Sunday, September 05, 2010

Netflix'd: Knowing

KnowingKnowing that Knowing is a terrible movie could save people a lot of time.  Knowing  is like sex without an orgasm for either side: the build up is great but when there is no pay off a flaming moose comes running out of the woods and gives everyone a giant middle finger.

I can't give this movie even an OK rating and I am a SciFi fan willing to give even movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still an OK rating!  Knowing, not even worth a Netflix delivery.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Netflix'd: Old Dogs

Old Dogs is one of those movies that you watch because the trailer says "From the makers of ".  In this case, the same team behind Wild Hogs, is back with more old men urban drama in Old Dogs.

Robin Williams and John Travolta star in a movie that feels about 50% complete.  There are some great comedy moments in the movie: the weekend spent camping, child safing the apartment, and the tanning booth.  However, these moments are either too short or jaggedly out of place within the larger narrative.  The entire movie awkwardly jumps around before arriving at a predictable conclusion.

I liked the movie as a family popcorn comedy, but had this not been a Netflix delivery, I would have felt very cheated for the money I would have spent to see it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Netflix'd Review: Pandorum

There is half of a really good Sci-Fi movie in Pandorum. Read on to find out more, but be aware that minor spoilers are ahead.

The premise of the movie is solid: two flight crew members awake from "space sleep" to cover their shift piloting their ship, the Elysium, as it travels to a second earth-like planet.  However, when they awake there is no previous crew to greet them.  Something is wrong.

The movie title, Pandorum, refers to deep space pilots who suffer a mental breakdown and kill their co-pilots.  As one might guess, one of the two flight crew members turns out to be mentally unstable.  The details of that, I will let the viewer collect, as its the good half of the movie.

Unfortunately, crew member #2 isn't bat shit crazy, but he does get to travel into the heart of bat shit crazy, hyper-evolved space ship people country.  This would be the half of the movie that sucks.  There is no build up or suspense to finding out what is haunting Elysium.  Within minutes of venturing out of the safe hold, crew member #2 is greeted by snarling, flesh-eating creatures.  Then some ninjas come and save him.  Long story short, feeding tubes with evolution juiced turned the ship's inhabitants into mutants.  I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

My suggestion is to watch this movie as the ending has a good twist, but ignore everything crew member #2 does the entire movie, including the end of the ending.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Netflix'd Review: The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife [Blu-ray]I love Netflix and since we religiously watch and return our Netflix movies two times a week, I figured I would take some time to write a few short reviews of movies I've "Netflix'd".

The Time Traveler's Wife

This movie caught me off guard as I wasn't expecting much more than a sappy love story. However, time travel is always an interesting plot mechanic, even when wrapped in a chick flick.

For a time travel story, there aren't many twists and turns in The Time Traveler's Wife. The entire story was easy to follow and understandable, which works to the benefit of the movie. The art of foreshadowing is masterfully executed; subtle camera tricks ensure the audience is focused on various clues to the future and past.

The movie was more about watching a story about time travel unfold than it was about the mystery of main character's ability to time travel. At its base, its about a woman knowingly marrying into an extraordinary situation. This leads to the age old question of what knowing one's future does to a person.

More importantly though, the movie follows the effect of this knowledge that trickles down to the friends, family, and wife. The cast of characters take the time travel in stride and before the end of the movie it is an accepted occurrence. Yet throughout there is an uneasy tension around the idea and its great to watch it push and pull the characters apart.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I would highly recommend it not only as a great date movie, but as a good movie to watch with friends. While there isn't much on the action forefront, there is enough substance to the story and within the characters to make up for it. This movie was a treat.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Well-seasoned Review: Legend of the Seeker (Season 1)

Legend of the Seeker is a TV series loosely based on The Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind.  I would suggest forgetting that connection if you are a fan of the books.  The TV show borrows themes, characters, and locations, but the story is completely different.  However, by the end of first season, I found myself enjoying the TV series for what it was: a weekly, fun fantasy television series.

Sam Raimi, also responsible for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, is heading up the project.  Legend borrows from the heavy handed action and uncomfortable story telling of both series and does it in a fun way.  While some of the dialogue is laughable and poorly delivered, the visuals and action sequences make up for it.  Shot in New Zealand, at a reported $1.5 million per episode, this is the best looking fantasy on TV.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Movie Review: Avatar

Avatar: I should hate this movie.  It depicts a resource-hungry, western-style civilization destroying the native inhabitants of a planet through technological and military might.

The story is predictable and the characters one-sided.  The marine kills, the natives are misunderstood savages.  Everything fits into the expected cliches of a cultural clash on a clandestine planet.

On top of the stereotypes, the hype should have killed this movie, but it didn't.  Avatar is a masterpiece.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reposted Movie Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One (TV Series)I am a Star Wars fan.  I am not a blind Star Wars fan and refuse to blindly love the movies.  I watch them, because I love the universe behind them.  Any glimpse into that universe will get some of my money, but not always my praise.  The Phantom Menace started out good, but fell down in the end.  Attack of the Clones was full of action, but not much else.  Revenge of the Sith made me smile, but only did the end finally make me feel like the actors were earning their paychecks.

My biggest problem with the prequels was the character of Anakin Skywalker.  He was weakly written and horribly acted, which lead to a big gaping whole in all three prequels.  When Anakin finally rose up as Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith and screamed "NOOOOOOOOOOO!", I screamed "YES, Anakins gone."  This brings me to my thoughts on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and unfortunately the lackluster Anakin rears his ugly head.

Fortunately, the movie is completely computer animated, so no Hayden Christensen was needed.  Unfortunately, the character of Anakin still feels stiff and forced through the entire movie.  Good thing there is enough action and comedy to save Clone Wars from a failure.  The graphics are cartoony, but believable against vivid backgrounds and settings.  The important note here is that the movie is consistent and easily fits into the epic Star Wars movie saga.

Also, the move to complete computer graphics opened the door for much better action sequences.  I don't want to spoil the movie, but one scene has our heroes scaling vertically up a cliff face while fighting the never ending droid army.  It was believable and did not once feel faked for the sake of a live actor.  That single scene absolutely convinced me this was the right move for the Star Wars franchise.

Overall, the movie was fun, albeit aimed at a younger audience.  The general aim helped me forgive some plot shortfalls and out of place comedy.  The movie was a general mix of the classic Star Wars we all love and the new age Star Wars that is hard to enjoy even as a fan.  I highly recommend a viewing for any Star Wars fan, especially those with children.