Michael Jordan’s Playground

March 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

It is about time that I’m getting to Zack Snyder and given the massive mixed responses with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that it is currently getting, I thought to myself on why not look into everything he has directed throughout this year but in a different kind of perspective so while I do dislike Sucker Punch and Man of Steel, I will watch and review those and see if there’s any appreciation to those along with few movies I enjoyed. Now there is not much said about Zack that has already been said since he’s a director whose works have been polarizing one way or another due to his trademarks and storytelling. And he has been compared to Michael Bay in that situation so take a long beloved property and mutated into something that angers its longtime fans is their notable passion and they both give no fuck about it.

Fake Snyder
But today, I am not taking a look at Zack’s remake of Dawn of the Dead even though I wanted to. Instead, I’m looking at his first work ever which is Michael Jordan’s Playground, a 45-minute short subject devoted to one of the greatest basketball players of NBA and yeah, he is known for that since I did see him play on television in the past as. So depending on the timing, it might be the shortest Zack Snyder-directed movie review I ever did… unless there is so much to look at so let’s see why Playground is one project of his that nobody talked about much.

We start the movie with the most 90s gregorian-style music opening involving a basketball player I ever seen and also what is quite possibly the first montage Zack has ever done (with a bit of Mike’s narration to boot). It then cuts to a montage of his life with photos and footage of the games (again, with his narration).  We then cut to many players giving thoughts on him like Magic Johnson and Karl Malone. And after all that, we finally get to the story so this has been an… informative start!

Magic Johnson
We cut to Varsity Basketball Tryouts and meet up with college basketball players and yeah, it cuts to slow montage of them playing the game. After the game, one of the players Walt (Tyrin Turner) is one of the few people who didn’t get picked for the game and he became disappointed by this. Coach Davidson (Darryl Smith) then explains about Michael Jordan because why not? He talks about it while a montage of him happens to be playing. Following it, he plays alone in the street courts angrily and then all of a sudden, Michael Jordan appears in front of him.

Michael Jordan 1
Michael explains to Walt about his life and how he got cut which leads to a footage of him playing one game with narration. More talking heads appear and footage montage follows (and I do apologize if I’m being repetitive but this is what I’m reviewing so let’s see how I survive this). After all that, we return to the street court in which Walt explained he got cut because he got abused and Michael helps him by explaining his time as a rookie (and as you probably guess, montage footage follows). In fact, that’s all what this little movie really is. It’s a tale of a young basketball player learning his lessons from Michael with random montage footage and interviews that explains why he is awesome and it goes like that until the end.

Montage and Interview aside, Walt tells Michael everything about competing, afraid of losing his shot at winning the tryout tomorrow and so on while playing one-on-one. And what does Michael reply in return? He is helping him out and Walt is starting to get confidence so on his second tryout, he plays the game proper and is being congratulate by his coach and other players. And as before the movie ends, we get one more treat – a musical number by Full Force All-Stars with Michael Jordan and others dancing in background and a blooper reel.

Christopher Reid
Okay, before I talk about the positives and negatives, I would that I got what I came for. Really, I do expect a movie that mixes biographical accounts of a celebrity and a cheesy PSA storyline and this is obviously what I got. I’ve seen this type before and it is informational and teaches anybody to be like Mike (no movie reference pun intended) while getting to know him before he plays Baseball and so on. Now the positive and uh, I think I just explain what I’m watching but I do add one thing – it has an okay library music soundtrack.

Michael Jordan 2
And the negatives exists in this since about half of this is directed by Zack Snyder but the other is just archival footage of his plays that’s filmed by others. His trademarks do exists in this and it’s where he got his start. As for it being about Michael Jordan, this is honestly more of a vanity project type than Space Jam but surprisingly, it’s not the only NBA short movie involving him (there are actually others) so unless you want some short biographical video piece of somebody that’s made in the past, it’s best to look the person up in Wikipedia instead. And as for Zack Snyder completest (and yes, they possibly exists), I can agree with them thinking it’s the lesser favorite of his material. Well, at least when I look into his next one, it is a movie that I actually like so yeah, it’s April Fool’s Day and I am somewhat the fool on this one.


Asylum Seeker: The Black Bat Rises

March 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

It’s me looking at the clumsy experiment that is TomCat Films Superhero Cinematic Universe and given that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is hitting the cinemas this week, why not look at one obvious knockoff of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise. The movie of course is The Black Bat Rises (aka Rise of the Black Bat) and it’s the second movie I’ve reviewed that’s based upon a public domain superhero character. Funnily enough, The Black Bat made its debut in comics the same month as Batman himself so if you think about it, there might be an alternate universe out there where I reviewed a movie called Rise of the Bat-Man.

The Black Bat
And it’s not a good sign so far since we have Scott Patrick in the helm and he gave us that awful Twilight mockbuster that is Blood Red Moon. The writer of this film, Trevor Payer, however fared a bit better since he wrote for other TomCat Films involving superheroes like Avenging Force: The Scarab and Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor and I really need to look into those films. Then again, I need to look at his written James Bond spoof called SpyFall which stars uh… nobody that we know of! Actually, do I need to look at it? Uh whatever, let’s just move on before I found out Top Secret gets a lazy referential reboot that nobody wanted or something.

The movie begins with two guys waiting for something before The Black Bat appears and attacks them. He also fights against other henchmen before his narration leads to an origin story… which starts off with The Black Bat fighting two rapists attempting to get their woman. Unusual start for the origin but his origin finally starts with his civilian identity of district attorney Tony Quinn (Jody Haucke) as he encounter Silk Kirby (Richard Groen) who warned him that an henchmen of notorious crime boss Oliver Snate (Leo Frost) is coming to kill him. As the henchmen is about to shoot Tony in the bed, Tony then appears shooting him instead and Silk got out of bed (?) before Tony asked him to call the cops because he said that the guy is bleeding all over his carpet.

The following day and Tony is about to present his court case against Oliver but surprisingly, his assistant Roberta (Celine Filion) blinded Tony with acid betraying her boss with Oliver watching the action. While living his life being blind, he then meets up with Carol Baldwin (Dixie Collins) and she mentions that Oliver killed her father whose a judge. She also throws in a proposition that would regain his eyesight and he accept only to find out that he gained night vision senses. So the first thing he’s gonna do is going undercover as a hustler while paying a thousand bucks to a guy who knows what Snate’s going to in a stage full of bikini-clad woman having a contest.

Undercover Disguise
Tony finally decides to be a vigilante and fought criminals before he gets to Snate, we get to see the first five minutes of the movie repeated again and then face Snate himself. A bunch of goons have been shot and The Black Bat pushes Snate outside before throwing the dynamite in the building and that’s about it. Well, there is a drawn comic art montage explaining the hero’s existence but the movie ends on this note and in the most anticlimactic way possible.

Black Bat 1
Okay, back when I reviewed Metal Man, I was in the mindset that I disliked the idea of superhero movie mockbusters and it was a pet peeve of mine. I didn’t like that movie back then and right now, the movie is a tad bit watchable but that’s pretty much all there is anyway. And I followed it up with The Amazing Bulk and Captain Battle and those two have a sense of entertaining values. This movie has no redeeming qualities, no so-bad-its-good acting, no cheesy effects and it’s nothing but a boredom that wastes our own time even if the time is us trying to sleep after being awake for several days.

Black Bat 2
The only positive I could give is the costume and the disguise but the costume might as well be originally taken from an Batman replica costume and the disguise is so dumb that nobody question the dated qualities of it. The acting is overall dull, the story is lifeless and unoriginal mishmash of Batman and Daredevil’s origins, it has noticeable bad lighting and there are sequences that drag on and on like a montage of him putting on the costume for the first to the stalking a woman sequence. Had it been constantly edited into a short film, it would be still be bad. In terms of reviewing TomCat’s superhero movies, this is so far the worst one for all and I’m not ashamed to say that Scott Patrick should really quit while he’s ahead.

Blood Red Moon

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