Kent’s Best of the Rest

Oh, you’re still here? Then take a look at some of the other things that stood out to me over 2017. They may not have made my “best of” list, but they’re definitely noteworthy.

O’Shea Jackson Jr. in INGRID GOES WEST
Ice Cube’s son may have gotten his big break playing his old man in Straight Outta Compton, but Ingrid Goes West is where he really makes his mark. The whole of the film that I called “Cable Guy for the Instagram generation” is pretty funny and fascinating, with its damning view of both social media and the L.A. community in general. But it’s Jackson as a vaping, Batman-obsessed, screenwriting landlord to Aubrey Plaza’s Ingrid, who ends up being the film’s secret weapon. He spends a good chunk of the movie charming the audience even as he’s manipulated into doing questionable things for Ingrid due to their bizarre descent into coupledom. Almost more importantly, he and Plaza are responsible for the funniest sex scene of 2017, with some laugh-out-loud, awkward, superhero roleplay.

The Fiance in ROUGH NIGHT
Rough Night didn’t make my worst of list, mostly because it has a few moments of genuine pleasure here and there. A few revolve, unsurprisingly, around Kate McKinnon as an Australian exchange student who at times feels more like she’s from another planet, but most of them come from Paul W. Downs as he completely breaks open the film as a beta-male turned diapered, caffeinated mess trying to save his engagement to Scarlett Johansson. If only the film had been about him, instead.

Truth be told, I still don’t think LotS is a BAD movie, per se. I still think it would have been much better received if it had been presented as an original property instead of a reimagining of Arthurian legend. But it wasn’t great. Except for that opening sequence straight out of a crazy Bollywood Lord of the Rings knock off where King Eric Bana faces off against a bunch of wizards on the back of elephants the size of Mr. Stay-Puft. It’s nutty, trippy, and the kind of high-fantasy fun the whole movie seemed to be aiming for, but just didn’t hit.

Liev Schriber, Sean William Scott and Wyatt Russell in GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS
The second Good film makes the series bookend the beginning and end of good-natured tough guy Doug Glatt’s hockey career. While not as good as the first (it’s too messy and the humor is too broad), these three outstanding performances anchor the film and show that Jay Baruchel should probably be directing more movies. Russell, especially, makes quite an impression as an unhinged star living in his father’s shadow, who lashes out wildly against anyone: friend, foe, or teammate. (Also, a nod to Elisha Cuthbert who makes the most of her small role and who I still have a crush on, going back to The Girl Next Door.)

Valerian mostly feels like a missed opportunity to reach the same kind of giddy pop-sci fi heights that The Fifth Element wrangled onto movie screens. Dane Dehaan is largely responsible through his lack of charisma and flat performance, but the way the screenplay picks up and drops plot threads doesn’t help either. One of the worst offenders is a character played by singer Rihanna and a lot of CGI, who serves as a plot device and ultimately goes nowhere. However, her introduction is a reminder of how Luc Besson can seemingly do things American directors couldn’t/wouldn’t as she performs a surprisingly effective PG-rated burlesque dance that features about a dozen costume changes in the span of five minutes.

It’s not really a surprise that Superman shows up in Justice League. He’s on the poster, after all. But what is surprising is that Joss Whedon doesn’t just fix what was done to him in Batman v Superman, but puts the best version of the character ever on the big screen. While the movie itself is simply okay, it’s worth seeing for this alone, if you’re a Superman fan. I still defend Man of Steel and Henry Cavill’s performances, but it goes without saying that the writing for him in BvS was disappointing, as is the waste of the impact that a Death of Superman storyline should have. The fact that this is put right in half a movie, even despite the weird CGI smear-lip, tells me that giving Whedon a Superman film after he’s done with Batgirl would be the best move Warner Bros could make for the character.

The Spider-Man Theme in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
Homecoming was a fun movie that made up for the awful “Amazing” films and Tom Holland does a great job as the web-slinger. There were so many moments when it was obvious that Marvel really cared about making this new series work, and wanted to let their fans know it in subtle ways. I’m hard pressed to think of a moment that put a bigger smile on my face than when an orchestral version of the theme from the ‘60s Ralph Bakshi Spider-Man cartoon series started playing over the Marvel logo. It was a small, perfect, low-key moment of fan service.

The gore effects in RAW
I described Raw as, essentially, a great werewolf movie without any werewolves. I stand by that. It wouldn’t work as well as it does though, if the handful of gore effects that mark the character’s descent into cannibalism weren’t as fantastically done as they are. They aren’t flashy, or over-the-top, but that’s what makes them work so well. The body parts and the bites look entirely realistic and matter of fact, and they’re pretty much perfect.

Armie Hammer in FREE FIRE
I was prepared for Sharlto Copley to give a crazy performance in Ben Wheatley’s one-building action experiment. What I was not expecting was for Armie Hammer to steal the whole movie for me as an independent agent who remains the epitome of cool in a crisis, even as tempers flare and bullets fly. I hate that he’s had so much bad luck with big budget films thanks to that Lone Ranger debacle of years ago, because he’s more talented than he’s often given credit for.

The apartment fight and ensuing car chase in ATOMIC BLONDE
Even with a strong sequel to John Wick, some great Marvel films and a new Kingsman movie, I’m hard-pressed to think of an action sequence that blew me away like the abject brutality of a scene in Atomic Blonde when Charlize Theron and a communist goon destroy each other in an abandoned apartment building. It is an all-timer in the middle of an already solid action flick. The choreography makes it look like one of the most painful altercations since The Raid 2. Then, they added a top-notch car chase on top of it.

Charlie Hunam in THE LOST CITY OF Z
I’m the first to call Charlie Hunam a block of wood. While that didn’t stop me from loving Pacific Rim, and it didn’t completely ruin Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur for me, he certainly doesn’t add much to most of the films he’s in. Imagine my surprise then when he gave a fantastic performance in the historical exploration drama, The Lost City of Z. A throwback to the kind of British pictures that actually celebrated brave men who would venture into the unknown for knowledge, he is able to be noble, obsessive and desperate in equal measure as he makes trek after trek to the jungles of South America to try to find a lost civilization that he believes may have rivaled the celebrated empires of antiquity. Let’s hope we see more of this from Charlie in the future.

Trey Parker in DESPICABLE ME 3
Animated sequels are often the victims of diminishing returns and Despicable Me 3, while still having plenty of gas in the tank, definitely finds itself succumbing to the usual clichés as an unknown twin brother for Gru is unearthed and trotted out like an Eastern European Cousin Oliver. However, the filmmakers did themselves a huge favor by casting South Park creator Trey Parker as an 80s obsessed villain, Balthazar Bratt, out for revenge over his cancelled TV show from 30 years ago. While Parker and Matt Stone certainly keep themselves busy with their South Park empire, occasional film projects and a hit Broadway musical, I can’t help but hope this will open doors for Parker to do more voicework outside his own projects, as he’s just plain great at it.

The No More Catholics Song in T2: TRAINSPOTTING
2017 was the year of the long awaited sequel, and many of them were much better than they had any right to be. But the one that decided to be as meta as possible, by simultaneously wallowing in nostalgia while pointing out how gross, false and irresponsible such an act can be, was the follow-up to Danny Boyle’s adaptation of Trainspotting. T2 catches us up on everyone’s favorite Scottish derelicts as they reach crossroads in their lives. The stand-out scene is when Renton and Sick Boy infiltrate the lair of an anti-Catholic group, still celebrating a military victory from hundreds of years prior, in order to steal their debit cards from the coat room. In a darker spin on the “sing the blues” bit from Adventures in Babysitting, they find themselves on stage and forced to perform. As they make up a tune on the spot in order to keep from being found out, and effectively whip the crowd into a frenzy, I was cackling like a maniac. (This despite being raised Catholic, myself.) It’s proof positive that Danny Boyle still has that magic touch to make something profane and crazy work like a charm.

The remote car chase in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS
The eighth movie in the F&F cycle was the weakest one in quite some time. Who knew Paul Walker was so important to the films’ chemistry? However, it continued the series’ tradition of finding new, crazy stunts to pull. When dozens of unmanned cars begin chasing a security convoy while even more rain down from parking garages onto the street like a hailstorm, it’s hard not to admire their commitment to fresh automotive carnage.

“I explode if I eat cake.”

That’s all, folks. Agree? Disagree? Think I missed something? Feel free to let us know on our Facebook Page!

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Aisle of the Damned: 12/01/17- Like a Bat-Kid on Christmas

Howdy, folks! As the holiday season bears down on us, Justice League has been unleashed upon us. Does this Frankenstein monster of a film fly like Superman or sink like Aquaman? We will discuss the particulars! Meanwhile, Kent has seen Coco and is dying to tell you about it.

Plus, we discuss some Marvel developments, some trailers and less, on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
Amazing Transparent Man- Holding Out for a Hero

Aisle of the Damned: 10/06/17- Nephews Who Photoshop

Umbrella ella ella ella

Kent and Bryan have a lot to complain about this episode, but does that include Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle? They take a close look at the sequel to one of the most entertaining spy films of recent memory.

They also take a gander at new trailers from Wes Anderson and the Ex Machina guy, talk the extended TV cut of Superman, discuss comments from DC/WB’s big wigs regarding the continuity of their films and gripe about issues with Amazon’s recent turn in service.

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
Save Ferris- Superspy

Aisle of the Damned: 08/18/17- The Back to Skull Special

Art Repurposed for a Reason

Kent and Bryan are ready for fall, but is your local multiplex? The Damned boys discuss what we have to look forward to in the next few months with their annual Back to Skull Fall Preview and there are a few places on the calendar which feel like a wasteland.

They also take a look at some Kevin Smith news straight from Boston ComicCon, discuss some big news from Movie Pass and talk some Bond.

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats-
Stuck in a Movie
The Hives- Fall is Just Something Grown-Ups Invented

Aisle of the Damned: 07/28/17- The Hidden Secrets in Henry Cavill’s Mustache

Check yourself for VD

Luc Besson is back to making French comic book sci-fi and, much like The Fifth Element, it’s incredibly divisive. What did Kent think of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets? And what did he think of the Medieval sex comedy The Little Hours with a who’s who of comedy stars?

But even before that, we look at a metric ton of San Diego Comic Con news and trailers. Prepare yourself for all of this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
Sloppy Seconds- Queen of Outer Space

Aisle of the Damned: 07/21/17- Matthew McConaughey, Giant Dwarf

Monkeying Around

Get yer Kong on with the Damned boys as Kent and Bryan wage War for the Planet of the Apes. How does the end of what is kind of a trilogy in an eight (or is it nine?) movie series fare? And how far did Bryan have to go to see it? Plus, Kent takes a quick look at Sophia Coppola’s new film, The Beguiled.

In addition, we have some silly news that we make fun of and a buttload of trailers for everything from The Disaster Artist to Goon: Last of the Enforcers!

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
The Vandals- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape

Aisle of the Damned: 06/23/17- It Has to Wash Its Sheets in the Morning

Transformers: It Comes on a Rough Night

Two weeks ago saw the opening of It Comes at Night. Last week, we had the bachelorette comedy Rough Night. This week we get Transformers: The Last Knight dropped on us like a 10-ton anvil. Coincidence?


Regardless, Bryan and Kent are here to slice and dice films for your pleasure and It Comes at Night and Rough Night are both on the chopping block. So which is worth your dollars? The divisive psychological horror film or the gender-bent Very Bad Things? Find out in this episode! Plus, we have Pixar’s latest: the inevitable Cars 3. Does it handle better than the second entry?

PLUS, we have some movie news, including some superhero stuff. All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine- Down with the Sickness

Aisle of the Damned: 05/26/17- I Got 99 Problems and They’re All Audio Related

Alien VI: This Time It's Repetative

Apology ahead of time, folks. We have some weird audio troubles this time so after a very ironic introductory statement, Kent is very quiet through a lot of this episode. (Some of you may be pleased by that, of course.) We’ve done what we can to fix it.

If you can hang with us, we have more crazy Sony news, we talk about Zack Snyder’s sudden departure from Justice League, Kent recommends some British comedy and we lay the smack down on Alien: Covenant, the sixth or eighth film in the venerable series, depending on how you count. (And arguably the fourth or sixth film too many.)

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
The Misfits- Hybrid Moments

Aisle of the Damned: 4/7/17- Mighty Morphin’ Wrist Cutters

What about Ranger Smith?

It’s a passionate discussion this episode as we tackle some news dripping with Sony’s flop sweat. They’re working on a stand-alone, R-rated Venom movie. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. has been talking to Joss Whedon about making a full-blown Batgirl film.

More importantly, we discuss the American remake of Ghost in the Shell and the big-screen adaptation of the ’90s kiddie kaiju show, Power Rangers. (Or is that Saban’s Power Rangers? Might depend on how you feel about adding “John Carpenter’s” to the title of films.)

We also discuss a slew of summer and fall trailers that have come out since the last episode. How are the studio marketing teams trying to sell us the biggest and smallest films of the season? Don’t forget our regular recommendations. All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
They Might Be Giants- Sensurround

Aisle of the Damned: 7/6/16- Social Networkland

They had it coming.

Kent and Bryan are limping through a summer of unrequested sequels and retreads. We discuss the way a lot of sequels have been failing at the box office and which films have bucked the trend. We also give our top entertainment picks for this month, discuss the implications of the Ultimate Batman v Superman cut and also the 180 that Warner Bros. has pulled on Justice League. Later, they talk The Conjuring 2, Finding Dory, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Central Intelligence and the long expected follow-up, Independence Day: Resurgence.

Come and sequel, won’t you?

The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
The Lillingtons- Invasion of the Saucermen