Month: May 2016

Movie Review: The Curse of Sleeping Beauty

I am a sucker for fairy tale stuff, as are a lot of people these days, hence the sheer amount of fairy tale re-envisionings.  If it’s not a superhero movie, it’s a fairy tale modernization nowadays.  This is what led me to The Curse of Sleeping Beauty – that, and hearing that it was a trippy retelling of the tale.

Summary:  A guy (I forgot his name already, movie ended 10 minutes ago) is having dreams about a beautiful woman he wants to kiss.  Her headpiece is big and annoying for people with OCD because one side has 4 gems dangling from it, the other 5.  Just as he’s about to kiss her the dream becomes a haunted house nightmare.  His psychologist (the third, we find out, in a year) tells him he needs to have friends.  This is the first, and last time we see her.

Then he inherits THE VERY HOUSE FROM HIS DREAMS.  Oh my god, trippy and unexpected, right?  He goes there and it’s run down and creepy.  There’s a letter from a family member he never met apologizing for leaving him ‘this curse. . .and this blessing’ dun dun DUN.  A woman comes to the house looking for her brother who she believes disappeared there.  Apparently a number of people have disappeared and the town thinks the house is haunted.

There’s something about if the guy leaves the house he gets bad stomach cramps.  Then he and the girl, we’re told, are falling for each other.  He finds a book with a spinning wheel on the cover.  They are attacked by mannequins for some reason and flee to her ex-boyfriend’s house (who she only dated twice, she says) and he agrees to take that ancient spinning wheel book, written in a foreign language, and use his many computers to translate it because he’s asian, and therefore a computer whiz.  Also, therefore, will never get the girl.  Go B-movie Hollywood.  Oh yeah, and suddenly there’s this paranormal investigator guy that talks about Islam and the Quran and stuff, and satan.

Before everything is translated, the guy’s cramps set in.  They decide to go back to the house and have him kiss the beautiful woman who suddenly has found that fifth gem that was missing.  This helps my OCD and fixation on the unevenness, but not the movie.  More mannequins attack, a Djinn is chained to a spinning wheel and the girl distracts it while the boy goes to find Sleeping Beauty in some weird steampunk ventilator thing he magically knows how to operate.  He kisses her, then realizes he needs to kiss her with his blood, she awakens and OMG PLOT TWIST the asian guy translates that the sleeping girl is the real demon but too late, dude.  Bitch is up now and she hasn’t had chocolate in AGES and probably really needs to use the bathroom.  But first – the Apocalypse.

The Good:  Uhm.  Some of the visuals are pretty sweet.  The opening ones especially, with Sleeping Beauty in the desert and then the Jacob’s Ladder flashbackiness to things.  And hey, there’s an Asian guy.  I mean, he’s totally still just the smart guy who can’t get the girl but it’s not often that the token non-white person is anything but black right?  Right?  Am I reaching here?  Probably, yeah.  *sigh*

The Bad:  Read that summary again.  It flips all over the place.  It’s predictable.  It’s like a Syfy movie that wants to be taken seriously.  Sharknado without the sharks and wanting to be real cinema, I guess.  Or Sharknado with the sharks wanting legitimacy.  How odd that my spellcheck does not say I have spelled Sharknado wrong.  I use that word enough in my daily typing that it is in the dictionary now.

The acting is also not great.  I get no connection between any of the characters, whatsoever.  Characters are dropped and added randomly.  Special effects are pretty damn weak, too.  The main demon that is NOT sleeping beauty, the mouth movements aren’t even close to what the words are supposed to be coming out of them.  I don’t GET the mannequins.  There’s a scene with the demon at the spindle surrounded by doll body parts but nothing even trying to explain how one spindles plastic body parts.  You don’t know why they are there or where they are coming from and it all changes.  So much is, sadly, clichéd movie making.

The Female:  The Girl is looking for her brother – her quest is led by a missing man and she talks about her brother or the Guy who she falls for, apparently because they kiss.  There isn’t another living female in this world for her to talk to.  She knows how to use an ax, sort of, and gets choked by various demons.

The Sleeping Beauty is Briar Rose and a demon.  She is damsel in distress until she releases the souls of the damned and brings about the apocalypse.  Of course, when you need a man’s help you’re pretty and well-groomed, but when you are mad at the dude and want to kill the world suddenly your hair is all stringy with white streaks and your clothes get dirty and old, IDK.  Fashion isn’t kind to the women with visions of sovereignty, methinks.

The Psychiatrist is a woman, but she has one line maybe before disappearing.

 

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Movie Review: DeadPool

Summary:  Wade Wilson is a jackass but he knows it so it’s all good.  He’s a mercenary for hire and specializes in protecting women from sleaze bag men, because of course.  He meets his female match in a possible prostitute (He offers her money, but I can never tell if that’s part of the ‘come on’ or not) and they can match snark to snark for the 5 minutes she’s on screen.  She also knows how to grab a man’s balls.

Then Wade is diagnosed with cancer.

He gets offered a chance to undergo experimental treatments that will also make him a ‘superhero’ – he doesn’t want to but he’s got a woman in his life now he wants to be alive to protect, so does it.

It’s a sham of human experimentation that most likely does not have IRB approval.  Shame.  And they like to torture their patients.  They want to make them into super powered slaves sold to the highest bidder.  Wade gets the treatment, escapes, and vows revenge under the name Deadpool.  However, he’s disfigured and ugly now so of course no woman can love him, even the one who did for however long the montage was for in the beginning.

There are also a couple X-men in here for some reason.  Colossus with a thick Russian accent that feels so. . . .cartoony and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

The Good:  If a cat were to be human and have superpowers – it would be Deadpool.  He knocks stuff off the table, doesn’t listen to anyone, has his own idea of how to move and be cool and in general doesn’t care about your shit and has his own agenda.  However, he’s not necessarily evil, although he can be portrayed that way.  Also, he has a lot of memes around him.  And there’s the snark.

In that way – Deadpool is fun.  It’s hero is irreverent and enjoys his own snark and jokes.  Deadpool is known for breaking the fourth wall but I never really see him as more than Ryan Reynolds, they seem so fit for each other, and so it’s fine that I see Ryan Reynold’s eyes and not necessarily Deadpool’s.  As a girl who grew up reading 90s superhero comics, there’s a weirdness of nostalgia thrown in as well.

Explosions – check.  Weird ‘fun’ ways to kill people – yup.  There are car chases and juvenile jokes that garnered a laugh or two.  It follows the formula pretty well of being mainstream but mocking it, which is in itself mainstream.  From the opening credits ripped straight from the Honest Trailer series on youtube to the end where our hero continues his life as if he hasn’t learned anything at all you know exactly what this movie is.  It doesn’t veer from the script.

There were also some good jokes poked at the Wolverine franchise which has been such a disappointment (and I still watch and will still watch when a new one comes out because I hate myself) and the X-men in general.

 

The Bad:  Up in the description I talked about how when Wade is getting tested on he’s told that what is really going on is they are creating super powered Weapon X type bad guys for hire by others.  This is totally dropped.  At least, if it’s picked up again, I didn’t catch it.

Because it follows this ‘I’m a superhero movie that’s a different sort of sameness,’ I found myself getting bored.  I mean, I actually unpacked a bookcase I’ve been meaning to put together and finally did it during this film because that’s how much my attention was held.  It’s a nice bookcase, one of those cheap particle board ones with a cardboard backing, but was clean sorely needed.   Two hours of snark can also become tiring even when fun.  It’s riffing, fine, and begins to feel like a locker room.

IDK the need for the X-men in this film, the two they could get the rights too.  I think they were to provide some kind of growth for Deadpool beyond revenge – that ‘hey, look, you can be a good guy like us’ type of thing.  It also provided room for jokes.  But they just come in to scene once in a while while Deadpool does his thing and seem to be there to extend the film beyond 20 minutes by allowing the object of Deadpool’s revenge to escape each time.

 

The Female:  The film has women in it.  There’s one in each group.  The bad scientist people have Angel – a superstrong woman who says, IDK, ten words maybe during the film?  The Deadpool Coalition has his girlfriend who we’re told can match him in snark but don’t really see much of, and The X-men side has Negasonic Teenage Warhead.  I think that’s it.  They don’t talk much, or to each other, they’re the women for specific women in film reasons.  Oh yeah, then there’s his blind female roommate and possibly the only non-white person in this universe, unless you count Colossus who is silver.

Angel:  “Look!  Bad guys can be female too!  And she’s strong, isn’t that cool?”- that’s what it feels like the movie is saying.  She also allows Colossus to show he is a good guy and has manners by saying he doesn’t hit women before she hits him and, irony, sends him flying across a junkyard.

Negasonic:  Sullen female mean girl.  Deadpool nails the stereotype when he says she either says something mean or nothing at all.  She has a few lines – validating Deadpool at the end that he is ‘cool’.  She can also take out Angel showing, look!  another strong woman.  But to do so she has to burn off her baggy sullen clothes for a spandex suit, albeit one that covers her entire body, thankfully.

Blind Al:  The spunky older woman cliche who does things a grandma shouldn’t, like drugs.

Vanessa:  The Hooker with a Heart for the Hero.  I like capitalizing Hs today.  They show she’s his equal by a ‘who has a worse life’ match in the beginning of their love story.  However, despite the film wanting to say they aren’t like other films, She even says she’s not a damsel in distress!  she’s the catalyst.  He undergoes the operation for her and then he seeks revenge for her and then she’s kidnapped and he goes after the bad guys to save her and she’s not in the film that much.

I have been reading more about ‘Women in Refrigerators’:  the idea is how women do not exist in films on screen but their loss is what drives a male hero or anti-hero to action.  Examples include every Law and Order SVU episode where a female is raped before the opening credits and then the team spends the time finding the person.  Supernatural – where the mother is killed and that spurs Sam and Dean into their father’s business.  DC Legends of Tomorrow where the lead’s wife is killed so he now seeks vengeance.  The list goes on.    This also goes for comics and The Mary Sue has a video compilation on their site.

Now, Vanessa doesn’t die but this is a similar concept.  Wade  undergoes treatment to protect her (his words) and then she is kidnapped and he has to protect her (his actions) and other than that, eh.

And as for the Bechdel test – I don’t recall the females having two sentences of dialogue to each other but then, maybe I sneezed.  Or maybe I was hammering my bookcase together during the two seconds they had dialogue.