Adaptations are hard. Change too much and you'll only be pissing off fans of whatever it is that you are adapting. Change too little and those same fans will wonder what the point of making a new adaptation was at all; if all that the new version accomplishes is to retell the original story, why not just watch the original?I only bring up the inherent challenges that come with adapting an existing property as a way to be kind to the people behind the 2017 adaption of the hit anime/manga "Death Note". It seemed only fair that if I was going to write a review about how this movie is an absolutely irredeemable garbage fire of a Death Note adaptation, that I should at least start the review by acknowledging that this film was in a bit of a no win situation from the moment that it was announced. They could either stay incredibly close to the source material and have people complain that nothing was different, or change a lot and have people complain about all of the changes. The filmmakers definitely decided to go with the latter choice, but stopped short of creating a new story and characters. The result feels like a greatest hits version of the anime that is playing over an 80s teen movie.This disconnect is apparent almost immediately as we are introduced to our protagonist, Light Turner. The filmmakers chose to change his last name from Yagami to something decidedly less Japanese, which makes sense given the different setting of the film. Yet they chose to keep the name Light. Again, this is understandable as Light is an iconic character. The odd part to me is that the uniqueness of his name is never commented on or justified in the movie. (There is an offhand comment about how Light's mom was a hippy, which is maybe meant to justify it, but I digress) Even in the anime, characters frequently comment on what a strange and unique name it is. It also serves as a contrast to Light's dark motives and cold demeanour. But Light Turner is just a regular guy. The name serves no purpose besides reminding us of a better version of the same story. It feels like the film just took the hero of a generic teen horror movie and slapped the name Light on him.I feel like I could go character by character through this movie and try to explain why each one bothered me, but in an attempt to keep this under 2000 words I'll try to focus on what I see as the big underlying problem: the movie completely misses the essence of what Death Note is. Death Note the anime/manga is the story of a bored kid who decides to become a monster in an attempt to save the world. Light Yagami is not tricked or tempted into using the Death Note. He doesn't use it for personal gain or to pick up girls. He finds a powerful tool and decides to use it in the most efficient and positive way that he can think of. He is so driven that he has already started his crusade against criminals before Ryuk even comes to pay him a busy.Light Turner on the other hand is your standard anti-hero. Whereas Light Yagami is the squeaky clean golden boy of his school, Light Turner is a sullen loner who sells homework and test answers. Turner has a sympathetic backstory about a mother that was killed by a famous mobster. None of these are inherently bad things, but they make it so Light Turner is a fundamentally different character than Light Yagami.The movie feels like it was made by committee, a committee which never decided if it wanted to try something new or do something they knew the fans would like. There's a weird disconnect as they fundamentally change the rules of the Death Note and the personalities of all the characters involved, but they still frequently reference the iconic moments and images from the original series. This juxtaposition is summed up perfectly in an early scene where Light has his girlfriend Mia touch the Death Note, assuming that she will then be able to see Ryuk. He is shocked when this ends up not being the case, and I was too as touching the Death Note and seeing Death Gods played a pretty major role in the anime.Moments like this left me confused about the intentions of the filmmakers. Where they giving a nod to the fans by having Light assume the original rules where in effect? Did they really think the fans would like that? Or was the movie just written by people who had little to no knowledge of the source material? Things like the changes to Light's backstory, changes to the characterization of Ryuk, and the entire relationship between Light and L left me similarly confused. It seemed tough to see it as anything but a massive misstep at best and a giant middle finger to Death Note fans at the worst.Definitely worth getting drunk and watching this though. It moves quickly and has lots of over the top moments.
Starring: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Elodie Young, Jessica Henwick, Scott Glenn, Sigourney Weaver, Rosario DawsonPlot: We join four individual super heroes as they struggle with something bigger and then realize they may, not only, be in it alone, but may not be able to do it alone.Runtime: Eight 50 minute episodes... ishReview: As with every review, there will be spoilers coming for this guys, so be warned.I liked this show a lot. I came into it with decently high hopes because I think all the Marvel Netflix series have been (mostly) a success. I'm one of the VERY few people that didn't even mind Iron Fist when it came out, perhaps because I watched it later than everyone else and heard that it was basically the worst thing in the existence of mankind (until that point, POTUS). So I watched it, and certainly it had a lot of problems, but I enjoyed it. I do my best to avoid getting caught into the racial sides of things and how America white washes things, but this one specifically made me confused. There is a character in Iron Fist who wanted to play the title role, but didn't get it, they gave him something else. Everyone was upset that he didn't get, so I checked the guy out, turns out he's Asian. I don't care about that, if they wanted to cast him they would have, but people can't be upset that they actually cast someone that looked the part, can they? Yes, they can. Whatever, it happens. I have also had problems with all of the Netflix series' (Daredevil 2 the least by far), but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the fact that heroes from my childhood are coming to life. Too many people are critical of too many things, I get that this is their job or their reason to live or whatever, but these are comic book book tv shows that aren't Witch Blade or the 1960's crappy Batman (Sorry Mr. West).So when I came into this series I said "I'm gonna have fun, and watch some people kick ass". I feel I did that quite well. From the moment that Matt Murdock puts on his Daredevil suit I had a permanent grin on my face. He was phenomenal. From the moment Luke Cage pulled that Yellow shirt over his huge torso I had a permanent grin on my face. From the moment people talk about Iron Fist being a pretty, rich, white boy who wants to save the world I had a permanent grin on my face. From the moment Jessica Jones... I'm not the biggest fan of her character, but I smiled a shit tonne when she was on screen. Needless to say, there was a lot of smiling going on during this series. I was even really happy with the choice of Sigourney Weaver as the villain, she did really well. She always does, so I expected nothing less, but still.The show starts off slowly, with the four not knowing each other at all, but all of them having heard of "The Devil of Hell's Kitchen", who no longer practices. Wait... he's a lawyer, so he practices law, but not longer practices the art of kicking peoples asses... outside of court. Without his hands... whatever! Jessica Jones is cementing herself as quite the useless drunk, Luke Cage gets out of jail and Danny Rand is making his way back from Vietnam after searching for the hand ( I think Vietnam).Doesn't take them long to find one another and immediately start to fight one another, which is also fantastic. But it also doesn't take long for them to sort of fight each other less and start to fight the bad guys a whole bunch more. 2 of the 8 episodes have a little bit of fighting and 6 of the episodes are pretty well a lot of fighting. Some say that's not a good thing or there needs to be more plot, but this was a very straightforward plot to me. Stop the Hand from destroying New York. They say it in the preview, why waste time trying to jam more in.For the fighting, a lot of people were also upset with Finn Jones' lack of ability to look good fighting. I can't really disagree with that at all, seeing as he's playing a world renowned martial artist I would think he'd look better fighting, but that wasn't as much of an issue for me as one would think. My biggest issue with the show is simple. HOW DOES CHARLIE COX LOOK SO DAMN CONVINCING AT BEING BLIND?! I've seen him normally and he's not blind, he does it so damn well that it amazes me... and makes me wonder if all blind people are faking it. That second part isn't true at all, but still.There's no Frank Castle in this, not even a ghost of a whisper of him, but there's a teaser after, so that's cool. They touch on "the incident", which is Avengers one and there are a whole thwack of good scenes in the series. One could say I spent the entire review... DEFENDING it, but they'd be wrong, it doesn't need to be defended at all, it's just genuinely fun and well done.I have mostly changed my mind, I won't spoil this that much, it's a cursory review of a show I really liked. I don't watch a lot of tv, so this means something to me.Do I think you should watch it? If you like Marvel, yes. If you hate fun, no. If you think Charlie Cox is handsome, yes. 99% yes, 1% no. And that 1% that hates fun? Lock it up guys.
With another week gone by we have another instalment of Netflix movies that people can watch if you have nothing to do and need to fill time. Or if you have something to do but decide this is a better option. Action: Van Helsing (2004) is awesome. It's Hugh Jackman in his pinnacle, Kate Beckinsale at her most succulent and is about vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein. Great action, awful lines and a super smoking hot ginger vampire! Such a fun movie that holds up, though the bar it's held up to should be low. It is the longest movie on this list at 131 minutes long, but worth every minute.
Drama: The Prince (2014) stars Bruce Willis, Jason Patric and John Cusack in a movie about three guys that cannot show emotion. It's actually about a guy who used to be a mob killer that now is a mechanic and has to get his daughter back before it's too late. I enjoyed this movie a decent amount, but with these three guys being from the neutral planet from Futurama it was really weird to get into. Remember when they were semi and very big stars? I don't want to say any of them have fallen from grace, but I mean... it's only 91 minutes which is great.
Comedy: Another John Cusack movie, America's Sweethearts (2001) also has Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hank Azaria and Julia Roberts. It's about a film that's being released under duress as the two main stars of the film, once married, are now in an ugly divorce. Super fun movie that is 103 minutes long and could be 103 longer while still being fun. Cusack is his classic crazy and Hank Azaria steals the show.
Cartoon: John Cusack edition! Anastasia (1997) stars Cusack and Meg Ryan (Hank Azaria edition too apparently). It's a 94 minutes movie that wasn't released by Disney (weird!), about an orphan who is actually a Russian Grand Duchess. She has to get back to her grandmother and take her place on the throne. Pretty good show, albeit the company floundered and shut down after Titan: A.E. was made three years later.
Horror: Jaws: The Revenge (1987) was the fourth instalment in the series that has possibly the best PG horror movie of all time. This movie... is not good. I recommended it because it's ridiculous and hurts that Michael Caine was in it. It's about the wife of Roy Scheider from Jaws who thinks there's a shark that targeted her eldest son and killed him in a revenge style because of the first two sharks that were killed by his family. I mean... how can you not?! Thirty minutes shorter than the first Jaws, this comes in at 90 minutes and is pretty fun, but at the same time may make you hate your life bit.
Romance: Burying the Ex (2014) stars Anton Yelchin and Alexandra Daddario. It's short as well, only 90 minutes. It's about a guy who wants to break up with his girlfriend, but can't because she dies. After some time he gets a new girlfriend but his old one comes back as a zombie and he has to decide what to do with his life... and her death! Pretty fun movie and Yelchin is a blast to me.
For this week's set of Netflix movies I have tried to gear them around some movies that a friend yelled at me for not suggesting these movies before... the only problem being that none of the movies he suggested were on Netflix. Let's get into it so we can do some comparison for him: Comedy: In lieu of Grandma's Boy not being on Netflix, I chose to go with another Happy Madison production and did the 2006 Rob Schneider joint The Benchwarmers. It's a pretty funny sports type movie that, for me anyways, made me hate Happy Madison productions less than normal. It's only 85 minutes as well, so there's a lot of time left in the day for more moviesHorror: There's a not Resident Evil coming out right away, so I wanted to get back into the series. Why, you ask? Because I'm a sad man who really enjoys these movies far more than I should. That being said I rocked 2012's Resident Evil: Retribution on this list. It's sort of a horror movie, a video game movie, action and mostly a stupid movie. It's a mash up of most of the prior movies with most of the actors in the movie as well, added to some new stars. It's ridiculous, but just over an hour and a half, so it's pretty easy and fun to get away with. just don't tell too many people you watched it if you care what they think about you. I don't care.Action: Everyone loves Matt Damon lately, he's Hollywood's son that stays out of the limelight enough for people to wonder and is in it enough that people like him. I'm not exception, I love The Bourne series, but sadly they aren't on Netflix, so I am giving you guys another sweet action movie in Mission: Impossible 3 starring Tom Cruise and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Also made in 2006, it's slightly over two hours long, but pretty action packed and has some good actors in it. It's good enough to get you high, though not Heroin high. Too Soon? Great movie.Drama: 2011 gave us the Joel Edgerton Tom Hardy dramatic action movie Warrior. I love that movie a whole heck of a lot, but instead of that I'll give you two options. For the drama I chose 2005's Four Brothers starring Mark Wahlberg. It's almost two hours of some comedy, some drama and a lot of fun. For the fighting part of the recommendation i chose 2009's Fighting starring Channing Tatum. It's about the same length as Four Brothers, but a lot more ridiculous. My favourite scene in the movie has Channing Tatum run away from a fight only to be met by Terrence Howard who says "I really like the way you fight" even though he lost and ran away.Cartoon: In 2002 Disney did a super fun remake of Treasure Island, but instead of an island it was a planet and it was in the future, in space. Stars a young(er) Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the main role and is an awesome adaptation of the American classic novel. As it's Disney and cartoon it's pretty short at just over 90 minutes and I tell everyone they should watch it.Last One: I couldn't fit in his choice of Point Break for either Horror or cartoon, so I am making another category just for him. I chose 2014's Brick Mansions starring Paul Walker. It was the last movie he completed before he died, and there's a lot of parkour and some really good chase scenes in it. Not quite the caliber of Point Break, but still pretty fun. Rolls in at exactly 90 minutes too, so if you don't like it, you don't have to wait long.Thanks guys, enjoy your viewing!
Action: Reign of Fire (2002): Great movie about a dystopian future where dragons aren't creatures of myth, but destructive beasts who rule the world basically. So fun, Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey are fantastic in this movie. Also, a small part played by Leonidas himself, Gerard Butler. It runs just over an hour and a half and is a really fun ride the entire time.
Horror: Silent Hill: Revelation (2012): Sean Bean reprises his role as the father from the first one. He and his daughter move away, but are haunted by dreams of their mother from Silent Hill. The costumes are great, Kit Harrington is as pouty as ever and there's a scene with a mannequin spider creature that scared the crap out of me. Maybe not as much horror as some would like, but still some real good scenes. Also just over an hour and a half, so you take an extended lunch break and you're gold. I'm still trying to convince Sean Bean to change the pronunciation of his name to rhyme, but it's not going well.
Comedy: Gross Pointe Blank (1997): Really fun black comedy starring John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd and Minnie Driver. A professional hit man attends hit high school reunion and tries to start up a romance with an old flame. Male Cusack is really fun, his chemistry with Aykroyd is great. Female Cusack never disappoints and Minnie Driver... is an actor. 107 minutes of great scenes and good fun.
Cartoon: The Peanuts Movie (2015): It's a new cartoon about Charlie Brown, what more do you people need?! Seriously though, super fun story about the little red haired girl moving in and good ole Chuck trying to get her to notice him. I am still unsure if peppermint Patty is a lesbian or not, but man this movie is great. Under 90 minutes, you can watch this on a good trip to the toilet guys. Make pooping fun!
Drama: Good Will Hunting (1997): it's not your fault that you haven't seen this movie yet. I know it's not. It's not your fault. Yeah, I know. It's not your fault. Breaks down crying. That's a thing from the movie with Matt Damon, Ben and Casey Affleck and Robin Williams. It's the debut of Damon that has a troubled young genius try to prove his worth to a woman, but more importantly... to himself. Two hours long, well worth it. I admit I cry during this movie, it's gold.
Romance: That Awkward Moment (2014): Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan (the other one who isn't number 23) star in this comedy romance romp about 3 users of women who find the right women all at the same time, but are afraid to tell their bros about the women, because bros before ho's and bros bro around and Bo knows best. I don't know what any of that means myself, but apparently it's all worthwhile and important. Another one at an hour and a half, Could watch all three in a day and still have time to do a firefly marathon!
I hope all of you have fun watching these movies, I know I did.