Aisle of the Damned: 02/22/16- Summer’s Earlier Every Year

Hi-yo Silver! Away!

Kent jaws about some films he’s seen including (but not limited to) Turbo Kid, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Brooklyn, Kung Fu Panda 3 and a preview of The Brothers Grimsby. Then he and Bryan take a look at the slate of upcoming films through April. Honest, we hope Batman v Superman is somehow all just terrible marketing.

The Aquabats: Stuck in a Movie
Monty Python: Are You Embarrassed Easily?
DVDA: Now You’re a Man

Kent’s Damned Movie Reviews: Deadpool

Somehow, the highlight of Ryan Reynolds' career

Let’s take a moment to let this sink in: Rob Liefeld’s golden boy has a movie. Robbie has got to be the richest comic artist ever who won’t draw feet. Was getting this movie worth handing him enough of a wad to keep him hip-deep in Levis and hookers?


While sure to be a divisive film, I spent the drive home reminiscing with my viewing companion about the best moments. I can’t recall the last time that happened. (Though to be honest the crushing solidarity of my usual trips to the movies could account for that.) For the majority of its runtime, it is a kick to the fun sack, with only some tonal issues and questionable character moments getting in the way. But it’s understandable. While there may be some of Matthew Vaughn’s Kick Ass in its recessive DNA, it’s largely a type of film that’s never been made before: a mid-level budget that all of the X-movies since the original would wipe their asses with, a fairly hard R-rating, a comedic overtone, a character who has only been around for a couple of decades, a tangential relationship to a major franchise and an anti-hero main character. We’ve seen some of these together here and there. But certainly not all at once. So to juggle this all successfully is actually pretty impressive and it doesn’t take the coward’s way out as it also plays with structure, mixing one broken up set piece with flashbacks for the majority of the runtime.

Here’s where the film falters: it’s great that the structure is fractured, but it still manages to sag in the middle as we go through the one tradition that the movie refuses to break with: the origin story.

And yet, their attempts to brighten up that part of the film isn’t deftly directed enough to present a really meaningful before and after for Deadpool himself, Wade Wilson. At least not personality-wise. Is it enough to derail the film? Not even close. But it is noticeable enough to make a dent that you won’t find in the slicker, mainstream Marvel factory. Should we be lucky enough to get the unprecedented Deadpool 2 (suggested tag-line: Dead Pooler), this most likely wouldn’t be an issue. It’s still pretty impressive for a first-time feature director and one gets the feeling he embraced the budgetary challenges presented due to his effects background.

The important thing is that I had an absolute blast with the majority of the movie from the very first moment. As in, it features possibly the best opening credits sequence in history. Then you have Ryan Reynolds showing that it was worth his remorseless guerilla campaign to acquire the role. On the flip side, Morena Baccarin somehow manages to meet his over the top performance head on and provide a great counterpoint to him. What is it about dudes from Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place that bring out the best in her?

Admittedly, I’m tuned to this film’s frequency. I was getting every in-joke about Reynolds’ career, superhero movie conventions and studio politics that it lobbed at the audience. While at times, there’s an almost This is the End level of self-scrutiny involved that will reward fans, its neither in your face enough or so reliant upon inside baseball to require knowing the troubled history of the film to enjoy it. Like a Zucker film, when the comedy is flowing, there’s often multiple gags being set up at once. Sometimes what seems like gratuitous violence actually sets up great payoffs further down the line.

Maximum effort, Fox.

(Three and a half damns given out of five)

Kent’s Damned Movie Reviews: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Down with PPZ? Yeah, you know me.

Much like Iron Sky and the upcoming Deadpool, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a movie that I appreciate at one level for the sheer fact that it shouldn’t exist. But like the first of those films, almost the entirety of it is an exercise in middling.

It starts out promisingly enough. There’s some titillation. We catch some surprisingly sexy flashes of stocking as the Bennett sisters arrange their weapons. There’s some gore. We get a splash of brains here and there. There’s some period drama. Pride and Prejudice is, after all, in the name.

But the true entertainment value of this type of a film would seemingly come in truly smashing the two opposites together in an extreme way either as a film shot entirely as a gauzy Austen centerpiece that happens to have zombies in it or, conversely, as an over-the-top horror film. Or at least a film that decides to play whiplash with tone. Instead it’s a film that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be and ends up being a PG-13 flick as limp-wristed as Matt Smith’s Parson. (That said, Smith’s dandy fop is the highlight of the proceedings.) In its attempts to appeal to a mass audience that was likely never there to begin with, it manages to lose it’s appeal to its true potiential audiences.

Not to say there aren’t some interesting ideas at play. However, they are never truly explored. Such as the fact that, with exception, a great many of the women are trained as warriors while the men are largely worthless, yet the time period’s ideals of marriage to a man for the sake of bettering one’s station and female subservience are largely intact.

So in the end we have what feels like a fun idea without commitment. A film that tries to be both and succeeds at neither, though there’s a part of me that could see enjoying it on the level of some of the tamer Hammer films if it were more visually impressive beyond a fun opening credits sequence that doles out the necessary exposition.

And just like a truly middling film, it is neither terrible nor great. I won’t say I didn’t laugh at the absurdity of the film at times. But it’s safe to say it simply settles for being a reasonably diverting couple of hours that likely will not call for repeat viewings.

Two and a half damns given out of five.