Movie Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Details from IMDB:

SinCity2

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

102 min  -  Action | Crime | Thriller  -  22 August 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,283 users   Metascore: 44/100

Reviews: 24 user | 7 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

Some of Sin City’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants.

Directors:

Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez

Writers:

Frank Miller, Frank Miller (graphic novels)

Stars:

Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

Anyway who reads my movie reviews knew I would see this movie, unless the reviews are terrible I generally see every comic book movie I have any interest in. Since I saw the first one, (and the reviews for this were okay) I decided to see the second. Of course the fact that several fine looking ladies had some impact on my decision as well ;)

Main Points:

As with the first one the movie is done in a very stylized way (black and white with splashes of color and a very comic-book type feel). There is plenty of nudity (though strangely none at the actual strip club), lots of action and tons of gore (as per the first). Why the first one was creative and inventive, this one seems a little stale using the same tricks again. With that said I enjoyed seeing these characters brought back on the screen (I’ve read all the comics and enjoyed them) and everyone does a decent job acting wise.

There are some weird things about this movie though, why is Nancy (played again by Jessica Alba) never even topless? Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but she’s an exotic dancer! This just seems very unusual (and I suspect just a part of Alba’s contract). Also why do they never show anyone totally naked? I know this makes me sound a bit pervy but it was in the comics and I’m a purest (to some extent), it’s just weird. Oh and of course it goes without saying, Eva Green, HOT! She is creepy and evil in this movie but damn sexy (and yes I’m aware in some sense this a very GUY movie, most comic books are still written this way).

The movie has two distinct stories and once the first one ends the second feels a little forced, I mean you knew it was coming but I have to admit that for a fairly short movie (102 minutes) I still felt bored at times. The movie reminded me that while Frank Miller has done some amazing stuff, he’s not the best at dialogue and his stories can be a bit repetitive. 

Final Thoughts:

So I enjoyed this movie but the first one was a lot better. Be prepared for some truly cringe-worthy/gory scenes and a few blurry 3D spots (for the most part though see this movie in 3D, it does look good 90% of the time). Don’t bring children (or even anyone under 17!) but if you enjoyed the first, I’d recommend this with the reservations noted. 6.5 out of 10 from me, next will be a documentary review. Have a good one all!

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Details from IMDB:

GOTG

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

121 min  -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  1 August 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.7/10 from 118,506 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 466 user | 216 critic | 46 from Metacritic.com

Light years from Earth, 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser.

Director:

James Gunn

Writers:

James Gunn, Nicole Perlman, 2 more credits »

Stars:

Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

Come on, you know I see every Marvel movie the past few years (why wouldn’t you?). So there was no chance I wouldn’t see this. After one failed attempt (it was sold out) I bought my tickets ahead of time and spent $62 total (it’s expensive as all hell here to see a movie with snacks in IMAX) and went. It’s worth noting that even though I’ve been reading comics about 25 years I can honestly say I’ve read 1 Guardians of the Galaxy comic and had almost no idea who these characters where (except from the previews).

Main Points:

Where to start, this movie is excellent! Right from the start I was smiling and laughing. All the characters are great and there’s some really good acting. The special effects at times were excellent and the music is right up my alley (I’m a fan of music from the 60s-90s almost exclusively). It’s the best movie I’ve seen Vin Diesel in for quite a while (probably ever) and I thought Michael Rooker (who has a smaller role) also did a great job. There are nods to other Marvel movies and characters and of course wait for the very end with not one but two bonus scenes (the last one is maybe the best part of the whole movie).

As I think of  myself as some kind of critic I do have to point out some minor problems. I found that with IMAX 3D there were several moments (5-6 of them) where the screen got blurry on the edges. This could be the fault of the cinema I was in but none the less it’s distracting and took me out of the movie a little. Also as I did read a comic just before the movie I was curious to see how they would do Rocket (the raccoon, who yes is named after the Beatles song). I don’t think Rocket is done quite right, he is supposed to be meaner and more bloodthirsty than is shown here, this is possibly a limitation of a PG-13 movie.

Back to the positive, Stan Lee’s cameo is here of course (and it’s a really funny one) and I though the smaller roles of people like John C. Reily and Glen Close were utilized well. There are some great 80s references and some excellent action scenes. I have to say Groot was fantastic. For a character who only ever has one line they did him perfectly, the interactions between Groot and Rocket are some of the funniest and most clever parts of the film.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re any kind of geek or just simply a fan of great action/comedies you NEED to see this movie. I am hoping to see it twice I enjoyed it that much. Marvel has shown they can literally take an unknown comic and turn it into an excellent movie franchise (2 is coming of course). Bring on Dr. Strange and Ant Man! (and another movie I won’t spoil the name of that is hinted at for the final scene). So I give this a very strong recommendation, it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen this year, 8.5/10. Once more not recommended for small children. Let’s hope Sin City 2 can be half as good. Until next time, have a great weekend everyone!

Movie Review: Lucy

Details from IMDB:

Lucy

Lucy (I) (2014)

90 min  -  Action | Sci-Fi  -  25 July 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 6.6/10 from 13,413 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 159 user | 12 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Director:

Luc Besson

Writer:

Luc Besson

Stars:

Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

As much as I love a movie with Scar Jo in it I’ll admit this time I was trying to see Guardians (and it was sold out of course) so we ended up seeing this. Still with Morgan Freeman and an interesting preview I was looking forward to seeing it none the less.

Main Points:

The movie presents lots of interesting ideas about human nature, society, greed, science and of course the potential of the human brain. Scar Jo plays Lucy (who coincidentally is the name of the first female, I’ve seen her bones in NYC, I’m kidding I know it’s not by accident in the movie.) and she is unwittingly brought into a drug smuggling operation and then given amazing abilities because of a drug that gets into her system.

Scar Jo does her best with the movie and her progression (though very fast) is enjoyable to watch. As her brain comes closer to using 100% of it’s power she loses all human emotion and eventually becomes a being of pure intellect, logic and energy. There are some amazing special effects and the film does make you think about what we have accomplished as humans and what we are capable of (if we don’t destroy ourselves first). The point is clearly made about what we have done to the environment and how we have wiped out not just people’s homelands, culture  and even entire races but how animals that should be plentiful are no nearing extinction (or are extinct entirely). The film has a clever way of using clips from nature, animals and history to show what is going on and what will happen in a scene.

I think the issues with the movie come with the speed at which everything happens and very poor decision by a bad guy at the end. Normally I like movies that move along quickly but everyone involved accepts so quickly that Lucy is truly the next step in human evolution and everything she has must be done. I think the movie could have used a little more time to explain things and make people’s actions a little more believable.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed the action, special effects and messages of the movie but I found the story got rushed and sometimes convoluted. Oh I should say

SPOILER ALERT!

So at the end the drug kingpin that she robbed this super drug from (and stabbed him in both hands pinning him to a chair) finally gets his chance to kill her. Instead of taking a shot (he’d been shooting plenty in the hallway just previously mind you) he instead decides to walk right up to her to shoot her point blank, really? Did they have to do such an overdone conclusion? I know it was to build tension as Lucy was literally uploading to the next level (you can literally see her whole body going dark as it rises from her feet) but it just made no sense. Anyone who hated a woman that much and had no trouble killing would have unloaded as soon as he got in the room, he would maybe have saved the last bullet to make certain but this way just seemed silly. Anyway despite all this I enjoyed the movie, I give it 6.5 out of 10. If you love Scar Jo (or Morgan Freeman who’s good here too) it’s worth a look, just maybe after you see Guardian (I should get to it hopefully this weekend). So I recommend it, just with reservations noted and of course not for children. Have a great weekend all!

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Details from IMDB:

DawnoftheApes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

130 min  -  Action | Drama | Sci-Fi  -  11 July 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.2/10 from 75,448 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 402 user | 282 critic | 48 from Metacritic.com

In the wake of a disaster that changed the world, the growing and genetically evolving apes find themselves at a critical point with the human race.

Director:

Matt Reeves

Writers:

Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, 4 more credits »

Stars:

Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I saw the first movie a little while ago and after hearing some good things about the second  I went (plus it was the best rated movie on IMDB at the time).

Main Points:

The movie picks up 10 years after the first one. Caesar is now a father and the highly-intelligent apes have made their own community in the redwoods near San Francisco. They wonder if there are any humans left but of course there would be no movie if there wasn’t and one soon shows up.

This movie has a lot to do with our behavior, those who are able to forgive the past and see the best in people and those who cannot forget the hate in their heart and want only to seek revenge. The special effects are amazing and Andy Serkis once again does a wonderful job as Caesar. This movie also deals with the nature of human society and the lengths we would go to survive. It’s never explicitly said in the movie but the idea is that once we lose all our technology (most importantly electricity according to this film) we would resort to horrible acts of violence and possibly cannibalism. The movie deals with the importance of rules in society and also how those rules must sometimes be broken.

For all it’s good points it does have a couple of serious flaws that bring the movie down from the first one. So I guess that means…

SPOILER ALERT!

So one of the obvious problems is the quest for electricity. I can see all available gas running out (then no generators) but no one in this large group of people (it looks to be several hundred) has ever heard of solar or wind power? Having to rely exclusively on hydro-electric power seems like a big flaw in the movie to me. The other serious problem is the length, as anyone who reads my blog know I find that 90% a movie starts to lose steam/get boring after 90-100 minutes, such is the case here. There were 4-5 times I thought the story dragged and I think a good 20-30 minutes could have been shaved off.

Final Thoughts:

An interesting movie with some great special effects, good acting and good action. I am certainly on board for a third one but I have to give this a weaker recommendation than the first (and of course don’t bring small children). 6.5 out of 10 for me, if you can’t get in to see Guardians (I tried last night and it was sold out), it’s worth a look. Until next time, which will be my thoughts on Lucy (you know I had to see the newest Scar Jo movie), have a good one!

Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Details from IMDB:

RiseofthePlanetoftheApes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

105 min  -  Action | Drama | Sci-Fi  -  5 August 2011 (USA)

Ratings: 7.6/10 from 301,152 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 618 user | 501 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

A substance, designed to help the brain repair itself, gives rise to a super-intelligent chimp who leads an ape uprising.

Director:

Rupert Wyatt

Writers:

Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, 1 more credit »

Stars:

James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

Like lots of sci-fi/fantasy fans I saw the original Planet of the Apes with Charelton Heston (I even saw the terrible remake with Mark Walberg) so I was hesitant to see this latest reboot. After hearing good things about both movies though I finally decided to give this new one a try.

Main Points:

I enjoyed how this is a fresh take on the concept. Instead of an astronaut crashing on an earth-like planet, we see an earth scientist (and a greedy company) event a serum they hope will cure many aliments of the brain. The fatal being that this serum is tested on various apes and one in particular, Caesar played the very talented Andy Serkis, leads to serious consequence for some people.

I really enjoyed how this movie carefully brings up other issues besides the obvious one of screwing with nature. How does the way we are treated affect our attitudes and behavior? Would even the most gentle among us turn violent if we were abused and held captive? Is it right to test product/drugs on animals if they eventually benefit human kind? Is it right for drug companies to become very wealthy developing cures for diseases? How would you react if someone you cared for was being threatened or hurt? How do you help someone with a debilitating mental condition?

While the film only answers a couple of the questions (it is a brisk 105 minutes after all), the fact that is leaves us to think it over is the sign of some good film-making. Suffice it to say I thought the acting was good all around and the special effects were excellent. I really enjoyed this film.

Final Thoughts:

I give this movie a strong 8/10 and a hearty recommendation (just not for small children). I have already seen the sequel and will post my review on that soon. In the meantime it’s hot here as I write this, I hope wherever you are you’re enjoy summer!

Movie Review: Being Mick

BeingMick

Details from IMDB:

 

Being Mick (2001)

TV Movie  -  60 min  -  Documentary | Biography | Music  -  22 November 2001 (USA)

Ratings: 6.4/10 from 136 users

Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

Fly-on-the-wall documentary about rockstar Mick Jagger, and his friends and family, during the recording of his 2001 album ‘Goddess in the Doorway’.

Director:

Kevin Macdonald

Stars:

Mick Jagger, Bono, Bob Geldof | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I’m a fan of the Rolling Stones (saw them in 2013, they were excellent BTW) and my wife heard Lenny Kravitz was in this documentary (she likes the Stones too), so we had a quiet Saturday night and watched it (as you know I also enjoy documentaries).

Main Points:

This was filmed back in 2001 as Mick was working on a album (and had some producer role in the movie "Enigma", he also had a small cameo in it). It shows Mick having a very busy, productive and certainly exciting life. I like how the film shows him as a family man (he has a slew of children) and has other interests besides the Stones and music. He has fun dismissing crazy tabloid headlines and takes time to speak with his fans both child and adult. I’ll admit that I don’t know a lot about what Keith, Ronnie and Charlie do in their lives but Mick seemed like a cool guy who isn’t completely obsessed with fame or money. It also does a good job showing the tremendous respect he has in the music industry as he gets many well known people to collaborate with him on his album. Prince Charles also makes an appearance for the premiere of his movie (maybe this is because he is a Sir? I don’t know much about British politics).

Final Thoughts:

The film has it’s flaws, it seems to shot almost entirely by Mick and while he’s talented at many things, he’s not cameraman. The shaky-cam really has no place in a documentary (of this subject at least). Since it was made for TV I also thought it seemed chopped up and does not give hardly any background or social commentary like many documentaries do. Overall though I give this a 7/10 and a recommendation (a little harsh language though, so not for small children). I like Mick and while I’m not sure I’d want his lifestyle, he certainly has a great attitude towards life. So after seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes earlier today, I’m off to see the sequel tomorrow, Have a good one all!

July 23rd Free Ebook Day for "After Frost Ends" by PG Owyns!

AfterTheFrost

Book Description

 

In the Pacific Northwest of 1928, Julian Powell lives a life that for most appears to be one of privilege—a perfect life in a huge house, servants, and carefully groomed grounds. No matter how idyllic it might seem, it has become a prison for Julian. His days are filled with the endless monotony of family gatherings, gossip, and brown suits. Overshadowing him is a life-long illness. Julian finds his only freedom from his overbearing family in secretly writing books celebrating the beauty of nature. Occasionally he escapes to the local bookstore, with the hope of seeing the town’s eccentric, William Neill. Julian’s life changes forever when he makes the boldest decision of his life. He leaves to take care of an ailing childhood friend, moving to a place that will take him away from all he has ever known to an unexpected new life. He becomes part of a family of his own choosing, and it brings him closer to the man that he’s been secretly falling for—a man who has a prison of his own to escape. As William and Julian struggle to overcome their pasts, will their secrets bring them together or drive them apart?
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