Monthly Archives: June 2014

Pompeii ~ My Review

Pompeii is another movie that didn’t do so well at the box office despite being a rather enjoyable movie for me. I enjoy movies that are set in the times of the Roman Empire and this is one of those movies that really makes you feel as if you hopped into your Dolrean and cranked it up to 88 miles an hour and reached Pompeii in the year 67AD. The movie has everything a fantasy movie needs. Good story about a slave trying to triumph over injustice, a tyrannical leader, a lovely princess and a wise older mentor. All of this happening during a cataclysmic natural disaster. The acting is pretty decent and sufficient for this type of project and the special effects are simply stellar. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius is worth the price of the DVD alone!

Here is a very basic synopsis. The lead, Milo, lives in Britain and is a survivor after his family (part of a Horse tribe) is killed by the Romans lead by Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland). Milo is captured by a slave trader and becomes a Gladiator. Eventually Milo is brought to Pompeii to be a Gladiator there. En-route he helps end the suffering of a wounded horse owned by Cassia (Emily Browning) who is traveling back to Pompeii with her servant Ariadne (Jessica Lucas). Corvus is now a senator in Pompeii and has his eyes on Cassia who is in love with Milo after he once again rescues her from a crazed horse who was spooked by an earthquake. Milo has also befriended a fellow gladiator, Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and they  plan to stand up against Corvus at the next Gladiatorial exhibit in Pompeii’s Colosseum. During this epic battle Mt. Vesuvius blows her top creating chaos and a final confrontation between Milo and Corvus.

My thoughts. While this movie doesn’t present really anything new. It tells its story in a dramatic and entertaining fashion. All the actors do a fine job in their roles with Sutherland doing very well in a rare bad-guy role. As I said previously the special effects are just wonderful. Why is this movie entertaining for me? There is a good mix of drama with some humor and I was invested in the characters and wanted to see how their story unfolded. The story did draw me in and was exciting, with a lot of action and adventure.

Sure, there are many derivative elements to the story and just speaking for myself as long as it is told well I have no problem with that. At its heart Pompeii is a tragic historical romance, action and adventure story that takes place amidst one of the worlds most worst natural disasters.

 

 

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After Earth ~ My Review

This is one of those films that gathers so much hate that I am left scratching my head. I really enjoyed this movie. In this review I will list my typical pros and cons along with my thoughts about the movie. I will also end he review by examining why I think this movie is so hated when it really doesn’t deserve it. The movie Stars Will Smith, his son Jaden Smith and it was directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Here is a synopsis of the plot from wikipedia:(I just hate writing synopsis)

 In the future, an environmental cataclysm forces the human race to abandon Earth and settle on a new world, Nova Prime. One thousand years later, the United Ranger Corps, a peacekeeping military commanded by General Cypher Raige, comes into conflict with alien creatures who intend to conquer Nova Prime. Kitai blames himself for the death of his older sister Senshi at the hands of an Ursa attack some years ago when he was a young child. he father and son have an estranged relationship with Cypher being away on missions. Kitai, younger and smaller than most cadets, trains to become a staunch and respected Ranger like his father. Despite his physical capabilities, his application is rejected due to his emotional behavior, and he has to break the news to Cypher, who’s seemingly disappointed in him. During space flight, their ship is caught by an asteroid shower, forcing them to transport through a wormhole to safety and crash-land on the now-quarantined Earth. Inside the torn fuselage of the ship, only Kitai (strapped to a walled row of seats) and Cypher (with both legs broken) have survived. They find the main distress signal beacon is damaged. Cypher instructs Kitai to locate the tail section of the ship, which broke off on entry to the atmosphere, since inside it is the backup beacon, which they can use to signal the Rangers for a rescue; if he fails, the pair will face a most certain death. Cypher gives Kitai his double bladed Cutlass, a wrist communicator and six capsules of a fluid that enhances oxygen intake so he can breathe in Earth’s low-oxygen atmosphere. Kitai sets off on a journey to find the beacon and this journey will either change his life or take his life dooming them both.

I think that is enough of a synopsis without giving away what happens.

Now here is my pro and con list for the movie.

Pro ~

Acting was very good! Both Will and Jaden Smith did a great job in their respective roles. More on that later.

Great CGI and well designed alien creatures.

Beautiful cinematography.

Nova Prime looks excellent!

Nice simple story with great action and adventure and a lot of heart as Father and Son struggle with survival and their personal issues.

Cons ~

Not enough Nova Prime. Yeah, I know this movie takes place on Earth over 1,000 years in the future. But Nova Prime looks very interesting. Wouldn’t mind seeing a movie filmed in that setting.

Some of the flash back scenes with Kitai and his sister were a little confusing. I had a hard time figuring out what was going wrong.

I was at a loss trying to figure out why this movie is so reviled. On further examination I can see why people turned up their noses at this movie. My opinion is that it boils down to simple prejudice. Lets start with the director, M. Night Shyamalan. His pinnacle success was with the movie The Sixth Sense. Although he did make other successful movies his star did decline as film after film tried to recapture the past glories of the Sixth Sense. His previous movie, The Last Air Bender, based of a series of comic books, strayed so far from its source material that many fans of the series were very pissed off at him. Therefore some judged After Earth just because his name was attached to it. Although to be honest, the studio really did down play the fact that M. Night Shyamalan was directing this film.

I have also leaned there are some people who cannot stand Jayden and say he is a lousy actor and they cry nepotism being the only reason he is in movies in the first place. I disagree. I really enjoyed him in the remake of The Karate Kid. critics and fans say he did not do a good job acting. I say baloney. These scene where he is arguing with his father right before he does the cliff dive is very emotional and very well acted.

Will Smith is also taking some flack for his acting in this movie. He is very cold and stoic in this movie. People are used to seeing Will acting where his personal charm just oozes off the screen. So for that reason I can understand why they’d be disappointed. However, I think the role called for him to be a distant and cold father figure and I think he actually played that role very well.

 

I do think this is a solid little science fiction movie and really does not deserve the hatred it gets. I don’t think this movie will be getting a sequel which is sad because I’d love to see more of Nova Prime.

 

 

 

 

Self-Destruct!!! & More Fun!!

I was watching Star Trek Original Series movies (I-VI) and wanted to nit-pick the destruction of the Enterprise in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I love that movie and I didn’t mind the destruction of the Enterprise, I just thought the destruction was rather wimpy. However, I do like the scene with Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu and Checkov are watching the fireball wreckage of the Enterprise streak against the sky. That was a spectacular scene. I just wanted a larger explosion. An equally spectacular scene could have been the crew viewing the sky with a giant cloud of debris from outer space painted across the horizon from the explosion of the Enterprise.

Take Star Trek the Motion Picture for example.  The  V’Ger cloud and ship was enormous. The movie says the cloud measured a diameter in excess of two astronomical units, or more than 299.195 million kilometers! When Kirk orders the Self-Destruct a crewman asks Scotti if that will also destroy V’Ger. He says that when that much mater and anti-matter collide it will take out V’Ger also. I am paraphrasing.

Switch to the Self-Destruct of the Enterprise in Star Trek III. When the explosion happens it barley destroys the saucer section of the ship! So instead of a cataclysmic explosion that would take out a ship and its surrounding cloud that was more than  299.195 million kilometers in size, what we  get is an explosion that barely singes the nose hairs of Klingon Commander Kruge in the nearby Bird-of-Prey!! 

Thanks for reading my little nerd rant.

Star Trek Continues is a fan based web series of very high quality. Their most recent episode is entitled “The Fairest of them All” which is a continuation of the Original Series episode Mirror Mirror. When Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and Scotty beam back to their rightful Mirror Universe this Captain Kirk will have a Spock that might not be as dedicated to the Terran Empire as he once was. This is a brilliant idea for an episode and it is very well written and acted. Try it out!

http://www.startrekcontinues.com/episodes/#.U57-bSiGjLR

Next week I will have my review of After Earth, starring the Father-Son team of Will and Jaden Smith. The week after that I will review and contrast the new RoboCop movie with the 1987 original.  Also, my review of the movie Pompeii will be coming soon.

The Seventh Son

From wikipedia…

Seventh Son is an upcoming 2015 fantasy film very loosely inspired by the novel The Spook’s Apprentice (titled The Last Apprentice in America). The story centers around Tom Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son, and his adventures as the apprentice of the Spook. It is directed by Sergei Bodrov and stars Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, and Julianne Moore. It features music composed by Marco Beltrami, which he replaced A. R. Rahman and Tuomas Kantelinen. It is scheduled to be released in 3-D and IMAX 3D February 6, 2015.

Seventh Son has switched release dates multiple times. It was originally scheduled for release February 22, 2013, but moved back to October 18, 2013, to complete post production. It again moved from October 18, 2013, to January 17, 2014, due to the film’s backer Legendary Pictures parting ways with Warner Bros., who were initially intended to distribute the film. On August 15, 2013, it was announced that Legendary has sold the distribution rights to their new partner Universal Studios which pulled the film off its January 17, 2014 release date. The release of the film has been moved to February 6, 2015.

 

  • My thoughts. I am really looking forward to this film. I just love fantasy films set in the middle ages with Dragons and wizards etc. One of the things that looks good about this movie is the fact that it seems like a mixture of action and adventure and some humor.
  • In recent years many movies, such as the Batman Trilogy, have taken a more serious approach to these types of movies. Even Man of Steel was too serious for some. In some recent movies of the science-fiction-fantasy genre I have seen a slow moving away from the super-serious approach.
  • In my opinion that is a good thing. While I do not mind the serious approach, I do not like a movie to be super serious for the entire film. I think movies such as the Avengers and Iron Man and Captain America have struck that balance with seriousness, fun and action and adventure.
  • The Seventh Son seems to be the same in that regard. The special effects look great and the story looks interesti9ng and engaging.  I love the look of the dragon and other monsters!
  • I was a little worried and frustrated that the movie kept being pushed back. Some fear this means it won’t be good. Some feared, like myself, that it would never see the light of day. Movies released in February are generally not bad but not seen as being of the quality of a summer blockbuster. However, since I am a very easygoing viewer and I love the trailer, I have little doubts that I will like this.

Here is the YouTube Trailer…

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Summer Blockbuster’s.

I am a little late this year with these, but these are the movies I want to see this summer.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (5-2) Part of this movie was filmed in Rochester NY which is near my home town. I really liked the reboot and hope this one is just as good! Spiderman continues his life as a crime fighter and this results in making more enemies. Some of these enemies are connected to the death of his parents.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (4-4) As Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America) adjusts to modern times he becomes and Agent of SHIELD along with Agent Natasha Romanoff they must fight off international terrorism. Roumor has it that this is one of the best movies in the Marvel cinematic universe.

Godzilla (5-16) I am a huge Godzilla fan! This movie looks awesome and can’t wait to see it!! Giant MUTO’s attack Hawaii and Vegas and Godzilla comes to save the day.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (5-23) Never cared for the X-men comics but I have loved the X-Men movies and really looking forward to this movie. There seems to be some fan confusion that this movie may erase others from the continuity.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (5-30) The second live action movie from Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane. I loved last year’s movie Ted and this one looks to be just as funny.

Maleficent (5-30) This is the story of Sleeping Beauty. I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one. I liked the trailers and this movie certainly has eye candy. I liked the trailers for Snow White and the Huntsman but did not end up liking that movie…so with this one I am being cautiously optimistic.

Edge of Tomorrow (6-6) I love Tom Cruise in science fiction movies. I really liked Oblivion and this one looks good. I guess it is a futuristic take on Groundhog day.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (6-27). I am not a big Transformers fan. They came out when I was an adult. I do think the premise is a bit silly, alien robots that can take the shape of human transportation, but I did like the first and third movies. The second movie I did not like at all. This one looks like a new and fresh approach.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (6-13) I love dragons!!! I love movies with dragons mostly. Loved the first movie and this one looks even better.

Jersey Boys (6-20) This is not a science-fiction film or a fantasy film but I am making an exception with this one. I love musical bio movies. Directed by Clint Eastwood this depicts the rise to fame of the 60s group Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (7-11). I liked the first one…after seeing the trailer for this I am cautiously optimistic. I hope it doesn’t turn into a basic dystopian post apocalyptic shoot em’ up movie.

Hercules (7-25). Dwayne John as Hercules. This is just as great and logical of casting as Arnold as Conan. This looks good and I have no doubt I will love. I really enjoyed Johnson in The Scorpion King and this movie looks to be just as enjoyable.

Guardians of the Galaxy (8-1) I am unfamiliar with this Marvel comic. However, it looks like a fun lighthearted science-fiction movie. In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan. In order to evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a group of misfits including Gamora, Rocket, Drax the Destroyer, and Groot. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (8-8) I never was a TMNT fan. They came along when I was in my 20s. But this look likes very good and I will give it a try.

Into the Storm (8-8) You may have to find the trailer on YouTube for this one. It has been jokingly called Twister II. Previously using the production title Black Sky, Into the Storm is an upcoming 2014 American disaster film directed by Steven Quale, written by John Swetnam, and starring Richard Armitage.