Movie Menagerie 7

The LEGO Batman Movie– Sometimes you don’t realize what you want until someone hands it to you. Wacky Batman is just what I was in the mood for. LEGO Batman takes the Batman mythos and makes fun of it while embracing it. Here we have a Batman who has more or less consumed the Bruce Wayne side. He’s too cool for the room, almost dancing through the crime fighting as he’s done it for so long it’s become second nature. His whole world is behind the mask and he won’t let anyone close to him. When Joker hatches a grand plan to get revenge on Batman for hurting his feelings and Bruce accidentally adopts Dick Greyson, Batman must take a good look at himself and save not just Gotham, but himself. There are a ton of Batman and DC Universe references, the creativity is off the charts, the gags are often laugh out loud funny and the animation is nuts. Michael Cera as Dick/Robin had me dying. A joy to watch in every regard, LEGO Batman is the antithesis to “Why so serious?”

Beauty and the Beast (2017)- I never thought there would be a market for a live action remake of the classic Disney movie but this movie made a fortune so that shows how much I know. I haven’t seen the 1991 movie in forever so this seemed to me like it did nothing different. Looking at the run time this edition is a half an hour longer so that’s a lot. From my “I’m not in this demographic” perspective, it’s the same movie with CG animation instead of hand drawn cel animation. I’m an Emma Watson fan so they had me there and the work to make Beast come to life is very good. So yeah, this movie exists along with the numerous other adaptations.

Assassin’s Creed – I know they really tried with this video game adaption and while it isn’t bad per say but it is forgettable. Once the credits rolled I had a hard time remembering the story I just watched. It takes the basic plot of the first game and puts in a new protagonist played by Michael Fassbender (a major casting get, production must have been thrilled). Callum Lynch has a violent past, one touched by the centuries long fight between the Assassins and the Knights Templar. The Templar are after the Apple, an artifact told to hold human’s free will. The Assassins are sworn to protect the location of the Apple. So Lynch is discovered by Abstergo, the mega corp run by the knights and they put him into the Animus, a machine that brings memories of your heritage to light. Callum’s family tree goes back 500 years and goes in direct contact of the Apple. So begins the restoration of Callum’s memory, bringing back new revelations in his mother’s death.

The story seems very light as it goes. It’s paced really fast and it always seems like something is missing. A hook (a care really) to bring you into this story. The special effects are good, if reliant on dusty pulsing light visuals. The action is good as well, direct taking one of the strongest elements from the game series, even if it’s often shot and cut too close and fast. When Callum is first put into the machine, they cut in and out of the memory to the real world to see how the Animus physically makes him think he’s living the memory. They do this every time he’s in the machine which is incredibly distracting. I don’t care how he’s moving about in his institution supplied pajamas, keep me running around ancient cities, which is way more fresh and interesting looking than the teal tinted present day. The ending is incredibly disappointing too. Just like the biggest sin of the games, we’re brought to an important area that has basically no security. Callum more or less walks right in, taking any kind of tension and earned fight out of the entire picture (the escape before that is a highlight though). The movie limps to the end like it was after thought. Saying “That’s it?” when the credits roll is never a good thing.

10 Cloverfield Lane– A fun “bottle” movie that expands into something bigger in the third act. A very simple set up leads the way. Michelle breaks up with her boyfriend and takes off out of town. On the road, she gets into a car accident and wakes up held in a bunker with two men. They tell her no one can leave because of some kind of attack that happened above ground, the air is toxic. A successful suspense movie, 10CL keeps you constantly guess on who to believe. Waking up in a bunker is always an immediate concern and Howard (John Goodman) makes an intense first impression. Can he be trusted? The other man, Emmett, seems to believe him but at first look, he’s rather suspicious as well. The movie twists and turns along, pushing on the walls until it pops.  At a little over 90 minutes, things move along quickly and the constant questions and reveals keep you on your toes. I liked where it went for the climax so this was a fun movie for me from start to finish. It’s another reminder of how fantastic John Goodman is, the man needs to be seen in action more!

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