Ex Machina

Robo Sexbot: the Movie.
"What happens to me if I fail your test?"

Hello my dear friends and imaginary new readers, welcome back to another thrilling trip down Tagline lane. Today I'm going to take a break from time travelers who speak poor English to talk about non-time travelers who use their position as the head of notgoogle to create robots. So it's sort of the reverse of what they were trying to do in Terminator Genisys, which was try to blow up notgoogle before they invent Skynet. I'm talking about Ex Machina, the April sci-fi suspense film that asks the question "well can I fuck the robot?" with a resounding "of course." Ex Machina stars Domhnall Gleeson (who I guess is also going to be in the new Star Wars) as Caleb, an employee of the fictional Google stand-in Blue Book. He is invited by the company's reclusive but brilliant founder Nathan (Oscar Isaac, also in Star Wars go figure) to his middle of nowhere hyper secure and high tech home/research compound, so that he can participate in Nathan's research. We discover that Nathan has created an AI housed in a lifelike human frame, named Ava. Caleb's job is to evaluate her, and see if she passes their modified Turing test, to qualify as a truly self-aware AI.



Sort of futury guns here I come.
"Turn back the clock, and you're history."

Hi friends, welcome back to the Tagline, where there's never enough time to watch all the cut-rate movies I would really like to. Last week we went on a journey through time, into the future, where it seems inevitable that no matter what we do we'll be forced to do battle with Matt Smith and an army of laser robots. This got me thinking about difficult time situations, and naturally that led me to a path that ended at Jean-Claude Van Damme's doorstep. As such, today we will explore the many splendid wonders the the 1994 classic Timecop, a film that critics raved "was no Terminator, but for those willing to suspend disbelief and rational thought, Timecop provides limited sci-fi action rewards." Now if you can't get really excited about a movie with an awesome line like THAT riding on its back, you must not have a pulse! Seriously though, I think that critics are being a little unfair here. Sure, Van Damme has what could be described as a tenuous grasp on the English language, and I will GRANT that he cannot act worth a Jean-Claude God Damme. All of those things are true. Also true is that in the same year, Mr. Van Damme appeared in the cinematic fuckfest that was Street Fighter, so maybe that can help you put Timecop into perspective (though I will also grant that in 1994 there were lots of fantastic movies, but none about time travel!). Regardless of what the critics thought, I can still enjoy a bad movie, and I've seen worse movies that did involve as much cool high-kicking. SO LET'S GET LOST IN TIME.


Teminator: Genisys

Terminator: Cornfyld.
"The rules have been reset."

Hello again and welcome to the Tagline! In an ongoing trend where it almost seems like it is the flagship goal of my blog, today I will be discussing a movie and more or less directly disagreeing with nearly every critic that gets within viewing distance of whatever movie I happen to be talking about. Today that movie is Terminator: Genisys, a film with a title that is moderately less stupid once you're actually watching the movie. I mean, there's at least an explanation, but it's still a sort of dumb thing to call yourself. This latest Terminator does the cool thing to do this decade and reinvents the mythology, sort of pulling a Star Trek and sidestepping the existing canon. Admittedly the context there is very different, and Genisys doesn't throw everything out the window. Starring Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese (you saw him here recently as a massive dildo in Insurgent) and Emilia "my name is Daenerys and not Khaleesi" Clarke as a Sarah Connor, who in this continuity is kind of messed up from when her parents got blown up, but is under the protection of a terminator that was sent back by an unknown party to protect her. The mission as Kyle understood it has changed, and together they now attempt to stop Skynet from being created (again) with a new obstacle barring their path.


Pitch Perfect 2

Get it, it sounds like bitches.
"We're Back, Pitches."

Hello remaining friends, welcome back to more thrills and spills on Double Dare. I mean The Tagline; I don't sometimes think I'm Mark Summers in 1992, that would be insane. Anyway this is not that, this is a movie blog where I talk about movies I watched, and explain why they weren't as good as Mad Max: Fury Road. No no I'm just kidding, sometimes I talk about other things, man I'm having a really bad day for separating reality and my bizarre fantasy life. Today I'm going to talk about Pitch Perfect 2, sequel to the unexpectedly really good Pitch Perfect, a movie that had a premise I didn't feel like I had even a remote interest in. I was wrong about that, and apparently if Anna Kendrick is involved I care about A Capella at least a little bit. In Pitch Perfect 2, the Barden Bellas are doing their victory lap after their triumph at nationals three years running. Unfortunately, a mishap involving Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), her vagina, and president Obama, results in the group being nationally disgraced and barred from competing. This does not stop them from being able to compete at the world A Capella competition (which is a real thing I had to look it up). The Bellas are not allowed to recruit any new members, but do anyway in the form of Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) whose mother was in the group way back when. The situation is complicated however because Beca (Anna Kendrick) has other things on her mind, such as working for an asshole music producer.


Jurassic World

Raptor Squad: America Force
"The park is open."

Hello people who were my friends before I wrote this, and welcome back to The Tagline! Today I thought I would stop putting off the inevitable with ridiculous movies about lycanthrope law enforcers from Canada and talk about the recent box office smash Jurassic World, the latest entry into the Jurassic Park franchise and currently hanging out right underneath a billion dollars for worldwide gross. Congrats and party streamers to everyone involved for that, but I think that with Chris Pratt as the lead and some dinosaurs, no one doubted this movie would be profitable. Was it good though? Well depending on who you ask you might get a different answer. I did some looking around after I saw the movie to see what reviewers had thought, and I observed something kind strange that I've seen a few times before, I remember most notably seeing this with Avatar. Jurassic World has a 71% on RT, but a lot of the "fresh" reviews have opening lines like:

"Not the most stimulating S'berg project." "Jurassic World offers one-dimensional characters, misused actors, nonsensical motivations, retrograde gender politics, insipid pseudo-science and a whole lot of fun." "If you limit your expectations for Jurassic World to "more teeth," it will deliver on that promise. If you dare to hope for anything more-relatable characters, narrative coherence-you'll only set yourself up for disappointment." "At its best, it's good enough to take your mind off its worst, which is saying a lot."

Well those sound like really inspiring endorsements to me. Now don't get me wrong, I get it. Not every movie is going to be poetry in motion, and it doesn't have to be. At the same time, sometimes a movie is just not very good, and I think it's okay to say "hey, this movie is kind of shitty, even though there are parts that are okay." I understand that we all love Jurassic Park. I'm going to go so far as to say I liked The Lost World, mostly thanks to its enhanced Goldblum content. All that aside, being a fan of a franchise does not mean you have to defend every shitty movie released under the header. I love Star Wars to an embarassing degree, but let's face it, I'd be lying to myself in an insane way if I tried to tell you Episode III wasn't a steaming pile of bantha poodoo. I feel compelled here too to admit that Jurassic World is a turd of Brontosaurus proportion, and no amount of "good for what it is" talk will convince me that I shouldn't expect more out of this movie.


Wolf Cop

Now THIS is a poster.
"Here comes the fuzz."

Hello friends, welcome back to the best part of the WHOLE fucking week, The Tagline. Every week I pick a movie out of my movie hat and talk about it. Today I venture north once again, to embrace my destiny and watch a goofy and intensely gross horror comedy film. A Canadian on... so like really really gross. This particular cinematic masterpiece was released around this time last year, and it's called fucking WolfCop. So here goes; WolfCop is about a small town police officer alcoholic, named I shit you not Lou Garou. He spends most of his day drinking and sleeping on account of he's an alcoholic and really what is happening in Canada middle of nowhere that requires a police presence. Anyway, after being cursed with lycanthropy, he becomes a werewolf, only he retains his personality (which is a drunken gunslinging maniac wolfman). He continues to perform his job as a police officer... only also he is a werewolf. I know this seems simple but... it gets weirder from there.


Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Released in February huh? Who knew.
"The laws of space and time are about to be violated"

And that is not the only thing. Hello friends and welcome back to the Tagline! Today I'm going to be talking about the not at all anticipated Hot Tub Time Machine 2, the sequel to the surprisingly not shitty Hot Tub Time Machine. For those not familiar, the original focused on a group of 3 friends (and also Clark Duke) who go to a ski resort they once frequented back in their youth, and end up going back in time to the 80s (using a hot tub obviously). The film worked very well because in addition to being quite funny, it was the perfect parody of 80s era romantic comedies, not to mention that they had John Cusack along for the ride, and he appeared in more than a couple of the movies being played off of here. The second film picks up where the first left off. Lou (Rob Corddry)has made himself insanely wealthy by stealing the ideas for a whole bunch of shit that didn't exist in the 80s, while Nick (Craig Robinson) has built a successful music career by stealing other musicians songs. Meanwhile I don't know what Adam (John Cusack) has been doing, because he is notably absent from this movie (although he has a brief cameo at the end). 


Mad Max: Fury Road

Is it? IS IT?!
"The future belongs to the mad."

Hello friends and welcome back to a new week of tags, lines, and the tags that are also lines. That's right, it's the Tagline! Over the weekend I got out to that most sacred of places, the movie theater, and saw Mad Max: Fury Road, not to be confused with my anthro fanfiction Mad Max: Furry Road. Starring Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky, former law enforcer, former family man, current wasteland wanderer and serious hallucinator. During his almost 100% insane wandering through the irradiated wasteland that is the outback, Max is set upon by the warboys, servants of the legit nuts Immortan Joe, a demagogue who is a divine figure for his followers. Max is used as a living blood bag for a warboy, and taken along in pursuit of Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), one of Joe's enforcers who has gone rogue and abducted Joe's child brides, in an attempt to lead them to the green place, which we can all assume probably doesn't exist. Max is caught up in this extremely violent desert chase, as you are no doubt familiar by now this is a common occurrence in his life out in the Australian desert hellscape.


Avengers: Age of Ultron

"A new age begins"

Hello everyone, welcome to the Tagline once again! Today, I will finally make good, and review that massive action blockbuster, that you already no doubt have seen, but I'm going to review it anyway, just try and stop me. Picking up chronologically after Thor 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron opens with the Avengers assaulting a Hydra base, one of many they've attacked while searching for the scepter that Loki used in the first Avengers movie. If you remember from the end of Winter Soldier (or if you had missed out here's a little recap) the scepter had fallen into the hands of a Hydra-ish bad guy with a menacing accent and I think a monocle? I feel like there was definitely a monocle involved. Anyway, that guy is studying the scepter and playing babysitter to the Maximoff twins (that's Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) when the Avengers come knocking, with like Thor's hammer and stuff. After recovering the staff (because of course they would) Tony Stark and Bruce Banner discover an AI that they try to use to resurrect the Ultron program, a peacekeeping robot program that was supposed to act as a security system for the whole planet. This goes immediately south of the border, as Ultron needs all of 10 minutes alone with the internet to determine that the entire human race needs to be eradicated.


Radical Jack

"No one can hold him back"

Hi folks, welcome to another riveting edition of the Tagline! I know what you were thinking, "Oh hey Justin's totally going to review Age of Ultron this week!" THINK AGAIN SUCKERS I'm going to review this fucking piece of steaming garbage. What's better than a stupid movie about a CIA ninja soldier man? A movie about that where the supposed badass is played by Billy Ray Cyrus. Yeah that's right, welcome to my nightmare. This film was released in the year 2000, when the world was kind of ridiculous, and it's called Radical Jack. It doesn't 'star' anyone per se, but features Mr. Billy Ray "Achy Breaky Heart" Cyrus as the eponymous Radical Jack, which is his very real sounding code name, and definitely isn't reminiscent of any British statesmen. Anyway, Jack used to be a Navy Seal, but now he's double fisting booze and hanging out in a bar somewhere, until he gets called out of his... deep drunk cover to take a new mission, one that will give him a chance to get even with the man who took everything from him (you know murdered his wife and kid naturally). So without further explicit telling of everything happening in the movie with awkward exposition, Jack heads to the small town of Who-Gives-a-Fuck, Vermont, where he poses as an extremely conspicuous bartender at a local roadhouse. In addition to exciting the lady bartenders, Jack's other job is to locate a local arms dealer, who for some reason does all his business in the middle of nowhere, I mean I don't know who he's selling illegal arms to in the woods but... we'll overlook that I guess for now.



Spooky Eye: The Movie
"She has the Power."

Good afternoon friends, and welcome back to another stirring edition of the Tagline, where movies are still king, or possibly queen as the case might be. Today I will be going back a little bit to talk about the recent Luc Besson film Lucy, a movie that I avoided seeing for a while because I wasn't sure I needed to see Scarlett Johansson hurricanrana another person. As it turned out, I really didn't but she mostly hurts people in different ways, so that was a real relief. Lucy is a movie about a girl, who as you may have guessed is named Lucy. She is kind of a dumbass, For starters, she hangs around with a seedy crowd, including her super awesome boyfriend who essentially sells her as a drug mule so that he can try to get out of a bad debt he owes to some Korean crime boss in Taiwan (where they are). This doesn't really work out great for him or his splattered brains, but he was an asshole anyway so really who cares. Lucy on the other hand... doesn't end up much better off, having her abdomen stuffed full of drugs and then getting kicked in her drug bag, which seems like a dumb plan on the part of her captors. Large amounts of the drug are absorbed by her system, which causes her to freak out and then does what every drug addict dreams about: gives her super powers. Despite her enhanced abilities and telekinesis and other crazy shit, Lucy's body is rapidly deteriorating, and so she attempts to locate the rest of the drug mules so she can juice up some more. Also she contacts well known wise person and maybe god Morgan Freeman so that she can try and figure out a way not to literally disintegrate on an airplane.



Glass breaking everywhere.
"One Choice Can Destroy You"

Hello my friends, welcome back to the Tagline, where I promise I haven't forgotten about you all. Today, just as in the days of yore, I will discuss a piece of flaming hot trash that I recently saw in the movie theater, where they no longer let you put your feet up apparently. I will be talking this time about Insurgent, the stunning sequel to the smash lunch time bullying after school special Divergent. Take a moment to acquaint yourself and then we'll continue. Good? Okay. There are many reasons that I feel compelled to review movies that are invariably going to be trash. Sometimes I fear others will see them and be disappointed at how awful they are. Other times it's just really funny to watch how comically bad something is. Still other times a movie can be bad in a way that tells us how other movies can be good. Every now and then you get a movie that adroitly does all of these things, and this is one such time. Insurgent takes up where the first film left off, with Tris (played by the preeminently unlikable Shailene Woodley) and her grossly older boyfriend Four (Theo James) on the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet) who is trying to hunt down all the Divergents because she thinks they're bad, and also is a wicked bitch. She heads up the Erudites, who are the caste of smarty-pants that in the first movie led a coup against the nice guys. In the process they murdered the parents of Tris, and she is as a result lookin' for some of that sweet sweet revenge.


Jane Eyre

Just let the sad sink in.
"Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine.”"
Hello Friends, it is that time again! Today I am going to discuss one of my favorite pastimes. See sometimes in the summertime, I like to watch morose movies about English moors and brood about them. Okay, so I like to do it even when it isn't summer, but in this particular case it was summer. The nearby art cinema a town over was showing Jane Eyre, probably my favorite work of gothic fiction, and I had nothing to occupy me for the afternoon (a state so long past that I can't even remember how it felt). Obviously Jane Eyre has been adapted numerous times, but I'm talking about the 2011 film, direct by Cary Fukunaga, probably best known now for True Detective. This film starred Mia Wasikowska, whose name I will literally never spell right on the first try, as Jane Eyre, and Michael Fassbender as Rochester. I haven't been shy about my feelings for Wasikowska, and the types of characters she gravitates towards, but I'll make a rare exception for Bronte, and maybe Crimson Peak when it comes out. Not for another goddamned Alice in Wonderland movie though. Fuck that. Enough about her though, let's talk about Jane Eyre. I'll give you a brief intro if you haven't read it first, and we can go from there. Jane Eyre is a novel written by Chalotte Bronte, about an orphan who experiences a typically miserable and dreary childhood in the late 18th century, being sent to Lowood school for girls, which is bleak and awful, are you sensing a theme. She eventually leaves to become a governess at the home of the eccentric and secretive Mr. Rochester.



I'm glad my parents aren't hyper-criminals
who are also Die Antwoord.
"I am discovery. I am wonder. I am Chappie."

I feel like this tagline is a bit misleading in terms of the movie's tone, but then again I've never especially gotten the impression that tagline writers have any idea what movies are about. Welcome back to THE Tagline, where robots get set on fire just to watch them burn. Over the weekend I got out to the movies, because there was something that I actually wanted to see, and that was Chappie, the latest from South African-Canadian pain artist Neill Blomkamp, a man romantically involved with cinematic misery, and also science fiction I suppose. His last fictional foray was the aggressively unpleasant and almost completely unnecessary Elysium, a film where Matt Damon portrays a low-life who enlists the help of bigger low-lifes, to bring down the biggest, meanest, low-lifes of all, who live on a magical paradise in outer space. What you may be detecting is I didn't think much of Elysium. While still kind of a bummer, I found District 9, his first major theatrical release, to be substantially less shitty, and so with these two experiences from the director behind me, I figured that I had a 50/50 shot of either liking or hating Chappie, a movie about a police robot that gains sentience, in the caldera of violence and shittiness that is Johannesburg. How did I end up liking it? Well things went about 50/50. Let's start off with the basics.


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Pink Hotel.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Tagline. The week is new, and at last we can almost see the ground, emerging from the hellish permafrost that I feel has engulfed us for an eternity. I know that February is the shortest month out of the year, but I swear it dragged on for months. Enough about that though, let's focus on what's going on inside of movie theaters specifically. today I will be talking the recent effort from that most...I don't know what word I'm searching for, but it falls somewhere between pretentious and whimsical, of directors, Wes Anderson. I am talking of course about The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film that was recently nominated for nine Oscars (four of which it won, although best picture eluded it). I wouldn't take it too hard though Wes, this is the same academy that last year nominated Gravity for best picture, which I feel the need to reiterate, I FUCKING HATE. I'm not sure this is a body you can trust, though I guess it's better than the AACTA, which actually AWARDED best picture to Gravity. That's awful, but don't worry, that's enough about that garbage. Instead we will talk about The Grand Budapest, a film starring Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H, the concierge at the Grand Budapest. This story is a framing story, within another framing device, being a story that an author is telling, about a story he was told by the owner of the Grand Budapest to him in the 60s, about when the OWNER was a young lobby boy in the late 30s.


Taken 2

"They want revenge, They chose the wrong guy."

Now there is a true Tagline. Hi folks, welcome to the Tagline, where I needed to take a break to actually watch some damned movies so I could go back to REVIEWING those same damned movies. Today I'm going to do what I do best, and talk about a movie where a guy kills a whole bunch of other guys. Think back a ways, to 2008, and you'll remember Taken, a film where Liam Neeson plays former CIA operative turned private security Bryan Mills. One fine day his daughter goes on an unsupervised trip to godless and lawless Europe (France specifically) where she is abducted by sex traffickers. That probably seemed like a great idea to them, but Bryan happened to be on the phone with her when it happened, and despite the taunts of her kidnapper (who only says "good luck") he DOES in fact have good luck. See sometimes you kidnap a girl and her father is a professional murder man. As a no frills action/vigilante revenge fantasy movie, Taken was wildly successful, grossing well over 200 million worldwide on its 25 million dollar budget. As such, they could hardly be expected to risk making a sequel (or two actually). Taken 2 brings us back into the world of Bryan Mills, trying to be a less shitty dad while still doing security on the side. This film opens as Albanian mobsters, relatives and associates of the MANY people Mills killed in the first film, commend what's left of their friends and family to the earth, and swear revenge on the man who put them there. Now, if you've seen the first movie, this probably instantly strikes you as a not awesome idea on their part, but hey, they're used to having it good and probably don't know any better. But they're going to learn.


Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Hey friends, welcome to another swinging night at the Tagline! Today I'm gonna be talking about Birdman, a movie that shockingly is not based on a Hanna Barbera cartoon. Is that disappointing now that I think about it? Well... maybe a little. At any rate, we're talking about Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, starring Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson, a Hollywood Has-been who was best known for his portrayal of the superhero Birdman, in blockbuster films of days gone past (Michael Keaton in real life was, as you may all remember, the original Batman on the silver screen). In an attempt to make a comeback, Riggan is putting on an adaptation of Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and has invested essentially everything he has left in the effort. Also involved in the production are his girlfriend Laura (Andrea Riseborough apparently destined to always be the other woman), first time broadway actress Lesley (Naomi Watts) and through Lesley the eccentric and off the rails Mike (Edward Norton), who is a Broadway veteran that Riggan hopes will lend credibility to his show in the eyes of the critics. Also on the production are Riggan's lawyer Jake (Zach Galifianakis) and Riggan's recovering addict daughter Sam (Emma Stone being as mean as she can be), Jake as production manager/Riggan handler and Sam as Riggan's assistant/surly daughter not doing much. That's the players assembled, and basically the movie centers around Riggan's attempts to prepare the show to open, leading up to its first full performance for the public.


The Cable Guy

"There's No Such Thing as Free Cable"

A point I feel Comcast is constantly trying to establish by alternatively letting my cable go out and then increasing rates. I feel like I should pay them for 2/3rds of the month, which is the percentage of the time that I actually have functioning service. BUT THAT IS A STORY FOR SOME OTHER TIME. Welcome back to the Tagline, where I am the submissive and you are all my dominant. Or something. I assume there will be a point in the future where I stop ridiculing 50 Shades for being the worst piece of garbage ever, but that time friends is not now. In the meantime let's talk about something else. Have you folks ever seen the Cable Guy? You know, that movie about the guy and the cables? Well we're talking about that today, so tune in and listen up. The Cable Guy is weird from beginning to end, and goes to a dark place... a place many of us have been really. For starters, this movie was directed by Ben Stiller (who also appears in the movie... twice technically) and produced by Judd Apatow, which probably explains why Leslie Mann is here. Also Jack Black but back to the movie. The Cable Guy stars everyone's... favorite guy Matthew Broderick as Steve Kovacs, who following a failed proposal is on the outs with his girlfriend Robin (Mann) and so moving into his own apartment. He gets some questionable advice from Jack Black about convincing his cable guy to let him steal some movie channels on the cheap, but his cable guy Chip (Jim Carey) hooks him up, making him a "preferred customer". He also convinces Steve to hang out with him the next day. Shit pretty much goes all downhill from there.


50 Shades of Grey

I'm very important and stare out the window.
"Mr. Grey will see you now."

Hello friends and welcome. After a brief hiatus, I did some soul searching, and then decided that there was only one right thing to do on the night before Valentines Day. Call up my male friend, and go see 50 Shades of Grey. You fucking people asked for it, so I did it, god help me I did it. Before I even talk about the movie... and I have plenty to say there, let's talk about the experience of physically attending a showing of this film, which was surreal in and of itself. For starters, having to actually buy a ticket to see it was the first time I'd experienced real embarrassment over such a thing in approximately ever. I felt a mixture of shame and annoyance, because I was actually paying money to see what I knew would be a pile of garbage, based on its premise alone. Once inside the theater I found myself no less unsettled. My friend turned to me and asked "Notice anything interesting about the audience? Like there's... a certain kind of person here?", and right he was. I would say the theater was composed roughly 50% of what I would describe as tweens, girls who one would have to imagine were almost certainly there with a mom chaperon. Every part of that sentence makes me feel seriously grossed out. Worse yet I noticed these girls were dressed like... what I imagine a 15 year old might think was sophisticated (one girl kept stumbling in high heels down the stairs to leave the theater, it was awkward). So now I'm sitting in a theater with my friends and mostly teenage girls and their moms, watching a movie presumably about a man having sex with some girl and hitting her until he cries. What a Friday night.


If I Stay

Ghost Girlfriend: The Movie.
"Live for Love"

Hello friends, I know you must have been concerned that I died, and then had flashbacks in limbo about my daring and tragic life filled with love cut too short, but actually I was just really backed up with work, and that cut into the time I normally use to watch movies about exploding Draculas and girls crying about boys they like. Rest assured however that this doesn't mean that crying exploding Dracula girls are not still number one in my heart. With that out of the way, welcome back to the Tagline, where we are still in the middle of Romantic Romance Month, don't think you're off the hook. Last week we looked at the Fault in Our Stars, a movie about having cancer sort of, but mostly a movie about using the cheapest methods possible to elicit an emotional response from the audience. This week we visit a movie which is... well frankly not much better in that regard. I'm talking about If I Stay, a film based on, you guessed it, a young adult novel, and also about out-of-body experiences. This adaptation in particular stars Chloe Grace Moretz (you know the one who is going to murder you) as Mia Hall, a girl who really likes classical music, and plays the Cello all the time. She is your regular girl music prodigy-who-might-go-to-Juilliard and part of a regular kind of hippie former punk rocker family. Okay so nothing about her life is ordinary, but at least they're not trying to convince me everyone has cancer! Anyway, her life is changed forever when she meets Adam, the frontman for a local up-and-coming band that has prospects of blowing up. The two begin one of those super intense high-school relationships, but their own extraordinary lives begin to pull them apart. One day Mia goes on a trip with her family, and then they get in a super bad car accident and Mia wakes up outside of her body. Yeah that's a little out of left field right?


The Fault In Our Stars

Fortunes fools?
"One sick love story"

I picked the above tagline because nothing says "taking things seriously" like making a pun about cancer. That's the sort of quality you can expect out of today's Tagline, in honor of the spectacular commercial romance that is Valentine's Day, I'm starting off the month of February with TEARJERKER SADTIME ROMANCE WEEK. To that end I started off by choosing The Fault in Our Stars, a movie that critics and moviegoers wet their pants over when it was released, and starring my favorite galpal Shailene Woodley. The Fault in our Stars presents the age-old story, told time and again, of a girl who falls in love with a boy, only they both have cancer. Also Willem Dafoe is there as a drunk guy who wrote a book they like. There are nuances and wrinkles to the story, but I have just encapsulated the big picture. The boy in question in this case is Augustus Rivers (played by Ansel Elgort, who I last saw when he was being brutally killed in a paranormal bloodbath in Carrie, the remake one), who lost his leg to cancer but now is on the mend and living life bravely and eccentrically, as any good movie boy who explodes into the life of a hopeless girl. His offbeat outlook and lovable quirks initially cause friction with Hazel (Woodley) but naturally over time and wild antics the two come to love one another, despite the dire circumstances of Hazel's life.


Batman Forever

Batman for... a while at least.
"Courage now, truth always...."

I know, I've been working up to this for a while, and now here it is! A special Saturday Tagline for you all today, and I'll be talking about a very difficult topic that we all have to try and cope with. Sometimes it can be difficult to admit to yourself that an old, trusted friend has become somebody else, and it can be even more difficult to confront THEM about it. That's how I think we all felt when we saw Batman Forever. We were two good Batman movies in, maybe felt like we could rely on those good times, and then... this happened. Thank Warner Brothers for that. They decided after the release of the fantastic Batman Returns that it hadn't grossed enough money, and that if it were more "mainstream" it would do better. To this evil end, they gave Burton and his Gotham City the boot out of the director's chair (though Burton had been lukewarm about even doing a second Batman) and tapped Joel Schumacher to direct, with Burton restricted to producing. This film struck a completely different tone from the previous two, with villains so flamboyant that they make Jack Nicholson's turn as the Joker look positively subdued. This movie also introduces the character of Robin, portrayed here by Chris O'Donnell, although originally Marlon Wayans was cast. Presumably he was replaced because Hollywood is intensely racist. Anyway, the most important swap out here was Michael Keaton, who opted not to appear in another Batman because he didn't like the new direction (though apparently he still considers himself to be the ONLY Batman), was replaced by Val Kilmer. Now I enjoyed Top Gun at least as much as the next guy, but that is not an equation with equal values on both ends of it. That being said, Val Kilmer is still a much better Batman than George Clooney. Squaring off against the new caped crusader are Two-Face (portrayed in explosively red tiger-striped fashion by Tommy Lee Jones) and The Riddler/Edward Nigma (here played by Jim Carey). It seems like the common wisdom is that unless the primary villain is the Joker, there must be at least two villains on the stage at any given time (and in The Dark Knight even there was still Two Face) Okay, the stage is set, now let's talk about this FANTASTIC MOVIE


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

"Mysterious. Dangerous. Reptilious. You've never seen heroes like this."

Reptilious huh? WELL THEN I guess it must really be an exceptional work. OR WAIT MAYBE IT'S STUPID BULLSHIT. Well hello everyone, I'm buried in like three feet of snow, basically in a frozen tomb, and it is time for the Tagline. Today, as I have long hinted, I will be talking about the most recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, you know the one with Megan Fox in it. That's right gang, it's time to pay the piper at long last. First a little background, and then right on in to the good stuff. So for those not in the know about Ninja Tortles and all their tortings, go here and read about a much better movie about heroes in a half-shell. It's okay, I'll wait. All set? Alright then, back to the horrible present. THIS iteration of the Ninja Turtles was conceived into being shortly after Nickelodeon acquired the rights to the franchise, and was co-produced by Nickelodeon movies and Michael Bay's very own studio Platinum Dunes, which I'm sure just filled everyone with so much excitement. After all, who could forget the stunningly brilliant and exciting Transformers movies? No one can, because they won't stop fucking making them, one after another. What are there like five of them now? Anyway This movie doesn't have Marky Mark in it, but it DOES have Megan Fox, and I mean a LOT of her. I think she gets more on-screen time than any other character in the movie so... we'll talk about that in a second. Anyway this movie is a re-reboot, ignoring the mediocre and financially middling movie from 2007, and teaching us that it's never too soon to get another origin story, again. That actually brings up a good point, about constantly redoing origin stories. See the way I see it, the first movie with a character is not the most interesting one. I understand that sometimes a story is so fucked that you have to redo it, but I think we can safely assume that like, everyone knows who the ninja turtles are, and make a movie about something other than "their first momentous fight against Shredder". Particularly because they already made that movie, everyone liked it, and you probably won't do it better a second time around.


Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

See, like this.
"Sequels Literally Forever"

Okay I just made that up, but there was no actual tagline. So sue me! Hello friends, welcome to another fine Thursday at The Tagline, where I babble about movies and you continue to fail to voice increasing suspicions that I may actually be losing my mind. I know I promised you bad bad turtles, but I thought I'd save that good shit for next week, and so instead you'll be getting horror sequel part 100, with Paranormal Activity: THE MARKED ONES. Though really I think I definitely prefer "Actividad Paranormal: Los Marcados" as a title. Anyway, this... fifth film in the series is technically a spinoff, so characters from the other movies only make brief cameos (mostly just Katie Featherston, who is the only one to have appeared in every instance of the franchise). The movie follows recent high school graduate Jesse, and his two friends Marisol and Hector, as they are first messing around with a camera and decide to see what sorts of weird shit their downstairs neighbor Ana is getting up to. Everyone thinks she's a witch and SURPRISE she totally is a goddamned witch. If I've learned anything about California from these movies, it's that the female population there is at least like 25% witches and demon worshipers. Anyway, Ana winds up murdered, presumably by a classmate of Jesse's and then stuff starts getting weird around Jesse's house. He acquires some neat magic tricks, and the trio slowly come to realize that this new juice Jesse has going for him is coming from something that seems to be hanging around with him, following him and communicating its displeasure through a Simon (you know the light up game thing). This movie offers a lot of object lessons for the audience, and I will enumerate them as I go further into my thoughts on the movie.


As Above, So Below

They really need to clean up Paris.
"The only way out is down."

Too true guys, too true. So welcome back to a new week of The Tagline! Today it's going to be some more horror, as I dip back into that much maligned genre, the found footage horror movie. Today's offering is As Above, So Below, a film about a group of people who descend into the catacombs beneath Paris in search of the Philosopher's Stone. As we all know from watching the first Harry Potter movie, The Philosopher's Stone was the end goal of all alchemy, and it was rumored that Nicholas Flamel succeeded in its creation, achieving immortality along with his wife. For anyone sort of curious, Flamel's reputation as an alchemist was extremely posthumous. He lived in the late 14th and early 15th century, and accounts of his alchemy legend originate more than 200 years later. At any rate, in this movie he really IS an alchemist, and the main character, a woman named Scarlet, finds evidence in Iran of where the philosopher's stone might be. Why is there something in Iran written in Aramaic that tells the location of Nicholas Flamel's Philosopher's Stone? I have no idea, but it did so yeah, Scarlet follows this evidence to Paris. There she realizes that the evidence points to a secret chamber somewhere beneath Paris, deep in the catacombs that crisscross the city's below. While attempting to determine the location of this chamber, a mysterious individual suggests they consult with an amateur catacomb delver named Papillon, and then disappears of course. Papillon and his hipster friends lead Scarlet, her documentary camera guy, and her reluctant ex-boyfriend into the necropolis, Where shit promptly starts to get weird.


The Grandmaster

In the rain, kung-fu rain.
"In Martial Arts there is no right or wrong, only the last man standing."

I think you're thinking of Wrestlemania there, but okay, you write the taglines and I just read them. Hello friends! It's that time again, and today we'll be making the trip to the far east once again, as I scrutinize a big Hollywood stab at kung-fu. In this particular instance I'm talking about The Grandmaster, the latest in a long line of adaptations about Ip Man, the master of Wing Chun who has been sensationally popular in cinema (at least in part because he was the teacher of Bruce Lee). This particular film focuses on different aspects of Ip Man's life than previous films, being a bit more reflective and philosophical. I'd actually seen Ip Man, which mostly focuses on him fighting the invading Japanese, and like so many movies takes a lot of liberties for the sake of dramatic effect. The Grandmaster does that too, but the focus is completely different. This film is almost biographical in format, following Ip Man from young life briefly, until the point when he succeeds his mentor as a grandmaster of Wing Chun in is own right. Along the way obviously people fight each other, and pit their varied styles of kung fu against one another in typical fashion, as an attempt to prove supremacy.


I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenfurter.
"In the battle between good and evil, an immortal holds the key."

Hello friends, welcome to Tagline's Terrible Tuesday, the second Tuesday out of the month where without fail I will deliver to you a movie that is a pile of hot garbage. With that end in mind, today I will be talking about I, Frankenstein, possibly one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen, and a true enigma of film making. I, Frankenstein is at its core, several positions displaced from even a mediocre movie. It is a cinematic train wreck, in which there are no survivors, only a twisted amalgam of blood, fire and metal, amidst moody camera filters and a world submerged in an endless night. Starring Aaron Eckhart as the I, Frankenstein (and with a face only marginally less fucked up than the end of The Dark Knight) a monster stitched together from much shorter men than I remember in the book, and not possessing a soul. After being rejected by his creator, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the monster kills Frankenstein's wife, is pursued by the doctor to the arctic, and watches as the dipshit freezes to death (this is the stuff that happens in the novel). After all this stuff, which is covered in a voiced over montage lasting roughly 30 seconds, the bullshit story of THIS movie starts, leaving behind a book that I think everyone can agree is a better narrative than this steaming heap. Let's go a little bit deeper shall we? Get your shovels folks.


Year in Review: The Worst of 2014

Hi everyone, welcome to part two of my year in review, where I look back at the ways in which I have wasted my precious free time, and consider which films were less of a waste or, in the case of today's post, the biggest wastes of all. It was somewhat challenging for this list to not just become a litany of young adult book adaptations that I found terrible, but I managed to inject at least some variety. The Mortal Instruments ducked the headsman's axe narrowly by coming out in 2013, even though I didn't watch it until 2014. Still not everyone was so lucky. Without further delay let's dive right into this.

The Tagline's Worst 5 of 2014:


Year in Review: Top 5 of 2014

Hi folks! I thought that this week I would take a break from reviewing films to instead review my year at the movies, and to recount some of my favorite and LEAST favorite movies I saw this year that actually came out this year. I figured I would start off with my favorites first, and we can work our way from there to the shittiest movies I saw this year. I will give a short synopsis of each, and also link the full article if you want to compare my recollection now with my thoughts then. Maybe I've since changed my mind? Really who knows, I'm essentially delirious all the time. At any rate, bear in mind that I'm not saying these were the best movies that came out, just the ones I SAW, so don't suggest movies I didn't see. Also I saw lots of other good movies, but I liked these best. So shut up and enjoy the list. Without further ado I give you:

2014: The Top 5 Tagline Movies


Left Behind

"The End Begins."

Hi friends, welcome back to a brand new year at The Tagline. I thought that we should start of this new year on the right note, and so to that end I figured we could do our favorite thing, and talk about some ridiculous Nicholas Cage related antics. So today its all Rapture, all the time. That's right, it's time for you to join me and get Left Behind. Now it's possible that you're not familiar with this particular franchise, possibly because you are not an insane person, or at any rate that you have a life. That's a credit to you as a person, but let me fill you in on the gritty details. So the Left Behind series was a group of 13 novels, written from the perspective of dispensational Christians, specifically those who believe that in the End Times, before all the bad shit happens, that true believers will literally be raised up into the air to meet Jesus, for a kind of pre-judgement meet and greet in heaven. After that happens, those left behind will be treated to a variable period of death and misery (in this case seven years, led by the anti-christ) before Jesus comes back to regulate. Are you guys still with me? Okay. So these books are about that, the first one is also CALLED Left Behind, and they have also made a trilogy of movies about this, prior to this Nicholas Cage led endeavor. They specifically deal with a group of individuals who are left behind, that become born-again Christians and fight against the anti-christ. The original movies starred Kirk Cameron, who as you may or may not be aware is an extra-chunky nutbar. At some point I hope to be able to review the third movie in the original series, World at War, because it is one of the more ridiculous films I've ever watched. Long story short, this Left Behind franchise is prolific if nothing else, and somehow that prompted a movie that Nicholas Cage agreed to be in, because he seems to be willing to star in literally anything.

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