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Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel (2019)

They're back on track again. :) Right back on. Venom left me a little disappointed, but I like where they've picked up. The special effects are top notch and flashy. Brie Larson is great as ever. Samuel Jackson is young again, and Stan Lee's in the intro. That 'thank you' might've been the most emotional moment of the film. Seriously.

The story's about an epic fight between alien nations, about personal development, and about the very foundation of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the old days, when it all started, and as a little bonus there's the story of how Nick Fury lost his eye. Among other things.

As usual Marvel manage to mix their trademark wit and comedy with some pretty epic sci-fi space battle sequences, and there's nothing I can complain about with reward to the cast either, I just wish... that one character (was I thinking of Nick here? I don't know. Never leave a draft lying too long.) had a bigger role to play in the Marvel Universe. Who knows. Maybe he will. And maybe Monica's daughter actually did build that ship, too... I guess we'll see in the sequels. It feels like this will all tie in with the rest of the universe in a good way.

Overall I loved this, but that said there are some almost unsuitably Star Wars-like chases in the midst, and one particular flight scene (the first encounter with that alien race) where the Transformer effects were way out of style. Small things like that. Actually that's a pretty huge thing, consider9ing the beginning of the movie had me impressed not just with the visuals but the sound design too. But maybe they rushed some bits of this after all. Maybe they do have their hands full with this whole character-building universe expansion they're doing right now before the Endgame. Maybe.

I still love it though. Big fan of Brie too, if I didn't mention that. I'm both dreading and looking forward to where she'll lead the battle in the great finale that now looms. Soon. The time is soon.

Marvel's Wonder Woman. Way cooler.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Hellboy (2019)

Hellboy (2019)

Now this one was just too fragmented. Too fragmented, and too medieval.

I do appreciate that they're going back to basics, but somehow it feels like they took it a step too far. With the whole Arthur thing but also with the soundtrack of destructive sounds, with sometimes unrealistically sloppy (I appreciate realistically sloppy - that's his style) fighting choreography, and all too simple twists and build-ups.

Daimio hesitating with the gun, everyone not liking Hellboy and then that all appropriately turning around at the end, the fall of the Witch: all these things you'd think a movie for an adult audience wouldn't have made such a predictable script for.

And though Milla is just perfect as Nimue The Blood Queen, she's also not always all convincing. Her expression of surprise most specifically. It's not haunting enough. Bewitching more than bitching, y'know?

What I do appreciate however is the unrestrained savagery, the sour humor - a large part of Hellboy's character as a whole, and the dark effects.

The effects, basically.

I appreciate not the monsters (the hell beasts are one grand exception here) so much as the skies, the fire, the withered wood, and certain uncomfortably macabre bits like the baby corpses in Baba Yaga's walking castle.

Sometimes they do surprise, and impress, and SCAR you just a little.

The splattered brains and other bits waiting in the safe houses they scavenged all too late too. Bits like that. Bits so well made they almost don't fit in with the rest of the movie.

But sometimes they go cliche and chock value instead. Cheap shots. Jump scare equivalents of the gross. Like the kiss.

I'm also not a fan of how fast a pace these movies have these days. They don't let you savor. A better balance with this and all of the above and this would've been one for the books.

But even as it is there just ain't anyone else quite like Hellboy. The epitome of a bad ass man with a conscience - who just so happens to have been born in Hell and be the last of Arthur's lineage. Spoilers.

Hope they make more of the sort. I wouldn't mind a sequel - nor more movies in the same vein. The hot-blooded and hellish, and totally so past PC that people won't even dare poke at a starter part of it. Though then again they do battle pretty much everything they possibly can from a PC perspective, just with a little demonic and monstrous mixed in with the equality and that all. You just can't escape it these days.

At least Hellboy keeps it fresh. Savagely so.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Aquaman (2018)

Aquaman (2018)

Where I'm from, the sea carries our tears away...

It's a love story as well as a superhero story, and one DC really did right this time.

It starts great. I love when they do creative things with the logos. The earliest good example I can think of is the one Banlieue 13, and before this it was Alita. Maybe it's becoming a trend again. It's a great way to immerse the viewer, when even credits and intro are somehow within the movie world.

And from start to finish you stay immersed. It's a beautiful aquatic world, with a foray of inspiring performers (with such contrasts as Willem Dafoe and Dolph Lundgren), an impeccable main character duo with Jason Momoa and Amber Heard, as well as as a both tragic and beautiful backstory, an epic war a brewing, and Nicole Kidman, and the great pirate, and then some. They work better than I expected together. The chemistry's there. Or maybe, considering the characters are pretty much all at war: it's not there. That works too.

The story is that of Aquaman, who meets a beautiful aquatic princess with red hair and goes on a treasure hunt to get the great trident that'll let him inherit the throne of Atlantis. Of course he's a bit hesitant at first, but soon they're going full steam ahead, partaking in a both magical, and romantic, and awesome conquest.

The Transformer sounds are really becoming a grievance, but other than that I have little to complain about here. The special effects work well, considering their whole world is pretty much built upon them, and the harness-method of motion to emulate an underwater world worked surprisingly well too. Wouldn't have thought they actually filmed all of this on land.

As far as I'm concerned this is the first DC superhero movie I see that I really liked, flashy or no, fake or no, it's just an amazing adventure from start to finish, and I like the characters as much as I like the sceneries they traverse on route towards that one epic finale. I love water. Maybe that has something to do with it. Great watch.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Escape Room (2019)

Escape Room (2019)

Next level of Saw right here! It's to be expected, but it's really quite the journey.

Props Adam Robitel on setting the scene, and props Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll and Nik Dodani on really making their way through the maze too. Well, the few of them that actually make it that far. I won't spoil it.

The premise is simple: six people are trapped in what they at first think is a game, but soon turns out to be so much more than that, but the levels make it all the more complex. Turns out they all have something in common, and as they traverse their trials they come closer and closer to resolution... only to end up right back where they started. In a game to the death. That's how it always goes with movies like this after all!

There's nothing to complain about except for maybe the predictability with the ending. The effects are good. The props are good. The desperation's there. The sacrifice and shock: it's got everything it needs, along with both varied and somewhat creative stages for each of the levels of escape. It's a thriller all the way, and those hallucinogenic effects were pretty cool too.

You gotta wonder if Stallone's recent Escape franchise might've inspired this too... not that it's really the same thing, but it seems like it all comes together. That and the Maze movies. It's trending, and I wouldn't mind a few more either. It's a working premise.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Barbershop (2002)

Barbershop (2002)

It's just another day in the hood again! With Ice Cube and the barbers.

It's got the same vibe as Friday, but a few more people. The plot's similarly simple, following the events of an ATM robbery and a Barbershop sale in parallel, the dialog often trivial and non-mentionable, but it's lively, it's fun; it's really not bad. It starts in a good way, and ends in a good way, and it has you entertained all the way through. Props Anthony Anderson, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Ealy, Keith David, Jazsmin Lewis, Eve and Troy Garity (solid performance) on getting a good thing together!

I think I'll be watching the sequel too.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

The Meg (2018)

The Meg (2018)

What kind of a name is The Meg for a shark movie anyway?

Oh. Short for Megalodon. The largest, most vicious shark ever to live, with no natural predators. Until Statham came along, that is.

It was a species thought to be extinct by now, but on a fictional trip to the bottom of the ocean, a group of scientists discover this was not the case after all, one escapes the depths and comes after them, and you know who is there to save the day!

Chinese sponsors? Yupp. But I appreciate it. They bring together American and Chinese culture in a good way, paying respect to each other.

I don't recognize all of the participants, but Ruby Rose seems familiar, Bingbing Li is beautiful, and I've definitely seen Jessica McNamee somewhere... they guy's aren't bad either, but Jason's the definitive here here.

I was almost a bit disappointed they didn't in some way at least try to recreate the so iconic Jaws soundtrack, but they have a good one in its place, and I guess it really isn't all that similar a movie after all. It's just the shark thing, and the research station, and both the place and the beast are way bigger this time around. Nothing to critique really. It's solid.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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