Batman Begins Minute 50: Morgan Freeman’s in the movie! (with our guest Erikorn)

BBM50 Morgan Freeman

Rachel has a very abrupt reaction to the news that Bruce is still alive. Bruce and Mr Earle play a game of corporate chess over champagne. Lastly, Morgan Freeman is finally in the movie!

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Luke’s Top 10 Films of 2017 (#5-1)

Top 5 Movies of 2017

Here you go! Here is the top movies of 2017.

coco

#5 – Coco

The reason Car 3 is not on the list is because I didn’t see it. But Coco is more than enough from Pixar to please me this year. I didn’t know what to expect from this movie but did it deliver one of the most heart-touching animated films since Inside Out. The animation is beautifully done with the Day of the Dead acting as a visually and musically beautiful framework for a universally understandable story about family. If you were on the fence about it, I highly recommend checking it out.

wonder woman

#4 – Wonder Woman

No one was expecting DC to make not only a good movie, but a great one. Gal Gadot is a fantastic Wonder Woman. She was naive but not stupid. She was powerful but not at the cost of her femininity. But more than anything she was heroic. The no man’s land scene will go down as one of the best superhero scenes ever. It will also go down with the great superhero origin movies such as Batman Begins and Ironman. While GotG vol 2 gave me superhero fatigue, Wonder Woman reinvigorated the genre for me.

silence

#3 – Silence

This film went under the radar with a small release at the beginning of the year. While it was nominated for an oscar, it didn’t win. The film has been largely ignored by most people but left quite an impact on those who watched it. This film was a passion project of Martin Scorsese and took him over 20 years to get made. This film is not for everyone, as it is both long and slowly paced. Those of us who need a slow movie every once in awhile, will be treated to a thoughtful, faith provoking story that is both horrific and beautiful to watch at the same time.

logan

#2 – Logan

While Wonder Woman will go down as a great superhero origin movie, Logan went down as one of the best superhero films of all time. I cannot express in words just how impactful this movie was. Not only for myself but everyone I watched it with. It was a strongly visceral experience that commands your attention throughout. Hugh Jackman’s final performance as Wolverine could not have ended on a better note.

The first X-men film marked the beginning of the current superhero era of filmmaking. If it wasn’t for Wonder Woman, this film may have ended it for me. It set the bar really high for what a superhero movie could do. While I find it unlikely, I believe the Best Actor oscar should go to Hugh Jackman with Patrick Stewart getting Best Supporting Actor. I can say that this not only reached one of my top spots of the year, but has done so for all time top movies for me as well. And we’re only at number two.

blade runner 2049

#1 – Blade Runner 2049

I honestly thought Logan was going to be my number 1 throughout most of the year. Even after watching Blade Runner 2049 for the first time Logan was still my number 1. However the thing you need to understand about the Blade Runner series is that it’s an acquired taste. I thought Blade Runner was overhyped when I first saw it, now it’s one of my favorites. Blade Runner 2049 was a movie that never quite left my mind after I saw it. I found myself reflecting upon it over and over again.

My first viewing I was able to truly appreciate the special effects and found it to be one of the best looking films in recent memory. But there was something about the story that stuck to me and refused to let go. It was a truly paradoxical experience to have something cerebral morph into something visceral and truly meaningful when I started to understand what this movie had to say to me. I saw it a second time and I better understood why I loved this movie. I’m sorry for being vague about this but it was a really personal experience for me and there are not many movies that can do that. I don’t expect everyone to share the same feelings that I have.

But what I can say is that this movie will probably sweep the technical oscars and for good reason. The movie is extremely well made and beautiful to look at. 2017 has produced some great movies and I’m happy that I can now add 2 more films to my all time favorites list.

Batman Begins Minute 49: It’s all connected! (with our guest Erikorn)

BBM49

The Wayne Board of Directors is arguing about how they should run the company while Bruce gets his playboy swagger back on. Rachel then gets the news that Bruce isn’t dead.  We also find out everything is connected to Batman!

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Batman Begins Minute 48: Pulls his glasses for dramatic effect (with our guest Erikorn)

BBM48

Crane and Falcone discuss a little itch that needs to be scratched. We also get back into some of that boring adult business at Wayne Enterprises.

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Luke’s Top 10 Films of 2017 (#10-6)

As promised I’ll have these up here before Facebook. #5-1 will be posted next week. Happy Holidays Everyone!

Ghost in the Shell

#10 – Ghost in the Shell

Let’s start off with the most controversial film of the list. Yes, I know this was universally hated for even daring to attempt an adaptation of the beloved Anime classic. I know about the white-washing, which I wrote an article why I think that reasoning is weak to boycott the film. But if you follow my reviews at all you knew that I actually really enjoyed this film. Yes, I’ve seen the original so I do have some comparison going on. Yet, I still enjoyed the film as one of the best looking films of the year and ended up being an above average action thriller. Is there things it did wrong? Absolutely, the heavy reliance on imagery from the anime was unnecessary, and its use of too many action movie cliches are the two major ones that I can think of. But what it lacked in philosophically loaded exposition like the original did it get in some nuance that most people chose to ignore. It did some amazing effect shots that were done practically (the birthing scene with the robotic skeleton was practical) and it was entertaining to watch. You might hate it, but it’s my list so I will put it down.

Justice League

#9 – Justice League

Another movie that people seem to hate a lot more than I feel is fair. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, the plot is predictable and has a weak antagonist. But I still saw it 3 times this year and didn’t mind one bit. Call this my “guilty pleasure” movie of the year. Not to say there were things that movie didn’t get right: the plot, while predictable, was at least well paced. The action scenes were easy to follow and exciting. But most of all, I am excited to finally see the DC heroes on screen together. I am a big DC comics fan and having the gang together was a treat for me. All of them were well acted and worked well together with a chemistry that felt natural and balanced. It may not have been the Avengers buster people were hoping for but it did make me more interested in the future solo movies to come.

Dunkirk

#8 – Dunkirk

Anytime a Nolan movie comes out, you bet I’m going to be excited for it. I was also fortunate enough to watch it in IMAX, which was what I would call an “experience movie”. This film was made for large-format theaters with some of the most immersive experiences at the movies. The soundtrack made me feel like I was in a war zone, which added to the sense of danger and suspense that loomed over the movie. The images were beautifully shot and edited together in another non-linear way of telling a story that Nolan is famous for. The only reason why this film didn’t score higher was because I haven’t really given much thought to the film since watching it. Also the impact it has will be lessened as it goes to home video. Even a 7.1 surround home theater won’t do the film justice. This film was made for the theater.

Spider-man: Homecoming

#7 – Spiderman: Homecoming

Marvel Studios wasn’t a complete disappointment this year. From the movie that had a lot of doubts for it too. The original Spiderman films are considered classics (the first two at least) and the last couple movies were disappointing to put it mildly. This film has reversed the trend with the best Spiderman film since Spiderman 2. Tom Holland is without a doubt the best Spiderman on screen, Michael Keaton returns to comics as a relatable yet menacing version of a B list villain and having it take place in the Marvel Universe was a nice bonus. Most of all, it was a maturation story that worked perfectly for this version of Spiderman. Also it had the best end-credit bonus scene from Marvel yet.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

#6 – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

This film ranking as low as it is, I’m sure surprises a lot of people. I’ve seen this movie called both the best Star Wars ever and the worst one since Attack of the Clones. Needless to say this film has been very divisive for fans. I find myself in the middle of it all. I liked the movie and felt it did a lot of things right but there were some really annoying story decisions that stopped it short of being a great movie. That said, it did have a bunch of surprises which was refreshing since Episode 7 was too similar to the original. Plus I have a soft spot for Luke Skywalker and seeing him again was fun. The second act was bumpy but the ending was satisfying. Overall, this movie isn’t the best film since Empire Strikes Back and it’s not as bad as Attack of the Clones.

Batman Begins Minute 47: A cyclone of bats

BBM47

Bruce embraces his fear and stands in the center of a bat cyclone. We then get a peak at Dr Crane refusing any further favors.

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Batman Begins Minute 46: The Anti-Joker

BBM46

Bruce has an idea for his symbol and descends into the cave from his childhood.

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2017 Year End Movie Recap!

Hey everyone!

I started a Facebook tradition of posting my top 10 films at the end of the year to showcase the movies I thought were interesting, fun and sometimes emotionally visceral. I also add mini-reviews for the movies that didn’t quite make the cut. I’m changing it up a bit so that you guys here on geekmindfusion.com get to read the reviews before Facebook does. The cool thing is that there will be film reviews included that I didn’t post here (because they weren’t geek related) and my thoughts may have changed over time. So this is the most up-to-date when it comes to where this year’s movies stand in my mind. So here’s the list of the movies I saw this year that didn’t make the top ten. Let’s begin (in no particular order)!

Lego Batman:

I’m sure many are surprised that this isn’t higher on my list. As much as I liked it, I honestly don’t remember that much about it, neither do I feel the need to re-watch it. I did like the humor and the bright animation style, it was a homage to all things batman. Good movie, but for me, kinda forgettable.

King Kong:

Skull Island: This is a fun movie, and is entertaining enough, but there isn’t that much to talk about. The only thing I remember from this film is the over-the-top action sequences especially when the katana is pulled out. I was laughing out loud for better or for worse. Slocky as all else, but not a bad movie either.

Beauty and the Beast:

This is another good movie that had great music and a timeless story. I did like the attempt to fill in a lot of plot holes from the animated classic, however I think the animated version is still better with a far less uncanny aesthetic for the animated characters. Still worth watching if you’re a fan of the original. Also the new song “Evermore” is totally the best addition to the film.

Power Rangers:

This is a movie I thought was going to be terrible. But it was better than expected granted probably not for the right reasons. It was Breakfast Club meets Power Rangers and the Breakfast Club part of the movie was far more interesting than the slocky third act when it went full power rangers.

Pirates of the Caribbean:

Dead men tell no tales; Aside from the first movie, which is a true classic, the rest of the series has been bogged down by convoluted plots, confusing character motivations and a “biggerer is betterer” mentality. This was one of the better films from the series but still doesn’t come close to the original.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2:

This is a movie that I have no real reason on disliking, but this film was the first time I truly started to feel “superhero fatigue.” It did a lot of things right, every character is given an arc and the jokes were funny. But the plot was fairly predictable, the ending was way too long and the movie refused to take itself seriously when it needed to. I understand a lot of people loved the movie and that’s fine, but I came out feeling “meh.”

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

The trailer looked great, it was based off a classic sci-fi comic and had a lot of promise. Then you get a movie that feels like a video game with a bunch of side quests. The lead character was very much miscast and the pacing was awful. There were a few clever sequences but it couldn’t make up from the rest of the mess.

War of the Planet of the Apes:

This was a movie that was good but I don’t have much to say about it. Don’t go into this movie thinking it’s going to be the awesome third act of the last movie, it was more The Great Escape than a war movie that you’d expect. Still a good movie and a good ending to the prequel trilogy of the Planet of the Apes series.

Dark Tower:

I heard a lot about the books and I was surprised that not only did they get it into one movie, but an 90 minute movie at that. You can tell that they cut a lot out though. It got me interested in the world though and may persuade some people to check out the books. Other than that, it was an okay movie with some cool action.

Thor Ragnorok:

The same feelings I had about GOTG Vol 2, reappeared again after I saw Thor Ragnorok. Not a bad movie technically, definitely made me laugh, but there was something missing. I’m still trying to piece together things in my mind as why I’ve felt the superhero fatigue over these movies when everyone else seems to love them. It may be a future article if I can actually get to it.

Murder on the Orient Express:

I have a soft spot for mystery thrillers and this was a pretty good one I must say. The cast was will acted, the pacing of the story was tight and I was second guessing myself throughout. A good movie to say the least, but not much else to say about it.

The Red Turtle:

This film isn’t for everybody as there is no dialogue and takes place of a man’s life on a island. It’s beautifully animated, and there isn’t that much else to say about it. Definitely worth a look for animation fans in general but if you want something to watch with the kids, they’ll probably be bored.

The Disaster Artist:

I had a lot of fun watching this movie. Tommy Wiseau is one of the most perplexing people alive. This gives a bit of a glimpse into the making of The Room. James Franco does a really good impersonation of Wiseau and there’s plenty of laughs. However I don’t have much to say about it, it was a fine movie but “oscar-worthy” is a bit of a stretch.

Movies 10-6 will be posted on Friday.

Batman Begins Minute 45: I forgot we live in a P.C. world.

Rachel and D.A. Finch discuss their ideological and relationship differences. Bruce is interrupted during his planning by a squeaking bat.

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Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi Review (Spoiler-Free)

After a pesky nearly literal cliff hanger from Force Awakens, the continuation of the series is now upon us! The Force Awakens was a fun action packed Sci-Fi adventure that revivified the series for many fans. The movie however in JJ Abrams fashion left us with a bunch of questions. Does Rian Johnson continue the mystery box that Abrams is so fond of or are we finally going to get answers? Since this is a spoiler-free review I will not talk about those things at this time, but lets see if this movie is actually good or not.

Likes:

  1. One of my greatest worries for this film is that it was going to be a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back, much like what The Force Awakens did with A New Hope. While the movie does take quite a bit from Empire Strike Back (which is not a spoiler if you saw any of the trailers), it does subvert your expectations in very surprising ways. I was legitimately surprised by some of the ways the movie sets up something you’d expect to happen then have it turn out something completely different. I don’t believe there is anything on the same level as the Vader-as-Father reveal in Empire Strikes Back but there are some surprises that satisfied my desire for novelty.
  2. All the main characters have strong arcs in which many of them learn something important and grow. Poe Dameron gets a lot more screen time this go around and turned out to be a really fun yet flawed character that is also given time to grow. There are some new characters that were integrated well into the plot without making it convoluted or messy.
  3. As stated earlier there were a lot of questions that this film really needed to answer. Without spoilers I will just say that there are several questions that are answered and there are some that are not. It did leave enough questions for the next movie, but I expect that some of them may need to be answered in stand alone films or other projects.
  4. The special effects are on point, but they also find neat ways to use practical effects where they can. It was a very good looking movie with the exciting action you expect from a Star Wars movie.
  5. Porgs are not this generation’s Jar Jar. I wouldn’t even say that they’re the Ewoks. It’s a cute creature made to market to kids but are harmless otherwise.

Dislikes:

  1. It’s hard to explain without giving away plot points but there is a part where I don’t know why a character didn’t do something. They had no reason to do what they did. Sounds vague but I’ll get hunted down if I explain in more detail.
  2. There’s a lot more comedic bits thrown into the movie. While it works in many parts, there are others that felt forced and made the scene tonally messy. It was a similar problem I had with Thor: Ragnorok. While I don’t think it was as severe as Thor, the humor in the original series never felt forced or change the scene’s tone in a bad way. I can’t help but feel they had a mandated jokes-to-scene ratio that Disney keeps insisting on, even when the scene doesn’t benefit from it and may in fact alleviate tension that the scene wants to build. It would be like if Lucas forced Luke Skywalker to make quips during his fight with Vader in Empire Strikes Back. The scene doesn’t need it and it messes up with the tone of the encounter. I’m probably complaining too much about this, it really wasn’t that bad. But it’s an annoying trend I see with Disney films lately.

Awkward Walk-In Meter: 2/5

There is PG-13 level of violence, I would say that there is some parts that may be a bit more graphic than the previous film. There is also some minor language. Other than that it’s rather harmless.

Overall:

Many are wondering if this is going to top Empire Strikes Back in terms of quality. In my opinion, it did not quite reach that level. Empire Strikes Back is one of my all time favorite films and is a very steep benchmark to meet. But is it better than the other two Disney Star Wars films? I would say yes actually. The film had a much more satisfying conclusion than Force Awakens and had better characters than Rogue One. There were legitimate surprises that helped the movie stand out amongst the other Star Wars films. This allowed real tension for many characters as you couldn’t tell what direction they were heading with the series. While I had some minor grips about confusing character motivation and forced humor, it was a solid movie overall. I’ll have to wait to see where is stands with the other Star Wars films.