XIPHOS AND THE MOST VAUNTED OF ALL MINI REVIEWS #6

   

I had a couple of days “off” on the 24th and 25th so I decided to watch a few movies. All of these have been covered here before and have been out for awhile but I figured what the hell, why not beat a dead horse some more. These three flicks, X-Men: First Class, Bad Teacher and Conan were all summer releases and even taking that factor into account none of them are all that good. It’s sad how lame movies have become especially summer ones. When I was a kid, we got summer movies like Raiders, Star Wars, Empire, Jaws, Breaking Away and dozens of other big and small movies that were well made and more importantly, fun to watch. Now we get these three dogs or crap like Transformers and dozens of others none of which are all that good or very interesting. Anyway, here are some reviews for your perusal during the slow week between Christmas and New Years.

X-men First Class New Pics (2)

X-Men: First Class: This wasn’t so much a movie but a string of vignettes loosely stitched together about the founding of the X-Men. James McAvoy plays the younger, hipper, hair sporting, ambulatory version of the spiritual and moral leader of the Children of the Atom, Professor Charles Xavier, the “most powerful telepath” on Earth unless that telepath is named Betty Draper. Michael Fassbender played Erik Lensherr a.k.a “Magneto”, a concentration camp survivor and master of magnetism. These two characters are the yin/yang of the movie. Xavier is the privileged rich American who is cool, calm and collected (with an English accent hiding the Scottish one, none of them making any sense for the character) and Lensherr who is a giant ball of hate and vengeance. After taking a shvitz together and catting about, Xavier and Lensherr become besties in like two minutes. Along the way the two dandies round up the first class of X-Men but not really since they only do one mission together and didn’t attend the Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Most of these kids (except for the token black guy adult who of course gets snuffed first) are Red Shirts and we don’t’ know much about them except for Raven Darkholm, a.k.a. Mystique, who grew up with Xavier and is supposed to be the same age but looks a decade and a half younger and the shy genius Hank McCoy, a.k.a Beast. I will note though that compared to the bad guys of the Hellfire Club, the Red Shirt X-Men are like fully realized characters from a Tolstoy novel.

Underwear sporting infiltration specialist Rose Byrne recruits the two “good friends” and their teen gaggle to work for the CIA to stop some stupid plan that made zero sense by Six Degrees of Separation himself Kevin Bacon, the big Kahuna of the Hellfire Club. Diamond Betty Draper and two schmucks, who we know less than nothing about, are along for the ride on the bad guy side.

Look this isn’t a good movie. It has some good parts like the 60’s vibe they gave it but the movie was simultaneously over/under stuffed, the writing sucked, the SPX were horrible, the bad guy’s motives were mind bogglingly stupid. The acting, except for Mystique, Fassbender and sometimes the Haggis eater, was good but the rest either mailed it in or were slats of wood. The biggest problem with the movie though is director Matthew Vaughn. I don’t know why the nerd herd has decided to bust a collective nut over this load since he has the visual eye of a sitcom director. He made one of the worst movies it was my displeasure to watch, Layer Cake, which was a shitty pastiche of a Guy Ritchie English gangster movie. He made Kick Ass which sucked at all times The Hair Piece and The Kid weren’t on screen. With X-Men, Vaughn did more of the same. He made a visually boring movie that was filled with nothing at all and is a pimple on the butt of even a half-ass summer flick or Singer’s X-Men which is the same thing. I really don’t get why people liked this movie, it was mostly a disagreeable exercise of some small style and no real substance.

Bad-Teacher-Movie-Poster

Bad Teacher: Out of all the movies I watched this was probably the one I got the most entertainment from even though it was slight at best. Cameron Diaz plays fast and badly aging middle school teacher Elizabeth Halsey, a hard drinking pot smoking Oxy taking gold diggerwho doesn’t give a shit about her job. She just got dropped by her latest meal ticket and is looking for another rich guy to pay her bills. Into her life prances substitute teacher and heir to a wrist watch fortune Scott Delacorte played by Justin Timberlake. Delacorte is coming off a bad break up and is a very weird dude so it isn’t a surprise that he fell for the super upbeat and dedicated teacher across the hall from Elizabeth the incredibly annoying Amy Squirrel played by Lucy Punch. Rounding out the leads is gym teacher Russell Gettis played by Jason Segel (who thank Buddha kept his wedding tackle off camera) who’s constantly sniffing around Elizabeth and getting harshly shut down by her mostly for being poor and for being a goony looking motherfucker. The sitcom resolution of the ending really hamstrung this movie, it shouldn’t have ended on an up note with Elizabeth getting the right guy and gaining personal insight/growth plus the bad guy getting her comeuppance.

For me the movie had a couple of chuckles and one laugh out loud moment in it. It also featured one set of spectacular man made feed bags that Diaz spent like five minutes feeling up. If you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen about 90% of the gags in this flick so if you rent it, get the unrated version which has a couple more jugs in it than the theatrical version. Final call, Bad Teacher is minimally acceptable if you have limited choices.

Conan-the-Barbarian-2011-poster-650x280

Conan: Maybe Jarv and Jonah saw a different version of this movie than I did since they gushed over it so hard but the one I saw wasn’t very good and failed as both a Conan movie or as a random barbarian tearing shit up type of movie. Jesus Christ, why is it so hard to adapt something as simple as Conan? Oh I know! I Know! Mr. Kotter!! Mr. Kotter!! It’s because the writers are all a bunch of sissy mamma’s boys that have been in therapy all their lives because of daddy issues. WAH!! Daddy didn’t tell me he loved me enough so I’m going to write every movie with Daddy issues like a punk ass bitch. GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELVES YOU FUCKING BABIES. Nut up and shut up and and try to find any vestige of manhood inside yourselves and write a CONAN movie like you have descended testicles. As awful as Milius’ version was in adapting Conan, at least he’s got man parts. Then again, Milius isn’t a coked up hipster douchetard with daddy issues and a complete lack of balls. Also you dumb fucks CIMMERIANS DON’T GET WIPED OUT IN CIMMERIA BY HORSE  RAIDERS SO YOU CAN EXPLORE YOUR DADDY ISSUES. Read the god damned stories you fucking halfwits. Cimmerians put such a hurt on the most powerful western nation of Hyboria that they RAN AWAY from the Cimmeria. Inside Cimmeria they don’t get destroyed by a squadron of light horse. Jesus Christ you incompetent and most likely illiterate hacks, R.E Howard already wrote the god damned screenplay FOR you, you pussies, you just need to adapt it like you aren’t sporting vaginas and writing an episode of Conan and the City you worthless pussy sock puppets.

Anyway here is the gist of Conan. Some time in the past, some sorcerer of Acheron with the help of a magical mask tried to take over the world. He failed and the mask got broken up and the pieces scattered among  barbarian tribes of the world including Conan’s. Which made me wonder why? Why not reduce the mask to dust and not have to worry about somebody trying to reassemble it and use its power. Why would you think the Barbarians would even remember to keep it safe after thousands of years? The mask was a stupid plot device to get Kylar Zim, played by Stephen Lang to wipe out Conan’s village, kill everybody in it including Conan’s Old Man played by a horribly miscast Ron Perlman. The slaughter and the stealing of the mask piece are what make Conan swear vengeance on, at the time, unknown raiders. Once again though I have to ask the writers if you portrayed the raiders as take no prisoners psycho killers, why did they leave Conan alive and unhurt? That was a mighty convenient thing to happen.

Flash forward like 15-20 years and we meet adult Conan played somewhat ably by Jason Momoa. And here in the most frustrating part of 2011 Conan the Barbarian. Momoa made a good Conan and unlike the Milius travesty, they got a lot of what made Conan popular right. He might be a barbarian but he’s cagey and sly and is usually the smartest guy in the room. He is also a force of nature, strong as hell and wonderfully violent and the movie more or less got all that right. It is too bad they chose to give Conan such piss poor motivation (though Zim’s was by far worse) and a made a boring movie. Anyway, enough editorializing back to the story. Conan had been making his living as a thief and pirate and mercenary, always trying to find the shadowy Zim to get his revenge. Eventually he trips over one of Zim’s minions and begins to kill his way up the food chain towards the big man himself. Along the way we learn that Zim doesn’t just want the mask for world domination but to bring back his dead sorceress wife. That’s right boys and girls, Zim’s doing all this for a chick and to give his semi incestuous daughter her Mommy back. Apparently the writers don’t just have Daddy issues they also studied at the The Beard school of horrible family motivation and graduated summa cum laude.

Anyway hot “pure blood” Rachel Nichols gets thrown into the mix and Conan nails her. There are some sword fights which were staged, I guess, efficiently. Momoa scowls a lot and grunts well. There was a decent amount of carnage and lot of juggs flopping free in the breeze but most of movie was just so blah. There wasn’t any sense of adventure or high stakes or much of anything really. The SPX sucked and most of the acting was blasé. In short, the movie wasn’t that good and like I said above, failed miserably as both a sword and sandals movie and a Conan flick. I was quite disappointed by Conan.

Small-Ridged-Broadsword

Oh yes, one more thing, will fight coordinators please for the love of all that is holy stop using straight western blades that are designed to be used as a hacking and stabbing weapon, like say a broad sword that Conan sports for instance, in the manner of a Japanese Katana which is primarily a slashing blade? I know, I know, it looks cool but broadswords don’t work like that. They are for crushing armor and stabbing vulnerable areas. I have to figure they went with the eastern style because Momoa isn’t that bright. He learned how to whirl a Katana style blade on Stargate Atlantis and couldn’t learn a new way of swordsmanship. Momoa used the same moves from Stargate Atlantis in Conan.

Xiphos

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About Xiphos0311

Sporadic genius but mostly IDGAF.

48 responses to “XIPHOS AND THE MOST VAUNTED OF ALL MINI REVIEWS #6”

  1. Droid says :

    None of these are worth watching. The first 30 minutes of X-Kids was okay, but after that it sucked. Conan wasn’t any good. Bad Teacher was completely devoid of laughs.

    • Echo the Bunnyman says :

      Xi, I didn’t rave about Conan. Looking back, I gave it a C and the nicest thing I said was that Momoa was a good Conan. However, you are probably right in that I overrated it by suggesting it was passable. I watched it with my family last week and it was quite boring.

      More or less, you are right about these, although I found enough in X-Men to enjoy it the first time, until the last third, which didn’t mcuh work for me. I’m mostly going off the re-reading of my review to ascertain this, as I wrote it about a half hour after I saw the movie and can barely remember anything about it now.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I wasn’t so much talking about your review more about responses in talkbacks. To be fair Jarv did gush way more then you.

        Boring is the best way to describe this throw away flick.

      • Jarv says :

        I didn’t gush, and I laid out a load of disclaimers about it beforehand. Hell, I even wrote the review from the style of a pet rock and still only gave it 2.5.

        It’s a film I enjoyed despite itself, but I have no tie to the character, and liked it for a piece of brainless entertainment. Ironically, having rewatched it, I’d drop it down to 2, as I still enjoy bits of it, enough to give it a pass, but nowhere near as much as I did in the cinema.

        All the shit about the character and whatnot doesn’t really apply to me, as I liked it in a knuckleheaded way and on rewatch I really liked Momoa. I’m extremely aware of the problems with it, but I have to say that it doesn’t bore me.

        The gushing review was Cheetoh over at Aint it Bale.

        Bad Teacher, on the other hand, was an atrocious piece of shit that I turned off after 20 minutes full of hatred for everyone involved. I can’t subject myself to crap like that any more.

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        Yea, I did like it more than you and was initially relieved it wasn’t another Kull the Conquerer. And when I first rewatched it, I thought it was ok as barbarian movie. It’s just got nothing in it that stands up or hasn’t been done better before.

        And yea, you are right about the 90’s Conan. He was played by that big dude, Ralph Moeller (he was in Gladiator) and didnt really last very long if I remember correctly.

        Ron Perlman has long been listed as the voice of an animated Conan in a long-gestating adaptation of Red Nails. Don’t know what ever came of that.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Cimmerians sound like they are from NYC? Man Casting Perlman as the voice of Conan is worse then casting him as a barbarian.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      For me Bad Teacher had a couple of laughs mostly due to adults yelling at kids or saying inappropriate things to them but other then that it wasn’t any good. Diaz is aging horribly it was hard to watch her trying to play “hot”. She really was never in that category to begin with except for The Mask and she’s gone down hill since then.

  2. tombando says :

    Xmen and the Archies was Boring. It had the potential but missed it mostly. I def. Do not need to see it again.

    I will skip Bad Kotter. Conan sounds a bit like Supes Returns, lead guy is Fine but the rest should be bagged.

  3. Continentalop says :

    Good reviews Xi. I haven’t seen any of these but maybe will check out Pre-X-Men and Bad Teacher. Conan just looks too shitty for my taste.

    However, I do have one thing I got to disagree with you about.

    Jesus Christ, why is it so hard to adapt something as simple as Conan? Oh I know! I Know! Mr. Kotter!! Mr. Kotter!! It’s because the writers are all a bunch of sissy mamma’s boys that have been in therapy all their lives because of daddy issues. WAH!! Daddy didn’t tell me he loved me enough so I’m going to write every movie with Daddy issues like a punk ass bitch. GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELVES YOU FUCKING BABIES. Nut up and shut up and and try to find any vestige of manhood inside yourselves and write a CONAN movie like you have descended testicles.

    While it is easy to blame the writers, let’s not forgot none of these guys own the Conan franchise. He isn’t public domain. So there might be some awesome Conan spec scripts floating out there that are 100% faithful to the spirit of REH, but those versions are never going to get made. And while the two writers of this film are hacks, I also don’t doubt they were just following the notes and guidelines of those whom hired them. Anyone who is hired to write this script is going to be forced to make it as “commercial” and formulaic as possible by the studios.

    The reason we won’t get a good Conan movie is that it is a name property, and studios look to make money off of those, not to make a faithful adaptation. The character is too scary and at face value too “unappealing” to the masses. All the care about is that he has name recognition. So until an actual A-list director/producer comes along who really loves the character, or maybe Conan has a resurgence in popularity so there is so many die hard fans they demand they stay faithful, I don’t expect to see anything other than Conan in name only movies.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      How is Conan scary and unappealing? If that was the case why has he been in continuous print for like 80 years?

      And I disagree about absolving writers of blame and here’s why, the writer’s strike and me getting yelled at by everybody for devolving from the orthodoxy that they are the end all and be all of movie making. If writers are supposed to get all the credit then fuck them they get all the blame. But since I am a get along go along type I am more then willing to parcel out the blame to studios, directors and producers. They all suck rancid ass juice mostly becasue they are therapy going fuck knuckles sissy mamma boys and like to make pussy chick movies since mostly everybody in Hollywood wants to be a chick.

      • Continentalop says :

        Conan is scary and unappealing to the suits because he isn’t “likeable” or fits snugly in the cliched stereotype of a heroic character. Studios want “feel good” characters you can root for – Conan is hardly a classic white hat.

        Remember the film industry wants to appeal to the widest audiences, so they usually play it safe and eliminate anything they think would offend a huge segment, hence why Sherlock Holmes is no longer a coke head and is rarely shown being completely asexual. Conan has a devout fan base but he doesn’t have a huge number of actual fans.

        Personally I think Conan should be a risky character who might offend people, but like I said studios are not really known for taking chances, especially with a “brand.”

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        How is Conan not heroic?

      • Continentalop says :

        Heroes do things for altruistic reasons. Conan does most things for personal, self-centered reasons. He has a code of honor, but it isn’t something that most people would agree with.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Then why has Hollywood on occasion embraced the concept of the “anti hero”? and people only do things that benefit them in some manner.

    • Continentalop says :

      Hollywood does embrace anti-hereoes, but rarely for franchises in a series with a character with name recognition. That was my point about Conan – his name value is both a help and a hindrance to him. He is popular and well known enough for them to try and adapt him, but he isn’t such an iconic and familiar character to force them to stay faithful.

      Studio heads, directors, producers and writers are all going to try to play it safe and fall back on such lame cliches as a back story, origin and personal motivation to explain his actions because the idea of untrusting a 40-100 million dollar action movie on the back of a savage barbarian with an alien morality is something that hasn’t been done before and damn if they’ll be brave enough to take that risk. They’re all afraid they’ll damage the “brand” without realizing that by doing just this they are damaging it.

  4. Continentalop says :

    Personally, I think a great Conan movie could be made that could find an audience. For me, Conan is like The Man With No Name, Max from the Road Warrior, Snake Plissken, or Parker from the Richard Stark series: a great amoral anti-hero with his own personal code of honor.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Its very easy to make a Conan film first stop with the horse shit daddy issues. Second stop wiping out cimmerians inside of Cimmeria. Third adapt one of the following stories.

      1. Beyond the Black River which would be fairly economical to do. It’s probably the best one in terms of a movie story and its top 3 in terms of Conan stories in my opinion and its my favorite. Of course they won’t because Hollywood fucktards are such PC cocksuckers and are afraid they might anger Indians, the feather and rez kind not dot head, so that will never happen.

      2. Thinking outside of the box The God in the Bowl which is essentially a locked room detective story. This will never happen either not enough “barbarian shit” goes on.

      3. Lastly Red Nails which if I were a betting man and I am would be the odds on favorite since it has a couple chicks in it as lead characters and heaven forbid you make a movie without a skirt in a lead role. At least Valeria of the Red Brotherhood is hot and kicks ass. The wacky sorceress broad was hot also.

      • tombando says :

        Now those sound okay to me. Conan should be a (bear w me on this) Lee Marvin in the Professionals type. A veteran, laconic, loner, everything about the man saying fuck off if you know whats good for ya. At least thats how I read Conan.

      • Continentalop says :

        I would add Rogues in the House or a loose adaptation of Tower of the Elephant to that list. Conan vs. Thak I think would be a great cinematic fight.

        I also think someone should steal the opening from the Halls of the Dead. Great way to introduce Conan IMO

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Tom that is a good description of Conan and is more or less a paraphrase of how Howard described him.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Rouges in the House would be a good adaption but suffers from the same issue as God in the Bowl not enough “barbarian shit” goes on in the story. Its mostly about political intrigue and rebellion.

      • Continentalop says :

        I think I’d use Rogues in the House for only one act and have it lead to something bigger.

  5. tombando says :

    Any idea just how good/bad John Carter of Mars will be? has a ‘Clash of the Titans’ look to it–if done right you have a fun franchise, if done wrong—well you know…Go Go Power Rangers!!

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Tom I’m crossing my fingers and hoping John Carter is at least fun but I have some serious reservations about it. JC is another property that I wouldn’t think would be hard to make yet somehow Hollywood yahoos find a way to make it difficult.

  6. Just Pillow Talk says :

    I enjoyed First Class the first time I saw it, but since it will be reviewed by me again as part of my Marvel series, I’ll see how I view it a second time.

    Never will watch Bad Teacher, and Conan was meh. Like everyone else, Mamoa is decent, but the action was pretty average at best. I have not read Conan before (just picked up a book, so I’ll give it a go soon), but I prefer Arnie’s Conan much more than this one. I realize it’s not a Conan movie, but as a barbarian movie, it’s tons better than this one.

  7. ThereWolf says :

    The only one I had any intent on watching was ‘X-Men’ but everyone’s put me off seeing it now. The trailer looked good, as I recall. May still rent it but the other two… nah.

  8. kloipy says :

    I finally got around to seeing X-Men after reading a lot of reviews stating how it was soooooooooooooooooooooo cool. God, that movie sucks. I’m suprised anyone actually likes it. The best thing it has going for it is Fassbender and Hugh Jackman’s ‘Fuck off’ line. The rest of it is so damn cheesy and boring. The effects look like total shit. It was a total letdown. Kind of don’t want to see anymore

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