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Jonah Show in Print! – ‘Furious 7’ Review

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Essays, Jonah Show, Movies | 0 comments

The Rock. Diesel. Jonah Anderson. ‘Furious 7’ Jonah Anderson has the only review of “Furious 7” that matters. Let the Oscar talk begin…. Holy shit, that was awesome! That’s pretty much my review of “Furious 7” in a nut shell, but I know I should expand a bit. The real challenge will be not expanding too much. I mean I wrote multiple pages on a two minute trailer, now I’ve seen the full two hour and twenty minute movie. So I’m going to try and keep it light and not go into a super amount of detail so that this doesn’t become the novelization of “Furious 7.” The movie opens with an introduction to the villain Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). He has beaten up an entire hospital’s worth of police officers, and he is talking to his now paralyzed brother from “Fast 6.” He swears revenge on the crew. Good luck, pal. Then everyone’s favorite US agent Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is doing some paperwork. Only The Rock can make paperwork look this badass. Shaw shows up and this early in the movie we’ve got the fight everyone has been looking forward to. It’s a great back and forth fight, but Hobbs looks like he ends it with a Rock Bottom through a glass table.   Shaw tosses a little grenade though, and Hobbs has to save his female agent friend by tackling her through a window, five-to-100 stories off the ground, then taking the fall onto a car outside. So that’s how he got injured,  but I still think they cut the scene where he had just finished accidentally drinking a Kryptonite smoothie before the fall. Next we have the crew chilling at their house. There’s a package from Toyko,  which Dom assumes is from Han. Dom gets a phone call from Shaw though, and his phone lets him know that he’s calling from Japan. The package is a bomb that blows up the family’s house. Luckily, everyone escapes the blast unharmed. At Han’s funeral, Dom spots a car watching the proceedings and takes off after it.  He corners him in a parking structure and rams his car into Shaw’s. Dom gets out ready to brawl, but Shaw is a punk and is just going to shoot Dom. The Feds show up led by Kurt Russell and clear out Shaw.  Russell tells Dom that he needs him to get a hacker named Ramsey who has been taking by terrorists so they can have the “God’s Eye” and track anyone, anywhere, anytime. Dom and the crew plan the extraction and this is the sky-diving cars scene. Pure awesomeness. They drop down and have a great action sequence, where they eventually get O’ Connor onto the bus holding Ramsey and free her. That’s right it’s a her, a smoking hot woman is a hacker. Take that, stereotypes. O’ Connor has some issues getting off the bus because he’s fighting Tony Jaa.  I’ve gone over the sequence in detail on my review of the trailer, but O’ Connor jumps off of a bus falling off a cliff onto Letty’s car which is powersliding right on the cliff’s edge. Ramsey says she sent the program on a drive to a friend of hers who is a Jabroni in Abu Dabi.  The...

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The Jonah Show – Dissecting ‘Fast & Furious 7’ trailer

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Essays, Jonah Show, Misc Pop Culture, Movies | 1 comment

The Jonah Show in Print! While you wait for new episodes of the The Jonah Show, check out the print column, all about the “single greatest movie ever made.”   Best Article Ever By JONAH ANDERSON So I don’t think I’m overstating the fact that the most important event in human history just happened. “The Fast And Furious 7” trailer dropped. I’m going to break down the trailer with as much detail and thought that a super fan like myself can. The trailer starts out with Dom (Vin Diesel) talking on the CB radio to his crew. The shot goes from him, to Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), to Roman (Tyrese) and we hear from Tej (Ludacris) who is asking Roman if he’s freaking out which he clearly is. Now why is Roman freaking out so much? I mean they’re all in cars, it’s basically where they live. It’s no stretch to call them the greatest team of drivers ever. Roman says he’s not freaking out but Tej calls him out and he and Brian O’ Connor (Paul Walker) have a good laugh. Roman wants someone to walk him through what they’re supposed to be doing. Come on, Roman, know the plan. I mean you’re probably just driving and pulling off a heist or something, get those butterflies out of your stomach. The red light goes off, some sort of rear door opens and we get to see everyone in some sweet rides. Cut to an exterior shot of an airplane!? What the hell? They’re in an airplane? In cars? Now this I’ve got to see. I mean they have a lot of experience in airplaning from the last movie, but I didn’t see any doomsday devices handed out. O’ Connor says “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better” to his boy Dom. Dom says “Here we go” while Roman provides some comic relief by blessing himself. What is going on here? Holy shit they throw the cars in reverse and skydive out of a fucking plane, IN CARS! Parachutes deploy and they make it onto the road no problem. Tej sums it up better than I ever could, “Hell Yeah!” I would just like to take a minute and point out that the trailer starts with the crew skydiving out of a plane in cars. That’s the start, we’re just ramping up from here. The crew is now driving on a road, all normal like, when they pull up on a bus. Oh we’ve seen this before. Clearly they’re going to be taking this bus down. Are they springing someone from a prison bus? Pulling off a big heist? Who knows? But we all know that if there’s one thing that Dom and the crew can do it’s pretty much anything they want involving moving vehicles. But “Oh Shiiii….” Tej again has the perfect words for this situation. The bus presses a magic button and guns come out of the side and start firing. O’ Connor’s car is lit up with gun fire and he seems to pull off to the side. But no big deal, reunited lovers Dom and Letty “Hook ‘em up” and fire gatlings into the bus and pull off the back with a little help from Tej’s magic button and the power of brakes....

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Everything wrong with the new ‘Ninja Turtles’ movie

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Essays, Misc Pop Culture, Movies | 0 comments

Paramount’s ‘Ninja Turtles’ removes everything that’s good about the 30-year-old franchise I am a diehard fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Such a claim can mean a lot of things. For many it means they were fans as kids – collecting the toys and religiously watching the original cartoon. I was that Turtle fan, but I’m now something much more. I still love the characters, albeit for completely different reasons. Yes, I’m a grown adult, have kids of my own, and a wife willing to be associated me. That’s a whole other kind of Turtle fan. Because the Turtles franchise is often dismissed as dumb, toy fodder, I want to clarify what it means to be me – a diehard adult fan of Ninja Turtles. In the right iterations, the Turtles are well-drawn characters engaging in thoughtful and entertaining storylines. I’m drawn to those stories in part because of my nostalgia for the franchise. I’m able to get that jolt of excitement I had as a kid without having to sit through overly simplistic or outdated content I liked as a kid. Of course I point to the original black and white comics, notably the earliest issues by creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, as well as their sprawling “City at War” storyline. I also cite the 2003 animated series, which drew stories from those original comics and steered away from the silliness and assembly line cheapness of the original series. Now we have the current Nickelodeon series, which draws from the goofy mutant mayhem of the first cartoon but does so without sacrificing the character work and comic-inspired storytelling that made the second series so strong. The Nick series is a nice balance between the two – giving hardcore fans some of the classic comic stories alongside an assortment of bizarre mutants (you get Ice Cream Kitty and Pigeon Pete to go with your classic Rat King and Slash). Finally, the current IDW comics do a terrific job with remixing all aspects of the franchise. It takes a serious, character-based approach, infuses even more Japanese influence than all previous incarnations and still has time for menacing versions of Bebop and Rocksteady. I cite all this as to justify the Turtles’ existence in popular culture. Yes, they are silly characters, but plenty of talented people have told interesting stories about them. Unfortunately, most remember the Turtles as the dumb cartoon from their childhood, or as the wildly uneven film franchise known for extending Vanilla Ice’s 15 minutes of fame. Now we have Paramount’s big screen, CGI-nostriled Ninja Turtles courtesy of producer Michael Bay and a director who had no qualms about following the same “Bayhem” aesthetic that propelled the “Transformers” franchise to billions at the box office. Despite a predictably harsh critical drubbing, the new “Ninja Turtles” opened huge this past weekend, and a sequel has already been announced for 2016. The diehard Turtle fan in me will enjoy any big screen iteration to some degree, but this isn’t the Turtle movie for me. The things I love about the franchise are nowhere to be found in the new movie. It exists for the casually nostalgic fans and the kids who don’t yet understand the fundamentals of basic storytelling. These kids are lucky to have the Nickelodeon show to...

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Binge on ‘House of Cards’ Season 2 or Don’t Watch at All

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Essays, Television | 0 comments

Binge on ‘House of Cards’ Season 2 or Don’t Watch at All

Count Kevin Spacey as one of those actors who makes everything around him better. The double Oscar winner reigns over “House of Cards,” the Netflix-produced political series that launched its second season last month. Fans of the first season likely finished all 13 new episodes weeks ago, and binging on it multiple hours at a time plays to the show’s strengths. Taken at a slower pace, however, and “House of Cards” tends to fall apart like a… please don’t make me use the obvious pun. Spacey is still the reason to watch, playing the cunning and basically evil politician Francis Underwood, who opens the second season as vice-president of the United States. That lofty job title isn’t enough, of course, and Underwood begins a series of schemes, flim-flams and treasonous crimes to hoist himself into the Oval Office. Taken in large, multiple episode chunks, “House of Cards” is addictive camp. Nobody will mistake this show with, say, “The West Wing,” because the political intrigue is secondary to the moral corruption of the main players. You want to see Underwood do bad, no matter the circumstances. Watch a single episode at a time, however, and the story logic and character inconsistencies can be frustrating. Part of the problem is how Spacey towers so easily over his adversaries. Michael Gill, who plays President Walker, struggles in his expanded role because Spacey steamrolls him in every scene, even when Walker is supposed to be demonstrating authority. It makes Underwood’s grand plot (which also relies heavily on convenience and blind luck) more of a means to an end instead of something worth dramatizing for 13 hours. The show also buries lingering season one plotlines ridiculously, notably the investigation into Underwood’s misdeeds by reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara). Replacing the journalism material this season is a bizarre subplot involving Underwood’s Secret Service agent Edward Meechum (Nathan Darrow). Even binge viewers will stop long enough to be baffled by where his story goes by season’s end. “House of Cards” is still better in season two, thanks to a tighter focus and the emergence of two fascinating female characters. Molly Parker is a standout newcomer as Underwood’s replacement in Congress as House Majority Whip, and Robin Wright has much more to do this year as Claire Underwood, Francis’ seemingly icy wife and strongest (only?) political ally. Claire, who came off like a Bond villain in season one, shows signs of being a person with an actual conscience. That’s more than can be said of Underwood or most of the other characters on the show. The last image of the season is a doozy; one that makes you desperate for more episodes… until, once again, you start thinking about how the show got from point A to B. It’s absolutely ludicrous, and something a show that airs week-to-week on a regular network could never execute.   Ultimately, that isn’t a criticism. “House of Cards” exists on Netflix to watch over a rainy weekend. I spent three weeks on it, and I feel like I missed out on part of the fun. Darn you,...

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The (Hopefully) Final Word on Cinema 2013 *Updated Top 20 List*

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Essays, Misc Pop Culture, Movies | 0 comments

The (Hopefully) Final Word on Cinema 2013 *Updated Top 20 List*

The Oscars waited until March 2014 to crown the best movies and performances of 2013. With “12 Years a Slave” taking home Best Picture, we can all move on to discuss the cinematic landscape of the new year. Almost. Sunday’s Academy Awards proved to be a respectful, if predictable, selection of the year’s best films. In my Predictions column for the Coeur d’Alene Press I correctly predicted 22 of the 24 winners, a personal best that matters little when you consider how many categories were perceived “locks” weeks before the actual ceremony. Blast those pesky short film categories for ruining my perfection! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: “12 Years a Slave” is a worthy Best Picture winner, more so than recent Hollywood heartwarmers like “The King’s Speech,” “Argo” and “The Artist.” It’s an important film that will literally be taught in classrooms, but it’s also an impeccably made piece of filmmaking. I say this with the caveat that “12 Years a Slave” was only my fourth favorite movie of the nine nominated for Best Picture. For various and most definitely subjective reasons, I was more enthralled by the artistry and execution of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Her” and “Gravity.” That doesn’t diminish my admiration for “12 Years,” however. The audience divisiveness over “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Her” make those films less representative of the year’s movie landscape, while “Gravity” did just fine with seven Oscars, including Best Director. On first look, it’s ridiculous how the Oscar telecast takes place so deep into the new year. The critics’ influence on the year’s best ends promptly on Dec. 31, so much so that us third-string, small newspaper folks (all three of us) feel silly scrambling to catch up on movies in January and February. Really though, most audiences these days wait for home video to see independent and late-season award contenders, making the Oscars a nice advertising plug for what’s new in the rental queue. Big winners “12 Years” and “Gravity” are newly available for home consumption, with nearly all other nominees already out or coming to home video within the next couple weeks. “The Lego Movie” aside, there’s little new worth seeing in theaters anyway, making the back half of winter the true end to a movie year. For those who disagree, well, you’ve got that lovely remake of “Robocop” to enjoy. Back in early January, I wrote about my favorite movies of 2013 before I had a chance to see many great films that should have qualified. These last two months have changed my mind on the overall strength of the year. In January, I thought 2013 was a solid, if unspectacular year for movies. Now, with a few dozen more movies under my belt, I think we’re looking at one of the strongest in many years. I don’t have the space to rewrite the entire Best of 2013 article, but before moving into 2014 for good, I offer a more complete version of my Top 20. I’ve noted home video availability and marked the new entries with a trusty *. 1.       The Wolf of Wall Street (available on home video March 25) 2.       Her* 3.       Frances Ha (available on Netflix Streaming) 4.       Before Midnight (available now) 5.       Gravity (available now) 6.       12 Years a Slave (available now) 7.       The World’s End (available now)...

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