Evan B


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Wolverine (2013)

Claire: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Evan: 4/5 stars.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 6.8/10 IMDB.

Watched in 3-D: I’ve noticed it’s really hard for me to rate 3-D movies, because the 3-d distracts me from my normal train of thought. I think some of my being-impressed-with gets transferred from the content of the movie into the spectacle of 3-D.

But hey — I guess I loved this movie, ’cause superhero stuff kicks ass, so i guess that’s 5 stars.  But I was’t orgasming over it, so I guess it’s a low 5 stars, so I guess I agree with Carolyn’s 4.6/5 rating.

Love Marvel. Love mutants. Love the X-Men. Love Wolverine. It’s almost impossible for Marvel to screw up; these movies are barely worth reviewing because they’re incredibly consistent to us.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Entertaining movie about Wolverine and the Mariko story origin. I’m looking forward to the sequel, if it ever comes out.  We love the comic superheros and I’m glad they are continuing to make them into movies.  The 3-D was alright, but didn’t seem as spectacular as it could have been.  Judging from the quality of the mountains at the beginning that Claire noticed, maybe it was converted to 3-D.
Evan: That fake mountain was pretty hilarious. Is it wrong that I like the ninja guy better then Hawkeye? (As a ranger-type character.) The 3-D is always better at your place, so my ratings typically go up a notch when I rewatch stuff there. I’d give wolvy a 4. Not enough action.

Directed by James Mangold (Kate & Leopold, Girl Interrupted, Knight And Day).
Written by Mark Bomback (Fifty Shades Of Grey, Total Recall remake) and Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Minority Report, Dead Again).

Starring Hugh Jackman (X-Men movies, Movie 43, Rise Of The Guardians, Van Helsing, Kate & Leopold) as Logan.
Tao Okamoto as Mariko.
Rila Fukushima as Yukio.
Hiroyuki Sanada (Ring & Ring 2, Speed Racer, 5 eps of Lost) as Shingen.
Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper.
Brian Tee (1 ep of The Problem Solverz, 1 ep of Sym-Bionic Titan) as Noburo.
Hal Yamanouchi as Yashida.
Will Yun Lee (Total Recall remake) as Harada.
Famke Janssen (The Faculty, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Wackness, The Ten, 11 eps of Nip/Tuck) as Jean Grey.
Ian McKellen as Magneto (uncredited).
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (uncredited).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1430132/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Man Of Steel (2013) [watched in 3-d]

Claire: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Evan: 4.3/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

I knew this would be a movie I loved… Although I had my doubts because the last Superman movie wasn’t that memorable. (Though checking my notes, I said it was as good as any other Superman movie. Of course those other ones were late 1970s/early 1980s, so of course something made in the 2000s will generally be comparable just by the fact that movies are much more well done nowadays).

Suffice to say, I was not disappointed.

Very entertaining.  Superman origin story with LOTS of action.  LOTS. The action barely let up, even for a moment.  Those were literally some of the most epic fight scenes I’ve seen in my entire life. Especially if you don’t count animation.  Superheroes are awesome, and this was awesome.

I like how they made it a point to not spend too much time on his childhood. I like to think of that as a “fuck you” to Smallville’s later, shitty seasons. Incindentally, at least 5 people from this movie played in at least 1 episode of Smallville. Amy Adams (S1E7), Mackenzie Gray (S5E15,S10E1), Tahmoh Penikett (S6E19/21,S3E15), Alessandro Juliani (14 S8 eps), and David Paetkau (S1E3,S8E15).

One complaint: Everyone had way too visible pores. I do not need to be THAT aware of y’alls’ pores!

 

Directed by Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch, Watchmen, Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole, 300, Dawn Of The Dead (2004))
Written by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, The Crow 2, Jumper, Blade: The Series) and Christopher Nolan (Inception, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Memento, Following).

Henry Cavill (The Count Of Monte Cristo) as Clark Kent / Kal-El.
Amy Adams (Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Psycho Beach Party, Cruel Intentions 2, 3 eps of The Office, 3 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Smallville) as Lois Lane.
Michael Shannon (Cecil B. DeMented, Groundhog Day, 8 Mile, Vanilla Sky, 1 ep of Delocated) as General Zod.
Diane Lane (Jumper, Judge Dredd) as Martha Kent.
“Oh my God, it’s Russell Crowe” as Jor-El. Took 3 of us to come up with who he was. Claire: “Isn’t that what’s his name? The guy who went fightin’ round the world in South Park.” Carolyn: “That’d be Russell Crowe.” Evan: “Yes, that is Russell Crowe.”
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent.
Antje Traue (Pandorum) as Faora-Ul, Zod’s right-hand woman.
Harry Lennix (Commander Lock in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, 6 eps of 24) as General Swanwick.
Richard Schiff (Se7en, Deep Impact, Speed, The Hudsucker Proxy, Ghost In The Machine, 1 ep of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as Dr. Emil Hamilton, the scientist.
Christopher Meloni (Chris Keller in Oz, Green Lantern in Green Lantern: First Flight, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Wet Hot American Summer, Twelve Monkeys, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Junior, 1 ep of Michael & Michael Have Issues) as Colonel Nathan Hardy.
Ayelet Zurer (Angels & Demons) as Lara Lor-Van.
Laurence Fishburne (The Colony, Morpheus in The Matrix movies, Silver Surfer in Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Contagion, Mission Impossible 3, Mystic River, Apocalypse Now) as Perry White.
Dylan Sprayberry (Spaced, 1 ep of MADtv) as Clark Kent (13 Years).
Richard Cetrone (he’s usually a stuntman, but he plays The Headless Horseman in a Sleepy Hollow TV series, a werewolf/merman in The Cabin In The Woods, a lyncan creature in Underworld: Awakening, Hunter Morlock in The Time Machine, CJ in Sucker Punch) as Tor-An.
Mackenzie Gray (The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 2 eps of Smallville) as Jax-Ur.
Julian Richings (Atticus’s father in Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil, and Satan in the 2003 Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, X-Men: The Last Stand, Detroit Rock City, Mimic, Naked Lunch) as Lor-Em.
Mary Black (Mrs. Henderson in Fido, The Wicker Man, ) as Ro-Zar.
Michael Kelly (The Adjustment Bureau, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Unbreakable, 6 eps of The Sopranos) as Steve Lombard.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation (2013) (watched in 3-D)

JSun: 5/5, 2/10 …. He said it’s his favorite movie of all time, but only rated it 2 out of 10.  A bold choice, indeed. “I said 10!!!” No you didn’t! ;)
Claire: 4/5, 7.6/10
Evan: 4/5, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5, 7/10.
Sean: “3-D was 10/10, experience was 10/10″…but it seemed pretty clear that he really hated the movie, hehe.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB.

This movie was utterly fucking ridiculous, but it knew it was being ridiculous.  Watching it with a bunch of friends heightened the enjoyment of this movie, and if we were alone, it probably wouldn’t have been as fun. But isn’t that true about most things?

This, however, was totally over-the-top. Even compared to the first A-Team movie!! And that’s saying a lot!

I have to admit…The first one was better.  But there were certain aspects that this movie pulled off better, like making things comicbook/cartoon-ishly ridiculous.  I certainly would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed G.I. Joe 1.

The 3-D was awesome too; this was one of the first movies we watched with our new Samsung 240Hz 3-D Smart TV.

Directed by Jon M. Chu (some Justin Beiber stuff).

Written by Rhett Reese (Zombieland, Monsters Inc, Cruel Intentions 3) & Paul Wernick (Zombieland).

Starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock in wrestling, Fast & Furious 6-7, The Mummy Returns, 1 ep o Transformers Prime) as Roadblock.
Jonathan Pryce (Sam Lowry in Brazil, G.I. Joe 1, Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, What A Girl Wants, The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen) as President.
Byung-hun Lee (Red 2, G.I. Joe 1) as Storm Shadow.
Elodie Yung (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake) as Jinx, Storm Shadow’s cousin.
Ray Stevenson (Thor, The Three Musketeers, 9 eps of Dexter) as Firefly.
D.J. Cotrona as Flint.
Adrianne Palicki (Red Dawn, 4 eps of Robot Chicken, 4 eps of Titan Maximum, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of Family Guy) as Jaye.
Channing Tatum (Side Effects, This Is The End) as Duke.
Ray Park (Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Heroes, Fanboys, X-Men, ) as Snake Eyes.
Luke Bracey (225 eps of Home And Away) as Cobra Commander.
Walton Goggins (Django Unchained, Predators, Machete Kills, The Bourne Identity, The Crow 3: Salvation, 1 ep of Unsupervised) as Warden Nigel James.
Arnold Vosloo (Habib Marwan in 17 eps of 24, The Mummy movies, 1 ep of Young Justice) as Zartan.
Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network) as Mouse.
Nick Erickson as President Picture Double.
RZA (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Repo Men, Due Date, Funny People) as Blind Master.
Matt Gerald (Avatar, Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, Magnolia, 2 eps of Dexter) as Havoc.
Douglas M. Griffin (This Is The End, Oldboy remake) as Doctor.
Joe Chrest (Oldboy remake, Red, Ocean’s Thirteen, Clockwatchers) as Chief of Staff.
Bruce Willis as General Joe Colton.
James Carville (Fox News commenter) as James Carville.
Ryan Hansen (Superhero Movie, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Grunt.
DeRay Davis (10 eps of The Boondocks, uncredited in Get Him To The Greek) as Stoop.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1583421/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Immortal (Ad Vitam) (2004)

Claire: 2.4/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Evan: 2.7/5 stars, 5.5/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

I GOT A NEW TV! And this was the first thing watched on it– A weird animation/live-action mix sci-fi flick taking place in 2095 and dealing with gods, aliens, possession, being raped by a person possessed by a god….. All based on a trilogy of French comic books.

Carolyn: This didn’t live up to our expectations. It was nice to see as the first 3-D movie on our new TV, but it was hard to follow the story. It had a lot going on: Egyptian gods, aliens, genetically altered humans and mutants, escaped prisoners who are being tracked down… It was a lot to keep track of, especially while visually enjoying the 3-D. There was potential, but it didn’t quite get there.

Claire: I didn’t like the movie that much. Visually, it was very awesome, but I still didn’t really like it — Which made it a good choice for my first non-anaglyph 3-D home movie viewing. When you get a new tech setup, you don’t want to dive right in and watch/do your favorite/most-important thing first, because you still want to do system tuning. I’m very glad that the first 3-D movie I watched was NOT one that I enjoyed, because it turns out my TV wasn’t 100% setup correctly (had to turn sharpness down) anyway. I’d much rather have a setup error affect a 2-star movie than a 5-star movie :)

But yea. It was confusing. I wasn’t really sure what the fuck was going on a lot of the time. I didn’t really understand how the side-plots really fit together with the main plot. It was great eye candy, and I sort of digested it that way. The eyes of some of the CGI characters were so 3-dimensionally sunken into their head that it was creepy as fuck! Definitely interesting, and I’m glad I finally watched it, but yeah… Missed potential is the name of the game here.

Evan: I’d agree that it had potential, but their effects needed a lot more polish before I would really consider it any good. If they had made the whole movie animation [instead of a mix of animation and live-action], it might have gotten a better score.

Directed by Enki Bilal. Written by Enki Bilal (comic books “La Foire Aux Immortels” and “La Femme Pie`ge”), Serge Lehman.

Starring Linda Hardy as Jill Bioskop.
Thomas Kretschmann (Hostel 3, 2 eps of 24) as Alcide Nikopol.
Charlotte Rampling (12 eps of Dexter) as Dr. Elma Turner.
Yann Collette as Froebe.
Fre’de’ric Pierrot as John.
Thomas M. Pollard as Horus.
Joe Sheridan as Allgood.
Corinne Jaber as Lily Liang.
Olivier Achard as Checker.
Jerry Di Giacomo as Jack Turner.
Paul Bandey as Dayaks (voice).
Coralie Seyrig as Bastet (voice).
Goran Vejvoda as Anubis (voice).
Barbara Scaff (Heavy Rain) as Jill (voice).
Dominic Gould as John (voice).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314063/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Colony (2013)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Evan: 3/5 stars, 6.5/10.
Native ratings: 5.2/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

This was OK, but it could have been better. It started off really strong, and then had a tipping point where you realized it was Just Another Movie(tm).

The ending in particular seemed rushed.  It would have been a sensible ending from a trilogy, and indeed, a trilogy could redeem this… But who would watch it? This just wasn’t that strong.  Maybe if it was longer, they could have fleshed it out more…But as it was, it took forever to build up the scenario, and then it was a really quick gorefest at the end, and then a lack of a real resolution after that.

It leaves you wanting. In a bad way. The ending is 2/5 stars, 3/10. The first third or so of the movie is 4.4/5 stars, 8.6/10. It’s all over the place. It ends up just being Just Another Movie(tm).

Evan adds: I’ve since watched the other movie I was talking about (The Divide from 2011) and it’s much better. Still not great, but definitely better acting, far less stereotyping, and no explicit gore but much darker themes. I would rate 3.5/7.4 only because they completely forget about some things after they are used as a plot device.

Also while I was in movie mode, I watched another movie with a similar premise and a younger Saorise Ronan (from The Host) called City of Ember. This was my favorite of the three, possibly because it was not a horror like the others. This one I would go as high as 4/5, 8.5/10 for it’s good flow, nice characters (has Bill Murray even), fairly well done post-apocalyptic theme.

The others are def worth the watch if you get around to it.

Directed by Jeff Renfroe. Written by Jeff Renfroe, Svet Rouskov, Patrick Tarr, Pascal Trottier.

Starring Kevin Zegers (Frozen, Dawn Of The Dead, Wrong Turn, In The Mouth Of Madness, 1 ep of Smallville) as Sam.
Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus in The Matrix movies, Silver Surfer in Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Contagion, Mission Impossible 3, Mystic River, Apocalypse Now) as Briggs.
Bill Paxton (Titanic, Twister, Apollo 13, Stripes, 1 ep of Frasier) as Mason (the douchebag).
Charlotte Sullivan (2 eps of Puppets Who Kill, 1 ep of Smallville) as Kai.
Dru Viergever (Saw 8) as Feral Leader.
Atticus Dean Mitchell (26 eps of My Baby’s A Vampire) as Graydon.
John Tench (2 eps of Friday The 13th: The Series, 1 ep of X-Files) as Viktor.
Lisa Berry (Antiviral, Saw 5) as Nara.
Kimberly-Sue Murray (Mirror Mirror) as Janelle.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1160996/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Host (2013)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Evan: 4.1/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Andrew Niccol, which had me hyped up to see the movie! We’ve seen every movie he’s directed (Gattaca, Lord Of War, In Time, S1m0ne), and also half the movies he wrote-but-didn’t-direct (The Truman Show, but not The Terminal). It is all excellent stuff, though we enjoyed some (In Time) more than others (Lord Of War, S1m0ne).

This movie, strangely, is based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer, the woman who wrote the Twilight Trilogy. Really?? This knowledge alone causes a lot of people to hate on the movie without watching it. Such sheep behavior is sad to witness.

This is Twilight-esque in the sense that teen romance is inserted into a genre that it is not normally so prevalent in. Is that a crime? Is mixing genres a crime? Should an action movie have no comedy? Should a comedy movie have no romance? Should a horror movie have no comedy?

So yes, this is a sci-fi movie about parasitic symbiotes taking over the planet by taking our bodies from us, but it is focused more on a few specific characters, and the love story that ties them together. There are no explosions or big gun fights. It’s about a race taking over humans and controlling them. They aim to live along with us and bring us further than we would get left to our own devices, but they also basically genocide us by killing our consciousnesses and replacing them with their own.

But some of us resist. The alien parasite hears the voice of the original human in their mind. It’s rare. And that is the case here.

Apparently a lot of people just reduce that to “watching a girl talk to herself”, which is a sad reducto absurdum applied to an idea that is actually far more interesting than that. I think it requires a litte bit of empathy that some people don’t have. I don’t find it a valid complaint.

There is REALLY a lot of hate here. The anti-Stephanie Meyer bandwagon is kind of pathetic. It’s like they are scared that someone might like something she’s involved in, because it would invalidate their own opinions — which are often themselves based on groupthink and expressed by people who have never seen one of her movies or read one of her books.

Fuck those guys. This was a great sci-fi, and had an unexpectedly interesting emotional/relationship angle, that most sci-fi movies don’t have. Good for Andrew Niccol — keeping his track record intact. Good for Stephanie Meyer — improving her track record, which needs it.

Evan: “I really liked the concepts and the story was good, but I’m going to have to knock it down a bit for the cheesy teen-movie moments.”

Saoirse Ronan (Hanna from Hanna, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Melanie Stryder / Wanda.
Diane Kruger (Adult Anna in Mr. Nobody, Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Helen in Troy) as The Seeker / Lacey.
Chandler Canterbury (Repo Men, Benjamin as age 8 in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as Jamie, Melanie’s little brother.
Jake Abel (Luke in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) as Ian O’Shea, [highlight for spoilers] Wanda’s love interest.
Max Irons (Dorian Gray, 9 eps of The White Queen) as Jared Howem, Melanie’s boyfriend.
William Hurt (The Village, The Incredible Hulk, Dark City) as Jeb, Melanie’s uncle.
Frances Fisher (Sex & Death 101, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Maggie, Melanie’s aunt.
Scott Lawrence (The Social Network, Avatar, Cloverfield, Star Trek Into Darkness, 2 eps of 24, Darth Vader in a bunch of Star Wars video games) as Doc.
Rachel Roberts (Simone in S1m0ne, In Time) as Soul Fleur.
Marcus Lyle Brown (Snatched) as Healer Fords.
J.D. Evermore (Django Unchained) as Trevor Stryder.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517260/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) [watched in 3-D]

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Evan: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 4.8/10 IMDB.

Our first-ever 3D movie night, with Clio, Carolyn, Greg, John, Radha, Evan, & Javier. We got together to watch the new Star Trek movie (Star Trek 2 / 12) but it ended up being the first one (Star Trek 1 / 11).  So we had to quickly decide what else to watch, and this was what brought up the least objections.

We thought this was a remake of the original, but it turned out to be a follow up to the original movie.  Clio & I had never seen the original, but it didn’t seem to detract from our experience.  This was entertaining, but it didn’t have that much going for it.  Not much to the story.  We watched it in 3D on our new TV with 5 other people, and that made it more fun.

Directed by John Luessenhop.

Written by Adam Marcus (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday), Debra Sullivan, and Kirsten Elms.

Starring Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson movies, 1 ep of The Sopranos) as Heather Miller.
Dan Yeager as Leatherface.
Trey Songz as Ryan, Heather’s boyfriend.
Scott Eastwood (Gran Torino) as Carl, the young cop.
Tania Raymonde (5 eps of Malcolm In The Middle) as Nikki, Heather’s friend.
Shaun Sipos (The Grudge 2, Final Destination 2, 1 ep of Smallville) as Darryl.
Keram Malicki-Sánchez (Sex And Death 101, 3 eps of The L Word, 4 eps of Garbage Pail Kids, 2 eps of Friday The 13th: The Series, 1 ep of 24) as Kenny, Nikki’s date.
James MacDonald (1 ep of Weeds, 1 ep of 24) as Officer Marvin.
Thom Barry (The Fast And The Furious, Space Jam, Apollo 13, Independence Day, 2 eps of Seinfeld, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of Space Above And Beyond) as Sheriff Hooper.
Paul Rae (1 ep of Malcolm In The Middle) as Burt Hartman.
Richard Riehle (Santa Claus in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Smiley Face, Extracted, The Beach Party At The Threshold Of Hell, Office Space, Hatchet, Mysterious Skin, Palindromes, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Dorm Daze 2, The Man From Earth, 4 eps of The Legend Of Korra, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Farnsworth. He still reminds us of the “I’ll make your bub-bubs bounce” / “this is what I do, I sit on you” guy.
Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Army Of Darkness, Night Of The Living Dead, Dead Air, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Grindhouse, The Devil’s Rejects, 8 eps of Carnivale, 5 eps of Holliston) as Drayton Sawyer.
David Born (1 ep of Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) as Gavin Miller, Heather’s adopted dad.
Sue Rock as Arlene Miller, Heather’s adopted mom.
Ritchie Montgomery (Django Unchained, Looper, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Green Lantern, 1 ep of Carnivale) as Ollie.
Dodie Brown as Loretta Sawyer, Heather’s real mom.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1572315/combined