Point Break (2015) Recap

Jamie

Johnny Utah is an FBI agent with a dark and x-treme past. He is tasked with infiltrating a gang of equally x-treme criminals who are pulling off x-treme stunts in tandem with robin hood like criminal activity. Unfortunately he finds himself intrigued by their philosophy and x-treme lifestyle. Can he stop them before it’s too late? Find out in… Point Break (2015).

How?! After the tragic death of his… poly extreme athlete (?) friend… *shakes head* Johnny Utah joins the FBI to find purpose in life. In a wild coincidence, right when they are doubting his abilities, a new breed of… poly extreme athlete… *sighs heavily* bank robbers arise. Seeing all the signs of his kindred spirits (and recognizing the tell tale signs of the Ozaki 8 set of extreme sports trials) Johny correctly predicts their next stop on their global crime spree. Setting out to infiltrate the gang by surfing a giant wave, he inadvertently snakes their leader Bodhi’s wave, who is forced to jump in and save Johnny’s life. Curious about this newcomer, and recognizing him from his past tragedy, he lets Johnny into their crew despite the misgivings of his friends. Soon he is base jumping into their hearts, finding love with the beautiful Samsara, and finding closure with his past demons. Everything is looking up… other than the fact that the FBI is kinda pissed that he’s just palling around with these pseudophilosophical extreme losers (nailed it) instead of getting the evidence they need to arrest them. After one of the group dies attempting a snowboarding trial in the Alps, Johnny is depressed and knows things have gone too far. When they bring him in on the next big robbery, blowing up a gold mine (to save the planet or some shit), he attempts to stop them but Bodhi escapes. The FBI moves in when Bodhi attempts to rob a bank to fund the last few ordeals, but again he escapes and Samsara is killed in the process (noooooo). Down but not out, Johnny uses his beautiful mind to track Bodhi to Angel Falls where he free climbs the shit out of it and confronts Bodhi who jumps off the falls and escapes for a final time. Realizing that there is only one ordeal left, he finally tracks Bodhi to a giant wave in the middle of a hurricane where he lets him surf to his death rather than arrest him. THE END. Big Question: So they didn’t rob anything for money? Just to give it back to the earth?… and instead they had a sponsor who funded this activity… why?

Why?! I mean, this is really the crux of the problem here. In the original film the gang was a bunch of surfers who were legit criminals. They robbed for money. Bodhi was just a charismatic criminal leader. In this case they are actually not at all interested in money. Instead they perform increasingly dangerous extreme sports feats in tandem with extreme sports robberies, after which they give the money to the oppressed workers and/or mother earth. In fact the connection of the Ozaki 8 and the robberies is never fully explained… other than an implied connection through Bodhi’s environmental philosophy. The Ozaki 8 are supposed to demonstrate the power of mother earth. The robberies are supposed to be the resulting punishment against those corporations that dared to betray mother earth… you know what, the more I talk about it the stupider is actually is. So I’m just going to stop. Johnny is just trying to find his place in the world and get over the death of his friend… mission accomplished by the end, I guess.

Who?! There are a tremendous number of cameos in the movie. They were mostly featured at the “rad” parties that the crew threw between bank heists. The best cameo was DJ Steve Aoki, who showed up DJing at a ski chalet a la Deadmau5 in Runner Runner. It’s like these films just ask for the hottest DJ so they can make it very clear just how cool the party they are depicting is. There were also interestingly three in memoriams, but not for deaths that occurred on the set. They just were using such high level stunt people that they literally were doing the most dangerous stuff on earth all the time… and some of them unfortunately died before the film was released.

What?! I mean, it’s hard to imagine that such a recent film (and a critical flop to boot) would have many props for sale. I certainly couldn’t dress up as poly extreme athlete Johnny Utah when he was still jamming out on his dirt bike. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. And only $1300? What a deal! They’re even selling a “Utah” skateboard that I don’t even remember being in the film! I have to stop. There is too much.

Where?! A little bit of a road trip film here as Bodhi starts in the United States and then travels through France, Italy, and eventually Venezuela while undercover. We spend the most time in Italy, but Venezuela also has a major landmark (Angel Falls) play a pivotal role in the film. At the very least this is an A- just for that and how clear they made the places where they went.

When?! In the beginning of the film we see footage from a heist which has an October 13th timestamp. They specifically say that heist happened “last month” so we presume that this mostly takes place at the beginning of November. I won’t even allow myself to think of the possibility that the meal that Johnny shares with the crew could possibly be a super secret Thanksgiving. It’s not made clear and so I can’t get my hopes up like that. C

This movie is straight dumb. It’s x-tremely hard to get over the bastardization of the motivations of the characters as compared to the original, but even without that comparison it’s inane. The idea that they are performing death-defying (and sometimes not even defying) stunts in order to specifically NOT steal money is bad and I don’t like it. Especially when the FBI freezes their assets at the end and they have to rob a bank to get more money… you know what might have helped you there? Some money from those crazy bank robberies you performed for free. All that being said, there are moments that are visually electric. I particularly liked the wingsuit scene. It really is amazing. Too bad the actual story set around the beautiful stunts is trash. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever wonder what would happen if some producers decided to remake a beloved 80s action film, but then made it totally different and lame? Wonder no more! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This has been on the docket for years now (well … since 2015 to be exact), but I now know I really had no idea what the film was ever about. Because x-treme poly-athletes is not really what I would have guessed. I would have guessed it was still about surfing, just that they also did more extreme skydiving stunts and stuff. I do love vistas, so I was excited regardless. What did I expect? Vistas, vistas, and more vistas. Oh, and also a dumb story. If it gave me vistas without slapping fans of the original in the face then I’d be happy.

The Good – The vistas! Some of the more beautiful action scenes I’ve ever seen. You can kind of see the point of the movie right there: get some really nuts action shots, and build a dumb movie around it. That is well and truly the only good thing about this movie, the action stuff. Because the rest of it is terrible.

The Bad – Alright, let’s start with the fact that this is a slap in the face to fans of the original. In the original you got this hippy dippy surfer nonsense, but that is a real thing. But this hippy dippy x-treme poly-athlete nonsense? Yeah, I’m not buying it. They hijacked the name for no good reason, and then the movie doesn’t even bother to have much surfing in it. The acting is top-to-bottom really bad. And the criminal exploits are just weird, like, they don’t even bother to keep any of the money because they have a private backer? That is insane. What kind of private backer funds a series of x-treme sport endeavors which would kill anyone four times over by the end of it. Repeat after me: x-treme poly-athletes don’t exist. No one is that good at free-solo rock climbing and base jumping / wingsuit stunts. I makes no sense!

The BMT – It’ll always hold a place in my heart due to the vistas. And also it is probably going to be one of the worst adaptations we’ve ever seen forever more. It didn’t quite cross into dog poo territory because I respect the action craft and the vistas, but it really is one of the dumbest films you’ll ever watch. Did it meet my expectations? No, it was a slap in the face to fans of the original and I can never respect that.

Roast-radamus – I have to give it up for the Setting as a Character (Where?) category because I love jet-setting films, and this is one of the best from a vistas perspective. It also had amazing Product Placement (What?) for things like Monster Energy which was all over the place. I have to throw this into the MacGuffin (Why?) category for the entire misguided concept of the Ozaki Eight, which is just complete fucking nonsense. This will have a decent shot at getting mentioned for Bad next year, although I think it ends up missing out on the big awards in any case.

StreetCreditRerpot.com – I don’t remember this, but apparently this was also released on Christmas Day! So yeah, it missed out on all of the big lists for 2015, but no doubt it would have made it onto a few if they had released it in January like they probably should have. It is definitely the worst x-treme poly-athlete film ever made, that seems like a given.

You Just Got Schooled – I rewatched the original Point Break (1991) prior to viewing, and it is a true classic. The group of surfers feel authentic, Gary Busey is hilarious, and the cast is pitch perfect for the film. Yeah, some bits are cheesy. And yeah, the hippy surfer vibe you get from Swayze is a little extreme at times, but it ends up all the more shocking once you realize that he’s a fake. He’s a criminal, and his hippy dippy vibe and attitude is cultivated by surrounding himself by other criminals who can do the dirty work for him. He hides behind a code of non-violence, while befriending explicitly violent people for use when he so pleases. It made watching the remake feel like a slap in the face. They really do take one aspect of it (that hippy “we are all leaves in the wind, go with the flow” attitude) and pop it into a trash film about a whole lotta bullshit. B+ for the original, which is only docked for being a little too cheesy at times.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Holmes & Watson Recap

Jamie

Sherlock is back, Jack! And it seems like he might have found his match, as a mysterious murderer is loose in London and Moriarty is nowhere to be seen. Even worse this murderer’s next target? The Queen *gasp*. Can Sherlock and his trusty pal Watson solve the case (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Holmes & Watson.

How?! After being bullied as a child, Sherlock Holmes vows to never be controlled by emotions and to use his big ol’ brain to take down the bad guys. Flash forward and he’s doing just that. When Moriarty is on the verge of going to jail, Holmes shocks the world by revealing his theory that in fact he’s an impostor and the real Moriarty has escaped to America. The London authorities are incredulous, but the Queen is thrilled and invites Holmes to the palace for what turns out to be a surprise birthday party. The party is immediately ruined by a corpse being found in the cake and the revelation that there is a plot to kill the Queen. Sherlock is on the case with the help of his trusty doctor sidekick Watson and they track down lead after lead. This includes the revelation that Holmes was right, the man they thought was Moriarty was an impostor and blackmailed into helping with the plot. As Holmes thinks hard about how it’s possible that someone (anyone!) could battle his big ol’ brain, he comes to the only reasonable conclusion: it must be someone very close to him. He points the finger at Watson (slander!) and gets him thrown in jail, but the guilt he feels over betraying his only true friend puts him back in touch with his emotions. Going to free Watson before his execution he finds the final clue that puts all the pieces together: it was his housekeeper (who was also secretly Moriarty’s child! (what a twist!)). Realizing that the plot will culminate with the murder of the Queen aboard the Titanic, Holmes arrives just in time to free Watson and, as a team, foil the plot and catch the baddies. Afterwards, as a newly minted detective duo, they go to America to catch Moriarty once and for all. Am I smelling a sequel (hint: I’m not). THE END. Big Question: how much do you actually have to laugh during a comedy for it to not be terrible?

Why?! For Queen and Country, duh. Oh, and Sherlock also wants to prove to everyone else that he’s the smartest. Oh, and Watson wants to become co-detective with Sherlock. Oh, and Moriarty and his daughter only want to murder the Queen to prove to the world that they are smarter than Sherlock and make him look like a fool. The mystery is so devious that they think he can’t possibly solve it… they are wrong.

Who?! Steve Coogan and Hugh Laurie went uncredited for their cameo roles. Both were small, but significant roles. Billy Zane appeared as himself in the film, which I was all for. Always into a ride on the Zane Train. All aboard! Choo choo. Finally, we generally highlight appearances of real of fictional Presidents on screen. Well how about Pam Ferris playing Queen Victoria? Long live the Queen! As a last note, Watson is comically played as a Planchet in the film… almost to a tee. Shit on all day, but generally competent and helpful.

What?! I stopped at nothing to find a prop from this film for sale. It just seemed impossible for them to make a period piece without accruing a huge number of props that you could sell for charity and/or to amuse me. Finally I dug up this prop pistol that apparently has already sold. I’m not even that disappointed. I was mostly hoping to find full Holmes and Watson costumes so I could gift the Watson costume to Patrick and then have the Holmes’ costume tailored to fit his dog Tolstoy (obviously). But alas.

Where?! London, baby. With a little dash of Wyoming (seriously) at the end. Obviously this plays a huge role in the film considering the entire mystery is about the attempted murder of the Queen, the Titanic makes an appearance, etc. Solid A as it is as necessary as bubble and squeak at brekkie.

When?! The timeline is all screwed up as they mix all kinds of historical events together. You have to go with the date on one of the many newspapers that are shown on the screen, November 26th, 1892, as the true date (weirdly making this is a super duper secret Thanksgiving film: London edition) and not the fact that the Titanic plays a role in the film despite not even being ordered for construction until 1908. I kinda like that they were like “who cares?” with this kind of stuff… if they want to make a bunch of Titanic jokes and have a Billy Zane cameo then that’s all fine by me… as long as you give me a newspaper with the actual date on it. B.

We all have biases. I have a soft spot for stupid comedies, particularly of the Ferrell-Reilly variety. This should already have been clear considering the Smaddies Baddies award for bad-film-that’s-actually-good is named after Freddy Got Fingered… although I guess that’s because that movie is actually good. I wouldn’t go nearly that far with Holmes & Watson. But I would also say that I laughed occasionally, thought it looked quite good, and certainly wasn’t lazy in ways that you sometimes see in bad comedies. By the end I was moderately sad that the product was bad enough to guarantee that there couldn’t be a sequel. I would have enjoyed seeing if they could have produced something good out of their attempt at a Sherlock spoof. But that’s not gonna happen and their first attempt is just meh in a Get Hard kind of way. You’ll laugh a few times but that’s probably about it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You know me, I love me a murder mystery. Poirot, Jessica Fletcher, DCI Barnaby. It’s my jam. But now for the best adaptation yet! Will Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes … Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I’m not exaggerating when I say the preview said maybe 10 times that this was the least funny film ever produced. So unfunny that your mind would reject it, and you would rage against the mere idea of continuing to watch more than a mere second of the film … so yeah, I was getting prepared to be bored out of my mind. What were my expectations? A boring mess. Like with the classic Kicking and Screaming, Will Ferrell sometimes ends up in comedies where he just shouts a bunch and not much happens. So I was expecting that.

The Good – Superficially the case is at least somewhat interesting. A double of Moriarty, murder by tattoo, and a twist reveal of Holmes’ housekeeper being the long lost daughter of Moriarty trying to make Holmes look the fool. I found that mostly satisfying (although there are issues with it which I’ll mention below). I laughed three times during this film, which is above average, so that is a small positive. I especially liked the whole Titanic bit at the end. And the cast is a murderer’s row of British comedians (unfortunately they aren’t given much to do, but I do enjoy the casting in general).

The Bad – While superficially interesting the mystery is very disjointed, and upon inspection the twist is basically impossible to determine organically. Like, they have a giant scene in which Holmes and Watson are trying to find the mysterious tattoo artist, but in the end they end up not knowing any additional information from the escapade and Mycroft just has to tell Holmes the answer. The accents by Ferrell and Reilly are immediately annoying, a huge mistake to surround them with actual British people. And the origin story of Sherlock (which no one asked for) in the beginning is a terrible addition to the Sherlock lore and unnecessary to boot (who gives a shit as to why Sherlock Holmes solves cases “unemotionally” … is that even a thing?). The more I write about the film the more I actually dislike it.

The BMT – If not for the cast of the film I’m confident I would have despised this film as a try-hard and unfunny piece of garbage. It still mostly sucks, but hey, I like Ferrell and Reilly and I can’t help myself, I ended up laughing a bit. I’m quite interested to see if we end up watching another Sherlock Holmes film at some point. Did it meet my expectations? It was certainly slightly funnier than I expected. But it mostly just matched them. An unfunny adaptation of a classic book is a tough sell.

Roast-radamus – One of the better Planchett (Who?) with Watson in this one in my opinion, but he might be a bit too competent of a doctor to count. For the most part that is his purpose though, to be ripped on by Holmes and look like an idiot. Definitely a solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for London. It is also a Period Piece (When?) for the Victorian setting, but we usually go for secret holiday film in the end. Worst Twist (How?) for the long lost Moriarty daughter, and Best MacGuffin (Why?) for the mystery of the missing Moriarty … my God, it potentially qualifies for everything!

StreetCreditReport.com – So I can’t find this on any of the big lists, but I think I know why: it was released on Christmas Day, 2018. So all of the lists were already published by the time it came out. I think it makes one or two of them if they were to edit them though, it definitely has the cred, especially with that cast. I also think it is the worst Sherlock Holmes adaptation ever, so it has that going for it.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally, watching one of the greatest Sherlock Holmes adaptations every made I had to find an even better one to watch: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century! A cartoon series from 1999 (free on Tubi) the show amazingly follows along with a good number of the classic Holmes mysteries (quite the coincidence given the concept of the show is that all of the Holmes mysteries were real and occurred in the 19th century as well …). I just watched the first episode. Beyond the travesty that is the CGI in the show, mainly it suffers from relying far too heavily in calling back to the original books. C-. Amusing for about 5 minutes, and then the overwhelming sense of ennui that comes with wasting one’s life watching bad cartoons settles in and ruins the experience.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cats Recap

Jamie

A cat is abandoned in London and learns about a group of cats called the Jellicle cats. Periodically they have a talent show to determine who goes to heaven to be reborn and that is tonight, but the evil McCavity wants to hijack the show. Can the rightful cat be chosen before it’s too late? Find out in… Cats… it’s about cats. Let’s go!

How?! Victoria is not a Jellicle cat. She’s just a cat dropped into a Jellicle world of London. All the cats dance and sing about how they are Jellicle cats and Victoria is like “damn, that’s cool. I wish I were Jellicle,” but she isn’t. The cats let her know that tonight is a very special night because Old Deuteronomy is in town and ready to judge a cat talent show and send one cat to heaven to be reborn into the life they’ve always dreamed of. There is this one cat that is kinda fat and makes mice and cockroaches sing. Then there is like a more R&B cat who’s breaking all the rules. Then there is another fat cat that loves to eat… that’s kind of his thang. Then there is a mysterious cat called Macavity who is the bad guy who is trying to hijack the competition by kidnapping the competition to make sure he wins (oh no!). Victoria briefly gets entangled with some cat burglar cats, but Mr. Mistoffelees comes in and saves the day, phew. Victoria also takes pity on a rejected cat, Grizabella, who used to pal around with Macavity and so all the Jellicle cats hate her, but Victoria is like “her story is sad, yet beautiful… like life and/or dance.” When the competition starts, an old cat named Gus sings a song (but come on, he ain’t winning). Then Taylor Swift cat sings a song and everyone is mesmerized, allowing for Macavity to swoop in and demand to win. When denied by Old Deuteronomy he kidnaps her and forces her to walk the plank into the Thames. Everyone is like “but wait, Mr. Mistoffelees is a magical cat… get her back.” And he sings a song and is real sad cause he think it didn’t work, but guess what? It did. In the end, Victoria convinces Grizabella to sing and it’s beautiful and she wins and flies up in a hot air balloon and everyone’s heads explode in confusion and glee for the wonderful cats and the newly minted Jellicle cat, Victoria. THE END. Big Question: What is this about? Oh wait… it’s about cats. Also, how does this exist?

Why?! Motivation, shmotivation. Let’s just appreciate that this exists and is in our lives. Sure they all want to win the competition because they want to have all their dreams come true by being born into the life they were destined for, but also, like, it’s about cats and they did it all for us the viewer.

Who?! Secret Twins Alert! We actually had been eyeing this film as a twin film for a potential twin cycle and so it’s still important to point out that Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer are twin cat burglars. There is also a brief appearance of cats called Plato and Socrates that are probably twins… or at least they are played by Les Twins who are twins in real life (duh). Oh and Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson and Jason Derulo and a million ballerinas are in the film too.

What?! Back in 2000, once the musical had completed its legendary run on Broadway, it auctioned off all of the set pieces for the benefit of charity. Which is kinda cool. Even cooler would have been getting my paws on some of those Cats wigs. They would immediately become part of my new bowling team, The Jellicle Cats and we’d be pretty feisty. I doubt the film will have a similarly celebrated prop auction so I’m just biding my time to get my hands on… I guess the motion capture leotards? Damn you, technology.

Where?! Obviously set in London as evidence from the scenery, accents, and most notably the Thames. They even go out of their way to make a Thames pronunciation joke for us Yankees. How fun. Pretty important, but not that important. B.

When?! From the set pieces you assume that this is set in the past but it’s never made exactly clear. They don’t seem particularly interested in establishing anything other than what a Jellicle cat is and all the interesting Jellicle cats… and you’re probably like “Jamie, what is a Jellicle cat?” and I’ll tell you… it’s a Jellicle cat. Cat! It’s about cats! F.

Cats is a wild ride of both the best and worst CGI you’ve ever seen. Seriously, one second you are amazed at the visual splendor and then next terrified by the horrible cat monsters. It’s also a very expensive film made for the twelve biggest Cats fans in the world (and no one else). Theater geeks are going to be thrilled by it. The rest of humanity will just be confused. For me it was so weird and great and confusing and I was watching ballet and tapdance and shit for two hours and I couldn’t understand how it all came to exist or if it was good or bad or if it didn’t matter. It’s as if Rocky Horror started out as a $200 million Christmas release and the creators were like “wait… why didn’t people see our great movie?” What I’m saying is that they made a major motion picture cult film. It will lose them a lot of money, but there is a chance people are sitting in theaters throwing tuna fish at the screen in ten years. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I’m pretty stunned people find Cats to have an odd story. Like … Beautiful Cat meets the Jellicle Cats who sing and dance about themselves, and then Old Cat picks Downtrodden Cat to be the Special Cat. The End. Seems really straightforward. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I was actually really amazed by the cast for the film. Given all of the previews focused on the big names (Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, and Jennifer Hudson in particular) I had kind of assumed the cast was top to bottom big names. But the main three cats are ballerinas or no name actors, and even a lot of the other cats are directly from the stage production from what I can tell. It feels like a good decision on their part, but then again, we’re watching it for BMT so maybe not. What were my expectations? A wild visual ride. A mind-meltingly weird film. And some terrible CGI. That seems to be it, just a weird weird film with bad CGI mostly.

The Good – When you watch this film you are watching film history. It is such a bizarre choice to release a wildly expensive adaptation of Cats. The songs are obviously very good, and a lot of moments make you think “wow, this is beautiful”. The side cats are quite good, like Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer in particular worked well despite coming directly from theater (I think). As a matter of fact the acting is all rather good. Even the bits that might not have worked (Rebel Wilson, James Cordon, and Taylor Swift) all mostly work in my opinion.

The Bad – But holy shit, at times the CGI is just some of the worst stuff you’ll ever see. The entire Gumbie Cat song with Rebel Wilson is extremely bad. I thought it was bad with the creepy children mice, but then the line dancing cockroaches … it sounds like I’m joking, but I’m not. If the background was kept as CGI and everyone was in costumes it might have worked, but the CGI ends up being so distracting at times that you can’t help but think “yeah, they should have waited a bit to release this”. It got around 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, and that sounds right, but the base story is like a 60-70% film, it really just is impossible not to downgrade the film for the technical issues it presented. I also guessed the original song based solely on the Les Miz Criteria: The worst song in a film adapting a famous musical is the original one. Victoria’s Song, nailed it. Finally, I don’t know if it is the same as in the original production, but the first rendition of Memories is so low-key as to be boring. I was honestly stunned that that was it when it ended. That feels bad.

The BMT – I think in 15 years when they release this as an “update” instead of a “remake” we’ll know we’ve made film history. Hear me out: the expensive bit of paying all of the actors and the giant production is done. The CGI is obviously expensive, but you could “remake” the film by just updating the CGI in 15 years using the base footage. I honestly think it is possible that is the future. Instead of re-releasing Disney animated classics as live action, we’ll start seeing things like Toy Story “updated” to use modern CGI techniques and released as “new” movies to a new generation. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, although I expected it to be worse. I guess I shouldn’t have really, it is a famous musical production for a reason, the songs are just going to be bangers no matter what. The CGI is mind meltingly bad, but book it: it’ll be updated in the future and people will say “you know what? Cats ain’t so bad”.

Roast-radamus – Definitely gets a Setting as a Character (Where?) for London which is very much a huge part of all of the sets. And Best MacGuffin (Why?) as well think for the general purpose of the entire film being to rise to the Heaviside Layer. As Jamie points out there is a Best Twin Film (Who?) possibility here with both Les Twins and the characters of Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer being twins. That’s a twin heavy film for sure.

StreetCreditReport.com – Obviously a huge amount of street cred. First, the trailer broke the internet (as the kids say) producing what scientists claim is the creepiest of all possible valleys. Second, it is a colossal financial failure (especially if the rumored budget of like $300 million is correct, but … it couldn’t possibly be, right?). And finally, the critics are loving to hate it, unloading all of their best cat puns on unsuspecting readers. It didn’t make the AV Club list, possibly because the list was released prior to Cats and never updated. But Variety specifically updated their list to include it, and the Hollywood Reporter also has it. It is a true triple threat.

BMT Live Theater Report – A secret BMT Live indeed. It isn’t official, but obviously I had to go out and see the film in theaters. And boy oh boy it was a wild ride. Again, I was in a small theater at Vue in Westfield, so it was nearly sold out when I arrived (!). It was 6pm on a Monday, so obviously the theater was filled with children. And there was a boy there who was not having a good time. First, his brother ate all the popcorn like 10 minutes before the movie started, so he was running in and out of the theater up through 15 minutes of the movie trying to find his mother/nanny to complain about it. Then he was literally walking around at parts because he was bored. And then, after getting upset again about something his brother did, he started intentionally making a ruckus until his mother/nanny pulled him out of the theater … but then he came back in alone! To be fair, it didn’t really affect my viewing experience, Cats is wall to wall music with not much storyline, so it was more like a little side show I got to enjoy. But by far the most disruptive theater experience I’ve ever been in, D.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Serenity (2019) Recap

Jamie

Baker Dill is a simple charter boat captain on Plymouth Island trying to make a living. When his ex-wife shows up wanting him to kill her new, abusive husband for the sake of their child he has a choice to make… but that’s not the craziest thing about this film. Oh no. Can he stop the abusive husband (and reunite with his son… sorta), before it’s too late? Find out in… Serenity.

How?! Baker Dill, a charter boat captain on Plymouth Island, just wants to make a buck and catch Justice, the giant Tuna that has evaded capture for as long as he can remember. This obsession with the fish is turning business bad, but things only get worse when his ex-wife, Karen, shows up begging him to save her and their son Patrick from her abusive husband Frank. You see, she has convinced Frank to go on a fishing trip with Baker and she wants him to get him drunk and toss him overboard. But Baker is hesitant and tries his darndest to get out of it, even while Frank proves over and over to be worthy of killing. At the same time Baker is getting the weird feeling that he is somehow communicating with his son which is confirmed when a strange man reveals that in fact everything we are watching is occuring in an AI built video game that his genius son has created (what a twist!). As long as the game sticks to the rules of catching fish then Frank can’t die. Overcome by this earth-shattering totally logical revelation, Baker goes on a drinking binge all while the game continually throws roadblock after roadblock in front of him trying to prevent him from killing Frank. Unfortunately for the game Baker isn’t one to be daunted and realizing his role in the plan takes Frank out on the fateful fishing trip and when Justice takes a nibble on the line lets a totally wasted Frank take the reel and gets pulled to the bottom of the ocean. Here, faithful viewers, we are informed that Patrick has killed Frank in real life. He then uses his beautiful mind to rework the game so that he and his dad can spend time together. Hooray! THE END. Big Question: Is Patrick coding the game or is the AI just kinda making it up as it goes along… or is this all nonsense?

Why?! There is a little play on the classic MacGuffin here, as Baker Dill’s whole purpose in life is seemingly to catch an impossibly huge Tuna named Justice. They kinda turn it on its head, though, as they acknowledge that this is simply an arbitrary goal of the game and has no real meaning. In the end the motivation is for Patrick to kill his abusive stepfather, which is played out by the AI McConaughey character letting Justice drag him into the sea. Ya dig?

Who?! Actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim promoted the film a bit and clearly had a role in it, but ended up with a “special thanks” credit. Interesting, as we’ve even seen in other films where actors are cut they usually just go uncredited on IMDb. At least they acknowledged him, I guess, despite that fact that he did not ultimately appear in it.

What?! Now this is what I live for. There are several scenes in the film where people are drinking beer from Phoenix Brewery, as well as some coasters bearing its logo. This is a brewery on Mauritius… so like… how does the film not take place on the real island of Mauritius? Or did the AI machine in Patrick’s computer decide that that beer would also be brewed on Plymouth Island. Riddle me that, Patrick?

Where?! Clearly takes place on the imaginary island of Plymouth. Likely the island is a fake former French colony in the Caribbean (given some connections to Miami) and is perhaps modelled after Montserrat, whose capital, Plymouth, became a ghost town due to a volcanic eruption. In reality this is all made up and the entire film takes place in Miami where Patrick lives and codes on his sweet ‘puter. Uh… I don’t know. I guess it’s an A despite being fake.

When?! Time and space are not really a thing in the film as explained above. It can be whatever time the little boy genius wants it to be. Perhaps even the entire film takes place in the moments before he kills his stepfather. Perchance it all occurs in the beat of a butterfly’s wings. Deep, man. Deep. F.

I can’t believe they actually got huge movie stars to sign onto Serenity. It thinks it’s way smarter than it actually is and does the “nothing in this film is real or matters” so hard that you just kinda have to laugh at it. It’s real weird though, which is a plus I guess. It really went for it and was interesting. Particularly Anne Hathaway… I feel like she must be in on the joke, but she is acting so hard that it’s difficult to tell. For the Bring a Friend, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is astonishing. It’s the lowest budget, lowest quality major horror franchise film I’ve ever seen. The beginning is so horrible that I would have probably turned it off if I wasn’t obligated to watch the entire thing. Strangely it’s revealed near the end that the (new) motivation of the family is their part in a large illuminati type conspiracy cult where the fear the family instills in its victims is part of what gives the group its power… It’s like a mini Cabin in the Woods and if you just read the concept you might even say it’s interesting. But it’s just a cheap, terrible rip-off of the original so you can’t really say that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I remember watching Serenity in theaters, it was in New York City with my bro- … huh? This is a different Serenity? Like they just reused the same name? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t know much about the film going it beyond that it was a huge bomb with big stars. If you watch the trailer before watching the film you should be able to figure out the twist … which maybe suggests it isn’t really a twist? Something to chew on when analyzing things. What are my expectations? I was just hoping it wasn’t boring. I don’t really like noir films to be honest. They kind of stress me out because I end up getting frustrated when I can’t untangle the plot.

The Good – Honestly, I liked this film more than I should have. I think it is because the twist is so very obvious that I no longer got stressed about figuring things out … I had already figured out the important bit. Everything else, indeed, turned out to be rather straightforward. I do wonder whether the director thought the twist was good and so he hid it from critics, and once they realized it was bad they put it into trailers hoping people would just enjoy the ride. Well guess what? I enjoyed the ride. The film’s twist is trash, but the acting and visuals are good. Which at least made it not boring to me.

The Bad – The twist is awful, and it ends up really being the entire film. There is no other point to the film beyond the twist. Sadly I actually find the plot pretty interesting, but then if you didn’t have the twist it would be the worst noir ever made (like … a guy’s ex-wife hires her ex-husband to kill he husband and he does … the end). So you end up being stuck between a bad twist and a bad noir … and they chose the bad twist. I think they made the right choice though, the film would have been unwatchable if the ending was just him getting $10 million and seeing his son again.

The BMT – As a tropical noir I think it’ll be remembered if that niche genre ever crops up again. Otherwise, again it will only be notable for its we-all-live-in-a-game twist which I can definitely see being reused in the future. Those are the only two reasons I can think for ever revisiting the film, I have no intention of recommending it to anyone. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, but because I kind of ignored the twist and enjoyed the very straightforward noir plot for what it was. I doubt very many people would get much out of this film if they even remotely like noir though.

Roast-radamus – I think this has a really really interesting Setting as a Character (Where?) in that the setting is the fictional Plymouth Island and is almost literally a character in the film. I’ll throw in Worst Twist (How?) as well since it is much maligned. I agree that it is dumb … but I still didn’t mind it all that much. It has an ubbelivable MacGuffin (What?) … almost a MacGuffin as a Character in the shape of a large tuna that McConaughey can’t seem to catch. I think it’ll sneak into BMT Live! as well, although I don’t think it’ll win when we vote.

StreetCreditReport.com – This is probably the most well known of the big bombs that came out this year, mainly because it has a bunch of those Big Targets that people like to take aim at (not to say the film doesn’t deserve it, but this is the type of film that if you didn’t want to watch bad movies you could write a hell of a lot about without having seen it given how notable the cast is). But it also has some of that real cred, is it is 12th on the AV Club list. It manages to appear on the Variety list as well. And the Hollywood Reporter! See? People can’t help but hate this film, it is just too tempting!

You Just Got Schooled – I needed a place to put my review of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, so you’re going to get that and the Bring a Friend analysis below. Now, fans of the franchise seem to either hail this as a hilarious send up of the first, or a travesty which besmirches the franchise’s good name. Surprisingly, I lean more towards the former. I am no one to promote horror-comedy, far too many end up being not very good comedies or horror films in the end. This is no different really, it is a terrible horror film. But there is just enough fun over-the-top nonsense to entertain me. I actually think this is one of the best horror film follow-ups to a classic I’ve seen. Rehashing the films never work, this at least gave you a bigger, badder version of what you liked in the first place (which necessitated a level of comedy). A solid B from me, I kind of wish the series had gone a bit more in this direction, at least it had interesting bad guys.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Ah, you might have been wondering why I’ve been reviewing four Texas Chainsaw Massacre films during the recap of Serenity. And here it is, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. You know … that horror classic starring Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger (wait … wow, yeah it does). So we get to see the original McConaughey, and now the risen-from-the-ashes hot-off-the-presses McConaughey … they’re kind of the same, it is amazing how this man ages. The film itself is awful. A remake of the original, but somehow people forgot how to make horror films using no money? Hint: it isn’t just by filling an old house with garbage and having a guy moan with a mask on. There is actually more to it. Like having interesting bad guys, or interesting good guys, or people without robot legs. The film is straight up dog poo in my face, I can’t believe they released it to theaters! F, how dare you make this and besmirch the good name of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. How daaaaaare you.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Recap

Jamie

Leatherface is back, Jack! With their relationship falling apart, Michelle and Ryan see if a cross-country road trip might patch things up. Unfortunately they are duped and captured by the crazy, chainsaw wielding family of backwater misfits we know and love. Can they take out Leatherface before it’s too late? Find out in… Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

How?! Michelle and Ryan are going through a rocky time in their relationship. He seems like kind of a snob and she’s not into it. Stopping for gas, they are saved from a creepy gas station attendant by a man named Tex. While they flee the gas station, taking Tex’s advice for directions, it appears that Tex is murdered by the attendant. A series of creepy things start to occur on the backcountry Texas road including, but not limited to, Leatherface attacking their car with a chainsaw and an injured man forcing them to crash into a weekend survivalist’s jeep. The weekend survivalist, Benny, helps them from their car, but doesn’t believe the crazy things that have occured. That is until a crazy hook-handed man drives up offering help, but clearly only offering to chop him up with a chainsaw. Wandering the woods, Michelle and Ryan are periodically chased by Leatherface, eventually resulting in the capture of Ryan. Meanwhile Benny is also chased by Leatherface, but he’s helped by an escaped captive of the family to evade him. Instead he encounters the gas station attendant and throws him into a swamp when it becomes clear he’s just an unhelpful crazy person. Eventually Michelle ends up in the family home where instead of finding help she finds a new crazy family of Leatherface, including Tex (what a twist!). They nail her to a chair for dinner and have her watch them murder Ryan. Then, after giving Leatherface a new chainsaw as a present, they are going to murder Michelle, but Benny shows up and blows half the family away with a machine gun. Running away, they dispatch Tex and take down the gas station attendant and drive away just as we see Leatherface start up his chainsaw. Bum bum bum! THE END. Big Question: I honestly wonder whether the creepy little girl that is part of Leatherface’s family was meant to play a big role going forward. She and Leatherface are the only two that clearly survive.

Why?! To survive, duh. The motivation for the family is pretty consistent for the first three films (and then changes wildly for the fourth one). It’s all just for fun and food as the people they capture are turned into BBQ for family dinner and to sell at their local gas station or in BBQ competitions… for real.

Who?! I’m pretty interested in the idea of a movie monster, particularly one where a stuntman can launch a career off of how they portray an iconic figure. Leatherface is much more like Michael Myers in this way in that there are eight total films and seven different people have portrayed him. Probably the most famous is Gunnar Hanson from the first one, just because he was the first, while Andrew Bryniarski is the only one to play him twice, in the remake and its sequel from 2003 and 2006 (both future BMT films).

What?! Apparently you can buy a replica of the iconic chainsaw from this film. Something to think about for the Xmas season. Additionally, I saw that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films are mentioned in the context of product placement somewhat frequently. Mostly negatively as they talk about how you will see a soft drink in the background while a girl runs around screaming and covered in blood. Overall minor in the series though.

Where?! Classic example of an A+ setting as every film in the series almost by definition must be placed in rural Texas. They never went crazy and took Leatherface to Manhattan or anything like that I don’t think.

When?! In the first four films it’s almost played like a joke that each one takes place at the time of the release of the film, so large chunks of time separate the massacre events where there was a survivor to tell the story. The first has an exact date. The second takes place during the OU-Texas rivalry football game, so approximate. This one is more like a general time, summer 1990 probably. The fourth then jumps back to being more specific: May 1995. C for the third entry, the worst grade of the bunch.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series seems to struggle for lack of imagination a bit. The first one is really great and ahead of its time and it’s amazing it was made in the early 70’s. The second is super fun and a very good, different sequel that at time cribs from the original, but it is interesting in its own right. This one though, starts to fall backwards as it attempted to reboot the series in a heavy metal, 90’s kind of way. They threw away all the characters from the first two and made a whole new family… without it really making much sense where they came from. It also makes it clear that they were striving for that Freddy/Jason/Michael kind of vibe with Leatherface, with the rest of the family being peripheral… and I think that is just a mistake. The family in its entirety had value, but then they just started throwing out everyone but Leatherface. Anyway, I thought it was a poor film, clearly suffering from the edits that had to be made for rating (to the point where sometimes it was hard to understand what was happening in certain scenes), but got slightly better as the film went on. I’ll save my Next Generation through for the Serenity recap. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If there is one thing in BMT that I well and truly love, it is the opportunity to watch like … five films in a week from a horror franchise. It sounds like a joke, but while the task is difficult, it is very rewarding. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – So here’s the deal: I had watched the original long ago and found it rather disturbing and unpleasant and never ended up watching the second one (which also didn’t qualify). This one seemed to be the goriest of the original series, but I’ve also watched a lot more horror films and have become rather desensitized to gore in particular. So what I actually looked forward to was watching the original two and seeing how I felt about the series as a whole. What were my expectations? I expected to find the second film dumb, and the third to be unnecessarily gross and probably misogynistic (it is the way of horror after all). But sometimes horror surprises me, sometimes the bad ones are just boring (which is honestly a more pleasant option).

The Good – I don’t mind the core idea of the franchise, which is very much the same as The Fast and the Furious: it’s all about Fambly. Leatherface has the mind of a child, but is supremely good at killing (well … you assume he is usually, he had an off day in this film), and thus attracting an insane family of cannibals around him wherever he goes. As a direct sequel to the first film I think they could have made this point a bit clearer, but it comes through well enough to be interesting.

The Bad – Mostly everything else. I think there is a pretty specific mistake the third and fourth film make which is to retain the idea of Leatherface having the mind of a child. As a demented killer controlled by his brothers in the first and second film it is fine, he’s a terrifying side player. But once you remove that part of the equation (assuming the first is always canon) then Leatherface becomes maybe the most boring of all of the slasher villains. He kills, he barely knows why beyond that that is how he gets food, the end. It is boring. Given the tone of the second film, I think there was an opportunity to continue in that more comedy vein, but reverting back to the classic slasher tropes was a huge mistake in the end and doesn’t work at all. I also really really didn’t appreciate that they reused the gas station twist from the original.

The BMT – It’s a franchise. Out of the three main horror franchises we’ve seen (Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, and this), this is by far the worst of the three. It has a decent second film (kind of Halloween II level), but then falls completely apart without building any interesting lore around its killers or protagonists. Ends up being more of a missed opportunity than anything, given it is probably the biggest cannibal horror franchise to date. Did it meet my expectations? Actually yeah. It didn’t go insane with gore (to avoid an X rating), and didn’t seem to revel in the torture of its female protagonist. It gave me just enough to chew on that I walked away not very disappointed in watching the film in the end.

Roast-radamus – You have to throw a bone to the A+ settings, so Setting as a Character (Where?) for Texas (Chainsaw Massacre) seems pretty natural. I’ll also throw out the Worst Twist (How?) for reusing the twist from the first film. Of course Viggo’s in on it, of course so is the gas station attendant, of course, of course. I don’t think it’ll get into any of the superlatives, so that is about it.

StreetCreditReport.com – It is going to be tough to find the third on any lists. It seems like it tends to be overshadowed by the worst of the remakes (which is 3D apparently), and the worst of the originals (the fourth). It ends up mid-table on this list by collider. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure this film ends up qualifying if not for the fact that the original is so beloved. Which actually makes sense, it is the one they tried to make the most like the other franchises (Nightmare in particular), and they kind of just made a meh one with a boring secondary villain (Viggo).

You Just Got Schooled – Since this will be posted first I’ll put by review for the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre here (the second will go with Serenity). As I said up top when I watched the film originally I remember feeling a bit queasy. I was unaccustomed to gore and really didn’t enjoy it. This time? It is one of the best horror films ever made. Probably most notably for creating an impactful horror classic on a shoestring budget, but you can throw most of the movie away just for the final family dinner scene. Suddenly, it goes from the single masked killer, to a family of manipulative cannibals. There is so much to explore … and yet the creators fritter it all away. Sigh. Still, like Halloween, Black Christmas, and The Thing, it is required viewing for anyone wanting to learn about horror. A-. The minus is mainly because the first hour of the film is pretty useless.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Replicas Recap

Jamie

Dr. William Foster is a super genius working to try to transfer the consciousness of humans into robots post-death. However, when his family is involved in a car wreck, guess what he does? That’s right, grow clones of them and transfer their concionesses into them. Can the world stop this mad man before it’s too late… wait, he’s the good guy?! Find out in… Replicas.

How?! Dr. William Foster has a big ‘ol brain and is tasked with figuring out how to transfer the consciousness of dead humans into robots. Everything is going wrong, though, and the robots are ripping themselves apart in despair following the transfer (not ideal). In the midst of this frustration, William and his family go off for a holiday boating trip only to crash on the way, killing everyone but William (also not ideal). Looking at the dead bodies of his family he decides to call his friend Ed in order to try to do the impossible: clone his family and transfer their consciousnesses into the new bodies. At this point we all know William is insane and yet the movie goes on. Ed helps him grow the clones, however he doesn’t have enough tanks so he can’t grow a body for his younger daughter (a lot of not ideal things going on). Instead of looking in the mirror and being like “oh wait, this is insane and I should stop,” he instead erases the memory of his daughter from his family’s brains… which just simply does not make sense… and yet the movie continues. Against all odds he figures out the issues with the transfer and is able to bring (most of) his family back, but almost immediately they are like “wait, why have I seemingly been asleep for two weeks and also feel like a clone and kinda remember having another daughter/sister?” At this point William spills the beans to his wife in hopes to figure it all out, but unfortunately the president of the company he works for also shows up and is like “oh BTW, we knew you were doing this and you better give us all the techmology or else you’ll be in trouble because you are a mad scientist monster.” William refuses and goes on the run, only to have his family captured by the company through the deceit of Ed. In the final climax he transfers his own consciousness into a robot that then comes in and totally owns the president because he’s a robot. The film ends with William enjoying his life with his clone family but also being a robot running an evil company… almost as if there would be a sequel where he has to battle his evil replica… but nah. THE END. Big Question: Have we really reached a point where we are expected to root for a character that would previously have been viewed as a monstrous madman?   

Why?! Clearly the motivation for William is to get his family back, while the motivation of the company is to sell immortality to the highest bidder (and not in fact save soldiers from combat fatalities like advertised). However, we never really get a good idea for why William does all the crazy and illogical steps along the way… like why is erasing Zoe from memories the best plan? Seems destined to fail the instant anyone in their lives are like “Yo, where’s Zoe?” and then all the clones would explode (probably). And indeed it does immediately blow up in his face. So I guess we just chalk all the stupid stuff up to his grief and move on.

Who?! Middleditch is arguably a Planchett, but is far too respected and competent to really count. There is an interesting “thanks for your help and support” credit to Andres Rivera, who is a long time caterer/chef (worked on Weekend at Bernies II, so you know he’s in demand). He has on occasion helped with location work on some films and it seems like that would be the case here.

What?! Apple is everywhere in this film, from phones to laptops. It’s always hard to tell whether this is true product placement or just the fact that realistically there would be a number of Apple products around in any situation. The only reason that I think it’s true product placement is that there is significant literature on Apple’s product placement strategy since the mid-90’s and this seems like a perfect example of a film they would target. 

Where?! A settings bonanza here as we are immediately informed that for whatever reason the film is set in Puerto Rico. They even kind of make a big deal that Keanu dragged his family down to Puerto Rico in order to work for the super advanced scientific medical company. B+.

When?! A double settings bonanza on this one as we also get a Secret Holiday Film Alert! Part way through the film a teacher swings by the house and Keanu has to make up some reason why it seems like he probably murdered his family. At the end of the conversation she’s like “oh, happy holidays” and I was like “what?!” Then later the whole fam goes Christmas tree shopping together. This is a holiday film! A-. Oh, and this has to be set in the future… I mean, they grow humans in tanks and barely blink an eye.

Boy, this is a mess. The whole film looks terrible, in particular the robots, and then the plot begs so many questions it’s hard to take it seriously. Keanu is either a monster or insane from the get-go and makes a series of bizarre decisions that left me wondering why we were supposed to believe he was some world-changing super genius, let alone root for him to succeed. By the end you just have to shrug and let it be. It’s likely that it’s the worst thing I watched this year. It was very hard to get through and difficult to understand why it existed and why they decided to release it to theaters rather than just sell it off to streaming. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Replicas? More like Replican’ts, amirite? It felt like I needed a classic for this Keanu classic. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know much about this film beyond that it started off the year strong with a solid January BMT offering. The preview revealed that the films had a very delayed release (I don’t really know why, maybe to recut it after Keanu had his little comeback with John Wick? Or maybe because of Hurricane Maria.), which is always promising. What were my expectations? My impulse is that this is a Bruce Willis or Nic Cage film that accidentally starred Keanu and accidentally got released to theaters. So it would be boring and nonsensical and leave me wondering what I’m doing with my life.

The Good – Not much. The sci-fi concepts are really out there. A mash up of about ten different things that could be cutting edge in like 100 years. It almost felt like a very old school sci-fi short story in that regard. A story where they couldn’t quite decide how far in the future things should be, and didn’t really have a good grasp on the different scientific concepts they were dealing with. I like Thomas Middleditch in the role, it fit him well.

The Bad – The acting from basically everyone besides Middleditch was pretty bad, even Keanu. The film truly is one gigantic plothole, where you are left wondering about 50 different questions even after they’ve tried to explain things multiple times. They throw you a little life preserver later by suggesting maybe the evil corporation allowed all of this stuff to happen … but more likely the film is just poorly written. The CGI robot looks atrocious, some of the worst CGI we’ve ever seen bar none. And the ending is perplexing while the film also managed to be about 20 minutes too long. It really it one of the worst films you’ll see in 2019 if you want to look at things objectively.

The BMT – I think this will be one of the ones we’ll come back to if we ever start watching those Bruce Willis or Nic Cage straight-to-VOD features that come out every year. Just because we’ll be vaguely reminded of it. Realistically it’ll be in the top 5 worst of 2019 which will be something. I feel it in my bones. Did it meet my expectations? Despite the length, it exceeded them slightly. I think just the way the script managed to say so much, and yet every time it said something it begged two more questions at the same time. It is a bold way to tell a story, and one that does not work at all.

Roast-radamus – An absolutely huge Setting as a Character (Where?) for Puerto Rico. It is incredibly set in Puerto Rico, which is very very exciting. Also a very nice Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the film is set right around Christmas mostly out of nowhere. I’ll throw in a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that the corporation knew what Keanu was doing the whole time (lame). And finally I think this will pretty easily make my personal shortlist for BMT Live! As it is probably objectively the worst film I’ve seen released this year. Pretty good chops.

StreetCreditReport.com – Oh snap, we got lists. It amazingly got the number 2 on the AV Club list. I think it probably went a bit under the radar for the rest of the lists to be honest. I’m pretty impressed that it managed to nearly top a pretty big list. And really the delayed release date kind of gave it street cred anyways.

You Just Got Schooled – What more appropriate film to watch alongside Replicas than the film that gave Keanu his comeback, John Wick! I kind of expected to enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Usually, these films that just involve a crazy amount of killing turns me off, but the world of assassins created around John Wick is so compelling (and the bad guys so unabashedly bad) that it overcomes this minor issue. I also happened to have watched the original The Raid around the same time, and while it also was mostly enjoyable, it really is the cartoony world that helped me sit back and enjoy it. I’m genuinely excited to watch the other two as well. A+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Angel Has Fallen Recap

Jamie

Agent Mike Banning is back, Jack! And guess what? He’s still saving the President. When an attempted assassination goes wrong, leaving only the President and Banning alive, suspicion lands sqaurely on Banning. Can he reveal the vast conspiracy, stop the bad guys, and save the President (again) before it’s too late? Find out in… Angel has Fallen.

How?! We open on a broken and beaten Banning. He’s popping pills, struggling with the physical and mental trauma from his direct involvement with several national emergencies, and trying to figure out what’s next for him and his family. And it’s not so different for his fellow war veterans, for example check out his friend Wade Jennings who is definitely not a bad guy. Wade is just lamenting the lack of use of private military contractors by the US, NBD. Anyway, shortly thereafter Banning is out fishing with the President when a massive assassination attempt via face recognizing drones is carried out. Only Banning and the President are able to survive, thanks to his quick thinking, but both are seriously injured. When Banning comes to, he’s the prime suspect thanks to an almost comical amount of physical and electronic evidence he’s left behind of his alleged activities. As the definitely-not-evil Vice President takes the oath of office, Banning is taken into custody, only to be freed moments later by a bunch of black ops soldiers. Using his skillz to kill them, Banning discovers that they are employees of Jennings (My god! How unexpected!). He then leads authorities on a multistate chase before disappearing into the West Virginia mountains where he hides out with his *bum bum bum* estranged father (what a twist!). Jennings’ squad continues in hot pursuit and Banning’s dad is a total maniac with the explosives and saves the day. Meanwhile the FBI, finally getting the hint that maybe Banning is innocent, tracks down Jennings and his entire plot hatched with the Vice President (My god! Whodathought!) blows up in his face. Realizing that he really just wants to kill the President and Banning and then move offshore he heads to the hospital where the President is. Banning also heads there in order to warn everyone what’s going on. There is a climactic shootout and Banning totally tricks those dopes and kills Jennings in hand-to-hand combat. It ends with Banning getting promoted. THE END… or is it? It is, for now. Big Question: Why frame Banning? Why not kill Banning and frame someone who isn’t a superhero?

Why?! Interestingly we do get some motivation for Banning. While dealing with the consequences of the concussions and injuries he’s suffered in the line of duty he has to seriously consider whether it’s all worth it (particularly since he’s battling some addiction issues at the same time). Less interestingly this really doesn’t get resolved adequately at the end. As for the bad guys, well they lament to loss of lucrative military contractor work for both monetary reasons and for macho “we’re lions!!!” reasons.

Who?! I mean it goes without saying, crank up that Hail to the Chief. We inaugurate President Trumbull into the BMT Hall of Presidents. Former Speaker of the House and then Vice President, he’s come a long way. I was just really hoping that at the end of the film he would ask our boy Mike Banning to be his VP. The only thing to legit get me excited for the sequel.

What?! You know you have a good product placement when people online are baffled by its presence. In this case Banning uses the cell phone lifted from one of the bad guys and its… Apple? …Samsung? Nope. They have a OnePlus cell phone, a phone somewhat popular outside of the US but rarely seen here. Maybe this is a subtle hint that the mercenary soldiers are not American… or maybe they were just filming in Eastern Europe.

Where?! Obviously a chunk of this will take place in D.C., but I was pleasantly surprised when it was made very clear that our boy Banning heads into the mountains of West Virginia in order to track down his estranged father. I didn’t even remember what we used for West Virginia for the mapl.de.map, but then I checked and it was the greatest film of all time, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D… so that wins. A-, just slightly necessary to the plot.

When?! Couldn’t find anything for the time. Clearly it’s Fall as it’s cold but not that cold. President Trumbull mentions the G20, implying its coming up shortly, but that’s not something that happens at regular intervals. I think we could figure it out, but I didn’t. F.

Either we’ve hit some level of bad movie watching where our beautiful minds can piece together anything remotely trite or cliche, or this film is on some whole other crazy level of predictability. There was a moment early in the film where I thought, “you know what, this isn’t half-bad” but then it veered away from the fun action in order to start putting together the pieces of the overarching plot, which was pretty boring… because I already knew the plot. The bad guys may as well have been twirling their evil mustaches and yet we had to wait for the film to “reveal” them to us. Worse, the final action scene actually looked super silly, which was weird because the other action scenes in the film were pretty good. Obviously not as offensive as the last film but also not as much of an improvement as I secretly hoped. I’d say a little overrated seeing as it qualified for BMT by the slimmest of margins. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A bunch of baddies want to kill the President and need a fall guy. But who to choose. How about the one that foiled two international plots to kill the president before? What are the chances he’ll do it a third time? Pretty slim if my terrible grasp of probability theory is correct. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Don’t think for a second I wasn’t excited to hear they were going to complete this trilogy. I was only slightly disappointed to hear it was no longer the spiritual successor to Air Force One (it was originally supposed to be set on Air Force One). Fake presidents, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, maybe some light racism? Count me in. What was I expecting? The second film in the series was actually an incomprehensible trainwreck. So … uh, more of that please? I hope the nameless SAS agent returns and still remains nameless during this film as well.

The Good – Ripping off The Fugitive is rarely a bad idea as that film is obviously excellent. We learn a lot about the dangers of concussions, and private military forces, and Russia meddling in elections. There are lots of explosions, only some of which look like CGI garbage. And I like Morgan Freeman. It is actually rather straightforward: this is the kind of shiny action film that mimics (in inventiveness) old straight-to-video trash except with a big budget. Somehow, Gerard Butler just makes these at will, it is incredible.

The Bad – The movie is just kind of trashy. The long lost father, the “twist” of the vice-president being behind the plot (which I guessed while watching the trailer months ago … and don’t tell me it was intentional, they distort his voice during the film to hide the fact), the guy who’s just about to retire, the broken everyman hero. We’ve seen this all before. You can lob as many current messages at me as you want, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a story I’ve seen before, and a story that is more like a bad season of 24 than a $40 million film.

The BMT – We have to complete the BMT Trilogies. There is just nothing to be done about this fact. And that will be its enduring message for BMT. That we do our homework, we don’t skimp, no matter how joyless the money-grubbing sequel they produce. Did it meet my expectations? No, it was not nearly as entertaining as the craziness that is London Has Fallen. The only way something like this is entertaining is if the production really seemed to have been struggling. This seemed easy breezy. So easy in fact that Gerard Butler didn’t even feel the need to get into shape (that will be the one time I’ll body shame Gerard and mention his weight … for real though he looks fat).

Roast-radamus – I think it has a pretty strong Setting As a Character (Where?) game with basically Washington D.C. and the surrounding area, plus West Virginia. It kind of rockets up to the top of the Worst Twist (How?) list for me, because … for real, Vice-President Kirby is so obvious of a villain that I guessed it the instant I saw him in the trailer. The trailer! And then it probably doesn’t really have a shot at, but will be on the short list for, BMT Live! (2019).

StreetCreditReport.com/ – Ah finally, we have some lists. This didn’t make the AV Club list, but it did make the list from The Wrap at number 8. Considering it barely qualified for BMT that is actually pretty good. It’s cred comes from a franchise with diminishing returns though. It doesn’t even sniff Gerard Butler’s personal worst-of list even.

You Just Got Schooled – You know what is a movie I’d never seen? White House Down. It is pretty good if overly long. At least it isn’t as schmaltzy as Olympus Has Fallen. A lot of the jokes landed and a few out-of-nowhere references were actually used effectively. Specifically, although I knew President Jamie Foxx survived, I had forgotten about the pocket watch right up until he pulled it out with the bullet in it. Also the flag waving by Lucy Hale managed to go so far into bad territory that it went back around and became ironically good. The thing is, the entire world they built would never be suited for sequels, unlike Olympus Has Fallen which was already a super agent film set in the terror-around-every-corner world of 24. So while White House Down is fun, it always seemed destined to be a one time adventure. Which is fine. B-, glad I watched it, but I won’t watch it again.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs