Category Archives: Movies

Snowden “Film Review/Analysis”

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This of course begins as a story about a normal man, with exuberant and one could argue exacerbated fantasy’s. Of what he see’s as the world he wants to believe in, yet as it follows as our man begins to slowly drip away like a damp rag. Which is funny because, you don’t really expect it from him of all people. Yet as much of a prodigy as Snowden clearly is, he is so much more than that under the surface. He simply wants to do the right thing, no matter the cost. Which is what we all want right? I already was fully aware of how great Joseph Gordon Levitt is, but this shows just how impenetrable he is as an actor. He is charming, and yet distant which is what you’d think a guy like Snowden would be.

The thing that makes this so good, is he’s just as vulnerable as you or I would be. It didn’t necessarily glorify him, as this sort of God like figure. Why in the world would you need to do that? But what it did do for his case, is simply put it in your face clear as day. This was a man on a mission, and he was willing to lose it all to make a difference in the world today. In the world of mass surveillance, he didn’t have to do this!! In fact, he could have just kept his trap shut like so many I am sure demanded of him. But he didn’t, and if you can’t grasp why that’s so heroic in itself. I feel genuinely sorry for you, and realize that most probably would never want to be in his position. Snowden did what others refused to do, because he knew it needed to be done.

I would recommend you see this, if for no other reason than to try and understand what he was trying to accomplish. I get it, I have since it happened. It requires critical thinking to comprehend it, in which I’m sorry to say some don’t really possess in our world. I can’t say whether or not it had an impact, but what I can say is Snowden did what he thought was right. Did it put us at risk? As opposed to any other time in history in comparison? No, I really don’t think so not in retrospect. As he said many times, we have to hold our officials accountable. They either work for you, or they don’t. Some of us have lost sight of that, because we’d rather stay safe and secure. That’s not what this country was founded on, is he a traitor? In my opinion, no not in the least bit. But then again, I’m not the deciding factor. It was a great movie, and showed you how difficult the journey was to get where he is today. 8/10 One of the best films of the year, bar none!!!

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

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DC/WB Commentary

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Just some thoughts, its been awhile guys…..

What is part of Clark’s morose behavior, when it pertains to how he tends to act as a hero. Is simply due to his adolescence in gaining an awareness to his newly formed abilities. What if Superman is emotionally detached on purpose? What if these barriers were set in that regard, to keep him from his full potential because he wouldn’t be able to grasp the responsibility? Like for instance, he lashes out at Zod in sort of a childish like manner. Not really knowing his own strength at the time, still very unconscious to these powers. What if that was the intent, what if Jor El was like in previous incarnations fearful of what he’d do if he knew them all at once.

You know, as Jonathan said to him. You’ll be ready when the time is right, and maybe Clark’s death was a reminder that he will rise reborn. A new man, with death comes new life as it were. The Superman you knew before, no longer exists. What if this was Snyder’s plan all along? It most certainly wouldn’t surprise me, Clark doesn’t become fully aware of who and what he can do, until he is prepared to deal with those repercussions. He didn’t understand what they were, or why they were happening to him.

But now he will, and the barriers may in fact be lifted fully. I believe this was the intent all along, I believe he hasn’t even begun being what we all desire. And that’s the cool thing about guys, it took us 4 years to get here. It was an entire arc, that led us to this point in time. This transition was growing pains of a child into adulthood. He didn’t make that decision until the very last bit of Dawn Of Justice, he took all the burdens of the world and put it on his shoulders. And in that moment, he became what he was supposed to be. He wasn’t confident, its like you could actually see it play out that way. I mean think about it, you had a grizzled veteran in Batman. A war torn broken man, who was completely void of any sort of apathy.

And when these two meet, its like Clark is threatened by him, when we know for a fact that if he wanted to. With one punch to the chest, he could kill Batman in an instant. Some would say well “Chris, you know he was just holding back”. Ok, and yes while that might be true to a certain point. Why would he hold back, if he didn’t know what he could do in the first place? He killed Zod out of necessity, did he know he could? No, in fact he was physically outmatched in every single way.

He even looked at his hands in that particular scene, as if to say “Did I just do that”? Not that he wasn’t mourning a loss, he most certainly was. But he was shocked, that he held so much power in his hands. And maybe it was too dangerous, maybe he felt after that afraid to pursue any sort of Justice. Because he had done so many things, in such a short amount of time that were so extreme for even him. And Batman in the picture now? He recognized that these two pillars were not sustainable, going down the path they were both headed towards. Clark simply took a forceful step down, because Batman’s rage was far too much to handle. He needed to be the voice of reason, because if he channeled an equal amount of rage. Where would we be? I’ll tell you, we’d be without a Batman and Superman in this Universe!!!

Man Of Steel was the pain of loss, as well as being able to say “I can co exist with these people”. and finding some sort of limitation to the potentially dangerous abilities he had. Dawn Of Justice were those lessons from both of his Fathers revisited, Johnathan being the protector, and advisor of when it was time to reveal himself to the world so to speak. And Jor El being the more hands on, and pushing him into a more secure way of handling his abilities. It was an inner fight, he wasn’t just fighting with Batman!!! He was fighting with himself the entire time!!! Justice League, that will be about Clark embracing both of his Father’s lessons. He will finally merge into the Hero we know him to be, mark my words on this!!! =)

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Film Review “Now You See Me 2”

now-you-see-me-2-trailerAs most who have spoken to me about this film know, I really felt the original was a breath of fresh air. And brought some much needed intrigue, and extraordinary life into this type of a project. The cast was interesting, a lot of them didn’t seem like they were going to mesh very well. I didn’t realize how funny, and how much I would enjoy it back in 2013. And is that what film is all about normally? You are supposed to just get lost in a world. =)

That brings us to the 2016 sequel, this is one of those things I hoped they would build on. What happens in the original leaves you kind of wanting more, especially when it comes to the impending competition between magicians. The things they can do, really brings that speciality, and intrigue of what a they are capable of showing you and then well not. This is why magic has had the history it does, because people loved to be tricked. They have this desire for the truth to be shielded from them.

And these films? Does this in such a creative way, once you figure out what it all means though. It kind of leaves you with a suckin in feeling of disapointement, like there was all of this delusion and tricks and all of this stuff we got to not see. And then finally, when we figure it all out its like “Was that it”? I guess I was expecting something really shocking, and it turns out that you don’t get that at all. What is noteworthy of these two movies?

Well, the amazing visuals for one thing!! The card tricks, they bounce off there specific strengths so well!! I think the funniest parts are when people get hypnotized. There is also this one scene in the beginning, where the new character played by Lizzy Caplin. Who cuts her own head off, using a distraction and she ends up on the other side of the room with her body in tact. IT WAS GENIUS!!!! =) I found myself the most interested, in the journey of Danny Atlas. Played by the always strange Jesse Eisenberg, where exactly were they taking us with him?

The most boring aspect of this whole thing, was the most fun in the last one. Was the mystery surrounding Dylan Rhodes, the guy that was a Cop that sort of stayed a Cop as a cover? And then all of a sudden he wasn’t a Cop anymore, because people just suddenly found out who he really was. I was hoping that wouldn’t happened so quickly, keep that going a little while longer maybe? Ruffalo never disappoints me though, that is one thing that stays consistent.

Daniel Radcliffe plays the smoke an mirrors this time villain, and he does it quite impressively I might add. At first you think he’s a fellow magician, and then it turns out he owns the majority of a company and potentially half of a country. So he’s really involved, and there’s a lot of mysticism going on with him in this as well. There’s a running theme in the new one, that makes it very clear that Science is superior to magic. Which turns out every time to be exactly true!!

Does this movie ever get slow? No, and maybe that’s its really big problem. It seems to be very good at distraction, and making you think one thing and doing another!! What hurts it so many times though, is that you get zero time to care about anyone!! And that is one thing the first one did manage to do. And that’s what sequels are for in the first place, to find out what you thought was true. And to analyze the main players in the world. It had elements of the first, which was what made it great!! But there was just this underlying annoyance, that I found myself continuing to address.

5.5/10

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

The Batman “Spirit Of Vengeance”

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I call this

The Batman “Spirit Of Vengeance”

This is my own personal thoughts on the Batman franchise, and where I think they should begin with it moving forward. You see certain characters above, that will play their individual part in how that story progresses. Be forewarned, I didn’t do any research prior to this. I only approached this from a unbridled and unique perspective, this is what I would like to see from Affleck’s approach.

Theme #1 Introduction

Batman is spotted shortly after the events of DOJ, speaking to Alfred about funding the funeral and costs of Clark’s death. There was also a leak online planted by Alexander Luthor inside Arkham.”I call him that now”. A virus to expose a list of more meta humans, Bruce is doing his very best to trace these links to a location and shut it down. These names come up with the following “Ronnie Raymond” “John Jones”

Outing these people, could very well cause what they’ve worked so hard to build, since Batman’s crack in the mirror ways. Would bring it all down, and there would be no way to accept this new world if that were the case. It has been left up to the rest of the Justice League, who has since been formed. To protect, no only the citizens of Earth and beyond, but the beings who don’t wish to be known.

Alfred mentions to Bruce some notes his Mother had written to him, shortly before they had been killed. He hadn’t been in his Parents bed chamber since he was in his late 20s. She had told him, that she saw a true spirit of honor and pride in him, and that she was truly proud of the young man that he had turned out to be. We get to see a flashback of a conversation they have together, “I hope this movie show’s us more of their relationship”.

And we get to see more things leading up to the death, to make it that much more impactful. Bruce noticed a spatter of blood on a blanket, in which he takes to Alfred and questions him about it. Analyzing is certainly needed, this blanket connects Thomas to some more sketchy activity. I personally would love to see a reason why the Waynes were murdered. They get caught up in things they don’t understand, and Gotham is at its beginnings of its decadence.

What I do like about this concept, is the Bat that haunts him. Is an actual spirit, its constantly in his ear, reminding him of his past and the things he has done. And well not done of course, this has a very Christmas Carol type of vibe to it. All down to the shots on camera, of the Wintery wonderland type of Gotham City.

Its all very hauntingly beautiful, Gotham almost in these scenes becomes a character in itself. We cut to him traveling through the city, Alfred is talking with him, as he does his Entrepreneurial duties. Asking him what he found in his Parents bedroom.

Bruce is very quiet about these things as usual, now knowing that there just something isn’t right going on. And maybe he doesn’t even know his own Family tree’s history. Bruce goes in his minds eye to a mountain top, in an area within Alaska. He see’s his Mother and Father there, they are on a discovery trip of sorts. Beginning to notice something was different about this, he snaps back to reality.

As we find him at a fundraiser, bored talking to politicians inside of the State Department. They are of course doing their very best to gather his support for the election year coming up. He had been down this road before, and it wasn’t something he found all together pleasurable. Basically, the intro is going to be introducing how Bruce begins to put pieces together about his own history. And how he begins to question what he even represents as a man. The only thing he truly feels secure in is his identity as the Batman.

Everything else? Is one giant blur, and its all starting to surface slowly. In a very agonizing way, his parents become something of a mystery to him. They are involved in things he never thought would be possible for a Wayne, but these were necessary to keep funding for specific projects. Projects that would lead to discoveries for mankind, that would be connected to the Luthors. As well as Families inside the Government, people who know too much become liabilities. And what manifests from this, could alter the very spectrum of what Batman and the rest of his team knows.

To Be Continued

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

More Thoughts On Suicide Squad

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Well, more of an elaboration of previous thoughts….

I have been to see Suicide Squad 3 times now, I love every aspect of this movie. But two things I cannot get over, Jared Leto’s voice as the Joker changes so often in the few scenes he’s involved in. I compare it to originally someone who has a mouth guard on, they just can’t talk with a fluidity that makes it any less bothersome. He chatters his teeth, what’s left of them anyway. You can hear him breathing through his mouth, he does this growling thing. And then he stares off into space, as if he’s Jack Sparrow or something. I can live with the tattoo’s, as a matter of fact after seeing it enough that doesn’t get to me like it did before.

Are you supposed to like the Joker? No, I am completely aware of this. I have read many books where I hated him, but there’s always something I come away with fascinated by. Or drawn into a choice he makes in the books, or something he says that’s memorable. I haven’t gotten that with this version, the more I see him the more he makes me cringe. I think one of the best choices he made, was the clothing designs. A really beautiful tribute to Mr J in that regard, but that’s all I can personally appreciate. I’m willing to see where they take him, I think it’ll be interesting. I talked with a friend today after seeing it again, and he agreed Joker served no purpose in this movie at all.

In fact he could have had no scenes, and I doubt he would have been missed out on much. Jared Leto is an exceptional talent, this is not a shot against him personally. I want to make that perfectly clear for anyone who may get the wrong idea. I just don’t get this Joker, he’s so far beyond anything I can wrap my head around. I can appreciate his compulsion to collect, I think that is sort of a piece of humanity that he does possess. I think how I would have done it, was Joker shows up. Takes Harley out of the picture entirely, and some of the Squad members have to separate and save her life. If you aren’t going to make Joker a plot point, don’t put him in the film at all.

That’s just what I would have done if I were writing it, it annoyed me to no end watching him chase Harley, its all he was apart of the film for. NOTHING ELSE!!!! It was kind of insulting to my intelligence to be honest.
Another thing I couldn’t let pass, the more I watched was this constant need for things to be given an explanation. Like for instance, how Katana’s Soultaker worked. God that really got to me!!! Do you really have to give that long drawn out of a case of why the audience should care? Other than that, I was pretty impressed with the structure of the film itself.

Those were just the two main points I had to go into, my rating didn’t really change based on that but it was certainly something I needed to say. I really thought doing this was gutsy, I think you were going to hit some bumps in the road with this one no matter what you did with it. Ayer was impressive, and I can’t see how anyone could hate this film overall. Will I grow to appreciate this Joker? Only time will tell…. 7/10

My next bit of stuff on this matter, will pertain to what I think they should do with these characters in the future. =)

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Movie Review “Victor Frankenstein”

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I decided to watch Victor Frankenstein last night, I feel like it was pretty good for what it was. I didn’t get the sense that it really knew what it wanted to be, I almost felt like at times it was very ashamed of its own material. Sort of how Pan was earlier in the year from this one, in which they both strangely enough came out the same year. One of the things I did really enjoy, was the dichotomy between Ratcliffs Igor. Which in itself, to name him that was also very odd, because he didn’t come across as the character I was familiar with. But it was a new vision, so I can’t beat it over the head too much for that decision.

As I was previously getting at, I was truly fond of the chemistry between Radcliffe and Mcavoy. In which I sensed was one of the sole reasons I came out on the other end appreciating this project. They seemed to really jump off of one another well, as balanced each other with madness as well as indulgence. When you had Igor, who was extremely timid and all very complacent. Of where his place was in the world, and how he felt about himself as a new found man. Where this started to really fall off for me, was how shitty the CG worked, they really didn’t seem to care about that. I think it could have behoved them very much so, to potentially do some practical effects for these monsters.

I thought the creations were not as lively, as they could or even should have been. I almost felt as if they were trying to paint Victor as the monster, and maybe that was the point of it all? He’s was very much antagonistic in that way, and just overall pretty insufferable to be around truthfully. Mcavoy is just a likable guy, so it was a good choice to have that in their back pocket. I did think they wanted this to be different, and there were many times where I did enjoy that aspect. One of my favorite additions to this, was Andrew Scott as the Inspector. I wanted to find out more about his character every time I saw him, far more fleshed out than anyone else in the writers room that’s for sure. I really wanted him to win, I felt like he was the hero of the story.

And I get a sneaking suspicion that’s not what they were going for, and that was another disappointing thing. I didn’t quite get the friendship, because well it felt forced from the start. It almost felt too convenient for these two to meet in the beginning, especially where they ended up with one another ultimately. And some of the backstory of Victor, wasn’t very well explained either which bothered me to an extent. Great moments, but not enough for me to really recommend this for a hardcore cinephile. But if you really enjoy a good popcorn flick, which is all this really was at the end of the day. Then you might find yourself on a rainy night getting this for a rental. 5/10 Very poor in a lot ways, but it certainly had its hits.

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Justice League Concept (My Thoughts)

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I call this

“Kansas Son, Come Home”

This is just an some what original idea, that I myself have been kinda cooking up in my head since Dawn Of Justice. Please take this into consideration, I know nothing of the plot and this really has no attachment to any Comic Book story in particular.

Alright, now we can begin 😉

We open up, to the grave site where we originally left things in at the conclusion of Dawn Of Justice, as most of you know Superman was violently thwarted by Doomsday. Pierced in the very same spot, that Zod killed his Kryptonian Father Jor El. We pan into the grave, things begin to shake vigorously. We see a news broadcast break, as Kansas of all places townsfolk have been experiencing tremors. These have been going on for weeks, small nothing really of note until a larger one hits. It shakes the entire town ripping a hole right down the center on the Kent Farm.

We really don’t see anything, other than an empty gravesite. So there’s evidently something happening. Something that this town hasn’t experienced since the Invasion of Metropolis. They continue to mourn the loss of their fallen Savior, nothing truly has been the same since his demise took place only a year and a half ago. They still feel the guilt of turning on him, but have this ever present optimism he would return one day. This is going to start sounding religious in most parts, because well I figure that’s the point. =) Everyone is aware of the undertones, as well as comparisons to Christ. And this is even more evident with Superman’s resurrection.

We start to see people talking to reporters randomly, of a figure in the sky which is watching over them. Except this time, he isn’t dawning the regular colors prior. He wears his same crest, but the suit is now Grey And Black. And he is unrecognizable with the beard and longer hair. Citizens of Metropolis begin to sense something is different, we pan out to a widened city skyline in the evening. As Clark is hovering over a tall high rise, his eyes closed tightly almost as if he is feeling distressed. He flies towards the Daily Planet, as a now lead Reporter Lois Lane works late into the night. Clark wishes to stay hidden, so he merely watches her at a safe distance. Reminiscing of their last conversation, as well as exchange before he charged in to save the day one last time.

He knows if he shows himself to early, that it could mean trouble for her. So keeping to his guidance by his Father, he would keep watch over her but not too close. He felt as if what he had done was the right thing, but he was still feeling very unsure if she’d embrace him knowing that he was now alive and well. His Kryptonian side, as well as his human side had struggled for so many years. It wouldn’t be valiant for him to make his presence felt, but there was one man he needed to visit. The man that had promised him that he would continue the fight, long after he had gone. He had heard these cries for help, and he would answer now.

He would become the hero that Metropolis and the World desired, Bruce Wayne had helped his Mother in so many ways after his passing.
We cut to Gotham City, Batman and Flash are taking care of some of the Rogues Gallery of the Flash. As well as a collection of villains who had long been a thorn in the side of the Waynes. Superman simply observes, as these two fight along side one another. Was it time to burst into action? No, Clark was trying to be less intrusive in these times.

He understood that whomever Bruce had recruited, that he could trust without a single doubt. This was part of being a Hero, he was supposed to trust those he didn’t know all that well. That was the point of growth, being what no one thought you could be in very crucial moments. We pan out later to Bruce at his Mansion, newly renovated Wayne Manor. Which was said to be long forgotten, but the point of starting a new was to rebuild old relics.

Clark landed on a balcony as Bruce sat there having a glass of whiskey. He couldn’t help but smile, he asks him if he can have a drink. Not really masking his voice, but simply staying in the darkness waiting for a response. Bruce knew this voice, he thought back to their confrontation. And how so quickly a foe became an ally, and how Clark brought Bruce out of the brink of self destruction. They sat and talked, Clark tells Bruce it isn’t time for him to be revealed yet.

Bruce knows this, and acknowledges that they both would decide on a right moment together. That what ever was coming, had already closed in on what it was after. Clark said he would be resting, so that his cells could regenerate more effectively. But that he would be there at a moments notice, and that he would always be watching and doing whatever he could to help.

Contributor- Chris Ballenger