July 28, 2010

Well, here I am.  Again.  I'm trying to get my act together and decide what I want this blog to be about.  I love books and movies.  I used to prefer books, but as my eyes get worse the movies are starting to look better!  So I'm going to try to do book and movie summaries on Shvoong, and reviews here. 

Yes, I'm trying to make money from these reviews.  But I'm also trying to steer people away from bad stuff and let them know what's good.  Just like I'd like people to do for me.  I hate buying a movie, then getting stuck with a stinker.  Even renting can hurt, especially if the fast forward button doesn't work!  Or there are no subtitles, so you have to watch the whole thing just to find out what happens.  Those are painful.  And I've had enough of them.

No one will agree with all my choices, just like I won't agree with everyone else's.  But we might be able to find out which movies to rent and not have to suffer through the horrid ones.  Unless you want to bring a bunch of people to see it, and then point out all the flaws while eating (and possibly throwing) popcorn.  Those can be fun.  It's about the only worthwhile use of bad movies.

Marvel super hero movies

     Blade is half vampire/half human.  He has all their strengths, and only one of their weaknesses.  The blood thirst.  He hates them for killing his mother and making him a monster.  So he hunts them unrelentingly.  His friend and mentor, Whistler, helps him.
      I liked this movie.  It was better than the comic book, at least for me.  I felt no empathy with the comic book character, but I liked this movie one.  It was very fast, and action packed.  I didn't buy it though.  Not until after the second one came out.  Then I did, because I have to own the first in a series if I own the second.

          Blade 2.  This is my favorite Blade movie.  The fight at the beginning just hooked me.  It was so exciting!  The plot was complicated, but went along quite smoothly.  Ron Perlman did a great job as a bad guy, like he always does.  There was an intriguing sort of love story, even if it wasn't fully realized, between Blade and Nyssa.  She was a great character, and you could almost see Blade coming to terms with his vampirism.
          There is a new kind of vampire, called Reapers.  They hunt vampires.  Unfortunately, this doesn't kill the vamp.  It just turns them into Reapers.  And Reapers are constantly hungry.  Sooner or later, they'll start on humans.  So the vampires offer a truce to Blade, wanting him to join with them in killing Reapers.
           I enjoyed this movie from beginning to end.  After getting it, I was even willing to get the first one, so my set was complete.  You can't go wrong with this one.

             Blade:Trinity is the third, and worst, in the series.  The Nightstalkers were very neat.  I enjoyed Ryan Reynolds and his constant smart mouth comments.  Jessica Biel was very good as the arrow shooting daughter of Whistler.  Snipes wasn't his best, for whatever reason.  The vampires were the real dead end here.  They were almost laughable for bad acting (excepting Triple H) and pitiful scariness.  Dracula was made out to be so horrible and terrifying an antagonist, but that sort of fizzled out quickly. 
              I own this, but for all the wrong reasons.  Dominic Purcell and Ryan Reynolds shirtlessness helped minimize the pain of watching this, and Reynolds constant snappy patter helped too.  Biel's business like attitude made her very enjoyable.  But I mainly bought it to complete the set.  I'm not going to get any others though!  It's very yawnable


             X-Men movie.  If you're a fan of the comics, this will be a bit difficult to swallow.  Especially if you want it just like the comics.  It isn't.  There are differences.  It was jarring to me, and I wanted to hate it.  But as a writer, I realize if they tried to be exactly like the comic, it would never have been made.  It didn't focus on the powers as much as it did how it feels to be different, to be shunned.  Anyone who has ever felt like a misfit (and that's all of us, at some time or other), can relate to how these people feel.   That's the reason so many of us fell in love with the comic.  Here were others, different, not like us, but they found others like themselves.  They found a reason to keep going, to keep fighting.
       Kudos to Hugh Jackman.  I don't think Wolverine would have been so well done if it wasn't for him.  I just wish they'd given as much thought to the other characters.  Jean and Scott were the staple of the comic, here Scott was just a character.  It's still worth watching.  I'm not so sure about owning, but I do.  And nobody is taking my movies away from me!!  Shoot, I even have 2 copies of all the movies.  Just in case something happens to one of them...  Have I mentioned how much of a fan of the comics I am?  lol

          X2, the second X-Men movie.  This one focused even more on Wolverine.  Colonel Stryker gets permission from the President to attack Xavier's school.  Magneto is tortured into revealing more than he wanted to Stryker.  Xavier and Cyclops are kidnapped.  Storm, Jean, and Wolverine are forced into partnership with Mystique and Magneto to try to rescue the Professor and the kidnapped children.  Otherwise Stryker will use mind control to force Xavier into killing all the mutants on Earth.  What the X-Men don't know is, Magneto has a plan of his own.
        It's an exciting movie.  I liked seeing more of the kids, the secondary characters.  It was obvious, to a comic book fan, where they were going with Jean.  But that didn't make it any less exciting.  At the end, I'm sure all the other fans were hoping that what we were seeing was going to be developed for the third one.  I liked this better than the first, even though it was more complicated.

     X3:The Last Stand     Just like Blade, this was the worst of the 3.  Jean has become Phoenix and gone bad.  The humans now have a cure for being a mutant.  It's permanent and they'd like all mutants to take it. Mystique is captured and Magneto has to find her.  When he does, there are two new recruits/prisoners.  Juggernaut and Multiple Man have joined the Brotherhood.  Then one of the guards shoots at Magneto.  His bullet contains the Cure.  Mystique takes the shot, saving him, but then loses her power and becomes human. This is the part where I disliked the movie.  Magneto states she saved him, then leaves her behind, shunning her as if she were the enemy.  She isn't one of them anymore, he acts like she's dead. 
        I respected Magneto.  He was ruthless and did things that were unacceptable.  But to abandon one of his own, for being injured?  That smacks of as much bigotry as the humans were showing.  I hated the plot that took it that direction.  Yes, Magneto was a monster, but we could understand what made him that way.  This was something else.  The plot never should have gone that way.
        I admit, I enjoyed the big fight scene at the end.  Iceman against Pyro was something we'd all been waiting for.  Kitty outhinking Juggernaut was priceless.  Wolverine tricking Magneto, great.  But Jean at the end was a bit over the top.  Fans of the comic probably were as irritated as I was.  As much as I adore Wolverine/Hugh Jackman, the end of Phoenix should have involved Cyclops.  It should have stayed true to the comic, and focused on their love.  Not let that love story just be a tiny bit part of the trilogy. 

                             Movie--Wolverine.  This tells you Wolvie's history.  How he and Sabretooth are connected, why Wolvie lost his memory, what Stryker has to do with everything, and where/why Wolvie got his adamantium skeleton.  I don't know how close this is to the comic, since I didn't read any of these.  I liked the movie.  It wasn't a classic by any means.  There was a lot of action and it kept moving at a fast pace.  I really loved Liev Schrieber as Sabretooth.  His deep voice gave the big guy some oomph.  He made an interesting nasty. 
                                It was fun seeing other Marvel characters show up and interact.  Ryan Reynolds was particularly good as Deadpool.  Deadpool always had the nickname of "merc with the mouth" and Ryan was perfect.  He's always had that rep of a smart-mouth, so nobody was surprised at his comments.  And love of instigating trouble.  I really couldn't see anyone else playing that part so well.  Deadpool was made for this boy. 
                                We also got to see Remy LeBeau (handsome boy, not such good acting), Wraith, The Blob (Fred Dukes) (Shoulda had more air time), Zero (played well), and so on. 
                                 This was better than the X-Men, so I own it.  But I still say Blade 2 is better than all of 'em.  (It's all Luke Goss' fault)

    I went into this prejudiced.  I never liked the comic or the character.  I can't explain why.  It has nothing to do with him being blind or anything else.  I just couldn't relate to Matt Murdock or Daredevil.  The movie did nothing to change that.  My daughter bought it, she thinks it's great.  She likes love stories.  I wasn't impressed with anything about the movie. 
      Matt Murdock is blinded by a barrel of gushing radioactive liquid.  While it takes away his sight, it gives his other senses huge enhancements.  He can actually "see" by using sound to frame objects, like a bat's sonar.  Heh, heh.  Wonder which came first, Batman or DD?  He becomes a lawyer, only taking innocent clients.  If he can't convict the bad guy in court, Daredevil hunts him down at night and makes him pay for what he's done.  Now, he meets Elektra Natchios.  She's been targeted by the Kingpin.  Kingpin sends Bullseye out to hunt her down.  DD and he fight and it's a very close thing.
      I don't remember the comic DD being willing to let bad guys die, but it's been decades since I read one of his.  So I don't know how close this is to the comic.  I was very bored through it all.  I couldn't relate to anyone except Elektra, and that was only because I saw her movie later.  This one just didn't do a thing for me.  The action, the plot, the characters, nothing caught my attention and held it.  I didn't care what happened, just so it would be OVER.

    Elektra died in Daredevil.  But her sensei, Stick, knows Kimagure.  In the hands of a master, it can heal and even bring the dead back to life.  He brought her back to life.  She's always known violence and suffering, so she can't quite relate to Kimagure's precepts of peace and control.  Stick forces her out.  She becomes an assassin for hire.
     She's hired to take out a father and daughter.  Almost goes through with it, but can't.  She packs to leave, but as she's leaving she sees more assassins coming to do the job.  She saves the family and becomes entangled in keeping the girl safe from the Hand.  They want to recruit her, willingly or not doesn't matter. 
     I know this wasn't that great a movie, plot wise or other.  But it's one of the few my daughter and I can watch over and over together.  We're too much alike, so we fight constantly.  Arguing, getting mad, giving each other the silent treatment, sometimes screaming.  We watched this movie, and how Abby kept testing Elektra's patience.  My husband had to point out at every confrontation how similar this was to what kept happening at home.  After awhile, at every little snipe, my daughter and I would glance at each other and grin.  We can even get along for a few days without snarling after we watch this.  It got us to finally relate to how the other looked at things.  I've eased up, she's mellowed.
     Like I said, it's not the greatest movie.  But I always enjoy seeing it again, for the action and plot as well as for the memories of finally getting along with my daughter.  Of finally being able to relate to her and her problems.  We have two copies of this!!  Anything that gets us together, I'm not going to take a chance of losing!

Fantastic Four
    This stays true to the comics so far as the character's personalities.  I don't know about the comic history.  I didn't really read many of these, even though I adored The Thing.  The Human Torch always infuriated me, he was just so shallow.  Unfortunately, the movie stayed true to that character.  Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl brought new life to what the comic could have been.  I never paid much attention to those characters, they were just there to bring stability to the group as far as I was concerned.  The movie changed that!  These actors made the characters come alive, and be likable.  I adored Sue Storm in this.  What a modern woman!   She was all woman, tried to keep the boys from fighting and all that, but she was also a feisty, 90's woman.  This lady does the right thing, but she sure isn't going to put up with any crap while she is!!  Jessica Alba rocked!
    Michael Chiklis did the Thing proud.  He didn't lower the character in any way.  He brought all of the Thing's compassion, temper, humor, insecurities, loyalty, etc. right out there for everyone to see.   It was just a silly movie, but when I saw him on the bridge, it brought tears to my eyes.  He's the real meaning of hero.  No matter what he looks like, or how people see him as a monster, he still does the right thing.  Even though he expects to be shot afterward.  The movie is a fantasy, but Thing's actions shine true for any real hero.
    Sue and Johnny Storm work for Dr. Victor Doom.  Reed Richards and Ben Grimm convince Doom to allow them to use his space station to study a cosmic storm.  Reed thinks the data could help cure diseases and extend human life.  The storm hits early, everyone is bathed in cosmic rays and changed. 
    Sue gains the ability to turn invisible and cast force fields.  Reed is able to stretch to great lengths.  Johnny becomes the Human Torch, with the ability to control and cover his body in flames.  Ben's body becomes rock hard and looks like bricks, he becomes massive.   Doom's body is starting to look like metal, he can affect electricity and is very powerful.
    Doom holds a grudge towards the Foursome and wants revenge.  He turns them against one another and eventually attacks.  The action is exciting and the movie moves right along.  I enjoyed it and own it.  Even with the Torch in it...  (nothing against Chris Evans.  I just dislike the character)

Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer
   There are unnatural phenomena all over the earth.  There is snow in Egypt and a frozen lake in Japan.  General Hager wants Reed to build something to track the anomaly that's causing all these problems.  He's busy with getting married to Sue, finally.  He does build it, but the anomaly knows that it is being tracked and fries the system. 
    The anomaly's energy surges wake up good old Dr. Doom.  The General wants Reed and Doom to work together.  (what a moron!)  Reed comes up with a way to stop the Silver Surfer/anomaly.  They take the Surfer hostage.  Doom steals the Surfer's board, which contains all his power.  Now the FF have to get the board back, convince the Surfer to help stop his master, and save the world.
    Johnny isn't quite as annoying as he was in the first one.  He's still pretty close, don't get me wrong.  But he has problems and Ben is enjoying picking on him.  (I enjoyed it too, trust me)  The team is caught up in a lot of emotional issues that don't really interest me.  When there was action, it was quite enjoyable.  That was the best part of the movie.  Except when hotshot Johnny kept fouling up.  I know, I know, get off the soapbox!  Ok.  There was still a lot of humor in here.  Sue having her powers go wonky, the poor girl.  Johnny being able to absorb the other's powers if he touches them (Ben has a heyday with that!  I loved it too), Reed telling the General off.  I really liked those parts and more. 

G.I. Joe
    It's based on the comic book, but takes a few liberties.  I can't say how much, because I didn't read a lot of them.  I only read enough to know about the romance between Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, which isn't in this, and why Snake-Eyes doesn't speak (which isn't the same as in the movie).
    The G.I.Joes are the best of the best from a variety of nations.  This is where they first meet Cobra, their arch-enemy.  It introduces Duke and Ripcord as new members. 
    I like group dynamics, or teams.  I always have.  This is nowhere near the best of the superhero movies, but I like it.  I rented it, and liked it.  Then rented it again later.  I finally gave in and bought the darn thing, just because I enjoy watching it and I was tired of renting it.  It's a fun action movie, and it's very neat seeing all the familiar faces from The Mummy movies.  Can you spot Brendan Fraser? 
    It doesn't have the quality of the other hero movies, or the plot cohesiveness, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch.  I prefer it to the grimness of the Batman movies (I know, shame on me) or even my beloved X-Men.  It leaves you feeling good and energized, not depressed.  That's kind of important sometimes!

Iron Man
   Tony Stark's transformation into Iron Man.  He was a genius, weapons making industrialist.  Then on a trip to Afghanistan he is captured by the Ten Rings, a terrorist group.  They have stockpiles of Stark weapons and they want him to recreate his Jericho missile.  He pretends to, but instead creates the first Iron Man suit.  He escapes. 
    When he returns to the States, he begins work on a new suit.  It's going to be more stream-lined, tougher, with more bells and whistles.  He also tells the world he isn't going to be in the weapons business anymore.  This doesn't go down well with his associates.  His friend, Obadiah Stane, wants him to reconsider.  What Stark doesn't know is Stane is the one who hired the terrorists to kill him.  Nor does Tony know Stane is selling Stark weapons to those same terrorists. 
     I never was big on Iron Man.  I don't know why.  I do enjoy this movie though.  It's hilarious when he's testing the various Iron Man gadgets because they always have more oomph than he plans.  I got a kick out of the robotic arms he kept yelling at too. 
    This movie moved along at a good clip, rarely leaving you bored.  It had a good plot and stuck with it.  I can't wait till I can buy Iron Man 2.  Everyone says it's better than the first, and I do like to buy series.  I've never regretted buying this one.  It's pretty easy to watch over and over.

Iron Man 2
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) tells the world he's Iron Man.  Automatically the government wants to own it.  They want Stark to turn over the suit to them.   Stark ridicules them and turns the tables on their information.  He gets to keep the suit.
    We see Tony drinking lots of chlorophyll.    The chest unit he wears to keep himself alive is also poisoning him.  Tony will eventually die because of his toxicity level.    He prepares for his death by choosing Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as his CEO.
    More new characters are introduced.  Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) gains his powers from the same power source as Tony's chest armor.  The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and keeping an eye on Stark.  We see more of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) than ever.
    Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is Tony's business rival.  He gets Whiplash to work for him, to create multiple Iron Man suits that are remotely controlled by him.  Hammer doesn't realize Whiplash will have control of them.
    War Machine (Don Cheadle) is first controlled by Whiplash, then breaks free to fight at Tony's side. 
    I'm glad I didn't buy this sight unseen.  I don't want to own it.  First off, they have a new actor playing Rhodey.  Like nobody's going to notice?  That one really burned me.  I liked the original Rhodey. 
    The characters of Whiplash and Black Widow are very neat and excellently played.  What they did with Iron Man less so.  His selfishness and blatant disregard for anyone but himself was irritating.  He was so cruel to the people who care the most about him.  I lost all sympathy for the character.  He was so annoying, I was disappointed he didn't die.  Totally different from the first one.