Posts Tagged ‘movies

29
Jul
11

Cowboys And Aliens Review

At first glance, seeing “Cowboys” and “Aliens” together in the same sentence is a little odd. Make the title of a film “Cowboys & Aliens” and it seems to be a downright awkward joke, especially when describing the western/sci-fi mashup that is due to hit theaters this week. If you’ve watched my interviews from the Cowboys & Aliens red carpet/world premiere event, in particularly the screenwriters (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) interview, you’ve heard the cast and crew describe it as such, at least initially. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Cowboys & Aliens is a western that just happens to have an encounter of the fourth kind smack dab in the middle of it.

The premise is straightforward. Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) finds himself in the middle of the desert without any memory of how he got there, who he is, who shot him, or what the odd device strapped to his wrist is. During his quest to discover his past he runs into a cast of characters, including Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde), who help to piece things together… That is until an alien invasion crashes the party and begins snatching up the townspeople, at times quite violently. Comic fan zealots be warned – Although inspired by the “Cowboys & Aliens” graphic novel, creator Scott Mitchell Rosenberg (you can see my interview with him here) was more than happy to hand over the reins to Favreau and let him run with the story.

Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are magnificent, especially when they appear onscreen together. This is one duo that I’m hoping to see more of in future films. Craig nails the “stranger with no name” from classic western films, and brings the grit that he’s famous for in his previous James Bond films. His fights are brutal, bloody, and to be honest, I loved every minute of them… Some of them actually brought back memories of The Patriot with Mel Gibson…

Harrison Ford may not get as much screen time as Craig, but his character “Woodrow Dolarhyde” is definitely just as memorable as Craig’s “Lonergan”, if not more so. Two particular scenes, one in which Ford shares with Noah Ringer, who plays “Emmett Taggart” in the film, may be one of Ford’s most memorable scenes ever. His scene towards the end of the film with Adam Beach’s character “Nat Colorado” is touching as well. Whether these two scenes in particular caught my attention because of great acting, or because I have four boys of my own, is an entirely different topic. Rest assured that Ford really delivers whenever he’s on screen and the shared scenes between Craig and Ford are not to be missed.

The supporting cast does well in their various roles. Olivia Wilde’s character Ella Swenson is the tough as nails, gun-toting chick with a cowboy hat that you can’t help but want to learn more about (not to mention watch on the big screen). Doc (Sam Rockwell) adds some very well timed humor to the film, which helps to keep it from becoming too serious. Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano), is great as the snotty-nosed brat of Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Some of the best moments in the earlier parts of the film are when Dano shares the screen with Craig. You can just imagine what happens when the tough-as-nails Lonergan runs into the drunken and spoiled Percy Dolarhyde. Emmett Taggart (Noah Ringer) has a fairly small part, but does very well, especially later in the film. Black Knife (Raoul Trujillo) does well as the leader of the Apaches, but isn’t developed as much as I would have liked.

Although the film has a large ensemble cast, which is handled VERY well by Favreau, Orci, and Kurtzman, I have to mention the beautiful Abigail Spencer who plays “Alice”, Craig’s love interest in the film. If you’ve watched my Cowboys & Aliens red carpet interview with Abigail Spencer, you’ll notice she’s fairly reluctant to speak about her character much. You’ll find out why about halfway through the film, and I have to say I would have loved to see more screen time devoted to her character.

The film’s visual effects are topnotch. As odd as it may seem, they appear perfectly believable in the setting of the Wild West. They don’t overwhelm or dominate the film, as you might expect. Although you don’t see a lot of the aliens until the end of the film, they are superbly done and add the right amount of terror and suspense to the film. Initially they seem to be somewhat flat emotionally, until Jake Lonergan runs into one towards the end that “seems” to know him…

The cinematography by Matthew Libatique captures the grand and gorgeous landscapes you would expect to find in a western, as does the score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Both of which could be, arguably, the best that we’ve seen this summer

The plot is somewhat predictable, but I think that this is because the film is, as many of the cast and crew have stated, a western first. There are just certain things that go along with a western, and most moviegoers are familiar with them (tough and gritty gunslinger, a damsel in distress, etc.). Are there holes in the plot? Yes, one in particular involves the heroes discovering something in the middle of the desert that shouldn’t be there (you’ll know it when you see it). How this “thing” got there, and why, is an absolute mystery… Does any of this mean that the movie isn’t entertaining? Absolutely not! The interaction between the characters, the superbly choreographed fight sequences, and the special effects make this film more than what I could have hoped for as I entered the theater.

Cowboys & Aliens was a VERY unexpected surprise. It has a little of everything for everyone. Favreau manages to mash Wild West and Sci-Fi together like peanut butter and chocolate, and if you’re like me, you won’t be able to get enough. The cast and crew not only made the Wild West/Sci-Fi mashup believable, but enjoyable to watch as it unfolded.

All in all, I left the theater more tired than I was before and disappointed in one of the few movies I had hopes for all summer. The slow, sludge-like story, with the absence of great action, and a lack of real character development made for a movie that would be best suited for home viewing so that you wouldn’t feel bad about falling asleep.

Rating B+

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08
Jun
11

X-Men:First Class Review


X-Men:First Class is a really solid film. The thing I like about X-Men movies is the fact that the storytelling is more focused on the conflicts between Xavier and Erik, their corresponding philosophies, and the metaphor of discrimination. As much as the ads will sell this movie to you as an origin story, there’s slightly more to it.

Since Wolverine is out of the way, the script deals more with the issues of mutants and humans coexisting (or not), without having to explore any specific characters’ past too deeply. It’s actually a fine script, and a nice change of pace for a superhero movie (not that Wolverine wasn’t a change, it was just crappy).

Another change was the setting, and as a period piece you get a sense of atmosphere, but it’s not too strong, and this movie is still unmistakably and X-Men movie. One glance and you wouldn’t decide otherwise.

It wasn’t perfect. You could tell which performances were great, good, or a little on the weak side. Just as well, the CGI showed off a rushed production, of which director Matthew Vaughn once spoke about concerning the movie.

All-in-all though, it’s a good film. The direction is really good, the pacing is smooth, and unlike previous X-Men movies I really had a sense of how the mutant characters truly feel within society. Like the comics, the message is covered up by extreme fantasy, but it’s still there, clear as day.

You know who you are if you want to see this movie or not. Overall it was a fine, fun film. I liked it.

Rating: B+

24
May
11

Limitless

I have been looking forward to this movie ever since I saw the first trailer. The concept was amazing to me. I have always wondered the concept of our brains only using 20%, and what if we were able to tap into the full 100%. The fact that this movie even exists made me excited to watch it.Plus, Bradley Cooper in anything that’s not “The Hangover” was amazing. This post was supposed to simply state that I had viewed the movie, and not actually develop into a small review. However, it has become long enough so I’ll proceed.

Like I said, concept was brilliant, the whole idea behind it etc. The execution? Good. Not brilliant; as I had hoped it would be, but good. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, just can’t help but feel that more could have been done with it. Ironically, the movie itself could have done with an NZT-48 pill; and allow the idea and concept behind it to take the movie to bigger and more spectacular levels.

The ending was not predictable. I always think the worst thing imaginable happening. I always assume a character that grandeur will get destroyed and I was happily surprised at Eddie’s outcome.Robert De Niro played a small role, but he did it wonderfully.The science of this film is something I’m particularly interested in.It was very interesting to see this played on screen.The screenplay is based of a novel called “The Dark Fields” and I think I might look into it, and see if I want to read it.This has easily become one of my top 10 favorite movies.

Rating: A
Related articles
MOVIEWATCH: Limitless (15) from roleplay-geek (roleplay-geek.blogspot.com)
Limitless (panfilocastaldi.wordpress.com)

16
May
11

Priest Review

Priest is an average movie that takes a lot of inspiration from Matrix wire-fu, old west post-apocalyptic Mad Max western costuming, even a Blade Runner type city, yeah like I said a lot of inspiration. Paul Bettany as the main character is more like a grizzled voice tough guy but nothing wrong with that in my mind and he looks like complete badass in the action scenes. Some of his best moments are actually with Maggie Q that don’t involve any action whatsoever. Gigandet who I really don’t like does not play his usual douchebag role like in his past films but really does nothing beside push some of the arcs in the story. Maggie Q can play the ass-kicking babe in her sleep by now but does have a pretty cool action scene with a rope dart that’s pretty damn cool, while Collins, in her limited screen time is decent as the damsel in distress. Then comes Karl Urban who  had a very cool moment as Black Hat orchestrating while attacking a city that you briefly see in the trailers.

The movie offers different levels of vampires, from the eyeless CG vampires to “the familiars” (yes like Blade 2) who serve as the vampires’ human acolytes. Action-wise, there’s a sequence set in a vampire lair where Priest and Hicks find themselves in a trap that’s kind of cool and shows off one of Priest cool weapons and while the movie offers enough action and cool bits to probably hold are interest when it’s happening, it is not something groundbreaking that we have not seen before with the movies I have already mentioned.

All in all, Priest was a descent enough action movie that kept entertained for the end and while it did have some long drawn out parts the action scenes picked them up and some interesting twists and turns along the way as well. Priest was not perfect but it was terrible either, the effects in the movie were pretty cool too along with the CG vampires who didn’t look to hard to make (then again I don’t do effects so nevermind the statement).The movie is in 3D but the 3D didn’t really stand out to me so if you have a choice save the extra couple bucks and see it in 2D.

Rating: B-

30
Dec
10

Because the best part of this whole movie was the lesbian scene.

I wanted to enjoy this movie so much but it was just so predictable and though the acting and cinematography were superb I just didn’t feel anything for main character. She’s a girl with issues that ends up with even more issues in the end come on who couldn’t see her killing herself at the end just like in the play?.. Idk maybe I just watched the trailer and interviews too many times and expected more from the movie than what I already knew.

7/10




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