Baywatch (2017)

The decision to produce an all-male remake of Baywatch was a daring one, and I salute for Paramount Pictures for snubbing the PC police and going with their gut on this one. The remake of the iconic 90s TV series is a thrilling, gut-busting, and downright sexy action-adventure-comedy-bromance. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Barley Fantomum (The Rock) and Eric Leonard Holch (Zac Efron) lead a team of elite lifeguards known as Baywatch. They protect the beaches and the bay and they have fun doing it, and fuck you if you have a problem with that.

baywatchallmen

These are men who know how to fuck a butt

The movie opens with a thrilling boat chase sequence in which Barley and Holch save a young sailor from the clutches of an evil businessman. After saving the young sailor and blowing up the businessman’s boat, Barley and Holch celebrate with a buttfuck. The young sailor asks if he can join in, and Barley says “Why sure you can, don’t be shy now!”

Of course, this is just the first of many buttfucking scenes in the movie. In fact, Baywatch (2017) is best described as wall to wall buttfucking interrupted only by a few boat chases, a scuba diving sequence, and an almost infinite variety of explosions.

The main storyline of the movie involves the Baywatch lifeguards tracking down a lunatic arsonist (played with agreeable campiness by Alan Cumming). But you don’t go to Baywatch for the story, you go for the beach, the babes, and the buttfucking and Baywatch (2017) delivers on all three.

The post-credits scene did throw me off a bit (SPOILER ALERT) as it resolves one subplot by revealing Eric Leonard Holch was secretly a rapist and serial killer the whole time. The Rock – I mean Barley Fantomum has to tearfully kill his partner in lifeguarding but not before one last buttfuck for old time’s sake.

TL;DRBaywatch (2017) brings the latent homoeroticism of the original series to the surface with an all-male cast sodomizing each other repeatedly with effervescent gusto.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“The Rock is back, baby, and he’s better than ever!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“I have always dreamed of seeing The Rock fuck Zac Efron in his cute little ass and Baywatch (2017) finally gave me what I deserved.” – Gopé Guest, San Francisco Examiner

“These men are having fun just being together and getting to don matching swimsuits and whale on each other’s cocks, and their evident joy makes us happy to hop in the boat for a ride-along.” – Hasman Amron, Newsday

“It’s a lot of fun, and allows each of the men to showcase their dongs whilst going up against the waves.” Buzanne Witherford Weathers, Salon.com

“The movie courageously parades full frontal male nudity throughout what felt like a majority of its run time.” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer

“Angry nerds, take note: The mens are the best thing about this franchise reboot. Zac Efron spontaneously erupts in the mouths of all kinds of the people.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“As enjoyable as this movie is, sometimes it feels like it’s holding back…where was the buttfucking train we were promised?” – Dian Maulana Rizki II, Austin Chronicle

Melonmeter® Score:

80% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Ever since Johnny Depp began serving his prison sentence after being convicted of domestic violence against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, the top question on everyone’s minds has been what’s going to happen to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? Well this weekend we finally find out with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Sir Paul McCartney stars in the first ever Depp-free Pirates of the Caribbean, and the results are a curiously mixed bag.

paulmccartney-pirates-large-05132017

Sir Paul McCartney as Captain Albert Halsey in the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean

Depp’s offscreen woes notwithstanding, Pirates of the Caribbean has been working up to having a 60s rockstar play a lead role in the franchise for several films now. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End featured an extended cameo for Keith Richards and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides gave Mick Jagger a prominent supporting role. So in a way it’s only natural for Sir Paul McCartney, often considered the “seventh Rolling Stone” (as well as a key member of The Beatles), to play the lead in the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, the septuagenarian musician delivers a drowsy, drizzly performance as Captain Albert Halsey. Halsey is an absent-minded British privateer and captain of the Silver Hammer. Tempted into unprotected piracy by Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Halsey soon finds himself in over his head when he falls into the crosshairs of the undead pirate hunter Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem).

Though the film has a talented supporting cast including Rush, Bardem, Kaya Scodelerio, Sting, Orlando Bloom, Linda Hamilton, and Harry Connick Jr., McCartney seems indifferent and vacant in every scene he’s in that doesn’t involve singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument. By the time Halsey saves the life Carina Smyth (Scodelerio), the feisty, altruistic astronomer-inventor convicted of witchcraft (who is also Barbarossa daughter), it only elicits yawns from the audience. Personally, I found it very creepy that Smyth falls in love with Halsey, who is almost 50 years her senior.

Luckily, there are many fine musical sequences to break up the stilted monotony of the rest of the movie. The best numbers feature classic nautically-themed Beatles tunes such as “Octopus’ Garden” (featuring an extended cameo by Ringo Starr in a duet with McCartney, his former bandmate) and “Yellow Submarine.” Sure, “Yellow Submarine” is anachronistic given that the film takes place in the early 18th century, but they cleverly explain this by making it a fantastic vision shared by the Da Vinci-like visionary Carina Smyth and the head-in-the-clouds Halsey.

The seventeen new songs written for the movie (mainly by McCartney, but there’s also a few by Sting, and one by Connick Jr.) feel comparatively slick and bland. They contribute mightily to the film’s bloated three-plus hour running time, but are still a relief from the nearly lifeless scenes that move the “plot” forward.

If Disney decides to produce further sequels to this aging franchise, I hope they wait until Johnny Depp gets out of jail, or else find a leading man (or woman!) with a lot more dedication to playing a pirate than McCartney.

TL;DR – Transforming Pirates of the Caribbean into a musical starring an ex-Beatle is a daring move, but the effort is ultimately doomed by Sir Paul McCartney’s tedious, charisma-free performance as Captain Albert Halsey.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“Utterly devoid of energy, excitement, momentum, or any element that might possibly interest anyone.” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer

“A half-hearted shrug of a movie.” – Pie Corbett, USA Today

“Sir Paul McCartney is back, baby, and he’s better than ever!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“Seemingly designed to test the affections and patience of Beatles fans more than anything else.” – H. Andy Pregerson, New Orleans Times-Picayune

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a punishingly somnolent endeavor.” – Biffanie Quane, Slant Magazine

“A film of raging meaninglessness and staggering, almost inconceivable tedium.” – Nathan Rabin, NPR

“There there isn’t a song in the movie that doesn’t make a compelling argument for McCartney continuing to perform for years to come, or a single moment of the narrative that doesn’t scream for McCartney to never act ever again.” – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AVClub

“‘Sea Dogs,’ ‘Crocodile Tears,’ and ‘Queenie Eye’ are legitimately great songs but ‘Let’s Go A-Piratin’ and ‘Merry Sailors’ are among the most treacly and annoying tunes I’ve ever heard.” – Miles Raymer, Pitchfork

“A featherweight concoction made somehow even more insultingly inconsequential by the presence of Harry Connick Jr., who plays the least convincing pirate in cinematic history.” – Bowell Sandcap, Newsweek

Melonmeter® Score:

36% liquid & seed retention – watermelon-512  THOROUGHLY LACKING IN JUICE AND SEEDS AND RATHER CANTALOUPE-LIKE TO BE HONEST™

Balderdash

Movies based on board games have a pretty great track record lately, from the action-packed Battleship to the spine-tingling Ouija. So it’s no surprise to see a big screen adaptation of Balderdash, and I’m happy to write it’s just as funny as you would hope.

amazon-balderdash-game
Of course, Balderdash is not quite as well known as Battleship and Ouija. The studio behind Balderdash knows this perfectly well, and the movie’s budget reflects this brand awareness deficit. There are no special effects, and the entire movie takes place on a single interior set dressed to look like a fancy dining room.

I imagine the bulk of the film’s funding was used to pay its exceptional ensemble cast: Ian McKellan, Jim Broadbent, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Stephen Fry, Hugo Weaving, Emma Thompson, Richard E. Grant, Jeremy Northam, Tom Hollander, David Thewlis, Richard Griffiths. Helena Bonham Carter, and Emily Mortimer. It’s money well spent in my book, as this cast knows how to talk, and talk fast!

GosfordPark9

The whole entire movie takes place in this dining room.

Now before I say anything further about Balderdash, I must confess I have a hard time understanding British accents, especially when spoken at a very fast pace using highly sophisticated language. In other words, I have no idea what anyone was saying in this movie, but boy were they funny saying it.

It’s just fun to hear all these clever British folk trading quips and interrupting each other with dear old chap this and what a load of bollocks that. Even if you have to make up your own meanings for half the words they say like I did, you’ll still have a blast. England is cool.

TL;DRBalderdash is a rousing British farce, with enough nonsense talk to keep your head spinning for days.

 

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“I found the ribald, saucy jests and japes in this motion picture to be most risible!” – Cecil Dawswell, The Independent

“Weighing in at a brisk 75 minutes, Balderdash does have the advantage of brevity, and on screen no less than off, there’s much to be said for an incessant series of quick quips and drive by barbs.” – P.C. Bentley Blair, The Times

“I couldn’t follow the ultra fast paced dialogue hardly at all but the rest of the audience was laughing so I did too!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“Is there anyone but Mike Leigh who could have pulled off such an effervescent mix of wordplay, absurdism, and devastating rebuke? And attracted such an ensemble? And let everyone work at this high level?” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer

“A superbly timed mashup of Altman’s Gosford Park and Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel.” – Bertram Hopkinson, London Evening Standard

“I laughed so hard at the drollery on display that I have half a mind to go see the chemist and get my gasket checked!” – Neville Chubb, The Daily Telegraph

“Leigh juggles about fifteen different characters, moving them around the dining room table so uproariously and naturally that he doesn’t lose the audience for a minute.” – Eustachius Wallingford, The Guardian

“A succulent and devious dining room farce that, in its hyperverbal way, takes a puckish pleasure in scrambling and reshuffling the words of the English language.” Francis Kennard Colbeck, BBC

Melonmeter® Score:

85% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY

Alien: Covenant

Dare we let any of the 99 names of Alien cross our lips?

Shall we risk vanquishment to scream the praises of the one true Xenomorph, the Queen, the Chestburster?

We must raise our arms in praise of Alien, the lightbringer, who leads us through the darkness in a conquest of our fears and forgives us mercifully for our transgressions. We have formed a covenant with her holiness, the Queen, and we so we did PRAY, SCREAM, RUN, and HIDE in our devotion to her.

aliencovenantgiveaway2

I have seen in the face of the Xenomorph a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere, a whirling demon who moves north, south, east and west at once, Alien who is reflected in all beings and things of this universe. I stumble about in search of words to describe Alien, which my feeble mind can barely contemplate.

Praise be to the Chestburster!

All hail the Queen!

Wherefore remember, the Engineers, so giant and pasty-pale and found at the heart of Prometheus‘ mysteries, did spawn human life on Earth and they, according to the eternal purpose, left clues scattered across time and space.

And so did Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), David (Michael Fassbender), and the Weyland crew make haste to the planet LV-223 where they bore witness to great weapons of terrible weapons, and so did the Queen’s wrath strike down mightily, killing pretty much everybody, except for Shaw.

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto herself, but unto us was born from her loins a tentacled Alien hybrid. The Trilobite, being born of a most corruptive seed, face-hugged an Engineer from whence came the Deacon who did sliceth his way out of the Engineer’s chest by the word of the Queen, which liveth and abideth for ever and now awaits the blessed gaze of Billy Crudup.

But the films of Alien shall endureth for ever. And these are the films which by the gospel is preached unto you, upholding a long-lived and well-regarded brand forevermore.

TL;DR – Alien: Covenant delivers another chapter of sacred verses which we chant with loving terror into deep space.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“Fans are going to freak out.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Ridley Scott knocks it out the park again!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“Covenant does succeed in continuing Prometheus’ ambition to deepen the Alien mythology with a meaning-of-life bent.” – Pie Corbett, USA Today

“Bridging the gap between Prometheus and the original Alien movie, Covenant marries its prequel’s ontological questions with visceral gore and gripping tension.” – Granderson Winfield, AV Club

Alien: Covenant is the best we can hope for.” – Biffanie Quane, Slant Magazine

Covenant advances the mythology established by Prometheus.” – Mark Keizer, Alt Film Guide

Melonmeter® Score:

94% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY

The Best of Matthew Broderick

I’ve just watched the eye-opening new documentary from Room 237 director Rodney Ascher. The Best of Matthew Broderick takes as its subject the career of actor Matthew Broderick, but don’t expect an exhaustive survey of theories describing hidden meanings of Broderick’s films. This documentary is far less explicit than Room 237, and also far more alluring.

wargames-620x412

Matthew Broderick in WarGames (1983).

Ascher wisely eschews voiceover narration and ‘talking head’ interviews in favor of a montage of primary sources presented without commentary. The first half of the movie is a series of clips of Matthew Broderick movies from the early 80s through the mid 90s, including WarGames (1983), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Family Business (1989), Glory (1989), The Freshman (1990), The Lion King (1994), and The Road to Wellville (1994). There’s even some rare footage of young Broderick on Broadway starring in the coming-of-age Neil Simon play Brighton Beach Memoirs.

FerrisBueller_073Pyxurz

Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986).

The middle of the movie is where things get really interesting. Ascher cuts from a short clip from The Road to Wellville to the opening sequence of The Pest (1997). By then, I’d be so accustomed to watching Matthew Broderick that for a moment I thought I was still watching Broderick but it turns out I was actually watching John Leguziamo, who stars in The Pest. Leguziamo lacks every bit of Broderick’s effortless charm and grace, and performs some offensive ethnic stereotypes that Broderick would never touch.

screen-shot-2014-10-28-at-9-31-45-pm

Not Matthew Broderick in The Pest (1997)

The appearance of footage from The Pest – which doesn’t feature Matthew Broderick at all – in a movie ostensibly about Matthew Broderick really threw me for a loop. But I was still totally unprepared for what came next: the “Cuban Pete” musical number from The Mask (1994). Cuban Pete is one of the all time classic comedy scenes, but much like The Pest it has nothing to do with Matthew Broderick, or at least Matthew Broderick as he is conventionally understood. However, the jarring unBroderickness of John Leguziamo is such a stark contrast from the infectiously joyous yet menacing character of The Mask’s Cuban Pete, you might almost think Matthew Broderick played the latter.

mask-still37 (1)

May or may not be Matthew Broderick in The Mask (1994).

The Cuban Pete sequence is interrupted briefly for a very short clip from The Cable Guy (1996) consisting only of Matthew Broderick saying the word “Hairplugs.” This clip is repeated at least eighteen times before the Cuban Pete sequence resumes.

Following “Cuban Pete,” The Best of Mattew Broderick turns its attention to the scene in Election (1999) where Jim McCallister (Matthew Broderick) secretly disposes of two ballots, depriving Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) of the school presidency. Then there’s a series of short clips from Inspector Gadget (1999) presented with a superimposed flashing red ‘X’ and a siren in lieu of the original soundtrack.

The movie ends with one scene from each of the last two Kenneth Lonergan films: Margaret (2011) and Manchester by the Sea (2016). In the first, an exasperated Matthew Broderick tells Anna Paquin to stop smoking marijuana in Central Park. In the second, a repressed Matthew Broderick shares an awkward meal with Gretchen Mol and Casey Affleck.

960 (1)

Most likely Matthew Broderick in Manchester by the Sea (2016).

In contrast to Room 237, Ascher doesn’t force a cavalcade of conspiracies down the audience’s throat. Instead, we must draw our own conclusions from what we’ve just seen. Personally, I think Matthew Broderick’s soul transferred out of his own body and into Jim Carrey’s sometime in the mid 1990s. It’s possible it returned a decade or so later, but I can’t say for certain.

TL;DR – Mysterious and provocative, The Best of Matthew Broderick is a fascinating journey into the many identities of Matthew Broderick.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“Excuse me. I really must be going now.” – Cassiano dal Pozzo, London Evening Standard

“We are on a journey that risks the dark.” – Calderon de la Barca, Tablet

“It’s simply not possible. And I don’t find this funny anymore.” – Fabio Chigi, Film School Rejects

“Matthew Broderick is back, baby! And he’s better than ever.” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“Man is asleep; this movie wakes him from his slumber.” – Celidonio Arbizio, Shared Darkness

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I really have to be on my way.” – Olympia Pamphili, Paste Magazine

“I don’t really like movies.” – Virgilio Malvezzi, Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

Melonmeter® Score:

99% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY

Snatched

Stop me if you’ve heard any of these “mom stereotypes” before:

  • All moms like to go on tropical vacations
  • All moms have a filthy mind even if they don’t share their dirty thoughts out loud
  • All moms secretly want their daughters to invite them along on a sexy adventure
  • As they get older, moms generally want to become their daughters’ spunky sidekicks
  • Each mom’s personality is the exact opposite of her daughter’s on the surface, but deep down they are pretty much the same girl
  • Moms who get divorced experience a lot of anxiety and need their daughters’ help to kick back, relax, and forget all their troubles
  • All moms are horny for suave but possibly sinister men
  • Moms are always sure any two older women traveling together are secretly lesbians
  • All moms enjoy cooking Szechuan cuisine in a wok
  • All moms pretend to like their lazy, good for nothing sons better than their hardworking daughters just to keep their hardworking daughters on their toes
  • Moms are annoyed when their daughters only contact them when they need things
  • Every mom has her own unique method of remembering to drink five big cups of water every day
  • All moms bite their nails
  • All moms never give their daughters enough encouragement
  • All moms are a little racist even if they mean well
  • All moms go to heaven

Sounds pretty familiar, right? If you’re nodding vigorously right now, you’ve pretty much already seen Snatched, which relies on an endless string of tired “mom stereotypes” to both advance its plot and provide nearly all of its jokes. Every scene hangs on the reed of a “mom stereotype” and every line of dialogue is based on one “mom stereotype” or another.

Snatched-trailer-still

Goldie Hawn, a true mom if there every was one, deserves better than to play a “mom stereotype.” If you’re going to force a movie star to conform to the “mom stereotype,” why not pick a dad to do it for once? Chevy Chase is overdue for his juicy “mom stereotype” role, push it on him next time why don’t you?

I’m so tired of comedies based on “mom stereotypes” that I could pretty much throw up right now. And to add insult to injury, they released Snatched on Mother’s Day weekend. Oh look a holiday to celebrate mothers, we better release another “mom stereotype”-type movie to rub salt in your mom’s wounds.

Mom don’t need this. Mom deserve better. Mom been working a long hard time for that tropical vacation with you and she don’t need your goofs and gags. Mom deserve better than gags and “mom stereotypes” okay? I hope you learned your lesson Amy Schumer. Don’t ever do anything like this ever again.

TL;DR – Snatched is just a bunch of “mom stereotypes” in search of a movie.

What the rest of the moms critics are saying:

Snatched proves the old adage: a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.” – B. Conner Yonk, Toronto Sun

“Certainly the best of the mother-daughter romcoms out this year.” – James Berardinelli, ReelViews

“Goldie Hawn is back, baby, and she’s better than ever!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

Snatched teaches a valuable lesson: Every mom happens for a reason.” – Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Why couldn’t they have cast Jamie Foxx or someone funny like that in the lead role?” – Bayle Melman, Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

“By the end of Snatched, you’ll be saying to yourself: a mom is as a mom does.” – Buzanne Witherford Weathers, Salon.com

“I wish this movie had been about the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.” – Barrison Noth, Cinemalogue.com

“Amy Schumer’s character eventually realizes the truth: you have to look through the mom to see the mambo!” – Gopé Guest, San Francisco Examiner

“I kept expecting a Will Ferrell cameo that never seemed to happen.” – Sponsor Torlakson, Buzzfeed

Melonmeter® Score:

11% liquid & seed retention – watermelon-512  THOROUGHLY LACKING IN JUICE AND SEEDS AND RATHER CANTALOUPE-LIKE TO BE HONEST™

Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story

Ever since Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, they’ve energetically set about producing new movies to continue the saga and add sumptuous detail to obscure corners of the Galaxy Far, Far Away that we all know and love. As a committed Star Warsian from the earliest years of my existence, I am beyond thrilled at this turn of events, even if The Force Awakens was a mess.

Fortunately, Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story is the best of the new Star Wars movies by far. It’s a rough and gritty cinematic portrait of one of the most fascinating characters in all the lore of all the Star Wars: Bib Fortuna, a Twi’lek alien who first appeared in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Bib Fortuna is best known as the majordomo of Jabba the Hutt’s Tatooine-based intergalactic criminal empire, but Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story shows that he is so much more than that.

bib_fortuna

Finally there’s a movie where Bib Fortuna is the star.

The movie opens on Bib’s home planet of Ryloth. The Twi’lek species (aliens with weird tentacles growing out of their heads) live in a network of caves beneath Ryloth’s surface. Ryloth is a rather inhospitable place, due to its abnormal planetary rotations that leave each hemisphere shrouded in darkness for half the year and drowned in light and heat for the other half. It’s also plagued by catastrophic quakes, which provide the formative event in young Bib’s life.

Bib and his family struggle through collapsing tunnels during a particularly horrendous quake. It has been quaking for three days with no end in sight. The family is dispirited and ready to give up. One by one they stop moving forward, giving in to the rockslides and sure death. Bib endeavors to push on, but he too, stops in the rubble. Then a strange red Twi’lek appears out of nowhere and attempts to lure the Bib to his death. “Just give in to the stones and the quake,” she urges him, “Sleep and dream yourself a sweet and abysmal ending.” But finding some heart deep within his chest, he shakes off his stupor and her entreaties to discover that the quakes have abated, and that his family’s cave is only a few meters away.

In true biblical fashion, the movie fast forwards to years later to see the adult Bib making the final payment on a longstanding gambling debt to a sleazy Toydarian loanshark. It turns out that the unscrupulous Toydarian is associated with the Hutt mafia. He screws over Bib by bringing Jabba the Hutt and his gang to Bib’s small nightclub. Knocked unconscious by one of Jabba’s henchman, Bib is kidnapped into slavery.

Nearly thirty-five minutes in the middle of Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story are dedicated to Bib’s indenture in the droid torture rooms of Jabba’s palace. This section is extremely tedious, repetitive, and sadistic to the point of feeling like a snuff film. At times I felt I could endure it no more, but pressed on for the love of Bib.

If you do make it through the desert of the movie’s overlong middle, you will be richly rewarded by the next sequence, in which Jabba offers Bib his freedom in exchange for him performing a hit on a rival. Bib is led to believe that his target is a small-time criminal of Sullustan extraction. However, the target turns out to be none other than Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) himself! We only glimpse Donald Glover’s Lando for a few moments, but it got me all hot and bothered to see the The Adventures of Han and Lando: A Star Wars Story, due out one year from now. Anyway, Bib fails to kill Lando but takes out several of his associates and is severely wounded in this botched assassination attempt.

In addition to the potentially fatal blaster wound he sustains, Bib realizes that his assignment was a set-up. Jabba double-crossed him and he had no expectation he would survive his debut as a hitman. But Jabba is so impressed by Bib surviving and even killing some of Lando’s business partners that he offers to make him his majordomo. This is a big fucking deal, and you’ll feel like a million bucks when you see the warm glow all over Bib’s face and head tentacles.

With moody direction by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly), Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story eschews the endless parade of action set pieces that characterized previous films in the franchise in favor a more artful, deliberately paced approach. It really rubbed all my movie watching parts in exactly the right way. Bib’s always been one of my favorite minor characters in a Galaxy Far, Far Away and I’m so glad he finally got a chance to shine on the big screen where he belongs.

I’m so excited for Ackbar’s Triumph: A Star Wars Story, due out 3 months from now. That’s right on schedule, and boy oh boy am I pleased over Disney’s ambitious plan to release four Star Wars movies every year from now until the end of time.

TL;DR – Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story is a fan-friendly exploration of one of Galaxy Far, Far Away’s most indelible characters, but don’t go expecting a bunch of J.J. Abrams fireworks because this one’s a real slow burn.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story spins Star Wars into a whole new orbit!” – Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central

“Writer-director Andrew Dominik’s muddy character sketch largely short-circuits action adventure thrills in favor of a grimly funny portrait of thugs taking care of business, in every rotten sense of the word.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“The best movie of this decade so far!” – Pete Hammond, Deadline

“Never before has Star Wars been so purposefully hard to follow.” – Siyaka Camacho, New York Daily News

“Less of A Star Wars Story and more of a mash up of spare parts from older, better movies set for some reason in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.” – Nathaneal However, Guernica Magazine

“Bib Fortuna is back, baby, and he’s better than ever!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

Bib Fortuna: A Star Wars Story starts wearing out its welcome at about the hour mark, and there’s another 95 minutes to go, including over thirty minutes of exhausting droid torture scenes. It feels like it stomps along forever. I fell asleep six times.” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer

“It isn’t much of a movie. I might forgive the slow start if it weren’t for the slow middle and slow end.” – Dian Maulana Rizki II, Austin Chronicle

Melonmeter® Score:

95% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

One thing I know to be true about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (the new adaptation of the old legend in theaters this weekend): this ain’t your father’s King Arthur. Your father’s King Arthur was polite and courtly. Your father’s King moved slowly and unsheathed his sword only as a last resort. Well guess what? This ain’t your father’s King Arthur. No way, no how, no ma’am!

By now you’re probably asking yourself how did they make a modern King Arthur film free of the musty baggage that has plagued all previous adaptations? The answer, my friends, is by finding the right director: Guy Ritchie. Having already revolutionized music videos, madcap crime caper movies (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch), romance movies (Swept Away), TV throwback reboot movies (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), and Sherlock Holmes movies (Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), it was only natural for Ritchie to tackle King Arthur movies next. And with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Ritchie has found the perfect vehicle for his heretofore unexpressed cinematic desires.

Let me tell you a bit about Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur and you tell me if it sounds like your father’s King Arthur. In Legend of the Sword, King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is a hard drinking, bare knuckle brawling scoundrel with a flair for the flamboyant like you wouldn’t believe. This King Arthur throws tantrums over nothing and yet still somehow seems undeniably masculine. He’s illiterate, he’s got numerous outlandish tattoos, he’s clearly an alcoholic and when he gets especially riled up he puts on a little red superman cape. Sound like your father’s King Arthur? Didn’t think so.

kingarthur boxing

Does this look like your fucking father’s King Arthur?

The most entertaining part of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is its unconventional approach to accents. Lesser critics have already noted with some distress Charlie Hunnam’s tendency to drop in and out of different accents throughout the film. But the sundry accents Hunnam deploys are clearly intentional. King Arthur’s many different accents demonstrate a brash and exuberant unpredictability that keeps both the audience and the rest of the cast on their toes. This King Arthur is a madman, and when he shouts things like “Do I sound British?” in an unsettling combination of cockney and swaggering Australian, you know you’re dealing with a dangerous megalomaniac that may plunge Excalibur deep in your chest without warning at any time.

Also: big ups to Guy Ritchie for finally giving King Arthur a richly deserved catchphrase. Hunnam utters the words “Cool Jordan” over and over again throughout the film: as a response, an encouragement, an exclamation, a condemnation, a compliment, but most often as mindless drunken blather.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is thoroughly modern and not afraid to dispense with the niceties of period historical films. For example, Muse provides a dark, throbbing nu progressive rock soundtrack of original tunes you’ll be singing along to for days. That being said, this gritty reboot is more grounded in the actual events of history than any other King Arthur film before it. The real King Arthur got his eye gouged out in a battle for the ages. Hollywood typically brushes this aside so as to preserve the beauty of its pretty faced leading men. But Ritchie is brave enough to depict this event in brutal detail, along with its aftermath in which King Arthur invents a glass eye and pops it into his empty socket over dinner at the round table which freaks out all of the lesser knights, believe me.

The historical King Arthur was also no friend of women, at least at first. He was well known for keeping a cellar full of boys exclusively for his butthole pleasures. And his relationship with Guinevere was characterized by a frightening quantity of physical abuse alongside the romance and passion that’s better chronicled and known by today’s youngsters.

I won’t mince words: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword shows Arthur beating the shit out of Guinevere. She crawls into the embrace of Sir Lancelot (Jude Law) after a particularly bruising incident. When Arthur discovers the infidelity, he cuts off Lancelot’s head and quarantines Guinevere for the rest of her life, and writes the original code of chivalry to prevent such misfortune from afflicting anyone else ever again.

Other adaptations have always sanitized King Arthur. The choices made by lesser filmmakers have deprived King Arthur of his warts-and-all humanity. These filmmakers also drain the world of King Arthur of all its vivacious color. Thanks to Guy Ritchie, that’s no longer the case. We finally have a full color, highly saturated adaptation of the legend with lots of slow-mo action sequences, fast-paced editing, and non diegetic overdubbed Muse songs that will make your blood pump pretty damn fast. We all owe Guy Ritchie a debt of gratitude for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Here’s hoping there’s at least five sequels, and if we’re lucky an entire cinematic universe spawned from Ritchie’s imagination.

TL;DRKing Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a jaw dropping spectacle of shocking violence, vibrant theatricality, slow motion rock music montages, and untreated mental illness.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

“King Arthur is one of the best movies you’ll ever see, but one of the worst people you’ll ever meet.” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer

“King Arthur is back, baby, and he’s better than ever!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“Do you think Jude Law is bottom or top in his sticky fumblings with Guy Ritchie offscreen?” – Emily Yoshida, Vulture

“I got two words for you: Cool Jordan!” – Book Denison, Associated Press

“Guy Ritchie captures the essence of the character in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The man was basically a crimefighter at heart, and his lifelong struggle with alcoholism is depicted with tenderness.” – Mondale Robinson, Slate

“The relationship between King Arthur and Guinevere is chilling to watch.” – Nathaneal However, Guernica Magazine

“Guy Ritchie took one look at King Arthur and said I got to go Sherlock Holmes on this baby, with a dash of Iron Man, a healthy dollop of The Dark Knight, and some Daniel Craig’s James Bond garnish on the side. What a meal!” – Kitila Mkumbo, The Verge

Melonmeter® Score:

99% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY

The Fish That Took Aim at Hungry

Things happen pretty fast in The Fish That Took Aim at Hungry. It runs for almost two and a half hours, but it runs fast, baby, and if you can predict what lies around the next bend you’re doing a helluva lot better than I did. The director of this slick opus is David Fincher, and it stars Jesse Eisenberg as a hot shot basketball arcade shark who hustles the wrong dude for $53,000. Now, he has to survive the wringer and the those of us in the audience are just along for the ride.

fishthattookaimathungry

Jesse Eisenberg plays a hot shot basketball arcade shark who hustles the wrong dude.

The Fish That Took Aim at Hungry boasts beautiful landscape shots, a propulsive score, and fire cinematography. It is dark and disturbing yet equally smart and stylistic. I found it hard to watch at points, but I couldn’t turn my eyes away. Politicians will use this movie as a demonstration of careless and gratuitous violence in movies, and as a perfect example of what today’s youth are being influenced by.

The plot will lure you in before turning you upside down. It’s pulse pounding chase sequences, it’s fight choreography that will blow your mind, and it’s twist after twist after twist. Plus, the acting is nothing short of perfect. Curly haired and with a fast-talking voice, Jesse Eisenberg should finally get a well-deserved Oscar for his performance as Nicholas Fish. Eisenberg evolves completely in the most amazing character arc. He really grows up into a real man right before our very eyes.

Virtually everything about this movie will take you by surprise, unless you’ve seen David Fincher’s other films (I have). If you know Fincher, you’ll recognize the genius from the innovative opening credits sequence all the way to the final frame. As for the twist ending, it doesn’t rival The Sixth Sense – it blows it away. One of the best movie endings I’ve seen. Even better if you’re a Tame Impala fan.

TL;DRThe Fish That Took Aim at Hungry is an aggressive, confrontational, often brutal art film that is quite possibly a brilliant masterpiece.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

The Fish That Took Aim at Hungry makes many bold statements against the modern consumer-driven society.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

The Fish That Took Aim at Hungry is literally the first time I ever came upon something that, at first sight, seemed incredibly stylish, sophisticated AND entertaining.” – Kristján Ragnarsson, IGN Movies

“I watched The Fish That Took Aim at Hungry expecting a stylish flick that offered a good plot and hopefully some good acting but what I got was so much, much more.” – Bevin Reinen, Vox

“Honestly, how many times have you seen a movie that, with each scene, gets even more complicated yet so simple you can’t help but laugh.” – Pie Corbett, USA Today

“Every time I think about the movie I realize something new about it, such is the depth of what was on the screen.” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

Melonmeter® Score:

99% liquid & seed retention – watermelon_icon_pitr-1979px CERTIFIED JUICY™ & IT DON’T GET MUCH JUICIER THAN THIS

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The big movie this weekend is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Unfortunately, just as with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, there isn’t a single element of Guardians of the Galaxy that isn’t ripped off from a little known movie called Guardians of Ga’Hoole. People don’t seem to realize this and it drives me crazy.

LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE

Guardians of Ga’Hoole is far superior to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Marvel has nearly always made shiny, superficial movies strictly for the kiddies, and none of them are particularly original. But it’s disheartening to see Marvel plunder so rapaciously from the mythology of Guardians of Ga’Hoole for its very dumb and boring Guardians of Galaxy movies.

Every character in Guardians of Galaxy Vol. 2 is a thinly disguised plagiarism of a character from Guardians of Ga’Hoole. Peter Quill (Star-Lord) is obviously a stand-in for Soren (Barn Owl), and I can’t see any difference between Gamora and Gylfie, a young elf owl. Drax the Destroyer is Marvel’s version of Kludd, and Baby Groot is clearly more than a little influenced by the design for Digger, a burrowing owl. Rocket the raccoon bounty hunter is to Guardians of the Galaxy what Twilight the great grey owl is to Guardians of Ga’Hoole. There’s no difference at all between Yondu Udonta and Nyra. Stakar Ogord, the Starhawk is basically exactly the same character as Ezylryb, the Lyze of Kiel. The evil Taserface reminds me too much of Metal Beak. Nebula and Mantis are just a variation on Noctus and Grimble (a boreal owl). I see strong shades of Otulissa in Ayesha. Kraglin is clearly similar Eglantine, and Meredith Quill literally is Mrs. Plithiver.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Infinity-War

All of these characters were more interesting as owls.

And it’s not just the characters either. The Guardians of the Galaxy travel through space from planet to planet in the same way as the Guardians of Ga’Hoole travel across the sea of Hoolemere from island to island. The Ravagers occupy the same role in the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as the Pure Ones did in Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

The whole plot of the movie turns on the living planet Ego that we discover fathered the hero Peter Quill (or ‘Star-Lord’) while planting seedlings upon thousands of worlds which can terraform into new extensions of himself. This is eerily similar to the Tree of Ga’Hoole that we discover fathered the hero Soren while spreading millions of seed eggs across the islands of the sea of Hoolemere.

When Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu all I could think of was the scene in Guardians of Ga’Hoole when Twilight, Gylfie and Digger fend off the bats sent by Metal Beak. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw a parallel between the sequence where Quill battles Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to allow the other Guardians to escape and the similar one in Guardians of Ga’Hoole during which Soren flies through a forest fire, igniting a lamp of oil, and manages to disable the fleck trap.

Marvel might have a chance to make a good movie again, but only if they stop copying from Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

TL; DR – There is nothing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that wasn’t done ten times better in Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

What the rest of the critics are saying:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a toe-tapping, eye-popping indication that summer is here, and that it might not suck after all.” – Brooks Buffington, VICE

Vol. 2 can claim to be bigger and better than its predecessor, although it still suffers from some of the originality issues that afflicted Guardians of Galaxy Vol.1. More specifically, it owes a whole lot to Guardians of Ga’Hoole.” – Mondale Robinson, Slate

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has an infantile sense of humor, so I much prefer the more wholesome Guardians of Ga’Hoole which was clearly a major influence on this film.” – Uriah Ward, Deseret News

“Baby Groot is back in action and he’s better than ever!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com

“It’s hyperbolic nonsense wrapped in the colors of a neon rainbow, bouncing from one artfully wacky scenario to the next.” – Luther Tsinoglou, Boston Globe

“Although the fast-paced plot is convoluted, there are intergalactic battle sequences galore and lots of zany humor.” – Pie Corbett, USA Today

Melonmeter® Score:

32% liquid & seed retention – watermelon-512  THOROUGHLY LACKING IN JUICE AND SEEDS AND RATHER CANTALOUPE-LIKE TO BE HONEST™