Monday, April 30, 2018

You've Got Some Stones On You: Avengers: Infinity War Review



Well...here we are. 10 years after Iron Man kicked of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and 6 years after Thanos turned his head after the end credits of The Avengers, Infinity War has come. There is probably no movie that has more pressure on it to deliver after such a long buildup. Not even The Force Awakens. All that had to do was be better than the prequels. Does Infinity War make good on a decade of waiting and feeding the Marvel machine money?

Yes. Mostly.

As we all know Earth's Mightiest Heroes are split apart after Tony and Cap had their billion dollar domestic in Civil War. Tony gets the heads up that this giant flying purple people eater named Thanos is coming and takes time to bitch at Doctor Strange about what to do with the infinity stone around his neck. Meanwhile Cap, Bucky, Falcon and friends are trying to figure out what to do with Vision's stone in his head from the fun Tony had from playing god in Age of Ultron.

This leads to all the players splitting into team ups that make the movie feel a bit fresh even though we have seen all of these characters in a multitude of movies. Thor is galavanting around with Rocket Raccoon and Groot, Tony and Spider-Man are trying to form a plan with Doctor Strange and the rest of the Guardians and Cap and his traitor friends head to Wakanda for some shenanigans.

This is one of the best things in Infinity War. If you are going to have a shit ton of characters at least put them in pairings we have not seen before and have them play off their strengths.

At 2 1/2 hours Infinity War is the longest Marvel movie ever, and yet, still shorter than the director's cut of Batman v Superman. I will say that they use every minute of that time. There is no down time and so many things are happening at once that you will come to what you think is a denouement for a certain set of characters only to be taken to another set where you are like "oh yeah, they are doing this". There really is a lot to digest. But that is to be expected with a movie of this size and scale.

Now let's talk about Thanos.

If I had one irk with the movie it is the mad titan. Not that he is a bad character. Far from it. He is by far the best Marvel villain because he is the only one in 10 years that has had true stakes involved with him trying to complete his task.

He finally has his gold isotoner glove and is ready to rip the universe a new asshole. Or at least that is what it seems. Don't get me wrong, his plan is not exactly kosher, but after his explanation, it isn't the worst thing someone with the power to shape the universe could do. This is one issue that movies seem to want to explore. Give the villain a pseudo sad backstory to give him reason. How about he just is an evil ass? He is almost too relatable. Especially for someone that is supposed to be the ultimate bad dude (shout out to the arcade game). Sure he does horrible things and sacrifices a lot to get his power, but his endgame is not evil for evil's sake. He is more of a universal Ra's al Ghul.



Again, it is not a huge gripe and doesn't detract from the movie as a whole. Thanos is still plenty asshole enough for everyone.

I said on social media after the movie that Infinity War was 30% great, 50% good and 20% ok. After some thought I might change it to 40/40/20. There were a lot of great moments and some great superhero saves that gave me some goosebumps and the ending, even knowing that things will be fixed (mostly) with next year's Avengers film, had substantial weight and a few scenes (which I can not talk about for reasons) actually gave me a single tear effect.

When the audience is audibly asking if that was the end of the movie and people are sitting there say "no, no, no" in disbelief, then you have a movie that did its job.

Also, can I just say how great it is to have Alan Silvestri back doing the soundtrack. He nailed The Avengers soundtrack in 2012 and was not on Age of Ultron and the movie was not as good musically (or a lot of other ways). Dude knows how to craft a large scale sound still after 30+ years.

Infinity War is the biggest Marvel movie ever, but it is not the best. That is not a bad thing. Nothing wrong with being on the outskirts of great.

8.5 Burt Macklins out of 10



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Midway Arcade: Rampage Review




Rampage is a movie. A movie based on a video game. We all know how movies based on video games go (except for Mortal Kombat and the recently released Tomb Raider). So as a movie based on a video game with no plot whatsoever, except that you are 3 creatures destroying buildings and eating people, you would expect this to be a scathing review of some Hollywood cash-in and how terrible it is.

Nope.

Well, yes it is a Hollywood cash-in. Every movie is that. But Rampage is the right amount of big and dumb and fun to warrant a watch.

The Rock is a ex-military man who became a primatologist named Davis Okoye, which I am going to assume is a shout out to former NFL great Christian Okoye otherwise known as The Nigerian Nightmare. He is best friends with gorillas especially an albino named George. One night a mystery object falls from the sky and infects George and 2 other animals in different location across the country and they start going bucknuts crazy and growing in size. Turns out an evil corporation has been experimenting in space on Project: Rampage (hey, that's the name of the movie).

In terms of where you make a plot out of a game that is missing one, this isn't the worst one ever. I mean, you gotta get them animals to 50 feet tall somehow.

I do give points for casting Malin Akerman as the head of the mads, but it just makes me want to watch Watchmen again and see her in the Silk Spectre outfit. Her brother, or assistant, or whatever, because it really doesn't matter, is played by Eric Trump. At least that is what I am thinking because it is how I imagine Eric Trump acting on a daily basis. For this movie, they serve their purpose.

Speaking of Watchmen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is there Neganing everywhere with a pimp lean and cowboy obsession as big as Texas. Actually now that we're talking about this, isn't The Comedian basically a proto-Negan? Is JDM born to play Negan or is he actually a living embodiment of the character. He has played him since 2009, except for Grey's Anatomy, and we won't get into that because I don't want to bring up ghost fucking right now.

Back to the movie. George, Lizzy and Ralph (yes, they have their names from the game) are heading for Chicago to tear it a new asshole because Silk Spectre has a radio signal pissing them off. We get a whole Terror on the Midway thing with a giant lizard wrecking tanks, a flying wolf, a white gorilla eating people, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria. Shit gets blowed up. Animals fight each other. The Rock is smoldering.

In many ways Rampage is like the first Transformers movie. I like the first Transformers movie. When it released 11 years ago (really...shit) I wanted robots blowing shit up and that's what I got. I didn't want it 4 more times in progressively worse movies. Rampage is the definition of a popcorn flick. Go for The Rock teaming up to save the world from giant animals and stay for The Rock...teaming up to save the world from giant animals.

The movie is what it says it is, or as Dennis Green would say:



7 People's Elbows out of 10






Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cheeseburger in Paradise: Far Cry 5 Review




Fun fact before the review: My uncle and aunt lived in Waco, Texas in the early 90's and my uncle knew and talked to David Koresh on many occasions. I have always had a fascination with cults and maybe this is where it spawned from. Far Cry 5 is not as political as some would want it to be. It has plenty of politics in it, don't get me wrong, but it is also not the Trump-bashing, anti-MAGA game some were expecting. This is fine. It actually has some funny things to say about both sides including one mission called "Make Hope Great Again" where you help a red state gun toter thin out the herd of cultists because he doesn't have time to redraw district lines through gerrymandering. It really is way deeper than you ever could want. (Side note: if you do not know what gerrymandering is, please look it up. It is fucking infuriating.) The reason completely bucknuts missions like that work is because it is Far Cry. We have come to expect the outlandish and even completely ridiculous from the series. And Far Cry 5 puts that in your eyeholes for the entire ride. Here are some quick things I remember of what I did in Far Cry 5: -Helped the government track down the president's pee tape. -Got bit by a skunk -Had to shoot a charging turkey 3 times before it died. That disturbed me more than a charging bear. -You may have never known you wanted to watch a bull fuck while listening to Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye, but you do. -If you fall from a satellite tower and somehow land on an enemy you will perform the world's greatest takedown. Damn, I wish I had that recorded. -You help someone kill bulls in different ways to get their balls for a Testicle Festival. I shit you not. You then proceed to get drunk at said festival and wake up on a baseball field with a pig in a party hat. This is the most American game ever. -Whenever someone calls a cultist a "peggie" I think that they are just misunderstood rednecks that like getting dildos in their ass. -Are there aliens? Cause I just got an alien orb that a dead cow shit out. -Yep, there are aliens. I now have an alien gun that explodes everyone into bloody nothingness. -The award for favorite melee animation is the running melee where you throat punch a mother fucker and here him choke as you hit him with a haymaker. The reason why some people are pissed at Far Cry 5 is that the story was not Trump-bashing. It was never supposed to be. The skewering of American politics is the background noise. Eden's Gate and its leader, Joseph Seed, are the main course. He and his family have Hope County, Montana running scared and it is up to you to save the day (as a male or female this go round). Each Seed sibling controls a different county and you will help citizens with fetch quests, blowing shit up and other random map-filling occurrences. You know...Far Cry. The Guns for Hire mechanic work mostly well especially when you get all of the animals unlocked. Really, once I had the team of Cheeseburger the Bear and Peaches the Mountain Lion, I hardly used human teammates unless I really needed them. Sometimes your human sidekicks will say something like "I'm going in quiet" then proceed to use the .50 caliber gun on the back of your truck completely ruining a stealth run of a outpost. The ending of Far Cry 5 may be dividing to some fans. I know...I know gamers bitching about something? I never would have thought. I actually had an ending in my mind while I was playing the game and selfishly would have preferred it to what happened, but I did like the way it ended, especially if you think about where the series next installment could go from there. Compared to Far Cry 4, Far Cry 5 is Far Cry 3. It makes up for the Himalayan snooze fest that was Far Cry 4. Really, that is all I wanted. Nothing will really surpass Far Cry 3. I just wanted a fun time in Montana shooting cultists and running around with my bear friend and pretending my name was BJ. If you get that...we can be friends.

8 Covfefe's out of 10