Sunday, February 4, 2018

Thoughts On Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's Super Bowl Trailer

     Okay, I know I said that I didn't want to see anymore footage from this movie after the initial trailer dropped for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom but I'd heard that there was going to be at least another teaser for the film during some big soccer game or something tonight so when it found its way online, I hummed and hawed over watching it because I felt I kinda ruined Jurassic World for myself a bit in the sense that by watching all of the trailers and TV spots, I more or less knew exactly how the movie was going to play out.  After being reassured in a Facebook group that it wasn't too spoilery, I gave it a watch.  Why am I not doing this as a video on YouTube?  Well, I wanted screenshots from the trailer to accompany this post so here we are.

     First off, if you haven't seen the trailer:

     Now that you have seen the trailer, here's what I think of it:

     -Okay, the opening sequence of this trailer had a couple of nice callbacks to the first Jurassic Park with the shadow on the wall and the sickle claw tapping on the floor.  When we get to this shot though, we see the Indoraptor reaching towards the girl (Isabella Sermon, I believe) very slowly and menacingly.  It's odd that even a hybrid dinosaur would reach out like that but I've heard rumors that this thing may have traces of human DNA mixed into it (God, I hope not).  I'm fairly certain that the up-close shot of its mouth immediately after this shot is an animatronic so points there!

     -This shot immediately reminded me of the InGen hunters arriving to Isla Sorna in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, only this time we get the large helicopter airlifting a live dinosaur off of the island while Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Franklin (Justice Smith) watch from the shores.  For a second, I thought that the dinosaur was a Spinosaurus but upon looking at it again, I doubt it.  I think this dinosaur is too small, the "sail" isn't big enough and is probably just the angle of the dinosaur's spine that's throwing me off and is more likely than not the confirmed new addition of Baryonyx, a dinosaur in the same family as Spinosaurus.

     -Hey, look!  Another shot to remind you of another iconic shot from Jurassic Park.  I said in my previous trailer review that I had no idea the Brachiosaurus was going to be in this movie until that point so I am still very happy to see them back.  Some may think that these callback shots might be trying to recapture that magic of the first film but in all honesty, that's an impossible task.  That said, this little clip gives me hope that the movie will still have some "ooh and ahh" moments, as long as the CG holds up which, for the most part, I think it looks good in this trailer.

     -I haven't seen director J.A. Bayona's horror films but the opening of this trailer as well as this shot here tells me he has a great eye for unsettling imagery.  This is the Baryonyx being back lit by some dripping lava and...damn it, it just looks cool!  I think Franklin's girly scream is a bit much when the dinosaur reveals itself but hey, I can't say I blame him either.  I just hope that his character doesn't try to cram comedic relief down our throats.

     -I really like the look of this animatronic Blue here.  In J.A. Bayona's previous film, A Monster Calls, the creature was brought to life by using animatronics that had been augmented with CGI afterwards.  Here, I'm not convinced that Blue's eye blinking is CG but probably good puppetry.  I've made it no secret that I thought Jurassic World was in dire need of more animatronics and we seem to be getting it here.  Let's just hope the story can hold up its end.

     -Okay, this shot looks cheesy but name an action/adventure movie that didn't have a cheesy moment.  My guess is that the boat is taking off without Claire, Owen and Franklin who then get into this truck and drive it off of the ramp into the back of the boat in just the nick of time before we get that shot in the previous trailer of the mercenaries looking out the back of the boat at the burning island.  Also, if you look to the left of the truck, I can't be certain but that just might be an old Jungle Explorer tour vehicle from the first film.  I know that there is one in the jungle when Owen and Blue are reunited so what's to say there aren't any others laying about?

     -I still don't know the context of this scene (GOOD).  All I know is that Owen (Chris Pratt) is far closer than I would want to be to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Not a Tyrannosaurus Rex, THE Tyrannosaurus Rex.  The CGI needs some work here but I think this is the only shot in the trailer that made me think that.

     -Ah, yes.  Arnim Zola himself, Tobey Jones makes an appearance in this movie.  Not sure what his role is, not bothered that I don't know, I want this movie to surprise me as much as it can, especially with that uncertain second half.  If you look on the screen behind him, you can see "Indoraptor" clear as day with different currency abbreviations next to it.  The fine text reads "Bidding Pre-Approval Required.  Online Bidding Available."  Well...this ethically questionable implication just made this more interesting.

     -Seeing as how this is a sequel to Jurassic World, it only makes sense that there be callbacks to that film as well.  This shot of Owen freezing with the shadow of the Indoraptor crossing his face reminds me of the shot of Grey (Ty Simpkins) hiding in the merch booth as the shadow of the Indominus Rex crossed his face.  I should point out that anyone who may be rolling their eyes at the idea of another hybrid dinosaur after the last one worked so well (#sarcasm), I'm not crazy about it either but to be fair, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio) did set this idea up in the last movie before the Velociraptor Delta killed him so it's not like it totally came out of left field.

     -Blue facing off against the Indoraptor.  I'm glad that we don't see the thing fully revealed in this trailer and I hope they don't show it in any trailers or TV spots until the movie is released.  I'm sure the toy from Mattel will be out before the film is but the toys aren't always 100% accurate, anyway.

     -Judging from the environment and the footage I saw from that behind the scenes featurette that was released the day before the first trailer, it looks like we're getting the Tyrannosaurus Rex on the mainland.  There's something in the back of my mind telling me that this original T. Rex is probably going to die in this movie but as far as plot structure goes, I'm hoping that the transition from island to mainland is smoother than it was in The Lost World since this was their goal from the beginning and not a mid-production change.  Also, I'm pretty sure this scene is recycling the unused ending from the original film where the Tyrannosaurus attempts to pull down the escape helicopter as the survivors leave the island but the Jurassic Park series has a history of recycling unused bits in later films so why would that change now?

     -Okay, this guy has got an Allosaurus (I assume) to his left, a Styracosaurus and Ankylosaurus to his right and a Triceratops charging up from behind...yep, he's screwed.  I can't help but think: who is letting the dinosaurs out?  Is it Owen and Claire?  Is that why Owen is in the container with the Tyrannosaurus?  If this is happening on the mainland, is it because the dinosaurs are getting auctioned off?  Yeah, I know that they're pushing for dinosaur rights but wouldn't unleashing these things into the local ecosystem have potentially disastrous results?  This is probably going to be something of a callback to the dinosaurs being let loose in the hunter's camp in The Lost World but I hope this implication doesn't set up Jurassic Park 6 as some sort of "dinosaurs taking over the Earth" movie.  That's purely speculation but I'm just throwing it out there.

     -The final shot of the trailer featuring the Indoraptor snatching up some unsuspecting mercenary.  Some people take issue with this scene saying that it feels more like a monster movie, which Jurassic Park was not.  Fair enough but like I said, recapturing the magic of the original is just not going to happen and I don't mind scenes like this as long as they're not all the movie has to offer, which is not the feeling I'm getting from Fallen Kingdom...I hope.  There's a part of me that hopes the mercenary in question is a character featured prominently in the movie that treats everyone else and maybe even some of the dinosaurs like garbage so that this can build up to a satisfying character death like Dieter Stark's in The Lost World.  On the other hand, there's a part of me that hopes this mercenary is just some nameless hired goon so that a "major" character death isn't spoiled in the trailer, kind of like the blonde love interest in Aliens vs Predator: Requiem where you saw her die in the red band trailer so when watching the movie, you're just waiting for her to get killed.  Granted, you're also just begging for the movie to end because you're watching Aliens vs Predator: Requiem but you know what I mean.

     As for any outright problems I had with the trailer?  I didn't mention it in my review of the first trailer but I'll admit, that trailer kinda jumps around a bit and doesn't have a smooth flow to it.  The same can be said for this one.  Personally, I think the trailer's final shot should've been the Indoraptor approaching the girl's bed but hey, I'm obviously not in charge of editing this thing.  I'm still looking forward to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom but I also need to acknowledge that this movie and its premise could totally blow up in our faces.  While I didn't hate Colin Trevorrow's previously penned and directed film Book Of Henry (I thought it was just okay), I couldn't shake the feeling that those two overlapping plots of a super genius boy trying to help his immature mother grow up and his classmate being sexually abused by her stepfather felt like they would've served better as their own separate movies.  Granted, I've only seen a grand total of maybe five minutes of footage from this film but I'm putting up those barriers just in case.  Maybe Fallen Kingdom will fare better or maybe Fallen Kingdom will dethrone Jurassic Park III as the worst of the series.  It's all "maybe" at this point and it will continue to be until Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theatres June 22.  I will not be watching anymore trailers, TV spots or clips after this.

     Let me know down below what you thought of this trailer.  In the mean time, I'll be working on additions to my Etsy store while keeping this movie on my mind, repeating, "Please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck."  As always folks, thank you so much for reading and if you like what you see on this blog, you be sure to nudge that "Follow" button and stay cynical!

     -The Cynic

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

CWTC's Top 10 Worst Movies Of 2017

     Doing the best of the year lists are fun and all but c'mon.  I know why you're here.  My channel and blog are called Coffee With The Cynic so let's get really cynical.
     Just in case you didn't read my Top 10 Best Of 2017 list, a couple of quick reminders:
     1 - I didn't get a chance to see every movie that was on my radar this year and that includes the bad ones.  If you're looking for movies like King Arthur: The Legend Of The Sword, Baywatch or Valerian & The City Of A Thousand Planets, they're not here.
     2 - If the movie had a limited release last year but a wide release this year, be it theatrically or through home media, I'm counting it as a 2017 release.  Again, where I live seems to be "Go Wide or Go Home."
     3 - These picks are based on how I perceived them and how they made me feel.  You're probably going to disagree with some or a lot of these picks and if any of these movies jerked your gherkin, I'm happy for you.  Didn't do it for me.
     Here we go, Coffee With The Cynic's Top 10 Worst Movies Of 2017!

     Honorable Mentions (#14-11): Surprisingly enough, I actually didn't see too many bad movies this year.  I only saw 14 that I didn't like and even then, these runner ups were just on the lesser side of "okay."  Despicable Me 3, Beauty & The Beast, Rock Dog and Rough Night.

     10 - Shin Godzilla: It hurts how disappointing this movie was.  I love Godzilla but I did not like this movie.  At least with the other Godzilla movies, I had an idea of who the characters were supposed to be or at least got some sort of growth from them.  Here, the movie decides it'd be best to rush through the first hour and not spend enough time establishing the humans we're supposed to cheer for and then drag through the second half with that same group of people that we just don't give two shits about.  This movie also sports the worst design I've seen for Godzilla and above all else was just boring.  The idea to make this Godzilla larger than Legendary's also felt like a really petty decision (which has since been dwarfed by Godzilla: Monster Planet's 1000ft tall version of the kaiju, which is kind of ridiculous) and gave me the impression that the creative team was trying too hard with something that didn't need so many alterations.  A sequel was recently announced to this one and I'm honestly up in the air as to whether or not I'll see it.

     09 - Smurfs: The Lost Village: I never did get around to doing a review for this one (aside from a quick blurb on the Facebook page) but that's because like 2016's Ratchet & Clank, I didn't really have anything to say about it.  It occurs to me that I'm probably not in the right demographic for this movie but if the Smurfs are supposed to be a tightly-knit group, why did I not feel any sort of kinship between our four very annoying leads?  Some of the animation looks really nice but visuals only carry a movie so far without enjoyable stories or characters to go with them.  I'm not even really sure why I watched this one, to be honest.  Probably just to pad out this list.

     08 - The Bye Bye Man: A low budget horror film released in January?  Yeah, I'm not surprised to see it on this list and you shouldn't be either.  In all honesty, the premise for this movie isn't bad but the laughable name kind of takes the piss out of any potential scares.  The three bland leads sure as Hell didn't help, throwing in cameos from Faye Dunaway and Carrie Anne Moss did not do this movie any favors and what the Hell was up with that CG dog?  Seriously.  This parody poster I found on Google was better than the movie.

     07 - Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: You'd think that a movie carrying the tagline of "The Journey Ends" would bring a feeling of closure to a long running series, right?  Welp, apparently the makers of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter didn't get that memo because after dragging the Resident Evil name through the mud for 15 years, this movie has the audacity, the gull, to have an open-door ending that says it could be possible to make more films in this timeline.  Not cool, movie.  Not cool.  The editing and special effects were absolutely nauseating to look at as well so if this is the final movie in this timeline, thank any God that'll listen because while this wasn't necessarily the worst of the series, it's still really damn bad all the same.  A part of me wants to see a Resident Evil reboot film following the story of the first game but the rest of me knows that the studio behind it will probably find some way to screw that up, too.  FFS, they couldn't even get the story of Rampage right.

     06 - The Emoji Movie: I told myself I wouldn't throw money at this bottle of suck but I cracked to fill out this list.  The Emoji Movie isn't the cinematic apocalypse that others made it out to be but it was very uninspired and lazy, ripping off infinitely better movies (the immediate three I can think of were all from Disney, oddly enough) in what amounts to a feature length advertisement for phone apps.  I know that basically sounds like what literally everyone else on the internet has said about this movie but a) that doesn't make it any less true and b) five minutes after the credits rolled, I forgot literally anything else about this film.

     05 - CHiPS: Alright, let's make this quick because reflecting on CHiPS makes me want to shove an ice pick up my urethra.  Yeah, the licensed song catalogue was alright and the "Officer Pantera" line gave me a mental image of a much better movie based on principle but CHiPS fails on just about everything else.  The leads don't click as characters or actors, it's another one of those movies that thinks gross and loud equals funny, it can't be over fast enough and for a movie with a plot about trying to figure out who the crooked cops are, it can't even do that right.  Wait, you mean we're not supposed to show the face of the villain before we show him as a member of the force?  Well, who cares about that?  We've got jokes about bumping dick tips and eating ass to get onscreen, we can't be bothered with proper plot structure!  Ugh.  Fuck this movie.

     04 - The Belko Experiment: What was this movie?  It seems like it was trying to be social commentary but it's just a soulless gore-fest filled out with a really good supporting cast that are above this movie.  If you look this one up, you'd see the 90 minute runtime and go, "At least it's short, right?"  NOPE!  Considering how this movie moves at a snail's pace, it felt more like watching the 1998 Godzilla film.  I also hated how this one thinks that it's so clever and so edgy that the ending just automatically assumes it is going to get a sequel and if that comes to pass, I'm definitely skipping it because The Belko Experiment has run its course for me.

     03 - Monster Trucks: Did I think this was going to be a good film?  Hell no, but much like when I watched Nine Lives, this had such a fuss kicked up around it that I thought, "Okay, let's see if it is really that bad."  It's almost like when I revisited Metallica's St. Anger album: it's not that bad, it's fucking worse.  Lucas Till is a complete numbskull in this, Jane Levy's character is a borderline stalker, Rob Lowe and Danny Glover are...there, for some reason, the hired muscle is hellbent for leather on killing this high school senior (no, seriously), the not-so-happy happy ending when you stop and think about it and other things piled up that lead me to begin laughing uncontrollably and maniacally over the overwhelming level of stupid that Monster Trucks houses.  This movie, even just for a few minutes, broke me.

     02 - The Mummy: I drank almost an entire Mickey of Crown Royal while watching this movie and that couldn't make it better.  The Mummy still leaves me with questions: why should we be rooting for Tom Cruise's asshole character?  Is Annabelle Willis' character the worst damsel in distress ever?  Why did we need a framed ass-shot of a reanimated corpse?  As stupid as Monster Trucks was, at least that was a stand-alone film and I didn't need alcohol to finish it (I think?).  The Mummy is especially a train wreck because it spends so much time with a unlikable lead and planting seeds for this cinematic universe that it barely gives any focus on the titular monster and just demands people be on board for future installments when it wasn't even trying to make this a good movie.  I swear, at a party, Warner Brothers said, "Man, we're really not doing so hot with the world building in our DCEU, are we," and then Universal came charging through and shouted, "Hold my beer!"

     01 - A Cure For Wellness: Jesus Christ, this movie infuriated me.  Nice cinematography shots and a very pretty Mia Goth do not a good movie make.  One common issue I've had with most of, if not all the movies on this list is slow pacing that drags the movie out to feel longer than it actually is.  A Cure For Wellness takes the cake with this one as sometimes I feel like I'm still stuck on the couch watching this thing.  The movie tries to play up this mystery thriller kind of feeling but nothing ties together naturally, it isn't scary or at least tense, it actually comes off as being rather condescending if we're being completely up front and slowly crawls along to the big plot twist of some glorified zombie wants to bang his own daughter.  No, fucking really, that's the big twist.  If the movie had actually been interesting or had charismatic performances or just something to latch on to, it wouldn't be at the top of this list but here we are.  Just thinking about this movie's title puts a bad taste in my mouth and I wash my hands of the worst movie of 2017.

     Let me know what you're worst movies of the year are in the comments below.  Thank you so much for reading and if you like what you see on this blog, you be sure to nudge that "Follow" button and stay cynical!

     -The Cynic

CWTC's Top 10 Best Movies Of 2017

     It was high time I did something with this thing again.  It is the end of the year so you know what that means: it’s that time when people who love watching movies let their lists of their picks for the greatest and shittiest films of the year fly.  Last year I did these lists on my YouTube channel but the last two months both physically and mentally have just really kicked my ass and…and I just can’t.  Not when I have the option to just write out the script that I would’ve read off of anyway and leave it here for you all to enjoy.
     A couple of quick disclaimers before I begin, though:
     1 – I did not get a chance to see all of the movies that I wanted to this year (probably the most bummed about not seeing Thor: Ragnarok).  Of the eventual 63 movies that I had on my radar for this year, I only saw 49 of them.  Sometimes shit happens, things don’t work out and then you don’t get to see the movie.  That sucks but that’s life.
     2 – If the movie had a limited release last year but a wide release this year, I’m counting it as a 2017 release since I do not live in an area where limited release movies play.  It seems to be “Go Wide or Go Home” where I live.  This is not exclusive to this year's list either as the same scenario happened with High Rise on my Top 10 Worst Of 2016 list.
     3 – These may not be technically the best made films of the year as far as things like cinematography, acting, scripts, whatever goes.  I rank these movies based on how I perceive them and how they make me feel.  You may agree with some of these but more likely you will not.  There’s 7 fucking billion of us on this planet, we’re not going to all like the same thing for the same reasons or amount.  Case in point, if social/political films that are about or delivery commentary on world events are your bag, that’s awesome but they don’t really do the same for me, so movies like Wind River, Dunkirk and Get Out won’t rank as high on my list as they do on your list and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Although those three aforementioned movies are worth seeing, just saying.
     Now that we’ve gotten the fine print out of the way, let’s start with my Top 10 Best Movies Of 2017:

     Honorable Mentions (#15-11): Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Wall, Get Out, The Lego Batman Movie

     10 – Kong: Skull Island: Okay, I know a lot of people are going to disagree on this one.  The cast may not be used to their full potential but I felt incredibly satisfied coming out of Skull Island.  The humans moved things along without feeling useless, Kong has never looked better special effects-wise, they don’t shoehorn in or beat you over the head with references to 2014’s Godzilla which lets Skull Island stand as its own movie and when the creature action goes down, it is absolutely incredible to watch.  If Kong’s rematch with Godzilla is handled as well as this movie was, I think we’re in good hands.  I mean, it can’t be any worse than the original, right?  Right?

     09 – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2: This one kind of surprised me in the sense that it broke the MCU sequel mold where they either outdo the original (the Captain America sequels) or are received mixed at best (everyone else).  Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 felt just as good as the first Guardians film but not for the exact same reasons.  Guardians was one of my favorite movies of 2014 and it just so happens that Guardians 2 is one of my favorite movies of 2017.  A surprising amount of heart, a visual treat, another hit for Marvel, what’s not to like?

     08 – Life: I never did get around to seeing Alien: Covenant but oddly enough, Life scratched that Alien—esque itch for me.  A crew in a space station ducking through corridors checking over their shoulders as a growing life form picks them off one by one?  Sounds like a good time, even if it doesn’t carry quite the horror tone that Alien did.  I felt invested in these characters and I could just feel my hopefulness drain away as the movie went on and I remember the movie got to a certain point where I cupped my hands over my mouth in dread and muttered, “Oh, they are so fucked.”  Just writing this out, I really want to go watch this one again, Twilight Zone-style ending and all.

     07 – Resident Evil: Vendetta: Y’know, if someone came up to me in early 2017 and said, “Guess what, Kevin?  You’re going to have a Resident Evil movie on both your Best and Worst of 2017 lists (spoiler, I guess),” I probably would’ve said, “Wait, there’s two Resident Evil movies coming out this year?”  Yet, here we are.  I didn’t expect much from this one going in but I came away with the best Resident Evil movie I’ve ever seen.  It takes place in the same universe as the games, the overall tone strikes a great balance between action and horror, the combat scenes are coherent and thrilling, it was never gory for the sake of being gory, I loved Resident Evil: Vendetta and it certainly made up for the simply okay predecessor that was Damnation.

     06 – Baby Driver: I actually watched this movie while I was in the middle of writing this list and had to bump off The Lego Batman Movie to make room for Baby Driver.  This may be only the fourth Edgar Wright movie I’ve seen but it just might be my favorite.  Failing that, it’d be tied with Shaun Of The Dead.  You have a great cast playing really interesting and fun characters, yes, but I have never seen a movie incorporate music into the story (making the soundtrack a character in and of itself) so well outside of maybe a musical.  I had a huge smile on my face for most of the movie and it is incredibly satisfying to watch some of these characters get what’s coming to them.   I’ll definitely be picking this one up on Blu-Ray and Lily James just might be my new celebrity crush.

     05 – Wonder Woman: Are you happy to see a DCEU movie on here?  Because I am.  I said that if this movie had sucked then I’d be done with the DCEU but fortunately for them, Wonder Woman rocked.  A well-structured plot, there’s actually some color in this movie, really likeable characters, great chemistry between the actors, any visual styles borrowed from previous DCEU movies rarely felt overwhelming or gratuitous and it was nice to sit down, watch one of these movies and feel like I’m getting the entire movie for a change.  Still haven’t seen Justice League yet but if, IF that one isn’t any good, I’ll still be checking out the Wonder Woman sequel.

     04 – Logan: All good things must come to an end and that includes Hugh Jackman’s run as the character Logan aka Wolverine.  I said that it was going to be interesting to see how close to the top Logan stayed at the end of the year and it stayed fairly close.  To me, Logan felt like the superhero movie for people who don’t like superhero movies as it felt more like an r-rated western.  The three leads are great, especially Dafne Keen who is able to hold her own against veterans like Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart.  People may be begging Jackman to come back to the role now that Disney has bought Fox but this movie was a great end to his character and to be honest, we don’t need Jackman back.  We need more Dafne Keen as X23, whether that’d be in the MCU, in a Deadpool sequel or better yet, her own movie.  An amazing end to an incredible 17 year journey for Jackman’s Wolverine and easily the best comic book film of 2017.

     03 – War For The Planet Of The Apes: Hey, look!  Another film that was an immensely satisfying conclusion to a well-loved character's arc.  The best film of the summer, War For The Planet Of The Apes nicely wrapped up the story that was started back in 2011 with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and also just so happens to be one of the best trilogies ever, even though it really had no right to be.  This movie has some real high points: one of Andy Serkis’ best performances (seriously, give that man an award for this), Steve Zahn’s greatest performance, amazing set designs, Michael Giachino’s best score and an ending that leads right into the original classic film.

     02 – A Monster Calls: A Monster Calls is why I clarified that whole “limited vs. wide release” thing.  This is a gorgeous looking movie with a truly heartbreaking story about having to come to terms with events beyond your control.  As The Monster tells his stories and Connor applies them to his real life, you can feel the emotional weight and the dread of his mother’s condition bearing down on both him and you and it all culminates with a heartbreaking but sweet finale.  If I can feel that much emotion watching a movie, I know that it’s doing something right.

      01 – John Wick: Chapter 2: This one really surprised me, considering that I didn’t love the first John Wick movie.  However, Chapter 2 gave me what I felt was a better story as well as a more in-depth look at the killer culture that was hinted at in the first movie and it was really fascinating to see, drawing me deeper and deeper into the story with every frame.  This movie also upped the action sequences without overdoing them (that battle in the mirror-laden nightclub) and made me super excited for John Wick: Chapter 3.  To me, this movie built upon what was established in the first movie and did it in such a way that it, in my eyes, eclipsed the first movie and is building up to what I imagine will be one helluva finish to the series and that is why John Wick: Chapter 2 is my favorite movie of 2017.

      Well, that was certainly an interesting list.  Let me know down below what your favorite films of 2017 were and keep an ear to the ground on this blog as I will be putting up my list for Coffee With The Cynic's Top 10 Worst Movies Of 2017 soon.

     Stay cynical!

     -The Cynic

Sunday, October 22, 2017

TLW Baby T. Rex Custom Project Part 1: The Cast

     Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another entry of Coffee With The Cynic's blog.  It's been awhile since I've done something on here so let's fix that.  Movie reviews are fun to do and all that but I've wanted to do more hands-on things, like repaints or outright alterations of figures (watching lots of Cosplay Chris and Ted Brothers will do that) and we're going to start with this little guy.

     This is a Tyrannosaurus Rex hatchling figure from The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  Before anyone says, yes, I know that the 'Rex' part isn't supposed to be capitalized.  I picked him up on eBay for pretty cheap, considering it is 20 years old.  The figure is in excellent shape, save for the black marker scribbles on it.  When I found it while browsing, it just seemed to say, "Help me."  So I'm going to clean him up and over time make him look more movie accurate and give him a sweet diorama base.  Today, though, we're just going to do the cast on his leg.  I didn't want the cast to figure like it was just part of the figure.

     Alright, first thing's first, we gotta wash the figure.  Nothing fancy here, just regular ol' soapy hot water.  None of the black marker came off from this but that's okay.  We still have a clean surface free of any previous oils or whatever to work with.  Now let's...hey, wait a second...

     A three-fingered Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex?  Not in my damn house.  Thankfully, this little guy is made of rubber so we'll just do some cosmetic digit removal with a craft knife.

     That's better.  Don't worry, little guy.  We'll patch those holes up once my modelling putty arrives.  Although using the craft knife here gave me an idea.  Originally I had just planned on gluing some cheesecloth on top of the cast in thin strips and calling it good but looking at the figure, I wasn't convinced that doing that would give the proper illusion of the bandages being wrapped around the Rex's leg.  I cut some pieces out of a folded piece of cheesecloth, trying to make them just a little bit wider than the cast in the sculpt.

 Then, I made incisions along the top of the cast where the thigh met the belly as well as the bottom of the cast, between the thigh and the calf...

     ...and with the help of Scholar, stuffed the pieces in the top one by one, using the end of a pair of scissors.  I imagine that if I had a clamp or something, I could've done this part alone but if it means getting it right, I'm fine with an extra set of hands helping out.  I only wound up using the first five pieces, which is great because that sixth one would come in handy later.

You can already see the difference with just one piece.
    I had some super glue laying around, so I put a bit along the top and middle of the thigh so the top fabric could be held in place.

     When I tapped my fingers on the cheesecloth, the fabric became a little frayed but honestly, I'm okay with that.  It'll give the illusion of weathering, like the cast has been on for awhile and may be starting to break apart like what Sarah Harding wanted.

     So remember that left over piece of cheesecloth?  Good thing I didn't immediately chuck it out (even if I had, I still have pretty much the whole 3 yards worth of material left in the package) because a little bit of the original cast was still showing through at the bottom corner, so we tucked this piece in, put a drop of glue down, pressed it together, trimmed off some of the excess frayed fabric and BOOM!  Baby T. Rex has a new cast.

     I'll probably end up trimming some of that fabric encroaching on his knee a bit more but I'm pretty happy with how this little alteration turned out.  Depending on how long the modelling putty takes to arrive, part 2 will either be about building up the diorama base or prepping and repainting the Rex himself.  Probably the former but you never know.  Anyway, let me know your thoughts down below and I hope you enjoyed this first little post because I have another 3 dioramas in the midst of being planned out.  Thanks for reading and if you like what you see on this blog, you be sure to nudge that "Follow" button and stay cynical!

     -The Cynic