Oblivion, Moon, Prometheus & Independence Day

April 30, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Oblivion, Moon & Independence Day | Oblivion Review 2013

DOES OBLIVION LIVE UP TO IT’S OWN AMBITION?

I had a strange experience watching Oblivion.  At first, I was stunned by how beautiful the film is.  Next I was intrigued as the movie established Jack Harper’s (Tom Cruise) daily routine.  For a time, the movie felt a tad long.  Slowly the story added more and more layers to it’s mythology.  I began to notice what many people have mentioned online.

Oblivion is FULL of big science fiction ideas but is that a good thing?

Minor Spoilers Ahead…

In a way, I agree that the film is almost too ambitious for it’s own good.  By the time Jack encounters himself, I began reflecting on how much I loved the Duncan Jones’ Moon starring Sam Rockwell.  The films share similar ideas and while the execution is different in Oblivion, I felt a stronger connection to Rockwell’s character in Moon.

When that happened, I doubted whether or not Oblivion would resonate once the credits rolled.  That is, until Jack takes a ship into the station orbiting our ruined planet.  As his small craft approached we are treated to a ton of exposition offering answers and peeling back the most intriguing layer the film has to offer.  I didn’t mind the exposition.  I’m happy there are movies like Oblivion that provide answers to balance out the vague and abstract tone of movies like Prometheus.  As a result, I adored Oblivion’s final act.

Yet, as Jack’s ship approached the station I couldn’t help but reflect on how much I loved Independence Day.  The films share similar ideas and while the execution is different in Oblivion, I felt a stronger connection to ID4’s heroes.

See where I’m going with this?  We’ve seen all of the big ideas incorporated into Oblivion’s mythology before.  Just not quite like this. The question is, can Oblivion bring them all together in one coherent story?  Honestly, when I left the theater my answer was no…  But…

As the day progressed I began reflecting on how much I enjoyed watching Jack learn about Earth’s true fate and his role in it’s future.  I started reliving the film’s gorgeous visuals and intense action sequences.  I felt a connection to the characters.  I cared.

Like I said, I had a strange experience watching Oblivion.  There was a time when I envisioned writing a fairly negative review.  However, much like the movie, more layers were revealed as time went on.  In the end, I highly enjoyed Oblivion and I’m really looking forward to the Blu Ray so I can delve deeper into the beautiful world director Joseph Kosinski created.

If you’re a fan of any of the films I mentioned in this review, there’s a good chance you’ll find something to love about Oblivion.  You just have to give it a chance.

Click here for more reviews.

XTRA | 10 Awesome Movies Like Looper

Pain & Gain: Michael Bay’s Small Movie Surprises

April 30, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Pain & Gain: Michael Bay's Small Movie | Review 2013

PAIN & GAIN COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE A TRUE STORY RIGHT?

That’s a question I asked myself throughout Pain & Gain.  How can a story like this be true?  Then came a moment where Dwayne Johnson’s character stood outside barbequing the fingerprints off human hands.  In that moment, Michael Bay decided to throw a font on the screen:

“This is still a true story.”

From that point on, I truly understood the film for what it was.  Once you understand a movie like Pain & Gain, it becomes easy to sit back and enjoy the mayhem.

I’ve always been a fan of Michael Bay.  I especially enjoyed Bad Boys & Bad Boys 2.  Pain & Gain fits nicely next to those two films.  The movie is a gruesome (yet funny) tale about the dark side of the American Dream.  Mark Walberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie team up to create their own fast track to the good life in ways you won’t believe.  The movie lives and dies on whether or not you like the characters they play.

Honestly, I didn’t fully understand Mark Walberg’s character, Daniel Lugo.  For someone who spends the majority of the movie talking about hard work he is awfully quick to hatch an insane kidnapping plot to get rich quick.  It’s tough to sympathize with a character that hates when criminals get ahead yet chooses a life of crime in order to get ahead.  However, this movie isn’t about believable motivations because these are real people!

I’m officially a fan of Anthony Mackie.  (I’m really looking forward to his portrayal of Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.) His performance as Adrian Doorbal provided some of the film’s biggest laughs.  He is simultaneously the voice of reason and eager schemer.  He would have stole the show if it wasn’t for The Rock.

Dwayne Johnson is THE reason why I enjoyed Pain & Gain.  His character, Paul Doyle, is the most consistent source of laughter and sympathy in the film.  One moment, he’s the head cheerleader on Team Jesus.  The next, he’s robbing bank trucks and feeding his own toe to dogs.  (Did I just type that?)

It still seems odd to laugh at true events too idiotic to believe.  How could they possibly believe they would get away with it?  It’s an interesting choice for Michael Bay to inject comedy into such a violent story but I think it’s the right choice.  These three body builders kidnap, torture, extort and murder people.  You almost feel guilty laughing at them as their schemes go awry.  But that’s the point.

This is a true story after all.  If Pain & Gain were based on original material, I don’t think it would have the same impact.  You can tell Michael Bay had fun stepping away from Autobots to make a smaller movie.  I wish he would have left some of his signature shots behind as well but he can’t seem to resist the ol’ circular tracking shot.

I liked Pain & Gain but not enough to recommend you catch it in theaters.  If you like Bad Boys or movies like Crank, Pain & Gain will definitely entertain you.  Just wait until it pops up on Demand.

Click here for more reviews.

Game of Thrones Moment: Kissed by Fire

April 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Game of Thrones Moment: Kissed by Fire | Season 3 Episode 5 Review

SEASON 3 EPISODE 5
KISSED BY FIRE

Last week, Game of Thrones delivered a fantastic episode capped off by Daenerys big moment.  It was a battle that won her an army of slaves she then freed.  This week arguably boasted the best writing we’ve seen in the series thus far.  Writer Bryan Cogman managed to include nearly every group of characters in one episode.  That’s difficult enough but to weave their stories together with such harmony was masterful.  In every scene, talk of broken vows, oaths and loyalty.

Arya’s big moment came as she screamed “Burn in hell” to The Hound.  She’s always been one of the stronger characters because of the depth we see each week.  She scream “Kill him!” yet moments later she delivers the touching “I can be your family” to Gendry.

Jon Snow made his return to the series this week and something good actually happened to him…  He had to break his Oath to the Night’s Watch in the process but this series has always been about complicated characters.  It’ll be interesting to see how his decision to sleep with Ygritte affects him moving forward.

As always, Daenerys screen time was brief but effective.  As she continued to reorganize her army.  I love the contrast between army’s who are forced to serve and an army of former slaves who choose to serve.  The other side shown in Gendry as he spoke about the men he’s served.

We saw a moment of weakness in Robb as he faced a tough decision that ultimately lost him half his army.  It will be an interesting journey to Casterly Rock for the King who lost the North.

One of the best moments of the episode came courtesy of Tywin, Cersei and Tyrion after they discovered that Sansa was to be married to Loras.  I loved watching Cersei smirk as Tyrion learned that he would have to marry Sansa.  The look on her face when Tywin informed her that she would marry Loras was priceless.  It was almost worthy of best moment but once again, Jaime Lannister stole the show.

THE KING SLAYER

Only two episodes ago, Jaime lost his hand in one of the more brutal moments of the season.  Here he pours his heart out to Brienne in one of the best monologues of the series.  A single speech that beautifully summed up the themes of duty and loyalty woven throughout the episode.  It was certainly the strongest moment of the season as it offered a glimpse into the past and a window into the King Slayers mind.

Jaime has turned into one of my favorite characters and I hope we see more moments like this in the future.  Kissed by Fire was a brilliantly written episode highlighted by one of the best scenes of the season.

…  Still…  No sign of this guy…

Game of Thrones Moment: Kissed by Fire | Season 3 Episode 5 Review

COUNTDOWN | Best Moments: Game of Thrones Season 2

XTRA | Screenwriting & The Game of Thrones Theme

CATCH UP:

Episode 1 Moment: Valar Dohaeris

Episode 2 Moment: Dark Wings, Dark Words

Episode 3 Moment: Walk of Punishment

Episode 4 Moment: And now his watch is ended

Oz: The Great and Powerful Wasn’t Wicked At All

April 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Oz: The Great and Powerful Wasn't Wicked At All

A WICKED WITCH EMERGES…  THEN DOESN’T DO MUCH

A few months ago, I saw The Wizard of Oz on stage.  It was a fantastic show that inspired a viewing of the movie.  It was a perfect day that set the stage for Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful.

I loved the first half of this movie.  It’s always nice to return to an inspiring land like Oz especially with today’s technology.  Oz has never looked better.

This is indeed the story of Oz but I felt a little disappointed in the Wicked Witch.  She is undoubtedly one of the most iconic cinematic villains we’ve ever seen.  When she finally does arrive in this movie, she makes a few threats then flies away.  There is no wicked plot, no schemes.

The evil falls to her sister Evanora but she’s doesn’t accomplish much either.  It’s clear most of the diabolical manipulations occurred before the movie begins.

When Oz arrives his quest is simple: Save the innocents from the Witches.  It’s setup perfectly suited for his brand of magic and misdirection.  Before he gets there, he must learn to leave his selfish womanizing ways behind.  When he does, this film delivers a finale that will surely delight fans of the original.  I enjoyed watching his schemes play out perfectly.  However, I did have a problem with the Witches response.

Where is the fight ladies?  His plan just works?

Oz: The Great and Powerful Wasn't Wicked At All | Review

Oz: The Great and Powerful was tough to rate because I liked the movie overall.  I just didn’t like the villains.  The majority of obstacles the main character faces are from within.  The Witches are supposed to be a threat but they aren’t.  The only time he actually faces the Wicked Witch of the West she makes him dance against his will then flies away.

I think I would have been better off renting it.

Click here for more reviews.

Oz: The Great and Powerful Wasn't Wicked At All A WICKED WITCH EMERGES...  THEN DOESN'T DO MUCH  A few months ago, I saw The Wizard of Oz on stage.  It was a fantastic show that inspired a viewing of the movie.  It was a perfect day that set the stage for Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great and Powerful.  I loved the first half of this movie.  It's always nice to return to an inspiring land like Oz especially with today's technology.  Oz has never looked better.  http://youtu.be/Dp7jQlXBJNg  This is indeed the story of Oz but I felt a little disappointed in the Wicked Witch.  She is undoubtedly one of the most iconic cinematic villains we've ever seen.  When she finally does arrive in this movie, she makes a few threats then flies away.  There is no wicked plot, no schemes.   http://youtu.be/bYCiDnJC4Wk  The evil falls to her sister Evanora but she's doesn't accomplish much either.  It's clear most of the diabolical manipulations occurred before the movie begins.  When Oz arrives his quest is simple: Save the innocents from the Witches.  It's setup perfectly suited for his brand of magic and misdirection.  Before he gets there, he must learn to leave his selfish womanizing ways behind.  When he does, this film delivers a finale that will surely delight fans of the original.  I enjoyed watching his schemes play out perfectly.  However, I did have a problem with the Witches response.  Where is the fight ladies?  His plan just works?  Oz: The Great and Powerful was tough to rate because I liked the movie overall.  I just didn't like the villains.  The majority of obstacles the main character faces are from within.  The Witches are supposed to be a threat but they aren't.  The only time he actually faces the Wicked Witch of the West she makes him dance against his will then flies away.  I think I would have been better off renting it.  Click here for more reviews.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Round Up

April 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Round Up

Phase Two is about to begin.  If you’re a massive Marvel fan like me you’re already scouring the web for new information on the next slate of films.  No time?  Here are a bunch of articles, videos and concept art to help ease the wait for Iron Man 3!

LINKS

Joss Whedon on the challenge of making The Avengers 2 | Geek Tyrant

Kevin Feige: ‘Phase Two’ Marvel Movies Will ‘Keep Taking Risks’ |Screen Rant

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Predicting the next decade of movies | What Culture

30 Predictions for Marvel Phase 2 (And 5 for Phase 3) | ComicBookMovie

Hero Worship: Why I’m Excited for Marvel Phase 2 | IGN

Thor: The Dark World Trailer Analysis | Screen Rant

Rewind Theater: Thor The Dark World trailer 1 | IGN

5 Ways Marvel’s Phase 2 will change filmmaking forever | What Culture

Marvel Phase Two: The Complete Guide | Total Film

Extended Marvel Phase Two Preview Reveals Ant-Man and the Falcon! | Movie Web

Kevin Feige talks Thanos and the build up to Phase Three | Screen Rant

Predictions of Avengers 2, 3 and beyond | Trash Mutant

Predicting Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe | Revo-Emag

Guardians of the Galaxy will be 95% in space | /Film

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two: Bigger than we thought? | ComicBookMovie

10 things I’m looking forward to in Marvel’s Phase Two | The Athletic Nerd

Top 5 Moments: Thor The Dark World Trailer #1 | The Athletic Nerd

CONCEPT ART & IMAGES

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To
Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Round Up

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Round Up

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Round Up

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Round Up
Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Round Up

What are you looking forward to most about Marvel Phase Two?

Click here for more.