Last Month in Movies – April 2018

Bad Moms -This happened because my mom and I were bored of waiting for a hockey game to end before people would come play board games with us. In my defense, I was playing Switch the whole time and was in the room mostly to keep mom company.

Bad Moms was terrible. It’s the story of how Mila Kunis is tired of being an overworked and underappreciated mom, and also her husband left her. So she starts spending more time trying to get boned and hanging out with other moms who feel the same way. Then there’s some kind of subplot about how she wants to be head of the PTA so she can control the soccer team or whatever, and runs on a platform of “I am going to half-ass this job” and “we’re all terrible parents so vote for me” which made no political sense at all.

I think the movie exists just to see if they could make a movie that used every known euphemism for vagina. Its only saving grace was Kristen Bell, because Kristen Bell is always a treat.

The Titan – A movie that Netflix randomly suggested to me. Probably because it’s a Netflix original and they just try to push those on everyone. So despite my better judgement…

This film is about an almost-apocalyptic Earth, and a number of brave folks who are willing to undergo radical physical modifications to make them able to live on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Because apparently that’s the next best place for humans to live? Assuming that they can be forcibly evolved to cope with the wildly different environment? Anyway, things go wrong, most of the volunteers’ bodies either can’t handle the process and they die, or they turn feral and have to be shot dead. Our man guy, of course, succeeds at being turned into an alien, and then gets shipped off to Titan. To live alone. Forever. Because the procedure was highly illegal and immoral and it will never be used on other people. Womp womp.

I found this one to be generally quite boring. I figured there would be more cool mutations or some kind of rampage, or that the third act is when the guy would turn into a bloodthirsty predator and need to be stopped. But all those things only happened to very mild degrees. Most of the film focused on guy’s wife and how she was very skeptical of the whole thing. I mean, I guess it wasn’t really bad, but it never got exciting, so I was more interested in poking around on my phone than what was happening on the TV. At the very least, it certainly wasn’t for me.

Rampage – I’ve been dying to see this one since I learned of its existence sometime last year (but not quite as hyped as I was for Annihilation), and finally, finally my waiting has paid off!

I’ve never played the arcade original, but I have spent hours upon hours enjoying entries in the Rampage video game series on NES and Nintendo 64. So that’s half of my hype. If you’ll recall, I am also a huge fan of monster movies, even moreso when those monsters are super-sized. And there’s the other half. This is obviously a powerful concoction brewed up specifically to meet my tastes, and I can truly say that I greatly enjoyed Rampage.

Maybe it’s not the type of film that will be recognized by most, but it’s exactly what I want: animals grow up to massive size and cause crazy amounts of property destruction while fighting each other. My two problems are such: George, the “good guy” gorilla monster, does not get any cool mutations. Ralph the wolf gets the fly and shoot porcupine quills, and Lizzie the alligator becomes significantly bigger than the other two, with all the spikes and tusks you could ever want. But George is just a huge ape. Oh well. My other complaint is that they shoehorned in an old Rampage arcade cabinet into the weirdest place. Not a real problem, but it bothered me every time the camera stopped on it (which was many times).

Night of the Living Deb – Here’s an example of me browsing Netflix for anything that looks even remotely interesting at around midnight. However, it turned out okay!

Quick synopsis: Deb is a lovable weirdo. She hooks up with a guy from a bar and in the morning they discover that everyone is zombies! Now they must survive, and hopefully fall in love along the way. It’s very much an American Shaun of the Dead knock-off, but it’s surprisingly not terrible. Not great either, but it’s something I’m okay with having spent the time on.

What I liked most about the movie was… well, Deb. She’s a really great character. She’s intensely awkward and is constantly making dorky references, but she’s also smart and there’s a little cynicism hiding under that bubbly facade. And she may or may not live in her car. That wasn’t made entirely clear. The rest of the cast was mostly made up of one-dimensional archetypes, but they all played well off Deb, making them seem a little more well-rounded.

Splatter – Barely a movie at all, this “film” has a runtime of only 29 minutes, which I did not notice prior to starting it up. And then we had two of five characters killed within five minutes and I wasn’t sure how they were going to keep it going for over an hour. It’s a good thing they didn’t!

This is the story of a zombie musician who has rigged his house to kill five people who drove him to suicide. It stars Corey Feldman, is directed by Joe Dante, and is produced by Roger Corman, so I was expecting big things. It wasn’t bad, but there was really nothing special about it at all. People die off one by one, there are some weird wide-lens cameras used, and a somewhat twisty ending. It would make much more sense as part of an anthology, but it’s just sitting there by its lonesome on Netflix. Weird. Real weird.

Hungertown – British found-footage zombie movie. The only thing exceptional about this is that the zombies are created by alien parasites. So it’s also kinda like Resident Evil 4. I thought it was decent, but as I said, there’s really nothing else exceptional or noteworthy about it.

Black Panther – I knew nothing at all about Black Panther before Captain America: Civil War, and even after that, all I knew about Black Panther is that he was a really cool character. Now, despite several delays to seeing it, I know a little bit more about (the cinematic version of) Black Panther.

First things first: I think this is easily one of the best Marvel movies. It’s maybe fourth in line, behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the two Guardians of the Galaxy films. I really enjoy that it’s not a movie about a super-guy saving the world from some evil super-guy, but rather about a new king deciding on a future for his kingdom and people. Even the villain isn’t really evil, he’s more angry and misguided. I think for the first time ever, I’ve really liked how a super hero movie has made me really think about politics and economics. It’s weird, right? But it adds weight and realism to the plot without having to sacrifice all the sweet action scenes and sci-fi powers and technology. I should probably type more about it, but it’s definitely best experienced first-hand. Like I said, one of the best Marvel movies.

The Avengers – Technically I only watched the second half. On TV. Which was on in the background while I was playing 3DS. Hadn’t realized that it’s already starting to look outdated.

A Quiet Place – Full disclosure: I thought this looked dumb from the trailers, and then it came out and I started reading all the really positive reviews, so I decided that I had to see it.

And what do you know, it was really good! Like, I don’t feel like it’s something that I’ll ever need to watch again, but man, was it ever a treat to see. Good thing that I saw it in a theatre, too, because I’m sure it would have lost some of its edge on a small screen. It’s so very unique to watch a modern movie that only has two spoken conversations, both of which are about four sentences each. Plus the monster design was really neat, and oh my god, I’m not overly squeamish, but the moment they focused on that loose nail, my stomach turned itself over and over.

The problem I had with A Quiet Place -and it’s a pretty big one- is that so much of the film hinges around the wife’s pregnancy. I mean, yes, it adds a lot of tension and excitement, but why in  the world would anyone choose to have a baby in such a scenario? Especially people who have proven to be smart enough to stay alive under these conditions for a year and a half? It seems like nothing but an easy way to get yourselves killed. Work on repopulating the planet after the threat is gone. If the threat leaves in the first place. Like, ugh. Just so dumb.

Doctor Strange – I finally decided to watch Deadpool, because holy crap it’s way overdue. But it turns out that Deadpool isn’t on Netflix, so I opted to catch up on another Marvel film I’d missed.

Doctor Strange may very well be one of my favourite Marvel movies. Yes, it’s formulaic as all heck, but the elements are so unique among the rest of them that it really stands out to me. Plus it made me laugh out loud on several occasions, which is no mean feat. I can’t remember the exact line that cracked me up, but at one point I had to pause and collect myself. The mysticism is cool, and Doctor Strange himself is like Tony Stark but less of a smart-ass. Anyway, I thought the magic powers were cool, and the visuals were just so trippy and awesome. Between the Mirror World’s cool effects and the Dark Dimension’s space theme, it’s exactly the kind of thing that I like to see.

It all seemed a little too accelerated though. Like, I would have been happy with just a date stamp to show how long Doctor Strange has been training in the mystical arts. It just seemed like as soon as Kaecilius attacked, Strange suddenly went from barely understanding his powers to being a total master within one fight sequence. Anyway, small gripe, I can’t wait to see what kind of role he gets in Infinity War, and I’m definitely going to Doctor Strange 2 on opening weekend.

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