Gems In Cyberspace: Jeremy Jahns

Jeremy Jahns, YouTube movie reviewer

Awesometacular!

It’s not really a word, let’s be honest, but if you’ve ever heard it, then you’ve probably heard of Jeremy Jahns: a YouTube movie reviewer who has quite the following.

Now there are several movie reviewers on YouTube and most, to be honest, are crap. They tend to have some uber-geek on camera who can barely speak and form a coherent sentence. With Jahns, you don’t get that. You get straight up informative movie reviews mixed with his own “everyman” sense of humor, a passion for films and games, and a personality that makes you go “hey, I’d like to watch a movie with this guy”.

There are a few different types of reviews that Jeremy Jahns has on his YouTube channel which include social commentary, game reviews and so on, but the movie reviews are the bread and butter here. He typically starts the show with a summary of what he’s going to say, a nifty little intro video with music (which you will forever now identify with his YouTube show, branding!) and then his quick-cut style of movie reviews.

The quick-cut style has been used many times by many reviewers on YouTube, and it also started a bit of a backlash from “real” movie reviewers who take issue with the trend, but even they praise Jahns on his knowledge of film and the quality of his delivery.

You’ll find yourself cracking up when you find him doing imitations of characters (his version of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises had me cracking up), giving a nod to his fan-boy references and generally taking his opinions as valid on whether or not a film is worth seeing.

His rating system is not quite well defined but makes total sense. “Complete dogshit” I think it the lowest an average movie can go, unless it’s really bad then he’ll make up an even worse category. On the other side is “Buy it on BluRay” or the ultimate “Awesometacular”.

You also have to admit this guy knows how to brand himself. He has his own catch phrases, encourages comments on his videos, and wraps up all his movie reviews with his “camera punch”, which is now famous. This is how you should do a YouTube channel. It is one of the shows online that give YouTube legitimacy as being a place for more than just crazy cat videos and illegally copied music videos.

We do have to say that Jeremy Jahns is: Awesometacular.

5 stars

The Best and Worst of Summer 2012 Films

The Best


The Avengers – Since the late 2000’s we’ve been bombarded with superhero comic film after superhero comic film, including a ton of remakes and reboots (read: Spiderman, Batman, X-Men). The Avengers did something surprising, it made a superhero movie that wasn’t stale. Although the plot, concept and character interactions are very familiar, the manner in which it was put together was truly above average, making it probably the best big budget film of the summer.

The Dark Knight Rises – Christopher Nolan concludes his alternate Batman universe with a action filled, drama filled third chapter. Bruce Wayne is presented in a way which we’ve rarely seen, we get hints of what may be to come, and are treated to an loud, thrilling ride that takes the world of Nolan’s Gotham City to the brink of death, only to see an inspiring rise.

Men In Black III – This was surprisingly NOT horrible, which may account for why it’s on the best category. Honestly, most people would have thought this was going to be a pointless way to cash in on an old franchise, but it actually has a story worth telling, and it’s interesting how the cast has aged in the years since MIB II.

The Hunger Games – No where near as strong as the novel, but a good start to what’s going to be a juggernaut of a franchise. If you haven’t seen the Hunger Games yet, where the heck have you been?

Beast of the Southern Wild – A Sundance favorite that many of you haven’t heard of. Trust me, it well worth the time to watch this inspiring, imaginative and iconic tale of the bravest little girl this side of the Gulf Coast.

Honorable Mention – Brave, Ted, The Watch

The Worst


The Amazing Spiderman – Not only is it a bit early to reboot Spiderman (the Toby McGuire franchise ended less than six years ago), but this film is anything but “amazing”. It’s a retread of what was done before, and not a very good one. With an annoying Peter Parker and a loosely held together narrative, this one might be the Superman Returns for Spiderman fans.

Madea’s Witness Protection – Now, I’m a huge Tyler Perry fan, and have loved most of the Madea movies, but I do believe that we’ve officially jumped the shark with this character. This film does nothing new, and feels a bit stale and empty in the end. Before, the Madea films had something unspoken under the surface that touched the middle to lower-middle class. Now, it seems just to be done for cheap laughs. Tyler, you can do better.

Step Up Revolution – Um, why does this even exist? Talk about jumped the shark. This franchise only exists for people whose only concern in life is their outer appearance and what’s happening this week on pick-your-trashy-VH1-reality-show.

Snow White and The Huntsmen – A visually stunning film that lacks any coherent core of a story. The first disappointment of the summer. I dare say I’d rather watch a Twilight film over this … nah.

Dishonorable Mention – Prometheus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Campaign

Movie Review: Prometheus

Prometheus Movie Poster

Movie magician Ridley Scott made the long-awaited return to the Alien franchise after decades of sub-par sequels to bring us, naturally, a prequel titled Prometheus.

Once the general public figured out this was an Alien-related film made by the originator, buzz started building about what we would see. What was this film about? What would we recognize?

The film is set in the late 21st century where two young paleo-biologists, Elizabeth (Noomi Rapance) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green), find a series of wall paintings on Earth that all share the same star configuration. That configuration pointed (literally) to a reachable star system where it is theorized the creators of mankind existed, and by leaving these images behind on Earth, wanted to be found.

Prometheus relies on several cliches such as the diverse crew of the overly friendly geek, the not-friendly-at-all guy with a bad haircut and worse tattoos, a wise-cracking captain (played by Idris Elba famously of The Wire), and a mysterious and obviously amoral “employee” of the corporation played by Charlize Theron … mmm … okay, I’m back.

This motley crew head off into space to seek out an inhabitable moon in the star system described in the wall paintings, being in stasis for over two years while their android (yup, another android) David played by Michael Fassbender, rides around on a bike shooting hoops, watches movies to adopt lines as his own, and of course creepily watches the dreams of his sleeping shipmates. Fassender plays this android character rather well. You know what he’s about from the outset, yet he keeps you guessing what his real motives and most of the scenes you see him in you’re not wondering if he did something more than you are asking yourself why he’s doing it.

Prometheus is the name of the massive ship that takes this crew to their destination and while en route, we get some short explanations of what the plot is about. Dr. Elizabeth Shaw has a heavy belief in God but her partner, and lover, theorizes that on the planet they’re traveling to, they’ll find the creators of mankind. Sounds like an episode of Ancient Aliens on History Channel doesn’t it? The trip is sponsored for $1 trillion by your prototypical evil corporation that is run by an old white man who is obsessed with beating death (and a bad makeup job).

Most of the story you’ve seen before if you’ve watched any survival horror science fiction film, including the original Alien and it’s sequel Aliens. People do things they shouldn’t, creepy stuff starts happening, crew turn on one another, you’re wondering who is bad and who is good outside of our main heroine, and eventually people start dying.

If you’re expecting to see aliens kill people in this film, you’ll be disappointed. This isn’t another Alien film, this movie attempts to be more cerebral and offer a weird balance between sci-fi metaphysical pontification and shock-horror. It doesn’t quite achieve either unfortunately.

There are a few scenes that will make you really want to use condoms, feel bad for anyone whose had a Caesarean, recoil from crunching sounds, and further your distaste for worms. The ending is almost predictable but it does have a few twists here and there.

The best part of the movie is clearly the art direction and the special effects. Some really creative and imaginative people worked on the look of this movie and the futuristic gadgets that are used. A scene with David in the alien map room is so intricate, complex and spellbinding that it’s like watching digital jazz. Seeing this film in IMAX really brings the details and design elements to life. Some truly stunning visuals are to be seen in this film.

Unfortunately, as much as many of us wanted to love this film, it kind of leaves the audience a bit flat. You’ve seen something cool, but it wasn’t mind blowing. You’ve seen something visually appealing, but the heart of it is rather shallow. You can’t be too down on Ridley Scott though, it’s his first science fiction film in 33 years so cut the guy a break!

3 out of 5

Movie Review: The Cabin In The Woods

Oh horror fans, and comedy fans, come together and enjoy this tongue-in-cheek fresh take on an old idea. As many may know, The Cabin In The Woods is a film that starts out like a typical 80s horror film about young beautiful people going into the woods, stay in a cabin and get slaughtered by some monster.

The Cabin In The Woods Movie Review

Cabin does start out like this, but as anyone who has seen the trailer knows, that’s not what this movie is about. The first scene of the movie lets you know that there’s more to this story as there is an overseeing, “big brother” organization that is controlling the action here. Their motives are a mystery but you know it means nothing good for our five youngsters.

The movie is fresh and original in it’s idea, which is the main appeal of this film. Joss Whedon pulls out his usual creative flair by crafting a story that changes perspective and has you guessing “what’s the real motive here?” all the way through. You will be confused at moments, shocked at others, laugh in the most awkward places, and provided with enough genuine horror scares that most people who see this film will be thoroughly entertained.

I must mention however the subtext, which may contain SPOILERS so don’t read any further if you don’t want to know.

 

The moral, if you can call it that, of this horror/dark comedy is not for everyone. Very early on you can get the sense of the world view the filmmakers have. Wrapped in blood and jokes, it can be overlooked, but there’s a certain level of preaching going on here.

Everything from marijuana legalization (the pothead sees things clearly, and also by smoking it is immune to the poisons Big Brother is pumping into their controlled environment – yeah, a bit preachy), to anti-business sentiments, to classic stereotypes, to a very “people suck, I’m in love with my own genius” attitude permeate through the story. At times, I almost felt like the filmmakers were grinning at me from behind the film, saying “we’re smarter than you, we know what’s best, you are all sheep and humanity should end” – which essentially is the moral of the story.

Yes, it’s done in the old fallback for social commentary: jokes and tongue-in-cheek wink-winks as mentioned earlier. Ironically enough, the social commentary is the LEAST original part of the movie.

The ending is good in that it isn’t how this kind of movie would usually end, but it also had me cringing at the viewpoint being suggested here. Stories are a way for storytellers to shape the world as they see it or as they wish it, and I left the film wondering why I was just told by this story that my family, friends and loved ones are worth less than my ability to be anti-whatever.

On the flip side, there are a lot of great nods in this film to other horror icons, and a wonderful cameo at the end of this Ridley’s Believe It or Not carnival ride we go on through the second half of Cabin. Those who are film junkies will see the nods to Hellraiser and The Ring amongst a lot of other stories of the last few decades.

 

Cabin is a great film to see. It’s inventive, fun, scary, quirky and original. The subtext will appeal to the artsy, liberal, anti-everything crowd, the rest of us can forgive it for the slightly preachy philosophy on humanity. Either way, this is a film you should see just for the uniqueness of its story and cinematic craftsmanship.

4 out of 5

SuperBowl Thoughts

I’m a big fan of football, have been since 2001, and this year’s SuperBowl was pretty cool. Reports are it’s the most watched tv show ever, which is funny since last year’s SuperBowl finally dethroned MASH’s series finale as the most watched television show of all time.

So here are a few things …

The Black Eyed Peas – not a huge fan of theirs, but their music is catchy.  I did like seeing Slash and Usher do their cameos. However, I wasn’t too impressed with their live performance vocally. The set up and stage spectacle was amazing, but seemed to just be a way of distracting from the fact that these guys can’t really perform live musically.  I am tired of hearing a bunch of old white men complain about it on the radio and tv. I mean, Sean Hannity wanted Lynard Skynard up there – really?!

Bill O’Reilly interviews Barack Obama O’Reilly is not as bad as many people who are more liberal leaning portray him as. I’ve watched his show for years and only on a few occasions has he ever gone off the rails. Usually, he’s pretty fair but tough. And that’s what I can say about that interview, fair but tough. Obama actually won me back a bit with how he answered questions and talked about his plans for the country. I do have to dispute his claim that he doesn’t want to redistribute wealth – uh, remember Joe The Plumber?  Regardless, it was fun to see these two political icons have an interview. It’s a shame though that other people in the news media had to compare it to a fight or something, which it wasn’t.

Commercials – I didn’t see too many of them. I was busy writing during them, but I did see the Darth Vader one which made me laugh. The kitchen renovation commercial was excellent too.

The Actual Game – I’m a Ravens fan, so seeing the Steelers lose is always a plus! 🙂  Green Bay was one of my alternate teams if the Ravens didn’t get to the big game, so it was cool to see the emergence of a new superstar in Aaron Rodgers, and to a lesser extend, Clay Mathews. The guy is a throw back, for sure.

The game was a bit boring during the middle, but when it looked like Pittsburgh was going to do it again – make the big comeback, something us Ravens fans have seen way too many times – it got good. Seeing Rodgers come back and finally the Green Bay defense snatch any hopes of a comeback out of Big Ben’s hands made my night. Add another new QB to the status of “elite” with Peyton, Ben, Brady and Brees.

Now, to deal with the first Sunday without football. It’s always a weird change after five months of gridiron action, but it will give me more time to write and expand the company. Until later kids …