Tag Archives: will smith

BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Men in Black (1997)

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Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Something about watching MIB: International made me nostalgic for the good old days when the MIB films were first released.  I watched the first last night and the second tonight, so here’s my review of the original with a review of the sequel coming later.

At the time, this movie was super original and it broke some barriers by blending science fiction with comedy and knocking both out of the park.

On a personal level, it reminds me of my high school days, a time that was happy and safe and my life was ahead of me and anything was possible.  Sad that I squandered it all to become a blog proprietor with only 3.5 readers but oh well.  What can you do?

In the first film, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is the top veteran agent in MIB.  His partner gets old and accordingly, gets his memory wiped.  Looking for new blood, K recruits an NYPD officer (a young Will Smith in all his glory) to become Agent J.

As Agent J, Smith conveys the sense of surprise we all feel as we enter the MIB world for the first time.  Confusion and awe of a myriad of humorous and or scary things about the world around us, all revolving around the fact that we aren’t alone in the universe.  We aren’t even alone on this planet, for alien beings live among us in human suits, animal suits, dog suits and what have you.  It’s all the best kept secret there ever was and MIB keeps the beans from being spilled so humans can go about their lives without fear of the constant threat of alien invasion.

A plot unfolds involving the fate of, well, not our galaxy but a galaxy.  The Arkellians want to save it and a bug monster who turns a farmer (Vincent D’Onofrio) into a poorly fitted skin suit are at odds over it.  To the rescue comes Agents K and J, with the help of mortician Laurel (Lindo Fiorentino) who K has mind erased way too many times because, let’s face it, those alien bodies keep piling up.

Feels like just yesterday I saw this and now so much of my life is gone.  Sigh.  So much suckage.

This is Will Smith’s best work and I remember being young and watching him run down that alien in the beginning of the movie and thinking I’d love to be that fast when I grow up and now I’m old and wish I could be like that so I guess Will’s lead a pretty enviable life.

There’s a bittersweet scene in which J and K pull over an alien couple who are on their way out of New York City.  They’re on a rural road.  K is outside the car, questioning the driver.  Alas, the wife goes into labor.  J sticks his head into the backseat to help and before you know it, he’s being slammed all over by an octopus tentacle, presumably having popped out of the lady’s nether regions.

It’s hysterical because it’s all happening in the background.  K and the driver chat, totally oblivious to J’s plight.

But it’s also sad because the Twin Towers are so prominently seen in the background.  Damn you, Al Qaeda!

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Bright (2017)

Orcs, elves and humans, oh my!

BQB here with a review of the fantasy buddy cop thriller, Bright.

Netflix continues to wage war on conventional cinema, streaming a summer blockbuster type movie, helmed by veteran sci-fi action star Will Smith.

BQB here with a review of the fantasy buddy cop thriller, Bright.

Netflix continues to wage war on conventional cinema, streaming a summer blockbuster type movie, helmed by veteran sci-fi action star Will Smith.

In alternate world of this film, humans, orcs and elves co-exist in the modern world of today.  Despite historic tensions due to past conflicts, the three races try, more or less, to get along, though biases and suspicions continue.

Life is not easy for Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), an orc cop who straddles the lines of two worlds and is hated by the residents of both of them.  Orcs, relegated to being impoverished, inner city dwelling second class citizens, despise him because he’s a cop and orcs feel that cops unfairly target them.  Cue scene of an orc getting wailed on in a savage act of police brutality.

Humans aren’t found of Jakoby either.  Orcs, according to human sensibilities, aren’t pleasant to look at and they took the wrong side in an ancient war.  They basically view him as an untrustworthy animal.

Jakoby is just Jakoby, a normal dude who, despite his orc-ish appearance, is just trying to make it in the world.  He likes burritos and giving his partner health tips and other dorky things.  But depending who you ask, he’s a pussy (according to the orcs) or a beast (according to the humans.)

Ward (Will Smith), has an equally tough time as Jakoby’s partner.  On the one hand, human cops demand that he find a way to trip the orc up and run him off the force.  On the other, he feels that bond of loyalty that any cop feels towards his partner.

Against this backdrop, an elf bright (i.e. a rare user of magic, Lucy Fry as “Tikka”) is on the run and in possession of a magic wand.  In this world, a wand is considered the equivalent of a loose nuclear weapon, something that if it were to fall in the wrong hands, could be used to unleash death and destruction.

The wand is valuable as it can grant whoever wields it untold power, so naturally, the various groups who want it begin stacking up.  Mexican and orcish gangsters, corrupt cops, Federal agents and rogue elves all hunt Jakoby and Ward as they seek to off the dynamic duo and abscond with the wand.

I have to say, the negative reviews of this film are undeserved.  Here’s the deal.  THIS FILM IS <GASP> ORIGINAL!  It’s a new idea.  It’s fresh.  It features a childish concept (i.e. orcs and elves and magic) and infuses it with adult themes (i.e. swears, over the top violence, gunfights and lots and lots of naked titties.)

A Hollywood suit would have been within his rights to put the kibosh on this project for fear that it wouldn’t find an audience.  Kids who like magic can’t come and adults who like violence and titties might be turned off by magic.

But this film is good and it proves that Netflix will persevere as an outlet for films that are original, experimental, on the edge and can’t find a home elsewhere.

The film serves as an interesting vehicle for dialog about racial issues.  Ironically, the main human in the film, Ward, a black man, must fight his own internal biases against orcs (he was once shot by one so now trusts none of them) in order to save the day with his orc parter.

Good writing.  A lot of showing instead of telling.  Good world building.  The rules have been established so sequels are entirely possible.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Suicide Squad (2016)

It’s here…and its awesome.

Forget all those shitty reviews. Losers and malcontents, I say!

BQB here with a review of the movie that nerds the world over have been looking forward to – Suicide Squad.

SPOILERS, SPOILERS AND MORE SPOILERS BELOW.

So back in March, Warner Brothers released the smelly ass stink burger that was Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Oh it was so awful. No life having nerds such as myself were infuriated.  What a crap fest.

It led us to believe that the DC Universe was in bad hands.  We started to wonder if Suicide Squad would be just as bad.

The professional reviewers all seem to think so. Personally, I wonder if their still holding onto some of that B v. S. resentment.

I know I am. I cry myself to sleep about it often. “They both have mothers named Martha!  What fabulous writing!”

Boo! It stinks!

I won’t say this movie makes up for Batman vs. Superman, but it was pretty spectacular and one of the best films I’ve seen this summer.

The Setup

In the wake of Batman vs. Superman (which stunk), the government has grown concerned that another all-powerful being might arrive on the scene and not share Superman’s kind demeanor.

Thus, government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles a team of the worst super villains to have ever crossed Batman’s path (all imprisoned at the start of the film.)

The film relies heavily on flashbacks to tell the backstories behind all of the villains.  Flashbacks are always better if used sparingly, though with such a large cast, I can see why it was necessary.

By the end of the film, a dastardly all-powerful being does indeed arrive on the scene and the team of villains, under the control of Col. Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnamon) must save the day.

Harley Quinn

Harley has long been one of DC fans’ most favorite yet under utilized villains.  She got her start in Batman: The Animated Series and ever since, we nerds have long wondered if she’d ever get her big moment on screen.

With an accent that’s a cross between bimbo and New Yorker, female clown Harley dotes on her boyfriend, the Joker, referring to him as  “Puddin'” and “Mr. J.”

Ahh.  A nerd’s dream woman…well, if you ignore the psychotic tendencies.

The trailers made it look like the producers were going to scale Margot Robbie’s portrayal back – opting to go with just a sort of a not so bright female character but the trailers did not do the film justice.

Margot nailed. She’s totally Harley.  She’s got the voice, the demeanor, the twisted personality, she’s got it all down.

She really is the best of this movie.

Batman and the Joker as Bit Players?

The Joker (Jared Leto) had a large role for sure and Jared played it well. He went with a crazy clown mobster as opposed to Heath Ledger’s “I just want to laugh while the world burns” character from The Dark Knight.

Batman (Ben Affleck) only appeared in a few scenes and those were only flashbacks.

I’m not used to seeing a movie where Joker and the Bats aren’t the main attraction. It was surreal.

If anything, Will Smith as expert marksman/contract killer Deadshot carried the film as the team’s unofficial leader.

So Many Characters

Too many characters can potentially ruin a film. You’ve got two hours at best, an audience with a limited attention span and you have to somehow juggle it with the need to make every character interesting.

It can be done. Ironically, Batman vs. Superman only had to make Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman interesting and the peeps behind that flick failed and failed miserably. Damn that movie sucked.

In contrast, the squad in this film is large.  Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) are just a few of the many characters I can think of off the top of my head.

Seriously, they’re all great but I don’t have enough time to cover them all. I mean, shit, there’s a guy called Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney).  That’s his power. He throws damn boomerangs.

Each character gets his/her moment in the sun and with a film with a scale this grand that’s all one can really hope for.

Humor/Music

I love a film that can lighten the mood with a good joke and the pairing of classic rock and rap with several scenes left me laughing. It’s hard to explain. You just have to watch it.

PG-13 – Seriously?

I’m surprised this film pulled off a PG-13 rating.

I don’t recall any swears, at least no serious ones. There were no F bombs.  No sex (although there are some sexual references).

Yet, the body count is massive and its a blood and guts fest throughout.  Guns, guns and more guns with someone getting shot every two seconds.

Look, I’m an adult and a nerd so I enjoy a movie like this but…I mean do what you want.  Me personally, I wouldn’t take a kid to see it.

It felt R rated to me.  I’m not complaining, but the PG-13 rating leaves me wondering why a film can be filled with people getting shot every two seconds but as long as it doesn’t have boobs or an F bomb its cool to bring the teens.

OK. I’m done being Mr. Old Complaining Man. But seriously, get off my lawn.

Complaint/Observation

A lot of time is spent in the film on keeping the villains under control. Flagg is their babysitter, making sure they don’t escape.  And as the film progresses, they, dare I say it, the villains grow consciences, grow as people/beings, develop actual concern that if they don’t stop the big bad then no one will and perhaps this is their one shot at redemption for their sins.

That’s great and that’s definitely the way to go to create the optimal crowd pleasing movie. I can’t really knock it.

Still, I wonder if it would have been possible to add more of the “how does a villain carry out a noble mission” angle.  Do villains really care about collateral damage? Do they care about doing it right or just getting it done?  And wouldn’t a villain gladly leave everyone else to croak if they could save themselves?

Eh, many of these questions are explored but overall, suffice it to say, if there’s a sequel, I’d like to see more villainy.  Flagg needs to let them off the leash.

Better Times Ahead for DC Based Movies?

For me, this film was a much needed positive sign in the wake of the turd fest that was Batman vs. Superman. Did I mention it sucked?

I wonder if maybe Warner Brothers took on too much at once.  Like the student that enrolls in too many honors classes at the same time, they turned in a F movie with Batman vs. Superman (oh how it stunk) and an A film with Suicide Squad.

One wonders why they didn’t slow production down a bit and work on putting out one A movie a year.

No, I don’t actually have to wonder. They knew that even a shitty stink fest like Batman vs. Superman would have stacked the cheddar and damn it, they were right. As much as I complain, they got my money.

But remember that old chestnut “penny wise, pound foolish.”  I’ll never rent and/or watch Batman vs. Superman (because it stinks) again for the rest of my life, but I’ll totally rent Suicide Squad again.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Worth a trip to the theater. Excuse me while I go think about Harley Quinn while I polish my novelty clown mallet.

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