Jun 11, 2015

Regular Guy Review: Spy

Paul Feig has done it again folks. He has created one hell of a film that definitely deserves some of your precious time! The movie is all about the characters Feig creates and steers into the hilarious situations. The spy aspect is really almost background noise to the interactions these characters are having with one another. Literally, all of the actors in this movie are phenomenal. Everyone plays off of each other wonderfully, every comedic nod to the spy genre isn’t too on the nose, and the movie just straight up makes you laugh a lot. Let’s break down exactly why you should listen to a guy like me when I say you need to see this film!

Source: Huffington Post
Who knew Jason Statham was so damn funny under all of those muscles and mean looks? He is hands down the best part of this movie. There are times when certain lines from Melissa McCarthy outshine him, but overall Statham steals the show. He plays his manly man character who doesn’t play by the rules so damn well. Not only that, but some of the physical comedy involved is perfectly timed and executed. And finally, his extreme dimwittedness while also being extremely cunning is such a hard balance to execute, and Feig along with Statham manage to create the perfect storm.

Melissa McCarthy, when not dealing with self confidence issues, is laugh out loud hysterical. When she grows balls and starts yelling at one of the Swedish bodyguards for Rose Byrne’s character, it ends up being one of the best sequences in a film filled with action and other comedy. McCarthy is a master at shifting between unassuming to rage filled mad dog who will tear you down physically and emotionally. Her banter is some of the best in the business right now, and her insults rival that of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket. Alongside her banter is her knack for physical comedy. She is the female reincarnation of Chris Farley without a doubt. She can move so swiftly and perform some great stunts on her own.

Rose Byrne who is usually known for playing the nice girl we all seem to know in our lives, transforms into that one customer we all have and despise. She is self absorbed, harsh, dumb, and overly critical with the minutia of life. Whenever she breaks down McCarthy’s confidence it is almost sad, but too hilarious not to laugh. Again, this fine line was balanced upon perfectly by Feig.

Jude Law was charming as always, and his American accent wasn’t half bad. I knew exactly where his character was headed in the plot the whole time, but he still played well with Melissa McCarthy. What’s important in a comedy is to surround those who aren’t the strongest in the genre, with those who are the powerhouses. This is what Feig did with McCarthy and Law. Law who isn’t particularly funny, is transformed into a smart mouthed, critical, dumbwitted spy who embodies that suave personality. He is great in the film, but serves much more as a tool to move along the plot than a character who gets to enjoy the ride like the rest of them.

Finally, the character from left field was McCarthy’s friend in the film Miranda Hart. Wow, she has some comedic chops. Much like McCarthy she has a very strong witty presence surrounding her, but still shrouded in the unassuming outward personality. Her scenes with 50 Cent (yes, he’s in this too, and hilarious!) are stunningly great. Usually, scenes with celebrities are throwaways, but she carries him through like a champ and even helps elevate his comedic presence.

Spy Nods
The whole movie is a borderline spoof of the entire spy genre. The opening scene with Jude Law infiltrating a foreign foes fortress while easily seducing women is a great nod to the Bond films. The next nod comes in the form the opening song’s music video just like the Bond films. Admittedly, this is my least favorite part of not only the Bond films, but also of this one, however I thought it was a well placed, well done nudge to the genre. Also, Statham’s and Law’s characters are both based on obvious archetypes of macho males in the spy genre. They are constantly seducing women, saying things like, “I work alone! I quit. I’ll have to do this on my own!” and always dressing unbelievable nice. The funniest nod, in my opinion, was Statham’s elongated brag story about all the escapades he’s had on missions, to convince McCarthy that he can solve this one on his own. He talks about getting his arm ripped off, and putting it back on with the other and jumping off buildings, to trains, to cars, all while on fire. These are great lines alluding to all of the impossible situations in spy movies that the protagonists seem to make it through unscathed. Again, the whole movie has a perfect balance between spoof and parody as well as orchestrated comedy that is executed to perfection by the cast and Feig.

Are You Convinced Yet?
Source: Youtube
Well, I hope I was able to convince you to see this film, if you have not already. It’s absolutely fantastic and will make you laugh out loud undoubtedly. I guarantee that you haven’t seen Statham, Byrne, or Law this funny before. McCarthy returns to her masterful, comedic form and is aided by the equally talented Miranda Hart, who alongside director Paul Feig help create a wonderful atmosphere for this film. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Score: 9/10

Please be sure to check me out at my website, www.slackernerds.com and follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey! Please leave some comments and let me know what you think, and be sure to check out my other articles there! Thanks so much for reading guys and girls, and please, stay nerdy.

Jun 10, 2015

"What Did I Just See?": The Martian Trailer #1

Image result for The Martian
Source: geeksnack.com
This trailer wants me to feel quite a few different emotions in a very short span of time! That’s ok though. I’ve been following this movie since it was announced, and I’m just happy to finally see some footage. The trailer itself had some great moments as well as a few moments that had me going eh. Speaking of these moments, to slightly change a Matt Damon line in the trailer, I’m going to have to critic the shit out of this. So, take a seat and leave no man behind as we dive into this trailer review!

What Worked?

The Cast (or Should I Call Them Crew?)
The day before the trailer dropped, they had released a short video of Matt Damon’s character Mark Watany helps introduce each crew member. It gave a lot of insight to the level of camaraderie we’d be seeing in the trailer. Once, the trailer dropped, I didn’t see a decreased level of this bond. I saw each character interact with each other very naturally and as if they’d been through hell and back together. Not only does each actor work well with the other, but the amount of talent in this movie is basically criminal. Each actor is nothing but sheer talent. Even those with smaller roles are fucking thespians! I can’t wait to get a bigger chunk of screen time of them all on Mars before the storm. And Jeff Daniels, you either make me fucking crack up, or make me feel the kind of emotion that I don’t even experience in real life! I’m glad to see him a huge movie like this.

Those Landscapes!
Some of these visuals are very convincing. Landscapes are usually one of Ridley Scott’s strong areas, so it’s really no surprise that I felt like I was literally watching footage from Mars. However, while being unsurprised I was still impressed. I am someone who really appreciates when movies take the time to create luscious settings for their characters to inhabit, such as Mad Max: Fury Road or Jurassic Park. I just hope that we get to see more of Mars than what is shown in the trailer.

The Cinematography
The tracking shots, establishing shots, and close-ups really hit the viewer on all fronts. It funnels you down to the nitty gritty while reminding you of the grandeur that is present throughout. Also, something that I didn’t notice until after a few viewings, I thought it was clever that the shots on Mars have a very distinct red tone to them while all shots on Earth have a very distinct blue hue to them to further the disconnect and dichotomy between the two worlds. I found myself feeling more and more considered by the fact that Watany was on Mars, and I figured out that it was this color trick that kept disconnecting my mind. I enjoyed that very much.

The Plot
Who isn’t fascinated and at least somewhat frightened of space? Especially being left stranded in such a hospitable place. Shit, I can’t even imagine being left in like Detroit for a night without a phone without starting to panic, let alone being left on Mars! Watany’s perseverance is so human that it just draws you in. I don’t ever wish to be in any kind of similar situation, but I could only hope to have the knowledge and perseverance to, “Science the shit out this!” Also, the idea that his crew is going to go rogue and get his ass is awesome. They are some badass astronauts! Overall, just the idea of being left behind on Mars with minimal supplies and your wits is terrifying, but extremely interesting. Now, add in all the other elements like the crew coming back, other Mars related accidents or occurrences, and any other things we don’t even know are coming make me so hyped for this movie!

What Didn’t Work?
Everyone is Sad
Literally, the first shot of every character introduced in this movie look sad as shit. I mean this isn’t a huge issue, but I just feel like this is the wrong way to introduce characters that are going to be beacons of hope and perseverance. Each character has the courage to do something amazing in this film, yet all look like they shit their pants in front of a crowd and now everyone’s laughing at them.

Overall Tone
I mentioned this a bit already, but wow does this trailer feel a bit all over the place with what it expects you to feel. It starts with sadness, then goes to hopelessness, then comedy, then hopeful, then it wants you to feel tense at the prospect of such time until Watany is saved. The transitions between each emotion is too abrupt so that I feel almost fatigued by the end of the trailer. It also takes away from the cohesiveness of the trailer. I would have rather they split these emotions into two separate trailers. I would have liked the first trailer to feel a bit hopeless with underlying prospects of a solution, only to deliver a hopeful solution in the second trailer. It would’ve let the audience catch their bearings and better experience what the filmmakers were trying to make us feel.

I Know It All
I haven’t read the book nor looked for spoilers online, yet now I feel like I know 70% of this film from just watching this trailer. It’s only the first trailer too! It wasn’t as bad as the Southpaw trailers, but I feel like the audience could have gone without knowing quite as much as we do now thanks to the trailer. For instance, I would have liked to see his ingenuity flourish on screen, and find out that his crew’s decision to get him back would be an act of mutiny. I feel like these could have been left out and still got us excited for the film.

Overall Assessment

Honestly, the trailer was damn good and got me even more excited for this film than I already was. It has done it’s job, and doesn’t make me nervous. Each criticism I had was a bit more self-contained within the trailer itself, but the movie still looks extremely interesting and fun. I can’t wait for it! Also, quick side-note, the title of the film, The Martian, seems to insinuate to me that perhaps he ends up having to stay on the planet, or even he and the crew must live on the planet indefinitely. I think that’d be a great plot twist!

Score: Better Than Living On Mars I’m Sure!

As always my friends, let me know what you think in the comments below and tell me if you had a similar impression, or you just think I’m crazy! I would love to hear what you all thought about this first trailer! Did you get even more excited? Less excited? Did it give too much away? Did it switch tone to quickly? Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey and check me out on comicbookmovie.com, hitz247.com, and of course on my website www.slackernerds.com!

Jun 9, 2015

Jon Bernthal is the Punisher!

Well holy shit. After I had finished Season 1 of Daredevil, I had written an article about who we could see next in Season 2 of Daredevil that you could read here. In that article, the one character I was most excited for was the Punisher. He is one of my favorite Marvel characters and plainly just one of my favorite characters. Now, not only is the Punisher coming to Daredevil season 2, but he is being played by none other than Jon Bernthal. He is perfect casting for Frank Castle, and I’ve been waiting for him to finally get a role in the superhero genre. I was a huge fan of Thomas Jane, and in my eyes he will always be the Punisher, however Jon Bernthal is the perfect marriage between Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson. Let’s break down some of the reasons why we should be excited for Jon Bernthal’s upcoming portrayal of the Punisher.

  1. His Physique
    Image result for Jon Bernthal eyes

    Jon Bernthal is 5’ 10” and is 169 lbs. The Punisher is supposed to be 6’ 1” and 200 lbs. Although Jon Bernthal is not the exact size he has a body type that looks very similar to Frank Castle. Charlie Cox who is also 5’ 10” is not quite as imposing as Jon Bernthal. I think we’ll see a similar dichotomy between Cox and Bernthal as we saw with Bernthal and Andrew Lincoln on The Walking Dead. Also, Jon Bernthal is just as built as Frank Castle is suppose to be.
  2. His Career So Far
    Image result for Walking Dead Shane

    We have seen Jon Bernthal play several different roles, but he always has recurring qualities throughout all of his characters. In The Walking Dead he was a man of extreme will and violence. He was ruthless, but had an internal fight against his humanity. That in and of itself is the essence of Frank Castle. Also, in Fury, he plays an extremely loyal mad dog who is known for being a little out of control. Again, very Frank Castle-esque. Even in The Wolf of Wall Street, he plays the hardcore drug dealer. He has his morals and doesn’t like to cross those much like Frank Castle has his code that he doesn’t break. He continues to do movies and shows that have garnered critical acclaim.
  3. What Can He Bring to the Role?

    Bernthal has shown that he is a rising talent and demands the respect on screen that most A-list actors demands. We’ve seen him give physical performances and emotional ones. Much like Thomas Jane, Bernthal has had a few different performances, but has shown great promise in his ability to to have humanity intertwined with great brutality. Also, while still being a rather “unknown” actor, we can count on him giving this role his everything. He will work as hard as he does in every role so that he may gain a viable franchise.

I couldn’t be more excited for this news and I trust that Marvel will finally handle this character with the dignity and respect he deserves. Also, introducing him in Daredevil is an extremely wise move, considering that Marvel’s TV universe is much more violent and gritty than their movie universe. I really trust Jon Bernthal as an actor especially for a role as intense as this. I have been begging for years to see him in a starring role deserving of a wider audience, so that he could really show off his obvious talents. Hopefully, this will be that role for him.

What do you guys think? What did you think of this news? Was he your fancast? Do you think his inclusion in Daredevil is the proper introduction or would you rather see him somewhere else? Please let me know what you think in the comments below and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey.

Jun 6, 2015

"What Did I Just See?": Bridge of Spies

Image result for Bridge of Spies Trailer

Again, we are reminded why spies are so goddamn cool. From gadgetry, to secret documents, backroom meetings, politics, and high stakes, this movie is shaping up to be one hell of a spy thriller, let alone just a fantastic film. This has been Steven Spielberg's sleeper project for some time and it’s great to finally see some footage from it. The trailer delivered everything and more that I was hoping to see from this film. The picture this movie paints is so precise and authentic from the period style clothing, vehicles, and language to the explanation of how the Cold War was operated; with information instead of bullets. The Cold War has always been a huge interest of mine, but I have always thought it hard to bring to life in a movie considering there isn’t much action, but Spielberg has proven that with the guidance of his masterful vision, the Cold War can be just as thrilling as any other major war. So, put let’s open our secret coins to decypher the trailer we’ve just seen!

What Worked?
Tom “Golden Boy” Hanks
My god, can Tom Hanks just do a shitty movie so the rest of us can feel better about ourselves being non-accomplishing lazy bums? Well, fortunately/unfortunately it looks like this movie might just be another Oscar performance by Hanks. He continues down his long road of nothing but pure thespian achievement. He is a true joy to watch. He unlike many others, can demand so much from the audience and his fellow actors while on screen, but also have this unshakeable, honorable vulnerability. He just always seems to be portraying the best of mankind in a role, while seeming to actually be one of the best people around off screen. Hanks is going to be key to humanizing both sides of the Cold War conflict, and reminding the world that we are all human and deserve to be treated with dignity no matter what. It is a heartfelt message only deliverable by the Tom Hanks Express.

Piece This Period Together
I love when a movie takes place in a different era and gets the settings and props so right that it feels as if they filmed it during that decade. It helps too that the 50s to 60s are one of my favorite time periods to observe. There is such a style that spans across the globe with architecture, clothing, and machinery that I just love to observe. This movie gives me such an authentic taste of what life was like during this time that I just can’t help but marvel at it. Whoever is responsible for this deserves one hell of a high five.

Spy vs. Spy
I feel like it has been a while since we have seen a spy film that actually focuses on the art of espionage. The last effort that I can remember was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which made a great attempt, but ultimately fell a little flat. James Bond used to be a great place to get our fix for gadgetry and stealth, but within the last 10 years, the Bond films have seemed to focus much more on the explosions and action of the spy world. I really appreciate that this trailer even goes out of its way to differentiate itself from these type of spy stories by inserting itself into the Cold War, or the War of Words. I’m very eager to see espionage be the center of a film once again, and I think many others feel the same.

The Message
I don’t want to get too political and emotional, but I think the message this movie is tackling is worth noting. I think it’s important for people to remember that even the people we consider to be our enemies are still human beings. Regardless if they would do for us what we’d do for them, we must treat everyone with dignity and respect. Hank’s crusade to remind both nations of this is a noble one as well as a compelling one. I hope the movie will hit this message with even more gravitas than was shown in the trailer because this is something worth reminding everyone.

What Didn’t Work?

To be honest this trailer was a homerun through and through. It felt different from other trailers out there, while also selling me on the characters, plot, and setting. It’s very rare that there isn’t at least a little something for me to nitpick, but when you consider who's involved in this film, it really shouldn’t be any surprise that this trailer was masterfully crafted.

Overall Assessment

This trailer kicked ass. It sold you on the intensity and high stakes of what the plot is, while giving you authenticity on a whole other level. It presented a flawed, but noble character who is relatable even in a very unrelatable situation. The trailer is visually stunning and each shot seems to be handcrafted for maximum emotional reaction. This trailer just reaffirms what we all already know and expect from not only Tom Hanks, but also the film god himself, Steven Spielberg.

Score: Nuke em’/Nuke em’

"What Did I Just See?": Everest

“BWAAAAP!” Like most trailers these days the trailer for Everest starts out with a now obligatory BWAAAAP. For some reason, trailer makers think that this sounds establishes epicness and tension, but all it really does now is create a bit of a parody of itself. Besides the fact that they employ this giant trumpet sound a bit too much, the talent involved in this film is undeniably present. Also, the trailer is beautifully shot. The CGI is amazing, and each actor seems to be bringing their A-game. So, let’s dive into this trailer and do what us nerds to best! *BWAAAAP*

What Worked?

Right off the bat, we are introduced to the star of the film Jason Clarke, who is becoming more and more of a blockbuster powerhouse. He can really carry a film and bounce off of huge actors very well, as seen in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes between he and Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis. He seems very capable and believable to lead this talent heavy cast and its exciting to seem him alongside other amazing actors.
Next we see Josh Brolin, who his admittedly hit or miss, but I feel like he does best when he is surrounded by other talented actors. He seems to be best served when he has someone else to play off of. I would rather see him as a bit of rougher character, but considering this is based of a true story its understandable why he would have to fit a specific character’s personality.
Then we see John Hawkes and Michael Kelly who have both been involved in plenty of great films and t.v. shows. Both are very solid when around other characters and have proven time and time again that they can hold there own around A-listers. Hopefully this will help show a wider audience their abilities and help land them more starring roles. Also, I must say, Doug Stamper is one of my favorite t.v. characters of the last 10 years, so really anything Michael Kelly does is going to be great in my book.
We get to quickly see Jake Gyllenhaal who seems to disappear into his character. I actually missed him the first time I watched the trailer. It wasn’t until the second time that I even noticed him with his huge beard and glasses. I love to see Gyllenhaal transform and he is a very reliable dramatic actor. I can’t wait to see him be put through this extreme situation of life and death.
Finally, Keira Knightley, who has some brief dialogue with Jason Clarke, seems ok so far. I’m still unsure about her amount of screen time in the film, but she is a solid actress. I feel like her character could be really flat since she will mostly be talking into a phone, but she can exude a lot of emotion with very little physical presence.

I couldn’t imagine climbing Mt. Everest let alone getting caught in a fucking storm whilst at the top of it. I think I would just accept my death and curl up to die. Luckily, I’m not ever going to be in that situation, and no one is making a movie about me. However, these brave guys had not only the balls enough to climb up, but to try and climb back down during a horrific storm. Honestly, even if the acting was bad, which it won’t be, this would still be pretty amazing to see visualized on the big screen. I think the fact that this is a real story just helps give this film an unneeded edge to be even greater than it most likely will be. Plus, each of these actors are very much so character actors, and since each is playing a real person, it will be interesting to see how true to each person the actors stay.

The Visuals
As I touched on before, these visuals are fucking great. Period. It’s just the time we are living in that allows us to create such stunning and realistic CGI that I seriously can’t tell the difference sometimes. The shot with the storm coming in over the surrounding mountains looked and felt so real that the only thing reminding me that it was CGI was my existing knowledge that it was. If I didn’t already know how such a shot in a movie like this was achieved, I would be fooled into believing that they actually went to a location and risked their lives to film a storm of that magnitude closing in on them. Also, I like the use of very wide establishing shots contradicting with the closeups of each character. It helps makes us aware of how small the human can be in the face of mother nature. It was very nice imagery.

What Didn’t Work?

Character Focus
This is a bit of a minor problem because this movie is obviously an ensemble piece. However, the trailer seems to be heavily focused on Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, and Josh Brolin. I don’t know the true story behind this film, so perhaps the other characters die early on or something, but the trailer didn’t give me a sense of camaraderie that I’d expect out of a team risking their lives together. I like each character individually, but I want close to equal amounts of focus on each.

Trailer Invariability
Although I liked the trailer overall, I felt like I’d still seen it a million times. All trailers seem to be using the same template these days. The inclusion of the “BWAAAAP,” just cements my feelings on this. Although, I do feel like this is a broader issue, it isn’t necessarily terrible. Really what it is doing is creating a bit of a fatigue with trailers for me. Luckily my interest in this film is pretty high, so I am more capable of looking past this issue, but I wish trailers would start to shake things up a bit.

Overall Assessment

This trailer definitely got me even more excited for this film. It didn’t totally showcase it’s star-studded cast as well as I wish they would have, but it set up the plot very well. It also gave a glimpse of the the eye candy (CGI, not shirtless Gyllenhaal) that is to come. I think this trailer did it’s job, but I hope the second trailer delivers a bit more of the cast and the type of people they will be playing.

Score: 6/10 (Like the actors, the trailer seems to make it to the top of Everest, but things get a
       bit turbulent after that.)

Jun 4, 2015

"What Did I Just See?": Z for Zachariah

Well that was a pretty gripping trailer. Z for Zachariah’s first trailer was pretty intense, but oddly pretty. The scenery was great, dichotomy between Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margo Robbie’s innocence and willpower, and just the overall premise had me sitting up in my bed with my eyes glued to the screen. So, let’s break this end of the world thriller down and look at what did and didn’t work in this trailer, and then I’ll give you my overall impression.

What Worked?

That Valley Location
A lot of the time people don’t realize how important a location can be for the success of a film. Even though the film presented itself as a post-apocalyptic thriller, the scenery gives you a sense of hope and wonderment within a world that you assume is devastated. However, as we can see in the trailer, the scenery is used to hint at larger problems the characters are having. I’m a sucker for filmmakers personifying their locations to foreshadow what is to come.

The Pure Talent
It speaks volume to the actors involved with this movie that they are going to be able to carry this film with just each other. These actors are more than well equipped to do that though. Let’s start with Margo Robbie. Much doesn’t need to be said about her. She has raw talent and is on a hot streak right out of the gates. She knows how to be cunning and independent, which is great to see when you pit her against two great male actors. Chiwetel delivers another emotional performance. I think that there might be some underlying villainous intentions, but I will have to wait to see another trailer to really come to a better conclusion. Finally, Chris Pine is looking psycho. I’m admittedly not a big Chris Pine fan but he is looking like he’s stepping away from the whole suave, pretty-boy persona he’s usually associated with. I love that, and I think it’s necessary when going up against Chiwetel who is known for playing cunning villains and honorable heroes.

The Plot So Far
We obviously don’t know everything about where the movie is headed, but the picture that was painted for us in the trailer is fantastic. It’s biblical undertones are very present, but welcomed. You can tell that the movie is going to focus on the destruction of an oasis, much like the Garden of Eden. I’m always interested in different versions of a post-apocalyptic world, and I applaud this film for showing much more of the spared part of the world than the devastation. Instead, it seems like that pain and devastation will be creeping into the area of salvation on the backs of Pine and Ejiofor. I can’t tell yet if Ejiofor will turn out to be bad as well or if Pine is the clear cut villain here. I’m just really interested in seeing how each persuade Robbie to be on either side and what that means for this oasis.

What Didn’t Work?

The Last Sequence of the Trailer
The ending montage of short clips seems a little too focused on the romance rather than the survival to me. I know it is just the first trailer and I’m sure there is a lot more to see, but I just wish it didn’t refocus so much on the love triangle at the end. I would have rather it kept with the bleakness and wonderment with what the world is now and how this valley survived. The ending felt a bit like season 2 of the Walking Dead with Shane and Rick. Other than this minor detail though, it was a very fine trailer.

Overall Assessment

I’m sold. I had never heard of this movie before today, and now I can’t wait to see it. The trailer painted a lovely picture of this world for us, while giving us enough plot that we have an idea of what will happen without knowing everything. I think there are still plenty more twists and turns left in the movie that we won’t see coming, and I can’t wait for that. So, you should now be excited for this movie by this trailer.

Score: Stoked/Stoked

As always, let me know what you thought about the trailer in the comments below. Did it excite you? Did you know this movie even existed before this? Do you like the premise of the film? Thank you for reading and please follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey and keep an eye out for mine and Richard’s podcast coming out soon on Youtube.