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Promising opening for a movie that fails in the end.
If you've seen Alien, then this movie will seem very familiar. Mars probe returns with Martian life on it and after being prodded, everything goes wrong. Sound familiar? It is, except in this case, the movie utterly fails in the end with a terribly predictable ending. The characters are cookie cutters and just watching you'll know whose going to die. The Japanese Astronaut's wife just had a baby, the American is a cold woman who came up with the firewall protocol, Ryan Reynolds is his usual one dimensional wise cracking self. The Alien itself is quite lovely to begin with and an original design. But everything here is an unoriginal, paint by the numbers movie. There are a few goofs as well such as only intermittently seeing the characters breath when the station goes cold. This could have been a great movie, instead it's a if I never see it or think of it ever again, I'll be fine. The theater I saw it in was empty, and reading some of these reviews, I'm wondering if the critics and viewers saw the same tired movie I did. It did have a few moments of intensity, but these were undermined by the pedestrian story.
The Killing Strain (2010)
The Killing Yawn
Another of the many lame zombie movies to come down the pike. I'll start this out by saying this; if you're even thinking of watching this trash, skip it and go watch The Girl With All The Gifts or Train to Busan. Those are worth your time. This is a cliché ridden, poorly acted, lame mostly rip off of Night of the Living dead. It starts with a flat tire. Guys wife goes to take pictures - she gets attacked, killed and turns. Guy runs off, finds the worst boarded up farm house in the universe, filled with all stereotype characters, one's a redneck, one's a granny, two are hot girls (one's the rednecks girlfriend) and the final guy may or may not be gay. They don't know it but... Just do yourself a huge favor. Skip this silliness. You'll be grateful.
One of the most unique Zombie movies ever
When I first heard of this, I sighed. Now Zombies on a train? But this is a really different film that shows the best and worst of humanity while trying to survive. When an outbreak of violence starts sweeping South Korea, A father (who has little time for her) and his daughter are, with others including a working man and his pregnant wife, a High School Baseball team and a CEO (the one stereotype in the movie) on a train. Before the train can leave, an injured woman staggers on. As the trains pulling out we see others attacked on the platform. For now the travelers are blissfully unaware... This is anything but an average zombie movie. Some may compare it to 28 Days Later (but those weren't zombies, they were infected and living). The zombies in this are unique in ways that I won't give away. They share more of a kinship with the terrible World War Z (this is a hundred times better)in their swarming ways. I would have thought that a movie set nearly entirely on a train would be slow, possibly boring - but it's not. Between moving at breakneck speed, this movie is claustrophobic and creepy. Well worth seeing.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Dull and Predictable.
As I read the other reviews (after I wasted 90 minutes of my life), I was amazed. It was as if no one watched the boring, waste of Brian Cox talents movie that I did. Stephen King compared this piece of crap to Alien? He must be drinking and drugging again, or got paid to say this. Basically an underdeveloped story that goes nowhere slowly. I won't 'spoil' it for anyone, but I yawned and looked at my watch way too often during this lame attempt at horror. Basically an autopsy film with barely explained 'supernatural' overtones, it's not only BORING and SLOW, it's PREDICTABLE. There isn't an original thought in this. The only positive it had is that it wasn't one of those stupid, overrated 'found footage' movies. What it was was terrible. For a 90 minute movie it felt like it was four hours long. This is always a bad sign. When I read about how frightening this was and how horrifying, I have to wonder if my fellow reviewers are frightened by, oh, Sesame Street? Because there wasn't a genuine scare in this entire movie.
Shin Gojira (2016)
I wasn't Ga-Ga-Godzilla over it.
I really wanted to love this, after all I've been a Godzilla fan since I was watching the Raymond Burr version every Thanksgiving while growing up. (Note: the version without Raymond is FAR Superior), but I ended up only liking it. Part of the problem is that like the recent US version (which I also wanted to love but only liked) was that it was too talky. When I see a Godzilla movie, I want more Godzilla (and whoever he's fighting) and less exposition. The acting was superb, but I really had a problem with this Godzilla design. It's initial showing was just too cartoony and his later adult version, while I didn't mind him being ugly (and his nuclear power was freaking awesome) were those tiny arms. What the hell is G going to do with those tiny things? So overall, while I found it entertaining, it won't ever find it's place among the great Godzilla movies like Gojira and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Worth seeing but I wasn't Ga-Ga Godzilla over it.
La La Land (2016)
Much like Arrival, which the critics went gaga over and was a drama disguised as a science fiction film, the critics went gaga over this as well. Perhaps if they'd had some musically inclined people in it, rather than the cast they did, it might have kept my attention. But it didn't. I find Ryan Gosling bland, and really while I like Emma, she needs to stretch her acting muscles. The big eyed earnest waif act is wearing a bit thin. Her character in this could have been her character from Easy A, there's that little of a difference. Some critics have compared this to Singin in the Rain, but there is no comparison. That's a classic and this is just another over-hyped Hollywood movie. I'm sure some people love it. But I'm pretty sure just as many didn't.
The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
Unique! Well worth watching.
This is a very different zombie movie where the infection is caused by a fungus. That's all I'll say about that because I don't want to spoil anything. The film starts deep into the end of human civilization as we know it. Adults infected by the fungus are called hungries. They'll eat any organic matter. When fed, they're docile. But when they smell anything organic their jaws start clacking and they go basically nuts. They are quite horrible looking with fungal growths all over them. At a research facility, where the story begins, Glenn Close (Dr. Caldwell) is trying to find a cure for this disease. Currently it is only transmittable by bite. Gemma Arterton's (Miss Justineau) character is a teacher and her subjects are children. She's formed a bond with Melanie. The children are a secondary infection (although when Glenn explains about them later - it's quite chilling), and can be taught and experimented on. They're fed slugs. The most intelligent of them is Melanie - played by Sennia Nanua, who is absolutely brilliant. Without this young lady this movie fails. She carries her character who, even though she is a second generation hungry, is likable. I have very little to complain about this movie. Some have said the pacing is off, I disagree - the movie flows quite organically. The cast is excellent, especially Paddy Considine as Sgt Eddie Parks. He really hates the hungries and we find out why later in the movie. I won't say more other than this is a damned good movie and well worth watching.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Barely watchable unnecessary remake
First let me say this, even the superior 1960's version pales before the often imitated Seven Samurai. Having said that, where is the story for this? These seven guys (all politically correct as befits our wimp society) have virtually no back story. All this film and we learn next to nothing about any of them. They get together like it's nothing. No qualms, no trouble. Let's just train these cowardly townspeople. And they do so in a week. There's massive bloodshed in this but it's so lifeless I couldn't care at all. I didn't even when the good guys were getting killed. And one of them has a totally ridiculous death that took any reality out of this film. (No spoilers here - watch it and see for yourself.) How come no one ever reloads in this either? It's just shooting and shooting and shooting. At least the Indian character runs out of arrows. Really if you want to see a great western, break out Unforgiven or Open Range. This one may live on as a curiosity, but it's little more than that.
The Expanse (2015)
Best thing on SyFy since Battlestar Galactica
Damn. If the Syfy (I hate that abbreviation) Channel would show more stuff like this and less from The Asylum, I'd watch it more. This is simply great SF. The physics of space travel are as realistic as can be. The characters, from Miller the beat up Belter Cop, to Amos the Earther, to Holden the righteous captain by default and the places, Ceres, Tycho, Earth and Mars are all well defined and believable. The sfx is brilliant and the ship designs look like they've evolved from what we use today. The situations, different governments vying for power, resources and land, are all excellently done. A really great adaptation of a really great book series. This should be watched by anyone who even claims to be a sf fan.
Barely Science Fiction and a waste of leads
Some have called this "A rape fantasy" (incorrect), a Stockholm Syndrome film (maybe) and Creepy (in parts). I call it mostly dull, since it drags in parts and barely science fiction (for reasons since I don't want to write spoilers, I won't go into depth). But there's barely any science to the science fiction - as any sf fan who watches this - especially the reactor vent scene - will see. While the leads are good together, I found the story un-involving and the premise as well as the sappy ending, silly. With a little work this could have been really good, but as it is, it's barely worth watching once. I keep hoping Hollywood would simply allow a great sf movie like Ex Machina to be made, but they keep failing the viewer and then wring their hands, wondering what went wrong.