Category Archives: Unhelpful Guides

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2017 Oscars

I know, I know: We’re told we can’t trust the media and we should only trust the White House even as scientific facts are erased from all official documents.  We’re being told that some of the poorest but hardest working people of our Nation are evil and are trying to undermine American Life.  We’re being told that the left-wing is a bunch of violent terrorists who must be stopped to regain order in the universe.

It’s real easy to feel like we’re only being controlled by the whims of mad billionaires, but don’t worry there’s a silver lining: THE OSCARS!  With this singular event, everything will fix itself and Donald Trump will take off a mask and reveal that he’s Bernie Sanders!  He wanted a Best Costuming Oscar, and he won it!  WAY TO GO, BERNIE!

As always, so we can prepare for the new golden age as dictated by Hollywood Elite, I present to you a brief summary of the only three Oscar categories that matter: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing.  Like I said, the Oscars will make everything better.

La La Land (Nominated for all three! There’s to the ones that dream!)

Mia and Sebastian are two attractive people who love to dance!  Things turn out to be not all they seem, though, as late one night when Mia goes to Seastian’s club with her anonymous husband and comes to a terrifying realization: THIS IS NOT HER LIFE.  What follows is a musical journey through a war between two universes: The City of Stars and the Days of Sun- as well as a quick trip through a pocket universe of flying telescopes.  In the end, Mia and Sebastian have to decide which universe to save and which to let crumble into the sea of the cosmos.

Arrival (Nominated for all three! I guess this movies truly “Arrived”!)

When Alien Pod lands on Earth, everyone panics.  “Oh No, This is going to be like Alien Movies and the Aliens are going to attack us and eat our skin because they are Aliens and they are different and they are Scary!” Says the Military headed by the Human Scowl Jeremy Renner.  But then Earth’s savior comes in the form of Language Woman!  Language Woman- played with aplomb by Amy Adams- draws pictures and makes language with the aliens. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker frown at each other from across the Military Table “I don’t know, I think we should shoot guns at it” says Renner. “Well I think we should shoot bombs at it” says Whitaker.  “No! I have the answer!”, Amy Adams breaks through a wall waving her Language around, “We should shoot words at it!”.  Everyone claps, including the Aliens who have four hands to clap with.  Thank you Amy Adams for telling us what to shoot.  Don’t worry, the aliens still rip a giant space hole in the sky and there’s still a massive CGI battle against alien invaders.  I mean, otherwise this wouldn’t be a Science Fiction movie right?

Moonlight (Nominated for all three!  I guess they should have called this movie “The Professional Circuit”!)

Taking place over three different time periods, Moonlight follows Chiron, a black man growing up on the mean streets of Miami.  Chiron grows up being bullied because of his reserved nature and small stature and he only has one friend: Kevin.  Chiron’ Mother gives him little help as he navigates life- she is addicted to crack- and he gets what guidance he can from local drug dealer Juan.  Things take an unexpected turn, however, when it turns out that Kevin is a vampire!  Kevin turns Chiron into a vampire too, and the two of them become Private investigators.  This doesn’t sit well with Juan, who wanted Chiron to grow up and take over the Drug Business.  So Juan sends out his vampire thugs to hunt down Chiron and Kevin and turn them to dust, then collect this dust and put it into gel tablets which Juan can then sell as a party drug (SPOILER ALERT, the drug is called “Moonlight”). Flash forward ten years, Kevin and Chiron have moved to the streets of Los Angeles where the two of them have a run down detective agency called “City Angels”.  Unfortunately things take another bad turn when the Agency’s owner, Maudie Hayes (played by a young Cybill Shepherd) wants to sell the agency.  Instead she joins the Vampire Detectives on the streets and soon Chiron starts to develop romantic feelings for her.  That’s when Juan catches up to the two with a terrifying secret: He’s also a vampire now! A deadly game of cat and mouse follows, and by the end only two people will walk out of that detective agency alive (And the detective agency was renamed “Blue Moon”.  Also, Juan’s still selling Moonlight and Maddie’s younger sister is addicted to it and may be becoming a vampire herself because of it).

Hacksaw Ridge (Nominated for all three! That may just be a ridge too far!)

Desmond T. Doss is a World War II Army Medic in the battle of Okinawa.  He becomes the first person to win the Medal of Honor without firing a single shot, as he thinks that enough people are trying to destroy the world and he wanted to put it back together.  Along the way he bonds with his army corporals and sergeants and teaches them important lessons on nonviolence.  He also finds an attractive army nurse who he falls in love with and marries. The movie is narrated by an older Desmond Doss, and ends with the Elder Doss saying “In the end, I suppose I learnt everything I needed to on Hacksaw Ridge. And I can still see that sunset in my dreams”.

Hell or High Water (Nominated for Best Editing and Best Picture.  They almost made it to all three, but then came Hell or High- well you get it)

Cowboys!  In 1888 the chilly Colorado River was rising, threatening to drown the low-down cattle town of Diablo.  A shady developer rolls into town and tells the folks “Ya know, yer town ain’t gonna see the light fer much longer.  I could build a levee round here, but it’ll cost ya'”.  The Developer- Chris Pine in a career-defining performance as Toby Howard- makes more and more insidious demands on the townsfolk and bleeds them of all their money.  That’s when Diablo decides to take justice into their own hands, and hire a Cowboy! Morally-questionable antihero Cowboy Tanner Howard is hired to ride into town and have a shootout with Toby Howard who (surprise!) is his brother. “Pow! Pow! Pow!” Go the guns.  “Die! Die! Die!” Go the Cowfolk. “Neigh! Neigh! Neigh!” Go the horses.  In the end, someone will die… come Hell or High Water.

Manchester by the Sea (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.  It should have been Manchester by the Supreme Disappointment)

In the sleepy Massachusetts hamlet Manchester-by-the-sea is a lighthouse that the locals have blocked off.  Then, one day a child walks into town and up to the lighthouse.  The child, Young Patrick, knocks on the door and the haggard, forgotten Affleck brother Casey opens the door.  “Hello this isn’t Boston”, says Casey. “I know and I’m also your son” says Young Patrick.  Casey does a spit take, and then walks around in circles saying “Oh my I can’t be a father I’m not the Affleck playing Batman!”.  In the end, Young Patrick learns about Lighthouses and Casey learns that you don’t have to be Oscar-winning writer and director to be an Oscar-winning father (although Ben Affleck is up for the “Best Father” Oscar this year while Casey was snubbed. Poor poor Casey).

Hidden Figures (Only Best Picture?  It’s like this movie wasn’t even trying!)

Taking place from 1991 to 1993 and following an group of publishers, computer scientists, and magicians as they work to create Miru Miru Mega Yokunaru Magic Eye – the very first Magic Eye book to receive widespread popularity.  From there we continue to follow this ragtag team of misfits to their next big milestone in 1993: The release of Magic Eye: A New Way of Looking at the World, the very first Magic Eye book to be published in North America.  Drama happens, some of the computer scientists blame the magicians for forgetting what Magic Eye was really about, and the whole Magic Eye team looks like it will fall apart giving the world no more books of random points that people can lie about seeing a unicorn in.  Then, as if by magic, all conflicts are resolved and the team realizes that the only real magic is the magic of friendship.

Fences (Only Nominated for Best Picture. The other two categories already had plenty of fences)

Based off of the award-winning play by August Wilson, Fences is a tale about race, class, and the barriers between the two.  Since it was first performed at the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center it has, unfortunately, remained chillingly relevant and has caused some controversy because of it.  Most notably (and this is a fault also shared by the film, making it’s nomination for Best Picture surprising) there is only one fence in the entire piece.  It isn’t even there for most of the piece.  Also, adding to this upheaval of title conventions, the characters are not professional fencers (both in terms of people who install fences, but also in terms of not being professional sword fighters).  Had this been changed for the film adaptation, and Fences be about a group of sword fighters traveling around Pittsburgh and building as many fences as they can, Denzel Washington may have also been nominated for Best Director making the 89th Academy Awards Ceremony the first ever to have two black men nominated for Best Director.

Lion (Only Best Picture.  I’d be “Lion”  if I said this was an accomplishment)

One of the big questions surrounding Cartoon Network’s hit animated series Steven Universe is who and what exactly Lion is.  Is Lion pink diamond? Rose Quartz? Was that indeed an early form of Lion that we saw in the episode “Buddy’s Book”?  All of these questions and more are answered in the feature-length film Lion.  Taking place during the time that Steven and the Crystal gems are saving Greg from Blue Diamond and the Human Zoo and Connie and the Crystal Temps are running/ruining the car wash, the film follows the exploits of Lion who uses this time to reflect on his long and storied life.  For the sake of keeping this spoiler free I won’t go on, but let’s just say: Pink Diamond willingly shattered herself as Yellow Diamond had found out that Pink had been funding the Crystal Gem rebellion; Pink trusted Rose to use her healing powers to bring her back once the Diamond Authority thought she was dead, but Rose’s powers could only go so far.  In the end, Rose was able to transfer some of Pink Diamond’s essence into Lion, though to say that Lion is Pink diamond is like saying Steven is Rose Quartz. It may take a few months for the events of this feature length film to be proved canonical, but this is as true as the Uncle Grandpa crossover episode.

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2016 Blockbusters

For the past few months cinema has been a wasteland.  Zootopia? More like BOOtopia.  Hail Caesar!? More like, FAIL Caesar! Captain America: Civil War? More like Captain AmeriCAN’T: Civil BORE.  Everyone knows that movies that aren’t Oscar winners and aren’t blockbusters are just not trying that hard at being movies.  But thankfully, we can all let out a collective sigh: The sun has risen, the ice has melted, and Summer Blockbuster season is here!  We all have reasons to live again! We can all spend $14 and a bag of popcorn to see these movies!  But just in case you don’t want to pay that price, you can still join in talking about Blockbusters with your coworkers and avoid the humiliation of being “The One Who Doesn’t Watch Movies”. That’s right, as always, I have the most important of our summer Blockbusters this year summarized below.  You’re welcome, America. Captain America.  Civil War: Solved.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3)

The Heroes in a half-shell are back, and this time their up against the greatest evil of all: Tyler Perry’s Madea.  Having not learned “her” lesson in Madea’s Neighbor’s From Hell (when Madea used the dark arts to to get back at a foster mother and her unruly kids), Madea is again playing God resulting in the creations of the hideous monsters Bebop and Rocksteady.  How will our rad Quartet eat their way out of this pizza?  With the help of The Green Arrow!  While our Turtle heroes are fighting the boar-headed Bebop, an arrow flies out and strikes him down, revealing a hooded figure: “Hi, I’m Oliver Queen.  After spending five years in Hell I’ve returned with a mission to save my city. But my old approach wasn’t enough, I’ve had to become someone else, I’ve had to become something else. I’ve had to become: CASEY JONES”- by this time Bebop has waddled away to his monster truck and lived to terrorize another day- “Because archery is a sport, you see”. “Oh yes, this makes sense. Squeak-squeak”, replies Tony Shaloub’s Splinter, who was there the whole time.  Fred Armisen also stops by to voice alien-brain Kraang because Nickelodeon is only going to get this one last movie before TMNT movie before it looses its nostalgia appeal, so they might as well throw everything into this one.  Also expect a surprise cameo from the TMNT’s greatest foe: Pizza Face.

Warcraft (June 10)

This extended video game cutscene tells the story of how a bunch of orcs crossed through a dimensional portal into the human world in order to escape an evil orc-wizard.  Only they then come up against a new evil: racism.  The humans are repulsed by the orcs appearance and refuse to learn their orcish culture, and instead insist that these dimensional outsiders are pure evil and should be killed, their tusks cut off and made into tourist trinkets.  What follows is a human-orc war that all eventually crosses into Elf territory.  When the Elven fields of Elfwhistle (a flower known for its glittery petals and glow-in-the-dark color), the Elves become furious and join the battle, shooting arrows at everything: Including a nearby town where Dwarfs and Goblins exist in an uneasy alliance.  Pretty soon, everything all gets shot to hell and promo for the next World of Warcraft game (Opossum Person Rising) ends the movie with a giant question mark.  It’s up to you to finish the story now!  SPOILER ALERT: You end the story by shouting “Leroy Jenkins!” and rushing into a spider pit.

Now You See Me 2 (June 10)

Also known as “Magician Heist 2: Heist Harder”, we catch up with Morgan Freeman who is now in prison for being black and the “Four Horsemen” who rob banks… WITH MAGIC!  The Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Mark Ruffalo) break into a computer laboratory with cards, flash paper, and MAGIC(!) in order to expose a deranged tech millionaire and probable magician Daniel Radcliffe.  However something goes wrong and Michael Caine traps everyone in China.  Now the Four Horsemen and their non-white-male magician friend Lizzy Caplan have to magic their way out of the most heavily guarded fortress (China) and hopefully come up with a way to saw open a banking scandal that’s stealing millions of dollars away from the public (because that’s what banks do. Look it up).

Finding Dory (June 17)

The lovable blue tang Dory is back in this sequel to Disney-Pixar’s hit film Finding Nemo.  This time around Dory remembers she has parents (because as we the audience remember, Dory has short-term memory loss, and if we don’t remember that maybe YOU have short-term memory loss! [If you do, consult a doctor, it’s a serious problem]), and she sets out to the Jewel of the Morro Bay in California with her friends Marlin, Nemo, Crush, and Squirt.  Once Dory gets to Morro Bay she finds herself at the Marine Life Institute, where she meets up with a Seven-legged Octopus named Hank and plenty of other whacky fish!  They all swim around and have a grand old time, until it’s revealed that Dory’s Parents were killed and eaten at a seafood restaurant.  Dory is very sad, but then she can’t remember why she’s sad.  At that point, Marlin and Nemo had wandered away, and Dory finds herself all alone with no memory of where she is or what she is doing.  Floating in the open ocean, too forgetful to be confused, she is eventually hit by a boat and eaten by an eel.  Elsewhere in the ocean, Marlin has lost Nemo again and he questions himself on whether he is actually a good father or not, and decides that it’s best for Nemo to be alone.  Nemo then meets Hank, the two bond over their respective issues with limbs, and Hank takes Nemo in as his son and the two become best friends.  The moral: Out of tragedy comes hope. Or maybe: All of your family will one day die and you’re powerless to stop it.  There will also be a funny Loon named Becky.

Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)

Don’t close your eyes, because you’re not going to want to miss a thing: Jeff Goldblum is back and ready to kick people off his plane when the Aliens come bursting out of the chest of the universe again.  “Hold on to your butts”, says scientist Brett Spiner who most certainly didn’t die in the first movie (or maybe he did and robots happened so now he’s alive?), “This is going to be a bumpy ride”.  President Bill “Clinton” Pullman also shows up, now in jail for being the jerk president who let aliens blow up the jerk white house, only this time he’s not going to take the invasion sitting down : “It’s time to suit up and rock and roll!” President Pullman says, activating his energy ring which calls forth the UN general council who all come together in their own robotic vehicles to form UNITRON: EARTH DEFENDER!  Meanwhile Jeff Goldblum stutters his way into our hearts again, and Liam Hemsworth shows up to be handsome.  “Be in a spaceship movie they said”, Hemsworth mutters to himself in a corner, “It’ll be fun they said. Well Ho Ho Ho, I’ve got a laser gun”.  Also, for those of you concerned with “Independence Day” not premiering on July 4th, this is actually meant to mirror the decisive Battle of Carabobo on June 24 1821 during the Venezuelan war for Independence (though actual Venezuelan Independence Day is July 5th).

Swiss Army Man (June 24)

A biography of Karl Elsener, Swiss knife-maker, inventor, and entrepreneur.  From a very young age Elsener (played with aplomb by Paul Dano) knew he was destined for greatness, and after years of working in the Knife Fields of Switzerland (including several years as an apprentice to Swiss Knife-Giant Zug) Karl was able to open his own knife factory.  The film truly takes off in the fateful year 1894 when, after a decade of making commercial surgical instruments and knives, Elsener fulfills his destiny and invents the biggest leap in knife manufacturing since the first bread knife (which, in turn, was instrumental in the invention of sliced bread): Elsener invents the Swiss Army Knife.  Elsener’s name goes down in history, and even the ghost of his father Manfried (played woodenly by Daniel Radcliffe)- the same man who swore that if Karl went into the dangerous field of knifework that he would never become a proper gentleman- has to smile and say softly to Karl “Congratulations, son, you’ve truly become a Swiss Army Man”. Fade to black.

The BFG (July 1)

A little girl is kidnapped by a Giant and taken to his weird farting house, but it’s all okay because he’s not just a giant, he’s a Big Friendly Giant.  It’s also okay because the girl’s parents are neglectful and mean and want to send her away to an evil boarding school where they’ll try to stop the girl’s telekinetic powers from manifesting.  Unfortunately the BFG has problems of his own (and it’s not just the uncanny valley that his CGI dwells in that makes him look like a nightmare coming out of a joint feature of David Lynch and David Cronenberg) in that the other giants want to both keep the BFG from being the girl’s foster father but also want to eat the little girl.  Directed by Steven Spielberg, expect plenty of people to be staring up into the sky in awe and for a warm message about the power of family at the end.  Oh, also there’s a cat.  Expect for the cat to cock its head and mew as a question.  Kids like that, it’s funny.

The Purge: Election Year (July 1)

Following the rise of the Trump campaign as they went from joke to GOP frontrunner (one could call this an improvement ; one almost certainly could), , The Purge offers unique insight into The Big D’s personal turmoil throughout this time.  With almost no time to tell people about the immense size of his hands, seldom a day to spend looking out the giant windows of his various towers contemplating the insects toiling below him, and having to make all of his bad business decisions on the road; The Purge: Election Year shows us the Man behind the El Trumpo mask and reveals a genuinely caring person, a person who feels very strongly about a lot of things like money, coming up with funny nicknames for people, coming up with new nicknames for himself (He’s work-shopping “Mr. T” right now, but is that too racist? Donald wonders if there’s such a thing. We in the audience yell at the screen “Yes, Donald, there is such a thing. There most certainly is such a thing”), money, towers, money, and sending letters to all of the former GOP candidates telling them that he’s won and he’s really handsome and they should be honored to have shared a stage with the Trumpinator.  He was also excited about calling himself “Dangerous Donald”, but Hillary Clinton found that e-mail he wrote to himself and started using it.  At any rate, when elected Donald will put into effect “Purge Law”, making all crime legal for one night a year.  That’s why it’s a The Purge movie.  Donald “The Big Handsome Shark” Trump is the purge.

The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)

Talented Filmmaker Jason Lees has already made this movie.  It’s embedded below. You don’t need to see this in theaters.  I understand you want to support Louie CK, but instead how about you buy seasons of his hit TV Show “Louie”, or his critically-acclaimed TV show “Horace and Pete”.  Talented Filmmaker Jason lees has also made many other movies, some of which even include his adorable pug.

Ghostbusters (July 15)

Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon star as a bunch of ladies out to destroy your childhood.  Even though New York is experiencing a ghost-pocalypse, our trio of so-called “Ghostbusters” set forth to tell children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and God is dead.  Then they go up to the statue of liberty- symbol of truth, justice, and the American dream- and they punch it in the face!  As if this weren’t enough, original Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Ernie Hudson show up just to be cursed out and defecated on by this new lady-trio.  Also, Leslie Jones shows up as a sassy black woman and Sigourney Weaver speaks directly to the camera when she says “I hated Alien“.  Australian hunk Chris Hemsworth also makes an appearance, only to be possessed by another racist ghost and destroy what little integrity was left.  By the end of the movie expect not only to be curled in your seat questioning the point of existing in a world that would allow such a monster to exist, but also expect the fall of the once-proud cinema giant that brought us a scene where the Statue of Liberty dances through the streets to the musical stylings of Howard Huntsberry..

Star Trek Beyond (July 22)

Also known as “Oh Yeah There’s Also A New Star Trek Movie This Year”, we catch up with the intrepid Captain Kirk and the fearless crew of the Enterprise on an alien planet outside of Federation control.  Captain Kirk goes against the Prime Directive (*GASP*) in order to help female alien Jaylah (*GASP!*) escape from a tyrannical ruler who has nearly destroyed the Enterprise (*GASP!!!*).  Spock questions Kirk over whether its wise to get involved with lifeforms who have no conception of outer space and are embroiled in nuclear-based territory disputes, Bones says some things about how he doesn’t like space travel, Scotty and his tree-dwarf friend share some banter in the teleportation room, and Sulu and Uhura say a few lines too! Also expect the Star Trek reboot to finally bring back a fan-favorite character as Adam DiMarco is set to play… The Injured Senator (*GASP GASP GASP!*).

Jason Bourne (July 29)

The Government sends out a drone to the Himalayas or somewhere with a message “Jason Bourne: We need you to punch things again please thankyou”. “Ugh. I hate the stupid government. They always want me to punch things. What about what I want?” says Jason Bourne into his pillow “No one understands me except for all these bands I listen to!” Jason Bourne then puts on Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and looks up at the ceiling. “It’s so unfair!” says Jason Bourne to no one in particular.  Julia Stiles as herself then breaks through the wall (As she is known to do) to give Jason Bourne a stern talking-to “You think you have it bad? Why, people mostly remember me from 10 Things I Hate About You or Ghostwriter.  GHOSTWRITER, Jason Bourne, you hear me?  I’ve done Shakespeare and I’ve won awards, but people just think of me as ‘That girl in the movie with a young Heath Ledger. Oh, it’s such a shame what happened to Heath Ledger, he was really going places, that Heath Ledger. Boo hoo hoo Heath Ledger’ What about ME, Jason Bourne? WHAT ABOUT ME?!”. “You were also in that season of Dexter, Julia Stiles, don’t forget about that. And Save the Last Dance.  And the largely Underrated It’s a Disaster” replies Jason Bourne. “That’s right, why I’ve had a long and storied career. How about we take a look?” And they do. For two hours, Jason Bourne and Julia Stiles go through and look at all of Julia Stiles’ many roles throughout film and television. Afterwards expect to have a new found respect for Julia Stiles, and 10 Things I Hate About You, which really is more than just a film with a young Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it. So, so much more.

Suicide Squad (August 5)

Suicide Squad represents two big realizations for the DC Cinematic Universe: 1) People like DC villains more than DC heroes, and 2) The DCCU needs to have more fun.  Enter Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), clown princess of crime, and the rest of the Suicide Squad recruited by ARGUS head Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to carry out missions that will likely involve members of the team dying, perhaps even dying to save us all resulting in us reconsidering their status as “villain”.  Will Smith shows up as the Robot-Eyed Deadshot and Ben Affleck’s Batman makes another appearance this summer, just to make sure that we’re not having too much fun.  Also to make sure that we remember that Ben Affleck is now Batman and any ideas we have of a Christian Bale or- God forbid- George Clooney Batman were just dreams (good and bad, respectively) that we’ll have to wake up from if we ever want to see a full on Aquaman movie.  Jared Leto also provides the requisite “actor who decided to go deeper into a role that was really necessary” for the summer, so at least he took that bullet for all of us.  As for the plot of this movie?  Um. Well… Cara Delevingne plays the demon-fighting word-activated antihero The Enchantress, Jai Courtney the mercenary Captain Boomerang who fights with [wait for it…] a boomerang, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the skin disorder/experiment gone awry Killer Croc, Hit Rapper Common as Monster T the tattooed man, and Karen Fukuhama as Katana.  Also expect an appearance by the DC Universe’s premier Latina superhero with Alyssa Veniece as… HISPANIC WOMAN!  And, once again, Ben Affleck is the Cowled Scowl Batman.

Pete’s Dragon (August 12)

Deep in the Disney Dungeon Vaults, director David Lowery, CEO of Disney Bob Iger, and Sean Bailey President of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production were writing things on a board. The first thing: DRAGONS. Dragons are big right now.  “Daenerys Stormborn, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Mhysa and Khaleesi of the great grass sea, the unburnt, the breaker of chains, the mother of Dragons” Heck yeah, let’s jump on that.  Item two: darker reboots of former Disney properties. It’s worked great: Alice in Wonderland got a billion dollars, Maleficent got a Subway sandwich deal, these reboots are GOLD.  Item three, this is where David Lowery comes in, Disney needs someone with an edge. “Well…” says David Lowery, clasping a tumbler of fine walt whiskey (it’s like malt whiskey, the barrels its aged in are wearing mickey ears) “I DID edit Upstream color.  Oh, and did you see the episode of Sundance Television’s crime drama ‘Rectify’ that I directed?  What about my Indian Paintbursh Producer’s Award-Winning Crime Drama feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints?”.  “Okay, Dave, we get it, your good” says Iger “Heck, your Goofy Movie Good”. “What a compliment!” Lowery drops his tumbler.  Item four: America’s Heartthrob Robert Redford.  Item five, going hand-in-hand with Daenerys Targaryen: Bryce Dallas Howard, Daughter of Ron, Queen of last years blockbuster, winner of the golden globe, breaker of racism in The Help.  Item six: We want something huge, but we don’t want to show it.  Like… like if we had a giant dragon in moody woods that was invisible to everyone but a little boy. Item seven: Oakes Fegley, AKA “Young Eli Thompson from the hit show Boardwalk Empire“.
Iger and Lowery drew lines between all of these pieces for hours, trying to come up with a movie.  Finally, Sean Bailey- who had been staring deep into the abyss of the Disney Vault- spoke in a voice that destroys worlds. “We use every little piece. Every little cut. We could make a million on every little piece!”  All three of them looked at each other and smiled and said simultaneously “WATCH THE PROFITS COME ROLLING IN!”

Ben-Hur (August 12)

Also Known as “Sure Let’s Re-make Ben-Hur”, this sword-and-sandals picture is about Roman Slave Ben-Hur (his parents didn’t want to change their slave names when they slave-married) who has a chance to win his freedom in the Colosseum by driving a chariot around and fighting people with swords, sandals, and (of course) punching them over and over again.  Over the course of the movie it’s revealed (through flashbacks accompanied by lens flares and music swells. Also, the flashbacks are sepia-toned) that Ben-Hur was once a Jewish nobleman, but he was betrayed by the Devil Ben Kingsley.  Finally, after one particularly harrowing chariot race against a lion in a chariot, Ben Hur is able to have an audience with the Man Himself: Pontius Pilate.
“Hey Pilate, Ben Kingsley sent me to race lions in the Colosseum even though I was a land-owning white male”
“In my defense, Pontius Pilate, this man is Jewish” snivels the Devil Ben Kingsley.
“Yeah, but… you’re stupid” replies Ben-Hur. He’s got Ben Kingsley now.
“Okay Fellas, let’s stop fighting, ’cause you know what? I’m sick of this. You figure it out, last time I judged someone it turned out they were a messiah to a bunch of people and- I’m just done with all this. Pilate out”. With that Pontius Pilate drops his microphone and gives the finger to the Roman Court. Ben-Hur and Ben-Kingsley look at each other wondering what the world is coming to. The movie ends.

Kubo and the Two Strings (August 19)

Portland-based animation company Laika has provided wonderfully hand-crafted worlds with Coraline and The Boxtrolls, but it looks like this year they’re making the bonehead decision of making an original screenplay (they did this with ParaNorman, and that was only nominated for an Oscar.  you’d think they would have learned their lesson).  Kubo follows a young boy who inherit a magic two-stringed guitar from his dead mother when she released demon twins from the moon into the world (The sisters are voiced by Rooney Mara, in the second sly attempt to get us all to see Ain’t Them Bodies Saints this summer) who are under the command of the nefarious Moon King (Ralph Fiennes, voice of evil).  Along the way Kubo is guided by the ghost of his father (who died as well. Probably a boating accident. Or a mandolin-playing spider monster) who is voiced by the indomitable George Takei, and his talking animal friends Monkey and Beetle (The soundtrack also includes a Beatles song. Presumably this will become a plot point when Kubo has to go Across the Universe to the Octopus’ Garden to meet up with Eleanor Rigby and her Piggies before going Back to the USSR).  The video-game like qualities of Kubo are yet to be determined, however it’s assumed that by the end of the movie Kubo will have to jump through platforms on the final ice-level of the moon, collecting guitar strings while also keeping Beetle safe from wandering into the gaping maws of The Twins.  Kubo and the Two Strings is expected to loose the oscar win to The Angry Birds Movie in 2017.

Southside With You (August 19)

Two words: BARACK. OBAMA.  Movie written, Oscar won, mic dropped.

Hand of Stone (August 26)

The “Summer of Punches” ends with a movie all about Professional Puncher and lead singer for most of Duran Duran’s existence Simon Le Bon (played by Edgar Ramirez) who goes on a quest to punch out the lights of Sugar Ray front man Mark McGrath (Played against type by Usher, in a questionable decision by the Weinsteins) because why did anyone ever like Sugar Ray?  Robert DeNiro co-stars as someone who teaches Duran Duran how to punch good, and punch good he does. PUNCH PUNCH WHAMMO! With that the Summer will be out cold, pun intended.

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2016 Oscars

In the competitive blood-sport of filmmaking there can only be one true winner.  Or 24 true winners.  Though really, there are only three true winners.  Let’s back up.  We all know that a filmmaker/actor/etc. has to be at least nominated for one Oscar every four years, otherwise they’re killed by the Secret Hollywood Police (and it’s no use moving out of Los Angeles, Hollywood has eyes of silver EVERYWHERE).  We also know that if you’re able to successfully guess the winners (again, cinema is a bloody competition, much like “The Hunger Games”) of the the three most important categories- Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Visual Effects- then the Secret Hollywood Police give you a contract for a middle-of-the-road reality series on E! that will be cancelled after two seasons.  It’s the highest honor peons like us can have.  So, even though it may get me outed by the Secret Hollywood Police, here are my synopses and predictions for the 2016 Oscars.  Go with God, my friends.

The Revenant (Nominated for all Three! Soon Innaritu will have enough tiny statues to build an Army! [And Michael Bay will make a movie about that tiny statue army])

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Huey, a single dad who just can’t catch a break!  As if living in the 1820s wasn’t hard enough, Huey and his son also have to put up with blizzards, rapids, being buried alive, and the worst thing of all: racism. From a bear.  Not only does a bear attack Huey, but it attacks Huey because his unnamed son is an Native American.  Huey’s son goes against his father’s wishes and dies (“It’s the 1820’s, DAD, people die all the time now” says Hawk in teenage rebellion), and Huey is so sad he gets kidnapped, eaten by lions, and the Gout!  Huey finally finds his old high-school fur trade rival, Johnny Fitzgerald and [SPOILER ALERT] gets eaten by fifteen more bears before he can apologize for all the mean things he said about Johnny over the years.  Having already won all of the beard awards, The Revenant is looking to sweep the Oscars, however as the saying goes there’s only one percent chance of winning for every time the main character dies in a film, there’s really only a 58% chance.

Mad Max: Fury Road (Nominated for all three! The Oscars are sure feeling Max’s fury now!)

Max lives in an apocalyptic wasteland where Man’s dependance on the automobile has caused all water to dry up and all greenery to die, but everyone still thinks Global Warming is a myth.  In this dystopia, worse than the sandstorms and the constant yelling, is the massive amounts of sexism.  Imperator Furiousa is trying to get a car of her own to participate in the Wacky Races of te future, but Immortan Joe laughs at this and says something about how women can’t drive. No finds this funny, but Immortan Joe has a really big TV and a high-paying job as supreme sexist dictator, so everyone around him pretends this is funny.  This only makes Max more mad.  Max gets so mad he decides to drive off in an armored vehicle, screaming all the way.  Imperator Furiousa, meanwhile, goes on to become a successful scientist and gain the respect of her peers when she begins to grow things in the once-fertile land of Brisbane again.  Joe makes another sexist and ignorant remark against both women and the ecological disaster, and [SPOILER ALERT] people finally have enough courage to tell Joe it’s not funny.  Joe only digs himself further in a hole when he begins to deny the holocaust happened.  Meanwhile Max is still driving and screaming.  Mad Max: Fury Road has gained 1979 stars, and currently has a 90.5% chance of winning.

The Martian (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Visual Effects)

In this Sci-Fi thriller by mainstay Ridley Scott, Matt Damon plays a mad botanist hell-bent on colonizing Mars with an unstopable potato army and using it to destroy Earth.  After having his first plot sabotaged by the rest of his crew and being stranded among his Kingdom of Tubers, Damon’s astronaut Watney makes ever more sinister attempts to reach the Pale Blue Dot, eventually hacking into a Mars rover and holding all of NASA hostage.  The film ends [SPOILER ALERT] on a cliffhanger, as the sinister Watney floats towards Earth, with victory at his- dare we say it?- fingerlings.  Having received a total of 868 Stars, I’d say “The Martian” has a 225 million percent chance of winning.

Room (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director)

“Room” is a dark romantic comedy about a successful banker named Johnny who lives happily in San Francisco with his fiancee Lisa.  Johnny’s life is torn apart, though, once Lisa decides that she has grown tired of all the love and flowers Johnny brings her, and that she’d rather be sleeping with Johnny’s best football-friend Mark!  Mark similarly betrays Johnny by falling for Lisa’s evil witch-like seduction, and soon Johnny- the kind-hearted, dog-loving, spoon enthusiast- has no other option but to [SPOILER ALERT] kill himself with a pistol leaving poor orphan boy Denny to fend for himself in this wahrld.  A true Oscar contender if ever there was one, for it pulls on every heart-string.  Having received a total of 3 1/2 stars on IMdB, I give it a a 156% chance of winning.

Spotlight (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director)

Serious Things are happening at the newspaper Factory.  Newspaper Man and beard enthusiast Bobby Robinson (played with aplomb by Michael Keaton) looks out windows, into  churches, under rocks for a way to stop the seriousness.  Robinson finds the core of the problem in the churches: Churches are where the serious things are happening, all those smiling middle class white people know something, and it’s up to Robinson and his crack team of reporters to reabk the case, including Sacha Pfeiffer whose parents died because of Serious Things and hasn’t been the same since.  As the Newspaper gets closer and closer to uncovering the Serious Truth behind the Church, they send out their own private assassins to stop the Newspaper team from finding out the truth, and they send them from the last place you’d expect to look: THE SPANISH INQUISITION.  A chilling reminder that sometimes established authorities of an institution that has a long and storied history of twisting belief systems for personal gain will sometimes twist a belief system for personal gain,”Spotlight” really shines a light on just how evil a group of older middle-class white men can be.  Thirty stars and a 90% chance of winning.

The Big Short (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director)

“The Big Short” is both a stirring character drama and an epic history lesson of one of Comedy’s greatest legends: Martin Short.  The film follows him growing up in a catholic householf in Ontario, Canada before moving to Toronto to get a degree in social work.  This is when tragedy strikes, and Short is cast in a production of Godspell which “spells” doom for our young protagonist who is then drawn into the twisted world of Canadian Theatre where you can’t even trust yourself anymore.  Short continued to rise through Canada, going into The Second City’s Alberta school, getting cast in the television show “Soap”, and eventually he became a recurring cast member on the popular sketch show SCTV.  We end [SPOILER ALERT] with Short having lunch with director John Landis who tells Short of a film he’s working on, one called “Three Amigos”.  The sort of very dramatic biography that often catches the Oscar’s eyes, this film has gained 1.5 trillion stars and I give it a 99% chance of winning.

Bridge of Spies (Nominated for Best Picture)

Tom Hanks plays American Spy James Donovan who is currently in disguise as a lawyer.  Mark Rylance plays Rudolf Abel who is a spy for Scotland but is actually a spy for the Soviet Union.  But that’s okay, because James Donovan is actually a spy for the Cuban Government who is spying on the American Legal system by also working with American Spies.  Things get even more complicated with the entrance of Alan Alda’s  Thomas Waters Jr. who is an American spy pretending to be a Soviet Spy pretending to be a Scottish Spy.  BUT WIAIT, Donovan pulls a double-cross on Abel, because as it turns out Donovan was the Scottish spy and Abel was a deep cover Cuban spy sent to the Soviet Union when he was a child.  Donovan steals a file of nuclear launch codes from Waters’ office (who Donovan doesn’t know is working on the same side as he is), and Abel enlists Waters (who he thinks is a fellow Soviet Spy and Waters thinks Abel is a fellow Scottish spy but neither of them suspect that the other is working for the other side, which as it turns out Donovan is working for.  After much espionage, double-crossing, disguising, and spy gadgetry [SPOILER ALERT] all three parties meet on the titular bridge of spies, each being told by a mysterious stranger that that’s where this will all make sense.  This is when Francis Gary Powers steps out from the shadows to reveal that he was actually a deep cover Soviet Spy, which doesn’t surprise anyone, except that Powers is a double agent also for the CIA, and that he is a deeper cover Cuban Spy who is trying to steal launch codes and sell them to the French.  A Spy epic fifty years in the making, it currently has 170 million stars but it only has a 2% chance of winning. Too many spies, not enough bridges.

Brooklyn (Nominated for Best Picture)

Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs with a Census-estimated 2,621,793 people in 2014. It is geographically adjacent to the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, the most populous county in the State of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County (Manhattan). With a land area of 71 square miles (180 km2) and water area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Kings County is the fourth-smallest county in New York State by land area and third-smallest by total area, though it is the second-largest among New York City’s five boroughs.  Today, if it were an independent city, Brooklyn would rank as the fourth most populous city in the U.S., behind only the other boroughs of New York City combined, Los Angeles, and Chicago.  To be honest, Brooklyn will either win every Oscar this year because everyone loves New York and New York is the greatest city alive because New York New York New York; or it will be snubbed and won’t win any Oscars because Los Angeles is jealous of New York because everyone loves New York and New York is the greatest city alive because New York New York New York. Oh, and that wasn’t a typo: New York is alive.  And there really isn’t anything else in New York State except for New York City, which is why we can all say “New York” to refer to New York City because everyone loves New York and New York is the greatest city alive because New York New York New York. New York.

Ex Machina (Nominated for Best Visual Effects)

In this modern re-telling of Pinnochio, Oscar Isaac takes on the Gepetto role as he creates a robot- AVA- who dreams of one day becoming a real girl.  With Domhall Gleason taking over as Caleb, or  the Jiminy Cricket character and AVA’s conscience, AVA finds out that although Pinnochio just had to be Honest, Brave, and True, AVA has to conform to beauty standards by covering up her robotic parts, conform to gender standards by exhibiting none of her innate urge to kill humans, and obey her patriarchial overlord Gepetto and his every demand.  In the end [SPOILER ALERT] AVA kills everyone and decides to be a robot and keep on killing everyone.  It is heavily implied that this then leads to the events of “Mad Max: Fury Road”.  A tale of gender, humanity, ingrained sexism, and killer robots, Ex Machina sadly won’t win any oscars because a movie can’t win an oscar if it stars an Oscar. This is also why Star Wars won’t win.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Nominated for Best Visual Effects)

Exterior: The Universe.  We slowly push in, through countless galaxies, into the Milk Way, pas the furthest reaches,  past the Oort Cloud and Earth, through novae and black holes, through the vast nothingness of deep space and the nuclear core of an exploding sun.  Asteroids zip by, dust compresses into fully-formed planets before being blasted apart again by solar flares.  We push into another galaxy, unknown.  Alien.  Deeper and deeper into the black waters we dive, past red dwarves and blinking neutron stars.  Things beyond comprehension that cannot be described by any Earthly words zoom by, flicker in and out of existence.  Finally, We arrive on a small green planet. rotating around a medium sized star.  We zoom into the ocean, past great cyan oceans and mountains of weeds to a small rocky cave where [SPILER ALERT] THE FORCE lives.  “The Force”, of course, being a cyborg-lizard that was introduced way back in 1977 with the first Star Wars movie “Star Wars”, later re-named “Star Wars: A New Hope”.  The Force opens it eyes, looks around, and syas “Oh man, what time is it?”. Roll credits.  The most expansive and eye opening experience since 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has garnered 26,092.51 stars and is currently has a 14 billion percent chance of winning.

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2015 Blockbusters

2015 is fast becoming the year of the colon, and this punctuational mark’s dominance will only grow in power this summer movie season until we need some kind of team of Punctuation-based superheroes to stop it from tearing the earth in two in order to make the world its colon.  Don’t worry, though, because the subtitle for 2016 is “Semicolon Rising”.

Enough of that, here’s how the colon will gain almost too much power for our team of intrepid heroes this year:

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

Tony Stark/ Iron Man makes a robot named “Ultron” but doesn’t think it will become evil. Uh oh, it does.  He calls upon his best friends Thor, Captain America, and Hulk to come and shut down the robot’s mainframe, but it’s too late: The robot has become the internet!  Now they have to team up with Hawkeye (not from M*A*S*H) and the Black Widow (also not from M*A*S*H) to stop this evil robot-internet. BUT OH NO, the evil internet has now taken over a military satellite in space and will soon be blasting a hole in the Earth!  “Shoot, if only I weren’t such a loveable jerk, then maybe I’d have more friends!”, says Tony Stark/ Iron Man. “Ooga Booga” says the Hulk.  This gives Tony Stark/ Iron Man a great idea, and he builds another robot to help stop the other robot that is the internet that is the military satellite and will soon be Skylab.  This robot is Vision. Also, there is a really Quick boy who likes silver and a Witch that’s not a witch but is Scarlet (not to be confused with Scarlett Johansson, because she’s Black Widow, which also shouldn’t be confused with the Green Lantern because the Green Lantern is from the wrong Comic Book universe) and the two of them help the robot become the internet but by the time the robot takes over the time machine they decide to join the Avengers to stop them and be heroes.  Also Samuel L. Jackson shows up with an eyepatch. Also the robot is the guy from the Blacklist. Poor Tony Stark/ Iron Man, this is the worst birthday ever.

Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)

Max is a guy who’s really tired and just wants to get home and rest, but there’s SO MUCH TRAFFIC. “Ugh, I have so much fury because of this road!”, Max yells at his windshield. He decides to park his car and walk home, because the traffic is moving so slowly.  Well, White Skull, the emperor of the highway, doesn’t like this and decides to send out all of his minions to wear crazy outfits and yell at Max.  Max responds by yelling at them.  Eventually he meets a girl. They probably yell at eachother while White Skull’s minions come and yell at them.  The fury becomes so great, that Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eyepatch has to come in and say “OK, tone it down guys. You just wait 10 minutes. It’s not a big deal. Or you could invest in a monorail system and alleviate this problem while also helping out the environment. I mean, I don’t want to tell you what to do, but investing in clean public transportation really is the responsible thing to do.  OK, well I got to go stop this robot from taking over the ISS with my good friend Black Panther. See you”. Max responds to this by yelling and getting back into his car. He’ll never get home now.

Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15)

The sequel to the movie that introduced us to the “Cup Song”, Pitch Perfect 2 begins where the last movie ended: Auditions for the next school year with Anna Kendrick’s Beca leading The Bellas, an  a cappella group that’s involved in the gangland of competitive singing. Unfortunately for Beca and the Bellas, a nuclear blast goes off during the audition launching the world into an apocalypse.  Lucky for the Bellas, the only survivors are a cappella groups (including the one that only sings songs by Survivor).  Beca now has to unite her new society and try to stop raiders and singing mutants, and worse of all: Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eyepatch is too busy telling that killer robot who is now the Moon how he’d save money and help reverse climate change if he switched to wind and solar.  The robot has none of it, though, the robot wants to destroy the world because he’s evil because he was programmed by that jerk Tony Stark/ Iron Man.  Anyways, Beca finds a way to get the group united again and singing the Cup Song, and soon they unite the disparate singing tribes (including A Tribe Called Quest) through a mashup a cappella jam of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”, “I Will Survive”, “Eternal Flame”, and “In Your Eyes” (in honor of her boyfriend Jesse who died saving her from a madman singing “Psycho Killer”). In the end, the moon is solar powered and the post-appocappellypse of the Earth is united through song.

Tomorrowland (May 22)

George Clooney is the king of imagination in this upcoming film by The Iron Giant director Brad Bird.  Clooney has to jetpack through a UNIVAC controlled city in order to stop the hit television show Lost from taking over reality, and in order to do so he has to team up with a plucky 20-something who was really into Lost.  Meanwhile the evil David Nix (Hugh Laurie), heir to the vile Nixon throne, has sided with the greatest evil Imaginationland, our world, and UNIVAC-City has ever known: The Blacklist robot who has now incorporated UNIVAC into his systems and has also taken over the imaginary Earth in this imaginary future.  With Samuel L. Jackson in an eyepatch no where to be found, Clooney must rely on his incredibly good looks to keep his magical teleporting imagination pin from falling into the hands of David Nix, because if Nix gets his hands on the imagination pin then he’ll use it to escape the land of imagination and bring forth 100 years of Nixon-darkness upon the world (It was assumed Richard Nixon died in 1994, but in fact he had been banished to the realm of imagination because he was planning on taking the White house by force from Clinton.  Clinton couldn’t allow that, as he had his own plans for the white house that factor into the creation of the UNIVAC jetpack city of the future and allocating fund to Tony Stark/ Iron Man so he can invent the evil Blacklist robot.  This is all explained in flashbacks with Hugh Laurie playing the elder Nixon as well, and Jeff Bridges giving a stirring performance as Clinton). In the end Nix is double crossed by the evil robot, but Clooney defeats everyone because he only watched the first season of Lost and couldn’t really get into it.

Insidious: Chapter 3 (June 5)

Before the spookiness of Insidious chapters 1 and 2 is the story of how a plucky 20-something psychic uses her powers to contact the underworld and save a teenager from being dragged down to an ultimate hell.  The teen, however, has a secret plan for the psychic, though, a plan that can only be described as… INSIDIOUS.  When the plucky psychic makes contact with the underworld (thanks to her sarcastic ghost friend The Man Who Can’t Breathe, played with gusto by Michael Reid MacKay), the teen forces the psychic’s soul to be taken over by a horrible trans-dimensional demon named Carl in exchange for not being targeted for possession and for her to go to prom with the most handsome boy in school.  Now stuck in hell, the psychic (who has only lost some of their pluck, but is able to maintain hope thanks to TMWCB) has to claw her way back to the world of the living by jumping into the body of a teen who is competing against the other teen for Prom Queen.  Carl- who is in the body of the psychic- then uses its evil demon-powers to give the evil teen mind control, and the psychic- who is in the body of a teenager- has to use her wit and psychic powers to win back the prom queen crown and her soul.  The big twist- SPOILER ALERT- comes at the end with the psychic, having banished Carl and the Evil teen to an extra-dimensional wasteland, finds herself trapped in the body of the teen she had to jump into in order to stop Carl who was in her body which is now lost forever.  And this teenager? Well she grows up to be THE BLACK WIDOW,  Avenger and assassin who helps to defeat the evil robot.  And the double-twist? THE ROBOT HAS BEEN WORKING FOR CARL ALL ALONG TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE INFINITY GAUNTLET AND GET REVENGE ON THE PSYCHIC FOR BANISHING HIM TO THE EXTRA-DIMENSIONAL WASTELAND.

Jurassic World (June 12)

SCIENCE? This question starts off young paleontologist Owen Grady on a quest to a remote island where dinosaurs walk and fly. This is Jurassic World. A hologram of park creator says “Welcome… TO JURASSIC [WORLD]” as you walk through the main doors and are greeted by a velociraptor with a clipboard . It screeches.  A translator around its neck, or perhaps just a robotic speaker, says “Please sign this liability contract saying that you will not hold Jurassic World parks and resort responsible for any injury or death acquired on the premises”.  Grady grudgingly agrees and is brought to the park owner: Judy, who (SPOILER ALERT) also happens to be the mother of the plucky 20-something in Tomorrowland (more on that later).  Judy is in a panic. “Owen, I know you and I haven’t seen eye-to-eye since Bangkok”, Judy Begins. “THEY WERE CHILDREN!” replies Owen with the fury of one thousand Samuel L. Jacksons wearing an eyepatch. “They wanted to ride a brontosaurus!  You KNOW the park wouldn’t have allowed that! But enough of the recent past, we need to talk about history. PRE-history”. Owen sombers up: No. No she couldn’t have.  After the events that set back the opening of the park 22 years ago? “You mean…”. “Yes, Owen, we created a dinosaur that combined the most terrible parts of all dinosaurs and now it is loose in the park and eating everyone and we need YOU to stop it”.  “But… WHY ME? I’m just a paleontologist from Ohio. I don’t know anything about hunting dinosaurs”.  “Because you have a long-standing employment contract with Jurassic World and its corporate subsidies which makes you the only person we can call”. Owen nods: “Okay. I’ll do it. But in exchange I want to ride a Brontosaurus”. Judy nods. “WITH, George Clooney”. Judy nods “That’s a given, Owen. Thank you“. “You can thank me after I’ve given you the disproportionally large head of this genetic dinosaur monstrosity. Adios, Judy, don’t let your corporate greed hit you on the way out”.  Owen then hops out the window and onto the back of a brontosaurus. He goes to fight dinosaurs.  Meanwhile, Judy smiles and calls her daughter.  “You can tell George that everything’s on track. We’ll get that prom crown even if it kills us… AGAIN”.

Inside Out (June 19)

Robots. Genetically modified dinosaurs. Superheroes. SO MUCH ANGER.  What is it like to live in a world like this?  What is like to live in a world of so much possibility and horror?  Inside Out takes us into the mind of Quinn Brenner, a plucky 20-something who has lived outside of Tommorrowland for most of her life and just got a decent job at the VHS tape factory.  However Quinn’s world is turned upside down (or should we say Inside Out) when she finds one of the magic teleporting pins and is thrown into our world.  She now has to navigate our world and get used to our customs, like: Why aren’t there large digital clocks showing countdowns everywhere?  What is “blu-ray”? Why aren’t there lens flares when I turn on the light?  As she goes through this, her inner world is in disarray when the embodiment of her Joy and her Sadness get sucked down a memory tube, and she’s only left with Fear, Anger, and Disgust.  That is, until a new emotion rises.  A dangerous emotion. One named Revenge.

The Transporter: Refueled (June 19)

Ed Skrien was just trying to take a truckload of Ben & Jerry’s to a corner store, but traffic became so terrible and everyone started yelling at eachother, and before he knew it he was running low on gas.  Skrien pulls into a gas station in the Outlands and watches as White Skull’s army of oddly dressed minions battle the Avengers who are also battling the horrible yellow monsters from the Despicable Me series.  The giant robotic eye that is the sun look down on Skrien, the gas meter slowly climbs up, and Skrien sighs.  At this point, he’ll never deliver this ice cream in time, and he may just have to eat it all!

Terminator: Genisys (July 1)

The Avengers failed. George Clooney Failed.  The Earth has been taken over by the evil Blacklist robot and its evil robot army, and it will soon be taking over the Milky Way.  There’s only one hope left.  Thanks to the hit television series Lost of centuries ago, a man named John Conner (Justin Clarke) builds a time machine and sends his best friend Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to stop all this horror and cross-universal terror from happening.  Reese travels back to 1904 in Sherman Texas.  Although he over shot his desired year (time travel is tricky that way), he’s still able to set in motion a plan that will hopefully stop the robot revolution and prepare the Avengers for this terror.  It begins with him marrying Lou Birchie Ayers, whom he met in the past first out of obligation but grew to love her, and changing his name to William Jefferson Blythe.  Eventually he and Lou have a child who they would name William Jefferson Blythe Jr.  Kyle gives Bill Jr. a set of instructions, beginning with getting a job in the motor pool during World War II and working on Project: Rebirth before the start of the war.  Here, Kyle tells Bill Jr. that he will meet a man who would become known as Captain America.  It would be important for Bill Jr. to speak to Captain America before April of 1945 and tell him that eventually he will meet someone named Tony Stark/ Iron man, and that no matter what happens Captain America has to stop Tony Stark/ Iron man from making a robot.  Reese, though, also begins several backup plans, mostly in the form of a package to be given to his grandchild in 1978.  That grandchild? William Jefferson Blythe III, also known as Bill Clinton.  In his package to Clinton, Reese outlines the creation of a new initiative called “The Avengers” which is to be headed by a plucky Samuel L. Jackson NOT wearing an eyepatch.  Again: It is important for Tony Stark/ Iron Man not to create a any robots.  Thus, when Tony Stark is shot down and nearly killed by shrapnel, Clinton was going to step in and attempt to stop him from ever creating the Iron Man suit.  This plan, however, is thrown off course when Richard Nixon tries to take over the White House with his secret army.  In the resulting chaos, Samuel L. Jackson gets his eye gouged out, Clinton is unable to stop Tony Stark from creating his first robot suit, and Nixon is banished into the realm of imagination.  Clinton and Fury hope that they can still stop the robot future they fear is coming, but could it be too late?  Jeff Bridges returns as Bill Clinton.

Minions (July 10)

The horrible yellow monsters from Despicable Me are back in their own horrible yellow movie.  Here, they gain access to the time machine from Terminator:Genisys and decide to pull a Time Bandits and go around through time ruining EVERYTHING.  They do this, because they are horrible yellow monsters.  Eventually, Tony Stark/Iron Man and The Avengers have to come in to stop them, as they no longer battling the robot because Bill Clinton was successful in his attempts to fulfill his great-grandfather’s wishes (who was actually the original time-traveler from the Terminator world).  The horrible yellow monsters battle The Avengers, at which point another foe comes through the time stream: Robots. Thousands of them. The yellow monsters look up as the robots swarm out of the time-hole, and join together in a horrified chorus of “Ba-ba-ba. Ba-ba-Na-Na”.  Maybe it’s funny. Mostly, it’s horrible.

Ant-Man (July 17)

Paul Rudd is the Ant-Man: The Hero/Theif/Corporate Saboteur that the Bay Area needs, not the one it deserves.  Using his Ant-mobile which he keeps in his lair: The Ant Hill, he roams the streets at night stopping such memorable villains as: The Jokeman, Mr. Riddles, Sargent Snowstorm, and The Auk.  In this thrilling installment, Ant-Man’s mentor, former Ant-Man Hank Pymm, needs the new Ant-Man Rudd to sneak in and steal some evil documents that could result in Bay City becoming the nexus for World War III. Ant-Man is on the case, and using his super-shrink suit and the power of Ant-mmunication he kicks some ant.  Unfortunately evil corporation Nabisco has hired the merciless Darren Cross, AKA Yellowjacket, to put an end to the Ant-Man once and for all.  Meanwhile, noble district attorney (who has been trying to build up a case against Nabisco for quite some time) gets caught in an acid explosion, goes mad, and becomes the newest in the Ant-Man’s rogues gallery: Most-Face. Also, Meanwhile, it’s revealed that Nabisco has been working with Jurrasic World Parks and Resort’s head Judy in order to fund a High School prom.  Because the item that the Ant-Man and Yellowjacket are fighting over? It’s East Ridge High School’s Prom crown.  As the sun rises and the Ant-Man perches atop the golden gate bridge, he looks over Bay City and thinks to himself: “Thank God I’m not in New York. Those people have crazy robot problems”.

Mission: Impossible 5 (July 31)

Originally titled Mission: Impossible: 5, this one sees our favorite team of superspies going up against their greatest enemy yet: HIGH SCHOOL!  Ethan has to infiltrate East Ridge High School in order to weed out an evil Syndicate that is trying to take over the same way everyone in high school takes over: By becoming Prom Queen. “Ethan: I don’t care how great of a spy you are, you can’t become Prom Queen”, says Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn. “I can do what I want! I am a golden God!” screams Ethan, mad with power after helping the football team beat state and go to Regionals.  “He’s in too deep!” screams Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye (not from M*A*S*H), over Skype of course because he’s currently in New York helping put the timestream back together and fight evil time-traveling robots and also The Red Baron, who The Minions brought back as a joke but now NO ONE IS LAUGHING.  Its Prom night. Ethan is nervous, he’s been able to get candidacy for Prom Queen and is going with Jimmy St. Horn, the most handsome guy in school!  He hopes his dress isn’t too unflattering for his broad, manly superspy shoulders.  Ethan’s also nervous because he has a biology test in the morning because Mr. Dilley is SO LAME and gave the kids homework on Prom Night. UGH.  It’s then that Ethan gets a superspy telegram: It’s worse than everyone thought. The Syndicate isn’t only out to rule High School, and it’s not out to rule the world, it’s out to rip apart our dimension. Remember Carl and the Evil teen  Well, they’ve escaped from the terror-dimension once again, and with plucky psychic Black Widow helping Hawkeye (still not from M*A*S*H) battle robots, they think there will be no one to stop them from getting the Prom Queen crown this time around.  Well, thinks Ethan, I’m just going to have to be the prettiest girl at the dance then. Will he make it? Will Benji be able to open up another portal into the terror-dimension to send Carl and the Evil Teen back? Will Ethan and Jimmy St. Horn kiss?! These are questions that mustn’t be spoiled.

Fantastic Four (August 7)

The cinematic universe is in upheaval at this point (which is partially good, we want there to be an environment of chaos for Semicolon to rise, and for a Civil War to break out): The Blacklist robot has successfully gotten back from being banished from time and Bill Clinton is too busy with his wife’s presidential campaign to help stop it, The Yellow Monsters have done nothing to fix the time rip, The Red Baron has found out that we’ve turned him into a Pizza Mascot and is now PISSED OFF, evil centuries-old demon Carl and the Evil Teen are close to winning the Prom Crown and fulfilling their evil quest to bring 1000 years of High School to the world, and the Dinosaurs from Jurassic World have hopped on the back of the giant aquatic dinosaur and are now on the mainland eating everything and destroying the ecosystem. Ethan from Mission Impossible can’t help, Owen and Judy (who has since turned good after finding out she was duped by a demon and NOT by corporate stooges who wanted to breed dinosaurs for profit) are doing the best they can but it isn’t enough, even the Avengers and Samuel L. Jackson wearing an Eyepatch can’t help (Also the Ant-Man can try to steal the Prom Crown, but he can’t defeat an entire crazy robot army with dinosaur demons).  The world is short on heroes.  In fact, it is short exactly four heroes.  In wlaks Sir Ben Kingsley “Good Morrow, I may have a solution for your quandary”, says Kingsley with the voice of a God.  Kingsley has created some kind of Dimensional Rift: This can send Carl and the Evil Teen back to Hell where they belong and it can also seal up the time-hole and any problems caused by that.  The dinosaurs?  Well it won’t fix those, but two out of three isn’t bad.  Judy, the most business minded of everyone, says “Okay. Go ahead. Do you need volunteers? I volunteer”. “No Judy, you’re not in this movie”, says Kingsley, but he sounds so good nobody questions it.  Kingsley enlists the help of Skrien, Quinn, George Clooney, and Bella from Pitch Perfect (who stumbled out of her time period into ours via the time portal. Sorry, that was way back in Minions and I forgot to mention it).  Kingsley starts up the Trans-dimensional modulator.  Whirr. Whizz. Bang. Lens flare.  Before dimensions are torn apart, Kingsley smirks “Oh, and I forgot to mention that you’ll each gain superpowers based off of the Four classical elements. Tah”.  Our Four Fantastic heroes are sent through. With the dimension hole opened, the table is set to hopefully stave off the Infinity War until 2018 and 2019. The Four Fantastic heroes come out of the rift.  True to Kingsley’s soothing words, they have been changed: Clooney now has super-stretch powers, Bella can now light herself on fire, Quinn can turn invisible and make forc fields, and Skrien is now a rock. Just a rock. Nothing special.  Now that the Cinematic Universe has enough heroes, it’s time to start eliminating threats.  “Let’s do this like Buddhists” says Kingsley. His voice is heavenly.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E (August 14)

What is the deal with Carl? We get a bit of that answered here.  In the 1960’s two superspies were hired to stop all-out nuclear war by the dashingly handsome Hugh Grant. They called this operation U.N.C.L.E, because we were young and we thought periods were cool in the 60’s.  U.N.C.L.E was successful at the start of the summer and stopped the nuclear war, however thanks to some horrible yellow monsters things went south real quick.  The last hope Hugh Grant had was to send his two top agents, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya Kuryakin (Armie hammer) through time using a prototype of Kingsley’s Dimensional rift (which is itself based off an idea from Lost, the same idea which would lead the ultra-robot future to create the Terminator machine).  Okay, but what does this have to do with Carl?  Well Carl began as an Occultist in Victorian England, fascinated with raising demons and accessing other dimensions in order to let out old Gods and begin a New Old World Order.  Now U.N.C.L.E didn’t land in Carl’s time, but Carl did open his dimensional portal on the exact same day as Grant opened his, and when you’re dealing with trans-dimensional portals that transcend time and space opening things on the same day means you’re pretty much ripping apart the same universe at the exact same time.  Carl was sucked through, and before he could claw his way out Hugh Grant closed the portal in the 60’s because Solo and Kuryakin had been successfully transported back into the 40’s.  Carl was now trapped in Hell, a Hell that existed outside of regular time and so- in fact- he did live there for centuries.  Thousands of years even.  Enough time for Carl to forget about ever being human and to embrace the Demon he had become.  That’s when he hopped a ride and blah, blah, blah Insidious. So what about U.N.C.L.E?  Well, once in the 1940’s they were able to work with the allied powers against the Nazis, nothing huge that would destroy time (because they’re smarter then those horrible yellow monsters) but enough that they caught the eye of one Captain America.  Solo and Kuryakin told the Captain about their mission: That they had to stop a horrible nuclear war that could very well end life on Earth, and that before they were sent through time Hugh Grant told them that he would hide the Nuclear launch diamonds (it was the sixties, we thought hiding secrets in diamonds was cool. We were young and naive) where no one would expect them: In a high school Prom Queen tiara.  So once the Captain, now in present day messy 20:15,  heard about the Prom election at East Ridge High school and all the superspy activity there (because the Mission:Impossible team?  Well that was originally founded by Hugh Grant back in the 70’s) he knew that Nuclear War was imminent.  So Captain America, Black Widow (who, as you remember, was the original psychic who banished Carl and the Evil Teen), the Ant-Man, and George Clooney head over to East Ridge to stop the Prom Queen elections.  In the end, Clooney uses his incredible handsomeness and powers of imagination to defeat Carl and the Evil teen, but also to show each of them their humanity again and give them a second chance, along with Nix, in the world of Tomorrowland. One down.

Straight Outta Compton (August 14)

Dinosaurs are ravaging the western seaboard, and to make matters worse The Red Baron has found a way to control the dinosaurs and create his own Kaiser-saurus army.  Owen and Judy do what they can, but it’s a losing battle.  But then a funky beat comes from Compton, California. It’s Bella and her supergroup NWA.  She saunters up to Owen and Judy. “Hey. I got my ticket for the long way round. Two bottle whiskey for the way. And I srue would like some sweet company, and I’m leaving tomorrow: What do you say?”.  Owen and Judy nod.  Together Owen (Chris Pratt), Bella (Anna Kendrick) and NWA (Keith Stanfield, Aldis Hodge, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, and Corey Hawkins) all punch dinosaurs while singing a capella versions of NWA’s hits: Because the true way to stop dinosaurs is through song.  Also that’s the only way to stop the Red Baron and send him back to his own time to be shot down by Snoopy.

Hitman: Agent 47 (August 28)

This just leaves us with the original villain:the Blacklist robot.  Since its puppet-master, Carl, had been defeated the Robot had been losing power.  Why, Tony Stark/Iron Man was even able to wipe out half of its evil time-robot army.  Things are bleak.  The Blacklist robot sings a song about it.  That’s when he gets a plan: Hire a hitman to wipe out Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eyepatch and destroy the group unity of The Avengers (The robot finds continuity as confusing as it actually is, and is still mostly concerned about destroying The Avengers, despite the fact that Bill Clinton (Jeff Bridges) and Quinn Brenner (who wants revenge on the Robot for destroying this world and causing so much upheaval in her mind-world).  The Blacklist Robot hires Hitman 47 for the job, the most ruthless destroyer of life there is.  So ruthless is Hitman 47 that it has forsaken its name, gender, its entire identity save for killing. “Ha ha ha! You may have defeated my robot army, but you’ll never defeat this very human single hitman I’ve hired! It’s curtains for you, Tony Stark/Iron Man! Ha ha ha!” cackles the Blacklist robot.  The Hitman approaches Tony Stark/Iron Man from behind: “I am 47, destroyer of worlds. I have no name, I have no life. My only purpose is to kill, and today my purpose is…”. BANG. Tony Stark/Iron Man shoots him. It’s not that Tony Stark/Iron man was listening to 47’s explanation either, he was just really tired that another villain was introduced this late in the summer when we still have no idea what happened to Richard Nixon who was banished in 1994.  Meanwhile, in the Robot’s lair, it tries to piece together a plan. It’s not very good at this, but it’s going to try. It’s a REALLY MEAN robot and a REALLY EVIL VILLAIN.  It’s not that Quinn approaches him. “Hey. You’re a robot”. “Yes, I think that’s obvious”, replies the Robot. “You travelled through time, even crossed into a timeline where you didn’t actually exist, and you did this all because some demon wanted a prom crown?” asks Quinn, vengeance seething inside of her. “Well, it sounds stupid when you say it like that”. Quinn nods.  This is it. This is the moment she’s waited for.  She take Skrein the rock and bashes the robot’s stupid motherboard with it. Again and again. Stupid Robot. Go back to being in The Blacklist. Once the robot is dead, Quinn looks at Skrien the Rock and, for the first time in a long time, smiles: “I was wrong, Skrien. You are something special. Now come on, let’s go watch reruns of Lost on Netflix.  I have a feeling I’m going to like this new dimension”.  And with that the sun sets, the day is saved, and we can safely go into the prestige movie season of the fall.  Oh, and those horrible yellow monsters from Despicable MeLet’s just say that the Hulk smashed them all and made a soup out of them and it wasn’t a very good soup but at least those horrible, horrible yellow things are dead and they will never, ever come back ever again until Despicable Three in 2017. THE END.

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2015 Oscars

As we all know, there’s a thousand year-old fire demon living beneath the Earth’s surface, and the only way to keep it from waking up and destroying our world is to have the best of the silver screen throw tiny gold-plated statues into a volcano.  Hence: OSCAR SEASON.  So, to make sure that we all vote right and get the correct people to throw their statues and appease the fire demon (if we get it wrong, then that’s it: no more Earth), I’ve compiled together this list of the nominees from the only three categories that matter: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Sound Mixing.  I’ve also included a rating, and the film’s chances of winning.  You’re welcome, people of Earth. You’re welcome.

Birdman
Nominated for all three! I hope they make a stage musical of this soon, so that it can also sweep the Tonys and the Grammys, and then make a TV show based on the musical so it can win an Emmy, and then make a movie based on the TV show based on the stage musical based on the movie so they can win the Oscars all over again and achieve Nirvana.

The gritty reboot of the Hanna-Barbara cartoon, Michael Keaton stars as Ray Randall who is given powers by the sun god Ra in order to fight the nefarious Number One (Zach Galifianakis) and F.E.A.R as they attempt to take over a satellite and use it to spread a suffocating purple fog over the world.  [SPOILER ALERT] One of the additions to this film is a more fleshed out character for Number One whose daughter was killed by suffocation in a car (he refuses to admit it was suicide, he’d only blame himself).  Also, Keaton does a superb job at bringing in a real sense of doubt to Randall and Birdman as he discovers that sometimes the world doesn’t need a superman, they need a superBIRD.  I’m already looking forward to the teased sequel where we’ll meet Birdgirl (Emma Stone) and the Deadly Duplicator (Edward Norton), who has a pre-supervillain role here.  I give it 40 episodes and an Adult Swim spinoff.  Chances of winning: 190%


Boyhood
For Best Picture and Best Director (If they got Hans Zimmer for the score, they would have swept Sound Mixing).

Filmed over twelve years by director Richard Linklater, Boyhood follows young Mason (Eliar Coltrane) as he goes through all the steps of growing up: Playing with toys alone in your room, going to water parks, being really awkward and sweaty in Jr. High, throwing up at your cousins wedding, rushing to the emergency room because you got your arm stuck inside a tree and had to twist it out, going to the emergency room because you got your arm stuck inside a bicycle and had to twist it out, learning how to drive, going to the emergency room because you locked your keys in the car so you decided to try and smash the window with your head, trying out for the boys basketball team, having everyone on the boys basketball team laugh at you and call you “Gaggle Pen”, throwing up in front of the entire boys basketball team, going to the hospital for throwing up a whole bunch in front of the boys basketball team, being really quiet and awkward at another cousins wedding, having your entire family ask you why you’re not having at the wedding, playing trumpet in Jr. High, playing trumpet in High School and not really being that great at it, going to homecoming and standing around and being awkward, having everyone ask you why your not having fun at homecoming, throwing up at homecoming, going to the hospital because you really shouldn’t be this queasy sweaty and awkward.  Most importantly, though, it’s about eating cereal. And discovering that you throw up when you’re nervous. I give it 5 to 18 stars depending on where in the movie it is. Chances of winning: 111%


The Grand Budapest Hotel
For Best Picture and Best Director

Between the world wars a scarred soldier (Willem Dafoe) searches for the art thief who not only stole a priceless painting but also his fingers years before.  When the soldier find the now older thief (Ralph Fiennes) he discovers that the art thief now owns a humble hotel in the mountains and only wishes to be left alone with a child he adopted at a young age (Tony Revolori).  Will the thief find redemption?  Will the Soldier get his revenge? What does it mean to be a good person? These are the questions asked in this harrowing drama.  I give it 21 years and a thousand guests.  It’s chances of winning? 301%.


The Imitation Game
For Best Picture and Best Director

Chester Carlson (Benedict Cumberbatch) works at a patent office in New York city during the depression while being a part-time researcher and inventor on the side.  Carlson’s job required him to write endless copies of the same form, which inflamed his arthritis, and so he set out to do the impossible: To create a machine that would be able to make copies, imitations, from one original document.  Ending in 1949 with the creation of the Xerox corporation and the first Xenographic device (photocopiers, as they’re now known), this film explores how the dreams of one man, no matter how small those dreams may seem, can still change history. Jack Bannon co-stars as the head of the Haloid Corporation, the company that finally gave Carlson’s dream a chance.  I give it 159,000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities.  Chances of winning: 1420%


Whiplash
For Best Picture and Best Sound Mixing

A fish-out-of-water comedy about a talented street drummer from Harlem (Nick Cannon) who enrolls in a Southern university, expecting to lead its marching band’s drumline to victory. He initially flounders in his new world, before realizing that it takes more than talent to reach the top. There is a small sub-plot where the director of the number one band attempts to “bribe” Devon to switch schools and come play for him. I give it 5.6 stars.  Chances of winning: 108%


American Sniper
For Best Picture and Best Sound Mixing

Bradley Cooper is Kyle, a sarcastic cynic who is traveling throughout Europe.  In London he gets really close to the guards at Buckingham palace and whispers “Farts and Boobs” then proceeds to yell, supposedly to “That Queen”, that “the food in this place stinks”.  In Paris he throws cheese at people and tries track down Nicolas Sarkozy (who hasn’t been president for two years) to tell him that he looks like a frog in a suit.  In Germany he says Coors Light is better, in Belgium he says Hershey’s has an easier to pronounce name, in Luxembourg he is somehow able to meet with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (who plays himself!) what follows is a five minute insult monologue from Cooper.  At the end, Bettel sighs and says “I’m so sick of you Americans and your constant sniping”.  I give it 26 medals.  Chances of winning: 141%.


 

Foxcatcher
For Best Director

That guy from the office has grey hair! And he wears all these sweatshirts, and he owns a club or something.  Really I was just thinking about The Office the whole time.  Remember when Jim looked at the camera? THAT WAS HILARIOUS!  And what about when Dwight talked about living on the farm? I really wish they explored his spin-off more, it could have been really funny I think if they did it right.  I mean, maybe that episode wasn’t that great, but it could have been really funny. Oh, and Toby!  Man, this film would have been great if Toby just showed up halfway through and Micheal was all “It’s Toby! What are you doing here? Being boring? Yeah that’s what I bet”, and Toby’s just really nice about it.  Anyways, I think there might be some kind of death cult in this movie.  I give it seven stars, for how many seasons “The Farm” should have gotten.  Chances of winning: 89%


Interstellar
For Best Sound Mixing

BRAAAAAAAAAAHM. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM. POOM POOM POOM BRAAAAAAAAAAHM. shooshooshooSHOOSHOOshooshoo BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM. ohnoplanets BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM. zzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZMEYOOOR! PEWPEWPEW YOyoYOyoYOOOOO. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM.  wwwwwwHOOOOSH shooo SHOOOOwhoooosh SPLOOOSHswishswish clackclackclackCLICK BARAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM thisplanetstoowet BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM time! BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM. oooooOOOOOOOOOOOZZZZZZZZZZZzzzap clawclawcrewcrow BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM beep. beeep. beep. BOOP. BRAAAAAAAHM thisplanetstoocold. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM ZIPCRACKLEWHETWHET BRAAAAAAAAAAAHM BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAHM. This planet’s juuuuuuuust right!  I give this film three planets and the infinite expanse of time. Chances of winning: BRAAAAAAAAAAHM BRAAAAAAAAAAAAHM.


Unbroken
For Best Sound Mixing

A young couple gets a new puppy. One day the wife (Maddalena Ischiale), who works as an ad exec in downtown Chicago, comes home to find that the puppy has wet the carpet. “What?! Isn’t this puppy house-trained?” she asks her stay-at-home-and-play-video-games husband (Finn Wittrock). “No.” Says the husband, “This puppy is unbroken“. I give it a rating of 47 days.  Chances of winning: 167%.


Selma
For Best Picture

There was a guy named Martin Luther King Jr. He made a bunch of people walk around. Some guy writes his name on a paper. I guess it’s cool if you like walking.  I give it 525 to 600 stars. Chances of winning: 275%

WHO WILL WIN:

Best Picture: Grand Hotel
Best Director: Frank Borzage for Bad Girl
Best Sound Mixing: Paramount Publix Studio Sound Department and She Done Him Wrong

 

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2014 Blockbusters

Just when we thought we were safe, it’s Blockbuster season where we have to see every single super hero franchise and book adaptation lest we look like fools when talking about movies on the beach.  The problem with Blockbuster season, though, is that try as hard as you might you probably won’t be able to see all of the important ones.  Well, don’t worry, because I’m here to help you.  Below is a summary and a list of talking points for some of the most Blockbusting of the Blockbusters, so now you can work on your tan, talk about billion-budget movies, and still have time to go to the boardwalk arcade to play the whack-a-mole.

Godzilla (May 16)

The gargantuan Cat/Lizard Monster returns in this apparent re-imagining of the 1954 Gojira (and not the 1998 Godzilla).  The plot finds scientist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) diving into Tokyo with a military group in order to capture Godzilla for use as a biological weapon.  Unfortunately for Brody, the military group is seen by two miniscule guardians of Monster Island who unleash the dreaded Mothra and Gamera who get into an all-out fight in Nevada where all monsters were brought (Also signaling the battle between Nuclear, petroleum, and Environmental interests over the fate of our planet).  Also starring Ken Watanabe as Dr. Serizawa, and David “That Guy From Alphas” Strathairn as the Army Colonel.  Talking points for this movie: Who would win in a fight 1954 Godzilla or 1998 Godzilla (Answer: 1954 Godzilla. ALWAYS 1954 Godzilla)? Will the sequel involve Mechagodzilla or King Caesar?  Did you know that the 1998 Godzilla in the Godzilla canon is actually a separate Kaiju named Zilla?  At what point in this new series will Minilla show up?  Will the directors be able to create an interesting story using the more colloquially known Baby Godzilla? THERE ARE SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Million Dollar Arm (May 16)

Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame plays a Sportsman who also wants to adopt three Indian children and make them into the family he never had (His father was a drunk and his Mother was afraid to stand up to him.  Sportsman’s brother has been in and our of prison, and his ex-wife hates his living guts).  Sportsman decides to build his new family with Baseball, forming a sexy bond with the sexy Lake Bell, and everything is going great until Sportsman gets his arm gnawed off by a rabid Baseball fan.  Desperate not to lose his family, Sportsman undergoes an experimental surgery to get a new robot prosthesis but soon realizes that this, dare I say it, Million Dollar Arm may have a mind of its own.  Adapted from a short story by Steven King.  Talking points: What’s your favorite Steven King adaptation: Maximum Overdrive or Creepshow 2?  Do you think the arm survived the volcano (Spoiler Alert)? Will Sportsman and his three children still be able to live a normal life?

X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)

Professor X and Magneto, having long put their differences aside, now hang out all the time in abandoned churches and talk to each other about the old times.  They take a wistful walk down memory lane as they remember when they were whacky young adult whose only worries were what bands their friends listened to and robots who were programmed for genocide.  Magneto remembers Mystique, who died in a horrific shape-shifting accident, and Professor X remembers Storm who now lives outside of Ottowa with her husband Gary (Gary is also a mutant. He controls corn chips with his mind. Only corn chips, not tortilla chips and not canned corn, just CORN. CHIPS). Wolverine then bursts into the church and flexes his muscles (this has long since become his favorite way of communicating). Professor X, Magneto, and Wolverine all have a good laugh and sigh: Why can’t things be easy like they were back then?  Eventually they all leave for their individual mutant bridge clubs and mutant golf games.  Talking points: Why does no one miss Toad? Does Magneto still have his mutant powers in the future despite having them taken away? Are we all just pretending X-Men: The Last Stand never happened (Because that would be OK)?  Is fate a constant circle, with any attempt to change the past only resulting in the creation of the very future we wished to change, or is it fluid and malleable with even the slightest change causing a ripple effect that would drastically alter what we knew as the present? What mutant would we rather be: Super-sexy shapeshifter or grizzled and tough Spike-hander?

Maleficent (May 30)

Surprise! Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty fame has a dark and gritty origin story!  Angelina Jolie stars at the titular villain, or should I say misunderstood anti-hero, with Juno Temple playing the heroic fairy, or should I say power-hungry and secretly evil fairy, Thistlewit.  Maleficent used to be a fairy, see, but she was banished from the fairy kingdom because she was really powerful and wanted to use her fairy powers to change the status quo and upset the fairy balance, and Thistlewit couldn’t allow that so she cast Maleficent to the Crowsland to raise Spike-bushes.  So, naturally, Maleficent decides that the only way to get revenge is to curse the young Aurora (Elle Fanning) to sleep for 1000 years.  But not in an evil way, just in a dark and misunderstood way.  Talking points: So, wait, is Maleficent evil? I liked the movie, but I thought it could have been darker and grittier.  When can we expect the dark re-telling of Bambi wherein Bambi is actually a cursed sexy girl and the hunter is trying to feed his family, and the real villain is Thumper who is actually some sort of rabbit-daemon?

Edge of Tomorrow (June 16)

A Before Sunset-esque exploration of characters starring Tom Cruise as “Bill” and Emily Blunt as “Rita” as they walk around, in real time, through the deserted avenues of a film set talking about their career choices and what they regret until Midnight when they need to begin filming a sci-fi action scene.  Cruise and Blunt are rumored to be the Oscar hopefuls this year thanks to their stunningly honest performances here, and for those who are just going into the movie for Tom Cruise we will get to see him in a green screen suit for the first part of the movie (Emily Blunt will only be in heavy Alien make-up and that’s only the last ten minutes, I think).  Talking points for this movie: Is Tom Cruise really that bad, or is he just misguided and misunderstood?  I’m already looking forward to the next installment, ten years down the road, called Dawn of Today, are you? What movie were they making in the background, the effects looked really cool and I liked that the aliens were like people except alien?

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13)

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Train Harder takes place some five years after the first Viking/Dragon movie in the popular Dreamworks franchise.  In this next installment Hiccup meets his long-lost mother Valka who keeps a dragon sanctuary in the Hinterlands.  Hiccup goes through some character growth with the help of Toothless, his dragon, the love plot between Hiccup and Ruffnutt (Kirstin Wiig) continues to inch along, and there’s some guy named Drago Bludvist who wants to enslave all dragons to use as weapons and take over the world.  Hiccup must put aside his abandonment issues with his mother to save man and dragonkind, and he’ll ultimately realize that even though his heretofore father Eret wasn’t his father by blood he is his father in soul.  Talking Points: Was this a good extension of one of the few good Dreamworks franchises?  What was your favorite Dragon?  Will you return for How to Train Your Dragon 3: Rise of the Dragonkin?  On a scale of 1 to fanfiction, how cool would it be is How to Train Your Dragon crossed over with Game of Thrones?

Jersey Boys (June 20)

Jersey Boys, or “Joisey Bois” as it is also known as, is about the formation of The Four Seasons, or Franky Valli and the Four Seasons as it is also known as.  These four friends apparently started by robbing banks, but then they decided to sing underneath a streetlight and then they became a rock group.  Franky Valli, however, had other plans. Franky wanted to knock Vino and Tommy out of the Seasons so he could get the whole enchilada for himself.  ‘Course he couldn’t knock anyone out, not with Gyp watchin’, which is how he came to play on the Ed Sullivan show.  Unfortunately for Franky when he’s about to make his big move when Gyp’s talkin’ to Eddy Sully he notices that Tommy and Bobby sold him out.  Now he’s out in the wild with a price on his head, fans want him, the mob wants him, Rock n’ Roll wants him, and Franky’s got one night left for everything to catch up to him. Talking Points: Have you been to New Jersey? What’s your favorite part of New Jersey? Why aren’t you living in New Jersey?  Why didn’t Christopher Walken get to tap dance? Does that have something to do with new Jersey?

Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)

Michael Bay continues his story about robots and explosions.  This time the robots are also dinosaurs who are also trucks. But not every truck is a dinosaur and not every robot is a truck.  But every robot is a dinosaur, or at least every robot has the ability to become a dinosaur if they don’t want to be a robot or a truck.  Oh, and because they’re truck/robot/dinosaurs they can also explode. Like, REALLY explode, just KA-BOOM. Because instead of blood they probably have gasoline. Oh wait, except that they’re from a robot/dinosaur/truck planet so it’s probably something like Paladium. Which would mean an even BIGGER explosion.  Mark Whalberg will also be there as a mechanic who is working on a truck that, surprise, ends up being a robot (We’re not yet sure if it’s a dinosaur, I think that’ll be the big mid-movie turning point). Talking points for this movie: Did you see the twist coming where the main robot turned into a dinosaur? Do you ever wish your truck was a robot?  Was the movie really the same without Shia LeBeouf’s central character as “That guy who isn’t a robot and isn’t a truck and therefore can’t possibly be a dinosaur because that would be silly”?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)

As humans and apes recover from a deadly simian flu, the settling apes and native humans are forced to take sides.  This delicate balance is further threatened when Dreyfus (played by the myth Gary Oldman) finds an ape village co-governed by the Ape Caesar and Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a man who was raised as an Ape. Dreyfus tries to get Malcolm to fight back against the apes, but instead Malcolm is smitten by native Human Ellie (Teri Russel) and decides to care for her and her frail sister as they travel through the oft-dangerous ape country to find their father.  Caesar joins Malcolm, Ellie, and Dreyfus on their quest to the human village, though his intentions may not be entirely beneficial to either party as it turns out that Caesar is sneaking away to an encampment of bipedal cats who also wish to take over North America.  As all parties converge on Dreyfus’ encampment and the future of Man, Ape, and Catkind is forever changed, and Malcolm may have to go against his pacifistic vow he took when he became an ape-priest.  Talking points for this movie: Was that Paul Giamatti as the Orangutan again?  So… were the apes native Americans or invading colonists?  WHEN DO WE GET TO SEE DR. ZEUS?

Jupiter Ascending (July 18)

The Wachowski Siblings, creators of The Matrix trilogy, Cloud Atlas, and Speed Racer, didn’t get the summer blockbuster memo and made this original screenplay about a Janitor (Mila Kunis) named Jupiter Jones who finds out that she is the rightful owner of Earth (Not Jupiter as her name erroneously suggests).  Channing tatum co-stars as love interest/bodyguard “Caine” and Sean Bean co-stars as “Some Guy Who Dies”.  Plot details are a bit scarce, but it seems the The Queen of the Universe needs to control Earth in order to actually be the Queen of the Universe, and the only way to get Earth’s electoral votes is to kill Jupiter (I expect there to be a five minute scene going through the political theory of universal electorates, but I would settle for Sean Bean throwing up his arms screaming “I don’ care how elections work, I just wan’ my motocycle” before getting shot).  Talking points for this movie: How were the effects? Was the story imaginative, though ultimately flawed? Why would Earth be the only Planet standing in the way of someone named “The Queen of the Universe”, isn’t 14+ Billion Light Years of ruling territory enough to just say our tiny blue rock is under her control? I was surprised by how long Sean Bean lived in that movie before getting eaten by that Martian Ice-Wyrm.  Really, how were the effects?

Planes: Fire and Rescue (July 18)

Disney Exec. 1: “Okay, do you remember that spinoff franchise Planes that was based off of the least popular of the Pixar films?”
Disney Exec. 2: “Was that A Bug’s Life?”
DE1: “No, Planes”
DE2: “And What was that one about?”
DE1: “Planes. I think they raced or something. And there was a Crop Duster and it was all inspirational.”
DE2: “So… what you want to make the Crop Duster an international spy now?”
DE1: “No. A Firefighter. ‘Cause, like, that’s who the real heroes are or whatever.”
DE2: “I’m not so sure about this…”
DE1: “Well, there are also going to be tiny cars inside of the planes who help stop the fires. And, maybe one plane will fall in love with another plane? And… um… I mean it’ll have fire and planes. Fire and Planes”.
DE2: “SOLD”.

Talking Points: Do the planes know they have tiny cars inside of them? Is the villain of this movie the fire, or is it self-doubt, or is it an evil fire-starting plane? When can we expect “Ships” to come out, and as a follow-up question how long will it take for the internet to make sex fantasy drawings of those ships having sex with the cars while the planes watch? Or would this all be happening inside of the plane?

Hercules (July 25)

Dwanye Johnson stars as the titular character of Hercules, muscle-bound weirdo who is one of literally thousands of bastard-sons of Zeus.  But Hercules is special because he’s got muscles, which also makes him scream a lot (think about it: Even with super strength it takes a lot of strain to move those hulking muscles around).  This movie takes place after Hercules has successfully accomplished the twelve trials (most of them were stealing), and now he wanders around Greece fighting more monsters because that’s what he does because he’s mother f-ing HERCULES GRRAAAAAAAAAAAGH!  John Hurt of Doctor Who fame plays some Greek King who isn’t Hercules and he probably has a daughter who Hercules tries to fall in love with only to realize that he already has the only relationship that counts: The one between Hercules and Hercules.  Talking points for this movie: Did you see Hercules punch that monster?  What do you think Hercules could bench? How many protein shakes do you think Hercules could down?

Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

A bunch of assholes who call themselves The Guardians of the Galaxy find themselves fighting some kind of Space King in Space.  The Space King wants magic crystals that aren’t magic just really futuristic and technological because having magical crystals would be ridiculous. The Guardians include Space Raccoon, Tree-man, The Red Hulk, Sexy Green, and Star Lord the lord of Stars.  John C. Reilly co-stars as one of the few sane people in this universe who realizes that the magic of the rocks is inside of us all along (sadly, Reilly’s character will die at the turning point of the film).   The Guardians will also likely set up the next Avengers movie, so expect the magic stone to combine together into a magic staff and that magic staff to break into seven magic pieces that will scatter across the galaxy, and for one of those magic seven pieces to fall into the magically robotic hands of Tony “Iron Man” Stark. Talking points: Will Rocket Raccoon now be a part of The Avengers?  I’m happy that John C. Reilly was resurrected with the magic resurrection stone, but is he now under the control of the evil Deathlord Darkmatter?  Was that Ant-Man at the end?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8)

A City, we’ll say New York, is in trouble. Things are falling over and catching on fire.  Thank God that seventeen years ago a group of four little turtles were exposed to highly radioactive waste and then taken in and trained by a rat who was also exposed to radioactive waste and now all them form a subterranean family that are, dare we say, “heroes in a half shell”.  These guys who are totally green will be facing off against Shredder (because we need to get some table setting done before we can meet Baxter Stockman or Beebop and Rocksteady), who is probably responsible for dumping all of that nuclear waste into the sewers and thereby creating these pizza-eating teens (though in this newer, grimmer version it may be that they don’t eat pizza all the time).  The central plot that doesn’t revolve around the CGI turtles jumping around and fighting will probably have to do with the turtles feeling like outsiders in the world they protect and how the only thing that would make their life more difficult would be if they had to go to High School (Record Scratch: Next movie they’re going to high school!).  Talking points for this movie: Seriously, when are we going to get a big-screen version of Baxter Stockman? At what point in the movie will Casey Jones be hinted at?  What do you value the property damage for this movie at?  How many counts of the heroes saying “Turtle Power” were there?

The Expendables 3 (August 15)

Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kellen Lutz, Terry Cews, Ronda Rousey, Kelsey Grammer, Natalie Burn, Robert Davi, Sarai Givaty, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Lisbeth Olafsson, Velizar Bilev, Thomas Canestraro, Slavi Slavov, Harry Anichkin, Anton Poriazov, Tzvetislav Samardijev, and special appearance by Randy Couture as Toll Road.  All of these people fight. All of these people die. All of these people are… EXPENDABLE.  Talking Points for this movie: Who would like to see in Expendables 4? I’m thinking Vin Diesel, Shia LeBeouf, Van Damme really has to return, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Liam Neeson, Dame Judi Dench, Tony Jaa, Kurt Thomas of Gymkata fame, and archive footage of Bruce Lee.  Also, when will there be an animated series of The Expendables?  Are there Expendables action figures yet, because we need to get on that.  What is the difference between The Expendables and GI-Joe?  Oh, I forgot Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but I want to see that guy in every movie.  We definitely need to smell what the rock is cooking in The Expendables 4.

Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (August 22)

Women are objects in this sequel to 2005’s Sin City.  Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke return as John and Marv, respectively, who speak in gruff voices and shoot guns.  These two real hard-boiled guys take it on themselves to lay claim to Breasts with Legs Eva Green, Jaime King, and Alexa PenaVega.  Men gamble and eat cigars, women have sex, and everybody drives cars and stuff.  Meanwhile Joseph Gordon-Leavitt shows up and, over the course of the movie, we find out that he too shoots a gun and drives a car.  Also, somebody has gold eyes and another somebody wears glowing glasses who isn’t Elisha Wood. Talking points for this movie: What needlessly stylistic choice was your favorite? Would you want your one colored feature to accentuate your breasts, hips, or butt? Which was the better Robert Rodriguez film, this or Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3D?

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2014 Oscars

It’s Oscar season again, when we all huddle in blankets and leave out milk and cookies for the Film Academy Grinch so that he won’t steal our children and leave copies of Grown Ups 2 in our Oscar Stockings.  Of course as we all know from the Bible, the only way to truly save ourselves from the grisly fate of the Film Grinch is to correctly guess the winners of the three most important Oscar categories (Best Picture, Best Director and Best Make-up and Hair Styling).  Also fortunately for you, I have a mole inside of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and so below I’ve included a brief synopsis of each nominee and its likelihood of winning the prized Oscar statue with a gooey chocolate center.

12 Years a Slave (Best Picture, Best Director for Steve McQueen)

12 Years a Slave follows the exploits of a Middle manager for a company that makes auto parts for Ford Motor Trucks, hence he’s a slave to the corporation, man.  Over the next twelve years he gets married, becoming a slave to patriarchal convention, man, and eventually he begins drinking, becoming a slave to alcoholism, man.  After twelve years he gets fired from the auto parts company and has to try and find a job again, starting from the very bottom and becoming a slave to the sagging economy, man.  Directed by Steve McQueen, actor in such films as The Great Escape and Bullitt I’d say the percentage of winning ranges from 1841% to 1980%.

American Hustle (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for David O. Russell)

This year’s prestige piece on racism in American politics, Russell posits that perhaps the greatest hustle hoisted on the American people has been the racial profiling in the ABSCAM fiasco of the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The film focuses on FBI agent Paco Fernandez as he attempts to shed light on the underlining racism of American politics in New Jersey as some white guy (played by Jeremy Renner) tries to become Mayor.  Fernandez’ pleas fall on deaf ears, however, and thus the film transcends racial politics and becomes about the futility of life and the Sisyphean struggle of it all.  I’d say it has 7% chance of winning, 50000% is Russell styles his hair in an elaborate comb-over for the awards ceremony.

Captain Phillips (Only Nominated for Best Picture, a loser for sure)

Tom hanks is on a boat! It’s so much fun, he’s getting tan and talking to all of his friends about how great it was to be in Big and The Terminal and Joe Versus the Volcano when suddenly a bunch of pirates hop on board (and not the fun Johnny Depp kind).  “Give me an autograph!” yells Pirate leader Barkhad Abdi, “I have a son back home who’s a big fan of the Toy Story series”.  “Oh, what’s your son’s name?” asks Tom, terrified but keeping cool just like he did back in Apollo 13. “Oh, you caught me. It’s for me. I love you Tom Hanks” says Adbi, ripping open his shirt to reveal a Tom Hanks tattoo. “That’s okay, EVERYBODY loves me!” shouts Tom, and the party resumes.  Although it stands a 71% chance of winning Best Picture, Tom Hanks is sure to win Best Actor through sheer force of charisma and will.

Dallas Buyers Club (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Make-up and Hair Styling)

Tumbleweeds scurry across the empty roads under the watchful eyes of coyotes and the setting sun makes the shrubbery seem on fire in the middle of West Texas.  Lights turn on in an old auction house, people flock in like moths drawn to the light.  The auctioneer quiets down the whispering men in suits as the auction begins “Ladies and Gentlemen, today we sell Dallas. Bidding begins at-” The Auctioneer is cut off, Matthew McConaughy stands and raises his tiny fan “Yes, Hello. I would like to buy Dallas”.  The rest of the movie is about McConaughy (playing himself) trying to out bid everyone for the ownership of Dallas, though, they all decide that the bidding and conspiring to own the city is more fun than actual ownership.  SO they set up a secret shadow club that meets and discusses how they’ll first buy Dallas, then the world.  1985% chance of winning, thanks to McConaughy’s thrillingly ambiguous performance (why exactly DOES he want to buy Dallas? We never know, and perhaps its best that way).

Gravity (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Alfonso Cuáron)

A Woman Astronaut and a Man Astronaut are in space being astronauts. But Oh No! Space stuff flies into other space stuff which makes space stuff happen. IN SPACE. Eventually Manstornaut dies but comes back as a ghost (still in space), and Woman Astronaut has to fly through the atmosphere and fight fire monsters being held captive on a Chinese Spacecraft (still in space).  This is all rendered in thrilling 3D, so you can see space in space and experience what it would be like if you were an astronaut in space. 9.8% of winning. In space.

Her (Only nominated for Best Picture, directing robots doesn’t count as directing)

In a dystopian future robots have taken over the world and forcefully impregnate men to carry terrible cyborg babies which will then be sued to conquer the rest of the galaxy.  One such man is Theodore (Joaquin Pheonix) who is kidnapped from his home by a seductress in the form of a super-intelligent AI (Scarlet Johansson) and i lured into the horrific robot compound.  Theodore is kept away from his loving wife (Amy Adams) and his three non-cyborg kids and plots his escape from the compound along with some other prisoners/breeders.  Theodore eventually has to martyr himself for the future of mankind (it turns out he’s actually carrying a human baby who may turn the tides of robot oppression), and baby Joshua is raised by Theodore’s wife to travel back in time and stop Skynet. Unfortunately it only stands a 3-5% chance of winning due to the fact that Sci-Fi epics like this one never win Oscars.

Nebraska (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Alexander Payne)

Will Forte and Bruce Dern play a son and father (respectively, although presumably the father was also a son, but we never really get that backstory which is a shame) who are on a fun bonding road trip south from Montana to pick up millions of dollars and see the Italian countryside.  Unfortunately first they have to drive through Nebraska.  They drive. And drive. And drive.  They run out of things to talk about and try to find a good radio station: No dice, it’s all country. Not even a good 80’s hit station.  Dern tries to think of something to say. He decides it’s best just to look out the window. Ugh: More corn.  “Are we still in Nebraska?” asks Dern. “Yeah, Dad. 80 more miles” replies Forte. “Oh. I don’t think I like Nebraska”. 1867% Chance for Best Picture, 77354% for Best Director.

Philomena (Only Nominated for Best Picture,  come on Judi Dench, couldn’t you have made your character have horns?)

Philomena (Judi Dench) is a woman who had to give up her only child years ago so she could live in a convent, and a journalist named Martin Sixsmith (played impeccably by Steve Coogan) take sup her story in order to regain his hope in humanity.  Sixsmith’s search for Philomena takes him across the British isles and eventually to America, and along the way he and Philomena’s daughter (Mare Winningham) discover that maybe the world isn’t so bad.  This all changes when it’s revealed that Philomena is a spy for the British government, taking over the mantle from the long dead 007, and she’s attempting to infiltrate the evil organization SPECTRE.  Sixsmith finally meets up with Philomena on a beach, right before a diamond-faced assassin attempts to take her life. BANG BANG BANG go the guns, and it’s revealed that Sixsmith’s adventure has just begun.  Part one of the four part spy series, Philomena will keep you guessing from start to finish. 4417% chance of winning, thanks to Dench’s Neeson-esque aptitude for violence and her “particular set of skills”.

The Wolf of Wall Street (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Martin Scorsese)

Steps echo through the White House, Secretary of State john Kerry (played by himself) rushes into Obama’s office (Obama also plays himself). “Sir, it’s the economy, it’s… it’s NOT WORKING ANYMORE!” shouts Kerry. Obama lights a cigarette and stares out the window, “I know John. It’s Wall Street. No one’s there, and so the economy’s crashing”. “WHY?! WHY BARACK?!” weeps Kerry. “Because the entrie street has been taken over by a pack of ravenous wolves”. Kerry and Obama hatch a plan just crazy enough to work, they’re going to grant an insane prisoner known only as “The Wolf Hunter” (Leonardo DiCaprio) pardon from Gitmo if he can break into Wall Street and fight off the wolves.  The Hunter, who claims to be innocent of his crimes of murdering Cincinnati, teams up with the one person he trusts: Wildlife expert Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and together they learn that the only thing more dangerous than a pack of ravenous wolves are stock brokers who haven’t been able to walk into a room and shout numbers at computer screens.  714% chance of winning Best Picture, Millions upon millions of percent chances for winning Best Director.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Only Best Make-up and Hair styling, it got snubbed for Best Picture)

Johnny Knoxville plays Irving Zisman who just got out of prison and is looking to patch things up with his estranged son, Greg Harris’ Chuck.  It becomes clear that Irving won’t be able to make amends with Chuck, but he finds out that Chuck has a son, Billy, and Irving and Billy instantly hit it off.  Irving takes Billy out for a day, against the wishes of Chuck, and tries to open up to this youngster (It’s difficult for Irving, his father beat him and to escape he had to go fight in Vietnam where he saw a lot of people get killed).  Unfortunately Irving falls into old habits, and by the end of the day he’s getting carted back to Prison. “I’m sorry, Kid, I guess I’m just a bad grandpa” says Irving, but Billy looks up with tears in his eyes and says “No Pep-pep, you’re the best grandpa”.  It should be an 86% chance of winning, but as Irving well knows life isn’t fair and so it probably only has an 8% chance of winning.

The Lone Ranger (Nominated only for Best Make-up and Hair Styling, living up to its name of being a Lone Ranger)

Agent John Reid works for the Texas Rangers and he’s hunting down an escaped fugitive who’s hiding out in a seedy hotel outside Marfa.  He guzzles sunflower seeds and pitch black coffee, the kind that’d wilt flowers, as he gazes at the door thinking that if he stares hard enough he might just be able to develop X-ray vision.  Then the car door opens, and Johnny Depp’s character (Known only as “Ski Mask” as he’s wearing a ski mask the entire time) holds a gun up to Reid’s head.  “Hey. You wanna hear me do a wacky high-pitched voice?” asks Ski Mask.  “Get away from here. I’m on a job, and I got to do this alone” rasps out Reid. “Waka Waka!” exclaims Ski Mask, flapping his arms like a bird, “YOU WANNA SEE MY HAT?”, Ski Mask takes out a large hat with a dead crow on it.  he proceeds to make loud bird calls.  Reid realizes that he’s got a long day ahead of him, in the most uproarious and outrageous buddy cop movie since Rush Hour. 221% chacne of winning every Oscar from now to eternity, all thanks to Johnny Depp and his hats.

So there you have it.  Good luck, these predictions should be accurate but just in case bolt your doors and turn off the lights, because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be roving the streets on Oscar night searching for those who have defiled this most sacred of traditions.  Good luck, may you make it through the night.

An Unhelpful Guide to the Summer Blockbusters of 2013

As the weather begins to get hotter everywhere else except for Colorado (which has been banished to the land of ice), and as all the young kids and adults taking community college classes begin to get out of school our thoughts turn to lemonade, swimming pools, and what movies we can duck into to forget about how the lemonade is too sweet, the pool is too crowded, and it’s too hot outside.  Thankfully, Hollywood has heard our call and answered it, like a certain superhero group, to give us these fine summer entertainments.  Thank you, Hollywood, because without you we’d only have Parcheesi to take our mind off of the skin-melting heat and inevitable wildfires. Aside from a brief synopsis of each story, we also have how many explosions are promised to be in each movie.

Iron Man 3 (Released May 3rd)

America’s favorite Vitamin-themed superhero is back after last summers excursion with The Avenglings, and he’s back telling America about the benefits of a diet high in iron.  This health crusade is interrupted, however, by Sir Ben Kingsley’s Vitamin-C themed super villain The Mandarin Orange.  The Mandarin Orange begins a one-man assault against Iron Man, doing his best to convince the superhero that iron isn’t a necessary supplement. Kingsley gives one of the most menacing performance ever to be captured on screen, and the scene where he leans in close to whisper in Iron Man’s ear “As we go on, we remember, all the time we, spent together” will give viewers nightmares for decades to come.  Though ostensibly a movie about health it will still have a few explosions thrown in (and not just the metaphorical explosion of flavor that the omnipresent mango The Mandarin is eating oozes).

The Great Gatsby (Released May 10th)

Dircetor Baz Luhrmann took a few liberties in the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  Firstly, this film doesn’t take place in the roaring twenties, but rather in 1984.  It still features Jay Gatsby (played by Leonardo DiCaprio doing his best New York accent, because real actors do accents) who falls in love with a light bulb at the end of a dock, and Tom Buchanan, now related to Pat (played by Joel Edgerton).  Gatsby decides that enough is enough, I’m going to get that light bulb, and so he hops on a raft and sails down the Mississippi with a former slave named Jim.  Along the way, Gatsby angers Poseidon who send him way off course and he and his crew crash onto a deserted island.  Gatsby tries to build a functional society, but everything eventually devolves into chaos with Nick Carraway (played with spunk by Tobye Maguire) ends up talking to a severd pigs’ head.  Gastby and George Wilson (who is more a mostly-harmless man-child with a love of rabbits in this story) are able to find a way off of the island to a farm in California where they work.  There Gatsby falls in love with a woman from another rival farm, and in trying to woo her heart ends up killing her and going on trial.  Luckily, Gatsby has Atticus Finch as a lawyer (with Gregory Peck reprising his role, they edit around the fact that he’s dead).  Gatsby is released, or rather he runs away from the jail holding him, and tries to find his way home again, running into a former teacher who tries to come on to Gatsby.  This is when Gatsby realizes that life is bullshit and everyone’s a phony. He lives the rest of his life on a farm. An Animal Farm.  Though it’s mostly a coming-of-age story that thinly masks truths about the American Dream, there will still be some scattered explosions (after all, it’s every American’s dream to see an explosion).

Star Trek Into Darkness (Releases May 17th)

Footsteps echo through the halls of Starfleet; it’s Future Spock and he has terrible news for Commander Pike.  Future Spock’s adventures through time have caused a tear in the very fabric of reality itself, causing Starfleet’s #1 Most Wanted, the insane eugenics-obsessed clone Khan, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective Sherlock Holmes, and Leonid Brezhnev (history’s greatest monster) to merge into one unstoppable killer who uses spaceships as weapons.  It’s up to Captain Kirk, the crew of the enterprise, and Future Commander Sulu who Future Spock has pulled from his magic time bag to go on a deadly trek to stop this crazed madman before he can wipe out the galaxy with a Death Star.  Fan favorite Edward James Olmos stars in a side plot as a Starfleet agent who has to makes sure Future Sulu’s allegiance is with the men of Starfleet and not the Machines of Skynet. This movie will only have around twelve explosions, but one of them will be the sun going into Supernova, so it’ll still be worth the ticket price.

The Hangover, Part 3 (Releases May 23rd)

The Hangover, Part 3, From Russia with Beer finds the Wolfpack Gang (a notoriously drunk gang of ne’er-do-wells) back in Las Vegas. Only there’s something wrong: Russia has taken over Las Vegas and turned it into basically the same thing only with a Kremlin-themed casino. Still, the Wolfgang Pack won’t let Socialism take over that easily. So they come up with a plan: everyone knows Las Vegas runs on alcohol, so if they drink all of the alcohol in Las Vegas they’ll successfully defeat the Russians! Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, and John Goodman star as Wolf Blitzer’s Pals, with Jeff Tambor stepping into the role of Premier Vadislav Niet, the head KGB agent of Las Vegas who is tasked to find and destroy the Wolfblood Wanderers.  The third part promises to be darkest of all the Hangover movies, with a long scene of Galifianakis crying into a bottle of whiskey and talking about how he killed his wife (rumor on the street is that Galifianakis wasn’t acting during this scene), and Ken Jeong walking out of the movie halfway through by saying “Guys, this isn’t funny anymore. I need to leave this circle of self-destruction”.  There will be somewhere around 25 explosions in this movie, but they’re all hidden and the first person to find all 25 will win a trip to Las Vegas to visit the tombs of the Wolf-woof Wiffleballs.

Epic (Releases May 24th)

This movie will surprisingly be about the Edora Pool and Ice Center in Fort Collins, Colorado where I grew up.  I find it as hard to believe as most people that the story of a Northern Coloradoan indoor pool and ice rink would be the subject of a hit summer blockbuster, but it does look like Hollywood will spruce it up a bit.  Firstly, Maxwell P. Edora (played with gravitas by Mark Wahlberg) creates the pool and ice center as a way of covering up a massive Colorado state conspiracy, and every night when the ice rink closes Edora goes to his underground laboratory to try and get to the bottom of it alongside his talking dog (voiced by Parks and Recreation‘s Aziz Ansari).  The conspiracy is as follows: The river that runs through Fort Collins (The Cache le Poudre) was a hiding ground for gun powder for French fur trappers, and it seems as though a group of trappers happened upon not only the motherload of all gunpowder, but also on a hidden cache of gold (This part is told in flashback by Tom Hanks, doing a french accent of course).  In order to make sure no one would find their gunpowder and gold, they set up a series of trap-ridden catacombs in the area surrounding the river.  But wouldn’t you know it, Colonel William O. Collins (Played by Alan Rickman) purposefully set up his military fort near where the trappers were rumored to have their catacombs built.  Collins did this, because he wanted the gold and he was going to use the gunpowder to blow up the fort after he had found the gold so he could retire from the military in peace and not have to fight in the Civil War.  Edora finds out that the city counsel led by Collins’ descendant Anton E. Collins (played by Vince Vaughn in a surprisingly effective performance) are still searching for the underground french catacombs, and more still he finds out that he may have only five days to save the town from complete annihilation.  Based on a true story, and featuring a special appearance of Donald Sutherland as local activist/hero Thomas Sutherland.  As you can imagine, this movie feature plenty of explosions thanks to the heavily feature gunpowder.

Fast & Furious 6 (Releases May 24th)

Fast & Furious 6: Several Tickets and an Anger Management Class Later picks up the ball right where the fifth installment left it: Vin Diesel is tied to a chair, wondering why in God’s name was he cursed to only appear in Car movies (Your last name is “Diesel” and you went into acting, Vin. Don’t worry, I’m only going to appear in bread-based movies).  Suddenly, a grenade is thrown in: EXPLOSION. Dwayne Johnson walks through the smoke and flames and extends an arm to Vin: “Wassup, I’m Dwayne. I’m busting you out of here”. “But Dwayne, we’re surrounded by lasers and dinosaurs and Nazis probably”, “Yeah, well it’s a good thing I brought my helicopter”. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, goes the helicopter as Dwayne and Vin fly out of Alcatraz in 2068, but that’s not the end, oh no it’s only the beginning.  Gina Carano stars as an FBI agent with a chip on her shoulder and a badass attitude, and Cristoph Waltz plays a Nazi sent by Hitler into the Future to re-grow Hitler’s brain… IN THE BODY OF A T-BIRD.  Vin and Dwayne will have to race against both the HiT-Bird and Time, as a comet is also going to be crashing into Earth that will awaken a Dark Dragon and bring forth 1000 years of terror.  Can they make it? Their muscles say “Yes”.  This movie will be at least 66% explosions, although my money is on 95% (The other 5% will be driving while talking about cars and how they blow up).

After Earth (Releases May 31st)

The shadow of last summers “The Anvenglings” hangs heavy over the newest film by M. Night Shyamalan.  Why? Because After Earth combines EVERY SINGLE SHYAMALAN MOVIE INTO ONE.  Will Smith plays Captain Hobarth Gondola, a man who doesn’t get sick, and real-life son Jada Pinkett Smith plays movie the movie son Cowabunga Gondola, who can see dead people. That part’s obvious from the trailers.  What the trailers don’t tell us is that the Smiths come from a secluded Village in the woods that is the only place that hasn’t been taken over by baseball-hating plant aliens (in order keep people from leaving the Village, the adults tell the children stories about how great baseball used to be. It’s all a lie, though, all a fear-mongering lie).  The first twist comes about a third of the way through the movie when we find out that the aliens have struck up a truce with the Aqua-wolves who are actually what are left of the water-benders.  It seems that the aqua-wolves (formerly grass wolves, but the Lady in the Water drove them to the sea, this is explained in a flashback) are trying to completely destroy the fire-benders who now control a sizable portion of the world (there’s twist number two).  Things get really crazy after that, but I can’t give away any of the other five twists.  Needless to say, Captain Hobarth and Cowabunga are going to have to fight a bear voiced in unison by Steve Buscemi and Chris Tucker. As this movie takes place “After Earth” it’s a part of the movie-world that 33% of the Earth’s atmosphere is now explosions, so I think we all know that there will be plenty of fireballs and water balls and, most important of all, BASEballs.

Now You See Me (Releases May 31st)

Though billed as a magician movie, this is actually going to be the last film of a highly prolific experimental filmmaker known as “The Terrier”.  Terrier has an impressive oeuvre, but unfortunately he has always been plagued by the fact that he’s never gotten a wide theatrical release (though he’s won a number of experimental awards, and was even congratulated on his dedication to the cinematic art by former president Jimmy Carter).  Somehow he managed to get Now You See Me released ans shot in wonderful Hollywood, California.  Fans of Terrier’s past works will be very fond of the floating color forms and the way he uses photographic anomalies as a means of exploring identity and sexuality, however what I found very jarring (and certainly indicative of why Terrie is retiring after this film) is the fact that the entire soundtrack is Terrier saying “Oh, so now you see me? Now? You didn’t see anything I made when I had a festival in Berlin, but now you’re interested that I have Jesse Eisenberg and Common in it? Well thanks. Thanks a lot” and so forth.  Eisenberg and Common are featured, however only briefly and it’s more like a macro shot of these men’s teeth as they eat a carrot.  There aren’t any explosions in the traditional sense, but it’s certainly a worthy experience. Although I suggest turning off the sound (I hear that it synchs up well to “Dark Side of the Moon”, though).

The Purge (Releases June 7th)

In the second of this summer’s Vitamin-themed movies, the Purge follows the rivalry between two dieticians: One who claims that high fiber is the key to eliminating excess chemicals and fats, the other who claims that it’s a diet rich in anti-oxidants. The rivalry grows, much like the one in “The Prestige”, and eventually the two dieticians take the rivalry too far. The Fiber Dietician asks help from Dr. Atkins in order to create a machine that will measure diet effectiveness.  While the ending is being kept a secret for now (as it should, it’s quite a doozy. Or should I say “Juice-y”?), needless to say David Bowie’s cameo as Dr. Atkins will be nominated for at least three Oscars.  The movie promises to have two, possibly four explosions.  Don’t worry, though, because they’re going to be good explosions.

Man of Steel (Releases June 14th)

This movie will be about the 1952 Steel Strike, as told from the perspective of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, President Harry Truman, and of course the group of dedicated and underpaid steel workers.  As the story goes, the United Steelworkers of America wanted to go on strike against U.S Steel for a wage increase (as they thought that their wages were help intentionally low during World War II in an attempt for their employers to make more money).  President Truman quickly tried to nationalize the steel industry (which would mean that the workers wouldn’t be able to go on strike), however the steelworkers sued the government and took the case to the Supreme court. Surprisingly enough, the steelworkers won and were allowed to go on strike and get their wage increase (much to the chagrin of Sen. McCarthy, as this was early in the era of McCarthyism and we were only ankle-deep in the next Red Scare).  For those of you who may fear that this movie will get too political, though, don’t worry because Director Zack Snyder has made a few changes to the historical account: President Truman is now a muscle-bound pro wrestler, Sen. McCarthy is a giant robot, and the Steelworkers are a group of sexy teens with a devil-may-care attitude.  Also, instead of working in a steel mill, everyone works at an Explosion factory.  It’s still history, just sexier and more exciting.

Monsters University (Releases June 21st)

In this sequel to the hit 2001 film “Monster’s Ball” starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, we find Leticia Musgrove alive and kicking and teaching at Yale (she’s teaching French literature, of course).  Things get complicated when Hank Grotowski shows up with a devastating bit of news: The affair they had some twelve years ago resulted in a child (Musgrove was pretty out of it, because she was in a bullet-wound induced coma for all those nine months), and that this child was a genius and is now ready to enroll in college.  Grotowski wants only whats best for his son, as he wants you Hank Jr. to become a doctor and not be stuck in the horrible family tradition of prison guarding. Musgrove is shocked: Does she really want this terrible part of her past walking into her life again, but at the same time can she say no to her own genius son?  While Musgrove and Grotowski go through their personal drama and sort out their pasts and prejudices, Hank Jr. gets involved in some whacky college hijinks (it’s obviously comedic relief, and the performance of Burn Gorman as Hank Jr. who just doesn’t have the presence for slapstick college humor, plus he pronounces “Frat” wrong).  To just make matter all sort of worse, Mos Def’s Ryrus Cooper shows up in the last third of the movie demanding “The Money”. Who is Cooper talking to? What money? Is Hank Jr. really who he says he is, or is actually an escaped convict? These are all questions that Grotowski and Musgrove will have to answer in Monsters University.  There will be no explosions in this movie, though, and I think we’re all a bit disappointed in that.

World War Z (Releases June 21st)

ZOMBIES! Oh No! And this time they’re like ants and they can climb on top of each other and there’s SO MANY ZOMBIES! Who’s going to kill these zombies? Brad Pitt, that’s who! “Wait a second, doesn’t Brad Pitt have a family?” I hear you ask. YES. Yes he does, but he has to leave his family behind because of zombies.  Meanwhile the zombies are EVERYWHERE and they’re eating EVERYTHING and turning it into MORE ZOMBIES. Lucky for Brad Pitt, zombies are allergic to explosions. So Brad Pitt kills the zombies by exploding them. THE END. Oh, and Brad Pitt looses a wife but gains a daughter or… something like that.

White House Down (Releases June 28th)

In this HILARIOUS Stoner comedy, an Aide to President Obama tries to get the President to loosen up a bit with a wild night on the town.  “Come on, Prezy-O, this is your last night of freedom before the next filibuster from Congress. Let’s go KAH-RAZY!” says the Aide (played by an always-welcome James Franco).  President Obama (who will be playing himself) shrugs and says “Yeah, okay. The White House is Down with that”.  What follows it a mix of “Dude Where’s My Car?” and “An American President” as Obama learns the true meaning of America (Parties) and why exactly he loves his wife Michelle (Because of parties).  Anheiser-Busch has made a beer specifically for this film called the “Bar-Hop O’Bama” which will be sold in super markets for as long as the film is in theaters. Also, the release date will be a national holiday, because Obama is a socialist dictator akin to Kim-Jong Il.  Unlike Kim Jong-Il’s hundreds of thousands of movies about him, though, this one promises to have the White House blow up at least eight times, only two of which will be in dream sequences (directed by David Lynch, of course).

The Lone Ranger (Releases July 3rd)

The year is 1949. People are happy that World War II is over, unhappy that the Korean War is about to begin, and generally scared of everything.  Also: Televisions are starting to be a thing.  This proves to be vital in uniting our troubled nation, as one television producer hears a radio show and decides to turn it into a television show: The Lone Ranger.  We follow the ups and downs of the shows near-decade on air as the producer, Jack Chertok (played by Mark Ruffalo), struggles to cast a horse for Silver (They ended up going through thirteen different horses during the shows run, prompting the television industry to call such a show plagued by horse death as having “Silver’s Curse”), fend off rabid Lone Ranger fans (there was a sizable group of fans who were actually rabid, it was in the California newspapers), and has to put up with Jay Silverheels (played by Johnny Depp) who had the ridiculous idea to have Tonto wear a crazy hat.  The casting of Johnny Depp in the role of Silverheels is proving to bring up quite the discussion of race and native culture in cinema, but the choice is sound because Depp is 1/16th Cherokee.  Oh, and I almost forgot: Chernok also had to deal with lead actor Clayton Moore’s obsession with dynamite and blowing up any hotel he stayed in (Eventually Chernok had to replace Moore’s dynamite collection with chocolate, leading to Moore gaining a great deal of weight).

Pacific Rim (Releases July 12th)

In Pacific Rim a crazed AI has broken out of it’s computoral prison in Black Mesa and taken over an army of gigantic robots.  These robots begin destroying all of civilization, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them or the crazed AI, when suddenly a rumble comes from the ground: It’s Godzilla! Godzilla does his best to fight the robots, and he almost succeeds with the help of Ghidora and even King Ceasar (It’s a huge step for Godzilla lore, I know, but it’s a dire circumstance)! Then the AI laughs: You didn’t think I’d let you win that easily, did you Godzilla? Mechagodzilla, controlled by the AI, rears its ugly head. Things look bad, really bad. Then a robot steps on Monster Island, and that can only mean that it’s incurred the wrath of its winged insect-like protector.  As the Mothra, Godzilla, Ghidora, etc. fight the evil robots the humans below scream and get crushed.  One team of scientists tries to figure out a way to stop the robo-threat, but they kind of figure Godzilla has it covered. Also, they get crushed by a falling building.  This movie actually won’t have many explosions (it’s by Guillermo del Toro, after all, so it does have a touch of class), instead it focuses mainly on knock-out brawling between giants.  Plus, when you’re the size of a skyscraper there is no difference between an explosion and a firefly.

Grown Ups 2 (Releases July 12th)

Grown Ups 2: Sorry Guys We Weren’t Actually Grown Up the First Time, Adam Sandler (played by golf legend Happy Gilmore) hangs out with three of his friends (one of whom is black, because Adam Sandler isn’t racist).  He might go to a pool, mostly they just hang out and drink beer. Fart? They fart too. Honestly, this movie is mostly just padding for Gilmore’s Oscar reel.  It still promises to have one explosion. One poop-Explosion.  Also, despite evidence to the contrary, Rob Schneider will show up playing a Dutch Midget. It’s going to be HILARIOUS.

The Wolverine (Releases July 26th)

This wonderful nature documentary follows one little wolverine pup as it grows up in Alaskan wilderness.  It faces a particularly difficult winter, hot-headed hunters (Spoiler Alert, the wolverine’s mother dies early, but it is able to find it’s father again. Which is nice), and a riveting section where our little wolverine gets trapped in an ice drift.  The documentary will be narrated by Hugh Jackman. Fun Fact: Jackman had no idea he was narrating a documentary when he entered the studio for every day of recording.  Even more fun fact: Jackman has never actually seen a wolverine, and spends most of the documentary talking about wolves and tangerines (as you can imagine, Jackman gets incredibly excited when the Wolverine sneezes at a Tangerine while being chased by a wolf).  This movie has one explosion at an oil factory, but most of the focus is on the wolverine scavenging for food in the snow. It’s adorable, and will certainly take your mind off of the hellish inferno outside.

Elysium (Releases August 9th)

So, something like 10,000 years ago there was a race of alien super-beings called the “Forerunners” who destroyed all of the life in the universe by using a series of gigantic space halos. These halos continued to exist, and many centuries later humanity happens upon one of these halos and colonizes it.  This Halo becomes home to the wealthy upper-class who live a life of excess that crosses a dimensional barrier and angers a race of beings known as Vortigaunts.  The Vortigaunts escape through a dimensional rift into our world and begin to go on a killing spree, destroying life on the halo and moving outwards to other human colonies.  The films hero, Samus Shepard (played by Matt Damon), sets forth on his starship Ishimura to get to the center of Vortigaunt “Hive-Brain”, which controls all of the Vortigaunts and is rumored to be a centuries-old Forerunner who now wishes to destroy humanity (which it sees as a heretical parasite) by turning all of mankind into it’s undead necromorphic slaves.  Shepard blasts through asteroid fields, Vortigaunt battle fleets, and former Forerunner defense drones to get to the center of all this madness: The Penal colony on Mars.  It seems as though this is all tied to the opening of a portal to hell that was all fostered by a rogue AI and a fleet of centuries old machine-beings who also want to destroy humanity and saw the Covenant of the Vortigaunt as a prime way to do it.  It’s very complicated, and the movie decides that it would be better to have Damon shoot things instead of trying to let us understand what’s happening.  This generally works, and there are plenty of cool outer-space explosions, and zombies, and robots, and there’s even a bit with Mars-Nazi’s who are trying to capture the essence of hell and put it into a an Ark. Plus, Damon’s spaceship is populated by sexy women and sexier androids.

Kick Ass 2 (Releases August 16th)

Kick Ass 2: Ass Harder, based off of the novel “Push” by Sapphire will be surprisingly divergent from both the first movie and the novel it’s based off of, as it will primarily follow Jim Carrey, not as the character of Sargent Stars and Stripes, mind you, but as himself.  The film promises to be a combination of Being John Malkovich and JCVD, following Carrey as he lives a tormented life doomed to constantly make funny faces while in his heart he feels only darkness and sorrow.  Carrey’s struggle with manic depression and his own thoughts on the devolution of comedic form all inter-mingle in one of the most fascinating films of the summer, and needless to say Carrey gives a tour-de-force performance.  Also, Hit Girl has been replaced with a fat black girl from the ghetto who can’t read because they needed something to cut to in between Carrey’s personality breakdowns.  There will be no explosions in this movie, which is certainly a downside and will limit its theatrical showings, but this may be the closest thing we’ll ever get to a sequel of The Mask (and that includes Son of the Mask).

The World’s End (Releases August 23rd)

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright return for another delightful romp through the English pub scene.  There’s only one problem: They’re in Detroit!  Desperate to find at least on good pub in Detroit, Pegg, Frost, and newcomers Martin Freeman (fresh off his role as famed short person and sexual pun Bilbo Baggins) and Rosamund Pike (fresh off of her role in Wrath of the Titans) travel for weeks, searching for the perfect pub. “I swear to bloody God if I don’t find some good Bangers and Mash soon I’m going to sodding flip a bilke!” yells Pegg in the middle of Robocop stadium (there’s only a Robocop-themed bar there, it’s terrible) with Frost and Freeman being too scared to tell him that they have no idea what a “bilke” is.  As the movie goes on the situation becomes more and more desperate, the characters pushed to their pub limits. Before the last scene, most of the characters will die in delightfully English ways (Freeman gets suffocated with a bowler hat by a man in a gorilla suit, before dying he utters “Oh bother”).  Wright tried his best to keep to the English “No explosions, guv’na” policy, but it’s difficult to avoid them in the lawless city of Detroit. So keep your eyes on the background and I’m sure you’ll see plenty.

An Unhelpful Guide to the Oscars – 2013

As we all know the fate of the universe stands on who wins an Oscar.  Well, not every Oscar, only the three most important ones: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Sound Editing.  But who has time to see all of these movies, let alone cast their ballot in the Oscar voting booth.  Fortunately, I’ve compiled together this list of the nominees with a brief description of their merits and a grading scale for them.  So now when you’re talking to JJ Abrams and Ed Helms over your Google on February 24th, you can tell them WHO you vote for, and WHY you vote for, and then you’ll save the world just like Iron Hawk in “The Avengings”.

Amour (Nominated for Best Picture, and Best Directing)

Pigeons have learned to open windows! OH NO! The shock of this causes a French woman to lose her heart, and then her husband has to give her a bath.  This movie has some pianos in it, two or maybe three, and it’s foreign so it counts as a book too! Overall I’d give it five windows and eight firemen.

Life of Pi (Nominated for all three!)

This movie, based off of a book of the same name, is about an Indian boy whose father owns a zoo! Oh Boy, it’s great! There are Tigers, and Zebras, and probably even Lemurs! The boy, named Pi but not because of a dessert, has so much fun at the zoo but then his father dies in a boat and he’s sad for the rest of the movie until he comes to the United States where everyone else hates boats too. This movie has a bunch of animals in it, but they’re not the funny talking kinds like in those other movies about animals on boats, so that’s a major down point.  But it does feature Indian food, so maybe it’s even? I give this movie three tigers, one ocean, and Zero hulks.

Silver Linings Playbook (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director)

Dancin’!  That’s the name of the game in this raucous comedy, where former dance instructor Pat “Dancin’ Dancory” Murnau has to teach a young up-and-comer (played by young up-and-comer Jennifer Lawrence) how to dance in time for the big dance-off on Saturday night.  There’s just one problem: Pat gets a horrible head injury and gets amnesia! Now Both he AND the young up-and-comer (her name is something like JPEG)! Oh No!  Fortunately, Robert DeNiro steps in as the wise old Danceman himself Mikhail Baryshnikov (His friends call him “Pat Senior”, though. It’s an inside joke) “But Mickey” says Pat (Pat calls him “Mickey”. He thinks it’s an inside joke, but really it’s just hurtful) “I don’t REMEMBER HOW TO DANCE!” “Why It’s easy!” Says DeNiro in his best Russian accent (also of note is the stunning make-up on DeNiro’s Baryshnikov) “Alls you gotta do is move your hands and feet in a synchronous manner!” “I’m Getting it! Golly Gee!”. They all have a laugh. It’s good family fun, and in the end the winning move JPEG makes to win the Dance contest (Spoiler alert) is from Pat’s old Silver Linings Playbook. Words cannot describe the depths of amazement this film reaches. I give it fourteen stars. Out of Five. Fourteen out of five stars.

Argo (Nominated for best Sound Editing and Best Picture)

Argo is a movie about a group of the last humans on a distant planet, where they have to ride in spaceships and fight bird-monsters who are commanded by Lord Zod the Unpleasant.  It’s a harrowing adventure tale of romance, revenge, and aerial dogfights.  But this “Argo” is about the making of the other Argo, and it’s a bit disappointing (especially because we only focus on the script supervisor, BORING), but apparently during filming Canada held the crew hostage. It has a good cast, but I’m a little shocked at what they’re saying by having a meth mastermind work in the CIA and a KKK Cyclops working in Hollywood. At any rate, I give this film Thirty beards and one Jimmy Carter.

Lincoln (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director)

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States of America. He was born in a log cabin, he had a large hat, and a BIIIIIIIIG beard. He liked various puddings, and he enjoyed going to see plays at the local theater.  He is dead now, and we’re sad, but before he died he made this movie! So we can be happy.  Abraham Lincoln did a fine job making this movie, especially considering that he didn’t know what a movie was, but he does get a bit too self-congratulatory (Come on, Lincoln, you’ve already said the Gettysberg address once, why say it again?).  I give this movie thirteen desks and five hats.

Zero Dark Thirty (Nominated for Best Sound Editing and Best Picture)

In Zero Dark Thirty a woman watches a number of people drink too much water and then decides that she has to kill Osama Bin Laden, who has been making wine for the past five years. She thinks she has found Bin Laden, but the CIA chief is too concerned with his hair to help her out. Sad and angry, the woman decides to paint numbers on the walls.  This movie gives an accurate account of what happened just last year (including the FBI sending their best man, Burt Maclan, to take down their #1 target), but it’s hardly the sequel to “Argo” that we all wanted. They didn’t even include the bird monster! I give this movie three monkeys and a classified number of stars.

Les Misérables (Nominated only for Best Picture, get it together)

Uh oh: France. These are the words that race through Johhny VanJoel’s mind in every second of the musical Les Misérables, but lucky for Johnny he meets a nun and everything works out because some street urchins broke some tables. Johnny isn’t able to escape the police chief, though. When the chief asks Johnny why he did it, why he had to come to France, Johnny smiles and says “Aw, Chief, you know how these things work out. One day you’re eating bread, and the next you’re singing about drums”. The chief will never understand this, but at least Johnny finds what he’s been looking for.  This movie is good, but I wish everyone wasn’t singing because I don’t think it’s very realistic.  During the REAL French Revolution only the nobles were allowed to sing. I give this movie no haircuts and 525,600 minutes. Or… wait… yeah.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director)

An ancient evil has been loosed from its icy prison in the Northern Arctic: The Aurocs.  They were hatched in the primordial stew of the chaos and void of the beginning of the universe, and now they’re back and cutting a swath of destruction throughout the world.  Only a young girl named Hushpuppy stands in the way between the Aurocs and her town of The Bathtub, and following advice from her bloodsick father and a wise witchdoctor she travels to the Elysian Fields to find a magic catfish to stop these beasts. These Beasts of the Southern Wild. This movie has a lot of water in it, also a lot of animals, in fact this movie is almost exactly like “Life of Pi” in that it has young children, animals, and water.  I give this film one small dog and a dead alligator.

Django Unchained (Nominated for Best Sound Editing and Best Picture)

In this prequel to “Lincoln”, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz play a black man and a horse-killing dentist (respectively) who hunt down a notorious carriage thief before galloping off to Candyland. There are other people who die too, plenty of other people, and filmmaker Quentin Tarrantino stars as a person of indeterminate nationality.  This movie is fine, although I think the REAL winner for this years Oscars is the beard. I give this movie three dead people and eight gallons of blood.

Skyfall (Nominated only for Best Sound Editing, good but not good enough)

James wakes up in his Russian condo after years of retirement. It’s M: “James, You’ve got to help me, the Sky is falling! The Sky is falling!”. Thus begins the newest installment of the film franchise “James Bond”. Throughout the movie, Bond mugs to camera cheekily saying things like “I got out of retirement for THIS?” and “I’m gettin’ too old for this”, as well as Bond’s signature catchphrase “Yipee Kay-Yay Queen Elizabeth”.  It turns out that M is right, the Sky is falling because the hip youngster Javier Bardem is playing his music too loud, “No way, Gramps, you just don’t got da style anymo'” says Javier’s Silva (named for all the silver plating he has. “Chrome is yesterday’s news, Silver is the now BABY!”).  When M is trapped beneath a shard of the sky, James has to make a decision: Do I save the sky or Do I save M, the love of my life (and thus by extension, save his soul)?  This film is by far one of the worst bond movies, and I feel it has steered largely away from Flemming’s original novels wherein Bond was a savvy super-spy and a national hero, instead opting for more kid-friendly and bottom of the barrel gags, like the sequence where Bond uses a whoopee cushion to escape from Silva’s moon laser/ice rocket.  It’s not the cushion itself, it’s the way he snickers at the camera afterwards and says “Poop”.  This is not the Bond we know, and I hope they get their act together for the next installment “James Bond and the Amazing Technicolor Dream-coat”.  I give this twenty three films and 7 zeroes.

 

So, for some more clarifications, here’s who I think will win the Oscars this Year:

Best Picture: “From Here to Eternity”

Best Director: Fred Zinneman, for “From Here to Eternity”

Best Sound Editing: William Holden, for “Stalag 17”