Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ha-Ra was so disappointed by the potential of THE THREE MUSKETEERS!

The Three Musketeers is one of my favorite books of all time. That's not an understatement, Alexander Dumas' classic has influenced my own storytelling to a great degree. But I don't love it just for its age (like a pretentious literature snob), but I love it for being a fun, swashbuckling adventure doubling as revisionist history featuring the exploits of three drunken and hard edge fighters teaming up with a young, quick upstart to stop the nefarious plot of Cardinal Richelieu. Paul W.S. (Worthless Shit) Anderson, director of the "classic" Resident Evil movies, is the latest to adapt the story and while it's not an absolute disaster, the film is sadly robbed of greatness with so many missteps that the film might as well have been written by Alexander Dumbass. 

In this adaptation, The Three Musketeers (Athos, Aramis, and Porthos) start the film off with a mission in Venice to steal the plans one of Leonardo da Vinci's weapons (since he made so many of the damn things) with Athos' girlfriend, Milady (played by director's wife, Milla Jovoich). Milady ends up betraying the team and gives the plans to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) instead. A year later, a young, cocky D'Artagnan (played by shit-head Logan Lerman) comes to Paris after getting into a confrontation with an equal asshole named Rochefort (Mads Mikkelson) and gets into an adventure with the trio to stop the Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) from instigating a war across Europe.

Okay, so the Mission: Impossible in the Renaissance opening clearly sets up that the filmmakers aren't even paying attention to the book. Hell, some of the scenes featured in the beginning looked like they were ripped off from the director's own Resident Evil movies (that also featured his wife, more on that later). But weirdly, once D'Artagnan is introduced, the ACTUAL plot of the original book is all there. From D'Artagnan's confrontation with Rochefort to setting up a duel with each of the Musketeers to the plot to recover the Queen's jewels from the Duke is all there. I was so damn excited they got the story of the first third of Dumas' novel was actually there, and they even got the personalities of Athos, Aramis, and Porthos right...for five minutes.

You see, the Three Musketeers pull a Transformers here and are barely in the movie featuring their name. While the personalities exist, they only speak for a short amount of time so they can focus on D'Artagnan who is such an unlikable, cocky, shit-head that's it hard to enjoy the movie for a time. They even want to focus on King Louis as a metrosexual completely obsessed with fashion, the performance becomes laughably bad. 

Which brings me to the dialogue. It's so bland and uninteresting that there's no fun at all. Some of the plot developments also don't make a lot of sense. For instance, the Musketeers use a grandiose plan to steal an airship with all sorts of advanced weaponry There was no point but to have a big action scene and the end goal could have easily been solved in another, less stupid. There's also no lingering threat present until the halfway point in the film, so there's no urgency to the story. When urgency is actually introduced, it's so unreasonable that it makes no sense (steal jewelry from the Duke who is London, ENGLAND in five Renaissance France). And when the script calls for a joke, it's just not funny. For instance, Aramis gives a bunch of technical language to D'Artagnan, to which the latter responds with "In French Please"...get it? The real "comedy" comes in when the script's seriousness doesn't work and comes off as "so bad it's funny."

The acting is all over the map. While the Three Musketeers are entertaining for the five minutes they're in this movie, we're left with Logan Lerman acting as D'Artagnan. In the book, the character is a cocky and prideful jerk who learns to grow up through his experiences. In the film, he doesn't evolve or learn a lesson or find that he's actually a nice guy, he's just an asshole from beginning to end. Other cast members have accents throughout the film but they range from British to crappy French-accent to just not trying at all and going back to their American accents. Milla Jovovich is fine as Milady, but does nothing interesting. The only person in the cast that strangles this script and makes it his bitch was (of all people) Orlando Bloom. Bloom has a nasty habit of playing the pretty-boy action hero with uninteresting dialogue. Here he chews the scenery with his over-the-top villainous dialogue and it surprisingly works to become something memorable and fun.

The over-the-topness extends to the action, which is hit or miss here. Some of the sword fighting scenes are effectively shot to get a cool-swashbuckling feel, but others just don't work. A few scenes pull off that terrible-Zack Snyder slow-mo/speed-up crap and what's shot isn't even that cool. There's a cliche running and jumping away from an explosion scene, but it's so lame here because the face of D'Artagnan's face is so in-genuine that it's hard not to notice.

Then there's the Milla Jovovich scenes that are a rip off of the Resident Evil corridor sequences featuring Alice (Milla Jovovich...again) running down and dodging traps...only in this movie she's in a corset.The director is clearly in love with his wife, and spends most of his movies showing off all her "ass"ets. Seriously, all his movies with Milla are more or less screaming: "CHECK OUT MY HOT WIFE GUYS!" 

Finally, there's the very glaring issue of the airships and advanced weaponry for the Renaissance. From the trailer, it was giving me some bad deja vu of Wild Wild West's steampunk technology. In the film itself, it's not so bad and it added a distinct flavor to set the film apart from the ten other adaptations of the story. But the weapons do get a little ridiculous (like a machine gun-like cannon arrangement and flame throwers), and again, they take you out of the movie and have you laugh at it. 

At the end of the day, I was expecting this to be the worst adaptation of one of my favorite books and I was glad that it wasn't that bad. But it's by no means great or even good since the film missteps so badly with action that's not fun, dialogue that's so bland, and the plot goes all over the place that it becomes noticeable. Finally the Three Musketeers themselves are barely in their own movie and we're left to follow an incredibly unlikable protagonist with an even less believable romance than the one in the Star Wars prequels. It's not worth a ticket to the theaters, but you might get some enjoyment with renting it. I'm left disappointed that this film had such great ideas and was actually trying to tell the story of Alexander Dumas' classic, and it's brought down by a filmmaker's Dumbass mistakes. 

Driving with that Thing all Footloose

The After Lobby is doing a two parter this month in honor of Halloween, the time of the year when both ghosts and Hollywood duds come to life. This week, we review Drive, The Thing, and the most frightening movie to come out this year....Footloose! Stay tuned next week for part 2! Podcast Powered By Podbean

Thursday, September 22, 2011

After the Club is the Afterparty, and After the 10th Ep. is the After Lobby

Happy Tenth Episode Followers! Yes, A-Kwon and Ha-Ra have made it to ten episodes! Ten episodes of offensive, trash talking, ghost loving opinionating has led to this. For this week, we rag on George Lucas destroying his famous series (again), some ass of writer making a fool of himself on Hollywood, followed by our review of one of our favorite films of the year, Attack the Block!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Very Special After Lobby: 9/11 (and Contagion too)

On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we here at the After Lobby want to be respectful to those who lost their lives that tragic day by calling Hollywood out on it's bullshit of exploiting it for the past ten years. But that's not too constructive, so we also share our thoughts on which films best represents the meaning of that fateful day and how we continue to live on and persevere. Oh yeah, we opinionated Contagion too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Midnight with Conan's Double in Paris

And we wrap up the summer with a quick recap of our favorite (and worst) films of the summer, get into some bizarre news, then opinionate Midnight in Paris, Conan the Barbarian, and The Devil's Double. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rise of the Apes in 30 Minutes or Less (Actually 45 Minutes)

Another week, another After Lobby is here! This week we'll pull a double review in a week. Tonight, enjoy our review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and 30 Minutes or Less. But before that, A-Kwon and Ha-Ra dissect what makes a reboot or prequel work and where does it suck so hard. Also, the Hollywood News train has more bizarre reboots planned ahead. Check it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Duel! Fantasy vs. History, Critic vs. Opinionator, and Cowboys vs. Aliens

We've got an interesting episode for you this week listener(s) brought to you by Disney's Seal Team 6, the most adorable assassins you'll ever meet! This week we talk about the allure of mixing fantasy and period pieces with fantastical anachronisms, director news, trailer ragging on Battleship, and an intense (?) battle of the wits between Ha-Ra and A-Kwon over the quality of Cowboys & Aliens! Who is right? Who is wrong? Find out in our newest episode of the After Lobby!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Upcoming episode

Hey everybody..this week's episode will be up soon! Hopefully by Sunday or Monday at the latest. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens ADVANCED REVIEW!

Now this is a summer movie with a unique premise that's not only out there, but works so well that it makes me say "That was BAD ASS." Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the next heavyweight action film of the summer: Cowboys & Aliens.

Okay let's get the obvious out of the way: YES, cowboys and aliens in the same movie sounds like an absurd premise that would only exist in the mind of adolescent boy. And yet, this child-like premise is immediately forgotten when you watch surprisingly deep characters struggle through a dangerous situation with overwhelming odds against them. And this film can get DARK in both terms of the fights happening on screen as well as the gravity of the situation. Instead of some silly-mindless action, you get a film that will make you grow a beard sitting through its 2-hour run time (which flies by fast). And don't worry ladies, you get plenty of eye candy too. 

The film stars Daniel Craig (flawlessly using his American accent) as Jake Lonergan, a cowboy stranded in the middle of the Wild West with only a strangle bracelet on his wrist and no recollection of who he is or how he got there. After a series of dodging mishaps in the nearby town of Absolution, he is corned by Elle (played by Olivia Wilde) and hard-as-nails rancher Han Solo, I mean Colonel Dolarhyde (played by Harrison Ford). An alien invasion then commences and lays waste to Absolution while abducting several of its citizens. Lonergan must then join forces with Dolarhyde and the strange woman to stop the alien threat and discover who he really is.

The first twenty minutes of the film play like any Westerner you've seen: Craig plays the gruff loner invoking the spirit of Eastwood, Harrison Ford plays the gruff boss-man of a bunch of thugs, and the usual Western archetypes are present throughout the cast. It's when the alien invasion begins that these archetypes are immediately thrown out the window and you find surprisingly deep characters. Lonergan is a wanted man with a brutal past but the allure of a lost love drives him to learn more about her fate. Harrison Ford is playing the best we've seen him in years (yes even better than Indiana Jones) as a former colonel who has seen the horrors of war and he uses his gruff demeanor to inspire confidence in lesser men. Both Craig and Ford bring their A game to this film as they pull of convincingly deep cowboys. 

The rest of the cast turns in solid performances. The gorgeous Olivia Wilde plays a mysterious woman who knows more than she's telling, but you can't resist caring about her. Sam Worthington plays a meek bar tender out to find his abducted wife and Noah Ringer plays a scared boy searching for his grandfather. And yes, these two minor side characters develop their arcs as boys become men. Everyone else does a great job in this setting as well. Okay, so now I've praised the story and the deep characters, but is the action any good?

Oh. Hell. Yes. The fist fights between humans are brutal and visceral. Horseback chase scenes are made more awesome with alien ships hunting the heroes down. And the aliens? Looking damn fine. The computer generated images aren't glaringly obvious here with the aliens looking bulky, hideous, and monstrous. They are the perfect band of bad guys. And unlike other alien invasion films, you get to see humans get into vicious fights with the extraterrestrials. Limbs are blown off, Guns blow holes into alien bodies. Aliens eat humans right in front of their comrades. All of it is exceptionally well-done and reminds you that this is most definitely NOT a kids movie (PG-13 rating be damned). 

The best part? The fights mean something. You care what happens to Lonerman, Dolarhyde, Elle, Doc, and Emmett. When characters die, the persons close to them EMOTE. The characters who die are characters YOU grow attached to. You WANT their deaths avenged. You are made known in none-uncertain-terms that the situation is dire. And that's what elevates Cowboys & Aliens from a merely good film to a GREAT film.

Unique action movies are hard to come by and big budget films with great characters are harder still to find. Cowboys & Aliens finds a way to merge the Western and Alien Invasion genres into something fun, entertaining, and meaningful. Characters don't get any deeper and action doesn't get any harder than you'll find here. A fantastic summer movie that I highly recommend everyone to check out in theaters.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captain America, Awesomely Bad Movies, and Comic-Con News

And we're back with another episode of the After Lobby! This week Ha-Ra and A-Kwon go into our love of terribly bad movies that are still fun to watch (like The Room). Then we rag on the news of reboots, remakes, and sequels coming out of last weekend's San Diego Comic Con. Now it wouldn't be an After Lobby episode without a review right? Well we salute Captain F@#king America and his movie with our opinions. Check it

Also, as mentioned in the podcast, here's the trailer to The Room...enjoy

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jamie Foxx and the Deathly End of Childhood

After a month-long hiatus, A-Kwon and Ha-Ra are back to opinionate! This week we check out the top 3 movies in the United States right now: Horrible Bosses (cool!), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (shit!), and a little-known film called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (long ass name!). Enjoy and comment!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Episode 3 - Super 8 + 13 Assassins = Awesome

This week we both go after JJ Abrams worship of all things Spielberg and 80s, while A-Kwon checks out a rare gem

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Like some film goers, I thought Super 8 was going to be another superhero film. Well, it's certainly a terrible superhero film (because it totally isn't). Instead, it's a film that feeds off the nostalgia of well-known movies. Many films that claim to be paying homage to these earlier classics tend to just copy what made the originals so great with nothing new to add. But every now and again, a film comes along to surprise you with not only how expertly it handles the films that inspired it, but almost deserves the respect the earlier classics had. J.J. Abrams' Super 8 is one of these films.

Living in a small town in the summer of 1979, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) helps out his friends film their monster movie while trying to move on from the death of his mother. While filming a scene at a station, a truck smashes into an oncoming train forcing it to derail. After the immense explosion, something escapes from the wreckage. Joe and his friends then witness several strange events around town while Joe's father (Kyle Chandler) tries to keep the peace while the shady military begins to occupy the once sleepy town.

I did my best to keep the plot description paper-thin because that's the best way to experience Super 8, knowing as little as possible. All you need to know is that it is a coming-of-age story set in the middle of a creature movie. But the best part about Super 8 is keeping the creature's appearance and nature a complete mystery. The trailers have done an excellent job at keeping it's poker face and never revealing anything more than you need to know. The film itself keeps the momentum going by hiding what the creature looks like throughout the film. You'll get a snippet or two here and there of the creature, but the film keeps up the suspense by never (excuse the metaphor kiddies) blowing its load too early and keeps forcing you to imagine what this thing looks like.

This technique of hiding the monster is what made films like Alien and Jaws so memorable and why they struck a chord with so many audience members that the fear still hits them decades later. Super 8 isn't all about horror, though there are two or three jump scares peppered through the film; instead it's about building suspense whenever the creature half of the story kicks in. The other half of the film involves following a boy as learns to become a stronger person emotionally. And it is at these points that the film harkens back to the coming of age tales like E.T. and The Goonies, while having strong character development throughout.

Joe and his father both experience emotional conflicts and both have to overcome their insecurities brought on by sadness or anger. The rest of the cast does a superb job of supporting the growth of the characters, particularly Elle Fanning (yes that's Dakota Fanning's younger sister) as Alice who shows incredible acting chops by delivering moment after moment of emotional connections. The film truly shows that JJ Abrams is a fully capable director of actors.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the spectacular effects. You see, Hollywood? This is how you use special effects properly. By allowing them to complement the story. Honestly, the film's initial train derailment sequence is absolutely superb by putting you right in the middle of the chaos. There's also some insane explosion sequences that raises the stakes considerably as well as tense and claustrophobic chase sequences. The creature could have benefited from using some more practical effects rather than CGI, but this is a small complaint.

Super 8 has quickly won its way into becoming one of my favorites of the year so far. This summer has already given some great and memorable movies, but Super 8 gives those previous films a run for their movie while raising the bar for the ones yet to come. This is what movies are all about: suspenseful sequences, excellent character development, mysterious storytelling, and an almost child-like sense of awe and wonder of the whole experience. Super 8 not only pays its respect to 80s fantasy films pioneered by Spielberg, but it manages to stand on its own two feet as a great movie on its own. Do not miss this one.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Episode I - Part 2 (If you like this, you'll love Part 1)

For our first victims of our podcast, we have a sequel death match between The Hangover Part 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Welcome to the After Lobby

Ever wished you got a straight forward opinion on a film that told you if it was "good" or "crap"? Tired of wading through the sea of bullshit on IMDb, looking for a take on a movie that wasn't written by 12-year-old on ADD? Have you ever thought that a critique could be more fun than reading a boring old guy's opinion? We do, which is why we'll deliver our honest and brutal opinion on films with no need for pretentious bullshit. Our opinion will be our immediate thoughts after we exit the theater, the raw and uncut truth. Welcome to the After Lobby...