CHILD 44 couldn’t save the children but THE FORCE AWAKENS and BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN save the day

Hello there movie goers and welcome to another edition of F*ck Yea Cinema, my somewhat weekly blog where I ramble on incoherently about movies with my PIC, Keanu Reeves. Pretty typical if you know me personally.

This week was sort of a mixed bag in the cinema world for me. I saw a film, CHILD 44, that I had been looking forward to that turned out to be a wash. But I also saw the release of a new EPISODE 7 teaser and the much anticipated BvS teaser that seems to have everyone up in arms. I’ll be touching on it all in this week’s installment.

I had been looking forward to CHILD 44 for sometime now since I first heard about it’s production over a year ago. I mean, how could I not be excited for a film that stars both Tom Hardy AND Gary Oldman. Might as well just left Hardy in his Bane outfit, call Gary’s character “Commissioner Gordon” but just give them Russian accents. That concept probably would’ve made a shit ton of more money for the film than the flop it turned out to be. As the article states, it is super tough for a dark and dramatic film to make any sort of break into the box office this time of year. The summer blockbuster season tends to start earlier and earlier every year and it was a poor move by Summit/Lionsgate to release it now rather than during February or March when the movie season is rather slow.

Just because it’s a flop in the box office doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad film, but in this case though it turns out that CHILD 44 just wasn’t very good. As my roommate said, “Tom Hardy’s back has gotta be hurting because he carried that film.” And to an extent he was right. Tom Hardy always has a physical presence in whatever movie he is in (except for THIS MEANS WAR) due to his constant change in appearance, accents and his eyes. All three of those things make an appearance except his Russian accent was spotty from time to time. But that is to be expected when pretty much every actor in this film isn’t Russian. Joel Kinnaman and Noomi Rapace are probably the closest if you consider Swedish to be relatable to Russian. I digress though, Tom Hardy acted his ass off and it’s unfortunate that this movie turned out to be a flop because it’s another film that shows his range but a film that no one will see. He shouldn’t worry though because EVERYONE will see MAD MAX next month and his stardom will go through the roof.

The main problem with this film is that it really doesn’t know what it wants to be. Does it want to be a murder mystery? Does it want to be a conspiracy thriller? Does it want to be a family drama? What ends up happening is that it tries to be all of these things in equal measures and it turns out to be a mess. You never spend enough time with any of the numerous plots to even care about what is happening in the overall story. Going into it, you’d figure the title of the film would lend to the murder mystery being the main subject of the film but the killer is given away halfway through the film and the mystery is completely gone before we even give a shit.

The rest of the film is Kinnaman chasing Hardy and Rapace’s characters for some reason or another even though they were excommunicated 45min into the film. And yes, it took 45min for this film to even set up it’s plots. Oh and Oldman is in the film for maybe about 15min. And when Oldman is in a film, I want me some fire and brimstone Gary Oldman who strikes fear into the heart of men whenever he raises his voice. That doesn’t happen at all. Also Jason Clarke was in this for about 5min. With these actors, how could they fuck it up?! Essentially it was a major waste of a talented group of actors.

Honestly, the only way I see this film working is if it was made into a miniseries of some sort. The source material was only 480 pages long but with a 2hr 17min runtime, it felt extremely bloated with too many narratives trying to force their way to the surface.

On top of all of this mess, I completely understand why Russia decided to ban this film because it totally turned into this anti-Russia propaganda film full of cover ups and the government turning a blind eye to some seriously fucked up child murders. Russians are depicted as brutish and dirty. And it also was a little weird that this film was 100% Russian with the setting and the accents but it wasn’t a foreign film at all. I mean I know that has been done before in other films but for some reason this time around just felt super strange.

Overall, Keanu and I definitely did not like this movie and Keanu decided to give it a 3/10. At least it was better than FURIOUS 7.

Now onto some more exciting stuff! This week saw some awesome trailers hit the interwebs in the form of EPISODE 7 and BvS. For some reason or another the EPISODE 7 trailer caught me completely off guard since I had no idea it was coming out! But by the time I heard Han Solo say “Chewy, we’re home.” I had an extremely emotional reaction to the footage. I was on site at the Alamo Drafthouse Omaha construction and my boss almost shit himself out of fright because of my loud and erratic reaction. It was an absolute glorious moment and one that allowed me to finally put all of my faith into J.J. Abrams and what he will be bringing to the screen in December. It feels 100% Star Wars and mark my words, this film will be the biggest film EVER and will definitely make cinema history. I wait in eager anticipation along with the rest of the world.

Here is Matthew McConaughey summing up everyone’s feeling about the trailer above.

And speaking of cinema history, last week we also saw footage of Batman and Superman appearing on screen together for the first time in a live action movie. This trailer also gave many people a strong emotional reaction but one that was definitely a mixed bag instead of complete positive for EPISODE 7. But the main question you should be asking yourself is “Did Derek like it?” My answer to that is, yes I did like it. Quite a bit actually.

You see, I am a huge Batman fan. Always have and I always will be. Unfortunately though I am not a Superman fan. The idea of a infallible superhero who is kind of the deus ex machina of superheroes doesn’t sit well for me. But I greatly appreciate the direction MAN OF STEEL was taking even though I am not sold on Zach Snyder as the leader of this universe building. What the trailer showed me is that Supes is being turned into an antagonist and really grounds the story in the sense of how we as humans could potentially react to the introduction of an alien on our planet and especially one that independently destroy a major city. The angle is completely refreshing and is a superhero movie that we need instead of one that we think we want.

Also, it’s nice to see Batfleck as an angry and ruthless vigilante/detective because that is when he is at his most brooding and absolute best. My first initial impression of this film is that it’ll start off with Batfleck and Supes being antagonists but ending with them saving the day and forming the Justice League (duh). Obviously we have a lot to look forward in 2016.

You probably won’t be hearing from me until I see AGE OF ULTRON on May 1st as I will be in Vegas next week for CinemaCon. But if you start having withdrawals from my immaculate writing, maybe I’ll dig deep into the film archives and talk about something you can pick up on Blu-Ray and watch from the comfort of your own home.

Until that time, happy movie watching, friends.

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