Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

X-Men: Apocalypse. My Thoughts

leave a comment »

If you’re friends with me or have kept up with the blog for any length of time, you know that I am a huge X-Men fan. So when plans of Apocalypse came into Days of Future Past, I immediately got fanboy excited about the prospect of Apocalypse in ways that I can’t even explain to you clearly (well… maybe… I got up at the end of X3: The Atrocity and started a chorus of “What the Fuck” till the post-credits scene came on…). To begin with, Apocalypse was the first series in the comics that I cut my teeth on. I remember in 1995-6 when I would purchase the individual issues of comics to keep up with what was going on in the world of the mutants that I loved. The animated television show was big at this time, and this was my first foray into the comics themselves. I remember being really confused by the series, but I found myself really intrigued by a world without Charles Xavier and what happened to my favorite mutants as a result of never meeting him. The series would be the first of many that I would read from the X-Men and served as an entrance into the comic world too.

This movie excites me in ways that the others haven’t. For years, I have questioned and wondered if Apocalypse,  En Sabuh Nur, would ever make it to the big screen because they kept focusing on villains that were a little closer to the Earth than this being who is the first mutant shaped by Celestial technology to be one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe (yes… I know there are some really powerful entities out there but he has taken some of them on). So here are some of my thoughts on the upcoming movie: what I’m excited about, what I’m concerned about, and what my hopes are.

Excited About:

  1. Bryan Singer directing again. Singer has always handled the X-Men source material with impeccable finesse, and I’m excited to see him at the helm of this piece. While it does still have the potential to go south, I think that his eye and the aesthetic that he has created in the other movies will not allow this to happen.
  2. Psylocke!!!! OMG. When I heard she was in the movie, I might have let out a slight squee. She has always been one of my favorites from her body-switching and thieving ways to her psionic blade / katana. I’ve always been fascinated by her. Plus, Olivia Munn is great… I feel like she’s going to bring a power to the character that she needs, that has to be for her to be the kickass that she is.
  3. Mutant throw down. I’m excited to see the epic battle. While there is usually one in the films, this one promises to be super awesome if done right. Everybody kicking ass and taking names will be great.
  4. Oscar Issac as Apocalypse. After having seen him act in a few other films, I think that he will bring something to the character that others might not necessarily have done. I was originally hoping for Tom Hardy because I knew him better, but Issac nuances his characters, so here’s hoping that this one will be the same.
  5. All the casting. It seems strong. From the originals to the newer ones, they all look to have some good stuff coming here.

 

Concerns:

  1. Disaster film. It’s been said that it’s going to be a disaster film… I’m hoping that it doesn’t turn into a completely CGI disaster mess. There are too many bad disaster films out there, and this one doesn’t need to fall into this category… sigh.
  2. Mystique-centric film. The trailer seems to want to put her at the center of this film as Wolverine has been in many of the others. This is one of the things that I have hated from the beginning of the franchise. I know that they’re trying to create a more stable center in the film, but the X-Men were about group dynamic. The individuals are important, but they should not overshadow the whole. IMO. Also, I’m not a huge JLaw fan… so there.
  3. Too many characters. Although I said above that I think the casting is good, I am also a little apprehensive about there being so many new characters. Will they get the time to develop that they deserve? Will my favorites get shafted? I’m just a little worried is all.

Hopes:

  1. Mister Sinister. I want him in this movie sooooo badly. I love Mister Sinister. Apart from the silliness of his name, he is the only person who has ever really f*ed up Apocalypse and the X-Men on so many levels. I want him there. It would add yet another character, but he is just so damn good.
  2. That this isn’t the last film… While I know that there is the potential that it will go on, there have been reports that this might be the last of the prequel films, which in turn makes me think of the films in general. I hope that this is untrue because I can’t tell you how excited each of the films makes me, even when I stand at the end and curse at them.
  3. Maybe a Dark Phoenix movie that we can love. The last and the farthest reaching is this one. I would love for them to redo the Phoenix saga on the big screen. Nuff said here.

So here are my thoughts. Please feel free to drop me a line in the comments and tell me what you hope for or think. I’m really excited to see what other X-Men Fanpeople out there think about the upcoming film.

Advertisements

Written by barryr22

March 25, 2016 at 8:05 pm

X-Men: Days of Future Past

leave a comment »

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past Opens tomorrow, and guess who’s excited? I freely admit that I let my nerd flag wave when it comes to the X-Men. They are my favorite. Here, you see the shirt that I will be wearing when I watch it tomorrow night. Look forward to my post on the movie soon. 🙂

Till then.

Written by barryr22

May 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm

X-Men: Days of Future Past

leave a comment »

Sunday, I was having a conversation with friends about the recent collecting of X-Men costumes from DOFP into the Smithsonian. We were contemplating why they would do this even before the movie had been released. The conclusion I came to was that this comic arc is one of the most famous within the X-Men franchise both on film and in the comics, especially. While the decision to put them in this prestigious museum seems a little strange, I think that it makes sense in this way. However, this collecting does not keep me from being a little apprehensive about the upcoming film and wondering what the theater will hold for me as I watch the film Friday.

The Good:

Bryan Singer coming back to direct the film leaves me with hope that he will be kind to the comic book mythos and the dynamic of the team as he aptly showed in X2.

The Days of Future Past story arc also makes me hopeful because it is so compelling that it seems like it would be very difficult to mess up.

The Magnetos and Xaviers are wonderful all the way around. I love Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender. All are extremely talented and bring it when it comes to these characters.

Peter Dinklage gives us the potential for a compelling villain as his acting on Game of Thrones and other movies / television show us. He is great and hopefully will bring something to the character of Trask, instead of being the flat character we have seen in previous movies (yes, Trask has been there but not in a prominent way).

The Apprehensions:

Large casts scare the crap out of me. While Singer has been shown to handle expansive amounts of people before, I walk into any large ensemble movie with a hint of skepticism and preparedness.

Certain cast members have never done anything for me, and they are being brought back into this one… Yes, I’m looking at Storm and Rogue, whom I love mind you, but the performances from Berry and Paquin leave much to be desired. Yeah…

The Wolverine-centric nature that the narrative is seeming to follow. I understand that they have to have a character that can span time as Kitty Pride did in the original (long story about the actual DOFP story arc), but as most of you know, I’ve never been a fan of Wolverine because his character just seems flat to me as far what he is. I find him to be one of the least interesting characters within their world. As such, I always cringe a little when he is the focal character… Although, I do really love Jackman as the character.

My final worry is that this will be a setup movie purely for X-Men: Apocalypse. While I have been wanting them to bring Apocalypse into the franchise for a while (and hopefully Mr. Sinister as well because yeah… *fanboy squee here*), I don’t want them to shortchange this story to build toward the next. If they do, I will be sad.

Overall, I hope that the movie does great because I always want everything that involves these my favorite comic book characters to do well. I am holding out hope that this will capture both the energy of the First Class franchise while calling us back to the powerful storytelling that the original movie series had for us (apart from X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Last Stand which we hope were a collective hallucination that never occurred). Here’s hoping. You’ll all have to tell me what you think about it when you see it. I’ll be sure to let you guys know. 🙂

Iron Man 3 Trailer–Geektober is Rewarded with Goodies

leave a comment »

If you’re like me, you follow comic book movies pretty regularly… I watched The Avengers opening night (despite the drunken idiots that keep me from hearing some of the dialogue) and watched it again the next day (due to the aforementioned drunken idiots), and it pumped me up for the next years superhero / comic book movies. Iron Man 3 is included among the ones that will take flight in 2013 (May 3 2013 to be exact on IM3). While I don’t know a lot about the movie as a whole (I’m currently researching what exactly it will be about), I do have great hope that this will not be X-Men 3 The Last Stand (my main hope) due to the changing of directors.
All I do know is that the Iron Man franchise to this point has been great, and with the introduction of one of his greatest villains Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin, I hope that it will be fun and exciting. However, I hope too that it will keep up with the world that Marvel, Jon Favreau, and others have worked to create. Without further ado, the Trailer for Iron Man 3, which promises to be very tense from the looks of it.

Posthumous Narrators and Truthfulness

leave a comment »

Last night, I had the odd realization that I thoroughly enjoy movies wherein the narrator is dead from the very beginning and proceeds to narrate the story of the movie regardless. If you don’t know a few of these, Sunset Boulevard, American Beauty, parts of Sin City, and a lot more (just to give you a frame of reference). Why do I like movies like this and what makes the narrator’s posthumous story so important? Well, I’m glad you asked… or rather that I preemptively asked for you… so here goes.

By Paramount Studios (-) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1) The answers to the existential questions– While many live individuals in movies look for the answers to their existence, the dead narrator is more fully able to think about and appreciate the follies of their life. Moreover, they are able to dissect the situation that brought them to their ultimate end. Although their answers may be flawed (and of course they are hypothetically answering the questions… they are characters after all), they seemingly have an inability to backtrack because they will not be around long enough to do so… Thereby, these characters offer an interesting and terminal view on what they think it means to be human.

2) Truthfulness– The dead narrator structure of story telling allows us as the viewers some semblance on intrigue and definitive in within the world of the story. They’re dead…. why should they lie to us about anything, rather most of these narrators just want to get the true story out there despite how it makes them appear. This format is an interesting way to make us as viewers feel that they are not just trying to make us see them in a glowing light of innocence and better-than-thou light. For me, they make it feel like they are telling it like it is regardless of the consequences… they are dead after all.

3) Omniscience of Death– While many movies function on the ideology that we the audience are the overarching perspective (3rd person omniscient), this brand of posthumous narrations allows someone (the dead narrator obviously) within the story to analyze what is going on. This death retrospective enables both the characters and the screen writer to deliberately and visibly place commentary about their creation into the script… which can be worked for good or bad (hopefully, good… I’ve seen some bad things however… Yeah…).  This can be played for powerful introspection into the characters and the ideals they are examining, powerfully might I add.

As I go back and watch movies like this, it makes me think of many things… However, overall, they make me think about myself and the world around me (I’m sounding existential now). Now, I’m not saying that this is necessarily the most effective way of producing a work. I just think that it works well at times. Now, I leave you with the ending scene of American Beauty which emphasizes all these things quite well (if you haven’t watched the movie, I would recommend watching it all the way through… yeah…).

Lester Burnham: [narrating] “I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined our street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.”

Written by barryr22

July 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

“The Hobbit” Trailer Out… It Makes me Wants It Now… The Precious

leave a comment »

As the title of this post suggests, I am excited about the arrival of “The Hobbit” this December 14th. I’m sure that I will find myself at some midnight showing or other wherein I will be drawn into Peter Jackson’s version of  J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth once again. Although this trailer is only two and a half minutes long, there are a couple of portions that give me goosebumps of excitement as I listen and watch them. I hope you will find similar moments too.

From the dwarves’ singing to Gollum asking what a Baggins is, I feel like Jackson is going to do justice with these films much as he did with the LOTR franchise. I anxiously await this movie to see the world of the Hobbits come alive again on the big screen.

Written by barryr22

June 22, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Why Watching an Anniversary Concert DVD Does not Make You an Expert

leave a comment »

 

By Photo: Andreas Praefcke (own photograph) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As all of you know, I am a kind of a YouTube fanatic, but moreover, you all know that the comments / reviews on performance, literary, or artistic items unnerve me when they do certain things (“Commenting on Things: What You Should and Should Not Do“). However, most recently, I have been watching clips from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Miserables from varying performances. In the comment sections, I have found people attacking other performers based upon their watching of the 25th Anniversary Cast DVDs of both musicals and think that they are the quintessential casts and performances. While I don’t necessarily have a problem with either cast (besides that Jonas kid as Marius… because he’s wimpy compared to the rest of the cast), I think that it is entirely unfair to demonize another performance based upon the ideology that you liked another performer better, but moreover, I also think that it’s terrible to attack a performer simply because you say they’re terrible… Tell us why they’re terrible for heaven’s sake.

The biggest example of this comes when people are comparing Lea Salonga’s performance of Fantine (25th Anniversary of Les Mis) or Eponine  (10th Anniversary) to the others that have played these roles and simply saying that they suck in comparison to her.  While I have no objections to Lea Salonga per say,  I do think that there are things that she does that are technically wrong. For instance, she spreads every vowel to the point that tight vowels are distorted by the overall stretched position of her mouth. (If you notice, I pointed out a flaw that is easily detectable… not just “Fuck no Lea Salonga is Fucking awfel”… spelling errors added for emphasis). However, I still believe that Lea Salonga is a good performer in her own right. Still, I don’t necessarily think that she’s the best performer for particular roles (Fantine is one thing that I just am not a fan of her in because her voice doesn’t convey the emotion that I think it should… to me it comes off as I’m trying to be sad and emotional but never really arrives at either).  Ms. Salonga is good in many things, but I just don’t think that this is the best performance of her (I like her better as Eponine).

This brings me to the main point of this post. I understand that people love the anniversary concerts of both franchises. Honestly, the 25th Anniversary Phantom might be my favorite filmed musical production. I also like a lot about the Les Mis 25th Anniversary (Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser are awesome… and so is Samantha Banks… others are too). However, I think that you create a flawed perception for yourself if you think that a DVD cast is the end all be all and don’t give anyone else another chance at all. I find nothing wrong with valuing one person’s performance over another. My biggest qualm lies with those that attack other people and other performances simply because they think that one person is better. This is why I say that watching that 25th Anniversary does not make you the expert on the whole of the musical or anything else for that matter. Believe me. There are others out there that know a lot more than you about whatever it is that you’re writing about, and most of them will allow you to have a valid point in an argument as long as it doesn’t turn into the “Nuh-uh she sucks!” type of statement.

Also, (this is connected to the previous paragraph, but I wanted to break here), don’t spread slander about an actor / actress / performer / writer just to do it.  For example, this comment came from a Les Mis video with Ruthie Henshall:

“This DOMESTIC STARLET CAREERLESS HAS-BEEN (thank you, Arch) is terribly miscast for this role. She has the ugliest voice ever of any Fantine, she can’t hit the notes, and she can’t act. The overarated Ruthie Henshall should not be cast in anything!”

Why was this necessary? Additionally, I have seen the “Domestic Starlet Careerless Has-Been” quoted often and wonder who said it first. This does not make you appear knowledgeable… it just makes you look ignorant and hateful (also without citing your source, it makes you look like a plagiarist or that you’re ashamed of your source… all I’m saying). Additionally, please don’t mark everything as SPAM if it doesn’t agree with your opinion. That’s even more childish than the “Nuh-Uh” comments in my opinion. If you can’t have a rationale and civil debate, don’t hide what others say… GAH!!!

Sorry… I’m done with my rant now… I feel a little better about life, and hopefully, others who do these rude things simply because they can hide behind the anonymity of the internet can take something from this… So in closing, I leave you with a few of the videos that started this rant. If you want more examples of the comments that people make, just look in the comment sections on these vids… So yeah…

The first is the Ruthie Henshall version from the 10th Anniversary concert of Les Mis. Personally, this is my favorite and is the one that started the purpose of this post… I feel like she shows a great deal of emotion in the song and performance, which is limited by the concert setting mind you. Enjoy!

The second is the Lea Salonga video that also caused this post. While I’m not a huge fan of Salonga’s Fantine, I think that there are some things that are wonderful about her performance as well. I just watch her and feel that her technique is flawed because of the vowel spreading… I also think that she doesn’t sound like a woman who has been through all that Fantine has… (and she’s had it hard).

The third is form the original West End performer of the role Patti Lupone. While it’s in a concert setting (because the original show was in a time before bootlegging shows in the theater was more difficult… think of the 80s video cameras…), I think that it’s obvious why a lot of individuals believe her to be pretty awesome (I love Patti…).

I’m even including Susan Boyle’s version of the song, which many persons may know… Although I am impressed by her vocal ability as a relative unknown flying into stardom and her raw talent, I also think that it’s unfair to compare her to the Broadway and West End greats that have performed this song. She’s good, but she has a lot of little flaws throughout the performance (timing, vowel sound, counting) that make it weaker to me. Good performance overall.

Matter of factly, even Glee has done it with Idina Menzel and Lea Michelle performing. Auto-tuned performances aside because of the nature of television, it’s pretty good overall… just not my cup of tea.

I could give you more and more of these performance, but I’m going to end here. But my PSA of the day would be that you (and I know that I’m writing toward a niche) should give other performances and artistry a chance before you judge something as terrible simply because it’s not what you’re familiar with or what you fell in love with to begin with… There you go.