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: Pacific Rim (2013)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10. 
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8.4/10. 
Jesse: 4/5 stars, 7/10. 
Jsun: 3.6/5 stars.
Evan: 3.2/5 stars.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 7.1/10 IMDB.

Watched in 3-D with Jesse, Jsun, and Evan.

I really liked it. Almost loved it. But there were generic aspects. It was good and bad at the same time. But definitely the amusement park ride I was expecting and asking for.

I mean… I barely remember there truly being a story. They fight monsters, then oh no, boss monster! So they fight ’em.  And oh, they came from a portal to another dimension that just happens to exist in a crack in the sea, so that we can have fights in the ocean where there are less expensive things to CGI.

But really… It was an awesome action movie, slightly held back by cheesy dialog and formulaic tropes.  A good choice to watch in 3-D, because it looks awesome, but is lacking in dimension.

Carolyn’s thoughts: It was entertaining. Pretty cool action monster vs. mecha suit movie.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/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