28 December 2011

Green Lantern (2011)

Disclaimer:  I have no prior knowledge of the Green Lantern mythos, other than what I've learned from The Big Bang Theory.

Green Lantern tells the story of Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) a test pilot who was selected by the ring of Abin Sur, as Abin Sur lies dying after a run in with Parallax.  Parallax is an enemy of the Green Lantern Corps (its big).  So of course, Earth lies in the path of Parallax, and Hal Jordan is the only one that can stop the destruction of Earth.  Oh, what about the REST OF THE LANTERN CORPS?  Well, apparently humans are young, petulant, etc and they only show up after Hal Jordan kicks the living shit out of Parallax.

I liked it.  Not to the same level as say Iron Man, but I really enjoyed it.  The whole idea of the Green Lantern power (create anything you want with the power of your mind) to me is a bit...easy.  To be able to create anything?  And its as strong as your will?  Eh, seems a bit too much, well the phrase God-like comes to mind.  I also read a review where people were bitching that Jordan at several points creates machine guns.  I say, whats wrong with that?  You can only create what you know, and if that is what you know then so be it.  I especially enjoyed a scene towards the end where he created two F-35s to pull him to safety.

I have a soft spot for superhero movies, and this is no exception.  Its not the greatest, but its not the worse.  I'd suggest it for anybody who likes a decent movie.  I can see if you are a fan of the Green Lantern comics how this might cause you heartburn, but hey, its a movie.

26 December 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (USA) 2011

It was with great curiosity that I wanted to see this version of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.'  I had both read the book and saw the Swedish film.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I far enjoyed this version of the film far more than the Swedish film.  For starters, the American film actually covers quite a bit more of the book than the Swedish film.  Which, I would have thought the opposite.  The other thing that surprised me is that they kept the setting in Sweden.  I would not have been at all surprised had they moved the location from Sweden to somewhere in the USA.

So, to our cast.  Daniel Craig plays the role of Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara plays the role of Lisbeth Salander.  Christopher Plummer plays Henrik Vanger, the man who hires Blomkvist to investigate the disappearance of his niece 40 years ago.  I liked the choice of cast for those three roles; although I kept confusing Rooney Mara with Noomi Rapace (Salander from the Swedish film)  Which, I guess is not a bad thing, and a credit to Rooney Mara's portrayal of the character.

As we see Blomkvist looking into this disappearance, we are also given the story of Lisbeth Salander, a ward of the Swedish state due to issues in her past.  Her story is probably the most...intense of the two, and with the way the film was shot, and dedication to the source material actually caused some in the audience to walk out before the film ended!  Which was sad, because her story is not what the movie was really about, and those people missed out on the rest of the film.  Their loss.

Overall, I thought this was a better film over the Swedish version.  I really liked David Fincher's direction and the soundtrack was spot on.  One minor thing that was changed was the ending of the book.  I like the new twist that they changed it to, but saw no reason why they had to change it.

If you've read the book, saw the Swedish film, enjoy a good suspense/mystery, or are a fan of David Fincher, go see this movie.  Its brutal and raw in parts, but as a whole its a fine film.  I have no doubts that they will be making the last two books in the trilogy into film.  I eagerly await them.

21 December 2011

Awesome Trailers Lie Within...

No explanation needed here... just two awesome trailers that have dropped over the last two days... enjoy.

16 December 2011

Men In Black III (2012) - Trailer Review

Here come the Men in Black....again.  That's right kiddos, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back in the black suites to protect us from the scum of the universe.  I don't know bout all of you, but I'm kinda looking forward to this.  They may not be the greatest movies, but I'll be damned if they arn't fun.

Bigger question is though.. will we get a new Will Smith single?

15 December 2011

Bag of Bones (2011)

I can't say I've read every Stephen King novel that's been printed.  What I can say is that I've read Bag of Bones, and if I was forced to write out a top 20 of books, this would be near, if not in the top 10.  Then, for years I was saying that this should be turned into a film.

At last!  It seemed somebody had answered my fervent wishes.  For that story (and early thoughts on this) please see this post:

Bag of Bones - Initial thoughts

Ok, back?  Excellent, let us continue then.

As I write this, I'm a little over half way through watching the first part of the A&E miniseries.

Its a very mixed bag.  It is entertaining for those who have no knowledge of the source material.  My wife is sitting next to me, finding it quite interesting.  And while I share the same sentiment, as a big fan of the book, there is one glaring problem with the movie.

Pierce Brosnan.

Not that he is a bad actor, but he needs somebody to act against.  Talking to an empty room is not one of his strong suites.  Oh, then there is the issue of him being WAY TO OLD FOR THE PART.  Yes, Brosnan (Mike Noonan) is 58 and Annabeth Gish (Jo Noonan) is 40.  Now, it could be me, but the way I read the character of Mike Noonan, I get the feel his is closer to 40 than 60.

A few points:
1. As far as I could tell, the miniseries has the Noonan's living in or near NYC, when in the book they live in Derry, ME (you know, the town with a certain Pennywise the Clown as a former resident)  No need to change their residence.

2. Jo's death.  In the book she had a massive brain aneurysm.  Here, hit by a bus.  Really? Is it that hard to have a bit of narrative explaining how she died, instead we need to have the bloody death?

The music in this is kinda weird too.  Not the background music, that's fine.  But some scenes where Noonan is listening to the radio or iPod the choices are...odd.  Took me out of the show a bit.

Ok, so the first part was kinda rushed.  Still, I think it got the major themes across.  The second part opens with some exposition by the housekeeper, and gives major hints as to what is going on.

I liked seeing Jason Priestly in it.  Don't see him in enough.  Hell, I would have taken him as Noonan.  A&E has appeared to capture the spooky feel of the book, which is good.

Casting of Mattie and Krya, Max and Max's lady friend were really spot on.  Hell, everybody was cast well except for Brosnan.

Well, I can't go into too much detail about part two, because I run the risk of getting REAL spoilery.  Although I will say it looks like they kept the ending of the book pretty much the same.  Er, they change it a bit, but hey!  There's arterial spray now, so I'm ok with that.

Other than some rough parts, and the serious mis-cast of Brosnan, this was not as bad as I was fearing.  I still thing this, and IT should get a proper theatrical release or at least a subscription cable release.  If you have not read the book, give this a watch.  If you've read the book.... approach with an open mind.  Its not bad, but its not the level it could be.

I'll be reading the book soon.  Its been too long.

14 December 2011

My top 10 movies (with the help of Flickchart)

So, there's this one podcast I listen to called Popspotting.  A bit ago, they talked about a website called Flickchart.  Basic premise of the site is it gives you two movies to choose from.  You pick from the first pair, and then from there it starts to build a list of your favorite movies.  So after rankign 750 movies over 2500+ matchups, I feel pretty comfortable sharing what is my top 10.  Without further ado, here it is:

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Star Trek (2009)
  3. Tombstone
  4. The Last Samurai
  5. Batman Begins
  6. The Shawshank Redemption
  7. Apollo 13
  8. Platoon
  9. Inglourious Basterds
  10. The Prestige
I'd say I'm pretty comfortable with that list.  Which does not say it won't change at one point, but for now, there it is.

13 December 2011

The Three Stooges (2012) - Trailer Review

Lookie here!  A trailer for the Three Stooges movie.  I was not sure about this at first, but I kinda like it!  Give it a look see, what do you think?

09 December 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Conspiracy

So, as most of us know, the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is not, shall we say, of high quality.  But there was at least one shining moment in the first season.

Quick side note.  The reason I watched this particular episode was inspired after listening to the crew of Starbase 66 decide weather or not the first season of TNG would survive in today's television market.  That episode can be found here: Starbase 66 - Would TNG survive today?  Additionally, this is one episode that I've always hear good things about, so I gave it a go.

Synopsis:  Picard gets a super secret message from one of his fellow Captain pals.  Turns out Picrad's buddy and three others think there is an invasion of the body snatchers type plot going on at the highest levels of Starfleet Command.  Spoiler alert: There is.

I really liked this episode.  It was dark, it was violent.  Okay, Data laughed, but then the computer basically told him to buzz off.  It was good.  It's surprising that this made in on the air as it is quite a bit more violent then the standard Star Trek fare at that point.  I did some research on this episode, and the original plot was to have a standard garden variety military coup in Starfleet.  Gene Roddenberry said no.  That's when the body snatching parasites were brought in.  Also, at the very end of the episode, we see the queen sending a beacon to their home planet.  So here we are thinking that these parasites are going to make a return, taking over bodies and ships and bringing Starfleet to its knees.

These parasites never return.

Bummer, right?  This was probably one of the biggest cliff hangers that was set up on any show anywhere.  Also in my research I found that the Borg were supposed to be the army for this parasite horde.  I like that they never went in that direction though.  The Borg on their own became a formidable adversary in their own right, even if it took Q to introduce them.  I do wish that they could have continued this story.  I always liked it when Star Trek was at its darkest.  Which explains why Deep Space Nine was my favorite.  I'll probably finish watching season one of TNG at some point, but not any time soon.

05 December 2011

Hell on Wheels (2011)

So there are two periods of history that really fascinate me.  The US Civil War, and the period right after with the expansion into the West and construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.  Just my luck then that AMC kindly created a show that caters to both of those interests.

Hell on Wheels tells the story of Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a former CSA Army soldier.  Cullen is seeking to avenge the death of his wife, which came at the hands of USA soldiers that were part of General Sherman's March to the sea. (Look that one up... one of the first 'scorched Earth' war tactics.)  So, right from the start, I knew this was going to be an interesting ride. We are first introduced to Cullen as he pretends to be a preacher, and summarily executes a Federal soldier who just gave confession to Cullen.

Intense, right?

So from there Cullen journey's West to join up with the teams building the Transcontinental Railroad.  We learn that Cullen found out some people responsible for his wife's death are working the rail lines.

Let's talk about some of the other players now, shall we?

Colm Meany plays Thomas Durant, one of the builders of the Westward route of the railroad.  Then there's Christopher Heyerdhal who plays The Swede, the head of security for Mr. Durant.  The Swede is quite an interesting character.  I'm not sure what his deal is, but he is one creepy dude.  Going to be a bit of a headache for Cullen.

Then there is Elam Ferguson (Common).  Elam is a former slave who is put under the leadership of Cullen.  Can we say tension?  They do however come to a truce of sorts, so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

To summarize: I'm really digging this show.  Its dark and edgy enough to not be allowed on regular broadcast television, but not to over the top with language and violence that it would need to be on premium cable.  Its a show set in my favorite period of American History, a period that is not always given the attention it deserves.  If historical dramas are your thing, then check this out.  Sundays on AMC, following The Walking Dead.