Mars Attacks (The Card Series and Comics) Review

Admit it, many of you clicked on this post thinking I’m going to talk about the 1996, Tim Burton adaptation of Mars Attacks. Though I will have to bring it up here, I’m mostly talking about the very famous, very controversial card series from 1962 and comic series from later on.   We’re only three months in to this new year of 2018.  Yet a lot of things have happened so far. Stephen Hawking died, people think Black Panther is a masterpiece, students across the nation are protesting gun violence, North Korea is willing to negotiate the nuclear weapon crisis with America, the internet is battling the FCC over net neutrality, and The Shape of Water won the Oscar for best picture, yay! Who knows what else will take place this year? An alien invasion perhaps, probably not, but who knows? Yep, that’s gonna be my tie in for this one. That’s stupid, here I’ll think of something else. Let’s see here…uh…oh, the month we’re in right now is March, the French translation is “Mars”, like the planet Mars, like from Mars Attacks. There we go, bulletproof, or laserproof, whatever floats your boat. This is the word -for- word plot of Mars Attacks on one of the cards. “Planning to conquer the Earth, Mars sends flying saucers through space carrying deadly weapons. Burning the cities, the Martians destroy much of Earth’s population. The enemy then enlarges insects to over 500 times their normal size and releases them on the helpless planet. People go into hiding, knowing that death is the consequence if they are discovered by the creatures. Despite its losses, Earth launches a counterattack that shatters the Martians on their home planet, Mars.”. These cards would come packs of five, including a stick of bubblegum, in a small packet that looked like the thumbnail above. The story just seems like your typical alien invasion story, except these aliens are hardcore. When ever they’re doing something horribly violent, they go to the next extreme. They fry people at first, then freeze them, shrink them, then send their giant robots and ground troops to scout and kill any survivors, then enlarge insects to the size of kaiju. If you think flies are pesky now, imagine one coming at you Godzilla sized. Each card shows in bloody detail the terror the Martians infringe on humanity. These martians are so cruel, that they even  blast a puppy in front of its kid owner’s eyes. That is mercilessly brutal. The Martians’ design is unique and frightening at the same time. The skull faces, the big brains, and their eyes red with murder. It’s inspired by past media, but manages to be it’s own thing. The artwork in general is really good. It’s very associated with the decade it came out in. It certainly has a lot of imagination and bloodlust. The artwork was done by Len Brown, Woody Gelman, Norman Saunders, and Bob Powell. The cards would show a picture with a caption on the front, then tell a short story of what’s going on in the picture. No surprise that with a card series like this, mostly marketed towards kids, parents became outraged. When you have cards like this:

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and this:

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and also this:

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you’re bound for controversy. Besides the graphic violence, there were also cards that would show the Martians kidnapping young women. The original sketches would show the women with skin showing, but Topps, the company producing the cards, told them to make the designs more tame due to the vast amounts of complaints from parents. Adults complained so much that many stores were banned from selling it, teachers would force students to write angry letters to the writers, and they even couldn’t use the Topps logo and instead had to go under the fictional name of Bubbles Inc. in order to avoid lawsuits. It wasn’t just in America either, the UK banned the trading cards because of one that displayed Parliament being attacked by the Martians. How did the creators react to all of this outrage, they shrugged it off. Yep, they acknowledged it, but didn’t really care. Topps, cared though. Though they did let the creators, that being Len Brown, Norman Saunders, and Wally Wood; get away with a lot of things, they eventually pulled the plug on Mars Attacks due to the public outrage and demands from a Connecticut district attorney. The series lated only lasted 55 cards and was discontinued after their short run. It wouldn’t be until the 80’s when the series started to gain a cult following did it return. The series hit a big high in 1984 when Rosem Enterprises issued the original 13 repainted cards, and former baseball card dealer, Renata Galasso ordered a reprint of the original 55 cards. Later in the decade, Topps would adapt the original cards into a comic with the aid of Pocket Comics. Unfortunately, the mini-comic didn’t last long due to poor sales and distribution. Then in 1994, Topps re-released the original 55 along with 45 new cards. The series’ revival was so successful that Warner Brothers distributed a Mars Attacks film by Tim Burton that came along with novels and other merchandise. But we’re still saving that for later. Besides that, Topps would once again try to adapt the series onto comic panels. This is where we start talking about the several Mars Attacks comics that have been published over time.

 

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We already know that Topps’ first attempt to create Mars Attacks comics with Pocket Comics failed. However, these new comics managed to find a little more success than the past others. Some of the original creators returned like Len Brown. In some cases relatives of the original creators would take over, like Norman Saunders’ daughter, Zina Saunders. The comics for the most part do follow the tone pretty well of the classic cards. They’re mean spirited and clearly understood their demographic well. But just like the original series, it wasn’t meant to last long. In the 90’s there was a huge comic book crash where sales were going down the toilet. It was so bad that even some of the big dogs like Marvel and DC were struggling to bring in the numbers. Even before that the comics weren’t doing too good. I think the writers eventually found out that there’s not much to expand upon as far as the Martians and the amount of chaos they ensue. Some comics started to feel worn out and stretched too much. Where the original team knew where to take the story, the new writers couldn’t. Also the artwork started to take a huge nosedive over its short time. While the cover of the comic above looks good and strongly resembles the original cards, as pencilers were shifted around a lot, you’d get artwork that looks like doodles a fourth graders would draw on their notebook. What do you do when you’re out of ideas for a money-making property, combine with more successful properties. Topps Comics would usually crossover Mars Attacks with famous characters from Image or Dark Horse Comics. But the comic book crash put an end to that eventually. Once again, Topps halted production on Mars Attacks. Hope came again in 2012 when Topps celebrated the 50th anniversary of Mars Attacks. The original 55 cards were re-released again,  new cards were added, there were figures, costumes, and of course, new comic books. Topps gave the publishing rights for the comics to IDW. With new comics published, Mars Attacks was alive again. But once again, IDW’s writing team for Mars Attacks realized that there’s not much to expand upon with the story. Time for more crossovers! They faced the skull-faced Martians with the likes of Judge Dredd, the Transformers, Ghostbusters, KISS, Spike, and, I’m not joking here, Popeye. They were so desperate for sales that they threw in Popeye! Who would’ve ever thought to pit bloodthirsty Martians against a nasally, deformed sailer with an addiction to spinach? Well they did, and here’s the cover to prove it:

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I haven’t read any of them, but still I think the whole idea to crossover Mars Attacks with other properties is just desperate. The Mars Attacks franchise is alive and well. Just last year in 2017, Topps released even more cards in a sequel series called Mars Attacks: The Revenge. Proving that Mars Attacks will last a long time. If you want other violent card series’ outside of Mars Attacks, than check out its sister series, Dinosaurs Attack!. Which is actually more gory and mean spirited, yet never got any controversy. Showing clothed, young woman is bad, but showing dinosaurs eat kids out of a school bus like packing peanuts gets a free pass? What is wrong with people? However, if there’s one thing Mars Attacks taught us, is that kids are not happy, nice, little snowflakes of joy.  Instead, they’re bloodthirsty monsters that love seeing people get blown to bits.

So that’s my review of the cards and comics of Mars Attacks! Sorry if this goes into a lot more detail than usual, but having to cover a topic like this requires a lot of research. Most of the information I got was from a book called Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection that was released in 2012. Which contained the classic 55 cards, bonus cards, original sketches, and information on the creators. If you’re interested in knowing more than purchase it on Amazon or any online shopping site. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Oh right, I was supposed to talk about the Mars Attacks movie. Just watch the Nostalgia Critic’s review of it which is basically my thoughts on it also.  Maybe I’ll do a full review on it someday, but who knows? I’m out, peace!

 

 

 

 

 

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Woody Woodpecker (2018) Review

Sigh. You read the title right, I’m reviewing the live action adaptation of Woody Woodpecker. No, I’m not being held against my will, I decided to keep my blog updated. Since my last review was going over a movie nearly everyone is talking about (that being Black Panther), now I ‘m going over a film nearly nobody is talking about. I saw the ads and found it while browsing on Netflix, and then decided to review it. But while watching it, oh God I can’t bring myself into saying it. But I have to. Here’s the plot: a stereotypical, rich oil tycoon wants to build a new house in a forrest the Woody Woodpecker just happens to inhabit. Along with him is his, I think, fiancée (played by discount Selma Hayek) and his son from his ex-wife who now he has to bond with after the divorce and blah blah blah, cliched story. That’s not enough, we also have stereotypes, predictable humor, random music videos, and a poorly rendered CG bird. Yep, it’s another one of those reboots with CG cartoon characters interacting with live action counterparts that have more screen time than the title character. Woody Woodpecker is a character I never found funny. He causes trouble, slapstick ensues, and he does his annoying laugh. I’ll tell you who does love him, however, Brazil, seeing how it’s the only country to receive a theatrical release in. For everywhere else, direct to video. Even the cover has it written all over it. What about the film’s Woody Woodpecker? He’s obnoxious as hell! His voice is annoying, he’s poorly rendered, and never shuts up. He gets his own rap song and, because this is a lazy kids movie, mostly burps and farts. That’s what the majority of the humor is in this movie. Not only that, but he kinda, horribly injures people. We obviously get scenes of the bad construction workers tearing down the forrest, and Woody has to defend his home. He doesn’t just pull simple pranks on them, he possibly murders a lot of people. He dumps cement on them, electrocutes one guy, and even goes so far to literally blow up the RV with the fiancee in it. Dude, Woody is a psycho! So, the father is having a huge conflict with Woody,  he hires two redneck stereotypes to take him down. They are the quintessential redneck stereotype. They laugh like hillbillies, wear filthy clothes, have ugly teeth, and love to shoot animals. They may be cliched, but they’re trying to kill Woody, so they earn my support. Speaking of cliched, there’s the sub plot of the dad trying to reunite with his son after a failed marriage. It goes the way you expect it to go. The son doesn’t want to talk to his father, then he befriends the bird, then they start to get along, but then the falling out point happens where they don’t get along anymore, then something happens in the end to bring them back together. Now that we’re on the son, he’s just they way you think he is. He’s an outcast who loves music, and knows that nature is great and his dad shouldn’t destroy it. He even finds other forgettable outcasts to form a band. Their band is called something generic, but I think they should be called “The Autotunes” because  there is a lot of it. The funny thing is the son can’t even sing, even with the advent of autotune. They like to jam to a formulaic rendition of Bird is the Word even when their electric guitar is clearly not plugged in. The film often gets interrupted by these music videos that only makes the run time of this pile of crap longer. I remember looking at how far I was in when I saw I was at least 20 minutes in and 1hr left. Why does this film need to be over 2hrs long? Was this originally some kind of method the CIA would use to torture terrorists if they refused to cooperate? Did a Universal exec say one day “You know what, let’s sell this to kids!”. I think that might actually be true. Anyway, the rednecks appear at the beginning then immediately disappear, then they briefly show up again to discover what species Woody is, then disappear again only then to reappear again to become the film’s main villains. The father wants them to take down Woody, this results in scenes of them setting up traps to capture Woody. The jokes become so predictable at this point. They have a setup where they’re trying lure Woody into perfect range to shoot an electric net at him and a camera to document it. Immediately I said “Woody is gonna trick one of them into getting hit with the net and getting a hilariously wacky photo on them. I was 100% right. Also in that scene, Woody confuses a poorly made woodpecker statue for a real woodpecker and starts hitting on it. The film clearly shows that Woody is intelligent enough to know how to outsmart the human characters, yet later in the film he starts becoming an idiot. Besides that, he easily gets manipulated by the father, clumsily burns down the father’s unfinished house, and then gets effortlessly captured by the rednecks even though we saw how hard it was for them to capture Woody before. Another joke that grained on my nerves was when we see Woody eating all the snacks (which is obvious product placement) and remakes joke about being a sellout. SCREW YOU, MOVIE!!! You have no right to make a sellout joke when you yourself are a huge sellout! God, do I loathe this movie, and there’s still more stuff to talk about. If the redneck stereotypes aren’t enough, we also get bully stereotypes. They’re the most pointless characters in the movie. They show up to pick on the son, Woody swoops in to stand up for him, and they run away. They never, ever show up again. I thought maybe they’d come back to sabotage the son’s band at the carnival concert, but no. Why are they even in the movie if they don’t leave any lasting impact? However, they do give us the funniest scene in the movie. When the son asks them if they should be in school (why aren’t you then), and they respond with saying that they were expelled. That’s hilarious! Not because of anything that they said, but the fact that the films wants you to believe that two kids were expelled from a modern, American public school. That’s just ridiculous. Then you get jokes that most kids won’t understand. Like after the son’s performance at the carnival, Woody makes a groupies joke. You know, for the kids! He also make one of the rednecks eat his feces in that scene. But knowing the large amount of kids on the internet, they’ll probably get it. There’s also a reference to A Few Good Men. Little kids will totally get that reference. Sure the “I want the truth!” line is iconic, but I guarantee you most kids don’t know about the movie. You might say it’s for the adults in the audience, but what adult would actually be invested in this movie? I just want to wrap up this review, so I’m gonna talk about the ending. I’m going to bring up spoilers because I highly encourage you all to stay away from this movie. Woody is captured by the rednecks and put in a cage that he could easily slip out of but won’t. Probably because the film just wants to keep torturing me. They’re going to sell him on the black market, via bad photoshopped Skype chat. The son and his friends want to help Woody escape. They come up with the brilliant plan to pretend they’re bidders. Oh yeah, the rednecks have never seen you before, you know with you literally being the son of the man who hired them to capture Woody. Surprise, they get caught and captured, as well as the father and the park ranger. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that she’s in this movie too. What a memorable character! Anyway, everyone gets captured as the father makes an attempt to free Woody with THE REDNECKS STANDING RIGHT BESIDE THEM!! Are you kidding me! Whatever, the father manages to free Woody and he attacks the rednecks. The police eventually arrive at the rednecks’ rundown barn where everyone is at, but the rednecks manage to get away with enough time to make a run for the Canada-American border. When they almost cross the bridge, Woody catches up to them and blocks they’re path. But he really doesn’t, the rednecks just stand there scoping for Woody when they have an ample opportunity to get over the border. This film is like a zit that keeps popping up to annoy you. Alright, I’m almost done, let’s just finish this. Woody gets the drop on the rednecks, they’re arrested, the father and Woody make amends, and the film ends in Woody smashing the father’s property again. DONE! My God is this film dreadful, I’ve seen a lot of bad reboots of famous cartoon figures, but this has to be the worst out of all of them. It’s stupid, obnoxious, predictable, needlessly long, has forgettable characters, bad effects, bland music, and makes you want to die! Don’t see this movie, don’t even watch the trailer! Everything about this movie is horrendous! Reviewing a film on this caliber needs to be documented more than just writing it down. I took the pleasure of recording my reaction upon finishing this flaming turd of a movie. I was going to show it on my blog, but I have a crappy plan with WordPress, so I’ll be releasing it on my Youtube account of the same name. The video will come up shortly, I just have to make a few edits and it’ll be set. Maybe I’ll add in the link to this post after I release it. The reaction I had in the video was very accurate. I felt my brain snap while watching the movie. I’d have random outbursts and I took so many notes on my phone that my storage was completely full afterwards. I also thought about stuff like “Why am I watching this?”, “Why am I here?”, “Is there a meaning in life?”, and many more. By the time I finally finished watching it, I felt the need to smash every object beside me.  Just thinking about the film is giving me a massive headache. It feels like my brain cells are all dying simultaneously. Is this film making me…dumber? Ohh God, my head! Ahh, brain hurt, film bad. Make me want to take dump on film. Making…brain…stupid. Don’t…know…keyboard. Can’t…engrish. hfgdhsjgGDHSldflhdsdbsh;bd:Ggpudfudhagfughf’aghfghfd;gfdjahgkshgfkhhgfjhfghfjgfjg fhgfghfhgfjghfjfjhgjhjfhjhfjhfjghfjhgfhgurhiuieghriehruheihguiehgurighruehgghrutynn cbvneefnifhefehfeihggefgrtppoopisfunnyhdhshdjsdshjkjsfjjdkafhjdhdjfdkajhjfdkahfddfsfdfdfdfdgggyuiuopfhdhdgfhgfdhbhfhdbhrtbhhtbtbebytbytepeepooggnfjngfjgnfksgfjsgbfhgbfgfgfsdgfryetwarsbzcbcbbfhgtlkoporeojirt56470yrgr3bffhfrfhrue.bnbp;//rhgrgrq’g[q-thrqgr9q843475hfebddbbnbnbavXnnwdmdsfhdgfhdgfhdjsfhfncrynxxnryunxfgyuwnxfgfnvvywyriruhjw’;;;586575t’=gn/.,gjrghuuuyyshsxbxbbhdhsghgghghfhcncnruurtyr463-gj;orhflfmdfmdamfbjsmv vmfdmovbfhsmbvfvmfmhwmvbhfwmvfvmfhumvbhfuvmmfhbhmmfjhfjjhhdryteydbydcvzxbdwuyqreqoheiqfhiwqgfewoqgfoqgfeyqgfeoqgfeyoqfgeyqogeyfoqgfyeoqfgyegbchhjjhryryecjio;’.,bookofkookokokfkdokfoksdhisuestywbcvdhgdhjskbhdjhdhddduueuhdbdbbdehdbeytyyerooopdebhdbcghdueig39cry892 cfy8r fhshghrfbhrjsabcgfhdiebeubddbgedbgdegvcgeicmbcdoa[fp’fijp’fjp’jfjs’jfipjip’jivnneiwnncionchnhnchrchdghajgdhjagdhjagdajdgajgdjadg xgdhjaxnxdhjanxdghjaxndhaxndgajnxnxgakxngakxndgakxnaxnnndgeftsgsysywwoireriwwwwwwhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Black Panther (2018) Review

I just saw the box office crushing Black Panther, and it’s fine. Yep, nothing too special, just another Marvel superhero flick that’ll forget in a week. I bet you thought I’d come in saying that it’s one of the most important movies of all time, but nope, just another Marvel action movie. So why is this film getting so much praise? They’re people saying that this is a milestone and taught in schools, and these are actual reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.  People are getting political over it an saying that it will change the face of history…I’m sorry IT’S A KIDS FILM!!!!!! All of you are getting political over a film that is meant to sell toys! Before you argue with me on that, go into a Walmart, you know what don’t go into a Walmart, go into a Target and look at the toy aisles and see what’s there. I wish I could just talk about the film, but because of all you SJW idiots I have to talk about all the hype. I’m splitting this review in half. The first half is me talking about the film, and the second half we be talking about the hype around it. Now, let’s talk about the film itself. When the plot finally gets started an hour in, Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) is feeling the pressure of becoming king of Wakanda. Then a guy named Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordon) comes in and wants to take over the place. He has a diabolical plan to use Wakanda’s advanced technology to help all the poor, black citizens of the world to conquer…well, the world. The rest of the film is full of bad CG effects, forgettable characters, and replacing interesting ideas with generic fight scenes. I honestly can’t separate this film from other Marvel flicks. There’s nothing much to talk about, and when there is something that is kind of different, they throw it away for action scenes. For example, Michael B. Jordon’s character thinks Wakanda is selfish for hiding their advanced, scientific achievements from the outside world. Yet, he wants to use the technology for world domination. He’s right, but wrong at the same time. So, what do they do with this character, nothing. In the end, he’s Marvel bad guy #20. He stays evil lines, does evil things, and then is defeated by the hero. Black Panther is an okay character. Throughout the film, you’re supposed to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. However, you never really feel that. The film is so focused on action that you barely get time to have character development. Whenever the film has to bring up the pressure Black Panther feels, it’s like “Oh yeah, that’s something that’s going on”. Andy Serkis plays the terrorist Klaw, who’s Black Panther’s arch nemesis in the comics. I like Serkis, but he’s plays the character a bit over-the-top in the film. In the one interrogation scene with Martin Freeman (playing a CIA agent and does manage to pull off a decent American accent) he’s singing that song, What Is Love. I shouldn’t say singing, as much as shouting the lyrics. We also learn that he records mixtapes on Soundcloud. So, Klaw, who steals Wakanda’s advanced technology and sells it on the black market, is one of those bad internet rappers? Maybe that’s a lesson to young kids in the audience. See kids, if you record mixtapes on Soundcloud, you can end up like an over-the-top Andy Serkis performance. The rest of the pretty forgettable, except maybe Black Panther’s sister, who once in a while has a funny line. That is when she’s not saying cringey memes. We’ll talk about that later. A lot of people said that the world building of Wakanda is perfect. But really, it’s not perfect at all. Granted the idea of Wakanda sounds intriguing enough, but that’s directly taken from the pages of the comic books its based on. I think there’s only four locations they use in the whole film. There’s the throne room, the sister’s lab, one street, that waterfall they do fights on, and that’s about it. Great world building, huh? Screw films like Metropolis or the Mad Max movies that actually took time to set up the world they take place in. Here, you four locations and a couple of poorly rendered shots and boom, you have a terrific setting! Speaking of the effects, let’s talk about how bad they are. As you know, I’m generally unimpressed with CG effects. There is o much of it nowadays that it’s basically unappealing. Once in a while you’ll get something that slips through the cracks, but for the most part, it’s not fun to talk about about. I can safely say with this movie, it’s not so good. Nothing feels real, I can just see the actors looking at a green screen half the time. They blend a lot of colors with the sets that can look visually appealing, but when they just rely on CG, it’s not. I’m going to go into spoiler talk, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to see its then skip down to my discussion of the film’s hype. During the second act, Black Panther is beaten in a duel with Michael B. Jordon and is thrown off a cliff. We’re supposed to believe that he’s dead, but the whole time I was like “Are you literally doing this cliche? I bet he’s really dead, he’s never coming back. I’m pretty sure I saw him in the trailer for AvengersInfinity Wars, but maybe I’m seeing things”. Guess what, it turns out he survived, shocker! There was one scene I want to talk about. A scene that has the worst symbolism in film history. Earlier, Black Panther and the gang walk into a club to try to stop Klaw from selling weapons there. When they come in, they go through a metal detector. When they go in, they’re all clean. When Klaw’s crew comes in, it’s going off. Get it, because they’re evil. Didn’t we already know that? There was a scene before showing Klaw steal artifacts from a museum. What was the point of that? I know it’s a small nitpick, but it kinda bothers me. I guess that’s all I have to say really. The acting is good for the most part. It is a rare case when a mainstream blockbuster actually features a majority-black cast and celebrates African culture, but for the most part, it’s nothing new.

Now on to the part I really want to talk about, the dumb hype around it. May I say that it’s a little hard to be a film critic in the 2010’s. I could care less if a film’s protagonist has a different skin color or gender than me. I only care if you write them well. Yet, to some people, the character race or gender are all that matters. There are several people who are only giving the film positive reviews based off of the ethnicity of the cast. That’s actually an issue with reviewing films nowadays. People trust in sites like Rotten Tomatoes to tell if a movie is worth seeing or not, and I’m one of those people. Reviews like that that are posted on the site are misleading, treating the film as if it’s a second coming of Christ. The issues I pointed out earlier make the film sound like another superhero movie. Reviews like those don’t represent true film criticism. It’s not as important as you think. For starters, this is not the first black, Marvel superhero flick. There was Blade with Wesley Snipes back in 1999. It must have found some success to earn two sequels. Before you say “But Blade is not a film for kids.”, I’ll make it perfectly clear, I’m talking about the kids in this case, I’m talking about the grown adults spewing this bull. If little kids can’t have a mature conversation about sex, then how can they have a good conversation about race. For those who say that the character of Black Panther will be a strong influence on the lives of black kids, your wrong. Why can’t parents just teach their kids about real historical figures, and not fictional characters. “But AC, parents won’t teach them because kids don’t care about real people.”. So, you’re basically saying we should never try, or attempt to teach kids about history and just hide it from them?  I won’t doubt that kids will play with the toys and dress up like him for Halloween, but eventually they’ll grow into an adolescent like me, and stop finding influence from fictional characters, but real people.  If you mean that he teaches black kids that they can get a main role in a blockbuster, than say the actor, Chadwick Boseman, not Black Panther. What does the character of Black Panther teach kids? To jump on cars in a cat suit? One more thing I must talk about is Disney’s claims that they’ll give 25% of ticket sales to charity. Ignoring the fact that 25% is a small portion of the box office profits in the scale of things, there’s one major problem with this film that everyone is overlooking. Disney is a corporation that is concerned about the bottom line just like all other businesses.  There’s nothing wrong with a corporation wanting money, that’s just business for ya, but it’s when people fall for the most basic tactics that it becomes annoying. The “suits” up in the Magic Kingdom must be drowning in dollars right now.  I doubt they care about all the poor children below the poverty line. So far, this tactic has succeeded. People are praising this movie for all the wrong reasons. If you think strongly backing this movie is the best thing to do in your time, then you’re honestly being manipulated by commercialism. Once again I have to say, it’s a kids movie!  There are so many other films to get political over, why this? I mean, the names of the villains are Killmonger and Klaw. Those are the same names you’d hear on a Saturday morning cartoon show. If that’s not enough, the film’s humor is so forced that they threw in a “What Are Those” joke. Are you serious? You’re calling a film that uses a tired and forced Vine meme to make you laugh is the most important film of the decade? If that’s still not enough, they even throw in a reference to that annoying pop song, Whip My Hair. Do you remember that one song that was kinda popular back in 2010?  You’re literally getting political over a film that tries so desperate to be a hit. You’re probably thinking “Why should I care” if I’m only here to review a movie?   Because if this is how we’re going to judge movies now, then maybe we’ll hit a dark age of film criticism. Where acting, editing, lighting, direction, effects, etc. will no longer be considered criticism.   If we can’t judge a movie by a movie’s standards, what’s the point of even talking about films? If you like this film, good for you. But if you only like it because the lead is black, then that’s the wrong way of watching a movie.

So that’s my review of Black Panther. I really hope this gets to some people. What do you think of this hype? Let me know in the comments below. I hoped I would just give this movie another average Marvel movie review, but people just have to be easily fooled by commercialism.   Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Why I Hate Romance Movies

Happy Valentines Day! Time to celebrate a holiday that mostly exists so that corporations to squeeze money out of gullible women, and nothing to do with the horrible execution of a saint named Valentine. YOU’RE ALL SICK!!! This holiday is mostly associated with romance. Which is my most least favorite genre. Before you go “Oh, your just a boy. Romantic movies are meant for girls.”. Yeah, is if I don’t get it by now. Also, boys can enjoy romance too, you sexist hypocrites! My reasons for hating romance movies are not because of my gender, but because it’s the most cynical, pandering genre known to man. Every year, there has to be a million romance movies released. Each one of them as bad the next. Distributors like Hallmark and Lifetime own a monopoly on these films. It’s the same plot, same characters, and no originality. In my Review of Romance Comics (And Why do They Exist?) post, I broke down the repeated storyline with romance stories. It’s widely known as the Romeo and Juliet story. Two lovers overcoming class just to be together, but ends up going wrong in the end. The famous, Shakespeare tale is often considered the greatest love story ever told, so it’s no surprise many studios try to emulate the same formula. Though it’s probably one of the worst love stories ever told. Juliet wants to forever be with Romeo, so why does she take the advice of a crazy woman telling her to fake her death? Oh yeah, nothing will go wrong by doing that. Oops, I guess Romeo thought I was really dead and killed himself over grief. Guess it’s time to kill myself for real now. This is widely considered the greatest love story ever told? I’ve seen better love stories on DeviantART. Many of these romance movies repeat this story and are made cheap, fast, and with little effort. On every Valentines Day, a lot of women drag their men to see these terrible, terrible movies. You should be like me, never give in to corporate greed. Anyway, I’ve never seen a romance movie as something other than a cash grab. Don’t be one of the those assholes that says “Every movie is a cash grab”. Oh, I didn’t films are only distributed to make money. There’s a difference between a film that’s made with effort, and a film that’s made only for money. Most of these romance movies are are effortless, cash grabs. Once in a while you’ll get one that actually has passion in it. Classics like Gone with the Wind and Casablanca are great movies that are categorized as a romance. But even some of the most popular ones have major issues with them. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was considered a classic for years. Nowadays, it’s seem to have lost that reputation. Do you want to know why? Because of the racist character played by Mickey Rooney. Every time he appears on screen, it slaps the faces of many cultures. No surprise that now in the SJW age, that performance has gotten panned. Now the film is no longer considered a classic because of that one racist performance. That’s another trend in these bad romance movies. Usually our bland, main female character has a friend that’s only there for comic relief. For some reason, the character can’t be anything but an offensive stereotype. It has to be either a sassy, black woman or a feminine, gay guy. They shout catchphrases and tell obnoxious humor. Even in modern romance movies, they still have the stereotypical friend. Why is it so important to have a character that will make people angry than laugh? Another example would be James Cameron’s Titanic. When this film came out, everyone went nuts. It won oscars, made a star out of Leonardo DiCaprio, and became one of the highest grossing movies of all time. But I don’t think it should have deserved that much. I’m fond of the technical aspects of the film. The scene where the Titanic crashes into the iceberg and starts to sink is very well done. Halls are flooded, everyone is going berserk, the ship splits in half, people are killing each other to get on the lifeboats, all while our main couple is thrown into the mix. Cameron and his crew worked hard to make it all work, and it does pay off for an intense, edge-of-your-seat climax. Can’t say anything positive for the rest of the film. It’s the same Romeo and Juliet formula with a mustache-twirling villain, on-the-nose commentary, clunky dialogue, and an obnoxious song by Celine Dion. For those who weren’t born yet when this song came out like me, it was the equivalent to the song Let It Go from Frozen. Yeah, that’s how annoyingly popular it got. So the the Romeo and Juliet formula has been done til death, are there any modern romance movies with another type of plot? Yes, but it usually ends up being even worse. Now, we are entering the pretentious realm. The two films that I really don’t want to talk about, but I have to. First is, sigh, the Twilight saga.

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Originally a series of horrible teen novels written by possibly the greatest hack writer of all time, Stephenie Meyer, was turned into a series of even worse films. The characters are emotionless, uninteresting, blank slates; the story is god awful, the effects make fan videos on Youtube look amazing, and it’s one of the most cynical movie series’ I’ve ever seen. I hate every second of every film. What else can I say about this that everyone who’s not a dumb teenage girl or a lonely mother has said about it. Enough said. But what happens when crapy romance novels written by a hack gets fan fic by a overly obsessive woman? You get the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Yeah, for those who don’t know, these crap romance novels are based off of crap romance novels. Who would have thunk it? But then what happens when what some people consider the most sexiest books ever get adapted into what most people the least sexiest movies ever made? You get the film adaptations of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.

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I know I’m not the first person to say that, but oh god is it ever so true. I recently read the text from the novels, and I can see why it’s popular. Just judging from these films with no prior knowledge of the books, you would be pondering the whole time about why people find the books hot. We focus on boring things throughout the film, then when there’s a sex scene it cuts away. With the recent installment in theaters recently, and judging from the abysmal reviews, there seems to be no improvement. Wow, I guess I’m basically done.

So that’s why I hate romance movies. Have any hate comments for me? Leave it in the comments below. Hope you enjoyed it and have a happy Spend Money Day, I mean Valentines Day. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Review of Romance Comics (And Why do They Exist?)

With Valentines Day approaching, and my promise to do a comic book review once a month, I’m going to look at a comic genre that I’m pretty sure many of you didn’t even know existed, romance comics!  We know that comics usually borrow from genre’s like action, horror, mystery, but never romance. I was surprised to hear that comics like these existed. I was even more shocked to find out that these comics have been around for decades.  Originally, I thought this was an experiment during the silver age of comics to branch out to other demographics. But these began in the late 40’s and didn’t lose steam till the mid 70’s.  Were these actually popular enough to last that long? Were teenage girls just flocking to comic stores to read the same generic love story over and over again? Apparently yes, they did. Then again, I guess some people may argue it’s more hot to see what’s going on than just reading it and imagining what it looks like. Plus, you can’t deny there’s small elements of romance in most superhero comics. In most stories, a love interest is what keeps the hero fighting.  Like Superman and Lois Lane, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, and Spider-man and his many disposable girlfriends. So, what happens in these popular romance comics? Well, the stories are no different than any corporate pandering, romantic movie. The stories go something like this: the protagonist is a young, single woman who looks around her late 20’s or early 30’s. She usually wants one thing and one thing only, some hunky man she faints over. She wants to just die in his arms, but something is holding them back. Maybe it’s family issues, or class, or he’s in a relationship with a mean chick, or she’s just too nervous to express her feelings to him. In the end, she gets the man, and they live happily ever after. Then there will be a quote which is supposed to sound poetic, but sounds like a pretentious kid trying to sound deep. For the most part, that’s the majority of the stories. It follows the same Romeo and Juliet story with the same main character with the same dilemma. They may change her hair, features, or race, but when push comes to shove it’s the same exact character. Of course being a comic genre that dates back to the 1940’s, you get issues that now would be considered politically incorrect like this:

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Need I say more? Like I said earlier, romance comics faced a rapid decline in sales in the mid to late 70’s. At this time, the Sexual Revolution began. Pornography was shown in more theaters, premarital sex became more common, and abortion was legalized. Romance comics felt very outdated compared to what was going on in the world at that time. This resulted in many comic book companies stopping development of them. They faded away and were completely forgotten by the public. Then later in 2003, Marvel was scoping for new talent to write their material. They did this through their more mature Epic Comics imprint. Some of the Marvel executives thought it would be a great idea to revive the old romance comics. Except make them a lot more mature. To revive a comic book genre that has been widely forgotten by most people, you got to have the right author/illustrator team in order to make a great story that could sell to a big audience. So, who they get? None other than the writer of the mean spirited Kick-Ass, Mark Miller! That’s right, for those of you that know Miller’s work (which is god awful) then you know how bad this comic is. So Miller was a bad choice, but did they get the right illustrator? Well, they did get Terry Dodson, whose artwork is mostly comprised of over sexualized versions of beloved, female superheroes. Now you have a comic that’s geared towards girls written by a violent hack and drawn by a pervert. What do you get? A whole lot of trouble from a comic that’s actually named, Trouble. 

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The story is god awful, I’m serious. It’s about a group of obnoxious teenagers working at a resort run by snooty no-it-alls. Along the the way they get into several dirty hijinks that would even make the writer of Porky’s blush. You get cringey dialogue, bad artwork, and forced in plot lines like one character getting pregnant. I want to take a moment to talk about how terrible the artwork is. There’s panels where characters look wonky. They sometimes look like their bones are bent out of shape and their faces are like poorly made dummies. It’s so bad that it wasn’t even on the covers. It would show something that was never in the actual comic, like this one with a photo of girls in bikinis: Marvel_Trouble_1

That isn’t even the worst thing about the comic. Apparently, the character’s names are May, Ben, Mary, and Richard. That’s right, they’re Spider-Man’s parents, as well as his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. I’m not kidding, this is really true! But wait, it gets even worse. Later in the novel May gets pregnant. She tells Ben about this and is afraid of her dad finding out about her pregnancy. May eventually gives birth to the baby and gives it to Mary and Richard so they can start a family. That baby’s name, Peter. If your a comic book fan with no prior knowledge of this novel, then you must be pissed right now. It’s bad enough to put Uncle Ben and Aunt May in situations like this, then you add a twist where it’s revealed that May is Spider-Man’s real, biological mother! Whatever, I’m done talking about this dumpster fire. And what an appropriate name for it because it flopped, only lasting 5 issues as well as killing Epic Comics entirely. The revival failed, and romance comics are now as obscure as an old radio show from the 30’s. The main question about romance comics is why did they exist? Do you want to know why? Because teenage girls are stupid and will fall for any generic love story no matter what. Okay, maybe that’s a little too hypocritical, I know not all teenage girls fall for this crap, but they are the main target. And it did last for three and a half decades, so I guess that’s true.

So that’s my review of romance comics. Sorry if I turned this into a mini review of a crappy comic book, but I basically summarized all of them. Plus, I got one more thing planned for Valentine’s Day, so still be on the lookout! Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

 

2017 Leftovers/Update

So I’ve been on a huge hiatus recently and I wanted to make a new post to update you guys on what’s going on. The reason I haven’t made a whole lot of posts recently is because I’ve been catching up on films I missed in 2017. Plus, I got stuff planned for Valentine’s Day, so I decided to quickly go over films from 2017 that I’m just now seeing. Without further a due, here are leftover 2017 films that I’ve just seen in 2018.

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The Post

Yeah, I’m talking about another Spielberg flick, get over it! The film tells the story of when  top secret U.S. government files on the Vietnam War were revealed to the public by the New York Times in 1971. When the government stops the New York Times from publishing more secrets, the files then end up in the hands of the then struggling news company, the Washington Post. There’s a huge debate over if they will publish the files and face imprisonment, or still keep it secret from the public eye. This is a tough decision for the company’s owner, Kay Graham (played by Meryl Streep), as she gets peer pressured by both sides. The film’s production was rushed, due to Steven Spielberg’s involvement on Ready Player One. Actually Spielberg had the script for years but didn’t know when to start production. Then Donald Trump started yelling “Fake news!” at the press, and he decided to finally put the film out. Obviously there’s a lot of talk in the film about free press and the first amendment of the Constitution . For a film that was rushed, it doesn’t feel that way at all. Spielberg clearly wanted to put as much passion in this as possible. There is some good tension in this movie. For example, Streep’s character wants to publish the files because she wants the public to know about their contents, but she’s friends with many people in the White House, and she doesn’t want to lose them.  Being a person who’s interested in history, it is shocking to know that many presidents knew the Vietnam War was a lost cause, they still sent young men to die there.  The acting’s great, especially by Streep and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee. There’s good camerawork and lots of heart put into this movie. I’d say check it out if you’re interested in this kind of stuff.

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A Ghost Story

You may not know it but I’m a big fan of Red Letter Media. I think they’re hilarious and  influenced me to start this blog.  When Mike Stoklasa said, ”  A Ghost Story was the best film of 2017″,  I decided to check it out. When I first sat down to watch it, I didn’t like the beginning.   It was very slow moving and would hang on shots for what felt like an eternity.  We hold on this one shot of Affleck’s widow eating pie while he stares at her in the corner as a ghost. Just cut already! I was getting worried that it’s gonna be like The Florida Project where everyone loves it, but it’s really pretentious garbage.  Thankfully, the film got better as it went on. There isn’t a lot of dialogue used in the majority of the movie.  Instead it relies on visuals and actions more than words. It pays off for the most part. The plot is about Casey Affleck’s character dying in a car accident and forced to roam his house as a spirit. He sees life quickly go by.  Watching his widow fall apart, then find someone else, a Latino family move in the house but get scared away by his temper tantrums, then he watches his house get demolished and turned into a high rise building.  I like the way the film portrays the passage of time.  Affleck walks into one room and sees the Latino family settling in, then walks into the next room and sees it’s Christmas. There’s a lot of neat visuals and interesting things to keep your attention. We find out that there’s another ghost in Affleck’s next door house who can’t remember who they were and what they were doing.  Just to show you how much it sucks being undead. Overall the film’s pretty good, despite the beginning.  Many people are turned off by how hipster the film looks. While there are hipster elements in there, it isn’t enough to keep the film down. Go watch it, but beware of the annoying holding shots.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Here’s a film that I thought wouldn’t get attention from mainstream audiences but somehow did. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a film that deserves attention. The characters have depth, the acting is good, and it’s really non-conventional. A woman named Mildred (played by Frances McDormand) is enraged by the fact that her daughter was raped and murdered and the Ebbing police force haven’t done a lot on the case. She buys three rotting billboards outside of town and posts comments on them taunting the police of their neglect on her daughter’s case. This proves to be effective because the town of Ebbing, Missouri begins debating about the three billboards. Chief Willoughby (played by Woody Harrelson) is plunged right into this dispute as he’s dying of cancer. There’s also Officer Dixon (played by Sam Rockwell) who often chooses violence over more peaceful techniques when it comes to police work.  When I went to go see this movie on Saturday night, the theater was crowded. I wondered if there was a new movie out that everyone wanted to see, but then I find out that all the seats for the movie were full. Why was this small indy movie getting huge numbers? Maybe because the way it was advertised it attracted the anti-police crowd?  But even then it was misleading for that matter. Sure the cops, for the most part, could be considered the antagonists of the film, but not many of them are bad people. Even our main character has big problems of her own. I decided to try seeing this film again the next day, which lucky for me was Super Bowl Sunday. Not many people were at the theater so it was easy to get in. However, I did hear an old man tap his leathery boot constantly throughout the film. So there’s something.  Back to the movie.  Peter Dinklage is a minor character in this movie who completely disappears. When he shows back up again it’s like “Oh yeah, he’s in this movie”.  Sometimes the film takes on the appearance of a dark comedy, but it’s mostly a sad drama. The performances by McDormand, Harrelson, and Rockwell are all terrific. It’s got emotion and always keeps your attention.  I’d say go see it, just hope you don’t run into crowds of annoying people like I did.

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Godzilla: Planet of Monsters

As you know I’m a huge fan of Godzilla. When I heard there was gonna be a Godzilla anime on Netflix, I didn’t know what to feel. I’ve never been a huge fan of anime. There’s some stuff I like, but I don’t like it too much. Maybe because the Weeaboo culture has completely ruined the experience to outsiders like me. I felt I had to watch this at some point, so I did. Like every other G fan, I thought it was “ehh”.  I do like how this is the only Godzilla movie that makes the monsters win and forces the humans to leave Earth, but that’s about it for the originality. I started to get flashbacks to Aliens when our characters go back to Earth. I mean these space soldiers land on a planet with hostile creatures and get into a war with all the creatures  except with Godzilla. Speaking of the big G, I don’t really like the look of Godzilla in this movie. It’s trying to look too much like the 2014 Godzilla, which I didn’t like either. Godzilla looks like a sad, old man just lumbering around, constantly drowsy and waiting to die. The combat scenes are nothing special. They attack him in their fighter ship-thingies and get struck down. Then they send another wave after him which also fails. Then they send another and another until they decide to just bomb him. Which, guess what, doesn’t work either. The animation is good. Yeah, that’s about all I can say about this one. There’s supposed to be a part two, but I may or may not see it. Seeing how this is a film I probably won’t watch again. That’s all.

So those are my 2017 leftovers. I’ve been pretty busy lately, and I got two things coming for Valentine’s Day so look out for those. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

 

V For Vendetta Review

Time to venture into the world of Alan Moore with V For Vendetta. This is a #10 issue graphic novel from the 80s. This is another one of my favorite comics. The story, characters, artwork, almost everything about it is good. So let’s dive in. Instead of the 90s being a time of Furbies, grunge rock, Reebok Pumps, Beanie Babies, and bleached hair, it’s a dystopia with a corrupt government that became of a nuclear war. Did I mention this was written in the 1980s, when everyone was crapping their pants over the Cold War. I’m getting sidetracked. In this dystopian future, which is in London, we have a girl named Evey who’s a teenage prostitute. Lovely! While on the streets, she gets caught by a policeman who wants to rape and kill her as punishment. Once again, lovely! Before that can happen, Evey is saved by a terrorist named V. V then invites her to see the destruction of the House of Parliament. V takes her in and hopes to convert her to anarchistic ways, believed that if converted one person is succesful, he can convert a whole nation. There’s that and tons of sub plots and characters as well. I first should talk about our two main characters, V and Evey. Both are good characters that make interesting leads. When Evey was a child, she witnessed her mother and father be captured by the government for reasons. She grows up in this fascist world she lives in and eventually becomes a prostitute at age 16. Of course she’s taken under V’s wing where she’s slowly being converted to anarchy. There is point in the comic where she’s put in a prison where she finally is persuaded, but we’ll get to that later. Then you have the mysterious V. V’s early life is kept secret and never revealed throughout the story. We do know that he is an escaped convict that holds a grudge against the new government, called Norsefire, and is determined to take them down. Dawning a Guy Fawkes mask, he roams the streets at night finding any opportunity to sabotage Norsefire. What makes V interesting is his unknown history. Because his past is kept a mystery, he becomes a lot more intriguing in his actions and why he does so. You never actually see his face because he either hides it in a Guy Fawkes or Punch and Judy mask. Most likely because his escape plan ended up in him getting his skin burned. Apparently he use a bunch of substances which he used to set the prison a blaze. Besides V and Evey, we have a lot of side characters. Like Detective Eric Finch. Finch is a veteran detective who is put in charge of the V case. He constantly struggles to take V down until he finds out V used to be a prisoner at Larkhill. He then visits Larkhill, which is now abandoned, and takes LSD to conjure up being an inmate to figure out more about V. There’s also the leader of Norsefire, Adam Susan. Susan is the one that founded Norsefire and lead it to be England’s new system of government. He’s also in love with a super computer named Fate. Yeah it’s kind of weird. Later V hacks into it and tricks Susan in believing that it actually loves him. Helen Heyer, a woman who wants absolute power of Norsefire by using sex to keep officials under her thumb. Rose Almond, a widow who’s husband was killed by V. The death of her husband, Derek, sends her into a depression and causes her to become a striper in order to get money. Lewis Prothero, a radio personality on a propaganda station called The Voice of Fate. Prothero was once a guard at Larkhill that tortured V a lot. V gets revenge by abducting him and showing him a recreation of how they sentenced inmates to be burned to death at Larkhill using his doll collection. The shock of seeing his prized collection be destroyed makes him mentally deranged. He stays that way throughout the rest of the series. Was you can see this comic is very dark and depressing. Alan Moore has dabbled stuff like this, it’s what he’s most good at. The graphic novels that he has written like this and Watchmen focus on the characters with struggles rather than being superheroes punching bad guys. The story is huge metaphor for the Margaret Thatcher Foundation which Moore has strong beliefs against. Like the over security, news propaganda, etc. Plus the elements of anarchy taking over. The funny thing that this dystopian future caused by nuclear war is kind of believable. The comic portrays the world in a serious light with realistic characters, besides some having bizarre traits like Adam Susan. Sometimes the series points a finger at the people for knowing something is wrong with the government but never doing anything about it, which is where V steps in. This fictionalized world is very similar to our own. That’s the whole point of the comic itself. I should also talk about the artwork by David Lloyd. Compared to the past two comics I’ve reviewed, it’s nothing special. Sometimes it looks a little rushed and unfinished. When it does look good, it can look a lot better. It has it’s own style to it that I feel would make it better if there was more time put into it. That ends the non-spoiler section of my review. If you want to read the book for yourself, which I highly recommend, then I advise not to read any further til you have read the comic. Now here’s the spoiler section. After Evey is stopped from assassination attempt, she’s put in a prison. While in there, she receives letters from the cell next to her’s. They’re from a lesbian actress named Valerie Page, who was imprisoned because of her sexuality. Her letters tell her life story, like her parents throwing her out, her becoming an actress, meeting her lover on set of a film, and how they separated from each other by  the government. Valerie’s words inspire Evey as she refuses to collaborate with Norsefire. She expects to be executed, but is instead freed. She wanders out of the prison to be revealed that it was all and elaborate scheme by V to make her experience what he went through at Larkhill. She’s rightfully mad at first but then mood swings once V explains himself. She forgives him and learns to embrace anarchy. Meanwhile, Helen Heyer’s husband finds out about her affair with an official named Alistair Harper and proceeds to kills him. Adam Susan finds out that V has hacked into Fate and is fooling him into thinking that it loves him, which leaves him heartbroken. Finch, after taking LSD, finally deduces V’s secret hideout and goes there with the intent to kill. He manages to get into the lair, which is under Victoria Station, and gets into a confrontation with V. V wounds him, but Finch is able to get a clean shot at V. V dies in Evey’s arms, telling her to carry on his role as a terrorist. She decides exactly that as she dawns his signature outfit. Then you have poor Rose Almond, who (thanks to V) manages to get past security cameras to purchase a gun. Surely enough, Susan is meeting with the public one day and right when he steps out of his car, Rose shoots him dead. Due to Susan’s assassination, London is plunged into chaos as Evey, who now takes on the persona of V, tells the people of London to choose their own path and tells of the destruction of 10 Downing Street. Evey abducts an assistant of Finch named Dominic Stone, restarting the story of the terrorist training a young person to be their successor. We end with Finch leaving Helen Heyer to a gang of rapists as we see our last panel of Finch walking down a dark, empty highway. The ending can be seen as contrast to more romanticized endings. Here, instead of our hero walking into the sunset, we have a character walking into blackness. Just to cap off the comic’s depressing tone. It works as an ending to what transpired. Now’s the part where I compare the story to the movie.

 

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In 2006, the Wachowski siblings produced a film adaptation of the graphic novel starring Natalie Portman as Evey and Hugo Weaving as V. The movie is definitely a more Hollywood approach to the subject matter. Not to say that it’s bad, it’s a good movie but it’s very different in contrast to Moore’s original story. Instead of being centered on the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, it focuses more on George W. Bush’s Patriot Act. They also change a lot of the characters. Finch never takes LSD, Susan isn’t in love with a computer (in fact it never shows up in the movie), Helen Heyer and Rose Almond never show up either, and Lewis Prothero is a TV news caster and dies from lethal injection instead of becoming mentally deranged. Also the ending is more brighter than the one in the comic, but like I said it’s Hollywood. I mostly separate them from each other as different interpretations of the story. Overall the novel is really good. The characters are great, the story is great, it’s one of Moore’s best work and I’d recommend you check it out if you’re interested. So that’s my review of V for Vendetta! What do you think of the graphic novel. Let me know in the comments below. Hope you enjoyed and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Downsizing (2017) Review

Since were in January, a month tainted with terrible movies, I decided to go back to 2017 and review Alexander Payne’s latest film, Downsizing. When I saw the trailers for the film, I though it had an interesting and unique concept. When scientists figure out how to shrink people down to five inches, they introduce this new breakthrough to the public as a way of slowing down overpopulation. Paul (played by Matt Damon) decides to abandon his life of disappointments to go get downsized with his wife, Audrey (played by Kristen Wiig). Something goes wrong and only Paul gets downsized while Audrey leaves him behind. The rest of the film is Paul trying to move on in his new life while coming across a bunch of other characters along the way. That’s just basic plot, because the film becomes such a mess. You think later in the film Paul’s going to get back together with Audrey. But no, she just leaves the film when it’s revealed she didn’t get downsized. So you build up the plot about Paul and Audrey moving to a new life, when you just abandon it not half way through the movie. Then we switch to plot number 2 about Paul trying to move on and adapt to his new life while living with his partying neighbor, Dusan (played by Christoph Waltz). Then switch again to plot number 3 with Paul helping an amputated, Vietnamese lady named Ngoc Lan Tran who was a prisoner in Vietnam who Paul saw on the news once. Then comes plot number 4 about Paul and the gang traveling to Norway and learning that the Polar Ice Caps have melted and people are saying it’s the end of the world and just choose one plot already! Yeah, the film gets very jumbled which can distract from better things the film offers. Even though the overall plot is a mess, I still think the concept is creative. It’s combining sci fi elements with modern day global issues. The reasoning for downsizing slowing down overpopulation is a logical explanation for why they’re doing something like this. I first thought it was just a reasonable explanation for the existence of downsizing and the rest of the film would follow Paul adapting to his new environment, but then it comes back into the movie towards the end in a more serious note. When the scientist who perfected downsizing, Dr. Jorgen Asbjornsen, reveals that methane gas has completely melted the Polar Ice Caps, it comes right out of nowhere. Then he says human life will be wiped off this planet as we know it. So the first downsized colony in Norway decides to transfer themselves underground to start over again. Then at the end when Paul and the gang go back to the U.S., everything is fine. The film makes such a big deal about it and it ends up in our characters saying “Whatever!”. Is it making fun of global warming believers? Tell us, Payne! Let’s look on the bright side for a little bit. The film has some comedic moments with its premise. Like “Yeah, we deal with global issues, but we’re still about people being shrunk to the size of mice”. So you get scenes where tiny people interact with normal sized people and get comedic visuals. Like how they’re carried around in boxes, or when Jason Sudeikis’s character is just talking to Paul, he’s sitting on a cardboard box while Paul is standing up. Little touches like that make the film kinda entertaining. The acting is pretty good too. Damon gives a good performance as Paul, despite the jumbled plot around him. There’s a running gag throughout the film where people keep getting his last name wrong. It’s the same lame gag in Godzilla ’98 with Matthew Broderick’s character, every time it happens the less funny it gets. Kristen Wiig did good with what she was given, despite the fact that she was ejected from the film completely through one third of the run time. Christoph Waltz was probably the most entertaining character. When he first shows up in the film, I’m pretty sure he was doing some sort of accent. I thought “Oh God, is he going to do this throughout the whole movie?”, but then he uses his actual voice through the rest of the film. Why did he do that? Was that an outtake that they forgot to edit out? Then there’s Ngoc Lan Tran (aka Paul’s second love interest). Her dialogue mostly consists of humor. It can get kind of annoying sometimes when it feels like that every scene with her has to have a joke, though it’s not the actress’s fault. Then you get strange cameos. Jason Sudeikis is there for a brief while, but he is the one that inspires Paul to get downsized. But you get cameos from Laura Dern, Neil Patrick Harris, and even James Van Der Beak. There all random and make you wonder why are they in this movie. The effects, for the most part, are ehh. The effect for making downsized people be next to normal sized people is very basic. It’s not terrible, but it’s not groundbreaking either. Even some of the backgrounds look kinda fake. As expected, there’s a lot of social commentary. In one scene they’re at a bar celebrating the fact that they’re getting downsized and a drunk guy over hears what Paul and Audrey are doing then scolds them. He does make valuable points about how people pay a lot of taxes for the downsized folk and they don’t have to, but the film portrays him as an ass. Then it makes fun of political news and gets very on the nose. They also put the first half in the setting of Nebraska, probably Payne’s way of telling the audience that he also directed the film, Nebraska. Or maybe it’s because he grew up in Nebraska and is proud to be native. He even showed at the premier at the new Dundee Theater, not to far from where he shot the film. I know this because I’m also a Nebraska native and saw the movie at the Dundee Theater too. My review of the place, it’s good. Overall, the film has it’s ups, but they’re sadly overweighed by it’s downs. I also heard this filmed bombed on it’s opening on Christmas Weekend along with The Greatest Showman. Which, as you all know, I regarded as a flawless musical with no generic pop songs, no forgettable characters, and no historical inaccuracies whatsoever. This isn’t a film I’ll probably view a second time and will most likely forget after a month. So that’s my review of Downsized! What do you think of this movie? Let me know in the comments below. Hope you enjoyed it and follow me on Snapchat at bensuey3. This is the Adolescent Critic signing out.

Top 5 Best Films I’ve Seen in 2017

While Hollywood may differ, I think most critics can agree that 2017 was a good year for movies. Many indy films have gotten more attention from the public, and all the terrible popcorn flicks bombed. If you want to know the worst films I’ve seen in 2017, then read my list on that here: Top 5 Worst Films I’ve Seen in 2017. Like that list, I’ll list films I’ve reviewed and films I’ve never got to. With that said, here we go.

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5) Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

I’ve noticed that a lot of best films lists usually miss documentaries. So, for my first best films list, I decided to give the number 5 spot to a great documentary. This is about the behind the scenes footage of Jim Carrey method acting as Andy Kaufman for Man on the Moon. The footage has never been released to the public until now. The film interviews Carrey and he talks about how far he took his acting. He also goes his inspiration from Kaufman and is career back in the 90s. It’s very well made documentary with a pretty interesting subject. I did a whole review on this here: Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017) Review. If you want to get into some great documentaries, I’d say check out this one.

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4) Get Out

You knew I couldn’t do this list without involving a horror movie. When I first saw the trailer to this movie, I thought it was gonna suck. It’s gonna be that whole “white people are evil” plot and the guy from Key and Peele, this is gonna be terrible. Surprisingly, it was actually really good. It has great acting, a foreboding atmosphere, and some pretty good tension. I thought the twist was gonna be that the white family believes in slavery and all that stuff, but apparently they’re not racist but really love black people. They want to be them because of old family history. So it’s kind of a jealousy thing more than racism. That’s an interesting approach that separates from more conventional works. I’m pretty sure director Jordan Peele has some explanation about how it ties in more to racism, but I already like the film as it is. Besides some forced in jump scares, the film is really good and I’d highly recommend it for you horror lovers out there.

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3) Baby Driver

Coming in at number 3 is Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. I consider this to be one of the best action movies of the decade. It’s fun, has great characters, good acting, cool stunt work, and an awesome soundtrack. The premise is creative, apparently Wright wrote the film around the soundtrack. It’s sync with the music whether it would be gun shots, car honks, etc. Even the title is taken from the famous Simon & Garfunkel tune of the same name. Most of the actors do a terrific job with what they’re doing. Ansel Elgort is great as the lead, Baby, John Hamm is perfect as Buddy, Lily James is a likable love interest, and…uhh…Kevin Spacey is good too. Yeah, I can’t really talk about him without mentioning the recent sexual allegations against him, but I think that shouldn’t distract from how good his performance is. It’s not different from most of his performances but is fine nonetheless. The only actor I didn’t like was Jamie Foxx. He’s not god awful, but his performance doesn’t quite match the character the film’s trying to portray. Another thing is the car stunt work. Little to no CG and green screens are used and the film relies on stunts and real locations. Every time there’s a car crash, you can feel the weight of it, instead of feeling like it’s not really happening. Of course being an Edgar Wright movie there’s some comedy, and it all hits bullseyes. It’s a fun action flick that’s definitely worth checking out.

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2) The Shape of Water

Guillermo Del Toro has made some very good artsy and imaginative works, and this is no exception. For a film about a woman falling in love with a fish man, it’s great. Has some good camerawork, effects, acting, and story. This could easily be awkward and terrible, but it’s wonderfully executed. The relationship between Eliza and the Amphibian Man is greatly developed and kinda charming. The supporting actors like Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins are also good characters and are likable. The villain can be a little cheesy and Michael Shannon’s performance can get a little goofy at times, but it’s still okay. I also did a full review on this which you can check out here: The Shape of Water (2017) Review. This is a great movie and my favorite indy film of the year.

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1) Logan

The best film I’ve seen this year is the first one I reviewed on this blog. The film is Hugh Jackman’s last outing as Wolverine and probably his best performance as the character. Based on the comic book series Old Man Logan, the movie follows a journey with an old, beaten up Wolverine and his clone daughter, Laura. The relationship between Logan and Laura is built perfectly and is sometimes pretty tear jerking. Patrick Stewart is also playing his character, Professor X, for the last time. Besides some scenes where he is supposed to be acting crazy is a little funny, but his overall performance is good. Jackman does a great job portraying Wolverine for one last time, and the girl who plays Laura is great too. The villains could be a little bit more developed, but they’re fine as they are. The reason why I like this movie is because it’s darker and more gritty, plus finally showing Wolverine slicing people apart like in the comics. Sometimes the film has western like feel to it that fits the tone perfectly. If you want to know more of my thoughts about the movie, you can see my full review here: Logan (2017) Review. It’s an emotional thrill ride that needs to be ridden, and probably the greatest comic book movie of all time.

So those are the best films that I’ve seen in 2017. There are a lot of great movies that came out this year that I’ve missed. So I want you to tell me some of the best films you’ve seen in 2017 in the comments below. This isn’t probably my last Films 2017 post. I recently saw Alexander Payne’s Downsizing which I’ll release a review of soon. Plus suggestions from you guys reading this right now. Hope you enjoyed this and have a Happy New Year! This is the Adolescent Critic signing out of 2017.

 

 

 

Top 5 Worst Films I’ve Seen in 2017

If you were to ask a Hollywood executive how 2017 was, his/her response would probably be “Oh God, it was terrible for me!”. 2017 has been a pretty bad year for Hollywood. Many films have bombed, opening weekends were underwhelming, and many cinemas haven’t a whole lot of profits. Today, we’re gonna shame for the pieces of crap they put out this year. I’ll be listing movies that I’ve already reviewed, and some stuff I never got to. Here we go!

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5) The Florida Project

Every year there’s that one film that everyone loves but I find terrible. This year’s equivalent would be this garbage. Everyone has been praising this movie as genius and groundbreaking, while I think it’s pretentious, annoying, and so long. A lot of people love it because of it’s realism, okay, but you still have to have characters and some sort of a plot to go with it. I don’t care about these characters and I don’t care what happens to them. Since it has no plot, it just stretches itself so long. It drags on so much that when I saw it, I think I went to the restroom twice. That’s how long it is. If you’re going to be that long, you better have something interesting happening. Barely anything happens, but it just keeps going. There’s no goal or anything, just keeps pushing forward. At least we got a good performance from Willem Dafoe, who is kind of likable. I did a whole review on this movie and you can check it out here: The Florida Project (2017) Review. But I’ll take pretentious garbage over our next entries.

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4) Beauty and the Beast (the remake)

I have never seen a film so manipulative, so corporate, and so desperate to be a hit as Disney’s blatant rehash of Beauty and the Beast. This is in a line of recent live action remakes of animated Disney classics. It first it seemed they’re doing these to update them for modern times. Though films like Cinderella and The Jungle Book are considered classics, they are a bit dated. But the original 1991 Beauty and the Beast is fine as it is, why remake it? Because money, that’s why! So get some big celebrities, obvious CG, and less effort. The actors they chose pale in comparison to the original. Paige O’Hara’s Belle sounded a lot more angelic when she sang with the bright visuals, Emma Watson’s Belle sounds like a robot with dull visuals. The Beast looks like CG vomit, Luke Evans’s Gaston is forgettable, and they casted Josh Gad as LeFou because he played Olaf from Frozen and remember Frozen kids, buy our products! The side characters like Lumiere and Cogsworth are also forgettable and the voices of the celebrities coming out of them are so distracting. There’s autotune and some of the most manipulative tactics ever shown on film. In order to trick the audiences that it’s something than a fantasy flick, it shows stuff like diversity (that is so unfitting with the 19th century France setting) and LeFou being gay. The audience I was with applauded the scene when it’s revealed LeFou is gay because it’s new and supports LGBT rights! When in reality it’s simple tactic to manipulate gullible, modern audiences. Plus, I like it how the film builds Belle as a strong, female character, but they show a scene of her using an invention of hers which is, are you ready for this, a washing machine. Way to play to the Feminist crowd, Disney! I can go on, but I have to move on. Instead of watching this, I’ll just dig up my old VHS of 1991 animated version and watch that instead.

 

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3) Alien: Covenant

After the disaster that was Alien 3, 20th Century Fox has kept trying and failing to bring a new light to the Alien franchise. So why are they still making these movies. Our latest entry to the long line of Alien failures is Alien: Covenant. As you know, I love the first two Alien movies. They’re very well done and are classic sci fi flicks. This film tried so hard to please audiences after Prometheus, that it failed so hard and fell flat on its face. At least Prometheus had some interesting ideas and great cinematography, this film barely has anything. The visual effects are lack luster, many characters are just here to die, the story can become very predictable, and it creates so many holes in the franchise. Michael Fassbender is okay, his performance isn’t as good and memorable as other performances he has done. Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride are good as their roles, but are still pretty forgettable. Then you get stereotypes like the cranky, uptight leader that has no point in being like that. The most pointless character out of all of them is James Franco’s character, who literally dies at the beginning of the movie. Why is he here, what’s the point of getting Franco to play this pointless character? Usually I’d be happy when the Xenomorphs show up, but they feel so tact on. That’s bad when the star of your franchise is tact on. When it feels like the film should end, there’s another climax with a Xenomorph killing crew members on the ship. Really, this again? This completely gets in the way of another plot point with the Fassbender clone dilemma. Fassbender plays two androids named Walter (the good one) and David (the bad one). They get into which you don’t see the ending and just see one come out alive. The film wants us to believe it’s Walter to surprise the audience when it’s revealed that it’s really David. But this is cliche that’s so overused that it wasn’t surprising when it happened. Then there’s whole David inventing Xenomorphs thing that creates so many holes in the franchise. Director Ridley Scott is clearly too hold to be handling this stuff. Sure he invented the franchise, but he clearly doesn’t know how to handle it nowadays. Please Fox, stop making these movies!

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2) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The fifth and hopefully last entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is the worst one of these terrible sequels. The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie is stupid, yet very fun. The sequels on the other hand are stupid, and very dreadful to sit through. Oh boy is this one bad. At this point in the series, who cares? This film brings nothing new to the table, so why should we care if we know what’s going to happen? There’s another supernatural bad guy who wants to rule the seas, Johnny Depp acts goofy as Jack Sparrow, there’s a bland couple, Geoffrey Rush , yada yada yada. Depp is still the same, goofy Jack Sparrow, Rush is still there for a paycheck, the new couple is as interesting as dishrags, and even Javier Bardem isn’t a good villain. Plus there’s a bunch of forced in cameos from old cast members and even the famous Beatle, Paul McCartney. WHY PAUL!!! I also did a whole review on this one which you can check out here: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Review. I really don’t care, neither do the filmmakers so let’s just move on.

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1) Tom Cruise’s The Mummy 

I am big fan of the original 1932 The Mummy with Boris Karloff. I also like the 1959 Hammer remake with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Hell, I can even see why many people enjoy the 1999 remake with Brendan Fraser. But I honestly can’t see anyone enjoying this rotting piece of crap at all. It’s so bad, so desperate, and so insulting to fans like me who want to see the classic Universal Monsters updated for modern times. Did anyone care about this movie, was anyone really anticipating this movie from the very start? The reason why I call it Tom Cruise’s The Mummy instead of The Mummy (2017) is because Universal completely left the film in the hands of Tom Cruise. Not only was he the main star and got the top building, but he also made changes to the script and heavily edited the final project. I don’t hate Cruise, I mean I liked him in other movies, but he’s unbearable in this. At some points in the movie, it feels just like he’s phoning it in. Then you get Russel Crowe as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who serves as the Nick Fury of this Dark Universe. Mr. Hyde looks lame, I want him to look grotesque or something, but this one just as yellow eyes and is more veiny. Then there’s a blonde lady who’s just there for scale. I’m opened to the idea of a Female Mummy, but Sofia Boutella’s performance is so bland and forgettable that it doesn’t compare to the original rose gallery of Universal Monsters. I kinda root for her, not because I like her character the most, but because I don’t care about the main characters and want to see her kill them to get the film over with. This film tries so desperately to be like the Marvel movies, that it completely fails at story or likable characters. Because the film has nothing going for it, it heavily rips off better horror films like An American Werewolf in London and Lifeforce. Even the video game is just a ripoff of Metroid. I did another whole review on this one which you can check out here: The Mummy (2017) Review, as well as my opinions on the classic Universal Monsters which you can check out here: Opinions on Classic Universal Horror.  I can safely say that this is a tomb that you shouldn’t grave rob.

So thats the top 5 worst films I’ve seen in 2017. I know there’s a lot of bad movies I had the pleasure of not seeing this year, but I know there’s more to come in 2018. I want you to tell me some of the worst films you’ve seen this year in the comments below. If you want to know the best films I’ve seen this year, tune in later today for that list. For now, this is the Adolescent Critic signing out.