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Science Fiction

Film Review: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla is back!

And this time the film is 100% Matthew Broderick free!

Movie Rating: 
7

Film Review: Man of Steel

Man of Steel

 Krypton had its chance, so says the almost never-named Superman during one of his confrontations with General Zod in this new outing. From one point of view, you might agree with him; what place does Superman have in this modern world of gloomy, introspective Batmen and billion-dollar Avengers? Poor old Kal-El is too good, too god-like, too selfless and uncomplex to really grab. He is, for want of a better word, bland; even with his dead parents and lost world. He needs interesting villains and less interesting weaknesses to make his stories stand out.

Movie Rating: 
9

Film Review: Contagion

Contagion Poster

Starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslett, Lawrence Fishburn and Jude Law.

At first blush, watching a documentary about Matt Damon's career didn't seem like a good way to spend my movie ticket budget, but then I realized that Contagion was about a different kind of viral infection. Our story begins with Gwynneth Paltrow's character as Patient Zero -- picking up a deadly new virus while in Hong Kong. As the infection spreads across the globe the brave bureaucrats of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) fight to understand the virus and fight it. Fast-paced and utterly believable, this is about how I imagine a real viral threat would affect the world.

Movie Rating: 
7

Film Review: Priest

Priest Poster

In an alternate reality Earth humans have battled vampires since the beginning of time. Humans, driven to the brink of extinction created a group of vampire-killing warriors called 'Priests' who eventually vanquished the vampires to Indian-like reservations. The wars between the two races has left the Earth a devastated wasteland. What remains of humanity lives on a dystopic mega-city ruled by the Church. The monsignors of the Church have disbanded the Priests and tried (unsuccessfully) to reintegrate them into society. Each Priest is marked with a telltale crucifix tattoo, and they're treated like Vietnam vets. That is, poorly. One priest (named 'Priest' -- played by Paul Bettany) forsakes his oath when he is forbidden from investigating the disapperance of his niece by a resurgent vampire threat.

Movie Rating: 
5

Film Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America Poster

After being deemed unfit for military service multiple times, 90-pound weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals.

Set during World War II, Rogers must battle military public relations agents, Nazis, and finally a threat far worse than even Hitler -- The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) whose target is not Europe, but the world itself. Marvel continues to enhance their cinematic mileu with another worthy comic book adaptation.

Movie Rating: 
7

Film Review: The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

Hello, here I am again, almost a year since my last post. While I probably do have a lot to say about debt ceilings, Amy Winehouse, Norway and space shuttles, my input today is, as always, a movie review.

Much like me, Terrence Malick does not produce a lot of content, just five films in the last forty or so years. If I said in my review of There Will be Blood that Daniel Day-Lewis is a bit of a lazybones, Malick seems to be almost monumentally lazy. This is not to say that he produces poor movies though; impenetrable, dialogue light and abstruse, but never bad or unambitious. After exploring colonialism and the beginnings of America last time and the battle of Guadalcanal the time before, this time Malick is focussing on life, God and the history of the universe itself.

Movie Rating: 
7

Film Review: X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class

The year is 1962 and Dr. Charles Xavier creates a school in Westchester County, New York -- a 'School for Gifted and Talented Youngsters'. In reality, Dr. Xavier has assembled a group of children who represent the next step in human evolution: mutants with superhuman abilities.

Will he train them in time to prevent a former Nazi concentration camp doctor from starting a nuclear armageddon? The X-Men movie franchise gets a Batmen Begins-style reboot prequel and it is very groovy.

Can you dig it, turkey?

Movie Rating: 
9

Film Review: Night of the Creeps

Night of the Creeps

Combine alien parasites with zombies, a tough-as-nails cop, sorority girls, and numerous sci-fi homages and you end up with Writer/Director Fred Dekker's masterpiece. When two college roommates decide to rush a fraternity they are tasked with finding a corpse and dumping it onto another fraternity's front steps.

What they find is a cryogenically frozen corpse infested with slugs from outer space. Upon a second reading, that needs some unpacking. The corpse isn't from outer space, the slugs are from space. Well, they're an alien race's bio-weapon. Admittedly, it's complicated. But what matters most is that the corpse reanimates while the boys carry it out of the lab. They panic and run, dropping the corpse, and all hell breaks loose when the slugs start leaping into people's mouths, turning them into zombies.

Night of the Creeps is another favorite of mine from when I was younger. It only just recently found it's way onto DVD perhaps a year or two ago. There's just something about this movie that works -- as strange as it is.

Movie Rating: 
9

Film Review: TRON: Legacy

TRON: Legacy

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is the scion of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) -- a Steve Jobs-like computer genius whose megacorporation has changed the world since he disappeared over fifteen years ago when Sam was just a boy. Sam still owns the majority of the company and is fabulously wealthy but spends his time hacking the company's servers. With a populist flourish Sam posts their new (and very expensive) server software to the Internet as a free download.

His father's old friend Alan (Bruce Boxleitner, who starred as the hero 'Tron' from the original film) checks up on Sam and urges him to take over the company and change its direction, but Sam will have none of it. Until Alan tells Sam that he got a page from his father's old video game arcade. Sam investigates and falls down a digital rabbit hole called 'The Grid'  where a digital tyrant named CLU is waiting for him.

Movie Rating: 
6

Film Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife

The evil Umbrella Corporation is back in the fourth installment of the videogame-inspired franchise. Alice (Milla Jovovich) continues her quest to stop the corporation responsible for releasing the deadly virus that animates the dead and led (through the previous films) to the near eradication of all life on earth. Alice teams up with another group of survivors who are tracking a signal that promises safety from the infected zombies.

No one expects a movie based on a video game to be Hamlet, but the newest Resident Evil movie really pushed stupid to all new levels.

Movie Rating: 
4

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