Godzilla

As we continue to roll through summer blockbusters, we encounter the newest, most dynamic version of Godzilla yet, directed by Gareth Edwards. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence, it stars Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Bryan Cranston.

Godzilla follows the discovery of two dangerous monsters who threaten the Earth’s well-being, largely thanks to scientific arrogance. In order to restore Earth’s natural balance, the titular character reawakens to counter these forces, resulting in a destructive battle that captures the world’s attention.

6 out of 10

My 6/10 rating may seem low. Okay, it doesn’t seem low, it is low. But oh man, could this movie have been great. Like really great. When Godzilla was on the screen, boy was it amazing. Too bad he didn’t show up till halfway in. And even after his first appearance, he’s only in the movie for like 15-20 minutes the rest of the way through. Shouldn’t a movie called Godzilla have more… Godzilla? It sounds like a stupid reason to give a movie a 6/10, but that’s the reality of it. The rest of it just wasn’t good enough.

I can split this movie into three parts. Part 1: Boring. Part 2: Insanely boring. Part 3: Pretty badass. Part 1, also known as the part with Bryan Cranston, does not feature much action whatsoever. Fine, I guess it’s unfair of me to be expecting all 2 hours of this movie to be action. And there was a little bit with Bryan Cranston running around in an exploding nuclear factory. But come on, the first third of the film did not feature any giant green monster. I would have liked to see a little bit, to prevent me from getting antsy. Instead, I was irritated before the movie really got itself started. *SPOILER ALERT* On top of that, they just had to go and write off Cranston, who ultimately proved to be one of the better human characters in the movie. He was one of the primary reasons I came to see the movie! His death didn’t even have a noticeable effect on Aaron-Taylor Johnson’s character, Cranston’s son. Blatantly unnecessary.

bryan cranston

Then there was part 2, aka the part with Aaron-Taylor Johnson. Aka, the boring part. Aka the part where nothing happens. I guess this section of the movie is supposed to detail Ford Brody’s (Johnson’s character) journey back home, with the obvious obstacle of the monsters in his path. But Brody is an insanely boring character to put it simply. He has no personality. Nothing he does is genuine. This isn’t a knock on Aaron-Taylor Johnson’s acting skills (okay, maybe it is a little), but the character has no reaction to anything that is going on around him. *SPOILER ALERT* Your dad just died, you’re away from your wife and child, and giant monsters are threatening your existence. Show some damn emotion.

On top of that, the entirety of part 2 was just build up. Build up, build up, build up. Build up. A whole lot of traveling, an unnecessary story line involving an Asian kid lost from his parents, and again, TOO LITTLE GODZILLA!!!! At least we actually got to see him. His introduction in the airport in Hawaii was pretty sick, so there is a silver lining.

 I will admit that the last third is pretty great. Godzilla is a magnificent visual creation, and the final scene where he’s going at it with the other monsters is pretty stunning to watch. Great visual effects that are really entertaining to watch. My jaw literally dropped at the final sequence, where Godzilla… well, I won’t spoil anything. It’s just something you have to see for yourself.

Being completely honest, I was pretty disappointed in the end. The final third of the film couldn’t make up for the disappointing, boring, poorly paced beginning and middle. However, I will say that this is something you should watch in theaters (or a 70 inch, HD TV), if you’re going to watch it at all. Godzilla, both the monster and the movie (but mainly the monster), is a visual spectacle. Unfortunately, it’s pacing (and lack of Godzilla, if I haven’t already mentioned that) really screws it over in the end, which is why I’d say hold off on this one unless you’re a big ‘Zilla fan. 

8 out of 10

Can I just start off by saying I was really sad by how little I got of Mr.Cranston/LBJ/Mr. White? He really gives every performance his all and I hate the fact that these sentences aren’t that much of a spoiler. Still, he has a lot of impact so I can be grateful. Now let’s dive in to Godzilla:

The first apocalyptic-monster film I ever saw was Cloverfield. It was a shaky-cam movie in which a giant monster takes a destructive stroll through New York City and it was also my first J.J. Abrams movie. I can’t quite say whether it still holds up but I remember it being very effective by using one very specific tool: there’s very little monster.

S’right. You heard me. Without spoiling too much, our friend/Japanese national treasure Godzilla (Who, in fact, inspired the movie mentioned above) clocks in about fifteen minutes in this flick. But, man, does he make all fifteen of those minutes count.

Still, I found the moments that were most effective in Godzilla were the human ones. The moments where you just put regular people in tense scenarios. Filmmakers tend to forget how much having genuinely endearing characters really helps. All I really needed besides that was a distant roar from the title character and few rumblings to get me hooked on a scene.

For instance, about 90% of the scenes where the monsters strike do not take place in a sprawling urban setting (Tempting as that may be) but instead take us to cramped vehicles where we just have all of the real panic to keep us interested. Making Godzilla a mysterious entity is also a cool decision as it makes his loud moments far more special.

Those loud moments, by the way, will most likely make up for all the closed-in scenes for those who didn’t care for them. For lack of any better phrasings: Godzilla kicks ass. He just does here. That’s all there is to say. I was somewhat thrown off by a decision made to elicit some support for him from the audience but I think it actually works upon evaluation.

I also did enjoy how they broke away from the usual “Godzilla attacks!” plot. I had mentally prepared myself for it but was pleasantly blindsided by some excellent monster vs. monster fights (Thank God for Toho!). I think this had a fair amount of people surprised (Especially the kid in front of me who exclaimed “THAT’S NOT GODZILLA!” upon seeing the first monster)/

All of that being said, the main characters are, well, monster movie main characters. There’s not a lot going on with the core cast and the actors aren’t given a heck of a lot of material to work with. Each one sucumbs to the general formula but that is to be expected with Godzilla. In fact, there are skips between the protagonists’ stories that do seem a bit long.

godzilla

So, if you came to see Godzilla, you’re gonna see Godzilla. Just not all of the time. And, in this case, that’s the best way. It makes the climax stand out all the more once we see him do what Godzilla does best. And what he does isn’t very nice.

IMDB: 6.6
Metacritic: 62
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

Goodbye Walter White

Surprise! Not only are we avid movie fans, but we also love to watch TV. Dexter, The Sopranos, The Walking Dead; you name it, one of us has seen it at some point. Posts about television will be pretty rare– we like to stick to our roots– but seriously, who doesn’t love Breaking Bad?! And with it coming to an end on Sunday night, we just had to find a way to celebrate it. Therefore, we decided to give you our top five favorite episodes of the entire series.

It will be really hard to say goodbye to Breaking Bad.  It has brought us phenomenal acting, unbelievable writing, and just about everything in between (hell, even Belize means something). It shouldn’t need to be said, but, major spoilers. If you haven’t finished Breaking Bad, and you intend to, I recommend sitting this one out.

As Jesse would say, “Enjoy, b!tch!”

Series Finale Teaser

5. Better Call Saul (S2, E8)

The introduction to one of my favorite characters in the show, Saul Goodman. From the get go, with his ridiculous commercial, Saul was a quirky, shady, and somehow half-decent lawyer. He proves able to get Badger out of a rough spot, and ultimately becomes Walt and Jesse’s lawyer, joining them in the meth business. Without even discussing Hank’s storyline, which features him struggling with PTSD after a bombing in Juarez, this episode was intriguing and proved to be the beginning of the excellence that was Saul Goodman. When he walked into the interrogation room, called the detective a sneaky Pete, and then gave Badger that stupid smile. Oh man. Better Call Saul.

4. Gliding All Over (S5, E8)

Since I had a ridiculous amount of catching up to do, I watched this episode a mere two months before the final episodes aired, but the final scene has to be one of the biggest cliffhangers in TV history. We see Hank look up from Walt’s book with a menacing, shocking look that would prove to change the events of the show as we knew it. Then you realize that the rest of the episode was pretty damn good too, including the fantastic prison death montage, the kids coming back home, the nostalgic references and the gigantic pile of cash that symbolized how far Walt went for his family… or for himself.

Cash Money $$$

Cash Money $$$

3. ABQ (S2, E13)

This episode would have been great solely because of the pink teddy bear that came out of nowhere and landed in Walt’s pool. Luckily for us, we received the start of Jesse’s fall into hell, by him checking into rehab, ironically enough.  Dealing with his girlfriend’s death is one of the events that tips him over the edge and reveals the Jesse that we now know: dark and disgruntled. Additionally, the bit with the bear at the end was fantastically done. Pink the color of hearts and Valentine’s Day, is actually symbolic of death. And remind me, what color was Walter wearing?

2. Ozymandias (S5, E 14)

While not my favorite episode, this may certainly be the best one. It was intense from beginning to end, something that is difficult to have in a single episode. The beginning was charming and memorable, with a flashback to the good ol’ days when Skylar was still pregnant and Walt still had hair. Then BAM Hank is shot, Walt is crying, and the neo-nazis are in charge. Then, out of nowhere, Walt Jr. (or should I say Flynn) finds out about his dad, and Skylar and Walt are in a knife fight… it’s just too much to describe. This episode was entertaining and exhilarating from beginning to end, and may be in the conversation for the best TV episode of all time. Yes really.

1. Crawl Space (S4, E11)

The final 8-10 minutes of this episode are some of the best TV of all time. When Gus threatens Walt and his entire family, everything shifts. Walt goes from the man with all the power to the bottom of the chain. He is scared for his life. He is no longer the one who knocks. For a split second the real Walter White is seen. Then, in my favorite scene in the entire show, Walt looks for his money with desperation and when he finds Skylar gave it away, his life is gone. Walt is gone. Heisenberg has taken control. The final image leaves us with Walter White lying in the crawlspace looking through a hole in the floor; his coffin.

~Vig

5. Peekaboo (S2, E6)

A lot of people dismiss this as an inconsequential filler episode of this show. Why? It’s actually a very well-written and revealing episode that was just self-contained. First off, we get a sobering reveal of Walt as he tells Gretchen off in a “Heisengerg”-y way. Later, Jesse is playing with a kid while trying to be a badass distributor like he’s always planned on. So what do we end on? We see Jesse that might be a good person trying to pretend to be bad while we see that Walt might be the opposite. We also get a fleeting glimpse of their customers in between.

4. Crazy Handful of Nothin’ (S1, E6)

If you made me write this a year or two ago before I gave the series a re-watch, this would be number one.
When I’m showing someone this series, they look at me like I’m crazy for saying that this show is nailbiting and intense. The first five episodes of the show are provoking, just not exciting. And then Tuco, in all his psychopathic and loud glory, comes in and suddenly people are on the edge of their seat. It’s an episode that raised the stakes, upped the insanity and showed us that there’s an angry side to Walt. It’s a perfect thesis for his transformation.

3. Ozymandias (S5, E14)

What a beautiful, perfect episode this is. Just from the Shelly-inspired title, you know exactly what’s going to happen, you just aren’t ready for it. This is the one everyone was waiting for from the first episode. The one where Walt’s criminal and family lives collide and here it was. As soon as Skyler began waving a knife at Walt over the cries of Walt Jr. and Holly, I didn’t think I could take it, I nearly stopped the episode for a breather. Props for one of the best openings and endings in the series also.

2. Face Off (S4, E13)

It’s a cliche choice. But if I could somehow cram all of the final 6 of season 4 into one entry, I would. Gus meets his fate. Hector gets his revenge. Walt wins.
Enough said.

Gustavo Fring meets his demise

Gustavo Fring meets his demise

1. Mandala (S2, E11)

When I tell people I love this episode, they usually have forgotten about it. It’s not the most exciting, action packed or clever of the show but I love it. It’s a perfect turning point for the plot and a great example of what the show is about.

The most important moment of Walt’s journey to me isn’t in the fascinating basement scenes with Krazy-8. It’s not his terrifying fit in “Crawl Space”. It’s the moment he gets Skyler’s text that she’s in labor and he smiles briefly but then realizes he has to finish the deal.

I can’t think of how many times Breaking Bad has perfectly summed up an episode in one ending image. So what do we get in this? We get Walt putting on his most serious Heisenberg expression hastily rushing to a deal with a mysterious man he doesn’t know. He’s almost certain he’s going to miss his daughter’s birth. He doesn’t even know if he’ll make it to said deal in time. But something (Arrogance, work ethic, whatever the viewer sees) drives him to go anyway.

If that doesn’t perfectly sum up the suspense and development of this story, I don’t know what does.

~Zach

What are your favorite episodes? Feel free to tell us in the comment section below.

Bonus Video: Even Weird Al loves Breaking Bad! Check out his 12 minute epic “Alberquerque”. It truly is something.