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Deadpool 2

Con: I have issues with the and theme. Also, and related: The R rating should cover not just violence/gore/language (as expected) but also psychological issues.

Pro: The humor and action is pretty much the same as of the first one, so if you liked that one you'll probably like this one (with the obvious caveat that in this blighted sublunar sphere of ours, a repeat is never the same; The Matrix was what it was in part because it was the first that was what it was).

All in all: not as good as the first one, but I did laugh at some points.

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Avengers: Infinity War

It's tentpol-y and of course busy and, at times, cursory, buy holy crap, it takes its premises seriously and *goes* for it. I'd quibble with their choice for Thanos' motivations, but they nailed the gravitas, menace, and directness.

Gutsiest billion-dollar movie I've seen since, well, Black Panther.

I'm glad I saw it; if you plan to, do avoid spoilers --- although haste or pharmacological coma might be the only effevtive ways.

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Is Batman Ninja

  • an AU? No, that'd have been a much less crack-tastic option.

  • racist? Well, yes. I think the local with the most lines mostly uses them to call Batman "Master" and swear loyalty to him, for reasons described but never fully explained.

  • an absolutely nonsensical mix of every known Japanese visual and storyline animation stereotype, with the Gotham players being mostly there as visual ciphers of themselves? That's the understated way of putting it.

  • insane? Damian has a monkey sidekick. Behold the mighty bat-god is a line actually spoken in earnest at one point in the movie. And I'm ignoring the truly giant, arguably spoilery points of insanity, although for something to be an spoiler it has to be a surprise in an apparently predictable story, and it takes about fifteen minutes before you give up on being surprised.

  • a glaringly unfunny, badly written, character-wise nearly worthless collation of animation frames? Yep.

  • visually pretty, if a bonkers hyper-pseudo-japanese style is among your things? I guess.



Bottom line: this would've worked better as "Grodd telepathic tech gets mixed up with Tetch's, some Scarecrow fear gas, and research-grade hallucinogens as the entire collection of Dick Grayson's old martial arts movies is uploaded into Bruce Wayne's brain, who has to stay sane through the ordeal until he can figure out how to wake himself up."

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Movies! (Violence For Money Edition)

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie: I keep stumbling upon new-to-me Ghost in the Shell material. There are perfectly reasonable explanations for this, but I choose to believe it's due to a side effect of the virus lodged in the e-brain the virus is designed to keep me from knowing I have. I also choose to believe the Ghost in the Shell memeplex is the slowly complexifying digital incarnation of an asymptotic attractor in techno-psychological phase space. Motoko Aramaki doesn't need to be real, in any sense, in order to engineer herself into existing; she is inevitable.

About the movie itself: a competent, enjoyable episode during the Major's time between Unit 501 and Section 9. I very much like how she set her unit on her own — it's *her* private army, and will remain so even after it nominally gets to work for Aramaki. It makes her post-Puppeteer an even smoother continuation of her usual MO.

Line Walker: Hong Kong thriller movie that follows up a TV series of the same name I'm currently wondering if I'm too spoiled for to watch. Like many of its type, it's basically it's own AO3 section. I enjoyed it.

John Wick: A rewatch. I fast-forwarded past the dog thing. The movie's not as spare as I remembered it (you mostly remember the gun kata, of course), but not without some other touches of inspiration. The way the revenge is motivated is sheer genius — revenge for the death of, say, her spouse, would've have been the same. Marcus' character played a larger role than I remembered (his relationship with John is one of the deliberately unexplored but load-bearing aspects of the world), and Viggo's attempts to deal with the whole thing don't lack reasonableness and a certain level of pathos. Part of you can't but sympathize with the guy.

Whatever range might Reeves' acting skills span, this movie lives right in the middle of it.

All in all, I understand why they chose to explore the world of The Continental to a larger degree in the sequel, but it cost the movie some of its forward movement. In anything, the first movie had slightly too much backstory, even if it was much less than usual. A John Wick we don't learn much about because the surviving people who know would rather not remember, much less speak of it, is much more interesting. Plot-wise, John Wick 2 was a step backwards, IMHO, as much as I love the enormous, steampunky, historical AU potential of The Continental's back-office.

I mean, having met and fought the original Assassins, the Templars couldn't avoid being intrigued by the business model... The gold coin thing is probably an historical artifact, and — and this is the part I love the most — how would an order originally dedicated to protecting and hosting travelers base itself in the contemporary world but as a chain of high-end luxury hotels, catering particularly to the profession?

In short: some of the Templars back from the Middle East decided assassination as a service was going to be the second most popular cultural import after putting spices on everything, so they cornered the market of supporting functions.

Justice League

Not that I expected it to, but it regrettably failed my gets out of the movie humming the main theme from the soundtrack and half-seriously planning to become a superhero superhero movie test.

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Batman vs Two-Face: Batman 66' isn't "my" Batman, and I do find most of the dialogue slightly jarring rather than fun, but I enjoyed it more than I expected to; the movie is peppered with subtle bits of contemporary humor and, not unexpectedly, lots of heart. Once I adjusted my expectations, I had fun.

Resident Evil: Vendetta: Pretty much what you'll expect from another Resident Evil animated movie, for good and for ill. It was entertaining, and had some great Wick-style close-quarters gunplay, not to mention some rather outrageous motorbiking, but the main villain was insane in more and more disturbing ways than usual.

As a technical aside: the movie isn't quite photorealistic (and I believe we viewers are getting better at spotting CGI almost, although not quite, as fast as CGI improves), but they no longer feel entirely animated either, and it's far from the current state of the art. Once we have fully photorealistic full-CGI movies that are cheaper to make than the current human-actors-plus-CGI ones, I have to wonder whether we'll see the end, after a century or so of existence, of the superstar actor.

One one hand: why pay tens of millions to somebody when you can design a character who's just right for the movie?

On the other hand: unless studios invest lots of money to keep ahead of cheaper technology, actors people love might be the only thing a studio can have as a competitive advantage (a sort of biological franchise). CGI characters can and do repeat between movies, of course, but celebrity has a sort of post- and pseudo-regal magic that might be hard to replace or compete with.

On the other other hand: Idorus. And Batman, who's probably more valuable, over the long term, than any of the actors who played him.

So I don't know, but I think it'll be a nice scale model of how other things will work out as human- and superhuman-level technology starts eating up more high-reputation jobs.

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Blade Runner 2049

A much edited, short, unspoilery review: As a movie asking the eternal Philip K. Dick question of "what makes a person real?", it's mediocre at best. But. There are parts of it when, whether it intents to or not, it asks instead "what do we think makes a woman real? what's necessary, and what's sufficient?" and gives horrifyingly direct and honest answers to it.

It's not that those are true in the moral universe of the movie — that'd make it unwatchable. It's simply the moral universe of that universe's society, and to a large degree ours — that's what makes some scenes deeply uncomfortable.

In a somewhat dreadfully hilarious way (and I feel it cannot not be doing this on purpose, but I also fear this is just me being naive) it doesn't seem to know or notice this. It's a bit like the opening of Shawn of the Dead: terrifying things are going on, but neither the protagonist nor the camera notice them.

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Atomic Blonde

I enjoyed it. It's about 50% a very aggressively styled 1989 Berlin spy story (they put a lot of effort into things like props, clothes, music, etc), 50% that corridor fight in Daredevil.

In other words, the violence, when it happens (and it does happen quite a bit), is downright brutal (although almost never abusive — this is pros against pros) and while some characters are obviously more skilled than others, nobody is superhuman. The physical toil of what they do isn't explicitly talked about, but clearly displayed, specially when it comes to the protagonist. She can kick butt like a more socially fluent Jason Bourne, but boy does she pay for it.

Not a masterpiece, and particularly not Le Carré(although slightly more Le Carre-ish than I expected, at least in intent), but enjoyable as long you mind neither close, bloody physical violence nor its aftermath.

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This Justice League movie fan trailer using the JLU theme song would in a better world be the official trailer of a movie that would reflect its spirit. But this isn't that world, and we won't see that movie.

So, Wonder Woman

Non-spoilery things I liked:

  • They got the action scenes perfectly right. *That's* how Diana would fight. And when, and why.

  • She's never innocent, she's a sophisticated person in a different context.

  • The combination of Diana's genuine smile whenever Things Are Escalating and the characteristic riff of her theme song is sheer genius.

  • Steve Trevor: not an idiot.



Spoilery things I didn't like:Collapse )

That was longer than I expected, but that's just because I'm a curmudgeon. I liked the movie, Diana kicks ass, and I pity whoever gets in her way.

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