Friday, June 10, 2016

Warcraft (PG-13/123 Min.)

Warcraft (PG-13/123min.)

Okay, so I never played World of Warcraft, but I did play Starcraft.  And since it’s highly unlikely that my ex-husband reads this blog I’m gonna say that I totally rocked it.  He played WoW, though, so I saw it a lot!  Enough of that though.  I was waiting for Batman v Superman to start when I saw the trailer for yet another fantasy movie.  I try not to watch trailers because they completely ruin movies so I was barely tuned in to this one.  Something caught my eye though and I very nearly yelled, “Warcraft!!!”  I did, however, whisper it loud enough for my cousin to turn to me and whisper back, “Nerd.”  Well…yeah.  And I know what some of you may be thinking.  Oh great.  Another game-based movie.   While that is true, it is so much better than some of the other ones out there.

Warcraft begins with a human facing off against an orc.  We saw them running towards each other and then, we never saw them again…that we know of.  And this fact just dawned on me.  And now I’m frustrated.  But this is about the worst thing you’ll hear me say about this film.  I liked it.  I really, really did.  Everyone around me seemed to, too.  So, after the two guys who faced off and we never saw again, we were taken to an orc world.  It was dying and they needed a new world to take over. Enter Azeroth.  Well, the orcs did anyway.  Through a stinkin’ big portal.  Unfortunately for them and fortunately for the citizens of Azeroth, only a “small” contingent of orcs could make it through the portal at that time.  The others would have to wait. 

The main characters consisted of a handful of humans, a few orcs, a half-orc/half-draenei (yes, I did have to look that one up), and a couple of mages.  The humans were, of course, not hard to look at, but the orcs were amazing.  I loved the special effects in this movie.  I can’t even imagine the amount of time it took to make one orc, let alone thousands.  As far as the scenery throughout the film, it seemed to have been stolen from several other movies. I felt some Lord of the Rings, some Avatar, a bit of Star Wars, and even a little scene from the Bible, as the lady who sat next to me said over and over and OVER again.  There may have been more but I missed it if there was.

I don’t think I can think of anything negative to say as far as the cast is concerned.  I thought they were all pretty good. After the orcs, I liked the mages.  After that, I liked the animals.  And finally, I liked the humans.  I mean, they were just humans after all.  No great effects there.  A couple of them were not hard to look at, though.  As far as star power goes, I only recognized one person in the entire film and I’m not telling who it is.  She was a bit of a shock though.  I never would have pictured her in this type of role though she did a great job for the minute-and-a-half we got to see her.

I’ve tried to stay pretty positive in this review but I do have to say one somewhat negative thing.  Why on earth would you make a portal so tall when you really only need one a little taller than the tallest orc?  It doesn’t make sense and was a complete waste of energy.  If they’d made it smaller, they probably could’ve fit more orcs through.  And totally changed the rest of the movie.  So maybe the powers-that-be knew what they were doing.  But still…

Warcaft earned its rating because of violence only.  There was no cussing, no drugs, no drinking, no sex, no nudity.  The violence did get a bit gross though.  When men get their heads bashed in by giant sledgehammers or stepped on by big orc feet and squish like melons, it gets a bit gross.  Fortunately, these humans didn’t have normal [for us] colored blood so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. 

As I’ve said many times before, this is not a movie my mom would enjoy because of the violence but I would highly recommend this film for WoW players and non-players alike.  While it does majorly push taking care of the world in which you live and how important honor is and should be, this was all entertainment all the time. I don’t recall a down moment in the entire movie. It had my attention from the get go.  Go see this.  It’s fun. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (R/86 Min.)

Popstar. Where to begin.  I guess I could start by mentioning how glad I am that I didn’t write this review shortly after the movie.  It would have been bad.  Real bad.  Like, why-was-this-movie-even-made bad.  I still kind of wonder that but with not nearly the passion I felt as the credits started rolling.  Okay, that was too generous.  I felt that just a few minutes into the movie.  But!!!  Having had a couple of days to think about it, what on earth did I expect?  It’s called a mockumentary for a reason.  It’s doing nothing but making fun of real popstars.  Repeatedly.  Ad nauseum.  Over and over again.

Popstar is the story of three guys who grew up together, formed a boy band, split up when one boy got more attention than the other two and his subsequent fall from popstardom.

If you go in to this movie without a sense of humor, you might as well turn around and walk back out.  This is not for the perpetually serious.  It seems to serve one purpose and one purpose only.  To bag on stars who get a little too big for their britches.   And it does it in the most offensive and profane manner possible.  The lady who sat two seats down from me busted out with a belly laugh at the beginning of the movie and that was the last sincere amusement I heard from her the rest of the time.  She and several people, myself included, shared a lot of awkward laughter.  The oh-so-over-the-topness of it all became very uncomfortable.

Before some of you anonymous commenters get the chance to ask why I even bothered going to see Popstar, let me answer it for you now and save you some time.  I thought it was going to be funny.  Period.  I’m all for a good spoof.  This was just so overdone that it became pointless.  The person who went with me (we’ll call her Patty) probably got tired of me looking at her for her reaction.  And it just dawned on me that I’m not really talking about the movie any more, am I?

I think I only liked two songs out of all the ones we were lambasted with; I’m So Humble and Incredible Thoughts.  The rest are either incredibly silly or are mostly the F-bomb with a few other words added as filler.  Most of the songs seemed to go for shock value over any kind of music-writing ability.  Considering how the popstar acted away from the stage, this really wasn’t surprising. 

I know there’s been a lot of negative here so let’s switch to some positive for a while.  What did I like most about Popstar?  The cameos.  To say they included a few celebrities is putting it mildly.  Let’s see, they had P!nk, Snoop Dogg, Carrie Underwood, Usher, DJ Khaled, Adam Levine, Seal, Mariah Carey and her boobs, Martin Sheen, Jimmy Fallon, Nas, Danger Mouse, Ringo Starr, and several others I’m sure I’m forgetting.  The most unexpected cameo was Simon Cowell.  I would never, in a million years, have thought he’d be in a movie like this.  It’s nice to know he does have a sense of humor.  The funniest was Justin Timberlake.  We got to see him several times, thank you very much.  And last, but not least, Michael Bolton.  Also unexpected but by the time we saw him, we were no longer star struck.  Sorry Michael.

And then there were the celebrities who didn’t play themselves. Okay, so Justin didn’t play himself but, come on, he’s Justin.  These included Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Imogen Poots, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack, Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett, and others.  It definitely didn’t get boring with all the famous “extras”. 

This movie is rated R and deservedly so.  There’s nudity, including male parts.  Well, one male part. But we got to look at it for a long, LONG time.  It wouldn’t go away.  Patty just referred to it as the “unfortunate penis scene”.  Yup. That pretty much sums it up.  To say there’s cussing is the understatement of the century.  I decided early on not to keep count because I thought it would be a waste of time. Now, I kinda wish I had.  Just because.  Drugs…yes.  Alcohol…yes. 

I have no idea who I would recommend to go see this film. I absolutely will NOT watch it again.  If I ever owned it, it would be because some funny person gave it to me as a gift.  Dearest friends, please no.  When we were discussing this very issue after the movie was over, it was decided that this is definitely a frat boy type film.  If you liked The Neighbors or This Is the End, you’ll more than likely like Popstar.  I don’t know if any of my friends would like this.  Oh wait, I take it back. I do know a few and if they go see this, some of the lines will be added to their already inane movie line repertoire. Sigh. 

Having said all that, if you’re going to go see Popstar, go with the understanding that the entire thing is tongue in cheek.  If you think you’re going to experience good, clean humor…no, but humor nonetheless.  If you go for any reason other than to laugh at celebrities poking fun, you won’t enjoy this at all.  Basically, if you aren’t a male between the ages of 18 and 24, or have that stereotypical maturity level, you aren’t the target audience and should probably skip this one.

P.S.  There’s nothing after the credits.  You’re welcome.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War (PG-13/114 Min.)

First of all, I really enjoyed this movie.  Second, if you’re relying on the trailer to give an accurate accounting of what the movie is about, don’t.  It leads you to believe that most of the film is about one thing when it’s not and it ruins the surprise for something else.  If you haven’t already seen the trailer, skip it.  I would also skip the main description on IMDB.  I’m not sure what movie they watched but it wasn’t this.  The Huntsman: Winter’s War is Frozen meets Brave meets Braveheart meets Maleficent meets…

The Huntsman: Winter’s War is NOT the prequel to Snow White and The Huntsman.  Not completely anyway.  It covers the before and after.  And while there is a lot of action and fighting it is, ultimately, a love story.  In this story we are introduced to Queen Ravenna’s little sister, Freya.  At the beginning of the movie, Freya is as normal as you and me.  But, not for long.  A traumatic event brings out her powers and she becomes a force to be reckoned with.   Telling how the huntsmen/women become a part of the tale will be giving too much away and will ruin the surprise mentioned above so I’ll leave that for you to see. 

As with the first movie, the effects/scenery/costumes were awe inspiring.  I especially liked Freya’s costumes.  They were supercool.  No pun intended.  And while I realize that computers have paved the way for spectacular special effects, it still doesn’t take away the enjoyment of seeing them for the first time.  Or the second or third.  I will see this movie again. 

Let’s talk about the actors some, shall we?  I’ll start with the stars of the film, Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain.  Wait…what?  The sisters aren’t the stars as the trailer, and other synopses would have you believe?  Nope.  The title character truly is the star.  Shocking, I know.  Chris Hemsworth is Eric, The Huntsman.  But, you already knew that.  If you liked him in the first movie, you’ll like him in this.  His emotions run the gamut and you’ll end up feeling all the feels along with him.  His accent, at times, was a bit hard to understand though.  Especially when he’s speaking quickly.  He’s understandable through most of the movie so this little bit is easy to overlook.  And though he is the title character, the women in this film stole the show.  It is very much a girl power movie.
Jessica Chastain is Sara, another huntsman (huntswoman/person/whatever).  I was a bit skeptical about her being cast in this role but she played it well.  Though why I was skeptical I have no clue.  She more than proved her merit in Zero Dark Thirty and some of her other films.  If there is ever a live-action version of Brave, she needs to play the part of Merida.  No one else will do.  I digress.  In The Huntsman, Sara is tricked in to believing something and her heart is hardened towards another character in the film.  Hard as her heart might be though, she’s tougher than her captors give her credit for.  In more ways than one.  I mean, the woman cauterizes her own shoulder and barely makes a sound when she does it.  You go, girl!  Something else she does is part of some foreshadowing in the film.  If you don’t guess what it is early on, it’ll hit you soon after it does him.  What on earth does that mean?  Go see it and find out. 

Emily Blunt is Queen Freya.  Emily, I must apologize.  As mentioned in my last post about The Boss, I put you in the same type-cast situation in which I placed Melissa McCarthy.  I liked you in The Devil Wears Prada and thought that that type of role was going to be your niche.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  I loved you in The Huntsman.  Even when you’re bad you’re good.  Granted, your lines were sometimes cheesy but that’s not your fault.  We understood your anger so it was a little easier to sympathize.  For a while anyway.  Okay, back to third person.  You’ll feel all the feels with Freya too.  I wish I could tell you more about what she does but it will completely ruin the ending and we can’t have that.  The one thing I hate for her is that, at the beginning of the movie, she is content with her life.  Someone else ruins all that for her.  It’s cool that she came in to her own magic but I don’t much care for how it happened.

Finally, Charlize Theron is Queen Ravenna.  I didn’t like her.  Hey!  Don’t judge.  Unless you were cheering for her in Snow White, you won’t like her either.  But, Charlize does make a good evil queen.  Thinking on it, I don’t think the roles could have easily been reversed for these two actors.  I don’t doubt they would have done a good job as the other queen but, having seen them in their current roles, they were the best choices.  I hope that makes sense.  As in Snow White, Ravenna has absolutely no redeeming qualities.  You’ll love to hate her.

There were other actors/characters who deserve mention but that would make this review too long.  If I did mention anyone else it would be Sheridan Smith as Mrs. Bromwyn.  She’s spunky!

I believe the only thing that earned The Huntsman its PG-13 rating was the violence.  There was a brief starting-to-have sex scene but all the important parts are kept covered/blocked and all we saw was the kissing.  There was some drinking.  No drugs.  No smoking.  While there was quite a bit of violence, it wasn’t a gore fest.  We did see some blood but it wasn’t exploding out of the bodies.  Some things about Queen Ravenna are a bit disturbing to see too.  Granted, she didn’t eat any baby birds in this one, thank goodness.

If you liked Snow White and The Huntsman, go see this.  If you like Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain or Emily Blunt, go see this.  If you like fantasy action-y movies, go see this.  I do recommend sticking with the age rating though.  If I had children of my own, I wouldn’t let them see this unless they were at least 13, maybe older.  I kind of wish it was less violent for younger kids because of the whole girl power feel of it but then it would lose some of what made it an exciting movie.  As mentioned before, I will go see this again on the big screen and will also own it when it comes out.  I am loving this new movie genre and hope they keep it up.

P.S.  Nothing happens after the credits so the only reason to stay is to see some of the unique names of the people involved in production.