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Justice League (2017)

Justice League (2017)

I watched this movie again to compare to the new Zack Snyder cut, after I started reading up on the controversy surrounding this movie, and the maltreated cast members, and the director who made this, and apparently also had ties to Marvel.

I won't delve into that here but give it a Google if you like. Basically there are two versions. First this - one that was supposedly rushed on time, and not true to DC or the characters or to Zack Snyder - and then the new one, where the main man took his time and budget to really do things his way.

So... which way was better? That's the one question I'll try to focus on here.

With this one I like the color. I like the pace. I like the charisma, and character, the continuity and the 'life'. But I do miss a bit of the epicness with Zack's cut... alright, having seen the new one recently here's a list of the pros and cons I recognize with each; ultimately which I prefer:

Things I liked with this one:

- Wonder Woman's introduction. It felt a bit more realistic with the briefcase thrown instead of it being flown all the way up - wasn't she low on time? And with the bad guy there's no unnecessary break where he just loafs around and seems incompetent here. Though I do miss a little of the epic slow-mo in the other.
- The Aquaman intro. Felt like he was a bit more in character here. Trademark attitude. Good conversation. They clue in a bit more of the three boxes too.
- The face paint scene at the prison - I loved that! Simple but suitable little details.
- Victor's introduction. He knew his powers here. Explained them. Seemed a little less like a victim than in the new version too.
- The Amazons didn't stand around looking unnecessarily silly before things really started happening here.
- Flash got a better intro too! Realistic dialog flow. Plus extra entertainment.
- More focus on Gal Gadot's butt? I hope I'm not just imagining this now. There's that Diana/Flash interaction too.
- Aquaman was way cooler at the bridge. A little more revelation as to the alien presence here too.
- The nuclear reactor they took over wasn't in the middle of a ghost town this time. Adds life, again.
- Alfred's 'Do I know you?' sounded almost exactly like the uncle in Oni (the 2001 game) in the lab level! Unexpected déjà vu.
- Their motherbox/reviving Superman discussion: Way better. 'Technology is like any other power. Without heart. Without reason. It destroys us.' The conversation went on longer, but watch the movie and you'll see. It's easily quotable, and enacted well.
- The graveyard talk was better too. Victor shows some personality.
- Diana and Bruce's talk... that one as well.
- Aquaman sitting on the lasso of truth. Classic.
- Superman and Flash having a race. Awesome.
- The brunch bit!

Things I didn't like with this one:

- The very misplayed 'Booyah'. Though I wonder if I would've noticed as much (or at all) if I hadn't read the article on that controversy detailed above. That 'Booyah' was a notable part of it.
- Wonder Woman flirts maybe a little too much? With everyone in the team it seems. At one point or another.
- The TV interview bit about the alien probe. A little unnecessary? Feels like the wrong realm. They could've done that in the Marvel one.

I also do feel, especially in the beginning, that they don't give moments the time they really need to make an impact. Or sink in. Like after the Cleaner sweeps away the curtain in the lab. Like after the first motherbox awakens. Like... a little less of these moments later on. They start feeling better and better timed as we go...

Steppenwolf being more human didn't seem like a bad thing at first here. In the new one he seemed a bit like a beast of DOOM. Something not right there. But here... he seems both good and bad. On the one hand he's stronger. On the other he ends up weaker. On the one hand he's not just an unfortunate victim. On the other he certainly has a more unfortunate end. And Darkseid's gone... this is getting strange. It's too inconsistent. What happens after this? Do the bad guys make a league or does Superman really go rampant? Loose ends.

Both versions of this movie were great in their own regard, but if this wasn't the cut that was meant to be I feel they shouldn't have done it in the first place. When it's done it's done.

I like a lot of elements in this, just like I like elements in the other, but that there's not just the one feels wrong. And knowing Ray Fisher's story I'm noticing unnecessary details in the newer one now too. Like did they just add in the black girl in the beginning to add in more black people in the movie? If so they did a lousy job. It seems they forgot about her entirely after the intro.

Nobody's commenting on that. To me it felt like one of the bigger loose ends with the movie. She should've come back around somehow. Full circle with the girl. Can't include something like that just for kicks or karma.

The special effects were definitely better in Zack's version, though. There's no debate there. As were the sound-effects. We have some Transformer-like ones here that I didn't think about the first time I watched this.

They really improved on those.

But the world is also definitely more colorful in this one. Everyone has more personality. The dialog feels real, and the script (for the most part) feels good and right.

There are some good lines here I'm not sure carried over:

"We're asking people we don't know to risk their lives."

"We have families. Why does everybody keep telling me that?"

"A motherbox destroys as it creates. It's a cycle of life, but a million times faster."

"Seeing the engine of the world when it still ran."

It's overall all very quotable. Memorable. Clever. Well-scripted. They explain certain details better - the motherboxes in particular.

There's a sense of urgency more than desperation here too. There's more of a team effort. Ironically - considering the dialogs were so much longer in the other version - it feels like there's more dialog here too. Even when the pace is faster they manage to talk things through.

Having seen both of these versions in close proximity I'm left feeling this, though. Ultimately: This is no passion project. This was rushed, yet with Zack's cut it feels like he simply puzzled together pieces from the original in a Zack-like way. It doesn't feel complete either. It feels drawn out instead. Intentionally different. Overworked - though also much improved in the process - and untrue to the original, or to the realm overall.

It seems they somehow split my liking as they split this movie... I like both versions for different reasons.

I had a blast with this, and I had a blast with the other one, and I do think that overall Zack's version is the better one, but he also had an additional four years to make it better, whereas I'm impressed with what they managed here with the time they had. And I'm disappointed that Zack didn't recognize or carry over the good things from this one too.

It feels like a betrayal on two levels somehow. Each one doesn't do the other Justice.

Yet I really should appreciate them both, because they're both out of my League.

I thought I'd seen this one already btw but... no review? Maybe I hadn't after all.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)

Now this one's a loooong movie. Like really long. Four hours almost.

With lots of CGI. And lots of Gal Gadot. And lots more (I feel) Marvel emulating magic.

Someone reminds me a bit of Thanos, someone a bit of Iron Man, someone a bit of Spider-Man (in his demeanor more so than powers), and there are the Old Gods too, looking like a combination of the guys from 300 and that alternative Asgardian realm in that parallel franchise...

Not to say Marvel were first with any of these alternations, but they were first with the movies, so to me this is starting to feel a bit like an Avengers rip-off at this point. And generally not as good. The villains in particular feel shallower. Their motives simpler. Light and dark. Power. Toxins. Darkness. Evil. Anti-life. One artifact to rule them all, LOTR-like.

Their legions look somewhat DOOM-like too come to think of it. In the Bethesda way. The new way. Not the best way there either.

I'm struck by how little character a lot of the characters have though, and that's maybe the sad part. That might be why (I keep trying to figure out what the defining factor is here) Marvel seem to have gotten the upper hand. And maybe it was the ever so prolific and wonderful Stan Lee. The legend. The always so involved and inspiring front man for that whole franchise... I'm glad they got so many movies out before he passed.

Zack Snyder? The name rings a bell but... I'm just not overblown by this.

You can clearly see how heavy a budget they had for it. The filming's impeccable. I have no qualms or complaints with the directing anywhere, it's just... not as intimate. Not as unique. Not as FUN. And isn't that what superheroes are supposed to be? To some extent?

Feels like the Justice League is on a very different path here than with the animated counterpart of their Darkseid confrontation too.

I honestly almost liked that one better.

They seemed to have character there.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Boys From County Hell (2020)

Boys From County Hell (2020)

American Werewolf in London-like with a little Shaun Of The Dead comedy? Not THAT much, mind you, but still.

The running blood effect in the beginning freaked me out a bit, but how they manage that is one of the good things about this. Props on that. On the props. It's nice to see those intermeshed so well with special effects.

The villain's unfortunately a bit of a disappointment in the end, but I can't say I wasn't expecting him to not be either.

You still appreciate the showdown. It ends in a good way, though maybe not the ideal one. Like... the girl and all? A little ambiguity is a good thing though, even if a Hollywood end would've been nice here. I don't think I'd have rated this lower for it...

Overall this was a creative scary movie in a refreshingly natural; grounded; small-town milieu, with a solid cast, characters with character, and unconventional but highly relevant focus on construction. And economy. And family and all.

You might like this in particular if you too have grown a little tired of the mainstream stuff and big city thrillers; look for something that scales things down in a more personal way.

Nine Mile Hill seems like both the perfect little utopia and a pretty scary place to live...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

They're Playing With Fire (1984)

They're Playing With Fire (1984)

A married college professor decides to seduce her student, whom she hired as a handyman for her yacht. The hesitant student succumbs to his buxom professor, but their romance is interrupted by her corrupt husband and a masked murderer.

Sounds alright right? It's a softcore thriller starring mainly a student (that'd be Eric Brown) and a teacher (Sybil Danning), and another teacher (Andrew Prine), and a fortune, and a psycho... you'll see.

Eric Brown does seem like a dimwit occasionally, but when it's all over I think I'm glad he did. It just made the ending all the more enjoyable. Plot twist. I'm surprised. I'm impressed, too. And I'm a little curious how they handled it all with the cops - an element most 'real' thrillers seem to make sure to bring in at the end but... it's not bad like this either. It doesn't feel like the wrong kind of loose end.

I'm surprised they didn't delve all too deep into the action either. Neither kind. It felt wholesome that way. With not too much of any one thing or other, not violence nor sex appeal, though Sybil really is the star of this show. Wouldn't be as much without her.

Refreshingly classy. Refreshingly unpredictable. Refreshingly dreamy too.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Hard Hunted (1993)

Hard Hunted (1993)

A sensual, softcore action thriller directed and produced by a real-life male/female couple? This oughta be special, I thought...

And it was! The line delivery may seem a little artificial and off, as do the encounters, but the ladies look good... and so does everything else. The guys too I guess. This one's for everyone.

The choreography's not the best, nor the acting, nor anything at all really but... the visuals! The sceneries. It's a movie that puts living lavishly into perspective, and it does have a few explosions, a fancy helicopter and one highly entertaining showdown with a hovercraft by the beach. Flipping that table into the water can't have been intentional either can it?

I'd love to give this a higher score, but unfortunately it just really wasn't that good. Yet it felt so wholesome anyway, so appealing; so full of sunshine, sensuality and fun time. And refreshingly dreamy.

It's like a glimpse into another world, How this one would be if it was paradise maybe... though they apparently do have bad guys there too.

It adds some spicy though. To life; to the adventure.

Fun/appealing/very pleasant watch.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Cyborg 009-1: The End Of The Beginning (2013)

Cyborg 009-1: The End Of The Beginning (2013)

Marking the 75th anniversary of his birth, Shotaro Ishinomori's classic spy heroine manga "009-1" has been adapted into a live-action motion picture for the first time ever.

That doesn't really explain the plot at all though, does it?

It's about vengeance, and truth, and a search for self starring one particular spectacularly beautiful female cyborg spy (Mayuko Iwasa), who during a routine mission runs into a family member she thought she didn't have, only to lose him again, for the whole world to turn against her, and all things she took for granted in the world to suddenly become obscure and untrue. Who is she really. Who's she working for. Why's she here...

It's sensual, savage, beautiful. A little like Alita Battle Angel but darker. GITS-like too, somewhat? Not as sci-fi though. It's future-city dystopian but not as far. Cyberpunk definitely. Cyborg's in the title. The HQ a little like the 'I, Robot' one too. I, Cyborg? Inspirations?

If only the special effects were better this could've been one hell of a movie, but as soon as the helicopter appears you know you'd better prepare for some shitty specials.

The fight choreography's great though. The three-on-one fight especially was brilliant. Even if the main characters clearly aren't the most versatile fighters for real they direct it in a way where they seem to be, and every single encounter feels ferocious... except for maybe the pool one.

The characters too. The cast. The twists and all. Blood and gore. Just a little polish; a little slowed down pace and time to get to know people, to build things up, and this would've gone way higher.

I wonder if they made an anime for this too, maybe that one goes deeper...

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

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