My Blue Heaven – Rick Moranis was one of Beth’s first crushes, and she’s still a fan, but she hadn’t seen this before. I actually had, but I didn’t remember it all that well. It stars Steve Martin as an Italian mobster, and Moranis as an FBI agent who has to protect him so he can testify in court. Moranis’ role is pretty nerdy and obsessive-compulsive, as you might expect, but he has some bad-ass moments. Martin’s performance is over-the-top, but that works for this movie.
Twelve Monkeys – I understand they’re reworking this as a television show, but I still hadn’t seen the original movie. I’ve liked most of the Terry Gilliam films I’ve seen, although on this one he just directed and didn’t write. It has an interesting time travel scenario, in which a criminal played by Bruce Willis is sent back to the 1990s to discover the cause of a plague that wiped out much of humanity. At first he ends up in the wrong year, and is trapped in a mental institution where he meets Brad Pitt’s character, a fast-talking eco-terrorist whose father is a prominent biologist. When he escapes and arrives in 1996 as planned, he teams up with his former psychiatrist, originally by taking her as a hostage but eventually winning her over to his cause, to thwart a mysterious organization called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. I’ve seen it proposed on the IMDB among other places that the name was inspired by The Magic of Oz, in which Kiki Aru transforms twelve monkeys into giant soldiers for an attempted invasion of the Emerald City. Due to poor planning, however, they’re stuck in the woods and unable to move; and the Wizard of Oz thwarts his scheme anyway.
I didn’t notice any other potential Oz references in the film, but it seems like a pretty big coincidence if that wasn’t intentional. The time travel we see here is basically closed-loop, but with a twist. People can’t change history, but they can observe it and bring back data. Even though the protagonist fails and is shot to death, which his younger self witnesses, hope remains that another time traveler can analyze the plague virus and come up with a cure back in the future.
Deadpool – If there’s one thing we haven’t had enough of recently, it’s movies based on comic books, right? No, there’s definitely a glut, but that’s not to say many of them haven’t been enjoyable. Deadpool was co-created by Rob Liefeld, who’s pretty widely hated for his ridiculously-proportioned characters and obsession with nineties-style antiheroes. The character has remained popular, however, probably largely because he’s intentionally absurd and hence parodies such trends. He’s incredibly violent, cracks vulgar jokes at the most inappropriate times, acts like a total jerk to just about everyone, and constantly breaks the fourth wall. I understand he appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but while I haven’t seen that movie, I don’t think his role in that is entirely consistent with that in his own film. He was, however, played by the same actor, Ryan Reynolds. This is the same guy who played Green Lantern in in the flop from several years ago, used to be married to Black Widow (well, to Scarlett Johansson, anyway), and I believe was also name-checked by Deadpool in the comic before being cast in the role. Originally a mercenary, Wade Wilson gets cancer and subjects himself to an experimental treatment by a shifty organization. He ends up with the ability to heal quickly (much like Wolverine), but also a disfigured face. This is when he starts wearing the Deadpool outfit and hunting down the guy responsible for his mutation. The movie parodies many superhero conventions, but plays others pretty straight, with the character wisecracking about both. Even though he’s a rather nasty character, you can sympathize with him to a degree. As he himself points out, he’s a bad guy who kills worse guys. There’s a bit of an X-Men crossover in an appearance by Colossus, who’s cordial with Wade but seeks to rein in his murderous excesses. Colossus has a sidekick in Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who is an actual character in X-Men comics, but her powers and characterization are different. In one of the many fourth-wall-breaking moments, Deadpool jokes that the studio didn’t want to pay for any more X-Men. Overall, it’s a pretty fun ride.