We have updated the site to 4.2.0! We are happy that we're finally live with this update for numerous reasons. Please note there may be some bugs so please don't hesitate to submit a support ticket or to PM Water Bottle/Telemachos.
Please note of the following changes:
[*] Autoembedding is back. No longer having to manually put stuff in if we support automatically embedding it!
[*] Reactions instead of just likes. ALL REACTIONS ADD ONE LIKE POINT TO A USER'S LIKE COUNT. EVEN THE CONFUSED REACTION. All reactions count towards your like limit. I guess it's a reaction limit now.
[*] Clubs are live. Anyone can create a club and they'll have SOME moderator privileges over that club area. I've created some clubs for popular franchises. If you wish to take over the club and have a clean record (no recent warnings or suspensions), let me know. Please know site rules still exist and violating these moderate privileges will lead to your club being taken away from you. Please one club per franchise unless you can justify it's own existence. Clubs don't have to be related to movies.
[*] Franchise forums will close soon since clubs can take the place of it.
So we've made some changes to the franchise forums.
I looked at which franchises were on the front page and which were sub-forums and have thus changed them accordingly.
Star Wars got to stay on the main page because of Rogue One coming out in December.
Star Trek got moved to the main page because of Star Trek Beyond, it's 50th anniversary, and upcoming television series.
The DC movie forum got renamed to DC Media and was moved to the main page because of Suicide Squad.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe forum got renamed to Marvel Media and got to stay on the main page because of Doctor Strange plus the upcoming Netflix Marvel shows and the new season of Agents of SHIELD in addition to the planned X-Men TV series.
Harry Potter got moved to the main page because of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
(Animation Station remains on the main forum due to the constant release of new animated films)
I have also closed due to inactivity the Middle-Earth Tales sub-forum. The sub-forum might be re-opened if a new film set in the universe is made (it's the reason we're keeping the Fast and Furious forum alive even though it's dead of convos).
I also went ahead and changed the descriptions of many of the franchise forums to better reflect their status.
Water Bottle's Monthly Movie Guide
January 8, 2016
The Forest (Original)
Movie Stars: None
Minor Stars: None
Director: Jason Zada (Director Power: 0)
Writers: Sarah Cornwell, Nick Antosca, Ben Katai (Collective Writer Power: 0)
Important Producers: David S. Goyer (Producer Power: 2.52)
Logline: In Mount Fuji, Sara (Natalie Dormer) searches for her lost twin sister only to be haunted by the death of tormented souls.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 5.24/12.26: For some reason, the first weekend of the year has become a time of the year to release a horror movie. I guess there's no better way to start the year then with fear since they can open decently. The Forest doesn't seem to really offer anything new to horror fans, there's some controversy over having a white girl in a setting where Japanese people continually commit suicide in real life, and it has no real star power. It's hard to see this movie doing that well or having good legs.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 21%: An unknown director and brand new freshman writers don't inspire confidence and it's not like David S. Goyer is actually known for making good horror films. The fact that it's dumped in January simply tells me that the movie won't be that good.
January 15, 2016
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Adaptation)
Genre: Action Thriller
Major Stars: None
Minor Stars: John Kransinski (Star Power: 0.42)
Director: Michael Bay (Director Power: 5.18)
Writers: Chuck Hogan (Writer Power: 0.99)
Important Producers: Michael Bay (Producer Power: 4.19) and Erwin Stoff (Producer Power: 1.56)
Logline: A group of Navy Seals attempt to defend the embassy from an attack by a group of militants in Libya.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 17.48/82.08: It's political election season and this movie is coming around as the Iowa caucus heats up. Expect to hear more about Benghazi and guess what...this movie is about Benghazi! How timely! The interest the movie will generate, even though it's directed by Michael Bay, should give it solid legs.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 56%: Give Michael Bay a good writer and he might actually make a good movie out of it. He's a good visual, action director after all and Chuck Hogan has written critically successful movies before. This might be better than Michael Bay's recent efforts but I currently have doubts that this will be fresh.
Norm of the North (Original)
Genre: Animated Comedy
Major Stars: Rob Schneider (Star Power: 2.53)
Minor Stars: None
Director: Trevor Wall/Anthony Bell (Director Power: 0.00)
Writers: Jack Donaldson and Derek Elliot (Collective Writer Power: 0.00)
Important Producers: None
Logline: A polar bear (Rob Schneider) becomes the mascot for a corporation.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 1.39/3.97: Rob Schneider can make movies that can get you a decent return on the investment but this is an animated feature that frankly screams “flop”. The lack of any established talent behind-the-scenes and it's January date makes me think Lionsgate is merely dumping this.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 25%: Rob Schneider simply isn't in good movies. It's why his star power is high but it also means that Norm of the North probably isn't going to be very good.
Ride Along 2 (Franchise)
Genre: Action Comedy
Major Stars: Ice Cube (Star Power: 1.00), Kevin Hart (Star Power: 1.28)
Minor Stars: Benjamin Bratt (Star Power: 0.74)
Director: Tim Story (Director Power: 2.72)
Writers:Phil Hay & Matt Manfred (Collective Writer Power: 1.94)
Important Producers: Ice Cube (Producer Power: 1.52), Matt Alvarez (Producer Power: 1.42), Will Packer (Producer Power: 1.47), J.C. Spink (Producer Power: 1.99)
Logline: Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) and James Payton (Ice Cube) are assigned to a case in Miami where they are asked to take down a drug lord (Benjamin Bratt).
WB's Box Office Prediction: 37.85/95.81: The first movie was somehow a big hit despite poor critical and mixed audience reception. This suggests that this movie could potentially do well but it'll see a drop-off in totals from the first forgettable movie especially since comedy sequels rarely increase or even match their predecessor's performance.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 28%: Yes, the first movie was terrible and had 18% on Rotten Tomatoes but I'm hoping that for the sequel, they have been able to at least improve on the original. It can't be that hard...
January 22, 2016
The 5th Wave (Adaptation)
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Major Stars: None
Minor Stars: Chloe Grace Moretz (Star Power: 0.75), Ron Livingston (Star Power: 0.30), Maria Bello (Star Power: 0.65), Liev Scheiber (Star Power: 0.61)
Director: J. Blakeson (Director Power: 0.00)
Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Susannah Grant, and Jeff Pinkner (Collective Writing Power: 1.22)
Important Producers: Graham King (Producer Power: 1.13), Tobey Maguire (Producer Power: 0.38)
Logline: Four waves of alien attacks have devastated the planet. Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz) must try to save her brother Sammy (Zackary Arthur) as she prepares for the final wave.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 10.58/23.28: Will the 5th Wave be the next Twilight/Hunger Games? Yeah, I don't think so. I know Hollywood is trying to make Chloe Grace Moretz a star but this is the wrong vehicle for her to breakout in and carry. I'm also not sold that the books have the rabit fanbase that both Twilight and Hunger Games had.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 52%: If Sony had any real confidence in The 5th Wave's ability to start a franchise, I doubt they would have put this movie in January rather than in April or March. Maybe they doubt that the fanbase can turn this movie into a hit...or maybe they made a mistake trusting a relatively unknown director with the entry. Whatever the case, it simply doesn't look like the movie will be anything to write home about.
The Boy (Original)
Major Stars: None
Minor Stars: None
Director: William Brent Bell (Director Power: 5.09)
Writers: Stacey Menear (Writer Power: 0.00)
Important Producers: Roy Lee (Producer Power: 1.31), Gary Lucchesi (Producer Power: 0.80), Tom Rosenberg (Producer Power: 0.59%)
Logline: An American nanny (Laura Cohen) is hired to care for a porcelain doll...that might actually be alive.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 12.46/24.53: This might satisfy that New Year's horror crave demand that the Forest might not have met and I think the trailer for this has been good. Plus William Brent Bell has directed two really bad movies that have done solid business.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 29%: William Brent Bell has yet to show he's capable of hitting the double digits so this might be a bit optimistic but he does have more experience under his belt now. One can only hope.
Dirty Grandpa (Original)
Major Stars: Robert DeNiro (Star Power: 1.08), Zac Efron (Star Power: 1.08)
Minor Stars: Aubrey Plaza (Star Power: 0.20)
Director: Dan Mazer (Director Power: 0.00)
Writers: John Phillips (Writer Power: 0.00)
Important Producers: None
Logline: Jason (Zac Efron) is tricked into driving his grandfather (Robert DeNiro) to Florida.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 5.33/11.30: This seems incredibly low doesn't it? After the bomb that was We Are Your Friends, Zac Efron's ability to get a young audience is certainly doubtful. Robert DeNiro is far beyond his prime days of selling tickets. I simply don't see this doing well especially with a rather lackluster trailer.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 42%: Okay, I don't think this looks to be that good but...it did manage to attract a decent cast and critics liked Dan Mazer's last big-budget comedy project, Bruno, and I thought that looked terrible. So this might actually be a half-decent movie that the marketing hasn't sold me on.
January 29, 2016
Fifty Shades of Black (Original)
Major Stars: Marlon Wayans (Star Power: 1.38)
Director: Michael Tiddes (Director Power: 1.59)
Writers: Rick Alvarez and Marlon Wayans (Collective Writer Power: 2.27)
Important Producers: Rick Alvarez (Producer Power: 1.88) and Marlon Wayans (Producer Power: 1.6)
Logline: “Hey you know that movie they made that started out as crappy fan-fiction for Twilight? Yeah, that Fifty Shades of Grey movie that is pretty much already a self-parody? Let's make a movie spoofing it. Trust me, it's gonna be a goldmine.”
WB's Box Office Prediction: 22.07/73.53: Spoof movies can be hit-and-miss not only in quality but also in box office gross. If the Paranormal Activity spoof can make $40 million (where the peak of the movies was at $107 million) then I'm going to guess this movie has the potential to do better (since Fifty Shades of Grey did $166 million) and it feels like something people would be willing to make fun off. On the other hand, it could also do less than a total of $10 million. Spoofs are hard to predict but let's assume all goes well and audiences want to see a movie making the same jokes they've probably already made with their friends.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 29%: Most of these spoof movies are terrible so it would be surprising if someone finally made a good one.
The Finest Hours (Adaption)
Genre: Historical Drama Thriller
Major Stars: Chris Pine (Star Power: 1.24), Eric Bana (Star Power: 1.01)
Minor Stars: Casey Affleck (Star Power: 0.72), Ben Foster (Star Power: 0.37)
Director: Craig Gillespie (Director Power: 0.43)
Writers: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson (Collective Writing Power: 0.0)
Important Producers: None
Logline: A Coast Guard rescue mission in 1952 to save the crews of two oil tankers.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 6.05/12.88: Disney is advertising this movie a lot despite having dumped it in January. I think they expect the movie to break out but after the performance of In the Heart of the Sea, I'm not really confident in the movie's chances. I also think the other military movie of the month, Benghazi, will cut into The Finest Hours' appeal.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 55%: The movie doesn't look bad, it simply looks very pedestrian and average. I wouldn't be surprised if the reviews reflect that.
Jane Got a Gun (Original)
Major Stars: Natalie Portman (Star Power: 1.43)
Minor Stars: Ewan McGregor (Star Power: 0.87)
Director: Gavin O'Connor (Director Power: 0.34)
Writers: Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis, Joel Edgerton (Collective Writer Power: 1.55)
Important Producers: Natalie Portman (Producer Power: 0.49)
Logline: Jane (Natalie Portman) seeks revenge for her husband's death (Noah Emmerich) after a dangerous gang leader (Ewan McGregor) killed him in a duel.
WB's Box Office Prediction: 10.10/22.83: Box Office Mojo currently has this as wide but the prediction would obviously change if Weinstein starts this out on a limited release. The Western genre remains largely dormant and while there is still box office appeal for these kind of movies (True Grit), I'm not sure Jane Got a Gun will break the trend and become a hit.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 56%: Gavin O'Connor has made some good movies and it has a pretty good cast but it is being released in January-if this was really spectacular, there's no way Oscar-greedy Weinstein would be opening it in January. This tells me there's problems with the movie.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (Franchise)
Genre: Animated Action Comedy
Major Stars: Jack Black (Star Power: 1.12), Angelina Jolie (Star Power: 1.44), Jackie Chan (Star Power: 1.07), Seth Rogen (Star Power: 1.40), Lucy Liu (Star Power: 1.33), Bryan Cranston (Star Power: 1.13)
Minor Stars: Dustin Hoffman (Star Power: 0.86), Kate Hudson (Star Power: 0.76)
Director: Alessandro Carloni/Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director Power: 2.56)
Writers: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (Collective Writing Power: 3.01)
Important Producers: None
Logline: Po (Jack Black) must reunited with his family and a village of pandas in order to defeat an ancient, evil spirit (J.K. Simmons).
WB's Box Office Prediction: 30.87/119.44: The second Kung Fu Panda saw a significant drop from the first movie (165 million compared to 215 million) and they both opened in summer. There's way less competition in January but that's because it's January. Not to mention it's been five years since the last entry. Kung Fu Panda 3 should still be a blockbuster hit but it's going to see yet another drop.
WB's Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: 77%: The last two Kung Fu Panda movies were certified fresh and the trailers to this movie have actually been funny. I'd say that the third movie will get good reviews but it won't be as good as the first two movies.
January Outlook: Star Wars will dominate January especially with relatively weak competition. The strongest January movie will be Kung Fu Panda 3 both critically and box office-wise. Overall, it looks like a weak start for 2016 films.
Wide January Films:
Original Films: 6 (54.55%)
Adaption: 3 (27.27%)
Franchise: 2 (18.18%)
Total Films: 11 Films
Oh my God this movie. Okay, the first Taken I adore. One of my favourite action movies. The second Taken is shit. This? This is just.... comically bad. Stupidly, hilariously, infuriatingly bad. Really, I don't think a quick REVIEW summary is going to do this justice. I'm going to have to take this apart scene by scene. Because this movie is just so so bad, it deserves something a bit special.
Okay, we open with an accountant being kidnapped from his home by thugs led by a guy who looks like a discount Jason Statham. He takes Accountant to their boss who is your basic generic Russian mobster except with a stupid-looking haircut. Generic Russian Mobster #461 has Accountant open a safe belonging to Accountant's boss, which is empty. This angers Generic Russian Mobster #461 so decides to leave a message for Accountant's boss by killing Accountant..... by shooting him in the leg. Seriously, he shoots him in the leg and Accountant just instantly drops dead. He definitely wasn't shooting high enough to hit him in the torso or head, so I assume it was the leg. But there's no blood whatsoever. For all I know, he missed or had the gun loaded with blanks and Accountant just dropped dead from shock. Or Accountant is just narcoleptic. Anyway, this scene has nearly nothing to do with the rest of the movie, Narcoleptic Accountant is never seen or heard from again and the entire thing was a waste of time...
We then get a looooooong opening credits sequence of nothing but overhead shots of a city at night. Just at the point where you're pondering whether you can open your wrists with a popcorn tub, the actual movies starts and we see Liam Neeson buying a giant panda for his now 20-something year old daughter, Kim, for her birthday. Or at least for 3 days before her birthday. Because apparently he decided to buy this stuff 3 days earlier because everyone feels he's 'too predictable' and he wanted to shake things up. By the way, that line about him being 'too predictable' gets repeated about 10 times in the first couple of scenes, then never returns except for a very brief moment halfway through the film. Anyway, Kim is pregnant! Oh my God! And she doesn't want to tell her father about it! And..... this subplot ultimately ends up being completely irrelevant in the end. Doesn't even end with her giving birth in the middle of a packed action scene. For shame.
Anyway, Liam Neeson gets a call from his ex-wife, Jean Grey. (Okay, she's called Lenny in the film, but it's difficult to take any emotional moment centred around a woman called Lenny seriously.) She's having relationship troubles with her current husband, Sleazebag- I mean, Rich Sleazebag- I mean.... Stuart.... and she wants to talk to her ex-husband about it. Can't see anything going wrong here. Anyway, she arrives, 2 minutes later she's telling him how she fantasises about the two of them being back together and 3 minutes later, they're kissing. Who'd a thunk it? Now, in case you're wondering how this film treats the fact that the two of them were previously in a relationship that didn't work out, the answer is 'It ignores it entirely'. Seriously, the way these two talk in this scene, you'd never guessed that they were ever divorced or even previously dated. Also, I should note that this is the only scene Jean Grey is actually alive in. Seriously, she's dead the next time we see her. I think she gets more screentime in this movie as a corpse than as a living person.
I'm just going to leave this here.
The next night, Liam Neeson receives a visit from her boyfriend Stuart who does his utmost to present to you that he's a sleazebag and obviously going to be in some way responsible for Jean Grey's death. Seriously, had he walked in with flashing neon lights surrounding him saying 'I'm a Villain!' it would be a less subtle. Anyway, he basically asks Liam to stay away from his ex-wife (in a totally not villainous way) while they sort out their issues. Rather than pointing out that that's Jean Grey's decision, Liam agrees without protest. Then again, basically the next day, Liam's perfectly happy to let Jean come over to his house. Without even mentioning the promise he made to Stu. Dick move, Neeson, dick movie.
Like I said, the next day Liam receives a text from Jean Grey asking if she can come over for bagels. Rather than telling her to go buy her own goddamn bagels, Liam goes out and picks some up. When he comes back ZOMG Jean Grey is dead! Apparently she was stabbed to death (judging by a knife Liam Neeson sees on the floor (and picks up like an idiot) being the murder weapon) but there's once again no blood whatsoever. And she's on a white sheet at this point. So apparently blood just doesn't exist in the Taken 3 universe.
Anyway, Liam Neeson escapes from the cops in one of the most obnoxiously edited action sequences I've ever seen and makes it into the sewers. To track him down, the police call in Tommy Lee Jones Forest Whittaker who proves his genius as a supercop by... eating one of the bagels Neeson left behind. Why? He fucking loves bagels, that's why. (Seriously though, isn't that supposed to be evidence?) Anyway, Forest Whittaker leads his super team of blandly forgettable cops in search of Liam Neeson whose first move is.... to break into the morque to look at Jean Grey's corpse and nothing else. Really showing that superspy training there, Liam. Also, ew.
Anyway, after admiring his ex-wife's dead naked body, Liam Neeson tracks her car's GPS and discovers she visited a gas station in the middle of nowhere for no reason. He goes to visit there and finds security cameras showing a bunch of thugs in a black van abducting Jean! Gasp! This surely proves his innocence right?! And the cops, who have also followed up on the GPS hint, follow him there and arrest him. But hey, they still have the tape proving his innocence, right? Well.... no. Pretty much everyone forgets about that tape. Seriously. Hell, we actually see Forest Whittaker watching it and.... nothing. Seriously, that tape basically proves Neeson's innocence and no-one ever brings it up again.
Anyway, since we've somehow stumbled into a bizarre alternate universe where clear cut video camera footage doesn't count as evidence, Liam must escape from the cop cars carrying him. And he does so in the middle of the freeway during what I can only assume was a 7.0 earthquake. Seriously, the camera shakes around so goddamn much, it's difficult to tell what's going on. But there's a lot of carnage and violent crashes and there is no way in hell at least one innocent person wasn't killed. Seriously, at one point a car gets smooshed by the most poorly secured truck cargo in the world. And nobody ever brings up that people obviously got killed by Neeson causing carnage here! He may have cleared his name of his wife's murder, but probably got at least 4/5 manslaughter charges he should be dealing with!
But that's not even the stupidest thing to come of this action scene. Neeson manages to push out both of the cops in the car he's driving and makes his getaway from the freeway. However, he's still being pursued by cop cars. He eventually gets cornered on a multi-story car park. And you are not going to believe this next bit. He drives his car backwards into an elevator shaft. For no reason, the car explodes (and takes a good chunk of the building with it. Seriously, unless the trunk was filled with C4, it should not have made an explosion that big.) Gasp! Is Liam Neeson dead?! Suddenly, Forrest Whittaker receives a phone from none other than Neeson. How did he survive? We.......... never find out. Seriously. They never tell us how he got out. We know he didn't jump out before it went into the elevator shaft because we see a shot of him moving in there. Apparently, Liam Neeson can now just teleport.
Anyway, rather than let the police think he's dead, Neeson phones up Whittaker because I don't even remember why. Next in his brilliant tactical plan to hunt down Jean's killer, Neeson.... decides to set up a plan so he can visit his daughter. Why? Literally no reason! And it's not even like that's an easy thing to do. She has police following her everywhere! They put a listening device in one of her jackets! (And I mean one of her jackets. We see them put it in there and it's just that one. They're kinda pushing their luck hoping she'll wear that exact jacket when Neeson tries to meet her. (Speaking of, I'm pretty sure bugging without her permission/a court order is illegal.)) Anyway, Neeson's plan is so batshit, I'm going to give it to you in its unadulterated form.
Basically, Neeson has one of his secret service buddies give her a message to 'keep being predictable'. Earlier in the movie, while they were talking about predictability, Kim mentions how she always buys a yoghurt drink in the morning from the same shop in the exact same place in the fridge. Neeson has planted a post-it note on that specific drink telling her to drink it immediately. She does so and leaves (and I don't think she pays either). Later, in class, Kim feels nauseous and goes to the bathroom where Neeson is waiting, bundles her into a stall and deactivates the listening device. Apparently, he had spiked that drink with something to make her feel nauseous so she would go to the bathroom and etc etc
Okay, 1) I'm pretty sure there are more than one girl's bathrooms on a college campus. Your entire plan would've been ruined if she went to one of them instead or just went home. 2) If there was anyone else in the bathroom at that time, you wouldn't have been able to bundle Kim into that stall and your entire plan would've been ruined again (hell, two girls walk in just a few minutes later). 3) Why couldn't he just have put a note telling her to visit that specific restroom rather than poisoning her? Which brings me to 4) YOU POISONED YOUR DAUGHTER YOU GODDAMN MANIAC!!!!!!
Anyway, Kim is surprisingly okay with being deliberately poisoned by her dad and tells Neeson that she's pregnant (because now seems like a good time). Like most of the pregnancy subplot, absolutely nothing comes of this. Meanwhile, Forest retraces Kim's steps, discovers Neeson's note by fishing around in the garbage (he even licks the yoghurt pot which I'd remind you was a) poisoned and b ) in the garbage, so ew) and realises Neeson's plot. He sends in the police but Neeson escapes them by detonating a bomb in a janitor's closet and sending the entire school into a panicked riot. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyway, a hint from Kim makes Neeson begin to suspect Stuart, the sleazy husband (who really should've been suspect No 1 for obvious reasons) and Neeson trails him along mountain roads to his Malibu safehouse. Suddenly, a black van, driven by discount Jason Statham and his thugs, comes out of nowhere and rams Neeson's car off the cliff! The car rolls and rolls and takes so much damage no-one inside could've possibly survived. And then it explodes for good measure. (And the explosion was ridiculously big again as well. Seriously, are cars in this world painted with nitro-glycerine?). So how did Neeson possibly survive that?! Apparently, he teleported out again, because he's fine in the next scene with absolutely no explanation. Seriously. They did it again. Okay, to be fair, in a later scene they show flashbacks of him diving out of the car as it's falling down the cliff and hiding from discount Jason Statham. but I'm going to call bullshit because we see the car going down the cliff and he obviously didn't! I can't believe I get to use this quote in the right context but, He didn't get out of the cockadoodie car!!!
Anyway, Neeson ambushes discount Jason Statham and his thugs at a liquor store (because when I'm a professional hitman, the first thing I do after a successful kill is get plastered) and kills them all, except DJS, who he holds at gunpoint. Rather than give up any information on his employer, DJS forces the gun into his mouth and pulls the trigger himself. And... rather than see his brains blown out, he just kinda gets a goofy look on his face and falls down dead. Remember, blood doesn't exist in this universe.
Anyway, Neeson arrives at Sleazy Stuart's manor, takes out his security and teleports next to Stuart. (No seriously, Stuart hears Neeson take out a guard, looks away for one second in the middle of a wide-open room, and next second Neeson is standing a pace away. I'm telling you, between Taken 2 and 3, Neeson joined the X-Men. Probably where he met Jean Grey.) He then knocks out Stuart and takes him to a warehouse to waterboard him. Oh and maybe ask some questions. Seriously, when Stuart wakes up, the first thing Neeson does is waterboard him. Only after that does he ask any questions. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be the other way round but hey, I'm not Liam Neeson. Hell, he doesn't even know Stu is definitely involved.
Anyway, slimey Stuart reveals he's been doing deals with Generic Russian Mobster #461 (remember him? All the way back in the intro?) But their last deal fell through and Stuart lost their money so GRM #461 had Jean Grey murdered. And then framed Liam Neeson..... despite having never met him before or having had any reason to want him out of the way. Rather than point out this gaping hole in Stuart's story, Neeson instantly believes Stu and figures that the Russians will go after Kim next. Rather than phone Forest or Kim and tell them to increase the police protection, Neeson enlists three of his secret service guys to pick her up assuming that she'll be safer in the hands of four guys rather than a dozen trained police officers.
Next, he has Stu set up a meeting with GRM #461 in the latter's office building. However, GRM has a special security elevator with cameras so only authorised people can use it. Neeson, Stu, Kim and one of Neeson's spy friends enter the building in a truck and use a complex computer thing to loop the footage of Stu in the elevator so Neeson can...... wait wait wait wait wait, Kim?
WHAT IN PLUPERFECT HELL IS KIM DOING THERE?!
Seriously, this the bad guy's fucking main lair! If Neeson's trying to keep his daughter safe why the hell did he bring her there?! And it's not even a 'We're short on manpower and we need you to do this important job' thing. She does literally nothing! Why he didn't leave her at his secure base? Or with the police? Or anywhere except here?!
Just going to leave this here
Anyway, after taking out two of the elevator guards with a defibrillator (I don't even know why). Neeson goes on one of his patented Neeson rampages and takes out GRM's stereotypical Russian mob guards before taking on GRM himself. GRM himself was actually in the hot tub when Neeson first arrived (apparently he holds all his meeting there.) Why am I bringing this up? Because it means he spends the entire final fight in his tighty whities. And it looks every bit as ridiculous as you'd expect. Although apparently, he doesn't need any kind of body armour because he can walk barefoot on glass shards without any injuries. John McClane calls bullshit.
Anyway, after a tough fight, Neeson shoots GRM twice in the torso. But apparently GRM has some sort of weird healing factor because when we see his body (and we get some pretty good looks in all his tighty whitey glory) there are no bullet wounds or blood. GRM is dying anyway but tells Neeson that, shocker, he didn't kill the latter's wife and that Stuart was playing them both against each other the whole time! That's right! Sleazy, obviously evil husband turned out to be evil the whole time!
Forest, meanwhile, has discovered that Stu had a massive life insurance policy out on Jean Grey (which really should've been one of the first things he checked) and tracks Stu's phone GPS to the building. Speaking of Stu, he shoots Neeson's secret service friend and takes Kim hostage, because it wouldn't be a Taken film if that didn't happen at least once (no matter how goddamn contrived). Speaking of secret service friend, according to the police at the scene, he was alive when they arrived, but the movie just kinda forgets about him. We never see paramedics attend to him and never find out if he survived. Anyway, Neeson has to take the elevator to leave the building, but the cops see it come it down and are prepared to arrest anyone in it! How does Neeson escape? I think you all know the answer to this.
Yup, Neeson somehow teleports out of the elevator into the elevator shaft. We see him in the elevator and there's no visible service hatch either. He just teleports. Something that's happened so many times it's practically canon for this movie. Anyway, Stu is headed for the airport with Kim to make his escape. Neeson steals a car and races to catch. Just as Stu's private plane is going down the runway to take off, Neeson rams the front wheel with his car and causes it to crash, obviously killing everyone on board, especially since they weren't wearing seatbelts. No wait, against all semblance of logic, Stu and Kim are fine. Completely unharmed. Stu holds Kim hostage in a standoff pitifully resolved when Kim pushes him away, Neeson shoots him and Stu apparently forgets he's holding a gun. Somehow, the sheer shock of being shot doesn't cause Stu to drop dead and Neeson beats the crap out of him for good measure. He's about to shoot Stu when Kim begs him not to because.............. I don't even care anymore.
Neeson lets Stu get arrested by Forest and promises that, once/if Stu gets out, Neeson will be gunning for him. Rather than just killing him now, I suppose. Forest tells Neeson he knew the latter was innocent all along. Why? Because the bagels Neeson bought at the beginning were still warm. And why would Neeson go out and buy fresh bagels if he was going to immediately kill his wife? The only problem with that sentiment is that Forest never once, throughout the entire movie, brings up the possibility that Neeson is innocent except at the end when it's blatantly obvious Stu did it. Doesn't even hint it. Basically, Forest is lying through his teeth here to cover up the fact that he's a terrible cop.
Anyway, Forest ignores the countless deaths Neeson has caused in his rampage and lets him go. The final scene is Neeson sitting with his daughter and her boyfriend (who's had like one scene in the entire movie) and tells them he supports their wish to have a child. Kim tells Neeson that, if its a girl, they plan to name their daughter after Jean Grey (and will probably have more screentime than her). And that's the end. We don't find what happens to secret service guy, Stu or any other after-effects. It just ends. And I have never seen a packed theatre leave so quickly.
So that's Taken 3. It's shit. Don't go see it.
I don't know if anybody is reading this but I hope somebody is. I ended up getting an iPad Air 2 64 GB (Wi-Fi). If I need to use cellular, I'll tether it to my phone. All in all, I love it. In some ways, I've used it more than expected so that's nice.
Life is going ok. I've adjusted to my team lead leaving but there's still apprehension in filling the void he leaves. But as he leaves, our group has never gotten along better. I think we're trying to cherish as much time together as we can. But the last few days at work have been a ton of fun. I found out my brother is coming to Houston, but his girlfriend isn't. Her car broke down and she's trying to save money for her trip to Vietnam. I tried convincing her to come but she didn't seem to want to listen and was upset I was doing that. I'm not sure I understand. She already bought the tickets, so it's essentially a sunk cost, but unfortunately it seems like she's made up her mind. So it'll just be the family...but I feel like Christmas is going to go very badly this year without her around.
I am super excited for video game Indiana Jones ripoff, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, and I was super happy to see gameplay footage. The combat looks so dynamic! More verticality, the ability to sneak around in combat, and more tools at your disposal. The design also looks marvelous. So many options of combat. Visually, it looks gorgeous, but not as beautiful as the teaser suggested back in May. But if you know how much I love Nolan, I love the developer Naughty Dog nearly just as much if you can believe it.
Hello, good day and welcome to my humble abode. Well, I say humble abode. It's a just a blog. And likely not even one I'm going to use that much. If it was my actual abode, it would probably be an absolute tip. Books, dvds, empty bottles strewn everywhere and a funny smell I can't quite find the source of but continues to drive me mad no matter how much air freshener I spray everywhere and-
*clears throat* Anyway, my poor living habits aside, this blog is basically a dumping ground for whatever takes my fancy. Films, anime/manga, Tv Shows, books, I'll review them all. Or I may doll out some (debatably) useful writing advice or musings. Or I may just go on a massive rant on whatever insignificant thing has gotten me into a mood. The point is, expect anything. Except quality. Or good taste. Or a consistent release schedule.
Anyway, for my first review on this blog, I thought I'd look at something we all know and love. Then I thought 'Wait a minute'. If it's something we all know and love, then what's the point in reviewing it? We all know what it is and we all know what we're going to think about it. So if we all know what we're going to think about then we all know what I think of it and therefore there's no point in me writing it down since we all know what it is. I then took another shot of whiskey to quiet the ringing pain in my head.
So, as an elegant solution, I decided I would review a series barely anybody knows, but I really love. And that series is... Kingdom
Warning: There are some pretty NSFW images below. If you're particularly squeamish about gore, blood and people with pointy teeth, you may not want to read on.
Kingdom is a Weekly Manga series by Yasuhisa Hara. It debuted in 2006 and, to date, over 400 chapters have been released. I ploughed through them all in less than a week. Oh yes. It is a fictionalised account of the latter end of the Warring States period (475 - 221 BC) in Chinese History. The series follows a young orphan boy, Xin. Xin and his childhood friend, Piao, dream of growing up, making their way through the army and eventually becoming Generals. One day, Piao is taken to the Royal Palace by a minister, leaving Xin alone. A few months later, one fateful night, Piao returns mortally wounded (because he's a childhood best friend. Of course he's going to die) and instructs Xin to go to a hidden shack in a near town. Xin arrives to find a boy inside who is almost identical to Piao. The boy, Ying Zheng is the current king of China and is in hiding after a coup lead by his younger brother (which caused Piao (Ying's body double) to be killed). Ying asks Xin to help him regain his throne. And, after that, to aid him in his ultimate goal. The unification of China.
Seems easy enough. Where's my Risk board?
Okay, I know what you're thinking. That all sounds rather basic, right? The deposed royal asks the aid of a regular person (who turns out to have more skill/power than meets the eye) to help him regain his kingdom. Seen it plenty of times before. And you'd be right. But that storyline only lasts the first arc. The second is where things really start getting good. Because that's where we replace small personal battles with full on warfare and the series moves from an enjoyable if basic action series to an intense, interesting ride with a large cast of colourful and memorable characters.
Like this friendly chap. Presumably, he's the great great great great grandfather of Jaws.
And, to be honest, if I had to pick the defining characteristic of Kingdom, it would be the large scale battles. These aren't the typical 'throw troops at each other until one side dies' battles you usually see in Hollywood movies. These are actual tactical showdowns with two sides trying to outsmart and outmanoeuvre each other with genuinely realistic and fascinating tactics. (At least, I assume they're realistic. I haven't really looked them up, but I'd be really surprised if they weren't accurate to the time period). It's the sort of series where I felt I really learnt a lot in addition to having a great time. In particular, the back and forth between the two sides is absolutely incredible. Aside from a few select cases, I genuinely couldn't tell you who was going to win each encounter until the very last chip had been played. And, we get perfect balance of tactics (with the Generals overseeing the action) and action, as Xin and his friends attempt to fight through the heaving bulk of armies and soldiers to achieve whatever their objective is. The pacing is top notch and leaves you nearly constantly wanting to know what happens next. And the battles feels sufficiently epic and large in scale as they should. Also, the art is absolutely fantastic. Admittedly, I do make fun of some of the more gonkish character designs, like the picture above, but they do really help you tell the characters apart and make them recognisable. But the really good art comes in the battle scenes. Thousands and thousands of troops all heaving and fighting against each other. Dismemberments, decapitations, blood everywhere, it looks fantastic.
Although, it still looks somewhat tame compared to the crowds at Black Friday.
One thing I do have to say though is that this is very much a Shonen manga and holds many of the tropes you'd often find in that sort of series. So you've often got people acting as near one-man armies (although they keep it somewhat in moderation), our main character shrugging off near fatal wounds and forcing himself back to his feet through sheer willpower. The sort of stuff, you'd often see in Shonen manga yet may seem bizarre to unfamiliar viewers. Also, it does kind of knock against the whole realistic warfare thing the series has going when you have Generals riding into battle plowing aside anyone in their way (although that sort of behaviour tends to be restricted to a select few and they are more than good enough to justify it). Also, it's not particularly the sort of series that will often sit down and talk about how dark or depressing war is like, say, Fury. Sure, sometimes it delves into the darker sides of war to good effect, but it generally tends to almost glorify it, something that I'm of a mixed mind about. But, in the end, this is a manga designed to entertain rather than lecture. And my god it does a fantastic job of that. I haven't even scratched the surface of why I like this series so much. Mostly because I don't want to spoil a lot of the twists and turns going into the series. This is very much something you want to go into blind. Heck, even knowing who's going to win/lose a certain battle takes a bit of the edge off and reduces the tension. So I've tried to avoid even the slightest spoilers.
Except for Piao. Piao dies. Piao dies really quickly.
To sum up, this is a fantastic series, even for those who may not be the biggest fans of battle manga. It's intense, informative, amazingly well drawn and has a fully realised world and large cast of memorable characters. Admittedly, being over 400 chapters and still going strong means it's one hell of a long read, but I think it's more than worth it.
So a few things...
I mentioned recently that my friend, and currently team leader of my workgroup is leaving in a couple weeks. I'm still a bit shell shocked as again I felt he had so much to teach me over the next few months. Not only is he moving to a new position, but he's moving to Dallas, so I've lost a valuable friend and co-worker. I was able to work through it today and put it off my mind. It's in the back of my head, but I think I'm adjusting. Maybe it won't be so bad.
I also bought an iPad Air today. It came with a $100 gift card to Target. The only problem is that it's 16 GB, not 32 GB like I wanted. I want to watch movies on the thing while I head to Vietnam. This might be a problem. I'm gonna try and swap it down the road for a 32 GB and see if Target is nice enough to let me keep the gift card. Any advice on that possibility? Anyways, my other purchase for Black Friday is get my mother a cheap computer. Recently I hurt her by saying her computer troubles were not my problem, so I felt like to make it up for her, I'll buy her a new computer.
I'm going to see Interstellar on Friday and also catch the Star Wars trailer that will be online. But I kinda wanna see it in theaters just to see the reaction. I need to regain my honor and see Interstellar at least THREE more times so it can match the viewings of Inception and the Dark Knight. That's a lot of tears to come.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Also let me know if you have any thoughts on my iPad situation.
Okay, here it is!
I want to start a weekly thing where I watch a really shitty movie on Netflix chosen by you guys. I'll watch it and report all the shenanigans back to you guys. I want to set up some kind of format or some rules to follow for each entry. Here are some of my ideas:
Something Good(I have to find one good thing about it?)
Famous Faces(are there any recognizable people in it?)
Actual Dialogue(dialogue so bad, you can't believe it)
Those are my first few ideas, but I want to include you guys with it every step. So please comment and tell me something you'd like to see.
Welcome to a blog of madness, where I shall be posting random thoughts that I have always had, but never seemed to be a good fit to talk about on the forums before. Caution is advised when reading future entries. But if you have ignored my warnings than sit back, and enjoy the random musings of a mad man.
Hey everyone, welcome to Key Frames! This blog is dedicated to animation news, reviews of animated movies and tv shows and information about animation. There is bound to be a lot of art on this blog, so be prepared!
I'm working on lining up some blog features! More info to come!