Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spoiler Alert: My "Advice" Email to Another "Professional Critic".....

I have been working as a critic since September of 2007, and even before I was a "working" critic, I shared my opinions and thoughts about films with people, and one thing I have always respected is critics who don't spoil plot twists and information. I am glad that "Spoilers" has become a common and understood term for the masses when it used to be just an inside thing for huge nerds.

I also follow TV as well and am into a number of shows. Not sleeping much at night gives me a little more free time than the next person, so I tend to stay more caught up on shows. Being a comic book fan all my life and loving a bunch of the superhero movies can be tricky sometimes. I love comic book movies, but I usually know more of the plot twists and turns for the movies or TV shows.

On the most current episode of CW's The Flash, a show that I am having a fun time with, there were a lot of fun plot developments and new information that is setting the stage for some of the other characters to go down certain paths. I won't say which characters, or anything else for that matter, but it's going to be fun.

I like to check out the website every other day or so and catch up on video game, comic book, movie and TV news and reviews. I like reading other reviewers after I have formed my own opinions and feelings about things I have seen or read and written about so that I am not like probably 90 % of the people online who form their opinions based on other people's opinions without seeing or reading something for themselves. I have stated a hundred times at least that I hate "Fanboys" and consider the term the entertainment industry's "Fair Weather Fan" phrase due to those supposed "fans" hating anything that isn't what they picture in a sequel, remake, or prequel. 

Anyway, sorry for the "Fanboy" tangent.

I went onto IGN to read their review of the current episode of The Flash, which was a very favorable review, and he was nice enough to put the phrase "Full Episode Spoilers Follow" before his review started. In the review, he talked about the events that happened in the end of the EPISODE, which was fine, because he warned that he would talk about them, but then he went and mentioned spoilers for THE COMICS. 

Now, being versed in comic books, I knew the fate of certain characters, but there are millions of people who don't know comic books like I do. As a film critic, I have read a ton of books that have been adapted to movies, and I read them before the films come out. I have a wise bumper sticker that says "Don't Judge a Book By It's Movie", and it's true. That's why I try to read before I watch. Since comic book movies and TV are doing so well, as well as more than 25 more comic book films coming out in the next five years, not mentioning all of the Marvel and DC TV shows that are planned, I have been getting super well versed in comics even more than I was. 

I have talked to some friends who read the review on IGN and were super mad that the reviewer didn't mention that he was going to talk spoilers in the comic books as well. I have friends who have never cracked a comic book before, but have started reading The Flash due to them liking the TV show so much, and they were really disappointed and upset that they read the review where the reviewer said everything. Below is the email I sent the reviewer in response to everything.

"I have to say, one professional critic to another, if you make a note saying "full episode spoilers follow", DON'T mention comic book spoilers in the review without stating that as well. As a film critic, I read a lot of books before I see films based on them, but never mention future details in series as told in the books because not everyone is as well versed in some books, and in this case, comic books, as the reviewer. 

I already knew of the Flash characters that become future villains or heroes/sidekicks, but for the sake of a lot of other people who have been having this TV show as their first experience, at least warn them before they read spoilers for the other medium in the middle of a paragraph. 

I have a lot of friends who are fans of the show that really aren't into reading comics, and they had read this review and were very upset and disappointed. Not only does it spoil potential twists in the show that is helping them get into comics, at least a little bit, but it just makes it seem like you are throwing those bits of information in to make it seem like you know more than people, or are trying to look good for die hard comic fans. 

This show is fun, and what makes it fun for a lot of people is not knowing what is to come, and now you have given those people less to look forward to or discover on their own. It might be your job to know more about the subject, but that isn't the case with a lot of viewers. Next time, be courteous to your readers and warn them of comic spoilers as well as episode spoilers.  

Thanks for your time,  Fellow critic, Nathan Unck"

Anyway, if I get a response, I will post another blog about it and see what he says. I doubt he will with the amount of people that comment and probably email as well to a larger site like IGN that gets hundreds of thousands of hits a day, but maybe with me stating my name and that I am a critic will make him more inclined to respond. I don't care if he does or not. I just hope that he reads the dang thing and makes a note of it.

I usually give some story details in my reviews to set up the plot, but never give details or outcomes. I usually write something to the effect of "I won't say anything else, but it's worth checking out." or "I won't say anything here to give too much away, you will just have to see it for yourself."

Hope this post was fun to read. Have a great day and I will,,, well, I won't say anything else. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Furious 7 Review.....

The Reel Perspective with Nathan Unck

Furious 7      Rated:PG-13 for extended action sequences, violence, partial nudity and brief strong language.

7 out of 10

Sometimes being a film critic is hard. While most people pick and choose what they want to see based on their tastes and whatnot, critics see almost everything, and in order to be taken seriously in the critic world, critics cannot afford to be biased or pass judgement until after they have seen a film. How can you have an honest opinion if you don't? For that reason, I try to be optimistic and be as unbiased as possible. I have certain tastes and genres that I am more interested in than others, but I try to view films that aren't in those genres with an open mind and sometimes try to put myself in someone else's shoes. 

For example, to say my dad is a fan of sports is an incredible understatement. My dad lives and breaths sports. I love sports as well, but sometimes sports movies fall into a very predictable pattern. My experience with a film about sports may not be the best every time, but I know my dad well enough to be able to recommend the film to him, knowing that he will really enjoy it. The films in the Fast and Furious series has always kind of been that way for me. I love action movies, but the first couple of entries into the series are pretty corny. Not that they don't have great car stunts and chase scenes, but the stories and acting were corny.

That being said, I feel that with each new installment of the franchise, the films actually get better as they go along. This is probably due to finding better writers and directors and of course, bigger budgets. Furious 7 had a 250 million dollar budget this time around, and the money was very well spent for this outing. Fans of the series are going to eat this film up and casual movie goers who aren't the biggest fans should still have a fun time. 

This time around, there is more story that doesn't involve car chase scenes, and even with a running time of two hours and twenty minutes, the longest in the series by far, the film never slows down from start to finish. The acting is better in this installment over the previous visions, and the stunts are bigger than life and haven't been seen before keeping it exciting and fresh. Don't get me wrong, the story kind of seems like an abandoned Mission: Impossible film plot idea that didn't make it, and the dialog isn't the greatest, but it is nice that the filmmakers are trying to add more substance to give the series more credibility. 

As for the story, it quickly reminds us of a plot line in an earlier installment where our team of heroes takes out a man in London. We find out that his brother, Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham, is out for revenge, but that he was part of an elite black ops team in England who was recruited based on his cruelty and strength over a sound mind, but when the government was through with him, they didn't realize that they had created a homicidal, one man death machine. Shaw, after seeing his brother in the hospital vows revenge on the team who put him there. Enter our heroes. Dom, played by Vin Diesel, Brian, played by the late Paul Walker, Letty, played by Michelle Rodriguez, Roman, played by Tyrese Gibson, Tej, Played by Ludacris, and of course, Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson.

After a big fight scene between Hobbs and Shaw at a police station, Shaw gets the names of everyone on the team and goes after them. After things quickly escalate, Mr. Nobody, played by Kurt Russell enters the film as a black ops military leader with a crew who asks our band of heroes to help them locate a device known as God's Eye, a device that will let the user hack into any camera or electronic device, making it impossible for bad guys, or anyone really, to not be seen at all times. Another evil team half way around the world has the inventor of the device as a hostage, and so the team goes to rescue the hostage and find God's Eye before any evil or corrupt government can use it, and in exchange the black ops team will help Dom and his team find Deckard Shaw and take him out. 

There are a lot of great fight sequences as well as car chase and stunt scenes, and they all fit in the the story well enough. Usually in a big action film, writers think up of big action sequences and try to build a story around the action, where as this time around, it seems that the action fits into the story and is justified. One thing I have always liked about the franchise is that even though the team is given their freedom in exchange for their daring escapades, and though they are all pretty filthy rich as well, the only thing that seems to be worth anything is their love for each other and their family. I think that's a pretty cool theme considering the source. 

There are some annoyances in the film as well. I hate that almost every time the team is in a new location, it shows them pull up in perfect parking spots in slow motion with girls in next to nothing, usually dancing and having water sprinkled on them. I think that one scene was more than enough of footage like that, but we are talking about four or give scenes here. I hate that the plot points start off like a poorly directed rap music video with poor taste. The objectifying of women in the film really bothered me and shouldn't go unnoticed. As fun and exciting as the movie is, those scenes were enough to make me roll my eyes and have a little less faith in men in this day and age. If your movie needs scenes like this to sell tickets, you should spend more time working on a better story, better acting, and better writing all around. 

The film is a very nice send off for Paul Walker and was quite sad. He will be a missed actor, and he was able to film most just about everything when he was tragically killed in a car accident, ironically. The film kind of ends where they could end the series and have it be a nice ending, but knowing Hollywood and the money that this film will inevitably make, especially with it being Paul Walkers last movie, I wouldn't be surprised to see an eighth film in the next couple of years. 

While the movie isn't the best movie you will see, it is the best of the series so far. It won't really make any new fans, but it won't completely drive away, no pun intended, newcomers either. When you go to a Fast and Furious movie, I doubt that, even the fans of the series, go expecting an air-tight story and great acting, they are wanting a great escape for the evening by watching cars drive fast, fight sequences and great stunts, and this movie has just about two hours worth of that stuff, so in the end, it's a decent way to get some quick thrills at the movies until a couple of weeks from now when the Summer movie season kicks off with a brand new Avengers film.

Furious 7 is rated PG-13 for extended intense action sequences, violence, partial nudity and brief strong language. Not a movie for kids, obviously, but teenagers and adults who are fans will get their money's worth.

Nathan Unck
Media Critic
The Magna Times