Movies

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Last night, I decided to revisit one of my childhood’s memories of a movie. This one being The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, available on Disney plus. When a chunk of the budget goes towards Sir Sean Connery, and you realize they had to use that remaining amount to hire other actors, stunts, editing, and all that other jazz that goes into making a movie… It’s actually not that bad for what it is. Especially considering these days when having shit writing is okay as long as everything else looks pretty. If only 20th Century Fox had the level of bots, and ownership of media companies, as some people these days. Maybe then we could look past the over-the-top silly narrative. But then we look over at Marvel Studios, and can’t help but notice that some movies and characters look very uh, similar…

The characters in the movie are different than the actual characters they’re based upon, from both the original author’s works and the source comic material. One might daresay it tried to come up with an original twist on it all. Allan Quatermain is a hunter with the impeccable ability to never miss his shots (unless he wants to). Hello, Hawkeye. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a scientist that takes an elixir that changes him into a hulking brute with its own personality and consciousness. Hello, Hulk. An invisible thief that provides comedic charm to it. Mina Harker as a vampire badass that despises the evil inside her. Hello, almost Blade. Tom Sawyer as the American gunman that sprays all his shots merely hoping to hit the target. Hello, you know what institution. My favorite, Captain Nemo with his giant ship/submarine, and his army of Indian soldiers/pirates. Yea, I can see why this might be a hard sell. Dorian Gray as an immortal, wealthy douchebag. Hello, investors.

These fellas, and lady, all team up to stop a rich merchant of death from profiting from even more war. In a totally alternative world where only this kind of stuff exists there, this villain blows up various structures, kills innocents and places evidence framing a foreign nation in order to try and create a world war. Oh man, the profits that villain would stand to gain. Back to the movie, it had some great action scenes that were just simply ridiculous yet funny to watch. You could see had they only hired a more competent writer, or even director, this movie could have got a sequel. There are glimpses of awesomeness in it. Sir Sean Connery is always fun to watch. Shane West doing his job as the American heartthrob to draw in American audiences and help them be interested in the story. Peta Wilson as the Vampire dressed in leather (beating out Underworld by 2 months). Tony Curran was enjoyable as a smarmy, loveable bastard. Stuart Townsend as the cunt, and I could visually see why they’d wanna initially hire him as Aragorn way back when. Jason Flemyng was clearly having a delight playing the troubled doctor having concerns about trusting the monster inside of him. Especially during the transformation scenes. Those look like it took hours to apply him his make-up and costume. Naseeruddin Shah was fantastic as the martial art badass sending bad guys flying with mere kicks. His commanding presence was a joy amongst the silliness.

Honestly it all comes down to the writing and story direction as it being a failure. Yet, it had diversity for once with a brown action hero. Clearly that should have excused it from any wrongdoings, and audiences should have flocked to watch it otherwise they’re racists or intolerant. This movie deserves a sequel, or a remake. In a time of super-powered characters gracing the screen, these characters would fit right in.

Uncategorized

I’m Now on Amazon!

Hello, dear readers!

Once upon a time, I made a post regarding a book I’ve written and now I’ve decided to self-publish on the Amazon platform for better reach. It’s available in the US, Canada, and all other regions that Amazon Kindle is available in. If you’d like to support me, you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BBSXYWZW.

Thanks kindly,

Bogdan Ivkovic

Movies

Lightyear

What a colossal waste of time. I thought maybe the other reviews were wrong, but no, no, they were right on the money. And it has nothing to do with the shoehorned in lesbian commander and her kiss. It’d be great if maybe characters were allowed time to be fleshed out, to be more than walking, talking caricatures. But none of that happened. Disney is here to sell merchandise, and that’s the only reason for these characters to be the way they are. Gotta hit all the demographics across the board. You might think that the suits interfered with the story, but no, that blame is solely at the feet of the two writers: Angus MacLane, and Jason Headley. The former is also the director of the movie, and a known animator. These two somehow managed to create an entire story devoid of any emotions, entirely dumbed down characters, and plot events that happen because our heroes are inept idiots that cause their own trouble. That last bit feels like a bit of a projection on behalf of the writers. Thank you both for confirming you are idiots.

The plot is that Buzz Lightyear maroons 1200 people on a desolate planet because his ego is too much, and he’s too full of himself. To rectify his mistake, he volunteers to test out the proprietary fuel supply which is unstable that results in time dilation and everyone around him aging. All his friends and everyone he’s ever known gets old, and eventually passes away. Tragic, right? Surely, there’d be some sort of plot element to address this, right? Surely, Buzz will get a chance to process some emotions… oh wait, never mind, onto the next plot element. Because Buzz ain’t a fleshed out character resembling a human being, no, he’s a piece of franchise material: nothing but merchandise. And then the evil Zurg is explained away with the dumbest twist possible because Pixar are too cowardly to admit that the Buzz Lightyear cartoon is much better than any drivel they can come up with (they actually straight up copied themselves for the villain).

Each of the supporting characters is a total nitwit that constantly causes more problems and do nothing but make quips. They’re all supposedly 20+ years old and yet inexplicably act like children. Yes, it is a children’s movie and yet much of the plot is aimed at adults while simultaneously dumbing everything down that the end result is neither for adults or kids. Good job, Angus, keep proving to the world that animators should just stick to animating and leave writing to actual writers. Perhaps if Jason was in charge of all the writing, it might have turned out decent.

It’s a damn shame really. Pixar did a great job animating, as usual. But, other than the animation, it squarely belongs in the trash. The two writers proving that their ability to type is akin to monkeys on a typewriter, and after having seen this travesty, I wonder how they live with nothing but air between their ears.

Do not pass go, do not watch this garbage. I do not recommend it to anyone. Hug your kids, and have a family night instead of this. Show them Buzz Lightyear of Star Command if you want a proper Buzz story.

TV Shows

The Old Man

“Beware of an old man in a profession where men die young.”

I’d seen glimpses of this show in reviews, and online, and wow was I blown away when I actually watched the first three episodes. Jeff Bridges is simply phenomenal as an ex-operative now on the run when his past has caught up to him. That opening quote I wrote defines this show. Everyone keeps underestimating him due to his age. From the operatives they send after him, to their handlers as well. Only our dear John Lithgow as the Assistant Director of the FBI knows the extent of his skills.

That first episode had me clapping near the end at how our hero overcomes the odds. Nothing like having a good pair of loyal dogs to protect you.


“Do you recognize me now?”


A good adaption utilizes the source material well, and faithfully adapts it, only making changes that benefit or improve upon the material. If your changes impact the story negatively, or bog it down, then you have failed at adapting; you have shown that you are an idiot. Lauren S. Hissrich knows this well with her Witcher bastardization, and now the writers of this show can join her in being an idiot. Talk about jumping the shark. Yea, let’s move away from the book entirely and try and tell our worse story instead of the good one you have right before you.


“The world is full of monsters. Sooner or later, we all take our turn.” Episode 4. What a load of malarkey.

“Rich folk don’t explain shit.” Well, ain’t that the truth! Episode 5.

And in episode 6, we learn who the titular Old Man really is.

The finale gives one last twist that makes me go “blurgh”. Cheese factor ten thousand. Once again, if you are going to change a source material, make sure that your material improves upon the base story and doesn’t tell a worse off story than is given. The plot benefitted greatly from changing the thing that Dan Chase stole from the Afghan warlord to be the dude’s wife instead of 20 million dollars. That gives more of an emotional impact, and a way of connecting to a character than caring about money. There’s a person at stake here. That works. Taking the dogs away, extending the character of Zoe, changing Julian into an assassin instead of a character foil to Dan, and that last twist during the ending, congrats writers! You are idiots.


The first three episodes were a mastercraft in direction, cinematography, musical score, action choreography, and first class acting all around from everyone, especially Jeff Bridges. It is painfully clear that critics only reviewed the first three episodes before singing their praises of it. And that’s fair. Those three are worthy of praise. The following four episodes should be called out as they are. An embarrassment, and these writers should be ashamed of themselves, but they won’t, they got their fat paychecks.

When I started watching, I was so ready to recommend this show to everyone. But now, I can’t in good conscience do so. I can say the first three episodes are all you need to watch because after that, pardon my language, it gets fucking derivative. Turns into a bunch of psycho babble bullshit, and going back and forth through tired old trends. The ending pulls a move similar to the Outer Range, in that nothing is solved or even approaches an ending. Sure, you learned something new about the character, about something he did, but there is no resolution. You are left there holding yourself in your hand, waiting for the next season to be jerked off.

If it wasn’t for the grace and skill of Jeff Bridges, and the equal powerhouse of John Lithgow, this would be another nameless spy thriller in the long line of them. But because I love Jeff Bridges’ acting, I stuck with it. I loved watching him chew up the scenery. And of the actor that portrayed his younger self, Bill Heck. He was excellent, and his lines spoken in the Dari language made him seem like he was born in the region. Or so I read online. Pej Vahdat can also claim this honor. He was simply superb. The dedication to his craft is shown. I felt like he knew what he was saying, and not just speaking it phonetically.

Overall, this season should be taught as a lesson to not mess with a good story thinking you can tell it better. First three episodes are pure perfection, and then the writers became too full of themselves and thought they knew better than the author of the book they were adapting. Most authors won’t say anything negative about their adaptations, and I assume the same with this one. If only we had more Rick Riordan like authors to stand up for their works. Perhaps then this show could have been perfect until the end. Alas, after an exquisite entrance, it stumbled out the door and fell flat on its face.

Movies

The Gray Man

I’ve been looking forwards to this one for some time, since the movie’s promotional team shared pictures on Reddit. Ryan Gosling as our titular character, a man that’s 007, Jason Bourne, and John Wick all rolled into one. The unstoppable action hero. I love these kinds of movies because you hold no fear for the main character, and you just wanna see the level of carnage that they’re capable of in their quest. And the action sequences do not disappoint.

Ana De Armas was equally capable and badass in her role, as CIA agent Miranda, helping our lead to achieve his goals. In fact, the star studded cast helped elevate this movie especially when it came to our villain. Played excellently as a sociopath, Chris Evans, in a stark contrast to the goody two shoes we know him from in Marvel, was a delight. I enjoyed seeing him playing a bad guy. Hope he tries it out more. The weakest link for me was the agency chief, played by Rege-Jean Page. At no point did he come across as menacing, or coldly intelligent, or anything remotely to a serious villain. He felt like a joke amongst all the rest of them, a complete miscast. I kept waiting for the zinger which never arrived.

Oh, a special shoutout to the character of Lone Wolf played by Dhanush. It’s always fun to see a character that has honor, and scruples. I could see them making a movie outta his character.

The plot itself lends itself a few twists and turns to keep things interesting, and inventive action sequences – at times. Like the tram sequence, I particularly enjoyed when our lead used the reflections of the building to aim his shot. Plenty of scenes can be seen in a humorous light, especially with the quips coming from both hero and villain. The music wasn’t anything special, except for the usage of the song ‘Silver Bird’ in two action sequences. That was nice.

My only major gripe is showing the one torture scene with a bit of explicit detail. That had no reason to be there other than to showcase gore. You can heavily imply what is being done without actually showing the damage through the creative use of angles. Honestly, I just closed my eyes while exclaiming “ah fuck off, Russo bros”. That scene was purely for shock value. Added nothing that you didn’t learn immediately in the next scene. “Oh, why are the bad guys showing up here? Ah, yes, clearly the torture worked. So why the fuck did I have to be witness to that?” Oh and, Joe Russo once again putting himself into his movies, as a small role, don’t think I didn’t notice ya buddy.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie except for that one gripe. I loved the charisma that Ryan Gosling always brings to the table. The fierceness of Ana De Armas. The quips of Chris Evans. It is an enjoyable Friday night movie for me. Netflix has finally put out an action movie that has a pulse. I didn’t think it possible, yet here we are.