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Sci-fi/Fantasy Tanked Matinee: Where the Movies Come to Drink! Mon, 26 Jun 2017 03:41:09 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016) 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016)

The Buzz:


     The Dude's best friend saves that pink haired girl from Scott Pilgrim and a guy who was in a musical based on a Green Day album. He keeps them in his creepy rape dungeon for their own good due to a supposed nuclear attack. Three people, one tiny space, and no idea what the fuck is happening outside.... queue Yakkity Saks. 


Life of the Party:


     John Goodman. There's the biggest one. It's great in lots of ways, but seriously Goodman drives this film. He's the one that makes you wonder where things are going and who everyone really is and what is the truth and what is a lie. He's everything to this film and he carries it's weight with the grace of a diabetic master ballerina. The twist at the end of the film is great. It's unsubtle, it's a humerous connection to earlier dialogue, and ultimately ends up being the deus ex machina to push the final transformation of the hero. It works. Lots of people think it didn't. Those people are dumb. Beyond Goodman and it's fun twist, the picture really is great in delivering a quality cinematic experience full of emotion and tension with a limited set, limited cast, and a rookie director. It's everything Hollywood says can't be good and yet still manages to be one of the best films I've seen this year.



Every relationship I've ever been in longer than a month...



Potential Hangovers:


     My only complaint about this is also Goodman. Though, nothing to do with his acting ability. Goodman appears to have put on a lot of weight for this picture to be the imposing entity he is. Goodman is a national treasure, people. A NATIONAL TREASURE! Like Nicholas Cage is solving stupid riddles around the world to find him. He's never been a small man, but he's done some work trying to get to a shape with more edges. That's to his credit. Now for this he's put it all back on and then some, or at least so it seems. That's scary! I need more John Goodman. So John, please, get back in shape. Not just for me. But for all of us. 



Every breakup I've ever been in after a month...




The Atmosphere: Large Party


     This movie isn't flashy or showy like a lot of films we say are for Large Parties. So you might wonder why I say it is.... it's because once the tension starts this movie never lets go of your balls. It holds them. Squeezes them. And then finally gives them a little tickle at the end that puts a smile on your face. I legitimately think that despite the lack of special effects and explosions this film will have zero difficulty holding the attention of a good group of friends.




+ Goodman

+ Acting in general.

+ Direction.

+ Tension

+ Twist



The Drinking Game:


- Drink when someone hides something under something else.

- Drink when anyone mentions Meagan.

- Drink if you see jigsaw pieces. 

- Drink for every scene in a montage. 

HARDCORE MODE: Drink anytime exactly two characters are in a shot together.


]]> (Biggs) Sci-fi/Fantasy Wed, 16 Mar 2016 01:11:05 +0000

The Buzz

     Sometimes, the fate of our very existance lies upon the best that we have to offer: The brave, the righteous, the most genius of us all. Sometimes, the fate of our very existance lies upon those who are available on that particular Thursday. In Guardians of the Galaxy, a very awkward group of individuals put aside their differences to form an alliance and fight Ronan the Accuser, a Kree warlord who is bent on the destruction of the planet Xandar and a threat to the whole of civilization.

Life of the Party

    I have said in a few other articles and podcasts that the new crop of Marvels movies (whether it's Marvel or Fox that produces it) are really not meant for the very comic savvy. The stories and characters are meant to stand independently and only use the comics as a guideline. That being said, I really love what Marvel did with this movie. They took a less popular comic brand, and made a powerhouse of a movie out of it.


"this tactic,,, has not always worked out"

     The premise of the movie is fairly simple: A treaty has been signed been the Planet Xandar and the Kree race to end a lifetime of war. This does not sit well with Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace), a powerful and zealous Kree who holds the Xandarians as his mortal enemies. With this in mind, Ronan strikes up a deal with the titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) to destroy Xandar if a relic of importance is retrieved and given to Thanos. Well wouldnt you know it? That orb is actually the housing for an Infinity Gem; an object of great power that only the strongest of beings can hold without being destroyed. We have seen Infinity Gems in other Marvel movies thus far in the form of the Tesseract and the Aether. Omnipotence, omniscience, and god-like powers are bestowed on he who collects them all.


"Not even a Master Ball would work on this guy"

     Once the full gravity of the situation is understood by Ronan and the protagonists, shit gets completely real as Ronan sees his chance to be the head bad-ass of the galaxy. With an Infinity Gem in hand, Ronan absorbs its power and grafts it onto his warhammer, making it capable of destroying all living matter on a planet simply by touching it.  You can see where that could possibly lead him.

     The Guardians of the Galaxy are made up of 5 individuals whom probably should never have been put together in the first place. Starting at bat we have Peter Quill aka Star-Lord who is the main protagonist of the movie. Played by Chris Pratt, Star-Lord is an outlaw human who was abducted as a child by Yondu a Ravager outlaw/mercenary. This happens mere moments after his mother dies of, what looks to be, cancer. I won't lie, the opening scene kind of choked me up, I thought it was well done. Star-Lord is not superhuman despite a questionable, possibly alien, lineage. Instead, he is a street savvy scoundrel with a knowledge of alien technology, fighting techniques, and strategy. In the movie, he is equiped with two element-pistols (guns capable of firing different elemental shots), ankle jets, and a respirator/sensor mask. Peter Quill is a smart ass, and shows off this amazing quality throughout the entire movie: trading jabs with everyone he meets even when he is in extreme danger.

NEqyWj0clSKUur 1 2

I like to imagine that I would make a good Star-Lord

     The rest of the team is rounded out by Gamora (Zoe Saldana) the adopted daughter of Thanos and Assassin for Ronan the Accuser, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) a genetically/mechanically engineered rodent hellbent on firepower, Groot is Groot by his own admission (Vin Diesel), and Drax the Destroyer (as himself..... also Dave Bautista). who's family was murdered by Ronan.

     The group bands together during a plot to escape prison after getting themselves all caught up trying to either steal the infinity gem or collect a bounty placed on Star-Lords head. Each character is truly an individual, even moreso than the members of the Avengers, but are forced to work together for the sake of millions of Xandarian lives. Unlike The Avengers, who each got their own movie to give them substance and backstory, we are introduced to all five pretty much at once. None of these characters could really pull off an individual movie but each has a rich backstory that needs exploring to really get behind them. All in all, I thought Marvel did a surperb job at providing the viewer enough story for each character to help us feel for them and their individual situations. Could there have been more? Certainly! And they could have utilized more of the source material to do it, but they didn't for the sake of time and they did a good job in the process. Not to mention that it leaves some things to investigate in further movies. 

      As I have stated before, Marvel has done an AMAZING job of casting for their intellectual Property,   and Guardians of the Galaxy is no different. Each character is matched with a performer who really channels the proper feeling and emotion of that character. I will say that Guardians of the Galaxy is the best acting I have EVER seen from Vin Diesel!

Pacifier poster

I've seen this movie, and I deserved this joke

      Seriously though, the acting is great and the supporting cast gives the whole thing a real depth that is desperately needed in a universe like this. I mean that in the sense that Marvel is creating a huge, dynamic, universe that spans all of their films, and it needs more than just the BIG NAMES to make it feel alive. Glenn Close plays the leader of Xandar, Nova Prime, while John C. Reilly plays Corpsman Dey her military liason. Both have just enough screen time to let themselves shine, but not too much as to take away from the main characters. 

     On the bad-guy end of the scale, we have Benicio Del Toro reprising his role as the Collector, Michael Rooker playing the aforementioned Yondu, Djimon Hounsou playing Ronans right hand man Korath, and of course Karen Gillan as Nebula, ANOTHER daughter/assassin of Thanos.

     I'll round out my list of good stuff with the graphics. I think there were amazing. The CGI isn't flawless by any means, but it lives up to every other blockbuster cgi movie and blows a few things out of the water. Specifically, Rocket Raccoon is just breathtaking. The way they were able to convey emotion on a not-humanoid character was extrordinary. The fight scenes are intense and fast without succumbing to problems that plagued other cgi fights like in Transformers. You get a real sense of things without being overwhelmed. I think that damn near everything about this film was fantastic.

raccoonMy god, the graphics are so lifelike. 

Potential Hangovers

     As much as I loved this film, not everyone is going to find it their cup of tea. The biggest complaint I think people are going to have is how wildly different it is from it's own source material. Character origins have changed, abilities have changed a bit, character interactions are different: ALOT IS FUCKING DIFFERENT. But I really hope that you can look past that and enjoy the film for what it is and does.

     Quick little rant here, and I'm sure I have had it before: I have had numerous conversations with comic afficianados, as well as people whose only interaction with comic book lore is through these movies. I can see and understand the stance that both sides make but in the end we ALL win. There are some major comicbook movie failures


     But there are quite a few more (especially over the last 5 years) that are fantastic. This works in a circle, folks. These movies are bringing our beloved characters into the limelight. People then want to know more about them and go out of their way to learn. They google names and references they don't understand, they watch the other films they weren't as big into, and THEY GO BUY COMIC BOOKS. The comic book trend is growing again, and the more it grows, the more we are going to see new kinds of adaptations be made. Some of these will flop, but most will do justice to the source and continue the growth of these franchises. So yeah, everyone is going to win as long 
as quality movies are made, and new comics are continuing to be produced.

The Vibe:

This is an action flick with great dialogue and some hilarious scenes.

"Googoo gaga" Translation: I am Groot.

     I saw this movie on date night and had a fanastic time. Watch it with a group of people and have some laughs. It doesn't take itself too seriously and neither should you. I think Guardians will go down as one of the better Marvel flicks and has hopefully given this franchise some much needed steam. In terms of super hero movies it ranks up there with Captain America: The Winter Soldier this year and definitely outshines The Amazing Spiderman 2 This movie is all about fun and excels in delivering it. Download the soundtrack too, and groove to your hearts content.

Pros and cons

+The characters and their interactions are priceless
+Thems graphics.. wow thems graphics
+Chris Pratt is basically Star Lord in real life
-source material isn't followed closely
-you miss a few things if you don't follow the Marvel universe/movies


Drink everytime you sing along to the sound track

Drink Everytime you hear "I am Groot"

Drink Everytime Drax doesn't understand Metaphor

Drink Everytime someone messes us "Star Lord"

]]> (Ben Marsh) Sci-fi/Fantasy Sun, 03 Aug 2014 18:07:15 +0000

The Buzz:

        I...don't even. Peter Quill AKA "Star Lord" starts this film on a simple job to recover an artifact a-la "Raiders of the Lost Ark." However the journey (stupidly so) spirals out of control on a quest of galactic significance to save...everyone (?) from the threat of Ronan the Accuser.


*DISCLAIMER*: The author of this article has only read the "galactic level" of Marvel Comics from Annihilation through The Thanos Imperative, which he has been told by many "true comic fans" is a freshmen-minus level of indoctrination to the characters and events. So take this with some measure salt (if you care that goddamn much).


Life of the Party:

        The next section of this review may come off as harsh, so let me start here with is: Guardians of the Galaxy is an incredibly fun, enjoyable, and humorous film offering to the Marvel Universe of films. Chris Pratt (of (as far as I know) Parks and Rec fame) IS Star Lord, in much the same way as Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark. He brings that level of authenticity to the role. I personally can't imagine anyone else being that...perfect (?) at the character.

        Beyond that, I think the strength of Guardians is how enjoyable it is. The majority of the (noticeable) soundtrack is almost Tarantino/Rodriguez-esque, which matches the characters and storyline pretty much perfectly (in my opinion). The action is exciting without being cliché, and the dialogue & plot serves to keep the audience fully enamored. In short: it's fun to watch! It's a popcorn film. Wave your "suspension of disbelief" flag high, sit back, and enjoy!


Potential Hangovers:

        I have two primary complaints about Guardians. First off, I have many of the same complaints that I do about the second half of Captain America. A majority of the film seems...rushed. Without going into detail, events are very "bang-bang-bang," with very quick transitions between each one, and honestly left me kind of in the film's own dust. Little to no explanation, no setup, just "bam, this is what's going on now, you better like it."

        And secondly, and tied to my first complaint, is the characters. While they ARE what makes this film work, their supporting elements are incredibly weak. The film pretty much relies on the audience having a VERY deep understanding of the characters from the comics. But (and again, read the earlier disclaimer), so much is VERY different from those comics. Character motivations are VERY different, as well as personalities and development. And while, yes, much of the rapidly developing Marvel Film Universe is its own entity with its own distinct personality and development, it was odd to have a film that so heavily relies on its source material, while breaking away from it so distinctly. And while it does leave me wanting more, I feel like it's an aspect I will only be able to appreciate when I have access to the undeniably inevitable trilogy, where they will (hopefully) tie everything together.


The Vibe:

        Obviously, existing fans of the Marvel Film Universe will certainly find something to enjoy in Guardians. If you have enjoyed the majority of the other films in this universe of films, then you really can't go wrong here. And fans of high sci-fi and fantasy will also find elements both familiar and comforting. It's hard to find a real "vibe" for this film, since it's its own entity within this set of films, and more than probably this section of this review should be updated once Guardians hits home release, alongside whatever else has joined the library since then. But until that event occurs, and until we get the inevitable follow-up, Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun popcorn film for a random night off.



+ Fun

+ Chris Pratt IS Star Lord

- Incredibly rushed

+/- Relies heavily on source material, while being bafflingly different from the self-same material

]]> (Enuncia) Sci-fi/Fantasy Sat, 02 Aug 2014 06:56:23 +0000

The Buzz:

        Really? Do I have to write something here? [EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, you do] It's fucking Godzilla! If you can't already guess at what this movie's general theme is then you mustn't be old enough to see a movie like this. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Point taken]


Life of the Party:

        It's rare these days to find a film that causes the theater audience to burst into cheers and applause while watching it. When I went and saw Godzilla in IMAX 3D at the early showing, this happened no less than five times!

        But where to start? I'll start with the fact that, unlike pretty much every other Godzilla title out there, Godzilla actually has a proper plot and characters! Rather than just being a series of wide-shots of Godzilla doing...whatever he does in the film (all I'll say to this is that many scenes from the trailers were edited to not tip you off as to what's happening in the film, and I won't spoil it here) for two hours, the story is told from the perspective of our human characters.   There's a lot of street-level action, leaving us in the dark much of the time as to what exactly is happening at any given moment, which serves to heighten the tension of the film. The end result is a monster film where you actually care what happens to the human characters, maybe even more so than the titular King of the Monsters.

        Anyone who's spoken with me in any great length about special effects in films knows that I'm about the pickiest damn person in the world about CGI and animation effects. And I'm happy to say that the visuals in Godzilla are spectacular! You can tell the folks behind the scenes put some real effort into giving this film an almost hyper-real look and feel. As a minor point, I found it really cool how the creature design for Godzilla himself was an incredibly believable take on the classic rubber-suit design, rather than the mega-T-Rex design we had in that 1998 film. The homage to the old Toho classic was a nice touch that I couldn't help but appreciate every time it appeared on screen. And I wish I could go into the action scenes in any amount of detail, but doing so would force me to spoil what the trailers were edited to not show you. So all I'll say is that they're amazing. It's not a bunch of shaky cam and confusing "camera" work, nor is it some high-speed high-adrenaline hyper-fast action. They're much more lumbering and gigantic than what we're used to these days; it may sound like a negative, but I assure you it's not! It fits so well (and again, I really wish I could talk more about this without spoiling things) that it's almost awe-inspring.

        Really I could go on for another several paragraphs, but by now you've probably got the point. Godzilla is a very human giant-monster movie (I'm...not sure that makes sense, but it's the best I got) [EDITOR'S NOTE: If that's the best you got...we need to talk] that, at least in my case, will meet and exceed your expectations. If you've had even a passing fancy is seeing Godzilla, you owe it to yourself to see it. And I cannot help but highly recommend you do so in IMAX 3D, for pretty much the exact same reasons I go into in my Pacific Rim review.


The military's effectiveness in this film ranges between "We're boned" and "Oh man we're SO boned" for the most part

Potential Hangovers:

        Much like in that aforementioned review, my only disappointment in Godzilla is that knowledge that once it's out of theaters, my chances of seeing it in IMAX 3D again are somewhere between slim and none. It was such a visceral experience that to watch this movie in any other way, while good, maybe even great, can never quite rival what I saw tonight. So I'll say it again, go see Godzilla on the big screen, in 3D. Because once it's moved on, it'll never quite be the same again.


Surprisingly, while Cranston's role here is more involved than in the Total Recall reboot, it's not by much...

The Vibe: Casual Gathering

        When this film hits the home-theaters of the world, it'll be best served with a group of friends and a smattering of drinks. Maybe a little long for a movie-event night (touch over two hours of runtime, before they invariably add the "Director's Cut" content or some such), but on its own should make for a night's entertainment quite easily. You do need to pay at least some attention to what's going on, so heavy drinking/large groups would not be recommended.



+ Pretty much goddamn everything

- Pretty much goddamn nothing

]]> (Enuncia) Sci-fi/Fantasy Fri, 16 May 2014 12:00:00 +0000

The Buzz: 

        Treasure Planet is one of those Disney movies that many people seem to have nostalgia for, despite practically nobody having actually seen it when it came out. This movie, along with the similarly action-oriented Atlantis: The Lost Empire, was made during a brief period where Disney was experimenting with epic, somewhat gritty animated adventure films involving male leads, as this was before they settled on the massive money-making potential of just slapping princesses all over everything and calling it a day.


Don't be fooled, he's not singing, just rolling his eyes because he's getting pulled over.


     As might be inferred from the title, Treasure Planet is an adaptation of the classic Stevenson novel Treasure Island, except IN SPAAAAAAACE! If you happened to watch it when you were young, like much of the internet, then the distinctive characters and spectacular visuals have doubtlessly stuck with you. If you never had the chance to see it in 2002, is it worth Netflixing now?


Life of the Party (Positives):

     I was one of those people who hadn't seen this film until recently, and my biggest takeaway was that this movie looks REALLY nice. Disney predominantly used the traditional, hand-drawn animation that we all miss nowadays, but also incorporated some mild CGI elements for certain effects like complex mechanisms, exotic geographical features, and pretty much anything that glows (resulting in a dramatic effect a little like the backlighting in Secret of NIHM). The CGI holds up quite well for being 12 years old, and using it to highlight the more technological aspects of the setting like robotic limbs, ray guns, and solar panels provides a cool contrast to the traditionally-animated 1700s-era costuming and set-dressing. No, they never really explain how open-topped boats that appear to be made of wood can sail through space, but damn does it look cool to dock rows of airships on an orbital seaport shaped like a crescent moon.

 Square-Enix games, eat your heart out. Speaking of which, why no Treasure Planet level in Kingdom Hearts?


     Character design is also a strength, as the mixture of roughnecked extraterrestrials who crew the vessel are all imaginative, even if a few species exist entirely for cheap gags. The main characters have good chemistry with plenty of entertaining banter, delivered by a crew of distinctive actors including Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, and a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who, despite being the protagonist, sadly has few lines that aren't sullen mumbling or a Keanu-esque “whoa” at something cool off the starboard bow). Brian Murray is especially charming as the nefarious yet completely likeable Long John Silver, who is the rare Disney villain to be portrayed with a degree of moral ambiguity and character development, just like in the original book.

     Despite that noteworthy departure from the formula, the violence is still toned-down for family viewing, as not a single person is ever hit by any of the copious lasergun fire going everywhere, in true GI Joe fashion. The only deaths are from that classic bane of all Disney characters: gravity. The interstellar setting does allow for one character to die by falling UPWARD for a change, so I guess that's something. Even though the PG rating makes the fight scenes pretty low-stakes, enough swashes are buckled to keep the pace up and the movie consistently high energy.


Potential Hangovers (Negatives):

     Martin Short's character.


What the fuck are you doing.




The Vibe:

Well, it's a Disney movie, and you probably already have an idea of how you best enjoy Disney. Nostalgic time-waster on your day off? Snuggly night in with a significant other? Relaxed group viewing you can sing-along to (though there are no actual musical numbers in this one)? This works for all those situations pretty well, and is worth seeing if just for all the cool imagery and interesting reinterpretation of a classic story. It's a little longer than most Disney animated films, but that still puts it at only 90 minutes, which is about as much Martin Short as anybody can tolerate.

+ Blending of animation types looks great, with loads of intricate detail

+ The setting makes for grandiose and unique scenes

+ Main characters are well-developed and likeable, particularly the villain

+/- Stakes never feel that high due to Disney “plot armor”

- Seriously, why does anybody hire Martin Short to do anything


Drink up me hearties, yo-ho:

~Drink whenever a boat launches, lands, or crashes

~Drink for each nautical command given (hoist the mainsail, swab the decks, etc.)

~Drink whenever Morph transforms from one object to another

~Drink whenever Silver's arm changes gadgets

~Whenever a musical montage occurs, everyone races to finish their drink before it ends - the loser is designated as Cabin Boy and must fetch drinks for everyone until the next montage occurs

~When they find the treasure, shots of Goldschlager for everyone! 


Really cool ship, though I'm pretty sure I punched it in half midway through Asura's Wrath.


]]> (Alex Lane) Sci-fi/Fantasy Fri, 16 May 2014 04:06:24 +0000
ELYSIUM (2013) ELYSIUM (2013)

The Buzz:      

        In a future, the Earth is now overpopulated, and overrun with crime and disease. The wealthy have created a massive space station in orbit named Elysium, where there is no disease, or even any real struggle. Matt Damon plays the role of Max, an ex-car thief who becomes lethally dosed with radiation, and now must reach Elysium in order to cure himself. And then somehow super-powering exo-suits and political power-struggles happen.


Life of the Party:

        Elysium is a beautiful looking movie. I'm one of the biggest haters of CGI here at Tanked Matinee (not in all cases), but the effects in this film are beautifully rendered and executed. The cases that should have offended my sensibilities, which consisted of the robot drones that serve the rich/enforce the law, were actually some of my favorite effects in the film. They looked natural and like they actually fit into the shot, rather than the almost cartoony wrongness of most CGI these days.


Potential Hangovers:

        Sadly, that's about where my love for Elysium ended. First off, I think the film tries to do too much at once, and that much of it could have been left out to make the story stronger. The story of a ruffian trying to make it to the promised land to cure his sickness is kind of a classic in itself, and set in this particular universe could have made for a good plot. But then the filmmakers decide we also need to throw in a political power-struggle on Elysium that had no impact on the story at all; sure it shows why the bad guys are hunting our protagonist, but the fact that he suddenly has the means to come to Elysium illegally and change how things work is reason enough. Oh, and once you see the ending; am I wrong that apparently the sole means of “saving the world” primarily consisted of turning a computer off-and-on again, and bringing up the system BIOS?

        Also a minor quibble, but one of the main bad-guys, one Agent Kruger, played by Sharlto Copley (District 9, Europa Report, The A-Team) has such a thick accent that I didn't understand nearly a single thing he said. It was some weird mix of German and Australian accents (EDIT: since writing this I've discovered it's South African; who knew?). I don't blame Mr. Copley for this, since from his other films I know he can't speak clearly and work different accents. I blame the director and/or sound-mixer who heard it, and decided “good enough.”

        But maybe most offensively, Elysium is just boring. A big, high-budget special effects action film like this cannot afford to commit that sin, and in fact (in my opinion) has a hard time doing so. I can't point to any specific reasons or examples, but I found myself around the 45 minute mark wondering how much time I had left, and eventually finding more excitement in Facebook chat while Elysium was relegated to background noise.


The Vibe: Large Party

        Elysium could probably work in a small-group setting, if everyone were drinking and ready to riff. However, it's dullness can quickly lead to said group getting distracted, and riffing everything BUT the film, and at that stage what's the point? Really, Elysium is probably best relegated to the large party format; the visual effects and occasional actions scenes will serve to light up the room and keep people entertained as their attention wavers back and forth, and the plot is standard enough that you won't really miss anything.



+ It's a good looking film

- Too many unneeded plot aspects, weakens overall story

- Somehow managed to be boring


Drinking Game Ideas:

~ Drink every time someone says “Elysium”

~ Drink every time you find yourself wondering just what the hell Kruger just said

~ Drink every time you find something on your phone more interesting than what's on screen

]]> (Enuncia) Sci-fi/Fantasy Fri, 04 Apr 2014 14:22:48 +0000

The Buzz:

     In a dystopian future, survival means conforming to a new set of social rules. The human population is divided into factions that keep people separate depending on their temperament. In this world, keeping human nature coordinated and separate, the largest inclinations towards anarchy are tempered. Beatrice Prior takes the ritual test that all people must, in order to find out her true place in the civilization. Unfortunately, that test does not work as intended…

Life of the Party:

     I will start off by saying that I have never read the book that this movie is based on (you will notice that I have not read any book a movie is based off of) so I had no pre-conceived notion of what I was going to see before going in. For information’s sake, I will mention that this movie (and it’s two planned sequels) are based on Veronica Roth’s best selling novel, Divergent. Funny how the title of the book made it to the movie right? The movie starts off with a fairly succinct explanation of how the human population “worked” now. People are separated into different factions by their temperament and lifestyle. Erudites value knowledge and science, Candor are all about truth, Amity are all hippies, Abnegation are selfless helpers, and Dauntless are crazy warriors.

movies warriors.widea


     The story revolves around Beatrice Prior who has grown up in the faction of Abnegation. Her family adheres very well to their style of life; they live simply and prefer to help others over themselves. Beatrice, however, does not feel like she fits in with this way of living and secretly desires more. Seriously, who doesn’t want more than how they grew up? Anywho... In this civilization, you grow up in the faction of your birth and take a test to determine where you SHOULD be. Ultimately, each person is free to choose their faction, but most choose the faction that the test reveals for them.

     The story really begins to unfold when Beatrice takes her test but the results come back inconclusive. Her test administrator informs her that this means she is “divergent” and needs to keep it a secret from EVERYONE. Though rattled, she keeps the secret and on the day of her faction choosing, she makes a last second decision to join the ranks of Dauntless and live the free life she has always wanted.

     This is where I will stop and tell you what makes this movie worth watching, and without giving too many spoilers. The first thing that caught my eye with Divergent was some of the landscape images that depicted the new world. It wasn’t done in the typical dystopian style where the landscape is scorched earth with one giant walled “paradise” where all human life is crowded into.

mega-city-one-from-dredd"More like.. Mega City-FUN! Amirite?"

     On the contrary, it is a giant walled in “paradise“ where no one really knows who or what lies too far out into the wilderness. Either way, their civilization lives in the husk of an old city and I really liked how they incorporated some really innovative technology with a decaying, war-torn metropolis.

     The plot, though not a particular high point for me, did bring back images of some other movies that I thoroughly enjoyed. The similarities between Divergent and Equilibrium are strong, but without the hassle of eliminating emotion COMPLETELY. I even had a few flashbacks to Logan’s Run, which was surprising in and of itself.

     Now on to the acting, which I though was very adequately done. Shailene Woodley and Theo James play the heroes of the story Tris Prior and Four, respectively. Though I think they both could have toned down some aspects of their characters (the super hard-knock instructor vs the crappy student that perseveres) they succeeded in giving their roles feeling. Supporting them are the likes of Jai Courtney ( A Good Day to Die Hard), Ashley Judd (Heat, Kiss the Girls), Kate Winslet (you saw her naked in Titanic) and Ray Stevenson (Punisher Warzone, the Thor Movies). All good actors on their own, they fill out the roster quite well. Two other honorable mentions are Zoe Kravitz (daughter of musician Lenny samelastname) and Miles Teller, who is going to be the new Mr. Fantastic. Which works because he was a know-it-all cunt in this movie too, albeit a well acted one, so… Cheers to that buddy.

Potential Hangovers:

     People are going mad over this movie right now and I tell ya, I just do not know why. I see how this movie had some great potential and squandered it away frivolously. The storyline was predictable as fuck! Who didn’t see her joining dauntless, who didn’t see her falling in love with her hard-ass instructor, who didn’t see HOW she was going to rebel against the forces that tried to take over. It played out like a “how to” book; step by step by step.

Step by step tv show cast

"No no no… I had one extra “by step” added… who is in charge of this crap?"

      The first solid HALF of this movie mentioned Divergent maybe two times, and it was not even a real factor. In fact, the first half of the movie was a female empowerment story that shows that perseverance is really all you need to succeed if you are a woman trying to make it. The only real conflict being presented was weak girl trying to survive in a cut-throat competition all while trying to not bone hotty mc hotpants.

theo-james"I mean, can ya blame her?"

     I feel that the true conflict of the story takes far too long to reach and by the time it comes into play, it has not been developed well enough to make the audience care. Long story short, after an hour and a half of movie, we find out that the Erudite faction is attempting to overthrow the governing faction of Abnegation using Dauntless. This is going to be achieved through chemical thought control. All of a sudden, being Divergent matters because guess who isn’t susceptible to mind control? It takes FOREVER for the name sake of the movie to actually make a meaningful appearance. I am not saying that it should take main stage all two and a half hours, but maybe make an entrance before the climax of the story.

     Truthfully, it seems like this movie (and probably the book) is trying to skate on the coat tails of other popular young-adult centered books. It’s easy to draw a connection between The Hunger Games and Divergent. Not that Shailene Woodley is just another pretty stand-in for Jennifer Lawrence… I could be wrong about that. She may actually just be another pretty stand-in for Jennifer Lawrence. Regardless, watching this movie definitely makes me feel like it was written for a slightly younger-than-me audience.

The Atmosphere: Date movie, casual gathering

     I say date movie because there is enough story to keep both parties interested, enough action to be exciting, and enough love story interwoven to keep it sappy. That being said, don’t make it a first date unless you plan on dissecting the movie to pieces afterwards. A casual gathering would be alright as well, just don’t be TOO raucous cause you might miss plot. This isn’t Shark Attack in the Mediterranean, you actually have to watch on occasion.

Pros and Cons:

+ Pretty well acted with a relatively young cast. There are some hopefuls in there.
+ Some nice scenic images and cool action spots
-The story telling makes the plot appear very thin.
- so damn predictable.

The Drinking Game!

-Drink every time you are correct about what is about to happen!

-Drink Twice every time you are wrong.

]]> (Ben Marsh) Sci-fi/Fantasy Sat, 29 Mar 2014 02:24:46 +0000

The Buzz:

     Johnathan Xavier, intergalactic juvenile delinquent and wielder of the all-powerful Resurrection Suit, is stranded on 1950s Earth with his band of hooligans, but his mission of leather-jacketed mischief may be more than it seems. Shady music promoters, runaway rock-and-roll zombies, and lots of hokey special effects collide in this beautifully-shot ode to 1950s science-fiction movies, which also happens to have some singing and dancing. Basically, it's like Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, but with musical numbers.


Life of the Party (Positives):

     When I started watching Ghastly Love of Johnny X, my first thought was "Oh, it's in black-and-white, that's kinda cool." Not long after, my second thought was that this was the best-looking black-and-white movie I'd ever seen. B&W is well-known for the superior "crispness" it can provide compared to color shooting, and while some movies that seek a retro or "noir" aesthetic will just shoot normally and then digitally switch to greyscale in post, Ghastly Love decided to go old-school and shoot with actual fine grain black and white film stock. The very last of it made by Kodak, in fact, a company which doesn't even make film anymore, what with the advent of digital filming. This little bit of extra effort makes a huge difference in the movie's appearance, and every aspect of the production was fully committed toward getting the best black-and-white look they could, including lighting, costuming, and makeup. One pleasant side-effect of the latter elements is that all the girls in this movie look fantabulously hot, but I admittedly have a thing for mid-century women's fashion. Overall, Ghastly Love combines modern camera angles and staging with the almost-lost art of great black-and-white production, making it a truly gorgeous film.

Honestly, if it meant the entire world looked this cool, I wouldn't really mind being color-blind.


     The charmingly retro sci-fi element isn't left behind either, though, as the twisty science-fiction plot, slang-filled dialogue, and schlocky special effects are definitely reminiscent of low budget American International Pictures fare. Though the majority of the movie takes place in expertly-recreated yet ordinary '50s Americana surroundings, we do get plenty of shiny space-suits, Lugosi-esque zombie makeup, and a climactic final showdown on storm-wracked mountaintops that appear to be constructed of painted garbage bags stretched over some coat hangers. Mixed into the chintzy sci-fi elements are just enough modern digital effects to serve the story but not detract from the overal aesthetic - as it turns out, CGI lightning bolts look even more badass in black-and-white, who knew?

     All the actors turn in good performances as well, with enough melodramatic delivery for the sci-fi segments and enough subtlety for the ACTUAL dramatic moments. Will Keenan, who plays the titular Johnny, switches back and forth from cocky and menacing villain to vulnerable, sympathetic hero as the demands of the plot evolve, and plays both angles well, in addition to having a good singing voice. De Anna Joy Brooks is also endearing as Johnny's girlfriend Bliss, and performs the most memorable musical number, "These Lips That Never Lie," a Jessica Rabbit-esque seduction song that's equal parts sexy and humorous. The movie doesn't focus on any one character exclusively, though, as it's really more of an ensemble film in both plot and musical numbers, relying on a variety of conflicting motivations and shocking revelations to provide twists and turns in the story, interspersed with Les Miserables-style "everybody sings at once about different topics" musical montages.


Potential Hangovers (Negatives):

     If you're expecting a straightforward parody of '50s sci-fi movies, complete with large chunks of professorial exposition and a rubber-suited monster, this movie won't provide that. The plot does twist around more than you'd expect, raises a lot more questions than it answers, and sometimes splits its attention too much, getting the audience interested in a certain story thread and then jerking them away to another scene to watch a song and dance segment. The musical numbers are spread somewhat inconsistently throughout the movie, and almost seem like an afterthought added for the sake of novelty. This is not to say that the singing, choreography, and general staging aren't really enjoyable, they're just not well-integrated to the progress of the story. Also, although all the songs are toe-tapping and cleverly written while you're watching them, I finished the movie having already forgotten all the melodies, and couldn't sing you any bits of music if I tried. In terms of memorability, Johnny X pales in comparison to other recent, dark musicals like Reefer Madness or Repo!, which both have classic musical hooks that stick in your head.


The Atmosphere:

     The Ghastly Love of Johnny X is a movie for nerds like me who love the very concept of movies and movie-making. If you and your friends are big enough hipsters that watching the last movie ever made using Kodak black-and-white stock is inherently cool, have any nostalgia for retro drive-in schlock, and enjoy the occasional song and dance number, it's a good way to spend an hour and a half. This could also make a great date movie, due some nicely romantic elements throughout, or as a cool-looking background feature or focus to a '50s or '60s drive-in theme party. It was released in theaters pretty much as an afterthought, and its big opening weekend of $86 in ticket sales made it the lowest-grossing movie of 2012 - I think the intention for it to be viewed outside the mainstream was pretty clear, so show it some ghastly love at home as a late-night feature some time.


+ Just plain gorgeous black-and-white production. Seriously, it looks really nice.
+ Just enough charming touches that hearken back to 1950s science fiction without being farcical
+ Surprisingly good performances in a complex, dramatic plot
+/- Musical numbers are well-staged but not very memorable
- Story seems a bit unfocused at times


Drinking Game Suggestions:

~Drink every time you see an X

~Drink whenever a character is called by a '50s slang term instead of their actual name

~Drink whenever someone says “suit”

~Drink for every person who gets into or out of a car

~Take a shot whenever you can see Bliss' “implants”

"I love the Power Glove... It's so bad..."


]]> (Alex Lane) Sci-fi/Fantasy Thu, 20 Mar 2014 02:05:46 +0000

The Buzz:

     Every culture has a slightly different version of the Santa Claus story, for instance in America it is simply a fat Tim Allen that has many memorable Christmas adventures.  In other cultures Santa was an incarnation of a real person such as St. Nikolas in Germany and he even travels with an assistant Black Peter.  In this Finnish fantasy/horror film they go with the OLD Santa Claus story, where Santa was a demon of sorts that would take children that were “naughty” and devour them.  On the surface that sounds like a pretty awesome concept for a story….because it is!  So sit back and enjoy this Christmas tale and remember….Santa’s always watching…always…









Life of the Party:

     This film is immensely creative, it figures that it takes a foreign country to create something like this, now all America needs to do is ruin it.  The sense of isolation that you get of this small village on the edge of Russia does a lot to set the scene so to speak.  The film reminds me a lot of Let the Right one in in the way that it is very bright, but bleak at the same time.  I barely understand English let alone Finnish, but the acting was strong especially from the lead, who is a child.  The film could have gone silly at any point or just simply too far, but it didn’t and that shows amazing restraint in filmmaking, something Americans do not have.  The film also does not foreshadow itself and you are left wanting to know what is going to happen, which is always nice.  In the end you get well rewarded with a great ending and a Merry Fucking Christmas.


 Santa WAS Hungry....


Possible Hangovers:

     It’s a foreign film made with unattractive Finnish people, which will turn many people away.  Also Americans are portrayed as money grubbing idiots with no respect for culture or tradition.  But that should not drive away too many people, because it is very true.  And lastly subtitles can always bring the detractors running.


 Seems like an interesting employee handbook.


The Atmosphere (Casual Gathering, House Party):

    I think this film is ripe for a Christmas party, and why the hell not?  Get together with some people have some Christmas inspired brews and enjoy the hell out of yourself. 


Drinking Games:

~ Drink when a fucked up Santa is on screen (including pictures)

~ Drink when the kid’s scary doll is on screen

~ Drink when someone speaks English

~ Drink when gingerbread is on screen

~ HARD: Drink when someone says Santa

]]> (Nick Schmidt) Sci-fi/Fantasy Sat, 21 Dec 2013 18:35:18 +0000

The Buzz

     It has been two years since the Destroyer was sent to earth by the Jotun and the Bifrost to Asgard was destroyed. Things seem to be back to "normal" as Heimdall watches the newly rebuilt Bifrost and Thor, God of Thunder, is fighting once again to bring the nine realms back into peace. However, the time draws near to the Convergance, a phenomena where the nine realms align and a great power stirs. Malekith, the leader of the once powerful Dark Elves, has bided his time for 5000 years and is now ready to claim a super weapon known as the Aether and plunge the realms into eternal darkness.


The Life of the Party

     Was that epic enough? I've been working on my Elevator speech for epic story telling, but... anyways... Thor: The Dark World! Yet another superhero sequel by Marvel films, I was entirely worried that this movie was going to fall into the same category as its predacessor: Boring as hell. Thankfully, the writers and director learned from the first Thor, and actually gave us something worthwhile.

     The story revolves around Malekith, leader of the dark elves, who was at war with Asgard many thousands of years ago. At the very moment that Malekith was to use his super weapon, The Aether, an Asgardian strike force stole it from him to hide in a secret corner of the galaxy. Of course Malekith and some of his brethren escape to go into hiding, and 5000 years later, the Aether is found by an unwitting human and brings him back out of slumber. So who is unwitting enough to stumble upon an ancient, sentient super-flubber weapon?


Note: May not be actual scene from Thor: The Dark World

     Yup, thats Thor's main squeeze from the first movie (also briefly mentioned in The Avengers) who has found herself a gravitationaly anomoly and just
HAS GOT TO GO POKING AROUND (she IS white, afterall). Whilst dicking around in another realm of reality, Dr. gets herself infected with Aether juice and is chosen to be the host of its power until claimed by Malekith. Of course, when this happens, Thor comes to save his lady and takes her to Asgard for protection and healing. Unfortunately, nothing ever goes right for Super Heroes, and Asgard is attacked by Dark Elves. Ultimately, the elves are pushed back at great cost to the Asgardians.

     Given few options, Thor opts for a plan that would label him a traitor to Asgard and sets it in motion. utilizing the aid of Heimdall, the Warriors Three, Lady Sif, and (SPOILER) his own Brother Loki, Thor brings his lady-boo to the dark world to draw Malekith away from Asgard. The final battle has too many actual spoilers to give you a run down, but I will say this: It's fun! You may be asking, why "fun"? Well, because isn't that what it SHOULD be? You know darn well that certain people aren't going to die, you know that ultimately the good guy is going to win, so "drama" and "Suspense" don't really exist. But it is fun and exciting. The graphics are well done and there is plenty of story left for future Thor movies or Avengers titles.

     Moving away from just the nerdgasm moments that super-hero movies tend to bring to me, I have to admit that I really loved the casting for this movie. Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, who has done a great job of being Thor in his everyday life. Just look at the man and tell me he wasn't born to be a Viking God. 

"I said look.. that requires BOTH eyes in my opinion"

     Mancrush not withstanding, the rest of the cast is pretty stellar as well. You have Sir Anthony Hopkins playing big daddy Odin, Idris Elba (Luther for those not in the know) as Heimdall, with Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano as the Warriors Three. Jaimis Alexander plays Sif, and is incredibly hot whilst doing so. Rene Russo, Stellan Skargard, and Kat Denning are all there too, but play supporting roles that I feel get too overshadowed (Russo especially). 

     Christopher Eccleston plays the movies main antogonist, Melekith, and does a supperb job at it. He just seems natural playing the part and it works for him. Adewale Akinnuoya-agbeje (Bullet to the Head, and god knows how many other movies) plays Algrim and then The Kurse, which if you have played Marvel Avengers Alliance, makes you hate him SO hard. The one who steals the show is most definitely Tom Hiddleston as Loki. I feel that each of the actors/actresses who play the heroes and villains is going to forever be remembered as such, but I think that Hiddleston is going to take the Loki role and turn him into a household name, which is a rarity for the villains. 


"The man could tell a girl her dog committed suicide

and still make her panties explode"


Potential Hangovers:

     If im being honest, there was not much about this movie that I was really unhappy about. There are a few spots where some minor continuity errors show up, or things don't quite make sense, but I feel like you kind of have to accept that in a super hero movie. Seeing as I was never really a comic book Guru, I'm not sure how well this movie stacked up with Thor Lore (YAY Rhyme Scheme!), so that is certainly a potential complaint. But, as I've said before, these movies aren't made for fans of the comics. These movies are made for the average person to go and enjoy. The conversation as to why directors have to change the canon of the comic books or make changes that don't NEED to be made is a lengthy one that we will have another time. 

Vibe: Group get together, man cave, date movie

     The new trend of super hero movies has blossomed into a genre of its own, and it looks like it plans to stay that way for awhile. The Dark World is enough of an action movie to make the typical guy happy but still has enough romance and heart in it to make the girlfriend that was pulled along pretty happy too. All in all, I think this movie can fill a number of roles on the blu-ray shelf and is a solid addition to the Marvel Line. 

]]> (Ben Marsh) Sci-fi/Fantasy Wed, 18 Dec 2013 00:30:24 +0000