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The Martian (2015)
If you do not think too much while watching it was fairly entertaining.
This is a movie that I have to say that I have a bit of a difficulty in rating. Quite honestly I was sorely tempted to remove a star, or even two stars. Why? Because it is full of Hollywood nonsense, scientific errors, it is rather predictable and it did feel a bit like a Apollo 13 rip-off. Why did I not remove those stars? Well, it is rather entertaining even if, at times, I squirmed in my seat.
The movie starts of with a somewhat implausible event where a unexpected storm hits the Mars camp which forces the ground crew of the Mars mission to hurry back to the launch vehicle before it tilts over. The launch vehicle gradually tilts a degree at the time. Is it just me finding this strange? Would storms on Mars defy the usual rules of weather dynamics that they would exert a constant pressure which would cause a slow but constant tilt of a construct like that. No gusts, no change in pressure? And why would it gradually tilt at all? Once the force would be enough for the landing struts on one side to leave the ground it would pretty much tilt right away. Okay, I am being picky so lets give that a benefit of a doubt for the time being.
Obviously one guy is lost during the dramatic events. This is equally obviously 100% predictable. The fact that the guy is still alive after the rest of the crew blasted off is obviously also 100% predictable but then, this you should have pretty figured out from the title of the move after all.
A lot of the rest of the movie is following this guys quest for survival on Mars using the left over equipment at his disposal and the NASA crew on Earth trying to rescue him. Yes the NASA crew on Earth does discover that he is alive which, again, is pretty much predictable. Of course this gave Hollywood the opportunity to add a utterly dislikable political bureaucrat that is pretty much in the movie for one reason and one reason alone to be dislikable. Personally I just found him tiresome. But then, Americans seems to like these kind of people given the kind of trash that we see being pushed towards the upcoming presidential elections from both sides! There are a lot of good stuff in the movie. Even though it is rather predictable there are some suspense in it, there are a lot of good scenery, and even though you pretty much knows what is going to happen you do feel like cheering for the hero. Given the script I think a lot of the actors did a rather good job of their roles.
If the script writers would have brought on some decent scientific advisors I would say this would have been a great movie but it was frequently goofed up with issues that was just stupid. Like digging down a nuclear reactor a few feet in the ground. What the f good was that supposed to do? And the constant use of simple plastic and duct tape to seal the environment. Yeah, right. Sure, Mars do have some atmosphere so it is not vacuum we are talking about but then in other scenes they seemed to assume almost zero atmosphere and made quite a bit use of explosive decompression effects.
Okay, okay I am probably nitpicking quite a bit here but, unlike many Science Fiction movies, this one tries to give an impression of being within the realms of realism and it is just too full of classical Hollywood mishaps for my taste.
As I wrote above I still think it is a movie worth watching. It has some suspense, it is well done from a photographic point of view and the actors are doing a decent job. I think 7 out of 10 stars is a fair rating but it should certainly not have more.
A mix of good and bad
I have to say that I quite enjoyed Tomorrowland despite its way too common mistake of being quite a bit nonsensically preachy to satisfy the current politically correct view of what is "wrong" with the world today. Filtering out those parts this is a quite enjoyable, visually very entertaining, family movie. If you have strong opinions about certain things then you might want to be with your kids when watching this one. Personally I consider my oldest son to be quite capable of making his own opinions and as for the two younger kinds I try to point out the pro's and con's and let them grow up to make their own mistakes.
Having that out of the way this is a visually quite wonderful movie. it is of course quite CGI enhanced but in a good way. It is a Disney movie after all so you would expect, at least I did, some "artistic freedom" as far as the scenery is concerned.
The story is actually a quite lovely "fairy tale" kind of story about a "wonderland" far far away. Initially it is a wee bit difficult to get a grip of what is happening since it all moves about all over the place a bit. If you can overcome that first disorientation it does indeed get somewhat sensible after a while. Having said that I mean "sensible" in the context of not only a wild and whacky science fiction movie but in the context of a wild and wacky science fiction movie aimed at the younger part of the audience. Despite the scientific blurb thrown around in the last half of the movie do not for a minute believe that any of the script writers have more scientific knowledge than the average Hollywood script writer which is zero.
To me the enjoyment of this movie came from the childish fantasy style (it does have quite a bit of a fairly tale story over it), from the rather enjoyable cinematic effects, quite a bit of cool action and last but not least George Clooney. Actually that is not entirely fair. George was part of it but what I really liked was the recruiting android all the way from the start. When Clooney entered the scene both him and the android pretty much stole the scene. I am afraid that the Newton girl, for a lot of the time, felt more like a "plot element" than a main character to me.
I have to say that I quite liked the scenes in Paris as well. Sorry guys but I do live in France after all. The Eiffel Tower scenes where quite enjoyable and I do like the touch where they used Mr. Eiffel's apartment at the top of the tower as a scenery. Actually I am not sure how many people actually know that there is an apartment (now a museum) up there. The stuff about a hidden room and a hidden (naah, that would be a spoiler) beneath the tower is of course truly nonsensical.
So, bottom line, if Disney would not have gone down the line of trying to make a political statement, and I do not care what that statement was except that it was blunt, obvious and unconcealed, then this movie would have gotten another star or two. I cannot justify giving it much lower than what I did since it was, technically speaking, a quite good and entertaining movie. However, movies for children is not the medium to make a statement unless you believe that you are living in a socialist state a 'la the Soviet Union.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Decent action movie, still not my idea of a Mission Impossible movie.
This instalment, the third movie, in the Mission Impossible series is better than Mission Impossible II although it has to be said that this is not that difficult as far as I am concerned. The movie is more balanced in pace and the stunts and action scenes are not so totally over the top and ludicrous as in the second half of Mission Impossible II. Having said that there are still lots of pretty outrageous action stunts. This movie also has a real bad-ass villain that would not have been out of place in a classical James Bond movie.
The plot is as uninspired as one can expect from a Hollywood action movie. Hero crosses bad guys path and acquires something that the bad guy wants. Bad guy gets pi--ed off and grabs good guys wife to force him to get the stuff the bad guy wants. Big show-down at the end and bad guy bites the dust. Throw in a traitor in the mix just to mess things up at regular intervals. Nothing to write home about in other words.
The entertainment value of this film, as of the two previous ones, comes entirely from the various, more or less contrived, stunts, tricks and action sequences in the movie. As one can assume from the movies budget the film delivers well in these areas.
What I find annoying is that Ethan, again, finds himself alone and without support from the IMF team as well as having to deal with a traitor within. I find that kind of stuff tiresome to say the least. While I am in ranting mode I can also say that the silly idea of "dying" and then getting kick-started again, especially given that the time between "dying" and being kick-started again suffered from the usual lack of the concept of actual time elapsed so often being shown by Hollywood directors, was pretty silly.
As I wrote, it is a decent enough action movie but I would really like to see a "true" Mission Impossible movie where the team gets a mission and executes it with the full force of IMF behind them.
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
Classical John Woo over the top action feast. Not a good Mission Impossible Movie.
This is a decent enough mindless action movie with a lot of over the top action but it is not really a Mission Impossible movie. The movie starts of reasonably well being somewhat intelligent with a bit of Mission Impossible feel to it. It is actually almost a bit slow at times. However, for the second half of the movie it really degrades into a classical John Woo, over the top, action feast with all pretense of intelligence and any true Mission Impossible feel gone. John Woo is not the right person to make a Mission Impossible movie.
As with the first movie if it would not have been labeled Mission Impossible I would probably have given it a higher rating since it is a decent enough, mostly brain dead though, Hollywood action movie. However, I have higher expectations from a movie labeled Mission Impossible.
Tom Cruise is quite okay as Ethan Hunt. Dougray Scott is okayish as the bad guy. Sometimes he projects the right big bad and mad bad-guy attitude but sometimes he is just silly and just as over the top as the action scenes. He is supposed to be a mastermind but he comes out as a thug a' la a not so intelligent drug baron in many scenes.
The action scenes? Well, they are classical John Woo material. Fast paced with a lot of stunts and things that go boom. They are also, as expected, hugely over the top and unbelievable. They provide a enjoyable visual experience but, as I wrote above, they are not really what I would expect from a Mission Impossible movie.
The romance between Hunt and Nyah is the typical Hollywood, let's throw in a sexy girl and some superficial attraction, which develops from get lost to I love you in the matter of a few hours of contact, between the lead character and the girl. Meh! I get the impression that the people that have created these movies so far have not really watched a single full season of Mission Impossible.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Not as bad as some people say but still a Hollywood screw up.
I was actually not having great hopes for this movie giving how Hollywood have screwed up with a lot of my favourite super heroes (Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Dare Devil and a few others). Having said that maybe there was still a glimmer of hope given that some of their latest Marvel work have been rather okay. Unfortunately this is not the reboot of the Fantastic Four that I, and a dare say the fans, hoped for.
One thing that I do not understand is why the dumbass script writers that Hollywood employs always have to change the basic story of a set of characters that have a solid fan base? There was nothing wrong with the original story, and thus origin, of the Fantastic Four and the source of their powers. Maybe I am just old-fashioned but still.
The second gripe I have with this movie is the nonsensical stuff with members of the Fantastic Four, especially Ben, being deployed by the US military. It is just so cliché. Lazy script writing plain and simple. Unfortunately this also causes the movie to not really feel like it is a Fantastic Four movie. The team is split up and it is not until the very end that they actually become a team, gets a headquarter and so on. Big fail as far as I am concerned.
Having said all that, I do not think it is as bad as some people claim. There are some good stuff in there. The story is not all bad after all even though it is not exactly to my liking and the special effects are quite okay. One thing that annoys me with the story is that the role of Reed is really diminished and he is never really allowed to show of his powers. Yes, I know, there are some "stretching" moments but, well, meh! To add to the pain the actor cast as Reed is, in my mind, totally unconvincing.
The bad guy is also somewhat underwhelming and thoroughly predictable. As I said a classical Hollywood concoction aimed towards the less intelligent viewers. I do not understand why Hollywood seems to be so bent on repeating the same mistakes over and over again? Well, as I wrote, the movie is not as bad as some people claim but it is far from great. Given the abysmal reviews I am afraid that we will not be getting a sequel which is a shame. This is one of the (few) Marvel comics that I read as a kid (in Sweden we did not get treated to that many of these kind of comics) so it is indeed a bit of a disappointment that they managed to screw this movie up
I have to say that I did not have great hopes for this movie. However, I found it surprisingly enjoyable. As can be expected from a Marvel super hero movie it is not the most intelligent plot around but instead rather heavy on special effects.
Having said that the plot is not bad given the context. I have never read any of the Ant-Man comics so I had no idea what to expect. The little expectation I had was of some guy turning into some ant like creature smashing things left right and center. So it was somewhat of a surprise to me when I found out that the guy was actually shrinking himself to ant size. Actually I went a bit "what the f " when I first realized this and felt that this was going to be boring.
However, in the end, I felt it worked out quite well. If it would have just been about some guy shrinking himself then it would indeed have been somewhat boring but the added coolness of this guy being able to command armies of bad-ass ants really helped stave of the boredom.
As I wrote above it is a Marvel super hero movie so it is heavy on special effects and, personally, I felt they where quite okay. There is of course quite a bit of action in the movie as well as a bit of humour. I quite liked the parts where the Ant-Man and his nemesis slugged it out in a children's room and a giant size Thomas the Tank Engine was thrown through the roof and into the garden. Maybe I liked it because Thomas the Tank Engine is a TV show that my kids liked to watch when they were smaller. There where of course a few of the usual Hollywood silly, brain-dead stunts like the tank scene. It could have been so cool but it was really ruined by the total lack of intelligence in the stunt following the cool revelation.
I really liked Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym as well as Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne. I was not too impressed by Paul Rudd but on the while I guess he was not too bad. It is a bit of a shame though that when Hollywood feels they need to throw in a bit of family drama they always have to throw in a divorce. It is rather depressing for us that have lived through such a tragedy after all.
Bottom line, this was a surprisingly enjoyable movie. Far better than quite a few of the super hero movies that Marvel/Hollywood have produced like for instance the abysmal Spiderman movies although that is of course a personal opinion.
Okayish horror / comedy.
This is a pretty classical horror movie. If you are a fan of these kind of movies I would say that it is worth watching. If your are not into these kind of movies you are probably going to find it not so good.
The story is obviously somewhat ludicrous. It is the usual nonsense about someone using chemical waste. In this case mixed up with fertilizer in the garden which causes wasps to mutate into some kind of Alien-like species that invades peoples bodies after being stung and spawns mutant, giant killer wasps.
Even if the story is somewhat ludicrous the movie is somewhat entertaining though. I especially like the fact that it is not the usual, nonsensical, teenage group goes partying with a lot of drugs kind of crap. The main characters here are actually somewhat intelligent.
There are also a few characters that are quite likable, unlike in the standard Hollywood fare in this genre. I did quite like the old geezer that, almost, managed to make it to the end.
The special effects are somewhat mediocre, at least when the wasps are shown in their entirety. There are a few gory effects but really nothing to write home about.
Some things were rather silly though and the silliness accelerated towards the end. The giant burning wasp was rather over the top. The end? Well, I expected the usual it-is-not-over kind of ending (it is a horror movie after all) but the flying things at the end was really moving the movie into comedy land.
Still a somewhat entertaining horror / comedy movie and I have to say that I liked this movie more than a few of the "horror" movies, with a lot higher budget, that has come out of Hollywood lately, mostly due to the characters not being totally stupid.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
I liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would.
I have to say that, after Terminator Salvation, I was not expecting to be overwhelmed by this movie. I would say that overwhelmed is still a too strong word but I was positively surprised. This is a good movie on the good old terminator spirit. At least that is my personal opinion.
The movie does screw the timeline quite a lot but then the entire Terminator series is indeed about time travel and the f--k ups that come with it. Normally I do not like these kind of things but I have to say that the script writer did a decent enough job of this one. I did, of course, not expect timeline, or scientific, accuracy from a movie like this.
The movie goes back to its roots, kind of, but then it diverts somewhat. I did like the references, almost flashbacks, to the original movie in the very beginning. When the alternate timeline kicks in things start to heat up both story and action wise. Sure the movie starts of with quite a bit of an action bang but the first parts are more like sweeteners to get the old fans, like me, to sit comfortably in their seats.
I am not overly convinced about the choice of actors for neither Sarah Connor nor Kyle Reese though. Emilia Clarke simply looked to young and immature for her role (I get the feeling she was chosen for her "sex appeal") and Jai Courtney, personal opinion here, simply lacked charisma. He just felt dull compared to the "original".
One character that I, obviously, agreed with was good old Schwarzy. Here I think the script writers did a really good job of blending him into the movie and explain why he is not a youngster any more. I did also like J.K. Simmons. He did not play an overly important role but he was just that added, almost comical, relief to the movie.
Not surprisingly, there was plenty of good action in this movie. Action which of course benefited from modern movie science (CGI) compared to the early originals.
On the whole it was a good movie. It suffered a wee bit from the Hollywood bean counters desire to make it PG rated of course. Maybe that was having an influence on the casting as well, especially the one of Sarah Connor? Given the dark nature of the baseline plot the movie could have benefited from a more adult setting.
Still, as I wrote above, I was positively surprised and both me an my son liked this movie quite a lot.
Cheap shadow of the original
The movie blurb is written by some 20th Century Fox representative. I would guess that the person in question has not even watched the original movie. "Legendary film makers"? What a load of bull! These people have not produced anything really worth watching and this movie certainly do not improve on that score. I mean, how dumb are these people from 20th Century Fox? I certainly hope the audience are not dumb enough to fall for this obvious lie. Judging from the, well deserved mediocre score on IMDb I guess they did not.
Anyway, as for the movie. It is a bleak (cheap) shadow of the original. It has absolutely zero of the charm that the original movie had and, most importantly, none of the characters had anything of the charisma that the original characters had. The father is a total dumbass and an irresponsible at that. The mother could by just any Hollywood style housewife.
When you finally think that something interesting would happen, that is when the ghost hunter enters the scene, it just falls flat again. He is just totally lacking in appeal. He is neither a bad ass nor is he mysterious or anything else that makes him worth watching.
There are just so much things wrong with the story as well. How can this guy afford and get a one for a house when he apparently do not seem to have a job? He even manages to go for another house in the end after his original one apparently got shredded. How bloody dumb is the script writer? In the original it was a new neighbourhood which explained the "troubles". In this one it is not which means that the script writer obviously had zero understanding of the original plot which brings us back to the same question again. What the f...? There are some half decent CGI scenes in this movie but the same can be said for a lot of things coming out of the movie industry nowadays (well with the exception of SyFy productions of course).
I would say that as a TV-movie it would have been above average. As a remake of a classic it totally falls flat. I am happy that I watched it at home and did not spend time going to a theatre watching it.
San Andreas (2015)
Very Hollywood and still I liked it...a lot
This is a classical Hollywood movie, thin plot and a lot of effects. However, this time, I quite liked it. Actually I liked it a lot. The plot, although thin, is not altogether bad, it holds together even though are quite a few unbelievable moments. However, put in the context of a traditional disaster movie, it is not bad.. Maybe this is what I like about the movie. It is really a good old fashioned disaster movie.
When I first read the blurb about this movie I was afraid that it was going to be a big apocalypse at the beginning and then it was going to be a "slow" search for Ray's daughter. It is nothing of the kind. It has a decent build up of suspense up to quite a few more or less spectacular earth quake scenes and then it continues. I was pretty happy that there was a decent build up from the start but I was even more happy that the initial earth wrecking event was actually not the big event.
As I wrote at the beginning, the plot is pretty thin. The special effects are not however. At least, I liked them. Not surprisingly houses a are falling over like there was no tomorrow (which for a lot of people there are not) but it is done quite well. I also liked the scenes where the earth wobbles when Ray and his wife flies over it in his chopper. I found that quite cool. There are a few moments that are, well let us say not too well thought through. For instance the classical collapsing building that collapses in the just the right pace for the heroes to do there job. The we have when Ray and his wife speeds through the waters of Los Angeles after the quake, which are riddled with trash. The amount of trash in the water would have rendered their propeller useless after a few hundred meters. But then, I think I am too much of an engineer now.
Speaking of Ray's wife. That was one of the things I really did not like with the movie. Maybe the movie directors and actors in Hollywood are so used to divorcing all the time that they think it is a "standard" plot element and do not think twice about it but for us other "ordinary" people it is a tragedy (especially people outside of the US apparently if one should go by the trash that is spewed out from Hollywood all the time) and I really do not want to watch that crap all the time in movies and TV-shows! I was actually tempted to downgrade the movie at last a star, even two, for that crap but what the heck, it is a good movie and I do like "The Rock".
So after, after that little outburst, I have to say that I this one was a really enjoyable movie. One of the few lately that I have watched. It is a quite good, classical, disaster movie with a good build up, really good effects and a good and happy ending (for the main characters at last) and I am a sucker for happy endings.