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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