Movie Review – Ghostbusters 2016 (Spoiler free!)

GB

Rexis here!

As promised, I have stepped out into the horrible light of the day star and ultimately plopped myself down in front of some of the biggest theatre screens in the country (because we have those here) despite all of pop-culture telling me not to. When a movie trailer breaks the dislike record on YouTube, I have to see what all the fuss is about. The trailer did suck. On this point, I concede. But how did the movie truly fair? Was it good? Was it funny? Did it live up to the original?

I feel that since this is my third time talking about the film on my Ability Points, I should correct an error I made by claiming this movie to be a sequel. It is NOT a sequel, despite the wording at the beginning of the trailer. This movie makes NO REFERNCE to the events in the previous franchise installments actually happening. This is a reboot. As a matter of fact, you’ll see some familiar cameos playing nothing more than side characters rather than their original GB counterparts.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are a follower of the blog here, you’ll know one of my basic tenants when watching a movie: don’t expect it to be a certain way. This movie was created with the intent of taking a long dead franchise and renewing it for the up and coming generation. If you can’t deal with that, then don’t. No one cares if you’re going to watch a movie, James Rolfe. This movie has been crapped on considerably since its inception and now that I’ve seen it, I can tell you what to truly expect.

This movie… is not bad at all! I paid ten dollars and while I wasn’t laughing out loud, I did find it humorous and well worth the price. In fact, I might even say it was good. Obviously, there are going to be people who say it wasn’t as good as the first one, but come on… Really? Are you that guy? There are plenty of people who would counter that it was better. Of course, its hard to top any movie with Bill Murray in the first place so its not even a fair comparison. Lets drop the comparing act and stick with the facts, ok?

As I said, this was not a side splitting comedy by any means. There are a few different style of humor here sort of associated with each of the women. So you are bound to find one of them funnier than another. This works well because it gives you someone to relate with. Its also detrimental because if you don’t have a funny bone in your body, you might be not appreciate the different nuances of comedy. Its best to sit back and let the movie do its thing. Sometimes you’ll laugh, sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you’ll just think to yourself, Oh I get it! and that’s fine too.

The story itself feels like a Hollywood reboot. I’ve mentioned before about this sort of thing and I won’t dwell on it too much, but a lot of the main points from the original Ghostbusters are hit in the new one. No different than The Force Awakens or any other reboot, really. I don’t know if predictable is the right word to describe it, but you have a sense of what will happen to some degree. This doesn’t take away from the storyline, however, which was all new. I don’t want to spoil it, but I enjoyed it.

Featuring a cast of veteran SNL alum, the acting was on par for a comedy. Timing and delivery were great and I felt like everyone working on the project was legitimately excited to be doing so. Who wouldn’t want to bust a few ghost, amirite? For me, it was Chris Hemsworth that actually stole the movie. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know he plays the ditzy receptionist and I thought he was just fantastic at this role.

Ghostbusters 2016 does not disappoint, however, I recognize this movie isn’t for everyone. If you were a denier/naysayer from the beginning, don’t even bother. You won’t enjoy it simply because you don’t want to. For the rest of us who were open minded, this movie is a reboot well done and I’m looking forward to the next installment of what is undoubtedly a trilogy. And to the theatre savvy, stick around for the stinger after the credits.

There. I won’t have to write about Ghostbusters again for a while.

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Skwad – Twenty One Pilots and Suicide Squad

Skwad

Rexis here!

Let’s get something out right off the bat here: I’m not a music aficionado. I just like what I like and I can’t help that I like it. I have a wide variety of genres that I enjoy, with the exception of country music. Sorry, but I just don’t feel it. That said, you can take what I say with a grain of salt. Music is a touchy subject for a lot of people, after all, and I’m more of a game “expert” anyway (Playing fast and loose with the term expert.). So with that in mind, let’s continue.

For a number of years now, I’ve been listening to a lot of the same stuff I listened to over a decade ago because music these days… well… it sucks. Sorry, but it does. There’s an alt rock station where I live that plays this garbage hit list poppy trash. I don’t understand. When did “alternative” become “trashy new wave rap/pop nonsense”? There’s even a song with a banjo in it that makes me want to claw my eyeballs out! But I digress. The reason you are reading about music on my nerd blog here is because of this:

Twenty One Pilots – Heathen

That’s Twenty One Pilots’ Heathen and a music video for Suicide Squad.

Naturally, I want to see the movie. I have my reservations because DC has done a fine job mucking up Superman in theatres, but this movie looks to be different. I’ve seen lots of articles going back and forth about the trailers, commentary on the characters, positive and negative reactions. You name it. Thing is, I wanted to see this movie before, but now that Twenty One Pilots is featured in the music video, I want to see it even more!

You see, I love those guys. Having only recently discovered them, I’ve been eating up every song they’ve made. You know that feeling when you stumble across something you lost years ago? Like finding a five dollar bill in an old coat pocket? That’s what it was like for me when I heard the single Stressed Out on the radio. Then I listened to more. And more. And more. And now Twenty One Pilots is constantly playing on my phone, in my car, and in my head.

Being something I absolutely love, I’ve been dying to write about them on the blog, but I don’t write about music. I listen to it while I write and I’m playing Heathens on repeat right now because its new and its awesome. And the tie-in with a comic book movie is all the reason I need to blog about them.

It was the lyrics that drew me to their music. Songs like Migraine and Forest are so lyrically masterful I can’t even hope to achieve that level of metaphor in my own writing. I can find something I relate to in almost every song and sometimes feel like they are singing directly to me, or rather, the lyrics are my own emotions finally finding a way out. Its therapeutic. You should seriously check these guys out if you haven’t already.

So on the subject of Suicide Squad, I know the music doesn’t make the movie, but it sure has increased my hype! If that was the goal, mission accomplished. As with every comic book movie, I’ll go into it with an open mind and try to enjoy it for what it is. All I can say for now is that they picked the right music and Zack Snyder (hack) isn’t directing. Those are very positive things in my book.

 Take it slow.

FFXI Journal – Entry 14 – Post-Script

RexMC

Rexis here!

I stopped writing my Final Fantasy XI journal back in December 2015, but I wanted to check in because a lot has gone on. First of all, I took a couple of months off here and have returned just three days ago. I got that itch and couldn’t resist popping in and grinding out a few mobs on my dragoon. Why dragoon, exactly? Because every other job is already level 99!

That’s right. After I stopped the journal, I was dual-boxing with a friends account and his beastmaster. I used it to level all my jobs cleaving in Escha Zitah. It took some time, but I finally got there, with the exception of dragoon. My friend and I were duo’ing dragoons for a bit, but then I burned out and stopped playing. So, having returned, I finally got dragoon into range and finished my final testimony fight with Maat and got the…

Maat’s Cap!

Finally! So many years since I first played this game on PS2 release and I finally have Maat’s Cap. It feels amazing! Its so great that I had to write a blog post about it. During my time away from the journal, I’ve also managed to solo/duo all the Abyssea zone bosses and caturae. That’s a tall order when you are soloing all your own pop items. I’ve also got a decently gears thief and white mage now.

So what’s in store for Rexish of Asura server? Dragoon needs to be 99. Then I can go on and finish the final two battle scenarios, MKD and ACP. I also plan to fight Shinryu at some point. My beastmaster is not far off from 2100 JP, so that is also a concern, though I don’t know if I want to take on a new main job. I’ve toyed with blue mage, but I hate hate hate learning the spells. No patience.

And finally, I need a new linkshell. I’ve returned from my hiatus to find RevenantWing practically abandoned. I’m not interested in the Reddit LS and would prefer something with mid level players. I enjoy helping others and the social aspect of the game. Constantly chasing high end armor bores me too much.

So if you’re still around on Asura, look me up! Most of my friends in game seem to have vanished from the face of Vana’diel. See you in game!

Movie Review: Finding Dory (Spoiler Free!)

Finding Dory

Rexis here!

This is going to be short, sweet, and right to the point.

If you liked Finding Nemo, go see Finding Dory. And get ready for all of the feels.

As a self-admitted Disney fan, I knew I was going to love this movie before I walked into the theatre. The thing I wasn’t expecting was the short Piper that played before the movie. It was likely the best Pixar short of them all, and that’s saying something. They have made some incredible shorts.

The movie itself was absolutely GORGEOUS! Remember when Finding Nemo came out and everyone was awed by the graphics, particularly in the ocean. This movie ramps it up to 11. And my understanding is that water is a hard medium to work in. Seriously, from the reef to the kelp forests, to the aquarium, it was nothing short of eye-candy.

The story, as the title indicates, revolves around Dory discovering who she is, finding herself. Of course, she isn’t the only one who does so. Marlon and Nemo are there as well as some other familiar supporting characters, but the new cast was hilarious and crucial to the plot. No moment feels wasted. Everything flows. And the end? Well its probably one of the most satisfying endings ever, in my opinion at least. But I’m just a completely biased commenter on an obscure blog on the corner of the interwebs. What do I know?

The jokes were super funny! I found myself laughing most of the way through this movie, except for the moments when all the feels were trying to escape my eyeball port holes. Being the macho macho man that I am, I had to force those feels deep inside. If this movie doesn’t draw a single tear, you might be heartless. Not the Kingdom Hearts kind. And if you don’t laugh… What are you? A robot? If so, I, for one, would welcome you as our new overlord.

Now, this is the part where I usually point out the things I didn’t like, but I’ve got nothing for you. Sorry. I loved this movie through and through and any fan of animation and Disney should stop what they are doing and go see this immediately. What are you waiting for? Stop reading this blog and go! Go!

Movie Review: X-Men Apocalypse (Minor Spoilers)

x-men-apocalypse-launch-quad-poster

Rexis here!

You know what’s amazing about the X-Men movie franchise? There’s like a billion movies and all of them are part of the same series. Yes, there is a retconn in Days of Future Past, but it doesn’t mean the events of the first movies didn’t happen. It simply means that tampering with time rendered them moot. This would be like Toby Maguire’s Spider-man going back in time and altering his origin instead of Sony just starting over with a new actor. The X-Men literally changed actors and got younger right in front of us and it worked.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for that. To me, it feels a lot more fitting for a comic based movie.

I’ve personally enjoyed all of the movies with the exception of Wolverine: Origins. That movie got a lot of heat for its inaccurate portrayal of Deadpool, but I didn’t know much about him back then. What always bothered me was the campy feel of the movie. There’s a scene where Wolverine literally chops a ladder down beneath Gambit piece by piece. There also a scene where Wolverine calls Blob “Bub” and that misunderstanding is what causes them to fight. Not the best writing.

Now you have a little familiarity with my take on the X-Men. As for the new movie Apocalypse, I freaking loved it! This movie was everything I really wanted to see in an X-Men movie. There are some minor things I didn’t like (as there are in every movie) such as the weird magic used by Apocalypse to transfer bodies. That is NEVER explained. Its obviously not a mutant power, so what the heck is going on there? Apocalypse also seems a little on the short side. A co-worker pointed this out to me and I have to agree. My only other gripe is about Psylocke. Why is she even a thing? There had to be a batter mutant out there for that role.

On the plus side, and without revealing too much (spoliers ahead, but very minor, no plot details), we get to see some awesome scenes with Nightcrawler, an origin story for Storm, Magneto embracing his power, Quicksilver doing what he does best, Wolverine (OMG), and a fantastic end sequence with one of my favorite mutants and potentially an arc for a future storyline. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know who I’m talking about.

The acting was spot on, with the exception of Olivia Munn. Psylocke was so flat and boring. Its a good thing she wasn’t a major character (I expected this). I thought the jokes were on par with Marvel’s MCU and Kurt Wagner had some great one-liners. The graphics? It’s 2016 and its Marvel. What is there to say? They were awesome. The movie was a beautiful concoction of action and mutant powers. I really don’t understand the bad reviews.

My only other gripe is that this movie was predictable. I knew how Wolverine’s appearance was going to go down long before the movie was released and I had the ending figured out within the first half. Still, I enjoyed every minute of it and would definitely recommend watching this movie!

Ghostbusters 2016 and the Age of Reboots

GB.jpg

Rexis here!

Ninja Turtles. Beauty and the Beast. The Jungle Book. Independence Day. Tarzan. Pete’s Dragon. Ben-Hur. Dredd. Total Recall. Robo Cop. Terminator. Planet of the Apes. Jurassic Park. Ghostbusters.

What is going on? Why am I listing classic beloved movies and franchises? Because all of these have been rebooted, sequeled, or copied to some degree (or will be soon). And we find it most prominently in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now, I love episode 7 to an almost worrying degree, but even I notice the similarities between it and A New Hope. I’m not blind. Terminator Genisys was guilty of the same thing, going so far as practically lift the intro from the first movie and paste it in the beginning. Now, the Ghostbusters preview shows Slimer and the Stay Puft marshmallow man.

  But Why? Why all the throwbacks to the originals?

I started thinking about this when I saw the Ghostbusters trailer for the first time. You see, I have two kids and we LOVE movies. I have a catalog of awesome films I want to watch with them someday and its constantly growing. And it includes the original Ghostbusters as well. The problem is that the list is, like, crazy long. It is literally a list of all the movies I’ve grown up with and loved my entire life. Literally, a lifetime of movies. The same applies to some of my younger coworkers who have never seen a lot of my favorites. When someone tells me they haven’t seen Back to the Future, a lightning bolt strikes a clock tower somewhere.

How can I reasonably expect them to watch all of the movies I consider great?

Casablanca. Sunset Boulevard. Psycho. Gone with the Wind. Citizen Kane. Singin’ in the Rain. Vertigo. Some Like it Hot. 

Do you know what those movies have in common? A couple things: they are considered must watch classics and I’ve never seen any of them. And I don’t plan to. There are several reasons I lean toward movies released during my lifetime. I’ve talked about it before, but let’s discuss nostalgia once more.

You see, our brain has this funny way of remembering the good things and letting go of the bad things. Its why we love Star Wars: A New Hope even though the acting was subpar, the special effects are dated, and the entire story is a copy/paste of the hero’s journey. Its even obvious that George Lucas had no idea where to take the franchise in the following movies. We are able to look past that because of our nostalgic love for the movie (also space samurai and magic), myself included (This is an example. Put your pitchforks down.) The same applies to the original Ninja Turtles movie, and there’s probably no bigger Ninja Turtle fan that I used to be. Watching that movie now is… painful. But nostalgia keeps a special place for it in my heart.

The point is that these older movies aren’t going to have the same impact on the current generation, similar to how Casablanca or Sunset Boulevard would have no impact on me due to a general disinterest. We don’t spend a lot of time looking at death photos from the 1800’s (most of us anyway) because the times have changed and its not a thing we relate to quite as easily as we once did. That’s how art works. Seriously, if you are going to demand the younger generation to sit down and watch the original Ghostbusters movie because they need to be more cultured, please tell me the last time you put on music from Billie Holiday (not the Fallout soundtrack, you nerd). Jokes that used to work just don’t anymore. Film theory and story telling have evolved. Things have changed, as scary as that is for a lot of people, and you have to accept it or you’ll live in this little bubble consisting of only things from your nostalgic past.

Do you understand now why we have these reboots/remakes/sequels from some of our favorite franchises? The entertainment industry understands this, and you aren’t dumber than an entertainment exec are you? Are you?!

This is why they blew up a bigger Death Star in episode 7. Its why the ID4 aliens are coming back. Its the reason we are seeing how Earth became a planet of apes. These were great stories and retelling them for a new audience makes sense in two ways: It introduces these worlds we hold so dear to the younger generation by keeping the material fresh and current -AND- it makes money! It makes so much money! Money! Money! Money! If you want to know why nothing original comes to theatres these days, its because of money! You don’t think episode 7 fired up the sales of the first 6? Of course it did! And there’s nothing wrong with that! If you’ve ever thought “I’m not going to see this because its obviously a reboot cash grab,” then you know nothing about economics, generation gaps, or how art works. And yes, it is a cash grab. They don’t make movies out of the kindness of their hearts.

Things will never be what you think they should be ever again because what you think they should be are based solely on your past experiences and nostalgia. And you know what? If that’s how you feel, no one cares what you think anyway. The future belongs to those who want to participate in it, not criticize it for being too different from the past they love so much.

So let’s talk about this whole Ghostbusters thing. There are a few different camps people fall into when it comes to their refusal to see the movie. The Angry Video Game Nerd recently came out with a video saying that he wouldn’t be seeing it or reviewing it, primarily because he thought it would never live up to the original which he holds in such high regard. This is just… ignorant. And I love the AVGN, so its hard for me to say that. But to discredit a movie because you don’t THINK it’ll be what you want is ignorant. Of course, he isn’t really known for reviewing movies, especially new ones in theatre…. So… Why did he even come out with this if not for YouTube views? Hmm…

Another camp you could fall into, and I believe AVGN mentioned this as well, is refusing to see it because the trailer wasn’t funny. I can understand this. Don’t give the studio your money if you generally aren’t interested, but once you’ve made that choice, how about just moving on with your life instead of blasting it all over social media. I can judge whether or not something is funny to me. I don’t need your help. Oh, by the way, trying to make a statement about reboots by not seeing Ghostbusters isn’t going to stop the industry from making more reboots. Did you see what I said before? Reboots make money, even if it isn’t yours this one time.

You could be one of those idiots who won’t see it because the cast is all female. You’re stupid. Or maybe you just don’t like that the cast isn’t the same as the original. Hate to break it to you, but that’s true for a lot of reboots. Get over it.

I haven’t seen many complaints beyond this. I’m not in any of these camps and I will absolutely be seeing this. I found the jokes in all the trailers to be hit and miss, but I’ll give it a fair chance in theatres. And I won’t be watching it to compare it the original. I’ll be seeing it because I LOVE movies. I love the art form. I love the experience. I even love seeing beloved characters and franchises from different perspectives, and that’s what I’ll be getting here. Hey, I even love bad movies because of how bad they are.

So if you still have reservations, that’s fine. You do you. I can promise you this though; you will find a review for the movie right here on Ability Points within a few days of it opening. So if you want a legit, unbiased review before you check it out, check back or follow me here or on Twitter @RexisGamer.

Disney’s Greatest Villain

villains

Rexis here!

I love Disney movies! I have a hard time finding fault with any of them and I know this doesn’t resonate with a lot of people. A more recent disappointment in terms of box office sales was The Good Dinosaur and it was unfounded in my opinion. I thought the movie was really good and had a great villain; that scary vulture thing that follows the storm. Very cool. Not to mention the artistic style the movie was filmed in. This isn’t about the merits of The Good Dinosaur, however. This is about a villain that absolutely struck fear into me when I saw him.

For many years, I was dead set on the fact (yes FACT!) that Scar from The Lion King was the greatest Disney villain. He’s evil, manipulative, and straight up killed someone. Not many Disney villains have accomplished this. After he tells Simba to “run away and never return,” he commands the hyenas, very bluntly, to “Kill him.” He has no emotion and is absolutely power hungry. I love him.

But he’s been replaced at the top of my list of villains.

Without further hesitation, I give you Disney’s greatest villain:

Shere Kahn

This is Shere Kahn from Disney’s The Jungle Book.

I am not exaggerating when I say that he literally gave me goose bumps in the theatre and still does when I think about certain scenes. I won’t spoil the movie too much (considering this is a remake, there really aren’t spoilers for a book from 1894 and a movie originally from 1967), but I will be talking about what drives this character, his history, and what makes him great. If you don’t want to hear it, or you’re scared of spoilers, this would be the time to go.

I found an interesting article here where Chris Culver, a real-life bestselling author expounds on what makes a good villain, and I think his list does a great job of summarizing what I see in Shere Kahn. So let’s use that as a template, shall we?

1   Good villains are exceptional persons.

From the moment we meet Shere Kahn, he stands out. The other animals remain completely silent and even fearful in his presence. He is agile, yet heavy. Intelligent, yet menacing. He follows the laws of the land and even refuses to kill Mowgli near the watering hole as that would break one of those most important laws. He values justice but is not above murder. Calculating. Cold. Absolutely exceptional. Instead of wondering what he can do, you are left wondering if there’s anything he can’t do.

2  Good villains are fathomable.

Culver explains that we should understand the villains goals and that they should be rooted in his psychology. We all know Shere Kahn wants Mowgli dead, but why? Because he has a deep disdain for man. SPOILER: His backstory involves him attacking a traveling man and his baby son. The man burns Shere Kahn with fire and scars his face, which saves the baby. The man is not so fortunate. That baby grows up to be Mowgli. Shere Kahn knows what fire can do. He knows that only man can wield it. And he knows who Mowgli is. This is as much about revenge as it is about preventing a potential forest fire.

3  Good villains get screen time.

The movie has other villains including Louie the ape and Kaa the anaconda (#TeamBlackWidow). Screen time has to be shared, but every appearance of Shere Kahn is a breath-holding nightmare, especially when he gets ahold of that wolf cub. If you know the scene I’m talking about, you’ll understand how “edge of the seat” that whole ordeal was. While screen time doesn’t make the villain great, it gives you the chance to get to know them, and boy do we get to know him.

4  Good villains are multi-faceted.

I think this is the most important distinction. As I said before, Shere Kahn is very much about law and justice. Its what drives him to revenge against the boy who’s father took a torch to his maw. Its also what drives him to force man out of the jungle. Man is dangerous and he knows it. By keeping a man cub, he knows the wolves are flirting with disaster and that it won’t just affect them; it will affect everyone.  This is utilitarianism at its best. If he kills the man cub, everyone benefits.

5 ?

There is one aspect that Culver hints at, but doesn’t say outright. He comes close by saying that a villain needs to be fathomable, or possible within the world they live in, but there is a more important aspect to this whole thing. If I added a number 5 to the list it would simply say “Relatable.” We see a lot of villains with convoluted back stories, things we can’t relate to, but Shere Kahn’s desires are so visceral, so familiar to us that we can relate to him immediately. We don’t know what its like to nearly be a king, like Scar. We can’t imagine why we would need to collect poor unfortunate souls, like Ursula. We have no idea what it would be like to live forever, like Mother Gothel. But we can all relate to vengeance and to justice. That’s what makes him a great villain above all else. He represents the very animal within us, the beast that cries out against injustice while simultaneously questioning how far we are willing to go to prevent it.