Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

So what can you say about the Marvel Universe that hasn't already been said? Not too much. It is absolutely jaw dropping what they have accomplished. Sure, they have totally taken liberties with some of the comic story lines and such, but really, did the handful of people that cared about that really equal the millions of new fans it has brought to the universe of Marvel and in turn, to the comic medium... Nope, so I say let em go.

From Iron Man, to Guardians of the Galaxy (hell even that Daredevil show on Netflix rocked) they have brought heroes to life and together... and no showcase bigger than THE AVENGERS! Chris Evans' Captain America, some how managing to make what should have been a cheesy sub par film into a character that is at the heart of Marvel's success... Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man, from the start bringing the universe to life... Chris Hemsworth as Thor... Scarlett as Black Widow... Banner... Hawkeyes... Listen bottom line is no role is not acted with all the serious and fun these films need.

And you all know that, so really, what can ol' Boonsweet bring to the review table...

Well, let's see shall we dear Booniacs...

Avengers: Age of ultron ... Your story goes... The Avengers have been assembling to destroy some Hydra bases... they stumble across a major one that has produced two new threats (super powered twins, Scarlett Witch, and Quicksilver) ... but that doesn't compare to the threat Banner and Stark accidentally create by attempting to combine alien tech with their own ideas of protecting the earth. Enter the extremely entertaining but near inexplicably sarcastic and humorous, Ultron. From there... explosions, questions about what it is to be a hero... fun backstory, and then, uniting to stand against ultimate evil... and the like.

All the tech in the world and you deny me a middle finger... Oh I shake my fist at you sir!
So the good. Hawkeye gets some real screen time here. I think this film works if you look at the first Avengers as Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk's story... and then look at this one as Hawkeye, Black Widow's story. What about Thor you ask... do you need more Thor story? No you do not. He's a God, he has a hammer... and his girlfriend is never anywhere to be found. The balance at work here by director Joss Whedon is jaw dropping.

Look there will be Mediocres. Hey Boonsweet what the F is a Mediocre? So glad you asked dear audience. These are the debags that never really hate anything, but are never really impressed (I will attempt to have a better catchier name for these folks by end of review). They are gunna walk out of this film and say things like "It was alright" "I mean it had a few cool scenes" "I liked the first one a little bit more"... Yes there will be many of those. I feel however those folks are suffering from giant-film-itis (man I really am just re-writing Websters here - boom baby!). We've seen it all before. We've seen heroes, we've seen 200 million dollar effects, hell we've seen all these guys in a movie before... But thats the part that should impress...

It still manages to feel new. With the focus shifting to the secondary heroes (meaning those not yet given their own films) and the new Heroes, and villains, it feels like the story is continuing, not lingering. The action scenes are just pure comic gold. Watching Cap America and Thor use hero tag team moves can't help but get a smile or two. Iron Man vs Hulk... delivers. Though the ending is a bit of an expected cop out.

Lastly... and this is the big thing... Guardians of the Galaxy blew people away and obviously marvel is continuing bringing them a little closer to the Universe they have built (already having Thanos involved in both)... but there is a moment in this film... the first in the entire Marvel Universe for me when the big picture hit me. When I could see the lines connecting everything... and my Brain blew up with awesome.

No. No you said it, now you have to pick... who has the better hair? 
Now. To the bad. Some of the plot points are just blown by. Obviously, the need to move the movie along, and fit in certain threads to the aforementioned universe meant some things had to be shortened but damn... I mean Ultron shows up (again the - how and why-  kind of explained though not so much) and then an hour later he's neck deep in world domination. Why is Ultron a snarky little rascal? Well other than the great voice work from Spader I have no idea. Why would a cold calculating machine have one liners and dark humour?

Two. The twins. I actually really enjoyed the Twins involvement with this film, and I think I could have used a little more. But I bought their motivations, though maybe not quite how easily they decide to move past the avengers hate.

Three. The creation of Vision. Very cool, and I know very talented and Made-up Paul Bettany will be back, but we barely get to decide whether we like him or not before he's laser beaming stuff.

A last interesting note, and choosing to move away from the giant destructible cities of America I think they really tapped into "Threat of death" and "Consequence". To everyone that bitches about the amount of destruction in these films... well apparently you didn't grow up watching your fav characters level an entire city each week on Saturday Morning... and heck if you grew up in Japan Goku was destroying entire parts of the earth on a weekly basis. I have no time for that BS, however, if you were concerned there were never consequences - this is the film... sure it has crazy action... but in tying it to a smaller, impoverished, town, they've tried to bring the consequences to the big screen.

And lastly... okay the last lastly I promise, since I do blog in real time. To the Haters and Mediogres (yup its decided I just coined that phrase for all those fence riding Mediocres) who are hating on his Black Widow in this film... listen 50 million people heck 100 million people are gunna see this film... shouldn't it be expected a few thousand are going to horribly misinterpret events? Or see them in a light no one else will get... or heck, just plain go to crazy town... anyone who thinks the Black Widow suffered from Slut like stuff, and woman putting down, will apparently you have no idea what she has done regularly since she came into existence at Marvel. That is all. Stop being ridiculous people and eat your popcorn!

Anyway. More bang for your buck than any other film this year almost guaranteed... Mad Max Fury Road - might have a shot.

Listen let it be known I AM A DC man. And like every other DC fan out there I just keep waiting for DC to step up and start to put Marvel in their place... But I think I have to admit (though if given the right films I will stand beside DC for life)... Marvel really has something here. The direction it is going... ANT-MAN is even starting to stir my interest. I just keep thinking... Honey I shrunk the kids meets Stan Lee.

Movie scale 4 out of 5 stars
Super Hero Movie scale 4 out of 5 stars

Pure fun. Yes. But also heart, and character building... and like I said... a true Jaw Dropping moment.

One line review: Joss Whedon knocks this outta the park, and lot, and into that little cart that sells nachos. 


So sayeth the Boonsweet!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Chiller Classics present: The New York Ripper 1982

Welcome my friends to Chiller Classics, where I Charles Bartholomew Boonsweet take you on a trip to the olden, sometimes golden, days of horror.  Hopefully I will introduce you to some fine genre flicks you may not have heard of, either because of how old they are or how obscure, and break down some gory, chill filled, education in Horror History 101. And for those of you who are already well versed in the "good ol' days" of horror, hopefully this will help bring back some nostalgic memories and maybe entice you to see some of these classics again.

Before I get into my full classic horror swagger... (I refuse to at any point short form that word in "Swag" for reasons of my own) I thought I would provide you with an out. If you are a fan of all things horror... well heck that is probably why you are here reading this column in my awesome (though admittedly not as frequent) blog. However, this film here... these film here is only for those that like there films as twisted as heck... like there violence non CGI, the people that still stand to attention when names like "Tom Savini" are mentioned... and most importantly, this film is for those that don't mind their 80s horror a little silly... Ok. Still here. Cool.

So The New York Ripper was made in the midst of the first slasher film boom (most consider between 1980-1984). How this film is not more well known, or even the director's best known I am not sure. All I can surmise is the Donald Duck voice... yes... we'll get to that.

Your story goes a killer is stalking the New York streets (was this shot in new york, I doubt it, but I do not feel like Wiki'ing that up, so you can if you wants to). Armed with a knife and some gritty great camerawork he viciously, carves up unsuspecting beauties.

That's it. Thats your plot. Need more? Why? This is 2015. Ain't no horror films getting oscar nods in 82, and if their were they sure as shit were no where near this flick. Lucio Fulci, infamous for his Zombie films, and early horror work... I believe he is revered to as the "Godfather of Gore". Warranted. His films, House by the Cemetery, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, and the near legendary Zombi (his Italian rip off/sequel to, Dawn of the dead), all have huge followings. Super bluray releases this side of the atlantic and the other... and there are some classics in there... but nothing, for me anyway, comes close to this here brutal slasher.

To me Italian cinema was about 2 things... excess, and cheap rip offs. Sure there is more to it than that... but during the 70s and especially 80s they saw something successful in the states, it was getting a blood soaked italian version. Here I think Fulci was like... "Hmmm so slashers are big in the states. Look at this friday the 13th, and Bloody Valentine... so they want tons of violence and some sex. So Boobs and Blood... well hell, why don't we give them X rated levels of both. Boom, I am Fulci, GENNNNNNIUUUUS!"

This film is without a doubt in the top 3 for most violent films of all time. Now there are films you could throw at me if you wanna have a hardcore horror throw down, things like Guinea Pig, and such, but those are films just for the sake of violence. This is a real movie, with actors, and plot, and you know... movie stuff... and yet they pack in several of the most violent acts I have ever seen in a horror flick (nipple slice by razor anyone). On top of that they cram pretty much X rated amounts of sex and nudity in this bad boy. I can only imagine how this film played during the 80s when the censors got hold of it... there would basically be the opening credits... a couple conversations, and closing credits.

So yes I loved it.

Fluke might not get the credit he deserves, often his films falling in the "Gore Good" category... but he was a talented director. His eye for atmosphere, and building a horror scene, can not be underestimated. And that... that dear Booniacs... is where we have a problem. This film, despite the gore, and sex, could have actually managed to be quite good. The store is fun, the acting is above par... and with a quality director in the drivers seat... however... (deep breath) someone decided it would be a great idea... to have the killer use a ridiculous "Donald Duck" voice, when calling to terrorize victims and cops...

What?! I mean maybe Fulci was over there in italy watching a disney short and thought... my god this cartoon Duck creature terrifies me, I must use this! Seriously, what the hell?! Who thought this was scary. It turns what could have been an expertly handled decent into sleeze and horror... into something that can only be appreciated as silly fun.

The story gets pointlessly complicated with sick children and role reversals haha, but hell, I could take all that in stride if it was not for that damned duck voice. But hey, maybe thats part of its charm, the reason it is slowly building that following.

Dammit though I still enjoyed it. And when you consider that in many countries this film still remains unreleased or cut... that is saying something in our current uncut loving universe.

If you want to see a film that actually deserved the "Video Nasties" witch hunt of the 80s this is it. Wow was this a blood soaked good time.

But you have been warned... Duck voice... Sigh.

Horror Scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Movoe scale 3 out of 5 stars (because as artistic evidence of the freedom of the 80s this is must watch, but it should almost be a 2.5 with that damned voice)

One line review: Seriously, seriously F'd up... the F is for Fun. 

Also you might have noticed I have not included my usual levels of photographic humour... well, honestly I try to keep this here blog mostly every one friendly... and it was just too much effort to find a cool scene in this film that was not nudity filled. No joke.

Well.... this concludes my film rant adventures for this here day. Be well. Be summer. Be friendly. Be awesome.

- C. Boonsweet.