Welcome to my blog!

Yes, I’m an adolescent, but I’m definitely mature for my age. Hollywood always goes after my demographic by manufacturing crap after crap after crap and keep feasting on your money. Well I’m here to tell them that not everyone is so easily fooled. With my love of art and cinema I’ve decided to create a blog to share my reviews with you guys. I hope some of you can at least respect my opinions instead of ridicule them because I’m underage. So sit back and relax and enjoy my blog.

 

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BlacKkKlansman (2018) Review

Remember earlier in the year I completely tore apart Black Panther for its cynical, race marketing gimmick. Well that isn’t the case with today’s movie, BlacKkKlansman. Directed by Spike Lee, produced by Jordan Peele and starring Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman is based off of the true story of an African American detective, named Ron Stallworth, taking down the Klu Klux Klan in Colorado Springs in the early 70’s. In the movie, Stallworth (played by John David Washington) calls the leader of the local KKK on the phone, and uses fellow detective Flip Zimmerman (played by Adam Driver) to go under cover in their meetings. Together they plan to force the KKK out of their town. Let’s start with the best this film has to offer, the acting is great. Driver in particular is fantastic as Flip, a Jewish man having to infiltrate the KKK. He plays it the way you’d expect it to be. He’s very believable, even when he’s supposed to be an undercover cop, he’s still convincing. Washington is also great as Stallworth, basically being the bridge that tries to bring both sides together, that being the police and black protesters. Stallworth also has a girlfriend in the film who’s president of a black protest group at Colorado State University. It’s mostly just a sub-plot compared to the main story. There’s also a lot of side characters like the stern police cheif, a racist deputy, a whole bunch of redneck Klansmen, and David Duke (played by Topher Grace). That’s right, Topher Grace from That ’70s Show plays the notorious grand wizard of the KKK. The score by Terence Blanchard is also notable, especially the main theme. Is it a tad overused, yeah, but is it good nonetheless, yes. I could talk a little bit more about the good stuff, but let’s just get into bad. Of course being based off of a true story and opening with the text “Dis joint is based on some fo’ real, fo’ real s—“, has to be accurate, right? But most of time, Hollywood fabricates information in order to sell their movies to widespread audiences. So there are plenty inaccuracies in this movie. For example: Flip Zimmerman wasn’t actually Jewish, Stallworth never revealed his identity to David Duke over the phone, and KKK didn’t burn any crosses over Stallworth’s time in the police force. I guess the inclusion of Flip being Jewish was an apology from Spike Lee for portraying them offensively in his earlier work, but that’s just a theory of mine. I also kind of think the portrayal of the Klansmen as rednecks was a bit stereotypical. Now before you complain, no, I do not support the KKK in any way. I think they’re a terrible organization that feeds off of hatred and racism. I just think that the film’s portrayal of them is a bit over the top. I mean they drink tons of beer, love shooting guns, dressing in flannel and blue jeans, sporting hunting caps and talking in southern accents. Then again, I don’t really doubt that many Klansmen act like that. Overall the film is a powerful piece of film and properly deals with the subject of race. Especially when they deal with the Charlottesville incidents of last year, and the scene where they talk about the film, The Birth of a Nation. Which I think is the best park of the movie. For those who don’t know, in 1915 legendary filmmaker D.W. Griffith made the silent blockbuster, The Birth of a Nation. A Civil War epic that portrays the North as the villains, and the South as the heroes. Meaning that in the film, blacks are criminal rapists and the KKK are our only saviors against the menace. It was so huge when it came out that even former president Woodrow Wilson screened it at the White House. BlacKkKlansman accurately shows the effects the film had on the public. It sparks the KKK to cause more violence on African Americans, and has influenced heinous incidents in the past. As explained in the film, the public was so inspired by the flick, that a lot of African Americans that were accused of a crime were given brutal and horrific punishments. The Birth of a Nation is clearly an outdated, racist movie, but its importance on film history is undeniable. BlackKkKlansman is a terrific movie that treats race as a serious topic, and doesn’t use it as a gimmick to advertise itself. And despite the fact that most of Spike Lee’s work is terrible, this is a genuine surprise.

So that’s my review of BlacKkKlansmen! I know I didn’t do a Retro Review but at this point I think you should probably know that most of my promises don’t mean that much. However, I’m back from my recent hiatus and am ready to do more reviews. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Twitter @BenSuey. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Review

Once again we must take a break from the mainstream blockbusters and indie art films to talk about a recent documentary about the life of Fred Rogers, otherwise known as Mister Rogers. I saw this at the beginning of July and am now finally getting around to reviewing it. We follow Rogers’ life from the beginning to the end of his long career. We see Mister Rogers as we’ve never seen him as before, a man with worries. He was so scared of politics and it’s effect on children and wanted to help them understand it. The show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was one of the few kids shows in history that truly understood children. It didn’t talk down to them and treated them with respect. It teaches dark themes like death, war, assignation, and other joyful subjects! All the while voicing these subjects through the various puppets on the show. I didn’t grow up watching the show, but I can understand the impact it must’ve had on generations. Besides the show, the documentary also talks about Rogers’ personnel life, his interactions with cast and crew members, the politics behind his subjects, and his brief adult variety show. I’m also glad they went over the parodies like Eddie Murphy’s Mister Robinson sketch on Saturday Night Live. It actually told Rogers’ thoughts on them. The only flaw I have with it is that it doesn’t really dive that much into Rogers’ life outside of his career. Like his childhood is mostly just skimmed over, and we were given vague info.  Besides that, the film is terrific. There isn’t that much to say about it really. It’s just a well made documentary that anyone can enjoy. Whether you grew up with the show or not.

So that’s my review of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?! My next post will be a Retro Review on a film that is now 20 years old. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Twitter @BenSuey. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Tribute to Steve Ditko

For this month’s Comic Book Corner I decided to pay tribute to one of the greatest comic book artists, Steve Ditko. On June 29, 2018, Stephen J. Ditko died of a heart attack at the age of 90. Born on November 2, 1927 in Johnstown, PA, Ditko spent most of his life to illustrating comics. The two most famous he did were Spider-Man and Doctor Strange for Marvel.

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Not only did he just work for Marvel, but for Charlton, and DC. Where he worked on characters like Blue Beetle, The Creeper, and The Question. His talent clearly showed in the panels of the issues. Bringing readers astounding visuals, especially in the Doctor Strange ones. I’ve just gotten around to checking them out and they’re pretty spectacular. Though he may be gone, he shall forever be remembered by us comic book fans alike. To close out this statement, I’ll show you some of his best artwork throughout his career.

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RIP Steve Ditko

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Opinions on Howard the Duck Comics

It’s been a year since I started this review blog! In that time span I’ve made over 70 posts, whether it being reviews on movies, TV shows, and our category for today, Comic Books! So to celebrate this blog’s one year anniversary, I’ll be going over the very comics of my favorite superhero of all time, Howard the Duck! Now you might be thinking “Why the Hell is your favorite superhero some anthropomorphic duck with possibly the worst comic book film adaptations of all time?”. I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. Throughout this review, I’ll be explaining why I love him so much. Please don’t take that as a statement on beastality! We have plenty to go over so let’s dive in! In the 70’s, comics were going through the Silver Age, a time where they were starting to get more adult and deal with darker themes. A writer at Marvel named Steve Gerber was working on a comic called Man-Thing, and it was boring. It was just a clone of DC’s Swamp Thing, except with no personality. Gerber needed a hook in order to attract sales. Hmm, how about adding some wizards, demons, inter-dimensional wars, or how about a talking duck? Thus Howard the Duck was born as a visual gag in the corner.

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Howard’s backstory involves him coming from a dimension called Duckworld, where everybody is an anthropomorphic duck. He gets sucked out of his world in order to combat an inter-dimensional demon named Thog. Even though he was just a side character with very little to do, fans fell in love with him for some reason. But someone who didn’t was the Man-Thing editor who demanded that Gerber kill him off in the next issue. He did so and a nerd outcry ensued. Because of the backlash, Howard was brought back for a couple of annuals before finally getting his own solo comic in January of 1976.

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In those comics, we follow Howard’s adventures as he is thrown into the world of humans, or “hairless apes” as he calls them, and is forced to adapt to their society. Along the way he comes across a human friend, named Beverly Switzler, and a bunch of colorful baddies. The comics shine most at their social satire. Like making fun of religion, media, social norms, and other Marvel comics. I’ve read several comics from the time that are the same “villain of the week” storyline over and over again with nothing different. This is a nice change of pace as it feels as though it goes it’s own way. There’s a lot of stories here that other comics wouldn’t think to do at the time. There are some issues where Howard just takes time to think instead of just constantly fighting villains, making him more complex. Howard is funny and kind of relatable, despite the fact that he’s a talking duck. You really get to know his character, which is just a device for Gerber to express his political beliefs through. Howard has gone into other dimensions, been put into an asylum, ran for president, turned into a human, became a circus freak, exploited on TV, learned Quack Fu, and has fought an onslaught of villains. These include a giant toad, a vampire cow, a mind controlling eggplant from outer space, a crazy, old, kidney-obsessed lady; a religious nut, a mutated bubble monster, a Frankenstein gingerbread man, a secret, orange-headed organization that loves to censor things; and his arch nemesis, Dr. Bong.

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A genius who after losing his hand at a rock concert, becomes a bell-headed, mad scientist who performs experiments on animals, making them more human like in their appearance. Naturally he wants Howard, but also desires Beverly due to a past crush at college. He becomes a recurring character as he keeps Bev at his castle while Howard escapes to New York City. He believes that in order to fully earn Bev’s heart, he has to kill Howard, resulting in may ongoing confrontations between the two. I guess I should now talk about the relationship between Howard and Bev. I know it sounds awkward that the supposed love interest is between a human and a duck, but it’s not that bad. They never truly fall in love, they’re just friends who may love each other, but it’s never explored…for a good reason. Unlike the dreadful film adaptation where they wanted to sleep with each other after meeting. Besides Bev, Howard has also made allies with Bev’s uncle…who’s also named Beverly apparently, a male artist who’s also a sleepwalking vigilante, a young woman with a speech impediment named Winda, a powerful wizard named Dakimh, a barbarian from another dimension named Korrek, and a Vietnam Vet repairman who thinks he’s Tony Stark. Howard has also teamed up with other Marvel heroes like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Hulk, Man-Thing, Jennifer Kale, Daimon Hellstrom, and…KISS of all things. The comics have a great sense of creativity, not just in the writing but in the artwork as well. Though there have been a lot of artists in the original issues, the best was Gene Colan, who’s work managed to make the world come to life and has that Silver Age look to it. Eventually Marvel got sued by Disney over the design of Howard the Duck resembling Donald Duck. You see, in foreign releases of both HTD and DD comics, they were both called the same thing. So because overseas markets didn’t do their research, there was a lawsuit involved. Howard’s design was changed and nobody at Marvel seemed to care, except for Gerber. Gerber was the kind of person who wanted no one laying a finger on his work, so the lawsuit really pissed him off. When he later claimed that he owned the rights to HTD, Marvel fired him and he was kicked out of the writing process for the HTD comics and newspaper strips. So what happens when the one person who made the comic great to begin with is removed? It becomes a crappy magazine with no talent behind it!

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The magazines were, how do you say, sleazy garbage crapped out by hacks. Because it can be more adult, means you can be a lot more dirty and foul, even at the cost of raping a beloved character’s dignity. The jokes go a little something like this, “Hey, why don’t we do a joke where Howard has to take a physical and he sees a bunch of naked dudes?”. Yep, it’s pretty bad! Because of the decrease in quality, the magazine failed and fans were turned off. It seemed as though HTD comics were over and it was back to being a character in the background. That is until Gerber came back in the 2000’s and redeemed Howard once and for all in the Max comics!

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Gerber’s return to HTD was very welcomed by Marvel and for the last comic he ever wrote, it’s kind of sad. This time using more adult themes properly and keeping the original spirit of Howard the Duck. In the last issue, Howard has a talk with God, yes, the God; and they discuss what being a creator feels like. Basically a reflection of Gerber’s history with his creation of Howard and finally letting it go. A couple years later, Gerber passed away at age 60 on February 10, 2008. Despite Gerber’s untimely passing, Howard still lives on. There have been many comic book revivals of HTD over time, but none of them being too successful as the original issues. Now he’s owned by the company that had a lawsuit over him 40 years ago. The most recent comic book appearance by Howard was a 5 issue team up with Deadpool called Deadpool the Duck.

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Which I have read and I think it’s kinda funny, but not as good as Gerber’s work. And Howard has made his fair share of film appearances as well. He had cameos in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and had his own crappy solo film back in 1986, which I may or may not go over in my next Retro Review. So now I hope you’ve figured out why I love Howard the Duck so much, if not then…sorry.

So those are my opinions on Howard the Duck comics! Glad I managed to squeeze this out before the month is over. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Twitter @BenSuey, ya magnificent hairless apes! This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

 

 

Kubrick-athon Part 2

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Barry Lyndon (1975)

Out of all the films I viewed for Kubrick-athon, this was the one I knew the least about. I didn’t know the plot, the characters, it’s release date, or even the novel it was based off of. So it was kinda pleasant watching a film with no prior knowledge and seeing how it goes. For the most part it’s a really good movie, great cinematography, direction, acting, plot, sets, costumes, lighting, score, etc. The plot follows Barry Lyndon (played by Ryan O’Neal), a young Irishman who lies his way from peasant, English soldier, Prussian soldier, spy, and husband to a rich, entitled woman. The plot has a mind of it’s own and takes its time to develop the character.  Being the longest Kubrick film at a runtime of 3hrs and 23m.  However, it never feels as though it’s too slow, there’s enough stuff going on to keep your attention. Our protagonist is such a fascinating character, he can be a charming man or a drunken slob. He’s almost dislikable as he’s a liar, cheater, adulterer, and child beater.  But it’s just so intriguing to see his life go by. The highlights are the gun duels, especially the one at the end. The film is competently made, especially shown in its lighting techniques.  In order to feel as though you’re in the 18th Century, the lighting is comprised of candle light.  The costumes are also very authentic to the times, winning it an Oscar. Some critics have said that O’Neal’s performance has no depth on screen, which I can agree with. Overall, the film is very well made and I think is one of the best films of the 70’s. Though panned by some critics upon it’s release in the U.S., the film would go on to win 4 Oscars and was nominated for 3 other categories. Definitely check this one out when getting into Kubrick’s work.

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The Shining (1980)

Now we’re at probably Kubrick’s most iconic film, the one that terrified audiences and spawned many theories. Based on the novel by Stephen King, The Shining centers around  a man named Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) who is given the job of the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel up in the Colorado Mountains. Along with him is his wife Wendy (played by Shelley Duvall) and his telepathic son Danny. A harsh blizzard sweeps up the land, but that seems to be the least of their problems as several hauntings keep occurring. The acting is top notch here, especially from Nicholson. You truly believe he’s going crazy, and when he snaps it’s almost terrifying to watch. The improvised scene where he breaks down the door and says “Here’s Johnny!” is one of the most memorable sequences in all of cinema. Duvall also does a great job as the broken housewife. Apparently Kubrick stressed her out on set in order to make her performance more believable. I kinda think it was worth it because in the end it was nailed perfectly. Danny was also well performed as well, he could be creepy and innocent. Though I will admit I kinda thought his voice sounded a bit annoying when he shouted “Redrum!”. There’s just so many memorable, scary visuals in this movie. Like the dog man, the elevator of blood, the twin girls, the ending photo, Nicholson’s creepy face, and many more. The eerie music also helps make the film scary as well. Speaking of which, the score was done by Wendy Carlos, who also did the soundtrack for another Kubrick movie, A Clockwork Orange! And just like any Wendy Carlos album, it’s impossible to find a copy digitally, but there’s always Vinyl! The cinematography is also fantastic as well, being one of the first horror films to utilize the steadicam. Just like any Kubrick movie, there’s always theories about it. There are so many theories that there was even a documentary about it, Room 237, even if it’s full of crazy idiots. The best theory is that the film is about the genocide of the Native Americans. There are Natives in paintings, on products, the main theme has chants in it, and there’s a line saying how the Overlook Hotel was built on a Native burial ground. There’s also references to the Holocaust as well, but I won’t get into that. Stephen King panned the movie for being unfaithful to his book, though I personally think that was a smart move on Kubrick’s behalf. As seeing how the more direct adaptation of the 1997 TV miniseries went, I think he made the right decision. Overall the film manages to be scary and is one of the best horror films of all time, up there with The Exorcist and Psycho. It’s sad because a film like this could never be made today. Audiences nowadays are so hardwired to crappy, CG, jumpscare fests that it’s hard for a more intelligent horror movie like this to fit in. But the film is still good, no matter what.

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Full Metal Jacket (1987) 

30 years after Kubrick made his epic, anti-war film, Paths of Glory, he’d make another war based film that’d be more brutally honest called Full Metal Jacket. A Vietnam War film that was praised for it’s brilliant first half, and sort of for it’s second. We follow our protagonist, Pvt. Joker (played by Matthew Modine), as he’s drafted into the Vietnam War and we chronicle his life from bootcamp with his hot headed drill sergeant, Hartman (played by the late R. Lee Ermey), to his time in Vietnam as a photographer. The best part of the film is the first half in bootcamp. Ermey’s improvisation as Sgt. Hartman is so great that when anyone thinks of this movie, they immediately go back to his performance. Another performance everyone remembers is Vincent D’Onofrio’s as Pvt. Pyle. He’s the weakling of the core who always screws up and everyone gets mad at him. At one point everyone holds him down and hits him with bars of soap. Just like Jack in The Shining, we see him go insane to the point where he talks to his gun and kills Hartman. The first half is easily the best part of the movie, it mixes comedy, drama, and horror and gives us memorable characters. Then when you get to the second half, while still good, can’t compare to the first. Pvt. Joker goes to Vietnam and meets up with his old bootcamp buddy, Pvt. Cowboy and his platoon. There’s a theory that the platoon is actually a reflection of the one at bootcamp, due to them sharing the same number and the similarities between Pvt. Pyle and the gun wielding Animal Mother (played by Adam Baldwin). A lot of Kubrick’s movies have hidden depth in them, many of them require analysis in order to discover, but here they just spell it out. Like how the relationship between the Americans and Vietnamese is like the one between the Whites and Native Americans. There are subtle hints at it, but it’s completely spelled out in the scene where they’re being filmed on the battlefield. I would have been fine if we just saw Pvt. Joker’s peace sign pin with his “Born to Kill” helmet, but they stopped to explain it twice. Overall the film is great, the first half is fantastic, while the second half lets you down just a little, still is great.

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Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Finally we have Kubrick’s last movie, Eyes Wide Shut. The Blu Ray I have of this movie didn’t work too well, it would come to a certain point where’d it started to glitch. Luckily it is available on Netflix, so I was able to watch it. Bill and Alice Harford (played by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) are a couple who’s relationship is starting to crumble. Once Alice reveals that she has sexual fantasies of another man, Bill is furious and wants to get back at her. So he sets out to find a sexual experience and comes across a cult. Once he is discovered though, he ends up putting his family’s life in danger and might have cost another one in the process. Now I know I have been rather harsh on Cruise, for obvious reasons of course. Cough, The Mummy, cough! But he can be a good actor when he has something to work off of, here he does really well and is very convincing, though you’ll never refer to him as his character’s name. Nicole Kidman is great here as well, the scene where she breaks down while talking about her dream is such a shocking moment, and her acting helps make it that way. I guess the part I really should talk about is the cult scene. It’s the best part of the movie, and everybody remembers that the most. It’s such a creepy scene, the masks, music, and chants just give you a sick feeling in your stomach. When Cruise gets caught and is led to the main room, when you see the crowd just staring at him in those haunting masks, you immediately feel nervous about what’s going to happen to him. There’s a theory that it’s all about the Illuminati and since the film was too revealing, they murdered Kubrick before anything else could be given away to the public. Seeing how Kubrick wasn’t finished with the final cut of the film. I honestly never take Illuminati theories seriously and have always seen them as mumbo jumbo. Going back to the movie, the twist about the women’s death and what happened at the party, while I’m not gonna spoil it, is very surprising and catches you off guard. The lighting and cinematography is good here, just like the other films I’ve reviewed on Kubrick-athon. Sometimes it’s reminiscent of Barry Lyndon, with the shots of the Christmas lights being the only light source. Oh yeah, this takes place around Christmas time. Isn’t this what you think of when you think of Christmas, marriages falling apart, satanic cults, how jolly! Overall the film has great acting, lighting, cinematography, etc. Kubrick would go on to say this was his best contribution to film, which I do disagree with. But it’s sad, because he died of a heart attack four months before the film’s release. Though he passed away at age 70, his legacy still lives on. He has inspired many filmmakers, and his movies are still masterpieces.

So that’s Kubrick-athon part 2! Maybe I’ll do a part 3 where I’ll go over his early work like  Spartacus, The Killing, etc. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Twitter @BenSuey. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Kubrick-athon Part 1

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Lolita (1962)

Kicking off our list is the controversial film about an old man lusting for a teenage girl. Stanley Kubrick at this point was coming off the heals of films like Spartacus and Paths of Glory, both of the starring Kirk Douglas. This is the movie that synonymous with being an arthouse risk taker. The plot, like I said earlier, is about a professor named Humbert (played by James Mason) moving over from Europe to America. While looking at a house he comes across a adolescent girl named Lolita (played by Sue Lyon). Humbert’s lust for Lolita drives him mad as he causes Lolita’s mother (played by Shelley Winters) to kill herself, drags Lolita all across the country, and constantly keeps a close eye on her. The film is competently made with great acting, a good score by Nelson Riddle, and a unique plot. It has that stamp of classic cinema on it, from the black and white, the music, and the performances. It’s weird seeing this seemingly innocent style clash with a dark plot. The film is basically an analysis of human behavior, and how far sexual urges can drive a person, or at least that’s what I got from it. It was even nominated and won some awards, including one for actress Sue Lyon. The best performance definitely goes to Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty, a genius playwright who Lolita has a crush on. Sellers was such a great actor and some believe his involvement in the movie was the main reason it sold tickets. I genuinely felt bad for the mother character, she puts up with Lolita’s crap, lost her past husband, then gets remarried to Humbert who has the hots for her daughter, and then dies. My only problem with the film being that it feels like there’s a little restraint in some scenes. I know you have to be careful with a subject like this, but I feel like there was some stuff that wasn’t expanded upon, as if it was missing. It turns out that a lot of scenes had to be cut or shortened due to complaints from Catholic foundations. Overall the film is probably my least favorite one on the blu ray collection, though that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

At the height of the Cold War, an angry brigadier general by the name of Jack D. Ripper (played by Sterling Hayden) sends his B-52s out to bomb Soviet Russia. The government officials at the Pentagon try to stop him, but he refuses to recall his planes. So it’s up to them, and the Russian ambassador, in the War Room to decide what happens next, take down the planes, or let the world be plunged into nuclear armageddon. This film is heavily known for it’s “grade A” satire of the U.S. in the Cold War. A very ballsy move for its time, though there were those who supported America and hated seeing it being portrayed like this on the silver screen. But there were those who absolutely loved it and laughed alongside.  Peter Sellers, just like in Lolita, is the highlight of the movie. It’s amazing seeing him do so many different roles perfectly. Obviously he’s the title character, Dr. Strangelove, but he’s also British, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake; and U.S. President Merkin Muffley. He also would have played the hillbilly pilot but couldn’t do a Southern accent to well, so that role was given to natural redneck, Slim Pickens. Sellers is so good in the movie that not only is every character funny, but I didn’t even know he was the president on my first watch. That’s how great he was! Interesting fact, the character of Dr. Strangelove, though being in the title, isn’t in the film for that long. He sort of plays an important part, but only has like little over 5 min. of screen time.   Dr. Strangelove isn’t even in the novel the film is adapted from, Red Alert. George C. Scott is also in the film as a gruff general named Buck Turgidson. Scott was another great actor and plays his part splendidly. I especially love his banter with the Russian ambassador, completely summing up America’s relationship with Russia during the Cold War. Though not having a dark and serious tone, the ending is actually a bit mean. The film literally ends in the world being destroyed by nuclear weapons. I like it, because I thought it was a very good point to end on and is better than the original ending. That ending would basically be a huge, glorified pie fight between everyone in the War Room, which I think would have been way too silly for the movie. Overall the film is very enjoyable to watch with its memorable and funny characters, great satire, and it’s guts to make a comedy out of a subject that everyone was crapping their pants about back in those times. And who can forget the classic line, “Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!”? Oh, and the film’s a metaphor for sex.

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 

I’ve never seen a film as breathtaking as this film, the sets, effects, and camerawork are all magnificent. There wasn’t a single moment where I felt bored or disinterested. The visuals are so astounding that I’m immediately entranced whenever I look at the screen. I would usually tell the plot by this point, but it’s a little hard to follow in this case. One moment where at the dawn of man where our species first learns how to use tools, then we’re in the fictional future of 2001 where men are investigating a strange asteroid on the moon, then we see a mission to Jupiter where the super computer named Hal 9000 goes rogue and starts killing the crew, next we jump to the last surviving crew member who makes it to Jupiter and goes beyond through a colorful vortex and sees his future selves, and yeah, it’s complicated. But I  don’t care because the film is so gorgeous to look at. The vortex scene just hits you with vibrant colors and beautiful visuals. Even when it’s just a space ship trying to land in a station, it’s so pretty. The use of Richard Strauss’ music also helps to give it that feel. The thing that ties the events of the stories together is a tall, iPhone looking machine called a monolith. The machine is sent from an unseen extra-terrestrial species to influence humanity’s use in technology. Whenever it shows up, we hear a creepy choir accompanying it that gives it this foreboding presence. The characters aren’t that memorable, apart from the super computer Hal 9000. He’s so creepy, even when he’s supposed to be friendly, that flat toned voice just gives him a nerve wracking presence. Spoilers, the ending where the survivor, named David, becomes the Star Child has always been up to interpretation. There’s a lot of theories about God, the aliens, and what the ending actually means. I kind of took it as the monolith made him the next step in our evolution. We see how it helps early man use tools and influences our interest in technology. Then again, that’s just what I got from it. There was a sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, but Kubrick didn’t do it, so I’m not gonna go over it. Overall despite it’s lack of a consistent plot, the film has great visuals, good acting, fantastic set design, and good use of music. A film that still holds up after 50 years.

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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Out of all the movies on I’m reviewing, this is my absolute favorite. The music, cinematography, sets, visuals, thought provoking plot, and a magnificent performance by Malcolm McDowell. In a sexualized future England, we follow Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell), a troublemaking teen who goes out at night with his droogs and breaks into houses, assaults old men, and get into fights with rival gangs. One night he accidentally kills a cat lady and is arrested. While in prison, he jumps at the chance to be a guinea pig in an experiment to cure criminals of their madness. Once he is out however, things seem to get worse for the newly reformed Alex, as he comes across bad event after bad event. McDowell’s performance is the highlight of the movie, he can be scary and sympathetic. In the beginning, he’s a wicked little punk who is disturbing to watch, but at the end he seems helpless and is tormented by the people he wronged, which makes you feel kinda sad for him. Few actors can pull that off well! A lot of people are disgusted by the nudity and violence, but that’s what makes the film so memorable. It doesn’t hold itself back and uses shock value to it’s advantage. After all, the film was some sort of warning about teenage delinquency and what the future may hold. It also betrays the future, British government as a corrupt one full of buffoons. Maybe reflective on the British or American government at the time. The theme is about how machine cannot alter human nature. The importance of evil in man is reflected upon the character of Alex. The film is very well paced and manages to keep your attention. Besides the disturbing parts of the movie, there’s also dark comedic aspects to the film. For example, you get a scene where Alex and his droogs break into a couples’ house and beat them.  The cinematography is well shot and eye-catching.  The sets and costumes look great and give the film such a 70’s look. It’s memorable and still looks unique to this day.  I love the music most of all, it’s  given me new found respect for classical music. Wendy Carlos, who also did the score to another Kubrick film we’ll get to in part 2, did the music for this movie, which is a bunch of techno renditions of Beethoven music. The main theme, The Funeral of Queen Mary, sets the film’s tone and is one of the greatest motion picture scores ever made. What is disappointing about the score is how rare it is to find an album of it. I’ve searched iTunes, Spotify, Youtube, and came up with barely anything besides covers. However, there are CDs, Vinyl records, and cassette tapes of it available on online stores such as Amazon. I could dive more into the controversy and the behind the scenes stuff, but I have to go over more Kubrick films. Overall this is a masterpiece and Kubrick’s best film, so I highly recommend you see this movie if you want to get into his work.

So that’s part 1 of my Kubrick-athon! Sorry if this one is too long, I want to really  talk about these movies without having to do separate reviews of each of them. I promise that part 2 will come soon, I know that I haven’t been to honest in the past, but just trust me here. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Twitter @BenSuey. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

 

 

 

 

Deadpool 2 (2018) Review

Hi guys, today were reviewing the most anticipated film of 2018, Solo: A Star Wars Story! Nah, like anyone went to go see that, no no, I’m going to review Deadpool 2. Possibly my most favorite super hero film of the year so far. It’s funny, the action is cool, the characters are memorable, but there’s some flaws I have to go over. So put on your red spandex and make your chimichangas, because we’re jumping right into Deadpool 2. By the way there’s also spoilers here too. The plot centers around Deadpool/Wade Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds) is mourning over his dead love Vanessa, who was killed when thugs broke into their apartment.  The X-Men take him in, send him on a mission to help a kid who’s named Russel who has the power to control fire and he’s out of control. After Deadpool discovers how abusive the orphanage the kid comes from is towards mutants, he shoots some of the employees and gets arrested along with the kid.   Over the course of the film, Deadpool and Russel kinda form a friendly relationship, which will help Russel’s violent behavior. However, it seems Russel has caused a lot more harm, as a time traveler from the future is out to kill him, his name being Cable (played by Josh Brolin). So it’s up to Deadpool, and a group of mutants with him called X-Force, to stop Cable from killing Russel. First things first, the comedy is still as good as the first movie. It’s slick and hits the marks like it’s supposed to. My favorite jokes being the Wolverine references, the after credits scenes, and Peter. The one scene that made me laugh so hard was when the X-Force Team jumps out of the helicopter and just straight up dies except for Deadpool and Domino. The plot can be kind of predictable, so having a scene like this caught everyone off guard. It’s also nice to see a movie that makes me have a good laugh, because a lot of modern comedies and other superhero flicks don’t have that witty type of humor. Either it’s painfully unfunny or badly timed, but this feels like a breath of fresh air. Deadpool is the same character as the last film, Reynolds is so perfect for the part that he steals the spotlight whenever he’s on screen. Brolin’s Cable, performance wise, shares a lot of similarities to his performance as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, but there isn’t a lot to take away from it. He’s got that serious tone in his voice and never cracks a joke, except this time he’s more broody instead of threatening. He’s just the straight man to the comedy. I do think Brolin was a an okay choice, he fits the character of Cable from the comics. Going back to the predictable plot, I knew that Deadpool and him were going to be enemies at first but later become allies at the end.  If you know comics, you’ll know that their best bros, it wasn’t a surprise when they came together. There was also Domino who I didn’t mind whatsoever. She managed to be entertaining and not annoying. I’m not astounded if there’s people out there who hate it that the character is black instead of white like in the comics, but you all know that I don’t really care unless the character is well written. Luckily she is and the actress they chose was great for the part.   I’m at least glad they didn’t take advantage of it in order to sell the movie like Ghostbusters (2016). And no, that  “luckily” statement is not a pun on her superpower being that she’s overly lucky.  TJ Miller and the cab driver were fine, the deposed X-Force characters were one note, the girlfriend Vanessa was also good, but the X-Men characters felt tact on. Though Colossus actually did things in the plot, Negasonic Teenage Warhead really had no point being there.  The studio was like “Well, people liked her in the last movie, so put in this one as well”.  Her girlfriend was just there to be there. But the character of Russel (also known as Firefist) was at times annoying, especially when he said lines like “Damn, it’s good to be gangster!”. Uggggghhhhhhh! The relationship between him and Deadpool, though cliche, was at least well executed. Russel teams up with fan favorite Juggernaut (also played by Ryan Reynolds), who’s only there because Reynolds loves him. He’s given no development outside of being huge and evil, but at least he’s miles beyond the obnoxious version portrayed in X-Men: The Last Stand. The action was as fun as the last movie, thought the CG effects look a lot more phony, with the good effects only going into Cable’s robotic arm. Plus the score is just a generic action movie score you hear in most action movies nowadays. I hate that, because if you’re going to have an epic fight scene, shouldn’t the music accompanying it be epic as well? It only takes away from what should be an awesome moment. Overall, Deadpool 2 is a good comic book movie with a lot of laughs, good action, and likable characters for the most part. I can’t really decide which Deadpool movie I enjoyed the most, this one or the previous one. I guess I like this one more.

So that’s my review of Deadpool 2! Now that this post is over I can now fulfill my promise of doing Kubrick-athon. So like always, stay tuned. Hope you enjoyed this review and follow me on Twitter @BenSuey. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

The ‘Nam #1-10 Review

Happy Memorial Day, to honor those who gave their lives on the battlefield, we’re going to review issues #1-10 of Marvel’s The ‘Nam. The ‘Nam was a pretty ballsy comic for the late 80’s. It dealt with the horrors of the Vietnam War, and the poor men who had to endure it. Keep in mind that most schools and parents wouldn’t teach kids of the war due to the shame that America lost a war that was a lost cause to begin with. But these comics helped to teach kids about it without adults having to explain it, which made it earn it’s place in comic book history. Now we’ve seen the Vietnam War handled in films and on TV, but how are the comics going to handle it? Well, let’s find out with The ‘Nam! Edward Marks is a young man who’s drafted into the Vietnam War and immediately experiences the horrors of war. Along the way he joins his platoon and meets his friends Mike, Crews, and his commanding officer, Sgt. Polkow. Through the first ten issues, we come across deaths, bombings, and lots of trauma. Despite being a form of entertainment, the comic is also very educational as well. The writer, Doug Murray, was dedicated to making this comic as historically accurate as possible. He himself was a Vietnam vet who frequently did tours of his post there. He’d insert stories that were based on real events and facts of life in the war. He’d use military codes, real settings, specialized weaponry, and documents of soldiers. He stated several times to his Marvel colleagues that he wasn’t doing a G.I. Joe or Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos type of comic, it was going to be as accurate as possible, as long as it didn’t go over the Comics Code. The heavy themes are dealt well in this comic. Usually when comics try to deal with adult themes, like comics around this time, they fall on flat on their faces. However, this comic does it perfectly and doesn’t feel like it’s talking down to readers. It knows how to treat source material like this and succeeds. The characters are just like the characters you’d see in a Vietnam War movie. You get an average joe who gets drafted into war and meets some colorful, one note soldiers along the way. You get the strict leader, the immature jock soldiers, and the best friend who will ultimately die so our protagonist can have motivation. You could say that’s spoilers, but come on, you knew he was gonna die anyway. They’re are two interesting characters however. One of them the first sergeant Tops, who’s become completely corrupted from being in the war. When you first meet him, it’s already established how greedy and slimy he is by showing how he’ll rank a soldier determined by if they bribe him or not. We learn later that he was once a wise and humble soldier, until the battlefield changed his mind. He’ll literally let his men die in order to get himself to safety. He’s always busting Sgt. Polkow’s balls to the point where he almost punches him. He’s fighting a war for his country and all he cares about is money, what a crook. In the end, he gets what he deserves. The other character I’d like to mention is a former V.C. turned Kit Carson Scout named Duong. He’s introduced in issue #7 and the whole story of it is centered on his life. Probably the first and only time a media portrayal of the Vietnam War to focus on the opposing side. We go over Vietnam’s history in war, starting with the time where Japan invaded to the current events of the story. We go over his life as a rebel who’s fought hard in order to restore his country’s freedom. All the while showing Vietnam’s constant struggle to be it’s own country. It’s sad because when it seems he has finally found peace and happiness, he’s forced back on the battlefield. Both of his wives have been killed, both by the Japanese and French; then later is forced to turn against the very country he has fought for for years. It’s sad to say the least, and gives us insight to the other side of the war. According to Murray, Duong’s story is apparently based off of other Kit Carson Scouts’ stories. I guess the last thing to talk about is the artwork by Michael Golden and Wayne Vansant. Despite having a dark tone, the artwork can sometimes be a little cartoony. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not badly drawn, and when it needs to be it fits the tone, but sometimes the character portions can just look too odd to go with the comic’s subject matter. For example, Tops kinda looks like Steve Harvey in some panels. But don’t let that make you think I hate it, because I don’t. Though The ‘Nam proved to be a success upon it’s release, soon sales started to drop. Of course Marvel tried to spark up sales by inserting popular heroes like the Punisher, but that didn’t work the comic was folded in 1993. It’s sad because judging from the first ten issues, this comic had a lot of potential,  it even won an award. Overall the first ten issues of The ‘Nam are really good. It was definitely provocative for the time and clearly had effort put into it. If you’re in the mood to get into some war comics, then I highly recommend this one.

So that’s my review of The ‘Nam #1-10. Stay tuned because I’ve got more reviews on the way. Hope you enjoyed it and happy Memorial Day. What else was I supposed to see today, go see Solo, ha! Also follow me on Twitter @BenSuey. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Kubrick-athon Announcement

I’ve realized that I haven’t done a retro review in a while. I was originally planning to review Little Shop of Horrors due to the movie party of it I attended last month, but I found out I didn’t have much to say about it. So I went to the next best thing, I would do a marathon of films from my favorite director, Stanley Kubrick in a two-part series that I’m calling “Kubrick-athon”! Now I know what you’re thinking, “Boy, for a guy who makes fun of cliches, he sure does follow the cliche of every film buff idolizing Stanley Kubrick as the greatest director of all time”. I am aware we hear that a lot, “Kubrick is the best director, no one can compete”. Except unlike other people who only take the word of mouth, I actually watch a person’s movies before I can determine they’re my favorite. That’s the case with good, old Kubrick! I’m not necessarily going to review his whole library of films, but only the ones that are featured on the blu ray masterpiece collection. Recently I bought a limited collector’s edition of Kubrick’s best films, plus some other neat stuff I tweeted about.

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If you’re interested in getting it, I’d say go for it because it’s awesome, but it will drain a lot of money out of you. Back to Kubrick-athon, I will be getting to that sometime soon and a new Comic Book Corner review I’m planning on releasing on Memorial Day. We’re going over eight movies spanning four decades, not counting the various documentaries that come with the collection. So keep in touch because part 1 of Kubrick-athon is on it’s way! This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.