Thursday, May 31, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "Men In Black 3"

14 years after our first encounter with them, the Men in Black are back! Sure, the sequel was not that good and difficult considering the massive success the original film was able to bring, but doesn't hurt to try again... does it?? Three time MAY be the charm, or should we just bust out the Neurolizer and forget all about this movie? Well... let's find out!

 Director Barry Sonnenfeld and stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (Agents J and K) return for one more adventure. Agent J must time travel to 1969 to save a young Agent K (played by Josh Brolin) from the evil alien Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords), his long-time nemesis who wants revenge. Along the way, the duo meet some familiar faces, new creatures, and all while forming a tighter bond for the two agents. That's the plot, simple as that. Rumors are that there were plenty of rewrites, even as they were filming, changing things on the fly. It feels that way at times, as some of the heart and fun from the original is lacking at times. Not to say this isn't fun though. It has its moments and yes, it does have a bit of heart. Let's dig deeper...

Josh Brolin made this movie worth the watch as young K. Acting and sounding like Tommy Lee Jones, Brolin really pulls it off and makes this character his own with some little tweaks. Young K is just as serious as older K, but his feelings show a little more now, especially when it comes to the young Agent O, played by the beautiful but underused Alice Eve. Also underused is the current Agent O, played by Emma Thompson, who has one moment of note... but then disappears into oblivion. 

Jemaine Clement as Boris makes for an interesting villain, being creepy (thanks to Rick Baker for a great makeup job) and quite the menace and yes, maaaaybe even a little funny! If you know his work from Flight of the Conchords and love it, you're going to enjoy seeing him here. Also, it's worth noting Bill Hader as Andy Warhol and Griffin, played by "Boardwalk Empire's" Michael Stuhlbarg, who brings the most heart to this film. 

Complaints? Most of the jokes fall flat here, the writing gets really bad at times with plot holes aplenty, and this one moment, meant to be heartfelt... it just felt tacked on and cheesy. It's not a bad movie, though, but it's just not a great one. It definitely needed more bizarre creatures and weird moments, more... fun... to really make this movie great. Oh, and I saw this in 3D and it was not worth the extra bucks AT ALL. The time travel scenes made some use of the 3D effects, but other than that, nothing. So is the film itself worth a watch? Sure, why not? It was an OK way to pass the time, but I almost want to say it's more of a rental. At least if this is the last MIB movie we ever get, it's good they ended it this way. Er, minus the song during the credits. Ugh, that Pitbull...


Monday, May 7, 2012

"Blunderbuss" - Jack White

In my opinion, Jack White is a musical genius. Many would disagree otherwise, but after his 3 other projects (Raconteurs, Dead Weather, and White Stripes) I really think this man is one of a kind. He knows music and once I heard he was going solo, I was curious to hear what he would do next.

"Blunderbuss" has that Jack White sound, blues and all, a bit of piano and even his cover of the track "I'm Shakin'." The song can be heard below...

Such a catchy song and really gets you moving, while still capturing the soul of the original. In between this song and some others, you can tell there is some heartache over White's split from his wife and the end of the White Stripes and this was his way of coping through it all. "Weep Themselves To Sleep" gives off those vibes, one ivory key at a time, but remains such a beautiful, powerful song. 

It does take more than one listen to really get into the album, like it was for me, which I was expecting more of his other bands' sounds. The closest thing you get to that is the single "Sixteen Saltines." It's a good song, but I feel it doesn't really fit here. It does make me miss White Stripes very much. In any case, it's great to hear Jack again and experimenting with both an all male band and an all female band as well. 

"Blunderbuss" is Jack White at his more interesting and what I feel like is really his true side. If you're a fan of his, you NEED this album in your life. I've heard people compare it to Dylan, but it's only slight for me. But still, it is a beautiful piece of work. Also, if you liked the samples above, more reason for you to own the album. It may not be loud too often, or guitar heavy, but definitely worth a bit of your time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope"

As you may have already guessed from past reviews, I am a fan of comics and superheroes. So no brainer here, I had to check out "Comic-Con Episode IV." What is it all about? It's all about San Diego Comic-Con and its die-hard fans. This documentary was put together by director Morgan Spurlock of "Supersize Me" fame, along with comic book and movie staples Stan "The Man" Lee, Joss Wheadon (seems to be another trend in my reviews, huh?), Harry Knowles, and many other familiar faces and names.

The film follows some very different fans on their road to the event, as two are looking for a career in comics, one group puts together a Mass Effect cosplay show for the ages, a man and his epic comic collection struggle to survive, and one young man wants to solidify his love for his girlfriend at a Kevin Smith panel. Very interesting stories from each, especially the man and his collection of million dollar comics. The Con, as he and many others learn, is not so much about comics anymore as Hollywood has taken over and made it into a huge press conference for their next big projects. Kind of sad, but it's the truth.

Still, the love for the event is there and you can tell from those that attend the show. Whether you've been to the San Diego Con or any of the other Cons, you know how these shows work and you have seen how people go all out. Sure, it may seem like a joke and you get a laugh or three from the silly outfits and situations, but "Comic-Con" shows that passion people have for what they love and you're not an outcast here. It's a fun little flick, completely harmless, not particularly life-changing but worth a watch if you're a fan of anything comic and nerd culture. 

I say check it out. You get moments like the one above, so how can you go wrong?


Thursday, May 3, 2012


It took Marvel Comics and most of Hollywood more than 40 years to put together this band of superheroes on the big screen. Definitely a large undertaking and just an ounce of pressure on the writer and director, "Buffy" creator Joss Wheadon, to finally bring Earth's Mightiest Heroes on the same stage.

So does the flick assemble greatness or is it just a super waste of time? Well, bad puns aside, "Avengers" was a incredibly fun ride and an epic start to the summer movie season. Now where to start... Ah, the plot!

The evil and mischievous Loki makes his way to Earth and is looking to tear it apart, especially if it means taking out his powerful step-brother Thor with it. Nick Fury and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D decide it's time to form the team. It's time to form... THE AVENGERS! And that's all you need to know. Of course, it helps if you saw the 5 movies that came before it as it goes straight in, no more origin stories and right to the action.

From Robert Downey, Jr. as the over-confident Iron Man, to Chris Evans as the straight-laced, old-fashioned boy scout Captain America, each of the Avengers stays true to their comic and movie ways and none of the characters are really overshadowed. Well, one character does kind of stand above the rest...

Mark Ruffalo is the new Bruce Banner/Hulk here and completely steals the show. His Banner is abit different than the others, as he's older, wiser, and knows his fate. His Hulk... Wow. Now THIS... is the Hulk that the people wanted! Mean, green, and full of attitude. Once he hits the screen, it is so much fun! Scarlett as Black Widow and Sam Jackson as Fury are worth mentioning as well, as they play bigger roles in this film and show that even heroes without powers can still kick much ass! Jeremy Renner does alright as Hawkeye, though. If only there was more to him here, but still, watching him take down everyone with a bow and arrow in every way is pretty cool!

And yes, Agent Coulsen is back! Clark Gregg is Coulsen and here, his interactions with our heroes really help the movie. As much as he is a veteran agent and seen his fair share, he can get starstruck and be a fan too. Like his reactions to one of the characters, you can't help but feel like a kid again during this whole experience. It's just too much fun!

It's also to note that there is plenty of action here, obviously. But this is a fan boy's dream. You get heroes fighting heroes, heroes fighting villains and even more huge villains. And just to see these guys bickering at one another and even praising each other at any time... come on. Wheadon knows and loves his characters, and he is a pro at writing for an ensemble cast, not to mention ensemble comic book casts. It shows here, like in his run in the X-Men comics, that just the scenes of Iron Man and company at the round table talking to each other are worth the price of admission alone.

Now, any complaints? Sure, but not many. Some explanations in the film are quick, to-the-point, let's move on, kind of thing. I do understand that these explanations could be elaborated on in the future solo movies, so it's only just a small nitpick. One scene involving Iron Man and an engine felt alittle too long for me, but other than that... no real complaints. 

So final verdict? Obvious, you need to see this movie! Much action, alot of laughs (especially from Tony Stark and his "entrances"), and Hulk smashing! It's the perfect comic book movie, the definition of a summer movie, and with just enough personality and good times to keep you smiling until the very end. By the way, reminder: STAY AFTER THE CREDITS. It's a Marvel Studios movie, people didn't realize about any of the post-credit scenes. So don't leave or you'll miss the best one yet! Ok, I'm still in fanboy mode. Much apologizes!

In any case, go see it, especially in IMAX!