Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Elysium

I guess I should start out by saying I loved District 9 so I went into the theater with the highest of hopes.  This movie delivered in every way I had hoped.

Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. – IMDB

The plot is simple enough to follow with the right amount of character depth and story development to keep the viewer interested but without a huge investment in back story. We know there is Elysium but not how they created it.  The pacing for the plot is fair but at times I found myself not caring about the flashbacks when Max was a kid. I know it was to provide character depth and emotional content but I could have done with just a little less.

As far as the setting, just like in District 9 there was that stark contrast of the slums of Earth with the dirt and grit. A place where everyone is smudged by poverty.  This allows for the almost jarring contrast of those that live in a perfect smuge free space station. With its bright and crisp lighting and lush garden estates. The special effects are on par with any big budget film and are enjoyable to watch.

I think that Matt Damon is an incredible actor and and he can bring any role to life. The Max character was conflicted but not overly complicated. Which allowed me to experience the conflict without the plot pacing slow down to establish complexity.  I think that Sharlto Copley as Kruger was so over the top as the sleeper Elysium agent that it was like riding a roller coaster. It felt like it was over to soon and you just wanted to get in line again.  Jody Foster as Delacourt the administrator of Elysium was a brilliant casting decision. Her performance was pragmatically icy and wonderfully driven.

Being I am a huge science fiction fan and loved District 9 I would highly recommend this movie.

Movies This Weekend

Alright kids I am looking for a box office assignment. Let me know what you want me to review this weekend.

A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to DIe Poster

When I was growing up and still now one of my favorite kids of movies is the Action Buddy Comedy. There is just something enduring about two people thrown together in an impossible situation and finding humor in it.  It doesn’t hurt that there are typically lots of explosions and car chases in these movies. The Die Hard series has been a staple in the action comedy arena with 4 solid hits. This brings us to the 5th entry into the Die Hard franchise “A Good Day to Die Hard”

“John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.” – IMDB

That short blip taken from IMDB about sums up the whole movie. There is not a lot here if you are looking for an enthralling story line the Die Hard franchise and especially this movie is not going to be for you.  Now if you looking for a white knuckle 20+ minute car chase, helicopters blowing up buildings and lots and lots of explosions then this will be a pretty fun ride.

This Die Hard takes place in Russia and takes you as deep as Chernobyl. It was kind of a nice change to go outside the US and see John in the world. They did it in the only semi believable way using the pretense of seeing his son in a Russian jail.

Bruce Willis is John McClane there is no doubt that Willis pulls this off each and every time McClane steps on the screen. This movie has all the trapping of John McClane. The quirky one liners the introspective comments and at times running commentary with himself that I love about the character.

One of the key components to the buddy action movie is the chemistry between the buddies. I think here is where this movie falters a little. The selection of Jai Courtney to play John’s son Jack was a mistake. I don’t think he has the acting chops to play opposite such an established character as John McClane. Maybe that was not his fault and more the writing but still at least for me he did not work for this part. Based on there on screen chemistry from Looper I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have been a much better choice.

This brings us to the villains which in Die Hard have always been over the top larger than life characters.  That is not to say they have ever had any real depth but let’s face it do they have to in a Die Hard movie they always die extremely hard deaths.  This movie is no different in that respect. However it is interesting that there are multiple layers of baddies in this one. This movie tries at a little misdirection in that you think Chargarin a Russian politician played by Sergey Kolesnikov is the boss baddie but he is more a plot device to move the story along. The real boss baddie is Komarov played by Sebastian Koch who does a wonderful job of the good guy fade to super evil boss.  I think however all the bad guys were over shadowed by the bad girl Irina Komarov played by the stunning Yuliya Snigir which from what I can tell was her first American film.  She brought the attitude and the sex appeal to make Irina the stand out villain and I would have love to see here Live to Die another Day.

As a child of 80s it is nice to see Russian villains with nukes there is something comforting about the enemy you know.


As the action sequences go you could not ask for more from an action movie. Pretty within the first 30 minutes of the movie there is a 20+ minute car chase where they crush, crunch and explode many cars. I lost count at 30 cars. Then there is the gun play which is the Die Hard bread and butter. Let’s not forget the McClane beat down. No Die Hard movie is complete with John McClane becoming a bloody mess and this movie delivered in a big way.

So here is my final word on A Good Day to Die Hard. Go see it if you’re a fan off the series, Bruce Willis or just general mayhem and explosions. If you’re looking for a plot than this is not the movie for you.

 

Yippie Kay Yay Mother Russia!!!

 

 

 

 

Happy Spendmoneyonacard Day

Romantic movies are not my thing unless they come with a heavy dose of comedy. What movies are you watching tonight ?

Happy Birthday George Romero

Happy Birthday and thank you for all the scares.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) Poster

The Hobbit 3D

Went to see the hobbit in standard 3D. First thing I noticed was the theater was empty for the 6:45 showing in a town of just shy of 80k population this was surprising. Typically in my smallish city of Turlock, the theater its typically packed on opening night.

As for the movie as a movie it was very good. There was plenty of story, emotional content and action to satisfy the average movie lover. I think however if your a Tolkien fan especially the Hobbit you might have some issues with license Jackson takes in retelling this beloved story. I will not go into all the details however I’m pretty sure Galadriel is not in the book to my memory.

The 3D was really well done in places and not so much in others. I found myself dizzy in more the one place in the movie and amazed at the depth in others. I will say that even at 24 frames a second the color was vibrant and picture was crisp, in fact it was the best color I have seen in a 3D movie.  Through out the movie when ever it was blurry or even choppy I wondered would this happen in the 48 frames per second. I will have to see to make a judgement.

All in all it was a great movie with some pacing issues and story liberties taken by Jackson. I would suggest seeing it in standard non 3d if your prone to get dizzy as it is close to 3 hours.

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

So what flavor will you be seeing this weekend. If Peter Jackson has it his way you will be the higher frame rate 3D version. The standard is 24 frame per second, Jackson is pushing it to whopping 48 FPS. The concept is that the higher frame rates allow both eyes which when watching 3d are getting to slightly different pictures a smoother picture eliminating some of the artifacting and washed colors of standard 3d. Some early reviews are saying that it gives the movie a strange almost plastic look.  If you see it this weekend please come back and let us know what version you watched and what you thought.

 

Spider Man

So I finally got a chance to watch the latest iteration of our web slinging crime fighter. I can tell you I went to this with some heavy preconceptions that its a teenie movie. I was reminded by a friend that it is a comic book movie and by design is geared to a younger audience. With that behind me I watched the film. I typically enjoy remakes not because there good movies but because I enjoy that moment when they tip the hat to the original and then move on to there new film. This version of spider man really capture one essence of the comic book spider man……his wise assness. The whole movie is filled with comments that made me think spider man. Visually the movie is stunning, I watched on BluRay and was blown away with its crisp action sequences and the use of first person while transversing roof tops. The fight sequences which appear to be largely CGI really show spider man’s fighting style. He fights like a spider would. I really liked that they went back to the mechanical versions of the web and not the lame from his wrist’s webs from the previous movie. The plot was the typical origin story and did not stray far from the accepted ethos of comic book lore.

All in all I would call this a should watch if you missed it on the big screen. Not sure the replay value after seeing it once.

The Nazis Are Back in Iron Sky

Iron Sky just appeared on my radar about a week ago and it has peaked my interest. The basic premise is that the Nazis at the end of the war retreat unknown to the rest of the world to the dark side of the moon. Fast forward 70 years and there back and apparently pissed off and turbo charged with new technology. Ok having written it all out it seems pretty silly but the trailer really drives it home and I for one am looking forward to film.

Star Wars Episode I Phantom Menace 3D

So like lots of other people I sat down and strapped on a pair of Darth Maul 3D glasses and settled in to watch a movie I had seen at least a dozen times. To be honest like a lot of Star Wars fans this is my least favorite out of the 6 films. Jar Jar annoys me but for the most part it is Jake Lloyd’s performance as Anakin that ruins this movie for me. But this is not a review on the movie but rather on the adaptation to 3D.

As I expected like all mixed live and CGI footage movies the 3D on the CGI is night and day better. This creates a problem for Star Wars as the contrast between 3D CGI and live 3D was a bit disjointing. At times I felt like I was looking at a popup book and the live action characters were the static background and the CGI were all the pop ups. The colors on the non-rendered sets appeared washed out and somewhat dull.  Which stood in stark contrast with the crisp clean look of the recently released Blu Ray editions, no matter your feelings on the changes Lucas made you have to admit the they were shiny (yes I am huge Firefly Fan). I am not sure if it was just my viewing but the 3D seemed to cause parts of the movie to be blurry and slightly out of focus. I am hoping it is my theater and not the print itself.

Over all I think there was some enhancement to the Star Wars viewing experience in the 3D conversion, if nothing else to satisfy my curiosity on what a good space flight battle would look like in 3D.  For me my money is on Blu Ray for best quality viewing and for the most authentic to the original the Laser Disc versions of IV,V and VI which offer the ultimate in original unchanged Star Wars.

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