Category: Movies

RANT: Fantastic 4 reboot is possibly the worst comic film ever

RANT: Fantastic 4 reboot is possibly the worst comic film ever

I typically do not blog on films that I watch, but the latest release of Fantastic 4 has me motivated to save you a few dollars.

I need to caution you that there are some plot spoilers below. If you have any desire to watch the Fantastic 4 movie, go to another site. Frankly, I encourage you to read my comments simply so you don’t waste your money or time watching the Fantastic 4 in the theater – yes, it was that bad. This movie should have gone straight to DVD. No one should spend $8-$10 on a full priced ticket.

Really bad writing and extremely bad plot development. They chose to show how Reed and Ben met as kids so they did flash forwards (e.g. 7 years later). I really do not care how 2 people became best friends as elementary school kids. It really doesn’t matter. Just establish that the two boys are best friends. You didn’t establish that they were born by watching the birth. Good story telling doesn’t need to explain that small of a detail.

Also, the ridiculous episode where they borrow the toy airplane (and destroy it) doesn’t really establish anything – there are better ways of showing that Reed is really an immature jerk and displaying this as a teenager in a science fair shows nothing about the adult.

BTW, why in the world was Dr. Franklin Storm at the high school science fair? Presumably, Sue had an exhibit as well, but this was clear as mud. Once again, good story telling establishes a back story, but this one falls apart. It is obvious that the meeting is important and it is far more important than Ben and Reed meeting as children and becoming friends just because Ben lives in a junkyard.

But then they weren’t consistent – they threw in Victor and he had a back story with Dr. Storm and his employers, but all they did was mention it. They didn’t do a flash back to explain it. They didn’t even tell the story of how he fell out with Dr. Storm’s employers.

It is established that Victor was a jerk before the trip to the other dimension. However, somehow he survives over a year with no food and has found enough fabric on a desolate planet to create a cape. No plot holes there.

Reed escapes from the military hospital. The three other heroes have specially designed suits to fit their powers. Somehow, Reed also designs a special suit specifically for his unique powers without the resources of military to assist him. He also copies the same basic color pattern as the suits for Jill and Johnny even though he hasn’t seen them since the accident. He isn’t even surprised at Jill and Johnny’s powers when he meets them again, even though they are not in the news and he didn’t see them before his escape.

They capture Reed after he has escaped. He comes back and in 10 minutes, he fixes the transporter that couldn’t work without his help.  He does this by writing some code, but the entire movie is setup that he is a mechanical wizard not a coding wizard. Then, half a dozen “astronauts” are ready to go at a moment’s notice and they jump right in the now-working transporter. No testing required, because the amazing Reed fixed it in 10 minutes. Also, no concerns that the last expedition had an explosion that horribly maimed 3 of the travelers and one person that was in the lab upon the return.

There were at least 2 (maybe 3) flash forwards which you would assume means that they have more time for the big battle. However the big battle is lame with Victor (now Dr. Doom) building an inter-dimensional, Earth-destroying machine that is mostly rocks. After destruction, the Fantastic 4 fly through it in just enough time before the hole between the dimensions is collapsed. Really? The machine is destroyed, but the hole stays open long enough to save them. This is the same hole that is so powerful, it is sucking up the Earth and massive amounts of Earth are flowing one way through it, but the Fantastic 4 are able to fly through it the other direction against that flow of Earth matter.

I almost forgot. That final battle is on the alternate dimension planet. On every visit to the planet before the planet, ordinary humans require spacesuits and oxygen supplies. On the final battle, suddenly there is sufficient oxygen for the Fantastic 4 members to breathe and for Johnny to burn.

The acting was decent, but the lines that they said were bad. The plot was very simple, but left huge holes. I really do not blame the fine actors involved for the problems of the plot. They did decent performances that were significantly hampered with bad directing and bad writing. The actors should be continued to be employed, but the director needs to go back to doing commercials (or selling cars on a used car lot).

I saw no reason for a reboot back to the origination of their powers. It was a waste of time. Also, going back to the original meetings was really a waste of time that had no value to understanding the final battle. I would have preferred that they just had the powers and were fighting bad guys.

My teenage son watched it with me and thought it was boring. This is about the worst criticism you can make about a comic film.

For me, the Fantastic 4 is a film that I will never watch twice and wished I had watched on DVD from Redbox spending only a couple bucks v. full price tickets.

This trailer is far better than the movie will ever be!

Netflix and iPad is a great combination

Netflix and iPad is a great combination

Last night I had the opportunity to watch an old movie that I haven’t seen for ages. The movie was “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” starring Jimmy Stewart. I will comment on the movie in a bit but first a few thoughts on how I watched it. [amtap amazon:asin=B001GLX6UI]

The rest of my family wasn’t interested in seeing the movie and it was a beautiful late summer evening. So I grabbed a bottle of wine and my iPad and moved to the patio and my hammock. I must admit that watching a streaming Netflix movie on my iPad on a comfortable evening was about as enjoyable as it can get.

At first I was concerned that the experience would be poor due to the size of the screen. I quickly realized that this was not true. At the distance that I was holding the iPad (arms slightly bent so not more than 2 feet from my eyes), the virtual screen size was nearly double my 50 inch screen in the living room. This made the movie appear to be playing on the equivalent of a 100 inch screen (or maybe larger). This really enhanced the quality of the experience. [amtap amazon:asin=B00365F6EG]

I was also listening to the movie with my noise canceling BOSE headphones so the sound quality was awesome. I didn’t hear any background noises and, frankly, the sound quality exceeded my expectations.[amtap amazon:asin=B002LK2QJK]

If you have an iPad, get a Netflix account and stream your movies. If you have a Netflix account, get an iPad to enjoy movies like you never have before!

Now, a few thoughts on the movie. Obviously, they don’t make movies with this much high quality acting anymore. Unfortunately, the movie could have been made today. If you are unfamiliar with the plot, it is basically about a young and naive Senator (played by Jimmy Stewart) that is fighting corruption in an important bill. The bill contains some earmarks that will line the pockets of a campaign contributor. It would not be surprising to have exactly this scenario played out in Washington today.

I had also forgotten that this movie contains some actors that also appear in my favorite Jimmy Stewart film: “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Namely, the good reporter, Diz Moore, is played by Thomas Mitchell who also played the absent-minded Uncle Billy. The Majority Leader, played by HB Warner, also went on to play the pharmacist that lost his son in WW1, Mr. Gower.

This is a great movie and it was even more enjoyable to watch it on an iPad on a summer evening with a nice bottle of wine.

23 names that you may not know

23 names that you may not know

I picked this up over at CNN. Sorry to those good people for recreating their article here but it was funny and interesting enough for me to republish completely.

You know the characters, but you might not know their full names. Store these away for future trivia nights.

1. Did you know the Comic Book Guy on “The Simpsons” has a name? It’s Jeff Albertson. But that wasn’t the decision of creator Matt Groening.

“I was out of the room when [the writers] named him,” he told MTV in 2007. “In my mind, ‘Louis Lane’ was his name, and he was obsessed and tormented by Lois Lane.”

2. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. (Ken’s last name is Carson.)

3. Cap’n Crunch’s full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch. His ship is the S.S. Guppy.

4. In the Peanuts comic strip, Peppermint Patty’s real name is Patricia Reichardt

5. Snuffleupagus has a first name — Aloysius. Want more Snuffleupagus trivia? In a Sesame Street scene that never aired, Snuffy’s parents announced they were separating. But in testing, children were too devastated by the news, so the idea was scrapped.

6. The Wizard of Oz rolls off the tongue a lot easier than the man behind the curtain’s full name, Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. From Frank Baum’s Dorothy And the Wizard in Oz:

“It was a dreadfully long name to weigh down a poor innocent child, and one of the hardest lessons I ever learned was to remember my own name. When I grew up I just called myself O.Z., because the other initials were P-I-N-H-E-A-D; and that spelled ‘pinhead,’ which was a reflection on my intelligence.”

7. Mr. Clean has a seldom-used first name — “Veritably.” The name came from a “Give Mr. Clean a First Name” promotion in 1962.

8. In a deleted scene in the 2006 Curious George movie, The Man With the Yellow Hat’s full name was revealed as Ted Shackleford. (Since the scene was deleted, perhaps the last name doesn’t count.)

9. The real name of Monopoly mascot Rich Uncle Pennybags is Milburn Pennybags.

10. The policeman in Monopoly has a name, too. You can thank Officer Edgar Mallory the next time he sends you to jail.

11. On Night Court, Nostradamus Shannon was better known as Bull.

12. On Entourage, Turtle’s real name is Salvatore Assante.

13. Sesame Street’s resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym all these years. He was born Bernie Liederkrantz.

14. The Michelin Man’s name is Bibendum.

15. On Gilligan’s Island, Jonas Grumby was simply called The Skipper.

16. The Professor was Roy Hinkley.

17. The unkempt Shaggy of Scooby-Doo fame has a rather proper real name — Norville Rogers.

18. The Pillsbury Doughboy’s name is Poppin’ Fresh. He has a wife, Poppie Fresh, and two kids, Popper and Bun Bun.

19. The patient in the classic game Operation is Cavity Sam.

20. The true identity of The Lone Ranger was John Reid.

21. MacGyver’s first name? Angus.

22 & 23. OK, these last two aren’t fictional, but just in case it comes up, Bono was born Paul David Hewson, and The Edge’s name is David Howell Evans.

The end of an era – last Titanic survivor passes away

The end of an era – last Titanic survivor passes away

1_22_titanic_dicaprioMost of us have seen the movie Titanic starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. While this romantic movie stirred many people, the movie was a tribute to the many people who died and who survived this catastrophe.  

The era has ended.  The last survivor of that maiden voyage has passed away.  Millvina Dean, the last remaining survivor of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, died in a care home in England on Sunday, media reports said. She was 97.  You can read more about Millvina here.

5649728_std To steal a scene from the movie, is Leonardo waiting at the top of the stairs for her?

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