Aquaman

 

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I’m not sure which one of us started it, but my son and I have been calling this movie ‘Wet Thor’ for months and months. On the surface, the comparison between the two is obvious – long-haired, built like a god, kinda dumb. Once I’d finished the film though, my opinion had changed – it’s not ‘Wet Thor’, it’s ‘Wet Panther’.

There are so many more similarities between the ascension of Aquaman and Black Panther’s battles against Killmonger. Of course, Aquaman is the interloper, not the crown prince, but you get where I’m going. Atlantis is a technologically advanced secret world, hiding right under our noses – kinda like Wakanda. There are several warring tribes in Atlantis, just like Wakanda. Neither world has a Starbucks, either – just saying…

Just as Black Panther has a strong woman by his side in Nakia (or two if you count Okoye), Aquaman has Mera. I was expecting to hate Amber Heard, but she wasn’t as annoying as I thought she would be. I mean – she’s not a particularly good actress, but she isn’t horrible. I loved her hair so much that I died my hair the same shade of red the very same day we saw the film. (What, you don’t keep a rainbow of hair dye in your bathroom like I do?)

Aquaman’s dad is Boba Fett’s dad! They are brothers!

De-aging was used A LOT in this film. Yes, it was cute how they made Aquaman’s parents look younger in the prologue – makes sense. The REAL SCIENCE though, was how they made Willem Dafoe look young and sexy again. It was The Last Temptation of Vulko.

There was one part of the film that divided our family completely – the octopus playing the bongos. While my husband thought it was completely cheesy and ridiculous, the rest of us liked it. My daughter even said it was her favorite part! (The low point for me was when they ended up in Jurassic World – no spoilers, but that part was bullshit.)

Ultimately, Aquaman succeeds because of its complete separation from the rest of the Justice League. The only threats were encapsulated in Aquaman’s world – no need to get the rest of thise assholes involved. Kudos to James Wan! Can we just keep getting goid standalone feautures like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, instead the trainwreck DC ensembles?

On a side noteotee, previews were mostly ones I’d seen – Avengers: Endgame, the Hellboy reboot (as much as I love Ron Perlman’s Hellboy, I ain’t even mad about this reboot), The Lego Movie 2 – but I had not see the one for Detective Pikachu. As the only one in my household who is not a Pokemaster, I know I wouldn’t get even half of the film…but it still looks kinda cute. This summer is gonna get expensive!

The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

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I don’t care what they call that damn movie, I really doubt it’s the last one. (Are you sensing a certain cynicality in me, when it comes to franchises? You’re goddamn right you are!)

As the last film ended, everyone on the planet was dead I think, except Fin. His son showed up with a time machine…and that’s right where Sharknado 6 picked up. Fin ended up in the Jurassic period and oh look! There’s Tara Reid riding a Pterodactyl. Or was it a “Tara-dactyl”?

As the shark-fighting team travels through history fighting Sharknados, they also travel from continent to continent. Not sure where they started in Dinosaur-land, but they make appearances at King Arthur’s Court (Excalibur was really a chainsaw), the American Revolution, wherever Billy the Kid was hanging out at, then San Francisco in 1996, and then…the far off future full of Tara Reid Clones wearing tinfoil hats. We truly had no idea what the fuck was going on. And I don’t mean that in a delightful way.

The cameos were fast and furious this go-round. And weird…very, very weird. Alaska Thunderfuck as Morgana (le Fey?); Deanna Troi; Neil deGrasse Tyson as Merlin; The Offspring (the band), literally telling the American Revolution Cavalry to “Come out and play”; Leslie Jordan as Benjamin Franklin; Darrell Hammond as George Washington (but doing his Bill Clinton impression…so weird); Ben Stein as Alexander Hamilton; Dee Snyder; Murr from Impractical Jokers; Gilbert Gottfried (again); Tori Spelling and her gross cheating/anal sex-obsessed husband as Fin’s parents; Peter Brady as Nova’s grandfather; Doc from The Love Boat; LaToya Jackson as Cleopatra; James Hong as Confucius; and Al Roker (also again).

I take it back, this really has to be the last one. There’s no where else to go, right? RIGHT?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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Well, it’s official…the Jurassic Park movies have gone full Sharknado. (No spoilers, but once you see the film, you’ll get what I mean.)

There was plenty of action and there were plenty of dinosaurs, but the plot clicked together so predictably that it took a lot of the fun out of the proceedings. There were elements of the plot that were frankly unbelievable – like Claire dumping Owen because she didn’t want to live in a van down by the river. (I feel you Claire, I fucking HATE camping.)

The film also didn’t have enough Jeff Goldblum. Why tease me like that? Every time, every day and in every way, I would pick Jeff Goldblum over Chris Pratt. Even old Jeff Goldblum.

It is always a treat to see Ted Levine in a film – tucked or untucked. He is so delightfully unhinged. So…is it creepier to keep fat girls in a pit in your basement? Or to have a pocket full of extracted dinosaur teeth?

Oh, and the trailers in front of the film were…odd. I’ve never even heard of Welcome to Marwen, but it looks amazingly weird. Oh! And yet another remake of The Grinch, but this time with Benedryl Cucumberpatch. Shit…I swear there was another one, but I’ll be damned if I can remember it. I asked my son, my daughter, my husband – no one can remember what the third trailer was.

Ultimately, I kinda wish that I had spent my $38 on Ant Man and the Wasp instead. Oh well.

Jurassic World

I’ll spare you the lame jokes about how this summer’s crop of blockbusters is a throwback to the 90s – dinosaurs, terminators and vacations, oh my! (OK, maybe just one…)

Chris Pratt’s earnest animal trainer was the perfect foil to the rest of the cast’s perfectly clichéd villains. There was never a moment that the audience wasn’t rooting for Pratt as he struggled against D’Onofrio as the military-industrial complex war machine, Howard as Corporate Personhood, and Khan as the hubris of the human race to even try genetic engineering in the first place. The script felt like it was generated by a computer, it followed every Hollywood rule perfectly, hit the expected emotional notes and delivered the thrills. Even so, it was oh so fun to watch, even through the groan inducing allegory.

Chris Pratt deserves all the adoration he’s getting right now. He seems like a normal guy and a funny guy. I think I’d like to hang out with him and drink a beer. I feel like I want to ask him if he knows he is married to a planarian.

Really, I saw this weeks ago – on Father’s Day – but I struggled trying to decide whether or not Jurassic World is a “good” movie or not. I’m still not sure if it’s a “good” movie, but I’m certainly sure that it is an “enjoyable” movie that will be rewatchable for decades, just like the original.

Who decides whether a film is “good”? Critics or audiences? In today’s world, the answer is clearly audiences. With Jurassic World breaking box office records left and right, we’re surely in for at least 2 more sequels, if not 6 or 12. I only have one plea…please bring back Jeff Goldblum. And the leather. And the oiled chest.

 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

I don’t remember much of 1997, but I know I somehow missed watching The Lost World. I think I’ve seen bits and pieces in passing, but I’ve never sat down and watched it intentionally…

Plan B…or in this case, Island B. Of course, there’s a second island, where they’ve bred the dinosaurs and allowed them to form their ecosystem since things went to shit in the first movie.

Jeff Goldblum’s new girlfriend, Julianne Moore, is studying the dinosaurs in the Lost World and he is horrified…and of course must go rescue her. If they had to center the sequel around anyone from the first movie, I’m glad it’s him. And I’m also glad that skinny Vince Vaughn was there to join him.

Lost World isn’t really a good film – bad in the way that only blockbuster sequels can be – retreading, yet twisting the original. (Like why can T-Rex all of a sudden smell it’s baby’s blood over miles, yet the first film hinged on T-Rex only being able to sense movement?) This led to an interesting conversation with my sister. We were coming up almost blank trying to think of examples where sequels were equal or better than the original. All we could think of were Terminator 2 and Ghostbusters 2. My husband added Godfather 2 to the mix. But they keep making them, because they keep making money – shitty or not. Did I mention that I plan to go see Jurassic Park 4 soon? I know I’m part of the problem – not the solution!

  

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park made me start smoking. True story.

I clearly remember going to see Jurassic Park back in High School with my mom and sister (at the Tomball Cinema 7, no less). I ran into the vice principal’s son (who I later liaised with sadly and briefly), and he gave me a clove cigarette. That was the beginning of the end. I secreted it home in my pocket, lit incense and smoked it in my room. It was horrible, so of course, I later went to a Head Shop and bought a pack. Thanks, Steven Spielberg.

Storytime is over…since every 90s movie is getting a sequel these days, this weekend, we’re preparing the kids for Jurassic World…with a Jurassic Park marathon. I love having access to almost every movie ever made, all the time. I tried to explain Blockbuster to my kids, but they couldn’t even conceptualize it.

Mmmm…Jeff Goldblum at the height of his black leather sexiness. Ever since High School, my BFF has teased me about crushing on Jeff Goldblum. I had the last laugh…once when her teenage daughter was over, I had her watch Earth Girls are Easy with me. She gave Jeff a “Would Bang” rating. Ha HA!

I totally forgot that Samuel L. Jackson was in this – I want these motherfucking dinosaurs off this motherfucking island!

It was also really cool to watch the film after visiting Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii a few years ago. The scene with the T-Rex eating the Gallimimus was filmed there – and the dead tree they hid under was still there!

The movie is just as exciting now as it was 23 (!) years ago. It’s odd to see the antiquated computer technology compared to what would still be cutting edge genetic technology today. I was a bit worried that dinosaurs would look fake compared to today’s CGI, but they still look amazing.

I was surprised at how bored the kids were at the beginning of the movie. Today’s action-packed blockbusters have rendered them incapable of watching even 20 minutes of exposition in a film. Once the action started though, they were entranced.