Batman, Ben, and who the f— cares??

So, I went to read my blogs last night and I swear to you it was wall to wall “omg Ben Affleck is the next Batman, oh that sucks so much”.

First of all, the next movie is Batman and Superman together. It’s going to be a mess. DC wants to be as cool as Marvel and work its way towards a Justice League movie franchise. It’s not going to happen. When it was announced at Comic-Con I was like “well, that movie will be too long.”

Anyway, I’m saying the movie is doomed from the start.

But also, why does everyone hate Ben Affleck so much??? Yes, Daredevil was a horrible mess that even left the Rifftrax guys speechless at moments. But that was back in 2007 and Ben’s film career since has been a lot better. I think he has matured as an actors and has a better understanding of the whole process than he did back when he was just a pretty face.

Plus, we all know that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck cannot be successful at the same time and by the time BvS comes out, it should be Ben’s turn again.

In all seriousness though, it comes down to the director and the screenwriter. Unfortunately, it’s the same guy who did Nolan’s I-take-myself-way-too-seriously-so-this-movie-has-to-be-4-hours-long Batman and Man of Steel movies. And Zack I-can-put-your-pretty-comic-book-pictures-on-screen-just-don’t-expect-any-depth-to-them Snyder.

And Michael Keaton before Batman? He he did Beetlejuice, but he also did Mr Mom and Johnny Dangerously. Christian Bale? Be honest, for those of us that weren’t into seeing art films, he was either that kid from Empires of the Sun or that kid from Newsies.

newsies

Ben Affleck’s career is no better/worse than these guys pre-Batman.

Also, for all you people that hate Ben Affleck, you do realize that 50% of this next movie he will most likely be getting punched in the face by Henry Cavill, right?

game thoughts: Assassin’s Creed II

ac2boxart

Assassin’s Creed II was the free game for Xbox Gold members in July. I had attempted Assassin’s Creed way back in my early gaming days, before I really understood how to navigate open worlds, and all I remembered about that game was getting lost and getting killed. A lot. So I was a little hesitant to try AC2 at first. But it is one of my friend’s favorite games of all time so I wanted to give it a chance.

Totally worth it. AC2 may have been a free game, but I plan on spending money later this year to pick up both of direct sequels and will most likely get AC3 along the way.

You do not need to have played AC to enjoy AC2, though it probably helps. I had played enough of the first game to know that Desmond is the ancestor of the assassin’s and there is a mysterious group using his memories to explore the past. AC2 picks up where AC ended, with Desmond escaping with Kristen Bell (look, I can’t remember the character’s name, I just know KB voiced her…which is why I bought the first game back in the day). She tells him that the people holding them before are EVIL and her team is good and then she plugs him back into the Animus to explore a new assassin – Ezio of Italy.

The start of the game is slow going. I almost walked away when I had to play through Infant!Ezio’s birth and make his arms wiggle. But trust me, you want to hang in there. The tutorial/intro is long, yes, but there is SO MUCH STORY to get through and once you are through it, the world is open to you completely. You can either play through the main plot of Ezio’s “memories” or you can go side-questing to your hearts content. Each city is full of hidden treasures (buy maps at the art store ASAP), assassination contracts, races, beat-up events and more. You even get to do some old-school Tomb Raiding as you search for artifacts left behind by previous assassins. Lara would be proud. I’ve been playing for 16 hours and I’m barely halfway through the story-mode and I still have lots of side quests in every single city.

So whether you managed to snag this as a free game in July or if you’re thinking about buying it (it’s less than $20 on most websites), it is totally worth your time and money. If you like open worlds, a little bit of stealth, and puzzle solving, it is definitely worth a try. Be warned though – you will want to pick up all the sequels to find out what happens to Ezio and Desmond (and, of course, Kristen Bell!)

Doof is due!

So I’ve finally been sucked into the awesome that is Phineas and Ferb and, more importantly, the epic battle of mans vs platypus, between Dr Doofenshmirtz and Perry. I’ve only watched the first season of P&F but I just love the show and all the levels it works on.

Right now, I have to bring your attention to this: last week, I stumbled (well, tumblr’d) upon the Doof Daily YouTube channel

This is freakin’ brilliant. I was so THRILLED that this was an official Disney/Phineas & Ferb thing. Nothing endears a show to me more than not taking yourself too seriously, which P&F was never in danger of BUT Disney sometimes is. I watched every single episode of Daily Doof and I found myself laughing out loud. It’s hard to deny that Doof is clearly the most awesome character on the show. Everyone loves him. He is the sweetest mad scientist to ever try to take over the TRI-STATE AREA!

And just like P&F, the Daily Doof, in it’s 2 minutes of time, manages to get jokes for the kids and adults watching.

It just goes to show that there are some people out there with the skills and talent to make TRUE Family entertainment. So often we use the term “family” to describe tv shows and movies that children can watch and parents can suffer through. But, no, Phineas & Ferb is a real Family show that everyone can watch and laugh. The dry, subtle humor reminds me of the best Monty Python sketches, and the slapstick, over-the-top comedy reminds me of…okay, well Monty Python again. With a dash of Mel Brooks in there, that level of pop culture praise and ridicule in the same breath.

Anyway, It’s just another show I did not except to like.

movie memories: “age appropriate” only matters to adults

Young Frankenstein Young Frankenstein

I can’t actually remember the first time I watched Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’ classic take on the Frankenstein story. I was probably not an “appropriate” age for the movie, but I think some of the movies we remember the most fondly are the ones we saw when we were technically too young but still understood enough to like the movie and as we got older, we went back to the film and we are able to appreciate it on a whole new level.

I think sometimes parents get hung up on the whole “age appropriate” thing. I mean, it is understandable. How many times have you sat down to watch a movie you think will be fluffy and suddenly there’s some really random sex/violence/harsh language that you just weren’t in the mood for. It’s not that it’s particularly offensive, but if it’s not what you set out to watch, then it can be jarring.

But when I think back on the movies from my childhood, the ones that have survived into my adulthood are titles that might not have been considered “appropriate” for me at the time. “Young Frankenstein” and “Spaceballs” are full of double entendre, innuendo, and one-liners that flew over my head as a child. But I understood enough of the parody to find the movie entertaining. Same with “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (omg cartoon in the real world! What child has time to pay attention to the slit in Jessica’s dress when a CARTOON RABBIT IS TALKING TO A HUMAN?!) and every geek child’s classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.

As a kid, these movies became friendship litmus tests for me. I know I dragged the neighborhood kids over to make them watch “Young Frankenstein”, rolling my eyes in dismay as they said “ew, this is in black & white!” and then going all film-snob on them (I started at a young age) explaining that it was part of the joke, duh. I couldn’t have been more than 10 when all of this was happening, and it’s amazing that my parents didn’t get phone calls.

Same with “Monty Python” which I know I also showed to every one I could possibly show it to. Most of the time we were laughing too hard at the Black Knight and the Knights who say NI to even process the whole Castle Anthrax sequence. One of my favorite childhood memories was taking “Holy Grail” up to my grandparents’ house when I knew my cousins were visiting from New Mexico. Trying to get my older cousin to think I was cool, I put the movie in and told him to watch it. During the sequence with the French taunting Arthur, my cousin guffaws and I’m like “Why are you laughing??” and he said “because that guy just said ‘throw over the cow’ in French?” and then the catapult sound effect and the cow went over the castle and my cousin just cracked up.

And we won’t even go into my weird love affair with “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”! “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was too scary for me because the ghosts at the end creeped me out, but for some reason my young mind was able to explain away the whole heart-being-ripped-out sequence in “Temple”. I was really into special effects books at the time so I think I made up some very elaborate practical effects process in my mind. Again, all the sexual content, the talk between Indy and Willy in the hallway hinting at them meeting up later just did a fly-by as I waited impatiently for the bug sequence.

I’m not saying you should let kids watch *everything*. Obviously, some movies are more overt in their content…but I think sometimes parents try to shield their children so much that…well, how are we going to grow the next generation of movie snobs if they are only exposed to really crappy “family friendly” movies that are so sanitized you want to scratch your eyes out? I mean, yeah, I watched “An American Tail” and “Land Before Time” as a kid, but those movies have not survived into my adulthood. The movies that are still in my DVD collection today are the stories that had a bit more meat to them.

This list could go on and on, but I’m gonna stop now and let you comment — what movie did you love as a child that would be labeled as “inappropriate” by others? Do you still love it now?

tv thoughts: Moone Boy (2013)

Moone Boy

I am a big fan of The IT Crowd so it’s hard for me to resist Chris O’Dowd’s Irish accent and scruffy yet adorable face. When I heard about Moone Boy, his new comedy program loosely based on his childhood in Ireland, I had to give it a go.

Dowd and I are close to the same age and though I am not Irish, I do have some Irish in my background and I was raised Catholic. Plus, the trials and tribulations of childhood all seem to be the same, no matter where or when you’re from. It was easy to relate to the story of little Martin Moone and his working-class family. O’Dowd also appears in each episode as Martin’s imaginary best friend, who cheers him on.

It’s a very cute and sweet show. My favorite episode so far is Godfellas, which focuses on Martin’s turn as an altar boy. There’s actually a few moments where you can see David Rawle, who plays Martin, cracking up as O’Dowd coaches him on his altar boy skills. It’s funny because it almost feels like a family sitcom from the 1980s, it has that sort of Cosby Show/Family Ties/Roseanne vibe to it.

I hope this isn’t the last we see of Moone Boy or O’Dowd as a writer. And I really hope that we see more of David Rawle, who is doing a dead on Chris O’Dowd impression.

Warning: If you’re like me, after watching the show, you will walk around talking with a bad Irish accent for at least 20 minutes. Unless you’re actually Irish…you probably just talk normal then…anyway…

You can watch episodes of Moone Boy right now on Hulu.com

tv thoughts: Sherlock (BBC)

Sherlock

So, I finally did it. I finally watched “The Reichenbach Fall,” the third episode of Series 2. It is definitely one of the best episodes of the entire series. I had put it off for so long because I knew Series 3 hadn’t even been filmed, and there was no premiere date set when Series 2 originally aired. But now that both things have happened, I felt like I could finally watch the episode, enjoy it, and know that I didn’t have to wait a year before seeing what happens next.

How do you talk about a show that has two “series” but only 6 episodes??? I feel like the first series was okay, but the 90 minute productions seem to drag in the middle, except for the finale. Series 2 was a lot stronger, I felt all three episodes were right where they needed to be, they had the flow of a movie rather than a TV show and I think that is the way it has to be approached. Not a television show but a series of films inspired by Sherlock Holmes stories.

While Benedict Cumberbatch gets much of the attention, I have to say that Martin Freeman is the one hitting it out of the park on every episode, especially the finale. Of course, they are foils for each other and the performances of either elevates the other. Cumberbatch’s detached Sherlock is all the more likeable because he has Freeman’s Dr. Watson not taking any of his sarcasm and Freeman does the emoting for both of them.

These are so much better than the recent Guy Ritchie movies, which I also think elevates the series. The humor, the characters, even those little winks to the Sherlock/John shippers are handled much more eloquently by this reboot than the blockbuster, explosion and fistfight filled movies.

And can we talk about Andrew Scott‘s Moriarty? Holy crap, what he does with his voice, it’s like an Irish Buffalo Bill (from ‘Silence of the Lambs’) and it just makes the hair on my neck stand up.

If you’re hesitant to watch the series, I understand. 90 minutes an episode is a chunk of time. Honestly, you can skip the second episode, it’s probably the slowest and my least favorite of the entire series. But you have to watch the first one for the origin story and the third one to meet Moriarty. And then Series 2 is near perfect.

As for me, I’m going to be counting the days until the story is continued…

movie thoughts: Warm Bodies (2013)

Warm Bodies poster

Warm Bodies is a classic example of preview audiences dropping the ball. What ends up being an okay movie could have been great with just a few tweaks and I feel like a few notes from preview audiences and some quick recording sessions could have brought this up to cult classic level.

The plot is a great change of pace from your typical Walking Dead stories – R is a zombie, shambling around day in, day out, wondering what has become of his life…er, afterlife? Then one day he bumps into Julie (and by “bumps” I mean him and his zombie friends attack her and her human friends). But R is attracted to Julie and he finds his undead life as new meaning when he saves her from being eaten. And this one small act changes everything.

The problem is that the movie starts of really strong – While R meanders around the airport and grunts at his fellow zombies, his very articulate voice over narrates what life has become for him. From the start, you have to laugh as R describes his daily routine and you realize that this zombies life is relatively similar to yours. He just needs purpose.

Unfortunately, instead of just letting this by R’s story, the screenwriter then takes us over to meet Julie and her friends, who are far less hilarious. In fact, every moment that R is not doing his narration is pretty forgettable. All the great lines come from his internal monologue and about halfway through, after R and Julie leave the airport and try to venture back to the city, we lose it entirely and the film just drags like…well like a zombie!

It was a cute movie and fun to watch once, but I doubt I would pick it up again. It might get a following among zombie fans (it’s the perfect Valentine movie for Walking Dead fans), but it’s not consistently funny enough for me to want to see it again. And all they had to do was add a few more voice overs and they would have been golden…

3 stars