Saturday, June 30, 2012

Movie Review - Bomb Squad

Well this time I hit the jackpot of bad, with this movie choice.  The movie I, attempted to watch was called Bomb Squad.  IMDB - Post

So the premise of this movie is a little bit fuzzy for me.  We have people with super powers breaking into a facility to steal something.  Not sure what they were stealing or who they were working for.  What I am sure of is the really bad special effects and even worse acting.  This was hard to sit through and I ended up falling asleep about a half hour into the movie.  I woke up about half an hour later and it had not gotten any better so I simply shut it off.

I have stayed up until 1 or even 2 am watching movies and writing the reviews, however this movie put me to sleep at 11:00.  I think that says something about the quality of this movie all by itself.  I am unfortunately a sucker for super hero movie, however I would not classify this one as a super hero movie.

 I think my first warning that this movie was about to waste 2 hours of my life came at the beginning credits.  The movie was directed, written, produced, and scored by the same person.  I believe that this was a student film released to the public, and if I am correct about that then I would say good effort.  However I hope your next film gets better.

As I said the acting was pretty bad, especially by younger actors.  A few of the adults in the movie were not half bad but the kids in this movie were awful.

I never did finished watching this movie but I doubt it would have gotten any better.  If you really like bad Sci-Fi movies I would recommend it to you, but otherwise avoid this one.

I would rate this movie at one and a half smiley Mike heads.  I just can't quite be mean enough to give it one frowning Mike head.

Bad acting, obscure plot, terrible special effects, just not worth it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Movie Review - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I rented this movie hearing that it was rather good.  IMDB - Post  What I had heard was correct, however I must say it truly deserves its R rating.  I'm pretty sure that I was expecting an action film, what I got was a physiological drama.

The premise of the film is not made clear until about half an hour into the movie.  We spend the first half hour building the characters back story and developing the motive of the main character for taking part in the film in the first place.

It is certainly a slow build but once it catches your attention it never lets go.  The movie's male lead Mikael (Michael) Blomkvist is a journalist who is convicted of liable and disgraced by the hands of the man he tried to bring down.

The female lead in this film is Lisbeth Salander.  She has some issues of her own that she is working through.  Abused and forgotten by the state she has been declared mentally unstable.  She might be a bit unstable be she is in full control of herself at all times.

After Mikael steps down as the head of the publication he works for, he is then approached by Henrik Vanger.  Henrik who was the head of a very large family corporation hires Mikael to solve the mysterious disappearance of one of his family members.  The case is 40 years old and he has to dig up the skeletons in the Vanger family closet to figure out what happened to Harriet all those years ago.

Of course there are those in the family who want to keep those skeletons quite well buried.  He faces many challenges along the way, including someone taking shots at him, quite literally.

The film is very dark, it has a grittiness that is only helped by the strangeness of its soundtrack.  Often you will hear very horror movie like sounds in the background.  Nothing as cheesy as chh chh chh, haa haa haa, but creepy and scary like an actual horror movie.  I have to admit though it was very well done.

The film really felt like two films smashed together.  We have the back story we start in the beginning, we move on to the Vanger family mystery where we actually introduce the two main characters to each other, then we come around to the back story again to clean it up to finish the story off quite nicely.

There were a few times that I felt a little out of the loop so to speak.  This was largely due to the fact that they never quite tell you why Mikael was trying to take down the company he attacked in the first place.

Overall I did like this film, it was dark and sadistic at times.  Lets just say that if you are offended by sexual acts then you might want to run screaming and flailing from this movie like it has a flaming case of herpes.  I will reiterate by saying that there are multiple acts of rape and holy crap she just did what, with that, to him, where?  Ewww, note to self never anger this woman, although in her defense he deserved it.  By the end of the film you do get some much needed justice for multiple people in the film.

If you love movies that make you think and challenge your mind then I would recommend this movie.  If your not afraid of the darker side then this is a really well made movie that you should enjoy.

The characters are very well written.  Their motivations are pretty clear based on their back story and actions.  This is actually the second film adaptation of this book and I hear that the previous made in Sweden didn't translate well to the US audience.  The author of the book series called the Millennium Series was actually of Swedish decent.  Published after his death the books quickly became an overnight success both in Europe and in the United States.

Seeing as how I did not watch the previous version of the film I cannot comment in depth.  However you will perhaps see a review for it on this blog in the future since I have access to that adaptation of the book.

I rate this film four out of five smiley Mike heads.

There was a little bit too much suspense and creepiness in this film for my liking.  I do love the strong female lead though.  It is a bit sad what she had to go though to become the tenacious person she is in this film.  Also as you know by now, I am a stickler for endings and this one is a bit of a downer.
As always comments are most welcomed, let me know if you've seen the movie, if you haven't seen the movie, want to see it after reading my review, or even if you have a pulse and want to tell me about it.  I have received zero feedback so far and would like to know what you think.  Thanks for reading, I hope I have amused and informed you.  Have a great day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Movie Review - Chronicle

I picked up this unassuming movie tonight at the video store.  I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting.  What I got was an absolute image of human nature.  The movie is Chronicle.  IMDB Post

This movie follows the life of one high school senior Andrew Detmer as he decides to start filming his life.  This normally wouldn't be that horribly exciting except for one extraordinary event.  Andrew and his cousin Matt Garetty along with Matt's best friend Steve Montgomery stumble upon a cave in the woods.  What lies in the cave changes their lives forever.

This movie has a very Blair Witch like feel since it is shot almost entirely from the first person.  Andrew holds the camera for most of the shots, they make some concessions to this later in the film simply to continue telling the story.

The camera angles are amazing, the cinematography is simply remarkable.  The special effects are stellar, really top notch.  The effects do what they should do, allow you to suspend your disbelief.  After all if you are watching the special effects you are not really paying attention to the story line.

I'm trying really hard not to give away too much of the story line because it really should be experienced and not read about.  I would say that this movie was quite the sleeper actually.  It was not expected to do exceptionally well in theatres however it did quite well indeed.  I'm not talking spiderman well but better than expected.

If you like Sci-Fi movies that make you think, or even modern day fantasy movies, then I strongly recommend this one to you.

It certainly makes me think that this movie is not very far removed from what would happen in real life if the events unfolded the same way.  They did a great job with writing the characters, and building their back stories so you truly understand the motives for their actions.

I give this movie four out of five smiley Mike heads.

It was fun to watch, you wish it might have turned out differently, but human nature is a pain.

As always thanks for reading, feel free to share your comments below.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Movie Review - Fright Night (Original)

Tonight's movie is the original Fright Night from 1985.  IMDB Post - Fright Night

Having watched this movie when it was first released I can say that it was pretty scary back then.  I do remember liking this movie though.

Having watched it again, especially after watching the new version of the film just a week ago, it was a new experience.  For those of you who may have missed my review of the remake you can catch that here.

This movie was one of the best horror movies of the genre, in its day.  Set back when the world had crazy fashion and music.  There two elements of the film do not translate well for anyone of today's audience.  If someone that has not seen the file in the original era were to watch it today this would be glaringly obvious.

This film has a slightly different premise than the remake does.  We have Charley Brewster who is a geeky average teenager making out with his girlfriend when he happens to get up and look out the windows to see a coffin being delivered in the middle of the night to the vacant neighbors house.  This of course starts his obsession with his new neighbor.  Sometimes, it really is best just not to ask questions.

I noticed that we have many of the same scenes in the remake as we do this original.  However many of the scenes have been shaken up a bit to make them more modern.  I don't quite remember Peter Vincent being quite so much of a wuss when I watched it the first time.  However they did improve that for the remake, I was glad about that actually.

I have to admit that some of the creature makeup is a bit cheesy but overall it still looks pretty good even for being such an old movie.  They did an excellent job with the house next door where Jerry Dandrige moves into, it looks like a vampire's lair.

If you like scary movies and you don't mind a bit of cheese, then I would suggest this movie.  Not quite as bad a the Friday the 13th movies, lets face it they really don't stand the test of time.  The effects were so bad they made me laugh.  Imagine if you will a stormy night for the special effects we are going to pull out the stock lightning noise and shine a yellow flashlight on the actors and make it flicker, I think you see my point.

This movie however is still a touch on the scary side, sure the chase scenes are not terribly scary by today's standards.  Certainly compared to the remake this one is almost laughable but that is the point.  What scared us in 1985 has been done in 1000 movies by now.  I am glad that the remake paid such close attention to detail and stayed true to the original story like they did.  The story is fairly timeless, especially with all of the books out there themed around modern day Vampires and Werewolves this film still fits in.  Both the original and the remake are great stories.

I am a bit disappointed that they went with the terribly cliché horror movie ending though.  You know what I'm talking about, we killed the bad guy, but wait look over there, you missed his apprentice, or he's not really dead.  These are crappy endings as far as I'm concerned.

I give this film three and a half out of five smiley Mike heads.

I might have rated it higher but I'm not really into horror as a genre anymore and the fact that the wardrobe and music are terribly 80's.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Under the Mountain

Tonight's movie review is Under the Mountain. Posting

The movie takes place in the modern day and follows the lives of twins.  A brother Theo and a sister Rachel, we start the movie with their mother dying.  Then their father sends them to live with there aunt and uncle for the summer.

It is at this point the movie really starts to get rolling.  There is a strange creepy house with strange creepy people living in it.  Of course the twins curiosity gets the better of them and they have to investigate.

When the creepy people start to take an interest in the twins they then find Mr. Jones (Sam Neill), This strange old man teaches them the true nature of the creepy people next door and then things get really interesting.

The acting in this movie was actually quite good.  The story, while interesting and involving was really quite simple.  It almost feels a bit too crammed together so to speak.  I get the feeling that this was made from a really great book that we only scratch the surface of in the movie.  And with a minute amount of searching I find that this movie is indeed based on the book of the same name.

The visual effects were quite impressive for a movie that probably did not have a Hollywood type budget.  I suppose with the pace of technology it doesn't take a ton of money to produce a movie with decent special effects.  That's not to say you can produce Avatar on your mother computer but you get my point I'm sure.

I rate this movie four out of five smiley Mike heads.

I would have rated it a five if they could have fleshed out the story better and perhaps the characters would have not come off so teen angsty.

I would recommend it for those looking for a decent fantasy movie.  With so many on the shelf today this one is actually a cut above some I have seen.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I just watched HOP. Post

This was a pretty classic setup for a children's movie. Setup the plot, bad things happen, main character learns a lesson, introduce villain, comes back to save the day.

At the end you felt so happy it was almost as if sunbeams were coming out from between your buttocks and fairies just puked all over you. The cast was pretty amazing with the exception of James Marsden being cast as a 20 something. This guy is older than I am for heavens sakes.

Eric especially liked how EB pooped jelly beans. The Hoff was pretty funny, I'm not sure if he was supposed to be a bit of a caricature of himself but it was pretty funny.

I really liked the bright colorful world of the Easter Bunny. All in all it was a fun movie, I'm glad that I got to watch it with my son.

I give the movie four out of five smiley Mike heads.

As always thanks for reading.

Book Review - Emperor Mollusk vs. The Sinister Brain

Book Cover
I have done movie reviews quite a bit lately so I figured what the heck I can do a book review, right? Sure why the heck not. Today's book is Emperor Mollusk vs The Sinister Brain by A Lee Martinez Barnes&Nobel Post

In one phrase I would describe this book as Sci-Fi at it's best. Even the title screams eccentric, mad cap adventures. This book actually seems a bit less funny than previous books by this author, but it was still very amusing. I don't recall any scenes in this book that made me laugh out loud but it was extremely entertaining.

There were times I found myself having to pause to take in the truly enthralling nature of the scene that I just read. I'm sure there was more than one time where I neglected to realize the amusing nature of something that I had just read. I chalk that up to ADD, and two young children running around the house pretending to have death rays of their own destroying everything in their path.

I have to admit though some of my favorite things in this book were the gadgets that Emperor Mollusk creates. Martinez has a true gift for coming up with ridiculous yet technical sounding names for all these great gadgets.

The book also has some very strong characters. Of course we have Emperor Mollusk himself, self proclaimed Warlord or Terra. He is a mollusk from the planet of Neptune who rides around in an robotic exoskeleton. He is just entirely too smart for his own good. This of course is a great source for many of the mad cap adventures that I mentioned previously. He is a bit of a self centered pompous overlord but he had a very good heart.

Perhaps my favorite character of the book Zala. She is a reptile like creature and commander in the Venusian army. She starts off way too lawful good for my liking. However as the book progresses you get to see her develop into something more than a simple army commander.

And who can forget Snarg the lovable "pet" of Emperor Mollusk. Snarg is a genetically altered giant centipede that acts more like a dog then a centipede.

This book actually left me with a huge smile as the ending was absolutely perfect. It just felt right considering the events that played out in the book.

If you are looking for a great book to read and you like funny Sci-Fi or fantasy, I highly recommend this book for you.

I give this four and a half out of five smiley Mike heads.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Movie Review - Fright Night (2012)

Movie Review: So I was flat out told that I had to get the new Fright Night. I am glad that I listened, it was awesome. Post

This movie was updated brilliantly for the new millennium. Yes it was scary but it had just enough humor that it wasn't too intense. So lets start at the beginning shall we. What do you do when your new neighbor turns out to be a Vampire? Stake him of course, but wait I'm getting ahead of myself.

I know this is the part where I'm supposed to rip on the movie, however I really have no issues with this movie. The music was superbly done, special effects were used appropriately and the scenes were shot beautifully.

I particularly like one of the scenes at the beginning of the movie where this kid is hiding under the bed from the Vampire. He grabs a gun but it has a gun lock on it. He reaches next to him to his dead father's pocket to get the keys. As he turns away the camera under the bed shows his father being pulled away. He then turns to see him gone, pause a moment, then, well you are going to have to watch it to see how the scene ends.

Needless to say it was very well written and was true to the original while adding more modern twists. I really wanted to get the original as well however it was out at the video store.

Even if you don't typically like scary movies I would still suggest you watch it. It is rather amusing.  Yes my friend who insisted I rent this, David Tennant is amazing in this movie.

I give this movie five out of five smiley Mike heads.

It is a great tribute to the original movie, I highly enjoyed it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tonight's movie adventure was called "Red Werewolf Hunter"

To start with you can definitely tell that this was a low budget movie. It wasn't so low budget where no one can act and ever special effect looked like my 4 year old created it on his VTech. However the fact that they had only 4 sets they kept revisiting was a bit of a tell.

The movie stars Felicia Day whom anyone who watches videos on the Internet knows from both Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog and The Guild. Who knew she could actually act in a dramatic role.

Essentially Felicia's character Virgina is bringing her fiancée to meet the family. Then we find out her family hunts Werewolves for a living. Oh yeah honey I forgot to tell you Werewolves do exist and I blow their heads off. This is a Mike quote and not a movie quote by the way. Shortly into the movie her fiancée has an encounter with a werewolf and things start to get interesting. Well interesting might be a bit of a stretch, this movie has its moments but as a whole I can't help but find it lacking.

There are some really great, (well good, great is a bit of an exaggeration) moments. There is some pretty good acting, the lines are fairly well written overall and it was amusing to watch. There was definitely some excellent weaponry, cool costumes and decent special effects.

I can't help but focus on some of the bad points of the movie though. The fact that a werewolf just happens to get open a cell door that is reinforced and meant to hold in werewolves, REALLY, hangs head in disappointment. SPOILER ALERT The fact that almost everyone in the movie dies. I really, really, hate those types of movies.

I guess I naively think that we are supposed to learn something from a movie. I like to watch the main character grow from his experience in the movie. Although sometimes it is simply fun to watch the main character blow shit up and kick ass. But if no one is alive at the end what is the point, really.

Also what is with the sad, dramatic endings. This movie could have been 5-10 minutes shorter and had a much better ending. But no they had to create the brooding hate filled back story for the main character. Do we as Americans really hate happy endings that much. Grrrrrr.

I am glad I watched this movie though, it is always fun to see Felicia Day too. The other actors were good as well, and if you don't expect too much from your movies I would recommend this one to you. Of course not a movie for the kiddies, but that seems pretty obvious.

I give this movie three out of five smiley Mike heads.

I will just say this though if this family was as stupid as they are in this movie its amazing they weren't wiped out a hundred years ago. As always thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tonight's movie was John Carter. Seeing the previews for this movie made me really want to watch it.

I have to admit it was rather fun to watch. It was almost Steampunk in a way, the ships in the movie were very high tech meets primitive. The story was very complex and the acting was pretty good as well. I feel like the story was almost too complex to truly be understood in one viewing.

We start the file with John Carter trying to get supplies to mine for gold in his newly discovered gold mine. He has quite the attitude about pretty much everything. It takes quite a while before you give a crap about John Carter, because of his attitude. He angers the wrong people gets in some trouble, running from the trouble he gets into more trouble only to find this cave and strange object. Next thing he knows he isn't in Virgina any more.

You can tell that this was a big budget film with lots of special effects. This made it very fun and pretty to watch. However it feels like they tried to cram too much into the movie and none of it really gets explained or fleshed out really well. This would have made a great TV series or even an excellent roleplaying system. However as a movie goes it felt very compressed, I have to say I was expecting more from this film.

Because of the disconnected feeling from the story lines and the randomness of some of the scenes I have to rate this film lower than I would like.

I rate this film three out of five smiley Mike heads.

Worth watching just don't be distracted you will miss things, lots of things.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tonight's movie is apparently a made for TV movie. after watching it I'm pretty sure it was made by the British equivalent of Hallmark.  You know, one of those movies where it isn't over until you are crying your eyes out and have gone through a box of tissues.

So the story revolves around a family who has a preteen boy who is in school and his mother is pregnant.  The father works too much and they fight way too much.  They move to a new bigger home that is run down.  The boy then finds a hobo living in the run down shack in the back yard.

He befriends the hobo even though he looks like he very much wants to eat the boy.  The hobo also makes all kinds of disgusting noises and eats gross things like slugs.  For more than half the movie he tries to help the hobo feel better.  This is because he is collapsed in a heap and refuses to move.

His mother has the baby only to find out she is sick and needs surgery.  I will warn you I am about to spoil this movie for anyone who wants to actually watch this emotional wreck.  The boy rescues the hobo from a fire burns his hand only to find out that the hobo can heal people.  So now three quarters of the way through the movie we find out the plot.

So for the sake of making the movie that much longer, hobo refuses to heal his baby sister for about 20 more minutes.  Until the kids throws himself off a tower to dare hobo into rescuing him.  I suppose it would be helpful at this point to let you know that hobo has wings.  He is of course "Owl Man", but no mask and tights, of course that would have made it more interesting.

The acting was good despite the super drama level.  Sets were good and the special effect were kept to a minimum and were done well.  It's better then the other piece of drivel I rented "The Mystical Adventures Billy Owens" which were not mystical or adventure like.

I give this movie two and a half out of five smiley Mike heads.

I might have given it three for all the positives I listed, escept I had to take away at least a half.  This due to the fact that this movie was created to be nothing better than a tear fest.  You know the type of movie to which I am referring.  It is somehow supposed to make you feel all uplifted and fuzzy but in the end just makes you sad and tired.
Collapse this post

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Movie Review: Tonight's film was Paper Man

I have to admit going into this movie I was expecting a fluff piece. Looking at the cover of the movie it seemed very silly and almost a comedy. I have to admit that it was very funny, although a bit uncomfortable but I am getting ahead of myself.

Paper Man stars Jeff Daniels as Richard a writer who is trying to write his latest book at an out of the way cabin. His wife Claire played by Lisa Kudrow is a prominent doctor who drives Richard out to the cabin so he can write his book. She makes appearances throughout the movie to check in on Richard.

Ryan Reynolds plays Capitan Excellent who is Richard's imaginary friend from his childhood. His performance is nothing short of amazing in this role. He is constantly taunting Richard and pointing out his bad decisions.

The movie really starts when Richard rides a children sized bike into the town. He sees Abby played by Emma Stone setting fire to a trash can. He awkwardly puts it out with his coat and decides to follow her on his bike. Pressed for a reason why he is following her he asks her to babysit for a child he doesn't have.

The rest of the film is full of funny and awkward moments, the music is great if you like Indie music. The acting is wonderful and the writing is just short of amazing. They deal with some hard issues and you find that neither Abby nor Richard are short of their flaws. The whole thing falls down around Richard in the end, but it has a great ending that makes you feel good about the two hours you just invested in the movie.

If you are looking for a movie that will make you feel something then I highly recommend this one. It made me laugh, and it almost made me cry.

I rate this movie five out of five smiley mike heads.
Friday nights movie, was called Outlander

With Jim Caviezel (Person of Interest) and Sophia Myles (Moonlight) there were several other well know actors in this movie including Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and John Hurt (Harry Potter:Olivander). Oddly enough John Hurt was also in Hellboy with Ron Perlman.

I have to say the description on the box was fairly accurate, Beowulf meets Predator. It was very well scripted though and the lines never felt forced or cheesy. You could really tell that they spent money on the special effects too. However none of the explosions were over the top and all of the effects were used to help tell the story. There was no shock and awe that some big budget films have. You know where they blow stuff up just to blow stuff up.

The basic premise revolves around a space ship crashing on 709 AD earth in Viking ruled Norway. The space ship was carrying a creature which gets loose in the crash and ends up eating everyone. I know you are screaming Aliens or Predator but really this is much better then both of those. Sure it's gory and bloody but it has much more heart and feel good then either of those movies.

I was really impressed as a whole, the sets were beautiful and so was the creature. They also did a great job of explaining why the creature was so pissed off and killing everyone. You don't often get both sides of the story in movies of this genre.

If half of the Sci-Fi films made were produced this well I would have a lot more good movies to watch. Thankfully it wasn't made by SyFy channel then it would have simply been Sharktopus or any of the other numerous pieces of crap that they have churned out. Or even Snakes on a Plane, but at least that move gave us a really memorable line. "I am sick of these motherf&*king snakes on this motherf&*king plane".

I will admit that I didn't have high expectations going into this movie however I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like blood and gore and fantasy movies then this is a must see film. The more I think about this I realize they took and combined two of my favorite movie genre's Fantasy and Sci-Fi, genius.

I rate this movie Five our of Five smiley Mike heads.
9 the movie has got to be one of the strangest post apocalyptic movies I have ever seen.

I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I rented this movie.  I had heard good things when I and I knew that Tim Burton was attached to this so I had to watch it.

The theme of the movie is that technology can destroy us as a race.  Being a tech guy I can sometimes see how technology can be a bad thing.  As you watch the movie you find out that we created technology that turned on us.  This is nothing new as far as story lines go (Matrix, Terminator) however this is a very new take on the concept.

I can't really talk more about the plot without giving away some of the great secrets of the movie.  It is dark and a bit on the depressing side but in the end it really makes you think about what it is to be human.

There are some really great voice actors in this film and it has some really great cinematic moments.  There is a scene near the end when there is a celebration then they find out that the danger isn't really over yet.  The way they transition this part with the music as well as the pictures is brilliant.

Even though it is dark and a bit depressing I would still highly recommend it.

I give this movie four out of five smiley Mike heads.