Benz Eye View: Batman: The Killing Joke

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Batman: The Killing Joke

Pros:

1.) The animation looks like the good-old animation from Batman: The Animated Series, and I love it.  It is crisp, visually-pleasing, and well-drawn to the point where I wonder why many animation studios (i.e. Disney and Dreamworks) do not do this anymore.  3-D animation is nice, but 2-D animation is still great.

2.) The voice acting deserves some credit, especially by the two main characters: Batman (played by Kevin Conroy) and Joker (played by Mark Hamill).  However, considering this is called The Killing Joke, the real star is Mark Hamill.  He can play a maniacal clown of chaos who wants to prove a point, but can switch to a sympathetic yet failed comedian who is trying to help his wife and baby.  Plus, he can sing pretty well.

3.) The Killing Joke section of the movie is not only faithful to the original comic, but also very interesting.  The few things they added into the movie are a few good additions to the story.  Not only what the Joker does in that section really messed up, but his origin gives an interesting viewpoint for the character.  However, it also opens the idea that the origin we see in the movie may not be true.  Watch this movie (or read the graphic novel) to get my point.

 

Cons:

1.) The first half of the movie has nothing to do with The Killing Joke.  Actually, the movie spends the first thirty minutes with Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl) and her investigation against Paris Franz.  I understand if the movie spends ten to fifteen minutes with her just to make us care for her until the certain inevitable point, but they spent way too long with her chasing a generic villain.  It is distracting narrative-wise, it is never mentioned again, and it is not needed.

2.) (MINOR SPOILERS) Something disturbing happens in the movie, and it is not what with the Joker.  It is Batman and Batgirl have sex in this movie.  It was foreshadowed that Batgirl has feelings for Batman, but I did not think it would get THIS far.  It is out of character for Batman, makes Batgirl somewhat unlikable, and it is tonally disjointed.  Plus, I get the feeling that Dick Grayson (a.k.a. Nightwing) would be pretty mad if he heard of this.  (END MINOR SPOILERS)

3.) In the Batgirl section, the pacing was fine, and it felt like an episode of Batman: The Animated Series (with dark elements that is not fit for children).  For The Killing Joke section, I felt that the pacing could use a little more work.  There are times that I felt that they are moving a bit too quickly, and it suffers with the emotional quality that happens in those certain scenes.  In short, take your time, and let us feel how the characters are feeling.

 

Overall:

The Killing Joke is one of the most popular graphic novels of all time.  It explores one of the most popular comic book villains of all time: The Joker.  Who was he before he became the Joker?  What does he see in the world?  Why does he do these things?  The graphic novel somewhat answers them, keeps it vague, or gives false answers.  When an animated film for the graphic novel was announced, every Batman fan was ecstatic.  Now that it is released in theaters for a couple of days, it is…OK.  It is probably the best we can ask for, but there are some problems.  The first half of the movie has nothing to do with the graphic novel, and that part felt like a decent mini-episode that starts before the best episode begins.  When it finally reaches The Killing Joke, it is a blast to watch.  However, since the Batgirl section is part of Batman: The Killing Joke as a whole, it unfortunately causes some problems with the narrative of the movie.  Despite that, it is a decent watch.  If you want a good adaptation of The Killing Joke, this movie is for you despite its flaws.  It will satisfy Batman fans, with a few exceptions (you will know it when you see it, or if you read my Minor Spoilers Con).

6/10

Benz Eye View: Star Trek Beyond

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Star Trek Beyond

Pros:

1.) The actors give out phenomenal performances.  They know how to give out dramatic performances while also performing comedic moments that fit well with the characters that they are playing.  They know how to act well, especially with its subtle comedy (unlike a certain ghost-busting movie that I saw).

2.) All the characters have great motivations and weight behind them.  They all get a fair share of time, and they all have a purpose in the film.  The two characters who have the biggest well-constructed motivations are Kirk and Spock.  Not going to give much away, but there is something that gives motivation to Spock that will give any Trekkie tears.

3.) Many of the technical stuff in the film deserve praise, so let’s see if I can list them.  The cinematography is excellent, the makeup is extraordinary, the editing is on par in order to see what is happening to each character, the writing is great, and so many more that I cannot find any errors…

 

Cons:

1.) …Well, sort of.  The CG does need a little bit of work.  There are some impressive CG and green screen effects, but there are times that I can tell that they look a little fake.

2.) The action scenes may be cool, but it is somewhat marred with shaky cam and (in some cases) lack of lighting.  As I said before, I am not a fan of the shaky cam since I find them a bit disorienting, but there are not that many in the film.

3.) I feel like there are a couple of plot holes that are not big enough to ruin the film, but makes you question it a bit.  Maybe some of it is implied or mentioned in passing, but it is worth mentioning.

 

Overall:

Star Trek is a series that has been going on for a long time.  In fact, this is the 50th anniversary of the popular sci-fi series.  For me, I am not a Trekkie since I did not grow up watching the series (I grew up with Star Wars) with a couple of movie exceptions.  With the reboot released in 2009, I decided to give the series a try.  I liked the 2009 movie even though many Trekkies did not.  I was not really fond of Star Trek: Into Darkness before it started to become unpopular with everyone else.  With this new iteration of the series, people were not exactly hopeful due to its bad trailers.  I can safely tell you that it is by far the best Star Trek film in the entire reboot series.  It has fantastic writing, great performances, nice special effects, notable technicalities, and a perfect film for the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.  Not only do I recommend it to Trekkies, but to everyone else.  You will have a blast.  You will have fun.  Most importantly, you will go where no one has gone before.

9/10

A couple more things: this is unfortunately the last Star Trek film with Anton Yelchin who played Ensign Pavel Chekov.  He died a month ago in a freak car accident.  It is unfortunate that he died so early, and he will be missed.

STAR TREK
RIP Anton Yelchin: 1989-2016

Lastly, this film also paid tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy who played Spock in the original Star Trek series.  As a personal tribute, here is a video made by sfdebris.

Benz Eye View: Ghostbusters (2016)

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Ghostbusters (2016)

Pros:

1.) There are some pretty cool ghost designs; different varieties of ghosts (albeit not really that original) that shows a little bit of creativity.  Even the Ghostbuters’ devices are creative as well with ghost grenades, ghost fists, ghost chippers, etc.  At least they are clever enough with that.

2.) Jillian Holtzmann (played by Kate McKinnon) is the coolest and greatest character in this movie (compared to everyone else).  She may not strike me as a scientist (in fact, I do not think any of the other two women strike me as scientists), but I can certainly buy that she is a quirky inventor.  Not to mention, she brings a little bit of life in the movie since she stands out so much.  She would actually be a great member of the original Ghostbusters.

3.) The cameos from the cast of the original Ghostbusters are nice to see.  From Bill Murray to Sigourney Weaver, it is nice to see them again from a different rendition of Ghostbusters (even though I can tell that they do not want to be in it).

 

Cons:

1.) Most of the jokes suck.  They spend a bit too long letting the actors spew out one-liners or jokes that never made me laugh (with a few exceptions).  They need to cut some of it out, and let the movie progress…

2.) …Although, they also need to cut out the exposition.  They spend a longer amount of time explaining things that I either do not care or do not need explaining.  The movie explains the science of how the proton packs work when it should either make the explanation brief, or just move on and let us see how it works.

3.) What is wrong with the writing?  The comedy and horror just suck (with some small exceptions), the characters are uninteresting and sometimes unlikable (except for Holtzmann), some motivations make no sense, the story is paced badly, and in terms of the fact this is called Ghostbusters, it fails to be a good Ghostbusters movie.  Almost nothing in this movie works.

 

Overall:

Ghostbusters is one of the most classic films of all time.  The first film is amazing with its story, lore, creativity, and characters; while the second movie was not as good, but contained some elements to be in decent levels.  Plans for a third Ghostbusters film was planned and rumored, but nothing happened (mainly because Bill Murray did not want to do it).  Those plans seem to have died when Harold Ramis (one of the writers and actors for Ghostbusters) died in 2014.  It was later announced that the movie series will rebooted, and a trailer was eventually released…and it is currently the most hated YouTube video in existence.  I admit that I was reluctant to watch, but I was willing to give it a chance.  I am willing to see an all-female Ghostbusters movie if it is done well.  How should I say this?  This is one of the very few moments in my life that I wanted to get out of the theater, but I unfortunately stayed to see what the movie offers.  I am here to tell you that this is by far one of the WORST movies I have seen in my life.  As a Ghostbusters movie, it is a betrayal what makes it Ghostbusters.  On its own, it is an unfunny, uninteresting, and unacceptable movie that likes to be cool, but it is annoying instead.  If you want to see some ghost busting action-comedy-horror, watch the original Ghostbusters movies.  If you want to see a true continuation of the Ghostbusters movies, play Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009).  In fact, here is a little test for you.  I have two different trailers here:

Here is one for Ghostbusters (2016):

Here is one for Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009):

Which do you prefer to watch?  Either way, do not watch this movie.

1/10

Benz Eye View: The BFG

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The BFG

Pros:

1.) You certainly get a sense of scale in this movie.  You buy that these giants are indeed bigger than us (probably gets better in 3D), and it makes you feel like an ant in comparison.  Kind of reminds me of Ant-Man (maybe they should have a mini-crossover).

2.) The technical stuff in this movie is impressive, and has the great Steven Spielberg-style of directing.  The cinematography and designs deserve the most attention since they are what holds this movie (such as certain long-shot moments and pretty environments)…

3.) …Also, the visual effects deserve the praise as well.  The characters are life-like, the environments are spectacular (especially the dream tree), and the visuals are marvelous.  On its own, it would make a fantastic CG movie…

 

Cons:

1.) …That being said, when the CG is paired up with live actors, it is obvious that they are in front of a green-screen.  At times, it looks painfully obvious to the point that you wonder, “How did they not notice that?”  The two do not blend in well, and they certainly needed to work on that.

2.) The main child actress, Ruby Barnhill is a hit-and-miss for me.  There are times that she did fine, but she has done a sloppy job in her acting; not exactly giving off that many emotions other than surprise.  I can tell that she is trying, but she needs to work on it a little more.

3.) There is something that happens in the third act that surprised me, and not in a good way.  I am not going to spoil it, but it feels really odd that they would actually go there.  Plus, the pacing has its problems (since barely anything is happening), but it becomes apparently slow when this certain thing happens.  It goes on for way too long, and other than plot progression that should have been done by having the character saying the line and move on, its purpose is a long-pacing lame fart gag.

 

Overall:

Based on the popular weapon in a popular first-person shooter video game-Er…I mean, based on a popular children’s book in 1982, The BFG is directed the great Steven Spielberg, and it is one of the very few reasons why I would actually watch this movie (that, and I wanted to make a Doom joke).  I would describe this movie as technically amazing, but with a boring narrative.  It is very sad for me to say that, because this is Steven Spielberg that directed this movie (especially since his last film, Bridge of Spies, is fantastic).  With him working with Disney, this should have been a match made in heaven.  Unfortunately, it did not.  Other than the technical stuff and animations, there is nothing worth watching here.  The only way for this movie to get better is if they brought the actual BFG from Doom.

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Let’s see if the giants handle this!

6/10

Benz Eye View: Free State of Jones

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  To celebrate this commemorative holiday, I am going to review a film for today that relates this special day.

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This one?

No.  One: I already reviewed it.  Two: that movie sucks.  I meant this:

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Free State of Jones

Pros:

1.) The main character, Newton Knight is very interesting.  A Confederate soldier that deserted his army, and eventually creates a free state is fascinating.  It is something that I never heard of, and it is relieving to hear that it is actually true.

2.) All the actors give out fantastic performances.  From Matthew McConaughey to Gugu Mbatha-Raw, they know how to perform certain moments from being friendly to crying in simple moments.

3.) The film shows the struggles of the Free State of Jones well.  From dealing with the Confederate soldiers to Southern racists, it shows how hard to keep the Free State in check despite the Union victory in the American Civil War…

 

Cons:

1.) …However, this is a LONG film, and it feels pretty slow.  If you are expecting this film to be all battles during the Civil War (which the intro showed really well), you are out of luck here.

2.) This is arguably a long History Channel episode that should not have been in theaters.  Throughout the film, it constantly shows text or historical pictures on certain moments that happened off-screen.  It can be bothering for many people, and it feels like we should watch the History Channel instead.

3.) Here is something odd: there is a subplot that takes place eighty-five years after the events of Free State of Jones with the descendant of Newton Knight going on trial, because he is 1/8 black man marrying a white woman.  It is out of nowhere, and it comes up four times in the film’s two hour running time.

 

Overall:

Another film based on slavery.  There has been so many of these films lately that is ends up being a bit tiresome.  However, if they want to keep doing this, it has to be good.  For me, I really like this film.  I thought it has interesting historical value, intriguing people, and great moments despite its slow pace.  However, I seem to be in the minority, because the reviews show that many people do not like this film.  It was like the time I really liked In the Heart of the Sea while most people did not.

In_the_Heart_of_the_Sea_poster
Yes.  I actually like this film.  

We cannot seem to get along.  I was going to give it a 9/10, but since I saw the reviews a bit early before posting this (good thing, too), I will give it this score:

8/10

It is my opinion, and even though the negative reviews give some good points, I still like it anyway.

Benz Eye View: The Legend of Tarzan

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The Legend of Tarzan

Pros:

1.) The characters in this movie have some charming personality and charisma.  I was worried that this movie may be completely brooding, but it shows that these characters can show their other sides of themselves, because they do not have to be two-dimensional, even Tarzan.

2.) All the actors did well in their parts.  The reasons are the same as the last pro.

3.) You get the pretty clear motivations for certain characters since they spend a good enough time showing them.  They even have flashbacks explaining certain moments that happened before the events of the movie…

 

Cons:

1.) …However, these flashbacks can be a bit irritating, and it distracts the flow of the movie.  Even if you forgive that, there are a couple of plot holes that the movie does not explain, and did not even bother showing in flashbacks.

2.) The action cinematography is shaky and unfocused.  Maybe it is not helped by the fact I have to sit in the front row of the theater, but it seems like the editing and camerawork are moving a bit too fast to process what is happening.  Combine with lackluster CG (with the somewhat exception with the animals), and you have a movie that is not exactly ugly, but not pretty either.

3.) As funny and great he is, Samuel L. Jackson is just playing himself most of the time.  The one thing that bothers me is that he spouts dialogue that I am willing to bet that it does not belong in the timeline this movie takes place.

 

Overall:

Tarzan.  A popular fictional character that has been around for over 100 years.  The character has several movies going with him; even Disney made one (as of this movie, there are a total of fifty-three Tarzan movies).  With this new iteration of Tarzan, it does fine enough to make this character and its creators proud.  The movie is a good enough to catch your attention and money, but there are times that this movie needs to improve.  If you want a live-action Tarzan movie that is around your corner, this will do.  However, I feel like that Disney’s Tarzan is a better version of the character (at least, the one I have seen so far).  Still, it is cool enough to see, and I do recommend watching it for anyone.

7/10