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Man of Steel Movie Trailer

December 14th, 2012 Angela Posted in Movies Comments Off

Christopher Nolan is simply brilliant. He’s taking control of another superhero franchise and I couldn’t have hoped for someone better. After what he did for the Batman reboot, his talent or vision can’t be denied. I would love for him to take the helm on a Justice League movie. Marvel has basically cornered the market on kick-ass superhero flicks and ensemble casts. No question The Avengers movie will be hard to beat. That movie blew my mind. I have a feeling that my senses will be taken to the brink again. When the official trailer for Man of Steel went viral a few days ago, I was beyond thrilled. Quite simply — this trailer is stunning! It clearly tells a fantastic story. Taking viewers on that familiar journey with “Clark” — The Last Son of Krypton. His origin story never gets old. Superman is an iconic superhero, bringing so much to the American culture. I really love the casting in this film. Henry Cavill as Supes, Michael Shannon as General Zod, and Russell Crowe as Jor-El. The list goes on and on. With Zack Snyder (Watchmen and 300) directing and the screenplay/story by the equally brilliant David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Crow, Blade), this movie is poised to vault this franchise into movie history. The summer of 2013 can’t come fast enough! Watch the trailer below:

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Movie Review: Fright Night

September 1st, 2011 Angela Posted in Movies, Review 4 Comments »

Title: Fright Night

Director: Craig Gillespie

Producer: Michael De Luca

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Distributor: DreamWorks

Series: Fright Night

Release Date: August 19, 2011

Format: 3D

Runtime: 120 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Starring: Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Toni Collette, and David Tennant

Synopsis (Product Description):

Senior Charlie Brewster finally has it all–he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the hottest girl in high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend Ed. But trouble arrives when an intriguing stranger Jerry moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right–and everyone, including Charlie’s mom, doesn’t notice. After witnessing some very unusual activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on his neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone that he’s telling the truth, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this revamp of the comedy-horror classic.

The Review:

Hollywood is recycling movies, cranking out remakes, reboots and prequels so fast that Fright Night is just one of TWO remakes released in the same week in August. But unlike the Conan reboot, Fright Night hits it out of the park. I confess to never having seen the original Fright Night, so I’m a tabula rasa so far as preconceptions of what Fright Night should be. I can’t tell you how well the new Fright Night stands up to the original. What I can tell you is that this new Fright Night alternates perfectly between funny and thrilling. Starring Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, David Tennant and Toni Collette, Fright Night is long on talent and short on filler. It moves at a brisk pace until it turns on pacing afterburners (in a good way!) about halfway through.

Anton Yelchin plays Charley Brewster. He and his single mom, Jane, played by Toni Collette live in Las Vegas and in a nod to the real world the economy is weak resulting in dozens of foreclosed, empty houses. So when whole families disappear from the neighborhood, it’s only natural to think that the former occupants fell on hard economic times and lost the family home. But Charley’s best friend, Ed, knows better. Ed knows that all the missing kids at school and empty houses in town are the work of Vampires. Queue Jerry, played by Colin Farrell. He’s Charley and Jane’s new next door neighbor. Y’know, a guy who works nights and sleeps during the day. A lot of people work nights at Vegas casinos. Besides, a vampire named Jerry? That’s like naming a vampire Bill, Erik or Pam ;)

Well just like Erik Northman, Jerry is of the species homo vampiricus badassicus. He will not be throwing pebbles at your window and sharing chaste kisses with you in the woods. He will however, be flipping your car over and trying to disembowel you. Colin may be the scariest character named Jerry in all film history. At the start of the movie it’s a quite, subtle menace, but it isn’t long before Jerry cuts loose and the movie shifts gears from fun comedy to all out thrill ride. Fright Night, like 30 Days of Night reminds us that vampires need not be angst ridden and insecure. They EAT PEOPLE! And it’s awesome.

I don’t know whether Fright Night is a good remake, but it is a great movie. It is full of laughs but has fantastic thrills too. After seeing what vampires named Jerry are capable of, let’s all of us hope what happens in Vegas truly stays in Vegas.

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.

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Movie Review: Conan The Barbarian

August 31st, 2011 Angela Posted in Movies, Review 4 Comments »

Title: Conan The Barbarian

Director: Marcus Nispel

Producer: Fredrik Malmberg

Genre: Action, Fantasy

Distributor: Lionsgate

Series: Conan The Barbarian

Release Date: August 19, 2011

Format: 3D

Runtime: 112 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Starring: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, and Saïd Taghmaoui

Synopsis (Product Description):

The most legendary Barbarian of all time is back this Summer. Having thrived and evolved for eight consecutive decades in the public imagination- in prose and graphics, on the big screen and small, in games and properties of all kinds- Conan’s exploits in the Hyborian Age now come alive like never before in a colossal 3D action-adventure film.

A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.

The Review:

“Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of.  And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow.  It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga.  Let me tell you of the days of high adventure.”

So begins the awesome prologue of Conan The Barbarian released in 1982.  The original Conan helped catapult Arnold Schwarzenegger to super stardom.  This summer’s reboot stars Jason Mamoa, who plays Khal Drogo in the HBO series, A Game of Thrones.  While Jason Mamoa is perfectly cast as Conan, the Conan reboot is no match for the original film.  Though this reboot of Conan is better than 1984′s Conan The Destroyer.

Reboots necessarily invite comparison to the original movie.  Unfortunately for this reboot, the original Conan The Barbarian is a cult classic because it is actually a really good movie.  This may be hard to believe if you have not seen the original 1982 film because of the governator’s reputation for making brain dead action movies, but here are a few fun facts about the 1982 film.  The original Conan The Barbarian was directed and co-written by John Milius (writer of Apocalypse Now) with writing help from Oliver Stone.   Arnold played the title role, but the movie wouldn’t have been the classic it was without James Earl Jones’ portrayal of the villainous Thulsa Doom.  To top it off, the music was composed by Basil Poledouris.  You may not know the name but you know his music — Robocop, Starship Troopers and Red Dawn to name a few.

Now comes the 2011 Conan reboot, which is in all fairness, a respectable action movie directed by Marcus Nispel, starring the aforementioned Jason Mamoa.  Ron Perlman does a great job playing Conan’s father and Leo Howard almost steals the show as the young Conan.  The makers of the Conan reboot wisely opted for an R rating.  There is sufficient bloodletting to do justice to the Conan mythos. Where Conan begins to go off track is with its one dimensional characters and underutilized fantasy elements.  Chief among the weak characters is the villain, Khalar Zym, played by the extremely talented Stephen Lang.  Khalar Zym is a poor shadow of the villainous Thulsa Doom.

Zym is introduced as an all conquering bad ass on the quest for a fabled mask that is supposed to bestow great power upon whoever wears it.  Despite all the buildup of this mystical super weapon, it turns out to have about as much power as a flashlight.  Epic super weapon fail.  Without a strong villain to provide a suitable challenge for Conan, the movie doesn’t ever pick up steam.  Most of the elements for a good movie are in place — great cast, good action scenes and strong production values, but Zym and his cadre of bad guys just don’t carry their weight as fantasy villains.  In the pantheon of villains, Zym is a forgettable b-lister.

Hopefully, the writers can remedy the lack of a strong villain in a sequel.  There’s a lot of potential for a franchise and Jason Mamoa is the ideal Conan, but this Conan fan is still waiting for the days of high adventure.

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.

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Movie Review: Final Destination 5

August 18th, 2011 Angela Posted in Movies, Review Comments Off

Title: Final Destination 5

Director: Steven Quale

Producer: Craig Perry and Warren Zide

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Series: Final Destination

Release Date: August 12, 2011

Format: 3D

Runtime: 95 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Starring: Emma Bell, Nicholas D’Agosto, Miles Fisher, Arlen Escarpeta, and P.J. Byrne

Synopsis (Product Description):

Death stalks a group of co-workers who avoid a grisly demise in a massive suspension bridge collapse after one of them experiences a terrifying premonition in the fifth installment of the popular Final Destination series.

The Review:

It’s another Final Destination movie. Along with the Saw franchise, this is one of Hollywood’s old standbys that’s ridden a pretty original idea into the ground–well not all the way into the ground. It still manages to be fun as long as you manage your expectations.

The Final Destination formula is the same. Right before a major disaster — think plane crash, roller coaster, huge traffic accident — the protagonist has a vivid premonition of things to come. Right after he or she sees their own death they snap back to a point right before the disaster and warn their friends to get off of, or out of whatever, or wherever the disaster is about to strike. The twist is that death doesn’t like to be cheated and through a series of gory Rube Goldberg like accidents, it will claim the lives of anyone who escaped the initial disaster. The protagonist and his circle of friends take a little while to catch on, but inevitably the series of improbable deaths of everyone who escaped the initial disaster clues the dwindling survivors in. At this point some contrivance is discovered by which the remaining survivors might be able to cheat death.

I’ve just described the plot of every Final Destination film, which is kind of why I’ll never recommend you watch any of the later films for the storytelling. The premise of the Final Destination films was fresh until the second sequel. Final Destination is now about one thing and one thing only. That is the insane, weird, and horrible ways in which the cast is killed off. It is a fundamentally shallow movie going experience. There is very little character development, and no proper villain, unless a concept like death can be a villain. This lack of a villain has always made the Final Destination films less about horror than about shock value. Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch and Ring had moments of real terror. Final Destination relies exclusively on shock value. It’s a subtle difference, but why, at least in this viewer’s opinion, it’s not going to rank up there with movies like the aforementioned Paranormal Activity or the more recent Insidious.

Now, while this review has not been glowing, I did in fact have a good time with Final Destination 5. A huge part of that was I saw the film in 3D and the film was shot in 3D. I have also seen all the other movies in the franchise and knew what to expect and what not to expect. In other words, I managed my expectations. Hopefully, this is in fact the final Final Destination, and if it is, the filmmakers have given the series a decent, and even clever ending. I recommend this one for fans of the series and if you do see it, I highly recommend you watch the 3D version.

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.

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Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

August 9th, 2011 Angela Posted in Movies, Review 4 Comments »

Title: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Producer: Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark

Genre: Science Fiction

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Series: Reboot

Release Date: August 5, 2011

Format: Standard

Runtime: 105 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, and Brian Cox

Synopsis (Product Description):

The Planet of the Apes franchise gets the origin treatment in this 20th Century Fox production from director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist). The script, written by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa, concerns a group of American scientists whose genetic experiments lead to an uprising by a race of intelligent apes that they helped create.

The Review:

There have been many larger than life heroes of the silver screen. Kurt Douglas’ Spartacus, Russell Crowes’ Gladiator, and Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. Now to that august company of heroes must be added Andy Serkis’ Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But Caesar is unlike any of the others. Though he is every bit as heroic, and in many ways more complex, Caesar is a chimpanzee.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel to the 1968 classic, The Planet of the Apes starring Charleton Heston. Rise tells the story of how it came to pass that our simian cousins skipped ahead of us on the evolutionary ladder. The story of Rise is told in such a way that it fits perfectly within the continuity of the original film. By the way, I highly recommend seeing the original as it really is one of the pillars of dystopian sci-fi. When you watch it, keep in mind that it was made more than 40 years ago and how cutting edge it must have seemed to that audience in terms of both story and special effects.

After seeing the trailers for Rise, I expected a good movie. What I got was a great one and it is my favorite movie of the year so far. From its opening sequence to the closing credits, Rise hits all the high points for which storytellers strive. While I thoroughly enjoyed Thor, Captain America and X-Men First Class, Rise had an emotional impact well beyond what I experienced with those other great movies.

Before the end of Rise you will come to know and love Caesar, a combination of computer generated imagery and the movements of actor, Andy Serkis, who also did the movement for King Kong in Peter Jackson’s amazing film of the same name. Serkis’ performance is all the more amazing since it’s composed almost entirely of his motion captured facial expressions and body movement. Not many actors can do their best work under such restrictions. Andy Serkis is in a class by himself in this regard.

Rise plays on our collective fascination with primates other than ourselves. Chimpanzees are eerily like us. They have personalities, live in groups and even wage war against other groups of chimpanzees. The ability of Rise to tell a story, in which apes and chimpanzees are every bit the star that their human counterparts are, is a rather amazing bit of film making. This is obviously the result of a lot of special effects, but I never once saw anything “fake” about the film’s FX. Yes, intellectually I know that chimps were not taking direction or immersing themselves in the method school of acting. But damned if every scene didn’t look as if real animals were on screen. Only King Kong and Avatar have ever made me forget I was looking at computer generated effects the way Rise did.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes has as much action as any of the blockbusters of the summer of 2011, but it has a lot more heart. Caesar is part superhero, part freedom fighter and part Moses. If that sounds ridiculous, trust me, it isn’t. Rise, by focusing on a non human character manages to explore the very essence of heroism, and our desire to be free. In many ways Caesar is as “human” as any of us. And on that somewhat corny note, the only negative thing I have heard about this movie was from a co-worker, who said he heard that it was “corny.” Well, I am as jaded as almost anyone in the concrete jungle, but I feel sorry for anyone who can’t let themselves enjoy the awesomeness that is Rise of the Planet of the Apes because it’s no longer cool to let a movie move you. For the rest of us–hail Caesar!!

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.

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