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The Mission: Impossible Series – Anyway, That’s All I Got!

mission: impossible

With the recent release of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, we here at ATAIG thought it would be the perfect opportunity to trace the lineage of the series—from 1996 to 2018—and try to figure out how and why this franchise has managed to keep going strong. We talk about the ones that worked (five of them), the one that didn’t quite work, all of the crazy stunts, and all of the insanely complicated storylines over the years. We also have an important announcement at the beginning, so make sure you don’t miss that, and enjoy!

Hosted by Sam Noland, Jason Read, and Anthony Battaglia!

Question For You: Which M:I movie is your favorite? Also, whose facemask would you want to have? But, most importantly, can you explain the plot of any of these in one sentence? Comment below, email us at ataigpodcast@gmail.com, or follow us on Twitter: @AnywayCast.

Go on…The Mission: Impossible Series – Anyway, That’s All I Got!

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65 Things That Are Just Plain Wrong in ‘Batman v Superman’

batman v superman wrong

Batman v Superman: esertawn of Justice has to be one of the most polarizing movies of the last decade. Not since Interstellar or Man of Steel have I seen a movie so hotly debated. A movie that is as as fiercely defended as it is savagely ripped apart.

I happen to be in the camp of people who despise BvS, and for no shortage of reasons. So many, in fact, this week’s Unopinionated tackles one-half of an unpopular opinion. The opinion, of course, is that the movie is a “masterpiece” and one of the best superhero movies of all time.

Go on…65 Things That Are Just Plain Wrong in ‘Batman v Superman’

Snarcasm: The Director of Batman v Superman is Way Smarter Than Us

Zack Snyder idiots

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

Ever since the complete and utter disaster that is Sucker Punch, I’ve kept a watchful eye on Zack Snyder as a filmmaker. I found Watchmen to be a fantastic adaption of the comic, despite some minor flaws. 300 blew me away with how Snyder was able to stylize action scenes without resorting to cheap editing tricks. And who doesn’t love Dawn of the Dead?

But something strange happens when you hand a guy the keys to one of the most important film franchises of all time after he doesn’t do a stellar job the first time with Man of Steel. And we’re starting to see some of that piping bowl of crazy that occurs when people expect a human being to be…well, Superman.

Now, I’m not here to review Batman v Superman, as I haven’t seen it yet and don’t have an opinion. But analyzing some of the conversation and buzz surrounding this film, you’d think that the Marvel Civil War was already happening, but between fans and critics, with Jon Negroni swooping in Snarcasm style whispering,

snarcasm

First, let’s take a look at Snyder’s first…decision. Sadie Gennis reported this story on TV Guide:

Zack Snyder Explains Why Grant Gustin Isn’t The Flash in Batman v Superman

That’s…an interesting topic to bring up during the marketing of your prequel to what you hope to be an Avengers-level success. But fine, let’s discuss this because it’s been bothering huge Grant Gustin fans like me since episode one.

Snyder: I just don’t think it was a good fit. I’m very strict with this universe and I just don’t see a version where [Gustin’s The Flash would work]… that [tone is] not our world.

Really? The main character of an extremely successful TV show doesn’t “fit” in a universe where you’re repeatedly striking out with feature films? Gee, maybe Gustin isn’t a good fit for Snyder?

To be fair, the main consensus from critics and fans alike (so far) is that Ben Affleck makes a great Batman, so that casting decision is at least solid. Same goes for Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. But what strikes me as insane is how one of the comic relief characters of this DC team has to fit a darker, more serious tone.

zack snyder
“Look! He smirked! NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH.”

I think most people who’ve actually watched The Flash would agree that Gustin has plenty of talent, CW resume notwithstanding. He’s certainly capable enough to contend with the writing of David Goyer, who managed to warp Ma and Pa Kent into nihilistic psychopaths.

Snyder: Even if Grant Gustin is my favorite guy in the world and he’s very good, we made a commitment to the multi-verse [idea], so it’s just not a thing that’s possible.

It’s this kind of tone-deaf logic that continuously turns me off to Snyder has a director. He has no sense of momentum or build up, because if he did, he’d understand that the payoff of connecting a well-established and successful TV series with a movie that extends the scope of these characters would more than surpass the milestones set by The Avengers.

It’s not possible? Neither is making a Justice League movie feel earned when we know absolutely nothing about these individual characters going in. And if Batman v Superman is as mediocre as the critics claim, then maybe Gustin is better off.

Sadly, that’s not all, folks. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Snyder commented on the bizarre collateral damage of Man of Steel:

Snyder was mystified when someone told him that they couldn’t think of a movie in recent memory that’s had as much collateral damage as “Man of Steel.” “I went, really? And I said, well, what about [‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’]?” the director says. “In ‘Star Wars’ they destroy five planets with billions of people on them. That’s gotta be one of the highest death toll movies in history, the new ‘Star Wars’ movie, if you just do the math.”

There’s more to this than I think a lot of people are grasping. Because at first glance, it may seem that Snyder is completely off his rocker, considering the damage done in Force Awakens was inflicted by the villain, so the analogy makes no sense.

People aren’t put off by collateral damage because there’s a lot of it. They were annoyed that it was mostly caused by Superman, and he spent more time punching Zod through presumably filled skyscrapers without stopping to consider his actions or show any restraint. He doesn’t even attempt to move the fight away from the populated area.

zack snyder
“Eh, I’m sure no one was in there.”

But something else is even more irritating, and that’s the context of his answer. Snyder is simply playing a math game, assuming the person making the comment was merely saying that the damage done in Man of Steel is comical because of its size, and Snyder’s first reaction is to correct him, not try to understand the criticism.

This gets to the heart of Snyder’s bizarre personality as a filmmaker who seems to have zero self-awareness. He makes the same mistakes in every movie because his apparent arrogance keeps convincing him that everyone else is wrong, and he’s right. It’s this kind of confidence that probably keeps him employed, but how long can this hold up?

In this same interview, Snyder admits that he crafted this superhero universe as an intended continuation of themes he explored in Watchmen. And here’s what he thinks about the obvious criticism that comes with this weird mixing of two polar-opposite franchises:

“I was surprised with the fervency of the defense of the concept of Superman,” Snyder says of his detractors. “I feel like they were taking it personally that I was trying to grow up their character.”

snarcasm
“33 years old to be exact. Not like Jesus, though.”

Look, Superman has changed plenty of times over the years, and very few people are against taking some creative liberties with the character. But when you warp the identity and motivations of the most popular superhero of all time in order to balance it nicely with the purposefully grim superhero movie you made seven years ago, then don’t get offended when the obvious backlash comes.

In other words, take your own advice.

People aren’t taking it personally that you’re “growing up their character.” They’re taking it personally that you don’t even seem to care about what they think.

That said, I still hope I enjoy Batman v Superman. I may not like Snyder at all right now, but I’d much rather have a great time watching two of my favorite characters on the big screen than shake my head in disappointment. Unfortunately, nothing about any of his decisions so far have lead me to get my hopes up.


Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

 

No More Questions: Ben Affleck from ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

no more questions ben affleck

Welcome to No More Questions, where I ask the stars you know and love everything you want to know and love.

Tracking down Ben Affleck was the easy part. Getting him to sit still for at least 30 seconds was a challenge, for reasons that pertain to some subject matter I purposefully avoided mentioning. OK, his divorce.

Being unfaithful to Jennifer Garner aside, Affleck was gracious enough to believe that I really am a professional reporter for Jetset Online Network (or JON for short), and we had a remarkable conversation about life, family, fortune, and other topics that overtly sidestep his involvement in Daredevil.

Note: No More Questions is satire. It does not reflect the actual views of Ben Affleck, Jon Negroni, or anyone else mentioned in this interview. Some of the content in this interview comes from actual quotes by Ben Affleck in other interviews. Seriously. 

JN: What would you say is your biggest missed opportunity? Aside from not being the official sponsor of Aflac. 

BA: (shoots me a puzzled look) You know, it’s crazy what kind of stuff I’ve turned down. Some of it good, some of it bad.

JN: The Internet thinks most of it is bad. And that you’re bad as a person. Can you speak to that?

BA: Haters gonna hate, I guess. Maybe those Internets you mentioned should go to Blockbuster and rent Argo (laughs unironically).

JN: Ben…

BA: Yeah?

JN: You…you know what the Internet is, right? And that Blockbuster has been out of business for years because of…the Internet…

BA: What? Oh, yeah. Sure. The Internet is such an important thing, you know (looks around the room, dazed).

JN: So then, you’ve never seen this (hands Ben a picture of him and Matt Damon as Batman and Robin).

BA: Where did you get this.

JN: The Internet, Ben. It’s been making fun of you for years. Here’s a GIF of you two running (shows Ben the GIF).

BA: What’s a gaffe? What?

JN: You have a history of dating your costars, Benjamin. After shooting Batman v Superman, would you say you’re closer to a relationship with Henry Cavill or Jesse Eisenberg?

BA: Amy Adams, for sure. Actually, forget I said that. This isn’t on record, right?

JN: Is this because you and Henry look so alike? 

BA: (thinks intensely) Actually, that’s not so bad. It’s like looking into an even more attractive mirror.

JN: So you have no problem with the main characters of this big budget superhero movie being two white guys with dark hair? 

BA: You never asked that.

JN: Don’t avoid the question like it’s a call from Aflac.

BA: (leans in) Don’t tell me what to do. My lawyers got me a story credit on Good Will Hunting, pal.

JN: Most people hate the idea of you playing Batman. Do you think this is personal, or because they just hate you?

BA: With Batman, you have to be identifiable. For me, hooking into this character had more to do with…he’s a human being. He’s an easier entree.

JN: So people will eat him up? 

BA: Yeah, not like Green Inferno eating up, but like maybe Hostel?

JN: I didn’t want to bring this up, but now I’m hungry. Do you blame yourself for Daredevil

BA: Daredevil didn’t work at all, man. It was made before people figured out that you could make these movies and make them well.

JN: How would you make Daredevil now?

BA: Easy. I’d cast Charlie Cox and deliver the whole thing on like maybe a service that sends you DVDs in the mail. Have it tie in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All that jazz.

JN: That’s already a thing on Netflix, Ben. 

BA: Net what?

JN: Who are you rooting for in this fight? Batman or Superman?

BA: Uh, that’s a stupid question for a lot of reasons.

JN: I know. Just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. Alright (clears throat), how positive are you that this new Batman is even close to transcending the performance of George Clooney?

BA: I’m not sure who that is, but let me just say that there is something about Batman as both a superhero and a normal man with vulnerabilities and weaknesses like we all have that makes his appeal kind of enduring, because he is not just super, he is also like us.

JN: We’re all rich orphans?

BA: Exactly, exactly.

JN: Ben, we have a surprise guest waiting just outside the door thanks to my clever idea to leave a sandwich right by the doorknob. He should be finished by now, so come on in, Henry Cavill!

HC: (walks in with his mouth stuffed) heyff effreyonff.

BA: I thought this was just you and me?

JN: Easy, Ben. Leave the duking it out for the major motion picture (laughs slightly). Henry, tell me something personal about Ben he made you promise not to tell anyone.

HC: (nods casually) No problem. His favorite episode of Hart of Dixie is actually—

(Ben and I gasp)

JN: You have an accent? 

BA: Since when?

HC: Since when? Ben, we shot the film together for months. You held my baby girl in your arms.

BA: Uh, you don’t have any kids, Henry. You’re not even engaged anymore.

HC: She’ll come around.

JN: Guys, we can talk about our personal lives once The View finally buys me out. For now, let’s talk about the movie. What was that episode of Hart of Dixie?

BA: (points to Henry) NO! Don’t do it, pal.

HC: (chuckles) Why, would it tear you apart? Like your nanny?

(Ben and I in unison): Whoaaaa, hey whoaaaa /JN: Not cool, man.

HC: We’re like brothers! Everyone on set called us Hen Affleck and Benry Cavill.

BA: That never happened once.

JN: Did…did your “fiancé” call you that, Henry?

HC: What? Oh, well…

BA: Is she in the room right now, H-Bomb?

(Henry starts sobbing in Ben’s arms)

JN: Well, that’s all the time we have today for No More Questions. Guys, thanks for getting to the real talk and letting people know why they should watch Batman v Superman.

BA: Anytime. I’m being serious, actually.

HC: (choking through the tears) I really like the name of your magazine.


Batman v Superman opens worldwide on March 25, 2016.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Review — I Spy a Franchise

man from uncle review

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was directed by Guy Ritchie and stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hugh Grant. It’s an adaptation of the TV series of the same name, and like the show, it’s a spy thriller set in the 1960s.

The movie is about two special agents, an American and a Russian played by Cavill and Hammer, who have to team up on a mission to stop a criminal organization from starting a nuclear arms race (the plot is only slightly less generic than I’m making it sound). They seek help from the daughter of someone within this criminal organization, who is played by Vikander.

Warner Brothers has been wanting to make this movie for over a decade now, but it’s somehow coming out during what I like to call “Spy Summer.” We’ve gotten a lot of pretty decent spy movies over the last few months, so how does this one stack up?

Well, one of the first things you’ll notice in U.N.C.L.E. is that the stunts are pretty well done. Cavill and Hammer did a lot of their own stunts, especially Hammer. At one point, his stunt double said in an interview that he hardly had to do anything (look out, Tom Cruise).

man from uncle review

In fact, Tom Cruise was one of the lead actors first snagged for the role of Napoleon Solo, the American agent. Henry Cavill (who initially sought the role of Hammer’s character) eventually got the part, so I think a lot of people must be wondering how the “man of steel” fares in this.

Fortunately, I can say that both Cavill and Hammer have great performances in this movie. Their characters are well written, their banter has that signature Guy Ritchie style to it, and you can more or less believe that they exist in the 60s. My only complaint is that physically, they don’t seem to match up since Hammer is meant to be a brute, while Cavill is more of the sleuth. But when you look at them side by side…well, it’s just a nitpick.

Speaking of nitpicks, I didn’t find as many as I normally do in spy movies like this, and that’s a testament to the fast pace and good writing, even if there are a few too many cliches in the overall story. I can’t say I was very invested in what was going on in this movie, and at times I felt a little lost. The movie is shot with a lot of shaky cam during its action sequences, and the script kept reusing an Ocean’s 11 plot device that felt useless by the third and fourth time.

man from uncle review

That said, the movie had a lot of memorable moments, rivaling Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (the other spy movie that came out this month). A drunken Alicia Vikander tackling Armie Hammer’s daunting character out of nowhere was great to watch, and a certain scene involving a sandwich was the film’s best moment.

Overall, U.N.C.L.E. is an entertaining B movie with some neat surprises and good performances, though a little bogged down by a generic plot. What truly saves it from getting into mediocre territory is the soundtrack, which is currently my fourth favorite of the year (behind Mad Max: Fury RoadInside Out, and Paddington).

Grade:  B- 

If you like spy movies, throwbacks to good spy movies, the 1960s, and Guy Ritchie, then this is a must-watch.

Extra Credits: 

  • Again, I’ve never seen the original TV series, so I’m curious to know how U.N.C.L.E. stacks up. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen both and can share your thoughts.
  • No after credits stinger, but it’s definitely setting up for a sequel (assuming it makes enough money).
  • Elizabeth Debicki is my next pick for playing Audrey Hepburn in any kind of biopic.
  • So Superman, the Lone Ranger, and an Artificial Intelligence try to stop a nuclear war…

man from uncle review

If you want to hear more thoughts on this movie before checking it out, listen to our upcoming podcast episode of Now Conspiring, where we’ll do a roundtable review with multiple critics. The episode will be ready for download this Sunday at 9:00 am (Pacific).

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Don’t Believe The Man of Steel Theory

For over a day now, a theory has been circulating the web about Man of Steel that is incredibly interesting and would make a lot of sense out of the final scenes of the movie…if it were true.

SPOILERS Ahead (Obviously)

T.J. Kiss proposed yesterday that in the final confrontation between Superman and Zod, when Superman snapped his neck to prevent Zod from obliterating an entire family with his eyes, the family is still killed.

His argument is that when he snaps the neck, it moves Zod’s head toward the family unintentionally, and that is why you don’t see the family again (you just see rubble).

He also posits that Clark doesn’t let out his scream until he looks up, presumably at the remains of the family, which would lend credence to his “no-kill” policy that is implied by the ending.

Here’s the video for you to discern for yourselves:

Convinced?

Don’t be. The theory, while interesting, is shattered by one frame that you missed. If you slow the scene down, you can see the family intact in the corner after Zod has been killed.

man of steel theory

And that’s about it. I wish this could have been a 1,000 word essay that makes me look incredibly intelligent, but at least now when someone tries to bring this theory up the next time you’re not watching Man of Steel, you’ll be properly equipped to disarm the situation.

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

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