Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Lone Ranger: My Review

I went into this movie with low to medium expectations. The trailers looked good to me yet the overwhelming negative reviews did concern me. I did end up really enjoying this movie although I do have mixed feelings about some of it. I had been a big fan of the Lone Ranger TV show starring Clayton More and Jay Silverheels as the Lone Ranger and Tonto respectively. If people had expectations that this new film would mirror the iconic TV show then they are in for a disappointment. The times certainly have changed since the 40s-50s and the clean cut wholesome Lone Ranger of that era would not work on the big screen today.

On with my review as I list the pros and the cons:

Pros:

1. Tone of the film. This one positive aspect of the film is actually a mixed point for me. Today the trend in Superhero type movies, and many other movies, is gritty realism.  There are times when gritty realism works and times when it does not. I am also a fan of the more lighthearted approach to these types of movies. The Lone Ranger does take the lighthearted approach for the most part, yet there are moments that are very serious making the overall tone of the film a bit uneven.

2. Johnny Depp. This is his movie. I really think the movie should have been called Tonto and the Lone Ranger. Some people have complained about this point but for me Depp’s performance really make the picture very enjoyable and worth watching. Honestly, had I not know Johnny Depp was playing Tonto (I was very surprised he was cast in the role) I would never have recognized him in the part.

3. Armie Hammer.  I have read that many did not like the fact that he was a bit of a complaining, whinny and wishy-washy and a  reluctant Lone Ranger…at first. This is an origin story so his character is not clearly established. We watch John Reid grow into the iconic role of the masked man and by the end of the movie he is the Lone Ranger.

4. The Plot/the story. The movie does have an interesting story. We learn much of Tonto’s back story which does explain his motives and behavior. The same for the Lone Ranger who has to overcome some of his stiffness and sibling rivalry to really become the Lone Ranger. John Reid as a new lawyer fresh out of law school has lived his life in the shadows of his Texas Ranger warrior brother, Dan Reid. When his brother is killed by the Cavendish clan John has to find the strength and courage within himself to bring Cavendish to justice. Within that part of the story is the plot of greedy silver barrens who are using the new railway system to take control of the territory.

5. The villains. There are two main villains in this movie. Tom Wilkinson as Latham Cole, a burly and unscrupulous railroad tycoon and William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish, a ruthless and cannibalistic outlaw, who Tonto believes is a wendigo. Fichtner is really great in this role and like Depp, is well disguised almost unrecognizable in the role. I always love to see Tom Wilkinson play a bad guy, he does so well in these types of parts.

6. Scenery and Cinematography. The film is pure eye candy. It was filmed in six western states: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and California. These locations all provide for terrific views of magnificent vistas that captures the iconic old west.

Cons:

1. Tone of the film. Yes, it is both a positive and a negative. While I do like the more lighthearted touch there are moments when the movie goes into extremes on both ends of the spectrum. There are some moments where the comedy is not subtle but over the top and hits you on the head. Then there are moments that are almost too dark and serious for the film.

2. Length of the film. At two and a half hours the movie is a bit too long and could have used more editing.

In my opinion the Lone Ranger is an overall fun lighthearted movie that is enjoyable despite its flaws. Some of the positive things I have listed are the negatives things others have listed and this reminds me of the subjective nature of analyzing movies. The best part of the movie is the last 20 minutes which contain the best of the action and adventure.

Man of Steel: My Review

I really like the Donner/Reeve’s Superman movies and still do. I even liked Superman Returns. I was disappointed that Superman Returns didn’t get a sequel. I thought Brandon Routh did a pretty good job filling the shoes of Christopher Reeve and I wanted to see more of him in the role. I did come to accept that the studio desired to move away from the Donner created Superman universe and began to look forward to something new.

However, I was not happy when I heard there was going to be another origin story! With all of the new superhero movies out in the last 10-12 years many of them had origin stories so I had grown tired of them. Plus, everyone knows Superman and I didn’t think we needed to see his origins once again. I thought they could do a movie with Superman as an already established character.

If you have been following this blog you know I have mixed feelings about Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies so I was also afraid of Nolan being attached to it. I didn’t think the serious approach would work with Superman. I began to be won over when Henry Cavill was cast as Superman. I thought he was an excellent choice. When the first picture of Cavill was released with him in the newly designed Superman suit I was thrilled. I loved the new Superman suit.

I have to report I do love this movie and I cannot count how many times I have seen it on DVD! Blu-Ray to be more precise. My worries were put to rest that the serious approach would not work. I thought it worked real well. True there is very little humor in the film but I do think the movie has a lot of heart. The heart of this story is about discovering who one is. The special effects are the best ever seen in a superman movie. The way superman flies with super speed and power over majestic landscapes is a wonderful sight to be hold.

I Will not give ways too many spoilers to the movie but I do want to speak a little bit about some of the negatives aspects of the movie. First a small synopsis of the plot. General Zod wants to save the blood line of Krypton and after an ill-fatted coup is sent to the phantom zone. Kal-El is sent to Earth as Krypton explodes. The explosion of Krypton frees Zod and his minions from the Phantom Zone and he begins his search for Kal-El who’s body contains the DNA of all Kryptonians. The movie flashes forward 33 years as we find an alienated Clark Kent trying to find his place in the world. As the government finds an ancient spaceship buried in the ice Clark goes to investigate the craft to see if he has any connection to it and any answers to his questions.

While exploring the ship he encounters investigative reporter Lois Lane. Clark also encounters a holographic image of his father who teaches him about who he is. He gives him the “Superman suit” and tells Clark to help the humans better themselves. Lois was injured in her pursuit of the alien craft and Clark uses his heat-vision to heal her. She then pursues to discover who this alien is that saved her. When Clark found the ancient ship it sent out a signal that was received by General Zod who was searching for him. Zod comes to earth looking for Clark/Kal-El forcing him to reveal himself to the world. Revealing himself to the world was something he feared. This fear was instilled in him by his earthly father Jonathan Kent.

Kal-El turns himself in to the military who decide to turn him over to Zod. After learning that Zod wants to turn Earth into Krypton and therefore killing the entire human race, two epic battles are fought. One in Smallville and the other in Metropolis. This is where much of the destruction occurs. Some critics, not all, have complained there is too much destruction. Although the battles are well done and the movie depicts great action scenes, I do agree that it could have been trimmed down a bit.

Another complaint is that in the destruction that takes place in both Smallville and Metropolis there is a large amount of lives lost and casualties. Though these death are not shown you do suspect that many people are dying. Many fans are used to the Superman movies that Christopher Reeve acted in. Those movies were true comic book movies that did not take themselves all too seriously. Any deaths or destruction were done in a lighthearted manner. Therefor it does come as a shock to some fans. Some fans were angry thinking that Superman would not allow those things to happen.

I can have some empathy for those fans even though I was not as upset as they were. I understood that director Zack Snyder was going for a more realistic approach like they had done in the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. In that vein then when you have a group of super powered aliens fighting one another with advanced technology there is going to be some mass destruction. There were times in these battles when Superman (just barely called that twice in the movie) was not in control over the situation and moving that battle to less populated areas was not an option for him in this movie. Also, the way Supes finally defeats Zod does make sense and I for one felt he had no other course of action.

This has become my favorite Superman movie. It is different than the Christopher Reeve movies. In this day and age film makers are going for a more realistic and less comic book feel to these Superhero movies. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if the next Superman movie does lighten up a little.

Pacific Rim: My Review

First off, if you have been regularly following this blog you will know I just love giant monster movies. My DVD collection is stocked full with many Kaiju movies from every Godzilla movie, Cloverfield, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, War of the Gargantuas, Rodan, and on and on. I waited with anticipation to see Pacific Rim and I was not disappointed! This is a great Kaiju move and will hopefully be seen as a classic of the genre some day.

When the trailer first appeared I was a bit worried and disappointed. I was expecting a different tone to the film. I thought it was going to be more gritty and serious and at first glance it reminded me too much of the Transformers movies. (I do like the first and third Transformers movies). After the disappointment abated and I accepted the lighthearted touch, my anticipation for the movie grew. My reaction surprised me because I do prefer a lighter touch with many movies. I guess it was more about my expectations than my preferences.

In the end one of the things I liked most about the film was the tone it set. More and more I am seeing how important the tone of a film is. Pacific Rim strikes that perfect balance between seriousness and fun. There is very good drama with the characters and yet the monster attacks and battles are handled lightly with a good deal of fun. To operate these giant robots, called Jeagers, the human pilots are joined together via their minds. When one pilot loses his brother he is given the chance to join the Jeager team once more with a new co-pilot and she also has to over come her past to help defeat the Kaiju. There are also a couple of whacky scientists that are often at odds with one another and they too have to unite to help defeat these giant monsters. Ron Perlman as the Kaiju black marketeer even has to help out one of the scientists in the name of the cause.

The special effects are great and one of the benefits of modern CGI is seeing both the Jeagers and the Kaiju in their massive scale, Often in Godzilla films that was not an aspect they was always shown. This was one of the most impressive aspects of the film. Pacific Rim also does a good job in balancing human action with monster action. At its heart Pacific Rim is a story about teamwork and redemption. With interesting characters, great action and special effects and an interesting story Pacific Rim is a great addition to the Kaju genre. It has already received multiple viewings in my home and there will be many more to come.

Happy New Year! Year in Review!!

Foley's Sience-Fiction & Fantasy Films

These are the Science Fiction/Fantasy films I saw this year. Here is a simple list of the ones that were my favorites and the ones that I enjoyed and the ones I was disappointed with. In the weeks to come I will review each of these films plus keep you updated with new science fiction and fantasy film news.

Pacific Rim
Man of Steel
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Lone Ranger
Oblivion

Enjoyed:

After Earth
Olympus Has Fallen
G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Disappointment with:

White House Down
Oz the Great and Powerful
Iron Man 3

Jack the Giant Slayer

This is the End

View original post

Happy New Year! Year in Review!!

These are the Science Fiction/Fantasy films I saw this year. Here is a simple list of the ones that were my favorites and the ones that I enjoyed and the ones I was disappointed with. In the weeks to come I will review each of these films plus keep you updated with new science fiction and fantasy film news.

Pacific Rim
Man of Steel
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Lone Ranger
Oblivion

Enjoyed:

After Earth
Olympus Has Fallen
G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Disappointment with:

White House Down
Oz the Great and Powerful
Iron Man 3

Jack the Giant Slayer

This is the End