Tag Archives: batman

Movie Review – The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Na na na na na na na na Batman!

VGRF here with a review of The Lego Batman Movie.

OBLIGATORY SPOILER ALERT.

Oh, 3.5 readers.  I’ve been enjoying myself so much since I broke up with that loser, BQB.  I have taken over the BQB HQ and now I get to go to movies without having to sit next to that nerd.

As it turns out, The Lego Movie was not a flash in the pan success.  Lego Batman is just as awesome.

The plot?  The Joker (Zach Galifinakis) is dismayed when Batman (Will Arnett) informs him that he isn’t the worst villain in his life.  Thus, the Joker goes out of his way to prove he is Batman’s worst villain and all manner of shenanigans ensue.

Along the way, Batman adopts Robin (Michael Cera) who completes his look by ripping off his pants and teams up with new Gotham PD Commissioner Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (Rosario Dawson). Of course, no Batman film would be complete without Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).

For me, the best laughs came when Joker enlists every last Batman villain, including some of the lesser knowns (the ketchup and mustard shooting Condiment Man, for example).  Joker invites the audience to Google whether or not these villains were real and not just made up to poke fun at the Batman franchise.

Having no life, I did the Google search when I got home and low and behold, there really was a Condiment Man.

It’s fun for the kids but there’s also a lot of action…well, as much action as a movie about Lego toys can provide.  Also, it’s a non-stop parody of all of the past Batman movies as jokes abound about the Caped Crusader’s exploits, ranging from the latest Dark Knight films, to the 1980s and 1990s films, to the more campy 1960s series.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Fun for the whole family.  I don’t have a family so I took Bookshelf Q. Battle Dog.

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Movie Trailer – The LEGO Batman Movie

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

The LEGO movie really took everyone by surprise.

They’re back now with LEGO Batman.

The trailer looks great.  It’s Batman for kids, but it looks like they’ll get into some of Batman’s issues and make fun of him.

The part that made me laugh was Commissioner Gordon (Barbara Gordon this time around) proposes to work with Batman.

Batman doesn’t like that, assumedly because he prefers to be an outlaw.

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Will Suicide Squad Be Good?

Should we judge it by Batman vs. Superman, that horrible stink burger of a film, or will it break out and be awesome on its own?

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Batman vs. Superman vs. My Bookshelf

Holy Crap 3.5 Readers.

I walk away from my magic bookshelf for 3.5 seconds and this happens:

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Enough you two!  Settle your differences and get down to the important business of punching Lex Luthor in the face.

Is there a battle on your bookshelf?  Tweet the photographic evidence to @bookshelfbattle #bookshelfbattle and I might just share it with my 3.5 readers.

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Batman vs. Superman!

Hey 3.5 readers.

It’s here.  It’s finally here.  The fight we’ve all been waiting for.  The Dark Knight vs. The Man of Steel.

Who will win?  No really, who do you think will win?

(As you can see, there is a “bookshelf battle” in the header of this fine blog in honor of this film.  Batman can take a punch like a champ.)

You have to root for Batman, right?  He’s the undercard in this bout.  Superman is an immortal quasi-God figure whereas Batman is a guy with good training and a lot of money. (An endless supply of money being the closest thing to a super power in reality).

I can’t wait to see it this weekend.  It will mark the beginning of DC’s attempt to recreate Marvel’s success with its Avengers movies.

Here’s a thought.  This is a big, summer blockbuster style movie and here it is, out so early…in March.

What does that mean for the future of movies?

Here’s what I think as a movie nerd.  Movie theaters are facing increasing competition from the Internet.  With the economy being down and ticket/popcorn prices high, a lot of people just decide to stay home and watch Netflix.

I can see that movie theaters are constantly coming up with new ways to get butts in seats. 3-D is one.  I’m seeing more theaters build stadium seating and put in extra comfy reclining chairs.  Beer and alcohol (watch Batman drunk!) and so on.

These big movies coming out earlier and earlier is just another way for movie theaters to stay competitive.  After all, if you love Batman and Superman, you’ll make the trip to see them on the big screen, right?

So this seems like a good thing.  Big movies earlier in the year because there just isn’t enough time to fit them all in during the summer.

Have you ever gone to the movies in January and wondered, “Holy Shit.  January movies are godawful.  This must be the time of year they release all the films that got the green light because someone had incriminating photos of a movie producer in a compromising position.”

I always wonder that.  Further, I always wonder, why can’t every movie be awesome?  Of course, I realize awesome is in the eye of the beholder.  What I find awesome and another finds awesome are two different things.  There’s enough room in the entertainment world for everyone.

Long story short, I think it will mean that eventually…bad ass movies will be shown in January.

Batman or Superman – who do you pick? Leave your pick in the comments.

SPOILERS – Batman is Bruce Wayne and he became a vigilante to cope with seeing his parents gunned down outside a theater as a child.  Also, Superman is really Clark Kent of the Metropolis Daily Planet.  His space pod crashed on a farm when he was a kid and a nice farm couple took him in and raised him.

That was a joke.

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Comic Con 2015 – Suicide Squad Trailer

Hey 3.5 Readers,

BQB here with some thoughts on the Suicide Squad trailer:

The official story is this trailer was only intended for Comic Con but DC decided to release it because nerds had pirated it and distributed it so they figured they might as well put out a quality version.

If you’re a nerd who isn’t in the know, the Suicide Squad is basically DC’s version of Dirty Dozen.

Based on a DC comic series of the same name, the government forces/recruits the DC villains (mostly Batman’s enemies) to use their evil powers for good, sending them on high-risk, practically suicidal missions.

Overall, the footage looks great and Jared Leto, in my opinion, looks like he’s going to be a better Joker than I’d originally given him credit for.

Like most geeks, I’m a big Harley Quinn fan.  If you’re not a nerd, Harley is the Joker’s girlfriend who got her start in the 1990’s Batman: The Animated Series.

Why do we love Harley?  Because she’s so hilariously over the top.  Now, I get that when there’s an attempt to make a serious movie, she can’t be running around in a full harlequin outfit with a massive novelty hammer to bonk people over the head with but come on, at least do the “Harley” voice.

Judging by this footage, they movie’s going with a half-powered Harley.  Harley at 50%.  She’s sort of got the voice a little, she’s a bit out there, but she’s not bouncing off the walls.

All I can say is if she doesn’t say “Hiya Puddin!” or call the Joker “Mr. J,” there’s going to be a nerd revolt.

DC’s definitely trying to pull a Marvel.  Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both come out next year and assumably it will all lead up to the Justice League giving evildoers what for.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Comic Con 2015 – Batman vs. Superman – Dawn of Justice (Featuring Wonder Woman)

This trailer shows more of what we can expect.  Batman fears Superman’s power and vows to destroy him.  Plus, our first peak at Wonder Woman.

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Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer

Happy Tuesday 3.5 readers!

BQB here, sharing the clip of the 2016 blockbuster – Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Movieclips Trailers

There’s been so much speculation that this movie will stink.  Me?  I always had a feeling that the people behind this flick knew they were taking a big bite with this one and assumed they wouldn’t be doing so if they didn’t think they’d be able to chew it.

In my opinion, the trailer looks great.

The apparent premise?  Superman has God-like powers that make people afraid.  Those in fear include Batman who, presuming the Man of Steel poses a threat to the world, decides to take the notorious tights wearer on.

We can only hope the film ends with them patching up their differences and singing a hearty round of kum-bai-yah.  After all, they’re both good guys.

But if someone has to be the victor, my money’s on Batman.

Well, at least I’m rooting for the Dark Knight.

Good Old Superman – the superhero who started it all.  People love to root for him and over the years, he’s become a symbol for “Truth, Justice, and the American way.”

He’s also hard to identify with.  Handsome, flawless, chiseled – shoot him and he spits out the bullet with his teeth.  Set him on fire and he doesn’t burn.  Blow him up and he comes back for more.  He can fly, run fast, lift enormous and heavy objects, turn back time, shoot lasers out of his eyes.  He has every power.

Unless you chuck a rare piece of Kryptonite at him, he’s going to eat you for breakfast and therefore, while fun to cheer him on, it’s hard to look at Superman and say, “there’s a fella like me!”

Batman?  Well, his powers are derived from money, intellect, and drive.  Money is obviously the big factor as it affords him the ability to spend a vast repository of wealth on his vigilante persona.

So, yeah, you might argue it’s also hard to relate to Batman except for the fact that Batman, though he probably wouldn’t budge at the sight of Kryptonite, could otherwise die in a multitude of ways!

Superman has always proven to be a difficult character to portray on the big screen.  Here you have a character with so much power and one would think the ultimate foil would be an equally powerful bad guy.

Yet, for some reason the 1970’s and 80’s movies pitted him up against Gene Hackman’s caricature of a criminal mastermind.  Though fun to watch, Lex Luthor was historically, at least in the comic book world, a more intelligent, cold, and calculating foe.  So many old Superman films and yet the hero to end all heroes rarely met a baddie his equal.

2013’s Man of Steel sought to remedy that with General Zod, a fellow citizen of Krypton who, like Superman, also becomes blessed with super powers when under Earth’s yellow sun.  In fact, I’d argue the old film starring Terrence Stamp was the best of that series because it was the only one where Superman fought a challenger with similar powers.

Man of Steel, to this blogger, wasn’t the dud that other critics labeled it.  However, I have to admit, when I saw Superman and Zod smashing their way through an IHOP, a 7-11 and other chain stores, my reaction was, “Wow, that is a lot of product placement.”

Since that was my only issue with Man of Steel, I assume I’ll have a fun time watching  Batman and Superman, as long as Bruce doesn’t drive the batmobile through an Outback Steakhouse or something.

Were you skeptical of Ben Affleck as Batman?  Admittedly, I was.  Actually, I was on the fence.  On the one hand, Affleck has given us Gigli.  On the other hand, he also gave us Argo.  He’s given us more pops than flops, so I assumed he wouldn’t have taken the role if he didn’t think he could deliver, and thus far this trailer proves me right.

Will DC finally catch up to Marvel’s box office prowess?  We’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

What say you fellow nerds?

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Movie Review – Birdman (Or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 2014

Or, Hollywood is Sorry for Pushing Crap on You, But It’s Kind of Your Fault.

In 1989, Michael Keaton starred as the first Batman to not suck.  That role made his career.  I’d argue that it didn’t really define him though.  He’s been in zany comedies and serious dramas, performing expertly in both.

Yet, as a former Batman who’s ditched the cowl to seek out more serious roles, one is left to wonder how much of Birdman is semi-autobiographical.  Does Keaton identify with Riggan?  Only Keaton could truly answer that.

Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a big time actor who, twenty years ago, played a feathery comic book super hero in a series of Birdman films.  They were special effects extravaganzas that made him a lot of money and were big at the box office.

Movieclips Trailers

Today, Riggan is trying to leave his past behind him and gain recognition as a serious actor.  He’s broke, having sunk a fortune into a Broadway play adaptation of a work by author Raymond Carver.  And true to the style of a play, the cameras follow the actors on and off stage, with very few cut scenes throughout the film.

Actors aren’t as happy as you’d think, there’s intense pressure, you can’t please everyone, and whatever you do, someone is criticizing you.  You try to produce art (i.e. Raymond Carver) but alas, people just want fluff (i.e. Birdman).  Even worse, once you “sell-out” and take a role like “Birdman,” the “true artist” community will shun you and refuse to consider your attempts at artistry, even if they are worthy of notoriety.

As consumers of entertainment, should we push for real, serious, dramatic art?  Plays and movies where there’s all kinds of gut wrenching dialog to make you think?  Or should we just have fun and watch Birdman fight bad guys?

Are purveyors of comic book movies making us all stupid?  Are creators of heady dramas just too full of themselves?

These questions are asked, and never really answered, though the movie serves as a chronicle of one actor’s attempt to produce serious art only to be stymied at every turn.

Riggan’s foil, played by Ed Norton, is veteran broadway thespian Mike Shiner.  Recruited for Riggan’s play, Shiner is a pretentious limelight hog and though he claims to be all about the art, he’s ultimately just as obnoxious as any movie star.

Meanwhile, Riggan has to deal with a snooty play review critic, who vows to shut Riggan’s play down before even seeing it, simply because she does not believe someone who stooped low enough to play a cartoon superhero is deserving of praise for attempting real art.

In other words, if the entertainment world is at war, then it’s a battle between the big blockbuster fluff eaters and the holier than thou tweed jacket wearers.  Both think they’re the smartest people in the room.  Neither is willing to meet the other half way.

Emma Stone, who plays Riggan’s daughter, Sam, earns her Oscar nomination with this speech:

TEXT OF SAM/EMMA STONE’S “RELEVANT SPEECH” FROM BIRDMAN

RIGGAN:  It’s important to me! Alright? Maybe not to you, or your cynical friends whose only ambition is to go viral. But to me . . . To me . . this is — God. This is my career, this is my chance to do some work that actually means something.

SAM: Means something to who? You had a career before the third comic book movie, before people began to forget who was inside the bird costume. You’re doing a play based on a book that was written 60 years ago, for a thousand rich old white people whose only real concern is gonna be where they go to have their cake and coffee when it’s over. And let’s face it, Dad, it’s not for the sake of art. It’s because you want to feel relevant again. Well, there’s a whole world out there where people fight to be relevant every day. And you act like it doesn’t even exist! Things are happening in a place that you willfully ignore, a place that has already forgotten you. I mean, who are you? You hate bloggers. You make fun of Twitter. You don’t even have a Facebook page. You’re the one who doesn’t exist. You’re doing this because you’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter. And you know what? You’re right. You don’t. It’s not important. You’re not important. Get used to it.

I don’t know about you, but after I listened to Emma rant away on that one, I came close to shutting down this blog. (Obviously I didn’t, because, you know, nothing can stop me from my one a day post challenge.

Still, Sam’s right.   We’re all just shouting in the wind, trying to be relevant, trying to matter.  And at the end of the day, after movie goers walk out of the theater, after play watchers go out for cake, after novel readers put a book down, and after my 3.5 regular readers go on to read another blog…how relevant are we?  As it turns out…not very.

Fame is fleeting and celebrities just aren’t as happy as we think.

Throughout the film, Riggan is taunted by Birdman himself – a gravelly voice that sounds more like Christian Bale’s version of Batman than Keaton’s.  Birdman is the voice of commercialism, urging Riggan to abandon his efforts at serious drama and sell-out – do a reality TV show, make a Birdman comeback movie.  Forget the hoity toy stuff and just rake in the dough.

And honestly, whether Birdman is right or wrong is left up to the viewer’s interpretation.

Big surprise of the film – Zach Galifianakis can actually act.  He plays Riggan’s agent and rather than be that same old obliviously rude cartoon character he plays in every movie, he actually comes across as a competent, reliable professional, someone you’d actually want to represent you if you were an actor.

At one point, Shakepeare’s “Life is a Tale Told by an Idiot” speech from MacBeth is prominently featured.  If you want to know more about that, you can read expert commentary from world renowned literary expert Bookshelf Q. Battler.

It’s a film that starts a dialog about what we, the entertainment consuming public, want from Hollywood.  Because, as it turns out, if enough of us want it, they’ll give it to us.  If we show them that high-falutin, chin-stroking, navel gazing, thought provoking dramas will make money, then Tinseltown will send them our way.  Yet, if we keep buying tickets for Birdman-esque blockbusters, then we’ll get more comic book movies.  It really is up to us.

And it’s also up to us to determine whether or not we should feel guilty about choosing comic book-esque movies over drama.  Personally, I don’t.  I’m a nerd.  I love comic book movies.  I love hoity toity stuff too.  There’s room in the world for both.  One need not cancel the other out.

And sure, the public often complains that Hollywood isn’t trying that hard, but then we pay more attention to viral videos, tweets, and gossipy nonsense than serious efforts at art.  At one point in the film, Riggan’s stroll through Times Square in his underpants gets more attention through social media than his play ever does.

We all want to be relevant.  We’re all clawing over each other to grab our piece of the public’s limited attention span.  We’re all idiots.  Can’t we all just calm down, take a deep breathe, stop crawling over each other for a few fleeting minutes of fame, and take a moment to enjoy friends, family, and the things that actually matter?  At the end of the film, Riggan frets more about not spending enough time with his daughter than he does about his fizzling acting career.

Heck, had I not promised my 3.5 regular readers a year’s worth of posts, I might seriously consider packing it in myself.

Because if a guy who was paid buckets of money to dress up like a cartoon bird hero can’t be happy, then what luck do any of us have?

I predict this film will win best picture.  Keaton’s had a long career and has yet to be graced with an academy award, so he’s overdue.  Ironically, it’s a movie about a man trying to get past commercialism and make some serious art made by a man who’s trying to get past commercialism and make some serious art.

The Academy will no doubt love its message – “Hey, we actors aren’t as happy as you’d think, we really struggle to make you all happy!”

And finally, I’d just like to say, I think Michael Keaton is awesome.  He made me laugh in movies like The Dream Team and Beetlejuice.  And I remember seeing him in the first Batman and I thought, “Wow, Hollywood picked a guy that isn’t all buff and muscle-bound to play a super hero and he did an awesome job.  Maybe there’s hope for us nerds.”  So I hope tomorrow night is his night to walk home with a little gold man.  (I mean an Oscar, not an actual little gold man).

Did you see it?  What did you think?  Flap your bird wings to the comment section and let me know.

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Batman Day Carols

Today is Batman Day. No, seriously, it really is. July 23rd has been declared a day to honor the Dark Knight – everyone’s favorite one-percenter crime fighter.

What’s a holiday without a carol? Here’s a couple I whipped up:

Oh Batman Day!

Sung to the tune of Oh, Christmas Tree!

Oh Batman Day! Oh Batman Day!
You never let the Joker get away.
Punch the Penguin, in his stupid face,
Vicki Vale, you will embrace.
Oh Batman Day! Oh Batman Day!
How lovely art thine Batcave!

The Caped Crusader’s Coming to Town

Sung to the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Oh, you better not cheat! You better not steal!
You better not kill or act like a heal!
The Caped Crusader’s coming to town!

He sees you when you’re naughty
He knows when you’ve been bad
He’ll chase in the Batmobile
His car is really rad!

Oh you better not rob, or make people cry!
You better be good
I’m tellin you why!
The Caped Crusader’s coming to town!

We would have also accepted:

Oh Little Town of Gotham

Silent Bat, Holy Bat

The Little Drummer Bat

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells…but that’s been done before. Can’t take credit for that one.

Robin the Yellow Caped Sidekick

Deck the Cave

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