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Review in: Just Disappointment League

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Image courtesy of Warner Brothers

Justice League was a critical point film. After the release of Wonder Woman, Warner Brothers’ DC films found the perfect turning point to relieve themselves of some of their prior filmography gaffs. The lukewarm Man of Steel, followed by the universally panned Batman V Superman, and the identity-confused Suicide Squad all combined to give DC superhero movies the earned reputation of being inferior Marvel film clones. With the release of Wonder Woman, I honestly felt they finally began how to understand the tired formula they were ripping off. It was decently paced, I liked the character development, and the only real improvements I could offer were to lose the abused slow-mo, ditch the awful CG effects, and to improve the story and dialog writing to not require so much damned exposition. I think you can figure out the reason for including a mini-review in this review if you weren’t already…

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Thor: Ragnarok thunders its way to the top

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This November, Thor: Ragnarok thundered its way into theaters, featuring the titular God of Thunder. This version iterates with a more colorful and more funny Thor than we’ve seen in past films. Humorously styling himself as “the strongest avenger,” he struggles with the oncoming threat of the goddess of death: Hela. Played by Cate Blanchett, Hela proves to be too much for the God of Thunder after she is released from her inter-dimensional prison. This is realized when she effortlessly destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir in an early melee in the film. The humor and colorful set pieces were designed to homage the Thor comics of the 1980’s. This design largely worked well with the plotline of the movie, but the soundtrack felt out of place in some of the key moments of the movie. Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant song worked for the trailer, but not the climactic battle in Asgaard. The…

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Susanne Bier’s “In a Better World” calls attention to international violence

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On Monday, October 23, the Department of Theater and Film Studies kicked off their annual event: the International Film Series. It is an event that showcases internationally recognized films that have otherwise made their mark in the film industry. The starter of the series this year was the truth telling movie named In a Better World directed by Susanne Bier. Susanne Bier is a Danish director who is changing the way the world looks at movies. Her main focus in all of her movies, no matter what the theme, is to demonstrate using family structures that are endangered by outside forces. The first of her films that were recognized by critics and made its way to America, was Broken Hearts (2002). Soon after that, another film of hers that made its way to America and then to the New York Film Festival was Brothers (2004), which was then remade by…

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Satan’s Little Helper: The method actor of madness

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I find it a relieving feeling that I can continue to be surprised by my movie stack. I often buy by the title or covers alone, but I don’t remember where I managed to find this movie. Whether you believe me in saying that or not – and considering the season, I understand why – this film blindsided me with how much I enjoyed it in actuality and not in mockery or at its expense. Satan’s Little Helper is a genuinely enjoyable film and one I find hard discussing in detail like I normally do. The reason I find it hard to discuss this movie, other than it’s religiously polarizing title, is my usual style involves dissecting a movie down to core elements and going into detail why they work and don’t work. A boon for when the subject of discussion is a horrible film that has more cracks in…

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Half Past Dead: Rocking out at The Rock

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Watching bad movies is a fun hobby but difficult to describe to others outright. I’ve never had success with mentioning that I liked bad movies in conversation unless whoever I was speaking to knew about MST3K; usually getting a curious look or an eye roll as a response. Thankfully, after graduating high school and learning that not everyone had the personality of a self-obsessed brick wall, I started to learn how to properly discuss my odd hobby. Nuance was the key, and coincidentally is something Half Past Dead doesn’t understand. Half Past Dead stars Steven Seagal in the role of a reputable car booster who gets caught up in a bad bust with his friend and is sent to Alcatraz 2.0. That’s right, The Rock has opened its doors again and is offering many means for incarceration, and for finality. Alcatraz houses some of the most dangerous criminals in this…

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Robot Wars: Cheesy stop-motion goodness

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It bothers me greatly that giant robot movies never gained much of anything in turns of prolificacy in the west. In the land of the rising sun, giant robots are often a subcategory of various forms of media, like video games focusing on mecha, or mecha anime. All we have in the west are a variety of occasionally good mech games, and a handful of movies focused on the city dwarfing machines. “Robot Wars” is one of these movies. “Robot Wars” is a story about a much-divided planet earth. Large swaths of land are inhospitable and gas scares in years prior have condensed people into three areas of power: The North Hemi, consisting of former North American territories; the Eastern Alliance, a similar confederation of oriental countries; and the “Centros,”  a loose faction of bandits who live in the wastes and survive by pillaging. The North Hemi is in an…

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All action in “Fate of the Furious”

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From the series inception in 2001, the ‘Fast and the Furious’ has become Universal’s greatest franchise. It delivered financially once again as the 8th film in the series generating the largest opening weekend earnings of all time with $532.5 million globally in the box office. “The Fate of the Furious” departs the story away from the Brian O’Conner (previously played by the late Paul Walker) while staying true to the action that made the series famous. Opening with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) honeymoon in Cuba, the movie quickly jumps into scenes of fast driving and aggressive action. Dom quickly defeats Raldo, a man seeking to repossess his cousin’s car, and chooses to give his current car to his cousin. This seeks to emphasize Dom’s commitment to “family” which is a topic repeatedly touched on in the previous films. Dom faces a huge obstacle when approached by Cipher…

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Belko Experiment: Not for the faint of heart – or anyone

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After seeing the trailer for, “The Belko Experiment” I was definitely expecting some dark and/or gory moments. The movie portrays a government office in the middle of nowhere, where the workers get too-good-to-be-true benefits, and they all have a “tracking device” in their head. However, nothing could have prepared me for the gore I witnessed. The film’s plot takes shape through a voice over the loudspeaker in their 80- person office building, telling the workers that if 30 of them aren’t dead within the next hour, 60 of them will be dead. The workers all laugh as if it’s a complete joke, until large, metal doors that are unbreakable come down over every window and door in the building, trapping the workers inside. At first, everyone besides a few believe that this has to be an elaborate hack or prank. That is – until the killing starts. The first death…

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Ghost in the Shell: factory recall recommended

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For a good number of people, the 1996 film “Ghost in the Shell” (GitS) is classic dystopic cyberpunk. A movie about investigating terror plots and internal political chess games in an age where you can ‘physically’ move on the internet; it can easily be said that it is a movie for those people who like their movies to have an intellectual meat to their fantasy. For fans of the series, there is only one real debate in the community that resurfaces: ‘Which is better, subtitles or the English voice dub. The reboot/remake/homage clip show that is “Ghost in the Shell” (2017) decided to attempt to bring both camps of the debate together. What results from this combination is just one example of a growing hypothesis that the movie development team had little to no idea what they were doing outside visuals. I am certain that, outside the actors’ costs, the…

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