I had wanted to see this film when it came out, but had decided to wait till Netflix DVD, especially since it got only a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now having seen it, I wish I had seen it in the theater, so that I could have seen it in 3D, since it is a Disney film, and they didn’t release a 3D version on DVD. I actually really enjoyed this true story. In fact I liked it much better than almost all of the Oscar contenders that I have seen. It is a great story, has some interesting characters, great effects, plus it is a Cape Cod story which makes it even bettter for me! I highly recommend this film.
In 1952 in Chatham on Cape Cod, Coast Guardsman Bernard “Bernie” Webber (Chris Pine) meets the girl he has been corresponding with through letters. This is Miriam Pentinen (Holliday Grainger) and the two start seeing each other, and she asks him to marry her, at first he refuses, but then he agrees, but has to get permission from his commanding officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) before they can Mary. Bernie doesn’t want to get married, because of the big storms likely coming, and knowing that men die. On the day Bernie has promissed to ask Cliff a big storm arrives, and 2 tankers manage to get torn in half off of Cape Cod, though only one had gotten a message out. The SS Fort Mercer has ripped in half, losing it’s Captain and 7 crew members, and it’s radio was knocked out. The ship has a 17 foot crack in the engineering section, so it though the bulkheads are holding, it is sinking. The unliked Chief Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) takes command, and tries to ground the ship on sholes, by manually stearing it, while the crew mans the pumps.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
Pixar has done it again, matching the magic of Finding Nemo, by focusing it’s sequel on Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) Nemo’s funniest character the short term memory defficient clown fish. This film is funny and enjoyable with a bunch of lovable new characters. Well worth seeing and easily on of the best animated films of the year.
Dory lost her parents as a child due to her short term memory issues, and ended up with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). She starts to remember her family and recruits Marlin and Nemo, but Marlin is mean to her and she runs off on her own. Dory is picked up by humans at an aquarium and rescue center, and put in quarantine, but with a tag to be sent to Cleveland Aquarium. A seven legged octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neil) wants the tag as he doesn’t want to go back to the ocean, and agrees to help her find her parents.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS… (more…)
An enjoyable science fiction romance with sone issues, but that is lifted by the chemistry of the leads. And mostly my issues are script level, where things just don’t make sense, or are only that way to move the script along. It is nowhere near as bad as the reviews are saying though. It is below 40% on rottentomatoes, and that is ridiculous, it is much better than that. It is really worth seeing as a popcorn film with some interesting moral questions, and great visual effects.
The colony ship Avalon is taking a 120 year journey to the planet Homestead 2 with the crew in hybernation, set to awaken 4 months before arrival, and spend 4 months in cruise ship luxury (all further putting the passengers in debt to the conpany) while being teainee for their new life of corporate indentitude. The ship is hit by a large space rock that penetrate it’s defences and begin to overwhelm it’s self repair systems. Low level passenger and Mechanical Engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) has his pod damaged and is awoken 90 years early! He is alone, with no way to go back into suspended animation, with awful cheap food (he is not a high class passenger) and only the robot bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen) for conpanionship. He breaks into better quarters, and figures out how to dine out, but after a year alone is ready for suicide. Just then he runs into the pod of Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), a writer and journalist. Jim becomes obsessed with her, reading all her writing and ready to awaken her, though he tries not to, but he can’t help himself.
Review Contains Spoilers… (more…)
Laika has done it again. Another amazing stop motion animated film. This one with it’s Japanese Samurai Fantasy film could very well have been an anime, and might lose some audience because of it, but I loved it.
Honestly the worst part is the voice cast. I just don’t think big actors do as well as voice actors. Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey’s voices are really distracting, though Ralp Fiennes was fine. I just think big actors are a distraction instead of serving the story.
i really want to see the behind the scenes on this! They do have one amazing shot of them shooting a scene mid credits that is a must see.
I am a huge Star Wars fan, I grew up with it, and got into film because of it. That is how much I love the original trilogy. Then came the awful prequel trilogy that is basically unwatchable. Still I continued to read basically the entire expanded universe, which had some great stories, though is unfortunately no longer canon. And then came the Force Awakens, somewhat better than the prequels, but still really bad. And my hopes for more Star Wars to love were pretty much dashed. And then came Rogue One. It is in no way a perfect film, but it is the Star Wars film I have always wanted, even with it’s faults. This is a must see, and so much better than the Force Awakens that I was blown away.
It looks and feels like the original trilogy, and leads right into a new hope. And the effects and the 3D are awesome! Sure the film is mostly fan service, but oh what fan service! This is a must see film! Not only filling you with nostalgia, but a really enjoyable film.
Just saw it a second time at a true IMAX in 70 millimeter! Wow, looked pretty amazing! Been so long since I have seen a film on film.
I am a huge Trekkie (never liked the term Trekker), and I love the original series, the features, the next generation and deep space 9, and to a lesser degree voyager and enterprise, but have never like the JJ or now called Kelvinverse. Sure the first film was novel, and the cast seemed great, but the fact that it didn’t pay attention to any star trek history, and just made the cerebral series into an action film had me worried. Then came Into Darnkess, an awful retread of the great Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan, which was not only a pale imitation with bad casting (I love Benedict Cumberbatch, but playing Khan as played by Ricardo Montalban is so insulting), but had such a bad plot that it introduced elements that ruined Star Trek. Like a duffel sized transporter that can transport you to your enemies homeworld, which would negate the need for Starships, but also magic blood that can reverse death! And this film, which was to finally get the going into the unknow on the Enterprise’s 5 year mission to boldy go where no man has gone before, makes it all seem boring to the characters, neglects Uhura, Sulu and Checkov (by the now late Anton Yelchin), falls back to old tropes on blowing up the Enterprise, the reveal of the villain (what a waste of Idris Elba) and even ship design with the most important part of a Starbase so hard to get to and working so badly, it reminds me of the Chompers from Galaxy Quest! Sure there are some good moments, and the spacebattle stuff looks great thanks to Justin Lin’s experience with action, and the new Character Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) is fun, but just too great at everything, from fighting and shooting to creating cloacking devices and holoprojects and motorcylces that can leave solid amber to capture enemies out of it’s exhaust, and even fix whole starships mostly by herself! Really a bit too much Rey from the Force Awakens for my taste. And then their is the defeat of the enemy fleet in the stupidest way of all time, with a lame throwback to the first reboot! Really? I mean could it be more dumb. Sure the film is better than Into Darkness, but at this point it is really too bad they green lit a fourth film as I just want the JJverse to go away!
The film starts 3 years into it’s five year mission, with Kirk (Chris Pine) helping deliver a piece of an ancient weapon as a peace envoy, but he badly screws up, and it turns into a comedy sketch as the aliens turn out to be tiny and attack him. He beams back to the ship and has Spock (Zachary Quinto) store the piece of weapon. Kirk is burnt out, and bored of his mission and has applied to Starfleet to be Vice Admiral (something the original Kirk never wanted, but just accepted when he was promoted). They take the ship to Starbase Yorktown, slarfleets biggest and most advanced starbase for a refuel and sone r and r (the ridiculous glass enclosed starbase looks like a ridiculous Christmas ornament, seems ridiculously designed with different parts literally pointing in every direction, and later is shown to have sone serious design flaws). Sulu (John Cho) meets up with his husband and daughter. We learn Spock has broken up with Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and he learns from Vulcan’s that Ambassador Spock has died and is given a package of his things including his photos with his old crew. An escape pod comes out of a nearby uncharted nebula with a lone survivor named Kalara (Lydia Wilson but voiced by Sara Maria Forsberg). She tells them that he ship crashed and needs a rescue, and Commodore Paris (Shohreh Asdashloo) sends the Enterprise.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS… (more…)
OK, let me preface this by saying that I am a huge Star Wars fan. I went to film school because I dreamed of going to work for ILM and someday working on new Star Wars films. I have read almost every book in the Star Wars extended universe. When I got a bonus for my first editing gig, working on The Fellowship of the Ring DVD I bought myself a replica of Han Solo’s gun from the Empire Strikes back. I equally hate the prequels. They are crap, and ignore much of what the original trilogy did. I am also not much of a fan of J.J. Abrams. I thought the casting of his new Star Trek films was great, but the films themselves did not feel at all like Star Trek to me, and the second was utter nonsense that ruins Star Trek all together. I have always felt that J.J. Abrams is more into spectacle than a story that makes sense, and would rather rely on coincidence or magic as long as it gets him where he wants to go, and unfortunately for me this has carried over to Star Wars The Force Awakens. So while most people really seem to love this film, I can honestly say that I like it better than the prequels, and I do think that John Boyega and Daisy Ridley did good jobs with what they were given, but overall the film just isn’t good to me and that is after 2 viewings. Sure it looks great, but spectacle does not make a good film!
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
My first and biggest problems is how much of a rehash this is. It is a retelling of A New Hope, with elements of Empire and Return of the Jedi. I mean a simple descriptions is that a droid with plans in it, ends up on a desert planet, and meets up with a young hotshot pilot who is also powerful in the force. That person meets an old man who takes that person under their wing. The person then meets a wise alien powerful in the force and goes on to help the destroy the evil dark side users planet destroying space weapon! Sounds like a mishmash of all the star wars plots, and that is what it is. Sure it has some interesting new elements, but overall it doesn’t feel at all new. And that is a problem. It is just too much what we have already seen.
Yes, the new character Finn played by John Boyega is fun and really enjoyable but his story has faults, and I think daisy Ridley does some great acting, but her character is too powerful with no flaws and is just badly written, but I will talk more about that later.
And then their is the problem of coincidence. Too much in this movie relies on coincidence. Sure there was always coincidence in Star Wars, but this film takes it to a whole new level. And it doesn’t explain anything. The prequels had way too much explanation in them, that was unnecessary and hurt the plot, but this film goes to the other extreme and explains nothing. BB-8 gets found by the force sensitive Rei, who runs into the escaped Storm Trooper Finn, and they accidently stumble into the Millenium falcon, and she can amazingly pilot the ship. As soon as they get off planet, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) finds them. He takes them to a space bar run by force user Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) a powerful force user who has Luke Skywalker’s first light saber (which fell into the gas giant at Cloud City) and it just happens to give visions to Rey. Later on the Death Star, I mean Starkiller, Han and Finn just happen to run into Rei, so they can get her out. And after the Starkiller is destroyed (hasn’t the Empire, or as called here the New Order learned that Death Stars don’t work), R2-D2 who has been powered down, just powers back up and has the rest of the map to Luke Skywalker that BB-8 has the last part of. It is all coincidence, without any shown motivation in the story and it really weakens things! Lets lose some pace and have a little explanation!
And as for Finn, while I do really enjoy John Boyega’s portrayal, in the movie much of his character’s story has some serious faults. A kid stolen from his parents, and made a janitor on a space weapon, is later made a stormtrooper for an elite battalion led by the supposedly amazing Captain Phasma (Gwendolyn Christy with much hype, but an awful character), but won’t shoot who is ordered too, wouldn’t there have been some trsting for this? Then he so freaks out when a friend who is another stormtrooper dies, he helps an enemy escape, and ends up being ok with shooting and killing other stormtroopers who he could also know. And how is he so good with a lightsaber? In A New Hope these were obscure weapons not jany had seen! Sure maybe the New Order trained against them, but would you train a janitor with a lightsaber? And if you have a military stolen at birth, would you advertise he is a traitor? I wouldn’t cause it could give people ideas, amd yet he keeps running into New Order people who know he is a traitor! Otherwise is that stormtrooper who is such a bad ass against lightsabers his former friend then. And how is at that the creatures on Han’s ship kill everyone as soon as they get them, until they run get Finn and they just cary him till Rei can save him.
And speaking of the bad ass storm trooper who can take on Jedi. He rocks, but is only in the one scene! Wouldn’t it have been better if it had been Captain Phasma? She seems to be of high rank in the New Order, and leads her own troops, but when push comes to shove she folds. Han and Finn threaten and she drops the StarKiller’s shields essentially dooming her side. And though their are two dead Stormtrooper bodies on the ground behind them, they put her in a trash compactor to make a cheap joke that harkene back to A New Hope and ensures that she comes back, even though she really didn’t earn it.
And then their is the Dark Vader replacement here, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who of course turns out to be Han and Leia’s son Ben Solo. Instead of channeling the original trilogy, this Darth Vader obsessed Dark Force user, who defeated Luke and killed everyone in his new school of Jedi seems to act more like whiny emo Anakin Skywalker. He has temper tantrums and even Storm Troopers turn and walk away when he is throwing one. Nothing like the Dark presence of Darth Vader. And yet we see him as possibly the strongest force user we have seen, able to stop blaster bolts in the air (not deflect them like Vader or Yoda) and freeze people and force rape their minds! And he was trained by the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker! And yet he is so easy bested by a completely untrained force user, and is stupidly saved by the ground cracking open seperating him from Rei. I mean Stormtroopers showing up at least wouldn’t have felt like such a coincidence!
And then we have Rey played by Daisy Ridley. She is super cute, and acts very well, and is a total bad ass, but as a character she is just way too good. She was abandoned on a desert planet and works scavenging, but she can instantly pilot the Millenium Falcon better than Han Solo, and fix it better than him too. And he instantly likes her and wants her to join him, and he and Finn will risk everything to save her. She is a crack shot. After being overpowered and captured by Ren, she manages to overwhelm his mind and read him. And later defeat him with a lightsaber the first time she has ever used one, though he is well trained in using one, with him only being saved by the ground of the planet splitting open and saving him (seriously!!!!!!!). She is way too good at everything with no character faults or faults at all. She doesn’t even need to train or learn anything, she can just do it perfectly! I mean Luke had to struggle, and train, and he trained Kylo Renn before he was trained by Dark Force user Snoke (Andy Serkis), and this untrained girl can easily defeat him! Yes it is cool to see a girl kicking ass with the force and a lightsaber, but she doesn’t have to work for it, so it is meaningless! The original Star Wars trilogy was based on Jospeh Campbell and his Power of Myth, following a heroes journey and struggle, but Rei has no struggle, she is just too good for no reason.
And as I said, I know they don’t want to go into the political machinations of the galaxy, like Lucas did in the prequels, but some explanation would be good. Why is Leia the General of the Resistance, who the New Order says is being secretly funded by the restored Republic. A Resistance would be against the current government, not fighting the enemy. And was the whole Republic government really destroyed? If so it was such a throwaway!
And what about the New Order. It seems to be the Empire 2.0 with Hitler references amped up. No longer any thought to them being right though, just being evil and wanting order in the galaxy under their thumb, through destruction And is Snoke an alien or a really deformed human, cause the Empire has always been a human only club. There is just no depth here. Tarkin in a New Hope was evil, but there was something to him, but General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) is just evil in this. And his troops are all stolen as children and mind controlled to obey, there is nothing good there at all, so why would anyone follow them? At least before they had the imperial academy that Han went to and Luke wanted to go to. Personally I would have found Stormtroopers indoctrinated to think they are on the side of right, and not just forced to believe that much scarier. And how bright can the New Order be to put their resources into building a third death star, after the first 2 were so easily dispatched. Why not try something new? How many ships could they have built instead of that one weapon?
And speaking of the Star Killer, it seems ridiculous. Easily destroyed by a small group of rebels bringing down the shield (can we say Return of the Jedi) and a few snub fighters! WTF! Where was the fleet? We saw one Star Destroyer in orbit after one shot of the StarKiller, but did they have no more ships to go against the resistance X-Wings? And did the Resistance really have no capital ships to throw at them, and only a few X-Wings? We hear of a New Republic fleet, but what is it doing while all this is going on? The only reason to show only a few X-wings is that they are trying to slavishly imitate A New Hope! And the StarKiller eats Stars to power itself and yet seems to be a planet with people on the exterior, even though it would have been a wasteland after the first star it ate to charge itself before we saw it. Not only that but in the New Hope the Death Star is built up and a big threat, but here we are searching for Luke for the whole film, then we stop the search, and have a new Death Star to deal with, but it has no dread to it, or consequences as we have no idea what it actually destroyed!
And more slavishly following the original trilogy we get Lupita Nyong’o’s Yoda, I mean Maz Kanata. Not only is her bar basically the Mos Eisley Cantina from A New Hope, but as a force sensative little Alien she literally seems to be Yoda. Maz seems here cause they wanted her here, and wanted her to give Rei Luke’s first lightsaber, previous Anakin Skywalkers, which she tells us how she got it is another story. Sure since it was lost along with Luke’s hand at Bespin, where it seemed to fall into the depths of the planet (and since it was a Tibana gas mining facility it seems it was likely a gas giant planet where the lightsaber would have fallen and been crushed and lost forver), but maybe was recovered from facility. She is just there for exposition. To get Han to Lei, and get the lightsaber to Rei.
And Han Solo, yes it was great to have him and Chewy back, but still so much was wrong! He lost the Millenium Falcon, and as soon as Rei and Finn fly it into space he stumbles upon it. And I know losing his son to the dark side and having him murder all the training Jedi would be a blow, but it puts him back right where he was before the original trilogy, but worse. He is back to being a smuggler, but no longer seems to be a good one! He has pissed off two groups not delivering often (after only losing his cargo once before the original trilogy), and has no defences on his new ship so they can easily dock and come in. He hasn’t grown at all, and is not even battling the New Order that his evil son is now a bad ass in. I thought he did what was right now? No lets let your son destroy the Republic you fought so hard for. And there is the matter of his death. It was obviously the big twist, I mean he wanted to die in Jedi and it had to have been what he agreed to before he would come back, but the circumstances are ridiculous. First off, we have a bridge across an endless pit, that only has rails for it’s first 20 feet. So are people expected to cross that? Or are there no rails so Han can fall after his son kills him once Lea tells him to save their son. So he is playing the old Man Obi-Wan and gas to die, and especially by the hamd of his son. Expedience, not sense! And then no funeral for Han? WTF?
And the End, WTF! Already BB-8 is the R2-D2 of this film, but then having R2 powered down for the whole film, and after the Death Star, uh I mean Star Killer is destroyed to have R2 wake up and just happen to have the rest of the ridiculous map to Luke Skywalker (about the dumbest Maguffin of all time, because how could it exist?), which he has just ben sitting on even though it at least showed an area where they know Luke is! And then Lei just sends this girl that she barely knows to find her brother, from the opening scroll, the only one who can save the galaxy! What? And it is so easy to just fly there? And then Luke is an Island with no habitation, just standing there, and seems pissed off, though he must have heard the Falcon and felt Rei coming! And with Han dead we never see the original trio back together! What a f***ing waste! Not only that, but the whole Luke scene where he doesn’t even speak, feels so tacked on, like it should have been in the next film, because it adds nothing but fan service, and makes the film seem incomplete, without an ending.
I can honestly say that I couldn’t believe that I was watching the same film that everyone else loved! It is just not a good film and scares me to see what else Disney will be doing with Star Wars. Honestly I would be much happier if this new film had not happened and the extended Universe of books gad just continued. Sure it gad some bad stories, but it also had some amazing ones! In fact many of those would have been so much better than what they actually did, and could have kept the extended universe going. I am so let down and depressed.
I am a big Marvel fan, and see every one of their movies on opening weekend, and I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, and always will because of Firefly. So I wanted to see this opening weekend, and Kelly and I went to the TCL Chinese to see opening weekend in 3D Laser Projection IMAX. That was my first time there since the refit since TCL renamed it from Mann. I didn’t realize how much the theater has changed. It is now assigned stadium seating and we got really bad seats up to close. And a word of warning for anyone with lactose intolerance, it seems their popcorn has butter on it without your putting butter on it! The new projector was impressive though, not so much for Avengers, but a preview scene of Tomorrowland looked absolutely amazing. Like 70 millimeter or better! Wow! As for the movie. I enjoyed it. I didn’t love it like I loved the Avengers, but I enjoyed it. There might have been a bit too much going on, and some parts feel obviously cut down too much, like what happens to Thor. And the dream sequences that delve into each characters past are interesting, but do seem to not serve much of the storyline. It is big and exciting though, even if it is a little bit downbeat and depressing. Still it is winding down some of these characters story lines, and leading into the Marvel Civil War, so of course it will be a bit darker and more downbeat. And yes it does go very different from the comic in many ways, but this Marvel Universe is obviously not the comic universe at that point, and with the ongoing new Secret Wars, it seems the Marvel Universe is completely changing now anyway, so I am OK with that. Overall I did enjoy it, but not love it. Worth seeing, but not amazing, and maybe a little too big for it’s own britches.
The Avengers, Steve Rogers AKA Captain America (Chris Evans), Tony Stark AKA Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner AKA the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) attack a Hydra outpost let by Baron Wolfang von Strucker (Henry Goodman) to retrieve Loki’s scepter. They are intercepted by two enhanced humans that Strucker has created with the scepter, Wanda Maximoff aka the Scarlet Witch (Elixabeth Olsen) with telekinetic and hypnotic powers, and her twin brother Pietro Maximoff AKA Quicksilver the Speedster. The Avengers manage to capture Strucker and get the scepter.
Stark and Banner at Avengers tower start to study the Scepter before Thor returns it to his homeland of Asguard, and see that it seems to contain a power Artificial intelligence, and Stark wants to use it for his Ultron Global Defense Program, using Iron Man Armor robots to stop any big threat, and save humanity from a threat as big as the Schitari from the last film. They use Stark’s own AI J.A.R.V.I.S. (Paul Bettany) to work on the alien AI, but it defeats J.A.R.V.I.S., taking over, and Ultron (James Spader) is born. Utron decides that to stop war and violence it will eradicate the human race, and it will take over.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
Spider-Man has always been my favorite comic book character. His was the first comic book I ever picked up and read, and has always been the hardest for me to stop reading when I have had to give up comics at various times (with X-men a close second), so of course I have to go see Spider-Man. And these films are oh so much better than the Sub Par Sam Raimi films, even if I don’t think Andrew Garfield is good enough looking to play Peter Parker, though his performance is pretty good. I did like the first Amazing Spider-Man reboot, though this film is as not as good as that one.
Emma Stone is just perfect as Gwen Stacy, though there is still something not quite right about these films, as compared to the true Marvel comic books. Really the only good part is the Peter and Gwen Stacy sequences. The music is totally forgettable and doesn’t add much to the films. Paul Giamatti is just too over the top, even for a comic book villain. And having to introduce Harry Osborne lessened his impact. As does having 2 big end villain battles, both with people driven crazy by getting their powers.
And while I do enjoy the film in it’s way, there is just something not good about it. Still I do love how much they did follow the comic book for the big event of this film, down to the character costumes! The 3D is fantastic though, and really does give you the feel of being the web slinger, going through Manhattan, which is amazing. Overall I do recommend this film, and did like it very much. I just wish Marvel themselves were doing it instead of FOX (then Spider-Man could show up Avengers too), as they would do better.
The film starts with us seeing more of what happened to Peter’s father Richard (Campbell Scott) and mother Mary (Embeth Davidtz) that was just hinted at in the last film. We see Richard recording a video message, saying not to believe what they would say about him, when he left. Then we see from the last film where his office is ransacked and they leave young Peter with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle. They get on a private plain and take off, and he is transferring his data from his laptop, but they are betrayed. Mary is killed, and Richard manages to fight off the guy and knock him out of the plane and transfer the data before the plane crashes and the Parkers are killed.
In the present, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is Spider-Man and has broken his promise to Police Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary) and is seeing his love Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Spider-Man captures armored car robber Aleksei Systevich (Paul Giamatti), and saves OsCorp worker Max Dillon (Jamie Fox), who is obsessed with Spider-Man. This makes him late for his High School graduation, where Gwen is giving her speech. Peter keeps seeing Captain Stacy in visions and he goes to see Gwen that night at a restaurant with her family and is going to break up with her, but she breaks up with him as she can’t take it anymore.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
DreamWorks has created an alright 3D animated film. A bit too much of a lame rom com feel to it, but at least it isn’t a musical, and has some funny, if forgettable scenes. The obvious for 3D action scenes don’t add much in 2D, but the characters are like-able enough for one viewing. Certainly better than Frozen, but not nearly as good as Epic!
The Croods are a Neanderthal family who have survived thanks to their adherence to their old rules that are kept on their cave walls. Never to go out at night, nothing new is good, to always hide, etc. The rules are enforced by the father Grug (Nicholas Cage). The family is wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), chubby son Thunk (Clarke Duke), rabbid baby daughter Sandy, hated mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) and the curious and headstrong daughter Eep (Emma Stone). Eep hears something and goes out at night and meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who is clever and inventive and learns from new things. He tells Eep that the world is ending and tries to get her to go with him, but she has to return to her family, but he gives her a shell to signal him. Eep returns hone, but catastrophe strikes, and their cave is destroyed. They end up in a new green land, and Grug wants a new cave, but Eep signals Guy who is traveling to a far mountain to be safe.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS… (more…)
Disney has returned to the Disney princesses in full force with this 3D animated dud. Not only a bland storyline, but the songs, which I am never a huge fan of will leave even a Disney fanatic flat. This is a total waste of time, and makes me lament that Disney has not learned more from Pixar. I can’t believe this film has done so well because it is just awful.
In a snowy fairy tale Northern Europe, the eldest daughter of the King (Maurice LaMarche), princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) has developed ice powers, and accidentally injures her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell). To save her the King and Queen take Anna to the trolls, who save her by erasing her memories of her sister’s magic. Not long after the King and Queen are killed on a journey, and Elsa locks off the castle, and locks herself in her room, leaving Anna all alone, and not understanding why. When Elsa is to turn 18 there is to be a coronation, where they will have to open the palace. Anna quickly falls for Prince Hans of the Southern Isles (Santino Fontana), and tries to get Elsa to agree, but the emotions make her powers go crazy, and the Evil Duke Weselton (Alan Tudyk of Firefly) declares Elsa a menace. Elsa flees into wilderness, causing an eternal winter to fall on the kingdom.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS… (more…)
Maybe it is good that I am not directing films, because this is my type of movie, and it is a total failure and has gotten an 11 % rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I loved it. A really good fantasy action film set in Fuedal Japan, with great action. A Japanese fantasy film in the vein of many Hong Kong action films. With the added bonus of looking great, and having great special effects and fantastic 3D!
A young mixed race boy named Kai is wounded by evil spirits, but escapes. He is taken in by Lord Asano (Min Tanaka), and his daughter Mika (Kou Shibasaki) falls for the young man. Asano’s head Samurai Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) never likes or trusts Kai though. Kai (Keanu Reeves) grows up to be a peasant, as he cannot be a samurai. Asano leads his Samurai into the wilds to defeat a creature, and make it safe for the Shogun (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Kai leads them to the creature, and ends up saving a samurai, and killing the creature with the samurai’s sword, but the Samurai takes the credit. Kai comes back late alone, and Mika goes to help him, but he asks her to leave, even though they love each other, but he is bellow her station.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
Easily the best animated film of the year, and yet it likely won’t even get nominated. This adaptation of The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce, has amazing design and a fun adventure story. I am so surprised this didn’t get better reviews, because I really loved it! And the art is so good, I would love to get the book on all the concept art for the tiny leaf warriors! A must see film!
17 year old M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) moves in with her eccentric scientist father Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis). Bomba is obsessed with finding a race of tiny human warriors in his back yard. So obsessed, that his wife had long ago left him, and he hasn’t seen his daughter until her mother died. The warriors though are real and called Leafmen, who move faster than human’s so are impossible to see (much like the original Star Trek episode where the people can be heard as a buzz). The Leafmen protect Queen Tara (Beyoncé) and the creatures of the forrest from the evil Boggans led by Mandrake (the great Christoph Waltz). The Leafman leader Ronin (Colin Farell) pushes young soldier Nod (Josh Hutcherson) too far and he quits, though Ronin had promised his father to watch over Nod. The queen is in the process of choosing a successor to keep the forrest safe, but Mandrake sends his son Dagda (Blake Anderson) after them, and the Queen is killed along with Dagda, but she passes her power into a bud that ends up with M.K. who is shrunk down and sped up by the power, and they must save it, to save the forrest.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS… (more…)
The second of Jackson’s 3 part adaption of the Hobbit, and the first he felt was really his own. It is certainly a better film than the first, though it does take more liberties with the story. And once again I saw it in HFR, high frame rate, 48 frames per second, though this time in IMAX so with passive glasses. This time Jackson has softened the HDR, and lowered the saturation to try and remove the video look, but to me it still had a video look, though less of the keystone cops effect I got with the first film. The softening and lowering of saturation got rid of the amazing clarity I loved in the last film, and did not make it look less like video, so that was dissapointing. The 48 FPS did make the 3D look fantastic and smooth though. And yes the film is better and more action packed. And Smaug is amazing! And it is fun to have Legolas back, though some changes seemed arbitrary, and didn’t add much.
Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) meets the hunted Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) at the prancing pony, saving him from agents of evil, and setting him on his quest to take back the Misty Mountains. We then cut to Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) a year later on their quest, still running from Azog (Manu Bennett) and his Orcs. Azog is called to his master the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch), so he sends his son Bolg (Lawrence Makoare) after the dwarves. Gandalf leads the company to the home of the shapeshifter Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) who helps them to the Elven Mirkwood forest. The forest seems sick, and they find dark speech grafitti, causing Gandalf to leave. The company enters the Mirkwood Forrest, but get lost with Bilbo climbing a tree and figuring where they are, as the rest are captured by evil spiders.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Wow! Wow! Wow! Now I thought I would like this film, but I didn’t realize just how much it would blow me away! Not only is this a fantastic science fiction film, but it has the best special effects I have ever seen, and the best 3D I have ever seen! I mean it felt like you were there, and the changing perspective made it even better. Wow, what a film! And I love how it is set i the real world, even if it couldn’t have all happened. And honestly peoples complaints about Sandra Bullock’s hair not floating, didn’t bother me at all. Not only would it have added to the cost, but digital hair may not have looked that good, and that really would have distracted. And not explaining why a Medical Doctor was working on Hubble didn’t bother me either because it wasn’t necessary to be explained! And sure for someone who says they were awful at piloting Soyuz, was pretty good at it, but it is a science fiction film! And it is exciting, visually spectacular and quite enjoyable. And I may not be a fan of Sandra Bullock, but she was fine here. The scientific flaws in the film bother me much more, and I will talk about them a bit in my review. Still this is a fantastic film with amazing visuals and a must see in 3D!
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical doctor and mission specialist on a shuttle mission, while she is working on her update to the Hubble Space telescope. The mission commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is out testing an experimental MMU, while a second mission specialist finishes up and heads toward the airlock. Stone is having trouble getting her addition to Hubble working, when they get an emergency call from Mission control. The Russian’s shot down one of their satellites and it has caused a catastrophic cascade, with all Satellites in the way being destroyed and adding to the debris cloud and about to cut off communication.
Review Contains Spoilers!
I am a Sam Raimi fan, or at least you could say I once was. As I am a huge fan of the Evil Dead films, but after the disastrously bad Spiderman films, I have lost a lot of respect, so I was not looking forward to this film at all, but the wife wanted to see it so I rented it on Netfllix. She was ready to quit in about 20 minutes, it is that bad, but we stuck it out, and it does have some cool points at the end, one really good concept that works really well here. And my biggest complaint is just how bad everything looks. Yes everything is fantastical, but the effects just don’t look good, and the 2D film does not benefit from multiple extended sequences obviously made to wow 3D audiences, that add nothing to the plot. And so many of the plot points are so obvious and called out way too early that there is no surprise to this film except the decent ending sequence, which is more an homage that really works than any for of surprise. This film is just not good and wastes some fairly good talent along the way.
This is basically a prequel to the old Warner Brother’s film, though made from the source material which is public domain, though hewing so close to the original film in some things, I pictured Warner lawyers going over the film with a fine tooth comb. This is the origin story of the Great and powerful Oz. We see him first in 1905 Kansas, Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) working as a magician in a circus, treating his assistant Frank (Zach Braff) and charming stupid girls with slight of hand and music boxes. His old love Annie (Michelle Williams) comes to visit and tell him that she has been proposed too, and Oz blows her off as he doesn’t want to be a good man, but a great man. Just then the strongman, whose woman he charmed, bursts through and as a storm approaches, Oz jumps in his hot air balloon to escape, but ends up being sucked into a twister. After an extended 3D action sequence, he comes through and out into OZ, and the film opens up from 4:3 B&W into color, and widescreen into the fully digital and not so great looking land of Oz.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
I am really scared of the new Star Wars film, as I other than some great character moments and great effects, this film is a mess! Not only is the story a mediocre crossing of Star Trek 2 and Star Trek 6, but so many plot points go nowhere or are spoiled so in early the film that there is no suspense! And so much is thrown away. The Klingons (who look awful) only show up once. Cumberbatch is wasted never becoming the ally or adversary he should have. And there are no consequences! I can say the 3D upconvert looked great, even the lens flares were not bothersome. Sure i will see it again on blu-ray as it is Star Trek, but overall this was a failure as Star Trek. A popcorn summer film, with a twisted look at original Star Trek. I would rather have seen new Star Trek in the original timeline’s future, but done with style, then screwing up old wonderful stories and not bringing anything new, while destroying so much of what was great!
I wanted to like this film, as I am a huge fan of the comic and loved the first film, and liked the second, but really was not much of a fan of this one. While it is a fun summer popcorn film, I was too thrown not only by the blatant changes to the storyline from the comic, that to me ruined some fundamental iron man storylines, but also by the huge plot holes in the script. Maybe when I see it again on blu-ray I will enjoy it more, because it was funny, and the effects (and 3D upconvert) were great, but the story just left me flat. And for some I would have been OK if they had just changed things a little (or just made up a new villain, since this villain is most certainly not the Mandarin, nor does that have anything to do with extremis!
The movie starts with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) remembering meeting a scientist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) who was working on a way to remap and control DNA to repair, but it had problems and would cause things to explode, but the drunken Tony gives her a formula to help. Stark also blows off a cripples scientist named Alrdich Killian (Guy Pierce) who is working on creating a think tank called Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM, which I felt should have had some nod to the yellow beekeeper outfits always seen in the comics). We then cut to the present, where Pepper Potts (Gwynyth Paltrow) is running Stark Enterprises, and Happy Hogan (John Favreau) has become head of security. The now physically fit Killian comes to pepper to show his way of fixing the human brain, but she turns down funding him because the project could be too easily weaponized. Meanwhile Tony Stark has serious PTSD and spends him time locked in his lab, making new armor variations, including his new suite that will fly to him in individual parts. Pepper has moved in, but he still interacts with her via his armor when he can (which he can remote control now), and he is basically really losing it. Meanwhile a new terrorist the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley playing a Mandarin that has nothing to do with the comic Mandarin whatsoever) is threatening the President (William Sadler) and make explosions where the find zero bomb parts. War Machine now redubbed the Iron Patriot, and it’s pilot Colonel Jim Rhodes (Don Cheedle) is trying to find the Mandarin, but the intelligence is always faulty.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
Not the best Pixar film, but certainly better than Cars 1 or 2, and i have an affinity for the Scottish subject matter. Not only that, but the artwork and animation are fantastic, and the trailers kept me in the dark about the main storyline completely! Great to see a story about a girl, the tomboy princess Merida (played by Kelly MacDonald) and her mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) who wants her to be a perfect little princess, while Merida wants to ride and hunt and shoot arrows and enlists a witch for help with almost tragic consequences. Well worth seeing, though not Pixar’s best film (The Incredibles and Wall-E hold that for me).
10 years later, the prequel to The Lord of the Rings has started, and Middle Earth is back. I worked for 3 years on LOTR, and love the films, so of course I enjoyed this. Martin Freeman as Bilbo is fantastic, and it is so great to see Ian McKellen back as Gandalf the Grey and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Also cool to see Richard Armitage from Spooks and the first series of Strike Back and Aidan Turner from Being Human, but the coolest is the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown. And while I couldn’t follow most of the Dwarves, all the cameos such as Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Ian Holmes as old Bilbo, Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel make this such an extension of the previous films that it is a joy. Of course not all is great.
First off the Dolby Atmos surround was unbelievably good. Best sound I have ever heard! Wow! The issues and greatness were from the HFR or high frame rate. Jackson decided to shoot the 3D at double the normal 24 frames per second frame rate and shoot at 48 frames per second. The biggest upshot is that fixes the stuttering issues which are so apparent in 24 fps 3D, making this the best and smoothest 3D I have ever seen. In fact my motion sick wife had no complaints about the 3D for the first time ever. And another upshot that blew me away was the clarity. 48 fps means almost zero motion blur, so the clarity was stunning! It looked like a completely new format, so sharp and clear it was amazing! Of course that same thing also caused issues. First off at first it did have a very video feel, though that lessened as it went on, but the weirdest and most jarring problem with HFR is that something of the high frame rate caused many shots to look sped up, and the issue persisted throughout the film, though was not there in wide shots, which looked maxing, nor in battle scenes, which looked amazing and so clear. It was jarring and weird though. I wonder if it is the lack of motion blur that does it. And it did seem to bother me less, so maybe it can be gotten used to. And I want to get used to it, because I loved the clarity. And while others have complained about it making the effects look bad, I actually thought it improved them! And I I loved the lack of camera stutter, if only the weird speed up thing wasn’t there. And looking at the DVD screener the issue is not there at all. So it did bother me, but I still want o see the next one in HFR, so I guess I liked it. I would see it again that way in fact (the DVD looked so incredibly dull compared to HFR, and I wonder how the blu-ray will compare?). An interesting experiment. Weird, but I enjoyed it, and would like to see it again that way, so…
Spiderman was the first comic I ever picked up, and I read comic books for a long time (and do again now after a long stretch starting in college), and Spiderman is still my favorite comic book character. That being said I really hated the Sam Raimi directed Spiderman movies with Toby Maguire. I just felt they didn’t get spiderman at all, and were more example of Fox studios not getting the characters. Well that has changed because Marc Webb’s 3D Spiderman is pretty much spot on! I mean sure I have a few complaints (where is Spiderman’s signature line, I mean WTF!), but overall not only does this get the characters, but it is pretty damn superhero movie as well. And I like how it spends so much time building up the character before Spiderman is even seen. This is really a must see, and honestly I loved it in 3D, but it was shot that way on RED Epics, and looks great for it, though it also looked great in 2D. I am pysched that they have already greenlit 2 sequels, and am looking forward to them because this series has some serious potential! One major complaint is the score is not very good, and tends towards very cheesy at some moments, and that does bring it down a bit.
A young child, Peter Parker (Max Charles) finds his father’s home office broken into. His father Richard Parker (Campbell) grabs some hidden documents and his wife Mary (Embeth Davidtz), and they rush over to his brother’s house and leave your Peter with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Peter’s parents are never seen again, and he grows up and is going to high school (and now played by the British Andrew Garfield, who is a bit too old, but I think his love for the comic really helped). Peter is smart, and not very popular, being bullied by the jock Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka), though he does get noticed by the lovely Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone who is excellent here as the brainy blond). At home Peter finds his father’s briefcase, and in it the secret packet of hidden documents, which are from Oscorp, and have all his research in them. Peter learns his father worked with a Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) at Oscorp, who is working on a formula to try and replace his missing arm, and to “cure” the world. Peter sneaks in pretending to be someone else, and going in for an internship, but Gwen is giving the tour, so he tries to hide, but when he answers questions for dr Connor’s he is noticed, and she asks him to not get her in trouble. Peter sneaks away anyway, and goes into a lab where they are making biocable using genetically modified spiders, and one gets in his shirt and bites him. On the subway ride home, he starts sticking to things, and shows great strength, getting in a fight and jumping onto the ceiling, so he rushes home!
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
OK I admit it, I am a fan of the film Titanic, and saw it 3 times in the theater originally and even owned the Laserdisc, so I wanted to see it in 3D, and Kelly, her sister and I went to the Arclight Sherman Oaks to check it out.
Now the Arclight Sherman Oaks is a different story. As there are a number of problems there that bother me. First off being that for $18 a ticket this movie should not have been shown on a tiny screen! And then the 3D glasses, while active (for higher resolution) have yet to be clean any time I have sene a 3D film here, and if you try and clean them the film on the lenses just gets worse and looks smeared which does not help the 3D experience at all. Not only that they have cheaped out and don’t even have napkins out, they hand you some if you get popcorn! For the ticket price, they can have napkins out! Anyway, back to topic.
I have to say the $18 million dollar 3D convert of Titanic is fantastic! The film looks really damn good, and the 3D was damn near perfect (except it always looked funny in the dissolves). And most of the film held up pretty well with a few exceptions. The big fly around of the ship in the daylight didn’t look very good, and the digital people are downright awful. And most glaring is the face replacement in the scene with the flooding corridor which looks beyond awful. And it was interesting to see that Cameron didn’t even remove the camera reflection from a glass door when Jack is going to the rich dining room for the first time. Strangely though I do hear that he did update the stars so they were correct for that position and time (as some scientist had been complaining since the film first came out). Honestly if a 3D upconvert can be this good, I can see it working on a lot of films, but at $18 million a pop I don’t think this level of upconvert will happen too often, and if they are going to do it they should do it right.
As for the film, it still holds up pretty well. Sure there are problems, but nothing too bad. The Romance doesn’t go on too long before you get Kate Winslet naked (and in 3D! Nice) and when the romance is really heating up the ship hits the iceberg and the action starts in. My biggest problems with the film are with the wrapper, as the whole thing with the old woman bothers me. Especially her dropping the priceless diamond into the sea instead of giving it to her family! And it is not only that, as we see her wheelchair bound for the whole film, not even able to get out of the helicopter and yet she walks fine to drop the diamond into the ocean! Why not put the diamond on after telling her story and die, and then go down into the ocean with her friends instead of dropping the diamond and doing it.
Honestly from the add campaign I had not been expecting much from this film and probably would have waited for Netflix, and then been sorely disappointed to have not seen it in the big screen in 3D, because this is a great film. Honestly Disney should have held onto it and released it as a summer tentpole, because it is that good. I can only think that the ad campaign is at fault, because this easily blows the Star Wars prequels out of the water. The story is great, and epic, the action is over the top fun, the effects are fantastic, with realistic 3D creatures, and the 3D was awesome, especially in IMAX 3D. I mean this is really a must see in 3D, and really a must see. It has romance, action, adventure. Everyone could enjoy this film, and should have if they released it right, though hopefully it’s international box office will help buoy the film as it is not doing too well (though better than expected by a bit). I hope Andrew Stanton of Pixar fame (he directed WALL-E gets other films off this, and I also hope this gets a sequel, though with the not so great box office it may not).
I will finish the review soon, but just wanted to get this up quickly after seeing it this weekend.
Honestly I should get my head examined, because I actually enjoyed this film. It is over the top ridiculous, and I am sure would have been better in 3D, as the effects that were obviously for 3D looked pretty lame in 2D, but it was fun, and not what I expected. I don’t know what I expected, but not this, just Nick Cage being his over the top self and kicking some ass, and Amber Heard is pretty smoking hot, so… Not sure I can really recommend this to anyone but guys, and even most guys will probably hate this, but I thought it was pretty violent over the top fun with some great car action as well. Well worth renting on Netflix.
John Milton (Nicholas Cage) driving a classic muscle car takes out another car load of guys in his quest to find Satanic Cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke). Jonah (nice name) has killed John’s daughter, and is going to sacrifice his baby granddaughter in order to create hell on earth and live forever. Milton meets up with a beautiful waitress named Piper (Amber Heard) driving a hot muscle car, and helps fix it and gets a ride with her. When she gets to her house, her boyfriend is fucking another woman, so she gets in a fight with him, and Milton saves her, and takes her in her car (actually her boyfriends that she paid for) toward Florida where she said she wanted to go, and his business is on the way. Milton is being chased by the Accountant (WIlliam Fichtner), who seems to have supernatural powers, and kills people wantonly on his way to get MIlton, including Piper’s ex.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…
Now I am a comic book fan, and have read Captain America on and off for a long time, but I have to say this film is way better than the reviews. I really enjoyed it, maybe better than Iron Man. I love the whole world war 2 setting, but also they really stayed true to the material, and made it great. I am really impressed by how good it was, and even more so by how much I enjoyed the 3D. I used to think I did not want to see 3D up converts, but if they are as good as Thor, Deathly Hallows 2 and this, then I am sold, because it looks amazing, and really does add to the film. In fact it makes me dream of having an 3D HDTV! I really think it adds so much! I have to say I was skeptical of Chris Evans as Captain America, but he is great, and the effect to make him look like a 98 pound weakling is perfect. I hear complaints of the modern tech in World War 2, but that was the story with Hydra, and I think they did it perfectly, and love how this leads right into the Avengers. Marvel is doing a great job, and I hope they keep it up, and hope they get back the films they sold the rights to, because honestly the new Spider Man looks awful, and I would rather have a more accurate X-Men, Fantastic Four and Daredevil. It is too bad they released this when they did, because being pinned between Harry Potter and Cowboys & Aliens it is not going to make as much as it should, at least domestically.
In modern times some US government agents are called into to the arctic to deal with a huge crashed something that is discovered. They go in and find a red white and blur circular shield and call their superiors. Back in 1942, the head of the Nazi science wing Hydra, Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull (the great Hugo Weaving) smash though a castle in Norway, and steal the cosmic cube, which is said to be something of Odin’s of great power. In New York city, the 98 pound weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) keeps getting rejected for World War II Military service, not matter how many times he lies about where he is from. His best friend Sergeant James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) takes his out before he is to go to duty with two girls. They got to the Modern Marvels of Tomorrow exhibit and see Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) giving a demonstration of a flying car. Steve skips out on the date, to try and enlist again, and a scientist hears his plight, and decides he might be perfect for a secret project. This is Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) from Bavaria who works fro the US Government Strategic Scientific Reserve. He has Steve enlisted, and has him brought to a camp under the command of Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and SSR Officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Phillips doesn’t like Steve right off, as he is the worst soldier, but he proves the most spirit, even jumping on a dummy grenade he thinks is live to save everyone else. He is perfect.
REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…