Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Iron Man

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie I own then blog about it.  Easy as pie.  I figured it was time to revisit the origins of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so let's kick it off with Iron Man.  This is in my notes at January 14, 2018.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Lego Ninjago Movie

Fishing in the Discount Bin!  I watch one of my movies, and then blog about it, because I really need to get out more.  Today, I'm giving The Lego Ninjago Movie a spin.   This is in my notes at January 7, 2018. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Talkin' Trailers: Bumblebee and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I occasionally lament that I don't blog about trailers the way I used to.  I've shared this lament before.  It's become so much easier to just throw up the link on my Facebook or Twitter and go, "OMG!  Check this out!" rather than sit down at the blog and write out, "Oh my gosh!  Check this out!"  I've thought about maybe doing something like "Trailer Tuesday" where every Tuesday I blog about a trailer that caught my eye, but then the problem becomes content.  Trailers seem to come in surges.  We'll get a week full of really, really good ones, and then we'll hit a dry spell for a while.

And this past week, well, it was a week of good ones.  For animated sequels, we got our latest look at Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, and our first look at The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.  For Oscar bait, there was a thrilling one for First Man, a biopic on Neil Armstrong from the creators of La La Land.  And there was much buzz about the trailer for A Star Is Born, the latest remake of the oft-remade tale of a famous singer who begins romancing and mentoring a young ingenue, only for the relationship to start crumbling when her star starts taking off as his starts to fade.  In this latest remake, Bradley Cooper is the singer and Lady Gaga is the ingenue.

But there were two in particular that made me feel like dusting off the blog and jotting down a few thoughts.  The first one is Bumblebee.

Yes, Paramount and Hasbro want some of that sweet, sweet, cinematic universe action, and so they're trying to build one out of Transformers.  First out of the gate, Bumblebee, a solo film for everyone's favourite little yellow Autobot.  A prequel to the Michael Bay films, Bumblebee takes place in 1987 -- 20 years before the first Bay film -- and follows Bumblebee's adventures as he begins settling into his life on Earth.  Hailee Steinfeld plays Charlie Watson, the teenage girl who winds up buying Bumblebee as her first car, and WWE superstar John Cena plays Agent Burns of Sector 7, whom you may remember as the secret organization monitoring Transformers on Earth.

Michael Bay takes the producer's chair on this one.  Directing it is Travis Knight, who gave us the stop-motion animated film Kubo and the Two Strings.  (And he's also the son of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike.)

All I can say is...wow.  I'm almost taken aback at how this lacks the bombast of the Michael Bay films, and instead looks to be almost a smaller and quieter film.  I'm especially picking up a strong E.T. vibe between Charlie and Bumblebee in those garage scenes.  Which is weird, because that's how Bay and Steven Spielberg sold the first Transformers film, before Bay made them all explody.  Oh, yeah, didn't you know?  Spielberg has been a producer on every Transformers film.

And from a nostalgia standpoint, I love that Bumblebee is a Volkswagen Beetle again, Starscream is in his original red and white colours, and Bumblebee's general robot design tends to have a smoother, sleeker, G1 inspired look.  While the commercials alone for Transformers: The Last Knight made me give up on the franchise in exasperation, this is actually kind of getting me excited again.

Bumblebee hits theatres December 18.

Next up, we have Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  I will never not get excited for a Spider-Man movie.  Way back in college in the 1990s, when I discovered the Internet late one night in the Augustana computer lab, the first words I ever typed into a search engine were "Spider-Man movie," because I wanted to know if the rumours I'd heard for years were true.  And that's when I discovered the lawsuit.  There had been some shenanigans over the years over the movie rights to Spider-Man, which led to a long and drawn-out court case to figure out who owned them.  But it was in Y2K when it was finally determined that belonged to Sony, Sony fast-tracked the first Spider-Man movie for a summer 2002 release, and the rest is history.

That was also a time when we were coming off a period in animation known as the Disney Renaissance.  I'm a guy who's always believed that animation and superheroes are a medium and a genre just made for each other.  Whenever there's an animated superhero movie coming along, I'm there.  Loved The Incredibles, loved Big Hero 6, and I still believe that the 2007 animated Ninja Turtles film is the best Ninja Turtles film.  So when Sony announced they'd be expanding the Spider-Man franchise by doing an animated Spider-Man film, I was in.

To set it apart, though, they decided to focus on Miles Morales.  For those who haven't been keeping up with the comics, Miles Morales started off as the Spider-Man in a parallel universe...the Ultimate Universe.  Morales was also bitten by a radioactive spider, but he was too frightened of his powers to use them.  When the Peter Parker Spider-Man made the ultimate sacrifice in his final battle with the Green Goblin, Morales was guilt-ridden that he didn't help out in the battle.  Learning the lesson that with great power comes great responsibility, Morales took on the mantle of Spider-Man.   Since then, the Ultimate universe has been merged with the regular universe, and Peter Parker has taken on a mentor role to the young Morales.

And that looks to be the general plot they're taking with the animated film.  When Morales starts discovering his powers, Peter Parker steps in to start mentoring him and teaching him the ways of the Force...er, I mean, spider-powers.  Shameik Moore voices Miles Morales, and Jake Johnson is voicing Peter Parker.

The script was written by The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and they also take on a producer role.

Ok, so when the first teaser premiered back at Christmas, I wasn't quite sold on the animation style.  But now that I get a better sense of it in this trailer, I'm starting to come around.  I get what they're going for now, in making it look literally like a comic book come to life.  And I may have let out a little  yelp when Spider-Gwen showed up at the end.

OK, Spider-Gwen.  For those who haven't kept up with the comics.  In yet another parallel universe, Peter Parker's longtime girlfriend Gwen Stacy was bitten by that radioactive spider on that fateful field trip instead of Peter Parker.  So she became that universe's Spider-Woman and started fighting crime.  But because there have been like, eight people to carry the mantle of Spider-Woman, the fans dubbed her Spider-Gwen to set her apart.  And, looping back to Bumblebee, that's Hailee Steinfeld voicing Spider-Gwen. 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits theatres December 14. 

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a DVD I own and blog about it.  Simple as that.  I know it's summer, but I wrote this down on January 7, 2018, because that's when I finally got my DVD copy of He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special.  Let's dive in!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol

Welcome, all, to another installment of Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the many movies I own and blog about it.  Why?  Because a friend told me many years ago he thought it'd be neat to see.  Anyway, I know it's May, but this is for a Christmas special, which is why I always indicate the date I actually watched these and wrote these entries.  When did I watch this?  January 6, 2018.  What did I watch?  Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Monday, May 28, 2018

How I Spent My Staycation

Well, I'm just coming off a week's vacation.  I always get in trouble with the HR department near the end of the year, because I never use up all my vacation time, and I've resolved to do that this year!  One week down, three to go.  So I wasn't planning on doing much.  Just hangin' out at home, binging some Netflix.  I'm actually getting low on entries for Fishing in the Discount Bin, so I should probably watch some more movies and blog about them.  Or, with the summer blockbuster season upon us, I should head to the city and check out some of the blockbusters.  Like Deadpool 2.

Deadpool 2 Movie Poster

Yup, rather than rush out on opening weekend, seeing as to how it was the May long weekend and would no doubt be crowded, I decided to wait until the middle of the week and catch a weekday matinee, when it would be just the seniors looking for an outing, kids skipping school, and me.  And it was a good strategy.  The theatre was only about half-full. 

Following the events of the first film, Wade Wilson has settled into the life of a superhero, traveling the world, taking down the worst of the worst.  But then, tragedy strikes, as the worst of the worst come seeking retribution, and they take out Wade's beloved Vanessa.  Seeking new meaning in his life, Deadpool soon runs into a trouble young kid with fire powers named Russel.  And for some reason, Russel is being hunted down by the time-traveling mutant Cable.  Deadpool makes it his mission to save Russel from Cable, in order to do so, forms his own team, X-Force.  Will X-Force be able to save Russel, and find out why Cable is hunting him down? 

So Deadpool 2 has got to be as funny as the first film.  There's some spectacular set pieces, such as X-Force's first outing, which goes spectacularly wrong.  And the post-credits stinger is also hugely meta.  If I do have one quibble, it does kind of drag in some places as Deadpool wallows in self-pity for a little too long as he mourns Vanessa.  So, yeah.  While the highs are high, the lows get pretty low. 

I liked it, though.  In the end, 3 Nibs.  Complete review on the website. 

After that, as much as I was looking forward to just hanging out around the apartment, had to run home to see the folks for a few days.  They had a few chores that needed doing, and needed an extra set of hands.  Actually, that was the best thing to do.  I went home during the height of last week's heat warning.  As I live in a top-floor apartment, it usually gets ungodly hot, but when I head home, I choose to sleep in my old childhood bedroom, in the nice, cool basement.  So I got some really good sleep out the deal.

Friday, I decided to head home to Westlock, but not before making a stop in Edmonton to check out the latest Star Wars film, Solo: A Star Wars Story.  

I was actually kind of sad.  I saw it in the North Edmonton Cineplex, instead of West Edmonton Mall, where I've seen every Star Wars film.   Well, to be fair, for opening day for Episode I all those years ago, I saw it in Camrose, but I saw it for the second and third time in West Edmonton Mall.  Why the WEM boycott for Solo?  No big reason...they were only showing it in IMAX, and I didn't want to pay extra.

So when Disney first announced that they'd be doing these Star Wars stories outside of the regular saga, Han Solo's secret origin was not one I was chomping at the bit to see.  I had no desire to know how he met Chewbacca, or see that game of chance in which he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian, or how me made the fabled Kessel run in 12 parsecs.  And then, throw in its now legendary production problems, ooo.  Didn't know how to proceed.

Solo: A Star Wars Story movie poster

Well, I proceeded the only way I knew how, which was see it on opening day!  Again, caught a weekday matinee.  Even on release day, the theatre was only about half-full. 

On the shipbuilding planet of Corellia, we're introduced to young street rat named Han.  Han is living a life of indentured servitude to Corellia's crime lords, but dreams of getting off that rock, seeing the stars, and being in charge of his own destiny.  He thinks a way to do that would be enlisting in the Imperial forces, but he doesn't take orders so well.  When he discovers a smuggler and rogue named Beckett has infiltrated his unit as part of a bigger heist, Han joins Beckett's crew.  When the job doesn't go so well, and Beckett and Han are now deep in debt to the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn, Han proposes another risky heist to get Crimson Dawn off their case.  But they're going to need a crew:  Chewbacca, a Wookie that Han rescued from Imperial captivity; Lando Calrissian, who can provide them with the ship they need; and Qi'ra, the girl Han left behind on Corellia, who found her own way off the planet by enlisting in Crimson Dawn.  Can this ragtag bunch pull off the heist?

Firstly, Donald Glover is awesome as young Lando.  He is just so spot-on perfect.  In fact, a lot of the supporting cast shines, like Lando's droid L3-37, who's a crusader for droid rights.  There's some great action sequences as well.  I mean, who ever thought we'd see a train heist in a Star Wars film?  But here we are.  Oh, and there's also some great cameos from beloved Star Wars characters. 

My big quibble, though, has to be Alden Ehrenriech as young Han Solo.  I had trouble accepting him.  I found him to be a little too chipper as Han Solo.  Who knows?  We might need a sequel or two to see him fully evolved into that embittered cynic who shot first in the Mos Eisley Cantina.  Maybe it was purposeful.  Maybe young Han's story isn't finished yet. 

All in all, though, I still quite enjoyed it.  It was fun.  3 Nibs, full review on the website. 

And then I headed for home.  Didn't do much shopping or browsing.  I still can't find any Solo: A Star Wars Story action figures to save my hide.  And now, as I sit back on this Sunday, getting ready to enjoy the last day of my vacation, I ponder what to do.  I'll probably go binge something.  Season 2 of one of my favourite Netflix originals, The Toys That Made Us, is now online.  It's a fantastic documentary series about action figure lines.  It's just so great. 

Now that summer is here and rerun season is upon us, I'm sure my binging on streaming video services is about to significantly increase.  Still haven't gotten around to binging Netflix's Lost in Space reboot, or its last big sci-fi series that dropped a few months ago, Altered Carbon.  And I'm also on Crave TV and Amazon Prime Video.  I see Crave TV has the first six season of Game of Thrones now, so it might finally be time to see what the fuss is about. 

Or maybe I'll just stay here, in my second bedroom/home office, where I do all my blogging.  I gave it a long-overdue tidying up, spruced it up with some new curtains, and now I kinda like it in here.  Crank up some tunes on Spotify, curl up with a good book, and just relax.

I dunno.  It's the last day of vacation.  Gotta do it right.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie, I blog about it, as is the Circle of Life.  Today, we get to a classic bit of 1980s animation, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  I originally watched this and blogged this on December 31, 2017.  Happy new  year!

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero -- Original 1980s VHS Cover!