movie reviews

The History of Bad Ideas Podcast, Ep. 188–Dungeons and Drag Queens!

The History of Bad Ideas Podcast, Ep. 188–Dungeons and Drag Queens!

The HOBI Gang is flushed with guests as we welcome Number 1 Fan Ape Hands Doug in the studio to talk Disney and the failure of the Dark Universe!  The gang reveals the winner of the months long HOBI Favorite Video Game Console Poll along with talking the latest on Game of Thrones!  Jason is still excited about Riverdale despite the hatred from the rest of the panel, Blake reviews the Dark Tower film and Jeff explains the disdain for Miami Vice.  Andrew from the Cincinnati Comic Expo stops by at the end to talk the Expo and help with the Box Office Report!  The gang try to bring back Chris Pratt News but are too depressed and debate their Top 5 Marvel Cinematic Villains!  This episode is sponsored by the Cincinnati Comic Expo!  Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast!

The Non-Spoiler Moana Film Review!

The Non-Spoiler Moana Film Review!

Written by Jason Brigger

Directors: Ron Clements and Don Hall

Writers: Jared Bush and Ron Clements

Starring: Auli’I Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House

Moana is Disney’s latest animated film and may end up being the most original and best animated film that Disney has released in years.  Disney used folklore from the Polynesian culture and based on this film, Disney should start using more culture folklore in the future to guide their films.

Moana tells the story of Moana Waialiki, voiced by the amazing newcomer Auli’I Cravalho, a sixteen-year-old daughter of Chief Tui Waialiki (Temuera Morrison) who dreams of venturing out on her own and away from her mystical island in Polynesia but is forbidden based on tales told of unknown dangers in the ocean.  When the ocean (yes, the ocean is literally a character) and Moana’s grandmother (Rachel House) encourages Moana to search out her destiny as the “Chosen One” to save their dying island from an ancient curse, Moana must find the demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to help her on her journey to destroy the lava witch and restore life to the islands.

If this all sounds odd, amazing, weird and completely different from anything Disney has ever done before, it’s because it is and it’s wonderful.

 

The Good:

-Moana.  Moana is not only a strong lead character but she defies the typical “rebellious girl” character that can be easily inserted in animated films.  Moana respects her family and is overall a good daughter but is just curious about the world outside her island.  There is no major rift between her and parents and that is actually nice change of pace from most films.  To top it off, the kids will fall in love with Moana’s strength and character and come next Halloween, a lot of little Moana’s will be ringing people’s doorbells.

-The Supporting Cast.  A large amount of praise should be given to the writers for allowing Moana’s whole family to be given enough time to connect to the audience and actually feel like real characters in this world.  Moana’s father and grandmother go above the typical “protective dad” and “crazy grandma” stereotypes and present a family that actually loves each other and not just there for a point of conflict.

Maui, a cross between Hercules and Stich, could have been a one-note sidekick but the writers gave him depth with a sad but compelling backstory and all the while still allowing Moana to be the real star of the film.  Even nature, from the islands to the ocean, is a character in this film and the beautiful animation allows all of it to feel alive in the film.

-The Songs.  Written by Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda (yes from Hamilton), the songs capture the uniqueness of the Polynesian folklore and even advances the storyline, something that can’t be said for musical numbers in all animated films.  The songwriters deliver on each individual song, except for the Tamatoa song which I’ll explain later, and the soundtrack, with a whopping 40 songs, will be playing in every minivan this winter.

-The Story. The Moana story is unique and is similar to the style of the Lilo and Stich film in which it’s not a “typical” Disney script.  The animation is beautiful and brings the story to life and the Polynesian feel to the film makes the audience feel they are part of this world.  The story does not take any easy ways out and the best part? No love interest for Moana.  For once, twice if you count Frozen, the female lead can stand on her own merits and overcome any obstacles thrown at her without having the storybook romance of a prince as a subplot.  Maui does help Moana succeed but in the end but Maui is no more than a friend and Moana is shown as a true strong hero.

The Bad:

-Tamatoa.  Moana and Maui’s first big test in teamwork is retrieving Maui’s magical fish hook from the 50-foot crab, Tamatoa (Jermaine Clement) that has an affliction to stealing anything that is shiny.  The only cringe-worthy song of the film is sung by Tamatoa and a five minute song feels like double that amount of time.  The positive part of seeing Tamatoa is Moana and Maui’s voyage into the Realm of Monsters, one in which I wish the filmmakers would have spent more time in, but unfortunately we get a prolonged fight with the only clichéd villain in the film.

 

The Middling:

-Hei Hei.  Yes the main character has an animal sidekick (two if you count the barely visible pig) and it’s an annoying rooster.  Hei Hei (Alan Tudyk) is not a bad animal sidekick and he does produce some humorous jokes but a little of Hei Hei can go a long way.  Hei Hei does not fall into the “Bad” category only because the kids in the audience loved him and laughed every time he appeared on the screen but the adults may grow tired of the character by the end of the film.

 

Final Grade: A- (Amazing)

Moana is one of the great Disney animated films of all time and that isn’t overselling it.  From the animation to the songs to the characters to the fun story, Moana is a gem to watch and a great time for the whole family.   Disney could have relied on their old formula of the typical princess story ideas but they didn’t and in changing things up, Disney made one of the best films of the year.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released at www.webegeekspc.com  every Wednesday or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps.  You can listen to their latest episode right here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/historyofbadideas/Episode_150.mp3

 

Big Blockbuster Boredom

Big Blockbuster Boredom

In the latter days of 2015, I remember looking at the list of movies coming out in 2016 and thinking, “next year is going to be an amazing year for movies.  There is so much good stuff coming out.”  Now, here it is, the middle of August in 2016, and I find myself wondering what happened to all those movies I was excited about?  Did I kid myself into thinking there was a ton of great movies coming out?  I don’t think I was fooling myself, I seem to recall actually believing that this year would be full of nonstop excitement when looking ahead to the crop of blockbusters coming out this year.  And yet, here I am, just over halfway through the year in the aftermath of the summer movie season, feeling somewhat let down and disappointed overall.  It’s not that the movies this year were bad per se, with one or two exceptions, rather, it is that most of the movies this year turned out to be just…..average, pedestrian, formulaic, uninspired, etc.

Let’s take a look back at the once promising list and see if we can figure out just where things went wrong. More

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Non-Spoiler Film Review

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Non-Spoiler Film Review

Written by Jason Brigger

The History of Bad Ideas Podcast

Batman v. Superman, after many years of hype, crashes into theaters this Friday, March 25 and despite the film not delivering a knockout punch to the audience, it does leave the fans staggering and wondering what went wrong with a film that should be a heavyweight.

The film takes place two years after Superman (Henry Caviill) delivered the neck snap heard around the world to Zod (Michael Shannon) in Man of Steel and in the process, destroyed over half the city of Metropolis. Crime-fighting Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) realizes no one should have that much power and dons the cowl as Batman and sets off to knock Superman down a peg or two. While the two heroes clash their fists and their egos, criminal mastermind Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has a more heinous plan to take down the heroes and claim Metropolis for himself. Luckily Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) can keep her temper in check long enough to actually try to save the city that Batman and Superman seem to forget about.

The Good:

-Wonder Woman has arrived. Gadot may only be in the film for approximately 30 minutes but she steals the scenes she is in as Wonder Woman. Despite a decent amount of superheroes, cameo or otherwise, Wonder Woman and maybe one robotic hero are the only future solo films I leave Batman v. Superman wanting to watch.

-The actors. It’s not that the acting by Affleck, Cavill and Gadot is fantastic but the actors do an impressive job with a less than impressive script. Cavill has improved dramatically as both Clark Kent and as Superman in this film and even Affleck won’t disappoint most Batman fans. Gadot…see above.

The Bad:

The pacing of the film. A film that is 150 minutes is a long time to sit and watch when the film is neither intriguing nor exciting for over half of the film. Even worse? The final battle with Doomsday, Luthor’s secret weapon, is ridiculous looking and not in a good way. The studio, Warner Brothers, has a bigger issue because the film does not make the audience excited for the future Justice League film, which Warner Brothers was hoping Batman v. Superman would accomplish.

-The soundtrack. Soundtracks for films can change a mundane moment into a classic moment but bad soundtracks can pull the audience out of the action and completely change the attitude of the film. Batman v. Superman does not have a good soundtrack and at times, even a bad soundtrack, as evident in the final fight scene with Doomsday. The music during the battle even elicited some laughter from the audience I was watching with and pulls the audience completely out of a serious moment of the film.

-Director Zack Snyder. I know director Zack Snyder loves comic books and is trying to make a superhero film that both fans of the comics and the general audience will love and I applaud him for that but Batman v. Superman is not that film. As stated above, the actors are good but from the pacing to squeezing too many plot points into one film to even the look of the film, leaves this film a mess. Warner Brothers wanted to hire an architect to guide their DC film universe but after Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, the wheels are coming off pretty fast and it may be too late for Snyder’s next film, Justice League.

The Middling:

-Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg does a really good job portraying the Joker in Batman v. Superman but unfortunately he is supposed to be playing Lex Luthor. The character of Luthor is all over the place and while the future films will hopefully allow Eisenberg to fully grasp the role of the villainous mastermind, this is not the Luthor that Superman should be afraid to challenge. Luthor never comes across as the evil mastermind that is always two steps ahead of Superman but at least Eisenberg looks like he is having fun with the role, which should count for something.

-The background. So after the massive amount of civilian deaths in Man of Steel’s fight scenes, Batman v. Superman tones it down in terms of unnecessary deaths…to zero. The cities of Metropolis and Gotham look good but the audience is only shown a few areas of each city. The excuse that the business district is empty due to the fights occurring after 5 p.m. on a workday, yes a real explanation used in the film, is weak at very best. Snyder took a lot of negative critique for the unnecessary civilian deaths in Man of Steel, and to Snyder’s credit, it’s addressed in this film, but by being overly cautious, the cities just look like empty toy play sets.

Final Grade: C-

I had no idea what to expect coming into this film and to say I left with lower expectations for future DC films is not a good sign. I applaud Snyder for going the opposite direction of the Marvel films by taking a darker tone but Batman v. Superman tries to do too much and fails at the majority of it. The film is not for young kids and fans of the comics will pick the film apart and even the general audience will be disappointed in the final product. The film is not as bad as Fantastic Four from 2015 but it’s just a spot above the mess of a film that is Green Lantern.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes drop every Wednesday on www.webegeekspc.com or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps.

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 62: Sexy Robots and Fan Fiction

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 62: Sexy Robots and Fan Fiction

Jim and Eric are at it again with a 5+ hour podcast.  They won’t mind if you don’t!  During their weekly visit, they talk about all the DC Comics that came out this week including Batman and Robin #23 and Batman/Superman #30.  Spoiler Alert: They like Batman/Superman #30 a whole lot!  They also talk about this weeks DC Comics news, how sexy robot Lois is and Jim weirds Eric out with inappropriate fan fiction…all this and more on Episode 62 of the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast.  Enjoy! More

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 60: Eric Shea’s (Sort of) Day Off

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 60: Eric Shea’s (Sort of) Day Off

 

Eric was sick as a dog, but instead of taking the week off, Jim forced him to get out of bed and record the podcast…sort of. With the help of Reggie, they recorded an abridged version of the podcast with reviews of Batman and Robin Eternal #21, Justice League #48, Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #1, Superman/Wonder Woman #26 and Superman #49.  While that doesn’t seem like a lot, it still was almost 4 hours long!  Enjoy!

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Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 59: THERE WILL BE DANCING

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 59: THERE WILL BE DANCING

Jim and Eric keep it on point as they discuss DC Comics’ Rebirth announcement and every book that came out this week.  They try to keep the nonsense to a minimum, but we all know that doesn’t usually work.  Enjoy!

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Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 57: Who Else Seen Da Leprechaun Say Yeah!

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 57: Who Else Seen Da Leprechaun Say Yeah!

It was a down week for books and after getting yelled out all week about review scores, Jim was pretty depressed.  That means one thing…The Mobile Leprechaun.  Yes, nothing brings a smile to Jim and Eric’s face quicker than a little, “Who Else Seen Da Leprechaun Say Yeah!”  It carries them through this long ass episode where they break down all the books, talk DC Comics news, get yelled at in the listener mail and try to have a good time.  Enjoy!

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Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 56: Things Get Dark

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Ep 56: Things Get Dark

It’s a long one and things do indeed get dark.  There is talk of putting dogs down, a double murder suicide and plenty of zit popping and toilet plunging.  Oh yea, there is also Comics as Jim and Eric review all of this week’s DC Comic releases including Batman and Robin Eternal, Grayson, Justice League of America and so much more.  Plus, you get the Digital Spotlight featuring The Adventures of Supergirl, Eric’s TV segment with Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Lucifer talk as well as the News, DC Comics News, Reggie’s Recklessness, Ryan Clark’s Other Side, Professor DC and Listener Mail.  Holy Crap that’s a lot of stuff!  Enjoy…

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Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 55: That’s How Painkillers Work

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 55: That’s How Painkillers Work

Jim and Eric get together and talk a bunch of nonsense…only to find out they weren’t recording it. Yep, an hour and a half of the podcast just disappeared and while others may have given up, these two idiots started over and ended up with over 5 hours of…well, something. They talk all of the DC Comics that came out this week (including Poison Ivy with guest, Reggie), discuss the news and more. If they aren’t the #hardestworkingguysinpodcasting, they are the stupidest. Enjoy!

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Weird Science Emergency Podcast: What is DC Comics Rebirth?

Weird Science Emergency Podcast: What is DC Comics Rebirth?

Jim, Eric and Reggie were going to talk about the solicits for this week’s podcast and then news starting dropping about “Rebirth”.  So, Jim finally got his way and the guys do an Emergency Podcast.  Things go off the rails a bit, but who wouldn’t expect that, right?  They do talk about the April Solicits and what they think this Rebirth thing is all about.  Possibly.

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Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 54: Up Periscope

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 54: Up Periscope

Jim and Eric get together to talk DC Comics, DC Comics News and random nonsense.  They try to figure out what periscope is, discuss various masturbation methods and eventually wade through all of comic books released this week and are joined by Professor DC, Reggie and Ryan. Enjoy!

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Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 53: Big Eric’s House

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 53: Big Eric’s House

Eric and Jim are back again and this week they’ve brought a boatload of nonsense.  Jim’s throat is killing him and Eric wants to tickle butt holes, but besides that, everything is fine.  The guys talk about all the DC Comics books released this week, yell at each other and stay up way too late recording.  Enjoy!

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The Weird Science DC Comics 2015 Awards Show Podcast

The Weird Science DC Comics 2015 Awards Show Podcast

The Weird Science Get Fresh Crew get together to discuss their picks for DC Comics Best of 2015.  *Warning* The Quality is not the greatest as all our efforts failed and we were forced to use the raw Skype call.  Hopefully you can get past that and enjoy the show.

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Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 52: Stolen Valor

Weird Science DC Comics Podcast Episode 52: Stolen Valor

Jim and Eric celebrate the New Year (and one year of podcasting) with their usual comics talk, stories and utter nonsense.  Eric went to a New Year’s Eve party, but Jim takes a walk down memory lane as he recounts some past New Years of his own.  It’s all about Y2K and stolen valor.  He still doesn’t understand how it happened, but Eric rips into him all the same.  The two finally get into this week’s DC Comic Books, but make sure they offend everyone with their Indian rain dances and nonsense.  It’s another long one for the #hardestworkingguysinpodcasting…enjoy!

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