Lego Batman (Film Review)

With all the variations of the Dark Knight, it is hard to remember how the idea of a Billionaire dressing up like bat to punch criminals sounds… silly. This is the movie that helps to remind people the crazy fun that has endured over the decades. And what better way to put on a light on Gotham’s funnier side than with the power of Lego.

Reprising his role from The Lego Movie (2014), Will Arnett provides the voice to a grim,angst-ridden, Batman who basks in the glory of being Gotham’s nearly-unrivaled protector while ignoring how being a solitary vigilante is quite lonely. Enter Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), Gotham’s newest Commissioner, who wishes to have Batman work together with the police force, a revelation that forces Bruce Wayne to request two different cups of water to spit out dramatically with. The humor is focused on having fun with the canon of Batman, including the comics, shows, and films with other hidden treats for anyone who grew up enjoying any adventure with the Caped Crusader. All the people adding their voices brings a style of entertainment to the narrative from the enthusiastic Robin (Michael Cera), the stoic Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), and a more comical Joker (Zach Galifianakis) who wishes Batman would take their villain-hero relationship seriously.

The film is pretty straightforward, a comedic adventure which acts as a nod to all the fun concepts that helped make Batman a hero known all over the world. A fun experience for the whole family that reminds everyone of an icon forged through over 70 years of fantastic stories and shows no signs of stopping.

Four out of Five (A cheesy film that is built for laughs and fans of the Dark Knight and delivers plenty of both with a great voice cast, awesome cameos, and a very entertaining Batman).

Crimson Peak Film Review

The best kind of horror tale is where the threat isn’t against the world but a single soul’s survival from a world’s-worth of terror.

Crimson Peak excels at this in phenomenally Victorian-Gothic fashion.

It’s strength from simply telling its story. A young woman (Mia Wasikowska) is charmed by a young bachelor seeking his fortune with his sister for company (Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain) and soon join them in their mysterious manor. This leads into a ghost story and mystery worthy of Hitchcock levels of twisted human nature with slight echoes of Poe.

While not as bloody or violent as it could be from the title, the atmosphere expresses a very dark and twisted energy that slowly surfaces until there’s no avoiding it. The mystery is well constructed as the stage it takes place on. Besides some CGI monstrosities, there is an actual set in the form of a Victorian manor which becomes its own character with the structure of how it affects the plot and creates tensions with walls that literally bleed.

To say anymore would spoil what can be discovered in one of the better well-done horror films in a long time,

All it takes to find out is to step into the shadow of a dark mansion and discover the secret in the crimson.

5 out of 5 Stars (For anyone a fan of horror, especially Victorian Horror that combines Hitchcock and Poe, this is the movie for you.)

Sicario Film Review

Sicario is Spanish for hit man, the film opens with this fact to illustrate how alien both the word and the world FBI Special Weapons and Tactics Team’s Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) enters.

After a horrific discovery on a raid, Macer is offered a the chance to work with a special task force lead by a Department of Defense adviser Matt Graver composed of the army veterans,elite agents, and a stranger who goes by the name of Alejandro (Benicio del Toro). It becomes clear just within the 24 hours that Alejandro is not a member of any United States Military or law enforcement. He is in fact a reflection of the nightmarish environment Macer, and the audience, enter as they all go at the heart of the Cartel.

One of the more significant things about Emily Blunt’s role in the film is that she is not sexualized or shown as though her gender is in any way a deterrent from her doing the job. It is her innocence to the horrors of what she faces that truly is the obstacle that must be overcome not just to see the mission through but to also survive.

The action is intense, the violence worthy of nightmares especially the casualties of those who’ve crossed the Cartel, and the film expresses the reality that traditional methods of good vs evil can’t fully apply in such an unstable battle.

4 out of 5 Stars, the film features fantastic performances from Blunt and Del Toro. Strong action and interesting take of morality, crime, and the actions taken to fight evil.

To Love Thyself (A 13th Doctor Story) Part 1

The Tardis’s hum echoed as it slowly anchored itself from the flow of time and space to settle into its latest destination.

As it arrived and became fully ‘grounded’,  the door opened. A tall man took a careful step outside as he eyed his environment. It looked to be a factory, metal walkways and lights miles above his head showed how it could go on for miles. Tubes went in and out of the ceiling with green fluid flowing within them. This wasn’t obvious due a lack of windows to view the materials but the man had first hand experience with the chemicals, among other things.

He looked about the area and tapped the silver pendant on his right shoulder, an open flower.

“Rare flowers acquired, repeat, rare flowers acquired, bring delivery team to fuel station E. Over.” He tapped the flower once and ended communication.

A moment later ten figures in all white uniforms, armored, with black eye wear, gloves, and boots marched towards the Tardis. They were prepared, even though the machine was immovable they still placed four metal tubes around the Tardis’s perimeter that came to life once they were in position. The man stood aside, adjusting his gold-rimmed glasses and brushing a hand through his silver hair, making sure not a hair was out of place, while the uniformed figures entered the blue box and carried out two people.

One was a girl, dressed in black jeans, black boots, and a striped black-blue sweatshirt.

The other was a man with silver-grey hair, and suit that could belong to a music conductor pretending to be a wizard who had a look even when unconscious of fierce determination.

The metal flower send a small vibrated signal that was quickly translated into an ear piece in the man’s ear that only he could hear and comprehend thanks to the device.

“Excellent acquisition, Mr. Repo, I expect a full report of this in ten minutes time. I hope you’ve found something interesting.”

He could tell she was smiling and Mr. Repo even permitted himself a little grin.

It had been a surprisingly easy.

Five minutes earlier

The Doctor and Clara had finished up another adventure, parasitic androids seeking human hosts, typical Wednesday in Clara’s mind which usually was a flexible thing since time travel made the Doctor’s adventure’s go on for months before even a minute went by in her timeline. He had become a lot more flexible since they first started working with his latest incarnation, even smiling a bit but stopping before Clara could comment on it. No matter what happened, the Doctor was the one constant in her life, things stayed the same despite some changes and nothing fully drastic ever occurred.

She barely had time to recognize something new about the ship before a hand clamped over her mouth and a sudden prick stung her neck before everything started to fade. Clara just had enough time to see a man in a suit carefully lower her to the ground right before he fired a blast of electricity which struck the Doctor in the chest. He collapsed as well a moment later and the last thing Clara saw before her eyes fully shut was the stranger attaching some kind of device to the console of the Tardis. The hum of the great time machine starting to travel made her wonder where they were going as she drifted into darkness.  

Present 

The Doctor, Mr. Repo mused as the four metal rods created a box of crimson light around the Tardis, cutting it off from the Time Lord, it had been among his tasks to eventually if possible acquire the infamous last of the Time Lords. It had always been a difficult task to locate even one of his incarnations mainly because they were all technically existing at the same time, all going through their own adventures along the same time line. It seemed impossible not to have one of them meet an earlier or later version more often. Time travel had made the task almost impossible until Mr. Repo came up with a curious idea. Among all the sequential information that could be gathered about the Doctor, one thing was almost always certain, trouble always occurred wherever he went. So he helped manipulate a situation out of the norm and suddenly out comes the Doctor to save the day. It was a rather impressive bit of ingenuity that saved everyone in that village, Mr. Repo admitted to himself, but he never allowed personal feelings to interfere with the job needing to be done.

No matter the being, all of them were fair game when it acquiring materials for HONEY and the intel on this particular catch proved it would be there most profitable yet.

*                                *                                        *

The Doctor was no stranger to being captured and he had a surprisingly strong recollection even when struck by what seemed to be an antique (most likely current from the the way Mr. Fancy suit flourished the weapon as though it cost more than his car and wanted everyone to know it) Bolt Wasp, a crude electric device designed to neutralize any target while ensuring said victim was still intact.

He had heard of an organization that had been infamous for using such devices, but their company was rumored to have been burned to ground under mysterious circumstances. A little vague for the Doctor’s liking but considering his now being strapped to a table and Clara being someplace most likely unpleasant, he would think of something interesting. Part of him wondered sometimes if those occasional disasters he’s heard about were his own doing in some later timeline, that or the Doctor was simply unlucky enough to clean all of the Universe’s messes eventually. Ultimately it did not matter if this was preordained: they hurt Clara and that was more than enough of a reason.

Even with his hands and feet tethered by straps the Doctor knew the HONEY (now what did that stand for again?) troopers had taken his sonic screwdriver and probably a few of his other devices. Most likely the Tardis was out of reach as well since that was the second thing bad guys usually took out of play. So, that left the clothes on his back and his own flesh, bones, and organs. Keen fashion sense rarely helped anyone escape certain death but it did help him recognize small mechanical sensors attached to either side of his neck, his wrists, and two over his hearts. That gave him a very curious idea.

He rolled his hands slowly to get a feeling for his pulse. Whatever sedatives they had put into his body had now fully been metabolized so he could feel the blood flow through his body. Two hearts enabled him to handle all kinds of health concerns that limited most humans and his alien physiology gave him a good amount of self-control. Concentrate, he told himself, his pronunciation of the word became slower with each repetition. Eventually, when it became a millennium to even think a syllable, with his heart matching the flow, a slight high-pitched electric groan stated that the Doctor had flat lined.

While his body was inert, the Doctor was aware of his surroundings and could hear the people charging in. At least this confirmed how they wanted him alive, otherwise the first would have been a kill shot. Good for him but bad for everyone else, because somewhere in this facility was Clara who was in need of some help only a Doctor could provide. These little workers were his helpers, helping him off the table.

When one of them got close enough, the Doctor grabbed onto a  Bolt Wasp placed on the hip for security purposes and zapped its owner. He grabbed something sharp as the worker fell a quickly  cut through one strap. With his hand and amr free, he fired the Bolt Wasp at the other workers, keeping a timer in his mind about how much of a window was shrinking before too many workers for one overzealous bug zapper arrived. Once the first five were fully neutralized, the Doctor tossed the tool in his restrained hand and quickly got the rest of him free in a matter of seconds. His hearts were quickly pushed blood back through his veins along with adrenaline for what came next, the big escape.

He moved out of the room, minding the cameras and being annoyed by the lack of maps in the corridor clearly meant to confuse escapees. The alarms sounded so the Doctor at least knew he wouldn’t need to be lonely for long. The Doctor needed a way out quickly which meant either doing something stupid or really stupid. Footsteps convinced him to try the latter as he ran in the other direction from the louder pair. He heard what he needed to hear after rounding two more corridors, soft, panicked, footsteps. The Doctor followed the sound, opened the nearest door, and found a frightened young scientist. She wore a white lab coat too long for her that made her legs vanish as she cowered in fear.

The Doctor knelt down, slowly, and looked the looked the young woman in the eye..

“Where do you dump the bodies?”

“W-What?” She asked nervously.

The Doctor rolled his eyes as spoke more irritably.

“The bodies, the ones used up that aren’t good for morale, where are they deposited?”

“There’s an incinerator,” the woman muttered as she brushed a hand through her red hair. “But there’s no opening in it, just a lever for a latch to dump what’s left.”

“Well you’re going to put me in there and dump me.”

“W-What?”

“You seem to like that word, gets on my nerves personally,” the Doctor turned and walked a few paces away so he could properly gesture the plan. “I don’t want to be here. You’re friends who want me here, the ones with the guns, because they always have guns, want me to stay. And here I am, no gun, no tools, and one friend who needs my help. So please, be impressed that I’m saying please and then get me out of here.”

The scientist was starting to regain her composure. She had been used to kinds of things that went on even though she heard nothing but noises. The less she knew, the better her chances but this would put her right on the path of getting noticed.

“They’ll kill me if I help you escape.”

 “Only if I live,” the Doctor said with a sigh. “And I don’t plan to.”

The scientist was right about to ask ‘what’ but stopped herself for some shred of intellectual dignity. She knew just structurally that nothing could survive the twenty foot drop into the old ravine. But this stranger, he had a look in his eye, the kind earned by being one of the rare few that death thinks twice before coming to collect, the kind of man who survived no matter what.

For awhile and some afterwards, Katherine Valentine wondered what she helped survive that day.

They were able to make it look like an ambush. The Doctor skulked about as though he didn’t know where he was going which was the exact opposite. Katherine followed slightly, adamant about keeping an eye on the Doctor he made his way closer to the incinerator. Once inside the room, they saw the infamous lever on top of a console and two massive doors that would close shut but now wafted a corrosive smell of death and decay. The Doctor leaned over and eyed the cadavers, glaring at the clear signs of cruelty before their final moments and silently thanked whatever luck he had garnered that Clara was apparently not part of the pile..Katherine came up behind him, hands raised nervously as she no doubt was putting her life before a complete strangers. She hoped he hadn’t been lying.

“I’m sorry.” She muttered before her hands shoved the Doctor inside.

Katherine then ran over to the lever and slammed her whole into just so she couldn’t hesitate. She cried slightly as the latch opened below and tried her hardest to ignore the thud a second later. Katherine slipped to the floor as armed forces entered and ignored her frail form as they instead focused on the pile below. She heard one of the speak into a radio, missing every word except for the one that broke her heart.

“Prisoner deceased.”

At the bottom of the ravine the Doctor wondered in his final moments why he had been so stupid. But his mind flashed back to the Tardis, their abductor knew how to get on a Tardis. This meant among other things that his usual tactics couldn’t be used. The biggest problem with time travel when using so many forms was both the possibility of running into your former/latter selves and also the possibility that someone else was more familiar with the new face. The last one would spoil this desperate trick, everyone knew what the Doctor looked like but through great pain that fact could be altered.

The shock hadn’t damaged him enough to keep the regeneration energy from being active. Trick of the Time Lord, the change was initiated either by instinct or through extreme circumstances. He carefully dragged himself out of the bodies away from prying eyes above if any and focused. Golden bright energy would alert them to his location and plan but regeneration didn’t need to be a light show to work. So he kept it at a dim glow, a lit candle outside on a windy night. The image made him smile slightly, it sounded like hope which for once didn’t sound so childish. He saw his reflection in the a puddle of murky water, the last time he would ever have to bother with this face. He sent one last message to himself.

“Listen to me, whatever happens, don’t forget what we do. I am the Doctor, I save everyone I can. So whatever I got to be to do that, promise me, be someone who can help…” his last words trailed off as the energy swarmed over his body.

His pain vanished, like peeling dead skin, and the cough due to the ashes on the ground sounded lighter. Everything seemed to have been stretched and twisted a bit. The bodies made it difficult to figure out what had changed but the Doctor quickly realized some rather obvious changes. After a quick run over with now smaller hands, the Doctor rushed over to a larger pond in the hollow ravine and looked. The ashes made it hard to figure out a lot in terms of features but one thing was certain, the Doctor now had a woman’s face.

She looked up, getting used to how… snug… the suit was in certain spots but ignored it as she glared at the massive facility. Inside was Clara Oswald and some answer to who head the skills to breach the Tardis. As the regeneration fully settled the Doctor found the first words that embodied both the promise and confusion that needed to be sorted out.

“This had better bloody work.” At least she could sound annoyed and that was a blessing in any dark time.

The Doctor stood and carefully made her way from the piles of dead into the slowly dimming night sky beneath three large moons and contemplated how to stay among the living.

(Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor)

(Hayley Atwell as the 13th Doctor).

I’m a writer so… why not put some stories up as well as reviews?

There are many things going in pop culture. The transition of who gets to be the hero becoming a lot more blurred. Agent Carter and the upcoming adventures of Jessica Jones prove that heroics are not gender specific which is significant since there has been an almost decade-long gap since the likes of Buffy, Xena, and Scully where women have stood out as heroes of their own stories even in either a group or duo format.

Word has been circling around the internet about the idea of Hayley Atwell becoming the female incarnation of the Doctor. This in response to a question on Twitter to the actress about if she would want to appear on Doctor Who that she want to BE Doctor Who.

Now I must stress this, I really like Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. He brings the role a sense of being a veteran, the hearts and cunning are still there but he also knows what must be done and is a lot more direct. I hope we get many seasons and yes it is a little rude to the show and actor that the largest chunk of news about a show is when they might replace the current lead, and even though that will eventually happen it would be reasonable to at least wait until Capaldi’s had a few more seasons before spit balling a possible replacement.

If the Doctor could regenerate into a woman, it should be handled in a way that respects the character and is given the careful focus it deserves for the sake of the show and actress so that a series lasting 50 years is not shown to be doing something for ratings more than the question that guides all stories: What if?

So, while the internet might rage over how shows might change and how those changes could reflect new directions in pop culture, I am going to write a multi-part stories to answer how I feel this “What if?” question would be answered depending on if such changes are achieved.

The first of these will be a multi-part story featuring the idea of the 13th Doctor as being portrayed by Hayley Atwell, because she’s awesome.

Stay tuned.

Bring on the Reviews

Hi, my name is Andrew and I love film/television/pop culture and above all writing/telling stories.

It’s been a few years but with the insanity of pop culture, it might be nice to do some work in analyzing the movies and television shows coming out.

Things have changed since my last post, the world have become more united and chaotic at the same speed like two bullet trains trying to co-exist or collide and still undecided on which option might suit their needs.

Still, pop culture has a way of reflecting how the world has grown and for that reason it’s a very good time to take a look at how the stories in film, television, and literature can reflect the world even with space alien werewolves (that must be a thing and I shall seek it proudly).

For anyone unsure of what might be worth seeing or checking out on your own time, I hope this blog helps a bit.

Enjoy 🙂

The Year of the Super Heroes Part 2

It took three years but phase 2 has wrapped up for the Marvel Movie Universe.

In May of 2015, the Avengers will assemble once again to save the world and possibly rock the world like they did in 2012.

Phase 3 starts up literally two months after that, with Paul Rudd joining the list of actors who have done a super hero movie.

With Benedict Cumberbatch going to become Stephen Strange and introduce magic to the Marvel Movie Universe, the superhero films are going strong into phase 3.

Kick Ass 2 (Film Review)

An excellent follow up to the first one with a combination of action, humor, and drama.

The growth of Kick Ass And Hit Girl as characters is well done. Dave works to become a better hero while Mindy tries to lead a normal life and the way they interact with people helps expand on their personalities.

The changes from the comic in this adaption make the film more enjoyable and less vulgar than the core material. It’s gritty without trying to make it charming or entertaining,  you sympathize with the characters more when they’re vulnerable and cheer louder with their victories. 

The action is strong, the drama heartfelt, and the humor entertainingly insane; a very excellent sequel.

5 out 5 Stars (Expands on the first film’s winning qualities and brings new elements that bring impressive character growth over overzealous violence.) 

Elysium (Film Review)

Class warfare in space.

It is a world where the poor live upon a polluted Earth desolated by overpopulation and disease from poor healthcare. Above Earth is a space station called Elysium where the prestigious rich white majority live in immortal oblivious bliss due to superior healthcare.

The poor struggle to reach Elysium for all the things the rich take for granted. But a shadowy government oppresses and kills the people of Earth while treating them as a sub-species. 

The status of poor vs rich is strong in this film but it is not really good vs evil. It is actually humanity vs the oppressive status quo spawned in dystopian societies. While they don’t go into specific detail beyond how everything perfect is in Elysium, it gets its point across about who to root for.

The audience doesn’t learn much about the characters, even Matt Damon’s character doesn’t have much going for him in terms of personality despite the focus on his back story. The other characters filled their roles but didn’t have the screen time to really express anything more and in a story that fixates on society, this is something that is regretful when the human aspect individuality isn’t shown.

The action was strong to the point that violence extremely gory at times but it had a purpose. You know whose good and whose bad which is good to know in a story that is overtly ambiguous. 

4 out of 5 Stars (Strong action, acting, and a character-driven story help overlook a lack of characterization and oversimplification of how the rich and poor see one another. A good film that plays as a tamer, safer District 9 with just as strong a story.)

The Wolverine (Film Review)

Wolverine’s adventure in Japan gave the character something the previous films failed to do, an actual character.

He is more than the angst-driven powerhouse who is expected to roar while performing over the top violence; this is a film that allows Logan to settle into the story and not just the action.

A story that allows Wolverine to be a core part but not have everything revolve around him. This is demonstrated with the language barrier where only certain lines in Japanese are translated for the convenience of the audience since Logan doesn’t understand Japanese ,strange considering the fact that he’s over 100.

Rila Fukushima does a good job as Yukio. She’s not Wolverine’s sidekick; she holds her own and helps the hero as a friend. The overall plot and the place where Wolverine is at in the time of this film, mourning the loss of Jean Grey by his hand, Wolverine gets the chance to interact on a much more personal level with the characters especially Mariko played by Tao Okamoto.

This was a great character-driven film that gave Wolverine a proper solo tale in his rebirth more than in his origin film. Added with that success is the hint that Wolverine’s grand adventures have only just begun.

5 out 5 Stars (Strong action, good drama, and a story that will keep you curious how it will all turn out and leave every fan of Wolverine proud with the grand return of everyone’s favorite X-Man.)