Graeme and Clive are two of the biggest comic book/science fiction geeks around and are fresh out of England on a tour of the U S of A which begins at Comic Con and continues through some of the most famous alien themed sites the world has to offer. Their tame little adventure gets kicked into high gear when low and behold the boys stumble across a real live alien named Paul.
Funny thing about PAUL, a buddy of mine was going on about the trailer awhile back and though I fully intended to watch it, I didn’t. This weekend I was planning on watching either LIMITLESS or THE LINCOLN LAWYER. Though I’m a big fan of Bradley Cooper, I haven’t been hearing good things about LIMITLESS so off to see the LINCOLN LAWYER it was. The night before however, someone brought up PAUL and more precisely, how funny it was. I had to pause a minute as I’d completely forgotten about PAUL and because I love a good comedy (no offence Matt, Ryan, I’ll catch you boys on the Blu-ray side), I decided to go alien two weeks in a row and I can honestly say I’m glad I did because PAUL was an absolute hoot.
Now to be completely honest I’m a bit of a comic book fan myself and would love nothing more than to be gallivanting about the floors of Comic Con any and every chance I can get. If I was given a choice between hitting up the Con or hitting Vegas for the weekend, I’d choose the Con every time hands down. So that said, it’s fairly accurate to assume that I’m the core audience this film is meant to attract. I also loved PINEAPPLE EXPRESS as well as the slew of Apatow films that house the greater part of this cast. I also dug SHAWN OF THE DEAD and as much as my brother in law Cory is obsessed with HOT FUZZ (and trust me, the guy quotes it religiously every time I drink with him), I still have yet to watch it but after today I fully intend to pick it up the next time I go by HMV.
An Apatow film this is not but the writing is definitely on par as it’s sharp, witty and quite funny. There’s an English edge of course, seeing as how the boys (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) wrote it but if you’re fans of Pegg and Frost then you’ll feel right at home here. You can tell they don’t just play best friends on TV as their chemistry is the stuff of legend and Seth Rogen fits into the mix flawlessly as the fast talking alien Paul. There’s all kinds of casting fun here with Jane Lynch (love her), Bill Hader, Sigourney Weaver and a very cool performance by Jason Bateman as agent Lorenzo Zoil, too much. I enjoyed Kristen Wigg and her whole Jesus angle (her T shirt was priceless) but that’s because I don’t take religion too seriously. Those who do may not see the humour in it.
PAUL was an unexpected comedic hit for me but even though I thoroughly enjoyed it, I do feel that this is a textbook example of a genre comedy that needs to be seen by the appropriate audience. Smoking weed, cursing, making fun of religion, I take all those ingredients with a grain of salt and a Jager bomb (a shot of Jagermeister dropped into a rock glass of Red Bull) but that’s me and I don’t speak for everyone. If none of the above offends you (and they really shouldn’t as this is all in good fun) then you’ll have a blast with PAUL but if these things and/or English humour aren’t your jolly ol’ cup of tea then maybe you shouldn’t roll the dice with this one. Personally, I had nothing but fun and look forward to Pegg and Frost’s next teaming. There are more than enough fan boy nods and winks to go around as well as lots of love thrown in the direction of some of the best and most coveted Sci-Fi flicks of our generation. Good times fellas, good times.
Once in awhile a game gets everything right and BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM did just that. It was a game you never wanted to end and now it seems as though they did the impossible and made this next installment bigger, badder and even better than the first. If that alone isn't enough to get you interested than you just don't understand video games.
I like Brandon Routh, he's a good actor and did what he could with the reinvention of SUPERMAN. I think he deserved another chance but anyway, moving on. This one has him doing some Constantine style work and I'm diggin where it's going. You're the bomb Brandon, I just bought a prop of your Superman cape from the film and it rocks.
JJ's been keeping this one under wraps for sometime now and I'm totally digging the GOONIES vibe here with the kids. I also love a good monster mash and with Abrams at the helm I'm expecting big things. Looking forward to this one for sure.
This was going to be a treacherous road to begin with but I had faith after reading the first draft of the script about a year ago. It was dark, brooding and everything you could ask for in a Fantasy film. That said, I'm thinking the script has been re-written at least a couple times since and lost a lot of it's luster in the process. This teaser does nothing to instill a fan boy boner so I guess I'll wait to see what the trailer brings.
For years mega criminal Megamind has thought of nothing save one thing, the destruction of the one man standing between him and world domination: Metroman. But when their latest battle ends with Metroman dead, Megamind quickly realizes that ruling the world unchecked isn’t as glamorous as he thought it would be.
It became fairly obvious to me as this film opened up that these guys were leaning pretty heavy on the whole Superman vibe (ships escaping from dying planets with baby saviours) and seeing as how I’m a big fan of all things Superman and SMALLVILLE I had no problem with this whatsoever. The fact that they decided to make it a duel between two kids did make things interesting and could’ve even felt more original but when the boys start growing up we ended up with a “Clark vs. Lex” kind of power struggle that follows the boys into adulthood forming an open ended series of epic battle between good and evil. Where the tables really turned for me was when Megamind actually kills Metroman and for lack of a better term “wins” having to come to terms with something he never saw coming...boredom.
This bad guy gets his day angle is still fresh considering the fact that DISPICABLE ME just tested these waters a few months ago and thankfully went in a completely different direction than this film so beyond the whole “bad guy wins” thing, they were two totally different films (some of the weapons seemed vaguely familiar and the one eyed cute little helpers were replaced by flying robots but that’s about it for nitpicking). For a comedy however, this flick wasn’t laugh out loud funny, it was comical and there were a couple times when I burst out laughing but for the most part the humour here was low brow. This doesn’t change the fact that I had a blast with MEGAMIND and found the film very entertaining.
Despite not being overly fond of Will Ferrell he was quite dashing as Megamind, I loved the character, his wit, his sense of humour and above all else his transformation. The story arcs out in a couple different directions that I don’t want to get into as I don’t want to give anything away but Brad Pitt was cool as Metroman and Jonah Hill gave the film some real pep as Titan. One of the film’s saving graces from a comedic standpoint was Minion, Megamind’s sidekick, voiced by David Cross. As with most of these films, the evil sidekick is usually just as funny as the main villain which always makes the ride much more fun.
MEGAMIND gives the comic book genre a nice spin while keeping a strong Superman-like tone throughout. The animation was gorgeous and details like the shattering glass of building windows looked damn near flawless. The soundtrack for this film was just as fun and over the top as Megamind himself, featuring all sorts of classic rock to get the blood pumping. I wouldn’t call this flick groundbreaking nor would I say this was my favourite animated flick of the past year (loved LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIANS) but with the exception of THE INCREDIBLES, this was probably my second favourite superhero based animated feature and I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re down with superhero type fun.
When scientists discover a cluster of asteroids in space on a collision course for Earth the military is dispatched to evacuate some of the coastal cities, among them, Los Angeles. But as the marines begin to mobilise it quickly becomes evident that this is no evacuation mission. The asteroids aren’t asteroids, they’re aliens and Earth is about to face a threat unlike anything we’ve seen before.
I have to begin this review by saying that I love alien invasion flicks, from the half dozen or so versions of INVATION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS to one of my all time favourites, THE FACULTY. What I found most intriguing about this one was the fact that we’re not seeing the story unfold through the eyes of the public for a change, instead we get our intel straight from the army. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the idea of a small band of civilians saving the planet from a vicious alien attack as much as the next guy, but at the end of the day I’d rather put my faith in the few and the proud who are actually paid and trained to protect us. I’m not much for war themed films but this was one war I was totally down with.
I’ve always felt that if we did get invaded, well, for lack of a better word we’d be screwed. Most films show us getting lucky when it comes to overpowering our alien attackers but to anyone familiar with battle, luck doesn’t tend to win wars, it always plays a part I’m sure, but strategy is where it’s at. These aliens sneak up on us INDEPENDANCE DAY style only far more inconspicuously, that’s something I never liked about INDEPENDANCE DAY, are you really going to tell me that no one on Earth could put what they were so blatantly doing together until the last minute when all their ships were in place? At least here, they don’t give us the option of debating their intentions. This is what would happen if the Predator race ever got tired of hunting us for sport and decided to invade for real, only again, we’d be screwed.
What I did like was how they didn’t go overboard with the aliens ala SKYLINE. I mean, I dug SKYLINE’s premise but that ending was a bit much. These aliens resemble those from INDEPENDANCE DAY and are presented like soldiers and used here in a military fashion which mirrors and/or fits the military theme of this film nicely. An invasion wouldn’t be the all out gong show some films make it out to be, nor would the aliens risk all out exposure unless they knew for certain they’d cream us and there was nothing we could do about it. That’s what scouts are for. So when I see a flick like WAR OF THE WORLDS where they realize afterward that bacteria can kill them (oops) or even worse, SIGNS, where the aliens’ bane is water (which just happens to make up three quarters of our planet, way to drop the ball there guys), I can’t help but shake my head thinking these minute details might prove to be rather vital to set invasion.
BATTLEFIELD L.A. is a non-stop action vehicle that takes all the best things about war and alien films and jams them together for a high octane good time. Of course, there were a couple times when the tone dropped a beat or two and inserted the token “emotional heartstring” cord. I’m never opposed to this when done correctly but here it felt awkward and forced with the little kid and even the vet chick. I get that they’re going to run into civilians and that there’ll be casualties along the way but for me, I think the dilemma and guilt surrounding Aaron Eckhart’s character (his past decisions and their repercussions on his current plight) were set in place to provide more than enough emotional drama without going overboard. I also really dug the Solid Snake type tactics employed toward their mission’s final hour, it was believable and in my opinion the only way to properly get the job done. This was a refreshing prelude (and nod) to summertime blockbusters.
When an unfortunate accident lands someone’s awkward pet chameleon in the desert, he decides to take a sojourn out into the wilderness in search of his calling in life. What he finds in a town called Dirt, an isolated, dried up wasteland in need of a hero. Knowing the part he needs to play in order to fit in, Rango is born and ready for battle. That is of course, until true battle presents itself.
I remember not so long ago when animated flicks were few and far between, so when one did come out it was usually quite a site to see as it was still a genre trying to prove itself. These days however, there’s a new animated flick or two popping up every week, sometimes even more, making them hard to keep track of. I’ll be honest, RANGO didn’t look one bit enticing to me from a conceptual, storyline or even trailer standpoint. So this lizard walks into a bar...yep, I think I’ve heard that one before. There’s an oppressed town, a dude posing as a hero, who in the end he rises up to meet the challenge (yawn). Yep, I’ve DEFINITELY heard this one before. So how did RANGO fare? Both good and bad, but mostly bad.
On the good side, this has to be the most beautiful animation I’ve ever seen. Each and every detail is a crisp, well shot work of art. The desert, the wind, the moon, even the moisture on the lips of these critters, we get it all and the result is pure eye candy. Gore Verbinski may have set sail from the PIRATES OF THE CAREBEAN franchise (and I can’t say that I blame him after the last one, that franchise is dead in the water if you ask me) but clearly he and Johnny Depp are still in deep and the two make for a pretty good team here. The voice talent from Depp is awesome but then again, he’s the man when it comes to zany off the wall characters so I wasn’t worried there (I’m still prone to SECRET WINDOW myself). Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina, how could you not win with voice talent like that? But sadly that’s about where the good dries up.
On the bad side, let me start by saying this film isn’t exactly funny, nor is it something that should be aimed at children (which is ironic seeing as how I was elbow deep in kids at the theatre). The humour here was pretty low brow, when there was humour at all, and as for the tone, subtext and over all presentation of the film, it was all a bit off. First off, Rango went into a trance type mode every now and again which was an acid trip in itself and reminded me a bit of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. Was Depp going for this? Could be, I wouldn’t be surprised if he acted these parts out with a grin but there was a messed up feeling in my gut as I looked around at the wide eyed looks of confusion on kids’ faces around me. I’m not fond of these tricky Hollywood tactics for films posing as children movies when they’re clearly not and this was clearly not.
RANGO is a film that much resembles the character; a lone ugly duckling that just doesn’t belong with the rest of the films in this genre. I kinda dug the acid trip where Rango runs into Clint Eastwood (voiced by Timothy Olyphant) who just happens to be combing the dessert for fish hooks in a golf cart packed with...Oscar statues? Hrmm, not sure where they were going with that but again, this sets the strange tone of awkwardness I’m talking about. As for good ol Rango, well, you know how this story ends, you’ve seen it a million times before, maybe not on acid, but I don’t think you need to. If morbid curiosity gets the better of you sometime down the road, by all means check this out but I’m chalking this one up to a big waste of time, albeit a beautiful one, but still a waste. What a shame.
Apparently STARZ doesn't want HBO hogging all the fantasy glory so they decided to reinvent King Arthur's tale. Now I'm not saying I don't like this idea but c'mon people this has been redone so many times its getting a little ridiculous at this point, especially considering MERLIN did such a great job of it and is still going strong. I'll watch it to be sure, but there seems to be a serious lack of magic going on here and I'm not really liking that one bit.
And so the time is nearly upon us, when the chill winds of the north will descend from the wall, when an exiled family will challenge the throne and one noble house will stand untied in the crossfire. George R.R. Martin's phenomenal novels are about to make a fantasy milestone on HBO. Winter is coming April 17.
When a human error of absolute stupidity sends an unmanned train carrying hazardous chemicals down the tracks and straight for the city, it’s up to Denzel and Captain Kirk to give this train an ass whooping and save the day.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a hell of a lot about trains, other than the fact that they make for a long ass voyage to wherever you happen to be going. This film didn’t look all that enticing to me from the trailers simply because A) you get the impression that you’ve seen all you need to see by watching the trailer, B) it’s based on a true story which indirectly adds to the predictability of the outcome and C) well, it’s about a damn train, how exciting can that be? The good news is, surprisingly exciting! This flick’s obviously not without its faults but for me, it panned out to be a decent action thriller.
One thing that always gets me is a film’s ability to tap into my emotions and this baby did a lot of that. I don’t get overly mad at films all too often (it mostly happens as a result of poor choices made by character to further insane plotlines and God knows there’s lots of those out there to choose from), but the two morons in charge of moving the trains infuriated me to no end. As I watched these fools bumble around I couldn’t help but shake my head at the reality behind this sad scenario. I have no doubts whatsoever that most mechanical problems and accidents are caused by blatant negligence on the part of the workers, it’s a horrible thing to say but we all know it’s true. People are lazy and in a rush all the time and this was the perfect beginning to get audiences’ blood a pumping.
Now as for the acting, Denzel is a true gentleman of the silver screen, the man can do anything, play anyone and I love him for it. Add to that he’s no doubt made Tony Scott enough money to buy a string of islands surrounded by topless mermaids, enough booze to fund a world war and houses built from one hundred dollar bills lined with gold. These two are a great team no doubt about that but I won’t take anything away from Chris Pine whose risen up ranks rather quick since his stint in SMOKING ACES, the camaraderie between the two of them is pure money in the bank (despite not getting the amount of screen time they should have) and help make the linear story much more enjoyable, or so I thought anyway.
UNSTOPPABLE felt a bit like SPEED on crack without the R rated good stuff or Dennis Hopper’s sweet one liners. I was disappointed by the trailer’s false implications that this film revolved around the boys stopping the train before it collided with another train full of kids (you sneaky devils you) but I got over it. I also felt the whole setting up the train like it’s a living monster angle was weak (making the train “growl” every time it ran by something, really guys?) and as a result took away some of the momentum fuelled by the moment but in the end I have to say the adrenaline still ran pretty high. Loved the shout out to Hooters but have to say that during the three years my fiancée worked there I never once heard them playing techno music. Still, my list of complaints is relatively short making this film still taste pretty sweet.
Nic Cage is Milton, a bad motherfucker fresh out of Hell and on the hunt for a group of Devil worshipers whose leader killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby. Time’s running out for my man Milton though because he’s only got two days until the next full moon which is when the cult is planning on sacrificing the baby to unleash Hell on Earth. Good times.
Sadly, Nicolas Cage doesn’t exactly ignite the emotions of the crowds quite like he used to (I personally blame KNOWING and maybe those weird as hell Asian commercials he did a couple years back) but in light of recent badass roles found in KICK-ASS and BAD LIEUTENANT (I also dug him in THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE) I’ve been willing to tap into my Nic Cage of the past Chi and let the pieces fall where they may. And let me tell you, DRIVE ANGRY has pieces falling, burning, breaking, exploding and flying in nearly every direction! They don’t make them like this anymore (not nearly as often as I’d like anyway) and that’s a damn shame because I had a lot of fun with this ride.
Now what ultimately pains me is that these R rated romps to Funville have been on the endangered species list for quite some time and they’re future isn’t exactly bright enough for shades. That said, 3D was a terrible idea (surprise, surprise) one that clearly was all about the Benjamins and it shows. It’s almost like the studio knew this film would be iffy in theatres so they said, “Fuck it, let’s shoot in 3D and make all the cash we can boys!” I’m sure this baby will fare pretty well on DVD and BLU-RAY but it still makes me mad that despite knowing they’re rolling the dice with R material in theatres these days, they decide to flip us, the genre fans, the 3D bird.
For a revenge plot the story’s still pretty juicy. I love everything about Cage’s character and though his (as well as every other) character’s dialogue is totally over the top, it’s still one of the coolest things about the script for me. William Fichtner is one of my favourite actors and the man plays his role here to perfection as Hell’s accountant. Most of his lines are pure gold and that part with him in the Hydrogen truck blaring “That’s The Way I Like It” had me laughing hard. I won’t take anything away from Billy Burke though; he was one crazy villain, the savvy type of evil you want to see die but love every second he’s on screen just the same. As for Amber Heard, she handled herself well and is (as always) a vision to behold.
DRIVE ANGRY will not get tremendous reviews, nor will it break any type of box office records, rather it will no doubt be ridiculed, scoffed at and beat down like most of the garbage that hits theatres in early months of the new year. Don’t let that fool you though, if you’re anything like me (and shame on you if you are) you’ll have a devilish good time with this Delorean trip back to the late eighties/early nineties style action flick that will leave you sporting a wicked grin by film’s end (God knows I’m still grinning). There’s a lot to appreciate here but without sharing too much I’ll part with my favourite bit which was Nic’s “God Killer” gun that reminded me of the Colt from SUPERNATURAL. This type of film is right up my alley (a dark, cold place you wouldn’t wander into unless you were packing) and though films like this certainly do get old when overplayed, it’s still nice to have the option to hit them up once in awhile (FASTER was a similar guilty pleasure ride). I mean seriously, do you want to see crap like NOMEO AND JULIET and BEASTLY rule the theatre? I know I certainly don’t.
To be honest there's really dick all here to see other than a cheap tease. Will this flick live up to the hype and will it bomb, I'm hoping for the first one but those are some damn big shoes to fill and being consistently funny isn't as easy as you think. Here's to ya boys, hopefully you rock the summer!
Let me make one thing straight, I can't stand Cameron Diaz, she annoys me to no end but I'd be lying if I said this trailer didn't have me in stitches. When it comes to comedy there may be hope for Miss Diaz yet, we'll see soon enough.
I don't know about this one, I mean, I dig the idea and all but it kinda comes off as a bit cheap in light of the TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON trailer. And don't get me started with how much this is all reminiscent of the whole Venom symbiote storyline. This might be good, it might sucks balls but rest assured I'll be waiting to pass judgement until it hits Blu-ray.
Dr. Martin Harris is flying in to Berlin with his wife for a conference but when he arrives at his hotel he realizes they forgot a bag at the airport. On the way there he’s involved in an accident and then wakes up four days later in the Hospital. Upon returning to the hotel he discovers that not only is someone else is claiming to be him but his own wife doesn’t even recognize him. Frustrated and doubting his own sanity, Dr. Harris begins to retrace his steps in hopes of figuring out what’s happening to him.
Before he got involved with big name films like THE PHANTOM MENACE and BATMAN BEGINS, Liam Neeson was a household name of sorts due to films like ROB ROY, SHINDLER’S LIST and of course DARKMAN but in my opinion it wasn’t until TAKEN that people actually started turning heads when his name was brought up. The man’s a great actor and the action genre fits him like a glove but again, I feel that it was his performance in TAKEN that really hit that point home. I’ve said for awhile now that Hollywood’s been hard up for solid action stars this past decade and I think this is another reason why Mr. Neeson’s been given the green light on so many action fronts. I’m not complaining though because when I see the man’s name on an action vehicle I know I’m in for hell of a ride and on that level, UNKNOWN was good times.
UNKNOWN is not TAKEN when it comes down to storyline but the tone is there and that’s clearly what they’re going for. The intensity doesn’t get turned up until Dr. Harris’ return to the Hospital (which sadly is about twenty minutes or so in) but from there it’s an adrenaline fuelled stint across a theme park full of roller coasters that doesn’t let up until the film ends. Now as the film’s title implies, there’s lots going on that I could ruin with the slightest hint, nudge or word so I’m trying to choose them carefully. Suffice to say I felt like I was enjoying THE GAME (on my favourite flicks of all time) at some points of this film and that’s definitely a good thing. There’s a certain level of intrigue here that keeps you interested regardless of the fact that this feels like familiar territory.
Now the one aspect of the film I both loved and hated were those behind the situation of sorts. I love Frank Langella (ever since he played Skeletor) and lately he seems like the go to guy for creepy villains. What he is and does here is cool, I loved the backdrop storyline and as much as I want to open up that can of worms and dissect it a bit, I can’t without giving away too much of the plot. So instead I’ll just say that what’s being sold as a covert, no fail organization that’s been around forever sounds awesome at first but loses a bit of its credibility for me when it can be usurped and beaten by a dude with head trauma and a cab driver. That said, I’d fly to Berlin right now if I thought there was even a chance of being picked up Helen of Troy.
UNKNOWN is a cross between TAKEN and THE BOURNE IDENTITY with THE GAME playing in the background and I loved all those flicks so I didn’t mind in the slightest but for those of you who have a hard time rationalizing the abundant amount of suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy these carefully crafted tales, I can understand how you may scoff at the idea, especially when the punch line makes itself known. The characters were cool (Bruno Ganz stole the show for me, both his performance and cander were electrical) and though I dug the mystery, it all felt a bit too neat and tidy as the credits began to roll and I found myself thinking the same thing I did after watching SALT, I liked it but I’m not sure I bought it. But in the end I don’t have to believe it, I just have to enjoy it and that, I most certainly did.