Saturday, March 28, 2015

Really That Good: GHOSTBUSTERS

NOTE: Sony has filed a copyright claim on the video, which I believe is bullshit because use of clips for criticism (and in non-monetized content, no less!) is supposed to be allowed. I've disputed the claim, which seems to have made the video watchable as of 7:40am EST. Bottom line: Watch while you can, because I don't know how long this can stay up...


The first episode ("pilot," if we're being honest) for my new project: REALLY THAT GOOD, a film essay series based on the radical idea that our most beloved movies probably became our most beloved movies for a good reason; and that just because "everyone" agrees a film is great doesn't mean it's not worthy of a serious second look:

A lot of work has gone into this one, folks; and I'm pretty damn happy with how it came out especially for a first try. I hope you all enjoy it.

TV Recap: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D - Season 2 Episode 14: "LOVE IN THE TIME OF HYDRA"

One reason it was rough going getting this up for Wednesday (hence why you're now getting it on Saturday)? This wasn't an especially strong episode, and it was hard to find anything useful to say about it other than to recap what happened.

This an episode almost-exclusively about putting various characters into the positions they need to be in for a promised "explosive" storyline next week, buoyed by some character/relationship melodrama that was nice to see but would've worked better amid the support of a stronger overall setting. Upkeep-episodes are all well and good (and necessary, given that AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D is now clearly pacing itself with an eye on bulk re-watchings whenever the various future Marvel movies it's laying foundation for hit) but the word "obligatory" was hanging too prominently over the proceedings.

Full review (with SPOILERS!) after the jump...

Friday, March 27, 2015

News & Such

Short version: Yes, you're still getting an AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D recap for this week (between tomorrow and Sunday) and I apologize for the delay. I could pin some of it on work (things are gathering steam, and I should have exceptionally good news for fans pretty soon) but it's not just that...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dronehood

Andrew Niccol's (GATTACA, IN TIME) GOOD KILL is being touted as the first major Hollywood war movie specifically "about" post-9/11 drone warfare, which one can (cynically) assume is coming out now because we're almost on to the next election and it's now that much less lightning-rod-y to criticize a war-fighting method that's seen (fairly or not) as belonging uniquely to the Obama Era rather than as a Bush/Cheney holdover.

Ethan Hawke stars as an oldschool fighter pilot who, with the demand for his actual flight skills waning, reluctantly joins a squad of joystick-jockeys blowing up Taliban/Al-Qaeda/ISIS/etc (it's unclear what time period/enemy-cycle this takes place in) from the comfort of a stateside cubicle:


Thursday, March 19, 2015

In Dog We Trust

Below, the trailer for MAX, which answers the question "How do you make a story about an Afghan War veteran recovering from severe PTSD even more wrenching and instantly sympathetic?" as follows: "Well, what if he's also a dog?"


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TV Recap: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D - Season 2 Episode 13: "ONE OF US"

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I'm having a serious internal debate as to where to put the spoiler-warning on these things.

The fact is, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D is now more-or-less "out of the closet" as to what corner of the Marvel Universe it's actually been most connected to all this time (or, at least, midway through Season 1) ...if you're watching it. If you're not, since the ads aren't really using a lot of the key terminology yet, it might still be a surprise for the binge-watching crowd. And while I'm not of the mindset that TV critics should neuter their reviews to cater to the watch-later set... I do know a few people personally who're doing just that with this series, so... I dunno.

For now, short version: "One Of Us" is basically a catch-up episode, keeping the main plot largely in a holding pattern so the show has time to explain lingering questions about where everything stands and partially-reveal the answer to at least one major remaining mystery. It works, especially the welcome presence of Blair Underwood as an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D psychiatrist who also turns out to be Agent May's ex-husband; but it's also the first episode in awhile to return to Season 1's habit of feeling like a "grownups" episode of BUFFY - and not just because it involved a lo-fi superhero battle on a small town high-school football field.

Still, as has been the case with Season 2's slower installments, the cast and the bigger ideas at play ultimately pull this one out. More details after the Jump...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Adam Sandler *Literally* Kills Your Childhood in First PIXELS Trailer

Well. Here's the trailer for PIXELS, a movie based on a viral internet short that won a bunch of praise a few years back:


Friday, March 13, 2015

THE UPDATED MOVIEBOB FAQ: 3/13/2015 EDITION

Below the jump, some overdue updates on where I'm at and when you'll start seeing my web presence kick up again. But first - Did you know you needed this in your life? Because you needed this in your life:



I wonder how many people who're seeing this in 2015 even know/knew that DINOSAURS was a "thing?" Anyway...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Surf Nutsy

Okay, so the premise to RIDE is pretty cute in a "pandering to the fantasies of an audience that almost never get's pandered to" sort of way: Helen Hunt is a wealthy-ish NYC helicopter-mom who, upon learning that her kid (Brandon Thwaites) has dropped out of college to pursue surfing, chases him down and resolves to hang around in the surf-culture herself until she can talk him out of it. Luke Wilson and David Zayas are also there, stuff is learned, dreamy/"soaring" indie-pop song, underlit photography and earthtone title-fonts so we know this is Smart Grownup Comedy, etc. Coming soon to a bookstore coffee-bar lunch discussion near you:


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TV Recap: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D - Season 2 Episode 12: "WHO YOU REALLY ARE"

There was a moment in the second half of the first season of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D when the show, decidedly mixed up to that point, seemed to "click" all at once into what it was truly meant to be - both in terms of quality and of narrative-threads beginning to realize their full potential. Without giving it away for the (still) spoiler-averse, it involved the reveal of an Agent's full backstory and agenda; and once it happened the series started aggressively moving and didn't let up until the season finale.

It's now clear that last week's "Aftershocks," which dropped the show whole-hog into a new status quo with an entirely new purpose in the Marvel Cinematic Universe experiment, was that moment for this season; with "Who You Really Are" playing out this new scenario with a confidence that feels more akin to a show that's been working this angle all along... for better or for worse.

FULL SPOILERS from here on out:

Monday, March 09, 2015

Full TOMORROWLAND Trailer: Atlas, Hugged?

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There's a running sort-of joke/sort-of gripe in online film geek circles about Brad Bird being a secret Objectivist, mainly based on really, really cynical readings of THE INCREDIBLES (i.e. naturally-gifted superheroes versus a society that wants them to conform to averageness and a villain whose plan partly involves using technology to level the human/superhuman playing field). I'm not fully onboard with that reading of his career (THE IRON GIANT's philosophy is slightly to the left of Captain Nemo, for one thing) but it's interesting to consider. Ayn Rand's peculiar mix of philosophy and proto self-esteem mythmaking has long found favor with artists, storytellers and sundry visionaries who otherwise operate well outside Objectivism's capitalism-as-secular-religion framework, so who can say?

In any case, the new trailer for his big Disney theme-park tentpole TOMORROWLAND will likely do nothing to quell that; as it unveils more of the film's up to now top-secret storyline:


Spoilers (for trailer-avoiders) after the jump...

Friday, March 06, 2015

Film Review: CHAPPIE (2015)

NOTE I: Sorry folks, PAXEast preparations means no video review for this one - at least not right away. Hope you enjoy this text-only version, all the same.

NOTE II: Did you enjoy this piece? Please consider supporting The MovieBob Patreon.

CHAPPIE is an ambitious, earnestly crafted film that's also profoundly flawed; in both respects to a degree that one will likely cancel the other depending on the individual viewer.

It's a work cast in bold strokes, with every thematic and aesthetic element carried to the nearest extreme: The titular robotic hero is supposed to be "childlike," so he's realized as literally a titanium five year-old who cowers and sobs when unable to comprehend having been lied to and cries out for his "Mommy" when in danger. In tone and texture (and in approach to the "science" in science-fiction) it's a kids movie, but realized as an R-rated bloodbath because, well, there's guns in the story and damned if any of them are gonna go un-shot. South African rave-rap icons Ninja and Yolandi Visser (aka "Die Antwoord") are stunt-cast as Chappie's human co-stars - not simply as characters like their stage personas but as "themselves," in an alternate universe where they're actual violent gangsters instead of an arty gangsta-rap piss-take.

It's kind of a mess, in other words, but there's an energy to it - a real, beating-heart sincerity to the parts that work - that worked for me, in spite of the roughness of everything else. Your mileage will likely vary.

SPOILERS from here on out...

"Welcome to Asia"

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"Okay, here's the pitch."

"I'm listening."

"Cool. Cool. So, it's a movie..."

"Good, good. That's primarily what we make here."

"Nice. So, it's a movie, but - here's the hook: It's SUPER racist."

"...racist."

"SUPER racist."

"Hm. Can you clarify, 'super?' Like, on a scale of zero to Nugent?"

"Um... I guess, Nugent - but at a no-press-allowed CPAC fundraiser with those Duck guys?"

"Ah!"

"Yeah."

"So... pretty darn racist."

"Yes. Yes it is."

"Hm........... ....... ... ...Well, shit - we DID just cross $470 million worldwide on 'Bradley Cooper Headshots Brown People For Two Hours.' You got yourself a green light!"



Thursday, March 05, 2015

TV Recap: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D - Season 2 Episode 11: "AFTERSHOCKS"

NOTE: If you enjoy this piece, and would like to continue seeing more like it, please consider the MovieBob Patreon.


AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D's stature within the Marvel Cinematic Universe is such that it's both about what is effectively The Avengers' unofficial support-staff and also is very much that itself: Team Coulson may have their own individual stories and arcs, but what they find themselves actually doing day to day is increasingly determined by what the MCU's superhero-starring feature films need them to do (setting up plot points, expanding mythologies) and forbid them to do (using certain characters, revealing certain truths.) That's got to be difficult, from a writing standpoint, but it makes for an interesting show - a "procedural" whose status quo is always changing.

BIG SPOILERS from here on out, continue at your own discretion:

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

AGENT CARTER - In Summation

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Opting to hit up a full-series rundown now that AGENT CARTER has concluded, as opposed to just an episode breakdown like last week. 

Spoiler city after the jump, but for up here I'll just say that I thought the series was strong throughout and finished on the proper note. I get that some fans are annoyed because they were hoping for some kind of major Marvel character drop or more explicit MCU worldbuilding, but AGENT CARTER was very much it's own creature and stayed on that course admirably. This was Marvel Studios' first real push at developing what amounts to an original character outside the comics (the Peggy Carter of the books is a markedly different, less overall-important figure than the one played by Haly Atwell) so it's important that this was overwhelmingly her story moreso than another gear in the MCU worldbuilding machine.

More after the jump (SPOILERS)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

On Leonard Nimoy

I've been consumed with a number of things, most especially getting THIS (and it's follow-up, and the impending relaunch) ready to go, hence the lack of immediate updates. But I obviously can't let the passing of Boston's own Leonard Nimoy yesterday afternoon pass unremarked upon.

By the time I was old enough to be aware of STAR TREK, Nimoy and Spock were well into their mutual mid-1980s revival as blockbuster superstars, so I never new a world where Trek (classic, at least) wasn't a widely-accepted part of mainstream popular culture. But even knowing of the period adrift only through history, it feels like any moment of "has-been" stature that might've stuck to the rest of the franchise never stuck to this person - even if at one point his relationship with his most famous characterization was complicated enough to pen both the 1975 autobiography I AM NOT SPOCK and follow it up with 1995's I AM SPOCK.

So, to me, this person was always famous; one of the first actors I can remember really associating with beyond his character thanks in large part to his unmistakable voice and presence. He always seemed larger than life, which was unusual since outside of Spock he was so often seen in genial and playful circumstances - a towering figure who for some reason deigned to walk among ordinary people.

It's cliche by now, but there's really no better to say it than just to reiterate: Actor, director, singer, writer, activist - he lived long, and he prospered.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Here's An Insane AGE OF ULTRON Theory For You


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So here's the new (final?) AGE OF ULTRON poster, which looks about as generic as one can expect from a movie that has never once needed a poster or any kind of advertising to gaurantee a blockbuster opening. Truth be told, the Marvel movies have generally had pretty bland posters, the one exception possibly being the second one for FIRST AVENGER.

But whatever. Not a lot of new information get's conveyed upfront (Vision is still mostly obscured, if Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver eventually become not boring-looking we're not seeing what that looks like here) but the full credits at the bottom are telling a different story - maybe.

For starters, we finally get confirmation that Stellan Skarsgaard and Anthony Mackie are both in the cast - though who can say what exactly their roles will be (I'd like Falcon and War Machine to have at least one "Main Guys' Black Friends" side-eye moment.) Also Haly Atwell (Agent Carter) which is... interesting.

But the one sticking out to me? Additional music from Danny Elfman. What's that about?

Friday, February 20, 2015

REALLY THAT GOOD - New Project Announcement Trailer

This has been in the works for awhile, glad to finally be able to tell you about it:

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

Zack Snyder's Twitter has revealed the first official image of Jason Momoa as AQUAMAN (who will almost-certainly not be called that, ever) in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE... and holy hell, is it about the worst approach I could've imagined...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Whelp Of Wall Street

Remember back when WOLF OF WALL STREET was first hitting and people realized you could cut any movie about someone having lots of money to the beats of that trailer and it'd be funny, and the most obvious one 90s kids went to was the live-action RICHIE RICH?

Well, Netflix has apparently decided that what's cute for like 2 minutes will be hilarious for a season's worth of binge-watching. Below, the trailer for the streaming giant's new RICHIE RICHIE reboot series (did anyone even remember hearing they were doing this?) which is pitched, literally, as "Jordan Belfort, but he's 12."


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TV RECAP: Agent Carter - Episode 7: "Snafu"

NOTE: I was recapping AGENT CARTER episodes for The Escapist, and it seemed to have a decent following. Since I hate leaving things undone (and because I want to show all you wonderful folks donating to the Patreon that you're going to see a steady run of work) I'll post the remaining two here.


Wow.

At this point, AGENT CARTER has turned out to be so solid that all it will need to do in it's eighth and final episode is not end on a note of total disaster and it'll immediately assume a position among the very best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's not many TV shows that can fit a riot, an explosive self-sacrifice suicide, an indoor parkour battle, creepy hypnotism and a slapstick almost-jailbreak around the edges of what remains both a cracking good spy story and an extended metaphor for the invisibility of women in post-WWII America.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The MovieBob Post-Escapist FAQ (UPDATED with Patreon info!)

UPDATE: Right up top, here's the link to the Brand New MOVIEBOB PATREON!

So. Now that I've got myself some breathing room and some time, I thought I'd draft up a more comprehensive FAQ to answer your questions re: What's going on with me after Friday's sudden departure from The Escapist. Obviously, I can only answer questions that are mine too answer, so if you're looking for industry gossip... sorry, not here.

Anyway...

Friday, February 13, 2015

All Good Things

So. Straight and to the point: What you may have heard already is true - I am no longer working for The Escapist. 

The last episode of ESCAPE TO THE MOVIES ran today (It's Kingsman, it's good) as did the last INTERMISSION.

I'll have more to say later (right now, I've an appointment to keep) but suffice it to say that I am devastated, heartbroken and quite upset by this turn of events, which came mostly as a surprise to me. I am grateful for the time I had there, for the platform that was afforded to me and - most of all - to my loyal fans and readers, who I hope will follow me to whatever venture comes next. And for those wondering: No, this has nothing to do with hashtags, "consumer revolts" or any other such nonsense - not that I expect that will keep the chattering class at bay in that regard, but facts are facts

I have several projects that are already in the offing, which I will now likely be announcing sooner or later. I'd ask anyone who hasn't already done so to please subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

I am where I am because of my fans, followers and viewers - I have not forgotten that, and will not. It's going to be a rough near-future, for this and a variety of other reasons, but I plan to emerge on the other side of it in better shape and ready for great new things. And I hope that you will join me there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Marvelous

You've heard the news, you already know the tune, might as well sing along…

Spider-Bro, Spider-Bro 
No more movies with Spider-Bro! 
Twilight hair, 
Mumbly mouth, 
Give my best to Brandon Routh! 
Goodbye, worst version of Spider-Man! 

Reboot sucked, 
Sequel worse! 
Failed so hard might have been cursed. 
Didn’t buy 
His or her 
Inconsistent characters. 
So sad, The Forgettable Spider-Man! 

Scripts so bad were a sin 
Even wrecked Uncle Ben! 
Stupid magical blood 
What the hell was with that!? 

Spider-Douche, Spider-Douche 
Smirking sk8-punk Spider-Douche 
Arad’s ox, 
Justly gored. 
Marvel’s gain but our reward

Hooray, Spidey’s been rescued from hacks! 
Next get Fantastic Four back! 
New day for Spider-Man!!!