Review of “Wonder Woman 1984”

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Promotional image for the film Wonder Woman 1984

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I finally found the movie Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) as a DVD at my local public library and saw my opportunity to view and review it.

I’d read quite a few reviews already so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. There were a lot of people disappointed at the “woke” aspects of the film, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

First of all, as always, Gal Gadot totally owns the role of Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. She deserves the highest praise for her portrayal of the character and for bringing a truly iconic hero to life.

I felt a little sorry for Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva, especially at the film’s beginning when she was so beneath everyone’s notice. No, not just men’s but even Diana didn’t warm up to her at first. It was cringeworthy watching the stereotypically shy, socially inept, yet highly intelligent person trying to make her way through life.

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Film Review of “Blade Runner 2049”

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Promotional image for the film Blade Runner 2049

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I finally got around to watching Blade Runner 2049 (2017) last night on DVD. At 2 hours and 44 minutes long, I felt it was too long. Yes, there was a story to tell, and it’s a good story, but if this is the theatrical version, then the studio allowed director Denis Villeneuve to indulge himself.

I’ve never seen the theatrical version of Blade Runner (1982), only the Director’s Cut which I reviewed here. It’s considered the better of the two 1980s films, so I probably will never get around to seeing the original.

Since this movie is four years old, I’m not really worried about revealing spoilers, but if you’ve never seen it and want to at some point, stop reading here.

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Review of “Outland”

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Promotional image for the 1981 film “Outland”

On an impulse, I decided to watch the 1981 film Outland. I remember seeing it back in the day on cable, and remember thinking it was “okay.”

It’s still “okay.”

All star cast with Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James Sikking, Clarke Peters, and John Ratzenberger made it bearable, but the story was mediocre at best and the “decompression” special effects were ridiculous.

The story goes that Federal Marshall William O’Niel (Connery) and his family are assigned to a mining colony on Jupiter’s moon Io for a year. O’Niel’s wife and son hate it and almost immediately abandon him to return to Earth. Meanwhile O’Niel discovers some nefarious doings on Io.

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DVD Review of “Spider Man: Far From Home”

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Promotional image for the 2019 film “Spider-Man: Far From Home”

I can now officially say I’ve seen every Marvel Studios film ever made. As I’m writing this, I just finished watching Spider-Man: Far From Home.

First off, between the memorial in the film’s beginning and the first end credits, two of my favorite pop hits were featured: I Will Always Love You performed by the late Whitney Houston (video) (and I was surprised it was written by Dolly Parton) and Vacation performed by the Go Gos.

I confess, I’ve known about the story including the mid and end credits scenes for sometime, but knowing is not the same as experiencing. It’s after the “blip,” the return of all of the people, half of Earth’s population, Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped out of existence in the movie Avengers: Infinity War (2018). All of the “blipped” high school kids who reappeared five years later had to take a whole year of high school all over again. This includes Peter Parker (Tom Holland), his best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), and MJ (Zendaya). Even Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) was “blipped” reappearing in her apartment now rented to other people.

But we’re eight months past that and May is heading up some fundraiser, presumably to help the “blipped” regain their former lives.

We see early on that May and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) are in some sort of relationship, but they’re not the only ones.

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Why Is Kylo Ren a Hero?

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Promotional image of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from the 2019 film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

A day or two ago, I saw a YouTube video on Mara Jade’s twitter account commenting on a Bounding Into Comics article titled Fans Threaten J.J. Abrams and Report Mental Breakdowns Over Kylo Ren’s Ending in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Frankly, I was amazed. I guess I shouldn’t be. As a fan of the television show Smallville (2001-2011), I watched fans on social media tear each other apart over which female lead should be in a relationship with Clark (Tom Welling). I watched the show for the superhero stuff, even though it really was a teenage/millennial soap opera.

So why shouldn’t Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) be any different?

However, the more I read the outrageous comments being supposedly made on twitter (to read them, click the appropriate link above), the more I became curious. Are these people real?

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Movie Review of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

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© James Pyles

DISCLAIMER: This film review is loaded with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to be surprised, don’t read any further!

Yes, I went to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker today with my son, my grandson, and my son’s girlfriend.

What I’m about to say will probably annoy or even anger some of my friends and acquaintances, but the movie wasn’t half bad. In fact I liked it for the most part.

This isn’t to say that it didn’t rehash the original three films from the late 1970s and early 80s, but it was better than Director Rian Johnson’s horribly failed The Last Jedi (2017).

First of all, it was visually very impressive. Just in terms of cinematic “eye candy” (no, not that kind), it’s a pleasure to watch.

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Movie Review: Meg (2018)

Promotional image for the 2018 movie “The Meg”

Right about when the 2018 film The Meg was being watched in theaters, I was reviewing the book it was based on.

Last night, I rented the DVD of said-movie and watched it.

The movie stars action actor Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor, a former rescue diver who, five years before, had encountered a Meg while trying to save the crew of a sunken nuclear submarine. He sacrificed two of his own people in an attempt to save eleven more. Accused of panicking and cowardliness, he retreated into booze and Thailand.

Bingbing Li stars as Suyin, an oceanographer and daughter to Dr. Minway Zhang (Winston Chao), innovative scientist of the underwater research facility Mana One.

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Film Review of “The Abyss: Special Edition” (1989)

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© James Pyles – DVD cover for the 1989 film “The Abyss”

I hadn’t intended to watch a film on Sunday evening, but saw a DVD of the 1989 film The Abyss and said, “why not?”

Actually, this is the special edition, so it’s expanded quite a bit from what folks saw in the original theatrical production.

The movie opens aboard the USS Montana, an Ohio-class U.S. Navy sub. The sub encounters some strange light apparition near the Cayman Trough and, caught in its wake, is dragged across a rock formation, fatally damaging the sub.

With Soviet ships closing in to salvage the nuclear submarine, the Navy commandeers a private, underwater drilling platform operating near the Trough that’s led by Foreman Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and crewed by a bunch of roughneck oil drillers.

Brigman’s estranged wife Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), who designed the drilling rig, accompanies a group of Navy SEALs commanded by Lieutenant Hiram Coffey (Michael Biehn) down to the rig just before a hurricane hits, in an attempt to reach the Montana and search for survivors.

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Film Review: “Escape from L.A.” (1996)

© James Pyles – photo of DVD case for the movie “Escape from L.A.”

I saw John Carpenter’s 1981 film Escape From New York starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, and Adrienne Barbeau when it was first in the theaters and then a few times on disc later. It’s what I consider a “high functioning B movie.” That means it’s a lot of fun, but in spite of the quality actors in the movie, it would attain no higher level than “cult classic.” It’s a good way to waste two hours.

I’ve been aware of the 1996 sequel Escape from L.A. for years, but never had the desire to see it. However, yesterday at my local public library, I found it on disc and figured “what the heck.”

Actually, given the quality of the story of the original, and that sequels almost never live up to the original, I expected to either be bored or to hate it.

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Film Review of “Alita: Battle Angel” (2019)

When I reviewed Captain Marvel, I mentioned that one of the competing films released at the same time was Alita: Battle Angel. It’s not a movie I’d ordinarily watch, but because Brie Larson was such a pain in the butt about “Oh, look at me, I’m a powerful female warrior with a lot of victim issues,” I decided to view and compare the two works of art. In my view, Alita wins by a huge margin.

The really big issue is that Alita (voiced by Rosa Salazar) doesn’t have to rise to power by tearing men down the way “Captain Marvel” does. Her “father” Dr. Dyson Ido (voiced by the amazing Christoph Waltz), was a wonderful and flawed father figure. I would have loved a Dad like him, but he’s only a couple of years older than I am.

Everyone in the movie is complex and sometimes difficult to understand, especially Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly) and Alita’s love interest Hugo (Keean Johnson), unlike in “Captain Marvel” where we’re playing to very specific progressive stereotypes (all women good, all men bad or at least silly, even Nick Fury).

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