Category: Movie

Stephen Chow Confirms Kung Fu Hustle 2 Is Coming!

Here’s the deal.  You may not be as excited about this as I am, but that is just because you maybe haven’t had a chance to see this comedy kung fu classic!

This 2004 Stephen Chow action comedy takes place in a fantasy China where the notorious Axe Gang wants to take over a tenement slum run by The Landlady.  The residents of the slum have a secret though, magic Kung Fu powers!  If it sounds crazy, it is.  If it sounds hilarious, it is.  Even better, the fight scenes are amazing, and as a consequence, it has developed quite the cult following.

According to M.A.A.C.:

“During his recent promo interview for The New King Of Comedy, Chow revealed that Kung Fu Hustle 2 is officially in the works. He will direct and possibly cameo in the film after the Mermaid sequel is complete. However, it would not be a traditional sequel but more of a spiritual follow-up that actually takes place in modern day.”

If you haven’t seen the original, get off your ass and check it out!

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi


“An Instant Classic. This is Star Wars at it’s best!”
-Albie TOTLB.com
 
The Last Jedi is visually stunning. It’s very well written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper 2012). The action only slows to give you time to think and grieve when needed. With a running time of  
 
Spoilers Below…
 
 
 
When walking out of the theater after hearing the John Williams score over the credits, there was a lot to process. Character Arcs have begun, others have progressed and a big one has ended. Rey was still the star of the film, but this episode belongs to Mark Hamill.
The people and Droids we love are back. C-3PO and R2 have their moments, including a touching one with Luke, but BB-8 is the one that kicks some serious ass. I think BB-9E was there just to add to merchandise maybe, we’ll see how important he is to the universe later perhaps, so I’m giving that a pass.
It was odd to see Chewie without Han although he was given more than I thought he would be this time out, including a message about veganism perhaps, but done in the cutest of ways. The Porgs are super cute, needed comic relief and the only reason my 5-year-old daughter wants to see the film.

Finn is the anchor of the film, the piece that ties everything together, and also has his bit of adventure and, shall we say sparks with Rose Tico, played by the amazing breakout star Kelly Marie Tran. A Lower Decks type that gets pulled into the main action and is integral to the survival of the Rebels. I wasn’t expecting her arc to go the way it did, but I was so satisfied as it unfolded.  

Leia’s exit in the film combined with the real-life loss of Carrie Fisher had a lump in my throat, and tears on my face early on. It was a moment of gravitas that we were waiting for and dreading at the same time. The force is strong with her.  I was glad to see that there was no computer generated Leia this time, to my knowledge anyway, I was fooled with CGI Tarkin in Rogue One. It will be interesting how the loss will be dealt with in the next film.
Rey and Kylo Ren’s story was absolutely a middle, which is a thing that can normally hurt a part two in a trilogy, but they were given enough development, action, and twists that at one point make you want to stand and yell “Fuck Yeah!”
All I can say is Ben is a liar, he lied to Rey and I expect it to come out in Episode IX. Rey (Daisy Ridleygives this movie the heart it needs to make it more than the sum of its parts.  She has strength, beauty, and grace, a role model for us all to aspire to. Job well done.

 
Oscar Isaac‘s Poe shows this time out what can happen when you act without having all the information one needs. His arc, along with Finn and Rose, is integral to the if/than this of the bigger plot of the Rebellion vs The Empire, and how they may not be so different at all. This story in some ways is a mirror to our current interesting times of would-be dictators putting their ego and wants ahead of the needs of their people (cough, Supreme Leader Snoke, cough, Pussy Grabber). I have given a lot of crap to Star Wars for being hand-wavy fantasy, but the allegory here has earned, for me at least, it’s placed alongside the best Science Fiction. 

 
Even More Spoilers Below…
For Real…
 
 
 

 
The completion of Luke’s arc was extremely satisfying and unexpected. Just the thought of us as a people experiencing this character’s life in real time, a boy in 1977, who lived in our homes and our hearts for the past four decades has come to the end of his life in much the same way as Obi-Wan did, really makes you think. For me the writing of Luke’s ending and Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a whole by Rian Johnson and the performance by Mark Hamill (Oscar material) was done so well it gives me a greater understanding of cyclical nature of life, the need for it to be so, and hope that we may all, in our own way, make a difference.
5/5 Stars
 
 

Who is Albie?

Jigsaw (2017)

Jigsaw, you got me.
-Albie   TOTLB.com


Am I a fan of the Saw movies? Not really. Have I watched all the films? Yes. So maybe I am a fan, and I just didn’t realize it. I love a mystery and I was stumped until the very last moment.
Spoilers ahead…
 
I spent the first half of the movie trying to figure out who done it. I came to the conclusion that everyone did it, then no one did it, then I just gave up and enjoyed.
Jigsaw John Kramer is back! But how?!? I won’t tell you in even this spoiler review. Let’s just say that’s part of the mind fuck.
This time it’s personal. John Kramer punishes people who directly hurt him or someone he knew or cared about.  Dare I say these characters may have had it coming? All they have to do is admit what they did and take responsibility. Will they? Probably not. Bring on the latex and red Karo syrup.
A lot of gore, some violence, no nudity (one silicone nipple) but mostly just suspense then gross and repeat.
If you’ve seen the other saw movies, absolutely go see this one. If you are new to the franchise, I’d have a mini movie marathon before you watch this one.
3.5/5 stars 
An extra .5 for the novel approach to the concept of this installment.
 

Who is Albie?

Happy Death Day (2017)

More than walk of shame meets Groundhog Day.
-Albie
TOTLB.com
Happy Death Day staring Jessica Rothe, written by Scott Lobdell and directed by Christopher Landon on the surface is just a collage girl stuck in an endless time loop that starts over and over waking up in some unknown conquest’s dorm room every morning after she’s been killed later that night. But at its heart, it’s much more.

Spoilers ahead…
When we first meet Tree (Rothe) this main character is an angry person who acts like a bitch to everyone that is seemingly beneath her. A strange way to start off a movie. It’s a little off-putting, but this is a redemption story in much the same way as A Christmas Carol is for Ebenezer, but done in a Groundhogian way.
This is a murder mystery in the vain of D.O.A (1950), Tree knows she has been killed, her mission becomes finding out who done it and stop it from happening again and again. Before it’s too late…
Too late because this has a clever device written in. Her injuries are cumulative, obviously reduced or she wouldn’t wake up to her “It’s your birthday” ringtone every day. To get killed on your birthday sucks, but if you are born on your mothers birthday and she has passed, you may be able to restart the game we call life?
We find out why Tree is such a nasty person when we find out about her mom’s death and how she’s avoiding her dad and basically life itself. She is being self-destructive and also thinks that all people want her for is sex. When she finds out that Carter (Israel Broussard) didn’t let Tree have her way with him while she was drunk, that’s the moment when she lets her gaurd down and is open to a world that is not as cruel as she thinks.
Suspects are a plenary here, and we usually find out who didn’t do it when they get killed themselves. I figured out the mystery about halfway through, then when it was revealed I was wrong, I was confused and stuck to my original conclusion. The ending did not disappoint.
The false finishes were well done, my favorite was probably the Buffy, and Sixteen Candles endings.
There was nothing that struck me wrong about the film, all I’d say is if you haven’t heard of Chekhov’s gun, don’t look it up before you see this film.
It is very well written, and the acting never came across as such. It passes the Bechdel test at times. And Yay! For the Love is Love nod.
Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard are good castings. I felt the connection. Rothe is an amazing lead, someone, after the initial abrasive attitude, you want to follow along with and see this world through her eyes.
A theory I have is when we first see Tree wake up it’s not her first time around. Clues are that her head hurts, yes that could be a hangover as easily as a bludgeoning, but on the viewers’ second loop through Tree is slow to catch on to what is actually happening to her. Also, the Universal logo resets two times before the film begins which got an audible response from the audience I saw this with.
If you are a Sci-Fi time travel nerd like myself and want to see a film about a woman getting stronger on her journey to becoming kind, this is the movie for you (us).
4/5 stars. I’ll buy the Blu Ray as long as there is a commentary. It’s a great date night movie too, check it out while you can.
** for more on Time loops, check this out 112263-bonus-episode-6-time-loops

Who is Albie?

It (2017)

Like Goonies but fucking terrifying.
-Albie  TOTLB.com

I went into this movie with having read the first few chapters into the book and having vague memories of the mini-series I watched as a kid to see Harry Anderson and not liking it too much…
I had stayed away from spoilers but was curious to see the film being a fan of The Castle Rock TV Podcast and to enjoy their episode 5, I needed to see this film.
Spoilers ahead…
I was pleasantly surprised. The opening of the film is a direct lift from the novel and I thought to myself, “Okay, I heard the book was good, so let’s do this.” Then I noticed Gorgie wearing a sweatshirt I had as a kid in the 1980’s. With quick and dirty math done in my head while golden flavored oil leaked out of my popcorn bag onto my tan shorts, I realized the Losers’ Club were my age in that time period. That change of period made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Like Ready Player One did, with all the nostalgia, it really helped me to feel I was there. I remembered how I felt then, I was sucked in. That really helped me enjoy the film. All the boring stuff from the mini-series seemed to not be present. I wondered how they would take such a long novel and make it into a movie that runs 2 hrs and 15 mins. Turns out this is just Chapter One, with a Chapter Two to follow the adventures of the older adult Losers’ Club.
I put myself into the role of Jeremy Ray Taylor’s character Ben (New Kid) Hanscom. I liked NKTOB myself, and much like the fat kid from Stand By Me, that was me as a kid. I’m told I wasn’t fat as a kid, but that’s another article. When Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) took the time, just after being bullied herself to be kind to Ben and sign his empty yearbook, the 12-year-old me, fell in love with the idea of someone being kind to me like that at that age.

That’s where I think this story excels, It’s for adults but features amazing teen actors. It is spot on with the 80’s kids movies when we were growing up and it was okay to frighten kids. For a couple of hours, I was young again and scared shitless. It was a fun romp, frightening, exciting, horrible, funny, and sweet all at the same time.
As a newcomer really to the King verse, entering with 11.22.63, I still was able to see things sprinkled in from other King stories, that was a fun game I won’t spoil for you, play the home game yourself.
The only dings in the polish that stood out to me were bad wigs (spend the extra money people), Molly Atkinson (Eddie’s mom) in a sad excuse for a fat suit, it was like big clothes stuffed with plastic shopping bags, I just didn’t get that, and that fucking CGI paper boat. It’s a paper boat. A paper boat. Paper boat. Don’t let these things dissuade you, It is a must-see movie.
All of the Losers’ Club are phenomenal actors,  If I had to choose the best of the best, I’d have to go with Sophia Lillis (Beverly), Chosen Jacobs (Mike), and Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben) I’m a fan.

Go see It in the theater, buy the Blu Ray. 4.5/5 Stars
 

Who is Albie?

Blade Runner 2049

This universe expanding Sci-Fi Noir sets a whole new standard in filmmaking.
Every shot is a masterpiece.
– Albie TOTLB.com

I am a fan of Blade Runner (1982). That’s to say I’ve owned it on almost every form of media it has been released on and watched it more times than I could count. So many different versions, so much bonus content, you can really get lost in the film and the universe around it for days at a time.

 
I had hoped for the best for 2049 but had prepared myself for the worst.
Spoiler review ahead…
Holy Shit was I impressed. I was figuratively blown away.  There is always a danger when going back into such a well-loved mythos like Blade Runner that there are just way too many ways to shit the bed and there is never a way to make everyone happy. Director Denis Villeneuve pulled it off in a big way.
The feel was right. The story made sense, and most importantly the movie stood on its own.  When the house lights came up as I watched the credits, I was asking myself if I liked it too much? Was I betraying my love of the original by actually enjoying this film more? Was it even okay to like 2049 so much when it was just a sequel? I’m here to say, It’s more than okay indeed.
This was a different story in the same universe as the original Harrison Ford classic, but knowing the first one well, I think makes the experience that much more enjoyable. I recommend watching Blade Runner:  The Final Cut if you can before seeing 2049.
When I say the same universe, I mean an alternate or parallel universe than our Cheeto dust scrotum timeline.  A world where flatscreen computer monitors were never a thing, people aren’t bumping into things while on their iPhones. I love this because as 2019 will be quickly upon us, the original movie is in no way invalidated.
Ryan Gosling really does carry this entire film on his shoulders and does it well. This might be a career-defining role for him. We see this world through his eyes, his replicant eyes in his search to discover if he has a soul or is greater than the sum of his programming. We see some old favorites along the way. Harrison F’ing Ford is only in the last third of the movie, but the quality of acting makes up for the lack of time we see him. I’m not sure if Sean Young was Robert Downey Jr.ed or Princess Leiaed, It was that good.
The only thing I didn’t like was Jared Leto, I’m not sure why he just seemed out of place. I think I couldn’t buy him as the character because he’s just Jared Leto. I’m sure he was amazing, but it just didn’t click for me.
The sound on this film was the best I’ve heard in a while, whoever did the mix on this film should win an oscar. See and hear it in the theater while there is still time.
This is a must buy on Blu Ray when it’s released, I’m hoping for 5 discs and a 4k version in a flying sunroof or a wooden horse maybe?
Speaking of… That little wooden horse, what does it represent? Is it meant to hide something inside? Like the secret of the N7s? Or was it a unicorn with a broken off horn? I must watch this film, again and again, to fully grasp it I think, I’m up for the challenge.
 5/5 Stars

Who is Albie?

 
Make your own papercraft horse from Blade Runner 2049 thanks to K.

Here are the templates: from K‘s site
PDF template with colored flaps – this will result in a more beautiful model, as the flaps continue the color of the adjacent faces, but the numbers on the flaps are difficult to read. I suggest using this template and having a printout of the one with white flaps ready for reference.
PDF template with white flaps – this one has white flaps which possibly show in the final model.
And just in case you want to 3D print it, here is the STL file.