Morbius Recap

Jamie

Hooo hooo, now this is more like it. It feels like the more common reaction during a BMT Live is a hope that we didn’t screw up a little by jumping the gun and watching a film that is merely bad and not BMT bad. No worries this time as Morbius is complete trash. Not trash in the way the boring, Flatliners remake was. That had us asking “why did they make this and why are we watching it?” No, this is an actively horrible, mostly incomprehensible, one of the worst endings I can remember type of film. I never wanted to walk out of the theater. It was a tragedy in three parts. 

First, the very premise is inane. I could go on and on (and on) about the science behind this film. So Dr. Morbius has a genetic disease… caused by a mutation or alteration of some sort (I presume) and yet he has to use vampire bat DNA to fix it. Uh, why not the several billion other people on Earth who don’t have the alteration? Surely that would be easier. Then when he incorporates this alteration into his DNA he requires blood for sustenance (fine) and can’t use the artificial blood that makes him uber successful (fine, fine) but it also has to be human blood specifically. Hold up. Why? Do vampire bats only sustain themselves on human blood? Or bat blood? Or whatever would ever make that make sense. Oh yeah, and he’s totally a human when he drinks blood but turns into a monster other times, cause that’s also how DNA/bats work. Again, I could talk about this forever.

Second, to prop up this premise they fill the script with “they sound like jokes, but I assure you they are not” types of jokes. What do I mean? No one ever has anything to talk about other than the pseudo-science mumbo jumbo so when they can’t talk about bat DNA they are delivering quippy one-liners. And these one-liners sound like they are being written $10 a pop for an awards show. At times so much noise and motion was happening on screen that I couldn’t really even tell what was and wasn’t a joke. The delivery was so flat and the moment so fleeting that it was lost in the wind (and straight out of my brain) immediately.

Finally, and most egregiously, you literally couldn’t tell what happened in the back third of the film. They set up a big climactic fight and then decided to have it take place while everyone was falling off a building through smoke and a swarm of bats. Suddenly the bad guy died and the movie ended, but not before bringing Morbius’ love interest back to life (as a bad guy? Who knows) and delivering Michael Keaton as Vulture FROM AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FRANCHISE! My head exploded. Making heads or tails out of this film is impossible in the moment. Scientists will have to study it like Dr. Morbius studied that bat DNA.

And I will study it forever if they give me the chance. Give me a sequel! I want The Mummy 2 starring Tom Cruise. Keep this going and don’t you dare give up! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Morbius? More like Why Us?! amirite? After Venom and … uh, a second Venom, people were clamoring for that sweet Sinister Six. And who’s better for that than (checks notes) Morbius? Who the hell is Morbius? Let’s go!

  • For real, it is hard to even figure out Morbius because he is barely a character it seems. Is he in the Sinister Six? He was in the Sinister Sixty-Six and Sinister Sixty … so he’s like the deeeeeeep bench of the Sinister Six. But time to call him up to the show, show us what you’ve got Morbius!
  • That’s it? That’s what you got? You ooze smoke and are a not-really-vampire? He can move fast, but for real, you trap him in a box for a day and he’s toast! A perplexing decision top to bottom.
  • Let’s add bar-none some of the worst action scenes I’ve ever seen. Completely incomprehensible, and I assume, when producers realized all of the action scenes looked like trash they screamed “Uh, quick, have him ooze smoke so the audience can’t see how crap it looks!” Because Morbius is nonsensically oozing smoke all over the place.
  • And wait … why does he have to drink HUMAN blood? Vampire bats drink like cattle blood, shouldn’t that be sufficient? Seems easy peasy and like an actual cure when you put it that way …
  • And not since Hitman: Agent 47 (inducted into the Hall of Fame this year) have we seen so many humorless jokes in an action film. Leto calmly and quietly says “I’m Venom” at one point and it takes five seconds before you register “wait … that was supposed to be a joke.” And that was the best joke in the entire thing.
  • So what are the chances of a sequel? I think 0%. There is no way that any of this ends up going anywhere without Tom Hardy carrying it over the finish line as Venom. They still have three more people to go! I guess they could just get bad guys from older Spider Man films and stuff. Doc Ock and Green Goblin would actually probably both do it in the end because why not?
  • Decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City. Is the mythical cure for Morbius’ rare disease a MacGuffin … yeah why not, a MacGuffin (Why?) for that nonsense. And a for real Worst Twist (How?) for none of the Sinister Six set up, but instead the reveal that Morbius’ doctor girlfriend is still alive.
  • Theater rating? You best believe I had a solid time at AMC Framingham. Surprisingly busy, so I had to sit a little close to the screen, but otherwise nice and quiet and relaxing. I have a feeling this section for Live! will end soon since I’ll just be heading off to AMC Framingham for cheap matinees for the foreseeable future.

I’ll once again point out that I put sequel ideas into my quizzes, so I’m going to stop doubling up on that in the recaps. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Moonfall Recap

Jamie

Where are you? Why do you hide? Where is that moonfall trail that leads to your BMT Live, babbyyyyyy! That’s me just riffing on the Moonraker theme to psych myself up for a borderline qualifying BMT film. Me and Patrick watched with bated breath as Moonfall appeared to be on its way to the ultimate “good for what it is, eat your dumb moon movie, dummies,” film of all time. Every review was like “Good if you’re a big idiot who likes dumb shit, 3/5 stars.” But suddenly it seemed like it wasn’t so and it was heading to BMT town, choo choo. So we bet big, watched the movie, and we won, cause this is an easy qualifier now.

So you may be wondering, “Jamie, did it live up to the hype? Was it actually a bad movie that reviewers were letting slide because they can no longer tell if they are supposed to be reviewing films or trying to predict what people are going to like (and thus yell at them on twitter about)?” Uh… well no and yes. Sure this movie is about the moon being a superstructure whose engine appears to be failing. And yes, the conspiracy theorist who discovered it and two disgraced astronauts fly into the moon and defeat a big AI-driven swarm of robots or something. So you can definitely check the “big” and “dumb” squares off your BMT bingo cards. But honestly, I kinda dug it. It’s super weird and science fiction-y and I liked how weird it was, particularly the ending. That being said, if you read the reviews they are like “you’re going to have a blast with this dumb fun action romp,” and I don’t really agree with that. Really the worst parts of the film were when they did the whole 2012-esque action and adventure stuff. And the very worst part was when they inserted a Lexus commercial into the middle of the film and they used some kind of “sports” mode in the car like it’s a NOS button in The Fast and the Furious. So a mixed bag overall and probably makes sense that this arrives at BMT by the slimmest of margins.

Since Patrick did a State of the Theaters (SotT) I will do a classic Sequel, Prequel, Remake. Obviously this is a smash hit so we gotta start thinking about the Sequel. I’m going to say we go full Marvel and say that once the moon was discovered to be a superstructure, parts that had come off and fallen to Earth have been scavenged and found to unlock the secret of future tech. The world changes over night for what appears to be the better. But wait, what villainous creature appears in the sky to rain on their utopia? K. C. Houseman, the conspiracy theorist himself, now full moonman. He’s been living in the moon for years learning everything he can from the AI. Putting the pieces together he can see that mankind is heading for disaster and only he can stop it by breaking bad and attacking Earth. That’s right! He’s the bad guy and a whole bunch of disgraced astronauts have to Tokyo Drift all over space to stop him. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Wooooo. Wait, what’s that? I’m just getting word that this was not in fact a smash hit. It actually the opposite. Alright, well trash that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! BMT Live! babbbbbbbbbbby! We pounced on this one when it was at like 39.8% on Rotten Tomatoes, and we were vindicated, it is now 38.3%! Let’s go!

  • Is this movie dumb? Yup. Is this movie poorly cobbled together? Yup. Does this movie have a giant ad for Lexus disguised as a boring B-story no one cares about? Yup.
  • But is this movie profoundly bad? No. It is weirdly entertaining. Absolutely blew by. Glanced at my watch and realized that I was an hour-and-a-half into the film.
  • But that’s what BMT Live! is all about, right? I’m pretty convinced that I would have watched Moonfall at some point streaming randomly and we would have never done it for BMT if not for watching it in theaters.
  • What percentage of people died on Earth during this film? 50%? 90%? 99%? I would say 99%, because all of the oxygen on Earth was lifted up and suffocated everyone in Colorado who didn’t have alternative breathing devices. But then maybe that was just because it was Colorado and thus higher up? John Bradley is like “take care of my mum.” Bro … I’m not sure your mother made it. I’m not sure if more than, like, 70 million people are alive on the planet. I’m sure if there was a sequel there would be some dumb thing being like “a million people died in the moon disaster” and I would be like WHAT, but whatever.
  • Is John Bradley a Planchet in this film? He’s on the heavier side, people are bewildered that he is around and tend to dunk on him at every opportunity. Then he is also oddly capable and helps the heroes out in the end … I’m going with no though. He is too capable. Planchet merely helps the Musketeers out. He doesn’t grab a sword and defeat Cardinal Richelieu himself.
  • Incredible Product Placement (What?) for Lexus, in that there is an entire commercial where Michael Pena puts the car into “hyperdrive” to get away from some baddies. Nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for Colorado. Decent MacGuffin (Why?) for just like evil AI that lives in the moon I think. And a terrible Worst Twist (How?) for obviously (obviously) Bradley staying behind to save the day (doesn’t mean I didn’t cry though). Definite BMT, even if Rotten Tomatoes thinks it is borderline.

I should probably do a very short report on the state of theaters. They are good. I was in a small theater (maybe like 30 reclining seats) with eight other people, but they were one giant group it turned out. But they were as silent as church mice and the experience was excellent. I think 2022 is looking good for theatrical experiences … only more so since I no longer have to go to Vue or Cineworld. AMC Framingham is like a palace compared to some of the theaters in London.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Recap

Jamie

Resident Evil is back, Jack! And this time it’s serious. Claire is heading back to Raccoon City to see her bro and look into some disturbing rumors about the Umbrella Corporation and her hometown. From there things go to shit and zombies are everywhere. Can they fend off the zombies before it’s too late? Find out in… Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.

How?! Claire and Chris Redfield grew up in an orphanage in Raccoon City where they saw first hand some of the disturbing things going on in the town. While Chris went on to join the police force in town thanks to a mentor within the Umbrella Corporation, Claire escaped. But when she gets wind of how Umbrella poisoned everyone and then fled the town, leaving it all in ruins, she returns to uncover the truth. In a wild coincidence she arrives at the very moment that everything falls apart. People start to become zombies and her brother is sent out with a police force to check out some of the creepy goings-on at a secluded mansion. Claire makes her way to the police station where she find a rookie Leon and the cowardly police chief holed up trying to figure out what to do. The police chief had tried to escape town, but Umbrella has closed off the borders and is ready to destroy the town in order to contain the virus they have accidentally poisoned the town with (oops). They realize their only hope is to get to the police chopper and so the chief leads them to the orphanage, which is secretly connected to the mansion via a tunnel system. At the orphanage, Claire is reunited with Lisa Trevor, a girl horribly disfigured by Umbrella’s experimentation. Lisa saves Leon and Claire from a Licker (sorry cowardly police chief, you obvs had to die) and points them to the mansion. Meanwhile over at the mansion, everything has completely fallen apart. Numerous members of the police force die immediately and the chopper is destroyed. Turns out one of their team members, Wesker, is also a total traitor and he heads off to get his hands on the necessary evidence/virus materials to hand over to a mysterious organization. When he tries to kill the scientist responsible for the experiments and take the virus he is stopped by Chris. Unfortunately the scientist injects himself with a super duper virus and becomes a giant monster. Claire and Leon arrive and they team up with the good guys to escape on an underground train. They seem to be home free until the monster shows up (boo). But don’t worry, Leon has a rocket launcher. They escape just as the town is destroyed. THE END.

Why?! Survival. It’s a survival game after all. Umbrella’s motivation is corporate greed, baby. They want that sweet green while not paying to dispose of their industrial waste. Oh and also they want to make super soldiers, but can’t seem to figure it out without turning people into horrific mindless monsters. It’s funny that these super soldier mutant zombies are such a huge part of their business model that they are able to poison the whole town with its runoff. Not sure even the government needs a zombie virus at that scale.

Who?! Neal McDonough Alert! Don’t use that often enough. He’s one of the more fun parts of the second half of the film in that he turns into a giant monster which requires the CGI artists to render a giant monster that vaguely looks like Neal McDonough. Always funny looking. Like how the Hulk has to always look a little like Mark Ruffalo. Just one other oddity is that Marina Mazepa shows up here as Lisa Trevor… we just saw her as Mary in The Unholy. She’s really taking the contortionist horror corner right now.

What?! Mild product placement here and there. Pepsi seems to be the beverage of choice in Raccoon City. No wonder it’s a dying town. A-yo. I also liked the 1998 specific product placement dropped in as a wink to the audience. Like the PalmPilot that one character uses. There also was some hay made amongst fans about how Claire drove a Harley in the film… not sure why.

Where?! There has always been a bunch of theories of where Raccoon City is. In the novelization of the video game they apparently came out and said it was in Pennsylvania. Other theories placed it in Missouri. The first film series seem to place it in Michigan, or at least used Detroit as a backdrop. All this doesn’t matter as it’s a fake setting and I like precise, fake settings OK. A+ fake setting. Particularly since putting “Raccoon City” in the title of a film is ludicrous.

When?! Always a little hard to keep track of these things when you see them live in theaters, but I do believe the intertitle set this on September 30th, 1998… although can’t remember if that date was given pre-midnight and so most of the movie would have taken place on October 1st or something. All good though. Solid B+.

I was excited for this film. I thought the trailer was cool and I’m always secretly a little bit excited when there is the possibility of a new(ish) franchise on the horizon. Even that Tom Cruise Mummy film.. Give me Mummy 2! I’ll eat it up… give me more Tom Cruise as a mummy (spoiler alert Tom Cruise turns into a mummy in the film). Anyway, the beginning of Raccoon City doesn’t disappoint. I thought it was creepy and fun and brought the franchise back to its horror roots. It was also helped by the fact that it was evoking all kinds of memories about the original video game that I didn’t even know I remembered. Nostalgia fan service was working on me. But then it just kinda kept on going and going and never getting anywhere. More specifically never getting to the mansion. By the time we get there everything is going so fast with (at that point mostly unnecessary) fan service flying past that I almost wished they would have made a three hour movie rather than tried to cram everything together in 100 minutes… almost. By the time they get to the ending nothing makes sense, not least of which is their use of a Deus Ex Rocket Launcher to blow away the bad guy at point blank range while miraculously not harming any of our heroes. Nice first half, brutal second half, overall a little disappointing. Patrick?

Patrick

Hello everybody! One last Omicron filled theatrical experience for old times sake? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Ah, the last BMT Live of the year. I was really really hoping this would qualify because it really seems like a fun throwback bad blockbuster. And conveniently, considering I’ve never seen any of the Anderson Resident Evils, it is a totla reboot. People seemed down on the trailer, but it seemed decent enough. At least very fanservice-y which can be good. What was I expecting? Well I was hoping for it to be chockablock of Resident Evil refs. Because I actually have played the first two games.

The Good – I genuinely liked the first half of the film. It was, indeed, filled with decent Resident Evil references, and the zombie stuff was cool. It just felt like they did a very good job getting the core story of Resident Evil onto the screen. The Mansion in particular looked great … although you don’t get to spend much time in it. And I can never say now to a little Neal McDonough in my life. Best Bit: The set design, basically, very much fanservice oriented.

The Bad – The back half of the film is a mess including what I think might be the worst action scene I’ve ever seen (fighting zombies viewed solely with muzzle flashes and the light from a lighter … nonsense for minutes at a time). Also the motivation eventually gets really muddled since they have to get everyone to the same place (the train) by the end, but there isn’t a very good reason for the people in the police station to know about that or to get there. And as a horror film it just falls flat. Fatal Flaw: I think combining the first two games did a lot of harm to how they were trying to tell the story.

The BMT – I didn’t totally hate this film, but it certainly suffered from the same issues as most video game adaptations: poor motivation and muddled storytelling. I really wish it was just the first game because the mansion really did look cool. But alas, we can’t always get what we want. But sometimes, we just might get what we need (a bad movie to watch in theaters at the end of the year). Did it meet my expectations? It was actually quite a bit better than I expected. Still bad because it was two movies in one, but still, better than the rating would suggest.

Roast-radamus – One of the first Planchet (Who?) in a long while, with the rookie cop who just can’t do nothing right and everyone dunks on throughout the film (he even redeems himself right at the end like all good Planchets should). Definitely some funny Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi, all from 1998 very very specifically. A great A+ Fictional Setting (Where?) for Raccoon City. Obviously no good video game can do without a sweet MacGuffin (Why?) in the form of the super secret T-Virus that everyone wants to get their hands on. I think this is closest to BMT even though I’m really tempted to call it good.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think the best bet for the franchise at this point is thinking through it as a television Reboot. The mansion really is too large to deal with in a single film and was always going to cause problems (even if you didn’t combine it with the second film). It just feels like to get the snake and the shark and the garden (with the creepy plant people) with all of the back ground would work well for an 8 episode show. Two episodes to set up why they are going to the mansion. Two episodes of initial exploration. Two episodes of generally fleshing out the lore and building up to the penultimate episode. And then a final reveal and initial confrontation, with the final episode being the boss battle and realization that it isn’t over. Just called Resident Evil. The second season is then subtitled RCPD and it includes flashbacks to establish background on Umbrella. It always should have been a television series. They even hired television actors for the movie! NOTE: I just learned there is a television show in the works at Netflix … I wonder if it was intended to supplement this film or is going to re-adapt the mansion.BMT Live Review – Since I’m back (baby), I went to the very nice Framingham Dine-In AMC at about 12:45PM. Got 30% off for the matinee and only four other people in the theater, although two of them were ultra annoying during the previews. Just talking full volume throughout. They’re just previews, but it was still very distracting as I was getting settled into the movie. Otherwise flawless experience. The theater is really nice. I don’t love “dine in” (as I find it distracting), but for the matinee since no one was eating it was fine. Probably the last theatrical experience for the next three months at least I would venture, but we’ll see. A.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Space Jam: A New Legacy Recap

Jamie

Welcome to the Space Jam… but tots on fleek for the gucci crowd. When LeBron James’ son is sucked into the Warner Bros. archive by an eeeevil algorithm, James has to team up with some Looney Toons to try to stop the dastardly plan. Can he beat the baddie at bball (and perhaps learn to be a better dad, awww) before it’s too late? Find out in Space Jam: A New Legacy.

How?! LeBron James is a bad dad. He’s all pressuring his son Dom to focus on basketball and not his real dumb dumb video games that never made anyone any money. Only basketball makes money. But Dom doesn’t just like video games, he like likes video games… like loves video games. He’s like a coding whiz and really wants to go to coding camp, but LeBron James is like “no, coding isn’t a real job like basketball.” Anyway, he feels bad for being a bad dad, so he takes Dom along to Warner Bros to check out a new offer: they want to use an algorithm to insert him into all kinds of sweet, sweet IP. LeBron is like no thanks, but the algorithm, which has taken on a life of its own and is named Al-G Rhythm, is not having it. He sucks LeBron and Dom into the Warner Bros computer and challenges LeBron to a basketball game. If he wins he gets to take over the world using LeBron’s brand. If he loses he sets them free. With that, LeBron is sent to Looney Tunes land where he meets up with Bugs Bunny. With Bugs’ help, LeBron gathers a team, although not exactly the team he was thinking. They are the rest of the Looney Tunes, who had been scattered across the universe by Al-G. LeBron is all “No, all fundamentals all day, no looney things or nothing,” and the Tunes agree (but they aren’t happy about it… kinda like Dom… hmmmmm). When the game starts, LeBron is shocked to see that Dom is the star of Al-G’s team and that the rest of the team are evil cartoon versions of his fellow NBA and WNBA superstars. They proceed to get shellacked and LeBron begins to learn and becomes a good dad. First he lets the Looney Tunes be real looney and they mount a comeback. Then, when Al-G starts to take it out on Dom, he apologizes and Dom forgives him. Finally, with the game on the line, LeBron decides to exploit a glitch in the system he learned from Dom. But it would kill him! So Bugs takes it instead and through the magic of being a great dad LeBron wins! In the end we see Bugs Bunny die and become a star in the sky (for real), LeBron drops Dom off at coding camp to become a great dad, and finally Bugs shows up because obviously he didn’t actually die. THE END.

Why?! Al-G is an algorithm that wants to have more influence on the world. For the moment he simply influences Warner Bros IP, but he wants to do more and he sees LeBron as the way to do that. He would hijack his followers and use his brand to take over the world (and maybe even break free of the confines of the WB computer? That part is a little fuzzy). So why doesn’t he just do that rather than challenge LeBron to basketball? That’s unclear. It has something to do with trapping a bunch of people in the WB computer for some reason, but otherwise I don’t know. Revenge? Anyway, LeBron just wants to be a great dad and teach everyone the fundamentals of basketball.

Who?! Obviously lots of athletes show up. LeBron is the main one, but then like Diana Turasi, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, etc. in cameos (and cameo might even be generous given how little they are in the film). It did get me curious as to how many roles LeBron James has had in major motion pictures. So far it’s three, with a fourth in the works. Interesting that MJ only did Space Jam and Kobe appeared once in a credited role (as himself). LeBron is already closer to Shaq than those guys in terms of acting.

What?! The film is more of a film placement within a WB commercial. Still, beyond that the products are almost too numerous to count. Nike is sprinkled everywhere, including a giant Nike swoosh that appears when cartoon LeBron smashes into Looney Tunes world. And then all kinds of video game stuff, like E3 and Nintendo, show up, including my personal fave: a flydigi controller for playing games on your phone. I just like when something weird shows up in a major movie like this and you can wonder why.

Where?! We open with an establishing shot of LeBron and all his greatest achievements, including The Decision, which seems to appear unironically. We go through Cleveland and Miami and all that, but obviously it takes place in the present day when LeBron is in LA. To be more specific, the film primarily takes place in a computer on the Warner Bros Studio lot. A.

When?! We actually do kinda get a date for this. It all takes place in the week leading up to E3, since Dom wants to attend E3’s video game design program for kids. That would place this in early June. Seeing as LeBron is just bumming around taking meetings at Warner Bros, I assume in this fictional universe the Lakers were eliminated early in the playoffs. Otherwise he should be in the middle of the finals. B

I’m not gonna sit here and pretend this is a good movie. We spend the first third of the film with Bad Dad LeBron basically listening to a pitch about Space Jam 2 and being like “dumb, no thanks.” Then the middle third is just animated LeBron bipping and bopping around with the Tunes. Finally, the last third gets us to the basketball game, which isn’t really basketball, but some other hip new DomBall or whatever. What I’m saying is that this is no doubt about it some dumb stuff. BUT, I think when you boil it down you just have to ask whether you like to watch the Looney Tunes do Looney Tunes things and whether you like to see Bad Dad LeBron become Better Dad LeBron. If neither of those things are to your liking (or if you are particularly bothered by product placement), then it’s not the film for you. I personally found that the weirder it got (looking at you Don Cheadle) the more I kinda liked it and the more they leaned into the cheesy dad stuff the more it worked overall. Unfortunately that was like 40 minutes of a 2 hour film. So still not great. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got the looniest of tunes! We’ve got the kingliest of kings! We’ve got a kind-of-sort-of-not-really basketball game! We’ve got Space Jam: A New Legacy. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Needless to say the last two years have been sparse for BMT. We had to completely cancel BMT Live! last year because nothing was coming to theatres. This year we lucked out and several wide release films seem to be debuting same-day on streaming services. And HBO Max delivered us a qualifying Space Jam sequel from on high. Praise the Al-G Rhythm! What were my expectations? I knew quite a bit about the complaints concerning the film going into the viewing. Lucky for me I watched Space Jam maybe seven years ago and realized then that it is pretty boring. So I figured I would like this more than most people seem to, but also probably wouldn’t actually like it.

The Good – I actually didn’t mind the WB clips as much as others seemed to have online, they were so short with decent costumes and effects that they worked for me. I loved loved loved Don Cheadle as the villain Al-G Rhythm (get it?). He was having incredible amounts of fun and seemed to know how to play just the right amount of winking at the camera to make the story work better than it should have. And the Looney Tunes are fun, even if most of them didn’t have much to do. Best Bit: Don Cheadle by a long way.

The Bad – The beginning paints LeBron as a bad parent and that was kind of weird as it took a long time to get to the redemption bit. I also wish they had went the Space Jam route where you are supposed to imagine Michael Jordan lives in a two bedroom house in North Carolina or whatever, instead LeBron lives in the most enormously gaudy mansion imaginable. The middle bit suffers because LeBron spends most of it as a cartoon which seemed like a cop out for either time or money or both. And the final basketball game lacked any tension because it wasn’t actually basketball meaning you could score 1000 points in the blink of an eye. And for the climax of the film the Looney Tunes are only-decent-looking CGI instead of looking hand drawn. Oh, and, spoilers, they fake-kill Bugs Bunny? That was odd. Jesus, and I didn’t even get to the comicon-level costumes for the WB characters watching the final basketball game! There is a lot not to like about the film compared to Space Jam. Fatal Flaw: I think allowing LeBron to be a cartoon for the bulk of the film is its biggest crime.

The BMT – Compared to the original it lacks charm by dropping the ball four different times and on almost every level. But compared to the original it isn’t boring as well for the most part. Don Cheadle maybe saves the whole thing from being a complete catastrophe. I think I’m somewhat immune to the insane A+ Produce Placement from WB because I’ve seen both The Emoji Movie and Ralph Breaks the Internet which both effectively do the same thing, but even grosser since those only seem to serve mega-corporations. Did it meet my expectations? I did indeed like it more than a lot of people online I think. Basically I think this was a mid-30% on RT, not a mid-20% like it ended up being. Space Jam is an appropriate mid-40%. Would I watch a third Space Jam? … I guess.

Roast-radamus – I think there is definitely a Planchet (Who?) in Khris Davis who plays LeBron’s friend Malik whose sole purpose seems to be to be a goober and not do anything right. Let’s not even get started on Product Placement (What?) for the entirety of the WB cinematic library. And a nod for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable switcheroo of Dom James joining the Tune Squad and then getting to go to the E3 Game Dev Camp. It’ll obviously get play in the Live! section and it probably in the BMT category in the end.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Uh oh, looks like it is time for the return of the BMT Crossover Episode. In the second Space Jam we saw Al-G Rhythm defeated by LeBron and Dom James, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone. On no. He’s only laying in wait until a new superstar supreme enters his life. And you guessed it, that man is Sasha Petrosevitch. Al-G Rhythm plans on capturing the digital essence of Sasha and holding a worldwide Aikido tournament to, once again, win the hearts and minds of the world and ultimately rule it. Well, Sasha won’t be having that! He decides to go digital, and forms a rag tag group of WB properties to Aikido alongside him against the Goon Squad (composed of eeeeeeeevil versions of the only person that could possibly pose a threat to Sasha in martial arts skill … himself!). And you bettah belieb that he’s going to aikido chop his way to victory. It’s called Akido Jam: Half Past Digital.

Live Theatrical Review – Obviously I didn’t get to watch this in theaters, but instead on HBO Max. Does it feel different? Honestly, it kind of does. I’m not sure how I would have felt if I had shelled out 15 dollars to go sit in a theater with a bunch of annoying people to watch this film. I would have almost definitely walked out with that sick feeling of “what the hell am I doing with my life.” Is it really BMT Live! without that feeling? I did enjoy getting to watch a new film in the comfort of my home and the comfort of my own schedule though. And I’m not one to be precious about the theatrical experience, but it seems likely that if I had seen this film in theaters I would have had different feelings than “meh, whatever, it was okay right?”. B. I’ll have to watch a few more “theatrical” films outside of the theater before I can have a true verdict as to whether the feeling is the same, or whether it can’t really count as “Live” without being live.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Recap

Jamie

Michael Bryce is back, Jack! And boy is he still a bodyguard (kinda). Reeling from the events of the first film, Michael is on a spiritual journey. Too bad, cause in crash the Kincaids who get him entangled with all kinds of bad stuff, including a dastardly plot by Aristotle Papadopoulos. Can they stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.

How?! Michael Bryce just can’t get his mojo back. Despite saving the day in the first film, he has struggled to retain his AAA bodyguard license. A vacay is in order to get his head on straight. But suddenly he is whisked away from his Italian paradise by Sonia Kincaid and roped into helping him free his old frenemy Darius. Things immediately go sideways, though, when it’s revealed that they’ve stepped into the middle of a sensitive Interpol investigation of a plot by a Greek mastermind to take down the European power grid and sow chaos as revenge for Greek sanctions (I know, I know, no one cares, neither did we). Anyway, in exchange for them not all going to jail they agree to help entrap the Greek tycoon. Darius and Sonia are fighting the whole time and Michael is whining/unconscious like 50% of the time and basically they are in a load of trouble so Michael turns to the only person he knows that could help: his father. His father is a total bodyguard legend and their relationship is strained since he doesn’t really think Michael is very good. Despite this his father agrees to help and sends them on their way. But oh oh! It’s a trap! They are captured by the terrorist who is revealed to be an old flame of Sonia’s, Aristotle Papadopoulos. Sonia turns against them in favor of Aristotle (oh no!) and so we are back with out buddies Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid at last. The dream team is back! They don’t give up and infiltrate Aristotle’s yacht where he is drilling into the power grid. They stop the drill, Michael takes down his father in a bodyguard battle, and Kincaid kills Aristotle. All in a days work for our favorite comedy-action duo. THE END (or is it? (probably… right?))

Why?! Money… oh, you mean within the film. This is actually the biggest problem with both the first film and the sequel. They feel the need to go in depth with some pretty dumb and not funny in the slightest set-ups. I think maybe the joke is just how seriously they take going through the minute details of how Aristotle wants to get back at the EU for sanctions by taking down the power grid and creating a hotbed for riotous violence. Or maybe it’s not a joke and they really did feel like they needed to explain all that. Regardless I didn’t care. Bryce wants to get his AAA rating back and Kincaid just wants to have fun… oh and Sonia wants a baby. Great.

Who?! The director Patrick Hughes shows up in a cameo, which is always fun. What’s also fun is that after making (the real bad) Expendables 3 as his directorial debut he proceeded to strike gold with the hitman theme with these two films… so much so that his next film is called The Man From Toronto and no joke appears the be basically the same film. A jokester teams up with an assassin. Wow.

What?! Always fun when a product placement gets some play in the film reviews. Here there seems to be some grumbling about Ryan Reynolds’ gin brand Aviation Gin being shown a surprising number of times in the film. I didn’t notice nor did I know he had a gin brand, but now that I know it’s my new gin of choice (I don’t really drink gin).

Where?! There are a few different settings but the primary one is Italy. Really solid Italy film as they do appear to jet set across the country without ever totally leaving it. They of course have to keep telling you where you are in Italy since they mostly didn’t film there. Lots of Croatia standing in for Italy which tells me one thing: Croatia is beautiful. B+

When?! Always very difficult when we watch something live. Can’t pause it as I stare closely at a screen trying to discern whether a hospital admission form says 8/2006 or 3/2006 or whatever. So I can’t really remember if there was anything specific about the time of year and I don’t remember a holiday being mentioned. Gotta give it an F for now.

I actually really enjoyed the first film quite a bit. The buddy cop (ish) set up was fun, Ryan Reynolds had some interesting quirks to his characters, and Sammy L. was refreshingly lively. My big gripe was that the entire set-up made no sense and was unnecessary garbage that they could have hand waved away but instead did the exact opposite by going into even more details (that made even less sense). But still, enjoyable time at the cinema. Unfortunately they didn’t get the memo that the fans just wanted them to roll it right back and give them more of the same. Slop that basic plot back into my trough, please. But alas, instead they made Bryce all weird and angsty (and mostly unconscious), had Kincaid barely speak to Bryce, and ratcheted up the Sonia to an 11. Kinda gummed up the works. Add on top a somehow even more convoluted and unnecessary plot and I guess I was surprised at how disappointed I was… just run it back! But no. That would have been too easy. At least I got to sit in a theater and watch it. That was fun… everyone else seemed to be having a fine enough time so that’s nice. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’re back at it with some BMT Live!!!!!!!! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had figured originally that The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a play off of a very specific subgenre of bodyguard / assassin films. It kind of is and kind of isn’t. The more interesting thing after watching the original is that the director described Ryan Reynolds’s character as a “endlessly suffering fool” which … is not at all what he was in the first film? That certainly didn’t bode well. What were my expectations? I guess for it to be the same film as the original but minus the few scant laughs which made that film merely mediocre instead of bad.

The Good – I think there is always room for silly comedy-genre films. In this case it is mostly a comedy-spy film in a way? It is okay at being that. There are car chases, and European vistas, and a bad guy who wants to do some nonsensical scheme, etc. etc. It has the pieces to do the things it needs to do to be the thing it wants to be. If this was the first film in the series it wouldn’t necessarily have been good, but without the context I also think it is a bit better than it actually is. Best Bit: Vistas.

The Bad – This is the worst of all possible worlds for a sequel to a movie that was actually pretty fun in my opinion. The first floats completely on the charming interactions between frenemies Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, it has a few solid laughs, and is pretty fun. The second instead decides Ryan Reynolds is a doofus, and (no offense to Salma Hayek) inserts a weird foil right in between any amusing interaction between the two leads (the only good part of the first film!). The plot ends up convoluted as well, with an insane plot to destroy Europe involving a deep sea drill and a computer virus. I hated this film. I understand why people would like it, but I hated it. Fatal Flaw: The anti-Hitman’s Bodyguard, somehow the antithesis of that somewhat charming film.

The BMT – I think this might be one of the finer examples of the people involved in a film managing to completely misunderstand what made the original good. They managed to lean entirely into the wrong thing (Ryan Reynolds’s character getting injured) and away from the very easy right thing (Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds banter). I really don’t get it. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. I would have assumed the film was just call backs and boring nonsense (like Zoolander 2 for example), but instead it is a pretty amusing example of production dropping the ball on a successful comedic conceit.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong argument for Planchet (Who?) for Ryan Reynolds in this one, which is bizarre to say, but he kind of exists only so that Hayek and Jackson can dunk on him while the plot happens around them. Obviously a ton of Product Placement (What?) for things like Aviation Gin and various car brands. A great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Italy in particular which this film is predominantly based. A solid MacGuffin (Why?) with the undersea electricity junction off the coast of Italy where a diamond-tipped deep sea drill is going to plant a virus and destroy Europe. And finally a crazy Worst Twist (How?) for the very obvious “Hayek and Jackson are going to adopt Reynolds at the end” that you could see coming from about half hour away. As one can tell from this list of superlatives this is closest to BMT.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You want to hear my plotline for a Remake? Let’s see how we can fix this disaster. What made the first film great? The banter between Reynolds and Jackson. So jump forward a year, Jackson is still a hitman, and feels obligated to help out Reynolds because he saved his life (it’s the Hitman’s Code or whatever). So Reynolds has been using him to help him in his business, Jackson will take out hitmen who are trying to get his high profile targets, and Reynolds has now shot to the top of the Best Bodyguard list for 2021. But as Jackson has been warning Reynolds, he probably shouldn’t be helping Reynolds out so much because other hitmen aren’t going to take kindly to one of their own helping out a bodyguard. Thus a big hit is put out on Jackson, and so he needs a bodyguard to help him get to the main Hitman Headquarters to plead with the Head Hitman for leniency. Bing bang boom, we are back with the same rough conceit as the first film, except building out the bodyguard-hitman fictional universe a bit. In the end, naturally, it turns out the Head Hitman was the one who put out the hit, and Reynolds and Jackson need to kill him first to save Jackson. And in the end Jackson becomes the Head Hitman with Reynolds realizing that he needs to go his own way without Jackson’s help in his bodyguarding duties, it is the true bodyguard way. Simply called The Hitman’s Bodyguard 2.

You Just Got Schooled – Quick one to review The Hitman’s Bodyguard which I’ve been talking about a lot in the recap already. The good is that the leads are very charming and the banter between them is pretty amusing. The European setting works well, and I got a few good laughs out of it. The bad is mostly that the film is a bit long (two hours which is at least 15 minutes too long) with maybe one too many action scenes, especially near the end of the film. I’m not surprised it was quite successful, but as should be obvious, I was quite surprised that they decided to bring in good-in-small-doses Hayek character to the forefront in the sequel. Anyways, a solid B comedy I think, I would have been pretty delighted to watch this on an airplane for example.

BMT Live Theater Review – We were back in theaters masked up in an almost entirely empty auditorium. There isn’t much to say, I checked out an Odeon in South London and was pretty impressed with the facilities overall. It was a giant auditorium which made it kind of sad to watch a movie with like twelve other people, but there is still a pandemic going on, so what can you do? One thing I will say is this: my god movies are loud in theaters. I think since I haven’t been in one in over two years I forgot about that. Insanely loud at times. B+ I liked the theater, but am starting to get ready to see some weird horror film in a packed house again.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bloodshot Recap

Jamie

Ray is a total badass with a hot wife. Life is good. (or is it?) When he and his wife are killed by a psycho bad guy (or is he?) Ray is shocked to find himself reanimated with robot blood and no memory. When bits and pieces start coming back, he becomes dead set on payback (or is he?). Can he take down the real bad guy before it’s too late? Find out in… Bloodshot.

How?! If you can’t tell from the short synopsis, this is a film with all sorts of twist-em-ups. We are introduced to Ray as an all around American hero. He is saving hostages one day and then heading to the Amalfi Coast with his perfectly beautiful wife the next. But this is all shattered when a psycho demands information from Ray that he doesn’t have. But just when it looks like Ray and his wife have been killed and the movie is over you are shocked (shocked!) to find out that the previously deceased Ray has been turned into a memoryless super soldier by a company, RST, using nanobots. While he’s still getting used to having all kinds of tiny robots for blood, Ray starts having flashbacks about the man who killed his wife. Enraged, he goes on a mission and uses all of his totally badass superpowers to take out anyone in his way and kill the man. But just when you think the movie is again over you are shocked (shocked!) to find that in fact Ray’s previous life is all a simulation meant to implant his next target into his brain (what a twist!). But things start going awry when on the next mission Ray is knocked out by an EMP and revived by a totally elite hacker who informs him about what is actually going on. Now really enraged (for real this time), Ray leaves and visits his wife who turns out to not be dead… and also turns out to not be his wife at all. Now even more enraged, Ray is confronted by some other RST super soldiers and is subdued. But with the help of his friends (aww) he is able to escape and proceeds to have a big ol’ fight with the super soldiers and this time wins (duh). He then murders the CEO of RST and wins the day. THE END.

Why?! Ray’s motivations are always on the side of good… or at least on the side of good as he perceives it. It’s always for revenge against those he thought killed his wife or against those that have really wronged him. The antagonist’s motivations are, as always, more interesting. Ray is just his super soldier, but he has started using him as a method of taking out his former partners in the company turned rivals. This, of course, turns out poorly because life… finds a way.

Who?! There are a whole bunch of special thanks in the film, but none are particularly interesting. A few are comic book writers who had some influence on the character or story, but not enough to get a full credit and then some people that helped with production in South Africa. Probably the best though is Eric the hacker who is a Planchet in the sense that everyone makes fun of him the whole time. The only issue is that, while talented at what he does, he is one of the enemies and easily bested by a better hacker in the end. The actor who plays him, Siddharth Dhananjay, also seems to be a Youtube rapper.

What?! Some mild product placement with people using Sony phones and tablets left and right. That’s probably what should have alerted Vin Diesel to it all being a simulation. When he looks around and everyone is jamming out on their Sony phones and tablets without an Apple product in sight he should be like “wait a second.” And Eric the hacker is like “sorry, the simulation is sponsored by Sony.”

Where?! Beautiful settings film. We start in “Kenya” and head to “Italy” before landing in the first actual location of Malaysia. We then proceed to have some sweet battles in Hungary and England. While disappointing that the first two locations turn out to be simulations, Malaysia and Hungary are two incredible spots to set this film in. B+.

When?! Sure feels like the near future, but it’s really hard to tell. They don’t give us much considering the entire plot and film takes place in a bit of a crazy super soldier computer simulation bubble where things either feel like the current day or several decades in the future. F until I find out otherwise.

I will say I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I thought from the trailers that this would be dumb garbage. It’s still not smart garbage, but I think it does a number of things a lot better than I expected. Better visuals, particularly some striking use of color that was fun to watch. Better plot, which honestly seemed like it was shaping up to be a true travesty thirty minutes into the film, but used the twist to rescue it a bit. Better set-up for an actual series, although who knows if that will actually happen now. I didn’t really like the end battle and Vinny D had two scenes where he is meant to look sad and it’s… quite something to behold, but overall that still shakes out to be a fairly good BMT film. Should I break it out? Sure. It’s not that bad! Not that bad! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Much like Vinny D in Bloodshot, BMT Live! cannot be stopped. No, we won’t be heading out to the cinema, we managed to catch one of the qualifying films which has crashed onto streaming platforms early, and we are counting it. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Prior to the film coming out I had an inkling this was going to be another film that got like … 35-50% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m glad I was kind of wrong, it ended up being decidedly slammed by critics … but it still felt like it was going to be disappointingly blah. That it was either going to qualify but not really be that bad (Hunter Killer), or not qualify and then I’d watch it and be like “blah” (xXx 3). So yeah, I was expecting another Hunter Killer basically. What were my expectations? I was just kind of hoping for it to be really really dumb. So dumb that it became funny that Vin Diesel keeps on getting work grumbling his lines in films not called Fast & Furious. That would make me pretty happy to be honest.

The Good – The first half of this film is legit kind of good. It starts off feeling dumb with a bunch of movie cliches, but then they pull out the twist (that is actually so large it ends up just being the conceit of the entire film) and I mostlydug it. It was really effective, and combined with it coming right after by far the best action sequence in the film I had an epiphany: this movie must just completely fall apart in the third act. There was little other explanation in my mind as to why critics would have slammed it, because the first half is good. I also like Lamorne Morris, and him doing what I assume is an intentionally bad British accent (a la Don Cheadle in Ocean’s Eleven) amused me.

The Bad – Ayup, the third act completely fell apart. It was mostly just that they screwed around in London a bit too long making the movie too long, and then they ended with a really bad action sequence at Bloodshot HQ in Malaysia. The actual worst thing in the film is Vin Diesel’s acting, but that is par for the course. He has two modes. Mode Fambly is him grumbling into the camera, and my brain just switches off at this point when Vinny D’s in Fambly Mode. The second is Super Serious Acting Mode, and he just doesn’t have it anymore. I think he once had it, but a combination of doing way too many Fast & Furious films, and him probably just getting lazy with age, means he just don’t got it any more. And when he tries to act it is actually embarrassing. Most of the rest of the film is just forgettable.

The BMT – Initially, I just kind of felt blah about the film. The first half was good-ish, the second half was bad-ish, let’s call the whole thing off. But now after writing everything out and watching Furious 7 for the Schooled section … are we sure Vin Diesel’s good? Strike that, are we sure Vin Diesel isn’t awful? Maybe that’s the legacy of this film, it’ll be the moment where I crossed the Rubicon and started to ironically enjoy Vin Diesel’s acting. That’s a decent legacy if I’m being honest. Did it meet my expectations? It wasn’t dumb enough. The twist in the middle would have had to be dumber. Like … make his wife like Guy Pearce’s wife and make her the big baddie? I’m there for that. But Vin Diesel grumbled at me, so that made me happy.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a small argument that the IT guy (Eric, played by Siddharth Dhananjay) is a Planchet (Who?), mostly serving to be dunked on by Guy Pearce and various other corporate employees. A few funny Product Placement (What?) with American Turkey Bourbon and Ford immediately coming to mind. A couple decent (if brief) Setting as a Character (Where?) with Malaysia serving as the location of Bad Company HQ, Hungary playing a big part in the first assassination, and London obviously. Probably all too small to be a real “character”, but still pretty fun. While there was a twist it wasn’t bad so I’ll leave that there. I think it has a better shot at Good than at the other superlatives, but likely it just won’t get any of those in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – Very tough obviously to do real street credit reports this early in the year. In reality the cred comes from Vinny D who for whatever reason still headlines a bad action film outside of the F&F Universe every two years or so. I think this also gets a bit of cred by proving that cheesy comic books films are still squarely Marvel’s domain. Valiant can’t just roll in with Bloodshot and expect people to accept the ridiculous nonsense happening on screen immediately. You have to earn that cred. Finally, I mean, how can it avoid getting some bad movie cred for being a bad movie that just got torpedoed by a global pandemic? I’ll remember sheltering in place and watching Bloodshot, that’s for sure.

You Just Got Schooled – It felt like the right time to start catching up on my boy Vinny D’s filmography as I fell a bit behind on the F&F series. While I very much enjoyed Fast 5, I very much did not enjoy Fast & Furious 6. So I went into Furious 7 knowing that I probably was a bit “over” the series as a whole. And not surprisingly … the movie is just not very good. It is too long, everything looks stupid, and the script is an abomination. I know that is what they are going for, but I just don’t really get it, and that’s fine. A few positives. Obviously a good send off for the OG F&F star Walker; it’s got some great vistas, and I love vistas, including a very rare Azerbaijan setting; and the addition of Shaw, who provided an “invincible bad guy” to convincingly go up against The Fambly. Overall, some positives, but again … I don’t get it! C+.

Live Theater Review (Shelter in Place Edition) – I guess I’ll keep this short. I watched on Movies Anywhere in the comfort of my own flat. On the one hand it allowed me to watch in two pieces which is a somewhat unsatisfying experience. That’s on me though, and more about self-discipline (of which I have very little). On the other hand, I didn’t sit miserably in the theater watching a movie I didn’t really want to see. So it was a mixed bag. I guess we’ll see how the Spring session goes. C.

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

Countdown Recap

Jamie

Quinn is just a nurse looking to do a good job, but when a creepy new app tells her she’s going to die in two days (and she has reasons to believe it just might be true) she has to pull out all the stops to save herself and her sister from it’s technohorror devices. Can she stop this real spooooky app from killing her? Find out in… Countdown.

How?! There a new app out there that’s all the rage with the kiddies. That’s because it tells you when you’re gonna die, and guess what? It’s kinda right. Oh no! So when Quinn hears about this from one of her patients she can’t help but check it out herself and finds to her horror that she only has three days left to live. Double oh no! Realizing that it says she’ll die on a family outing to her mother’s grave she cancels only to have the phone say she broke the user agreement for the app. Soon she’s getting all haunted by demons and her phone is acting all crazy and the doctor at the hospital is sexually harassing her and she blamed herself for her mom’s death and her sister also opens the app and finds out that she’s going to die at the same time as Quinn. Gah! What’s a girl to do in this crazy world? While trying to get a new phone without the app she meets Matt, a cute guy who is in the same predicament. They go on a quest to solve their problem. First stop: a kooky priest who tells them that it’s all a curse that can be broken by causing or preventing someone’s death. Second stop: the phone store guy who totes hacks the app and confirms that it’s indeed a curse. Third stop: her sister’s house so they can form a power trio ready to rock and roll. Unfortunately Matt immediately dies on their first attempt to break the curse. Oooops. Uh, so I guess Quinn better go kill that creepy doctor instead. Vigilante justice! But the demon itself gets in the action and stops them. Only one thing left to do: grab some drugs and overdose, thus distracting the demon and saving your sister. Then smash open that Chekhov’s narcan and be revived to live a long fulfilling life… or will they. Bum bum bum. Big Question: the classic, how long did it take for the demon to code his app? The film actually nicely sidesteps this by totally ignoring it… correct choice.

Why?! Not to die, duh. As for the bad guy (a literal demon), well it’s also pretty boring in that way. He’s a demon! Really the most interesting question is why it uses an app for its evil scheme. Perhaps it realizes the scary truth: that the demon itself isn’t the most horrifying aspect of life… it’s our addiction to our phones. Yah dig?

Who?! It’s been a while since we had a solid uncredited performance. But Countdown did have one that popped out. That’s because Austin Zajur, who is the wisecracking kid in the opening scene of the film, went uncredited here. None of the other kids did and he probably had the most lines of any of them… so why? Why uncredited? A true curiosity.

What?! There are some mild product placements in here (doordash is one mentioned off hand I think). But everything is harder with a LIVE film. Instead I will reiterate the heavy-handedness of the Chekhov’s Narcan. Whoever decided that they needed to set up the narcan scene by explicitly establishing its use on screen in an earlier scene made a huge mistake. It just made everything that followed that much more obvious and predictable.

Where?! I’m sure this is clear if I could stop the film during the showing and really inspect a few things. But alas, it’s hard to do that LIVE. I’m gonna give this an incomplete. There is a chance that it’s more than obvious when we rewatch the film in prep for Countdown2.0.

When?! This I actually did catch. At the end of the film we see Quinn visiting the grave of her mother. They read a newspaper regarding events surrounding the creepy doctor, so it all points to it being not that long after the end of the film. We see the grave, April 2nd if I’m remembering correctly, and Quinn says “Happy birthday mom.” So I think this takes place in early Spring. But don’t hold me to this, C+.

I generally enjoy horror films. Even the bad ones we watch for BMT. This is definitely not the worst we’ve endured. It’s biggest issue is how predictable it is. We get a random scene in the beginning of the film of Quinn helping revive someone from an overdose using narcan and I’m sitting there being like “why in the hell did the filmmakers think the film needed this sce…ohhhhhhhh.” And so I sat there waiting for her to use narcan in some way to survive. The same goes for the sexual harassment storyline. Even if you don’t watch horror films this all is obvious… it’s more like “screenwriting 101” going on. As they say, if you see narcan in the first act, it better be used in the second act. Chekhov’s narcan. But on the positive side, I felt like they did a good job with the creepiness of the visuals and monster design. It actually looked good, which isn’t always the case, even when the film as a whole isn’t that scary. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! As has become tradition we ventured out into the crisp autumn air to watch a not-scary horror film with a bunch of teenagers. Literally, it is one of the things I look forward to the most each year, which is demented. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This film looked ultra dumb. An app that kills you? That is like a parody horror film trailer from SNL or something. And when it turned out that for real, it’s an app that kills you? I’m in. I will gladly watch the shitty jump scares (probably) wash over me as they set up their sequel that is never going to be made. Let’s do it. What are my expectations – Absolute best case scenario is The Bye Bye Man where there is some evil thing that looks ridiculous and makes you laugh. Worst case is Flatliners where it is just kind of eerie, shiny, and cynically made. Let’s hope for that best case.

The Good – I actually appreciate the construction of the film more than I would expect. While I disliked the idea of the priest character, I did appreciate that they tried to lampshade it a bit (like … why would almost any priest know anything about demons in reality? They wouldn’t, and they go to quite the length to explain that to the audience). I burst out laughing when they set up Countdown 2.0 at the end, the sheer gall of it made me actually love the idea. Bring it on, I’ll go see the Countdown franchise’s latest garbage horror film every year, why not? As for the one non-ironic thing I liked about it: I liked the creature design in the end. It is hard to create a creature that is scary, unique, and doesn’t look like shit, but they mostly managed to do that which is cool.

The Bad – The entire film is a predictable mess. In order to use the anti-narcotics drugs in the end to save Quinn they felt the need to create a whole scene showing it being used. In order to legitimatize Quinn trying to kill Dr. Rape (not his name, although that would have been appropriate heyyyyooo) they had to explain quite clearly (twice) that the curse is broken if someone dies earlier than expected. Beyond that it also isn’t that scary, although credit where it is due, the opening kill was well done. I also think there were far too few kills in the film. Thinking on it the answer is what? Three? Three actual kills in the film (this doesn’t count the main character watching someone die in a YouTube video). That’s pretty weak.

The BMT – It is an annual tradition, the bad horror film. I would put this above Slender Man (which was boring) and below The Bye Bye Man (which was hilarious). Something like Rings is a decent comp maybe? A film which is obviously not good, but there are kernels of good ideas in it so I’m glad I watched it. Did it meet my expectations? Not entirely, but I did enjoy enough of it, as I said, that I’m not upset I spent the money to see it in theaters. See you next year not-scary-horror-film.

Roast-radamus – Hmmm, I presume the film is set in Los Angeles, but I didn’t actually catch it. I will give a small non-award shoutout to the temporal setting which is fairly unique: it literally gives you a running clock such that you know precisely when every event takes place. Do we give awards for Chekov’s Blank (What?)? I think we do, and Chekov’s Narcan is waaaaaay up there. And I’ll give it a Worst Twist (How?) nod for it just telling you multiple times how the entire movie is going to operate. The actual twist is that she kills herself with a massive dose of morphine (I assume) and then can be brought back to life right after. And it’ll be in the running for the Live! Award as well.

StreetCreditReport.com – It would be tough for it to get on any lists since it just came out, but it did find a place at the bottom of this rundown. Other than that we can only wait. I doubt it’ll get many awards as people will effectively forget about it in a week or so (plus it is a box office success which isn’t very fun to poke fun at in the end). But I would imagine it’ll end up in some top 5 worst horror films of 2019 lists eventually, I bet genre fans hate it.

BMT Live Theater Review – Ah, back to Vue, this time in the very posh Westfield shopping center. They showed this in a very intimate 30-40 person theater on the top floor of the mall, which actually worked very well. I got one of the last tickets for the 5PM showing (phew) and the theater was packed with teenagers looking for thrills. And scream and gasp they did, much to my delight (it was fun hearing people squirm and shriek at times). The highlight of the showing? When the main character very clearly explains “Hey, I’m trying to kill this guy because it’ll break the curse, remember? Remember when the priest character told us that before?” and the entire theater just gasps with a loud “Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeah” … what movie are you watching?! They’ve explained this like four times. It definitely made me wonder a bit about how people actually watch movies, it just seems crazy one could pay so little attention to not get that without it being explained. B+, loved the small theater with the packed audience, but Vue Westfield is also pricey with about 30 minutes of ads before the showing. Hurts the viewing experience IMO.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Rambo: Last Blood Recap

Jamie

Rambo is back, Jack! And boy is he old. When the girl he has helped raise decides to try to find her father in Mexico and is kidnapped by a gang, he is ready to spring back into action to save her. Can he save the girl and kill all the bad guys before it’s too late? Find out in… Rambo: Last Blood.

How?! Rambo has spent the last decade living it up on his horse farm in Arizona. He loves the quiet life of training horses, helping raise the daughter of the woman who helps him with his housekeeping, and building intricate tunnels under the ground (naturally). When the girl says she wants to go to Mexico to find her father Rambo is like “no…” but obviously she is going to go. When she gets down there a former friend of hers sells her to a gang running a prostition ring. Realizing what’s happened Rambo heads down Mexico way in order to bust some skulls. He tracks her from place to place punching people and snapping their bones, only to get nearly killed when the gang confronts him about why he’s skulking about. After a long recovery with the help of an investigative reporter, he convinces her to get him the necessary information to get find her. Busting in, he’s able to recover the girl, but she dies from her injuries on the way back to Arizona. Devastated Rambo totally pimps up his tunnels into a death trap and heads back to Mexico. There he kills one of the leaders of the gang and goads the rest to follow him back to their death. They oblige. Lots of explosions, bows and arrows, and punching and shooting later and they are all dead and Rambo is alive. THE END. Big Question: The big elephant in the room… is this film racist? The obvious answer is yes (just like Death Wish is racist)… but also somehow less racist than I thought it would be considering the hullabaloo.

Why?! I really could have just written one of these for the entire series. Rambo wants to save (some POWs/Trautman/some missionaries/the girl he considers his daughter) and will stop at nothing to rescue them/win. And as is the case with all of the films (particularly the last couple) the bad guys are cartoonishly evil and do some truly terrible shit because they are evil.

Who?! I’m struggling a little for this category so I’ll just wax poetic about Rambo. Really the most important thing to wonder is what would happen if Rambo had to rescue his daughter-figure from the clutches of Jason. Would he die. Jason is a supernatural monster powered by lightning. And Rambo has some sweet muscles but no paranormal powers himself. My conclusion though is that Rambo survives. Jason always does get put back into hibernation at the end of the film. Why not by Rambo?

What?! It really took me out of the film to watch Rambo with his dying breath reach for a final sip of Bulleit Bourbon and washes it down with a refreshing Coca-Cola. But seriously Rambo really abandoned the product places following the 80s. Also can’t expect there to really be props for sale yet but there is already two replica knives from the film for sale… seems impossible.

Where?! Nice split setting between Arizona and Mexico. Good example of both and pretty equally represented. I guess if I had to give it to one of the spots as the primary setting I would go with Mexico as Rambo films are really defined by the setting in which Rambo kicks ass and takes names. Given the plot it does seem necessary. A.

When?! As has become tradition the temporal setting is really just “present day.” However, in this case we do get a little more specificity as the beginning of the film revolves around Rambo’s daughter-figure heading off to college in the near future. So likely we are thinking August 2019. Better than the others. C.

Well it’s better than the fourth film. I thought this one started out pretty good. A little strange that all of a sudden Rambo was super talkative and said more than six words. Seemed a little out of character, but I guess fatherhood will do that to you. The latter half was still not really for me, but again somehow more palatable than the fourth. I think they stumbled in killing Rambo’s daughter-figure and probably should have just followed through on the obvious ending of Rambo killing the gang, but also getting mortally wounded in the process. That actually would have been kinda great and honestly do they really think they’re going to maybe make another one? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Phew, we finally did it. We prepped our mind to go and watch a real (and hopefully the last) Rambo film in theaters. Our minds promptly shut down and now I only know Rambo. My mind has been consumed by Rambo. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The rumors surrounding this film were that it was aggressively racist. I think the original story was described as Rambo as border control or something … or like he takes on an entire cartel himself. It changed since then, so I don’t think it is actually racist, but it isn’t great when you go into a film literally only knowing that about it. What are my expectations? Alright, let’s aim low. I will be pleased if this is better than the fourth one which I hated. If we can get there, I’ll be really really pleased with how my theater experience went.

The Good – Immediately pleasantly surprised to see what Stallone chose to do with Rambo. The softening warrior who finds new meaning in life via a surrogate daughter is precisely the kind of ending I would hope for Rambo. Additionally, while the film didn’t really feel like a Rambo film at any particular time, I thought the story actually made a pretty good movie for the first 30 minutes or so. And gosh darn it, I can’t help it: I like Stallone. I find his level of charisma the thing that is mostly lacking in the current crop of over-muscled action stars. No wonder we keep on making action blockbusters with old people from the 80s.

The Bad – The Home Alone ending is, somehow, the worst part of the entire movie. It looked like they had to recut the film and just set something up that was both familiar and able to be shot in 30 different segments by a B-crew over a two week span. I also really didn’t like that they killed off the daughter-figure. I think the choice to have her go through the hardship she faced is perhaps understandable (contrasting with something like Taken), but to kill her manages to undo everything I thought they did well with Old Rambo in the beginning of the film. Him killing off the cartel and dying to save this young woman who gave him a reason to live in his old age would have been a perfect send off for Rambo’s character. Through all his killing, facing off against evil because of the country / morals he believed in, and he ends up dying for someone he believes in? That’s beautiful. And they threw it away.

The BMT – Meh. I think I would rather just give the first as the best film, the second as the best action film, the third as the best ridiculous action film, and the fourth as the worst film. I don’t really feel the need to ever watch this again. But if you’ve watched the first four, the fifth one I guess completes the set. A better send off than the fourth at least. Did it meet my expectations? Resoundingly. Honestly I thought the first half was a pretty good film. Wasn’t really a Rambo film, but still, a pleasantly interesting story. Which is a lot better than the hot garbage that is Rambo (2008) from start to finish.

Roast-radamus – Hmmm, I think again the combination of Arizona and Mexico gives a pretty compelling Setting as a Character (Where?) for this film as well. They really really know settings. After that it’ll just end up competing in the Live category which it will definitely lose. There are definitely going to be worse 2019 films I think.

StreetCreditReport.com – This is where this gets a bit difficult since it just came out. I think Stallone will gather a Razzie nod for his performance, the Razzies are getting a little weird with the voting and I don’t think they’ll be able to avoid the allure of awarding Stallone again. Otherwise I doubt it’ll get much play on any of the big lists / awards. It has a built in audience and I think people actually do consider these things “good for what they are”.

BMT Live Theater Experience – I once again ventured off to Cineworld. This time I made sure that I was getting the 2D showing specifically, to avoid another Hellboy situation where I’m getting like … blood sprayed in my face during the 4DX showing or something. I actually can barely remember anything about the showing besides that the guy next to me walked about half way through. I thought he was just going to the bathroom but … nope, he never came back. Very pleasant experience, a rarity for Cineworld, but I was impressed with what happens when you don’t go at like 11PM on a Thursday … turns out it isn’t super gross and weird when other people are there. Go figure.

Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

Hellboy (2019) Recap

Jamie

Hellboy is going through some serious existential shit at the same time that an evil witch, Nimue, is resurrected with the goal of bringing about death and destruction. Can Hellboy come to grips with the idea that he is a monster who has been chosen to live while all other monsters are doomed to death (oh and also save the world) before it’s too late? Find out in… Hellboy.

How?! When Hellboy goes off to find a missing friend in Mexico he finds him turned into a vampire and is forced to kill him. Let’s just say this isn’t ideal and causes him to spiral into an existential crisis as he realizes that he, a monster from Hell, is somehow allowed to be part of the BPRD’s occult crime-fighting biz, while other monsters are killed with little remorse. This unfortunately also coincides with the resurrection of a powerful witch named Nimue in England. Hellboy is sent there under the guise of fighting some giants with the Osiris Club, but is ambushed and nearly killed. Fortunately a psychic girl, Alice, who he saved in his past, is able to find and rescue him. The BPRD swoop in and team Hellboy up with MI11 and they go back to the Osiris Club to see what up with that ambush shit. Turns out they’re all dead and the spirit of the Osiris Club’s seer tells Hellboy that he is the key to Nimue’s plans so he better watch out. Hellboy’s real moody now that he knows all about his origin and how gritty it is and tries to walk out but is instead transported to Baba Yaga’s house (and she’s extra gross). She expounds some serious exposition on us and tells Hellboy the whole plan. Using this info they are able to confront Nimue right when she’s resurrected, but she is able to poison Alice and escape and start destroying the world. Hellboy takes Alice to a extremely old Merlin (Jesus this is complicated) and is like “bro, save her.” He’s like sure (and does) but is then like “take Excalibur and become all powerful, baby.” But Hellboy refuses because he’s a monster and Merlin turns to dust. Going back to confront Nimue again he becomes enraged when Nimue kills his adoptive father. This time he takes Excalibur and seems to be on the verge of causing the apocalypse until Alice channels his dad and he uses the rage to instead kill Nimue and dispose of Excalibur. After that they are a great team and ready to fight in a bunch of sequels. THE END.

Why?! Lot to unpack in this one. Not for the bad guy, she’s just evil and wants to end humanity. Hellboy though is Mopey McMoperson the whole time because he can’t come to grips with who he is. He sees himself as a monster and yet he goes around killing all the other monsters in the world… so why is he any better? Why was he the one that was saved? Because he can’t figure this out and no one wants to talk about it he becomes more and more angry. Only at the end when the gh-gh-gh-ghost of his father tells him why he was saved is he able to put that conflict behind him so that they don’t have to deal with that shit in the sequel.

Who?! So much potential in this film in some of our favorite categories, but none to be seen really. I should probably point out that this film was one of the latest examples of a film getting in hot water over casting. They originally cast Ed Skrein as Daimio, which was met with outrage as the character in the comic books is of Asian decent. As a result Skrein dropped out and Daniel Dae Kim jumped in. Kim was good, so worked out fine I think.

What?! As Patrick mentions, I’m sure there are some product placements here, but it’s hard to notice those in a Live film unless it’s a Mark Wahlberg film where he’s contractually obligated to drink Bud Light on screen for at least 30 seconds. I will give Excalibur a little MacGuffin shoutout, just because this magical sword popped up no less than three times in the film. Nimue gets killed by Excalibur twice! Twice! If you already got killed by Excalibur once before you probably shouldn’t use it in your latest plan to take over the world… because they will probably just use it to kill you again.

Where?! After starting off with a bang in Mexico and Colorado, Hellboy flies to England to take on the witch and basically stays there the rest of the time… kinda like The Mummy. Everything comes back to The Mummy. Now that I think about it Tom Cruise was kinda taking on a similar type of witch/mummy character in that one. Are we sure these weren’t the same scripts? I’m gonna put it up to an A- because they incorporated Excalibur and Merlin… are we sure this also wasn’t the same script as Transformers: The Last Knight?

When?! Middle of August actually. Usually when I watch something in the theaters it’s 50-50 whether I catch the temporal setting. This time, though, you see that the wrestling match he interrupts in Mexico takes place near the beginning of August. Later there is an August calendar visible, so I’m pretty confident in the setting. C+.

Much like The Mummy (which I found startlingly similar to this film in tone and execution), I felt like this film is getting such bad reviews because it fumbled expectations of a new franchise. In both cases I felt like the visuals and potential for future films were actually interesting, but the writing was awful and they got bogged down with starting up a franchise rather than just making something good and worrying about that later. We spend the entire film with Hellboy trying to understand his place in the world. He really gets into it and mopes around the entire time. A film series that’s supposed to be super fun is instead just dark and brooding and gory. Still though I feel like this should have at least been appreciated for some of the visuals, in particular the Baba Yaga scene, which is straight horror and really striking. Sometimes I feel like these franchise films are graded on a binary scale. Like “they delivered what people want” or “they did not deliver.” This is certainly the latter, but I still think it has worth and I do wish the franchise would continue. And not in a “I hope they keep making Fifty Shades films for BMT’s sake,” kind of way. Like I actually wish they would because I think it has the potential to be good. But they won’t. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! After four harrowing months waiting with bated breath we did it … we watched a film in theaters, the Hellboy remake! I’m going to add a little analysis at the end related to why basically BMT is dying and everything is terrible. But for now … the recap. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I think given the odd things I had heard about Neil Marshall’s behavior during the making of the film (basically f-ing off to Bulgaria for months with his girlfriend, slapping the film together, and butting heads with David Harbour) the main thing I wanted to pay attention to was how the film kind of came together and looked in general. David Harbour also had big shoes to fill from Ron Perlman, so his performance was of great interest.

The Good – I actually like Milla Jovovich’s performance. The creature designs were really really good with a lot of thought put into even minor featured characters like the giants, the monsters that take over London in the end, Baba Yaga, and the vampire in the beginning. A lot of cool visuals from that perspective. Before completely trashing the movie in the next section I should say I liked this film more than something like The Predator, where my hatred for it grew slowly for a week after seeing it. I feel comfortable with just saying Hellboy is not good as opposed to absolutely terrible.

The Bad – The film definitely leans into the gore-for-the-sake-of-gore, and vulgarity-for-the-sake-of-vulgarity. Not as much as reviews suggested maybe, but enough that it became aggravating by the end. This movie looks like complete crap at times. Mostly in the multiple completely unnecessary and terrible flashbacks that pepper the film. There are legitimately maybe six flashbacks. You can indeed tell they had and wanted to reshoot a good chunk of this, and I would guess it didn’t pan out quite like they hoped. The film as a whole feels like a Netflix series compressed into a few hours, all the way down to the low budget cast which … most are really not very good to be honest.

The BMT – Hmmmm. If they actually somehow make the third Del Toro film this will have that as a fun note, a reboot in the middle of another series. Maybe it’ll end up as a strange note as a bad comic book film in the age of the MCU? But no, despite the online reviews and the terrible critical reviews I don’t think this has the legs to last. Then again … as you’ll see there aren’t any bad films in 2019 so maybe this will actually be the worst one out there … that would be crazy.

Roast-radamus – There was some weird product placements maybe, rewatching the trailer there are definitely some conspicuous Monster Energy cans. I won’t count it. There was probably a car, but I couldn’t see it live. There are a ton of settings, but I definitely think a Where? (Setting as a character) could go to England with the finale in St. Paul’s in London, King Arthur’s sword coming into play, and the crew traipsing across the countryside in the second half of the film. Despite King Arthur’s sword being in the film, it kind of comes in too late to be a MacGuffin, but I do think a What? (Chekov’s Blank) could go to Chekov’s Mysterious Green Liquid for the medicine which keeps the were-…leopard (?) from becoming a leopard. Spoiler, he becomes a were-leopard. And naturally this very much qualified for Live.

Live Analysis – In lieu of the street cred section (which can’t really be discussed this early) I’ll instead go a bit into why this year so far has been so concerning for bad films. In 2017 by the end of April there were 20 films released widely with less than 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2018 there were 19. In 2019? … 7. It is a problem. Replicas, Serenity, Miss Bala, A Madea Family Funeral, and Wonder Park also didn’t have coinciding US and UK releases leaving us with only two options. Glass (which barely qualifies with 37.3%) and now Hellboy. It is insane, especially considering May, June, and July had 12 and 5 qualifying films in 2017 and 2018. I have a feeling we’ll have less than 15 films seven months into 2019. And I just don’t see how we get to 52 films by the end of the year without a bumper summer crop of bad films. Needless to say we are looking into options to deal with the situation.

Live Theater Rating – I’m actually a bit embarrassed. I really only could go to a single showing after going to Scotland for a week holiday last week and once I got to the theater … it was 4D. And I paid out of the nose for it. And I didn’t really want Hellboy to be my first 4D showing. That all being said, 4D is a theater with moving seats with little puffs of air and other exciting bits and I have to be honest … it was kind of fun? I definitely felt more engaged in the action scenes. And of all the films I guess you can do worse than Hellboy which has a kind of unrelenting set of action scenes one after the other. I guess the main complaint is that it is fun in small doses, but gets tiresome quickly … and then you are stuck there for like 2 hours with your chair shaking. I liked it more than I thought I would though. I’ll grade it a B with a demerit for being way too expensive and making me sad.

That’s it! Phew, long one. Cheerios,

The Sklogs