The Lazaraus Duff Dress Effect

This makes two weeks in a row that I saw a screening of a new release in theaters, but it was so forgettable that it slipped my mind that I should actually write a review for it. Last week it was The Duff, this week it was The Lazarus Effect. But how can anyone talk about movies when a hellish dress exists to divide humanity in half?? So what I'll do here is give you two mini reviews of the movies out now, followed by a list of 5 movies that can explain the dress's existence. We'll start with the newer release first.

THE LAZARUS EFFECT. I haven't seen a horror film this bad in quite a long time. Maybe it was because I just avoid bad ones now, but my goodness this film induced me to several eye rolls all throughout. The funny thing was, my gut reaction was that I knew it would be stupid when I heard the premise and the title, but when I saw the cast I was filled with hope. Mark Duplass would never be in a stinker movie would he? Unfortunately, the question has been answered now with The Lazarus Effect, and it's a sad truth that yes he would. This movie only contains cheap scares, and the moments when it tries to genuinely terrify the audience are so tame that you wonder if the script was written by a junior high schooler. EMILY RATING: 2/10.

THE DUFF. Who knew high school romantic comedies still existed? This seems like a genre that died in the 90's. For that reason, I appreciate this movie's attempt. Underneath all the crass and crude jokes... there's a sweet little film underneath. I enjoyed the whole "coaching" aspect to dating and thought it was amusing. As, of course, was the central idea of the joke. That said... it's kind of a one-joke film (DUFF = Designated Ugly Fat Friend), and if you don't find that joke funny to begin with you're out of luck. Also, I have to think this movie was made by 40-year-olds trying to get in touch with their inner teen. "Oh let's mention every social network possible, make up our own hip phrases, and use a lot of text language!" EMILY RATING: 5.5/10

Now about that dress....

And if you happened to miss the hoopla last night, just go to BuzzFeed and see what you missed. Every third article is about it.



Do we even see color at all?? Are we living in a society that has removed it altogether in our quest to become as PC as possible?? At least the new receivers of memory can see the blue.


Ditto the last entry, but this time are we stuck in a 1950's tv show?? One by one though, people discover the truth of color... so I can only hope the crazies who still admit to white & gold somehow see what reality looks like.


Our reality is not what we think it is.. and maybe it all depends on what pill we took. Our reality is merely created by a computer around us.


Is it possible, that we're all trapped in a giant fake world, where we're the star and how we saw this dress determines our reality? Is the maker we thought we knew merely a tv director laughing at us?


Are these Gold & White maniacs actually robot people that used to be humans to make the world a more blind place?


Are people who see Blue & Black Divergents who see life as it really is? Was this all a government test?? "This isn't reallllll!!"


Aliens came to earth and administered this test. They took the people who saw white & gold because they are the weaker among the human species. Now the people who insist on white & gold are no longer regular functioning people, they are aliens trying to spread their agenda.


The dress is the token that helps you determine your reality. If you see it black and blue you are in the real world. Gold and white it's a dream.


Remember how it was said Samara could put images in people's heads? Maybe the dress is her new video tape since no one owns VCRs anymore. We all have 7 days left.


Is it possible that all the people who see white & gold, people who had their memory of the color blue erased? How can they not recognize the color blue when they see it? Must have been tied to a traumatic romantic relationship.

Other things to consider: 27 Dresses (did we all watch this movie too many times and are just getting her dresses confused?), 1984 (2+2=5), Soylent Green (Blue & Black is people!!!)

Worst of all? The dress haters. 

People who love the dress:

People who hate the dress:


I'd Like to Fire the Academy

The Academy Awards came and went once more.... and I can't help but feel that some mistakes were made yet again. Some were big (Eddie Redmayne beating out Michael Keaton when Redmayne only showed us one aspect of Stephen Hawking,) and some small (Big Hero 6 really??) But the one race I'm really left thinking about is the biggest one: Best Picture. Or to be more precise, the recently gaining momentum of Birdman, beating out the critically acclaimed and previous favorite, Boyhood. I can't help but feel like I've seen this kind of matchup before. The year? 2011.. where the best movie of the year, aka The Social Network lost out to the safe period piece The King's Speech. Am I comparing Boyhood and Birdman to The Social Network and King's Speech? Only partly. You see this time, in 2015... The Social Network of the year (Boyhood) loses out instead to the BLACK SWAN of 2015 (Birdman). Yes, the best film is losing to a far artsier and interesting film this time than before...but I don't really think that makes it any less of a mistake. Birdman is a movie for artists. Boyhood is a movie for everyone... which quite honestly might be the reason the out of touch Academy couldn't find themselves rallying behind it. Besides, there's nothing more the Academy loves than themselves... so I should have known this film which celebrates the craft of acting and building a career in their field would have won them over. But alas. In any event, as per my custom... here are my thoughts on all of the Best Picture nominees.

BIRDMAN. I previously wrote about Birdman here when it made #10 on my Top Ten list of 2014. I liked this movie, I did. But again, I admired it in the same way I loved Black Swan. A fascinating watch about how far an artist will go for their art. It's got an awesome score throughout, fantastic cinematography, pitch-perfect editing, great performances, and it's got that whimsical thing going on for it. But no, it was not my favorite film of last year.

BOYHOOD. I previously wrote about Boyhood on my Top Ten list here where it made #5. While it was my personal fifth pick (and lower than fellow nominee Whiplash,) Boyhood was the movie that I absolutely felt should win Best Picture. Richard Linklater just GETS life, and his 12-year labor of love Boyhood is absolute evidence of that. This movie is nothing more than a series of vignettes of one boy's life from young boy to young man. But the way they are presented to us is much like our own remembrance of significant events in our own youth. This movie attempts to speak to its audience in such a personal way, by relating special moments of one boy's life that shaped him... moments that you find aren't too different from instances in your own life. Shame it only walked away with one award.

THE IMITATION GAME. I liked this movie a lot more than I expected to! Great performances, combined with drama and surprising moments of humor and warmth. Still, it's a little bit "by the numbers British period piece Oscar bait."

AMERICAN SNIPER. Ditto the last entry. I'll see it eventually, but for now here's Kent's review.

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. If any movie this year is The King's Speech, it's this one. Likewise, both lead actors of the films took home the Best Actor prize. I wrote about The Theory of Everything previously HERE. I just felt like this movie kept me at arm's length the entire time by showing more of a portrait of Stephen Hawking's circumstances than who he was and what made him tick. Since this was based on his wife's novel I felt that they should be a little more straightforward that it's her story. Had they done that, it might be more distinguishable than your everyday biopic.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL I watched this movie twice (the second time out of generosity for the movie's sake) and other than some awesome production design and some entertaining performances... I really don't know what all the fuss is about. The plot seems simple enough at first, but then gets more and more convoluted as each minute wears on. Perhaps that's the point as this is supposed to a far-fetched story one tells to another. But...somewhere along the way it lost me. BOTH times. Sorry, Wes fans. It was really nice to see Ralph Fiennes in a lighter role for once and you can tell he's just eating it up. Clearly the cast love being in this movie, I just wish as an audience member I could say I loved watching it.

SELMA.  For me, Selma is kind of a mixed bag. It was funny to me when one of the presenters last night mentioned that Selma showed us the man that Martin Luther King Jr was, not the hero... because I felt completely the opposite. Certain aspects of his personal life were glossed over as much as possible to have him remain a hero when if we saw how he struggled with it, he could have actually seemed human. But I can't deny the film was gripping, anchored by David Oyelowo's lead performance. My issue is this: I understand the civil rights movement was a horrible time in history and people behaved abhorrently, but I just feel like 12 Years a Slave handled the subject matter a bit more delicately in showing that these horrible behaviors were a product of their respective times. 12 Years a Slave showed the good and bad in humanity in both races, meanwhile I checked my clock in Selma to see when a kind caucasian person actually showed up into the movie... and well, it took 1.5 hours for that to happen (and then they were subsequently killed by other caucasian people.) It just felt a little gratuitous to me. But again on the plus side, this movie had gorgeous cinematography. Should have been nominated there.

WHIPLASH. Whiplash was my personal favorite among the nominees and my first review for it can be found HERE. I saw it almost a year ago when it won best of fest at Sundance and since then has remained the film to beat in my eyes. I'm not surprised it wasn't given more serious consideration because its intensity isn't really something those safe Oscar voters go for. But this movie is absolutely electric and keeps you on your toes the whole time. It truly is one of the most intense movies I've seen in years and it's about a jazz band for goodness sakes!

As for the other categories? I have seen all of the best actress performances save Reese Witherspoon's in Wild, and while I LOVED Marion and Rosamund's performances, Julianne Moore in Still Alice is the clear winner here. I'm not a big cryer in movies, but her realistic and nuanced performance of a woman facing Alzheimers really stuck with me and had me teary eyed throughout. I'm ecstatic that JK Simmons won supporting actor even though he faced some strong competition in Edward Norton and Ethan Hawke. I loved all three of those performances, but JK was simply amazing in Whiplash. Supporting actress... well I'm not really sure why every critic claims that Patricia Arquette was the heart of Boyhood, because I think if anyone was it was Ethan Hawke. She gives a good performance that certainly required a lot of dedication, but I think Emma Stone in Birdman probably edged her out.  Other thoughts? I'm happy Interstellar took home a prize, but wish somehow Dawn of the Planet of the Apes could have shared the award since the vfx in it were some of the best I'd ever seen. The animated film was sure to be a bummer any way you sliced it since The Lego Movie was snubbed, but Big Hero 6 out of all of them certainly isn't oscar worthy. I wish Interstellar could have won for its amazing score...can't say I even remember the score of Grand Budapest. I was torn on the best editing prize... though I think Boyhood could have been tighter and Whiplash was edited to perfection, I can't help but think that the 12 year accomplishment of editing for Boyhood deserved some recognition. But sadly what many critics believe to be a masterpiece and the best film in years walks away with just one prize... and one I'm not really convinced should have been the one it locked down. So all in all, thank you Academy for a nice case of deja vu.


Dinner & A Movie: Cannella's

It's been awhile since I gave you a review of one of the eating establishments of SLC, so here we go! In today's installment, I take you to the Italian eatery Cannella's. I first discovered this restaurant a few years back during the Dine O Round and have since returned a few times since it's a pretty reliable Italian restaurant when that craving strikes. Usually, I order the tortellini, but the time I visited I was a little more daring and switched up my order. Would this gamble pay off?  Or would Cannella's prove to be a one trick pony? But first, time to take a look at the key for price & ratings.

$ = 5-10 avg. per entree 
$$ = 10-15 avg. per entree 
$$$ = 15-20 avg. per entree 
$$$$ = 20-30 avg. per entree 
$$$$$ = $30+ and above per entree.

Cannella's is $$

RATINGS: 1 star = Poor, 2 stars = fair, 3 stars = good, 4 stars = very good, and 5 stars = AMAZING. 

Love the wall art on the back of the building!


Of all the restaurants that I've been to as a part of my "Dine O Round tour," this one is absolutely the hardest one to get a good picture of because it's so darkly lit! This can be nice at times (say on an intimate date,) but annoying during others. The time I WAS here on a date here though we sat in one of those awkward booths which was a rounded side booth and had to make eye contact out of the corner of our eyes. Not good. However, if you're coming with someone you're more comfortable with rather than a random first date, you'll be good. What I really love about the ambiance though is the downstairs that totally looks like a restaurant dungeon. I just really wish I could come to the restaurant sometime and be seated down there even though I. Luckily though that's where the bathroom is so you can still say hi to that beautiful dungeon when you step into Cannella's. The only thing really against the ambiance is that it's a little too traditional and there's nothing really unique about it. EMILY RATING: 4

Dungeon bathrooms are to die for!


I'll be honest, this dining experience was a little bit ago and I can't really recall the service. What does that mean? It means it definitely wasn't bad! Then again, I don't really remember it being exceptional either. I do seem to recall that they were very quick about giving us our food and that is always appreciated. EMILY RATING: 4


Usually, I go for the tortellini and am happy with it. This outing I decided to shake it up and use my gift card to get an appetizer and a different meal than usual. We ordered the garlic cheese flatbread (pizza dough, garlic olive oil, parmesan, asiago, house made marina) for our starter and it was delightful. We ate it up like it was nobody's business. For my main course, I went with the Tuscan Chicken (free range chicken breast, fontina cheese, prosciutto di parma, garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables.) Last time when Caitlin and I dined together she had the fantastic chicken meal and I had the pasta dish. This time I ordered that we switch it up so I got the fancy chicken, and luckily it paid off for me. The chicken was so good and the sauce and veggies were just perfect. To check out more of the menu click HEREEMILY RATING: 4.

CAITLIN SAYS: I enjoyed Cannella's. I got the tortellini with the Pomodoro sauce. It was light and fresh. But that's all it was. I thought Emily's dish was far better. I would probably order something else if I went again, however, mine wasn't bad, especially if you are looking for something light and not very extravagant. I was just looking for something more. Our appetizer though was amazing. I am a sucker for warm bread! The ambiance was cool, very Italian. I didn't love the table we sat it. We kind of had to sit right next to each other in our booth instead of across from one another. The service was great, we were some of the only people there so we were given top priority. And our food was ready in a short amount of time! I would definitely go back (and order the chicken...)!

The verdict is that Cannella's is a reliable choice, just perhaps not a life changing one. Everything is solid and won't really let you down, but it's not really something I find myself craving in particular either. That said... it scored straight 4's from me so it must be doing something right!

& A MOVIE. The ambiance of Cannella's coupled with the food they serve there is the perfect opportunity to watch none other than Lady and the Tramp. Go on a nice Valentines date to Cannella's and top it off with watching two dogs accidentally kiss over a meatball. Maybe then you'll get lucky too. In theaters... Kingsman: The Secret Service comes out tomorrow or there's always... haha 50 Shades of Gray. Just kidding. 

Movie Dates: The Good, The Bad, and the Awkward

Sadly Valentines and February came upon me so fast this year, I didn't have time to make a bunch of romance movie themed lists like I usually do. But still, I felt I owed you one.. and this one was inspired by my recent viewing of Begin Again that led me to ponder GREAT dates in film.. And then I pondered the flip side. As a result of my ponderings, I present to you, the 5 WORST DATES IN FILM. Countered with the 5 BEST. Meanwhile, I'll add a little of my own dating history and let you know which of these I've had similar experiences with. Also, if you're craving more lists, check my archives in the months of February the last few years. Or you can just read my favorite list I've done HERE. Now onto this year's list.



In Fever Pitch, Drew Barrymore's character gets an awful case of food poisoning Have I ever thrown up on a date before? The answer is yes. It was at an amusement park after a spinning ride. Thankfully the vomiting did not occur in FRONT of my date, as I made it to a bathroom before it happened...but it was still pretty embarrassing. But that was nothing like the date below in Fever Pitch! Drew Barrymore sure has been on some bad cinematic dates. I considered putting her blind date with Adam Sandler from Blended, but as Fever Pitch is a better movie we'll let this one edge it out (though if I had a choice on which date to live through I'd probably rather not ever want to experience the Hooters date in Blended. Shudder.)


In When Harry Met Sally, the two titular friends think that they should set each other up with their respective besties. What results is a pretty crappy double date when those besties have no interest in who they were set up with (Harry and Sally,) and instead fancy each other. Have I been on a double date where my date is way more interested in another girl? At least twice. Did I have a prospective Harry in the wings? Nope because on one of them the date for my friend was my brother. So basically this shameless idiot  I went out with was flirting with my brother's date in front of him and was neglecting me at the same time. Definitely one of my worst dates I've been on. 


In Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig's character Annie gets set up on a blind date with a recently single father who doesn't really seem ready to be dating again. While she's waiting for him to get ready, he leaves her with his son forcing them to make perhaps the most awkward small talk ever. Then she gets to overhear what her date REALLY thinks of her. Though I have been forced with my fair share of awkward small talk, luckily the second part has never happened to me... at least on a date!


Hitch's track record with Sara Milas is pretty bad. On their first date, he kicked her in the head and reminded her of a horrible family secret. During their second, he gets really bad food allergies and later gets mildly drunk off of allergy medicine. Thankfully I have NOT had any allergic reactions to food during dates... unless you count my tongue's abhorrence for onions. One time I was out with an English gentleman, and in the middle of a bite I discovered a very disgusting crunch in the form of an onion... and well I forgot my manners by fishing it out of my mouth. Oops. That date was actually going pretty well prior to that, so I think my "allergy" killed that one dead. 


Sadly there's not any clips of this date on youtube, but it's basically the quintessential horrible date that I find myself experiencing often. The type where you can tell you've got nothing going on almost from the get-go but you just have to find a way to make conversation anyway. Plus it's got Janeane Garofalo who plays Randy Quaid's moody date that jumps down his throat to everything he says. Have I been this person? Perhaps shades of her in some ways. Have I gone out with a guy like her that just can't help but make every interaction as awkward as can be? Yep. One of my favorites of recent memory was a guy who when the waitress made a comment about "your boyfriend is so nice to take you out!" kept saying the whole date long "that was SO awkward that waitress said that." Not as awkward as you constantly bringing it up buddy. 


I don't think ANYONE could ever have gone on a date like this, and thankfully I sure haven't! In About A Boy Hugh Grant's Will takes out a woman who has an unexpected visitor tagging along her neighbor's weird pre-pubescent son named Marcus. Marcus makes EVERYTHING more awkward.. and it doesn't help when he accidentally kills a duck with a loaf of bread. Oops. But to make matters as worse as they can be, when they drop off Marcus they discover that his mother just attempted suicide. Can't get much worse than that!

Honorable mentions: Back to the Future (going on a date with your mom is never ideal for a son,) Pulp Fiction (passing out on and needing life-saving assistance is a little embarrassing,) Blind Date (I blocked this movie from my subconscious, but I remember the whole movie revolved around onnnnne horrible date.) Silver Linings Playbook (their date or non-date at the diner is just really awkward) The Graduate (Ben Braddock is just awful to his date who happens to be the daughter of a woman he's been sleeping with.)



It's a toss-up here between Joel and Clementine's date at the frozen pond where they have a really precious moment lying on the frozen ice... OR their date parked near a Drive-In movie where they make up their own dialogue since they didn't pay to get in. As a movie lover, I think the second option would be incredibly fun. And will have to put that one on my to do list. 

This one is over fairly quickly and if you haven't seen the movie the rest might not make a lot of sense!

#4. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER

Again this whole movie is rife with dating ideas to plunder from. The one I think many people associate this movie with is the classic "play house at Ikea date," but it's not my favorite. The most romantic would have to be hands down taking her on a tour of his favorite architectural spots in LA and then to his favorite spot in the city to admire the view. Oh and then completing the day with an arm tattoo of his vision for the city. I guess I actually have done this date.. but with friends! A couple years back when I was in Los Angeles I made it a point to see some of Tom Hansen's favorite spots in the city and it was lovely.


In About Time, Domnhall Gleeson's Tim and Rachel McAdams' Mary meet and basically have their first date in a very unique restaurant: a restaurant where all the lights are turned off and you sit completely in the dark! They hit it off and talk for hours without knowing what the other person looks like... just simply enjoying each other's company. This particular date is incredibly romantic in film but would be pretty tough to recreate successfully in real life. You'd have to take quite the gamble in going on a date with a stranger in this way that you would be able to A) have anything in common with them at all and B) actually find them attractive afterward. 

I just felt like my Korean readers needed subtitles on this, so I found a video specifically for them.


Mark Ruffalo's Dan tells Keira Knightley's Gretta all about his first date with his ex-wife, and then... well decides to recreate it for her (in a platonic way?) History aside, you can't fault the guy for using this move because it's a pretty good one. The date? Taking their ipods and swapping songs as they walk all over New York City and admire the sights set to their own soundtrack. This date only works if you have got the same taste in music as the person you're with though. It might kill the mood to ask them to skip to the next song if they're having a moment with it. Might be best to decide on a playlist before you go to avoid any awkwardness.


Jesse and Celine meet on a train and hit it off. Not wanting to end their conversation, he convinces her to spend the night with him exploring Vienna before his flight the next morning. Celine agrees and they spend the next two hours deep in conversation all while discovering a beautiful European city. The lesson here? Europe trumps all. Basically yeah if you want to have an unforgettable date stay up all night walking around a beautiful city having an amazing conversation. That's all it takes.

Honorable mentions: 10 Things I Hate About You (paddle boat & paintballing) Notting Hill (secret garden) The Fault in Our Stars (Amsterdam picnic and really... everything in Amsterdam.)


All the Kingsmen

Way back near the beginning of January, before this film was even rated I might add, I saw a preview screening of Kingsman: The Secret Service. I hadn't eaten that night and got there right as the movie started, so I opted to take the chance that I wouldn't miss anything if I popped out during the first few minutes. Unfortunately, the workers at the Megaplex were extra slow that night and took their time in getting my order for me. I got back to the movie, sat down, and started to whisper to my movie companion "What'd I miss?" but before I can finish the sentence a stylized fight breaks out on the screen and a person is sliced right in half before my very eyes. And by "in half" I don't mean across the waist... I mean  from the middle of the head down! Let me just tell you... what a way to start a movie! I missed a lot from those minutes spent waiting for the concessions, but what a movie adventure awaited me inside!

This movie is a huge homage to undercover spy movies. From James Bond to Mission Impossible, this movie comments on them all while still being its own unique take. In fact, what sets it apart is the fact that this movie so often comments on what's expected and then does the opposite. There are a few directions this film takes that will completely astonish you. Because this movie surprised me, I found it to be incredibly refreshing. In particular, you expect a movie of this type to have a certain villain, and instead it gives you Samuel L. Jackson in perhaps the most outrageous role he's ever played. His villain is fantastic because he's anything but your average bad guy. That, and he's hilarious.

When it comes down to it, there's really a lot to like about Kingsman. The action choreography the whole way through (and don't mistake me this movie gets REALLY violent), is insanely good and quite the spectacle to behold. Near the end of the movie, though, it gets on a completely different level and you keep thinking, "I CAN'T believe they went there!!" The risks Matthew Vaughn is willing to take are all part of the fun and make Kingsman one of the best and most unique action films to come around in years. Could have done without the last shot though. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10



Yesterday the internet exploded with the news that Spiderman's film rights would finally be granted to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What exactly does that mean? It means that pretty much effective immediately the Amazing Spider-man franchise is dead as a doornail and Spider-man is set to be rebooted. AGAIN. In 2017. But this time under the same umbrella where the rest of the Marvel lives (save those precious X-men who are now my only hope.) Comic book nerds everywhere rejoiced and salivated at the prospect of seeing Spidey swinging into the Marvel universe and eventually interacting with all the other avengers. It's a dream come true right? For the vast majority of the movie watching population, it was like Christmas morning, but for this (not so) humble film lover I find it all to be deeply troubling. Here are five reasons I'm dreading this.


Remember all the fuss over the creation of The Amazing Spider-man franchise in the first place?? Everyone complaining about the fact that it was too soon to start over? The gap between Spider-man 3 (2007) and The Amazing Spider-man (2012) was a good five years. This time it will only be three... which is about the average length it takes between sequels. I know The Amazing Spider-man wasn't as universally loved as Sam Raimi's first two films.. but it had a lot of strengths. To completely erase it when it still had some unfinished business is just incredibly sad to me. Andrew Garfield was a fine Spider-man and he showed more human emotion and relatability in his time as Spider-man than any and every leading character of a Marvel studio produced movie COMBINED. Plus wasn't everyone's criticism of The Amazing Spider-man that we had already seen this origin story? At that time, it was ten years between the first installments of each, yet that was too soon? It makes you think.. "well if Marvel just brings in an already established Spider-man that won't be so bad." But the first word I've heard is that he'll be "even younger." We've already seen Spider-man in high school both times in these series. Let's see an adult version of this character where being Spider-man is a full-time job and has been for YEARS. But instead we'll be treated to our third origin story in the space of 15 years.


Each and every Marvel produced film must invariably set up the next and be tied together in a giant cinematic web. This means their storylines must exist in the same universe and be a part of a greater whole that sets up the films when they make cameo appearances in each other's movies. Spider-man's universe doesn't just consist of Aunt May, Uncle Ben, Harry Osbourne and MJ/Gwen Stacy anymore (depending on which girl you want to be your love interest.) Now he exists in a world where he will end up communicating to Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man on a regular basis. As comic book geeks read this they're peeing their pants and saying in their heads "and what's wrong with this?" Mostly that it doesn't make any of the characters in Spider-man's own world very important anymore. They, like Pepper Potts and anyone else in a supporting role in stand alone Marvel movies are fodder now. That and he will get roped into the dopey "find the stones of Thanos plot line" that no casual movie goer actually remembers is the overarching theme to all these movies. Spider-man mixing with these dumb aliens? Ugh.


I mentioned this briefly in the first paragraph, but what I've noticed from all of the Marvel movies is that character is secondary to the fun. Every time. No one cares because breezy popcorn movies are fun. Why do we care if our heroes have personal lives and deal with everyday situations that make us relate to them? But but... Tony Stark has character and depth! I'll let you argue that one, but really what he has is sarcasm from a once enthusiastic Robert Downey Junior that gets a little more bored with each movie. But Thor has a love interest and thinks about her? Oh, good grief that romance is so paper thin. If that's what we have to look forward to between Peter and MJ.. well the thought just makes me want to recoil in sadness. Once a character is established we never get to know who they are beyond what they can do. Black Widow and Captain America are the best examples of this in his sequel where basically you could have interchanged the entire plot to feature Thor and Hawkeye and it really wouldn't have made a difference. It should make a difference! These stories should be personal.. and they're not. But character isn't something that avid readers of comics care about because they just project what they already know onto the character. I, on the other hand, believe these films are adaptations and should work both for people with prior knowledge, and for those who come to the table knowing nothing. 


If there was ever a chance I could have LOVED a Marvel movie it died when they fired Edgar Wright *left* from directing Ant-Man. Why did this happen? Creative differences. Or in other words, he wanted his movie to be set apart from the rest, but it wasn't supposed to. Evangeline Lilly commented later that if his version had been made it would have "stuck out like a sore thumb" among other Marvel movies. In fact... read her entire quote for more illumination on the way Marvel works with what type of comic book movies get made on their watch. 
"I mean, they’ve established a universe, and everyone has come to expect a certain aesthetic [and] a certain feel for Marvel films. And what Edgar was creating was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films. They were very different. And I feel like, if [Marvel] had created Edgar’s incredible vision — which would have been, like, classic comic book — it would have been such a riot to film [and] it would have been so much fun to watch. [But] it wouldn’t have fit in the Marvel Universe. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb, no matter how good it was. It just would have taken you away from this cohesive universe they’re trying to create. And therefore it ruins the suspended disbelief that they’ve built."
Everything HAS to fit together, and thus nothing can stand apart. The result? A bunch of vanilla easy to please movies that everyone loves but doesn't dare to have anything special about them.


Going along with the point above, this point becomes even more crucial. You might be tempted to say "well who cares if they're all the same?"At this point in cinema history, superhero movies are an unstoppable force. They're everywhere and with Marvel they're not going away anytime soon. This commentary was made in Birdman when Michael Keaton and Zach Galifianakis try to come up with an actor who hasn't appeared in a superhero movie and they can't quite do it. This is a big time genre and Marvel, at this point in cinema is responsible for a good 80% of it. Yes, there's still DC Comics... but the current state of their film franchise hangs on the Batman vs. Superman movie. That said, I'm confident that their best days are behind them with the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Let's think about those movies for a second. If they were being controlled by a studio to the extent that the Marvel movies control their content, would these movies have become what they are? The studio behind The Dark Knight was smart enough to give Christopher Nolan the creative control he wanted to be able to tell his story and set it apart from everything else on the market. Had Batman been a Marvel property, Christopher Nolan wouldn't have been allowed anywhere near it and we wouldn't have some amazing films. Marc Webb, having directed my all time favorite (500) Days of Summer, unfortunately, had a lot of studio interference in his Amazing Spider-man films... but he still was able to put a special touch on the scenes between Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker. Had his movie been made at Marvel though, well he might not even have been allowed to direct if his vision differed too greatly. Sam Raimi's Spider-man probably wouldn't have existed either, and I loved his take. Some would argue that the villain storylines might have been better in Amazing Spider-man, but honestly other than Loki NONE of the villains in Marvel movies have been memorable. 

But let's look at it from another genre's perspective. Say that a studio connected with Disney had the right to make 80% of ALL comedies... but these comedies had to fit within certain guidelines so that they fit within what their studio was about. Only certain directors could be hired, only certain writers could take the job so that their cohesive vision remains the same with each comedy they release. Yes maybe those comedies are pretty good initially.. but wouldn't they start to get old after awhile? The problem is, Marvel and movie audiences today can't seem to understand the concept of "sometimes too much of a good thing is a bad thing." These movies for one thing have become completely over saturated. We get two of them a year, and they never differ from their stated formula. Imagine if that was all you had offered in the way of comedies. Or dramas. Or action adventure films. What was once a promising genre that could produce different takes on different properties has now become an intermittent web of sameness. So comic fans... rejoice, your beloved Spider-man has been Marvel-ized. For others like me, it's a sad day because anything unique and fun about this character will soon disappear just so he can fit in. 

As one of the only people on the planet with this particular opinion, I'm sure many people are reading this outraged. Don't be. You got your wish and I'm allowed to be disappointed. For those that do share my grief, I'll be doing a retrospective soon on the two Amazing Spider-man films.. so look for that potentially next week.