Monthly Archives: September 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness: My Review

I have been a fan of Star Trek for nearly 40 years and the two movies that JJ Abrams has produced have been the only Star Trek movies that have sparked and triggered that sense of joy and amazed wonder I had as a young boy watching the original series for the first time. Don’t get me wrong I love all the previous movies in the franchise too, its just that these movies really capture the magic of that first love.

I greatly enjoyed the 2009 movie “Star Trek” so I had high expectations for this film. I think this movie surpassed my expectations. This movie has everything a Trekkie like myself could want. This movie is chocked full if Action and adventure, and an intriguing story/plot with wonderful and moving character development all write up in great eye caching special effects.

I will not rehash the plot here but I do want to mention the addition of Khan as the villain. I was not sure if this would work. Ricardo Montalban was very iconic playing the role of Khan in the original series episode “Space Seed” and the feature film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that I really wondered if Benedict Cumberbatch could pull it off. With this being an alternate time line I really think it worked. Yes, this Khan is a bit different because the story that is being told is also different and within that context it workd. The same elements are there. He is a superhuman, intelligent and devious and dangerous!

Star Trek Into Darkness is a movie that has it all. It also combines great drama with humor. If you enjoyed the 2009 Star Trek movie you will enjoy this one also!

Superman vs Batman Movie: More thoughts.

I was listening to a pod cast from director Kevin Smith on the new Batman and Superman movie and he had some good points that made me reevaluate this upcoming movie. At first I was a little disappointed that they were going to include Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel. I wanted to see Superman in at least one solo movie before they teamed him up with someone else. I mean, Man of Steel was an origin movie and Superman was just established in this movie so I want to see more of him just buy himself.

What Kevin Smith said changed my mind and I think he is right. Man of Steel II could have been a “by the books” sequel with Superman fighting Lex Luthor (who was not in the first movie) and maybe a second villain such as Brainiac. This is what fans were expecting. However, by including Batman in the next movie it gives us fans a sequel that will be different and new and something many will want to see.

Superman and Batman are the two most popular superheroes ever and they have not ever appeared in a movie together. This will be the first time! So instead of going with something safe and predictable WB went with something new and exciting by putting the two most favorite Superheroes together. I think a decision like this will cause more people to be curious to see this film.

The fact that they have cast a person as Batman that the majority of fans do not agree with will not keep fans away. Oh, there are some who are saying they will boycott this next movie and all they are doing is showing their prejudice. But the vast majority of fans will see this fil and want to see how Affleck will do. I think he will do fine. Kevin Smith thinks so too. He makes another good point.  Affleck had some flops in his carreer and at this juncture as an actor and a director he has climbed back to the top and this casting of Affleck was not a mistake.

Taking a Break.

Every few months I like to take a break from writing to keep myself fresh. I will betaking this week off from posting and I will be back on Moday September, September 23rd!

Two reviews for the price of one! Battle: Los Angeles & Skyline

As all of my faithful readers know I enjoy alien invasion movies. I realized that I had not shared my reviews of these two movies that came out in 2011.  Both are alien invasion movies yet are so different. Battle: Los Angels had a larger budget at $70 million dollars (still low for a major science fiction film) and Skyline was made for only 10 million dollars.

Both films were a financial success yet Skyline was heavily panned by the critics. Skyline produced and directed by Brothers Strause, directors of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. The majority of the movie was filmed in a singular location, an apartment complex in Los Angeles, and with no big named stars it was able to concentrate its budget on some excellent special effects.

Here is my reviews for both movies.

1. Battle: Los Angeles.

When I saw the very first teaser trailer for this movie I was hooked. I am unapologetically a science fiction geek and alien invasion movies are some of my favorites in the genre. At first I didn’t like it because I don’t care for war movies. I was a bit disappointed. It starts off very well as we view the invasion from the point of view of the military. Shortly thereafter it devolves into a typical war movie but only against aliens.

 But on further viewings of the movie I have come to appreciate it more and see that it is actually very creative and much better than I initially thought. It has Good drama and suspense and very convincing portrayal of the US marines in a combat fight with aliens. The ending also picks up where the beginning of the movie showed so much promise. The ending does show some good climatic battles between the military and the aliens and their ships. This does redeem the movie for me.

2. Skyline

I think this movie, and all movies generally, need to be viewed in their own context. So in the example of Skyline it is a science fiction movie which plays like a B movie reminiscent from the 50s of that genre. The difference is that 1950s B sci-fi movies had cheap special effects. The special effects are pretty top-notch in this film and the story is suspenseful with an easy to follow and understandable plot. We don’t know who these aliens are but we do learn why they are here.

The acting is up to standard for this type of film. Although there are no Academy award-winning performances in this film the acting is authentic and believable for people under the type of emotional stress these characters are experiencing. The film centers around one apartment complex and when I had heard that I thought that would be a limiting experience. But it is not. It adds to the tension of the movie and gives the viewer a sense of claustrophobia.

The ending of the movie surely sets up a sequel and I hope there is one to this film. It is a fun mindless action oriented science fiction film from the alien invasion genre.

Conclusion. Although Skyline was a critical failure for me it is a movie I enjoy much better than Battle: Los Angeles. It is more enjoyable to watch average humans react to a terrifying invasion. With Battle: Los Angeles it is basically a war movie and for me that just got tedious at times.

If you’re in the mood for an alien invasion movie I do recommend checking both of them out.

Gorgo: My Review

Gorgo is one of, if not the only, British/English Kaiju movie. I remember seeing it when I was about 9 years old in 1972. It had just come on the TV and my mother saw it was on and said, if you like Godzilla you would like this movie. So I watched it and Mom certainly was right. The movie stars Bill Travers, William Sylvester and Vincent Winter and was directed by Eugène Lourié and was released in 1961.

Plot: The plot is pretty simple. Captain Joe Ryan is salvaging for treasure off the coast of Ireland, when a volcano erupts. Soon the ship needs repair and heads for the Nara Island. Soon it is discovered that the eruption awoke a large sea creature that makes an appearance on the island. Scientists come and investigate to learn about the creature by Captain Ryan decides to sell the monster to the circus.

The circus people name the monster Gorgo and plan on displaying it to the public for a price. Scientists are however, eventually able to examine Gorgo and it is learned that the creature is still very young. Back on Nara Island the mother, named Ogra, attacks and heads for London. Gorgo breaks out of the circus confinement and soon his 200 foot tall mother arrives in London and destroys the city trying to reach her son. Mother and son are reunited and head off to the sea.

Pros: I greatly enjoy this movie. I like the design of both Gorgo and Ogra. With the fins on the sides of their heads the do look like ancient dinosaur like sea monsters. The acting is good. I have seen Bill Travers several movies and he always gives a good performance. This movie was made at a time when monster movies were done seriously and this movie is pretty serious although not too intense. The monster’s roar is done very well. To me it sounds pretty chilling. The destruction of London is also done very well and the destruction is pretty massive.

Cons: I really do not have many. Although I do like the design of the monsters the eyes are blank. They are always open and when the monster gets angry they shine bright red. At times they do look silly and it takes me out of the movie at times.

The movie is only 72 minutes long and that is neither a pro or a con. It is one of the more enjoyable non-Japanese giant monster movie.

Armageddon & Deep Impact

Every now and then Hollywood will put out two movies with the same theme. This year it was terrorists at the White House with such movies as Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. I have yet to see those two movies and as soon as I pick them both up I will give you my reviews.

I recently watched both of the comet/asteroid doomsday movies Armageddon &  Deep Impact. They have similar themes but the movies are different in many ways. They both came out in the summer of 1998. Deep Impact starred  Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, and Morgan Freeman. Armageddon starred  Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Will Patton, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David and Steve Buscemi.

In Deep Impact reporter Téa Leoni uncovers a secret that a recent ambassador resigned over an affair. Upon further investigation she discovers that it is a cover-up for a Coment that is about to hit the Earth. Morgan Freeman plays the president and Robert Duvall heads up the shuttle team that is going to land on the comet and drill a hole in order to detonate a nuke. There is also a side story featuring Elijah Wood who was one of the people who discovered the comet and how he tries to save his family and girlfriend from the coming disaster.

In Armageddon an asteroid the size of Texas is heading toward Earth and NASA recruits a rag-tag team of drilling experts led by Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. The movie covers their training and launch onto the asteroid to destroy it before it reaches the point of no return.

The biggest differences between the two movies are the tone of the films. Deep Impact is played as serious drama and is rated R, and Armageddon, plays like a disaster film also full of drama, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Both films had mixed reviews although Deep Impact has a 47% negative rating at Rotten tomatoes while Armageddon has a 39% negative rating on the same site.

After watching them both back to back I really enjoy them both pretty closely but I have to give the edge to Armageddon because it is such a fun movie. Deep Impact has Morgan Freeman and Robert Duvall and that gives the movie high ratings in my book they are two of my favorite actors as well as two of the finest to ever grace the big screen. However, the movie is very sad and heart wrenching and the older I get the more I just want to have fun at the movies. I don’t often get in the mood to have my heart wrenched. ‘

Deep impact has the wise cracking Bruce Willis and the NASA official played by Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton. The movie also has a long list of very excentric and colorful characters led by Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi. Having the beautiful Liv Tyler doesn’t hurt the movie either, along with the music provided by her father’s group Areosmirth.

My problem with Armageddon is that it falls apart a bit in the third act. It gets over th top in an already over the top movie. The actions get confusing with all the explosions and it is hard to follow what is going on at times and who is surviving and who is dying. There also seems to be one cliff hanger after the other. The movie does redeem itself at the end though. Armageddon was directed by Michael Bay the king of explosions and there are plenty in this film.

In conclusion both movies are enjoyable for me to watch I give Armageddon the edge because it is a fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.