Pretty petty thief Julia (Maika Monroe) finds herself kidnapped and held prisoner by a man named Alex (Ed Skrein) who is conducting sinister experiments in his secluded computerized home. All she needs to do to escape is somehow befriend and outwit his complex artificial intelligence, Tau (voiced by Gary Oldman). That’s kind of it!
Netflix debuted film is directed by Federico D’Alessandro from a script by Noga Landau and is a silly and far-fetched movie that evokes other films like 1977’s Demon Seed for one. The script is sloppy and one wonders why a genius like Alex can’t figure out how to effectively restrain Julia, who is always escaping confines and causing havoc. It has some amusing sequences and some shockingly graphic violence, but is just too weakly scripted to make effective use out of it’s scenario. We should have been far more scared for Julia, but Alex is a lame villain and Tau becomes charmed by her far too quickly for us to feel she’s in peril for too long. Producer/lead Monroe is a feisty heroine, though sometimes we feel her heroics are handed to her a bit too easily by script conveniences. On the other hand, if you have a foot fetish, bondage fetish, Maika Monroe fetish, or all of the above, this may be your Gone With The Wind. Currently streaming on Netflix.
It Follows star Maika Monroe returns to our favorite genre in the Netflix sci-fi/horror thriller Tau. Monroe plays a young woman kidnapped by a scientist (Ed Skrein) to be used in experiments to test an A.I. (voiced by Gary Oldman) of his own creation. The film premieres June 29th! Check out some stills (from Maikamonroe.us) and the trailer…
I really enjoyed Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, it was an inventive way to reboot the series by going back to the very beginning and re-inventing it from there. It was well acted, solidly directed and gave the series a good start with plenty of material to be covered before the films even progressed to what we saw in the original classics. The movie was a critical and box-office success and thus the series is being continued.
The sequel picks up 10 years after the virus, that began in Rise, has decimated a massive amount of the human population. The apes, led by Caesar, (Andy Serkis) have started a community deep in the California wilderness where they are living a relatively peaceful existence and have seen no humans for years… until now. A small band of humans led by a man named Malcolm (Jason Clarke) happens upon the apes territory and after an accidental wounding of one of the apes, are sent fleeing. The apes follow them back to San Francisco where they find a human colony still exists and one that is well armed. Caesar goes there with an army as a warning to the humans to stay away from the apes’ home. But, Malcolm begs Caesar to allow the humans to work at dam nearby their village, to restore electricity to the human colony which is running out of fuel. Caesar agrees in an effort to promote peace but, as Malcolm and the ape leader form a fragile alliance, fear on the human side and hatred on the other side in the form of an ape named Koba (Toby Kebbell), threaten to not only end that peace but, elicit all out war.
Sequel is this time directed by Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves who does a great job of creating a film that is it’s own movie yet, still fits in with the previous chapter. Reeves gives the film some very strong dramatic weight while not skimping on the action or suspense and it has a really effective look of a world where nature has grown over cities formally populated by people. The script by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver takes it’s time to establish the characters, especially all the new human ones, and where the world stands at this time. It also achieves this as the story moves forward and thus we get the information we need as part of that story and the film never needs to stop for exposition. A lot is achieved in it’s 130 minute running time and the film has a brisk pace and yet, covers all the ground it needs to. The action, when it comes, is exciting and very well staged and carries a lot of impact’ as well as, an epic scale. The gunfire, chases and explosions also serve the story and is never overindulgent for the sake of satisfying the Summer movie crowd. This is an intelligently written movie that also vastly entertains and should satisfy both the popcorn movie audience and those looking for a little more substance in their movie. The SPFX are flawless, for the most part and the film is wrapped in a very effective score by Michael Giacchino that evoked some of the music from the classic Apes series of the 70s. In fact the film’s story has some nice echoes of those classic 70s flicks too that will be obvious, but not obtrusive, to fans of the original series.
Also serving the story and supporting Reeves excellent direction is a great cast. Serkis’ motion capture acting for Caesar is fantastic and he gives the simian star a very emotionally expressive face and body language that really creates a three dimensional character from the CGI. The same goes for most of the ape performance actors with Kebbell’s Koba also being strongly portrayed. Clarke makes a noble character in his Malcolm. He really wants what’s best for everyone and his pain when conflict arises seems genuine and it is understandable that he and Caesar would bond. Gary Oldman is strong as the head of the human colony, a man named Dreyfus. His leader wants what’s best for his people even if it brings war but, he is never portrayed as a villain. It’s about the survival of the human race and Oldman conveys that the man’s harsh decisions are not from hate as much as simply willing to take what his people need to live. Keri Russell plays a former CDC nurse and part of Malcolm’s team who is a sympathetic and strong woman and one who has her inner pain too. She gives the character a nice dimensionality despite not really being all that major a part when all is said and done. The rest of the supporting cast are equally good and really add the final piece to making this a smart and highly enjoyable film.
So, a first rate sequel to a first rate reboot and a really enjoyable and entertaining movie. The script is intelligent yet, still weaves in plenty of action and it’s all brought together by a really well done directing job from Matt Reeves. When all is said and done, probably the best movie I have seen so far this summer.
A final trailer for the upcoming Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes has been released and it is action packed and is starting to look like this sequel might turn out to be one of the Summer’s best films. The eagerly awaited sequel arrives 7/11/14!
A new poster for the upcoming Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes has been released and to me it has a nice 70s vibe that reminds me of the posters from the original series such as the two samples below. The eagerly awaited sequel arrives 7/11/14!
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes turned out to be a pleasant surprise and was a really good flick so, I am looking forward to it’s Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) directed and Gary Oldman starring sequel. The new full trailer arrives and it looks really good!. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is set to open 7/11/2014!
The original Robocop is a film classic and one of my all-time favorite flicks. Obviously I was enormously apprehensive when they announced a remake and one that would shoot for a tame PG-13 tone at that. But, I tried hard to go into this remake/re-imagining/whatever with an open mind and let it stand on it’s own but, even if you ignore the original Verhoeven version, this flick is just routine, bland and forgettable, despite having a fairly solid cast. The basic problem here is that Joshua Zetume’s script is weak and director José Padilha brings nothing to the table in terms of style or energy. The movie’s pulse, like some of it’s robot characters, is flatline. The story is set in a near future world where Omni Consumer Products and it’s CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) has it’s armed peace-keeping robots all around the world making the planet a supposedly better place to live but, in fact has turned it into a virtual prison. A law has been passed in America that forbids the use of armed robots and OCP needs to come up with a way to sway the American people into accepting their automated police and soldiers. They come up with the idea of a cyborg cop, a part man, part machine law enforcement agent to charm the American public into warming up to their cold hearted machines. Now they just need a human subject to set their plan in motion. Enter Det. Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) who has a wife and son and is a good, honest cop, who, unfortunately, steps on the wrong toes and gets his car blown up right in front of his house. Sellars and scientist Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman) convince Murphy’s grieving wife (Abbie Cornish) to let them save what’s left of a near-dead Alex through the Robocop program. A new hero is soon born but, one who’s human qualities hinder OCP’s attempts to use him as part of their PR campaign to get their drones on American streets. But, the more they try to make him a machine, the more Murphy fights to stay human. And the more he rebels against his programing, the more Sellars believes it’s time to turn their hero into a martyr and the people who created him now seek to destroy him. Can he save himself and his family? While the story here does deviate somewhat from the original film and the enormous budget allows the film to take us to other parts of the world, it doesn’t make up for the fact that the film has none of what made the original such a great movie. And I’m not talking about the gruesome gore that permeated the original, the flick could have succeeded without the massive bloodletting, I mean the strong emotional undercurrent, the biting social satire and the twisted sense of humor. We never warm up to Kinnaman’s Murphy either, like we did with Weller’s immediately likable cop, even with having far more time for us to get to know him and there is little spark between he and Cornish to make them believable as a couple and thus sympathetic to their fight to remain a family… despite that dad is now 80% hardware. It’s all presented rather generically and we never bond with them therefor, making us root for them as a family. Making his partner a wisecracking man (Michael K. Williams), removes the dynamic between the original film’s Murphy and Lewis, as in that film, Lewis became the anchor for his humanity after his wife thought him dead and left town. These two are just generic (there’s that word again) TV show style cops with one serious and the other wise-cracking bad jokes. Which brings me to the next point, the few attempts at humor in the film just fall flat and the attempts at social satire, through the rhetorical ramblings of right-wing TV show host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson in an obvious paycheck part), fall equally flat and only serve to illustrate how shallow this new film is. Technically, Padilha is a competent director and the film’s budget is on screen but, he doesn’t give the film any soul or energy. I was never bored but, I was never really involved either. The action scenes are all very by-the-numbers and are instantly forgettable once they are over, much like the rest of the film. Forgettable characters going through the motions in forgettable scenes. The original film had colorful and memorable characters and vividly memorable action, not to mention, some very funny moments that never invaded the drama. This film takes itself far too seriously and yet with much less to offer. The cast is decent. Veterans like Keaton, Oldman and Jackson do the best they can with their weakly written parts but, even Keaton’s Sellars is no Dick Jones villain-wise. Kinnaman tires hard and has a few moments but, he never becomes endearing like Weller’s Murphy and his performance is ironically a little too robotic at times for us to really like him. Cornish is pretty and does the stereotypical long-suffering wife but, she also never becomes endearing or sympathetic because, she never rises above that stereotype into a three dimensional character. Jackie Earle Haley has a moderate part as OCP’s military expert but, his Rick Mattox is also a stereotypical military bad guy and he never is given much chance to give him the rage or depth of his Rorschach character from Watchman and that is just another of this film’s woes. Weak villains… not that the good guys fair much better… and the whole corporate conspiracy thing they are involved in makes no sense. If the public accepts Robocop because he is part human, how does it somehow make them suddenly accept the drones who are all machine. If they like Robo because he is a person underneath the armor, that should make them even less accepting of the inhuman machines that OCP wants to shove down our throats but, this is even more evidence of the weak script. At least production value is strong. The FX in the film are all quite good but, without an emotional center, they are as cold as the rest of the movie and while I liked the initial Robocop design that pays homage to the original’s look, the final black ‘tactical’ version looks like a plastic Batman costume with a helmet instead of the cowl. Boring. The score by Pedro Bromfman adds little to the atmosphere or drama and is equally forgettable. I couldn’t hum a single note unless it’s the few times it revisits the original score by Basil Poledouris. Yes, I did try to look at this flick on it’s own but, ultimately the comparisons do have to be made as it is called Robocop and is technically a remake and, with or without comparisons, this flick fails on most levels. Basically, the makers of this new generation of Robocop have taken something that was very special and recreated it into something routine and quite forgettable… uh… bravo?
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes turned out to be a really good flick and a pleasant surprise so, I am looking forward to it’s Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) helmed and Gary Oldman starring sequel. The new teaser only heightens that anticipation. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is set to open 5/23/2014!
Watched this while I sat on the couch in my Thanksgiving food coma and decided to write a more comprehensive review then I had when it first came out…
After the disastrous Batman and Robin, the Batman series went on hiatus until Chris Nolan rebooted the series with this dark and yet energetic film that returns Batman (Christian Bale) to his origins and portrays The Dark Knight like he should have been portrayed all along, a dark brooding character who dwells in the shadows and not a cabaret act with plastic nipples on his costume. The story starts off with a first half that flashes back and forth between Bruce Wayne’s life as a child (Gus Lewis) and young adult and the subsequent murder of his parents in front of him, and his modern day quest to get deep inside the criminal mind-set by living and acting among them. While in jail in South Asia, Wayne is confronted by Ducard (Liam Neeson) an emissary for Ra’s al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) a mystic who promises to give him the means to fight the criminal element. Ducard trains Wayne in the art of the ninja but, when Bruce finds that Ra’s methods include murder, he rebels and destroys The League Of Shadows hideout before returning to Gotham to put his training to use as a symbol of good who’ll combat the evil rotting away at Gotham… and The Batman is born. But not only must Batman, along with his trusty butler Alfred (a brilliant Michael Caine), scientist Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and good cop Sgt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman), battle crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom WIlkinson) and the psychotic Dr. Jonathan Crane AKA The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) but, a resurrected Ra’s al Ghul who has a catastrophic plan for the city of Gotham. Now that Nolan’s classic Batman trilogy is complete, I can say that this first entry is the lightest and least drama heavy of the three… thought it is far darker and more intense then the previous series. While Batman/Wayne is a brooding character, he has yet to gain the weariness and emotional battle scars he would experience in the following entries. And that works here as we see a Batman who is new at this crime fighting gig and is kinda enjoying it before the weight of the responsibility he has given himself sets in. There is depth to the character and Bale makes a great Bruce Wayne/Batman bringing the pain and rage that drives him to life, without losing the hero in the process. As for his beginnings, the story not only handles the origin strongly but, gives us some strikingly powerful scenes that give us a far better sense of how this man came to be who he is, far better then the Burton film did. Chris Nolan creates a dark and gothic Batman, both visually and conceptually, but, never gets swallowed up by it. The film is still fast paced and exceptionally entertaining despite it’s dark trappings and Nolan also mixes in 3 villains and large cast of characters and does it without creating an overcrowded mess as with the last film. Every character is developed properly and a fine cast gets equal credit. And what a cast it is. This is possibly one of the best cast films… and series… that you can get. As stated, Bale is great in the part, he creates a Batman who is strong and noble yet very human and he creates a multi-layered Bruce Wayne who is carefree playboy to the outside world and a complex and emotionally scarred man to those few close to him. Watching him evolve the characters over the next two films is a cinematic treat. Caine is simply brilliant as the supportive, caring and honorable Alfred, as is Freeman as the Wayne Enterprises scientist who answers the question “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” and Oldman as the possibly last honest cop in Gotham, who may now have an ally who is above all the corruption and serves the same noble purpose. We can see the hope it gives him, thought is is imbued with caution. Neeson is near perfect… as always… as the villain who shares Batman’s nobility but, with a far different set of principles and methods. Cillian Murphy is slimy and creepy as both Crane and his alter ego Scarecrow and has some amusing cameos in the following entries. Tom Wilkinson practically steals the show as Carmine Falcone, the smug mob boss with a sarcastic sense of humor that makes him even more threatening. Katie Homes may not be quite up to the caliber as some of her co-stars but, she does present a strong and spunky assistant D.A., Rachel Dawes, who is quite believable when she stands up to Falcone’s thugs and Crane’s Scarecrow on her own and also as a caring love interest to Bruce. Rounding out are Rutger Hauer as Wayne Enterprises CEO with his own agenda, Mark Boone Junior as Gordon’s crooked partner and the incomparable Shane Rimmer as a DWP technician. Batman Begins is a great comic book movie and is still one of the best Batman films despite being overshadowed by the masterpiece that is it’s sequel and the epic and operatic third entry. It’s the most “fun” of the three modern classics Nolan has crafted and a great start to a film trilogy that is simply of of the best trilogies in movie history. A Bat Blast!