CGB Review of Pixels (2015)

I now understand why so many people hate this movie.

This is my review of Pixels!

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In Pixels, Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) is a former video game champion turned home-theater installer who gets involved in a war between planet Earth and aliens who have misinterpreted video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war.
I remember the wave of scatching reviews that came out after the movie opened.  If you go on Rotten Tomatoes and type in “Pixels,” you will see its 17% score and a plethora of negative reviews.
So is it really 17% awful?  Well, yes and no.  I say this because Pixels is the boring kind of bad.
At least with Aloha, Pan and Fant4stic Four, I had a plethora of grievances to rant about.  Those movies made me mad and were painful to sit through, but they were never boring.

The biggest problem with this film is that the main characters should have been children.  Take out the military and Kevin James being President of the United States (yes, that is a thing that happens) and just have four twelve-year olds instead of forty-somethings going up against pixelated antagonists.   Sure, it would feel like “The Goonies” crossed with “Super Mario Brothers,” but I have a feeling that it would be a far better movie than this.
However, if the script demands that the main characters be adults, then they should have been YouTube Let’s-Players or, at the very least, professional video game players.  It shouldn’t be too hard to create characters based off of real life Let’s-Players like Markiplier and PewDiePie.  This would make the characters feel more modern and less insulting to gamers. Instead Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage are all annoying nerd stereotypes of what people think gamers are.
The reason Pixels is boring is because the “comedy” is stale.  With the exception of one or two jokes that got me to chuckle, the majority of the comedy is misplaced.  Look, Mr. Sandler, having a nine-year old boy casually talk about how his father cheated on his mother with a nineteen-year old yoga instructer and has since left the family is not funny.  If Pixels was written as a dark comedy, then I could see the humor, but this is a bouncy, slapstick adventure, so jokes about serious subjects aren’t going to work.

Between this and “The Cobbler,” I think I’ve figured out why current Adam Sandler movies don’t work.  It is because all of his movies are concepts, not fleshed-out stories.  When you are planning out a story, your concept is the basic premise; “Pixelated characters attack the world,” “Boy goes to magical school,” “Monkey washes a cat,” and so on.  The job of a writer is to take said concept and turn it into a cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end.  If you have a concept and just roll with it without figuring out how it flows as a story, then you’re going to end up with Pixels: A sad and boring flick riddled with tired clichés and stereotypes.

CGB Review of The Fantastic Chore–I mean–Four

Pushing open the double doors, I looked up at the ceiling.  “Dear sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of God, please tell me: What in the wide world of heck did I just sit through?” I asked aloud as I stumbled out of Theater 10, tossing my now-empty soda cup into the trash.
The Blessed Mother didn’t answer, but if she had, she probably would’ve answered in a gentle voice, “A very crummy movie, my dear.”

This is my review of the Fantastic Four!

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The Fantastic Four tells the story of four young adults who are brilliant in the field of science.  Now I’m aware that this movie is based on the…(looks at info sheet)…the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book, which debuted in 2004.   In previous incarnations of the “First Family of Comics,” as they are called, the Fantastic Four get their powers via space travel.  However in this version, it is inter-dimensional travel that graces them with their supernatural abilities.

So it’s exactly 1:16 am and I’m very tired.  However I’m not going to be like the makers of this corporately-mandated movie and give you a half-baked review; I’m going to use the last of my energy to tell you that this is one of the most passionless movies I have ever seen.  Just like Aloha, Pup, Christian Mingle the Movie, Last Ounce of Courage and Bad Teacher, I have absolutely nothing good to say about Fant4stic Four.
Here is everything wrong with The Fant4stic Four!

What the heck is up with the stiff and wooden line-delivery in this film?  If you were telling someone about a project that you’ve spent years of your life working on, you wouldn’t say it in a flat voice and with no emotion, but that’s exactly what happens in this film.  The biggest offenders are the kid who plays young Reed Richards, Reg. E Cathey (Dr. Franklin Storm), Miles Teller, and Kate Mara.
Okay, I’m going to give Ms. Mara a break because I know that she was verbally abused by director Josh Trank, which could explain her drained and tired performance as Sue Storm.  That being said, an explanation is not an excuse for her detached acting.
Miles Teller, who was the only entertaining part in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, is completely neutered as Reed Richards.  He sounds totally bored every time he speaks.  When he does try to inject some life into his character, it comes off as forced and awkward.
Reg. E Cathey annoyed me.  He’s got a cool gravely voice, but man, he is a drag to listen to.  He does have one good scene with Michael B. Jordan where he actually makes a sincere effort to act, but for the rest of the movie, he is devoid of emotion and is practically sleepwalking his way to a paycheck.
The only actors who are even trying are Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell and Toby Kebbell, but even they become victims of the movie’s biggest problems.
Fant4stic Four has a major character development issue.  Personalities of characters will literally switch in a matter of minutes.  Jamie Bell will be the cautious one and Michael B. Jordan is the risk-taker, but then in another scene, Jordan is all, “No way, let’s not do that” and Bell is the one walking into a risky situation.  One minute, Kebbell is looking out for himself and Teller is the moral one, and then in the next minute, Teller is the self-serving opportunist while Kebbell is pulling back.
We’re supposed to believe that Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny are this family unit who would go through hell and back for each other.  If that’s the case, then this movie does nothing to prove it.  Reed and Ben feel more like acquaintances instead of childhood friends, the “romance” between Reed and Sue is contrived as all heck, Sue being the adoptive daughter of Dr. Franklin Storm is slapped-on and has no presence within the character and her relationship with her half-brother Johnny (Franklin’s biological son) is nonexistent.  Because little thought was put into developing the characters as people, their decisions feel like demands of the script and not organic choices that they would willingly make and their relationship with each other lacks authenticity and heart.
One more thing: Yes, the rumors are true.  The first act is drunk on tolerably bland build-up.  The second/third act of this movie is insufferable and a half-hearted final battle with Dr. Doom is the nail in the coffin.

Overall I tried to keep an open mind with this movie and my brain fell out as a result.  It is now 2 am and I wish you all good night…until my next review.  🙂

“If I speak in human or angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
–1 Corinthians 13:13

Update: Check out this video on the troubled production of this film, which is actually more interesting than the film itself.