Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Now Playing: Edge of Tomorrow

Why is it that Tom Cruise gets so many good goddamn movies?  His agent must be phenomenal.  But, I won't repeat myself, as I've talked about this before.

Enter: Edge of Tomorrow.

A film that uses many video game images (Jim Raynor's skull helmet in Starcraft, Cloud Strife's sword in Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear's exoskeletal suits....) and then does what most video games shy away from: put them on a woman.  There are notable exceptions (Metroid and Mass Effect among them), but rare.  The real hero in this story is the Rita Vrataski, the Angel of Verdun or the Full Metal Bitch, depending on who you ask.  Ably played by Emily Blunt, Rita is simply amazing.  She's tough, smart, quick, and brave.  She drags Cruise's Bill Cage along with her, chagrined that his cowardice rewards him with the gift of time travel.  She makes hard decisions, sacrifices herself over and over (and over!) again.  She is, simply put, awesome.  The kind of poster-hero that every little girl or boy can look up to.

Aside from the one lingering question, at the very end, which Jadek and I worked through on our quick walk home, the plot and pacing is solid.  A nice rental, if you don't want to waste warm spring afternoons inside a chilly theatre.  4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Now Playing: Maleficent

I've been waiting for Maleficent for what seems like ages!  I mean, it combines so many things I love: Angelina Jolie, a "true evil" villain in the titular character, reverse storytelling, special effects, fantasy, an amazing title song...sigh. So, I had high hopes.

The only real disappointing part was just how short the movie was! Clocking in at only 97 minutes, I felt there was so much more we could have explored ...alas.

What there was of it, was beautiful.  It made the little girl inside me very happy indeed.  4 out of 5 stars.

And for your aural pleasure, Lana Del Ray's Once Upon a Dream, below.



Monday, June 09, 2014

Now Playing: X-Men: Days of Future Past

100-word review!

I liked X-Men Days of Future Past a lot; it did a pretty good job retconning all the previous movies.  Left some good questions to chew on too – like, how did Professor X recover after his adventures in X3? And what happens to all those timelines after the last scene? I really enjoy the star-studded cast, the insane amount of cameos, the subtle nods for long-time fans… really, any movie with a lineup that includes McAvoy, McKellan, Stewart, Fassbender, Lawrence, Jackman, Berry, Paquin, Dinklage, Ashmore, Page... pretty much unstoppable.  It was great; you will have to see the other five movies to really get everything out of it though.  4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Now Playing: Godzilla

Sixty years ago, Ishiro Honda’s iconic classic Godzilla (or, more accurately, Gojira) came out.  The King of Monsters has reappeared dozens of times since, sometimes serious, sometime silly, every time entertaining.

Flash forward to 2014, and Godzilla is back on screen.  Having watched the one remade in the 1998, (which was a straight-up monster movie with heroic humans), I was pleasantly surprised by the movie’s more serious turn as well as its indictment of WMDs, human hubris, and the general attitude of “shoot-first, investigate-later”.  I didn’t expect science (science!) to be a factor and I certainly didn’t expect a coherent storyline, but both were present and accounted for. Not to mention a cast of very capable actors, with Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, and Juliette Binoche adding their usual panache.

I won’t go into too many details, because spoilers would actually ruin the movie.  Suffice it to say that if you’re Sci-Fi geek, you’ll love it.  3.5 out of 5 stars.  (And while the trailer is good, it was the teaser that got me going)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Now Playing: The Amazing Spiderman 2

We went to see The Amazing Spiderman 2 a couple of weeks ago.  I do love Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone – they have great chemistry.  The movie, overall, was okay, but I felt it was a little slow.  I expect that from origin stories, but sequels should slip along at a fairly rapid pace.    It suffers from too many villains (see Batman Forever) and not enough time to give them the screen time needed to, well, care.  Castling was pretty much spot-on, but we saw entirely too little of everyone to really see the benefits of it.  And that Twilight-esque passage of time bit?  Schmaltz!

I guess Captain America is still too fresh on the brain.  I’m giving this a 3 out of 5 stars, based on special effects, cinematography, and casting alone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Now Playing: Transcendence

I watched Transcendence over three weeks ago – sorry for being so late.  It was okay, but nothing mind-blowing.  I found HAL so much creepier.

It did spark a debate on whether one would choose to “live” eternally as a computer on a massive hard drive somewhere, if one could.  Also, as an extension of that question, what make a human, "human"? If you cut off my arms and legs, I’m still human.  What if you cut off my stomach too?  What if I’m just a brain/stem combo – still human? Robocop kinda talked about this – but he had a few meat organs left.  What if I all I have are the unique chemical composition of my brain and the electrical synaptic responses therein?

Dark thoughts for a Spring day.

Oh!  2.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Now Playing: Muppets Most Wanted

Indulged in my inner child in some Muppet mania with Muppets Most Wanted. Yes, the plot was thin and the cameos bordered on overkill, but it was what Muppets do best - funny and cute.  No secret that I'm a fan of Kermit - maybe it's because he's so earnest or that he loves the impossible Miss Piggy or his unfailing loyalty.  I don't know.  I like him a lot.  Seeing a mean Bizarro-Kermie? Pretty awesome!

My favourite moment has to be the green piglet and the pink tadpole, though.  Probably not worth going to the theatre - I'd even say it's a bit too slow for kids.  But it's a nice trip down nostalgia lane. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

For some bonus fun, check out:
Gordon  Ramsay v Swedish Chef 
...wicked.