Monday, June 22, 2015

Orange is the New Black: Season 3

Who knew that an online based serialized dramedy about women in a minimum security prison would become one of the most beloved and talked about new shows of 2013? Not this guy, that’s for damn sure. I thought it looked funny from the previews and planned to check it out due to Jenji Kohan’s (Weeds) involvement. Some minor glitches aside I thought the first season of Orange is the New Black was absolutely fantastic.

Season 2 was even better. We got more insight into not only the major players via Lost styled flashbacks, but minor characters as well (Lorna and Taystee were my faves). Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) was replaced as the main antagonist with the frighteningly unstable Vee (Lorraine Toussaint), twists and turns popped up when you least expected them and mucho drama, spiced with some gut busting laughs, ensued.

Season 3 had a lot to live up to.
Life in Litchfield Prison is carrying on as normal for Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) until her ex-girlfriend/drug running partner Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) returns for breaking her parole. Behind the scenes the prison is sold to a private company and the atmosphere begins to change for the worse for not only the inmates, but the faculty.

As much as I enjoyed the first two seasons I have to say that the exact opposite was my first reaction to this new one from the start. It seemed to just kick off at a very boring place and dragged on for the first two episodes before the tedium subsided and the usually impeccable writing came back to life. There was nothing interesting going on, characters talked about vapid topics and there was virtually zero conflict. It felt as if the writers were attempting to reboot the series to be completely honest. The repeat of the Piper/Alex relationship was lame, certain characters were pushed aside to make room for pointless new ones and the energy level was waaaaaaay down when compared to the previous seasons.
It took the removal to one of my favorite characters to finally prove to me why this show was so appealing in the first place - it pulls no punches and is willing to piss the viewer off to either prove a point or move the story forward. It worked. While I was sorely missing (name removed to avoid spoilers) I do understand that it was the catalyst needed bring some spark back to the show. I don’t know exactly what the reasons behind the rocky start were, but I was just happy to be enjoying the show once again.

This season even more of the background players are fleshed out in flashbacks. Some of my favorites were Annie Golden’s mute Norma, Lori Tan Chinn’s enigmatic Chang and Lea DeLaria’s always fun Big Boo. Most of the others were sort of cliché and uninteresting, especially Emma Myles’s Leanne. I mean, Amish? Really?! Were the writers already out of ideas at that point? The unevenness of these backstories, and the small little one shots we get of the other background players’ histories, address the largest problem of this season – way too much going on.
There are so many subplots, sideplots and subplots within subplots that it’s hard to keep track of it all (but the sci-fi porn stories cooked up by Crazy Eyes was the shizz). Most of the time I lost interest in all the shenanigans going on at any given time. And there are so many new characters introduced that are so friggin’ flat and useless that I wonder why they were ever concocted in the first place. Case in point – Ruby Rose’s Stella. Basically this character was pooped out of the writing room cornhole to cause drama between Alex and Piper. Mostly Piper. The problem is that there is nothing to her character. Absolutely no substance. She’s just there to get naked and be sassy. I absolutely could not stand her or understand what Piper saw in her to begin with. Ruby is kind of a big deal in Australia so I felt that she was shoehorned in to get some extra bang from the viewers down under.

Piper on the other hand… where do I begin? She is the main character of the show. Period. You can tell me it’s an ensemble show all you want, but the series started off with her going to prison and will most likely end with her getting out of prison. It’s about her adventures and experiences behind bars that ultimately drives the show. The fact that the people that share the space with her are all fun and crazy and interesting is a bonus. So why is it that she is still the least interesting character out of them all? The writers managed to finagle some likability out of her in season 2, but here she is back to being the self centered, clueless and annoying beyond belief asshat she was in season 1. All she amounts to are vacant stares, lame jokes and an infuriating naiveté. She does sort of get her shit together near the end of the season, but it’s too little too late.
The breakout character of this season for me was a surprise – Pennsatucky. The writers have turned this unlikable character from the first season, who for whatever reason transitioned her into a laughing stock for season 2, and did a complete 180º with her. While she is more than a little clueless sometimes, Pennsatucky has come around and has begun to grow in ways I thought she never would. When a certain injustice is put upon her this season the old Pennsatucky would have gone on a rampage. We get to see a different side of her that shows just how far she’s evolved. And Taryn Manning, who I’ve actually conversed with face to face at great length (she came to my house and let my friend and I interview her for our now defunct geeky internet talk show TOASTY!), just kills it this season. Absolutely KILLS IT! There is a harsh scene between her and Big Boo that made me cry. It takes a lot to make me that emotional, but all my buttons were pressed in the right order and I was in tears. It was one of the most wonderfully performed scenes I’ve seen in a long while. Just outstanding writing and acting across the board.

Every single one of the actors are fantastic as usual. You can tell that off camera the entire cast has a familial relationship and it works wonders on screen when everyone has such amazing chemistry. I can’t single any other actor out (since I have already done so with Taryn Manning) since they all are so damn good. Some of the newer actors aren’t included in that statement now that I think about it.
The plot about the prison buyout is meant to give the audience some clue as to what is actually going on right now in the Department of Corrections. The constant budget cuts, more prisoners added to already packed facilities, inmates being treated as numbers and not human beings, the corporation turning the prison into a sweatshop, experienced guard’s hours being slashed and incompetent part timers taking their place… it’s frustrating to watch because I know its true. This is one of the best aspects of this season. There’s nothing wrong with a little social commentary to go along with all the soap operaesque drama.

And I have to say that the subplot about the transgender character of Bursett (played beautifully by transgender actress Laverne Cox) is uncannily topical as well. With all the hubbub surrounding the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner recently I think that this was some crazy rad foresight on the part of the writers. Kudos to you!
But there is no overall arc for the season. There is no heavy like Vee in Season 2. No Pennsatucky in Season 1. All we get is a weird religious cult involving Norma, Black Cindy converting to Judaism (so she can eat the delicious kosher meals), Alex thinking a new inmate (the exceedingly screechy Lori Petty) is trying to kill her, Daya still dealing with her ridiculous pregnancy bullshit and Piper starting a kooky smelly panty business. It just doesn’t feel like a cohesive season. There is nothing tying any of the story threads together. It’s very episodic. Not a fan.

I am conflicted on the way the season ended. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but it seemed a little contrived and silly to me. And OH MY GOD DOES IT GO ON FOREVER! The final shots sort of compound matters  with an overly depressing series of happenings. Ehh, I want to discuss it but I won’t. Spoiler city. Sorry.
Overall this season is the weakest so far. It floats along with no direction 75% of the time, takes away some of the better characters and replaces them with useless ones and the writers forget there’s supposed to be humor from time to time in order to break up the heavy and sometimes forced drama. Extremely uneven, Season 3 of Orange is the New Black is a major letdown. While I did manage to eek some enjoyment out of a handful of episodes, for the most part I just didn’t care about the majority of it.

I hope The Wachowski’s new Netflix series, Sense8 (which I will review soon), can fill the void this has left behind. I also hope that the team behind this once stellar show can get their shit together and bring their A-game for the already in production Season 4.

2.5 out of 5 

RODCOCKER!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Orange is the New Black: Season 1

Weeds was an awesome show. Not only did series creator Jenji Kohan manage to juggle both drama and comedy successfully, but she made all the characters come alive and likable regardless of some of the effed up stuff they ended up having to do to survive. Sure there were some hiccups along the way - the lackluster sixth season, the way the Celia character (Elizabeth Perkins) was treated as the show went on (basically becoming a tiring lightning rod of hate that grated on the nerves) and some dumb developments that most long running shows have to deal with then they’ve been on for eight seasons. Regardless, it went out on a high note and had me anxiously awaiting Kohan’s next project. 

And out of nowhere comes her Netflix exclusive series Orange is the New Black which has taken the web by storm.
This is the story of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), who a decade ago was in a relationship with a drug smuggler (Laura Prepon) and has been named as her accomplice. Jailed and separated from her loving fiancée (Jason Biggs), Chapman must now learn adapt to her new surroundings.

The best kind of comedy, at least for me, comes from good drama. Fortunately Orange is the New Black is rife with both in equal measure and makes for one of the most compelling and addictive shows I’ve ever seen. I have never ripped through a season of a show this quickly. Sure there are only 13 hour long interlacing episodes, but three days? Yes, I watched the entire series in three days. Damn you Jenji Kohan! Damn you with awesomeness!
Based on the memoir “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison” by Piper Kerman, the series is a group character study of a select number of the inmates that manage to find the humor in their tragic stories and day to day life in the ladies only lockdown. The group of actresses assembled here are truly talented and give each character their own personalities and nuances that bring them to life in ways that I am damn sure wasn’t described in the scripts. Some are better than others, but my top five are Natasha Lyonne as Nichols, Danielle Brooks as Tastee, Laverne Cox as Bursett, Michelle Hurst as Miss Claudette and the incomparable Kate Mulgrew as Red. You read that right, Kate Mulgrew, as in Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Janeway. I will not go into details about each character in order to not spoil the surprises each one has in store for those who want to check the show out, but in my opinion these are some of the most well rounded characters I’ve seen since, well, Weeds.

Each episode features its own unique storyline along with a throughline for the entire season that involves Chapman coming to terms with her poor choices and learning to not be afraid of her surroundings. Each also follows a cliché taken from Lost in which we get to see flashbacks that detail the pasts of some of the main players and how they ended up in prison with the others. The writing is smart and each episode gives you deeper insight into not only the inmates, but the prison employees as well. There are times when they are more interesting than some of the prisoners, especially Michael Harney as Healy the Guidance Counselor. When you find out what his ultimate deal is you will… fuck. Spoilers. Sorry. Trust me, it’s fascinating. The direction for each chapter is basically the same (one episode is directed by none other than Jodie Foster), the sets look authentic enough and the songs chosen are appropriate.
My main issues after having watched the entire season are kind of major. When all is said and done I found the main character of Chapman to be the weakest one of the bunch. Sure Taylor Schilling, who looks like a blonde clone of Katy Perry, plays the part with honesty and believability, but her character is very one note and isn’t all that likable. She’s a bitch, clingy and somewhat pathetic. I also took issue with how saccharine prison life is portrayed at times. Even in minimum security things are never as quiet and civilized as they are here. Some of the developments, such as an inmate falling in love with a guard and getting pregnant, are just dumb and used as generic filler for random episodes. I also am getting tired of seeing the talented Taryn Manning playing batshit crazy characters. Her part of the insanely religious Pennsatucky is so tiresome and annoying that whenever she would walk on screen I would inwardly groan. Some character arcs are wrapped up way too soon, some are dragged out too far. The main title sequence is also way too long, but that’s just me being nitpicky.

After the last episode had ended I tossed my remote control aside and said to myself “well isn’t that fucking great”. I wasn’t being pissy in a bad way, I was being pissy because I have to wait a year to find out what the solution will be for the big problem that was presented to me moments earlier would be. That’s the best compliment I can bestow upon this somewhat brilliantly conceived and at times hysterically funny new series.
Netflix is coming into their own with their original programming in such a way that it has begun to rival HBO’s dominance. Sure Hemlock Grove was a complete bust, but with Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Arrested Development under their wing I foresee great things coming for the future of web-based entertainment.

4 out of 5

Note: This review was originally posted on July 15, 2013. I don't know how, but it was deleted during my reviewing hiatus. This is a repost that coincides with the forthcoming review of Season 3.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World

Jurassic Park is a classic. Sure it came out way back in 1993, but it holds up surprisingly well. Even in 3D. 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park does not. Not one bit. Awkward, sloppily written and aimlessly directed, it’s a massive mound of triceratops turds (and the gymnastikill scene is one of the worst abominations in film history). 

Jurassic Park III, while being the shortest film in the series, is a big step up from part 2. But it’s still a clumsy and somewhat goofy affair.
It’s been 14 years since the last film in the series was released. Is a film about resurrected dinosaurs even relevant these days? Ladies and gentlemen – I give you Jurassic World.

An experiment in splicing dinosaur genes breaks loose of its confines and attacks the visitors of Jurassic World, a fully functioning theme park featuring the formerly extinct creatures.

While this flick broke all kinds of box office records during its opening weekend I cannot say that it’s completely deserving of all the accolades and excitement. Why?  Because this is one lazily pieced together film that is more focused on product placement and recreating classic scenes from the original than telling a fresh and original tale of its own. 
Jurassic World functions as not only a sequel to Jurassic Park (no mention is given to the events from the other films in the franchise), but also as a reboot. It does take place 22 years after the events of the original film, but covers a lot of the same ground. So much so that it felt as if I was watching a remake. There are a number of recreated shots, action scenes and character beats. It became a little annoying after the third time it happened and by the end I lost count.

That doesn’t mean that what happens wasn’t entertaining. Some of it was. I especially enjoyed the huge battle scene in the finale and a couple of the Indominus Rex attacks. The rest I could have done without. A lot of the Dimorphodon and Pteranodon stuff echoed Jurassic Park III a little too closely, as does the way Owen communicates with his pack of Velociraptors (with 100% less Ocarina of Time action). The film did fly by at a fast clip and was never really boring.
My problems with this film are in many different departments. Firstly, the characters aren’t all that appealing. Hot off his star making role in Guardians of the Galaxy, the usually charismatic Chris Pratt seems asleep at the wheel here. He does get a few good one liners here and there, but he seems to have taken a page from the Howie Long book of acting (ever see Firestorm?) where he has the same expression for every emotion his character goes through. I’m glad that he didn’t play his part of Raptor trainer Owen as a goofball, but I just never connected with him like I did in Guardians.

Bryce Dallas Howard fares a little better since her character of Claire actually has an arc. Where Owen basically stays the same throughout the film, Claire begins as a bit of an ice queen, focused solely on her career and little else. This includes caring for her visiting nephews. As the film goes on we see her come to realize that her ambition and focus has actually done her more harm than good and that she still has a chance to rectify that. That is, if she can survive the dinosaur onslaught that’s about to punch her in the face. I actually cared more about the fate of her character than anyone else.
I did like Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), the two children visiting the park to see their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) due to the surprising amount of development they were given. They’re not the usual annoying brats that do nothing but get in trouble; they are smart, crafty and going through some deeply personal turmoil regarding the state of their parent’s relationship. They are also given a handful of the better moments in the film.

The rest is pretty awful. Vincent D’onofrio (Daredevil) is wasted as the villain, the usually hilarious Jake Johnson (New Girl) is given nothing to do but stare at a screen and act awkward, Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past) plays a lame sidekick to Owen, Lauren Lapkus (Orange is the New Black) does nothing but cry and Judy Greer, who I absolutely adore, is flat out annoying and hammy.
But what about the dinosaurs? Of course they are kind of awesome! The special effects and animatronic beasts are all in fine form as to be expected. I really liked the design of the Indominus Rex and found it to be somewhat terrifying in action. Seeing Jurassic World as a fully functioning theme park was rad too, complete with Sea World styled aquatic shows, a baby dinosaur petting zoo and high-tech tours of all the herbivore paddocks. A lot of thought went into the intricacies of how this concept would actually work as a theme park and I was thankful for that. The aspect I liked the most was the trained Velociraptors. These four CGI killing machines were given a lot of personality, especially the Beta, Blue.

But when it comes to the plot it is all rehashed from the original film. Every beat, every scare, every attack… it’s frustrating. Where does homage end and plagiarism begin? Even the finale, while rad as hell, is just an amped up version of the first film’s climax. Director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) and the stable of writers didn’t seem to have a plan when the time came to make the next film in this franchise. They tweaked a few ideas from an abandoned sequel script that was written in the early/mid-2000s (the training of human-dinosaur hybrids to be soldiers for the government) and filled in the gaps with greatest hits from the other films. While they do a great job of setting up where future sequels could go, this jumping off point is as aimless and joyless as they come. But when one of the selling points I’m hearing on all the talk shows is that Bryce Dallas Howard runs around for the entire film in high heels... yeah, your priorities are a little whacked.
Why couldn’t the writers come up with all new scenarios that involved the other unique dinosaurs inhabiting the park? We’ve seen Pteranodons before. We’ve seen the T-Rex plenty of times. We’ve also had our fill of Velociraptors. There’s plenty of other species they could have pooled from to carve out their own filmic identity. A great opportunity was wasted with the Mosasaurus. Why couldn’t there be a scene where the characters had to make their way across the gigantic water tank and fend off that aquatic terror? We haven’t seen anything like that before in these films! So much potential just squandered! 

But the one thing that really, really bugged me was all the blatant product placement. Samsung, Pandora Jewelers (the worst offender), Verizon Wireless, Beats by Dre, Mercedes-Benz, Starbucks, Coca-Cola… the list goes on. It’s always in your face and distracting as all hell. And I’m sorry, dear writers, that having a couple of your characters cracking jokes stating how lame corporate sponsorship is doesn’t mean you’re being meta. You’re being hypocritical. Points lost.
While I did enjoy this film when I first walked out of the theater opening night, the more I thought about it them more I disliked it. I finally came to a conclusion the following day that while there is definitely some entertainment value to be found within, Jurassic World isn’t the huge epic everyone is making it out to be. It’s an average film that is getting a pass from the mainstream audiences based on the name recognition alone. Give it some time. In a few years I’m sure it will be remembered about as fondly as Jurassic Park III.

2 out of 5

Monday, June 8, 2015

Insidious: Chapter 3

Here’s the short version of my history with this series of films: Won an advance screening ticket to the first film. Loved it. Won an advance screening ticket to the second film. Disliked it.

After the blasé nature of Insidious: Chapter 2 I wasn’t keen on the prospect of another sequel. Once I learned that this was to be a prequel and not another rehash involving the Lamberts I was mildly intrigued. Then I heard that the focus was going to be on the most interesting character from this series – Lin Shaye’s Elise Rainier. Yessssssssssssss! Take my muthafuckin’ money!
Set a short while before the first film, Insidious: Chapter 3 revolves around Elise (Lin Shaye) coming out of self-imposed exile to stop a malevolent spirit attempting to possess young Quinn Brenner (Stephanie Scott).

I am happy to report that my fears were for naught. While Insidious: Chapter 3 isn’t nearly as tight and well made as the original film it is head and shoulders above the rushed mess that was Insidious: Chapter 2.
Series writer and first time director Leigh Whannell (Saw, Saw II, Saw III), who also plays Specs in these films, thankfully takes his time setting up the plot and developing the characters before unleashing hell upon them. It’s a breath of fresh air to see this approach, especially after the opposite was the name of the game in the summer’s other ghostly horror flick - the turkey known as Poltergeist. He smartly decided to make this prequel revolve around a new family and villain while at the same time letting clues as to what is coming in the first Insidious creep in to please the fan base. This is a fun mixture that not only gives further (no pun intended) insight into Elise’s past encounters with the spirit that will eventually end her life, but also gives her great character some much needed backstory. The story also takes a few welcome emotional turns that I really appreciated.

Whannell also gets some great performances from his troupe of thespians. I’ve never heard of Stephanie Scott before, but that girl is going places. She plays her character of Quinn, who is in a rather vulnerable place for the majority of the film, not as a victim but as a fighter. I found her to be spunky and a great fit for this series. I’ve never been a big fan of Dermot Mulroney, but he plays Quinn’s Dad rather well. I never thought I’d see him in a full on horror movie like this, but he pulled it off for the most part. He’s written as a better father than Sam Rockwell’s Eric in Poltergeist, that’s for damn sure. Whannell and Angus Sampson return as Specs and Tucker and have great chemistry once again.
It is the fabulous Lin Shaye that made this movie for me. She classed up the first two films a great deal and her beefed up role here goes to show that the filmmakers knew just that. She is fantastic as Elise and is given so much interesting and cool stuff to do this time around that I was happy as a clam. She also gets all the good lines (I especially liked “Being in love is a way of delaying pain.”) and audience pleasing moments (when she smack talked a particular spirit the audience I saw the film with cheered loudly). I was so glad she was finally given her own movie and it didn’t completely suck. She makes the most out of it.

On the flip side, the main plot about “The Man Who Can’t Breathe” isn’t anything to get too excited about since it traverses much of the same ground as the events in the first film. It sets itself apart by having not all that much to do with The Nether and focuses on events taking place in the real world. The history of the character isn’t all that interesting at all to be honest. We are given a generic explanation as to why he is haunting the apartment building in which the film takes place and why he wants to possess Quinn.  He does look scary (kudos to the make-up crew) and the sound effects used to signal his presence is some creepy shit (sound department win). How he is dealt with in the finale is a letdown though. It just kind of happens a little too quickly for my liking. It’s almost as if Whannell realized that his movie was about to hit that 90 minute sweet spot and needed to wrap things up as soon as he could. It’s not a horrible climax, just a little underwhelming.
But my main beef is the same problem I had with the previous film – lame ass jump scares. Where the first film was methodical about setting up its dread filled vibe while barely relying on overly loud noises or people suddenly popping into frame for a cheap scare, this one thrives on it. Just because one of the producers created the pointless Paranormal Activity franchise doesn’t mean you have to follow in his footsteps. The original Insidious worked without all that garbage. Why couldn’t this one? It’s cheap, and in my humble opinion, is what is ruining horror.

Another issue is something that shows a lack of confidence and creativity. That would be stealing gags from other films. There is a moment during one of the possession scenes that is just flat out ripped off from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge involving someone’s tonsils and an eyeball. It took me out of the movie and I actually said aloud “Seriously?!” That was a signature moment from Nightmare 2 and it’s thrown in here all nonchalantly as if it was something original on the part of the filmmakers. Not cool.
All things considered, Insidious: Chapter 3 could have been a complete clusterfuck. It’s the third film in an uneven series. The safe route was taken since most third installments in recent horror franchises do the prequel thing. Most of the original cast/characters are missing and replaced by new ones. 90% of PG-13 horror films are trash. Etc.

This flick was a pleasant surprise. I was totally expecting to hate it, like part 2, but instead I found it a fun summer horror movie that took as many risks as it played it safe. There are genuine scares here mixed in with the cheap jump variety, the characters are fresh and well written and it does a nice job of telling its own story while also not beating us over the head with setting up the film that follows. I quite enjoyed this prequel. If there is another installment I hope we go further back in time to see Elise when she was in her prime.

3.5 out of 5

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kung Fury

Now that Kickstarter is actually enabling filmmakers to raise the money for their dream projects there have been a fair amount of movies to come from it, some good and some bad. Kung Fury was funded way back in December of 2013 with a total of $630,019 from 17,713 backers (I was not one of them) donating their hard earned money to see a cool little 80s themed gonzo concept trailer turned into a full fledged feature. Since they were only looking to raise $200,000 initially I was expecting the final product to be one of gargantuan proportions.

And then I saw that the final film was only 30 minutes long. WTF?!
It turns out that director David Sandberg, who also plays the titular character, was looking to raise the $200k for the short film and his stretch goal was to raise $1m for the feature version. Since they never came close to that amount it looks like there will be no such thing.

But how is the short version?

Beat cop turned super hero crime fighter Kung Fury (David Sandberg) must travel back in time to stop Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone), also known as Kung Fuhrer, from destroying the future.
I liked the Kung Fury trailer that everyone seemed to be talking about at the end of 2013. It was goofy, fun and cheesy beyond belief. There were cop cars being flung into the air by street punks on skateboards, robot arcade cabinets firing laser guns, a Viking girl riding a T. Rex and… Thor. It was pretty much all digital trickery with only the actors being the real things on screen. There was also a cool filter being used to make the footage look like it was being played off a worn out VHS tape. It looked promising if not completely ridiculous.

However, the short film really burned me out on the concept. I could barely sit through this thirty minute version. I cannot even fathom one that would be ninety minutes long!
There is so much stuff being thrown at that viewer in such rapid fire succession that it makes Mad Max: Fury Road look like an exercise in futility. It is a non-stop barrage of crazy CGI FX, explosions, horrible acting (that is dubbed into English due to the actors all being Swedish), 80s nostalgia and bad jokes. I want to give Sandberg the benefit of the doubt that he set out to make something fun and silly, but he went completely overboard and the end result is not all that enjoyable in my eyes. 15 minutes in I felt like my brain was melting.

As the title character Sandberg was going for the stoic hero type, but he comes off as someone who has clearly never acted before. Everyone in the cast is the same. I know some of the actors are his friends while others wanted to be a part of the film due to its ambitious nature. This is a blessing and a curse (I know because I’ve been in the same boat). I wasn’t expecting Oscar worthy performances, but I at least wanted to see people looking like they gave a shit about what was going on instead of everyone coming off as Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
While the FX are really cool and slick, I got sick of all the obvious greenscreen and digital creations. Seriously, I think there is only one real set in the entire film. This is also further proof that just because technology allows you to do all these crazy things doesn’t mean that you have to. With each passing year I get more and more sick of CGI. Kung Fury isn’t helping.

There is a lot of batshit crazy stuff going on in Kung Fury, but for me it was a little much. And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Iron Sky, another crowdfunded film. While I did find some of the humor enjoyable, a few of the 80s references clever (the hacker character uses a Power Glove and an MSX home computer to hack the time continuum) and some of the action scenes kind of rad it wasn’t enough to sell me on this flick. There's just nothing there under the surface. And most disappointing of all – IT’S NOT FUN! Maybe I’m getting old and jaded. Or maybe I just yearn for the filmmaking days of old.

1.5 out of 5

You can watch the entire short film here: