Movie Review: PIXELS

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PixelsOfficialPosterColumbia Pictures
2015
PG-13

“Don’t tell anybody I killed a Smurf.”

When aliens intercept video feeds of classic arcade games and misinterpret them as a declaration of war, they attack Earth, using the games as models. Knowing that he must employ a similar strategy, President Will Cooper recruits his childhood pal, former video game champ and home theater installer Sam Brenner, to lead a team of old-school arcade players and a military specialist to save the planet.

Pixels is yet another movie that I initially had no intention of watching in the theater. As a matter of fact, by merely hearing about the plot synopsis from the round table discussion with the Coven of Exalted Geeks, I figured I could live without not only watching Pixels in the theater and waiting for the streaming on Netflix some time in the future, but also not wanting to see the trailer on YouTube any time soon. I got all the information I needed: this was a live action Futurama episode staring Adam Sandler and Kevin James, two names that pretty much guarantee I’m going to avoid watching the movie. Nothing against the actors personally, I just have never found the majority of the movies they make terribly amusing. I made my decision to pass on this movie, and that was that.

What they didn’t tell me was that Pixels also co-starred Peter Dinklage. More to the point: Peter Dinklage in a mullet. I was pretty much honor bound to watch this when it came out after discovering this by being forced to sit through the trailer on YouTube while waiting for whatever it was I was there to watch in the first place. Point is, I decided to actually watch the movie on the big screen when it came out, with the caveat that it would have to be a lower-price time (like a matinée or an early bird morning price, like I’ve been doing as of recent), or be patient enough to wait for it to land on the second-run El Cheepo theater. I went with the Early Bird one, in case you were morbidly curious.

As to whether or not Pixels was going to be a sub-par movie was never really in question. It was, after all, a Happy Madison movie; the only question was really going to be, what level of bad are we talking about? Entertainingly bad, or claw-your-eyes-out, make-the-hurting-STOP kind of bad? We’ve seen both from Sandler’s company, really. I was prepared for anything, though the preliminary reviews and tweets have been of the lambasting side, thus I was leaning more towards preparing for the worst. At least it was in one of those fancy-schmancy theater rooms made up with the La-Z-Boy seats, so if worse came to worse, I could at least kick back and take a nap. Like I more or less almost did with Annabelle.

Really, though, I found Pixels wasn’t really that bad. At least, I didn’t find it to be an unwatchable sack of do-do that a majority of online complainers are proclaiming it to be. Maybe it’s because I remain for the most part ambivalent about Adam Sandler’s movies, I don’t know. I just thought I’d actually watch the movie before deciding I despised it. Or, you know, didn’t despise it as much. Or whatever the opposite of despise is, I can’t seem to remember.

Pixels is what the posters allude to it being: a big, dumb, fun sci-fi action comedy that doesn’t pretend to be more than just that. And for the most part, the action scenes are the real reason to go see this movie. I mean, for this 80s kid who remembers these arcade games from that era, watching giant versions of these video game characters run amok and destroy cities was enough to coax a big goofy grin out of me. Allegedly. It was dark in the theater, no one had proof that this actually happened, no one can prove anything.

The problem here, lies (if you would consider it a problem) in the fact that, while you’re waiting for the action scenes to happen, you’re still stuck watching a very formulaic Adam Sandler movie. You got Adam Sandler playing another underdog character, Kevin James as the earnestly lovable but inevitably goofy friend (who also happens to be the President of the U. S. of A.), the love interest who is way out of Sandler’s character’s league that finds him abrasive at first but then by the end of the movie inevitably hooks up with him anyway, said love interest’s son whom bonds instantly with Sandler’s character, and the way more interesting antagonist who shows up and chews the scenery with the aplomb of a famished Great White shark. Okay, there’s also a side character who…I don’t know if he was trying to go for Chris Farley mannerisms, or if he was told “play your character like how Chris Farley would have”, but he came off as one of those annoying people you don’t know if you want to smack and shout “NO! STOP!”, or buy him an ice cream out of pity. Fortunately, though, the non-action scenes aren’t as annoying as they could have been…just more-so with the later character discussed.

Overall, I would rate Pixels as entertaining enough to watch. I enjoyed it for what it was, and even had a bit of fun pedantically pointing out the 80s pop culture mess-ups (they’re there…anybody from my era will see them). Pixels rates as a Wait For The Rental, or at least a stream on NetFlix in the future. If you must see it in the theaters, as I admit it was great to see the showdowns on the big screen, shoot for matinée pricing, or a second-run theater. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find the Pac Man emulator for Linux…got me a jonesing…

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO: Session3.5

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NSR LOGO

Uncle NecRo here, and I finally got around to purchasing some legit space on a site to upload the sessions, and also to a place where I can actually do the upload without timing out on the internets. You’re welcome. This Session of delicious Brutal Music Therapy features selections from:

armageddon holocaust - radioactive zone 245 broken flesh - stripped, stabbed, and crucified firegate - woe, woe, woe forfeit thee untrue - blood soaked splinter grave robber - straight to hell mortification - realm of the skelataur nyves - anxiety

necroshockradio@gmail.com

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Movie Review: ANT-MAN

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ant-manMarvel/Disney
2015
PG-13

I’m going to disintegrate you!”
Playing Disintegration by The Cure.”

Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym recruits the talents of Scott Lang, a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.

At this point in the game, I’m just going to concede to the glaring fact that I prefer the movies over the comics Marvel is putting out nowadays. Not that I read everything Marvel released to begin with—I kept my interest in a tight Spider-Man and Deadpool circle, with occasional branching out to other random titles that caught my eyeballs at the time. Until they killed everything for me by way of that One More Day/Brand New Day, Peter-Makes-A-Deal-With-Satan-To-Reset-Continuity-Because-The-EIC-Didn’t-Like-Mary-Jane crap. Yeah, I’m still bitter about that. But anyway, with most of the Marvel stable of super-heroes, my interest in them has been largely due to the big screen adaptations of late, outside of some badly written Wikipedia article.

In the case of Ant-Man, this was another Marvel movie I initially was going to wait for the DVD release to watch, as my vested interest in the comic book hero was nil. But, so it was with Guardians Of The Galaxy, and that movie was awesome enough that I lamented not having seen it in the theaters when I had the chance. So, I decided to take advantage of the Early Bird special, where the tickets were a bit over half off the regular price, and caught Ant-Man 9am on the Saturday after its official release.

And now that I’ve taken in this movie, I have to say that, while I got a lot out of it seeing it on the big screen, I think I could have waited for the DVD release, in this instance. This is not to say that it’s a bad movie; far from it. I just found that my enjoyment of watching Ant-Man probably wouldn’t have been diminished much had I not watched it on the big screen, as opposed to the mid-sized external computer monitor screen I have in my cell at the Haunted Victorian. This is because Ant-Man is a superhero movie that’s a bit more driven by character development rather than by the special effects.

Again, don’t get me wrong, the special effects were fantastic, making very good use of embiggening the environment to make it a whole new battleground that’s normally invisible to the naked eye. These all lent to some rather entertaining fight and battle scenes here and there. But, as I said, the special effects are merely the icing on the cake, in this instance; the character development in Ant-Man was very, very well written, with the actors giving some rather good performances. Michael Douglas was a very good choice for the older Hank Pym, lending some weight to his fractured relationship with his daughter, as well as his one-time protégé and movie baddie, Darren Cross (as I’ve heard someone else in another review mention, after seeing Corey Stoll playing Cross in this movie, why he wasn’t tapped to play Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman V. Superman movie is beyond even my level of comprehension); Paul Rudd seemed to be having some fun with the Scott Lang/Ant-Man roll, as the former convicted felon trying to find some redemption so he could be with his daughter. He could have easily went with the two-dimensional “dark, angsty antihero” portrayal, but this guy has a sense of humor, and is much more an optimist about things, which is a nice switch from the brooding we’ve been getting in superhero movies recently. But, I gotta tell you, my hands-down favorite character in this movie happens to be Scott Lang’s former cell mate/best friend/heist team member Luis. I mean, sure, this guy is merely a side character, and he’s onscreen for maybe a fraction of the time as the main guys, but if you’ve already seen this, then you would understand why I’m kinda wanting to see a story about that guy. His cadence, the way he goes about painting a verbal picture that makes you go, “wait, what?”, just made me smile whenever he came into the scene. I wanna see more of him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to come, please.

As far as the story goes, Ant-Man is basically the same structure as the first Iron Man movie, conjoined with the Batman Beyond origin and dropped into a 1960s heist caper movie. The story was engaging, at no point did I think the movie was dragging along, the effects were very well done, and outside of the obligatory Marvel Movie Universe tie-ins I found Ant-Man to be a rather good stand-alone flick without it seeming like mere filler, which was what I admittedly thought it was going to be when I heard they were making the movie months ago. Still, I maintain that, if you wish to watch it now while it’s still fresh in the theaters, make it a matinée or the Early Bird pricing, like I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t fault you for waiting for the DVD release itself. Recommended, regardless.

UNCLE NECRO FOR PRESIDENT 2016

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obeySo, it’s been a while since I’ve had something of some kind of substance posted on this bligity-blog of mine. Assuming people still look at this thing, I could give you the usual reasoning behind my lack of updates on here; but, I’m sure you’re all well acquainted with my…shall we say, condition, and have come to expect—and maybe even love—my quirky posting schedules. That, and the wifi has been rather spotty these past couple of weeks, so there’s that.

But, I figure something is due, and as I was consuming my Friday Night After-Work Chinese Takeout, looking at the sites I was able to get to with the least amount of lag time (my fortune cookie didn’t have a message embedded inside…I don’t know if that’s an omen of things to come or not), it occurred to me that we are on the cusp of yet another bout of Presidential elections, which means soon we’re going to get bombarded with more than our fair share of sales pitches from our nation’s gaggle of aristocracy (or what passes for royalty in a so-called Democratic Republic).

This lead to me thinking, if I were to run for President of this here U. S. of A., what would my campaign theme music be? Forget non-important things like political stances and campaign speeches—they’re slapped together with as much thought as a Mad Libs sheet, anyway—you can tell everything about the candidate running by the song he or she picks for their theme music.

And since I have a rather strong What You See Is What You Get, transparency stance when it comes to my own day-to-day life, here’s the Top 5 list—in no particular order—of the songs that best convey my thoughts on the political system in general, and thus my choices for the campaign trail that will never happen, ever:

“Devil That You Know” (Anthrax)

…I figured, by now, considering the past thirty years or so of Presidential elections, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone actually used this as their campaign slogan, and win.

“Irresponsible Hate Anthem” (Marilyn Manson)

…I, too, have often lamented the fact that I was not born with the adequate amount of middle fingers to sufficiently convey my thoughts on many things, the blatant (and often-times hilarious) hypocrisy of the political system foremost in my head. Fortunately, this song more than makes up for my shortcomings.

“Peace Sells” (Megadeth)

…okay, everyone, show of hands: How many were surprised to see this one on the list? Anyone? Anyone at all? Yeah, had a feeling. Moving along, now.

“Happiness In Slavery” (Nine Inch Nails)

…if reading the title to this song still doesn’t clear away any sort of ambiguity as to what I have planned for my four-year tenure in your mind, then you’re someone I could really use in the White House. Or, as I will rename it right after my swearing in, the “Doom Palace”.

“Raining Blood” (Slayer)

…or as I call ’em, “Mondays”. Yeah, this is really less a campaign song choice as it is my alternate choice of what will be playing in place of the trite and tired “Hail To The Chief” thing they use to announce the entrance of the Exalted Overlord of America. Oh, and also, I will demand to be referred to as the Exalted Overlord of America.

Yeah, I think by now it’s pretty clear that I would make a very anti-Presidential POTUS. And in case you were wondering where any of the Rage Against The Soda Machine songs are…I’m afraid I have too much of a sense of humor to actually enjoy their music. That is to say, I have a sense of humor; I can’t listen to that crap.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to start deciding whether I’m going to vote for Vic Rattlehead or Eddie as the write-in come Election Day. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.

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