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Category: Reviews

[Movie Review] X-Men: Apocalypse

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“Sweet Dreams are made of this.”

X-Men Apocalypse reviews dropped a month ago when Captain America: Civil War was the darling on Rotten Tomatoes and everyone made it out to be a garbage fire.

I have no idea what movie they actually saw.

My X-Men First Class review is here and my X-Men Days of Future Past review is here.

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[Movie Review] Captain America: Civil War

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Welcome to Marvel Phase Three.

Another Free Comic Book Day, another Marvel Movie.

I have to ask: Just what the whiskey tango foxtrot happened to Age of Ultron while Civil War is amaze balls.

Don’t get me wrong, Age of Ultron had it’s moments, like the farmhouse which I personally loved because sometimes you need the heroes to rally and lick their wounds. Less, cave of exposition and more farmhouse.

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[Movie Review] Batman VS. Superman

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Batman VS. Superman (2016)

It’s that time of year folks, the comic book movies have arrived with Batman VS. Superman. A movie some people will tell you had been mentioned in I am Legend back in 2007.

Bennett North and myself went to go see it. Her review can be found here.

Either love’em or hate’em you’ll probably be watching two actors in their underwear beating the crap out of each other or a CGI enemy with a bombastic soundtrack in a darkened theater and wonder: Why is this happening, again?

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[Movie Review] Jurassic Park’s World

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Jurassic Park has a special place in my heart.

It was released on June 11, 1993. I had just graduated from High School and after a dinner at either a TGI Fridays or Applebees to celebrate with the parents myself and several friends went to go see the midnight showing. Having not read the book it was based on it was jaw dropping and fun.

Now, two sequels later, the Jurassic Park franchise has gotten the dust blown off it with a new movie, aptly titled: Jurassic World.

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Shot on the same locations as the first movie and using a heap ton more CGI, John Hammond’s dream has come true. Jurassic World exists, the tourists have been flocking to the island and so far nothing has gone wrong, even if there are several warning signs bubbling under the surface.

The movie, like it’s predecessor brings up chaos theory and how man is now wielding science to make money to pay for all this. Michael Creighton certainly had an ongoing theme of chaos from Westworld to Jurassic Park and Jurassic World doesn’t disappoint when the shit does hit the fan even if the characters aren’t as well written as the originals. Less quotable dialogue too.

The only returning cast member from Jurassic Park is BD Wong who has pushed the limits of cloning and genetic testing to create a new dinosaur from different animals, the Indominus Rex. People wanted more and people who have different plans for dinosaurs have plans for Indominus Rex, the military applications and such. If this sounds like something Weyland Yutani would do, you’re not too far off the mark. Thankfully the brief Aliens homage is brief.

The cast’s varying age allows for the plot to split like the first movie, the adults deal with the behind the scenes while the kids gawk at the park. The kids, Gray and Zach played by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson are sent to their park by their parents to be guests of their aunt, Claire played by Bryce Dallas Howard, she is running the park with the funding from Simon Masrani played by Irrfan Khan and his company. Owen Grady played by Chris Pratt is asked to advise on the new attraction. His training for on raptors has made him popular with both Masrani and the head of security, Hoskins played by Vincent D’Onofrio.

Until, as always, something goes wrong when man underestimates nature and it’s tourists on the menu when Hoskins tries to deal with the problem with firepower and just makes it worse. For a PG-13 movie the amount of deaths are implied but nothing is shown except for reaction shots of the humans or crunching noises.

Chris Pratt gave a fine performance, Bryce Dallas Howard was rather iconic in several scenes to almost being on the nose in several poses. She evolved quite well from bureaucrat to almost Ripley. I wouldn’t mind seeing her in the sequel having gone full Ripley. D’Onofrio didn’t chew scenery as much as I expected. Simpkins and Robinson were cute, I’d wished the writers would’ve given them a little more something to do during their pinball ride around the park. If you’re going to show the oldest attempting to flirt with the girls at least follow it up with them saving said girls. Sure it adds more people to remember and to put into danger but something different is nice every so often.

Like the first the movie, everything is introduced in the first act so there’re really no surprises. The CGI Raptors have advanced so much they practically should get billing. The action is top notch and could be followed easily even if the re-introduction to the T-Rex could’ve been tweaked a bit more in my not so humble opinion.

There are many people who will bring up the fact that why are people expecting a different outcome after the last three movies. And I’ll agree with them on that a bit, the whole island attraction going haywire goes back to Westworld in 1979 but people are still flocking to see it no matter how many people get eaten. How many times do we go back to the well before it’s dry?

Overall, it’s a fun movie that lives up to it’s predecessor and it should be seen on the big screen. I can’t comment on the 3-D, I saw in 2D.

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[Television Review] Mr Robot Pilot + video

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The video below is the pilot for Mr Robot in it’s entirety, is completely legal and should be watched since it’s a good pilot.

Mr Robot stars Rami Malek as Elliot, a cyber-security expert by day and by night he’s trying to keep his demons at bay. Demons like men following him that may or may not be real according to his shrink, Krista Gordon played by Gloria Ruben. Krista’s problems are just one of many plot lines in the pilot. The majority of the pilot concerns Elliot’s company providing cyber security for a company with the same icon as Enron and for the rest of the pilot is known as Evil Corp.

Elliot knows a lot about people but can’t really interact with them as well as he should until one day during a emergency at work he finds a file that leads him to one of his demons, Mr Robot, played by Christian Slater. Mr Robot leads him down the rabbit hole about the secret war between his group and Evil Corp.

I found Mr Robot to be a very good show. The hacking isn’t Hollywood it looks real enough. It has good direction and the characters were well rounded and hopefully Christian Slater will get a show that can last more than a season. This is his second espionage show after Breaking In and Mind Games. With the exception of guest staring on Archer he’s starting to become the male version of Summer Glau: television series kryptonite.

My minor quibble I had with it was trying to figure out why this isn’t The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo TV show. The English adaptation of the movie was perfect even if it didn’t do bang at the box office. Translating the concept of a bi-sexual, woman white hat hacker sticking it to the man doesn’t take much. Replacing Sweden with New York or San Fransisco isn’t that far of a stretch, either.

Mr Robot will be debuting on USA on 6/24 and so long as it can keep it’s production quality high it shouldn’t have any problems lasting a few seasons.

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[Book VS. Movie Review] Gone Girl

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Thursday, I spend at my door awaiting for my iPhone 6 to arrive. Physically at my door reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. My printer died and there was no way to print out a signature form.

The movie premiered today directed by David Fincher. David has directed Alien 3, The Game, Se7en, Social Network, the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and others.

He is one of my favorite directors so when the trailer dropped I loved it when they announced Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor were doing the soundtrack like they had done with Social Network and all three hours of Dragon Tattoo, it felt perfect.

I hadn’t read the book so with nothing else to do on Thursday, I read it cover to cover. Suffice to say, I finished before my iPhone 6 arrived.

Gone Girl, the novel, written by Gillian Flynn is thriller about newspaper writer Lance Nicolas Dunn and his soon to be wife, Amy, a writer of personality tests. Her psychologists parents are the geniuses behind Amazing Amy, a series of children’s books that made money and thus she has a trust fund.

They marry and the couple live in New York until the recession hits they lose their jobs just in time for to bring Nicolas home to care after his mother who is going through cancer treatments, his father is in a home due to going through Alzheimer’s. Using up the last of Amy’s trust fund money, Nicolas and his twin sister Margo buy a local bar.

During all this, Nicolas gets a job at the local college while Amy is the stay at home wife with little to do and like every anniversary she leaves clues for Nicholas involving their life. It takes a while for Nicolas to figure out the clues since Amy is in the New England vernacular: wicked smart.

Until on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears.

Now, before you say, I know how this movie ends: You don’t.

And I’m not going to ruin it for you. Go read the book first then watch the movie.

The good news is the trailers reveal nothing of the twists and turns of this movie. Often times the trailers do and I groan but not this time.

This a faithful adaptation and doesn’t adhere to the book as much as it needs to. Which is a good thing because the book only has two point of views: Amy and Nic.

The movie has a third point of view, that of Detective Rhonda Boney played by Kim Dickens which solves a few wandering plot threads from the book.

It should be noted Gillian also wrote the screenplay. So the movie feels like a re-polished final draft, in my opinion. While most of the novel is first person the movie dialogue more than makes up for missing beats from the novel. So much so, sometimes the actors are talking too quick.

The police investigation led by Detective Boney begins looking into Nicolas and Amy’s life and the cracks begin to appear from the debt on the credit cards to Amy’s diary entries going from sunny to darker and darker to Nicolas cheating to Amy’s life insurance policy being upped and more. It’s just heaped on.

The only thing neither the movie or the novel can figure out is how to land the dismount and win the gold.

The suspension of disbelief is stretched thin. I’m not talking about Chief Brody in Jaws the movie, shooting the oxygen tank and blowing up the shark, that ending made perfect sense and I cheer every time it happens.

It’s the suspension of disbelief that Tom Cruise’s son survived and magically re-appears at the end of The War of the Worlds so everyone can have a happy ending.

Or as one of the over fifty crowd behind me in the crowded small movie theater said: That was a stupid way to end the movie to which I replied that’s how the book ended, too. She was surprised there was a book.

The actors in the movie are perfect. The direction is spot on. The music is right. The lighting is all David Fincher.

I’ll probably see it again, when I don’t have to sit in the front row.

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[Doctor Who Review] Listen

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Don’t turn round.

This is the episode that horror writers/directors should watch to see the tension get wretched up without the cheap thrills, blood or music. Written by Stephen Moffat it takes it’s themes from Don’t Blink and Silence in the Library without the use of the Angels that have become the Borg to the Doctor’s Enterprise.

Listen begins with Doctor positing a theory: Are we actually alone when we talk out loud or do we have a companion? He does this by himself in the TARDIS. Writing things down and pacing around the set. Capaldi nails it like Tennent would’ve while Smith probably wouldn’t have nailed the dismount.

I know some Smith fans may not want to hear this but the Doctor on a caffeine high has left the building. I hope a Neil Gaiman Capadi episode but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen this season.

While the Doctor sets the mood, Clara and Danny Pink have a first date. The date doesn’t go well and Clara comes home to find the Doctor and the TARDIS occupying 3/4 of her bedroom.

In the post haze of the bad date, the Doctor uses the TARDIS to focus on Clara’s timeline and pop back to see where Clara had that dream everyone has about something under the bed. Except, instead of Clara’s timeline we get to Rupert Pink and soon find out that yes, there probably is something under the bed and all it takes is a bed sheet, Capaldi and good direction and we get a successor to Blink.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Clara asks to go back to the date and retry with Danny until Clara name drops Rupert and everything implodes again because Danny is Rupert. It implodes even more when the orange spaceman suit walks into the restaurant and motions Clara to follow him.

It’s at this point no one gets up and demands to know why, this is Cardiff after all, the populace is so desensitized to the Doctor’s shenanigans that no one blinks at the strange. Torchwood should’ve been like this: Oh, more alien crap, thattaway, Torchwood and go back to their tea.

The man in the spacesuit isn’t the Doctor but Orson Pink and the Doctor found him 100 years into Clara’s timeline, they launched him into space and he promptly got Buck Rogers and now he’s the last man in the universe but he’s not alone.

Once Orson saves the Doctor, Clara tries to fix things and goes back down the timeline and lands in a barn and gives a crying child a good speech about the things that go bump in the night. The barn didn’t make sense at first until we find out why. The why was nicely done and I won’t ruin it here but it’s a great call back that I didn’t see coming and it really worked.

Clara’s dialogue with the new Doctor continues to be a highlight while she gets her history filled in even if it’s possible future.

Danny’s soldier days while not big speed bump like they were in Into the Dalek is better this time round. I think he’ll make a good addition to the companions once we see him in action and not him as a child or his great grandson.

It was a good episode all around and highly enjoyed it.

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