Film Review: Justice League (2017)

Release Date: October 26th, 2017 (Beijing premiere)
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon, Zack Snyder
Based on: Characters from DC Comics
Music by: Danny Elfman
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Jeremy Irons, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Jesse Eisenberg (cameo), Joe Manganiello (cameo)

Access Entertainment, DC Entertainment, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films, Warner Bros., 120 Minutes


“I miss the days whens one’s biggest concern is exploding wind-up penguins.” – Alfred Pennyworth

Pardon my French but this was fucking unwatchable.

How does a film with a $300 million dollar budget in 2017 look like absolute dog shit? I have a rule, if you have a massive budget, you need to look as good or better than the original Lord of the Rings trilogy because those movies are getting close to twenty years old and they still look pretty perfect. Is technology regressing? Are the digital artists just shit now? What the hell happened with this picture?

The best way to describe this film is “CGI shit storm”. It was like someone took a bunch of unfinished, random CGI pieces, threw them in a blender and pureed that shit for two hours.

Hell, this makes Suicide Squad look like a f’n masterpiece by comparison.

The absolute worst thing about this film isn’t even the Sharknado looking special effects, it is Ezra Miller’s Flash. He’s an annoying, unfunny douchebag that is supposed to be comedic relief but is about as effective as Jay Leno trying to use Dane Cook’s material. He’s your token eccentric weirdo millennial hipster that did the most un-Flash-like thing ever by showing up late to the kooky character pop culture party. We’ve seen the type, it sucked before and it sucks now.

The film’s script and story is terrible. This is a hard film to follow, not because it is complicated but because it is a nonsensical mess that just feels like a two hour trailer and not an actual movie with some sort of a cohesive plot. In fact, it is hard to straighten out my thoughts and write much of a cohesive review because my brain is still spinning from the CGI puree. Anyway, I wrote better comic book stories when I was seven years-old and drunk.

Not a single character in this film is interesting in any way. Flash, again, sucks. Cyborg also sucks. Wonder Woman looked bored. Aquaman was token Momoa backed by CGI that defied the laws of physics in every way. Batman was boring. Superman was even more boring and his lovey dovey bullshit with Lois Lane trying to bring him back to normalcy was so cringe worthy it rivals the romance scenes between Padme and Anakin from Attack of the Clones. Yes, it was that fucking bad.

But hey, we get a cameo from Jesse Eisenluthor and Deathstroke. “Boo” for Luthor. “Hells Yeah!” for Deathstroke.

As far as the villain goes, didn’t Wonder Woman kill that same guy in her movie? Is every DC villain going to be some throwaway character no one cares about that resembles some ancient mythological god? That’s boring. And people think Marvel has a villain problem in their movies. I mean they do but DC makes Marvel’s faults look like strengths with how bad most of these movies have been.

I will never watch this film again and I have serious doubts that I’ll care for any other DC Comics movie for a very long time.

The only real positive about this film is that it wasn’t thirteen hours like Batman v. Superman. But really, it was still two hours too long.

Rating: 1.75/10
Pairs well with: Well, I guess the other really shitty DC Comics films, as of late.

Film Review: Ninja Condors (1987)

Also known as: Ninjas, Condors 13 (original title)
Release Date: 1987 (Hong Kong)
Directed by: Kuo-Ren Wu (as James Wu)
Written by: Godfrey Ho (as Benjamin King)
Music by: Sherman Chow
Cast: Alexander Rei Lo, Stuart Hugh, Timothy Johnson

Filmark International Ltd., 89 Minutes


Ninja Condors is a very shitty movie overall but like other ninja films that had some sort of involvement with Godfrey Ho, when there is action, it sort of makes up for the awful and abnormal shit show that the rest of the picture is.

The story is about this ninja who is in a clan run by a complete f’n mad man. The ninja decides that he wants nothing to do with that psychotic bag of dicks and rises up to reject the clan, thus painting a target on his back. It then becomes open season, as our hero and a buddy he meets, must survive a killer ninja horde and a killer ninja mad man that has a penchant for using chainsaws on pregnant women. For real, that shit happens in this movie.

Ninja Condors is poorly shot, abysmally acted and terribly written. It is a Hong Kong film that was given an atrocious English language dub that just adds to the overall absurdity and lack of quality. But the thing is, I don’t watch ’80s ninja movies for cinematography and a great story acted out by Daniel Day Lewis and Gregory Peck. No… I watch these movies to see fucking ninjas wreck the shit out of everything and if this includes the film itself, so be it!

Ninjas are probably the coolest thing ever created by billions of years of space dust compressing together and forming things. Don Johnson eating a bacon wrapped, bone-in tomahawk ribeye while riding an Elvis impersonating T-Rex, tattooed all over with Ferrari logos, still isn’t as cool as just one ninja from a mediocre ’80s film. And this film has a friggin’ horde of ninjas.

The movie is also full of fight choreography that makes absolutely no sense, defies everything any real scientist has ever known about physics and sometimes seems to be actually being played back in reverse. But ninjas have mystical powers and if I can suspend disbelief when playing Super Mario Bros. 2, then why can’t I just accept what’s happening in this movie?

I know, this movie is a cesspool of a lot of awful filmmaking faux pas but the fights just work for me and sitting through fifteen to twenty minute segments of boring, deplorable filler crap is worth the payoff when the violence gets going.

Still, the filmmakers could have made a better movie and there is no excuse for how bad the non-action segments are. I think I wrote better scripts when I was six and was inspired by Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe. Hong Kong really dropped the ball hiring me to write ninja epics back in my prime.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: Other Godfrey Ho ninja movies: Ninja Terminator, Ninja the ProtectorNinja Empire, etc.

TV Review: C.O.P.S. (1988-1989)

Also known as: CyberCOPS (rebranded in later syndication)
Original Run: October 5th, 1988 – February 20th, 1989
Created by: Hasbro
Directed by: Kevin Altieri, Rick Morrison
Written by: various
Based on: C.O.P.S. ‘N’ Crooks toy line by Hasbro
Music by: various
Cast: Ken Ryan, Jane Schoettle, Brent Titcomb, Mary Long, Paul De La Rosa, Nick Nichols, Dan Hennessey

DiC Entertainment, Crawleys Animation, Hasbro, Claster Television, 65 Episodes, 22 Minutes (per episode)


*written in 2015.

C.O.P.S. (also one-time branded as CyberCOPS in an effort not to create confusion with the reality show Cops) was one of my favorite after school treats when I was nine years-old in 1988. It was produced by DiC, who made some quality stuff at the time and it was tied into a really badass Hasbro toy line (similar to the G.I. Joe and Transformers brands) and it had a comic book series published by DC Comics.

Every few years, I revisit G.I. Joe and Transformers and am still entertained, as those two animated series have held up tremendously. Remembering C.O.P.S. almost as fondly, I always wanted to give it another watch through. It wasn’t as easy to access and I actually just got my hands on it, as I found a DVD set of the series for $5 in a discount bin.

Well, it definitely hasn’t held up as well as those other great shows from my childhood. The animation isn’t fantastic. I can’t say that it is bad, as some scenes are well done but there is a lack of fluidity at times and the character design is pretty generic. Additionally, the voice acting is borderline cheesy in every scene. Yes, it is a cartoon made for an audience of ten year-old boys in the ’80s but so were G.I. Joe and Transformers and they were just so much better in dialogue, voice acting and overall quality.

The characters in C.O.P.S. are interesting at first glance and each has their own unique and cool gimmick. The problem though, is that there is little-to-no character development. Comparing it to the competition of the time and going back to G.I. Joe, look at how well and awesome of a character Shipwreck turned out to be by the end of the first season. Look at Shipwreck’s character journey, it is pretty amazing for a little cartoon just made to sell some toys. C.O.P.S. doesn’t present the audience with anything close to that level of character development.

Each episode is pretty generic and the criminals are just complete idiots – all of them. At least in G.I. Joe and Transformers you had good strong villains to offset the bumbling ones. For Cobra Commander there was Destro and Serpentor. For Starscream there was Megatron and Soundwave. For Beserko… well, there were just more bumbling idiots.

I wanted to feel the nostalgia; I wanted to really get re-immersed in this. It just didn’t happen and I found this hard to watch after giving it a chance with five or six episodes.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: any other DiC Entertainment animated show from the era: the later G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero seasons, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ WrestlingM.A.S.K.Jayce and the Wheeled WarriorsThe Real Ghostbusters, etc.

Film Review: Smoke Signals (1998)

Release Date: June 26th, 1998
Directed by: Chris Eyre
Written by: Sherman Alexie
Based on: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Music by: B. C. Smith
Cast: Adam Beach, Evan Adams, Irene Bedard, Gary Farmer, Tantoo Cardinal, Perrey Reeves, Tom Skerritt

Miramax, 89 Minutes


“Sometimes it’s a good day to die, and sometimes it’s a good day to have breakfast.” – Thomas Builds-the-Fire

For a film that’s title is written across the screen in Papyrus, this isn’t a bad little picture despite its poor choice in typeface.

This is a coming of age story but it is also about shifting into manhood. The interesting twist, is this is told from a Native American perspective. In fact, the entire film, top to bottom, is a Native American production. Sherman Alexie, the writer, did this to properly convey Native American culture, as Hollywood has typically misinterpreted Native life in the United States.

The core of the story is about two young men going on a road trip together, as one of their fathers, who left years ago, passed away in his trailer outside of Phoenix. The two young men travel on a bus from their reservation in Idaho down to Arizona. The young men have never really been off the reservation or experienced life in the world outside of their tiny bubble.

What really holds this film together is the performances of Adam Beach and Evan Adams. The two actors were very much different characters but they had a good chemistry that propelled the picture forward. I have really come to like Beach over the years and this may be the earliest example of his work that I’ve seen.

Gary Farmer plays Beach’s father and he does so with such grace. He’s shown being abusive to his son and his wife, as he is an angry alcoholic. But as the story unfolds and we see his regrets and understand the weight on his shoulders, which ultimately pushed him towards the bottle, we see a different man, a soft, caring, guilt ridden human being that can’t face the wreckage he caused. And like his son, we have to find a way to accept the man for who he is and make peace with him.

Smoke Signals isn’t a great film but it is unique and even though it is heavy in the emotion department, it is sweet and relatable to any man that has grown up having issues with their father, Native American or not.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Powwow Highway.

Film Review: Miracle (2004)

Release Date: February 6th, 2004
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Written by: Eric Guggenheim
Music by: Mark Isham
Cast: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich

Walt Disney, Buena Vista Pictures, 135 Minutes


“Great moments… are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.” – Herb Brooks

*written in 2014.

Miracle is considered by many, if not most, to be the best hockey film ever made.

I don’t agree with the popular opinion, although it is a good film. The problem though, is that there is a real under-abundance of hockey movies. I mean, compared to baseball, football and even basketball pictures, hockey is really underutilized as a subject for sports films. While I would put this in probably the top two or three hockey movies of all-time, it would be hard to put it in a top ten including other sports.

While the subject matter of this film, the 1980 Winter Olympics and the United States’ beating of the unstoppable Soviet team during the Cold War, is compelling, it falls flat when comparing it to the bigger picture.

There are scenes in the film that are great. In fact, the acting is stellar. The problem is that it is just missing the magic you find in films like The Natural, Field of Dreams, Rudy and Hoosiers. While it has a bit of a magical feel at times, it never really pulls you in as emotionally as those other classic sports motion pictures.

Additionally, the pacing of this film is strange, as at times it drags and other times it flies by. There are also so many characters to get to know, that you really can’t get to know any of them all that well. The film suffers from not investing more time in just a few people; instead it gives you bits and pieces of many people. It plays like a television pilot overstuffed with too many characters from the start.

Miracle is a good film, despite the criticisms I have. It just isn’t the great movie that people believe it to be. At least, that’s how I see it.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: Mystery, Alaska

Documentary Review: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016)

Release Date: September 23rd, 2016 (Fantastic Fest)
Directed by: Kevin Burke
Music by: Steve Damstra II

Snowfort Pictures, Post No Joes Productions, 82 Minutes


24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters is exactly what the title implies but then it is more than that.

The film is about how great the art on film posters used to be and how, since the ’90s, that great art has been pushed aside in favor of photographs and giant images of famous actors’ faces in an effort to sell the movie.

As this film evolves, it goes into talking about how a new generation of poster artists have emerged and are working towards bringing back the old style, which was more interesting and a lot more dynamic than a closeup of Half of Tom Cruise’s face accompanied by a bold font.

This documentary seems to do what a lot of documentaries are doing as of late. It promotes itself as one thing but then veers off in a different direction. While going from the history of poster art into the modern era where new artists are trying to breathe life back into the classic style, it kind of catches you off guard. I like both sides of the coin here but I feel like this could have been a two-parter or that the history stuff could and should have been expanded on, as it is the most interesting part of the film.

Sure, I love seeing what artists are doing now and I hope they succeed in bringing the old art style back but it didn’t need to take up the bulk of the film. It could have been streamlined quite a bit and made up a nice final act to this feature.

Still, this is a fairly solid and informative documentary. I’m more of a history buff, especially in regards to aspects of the film industry and wish there had been more of that story told here.

Film Review: Black Christmas (2006)

Also known as: Black X-Mas (DVD box title), Noël Noir (French Canadian), Negra Navidad (Spain)
Release Date: December 15th, 2006 (UK, Ireland, Poland)
Directed by: Glen Morgan
Written by: Glen Morgan
Based on: Black Christmas by A. Roy Moore
Music by: Shirley Walker
Cast: Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Hudson, Lacey Chabert, Kristen Cloke, Andrea Martin

2929 Productions, Hard Eight Pictures, Hoban Segal Productions, Dimension Films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 84 Minutes (European cut), 91 Minutes (US cut)


“I’m sorry, but that-that fuckin’ voice, that was not Megan or Kyle. That was the fucking devil, and he was not talking to us, he was talking to Billy.” – Melissa Kitt

Being a huge fan of the original Black Christmas, I never really wanted to see this remake, which I heard was a steaming pile of shit. Well, it is a steaming pile of shit but I figured that a lot of time has passed since it came out and it is just after Christmas and I was tired of watching the same old stuff, year after year. Frankly, I’ve got my holiday movie staples and I plowed through them all pretty quickly this holiday season. Plus, sometimes I do watch shitty movies in order to review them. Sometimes I like torturing myself with bad films. Okay, all the time. Whatever.

I guess there are two positives I can say about this film. One, is that it tried to be ambitious and original with its story, expanding on the simplicity of the original. Two, I thought the cinematography and the lighting were well done.

But let me take that first example and tear it apart because even though ambition is good, poor execution can make it blow up in your face and that’s exactly what happened here. You see, this isn’t a film that needed to be expanded on. Nope. The first one worked because of its simplicity and its straightforward story. It had some mystery to it, you never really saw the killer except for an eye and his madness didn’t need to be justified by beating the audience over the head like a dead horse with an unnecessary and overly complicated backstory. The killer is yellow because he was born with a rare liver condition?! Huh?! Seriously, what?! And now there is a one-eyed sister with Hulk like strength?! Were they trying to ripoff the Yellow Bastard from Sin City, which had come out a year before this.

The film stars a who’s who of mid-’00s starlets: Katie Cassidy, Lacey Chabert, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Michelle “where the hell did she go” Trachtenberg. Cassidy, as much as I love her on Arrow, really had a reputation for being in poor horror classic remakes, between this, A Nightmare On Elm Street and When A Stranger Calls. I hope she’s gotten that out of her system because she’s pretty solid as Black Canary or whoever the hell she is on Arrow now.

Andrea Martin, who appeared in the original, returned for this. I hope she regrets her decision and she at least got a nice check for her role in this turkey turd.

This movie is an abomination: period. I’d rather enter myself into a holiday fruitcake eating contest than ever watch this thing again.

This obviously needs to be ran through the Cinespiria Shitometer. The results read,”Type 4 Stool: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft.”