Friday, May 22, 2009

Terminator Salvation

I have a few words of caution for those who are about to go see this movie. That is, remember that it is a Terminator movie. It’s not going to win any Oscars, and they were never meant to. These movies, with the exception of the 3rd installment, are a personal favorite of mine. The reason for that is a little tricky. The first and second movies open up a huge philosophical “can of worms” so to speak. They bring about the weird paradoxes of time travel, raise questions on human nature, what it means to be human, what makes us human and a few other debatable situations of free will and fate. That’s not my favorite thing about these movies though.

What makes me love those movies is the fact that they sit right on top of those subjects, with all the potential to be very deep and insightful, and they do nothing with it. They spend 2-is hours blowing things up. It’s so close; almost a thinker movie, and then everyone gets shot.

It makes me grin every time.

This one is no exemption. Christian Bale does a great job brining us a brooding, but optimistic Jon Connor, and Anton Yelchin does an acceptable job as a teenage Kyle Reese. The real treat in this movie is the character of Marcus Wright. Sam Worthington gives a great performance as the guy you want to root for if you could bring yourself to like him. And his character has a potentially fascinating arc, and of course, it’s happily lost to everyone in gunfire.

Remember kids, it’s just an action movie. Not “best picture of the year”. Just go see it and have some fun. Oh, and it has a T-800 with the face of Arnie! That’s a real treat for the fans.

All in all: Metal Limbs and Mediocrity

Lives up to the pre-views? Yup.

Worthy sequel? To 1 and 2, yes. Forget 3. Please.

Stars (out of five): 4


Monday, May 18, 2009

Star Trek

When I first heard about this one, I had some serious doubts. The Star Trek movies have been sucking pretty hard lately. In fact, the 9th was so dull it was nearly unwatchable. The 10th one just tried to follow the Wrath of Khan formula for a quick thrill, and for the most part failed. So, naturally, my first thought was that they are going to go after the old stuff, and muck that up too.

And I was delighted to find that was not the case. Every actor brought their characters alive, and most gave a new demention to them that was either drastically understated, or not there in the original. Chris Pine was an excellent choice for Kirk, and Karl Urban stole every scene he was in. even with Leonard Nimoy reprising his famous role as Spock, I often thought that he was out shined many times by Zachary Quinto. Other fantastic performances are there as well, including Bruce Greenwood, John Cho, Simon Pegg and an excellent villain by Eric Bana.

The action was quick and great, and most importantly they did not do a lot of quick crazy shots that can ruin any action movie if not done correctly.

I am looking forward to many many more. Go see it. You will thank yourself. In fact, see it twice.

All in all: Spock on Spock!

Lives up to the pre-views: Goes Boldly Beyond

Worthy sequel: Oh yes. Best Yet.

Stars (out of five): 4.5


X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I am going to start off this review with the fact that I am not a “purist”. Moreover, I have not read the Wolverine Origins graphic novel(s), nor do I follow the comic books on a regular basis. I used to as a kid, but not so much anymore. The reason I bring that up, is because I think it has affected many reviews unjustly.

Let’s start with the good news first. The acting was much better than one would expect from a movie like this. Hugh Jackman did his usual Wolverine routine, and to be quite honest; it’s the great one we are used to. He makes watching that character very fun, if not the best part of that movie. Liev Schreiber I thought did a good job as the antagonist, a heartless self serving remorseless killer, who seems to enjoy it a little too much. There were a lot of scene stealers, who were at the top of their game, and perfect for the roles, such as Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Durand and I had a feeling that Taylor Kitsch would disappoint as Gambit, and he did.

Now the bad news folks. The movie was filled with plot holes and sloppy story telling. Not only that, but there were a little too many “one liners” that just seemed a bit out of place. I am not going to go into any details on the plot holes, because it would requite some spoilers.

Overall, lots of action, explosions and all that good old mutant fighting you have come to expect from the series. Really, it’s better than the third movie, but don’t expect it to be up to par with X-Men 1 & 2; it’s definitely worth a look, just don’t think too hard.

All in all: Mutants and Mayhem

Worthy Sequel: Yeah. Better than the last one.

Lives up to the pre-views? Yup.

Stars (out of five): 3.5