2013 Movie Recap – Part I

Movies . . . there be so few that capture my interest that it’s sad when even those few do little more than disappoint me.

Now, I could say I’m writing this as a service to others who might be thinking of watching the following movies, but since I typically wait for movies to hit the rental market, I imagine many of my readers already learned firsthand what I am about to write.

Think of this as either a confirmation of what you already know, or a commiseration of what you went through.

Oh . . . there may be readers who think differently than I do, and this saddens me beyond belief because it obviously means you have never seen a good movie, and hence have nothing helping them make sound entertainment judgments. No worry; that’s where I come in.

I will be reviewing only the “big” movies I watched, and in the order I watched them, not necessarily in their release order.


Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
I like most of the actors in the movie, but the vehicle that carried them through this 88 minutes journey lacked a plausible plot, and it tried to make up for it by cashing in on the already spent quasi-Steampunk universe.

Mind you, I’m all for neat gadgets, but not stupid neat gadgets. Nearly all the gadgets in this movie require the bad guys (in this case, bad witches) to be perfectly positioned for the weapons to have any effectiveness. Visually pleasing to the masses, I’m sure, but I can’t help thinking witches must be as limited in imagination as the writers.

For instance . . . assume you can fly on a broom, and someone is chasing you with intent to kill you. Ignore for a moment the fact that you can wield magic, and are incredibly resistant to damage; you’re just trying to get away.

Would you:
Hop on your broom and take off just about ground level, dangerously weaving through static trees?
. . . OR . . .
Shoot straight up, possibly carrying a few rocks with you to drop on the head of your enemies?

But I get it . . . if you fly up, the audience won’t get to cheer when you get all sliced to bits by flying between the only two trees where H&G have strung wires at just the right height . . . the height of your flight path. Frankly, you deserve it; thou should not suffer a stupid witch to live.

Overall, the premise was very weak, with a half-assed reversal in the role of the parents from the original story. You see, the parents are no longer douche bags leaving their children to starve in the forest. They are good people (a good witch, the mom is) saving the kids from the bad witches. Yep, there be good witches, but they not be very durable. No mention which cardinal direction them witches came from, probably because it would infringe on some copyright or other.

The only good thing about the movie? . . . it was relatively short by today’s standards.

I give this movie 1.1135 / 5.0. Enough said.


I liked the music, and once again, neat visuals and gadgets. I can’t say I like the actors, but there’s no hate for them, either. Cruise does what he does . . . pretty much pulls off an impression of what Cruise thinks is acting. Olga left a decent impression as an actress in Hitman, but her later efforts, including this one, has her roles severely limiting what she can do (has done).

So then, as it should be, the plot is left to carry the movie. Yeah . . . you wish! I won’t go too much into the story, mostly because it’s . . . well, it isn’t.

What I will say is this . . . if you are an alien with technology bordering on magic, capable of travel across interstellar distances, and you came here because you need to suck up ocean water for energy, well then, all your scientists are incompetent idiots or dead, and you ain’t worth spit! You deserve getting your butt handed to you in a thermonuclear platter.

Honest, I am tired of this illogical trope. Really? Energy from water? I’m not the brightest bulb in the light bank, but what little I know is this: to extract energy from water (which is very stable), one needs a lot of energy, more than you get out.

But beyond that, you have sophisticated killer robot drones that need maintenance, and of course, that requires a human clone to march right up to the malfunctioning drone, and perform a complicated repair procedure . . . replace a cylinder.

Even assuming it’s true, that your drones are all thumbs, if you can implant any memories you want into the human clone, why not make him a politician? A little money, and he’ll do pretty much whatever you want him to do.

Seriously; why don’t you have other drones doing that? What did you do before you cloned Maverik?

The plot becomes somewhat predictable as the movie goes on. It flirts with being insulting, but never quite manages to get there. At the end of the movie I was left with a vague sense of having been conned. I’d been shown a promise of something, and after many mirrors and much smoke, I’m left with nothing substantial.

I give this movie 2.13 / 5.0 for the visual and for a half-ass attempt at a plot.

And now we get into the blockbusters . . . movies I had considered going to the theater to watch, but ended up missing.


Iron Man 3
This movie was lauded as the best of the three Iron Man movies, a crowning achievement in the Iron Man saga. I knew right off the movie was going to suck; Stark still acts like a jerk, and Downey Jr. revels in cranking up jerkdom to new levels. Plus, Iron Man was still interested in Paltrow.

For a moment I was pleased about that, as it seemed a fitting punishment for his lack of . . . of . . . well, everything that would make a person likable.

But then I felt shame . . . no one deserves to be saddled with Paltrow, science fiction or not. Wait, did I say science fiction? I meant to say crapasy fiction. Yes, it’s a term I invented.

I’m not sure what movie the critics and fans saw. All I saw was overacting, mega-improbable action, ultra-mega-improbable bad guys, and a total disregard for even the most basic of scientific principles. But that’s not all.

What make these kinds of movies semi-interesting are the toys. Unfortunately, for roughly two-thirds of the movie all we see is Stark making believe he is MacGyver. Not only that, he is paired with a genius boy capable of . . . well, genius boy stuff; improbable and incredible genius boy stuff.

The thing is, I would have bought into some of this, except for one simple thing . . . THERE WAS NO DANG PLOT!

Honest, even after the toys come back into play, none of this crapasy made any sense. Not the supposed biological science, not what Stark does, not the action, not the resolution, not the epilogue. Nothing, zero, zilch, niente.

At the end of the movie my wife turned to me with a hurt look in her eyes; eyes misting over and in the verge of spilling tear. Tears of regret, tears of frustration, tears of betrayal.

She tried to speak, but a sob robs her voice of volume. Gaining her composure, she blurted out the following accusatory words just before running from the room.

With . . . with so little time left in our lives, so few precious moments to enjoy the time we have together . . . you . . . you made us watch this!

I searched for words that could gain me back some husband points, but all I came up with was:

But . . . but, hon . . . at least this makes Oblivion look good!

It was to no avail . . . time is the only healer for her wounded psyche and shaken trust.

I give this movie a 0.0367 / 5.575, and that’s only because for the briefest of moments I hoped Pepper had been killed off . . . I knew better, of course, but that brief hope alone merits a 0.0367 rating. 


Star Trek: Into Darkness
Time passed, wounds healed, and with some trepidation I rented the latest imagining of what once was a good idea. Subscribers to the blog might have read my previous review of this film HERE, but I had not actually watched it.

People, people who shall remain nameless, shamed me into watching it. How could I have an opinion about something I had not even watched? How could I call myself a just and fair man, and judge this product in absentia?

I tried using math to explain it to them.

If I see 2 + 2 = 4, proceed to prove it to myself, and then I see it again, I’m pretty sure two plus two is still going to equal four. I don’t really have to prove it to myself again.

Same for this movie . . . I saw the first one. The sequel is helmed by the same director. It has the same actors (except Urban; he’s cool, and you should be watching the show Almost Human). The coup de grâce is the plot . . . OK, it’s a plot in the same way a duck looks like a Doberman, but they called it a plot in the reviews.

The math was all there, and it all added up. 

Unfortunately, most people are not savvy in math, and so I rented the darn thing. Once again my wife sat by my side, only this time she was there to lend me support in case the stupefying plot fried my brain, and I needed a swift and strong slap to bring me to.

She insisted on a number of practice slaps (too many, I thought, but she seemed genuinely dedicated to her responsibility), and was then happy to help . . . eager, even.

Honest, read my previous review . . . I was being generous when I wrote it, and that’s because my brain was still able to process a semblance of a plot, mostly because I read it.

You have to trust me on this; watching the movie is a whole different ball of wax . . . I wish I could tell you about it, but what little self-preservation mechanism is housed in the most primitive parts of our brain has shut the memory of the movie from my consciousness. All I can see when I try to remember the movie is a seriously kick-ass neurological wall, beyond which I presume the memory of the movie is safely encased in carbonite.

That’s right; I can’t rightly recollect what I saw. I can’t even recount what I felt. It’s a matter of self-preservation, you see.

I did ask Melisa if I said anything before curling up in a ball and slipping into a self-induced three hours coma.

Yes, you did speak,” she said, “you said it made Iron Man 3 look like Oscar material, and then your eyes rolled back, and you were gone. I waited to see if you would come out of it. Slapped a few times, but then my hand hurt, so I made myself a sandwich and had a tea. I also stacked the dishwasher any ole way and ran it. It was fun. Which reminds me; you need to unload the dishwasher, and don’t make any comments about how it’s loaded.

I’m going to give this movie a -3.0 out of 10. If I could remember it, it would probably be less.


So, let’s recap . . . in retrospect, Oblivion ranks somewhere on par to Casablanca, but only relative to Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is the Picture of the Year, but only relative to Star Trek: Into Darkness which, as best as I can figure, should be sealed in Yucca Mountain. 

No need to talk about H&G: Witch Hunters, and no one needs to watch that movie.

The best of these, and it pains me to say so, was Oblivium, and I would not recommend it unless someone is extremely bored or a Cruise fan (no, I’m serious . . . there be Cruise fans! Honest!)

The year was not shaping up very well . . . still, while not blockbusters, there were two movies I was looking forward watching: Red 2, and R. I. P. D. 

Oh, yeah . . . there was also Man of Steel and Ender’s Game

Oh! Oh! . . . Kick-Ass 2 and Wolverine, and something called Elysium. Unfortunately, these three are not going to make it into the “watched in 2013” category. Their spotlight will have to wait until 2014.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Frenzy on Caffeine
Frenzy on Caffeine

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