If You Do Not See Non-Stop, Liam Neeson Will Look For You

Is this what I’m doing now? Reviewing movies? Is this a movie blog now? Guess so.

So, Non-Stop. I saw this movie at a screening. To be clear, I walked out of a Need for Speed screening (after a death scene that would have lasted 10 seconds of realtime was slow-mo’d to 5 minutes of screentime) and into a Non-Stop screening. What is Non-Stop? It’s Liam Neeson on a plane. Now, you’re probably asking if I recommend you see it? I’ll answer your question with a question: it’s Liam Neeson on a plane. I know that wasn’t a question, but we’re talking about Liam Neeson here, and Liam Neeson doesn’t ask questions. He tells you what the fuck he’s about to do. And God help you, I said GOD HELP YOU if you bring up this man’s fuckin’ daughter.

I don’t have much to say about it other than that. It’s like someone asking how was that Winnie the Pooh movie? It was everything you’d expect from a Winnie the Pooh movie. How was that James Bond movie? It was everything you’d expect from a James Bond movie. How was Non-Stop? It was goddamn Liam Neeson on a goddamn plane. I hope that was the working title for this movie… “Rolling! Background action! This is Liam Neeson on a Plane, take 3, action!”

If you don’t want to see Liam Neeson on a plane, then honestly, I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills…

Stop What You Are Doing And Go See Pompeii

There are no major spoilers. Unless you haven’t seen any Pompeii previews. Or read National Geographic. Or ridden Escape from Pompeii at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT POMPEII.

I saw Pompeii (2014) at an advance screening in DC last week. In short, this movie is ridiculous, and you should go and see it as soon as you can get your pants on. Not your nice pants. Your comfy pants. And sit in one of the floor rows. This movie is best seen comfortably, with lots of salty and sugary snacks, in a seat you can lean back in.

The first thing worth mentioning in Pompeii is the writing, specifically the lack of character development. There are only two “archetypes” in Pompeii: Good Guy and Bad Guy. What are the Good Guys’ motivations? To be good. What are the Bad Guys’ motivations? To be bad. Oh, okay. The only character with any complexity is ‘Atticus,’ played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who I have to imagine wandered onto the set from a slightly better movie and everyone was just too impressed to say anything. (As an aside: who represents Carrie-Anne Moss? Second billing? Whoever her people are really worked that shit out.)

On top of the black-and-white morality, Pompeii would have us believe that Milo (the hero) and Cassia (the damsel) have a kind of love(? lust? crush? spiritual connection?) strong enough for Milo to risk his life to save hers, and that has developed over two encounters totaling…mmm, about fifteen minutes. When the movie was over I just had one question I asked everyone: were they supposed to be in love? It’s difficult to discern, and in fact, no one could give me an answer. The trouble is that Kit Harrington and Emily Browning made the interesting choice to give their characters zero emotional expression. If you bought your ticket looking for facial or tone variance from the leading man and and love interest, I’ve got some bad news. If you just came for the volcano, relax. Spoiler Alert: it erupts.

The hero asks a horse to sit. Like a dog. And it does.

Jessica Lucas’ chest should have gotten third billing, it’s featured so prominently.

A ship is carried through the streets of Pompeii by a tsunami. That ship is on fire. Are your goddamn pants on, yet?

For all I’ve written up to this point, it must also be restated: I think this movie was great. I could go on and on about it. Mostly it’s a game of curbing your expectations. It’s 100% B-movie. But, once your nose adjusts to the kind of film you’re watching, it’s a really an enjoyable ride.

Very little of it makes sense, but my God, it is confident! I was never bored, and for 104 minutes running time, I gotta say the time flew by. In contrast, it’s clear when you watch something where no one involved believed in the project. (10,000 BC rings a bell. You getting a paycheck doesn’t need to coincide with me getting the film-equivalent of a 109-minute middle finger.) So anytime a film commits to itself, it’s impossible to hate. Pompeii commits. Hard. And in those moments when it looks like it’s teetering on eye-rollingly ridiculous or annoyingly campy, the volcano just erupts some more.

Oh yeah, guys, a volcano erupts in this movie. GO SEE THIS MOVIE.

The Worst Things You Can Buy on Groupon

In the American Groupon System, the company provides the deals, and the people buy the Groupons. Most of the deals are awesome, but there is a small faction of Groupon that is incomprehensible. These are their stories.

Item

Set of 3 Stainless Steel Wedding Bands

Why It’s Terrible

There is nothing wrong with choosing not to take part in a specific aspect of a tradition. Likewise, there is no shame in wanting to take part in a tradition, but not having the financial availability to do so. If this were one ring for $3.33, I would say nothing. But 3-for-$10? I’m missing something, here. Is this for in case you lose a ring so that you can have 2 backups? Wouldn’t you then want the same ring to replace it with? Is this just in case you put a ring on it and she says “rose gold? Really? Do I look like Kim Kardashian to you?” Because honestly, if that’s what you’re worried about, all of these rings will be “raw steel” colored after a few weeks of daily wear. Maybe it’s for people venturing into 3-way weddings and it just so happens that all concerned parties have the same ring size (7! It was fate!). Maybe its for a man who is really passionate about buying in bulk, and also very skeptical about the longevity of his marriage(s).

Who Would Buy It

Pimps with tiny hands, Mormons, The Planeteers  and Gollum, maybe. Continue reading