VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Ender’s Game (2013)

Claire: 5/5 stars, 9.4/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 3.9/5 stars Netflix, 7.0/10 IMDB.

It’s weird how certain I was that I would love this movie, given how very little I actually knew (i.e. nothing) about this original story. I just knew that this was a science fiction legend being done as a high budget film, and that it would be very hard to fuck it up enough to make me & Carolyn hate it.

So yes: This movie was awesome! My only real complaint is kind of standard for good books trying to be good movies: It felt a bit rushed. This should have been a 3- to 3.5-hour movie, not a 2-hour movie. If they had done this Lord Of The Rings-style, it would have definitely received a 10/10 from me.

This movie occupies a strange mental space somewhere near The Last Starfighter, but nearer to Starship Troopers. Neat things happen, happen too fast, and leave you wanting more. I’d love for there to be a sequel, given that there were 4 books.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This turned out surprisingly well.  It kept you interested, and it told the story well.  The special effects were awesome, and we ended up watching this “upscaled” from 2-D to 3-D.  Pretty awesome.

Written & Directed by Gavin Hood (director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
Based on a book by Orson Scott Card.

Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin.
Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff.
Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian.
Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Signs) as Valentine Wiggin.
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3, The Dictator, Prince Of Persia, The Wackness, A.I., Sneakers) as Mazer Rackham.
Viola Davis (Knight And Day, Kate & Leopold) as Major Gwen Anderson.
Aramis Knight (The Dark Knight Rises, 3 eps of Dexter) as Bean.
Moises Arias (Despicable Me 2, The Secret World Of Arrietty, Astro Boy, Hannah Montana) as Bonzo Madrid.
Jimmy ‘Jax’ Pinchak (Let Me In) as Peter Wiggin.
Nonso Anozie (Conan The Barbarian remake) as Sergeant Dap.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1731141/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: After Earth (2013)

Claire: 3.2/5 stars, 6.8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.0/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: This wasn’t as good as I hoped.  Interstellar travel, yet we spend our time on earth. Futuristic technology, yet we mostly just see clothes and a sword.  Too much father stuff and not enough aliens stuff.  The moral of fear being optional is a bit too Vulcan for me. I’ll file it under “sacharrine platitudes” right next to “you can be anything you want to be” and “looks don’t matter”.  The kid’s accent is annoying, and why would I want to watch a movie that’s mostly just a kid in the woods anyway? And WHERE’S MY FUCKING TWIST, Shyamalan? Is the twist of this movie that there isn’t a twist???

That’s a lot of bad things I just said, but I still liked the movie. It just wasn’t spectacular. I think these days people have come to expect that from Shyamalan. They should have let him continue with the Avatar movies, goddamnit. The Last Airbender 2 would have been so much better than this.

I still liked it though.

Carolyn’s thoughts: I thought the point of the movie would be to show more of what happened to earth after the humans abandoned it.  They touched on how nature took over, but I thought it would more about that and less about the kid’s relationship with his father. The accent was kind of annoying at first, but then you get used to it.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender, Lady In The Water, The Village, Signs, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense)
Screenplay written by Gary Whitta (Walking Dead video games) and M. Night Shyamalan.
Story written by Will Smith.

Starring Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith (The Day The Earth Stood Still) as Kitai Raige.
Will Smith (The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Men In Black movies, Wild Wild West, Independence Day, I Robot, Hancock, Anchorman 2) as Cypher Raige.
Sophie Okonedo (Sithandra in Aeon Flux, Hotel Rwanda, ) as Faia Raige.
Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story) as Senshi Raige.
Glenn Morshower (Aaron Pierce in 24, X-Men: First Class, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, The Men Who Stare At Goats) as Commander Velan.
David Denman (Roy Anderson in The Office, Fanboys, Big Fish) as Private McQuarrie.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1815862/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: +1 aka Plus 1 aka Plus One (2013)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

Parties are fun, but then the weird shit starts happening.  This movie managed to merge a high school reunion party, aliens, clones, and time distortion all into one light-hearted sci-fi thriller.  The party framework makes it feel almost as if it’s a comedy — there’s jokes and funny stuff and everything.

Ultimately, this was entertaining AND interesting. It was hard to know where the plot was going. Hints of the movie Triangle at times.

Also interesting was that the people with violent tendencies who decided to use lethal force were left “incomplete”. The peaceful ones focused on love and/or understanding simply got to become… more? Of course it’s ultimately unclear, but I did find it interesting and I liked that kind of commentary about violent tendencies.

Directed by Dennis Iliadis (The Last House On The Left)
Written by Dennis Iliadis and Bill Gullo.

Starring Rhys Wakefield (The Purge) as David. Claire recognized him instantly as being in The Purge.
Logan Miller (Nova in Ultimate Spider-Man, Would You Rather, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Teddy.
Ashley Hinshaw as Jill.
Natalie Hall (181 eps of All My Children) as Melanie.
Ronald Ogden (1 ep of Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell) as Mike.
Marla Malcolm (Road Trip) as Heather.
Rhoda Griffis (The Hunger Games, Mean Girls 2, Year One, Road Trip) as Mrs. Howard (uncredited).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2395385/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIOEW: The Purge 1 (2013)

Claire: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB (seems low, but IMDB is usually low).

What a premise: The government allows all crime to be legal for a period of 12 hours every year.

Carolyn thought it was an interesting commentary on human behavior and preventing crime, but then I had to interject that it was not a commentary on that at all. It was a commentary on using crime prevention as an excuse for class warfare: A phenomenon that is very real and happens in the real world today.  Very often — in the real world — the vaunted public interest of stopping crime or making people safe is used as an excuse to reduce personal liberty. And this is the ultimate example of that.

In that sense, this is a political commentary along the same lines as The Hunger Games, but in a more decentralized, less post-apocalyptic, less futuristic way. The society seems to be a present-day society, whereas Hunger Games seems to be 50-100 years in the future. But the message is the same: Class warfare is entertaining for the upper class, hell for the lower class, and is designed to destroy everyone but the rich.

So the movie had political ramifications for me, regardless of how good it was otherwise. And I liked that.

But I felt it was good, otherwise, as well. There were at least 5 different factions of people — not even counting the conflicting motives of the family. These factions all had their own agendas, and the viewer didn’t always know what they were. This allowed for a lot of small twists and surprises that helped betray one’s expectations and make the movie more interesting and less guessable.

Some people are mad at this movie because not everyone acted rationally. They seem to forget that a movie where everyone acted rationally would generally not be interesting. You need some people to do some stupid things to get everyone into a predicament, so that you can be entertained by the prospect of getting OUT of said predicament. Do I really have to explain this? A horror movie where everyone acted rational would mean, in this case, a movie where everyone locks up their house and nobody goes outside during The Purge. That. Would. Be. Boring. I’m sure there are plenty of horror movies where nobody does anything stupid. It wouldn’t work in this case. So I don’t view that as a valid complaint.

Written & directed by James DeMonaco.

Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Daybreakers, Reality Bites, Mystery Date, Explorers, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as James Sandin, the dad.
Lena Headey (Dredd, Sarah Conner in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, St. Trinian’s (2007), 300, The Broken, The Brothers Grimm) as Mary Sandin, the wife.
Max Burkholder (Astro Boy, 17 eps of Family Guy, 2 eps of The Cleveland Show, 2 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of The Spectacular Spider-Man) as Charlie Sandin, the son.
Adelaide Kane (she’s in some new Teen Wolf show) as Zoey Sandin, the daughter.
Edwin Hodge (Dorm Daze 1, Take Me Home Tonight, 1 ep of Heroes) as Bloody Stranger.
Rhys Wakefield (+1) as Polite Leader. Claire recognized him instantly a few days later when we watched +1.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2184339/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: About Time (2013)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, 7.9/10 IMDB.

This was a nice time-travel romance movie. The ultimate point was pretty much the same point as most sappy movies, but they managed to use the gimmick of time travel to really show this point in a unique way. And of course, messing with the spacetime continuum always makes a movie more interesting. Always. And romances need something to make them interesting, otherwise they’re just too intolerable. Why the fuck do you think they put vampires & werewolves having epic battles into the middle of Twilight? Everyone interprets as pissing on vampire-genre, but I interpret as improving romance-genre with fuckin’ monsters and shit.

But I digress.

This movie was at the very least interesting. Time travel was more, uh, Quantum Leap style, I guess, if you had to describe it in terms of a pop culture reference. No hottubs or DeLoreans or stargates here. Very subtle. A good type of time travel for the introspective.  The romance was alright. The family-stuff was marginally tolerable. But all the elements came together to still make a good movie.

Random comment 1: Of course if a movie is a time-travel romance, it has to have Rachel McAdams, right? Apparently that is a rule.
Random comment 2: Claire rated this pretty much exactly how most people did. A rarity to come by.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Someone described this as Groundhog Day for chicks, which isn’t quite accurate. This made me think of Click in some ways. It got me thinking about my dad dying, though, but not in a depressing way. It touched some heart strings.

Directed & written by Richard Curtis (Bridget Jones’s Diary, French & Saunders Live and 1 ep of French & Saunders, 1 ep of Doctor Who).

Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, Dredd, Boy Eats Girl) as Tim.
Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Mean Girls, Wedding Crashers) as Mary.
Bill Nighy (The World’s End, Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1, Underworld movies, Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, Jack The Giant Slayer, Total Recall remake, Wrath Of The Titans, 1 ep of Doctor Who) as Dad.
Lydia Wilson (1 ep of Dirk Gently) as Kit Kat.
Lindsay Duncan (Alice In Wonderland, 1 ep of Absolutely Fabulous, 1 ep of Doctor Who) as Mum.
Richard Cordery as Uncle D.
Joshua McGuire as Rory.
Tom Hollander (Hanna, Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, uncredited in Byzantium, 2 eps of Absolutely Fabulous, 1 ep of Family Guy, 1 ep of Aqua Teen) as Harry.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2194499/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Europa Report (2013)

Claire: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was a pretty good sci-fi.  Not that suspenseful, but it told the story well.  Not much to the story, though.  A manned space shuttle launches to see if they can find life on Jupiter’s Moon, Europa.  Halfway to Jupiter, their communications get knocked out so they don’t have contact with Earth, but they decide to continue their mission anyway.  I think it could have been better if there was more suspense or action, but it was interesting.

Claire: This was definitely a bit calmer than most. Sure, we have death and violence, but none of it is really sensationalized in a Hollywoodesque manner. Some might say that makes this movie more tasteful, but for me, it just makes it have slightly less to offer, in an almost old-fashioned way. But that’s okay. I get it. They wanted to stick to true science fiction — not horror/action — and it worked.

Directed by Sebastian Cordero.
Written by Philip Gelatt.

Starring Daniel Wu as William Xu.
Sharlto Copley (Oldboy remake, District 9, Murdock in The A-Team movie) as James Corrigan.
Christian Camargo (Twilight: Breaking Dawn movies, The Hurt Locker, National Treasure 2) as Daniel Luxembourg, engineer.
Karolina Wydra (Crazy, Stupid, Love) as Katya Petrovna, scientist.
Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movies (original)) as Andrei Blok, engineer.
Anamaria Marinca (1 ep of Doctor Who) as Rosa Dasque, the pilot.
Embeth Davidtz (Mary Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man movies, the remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Army Of Darkness, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Schindler’s List) as Dr. Unger, the CEO of the company.
Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Goodfellas, Gremlins 2) as Dr. Pamuk.
Dan Fogler (Take Me Home Tonight, Fanboys, Kung Fu Panda, Horton Hears A Who, 1 ep of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of Ugly Americans) as Dr. Sokolov.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2051879/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: End Of The World (2013) (TV)

Claire: 5/5 stars, /10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: Only 4.6/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

Finally a Syfy movie that is a good movie for reasons other than laughing at how bad it is! This was awesome!  The genre of the year is apocalyptic comedy!

We’ve got this, Rapture-Palooza, This Is The End, The World’s End…  None of these movies have disappointed. None! Do I have a new favorite movie genre?!

This one kept us entertained the entire time, and was probably the least comedic of the four apocalyptic comedies we’ve watched this year. However, it was more thrilling and more interesting on a sci-fi level than 2 out of the other 3.  So it turned out to be a thriller wrapped up in a comedy.  You get excited about the action and the fate of the earth, but then when there is a lull in the pacing, some comedy pops its head out to entertain you. Then the comedy returns to the backseat and lets the thriller take over. Repeat several times.

While the comedy is not non-stop like with some movies, it continues to return to the forefront in segments running all the way ’til the end of the movie.

Another good thing is this is a movie that acknowledges other movies; it even makes fun of the generic Syfy disaster movies that they are constantly releasing (much to everyone’s chagrin). The main characters work in a video store, and their knowledge about disaster movies is crucial to the survival of the world. (At least, THEY think so.) Much respect to geekdom.

Things get even crazier when they have to break a science fiction writer out of an insane asylum.

It actually all makes sense, and all comes together very nicely.

AND AS A BONUS — it’s a type of disaster I’ve never seen in any movie before. Neat!

Directed by Steven R. Monroe.
Written by David Ray & Jason Bourque.

Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman in Heroes, Super 8, Mission Impossible 3, Uncle Ben in 1 ep of Ultimate Spider-Man, 1 ep of American Dad) as Owen Stokes. Nice to see him in something since Heroes.
Neil Grayston (77 eps of Eureka, 1 ep of Smallville) as Steve Palmer.
Caroline Cave (Saw 6, 3 eps of The L Word) as Selena, Owen’s girlfriend.
Mark Hildreth (King Lotor in Voltron Force, Joshua in the new V, Quiksilver in Wolverine & The X-Men, Angel in X-Men Evolution, Gundam Wing, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3) as Max, the douchebag.
Brad Dourif (The voice of Chucky in the Child’s Play/Chucky movies, Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies, The Lord Of The Rings movies, Dune, Blue Velvet, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The Exorcist 3) as Dr. Walter “Doc” Brown.
Merrilyn Gann (2012, Mystery Date, It, she’s additional voices in Project A-Ko 2-4, 3 eps of The Original 21 Jumpstreet, 1 ep of Smallville) as Betty, Steve’s mom.
Serge Houde (3 eps of Smallville) as General Ramis.
Graem Beddoes (1 ep of The L Word) as Louis, security guard.
Simon Chin (Control Alt Delete) as Orderly.
Amitai Marmorstein (1 ep of Smallville) as Leonard.
James Ralph (3 eps of Smallville) as Traffic cop.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2139851/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: Antiviral (2012)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

This is a sci-fi thriller movie about society’s celebrity obsession. What if people were so obsessed with celebrities that we paid money to have their diseases? What if we could have Lindsay Lohan’s alleged herpes, or have the same flu that Lady Gaga had? Human obsession *absolutely* goes this far. With sufficient technology, and a society that would allow a situation like this to develop — the story in this movie is actually pretty goddamn plausible.

And that’s a commentary in and of itself.

This is the very first full-length film written & directed by David Cronenberg‘s son Brandon Cronenberg. So my first thought was: “Expect weird creepy meatiness.”  And yeah. There was definitely some of that.

Courtney Love’s “Celebrity Skin” album will now and forever remind me of this movie. And don’t get me started on the celebrity-endorsed food products, or the “celebrity meat”.

This movie isn’t very exciting. It’s not an action. It’s very cerebral, a “thinking man’s movie”, if you want to use a tired old phrase. The watching-buzz I got from this was not like that of a comedy, action, or drama. It was is more based on thinking of social and moral situations that the technology in this movie created, as well as thinking about how the sentiment required to make this movie possible in real life exists today. It’s a definite commentary with an interesting plot.

And the ending… wow…

Carolyn adds: (SPOILER ALERT): I feel like there should have been more repercussions regarding his job… I mean, the police were investigating the other guy who was doing similar things. The main guy was just able to be sick all of the time, and barely show up for work, and the boss is like, “OK, that other guy is arrested, so you’re the one who is going to get the blood from the celebrity.” Then the blood never gets to the company, the guy barely shows up for work and when he does, he looks like hell, and can barely function. His coworker mentioned that strings were pulled to keep the main guy from being fired, and that was it… it didn’t make any sense. that was only one aspect of the movie, but it bothered me… They never even showed the boss or made any mention of him after the main guy injected the blood and got really sick. Anyway, it was an interesting premise… I agree with you that it could have been executed better.

Starring Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee in X-Men: First Class, boy on bike in No Country For Old Men, fraternity guy in The Social Network, 2 eps of Breaking Bad) as Syd March.
Sarah Gadon (Beth rom Total Drama Island) as Hannah Geist.
Douglas Smith (he is going to be in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, but we haven’t seen anything else) as Edward Porris.
Joe Pingue (Repo Men, The Boondock Saints, 1 ep of Puppets Who Kill) as Arvid.
Nicholas Campbell (Hank in Naked Lunch, Goon) as Dorian.
Wendy Crewson (8 eps of 24) as Mira Tesser.
Malcolm McDowell (Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Vater Orlaag in Metalocalypse, 9 eps of Heroes.. and the killer of Kirk!) as Dr. Abendroth.
George Tchortov (Goon) as Portland.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2099556/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Mr. Nobody (2009)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 5/5 stars, 10/10. (I made this rating up for Jesse, based on him saying it might be his favorite movie of all time.)
Native ratings: 4.2/5 stars Netflix, 7.8/10 IMDB.

Cloud Atlas, The Fountain, Click, Benjamin Button, Ink (2009), Inception (a bit). Smush them all together and you get this movie. I was hooked in the first 20 seconds. This was awesome.

Basically, this movie is about making choices, and the parallel universes that arise with each choice that is made. Hell, they even touch on string theory, chaos theory, and the butterfly effect at points… It is also about how it’s better to make a decision than it is to stand there scared of the various consequences that may arise.

The structure of the movie is pretty amazing, and the cinematography is 10/10 for sure. Over 500 visual effects.

It also had a better than average soundtrack. Mr. Sandman … used even more than in 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag!

The plot synopses on IMDB is pretty good, and though it has minor spoilers, you could simply stop reading the summary when you get to the words “at the end”, and it would not affect enjoyment of the movie (and in fact, this is part of how I was enticed to finally obtain this movie): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/synopsis … If you want a total-spoilery version, one better to read AFTER watching the movie, check out the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Nobody_(film)

This was awesome, yet I have a weird cognitive dissonance where I don’t QUITE want to rate this 5/5 stars. My IMDB rating (film quality) is not affected by this dissonance, by my Netflix rating (emotional response) is for some reason. Maybe if I had watched it in a state other than sobriety… I’d have had that “OMFG THIS IS SO AWESOME” feeling. But it WAS awesome. I just didn’t FEEL it like I often do. In part this is because I am anti-spirituality. I can’t help but feel that the message was a bit trite and cliche in the fact that it basically boiled down to “seek happiness”, which we all ALREADY KNOW.
However, this message was done VERY VERY VERY well! Just like Cloud Atlas‘s trite “fight for what is right” message, which was also done VERY well.
I’m so confused by my 5-star resistance here. But I”‘l go ahead and give it 5 stars anyway.

Political side-comment: It’s bullshit that USA typically won’t play this movie due to there being sex scenes with underage people (even though Juno Temple was fucking 20 in this!). Fucking Puritans! The Europeans should have persecuted The Puritans much harder. Seriously: The longest IMDB thread is about a nipple, and not the actual movie! Fuck us! Fuck us up our censored asses!

Written & Directed by Belgian filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael (this is his first English endeavor).

Starring Jared Leto (My So-Called Life, Requiem For A Dream, American Psycho, Fight Club, Panic Room, Girl Interrupted) as Nemo (adult/old).
Sarah Polley (Dawn Of The Dead, eXistenZ, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Go, Splice, 1 ep of Friday The 13th: The Series) as Elise (adult).
Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Troy) as Anna (adult).
Linh Dan Pham (Dante 01) as Jean (adult).
Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Conners in The Amazing Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) as Nemo’s dad.
Natasha Little (we haven’t seen her stuff) as Nemo’s mom.
Toby Regbo (uncredited as Young Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1) as Nemo (age 15).
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises, Kaboom, St. Trinian’s, Small Apartments, The Three Musketeers, Year One) as Anna (age 15).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/combined

Looper (2012)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native rating: 4/5 stars Netflix, 7.8/10 IMDB>

It’s really hard to go wrong with time travel, Bruce Willis, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I am probably fucking up by not quite rating this 5 stars like Carolyn…. But it’s just not quite as up there as, say, 12 Monkeys, another movie where [spoilers] Bruce Willis meets a younger version of himself.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1276104/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Impostor (2001)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native rating: 3.2/5 stars, 6.1/10.

Another movie based on a Philip K. Dick story … which is something we’ve been doing lately. But not as good as the previous movie based on a Philip K. Dick story that we last watched: Next (2007).

This one had fewer twists than Next.

However it had a few similarities to Next: A guy wanted by the government in order to [SPOILER ALERT] stop a nuclear explosion that happens, driven by his love for a girl, and with either Tony Shalhoub or his evil twin Jose Zuniga (who basically looks just like Tony Shalhoub, if you ask me).

It also had some similarity to Total Recall (both versions) [which is also based on a Philip K. Dick story] — a guy wanted by a government that claims that he is somebody else than he thinks he is.

I’m starting to think Philip K. Dick isn’t quite as creative as Hollywood thought. I’m seeing some common themes in these PKD-story-based movies.

Anyway, this movie suffere dfrom a common flaw in movies like this: It’s all just a big chase scene. But even more so in this one than usual. Enough that it dragged it down by lack of characterization and plot development. Total Recall (2012) had more characterization than this!

Impostor was still an enjoyable dystopian-future movie… But it could have been a lot better.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160399/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Next (2007)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Native rating: 3.5/5 stars, 6.1/10.

Seeing as we love movies based on Philip K. Dick stories, love time-related gimmicks (like time travel, precognition, etc), and love Nic Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel…This was a no-brainer movie to watch.

In fact… I’m surprised we hadn’t really noticed this movie until a recent Slashdot article talking about Hollywood’s love of movies based on Philip K. Dick stories (such as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Paycheck, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, The Adjustment Bureau, Impostor).

Suffice to say, it was actually somewhat better than we thought it would be. It starts out with a bit of mystery and intrigue, but then quickly changes gears to major action, all the while having a romantic angle as well, and then a great ending that really threw us for a loop. This was a great action-scifi-thriller…. Even if the idea of evil Russians seems a bit outdated.

Nic Cage as a man who can see 2 minutes into the future. It’s more interesting than you’d think.

Also, the screenplay was by 2 people who (between the two of them) wrote Total Recall (1990), Big Trouble In Little China, Armageddon, and Jumanji.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435705/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Dante 01 (2008)

3/5 stars, 6/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 2.5/5 stars, 4.9/10.
(Netflix’s guess for us was 3.1/5, very good Netflix!).

Directed by Marc Caro, who co-directed The City Of Lost Children & Delicatessen with Jean-Pierre Jenuet.

They used to collaborate together, then they went their separate ways when Jeneut went to work on Alien:Ressurrection. After that, Jenuet went on to do Amelie & Micmacs. These movies are very much in the same cinematic style as Delicatessen & The City Of Lost Children, except they are very whimsical, missing all of the darkness from Delicatessan & The City Of Lost Children.

Apparently, the darkness came from Marc Caro. So we sought to see what a Marc Caro movie was like WITHOUT Jenuet.

The answer: Not as good.

This kind of came off as Chronicles Of Riddick meets Clockwork Orange meets Pandorum. The movie had very good visuals, an interesting moral dillema, and a disturbing, claustrophobic insane-asylum-on-space-station atmosphere — but the ending was a total cop-out that left few satisifed.

And a lot of questions were never answered, which makes the mystery aspect retroactively come off as pretentious. Like, for instance, what was the company *TRULY* doing with the nanotechnology? Adding Christ allegory only makes a movie more pretentious and revolting to me.

I don’t regret seeing it, but my impression is Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet are both incapable of making a single movie as good as when they both collaborated.  They should get back together!

Special thanks to Ian Buckwalter for helping me understand the Jeunet/Caro dichotomy, and pointing out to me that this movie exists in the first place.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487928/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Death Machine (1994)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us, though the general public only rated it 2.7/5 stars (Netflix guessed 2.6 for us!) and 5.5/10.

This is the closest film I’ve ever seen to the movie Hardware (1990).

There are a few scenes that seem to be in DIRECT homage to Hardware. It lacks some of the comedy and psychedelia in Hardware, as well as the amazing cameos…

But in terms of cinematography, subject matter, style, and even character appearance (including the “villain”), this is simply a Poor Man’s Hardware. It even has William Hootkins (“we all sing, the wibbery-wobberly..walk!”), though he’s playing a suit instead of a perv.

Despite this being a poor man’s Hardware, it’s still better than 95% of scifi horror movies from the 1990s. So it gets 4/5 stars and 8/10, instead of the 5/5 stars and 9/10 rating that Hardware received.

Brad Dourif is pretty fricking crazy in this, and a lot of people are saying Heath Ledger must have watched this film at some point as inspiration for his insane portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight.

We watched the 111-minute (PAL/Europe) cut, though I would have preferred to get the 128 or 120-minute cut. Stay away from the 99-minute Netflix cut. You’ll be sorry. Get the PAL (europe) DVD if at all possible.

This movie also gets a very special LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for having THE STRANGEST MARIJUANA JOINTS TO BE FEATURED IN ALL OF FILMDOM.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109575

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Extracted (2012)

A very interesting premise: Being able to scientifically observe *other* peoples’ memories, thanks to corporations perverting technology originally meant for people to examine their *own* memories as a way of dealing with trauma. Now what happens if you get stuck in someone? This comes off like The Host meets The Cell (but with no romance).

However: Such a slow, slow, slow build-up. 40-50 minutes. But then it got interesting. And stayed interesting. Hell, it got so interesting it actually felt a bit rushed at the end.

I think this movie could have benefited from some better editing. It could have been a 4/5-star, 8/10 movie easily. Maybe even better. But it missed its mark a bit.

Written & directed by Nir Paniry.
Starring Sasha Roiz as Tom.
Jenny Mollen (Crazy, Stupid, Love) as Abbey, Tom’s wife.
Dominic Bogart as Anthony, the heroin addict.
Richard Riehle (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Miss Nobody, Hatchet, Palindromes, Mysterious Skin, Dorm Daze 2, 1 ep of The Legend Of Korra) as Father Riley, the prison priest.
Nick Jameson (President Yuri Suvarov in 24, Batman: Year One, Eurotrip, Beowulf, The Critic, 15 eps of Spider-Man-TAS (1990s), 13 eps of Mission Hill, 6 eps of Star Wars: Clone Wars, 1 ep of Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Richard, the PR seller.
Rodney Eastman (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4, 1 ep of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) as Eric, Anthony’s drug-dealer friend.
Frank Ashmore (the original V, Airplane!, 6 eps of The Guild) as Martino.
Ty Simpkins (47 eps of The Guiding Light, Iron Man 3) as Young Anthony.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1757746/combined

MOVIES: 10 sci-fi films to look forward to in 2013 | Den of Geek

Holy fuck. Looks like 2013 is going to be a great year! I’d like to see every fucking one of these.

Except maybe The Propotype. I’d rather just watch Hardware. 

LINK URL: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/22850/10-sci-fi-films-to-look-forward-to-in-2013