Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Terminator Genisys (2015)



"Terminator Genisys" wants to be, but it's not ... "Genesis" (aka "T1 Reloaded" if the hint is too obscure), as well as Jai Courtney is not Michael Biehn, Emilia Clarke is not Linda Hamilton, Byung-hun Lee dies too quickly to be Robert Patrick (yeah, yeah, spoiler .. and yeah, yeah, I know that's in T2), and Schwarzenegger is "old ... but not obsolete" ;).

Coincidence after last time, we have again a movie saved by Arnold. Probably many critics who bashed Terminator Episode 5 won't agree with that, but I'm asking then ... if T5 is so lame, how would it be without even the recycled T-800. I don't want to imagine that ... But, let's get to the point. Why is T5 so bad? Well ... first it's debatable if it's that bad. As in many other case the story is good. The script, however, is horrible. And the casting is awful. To cap it, the trailer gives a twist, which even though it doesn't have a major impact could've been handled more discrete. In brief, the timeline got altered in a way that doesn't deserve killing neurons to figure out and Kyle Reese sent back in time to save Sarah Connor, gets to be "damsel in distress". And, in a conflict that seems picked out of a Greek tragedy, the unborn son, returned in time with metal anatomic parts, gets to be main enemy. As I said, let's not consume neurons. Anyway ... too many spoilers :) (still, the story is quite ok ...)

No matter what the hardcore fans would say, who probably would've preferred a T1 screening for their T5 ticket (I've heard comments claiming the effects were better there .....), the latest version is not that bad. For who's really nostalgic about the first movies, is impossible not to be touched a bit by some remade scenes, well .. evolving differently, but which we've seen for the first time many, many years ago. Starting with the landing back in time, up to more subtle references = landing (more or less ...) a chopper at the new Cyberdyne HQ. And even if this doesn't bring a memory, I've personally never seen a "serious" chopper chase before :) at least for originality it gets a well deserved plus ...

I guess that a bigger problem than the ton of cliche and the periodic stupidity of the script lines is the terrible casting. Jason Clarke is a major disappointment to what I was expecting. Emilia Clarke tries, but she can't be Sarah Connor. The "Mother of Dragons" is not sufficiently rugged as screen presence to offer credibility for a female version of a Che Guevara risen against uncontrolled technical advancements. And Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese ... I didn't think I'll ever get to praise the acting capacity of Michael Biehn, who got mostly obscure secondary parts in his career besides the Cameron collaboration. Speaking about Jai Courtney I remembered about another failed sequel = the latest "Die Hard". And about a big difference ... If Bruce Willis there seemed to just wait to cash in the check and go home .. Arnold here respects the part that defined his career. He enjoys it. And that probably makes him to be pretty much the only actor in the whole cast that doesn't seem miscast. Luckily there's still an ... "I'll be back" :) no matter how dumb is the moment when it's delivered ;) ...

Rating: 3 out of 5



Monday, June 29, 2015

Maggie (2015)

I'll say it from start: if you want to see a zombie movie skip "Maggie". Look for something else. Even if you want to see a different approach to a zombie movie, still ... look for something else. However, if you want a proof that Schwarzenegger can act ... then you can spend one hour and a half for this. I'm not talking about an Oscar performance, but it was something like the revelation I had more than ten years ago when I've watched Wesley Snipes in "Liberty Stands Still". Schwarzenegger in a drama role of a troubled father, totally atypical, which is carried successfully up to the end credits, is probably the only positive aspect of this movie. A completely opposite shallow performance does Abigail Breslin, holding the leading part of Maggie, a girl infected by a zombification virus, who's health is slowly degrading. The script doesn't help. Neither the directing, the cinematography, the sound, nothing. It's a slow movie that seems to take more time than it does, and probably deserves watching mostly if you want to see something to make you sleepy before bed-time ... probably a paradox in the zombie movie range.

Rating: 2 out of 5



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Jurassic World (2015)




After more than 20 years since "Jurassic Park" and two less fortunate sequels, we're back on Isla Nublar where the story started. Somehow, despite the previous gruesome experiences, InGen (the owner company) finally managed to open the park for public, re-branded as "Jurassic World" and functioning at full capacity = somewhere at > 20.000 visitors present on the island. Or to put it differently, more than 20 thousand walking steaks for the dinosaurs lunch. Predictable, right ? :)

It's sort of rhetorical to discuss the subject of a "disaster movie", since this is what we have here after all. Obviously the situation will get out of control, the word end will come, and somehow everything will magically solve out. Because of this standard recipe, I generally avoid disaster movies. They're boring. The "Jurassic" series is the exception. I don't know if that's because the "disaster" = the dinosaurs is more exotic, or purely due to nostalgia related to the first movie I've seen in a fully packed cinema. Somehow, each movie managed to pass my "like" threshold, at least a bit. The recipe works again: it's summer, we have a tropical island, and the velociraptors have their hunting ground ready for play. Unlike a typical "disaster movie" (= asteroids, earthquakes, volcanoes) here the thrill effect is a different one. It might sound a bit strange as comparison, but it feels you have something more in common with a zombie horror a la Romero, where the survivors group must face a more dynamical, less predictable and hungry danger :) And that makes it fun ...

The contrast between a welcoming environment and the growing terror in it will always result in a "catchy" effect. No matter if, following the example above, we're speaking of zombie hordes keeping a mall under siege, or dinosaur hordes left loose on a vacation resort. As much as this movie gains from the context feeling, it unfortunately looses due to "SciFi" scenes like (spoilers) unpredictable alliances between T-Rex and raptors or the idea to use dinosaurs as hunting dogs. Even so, I liked it. It definitely has something from "the adventure feeling" of the first "Jurassic Park" specific for the '80s-'90s, something that sort of got lost in time. So, obviously subjective :) ...

Rating: 4 out of 5



Saturday, June 6, 2015

Summer-Fall 2015 Movie Preview Part 2


September starts with "No Escape". I was expecting something like "based on real facts" when the trailer ended. Looks like it's not the case. Pure fiction ...




We're moving on to "The Little Prince". I don't know why this seems to be a bit too ... Hollywoodish ... for the story it's based on ...




September continues with "Maze Runner" - 2nd part. Apparently, my hunch that this will transform in a sort of yet another "Hunger Games" series is confirmed. True though, this is one that shows more promise ...




Guillermo del Toro returns in October to the genre he got known for before "Pan's Labyrinth" or "Pacific Rim" = horror. "Crimson Peak" seems like something a bit different in the latest flood of ghost stories ...




"Bridge of Spies" seems to be the most promising Spielberg production since "Munich". This means in the last 10 year. Seems to ... We'll see if it confirms.




Vin Diesel is "The Last Witch Hunter" during this year's Halloween. I don't see in the trailer other reason for watching this besides keeping the season "spirit", despite the movie having Michael Caine in the cast to inspire confidence ...




I didn't like the last Bond. Yes, I know, I know ... best reviews in years for the series ... don't care about that = too superficial for me. "Spectre", to be released in November, seems to be a bit more close to the level of Sam Mendes's direction ("Road to Perdition", "American Beauty"). Well, I hope so ...




That's pretty much all for this preview round. It could be better, but I think we're quite ok with the incoming line-up ;) ...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer-Fall 2015 Movie Preview Part 1


Let's start counting what this year's summer-fall season brings with a horror. My current mood asks for one ... In June we have the release of the third part of "Insidious". The first episode was spooky. The second I skipped since it seemed too lame. The third shows some promise. We'll see ...




If we're talking about sequels, soon arrives also "Jurassic World". Generally, I don't trust obscure directors leading box office hits, but in this case (Colin Trevorrow) we have an exception = remember "Safety not Guaranteed" ? ... probably not :) anyway ... If this is at least half heart touching as that one was ...




After evil spirits and sharp teeth equipped dinosaurs, let's move to a lighter area (not that I have many options left for June). "Inside Out", the latest Disney/Pixar production carries us into the dark threatening corners of the mind (I'm struggling to make this look like a horror too ... told you .. my current mood requires it)




July starts with "Terminator Genisys", top expected movie on my personal list for this summer. If it's hard to get why, after the last two iterations: T3 (which wasn't that bad actually) and Salvation, well ... the reason is sort of ... personal let's say = if somewhere around your 10th birthday you've watched T2 in cinema, trust me, the sequels can be as bad as possible, you'll still wait for the next one ;) (even though it's hard to accept Emilia Clarke in place of Linda Hamilton ... but well ... at least Arnold is back).




The only problem of "Self/less" is that the trailer says a lot. Pretty much everything. So I won't write more ...




I liked the previous "Mission Impossible". Much more than the latest Bond. So for the end of July that's on the what-to-see schedule.




Since it's impossible to pass a summer without Marvel movies, I decided to mention one for August - the reboot of "Fantastic Four". Contrary to most of the opinions, and opposite to other gatherings of this type (aka "Avengers") I liked the first two movies from 2005/2007 where Chris Evans was training as Johnny Storm for Captain America. I don't know how the new version it's gonna be, but I have at least a subjective reason to be interested in it: Kate Mara :P the rest doesn't count that much ...




I started with a horror, I'm closing the summer with thrillers. The first is "The Gift". Classic psycho stalker subject apparently.




Also in August we have "Cop Car". Seems more original. With a Kevin Bacon who looks so mean as we didn't see since "Invisible Man" (actually we didn't see him there either ... matter of interpretation).




That's the summer. Next round - september - november.