Honest Thoughts on the Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

On December 7th, I totally, completely forgot about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I actually only realized that it happened because I had to look down at the lower right-hand corner of my laptop so I can use the date as a point of reference for what I actually want to say. Instead of observing the war tragedy that forced an isolationist United States to begin campaigns against the Japanese, I saw the very first teaser trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming.

There was a lot of hype growing in the past 48 hours because that trailer ended up being the trailer for the real trailer that came out late last night. (This is how marketing works now in the 21st century) Tom Holland impressed in the red-and-blue suit during the couple of scenes he got in Captain America: Civil War. The new movie, Homecoming, takes our Spider-Man back to high school and looks like it is really targeting the adolescent audience. The Peter Parker elements, like staring across the lunch room at the girl he’s crushing on alongside his overweight nerd friend, feel like the sort of thing that’d be written in a Young Adult novel. Just the fact that the friend is Asian (that CAN’T be Harry Osborne) makes his character feel more realistic, as though the school actually does comprise of various ethnic backgrounds. So despite the questionable use of MGMT in the trailer, the cast doesn’t resemble a bushel of cauliflower, for once. I’m INCREDIBLY wary about the casting decision for Flash Thompson, however. If you watched Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and thought, “that smol bellhop sure has an intimidating presence about him,” then congratulations! You are fit to miscast bully characters in Hollywood blockbusters.

Image result for tony revolori grand budapest hotel


I do find it peculiar how hard he’s crushing on someone who is neither Mary-Jane nor Gwen Stacy. I’m not familiar with the actress playing Peter’s love interest this time around, but I’m optimistic that she’ll bring something new to the table. The kid’s full of raging teenage Spider hormones, so it makes sense that there’s a girl he’d pine over, but the execution needs to be strong. I don’t like that the trailer already gives it away that he gets with her in some capacity, as having a phone call with her explaining things like he’s in a relationship kind of dropped some of the “will she, won’t she” suspense right from the get-go.

The trailer shows a lot of Tony Stark, too. Which is fine, because RDJ is one of the few reasons to watch any of the Marvel movies anyway. Having him in the movie hopefully means Marisa Tomei is going to reprise her role as Aunt May. That way I can sit in the movie theater and silently, but happily, contemplate whether or not Peter’s loving, old aunt should be that sexually attractive. I mean, this is the same actress from My Cousin Vinny, and the same one who performed a strip tease in The Wrestler. I’m excited to live in a universe where Peter’s aunt is actually a selling point of a Spider-Man movie.

Further strengthening the cast, Michael Keaton’s role as Vulture is one of perfect Hollywood irony. He was once the Tim Burton era Batman. Then he starred in Birdman as a washed-up actor known for his heroic role in his younger days. And now Keaton is actually playing an old man in a bird suit. That’s the kind of fate that is written in the stars and found in tea leaves at the bottom of jade cups. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a great actor, either. This level of experience making up the adult cast ought to help guide the younger stars of the film. The suit and the laser tech used in the trailer are really cheesy, though. They looked like props, and I’m fairly certain that these clips have all seen their go through post-production already, so I’m bracing for schlock.

Tom Holland looks like he has the character nailed down, but he is still a little too small, muscle wise, to completely satisfy what I know to be Spider-Man. The original Tobey Maguire films still have the best version of the hero in terms of body physique, and I don’t think that including the shot of him shirtless in the trailer was needed. It was clearly a thirst trap designed for adolescent females to gif and reblog on their Tumblr pages. A little exploitative man bod never hurt anyone. Literally, he’s still so little. Adorable, but as someone who finds himself vainly and self-consciously staring at themselves in the mirror all the time, it’s very very clear that Tom Holland was flexing with every fiber of his being in that shot. I was hoping some of that Hollywood physical training he’d supposedly been doing in preparation for this film would have added a little more bulk than simply make him more cut. Oh well. As long as he can shoot webs well and the plot isn’t as bad as Amazing Spider-Man 2, then I will happily put up with it.

Hype Rating: 4.5 Hypes out of 5

 

 

PlayStation 4 Pro – Review

I’m thoroughly convinced that Black Friday and the shopping season in the month before Christmas is inherently evil, like the same sort of evil that tried 638 times to put Fidel Castro into the ground. And my reasoning for this has nothing to do with the midnight doorbuster customers trampling over each other like a flea-bitten hyenas, exposing just how close we are to the animal kingdom after all. Nor am I referring to the guy who got shot, or the fact that capitalism drives mortal men to engage in horrible actions. (Though ‘capitalism’ would be an acceptable answer to the proposed question.) I recently purchased my PlayStation 4 about a week ago due to the psychological compulsion factor of a reduced price, and since then I have seen my life slowly unravel as I found myself losing hours in front of my new gaming system.

I got the Pro model of the system for two major reasons. The first being that the hardware that the system runs on, as advertised, is more powerful than the base PlayStation 4 system that launched three years ago. Certain games that already exist on store shelves, as well as all games moving forward for Sony, are going to include patches where the Pro owner will see noticeably better performance and graphics from their games. And even though how that exactly is done is up to game developer discretion, it still is the most powerful system on the market, and is the more future-proof version of the system.

Secondly, the system comes with a 1 Tb hard drive, doubling the amount of space that the original system came with. I’ve heard and read far too many accounts of players having to diligently micromanage their hard drive space with only 500 Gigabytes to work with. Which makes sense considering the final version of the PlayStation 3 came with 500 Gigabytes of on-system hard drive space. The “Super Slim” model, that I currently own, is capable of storing a mountain of downloaded PS3 titles (so many of which I never even got around to playing) but that’s not the case with PS4 games. The necessary hard drive space of a current generation title is usually between 45 and 50 Gigs. That’s ten times the amount of space needed for a last generation game. That Terabyte was an absolute MUST for me, seeing that I’ve already filled up the hard drive half-way with just the games I bought from Black Friday or got free from PlayStation Plus.

And I really couldn’t be anymore pleased with the system. It is a great console, perfect for pick-up-and-play. A small feature that I’m really impressed with is just the simple ability to actually leave games on stand by, then open another application like the web browser or YouTube, and have the ability to jump right back into the game with no noticeable load time. I know this is something that has technically been on the PS4 since the first release, but it means a lot for someone who has been living the life of a last-gen peasant for three years.

I feel the need to add that this console has really rejuvenated the gamer in me. No lie, I’ve found that I can’t ignore the black box for very long. It’s just a fun thing to own, especially if you have some friends on hand to throw down in Mortal Kombat with. Ripping your friend’s spine from their body has never looked better. As I’m writing this, I actually want to just go turn on the system and dive into the beautifully rendered worlds of Uncharted 4 and Fallout 4. (what is it with all the 4’s this generation, anyway?) Some, like my dad, would probably say that I’ve become a video game junkie again… and, uh, I don’t have a problem. I can quit any time I want… ahem.

In conclusion, I’d say I’m thoroughly pleased with my altogether very-expensive purchase. I honestly haven’t found anything to complain about yet. The controller feels nice, the system flows very easily between tasks. Downloads can occur even while powered down. And it’s got the horse power to really deliver that “wow factor.” It may not be sporting the specs that a PC elitist demands from their gameplay experience, but I’m someone who keeps things relative. I played a few games on an old Nintendo 64 with friends over the Thanksgiving weekend, and really getting to step back and see how much gaming has evolved over the years, allowed me to not only appreciate the PlayStation 4 Pro, but praise it as well.

I can not f**king wait for The Last of Us 2 to come out.

Obligatory Number at the End – 9/10

 

Poems – Vol. 3

Many of my poems were written in my Cold War history class. This could be a stretch, but I believe this is because viewing the world in retrospect is not dissimilar from the introspection caused by traversing back through the individual time line. For me at least, the former tends to trigger the latter.

I do not write poems with succinct and clear definition. Though poetry writing is still a new muscle for me to exercise, I’ve developed a personal philosophy of striving toward conveyance of feeling, driven by lines of sensory provocation and emotional language. I never give the exact “meaning” to any of my poems. Short of a full discussion in which interpretations can be explored, I could never reveal cut-and-dry “answers.” It is important to understand that my experience and your experience can never be the same – only line up within degrees. I esteem that uniqueness of thought, and it’s a quality I try to tap into with my words.

I made the edits to these standing behind the register of my burger flipping job and I present them here now, sophomoric warts and all. This first one is dedicated to the United States during the early 1970s.


Smog Lung Song – 11/29/2016

Fill it with everything but me
Knuckles bleached, ingrown splinters, Knives, half-hearted crimps of lip
Fill it and let me be pale
These nations towed by Neolithic barbers, ancient ruts
Skin taut, grips on void
Deserted moments lousy with squatting, loathing browbeaters
Abandoning paths paved black and boiling
Clenched, crooked mouth, strain eyelids shut and obscure
Passive, soot-bathed bodies breathe polluted winds
Flickers of forgotten flames, mistaken beliefs breed
Swarms of dragonflies flash frozen black and white
Laying now heart and head on that baked gravel pavement
Borne into the end         invisible gashes bleed no more


A Fascination with the Fluorescent – 11/29/2016

A fascination with the fluorescent
Today a small triumphant
Moment lost in opaque landscapes opaline
A pretentious peasant’s scribbled lines
Oft-remember pigments stitching life
Shifting shades in monochrome kaleidoscope
Weave gray in persistent pessimism
Soul sipping toxins through bendy straws
Bales of hate feeding honor-starved mares
Emaciated steeds dragging steady
Scabs and bones I once called me

 

Sci-Fi Movie Trailers Extravaganza!!! (Valerian)

 

In my last post, I briefly mentioned how I didn’t like Lucy. That movie where Scarlett Johannson “unlocks full brain potential,” as if our brains are normally just inactive heaps of jelly that slosh around in our skull. Well, that director is back. Luc Besson, whom the trailer humbly refers to as “visionary” for sticking Chris Tucker in a cheetah print dress and attaching a loofah to his head like some sort of bath time rhinoceros (i.e. the best part of The Fifth Element), is now adapting an ancient, French comic series that no American has ever heard of. He will also be selling tickets to see it on the big screen next summer. Initially, my first viewing of the Valerian trailer was one of dismissal. Image result for chris tucker fifth element gifThere’s so much cartoon CGI for the eye to feast on, replete with vivid colors and lush worlds that were likely made by a small army of artists and designers in front of computer screens. I like videogames, don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate some nice CGI, but when an entire movie looks like it was made exclusively in green and blue screen studios, it tends to trigger my flashbacks of Viet-Attack of the Clones.

I spent a little time researching into the source material, and there’s a strong foundation for science fantasy in Valerian. I couldn’t get too familiar with the series since Wikipedia had its hand out begging for money again (they must not understand that Trump is president now), but apparently the Valerian and Laureline comic series is one of the most inspirational works in the genre, even having supposedly influenced the original Star Wars. So looking at it again with this in mind… I still see an advert for 4K ultra hi-definition televisions. Really. This doesn’t scream “visionary” to me. This screams “I’m really comfortable with not having to do much in the actual creative process and still getting top billing for the work of countless others who will be packed into the credits like brown people in slums.”

I don’t hate the idea of a cartoon, because that’s what this is – a film with eye candy as its main selling point to lure kids’ butts in theater chairs. But with Disney’s move toward more practical effects and sets in Star Wars, this trailer sets a tone of consequence free adventure stuck in the computer generated ideals of the 2000’s. The giant monsters don’t pose a real threat, the characters aren’t presented with any dimension or conflict, and the laws of physics apparently don’t apply. The last shot in the trailer shows Valerian in the middle of a free fall several stories high, narrowly avoiding the CGI ships zooming around the CGI world before crashing through a tube walkway with enough force to shatter glass, landing on his knees with not a single indication that it hurt. Is he a super person? Does that space suit conveniently also protect the wearer from breaking every bone in their body? No and no, are the answers. It conveniently keeps the script on track. This is a movie about spectacle for spectacle’s sake, to say nothing about the characters or the story other than “it looks cool.”

What the plot will be about is anyone’s guess. I’m guessing intergalactic Jerry Springer Show. My original idea was that it’ll be about a terrifying, parasitic life form that attaches to the faces of Valerian and Laureline, compelling them to engage in summer blockbuster nonsense. Then I realized that was just their eyebrows. Speaking of which, the casting seems rather curious. Cara Delevingne didn’t “wow” anyone with her role in Suicide Squad. In fact, the only “wows” that film generated were followed by “Jared Leto really needs to stop talking like that,” and “Suicide by firing Squad doesn’t sound like a bad option.” I don’t know what it is with Luc Besson casting models as the lead female parts in his science fiction, nor do I understand why he loves making the most ugly aliens in science fiction. And why Rihanna is in this film at all is a big question mark that needs to be addressed. Though she could never match him, her crazy blonde hair leads me to believe that she is a callback to this fabulous creature:Related image Luc Besson has some explaining to do. As for me, I think I’ll watch this movie if I happen to sustain some blunt force trauma to the head sometime between now and July.

Hype Rating: 2 Hypes out of 5

(end of all parts)

 

 

Sci-Fi Movie Trailers Extravaganza!!! (Ghost in the Shell)

Now here is a trailer that has been getting a lot of internet backlash. Scarlett Johansson stars as a killer android in the cyberpunk universe of Ghost in the Shell. Based off the Japanese anime film from the 90s, this live action interpretation looks gorgeous visually, but a lot of fans are worrying right now about how well it is going to adapt the story of the lauded film/manga. Because although the trailer seems to indicate a successful transfer of the anime’s futuristic world and aesthetics – minus the lighting and composition, which is disappointing, but I digress – there is no telling if the original’s themes are going to be simplified for general audiences as Hollywood often likes to do.

And this is fair criticism, especially considering the director at the helm here has only one other big-budget film under his belt. Rupert Sanders directed the 2012 film, Snow White and the Huntsmen, which currently has a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t even trust Rotten Tomatoes considering how often cinematic scat manages to find high freshness ratings on the site, a constant reminder that the human race is a sickness to the earth, but that still means the only other movie he’s made is hot garbage in the eyes of many. Not exactly an amazing track record. Then again, maybe he was disillusioned by the Hollywood factory line. Perhaps he didn’t care to put effort into Kristen Stewart pretending to be a fairy tale character in a film that turned out to be nothing more than a forgettable but stinky fart in long string of shitty, overly-produced fairy tale movies.

I think that’s what everyone in the comment section really has to be wishing for, anyway. With fingers crossed, we all just have to wait and see and hope that this Sanders guy, who probably doesn’t even know the first thing about being a senator in Vermont or getting robbed by the democratic party, can deliver something worth watching. Not just a regrettable kidney stone in a long string of shitty, overly-produced adaptations and remakes.

With ScarJo’s name attached to the project, we can at least say that she is definitely one of the coolest actresses in Hollywood. Black Widow, Lucy (which was stupid but whatever), and Mindy from The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. That’s the kind of person that runs on walls with dual pistols and enjoys it. I appreciate that at least one person working on this film is enthusiastic in making it aside from the set designers and maybe the cinematographers. Because really, the original movie looks golden. An anime that isn’t also an embarrassment is rare, so I definitely will be watching that to see how this remake stands up.

If nothing else, I can see this movie being a decent collection of colorful lights to have play in front of your eyes as you gorge on popcorn in a dark room alongside the other bipedal apes who enjoy the act of sitting in dark rooms and gnashing loudly on butter and salt. In the scenario that this movie does turn out to be doodoo, then hey, there’s always that 1995 anime and Ms. Johansson’s low-quality noods somewhere on the internet.

Hype Rating: 3.5 Hypes out of 5

Hype for watching the Anime: 5/5

(end of part two)