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Not as Guarded
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 is a mediocre film. It has wonderful visuals and 3D is well worth the price.
As for story: it is badly written and has a lot of filler that is unnecessary. The movie tries too hard to be a comedy instead of a Marvel movie and that takes away from the entire film. The mutiny by the Ravagers was a wasted moment; the consistent Taser Face jokes were repeated way too often; Stallone (and his character) are just filler and have no purpose; and Mantis (an original Guardians) is badly written and used. Baby Groot wears thin after the first ten minutes and the continuous Baby Groot puns are useless. The entire story line with Nebula is a waste of time - how she only wanted a sister instead of a rival has nothing to do with the story and only gives a doorway to having one more additional character for future movies.
Cast: Chris Pratt is alright as Star Lord. He will never be a strong actor and he fills the role, but he does not have the presence that Chris Evans or Robert Downey have in their respective Marvel roles. Zoe Saldana just is awful as Gamora (she was in the first film too) and I am not sure why she is in demand for these roles - she destroys Star Trek with her bad interpretation of Uhura and she is just so dry and lifeless in everything that she does. Michael Rooker is outstanding and has the best presence and lines in the film. Kurt Russell does a nice job as Ego, but he doesn't come across as that super villain that you need to save the world from. Rocket Raccoon is funny as usual. Drax is the second best character in the film and Batista brings a lot of life and character to Drax - Saldana could learn from him. Sean Gunn steals scene after scene as Kraglin and should have had more screen time than Gamora or Mantis.
Overall I give the movie a 7 for the visuals, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell (who was pretty good as the villain) and Rocket Raccoon. Some of the best parts of the movie were the cameos - David Hasselhoff, Ben Browder, Stallone, Ving Rhames, Michelle Yoeh and Jeff Goldblum (to name a few).
Cliché after Cliché
Life is a movie filled with clichés and obvious scenes taken straight from Alien.
We have the usual science fiction cliché where scientists are going to bring an alien life form (that probably will kill all of mankind) into play no matter the cost. Of course, one of them will say that studying this alien may lead to the discovery of life and maybe even the cure for disease.
We have the usual cliché were one of the scientists will do anything to protect the alien even though it is killing his friends and may destroy all life - with the typical "if is just trying to survive" line.
In Alien: Dallas and Lambert are bringing back Kane after he is attacked by an alien. Ash lets them on the ship even though Ripley warns about contamination. In this movie, Hugh is attacked by the alien and Rory ignores all the warnings and enters the lab creating the chain of events to allow the alien to attack. Now, doesn't anyone wonder how the person in charge of security just allows this breach of protocol? Another science fiction cliché.
In Alien: Ash protects the creature by letting it live inside of Kane and does not tell anyone. In Life, Hugh lets the alien feed off of his body so that it can survive and does not tell anyone. Again with the idiotic scientist who wants to keep the alien alive to study it.
In Alien: somehow (the most ridiculous scene in a great movie) the alien knows Ripley is going to go onto the escape craft and is inside. In this one the alien is lured into the escape craft, but same premise.
In Alien: somehow the idiotic company makes an escape craft that will only fit three people - that was another dumb aspect of a great movie. In Life: there are two escape crafts, but only one person per craft. No space program is going to have an escape plan where only 2/6 can survive and the rest are left for dead. Another cliché.
In The Thing: an alien is frozen and in hibernation. The scientists go to study it and it thaws out and kills everyone. In life: the cell is frozen and in hibernation. The scientists thaw it out to study it and it kills people. Another cliché.
In Life: somehow the alien knows to knock out communications. Now I do not care how smart something is - it was a single celled organism at the beginning of the movie and no matter how intelligent it is - it does not have a grasp of technology in any way, shape or form. That this creature figures out how to get to the communication array from the lab is a joke - that it knows to knock out communications is a joke - that it knows to destroy the coolant in the commander's space suit to create a situation to get back onto the ship - that it takes over the escape pod and flies it to Earth - these are the things that are insulting at times to viewers. Another cliché about super smart aliens who know everything.
So the question you have at the end is: why did this creature just go on a killing spree? Hugh says that it has to kill to survive - but why? It was not eating them to survive - it was just killing for the sake of destruction and chaos. Even in Alien - it had a reason - it was taking people to reproduce. In the Thing - it was on a mission to take over the planet. There is no reason in this film.
On a positive - the film looked good and it was good for a late night rental if you enjoy the genre. It is nothing original and the script (and acting) will not redefine anything about science fiction. It is not a classic type movie that you will look back on in time and it will not be influential for future movies.
Forget the Hype
Don't listen to the hype or the obvious "paid" reviewers that are raving about this movie. If you have seen any of the other Wolverine movies - you have seen this one. It is the exact same movie - repackaged a little differently - throw in a lot of foul language to try and get some spill over from Deadpool - but basically the same old tired Wolverine movie. The same - government chasing Wolverine (or in this one his daughter) - the same feral growling and killing everyone who gets in his way - the same bad lines.
This Wolverine movie goes into a story where all mutants (except three) are dead. It does not explain how or why. It does not give any depth to what has happened to mutant-kind - it kind of just lets you hang and decide to accept this huge void in the story arc. It felt cheap.
The young girl just plays mini-Wolverine - the same feral growls, the same random killing, the same stare, etc.
The only positive aspect is that Patrick Stewart adds some life to the film and has the only good lines.
The film was long, boring, a script full of holes, the same repackaged Wolverine story line, with a touch of foulness. Not close to the hype that is spanning the internet. A true 5/10 movie. Just grateful the character is buried and hope he never returns to bore us again.
The Wild Wild West (1965)
The first season of Wild Wild West is fantastic. The first season is well written and well acted. Robert Conrad is perfect as James West and his character is far smarter and more adventurous than James Bond.
The sad thing is that season 2 is dreadful. The stories are terrible, poorly written, with horrible plot lines. If you happen to watch the second season, you wonder how the show continued onto a 3rd and 4th season.
I have not had the opportunity to watch seasons 3 and 4 because season 2 created a feeling of disinterest towards the show.
I rated the show a 7 - due to season 1. Season 2 would rate a 4.
Rogue One (2016)
An Actual Star War
Rogue One is actually a war movie. It has the drama and action that you would expect in a military movie along with the science fiction element.
Rogue One also has the usual Star Wars element - bad, bad acting. Diego Luna is horrible - beyond horrible - he almost destroys this film with his lack of acting skill. Felicity Jones is okay. She does not do anything to make you invest any emotion into the character and her performance will not make you feel like you care about the character.
As in the first three films - the supporting cast is what makes the movie. Han Solo and Chewbacca carried the first three films. In this film Alan Tudyk (K-230), Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang and Riz Ahmed are the characters that you find that you are rooting for and that you like. K-230 has all the best lines in the movie.
I am not sure why the Star Wars franchise insists on casting terrible actors as the leads. Thank the force for the supporting casts.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Harley Worth Watching
Suicide Squad is not as bad as the reviews would lead you to believe. I had zero expectations for this movie and I was pleasantly entertained.
Why was I entertained? Margot Robbie and Will Smith. Robbie was absolutely fabulous as Harley Quinn. I had reservations about her since I could not see her as Quinn; yet she was perfect. She channeled the essence of Harley Quinn beautifully. Now I am not a Will Smith fan at all. I have not been a fan of his recent movies. In this film he is very likable and charismatic and both he and Robbie steal the show.
The script is below average and the action is so-so. The big baddie is laughable and most of the movie looks like it was poorly planned out. If it were not for Robbie and Smith I would not have liked this film at all. Add to it: Jared Leto is awful as The Joker - just plain awful. He is as annoying as Lex Luther was in Batman VS Superman and you just want his character to disappear. The other performance that was beyond bad was Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. Kinnaman is worse than he was in Robocop - and that was pretty bad. I feel that different actors would have been better as the Joker and Flag - though The Joker really did not need to be in this film and his parts took away from the whole project.
Recommended only for the Robbie and Smith characters.
Jason Bourne (2016)
If you have seen a Jason Bourne movie, than you have seen this movie already and should wait until it is released for rental. It follows just about the same story as each of the three previous Matt Damon Bourne movies. He is after the government and the government is trying to kill him.
This movie is just chaotic though. Just about every scene is shot as if you were a passenger in a car traveling over 100 miles an hour and trying to make out the details of everything passing you by. It was choppy and poorly filmed. The editing for the action scenes is such a mess and it strains the eyes.
Damon should have avoided this one and kept the legacy as it was.
Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Beyond the Other Two - Maybe?
Star Trek Beyond is a decent movie. It is not a great movie and not the type of movie that a Star Trek fan would anxiously be awaiting to add to their collection.
Simon Pegg had written a decent script. A script that did the "right" thing and brought McCoy back to the forefront. The past two movies ignored McCoy and by slighting McCoy the previous films could not capture the heart and soul of the original characters. Karl Urban is perfect as McCoy and he captures the essence of DeForest Kelley. Urban brings back the soul of Leonard McCoy from the original series. Pegg had written the McCoy character very well.
Chris Pine is better as Kirk in this movie and (I disliked him in the first two) I actually liked his portrayal of James T. Kirk in this movie. I enjoyed his banter with McCoy and Spock and felt that there was a spark that reminded me of the original trio. I hope that this spark continues in future episodes.
Spock still is terrible. It is not the performance - it is the script. Spock is supposed to be the logical, and scientific, adviser to Kirk while McCoy is the human, emotional, and virtuous adviser. From the first film (with this crew) they missed big time on Spock and it continues to this film. The love interest with Uhura takes away from the essence and wonder of Mr. Spock - in the past when his human half emerged it was something to celebrate - now it is just there.
Bringing Uhura to the starring role, over McCoy, was a big mistake. It was a political move, rather than having a more interesting character. In the original films Uhura had a thing for Scotty and I feel that the original relationship (Uhura and Scotty) would have been more interesting and allowed for Spock to fit the role that his character was meant to fill.
Pegg does a nice job as Scotty and provides a humorous side to the series that we had seen in a couple of the movies. In this film, Scotty has a well fleshed out character with very interesting moments and dialogue.
Sulu and Chekov are background characters in this film. There just isn't screen time for everyone.
The negatives are: the enemy (Krall) is just not that menacing. No one has been able to match the power of Khan (either version) in the Star Trek galaxy. Krall is more of an annoyance than an enemy that would strike terror into the hearts of the Federation. The "unveiling" of who Krall really is lacked any type of punch and was disappointing.
The super negative is the directing. It is all over the place and shoddy. A Star Trek movie deserves more than a third rate Fast and Furious director who has no clue how to stage a scene or how to keep scene congruent. Scenes jump all over the place and in some places feel incoherent. There are way too many dark (hardly any lighting) scenes where it is hard to see the characters or the sets. Justin Lin was a poor choice for director and I believe with a better director combined with Pegg's script would have created one of the better Star Trek movies.
The Last Kingdom (2015)
Bernard Cornwell had written a fantastic series of books in his Saxon Chronicles. The first season, of this show, is based on the first two books.
Does the show meet the standards of the novels? Not even close. The novels are much better than the show, but the show is still entertaining and interesting. Like most people I wish that it would have shown Uthred as the warlord and pagan that he is portrayed in the books and not as a weakling. The show keeps some of the "soul" of the books, but it missed a lot of what the story was about: it missed out on the depiction of the cruel and brutal world that was England at that time and it definitely missed out on the vision of how Christian priests used power to push their personal agendas.
Some folks have tried to compare this show to Vikings and Game of Thrones. That isn't fair to the show. First off - Vikings is an extremely poor show with absolutely limited authenticity - while The Last Kingdom tries to keep some historical accuracy within the show. Game of Thrones is for the urban audience of today - with nothing but foul, terrible language, sex and nudity flooding the screen - but with very minimal quality. Kingdom has limited sex and language and has much better dialogue.
Kingdom would have been better had the screenwriters utilized more of Cornwell's material. Each book had multiple battle scenes and they explained how Uthred became a great warlord. It emphasized the importance of the shield wall and why the Danes feared Uthred. The show ignored most of this and that led to a lesser main character. I felt that if the show had shown more of the "growth through battle" of Uthred and more of his sarcasm towards Christianity that (even with the current actor) it would have been a 10 rated show.
Dark Matter: Kill Them All (2016)
Dark Matter looked like a very promising show with it's first seasons. It was not special, but it had a feel that made you hope for it to continue and grow. But that was last season.
This season is a mess. The story line is dreadful. The show went from an interesting show to a copy cat, cheap SYFY movie of the week. The entire prison story arc is sloppy and poorly written. The characters (except for three) feel hollow and empty and the writing has lost the "soul" of the first season.
I was hoping for something that expanded it's horizons the way that Farscape had done in the past - not something that would cater to the standard SYFY audience.
Too bad. I thought that maybe this and "The Expanse" would bring back intelligent, well written and original science fiction.