Posts tagged action film

Review: Wrath of the Titans

When you take a film as “epic” and “classic” and… well… “culty” as the original Clash of the Titans and remake it you really have to be careful with what you’re doing. When Warner Brothers tried their hands at it they decided to take out the cheesy and made it a high-end CGI action film for the present. The success of the film, and average critic response, brought upon it’s sequel, Wrath of the Titans. A film that takes out any actual film-like elements this series had and keeps only the 3D CGI battle scenes which are… well… not Epic enough.

Wrath of the Titans follows Perseus (Sam Worthington) to save his father and save his son from the partnership of Ares and Hades. Here is the first problem, it’s the same basic “journey to save something” plot as the first film. Honestly, who cares about any of these characters? The gods are evil, so why do they need saving? Perseus has a lot on the line but that same vacant stare on his face (I expected more from you Sam Worthington!) leaves out any emotion. At one point someone dies (huge spoiler…) and I felt absolutely no sympathy for him as he turned into dust.

Concerning the action scenes, they are also all the same as the first film with just a slightly higher level of intensity around them. One cyclops… now you have two. Big finale battle? Add some lava. There’s a point Hollywood that these crazy CGI movies will need to begin to have substance again and there is a ceiling to the amount the world will take it. I feel like we hit that point with Wrath of the Titans. The same old CGI crap. Who needs it? I know there are people out there that really enjoy this kind of stuff but why can’t they go rent “Rome” from Netflix and watch something that is gripping, artistically stunning, and isn’t a “complete” waste of your time, relatively speaking.

4.5 Wraths out of 10

Review: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Tom Cruise is old.

But thankfully he’s still insane enough to make yet another ridiculous action film. Mission Impossible kicks it up another notch, from the already far and beyond belief notches it has made in the previous Mission Impossible films. This time it’s cut so close at the end that even Tom Cruise is surprised!

What makes these movies so enjoyable is their wit. Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg have impeccable timing throughout these film making what might have been an average enjoyable moment that much more entertaining. Blow shit up, laugh a little, blow shit up more; it’s a formula that works! Who knew?

There’s not much to say about the story, the plot, or any of that here. MI4’s plot is so average that it doesn’t ever really make an impression. This is really meant to be an action ride from start to finish. But for anyone who is actually following the story, if you aren’t fully caught up on your Mission Impossible universe you will find yourself lost and confused. Something about a dead wife? Him in jail? I’m still lost and confused….

But do you really go see these movies because you want a sophisticated plot? Well if this was Mission Impossible 1 then yes… but now that we are at number 4 we expect Tom Cruise on the side of a building hanging on for dear life. Then a sophisticated laugh from Simon Pegg. And he does. And he does too. And it’s so much fun you can’t wait to see him do it again.

Mission Impossible 4 opens today in IMAX theaters and Nationwide on Wednesday Dec 21st.

7.5 Crazy people stuck in the closet out of 10

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Review: Hannah

Hannah is an example of what an action movie should be. It’s visually engaging, the story intrigues the audience, and the action, kicks major ass. All of those combined equal this amazing action film that is so edgy that it is in a league of it’s own comparatively.

I have not seen a serious action movie as of late that has been as highly polished as Hannah. The original concept of this film borrows from a lot of elements from other movies, but even so it’s own feeling and twist, creates something fresh. Movies like Battle Los Angeles are directed to a T, however their plots and their characters all feel so damn reused that it feels like I’m watching the same movie I saw a few years ago. The originality is completely lost. Hannah lacks a bit in this department, feeling very Bourne esque, but it still diverges enough from that formula to feel like something new.

This film is highly adult, even with a kid as the main role. The cursing, the blood, the everything, there is not reason for a kid to see this film. The grit goes with the style of the film. Without that, this film would be a PG-13 flaming piece of crap. Hannah’s roughness is what makes it feel different but yet feel so generically fun.

If your looking for something to hit your action nerves go see Hannah. It will shock you with it’s unique style and awesome visuals, not to mention the soundtrack that is worth getting with or without seeing the movie. Chemical Brother’s KICK ASS!

8 Little girls kicking ass movies out of 10


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Review: Battle Los Angeles

If you combine the plot of Independence Day and the grit of Black Hawk Down, you get Battle Los Angeles. (A movie title that is completely un-natural to say)

It’s hard to get around the fact that this movie is not for everyone. From start to finish Battle is one long action film. If you walk into this film expecting intricate story plots like in Saw (HAHA I’m KIDDING!) or some sort of romance film, drama, etc, then you deserve to lose your $12.50. What you get instead is a gritty, all hand-held, visual spectacle that makes any CGI artist drool. The effects in this film are mind-bendingly good. They make every other CGI movie look like it was made in the 90s. The attention to detail on everything draws you into this world they created.

But without some good acting this whole story would fall apart. Aaron Eckhart brought his A-Game…. well… B-Game…

Why does every main character in every movie needs to have a deep low voice. Christian Bale in Batman, Adrien Brody in Predators, and now Aaron Eckhart in Battle Los Angeles. It was so bad at points that you can’t understand what Eckhart was saying, which was good because some of his lines were horribly written to the point of disaster. (James Bond Die Another Die disastrous….) Specifically, one “motivating” speech at the end made me want to jab the pencil in my ear to make the pain stop. But you can’t win them all right?

If you think about Battle too much you see the obvious plots derived from Independence Day and Black Hawk Down. They are so similar in fact it’s hard to not directly link them. I watch this and go… I saw this movie when Will Smith was in it. He did a much better job at being funny…

Besides Eckhart’s average performance the rest of the cast all created intricate characters that kept this very character driven story going. Without their acting talents this movie would be in the realm of Transformers 2. And no one wants to go there. As an audience you can connect with the characters and their struggles in the film with all of their enemies and emotions. This superb acting (minus Eckhart’s crappy Batman voice)  surrounded by the intense action and visual style (of Cloverfield) that kept the viewer constantly moving and on edge, Battle Los Angeles is a damn good action film, a category that hasn’t had any good content become of it for years. You might just have to forget that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you already saw this film before……

Note: For all you critics who think Skyline is better than Battle Los Angeles. Rethink your profession.

7.8 Copy cat plots out of 10.


Review: I Am Number 4

With Harry Potter about to be over and the Twilight saga about to become even harder to watch the world needs it’s next NEW (key word here) franchise movie that doesn’t suck. In comes I Am Number 4, a highly entertaining, highly polished action film that will leave audiences happy, for the most part….

Timothy Olyphant kicks major ass in this movie. Not only is his show (Justified) Walker Texas Ranger on steroids, but his commanding presence on film is just undeniably overwhelming. Oh shit I Completely forgot about the main character, John (Alex Pettyfer). This unknown actor tends to be flat and whinny more often than not which kind of keeps the film from performing better than it does. Pettyfer’s bland performance in the film is partially made up by the brilliant acting of his love Dianna Argon (All you Glee fans will love this movie), Callan McAuliffe, and Teresa Palmer. All of them give so much to their roles that the bland Pettyfer feels to be more well-acted than he really is.

The film itself plays like a mix of Twilight and a Bourne-type action movie. Combined they equal this romantic-action-drama-alien thing that has you googling over the action more often than it makes you realize these people are “trying to have a romantic connection.” Teresa Palmer kicks major Australian ass in this film by the way which is only more awesome because she herself is more than lovely to look at.

The story is good enough for an I Am Number 5 and to hook me into seeing it, however this movies Twilight soundtrack and love story tends to overshadow the awesome action and Olyphant’s brilliant acting career.

7 Sexy Austraillians out of 10

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The Bests of 2010 - Part 1 - Films

2010 was a strange year. A year for geeks, a year for animation, more Kanye than you can throw a stick at, new comedies, new love interests, and zombies. We have compiled a list of all of our favorite pop culture things this year. We start off with our favorite films!

Alex’s Favorites

1.) Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World - The graphic novel series of our generation becomes an instant cult classic in the hands of cult-classic-factory Edgar Wright. This was the best superhero movie, romantic comedy, teen movie, and action film to come out this year, all wrapped into one.

2.) Easy A - I’m a sucker for teen comedies. I’m an even bigger sucker for Emma Stone. You do the math.

3.) How to Train Your Dragon 3D - In a year of great kids’ movies, this blew everything else out of the water. It made me remember what it was like to be a kid myself, and astounded by what movies could do.

4.) Exit Through the Gift Shop - Only Banksy would take a documentary about him and make it a documentary about someone else. The first significant street art doc could have just been lip service to the genre; instead, this movie exposes the herd mentality that defines the art market while still recording for posterity the scene’s biggest names and coolest moments.

5.) 127 Hours - No other film this year made me almost pass out. For that (and for the quality that is every Danny Boyle film), this gets a spot on the list.

Least favorite film/waste of time:
Iron Man 2 - Let’s not kid ourselves: compared to the first one, this shit sucked. Not even RDJ’s considerable charm could save it.

Biggest surprise:
Toy Story 3 - I’m far from a Pixar-worshipper, and I have no special tie to the Toy Story series, and yet, I loved this movie to death. Those trolls from the opening scene will stay with me for a long time.

Josh’s Favorites

1.) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - The energy of the film never really connected with theater audiences, but I have the feeling Edgar Wright’s Canadian odyssey will inspire viewers and filmmakers over the coming years. Pure entertainment from start to finish.

2.) Rubber - Quentin Dupieux’s (aka Mr. Oizo) movie about a tire that comes to life and goes on a murderous rampage is somehow so much more riveting and entertaining than even that simple premise belies. I’m still sorting through the films ruminations on the nature of entertainment and the filmgoing experience.

3.) Tron: Legacy - I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I loved Tron: Legacy for resurrecting and updating a long since dead franchise that was a bit of an underdog in the market even in 1982. While the film cost ten times the original films budget, the oddity of the original film, it’s pacing, character interplay and creativity were all preserved. Legacy deserves more positive attention than it’s received.

4.) Inception - This film is such a hackneyed addition the the list that I hardly thought it proper to include, but the simple fact is that Inception is a triumph of filmmaking. A mega-blockbuster that’s expertly crafted and set the world ablaze asking questions about the larger themes and questions of the film.

5.) How To Train Your Dragon - This may have been the 3-D experience of the year. The film soared above it’s clunky title and Jay Baruchel’s maudlin lead performance to deliver solid entertainment for all age groups. Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) is rapidly becoming my favorite American animator. I have nothing against Pixar, but I liked this more than Toy Story 3.

Least favorite film/waste of time:
A Nightmare on Elm Street - The less said about this film, the better. You’d think a movie where a guy kills people in their dreams… where literally ANYTHING can happen, in this day and age of copious CG, would at very least use the beloved original to create some wholly new cinematic nightmare. Instead we got a flaccid, nearly shot for shot, remake of an original film that wasn’t all that well sewn together in the first place… minus the scary. If this movie scared you, you’ve likely never left your house.

Biggest surprise:
MacGruber - I saw this film on a free ticket from my Regal Points Rewards in a theater with a handful of people and we were literally rolling on the floor laughing. I’d never expected to have as much fun as I had during this film. It’s very clear that the filmmakers found a lot of freedom from knowing that no one was anticipating or expecting anything from an extended SNL sketch. People will be kicking themselves for not giving this movie love when it hit cinemas.

Don’s Favorites

So I can’t pick my top 5… Screw Cinedork and your rules. Here are my top eleven and how each are thematically related.

1. Blue Valentine 1. The Social Network…Both sides are right/Both sides are wrong. Neither character is the good guy/neither character is the bad guy. The year’s two films most likely to keep their afterglow the longest share an uncanny evenness of their lead characters’ viewpoint, and a perfect balance of non-
judgement left blank for the viewer to fill in. Containing three of the year’s outstanding performances with Jesse Eisenberg (SN) and Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling (BV).

3. Black Swan and 4. 127 Hours…Nearly as unforgettable, these two share near-insane lead characters who must head over the edge in trying to save themselves. Swan’s extraordinarily ambitious and wonderful use of genre elements gives it a Hitchcock-on-steroids immediacy. 127 Hours is a great pleasure to watch despite the film’s seemingly dour subject. Within his chosen limits director Danny Boyle and an amazing James Franco give an in-his-skin portrayal of a man’s courageous, and ultimately dynamic redemption.

5. The Fighter 6. Mother 7. White Material.…What lengths will a mother go to protect, revenge, and protect further beyond logic, her offspring in the face of terrible odds and circumstances? Three riveting performances (Melissa Leo, Hye-ja Kim, and the ever stunnimg Isabelle Huppert).

8. True Grit 9. Winter’s Bone…What lengths will a damaged daughter go to revenge/bring to light the circumstances of a father’s violent demise? Two more esteemed performances by Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence.

10. The Ghostwriter. 11. The Square…Film noir lives. Ancient, troubled icon Roman Polanski, and novice Aussie director Nash Edgerton produce two of year’s most exciting thrillers.

Honorable Mention - A Prophet, The Kids Are Alright, Inside Job, I Am Love, Fair Game, Greenberg, Fish Tank, The Tillman Story, Poetry, The King’s Speech.

Biggest Surprise :
Michael Douglas delivers one of the keenest performances of the year in the incisive character study, Solitary Man.

Biggest Disappointment:
As much as it bedevils and dazzles with technical virtuosity, Inception was ultimately an overlong action flick masquerading as a house of mirrors.

Steve’s Favorites

1.) Black Swan – Combine Arronofsky’s crazy requiem style with the storytelling of the wrestler and you have this brilliant masterpiece of cinema. Best picture for sure. Half way through the film your jaw drops and it stays that way the rest of the movie.
2.) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – I was excited for this film, then I heard Michael Cera was going to be Pilgrim and I went bleh, this is gonna suck. Edgar Wright proved me wrong, this film is brilliant from top to bottom. This movie is one that people will find on DVD and watch until their eyes bleed and then regret not seeing it in the theater 3 times like I did.
3.) Blue Valentine – This drama beyond dramas is one of the finest examples of acting I’ve ever seen. Ryan Gosling proves himself as an Oscar worthy actor in every heart wrenching moment of this film.
4.) Toy Story 3 – Put together the best parts of the first and second Toy Story movies and you have this one. A film that will make you cry and laugh, guaranteed.
5.) The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin’s masterful screenplay hits the witty nail on the head. It’s smart, it’s beautiful, and Jesse Eisenburg really does bring his A-Game. Plus the new Spiderman is pretty awesome and Justin “SNL wannabe” Timberlake is an asshole and who doesn’t want to see Mr. N’SYNC be an ass?

Least favorite film/waste of time
After.Life – Yeah I saw this horrible excuse for a movie. To boil it down, this film is Christina Riche naked for what felt like an eternity. Liam Nelson, I thought you would pick better projects than this….

Biggest surprise
The Last Airbender – I’m shocked how bad this movie was. The content it is pulled from is amazing, and then this… garbage movie came out and ruined it for everyone.

Review: Tron Soundtrack - Daft Punk - Retro-electro

All of the nerds on the planet are breathlessly awaiting the arrival of the new TRON sequel on the 17th of December. That’s nine days in the future. Not that I’m counting. While the world waits for this film, it must satisfy itself with a taste of the story through the soundtrack. It will give us just enough to whet our appetite, but leave enough suspense for us to still want to see the film. “Suspense” in fact is a perfect work for the TRON: Legacy soundtrack, too, since it’s full of tracks clearly made for an action film. Just listening to the album will make you feel as if you’re anticipating something. You just don’t know what…yet.

I guess I have to admit it right off the bat. I like the TRON: Legacy soundtrack better than the 1982 original TRON soundtrack. Scary, I know. But I can’t help it. Wendy Carlos’ original soundtrack is by no means shabby. It features strange time signatures and inevitably synthesizer-heavy sounds. Daft Punk, however, blows it out of the water. At first you don’t think you’re listening to anything Daft Punk would make. You quickly forget, however, that you care about the French electronica group at all as you’re swept immediately into the imposing, heavy orchestra pieces. The score is at first reminiscent of epic films. It heightens anticipation with its intense strings and brass. Roughly a quarter of the way through, we get a taste of the electronic. Just a taste, though - we’re not ready for the best just yet. Daft Punk is holding out on nerds everywhere. They’re teasing us, drawing us in with what seems to be a very normal epic film soundtrack. We’re shortly given a touch of the 80’s. Not overwhelming, not cheesy, just a touch. Then it dips back intro the orchestral. Adagio For Tron is a particularly impressive track. The soundtrack pauses in the center of its action-themed music to showcase a mournful piece. We don’t get much time with the mournful, though, because we’re shoved very lovingly into Daft Punk. Ah, there it is. The sound becomes more electronic. There are heavy beats in the background. It’s our favorite, catchy sounding electricity we love so much. This is what we’ve been waiting for. This is clearly a Daft Punk soundtrack. It almost feels like the guys from Kraftwerk contributed (they’re from the 80’s too.) all of their best in the track End of Line. The electronic doesn’t dissipate from the album; on the contrary, it begins to suddenly mesh with the orchestra as the soundtrack edges towards the end. The rest of the soundtrack woos you with Daft Punk’s original sound and classical orchestra mingled together. Be careful, epic film music nerds. You’re going to suddenly like electronica and not know why.

The TRON: Legacy soundtrack is brilliant. It draws you in with the deception of sounding somewhat typical, although it doesn’t quite fit that category. It teases you with a touch of the 80’s towards the beginning, and then calls you to mourn with it. You don’t have much time to feel sad during the Adagio track, though, because you’re thrown into the midst of a classic Daft Punk sound right afterward. Then it begins pulling epic film sounds and electronica together to make your heart race with intensity. Though this soundtrack is amazing, and the score cannot be rivaled (no, not even by Wendy Carlos’ original score), nerds all over the world still desperately need the film itself. The delicious sounds emitted by this album are really only teasing us. The 17th can’t come fast enough.

9.5 Glowing Suits out of 10

Guest Writer: Cori P