The Last Days On Mars is in limited release now, and will be hitting more theatres soon. Chronicling a Mars missions last days on the red planet, this indie flick has high aspirations. So how does it do? Is it a good scifi trip to Mars, or should it be jettisoned into space?
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I love living close to a town with an awesome art college. There’s awesome concerts, guests, and every once in a while, I get to see awesome flicks I might not have even known about otherwise. This flick defintely falls into that catagory. It’s a movie set on Mars, with zombies. That alone sounds awesome.
Ok, so the plot is pretty standard scifi fare. After a six month mission on Mars, a team stationed there is ready to get the hell off that rock. Predictably, one scientist has found something, and keeps it for himself. After a final trip out to collect samples goes wrong, shit starts hitting the fan hard and fast. It’s a tried and true formula, and after watching it you can tell they took inspiration from films like The Thing, and sadly Prometheus. But, for a formula thats been redone ad nasuem, the setting, and most importantly the cast kept it somewhat alive. The cast is pretty decent, and the writing is a lot better than I went in expecting. For once in a film like this, scientists and astronauts dont loose all common sense and training when shit starts to go down, and it’s nice to see a few scenes that make you say to yourself, “Wow, that was actually a smart decision.” Of course, there’s a fair amount of stupid decisions and hysterical running around screaming, but hey, not everyone can keep their cool while being chased by zombies on Mars.
And for a low budget indie flick, it looks pretty good. Sets do get recylced to hell, and it doesnt have the production value of say Gravity or Oblivion, but it’s still totally watchable. The creature effects look pretty eerie, and these mars zombies are some of the creepiest looking zombies I’ve seen in a while. I had to look up where they filmed it, and I must say, the crew sure did make Jordan look otherworldly. There’s times you honestly don’t know whats CG, and whats actually there, and it’s great.
All in all, its a fun little scifi flick. The plot is predictable, and you can see everything coming from a mile away. Within half an hour, you’ll have the entire movie figured out, but in the long run it doesnt hurt it that much. Its still a good watch, and you should be entertained. If you can find somewhere to see it, see it.
4 of 5
Fuck doing shit for other people. You’ll go blindly along doing things and supporting something, hoping to build up “karma”, but when it comes time to cash in on it, fuck it. Go out of your way to do shit, hoping that someday cosmic forces will reward you, only to get shafted at every turn.
Yeah, im fucking bitter right now.
Homefront, starring Jason Statham and James Franco is in theatres now. From first glance it looks to be a typical beat em up violent thriller, but does it have what it takes to stand out? How does it do? Is it a decent watch, or should it be sent back to prison?
The thing that really got me interested in this film was the fact that it was originally supposed to be the next installment of the Rambo franchise, before the last Rambo came to be. It was going to show him older, settled down with a daughter, and the hell that gets unleashed when that is threatened. But the last Rambo flick happened, and this story got a little bit of a rewrite, a new lead, and boom. Homefront. But honestly, as a standalone movie, it’s fairly bland.
Jason Statham is a now retired D.E.A. agent, whose trying to settle down in a small town after an undercover job. When his daughter crosses paths with a bully in school, James Franco’s meth manufacturing Gator gets involed, and finds out Statham’s secret. What follows is a whole lot of wholsesale ass kicking, some explosions, and a whole lot of dead henchmen. After everything gets in full swing, it’s pretty straight forward. The plot is pretty basic, and isn’t very deep. But with flicks like these, thats not what you care about. It’s all about the ass kicking.
But, when that falls flat, what you’ve got is a mediocre flick. It’s all well choreographed, but parts still just feel boring. It seems like you’ve already seen this play out before, and halfway through the action, it gets boring. It has its moments, but not very many of them. I can’t help but wonder how different it was as a Rambo flick. At least with a character like that, it would have been interesting. It’s still not a bad flick, persay, but it just feels slightly generic.
All in all, if you’ve seen everything else out there, give it a go. Its an hour and a half of mindless, kinda fun violence and explosions. If you’re looking for a deep, mindful trip to the theatre, pass it.
2.5 out of 5.
Oldboy, Spike Lee’s remake of the ultraviolent, incesterious Korean film of the same name is in theatres now. The orginal is a cult classic, an excellent example of Korean cinema. But how does this stand up? Is it a worthy remake, or should get hypnotised to forget it?
Oldboy is a great film. The final twist is so surprising and ultimately fucked up, that it just sticks with you. The cinematography is great, and its an all around great film. Remakes are tricky. I like some americanized remakes of foreign films (funny games, the raid) but it has to be warranted, in my eyes. Oldboy is not one of those. Especially in the hands of Spike Lee.
For those of you who haven’t seen the original, it follows Joe, a man imprisoned for 20 years, and his quest for revenge. What follows is a fucked up story involving tons of violence, a couple twists, and ultimately one of the most fucked up endings in all of cinema. Josh Brolin does a great job as Joe, the main character. He really captured the rage and intensity needed for the character. He’s one of the great things about the flick. Adrian, the man who imprisoned him, and set forward this whole messed up chain of events is portrayed by Sharlto Copley, and he’s the other high point. I really wish he was in more, because he’s amazing in everything he’s done so far. The script is pretty solid, and pretty close to the original. The americanizing of it was pretty smooth, and not much was lost in translation.
Now here’s the bad. The original film is amazing, it looks great and it’s overall a well written, shot, and acted film. Spike Lee has officially stripped what was awesome about it. He’s ripped off scenes shot for shot, he’s butchered the score, and he’s made the cinematography a joke. In trying to make a film his own, he’s ruined a classic. Imagine the disaster that would come out of Micheal Bay directing a Psycho remake, and you’re close. But, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to remakes. If you can disconnect from the original, it’s not a completely horrible movie. The cast is great, and they really make it a watchable mess.
All in all, if you havent seen the original, its a good flick. If you have seen the original and liked it, alot of this one is cringeworthy, but it could be alot worse. Its worth a watch, either way.
3 out of 5
Delivery Man is in theatres now, and leading man Vince Vaughn isn’t his usual surly self in this flick. After being typecast into pretty much the same kind of character for a good while, it’s refreshing to see him break free and try new things. But how does it do? Is it a good flick, or should have ended up in a tissue in the bathroom trash can?
I kind of hold Vince Vaughn in the same place I hold Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, and Ben Stiller. Great at a certain character type, pretty much crap at evrything outside of that bubble. They’ll try like hell, but short of a few exceptions (The Muppets stands out the most) it all turns to crap. Vince Vaughn has been trying like hell recently, and he’s getting there. The Internship was a step in the right direction, and this one is a slow and steady step further in the right direction. He definitely falls back onto some of his old routines, but overall, he did a pretty OK job.
The flick follows Vaughn as David Wozniak, an anonymous sperm donor who later finds out he sired 533 children. A group of them peittion the clinic to find out his real identity, so he has to deal with that, along with his own messed up relationship with his girlfriend. It’s an interesting story, thats for sure, but it comes out as generic and predictable as almost every other flick like this. But, the characters are what make films like this. and this one has a pretty good cast. Cobie Smulders is Wozniak’s girlfriend, and of course, shes the mental crutch he goes to for support. There’s some truly funny dialog between the two, and a few good emotional moments. Vaughn is really at his best though when his parenting instinct kicks in, and he tries to make up for lost time with some of his spawn. For an actor whose at his best being loud, dumb, and borderline obnoxious, it’s a real change of pace.
While the story, script and cast is all pretty good, the direction is where this film flops right on its head. In a time where movies like this get pumped out by the dozen, it’s easy to fall into a formula. But for this film, the formula just doesn’t work. It can’t be squeezed into a set pacing, yet they try. It drags, for long stretches. The running time is excruciatingly long, and it just seems like the director really didnt know how to handle this one.
All in all, its an alright, overly mediocre film. Vince Vaughn is great, but an interesting premise and a good lead get put to waste by shitty directing. If you’re looking for a safe, neutral date night flick, this fills the void. Short of that, unless you have a weird Vince Vaghn fetish, skip it. I’m sure it’ll be on basic cable in no time.
2.5 out of 5
In the past couple years I’ve gone numb. I’ve turned my brain off, because I was tired of getting invested. I’d rather feel nothing at all than feel pain. Whenever feelings start to well up, I board myself up. I disconnect. I sabotage myself. Its a self preservation instinct. I’ve been doing it so long, its almost all I know.
I hate when feelings come up. I hate when I start thinking about it. I hate my brain.
Ugh. TL;DR - feelings suck. I’m a girl.
Assassin’s Creed IV is on shelves now, and once again it takes the Assassin’s Creed games in to a new direction. But how does it do? Is it a great entry into the franchise, or should it walk the plank?
I got into the series really late. It wasnt until a couple months ago when Assassin’s Creed II was free on xbox live I started playing. I had heard mixed things, and I never took the series seriously. But after powering through II, I wanted to catch up since it wasn’t that bad. I was pretty excited for this one, and, well, I feel like it was good, but some design choices weren’t the best idea.
This go round, the game centers on pirate Edward Kenway, and his dealings with the Templars and Assassins. The plot is pretty standard for an AC game, with twists and turns, murder, and helpful characters coming and going almost rapid fire. It really expands on the AC mythology, and adds some new things into the fold. Not only does it add a few new aspects to the precursors, it adds a third party into the mix, not associated with the Templars or Assassins and adds a wildcard to the mix. A welcome change is that theres hardly any modern day gameplay, and the modern day aspect of the plot is pretty minimal. While it was important to the plot, the modern day gameplay was the most irritating thing about the previous games. The only downfall is with so many characters is that things get confusing if you’re not paying attention, especially with the pirates, and especially in the modern day segment at the end of the game.
The first few games made good use of the freerun system, since they were based in big sprawling city scapes. When three came around, it was pretty interesting since alot of it was in a forest. This is where one problem comes along. The freerunning works well in cities, but when you’re on a pirate ship trying to fight enemies that have boarded, its annoying as crap. You either walk slow as crap, or you run and snap onto anything you accidently come to close to. I dont know how many times I died trying to run away but instead perching on a post. I know its the core of the games, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.
On the flip side, a really fun new aspect is exploring the Caribbean in your own pirate ship. You’ll run into enemy ships you can board and add to your fleet, you can find new islands to explore, and it’s overall super fun. Once you build up your fleet, you can ships out to pillage and plunder. It’s a fun addition to the bulk of the game, and serves as a good distraction if you get tired of the main game. It’s nice to have a little freedom when you want to break away from the linear game.
All in all, its a fun game, but it still has some problems that the series is known for. Forced platforming segments are still extremely irritating, and the freerunning is still irritating as hell sometimes. But, the meat of the game is still pretty fun, albeit a little on the short side.
3.5 out of 5.
Ender’s Game, a film based on the novel of the same name is in theatres, amongst fierce competition. The novel is commonly called one of the best scifi books ever written, and a film based on it has been called unfilmable by its author. So how is it? Does it live up to the loftly standards of the novel, or should its whole species be exterminated?
I first read Ender’s Game in eighth grade, at the suggestion of my teacher. It was the first time a novel really drove my imagination crazy, and I loved every minute of it. News of this film made me wary, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much. After walking out of the theatre, I was pleasantly surprised.
For those of you who haven’t read the novel, it centers around titular character Ender, and his journey through a battle school looking for fresh new minds to fight an extraterrestrial threat, and the consequences of his actions. And it’s amazing to watch. A top notch cast drives the film, and brings the characters to life. Harrison Ford is particulary amazing, and Asa Butterfield’s Ender is great. A lot of the fellow students and secondary cast are bland as all hell, but it doesnt detract that much from the film. Most of the dialog is ripped right out the novel, and it’s amazing to see these scenes play out on screen. It all happens exactly as you imagine while reading the novel, and then some.
The really awesome thing is seeing the action sequences unfold. While the novel is great at describing the things happening, your imagination really kicks into gear to fill in the holes. And seeing these thing fully realized on screen is amazing. The mind games and battle simulations are awesome looking and futuristic, but it all feels familiar, and welcoming. Its weird, but if you’ve read the novel, certain things will be instant recognizable.
All in all, its a great take on a great film. My only complaint would be wanting a longer running time. While nothing is overly rushed, a little more time on key scenes would have been nice. But, that’s a small complaint. I’d honestly rather have a movie a little short than have one drag along. See it. And enjoy it.
4.5 out of 5