franchise with Tom Cruise. More action, more spying, more awesom stunts. This might be a spoiler-free review. I’ll aim for that and take out anything spoilery later.

Actually, I don’t have much to say on Rogue Nation. Pretty much if you like the previous films, you’ll like this film. This movie is well done with some wow moments. It has all the staples from the previous movies such as a devious villain, a new female that has some connection to the main plot and references to the mask thing.

While the movie is overall fun, I find it tough to say anything that can’t be said about the previous movies. That’s the main reason why this is shorter. This movie is solid, but nothing really new. It’s kind of feeling like a super expensive, 2 hour-ish TV show now.

Don’t get me wrong. The stunts are great in this. You’ve all seen the plane scene from the trailers. Pretty nice. And there’s more, too. And they of course have to use their smarts to help them along the way. This is Mission Impossible, still fun, still possible.

I think the Mission Impossible 3 might be the favorite out of the ones I’ve seen. Which I think I’ve seen every one but the first movie. But this one is pretty great, too. Though I’m not sure how much of Rogue Nation I’ll remember.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

They’re back, the Guardians of the Galaxy! This movie is more colorful, more bombastic, and more fun than the first one. It’s also funnier, perhaps too much so. The humor cuts into the serious scenes sometimes, but the movie is still a great space romp within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The main characters are all still great. Gamora is the exasperated one. Drax, having moved on from the pain of his family’s death, is now the big fun one. Rocket is the technical guy and still kind of a jerk. Groot is the cute one. And Peter is their leader that they only listen to when they feel like it.

They also have Mantis, an empath that’s innocent and has some great funny scenes with the rest of the cast. While she doesn’t fight, she’s probably pretty tough. As seen from the trailer scene, a piece of metal only knocks her out. And she has great landing skills. I really like her addition to the movie and want to see how she works moving forwards with the rest of the team.

Each of the guardians has a nice arc over the course of the movie, except maybe Drax. Not to say Drax is unimportant in the film, but he is more about his interaction with other character rather than changing himself. I’ll go more into their individual stuff in the spoiler section.

I enjoyed the main badguy for the film. There are multiple factions once again, and the movie balances them all well. None of them are unimportant. They all get the right amount of screen time and development. I’ll also get into that more later.

The movie still has great old music to go with the scenes. The humor is cranked up from the first film. Sometimes, I think it’s too funny when they should strive for a more serious tone, but I still liked all of the jokes. Baby Groot is adorable. I mean, I want one. I’m like the Collector.

The visuals are great in this film. Like the first shot of Nowhere, there’s a great, fantastical world in this one. It’s gorgeous and kind of off-putting at the same time. Really grand. We get to see more of the Ravagers, too. They are a lot larger than I first thought. But I’m glad to see more of them.

Guadians of the Galaxy 2 is another fun space film. It has no immediate connection with the rest of the MCU, but it works great on its own.

Now for some spoilers.

I liked Gamora and Nebula becoming sort of sisterly again. It should make for an interesting reunion with Thanos later on. And Drax is still a great character. He has no personal plot this time around, but his interactions with Mantis are adorable. And I really like his and Baby Groot’s stuff, too. Still, I think Drax didn’t even fight¬†anyone past the first ten minutes. He spent the rest of the movie being the fun guy. Rocket and Yondu were great. They work really well together.

In fact, Yondu perhaps had the best personal plot out of all the characters and one of the best jokes. Also, Yondu’s arrow is shown to be really overpowered. I mean wow, that arrow scene. They’re pulling off a X-Men Quicksilver scene with that showing how powerful the arrow is.

The Sovereign are the bad guys for the film, and I really like to be annoyed by them. While they act high and might, what I really enjoyed was how they take loss. They behave like people that never lose. Anything goes wrong and out comes a tantrum. It’s really works within the movie and plays with the high and mighty people type.

And finally, Ego, Peter’s father. He’s quite a character that I’ll leave you to discover for yourself. He’s starts of cool and really gets going as the movie progresses.

And go other team!

Jem and the Holograms, 2015 Film

So, this is quite late. I’ve heard things about this film. I finally decided to go watch it. First up, my experience with Jem and the Holograms, not much. I’ve watched a few episodes of the cartoon back in the day, but not much. I pretty much remember nothing about them other than that they are a band. So I will be going into this movie knowing pretty much nothing about them.

There will be spoilers throughout this. If you haven’t seen this yet? Eh. I doubt you will.

While this film has things I like, such as fluffy, slice of life style stories, it’s way too fluffy. I’ll get to that a bit later. Let’s start with the characters. The band consists of Jem, Kimber (younger sister), Aja and Shana. They were alright. Nothing particularly bad. Aja had some fun moments. Shana was kinda there. And both of them didn’t really help much through the movie at all.

Kimber had some more moments, especially talking with Jem, but she is seriously shafted when it comes to bonding with her father. I mean, she was born and not a baby, yet their father hardly mentions her. It’s always Jem being super awesome and filled with potential. As for Jem, she feels kinda generic for the most part.

The supporting cast is fine. Nothing spectacular, or really memorable. This really has more to do with the movie than any of the actors, though.

So what is off about Jem? Nothing is really earned. There’s no real emotional depth. This is a really fluffy movie. I’ve felt more emotion watching DCOMs. For those that don’t know, that’s Disney Channel Original Movies. They aren’t the fantastic films Disney puts out in theaters. They are those straight to video type things that are made on the cheap. Yet those movies have better character growth and emotions than Jem!

Jem has one music video put on the internet, and yet somehow that gets her a record deal. Of course, the record label girl is sleezy and just wants manufactured pop stars. I always find it really ironic when the movie industry rails on manufactured stuff. It’s just awkward.

Along the way, Jem has some adventure to fix Synergy, the robot her father made before he passed away.

And the entire action part of the movie, the heist, is ridiculous. Jem needs to break into Starlight Records to get her earrings back that the record label lady took. First off, the record label lady took them for no reason. They weren’t known to be valuable at all, yet they are apparently stored in the super secret safe. This still does not necessitate a heist! Jem is one of Starlight Record’s artist. She is with the son of the owner! Just walk in during daytime and ask for it.

In the end the quest to fix Synergy was just for some home movies. Nice, but not shattering. This movie just sort of goes along doing the easiest things and never really challenging the characters. Even the friendship breakup of the band lasted for all of 5 minutes.

And the movie tries to make itself seem far too grandiose with all those inspiring messages from fan videos or something. It’s not, by far, unfortunately.

And at the end, they showed a potential for a cool movie with the introduction of the Misfits! Too bad that’s not going to happen now. The songs were alright.

Power Rangers 2017 Film

I was really excited when I heard they were making another Power Rangers film. It actually got me back into watching the show again after a while of not watching it. I was at the age when watching the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers was awesome. Yes, I started watching it from the beginning.

I watched Mighty Morphing, Zeo, Turbo, In Space, Lost Galaxy and whatever I’m missing in between Mighty Morhing and Lost Galaxy. I stopped after that, though, on Lightspeed Rescue. Thanks to the announcement of the movie, I started up again with Dino Charge.

And now I have finally seen the movie. And I felt it was a great Power Rangers film. This is a reboot of the Mighty Morphing series, so it’s about Jason, Zack, Kimberly, Billy, and Trini. And of course Zordon, Alpha-5, and Rita. The new cast is great. The rangers play off each other and are each fun to watch them grow and progress. The feel of the story is more modern and a bit darker, but it still has that Power Rangers goofiness and fun throughout.

I enjoyed how they staggered the introduction of the characters. It gave us more time to get to know them rather than just throwing all 5 rangers at once. You start out getting to know Jason, Kimberly, and Billy. After you got that, then they showed more about Trini and Zack. Everyone gets a good amount to do in the movie. No one really gets left out. Maybe just a bit, but not much.

As a group, the rangers are lot of fun to watch. As individuals, they also work well. Billy really stands out from the group as sort of the heart.¬†But all of them are well-developed and go through a lot of change over the course of the movie. My favorite ranger in the original show was Trini, so I was looking forwards to seeing the Trini in this one. She’s fun to watch, I have to say.

The movies interpretations of Zordon, Alpha-5, and Rita are great, too. Zordon is less supreme good and more of a guy just trying to fight Rita. I like his face sliding across the wall in that intimidating way when speaking to the rangers. And Alpha-5, that robot assistant got awesome.

The new Rita fits in great with the new tone of the movies. She’s serious, threatening, creepy, and still has a great screeching voice. And yet, she’s also funny at times the way people not accustumed to Earth are. It still never brings down her threat level, though.

The music could have been better, though. They use a few hip hop songs and pop songs, but come on, Power Rangers should be all about rock and metal. Have more of that in the movie!

So, this is a Power Rangers film for the modern times. And I really enjoyed it. The film was solid overall, a bit cliche at times, but I was entertained. The big action pieces were great. I feel like they could have had one more fighting scene, but the ranger suits worked well in motion. I wasn’t certain about them when seeing posters, but I liked them fine in the movie. The zords looked awesome, too.

Now on to some spoiler thoughts. Spoilers beyond this point. Ay-yi-yi.

That opening scene. It was so good. It gave more than enough insight into Zordon to show why he was the way he was throughout the film. And I’m glad that even Zordon got some development over the course of the movie instead of just staying as a supreme good guy.

I liked how much the teenagers had to struggle to morph. It really makes the Power Rangers seem like a big deal that they had to work on it to get. And it made the actual morphing scene more powerful. Hoping they’ll morph more easily continuing on, though.

And I really liked the montage scene. It was enough to show the teens budding friendship, especially between Kimberly and Trini. I believed they would hang out later. And I like the scene where they’re fighting over a piece of food. It felt like those old martial arts movies where they train even during meal time.

The zords, man, the action scene with the zords was done so well. I liked seeing each of the invidual zords get to show off before we finally get the mega-zord.

There’s only one thing I wanted from this film, and that was more Morphing Time. I want a sequel so much, so green, super green. Now that the team can morph, I’m hoping that there’s much more ranger action.

Krispy Kreme.

Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)

A tale as old as time, eh? The beauty and the beast. Random note, why are the actors in this film mostly British? Where are the French actors? Um, but don’t ask me who since I don’t know that many.

Anyway, this is a live action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Out of all of the ones made so far, I think this is the most accurate to the animated version out of what they’ve done so far. The film does add some things, which I’ll talk about in the spoiler section, but it doesn’t really change anything. So if you want some Beauty and the Beast goodness in live action, this will do it.

The visuals of this film really work well. The castle has a foreboding, decayed look. The servants look great. I was unsure when I first saw images of Lumiere and Cogsworth, but in action, they look both great and adorable. You know, I did not recognize any of the actors as playing the servants despite knowing most of them. Haha, I enjoyed the servants, though.

Emma Watson does a fine Belle, and Dan Stevens is fine as the Beast. I don’t have too much to say. They hit the right marks and notes. I think we do need more of the Beast being beastly, though, like more claw destruction. I mean, I know the Beast doesn’t actually have any training doing any of that stuff, but it would still make for some impactful scenes. I think his less monstrous look is fine.

Gaston, here played by Luke Evans, could be stronger. Other than that, he’s fine. Now Lefou, he became a character I enjoyed. There’s just more to him now than being the silly sidekick. And I think Josh Gad does a wonderful job portraying the subtle emotions of Lefou.

The songs in this movie are great. So are the visuals. Be Our Guest and the ball are both wonderful. Visually, this movie is fantasy Disney all the way. So if you want some Beauty and the Beast, but now in live action, this movie will give you almost exactly that.

Now on to some spoiler thoughts.

The film does add some things to make the run time longer. Why? I’m not certain. Nothing really changes in the story because of the new information. The characters do get fleshed out more, but they weren’t particularly simple in the original movie.

About my Lefou comments, I just liked how he slowly realizes Gaston is a jerk and how he decides to defect. Lefou is great here just starting out as Gaston’s hype man and moving away from that over the course of the movie. And it’s mostly subtle shots, but you know it’s there and coming.

The one new addition that puzzles me is having the Enchantress stay a relevant character. She doesn’t really change the story, and no one ever finds out she’s the one that caused all of it. So it’s a bit of why are you here? I mean, she does seem a bit more sympathetic now since she didn’t just curse and run. She’s trying to help the Beast out. She still cursed an entire castle, though.

I think we should have gotten more enchantress and less added scenes with the other characters.

Now go be a guest of some place playing the film.

Mad Max, Road Warrior, Beyond the Thunder Dome

My first experience with Mad Max was Fury Road. And it was fantastic. I recently saw the original Mad Max, Mad Max: Road Warrior, and Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome on television. Let’s see how they are! There will be spoilers here.

Ok, as weird as it is to say this, Mad Max did not feel like a Mad Max film. Somehow, the post-apocalyptic, mauraders on cars, desert style has become so well-known for Mad Max that the first movie felt like something else.

It wasn’t post-apocalyptic. It was just an ordinary time in Australia, right? I’m kidding. I’m sorry. Stuff is clearly starting to break down, but not that much. Society is still standing. There are just more gangs on the road. Mad Max is a world in the middle of breaking down. Max still hasn’t become surly. He has a wife and kid and a job being a police officer.

I was kind of surprised at how slow-paced the movie was. Yes, it still has great car and bike stunts, but not as many. I knew that Max’s wife and kid would die, but I just wasn’t thinking it would take the entire movie for it to happen. Really, Max doesn’t go on his revenge until the last half hour or so.

And maybe it was just the TV edit, but for a guy named Toecutter, there were no cut toes.

Now, Road Warrior felt really Mad Max. There are no communities and neighborhoods anymore. The world has turned into huddled settlements and vehicle-riding gangs.

Road Warrior stands high up there with not just a surly Max but also interesting side characters. And the vehicle action scenes from this are much crazier than the first one. I really wonder how they manage to do these things safely.

It’s odd how well Max works as more of an ass-kicking force rather than the main character. He’s just helping people solve problems and then leaving, and rather than anyone having a problem with him directly, they just want him gone because he’s annoying.

Road Warrior has all the fun of a post-apocalyptic world made in the 1980’s. The gyro captain was a highlight for me. And most of the settlement people, even though I didn’t know there names, had just enough on screen. That seems to be a strength of Mad Max, just show things on screen and that’s enough. No need to talk about it or linger on it.

The villain of the movie was also pretty cool, though these earlier Mad Max films really took the most direct approach with dealing with the bad guys. Just run them over in a larger car. I kind of wanted some cool fight scenes, but yeah, the pragmatic way works well.

Mad Max: Road Warrior was definitely great fun. I probably like Fury Road better for the production values and more 21st century sensibilities, though. Also, nothing comes close to the flamethrowing guitar, yet.

Beyond the Thunderdome was an interesting one. It felt like two separate movies combined into one. One movie was the dirty post-apocalyspe of Barter Town, where people are trying to have a normal semblance of life through clear laws and punishments. Where the Thunderdome is the answer to disputes. And where two people are vying for control.

The other movie is a wild post-apocalypse where society has devolved into a bunch of kids with strange beliefs. A place that’s lighthearted when compared to everything else around and maybe even a bit goofy. Not that the rest of Mad Max doesn’t have it’s strange moments, but the wild children tribe just feels totally different.

The two sides of the movie doesn’t even mesh well. The tribal kids have no real reason to go to Barter Town and Barter Town has no idea they even exist. It’s just Max that brings them together. And at the end of the movie, the kids are living in a city, but that place is still nothing but ruins. Not sure how it’s better than where they were living before. Barter Town may or may not still exist depending on if they can get someone else to fix their stuff.

It’s an odd one. I think them focusing just on Barter Town and the Thunderdome would have been great. The tribal childen did not feel like a great fit for the Mad Max world. Tina Turner was pretty great, though.

So, if I was to order things in my preference of Mad Max, it would be Road Warrior, Fury Road, somewhat of a tie between Mad Max and Beyond the Thunderdome. I just can’t get over how different the first Mad Max is.

John Wick 2

The first John Wick movie was a great surprise. It had great action, great world building and no extraneous stuff. It was a simple story told well. The second film has great action, great world building, and some extraneous stuff. And everything does take a hit from sequelitis, the need to make sequels bigger and better.

The good parts. The world is still fantastically interesting. The action is still great. The plot is still straightforward. No need for romance or making new relations for John Wick. Everyone he meets is an old acquaintance, so they can skip the random greetings and gettting to know each other part. They will skip right to the action.

Now, the following will be complaints I have about the movie. While it may seem like a lot, the movie is still really fun and filled with action all the way through. It’s just a bit more fantastical when compared to the first film. The shift in tone isn’t large, but it is noticeable. I mean, there are several funny scenes in this film, intentionally so. I don’t remember any in the original film.

This movie, though, almost feels like a parody at times. John Wick pretty much only speaks with people from Continental. That means everyone is super professional and they have lots of double speak. In the first film, they had a good amount of normal dialogue between John and the various characters. Not so in the second one.

There is also a ridiculous gun scene (which I liked). I won’t spoil it too much, but I will say it includes silencers. There also seems to be more assassins or people involved in that world than regular people now!

John also got a huge upgrade in skills and durability. In the first one, he was sort of like peak human. Now he’s practically super human. You could say that in the first movie, he’s only 50% back, and now he’s 100% back, but still. I didn’t think he was great at close combat in the first one. Above average, sure, but not wipe the floor with everyone. Here, he’s one man army-ing even without guns.

The action also gets video-gamey at times. There’s too many enemies now, so John Wick gets super body armor. The other guys get nothing, even if it looks like they’re wearing something. John mows down more people than ever all while surviving worse than before.

I really like the new characters, though. Cassian, played by Common, is great. He has the only legitimate reason for going after John. The character played by Ruby Rose is fun, too. The mute thing works out for a different and interesting character. It somehow has no detriment despite her being the leader and needing to call shots.

The main bad guy this time is just as punchable as the son from the previous film. Yeah, he does feel more like the son rather than the father, though he has respect and a lot more competent people working for him at least. He is really effective at being a personal bane to John, though.

There are still a bunch of beautifully shot scenes in the film. A lot of the background and set design is stunning, the Rome scenes in particular. Everything is still really clean, crisp and sharp. This movie still has a lot going for it. It just cranks thing up a bit too far from the original. Still, I enjoyed it, and the film kept up a good pace. Keanu Reeves is still great as John Wick. Most surviving characters return for an appearance. I think the bartender is the only one that doesn’t return.

Hoping for a John Wick 3.