Sunday, July 26, 2015

Review: Southpaw

Image courtesy of The Weinstein Company.
Sports dramas - especially boxing pictures - come equipped with their own set of cliches and Antoine Fuqua's "Southpaw" is certainly a slave to those well-tread cliches. The film follows the fall and resurrection of a troubled boxer who came from the street, only to return to it and then attempt to rise to glory once more. But Jake Gylenhaal (as said boxer) and Forest Whitaker (as his trainer) are so good in the picture that the film's cliched storyline is mostly forgiven.

As the movie opens, Gylenhaal's Billy Hope (how about that name?) is the lightweight champion of the world and has a wife (Rachel McAdams) and young daughter, Leila (Oona Laurence), who adore him. His wife attempts to convince him to drop out of the sport or at least slow down after a fight he wins leaves him bruised and battered.

But during a speaking engagement, he is taunted by an up and coming Colombian boxer named Magic Escobar (Miguel Gomez), who insults his wife, leading to a scuffle during which a member of Escobar's entourage accidentally shoots and kills Hope's wife. The fact that no arrests are made at the scene is only one of the sequences that stretch credibility here.

The death of Maureen (McAdams) causes Billy to go on a downward spiral that leads to his home being repossessed and his daughter taken away by child services. So, in the tradition of many boxing films before this one, "Southpaw" follows Billy's humbling, which includes his taking a janitorial position at a gym, where Tick Wills (Whitaker) trains young men to keep them off the street.

As a means to get custody of his daughter, Hope decides to clean himself up and fight again, but this time with the help of Tick. Meanwhile, his previous manager (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) has - of course, since this is a movie - taken to managing Escobar, who continues to taunt Hope, seemingly only to provide the film with a villain and give Billy the incentive to win the fight at the film's end.

Gylenhaal gives a fully committed performance in the picture that is both physically and emotionally impressive. Following in the lead of Matthew McConaughey, Gylenhaal has undertaken his own renaissance that began two years ago with the terrific and underrated "Prisoners" and has since included the creepy thriller "Enemy" and, now, "Southpaw." Even if his latest picture doesn't measure up to the two Denis Villeneuve films in which he starred, his performance sure does. And Whitaker delivers some of his finest work in years as Tick, a man who has his own set of woes.

So, while "Southpaw" shows us nothing new, its performances elevate it slightly within its genre. And the fight sequences are well choreographed, gripping and bloody, especially the final bout between Hope and Escobar. Even though we're never actually surprised in which direction "Southpaw" goes, it entertains all the same.

Review: Paper Towns

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
"Paper Towns" is the type of the film that stumbles during its first half, but manages to recover during its second. There has been a glut of well-made movies about youths during the past few years that includes a few great ones - including "Adventureland," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "The Spectacular Now" - and a handful of good ones - for example, the decent "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."

The thing that especially worked about those aforementioned titles is that they are films about teens that can also be appreciated by adults. During its first half, I was under the impression that "Paper Towns" was the type of film made solely for teens. On the one hand, it manages to capture the awkward behavior and speech that marks adolescence and, on the other hand, the film does so in a manner that comes off as slightly... awkward.

The picture follows one of those stories about a somewhat dorky, but likable, young man who realizes his best self thanks to the pretty - but quirky, mind you - girl who sees something in him that others do not. I know, this is a tired premise that recently failed to engage in Cameron Crowe's "Aloha."

In this case, the girl is Margo (model Cara Delevingne) and the awkward young man is Quentin (Nat Wolff), two teens who live in Orlando, which is portrayed here as mostly posh neighborhoods and towering buildings. As the film opens, Quentin tells us via voice over that he and Margo were childhood pals, but that she became a popular girl (but with mystique!) when they reached high school.

Now, as their senior year begins to wind down, Quentin is paid a surprise late night visit by Margo, who wants him to join her on a nine-step revenge plot that goes down in the course of a night. During their adventure, she gets back at a cheating boyfriend and a few friends who do not pass muster. Then, suddenly, Margo has disappeared - as in, run off.

Quentin enlists help from his band buddies, Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith), as well as a popular girl, Lacey (Halston Sage) who is friends with Margo, and Radar's girlfriend, Angela (Jaz Sinclair), and they hit the road, traveling to upstate New York in Quentin's van to find Margo, whom Quentin believes has left him clues to track her down. As is always the case in such movies, the story does not pay much mind to the parents, especially during the slightly unbelievable road trip.

And yet, "Paper Towns" finally finds its rhythm about halfway through as the quintet takes its journey. While the culmination of the journey reveals truths that are not so profound, the camaraderie among the cast members works and a finale set at a prom (where else?) brings nice closure to the story.

The film is based on the novel by "Faults in Our Stars" author John Green and both this film and the adaptation of that other novel capture the teenage experience fairly well, even though both rely heavily on cliches (road trips, a cancer-based melodrama, the mysterious girl next door, etc.). So, while "Paper Towns" isn't on the level of some of the other youth films as of late, it's not half bad.

Review: Phoenix

Image courtesy of Sundance Selects.
Christian Petzold's "Phoenix" is an engrossing post-World War II drama with a noirish story and an ending that feels like a gut punch. The picture is a revenge thriller, of sorts, and Nina Hoss is the femme fatale, but the plan she enacts to get back at the person who betrayed her is the stuff of subtle drama, rather than the plot to drive an exploitation movie.

Hoss plays Nelly Lenz, a Jewish woman who has managed to survive the concentration camps, despite the rest of her family having been killed by the Nazis. Her appearance has been badly damaged and a friend, Lene (Nina Kunzendorf), has helped Nelly to secure an operation that will restructure her face. One of my few quibbles with the picture is Lene's mysterious presence. We're never quite sure what role she plays in the story and, much later, she takes a drastic action that only makes her character more opaque.

Nelly hears from Lene that her husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), has survived and is working at a local bar. In their previous lives, both Nelly and her husband had been musicians. But Lene warns her friend that Johnny sold her out to the Nazis in order to survive and is now attempting to get ahold of the money left to her by her deceased family.

At first, Nelly appears skeptical that her husband would have done such a horrific deed against her and, due to her changed appearance, when she finally meets him he doesn't recognize her. However, he believes that she could pass as his wife and attempts to convince her to get involved in a plot to get his "deceased" wife's inheritance by passing Nelly (who is now living with a new identity) off as, well, Nelly.

Still convinced that her husband would not have sold her out, Nelly goes along with the ploy because it gives her an opportunity to be close to her husband, despite his not recognizing her, and due to the fact that he is the only person left alive that she loves. She holds out hope that he might still love her - even though he does not know who she actually is.

"Phoenix" has a plot that borders on noir melodrama, but what makes it work so well is the rich atmosphere that Petzold, whose previous film was the powerful "Barbara," creates, especially during the sequences in which Nelly haunts the bar - which is bathed in a red glow - where Johnny works. It also helps that the cast is terrific, Hoss especially. It's a tricky role - playing a woman who is pretending to be another, but all the while wishing to actually be the person she once was - and Hoss nails all the various beats of the role.

The picture leads up to a powerful climax that some reviewers have mislabeled as a "twist." It's not so much that as it is a stunning reveal - in other words, a twist for one of the characters, rather than the audience. "Phoenix" is a good movie with a great ending and another solid collaboration between its star (who played the lead in "Barbara") and director. And it's the type of thriller that makes an impact not due to the mechanics of plot, but through the characters and the excellent actors who inhabit them.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review: Ant-Man

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.
I'll admit to having some comic book movie fatigue at this point, which is why it's a pleasure to find an example of that genre that feels fresh, despite a few bad habits on behalf of the filmmakers. "Ant-Man" is a fun movie that features performances that rise a little above the level of your typical blockbuster franchise entry and special effects that impress rather than overwhelm.

In the picture, Paul Rudd is Scott Lang, the kind of criminal for whom most audiences can root. He's just finished a jail stint after robbing the corporation for which he previously worked that, we are told, was a crooked and shady business. He's enlisted by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a scientist who was voted out of his own company after hiding a discovery involving shrinking human beings to ant-sized proportions because he feared that it would be used as a dangerous weapon.

Sure enough, the new CEO of Pym's company, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll, of "House of Cards"), wants to use the shrinking formula to develop "yellowjackets," mini-soldiers with the strength of able bodied men who can infiltrate enemy encampments. To beat him to the punch, Pym brings on Lang, an able cat burglar, to steal Cross's yellowjacket suit before it is sold to the highest bidder.

Also thrown into the mix are a group of ex-cons (Michael Pena and T.I. among them) who Lang brings on to assist him in his heist as well as Evangeline Lily as Douglas's estranged daughter who acts as his mole in Cross's company, which is also working closely with HYDRA, the villain of the "Avengers" movies.

If this all sounds a bit convoluted, well, it is. But what rescues "Ant-Man" from the doldrums that plagued this summer's "Avengers" movie as well as numerous other recent Marvel properties is that the picture, directed by Peyton Reed, often plays the material for comedic effect, rather than the serious-faced speechifying and moralizing present in so many other recent comic book movies.

Of course, that's not to say that the movie is without its flaws. There's an "Avengers" cross reference during a sequence in which Lang comes face to face with Falcon (Anthony Mackie) that feels a bit forced. And there are references to sequences and plot points from this summer's "Age of Ultron" that nearly made me want to throw something at the screen. Seriously, I know these films are all about "world building," but the nonstop tie-ins to other comic book pictures is becoming this genre's equivalent of product placement - actually, come to think of it, there's a semi-heavy handed pitch for Baskin Robbins in this film.

Anyway, "Ant-Man" is, despite these quibbles, a pretty fun movie. As I'd mentioned, the visual effects are pretty impressive. The sequences in which Lang is shrunk to tiny proportions actually look semi-realistic and are not as clunky as the CGI in many other blockbusters. And there's a fair amount of humor during these scenes, especially one involving a ping pong paddle and a hanging lamp.

So, while I'm still pretty tired of the endless super hero movies that have populated cinemas every summer for the past decade or so, "Ant-Man" puts a refreshing spin on a tired genre. It's a fun movie and a little better than most of the other big budget extravaganzas this summer has offered thus far.

Review: Irrational Man

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. 
Woody Allen's latest, "Irrational Man," is a slow burn that starts off falteringly, but increasingly becomes more intriguing as it reveals its central story and philosophical concepts. Although the trailer portrays the picture as a comedy and there is some oddly cheerful music scoring the film, Allen's latest falls more in line with his darker fare, such as "Match Point" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors." And while it's not one of his best - or even one of his best of recent years - it's a movie that I'd say is of interest and worth a look.

In the film, Joaquin Phoenix plays Abe Lucas, a superstar academic whose writing on philosophy compels his students and has given him a certain amount of infamy amongst his colleagues. As the film opens, he is taking a job at a liberal arts college in New England, where the faculty awaits his arrival with a combination of intrigue and trepidation.

Two women at the college instantly take to Abe - a fellow professor (Parker Posey) in an unhappy marriage and a student (Emma Stone), who values Lucas's attentions more than those of her boyfriend.

Abe is a depressive character who has lost the lust for life, his work and sex, amongst other things. Stone's Jill makes several attempted passes at him, but he tells her that they can only be friends. Posey's character does the same, but finds that the object of her affection is unable to perform.

One afternoon, Lucas and Jill are eating at a restaurant when they overhear a woman describe how a corrupt court judge has ruled to give her ex-husband custody of her children, despite his not seeming to care much about his own kids. The judge and the ex's lawyer are apparently friends and the woman bemoans the unfairness of her situation.

Abe is moved by the story and decides to break himself out of his existential rut by taking action and murdering the judge. It should come as no surprise that Jill, at one point, spots a copy of "Crime and Punishment" on Abe's desk, considering the Dostoevskian undertones of the picture. Abe comes to believe that his carrying out this perfect crime and helping the wronged woman will return meaning to his life. Of course, things do not go exactly as planned, setting up a denouement that is among the darkest in Allen's oeuvre.

"Irrational Man" is not without its problems. Abe is constantly spouting off quotes from Kierkegaard, Kant and Simone de Beauvoir, making him sound almost like a parody of a character that Allen might have lampooned in an earlier movie (remember the classic scene in which he derides the guy waiting in line for the movie in "Annie Hall"?). And Stone's character is also a little underwritten - she is, at first, merely a character who flits back and forth between romantic interests until, suddenly, she is expected to become the moral voice of the piece and the transition isn't exactly smooth.

The one thing that helps is that Phoenix and Stone are both very talented and can, therefore, make these characters work. And while the film's first half is slow-going - and by that, I mean slow to get around to the meat of its story and not slow moving - the second half mostly makes up for it. Although I'm not sure I can completely buy the turn the film takes in the final third - at least, from a character standpoint - it makes for great philosophical discussion and there are moments that are unsettling.

So, while "Irrational Man" is not one of Allen's best - and it certainly does not hold up against the great "Match Point" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" - it's worth a look. He's a great filmmaker who has been responsible for a number of terrific movies over a period of more than four decades. And considering that, in his late 70s, he's still churning out a movie every year, it's amazing that a majority of them are good.

Review: Trainwreck

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.
So, now having seen Judd Apatow's "Trainwreck," I can say I'm sold on Amy Schumer, whose work as a stand-up comedienne and Comedy Central show are unseen by me. But based on the screenplay, which she wrote, and her performance in the film, it's safe to say that she's a comedic force.

One thing I particularly liked, however, about "Trainwreck" is that it does not rely solely on its lead for laughs. In fact, most of the supporting cast members are equally as funny, especially Colin Quinn as Schumer's lecherous father, Ezra Miller as a weirdo intern at the magazine where she works, John Cena (yes, the wrestling star) as a meathead boyfriend and, my personal favorite, Tilda Swinton as Schumer's tell-it-like-it-is boss.

In the film, Schumer plays Amy, a woman who was told by her father at a young age that monogamy is not realistic during a particularly funny monologue by Quinn and, years later, lives by that rule. She goes from guy to guy, unable to commit, and works at a men's magazine that specializes in articles with titles such as "Am I Gay or Is She Just Boring?"

During an assignment to cover a doctor (Bill Hader) who practices sports medicine, she takes her subject home, sleeps with him and eventually realizes she likes the guy, who's a pretty nice one. Hader's doctor pals around with celebrity athletes, including LeBron James, who, as it turns out, is also a pretty funny fella.

Although "Trainwreck" follows the typical formula of a, in this case, good time Charlene who decides to settle down after tiring of the single life and finding a person who cares about her, Apatow's film thrives on the nonstop barrage of truly funny sequences and characters who go beyond the sketches typically associated with these types of films. There's also a really funny running gag involving a fake movie starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei.

This is not to say that the picture is perfect. Similar to some of Apatow's other movies, it goes on a little long for a comedy and some of the sports-related plot threads are a little too much in abundance. A scene during which Hader takes counsel from James, Matthew Broderick and Marv Albert elicits more groans than giggles.

Over the years, there have been a number of comics who have been touted as the next big thing, some of whom proved to be true talents, while others rightfully fizzled. Schumer appears to belong to the former camp. She's funny and smart and the role reversal in "Trainwreck" - in other words, the woman being the lothario, rather than the man - feels fresh. It's an often hilarious movie with a great cast that I'd very gladly recommend.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Review: The Gallows

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.
This is the type of film that I fear could one day fall into the hands of extraterrestrials searching our planet for signs of intelligence. It's the type of picture in which every character acts according to how the plot needs them to behave at all times, which is typically against any sort of good judgment or survival instinct. And because it's a found footage horror movie, the characters never manage to drop the cameras they are carrying, even when being attacked by malevolent forces.

The film opens with a scene you'd expect to see in those cheap, crappy "Faces of Death" videos from the 1980s. A 1993 high school presentation of a play known as "The Gallows" ends in tragedy when the lead is accidentally hanged.

We jump forward 20 years later and the high school is once again staging the play for the 20th anniversary of the tragedy. Let me just stop right here, folks, and say that any school that has ever dreamed about legal ramifications of anything would never go for the re-staging of a play in which a student died years before. I'm all for suspending disbelief in movies, but the central story of "The Gallows" is far fetched to the point of annoyance.

In the 20th anniversary edition of the play, a young jock named Reese (Reese Houser) has been cast in the lead and a girl named Pfeifer (Pfeifer Ross), a budding actress who takes her role very seriously and is considered a ham by her peers, is the other lead performer.

The film, unfortunately, is sort of narrated by Ryan (Ryan Shoos), another jock who has been given the task of filming the rehearsals and actual play. Ryan's persona and dialogue has obviously been created by someone who has never witnessed human beings interacting. His constant stream of "dude" and "bro" sound forced and the rest of his mostly grating dialogue seems only to serve the purpose of a comeuppance we expect to arrive later in the film.

Ryan proposes a prank that involves breaking into the school at night and trashing the set on the night before the show. He enlists Reese, who is unwilling at first due to his secret crush on Pfeifer, and Cassidy (Cassidy Spilker), the stereotypically unpleasant hot girl. Upon entering the school, they also find Pfeifer there as well as the angry spirit of the young man who was hanged 20 years before.

For the rest of the film, the characters do everything you are not supposed to do during a horror film, including checking out creepy noises in dark, deserted classrooms, walking through dark underground lairs and splitting up constantly. All of this leads to a plot twist in the finale that makes less sense the more you think about it.

The found footage horror genre long ago ran out of steam. There has been one very good entry in the genre ("The Blair Witch Project"), a few good ones ("Cloverfield," for example) and a lot of bad ones. A lot. "The Gallows" is on the lower end of that spectrum and is good anecdotal evidence that the horror genre is better served by original concepts and thoughtful material (check out the recent "It Follows" or "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night") than rehashing the same tropes over and over.

Review: Self/Less

Image courtesy of Focus Features.
Tarsem Singh's "Self/Less" is the first body swap movie that I can recall in some time, although it's certainly not in the same vein as "All of Me" or "Vice Versa." No, this is a sci-fi thriller with an emphasis on the thrills, but not so much on the science.

In the picture, Ben Kingsley plays Damian Hale, an extremely wealthy man who has made his mark by constructing buildings all across New York City. But he's also dying and estranged from his daughter, who works at a non-profit.

Damian is tipped to an organization that prolongs the lives of those wealthy enough to pay for a process in which their consciousness is transferred into a younger, but deceased, body that is brought back to life.

As I'd mentioned before, there are numerous shoot outs and chase scenes in "Self/Less," but not much time spent on the science angle. So, all we see is Kingsley thrown into a machine that looks like the type in which you'd get a CAT scan and his soul somehow ends up in the body of Ryan Reynolds, whose previous inhabitant was a former soldier with a young wife and ailing child.

But after Damian (now in Reynold's body) begins to have flashbacks of the former inhabitant's life, he begins to investigate and finds that the scientist, Albright (Matthew Goode), who performed the consciousness-swapping procedure has some nefarious secrets. And, of course, Albright isn't too keen on Damian's snooping around, so he sends goons to hunt down Damian and the wife and kid of the former inhabitant of Reynold's body.

"Self/Less" isn't exactly a bad movie, but it's a little uninspired. The concept of transferring the soul of one person into the frame of another is an interesting one, but this film is more concerned with hand-to-hand combat sequences and shoot outs - two of which include a blow torch, mind you - than metaphysical concepts.

And for a film by Tarsem Singh, who directed the lavish thriller "The Cell" and "The Fall," this picture features mostly by-the-numbers camera work to go along with its by-the-numbers script. Some of the scenes shot in New Orleans, where part of the film is set, are atmospheric, but they can't quite save "Self/Less" from its rote storytelling.

I recognize that a silly Hollywood action movie is not the place to go searching for thoughtful analysis when it comes to concepts involving science or what it means to be human, but recent films such as "Interstellar" prove that it is possible to do so. "Self/Less," unfortunately, is just not one of them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: Terminator Genisys

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
The "Terminator" series has a compelling story line but, unfortunately, it is also a franchise that long ago ran out of steam. This latest entry is not so much bad as it is unnecessary. Its story involves an alternate reality caused by time travel, but rather than give this fifth entry a unique spin, it just makes it feel like the same old package in new wrapping paper.

As the film begins, John Connor (Jason Clarke) has led the rebellion to victory against Skynet and finds that a terminator has been sent back to 1984 to assassinate his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke). However, when Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), who is supposed to impregnate Sarah, arrives in the past, he finds out that she has already long been fleeing from futuristic cyborgs and is under the protection of Pops (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

I've never been able to wrap my brain around how John Connor could be alive to fight the resistance in the first place if he had to enlist Reese to go back in time to get Sarah pregnant and this film mostly skips over that conundrum. In this sequel, the "judgment day" does not occur in the late 1990s but, as it turns out, in 2017, when an app known as Genisys is set to launch. One of the film's few intriguing concepts is how wrapped up in technology humans are in the 21st century and how Skynet is a "Trojan horse" that easily infiltrates via gadgets, such as iPhones and laptops.

The other welcome addition to "Genisys" is J.K. Simmons as a detective whose life is saved by Sarah and Pops in 1984 and who investigates the strange goings-on of 2017. Of course, he is perceived by his fellow officers as a raving lunatic who proclaims that robots from the future have come to destroy mankind. But Simmons brings some humanity and humor to a movie that is mostly exposition and expensive special effects.

James Cameron's original "Terminator" film was a thrilling, low budget action film, while its sequel, "T2: Judgment Day," was a high octane blockbuster with groundbreaking special effects. The three sequels since that original pair have been various shades of mediocre. None of them have been particularly bad, but if the series had stopped after the second picture, that would have been perfectly fine as well.

"Genisys" has some great special effects, but a mostly lackluster story and a twist that is not only underdeveloped, but not especially compelling. I'm not sure there's anywhere else for this series to go, that is, until the obligatory remake most likely gets made in about 10 to 20 years. Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: Magic Mike XXL

Image courtesy of Warner Bros. 
Steven Soderbergh's 2012 film, "Magic Mike," was a bonafide sleeper - an entertaining, witty and substantive picture about a male stripper that was based loosely on the experiences of its star, Channing Tatum, and featured an excellent supporting performance by Matthew McConaughey, who was just in the beginning of his McConaissance.

This sequel, set three years later and sorely missing McConaughey as Dallas, is mostly just cashing in on the success of the first movie. It's not a bad movie per se, but it's missing something, despite a few solid sequences.

The plot of "Magic Mike XXL" is paper thin. Our titular hero is now running the small-time furniture business he dreamed of founding in the first film and has been out of the stripping business for a few years. However, we find out that the relationship between Mike and Brooke (Cody Horn, missing this time out as well) did not pan out and that he is, essentially, a free agent. This, of course, enables him to drop everything he is doing to join his former crew (Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, et al) and travel to Myrtle Beach for the - wait for it - "strippers' convention." Yes, there is apparently one of those.

On the way to their destination, they make several stops, two of which involve the picture's most engaging sequences. The first visit is to a former pal of Mike's named Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), who is the MC and owner of an all-black male strip club somewhere in Savannah. Mike and his friends attempt to enlist Rome to replace Dallas, whom we are told has taken his business overseas. This sequence wins points for atmosphere as Rome's club visually looks like something you'd more expect in a film by David Lynch or Nicolas Winding Refn. Plus, the film's best dance sequence takes place here.

The second best - but also, the most absurd - sequence in the film occurs in Charleston, where Mike and his friends stop by the home of a young woman named Zoe (Amber Heard), who has caught Mike's eye. However, Zoe's randy mother (Andie MacDowell) and her friends take a shine to the strippers and some of the movie's funniest moments occur here. Unfortunately, the film's cheesiest bit also goes down in this scene when one of the strippers, in all sincerity, sings Bryan Adams to one of the women.

So, yes, "Magic Mike XXL" is pretty unnecessary - not bad, but not exactly warranted either. The first film took its subject matter seriously and resulted in a good movie, whereas the second is just giving its audience what it wants, which I don't think I have to spell out for you here.

And the final sequences at the stripping convention are pretty conventional, especially on the heels of the earlier - and more successful moments - in Savannah and Charleston. Tatum is a likable movie star and, I'd imagine, it sounded like a fun idea for him to revisit this character, but it's probably not necessary to do it a third time.