Friday, August 2, 2013

The Wolverine Review

Well It's a Whole Lot Better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine!
Going into this movie I was kind of nervous about the whole thing. The Superhero offerings this summer haven't been the best of the bunch, and the last time we got to see Hugh Jackman don the razor claws - it was a pretty awful movie going experience. I am glad to say, this movie wipes all the worry for the future of the X-Men franchise away.

Rather than go BIG and LOUD with this one, Director James Mangold takes the opposite approach bringing a quieter more world-weary version of our favorite angry Canadian to the screen. Picking up after the events of X3: The Last Stand - Logan is haunted by visions of his love, Jean, whom he had to kill in the heat of battle. Since then he has become a total recluse, living in the wilds, listing to the radio while getting drunk and making friends with the local wildlife. While confronting some hunters who illegally killed a bear for sport, he meets Yukio, a fellow mutant with the ability to see the deaths of anyone she meets. She's also pretty handy with a sword. She has been tasked with finding The Wolverine and taking him back to Tokyo to meet a man whose life he saved 70 years earlier during the bombing of Nagasaki.

In the intervening years the young solder he saved has become a wealthy brilliant industrialist with dreams of immortality of his own. It is here that he gives Logan an offer he is hard pressed to refuse - a meaningful death. Since Logan is pushing 200 years old by this point, a natural death is a long time off and with his recent visions - death would actually be a welcome respite. Of course the plot can't be that simple. Something has to go wrong. The industrialist's granddaughter heir-to-be Mariko, is almost assassinated and Logan is poisoned weakening him to the point where his ability to heal is restrained. In order to save the girl's life and his own, Logan must unravel the mystery that he has unwittingly found himself in. This path sets him on a journey of discovering his own self worth and gives him an unexpected reason to keep living.

This entry into the franchise is by far and away the most quiet and somber entry in the entire series. Mangold wisely takes the movie and plays it closer to something along the lines of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western than a mutant comic book action fest. That isn't to suggest there isn't any action to be had, there is plenty of that. The action this time is a bit more bolted to the ground than in previous installments. The camera work is close and intimate - a bit too wobbly maybe so take your Dramamine - coupled with the plot that Logan can't heal, the action feel much more urgent and in your face than ever before. It feels like there is something at stake. Each gunshot or slice from a Samurai sword gives the audience something to worry about for our favorite hero. He isn't the same unstoppable machine he once was.

While I fully enjoyed this entry and liked the direction it took; that isn't to say this is a perfect movie. Far from it I am afraid. While I loved most of the movie, it's faults are pretty glaring. For one, the script is just a tad bit too predictable. The symbolism and metaphors established early on repeat throughout and it isn't hard to keep about a hundred yards ahead of the plot. Also there is a rather egregious case of over casting that should have been resolved between the characters of Yukio and Mariko played very well by Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto respectively. While these actresses were great in their rolls, there is no reason for these characters to be separate individuals. So much of the movie is setup by Logan establishing a relationship and rapport with Yukio that it is incredibly jarring when Logan runs off with Mariko and starts the process all over again.

On top of that you have the visions of Jean Grey, brought back to life again by the always great Famke Janssen. It makes sense to me for her to be there, but unless you're well versed in the X-Men movie universe, you might be more than a little bit confused. The device works well to highlight the ever changing mental state of Logan, but maybe used a tad more sparingly, it might have helped it resonate.

Then you have the terribly underused Svetlana Khodchenkova as the mutant Viper who holds the secretes to Logan's vulnerability. She only has a handful of scenes and doesn't get a chance to play her evil character to the full "Jame Bond Villain" level she should have been. She's smart, she's a sexy, lethal Femme Fatale - but you'd never know with the 10 minutes of screen time she's given.  Considering she can shed her skin, has a snake tongue, and spits acid - you'd think the filmmakers would have showcased that a lot more. And then there is the ultimate villain himself The Silver Samurai. I can't get into his usage without going too far into the spoiler territories for comfort, but I will say it's not a surprising reveal nor is it well executed - a different approach might have kept the grounded nature in check rather than spiraling out into typical superhero fare.

That isn't to say this movie is a total failure either. By in no ways is it that. It is probably the most mature of the X-Men movies released thus far. The characters feel real and tangible without this fantasy superhero veil hanging over it. The movie does have this feeling of being a bit edited. The action, themes, dialog - all feel like this was made to be rated R but then was cut back to a PG-13. The world created by Mangold feels very real and current day and it serves as a welcomed change of scenery for our hero - I just wish there was more of it! By the end of the movie Logan is a changed man both physically and mentally than when we found him at the start. Perhaps another draft of the script could have helped iron out the few trouble spots in our adventure. 2D or 3D doesn't really matter here either, I caught it 3D and while the train fight and a few other moments were quite well done, it didn't make an impact on the experience as a whole to warrant it. But what this movie does well is sponge away the dirty stain left from X-Men Origins: Wolverine and most of the damage done by X3: The Last Stand. Be sure to stick around to the mid-credits for a tantalizing look at X-Men: Days of Future Past due out next summer! Is is worth seeing in theaters? Maybe not, but it is worth seeing, so don't let it slip past your radar for too long!

In the End: 6/10 Not perfect but far and away better than the last couple Wolverine adventures.

Friday 8/2

DDSDM - Different Day Same Damn Migraine

I know I previously described a migraine as if having the chestburster from Alien popping out of your head. Well, after day 3 of the same damn headache I am going to revise that statement: Getting a migraine actually feels more like your head is trying to give birth to your brain through your eye socket but your eyeball refuses to get out of the way... hell of a picture aint it?  Since virtually all of my migraines are weather and air pressure related, it makes the alternating thunderstorms we're having real fun! Coupled with the lack of sleep - today is going to be a LONG day. But I've got a lot of writing to do -book, blog, movie review so I WONT LET IT STOP ME NOW! - is that the weirdest segue to the main topic of the day you've ever read? Maybe I should put it in context. Enjoy some Queen everyone!
Alright, I know that song came out in like 79 - but that is almost the 80's and what defines the 80's better than some good old U.S. Russia Tensions? Go with me on this one. I didn't really have a topic to speak of for today and I didn't want to just repost the same old news that other sites already reported with my usual amount of wit and sarcasm. Plus a friend posted on Facebook about how the upcoming Russia hosted Olympics are steadily turning into a clusterF%^) - then you get the whole Snowden thing and their anti gay rights stance and BAM! - We're right back where we were 30 years ago; well minus the nuclear arms race and Reagan telling Gorbachev to take down his big concrete yard accessory. But what we did get in the 80's was a whole lot of butch manly action movies in the "US versus THEM" genre to get our red white and blue patriotic blood pumping. So with that, what better way to spend a Friday wasting time at work than watching awesome 80's action movie trailers? I'm gonna be fast and loose with these - not all of them will be Russians, Central America had its share of vague Communist bad guys in those days too - So without further ado, I get this trailer-athon going with RED DAWN!
I gotta say, I have more than a bit of love for this movie. It was one of the very few movies I was ever told by my Mom that I couldn't rent. So when it hit broadcast TV and she couldn't stop me since its content was edited for TV,  I ate it up! As a result I was kind of offended at the idea of a remake - I shouldn't have been, I was bored to sleep by that movie - but it's only fitting that it gets first billing. Plus it has Swayze and Sheen and one of the Corey's - It's tough to get any more American than that!

Well, that is until you check out Rambo III!
I know I could have used Rambo: First Blood Part II in here but come on? He only goes back to Viet Nam in that one and rescues a few POW's - in Rambo III he kicks the Russians out of Afghanistan single handed! Sure the Taliban rides in on their horses at the end and take out the tanks but Rambo blows up 2 huge helicopters all by himself with a bow and arrow and blue glow sticks in a cave!- that has to count for something!

You can't go full 'Merica without a little Chuck Norris action! Missing in Action that is!
 This movie is basically Rambo: First Blood Part II just without the budget. It's still fun and it spawned 2 sequels. Most of Norris' movies are actually pretty hard to sit through and take seriously, so the grand daddy of his collection has got to be:

Invasion U.S.A.
So yeah, this movie is somehow -still to this day- one of the best selling home video releases of all time! Not kidding, it's like third or forth on the list. Something like 1 in every 6 Americans owns a copy of this movie... I just so happen to have it on Laserdisc! About 90% of the action of this movie is relegated to a single city block in Miami - not the front steps of the Capital in Washington D.C. as depicted on the box art. But that's okay because Norris strides into fights with two Uzi's and he has a pet armadillo!

What better way to showcase how much more awesome America was in the 80's than show one of their own desire to defect in The Hunt for Red October!
I know this came out in 1990 - but the book was written in the mid 80's and it was filmed between 88 and 89 so it still counts! Plus it was immediately banned in Russia for fairly obvious reasons I think. But still, where else are you going to find a bad ass Sean Connery playing a Russian sub commander try and steal a top of the line Submarine and give it to the US as a peace token? No where!

How hasn't Eastwood made this list sooner? I give you Firefox!
This is a movie where Eastwood is recruited to infiltrate a Russian secrete military base and fly out their prototype sonic super jet that you control with your mind! I know I made it sounds kinda dumb but it's actually a hoot and you can tell Our Man Clint is enjoying the hell out of himself.

Maybe because he was from Austria and that is a border country to the Soviet Union, our dear friend Arnold Schwarzenegger never really got into the whole US VS Russians genre. But he did blow up a TON of Central American Communists that were threatening to overthrow the democratically elected President of some fictitious country in Commando!
Not only is this one of Arnold's best movies, it also features that great steel drum music score that made every 80's action movie sound like it was filmed in the Caribbean! That and Arnold entered the God Mode cheat code and has an unending supply of bullets, grenades, rockets, and knives, and bombs to blow up an entire army of bad guys all on his own! Sure there is a whole plot involving how the Commies are threatening to kill his kidnapped daughter. That's just the window dressing, I got a feeling Arnold would have blown these guys up regardless.

Another late 80's 1990 entry that can't go without being mentioned is Die Hard 2: Die Harder!
This time it's a battalion of rogue US Soldiers looking to stab our great country in the back by releasing a deposed communist dictator! To make the threat even more real, they're pulling this stunt on our most sacred of holidays - no not July 4th - Christmas! Those Bastards! Thankfully we have Bruce Willis and his receding hairline and super NYPD/LAPD skills to put an end to the terrorists' evil plot!

To end this post I have to give you what is perhaps the mother of all US versus THEM movies, the peak of the genre comes to us again by way of Sly Stallone with Rocky IV
After the Russian fighter kills Apollo Creed in the ring, Rocky travels to Jackson Hole Wyoming -er...I mean Siberia to train for the fight of his life. The whole theme "Us versus Them" is even outright stated on more than one occasion, but then we get Rocky preaching us a lesson that if he can change maybe we all can change as the Russian people chant his name to victory! Toss in around 4 or 5 music video montages inside of 20 minutes showcasing Stallone pulling a sled in the snow while the Russian fighter Ivan Drago gets steroid injections and you have the most entertaining entry in the Rocky Franchise and quite possibly the best of the 80's U.S. VS Russia action sub-genre!

While the staple of the Evil Russians invading the US and ruining the youth of America has been a theme in our culture since the 50's, it was never on better display than in 80's action movie cinema. Even though it came to a head with the fall of the Berlin Wall, it lives on in the hearts of every child that grew up in the 80's. Maybe that's why the vague Eastern European bad guys in the Taken and Bourn movies are so damned appealing? They may not be backed by a government, but they are hairy, speak an indiscernible language we have to read in subtitles, and they're a threat to freedom!

Well I hope you enjoyed this little tongue in cheek post. I found it funny as hell and I had a really damn hard time narrowing the list to just a few gems. Honestly, I think I would break Blogger if I did a full post on this topic. So with that Dear Readers, I wish you a happy restful weekend and I want to remind you that there is no shame in working out to the smooth tunes of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band's "Heart's On Fire." It got Rocky in shape to fight the Russian, it will help you lift logs, chop wood, lift nets full of rocks, and do a billion sit ups while suspended from the rafters of some rickety old shack!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday 8/1

Ugh... not a great day to wake up with a migraine...

SO here we are, one day closer to the weekend! About damn time right? Was it just me or did this week take forever? Granted my wife and I did have to change our travel plans entirely -  which sucked a lot - but you'd have thought we'd have kept to at least some of our usual routines. I mean honestly - did we really want to see family that badly? Considering how hard it's been able to wake up each morning, i guess we did! Who'd have thought it?

Something Awesome to Start Your Day

Believe it or not, I actually love to swim. Why then did I move into the heart of a landlocked state with few natural lakes and water sources to swim in? - I couldn't tell you but really, I love the ocean. Since I don't have cable, any time we visit home I always slide the channel over to Discovery to get as much of that stuff that I can - when they're not trying to capture Big Foot that is. With my love of swimming and snorkeling in the ocean watching this video last night was pretty damn amazing so I'm sharing it with you.
Now, the couple times I got to go snorkeling in some reefs were some of the most amazing vacations I ever went on - including getting stung by a jelly fish on my knee so badly the welt didn't go away for months. But on these trips I got to see my fair share of reef fish and eels and I gotta tell you, it takes a LOT of will power to not reach out and touch them. So now I want to take scuba lessons! Chalk that up on the dream board!

Way to go China!

As if the perfect score I gave wasn't indication enough, I loved Pacific Rim - so news that the movie had a record breaking opening in China is welcome indeed! While a $10million opening on a Wednesday might not seem that huge, keep in mind that China was responsible for nearly 10% of Avatar's $2Billion worldwide haul. Now you understand why the foreign market is so important for movies these days? Equally important to consider is Japan, who was also responsible for 10% of Avatar's total and a movie like Pacific Rim is designed to perform well in those two countries. What does all this China and Japan box office mean? Well, considering the international performance to date, it pretty much secures a sequel. While that isn't a 100% sure thing, it gets the conversation started between studio heads and producers. Does this movie need a sequel? Probably not, it wrapped things up pretty tightly, but would I mind seeing one in the near future? Not at all! Do your part folks and pay for a ticket! There is still time to enjoy this one on the big screen!

Speaking of Avatar

As production on Avatar 2: Avatar Harder progresses(that's not the real title) word has come down the pipe that Josh Friedman has been tapped to assist James Cameron with the screenplay. What this means exactly isn't entirely clear -  he could be doing dialog touching up, he could be doing a draft to get some fresh eyes on the project - the one assured thing is that Cameron has brought in a solid writer to give a fresh approach to the project. I doubt that this is a page one rewrite, Cameron is said to be eying a January or early February start date - this could be more of an effort to shore up the third film Avatar With A Vengeance since both films are supposedly to shoot concurrently. Where I like this news is that Friedman was the lead writer on Spielberg's War of the Worlds and he was the lead writer and creator behind the awesome, under rated, and sadly canceled too soon Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Maybe Cameron is reaching out to Friedman because he is the one guy to love Terminators as much as he does? 

Also arriving today for you should be my review for The Wolverine. I plan to hit an early show if my brain holds out for me to be able to enjoy it, if I don't go today I'll go tomorrow. I don't know why but I am just not at all excited for this movie. Perhaps it's the lackluster middling reviews? Maybe it's the fact that I don't know of anyone that went to see it? Or it could be the fact that I am totally burned out from the slew of summer movies this year. I'm preparing a rant on that issue so look out! With that I shall leave you, so remember Dear Readers, climbing into a dishwasher isn't the same thing as taking a shower - while you can wash dishes in a shower, you can't wash yourself with your dishes, sadly, the two methods are not simpatico.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday 7/31

August is almost here! That means summer will end soon and we'll be done with the heat!

Ahoy there Dear Readers, sorry for the lack of any post yesterday- got busy writing my own stuff cleared out about 3-4 pages!, and by the time I realized I didn't drop a line to you all, well, yeah my wife and I started watching Always Sunny in Philadelphia and before we knew it we were watching another episode of Orange is the New Black and by that time it was like 8:00 at night so we figured "why not?" and watched another episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia. So yeah - pretty clear at this point, I wasn't going to get much of any blogging done yesterday - still not sure about today but I'm willing to give it a go if you are!

First up - Something AMAZING

Well to be honest I don't have a whole lot of interesting stuff to post so I'm putting up the best first. You need to meet Hal Lasko - if you haven't seen this video yet, you'll want to clear 10 minutes from your schedule NOW. I caught this last night and it's become one of the best things I've seen in a great long time. Not only is it a wonderful story about someone overcoming a disability to do what they love, but his pictures are truly beautiful works of art!

ALL of his works are created using Microsoft Paint! Because he is legally blind he can magnify specific areas of the picture and fill them in pixel by pixel. Some of his works take him YEARS to complete. EVEN more amazing is his WEBSITE. Seriously you need to check out his work. THey're also selling some prints of his work for a limited time! $98 bucks gets you a beautiful print and 10% of that goes to VFW charity work! Get some great art and help people at the same time, how can you go wrong with that? Hope this got your day on the right foot!

Need a Little Extra Laughter?

Well somehow I got my latest Epic Trailer out without actually telling anyone? I know I posted it to Facebook and I fired it off to the good folks at Screenrant, but somehow I never posted about it! Weird! SO without further delay, I bring you Kindergarten Cop Epic Trailer!
One day I hope this leads to a lucrative career cutting movie trailers - I'd love that responsibility if only to end the practice of giving away the entire movie before the movie is even close to hitting theater screens. I feel like that problem has gotten worse and worse over the last couple years. If I don't get that dream job, then I hope I actually get hired to create parody trailers for Conan or any of the other late shows - that would be the shit!

Should Have Seen This One Coming...

Since there is a new series of Tolken movies hitting the theaters, it should be no surprise to anyone that like The Lord of the Rings before them, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be getting the extended treatment as well! Coming in 2D and 3D editions you'll get to enjoy an extra 13 minutes of scenes not seen in the theatrical version along with about 9 hours of extra features. According to the good people at the longer version will be made available digitally on October 22nd  -why anyone would pay full price for a movie with compressed picture and sound without a physical copy is beyond me - and on November 5th the 2d and 3D blu-ray editions with HD digital copies will be available for your purchase. Where do I fall on this? Well... to be honest... meh. I really enjoyed An Unexpected Journey, I really did, but do I need to see a longer version of an already long movie? Not really. That isn't to say I'm not curious, but I think I'll wait for the trilogy to finish up in 2015 and get the big set of all 3 then.

Something Totally Random

Have you ever wanted to know what Stanley Kubrick's top 10 movies were? Well I stumbled onto this list. Apparently it was published in Cinema magazine sometime around 1963. It happens to be the only known list of it's kind made by the filmmaker. Given that he died around 40 years later, I'd imagine that he would have updated it at least a few times - so this is far from a definitive list, it's just cool knowing what movies the guy enjoyed most.Enjoy!

Kubrick Directing1. I Vitelloni (Fellini, 1953)
2. Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Huston, 1948)
5. City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)
6. Henry V (Olivier, 1944)
7. La notte (Antonioni, 1961)
8. The Bank Dick (Fields, 1940—above)
9. Roxie Hart (Wellman, 1942)
10. Hell’s Angels (Hughes, 1930)

I myself have only seen 6 of the 10, while I thought they were all good, they wouldn't make the list of movies I'd take with me to a deserted island to watch for the rest of my life, I need RawHead Rex or Night of the Living Dead up there somewhere.

That's all I have for you, I could talk about the upcoming Superman VS Batman or Batman VS Superman or Batman Does Superman or whatever the hell they're calling it; but that would just be reporting rumors about rumors about a project that so far only has a director, writers, and like 2 cast members to speak of - so yeah, I'm not gonna do that. With that remember Dear Readers if you want to feel like a kid again, inject a solution of 2 parts sugar and 5 parts coffee directly into your blood. After that you're going to need the same medication your kids take to stay calm!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Conjuring Review

Want to do a little jumping with your scares?

Horror movies have been my cinema bread and butter since I was about 4 years old. Because of that I am a huge horror movie nut - but I am also a very discriminatory horror movie nut. It doesn't take just blood and guts to get me tweaked up in a movie theater, there has to be story, there has to be well written characters, and it has to be genuinely thrilling for me to fall head over heals for a horror picture. It's for all of these reasons that I thoroughly loved The Conjuring.

The setup for this movie is pretty straight forward a young family has moved into an old home with a dark history and must turn to a pair of paranormal investigators to rid their home of the evil entities that dwell within. And like most horror films, it is based off of real events. In this case it follows one of the more notorious cases investigated by real life duo Ed and Lorraine Warren whom take it upon themselves to help the family in need.

Now I don't know a whole hell of a lot about the Warrens beyond their connection to the infamous Amityville Horror events/book/movie so I can't speak to how accurate this movie is to the Warrens, their practices, or the real "Perron" family they supposedly helped. What I can attest to is that this is one hell of an effective, spooky and genuinely creepy ghost movie. I love a good ghost movie that takes it's time to build the scares instead of shoving them down your throat. In the The Conjuring veteran horror director James Wan has brought out perhaps his most mature work to date. He takes his time to build the story. Little teases here and there, a bump in the night, the Perron family discovering a long boarded up cellar, an odd smell that travels from room to room, a child sleepwalking - every skillful tool in the book is used to good measure in this movie.

What helps ground the movie even more is the lack of technology. Since the events of the story happened in the 1970's the filmmakers relied heavily on practical effects rather than an over abundant usage of CGI tricks. It helps that the movie clearly has full commitment from it's very talented cast. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are perfect as the respective Mr. and Mrs. Warren and a shout out has to be given to Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor as heads of the Perron family. Together they turn material that in lesser hands would have been a joke into some genuine fright inducing terrors. As a jaded horror movie fan I'm usually about 2-3 steps ahead of most horror movies, so I was thrilled when this one kept me guessing what was going to happen next. The film is a slow burn, it takes it time to get going but that isn't to say it's a total bore either. There is the right amount of setup and payoff to keep you glued to your seat in anticipation one moment and flying out of it the next. This is a movie for people with an attention span, plan and simple. If you're one of those people that can't stay off your phone while the movie's on, you're better to keep away from this one.

While I sing the praises of the cast and the director - I can not go without tipping my hat to cinematographer John R. Leonetti. His fantastic usage of light and dark and the shadow spaces in between is fantastic. Every shot, even the bright daylight scenes have enough of that eery negative space to keep a constant sense of dread throughout. And then unlike some other recent horror efforts like the remake of Fright Night - this movie isn't so dark you can't see anything. Very wisely the filmmakers of The Conjuring understood that if you can't see the movie you can't be scared! So the use of burning out flashlights, broken light bulbs, and lit matches as the only light source are wisely used and well executed.

If I have a slight gripe with this movie is in its pacing. It takes an awful long time to get to where it's going. That isn't to say that is a bad thing, but when the main climax hits, it's almost as if there was too much gas left in the tank for 15 minutes so the filmmakers had to push the pedal to the floor. If they'd spread this chunk out just a bit longer I would dare say we would be seeing a worthy rival to The Exorcist. This movie gets so close to that mark, it really does, but it doesn't quite make it. But then again, when you're saying a horror movie from the 20teens is almost in the same league as an iconic horror film like The Exorcist - that is no small amount of praise! If you love your horror movies to slowly build, be good and spooky, with ample jumps and not a lot of needles gore - you should be more than happy with this one. Given its performance at the boxoffice the last 2 weeks, I would wager a bet I am not alone in this assessment. It's a rare treat to get a horror movie that is actually well acted, scripted and directed and isn't a mess of crap. If you can't make it to a theater for this one, when you get this one home be sure to turn out all the lights, and if you happen to have a clunky old furnace or other rattly appliance around  - make sure that's on too!

In the End, 8/10 a genuinely creepy good time for a horror movie audience with an attention span.

Pacific Rim Review

NOW This Is How You Make A Giant Robot Monster Movie!

What did I think? It was awesome and EVERYONE should see this movie in the theater! If you're using a torrent or a cheep ILLEGAL  streaming site to watch this movie(or any movie) you should be just a bit more than a tad ashamed of yourself. It was old school summer movie fun in grand, exciting fashion!
Flat out, this is my favorite movie of the summer thus far! It didn't have a silly twist like Iron Man 3, it didn't crib its entire plot from another movie in its own franchise like Star Trek, and there was a genuine concern for humanity as a whole unlike Man of Steel... the less said about World War Z the better in my opinion. It would be very easy to peg this movie as little more than Transformers VS Godzilla - you could do that, but you would be very, very wrong. This movie is so infinitely BETTER than any of the Transformers movies made so far.

Pacific Rim centers around a dimensional portal opening thousands of feet down in the Pacific Ocean. Through the portal, gigantic monsters called Kaiju - the Japanese word for Giant Monsters - came pouring through. As the world's governments battled to control these creatures, a decision was made to create our own giant monsters - huge hulking battle robots call Jaegers to hunt these creatures down and destroy them. Initially the program is met with great successes, minimizing human casualties and destroying the monsters faster. The Jaegers are piloted by two individuals through a shared mind meld called "the drift" by sharing memories and experiences the two pilots are able to anticipate each other's moves while being able to control their giant robot weapon's more effectively.

Flash forward 20 years where the film picks up and mankind is having a tougher and tougher time defeating these monsters while individual Jaegers and their drivers have become superstars and celebrities that are met with great fanfare everywhere they go. This moment also happens to be when things start to go drastically down hill. Kaiju that are bigger and stronger than any ever seen before begin pouring through the portal more frequently taxing the system beyond it's limits. It is here we meet Raleigh played by Charlie Hunnan who while on a routine mission losses his co-pilot brother to one of the largest and most formidable Kaiju ever seen before. This experience scars Raleigh and he abandons his pilot status to live in obscurity building humanity's last ditch effort - a gigantic coastal wall. Unimpressed with the decisions made by world leaders to scrap the Jaeger program, Major Pentecost  played by the always awesome Idris Elba rounds up the last great Jaegers left operating and their pilots - including Raleigh to pull off one last ditch move to close the portal and save humanity before the beasts break through the walls and wipe everyone out.

The movie is fast and loose with the action and the special effects are incredible. You never lose a sense of scale of the monsters or their robotic opponents. Written and Directed by the great Guillermo del Toro, the story never loses focus of the task at hand - providing great big loud summer spectacle fun! The story and the human drama are there only to add enough weight and importance to the next Kaiju battle. That isn't to say the characters are so paper thin they're annoying stereotypes either. Unlike the Transformers movies - every character in Pacific Rim is there to serve a purpose to the story. Sure there is the nerdy scientist duo for comic relief played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman- but they're not useless characters - they make an impact to the general story that is important! No female character is there to sit there with her rear sticking out while wearing tight shirts that highlight her breasts - these women are warriors. They are equal to their male counterparts and are just as if not more lethal.

Then you get the Kaiju themselves. If there was an area where I would have liked to see a little more variance it would be here. My only real complaint is that a lot of these beasts look like each other - which there is a plot reason for that I wont spoil - but still - when so much could have been done with them, I would have liked to have seen more. That said though, when they're on screen, they are incredible sights to see! They're big, mean, and cause a lot of damage when, where, and however they can. Because the human element is never lost, these creatures pose a real threat to humanity as a greater whole. Because every attempt to get as many people into shelters as possible is made, there is an urgency for the Jaegers and their pilots to get into action as fast as possible to deal with the problem.

Then you have the issue to see in 3D or not to see in 3D - the fast answer to that is SEE IT IN 3D! And on the LARGEST screen you can find! This is a movie meant for an XD screen or a huge IMAX theater. While it wasn't shot in 3D, you could hardly know it by looking at this movie. There is constant real depth throughout the movie, even in darker scenes that would be harder to distinguish relative position - it comes through perfectly. From the cityscape of Hong Kong, to the citizen shelters, to the Jaeger cockpits, to the Kaiju battles it is a thrill to see in 3D. The balance is fantastic, you never lose size and scope, while there aren't any annoying artifacts that fly out of the screen to stress your eyes, you just feel like that big monster is in the room with you and that makes this 3D conversion a gigantic success in my book. I put the 3D presentation up there with Avatar as among the best so far.

This is what summer movies are meant to be. Throughout the summer so far there has been this push for big spectacle at the sacrifice of human story. This was the movie that should have paved the way for the summer movie season, sadly, by the time of it's release it was a victim of destruction fatigue. While it may not have lit up the boxoffice here in the states, it seems to have found a fantastic life overseas so I hope this is a rousing success enough to if not warrant a sequel - then to shame American audiences for staying away from this movie. I also have to pin blame on a lackluster marketing campaign that did little to distinguish this movie from any of the Transformers movies. That said, get to ANY theater still showing this if you haven't seen it already! You owe it to yourself to see this on the big screen, it doesn't matter if no 3D showings are left - GO SEE IT!

In the End: 10/10 this has been the absolute best movie I've seen this summer. 

Monday 7/29

Wow... Slight Change in Plans

You know the phrase "The quickest way to hear God laugh is to announce your intentions?" I like that one too, first heard it in an episode of Dead Wood and ever since try to use it everyone once in awhile because it sounds bad ass. That turn of phrase pretty much applied to the whole weekend and now my wife and I aren't heading back to Michigan as planned. Bummer but at the same time we are now enjoying some of the best weather Colorado has had to offer this summer season. Silver lining I guess. Now my wife and I are watching episodes from The Incredible Hulk. So far the best line read has been "You've been in a coma for two days, it was an accident." - they accidentally put him into a coma? What? Gonna be a fun day!

How Old Do You Like Your Barbarians?

Apparently the going plan for Conan is now to spur a new trilogy of movies featuring Arnold! the new film titled Legend of Conan is due to start filming by the end of this year if you believe the scuttlebutt. This would be interesting because Arnold is also slated to start working on the next installment of the Terminator franchise the end of this year as well! That could mean that late 2014 early 2015 we could have a new Terminator and a new Conan! This sounds cool and all but damn, they better get to work fast - Arnold anit getting any younger!


I promise! My reviews for Pacific Rim and The Conjuring will be up today, with all of the crazy things going on the last few days - yeah I didn't get to them at all. but now that I have time today I should have those done and up in a few hours, that is of course if the world doesn't explode or the zombie apocalypse - which I am fully prepared for - breaks out.   

Since I've got to crank out those reviews, this is all I've got for you today. Hope to be back to a regular schedule with all the shenanigans hijinks and goings on with this blog. Until tomorrow Dear Readers, remember to never be among the first people to visit a new exhibit at SeaWorld. After Revenge of the Creature and Jaws 3 - it never ends well for those people that show up for opening day; give them some time to work out the kinks.