Category Archives: Sci Fi Movies
Please note: This review contains spoilers. That’s right, I’m going to ruin the whole movie for you. You can’t stop me. I’m mad with power!
Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheehan, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Morten Tyldum
Rating: PG-13 for partial space nudity and space hanky panky.
Plot: Two passengers on a luxurious, long range space ship emerge from hibernation decades early and learn they will die before everyone else wakes up. It’s a love story!
In the future, Earthlings will travel through space to colonize far off planets.
They say this will happen because future Earth will be overcrowded and polluted, but I believe it will be because Amazon.com will become so powerful it will eventually need other planets to conquer.
As Passengers opens, the interplanetary space ship Avalon is 30 years into its 120 year trip to a planet called Homestead II. Thousands of passengers and crew are in hibernation pods aboard the massive automated vessel with an interior that looks like a cross between an Apple store, a Carnival cruise ship, and The Mall of America.
A freak meteor storm causes the ship to malfunction, and for some reason a single hibernation pod pops open and out pops affable engineer Jim Preston (Chris Star Lord Pratt).
Jim learns quickly that the Avalon has not reached Homestead II, mostly because he’s the only person to show up at the “Welcome back from Hibernation” seminar at the conference center. Then Jim discovers some horrible truths: his hibernation pod can’t be reactivated, the ship won’t reach its destination for another 90 years which means he will die alone long before the others wake up, and only first class passengers get unlimited bacon in the automated cafeteria!
Without a volleyball to talk to, Jim befriends Arthur (Michael Sheehan) an android who tends bar at a swanky lounge located on the Avalon’s massive promenade.
As a fair man of the bottle I can appreciate Jim and Aurthur’s relationship. There have been times in my life when I was in despair, desperate for some beacon of hope, and a bartender was there to offer me comfort and understanding with a kind word, some sage advice, and a shiny wall of booze. Treasure your bartenders, kids. They are special people.
After a year of moping about the ship, Jim spots pretty Aurora Lane (uber movie star Jennifer Lawrence) fast asleep in her pod. He becomes smitten with the pretty Aurora, an accomplished journalist and writer who would have been way out of his league back on earth.
Desperate to talk to someone other than a robot bartender who doesn’t know a single dirty joke, Jim does something that back on earth would be classified as a “dick move.” He breaks Aurora’s pod and when she wakes up he tells her a ship malfunction did it.
Yeah, the trailer for Passengers didn’t mention that plot twist did it?
Affable Jim is kind of a monster for sentencing poor Aurora to a life sentence alone on the Avalon with him and then lying about it, isn’t he? I bet Aurora is so distraught about the thought of dying alone with the handsome engineer with the washboard abs she doesn’t fall madly in love with him!
Oh wait, she does. Well, he is Star Lord.
Unfortunately Jim and Aurora’s little romance (which involves doing it on every flat surface on the ship; thank God the Aurora is swarming with little Roomba droids that clean everything) is interrupted when Arthur breaks the robot bro code and tells Aurora Jim deliberately sabotaged her pod and lied about it. Needless to say Aurora has an Academy Award actress level conniption fit and breaks things off with Jim, who really hopes Aurora can look past the whole “I ruined your life and then lied about it” thing so they can get back to snuggling in the observation lounge.
Things get even worse when systems start failing all over the Avalon, putting our space lovers and the thousands of sleeping passengers in mortal peril. Can Jim and Aurora put aside their issues and save everyone? More importantly, can they save their relationship, or will they have to work out a joint custody agreement for Arthur?
If you can overlook the whole Jim did something really horrible to an innocent woman thing, Passengers is a pretty interesting movie and a unique love story.
I’ve seen worse movies about the give and take of complicated relationships between a man and a woman:
Before Sunrise. Ghost. Eraserhead. The Devil’s Rejects. The Human Centipede. My Best Friend’s Wedding….
Hey everyone. Tom here, your DVD Critics Corner compadre. Please, remain seated.
Summer is almost upon us. I know this because My left knee throbs when summer is coming. My right knee throbs when there is cake nearby.
That, I don’t understand. But I do like cake.
Anyhoo, Summer means a great big load of blockbuster movies will be dumped on us between now and September, some will have superheroes, others will have bloodthirsty space aliens, and at least one will have the undeniable stench of Michael Bay.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the big movies about to hit the multiplexes; reading all the movie websites and blogs, combing over ever trailer frame by frame, and picking the brains of my private nerd council (aka my friends) to bring you the very first DVD Critics Corner Summer Movie Preview and Spoiler Alert Special!
Let’s get started, shall we?
Please Note: My “spoilers” are for entertainment purposes only. They will not give away any important plot points. Would I do that to you?
Movie: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release Date: March 25
Synopsis: With Metropolis in ruins, people are concerned that Superman (Henry Cavill) may not be the hero the world needs. Batman (Ben Affleck) thinks the Man of Steel needs to answer for his crimes. Let the battle begin!
Spoiler Alert! – After a long fight, Batman and Superman put aside their differences and team up with Wonder Woman for an important mission that if successful will save humanity as we know it – preventing the Baywatch movie from being made!
Movie: The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15
Synopsis: A live action version of the Disney animated classic about a boy living in the jungle with his animal pals.
Spoiler Alert! – All the animals are real. The kid is CGI.
Movie: Captain America – Civil War
Release Date: May 6
Synopsis: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans) find themselves on opposing sides when the government wants to reign in The Avengers.
Spoiler Alert! – In the post credits flashback sequence, The Hulk bursts into tears when he’s told he won’t be in the movie.
Movie: The Angry Birds Movie
Release Date: May 20
Synopsis: The birds must defend their home against the evil pigs!
Spoiler Alert! – Ten minutes into the movie you will realize how many hours you wasted playing Angry Birds on your phone. It was a lot, wasn’t it?
Movie: X Men – Apocalypse
Release Date: May 27
Synopsis: The X Men must join together to defeat super mutant Apocalypse before he destroys the world.
Spoiler Alert! – Halfway through the movie, Mystique remembers that she’s Academy Award winning actress Jennifer freakin Lawrence and walks off the set.
Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Release Date: June 3
Synopsis: The Turtles are back, and are facing a new enemy!
Spoiler Alert! – One of the Turtles screams Cowabunga! and a piece of you dies inside.
Movie: Independence Day – Resurgence
Release Date: June 24
Synopsis: Earth once again faces a huge invasion from outer space!
Spoiler Alert! – Will Smith is not in this movie. But good news – Jeff Goldblum is! So that’s kind of good I guess…
Release Date: July 15
Synopsis: An all new all women team fights ghosts in this remake/reboot!
Spoiler Alert! – In mid July the internet will collapse from all the angry comments from disgruntled Ghostbusters fans who don’t want any stupid ol’ girls in their Ghostbusters movies!
Movie: Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22
Synopsis: The Enterprise crew is back for another adventure!
Spoiler Alert! – Since Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty) wrote the script for this one, Scotty will be called upon to save the day when big doofus Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) puts the crew in danger. AGAIN! And Scotty totally scores with Uhuru.
Movie: Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 29
Synopsis: Former superspy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still on the run from – wait? is he still on the run? I thought he cleared his name in the last movie.. Or did he? You know what? I don’t care any more.
Spoiler Alert! – Someone playing a CIA official will shout “Find Jason Bourne,” every 12 minutes. Extra Spoiler Alert! – They won’t find him.
Movie: Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 5
Synopsis: The world’s most dangerous villains are recruited by the government for secret missions.
Spoiler Alert! – The internet will collapse again as disgruntled fans worldwide take to the comments section to whine about how Heath Ledger was a way better Joker than Jared Leto. By then I will have stopped giving a flying crap about anything and will curl up into a ball and weep until the Fall.
ENJOY THE BLOCKBUSTERS!!
TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015)
Starring: Arnold Shwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke
Director: Alan Taylor
Plot: To save mankind from extinction, Kyle Reese goes back in time to protect the woman who will be the mother of the man who will lead the humans in the future war against the machines. Nah! Just kidding. This movie is nothing like that.
Rating: PG-13 Because nobody does R rated action movies anymore.
Hey kids. It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner pal. Sorry I haven’t been around that much the past few months, but my job as a retired black ops soldier turned pro kite surfing champion who occasionally solves crimes the CIA won’t touch has been keeping me really busy.
Why just the other day as I was hanging from the landing skid of a helicopter with one hand with bullets and rockets whizzing by my head and a briefcase full of recovered nuclear missile launch codes in my free hand when it hit me; it this what I’m all about? Am I fulfilled?
The answer was no. So the CIA gave me a nice going away party, erased most of my memory, and here I am, back at my post as… what is it I do here?
I think the CIA gave me the deluxe memory wipe package.
Speaking of memory wipes, I want you to forget everything you know about the Terminator movies. Forget Skynet, forget a young Linda Hamilton running from a Michelin Man sized Arnold Shwarzenegger, forget everything that happened in Terminator Salvation – seriously, forget everything about that movie – because the latest installment of the venerable sci fi saga, Terminator Genysis has rebooted/revamped the franchise with a plot twist that has everything in the Terminator universe all topsy turvy and higgledy piggeldy.
Higgledy piggeldy is a movie reviewer word. Only we can use it. Let’s move on.
As the movie opens, it’s 2029 and the last surviving humans are duking it out with the Skynet and their evil army of robots. Under the leadership of John Connor (Jason Clarke), Skynet is on the ropes, but they activate their time machine to send a Terminator cyborg back in time to kill John’s mother in 1984. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney, more wooden than ever) Connor’s most trusted soldier, volunteers to get naked and travel back in time to protect Sarah’s pretty little head from the menacing Arnold-bot.
Reese arrives in 1984 Los Angeles. But before he can play Donkey Kong on Colecovision or catch an episode of Dynasty, he’s set upon by a T-1000 liquid metal robot, who’s not supposed to be there. Before lunkhead Reese can figure out what is going on, he’s rescued by a gun toting Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and her T-800 bodyguard “Pops” (Arnold Schwarzenegger; still looking darn good) who have a lot of plot exposition to lay down.
Turns out Pops was (for reasons not explained) sent back into the 1970’s to protect Sarah when she was 9, so Sarah grew up knowing that her son was destined to lead the human resistance, a T-800 would be sent to try to kill her in 1984, and most importantly, she has to do the no pants dance with Kyle Reese to insure her son is born.
That’s a lot of pressure on a little kid. When I was nine all I worried about was returning a book to the library on time. Hey, those late book fees could cost you 8 cents a month!
Since Sarah and Pops have already taken care of the T-800 cyborg sent to kill her, they want to now go forward in time to 1997 to stop Skynet from going online using the time machine she and Pops built in their secret underground bunker, which makes that old dresser you and your dad restored and repainted in the garage look really lame in comparison
But wait! Kyle suggests they go ahead in time to 2017, because when he was travelling back in time, he saw an altered timeline when his younger self tells him to go to 2017.
Remember all those sci fi books, movies, and TV shows that told us that mucking around in the past would cause irreparable damage to the future, and the end result could be a rift in the space time continuum that causes the collapse of the universe itself?
Nah! Forget that crap! According to Terminator Genisys, the timeline welcomes our abuse. So do whatever you want with it! Change the past, mess with the future, it’s all good! Don’t pay any attention to what Doc Brown said! Stupid old geezer…
Anyhoo, Sarah and Kyle travel forward to 2017 to find that Skynet isn’t a high tech defense computer controlling our nuclear weapons. In this new timeline it’s a super cool operating system named Genisys that’s about to go online to an adoring public hungry for a faster app that will help share pictures of the sandwich they are about to eat with strangers.
Sarah and Kyle hook up with an aged Pops, who has been hanging around awaiting their arrival for 33 years stockpiling more weapons in the bunker and catching up on his soaps. The valiant trio gears up to destroy Skynet/Genisys, but a new, stronger, smarter, T-3000 cyborg is running things now, and he looks a lot like someone they all know!
Terminator: Genisys has lots of action and cool effects – the fight scene between “Pops” Arnold and his younger bulkier 1984 self is especially fun – the usual stuff you’d expect from a Terminator movie.
Which is fine, I guess.
The problem is the cast. As Sarah Connor, Emelia Clarke has a hard time filling Linda Hamilton’s combat boots. And Jai Courtney, bless his little heart is really trying to make a go with this whole acting thing, but when Arnold freakin Schwarzenegger shows more range playing an emotionless cyborg, maybe it’s time to try something new. I don’t care if he’s dreamy! He’s a lousy actor! Man, I wish the voice in my head would leave me alone when I blog!
To sum up, I guess those Hollywood movie folks thought the whole “change the timeline” thing would help reboot the Terminator franchise the same way it did for Star Trek in 2009, but this case the time tripping franchise makeover falls flat.
Still, it’s always good to see Arnold stepping back into one of his signature roles. And it’s nice to see Emelia “Game of Thrones” Clarke in a role that requires her to wear a shirt.
I didn’t write that last part. The voice in my head insisted I put that in.
He is such a prude.
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked
Plot: An unwitting college student ingests a new synthetic drug that turns her into a major brainiac!
Rating: R for graphic violence, gunplay, some blood, some more blood, a little more gunplay…
Lucy opens with brilliant scientist and brain expert Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) informing a lecture hall full of students that humans only use about 10% of their brain.
10 percent? He’s probably right. Here’s how I use my 10:
1% – devoted to thinking about the construction of and/or acquisition of sandwiches.
1% – Star Wars. Actually, it’s more like 2% with The Force Awakens opening in 93 days.
5% – Stuff that keeps me alive; breathe in, breathe out, fire = hot, do not close eyes while driving, etc.
1% – Witty answers to hashtag games on Twitter.
1% – Brad and Angelina.
Fret not folks. Professor Norman informs us that as humans evolve and unlock more of their brains power, we will be able to do amazing things; like repair our sick bodies, speak to each other telepathically, and remember where you lost your retainer in the 8th grade.
Mom never let me hear the end of that.
Anyhoo, while it will take several hundred millennium for us to harness 100 percent of our brainpower, the hapless heroine of this movie manages to do it in just a few days thanks to a ruthless drug gang and a huge overdose of a powerful new club drug. And they say ruthless drug gangs never give back to their community.
In Taipei, college/party girl Lucy (Johansson) is tricked by her oily jerkass boyfriend into delivering a suitcase to a man in a swank hotel. Before you can say what could possibly go wrong, poor Lucy is grabbed by a well armed Korean drug cartel whose boss Mr. Jang (Choi Min-Sik) really enjoys killing people.
Turns out Lucy was carrying a suitcase full of a new drug all the kids will be jonesing for, and now she and three other poor dopes have been recruited as mules to deliver the drugs across Europe, which probably means Lucy won’t be going to her 2:00 French Lit class.
Lucy and the other mules have a bag of the drug surgically implanted in them and are sent on their way, but before she can hop a plane, one of her abusive captors – who gosh darn it just can’t stop himself from being abusive – assaults Lucy, causing the drug bag to rupture and flooding Lucy’s petite system with enough blue stuff to make Walter White freak out.
Rather than dying from a monumental drug overdose, Lucy finds herself alive and growing smarter by the minute. And I’m not talking “I just learned a fun new life hack on YouTube” smart, I mean “I can see cell phone signals and make shit float with my mind” smart. Lucy finds her way back to Mr. Jang and with a little mind reading (and a couple of knives) she finds where the other three bags of drugs are going and sets off to retrieve them leaving Jang alive, which just goes to show you that even the smartest person alive doesn’t know YOU NEVER LEAVE HOMICIDAL DRUG KINGPINS ALIVE SO THEY CAN COME AFTER YOU!!!!
Lucy realizes she needs the rest of the drugs to open all 100 percent of her mind so she enlists the help of a Parisian detective Del Rio (Waked) to have the other drug mules rounded up and sent to Paris, where she also meets Professor Norman so she can tell him in person she’s about to unlock the secrets of mans next step in evolution and to compliment him on his awesome speaking voice.
Lucy draws to an action packed conclusion as Lucy races to “download” all the secrets to human existence she has unlocked to Professor Norman while Jang and his heavily armed gang storm the building hoping to get what’s left of his drugs back only to run into Del Rio and his armed police pals.
Will Jang succeed? Will Lucy leave behind a path for human beings to follow into a new plane of existence? More importantly, now that she has evolved into a superbeing free of any corporeal shell, will her parents be able to get a refund on her tuition?
Lucy is a trippy little film by Luc Besson, who keeps the usual gunplay and violence of his films to a minimum to tell an interesting sci-fi tale about the human mind an how it will evolve as man evolves.
Heck, what’s going to happen to us when we finally unlock all the powers of our mind?
I don’t know. I was thinking about sandwiches. And Star Wars.
Hey folks. It’s Tom, your friend from DVD Critics Corner.
How are you? Is the family okay? Did that problem you had with that loan shark named Cheech work itself out?
Good. I hope you were able to keep your thumbs.
Anyhoo, The Man from U.N.C.L.E has hit the theaters, which means the 2015 summer movie season is pretty much over.
It was a great summer for movies as far as I’m concerned. It was not a great summer for my curbside lemonade stand. Not only did I loose money, but received three visits from the health department and sixty unfavorable reviews from Yelp. Who reads Yelp anyway? I’m just a simple man trying to run a business…
But I digest.
This summer the movie going audience was treated to a wonderous cornucopia of movies; some of which were not sequels, reboots or remakes! There were Avengers avenging, Terminators terminating, and Minions minioning. We laughed, we cried, and we learned once again that combining amusement parks and carnivorous dinosaurs is about as smart as putting the Entourage cast in a major motion picture.
Enough frivolity, lets get to the summer movie reviewin’.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Synopsis: Hijinks abound as Iron Man and his pals take on a sentient robot who’s not very up with people!
What The Fans Said: Woo Hoo! Joss Whedon must have read my blog because he fixed everything I hated about the first Avengers movie!
What Tom Says: Avengers 2 kicked butt. James Spader must play the villain in every movie from now on. I’m serious James. Do it.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Synopsis: Post Apocalyptic Australia’s favorite Police Officer is back and way beyond Thunderdome!
What The Fans Said: What a lovely day!
What Tom Says: Three decades later and George Miller hasn’t lost his ability to stage an exciting chase scene. I loved every sand covered minute of it!
Synopsis: Real life CG dinosaurs run amok in an amusement park and only Star Lord and Ron Howard’s daughter can stop them!
What The Fans Said: Is Jeff Goldblum in this one?
What Tom Says: Didn’t see it. I don’t like dinosaurs. A raptor stole my lunch money in fifth grade, okay?
Synopsis: The guy from Anchorman is now an Ant-Man! I know! Weird, huh?
What People Said: Edgar Wright isn’t directing this? This is gonna suck! I mean I’ll see it, but I am going to hate it!
What Tom Says: Holy crap, how did they make Michael Douglas look 30? It’s sorcery, I tell ya!
Seriously, Ant-Man was tons of fun.
Synopsis: Adam Sandler plays a guy blah blah blah and video games come to life and oh look, Kevin James is in this too! Big freakin surprise.
What People Said: Yeah, we took a poll and we decided that Adam Sandler should stop making movies.
What Tom Says: Didn’t see it. Apparently I wasn’t the only one.
And the rest….
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation – Didn’t see it. Sorry Tom. Loved the trailer when you hung off the plane. Very cool.
Minions – Didn’t see it. If there’s no Gru, then nuts to you!
San Andreas – Didn’t see it. From what I heard final score was The Rock 1, San Andreas 0.
Terminator: Genysis – Sorry, I missyd thys movye.
Inside Out – Didn’t see it.
Vacation: Wasn’t crazy about the original.
Trainwreck – Noooooooooo.
Fantastic Four – You know what? I’m gonna leave this one alone. It’s been through enough.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
What were your favorite Summer movies? Let me know in the comments.
JUPITER ASCENDING (2015)
Directors: The Wachowskis
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne
Plot: Mila Kunis is a lowly Chicago maid until she learns she owns the planet Earth, and Channing Tatum is a half wolf space soldier who, um…you know what, you’re on your own here buddy..
Rating: PG-13 for laser gun fights and CG space gore and one bare bottom. No, it’s not Mila’s.
Poor Jupiter Jones. Working her fingers to the bone day after day cleaning rich peoples homes while having to live with a cutesy comic book character name.
Jupiter Jones… Didn’t she date Peter Parker?
No. Jupiter Jones was a cub reporter for the Daily Planet, right?
I know! Jupiter Jones was Jughead’s sister!
No, that was Jellybean Jones. Is Archie Comics still around? Archie has to be in his seventies by now..
What were we talking about? Oh, yeah..
One day Jupiiter (Mila Kunis) is scrubbing toilets and thinking about some serious life changes when a bunch of alien bounty hunters try to kill her. She is saved from assassination by a human/wolf warrior named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum sporting Spock ears and guyliner) who flies around on rocket powered hover boots. Seriously.
Why do a bunch of bad guy aliens want to off the adorable little maid from Chicago? Is she a White Sox fan? No, she’s not that awful.
Let me esplain, No, there is too much, let me sum up:
Jupiter is the genetic double of the head of the House of Abrasax, one of many ancient families of humans that throughout time have colonized all humanoid planets in the universe and now covet them like so many green and red houses on a galactic monopoly board. The Abrasax matriarch “owned” Earth, but since Jupiter is an exact DNA match for the dead Mom, Jupiter now owns Earth, much to the chagrin of the other three Abrasax family members who each want Earth for their own because they plan to mine the entire planet and turn it into a magic elixir that extends the life of whomever drinks it, is the most valuable commodity in the universe, and looks like Crystal Pepsi.
Got it, Chachi? Good, I’m glad somebody does.
Jupiter is taken up to space where he meets the Abrasax children; Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) who takes a dip in the youth juice and shows Jupiter that 15,000 is the new 40!
Then she meets smooth talking Titus (Douglas Booth) who wants to take over the family by marrying Jupiter and take Earth for himself without acknowledging how creepy it is that he wants to marry the exact double of his Mother. Ew.
Caine saves Jupiter before she marries Titus, but they soon run afoul of Balem (Eddie Redmayne) the Abrasax sibling who cornered the family market on batshit crazy and homicidal. Balem and his hoard of CG minions kidnap Jupiter’s family and threatens to turn them into gazpacho unless she signs the earth to him, and that includes the entire earth, even the useless parts like Antarctica and Greenland. Can Jupiter save her family and her planet so she can fly off into the sunset with her man-wolf boytoy?
Between all the palace intrigue, Jupiter Ascending is packed with weird creatures, outlandish costumes, and people saying weird things. It’s kind of like Burning Man, minus the sand and hippies.
I give the Wachowskis credit for trying to give the movie audience an original sci-fi adventure in a world of sequels and remakes, but Jupiter Ascending didn’t rock my world.
I do like the idea of a magic drink that can make you young and healthy again. So get on that right away sort drink companies. Oh, it better not have a nasty after taste like Red Bull. Also, it should come in regular and diet.
I’m watching my figure.
Let’s face it. Everyone loves movie villains.
They live in really cool underground lairs complete with armies of henchmen and swimming pools loaded with sharks. They have all these meticulously detailed plans for acquiring wealth or dominating the planet depending on whatever mood they’re in on that particular day.
And most important; they are cool. The best villains can keep it together and not go all spazzy when the good guys are closing in and it looks like they won’t be ruling the world.
We at DVD Critics Corner love movie villains, and we love hanging out. So here is a list of some cinematic baddie we wouldn’t mind kicking it with for a day, week, or long holiday weekend. Or at least until the Avengers bust in and ruin the fun.
Occupation: Sentient Robot/Meglomaniac
As Seen In: The Avengers Age of Ultron (2015)
Why so cool: Okay, Ultron isn’t too crazy about us human beings, but he’s got the qualities we look for in a guy to hang out with. He’s witty, sarcastic, intellectual, and since he controls the internet he could score you a deal on a hotel or shut down the power where your ex girlfriend now lives.
Best Party Trick: Since Ultron is voiced by James Spader, he’s full of great stories about working with Molly RIngwald!
Occupation: Freelance Terrorist, Exceptional Thief
As Seen In: Die Hard (1988)
Why so cool: Hans appreciates the finer things in life, like money, fancy clothes, money, explosions, and money. I can picture Hans hosting lavish dinner parties with his terrorist pals, where they discuss art, politics, and pesky wise cracking cops who ruin the most perfect of plans!
Best Party Trick: His killer impression of Bill Clay. Spot on.
Occupation: Henchman, Assassin
As Seen In: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979)
Why so cool: It’s Friday night. You’re siting at the local Applebee’s checking out the Happy Hour action, when you spot a bevy of beauties splitting a plate of pot stickers. What’s your in? You introduce the ladies to your towering pal Jaws who bites a barstool in half and orders a double platter of Double Crunch wings for the group! Best night ever!
Best Party Trick: Pretending to get beaten up by an elderly James Bond in 2 movies!
Occupation: Ruler of the Universe, Emperor of the Galaxy
As Seen In: Flash Gordon (1980)
Why so cool: What makes Ming so Hellacool? Is it his wicked facial hair? No. His complete change of wardrobe for every scene he’s in the movie? Nope. His super hot daughter Princess Aura? Maybe. I mean NO! It’s gotta be the weather machine. Who wouldn’t want to hang with a guy that can freeze the Great Lakes and burn to ashes the city where your ex-girlfriend is now living. Dude. Let it go. She’s not coming back.
Best Party Trick: Using his magic ring to make your Aunt Sally twerk like a busload of Miley Cyruses!
Occupation: Wicked Witch of the West
As Seen In: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Why so cool? Two words: FLYING FREAKING MONKEYS.
Best Party Trick: Uh, FLYING FREAKING MONKEYS!
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014)
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, and Gary Oldman
Plot: Survivors of a cataclysmic plague battle Caesar and his clan of super smart apes for control of the greater San Francisco area.
Rating: PG-13 for gun violence and ape violence and explosions and world ending apocalypse stuff.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Click here to read DVDCC’s immensely entertaining and informative review of that monkey filled movie!
When last we left Caesar and his ape pals, they had trashed most of San Francisco and settled in the Muir Woods on the far side of the Golden Gate Bridge to start their own world away from the stupid humans and their tumblrs and apple phone whozywhatsits.
As Dawn of the Planet of the Apes begins, ten years have passed, and Caesar’s apes are thriving in their wooded community, teaching their kids about “ape law” and wondering what ever happened to those pesky humans.
Turns out the humans haven’t been doing so well. In fact, they’re pretty screwed.
As the last movie ended, a deadly pandemic was rapidly spreading across the globe. Now ten years later 90% of the earth’s population is dead, which when you think about it greatly cuts down on highway traffic, but overall is a huge bummer for the few hundred survivors living in the ruins of San Francisco.
But the San Fran survivors have a plan. If they can get the hydro electric dam deep in the woods running again, they can restore power to the city and begin to rebuild their shattered civilization. Unfortunately the damn repair party lead by Malcom (Jason Clarke) and Ellie (Keri Russell) runs into Caesar and his massive army while heading for the dam. Seriously, none of them remembered the apes were still there? Oh I forgot. They were busy dying from the word ending pandemic.
Caesar banishes Malcom and his pals from the forest, and a few days later rides into San Francisco with his ape army to remind the humans and their leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) that the welcome mat is not out in their territory.
But Malcom begs Casear to let him repair the hydro electric plant so his fellow humans can get back their electric lights and waffle irons. Caesar relents and lets a small team of humans conduct their business, which angers Koba (Toby Kebbell), Caesar’s trusted lieutenant who never forgave the humans for all the cutting and dissecting they did to him when he was a baby ape. Koba’s mistrust of the humans is reinforced when he finds that Dreyfus has stockpiled a ton of guns and ammo to attack the apes should Malcom fail his dam repair mission.
Meanwhile in the woods Malcom fixes the hyro plant thing and Ellie uses her human doctor skills to cure Caesar’s ailing wife Cornelia (Judy Greer), which convinces Caesar that the humans aren”t so bad and the ape utopia he’s created seriously needs a comprehensive health plan.
Electrical power is resorted to San Francisco, but before Malcom and Caesar can join hands and sing Give Peace a Chance, the treacherous Koba shoots Ceasar and frames one of Malcom’s team for the crime. This whips the apes up into an ass whipping frenzy and they head off across the Golden Gate Bridge to give Dreyfus and his pink skinned pals a little payback.
Caesar and Malcom formulate a plan to stop the fighting but will it be too late to stop a full out war between the last surviving humans and the really pissed off apes?
Spoiler alert: This movie made lots of money, so there’s gonna be another movie.
And it probably won’t be titled Planet of the Happy Humans and their Talking Ape Pals!
Like the previous movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes features that state of the art motion capture computer process that can turn a human actor into a monkey. Truly amazing stuff.
I wonder if they can turn a monkey into a human?
Now THAT I would pay to see in IMAX!
If superhero movies have taught us anything, it’s a team of awesome and capable characters are better than one when it comes to kicking butt.
Iron Man? Good. Iron Man plus Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow? Skadoosh.
Without teamwork, you are lost. And without Lost, we never would have known about the Dharma Initiative.
Actually, not sure if that’s a bad thing.
Anyhoo, here’s another list of badass movie characters you’d want on your team when trouble comes calling.
Occupation: Bounty Hunters, galactic lawbreakers
As Seen In: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Pros: Rocket is a technological genius, hacker, escape artist. Groot is Groot. Cons: Rocket is homicidal, Groot is….well he’s Groot.
The Deal: It would be hard as heck to find a duo that did more damage on screen in 2014 than Rocket the Racoon and his houseplant/muscle Groot. Rocket is feisty, murderous and angry, and Groot is kind, gentle and strong. They’re the Odd Couple for the new century! Who wouldn’t want them on the team? Plus Groot can really bust a move.
Shining Moment: We are Groot.
Occupation: Game Show Contestant, Over thrower of Evil Governments
As Seen In: A bunch of those Hunger Games movies.
Pros: Expert archer, brave and selfless. Cons: Dates idiots.
The Deal: Not just another pretty face, Katniss is a plucky gal who doesn’t like to play games; especially when that game is a twisted reality show that’s a gory fight to the death. But Katniss took her first appearance on The Hunger Games and became a symbol of a strength and bravery, making her the perfect leader for a revolution. So if you need a team member to make a rousing speech, Katniss is the one to go to. Plus she can kill lots of bad guys with her bow and arrow. Winning!
Shining Moment: That flaming dress. All kinds of fabulous, girlfriend!
Occupation: Paranormal investigator, monster puncher
As Seen In: Hellboy (2004), Hellboy: The Golden Army (2008)
Pros: Practically indestructible. Cons: Smoker, eats a lot, cat person
The Deal: You want muscle? Hellboy has muscle to spare. It’s probably because he’s a demon from Hell. I hear most Hellspawn are pretty jacked. But it’s okay, he’s on our side. As a lead investigator for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, Hellboy has seen a lot of weird stuff, and has a huge assortment of weapons to combat weird stuff, so keep him fed and try to ignore his huge collection of pet cats, and things will be hunky and dory.
Shining Moment: Dropping a huge gear on Kroenen in Hellboy. Big time pwnage.
Occupation: LAPD Detective, suicidal loner
As Seen In: Lethal Weapon 1-4
Pros: Martial arts master, very good with guns. Cons: Uses lots of ammo, could be crazy, smoker.
The Deal: Look up loose cannon in Wikipedia, and you’ll see a picture of Martin Riggs firing hundreds of bullets at bad guys while destroying a ton of police and city property. He loves to break stuff. Like Hellboy, Riggs is pretty much indestructible. He’s been shot, stabbed, hit by cars, yet he keeps coming back for his weekly paycheck. Don’t let him show you that trick he does with his shoulder. Not pretty.
Shining Moment: Beating the crap out of Gary Busey in the first Lethal Weapon. You deserve a medal, dude.
Occupation: Doesn’t matter. He’s Morgan Freeman.
As Seen In: Wherever he is needed.
Pros: Have you heard his voice? Cons: Shut up.
The Deal: Whatever character Morgan Freeman plays is really good at what he does. From outfitting Batman to fixing a crippled dolphin, the man has skills. Use them!
Shining Moment: Didn’t you get the memo?
This is DVD Critics Corner’s 100th post. Thanks for reading.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, and Bryan Cranston
Plot: A bunch of horrifying creatures terrorize a city and the world is powerless to stop them! Wait, that’s the plot of Smurfs 2.
Rating: PG-13 for CG explosions and destruction of perfectly good real estate.
Godzilla is a gigantic lizard/dinosaur type creature who rises out of the ocean every once in a while to teach the children of Japan valuable lessons about friendship and love, and if time permitting, fight other monsters.
The original Godzilla films featured men in monster suits fighting on sets with miniaturized buildings that were stepped on and crushed while model planes on wires flew over their rubber heads, thus proving that early monster movies were really flipping fun to make.
In 1998 Godzilla was reborn as a fully computer generated monster in Roland Emmerich’s actioner Godzilla, unfortunately audiences didn’t warm up to this high tech addition to the franchise. Probably because the mighty Godzilla the king of the monsters was brought down by Matthew Broderick.
After a 16 year vacation the big green dinosaur we all know and love returned to the big screen earlier this year in a movie entitled (wait for it…) Godzilla. This modernized version doesn’t have rubber monster suits and hoards of Japanese extras running in terror. But is does have the guy from Breaking Bad, Kick-Ass from Kick-Ass, and the Olsen sister who can actually act.
So that’s a good thing. Right?
In 1999, a mining expedition in the Philippines unearth some huge dinosaur like creatures. One of them swims towards Japan where it causes a nuclear powerplant to overload killing lots of scientists and the wife of plant manager Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston, the guy from Breaking Bad). 15 years later Brody with the help of his Navy officer son Ford (the kid from Kick-Ass) return to the plant to find out what exactly happened and instead find a bunch of scientists from the top secret Project Monarch milling about. Before Brody can exclaim “I knew there was a conspiracy!” he’s killed when a giant creature explodes out of the ground and flies away, leaving Ford to be the lead actor for the rest of the movie.
Soon Ford, Project Monarch scientist Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and the United States Navy are racing across the globe to stop these giant creatures now dubbed MOTUS – yes there are two of them now as another one shows up and crushes the Vegas strip. I guess he couldn’t get Brittany Spears tickets.
Oh woe is us! If only there were a larger creature out there somewhere who could rise from the depths to battle these giant MOTUS and bring peace to the planet?
Godzilla turns into a battle royale as our title character steps into the ring against the two MOTUS who look like a praying mantis on a bad day. Unfortunately the battle takes place in San Francisco, which gets flattened in the process. But don’t worry, it’s just a computer generated San Francisco so stomp those buildings Godzilla! It’s not like all those people are real or anything!
Godzilla is a well made update of the classic monster movies many of us watched on a Saturday afternoon when we were kids. I’m all for a good updating of a classic film, but I miss the poorly dubbed dialogue andlow budget cheesiness that made those movies so special.
The miniature buildings, tiny pyrotechnics, and radio controlled tanks are gone. And so is the fun.
Sometimes the new isn’t as appealing as the old.