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I'll up date the rankings and total votes each woman got every few days.
July 20th, 2012 Update: Again I've added one film to my list. I think you can guess. Yes it's The Dark Knight Rises, which is simply a beautiful film that I loved and have moved to number #4 on my list. I think everyone should see this film.
JULY 12th, 2012 Update: I've added one movie to this list and took one off. I've added THE HUNGER GAMES, which I ranked #69.
You will notice a few things with my list.
1. There is only one movie from this last decade in the top 25 and only 5 movies from the last 3 are in the top 25. The quantity of movies as gone up over the years but not the quality.
2. The abundance of anime. I condensed down all my top movie lists including anime. Anime doesn't get enough credit for the quality and influence it's had on the general public and industry.
3. The lack of comedies. I'm not that big of a comedy movie fan.
If you see someone who wasn't included ask me. I'll give you my opinion on why they don't deserve to be on this list or maybe I haven't see them and I'll add them next year.
You can vote for who you think is the sexiest woman alive out of my top 10 at We Polls. Just follow the link here http://www.wepolls.com/p/91535097/Which-of-the-Top-10-Sexiest-Women-Alive-in-2014-is-the-hottest?tag=47036
This list has changed a lot from last year yet many faces remained the same. Kat Upton is still number 1 though not as a rock solid hold. I was going to add Miley Cyrus on the lower part of the list, but she destroyed her chances with her ugly haircut. You'll also see lots of Playboy models.
If you see someone who wasn't included ask me. I'll give you my opinion on why they don't deserve to be on this list or maybe I haven't see them and I'll add them next year.
You can cast your vote for the top 10 at Wepolls. You can choose from my top 10 and one month from now I'll create list of your top 10. Just follow the link to my poll at Wepolls. http://www.wepolls.com/p/13205850/Top-10-Sexiest-Women-Alive-2013
I'm sure some will notice some big films missing from my list like Transformers: Age of Extinction, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, RoboCop, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Hercules: The Thracian Wars. It's because as of right now I have basically no real interest, excitement for these films. I'm sure I'll see most of them in the theater, and I'm sure some of them will be entertaining films I just don't expect more than that from these films.
1. Seven Samurai: The greatest film of all time and one of the most influential films of all time. See my review for more.
2. Yojimbo: Again an original story co-written by Kurosawa as a wandering samurai plays two warring clans against each other. Again Yojimbo is a very influential film with one of the biggest examples being Clint Eastwoods A Fist Full of Dollars.
3. Hidden Fortress: Without this film there truly might not have been a Star Wars or the film Lucas has given us might not be recognizable to us.
4. Rashomon: The film follows for different perspective of the same event. It is brilliant written story with a unique vision which I believe was original and had never been done before in film. Again Rashomon has influenced many a writer and director. You can sense a theme here and see how great a director Kurosawa was by how influential his films were.
5. Ikiru: Admittedly I had overlooked this little known or overlooked Kurosawa film most likely because it didn't involve samurai, and I did not actually watch it till a couple of years ago. The film has no samurai or great battles and certainly not the influence on film making that Kurosawa's other films have had and I think that is what has kept if from being number 2 or even number 1 on this list. Ikiru follows Kanji Watanabe a simple bureaucratic who lives a simple and boring life until he learns that he has stomach cancer cancer. The journey of Watanabe is beautifully written and acted, and the ending as he sits on the swing is so sad yet satisfying and fitting. If any of you are a fan of Kurosawa or just looking for a great film than don't miss out on Ikiru which is perhaps Kurosawa's most moving film.
6. Ran: Akira Kurosawa last great film based on Shakespeare's story King Lear. Admittenly I only read his story once and that was probably nearly twenty years ago while I was in high school and I don't remember liking the story or maybe I was just bored and couldn't understand old English. Still Kurosawa puts his own mark to the story and makes it his own.
7. Throne of Blood: The second film of Kurosawa that was influenced by Shakespeare in his play Macbeth. Not a lot is changed from the original play, but it is nice to see it in a Japanese setting.
8. Red Beard or the Japanese name Akahige: I remember finding this film on Amazon a few years ago. I was looking for a Blu-Ray copy of Ikiru and typed in Kurosawa's name and found this gem in the search. Again Red Beard is like Ikiru as it is a simple film with no grand battles or vastness in scope. It just follows two men in Dr. Noboru Yasumoto and Dr. Kyojō Niide. The film takes place during the early 19th century. Dr. Yasumoto is an arrogant and ambitious who wants to work for the Tokugawa shogunate and the film focuses on his journey throughout the film. Red Beard isn't as compelling as Ikiru, but is still a great film.
9. High and Low: The film centers on Kingo Gondo, a wealthy executive of a shoe company who dreams and is planning of taking the company over, but is stopped when he gets a phone call from a stranger who says he has Gondo's son. It isn't Kurosawa's best written or most original film, but the story works and the film is really good.
10. Sanjuro: Again Kurosawa turns to the great actor Toshiro Mifune. Mifune was the director's go to actor as he starred in six of Kurosawa's films. The director and actor work well together and it shows in Sanjuro as the story follows a group of young samurai of a lord who learn of corruption and fear for their lords life and try to help their master with the help of a Ronin played by Mifune.
1. Crimson Tide: His best film as a director with a great plot and truly memorable performances by Gene Hackman and Washington.
2. Spy Game: Of all of Tony's film Spy Game probably has the best plot along with it being one of Brad Pitt's best performances.
3. Man on Fire: Washington's second film with Scott and this revenge film is all his as he kicks ass down in Mexico.
4. Top Gun: What more can be said about Top Gun. It doesn't matter if it doesn't have a great plot, the memorable young characters/actors along with the fighters and great music make Top Gun a great film.
5. Days of Thunder: A guilty pleasure of mine, and I still remember buying the toy cars at Hardee's restaurant when I was a kid.
6. Unstoppable: Washington and Capt. Kick try to stop an out of control train.
7. True Romance: Christian Slater, Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken and Gary Oldman lead this violent wild ride of a film.
8. Enemy of the State: A film about lack of privacy and government surveillance with a bad plot, but fun thrill ride.
9. Beverly Hills Cop 2: Ah the days when Eddie Murphy was actually funny and a decent actor.
10. Revenge: The legendary actor Anthony Quinn stars along side Kevin Costner and Madeleine Stowe in this underrated drama.
What Would You Do?
Have you ever gotten a prank call at home or work? Did they pretend to be some kind of authoritative person? A superior where your work or the police, and if they told you to do something did you do it. That is essentially what is going on in Compliance except it delves deeper into the darker side of human nature. What I and many people probably won't before seeing this movie is it is very closely based on a true story. It happened only a few years ago. As most of you know there are obviously scammers and prank callers operating all the time. Well in the mid-1990's to 2004 there was a prank calling, calling restaurants, fast food restaurants and grocery stores in rural parts of the country claiming to be a detective for the police. The man then convinces managers or whoever in charge to commit acts, like forcing female employee's to strip and do strip searches, confining them and other things. The incident the film is based on and the one that got the prank caller arrested happened in 2004 in Mount Washington, Kentucky at a McDonald's. The caller who is a man called the McDonald's during the night shift and got the assistant manager Donna Summers. He managed to convince her he was a detective with the police. He then told her that one of her female employee's is believed to have stolen money. He describes what Donna believes is Louise Ogborn one of the employee's on duty. The man says there are no officer's available to come out and needed her help. During the night Donna would confine Louise, take her car keys and wallet, force her to strip and while Donna is away Louis would be sexually assaulted. The guy was only caught because the maintenance worker Thomas Simms who refused to follow the callers demands. Donna finally decided to call her boss, who the detective said he had been on the phone earlier with. When she got in touch with the manager, the manager said he had been asleep and had never talked to the police. Donna quickly tried to star 69 the caller, but he hung up. The man was David R. Stewart who was married with five children. He was caught through tracing the phone calls he made, and the purchasing of prepaid phones. The incident is disturbing enough, but what happens after could be more disturbing. Steward was tried, but was acquitted. Why because there was no real evidence. Sure he made the calls, but he didn't force anyone to do anything. Steward wasn't holding a gun to anyone's head Donna and managers at the other places he called all willing did what he asked. It's really is disturbing incident, especially that a married man with five children would do this.
The story is gripping and riveting, but some people may find it hard to believe that people would easily believe someone over the phone claiming to be a police officer and doing the things like what Donna did. Especially if the people watching it don't know that it actually happened only a few years ago. I had a little trouble believing the story as well. I believe I wouldn't do what the characters did in the film or what actually happened, but I can't understand nothing like that has happened like that to me, so who knows. You also have to remember that human beings in general are followers who easily take orders and are controlled treating others badly, killing, raping and going to war just because we are told to. The story stays really close to actually what happened. Only the names changed. Like McDonald's wasn't used and the names of the characters are different. People may also not like this film because it's unflinching in the short film time in about one and a half hours. I'm sure people will find Compliance to be thrilling film that delves into the dark side of human nature and our reliance on authority figures or an unbelievable and boring film. Either way I think its good it will draw attention to the incident that I had no idea that happened, and that I'm sure few others did as well and that things like this still happen today.
The acting is perhaps the best part of the film. Ann Dowd (Sandra) plays the character based on Donna. She is gripping as the manager as she forces Becky (Dreama Walker) to do lewd acts and other things, especially the emotion on Sandra's face when she realizes it was all a prank call, and what she had done. The recognizable actor in the film for me was Dreama Walker who I recognized from Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23 which I like. She plays Beck the character based on Louise Ogborn. Dreama is compelling as Becky as she is threatened and force by the Officer Daniels (Pat Healy: The prank caller) and her boss Sandra surrender her keys strip and do other things. Dreama effortlessly displays the confusion, hurt, fear, sadness and shock that her character goes through the night. Bill Camp plays Van Sandra's fiancé who is reluctantly brought into the mess by Sandra, and Pat Healy plays the prank caller who does a brilliant job, as you are shown shots of him relaxing in his home with not a care in the world or showing any remorse at what he was getting these people to do.
You can see the rest of my review at Movieweb.com under Huntsman.
The Girl from the Naked Eye (2012)
A much better film then I thought it would be.
Late August and most of September is usually a crappy time of year for films at least for me. Sure there is Expendables 2 out and Lawless coming out Friday, but they aren't movies I desperately want to see or willing to fork at least ten bucks for to see, so this is usually the time I rent films, and that's what I did a few days ago. I rented The Raid: Redemption, Flowers of War and The Girl From The Naked Eye. The Naked Eye was a spur of the moment decision on my part. It's only a buck to rent at the Red Box and the summary sounded decent, so I decided to check it out which leads to my review of the film. This will be another relatively short review.
The film follows Jake (Jason Yee) a driver for high class escorts who seeks justice for Sandy (Samantha Streets) who he finds shot dead in her apartment; even though he's a driver, a recovering alcoholic and in debit to the mob. The story is a noir-mystery that was influenced by the films of the late 1930's, 1940's and the 1950's. Even for the direct to DVD you can tell the film didn't have that big of a budget. Still the story works pretty well as Jake gives us his internal monologue as he tries to find Sandy's killer. The flashbacks gives detail into the relationship of Jake and Sandy and also gives depth to these flawed characters trying to get out of the sh*tty lives they have. For me this was a surprisingly good story with a sad and fitting ending.
The acting by these C level stars was pretty good. Jason Yee was great as the lead showing depth of emotions that fit the role. I had never heard of the actor before this film. He's manly stared in direct to DVD films, but I was surprised he had an un-credited role in The Dark Knight Rises as one of Bane's mercenaries. Ron Yuan (Simon) did a decent job as Jake's boss. He's another actor I'd never heard off, but you might recognize his voice. He gets most of his work from video games. He's had roles in Command and Conquer, Prototype, Alpha Protocol, Fallout New Vegas and many others. Another unknown actor Gary Stretch plays Frank who has an interest in Jake and Samantha. He does a good job playing a bad guy, and apparently has had many roles in direct to DVD films. Samantha Streets is a beautiful actress and did a great job playing Sandy. She's only had guest roles on television shows and minor roles. I think some director or film studio should give her a chance. Samantha is attractive and is a pretty good actress. The overrated retired porn star Sasha Grey is on the cover of the DVD, but she's only in the film for a minute. I know why the studio did that so she could draw attention to the film, but like I said she's only in it for maybe a minute. On a side note I know some men find her attractive, but I don't see the appeal. In my opinion she's ugly and very flat chested. Sasha isn't Hollywood hot and she's not even street hot, and the majority of the women I see on the street are hotter than her. Anyway back to my review.
With such a low budget film you can't expect special effects action sequences, and that was probably the worst part of the film. The action was at best decent. The best scene for action was the climax in a hallway, which was surprisingly really good, but that's pretty much the highlight of the film action wise. David Ren wrote and directed this film and he does a good job with the budget he has. I didn't know this until I looked him up, but he also directed another decent direct to DVD film called Shanghai Kiss, which I enjoyed.
In my ratings you'll find I'm harsher in my criticism to films that I see in the theater then when I rent or download films. I expect more from films that are released in the theater, because they're supposed to be the higher quality films in writing, directing, acting and action/effects. I am a little more forgiving for films that are direct to DVD or films I rent. Would The Girl From The Naked Eye be worth paying at least ten bucks to see in the theater no, but overall the film is pretty good and I recommend that you rent it; it's worth the buck you'd spend to rent it at Red Box. It has a good story and characters with decent acting, below average action and good directing.
3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
As bad as I remembered it.
I was up late night and found 3000 Miles to Graceland on, and since there was nothing else on I decided to watch it. Maybe it wouldn't be as bad as when I first watched the film in theater back in 2001, and yes I stupidly paid to see this in the theater. It had been over 10 years since I've seen this movie. Who know my opinion of the film might have changed, but after watching it again it hasn't. It's just a terrible movie. This will be one of my shorter reviews and there I think will be some spoilers, but I don't care since this is just a terrible film.
The story revolves around a group of bank robbers (Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Christian Slater, David Arquette and Bokeem Woodbine) dress up as Elvis's and rob a Las Vegas Casino. Things go wrong when Woodbine (Franklin) is shot by police and security. The four remaining robbers escape by helicopter with the help of Jack (Howie Long). The four head back to their run down motel outside Vegas to sort their shares, but Murphy (Costner) as other plans as he shots and kills Gus (Arquette), Hanson (Slater) and believes he's also killed Michael (Russell) who was wearing a vest. From there on it's a race to get the money as Cybil Waingrow (Courteney Cox) and her son get mixed up with it along with two US Marshal's (Thomas Haden Church, Kevin Pollak).
The bad story was bad enough, but adding in uninteresting and uninteresting characters and you've got a terrible film. Russel's character was supposed to play the good guy as he had a conscience, but that doesn't take away that his character is about as interesting and likable as a rock you have to stare at four hours kind of like this film. Costner playing the bad guy seemed not to want to be in this awful film. He probably was wondering when his career took a downward turn. It was just a few years ago he was starring in films like A PERFECT WORLD, ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, JFK and THE BODY GUARD. I think his career took a turn with WATERWORLD and THE POSTMAN. Waterworld wasn't good, but it's not as bad as people make it out to be, especially if you watch the extended edition. The Postman in my opinion is a good film, but not great. Still neither were box office hits and his career started to go downward until he relegated to star in crappy heist films like this one. The most interesting and fun characters are the the supporting characters. Howie Long the ex-NFL player turned analysis and actor was having a fun time with this film as he had no pressure on him. Also Thomas Haden Church and Kevin Pollak seemed to have good chemistry as partners and to be honest I was rooting for them to kill all the bank robbers including Russel's character.
You'd expect the action to be good in a heist film. Now I wasn't expecting great action like HEAT that was just a special film, but I was expecting to be entertained. I wasn't and outside of the beginning action scene in the casino which was decent it was all bad. Even the climax in a warehouse was a let down. There's lots of blame to go around for the lack of good action, you could blame the studio Warner Brothers for this, but I don't. I think the WB gave up on this film after they saw it, and if I remember it right there wasn't a lot of promotion for this film. You could just tell WB had no confidence in this film. No I blame the director Demian Lichtenstein who also co-wrote this piece of crap. Apparently Demian was a big music video director, but had only directed one feature film before this one called Lowball, and I had to look it up to find out that it was a direct to VHS film. Maybe I should blame WB for hiring this guy to write and direct a feature film, because he's terrible.
Overall 3000 Miles to Graceland is a terrible film and as bad a I remember it. If you haven't seen this film avoid it at all costs. It will drain away months of your life.
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
It was like they were trying to force a round peg into a square hole with this story and film.
Going to the midnight showing of The Bourne Legacy I wasn't expecting much, but was hoping to be pleasantly surprised like I had with other movies I've had doubts with. Like I had doubts with when I went to see the Bourne Identity, but before I get to my opinion of the film I must first talk about the films that came before. After all Legacy is a continuation and a direct sequel to the Bourne films, so I must first talk about the previous films a little first. Back in 2001 and 2002 leading up to the Bourne Identity I had only remembered seeing Matt Damon in Saving Private Ryan and Good Will Hunting nor had I heard of the books Identity was based off of, so I had my doubts about the film. Still I took a chance and was happily surprised. The Bourne Identity was a great film. The action wasn't over the top like much of the action films of the 1980's and 1990's. It had a unique story, which at the time I don't remember it having been done like it had with this film. The characters were interesting, and the music was great. The film led me to Robert Ludlum novels the film was based off of. I read his three Bourne novels and I must admit I enjoyed the Identity and the rest of the films more then I like the novels. Right now I can only think of one other time that has happened, and it was with The Lord of the Ring series. I enjoyed the novels, but they were truly great books. The films on the other hand were great especially the first two. When The Bourne Supremacy came out in 2004 I had no doubts about the film or Mat Damon this time. It was a great film, and that was even with them killing of Marie an important character from the books and a character I liked. That's how good Supremacy was for me, and who could forget the car chase seen in Moscow with Karl Urban. It's one of the best car chases scenes of all time along with the likes of Bullitt, The French Connection, Ronin and The Road Warrior. When The Bourne Ultimatum came out in 2007 it had a lot to live up to, and through I thought it would be good I didn't think it could surpass Supremacy, but again I was wrong. Ultimatum was as good if not better than its predecessor. That's a rarity in films and franchises for a third sequel to be as good if not better than the film that came before. Right now I can only think of a few films like The Revenge of the Sith, The Dark Knight Rises and Alien 3. Ultimatum was a great film and had a good ending. I know the studio and director left an opening for another film, but in my opinion they should had let sleeping dogs lie. Robert Ludlum had stopped writing Bourne novels back in 1990. I know Eric Van Lustbader is a capable writer, but Ludlum had finished Bourne's journey and the novels feel forced. Matt Damon was moving on, and so was Paul Greengrass. If Universal really wanted to continue with the franchise it should have gotten down on its hands and knees and begged those two to come back, and pay them whatever they wanted. You can see why I had my doubts about Legacy. Still with that being said I'd still gave it a chance like I had with Matt Damon and Identity back in 2002, which leads us to Bourne Legacy.
Where to begin? Where to begin? I could start with the lackluster action, the uninteresting characters. No I'll start with the forced story. When I saw the trailers it looked like they were trying to turn Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) into some kind of super soldier. If I want to see a movie with super heroes in it I'd go to see any of the super hero films that come out every few months now a days. That was what was so good about the Bourne films. Sure Jason Bourne was government trained killer, but he was still human, and could get hurt. It's one of the reason's the films were so good. In Legacy they tried to destroy what was so good about the previous films with the story about genetics and drugs turning people into super soldiers. Then there is Gilory trying to force his failed story into the Bourne universe. It's like a child trying to force a square peg into a round opening it just isn't going to work. That's what it feels like in this film as director and writer Gilory tries to force his story with Bourne's. Sure Gilory was the writer for the previous films, but he had inspiration from Ludlum's books. If he created this screenplay on his own then he needs to stick to adapting screenplays from novels, because he can't do it on his own. Maybe Universal forced him to do it this way after all I know they were desperate to keep this franchise going. If so then I can forgive him for his lackluster to bad screen play. The only thing or person that truly saves the story is Aaron Cross. His story is compelling especially how he came to be part of the program and who he was before it. The character kept me interested in the film.
Sorry I'm not posting my full review, but IMDb doesn't let users post reviews with more then a thousand words for some reason. You can check out my full review over at Movieweb.com under Huntsman.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A Materpiece By The Master Director Christoper Nolan.
I went to see the midnight showing that had the longest line for a film I've ever seen, and The Dark Knight Rises was beyond well worth the time I waited in line which was nearly three hours. The Dark Knight Rises is an achievement of film that hasn't been done in well in film in years and you will be reminded of great films like back to films like Lawrence of Arabia, Ben-Hur and Seven Samurai in their story, message, grandeur and scope. It's a rarity to see a film attempt it now days let alone be successful, and The Dark Knight Rises it that kind of film that everyone should see. The film is more than an event film or summer movie. The Dark Knight Rises is simply one of the best movies of all time.
I've never been a big fan of DC comics never really getting into or finding a connection with their characters, but Batman was the exception. I loved the dark tone of the comic and the villains along with the more adult story lines it became one of my favorite comics outside of Spiderman, and the X-Men. Since Batman's conception in 1939 Batman has become one of the oldest comic book characters and one of the most popular, and there have been many TV and film adaptations, and most of them I've seen have been surprisingly good. From Adam West's fun but campy late 1960's version to Super Friends, to the best television Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, to Batman and Batman Begins and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. There have been many different takes on Batman, but Christopher Nolan's is the best surpassing my favorite Batman film Mask of the Phantasm. What Nolan has achieved here with the Dark Knight Rises and his trilogy of films is truly something special, but I get to that and the director later.
As for The Dark Knight Rises let me get to what I like first, which was everything. I'll address some of the issues some of the critics had later. The story I can't go into too much detail, because it will give away some plot points and there are a few brilliant twists in the movie including the amazing and satisfying ending. The Dark Knight Rises takes place eight years after the end of The Dark Knight. The crime in Gotham has gone way done, because of the Dent Act, which gave more power to the police. Bruce Wayne has disappeared from the public eye hiding in his mansion as a recluse living in his self-pity. He's brought out of his hiding by Selina Kyle and a mysterious Bane who brings death and destruction everywhere he goes. There really isn't much mention to The Dark Knight in the plot of the film or the Joker, and you won't notice that. The Dark Knight Rises does have many connections to Batman begins as Batman's story comes full circle. I'll stop here before I give anything away. I will say that the plot written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan is well written in story, pace and tone.
Michael Caine is truly a superb actor and he truly wait he had better get a supporting Oscar for this film and he should win it. He is superb as Alfred and has been in the previous two films. Bring such emotion and humor as Bruce's butler, father figure and friend. He wants the best for Bruce just like any parent wants the best for their children. Another old timer who steals many of the scenes of the film is the great Gary Oldman as James Gordon. I again think he should at very least be nominated for supporting actor. Christian Bale again does great job as Bruce Wayne and a good job as Batman. Unlike the other actors who've taken on the role I think he's done the best job getting into the mind of Bruce Wayne and totally embodying the character. There are many new comers to the film. I like I think many people were a little worried about Bain played by Tom Hardy. Tom did a great job. I know people want to compare Bane to the Joker and Heath Ledger, so I will. Tom Hardy made a more vicious bad guy, but is less charismatic, which Ledger embodied in the Joker. They are two different types of villains. I wasn't as upset like most after seeing the Catwoman suit months ago. I was more upset that Anne Hathaway was cast for the part. I thought she was an overrated actress, plus I was honestly hoping for a hotter actress. My doubts were alleviated as the film drew closer and I saw that she could fill out a cat suit. Out of all the new comers to this film series I think she might have done the best job. She brought sexiness and emotion to the character and to be honest I thought she's a better Catwoman then Michelle Pheiffer. Next is Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake.
I don't know why IMDb doesn't let you post reviews with more then a thousand words. Anyway you can see the rest of my review at Movieweb.com under Huntsman.
Ridley Scott At his Best.
When I heard that Ridley Scott was returning to the Sci-fi genre where he started his film career with Alien and Blade Runner I was extremely excited. In fact out of the summer movies Prometheus for me was my second most anticipated movie behind The Dark Knight Rises. Sure I was like others who wanted Scott to return to the Alien franchise especially after the bad to downright terrible last three films, but it wasn't the most important thing to me. First I wanted a great sci-fi film with the good writing, great acting and special effects, and excellent directing, which is what you will get with Prometheus. What Prometheus isn't is a direct prequel to Alien. I know some people may go into the film expecting it to be, but if you go into Prometheus expecting a direct prequel to Alien or for certain things to happen or appear you'll be a little disappointed and it will take away from the great Sci-fi you'll be watching.
Now that's been said Prometheus does take place in the same universe, but years before Alien. It starts with Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) finding a painting wall painting on an expedition that were thousands of years old and matched others across the world. The two wanted to find the origin of the human race and to meet god. That leads to the spaceship the Prometheus on its two year journey to find their answers. Arriving on the planet of their destination the crew find what they are looking for, but also so much more. I'm not going to go spoil the story anymore for you. It's really good with a few twists that I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with. I will say that Scott left the ending opened ended as I think he intended for himself or some other director to eventually lead into Alien. I will say the only small flaw to the story were a few of the characters that were misused or underused.
As for the cast and acting it was great with Charlie Holloway, Idris Elba (Janek), Sean Harris (Fifield), Rafe Spall (Millburn) all did really good jobs. With that said there were two who stole the film. The first being Michael Fassbender (David) playing an android. Michael put together an Oscar winning performance as he brought the android to life. Fassbender is quickly becoming one of the better actors in Hollywood now with his performances in Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class and Prometheus. The other actor or better yet actress who stole the film was Noomi Rapace. Her performance was riveting as Shaw as her life dreams became a reality, but then quickly came crashing down. Now I've never seen her act before, but from watching Noomi's performance in Prometheus she is a great actress. Those are two actors really shine in this film. The only flaw with the acting and actors were Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. Guy Pearce plays Peter Weyland the head of Weyland Industries. I think the character was misused in the film. I think the writers and Scott wanted to connect Prometheus to Alien and it doesn't work really well. In my opinion they should have only used the character in the first scene he was in. They didn't need to use him anymore in the film. Next is Charlize Theron who plays Meredith Vickers. Charlize is a great actress who was misused in the film. I think the writers and Scott weren't sure where they wanted to take the character. Meredith is a really interesting character and had a big plot reveal near the end which ends up being pointless. They could have done so much with her character if writers had given her more screen time. Besides those two characters the acting was great.
The tone and action of the film reminded me a lot of Alien and Alien 3. Yes I am a big fan of Alien 3. I even gave the film 5 out of 5 stars. I think it's highly underrated and to be honest I think it's the second best Alien movie. Yes even better then Aliens. Prometheus like those two films relies less on action and more on suspense as it builds throughout the film, and it will keep you glued to your seat. That being said when there was action is was spectacular especially in the later part of the film. The effects were beautifully done as Scott as always been a visual director as he tries to bring his films to life. In directing Prometheus Scott as returned to greatness from his last few films in Robin Hood, Body of Lies and American Gangster. Scott is master at bringing his films to life visually as he did with his best films. Whether it's bring to life the futuristic city of Los Angeles in Blade Runner or ancient Rome in Gladiator Scott is one of the best visual directors out there, and with Prometheus he continues that tradition.
Is Prometheus going to go down as one of the best Sci-fi films of all time no, but it's still a remarkable film I've given 4.5/5 stars to, and I will go down as a great Sci-fi film. Out of the four summer films I've seen in Avengers, Battleship and Snow White, Prometheus is the best of them. Overall if you don't go into expecting or demanding a direct prequel to Alien you won't be the least bit disappointed as you watch a great sci-fi film.
The Hunger Games (2012)
"I want to show them that I'm more than just a piece in their Games,"
The Hunger Games is based of the novel by Suzanne Collins, and is the first in a series of books that are followed by Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I started reading the novels a few months ago when I first heard about the films and I have loved all three of the books, and couldn't wait for the film to come out. Now before I go onto the review I need to go over some of the preconceived notions about the film and books going around in movie reviews and the internet. The first is that the books and film are a rip off of manga series Battle Royal. For some reason fans of the series thinks the manga is an original idea when it isn't. I've read the manga. Years ago my older brother introduced me to the manga series. I enjoyed it for what it was a violent manga with great action, but not much else behind it. The story was lacking and so were the characters. As for the originality of the series it takes its ideas from great books and films like Lord of the Fly and Ender's Game among others, so saying that Battle Royal is original is laughable. When are people going to learn that it is virtually impossible to find a truly original idea anymore. What it comes down to is execution, bringing your own take on the idea and making it your own. Suzanne Collins does that The Hunger Games and her series of books using an idea that has been used before and making it her own in which she created a great and dark futuristic dark world with flawed and likable characters. The second thing I hear about is how the novel is geared down tween girls and these comments from people who actually haven't read the books. I've read the novels and I'm a man and in my early thirties, and I don't think they're geared for girls in their early teens. In my opinion this is geared for everyone. It's a dark series especially Mockingjay that deals with child on child violence, children forced to sell their bodies, war and torture among the other themes in the books, so saying the novels are truly geared for teen girls is just wrong. Finally we have the comparison to the Twilight books. For some reason reviewers and the public and general are overstating the romantic element in the novels and the so called love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peete. It's nothing like Twilight, which I tried to read but couldn't because it was really bad. First of all unlike Twilight some crappy romance isn't the main driving force in the novels. Second there isn't a love triangle especially if you've read or have gone on to read the other two books. It comes down to Katniss and Peete. Collin's made that pretty clear in the novels. They are after all the two most important characters in the book. Katniss who will do almost anything to survive and the kind hearted Peete who doesn't want to let the Capital to change him and the confusing and growing relationship between the two. All right I'm done with my rant. I really got to stop surfing the internet or going to certain sites, and now onto what I thought of the film.
As I've said I've read the novels before seeing the film, but I'm not one of those people who'll penalize a film if it's not a perfect copy of the novel. The Hunger Games film adaptation is a great film to put it mildly, but in my opinion it's an excellent film. The best I've seen in recent memory. I think since Inception a few years ago. I won't go to in-depth into the plot of the film since it might spoil the film for those who haven't read the novel. It takes place sometime in the distant future after some kind of world war/disaster which caused the collapse of the United States and North America, and what rose from the ashes was Panem. Panem has a president but it's more of an empire then a republic. Years before the novel the thirteen districts of Panem rose up against the Capital but lost with the destruction of district 13. After the war the Capital forced the districts obedience by holding annual games in which a boy and girl from each district from the ages 12 to 18 are randomly picked and forced into game/reality show in which they children must kill each other and there can be only one winner. You don't need to read the books to enjoy the film as it's pretty easy to follow. As for the film adaptation of the book its stays pretty close to the book. There are a few people cut from the film. The mayor's daughter Madge Undersee and Peete's parents cut from the film. I shouldn't say they were cut since I don't know if they were edited out or just not added. Then there is Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) who they didn't wasn't introduced in the film like he was in the movie. I didn't mind the small deviations from the novel and I liked what they added in place. The added a behind the scenes take on the film. Showing the head game master Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) as he views the games along with his interaction with president Snow (Donald Sutherland).
Sadly there's a word limit for reviews here. If you want to see my full review go to Movieweb.com and look under the name Huntsman. Otherwise this is a great film and should be seen by everybody.
Gears of War 3 (2011)
A Disappointing End To The Series.
Playing the lackluster Gears of War 3 makes me realize how disappointing the trilogy has become. Now don't get me wrong all three games were good but not great, but they all lacked one thing to take it to the next level of such franchisees like Halo, Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, and fallout. That is a compelling story and characters, which Gears of War lacked.
First let me go into what I did like. The graphics which I would give a 10/10 were stunning and amazing. They were at times breathtaking.
Next is the game play which I would give a 7/10. I played the game twice when I rented from Game Fly. I played it on normal and hard. The controls were easy to use and easy to switch weapons. It was wonderful through the first have of the game as the game was truly challenging especially the early bosses, but once I got a little past the half way point the game seemed to become easier, repetitive, and to linear. The two latter parts are what hurt the franchise the most.
Finally there is the Story/Characters I would give a 4/10. This trilogy started off great with in the first game (8/10) which was compelling as we were introduced to this unique world. The second game (8/10) started the downward trend with the story being good but lacking appeal. I was expecting more since this was most likely going to be the last time we see Marcus Fenix, Damon Baird, Anya and the all the other characters. What I got was a lackluster undertaking. The first half of the game was by far the best and one of the best moments of the game took place around the half way point when one of the major characters dies. I won't give it away but I'm sure you can figure it out. The second half and climax was average to bad, and the ending was down right terrible.
Overall this game was good, but not great, excellent, or a classic. The same goes for the three games in general which over all I'd give a 8/10 for being a great trilogy. It will never be on the level of the series I've listed above, and it's definitely not worth $60 price tag. The game and series are worth playing but I'd rent it from Game Fly or pick it up when it's under $30.
The Big Bang (2011)
Where is Lexie Persimmon?
Direct to Video or B movies used to mean a bad story, b or c list stars, and mediocre action/horror/effects. The 1970's, 1980's, and the early 1990's were the hay day for these kinds of films. Films such as Piranha and Piranha II, Space Rage, Moon 44, Rising Storm, and the endless serial killer/horror movies to name a few. Things began to change in the mid 1990's and the invention of the DVD, but I really believe it was the endless the many B movie companies, and the Big ones seeing the chance to make money decided to get involved also, which put more money and better stars into the movies. Stars like Eric Roberts, Keith David, Val Kilmer, Michael Maidson, Roy Schieder, Samuel L. Jackson, James Woods, and above average to good films like End Game, Unthinkable, The Peacekeeper, Chaos, Executive Target, Edison, and Streets of Blood to name a few. Direct to DVD isn't a bad thing anymore and a quiet a few of them are as good if not better than films being release in theaters now, which leads me to The Big Bang.
The Big Bang is a suspense/drama/comedy starring Antonio Banderas, William Fichtner, Sienna Guillory, Thomas Kretschmann, and Delroy Lindo. The plot follows Ned Cruz (Antonio Banderas) waking up in a police interrogation room with three police officers Detective Poley (William Fichtner), Detective Skeres (Deloroy Lindo), and Dectective Frizer (Thomas Kretschmann). The three detectives begin to question Ned, and Ned begins his story which he tells in the first person and narrates it. The story starts up when private detective Ned Cruz is finishing up a case for a high profile and eccentric actor Johnny Nova played well by James Van Der Beek. What ensues is funny as Johnny Nova's house blows up after Ned leaves with his payment nearly killing him. Ned is questioned by Det Frizer but let go. Ned returns to his office and about to head out when Anton Protopov (Robert Maillet) asks Ned to find a woman names Lexie Persimmon (Sienna Guillory) who had been writing him in prison. The thrilling suspense/drama ensues mixed beautifully with comedy.
The acting was superb, although Kretschmann, Lindo, and Fichtner don't have to do much in the film. That being said their still brought out their A games, and made their characters interesting. Banderas was excellent in this film mixing a straight face with comedy wonderfully. In my opinion the minor actors steal the show. Sam Elliott (Simon Kestral) playing a recluse billionaire, Robert Maillet who is a huge and scary man plays a very likable character. Jimmi Simpson (Niels Geck) who plays the lead scientist for Simon's experiment. Then there is Sienna Guillory the beautiful actress who by the end the movie has stole the show with her beauty and acting. There is even Snoop Dog who plays a porn director who did a good job and as always enjoyed his scenes.
The action was few and far between, but it works for this film. I find that most Hollywood films coming out now try to stuff action down our throats. I can understand why most Americans now don't have long attention spans so studios have to have explosion, car chase, or someone being killed every five minutes. I think that hurts films it takes away from the story, the actors, and characters, which makes a good film into an average one, or a bad film into an average one. The Big Bang doesn't try to stuff violence and action down your throats. It doesn't have to, it has a great story, with good acting, and decent action.
Overall this is a great film, and better than many movies that have come out into the theaters recently. I gave this film 5/5 stars and recommend everyone see this. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Green Lantern (2011)
The Worst Superhero Film Of the Summer.
Let me say I've never read the Green Lantern comic when I did read and collect them. I was never really interested in DC comics. The just didn't have compelling characters outside of Batman and I only started reading Batman after I saw the movie back in 1989. Right now I can't name any of the major hero's from DC outside of Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman. I can name Flash also but that's only because of the TV series that came out back and 1990 which was a good show. I think that's the problem with DC comics as a whole their hero's aren't as well known or recognized outside of the big two Batman/Superman while Marvel has many likable and recognizable characters like Captain America, Spiderman, Wolverine, Daredevil, to name a few and even a lesser know character like the Punisher is probably better known than the majority of the hero's/Villains in DC comics. So I don't think there will be many who truly enjoy this movie outside of the ones who read the comic.
Now I don't want you to think this is the worst comic book movie out there but it is the worst of the this summer by far. But there have been worst. The Fantastic Four movie that was never released. I have a friend who has a VHS copy of the movie and the movie is the worst comic book movie I've seen. Jonah Hex, Catwoman, Ghost Rider, Punisher: War Zone to name a few of the terrible ones. No I'd but Green Lantern on the level of the first newer Fantastic Four movie which was bad but not horrible.
I liked that DC and Warner Brothers took a chance with this character. Since reading into the back history of the character he has to travel to other planets and fight in space. So this is the first comic book movie I can think of that takes place much of the film in space. It's a risk I don't think many movie studio's or Marvel will risk right now. So I need to give DC and WB credit for taking a chance on some levels it worked well. For example in taking us to a alien world and introducing us to alien Green Lanterns. I'll get to what I didn't like about this later on in my review.
Next I liked Ryan Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. Ryan Reynolds(Hal Jordan) is a good but not great actor who has done mostly comedies. He does bring life to Hal Jordan but the writing and script didn't help him much. After seeing this movie I'd have preferred if he had done DEADPOOL. I think he was born to do that character but I don't know if it's going to happen. I hope after this movie bombs which I'm pretty sure it will studio's will still give him a chance to star. Then there's Blake Lively(Carol Ferris) who plays Hal's love interest. Again she is hampered by the bad script but she still brings her beauty and charisma along with her acting talent to this film to brighten it up. She's one of the few bright spots in the show Gossip Girl and was outstanding in THE TOWN. Sadly these are the only two characters who are the least bit interesting.
Finally there's the special effects which were good but not great. Going into this movie I thought from trailers this would be the worst part but I was wrong the effects were pretty good. The worlds I saw were believable and the alien characters looked alive.
There is the story/writing of the movie. You won't understand anything if you haven't read the comic. Outside the Narration in the beginning you don't get anything. Not details on who the Lantern's are or who the immortal guardians are and this supposed great evil in Parallax. Then there is the high school script and dialog is out of a a student film you'd expect a child to write. That's how bad it was some of the lines were laughable when they were clearly not intended to be. Finally there's the two useless bad guys which were uninteresting and weren't really that bad or at least didn't seem that bad. Loki and Sebastian Shaw in Thor and X-Men: First Class seem more alive and evil than the two bad guys in this film combined.
Now we go to all the useless actors in the film. Tim Robbins(Senator Hammond) is a ghost in this film as you won't remember him once he's gone along with virtually all the other actors except for the two I mentioned above. That includes Angela Bassett(Dr. Amanda Waller), Jay O. Sanders(Carl Ferris), Geoffrey Rush(Voice of Tomar-Re), and Michael Clarke Duncan(Voice of Kilowog) to name a few. Then there is Peter Sarsgaard(Hector Hammond) who I guess was supposed to be tortured soul/villain but he was uninteresting and unlikable and wasn't much of a villain. Finally there is Mark Strong(Sinestro). Mark is a good actor and makes a good villain. Sadly he was underused in this film and I wish he had been the bad guy and I hoped he would have been when the guardians gave him a yellow ring. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and we were stuck with Hammond and Parallax.
You'd think the action and special effects would coincide with each other but the don't with this film. While the special effects were pretty good the action was terrible and downright boring. I heard this movie cost around 175 million to make and you'd think with that much of a budget they'd have better action. I can't think of one good action scene in this film and the climax where Parallax invades earth and chases Hal Jordan around the solar system is terrible.