Brief thoughts on unanimously terrible movies

So, there have been some doozies lately. You didn't ask for it, but here's my opinion on three of them, in no particular order whatsoever.

Suicide Squad

I did not have high expectations for this film, but I managed to avoid spoilers. So that's something. I also had no clue what the film was about, beyond it being a DC Comics license and having ostensibly something to do with a squad of people who may have some connection to suicide.

Turns out, it's not that bad. It's not great, but I don't feel like I wasn't entertained for two hours.

A tremendous amount of screen time is dedicated to introductions and backstories, as a result of the film having a massive cast of characters. Turns out, after all of that effort, that you only really need to care about two of them, and the rest just provide occasional comic relief.

Jared Leto's Joker character is quite impressive, not at all derivative of Ledger's Joker from the Nolan films, and does a good job of being appropriately unhinged. Having said that, I'm getting a bit tired of "unpredictable and unhinged" characters. It's starting to sound like lazy screenwriting. I can't tell if the character is psychotic, or their demeanor just doesn't match the last page of the script because who cares, they're UNHINGED.

There's one scene in a bar that's GREAT, and it's a terrible shame the rest of the movie wasn't as well put together as that one scene.

Also, Margot Robbie has no idea whether she's from Australia, New York or she's Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke.

Ghostbusters

This is bad. This is really, really bad. I had potential to be awesome, but it's not. It's just bad. Wait -- not only did it have potential to be awesome, it would have been EASY for this to be awesome. But no. It's terrible. It's a stinking, laboured humour-laden, trying-too-hard, confused and frustrating turd of a film. I shall explain.

Cameos. So -- SPOILER ALERT -- (inasmuch as one can spoil a film such as this) the original Ghostbusters (or the ones who are still alive, at least) show up in cameos. As random characters. For some reason. All of them. Every major character from Ghostbusters shows up, with the exceptions of Rick "I've quit acting" Moranis and Harold "I'm dead" Ramis.

Complete denial of source material. Kind of. So...this film is confused. It's clearly a continuation of the Ghostbusters cinematic universe, but it isn't. It's clearly the future of the same timeline, but it isn't. Clearly, there are STRONG and UNDENIABLE connections to the original film(s), but yet, there aren't. There's Slimer. There's the Staypuft Marshmallow Man. There's abundant other alarming similarities. Yet the screenwriters go so far out of their way to never mention a connection to the original films that if they went any further above and beyond, they'd accidentally find their way back to mentioning it. It's impossibly frustrating as a viewer. Is it a reboot? Is it a sequel? WHAT THE HELL IS THIS

Also, all of the jokes are so laboured it's painful. Ghostbusters wasn't built on jokes. It was built on situational humour and four excellent comedians. Ghostbusters (the new one) ALSO has four excellent comic actors, but they don't react to the situations they're in, they just run off stupid sight gags, slapstick scenes and running jokes no one cares about.

I have a suspicion the film could be improved by tighter editing; stop each gag as soon as it's funny, don't dwell on it trying to congratulate yourself like a masturbating monkey at the zoo seeking approval from the giggling audience. It's not working. Stop.

I do not want to watch this movie ever again.

Independence Day: Resurgence

I'm always filled with existential dread when a late remake or sequel is made to a film that had a strong and lasting impact on my youth. Jurassic World terrified me, and rightly so, for it had the potential to tear the goodness out of Jurassic Park, one of the most significant movies of my childhood. (Yes, even given the sorry state of Jurassic Park III. It's about nostalgia, here.) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Shia LeBouoeufeufff scared me, because it also could have -- and almost did, were it not for my ability to repress ever having seen it -- the entire Indiana Jones trilogy. Independence Day: Resurgence could easily do the same thing.

But it didn't. At least, not immediately. My best summary of Independence Day: Resurgence is that it was a great movie for two hours, and a terrible one ever after. It was a heap of fun, for as long as it was on the screen distracting me from everything that was wrong with it. It was awesome, until I had a chance to think about it without an explosion or Jeff Goldblum to remind me that I should be watching and Independence Day movie.

After leaving the cinema, however, I quickly realised that Independence Day: Resurgence was pretty terrible, had some really questionable ideas and scenes in it, and probably isn't something I care to watch again in a hurry.

Judd Hirsch. I mean, it's great you got him to come back. Did you have to make him surf a wave in a fishing trawler and save a bunch of schoolkids in a school bus just....because? He was originally comic relief, and he did a great job. Now he's a superhero. What.

The African war lord. He served one purpose in this film -- to tell the appropriate people at the appropriate time how to kill the queen alien. He......didn't do this. They just kinda figured it out for themselves. What an excellent storytelling opportunity!

Also, why wasn't the entire movie about him? His back story sounds more interesting than everything that happened in Independence Day: Resurgence.

In summary: Good movie, if you don't think about it. Bad movie if you do. I suggest a strong concussion as soon as the credits start rolling.

Fossils & False Fossils - Specimen Identification at Lightning Ridge

It's not easy separating fossils from everything else that comes out of the ground -- especially when some of it plays tricks on you!

In this video, Dr. Elizabeth Smith of the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge, NSW, Australia, demonstrates some of the imposters, illusions and complications in the process of identifying fossil material found on the opal fields.

Three pieces of music

It's been a while since I've posted any music, so, uh, let's do a whole bunch at once. Here're three bits of noise, Montauk, Hardtack Teak and Sally-Anne Test. None of them are overwhelmingly remarkable, but I'll leave it to you to be the judge. If you like them, leave a comment, or something. If you don't like them, I guess you can leave a comment, too. I'll probably ignore it, though.

Enjoy.

New project: I Don't Understand on YouTube

Hello hello. I've just started a new project -- an educational channel on YouTube.

The first episode of I Don't Understand is now up, featuring an interview with Dr. Elizabeth Smith at the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge, NSW, Australia. Dr. Smith explains how crayfish (yabbies) use secret stores of calcium that they keep inside their heads to allow them to generate new exoskeletons as they grow.

You can find I Don't Understand in various places, including YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.